Who changed the adventist.org website for the Trinity doctrine?

BibleLinguist

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Who is behind the adventist.org website, and who decides its language with respect to Adventist "fundamental beliefs"? Why did the language change for the Trinity doctrine sometime between November 28, 2023 and January 10 of this year?

To see the old version of the site, one may visit a "snapshot" taken of it by the "Wayback Machine," an online organization which archives many websites at intervals. The Wayback Machine shows that between November 28,2023 and January 10, 2024 the change in language was made. Here's the November snapshot of the site:

What Adventists Believe About the Trinity - Adventist.org

...and here's the next one taken, January 10.

What Adventists Believe About the Trinity - Adventist.org

Was there a vote to change the language of this doctrine?
 

Freth

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From what I can tell after putting the whole page through software to see what is different, only one word was changed.

From:

Seventh-day Adventist Christians believe there is one God. And that this one God is three co-eternal beings who work together in unity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always been, and always will be.​

To:

Seventh-day Adventist Christians believe there is one God. And that this one God is three co-eternal Persons who work together in unity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always been, and always will be.​
 
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BibleLinguist

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From what I can tell after putting the whole page through software to see what is different, only one word was changed.

From:

Seventh-day Adventist Christians believe there is one God. And that this one God is three co-eternal beings who work together in unity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always been, and always will be.​

To:

Seventh-day Adventist Christians believe there is one God. And that this one God is three co-eternal Persons who work together in unity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always been, and always will be.​
Yes, you are correct. It is quite a significant change, one that impacts the teaching of this doctrine. It certainly goes well beyond the correction of a typo. But my question was not really about what changed, but rather who changed it? Are Adventist "fundamental beliefs" decided by a webmaster?

So far as I am aware, this change rolled out quietly. There was no announcement of it. There was no General Conference Session vote to make this change--and it has been my impression that any change to the "Fundamental Beliefs" required this. What voice did Adventists have in updating the language of this doctrine?
 
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Freth

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Yes, you are correct. It is quite a significant change, one that impacts the teaching of this doctrine. It certainly goes well beyond the correction of a typo. But my question was not really about what changed, but rather who changed it? Are Adventist "fundamental beliefs" decided by a webmaster?

So far as I am aware, this change rolled out quietly. There was no announcement of it. There was no General Conference Session vote to make this change--and it has been my impression that any change to the "Fundamental Beliefs" required this. What voice did Adventists have in updating the language of this doctrine?

I would assume the General Conference has to vote on such a change, as that is what has been done in the past.

The use of Persons

The use of Persons goes back to William Miller. This article from February 2009 gives some of the history of the trinity belief.

Google pulled up a link to an existing web page from July 2013 on the SDA website, under trinity, which uses Persons.

I found other articles referring to Persons being in the official SDA fundamental beliefs.
2008: https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2757&context=pubs
2012: Going Deeper into Adventism’s Trinity Doctrine – Proclamation! Online Magazine | Former Adventist Fellowship
2017: The Trinity: A Historical Analysis of the Trinity in Seventh-day Adventism — ADvindicate
2021: What Seventh-day Adventists Believe about the Trinity

Ellen on Persons.
“I have often seen the lovely Jesus, that He is a person. I asked Him if His Father was a person and had a form like Himself. Said Jesus, “I am in the express image of My Father’s person.” {EW 77.1}

I went back to 1999 on the main fundamental beliefs page.

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. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.)
 
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BibleLinguist

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I would assume the General Conference has to vote on such a change, as that is what has been done in the past.
Well, it is not the "General Conference," but rather the "General Conference in Session" which meets once every five years. It's been at least a couple years since that body met, so if this change happened there, it took a very long time to reach the webserver.
This article from February 2009 gives some of the history of the trinity belief.
The Trinity was first mentioned in conjunction with the word "Godhead" in 1931 when the editors of the Review, if I recall correctly, decided to add the word, along with renaming our "fundamental principles" to "fundamental beliefs." There had been no vote behind this action.

The first time the Trinity was actually a voted belief was at the General Conference Session in 1980. None of our early Adventist pioneers was a Trinitarian--or, at least, they studied their way out of the Trinity dogma upon joining our church. William Miller also left Trinitarianism.

But the "beings" versus "Persons" is significant for other reasons. Ellen White consistently referred to God as "a Being." She never once wrote that God was three beings.
 
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Daniel Marsh

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Typo is best explanation since it was changed to persons when discussions on Doctrine with Walter Martin.

Seventh-day Adventist Christians believe there is one God. And that this one God is three co-eternal Persons who work together in unity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always been, and always will be.

It’s impossible to wrap our finite minds around this infinite concept. How does the doctrine of the Trinity work? How can there be one God, but three persons?

We’ll dig into Scripture to find out:

BELIEF 2: THE TRINITY​

There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal 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. God, who is love, is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Gen. 1:26; Deut. 6:4; Isa. 6:8; Matt. 28:19; John 3:16 2 Cor. 1:21, 22; 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2.)
 
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II. Eternal Pre-existence of Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by him as his right. This was no robbery of God.—The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906, p. 8.

In speaking of His pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him.—The Signs of the Times, Aug. 29, 1900.

Here Christ shows them that, although they might reckon His life to be less than fifty years, yet His divine life could not be reckoned by human computation. The existence of Christ before His incarnation is not measured by figures.—The Signs of the Times, May 3, 1899.

From all eternity Christ was united with the Father, and when He took upon Himself human nature, He was still one with God.—The Signs of the Times, Aug. 2, 1905, p. 10.​

645

When Christ passed within the heavenly gates, He was enthroned amidst the adoration of the angels. As soon as this ceremony was completed, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in rich currents, and Christ was indeed glorified, even with the glory which He had with the Father from all eternity.—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 38, 39.
 
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BibleLinguist

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There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present.
The second sentence above contradicts the first one, from the Biblical standpoint. Either the Son of God died, or he was immortal: one cannot have it both ways. The Bible says God is immortal (see 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16), so the second sentence is correct. That means the first sentence is called into question.

The reality is that the contradiction has very much to do with a conflation in people's minds between "person" and "being." This is why it is no small "typo" to change this language, and it should have been done only by a voted consensus, and that not without much prayer and seeking God's guidance.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by him as his right. This was no robbery of God.—The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906, p. 8.

In speaking of His pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him.—The Signs of the Times, Aug. 29, 1900.

Here Christ shows them that, although they might reckon His life to be less than fifty years, yet His divine life could not be reckoned by human computation. The existence of Christ before His incarnation is not measured by figures.—The Signs of the Times, May 3, 1899.

From all eternity Christ was united with the Father, and when He took upon Himself human nature, He was still one with God.—The Signs of the Times, Aug. 2, 1905, p. 10.​
A separate statement from Ellen White helps to provide context for these quotes.

There is no one who can explain the mystery of the incarnation of
Christ. Yet we know that He came to this earth and lived as a man
among men. The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty, yet
Christ and the Father are one. The Deity did not sink under the
agonizing torture of Calvary, yet it is nonetheless true that "God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." {5BC
1129.7}
 
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