The interesting fictitious character Don Quixote used to joust with windmills imagining them to be enemies. Some Semi-Arians follow a similar practice - they imagine something to be against the SDA Church, they then tilt at it and imagine they have done some damage to the image of the Church. I need to offer a clearer explanation:
First of all I need to clarify who I mean by Semi-Arians. They are non-Trinitarians in the Seventh-day Adventist Church who have adopted the same type of teaching as the Semi-Arians of the Church of the first few centuries of the Christian era. These SDA people are individuals who seem to be in contact with one another and as well there is a group of them that call themselves Restitution Ministries. They want to remain in the Church but at the same time they oppose the Church.
These people oppose the Seventh-day Adventist Church primarily because it has accepted the doctrine of the Trinity. They don't like this partly because they say that our Pioneers were against the Trinity doctrine. Actually a study of what some Pioneers said reveals that they mistook Modalism (the idea that God is a single Person who reveals Himself sometimes as the Father, sometimes as the Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit) to be the Trinity doctrine. It most certainly is not. They could not accept Modalism, and rightly so, but unfortunately they do not seem to have understood what the Trinity doctrine really is. Nevertheless, they were good men, much like the Apostles who didn't know much to start with, and God could use them. They accepted the Bible only as their Creed and gradually the Church became Trinitarian.
As part of their campaign against the teaching of the Church these modern day Semi-Arians have sought out all of the objections that they can find. One of these is that the Church has gained its Trinity doctrine from the Roman Catholic Church. There is not the slightest hint anywhere in our history that this is so. Actually, we have gained the doctrine from the Bible and what we believe is not the same as the Roman Catholic Church teaching.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all fully God and exist in a single Divine Substance. There are not three gods but a single God consisting of Three Divine Persons. This is contrary to Tritheism which teaches that there are three who are god but they exist singly. Some try to make out that they are a Trinity because they all agree and cooperate together. Obviously, this does not make them One God and they are three no matter what else may be said about them.
To sum up, SDA believe that there are Three Persons who exist in the One Substance of God. They are all Eternal.
Semi-Arians on the other hand believe that only the Father is Eternal and at some ancient time He gave birth to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is not a Person and is merely the spiritual influence proceeding from the Father or Jesus or both of them.
I want to now demonstrate by the use of a Roman Catholic illustration that the Semi-Arians are far closer to Roman Catholic belief than are Seventh-day Adventists.
Please notice the features of the central and larger image:
- The Father begat the Son
- The Father and the Son together produce the Holy Ghost.
It can very easily be seen that the Semi-Arians are much closer to the Roman Catholics than is the SDA Church. The Semi-Arians who claim that the Church received its doctrine of the Trinity from the Catholics are way off the mark according to this illustration. The Semi-Arians are tilting at windmills, merely following their imaginations and desire to condemn the SDA Church.
So there we are, the old story that people that point the finger need to be very careful because in doing so they have three fingers pointing back at themselves is true. They have condemned themselves to be spreaders of falsehood and deniers of the truth.
My sincere prayer is that God will open the eyes of this misinformed and misguided people so that they might see the truth of the Scriptures.