Holy Spirit Force Movement

Holy Spirit Dove

The contemporary anti-Trinity movement teaches that there is no third Person of the Godhead. They believe that the Holy Spirit is a force or energy of holy influence from the Father and the Son. One representative of this movement says, “The Bible teaches that there are only two who are worthy of worship.”

As with all errors, there is a truth at the foundation of this teaching. After the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. the papal party took the title of Trinitarians. They said that the Godhead consists of three personalities and one essence or substance, using very philosophical and metaphysical terms.

Following is a sample of Catholic instruction for confirmation. “The Son proceeds from the Father by an act of the intellect and this is termed ‘Eternal Generation,’ by which we mean not only that there never was a time when the Father existed without generating the Son, but also that the act of Generation is a continuous act.” The manual teaches that there could be no separation between the Father and the Son on earth, since this would interrupt the act of generation. Thus the Son would not exist, which would mean that the Father would not exist. Since they are of one essence, neither the Father nor the Son could exist separately from the other. (Alfred Mortimer, Catholic Faith and Practice) Is there any wonder that the pioneers rejected this doctrine of the Trinity? J. N. Andrews said, “This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Review and Herald, March 6, 1855)

If we want to defend the truth that there are three persons with the family name of God, it might be better to use the Biblical name Godhead.

Matthew 28:19 tells us to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” “Name” is singular here, and all three that follow are on the same level, with one name. The definite article is used for all three beings. The Three are God and yet they are one God.

In John 14:16 Jesus promises to send “another Comforter.” The word “another” means of the same kind as Christ, with equal rank.

In 2 Corinthians 13:14, we read of “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost.” These are three gifts from three individual beings.

1 Peter 1:2 tells of “the foreknowledge of God the Father,…sanctification of the Spirit,…and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Here we find three functions of three individual beings.

The Holy Spirit

There are indications in Scripture that the Holy Spirit possesses personality traits that only an individual Being could have.

In Ephesians 4:30 He can be grieved. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 He divides “to every man severally as he will.” In Acts 16:6,7 He forbids Paul to preach in Asia and Bithynia. In Acts 15:28 “it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us” to hand down a vital decision. Notice that the Holy Spirit has a personality similar to the personality of the apostles. In Acts 5:3,4 Ananias lied “to the Holy Ghost,” which is lying “unto God.”

Jesus himself calls the Holy Spirit by a very personal pronoun ‘He’, which indicates that the Holy Spirit is a person.

John 15:26-27 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:  27And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

However, we must exercise caution here. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to reveal the Father and the Son, not Himself, so we know very little about Him from inspiration.

In the following video we all can learn more of the nature of the Holy Spirit.

The Godhead & the Holy Spirit – Part 1

Adventism and the Trinitarian Movement

The Godhead has chosen to reveal itself gradually to the human race. This was apparently not one of the crucial issues for the redemption of mankind.

In the Old Testament Yahweh was the personal name for God. The name was interchangeable for the Father and the Son. The Spirit was unknown. There were indications of plurality in the Godhead, but the emphasis was on one God–Yahweh.

In the New Testament, Christ was revealed as the Word of God, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit was revealed as the Comforter, the Advocate. The emphasis was on three Beings in one Godhead, descending in rank and function from the Father to the Son to the Holy Spirit.

Early Adventists were concerned with the sanctuary and the 2300 days, the Bible over tradition, the seventh-day Sabbath, and there was not much study or revelation about the Trinity.

Pagan Trinity god
Pagan Trinity god

The Trinity in the early 1800’s was a mixture of Bible, medieval philosophy, and early church councils. The Christian Connection – a Protestant organization – concluded that the Trinity was Catholic and unscriptural. Joseph Bates and James White were associated with the Christian Connection. Because the Trinity doctrine apparently made the Father and the Son identical, it was rejected by our pioneers.

God was apparently satisfied to leave things this way until the 1890’s, the time when the final generation was to be formed.

Ellen White was in Australia, when W.W. Prescott visited there. He developed a new style of evangelism based on righteousness by faith and the character of God (the 1888 message). He spent time working with Ellen White, and he began to question the pioneers’ teaching on the deity of Christ and the Godhead. A.G. Daniells supported his new direction. At the same time Ellen White was putting Desire of Ages together, in which she differed sharply with the pioneers on the preexistence of Christ.

M.L. Andreasen had just become an Adventist four years earlier. He said later that some leaders doubted that Ellen White had really written “original, unborrowed, underived.” In 1902 he made a special trip to California to investigate this for himself, and he found these statements in her own handwriting. Because of her influence and the new studies on the Godhead, Adventist theology on the Godhead took a different direction from some of the pioneers.

Why did this happen so late in Adventist history? Apparently God had an order of priority for introducing truth to the new church. He introduced publishing work in the 1840’s, church organization in the 1850’s, health reform in the 1860’s, and righteousness by faith in the 1880’s. God paced the introduction of new truth to preserve the unity of the church. Knowing the character of God was a higher priority than knowing the nature of God.

Now some are advocating a return to the pioneer’s anti-Trinity position. The most dangerous aspect of this is the question raised by its chief advocate. Did Ellen White really write all that has been published under her name? Whenever we find something in her writings which contradicts our beliefs we find some acceptable reason to set her aside. This is the heart of higher criticism. It makes her writings of none effect, since our beliefs take priority over inspiration. This is the essence of the churches of Babylon. One person commented, “Ellen G. White was inspired by God in almost all her writings, but either she or someone messed with her writings.” In this case everyone is free to pick and choose whatever agrees his or her opinions.

Perhaps even conservative Adventists will have to decide between the authority of God and the authority of men.

The following video has good insight on the topic of Adventism and the Trinity, may you be blessed in the listening to this research.

The Godhead & the Holy Spirit – Part 2

Nature and Function of the Godhead

Here is a suggestion for keeping this issue in balance and resolving some apparent contradictions. The nature of the Godhead is not a central theme in Scripture. Where it is discussed it reveals three equal beings, all existing from eternity, one in purpose and mind in ways impossible for created beings.

The central issue in Scripture is the function of the Godhead. This is always described in descending rank from the Father to the Son to the Spirit. This is the way the Godhead wants all created beings to approach them. The Father is the ultimate authority; the Son is the visible representative to created beings; the Spirit is the invisible presence with all created beings.

The Father even had to explain to angels the difference between Christ and Lucifer, since both had similar functions. If this could be misunderstood in heaven, it is easy to see why we have problems understanding the Godhead.

Christ always directs attention to the Father. He takes a secondary role. The Spirit always directs attention to the Father and the Son. He is almost invisible most of the time.

The members of the Godhead are equal in nature and attributes, but are unequal in function and rank as they relate to created beings.

An extended version of this article can be found at www.dennispriebe.com.

Interesting Facts:

The Bible reveals 20 abilities of the Spirit proving He is a Personal Being:

Personal Attribute of the Holy Spirit Bible Verse
He Comforts John 14:6
He can be Grieved Ephesians 4:30
He can be Vexed Isaiah 63:10
He can be Despised Hebrews 10:39
He can be Blasphemed Against Matthew 12:31
He can be Spoken Against Matthew 12:32
He can be Lied To Acts 5:3
He Reproves John 16:8
He Instructs Nehemiah 9:20
He Speaks & Directs Acts 13:2
He Commissions Acts 13:4
He Guides the Church Acts 15:28
He Searches 1 Corinthians 2:10-11
He Seals the Believer Ephesians 4:30
He Inspires 2 Peter 1:21
He Strives Genesis 6:3
He has a Mind Romans 8:27
He Intercedes Romans 8:26-27
He calls & says, Come Revelation 22:17

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