At Issue Index

The Trinity

By the early 1930's the term Trinity was included in the official Seventh-day Adventist statement of beliefs. This was reiterated and expanded in the 1980 Statement of Beliefs and remains a core part of Adventist doctrine.  Recent agitation on the topic comes both from a few within Adventism and from critics outside of Adventism who find support for their accusations in the writings of the interior critics who, in turn, support their positions on selected historical SDA writers.

We examine some of this history and its theological implications, as well as some other  topics having to do with the nature of Christ and related issues. We note at the outset that, so far as we can determine,  all Adventists do believe in the full and complete divinity of Jesus Christ.

The Adventist Trinity Debate Part 1: Historical Overview

The Adventist Trinity Debate Part 2: The Role of Ellen G. White

Two published articles by Jerry A. Moon, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Church History, SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University. Moon explores further and updates the search for the biblical Trinity doctrine as held by the Seventh-day Adventist church.

How clear views of Jesus developed in the Adventist Church

    In a Ministry Magazine article, Gilbert Valentine, traces the development of Adventist thinking from the time when Adventists were anything but trinitarian, to the present.

The Arian or Anti-Trinitarian Views Presented in Seventh-day Adventist Literature and the Ellen G. White Answer.

Erwin Roy Gane, in his Masters Thesis examines the variant views of the Trinity held by many early church leaders. He contrasts their views with those of Ellen White, and shows how her view led to the Trinitarian position currently held by Seventh-day Adventists.

Heresy or Hopeful Sign? Early Adventists' Struggle with the Truth about the Trinity 

Including two sidebar notes:What Happened to Christ's Deity When He Died? and Were early Adventists Arians?  by Jerry Moon, Professor of Church History at the SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University.

Arianism, Adventism and Methodism: The Healing of Trinitarian Teaching and Soteriology

Woodrow Whidden, Professor of Religion at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, discusses the development of Trinitarianism in the Adventist Church in a paper addressed to a Wesleyan Methodist Institute.

Who is Michael?  

Henry Feyerabend, speaker for It Is Written, Canada, addresses challenges that SDAs are not clear on the divinity of Christ because of their identification of Michael the Archangel with the preincarnate Christ.  . 


SDA Current Statement of Beliefs Regarding the Trinity

2. The Trinity: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.)

3. The Father: God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father. (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:11; 1 Cor. 15:28; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8; 1 Tim. 1:17; Ex. 34:6, 7; John 14:9.)

4. The Son: God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God's power and was attested as God's promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. (John 1:1-3, 14; Col. 1:15-19; John 10:30; 14:9; Rom. 6:23; 2 Cor. 5:17-19; John 5:22; Luke 1:35; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:9-18; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; Heb. 8:1, 2; John 14:1-3.)

5. The Holy Spirit: God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ's life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen. 1:1, 2; Luke 1:35; 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:11, 12; Acts 1:8; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:7-13.)

At Issue Index