The Trinity: Understanding God's Love, His Plan of Salvation, and Christian Relationships

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Review and Herald Pub Assoc, 2002 - Religion - 288 pages
Among Seventh-day Adventists the doctrine of the Trinity is often taken for granted. But increasingly it is opposed by a small minority who have retreated to the anti-Trinitarian position of the pioneers. In response the authors, each a specialist in his field, trace the doctrine of the Trinity through Scripture, church history, and the writings of Ellen G. White.; ; The first section surveys the biblical foundations of the doctrine and addresses objections that have been raised. Other sections trace the development of the doctrine in Christian history, in Adventist history, and in the writings of Ellen White. The authors explain why the doctrine was resisted by many of the leading pioneers.; ; The final section asks "So what?" It discusses the theological and practical implications of Trinitarian belief, worship, and practice, showing how it affects what we believe about salvation, atonement, the great controversy, and other significant doctrines. With glossaries, bibliography, and index, this comprehensive primer on the Trinity will shed new light on the central beliefs of Christianity, and show how God still leads His church into all truth. - Introduction; SECTION ONE--The Biblical Evidence for the Full Deity of Christ, the Personality of the Spirit, and the Unity and Oneness of the Godhead; Chapter 1: The Strongest Bible Evidence for the Trinity; Chapter 2: The Full and Eternal Deity of Christ: Part I--The New Testament Epistles, the Old; Testament, and the Gospels; Chapter 3: The Full and Eternal Deity of Christ: Part II--The Gospel of John; Chapter 4: The Personality and Deity of the Spirit and the Triune Oneness of the Godhead; Chapter 5: Trinitarian Evidences in the Book of Revelation; Chapter 6: Biblical Objections to the Trinity; Chapter 7: Logical Objections to the Trinity; SECTION TWO--The History of the Trinity Doctrine From A.D. 100 to A.D. 1500; SECTION THREE--Trinity and Anti-Trinitarianism From the Reformation to the Advent; Movement; SECTION FOUR--The Doctrine of the Trinity and Its Implications for Christian Thought and Practice; Index
 

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"In the spirit of the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist church, the authors of this book firmly hold the following conviction: if we cannot support any teaching biblically, we do not want it." (The Trinity pg. 10) "We will be very candid with our readers--if it is not biblical we do not want it, even if the vast majority of authorities in the religious world endorse it (including Adventist pioneers and the theologians of 'Babylon')." (The Trinity pg.11) "The only way for the pioneers in their context to effectively separate Scripture from tradition was to abandon every doctrine not clearly supported from the Bible alone. Thus they initially rejected the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, which clearly contained elements not evident in Scripture." (The Trinity pg. 202) "To whom should we direct our petitions and adoration in personal devotions and corporate worship?...But what about direct prayer to the Holy Spirit? While we have no clear example of or direct command to pray to the Spirit in Scripture, doing so does have, in principle, some implicit biblical support. If the Spirit is indeed divine and personal and He interacts in all sorts of direct personal ways (bringing conviction, healing, transforming grace, granting gifts, etc.), it only seems logical that God's people can pray directly to and worship the Holy Spirit...In sum--if the persons of the Godhead are truly one in nature, character, and purpose, then it seems only logical and practical to address appropriate petitions and praises to any one of the heavenly Trio at any given time and situation." (The Trinity pg. 272, 273 emphasis supplied).
I read this book with eager excitement, yet was sadly disappointed. The writers of this book seem disingenuous at least, or outright dishonest at worst. Is it really possible to claim strict Biblical "proof" of the modern Adventist version of the Trinity doctrine, while at the same time candidly admitting there is "no example of" anyone in the bible ever praying to or worshipping the Holy Spirit? Nor, is there any "direct command" anywhere in Scripture that we should worship or pray to the Holy Spirit! In other words no one in the entire Bible ever worshiped or prayed to the Holy Spirit, but we are all told to do so anyway! For many people, praying to and worshipping the Holy Spirit "seems logical and practical." Yet, praying to Mary and worshipping dead saints seems very logical and practical for over a billion people. Now, everyone is entitled to their own belief or opinion, but why try to cram this new speculative opinion about the Trinity down our throats? Some may say, "the writers of this book are not being dogmatic about their opinions and speculations, they are just trying to make sense of all the Trinity confusion." Yet, the practical definition of dogmatic dogmatism is when Pastors are fired, and laypersons disfellowshipped from Adventist churches because of variant interpretations of the "Trinity" as defined by the 28 Fundamental beliefs. If Adventist's are not required to strictly adhere to only one interpretation of the Trinity doctrine, then why make it a test of fellowship in the first place? In fact, the greatest irony of all is that "The Trinity" book belittles the early Adventist pioneer's non-trinitarian views while praising the development of modern Adventist trinitarianism as the only Biblical and legitimate form of the doctrine. Did you catch that? Modern Adventism claims that all Christian trinitarian creeds contain elements of "Greek philosophy," unbiblical speculation and human tradition. Therefore, modern Adventism cannot subscribe or endorse ANY Christian Trinity creed, and by definition, would be classified as non-Trinitarian by them all. Now that's irony. Even though modern Adventism has evolved its own unique "Trinitarian" perspective, the Adventist church has always been non-Trinitarian.
 

Contents

THE STRONGEST BIBLE EVIDENCE FOR THE TRINITY
21
THE FULL AND ETERNAL DEITY OF CHRIST PART IThe New Testament Epistles the Old Testament and the Gospels
37
THE FULL AND ETERNAL DEITY OF CHRIST PART II The Gospel of John
52
GRAMMATICAL EXPLANATION OF JOHN 11 The Word Was God
61
THE PERSONALITY AND DEITY OF THE SPIRIT AND THE TRIUNE ONENESS OF THE GODHEAD The Personality of the Spirit
66
TRINITARIAN EVIDENCES IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION
78
BIBLICAL OBJECTIONS TO THE TRINITY
92
OTHER TEXTS USED AGAINST THE TRINITY
108
Bibliography For Section Two
160
Glossary For Section Three
162
THE TRINITY IN THE REFORMATION ERA FOUR VIEWPOINTS
166
TRINITY AND ANTITRINITARIANISM IN EARLY AMERICA
182
TRINITY AND ANTITRINITARIAN ISM IN SEVENTHDAY ADVENTIST HISTORY
190
ELLEN WHITES ROLE IN THE TRINITY DEBATE
204
ELLEN WHITE ON THE TRINITY The Basic Primary Documents
221
Bibliography For Section Three
232

LOGICAL OBJECTIONS TO THE TRINITY
113
Bibliography For Section One
118
Glossary For Section Two
122
THE TRINITY IN THE FIRST AND SECOND CENTURIES
124
THE TRINITY IN THE THIRD AND FOURTH CENTURIES
135
THE TRINITY IN THE MIDDLE AGES
151
WHY THE TRINITY IS IMPORTANT PART IThe Love of God and the Deity of Christ
243
WHY THE TRINITY IS IMPORTANT PART II The Holy Spirit and the Triune Oneness of the Godhead
256
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
272
Bibliography For Section Four
281
Index
282
Copyright

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