1980 - The Dallas Conference - the beginning of the end
Before we share with you some information from the 1980 conference, lets take a look at the information we had available to us as a peculiar people. We should have listened and paid attention to those that were led by God and helped form our faith from the beginning. God is causing an awaking among his faithful, to return to the beliefs of the true remnant, the original Seventh-Day Adventists and their history.
Not a "Godhead" as many people think they are subscribing to today as an alternate (they are distorting the simplicity of the Bible on this), not a "historic Adventism" facade (health and diet reform, three angels message) that is still distorted by small ministry Pastors, but the non-Trinitarian belief of our people that believed in God the Father and His beloved and begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
“God called us out of Babylon. If we had stayed there, bound down by ministers and creeds, the glorious light of the Holy Sabbath never would have reached us, but glory to God, the second angel's message called us out from the fallen churches where we are now free to think, and act for ourselves in the fear of God.”- James White, The Third Angels Message, p. 11.3, 1850 (This was written in 1850 by James White reflecting on the experience of coming out from the fallen churches in 1844)
Ellen White wrote about the experience they were brought thru, from deep bible study.
“Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband (Elder James White), Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, [Older brethren among the pioneers are here thus reminiscently referred to. “Father Pierce” was Stephen Pierce, who served in ministerial and administrative work in the early days.] Elder [Hiram] Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, “we can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.”- Ellen White, Early Writings, p. xxii.4
Can the 'men in suits with creeds' who got their doctorate degree or Masters in Divinity really claim that they were like those as described in the above who formed our faith? Why did they think they could mess with the personality of God and Christ by changing who we worship?
“During this whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the Word of God. The brethren knew that when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted as light direct from heaven the revelations given.” - Ellen White, Early Writings xxiii.1; Selected Messages 1, p. 206, 207.
"Thus the doctrinal foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church was laid in the faithful study of the Word of God, and when the pioneers could not make headway, Ellen White was given light that helped to explain their difficulty and opened the way for the study to continue. The visions also placed the stamp of God’s approval upon correct conclusions. Thus the prophetic gift acted as a corrector of error and a confirmer of truth." - Ellen White, Early Writings xxiii.2; See Gospel Workers, 302
The Seventh-Day Adventist church was growing, and was one of the few non-Trinitarian churches of it's time.
Who were they witnessing to? Who were they seeking to convert and bring into our denomination? Sunday keepers! And with that, people that believed in a Trinity doctrine. When people come to America from smaller third world countries, what do they bring with them? Their ideas, concepts and beliefs. Well the same could be said for the Sunday converts that came in like a flood. Without serious conversion, study and understanding, how could they really change what was deep in their minds? How could they change the ideology about the God that they believed in. They were coming in more times than not over just the day of worship, the Sabbath.
“By conforming to the practices of paganism, to facilitate the acceptance of Christianity by the heathen….During the lives of the apostles the church remained comparatively pure. But “toward the latter end of the second century most of the churches assumed a new form; the first simplicity dis-appeared, and insensibly, as the old disciples retired to their graves, their children, along with new converts…came forward and new modeled the cause…” To secure converts, the exalted standard of the Christian faith was lowered, and as the result “a pagan flood, flowing into the church, carried with it its customs, practices, and idols….” Has not the same process been repeated in nearly every church calling itself Protestant?” - Ellen White, Great Controversy, 384.5
The "old disciples" that retired to their graves can be paralleled to as our Pioneers. The people that were the core of our faith that started it all. And were their children as diehard as they were? No. They did not live the experience of 1844. How could they? They weren't old enough. So they weren't as steadfast in the faith as their parents. There is where you will find backsliding, slowly losing the hard core beliefs of the faith. The standard of belief, of "Christian faith was lowered." As a result, a pagan flood came flowing into the SDA church.
"When the power of God testifies to what is truth, the truth is to stand forever as the truth. No after suppositions, contrary to the light God has given are to be entertained. Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time, God has given us as a foundation for our faith. He Himself has taught us what is truth. One will arise and still another with new light which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit. A few are still alive who passed through the experience gained in the establishment of this truth. God has graciously spared their lives to repeat and repeat till the close of their lives, the experience through which they passed even as did John the apostle till the very close of his life. And the standard bearers who have fallen in death, are to speak through the reprinting of their writings. I am instructed that thus [their] voices are to be heard. They are to bear their testimony as to what constitutes the truth for this time. We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God’s Word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar of the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God." - Ellen White, Letter to Elder J.A. Burden of Loma Linda, December 14, 1910, PH020, p. 14.2
If only these warnings were heeded during the last 80 years. But men of deceit were in charge, building a bridge between the gap that provided safety between us and other denominations. Men that had to wait for the Pioneers, the “old-timers” to die off. They removed the old landmarks, the pillars of our faith, the foundation that was set upon 50 valuable years (1853 – 1903).
“I am charged to tell our people that they do not realize that the devil has device and device, and he carries them out in ways that they do not expect. Satan’s agencies will invent ways to make sinners out of saints. I tell you now, that when I am laid to rest, great changes will take place. I do not know when I shall be taken; and I desire to warn all against the devices of the devil. I want the people to know that I warned them fully before my death.” - Ellen White, Manuscript 1, February 24, 1915 (five months before Sister White died. This should be first and foremost on the minds of people searching for truth trying to decide what is right and what is wrong.)
“Those who seek to remove the old landmarks are not holding fast; they are not remembering how they have received and heard. Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary or concerning the personality of God or of Christ are working as blind men. They are seeking to bring in uncertainties and to set the people of God adrift without an anchor.”
- Ellen White, Manuscript Release 760, pp. 9, 10;Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 235.4
“. . It is a grave mistake on the part of those who are children of God to seek to bridge the gulf that separates the children of light from the children of darkness by yielding principle, by compromising the truth” - Ellen White, Review & Herald, July 24, 1894
Over time what started out as simply "Fundamental Principles" would be yielded up and changed to a rigid "Fundamental Beliefs" as a man's creed. Going back to the 1950's Leroy Froom, Roy Allan Anderson and a few others thought to entertain the judgment of Evangelicals toward us. Were they thinking they could convert them? Hardly. But the Evangelicals were converting US! The world was converting US!
We were seeking to "bridge the gulf", close the gap between what "separates the children of light" (us) and "the children of darkness by yielding principle, by compromising the truth."
The General Conference at Dallas in 1980 provided the laity a final opportunity to meet the Omega of Heresy. The main focus of the session was the development of a new statement of beliefs to replace the 1931 statement, which was only to be minor revisions. The final product was an official statement that affirmed the newer trinitarian teaching. This statement has since taken on lion-like jaws of a creed. Those who are found not lining up, are dis-fellowshipped.
1980 was the first time that the trinitarian belief was made official by voting on it in a General Conference Session. It was not even discussed then, either. The framework was already in the works in prior years leading up to this by a few men in suits in a room. More on this development to come. If you peruse the daily bulletins from the event, a few points of belief were brought up. I will share with you all that was published at that time covering the key event’s discussions.
They just voted on all the beliefs as a whole, and included in them was the belief in, and acceptance of, the trinity. This reminds me on past TV shows (when I watched TV) where there would be some legal or attorney orientated show, and the prosecutor or the defense attorney would object to an action being done as “leading the witness.” That is what I am reminded of here at this event. The leaders at the top were leading those under them to accept this. There weren’t any real options thrown out there or ramifications to discuss. The prior major change in publications of our belief was one primiarily by one man, F. M. Wilcox as recorded in 1931 and stayed in place up till now. But it was a step of transformation ( a slippery slope) that would allow 1980 to take place. So now, if you are a Seventh-day Adventist, you are officially supposed to believe in the trinitarian doctrine because this is the official teaching of the “CORPORATION” today. The General Conference CORPORATION of Seventh-day Adventist was established in 1904. This was only able to come about with the leadership of A. G. Daniells and the deaths of the bulk of the Adventist Pioneers.
This is such a significant change from what the pioneers believed. We have been told that they could not have been members of the Church today.
"Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denominations Fundamental Beliefs. More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief #2, which deals with the doctrine of the Trinity." - George Knight, Ministry Magazine, October 1993, p. 10
To correct Mr. Knight, all of the founders would not be able to join the church, not just most. Imagine this being done to Martin Luther. They wouldn't be Lutherans any more.
“That most of the leading SDA pioneers were non-Trinitarian in their theology has become accepted Adventist history, surprising as it sounded to most Adventists 40 years ago when Erwin R. Gane wrote an M.A. thesis on the topic. More recently, a further question has arisen with increasing urgency: was the pioneer’s belief about the Godhead right or wrong? As one line of reasoning goes, either the pioneers were wrong and the present church is right, or the pioneers were right and the present Seventh-day Adventist Church has apostatized from biblical truth.” - Jerry Moon, The Trinity, p. 190
With this quote in mind, if one could say that the Pioneers were wrong, then Adventism and Sister White are a lie. Think about it. So in reality, it forces you to believe the Pioneers. The Adventist Pioneers knew better than to set up a church creed.
"The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is, to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And fifth, to commence persecution against such." - John Loughborough (Adventist Pioneer) Review & Herald, October 8, 1861
And yet today in the modern SDA church, the pastor and church board yield an invisible sword against their members called the 28 Fundamental Beliefs. You can be in open sin, the Adventist Hospitals can abort babies, there is baptism of gays, transgender elders, sin being taught in the Adventist Universities. But, if you don’t subscribe to their trinity god (adopted only in 1980), off with your head! The stoning of Stephen will take place and you will be dis-fellowshipped.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem right or sit right with me. We will now take a look at the event proceedings and what was recorded in the Adventist Review.
1980 General Conference event - Dallas, Texas USA -
the god of the General Conference arrives
53rd General Conference Session of the Seventh-Day Adventists – Dallas, Texas
Thursday, April 17, 1980 to Sabbath, April 26, 1980
April 21, 1980, 3:15pm, Seventh business meeting:
NEAL C. WILSON: For some time we have been considering a refinement of our Statement on Fundamental Beliefs. I think you have that document in your hands. No doubt you have done both some studying and some praying.
We have heard a variety of interesting rumors. Some, it is said, understand that the church leaders want to destroy completely the foundations of the church and set the church on a course that would be un-Biblical, contrary to the tradition of the past and to historical Adventism. My fellow delegates, there is nothing that is further from the truth.
We have also heard that any time we touch the Statement on Fundamental Beliefs we would be introducing the Omega, the final confusion of theological and doctrinal positions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I suggest to you that this is also a very unfortunate statement.
I can understand how individuals far removed from where some of these things are being studied, and who may not themselves have been asked to participate in a restudy or refinement of wording, might feel that there is something very sinister, mysterious, and secret going on that will suddenly confront us, and that it may contribute to the ultimate detriment and demise of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. My fellow delegates, I assure you that no one who has been struggling with some of these matters has any such intention.
There are others who think they know why this is being done. They believe it is being prepared as a club to batter someone over the head, to try to get people into a narrow concept of theology, not leaving any opportunity for individual interpretation of prophecy, or any individual views with respect to theology or certain areas of doctrine. This also is unfortunate, because this never has been and is not the intention of any study that has been given to the Statement on Fundamental Beliefs.
Some academicians, theologians, and others have expressed the fear that this statement was being developed so that the church could confront them with a checklist to determine whether they should be disqualified from teaching in one of our institutions of higher education. It is very, very tragic when these kinds of rumors begin to develop.
I fully recognize, and am very willing to admit, that we do need to use extreme care, including a wholesome variety of minds with training and background, to provide input on this kind of statement. However, I do not think anyone should become frightened when the wording of such a document is studied. Perhaps I should go one step further and say that the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not have a creed as such. Nothing is set in concrete in terms of human words. The time never comes when any human document cannot be improved upon. We feel that every 20, 30, or 50 years it is a very good thing for us to be sure we are using the right terminology and approach. Schools of theological thought are constantly changing. Certain terms mean today what they did not mean 50 years ago. There are certain presuppositions that people develop, and certain terminology is used to describe these presuppositions. It is extremely important that we should understand what we believe and that we should express it simply, clearly, and in the most concise way possible. We should not only state our beliefs but be certain that those who read them do not misunderstand and that they are unable to read three or four meanings into the same sentences or words.
It is just as important today to say what one does not mean as it is to say positively what one does mean in order to make sure that people do not just use words with different presuppositions to arrive at an entirely different conclusion.
We see only good coming from a careful rearrangement, rewording, and perhaps some restructuring.
The most cohesive thing in this church is our message. Some people say that what holds us together as a great world family is our organization and our policies. Thank God for organization! But what keeps this church together as one in all the world, in spite of all the fragmenting philosophies and the cultural-sociological-racial differences and linguistic problems, is not organization or policy—it is our message.
So it is important that we look at this statement carefully and that when we have finished looking, we know that we have not done violence, that we have not allowed anything to become eroded or weakened, but rather that we have strengthened and helped, and perhaps become more lucid and clear.
We are not suggesting changing any belief or doctrine that this church has held. We have no interest in tearing up any of the foundations of historical Adventism. This document is not designed to do that, nor to open the way so that it can be done. It should be clear that we are not adding anything nor are we deleting anything in terms of historical Adventist theology. We are trying to express our beliefs in a way that will be understood today.
There are a great many individuals, for instance, who write to the General Conference Ministerial Association requesting a simple statement of our fundamental beliefs. We would like to feel that when such a statement is sent to those who are theologically educated or who are proficient in stating Biblical truth simply, they will understand not what they see but rather what we see and what we believe. It is one thing for me to apply a certain set of values and theological-doctrinal principles to a statement and find that it all fits together. Someone else reading the same statement might not perceive the same truth.
Some say to me, "Well, you know, it [the Statement] is not ready yet. It needs a lot more study." I would like to say that it will never be perfect, no matter how many people work on it and for how long. I do not think we should ever be afraid to look at our beliefs carefully and ask ourselves, Can it be said better?
We really should not take the time of this whole group to deal with minute editorial matters. We will provide for a competent editorial committee of scholars and theologians to consider such details. If someone has a really clear point to make that seems to be extremely sensitive or important in terms of content and substance and theology, then I think this whole group would like to hear it.
Now, you say, are you hoping to get this document voted at this meeting? I would say, Yes. But I also am a realist. If we find ourselves in too much trouble on some rewording, a delay will not create a great problem in this church. We have a statement of beliefs now. Nobody needs to think that we are all up in the air, that we don't know what we believe, that we have nothing to tie to, that the anchors are all pulled up and we are adrift. No one is adrift. We have a clear statement of fundamental beliefs, and we will hold to it until together we decide to refine, reword, and restate it in today's language.
I want to make it very clear that the introduction of this Statement does not suggest that we are not really sure what we believe and that there is a great deal of indecisiveness. This is not the case. There are a few little pockets of concern here and there, and there always will be. We can expect a lot more of those in the future. We have seen only the beginnings of questions, attacks, and endeavors to wipe out certain beliefs. There are those who would like to see some things changed or diluted, watered down, or even wiped out.
I want W. Duncan Eva to make a further statement of the way this matter has developed. After that, we will look at this document, section by section.
W. Duncan EVA: Mr. Chairman and brethren and sisters, the need for restating—not changing, but restating, as Elder Wilson has so clearly indicated—has been felt for several years. About two years ago a committee spent many days studying the beliefs as they are now stated. A number of theologians looked at the Statement prepared by this committee and made suggestions that resulted in a rewording of the Statement. This was brought to the Annual Council in 1979 and was accepted in principle, with the understanding that it would receive wide exposure to the world field and that written suggestions would be welcome. It was sent to members of the division committees immediately after the Annual Council and also to our unions and overseas colleges. The Statement appeared in the ADVENTIST REVIEW and after still further study was sent to all delegates to this General Conference session. Last week the Home and Overseas Officers considered the Statement again, and the suggestions, as far as possible, were included. It was reedited in its present form here.
NEAL C. WILSON: I think we are ready to begin with Section 1, "The Holy Scriptures."
J. W. BOTHE: [Read Item 1, "The Holy Scriptures."]
R. H. BROWN: I could wish that, as a church, we were able to simply say that we base our belief and practice on the Bible, the Bible alone, and the entire Bible. But unfortunately the enemy has confused the situation so that it becomes essential for us to declare to the world and to ourselves what we mean by such a statement. We have to specify where in the spectrum of theological viewpoints we stand and what we understand to be the nature and authority of the Bible. Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible on a broader basis than only that of faith and practice. We accept it as historically valid. To meet the needs of the church, we need to strengthen this section on the Holy Scriptures to make it express fully the attitude of the Seventh-day Adventist Church toward Holy Scripture. To accomplish this, I would like to suggest a rewording of the second sentence to read like this: "These Scriptures are the living, all-sufficient, trustworthy, and authoritative revelation of God's gracious purpose, His will, and His activities in human history." I feel that this addition is absolutely essential in order to state to the world and to ourselves where we really stand with respect to the testimony of Holy Scripture. The same suggestion should be included where Ellen White's attitude toward Scripture is referred to.
JAMES LONDIS: I think, Brother Chairman, that there is no doubt that the Statement would be strengthened by the word historical or the words historical activities. As it stands, it can be misinterpreted, I fear, by people who are unfamiliar with the difference between the existential approach to the Bible and the historical approach.
I would also like to comment on another point.
NEAL C. WILSON: Surely.
JAMES LONDIS: I wish to sound a word of caution about using the word infallible in any statement with respect to the Scripture. We have bypassed using it in reference to Scripture as a revelation of God's gracious purpose and will. Rather, we have said it is authoritative and trustworthy. To be consistent we ought not to use that word with respect to faith and practice.
NEAL C. WILSON: Would somebody like to comment on this matter of the use of the word infallible?
W. R. MAY: I would strenuously object to deleting the word infallible. I think it is imperative that it remain.
NEAL C. WILSON: In that exact place?
W. R. MAY: Either there or somewhere else.
NEAL C. WILSON: Jim, do you see it fitting in some other place in the document?
JAMES LONDIS: My concern is that Seventh-day Adventists avoid being designated as verbal inspirationists. I also appreciate the concern of those who do not want to diminish the authority of the Bible.
ROBERT OLSON: I can appreciate what Jim Londis is speaking about, but I don't think that this expression as it stands gives the wrong impression. Ellen White speaks about the Bible as the infallible revelation of God's will to us. She does not call the Bible inerrant. I do not think we should use the word inerrant, but expressing that the Bible is the infallible revelation of God's will, I think, is very correct. It certainly is in harmony with the Spirit of Prophecy.
J. J. BATTISTONE: I would like to speak to the two points Dr. Londis mentioned. First, with respect to the Holy Scriptures and the reference to the historical witness of the Scriptures to God's presence. Doctrine number two brings this out; so if the first statement were amended, it would be consistent with the reference to God, who acts in and through nature and history.
The second point has to do with the word infallible. Are we sacrificing anything substantial when we omit the word infallible, substituting for it the word authoritative?
LEWIS O. ANDERSON: I feel that we should retain the word infallible where it is. I think that this is a proper statement of our view concerning the Bible. If we remove that now, it will be seriously misunderstood by many people.
RUSSELL STANDISH: I want to support Dr. Brown's statement that we recognize the Bible as authoritative when it comes to the area of history. I think we are all aware that we are not talking in a vacuum today. There are many among our believers who project the concept that the Scriptures are perfect for their purpose. Now, that sounds like a benign statement until it is understood that what is meant is that Scripture is authoritative as a guide to salvation, but it contains many errors of history and science. I believe that the Holy Word of God is just as authoritative in matters of history and science as it is in matters of salvation. I would even go further than Dr. Brown and insert science into this statement as well as history. I believe, as have most of the other speakers, that the word infallible is very proper and that we would lose very much if we drop it.
JAMES LONDIS: In keeping with your statement at the beginning that we must be careful to say not only what we mean but what we do not mean. If we use the word infallible, I would suggest that we then state what we do not mean by infallible, that it is defined as absolutely perfect and unerring in a verbal inspiration sense.
NEAL C. WILSON: That is something that might be worthwhile for this church to state.
J. J. AITKEN: The great genius of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that we believe in the infallibility of the Holy Word of God. There are many teachings today that would discredit certain parts of the Bible.
W. DUNCAN EVA: I would like to make a suggestion that will satisfy as many as possible. I would suggest that instead of the word "authoritative" on line 18, we use the word infallible. And that instead of the word "infallible" on line 20, we use the word authoritative. In other words, transpose those two words. I would suggest further that we refer the question of a definition for the term infallible, as Dr. Londis has suggested, to an editing committee, with the suggestion that a footnote be added defining what we mean by "infallible." I think it would be difficult to write it into the text.
MARIO VELOSO: I would like to support the presence of this word infallible. A definition, if desired, would be better placed in the text because footnotes are easily lost. I think the word infallible does not give any wrong impression. We will not lose anything by retaining it, and changing it could be misunderstood by many Adventists.
NEAL C. WILSON: Very well stated. Thank you, Dr. Veloso. Let me get a reaction from you. Let us tentatively agree that we will use the word infallible in connection with revelation. This is really in harmony with how Ellen White used it. Then let us use the word authoritative for the standard of faith and practice, and ask a small committee to submit a statement with respect to our understanding of the definition of the word infallible. We can decide later whether the definition should be part of the body or a footnote.
[A straw vote was taken, and the suggestion was overwhelmingly supported.]
NEAL C. WILSON: Now, I would like to settle the desirability of including something in terms of history. Could I have an expression from you about that? [A straw vote was taken, and the suggestion was supported.]
NEAL C. WILSON: Now, I would like an idea from you about this very sensitive area of science; that is a word which can be broadly interpreted and can be a stumbling block. We should be cautious not to suggest that we do not feel that Scripture has anything to say about science.
R. H. BROWN: Thank you, Elder Wilson. I greatly appreciate the suggestion of Brother Standish with respect to including the term science here. But I think that for our purposes, the term "God's activities in human history" includes what many of us consider to be science. A statement like this is strengthened if it can be made as succinct as possible, with as few divergent terms as possible. I do not think the addition of the word science is necessary.
LAWRENCE GERATY: I am very pleased with the statement the way it is with the modifications that you have suggested. I think all of us feel that the word infallible would be in relation to the revelation of God's gracious purpose and will. I, however, would have a very difficult time as a teacher of history to state here that the Bible is all sufficient in matters of history and science. There are many areas in which I have questions, and I wish the Bible said more. Unfortunately, it is not all sufficient. In areas where it speaks, it speaks the truth and it is certainly trustworthy.
NEAL C. WILSON: The group here did rather overwhelmingly feel that they would like to see something included with respect to God's activities in human history. Is your objection to that phrase, which was overwhelmingly accepted here, or to the inclusion also of science?
LAWRENCE GERATY: I have no problem with God's activities in human history. What I am afraid of is the way that Dr. Brown suggested that it be added here. In that way the Bible would be presented as all sufficient and infallible in matters of history. That would not be good, and adding science would make it just that much worse. In other words, the Bible is not a textbook in these areas.
----------------------------------- 1980 Godhead change enters here -------------------------------------
NEAL C. WILSON: I believe we understand your point about God's activity in human history. We feel that Scripture is a revelation of that. I think, in that case, let the editing group try to reword this for us and bring it back, so we can see it on paper.
Now, could I get an expression from you on the matter of the word science? How many of you feel that something ought to be included about the word science? Those of you who feel we ought to include science, will you raise your hands? [Few hands raised.]
All right, apparently we will not include that word or refer that to our small editing committee.
Well, I think that pretty nicely does Section No. 1. I would like to suggest that we go on to No. 2 at this point.
J. W. BOTHE: [Read Section 2 of the Statement.]
NEAL C. WILSON: Here are several lines packed with a lot of meaning. Who has some help for us on this or some question with regards to the Godhead or Trinity?
A. V. WALLENKAMPF: I will read the whole of the third sentence: “He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation.” I am somewhat apprehensive of the statement, “His self revelation.” To me it opens the door too wide. It could open the door to almost anything, and certainly pseudocharismatics will crawl in through it. Instead of saying “His self-revelation,” I would like to say “the Holy Scriptures.”
There is one more observation on the next line, “He acts in and through nature and history.” This is the very reverse of the other one. This does not describe my God. This limits God to acting only through nature and history. My God acts through nature and history, and any other way He pleases. He is not limited to nature and history. I would like to add a few words at the end of that sentence: “He acts in and through nature and history and beyond both,” or something similar. He has other means that supersede both nature and history.
MARIO VELOSO: The sentence that begins, “God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present” is followed by phrases that concern me, “above all, through all and in all” which is almost a quotation taken from another context. In the context of the church, this is true, but in the context of everything which is referred to here, it takes on the connotation of pantheism. I would like to suggest that this sentence “above all, through all and in all” be deleted. It would be just fine to put the period after “ever-present.” I would also like to support Elder Wallenkampf on the sentence, “He acts in and through nature and history.”
LIEF HANSEN: In this discussion of the Trinity, which is always a difficult matter to discuss, I wonder if a certain misunderstanding could be eliminated by saying “a unity in purpose” so that the matter of physical unity may be eliminated.
NEAL C. WILSON: I see your point there. Maybe we ought to make it a unity in purpose rather than a physical unity.
J. G. BENNETT: The statement about the Godhead and the Trinity goes on to use the pronoun He. Later as the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost are discussed, we use the same pronoun He. I do recognize and accept the Trinity as a collective unity, but I would have a little difficulty in applying the pronoun He to the Trinity or the Godhead. For me this has deep theological implications.
VICTOR H. HALL: I refer to the phrase "Yet known through His self-revelation." Surely the only self-revelation that God has made is in His Son.
NEAL C. WILSON: We had a suggestion that rather than "self-revelation" we ought to use "Holy Scriptures." Now, of course, Christ is the Word and your point is that His revelation is in the Son.
VICTOR H.HALL: No one has seen God at any time.
NEAL C. WILSON: You have a point there. The problem is, how do we see God today if it has to be through the Son? We have to see the Son through the Scriptures. I think the intent of those who drafted the statement was that there is no way for us to see God or the Son today except through Scripture.
H. J. HARRIS: It seems to me we have a conflict or a contradiction in this statement, "There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of Three co-eternal Persons." Would not it be more clear if we were to say "There is one God consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"? We begin with "one God." Then, without any explanation, we use "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Later, we go to "a unity of Three."
RICHARD HAMMILL: There are several comments I would like to make. Regarding this last suggestion, I think it is rather difficult to use the verb consist with God. I think we ought to be very careful in using terms that the Bible does not use of Him. When we framed this statement we tried to use Biblical phrases as much as we could.
The next concept has to do with that of self-revelation. I think it would be a mistake to limit this, because God reveals Himself in many ways. He reveals Himself certainly through the Scriptures, as we have stated. He has revealed Himself in nature. Ellen White explicitly says there are two books—the book of the Written Word and the book of nature—and God sometimes reveals Himself in ways the Bible says we don't expect and don't always understand. So we tried to be no more or less explicit than the Bible is here. If we define this word, we rule out others that I think we have to understand when this is read.
The next matter is the concept about God in and through all. This is an exact Biblical statement. It could be in quotes except stylistically we have not been putting Biblical phrases in quotes. But Ephesians 4:5 uses these phrases with the verb is—God "is." Just because there have been some pantheistic views in our past history, I don't think that we ought to try to rewrite the Bible, not wanting to use this verse of Scripture. The Bible does say that God is in all, and through all, and above all, in ways that we do not understand. Since this is a Biblical clause, I think we should try to maintain it.
My last comment has to do with the thought that God acts in and through nature and history. This does not say that these are the only ways that God acts. God acts in many, many ways, but the Bible explicitly says that He does act in nature and in history. When we say that, we are not denying others, but we are making an affirmation of that which the Bible clearly states.
MIGUEL CASTILLO: It has been interesting to me to find a statement of Ellen White that says that God acts in each natural phenomenon. This is in perfect agreement with the Biblical statement "My Father worketh . . . and I work." The statement, therefore, that He acts in all, above all, and through all, is in perfect agreement with both the Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy as far as I am concerned.
W. G. C. MURDOCH: I would suggest that we use the expression "The Godhead or Trinity" rather than "Trinity."
J. J. BATTISTONE: There was a reference to the pronoun He. We are talking about the Godhead, so the antecedent of the pronoun is God, not the three persons. In the reference to His self-revelation in Scripture, I prefer that reading.
PAUL C. CHIMA: I would suggest that when this goes back to the committee, Sister White's writings be studied to see what term she used to describe God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Let us use a lot of her terminology to define this. Whatever decisions are made and expressions found, let us be content with them.
W. R. LESHER: I am concerned about words and phrases that would seem to limit God or to change the view of God that is given to us in Scripture. One of these is the suggestion that was made that we not use the word He. I presume that the speaker was referring to the use of "They" in paragraph 2. And, of course, the statement of Scripture is that "The Lord our God is One Lord." And to speak of "They" or some other pronoun than "He" would make us tri-theist, instead of believing in one God. The expression "consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" might read more nicely. It seems to me it does introduce a limiting factor. It is much more in harmony with the mystery of God to simply say there is one God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. My same observation would apply to the expression "a unity of purpose." We assume that there is a unity of purpose in the Godhead. Still, God is a mystery. And we do not know in what ways that unity might exist other than in purpose. There are some ways in which we can seem to say that God is not a unity. But even then we are not sure what we are talking about. The idea of three Beings that are One is a mystery, and it seems to me that we should not try to remove all of that mystery from the statement.
NEAL C. WILSON: I would like now to appoint a committee to do some editing for us with these suggestions in mind. I would like to suggest that Dr. Richard Hammill serve as chairman and that the following serve as members:
Thomas H. Blincoe, dean of Andrews Theological Seminary
W. Duncan Eva, of the General Conference
Larry Geraty, of Andrews University
W. R. Lesher, from the Biblical Research Institute
James Londis, pastor and Biblical scholar
Robert Olson, from the White Estate,
Jan Paulsen, from Newbold College
Mario Veloso, from South America
G. R. Thompson, chairman of the Church Manual Committee
M. T. Battle, secretary of the Church Manual Committee
This makes a committee of 11. It might be well to add R. H. Brown also, since we are dealing with some areas of science.
W. J. HACKETT: We have a report from the Nominating Committee, which we will release at this time.
H. H. SCHMIDT: We will ask J. G. Smoot, our secretary, to bring the report.
J. G. SMOOT: We have a rather lengthy slate to present this evening. [The report was presented and accepted. It appeared on p. 32 of Bulletin 4.]
L. M. HAWKES: [Benediction.]
NEAL C. WILSON, Chairman
W. J. HACKETT, Chairman
D. H. BAASCH, Proceedings Secretary
J. W. BOTHE, Actions Secretary
April 25, 1980, 9:30am
After opening statements and acknowledgements of those retiring, this takes place early in the day:
W. J. HACKETT: This morning we have another distinguished guest. Dr. B. B. Beach will introduce him.
B. B. BEACH: We welcome the representative of the Anglican Consultative Council for the world, Bishop Robert Terwilliger, who will give us a few words of greeting from the Anglican communion.
BISHOP ROBERT TERWILLIGER: Dr. Beach, Elder Hackett, I bring you greetings in the name of the Lord. As I have been with you in your conference, I have noticed several things. First is that it is the healthiest-looking group of human beings that I have seen in many an age, even in Texas. You also seem to have happiness—I would even say joy, the joy of believers. I know that you believe that the world has a destiny and that destiny is God's—God's will, God's act. As I have read the beliefs set before you for revision, I hoped to find some degree of disagreement. I had the most awful disappointment. I found increasingly that we are together in our faith. Therefore, the unity that we share is not simply a unity of goodwill and fellowship but unity in faith increasingly, a unity in Christ. Therefore, the peace of the Lord be always with you.
[Webmaster's comment: Why would the General Conference session need a representative of the ANGLICAN CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL FOR THE WORLD to be present?? Because that is what “Bishop” Robert Terwilliger was. He was from the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas and founded Trinity Church on Wall Street in Manhattan. He comments that he is pleased to find a unity in faith. He was expecting to disagree in some way when analyzing the statement of beliefs, but couldn't because they unified with what he believed. All these world unions have one common denominator, and that is to profess the trinity doctrine.]
Continuing on now with the meeting notes:
NEAL C. WILSON: Last night while some of us were sleeping others were preparing the report of the special editorial committee for the Statement of Beliefs. Will Dr. Hammill, chairman of that committee, tell us about the process used to bring us the report this morning?
RICHARD HAMMILL: The committee has met quite regularly since its appointment, right through this morning. We did our very best, under the constraints of time, to consider every suggestion. You must recognize that because of the quantity it was impossible to give much time to each one.
Some were accepted and are embodied in the report you have in your hands. Some were rejected. I think I should mention that though some were not accepted, it was not because they were not true nor because they were not good. It has been our aim to keep this document short.
This is not a full and complete statement of all aspects of doctrinal belief and subsidiary points. Some very good ideas are covered in our statement for instruction of candidates who desire admission into the church, and others are included in the baptismal vow, but it is necessary in this brief Statement of Fundamental Beliefs to state only basic, fundamental points. There simply is not room to cover practical and exhortatory aspects, such as wills and legacies and calendars in different countries in this succinct statement of the fundamental beliefs of the church.
Some suggestions had to do with shades of doctrinal exposition. As much as we could, we included these, but there are, I think you must know, some moot points on which the church has not seen fit to make a statement for many, many years. For instance, aspects of the sanctuary doctrine were introduced which have not appeared even in our present statement, written in 1931. For 50 years the church has not tried to make a statement, for instance, about geographical divisions in the heavenly sanctuary, though some of you may not have thought of this. It may be found in more lengthy expositions of our beliefs, but not in this Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.
Things like conditional immortality were introduced on the floor. This is not a Biblical phrase. There are different views on the interpretation of the text. You heard the interchange of discussion—the quoting of the text, "God only hath immortality," which is granted at the present time, and then the quoting of a verse in 1 Corinthians 15, where, it is claimed, God says the saints shall be given immortality. Our committee tried to use words in such a way as not to make this aspect prominent.
We are aware that this document now may have some punctuation out of place or even a singular verb with a plural noun. Please, let us not, in the limited time remaining, draw our attention to these. The secretary will indicate a few places where a phrase or word has been added, or the order of clauses has been changed, which, on more recent examination, was needed to make the sentence move just right. These will appear in the REVIEW. It might be helpful to look at the preamble first.
NEAL C. WILSON: Thank you, Dr. Hammill, for the good suggestions as to how we might proceed. You have also given a rather adequate report of how the committee functioned and what is being presented this morning.
All suggestions and comments have been extremely helpful. I did ask four members of the committee three questions. First, "Do you feel reasonably satisfied with the work that you have done, taking into consideration the suggestions that were made by the delegates?" All responded that they felt reasonably satisfied. Human words can always be improved and some improvement might still be possible, but they did feel satisfied.
My second question was, "Do you feel that this statement is better than the one we have had? Is it clearer? Do you think it will be more beneficial for the church?" Without exception they strongly affirmed that it was a big improvement.
My third question was, "Do you think that it is worthy of adoption at this session?" Without hesitation their response was, "Yes, we really do."
M. T. BATTLE: [Read the "Preamble for Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists" found on p. 231
ERNEST LOGAN: I am a little concerned with the expression that "the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a deeper understanding." Non-Adventists might misunderstand this. I suggest "continuing understanding."
JOHN W. FOWLER: I greatly appreciate the openness of this meeting and the improved revision of our doctrinal statement. I am very happy with it. I do have a question about the word current. Could some who might be characterized as super-conservative see in that word a frightening change, causing further criticism?
NEAL C. WILSON: Why don't we just leave it out? It isn't that important to the statement.
CALVIN A. TOWNEND: Would the third sentence be more clear and specific if it said "Revision of this statement" rather than "Revision of these formulations"?
NEAL C. WILSON: That is an option. I believe, however, that Dr. Hammill was appealing that we not try to spend too much time on optional words. Would "statement" be a preferable rendering? It is more direct. Unless someone objects, shall we agree to go that direction?
PIETRO COPIZ: Should not and follow the words "their only creed," rather than but?
NEAL C. WILSON: That is a much better conjunction. Let us read the first section now.
M. T. BATTLE: [Read section 1, "The Holy Spirit."]
A. LEROY MOORE: I refer to the sentence "The Holy Scriptures are the only infallible revelation of His will." In 1888, Ellen White wrote a sharp rebuttal regarding articles by Elder Butler that had been printed several years before, in which he had outlined degrees of inspiration. These had been taught in the college. After having clearly indicated that man has no right to suggest that there are degrees of inspiration, she indicated that this same principle applied to her own works.
Now I would suggest that the word only be used in a different manner. Could we not state, rather, "The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will, the only test of truth"? It is true that all the gifts, including the gift of prophecy, must be tested by Scripture. It is also true that Scripture and Ellen White teach that there are no degrees of inspiration, though there are differences in function. The gift of prophecy is for the edification of the church, and not for the church's use to the world. There are other differences also. However, it would be wise, I think, to avoid any statement that would seem to indicate degrees of inspiration, with the Bible on one level of revelation and the gift of prophecy, as manifested through Ellen White, on another.
RICHARD HAMMILL: This was discussed. There is a difference of opinion. This paragraph, except for the introductory sentence, is a quotation from Ellen White's The Great Controversy.
HENRY L. BRUNER: The fourth sentence says that the Bible is, among other things, the "test of experience." Should it not also say something about the source of our faith?
RICHARD HAMMILL: There are many things that could be said here, but we chose what seemed to be the best statement from the Spirit of Prophecy. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives the measure of faith.
HENRY L. BRUNER: Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
NEAL C. WILSON: We must remember that we are talking about a group of statements. That is why it was suggested this morning we might not want to say only "this statement," but rather "these statements," because they all do tie together. Thus we have the totality of the picture, while every separate one may not say everything about our belief.
GEORGE E. KNOWLES: I refer to the phrase "the knowledge necessary for salvation." Some religious groups make salvation entirely dependent upon a correct understanding and knowledge. Would this be strengthened by inserting "the knowledge necessary for a decision affecting salvation?"
RICHARD HAMMILL: We are not dealing with doctrinal matters when we make suggestions like this. We are editing this paper, which does not change any doctrinal position. And it seems to me that we should not deal with editing and rephrasing and better choice of words, or we will not complete our work.
RONALD D. GRAYBILL: One of the values of the preamble is that some of these things can be cared for later. I suggest that we read the entire document through at one time so that we will all be put under the discipline of having to raise only the most important questions at the end.
LAWRENCE GERATY: Whether the word only is in this particular quotation or not, it is in other Spirit of Prophecy quotations. I feel quite strongly that it ought to be here to make clear to people, of whatever communion, where we stand as to our source of truth. If we believe the Spirit of Prophecy, we will leave the word "only" here.
R. R. HEGSTAD: There is a distinction between "an infallible" and "the infallible." "The infallible" is much stronger than "an infallible." I do not think we need only.
ROBERT G. HUNTER: I support striking the word only and even support the use of the word an instead of the. The Holy Scriptures are "the infallible" revelation of God's will, but Jesus Christ is an even clearer infallible revelation of God's will. We know Jesus, and test all our understanding, through the Word, the final authority. My concern is that we confine ourselves to this only and nothing else when we understand that Jesus Himself is the perfect revelation of God's will.
NEAL C. WILSON: I would like to take a count now of our feeling. [Straw vote indicated to eliminate the word "only"]
W. J. HACKETT: We have another special feature. Will Dr. Winton H. Beaven come to the desk while the REVIEWS are being distributed?
WINTON H. BEAVEN: Friday evening a presentation was made to Elder William Fagal on behalf of the Weniger Memorial Committee. The committee, each calendar year, chooses two or three Adventist church leaders for this honor. This year a young man was chosen who has distinguished himself as a leader of our Egyptian mission, as president of the Columbia Union Conference, as vice-president for the North American Division, and who now serves as our General Conference president. The committee recognizes that he demonstrates the principles of excellence that were the hallmark of Charles Elliott Weniger. It is my privilege on behalf of the committee to present the Medallion for Excellence to Elder Neal Wilson, president of the General Conference.
NEAL C. WILSON: Please express my deep appreciation to the committee. I feel sure that if they had more time, they could have found a much more worthy candidate. I happen to have had the privilege of studying under Dr. Weniger. Several of you here this morning have had the same privilege. He did set before us the highest of ideals. We have not been able to reach all of them, but I feel greatly honored and certainly humbled to think that the committee has selected me in this way. I hope that I can live up to the high expectations that the committee has and that were certainly embodied in the life of Dr. Charles Weniger.
SAMSON B. KISEKKA: [Benediction in Luganda.]
W. J. HACKETT,
N. C. WILSON,
D. A. ROTH,
M. T. BATTLE,
April 25, 1980, 1:30pm
NEAL C. WILSON: Let us come back to our Statement of Fundamental Beliefs. I hope you remember that we are not really seeking what wording you would prefer, but rather a consensus whether this clearly and adequately states what we believe. We will ask our secretary to read it for us. I feel it should be read in its entirety. After that, I will ask you three or four questions. I want to learn how close together we are. If we are unified, we need not waste a great deal of time on wording. If we are badly divided, more time will be needed. I will ask you, Have we in this statement, in your judgment, departed from, or stayed close to, the basic beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? I also will ask that you search your heart, asking yourself whether we have weakened our theological position as God's special representatives, with a distinctive message to the world.
So, Elder Bothe, please read the document through.
J. W. BOTHE: Mr. Chairman, I will read from corrected copy, which has slight changes in a few places.
[Read the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs as revised by the committee appointed to consider the observations made during the discussion of this item by the delegates to this session. The full revised text of this statement, including the minor changes made at this fifteenth meeting, is found on p. 23.]
NEAL C. WILSON: This sounds good to me. I could present and defend this in any circle I know. I would now like to know how close together we are. I ask you again: In your judgment, does this ring true to the gospel in the setting of the three angels' messages, and does it represent the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as you know and believe them?
This is not a vote—Will those who do feel that it fairly represents the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church please express that by raising your hands? [Many hands were raised.]
Thank you very much.
Those of you who feel that you cannot accept this as an expression of the fundamental beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, may we see your hands? [Very few hands were raised.]
The response is overwhelmingly favorable, with the exception of maybe a half-dozen persons.
Now, my brothers and sisters, what would you like to do about this?
HAROLD E. METCALF: This committee has done a splendid job, but if you would permit me, I would like to point out at least one serious thing in Article 15, "The Lord's Supper." The last sentence says, "The communion service is open to all baptized Christians." As long as I have been preaching this message, we have practiced open communion. I suggest that we amend it to read, "The communion service is open to all believing Christians." I would move that change.
NEAL C. WILSON: OK. I will follow the same procedure, requesting an expression without motions at this time.
RICHARD HAMMILL: The committee talked about this a great deal. Some were concerned particularly with the matter of small children partaking of the Communion.
There is developing in some of our churches a very definite trend toward rather small, unbaptized children receiving the emblems. In some places families, with all the children, partake together. It was as a result of this representation that we felt there should be some way to say that small, unbaptized children should not participate in the Lord's Supper. This was the best way we knew how to embody this concept. If the word baptized is changed to all believing Christians, this problem is still not resolved. In our churches we have not favored children participating in this service.
NEAL C. WILSON: May I see the hands of those who would rather see the word believing instead of baptized? [Many hands.] Let me see the hands of those who would rather have the word baptized. [A few hands.] I accept this show of hands as an indication of the preference of this body. There is no point in discussing it or debating it further at this time.
HAROLD E. METCALF: Brother Chairman, I have another observation about Article 23, "Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary." Here again the committee has done a tremendous job. However, this is one of our fundamental beliefs that ought not to be tampered with. I suggest an addition to the third sentence, which reads, "He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension," of the following words, "which had been prefigured by the ministry of the priest in the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary." Then, I suggest an addition to the next sentence, "In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and the last phase of His atoning ministry," these words, "typified by the work of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement in the Most Holy Place of the earthly sanctuary."
I am well aware of some of the positions that are being taken today, and I understand clearly why the wording is as it is here. But I believe that the words that I have suggested could be added. It does not say that there is a holy or a Most Holy Place in heaven. It simply points out that what Christ does at the beginning of His ministry and what He does in the closing phase of His ministry have all been typified by what went on in the earthly sanctuary.
W. DUNCAN EVA: As far as the first suggestion is concerned, I don't know that I object to the thought—although it seems it could be stated in far fewer words.
NEAL C. WILSON: I will ask now, How many would like to see that first suggested wording added, indicating that this was typified by the priests in the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary?
RICHARD HAMMILL: This is a very complex issue. I personally believe that Christ did begin the first-apartment phase of His ministry in heaven when He ascended. But great care must be taken in this wording, because Ellen White does say very clearly that when Christ ascended to heaven He did go also into the Most Holy Place, as well as the holy place. A careful study of these concepts, and particularly of Hebrews 9, reveals that it is talking there about the dedication, among other things, of the heavenly sanctuary. When Hebrews uses the example of the sprinkling of the different pieces of furniture in the earthly sanctuary and applies it to the heavenly, it is not referring only to a first-apartment ministry but to the whole heavenly sanctuary. Our committee noted those statements, and the very illuminatory statements of Ellen White. We have worded this article very carefully so that it does not exclude either or any of those concepts that, we understand, happened when Christ ascended to heaven. I hesitate to see us tie this down to just one aspect. And I wish we could keep the wording that we have here.
NEAL C. WILSON: We will take an expression now. [The expression clearly was to leave the wording as it was.]
ALAN B. JOHNSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your patience with us as we have considered this most historic document. I appreciate your request that we discuss only theological matters and not editorial questions.
NEAL C. WILSON: Correct. That is all we are doing now.
ALAN B. JOHNSON: But sometimes, Brother Chairman, we laymen really can't distinguish between what is editorial and what is theological. I have a question in the first sentence of Article 10. I am concerned with just one word, but it might have theological implications. It says, "In infinite love and mercy God made Christ." I would much prefer that it read, "God sent Christ."
RICHARD HAMMILL: In several places the Bible uses this exact expression, and I have thought often about all that is included in it. It is a very pregnant expression with a lot of meaning. I am not sure I could explain all there is in it, but it is a very clear and explicit Biblical expression.
NEAL C. WILSON: [Requested an expression from the delegates. No change was indicated.]
ALAN B. JOHNSON: Also on that line are the words "to be sin for us." Again, as a layman, I am not sure I really understand that we mean Christ is sin. Could it not better say "to take upon Himself our sins" instead of "to be sin for us?"
NEAL C. WILSON: Again, it is a Biblical statement. In fact, it is the same Bible verse. We have already expressed our desire to stay with Scripture.
J. R. SPANGLER: I do appreciate this document, because we need to clarify our beliefs in order to send them to the numbers of non-Adventist clergy who are constantly asking us for an authoritative statement of our beliefs. I hope, Brother Chairman, that this will be voted today. We must not fail to do this. We are embarrassed to send the Statement of Beliefs we have now because it contains many loopholes and some things are omitted. I would like to make a suggestion on Article 17. If I remember correctly, we were asked to strengthen this statement on the gift of prophecy. Instead, I believe we have qualified it. In the third sentence, I would just change one word in the phrase "source of truth which provide," substituting "and" for "which" so that it would read, "source of truth and provide for the church comfort.
OTTO PETER: May I please express myself in regard to Article 17. It is my opinion that we should stay as close as possible to the words of the Bible. In the third sentence, "A continuing and authoritative source of truth" can easily lead to misunderstandings. According to 1 Corinthians 14:3, the gift of prophecy is for edifying the church, for comforting, and for admonishing. I fear that this new wording might lead to new misunderstandings and new problems. Therefore, I urge that we do not word it the way it appears in the new suggestion. We always confirm the Bible, and the Bible alone, as the authoritative source of truth. I think this wording does not express our basic belief.
N. C. WILSON: The last sentence makes it very clear that the Bible is the test of teaching and experience. I will ask for an expression. [The expression indicated no change.]
J. R. SPANGLER: I have one more point on Article 2. Some of us still have problems with this term in the third sentence, self-revelation. To me this is indefinite and unclear. What does it mean? I suggest that we use words to the effect that He [God] is "infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known authoritatively through Jesus Christ and the Scriptures." This is more tangible.
NEAL C. WILSON: All right, we will find out right now how the group feels. [The expression was not decisive.]
RICHARD HAMMILL: If this body feels the change is preferable, I would go along. But bear in mind that in other articles, corroborated by the Spirit of Prophecy, it is stated that God is revealed also through His second book, creation. In this article we made no attempt to define all the ways. In other places, it is stated that He is known through the Scriptures, through Jesus Christ, and through nature. The fact that it is not qualified here does not mean that it is unqualified in the total statement. It seems to me that it is not advisable every time we use the word self-revelation to try to mention all the ways in which God reveals Himself, but to say it in the appropriate place.
NEAL C. WILSON: All right, we will take one more expression. [The expression indicated no change.]
J. A. MC MILLAN: May I go back to Brother Metcalf's statement on Article 15, "The Lord's Supper"? I have waited a long time to make a speech on this and would like to make it now. It will be brief.
I think we should add another phrase to the last sentence, "and all Seventh-day Adventist children who have been baptized." We tend to confuse here two things that are clearly separate, and develop a false antithesis. We are committed to the concept that all believing adult Christians of other denominations are free to take communion with us. This leads some to say all children who want to partake should be included. Surely, if a child is old enough and committed enough to accept the Lord's Supper, he is old enough and committed enough to accept baptism in anticipation of taking the Lord's Supper. If that concept is omitted, the problem is raised, At what age is a child allowed to partake?
LEWIS O. ANDERSON: I have two points, one on this very issue. If we say the Communion is open to all baptized Christians, this would not jeopardize our open Communion, because we allow everyone present to judge himself.
NEAL C. WILSON: What about those communions that do not follow baptism? There are many. That is why some do not want it limited to baptized believers.
LEWIS O. ANDERSON: My other point was on Article 21, "Christian Behavior." The first statement mentioned jewelry as one item of adornment. Jewelry has been taken out of this statement. I feel the statement is weakened somewhat, which weakens the hands of pastors. It may be misunderstood by the field.
RICHARD HAMMILL: Brother Chairman, we felt that the word jewelry covers a broad aspect of what people wear. Some wear a tie clasp, others wear a small brooch on the dress, or something similar. Today the word jewelry covers such a vast sweep that we felt in this fundamental statement we should limit ourselves to clearly stated principles. I think in a fundamental belief statement this is what should be stressed.
NEAL C. WILSON: I want to come back to the discussion we had about the children and the Lord's Supper and get a reading of your expression. [The expression indicated no change.]
CHARLES UPSHAW: I have a question on Article 2, "The Trinity." I believe when we first studied the document the term was Godhead. My objection to the use of the word Trinity is the fact that in many Christian congregations it refers to one God and also means one person. Yet in our explanation we refer to three co eternal persons, and in Article 13 we refer to a triune God. I would like to suggest that we either change the title to "The Godhead" or "The Triune Godhead."
W. DUNCAN EVA: We discussed this back and forth. We had both, and we did not like that. Now we have used one of them and this isn't popular. We had "Godhead" in the old Manual and we didn't like that. I think it would be better just to ask the folk to express what they would prefer. Trinity to me seems to be a perfectly good word, even though we don't like some of its connotations. Many other words have connotations we are not happy with either.
RICHARD HAMMILL: We used the word Godhead here earlier because it was a Biblical term. When we really checked it in the Greek New Testament, we found it was not an accurate translation. The word that appears in the King James Version as Godhead is really Deity. Because it was not a Biblical term, we felt we should leave this word that is Biblical, as it is better understood in the Christian world at large.
NEAL C. WILSON: [Requested an expression. No change was indicated.]
NEAL C. WILSON: We should have been out of this hall now. Our brethren will be under extreme pressure to get everything moved to the Grand Hall unless we are out within 15 or 20 minutes.
GEORGE T. L. ATIGA: I would like to express deep appreciation for the beautiful way you have handled the revision of our fundamental beliefs for the Church Manual. I also want to express appreciation for the editing committee. I move that we accept this document as the expression of the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and that any further editorial matters be referred to the editorial committee.
NEAL C. WILSON: There seems to be quite a number who would like to proceed that way. The chair will be guided by this group. We have tried to give ample opportunity for expression. Our time is gone, but I don't want to force or hurry this if someone feels that what he wishes to suggest will clearly affect the beliefs of this church. I appreciate that motion and will accept it as soon as we have listened to the few individuals who feel they have something greatly important to say.
HEDWIG JEMISON: Article 6, "Creation," as discussed yesterday, read, "God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creativity." Wednesday it read, "the authoritative account of His creative activity." I feel that it would be greatly to our benefit if the previous wording could be returned. I do not remember any discussion against it Wednesday.
In Article 8, "The Great Controversy," the fourth sentence ends, "the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the Flood." I wish we could add there "the worldwide flood," because there is an increasing number of people who believe it was a very limited flood.
NEAL C. WILSON: Let me find a consensus. The first point was authentic versus authoritative.
LAWRENCE GERATY: think authentic is stronger here. In my field there are a number of authoritative accounts from the ancient Near East, but they are not authentic.
NEAL C. WILSON: So authentic is felt to be stronger than authoritative. [An expression was requested. The consensus was to retain authentic.]
Now in Article 8, would you like to expand this to say "a worldwide flood," or do you wish it left as it is? [The consensus was to retain "worldwide flood."]
E. E. ZINKE: In Article 12, "The Remnant and Its Mission," there is a new idea regarding the universal church that was not in our previous document. Furthermore, we have taken out the reference to Seventh-day Adventists as being the remnant movement. Now I would be happy to leave in the reference to the universal church. I do not think we have time to debate this issue here. It would help me theologically, however, if the title could be "The Remnant Church and Its Mission" in contrast to the "universal church."
Then I would appreciate it if, editorially, the secretary could again insert the idea that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is specifically linked to the remnant.
NEAL C. WILSON: You have heard this particular comment. I think we understand the issue here. Those of you that would like to see it remain the way it is written, let me see your hands. [No change indicated.]
Anyone, of course, who reads this document knows that we are talking about the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but the question is the "universal church" versus the "Seventh-day Adventist Church."
RICHARD HAMMILL: Notice the clear delineation here of Revelation 14, the three angels' messages, and so on. This could be understood in no other way. Yet our committee felt this is a little more delicate way of setting this belief before the world. I believe it is adequate.
NEAL C. WILSON: May I see the hands of those of you who would like to see us include here more specificity, stating it is the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [No change was indicated.]
E. E. ZINKE: One of the key questions in theology is, How do we arrive at a knowledge of God? This is also one of the key doctrines of Scripture. It is answered that we arrive at a knowledge of God primarily through Jesus Christ and the Scriptures, and secondarily through nature, history, experience, et cetera. It would seem to me to be important for us in our statement of beliefs to state explicitly how it is that we arrive at a knowledge of God. This was very well supported when it came to the floor the first time. Furthermore, I would like to point out that it is appropriate when we speak about God to also talk about how we arrive at a knowledge of Him.
RICHARD HAMMILL: We have tried in the article on the Holy Scriptures to state very clearly that it is through this means that God reveals Himself. We were also under pressure every time we came to a certain subject to keep repeating over and over again all the qualifications about it that appear in the rest of the document. Our
committee feels that stylistically this is not good.
E. E. ZINKE: Mr. Chairman, let me point out that the section on Scripture does not say how we arrive at knowledge of God. It says how we arrive at all kinds of other things, but it does not deal with the question of the knowledge of God.
NEAL C. WILSON: Very good. We will decide now. [An expression was requested. No change was indicated.]
NEAL C. WILSON: Now I am going to do something that I dislike to do, but I feel I must in view of the fact some of our brethren have been charged with the responsibility of getting the equipment set up in the Grand Hall for tonight. I will ask whether you feel you want to vote now, or discuss this longer.
[The opinion expressed was to vote.]
We had a motion, seconded by several, that we accept this as the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. May I suggest that we prayerfully study these great truths so that they will become very much a part of our lives, our homes, and our institutions.
I will call for the vote. [The motion carried overwhelmingly.]
J. W. BOTHE: [Presented the recommendation, "Baptismal Vow and Baptism—Church Manual Amendment," found on page 27.]
I move that we adopt this recommendation without reading. [Motion was seconded and voted.]
J. W. BOTHE: [Presented "Reasons for Which Members Should Be Disciplined," found in Bulletin 10.]
I would like to move its adoption. [Motion was seconded and voted.]
J. W. BOTHE: [Presented "Organizing, Uniting, Disbanding, and Expelling Churches," found in Bulletin 10.]
I move the adoption without reading. [Motion was seconded and voted.]
J. W. BOTHE: [Presented the recommendation, "General Conference Institutional Representation—GC Nominating Committee—Constitutional Amendment Directive," found in Bulletin 10.]
I would like to move the adoption of this constitutional amendment. [Motion was seconded and voted.]
J. W. BOTHE: [Presented the recommendation, "Executive Committee—50 Additional—Constitutional Amendment Directive," found on p. 28.]
I move it, Mr. Chairman. (Motion was seconded and voted.]
J. W. BOTHE: [Presented recommendation "Constitution Provision—Delegates to Session—Constitutional Amendment Directive," found on p. 28.]
Mr. Chairman, I move the adoption of this recommendation [Motion was seconded and voted.]
J. W. BOTHE: Mr. Chairman, there are three items from the Plans Committee. I move that these be referred to the General Conference Committee, with the exception of the one on gratitude. [Motion was seconded and voted.]
J. W. BOTHE: Mr. Chairman, there is one additional item you might wish to present before the Resolution of Gratitude.
NEAL C. WILSON: We bring to you one item that we think should be handled here. The Nominating Committee completed its work, but there has been a change in one of the divisions. Elder Thompson will present it to us.
G. R. THOMPSON: Mr. Chairman, the secretary of the Far Eastern Division, elected earlier, has accepted another appointment, leaving a vacancy. The Far Eastern Division Committee met this morning and recommends to this group for secretary of that division the name of Dr. A. C. Segovia. I move it, Brother Chairman.
NEAL C. WILSON: Those of you who are acquainted with Dr. and Mrs. Segovia will know that they are a lovely couple. I wish you could all know them. Are you ready to vote on this? With the vote we are wishing them God's special blessing as they take up this responsibility. [The motion was seconded and voted.]
J. W. BOTHE: Mr. Chairman, the statement on gratitude was distributed in the morning meeting. Unless you instruct me otherwise, I would like to move that we adopt it without reading.
NEAL C. WILSON: If you haven't read it, please do so. It states some very basic thoughts about who we are and the fact that only by His Spirit and His love will we be able to achieve His great objectives.
It is a beautiful expression of thanks. I read it through this morning, and I certainly would endorse it with my full heart. Those favoring this, please make it known by standing with us. [All stood.]
R. F. WILLIAMS: We just need permission, Brother Chairman, to reincorporate in the list of regular delegates the name that was deleted of Edward E. Marifosque, of the Far Eastern Division. He arrived this morning. I move it, Brother Chairman.
[Motion was seconded and voted.]
RAY GLENDRANGE: [Benediction.]
NEAL C. WILSON,
D. H. BAASCH,
J. W. BOTHE,
Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists—Church Manual Revision
Voted, To rewrite and reorganize Chapter 2, Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, CM 32-39, to read as follows:
Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the church's understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of God's Holy Word.
1. The Holy Scriptures
The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God's acts in history. (2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Ps. 119:105; Prov. 30:5, 6; Isa. 8:20; John 10:35; 17:17; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12.)
2. The Trinity
There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; 29:29; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:6, 7.)
3. The Father
God the Eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father. (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:11; 1 Cor. 15:28; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8; 1 Tim. 1:17; Ex. 34:6, 7; John 14:9.)
4. The Son
God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God's power and was attested as God's promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. (John 1:1-3, 14; 5:22; Col. 1:15-19; John 10:30; 14:9; Rom. 5:18; 6:23; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Luke 1:35; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; Heb. 2:9-18; 4:15; 7:25; 8:1, 2; 9:28; John 14:1-3; 1 Peter 2:21; Rev.22:20.)
5. The Holy Spirit
God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ's life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen. 1:1, 2; Luke 1:35; 2 Peter 1:21; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:11, 12; Acts 1:8; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:7-13; Rom. 1:1-4.)
God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made "the heaven and the earth" and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was "very good," declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3; John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16, 17.)
Message from the site administrator:
Friends and fellow beloved Seventh-day Adventists, on April 21, 1980, in Neal Wilson's opening statement, he mislead his audience very much. His statement was: "We have heard a variety of interesting rumors. Some, it is said, understand that the church leaders want to destroy completely the foundations of the church and set the church on a course that would be un-Biblical, contrary to the tradition of the past and to historical Adventism. My fellow delegates, there is nothing that is further from the truth. We have also heard that any time we touch the Statement on Fundamental Beliefs we would be introducing the Omega, the final confusion of theological and doctrinal positions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I suggest to you that this is also a very unfortunate statement."
Whether the church leaders "wanted" to destroy the foundations of the church might be is a little strong, however they allowed the spirit from another to lead them on this course. They were not being led by the SPIRIT OF GOD, but by their new mystery ghost, god the (un) holy spirit.
“The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-Day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years [1853 onward to 1903] would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.” – Ellen White, Letter 242, October 19, 1903; SpTB02 p. 54.3, 1904; Selected Messages, book 1, p. 204 [bracketed info supplied by site admin]
1) A reformation would take place
2) Our doctrines / pillars of faith would be given up
3) Engage in Reorganization
4) What was given to the remnant church by God, the Principles of Truth, would be discarded
5) Our religion would be changed
6) the Fundamental Principles for the last fifty years would be called error (1853-1903)
7) A New Organization would be established (a counterfeit of the original SDA church, today’s General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists)
8) Books of a new order would be written:
- “The Coming of the Comforter” – LeRoy Froom;
- “Questions on Doctrine” – LeRoy Froom, Roy Allan Anderson, W. E. Read, T. E. Unruh;
- “Seventh-Day Adventists Believe…27, A Biblical Exposition of Fundamental Doctrines”;
- “Movement of Destiny” – LeRoy Froom;
- “The Trinity” – Woodrow Whidden, Jerry Moon, John Reeve)
- “Understanding the Trinity” – Max Hatton;
- “Ellen White & The Trinity” – Pastor Jan Voerman
- “Exploring the Trinity, One God…or Three?” – Doug Batchelor
- “The Sonship of Christ” – Ty Gibson
More are being written and published all the time now!
9) Intellectual Philosophy would be introduced (Scholars and Theologians took over-only those with academic degrees)
10) Nothing would stand in the way of this new movement
Towards the end of the GC session, "His Spirit" was being spoken about like another being separate from God and Christ in the dialogue. Yet the Bible reveals and speaks to us as if it is the Spirit of God the Father. Numbers 11:29; Job 26:13; Isaiah 48:16; Zechariah 7:12; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 3:16; 1 John 4:13. This isn't that difficult to study and understand.
Up until 1979, Creation was attributed to the Father or the Father through the Son. But after the Dallas conference in 1980, Creation is now ALSO attributed to a god the eternal spirit, or god the holy spirit, whichever you prefer. However that is not what Ellen White believed or taught, nor her husband. This is what happens when you go to the "Universities" to get your education from the Jesuit system of academia in theology.
“In the formation of our world, God was not beholden to pre-existent substance or matter. For the "things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." On the contrary, all things, material or spiritual, stood up before the Lord Jehovah at His voice, and were created for His own purpose. The heavens and all the host of them, the earth and all things that are therein, are not only the work of His hand, they came into existence by the breath of His mouth.” – Ellen White, Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 312.1
“The Lord has shown me that Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Jesus Christ. His countenance was mild, expressive of happiness like the other angels. His forehead was high and broad, and showed great intelligence. His form was perfect. He had a noble, majestic bearing. And I saw that when God said to his Son, Let us make man in our image, Satan was jealous of Jesus. He wished to be consulted concerning the formation of man. He was filled with envy, jealousy and hatred. He wished to be the highest in heaven, next to God, and receive the highest honors. Until this time all heaven was in order, harmony and perfect subjection to the government of God.” – Ellen White, Spiritual Gifts, p. 17.1 (also Early Writings, p. 145.1)
“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, “Let us make man in our image.” As Adam came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of noble height, and of beautiful symmetry. He was more than twice as tall as men now living upon the earth, and was well proportioned. His features were perfect and beautiful. His complexion was neither white, nor sallow, but ruddy, glowing with the rich tint of health. Eve was not quite as tall as Adam. Her head reached a little above his shoulders. She, too, was noble—perfect in symmetry, and very beautiful.” – Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 33.2
“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, "Let us make man in our image.” - Ellen White, 1 SP, vol. 1 p. 24.2, 1870
“The Father and the Son were one in man’s creation, and in his redemption. Said the Father to the Son, “Let us make man in our image.” - Life Incidents, p. 343, James S. White
“The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate—a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” John 1:1, 2. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father—one in nature, in character, in purpose—the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34.1
By officially approving the Trinity doctrine as a fundamental doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist, the domination has publicly declared to the world that she is following in the steps of the daughters (fallen Churches) of the mother of harlots (the Roman Catholic church) whose central pillar doctrine is the Trinity. Therefore the SDA church has left the original mission (proclaiming the three angels’ messages) of God’s calling and the firm foundation of our faith (Fundamental Principles) that are based upon unquestionable authority. No longer can the present SDA denomination be considered as the “remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”, but now simply a Counterfeit New Movement as prophesied in 1903 by Ellen White. They are now Ecumenical ready and compatible with the World Council of Churches. We now subscribe to a God the Father, god the son, and god the holy spirit. (lower case letters used on purpose.) This is the exact belief that the early Advent Pioneers removed themselves from in the 1840's and 1850's when they left the fallen churches to form what would become, the Seventh-day Adventists.
Adventist Review, July 30, 1981 - Special Issue on Bible Doctrines - The Trinity doctrine is explained one year after it was voted as an official doctrine (which was in 1980). It states, "While no single scriptural passage states formally the doctrine of the Trinity, it is assumed as a fact by Bible writers and mentioned several times... Only by faith can we accept the existence of the Trinity." (p. 4)
"The concept of the Trinity, namely the idea that the three are one, is not explicitly stated but only assumed." - (Fernando L. Canale, Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, vol. 12, p. 138, 'Doctrine of God')