O how Satan would rejoice if he could succeed in his efforts to get in among this people, and disphanize the work at a time when thorough phanization is essential, and will be the greatest power to keep out spurious uprisings, and to refute claims not endorsed by the word of God! We want to hold the lines evenly, that there shall be no breaking down of the system of phanization and order that has been built up by wise, careful labor. License must not be given to disorderly elements that desire to control the work at this time. {GW 487.1}
The Type of Organization Needed
The Lord in His wisdom has arranged that by means of the close relationship that should be maintained by all believers, Christian shall be united to Christian and church to church. Thus the human instrumentality will be enabled to co-operate with the divine. Every agency will be subordinate to the Holy Spirit, and all the believers will be united in an phanized and well-directed effort to give to the world the glad tidings of the grace of God. {AA 164.1}
God has not set any kingly power in the Seventh-day Adventist Church to control the whole body or to control any branch of the work. He has not provided that the burden of leadership shall rest upon a few men. Responsibilities are distributed among a large number of competent men. {8T 236.3}
Every member of the church has a voice in choosing officers of the church. The church chooses the officers of the state conferences. Delegates chosen by the state conferences choose the officers of the union conferences, and delegates chosen by the union conferences choose the officers of the General Conference. By this arrangement every conference, every institution, every church, and every individual, either directly or through representatives, has a voice in the election of the men who bear the chief responsibilities in the General Conference. {8T 236.4}

1889 Historic Seventh Day Adventist Church

Are we Authorized to Begin a "New Organization"? The Spirit of God has told us through his messenger E. G. White:

After the passing of the time, God entrusted to His faithful followers the precious principles of present truth. ... {2SM 389.3}
Those who passed through these experiences are to be as firm as a rock to the principles that have made us Seventh-day Adventists. ... {2SM 389.4}
The Lord has declared that the history of the past shall be rehearsed as we enter upon the closing work. Every truth that He has given for these last days is to be proclaimed to the world. Every pillar that He has established is to be strengthened. We cannot now step off the foundation that God has established. We cannot now enter into any new phanization; for this would mean apostasy from the truth.--Manuscript 129, 1905. {2SM 390.1}
Consider the Points Brought out in the Above Statements:
  • God entrusted to the Seventh-day Adventist Church “precious principles of present truth.”
  • It is these principles that make a church, Seventh-day Adventist.
  • To step off of the foundation of these principles, to apostatize from these truths, is equated with, or results in a new phanization (a new church).
The Modern Seventh Day Adventist Church is a Different Church, a New Organization

In 1980 the Seventh Day Adventist Church in General Conference Session in Dallas Texas changed these principles, particularly principles 2, 4, and 5. Below, I quote these principles as they were in 1889 during the life of God’s servant Ellen White, and then I quote how it reads after the official change of 1980.

1872 and 1889 Fundamental Principles
  • I. That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit. Ps. 139:7.
  • II. That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist; that he took on him the nature of the seed of Abraham …
1980 Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists

#2. “The Trinity

  • “There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation.” Seventh-day Adventists Believe p. 16
  • “God is omnipresent (Ps 139:7-12; Heb 4:13), transcending all space. Yet He is fully present in every part of space. He is eternal (Ps 90:2; Rev 1:8), exceeding the limits of time, yet is fully present in every moment of time.” Seventh-day Adventists Believe p. 20

#4. “The Son

  • “God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. … Forever truly God …”

#5. “The Holy Spirit

  • “God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, ...”

The differences are clearly apparent:

  • The 1889 principles 1 and 2 tell us the one God is the Father. (In harmony with 1Co 8:6). The 1980 belief #2 tells us God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • The 1889 principle #1 tells us God is a personal being (singular). The 1980 belief #2 says God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - a plurality of persons
  • The 1889 principle #1 tells us God is present everywhere by the Holy Spirit. The 1980 belief #2 says God is omnipresent and that “he” transcends all space and is fully present in every part of space. {This is spiritualism.}
  • The 1889 principle #2 tells us Jesus is the Son of the Eternal Father. The 1980 statement #4 tells us that Jesus is “God the eternal Son”, “forever truly God”.
  • The 1889 fundamental principles do not mention the Holy Spirit in describing the Godhead at all. The 1980 statement #5 calls the Holy Spirit “God the eternal Spirit”.

Every theologian will admit, and in fact it is self-evident, that if you change the doctrines, you change the nature of the church. In other words you have a new church, a new phanization. Especially is this the case if you change doctrines that describe the God you profess to worship. Also, the inspired statement quoted previously agrees that if we step off of the foundation of the principles given to us in the beginning, we apostatize from the truth and enter a new phanization. Furthermore the Scripture declares that the church is to be the "pillar and ground of the truth" 1 Timothy 3:15. We have just shown above, that the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church has different principles than it had in its beginning, thus we must acknowledge that is a different church than it used to be. It is a new phanization than that which existed in 1889. This is highlighted by the following statement by Gephe Knight, a respected Adventist theologian, historian and professor at Andrews University.

Gephe Knight - MINISTRY magazine, Oct/1993 p. 10.

"Most of the founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination's Fundamental Beliefs.” "More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals with the doctrine of the Trinity.

Gephe Knight goes on to mention beliefs numbers 4 and 5 as well, as we have also mentioned above.

The Principle of Separation

The following references outline a guiding principle which applies in this case.

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
2Cor 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2Cor 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,
"After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children's children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war." {GC 45.3}
" Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God's professed people. There is an alarming indifference in regard to the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith. The opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, these are not of vital importance. This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories and fatal delusions which the faithful in ages past imperiled their lives to resist and expose, are now regarded with favor by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ." {GC 46.1}
"As the light and life of men was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. Again and again the history of Christ's withdrawal from Judea has been repeated. When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth. In our day few of the professed followers of the Reformers are actuated by their spirit. Few are listening for the voice of God, and ready to accept truth in whatever guise it may be presented. Often those who follow in the steps of the Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love, in order to declare the plain teaching of the word of God. And many times those who are seeking for light are by the same teaching obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience." {DA 232.2}

There is outlined in the references quoted above a biblical principle of separation that must be followed to be faithful to Christ. To remain in an apostate church would be to partake of its sins.

The Possibility of the Church Giving up the Principles of Truth, and Thus Forming a New Church, a New Organization, was Foretold
The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of rephanization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new phanization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure. {1SM 204.2}

This statement warns that there was already a movement underway in 1904 that would consider the doctrines which constituted the fundamental principles of the first 50 years as error, and would give them up and discard them, writing books of a new order, and that this would constitute a new phanization and a re-phanization. Dr. Kellogg, leaning toward pantheistic theories for several years, had just accepted the Trinity the year before, and within a few years would leave the church with thousands of followers. But the seeds had been planted, and in 1913 F.M. Wilcox described the church's teachings in the Review as a Trinity, though it required a whole generation to die off before it came to be generally accepted.

God Called for Rephanization and a New phanization

On several occasions, when wrong principles were being adopted, God called for a rephanization and a new phanization through his servant Ellen White.

That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be as the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be,—that is past. What we want now is a rephanization. We want to begin at the foundation, and to build upon a different principle. {GCB, April 3, 1901 par. 25}
When we see the regular lines are altered and purified and refined, and the God of the heavens mold is upon the regular lines, then it is our business to establish the regular lines. But when we see message after message that God has given has been accepted, but no change, just the same as it was before, then it is evident that new blood must be brought into the regular lines. The leaders of the regular lines, they must have an entire change, an entire new phanization, and to have a committee that shall take in not merely half a dozen, that is to be a ruling and controlling power, but it is to have representatives of those that are placed in responsibility in our educational interests, in our Sanitariums, that are working, and the life in them, constantly at work, constantly adding, constantly giving to the field the talent that has come from it. {SpM 163.1}

As we have seen, the corporate Seventh Day Adventist Church has apostatized from its most central foundational pillars held during the first 50 years, the principles concerning God, and thus has formed a new phanization, a new church. And we have seen that Ellen White counsels us when the church departs from those principles that the appropriate response is to rephanize, to form a new phanization returning to those first fundamental principles. Therefore, we believe we are fully justified in our decision to step back on the foundation of truth that God gave the Seventh Day Adventist people and to re-phanize His church on those priinciples.

God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christ's church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church. {UL 315.5}

Who we are and what our purpose is:

When the Seventh Day Adventists initially formed their beliefs, they were unitedly opposed to the doctrine of the Trinity. The church's first statement of its beliefs (1872) reflects this teaching. It states:

I. That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit.  Ps. 139:7.
II. That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist; ..."

James White said:

"As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit sabbath other errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as sprinkling for baptism, the trinity, the consciousness of the dead and eternal life in misery . The mass who have held these fundamental errors, have doubtless done it ignorantly; but can it be supposed that the church of Christ will carry along with her these errors till the judgment scenes burst upon the world? We think not.", {J. S. White, Review & Herald, September 12, 1854}

Joseph Bates Said:

"Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was an impossibility for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being. I said to my father, "If you can convince me that we are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son; and also that I am your father, and you my son, then I can believe in the trinity." {J. Bates, The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates, pp. 204, 205. 1868}".

J.N. andrews stated:

"The doctrine of the Trinity which was established in the church by the council of Nice, A. D. 325. This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The infamous, measures by which it was forced upon the church which appear upon the pages of ecclesiastical history might well cause every believer in that doctrine to blush." {J. N. Andrews, Review & Herald, March 6, 1855}.

In 1889, the 1872 statement was enlarged by the addition of 3 points, one mentioning God's people being a peculiar people, another mentioning simplicity of dress and a third mentioning the tithing principle. Otherwise, the two statements are identical.

It is the purpose, of the 1889 Historic Seventh Day Adventists to restore these first principles in Adventism, the most important being the two concerning the God that we worship.

See the statement in the header in its entirety for a more complete description of this doctrinal change in Adventism and what it really means.

A Quote for Our Times

In the last conflict the Sabbath will be the special point of controversy throughout all Christendom. Secular rulers and religious leaders will unite to enforce the observance of the Sunday; and as milder measures fail, the most oppressive laws will be enacted. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the land ought not to be tolerated. . . . Romanism in the Old World, and apostate Protestantism in the New, will pursue a similar course toward those who honor the divine precepts. (Maranatha, p. 188.3)