I agree with the church’s position on FB#6 but I …

Comment on 2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 by Jared.

I agree with the church’s position on FB#6 but I am very concerned about the efforts to change it. Especially because, the effort is clearly designed as a test of fellowship in the church. Frankly I think the wording could create more problems than it solves.

Here is the proposed new wording:

In a recent six-day creation the Lord made “the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them” and rested on the seventh day. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His creative work performed and completed during six literal days that together with the Sabbath constituted a week as we experience it today.

This wording quotes Ex 20:11 and makes an explicit assumption that the words “For in six days the Lord made” are literal. However most SDAs including Sean and others here DO NOT BELIEVE the next words are literal: “the heavens and the earth”. While some could argue what “the heavens” refer to, there is no question that the “earth” is our planet. Young earth creationists (YEC’s) certainly accept the wording to be literal (the earth itself being created about 6000 years ago) but young life creationists (YLC’s) absolutely reject it (the earth was here previously but life on the earth was created about 6000 years ago).

Clearly there is a dilemma: if some of these words from Ex 20:11 are literal and we require acceptance of them to be literal then all of the words must be literal and we must require all to accept them as literal. In other words there is no room for a gap theory and those who sympathize with it (the overwhelming majority of SDAs) including this website would all become heretics. Church employees who insist, the earth itself was created more than 6000 or so years ago would be undermining a fundamental SDA belief and would need to be fired. Especially if the new wording of FB#6 is going to serve its intended purpose to expunge heretics.

I’m concerned that those who advocate for change, and these are primarily YLC’s have set a trap for themselves that would, with no small amount of irony, put them outside of the church.

Jared Also Commented

2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6
@Sean Pitman:

That’s a long-winded reply!

I never suggested the evenings and mornings were not literal (they are not in Exodus 20 or in the new FB#6 wording), that the Biblical authors were mistaken, or that pastors and teachers should be free to teach as they please. I simply suggested that the proposed wording may not help all that much.

I don’t understand why a belief articulated 33 years ago is so misleading that it must be revised to save the church. The current wording has clearly articulated the church’s position for decades. Those who insist on changing it will themselves one day be criticized for poor word choice.

That’s my opinion. Apparently my opinion is offensive to those who disagree. I now regret having shared it.

2013 Annual Council Votes to Change Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6
@Bob Helm:

You wrote: “Actually, the word earth can also be translated land.”

You’re making my point: if we are going to be literal in interpreting words, we need to be consistent. The Hebrew word for “days” (yowm) can have multiple meanings, as can the Hebrew word for “earth” (‘erets). It’s easy to look up the various ways in which these two terms have been translated differently throughout scripture. In essence, you are defending a literal reading of one phrase (“in six days the Lord made”) and choosing a more figurative meaning of another phrase (“the heavens and the earth”).

Again, the bigger problem is that the proposed change to the wording of FB#6 could be interpreted by many as supporting a narrow view of how long it took for the Lord to make “the heavens and the earth,” and used forcefully to punish those who advocate young life creationism (the earth made many thousands or millions of years ago) instead of young earth creationism (the earth made about 6,000 years ago). The motivation to revise the wording–to punish those who interpret things differently–serves well such an unintended consequence. I think it’s a mistake.

Recent Comments by Jared

For real education reform, take a cue from the Adventists
@ D Fender: I know that what you say is true. Having been raised in the church I have watched Adventism morph into something that is a far cry from where we began and where we should be.

I’ve spent a decade teaching in our church schools and more than that working with Pathfinders and Sabbath Schools across the nation. I remain horrified with the heresy that is being taught in many of our churches and the lack of objection being lodged by the older members of the congregation.

However, I do not agree with your assessment of the state of ALL the young people in our midst – those that are up and coming leaders. There are a few that are still heralding Adventist doctrine and those teachings that make us peculiar and unique.

There will always be the Kelloggs, Jones and Waggoners, Brinsmeads, Raes, and Fords criticizing and undermining what the church teaches and claims collectively to believe. However, there are young people out there who are willing to “stand for the right though the heavens fall.”

God allows for free-will. This is one of our fundamental doctrinal teachings. He allows us to snub our noses at Him and all that has been already searched and studied and say, “We no longer agree or believe that You are like this.” In the end, He allows us to say, “We are right, and You are a liar.”

However, there are serious consequences for this decision – especially once we stand in a leadership position. Yet, God tells us through the scriptures and Mrs. White that there will be a time of shaking to separate those who are truly His and those who are not. Our job is to continue standing in the gap for those who are so in error in their teaching and intrepretation and to work toward restoration and redemption. That is in fact the purpose of true education.

So, it may sound “Pollyannish” or like I’m looking at things through “rose colored glasses.” In truth, I see things all too clearly. And yet, the Lord makes it clear that “He is not slack in keeping His promises as some would understand slackness.” He tarries a bit longer, and while He tarries it is our job to make intercession for those that are not yet His or have gone astray in their understanding.

For real education reform, take a cue from the Adventists
Bravo for the Adventist education system. And thank you for posting the article. It’s been flying around all week and is a refreshing look at an all too highly criticized topic.

That being said, there is a problem in our academic institutions, but it exists not just in our schools.

I recently heard someone say: “If you have Adventist parents with Adventist children attending your Adventist church and not sending their children to your Adventist school we have an Adventist problem.” Then I watched as two leaders in a church got angry because the speaker was suggesting that there was an issue with someone’s relationship with God.

There is a vast difference between our relationship with our Savior and our support of the Seventh-day Adventist church and it’s doctrine.

The speaker went on to suggest that if we were unwilling to teach Adventist doctrine then we were no different than any other parochial school and there was no purpose to our existence.

The problem, as already stated, in our institutions is that we have deviated so completely from our original beliefs and teaching. Firing tenured teachers is not the answer, I agree. However, we need to reclaim our uniqueness as Adventists.

There is a fine line between encouraging students to reason and think for themselves and teaching heresy. As an instructor for the Seventh-day Adventist education system, my opinions are of little import. We have Adventist schools to teach Adventist doctrine. If teachers, parents or students have an issue with that then they need to find education somewhere else.

That may sound harsh or cruel. However, IF we turn back to the initial purpose or “blueprint” – as was previously suggested in another discussion – then the loss of those instructors, students and parents that want a more liberal education will not be as keenly felt.

In fact, I would suggest that IF we as a church were to encourage revival and reformation in our teachings both as a church and an educational system we will find so many people coming into our churches and enrolling in our schools that we’ll have the problem of not enough space.

It’s fairly simple. God makes things very clear. He will reward those who are faithfully obedient to Him.

For real education reform, take a cue from the Adventists
For too many years we, as a church, have taken this stance that we dare not make public the “ugly and messy” things that are occuring behind closed doors.

IF these teachers are simply open up “satanic things” to the students so that they are “equipped” to fit the foe. . .Bravo!!! My hats off to them.

However, IF, as it has been suggested, this situation is in actuality an issue of a crisis of faith or understanding of the scriptures then we have a much bigger and worse situation.

This is not simply an issue of “church discipline” as several have suggested. This isn’t someone commiting adultery or being a gossip.

These are leaders in Adventist academic institutions that are attempting to circumvent the work that has been done in the past 150 years. These are educated and professional individuals that are acting in direct conflict with the contract that they had to sign when they accepted the position.

As leaders we do not arbitraily get to decide that we no longer agree with the church doctrine so we can change what we do and how we handle things.

There is plenty of scripture that says exactly what will happen if we continue in this vain. And there is enough scriptural backing to support those that stand against such teachings.

Mrs. White states: “To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized–this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life.”

Too much time has been wasted, too many souls have already been lost, because the leaders of the church would rather keep issues and situations hidden in the name of “Christlike behavior”.

It is time to stand for right though the heavens fall.

Jesus dealt gently with those who were uneducated and didn’t know Him. However, when it came to dealing with the Pharisees and Sadducees, He made scenes, turned over tables, yelled and cracked a whip.

You can’t have it both ways. Ask what would Jesus do and then be willing to “man up” and accept the true answer. I have a difficult time believing that Jesus would EVER “go gently into” this discussion – especially after every avenue that has been tried has been exhausted to no avail!

For real education reform, take a cue from the Adventists

Ron, thank you for your very insightful post.I believe that those who have responded here fail to understand your message–which was very stated by Paul and by Ellen White. Jesus can identify wrong and has the authority, as EMK put it, to make scenes by overturning the tables, yelling, and cracking a whip. For us, in contrast, the instruction is unmistably clear:”Christ has plainly taught that those who persist in open sin must be separated from the church, but He has not committed to us the work of judging character and motive. He knows our nature too well to entrust this work to us. Should we try to uproot from the church those whom we suppose to be spurious Christians, we should be sure to make mistakes.”  (Quote)

And you would be correct. . .IF this were an issue of church discipline. However, it is not. Our schools are in the “business” of educating young people to further the work (and yes, to think for themselves). We cannot afford to have derisive teachings in our institutions. It is NOT the job of a few individuals to rework the doctrines of the church, doctrines that the GC is standing by. Simply put, the message is that the leaders of the church don’t know what they are doing and these professors are somehow in a position where they don’t have to support the church leadership and administration. Again, you can’t have it both ways.

For real education reform, take a cue from the Adventists

Bravo and amen! Thank you so much for the words. You are correct on every point, save possibly one.

While I cannot speak for anyone else, I can assure you that I am not judging nor condemning any of these professors.

I think that everyone needs to take a step back, breath a bit and understand something. As a member of this world, we all have the option and free will to believe whatever we want to believe about life, its origins and how the world around us works. We even have the right to believe whatever we wish about who God is or is not and what His role in this world is or is not.

That is not the issue here. Let this professors believe what they wish to believe based on science and scripture. You are correct, we do need to pray for them as they study to reconcile what they are learning in the world of biology with what they are learning as they study the scriptures.

As we believe that God is in control of all things and the author of all things, they cannot truly be in conflict with one another. However, this notion that evolution is some exact science is nonsense. It takes just as much faith to believe and understand evolution as it does to accept and believe in the Biblical creation – in some cases more.

And that is where we must exercise and balance our “all-knowing” intelligence with a reasonable measure of faith in our Creator.

The true issue is that we must separate this discussion into two different parts. First and foremost, we must remove and dismiss this notion that anyone is attempting to draw a conclusion on the salvation of these professors. None of us can know their hearts and we dare not even to presume to claim to try. However, we MUST discuss the second part, the level to which evolution is being taught in these classrooms.

IF these professors are struggling to reconcile what they believe they are seeing in nature with what they know and understand about God, the classroom is NOT the place for this meet.

There is at least one Adventist pastor in the NAD that took a sabbatical from pastoring to wrestle with a situation. He had two sides to one doctrine, and he took this very seriously. He removed himself from the service and ministry of his calling until he had satisfactorily could juxtapose the two sides. Then he stepped back into his ministry ready to share what God says about this situation.

This discussion cannot be about salvation of people who God is still working with. This discussion, however, can be about the fact that we cannot circumvent the teachings of an organization simply because we’re struggling.

As an Adventist educator my responsibility is to teach Adventist children Adventist doctrine. I equip them with other ideas by briefly mentioning them saying, “Now this is a train of thought out there.” For the sole purpose of wanting them to be prepared. But I must teach Adventist doctrine and not something that I may believe or disagree with.

We all know that there is some form of “de-evolution” that occurred at the time of the fall. Adam and Eve were 15′ and 12′ tall respectively. I’m lucky if I reach 5’7″. It is completely possibly that many of the things that you listed from nature exist as they do today simply because we live in a sinful world.

But for an Adventist instituation to permit the teaching of evolution as a science and renounce the 6-day literal creation poses a problem that everyone from the student in the classroom to the GC president should be speaking against.

Again, I am not questioning anyone’s salvation. I have concetrate on with my own relationship with the Lord. I am just suggesting that public school ideas need to be taught in public schools and it’s time for our Adventist schools (especially our colleges) to begin looking like – and sounding like – we are Adventist schools again.