Modern Proof-text Messages

Posted Jul 12, 2011 by Rex Conklin in Exposing Spiritualising the Word Hits: 7,040

Normal 0 by Rex Conklin, with Frank Klin

Have you noticed that in modern proof-texting a single word is often used to prove a doctrine no matter how many other scriptures confirm the opposite?

A favourite text for proving the trinity is found in John chapter 17.  Jesus is in prayer to His Father and in verse twenty-one He uses a word that many Adventist theologians and philosophers agree means “three” and proves the trinity.

Blink and you’ll miss it, but see if you can find the three members of the trinity in the verse. Remember you are looking for an affirmation of three. “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” - (John 17:21 KJV)

If that single verse was not conclusive read the whole chapter for context. Still having trouble finding the three members of the trinity god? The message you were supposed to get out of the text is "Us equals three." Ask yourself where did that text message come from?

J. N. Loughborough, one of our pioneers, commented:

“Almost any portion of the New Testament we may open which has occasion to speak of the Father and Son, represents them as two distinct persons. The seventeenth chapter of John is alone sufficient to refute the doctrine of the Trinity. Over forty times in that one chapter Christ speaks of his Father as a person distinct from himself. His Father was in heaven and he upon earth. The Father had sent him. Given to him those that believed. He was then to go to the Father. And in this very testimony he shows us in what consists the oneness of the Father and Son. It is the same as the oneness of the members of Christ's church. "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." Of one heart and one mind. Of one purpose in all the plan devised for man's salvation. Read the seventeenth chapter of John, and see if it does not completely upset the doctrine of the Trinity.” {Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, November 5, 1861}

Sister White wrote the following recommendation, “I say let Elder Loughborough do a work that is suffering to be done in the churches. The Lord would have his voice heard as was John's, telling the things he has seen, and that which he has heard, which he himself has experienced in the rise and progress of the third angel's message.” {E. G. White, 1888 Materials, p. 716}

The above words came twenty-seven years after Elder Loughborough wrote his statements about the 17th chapter of John. If he was in error why would Sister White write her admonition?  It is interesting how the prophet singles out the writings of the apostle John in reference in her endorsement of Elder Loughborough.

For an additional witness let’s look at some other verses from the New Testament to help identify the “us” Jesus was referring to in the seventeenth chapter of John.

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;” - (Mark 1:1)

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God…Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead…To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” - (Romans 1:1, 3-4, 7)

“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, as there be gods many, and lords many, but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.” - (1 Corinthians 8:5-6; 2 Corinthians 11:31)

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” - (1 John 2:22)

“Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” - (1 Timothy 1:2)

“To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.” - (Titus 1:4)

“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:” - (Galatians 1:3-4)

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” - (Ephesians 1:2-3)

“Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” - (Ephesians 6:23)

“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,” - (Colossians 1:2-3)

“Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” - (2 John 1:3)

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.” - (Jude 1:1-2)

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” - (1 Thessalonians 1:1-3)

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” - (1 Peter 1:2-3)

“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:” - (Ephesians 1:15-17)

“Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” - (2 Corinthians 1:2-4)

“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - (Romans 15:5-6)

There’s an overwhelming weight of evidence in the above Text Messages to identify who Jesus was referring to when He used the word “Us” in John 17:21. This evidence will also help determine the meaning of “Us” from another verse in the Old Testament that has been used to promote a triune god.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” - (Genesis 1:26)

Sister White understood the message when she wrote, “Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Christ. His countenance, like those of the other angels, was mild and expressive of happiness. His forehead was high and broad, showing great intelligence. His form was perfect; his bearing noble and majestic. But when God said to His Son, "Let us make man in our image," Satan was jealous of Jesus. He wished to be consulted concerning the formation of man, and because he was not, he was filled with envy, jealousy, and hatred. He desired to receive the highest honors in heaven next to God.”  {Early Writings, page 145 par. 1}

“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, "Let us make man in our image." {Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, January 9, 1879 par. 13}

“The relation between the Father and the Son, and the personality of both, are made plain in this scripture also:

Thus speaketh Jehovah 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 Jehovah; . . .
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." Zechariah 6:12, 13, A. R. V.
{Ellen G. White, Testimonies to the Church Vol. 8, page 269 par. 5}

“And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” The love of the Father, no less than of the Son, is the fountain of salvation for the lost race. Said Jesus to his disciples, before he went away, “I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you.” [John 16:26, 27.] God was “in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” [2 Corinthians 5:19.] And in the ministration in the sanctuary above, “the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.]  {Ellen G. White, 1911 Great Controversy page 416 par. 4}

You will not have the benefit of an appropriate text message unless you follow William Miller’s rules of interpretation. Sister White knew this to be true when she counseled,

“Those who are engaged in proclaiming the third angel's message are searching the Scriptures upon the same plan that Father Miller adopted. In the little book entitled "Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology," Father Miller gives the following simple but intelligent and important rules for Bible study and interpretation: {Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, November 25, 1884 par. 23}

1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible; 2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study; 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering; 4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error; 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible."  {Ibid, par. 24}

The above is a portion of these rules; and in our study of the Bible we shall all do well to heed the principles set forth.”  {Ibid, par. 25}

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” - (Luke 10:21)

“Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. - (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)