EXPLANATORY INTRODUCTION

When I attended Brother [JN's] Home Church on Sabbath, October 11, [2004?,] in anticipation of hearing presentations by Elder Wm. H. Grotheer, I brought with me a copy of the following e-mail letter, for possible reference to some quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy Writings.  Sure enough, I had occasion to use two quotations on the subject of the primacy of the Bible.  Those who were present will recall that I declined an offer by Brother [N] to copy the document for general circulation.  In retrospect this was a correct decision because circulation of the document then would have anticipated Elder Grotheer’s afternoon presentation, although I did not realize it at the time.  By the end of the day it appeared to me that after the presentation this document may be helpful when read with the article “The Heavenly Trio” in WWN 4(02), which I hope will be available by e-mail or in print.

The afternoon presentation by Elder Grotheer was, in my opinion, a classic example of sound doctrine established from the Bible alone as our rule of faith and practice.  Those enlightened terms from the Writings, “the heavenly trio,” “the three great powers of heaven” etc. are firmly anchored in the Bible.  Perhaps because of the determination of two antagonists to prove the contrary of what was presented, there was no general organized discussion of the subject matter.  During an expansive exhortation by Brother [N] to read the Spirit of Prophecy on the subject, I expressed a disagreement.  Methinks I “raised some hackles” by objecting to the use of the Writings where the doctrine had been established with perfect clarity by biblical exegesis alone.  My objection may not have been stated in the clearest terms, but it is supported by seven quotations from the Writings in the following document that are powerfully persuasive, and indeed should be conclusive.  I invite careful consideration of the following language, which is selected from the seven quotations within:

The Lord desires you to study your Bibles. He has not given any additional light to take the place of His Word. . . ..-- Letter 130, 1901. (3SM 29.2; emphasis supplied)

The Spirit was not given-- nor can it ever be bestowed--to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. . . . --The Great Controversy, Introduction, p. vii. (3SM 30.5; emphasis supplied)

I recommend to you, dear reader, the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. By that Word we are to be judged. God has, in that Word, promised to give visions in the "last days"; not for a new rule of faith . . .--A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G.White, p. 64 (1851). (Reprinted in Early Writings, p. 78.) (3SM 29.1; emphasis supplied)

"Thus saith the Lord" is the strongest testimony you can possibly present to the people. Let none be educated to look to Sister White, but to the mighty God, who gives instruction to Sister White.--Letter 11, 1894. (3SM 29.3; emphasis supplied.)  (It is clear that by “Thus saith the Lord” Sister White means the Bible.)

There was a specific reason for my concern about consulting the Writings on the subject of the eternal pre-existence and equality of Christ with the Father.  There are those, including the brother to whom the following e-mail letter was written, who point to statements in the Writings that seem to support their contentions to the contrary.  I happen to think that their reasonings are superficial, but why argue on their ground when the Bible makes the case with perfect clarity?


E-mail letter to a brother who had been bombarding Wm. H. Grotheer with offensive postal letters and e-mail messages contending that the pre-existent Christ was begotten of God:

This e-mail document has evolved over the course of a week, from one directed to you alone to one which will serve the purpose of another e-mail that I was committed to send to [AS] and [DC].  I am also including “Berean,” to whom you have copied at least one past e-mail to Elder Grotheer, and my comrade-in-arms, [SR.]

You ask at the beginning of your e-mail, who is your Webmaster?  Permit me to reply that I am just an "unknown," but endowed by God like every human being with powers of perception.  I know that Elder Grotheer has informed you of my observation that you are arrogant, and not a little confused.  I can perceive arrogance when it manifests itself, and recognize superfluity of confused argumentation when I see it.  I am undertaking a reply to your e-mail without prior consultation with Elder Grotheer, and without having seen all of his letters to you.

Your suggestion that in Rev. 1:11 Jesus Christ as the Word is spokesman for the Father is an example of free-thinking argumentation running amok.  The textual evidence and the weight of authority are against you.  John clearly identifies the Father in verse 4, and makes a distinction between Him and Jesus Christ:

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood . . .  (Rev. 1:4-5)

The phrase “first begotten of the dead” is of profound significance, bearing on the contention that the pre-existent Christ was begotten of God (more on this later in this letter.)  John proceeds to describe the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and it is absolutely clear that it is he who quotes the words of the Father:

 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the AlmightyThe Father speaks for Himself, and it is reported by John.  Now John begins his report on the appearance and words of Jesus Christ:  I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. . .And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. . . .  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, . . .  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the lastI am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.  (Rev. 8-18; Emphasis supplied)

Jesus Christ is speaking of and for Himself.  The I am that “liveth, and was dead” is the same I am who is “Alpha and Omega.”  Later, in the last chapter of Revelation, He repeats the description of Himself as “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last,” in the context of His second coming.  There is not a shadow of doubt that Jesus is speaking of Himself in Rev. 22:12-13.  The same applies to Rev. 1:11&18.

Your strange reasoning on the foregoing passages of Rev. 1 was so glaring that I had to deal with it first.  Now I want to make some observations, beginning with the first paragraph of your letter.  This paragraph is all argumentation and no documentation.  What is wrong with the following texts of Scripture as evidence that the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross was divine as well as human:

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  (Isa. 53:10)
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  (Gal. 4:4)
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  (Heb. 2:9)
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.  (John 10:17-18)

I am going to turn next to the subject of the authority of the Writings of Ellen G. White in relation to the Bible, because this is the huge obstacle to a reconciliation of views between you and Elder Grotheer.  I ask you to analyze the following statements of Sister White very carefully.  They are all copied directly from the Ellen G. White Estate website:

Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.--The Review and Herald, Jan. 20, 1903. (Quoted in Colporteur Ministry, p. 125.) (3SM 30.4; emphasis supplied)

I know that you are familiar with this statement; but please note the phrase that I have emphasized.  Continuing with the quotations:

The Lord desires you to study your Bibles. He has not given any additional light to take the place of His Word. This light is to bring confused minds to His Word, which, if eaten and digested, is as the lifeblood of the soul. Then good works will be seen as light shining in darkness.-- Letter 130, 1901. (3SM 29.2; emphasis supplied)

The Spirit was not given-- nor can it ever be bestowed--to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. . . . Isaiah declares, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20).--The Great Controversy, Introduction, p. vii. (3SM 30.5; emphasis supplied)

I recommend to you, dear reader, the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. By that Word we are to be judged. God has, in that Word, promised to give visions in the "last days"; not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth. Thus God dealt with Peter when He was about to send him to preach to the Gentiles.--A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G.White, p. 64 (1851). (Reprinted in Early Writings, p. 78.) (3SM 29.1; emphasis supplied)

"Thus saith the Lord" is the strongest testimony you can possibly present to the people. Let none be educated to look to Sister White, but to the mighty God, who gives instruction to Sister White.--Letter 11, 1894. (3SM 29.3; emphasis supplied.)  (It is clear that by “Thus saith the Lord” Sister White means the Bible.)

Brother J would confuse the mind by seeking to make it appear that the light God has given through the Testimonies is an addition to the Word of God, but in this he presents the matter in a false light. God has seen fit in this manner to bring the minds of His people to His Word, to give them a clearer understanding of it.
The Word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. . . (3SM 30.6-31.1; emphasis supplied)

But don't you quote Sister White. I don't want you ever to quote Sister White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are. Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. It is full of meat, full of fatness. Carry it right out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now. You will have fresh matter - O, you will have precious matter; you won't be going over and over the same ground, and you will see a world saved. You will see souls for whom Christ has died. And I ask you to put on the armor, every piece of it, and be sure that your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel. (SpM 174.1; emphasis supplied)

Lay Sister White right to one side: lay her to one side. Don't you [ever] quote my words again as long as you live, until you can obey the Bible. When you take the Bible and make that your food, and your meat, and your drink, and make that the elements of your character, when you can do that you will know better how to receive some counsel from God. But here is the Word, the precious Word, exalted before you today. And don't you give a rap any more what "Sister White said"-- "Sister White said this," and "Sister White said that," and "Sister White said the other thing." But say, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel," and then you do just what the Lord God of Israel does, and what he says . . . (SpM 167.2; emphasis supplied)

There is much, much food for thought in these statements of Ellen G. White, for all of us, and especially for those who turn to the Writings as the first source, and sometimes the only source, of doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.  Here is the cause of deadlock between you and Elder Grotheer.  He presents to you doctrinal points that are based on sound principles of Bible exegesis.  Time and time again you try to counter with statements from the Writings; and worse, you eisegetically read into the Scriptures what you believe such statements mean.  As quoted above, Sister White said, “The Word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it.”  With this counsel of wisdom in mind, let us “lay Sister White right to one side” and truly study a couple of passages of Scripture that are in contention between you and Elder Grotheer.

First, Psalm 2:7, which you want to wrench from its context and place at the beginning of the great controversy in heaven.  Contextually, this psalm is not connected with the angelic host in the way that, for example, Dan. 7:10 is.  This is set entirely in the context of God’s controversy with rebellious humanity:

Why do the heathen (nations) rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.  (Ps. 2:1-3; emphasis supplied.)

It is in this context that the decree is declared.  Now I notice that you do quote from the S.D.A. Bible Commentary when it suits you.  Do you recognize that in spite of the apostasy there is still some authority there; especially in an edition dated 1954.  On “I will declare” I quote as follows:

Jesus, the Anointed One, the Word, God’s spokesman, speaks in turn, interpreting God’s great declaration of His Sonship.  He is no usurper; He holds His office as Messiah by His Father’s decree.  This decree implies (1) that Jesus is to be acknowledged as the Son of God, and (2) that His reign is to be universal (vs. 8,9; cf. Eze. 21:27.)  (S.D.A. Bible Commentary (1954), Vol. 3, P. 634.)

The name used is Jesus, not Christ, because Jesus Christ was anointed on earth.  This is not the pre-existent Christ.  So the Commentary goes on to state on “Begotten thee,” “This statement must not be construed as implying an original generation.”  (Ibid.)  Then comes that quotation from the Writings that you have difficulty in accepting because of your mental bias, “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived (DA 530.)”  (Ibid. emphasis added)  Mark well the sentences that follow:

The Bible is its own best interpreter.  Inspired writers must be permitted to make the precise application of OT prophecies.  All other applications are human opinion, and as such lack a plain “Thus saith the Lord” (see on Deut. 18:15.)  The inspired apostle’s comment on the prophecy of this text makes the psalmist’s words a prediction of the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 13:30-33.)  The resurrection from the dead in a unique way proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God (Rom. 1:4.)  (Ibid.; emphasis supplied.)

Now here are Paul’s own words:

But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.  And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, THOU ART MY SON, THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE.  (Acts 13:30-33; emphasis supplied.)
And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4; emphasis supplied.)

How much more plainly can the Scriptures explain the decree?  Think about it.

Before turning next to Deut. 6:4, 5, I have some comments to make about respect for authority.  We do not accept what any individual or group of individuals teach because of their educational qualifications and/or scholarship.  That is Romanism, and sad to say this has become the norm within the corporate body of Seventh-day Adventists.  However, there is another extreme that is prevalent in the ranks of the “Independent Ministries,” in which a cacophony of conflicting “voices” all set themselves up as authorities on biblical exegesis.  In past years roles of leadership were exercised by people who were thoroughly trained in the exposition of Bible doctrines, and even the laity measured up to a high standard of knowledge and understanding.  It is a tragic phenomenon of these times that laymen who are ill-equipped to go to original sources for understanding of exactly what difficult texts of Scripture are saying, have assumed the role of expositors; and these have the audacity to challenge qualified and experienced Bible scholars.  Today the leadership in Israel stands discredited, administrators and teachers alike; and many concerned Adventist laymen have turned away from scholarship to the simplistic repetition of what they think was taught before apostasy corrupted the Church.  These forget the warning from Ellen G. White that, “We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn.  God and heaven alone are infallible.”  (TM 30.)  The “Old Paths” will certainly help to anchor us to the foundation pillars of our faith; but then we must advance, as Mrs. White counseled:

The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light."  (R&H,  March 25, 1890; emphasis supplied)

I am appalled at the disrespect that is shown by you and your friends at Smyrna Gospel Ministries, to a man who has faithfully and resolutely stood up to the apostate leadership for nearly fifty years since the Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences of 1955-1956.  Elder Grotheer is not found in this role by chance.  Among his true peers, he is recognized for his intellect and learning, with well-honed expertise in biblical exegesis, solidly based upon an understanding of the grammatical nuances of ancient Hebrew and Greek.  It is only the ignorant who dare to lecture him and dismiss his work with derision.  As Paul counseled, a man should not “think of himself more highly than he ought . . .”(Rom. 12:3.)

What I have just written is of particular significance in the exegesis of Deut. 6:4.  It is indicative of the importance of what Moses said in Deut. 6:4,5, that Jesus quoted these two verses, the first one verbatim and the second with only a slight difference, in Mark 12:29-30.  What does the Shema of Israel tell us about the Godhead?  We who are laymen resort to Strong’s concordance for understanding of Hebrew and Greek words.  We accept as correct the translation of the Hebrew characters for “Gods” as “Elohim.”  Even so, I would not try to argue from that, as you have done, that this does not really mean more than one God.  However, there is more to be considered here than is apparent to the layman without training in ancient Hebrew.  Elder Grotheer points out (1) that there are many errors in Strong’s, and (2) there is a glaring error here.  The word “Elohim” is not in this text.  The correct word is “Elohenu.”  Davidson’s The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon explains that this is the masculine plural.  The proper translation is “Gods” plural.  In written helps which accompany his seminar on the Godhead, Elder Grotheer quotes yet another authority, Elements of Hebrew, Wm R. Harper, p. 144, to support the rendition of the masculine plural, based upon the suffix.  (I am not setting out the quote, because it includes Hebrew characters which my computer is not equipped to reproduce.)  The matter does not rest on this alone.  The word properly translated “one” is “‘echad,” which essentially means one in duality, as for example husband and wife - “one” (‘echad) flesh (Gen. 2:24.)  Again, in Gen. 1:5, “And the evening and the morning were the first day.”  “First” is ‘echad – evening and morning in duality, one day.  So the Shema of Israel reads, “Jehovah, our Gods is one Jehovah.”  Do you understand what Jesus was saying in Mark12:29,30?  This is wholly consistent with what He said in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was I AM.”

In your e-mail to Elder Grotheer dated February 28, you said, “As to Isa. 44:6, I do not read it the way you do; I see ‘his redeemer’ as ‘Israel’s redeemer’.”  Your novel interpretation of necessity requires that we drop the word “his” – no question about it.  That flies in the face of the translation of this text by every version that I have looked at, not least of all Young’s Literal Translation.  Let us look at the text again as translated by Young:

 Thus said Jehovah, king of Israel, And his Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts: `I [am] the first, and I the last, And besides Me there is no God.  (Young’s Literal Translatioin.)

Here are not only the words “And his,” but also the description of His Redeemer, “Jehovah of Hosts.”  Since this text does not stand in isolation in establishing that Christ is “Jehovah” as God the Father is “Jehovah,” your reasoning is flawed.  Two persons are identified here, and this makes the rest of the text speak volumes – two persons, one God.

Now, let us look at some more texts from the Old Testament:

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.  (Micah 5:2; emphasis supplied.)

Here is another confirmation that Christ had no beginning.

And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:  Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both  (Zech. 6:12-13; emphasis supplied.)

 Here is another confirmation that there were Two.  In fact, the Interlinear Bible and the RSV render the phrase “between the two of them.”

And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.  Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.  (Zech. 13:7; emphasis supplied.)

The term “man that is my fellow” signifies a level of equality, not a father and son relationship.

For a Child hath been born to us, A Son hath been given to us, And the princely power is on his shoulder, And He doth call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.  (Isa. 9:6; Young’s Literal Translation; emphasis supplied.)

This is not how a being whom you contend came into existence by generation would be described?  If He is “Mighty God” and “Father of Eternity” He could not have had a beginning.

The Old Testament establishes with perfect clarity that prior to Bethlehem there were two divine beings, self-existent as One God.  This is re-affirmed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the first chapter of the Book of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God(John 1:1, 2.)

Did you have this text in mind when you stated to Elder Grotheer in the e-mail now under consideration, “What you are denying is, that Christ ever had a beginning from God?”  Obviously not, for the text is saying plainly that the Word was in the beginning with God, and indeed was God.  We should not have to debate this point.  This is the plain, objective meaning of the text.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14.)

“The only begotten of the Father” - here we come to what I perceive to be one of the two pillars of your doctrine.  The other is that Christ “proceeded and came forth from the Father.”  However, there is nothing in the text to support the contention that it refers to any time prior to the Incarnation; rather the contrary.  Because Scripture is explained by Scripture, it has already been made clear from the Bible that it cannot refer to the pre-existent Christ.  “The glory as of the only begotten of the Father” was beheld in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

Once more we come to an issue of the authority of scholarly works that are supported by weighty documentation.  I am going to quote passages on “the only begotten” from the S.D.A. Bible Commentary, and Problems in Bible Translation, (1954,) published by the Committee on Problems in Bible Translation, which was appointed by the S.D.A General Conference Committee.  The Bible Commentary passages are excerpts from the notes on John 1:14; and the other passages are from the chapter on John 3:16 in Problems in Bible Translation.  I have reason to believe that your friends at Smyrna Gospel Ministries are already prejudiced against the analysis that ensues, and I presume that you are of the same mind; but I urge you all to reconsider carefully, because of the weighty responsibility that rests upon you for misleading those who follow your doctrine:

Gr. monogenēs, from two words meaning “only” and “kind,” and thus properly translated “unique,” “only,” “only one of a kind.”  As with the title Logos (see on v. 1), only John uses the word monogenēs of Christ (See John 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9).  Absence of the definite article in the Greek either makes monogenēs indefinite, “an only one,” or makes it an expression of quality, in which case John would be saying, “glory as of an only one [who had come] from beside the Father.”  This seems evidently the sense here. . . .
The translation “only begotten,” here and elsewhere, apparently originated with the early Fathers of the Catholic Church, and entered early English translations of the Bible under the influence of the Latin Vulgate, the official Bible of the Catholic Church.  Accurately reflecting the Greek, various Old Latin manuscripts which antedate the Vulgate read “only” rather than “only begotten.”  The idea that Christ “was born of the Father before all creation” appears first in the writings of Origen, about A.D. 230.  Arius, nearly a century later, is the first to use gegennemenon, the correct Greek word for “begotten,” when speaking of Christ, and to affirm that He was “begotten of God before all ages” (see Additional Note at the end of chapter).  This Greek word is never used in the Bible concerning the preincarnate Christ.  The idea that Christ was “begotten” by the Father at some time in eternity past is altogether foreign to the Scriptures.  (B.C.5, P.902; emphasis supplied.)

The Greek term that has been translated “only begotten” in the KJV is used nine times in the New Testament.  As applied to Jesus Christ, it occurs only in John’s writings, five times in all (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9).  It also occurs in the New Testament in referring to others than Christ (Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38; Heb. 11:17).  In the LXX it is found in Ps. 21:20 (Ps. 22:20); Ps. 24:16 (Ps. 25:16); Ps. 34:17 (Ps. 35:17); Judges 11:34.  The Greek word is a compound one, and is generally used of an only, therefore, unique, very precious, child, the emphasis being on only, and not on kind.
The best Greek authorities bear out the above.  Under monogenēs, the Greek word we are discussing, we read in the Greek-English Lexicon: “The only member of a kin, or kind; hence generally only, single.”  Henry George Liddell, and Robert Scott, a Greek-English Lexicon, Vol. 2, p. 1144.
Monogenēs “is literally ‘one of a kind,’ ‘only,’ ‘unique’ (unicus).”  James Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, pp. 416, 417.
Further, in classical Greek (See Liddell and Scott’s Lexicon for numerous examples), the term “beloved,” agapetos, denotes an only, therefore very precious, child.  Again in the LXX we find the Greek word monogenēs of John 3:16 used as the translation of the Hebrew adjective yachid “beloved,” and translated in the KJV as follows: Ps. 22:20 “darling,” 35:17 “my darling”; and in Ps 25:16 “desolate,” 68:6 “solitary.”  In harmony with the last two examples, see the Apocrypha, Tobit 3:15; 6:9; 8:12; “only” meaning dear, beloved.  It is evident then that in classical and Koine Greek, the word monogenēs has the meanings of unique, dear, precious, beloved, only, the only member of a kin or kind. . .
In addition to the statement of Moulton and Milligan, we find the following in Thayer: “. . .(Sic. unigena; Vulg. [in Lk., unicus, elsewh.] and in eccl. writ. unigenitus), single of its kind, only . . .; used of Christ, denotes the only son of God.” – Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 417.
Thayer’s statement in parentheses above is interesting, that monogenēs has been translated unigenitus in ecclesiastical writings, a translation that is incorrect.  In this connection we give the statement found in the International Critical Commentary on John 1:14: “Some of the O.L. texts (a e q) render monogenēs here by unicus, which is the original meaning, rather than unigenitus, which became the accepted Latin rendering so soon as controversies arose about the Person and Nature of Christ.” – J. H. Bernard, “The Gospel According to St. John,” International Critical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 23.  (Problems in Bible Translation, Pp. 197-199; emphasis supplied.)

There follows more history of the corrupted (my term) rendering of monogenēs.  Then logical conclusions are drawn, including the following:

Jesus Christ, pre-existent God, the divine creative Word, at His incarnation became in a unique sense the Son of God.  That is why He is designated monogenēs, the only one of His kind, altogether unique in many aspects of His being and life.  No other child of the human race was so compacted in His being, had so unequaled a relation to the Godhead, or did such a work as is true of Him.  So monogenēs describes a relation between God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son as separate Persons of the Godhead.  This is a relation that belongs to Christ’s complex, divine-human personality, in connection with the economy of the plan of salvation.
Generative production and identity of essence are implied in filiation.  Ordinarily the word “son” conveys the ideas of derivation, and of inferiority, both in dignity and in time.  The term “son” includes a relative idea which implies priority of existence in the father and subsequency of existence in the son, therefore contradicting absolute eternity.  Christ is divine, and therefore necessarily self-existent, existent in absolute and separate independency.  (Ibid. P. 202.)

Can you not see that you and your friends are perpetuating an assault upon the divinity and majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Can you not see that you are violating Holy Ground.

The main burden of this letter is to establish the duality of God in the Old Testament, and the equality and co-existence of Christ and the Father (“Jehovah, our Gods is one Jehovah.”)  The limitations of time, and the increasing length of this letter, make me hesitant to embark upon the subject of the relationship between Christ and the Holy Spirit.  I am similarly hesitant about the texts revealing three persons of the Godhead since the Incarnation.  However, in the latter case, there will be quotations from the Writings, and I am loath to rely solely on the Writings to prove a Bible Truth.  Therefore, the following is a limited sampling of what the Bible reveals on these two points of doctrine:

Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.  (1 Peter 1:10-11; emphasis supplied.)

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  (Matthew 28:19.)

For through him [Jesus Christ] we both have access by one Spirit [the Holy Spirit] unto [God] the Father.  (Eph. 2:18; parenthesis supplied.)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.  (2 Cor. 13:14; emphasis supplied.)

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come [God the Father]; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne [the Holy Spirit];  And from Jesus Christ . . .  (Rev. 1:4-5; parentheses and emphasis supplied.)

One comment I must make: it is self-evident that Jesus Christ did not exist before the Incarnation.  The divine-human being came into existence in the Incarnation.  It follows that from two before the Incarnation, the Godhead became three after that event.  It is so obvious that I cannot understand why so many Adventists fail to see it, especially in the light of Ellen G. White’s statements which will be quoted below.  There is no excuse either for contending that there is only one God in the Old Testament, or for embracing the Roman Catholic dogma of the Trinity just because of the clear evidence that there are now three persons of the Godhead.

I have followed Ellen G. White’s counsel to “Lay Sister White right to one side” to prove God’s revelation of Himself from the Bible and the Bible only.  The chapter of Problems in Bible Translation from which I have quoted above, concludes with a compilation of quotations from the Writings.  I am going to do the same.  Nowhere in Sister White’s statements will you find anything like the formulation of E. J. Waggoner in Christ and His Righteousness:

There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father (John 8:42; 1:18), but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning.  (Pp. 21-22)

This is a gross misapplication of Jesus Christ’s words, albeit sincerely made.  There is nothing in the context to place His meaning earlier than the Incarnation.  He, the Incarnate Word, did indeed proceed forth and come from the Father, and there the matter should rest.  One should remember that, unless there was a last-minute change of mind, Waggoner died sincerely believing that there was no significance in the October, 1844, date.  The evidence shows that his doubts began as early as 1891, during his “Studies in the Book of Romans.”  You would not follow him over that particular precipice; why follow him over this one?

Sister White definitely does not support Waggoner.  However, when one turns to the Writings it is clear why she warns against quoting her before we know what the Bible teaches.  I have almost six pages of quotations (with some overlapping) before me.  In general they do not conflict with the exposition of the Scriptures that I have set out above.  However, there are five which contain words and phrases that come close to, but not over, the line that you have crossed.  In the interest of full disclosure they are presented first.  If you and your friends choose to rely on a tiny percentage of words and phrases against the overwhelming weight of evidence within the Writings as well as in the Bible, you bear a heavy responsibility for the souls of those who are not given the opportunity to decide from all of the evidence what the Bible really teaches.  All five of the following quotations contain countervailing words and phrases that tilt the balance to the side of the vast majority of Sister White’s statements.  Keep in mind that “everlasting” means without beginning or end:

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. "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace" (Isa. 9:6). His "goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).--Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34. (7ABC 437.2)

But while God's Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding His pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with His Father. From everlasting He was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if they accepted Him, were to be blessed. "The Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Before men or angels were created, the Word was with God, and was God. (R&H April 5, 1906; 7ABC 441; 1SM 247; emphasis supplied)

Note the balance between the clauses that I have emphasized in this quotation.  Mrs. White’s statement clearly concerns the plan of redemption.  It does not convey the same meaning as that of Waggoner.  She is also not saying that Christ had a beginning from God.  Continuing to quote:

However much a shepherd may love his sheep, he loves his sons and daughters more. Jesus is not only our shepherd; He is our "everlasting Father." And He says, "I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father." John 10:14, 15, R.V. What a statement is this!--the only-begotten Son, He who is in the bosom of the Father, He whom God has declared to be "the Man that is My fellow" (Zech. 13:7),--the communion between Him and the eternal God is taken to represent the communion between Christ and His children on the earth!--The Desire of Ages, p. 483. (7ABC 438.4)

This statement really does not present a problem.  It clearly applies to Jesus Christ, and the phrase “only-begotten Son” simply follows the KJV.

Before the entrance of sin among the angels: Christ the Word, the only-begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father, --one in nature, in character, and in purpose,--the only being in all the universe that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. By Christ, the Father wrought in the creation of all heavenly beings.--The Great Controversy, p. 493. {7ABC 440.1}


See the similar statement above, which contains more countervailing phrases.

The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by Him as His right. This was no robbery of God. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way," He declares, "before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth" (Prov. 8:22-27).  There are light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundation of the world was laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory. This truth, infinitely mysterious in itself, explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in light, unapproachable and incomprehensible. {1SM 247.4-248.1}

This statement, a little baffling at first, begins to make sense when it is observed that Mrs. White identifies “the divine Son of God” as “The Lord Jesus Christ.”  Our finite minds cannot comprehend eternity, and the everlasting foreknowledge involved in “all the counsels and purposes of God.”  Well therefore, does Sister White write of “This truth, infinitely mysterious in itself.”  We had best not take this statement and run with it where we are not sent.

I can find no statements of Ellen G. White that come any closer to the doctrine that you advocate than the preceding five quotations.  I am setting out below almost the entirety of the quotations in Appendix A – Christ’s Place in the Godhead, from ABC7a, copied directly from the Ellen G. White Estate website.  Four of the last five quotations have been extracted from the compilation.  Otherwise, I have done no editing at all, except the emphases, which are all supplied by me.  The compilation, minus the extracted four, follow the next quotation which comes from Selected Messages.  Now, observe carefully the general tenor of the Writings:

God and Christ [note that these are two] knew from the beginning, of the apostasy of Satan and of the fall of Adam through the deceptive power of the apostate. The plan of salvation was designed to redeem the fallen race, to give them another trial. Christ was appointed to the office of Mediator from the creation of God, set up from everlasting to be our substitute and surety. Before the world was made, it was arranged that the divinity of Christ should be enshrouded in humanity. "A body," said Christ, "hast thou prepared me" (Heb. 10:5). But He did not come in human form until the fullness of time had expired. Then He came to our world, a babe in Bethlehem. (1SM 250.1; parenthesis and emphasis supplied.)

              I. Deity and Nature of Christ

     The Jews had never before heard such words from human lips, and a convicting influence attended them; for it seemed that divinity flashed through humanity as Jesus said, "I and my Father are one." The words of Christ were full of deep meaning as he put forth the claim that he and the Father were of one substance, possessing the same attributes.--The Signs of the Times, Nov. 27, 1893, p. 54. {7ABC 437.3}

     Yet the Son of God was the acknowledged Sovereign of heaven, one in power and authority with the Father.--The Great Controversy, p. 495. {7ABC 437.4}

     To save the transgressor of God's law, Christ, the one equal with the Father, came to live heaven before men, that they might learn to know what it is to have heaven in the heart. He illustrated what man must be to be worthy of the precious boon of the life that measures with the life of God.--Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 179. {7ABC 437.5}

     The only way in which the fallen race could be restored was through the gift of his Son, equal with himself, possessing the attributes of God. Though so highly exalted, Christ consented to assume human nature, that he might work in behalf of man and reconcile to God his disloyal subject. When man rebelled, Christ

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pleaded his merits in his behalf, and became man's substitute and surety. He undertook to combat the powers of darkness in man's behalf, and he prevailed, conquering the enemy of our souls, and presenting to man the cup of salvation.--The Review and Herald, Nov. 8, 1892, p. 690. {7ABC 437.6}

     The world was made by him, "and without him was not anything made that was made." If Christ made all things, he existed before all things. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore. . . . {7ABC 438.1}

     There are light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundation of the world was laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory. This truth, infinitely mysterious in itself, explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in light, unapproachable and incomprehensible. --The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906, p. 8. {7ABC 438.2}

     The King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before Him, that in their presence He might set forth the true position of His Son, and show the relation He sustained to all created beings. The Son of God shared the Father's throne, and the glory of the eternal, self-existent One encircled both.-- Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 36. {7ABC 438.3}

     Still seeking to give a true direction to her faith, Jesus declared, "I am the resurrection, and the life." In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. "He that hath the Son hath life." 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer's assurance of eternal life.--Ibid., p. 530. {7ABC 438.5}

     Silence fell upon the vast assembly. The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been


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claimed as His own by this Galilean Rabbi. He had announced Himself to be the self-existent One, He who had been promised to Israel, "whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity."--Ibid., p. 469. {7ABC 438.6}

     The world's Redeemer was equal with God. His authority was as the authority of God. He declared that he had no existence separate from the Father. The authority by which he spoke, and wrought miracles, was expressly his own, yet he assures us that he and the Father are one.--The Review and Herald, Jan. 7, 1890, p. 1. {7ABC 439.1}

     Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, Himself the source and sustainer of all, is alone entitled to supreme reverence and worship.--Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 305. {7ABC 439.2}

     Jehovah is the name given to Christ. "Behold, God is my salvation," writes the prophet Isaiah; "I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day ye shall say, Praise the Lord, call upon His name, declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted." "In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."--The Signs of the Times, May 3, 1899, p. 2. {7ABC 439.3}

     The heavenly gates are again to be lifted up, and with ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy ones, our saviour will come forth as King of Kings and Lord of lords. Jehovah Immanuel "shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one."--Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 160. {7ABC 439.4}

     This is the reward of all who follow Christ. Jehovah Emmanuel --He "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," in whom dwells "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:3, 9)--to be brought into sympathy with Him, to know Him, to possess Him, as the heart opens more and more to receive His attributes; to know His love and power, to possess the unsearchable riches of Christ, to comprehend more and more "what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know

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the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" (Eph. 3:18, 19)--"This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord."--Ibid., p. 57. {7ABC 439.5}

     If men reject the testimony of the inspired Scriptures concerning the deity of Christ, it is in vain to argue the point with them; for no argument, however conclusive, could convince them. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14. None who hold this error can have a true conception of the character or the mission of Christ, or of the great plan of God for man's redemption.--Ibid., p. 524. {7ABC 440.2}

         II. Eternal Pre-existence of Christ

     The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by him as his right. This was no robbery of God.--The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906, p. 8. {7ABC 440.3}

     In speaking of His pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him.--The Signs of the Times, Aug. 29, 1900. {7ABC 440.4}

     Here Christ shows them that, although they might reckon His life to be less than fifty years, yet His divine life could not be reckoned by human computation. The existence of Christ before His incarnation is not measured by figures.--The Signs of the Times, May 3, 1899. {7ABC 440.5}

     From all eternity Christ was united with the Father, and when He took upon Himself human nature, He was still one with God.--The Signs of the Times, Aug. 2, 1905, p. 10.


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     When Christ passed within the heavenly gates, He was enthroned amidst the adoration of the angels. As soon as this ceremony was completed, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in rich currents, and Christ was indeed glorified, even with the glory which He had with the Father from all eternity.--The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 38, 39. {7ABC 441.1}

     A human being lives, but his is a given life, a life that will be quenched. "What is your life? It is even vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." But Christ's life is not a vapor; it is never-ending, a life existing before the worlds were made.--The Signs of the Times, June 17, 1897, p. 5. {7ABC 441.3}

     From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was "the image of God," the image of His greatness and majesty, "the outshining of His glory."--The Desire of Ages, p. 19. {7ABC 441.4}

     He was one with the Father before the angels were created. --The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 17. {7ABC 441.5}

     Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore.-- The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906, p. 8. {7ABC 441.6}

     The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been claimed as His own by this Galilean Rabbi. He had announced Himself to be the self-existent One, He who had been promised to Israel, "whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity." Micah 5:2, margin. --The Desire of Ages, pp. 469, 470. {7ABC 441.7}

     In it [God's Word] we may learn what our redemption has cost Him who from the beginning was equal with the Father.-- Counsels to Parents and Teachers, p. 13. {7ABC 441.8}

          III. Three Persons in the Godhead

     There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers--the Father, the Son, and the

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Holy Spirit--those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.-- Evangelism, p. 615. {7ABC 441.9}

     The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption.--Counsels on Health, p. 222. {7ABC 442.1}

     Those who proclaim the third angel's message must put on the whole armor of God, that they may stand boldly at their post, in the face of detraction and falsehood, fighting the good fight of faith, resisting the enemy with the word, "It is written." Keep yourselves where the three great powers of heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, can be your efficiency. These powers work with the one who gives himself unreservedly to God. The strength of heaven is at the command of God's believing ones. The man who takes God as his trust is barricaded by an impregnable wall.--The Southern Watchman, Feb. 23, 1904, p. 122. {7ABC 442.2}

     Our sanctification is the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is the fulfilment of the covenant that God has made with those who bind themselves up with Him, to stand with Him, with His Son, and with His Spirit in holy fellowship. Have you been born again? Have you become a new being in Christ Jesus? Then co-operate with the three great powers of heaven who are working in your behalf. Doing this you will reveal to the world the principles of righteousness.--The Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901. {7ABC 442.3}

     The eternal heavenly dignitaries--God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit--arming them [the disciples] with more than mortal energy, . . . would advance with them to the work and convince the world of sin.--Evangelism, p. 616. {7ABC 442.4}

     We are to co-operate with the three highest powers in heaven, --the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,--and these powers will work through us, making us workers together with God.-- Ibid., p. 617. {7ABC 442.5}

     Those who are baptized in the threefold name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, at the very entrance of their Christian life declare publicly that they have forsaken the service of Satan and have become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly king.--Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 91. {7ABC 442.6}

As stated above, all of the emphases are supplied by me.  If the words and phrases are considered carefully, as they ought to be, it will be seen that there are powerful statements which explode the myth that Christ had a beginning.  Ellen G. White’s statements do not affirm the doctrine of the Trinity; but neither do they affirm one God and His son by generation before the Incarnation.  On the contrary, her references to “God and Christ,” and the name Jehovah attributed to Christ, are completely in harmony with the Old Testament revelation of two Gods, one Jehovah; and in the New Testament the declaration of a “Heavenly Trio,” and “three great powers of heaven,” “one God – ‘Jehovah Immanuel ‘shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.”  God was one in duality before the Incarnation.  He has become three persons as one God since the Incarnation.  Here a careful distinction must be made between the biblical revelation of the New Testament as expressed by Ellen G. White, and the eternal “God in three persons” of the Trinitarians.

 

Yours in defense of the increasing light of Truth,

 

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