POINTS TO PONDER ABOUT
THE GODHEAD CONTROVERSY
(For the SDA Layman Bible Student)

 Within the contemporary community of Seventh-day Adventists tragic conditions have developed.

There are "know-nothings" within the corporate body, like the pastor, a minister of the gospel, who told the writer of this piece (who is a layman) that he has no use for "heavy theology":  all that is necessary for salvation is a simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Needless to say, this was the general attitude reflected in his congregation.

Then there are the "know-it-alls" among the Independents who spurn formal learning in biblical exegesis, Hebrew, Greek, and the significance of grammatical construction in those ancient Bible languages.  They are a product of the doctrinal apostasy within the ranks of the leaders and teachers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which has led to a rebellion against the authority of all contemporary Seventh-day Adventist scholarship in the textual exegesis of the Bible.

They arm themselves with the Spirit of Prophecy Writings, the writings of the "pioneers," and primarily with Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible for understanding of the Hebrew and Greek.  They parade their ignorance to the learned in Bible languages, and to the unlearned who have nevertheless studied diligently; but sadly, they deceive those who have not acquired a desire for the strong meat of God's Word (See Heb. 5:12-14.)  It is from the ranks of these impostors that an anti-Trinitarian doctrine of God, a neo semi-Arianism, is spreading through the Seventh-day Adventist community like a spiritual cancer as deadly as Trinitarianism.

These self-appointed "messengers" pretentiously claim to be sounding the message of the Fourth Angel, the "Loud Cry" of Rev. 18.  The mere fact that they make this claim is proof of the spurious nature of the message.  It is highly unlikely that those who are used by God in the "Loud Cry" would be so lacking in humility as to boast that they are the messengers.

What these pseudo theologians ignore is the fact that Ellen G. White never claimed inspiration as a Bible Commentator.  To the contrary, she made a number of statements such as the following:

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. . . .(SpM 174.1)

Lay Sister White right to one side: lay her to one side. Don't you . .  quote my words again as long as you live, until you can obey the Bible. . . . 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” . . . (SpM 167.2)

As to looking to the" Pioneers" for the true doctrine of God, these self-appointed "messengers" gloss over the fact that the early Pioneers held differing, and evolving, views of the Godhead.  For example, between 1865 and 1881 Uriah Smith modified his position from Arian to semi-Arian.  The question is how can the neo semi-Arians decide which pioneer view of the Godhead to follow?  The reality is that they have made an arbitrary choice which is not based on sound biblical exegesis.  They also are ignorant of, or willfully ignore,  the Bible texts which demonstrate that knowledge and understanding of the Truth of God is an unfolding experience for minds that are led by the Holy Spirit; and in the same vein they fail to recognize the following counsel from Ellen White:

We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible.  (RH, July 26, 1892; emphasis added)

The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light. (CW 33.2; emphasis added)

As to Strong's Concordance - an authoritative work to be sure; but not sufficiently so for reliance on it as the sole, or even the primary, source of knowledge in Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek.  Scholars of the Bible languages know that there are some errors in Strong's.  One of them is the use of the Hebrew "Elohim" for the name of God in the Shema (Deut. 6:4.)  Here is the KJV translation with Strong's numbers:

KJV: HearH8085, O IsraelH3478: The LORDH3068 our GodH430 is oneH259 LORDH3068:

Strong defines number H430 as follows:

H430

אֱלֹהִים

’ĕlôhı̂ym

el-o-heem'

Plural of H433gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:—angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

That this is wrong can be demonstrated by the following, taken directly from a Jewish web page - one of many which display the same Hebrew for the Shema:

 

Shema 

 

Note the word "Eloheynu," which can also be rendered "Elohenu."  Elder Wm. H. Grotheer, in analyzing the Shema, has pointed to the correct linguistic interpretation, and its significance in determining the true Doctrine of God as revealed in the Old and New Testaments.  In "The Heavenly Trio", he wrote under the heading "The Monotheism of Israel":

Israel's monotheism is based on the Shema - "Hear, 0 Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut 6:4). There are two key words in this Shema which govern its interpretation. The first is elohenu - translated "our God;" and the second is echad, translated, "one." In The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon by Davidson, elohenu is noted as a "noun, masculine plural, with a pronominal suffix in the first person plural" (p. xxxviii). In translation, as in the Shema, it is translated as singular when applied to the God of the Hebrews, and plural when referencing the gods of the nations. (See for example, Isa. 42:17 & Hosea 14:3) Is this then not giving the Scriptures a theological translation, rather than a linguistic translation? Theologically (Jewish theology) the Shema reads - "Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord." Linguistically, it would read - "Hear, 0 Israel, Jehovah our Gods is one Jehovah."

The word, echad, is first used in Genesis 1:5. In literal translation the last part of this verse reads - "(It) was evening, (it) was morning, day one (echad)" Thus in its first use it describes duality in oneness. The second use with dual force is Genesis 2:24 - "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they two shall be one (echad) flesh." Further, Genesis 1:1 introduces God as Elohim, plural, who would suggest to an Equal, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (1:26). When Isaiah defines who Elohim is, he writes:

Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts" I am the first and the last; and besides Me there is no Elohim. (44:6)

This designation - "the first and the last" - is carried forward to the final revelation in the Scriptures, and is applied to the One who sat upon the throne, "the Almighty" (Rev. 1:8) and to the Lamb "in the midst of the throne" (Rev. 5:6; 1:10-13; 22:13). Thus the monotheism of Israel as set forth in the Old Testament, would also be the "monotheism" of the new Israel as revealed in the book of Revelation; but it has been corrupted by the Triune concept of Romanism, and is being corrupted in the current anti-Trinitarianism blowing through the corridors of Adventism. The Shema of ancient Israel could be the declaration of faith of modern spiritual Israel if linguistically translated rather than by theological presuppositions.

Elder Grotheer also addressed the issue of the correct linguistic interpretation of the Shema in WWN XXXI - 1(98), in an article titled "The Godhead." The following is a section from a chart displayed on the original page 3 of of the article:



The article was the first of six on the "Eternal Verities."  From the preface to WWN - 1(98), I quote:

In this first issue of 1998, we introduce a series on the Eternal Verities. These will be summations, with added comments, from the 1997 Seminar studies on these verities. We would suggest that each reader take time to study this first article with his Bible open, and read, not in a hurried manner, but carefully and prayerfully, asking himself, do the suggested deductions tally with the Scripture exegetically.   (Emphasis added)

I commend to you the suggestion in the sentence emphasized above, and invite you to embark on a journey of exploration of the true meaning of the texts of Scripture which reveal the biblical Doctrine of God.

WWN XXXI -1(98) Eternal Verities - 1  The Godhead - Text File
Also see WWN XXXVIII - 12(05): GOD - WHO IS HE?- Text File

"The hour has come, the hour is striking and striking at you, the hour and the end!"  Eze. 7:6 (Moffatt)