The 1913 F. M. Wilcox "Trinity" statement revisited

Posted Apr 05, 2011 by Bobby B in General Hits: 5,142

Just found something today.  As it turns out, I think my hunch about the 1913 F. M. Wilcox "Trinity" statement being a counter reaction to Canright's accusations, were correct after all.  For those who did not read the original blog, it is Another perspective of the 1913 F. M. Wilcox "Trinity" statement.

The new discovery, is an article appearing in the April 8, 1913 edition of "Signs of the Times" entitled "Garbled Statements of Facts".  The following is a portion of that article.

"A CORRESPONDENT  sends  us  a  copy of  the  Louisville  Christian  Observer of  February  12,  containing  an  article on  the  Seventh-day  Adventists.  It  aims  to set  forth  the  views  of  Seventh-day  Adventists,  not  from  their  own  published  statements  so  much,  but  statements  from  a  disappointed,  ambitious  man  who  felt  that  his ability  was  not  sufficiently  recognized,  and who  apostatized. ..." [Canright]

"After  confessing  that it  took  him  twenty-eight  years  to  learn  that he  was  in  error,  he  claims  to  set  forth  the belief  of  Seventh-day  Adventists,  in  a  book which he publishes...." ["Adventism Renounced"]

"He  perhaps  tells  us  truly  what  he  believed once,  but  he  does  not  rightly  represent  the denomination.  For  instance,  he  declares that  among  the  chief  doctrinal  points' of Seventh-day  Adventists  are  "rejection  of the  doctrine  of  the  Trinity;  materiality  of all  things;  that  the  Bible  must  be  interpreted  to  harmonize  with  the  writings  of Mrs.  White;  that  when  Christ  comes  only 144,000  out  of  all  then  living  will  be  saved, and  all  those  will  be  Seventh-day  Adventists. ''  Now  in  the  sense  in  which  these are  set  forth  they  are  not  true...

"The  best  way  to  understand  just  what Seventh-day  Adventists  believe  is  to  read just  what  they  have  to  say.  All  of  the great  fundamental  Scriptural  views  of  the denomination  are  given  each  year  in  the SIGNS  OF  THE  TIMES,  and  these  are  taught as the  editors  understand  the  Bible  to  teach them...."

"All  that  Seventh-day  Adventists  ask  at  all is  that  fair  examination  shall  be  given  of their  teachings." [all emphasis supplied]

The short story is that someone sent a copy of "Christian  Observer" article to the editor, M. C. Wilcox.  Wilcox is obviously distraught about Canright's negative accusations, including the "rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity."  Now, it is common knowledge that M. C. Wilcox always considered himself non-Trinitarian based on his published statements into the late 1930's. 

Therefore, in what "sense" are Canright's accusations "not true"?  Evidently, M. C. Wilcox believed that people understood Canright to be accusing SDA's of rejecting the Deity of Christ, and possibly the existence of the Holy Spirit (something SDA's have never done).

M. C. Wilcox's "Signs" article appeared in April, 1913, while his brother's "Trinity" statement of belief appeared in the October RH the same year.  My guess is they discussed the issue, even at some length.  This is a huge piece of evidence for the argument that F. M. Wilcox was using the Trinity "term" loosely, and in a generic sense, and NOT as defined by standard church creeds.  This appears to be the most reasonable explanation insofar as even Froom refused to use this as "early SDA" evidence of Trinitarian belief.