Category Archives: Notes

Notes on Justification by Faith and Judgment according to Works


Notes on Justification by Faith and Judgment according to Works

Prepared by Jaymark Molo (mostly adapted from Ivan Blazen)

Reading Romans 3:1-8 reveals:

God is faithful, that is, He keeps His promises to human beings, even though they have broken their promises to Him (verses 1-4). Second, there is no excuse in God’s faithfulness for human sin, no encouragement to its continuance (verses 5-8).

Paul will develop the first point in his teaching on God’s justification of the ungodly by faith, and the second point in terms of his teaching on judgment according to works.

Facets of Justification

I. Justification as a right relationship with God. In justification a person in a wrong (broken) relationship to God comes into a right relationship with Him. All the terms begin with the stem dik in Greek and, therefore, are best begun with the stem right in English. In this way the interconnection between justification and righteousness is immediately evident.

II. Justification as acquittal. A meaning of justification directly related to its forensic or juridical background is “acquittal,” the opposite being “condemnation.” This contrasting word pair is found in Deuteronomy 25:1; Proverbs 17:15; Matthew 12:37; Romans 5:16, 18; 8:33, 34; and 2 Corinthians 3:9. Thus, in justification, God saves sinners from condemnation for their sins (Rom. 8:1) by acquitting them of all charges.

III. Justification as the reckoning of righteousness. The most important passage for understanding justification is Romans 4. Here Abraham, whom Jews considered a paragon of virtue, is brought forth to illustrate what the forefather of God’s people found, and what his descendants may find as well (verses 1–5, 22–24). If the best need God’s righteousness, so do all. That Abraham was justified by his good works is denied in verse 2 by Paul’s declaration that Abraham could not boast before God. The implication is that if one cannot boast in the Creator’s presence, justification cannot be by works. Thus, verse 2 shows us what Abraham did not find. Verse 3, quoting Genesis 15:6, describes what he did find, namely a divine reckoning of righteousness to him when he believed God. The line of argument in verses 1–6 reveals three major stages: the divine promise of blessing, the human response of faith, and the divine pronouncement of righteousness. In other words, faith is declared to be a right response to God’s grace and indicative of a right relationship with Him. Righteousness, or a right standing with God, does not result from the promise or faith by itself but from the cause-effect interaction between the two. The promise elicits faith, and faith receives the promise. The argument in Romans 4:3 is that if divine righteousness is reckoned, it can never be considered as man’s achievement, but only as God’s grace. Verse 4 indicates how things operate on the human level: people work and get pay for it, not grace. Verse 5, on the other hand, indicates how things operate on the divine level: by abandoning working for righteousness in favor of trusting (having faith in) the God who justifies the ungodly, this trust or faith is reckoned as righteousness.

IV. Justification as divine forgiveness. In Romans 4:6–8 Paul comes to the heart of the matter. As he has discussed Abraham and a prominent text, Genesis 15:6, so now he discusses David and another prominent text, Psalm 32:1, 2. Since the OT stipulated that an important testimonial was to be established by at least two witnesses (Deut. 17:6), Paul presents Abraham and David as witnesses from the law and the prophets to righteousness by faith (Rom. 3:21). In fact, he uses the testimony of David to explain more fully the meaning of the reckoning of righteousness to Abraham. Here he seems to be applying Rabbi Hillel’s second rule of biblical interpretation,“equivalency of expressions,” (cf. Strack 93, 94). According to this principle, a word or phrase found in one text of Scripture could be explained by the meaning it bears in another text. Since the word “reckoned” appears not only in Genesis 15:6 but also in Psalm 32:1, 2, Paul uses the latter text from Psalms, with its threefold parallelism, to illumine the former text from Genesis. Justification comes to mean forgiveness of sin, covering of sin, or not reckoning sin to the believer (Rom. 4:7, 8). Put otherwise, guilt is gone, sin no longer appears for judgment, and all charges are dropped. That God does not reckon sin finds a meaningful echo in 2 Corinthians 5:19: “God was in Christ [at the cross] reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” Thus, forgiveness lies at the heart of justification.

V. Justification as eschatological life and new creation. Justification also involves the gift of new life. Romans 5:18 teaches that Jesus’ act of obedience at the cross leads to “justification of life” (literal translation of “dikaiosis zoes”). The words “of life” (genitive case in Greek) may be rendered “life-giving justification” or “justification which issues in life.” In harmony with this, Romans 4:17 utilizes two great realities to explain the fullness of justification: Creation (God “calls into existence the things that do not exist”) and Resurrection (God “gives life to the dead”). In other words, justification is a new creation in which God brings life to those who are spiritually dead (cf. Eph. 2:1–5). “If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). In Galatians, where justification is the main theme, Paul argues that what really counts with God is a new creation (Gal. 6:15). This coheres with Paul’s rabbinic background according to which, when a Gentile was converted to Judaism, he was considered to be a new creature through the forgiveness of all his sins. Romans 6:4 speaks of one who has been united to Christ as having newness of life (“newness of Spirit” [Rom. 7:6]), meaning the eschatological life of the age to come. This new life, made available through the Spirit, is the foundation for ethical transformation, for the life brought by the Spirit is to be conducted under the guidance of the Spirit and bearing its fruit (Gal. 5:22–25).

VI. Justification as exchange of lordships. An element without which the full implications of justification will not be seen is found in Romans 6. The occasion for the chapter was the misunderstanding of Paul’s teaching on justification by faith alone apart from the law (Rom. 3:21–4:25). His teaching had been misconceived to mean that believers could unconcernedly perform evil so that good might come (Rom. 3:8), or that they could continue in sin that grace might abound (Rom. 6:1). This was an erroneous deduction from Paul’s teaching that when the law was revealed at Sinai, far from sin being abated—the Jewish position—trespasses abounded, only to be met by the superabounding of grace (Rom. 5:20). Paul’s Jewish critics thought such a construction tantamount not only to justification of the ungodly but to the justification of ungodliness. Paul wrote Romans 6 to explain that justification did not mean this. His primary argument is that in the life of believers there has taken place a transfer or exchange of lordships. Sin used to be lord (verses 17, 20) but, as a result of baptism into Christ and His death (verses 3, 4), death to sin’s lordship has occurred and the lordship of Christ has begun. In the forensic language of Romans 8:3, Christ judicially condemned sin in the flesh; thus, sin has lost its case in court. It is thereby deprived of authority over, or custody of, the life of one joined to Christ.

It is illuminating that the Greek word employed in Romans 6:7 to state that freedom from sin’s reign has taken place is dikaioo, which is the word ordinarily meaning “to justify.” This apo word, when used in the passive voice with the preposition “from” (
(cf. Acts 13:39, where forgiveness is coordinated with being freed from). This finds its parallel in), means being freed from apo the passive of eleutheroo (to free) in combination with “from” (
can be no question that for Paul justification, in addition to forgiveness of sins, involves freedom from the old lordship of sin. When this freedom takes place, it is the root out of which the fruit of sanctification emerges. Justification is a far more powerful reality than a mere legal adjustment in the books of heaven. It is a dethroning of that illegitimate authority that prevents a sanctified life, and the establishment of that divine authority that enables it. Perhaps this is why Paul can in Romans 6:18, 22. There twice move from justification to glorification without mentioning sanctification between (Rom. 5:2; 8:30). Justification, in the full Pauline sense, implies the concept of sanctification as moral growth predicated upon the believer’s transfer to the lordship of Christ.

VII. Justification as the reality of righteousness. It is common to say that in justification believers are treated as though they were righteous, or as if they had not sinned. This language is appropriate on two grounds. First, when righteousness is defined in a moral sense as perfect obedience to God’s holy law (SC 62), justification must mean that sinners are treated as though they were righteous. And since, for Christ’s sake, they are granted life instead of death, they are being treated as if they had not sinned. Second, the language of “as if we were righteous” is appropriate in a polemical situation with the Roman Catholic view that in justification we are not declared righteous, but are actually so by virtue of an infusion of grace and righteousness into the soul. However, when righteousness or justification is looked upon in its primary relational sense of being set into a right relationship with God, with all its salvific benefits, there can be no “as if.” When God says believers are right with Him, accepted by Him, forgiven by Him, reconciled to Him, adopted by Him, and granted life by Him as our Lord, they “really are (cf. 1 John 3:2). Thus, in a relational sense, one can appropriately speak of “being made righteous,” as in the RSV translation of Romans 5:9.

Facets of Judgment

I. To judge means to justify.

According to biblical understanding, “to judge” means “to justify” which is a judgment, which breaks through to our situation, and we are justified by His grace, i.e., declared just. Judgment is justification: God as a true Judge justifies repentant sinners (Rom 3:22-26; 5:6-11), and we are cleansed and acquitted from all guilt (Ps 51:1-2; Isa 6:7; Zech 3:4).

George Ladd correctly explains: “The doctrine of justification means that God has pronounced the eschatological verdict of acquittal over the man of faith in the present, in advance of the final judgment. . . . Thus the man in Christ is actually righteous, not ethically but forensically, in terms of his relationship to God.” (George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974], 446.)

II. To judge means to save.

God saves believers from the second death, sin, guilt, the power of evil, and gives eternal life (John 1:12; 3:16; 10:28; Rom 6:5-9, 23; 8:1-4). King David first describes a negative aspect of divine judgment in terms of destruction and cutting off but then emphasizes judgment as salvation: “All sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off. The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble” (Ps 37:38-39).

When God sends His message of judgment to people, it is a message of grace—an opportunity to repent; see the experience of the Ninevites (Jonah 3:6-10) or Daniel’s messages to Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:27-33). God does not want people to die as informed sinners. His message has the power to change people, if they are willing to listen, obey, and repent from their arrogance, stubbornness, or indifference (Isa 55:11).

III. To judge means to deliver.

God helps us to understand the nature of God’s judgment through the Old Testament book of Judges. What was the primary function of these judges? To condemn, punish, or destroy God’s people? On the contrary, judges were sent by God to deliver them from the oppression and devastation of their enemies.

David also prays: “Judge me, O Lord!” David asks God this on three occasions (Pss 7:8; 26:1; 35:24). If judgment mainly has a negative meaning, then, of course, David would never express such a prayer. He is not begging for condemnation or punishment. He hopes for God’s deliverance from his enemies and asks God for protection from his opponents.

IV. To judge means to vindicate.

The story of Job reveals this truth. In the heavenly tribunal, Satan accused Job of impure selfish motives: “Does Job fear God for nothing” (Job 1:6, 9)? The key term in this devilish question is the word chinnam (“for nothing”). In this court setting, God is on the side of Job even though He cannot answer directly and immediately Satan’s accusation, because the Accuser can be defeated only by someone who is weaker than he is and not by God’s argumentation or power. At the end, God accomplishes moral victory when Job’s unselfish love, trust, and service are revealed. Ultimately God’s love, truth, and justice prevails (Pss 100:5; 101:1; 103:8-11; 117), and God is just while justifying sinners (Ps 51:4; Rom 3:4, 26).

V. To judge means to condemn, to punish and to destroy (secondary meaning).

We know that God is holy (Lev 11:44-45;19:2; 1 Pet 1:15-16), a consuming fire (Isa 30:27), and we are sinners (Ps 51:5; Eccl 7:20; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:23; 1 John 1:8). Consequently, we cannot possibly stand before the awesome Judge of the whole Universe (Gen 18:25; Judg 11:27; 2 Tim 4:8). The typical response is aptly described by Asaph: “Who can stand before you . . . ? From heaven you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet” (Ps 76:7b-8a; see also Judg 13:22; Isa 6:3-5). At the bottom of our negative thoughts lies the conviction of our insufficiency and sinfulness.

Texts Concerning Judgment According to Works

2 Cor. 12:10—For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Romans 14: 10, 12—But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 2:16—In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Other texts: 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Colossians 3:5, 6; 1 Thessalonians 4:6; Galatians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:5, 6; Galatians 6:7, 8; Romans 8:5-13; Hebrews 2:1-3; Hebrews 10:26-31; etal.

Resolving the tension

I. Paul’s use of prepositions: Justification is through/by/from faith; judgment is according to works.

In linking justification to faith and judgment to works, Paul consistently uses “dia” or “ek” when relating faith to justification (Rom 3:22, 25; 5:1; Gal 2:16; cf. Eph 2:8; Col 2:12) and “kata” when relating works to judgment (Rom 2:6; 2 Cor 11:15; cf. Rom 2:2; 2 Tim 4:14).

Paul understands salvation to be through (dia) faith, and in accordance with (kata) a life of obedience and fruit. Faith is a means, works a manner. Justification is contingent upon faith; judgment is congruent with obedience.

II. Recognizing multiple dimensions of antithesis: the “already” and “not yet” theology of Paul—the salvation-historical view.

The essence of this view is that there is only one justification, and it accompanies the believer from the time of faith’s inception (the “already”) all the way into the final judgment, where its reality and vitality are tested and attested by its fruits (the “not yet”).

The principle is “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6, R.S.V.).

According to that plan, God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son, and offered justification, a right relation with Himself, to all who would place their faith in the crucified, risen Christ. Those whom God justified through Jesus Christ He called to witness to Jesus Christ in word and deed until the consummation of all things. When the end comes, the judgment assesses and testifies to the reality of justification evidenced by the faithful witness of God’s people.

Though the blessing of acquittal in the future judgment indeed become operative even now, Scripture is clear that what God desires to see in the final judgment is justified believers who through His grace have borne fruit to His glory (verses 9-11).

The new history God gives each believer is not over when he comes to Christ and is justified; it is just begun. At the end God asks for justification with its fruit—not in the sense of the formula “Faith plus works saves,‘‘ but in the sense that justification is the source of sanctified fruit.

In the final judgment Christ as Saviour and Lord can legitimately ask of those He has justified, ‘‘Have you, in the strength of My grace, been My disciple?”

The judgment asks if this has become reality. To fail to take due account of the judgment according to works is, in a word, to discount the “not yet” element of Paul’s theology of salvation.

NOTE: The order of salvation found in Romans 6:15-23 and summarized in verse 22: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life” (R.S.V.).

III. Justification grants assurance, but judgment guards it.

If justification grants assurance, judgment guards it. It guards it from the illusion that assurance is possible without a fundamental relationship to Christ and a committed following of Christ.

As we see from Galatians 1:8, 9 and Romans 3:8, those who advocated either position—working for justification or the justified not working—were alike condemned by Paul in strong language.

Justification by faith helps to guard the judgment from the false ideas that human beings never will be able to stand in God’s judgment or that standing there self-goodness will place God’s righteousness under obligation. In other words, justification contradicts the concept that humans cannot make it in the judgment or that they make it by themselves.

On the other hand, judgment according to works guards the doctrine of the justification of the ungodly from meaning the justification of ungodliness. If there is a judgment according to works, then justification must mean that the lives of the justified are claimed by Christ and that they are called to live for Him who died for them (2 Cor. 5:14, 15).

IV. Salvation comprises both God’s gift (Christ as Savior) and His claim (Christ as Lord) upon our lives.

We must now develop an element mentioned previously. The relationship between justification and judgment can be seen better by placing it in the setting of a discussion on the relation between Christ as Saviour and Christ as Lord, between the gift of God and the claim of God.

God’s plan has run its full course when His people, the justified, stand before Him at the end of time with the fruit of their personal (ethical) and evangelistic labor in the power of the Spirit. To be without fruit is to be not a part of, but apart from, God’s redemptive process in this world. Philippians 1:5-11.

There are a number of texts that ground what believers are to do in the gift, strength, and example of what Christ has done for them. For example:
John 13:34: “Love one another. . . as I have loved you.”
Eph. 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (N.I.V.).
Eph. 4:32: “Forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Rom. 12:1: “I beseech you . . . by the mercies of God [God’s sacrificial grace described in Romans 1-11], that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice” (K.J.V.).

Col. 2:6: “As you received the Lord Jesus, so walk in him.”

Gal. 5:25: “If we have gained life through the Spirit, let us live according to the Spirit.”

Rom. 14:8, 9: “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

2 Cor. 5:14, 15: “For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Rom. 14:15: “If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.”

Rom. 15:2, 3: “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me.'”

Phil. 2:5-11 (Christ’s humility and service) in relation to Phil. 2:1-4 (the church’s call to humility and service).

Conclusion: If Paul had been asked to illustrate in a parable his teaching on justification and judgment, he might well have chosen the type of parable represented by the story of the unmerciful servant (Matt. 18:23-35).

NOTE: (1) the sanctified fruit of justification must be present, but (2) justification itself must continue its function of pardon. Grace is not in contradiction with fruit, nor fruit with grace. In the judgment the two elements coexist.

Ellen White

“Makefriendshipwith Christ today. Put your case in the hands of the great Advocate. He will plead your cause before the Father. Though you have transgressed the law, and must plead guilty before God, Christ will present his precious blood in your behalf, and through faith and obedience, and vital union with Christ, you may stand acquitted before the Judge of all the earth, and he will be your friend when the final trump shall sound, and the scenes of earth shall be no more” (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, 27 July 1888).

“It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen, and we cannot … perfectly obey the holy law … . But Christ has made a way of escape for us … . If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned” (SC 62).

“The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster … . Every truth in the word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary. I present before you the great, grand monument of mercy and regeneration, salvation and redemption—the Son of God uplifted on the cross” (GW 315). “Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel” (7-A BC 456).

“Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed’ ” (DA 25).

“Our sins were laid on Christ, punished in Christ, put away by Christ, in order that His righteousness might be imputed to us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (ST May 30, 1895).

“Through faith we receive the grace of God; but faith is not our Saviour. It earns nothing. It is the hand by which we lay hold upon Christ, and appropriate His merits, the remedy for sin” (DA 175).

“We look to self, as though we had power to save ourselves;; but Jesus died for us because we are helpless to do this … . At this very time He is … inviting us to come to Him in our helplessness and be saved. We dishonor Him by our unbelief. It is astonishing how we treat our very best Friend, how little confidence we repose in Him who is able to save to the uttermost, and who has given us every evidence of His great love” (1SM 351).

“We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes; but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (SC 64).

“When the mind dwells upon self, it is turned away from Christ, the source of strength and life. Hence it is Satan’s constant effort to keep the attention diverted from the Saviour … . The pleasures of the world, life’s cares and perplexities and sorrows, the faults of others, or your own faults and imperfections—to any or all of these he will seek to divert the mind. Do not be misled by his devices … . We should not make self the center, and indulge anxiety and fear as to whether we shall be saved. All this turns the soul away from the Source of our strength. Commit the keeping of your soul to God, and trust in Him … . He is able to keep that which you have committed to Him” (ibid. 71, 72).

“While good works will not save even one soul, yet it is impossible for even one soul to be saved without good works” (1SM 377).

“If we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service.

When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us” (DA 668).

Resources

Moskala, Jiri. “The Gospel According to God’s Judgment: Judgment as Salvation.” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 22, no. 1 (2011): 28-49.

__________.  “Toward a Biblical Theology of God’s Judgment:
A Celebration of the Cross in Seven Phases of Divine Universal Judgment (An Overview of a Theocentric- Christocentric Approach).” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 15, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 138–165.

Hasel, F. Gerhard. “The Theology of Divine Judgment in the Bible: A Study of God’s Past, Present, and Future Judgments and Their Implications for Mankind”. Unpublished article, (June 1984): 1-22.

Ortlund, Dane C. “Justified by Faith, Judged According to Works: Another Look at a Pauline Paradox.” Journal of Evangelical Theological Society 52, no. 2 (June 2009): 323-39.

Blazen, Ivan T. “Justification by Faith and Judgment According to Works,” Symposium on Daniel, ed. Frank B. Hoolbrook (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Research Institute, 1986), vol. 2.

____________. “Salvation.” Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology. Commentary Series Reference Volume 12. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2000.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Notes on the Development of the Doctrine of the Trinity Among Seventh-day Adventists


Notes on the Development of the Doctrine of the Trinity Among Seventh-day Adventists

by Jaymark Molo

Discussion About the Trinity in Church History

Athenagoras (c. 177) stressed the divinity of the Logos and the triadic nature of God. He defended the doctrine as an essential part of church faith.

Irenaeus (flourished c. 175-195) spoke of the “economy of salvation” in which each member of the Godhead has a distinct yet related role.

Tertullian (c. 160/170-215/220) is largely responsible for the method and vocabulary about the Trinity which Western tradition now uses. He argued that there was one God, in whom could be found three persons. One “substance” but three “persons.” This is what distinguishes the members of the Godhead. “The three persons of the Trinity distinct, yet not divided, different yet not separate or independent of each other,” etc.

The Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 rejected Arius’ subordinationist view of Christ.

The Niceo-Constantinopolitan creed from A.D. 381 affirms the unity of God, proclaims that Christ was “begotten from the Father before all time,” and declares that Christ is “of the same essence (homoousios) as the Father.” Thus the Son is God in every respect. The Creed also upheld the divinity of the Holy Spirit.

“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, … We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. … We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.”

Augustin (354-430) grounded his theology of the Trinity on the concept of relationship and on the bond of love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He rejected any form of subordinationism that treated the Son and the Holy Spirit as inferior to the Father within the Godhead.

The three Eastern Cappadocian Fathers (Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa) expanded on the thoughts that there is one God in three persons. They spoke about one “substance” (ousia) in three “persons” (hypostases).

NOTE: We must remember that Seventh-day Adventist Church did no grow in a vacuum. Situation in the North America in the 19th century was diverse. We are children of its time! Our pioneers came out from different churches and denominations. We were strongly marked by this development from the very birth of our existence.

For example: (1) James White and Joseph Bates came from the Christian Connection Church. (2) Ellen Gould White was a member of the Methodist Church. (3) William Miller was a deist.

Anti-Creed Feelings and Convictions

“The Bible is our Creed. We reject everything in the form of a human creed” (James White, Review and Herald, Oct 8, 1861, 148).

Photograph of John Loughborough

Photograph of John Loughborough (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Loughborough claimed: “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.” (RH, Oct 8, 1861, 148.)

NOTE: Our pioneers had an overwhelming fear of accepting a creed, because they thought that in this way doctrine would be fixed, put in stone, and over time become very sterile, and finally no one would be able to change it!

The Basic PrerequisiteReformation Principle

What do you (we) build your (our) faith and doctrines on?

  • Ecclesia reformata et semper reformanda (church reformed and always reforming!)
  • How?
  • Reformed by the Word of God, by the Holy Scriptures!
  • Our faith cannot stand on the faith of our fathers, pioneers, church tradition, or church statements, creeds, or dogmas, but only upon the firm biblical foundation! The Bible must have the final authority. One can accept all that is in harmony with the biblical understanding of Truth. A true doctrine cannot contradict the Bible!
  • We need to take the faith of our forefathers seriously, but it must have only INFORMATIVE, and not FORMATIVE character. Only the faith of Jesus Christ (together with prophets and apostles) must have the DECISIVE and FINAL word!
  • This is why it is necessary to redefine and state over and over again what we believe (Revelation 14:12).

Reformation Principle Applied

The Preamble to “The Seventh-day Adventist 28 Fundamental Beliefs” states clearly this principle: “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 teaching of God’s Holy Word.”

NOTE: A “fertile” space for “historical” Adventists, for many opponents and critics… No wonder that some “teachers” used that situation and tried to disturb people, rationalize, accuse, conspire, etc.… (like Smyrna Ministry; “Midnight Cry” from Kaliningrad, Russia; etc.) The whole package of 1888: Justification by faith (perfect Gospel!) which often includes together with it the following: Jesus is not God in a full sense, and a sinful nature of Christ. This was especially J. H. Waggoner’s view.

Chronology in Stages

1. Up to 1888  — Anti-Trinitarian period

2. 1888–1900  — Emergence and Formation of the Trinitarian Thinking/Sentiment

3. 1900–1931 (the SDA Yearbook statement of Faith) — Transition and Conflict

4. 1931–1957 (the publication of Questions on Doctrine) — Acceptance of the Trinitarian View

5. 1957–today — Settling of the IssueConsensus: (1) The 1980 Dallas Statement of Fundamental Beliefs; renewed questions of historic Adventism

 The First Stage

 Approximately up to 1888 — Anti-Trinitarian Period (formative phase)

James WhiteJoseph Bates, and Joshua V. Himes had their roots in the Christian Connection church, i.e., in the denomination which stood against the Trinitarian Doctrine. This had a strong influence on our leaders. James White was an ordained minister of that church.

The First Phase 

James White, consider carefully his statements from the following years:

1846: He dismissed the traditional doctrine of the Trinity as “the old unscriptural Trinitarian creed” and pointed to the danger of spiritualizing God. He made a difference between the Father and the Son, and clearly states that they are “two distinct, literal, tangible persons.” (The DayStar, January 24, 1846, 25).

English: James and Ellen White, taken from htt...

1849: He compiled the first hymnbook, which contains the Doxology, “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” (Hymns for God’s Peculiar People, That Keep the Commandments of God, and the Faith of Jesus [Oswego, NY: Richard Oliphant, 1849], 47).

1852: He labeled the Doctrine of the Trinity as “the old trinitarian absurdity,” by which he meant that “Jesus Christ is the very and Eternal God,” thus wrongly assuming that according to the Trinitarian teaching, Jesus is identical as a person with the Father  (RH, August 5, 1852, 52).

Consider carefully his statements from the following years:

1855: In reference to “fables” of 2 Tim 4:4 that people will “turn their ears from the truth, and be turned aside to fables,” he wrote: “Here we might mention the Trinity, which does away [with] the personality of God and His Son Jesus Christ” (RH, December 11, 1855, 85).

NOTE: It is noteworthy to stress that James White here confuses modalism or sabelianism with the Trinitarian teaching.

1876: He wrote that “S. D. Adventists hold the divinity of Christ so nearly with the Trinitarians, that we apprehend no trial [conflict] here” (RH, October 12, 1876, 116).

1877: The inexplicable trinity that makes the godhead three in one and one in three, is bad enough; but the ultra Unitarianism that makes Christ inferior to the Father is worse” (RH, November 29, 1877, 72).

NOTE: James White believed that “Christ was equal with God” (ibid.), the Father and stood against the opinion that He was “inferior” to the Father.

Joseph Bates

In 1868 wrote: “Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was impossible 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” (The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates [Battle Creek, MI: Steam Press of Seventh-day Adventist Publication Association, 1868], 205).  Bates then supposed as James White that the belief in the Trinity takes away the distinction between the divine persons, namely, that the Father and the Son are only one and the same being. This modalistic understanding of the Trinity he correctly rejected.

Joseph Bates, vegetarian and one of the founde...

Joseph Bates, vegetarian and one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NOTE: It is not enough to know that our pioneers condemned the Trinitarian doctrine. It is of utmost importance to understand why they were doing it. It is crucial to recognize that James White and Joseph Bates were against the speculative philosophical teaching on the Trinity. Their explanations and remarks reveal that they opposed the so-called modalism of the Trinitarian doctrine, and they were not expressing any dismissal of formulations which are in harmony with biblical teaching!

D. M. Canright: “How the doctrine of the trinity of three Gods, can be reconciled with these positive statements [1 Tim 2:15; Deut 6:4] I do not know”).— RH, August 29, 1878, 218

NOTE: D. M. Canright even thought that the Trinitarian doctrine speaks about the existence of three Gods!

J. N. Loughborough had the same understanding: “If Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are each God, it would be three Gods; for three times one is not one, but three. There is a sense in which they are one. But not one person, as claimed by Trinitarians” (J. N. Loughborough, “Questions to Bro. Loughborough,” RH, November 5, 1861, 184).

Uriah Smith

In the 60th years of the 19th century (1860s) he claimed that Christ was the first created being, dating his existence far back before any other created being or thing, next to the self-existent and eternal God“ (Thoughts, Critical and Practical, on the Book of Revelation [Battle Creek, MI: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing, 1865], p. 59).

In 1881 he softened his formulation. Jesus was “begotten” but not “created” being (ibid., 1881 Edition, p. 74). Five years before his death he explained it in the book Looking unto Jesus or Christ in Type and Antitype (Battle Creek, MI: Review and Herald Publishing Company, 1898) on the page 10 in the following way: God alone is without beginning. At the earliest epoch when a beginning could be, — a period so remote that to finite minds it is essentially eternity, – appeared the Word.”

Seventh-day Adventist Church Pioneers

Seventh-day Adventist Church Pioneers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Uriah Smith never denounced his semi-Arian views. This non-biblical opinion was taken out from the new edition of his book The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation (published after his death) in the year 1944 (Nashville, TN: Southern Publishing, p. 391).

E. J. Wagoner interpreted similarly Jesus’ beginning in Christ and His Righteousness published in 1890 (Oakland, CA: Pacific Press, pp. 21-22).

Also J. N.  Andrews thought that Jesus Christ was born in some point in eternity. He wrote: “And as to the Son of God, he would be excluded also [in reference to the phrase ‘having neither beginning of days’ of Hebrews 7:3], for he had God for his Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have a beginning of days” (RH, September 7, 1869, p. 84).

Other pioneers also expressed their anti-Trinitarian standpoints: J. B. Frisbie (1854); J. N. Loughbourgh (1861); R. F. Cottrell (1869); J. N. Andrews (1869); D. M. Canright (1878); a J. H. Waggoner (1884; 1890).

W. A. Spicer at one point told A. W. Spalding that his father, after becoming a Seventh-day Adventist (he was formerly a Seventh-day Baptist minister), “grew so offended at the anti-Trinitarian atmosphere in Battle Creek that he ceased preaching” (A. W. Spalding to H. C. Lacey, June 2, 1947).

J. N. Loughbourgh wrote that there are many objections against the Doctrine of the Trinity. He limited his arguments to the three reasons: 1. It is contrary to common sense. 2. It is contrary to scripture. 3. Its origin is Pagan and fabulous (RH, November 5, 1861, p. 184).

R. F. Cottrell in an article on the Trinity stated: “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“ (RH, July 6, 1869, p. 11).

Our Pioneers on the Holy Spirit

D. M. Canright wrote in 1878: “The Holy Spirit is not a person… [He is] a divine influence proceeding from the Father and also from the Son, as their power, energy, etc.” (“The Holy Spirit Not a Person, but an Influence Proceeding from God,” The Signs of the Times, July 25, 1878, p. 218).

Uriah Smith stated in 1890: “The Bible uses expressions which cannot be harmonized with the idea that it is a person like the Father and the Son. Rather it is shown to be a divine influence from them both, the medium which represents their presence and by which they have knowledge and power through all the universe, when not personally present” (RH, October 28, 1890, p. 664).

NOTE: In this time period there is only one notable exception — Ellen G. White (we know nothing about others, because they did not publish their views; they were intimidated).

For example, she wrote already in the year 1869 that Jesus Christ in His preexistence was “equal with God” (2T 200); in the year 1878 designated Christ as “eternal Son of God” (RH, August 8, p. 49-50); and in the year 1888 stressed Christ’s divinity (GC 524).

NOTE: General Conference in Minneapolis in the year 1888 reshaped the understanding of key themes: (1) Justification Through Faith; (2) Salvation Only in Christ; (3) Plan of Salvation. This triggered a new discussion about Christ, namely His full divinity, His equality with the Father, and His role in salvation. Thus the way was opened for the formation and acceptance of the Trinitarian Doctrine.

The Second Stage (THE PARADIGM SHIFT)

1888–1900 — Emergence and Formation of the Trinitarian sentiment/thinking:

In Minneapolis soteriological questions were discussed.

Result: Christ is our Savor! If it is so, then it leads to the logical conclusions: Jesus Christ must be God, because it is not possible to worship a created being. If He is God, then He had to exist from eternity, etc.

Samuel Spear: The first positive reference to the Trinity in Adventist literature appeared in the Bible Student’s Library (Series No. 90, entitled “The Bible Doctrine of the Trinity,”1892; reprint from New York Independent, Nov 14, 1889) where he argued that there is one God in three persons. However, he also taught the eternal subordination of Christ (EGW already in 1869 otherwise!).

NOTE: Spear was not a Seventh-day Adventist.

A. T. Jones: He taught that Jesus was eternal on the basis of Col 2:9 (see, General Conference Bulletin, Feb 25, 1895, 332, and Feb 27, 1895, 382).

In 1899 he wrote a nearly Trinitarian statement: “God is one. Jesus Christ is one. The Holy Spirit is one. And these three are one: there is no dissent nor division among them” (A.T. Jones, editorial, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Jan 10, 1899, 24 ).

Key role of Ellen G. White (not sporadic but systematic explanation!)

1897: “In Him was life, original, unborrowed, underived” (ST, April 8, 1897, 6–7).  “He [Christ] was equal with God, infinite and omnipotent.… He is the eternal, self-existent Son” (“The True High Priest,” Manuscript 101, 9).

1898: “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived” (DA 530). “He announced Himself to be the self-existent One” (DA 470). “[Holy Spirit is] the Third Person of the Godhead” (DA 671). 

NOTE: It was so radical that M. L. Andreasen needed to see the original to be sure that it was written by her own hand and not by her literary helper, secretary, or editor! During 1909 he spent three months at Elmshaven, CA, where Ellen White lived at that time, and confirmed the originality of these key sentences.

Here is his testimony in his own words: “In her own handwriting I saw the statements which I was sure she had not written—could not have written. Especially was I struck with the now familiar quotation in Desire of Ages, page 530: ‘In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.’ This statement at that time was revolutionary and compelled a complete revision of my former view—and that of the denomination—on the deity of Christ” (Testimony of M. L. Andreasen, October 15, 1953, White Estate Document File 961).

1900: “There never was a time when He [Christ] was not in close fellowship with the eternal God” (ST, August 29, 2–3).

1905: “There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; … three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Special Testimonies, Series B, no. 7, 63; published in Evangelism 615).

1905: “From all eternity Christ was united with the Father” (ST, Aug 2, 1905; reprinted in 1 SM 228).

1906: “Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was God from all eternity…” (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 5, 1906, 8; reprinted in 1 SM 247).

NOTE: These clear statements prove her belief in the Trinity, even though she never used the term “Trinity.” She presents God in unity, yet in the plurality of eternally, co-existing three persons. Three different Persons are one in their nature, character, and purpose. See Ministry of Healing, 421–422.

The Third Stage

1900–1931 (the SDA Yearbook statement of Faith):

Transition and Conflict (Debate)

W. W. Prescott, editor of the Review and Herald in 1902wrote three articles on the equality and eternal nature of God the Father and God the Son (Sept–Dec) in which he promoted the equality, personhood, and eternal nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

He had thus changed his position regarding the beginning of Jesus from what he had held in 1896: “As Christ was twice born, once in eternity, the only begotten of the Father, and again in the flesh, thus uniting the divine with the human in that second birth, so we, who have been born once already in the flesh, are to have the second birth, being born again in the Spirit” (see RH, April 14, 1896, 232).

1919, July 1–19: Bible Conference in Tacoma Park, Washington, DC.

Prescott asked: “Can we believe in the Deity of Christ without believing in the eternity of Christ?” (Report of the 1919 Bible Conference, July 6, 1919, 57).

He plainly stated: “You cannot read the Scripture and have the idea of deity without eternity” (Report of the 1919 Bible Conference, July 6, 1919, 62).

Impulse from Africa

The strong impulse for it (a statement of belief) came from African missionaries who needed to define pragmatically for believers and church members what we as the church believed.

In response to an appeal from church leaders in Africa for “a statement [that] would help government officials and others to a better understanding of our work,” a committee of four, including the president of the General Conference, prepared a statement encompassing “the principle features” of belief as they “may be summarized.”

1931: “Unofficial” statement of “Fundamental Beliefs” was included in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook.

One of the 22 statements speaks about the Trinity.

F. M. Wilcox, the editor of the Review, was principally responsible for the statement (a committee of four worked on the document —M. E. Kern, E. R. Palmer, C. H. Watson, F. M. Wilcox).

1931 (1946) Statement

“That the Godhead, or the Trinity, consists of the Eternal Father, a personal, spiritual Being, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite in wisdom and love; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, through whom all things were created and through whom the salvation of the redeemed hosts will be accomplished; the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the great regenerating power of redemption. Matt 28:19.

“That Jesus Christ is very Godbeing of the same nature and essence as the Eternal FatherWhile retaining His divine nature He took upon Himself the nature of the human family, lived on the earth as a man, exemplified in His life as our Example the principles of righteousness, attested His relationship to God by many mighty miracles, died for our sins on the cross, was raised from the dead, and ascended to the Father where He ever lives to make intercession for us. John 1:1, 14; Heb 2:9–18; 8:1, 2; 4:14–16; 7:25.” From the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1931, 377).

The Fourth Stage

1931–1957: The publication Questions on Doctrine culminated this period of the acceptance of the Trinitarian view.

F. M. Wilcox and L. E. Froom were central figures in this phase of development.

1946: 1931 Statement was accepted as the first official position of the church.

1949: L. E. Froom published important book on the Holy Spirit: The Coming of the Comforter (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1949).

1957: Questions on Doctrine was published (editors: L. E. Froom, W. E. Read, and R. A. Anderson).

The Fifth Stage

1957 till today — Settling of the issue (consensus):

The 1980 Dallas Statement of Fundamental Beliefs; renewed questions of historic Adventism (only lay activity—like Smyrna Gospel Ministry, Bruno Fisher, David Klejton, Wolfgang Schneider, etc., who speak about the Omega apostasy of the church, because we have accepted the Trinitarian teaching).

1970: Raoul Dederen published his article in “Reflections on the Doctrine of the Trinity,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 8, no. 1 (January 1970): 1–22.

1971: LeRoy Edwin Froom, Movement of Destiny (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1971).

1980: The Fundamental Beliefs were officially voted in Dallas (the second official Doctrinal Statement of the Church) which contained the Trinitarian formulation.

2000: Fernando Canale wrote an article on the “Doctrine of God” in The Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2000).

2002: Woodrow Whidden, Jerry Moon, and John W. Reeve, eds., The Trinity: Understanding God’s Love, His Plan of Salvation, and Christian Relationships (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2002). The first Adventist publication dedicated to the topic of the Trinity!

2006: Bible Conference was organized and sponsored by the Adventist Theological Society at Southern Adventist University with around 30 Bible scholars and theologians who presented different aspects on the Doctrine of the Trinity.

One whole issue of the Journal of Adventist Theological Society (17, no. 1 [Spring 2006]) was devoted to the Trinitarian questions.

1980 Dallas Statement

  • “27 Fundamental Beliefs” were officially voted by the church at the General Conference in Dallas, Texas.
  • In 2005 one article of faith was added to the 27 statements at the General Conference meetings in St. Louis, Missouri. Thus, we have now “28 Fundamental Beliefs.”

The second statement of faith entitled “The Godhead” states:

“God is one: 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.

The third article of faith under the title “God the Father” proclaims:

“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.

The fourth faith statement entitled “God the Son” reads:

“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 restoration of all things.”

The fifth article of faith entitled “God the Holy Spirit” declares:

“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. Send 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.”

Excursus: History of the SDA “Fundamental Beliefs”

First was the refusal to accept any Creed—“The (whole) Bible is our Creed”—desire not to fall into the trap of our Protestant brothers.

1. 1872: Uriah Smith authored and the Adventist press at battle Creek, MI, published A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists (first unofficial expression of church synopses of faith in 25 propositions. It does not contain any paragraph on the Trinity doctrine; there is no reference to the term Trinity there. On the other hand, it does not contain any anti-Trinitarian element. There is no polemic there against a Trinitarian position.

2. 1889: Uriah Smith rewrote, slightly revised, and expanded the faith synopses to 28 sections of “Fundamental Principles” that the church unanimously believed. Also in this declaration there is no statement about the Trinity. It was inserted in the Yearbook in 1905 and continued to appear through 1914.

3. 1931: Wilcox and three others expressed 22 doctrinal statements. One of them presents faith in the Trinity.

4. 1946: The first officially voted document on the Church’s doctrines and beliefs (formulated in 1931).

5. 1980: The second official statement of faith voted at the General Conference in Dallas, TX—“27 Fundamental Beliefs.” Articles 2–5 explain faith in the Triune God:  the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

6. 2005: A new article was added about “Growing in Christ” at the General Conference session in St. Louis, Missouri, now making “28 Fundamental Beliefs.”  No faith statements were changed including the statement on the Trinity.

Summary: (1) We must acknowledge that the development of Adventist Biblical theology has been progressive and corrective. (2) The gift of prophecy (Ellen G. White’s writings) played the key role in this unprecedented (incredible, exceptional, unparalleled, and extraordinary) doctrinal change in our church. (3) The Trinity Doctrine in our SDA Church, that one God is manifested in three persons, is indeed found in Scripture; i.e., it is a biblical doctrine, therefore one can accept it and believe it. We believe in the Trinity doctrine, because it is built on the solid biblical material. It was the Bible that led Seventh-day Adventists to accept their position on the Godhead. It was the firm foundation of the Bible which led Seventh-day Adventists to accept the doctrine of the Triune God. This doctrine is rooted in the faith of Jesus Christ, prophets, and apostles (Eph 2:20; 1 Cor 3:11; 1 Pet 2:4–8). (4) Faith cannot be built on the faith, convictions, opinions of our pioneers or church tradition. (5) The Trinity doctrine is a tool given to us so that we can cultivate a meaningful relationship with God and with each other. Our God is We, He is the Fellowship, the Community. We were created to His image, therefore we need also to cultivate multidimensional relationships, first vertical and then horizontal ones.

Conclusion: The Trinity is a mystery, and no mortal person will ever be able to understand it fully.  The Scriptural evidence clearly indicates the equality and eternal co-existence of the three persons in the Godhead. While human reason may not understand it, by faith we can believe it. Let’s bow down before our wonderful God, before this Miracle.

References:

  • Burt, Merlin D.  “History of the Seventh-day Adventist View on the Trinity.” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 17, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 125–139.
  • Damsteedt, P. Gerard.  Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission.  Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1977.
  • Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 17, no. 1 (Spring 2006).
  • Knight, George R.  A Search for Identity: The Development of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2000.
  • Moon, Jerry.  “The Adventist Trinity Debate, Part 1: Historical Overview.”  Andrews University Seminary Studies 41, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 113–129.
  • Moon, Jerry. “The Adventist Trinity Debate, Part 2: The Role of Ellen G. White.” Andrews University Seminary Studies, vol. 41, no. 2 (Autumn 2003): 275–292.
  • Moon, Jerry. “The Quest for a Biblical Trinity: Ellen White’s ‘Heavenly Trio’ Compared to the Traditional Doctrine.”  Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 17, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 140–159.
  • Pfandl, Gerhard.  “The Doctrine of the Trinity among Seventh-day Adventists.” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 17, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 160–179.
  • Pöhler, Rolf J.  “Change in Seventh-day Adventist Theology: A Study of the Problem of Doctrinal Development.”  Ph.D. diss., Andrews University, 1995.
  • Whidden, Woodrow, Jerry Moon, John W. Reeve, eds.  The Trinity: Understanding God’s Love, His Plan of Salvation, and Christian Relationships.  Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2002.
Tagged , , , , , , , ,