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The World Council of Churches and the Adventist Confession on the Trinity

Posted May 21, 2012 by kym Jones in General
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In 1973 Bert Beach co-authored a book with Lukas Vischer, Secretary of the World Council of Churches. (Beach later became Secretary of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department of the General Confer­ence of the S.D.A. Church.) The title of the book was "So Much In Com­mon between the World Council of Churches and the Seventh-day Adventist Church” and was published by the World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland, in 1973. Within this book one will find the following statement:

“The member churches of the World Council of Churches and Seventh-Day Adventists are in agreement on the fundamental articles of the Christian faith as set forth in the three ancient symbols (Apostolicum, Nicaeno-Constantinopolitum, Athanasium). This agreement finds expression in unqualified acceptance of the doctrines of the Trinity and the Two Natures.” So Much in Common between the World Council of Churches and the Seventh-day Adventist Church', p. 107.) .

One cannot become a member of the World Council of Churches unless one subscribes with unqualified acceptance to the "Apostolicum, Nicaeno-Constantinopolitum, Athanasium" - for it is this confession of faith which is deemed to be orthodox by the Catholic Church and Protestant Churches alike. This statement later found its way into a book on inter-church and interfaith relations, which was written by Stefan Hoschele in 2010:

" The member Churches of the World Council of Churches and Seventh-Day Adventists are in agreement on the fundamental articles of the Christian faith as set forth in the three ancient church symbols (Apostolicum, Nicaeo-Constantinopolitum, Athansaianum [1]. This expression finds unqualified acceptance of the doctrines of the Trinity and the Two natures. 

[1] The original text says "Athanasium". It is somewhat surprising that this symbol is mentioned here, for the Adventist anti-creedal stance evidently contradicts the acceptance of a text that starts with the assertion "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. ' " (`Interchurch and Interfaith Relations: Seventh-Day Adventist', Stefan Hoschele, 2010,  pp. 116, 117.)

The text is footnoted with the comment which is made above. Please note that the Apostolicum is the Apostles Creed, the Niceo-Constantinopolitum is the Nicene Creed - which is better known as the doctrine of the Trinity (which became settled in form at the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D and is the form of this creed which is currently in use today) and the Athanasium is known as the Athanasian Creed. The Athanasian Creed is a combination of the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds; but with more exacting terminology which serves to clarify the Nicene Creed. For it is in the Athanasium where we find that the Trinity is clarified by inserting the classic "consubstantial, co-eternal and co-existent" phrase - and then elaborates upon the doctrine of the two natures of Christ; which of course favours the pre-lapsarian view on the human nature of Christ. 

While the Athanasian Creed differs little from the Chalcedonian Creed on the two natures of Christ (as the Chalcedonian Creed used the exact terminology of Augustine's `On the Trinity', which was first published in 415 A.D), by the sixth century the Athanasian Creed had become the accepted confession of faith by the Catholic Church, as it first confesses the Nicene Creed, with explicit confessions of the co-eternal, co-existent and consubstantial aspects of this creed, before explaining the Catholic perception of the Two Natures of Christ, which is now accepted as orthodox theology among all churches which hold membership in the World Council of Churches. 

Approximately 90% of Adventist Pastors adhere to the tenets of this creed; for reason that the S.D.A Church confesses the Athanasium, or Athanasian Creed on the Two Natures of Christ. This confession of faith first began to see expression in the 1950's in LeRoy Froom's apologetic `Questions on Doctrine', in which the pre-fall nature of the humanity of Christ was first adopted, as the pre-fall view on the human nature of Christ conforms to this creed. It later became the S.D.A. Church's official position on the human nature of Christ, with the acceptance of the Athanasium, which (according to Bert Beach in 1973) is the unqualified confession of the ancient symbols "Apostolicum, Nicaeno-Constantinopolitum, Athanasium".  Hence the statement `This agreement finds expression in unqualified acceptance of the doctrines of the Trinity and the Two Natures' reveals that the S.D.A. Church unreservedly regards these creeds as orthodox expressions of faith according to S.D.A. theology.

 The footnoted comment makes the entirely valid point that a Church which is seen to express  an abhorrence of creedal statements contradicts itself by expressing orthodoxy to the Athanasium, which begins with the statement `Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly' and finishes with the statement `This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved'. It should therefore be noted that within the words "Apostolicum, Nicaeno-Constantinopolitum, Athanasium", there is a recognition of the authority of the Church of Rome as the Mother of all Churches that are deemed Christian and expresses unqualified acceptance of her authority, which is expressed in the doctrines which the Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed profess.

The Nicene Creed was first formulated in 325 A.D and set out what later became the Catholic perception of the ontological relationship of the Father and Son. However, as the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Father and Son was not examined during this council, it finished with the vague and imprecise wording `And we believe in the Holy Spirit. It was not until the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D, that it became settled in form, with the Three Cappadocian Fathers (and in particular Basil the Great) using texts such as Matthew 28:19 to provide the argument that the Holy Spirit must be a person, and is therefore co-eternal, co-existent, co-equal and con-substantial with the Father and Son. They therefore inserted this phrase into the their revised version of the Nicene Creed (which is of course the doctrine of the Trinity):

`And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets'.

It is this revised confession of faith which is known as the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitum, and is the ancient symbol, or creed referred to, when Bert Beach stated that the S.D.A. Church finds unqualified acceptance of the doctrines of the Trinity and the Two natures.

Is there anything wrong with this statement? If the Holy Spirit is indeed a Third Person who is co-existent and co-eternal with the Father and Son, then the answer must be that it is an entirely valid and logical doctrinal statement which stipulates that as the Father and Son are God, then the Holy Spirit should also be glorified and worshipped as God. It is this reasoning which led Woodrow Whidden, Jerry Moon and John W. Reeve to write in their joint publication on the Trinity, the following paragraph about addressing the Holy Spirit in prayer:

“But what about direct prayer to the Holy Spirit? While we have no clear example of or direct command to pray to the Spirit in Scripture, doing so does have, in principle, some implicit biblical support. If the Spirit is indeed divine and personal and He interacts in all sorts of direct personal ways (bringing conviction, healing, transforming grace, granting gifts, etc.), it only seems logical that God’s people can pray directly to and worship the Holy Spirit.

                We would express the issue this way: The normal pattern of prayer is to the Father, in the name of the Son, with the knowledge that the `groanings' of the Holy Spirit expedite our prayers. In personal and corporate instances of prayer, however, it seems best to pray to the most relevant person of the Godhead. For instance, it would seem to be most appropriate to pray directly to the Holy Spirit for spiritual gifts and witnessing power for the church. Prayers to Jesus would include those of confession, penitence, and forgiveness, and pleas for His soon return.

                In sum - if the persons of the Godhead are truly one in nature, character, and purpose, then it seems only logical and practical to address appropriate petitions and praises to any one of the Heavenly Trio at any given time and situation.” (`The Trinity: Understanding God's love, His plan of salvation and Christian Relationships', Woodrow Wilson Whidden, Jerry Moon, John W. Reeve, 2002, page 273.)

According to Trinitarianism, as the Holy Spirit is indeed the Third Person of the Godhead, then this Trinitarian Holy Spirit should not only be addressed in prayer, but should also be worshipped and glorified. Thus, in accepting this Creed as a valid doctrinal statement, the S.D.A Church is also compelled to accept the worship forms that go with it - which is to embrace Pentacostalism in all of its forms.  However, if the Holy Spirit is not a Third Person of the Godhead who is co-eternal, co-existent and consubstantial with the Father and Son, and is instead the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son  - then the section of the Nicene Creed which deals with the manner by which the Holy Spirit should be worshipped is instead blasphemous; for it then becomes apparent that the Holy Spirit is not the `Lord and Giver of life', as is stated in this Creed:

`For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.' (1 Titus 2:5-6)

The ex-Roman Catholic nun turned sceptic Karen Armstrong (b. 1944), author of `A History of God' (which is now required reading in many theology courses) explains the spiritualized conception which Gregory of Nanzanius (one of the Three Cappadocian Fathers) had of his conception of the Trinity, which greatly influenced his formulation of the section of the Nicene Creed which deals with the Personhood of the Holy Spirit and `his' relationship to the other members of the Godhead:

`Ultimately, however, the Trinity only made sense as a mystical or spiritual experience: it had to be lived, not thought, because God went far beyond human concepts. It was not a logical or intellectual formulation but an imaginative paradigm that confounds reason. Gregory of Nanzanius made this clear when he explained that contemplation of the Three in One induced a profound and overwhelming emotion that confounded thought and intellectual clarity.
"No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the splendour of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Three than I am carried back into the One. When I think of any of the Three, then I think of him as the whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking escapes me." ' (`A History of God', K. Armstrong, pp. 141, 142. Quotation from Gregory of Nanzanius, `Orationes, 40, 41. )

Gregory's conception of the Holy Spirit, which ultimately became Trinitarian dogma, might be rightly defined as the germinal seed of Pentacostalism. Strictly speaking, as the doctrine of the Trinity declares that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, then in a legal and forensic sense the Trinitarian Holy Spirit cannot qualify as our Redeemer, as it is the Person of Christ, and not the `Third Person of the Godhead' Who provided men with an atonement for sin at Calvary. What then, do we do with statements such as Romans 8: 26 which indicate that the Holy Spirit is indeed our Redeemer?

`Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.' (Romans 8: 26)

Again, if seen in the context of the Holy Spirit being a co-eternal, co-equal, co-existent and con-substantial Third Person of the Godhead, then this statement is indeed blasphemous, as the Trinitarian Holy Spirit cannot qualify as our Redeemer, for the simple reason that it is Jesus Christ who died for our sins - not the mysterious `Third Person of the Godhead' which could be anyone, or anything. However, if we instead view the Third Personality of the Godhead as Jesus Christ `in Spirit', then it begins to make sense, as it is Jesus who redeems us, and sanctifies us by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. A careful reading of John 14: 16-18 supports this:

`And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but all of you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.' (John 14: 16-18)

The Adventist understanding of the Sanctuary doctrine is critical in correctly interpreting this verse as the apostle Paul intended it to be understood. Christ previously informed His disciples in verse 12 that He would leave them, as He had to ascend to His Father. (The letter of Paul to the Hebrews informs us that after He ascended to His Father, He then began His ministration as High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary, of which the earthly was a type.) But as He could no longer be with them personally, as He would instead be ministering for their sins in the Heavenly Sanctuary, then He would send them `another Comforter'. Who is this Comforter of Whom Christ spoke of?' In verse 17 He told them that `but all of you know him, for he dwells with and shall be in you'. Who was dwelling with them, whom they all knew? Why it was Jesus Himself  Who was dwelling with them, whom they all knew -  and Jesus promised that He who was already dwelling with them (which was Himself), would dwell in them after He had ascended to His Father! Therefore the Comforter whom He would send to them after He had ascended to His Father in heaven could be none other than Himself dwelling with them `in Spirit'! As the apostle Paul stated:

`To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.' (Col. 1:27.)

How does Christ dwell in us? By His Spirit!

 Please bear in mind that it was not unusual for Jesus to refer to Himself in the third person. For instance:

`When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory' (Matthew 25:31)

According to Scripture, the Holy Spirit can only be our Redeemer, in the sense that Christ Himself comes to us personally `in Spirit'. Once this is understood, then Romans 8: 9-11 becomes clear:

`But all of you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also restore life in your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.' (Romans 8: 9-11)

Please note, that in this passage the Holy Spirit is spoken interchangeably as `the Spirit of God' and `the Spirit of Christ'. Perhaps this is because just as the Father created the worlds through His divine Son (Hebrews 1: 2), then we also find that the Spirit of the Father proceeds to the Son, at which the personal presence of Christ comes to us through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. This is the understanding which A.T. Jones, of Minneapolis fame had of the personhood of the Holy Spirit:

`We receive the promise of the Spirit through faith; but what brings it? The Spirit of God; and when we have that, Christ dwells in the heart. Then it is the Holy Spirit that brings the personal presence of Jesus Christ, and in bringing His personal presence to us, He brings Himself. (A.T. Jones, `General Conference Bulletin #11', 1893, p. 31.)

One statement by Ellen White which appears to support Trinitarianism was reproduced in LeRoy Frooms `Evangelism'. It has been largely responsible for the denomination accepting Trinitarianism as an orthodox expression on the ontological relationship of the Godhead:

"The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to who believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ." (`Testimonies for the Church', Series B, no 7, 1905 & ` Evangelism', p. 615.

The following statement appears on a hand-written copy of Manuscript 21 1906, and is the document from which Froom's statement was originally taken. The bold type demonstrates that it differs markedly from the published 1905 statement, which Froom later used in `Evangelism': 

`The Father is not to be described by the earthly The Father is all the fullness of the God head invisible to mortal earthly sight. The Son is all the fullness of the God head revealed manifested, He is the express image of his Fathers person For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him Should not perish but have everlasting life. Here is the personality of the Father. The Spirit the Comforter whom Christ promised to send after he assended to heaven is Christ is the Spirit in all the fullness of the God head making manifest to the All who receive him and believe in Him There are the living three persons alities of the heavenly trio in which every Soul repenting of their sins believing receiving Christ by a living faith to them who are baptized In the name of Jesus Christ to them In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost these high digified personalities Give power because they are Gods property to be called the Sons of God, What is the sinner to do, believe in Jesus Christ because they are his property which he hath purchased with his own blood through the test and trial to which he was subjected to redeem from the slavery' (Manuscript 21, 1906)

 The original document indicates that where Ellen White had originally written `persons', she then added `alities'; thus indicating that in her mind the words persons and personalities were not precisely the same - for instance while I am a person, I also have a distinct personality. The fact that in the previous sentence which (in the 1905 published version) reads `The Comforter which Christ promised to send' was originally written as `The Spirit the Comforter whom Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven is Christ', which she strikes out and then inserts the phrase `is the Spirit', clearly indicates that just as Jones believed, she believed that the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Holy Spirit of Christ are interchangeable; simply because they are both the same Spirit! This is supported by various other statements, one of which is reproduced below, and directly quotes Romans 8: 11:

`"But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." O how precious are these words to every bereaved soul! Christ is our guide and Comforter, who comforts us in our tribulations.' (E.G. White, S.D.A Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, pp. 1076, 1077, 1894.)

To confuse a personality with a person, and then make this into orthodox theology, as the Adventist Church has done, has dire consequences - as doctrine then becomes seriously affected and thus serves to distorts one's perception of the character of God.

There are many within the S.D.A Church who hold the view that Ellen White's faith `evolved' over time from non-Trinitarianism to Trinitarianism, as her knowledge of `the truth' of the Holy Spirit grew. If this is indeed true, then while it should be easily verified by fact - the reality of the situation is that there is no evidence which supports this. The following statement was written in 1898, which was the same year in which `Desire of Ages' (which contained the infamous phrase `third person of the Godhead') was published. It reveals how Ellen White believed Christ comforts us by His Holy Spirit:

`That Christ should manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world, was a mystery to the disciples. They could not understand the words of Christ in their spiritual sense. They were thinking of the outward, visible manifestation. They could not take in the fact that they could have the presence of Christ with them, and yet be unseen by the world. They did not understand the meaning of a spiritual manifestation.' (E.G. White, `The Southern Review', Sept. 13, 1898, par. 2.)

The following statement reveals that `Desire of Ages' contained pro-Trinitarian statements, which as they were originally written did not support Trinitarianism at all. This is one statement as found in `The Desire of Ages':

`The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth.' (`Desire of Ages', p. 669.)

The following statement is a reproduction of how it was originally written. It should be noted that it suffered severe editorial changes, with the sentence in bold type indicating that this was a non-Trinitarian statement in the original document!

 `Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent.' (E. G. White, `Manuscript Releases', V. 14, p. 179, 1891.)

Please not that in the original statement, Ellen White personalised the Holy Spirit by indentifying the Holy Spirit as the Holy Spirit of Christ, by calling him `His Holy Spirit', just as A.T. Jones did two years later. Thus, in Ellen White's mind, the third person of the Godhead, was in fact the third personality of the Godhead - or in other words she believed that the Comforter is Jesus Christ in Spirit! The changing of the phrase from `The Holy Spirit is Himself divested of the personality of humanity and independent thereof', to `The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity thereof' strips the identification of the Holy Spirit with the personality of Christ and substitutes Christ for a mysterious Trinitarian `third person of the Godhead', who cannot be identified with Christ at all, and is instead regarded as a co-Redeemer with Christ - which then leads directly to spiritualism! Contrary to popular belief, `The Desire of Ages' was not written word for word by Ellen White, for although it had been her intention for many years to write a book about `The Life of Christ', she was far too busy to do so - for instance, it was not until 1911 (which was shortly before her death) that she found the time to write a book about `The Acts of the Apostles'. Eventually she entrusted Marian Davis with the task of collating suitable material which she had previously written about for a book which was to be tenuously titled the `Life of Christ'. The following statement reveals that Marian Davis acted upon her instruction, and her desire to have a book published from her extant writings about the `Life of Christ' went into print in 1898 with the title `The Desire of Ages':

`Up to this period I have done scarcely anything on the Life of Christ, and have been obliged to often bring Marian to my help, irrespective of the work on the Life of Christ which she has to do under great difficulties, gathering from all my writings a little here and a little there, to arrange as best she can. But she is in good working order, if I could only feel free to give my whole attention to the work. She had her mind educated and trained for the work; and I think, as I have thought a few hundred times, I shall be able after this mail closes to take the Life of Christ and go ahead with it, if the Lord will.' (Letter 0-55, 1894. From `The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials', Ellen White to O.A. Olsen, Aug. 1894.)

However, Miss Davis found that there were significant gaps in chapters for which no material could be found, so she appealed to Professor Prescott and Elder H.C. Lacey for help, so that the book could be presented in a cohesive and readable format. In the following passage,  Lacey recalls studies which were conducted in Cooranbong in 1896, which were on the deity of Christ:


`Professor Prescott was tremendously interested in presenting Christ as the great `I am' and in emphasizing the Eternity of His existence, using frequently the expression `The Eternal Son'. Also he connected the `I am' of Exodus 3: 14, which was of course Christ the Second Person of the Godhead with the statement of Jesus in John 8: 58 . . . Sr. Marion Davis seemed to fall for it and lo and behold, when the `Desire of Ages' came out, there appeared that identical teaching on pages 24 and 25, which, I think, can be looked for in vain in any or Sr. White's published works prior to that time!

            In this connection, of course you know that Sr. Marian Davis was entrusted with the preparation of `Desire of Ages' and that she gathered here material from every available source - from private letters, stenographical reports of her talks, etc. - but perhaps you may not know that she (Sr. Davis) was greatly worried about finding material for the first chapter. She appealed to me personally many times as she was arranging that chapter (and other chapters too, for that matter) and I did what I could to help her; and I have good reason to believe that she also appealed to Professor Prescott frequently for similar aid, and got it in far richer and more abundant measure than I could render . . . However, Professor Prescott's interest in the "Eternity of the Son" and the great "I AMS" coupled with the constant help he gave Sr. Davis in her preparation of the 'Desire of Ages' may serve to explain the inclusions of the above-named teachings in that wonderful book. (Letter, H.C. Lacey to L.E. Froom, August 30, 1945.)

In this same letter, Elder Lacey reveals that in 1894 he attended an Evangelical Convention which was called the `International Convention of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions'. It was here where Lacey's Trinitarian upbringing was reinforced by the discourses of these men on the Holy Spirit:

`During my college course at Battle Creek, in March 1894, I attended as a delegate from the College, the second international convention of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, held at Detroit Michigan . . . . I remember too how Sr. Georgia Burruss . . . . and who became afterwards our first woman missionary to India, I believe, was impressed by the spiritual teachings and appeals of these men. I recall her saying something like this: Brother Lacey, these men are not Sabbath-keepers, as we understand it, but the Lord is certainly using them mightily: I have never felt the deep moving of the Spirit of God upon my heart, as I have here at this convention. And I couldn't help agreeing with her exactly.

            Well now, one thing I noticed vividly; the emphasis placed by all these teachers upon the ministry of the `Holy Ghost' in our lives as God's servants and missionaries, a ministry as of a real, definite, divine person, always with us, and in us, and as revealed in the Book of Acts, and presented everywhere throughout the Epistles and the Revelation.' (ibid.)

Lacey then reveals in the next paragraph that it was this convention which led him to make this his theme, the `The Personality and Work of the Holy Ghost', at which Marian Davis took copious notes, and undoubtedly greatly influenced her compilation of the `Desire of Ages', which was published two years later:

`On the voyage back to Australia during September of 1895, I made that theme, the Personality and Work of the Holy Ghost, a special subject of Bible Study. And I became convinced for myself! So when I was asked to conduct a series of Bible Studies at the 9.00 o'clock hour in a convention in Cooranbong in 1896, I presented that theme [the work of the Holy Ghost] very much to the interest (I well remember!) of Sr. Marian Davis, who took copious notes, and also to that of Elder A.G. Daniells, who was frequently present, and expressed conservative appreciation.

            When the `Desire of Ages' came out in 1898, Brother Daniells himself called my attention to the expression found on page 671, where the Spirit is spoken of as `the third person of the Godhead' . . . . and made some kindly comments. Later, in `Testimonies for the Church, Series B, No 7' on page 63, (Nov. 1905), I found this paragraph . . . . exactly as I had endeavoured to teach 9 years previously.' (Letter, H.C. Lacey to L.E. Froom, August 30, 1945.)

However, as we have already seen, the passage which Lacey quotes from was eventually released as Manuscript 21, 1906 - which was the original handwritten copy of `Testimonies for the Church, Series B, No 7', which was first published in 1905 (and which Froom later reproduced in `Evangelism'), and begins with the phrase `The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven . . . . '

There is absolutely no doubt at all that Marian Davis was unduly influenced by the Trinitarianism of Lacey and Prescott, who ensured that  `The Desire of Ages' would be published with a pro-Trinitarian emphasis. This then resulted with many within the denomination re-evaluating their position on the deity of Christ, and the personage of the Holy Spirit from a non-Trinitarian perspective, to that of a fully Trinitarian perspective. A.G. Daniells, who was the Conference President at that time, was one of these men:  

`A.G. DANIELLS: So far as I am concerned, I went along with a mystified idea quite a while, and the thing that began to knock the scales from my eyes was when the Desire of Ages came out. I was in Australia when the page proofs were brought out. I never believed some other things till the Testimonies came out and set me thinking. And I said, Look here, Sister White has always been in harmony with the Bible, now she has dropped a stitch here or else I am wrong. I went to studying, and that did more for me. Perhaps we have discussed this as long as we need to. We are not going to take a vote on Trinitarianism or Arianism, but we can think.' (1919 General Conference Session, 3 p.m session, July 6, p. 244.)"

Are Seventh-Day Adventist's truly the people of the Bible, or are they instead unduly influenced by what they think Ellen White believed about the Trinity - and have thus unwittingly bought into the doctrinal `excess baggage' which accompanies the acceptance of the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, such as the Augustinian conception of `original sin', and the pre-fall `nature of Christ', which is (to use a pun) `fleshed out' in the Athanasian Creed, and has thus resulted from the acceptance of this creed?