Ellen White warns us that we need to “Beware lest you read the Word of God in the light of erroneous teaching. It was on this very ground that the Jews made their fatal mistake. They declared that there must be no different interpretation placed upon the Scriptures than that which had been given by the rabbis in former years … and if Jesus Christ, the Word of God, had not come into the world, humanity would have lost all knowledge of the true God....” (The Review and Herald, March 25, 1902). We are bound to make the same mistakes if we rely heavily on the thoughts of some of the early Adventist pioneers without investigating what they held as accurate and, thus, risk losing the knowledge of the true God. She further states, “Cherished opinions, long-practiced customs, and habits, are to be brought to the test of the Scriptures; and if the Word of God opposes your views, then, for your soul’s sake, do not wrest the Scriptures” (Ibid).
One of the texts often used to claim that Jesus is not God, or rather not co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father, is John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (Emphasis supplied). They read “Only true God” and “Jesus Christ” as two separate entities, whereby the former refers to God the Father, and the latter is subordinate to the Father. With this understanding, they submit that the Father is the “Only True God.” However, the same author, John, clearly elaborates on what he meant by John 17:3 in 1 John 5:20, where he explicitly states that Jesus is the true God and eternal life. We read, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (Emphasis supplied). In John 1:1-3, John testifies that Jesus Christ is the eternal life “which was with the Father” and this ‘eternal life,’ they ‘looked at and touched’ with their hands, in the person of Jesus Christ.
As we pray and think about these things, let us not assume that the Father is older than the Son. They are co-equal and co-eternal. The term ‘Son’ is a functional reference whose beginnings can be traced to Luke 1:35. I hope you now understand what Ellen White meant when she wrote, “If Jesus Christ, the Word of God,[cf. John 1:1-3, 14] had not come into the world, humanity would have lost all knowledge of the true God....”
The Trinity Doctrine is not a creation of any man, church, or denomination. It is the Revelation of the Word of God. That is, the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, as seen in Scripture, demands that we believe and affirm the doctrine of the Trinity.
Jesus asks us today as we open Scripture: “… How do you read it?” (Luke 10:26).
Pastor Omwocha Nyaribo