What the Adventist Pioneers believed about the Trinity doctrine

It is well documented that the Seventh-Day Adventist church was non-Trinitarian from it's original gathering and formation in the 1850's up until 1980 when the God of the General Conference was brought in.  Sister White prophesied in 1903 that "our religion would be changed."  Trinitarian converts that had come in began the majority and it was only a matter of time and the Theologians and Scholars would take over and change the doctrines that God gave to it's remnant church.

 

 

JOSEPH HARVEY WAGGONER 

"The great mistake of Trinitarians, in arguing this subject, seems to be this: They make no distinction between a denial of a Trinity and a denial of the divinity of Christ. They see only the two extremes, between which the truth lies; and take every expression referring to the pre-existence of Christ as evidence of a Trinity. The Scriptures abundantly teach the pre-existence of Christ and his divinity; but they are entirely silent in regard to a Trinity." -  J.H. Waggoner, The Atonement, 1872 ed, chapter 4, "Doctrine Of A Trinity Subversive Of The Atonement" p. 165.  

 

“Many theologians really think that the Atonement, in respect to its dignity and efficacy, rests upon the doctrine of a trinity. But we fail to see any connection between the two. To the contrary, the advocates of that doctrine really fall into the difficulty which they seem anxious to avoid. Their difficulty consists in this: They take the denial of a trinity to be equivalent to a denial of the divinity of Christ. Were that the case, we should cling to the doctrine of a trinity as tenaciously as any can; but it is not the case. They who have read our remarks on the death of the Son of God know that we firmly believe in the divinity of Christ; but we cannot accept the idea of a trinity, as it is held by Trinitarians, without giving up our claim on the dignity of the sacrifice made for our redemption.” - J.H.Waggoner, ‘The Atonement in Light of Nature and Revelation’, 1884 Edition, chapter ‘Doctrine of a Trinity Subversive of the Atonement’

 

J.B. FRISBIE 

"We will make a few extracts, that the reader may see the broad contrast between the God of the Bible brought to light through Sabbath-keeping, and the god in the dark through Sunday-keeping. Catholic Catechism Abridged by the Rt. Rev. John Dubois, Bishop of New York. Page 5. 'Q. Where is God? Ans. God is everywhere. Q. Does God see and know all things? A. Yes, he does know and see all things...Q. Are there more Gods than one? A. No; there is but one God. Q. Are there more persons than one in God? A Yes; in God there are three persons. Q. Which are they? A. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Q. Are there not three Gods? A. No; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, are all but one and the same God'...These ideas well accord with those heathen philosophers...We should rather mistrust that the Sunday God [the Trinity] came from the same source that Sunday-keeping did." – J.B. Frisbie, Review and Herald, Feb. 28, 1854, The Sunday God, p.50. [emphasis supplied].

 

JOHN NORTON LOUGHBOROUGH 

"The word Trinity nowhere occurs in the Scriptures. The principal text supposed to teach it is 1 John 5:7, which is an interpolation. Clarke says, 'Out of one hundred and thirteen manuscripts, the text is wanting in one hundred and twelve. It occurs in no MS. before the tenth century. And the first place the text occurs in Greek, is in the Greek translation of the acts of the Council of Latern, held A.D. 1215.'-Com. on John 1, and remarks at close of chap."

"Almost any portion of the New Testament we may open which has occasion to speak of the Father and Son, represents them as two distinct persons. The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the trinity." – J.N. Loughborough, Review and Herald, Nov. 5, 1861.

 

"Questions for Bro. Loughborough. Bro. White: The following questions I would like to have you give, or send, to Bro. Loughborough for explanation. W. W. Giles, Toledo, Ohio Question 1. What serious objections is there to the doctrine of the Trinity? ANSWER. There are many objections which we might urge, but on account of our limited space we shall reduce them to the three following: 1. It is contrary to common sense. 2. It is contrary to scripture. 3. Its origin is pagan and fabulous... Instead of pointing us to scripture for proof of the Trinity, we are pointed to the trident of the Persians...This doctrine of the Trinity was brought into the church about the same time with image worship, and keeping the day of the sun, and is but Persian doctrine remodeled. It occupied about three hundred years from its introduction to bring the doctrine to what it is now. It was commenced about 325 A.D., and was not completed till 681. See Milman's Gibbon's Rome, vol. iv, p. 422. It was adopted in Spain in 589, in England in 596, in Africa in 534.-Gib. vol. iv, pp. 114, 345; Milner, vol. i, p. 519." – J.N. Loughborough, Review & Herald, Nov. 5, 1861.

 

ROSWELL F. COTTRELL 

"…We understand that the term trinity means the union of three persons, not offices, in one God: so that The Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Are three at least, and one at most. That one person is three persons, and that three persons are only one person, is the doctrine which we claim is contrary to reason and common sense. The being and attributes of God are above, beyond, out of reach of my sense and reason, yet I believe them": But the doctrine I object to is contrary, yes, that is the word, to the very sense and reason that God has himself implanted in us. Such a doctrine he does not ask us to believe. A miracle is beyond our comprehension, but we all believe in miracles who believe our own senses. What we see and hear convinces us that there is a power that affected the most wonderful miracle of creation. But our Creator has made it an absurdity to us that one person should be three persons, and three persons but one person; and in his revealed word he has never asked us to believe it. This our friend thinks objectionable... "But to hold the doctrine of the Trinity is not so much an evidence of evil intention as of intoxication from that wine of which all the nations have drunk. The fact that this was one of the leading doctrines, if not the very chief, upon which the bishop of Rome was exalted to the popedom, does not say much in its favor. This should cause men to investigate it for themselves; as when the spirits of devils working miracles undertake the advocacy of the immortality of the soul. Had I never doubted it before, I would now probe it to the bottom, by that word which modern Spiritualism sets at nought..." Revelation goes beyond us; but in no instance does it go contrary to right reason and common sense. God has not claimed, as the popes have, that he could 'make justice of injustice,' nor has he, after teaching us to count, told us that there is no difference between the singular and plural numbers. Let us believe all he has revealed, and add nothing to it." – R.F. Cottrell, Review and Herald, July 6, 1869.  

 

"My reasons for not adopting and defending it, are 1. Its name is unscriptural the Trinity, or the triune God, is unknown to the Bible; and I have entertained the idea that doctrines which require words coined in the human mind to express them, are coined doctrines. 2. I have never felt called upon to adopt and explain that which is contrary to all the sense and reason that God has given me. All my attempts at an explanation of such a subject would make it no clearer to my friends..."

– R.F. Cottrell, Review and Herald, June 1, 1869 

 

DUDLEY MARTIN CANRIGHT

“And then the Bible never uses the phrases, "trinity,” "triune God," "three in one," " the holy three,” “God the Holy Ghost," etc. But it does emphatically say there is only one God, the Father. And every argument of the Trinitarian to prove three Gods in one person, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, all of them of one substance, and every way equal to each other, and all three forming but one, contradicts itself, contradicts reason, and contradicts the Bible.”

– D.M. Canright, Review and Herald, August 29th 1878, ‘The personality of God’

 

JOSEPH BATES

“My parents were members of long standing in the Congregational church, with all of their converted children thus far, and anxiously hoped that we would also unite with them. But they embraced some points in their faith that I could not understand. I will name two only: their mode of baptism, and doctrine of the trinity.” - ‘The Autobiography of Joseph Bates’ page 204, chapter 17, 1868

 

 “Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was an impossibility for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being. I said to my father, “If you can convince me that we are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son; and also that I am your father, and you my son, then I can believe in the trinity.” - Joseph Bates, Autobiography

 

JOHN NEVINS ANDREWS

"The doctrine of the Trinity which was established in the church by the council of Nice, A. D. 325. This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The infamous, measures by which it was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history might well cause every believer in that doctrine to blush." – J.N. Andrews, Review & Herald, March 6, 1855,vol. 6, no. 24, page 185

 

A. J. DENNIS

“What a contradiction of terms is found in the language of Trinitarian creed: “In unity of this head are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” There are many things that are mysterious, written in the word of God, but we may safely presume the Lord never calls upon us to believe impossibilities. But creeds often do.” - A. J. Dennis, May 22, 1879, Signs of The Times

 

J.M. STEPHENSON

“The idea of Father and Son supposes priority of the existence of the one, and the subsequent existence of the other. To say that the Son is as old as his Father, is a palpable contradiction of terms. It is a natural impossibility for the Father to be as young as the Son, or the Son to be as old as the Father”.  – J. M. Stephenson, Review & Herald, vol. 6, #14, pg. 105, November, 14, 1854

 

URIAH SMITH

“The doctrine called the trinity claiming that God is without form or parts; that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the three are one person, is another [false doctrine].”

- Uriah Smith, Review and Herald, July 10th 1856, ‘Communications’

 

M.E. CORNELL

“Protestants and Catholics are so nearly united in sentiment, that it is not difficult to conceive how Protestants may make an image to the Beast. The mass of Protestants believe with Catholics in the Trinity, immortality of the soul, consciousness of the dead, rewards and punishments at death, the endless torture of the wicked, inheritance of the saints beyond the skies, sprinkling for baptism and the PAGAN SUNDAY for the Sabbath; all of which is contrary to the spirit and letter of the new testament. Surely there is between the mother and daughters, a striking family resemblance.” - M. E. Cornell ‘Facts for the Times’ page 76, 1858

 

D. W. HULL

“The inconsistent positions held by many in regard to the Trinity, as it is termed, has, no doubt, been the prime cause of many other errors.” - D. W. Hull, Review and Herald, November 10th 1859, ‘Bible doctrine of the divinity of Christ’

 

W.C. GAGE

“Having noticed some of the evil effects of the doctrine of immortal soulism, and the errors growing out of it, we propose to refer briefly to another erroneous belief, equally popular and quite as unscriptural, if not fully as mischievous in its tendency, namely Trinitarianism.” - W. C. Gage, Review and Herald, August 29th 1865, ‘Popular errors and their fruits No.5’

 

H.C. BLANCHARD

“We are well aware that there has been much disputation on the subject of the sonship of Christ in the religious world, some claiming that he is nothing but a man as to origin, being only about eighteen hundred years old; others that he is the very and eternal God, the second person in the trinity. This last view is by far the most widely entertained among religious denominations. We are disposed to think that the truth lies between these views.” - H. C. Blanchard, Review and Herald, September 10th 1867, ‘The Son’

 

JUDSON WASHBURN

“The doctrine of the Trinity is a cruel heathen monstrosity, removing Jesus from his true position of Divine Savior and Mediator.” - Judson Washburn, letter to General Conference, 1940