The Gospel Herald -- Promoting the fundamentals of the 1888 message.



An extensive survey of the Ellen G. White CD ROM shows the following terms applied to the Godhead:

  1. "The Father, Son and Holy Spirit" — appears 97 times (some repeats of the same phrase were found in compilations and daily readers). In context this phrase is used to mean: the fullness of the nature of the Godhead, and a unity of purpose in the salvation of fallen mankind.

It is used in conjunction with the following terms:

  1. "three-fold name"
  2. "Godhead"
  3. "eternal heavenly dignitaries"


Counsels on Health p 222— "The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption."

Please note that ALL THREE "gave Themselves" for our redemption. Our salvation was a sacrifice for ALL THREE Persons of the Godhead.

Manuscript Releases, Volume 6, p 163— "These three all cooperate in the great work of the covenant made by baptism in the sight of the heavenly universe."

Review and Herald, January 27, 1903, paragraph 9— "The salvation of human beings is a vast enterprise, that calls into action every attribute of the divine nature. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have pledged themselves to make God's children more than conquerors through Him that loved them."

Are the terms "Father," "Son," and "Holy Spirit" used to define the "attributes of the divine nature" in language our finite minds can comprehend? One divine Person with multiple characteristics?

  1. "The threefold name"— appears 7 times (all repeats) and is used only in conjunction with the above phrase; context is baptism and conversion of the sinner.

example: BC 6:1075— "Those who are baptized in the threefold name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, at the very entrance of their Christian life declare publicly that they have accepted the invitation, 'Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing...'" (manuscript written in 1900)

  1. "Three highest powers in the heavenly universe"— found 12 times; used in context with #1 above and defines the work of salvation and sanctification.


Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, p 51— "we are to cooperate with the three highest powers in heaven,—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,—these powers will work through us, making us workers together with God." (also found in EV 617).

Review and Herald, 08-12-1909— "The three highest powers in the universe are pledged to labor with those who will seek to save the lost."

Sermons and Talks, Vol. 2, p 287— "In whose name are we baptized? In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost,—the three highest powers in the heavenly courts."

The word "name" is a singular noun, but EGW uses THREE distinct NAMES to identify who she is talking about. This indicates a unity of the Godhead even though there are three Persons in the Godhead.

  1. "Eternal heavenly dignitaries"— used 3 times (repeated) and always with #1 above, describes the power available for salvation from sin.


Manuscript Releases vol. 16, p 205— "Also there would be the eternal heavenly dignitaries—God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit—arming them with more than mortal energy, and would advance with them to the work, and convince the world of sin."

  1. "Godhead" — an overwhelming majority of usages—found 255 times, used many times in conjunction with the phrase "Christ, the express image of the Godhead."


Signs of the Times, 6-27-1895, paragraph 3— "The greatness of God can not be measured or comprehended. And that doctrine that denies the absolute Godhead of Jesus, denies also the Godhead of the Father; for no man knoweth the Son but the Father."

The Arian position denigrates the "absolute Godhead of Jesus" by making Christ a "lesser god." SDA Arianism does not go so far as to completely deny the "God-ness" of Jesus, but does make Him something of a lesser Being, having "proceeded forth from the Father" some time in the past. Arianism destroys the "God-ness" of the Holy Spirit by making Him a "force" or "influence" instead of a real, personal Being.

Acts of the Apostles, p 50— "As in humility they submitted to the molding influence of the Holy Spirit, they received of the fullness of the Godhead and were fashioned in the likeness of the divine."

How could the Holy Spirit impart something of which He was NOT to the disciples, if He is not "fully God"? By receiving the "Holy Spirit," we receive the "fullness of the Godhead," which has already been defined as "three powers" and also "three divine Persons."

Desire of Ages, p 671, and Review and Herald, 05-19-1904, paragraph 3— "Sin could only be resisted and overcome through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of the divine power."

What power is left to our aid in overcoming sin, if we deny the Third Person of the Godhead His rightful place in the "heavenly trio"? The work wrought out by Christ is limited by our unbelief in the Regenerating Power of the Person of the Holy Spirit.

Evangelism, p 615— "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 all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour."

If we deny or denigrate the Personhood of the Holy Spirit how can He effectually work in our hearts to give us overcoming?

  1. "Heavenly trio"— only used one time and that is in the context of defining the Godhead"—same phrase repeated 5 times in different places


Evangelism, p 617; In Heavenly Places, p 336; 7BC 441; Bible Training School, 3-01-1906; Special Testimonies Series B, vol. 7, p 63— "There are three living persons in the heavenly trio..."

  1. "Three dignitaries of heaven"— used only one time:


6BC 1075— "When we have accepted Christ, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit have pledged ourselves to serve God, the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit—the three dignitaries and powers of heaven—pledge themselves that every facility shall be given to us if we carry out our baptismal vows to come out from among them, and be...separate."

In this one sentence EGW refers to "God" and then calls their name—"the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," and gives them a number—"three," with qualifying characteristics—"dignitaries and powers." (Manuscript 85, 1901).

  1. "Three living persons"— used only one time and found in context with #1 and #3 above

  2. "Three great powers"— used 41 times (many repeats);


Manuscript Releases vol. 21, p 151, 152; Evangelism p 65; 2 SM 391; 8T 254; Review and Herald, 5-5-1903; Signs of the Times, 5-10-1910— "In the great closing work we shall meet with perplexities that we know not how to deal with, but let us not forget that the three great Powers of heaven are working, that a divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring His purposes to pass."

If the Holy Spirit is "only" a "power" or "force" (as the Arians teach) which strives with our spirit to bring about salvation, then it would appear from this statement that ALL of the "three great Powers" are of the same nature and characteristics—all are "only" some kind of "force" which exerts Its divine influence upon our hearts. In the first sentence EGW says "three great powers," then in the next sentence she says "God" indicating an equality between the terms.

Letter 1, 1904 (In Heavenly Places, p 176)— "Keep yourselves where the three great powers of heaven—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—can be your efficiency."

6BC 1074— "The three great powers of heaven are witnesses; they are invisible but present." Note the use of the personal pronoun "they" as a "corporate" term. "They"—ALL of "the three great powers of heaven"—"are witnesses."

Manuscript Releases vol. 4, p 368— "The three great powers of heaven pledge Themselves to furnish to the Christian all the assistance he requires. The Spirit changes the heart of stone to the heart of flesh. And by partaking of the word of God, eating the flesh and drinking the blood of His Son, Christians obtain an experience that is after the divine similitude. When Christ abides in the heart by faith, the Christian is the temple of God."

Please note: This quote gives the activities of the three great powers" of the Godhead" as they function corporately and "individually" for the salvation of the sinner.

  1. the Spirit changes the heart from stone to flesh;

  2. assimilation of the Word brings the "divine similitude" to our characters;

  3. God then can dwell in our hearts as His holy temple. There is seen here a unity of purpose even though there are different "functions" for each of the Persons of the Godhead.

If we deny the Personhood of the Spirit, then how can the first work of changing the stony heart to a heart of flesh be accomplished?

  1. "eternal three"— never used by Ellen White

  2. "trinity"— never used by Ellen White

  3. "trinitarian"— never used by Ellen White

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