Belief # 2. Godhead
Bulletin for The 53rd General Conference Session
Session 5 ( April 23rd 1980 )
page 8, fourth column we can read about
GC President Neal Wilson introduces the change in our Fundamental Beliefs
page 9 - third column Neal Wilson says,
“We are not suggesting changing any belief or doctrine that this church has held. We have no interest in tearing up any of the foundations of historical Adventism.”
This can be a true statement depending on how far back you go in defining where you consider “historical Adventist theology” to be. If we only go back 30 years, then yes, there would be no fundamental change in the published beliefs. The use of the words “divine Trinity” appeared in a 1913 Review and Herald article and again in the 1931 Year Book. But neither of these were the product of corporate church-wide discussion and concensus nor were they officially approved by the General Conference in session. But they served as precedence upon which the above claim could be made in 1980.
On the other hand, if the boundaries of “historical Adventist theology” is extended back to the inception of Adventist publications in the 1850s and included the next 50 to 60 years, a period that Ellen White repeatedly referenced in her many statements about “the past fifty years”, then the proposed beliefs in 1980 represent a dramatic change in the pillars of our faith.
page 9, 4th column W.Duncan Eva says they are “restating, not changing” the beliefs.
page 11 bottom 1st column begins discussion on Trinity. It continues to bottom 2nd column p. 14 and then sent off to committee.
Read transcript of discussion as it appears in the GC Bulletin for Session 5.
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Session 6 ( April 24th )
page 15 2nd column begins Baptismal Vow changes
page 18 continues Godhead discussion with FB3 “God the Father” bottom of column 1 column 4 starts “the Son”
page 19, 4th column begins “Holy Spirit”
page 20 middle 1st column Harold Lance comments on Desire of Ages, page 671
“Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power.”
A study on the use of “only” shows these related quotations by Ellen White:
“The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness.” Desire of Ages p. 324
“Christ is the source of every right impulse. He is the only one that can implant in the heart enmity against sin.” Steps to Christ p. 26 1893
“There is but one power that can break the hold of evil from the hearts of men, and that is the power of God in Jesus Christ. Only through the blood of the Crucified One is there cleansing from sin. His grace alone can enable us to resist and subdue the tendencies of our fallen nature.” Testimonies vol. 8 p. 291 1903
“There is only one power that can turn the sinner from sin to holiness—the power of Christ. Our Redeemer is the only one who can take away sin.” Review & Herald, June 2, 1903
“The power of Christ alone can work the transformation in heart and mind that all must experience who would partake with Him of the new life in the kingdom of heaven.” Review & Herald, March 19, 1908; Testimonies vol. 9 p. 156 May 31, 1909.
“Union with Christ is our only means for overcoming sin.” That I May Know Him, p. 318.4
Confusion between the Godhead and the Trinity
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