@Bill Sorensen: First, let me say, Sean, that I appreciate …

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

@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

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).


Sean Pitman

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

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

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).