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SHOULD SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS PRAY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT?

INTRODUCTION:

By Derrick Gillespie

This presentation (written in August 2014) is meant primarily for SD Adventist members who are Trinitarians, since this document makes plain what being a Trinitarian really means in terms of who is Godto the Trinitarian SDA (see the Biblical proofs here), what that Goddeserves in terms of worship, who really is “our Father”, and what that implies as it concerns worship and prayer addressed to the Deity. It will make plain why we traditionally call upon”, talk to or pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ under the unction of the Holy Spirit, and yet still that prayer is being inescapably addressed to all three persons in the Godhead (i.e. once we call upon” or pray to “God”, or “our Father”, or “Jehovah”, or “the Lord”). It will also make plain why the Holy Spirit has always been worshipped and prayed to all over the Bible, and why some with their “eyes wide shut” or seeing but not seeing(Trinitarian SDAs and non-Trinitarian SDAs alike) have missed the glaring Biblical evidence that it has always been so. In addition, this document will reveal to SDAs that their leading pioneer and prophetess, E.G. White, gave clear signals of the fact that prayer is and can be directed to the Holy Spirit when we pray, once we really recognize the truth about the “threefold Godhead”, and how the Godhead is “one” in divinity as “the three holiest beings in heaven”. Finally, this document will refute the chief arguments of some in Adventism (i.e. non-Trinitarians and, surprisingly, some Trinitarian SDAs) making the claim that praying to the Holy Spirit is demonicor pagan.

SDAs HISTORICALLY PRAYING TO THE SPIRIT

Prayer is “calling upon”, talking to, or directly addressing and reverently communicating with Deity or divinity, and it is quite clear that SDAs have officially believed in praying to the Spirit all along since SDAs became Trinitarian (starting from in the 1890s). But some SDAs have never come to grips with that real truth. Let’s review the evidence with some plain examples.

1. SDA’s leading pioneer, prophetess and co-founder of the denomination is on record clearly addressing all three persons of the Godhead in prayer (i.e. including the Spirit listed separately), because she believed they are all members of Deity, and in fact she even went as far as identifying all three as “our Father” in the real Trinitarian sense, despite some SDAs don’t even realize this. Proof?

"God says, [notice after this whom she means says this] "Come out from among them, and

be ye separate,

Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." [Now notice carefully] This is the pledge of [not one person, but] the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [i.e. the *pledge to receive and be a Fatherto you]; made to you if you will keep your baptismal vow, and touch not the unclean thing… In order to deal righteously with the

and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a

world, as members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, Christians must feel

their need of a power, which comes only from the [three] heavenly

pledged themselves to work in man's behalf. After we have formed a union with the great THREEFOLD POWER [singular; collective], we shall regard our duty toward the members of God's family with a sacred awe.”

agencies that have

-E.G. White, Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901

This is plainly a Trinitarian type statement, in one context, affirming “God” to be Father, Son and Spirit, and affirming that they all/unitedly pledged” to be “a Father” to us (simply because we bear their singular “name”… as children usually do of their fathers; Matthew 28:19). Now, only desperate dishonesty, denominational heresy or utter blindness would have any SDA trying to explain it away or deny its real Trinitarian intent. And yet I have seen some SDAs so desperate to prove their non-Trinitarian viewpoint that they read statements as plain as the foregoing and deny the actual words used by E.G. White herself (as written on behalf of TRUE Trinitarian SDAs), or they try to somersault over them. But no TRUE SDA can escape the real words above, and they also make clear what actually is involved each time we say “our Father” in prayer, i.e. each time we pray to God. But that matter I will come back to and expound on later. Now, Mrs. White sometimes expressed “God” as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that they are rightly “our Father” (mind you, that’s not her being confused about the separate identity of Jesus’ personal Father, i.e. God the Father). With this understanding it is then plain why she had no difficulty expressing prayer to all three “beings” of Deity, and declares that SDAs can do the same, as seen below:

“You are baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. You are raised up out

of the water to live henceforth in newness of life--to live a new life. You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of [now notice] THE THREE HOLIEST *BEINGS IN HEAVEN, who are able to keep you from falling…When I feel oppressed, and hardly knowhow to relate myself toward the work that God has given me to do, I just *CALL UPON [i.e. pray to] THE THREE GREAT WORTHIES, and say; You know I cannot do this work in my own strength. You must work in me, and by me and through me, sanctifying my tongue, sanctifying my spirit, sanctifying my words, and bringing me into a position where my spirit shall be susceptible to the movings of the Holy Spirit of

God upon my mind and character. And this is the prayer that every one of us may

.”

-E.G. White, Manuscript Release, Vol.7, pgs. 267, 268 (October, 1906)

Now this foregoing statement is plain, and a number of things are self-evident to he who will be honest. Recently one Trinitarian SDA preacher (who does not believe in prayer to the Spirit; proving he doesn’t fully understand Trinitarianism), after reading the above shockingly said: “Mrs. White did not say that she prayed to the Holy Spirit.” Now that’s utter blindness on his part, and demonstrates how we can twist things to suit or own viewpoint and preconceived ideas, even when something is in plain black and white refuting or pre-conceived ideas. It’s not different from someone seeing the truth about the Sabbath and the Law plainly written in the Bible, and because of their preconceived ideas and previous ‘pet’ theories they will twist and deny even plain truth written in clearest English. But I will come back to this quote later, and expound on its significance.

2. Official SDA Prayer Songs to the Spirit For years SDAs have freely directed prayer songs to the Holy Spirit in worship, simply because this is what true Trinitarianism does. Examples include:

[a] Hover o’er me, Holy Spirit, Bathe my trembling heart and brow; Fill me with Thy hallowed

presence, Come, O come and fill me nowAt Thy sacred feet I bow; Blest, divine, eternal Spirit, Fill

with pow’r, and fill me now”” (as seen in the 1900 Christ in SongHymnal of SDAs *WHILE MRS. WHITE WAS ALIVE. Today its No. 260 in the SDA Hymnal of 1985)

[b] Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove, Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love. (No.

262- SDA Hymnal, 1985)

THAT’S PLAIN PRAYERFUL WORSHIP. PLAIN AS THE NOSE ON YOUR FACE!! And there are very many more like those in the official SDA Hymnal evidencing clearly that SDAs worship and sing prayerfully to the Holy Spirit as Trinitarians!!

CAN AND SHOULD THE SPIRIT BE PRAYED TO INDIVIDUALLY?

Those in SD Adventism who are opposed to praying to the Holy Spirit are genuinely concerned about the fact that (in their view) there is not one BIBLICAL instance of prayer being directed to the Holy Spirit individually, like how prayer was directed to Jesus individually in *Acts 7:55-60 (i.e. where Stephen is seen on his knees “calling upon” or praying to the “Lord Jesus”). *Note- The word "God" (and the comma following it) is supplied in Acts 7:59 in the KJV (hence italicized in the KJV), and so the actual reading in the ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT (without the insert "God" and the commas) is "And they stoned Stephen calling upon and saying Lord Jesus receive my spirit." Who was he praying to

on his knees while filled with the Spirit? It is clear it was *TO Jesus DIRECTLY

equation of praying to God the Father in Jesus’ name is NOT a slavish rule when it comes to members of Deity, as some think. Stephen the inspired apostolic deacon understood this well. I apply the same

principle (that Stephen understood) to the Holy Spirit, who, like Jesus, is “God” in fullest nature, and someone can’t be “God” and yet prayer to him is deemed to be erroneous by a Trinitarian SDA (or

a non-Trinitarian SDA declaring that the Spirit is God himself in actual being). That’s nonsense of

the highest order, and doctrinal confusion about what Trinitarianism really is, or about what TRUE Adventism really teaches about the “threefold Godhead” since the 1890s.

proving the traditional

I submit that it is because of “eyes wide shut” (i.e. thinking one is seeing while blind to obvious truth) why the real Biblical evidenceis missed regarding the Spirit being prayed to. It’s actually all over the Bible!! How so, you may ask, when I havent quoted any specific example? Here’s the real truth.

If the Holy Spirit is FULLY God, as believed by the Trinitarian SDA, and is representative of God or

the very invisible presence of God, then I DON'T NEED TO SHOW INSTANCES OF THE SPIRIT BEING PRAYED TO SEPARATELY, because every instance God is prayed to in the Bible it is an instance of the Holy Spirit being prayed to, since "God is the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:17; Psalm 139:7), or the Spirit is representative of God Himself, with whom that Spirit is always one (1 Cor. 2:11). It is nonsensical to try to prove otherwise, even while trying to prove by the Bible that the Spirit is God in fullest nature,

and part of the Godhead. But some may argue, why is there prayer to Jesus individually, and instructions to worship Jesus individually, but none similarly recorded about the Spirit being worshipped or prayed to individually? The answer for the Trinitarian SDA is simpler than many realize. The reason why we needed instruction that it is OK to worship Jesus (which naturally includes prayer) is simply because Jesus became human (Heb. 1:6) and today he remains a human, but glorified (Phill. 2:5-11;1 Tim. 2:5; Acts 17:31), and in that context we needed to be shown that we can pray to (and worship) a certain man, the "second Adam" (a man) since he is still the "the Lord from heaven" (see 1 Cor. 15:47). But, in contrast, the Spirit (“the third person of the Godhead”, i.e. the “third” of “three holiest beings”) never became human. And since the Spirit will forever be FULL Deity, and who’s forever “one” with the Father of Jesus, theres no need for us to be told to pray to or worship him, since it automatically happens each time we pray to God, who "is the Spirit", or who is represented by that Spiritall over the universe (2 Cor. 3:17; Ps. 139:7)!! And since worship goes directly to the Spirit along with Father and Son each time we worship God as a "threefold Godhead", then Mrs. White demonstrated unequivocally that prayer too is part of what the Spirit is "worthy" of, and she exemplified (for the TRUE SDA) prayer to him too, ALONG WITH

FATHER AND SON (as quoted earlier)

proving

the Spirit’s FULL Deity!! Period!!

But some SDAs, not cognizant of the above truth, go as far as saying that the so-called “newly emerging” practice of praying to the Spirit individually is simply “new age” philosophy that’s “demon worship”, and evidences paganism” as influenced by the questionable philosophy of “spiritual formation”. (See more on what “spiritual formation” is at the following link; a notion I have doubts about, in contrast to me not having any doubt at all about praying to the Spirit. Click here).

But I am of the view (backed by evidence shown earlier) that this matter of praying to the Spirit is NOT anything newly emergingin Adventism (as some propose), but simply has been a reality all along (since SDAs became Trinitarian starting in the 1890s). But the subject of prayer to the Holy Spirit (as far as I know) has never been dealt with in any definitive way (as a separate subject) in SDA theology, despite striking leads in the writings of Mrs. White long ago indicating NOTHING is wrong!! Listen again to her words clearly indicating her prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit along with the Father and Son (inserts in brackets mine]:

"When I feel oppressed, and hardly know how to relate myself toward the work that God has given me to do, I just *CALL UPON [i.e. pray to] THE THREE GREAT WORTHIES [i.e. Father, Son *AND Holy

Spirit], and say; You know I cannot do this work in my own strength. You must work in me, and by me and through me, sanctifying my tongue, sanctifying my spirit, sanctifying my words, and bringing me into a position where my spirit shall be susceptible to the movings of the Holy Spirit of God upon my

mind and character. And this is the PRAYER that every one of us may

.”

-E.G. White, Manuscript Release, Vol.7, pgs. 267, 268 (Ms. 95),

Notice she made plain that this “calling upon” ALL THREE beings(not just one) is “the

PRAYER that every one of us may

.” Those SDAs who want to twist and deny plain

English, it is their choice, but truth will not be held captive to their whims and fancies. Now if, as some SDAs argue, it is wrong to pray to the Holy Spirit and it is "demon worship" to so do, then it would be wrong to pray to Him whether individually or in unison with the Father and Son as Mrs. White PLAINLY did, and our prophetess (by their own faulty arguments) was merging "demon worship" (according to their argumentation) along with the worship of the Father and Son!! Other SDAs asking, triumphalistically, for Trinitarian SDA believers, like myself, to show one explicit example of where in the Bible we ever see the Spirit being prayed to, this is a transparent tactic that’s ineffective. I could ask them to show me one explicit example in the Bible where Mrs. White saw the expression three holiest beings” of the Godhead, or they being called “three persons”, or "the three Great Worthies", et al, or they being prayed to in unison (as three “beings”) as she did in the reference quoted above. There are none!! But simply because she couldn't show a literal or explicit example of all three being prayed to in unison, does not mean she would be misguided, but rather it would simply be a case of her using the principle of what’s implicit in the Bible about divinity, i.e. what the notions of "Deity", the fulness of the Godhead", and the oneness of Father, Son and Spirit implies about the Spirit’s entitlement to worship/prayer. I EMPLOY THE SAME APPROACH AS MRS. WHITE IN THESE MATTERS. If the Holy Spirit is God, as Acts 5:3-4 and 2 Sam. 23:2, 3 makes plain (i.e. having him the "fulness of the Godhead", as Mrs. White explains in her writings), then despite the Spirit admittedly functions in a differing role than the Father and Son (as they do too in relation to each other), the "fulness of the Godhead" in the Holy Spirit, i.e. as a divine person, makes him FULLY Goddeserving/worthyof all that goes with Deity; i.e. us "serving" Him just as we would the Father and the Son (like in Joshua 24:15), and this "service" involves worship, adoration, praise, or supreme reverence. This naturally includes prayer to him along with the Father and the Son (as Mrs. White models for us in her own prayer). It would be the biggest example of sophistry to admit that the Spirit can be prayed to along/together with the Father and the Son, but then argue that it is "demon worship" to talk to Him by Himself. That would be deception of the highest order, even while one is trying, as a Trinitarian, to still accept that the Holy Spirit is God in fullest nature!! Mrs. White knew that when we talk about “serving” God it means worship, prayer and praise involved, and so she was not bashful to say who deserves that “service” in the way Joshua used the word “serve” in the Bible (Joshua 24:15). Listen again to her own words for the TRUE Trinitarian SDA:

"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 Spiritthe three dignitaries and powers of heavenpledge 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."

- E.G. White, Manuscript 85, 1901

Notice the separate listing of the Holy Spirit that we should “serve”, even as we do servethe separately listed Father and Son!! This again is plain, and I don’t need anyone to make me misinterpret it as a Trinitarian SDA myself.

Arguments from some SDAs seeking to robthe Spirit of His true divinity (i.e. Him being FULLY God, as a fully divine person deserving of all honor as Deity) are usually in the minority group of anti-Trinitarians on the fringes of SD Adventism, but some who are self-declared Trinitarians (the majority group in the Church) find themselves doing the same thing as it concerns their objecting to prayer to the Spirit. What a pity!!

ANSWERING OBJECTIONS:

Some say "The idea of praying to the Holy Spirit discards the biblical order and it removes Jesus as our heavenly high priest in the heavenly sanctuary". They argue that it is to the Father we should pray, and because Jesus is the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), then to pray to the Spirit oversteps Jesus as mediator, and is unbiblical. That seems to be airtight logic in their OPINION but lacks foundation!! My question to them is this, if we pray to Jesus directly, instead of to the Father of Jesus (as exemplified in Acts 7:55-60), do we remove "remove Jesus as our heavenly high priest in the heavenly sanctuary" and does this "discard the biblical order" of praying ONLY to the Father of Jesus, but in/through Jesus name, as is argued? If the answer is yes, then Stephen would have been misguided to do what he did in Acts 7:59, 60, despite the record plainly showed he was under the Holy Spirit’s influence. But clearly he was not!! In addition, some SDA Trinitarians need to be reminded that “God” is a group reality, just as “Man” is group reality and that Jesus is part of both groups (i.e. Godand Man, or divinity and humanity), and hence to a fully grounded Trinitarian the prayer expressing “our Father which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name” is and should be a prayer addressing all members of Deity who are our Fatherand who all have the same name (Matthew 28:19); not just the Father of Jesus. That’s why Jesus is likewise called “the Everlasting Father” (Is. 9:6), because he along with His Father is also our Fatherand we are the childrengiven to Jesus (see Heb. 2:13, 14). Likewise we are the childrenof the Holy Spirit because he both participated in our creation initially (Ps. 104:30 and Job 33:4), as well as in our rebirth (John 3:5, 6) on behalf of the Father and Son. That’s why Mrs. White represented TRUE SDA Trinitarians by making plain about whose childrenwe really are, and why we pray to that “Father” (no true SDA will reject this fact):

"God says, [notice after this whom she means says this] "Come out from among them, and

be ye separate,

Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." [Now notice carefully] This is the pledge of [not one person, but] the Father, the Son, and the Holy

Spirit [i.e. the *pledge to receive and be a Fatherto you]; made to you if you will keep your baptismal vow, and touch not the unclean thing… In order to deal righteously with the world, as members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, Christians must feel

their need of a power, which comes only from the [three] heavenly

pledged themselves to work in man's behalf. After we have formed a union with the great THREEFOLD POWER [singular; collective], we shall regard our duty toward the members of God's family with a sacred awe.”

and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a

agencies that have

-E.G. White, Signs of the Times, June 19, 1901

“You are baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. You are raised up out of the water to live henceforth in newness of life--to live a new life. You are born unto God, and you stand under the sanction and the power of [now notice] THE THREE HOLIEST *BEINGS IN HEAVEN, who are able to keep you from falling…When I feel oppressed, and hardly knowhow to relate myself toward the work that God has given me to do, I just *CALL UPON [i.e. pray to] THE THREE GREAT WORTHIES, and say; You know I cannot do this work in my own strength. You must work in me, and by me and through me, sanctifying my tongue, sanctifying my spirit, sanctifying my words, and bringing me into a position where my spirit shall be susceptible to the movings of the Holy Spirit of

God upon my mind and character. And this is the prayer that every one of us may

.”

-E.G. White, Manuscript Release, Vol.7, pgs. 267, 268 (October, 1906)

-THE END-