The Crisis Years 1900 through 1905

Content 5. The Crisis Years 1900-1905
“The Godhead in Black and White” book.

One day in 1900 Ellen White surprised her family and associate workers by telling them that divine instruction had come to her in the night that she must return to America. From the standpoint of the work in Australia it seemed a most inopportune time for her leave, but One whose eye watches His church enterprise as a whole and looks into the future, knew well the need of her presence in the United States during the crisis that would fill the early years of the new century.

During the years leading up to the turn of the century, Dr. Kellogg had begun to introduce Pantheistic teachings (God in everything) john kelloggin the General Conference Sessions. These teachings were a departure from the foundational truths regarding the personality of God and Christ. By 1901 Pantheism was rampant in Battle Creek. In February of 1902 the Battle Creek Sanitarium was destroyed by fire. Dr. Kellogg was commissioned to write a new book, the sale of which would aid rebuilding costs. His book was to be called The Living Temple. He was warned not to include his ‘new’ theories in it, but he did. In December of the same year the Review and Herald Publishing House burned to the ground, with the plates of Kellogg’s new book. In 1901 Ellen White had written “I have been almost afraid to open the Review, fearing to see that God has cleansed the publishing house by fire.–Letter 138, 1901” {Testimonies Volume. 8, p. 91}. Her fear materialized when she heard of the Review and Herald fire.

It had been hoped that in connection with the destruction of the book plates in the Review and Herald fire, Dr. Kellogg would abandon the matter of publishing The Living Temple. But instead he sent the manuscript to a commercial printer in Battle Creek. Three thousand copies of the book were printed and began to make their way among Seventh-day Adventists. In due time in the summer of 1903 a copy of The Living Temple arrived at Elmshaven, but Ellen White did not look at it. In September of that year she was compelled to speak out plainly against these errors.“I have some things to say to our teachers in reference to the new book, “The Living Temple“. Be careful how you sustain the sentiments of this book regarding the personality of God. As the Lord represents matters to me, these sentiments do not bear the endorsement of God. They are a snare that the enemy has prepared for these last days. I thought that this would surely be discerned, and that it would not be necessary for me to say anything about it. But since the claim has been made that the teachings of this book can be sustained by statements from my writings, I am compelled to speak in denial of this claim.” {Letter 211, 1903}

When the messages were read at the Council in Washington, Dr. Kellogg responded favorably, saying that he accepted the testimony and that he would modify the wording in The Living Temple dealing with theological matters. But his statements were rather erratic and changeable. His attitude alternated, and it finally turned out that the doctor never really changed.

In crisis situations such as this Ellen White often began her work at midnight. During the crisis of 1903 and into 1904, Ellen White wrote concerning pantheism (and its accompanying list of heresies), its threat to the church and to the religious experience of those who were drawn to it. On August 7, 1904, Ellen White wrote: “Separate from the influence exerted by the book “Living Temple;” for it contains specious sentiments. There are in it sentiments that are entirely true, but these are mingled with error. Scriptures are taken out of their connection, and are used to uphold erroneous theories. […] I am instructed to speak plainly. “Meet it,” is the word spoken to me. “Meet it firmly, and without delay.”” {Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pp. 49, 50}

The issues were now in the open. Physicians, nurses, ministers, and church members, particularly in Battle Creek, were taking sides. How could the real issues be made clear? It was a life-and-death struggle for souls. What others did not see, Ellen White saw clearly, and it weighed heavily upon her. The platform of truth was being dismantled by Kellogg. “In a representation which passed before me, I saw a certain work being done by medical missionary workers. Our ministering brethren were looking on, watching what was being done, but they did not seem to understand. The foundation of our faith, which was established by so much prayer, such earnest searching of the Scriptures, was being taken down, pillar by pillar. Our faith was to have nothing to rest upon–the sanctuary was gone, the atonement was gone. I realized that something must be done. The battle nearly killed me.” {Sermons and Talks Volume One, p. 344} 1904

To sound a warning to the church throughout the land, Ellen White hurried the production of Testimonies for the Church, volume 8, with its section on “The Essential Knowledge,” dealing with nature and a personal God. She dwelt at length on the danger of speculative knowledge, her message but tressed with abundant scripture evidence of a personal God andthe relation He sustains to His personal Son. The book The Ministry of Healing was in preparation at this time; there was included in it also a section entitled “The Essential Knowledge,” dealing with speculative knowledge and the false and true in education. Thus Ellen White went on record with warnings that would continue to sound. [Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years Volume 5 1900-1905, By Arthur L. White (1981)]

Examining the writings 1900-1905

It is perhaps a little known fact of history that Dr. Kellogg, in promoting pantheism, had actually come to believe in the doctrine of the trinity (See Appendix, p. 45). A doctrine that was as foreign to the church as Sunday sacredness. Kellogg had come to believe in three divine beings (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) and he expressed that this belief is exactly what he meant to say in his book The Living Temple.

Not only that, but Kellogg claimed support from Ellen White’s writings in promoting His ideas. Foremost among his ideas was the new teaching regarding the Holy spirit as a third being besides the Father and the Son. Did Mrs. White come to believe in God as a Trinity? Did she begin to teach that the Holy Spirit is indeed a third separate being with the Father and Son? Why then did she continue to write statements which were clearly not Trinitarian?

When God gives us His Spirit, does He give us someone else different to Him?

In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself, making Himself a fountain of divine influences, to give health and life to the world.” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 7, p. 273} 1902

Is the soul of Christ’s life a different being to Christ?

“Christ declared that after his ascension, he would send to his church, as his crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take his place. This Comforter is the Holy Spirit,–the soul of his life, the efficacy of his church, the light and life of the world. With his Spirit Christ sends a reconciling influence and a power that takes away sin.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, May 19, 1904 par. 1}

Did the Comforter change in the writings of this period?

“Let them study the seventeenth of John, and learn how to pray and how to live the prayer of Christ. He is the Comforter. He will abide in their hearts, making their joy full.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, January 27, 1903}

Are God and His Spirit two different beings?

God is a spirit; yet He is a personal being, for man was made in His image. As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son.” {E. G. White, Education, p. 132} 1903

Who has an intimate knowledge and personal interest in the works of His hand?

The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. “The Lord’s throne is in heaven” (Psalm 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere presentHe has an intimate knowledge of, and a personal interest in, all the works of His hand.” {E. G.White,Education, p. 132} 1903

Who furnishes us with spiritual life?

“Christ is the source of all true growth, the maintainer of all life. By His Holy Spirit He communicates heavenly principles and furnishes spiritual life.” {E. G. White, Manuscript Releases Volume 20, p. 143} 1901

He is coming to us by His Holy Spirit today. Let us recognize Him now; then we shall recognize Him when He comes in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, April 30, 1901 par. 8}

Who is the only true God (is it a trinity)?

Jehovah is the only true God, and He is to be reverenced and worshiped.” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 6, p. 166} 1901

As Jehovah, the supreme Ruler, God could not personally communicate with sinful men, but He so loved the world that He sent Jesus to our world as a revelation of Himself.” {E. G. White, Manuscript Releases Volume 9, p. 122} 1903

Who is the personification of the only true God?

By rejecting the Son of God, the personification of the only true God, who possessed goodness, mercy, and untiring love, whose heart was ever touched with human woe, and choosing a murderer in his stead, the Jews showed what human nature can and will do when the restraining power of the Spirit of God is removed, and men are under the control of the apostate.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, January 30, 1900 par. 6}

What is the relation between God and Christ? What has Christ been given?

“The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each. [Hebrews 1:1-5 quoted]. God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son.” {E. G. White,Testimonies Volume 8, p. 268} 1904

How is the unity between the Father and the Son described?

The personality of the Father and the Son, also the unity that exists between Them, are presented in the seventeenth chapter of John, in the prayer of Christ for His disciples: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shallbelieve on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also maybe one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.”John 17:20, 21. The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of eitherThey are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person. It is thus that God and Christ are one.” {E. G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 421, 422}

What is the only power that can resist and overcome sin and cleanse us?

There is but one power that can break the hold of evil from the hearts of men, and that is the power of God in Jesus Christ. Only through the blood of the Crucified One is there cleansing from sin. His grace alone can enable us to resist and subdue the tendencies of our fallen nature. {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 8, p. 291} 1904

What is the (much misunderstood) term used to describe this personal power?

“The Spirit was given as a regenerating agency, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of man to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fulness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given his Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress his own character upon the church.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, May 19, 1904 par. 3}

Does that make the Spirit another individual being, a different person to God and Christ?

In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself, making Himself a fountain of divine influences, to give health and life to the world.” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 7, p. 273} 1902

“All who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to His service will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical, mental, and spiritual power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own Spirit, the life of His own lifeThe Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in mind and heart.” {E. G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 159} 1905

When the Father and Son created Adam and Eve in Their likeness, did that likeness also include a physical outward resemblance?

“Created to be “the image and glory of God” (1 Corinthians 11:7), Adam and Eve had received endowments not unworthy of their high destiny. Graceful and symmetrical in form, regular and beautiful in feature, their countenances glowing with the tint of health and the light of joy and hope, they bore in outward resemblance the likeness of their MakerNor was this likeness manifest in the physical nature only. Every faculty of mind and soul reflected the Creator’s glory.” {E. G. White, Education, p. 20} 1903

“When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker.” {E. G. White, Education, p. 15} 1903

To whom did Mrs. White direct her love, was it to a trinity?

I love God. I love Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and I feel an intense interest in every soul who claims to be a child of God. I am determined to be a faithful steward so long as the Lord shall spare my life. I will not fail nor be discouraged.” {E. G. White,Selected Messages Book 3, pp. 71, 72} 1906

Who are we called to honor and praise?

“The Lord God of heaven is our Leader. He is a leader whom we can safely follow; for He never makes a mistake. Let us honor God and His Son Jesus Christ, through whom He communicates with the world.” {E. G. White, S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 1, p. 1118} 1903

“There they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” {E. G. White,Testimonies Volume 6, p. 368} 1901

“All the heavenly angels are at the service of the humble, believing people of God; and as the Lord’s army of workers here below sing their songs of praise, the choir above join with them in thanksgiving, ascribing praise to God and to His Son.” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 7, p. 17} 1902

“In your hands will be placed a golden harp, and touching its strings, you will join with the redeemed host in filling all heaven with songs of praise to God and His Son.” {E. G. White, (Australasian) Union Conference Record, January 15, 1903 par. 14}

Whose personality and individuality is constantly emphasized?

The seventeenth chapter of John speaks plainly regarding the personality of God and of Christ, and of their relation to each other. “Father, the hour is come,” Christ said: “glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” [John 17:23, 3, 5-11 quoted.] Here is personality, and individuality.” {E. G. White, S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1145} 1903

Christ is one with the Father, but Christ and God are two distinct personages. Read the prayer of Christ in the seventeenth chapter of John, and you will find this point clearly brought out. How earnestly the Saviour prayed that His disciples might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. But the unity that is to exist between Christ and His followers does not destroy the personality of either. They are to be one with Him as He is one with the Father.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, June 1, 1905 par. 14} (Note: Why did Mrs. White not emphasize the personality and individuality of the Spirit as much as the Father and the Son? Why did she constantly speak of the personality and individuality of the Father and the Son alone?)“

“And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” All through the Scriptures, the Father and the Son are spoken of as two distinct personagesYou will hear men endeavoring to make the Son of God a nonentity. He and the Father are one, but they are two personages. Wrong sentiments regarding this are coming in, and we shall all have to meet them.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, July 13, 1905 par. 3}

Do the lessons of the Bible reveal a trinity to us?

“In the Bible every duty is made plain. Every lesson given is comprehensible. Every lesson reveals to us the Father and the SonThe word is able to make all wise unto salvation. In the word the science of salvation is plainly revealed.” {E. G.White,Testimonies Volume 8, p. 157} 1904

Did Mrs. White continue to affirm that Proverbs 8:22-30 speaks of Christ?

Through Solomon Christ declared: “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth. . . . When He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment; when He appointed the foundations of the earth; then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.”” {E. G. White,Signs of the Times, August 29, 1900 par. 14}

After Christ, who was the most honored of all the heavenly inhabitants?

Among the inhabitants of heaven, Satan, next to Christ, was at one time most honored of God, and highest in power and glory. Before his fall, Lucifer, “son of the morning,” was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. He stood inthe presence of the great Creator, and the ceaseless beams of glory enshrouding the eternal God rested upon him.” {E.G. White, Signs of the Times, July 23, 1902 par. 2}

Who has sent us words of power?

“So we are to hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Words of power have been sent by God and by Christ to this people, bringing them out from the world, point by point, into the clear light of present truth. With lipstouched with holy fire, God’s servants have proclaimed the message. The divine utterance has set its seal to the genuineness of the truth proclaimed.” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 8, p. 297} 1904



As can be plainly seen by any reader, Mrs. White maintained the same truths that she had been teaching throughout the past years. She did not swerve from the plain facts regarding the Godhead. Even while Kellogg was seeking to promote a new doctrine of a third individual divine being called God the Holy spirit (who was in all things), Mrs. White plainly declared these teachings as pantheistic. A brief summary will reveal the consistent harmony in the Spirit of Prophecy.

In giving us His spirit, God gives us Himself not someone else.
The Holy Spirit is the soul of Christ’s life.
Christ is still our Comforter, not someone different to Him.
God is both a spirit as well as a personal being.
God is everywhere present by His Spirit. God (not another) has a personal interest in His created works.
Christ furnishes spiritual life by coming to us by His Holy Spirit.
Jehovah is the only true God, the supreme Ruler.
The Son of God is the personification of the only true God.
God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God.
Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father.
The Father and the Son are one in purpose, mind, and in character, but not in person.
The power of God in Jesus Christ is the ONLY power to resist and overcome sin.
This personal power is termed ‘the third person of the Godhead.’
This is Christ’s own spirit, the life of His own life, given as a divine power to overcome sin.
Adam and Eve bore a physical likeness to their creator in outward resemblance.
Mrs. White directed her love to God and Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
We are to honor God and his Son Jesus Christ.
In heaven we will praise and worship God and His Son.
The heavenly choir also sings praise and thanksgiving to God and His Son.
The personality of the Father and the Son plainly reveals they are two personages.
Every lesson in the Bible reveals to us the Father and the Son.
Mrs. White continued to affirm that Proverbs 8:22-30 is speaking of Christ.
Of all the heavenly inhabitants, Lucifer (before his fall) was next to Christ in honor, power and glory.
The divine utterance has set its seal to the genuineness of the truth proclaimed.
These words of power were sent to us by God and by Christ.


The Godhead in Black and White

The Early Years 1827-1862

The Progressive Years 1862-1876

The Lonely Years 1876-1891 

The Australian Years 1891-1900

The Crisis Years 1900-1905

The Final Years 1905-1915 

Appendix – (Dr. Kellogg & the Trinity) 

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