Who is the Adventist Jesus

Posted Jun 13, 2010 by Adrian Ebens in Adventist History Hits: 4,282

I recently acquired a copy of Who is the Adventist Jesus by Evangelical writer and researcher Elmer Wiebe. I thought it would be interesting to get his assessment of Adventism and its view of Jesus.

Wiebe speaks as a creedal Protestant and provides a perfect litmus test for how a “real Trinitarian” looks at Adventism. His analysis is quite refreshing when dealing with Adventist efforts to convince the world that we are true Trinitarians. His commentary is naturally damning considering his position as a Protestant Trinitarian.

It is evident that Wiebe has received plenty of inside Adventist information. The forward is written by a former knowledgeable Adventist and this has allowed Wiebe to access a lot of information. He quotes all our pioneers from many sources as well as current Adventist literature.

There were two main areas of interest to me; his assessment of Froom and Andersen’s deception practised on Martin and Barnhouse (See page 50 onwards) and his assessment of Ellen White.

Wiebe makes this penetrating statement on page 161 onwards as to the church's claim that Ellen White became a Trinitarian. His charge against her of denying the full diety of Jesus is natural considering his starting point. Note carefully what he says:

With the evidence of at least ten different prominent Seventh-day Adventist leaders, we see by looking at their quotes that they were not in agreement with addressing God as the Triune God. All the early Adventists either had an Arian or semi-Arian view of God where Jesus was either created or at the least, didn't have the same nature as God the Father. It is interesting that Ellen G. White referred to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as being the three great powers, the heavenly trio. In the worse case, this could be understood a tritheism view of the Godhead, but at best, leaving the interpretation open to all kinds of views of the Godhead with this sloppy language. Unlike the Seventh-day Adventist Church today, she did not believe that persons meant exactly the same as beings. The term being referred exclusively to the Father and the Son who were personal beings. According to the first chapter of "Why Was Sin Permitted?" in Patriarchs and Prophets, the third highest being in heaven before the entrance of sin, was Lucifer. How can one ever believe Ellen was a trinitarian, when history so clearly declares that her husband and all the pioneers of the SDA Church were semi-Arian? She was married to her husband for thirty-five years and never once did she rebuke him for his belief. Never once did she ever teach against the semi-Arian doctrine. In fact, she never used the term Trinity, and she taught decidedly against it. As a matter of fact, when you look at the language that Ellen G. White and other Adventists used, it would be fairly safe to say that the Adventist movement didn't become trinitarians in 1896, but rather tritheistic in their view of the Godhead. While the modern Seventh-day Adventists claim to hold to a trinitarian view point of the Godhead, they have not resolved the issues of heresy set forth by their predecessors in the Adventist movement of the tritheism heresy. We know that Ellen White didn't believe in or teach the Trinity because:

  1. In 10,000 manuscripts; 100,000 pages; 25 million words about theological issues, she never once used the word "Trinity" to describe her view of the Godhead.
  2. In her writings, while she copied profusely from hundreds of theological writers, many of whom were trinitarian, in some cases word for word, page for page; yet she never included the word Trinity which those she copied from had occasion for the word.
  3. She had scores of Arian references to Jesus as the Son of God before or at original creation, or as lesser deity from the Father.
  4. She had hundreds-if not more-references to the Godhead, yet never used the word Trinity to describe the Christian God.
  5. There are scores of references to the three persons, or powers, etc. of the Godhead, yet never the word Trinity to describe the three.
  6. In her seventy years of prophetic ministry, with scores of SDA leaders who publicly spoke and wrote against the Trinity, whose words she publicly endorsed, she never once corrected their false anti-trinitarian views in favour of the triune God.
  7. However, she does have a blatant statement against all other fallen Babylonish Protestant and Catholic churches that “All their prayers and professions are an abomination to God” whereby she has condemned the profession of the Trinity, which is one of the primary confessions of the historic Christian Faith.

From the above, no other conclusion can be drawn than that Ellen G. White did not believe in or uphold or teach the full deity of Jesus Christ and the Triune God.[1]

Most of these points I have personally considered and agree with, but I had not even considered the last point of Ellen White’s condemnation of the prayers of Catholics and Protestants as an attack on their Trinitarian God. It is most interesting to see the way Wiebe views it and once again, I think he is correct.

The question must be asked, why is it so easy for Wiebe to see what many of us are seeing in the writings of the pioneers, Ellen White and even Froom and Andersen. Why does Wiebe see like some of us that a big (possibly unwitting) deception is being practiced leaving many people wondering who the Adventist Jesus is anyway?


[1] Elmer Wiebe. Who is the Adventist Jesus (Xulon Press, 2006) Page 161,162