William Grotheer's Teaching on The Holy Spirit


Vance Ferrell

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Prologue by Ron Beaulieu

If Vance is correctly relating William Grotheer's position on the Godhead in the following treatise, both Vance Ferrell and Grotheer are in error on the subject of the Holy Spirit, as it is defined by Scripture and Ellen White. You may go to Vance's Website at the following address: sdadefend.com and either read all his material on the Godhead or cut and past it into a document that you can search in, and search for the following qutoes by Ellen White and Scripture. In spite of the copious number of statements from Ellen White, as of this date (20 December 02), you will not find any of the following statements which clearly define the Holy Spirit as being the life and soul of Jesus Christ:

  • "Christ gives them the breath of HIS OWN SPIRIT, the life of HIS OWN LIFE. The HOLY SPIRIT puts forth its highest energies to work in the heart and mind." Desire of Ages, 827.
  • "Christ declared that after His ascension, he would send to his church, as his crowning GIFT, the comforter, who 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. In the gift of the Spirit, [HIS LIFE--THE SOUL OF HIS LIFE] Jesus gave to man the highest good that heaven could bestow." E.G. White, Review and Herald, May 19, 1904. Book 5, p. 42.
  • "The Holy Spirit is the breath of spiritual life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. It imbues the receiver with the attributes of Christ. Only those who are thus taught of God, those who possess the inward working of the Spirit, and in whose life the Christ-life is manifested, are to stand as representative men, to minister in behalf of the church." Desire of Ages, 805.
  • "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." II Cor. 3:17.

We all know that the Lord is one Lord, and that His name is Jesus Christ. Ellen White and scripture state that the ministering brethren do not understand issues involving the Sanctuary and the Atonement, and it appears that Ferrell and Grotheer, both ministers, are no exception to the following counsel of God and Ellen White:

Sanctuary Gone Atonement Gone -- "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." E.G. White, The Upward Look, 152.

"His WATCHMEN are blind: they are all ignorant, the are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and THEY ARE SHEPHERDS that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." Isaiah 56:10-12.

Ellen White reapplies Isaiah 56:10-12, in two different ways:

·         "Here we see that the church--the Lord's sanctuary--was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God's power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus 'Peace and safety" is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together." E. G. White, Testimonies, Vol. 5, 211.

  • "The Bible Prophets Wrote for Our Time.--Never are we absent from the mind of God. God is our joy and our salvation. Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own tme than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us. 'Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come' (! Cor. 10:11). 'Not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into' (1 Peter 1:12).'" E.G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 338.

Vance has done a lot of barking about the sins of the church, but he has never understood the Omega heresy, let alone a proper response to it. In the Alpha heresy, Ellen White instructed the members of the church to "come out" from Kellogg and his associates. What would she now do now when every member of the church is involved in the Omega heresy, which denies the greatest gift that Christ gave to us, by embracing the Trinity doctrine? Even Vance disagrees with the Trinity doctrine, but he does not "bark" the proper response to the church's embracement of that doctrine. Remember, Ellen White said that the Omega heresy would have to do with the presence and personality of Christ, Selected Messages, Vol. 1, 202. End of Prologue

Vance Ferrell's Presentation on William Grotheer's View of the Holy Spirit

Recently, I published a report on Bill Stringfellow’s teaching that there is no Holy Spirit, and that Christ was essentially a created being. In one sentence, I mentioned that William Grotheer also did not believe the Holy Spirit was a Being.

Following that, Grotheer wrote and told me to retract the statement. But I could not do that, because I had been told for fifteen years by individuals who receive his papers and attend his meetings, that William Grotheer teaches a strange truth about the Holy Spirit, which boils down to a negation that He is a definite Being.

So I wrote Grotheer a letter asking that he please send a statement that he, indeed, did believe that the Holy Spirit was the definite Third Person of the Godhead, and always had been and always would be.

Then I telephoned several individuals who were acquainted with Grotheer’s papers and had attended his lectures. I was assured that he did, indeed, not believe in the Holy Spirit in the Bible-Spirit of Prophecy way. Grotheer, they said, thought the Holy Spirit was something quite different than what others believed.

After a delay, Grotheer wrote back. The statement I requested was included, but, instead, a brief, rambling note, ending with the statement that I was not intelligent enough to understand his teaching if I saw it.

That is a strange reply to a request for a simple sentence or two statement of belief in the Third Person of the Godhead.

But I now understand why people have had such a difficult time understanding exactly what Grotheer had in mind, and also why he is so evasive about setting the matter straight—and disclosing to me exactly what he does believe.

This is because one of those I spoke with by phone, sent me copies of two of Grotheers papers, in which he did state his position.

As background for this, you need to understand that William Grotheer can only generate such remarkable theories,—because he does not believe that the Spirit of Prophecy is doctrinally trustworthy. Grotheer would never stoop to checking his theories with the Spirit of Prophecy.

The study was entitled, "Another Comforter" and was a two-part series in "Watchman, What of the Night" his monthly publication. These issues are coded XX-9 and XX-10, and, because of a dated ad, we know they were released in 1987. We will now briefly summarize William Grotheer’s teaching on the Holy Spirit, as presented in that entire article. Here is a brief overall summary of his position. As you will note, it is totally different than anything you have ever read in the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy:

1 - The Holy Spirit throughout eternity past and in the Old Testament—The first fabulous concept: We are not directly told about this in the article, but several hints, which we will note below, indicate that Grotheer’s view is that there were "Two" divine entities who existed prior to the Incarnation. One was "God" and the other was "the Spirit." Christ did not exist, but the Spirit, which preceded and produced Him did.

2 - The Holy Spirit at the Incarnation and during the earthly life of Christ—The second fabulous concept: Grotheer teaches that, at the moment of Incarnation, the Holy Spirit entered into a man—and the result was Jesus Christ. At that moment, there was no more "Holy Spirit," as such. Instead, there was only the divine Jesus! There was no "Spirit," which was separate from Christ. For the first time, the divine Jesus Christ existed!

3 - From the Resurrection to the 144,000—The third fabulous concept: At the Resurrection of Christ, according to Grotheer, Jesus retained His divinity, but now separate from the Holy Spirit, and ascended to heaven as a divinity. Christ had never been in heaven before!

The fourth fabulous concept: As for the Spirit, He was now a separate Divine Being, and was the sole Decider and Director as to the affairs on earth.

4 - During the time the 144,000 are on earth—The fifth fabulous concept: The Holy Spirit, who earlier produced Christ—a new God,—does it the second time: The Spirit enters into the 144,000 and makes them Gods!

5 - After the Second Advent—The sixth fabulous concept: The 144,000 remain Gods in heaven, while the other redeemed are merely given eternal life.

Some people are daring in their willingness to invent new theology. But they would be far wiser if they would cling to what we are told in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.

Now, let us run through those five points again, noting Grotheer’s supporting statements, and some of those in Scripture which oppose his position:

1 - The Holy Spirit throughout eternity past and in the Old Testament—The first fabulous concept: Prior to the Incarnation, Christ was a spirit. It was the Holy Spirit. This Spirit was "Michael your prince" in Daniel 10:21. This Holy Spirit directed all activities in the Old Testament.

Grotheer: "The ‘form of God’ in which Jesus existed prior to Bethlehem was Spirit for God is Spirit." "Why [is] so little perceived as to whom Jesus was until after the coming of the Holy Spirit?" "The New Testament closely identifies the Holy Spirit—the Lord the Spirit—with Michael the ‘Lord’ of the Old Testament." "Again Two, as revealed in the Old Testament."


2 - The Holy Spirit at the Incarnation and during the earthly life of Christ—The second fabulous concept: Grotheer teaches that, at the moment of Incarnation, the Holy Spirit entered into a man, and the result was Jesus Christ. —At that moment, there was no more "Holy Spirit," as such! Instead, there was only the divine Jesus. There was no "Spirit," which was separate from Christ. Contrawise, there was no "Jesus" apart from the Spirit.

Grotheer: "Therefore that holy [spirit] which shall be born of thee shall be called God." "That ‘divine spirit’ dwelling in a temple of flesh was called ‘the Son of God.’" "When the ‘Lamb’ as the sacrifice appeared, the Spirit of God was so closely identified with the ‘Lamb’ so as to be even the horns and eyes are to an animal." "The Holy Spirit consumated the Incarnation so that He might be one flesh with us." "It was the Holy Spirit who oversahdwoed Mary. The result: Jesus, a new distinct Being, the God-man."

3 - From the Resurrection to the 144,000—The third fabulous concept: At the Resurrection of Christ, according to Grotheer, Jesus retained His divinity, but now separate from the Holy Spirit, and ascended to heaven as a divinity. Christ had never been in heaven before!

The fourth fabulous concept: As for the Spirit, He was now a separate Divine Being from Christ, and was the sole Decider and Director as to the affairs of the church on earth. [Who directed what occurred while the Spirit was united with Jesus?] Although the Man Christ is the high priest, He is not the mediator. The Spirit is the mediator between man and God. The Spirit is not a go-between between Christ and the world, but acts as an independent, sovereign decider as to what is to be done, without consulting any God or Christ. Only the Holy Spirit spoke to John in the Revelation.

Grotheer: "The great high priest, Jesus Christ. It is the Spirit that is to make intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Unil ‘the redemption of the body’ at the second coming of Jesus christ, the saints can know they will have an intercessor at the Throne of God—the Lord the Spirit. While the Man Christ Jesus steps aside, the Holy Spirit continues His ministry until the living saints are translated." [The Spirit is] functioning in His own right, as a Person directing the Church of the Living God."

4 - During the time the 144,000 are on earth—The fifth fabulous concept: The Holy Spirit, who earlier produced Christ—a new God,—does it the second time: The Spirit enters into the 144,000 and makes them Gods! They open their mouths, but He speaks.

"The ‘third’ in the picture as a result of the Incarnation, and the wonder of the Plan of Redemption."

5 - After the Second Advent—The sixth fabulous concept: The Holy Spirit, who earlier produced Christ—a new God,—does it the second time: The Spirit enters into the 144,000 and makes them Gods! The 144,000 remain Gods in heaven, while the other redeemed are merely given eternal life.

Grotheer: "Even as the Holy Spirit consumated the Incarnation so that He might be one flesh with us, so also the same Spirit effects the ‘bride’ of Christ so that she might be one spirit with Him."

In the following statement, Grotheer explains that there were Two Divine Beings in the Old Testament, and there will not be Three until the "bride" (the 144,000) join the Godhead at Christ’s Second Advent:

"In the final hour ........... wonder of the Plan of Redemption?"

Then Grotheer twists a Greek word to help prove the future divinity of the 144,000:

"When Christ returns ....... of Christ: the 144,000."

Over the years, we had been repeatedly told that William Grotheer had an unusual view on the Holy Spirit. Recently a friend sent us a study Grotheer prepared in 1987. It is a written transcript of a sermon series, entitled "Another Comforter," which he delivered that year at his "Annual Fellowship Meetings." The previous year, he gave essentially the same material in a similar study entitled, "The Doctrine of God." He has probably continued to give it since that time, for it is a major theoretical analysis.

In the study, Grotheer stated some of his beliefs regarding the Holy Spirit, Christ, and the 144,000. Because his doctrinal positions are extremely unusual, some people have come away from his meetings thinking that Grotheer does not believe in the Holy Spirit. But Grotheer does believe a Divine Spirit exists—but one which transforms itself into other beings for years, and later changes back into itself. His view of the Godhead is strange and out of harmony with the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.

The 1987 study, entitled, "Another Comforter," was printed as a two-part series in his monthly publication, "Watchman, What of the Night." Those issues were coded XX-9 and XX-10, and although undated we know (because of the inclusion of a dated ad) that they were released in 1987.

It seems best not to categorically present his confusing beliefs (which involve aspects quite unlike anything you will find in God’s Word), but rather to briefly emphasize again certain grand truths of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.

Keep reading the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, then when you encounter error you will be able to recognize it! That is your safety!

1 - Christ has existed as a distinct, Divine, Being from all eternity. There never was a time when He did not exist. That includes Old Testament times.

2 - His existence was not derived from anyone else, and from all eternity He has been God’s Son.

3 - Throughout all eternity, and in Old Testament times, Christ was a distinct Person. He was not the Holy Spirit before the Incarnation, for the Spirit was, and remains, a different Person of the Godhead.

4 - Christ existed in Old Testament times and appeared to people; it was not the Holy Spirit who made those appearances.

5 - Michael is not the Holy Spirit.

6 - All communication between heaven and earth, in Old Testament times, was by the Father through Christ, working with the Holy Spirit and the angels; not by the Holy Spirit alone.

7 - Prior to the Incarnation, there were three members of the Godhead, each one a fully divine Person.

8 - At the Incarnation, Christ came to earth into a human body. Jesus was not the Holy Spirit incarnated by taking a human body.

9 - While Christ was on earth, the Holy Spirit continued to work on minds and hearts throughout the world.

10 - From the Apostolic Age on down to the present time, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have worked to save mankind. It has not been solely the work of the Holy Spirit.

11 - The messages given to John the Revelator came from Jesus, not solely from the Holy Spirit.

12 - Christ is the mediator between God and man, not the Holy Spirit (although the Holy Spirit assists Him in drawing out our hearts in repentance, etc.).

13 - The Holy Spirit is not an independent divine sovereign in carrying on the work of the Spirit in and for this world; in everything He does, the Spirit closely cooperates with the Father and Son in heaven.

14 - The faithful, who give the Loud Cry message, will not have their mouths overpowered by God. They will, indeed, be guided by heaven in their words, but it will continue to be them speaking on behalf of God.

15 - The "bride" is the entire redeemed church, not just the 144,000.

16 - The 144,000 will not become Gods (members of the Godhead) in heaven. Their arrival will not increase the size of the Godhead by one. In addition, they will not receive a special immortality and physical capacity, which the rest of the redeemed do not have.

17 - Although the papal teaching of a three-in-one Person Trinity is erroneous, the principle of three distinct, divine, eternal Persons in the Godhead is correct.

For much, much more information on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, see our two-part study, The Godhead [DH—201-202], which is composed of many quotations on this subject. But especially read widely in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.


"The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption. In order fully to carry out this plan, it was decided that Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, should give Himself an offering for sin."—Counsels on Health, 222.

"The eternal heavenly dignitaries—God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit—arming them [the disciples] with more than mortal energy, . . would advance with them to the work and convince the world of sin."6 Bible Commentary, 1074.

"The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will cooperate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ."—Evangelism, 615.


"Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God . . 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 ternal God. He to whose voice the Jews were then listening had been with God as one brought up with Him."—Evangelism, 615.

"Jesus declared, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life.’ In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.’ He that hath the Son hath life.’ 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life."—Desire of Ages, 530.

"Before the entrance of evil there was peace and joy throughout the universe. All was in perfect harmony with the Creator’s will. Love for God was supreme, love for one another impartial. Christ the Word, the only-begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father,—one in nature, in character, and in purpose."—Great Controversy, 493.

"In the beginning, the Father and the Son had rested upon the Sabbath after Their work of creation."—Desire of Ages, 769.

"Christ had not exchanged His divinity for humanity; but He had clothed His divinity in humanity."5 Bible Commentary, 1128.

"The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. They are one in purpose, in mind, in character, but not in person. It is thus that God and Christ are one."—Ministry of Healing, 421-422.

"Again and again we shall be called to meet the influence of men who are studying sciences of satanic origin, through which Satan is working to make a nonentity of God and of Christ."—9 Testimonies, 68.


"The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of Scripture and put a human construction on them, but the acceptance of these views will not stengthen the church. Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden."—Acts of the Apostles, 52.

"The Lord Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit; for it is His representative."—Messages to young People, 55.

"The Lord Jesus, represented by the Holy Spirit, was in the presence of that assembly, but they did not discern Him."—Testimonies to Ministers, 73.


The Incarnation is a mystery (1SM 249), a great and profound mystery of godliness (1SM 246; 7BC 915), that no man can explain (5BC 1129). In the Incarnation, Christ was made flesh (4SGa 119). By it, Christ was mysteriously allied to fallen humanity (CT 259). In a new sense, Christ became "the Son of God" by it (1SM 226-227; 5BC 1114).


"They [the angels] are "sent forth to minster for them who shall be heirs of salvation,’ but Christ, as Mediator, is the great Minister in the work of redemption. The Holy Spirit is His representative in our world, to execute the divine purpose of bringing to fallen man power from above, that he may be an overcomer."7 Bible Commentary, 922.


Christ is Michael (PK 572; DA 99, 421; EW 36; GC 613; LS 117).


Christ appeared to John on Patmos (AA 582; 4BC 1173; 7BC 953-954, 955; CW 175; ED 191; MM 37; PP 129; 7T 288; SL 49-50; AA 570-571), and gave him a vision (AA 582-583). Christ personally presented truth to John on Patmos (Ed 191; CW 29; FE 424), and gave him prophecies (TM 115).


The church is Christ’s bride (Ed 268; GC 381; MH 356; 7BC 985-986; 1SM 305).

THE 144,000

We are warned against strange theories regard the 144,000 (7BC 978). They will, in number, be the living saints when Jesus returns (EW 15; LS 65; 1T 59), and go through the plagues and be translated (GC 649). In heaven, they will sing a new song (PK 591; GC 649; 5T 476), which is a song of deliverance (GC 648-649).