Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe

Posted by Sean Pitman

Excerpts from an interesting and relevant article published in the Adventist Review titled, “Pastors Who Don’t Believe”:

Wes, a Methodist [minister], lost his confidence in the Bible while attending a liberal Christian college and seminary. “I went to college thinking Adam and Eve were real people,” he explained. Now, he no longer believes that God exists. In his rendering, God is a word that “can be used very expressively in some of my more meditative modes” and “a kind of poetry that is written by human beings.”

His church members do not know that he is an atheist, but he explains that they are somewhat liberal themselves. His ministerial colleagues are even more liberal: “They’ve been de-mythologized, I’ll say that. They don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead literally. They don’t believe Jesus was born of a virgin. They don’t believe all those things that would cause a big stir in their churches.”…

Darryl is a Presbyterian who sees himself as a “progressive-minded” pastor who wants to see his kind of non-doctrinal Christianity “given validity in some way.”… “I reject the virgin birth. I reject substitutionary atonement. I reject the divinity of Jesus. I reject heaven and hell in the traditional sense, and I am not alone.”

Amazingly, Darryl is candid about the fact that he remains in the ministry largely for financial reasons. It is how he provides for his family. If he openly espoused his beliefs, “I may be burning bridges in terms of my ability to earn a living this way.”…

Adam ministers in the Church of Christ, a conservative denomination… After reading a series of books, he became convinced that the atheists have better arguments than believers. He has moved fully into an atheist mode, yet he continues to lead his church in worship. How? “Here’s how I’m handling my job on Sunday mornings: I see it as play acting. I see myself as taking on the role of a believer in a worship service, and performing.”

This “atheistic agnostic” stays in the ministry because he likes the people and, “I need the job still.” If he had an alternative source of income, he would take it. He feels hypocritical, but no longer believes that hypocrisy is wrong.… [emphasis added]

If they will not remove themselves from the ministry, they must be removed. If they lack the integrity to resign their pulpits, the churches must muster the integrity to eject them. If they will not “out” themselves, it is the duty of faithful Christians to “out” them…

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If you think that the SDA Church is immune from this kind of unbelief and unethical activity from pastors and teachers who stand as paid representatives of our Church, to the point of suggesting that, “there’s nothing wrong with hypocrisy”, you are in for a very rude awakening.

Many of our own SDA pastors and teachers are in a very similar boat as those non-believing “pastors” described above. They stay for the money (what little it often is), or for other personal reasons; not because they believe in or are willing to promote the Church’s pillars of faith on the Church’s dime. They are willing to sell their moral character for a few dollars, a bowl of lentil soup really, rather than do the right thing and seek honest employment elsewhere…

Our SDA Church, in particular, should hold these men (and women) to a much higher standard. They simply should not be allowed to continue on in their employment while promoting ideas and concepts that fundamentally counter the pillars of the SDA faith.

And, if our pastors should be held to this standard (a standard of actually saying and doing what they are being paid to say and do), why shouldn’t our own teachers who teach in our own schools, like La Sierra University in particular, be held to such a basic self-evident standard of conduct as well?

Why do we, as a Church organization, continue to fund those teachers who are as blatantly and publicly opposed to fundamental elements of the faith, goals, and ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as are most of LSU’s science and even religion professors?

Are we not shooting ourselves in our collective foot, as an organization, by continuing to ignore this problem like it isn’t significant or like it will somehow go away all by itself? It won’t. Something must be done in a very direct manner to check this corrosive influence within our own Church organization or there will be very little left to salvage within a very short time…

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98 thoughts on “Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe

  1. Sean, Great post! I’ve met my share of these people myself. Most DON’T leave, at least not right away. Some not until they are forced out by others. And, of course, some…NEVER.

    The more important problem is not that we have them in our SDA Church, but they usually continue to slowly compromise their biblical principles until not only they, But their congregations, school, or whatever, are also damaged. Which is what we see at LSU!




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  2. Very insightful and sobering post. With all this in mind and considering the publicity at LSU, I’d like to know how defenders of the status quo in LSU would define apostasy.

    It’s so sad that there’s even a question as to the right of the church as a body to regulate in its own institutions. If they could only see the effect this inaction has on students who face these things in the classroom, then they would feel responsible for these students, and hopefully before the Lord demands of them the blood of their souls. Or perhaps these same folks would condemn Jesus’ actions as he kicked out all the moneychangers?




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  3. Accoridng to the article, the study focuses on five cases; there is nothing about how widespread this unbelief is in the ministry. I suspect that is is widespread, but that even in the most liberal denominations there is a substantial cohort of traditional believers.

    That there are many unbelieving Adventist pastors seems beyond question. The number will remain unknown, because they understand that in a conservative church like the SDA Church, there will likely be repercussions for open unbelief.




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  4. “That there are many unbelieving Adventist pastors seems beyond question. The number will remain unknown, because they understand that in a conservative church like the SDA Church, there will likely be repercussions for open unbelief.” David Read(Quote)

    This is true, David. But they should be “forced to lie” by confronting them with a confession of faith in harmony with the SDA teaching. If they are willing to “lie” about what they believe, no doubt in the future, they will eventually abandon ship.

    “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is not a good philosophy in any scenario. But especially in the Christian community.

    Bill Sorensen




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  5. Earlier this month, SDAnet.org refused to allow me to post a link (with comments) to this Adventist Review article. But SDAnet.org does permit users to openly promote theistic evolution.

    Seems that the problem with infidelity in Adventism is a bit larger than we’d like.




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  6. The article says

    “Preachers Who Are Not Believers” is a stunning and revealing report that lays bare a level of heresy, apostasy, and hypocrisy that staggers the mind. In 1739, Gilbert Tennett preached his famous sermon, “On the Danger of an Unconverted Ministry.” In that sermon, Tennett described unbelieving pastors as a curse upon the church. They prey upon the faith and the faithful. “These caterpillars labor to devour every green thing.”

    If they will not remove themselves from the ministry, they must be removed. If they lack the integrity to resign their pulpits, the churches must muster the integrity to eject them. If they will not “out” themselves, it is the duty of faithful Christians to “out” them. The caterpillars are hard at work. Will it take a report from an atheist to awaken the church to the danger?

    Looks to me like the Review has just thrown down the guantlet and is providing the “basis for more aggressive action” in that not-so-subtle conclusion.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  7. Earlier this month, SDAnet.org refused to allow me to post a link (with comments) to this Adventist Review article. But SDAnet.org does permit users to openly promote theistic evolution.Seems that the problem with infidelity in Adventism is a bit larger than we’d like.  

    You’re right, Bob. A “bit larger” is absolutely true. As some, including me, have stated, this problem is much larger than a few Biology Profs at LSU.




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  8. I grew up in the Adventist Church but by the age of 21 lost my faith in the church (i.e. the institution of the wider church) but not in God to whom I continued to pray. Eventually my faith returned and for the past thirty years I have been an Episcopal minister preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. Although no longer an Adventist I am grateful for the nurture, love and grounding in the Bible the SDA church gave to me and I continue to respect it and defend it whenever mistaken views about its teachings are expressed by other clergy.

    As a pastor (now retired), I too, at times, suffered crises of faith – what some call the dark night of the soul – but continued to preach in spite of my doubts, during which my prayer has been “Lord help thou my unbelief”.
    After all, who hasn’t struggled with their faith -Peter did- and even Jesus appeared to. Perhaps judgementally, I find myself being somewhat suspicious of those who claim an absolute and unwavering belief in every tenet of Christian doctrine. Ministers also need ministering to.




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  9. @Ross Kennedy:

    After all, who hasn’t struggled with their faith -Peter did- and even Jesus appeared to. Perhaps judgementally, I find myself being somewhat suspicious of those who claim an absolute and unwavering belief in every tenet of Christian doctrine. Ministers also need ministering to.

    Dear Pastor Kennedy,

    This isn’t about pastors or teachers who are honestly struggling with certain doctrinal questions while remaining true to their duty to promote the fundamental goals and ideas of the various churches they are paid to represent. This is about those pastors and teachers who have already made up their minds that the church for whom they work is fundamentally mistaken. Yet, these same pastors and teachers continue to take a paycheck from the very organization that they no longer support and often actively oppose from pulpit and classroom and in other public forums.

    Such cannot be sustained by the SDA Church, in particular, any longer in their actively subversive activity on the Church’s dime. Integrity demands that such persons resign and move on to other vocations where their beliefs are in line with their work. And, if integrity is lacking on the part of such pastors or teachers, the Church itself must take action and actively remove such individuals from their positions of paid responsibility within the Church organization.

    There simply is no other choice for any organization that wishes to long remain viable and relevant…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  10. Maybe we should ask ourselves, “Whence cometh this continual abandonment of the bible and its fundamental message?” and, “What is the message that gendered it?”

    You may have embraced, in part, the false theory that has led to the demise. And you may be somewhat shocked by what it is. It is simply this….

    “We are not saved by keeping the law, we keep the law because we are saved.”

    This may sound very spiritual and evangelical. In fact, it is not. Salvation has two components, not one. If Jesus’ death and ministry is all there was to “salvation”, we might concur with the statement. If human’s have no accountability in the context of salvation, then we also could concur with the statement. The human response to God’s work in Christ is just as much a part of “salvation” as is the finished work of Christ.

    Most would at least admit that “faith” is essential to salvation. But in doing so, you automatically confess that obedience to the law is a part of salvation and not simply the fruit of it. Faith, repentance, and obedience are all aspects of the human response, and all are required for salvation. And they all operate continually in the sanctified life.

    Faith leads to repentance, which leads to obedience. The phrase “faith alone” has been used in a way that is far from the Reformation and Protestant use of the phrase. Protestantism formulated the phrase “faith alone” for a particular reason. And nothing is formulated in a vacuum.

    Rome claimed merit for the response of a believer. The issue of merit was the reason for the phrase “faith alone.” It simply meant, Christ alone merited and earned our salvation and their was no merit in the human response. So, it was “faith alone”, “Christ alone,” and “grace alone.” It refered to the legal implications of redemption as typified by the ceremonial law. It was never to deny the human factor in redemption and the moral value of the human response.

    “Under the law” has two application. One is to be under the condemnation and penalty of the law. And when the condemnation and penalty of the law is removed by way of Jesus’ death and intercession, all believer are still “under the law” as a rule of life. The was clearly expressed by Melancthon who formulated the three uses of the law in the Formula of Concord.

    As for merit, while there is no merit in the human response, Jesus adds His merit to our response in the sanctuary in heaven. Merit is required. But it is not in the human agent as Rome claims. It is added and/or imputed in the heavenly ministry. And none of this negates the human factor as instrumental and having moral value in redemption.

    Obedience to the law is an imperative human factor in redemption. And the Christian community must be reminded of this continually and now we are seeing what happens when people are told they are not saved by obedience to the law. This error must be corrected and explained in its biblical context, or we can just expect “more of the same” as exemplified by the LSU fiasco. You certainly can not harmonize EGW with the modern teaching. She has clearly said….

    To substitute external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life is still as pleasing to the unrenewed nature as it was in the days of these Jewish teachers. Today, as then, there are false spiritual guides, to whose doctrines many listen eagerly. It is Satan’s studied effort to divert minds from the hope of salvation through faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God. In every age the archenemy adapts his temptations to the prejudices or inclinations of those whom he is seeking to deceive. In apostolic times he led the Jews to exalt the ceremonial law and reject Christ; at the present time he induces many professing Christians, under pretense of honoring Christ, to cast contempt on the moral law and to teach that its precepts may be transgressed with impunity. It is the duty of every servant of God to withstand firmly and decidedly these perverters of the faith and by the word of truth fearlessly to expose their errors. {AA 387.1}

    And this…

    In the professedly Christian world many turn away from the plain teachings of the Bible and build up a creed from human speculations and pleasing fables, and they point to their tower as a way to climb up to heaven. People hang with admiration upon the lips of eloquence while it teaches that the transgressor shall not die, that salvation may be secured without obedience to the law of God. If the professed followers of Christ would accept God’s standard, it would bring them into unity; but so long as human wisdom is exalted above His Holy Word, there will be divisions and dissension. {CTr 70.4}

    And finally this…..

    Is it anything strange that one should do this or that under the conviction of the Spirit of God, under a sense of the fact that a refusal or neglect to do so would endanger the soul’s salvation? Is this a matter hard to comprehend, that obedience on our part to all God’s law is absolutely essential to eternal life? Is this an unfathomable mystery to the Christian—to secure the soul’s salvation at any cost to self or selfish interest? Does the Word of God give us any assurance that we can get to heaven just as well transgressing the law as obeying it? If so, the whole requirement of God as a condition of salvation is an entire mistake. {CTr 77.3}

    Do we obey the law to be saved? Absolutely. Not to merit heaven. But as a loving moral requirement and condition of eternal life just as the bible and EGW clearly affirms.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  11. And, if integrity is lacking on the part of such pastors or teachers, the Church itself must take action and actively remove such individuals from their positions of paid responsibility within the Church organization.
    There simply is no other choice for any organization that wishes to long remain viable and relevant…

    Here is the preamble to the SDA Fundamental Beliefs:

    “Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of God’s Holy Word.”

    But how can they possibly be revised if anyone who questions them is considered to be lacking integrity? How can input from someone “led by the Holy Spirit” be seriously considered if the person is immediately labelled as immoral, lacking integrity, stealing, and lying. So we have no other choice but to silence (and fire) these individuals if we are to remain “viable and relevant?”




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  12. Although no longer an Adventist I am grateful for the nurture, love and grounding in the Bible the SDA church gave to me and I continue to respect it and defend it whenever mistaken views about its teachings are expressed by other clergy.

    Your positive regard for the church in spite of having left it’s fellowship is appreciated.

    I too, at times, suffered crises of faith – what some call the dark night of the soul

    Ministers also need ministering to.

    I trust there was someone who ministered to you in your dark night of the soul. I was once called as a hospital chaplain to the bedside of a pastor who had just been told he was terminal. With great distress he told me that he had the overwhelming feeling that all of his preaching to others was nothing more than empty platitudes with no personal meaning for himself. It was a profoundly unsettling moment in which I thought to myself, ‘God forbid that I ever experience anything similar on my death-bed.’ I hope my ministry and prayer with him that day helped in some small way. That was the last I ever saw of him.




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  13. “But how can they possibly be revised if anyone who questions them is considered to be lacking integrity? How can input from someone “led by the Holy Spirit” be seriously considered if the person is immediately labelled as immoral, lacking integrity, stealing, and lying. So we have no other choice but to silence (and fire) these individuals if we are to remain “viable and relevant?” Professor Kent

    It would seem to me, Professor Kent, that you are really “grasping at straws” to build a none viable argument to challenge the basic presentation of Educate Truth.

    I think any well reasoned individual could and would see through your veiled attempt to dis-credit the challenges made by Educate Truth.

    The main point has always been concerning those who know that what they teach is not in harmony with stated and understood church teaching. And then simply ignore this position and feel at liberty to teach as they please.

    You apparently justify this as some sort of Christian freedom that transcends common sense. As though the church should not only tolerate anything that challenges its understanding of the bible, but support anyone who teaches the same. If there is any consistency in your position, I don’t know what it is. It would seem absurd to me for anyone to take such a position and try to defend it.

    And no matter how many times individuals endeavor to show your inconsistency, you blunder on and on hammering away in support of LSU and their present agenda. I could only assume you believe a person hired for a specific job to teach a specific concept, is free to thumb their nose at the employer and demand their right to get paid and do and teach as they please. How you can draw this conclusion and maintain it is a rational conclusion is beyond me.

    At any rate, we all have a right to our own opinion. I just don’t see any consistency in your theory. But apparently, you do.

    Bill Sorensen




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  14. I think any well reasoned individual could and would see through your veiled attempt to dis-credit the challenges made by Educate Truth.
    The main point has always been concerning those who know that what they teach is not in harmony with stated and understood church teaching. And then simply ignore this position and feel at liberty to teach as they please.

    Educate Truth pushes things too far. My problem is less with the message, and much more with the method. You guys (I’m speaking generally) come across as very harsh and intolerant, enthusiastically and unapologetically so. You have no problem publically lambasting others. I see little to no charity or humility. Most moderate Adventists, and most Christians and non-Christians, probably find this website deplorable. But it’s your passion, so carry on the brutal work. Might as well enjoy it.




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  15. The main point has always been concerning those who know that what they teach is not in harmony with stated and understood church teaching. And then simply ignore this position and feel at liberty to teach as they please.

    The issue of “stated and understood church teaching” is not as cut-and-dry as we might like to think. I am a music professor, and I have several different editions of the Church Manual, Supplements, and other official church writings that mention morality in music and guidelines for its use. At one time, opera was firmly denounced as unfit for Adventist consumption. The church is now silent regarding that particular genre (though I admit that much of opera is terrible; many devout SDAs consider it wonderful without knowing its moral and intellectual content). Several editions of the Manual state that any music partaking of the jazz (and later the rock) idiom are not to be chosen by persons of true culture. Interestingly enough, the reason to avoid jazz and rock is due to its lack of “culture”, and not moral considerations.

    As a music professor, am I to follow the stated stance of the church and refrain from any instruction making use of jazz idioms (including seventh and ninth chords that are part of non-jazz theory, syncopated rhythms, and improvisation)? I am not certain that the church as an institution is in a position to dictate what constitutes “true culture” in the first place. What does that mean? If I were to use those guidelines, I would not posses true culture, despite culture being my area of expertise.

    Questions like these are why we “well reasoned individuals” may discredit claims and challenges made here or in any forum. This is generally due to the intellectual incoherence of many arguments found in such forums, like the strings of assumptions and generalizations in the post immediately above. Thumbing one’s nose, demanding payment, and teaching what one pleases, is not the conclusion (rational or not) that was made. If the argument is not rational, how then the conclusion?

    Pax,

    David Kendall, PhD
    Adjunct Professor of Music
    La Sierra University




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  16. Ross Kennedy says:
    August 31, 2010

    I grew up in the Adventist Church but by the age of 21 lost my faith in the church (i.e. the institution of the wider church) but not in God to whom I continued to pray. Eventually my faith returned and for the past thirty years I have been an Episcopal minister preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    How wonderful it is to hear that you finally came back again to the Christian faith and have found a group that believes as you do.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  17. @Professor Kent:

    Educate Truth pushes things too far. My problem is less with the message, and much more with the method. You guys (I’m speaking generally) come across as very harsh and intolerant, enthusiastically and unapologetically so. You have no problem publically lambasting others. I see little to no charity or humility. Most moderate Adventists, and most Christians and non-Christians, probably find this website deplorable. But it’s your passion, so carry on the brutal work. Might as well enjoy it.

    And what do you call this? Are you not “publicly lambasting others” right now? and have you not been doing so for some time in this and other forums? – publicly blasting those for their methods and even perspectives when they don’t happen to agree with yours? I guess its Ok for you to do, but not others? ; )

    The fact is that if your job involves public service, you are going to be scrutinized in public. When it comes to teaching, in particular, current and potential parents and students in general have a right to know what they are paying for or will pay for with their hard-earned dollars. When it comes to a Church school, the Church membership at large also has a right to know what all of the hired teachers are actually teaching their students. This information should not be kept private or secretive.

    Also, to suggest that nobody has a right to get upset when a pastor or teacher is promoting ideas that are directly counter to what that person was paid to teach or preach is nonsense. Such a pastor or teacher should only expect to get called out, publicly, for their deliberate public loss of trust with their employer – the Church constituency in this case.

    We aren’t talking about exposing secret sins here. We are talking about exposing what everyone has a right to know to begin with regarding the education of their sons and daughters in the Church. And, people have a right to get upset if they aren’t getting what they thought they were paying for. I certainly would be very upset if my own son were at LSU and I happened not to be aware that LSU teachers were teaching contrary to the SDA position on origins there.

    Beyond this, many have worked many long years behind closed doors to try to solve this problem discretely. None of these methods or efforts have worked at all. If anything, the problem has only gotten steadily worse and more and more brazen over the years, decades, at LSU in particular. It was time that this information became general public knowledge since there are many who simply did not and still do not know the extent of the attacks on the pillars of the SDA faith that have been and are currently taking place at LSU by many staff members in both the science and religion departments.

    This is not right. It is theft from the SDA Church and from the Church membership at large. It must stop or the Church is in real trouble…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  18. The issue of “stated and understood church teaching” is not as cut-and-dry as we might like to think. I am a music professor, and I have several different editions of the Church Manual, Supplements, and other official church writings that mention morality in music and guidelines for its use. At one time, opera was firmly denounced as unfit for Adventist consumption.

    Point of clarification –

    At no time has there been a Fundamental Belief on “Opera”.

    By contrast – we HAVE had statements on the Sabbath and Creation and the trustworthy nature of the Bible as a reliable witness to real history – since the 1800’s.

    I do not see a good way to equivocate between those two concepts.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  19. @David Kendall, PhD:

    The issue of “stated and understood church teaching” is not as cut-and-dry as we might like to think.

    Maybe not for various styles of music, but when it comes to the doctrinal pillar of a literal 6-day creation week, the SDA Church has taken a very clear “cut-n-dry” position. It is this particular stand that is being directly attacked by many science and even religion professors at LSU. That’s the problem…

    Let’s compare apples with apples here instead of throwing up red herrings for distraction…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  20. Educate Truth pushes things too far. My problem is less with the message, and much more with the method. You guys (I’m speaking generally) come across as very harsh and intolerant, enthusiastically and unapologetically so. You have no problem publically lambasting others. I see little to no charity or humility. Most moderate Adventists, and most Christians and non-Christians, probably find this website deplorable. But it’s your passion, so carry on the brutal work. Might as well enjoy it.  

    As one of those “dudes” that is “intolerant” I say I AM intolerant of those in our SDA Church who say they can teach, preach, embrace, celebrate, and worship secular, humanistic ideologies, while denying God’s Truth. And, I will certainly carry on this work.




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  21. Dave Kendall, Your [edit] argument that because we may not have clearcut lines regarding one issue or problem and thus we cannot or do not have them for other issues is [mistaken].

    For example, if you decide to invite Tupac and Snoop Dog to come into your class and teach the LSU students about “gangsta rap” “weed” and “shizzle” and how these things are a positive influence on American music, I would personally think that would be inappropriate for an SDA institution.

    How about others?




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  22. Point of clarification -At no time has there been a Fundamental Belief on “Opera”.By contrast – we HAVE had statements on the Sabbath and Creation and the trustworthy nature of the Bible as a reliable witness to real history – since the 1800′s.I do not see a good way to equivocate between those two concepts.in Christ,Bob  

    Well spoken Bob. Dave’s attempt at smoke-screening isn’t fooling some people!




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  23. Sean Pitman wrote

    And what do you call this? Are you not “publically lambasting others” right now? and have you not been doing so for some time in this and other forums? – publically blasting those for their methods and even perspectives when don’t happen to agree with yours? I guess its Ok for you to do, but not others?

    Sounds like we are in agreement on what constitutes “publically lambasting others.” The difference is that you are lambasting others by name who are silent and have no part of this website, whereas my lambasting is simply pointing out your lambasting and lack of charity. I’m guilty as charged, and it’s refreshing to see you admit the same. Others who won’t admit this; they enjoy lambasting others to a large extent because, as any educated person recognizes, criticism of others makes one feel better about themself.

    So let the lambastardization continue…




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  24. It is an interesting argument that claims the issues are not so clearly defined and thus we can not judge the issues. If we consider the original tacts of the Devil, it was always based on this same reasoning. No doubt he challenged the angels concerning the clarity of God’s government and the meaning of how to define God’s will.

    But even if we can not know exactly how Satan worked in heaven, we can certainly see how he worked on Eve. So he asks her, “Are you sure you understand what God has said?” “Maybe you have actually missed the point and meaning of His directions.” “You can’t be sure you can discern what God meant.”

    And from there, he leads her into vain speculation with ambiguous conclusions based on non-definitive directions. This has been has tactic all along. And it has worked well in the past and is working today beyond any rational conclusions.

    To claim we can not understand creation week as seven literal days and build some ambiguous argument with evolution overtones can only deceive those who are willing to be deceived. Just like Eve. She really wanted to believe what Satan was saying. It suited her ego and appealed to a form of self government outside the authority of God.

    Man’s educated wisdom is all sufficient to determine truth and the bible is secondary as a teaching tool. The bible must be undermined as having the final authority in matters of faith. So the bible is twisted, convoluted and manipulated to imply it is not clear enough to make a final and definitive decision of what is truth and what is not.

    This is not only false reasoning, but the fact is, the bible is transparently clear and needs little or no outside explanation, except to show its own consistency with itself.

    So we can conclude, true Christian witnessing is simply pointing out the obvious in the bible. I never give a bible study or teach a class that I don’t consider this principle as the basis of all my presentations.

    The inconsistencies in the minds of the people as they read or study the bible are just that. The minds of the people. Generally taught errors in the past that make the bible difficult to harmonize.

    For me, some of this “bickering” about origins is nothing more than a “red herring” and needs little affirmation of what is biblical and what is not. None the less, I know we must confront error over and over, and in this case, it is due to the fact that those who should have dealt with it years ago did not.

    Now we have given the devil an extra advantage as those who oppose truth can point to the lack of discipline as evidence of a lack of clarity concerning the issues involved. This whole thing will eventually blow up because those elected to deal with it, didn’t. And this issue of origins is simply a part of the list the church has not dealt with in a straight forward manner. “Every thing that can be shaken, will be shaken”, EGW

    The church will get smaller before it gets bigger and finishes God’s work.

    Bill Sorensen




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  25. @Professor Kent:

    …They enjoy lambasting others to a large extent because, as any educated person recognizes, criticism of others makes one feel better about themself.

    You must be feeling pretty good about yourself about now… 😉

    Couldn’t be that concerned Church members really do see a serious problem, a serious attack on the fundamental pillars of the Church by paid representatives, an attack that all Church members have a right to know about? – could it?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  26. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Let’s compare apples with apples here instead of throwing up red herrings for distraction…”

    Now there is some food for thought.

    Cheers
    Ken




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  27. Re Sean’s Quote“Let’s compare apples with apples here instead of throwing up red herrings for distraction…”Now there is some food for thought.Cheers
    Ken  

    Sean, Why do allow these guys to continually post these “red herring” topics and then you start to debate them seemingly forever? Let’s stick to the real issue here, which is LSU’s apostasy.




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  28. It is a bit of a side-track, but I think the point is the prevalence of apostacy in many quarters. I am close friend with the Methodist pastor in our community who has been influenced by the “Jesus Seminar” to downplay the miracles of the gospels. My religion professor at Andrews University taught that Moses made up “Thus saith the Lord” to control the people. At my conservative niece’s wedding in Nevada last year, the Adventist pastor hounded me about believing in the Spirit of Prophecy. He said the church wouldn’t fire him before he retired. But for every one who doesn’t believe, God has 7,000 who are faithful to His truth. It is time to draw warmth from others coldness and strength from their weakness.




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  29. @Professor Kent: You must be feeling pretty good about yourself about now… Couldn’t be that that concerned Church members really do see a serious problem, a serious attack on the fundamental pillars of the Church by paid representatives, an attack that all Church members have a right to know about? – could it?Sean Pitmanhttp://www.DetectingDesign.com  (Quote)

    Sure…but just how serious a problem should become something all church members need to know about? Of course, each person will have their own opinion.

    Here, you have argued that it should be lack of support for any fundamental belief. But you have gone FAR BEYOND this. You have lambasted individuals by name who believe in the very same things but not to the same extent you do, or who have arrived at their beliefs by a different means (faith vs. evidence) than you. Examples include the President of Southern Adventist University (whose name I’d have to look up) and numerous GRI scientists (whose names don’t stick well to my fingertips). I think you are rude and lack discretion.

    I’m glad that you don’t have a big issue with divorce, caffeine consumption, dancing, views on abortion, and the like, as you would make a lot more enemies than you have already if you were broadcasting these transgressions against fundamental beliefs as well. There’s plenty of fact and innuendo to make for lots of juicy gossip on these issues. Would it serve the Church well to make sure every SDA-employed discreant is made known to all of the Church? In a word: no. Sorry to disagree with you.




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  30. @Professor Kent:

    Here, you have argued that it should be lack of support for any fundamental belief. But you have gone FAR BEYOND this. You have lambasted individuals by name who believe in the very same things but not to the same extent you do, or who have arrived at their beliefs by a different means (faith vs. evidence) than you.

    I’ve only commented on the public comments and actions of various paid leaders within our Church organization. You’re doing very much the same thing here in this forum – publicly calling out individuals for what you perceive to be grievous wrongs.

    Despite your red herring comparisons, I’ve not called anyone out on any secret or private “sin” here. We are talking about the public actions and comments of paid leaders in our Church. Parents, students, and the Church membership at large have the right to know about these comments and the potential problems for the Church that public comments and efforts which oppose or directly attack the foundational pillars of the Church are causing for the Church or for Church-sponsored organizations whose very purpose is being undermined from within.

    I’m quite amazed at your suggestion that members of an organization do not have a basic right to know this information and that public leaders should be free from criticism of their public comments and actions even if they are directly attacking the stated goals and ideals of the organization for which they work! You can’t be serious… can you?

    I’m sorry, but you’re doing the very same things in public forum that you’re so upset that others are doing. I appreciate your concern and your public calls against what we are doing here, but you need to understand that we are just as concerned as you are when we see paid Church representatives attacking the fundamental pillars of the Church or undermining the purpose of Church-sponsored organizations.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. Kent said:

    Sure…but just how serious a problem should become something all church members need to know about? Of course, each person will have their own opinion.Here, you have argued that it should be lack of support for any fundamental belief. But you have gone FAR BEYOND this. You have lambasted individuals by name who believe in the very same things but not to the same extent you do,

    Is it your claim that belief in theistic evolutionism is the same thing as Bible creationism??

    I’m glad that you don’t have a big issue with divorce, caffeine consumption, dancing, views on abortion, and the like, as you would make a lot more enemies than you have already if you were broadcasting these transgressions against fundamental beliefs as well.

    Are you suggesting that any web site that holds the seventh-day darwinian theistic evolutionist promoters accountable if they are paid by our denomination must also dilute its focus to also address every other form of denial of our Fundamental Beliefs [edit] or are you simply “hoping” to divert the focus for “Whatever reason”??

    Your consistency as you resist every effort to demonstrated science evidence that is in harmony with the Bible model of creation and as you equivocate between theistic evolutionism and Bible creation (- when not outright insisting that denial of our Fundamental Beliefs should be “no big deal”) is more transparently obvious than you may have at first imagined.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  32. Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. The Lord is saying this not man. He is the judge. We are responsible to acknowledge wrong doing and confront those doing wrong but God looketh upon the heart. Many times I had to ask for resignation from persons who refused to follow established agency policy and when they refused I had to terminate them.




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  33. @ Sean Pittman,

    I don’t expect you to let this one through, but why not Sean? Do you stand on all of your past writings and posts? I called you a hypocrite and an apostate; so here is your opportunity to prove me wrong. Don’t be afraid of it; be a man and stand up for yourself!

    ADVENTIST REVIEW: PASTORS WHO DON’T BELIEVE (http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/adventist-review-pastors-who-dont-believe/)

    “Our SDA Church, in particular, should hold these men (and women) to a much higher standard. They simply should not be allowed to continue on in their employment while promoting ideas and concepts that fundamentally counter the pillars of the SDA faith.” (Sean Pittman).

    Great article Sean; I couldn’t agree more. However in light of your past statements that have virtually destroyed the gospel, I find that you certainly appear to be quite the hypocrite. These pastors that you speak of are not half the apostate that you are. Your statements excusing Dr. Geraty and this one that says atheists will be in heaven certainly show your true colors don’t they?

    “He/she will simply be a very surprised atheist in Heaven someday when God explains who He really is and clear up all their misconceptions and erroneous views about Him and his existence” – Sean Pitman

    Dr. Geraty has deliberately rejected the plain statements of God in Genesis Chapters 1 and 2 concerning creation week, yet you provide a convenient excuse for him in your post below which flies in the face of what you profess to be doing with Educate Truth. Make no mistake; NO atheists will be in heaven. What you are doing is mocking God and the Bible by calling Him and His Word a lie.

    Sean Pitman says:
    May 31, 2010

    @Bill Sorensen:
    “Dr. Geraty is not ignorant of what he is doing, nor the position he has taken. Nor are others who hold his view as well. Only God knows if and when they can or will repent. But we need not patronize them with the idea they are ignorant and don’t know better. They have abandon the bible, and they well know it.”

    “You are stepping into God’s territory here – a very presumptuous move on your part. The only thing you know for sure is that Dr. Geraty has abandoned the SDA interpretation of the Bible – an interpretation which you and I happen to share. However, neither one of us know if Geraty has done this in deliberate rebellion against his conscience. Only God knows Dr. Geraty’s heart.”

    “Also, in your suggestion that “no atheists will be in heaven” you shut out some of the greatest servants to humanity that have ever lived. For example, consider Raoul Wallenberg. Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who worked in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. He saved tens of thousands of lives at great risk to his own life – a life which he ended up loosing at the end of the War when he was captured by the Russians who executed him (secretly).”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_Wallenberg

    “Despite the fact that Wallenberg sacrificed himself for the welfare of others, even of strangers, he did not have a proper conception of God and was an admitted atheist. I also have friends who are atheists who would not think twice about giving me the shirt off their back if I was in trouble.

    Remember, you don’t have to know that God exists or really understand much about Him in order to recognize the working of the Holy Spirit in the heart and following what you know internally is true regarding one’s duty to one’s fellow man. In showing love to one’s brother, especially if that brother is a stranger, one is in fact reflecting a love that only comes from the throne of God. Such a one who reveals no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends, even strangers, will not be refused by God even though he was an “atheist” in this life. He/she will simply be a very surprised atheist in Heaven someday when God explains who He really is and clear up all their misconceptions and erroneous views about Him and his existence.”

    “I’m sorry Bill, but you need to realize that the love of God is looking to save as many as will have Him – not to condemn for an honest and sincere lack of knowledge or correct understanding of doctrinal issues. Anyone who would welcome new light if it were understood will be saved. Only those who would only reject all light that could be offered will be lost”.

    “You and I simply do not know, in this life, who does and who does not have a heart that is in fact open to God’s light regarding such doctrinal issues – which God will reveal in His own good time. Such moral judgments should therefore be reserved for God alone…”

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  34. @Steve Billiter:

    Great article Sean; I couldn’t agree more. However in light of your past statements that have virtually destroyed the gospel, I find that you certainly appear to be quite the hypocrite. These pastors that you speak of are not half the apostate that you are. Your statements excusing Dr. Geraty and this one that says atheists will be in heaven certainly show your true colors don’t they?

    I certainly hope so 😉

    Dr. Geraty has deliberately rejected the plain statements of God in Genesis Chapters 1 and 2 concerning creation week,

    That’s true, but you don’t know if he actually comprehends the truth of Genesis. Only God knows that.

    yet you provide a convenient excuse for him in your post below which flies in the face of what you profess to be doing with Educate Truth.

    Educate Truth is not and has never been about making moral judgments…

    Make no mistake; NO atheists will be in heaven.

    Of course no atheist will be in heaven once they’re already there and God is standing right there in front of them. Not even Satan is an atheist. However, you cannot accurately judge while here on this Earth who will or will not be in heaven someday. Only God can do that…

    What you are doing is mocking God and the Bible by calling Him and His Word a lie.

    Where did I do that? It seems to me that you’re the one claiming to be able to read the hearts and motives of people, contrary to the claim of the Word of God that only God has this ability. – 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

    You would dismiss somebody who stood up for strangers, actually standing in front of firing squads to save people from being shot on the spot, someone who saved far more lives than you will ever dream of saving, who was kinder and risked more for more people than I can ever hope to achieve in my own lifetime, more than 100,000 people!… you would dismiss someone like this from Heaven because they didn’t understand the evidence for God’s existence and character as you and I have the privilege to understand?

    Far be it from me to make such a judgment. I stand with Mrs. White and the Bible on this one noting that even the heathen who lived according to the Royal Law of love toward their neighbors will be saved – even without having a direct knowledge of the God who originated their motive of love for the poor and the needy while in this life…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another.” Thus Christ on the Mount of Olives pictured to His disciples the scene of the great judgment day. And He represented its decision as turning upon one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering… [Matthew 25:40]

    Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.

    How surprised and gladdened will be the lowly among the nations, and among the heathen, to hear from the lips of the Saviour, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me”! [Matthew 25:40] How glad will be the heart of Infinite Love as His followers look up with surprise and joy at His words of approval!

    – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 637-638




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  35. @Professor Kent:

    The difference is that you are lambasting others by name who are silent and have no part of this website,

    You’d have a point if I was in fact calling out those who have private personal doubts or questions of faith that they kept to themselves. The problem with your argument here is that I’m only addressing those individuals who are very outspoken about their attacks on the fundamental pillars of the SDA Church. These are individuals who are actively promoting their ideas, on the Church’s dime, directly contrary to the Church’s clearly stated goals and ideals. I’d hardly call that being “silent”… would you?

    whereas my lambasting is simply pointing out your lambasting and lack of charity.

    Yes, and I’m simply pointing out those who are publicly lambasting the SDA Church on the Church’s dime… and pointing out their lack of integrity toward their employer, the SDA Church. I’m also pointing out that the Church membership at large has a right to know what their own teachers are teaching their own sons and daughters in our schools…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  36. Steve, Don’t be so hard on Sean. I agree with you about some of his so-called beliefs, and he deletes and censors me constantly when I try to counter his unbiblical statements. However, this website is not about Sean, Shane, or anyone else on this board. We should concentrate on the problems and issues that this site was and is designed to solve.




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  37. It’s just a sign of the times, and shows that the big shaking in our church is on the horizon. Several years ago I attended an SDA church a few times in Southern California, and was completely floored at the pastor’s musings on the non-existence of Satan. After the potluck, he proceeded to have a more open dialogue in the sanctuary about his ideas and beliefs that there is no person of Satan, only some general evil floating around. I was heartsick, but fully recognized that these are truly the very last days, and we just need to be sure to be prepared for ourselves on Scripture and our personal relationship with Jesus.
    It would be nice to think I could trust this man would be reported to the General Conference, and taken off the pulpit. But I’m pretty sure that is not the case. He had no business being in the SDA church spouting these things from a pulpit and further expounding on the matter, but I have to trust that the Lord is clearly in the know, and pray for that man who is clearly on a wrong path towards destruction. Easy to get riled up and indignant about it…I had my moments, but I pray more for the pity to come in my heart so I don’t get tainted with sin in anger, and know that all these people involved in teaching various heresies and non-truths are loved by a God who is hurting for their rejection. And I also trust, if the Lord wants someone out, He’s going to handle it. With everything going on in these nutty last days, I can only trust that God will handle all matters just right. Waiting on man to do it, or our SDA leadership, is not going to accomplish the peace we seek. I really do believe it will only get worse, before it gets better.
    All I know to do is hang on to Jesus, pray, witness, work as he leads…and wait on Him.
    Prayers and blessings to you all!
    Danyne




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  38. @Steve and Bill, I agree with you guys that Sean has taken a rather “kingly” attitude regarding his so-called “Royal Law of Love.” The idea that Geraty doesn’t understand what Genesis “really” says is so ridiculous that I don’t know many who would “fall” for Sean’s rationale.

    Geraty has REJECTED Genesis in favor or a more “enlightened” philosophy, which is secular humanistic version of “creation” better known as Darwinian Evolution. Sean says he hasn’t “rejected” it but just doesn’t “understand” it well enough to believe it.

    People choose to believe what they want to believe, no matter what the “evidence.” A prime example is Christopher Hitchens, the atheist, anti-Christian who is now dying of esophageal cancer. Hitchens has admitted his responsibility in this matter, as he has been a heavy smoker and alcohol drinker for many years.

    However, when questioned on whether he would have “changed” anything, knowing what has happened, he stated “no.” His mother was a heavy smoker, and his father an alcoholic. Hitchens stated he “hated” both those habits as a boy, but grew to like them as an adult. He say he got “more” out of his bad habits during life than he would have lost NOT doing them.

    My point is Hitchens KNEW what was right, healthy, or “best” for him, but he CHOSE to do otherwise. He doesnt’ claim “ignorance” or any other rationale for his idiotic behaviors.




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  39. Actually, that claim that Sean makes that we can’t “judge motive” is false.

    John the Baptist “You generation of vipers, who warned you of the wrath to come?”

    If that isn’t judging motive, I don’t know what is.

    And Stephen who accused his interigators “You do always resist the Holy Ghost.”

    And Jesus who said, “You are of your father the devil.”

    Yet none of these and like statements are a final judgment on any individual. Repentance is possible. None the less, we can and do judge motive according to the present reality.

    Saul was no doubt present at Stephens trial. And he was one who “always resisted the Holy Ghost.” Yet he was converted at a future time.

    Sean needs to understand the difference between a present judgment and a final judgment that the bible condemns and tells us no one can do.

    “Judge not, that ye be not judged” refers to the final judgment. Meaning we have no authority to consign someone to hell and beyond redemption. Such as the Catholic church does, and the Jews who condemned Jesus.

    We must not wrest scripture out of its biblical context. Nothing is written in a vacuum. It has a meaning consistent with all the issues dealt with in the bible.

    Sean has backed himself into a corner and needs to re-consider the meaning of “judge not, that ye be not judged” in its biblical context and application.

    In spite of all that, the main issue is accountability of those in charge of dealing with the LSU fiasco. As well as other issues confronting the church today.

    Bill Sorensen




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  40. @Ron Stone M.D.:

    Geraty has REJECTED Genesis in favor or a more “enlightened” philosophy, which is secular humanistic version of “creation” better known as Darwinian Evolution. Sean says he hasn’t “rejected” it but just doesn’t “understand” it well enough to believe it. People choose to believe what they want to believe, no matter what the “evidence.”

    You people who claim to be so good at reading hearts and motives really do scare me more than most agnostics or atheists – much more. You are setting yourself up in the place of God contrary to the warnings of the Bible. It is the Bible that explains that such moral judgments, regarding correct understanding of various doctrinal issues that deal with our relationship with God alone (like the literal 6-day creation week), which are not intuitively knowable, are the prerogative of God alone to judge in any sort of definitive manner. Romans 14:4 NIV

    A correct understanding of the literal 6-day creation week is nothing at all like understanding that it is wrong to deliberately hurt somebody else for personal gain – that it is wrong, morally wrong, to do to somebody other than you would like to be treated (like stealing, murder, adultery, etc.). Such knowledge is internally derived – written on the heart by God Himself. This is not the case for the literal 6-day creation week. This kind of knowledge is not internally known or knowable without investigation of externally-derived evidences. Such knowledge is only derived through study and conviction as one realizes the meaning of the totality or weight of available information that is coming in from outside of one’s self. Such realization comes at different times and by different means for different people. And, you simply cannot tell when someone does or does not truly understand such concepts as “true”. Only God knows that…

    In this line, contrary to your suggestion, note that I never said that I could know if anyone has or has not rejected what they consciously knew to be true – just the opposite in fact. I don’t know if Dr. Geraty has or has not gone against what he really does understand as the truth. That information can only be known, for sure, by Dr. Geraty and God alone. All I’ve ever said is that it is possible that people like Dr. Geraty have not comprehended what is true even though it may be right there before their very eyes. This happened to the disciples all the time. The saw and heard, but did not comprehend the truth.

    This happens to you and I all the time as well. I dare say that you have not comprehended many truths – to include many biblical truths that are right there in front of you. Does this mean that you’re gong to be lost? Because you didn’t understand and follow some biblical truth that was right there in front of you? Of course not. You must first understand and then reject before you can be charged with deliberate rebellion against known truth or a truth that you refused to learn for fear of being responsible for it. You can’t rebel against what you do not know or consciously understand…

    No one is judged, on a moral basis, for a lack of comprehension. God only judges those who deliberately rebelled against or avoided that which they consciously knew (or knew they could have known) to be true because of various selfish motives.

    You need to demonstrate much much more Christian charity. Whenever possible, you must be willing to give the benefit of the doubt – a gift which you seem very very unwilling to give even though you would want God to be so charitable to you if you happened to have not understood something for which someone wanted to bring you to judgment…

    I myself, for example, had serious doubts regarding the validity of the Theory of Evolution and the literal nature of the creation week for some time. What if I had died during this time? Would I have been lost forever? – because I didn’t understand the truth?

    Come on now. Think just a little bit about what you’re saying here. Imagine the shoe on the other foot for once and see if you can’t muster just a little bit of empathy for those who do not see the light as you see it regarding concepts and ideas that are not internally self-evident.

    Consider, as an illustration of this point, the case of William Miller. Despite his rejection of the Sabbath light that was given to him, Mrs. White indicates Miller will be saved:

    God suffered him [William Miller] to fall under the power of Satan, the dominion of death, and hid him in the grave from those who were constantly drawing him from the truth. Moses erred as he was about to enter the Promised Land. So also, I saw that William Miller erred as he was soon to enter the heavenly Canaan, in suffering his influence to go against the truth. Others led him to this; others must account for it. But angels watch the precious dust of this servant of God, and he will come forth at the sound of the last trump.

    – Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 258

    Again and again Mrs. White points out that we cannot judge the motives of someone else regarding their comprehension of such truths which are not internally derived. Regarding such truths see advises, as does the Bible:

    “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Do not think yourself better than other men, and set yourself up as their judge. Since you cannot discern motive, you are incapable of judging another. In criticizing him, you are passing sentence upon yourself; for you show that you are a participant with Satan, the accuser of the brethren. The Lord says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” This is our work. “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 11:31.

    – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 314

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. @Bill Sorensen:

    Actually, that claim that Sean makes that we can’t “judge motive” is false.

    John the Baptist “You generation of vipers, who warned you of the wrath to come?”

    If that isn’t judging motive, I don’t know what is.

    John was judging evil actions against one’s neighbor, not honestly mistaken doctrinal beliefs.

    And Stephen who accused his interigators “You do always resist the Holy Ghost.”

    Who had just murdered Jesus – a moral crime by anyone’s book. Again, this wasn’t a judgment against potentially honest confusion over doctrinal issues that are not internally knowable. Also, there were those in the crowd who sincerely and honestly believed that they were working for God – Saul included. Such will not be held morally accountable for their errors. They are only held accountable for what they did know and understand or could have known, but resisted knowing for selfish reasons (which requires a correct understanding of motive – the prerogative of God alone).

    And Jesus who said, “You are of your father the devil.”

    Uh, Jesus was/is God… and he accused those who he rebuked in this very direct manner of all kinds of violations of the Royal Law of Love toward their fellow man – especially the poor and helpless.

    Yet none of these and like statements are a final judgment on any individual. Repentance is possible. None the less, we can and do judge motive according to the present reality.

    You cannot make moral judgments regarding doctrinal truths that are not internally knowable any more than you can read the heart of a person with complete accuracy. Only God can make perfect moral judgments on such issues – not you and not me.

    Saul was no doubt present at Stephens trial. And he was one who “always resisted the Holy Ghost.” Yet he was converted at a future time.

    He was converted when he understood the truth. He was not held morally accountable to the truth before he clearly understood it.

    Sean needs to understand the difference between a present judgment and a final judgment that the bible condemns and tells us no one can do. “Judge not, that ye be not judged” refers to the final judgment. Meaning we have no authority to consign someone to hell and beyond redemption. Such as the Catholic church does, and the Jews who condemned Jesus.

    You have no right to make moral judgments of any kind regarding doctrinal issues that are not internally or intuitively knowable – like a correct understanding of the literal 6-day creation week. As Mrs. White notes in The Desire of Ages (referenced above), “Since you cannot discern motive, you are incapable of judging another.”

    This statement is in reference to all moral judgments where an ability to judge motive is required. You do not have this ability. Therefore, you cannot make consistently accurate moral judgments. You cannot know if someone truly does or does not comprehend the truth of the literal 6-day creation week. You just don’t know for sure. No one does but God.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but you ain’t God 😉

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  42. “Sorry to burst your bubble, but you ain’t God.”

    Sean Pitman

    That’s right, Sean. I’m not God. Therefore I can not know what a person may or may not do in the future. But just because I can not know the future, does not mean I can not know, at least in some cases, the present.

    You create a “false dilemma” but appealing to what God can know and what a human can not. The bible says, “Judge righteous judgment.”

    Even in civil law, the punishment is determined to some extend based on the motive of the violator of the law. And a judge will decide and determine the circumstances of the violation. If in a civil law setting the judge can judge motive, certainly the Christian community can do the same on a limited level.

    Notice Matt. 7, after the exhortation not to judge it is stated…”Hypocrite, first remove the plank from you own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Vs. 5

    The warning not to judge is against hypocracy, not the principle of judging itself.

    And notice how you always appeal to some exception to the rule to negate the rule itself.

    Like some heathen who will actually be saved at last, even if they had a very limited knowledge of the true God.

    And William Miller, who in his old age was not held accountable for rejecting the truth when it was presented.

    These exceptions you continually appeal to are not the rule you make them out to be. And then build your whole philosophy on these exceptions.

    No Sean, you did not “burst my bubble” as you assumed you did.

    People judge motive continually in the secular world and rightly so. Just so, Christians also judge motive on a limited scale based on limited information. But make no mistake, they do judge motive and rightly so.

    No, they don’t judge anyone’s final salvation. This God forbids. But to imply this disqualifies the Christian community from judging motive based on the knowledge available is poor scholarship at best. The bible will not support your conclusion.

    Bill Sorensen




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  43. @Bill Sorensen:

    That’s right, Sean. I’m not God. Therefore I can not know what a person may or may not do in the future. But just because I can not know the future, does not mean I can not know, at least in some cases, the present.

    What do you do with Mrs. White’s statement that, “Since you cannot discern motive, you are incapable of judging another.”?

    I’m sorry Bill, but you simply can’t know, for sure, even in the present, the motives of another person’s heart or their true understanding of a given doctrinal position that is not intuitively knowable – such as the reality and importance of the literal 6-day creation week. You are not a very accurate mind-reader in such cases my friend. Only God is. You can suspect all day long, and you may be accurate on occasion, but you cannot absolutely know the mind or motives of another like God can – not even in the present.

    You also seem to have a different definition of a “moral” judgment than I have. A moral judgment is a judgment of someone’s character as being “good” or “evil” – of being or not being in a state of conscious rebellion against a known and understood truth. It is in fact an assertion that you know the condition of a person’s soul and that if that person remains in their current “evil” condition, as judged by you, that they will be lost.

    When it comes to differences on doctrinal issues, like the understood importance of the literal 6-day creation week, there is absolutely no way that you can be perfectly accurate in your judgments. It is the height of arrogance for any human to claim otherwise – to claim the ability to be able to accurately judge the motives of another human’s heart when, for example, they don’t believe in or understand the significance of a literal 6-day creation week. There is always the possibility that you could be wrong. The exceptions to your “rule” demonstrate this very likely possibility quite clearly. Therefore, you should refrain from making such declarations of moral judgment in such cases where you cannot be 100% sure and leave such judgments up to God.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  44. “Therefore, you should refrain from making such declarations of moral judgment in such cases where you cannot be 100% sure and leave such judgments up to God.”

    Sean Pitman

    The issue is not “100% sure”, Sean. We make relative judgments based on limited information. And these are moral judgments where we use our best knowledge available.

    So, we “judge” a teacher who deliberately takes money from an employer when he knows he is mis-representing the work he was hired to do, as an immoral decision he is making.

    If, on the other hand, he was hired to teach as he pleases and mis-represents the institution where he teaches, we would then “judge” the person who hired him as immoral.

    In this case, as in the LSU fiasco, I would suspect those who did the hiring are more culpable than the teacher. Thus, we are more inclined to challenge those who did the hiring, than the teacher.

    And still futher, those responsible to correct the situation when they are informed, are even more culpable for refusing to administrate their responsibility and correct the situation.

    And we will consider all the reasons why they refuse to do their duty, including their motive for not doing it. Thus, we judge the morals of those in authority in the church, just as we judge the morals of civil leaders in our county when they fail to do justice.

    I have consistently said, we can not judge anyone’s final salvation, neither is it appropriate to take statements here and there by EGW to claim we can not judge on any level. She did not write in a vacuum. Each statement has a viable meaning in a given context.

    I have nothing more to say, you made your case and I made mine. Let discerning people decide for themselves to what degree each of us may be right or wrong.

    Bill Sorensen




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  45. @Bill Sorensen, Sean is continuing his quest to portray us, using his straw-man argument of not judging whether someone is “going to heaven” or not, as being “dangerous” to the Church. I have never stated or even mentioned this concept. However, the idea that we cannot judge “morality” is totally un-biblical, since God tells us in the Bible what IS and what is NOT moral.

    Steven Hawking just recently says we don’t need God anymore. Why? Well, we’ve discovered another planet that circles a sun! Think I’m kidding? Read it for yourself on the Internet or in his new book.
    Hawking believes in Man’s humanistic ideas over God’s Word. He’ll use any excuse to deny God’s reality. As do many, both outside and inside our SDA Church.




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  46. you made your case and I made mine. Let discerning people decide for themselves to what degree each of us may be right or wrong.Bill Sorensen  

    The bible has numerous cases where “moral judgments” were made, based on God’s Word. Sean’s assertion that the only thing we can “judge” on is whether they are “stealing” from their employer (which the alleged perpetrators would probably deny!) is a fallacy.

    An illustration might help:

    Suppose Pastor Smith has a health problem and has to take a few weeks off. The Church decides to let Elder Jones, who is a layman businessman, but has a “minor” in religion, substitute for a few weeks. Elder Jones submits his list of sermon topics to the Church:

    1.




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  47. 1. Why Wait for Christ’s Second Coming? He’s Already Here!
    2. Sabbath or Sunday? All God Wants is A Day Not THE Day.
    3. God’s Most Wonderful Herb–Marijuana!
    4. Abortion On Demand–One of God’s Greatest Freedoms
    5. The “Devil” is Just a Figment of Your Imagination
    6. Talking With the Dead Part 1–Finding a Channeler
    7. Talking With the Dead Part2–How the Dead Can Reveal God’s Plan for Your Life

    The Pastor and Church Board are surprised by the topics, and some members actually made a “judgment” about the truthfulness and morality of teaching such things in a bible-based SDA Church.

    However, since the Elder was not “employed” by the Church in any way, he was not “stealing” and they had no basis for making any “judgment” about the topics, since they really did not know the “inner motives” of the Elder, they allowed the sermons to be spoken.

    How many think this would happen at your SDA Church? Why would the Elder not be allowed to speak? Is a “moral judgment” necessary?




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  48. @ Sean Pitman

    You people who claim to be so good at reading hearts and motives really do scare me more than most agnostics or atheists – much more. You are setting yourself up in the place of God contrary to the warnings of the Bible.

    Brother Pitman, I agree with you on this one.




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  49. Re Sean’s Quote

    “There is always the possibility that you could be wrong.”

    Dear All

    If we can all apply that humility to ourselves as we go forward on this forum we will have more civil and productive debate.

    Best Regards
    your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  50. @ Sean Pitman
    Brother Pitman, I agree with you on this one.  

    Prof, As I’ve explained to Sean, when people explain what they believe and why, we, many times, have information to make a “judgment” not on whether they are going to heaven (as Sean has set up as a straw-man) but on the rightness, goodness, or even the morality, since God’s Word gives us His “legal opinion.”




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  51. @Ron Stone M.D.:

    However, since the Elder was not “employed” by the Church in any way, he was not “stealing” and they had no basis for making any “judgment” about the topics, since they really did not know the “inner motives” of the Elder, they allowed the sermons to be spoken.

    How many think this would happen at your SDA Church? Why would the Elder not be allowed to speak? Is a “moral judgment” necessary?

    A moral judgment, which requires the ability to accurately read the motives of the heart, is not necessary in order to make a judgment on doctrinal error. These are completely different types of judgments.

    One doesn’t need to know or understand the motives of the one proposing doctrinal error in order to explain to this person that you see them as having an incorrect understanding of the issue at hand – with patience, kindness, and gentleness (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). You don’t need to call them evil or make any other moral judgment whatsoever in order to disagree with them. You simply say, “Your ideas are not in line with what we currently consider to be ‘present truth.’ Therefore, you will not be allowed to present your ideas as an official representative of our organization.”

    That’s all there is to it. I really don’t understand your need to judge the internal motives of those with which you have a doctrinal disagreement over something like the reality of the 6-day creation week? or the true perspective on the origin of life on this planet? Do you really not see it as possible for someone to be honestly and sincerely mistaken? – and not be evil at the same time?

    Come on now. Think about what you’re saying here. According to you some of the most kind and generous people alive today would be lost because they didn’t understand the truth about the 7th-day Sabbath, or the true state of the dead, or the literal 6-day creation week, or the superiority of the Bible vs. the Qur’an, or, God-forbid, the health message on clean and unclean meats!… etc.

    You know that I had Muslim neighbors at one time who were nicer to me and my wife, and much much more generous and willing to help us at the drop of a hat, than most Christians I know? And you’re trying to tell me that they are evil just because they didn’t accept the validity of the Bible during the time I knew them and talked to them about my faith? You don’t think that there is even the remotest of chances that they may end up in Heaven someday? – very surprised to find out the truth on many things they never comprehended while in this life?

    However, the idea that we cannot judge “morality” is totally un-biblical, since God tells us in the Bible what IS and what is NOT moral.

    God has told us what is and is not true for ourselves. He has not given us the ability to convert another nor the ability to read the heart of another. Beyond this He has never told us that a person is immoral if he/she does not comprehend certain truths that are not intuitively knowable – such as the importance of the literal 6-day creation week or the true state of the dead or the superior credibility of the Bible vs. the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon. God has specifically noted, in the Bible, that He is willing to “wink” at honest ignorance on such issues – “wink” at those things a person honestly does not know or comprehend (as long as that person has not deliberately rejected a known chance to comprehend a suspected truth).

    You cannot quote me a single passage of Scripture to the contrary while I can and have quoted you many in support of this concept…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  52. Sean, Your use of the word “evil” was not used by me. You’ve even got me calling Muslims “evil” How pathetic! I simply stated we can exercise “moral judgment” when presented with information which is contrary to God’s Word.

    You don’t seem to see how anyone could possibly deny and reject God’s Truth, even though they have read and studied it. Many do, but you deny it.

    You also continue to say I have relegated all of those “nice people” not to mention your Muslim neighbors to hell or locked them out of heaven, simply by my saying we can “judge” those at LSU, based on the Word of God. But you continue to use this “straw-man” argument, which you haven’t given up.

    Why then did God give us His “words?” If we all had the Royal Law of Love written in our hearts, we wouldn’t need any God to write anything out, either on stone or on paper. The bible cannot be used for “reproof?”




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  53. @Ron Stone M.D.:

    Prof, As I’ve explained to Sean, when people explain what they believe and why, we, many times, have information to make a “judgment” not on whether they are going to heaven (as Sean has set up as a straw-man) but on the rightness, goodness, or even the morality, since God’s Word gives us His “legal opinion.”

    The Bible gives you a better basis to judge yourself. It does not give you the ability to more accurately read the hearts of others.

    You see, there’s a difference between going along with a particular suggestion on what you know to be doctrinal error (like keeping Sunday as the true Sabbath), and suggesting that the one who made the suggestion is therefore immoral. The one conclusion does not necessarily follow the other.

    Making a judgment on the morality of another, in such a case, would require you to have the ability to read the heart of another – something you just cannot do with 100% accuracy.

    Oh, and by the way, when you make a moral judgment on the character of another person, most people take that to meant that you are in fact judging that person’s moral fitness for salvation… a very serious deal for most people…

    Sean, Your use of the word “evil” was not used by me. You’ve even got me calling Muslims “evil” How pathetic! I simply stated we can exercise “moral judgment” when presented with information which is contrary to God’s Word.

    What you guys seemed to be saying is that you can judge the morality of a person who subscribed to doctrinal errors. When you do that, you are in fact calling such a person “evil” or “morally corrupt” for holding to what you consider to be doctrinal errors. That’s a very serious charge…

    Now, if that is not what you intended to say, perhaps you’d better choose different words to describe those who believe what you think are doctrinal errors – something other than describing them as being morally deficient. Subscribing to a consciously known error is a form of moral corruption – a form of rebellion against known truth. However, subscribing to an error that is not consciously understood to be an error is not a moral error. It is still an error, but it is not chargeable to the individual as a moral error.

    Errors are not all created equal…

    You don’t seem to see how anyone could possibly deny and reject God’s Truth, even though they have read and studied it. Many do, but you deny it.

    I never said this. People reject known truth all the time. That’s the very definition of sin. You and I have done it. It may be crazy, but we’ve all rejected and acted contrary to known truth – deliberately. We are a rebellious lot.

    The problem is that you cannot know for sure when someone other than yourself has consciously rejected known truth. You cannot know this, with perfection, unless you know the other person’s heart – the internal motives of another. You simply do not have this ability. Only God does.

    You also continue to say I have relegated all of those “nice people” not to mention your Muslim neighbors to hell or locked them out of heaven, simply by my saying we can “judge” those at LSU, based on the Word of God. But you continue to use this “straw-man” argument, which you haven’t given up.

    I also judge many of those at La Sierra University (in both the religion and science departments) for being in error, however sincere, in their understanding of origins. Yet, on this particular point, I do not judge them as being morally corrupt. However, I do make a moral judgment on those who take a paycheck from the Church while knowingly undermining what the Church in paying them to do. That’s stealing, a violation of the Royal Law of Love which is written on the hearts of all. There is simply no valid excuse for such activity and they will be held accountable, by God, for taking that which doesn’t belong to them.

    Why then did God give us His “words?” If we all had the Royal Law of Love written in our hearts, we wouldn’t need any God to write anything out, either on stone or on paper. The bible cannot be used for “reproof?”

    God gives us information that has the power to make our lives better in this life – words that have the power to give us a conscious hope in the future. Such a hope is not the basis of salvation. We could be saved without this conscious hope. But, how much better the lives of those who get to know and understand God and the story of the Great Controversy, the meaning of it all, here and now in this life?

    While hope itself may help a person strive harder to heed the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit speaking to the heart, and thereby aid in salvation, the Gospel Message, by itself, even if accepted as true, does not save a person. Only the love of a person for God and for fellowman, saves a person. This is why if a person who doesn’t know the name of God or anything else about Him, loves what God loves (i.e., his fellowman), that person can and will be saved.

    Salvation isn’t based on knowledge; but this doesn’t mean knowledge isn’t important. Knowledge is the basis of hope, but not salvation. Yet, no one thinks that hope isn’t important. It may not be as important as salvation, but it is still very nice to have just the same.

    “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  54. Oh, and by the way, when you make a moral judgment on the character of another person, most people take that to meant that you are in fact judging that person’s moral fitness for salvation… a very serious deal for most people… Sean Pitman

    Sean, If an SDA pastor was having an extramarital affair with the church secretary, and the Church decided to remove him, it would not be because they disagreed on what the “doctrinal” basis of “adultery” was. They would be making a moral judgment based on what God’s Word says.




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  55. @Ron Stone M.D.:

    Sean, If an SDA pastor was having an extramarital affair with the church secretary, and the Church decided to remove him, it would not be because they disagreed on what the “doctrinal” basis of “adultery” was. They would be making a moral judgment based on what God’s Word says.

    That is because adultery is a breaking of the Royal Law of Love (the taking of something that one knows isn’t theirs to take – i.e., stealing). It is a clear moral wrong in anyone’s book to treat someone else in a way in which you yourself would not like to be treated (i.e., the Golden Rule is intuitively known by all as a gift of God).

    This is the same thing, basically, that Adam and Eve did. They stole something that they consciously knew wasn’t theirs and therefore became morally accountable to God. They treated God contrary to how they would have wished to be treated. They deliberately broke the Golden Rule and therefore the Royal Law.

    This isn’t the same thing as honestly disagreeing over the 6-day creation week or the state of the dead or any other point of doctrine that is not intuitively knowable. A person who honestly believes that life evolved over hundreds of millions of years on this planet is not knowingly stealing from anyone and therefore cannot be charged with a moral deficiency. However, a person who knowingly teaches contrary to what their employer is paying them to teach, is stealing and is therefore morally accountable before God.

    Again, errors in doctrine on such non-intuitive issues, issues that are not directly related to breaking the Royal Law, cannot be judged on a moral basis by us humans. The reason for this is, yet again, because it is possible for one to honestly and sincerely hold such doctrinal errors.

    Only God knows for sure what is and is not really known and understood, and the true motives of a person, regarding such issues…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  56. Sean, you keep creating your own “false dilemma”. This is what you said…

    “That is because adultery is a breaking of the Royal Law of Love (the taking of something that one knows isn’t theirs to take – i.e., stealing) – a clear moral wrong in anyone’s book.”

    Did you say, “Anyone’s book”, Sean? Are you aware there are millions of people who see nothing wrong with adultery? You assume some aspects of the law are obvious, and others are not. In this you make a great mistake. Some cultures see no wrong in killing other people, stealing, lying, and/or adultery.

    In fact, there is not a commandment that people know “automatically”. Everyone is taught by some means of grace what is right or wrong. Parents begin to teach their children from the git go what is right or wrong. And if they are not taught, they simply will violate every moral law with no conscience to correct or reprove them.

    That is because “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” There is no “natural law” righteousness as you imply. All societies have been affected to some degree by a morality that has been preserved for centuries by the true believing community.

    So we “judge” that people are inherently evil, not good. And we also know their motive is equally evil, for “God fashioneth the hearts of all men alike.” All are born evil, all are born lost. And unless they are “born again” they remain lost.

    The devil changed Adam’s motive from faith and trust to unbelief and rebellion. And this is how we come into the world because we all have the spirit of Adam and are thus condemned. EGW has clearly said…..

    The Lord would work upon the hearts of the children if the parents would but co-operate with the divine agencies, but He will not undertake to do that which has been appointed as your part of the work. Parents, you must awake from your deathlike slumber. {CG 475.1}
    Our Great Hope Is Home Religion.–Parents are asleep. Their children are going to destruction before their eyes, and the Lord would have His messengers present before the people, by precept and example, the necessity of home religion. Urge this matter home upon your congregations. Press the conviction of these solemn duties, so long neglected, home upon the conscience. This will break up the spirit of Pharisaism and resistance to the truth as nothing else can. Religion in the home is our great hope and makes the prospect bright for the conversion of the whole family to the truth of God. {CG 475.2}
    Satan’s Power May Be Broken.–Parents have a more serious charge than they imagine. The inheritance of children is that of sin. Sin has separated them from God. Jesus gave His life that He might unite the broken links to God. As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death. But Christ steps in and passes over the ground where Adam fell, enduring every test in man’s behalf. . . . Christ’s perfect example and the grace of God are given him to enable him to train his sons and daughters to be sons and daughters of God. It is by teaching them, line upon line, precept upon precept, how to give the heart
    476
    and will up to Christ that Satan’s power is broken. {CG 475.3}

    The bible teaches us that babies are born evil and lost. EGW concurs and urges parents to accept their responsibility and accountability to teach their children by precept and example how to become Christians and be saved. We are all born with an inherent knowledge of evil, the knowledge of good must be taught by the parents and the Holy Spirit will work in the conversion of ourselves and our children.

    There is no “natural law righteousness” automatically communicated into all children born of the flesh. All must be “born again.” Faith is not automatic. Unbelief is. Sean, your position is not defensible from the bible or EGW.

    Do we judge motive? Of course. Evil is mingled in every decision and we must “judge” how we will deal with each situation and make a moral value decision as to what course we should persue.

    Can we “judge” if a person will be saved or lost at last? No. This is the only “judging” we are prohibited from doing. And yes, we must be aware of hypocracy as we make careful and prayful decisions regarding others and our duty to act for or against them. But judge we must, and this certainly includes their motive.

    Bill Sorensen




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  57. @ Dr. Stone

    Prof, As I’ve explained to Sean, when people explain what they believe and why, we, many times, have information to make a “judgment” not on whether they are going to heaven (as Sean has set up as a straw-man) but on the rightness, goodness, or even the morality, since God’s Word gives us His “legal opinion.”

    I think we should be more circumspect in sharing our opinions and judgments of others. I fault both you and Sean in this regard. With all due respect, I have formed a personal impression of your own standing with God, and I don’t believe it’s appropo to share it here.




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  58. Ron Stone wrote

    Sean, If an SDA pastor was having an extramarital affair with the church secretary, and the Church decided to remove him, it would not be because they disagreed on what the “doctrinal” basis of “adultery” was. They would be making a moral judgment based on what God’s Word says.

    Good point.




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  59. @Bill Sorensen:

    Did you say, “Anyone’s book”, Sean? Are you aware there are millions of people who see nothing wrong with adultery? You assume some aspects of the law are obvious, and others are not. In this you make a great mistake. Some cultures see no wrong in killing other people, stealing, lying, and/or adultery.

    That’s not true. Everybody knows, as a God-given gift, that it is wrong to break the Golden Rule – to do to somebody else contrary to the way you would like to be treated. Of course, one can suppress the natural God-given conscience. However, in order to do this, in order to harden the heart and remove the conscience that is given to all by God, great effort has to be expended to “grieve away the Holy Spirit” to the point where it no longer speaks to the heart. While it is possible to burn the conscience into oblivion, eventually, this doesn’t mean that it wasn’t given to all and will not be used as a basis for moral judgment by God when He asks only one question, “Did you love your neighbor as yourself?” and notes, “As you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

    There will be no one in the judgment who is condemned by God who will say, “But I didn’t know.” All know, inherently from very early childhood, that it is wrong to take something that isn’t yours – to treat another contrary to how you would like to be treated. This is a natural born knowledge. Because of this natural “enmity” against sin that was given to all, all will know exactly where their feet where deliberately diverted, by their own conscious and deliberate action, from the path of known truth.

    I’m not saying that there is no natural attraction to sin at the same time. There most certainly is – from birth. However, we have been given a counteracting nature at the same time. We have two waring natures inside of us – from birth. We have the sinful nature that is naturally at war with God; and we have the gifted nature that God has given to us all that is naturally at war, or at “enmity”, with our sinful nature.

    This is why we have internal conflict – a conflict which all are born with. If God had not put into our hearts this “enmity” against sin, we would have no internal conflict because we would have no conscience. We would not be free moral agents. It is only because we have a choice in the conflict that we can be judged as free moral agents…

    In short, no one will be truly tricked or honestly deceived out of Heaven. At the end, all who are not there will know full well why they are not there – – because they deliberately chose to rebel against the truth that they did in fact recognize as the truth when it was presented to them. The lost will all be in open rebellion against known truth. They will not be truly deceived. They will have chosen to believe a lie – deliberately chosen the lie over what they knew to be true…

    There is no “natural law righteousness” automatically communicated into all children born of the flesh. All must be “born again.” Faith is not automatic. Unbelief is. Sean, your position is not defensible from the bible or EGW.

    It is simply not true that the ability to listen and be attracted to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit is not inherited from birth. Even very small children inherently know what is right and wrong and can actually choose to follow the right – to express love and kindness even without the training of good parents. And, when it comes to the rebirth, “Everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 NIV

    This rebirth into the Kingdom does not require knowledge of the Bible or of Christianity. This is an inherent God-given ability that can be chosen of one’s own self if one chooses to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit speaking to the heart.

    Given your arguments it would impossible for those who have never seen or heard of the written Word, who never knew of the life or death of Jesus, and who never knew of the personal love God for them, to be saved…

    Both the Bible and Mrs. White speak very clearly against your notions here claiming that such can be saved and will be saved. You need to re-read Romans 2:14-15 and Desire of Ages, p. 637-638

    You call these “exceptions to the rule”, but these so-called “exceptions” clearly prove that you’re views on morality and your claims to be able to perfectly judge the motives and morality of others, with regard to doctrinal truths that are not inherently knowable, are fundamentally mistaken…

    Do we judge motive? Of course. Evil is mingled in every decision and we must “judge” how we will deal with each situation and make a moral value decision as to what course we should persue.

    You honestly think you can accurately and consistently, 100%, judge the motive of another when it comes to why they do not believe in something like a literal 6-day creation week? You can’t be serious!

    The Bible, and Mrs. White, say that it is impossible for humans to accurately judge motive – especially when it comes to why a person doesn’t accept a doctrine like the literal 6-day creation week, the state of the dead, or even the superiority of the Bible as the Word of God. Consider again, in case you missed it the first time, where Mrs. White says that we humans cannot accurately judge motive:

    Since you cannot discern motive, you are incapable of judging another… – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 314

    Also:

    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… Often we regard as hopeless subjects the very ones whom Christ is drawing to Himself. Were we to deal with these souls according to our imperfect judgment, it would perhaps extinguish their last hope. Many who think themselves Christians will at last be found wanting. Many will be in heaven who their neighbors supposed would never enter there. Man judges from appearance, but God judges the heart.

    – Ellen White, Christ Object Lessons, p. 71-72

    Mrs. White also points out that morality is not based on knowledge or the lack thereof, but on motive – upon what one does with the little knowledge that one has:

    But Naaman, a heathen nobleman, had been faithful to his convictions of right, and had felt his great need of help. He was in a condition to receive the gifts of God’s grace. He was not only cleansed from his leprosy, but blessed with a knowledge of the true God.

    Our standing before God [our morality] depends, not upon the amount of light we have received, but upon the use we make of what we have [motive]. Thus even the heathen who choose the right as far as they can distinguish it are in a more favorable condition than are those who have had great light, and profess to serve God, but who disregard the light, and by their daily life contradict their profession.

    – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 239

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  60. @Professor Kent:

    With all due respect, I have formed a personal impression of your own standing with God, and I don’t believe it’s appropo to share it here.

    How generous of you 😉

    You have no problem calling people out in public who you think have done wrong in public; you just don’t think anyone else should be able to do the same thing…

    A vision of a pot and kettle should come to mind about now…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  61. Sean said….

    “There will be no one in the judgment who is condemned by God who will say, “But I didn’t know.” All know, inherently from very early childhood, that it is wrong to take something that isn’t yours – to treat another contrary to how you would like to be treated. This is a natural born knowledge.”

    Well, we will continue to disagree on what we think the bible teaches on this point. You stated “All know, inherently from very early childhood, that it is wrong to take something that isn’t yours…..”

    This is false. Unless they are taught bible morality, they are totally selfish. And I said that society has been influenced by Christanity and so even the heathen have some knowledge of truth. Not because it is an inherent knowledge, but because it has been communicated down through history by way of a Christian influence.

    So, the bible says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray speaking lies as soon as they are born.” Ps. 58

    This scripture alone shows your misunderstanding of sin and how it has affected the human family. I am quite sure you don’t believe in the doctrine of original sin. And because of this, you have a limited and superficial understanding of sin and how it has affected humanity.

    Yes, the Holy Spirit works on individuals from the moment of birth. And He uses every means of grace available to communicate the truth of God’s word. But babies are not born with an inherent righteousness nor do they know right from wrong without careful instruction from their parents and other means of grace that God has ordained for their instruction.

    Babies are born selfish. Do you have any children, Sean? If so, how can you not see and know the reality of this truth?

    And finally, I never said or suggested anyone could know 100% the motive of anyone else. You build a straw man. I said we have adequate knowledge to make a moral judgment on the motive of others and act accordingly.

    We judge motive and the attitude of others continually on a limited basis. And this Christians do in the church and in the world.

    When we understand that sin is both rebellion and ignorance, we take both of these factors into account and judge situations as we consider both factors. Since we don’t know exactly to what degree each of these factors are present, we make a relative judgment and decision based on the evidence that is available.

    In some cases, we see that rebellion is the main issue and we act accordingly. Even if we know there is some ignorance present in any given situation. Eve represents deception and ignorance. Adam represents rebellion and wilful disobedience. None the less, there was some rebellion in Eve and some ignorance in Adam.

    So we judge situations based on both factors and make a moral decision based on our best knowledge and understanding. Even if our knowledge is limited, we still make a moral judgment and this is according to the will of God.

    To what degree there is wilful rebellion in the LSU fiasco, we can’t say precisely. But we are not so uninformed that we can not discern some wilful rebellion in the situation. Is some of it ignorance? Of course. But we don’t simply excuse the whole scenario as ignorance and dismiss it as an unfortunate situation.

    And we demand moral accountability to what ever extent we have a right to. And we “judge” that some have wilfully abandon their responsibility in the matter and call them to account for their action or lack of it.

    My personal opinion is that LSU is lost to the cause. I don’t know this for sure, and hope and pray it is not so. But the evidence is pretty strong to conclude this opinion. But I still support those who demand and are calling LSU and those involved to accountability as the institution is still considered SDA.

    We agree on some issues. But how we approach the cause and effect is different. In the future, some things will become more obvious to all of us as varying situations bring out different aspects of sin and how it must be dealt with.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  62. @Bill Sorensen:

    Well, we will continue to disagree on what we think the bible teaches on this point. You stated “All know, inherently from very early childhood, that it is wrong to take something that isn’t yours…..”

    This is false. Unless they are taught bible morality, they are totally selfish. And I said that society has been influenced by Christanity and so even the heathen have some knowledge of truth. Not because it is an inherent knowledge, but because it has been communicated down through history by way of a Christian influence.

    There have been heathen societies in history that never did have exposure to Christianity whatsoever – like various people of the North and South Americas before the Americas were discovered by “Christian” Europeans. Many times these peoples acted much more kindly and generously than did the Europeans – even to risking their own lives to save the European strangers. While there were waring tribes no doubt it wasn’t the Christian influence that gave those groups and individuals who acted kindly their moral consciences.

    The very same thing can be seen in very small children who do not have to be taught how to love unselfishly. There is a gifted component of “enmity” against evil and for love from birth. If there were not, heathen peoples who were not “taught” by the Christian influence would have absolutely basis upon which to find Christianity attractive or upon which to express any kind of love or empathy with their fellowman.

    There have also been those who grew up in environments or cultures that had a very twisted concept of God. Yet, even in these cultures people could be found who lived a life of love and concern for their fellowman.

    In short, you cannot morally judge a person, any person, based on if they do or do not understand something like the literal 6-day creation week. You say you are not judging eternal destiny, but given your claim to be able to make current moral judgments you would be able to judge the eternal destiny of those who have died in a state of doctrinal error – such as was Wallenberg’s condition when he died not believing in the existence of God; yet having saved over 100,000 lives. This is something that you clearly cannot do. Only God knows the true moral state of Wallenber’s soul – not you.

    So, the bible says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray speaking lies as soon as they are born.” Ps. 58

    This scripture alone shows your misunderstanding of sin and how it has affected the human family. I am quite sure you don’t believe in the doctrine of original sin. And because of this, you have a limited and superficial understanding of sin and how it has affected humanity.

    You’re quite mistaken. It just goes to show how easy it is to misjudge another person based on limited information and limited subject reasoning ability. The fact is that I think it is quite clear that all are sinful from birth, born into rebellion. However, it is also quite clear to me that we have been given an ability by God to know what is right and to actually choose to follow the right – without being “taught” by any other human being what is and isn’t morally right.

    If our moral sensibilities depended upon being taught the right thing, no one could be held morally accountable who wasn’t taught the right thing. Since everyone is in fact a free moral agent, according to the Bible and Mrs. White, everyone must be able to be held morally accountable to something – to some universal moral standard of right and wrong to which everyone is naturally aware.

    Babies are born selfish. Do you have any children, Sean? If so, how can you not see and know the reality of this truth?

    I do have a son. He, like the rest of us, was born selfish, but not entirely so. Again, there is a component of knowledge regarding right and wrong – recognizable from a few months of age. There is a moral conflict from infancy within us all – between what we know to be right and what we know to be wrong. Otherwise, we would not be free moral agents.

    And finally, I never said or suggested anyone could know 100% the motive of anyone else. You build a straw man. I said we have adequate knowledge to make a moral judgment on the motive of others and act accordingly.

    If you cannot know, 100%, the motives of another, you cannot be 100% certain that your “judgment on motive” is actually correct. There is some doubt that remains. You should give the benefit of this doubt to the other person and limit your judgment to a statement of error without adding that you consider them to be morally corrupt at the same time.

    We judge motive and the attitude of others continually on a limited basis. And this Christians do in the church and in the world.

    We should not do this when it comes to doctrinal differences on issues like the literal 6-day creation week. We can say that such a person is mistaken, but we cannot say, for sure, if such a person is in deliberate rebellion against what they clearly know in their own heart is the truth.

    When we understand that sin is both rebellion and ignorance, we take both of these factors into account and judge situations as we consider both factors.

    Sin is not based on ignorance at all. That’s my whole point. If this were true we would all be living in a constant state of sin because we are all ignorant of something. Even the angels in Heaven do not know everything. Are they therefore in a state of sin? – just because of their ignorance? Only God is all-knowing you know. You simply cannot rebel against that which you do no know or conscientiously understand. And, since you do not know what a person really does comprehend, you cannot know for sure if your moral judgment of that person is indeed accurate.

    In some cases, we see that rebellion is the main issue and we act accordingly. Even if we know there is some ignorance present in any given situation. Eve represents deception and ignorance. Adam represents rebellion and wilful disobedience. None the less, there was some rebellion in Eve and some ignorance in Adam.

    If Eve had been completely ignorant, she would not have been guilty of sin. It doesn’t matter how little she rebelled against what little she knew of the truth. It is the fact that she deliberately rebelled against known truth that she sinned. It was not because of her ignorance that she was charged with sin – not at all. If anything, her ignorance mitigated, somewhat, the magnitude of her sin, and allowed her, along with Adam, the oppertunity to come back to God, given greater light.

    Compare this with the rebellion of Satan in the full light of knowledge of God and His character. No additional knowledge could be given to Satan that would bring him back. He is beyond all help because there was no component of ignorance at all in his rebellion.

    To what degree there is wilful rebellion in the LSU fiasco, we can’t say precisely. But we are not so uninformed that we can not discern some wilful rebellion in the situation. Is some of it ignorance? Of course. But we don’t simply excuse the whole scenario as ignorance and dismiss it as an unfortunate situation.

    You can’t say this with absolute certainty – at least not when it comes to if a professor does or does not honestly believe in the mainstream evolutionary perspective. You just don’t know for sure.

    Now, when it comes to taking money while doing contrary to what you’re being paid to do, that’s a whole different story. There is a clear moral problem in this particular situation.

    And we demand moral accountability to what ever extent we have a right to. And we “judge” that some have wilfully abandon their responsibility in the matter and call them to account for their action or lack of it.

    I agree with you on this point. It is quite clear that there has been and is ongoing rebellion against the very clear wishes of one’s employer going on here – on the employer’s dime. For this, there is no valid excuse before God as far as I can tell. One simply cannot honestly claim ignorance of the right path here.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  63. @ Sean Pitman

    You have no problem calling people out in public who you think have done wrong in public; you just don’t think anyone else should be able to do the same thing…

    Wrong.

    I’m on a public forum making statements directly to a person; and I restrict my comments to the substance of theirs.

    You’re on a public forum making statements about others who are not on this forum, who are injured by your statements, and who know better than to get on here and try and defend themselves. You use this forum to create a court of public opinion that serves as judge and jury. The verdict, of course, is predictable for the “suspect” who lacks representation. Where is the fairness in your approach?

    Here’s an example of what I consider inappropriate: the President of Southern Adventist University has a conversation with your father, and you decide it should be made public. I don’t think SDA employees should live in fear of being exposed for every misstep they make, or every opinion that someone has a beef with.




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  64. @ Sean Pitman

    A vision of a pot and kettle should come to mind about now…

    It did, a pot filled with oil and John the Revelator boiling in it with the President of SAU.




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  65. Is Ignorance Sin?

    When we understand that sin is both rebellion and ignorance, we take both of these factors into account and judge situations as we consider both factors. – Bill Sorensen

    Sin is not based on ignorance at all. That’s my whole point. If this were true we would all be living in a constant state of sin because we are all ignorant of something. Even the angels in Heaven do not know everything. Are they therefore in a state of sin? – just because of their ignorance? Only God is all-knowing you know.

    You simply cannot rebel against that which you do no know or conscientiously understand. And, since you do not know what a person really does comprehend, you cannot know for sure if your moral judgment of that person is indeed accurate. If anything, ignorance is a valid excuse before God. Even Jesus pointed this out the truth of this concept:

    If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ – John 15:22-25 NIV

    Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin”… – John 9:41 NIV

    So, it is an error on your part to equate honest ignorance with sin of any kind. Of course, there is such a thing as deliberate ignorance; an ignorance that is the result of a deliberate choice not to investigate that which one suspects might be true. Such deliberate ignorance is indeed sin – a type of rebellion against known truth. This isn’t the type of ignorance that I’m talking about. I’m talking about truly honest ignorance. Such ignorance is not sin at all…

    This, I think, is the basis of our disagreement. You think that if you can show a person to be wrong on any particular issue, you must assume that they are at the very least ignorant of the truth. You then equate this ignorance with sin, while I do not. For me sin is defined as deliberate rebellion against what one consciously knows and understands to be true. Otherwise, there is no sin… as Jesus explained.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  66. No way do I intend to jump into the fray. Just want to say I appreciate very much Danyne’s comment–squeezed as it is into the midst of the “big guns” involved in the back-and-forth of this volatile discussion. But I might venture this (tongue-in-cheek) in defense of the English language: a smiley face is not a sufficient defense (justification, excuse) for poor grammar (although I understand that in England it is the uppercrust who use the word “aint”).

    I know men can have, for example, strong parleys on the Senate floor, or face off in the courtroom, when outside those arenas they are (or at least seem to be) the best of friends. Might that be the case here? I hope.

    I fear I might know who that pastor is, or could be. Danyne’s final thought is the one to cling to. Amen.

    SKR




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  67. Sean said…..

    “If Eve had been completely ignorant, she would not have been guilty of sin.” and “So, it is an error on your part to equate honest ignorance with sin of any kind.”

    And, of course, Sean, this is where we disagree completely.

    Ignorance is no excuse according to the law. “The law” doesn’t care what you know, or don’t know. So. “Sin is transgression of the law” period.

    If you break the speed limit and are stopped, you may plead, “I didn’t see the sign regulating the proscribed speed allowed.”

    And then you may say, “Because of this, I did not break the law.”

    How impressed will the cop be with your supposed claim of innocence?

    Guilt is both objective and subjective. Just because we experience no subjective guilt for violating the law of God, does not mean we are not guilty. Whether we know it or not, we are guilty.

    Sunday keepers are guilty of breaking the Sabbath commandment. Like much of your theology, you view of guilt and sin is superficial.

    It is true, that grace takes into account our ignorance. But there would be no need of “grace” if we are not guilty of breaking the law simply because we are ignorant.

    In my opinion, like a lot of other people, you need to rethink your understanding of law and grace in its biblical context. In your view, the dumber we are the better off we would be since our ignorance means we are not violating the law of God.

    Original sin means we are guilty of sin, whether we know it or not.

    Bill Sorensen




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  68. @Professor Kent:

    You have no problem calling people out in public who you think have done wrong in public; you just don’t think anyone else should be able to do the same thing… – Sean Pitman

    Wrong.

    I’m on a public forum making statements directly to a person; and I restrict my comments to the substance of theirs.

    I also restrict my comments to the substance of what has been said and/or done in public by paid Church representatives. You’ve done as much yourself in various public forums, such as Atoday regarding those who were not specifically part of the particular forum in which you disagreed with various statements or actions of various particular people.

    This is perfectly Ok. To suggest that no one in a paid position of official representation should be questioned or called out regarding their public position or comments is simply nonsense. Likewise, to suggest that the Church constituency at large has no right to know what is really being taught by our own teachers in our own schools is equally mistaken.

    You’re on a public forum making statements about others who are not on this forum, who are injured by your statements, and who know better than to get on here and try and defend themselves. You use this forum to create a court of public opinion that serves as judge and jury. The verdict, of course, is predictable for the “suspect” who lacks representation. Where is the fairness in your approach?

    Again, people have a right to know what their own teachers are teaching in our own schools. They also have a right not to like it if such paid representatives are attacking key pillars of the SDA faith on the Church’s dime.

    Here’s an example of what I consider inappropriate: the President of Southern Adventist University has a conversation with your father, and you decide it should be made public. I don’t think SDA employees should live in fear of being exposed for every misstep they make, or every opinion that someone has a beef with.

    This isn’t what happened. What happened was that Dr. Bietz gave a public presentation to a full room of educators and other Church representatives, of which my father happened to be one. I did not report on a private or otherwise confidential conversation between Dr. Bietz and my father. I’m sorry if this was your impression…

    Beyond this, I have not suggested that Bietz is out of line as a Church representative. He has not attacked the SDA Church’s fundamentals or misrepresented the Church as a paid representative. I think he has made public statements that are mistaken and for which I am very disappointed. But, these statements were not an attack against the Church’s pillars of faith or against the reason for his employment within the Church. He is therefore well within his rights to make the statements he did, however much I think his very public statements and arguments are mistaken – a mistaken position that deserves to be publicly discussed.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  69. @Bill Sorensen:

    “If Eve had been completely ignorant, she would not have been guilty of sin.” and “So, it is an error on your part to equate honest ignorance with sin of any kind.” – Sean Pitman

    And, of course, Sean, this is where we disagree completely.

    Ignorance is no excuse according to the law. “The law” doesn’t care what you know, or don’t know. So. “Sin is transgression of the law” period.

    Sin is the known or deliberate transgression of the Royal Law only (the Law upon which the 10 Commandments are based as an expansion of the Royal Law). There is no sin, no moral fall, when there is no deliberate transgression of this primary or underlying Royal Law. Breaking the moral law is not the same thing as breaking a human law against speeding. Breaking the moral law requires a conscious rebellion against that which is known to be true; morally true.

    Again, if God had not told Adam and Eve that they couldn’t eat from a particular tree, they would not have been guilty of sin had they eaten of it. It is only because God did tell them that they became guilty of taking that which wasn’t theirs when they ate the fruit – of stealing from God and breaking the Royal Law of Love. Otherwise, if God had convicted them of sin for eating of the forbidden fruit, without having ever told them that it was forbidden first, God would rightly have been seen as unfair and unjust, and therefore unlovable. Satan’s charge that God’s commands and actions are unfair would have been supported before the eyes of the universe.

    You have to admit, if you are honest with yourself, that no one could love a God like this – one who punishes a person for honest ignorance. If God had punished Adam and Eve for eating forbidden fruit without first warning them that it was in fact forbidden, Satan would have won the day before the universe of candid intelligent minds in his claims for the arbitrary capricious nature of God and his laws.

    If you break the speed limit and are stopped, you may plead, “I didn’t see the sign regulating the proscribed speed allowed.”

    And then you may say, “Because of this, I did not break the law.”

    How impressed will the cop be with your supposed claim of innocence?

    No one can make the claim of honest ignorance when it comes to breaking the Royal Law because this Law has been written on the hearts of all mankind. What people can honestly claim ignorance of are particular commands that were not intuitively known or knowable. Honest ignorance in such cases is a very good excuse indeed and is not counted as sin.

    This is why Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason'”… “If you were blind, you would have no sin…” – John 15:22-25 NIV and John 9:41 NIV

    Notice that Jesus specifically ties in sin with conscious rebellion against a known Law. He specifically argues that ignorance does not equate to sin. I’ve presented these texts before for your consideration, but beyond these texts, the concept is intuitively true. One cannot be held morally accountable for what one honestly doesn’t know and could not have known…

    Mrs. White explains this a bit by noting that, “Ignorance is no excuse for error or sin, when there is every opportunity to know the will of God.” (GC, 597-598)

    This implies, of course, that when there is no real opportunity to know the will of God on any particular doctrinal point, there is no sin for honest ignorance on that point.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  70. @ Sean Pitman

    What happened was that Dr. Bietz [President at Southern Adventist University] gave a public presentation to a full room of educators and other Church representatives, of which my father happened to be one. I did not report on a private or otherwise confidential conversation between Dr. Bietz and my father. I’m sorry if this was your impression…

    Thank you for the clarification. I was mistaken.

    …I think his very public statements and arguments are mistaken – a mistaken position that deserves to be publicly discussed.

    So would you suggest that he too resign unless he aligns his position with yours? I think that many Church employees have reason to fear you and your tactics. For reasons obvious to all, I’m glad that I’m not a Church employee!




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  71. First, let me say, Sean, that I appreciate the dialogue even if we disagree. A few months ago, you would not post any position opposed to your own on this subject.

    My final point is this, you see no need for grace if we are ignorant of breaking the law. As for Jesus’ words ““If you were blind, you would have no sin…” – John 15:22-25 NIV and John 9:41 NIV

    Nothing is stated or written in a vacuum. Here is the simple and obvious meaning of what Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would have no sin that could not be forgiven, but now you say we see, therefore, your sin is unpardonable.”

    When Jesus said, ““If you were blind, you would have no sin…” – John 15:22-25 NIV and John 9:41 NIV, we can not take this out of the context of the situation. He did not mean they were not guilty of sin if they were blind. He did mean once they were inlightened, and refused to repent, their sin was unpardonable.

    Sins of ignorance are pardonable because of grace and God does not hold a believer accountable and sin is not imputed. Not because there is no sin, but because forgiveness covers these sins of a believer.

    So, EGW has clearly said….

    The apostles spoke plainly of the great sin of the Jews in rejecting and putting to death the Prince of life; but they were careful not to drive their hearers to despair. “Ye denied the Holy One and the Just,” Peter said, “and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.” He declared that the Holy Spirit was calling upon them to repent and be converted, and assured them that there was no hope of salvation except through the mercy of the One whom they had crucified. Only through faith in Him could their sins be forgiven. {AA 59.2}

    Notice, Peter calls them to repent. Why should they repent if there was no sin in ignorance? You claim ignorance itself excludes the possibility of sin.

    But here is an even more revealing statement….

    ” As the ministration of Jesus closed in the holy place, and He passed into the holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, He sent another mighty angel with a third message to the world. A parchment was placed in the angel’s hand, and as he descended to the earth in power and majesty, he proclaimed a fearful warning, with the most terrible threatening ever borne to man. This message was designed to put the children of God upon their guard, by showing them the hour of temptation and anguish that was before them. Said the angel, “They will be brought into close combat with the beast and his image. Their only hope of eternal life is to remain steadfast. Although their lives are at stake, they must hold fast the truth.” The third angel closes his message thus: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God’s commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts. {EW 254.1}

    She makes very plain that sins of ignorance need the atonement. Your view would bypass the atonement as having no relevance and that sins of ignorance are not really sins at all. And so you said….

    “…that when there is no real opportunity to know the will of God on any particular doctrinal point, there is no sin for honest ignorance on that point.”

    Sins of ignorance are still sin. And sin is “transgression of the law”. In the end, the wicked are held accountable for sins of ignorance because they refuse the atonement and its application. While the righteous admit they sin ignorantly on many occasions, even if they are not aware of doing so, and then plead the blood of Jesus in their behalf for sins of ignorance.

    So, whether you are ignorant or not, you are still guilty of breaking the law and were it not for the atonement, all would be damned and lost without hope in this world.

    The fact God will not hold the righteous accountable for sins of ignorance does not mean they are not guilty of sinning. It simply means God’s grace covers these sin and “sin is not imputed when no law is made known.”

    But as Paul states, “All die, even if they did not deliberately sin like Adam did.” Rom. 5.

    People are born with the spirit of sin, and for this reason, they are lost unless they repent and are “born again.”

    “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

    That is, God sees and knows the motive of sin is present in the whole human family and this includes new born babies who have never done an evil thing nor even aware of sin and its meaning and implications.

    None the less, God preserves their life and at some point they become aware of their lost condition and are given an opportunity to repent. Many, if not most, declare like Cain there is no need to repent and refuse to acknowledge any guilt for sins of ignorance. They blame Adam and hope in this way to escape judgment and damnation.

    You limit guilt to the subjective experience. God expands guilt to the whole human family whether they know about guilt or not. This is what the bible teaches whether people like it or not. God does not fashion the plan of salvation to suit our carnal minds. Nor does He define sin to suit our limited understanding nor patronize us as to what we think is fair and acceptable. We accept what the bible teaches and fit our understanding around the divine revelation. Not many are willing to do this. As the fiasco surrounding LSU plainly reveals.

    Man makes up a religion that suits himself and hopes God will somehow accept the human ideas he comes up with. This is exactly why the church is in such a deplorable condition today.

    Bill Sorensen




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  72. @Bill Sorensen:

    First, let me say, Sean, that I appreciate the dialogue even if we disagree. A few months ago, you would not post any position opposed to your own on this subject.

    This particular discussion is really off topic and not the primary purpose of this website. I’m only posting these comments now because there are so many who keep repeating such sentiments in this forum that I felt it should be more directly addressed at some point.

    My final point is this, you see no need for grace if we are ignorant of breaking the law. As for Jesus’ words ““If you were blind, you would have no sin…” – John 15:22-25 NIV and John 9:41 NIV

    Nothing is stated or written in a vacuum. Here is the simple and obvious meaning of what Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would have no sin that could not be forgiven, but now you say we see, therefore, your sin is unpardonable.”

    That’s not what the texts actually say. Adam and Eve were not blind. They sinned deliberately against a known command of God. They deliberately took something that they clearly knew didn’t belong to them. This is what made them guilty of sin – of attempting to steal from God.

    Yet, even though they did in fact sin deliberately (as we have all done and as all do who sin) grace was still extended to them. They were still offered forgiveness. In fact, the only sin that cannot be forgiven is the sin of refusing to accept forgiveness when it is offered. This is the “unpardonable sin” because God cannot force our acceptance of His forgiveness. There is simply nothing else God can do if we choose not to take Him up on His gracious offer…

    When Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would have no sin…” – John 15:22-25 NIV and John 9:41 NIV, we can not take this out of the context of the situation. He did not mean they were not guilty of sin if they were blind. He did mean once they were inlightened, and refused to repent, their sin was unpardonable.

    Again, you’re adding words and meaning that just isn’t there. Again, your view would have made Adam and Eve guilty of sin for eating the forbidden fruit even if God had failed to tell them that it was actually forbidden. That’s not a fair view of God or of the nature of sin. It makes God seem arbitrary and capricious.

    In John 15:22-25 Jesus specifically points out that there is no sin without knowledge. It is only in the deliberate rejection of truth, of what one knows to be true knowledge, that sin is born. It is because of this that Jesus pointed out, “They hated me without reason”.

    In other words, sin is a form of insanity. There is no logical reason for it. It is mysterious why anyone would subscribe to it; why anyone would in fact deliberately rebel against what is clearly known to be true and right. This is why sin is called, “the mystery of iniquity” – 2 Thessalonians 2:7. It cannot be explained because there is simply no excuse for sin.

    This would only be true in cases where error was deliberate. In cases where error was held in ignorance, there would be a very good excuse for error – i.e., it would not be “mysterious” at all and therefore not “sinful”. Sin, by definition, must be illogical and unexplainable – a great mystery.

    Sins of ignorance are pardonable because of grace and God does not hold a believer accountable and sin is not imputed. Not because there is no sin, but because forgiveness covers these sins of a believer.

    I’m sorry, but that view simply isn’t biblical. A person is never held responsible for sinning if that person was honestly blind to the error. It is possible for a person to be wrong, to be in error, and not to be sinning at the same time. The concept of sin invokes a component of deliberate rebellion. That is why it is mistaken to judge the morality of a person simply because they are in error. Judging error is much easier than judging motive or morality – than judging if someone is living in “sin” or not.

    Sin is transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4). But what is the Law? Many people think that the Law is the Ten Commandments. However, the Ten Commandments are nothing more than an expansion of the real underlying Law – the “Royal Law”.

    The Royal Law is very simple and intuitively known. All it says is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (James 2:8) If you keep this Royal Law, you are doing right and are not sinning. This is true even if you don’t understand the reality or importance of the literal 6-day creation week or if you honestly think that Sunday is the true Sabbath. Such honest errors are not a breaking of the Royal Law since the Royal Law is dependent upon motive given what is currently and honestly known or what could have been known but was deliberately refused due to an effort to avoid the truth.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  73. For many months I have been following issues on this website and have benefited from much of what has been written. However, in my opinion, this particular thread has degenerated into a slugging match between antagonists–accusations and counter-accusations–rather than a carefully reasoned discussion of the topic. This is not worthy of the topic or those participating in the discussion.

    Regrettably, many of the posts on this thread seem to be a direct violation of the published “Comment Guidelines”, adding much more heat to the discussion than light. I encourage each one, including those running the website, to prayerfully consider the following points from the Comment Guidelines before making your comments.

    * All comments should be relevant to the topics addressed in the post.
    * All comments should be civil. Personal attacks and inflammatory behavior will not be tolerated. If you want to praise or criticize, give examples as to why it is good or bad. General attacks on a person or idea will not be tolerated. If you are are attacked, don’t respond in-kind. Alert staff to the situation by email.
    * No belittling of individual members, their character, or their motives.
    * Only rebut issues, not the members who write them.

    I would add one further suggestion to the above. If someone makes a personal attack against you over something you wrote, refuse to take it personally. It is not necessary to defend yourself against every charge. Most of the readers are quite capable of sorting out the absurd from the legitimate and identifying the truly relevant issues. If someone slams you, don’t rise up in “righteous” indignation; instead, graciously ignore the insult and let truth speak for itself. I am sure that your readers will think more highly of you for demonstrating such restraint.

    I believe that following these guidelines at all times will bring a civility to the discussion that this thread presently seems to be lacking. Thanks.




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  74. I have recently returned home from a trip to California during which time I was unable to keep up with the things going on concerning the problems we as a church are facing. I waded through about three quarters of this particular site when my eyes started to “glaze over,” and my mind started getting somewhat numb. It seems (to this very old lady at least) that Satan is using this site to bring in anything and everything possible to divert minds from the real issue we are facing.

    The issue, to me, is “Do we have a right to expect those we employ to teach what WE BELIEVE the Bible is teaching?” Others may well think we are wrong in certain areas and they have a perfect right to think this way BUT does this give them the “perfect right” to come into OUR schools and pulpits and undermine what WE believe and teach? Absolutely not! They are welcome to join us on Sabbath and sit in our pews to worship with us but this does NOT give them the right to attempt to undermine what we believe, and expect to get paid for it!

    We have no right to criticize or condemn them or their beliefs nor the right to judge them as innocent or guilty before God. That is God’s right-and His right alone to do–but we DO have the right to refuse to issue them a paycheck while they are undermining our stated beliefs. As I understand it this is the sole issue at stake here and I believe we should stick to that issue and quit looking for every other little issue that comes up that we can use to show how others on these sites how wrong and unchristlike they are! Satan must be bent over with laughter to see how easy it is to get us all stirred up and as off the track as we have become!




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  75. As I read down this thread I couldn’t help but remember the scene when Paul was presented before the council:

    Acts 23:6
    But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” NKJV

    Actually, in the days of Christ there was a third group–those filled with the Spirit (I’m not judging Paul’s methods or motives, just commenting in a reflective kind of way). It’s a wonder what happenes to the heart when any of us surrender to the leading and work of the Spirit. After all, He’s creative-and isn’t that what the issue under consideration here is?

    I’m in Europe and it’s getting late here so I’ll wish all sweet dreams. Jesus is better than any of us understand, and the most wonderful thing is, He’s not like us, but we can become like Him!




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  76. @Harold Peters:

    I believe that following these guidelines at all times will bring a civility to the discussion that this thread presently seems to be lacking. Thanks.

    I agree. I have long blocked off-topic posts, but some particular off-topics seem to arise so often from so many people that I thought I would allow a run certain off-topics for a while – just to see if some of them couldn’t be resolved.

    I suppose this particular dead horse has been kicked enough at this point. I’ll put it out of its mystery at this point. Anyone who wishes to continue addressing anything I’ve brought up in particular is welcome to E-mail me privately.

    So, back to the actual topic at hand…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  77. I doubt there is much that Sean and I have to say to add to what we have stated. Not me, anyway.

    But I find it amazing that people don’t know how to simply ignore or avoid any discussion they have no interest in or don’t understand and don’t care to. I don’t think anyone is “holding your feet to the fire” and making you read what you don’t want to.

    For myself, there are more than a few discussions on this forum I have little or no interest in. But I don’t come in and challenge the discussion because I either do not care or don’t understand. I simply move on.

    I suggest everyone else follow this same format for their own agenda.

    Most of us are in agreement that something terrible has happened at LSU and that something dynamic should be done by those who have the authority to do. But the principle behind what and how all this developed is equally important to understand. The spirituality that causes an effect must be carefully considered so to know why any given situation developed.

    So some of us have an interest in basic bible spirituality that genders a true experience vs. a false spirituality that genders a result that has transpired at LSU.

    As an example, do you know why the early church thought they had the authority to change the day of worship? Most of us know they did. But if we don’t know why, we may well embrace the same spirituality and not even know it. And if such is the case, then in the future, we will have no defense to oppose it.

    But my final word to those who are offended by a dynamic confrontation, you should just move on and read something else. Doesn’t that make sense?
    Iron sharpens iron. A lot of people prefer a “wet noodle” approach to difficult and confrontational concepts. So, don’t hurt yourself, just move on to something more in harmony with your style of dialogue.

    Thank you.

    Bill Sorensen




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  78. Bill, Sean will never admit that there are millions who supposedly have this so-called Royal Law of Love that do the opposite of what this “law” says. I’ve met many people who believe in “extramarital affairs” (adultery) who, as long as they get away with it, do not feel any need of repentance, etc. Many kill and, if not caught, and even after they’re caught, do not seem to regret anything they’ve done.

    Do you think Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, or Bob Guiccione believe they are doing anything “wrong” in their pornography, “free love” and other endeavors.

    They all know what the bible says, as I’ve read articles and interviews where they belittle the bible, Jesus, and Christian morality in general. They have chosen to follow their OWN law.

    Despite Sean’s claim we all have some Royal Law, many choose to obey another type of law, human wisdom, secular humanistic philosophy, or worse!

    Has Sean stated which of God’s Laws are written and which are not written in all of our hearts?




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  79. It is predicted at the end of time that when the Catholic and protestant agendas more fully come into line – many of our own members, and ex-members will join in opposing and misrepresenting the stated mission and purpose of the Adventist church.

    Here is an interesting thread over at Spectrum – asking if our own unique SDA beliefs and bold line between right vs wrong – might not just be a form of hate speech.
    http://www.spectrummagazine.org/blog/2010/08/27/hate_speech#comment-64923

    Of course one might expect certain libs and ex-SDAs to agree on some form of critique of ADventism including the Great Controversy etc.

    What is interesting in that thread is that a Catholic Priest (Fr Jim) has joined in and there is amazing unity in the way many on that board have joined in instinctive agreement with the accusations against Adventism made by Jim.

    When I exposed some of the flaws in the wild accusations of Jim (such as his claiming that Ellen White said she was taken to Jupiter and Saturn — where she saw very tall people, and his claim that she said the amalgamation problem of mankind before the flood was specifically about American Indians and blacks) – fr Jim stated that he was simply offering flawed accusations against Adventism to illustrate the defects in Adventist complaints about the RCC.

    But the fact that so many libs instinctively lept off the cliff in agreement with what even the RC Priest claimed was a flawed accusation against Adventism – is more than a little instructive. It demonstrates in microcosm just what is predicted for the end of time.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  80. Yes, I dialogued with Fr. Jim and others on Spectrum and A-today. They have a unified spirit of antagonism against bible Adventism and historic Protestantism as well.

    I preceive the only thing they agree on is their common hatred of EGW and the SDA faith. On many other things, they disagree with each other. Attacks on the bible are common on these forums. And some a self confessed atheists.

    When I was allowed to post there, I continually chided them about having a spiritual influence at the GC sessions in Atlanta. And they were not really so accountable as our church leaders who allowed it. This is only one reason the LSU situation is not a singular situation in the church. I think few understand the hold Satan has on modern Adventism. But that will necessarily be shown more and more as we near the end.

    Dr Stone commented about Sean’s philosophy of law….

    “Despite Sean’s claim we all have some Royal Law, many choose to obey another type of law, human wisdom, secular humanistic philosophy, or worse!

    Has Sean stated which of God’s Laws are written and which are not written in all of our hearts?” Ron Stone M.D(Quote)

    In my opinion, Dr. Stone, Sean has a faulty view of how to understand natural law vs. moral law. And because of this, he assumes a unity of meaning not inherent in the bible.

    Moral law is not natural law. It comes to us by way of God’s revelation to the human family and is taught and stated by God Himself. So, we could never know or figure it out by some natural law reasoning, nor is it necessarily discernable by natural law. And as you so clearly pointed out, many individuals have no conscience when it comes to a violation of the moral law.

    So the idea Sean preposes that all automatically have an awareness of the law of love (moral law) is faulty reasoning. We dialogued on this issue above, so I have no futher comment about it. Hopefully, his position was made clear and mine as well.

    It should be noted that many theologians who oppose the Sabbath commandment do so precisely because they see no “natural law” imperative in Sabbath keeping and argue that the other commandments are easily understood in this context. Such as, if you don’t steal from me, I won’t steal from you.” ETC. See, Sabbath to Sunday edited by Lincoln

    As we near the end of time, this argument will be advocated extensively, along with a cultural argument that Sabbath keeping is Jewish as far as the “day” aspect is concerned. It is then argued for a “spirit ethic” whereby the Holy Spirit (Jesus in your heart) will teach and lead the Christian community in true Christian ethics.

    With a little understanding, we see this as typical Roman Catholic theology where the bible is abandon for a “spirit ethic” determined by the church.

    Isn’t modern Adventism also following this same reasoning for the ordination of women? Claiming Paul’s exhortation is cultural and thus we can abandon Paul’s mandate on the qualification for an elder.

    The rebellion must go on until all can clearly see the issues at stake. In the end, it is the bible vs. human reasoning and philosophy to define the teaching and conduct of the church community. And remember this, The spirit of the beast always preceeds the mark of the beast. So that people will agree with the spirit of Satan before they follow his acts.

    In my own personal experience, I have heard the “dragon roar” before, and it wasn’t Rome. Who do you think it was? That’s right, the SDA church.

    Bill Sorensen




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  81. @Sean Pitman:
    As an Adventist whose offerings go to pay for the institutions that are supposed to be promoting our beliefs, I think I have a right to know which professors or hierarchy are consciously teaching, not just other than our beliefs, but actually counter to our beliefs. It is known to those involved in the institutions which ones they are, we should be told.

    Sister White said that when we get to heaven we will be surprised by those that won’t be there. Where is Professor so and so? Where is Doctor so and so? They were highly thought of at my school. And where are my children that I sent to Adventist institutions to teach them God’s ways. Would I have been better off to sent them to worldly institutions where they would have had their guards up?

    And, could these people be considered the “very elect” that have been deceived by false prophets,(Mk.13:22) and I add false professors and institutions, that are going on to deceive our kids. And we pay them to do it! We honor them with high titles and praise. Shame on us when we hear of the problem and don’t do anything about it!

    Paula Nixon




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  82. @Sean Pitman:
    As an Adventist whose offerings go to pay for the institutions that are supposed to be promoting our beliefs, I think I have a right to know which professors or hierarchy are consciously teaching, not just other than our beliefs, but actually counter to our beliefs… could these people be considered the “very elect” that have been deceived by false prophets,(Mk.13:22) and I add false professors and institutions, that are going on to deceive our kids.And we pay them to do it!We honor them with high titles and praise.Shame on us when we hear of the problem and don’t do anything about it!Paula Nixon  

    One of the major problems with our colleges is that the control is so “far away” from the constituency. I have tried to contact Board members at PUC, but I was not allowed to obtain any information regarding how to contact them.

    With local academies, if you have a problem (I’ve had several sending 3 kids through them) you can go directly to the principal or even school board and speak to someone directly.

    With our colleges, no such freedom!




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  83. I like many Adventist ministers, believe in the Word of God, preach a God initiated creation and encourage reading of the Gift of Prophecy. Yet how we communicate our belief within a society where pluralistic truth attitudes abound, needs to be our primary focus. As we enjoy greater success in this quest, doubting souls will again be led to faith.

    Yet, as we seek to meet the minds of our community it is also useful to discover what leads them to their conclusions. We call that respect. Jesus himself followed this model. So to be a Christian today is not to live in a cognitive cloister, but to get into the world’s “market place” and like the apostle Paul wrestle with others minds as we seek their souls.

    May the Lord grow thinking giants among His people who will stand up and speak for Him? Blessings Paul Richardson

    @Sean Pitman:




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  84. Since this thread discussion turns to the point of educating our young people and congregation in general – so that they can present a compelling defense for our position. I would remind you that those discussions are seldom “pleasant” no matter how calm, factual, compelling and objective the Adventist argument.

    Those of us who have ventured out to post a pro-creationist position on atheist boards, on Christian-pro-evolutionist boards, and even on Adventist liberal boards can tell you that the response to such efforts is often ad hominem and negative in the extreme. And the more compelling and objective your argument the stronger the reaction against it.

    And as we have seen on this very board in months past – any effort to raise objective details/facts not complimentary to the accusations made against the Bible and Adventist doctrines, is sometimes spun back as “mean” or “mean spirited” by SDA posters trying to promote the pro-evolutionist POV.

    Now granted it is possible for the conservative response to be “ugly” and we should not go there. But complaints against a defense of the church typically rail against all posts that do not support the baseless accusations made against the Bible, the Church and Adventists in general.

    It is a fact of life that when you get close to the source, close to the core issue – you will get a very strong reaction.

    Case in point – in my previous post above I mentioned a link to a discussion over at Spectrum where both the Libs of Spectrum and a sometimes frequent visitor to Spectrum (a catholic priest – Fr. Jim) were joining in united assault on Adventist doctrines and the ministry of Ellen White under a thread titled “hate speech”. (Accusing the Great Controversy of being at times a form of hate speech and urging that it be rewritten if it is to be mailed out to people.) This invited the participation of Fr. Jim offering playbook accusations against Ellen White.

    But when a few examples of Jim’s attacks were shown to be without factual support from the source data (done by way of illustration regarding the playbook nature of the laundry list of accusations made against Ellen White) – they resorted to ad hominem responses (being unnable to refute the objective data presented).

    Eventually Spectrum closed down the thread in a way that apparently blames the closed-for-further-comment status on the fact that there was a defense made for the Adventist position that was not helpful to libs and to Catholic visitors wishing to oppose Ellen White.

    Something like – “un-nuanced, hounding of people of people we disagree with is a profound offense”.

    Now if anyone has ever read any Spectrum thread making some kind of assault on Adventism, they know that Spectrum is known for the fact that it does not close threads for further comment no matter how wild the accusations against the Church or against anyone defending the Church.

    The Spectrum thread I have indicated illustrates the fact that a calm objective factual presentation in favor of the church that is of a compelling nature predictably gets a “you are being mean” response since there is no counter response “from facts” available to them. An embarrassing situation that could not long be tolerated by the powers that be in that case.

    If our own sort-of-Adventist boards resort to this tactic – you can know that we see this only more so in the agnostic and atheist contexts where evolution is debated.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  85. Steve, Don’t be so hard on Sean. I agree with you about some of his so-called beliefs, and he deletes and censors me constantly when I try to counter his unbiblical statements. However, this website is not about Sean, Shane, or anyone else on this board. We should concentrate on the problems and issues that this site was and is designed to solve.  

    I hear you Ron, but how can I take Sean so seriously about his work here on EducateTruth when he actually says atheists will be in heaven? I just don’t buy it. If EducateTruth professes to stand for all the Adventist pillars of faith, then fine; however I’m not seeing that in Sean Pittman’s posts in a few critical areas. Although Ellen White does speak of heathen who will be in the kingdom, it is because they have done the things the Holy Spirit has required, yet they have never heard of Jesus or the Bible. This cannot carry over to or include highly educated atheists who have rejected Christ and the Bible and teach Darwinism.

    I will though commend Sean Pittman for his courage and transparency in letting my post come through, because I was quite sure that he would not allow any of it. So I do apologize on that count for doubting him. My hope and prayer for Sean and everyone including me, is that we all gain a deeper understanding of the gospel according to Jesus Christ and that we can all meet under the Tree of Life and praise the Savior who made it possible for us to be there!
    God Bless!
    Steve

    “Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.” {DA 638.2}




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  86. @Steve Billiter:

    Although Ellen White does speak of heathen who will be in the kingdom, it is because they have done the things the Holy Spirit has required, yet they have never heard of Jesus or the Bible. This cannot carry over to or include highly educated atheists who have rejected Christ and the Bible and teach Darwinism.

    Mrs. White speaks of the kindness exhibited by the heathen who will be saved. People are saved, not by what they know so much, but by how they act toward others as they would like to be treated.

    In this regard, you simply don’t know what a person really does consciously understand – to include a well-educated atheist. It is possible for even the very well educated to be honestly confused. God does not hold honest confusion against a person. After all, according to your argument, God would have to refuse someone like Raoul Wallenberg who saved over 100,000 lives during WWII (at the constant risk and ultimate cost of his own life) – more lives than you or I will ever dream of saving. Is this really your suggestion? That God will condemn someone like Wallenberg for misunderstanding the evidence of His existence even though Wallenberg clearly accepted the call of the Holy Spirit on his heart? a call to love his fellow man and to give everything he had in the service of strangers?

    I think not…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  87. Steve, Sean has his own Gospel according to Sean, which he will stick to forever, no matter who says what or what the bible actually says. Sean says Moses and the Prophets are “empirical” evidence then says they are not!

    I agree with you about taking him seriously on certain points, but he is doing a great job on some other things. So, I guess we have to take the true with the erroneous.

    Besides, what Sean preaches as “gospel” is not the real issue here. The problems at LSU ARE.




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  88. @Ron Stone M.D.:

    Sean says Moses and the Prophets are “empirical” evidence then says they are not!

    Moses and the prophets are only “empirical evidence” in support of the Bible’s credibility if they actually say something true regarding the real world in which we all live (which I think they clearly do).

    However, if Moses and the prophets did in fact clearly contradicted the real world (i.e., real history), the hypothesis that the Bible’s credibility is supported by them would be effectively falsified (as is the case for the Book of Mormon, for example) in such a situation.

    It is in this sense that things like biblical prophecy must be held up for testing before biblical prophecy can be rationally accepted as credible (at least any more credible than the Book of Mormon).

    In other words, biblical credibility is dependent upon the empirical evidence. Without the empirical evidence, there would simply be no greater rational reason to believe the Bible as any more credible than some moral fable that someone simply made up as a “cleverly invented story”. – 2 Peter 1:16 NIV

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  89. In this regard, you simply don’t know what a person really does consciously understand – to include a well-educated atheist. Sean Pitman

    Well, Sean, atheists have written books explaining what, why, and how they have rejected God’s Truth. Those at LSU have explained what they believe and why they have accepted Man’s word and rejected God’s Truth. You say we can never know anything about this, and they must not really “understand” what they are doing.

    Not only would I and others here disagree with you, but I believe the atheists would disagree. The idea that church members cannot be “judged” by their words and actions is simply not biblical.




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  90. @Ron Stone M.D.:

    Well, Sean, atheists have written books explaining what, why, and how they have rejected God’s Truth. Those at LSU have explained what they believe and why they have accepted Man’s word and rejected God’s Truth. You say we can never know anything about this, and they must not really “understand” what they are doing.

    I don’t know if they do or do not really understand what they are doing; and neither do you. Only God knows for sure…

    Not only would I and others here disagree with you, but I believe the atheists would disagree. The idea that church members cannot be “judged” by their words and actions is simply not biblical.

    And the soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross would have claimed at the time that they knew exactly what they were doing too… but did they really? Jesus prayed for them saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34 NIV

    It is quite possible that even if a person is very adamant that he/she knows exactly what he/she is doing, that this person may not really know. This is a possibility that only God knows for sure. You simply cannot make this particular type of moral judgment with complete accuracy. You and I can judge the rightness or wrongness of the word or act (specifically regarding a doctrine like the literal 6-day creation week), but we cannot judge the rightness or wrongness of the heart; the motive.

    There is a difference between being mistaken and sinning. Sinning requires a deliberate rebellion against known truth – something that you cannot tell for sure in cases of doctrinal disagreements on such things as the literal creation week or the true origin of the Sabbath or any other such commandment that deals specifically with man’s relationship with his or her God and God alone.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  91. Steve Billiter wrote

    I hear you Ron, but how can I take Sean so seriously about his work here on EducateTruth when he actually says atheists will be in heaven? I just don’t buy it. If EducateTruth professes to stand for all the Adventist pillars of faith, then fine; however I’m not seeing that in Sean Pittman’s posts in a few critical areas

    Things have become so entertaining this past month!




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  92. Ron Stone wrote

    Steve, Sean has his own Gospel according to Sean, which he will stick to forever, no matter who says what or what the bible actually says.

    Whew…I didn’t foresee anything like this. I personally have issues with Sean’s science, but I think his defense of what the Bible says is reasonable.




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  93. I dreamt Christ came the other night and heaven’s gates swung wide;
    With kindly grace, an angel ushered me inside.
    And there, to my astonishment, stood folk I knew on earth,
    Some I judged and labelled – unfit of little worth.
    Indignant words rose to my lips – but never were set free –
    For many faces showed surprise – they weren’t expecting me!

    I think this came from one of Adlai Esteb’s books and about sums up some of the comments posted above.




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  94. Beautiful poem, Helen.

    If I end up in heaven, I’m expecting three big surprises:

    1. That I made it.
    2. That someone I thought for sure would be there is not.
    3. That someone I thought for sure would not be there has made it.




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