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Testimony of James White on the Godhead

Posted Feb 10, 2011 by Kel Cobbin in Adventist History
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Elder James Springer White
Former General Conference President (3 times)

“In his youth James White was a school teacher. He later became a Christian minister in Maine. He accepted William Miller’s views on the Second Advent and was successful in preaching the doctrine of the soon coming of the Saviour.

He was a talented and capable executive, missionary leader, and powerful public evangelist. Not only did he participate with William Miller, Joseph Bates, and scores of other preachers in announcing the advent of our Lord in the 1840’s, but he outlived the Millerite movement to become the first great apostle of the Seventh-day Adventist cause.

White was the publisher of the first periodical issued by Seventh-day Adventists, Present Truth (1849); the first editor of the Review and Herald (1850), the Youth’s Instructor (1852), also the Signs of the Times (1874). He was president of the General Conference between 1865-1967, 1869-1871, and 1874-1880. If there was a founder of the Review and Herald Publishing Association, it was James White along with his wife, Ellen. He was the sponsor and promoter of the Pacific Press Publishing Association.

He died August 6, 1881, when he was only sixty. He literally worked himself to death. The brethren leaned on him so heavily that his towering figure fell. His sixty years of life were spent unselfishly and sacrificially. No other Seventh-day Adventist minister did more than he to build high principle and efficiency into the life of our churches and institutions.” {Vol. 5, Nos. 1-3 of "Lest We Forget" features James White.}

Comments on the trinity by James White

“Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one as he was one with his Father. This prayer did not contemplate one disciple with twelve heads, but twelve disciples, made one in object and effort in the cause of their master. Neither are the Father and the Son parts of the “three-one God.” They are two distinct beings, yet one in the design and accomplishment of redemption.” {James White, 1868, Life Incidents, p 343}

“The way spiritualizes have disposed of or denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ is first using the old unscriptural Trinitarian creed viz., that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, though they have not one passage to support it, while we have plain scripture testimony in abundance that he is the Son of the eternal God.” {James White, Jan 24 1846, The Day Star}

“The inexplicable Trinity that makes the Godhead three in one and one in three, is bad enough; but that ultra Unitarianism that makes Christ inferior to the Father is worse. Did God say to an inferior, ‘Let us make man in our image?” {James White, Nov 29, 1877, Review and Herald} “To assert that the sayings of the Son and his apostles are the commandments of the Father, is as wide from the truth as the old trinitarian absurdity that Jesus Christ is the very and eternal God.” {James White, Aug 5, 1852, Review and Herald – Vol. 3 No. 7 P 52 Par 42}

“As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit Sabbath other errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as sprinkling for baptism, the trinity, the consciousness of the dead, and eternal life in misery. ... can it be supposed that the church of Christ will carry along with her these errors till the judgment scenes burst upon the world? We think not.” {James White, Sep 12 1854, Review and Herald, Vol. 6, No. 5, P 36, Par 8}

“Here we might mention the Trinity, which does away the personality of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and of sprinkling or pouring instead of being “buried with Christ in baptism,” “planted in the likeness of his death:” but we pass from these fables to notice one that is held sacred by nearly all professed Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. It is, the change of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment...” {James White, Dec 11 1855, Review and Herald, Vol. 7, no. 11, P 85 Par 16}

“The gospel of the Son of God is the good news of salvation through Christ. When man fell, angels wept. Heaven was bathed in tears. The Father and the Son took counsel, and Jesus offered to undertake the cause of fallen man. He offered to die that man might have life. The Father consented to give his only beloved, and the good news resounded through heaven, and on earth, that a way was opened for man's redemption.” {J. S. White, The Law and the Gospel, pp. 2, 3. 1870}

“The Father is the greatest in that he is first. The Son is next in authority because He has been given all things.” {J. S. White, Review & Herald, January 4, 1881}

“Bro. Cottrell is nearly eighty years of age, remembers the dark day of 1780, and has been a Sabbath-keeper more than thirty years. He was formerly united with the Seventh-Day Baptists, but on some points of doctrine has differed from that body. He rejected the doctrine of the trinity, also the doctrine of man’s consciousness between death and the resurrection, and the punishment of the wicked in eternal consciousness. He believed that the wicked would be destroyed. Bro. Cottrell buried his wife not long since, who, it is said, was one of the excellent of the earth. Not long since, this aged pilgrim received a letter from friends in Wisconsin, purporting to be from M. Cottrell, his wife, who sleeps in Jesus. But he, believing that the dead know not anything, was prepared to reject at once the heresy that the spirits of the dead, knowing everything, come back and converse with the living. Thus truth is a staff in his old age. He has three sons in Mill Grove, who, with their families are Sabbath keepers.” {J. S. White, Review & Herald, June 9, 1853}

“The "mystery of iniquity" began to work in the church in Paul's day. It finally crowded out the simplicity of the gospel, and corrupted the doctrine of Christ, and the church went into the wilderness. Martin Luther, and other reformers, arose in the strength of God, and with the Word and Spirit, made mighty strides in the Reformation. The greatest fault we can find in the Reformation is, the Reformers stopped reforming. Had they gone on, and onward, till they had left the last vestige of Papacy behind, such as natural immortality, sprinkling, the trinity, and Sunday-keeping, the church would now be free from her unscriptural errors.” {J. S. White, Review & Herald, February 7, 1856}

“The work of emancipating, instructing and leading the Hebrews was given to One who is called an angel. Ex.13:21; 14:19, 24; 23:20-23; 32:34; Num.20:16; Isa.63:9. And this angel Paul calls "that spiritual Rock that followed them," and he affirms, "That Rock was Christ." 1Cor.10:4. The eternal Father is never called an angel in the Scriptures, while what angels have done is frequently ascribed to the Lord, as they are his messengers and agents to accomplish his work. It is said of Him who went before the Hebrews to deliver them, "My name is in him." In all the stupendous events of that deliverance the mind of Jehovah was represented in Jesus.” {J. S. White, Christ and the Sabbath, p. 11}