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Question: - What did the following leading pioneers of Seventh-day Adventism all have in common with each other?


Joseph Bates


James Springer White


Joseph H. Waggoner


Merritt E. Cornell


John Nevins Andrews







John N. Loughborough


Uriah Smith


S. N. Haskell


Alonzo Trevier Jones


Ellet J. Waggoner




Answer: - They were all non-trinitarian!


To many Seventh-day Adventists, this may appear very surprising but the truth of the matter is that throughout the time of Ellen White’s ministry (1844-1915), also for decades following her death, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was a non-trinitarian denomination. This is the way it had been since its inception.


No rebuke through the spirit of prophecy


It is very interesting that regarding their non-trinitarian beliefs, never once did Ellen White say that early Seventh-day Adventists were wrong. This was even though some of our pioneers were quite vocal at times in speaking out against the trinity doctrine. This included her husband James Springer White.


The record of our history reveals that through to his death in 1881, even after being married to the messenger of the Lord for 35 years, James White remained a passionate anti-trinitarian. Nowhere can it be found where Ellen White said that her husband was wrong in these beliefs. This must be considered quite an interesting observation.


It was also the same with the other early Seventh-day Adventists. Never did Ellen White say that they were wrong in rejecting the trinity doctrine.

Text Box: Ellen G. White (1827-1915)


Sent around the world as the truth


During the entire time period of Ellen White’s ministry, this same non-trinitarianism was evident throughout the entire spectrum of Seventh-day Adventist publications. This was sent around the world as the truth that God desired His people to believe.


By our pioneers, these beliefs were considered to be an integral part of the last day message of Seventh-day Adventism. It must be asked therefore, if Ellen White had considered these beliefs to be wrong, why did she not seek to correct the church? After all, she was God’s messenger to the remnant - and she did have 71 years in which to do it (1844-1915). Why continue to allow Seventh-day Adventists to believe this error and also lead thousands of others to believe it as well - if it was error?


Strange claims


It was not until after Ellen White’s death that the claim was made that her writings revealed God to be a trinity of divine beings as depicted by the trinity doctrine. During her lifetime it was professed by Seventh-day Adventists that God was a personal being whilst Christ was said to be a separate personage from the Father. The belief that God and Christ are two separate personages was very important to early Seventh-day Adventists.


During the time period of Ellen White’s ministry, it was also believed that because Christ had been begotten (brought forth) of God, He was truly the Son of God. Many Seventh-day Adventists today deny this Sonship belief. Their official beliefs say that the Son of God, just like the Father, is not begotten.


In the early days of Seventh-day Adventism, the Holy Spirit was not generally thought of as a person although eventually, through the leading of the spirit of prophecy, He was regarded as such. This though was not in the same sense as the Father and the Son were regarded as persons. This is because the nature of the Holy Spirit was said to be a mystery. In keeping with Scripture and the spirit of prophecy, the Holy Spirit was said to be the spiritual presence of both the Father and the Son – when they (the Father and the Son) were still bodily in Heaven.


After the death of Ellen White, all of this changed. This was when the belief was promulgated that the Holy Spirit was a person exactly the same as God and Christ. This eventually led to the acceptance of a modified form of the orthodox trinity doctrine.


Interesting to note is that it was not until at least the 1950’s that it could be said that trinitarianism was becoming established within Seventh-day Adventism. This was decades after the death of Ellen White.


Serious questioning


The realisation that Ellen White never once spoke out against the non-trinitarianism of early Seventh-day Adventists, also the fact that never once did she make a profession of the trinity doctrine, has led many Seventh-day Adventists today to seriously question whether she really was a trinitarian. This has led to asking what the difference is (if there is a difference), between the non-trinitarian beliefs of early Seventh-day Adventists and the so-called trinitarian beliefs of Ellen White. In other words, what is it that makes Ellen White’s beliefs trinitarian (if this is what they are) and what is it that makes early Seventh-day Adventists beliefs non-trinitarian (which we know they were)? These are questions that this author, in the various studies found on this website, has sought to answer.


Prior to reading these studies, you may like to read the author’s purpose behind this website. If you do, please click here. If not then please continue to the Main Menu.


*Please note that unless otherwise stated, all emphasis in the articles on this website is supplied


© T. M. Hill 2008


 Last edited 26th December 2011