Clear Word vs Bible: Doctrine of the Holy Trinity

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This is the second post in a series on the SDA Clear Word.  For the previous entry please click HERE.  As I presented in my post on the Holy Trinity, the doctrine boils down to three clear teachings in the Bible.

  • One Being
  • Three Persons
  • Same Substance

Full disclosure, I actually haven’t read the clear word passages on this topic.  I will find out what they say as I type this out.  As before I will present a passage from the Holy Bible alongside that of the Clear Word.  My prediction going into this is that the Clear Word is going to mangle verses that teach the ‘same substance’.  It probably won’t mess with the other two so much.  But just to be fair I will present some of the clearest passages that I have used in the past on this doctrine.

 

One Being

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” Deut 6:4 KJV “Listen to me, Israel! The Lord our God is one God!”

 

No problems with this passage at all.  The Clear Word simply reads like a paraphrase here.  In fact I think that it handles this better than The Message for example.

 

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him…..  Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” Deut 4:35, 39 KJV “The Lord did this for your sakes to prove to you that He alone is God and that there are no other gods beside Him…. Remember all this and take it to heart.  The Lord or God is the God of heaven and earth.  Don’t ever forget it.  There is no other God!”

 

As with the passage above I don’t really have a problem with this as a paraphrase.  Both are teaching “One Being”.  My guess is though that the writer is going to deny “One Being” in the passages teaching “Same Substance”.

 

Three Persons

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matt 28:19 KJV “So go and tell people of all nations the good news and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Fair enough

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matt 3:16-17 KJV “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He came up out of the water and knelt on the river bank to offer a prayer of thanksgiving.  As He looked up, heaven itself seemed to open.  Then the light of the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove and hovered over His head.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I love, I am very pleased with Him.”

In the Holy Bible we have the Holy Spirit identified as God, which I believe is an important thing to have.  I don’t know why the Clear Word omits this but there you go.

Notice also that a narrative of Jesus walking up to the river bank and praying is added.  The prayer itself could be argued to come from Luke’s account, which for a paraphrase is fine.  But the riverbank is new.

This is one of those many Ellen’isms SDA  have added to the Bible.  I doubt the writer even realized he was doing this. Ellen White added a lot of extra details to the Biblical narrative in her books.  One of them is simply this riverbank thing.

“Upon coming up out of the water, Jesus bowed in prayer on the river bank.” – Ellen White, The Desire of Ages Pg 111

 

What is telling about this being added to the Bible is how natural it seemed to come for the writer.  I would suspect there are a great deal of these in the Clear Word.  I digress, back to the topic of the Trinity.

One Substance

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“I and my Father are one.” John 10:30 KJV “You see, my Father and I are so close, we’re one.”

This is where the Arian roots of Adventism start to shine through more clearly.  Notice that the writer of the Clear Word equates the oneness to a relational closeness.  The concept of the oneness of God in Adventism is like that of a Human Marriage.  I remember comparing the Trinity to that all the time when I was SDA.  In Truth, SDA believe in three beings united in purpose.

The reason they do this is because you can’t have same substance and still believe in books like “The Great Controversy” for example.  Ellen White paints a picture of Heaven with Jesus and God the Father walking around in bodies and talking to people like actors in a play.  Such a notion is just absurd to Biblical orthodoxy and fits better with the visions Joseph Smith offers than it does with the Bible.

Back to the issue at hand though, if the writer of the clear word truly believed that the Bible teaches a relational closeness rather than same substance why did he feel the need to add the concept?

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 KJV “From the beginning, the Word of God was there.  The Word stood by the side of God, and the Word was fully God.”

Here is another example where we see this Tri-theist concept peeking its head through.  Why add “stood by the side of” into the text?  In this case I do not suspect the writer was intentionally tweaking the text.  In my opinion he genuinely views “was with” as meaning “stood by the side of”.  This is because when an SDA thinks of heaven they view the narrative as Ellen White presents it.

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 KJV “God is very much concerned about our spiritual lives and how honest and sincere we are, not about where we worship Him.”

How did a description of the very nature of God transform into a sentiment?  That is an obvious category switch.  Notice that SDA truly cannot approach the concept of God being Spirit for the reasons I made clear above.

And let me be honest, this one is still hard for me personally.  The key is accepting the passages as true on faith.  I know God is Spirit because the Bible says so.  I know God is one being and three persons because the Bible says so.  I know God is one substance because this is what the Bible teaches.  I have no idea how that plays out in reality by the wisdom of this world, so I simply accept a bit of mystery in my life.

And it is this leap of faith SDA cannot take because to do so means throwing out Ellen White.  As soon as you accept Biblical Orthodoxy she goes out the window.  And in my opinion the writer of the Clear Word knew this and had to iron out those pesky verses that just don’t work with her teachings very well.

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Col 2:9 KJV “The fullness of Deity was in Christ when He was here and continues to be.  He is the only human in whom all the wisdom and knowledge of God is found.”

Notice that the Holy Bible teaches  the incarnation of the fullness of God in human flesh (bodily).  But the Clear Word simply affirms the Deity of Christ and then defines fullness as the “wisdom” and “knowledge” of God.  This is a whole concept not taught in the Holy Bible at all.  It is in my opinion a deliberate attempt by the writer to step away from the teaching of ‘same substance’.

If the writer of the Clear Word truly believed the Bible taught those concepts in this passage why did he feel the need to add them in?

Conclusion

It is and has been my analysis that those who deny the Trinity do so by abbrogating one of the Biblical teachings of One God, Three Persons, and Same Substance with one of the others.  This is why there exist such a wide range of different Trinity deniers.  I think it would be fun to just watch them debate each other if you ask me.

Seventh Day Adventists try to appear Trinitarian but due to their inability to confess “one being” and “same substance” they end up with a Tri-Theism which they call “Trinity”.  The truth is, just because you use the word doesn’t mean your belief is the same.

And here is the important part, those who hold a Biblical Orthodox view on the Trinity don’t need a paraphrase to iron out the Bible for them.  They can just read the Holy Bible and it says what they believe.  Something to think about.

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About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Leaving Adventism, The Clear Word and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Clear Word vs Bible: Doctrine of the Holy Trinity

  1. V L Greavx says:

    Can we chat. Not on here. I Wanna bring you understanding. More then these schools ever could. Then maybe you can help me. The oracles were given to the charge the sons of jacob.

    Like

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