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PERSONALITIES OF THE GODHEAD AND THE

"OMEGA HERESY" IN ADVENTISM

by Derrick Gillespie

Choice Quote from this Presentation: "Many too, when confronted with the
force of the already established truth in Adventism about the Holy Spirit's
identity as the "third" of "three holiest beings of heaven", pass it off as being
a truth not as important as accepting that Jesus is the real and literal Son of
the Father, who was really begotten from all eternity. This betrays an equally
potent heresy, because an important truth that is already established about a
Godhead person is being DENIED and downplayed in favor of another truth.
How ironic, and how sad, because servants who wish to have "no guile in
their mouths", find themselves falling prey to the same "father of lies" who
deceived many into thinking that Jesus is not a real Son of the Father in the
"begotten" sense"!! Yet, if the purity of the truth of Jesus being the literal
Son of the Father, as a separate being, is to be preserved it must relate to the
fact that he and the Father CANNOT be the same being at the same time as
the Holy Spirit."

INTRODUCTION:

It is always of great interest to me to see how certain groups within the SDA
Church interpret the "omega" prophecy of Ellen White, and usually point the
finger away from themselves. I am NOW of the view that the "omega heresy"
relates to a wide spectrum of heresies (being entertained by various groups
within Adventism; by Trinitarians and anti-Trinitarians alike) that deny
certain already established truths in Adventism about the personalities
within the Godhead, since E.G. White did hint that this prophecy would center
around "controversies" (in our Church) related to the "personalities" of the
Godhead. Many jump to the rather untenable conclusion that this prophecy only
relate to the acceptance of a trinity (i.e. a literal trio of beings) in Adventism's
theology, but fail to tie together the loose ends of this interpretation in light of
what really happened in Adventism's history. Why do I say so? Because in their
haste to become "accusers of the brethren" they never stopped to think this one
through carefully. Some even go as far as saying that any acceptance of the
personalities of the Godhead in any "blended" way (no matter the context of the
expression) amounts to the "omega" heresy. I find that rather ironic though, for
several reasons.

Many of these individuals feel that the Holy Spirit is not a third being of the
Godhead, and is simply the united presence or personalities of the Father and
Christ in a rather mystical way; an essence that has no distinct personality or
identity of his own, even if he has some semblance of being an entity!! Now,
truth be told? Ironically, this teaching is one of the greatest examples of the
"blending" of personalities of the Father and Son that does exist in Adventism!!
Why? Because if you make the Holy Spirit simply the literal and united
personage/presence of BOTH the Father and Son at the same time, then you
make neither the Father or Son their own separate persons, or beings in and of
themselves; beings who are in fact being "Represented" by "the" third being
(the Holy Spirit) as if they themselves are present. Fancy that!! And yet it
usually this heresy (in and of itself) that is seen usually pointing the accusative
finger at those it thinks is fulfilling the "omega" heresy. Here is the simple
truth!!

a] Mrs. White never once hinted that "who" the Holy Spirit is should be
considered a "mystery", but always said "what" he is certainly is a "mystery"
(just like how she equally said "what" God is certainly is a "mystery" as well;
one that we should not dare even touch). Yet many seek to confuse the words
"what" and "who" when discussing the Holy Spirit, while unwittingly denying
that

b] Mrs. White was soooo plain that the Holy Spirit is one of "the THREE
holiest BEINGS of heaven", that "he personifies Christ, yet is a distinct
personality" (how much plainer can one get?), that he is "sent" by both Father
and Son as "the [specific article] third person of the Godhead" (i.e. he is the
THIRD of "three holiest BEINGS of heaven"), that he is one who "is a person
AS God is a person", because "he [himself] has a personality" (NOT that he is
the personality of another', but notice he himself "has a personality") and so
therefore in conclusion she was pointed that he "is ALSO a divine person". She
was so pointed in always talking about "three"
beings/personalities/persons of the Godhead (all descriptive words used by
her), that it amounts to the purest form of HERESY (!!) to deny that this is
indeed an already established truth in Adventism long before the 1900s
came around.

In fact, a stalwart of pioneering Adventism, A.T. Jones, demonstrated his full


conversion to this new pioneering thinking after the controversial 1888
Conference, and the subsequent and controversial publishing of Trinitarian
teachings in Adventism for the first time way back in 1892 (through the Spear's
Trinitarian article, "The Bible Doctrine of the Trinity", thus trinitarianism could
not be itself the "omega" coming before "Kellogg's "alpha heresies" thereafter),
when he said in 1899:
“God is one [person]. Jesus Christ is one [i.e. another person]. The Holy Spirit is one [the
third person of three]. And these three are one: there is no dissent nor division
among them.”
-A. T. Jones, Review and Herald, January 10, 1899, 24

Notice carefully his 1899 use of the trinitarian language "no dissent nor
division AMONG THEM", when he spoke of "these three" being "one" in
the Godhead (i.e. they are not one undivided substance of the traditional
Trinity teaching, but are literally subsistent beings). Only when three [or more]
beings are in focus do you use the expression "among them" (and not "between
them"; an expression which would have suggested only two beings involved in
the Godhead). This is perfectly clear as to what A.T. Jones had come to accept
long before Mrs. White died in 1915, yet this is a truth many are denying today.

Many too, when confronted with the force of the already established truth in
Adventism about the Holy Spirit's identity as the "third" of "three holiest
beings of heaven", pass it off as not being as important as accepting that
Jesus is the real and literal Son of the Father, who was really begotten from
all eternity. This betrays an equally potent heresy, because an important truth
that is already established about a Godhead person is being DENIED and
downplayed in favor of another truth. How ironic, and how sad, because
servants who wish to have "no guile in their mouths", find themselves falling
prey to the same "father of lies" who deceived many into thinking that Jesus
is not a real Son of the Father in the "begotten" sense!! Yet, if the purity of
the truth of Jesus being the literal Son of the Father, as a separate being, is
to be preserved it must relate to the fact that he and the Father CANNOT be
the same being at the same time as the Holy Spirit.

No wonder Adventism's pioneer, J.H. Waggoner, had sensibly but unwittingly


indicated that:

“A Trinity is three persons. To recognize [admit to] a


trinity [the true type], the distinction between the Father
and Son must be preserved.”

-J.H. Waggoner, 1884, The


Atonement, pgs. 167-169

Thus a TRUE trinity in not (supposed to be) a single being, as


critics rightfully charge the Roman Catholics to be teaching.
Yet, if in Adventism, since 1892, and long before 1931, the
three beings in the Godhead (and in fact trinitariansim through
Dr. Spear’s article) were directly affirmed by a leading editor in
the church, then as sure as trilogy, tricycle, triennial, triplicate,
trident, tripod, and tripartite all relate to “three” distinct, but
related entities, pioneering Adventism became supportive of a
“trinity” in the Godhead (if even not by orthodoxy).
This now leads me to declare my full belief in the already established truth
from the days of pioneering Adventism that Jesus is indeed the TRUE AND
LITERAL SON of the Father in the "begotten" sense from all eternity. And
while it is an already established truth that he is fully eternal, as a distinct being
from the Father, yet it should not be denied that:

“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten


Son – not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a
son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son
begotten in the express image of the Father’s Person,
and in all the brightness of His majesty and glory, One
equal with God*IN AUTHORITY, [notice] DIGNITY [rank,
office, title], and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the
fullness of the Godhead bodily”.

E.G. White, Signs of the Times, May


30,1895

This is where many of those who rightfully accept a trinity of the Godhead are
in DENIAL (one which actually amounts to heresy, and is certainly part of the
"omega" as well).

WHAT TRUTHS ARE BEING DENIED IN THE


"OMEGA" HERESIES?
In Part 1 of the presentation, it was made clear that any
denial that the Holy Spirit is the third of "the three
holiest beings of heaven" is not only a denial of what
Adventism's chief pioneer (E.G. White) taught (and
hence must be considered part of the "omega heresies"
as well), but this denial also unwittingly denies that the
truth about Jesus and the Father being separate beings
can only be truly preserved if they are "represented" by
the Holy Spirit as a "third" separate being. Why?
Because if the Holy Spirit is simply the literal being and
literal presence of both the Father and Son at the same
time, then the only inescapable conclusion is that they
in fact are not separate beings, but are "blended"
together like conjoined Siamese twin, in order to own
the same literal presence and being at the same time.
This "blending" of identities is what both the traditional
Trinity teaches, as well as (ironically) the teaching of
those who deny that the Holy Spirit is a third being of
the Godhead. Yet we see clearly in the Bible that:

a] If the Holy Spirit is owned by both the Father and the Son *at
the same time, and Scripture is replete with the Holy Spirit
being depicted as personal, and is listed separately from Father
and Son in very many Scriptures, and

b] If both Jesus and the Father equally sends the Spirit to us,
and

c] If a "sent" and a "sender" must logically be personally


separate (it would be absurd otherwise, *unless one is a "Jesus
only" or "Sabellian" believer), and

d] If both Father and Son could not send themselves (that too
would be absurd), and

e] If the Father is *never sent by Jesus, since the Father is *not


subject to or led ("Headed") by Jesus, but both Jesus and the
Spirit are owned by the Father, and both speak/act in response
to the Father who leads them both, and sends them both, and
f] If the Holy Spirit intercedes to the Father for us in our praying
(not in human priestly function as the Jesus the Lamb, or the
one Mediator does, but the Spirit influences our prayers, and
God reads the mind of the Spirit in us to know what is meant
when we pray), and

g] If the Father could not intercede to himself (that would be


equally absurd), then

*THE ONLY LOGICAL CONCLUSION WHICH SATISFIES *ALL THE RULES OF LOGIC *AT THE
SAME TIME IS THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSONAL "REPRESENTATIVE" OWNED BY
BOTH FATHER AND SON, AS A THIRD AND SEPARATE PERSON! IN THAT ROLE HE CAN BE
SENT BY BOTH AS THEIR OMNI-PRESENT 'EMISSARY', AND NONE BE SEEN AS
RIDICULOUSLY SENDING THEMSELVES (AS SABELLIANS OR 'JESUS ONLY' PRPOPONENTS
BELIEVE)!! AND THUS WE CAN SEE WHY BOTH FATHER AND SON WHO SAID, "WE WILL
COME TO YOU AND MAKE OUR ABODE WITH YOU", "COMES" *REPRESENTATIONALLY
THROUGH THE AGENCY OF THE SPIRIT AS IF THEY THEMSELVES ARE LITERALLY PRESENT!
THE SPIRIT CAN ALSO INTERCEDE TO THE FATHER FOR US, BUT *ONLY IN OUR PRAYING,
AS HE RESIDES IN OUR HEARTS/MINDS, AND IT WOULD MAKE PERFECT SENSE ALL
AROUND, SINCE THE FATHER WOULD NOT BE RIDICULOUSLY SEEN AS INTERCEDING TO
HIMSELF. THESE CRUCIAL FACTS IRREFUTABLY PROVE THE *NECESSITY OF THE
DISTINCTLY LISTED HOLY SPIRIT BEING A "THIRD" OR SEPARATE PERSONAL BEING IN
THE GODHEAD; A GODHEAD OF FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT-- ALL WORKING IN
UNISON, AS 1 COR. 12:4-6,11 CLEARLY SHOWS, AND THUS INDICATING WHY MATTHEW
28:19 LISTS THEM SEPARATELY IN JESUS' OWN WORDS!! WHO KNOWS THE TRUTH
BETTER THAN JESUS HIMSELF SENT TO REVEAL IT TO US?

This inescapable biblical reality makes it plain why Mrs. White


led the S.D.A. Church to accept that the Holy Spirit is "the
third person of the Godhead", but he not literally sharing one
indivisible substance with the Father and Son, but rather he is
the "third" of "three holiest BEINGS of Heaven"!! It would take
much twisting of plain English and denial of fundamental
doctrine (which is what "heresy" is) to teach otherwise and
remain an Adventist. Yet this what Ellen White predicted would
have happened in the "omega"- heresies as it concerns the
personalities of the Godhead.

In the compiled book called “Selected Messages, Volume 1”, on


pages 197-204, (excepted from “Special Testimonies”, Series
B, No. 2; a compilation of some of Mrs. White’s late
manuscripts,) there is a reference to a future ‘heresy’ that was
to come after her time (she died in 1915). In this writing she
compares the “alpha of deadly heresies”, of Dr Kellogg in 1903
, to a future “omega” of likewise “deadly heresies” that, quote,
“would follow in a little while” (Selected Messages, Volume 1,
pg. 203). While she explained what the “alpha heresy” was
then, she did not explain the future “omega heresy”, but left
its explanation up to the insightful among the future members,
who would use careful rules of prophetic interpretation to find
its fulfillment.

But lest we become mis-interpreters of this prophecy of


Adventism's leading pioneer, let us be reminded that Mrs.
White wrote most of her clear statements on the “Three
Persons" of the Godhead or, better yet, of the "three holiest
beings of heaven" after the ‘pantheism crisis’, had developed
within the Adventist Church, led by Dr Kellogg through his
1903 book, "Living Temple". One only has to note the years of
her manuscripts that especially mentioned the “Heavenly Trio”
or the “Three Dignitaries and Powers of Heaven”, etc., and this
truth becomes clear, very clear. Dr Kellogg, who later left the
Adventist Church, was trying to teach that the “essence” of
God was His presence in nature and in all life. This was clearly
pantheism and Mrs. White came out strongly against it after
1903, named it for what it was, and denounced it. Here
following is a sample of that fact.

“The theory that God is *AN ESSENCE PERVADING ALL NATURE [pantheism] is
received by many who profess to believe the scriptures; but however beautifully clothed
this theory is a most dangerous deception. It misrepresents God, and is a dishonor to His
greatness and majesty. And it surely tends not only to mislead, but to debase men… The
result of accepting it is separation from God”.

-E.G. White-Ministry of Healing, 1905, pg. 248

“Pantheistic theories are not sustained by the word of God. The light of His truth shows that
these theories are soul-destroying agencies”.

E.G. White- Review and Herald, Jan. 21, 1904, pg. 9

"In the book Living Temple there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies.
The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to
heed the warning God has given."
- E.G. White, Selected Messages, pg. 200

"Separate from the influence exerted by the book Living Temple; for it
contains specious sentiments. There are in it sentiments that are entirely true,
but these are mingled with error. Scriptures are taken out of their
connection, and are used to uphold erroneous theories"
-E.G. White, August 7, 1904, Selected Messages, Vol. 1, pg. 199

That is one of the clearest ‘no holds-barred’ rejection, that we


have on record, of what Mrs. White saw as false doctrine about
the Godhead. Here, the leading pioneer, and “watchman
on the walls of Zion”, did not ignore the issue or fail to
say what was God’s attitude to this representation of
the Godhead. She could not do otherwise since she was
‘God’s mouthpiece’ in the Church. The greatest doctrinal
errors within or without, *ABOUT THE GODHEAD, must
be laid bare. The trumpet was thus sounded, as she had
sounded it time and time again in the past on the
subject of the Godhead!

What did she then hold up as the truth in its place? This is
probably the most fascinating part of the story and dear reader
you should take note. In its place she clearly taught that the
“essence of God” is, firstly, one that is *PERSONAL. “The
existence of *A PERSONAL GOD” is in reality “the
*UNITY of Christ with His Father”, she said in one place.
Secondly, she taught that the “essence of God” is
exhibited in the life and character of the man Christ
Jesus and that, ultimately, the complete “essence of
God” is itself exhibited in the Godhead unity of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit--- in other words
“THE ETERNAL GODHEAD”. She even went as far as
saying Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all "pledge" to
"receive" and be "A FATHER" to us, and she is on record
praying to all three that she calls the "three Great
Worthies"!! Never, ever, did she speak out against a
trinity, or against Kellogg's acceptance of the Holy Spirit
being a third being of the Godhead....only directly
against Kellogg's mixing of pantheism with the truth
about the Godhead.

But in her treatment of the "alpha of deadly heresies"


propagated by Dr Kellogg, we see that she upheld the truth of
the Godhead being comprised of three personal beings; not a
Godhead that is an impersonal essence pervading all of the
universe!!
Therefore I maintain, that the "omega" heresies that were
to follow after Mrs. White's departure could not have
been an acceptance of a trinity in the Godhead per se,
since the SDA Church had been endorsing that truth
ever since 1892, but the "omega" must mean a denial of
fundamental truths already established about those
three Godhead persons!!

TRINITARIAN DENIALS:

Some today, on the Trinitarian side in Adventism, have not


only denied that Jesus was indeed begotten by the Father from
all eternity (a truth Mrs. White and all the SDA pioneers
upheld, just like all Trinitarians historically), but, in their poor
handling of the truth that a trinity or literal trio of separate
beings are indeed in the Godhead, have gone to the extreme
of teaching that they are all eternally self-originate beings who
are simply 'role playing' as Father and Son, and Holy Spirit.
Others (not all) have even been reverting to the traditional
Trinity explanation (i.e. the three sharing one indivisible
substance) because they think this is what Mrs. White's
teaching meant when using the expression "of one substance"
about Father and Son. These are clearly all part of the denial of
what the pioneers came to believe and accept about the
Godhead. Closeness to what Catholics believe about the three
persons of the Godhead does not mean we should not note the
critical differences. As Adventists we have been entrusted with
truths that differ from what Roman Catholics teach, no matter
the closeness of certain common truths that we share.
ANTI-TRINTARIAN DENIALS:

Then there are those in Adventism, however, who are so ‘anti-


Catholic’, and so ‘anti-Trinity’, that the real truth gets ‘lost’ on
them, or gets “thrown out” by them, in their passionate or
emotional bid to be ‘separate’. And in this bid to appear not to
have anything even distantly resembling what ‘Catholics’
believe about the “Eternal Godhead”, they go to the extreme of
twisting and even denying the very root meanings of certain
words that have long been historically used in Adventism.
Though to an honest, unbiased thinker, that action would
appear ridiculous, if not dishonest, however, to some
dissidents in Adventism today, calling themselves ‘Adventists’,
that is what the message of Rev. 14:6-12 seemingly call upon
them to do: twist and deny. And yet they wish not to have any
doctrinal “guile in their mouth” regarding the Godhead.

Notice carefully some words and phrases, which


though they have long been used in Adventism from its
pioneering days, some in the Church today twist or deny even
their very root meanings, in order to appear ‘anti-Trinitarian’.
To them the following has nothing to do with what the
dictionary says:

WORDS USED BY THE SDA PIONEERS, BEING DENIED BY


SOME TODAY
“the Eternal Godhead”- does not mean “three persons” or
"three holiest beings of heaven" with the ‘divine nature’, but
the Father only

“Trio”- does not mean three persons or beings but only two (a
‘duo’)

“Third”- (when it relates to the Holy Spirit) does not mean


separate from and

coming after 1st and 2nd, but an extension of 1st

“Person”- (when it relates to the Holy Spirit) does not always


mean an individual being but sometimes a ‘split-personality’ of
another person, similar to what a mad-man has (when it
relates to the Holy Spirit)

“From all eternity” – when it relates to Jesus, it does not


mean the complete measure of eternity, but ‘partial eternity’
or ‘everlasting in a limited sense’

“Of one substance”- when it relates to Jesus in the divine


sense, it does not mean that He and the Father, different
persons, have “the same attributes”, but must mean they are
the same identical being numerically, however when used of
Jesus in the human sense it does mean that He is related to
us, as a different person, but is not an extension of us
“Equal in dignity”- when it relates to Jesus, it does not mean
He is on the same level with the Father, but inferior in rank,
title, or office, while being equal in nature only with Him

“One in authority”- when it relates to Jesus, it does not


mean equal or united in authority, but ‘next to’, or ‘inferior’ in
authority to the Father

Now if these denials are not “heresies”, or


‘denials of fundamental doctrine’, as it concerns
the meanings of words used in the “Godhead”
doctrine, then what is? If this is not doctrinal
‘confusion’ of the highest order, and even
dishonesty, then what is?

NO WONDER WHEN MRS. WHITE WROTE ABOUT THE


"OMEGA" TO COME SHE WROTE THAT SHE "TREMBLED
FOR OUR PEOPLE", BECAUSE WE WOULD NOT HEED THE
WARNING NOT TO ENTER INTO CONTROVERSY OVER
THE GODHEAD, BUT TO MAINTAIN THE LANDMARKS OF
TRUTH ALREADY ESTABLISHED ABOUT THEM, AS
"IMMORTALIZED" IN HER WRITINGS; WRITINGS
FUNCTIONING AS A "LESSER LIGHT" LEADING US BACK
TO THE GREATER LIGHT OF GOD'S WORD IN THE BIBLE.

“All… truths are immortalized in my writings. The Lord never


denies His word. Men may set up scheme after scheme, and the
enemy will seek to seduce souls from the truth, but all who
believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has
given her a message, will be safe from many delusions that will
come in these last days”

–E.G. White- Manuscript Release, pg. 22, 23

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND APPEAL

Let me now close with my personal experience. In 1998 I was confronted


squarely with the challenge that the Trinity issue in our Church
needed revisiting, and after agonizing over the contrasting
expressions of our early pioneers and certain of the present
teachings I went on my knees before God and asked him to
help me learn the truth. He answered, and made me realize
that the errors that existed in my Church was not just on the
side of those teaching the unorthodox "three self-originated
beings" version of the Trinity, but certain errors were also
being entertained by those also opposed to it. He made me
realize that the truth was not in the extremes (i.e. the
Athanasian Trinity or outright anti-Trinitarianism), but rather
was in the middle, and that if one accepts the relational
Trinity with the Father as the Source of all (i.e the
"relationship-based" Godhead of "three holiest beings of
Heaven" that A.T. Jones accepted in 1899, that F.M. Wilcox
declared in 1913, and that the SDA Church started to align
itself with since 1892 without rebuke from Mrs. White),
then I would be safe. Since then I have noticed how very
easily this approach relates to the truth of the Bible, and I am
yet to see where there is any contradiction.
I have seen that the battle for truth in our church is an
indication that Satan realizes that the best way to overcome
the remnant is to have us divided over what should hold us
together- the Word. He did the same thing with the apostolic
Church, and hence why Christianity is the most divided religion
today...a testimony to it being the greatest target from the
Enemy of souls. But God's true sheep will hear his voice and
will follow. For that I am not worried. My prayer is that he will
use me, a puny worm in His service (despite my painful and
ongoing failures), to do my little bit to cause his truth to
triumph eventually, but only and always through the power
that comes from His Holy Spirit that represents Him
everywhere. My prayer too is that his people (on both the
Trinitarian and anti-Trinitarian sides) will listen to his voice,
and unite around the real biblical truths that have been
gradually hammered out by our pioneers, and realize that only
God is infallible, and sometimes we must be prepared to
accept that we were wrong on some issues (the pioneers
themselves recognized this fact). Only then can we really unite
and finish the work given to us as a people in these closing
days of earth's history.