@Ron Stone M.D.: However, since the Elder was not “employed” …

Comment on Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe by Sean Pitman.

@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
www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe
In any case, any further comments concerning the morality or lack thereof of those involved with the LSU situation will no longer be posted here on Educate Truth. However, You are free to send me a personal E-mail if you wish (my E-mail can be obtained by visiting my website listed below).

Sincerely,

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe
@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
www.DetectingDesign.com


Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe
@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
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Then you have several different questions to explain. 1) How can a 6 month developed (but dead?), non-human being (from a human mother and father?) , being carried in it’s human mother’s womb, leap for joy because he (it?) recognized the mother of the World’s Savior? ”The dead know nothing, neither have they any more knowledge under the sun.” 2) How can anything dead even move? The opposite of alive is dead. Everything alive has life from God. Dead things don’t grow and they don’t move. Every SDA should know this. The Laws of God are not altered in order to justify killing unborn human beings that He has given life to.


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
That’s just it. You say that, “The unborn think and feel”. However, an embryo in the earliest stages of development is just a single cell or an unformed ball of cells – with no apparent functional difference than a cluster of cells in my appendix. Such an embryo cannot think or feel or understand anything. There is no mind or intelligence at this point. If it isn’t murder to take out someone’s appendix, how then call it be truly “murder” to end a pregnancy at this point in time? How can you be so sure of yourself here? Based on what moral principle?

Also, people who are clearly “brain dead” need not be maintained indefinitely on life support. They’re just a shell of a body at this point and it is not “murder” to simply take them off the mechanical support of the empty shell of their body. This happens all the time in hospitals – and it is not considered to be “murder” at all… by most medical professionals (even most Christian ones).