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Russell Holt, in a term paper written for a course at Andrews University, for professor Mervyn Maxwell, has done a study on the development of the Trinity doctrine in the Seventh Day Adventist Church and how it became a doctrine. He looks at it from a positive viewpoint; in other words, he thinks it was good that the change took place. He wrote down some things I’d like to quote. On page 4 of his study, he writes:

"A survey of other writers during these years reveal that to a man they rejected the trinity."

This says that when you look through the writings of the early Adventists, every single one of them rejected the trinity. There was not a single one of them who believed in the trinity. Although many of the articles you read today will say that most of them rejected the trinity, that's not true. Every single one of them rejected the trinity! You won’t be able to find one of those early Adventists who supported this doctrine as long as they were members of the Church.

D.N. Canright rejected the trinity as long as he was an Adventist but, after he apostatized and left the Church, he wrote a book against Adventism and that was when he accepted the trinity - which fact, is probably more significant than we think.

Russell Holt goes on to speak about James White. He says:

"The evidence from his (James White's) pen seems to indicate that from his first spiritual affiliations with the "Christian Connection", until his death at the age of 60, James White opposed the Trinity both on the basis of logic and scripture, while holding a definite concept of the exalted position and divinity of Jesus Christ. The conclusion reached is intriguing due to his unique and special relationship to the Lord's messenger, who happened to be his wife. She was surely aware of his thinking on this subject. Did she approve? If not, why did he continue in his belief? Did she simply refrain from correcting him? Why? "The questions raised are fascinating, but not easily answered. At least James White, himself, can be demonstrated to have been a consistent anti-trinitarian."

Fascinating indeed! James White died in 1881, after having been married to Ellen White for about 35 years. The lady that he worked with, ate with, slept with, studied with, went around with giving sermons and messages, who was the prophet - the messenger of God, and supposedly her husband was teaching a false doctrine?? (It can be demonstrated that James White came out many times and spoke against the trinitarian concept, calling it a Catholic doctrine - yet this woman who was a prophet of God and his own wife, never said to him, "James, you're wrong on this matter"? Not even ONCE?).

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Thanks for pointing that out JohnB. I believe Leon is just trying to point out that some of the Pioneers did not believe in the Holy Spirit as the third member of the Godhead. He seem to try to sow dissent among the members here and rub our collective noses in the faults in the theology of our founders.

The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming. Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday- keeping, the church would now be free from herunscriptural errors.” (James White, February 7, 1856, Review & Herald, vol. 7, no. 19, page 148, par. 26)

Interesting Keith you know that James White did not believe the Holy Sprit as part of the Godhead.


I think you a trying to put a fast one on us I searched the White estate and no issue was made Feb 7


No I not trying to put a fast one on you. But I did screw up by pasting an article without checking to see if all the references were correct. I'll post the entire article, and we can all check to see if they are all misquoted or not.

It is common knowledge that James White opposite the Trinity for many years, which was the topic of this thread. Sorry I messed up.

James White on the Trinity.

James Springer White“Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one as he was one with his Father. This prayer did not contemplate one disciple with twelve heads, but twelve disciples, made one in object and effort in the cause of their master. Neither are the Father and the Son parts of the “three-one God.” They are two distinct beings, yet one in the design and accomplishment of redemption. The redeemed, from the first who shares in the great redemption, to the last, all ascribe the honor, and glory, and praise, of their salvation, to both God and the Lamb.” (James White, 1868, Life Incidents, page 343)

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for THE faith which was once delivered unto the saints…” (Jude 3, 4) …The exhortation to contend for the faith delivered to the saints, is to us alone. And it is very important for us to know what for and how to contend. In the 4th verse he gives us the reason why we should contend for THE faith, a particular faith; “for there are certain men,” or a certain class who deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.… The way spiritualizers have disposed of or denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ is first using the old unscriptural Trinitarian creed, viz., that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, though they have not one passage to support it, while we have plain scripture testimony in abundance that he is the Son of the eternal God.” (James White, January 24, 1846, The Day Star)

“The inexplicable Trinity that makes the Godhead three in one and one in three, is bad enough; but that ultra Unitarianism that makes Christ inferior to the Father is worse. Did God say to an inferior, “Let us make man in our image?”” (James White, November 29, 1877, Review & Herald)

“The Father was greater than the Son in that he was first.” (James White, January 4, 1881, Review & Herald; found in EGW Review and Herald Articles, vol. 1, page 244)

“We are told by those who teach the abolition of the Father’s law, that the commandments of God mentioned in the New Testament, are not the ten, but the requirements of the gospel, such as repentance, faith, baptism and the Lord’s supper. But as these, and every other requirement peculiar to the gospel, are all embraced in the faith of Jesus, it is evident that the commandments of God are not the sayings of Christ and his apostles. To assert that the sayings of the Son and his apostles are the commandments of the Father, is as wide from the truth as the old trinitarian absurdity that Jesus Christ is the very and Eternal God. And as the faith of Jesus embraces every requirement peculiar to the gospel, it necessarily follows that the commandments of God, mentioned by the third angel, embrace only the ten precepts of the Father’s immutable law which are not peculiar to any one dispensation, but common to all.” (James White, August 5, 1852, Review & Herald, vol. 3, no. 7, page 52, par. 42)

“Bro. Cottrell is nearly eighty years of age, remembers the dark day of 1780, and has been a Sabbath-keeper more than thirty years. He was formerly united with the Seventh-Day Baptists, but on some points of doctrine has differed from that body. He rejected the doctrine of the trinity, also the doctrine of man’s consciousness between death and the resurrection, and the punishment of the wicked in eternal consciousness. He believed that the wicked would be destroyed. Bro. Cottrell buried his wife not long since, who, it is said, was one of the excellent of the earth. Not long since, this aged pilgrim received a letter from friends in Wisconsin, purporting to be from M. Cottrell, his wife, who sleeps in Jesus. But he, believing that the dead know not anything, was prepared to reject at once the heresy that the spirits of the dead, knowing everything, come back and converse with the living. Thus truth is a staff in his old age. He has three sons in Mill Grove, who, with their families are Sabbath-keepers.” (James White, June 9, 1853, Review & Herald, vol. 4, no. 2, page 12, par. 16)

“Catholic Reasons for Keeping Sunday 

1. Because “it is also called Sunday from the old Roman denomination of Dies Solis, the day of the sun, to which it was sacred.” “Sunday was a name given by the heathens to the first day of the week, because it was the day on which they worshipped the sun.”

2. Because it is “in honor of the blessed Virgin Mary.”

3. Because “it is a day dedicated by the apostles to the honor of the most Holy Trinity.”

(James White, April 4, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 5, no. 11, page 86, par. 16-18)

The Position of the Remnant 

As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit sabbath other errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as sprinkling for baptism, the trinity, the consciousness of the dead and eternal life in misery. The mass who have held these fundamental errors, have doubtless done it ignorantly; but can it be supposed that the church of Christ will carry along with her these errors till the judgment scenes burst upon the world? We think not. “Here are they [in the period of a message given just before the Son of man takes his place upon the white cloud, Rev. 14:14] that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” This class, who live just prior to the second advent, will not be keeping the traditions of men, neither will they be holding fundamental errors relative to the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. And as the true light shines out upon these subjects, and is rejected by the mass, then condemnation will come upon them. When the true Sabbath is set before men, and the claims of the fourth commandment are urged upon them, and they reject this holy institution of the God of heaven, and choose in its place an institution of the beast, it can then be said, in the fullest sense, that such worship the beast. The warning message of the third angel is given in reference to that period, when the mark of the beast will be received, instead of the seal of the living God. Solemn dreadful, swiftly approaching hour! (James White, September 12, 1854, Review & Herald, vol. 6, no. 5, page 36, par. 8)

“Here we might mention the Trinity, which does away the personality of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and of sprinkling or pouring instead of being “buried with Christ in baptism,” “planted in the likeness of his death:” but we pass from these fablesto notice one that is held sacred by nearly all professed Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. It is, The change of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment from the seventh to the first day of the week.” (James White, December 11, 1855,Review & Herald, vol. 7, no. 11, page 85, par. 16)

“The “mystery of iniquity” began to work in the church in Paul’s day. It finally crowded out the simplicity of the gospel, and corrupted the doctrine of Christ, and the church went into the wilderness. Martin Luther, and other reformers, arose in the strength of God, and with the Word and Spirit, made mighty strides in the Reformation. The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming. Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday- keeping, the church would now be free from herunscriptural errors.” (James White, February 7, 1856, Review & Herald, vol. 7, no. 19, page 148, par. 26)

“We have not as much sympathy with Unitarians that deny the divinity of Christ, as with Trinitarians who hold that the Son is the eternal Father, and talk so mistily about the three-one God. Give the Master all that divinity with which the Holy Scriptures clothe him. ..”(from : Review and Herald June 6, 1871 James and Ellen White’s – Western Tour.)

We invite all to compare the testimonies of the Holy Spirit through Mrs. W., with the word of God. And in this we do not invite you to compare them with your creed. That is quite another thing. The trinitarian may compare them with his creed, and because they do not agree with it, condemn them. The observer of Sunday, or the man who holds eternal torment an important truth, and the minister that sprinkles infants, may each condemn the testimonies’ of Mrs. W. because they do not agree with their peculiar views. And a hundred more, each holding different views, may come to the same conclusion. But their genuineness can never be tested in this way.” { James White RH June 13, 1871}

“He(Jame White) received a commendation that few others have attained. God has permitted the precious light of truth to shine upon His word and illuminate the mind of my husband. He may reflect the rays of light from the presence of Jesus upon others by his preaching and writing.”{E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church Volume 3, p. 502}

“Many of the pioneers, who shared with us these trials and victories, remained true till the close of life, and have fallen asleep in Jesus. Among these is the faithful warrior who for thirty-six years stood by my side in the battle for truth. God used him as a teacher and leader to stand in the front ranks during the severe struggles of those early days of the message; but he has fallen at his post, and, with others who have died in the faith, he awaits the coming of the Lifegiver, who will call him from his gloomy prison-house to a glorious immortality.” {RH, November 20, 1883 par. 6}


Thank you for posting the whole article it is interesting reading indeed. I know that Pastor James White did not subscribe to the Holy Spirit. But EGW did not lambasting him for that. James White was not the only one that did not subscribe to the Holy Spirit. Many of his contemporary Brothers has the same Idea. 

EGW finished the article with saying that James will be resurrected to Glory. 

How would she know he would be resurrected if he hadn't gone through the Investigative Judgment yet?

Keith She did write this:

The book of life contains the names of all who have ever entered the service of God. Jesus bade His disciples: “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20. Paul speaks of his faithful fellow workers, “whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:3. Daniel, looking down to “a time of trouble, such as never was,” declares that God’s people shall be delivered, “everyone that shall be found written in the book.” And the revelator says that those only shall enter the city of God whose names “are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Daniel 12:1; Revelation 21:27. {GC 480.3}

All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life. The Lord declares, by the prophet Isaiah: “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25. Said Jesus: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.” “Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” Revelation 3:5; Matthew 10:32, 33.{GC 483.2}

Do you believe James White did confess his sins to the Lord, If he did his name remains in the Book of Life simple as that. I wonder where the Idea came from that our sins can not be forgiven?



According to the investigative Judgment teaching, not until your name comes up in order are your sins blotted out. You can confess your sins all you want but they will remain on record until your name comes up. Then names are accepted, names rejected.  Ellen White, The Great Controversy [1888 edition], p. 483.

As the books of record are opened in the Judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. BEGINNING WITH THOSE WHO FIRST LIVED UPON THE EARTH, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. Names are accepted, names rejected.

Ellen White: Our sins are NOT BLOTTED OUT until AFTER the investigative judgment

"But, according to the unerring word of God, every man will be judged and rewarded according as his works have been, and we are admonished to so speak and to so do as 'they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.' When sin has been repented of, confessed, and forsaken, then pardon is written against the sinner's name; BUT HIS SINS ARE NOT BLOTTED OUT UNTIL AFTER THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT."      Ellen White, The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1895.

What did James White mean when he referred to "trinity"? Which version is he referring to?


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