Back to Square One…

By Sean Pitman

The recently published Adventist Review article on the proposal of six LSU science professors regarding the teaching of origins is very disturbing to me, especially where the leaders of our church seem to happily accept the proposal of the LSU professors to continue to do what they’ve been doing all along – teaching mainstream evolutionism as the only valid “science” or empirically-based position on origins while biblical creationism is defined for their students as a “faith-only” position without any meaningful or rational backing by science or empirical evidence of any kind.

The LSU science professors who signed the document, especially Professors Grismer and Greer, are the very same ones who have been the most ardent in promoting mainstream evolutionary theories as the true story of origins while telling their students that the Biblical account is hopelessly out of touch with reality – at least without the input of enormous amounts of incredibly blind faith.  Greer and Grismer, in particular, certainly don’t believe in a literal six day creation week during which all life was created on this planet just a few thousand years ago nor do they believe in a worldwide Noachian-style Flood.  They’ve taught their students and have made many public statements that the only empirically-rational interpretation of the currently available evidence overwhelmingly favors the mainstream evolutionary model of origins.  They’ve explained, over and over again, that the Biblical model simply isn’t rationally tenable from their own perspectives and that they personally do not and cannot support such a model in their own classrooms.   Clearly then, such professors would be more than happy to sign a document that claims that the Biblical perspective on origins has absolutely no meaningful support from science or empirical evidence and is, rather, completely within the realm of empirically-blind faith and historical Adventist tradition.

Why then are  Elders Dan Jackson, Richardo Graham, and Larry Blackmer, high-ranking leaders within our Seventh-day Adventist Church, so excited about this proposal for LSU science professors to keep doing what they’ve always been doing? – promoting evolutionism as the only empirically-rational scientific conclusion on origins while Biblical creationism is presented as being completely out of touch with empirical reality?  a faith-only relic of Adventism and outdated Christianity in general?  Do they not realize that faith is meaningless without at least some support from empirical evidence? that even scientific conclusions, theories, and notions of reality are based on leaps of faith to one degree or another?  that modern evolutionary ‘science’ is no less faith-based than is Biblical creationism? that the greater the available evidence the greater the faith of those sincerely looking for truth?  Did the faith of Jesus’ disciples increased or decrease after empirical evidence was given to them of the Resurrection?

Therefore, for our church leaders to go along with the notion that the Biblical account of origins has no basis in rational empirical evidence that goes beyond empirically-blind faith is a huge step backward in the church’s understanding of faith and its relationship to evidence. Is this the message that we really want to give to our young people?  that there is no rational or otherwise substantive empirically-based reason to believe the Genesis account of origins?  that the Genesis account of origins must be taken on blind faith alone in the face of otherwise overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary?  Or, is this more about politics within the church than it is about upholding the supposedly “fundamental” positions of the church as something incredibly valuable to present to the world as a basis of a solid hope in the Gospel message?

Back to square one we go…

Sean Pitman
http://www.DetectingDesign.com

115 thoughts on “Back to Square One…

  1. You’re so correct Sean. We are truly back to the start, with no real change, action, or future actions planned except more “dialogue.” What will they be dialoguing about, and when will it stop?

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  2. Well the short answer why they did it was to avoid the obvious collision with the secular accredation comitte.

    From a political view the problem was caused both by what the university was teaching and by Michigan Conference voting to defund it from subsidy.

    Assuming the leaders have worked behind the scenes to placate the Michigan Conference folks the issue will go away as a public issue and that is what is desired by the leadership.

    Its easier to silence Michigan than it is to fight the accredation battle.

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  3. That’s very astute Vincent.

    Anybody thought about picketing the LSU biology classes or the offices of the Church leadership? Holly? Faith? Bill? How deep is your conviction and courage?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  4. Ken: That’s very astute Vincent. Anybody thought about picketing the LSU biology classes or the offices of the Church leadership? Holly? Faith? Bill? How deep is your conviction and courage?Your agnostic friendKen

    Picketing or similar tactics will not work with people who live and work in isolated positions, such as administrators and academics. They are generally unresposive to anything except a threat to their job or position.

    And, I, Bill, Faith, or even Shane or Sean represent no direct threat to their positions or power ourselves. Those actually in positions that might be a threat seem to have no interest or conviction to do anything. So, for now, those at La Sierra are “safe!”

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  5. Vincent, I too assumed that the NAD response was designed to placate WASC, and does not reflect the true feelings of Dan Jackson and the other leaders. But, eventually, duplicity catches up with you, even if you’re a very skillful politician.

    Probably the best approach to take with WASC is to be very candid with them and say that we intend to teach creationism at Adventist colleges, and fire those biology faculty who cannot or will not get with the program. If you think you can stop us, WASC, take your best shot, but please understand that we have a lot of money and an army of lawyers.

    I don’t think Dan Jackson would be inclined to make that argument, even assuming that he is on our side in this controversy. He comes from Canada, where believing Christians are very much a cowed and intimidated minority, and I imagine he has imbibed the timorous mentality that goes along with that.

    One thing is for certain, this isn’t going away as a public issue. I doubt very seriously that the Michigan Conference people would be bullied into re-instating the educational subsidy. And I know that Sean and Shane are not going to drop it, and I know that the majority of Adventists, worldwide and even in the NAD, are on our side.

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  6. Sean,

    I’m glad you had some time to chime in. I saw ‘back to square one’ in the comments before I saw your post, and I thought to myself, Sean should write an article titled that. And here it is…

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  7. Dear Jennifer

    That’s the spirit!

    Might I suggest that a well drafted petition signed by thousands and published on Educate Truth, Adventist Today, Spectrum and forwarded to all Adventist institutions might br more effective.

    Shane and Sean have been carrying the load at Educate Truth. How about Bill, or Faith or Holly or David or you stepping forth to draft the
    Petition?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  8. I don’t understand why our educational institutions have ignored counsels from the Spirit of Prophecy. We are clearly told to NOT seek secular accreditation. Why do we care about WASC? Do we lack in faith to believe that God will uphold the credibility of His institutions?

    Let all be reminded that Ivy league schools like Harvard DO NOT have accreditation. Their reputation precedes them. The Lord can do the same for His.

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  9. @David Read:
    David Read said “I don’t think Dan Jackson would be inclined to make that argument, even assuming that he is on our side in this controversy. He comes from Canada, where believing Christians are very much a cowed and intimidated minority, and I imagine he has imbibed the timorous mentality that goes along with that.”

    I am a Canadian and I think Bro. David has insulted us Canadian SDA Christian. I would invite him to come to Canada (stay at my place) and visit with us and worship with us and then I would invite him to reassess us again. To made such a broad stroke comment about the many faithful SDAs in our great country, who up hold dearly our believe in Gen.1 & 2 as being the only way life originated on earth is, to be charitable about it, not warranted.

    BTW I do agree that Pr. Jackson, who is a Canadian, is being Political and I myself have had “words” with him when he was our Union Prez., regarding topics that are contentious and he had taken a position that was popular among some in Nth America but contrary to church policy. When confronted, he had to admit that he was speaking his own opinion only and not stating church policy even though he was making these statements in our official Union paper. So, yes, many of our leaders do look for political ways out of sticky issues so we need to be alert.

    Blessings to you and yours,

    Chris. CHAN

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  10. “Its easier to silence Michigan than it is to fight the accredation battle.”

    I do not think the Michigan Conference will be silenced. To date they are the only Conference that has the courage and fortitude to take a public stand for what is right and that is why I send them my tithe.

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  11. David Read: I don’t think Dan Jackson would be inclined to make that argument, even assuming that he is on our side in this controversy. He comes from Canada, where believing Christians are very much a cowed and intimidated minority, and I imagine he has imbibed the timorous mentality that goes along with that.

    OOPS, David, I think you may have put your foot into the proverbial cowpie.:-) Believe it or not, I too, am Canadian and while I have on occasion been called a cow, I have never been called cowed. If anything I am, perhaps, too out-spoken.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, I am extremely upset that our church leaders have not taken affirmative action on this issue a long time ago and I have many friends and family who are also appalled at this unchecked heresy in our church. On this forum, I have had to pull my punches somewhat as we have to show respect to some people for whom I have no respect whatsoever.

    No, if Dan Jackson is playing politics (and I very much believe he is), it has nothing to do with his being Canadian–there are plenty of Americans playing the same game, you must admit. It is maddening, isn’t it? The church is no place for politics.

    To be fair, I know we Canadians have a reputation for being a little too laid-back. That said, however, there are times when we do have a Boston-Tea Party spirit. When it comes to this situation, I am right up there with the best of you Americans.

    This issue transcends national borders. It affects all of the SDA family world-wide, as it affects our church doctrines and the souls of those being taught at LSU and other institutions–no matter what their nationality is.

    BTW, I attended Auburn Academy in Washington for 3 years and took my nursing at Portland Ad. You see many of us Canadians attend our church’s US institutions, so this issue very much affects us also.

    Just want to add that I agree totally with Johnny Vance. We don’t need worldly accreditation and we do need to start following the counsels of SOP implicitly.

    Ken, we already tried the petition thing, remember? That was how I got involved with Educate Truth in the first place.

    Jennifer, I agree that we individually need to do something to make our voices heard. This appalling situation needs to be brought to a righteous close as soon as possible. Our church needs to return to its foundational beliefs and the worldliness that has crept in needs to be put out with the trash where it belongs.

    And as far as Dan Jackson goes, I think he and anyone (professor, administrator, leader, pastor) who does not fully believe in all of the SDA fundamental beliefs and is willing to stand up for them no matter what, should be fired from his or her position of trust immediately if not sooner.

    Seeing as Dan is the only Canadians (I am aware of) in this whole mess, I guess that means that a lot of Americans should be facing the “firing” squad as well. (Mooooo!)

    Everyone have a lovely day–and keep praying for God to give His church the victory in this battle.

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  12. Politics stink! It is so plain that it’s easier to “just get along” than really do something. Since we have accreditation it is much more difficult to police those in charge. You’re dealing with tenure, government regulations and all the bureaucracy that comes from being entangled with the secular world. Too bad, way back when, those with the reigns didn’t have insight to realize the problems created because of accreditation. Now we have a elephant in the living room.

    I had occasion to speak to an official from our conference about the Michigan Conference’s stand, suggesting our conference do likewise. Basically, I got the brush off, out of our conference, none of our business, we’ve got better things to do. So many of our leaders, when push comes to shove, would rather take the easier road.

    There are so many legal ramifications in this mess that nothing short of God’s intervention may save it. If all conferences would extract their financial support, as Michigan, then maybe that would get their attention, but fat chance of that happening.

    As far as creation vs. evolution is concerned, it’s a no-brainer. As I’ve said before, the chance of accidently making anything by time/chance is beyond possibility. What you’re up against is the faith religion of evolution. Unfortunately, it has so encompassed our society that most Christian (so called) denominations have embraced it also.

    I’d like some addresses so I could write though. And, for the record, if I lived close enough, I’d be in the faces of those prof’s that are not SDA’s, no matter their claim to the contrary. They more than proved their colors. Shame on them but more importantly, shame on our leaders in trying to take the easy road of compromise. We need some backbone in high places. If they would step in the water the Lord would open up the sea.

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  13. Johnny Vance:

    Let all be reminded that Ivy league schools like Harvard DO NOT have accreditation. Their reputation precedes them. The Lord can do the same for His.

    That, by the way is not true. Harvard IS accredited. It was one of the first to be accredited and was very active in the accreditation movement. You can see their latest information on their current process at:
    http://www.provost.harvard.edu/institutional_research/accreditation.php

    You cannot receive government school funding and aid without it. You cannot obtain government grants without it. The reason schools seek accreditation is easy—money, students (which is approximately the same).

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  14. >…Ivy league schools like Harvard DO NOT have accreditation.

    ‘fraid this is mistaken. If you Google you’ll find this old and long-lived myth authoritatively debunked. (Harvard was first accredited in 1929) In one of the hits it was interesting to note Bob Jones University constituents upset over BJU’s propagating this falsehood until relatively recently in their official communications seeking to justify BJU’s historic refusal to seek accreditation.

    Ch 27 of ALW’s 6th vol of his EGW bio is about the year 1912 during which EGW made her last visit to Loma Linda. There are interesting comments several places in this chapter about the medical school & students. I was looking for something she might have said pertaining to accreditation but found nothing explicit.

    I did find this interesting account, from the spring of 1915, just a few months before she died. It’s about how Ellen White responded to a report about the situation of SDA young men in WWI. The last sentence says “she counseled against presumptuous attitudes in dealing with matters in which Seventh-day Adventists were involved with the government.” This seems to articulate a principle that could apply to the accreditation question. WDYT….?

    “But the war question was to come up again in late spring some weeks after her accident. W. C. White wrote of this on May 26 in a letter to Elder Guy Dail, secretary of the European Division. He spoke to his mother of the war and of Seventh-day Adventist ministers referring to it in their sermons as one of the signs of the end. This sparked a question in her mind: {6BIO 426.5}

    “Are our people affected by the war?” she asked. “Yes,” I said, “hundreds have been pressed into the Army. Some have been killed and others are in perilous places. . . . Some of our people in America and in Europe feel that those of our brethren who have been forced into the Army would have done wrong to submit to military service. They think it would have been better for them to have refused to bear arms, even if they knew that as a result of this refusal they would be made to stand up in line to be shot.” {6BIO 427.1}
    “I do not think they ought to do that,” she replied. “I think they ought to stand to their duty as long as time lasts.”—WCW to Guy Dail, May 26, 1915. {6BIO 427.2}

    In the light of the other references to the war when the subject was opened up in her presence, it is clear that she had no special light that would pinpoint how drafted Seventh-day Adventists should relate to the demands of military service. It seems that whatever she said was based on her general understanding of avoiding rash positions. The situation was much like that of the Civil War days when she counseled against presumptuous attitudes in dealing with matters in which Seventh-day Adventists were involved with the government. {6BIO 427.3}

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  15. Shawna, I disagree that all the colleges are gone. There’s no question that the spirit of academia is strongly opposed to religious faith, but I will not make a blanket condemnation of all the colleges. I know that Keene and Collegedale are still creationist in their outlook. LaSierra is a very extreme case.

    Also, I don’t believe there is, at this time, good reason to give up on secular accreditation. The situation at LaSierra is, again, extreme and unusual. The liberal faction at LaSierra have been scheming for years to use secular accreditation to separate LaSierra from effective Church control, and so they are ahead in the game with regard to that particular school.

    But the fact that accreditation is so crucial to the survival of any school means that it cannot be taken away arbitrarily, or for constitutionally impermissible reasons. The Accreditors—and the courts—well understand that church schools exist for sectarian religious reasons. If we will be forthright about the religious necessity of teaching creationism at Adventist schools, accreditors will be hesitant to take away accreditation on that ground, and courts even more reluctant to allow them to do it.

    Which is another reason why church administrators must not fall into the trap of buying a “science is science, and religion is religion” approach to origins. In fact, Darwinian “science” is actually atheistic philosophy or religion, and there is plenty of data from nature that can honestly be interpreted to support Biblical history. That’s why the expressions of support for this recent “joint statement” are so discouraging. Our administrators are actually falling into a trap designed to make it harder to make the arguments we will have to make to keep accreditation.

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  16. Letter writing *may* be effective, but care must be taken that popular opinion does not become a driving force here.

    Whether ten million people write letters for or against a point of contention, the volume should not sway policy or doctrine. Christianity is not a democracy.

    If letters are written, they need to emphasize the Biblical view and the doctrines of our church, including the Spirit of Prophecy.

    —-

    I would like to remind all who view evolution as scientific: If you claim to be a Seventh-Day Adventist, you are claiming not only to believe in creation, but also to believe that Sister White was a prophet of God. Those are the defined traits of being an SDA. Truth, definitions, facts, are not subject to personal opinion. You can’t be an SDA and not believe those things, by definition.

    Here’s what Sister White has to say on the matter:

    “It is the Word of God alone that gives to us an authentic account of the creation of our world. The theory that God did not create matter when He brought the world into existence is without foundation. In the formation of our world, God was not indebted to preexisting matter. On the contrary, all things, material or spiritual, stood up before the Lord Jehovah at His voice and were created for His own purpose. The heavens and all the host of them, the earth and all things therein, are not only the work of His hand; they came into existence by the breath of His mouth.”

    “God Himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive weeks to the close of time. Like every other, it consisted of seven literal days.”

    See also: Education, starting on page 128. The quote is too large for this reply, being a few pages long. You can find easily it online, search for “complete published writings ellen white”. Unfortunately the passage itself can’t be linked to.

    It’s clearly impossible to believe evolution and be a Seventh-Day Adventist. One cannot simply choose to be called something which by definition one is not. That’s known as lying.

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  17. Re Kevin’s Quote

    “Christianity is not a democracy.”

    Hello Kevin

    If that is the case why do Adventists vote at the GC when it comes to changing FB’s or electing church officials? How did the FB’s come about in the first place? – by divine or democratic means?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  18. Re Holly’s Quote

    “Great post Kevin! You are absolutely right; all of our reasons should be based on God’s Truth, not just on our personal opinion.”

    Hello Holly

    How does one impersonally determine God’s truth? What happens when personal opinion, i.e. YEC vs YLC, differs regarding God’s Truth? Whose God? Mormons? Adventists?, Catholics?

    Holly, how do you decide on these issues if not personally?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  19. ken:

    “Christianity is not a democracy….

    If that is the case why do Adventists vote at the GC when it comes to changing FB’s or electing church officials?How did the FB’s come about in the first place? – by divine or democratic means?

    Several points should be made:

    1. The Seventh-day Adventist church is not a pure democracy where each member votes on every issue. Rather it has a representative form of government with a constitution. In this model each member votes on the representatives from the local church that will then represent the church at constituency meetings. This model itself is based on both the Old and the New Testament where representatives were chosen by the local membership and then sent to general counsels.

    2. Although a general conference in full session is the highest constituency meeting, it is not ABOVE the authority of God’s word, but UNDER the authority of God’s word. It is God’s word that gives the general conference both its legitimacy and its authority, it is not the general conference that gives God’s word legitimacy and authority.

    Thus there are things that can not properly be considered in a general conference setting. For example: It would be inappropriate for a general conference in full session to consider a resolution on whether Seventh-day Adventists should keep the Sabbath holy. Since the 4th commandment has already settled the question such a resolution would be placing the general conference ABOVE the word of God.

    3. Our fundamental biblical beliefs (FB’s) were in place long before there was any vote on them. The vote of a general conference is not the basis for any belief. It merely confirms officially at the highest levels what has long been accepted and understood at the membership level as both plain and important teachings of the Bible.

    When these stated foundational biblical beliefs are cleverly misinterpreted to promote positions that the Bible does not endorse and members do not believe and actively oppose, the members may choose to clarify the stated biblical belief to remove any just cause for misunderstanding what the membership accepts as Bible truth.

    In the area of young earth creation, the Bible is clear and unequivocal. The rank and file membership have zero ambiguity on this issue. The present statement is plain enough for anyone but casuists. But in a careful and thoughtful way, the stated FUNDAMENTAL belief is going to be strengthened to remove any excuse that Seventh-day Adventists somehow know and love the Bible so little that they are confused about its teaching on origins.

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  20. Hello Phil

    Thanks, that was very useful and I am that much better informed.

    Does that mean only elected representatives get to comment on any changes to FB’s?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  21. ken: Re Holly’s Quote“Great post Kevin! You are absolutely right; all of our reasons should be based on God’s Truth, not just on our personal opinion.”Hello HollyHow does one impersonally determine God’s truth? What happens when personal opinion, i.e. YEC vs YLC, differs regarding God’s Truth? Whose God? Mormons? Adventists?, Catholics? Holly, how do you decide on these issues if not personally?Your agnostic friendKen

    One decides by examining and studying God’s Word and deciding, either by example or “principle.” As I stated, not JUST on our personal opinions.

    Dr. Mills gives a much more detailed explanation above.

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  22. Hello Holly

    I liked your reply. That is how science works: To examine, test, and yes admittedly theorize, about reality objectively on empirical principles, without bias.

    That is why it is an error to call the theory of evolution atheistic or all those that believe in evolution, atheists. The two concepts, may be, but are not necessarily inclusive, based on one’s definition of God.

    Perhaps the issue is not so much is there a God , but rather what is the nature of God? Even if our universe, or that which we can perceive, is the result of a random, quantum fluctuation, and organic life an anthropic accident, this does not rule out God. Why, because whether by accident or design, it, and we, exist. Perhaps before this universe infinite others existed and infinite ones will do so afterward. All perhaps different in some respects. Perhaps God is incomprehensible Infinity for which First Cause has no rational meaning.

    And that is why dear Holly, I am an infinitely, curious agnostic that attempts, vainly perhaps, to view reality objectively.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  23. Ken. You suggest significant causation where there is merely a tiny correlation. The existence of voting does not indicate a democracy.

    Corporations conduct votes in various circumstances, are they democracies? Certainly not.

    I hope everyone reading your nearly-absurd reply are level headed enough to see the chasm of disparity between actual democracy and a private organization which allows delegated members and/or leaders to vote on certain items within the scope of the organization’s primary objectives.

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  24. Re Kevin’s Quote

    “Corporations conduct votes in various circumstances, are they democracies? Certainly not.

    I hope everyone reading your nearly-absurd reply are level headed enough to see the chasm of disparity between actual democracy and a private organization which allows delegated members and/or leaders to vote on certain items within the scope of the organization’s primary objectives.”

    Hello Kevin

    Thanks for your comments.

    Do you really think that a corporation is not a representative democracy of its constituent shareholders? Ever seen a shareholder battle at an AGM where the election of the Board of Directors is at stake? That’s democracy at its finest my friend, where every single vote counts.

    If I understand Phil correctly, the SDA church is a form or a representative democracy where each local church gets to vote upon and elect its delegates to the GC. So is it those democratically elected delegates that vote upon changes to FB’s, or is it done by non democratic means?

    I understand what you and Phil are saying about the sanctity of the FB’s, but they can and do get varied from time to time by some means don’t they? Is that means democratic or non democratic?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  25. ken:
    Does that mean only elected representatives get to comment on any changes to FB’s?

    First, fundamental beliefs are not frequently addressed. In fact, it was not even felt necessary to formalize these for decades.

    Second, fundamental beliefs are expressions of biblical teachings that are clear with multiple references.

    Third, there is an extensive process involving committees and the fall council with many eyes looking at the wording. This process is underway at present for the improvement on the official creation statement.

    Lastly, the statement of belief is presented to the general conference delegates at a quinquinium for full discussion and decision. It is possible to participate by writing to the members of the involved committees and your delegates. For example, universities have delegates through the education department and are well represented in the entire process.

    Fundamental beliefs are not some hobby horse or pet theory of some domineering leader. Neither will one person be able to give an emotional presentation that would suddenly change the minds of delegates on fundamental beliefs when fundamental beliefs are the beliefs that are already passionately held by the vast majority of members. The purpose of careful wording is to assist in clarity of expression, making plain what is actually believed and taught from the Bible by Seventh-day Adventists.

    Nothing is more foundational to the beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists than a 6 day creation that occurred about six thousand years ago. For people who do not believe or teach this, yet profess to accept the fundamental beliefs of Seventh-day Adventist shows a defect in the expression of that foundational belief that needs correcting. And it is in the process of being corrected.

    Frankly, it will not only be corrected, and will be corrected without much dissent. From the Spectrum and so-called Adventist Today discussion blogs, you might think that it is an area of high controversy. But it isn’t. In fact, I am amazed that there is any dissent—since creation is bound up with virtually every truth in the Bible as understood and held by Adventists from the earliest pioneers, only the most confused or spiritually illiterate could ever challenge it. Since birds of a feather flock together (the biblical expression is binding in bundles—see Matt 13:30) there are a few places where these confused and illiterate congregate. For most Adventists worldwide, however, it is so obvious as to be a non-issue.

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  26. “The present statement is plain enough for anyone but casuists.” –Phil Mills

    I agree completely. My conclusion, therefore, is that what is needed is not a re-wording of FB 6 but the intestinal fortitude to cut the casuists loose.

    What we are faced with is people who no longer believe in Adventist doctrine but make their living working for the church, or its affiliated institutions, in some capacity. And because they work for the church, they want to say they believe in the church’s doctrines, even though they actually do not. Hence, the casuistry with regard to doctrinal statements like FB 6.

    Now, which is easier, to re-word FB 6 or to fire the casuists? Which will make a real difference to the life of the church and the effectiveness of the church’s ministry, to re-word FB 6 or to cut loose of “cultural Adventists” and other hangers-on who have relinquished the church’s doctrines but not her teat.

    The answers to these questions is obvious. We’re seeing the chaos surrounding the situation at LaSierra, and we’re closer to the beginning than the end of that process. Firing people is brutal on all parties, often leads to bad feelings, and not infrequently to lawsuits. People don’t want to do it. So we’ll end up with a re-worded FB 6, but institutions just as full of non-believers as before, and professors just as toxic to the faith of their students as before.

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  27. Hello Phil

    Thank you for your comprehensive response!

    I certainly appreciate that FB’s are not changed lightly and serious thought and work goes into them before they are presented for a democratic vote. They are akin to a change of a corporation’s constitutional documents. But the fact remains -this was the point I was trying to make to Kevin – that ultimately such change is made by human, democratic means.

    In that sense Adventist Christianity is a democracy, for how else could doctrinal change occur without a schism in the church.

    It will be very interesting to see if FB#6 is amended at the next GC.

    Again, thank you very much for your thorough responses which have greatly enhanced my appreciation and understanding of the SDA faith.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  28. @ken:

    Ken, you couldn’t be farther from understanding me.

    This is NOT doctrinal change, it is merely attempting to better express the doctrine that has always been taught in the Bible and generally held by the membership of the Seventh-day Adventist church. There isn’t a marginal doctrine in the lot of the 28 fundamental beliefs.

    The church doesn’t make doctrines only the Bible can make doctrine. Bible truth and Bible doctrines don’t care a straw about committees or majorities, neither does it change regardless of the views and votes of others.

    To understand the phrase commonly used by Adventist “truth is progressive” is to understand that a first grader learns simple truth, then building on the truths he moves to second grade and continues to add to the basic truths and how to apply them to life.

    1. Truth is objective, not merely subjective. Truth has evidence. The best possible evidence of truth is that God says it. But other evidence, such as the evidence of science, while weaker, is available. Science cannot “prove” God’s word, but when properly understood, will always provide documentation to the truthfulness of God’s word.

    2. Progression is not a rejection of old truth, but a building on, an amplification of previously discovered truth.

    Error never will evolve into truth, it simply mutants into greater and greater error.

    Truth never changes. It remains far more stable than the Rock of Gibralter. God creates in my heart a love for the truth. As I investigate more and more carefully the word of God, my understanding of life becomes more and more accurate. I can change, but truth does not.

    In the area of doctrine: Only the Bible can make true doctrine. The church can only express a summary of key Bible doctrines in a statement of belief.

    There is no contemplation of changing doctrine in the modification of the wording of the churches belief. It is simply clarifying its original intent.

    And if the church abandoned its fundamental beliefs, as the Jews did, and many Christians did, the truth has not changed. Because truth and doctrine is not democratically determined, all that has happened is that a group of people have united to leave the truth. We call it apostasy. Sadly it has happened to groups in the past (see John 6 and the multitudes leaving Jesus) and sadly it happens sometimes to individuals even within the Seventh-day Adventist church today.

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  29. ken: If I understand Phil correctly, the SDA church is a form or a representative democracy where each local church gets to vote upon and elect its delegates to the GC

    No. That is not true. Each local congregation votes it’s representatives to a conference constituency meeting. The constituency votes the conference officers. Conferences then may vote representatives for unions and union constituencies. Unions and division organizations then have representatives at the general conference. At the general conference level it is quite removed from the local church representative. But I am still over simplifying.

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  30. Re Phil’s Quote and FB6

    “Nothing is more foundational to the beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists than a 6 day creation that occurred about six thousand years ago. For people who do not believe or teach this, yet profess to accept the fundamental beliefs of Seventh-day Adventist shows a defect in the expression of that foundational belief that needs correcting. And it is in the process of being corrected.”

    “6. Creation:
    God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)”

    Hi Phil

    Once again thank you for your erudition. I agree that it is certainly a convoluted democratic process that results in amendments to FBs. Good that is voted upon in some form or manner.

    I compared your comment above with FB6. I don’t see anywhere in FB6 where it talks about ‘recent’ creation. So how can a ‘recent’ creation be foundational if not included in FB6? Moreover does Genesis talk about the world being 6000 years old? Seems to me what you and others might consider foundational might be open to interpretation based on a literal reading of the aforementioned.

    But then that is only a neutral agnostic’s opinion without any bias towards YEC or OEC.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  31. Pingback: Six-days of Creation – Fact or Fiction??? « Adventist Voice

  32. Is the philosophy of this site, EducateTruth, to institute change at La Sierra to get back to our biblical foundation? If so, is it possible to get a list of students and graduates/donors? Then come up with a letter to parents and one to graduates/donors about what is going on?

    Why? It seems most institutions pay attention to the money. If it’s there, great and life goes on. If the source of funding/money is threatened, then and only then will our secularized institutions pay attention.

    Maybe most parents and graduates/donors won’t care, but what if they do?

    What I really don’t get is why these professors don’t just go elsewhere. Per the name, Seventh Day Adventist, one believes in the 7th day of creation week as the Sabbath (or was that just a long period of time), believes the Creator G_d is coming back and soon. If one doesn’t, kindly go to some other church, other institution to teach. Are we now just a “Sunday church that happens to meet on Saturday”? Or are we Seventh Day Adventists?

    Like the age old question, “are we going to keep Sabbath or Sunday in heaven”, are we going to worship a God who can speak things into existence or is constrained, can only creat “stupid bits of biology” and has to let things run their so-called natural course and develop in a horribly cruel fashion over billions of years?

    I just don’t get these so-called learned professors arguments for evolution. I must be too simple.

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  33. Ken: That’s very astute Vincent. Anybody thought about picketing the LSU biology classes or the offices of the Church leadership? Holly? Faith? Bill? How deep is your conviction and courage?Your agnostic friendKen

    How would “picketing” be a measure of our conviction and courage? A much better method is to contact the leaders directly.

    Everyone who believes in what ET stands for should be contaction their conference leaders and asking them what their position is on this issue at La Sierra.

    You may not get any answers, but you will then know what their position is–to keep quiet and say and do nothing!

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  34. Well, I think most of us know that administration in the SDA church is no easy task. The world situation is volital and functioning in parallel/contrast to civil law makes some decisons more than a little difficult.

    The leaders inherited some of the problems, as in our political civil system, and some they created on their own.

    None the less, if you accept a position of authority and influence, you must also accept the duty to administrate in harmony with church ideals and make decisions that may well be less popular than you would desire.

    It is probably easier to say “I didn’t create the situation, so all I can do is live with it.”

    I suggest that such an attitude is a “cop out” on the responsibility any administrator has accepted. Simply put, either do your job, or don’t take it.

    These are high paying jobs in many cases. And once you are in, like civil politics, no one wants out because of the money as part of the reason.

    So, compromise is made acceptable as a viable solution. How can we “Have our cake, and eat it to?”

    Like the civil government, eventually it caves in by way of its own corruption. The pattern of history is clear. I am not sure it can be avoided in light of human sinfulness.

    The devil has always infiltrated every means of grace God has ordained and eventually corrupted it beyond repair.

    Can the present organization be saved? I don’t know. History would say, no. Time, in this context, has always been to the devil’s advantage. The longer time lasts, the more time Satan has to work his corrupting influence in the church.

    Unconverted elements gain control and the truth is abandon for money, power, and influence in the world.

    There is no obvious solution from a believer’s view point. Wait and see seems to be the only correct attitude until a more obvious response is discerned.

    There is a two fold danger. One is trying to force the hand of God like Judas, and the other is to do nothing in a crisis like Meroz. To some degree, we are between a rock and a hard place.

    And so, it is a “God size problem” and we can only hope we are able to discern when and how He is moving and will move in dealing with this issue as well as others.

    God will create and is creating the Christian community by the bible. I still think that sometime in the near future, all unbelievers will finally admit they are abandoning the bible and following spiritual manifestations that they consider transcends the written word. God has a way of “forcing” people to admit what they really believe.

    As when Luther and the Protestant reformation “forced” Rome to admit they were not subject to the bible, but were led by “the spirit” that transcended the written word. We may well be closer to this reality in Adventism than we realize.

    Bill Sorensen

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  35. I’d like some addresses so I could write though. And, for the record, if I lived close enough, I’d be in the faces of those prof’s that are not SDA’s, no matter their claim to the contrary. They more than proved their colors. Shame on them but more importantly, shame on our leaders in trying to take the easy road of compromise. We need some backbone in high places. If they would step in the water the Lord would open up the sea.

    Most email addresses of administrators and conference officials are posted on the websites where they work. We all should be communicating to them and addressing our concerns.

    However, most will not even acknowledge your questions or comments.

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  36. Larry Blackmer said that this joint proposal was a step in the right direction. It was a case of die-hard evolutionists at LSU (and possibly one or two on the LSU board) trying to come up with an olive branch. As much of one as an “all for evolutionism” ideology would tolerate.

    I think some folks may not have fully understood the depth of the problem when they signed on to it “on the surface”.

    The proposal “is crafty” on the part of the LSU biologists, in that it turns a blind eye to the fact that while “Creation” (And God said Let there Be…) is not an article of science… the study of EVIDENCE for creation In nature IS!

    Thus the document never even mentions the study of “Evidence for Creation as found in nature”. To do so would be to “Admit to actual science” in when trying to spin the idea that nothing about the “Creation” doctrine is available to scientific study, understanding, investigation.

    The bottom line problem at LSU is the problem of thinking you can drink a cup of half-water and half-poison and be better off than with a cup of full poison.

    Evolutionism is junk-science-religion and nothing more. Evolution Like other forms of historic falsehood (alchemy for example) – is only there to be refuted, exposed and contrasted to actual objective scientific investigation.

    I suggest that any real compromise start with that as an opening paragraph. After that they should address the scientific method as used to study “The evidence for Creation” via observations in nature – as if the LSU biologists actually read and believed Romans 1.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  37. LSU board and Admin need to come clean on this – the sooner the better.

    If they had been interested at all in a “solution” they would invite outside SDAs to come in a put a solution on the table. Someone like Ariel Roth, Walter Veith or any of a number of other SDA sources known to have solved this problem already – come in and write out a proposal or two.

    Why keep hedging, and re-foisting their “How can we find a way to marry our existing all-for-evolutionism biology staff to the SDA denominational thinking” bad idea onto the church? It is a dead end – voted to be “dead” at GC2010. It is Oct 2011 – it is about time they “got the news”.

    An ounce of leadership at LSU would be helpful at this point.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  38. It is “the signs of the times”, isn’t it, Bob?

    The lack of real spiritual intensity is more than obvious if you are spiritually minded at all.

    The bible is the most intense book ever written. You can not read a chapter without being confronted with the issues of sin and its effect on God and His kingdom.

    It should become apparent more and more that the final attack on God and His kingdom is to make the issues less and less intense, so people will simply not care about many of these issues. Certainly not care enough to do anything one way or the other.

    Notice how Satan makes the issues as a small matter with little consequence of how you believe one thing or another. His whole agenda is to convince people the conflict between himself and Christ is really simply a small mis-understanding that can be easily resolved with a little concession on everyone’s part.

    He still claims he had no desire to create any rebellion, only a small improvement to tweak God’s government to make it better and more “loving”. More accepting with no “judgmental” attitudes about anyone by anyone.

    And we should be able to see this is the eccumenical spirit and the celebration movement that has made massive inroads into the SDA church. People are so spirtually “dumb”, that many actually think it is all based on the gospel.

    Our leaders quote a few texts out of their biblical meaning and context, and many are so biblically illiterate, it all sounds good to them.

    But we should clearly see what is creating and has created in the SDA church. People who now assume they have little biblical accountability to answer for in their own behalf, and no accountability to demand responsible decisions by their leaders.

    Isn’t this the spirit of Rome?

    And finally, Satan will create a “civil righteousness” based on human laws that are far less demanding than God’s law.

    OH yes, thou shalt not kill, steal, lie and a few other human enforced laws that ignore God’s law and accountability to Him.
    And since the bible has been abandon, or at least “dumb down”, guilt is set aside and consciences sleep. “I’m OK, you’re OK” takes the place of genuine challenges to bible spirituality.

    What I am pointing out, is this, we should not be shocked by the lack of intensity in the SDA church today concerning the spirituality that ignores and patronizes a non-scriptual diversity. The eccumenical movement destroys intensity for understanding and defending the truth.

    Unity is the final goal, and truth will be and has been set aside to attain this goal.

    Don’t despair. God has a way of “forcing” the biblical intensity that is being ignored for the most part in the church today. God allowed rebellion in heaven to continue for a long time before it developed into open revolt. And God will allow it in the SDA church until a simular situation matures and any and all who desire to know and be in harmony with God’s will, will see the truth of the matter.

    Until then, we must necessarily have a degree of patience, even while we continue to challenge the issues. The issue of origins is only one issue to be resolved. And only when the false spirituality that gendered this conflict is clearly discerned and opposed, will we finally see a shaking that EGW calls a “terrible ordeal”.

    “I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people. {CET 176.1}
    I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it, and be purified.” {CET 176.2}

    Keep the faith.

    Bill Sorensen

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  39. I agree with you,Bill.

    For those interested, Pastor Doug Batchelor is starting a series tonight on 3ABN titled, “Doctrines That Divide.”

    It will be broadcast live, starting at 7 p.m. PDT.

    Be prepared for attacks from Adventist Today and Spectrum!

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  40. @Bob Ryan, Yes, even an “ounce” of leadership would be welcome. But, we haven’t seen it yet, either at La Sierra, the Pacific Union Conference, or even at the General Conference. Lots of talk and political posturing, though!

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  41. “For those interested, Pastor Doug Batchelor is starting a series tonight on 3ABN titled, “Doctrines That Divide.”

    It will be broadcast live, starting at 7 p.m. PDT.

    Be prepared for attacks from Adventist Today and Spectrum!”

    Thanks for this info, Holly. And what you said about A-today and Spectrum will certainly come to pass. My wife and I will be watching 3ABN tonight.

    Thanks again.

    Bill

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  42. Much of this lax attitude that Bill is talking about seems, to me anyway, to be related to one’s view of the church. This fight is, at bottom, a fight over ecclesiology.

    Many people–we’ll call them group “A”—seem to take the view that the church a community that people belong to by virtue of having been born into it. Its purpose is community and fellowship, and also networking and mutual aid and support. Its institutions exist to provide jobs for the members, as well as advertising and positive PR for the community. It is much like the Kiwanis, the Shriners, the Rotary Club, the Junior League, the chamber of commerce, etc. It exists primarily for its members, who network and gain valuable business and political contacts, and also to do works of charity for the larger society.

    Obviously, if this is your view of the purpose and mission of the church, having a coherent system of doctrines and beliefs is basically irrelevant to you. Doctrine doesn’t really figure into the purpose and goals of the community. In fact, to fight over doctrine when the fight itself might threaten the networking opportunities, cause some members to leave, and bring bad publicity to the community, seems like absolutely the dumbest thing in the world.

    It is slowly dawning on me that a great many Adventists have exactly this view of the church. Its just something they were born into, and want to stay in because it is a comfortable environment for them, and there are many good networking opportunities.

    There’s another class—we’ll call them group “B”—that do seem vaguely to realize that any Christian denomination is in some sense a faith community, or a community of shared beliefs. Their understanding is that one is saved by faith in Christ alone–by being in a life-changing relationship with Christ (which is true)–and since that is how one is saved, all the other doctrines are basically unimportant or optional. The church exists to help people get to heaven. As long as the church hangs onto salvation by faith in Christ, it still has the “recipe” for salvation, and none of the other doctrines matter much, and are certainly not worth fighting about. But I wonder why these people think the Adventist Church needs to exist as a separate denomination, because we certainly are not the only church that preaches salvation through Jesus Christ; all the others do, too.

    The people in Group “A” don’t really even require that the community be a church at all. The People in Group “B” know that the SDA Church is a church, but they do not seem to believe that it needs a reason to exist as a separate denomination. They’re happy with it doing only what all the other churches do, and they’d prefer to leave it at that.

    I think the Adventist Church exists primarily to call people back to worship on the day that God hallowed a set aside as a memorial to His creation of the world in six days. Obviously, Darwinism drastically undermines that mission, such that it is impossible and absurd to incorporate Darwinism into Adventist beliefs, or to tolerate its teaching by paid church employees. It is obviously worth fighting about, even at the cost of all the stress and hard feelings that go with such a fight.

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  43. David Read said concerning doctrine and salvation…..

    ” It is obviously worth fighting about, even at the cost of all the stress and hard feelings that go with such a fight.”

    And I would add, this is because everything in the bible is “salvational” and if you “tweak” even one objective given, you undermine the whole bible.

    This means, you are either 100% right, or, you are 100% wrong. And I mean in the context of doctrine and teaching.

    Those who understand this reality will never tolerate false doctrine. And there is a real practical reason this is true.
    Namely, any false idea, even if it is apparently of little significance, will undermine the intensity in the moral motivation to do God’s will. And the slightest undermining of the motivation, will not stimulate people to get ready and be ready for Jesus to come.

    Our pioneers knew this, especially EGW. The moral restoration of man is linked to a clear understanding of bible doctrines. So Satan’s goal is to weakin in some degree the full import of bible truth, and in this, he can gain his final goal.

    So he does not mind a wishy-washy morality that emulates to some degree the kingdom of God. If you want to see an example, just consider the Roman Catholic church.

    So, we must understand that no error can be tolerated as we witness to the issues of the second coming of Jesus.

    Rev. 14:1-5 was the key to the intensity of Rev. 14:6-12. And this is re-affirmed by Rev. 22:11. In fact, it is the whole biblical issue that is consumated and highlighted in the book of Revelation.

    We could only wish we had the intensity of our pioneers. Our indifference is the evidence we have not maintained this intensity that is necessary to finish the work, not only in the world geographically, but in its meaning and full application.

    While we applaud some of the evangelism we are doing world wide, it is doubtful that many truly see the real meaning of the Sabbath and its final implications.

    And I think we all know that the independent ministries our doing far more than “the church” in communicating many of the important aspects of bible truth. Both here at home and also abroad.

    Thanks for your insightful comments, David Read.

    Bill Sorensen

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  44. Excellent posts, Bill and David.

    You know, David, I do share your frustration with what is going on. Every now and then I let off steam — and probably shouldn’t — or just go away for awhile to calm down. I keep getting drawn back here because I am so concerned for God’s church. (Not that He needs me to fix anything.) I am especially concerned for the students at LSU. I have seen the results of the heresy being taught. The professors are stealing the soul salvation of many of the students. It really is alarming that they don’t care.

    However…they sure will one day. I would be willing to bet they will wish they had their cake as dough again.

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  45. The latest thing I’m being told by the Spectrum crowd is that there isn’t any one normative Adventism or one normative set of doctrines, but an array of Adventisms, varying widely from place to place.

    I’m pretty sure that will come as news to most Adventists.

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  46. David, here is a familiar statement I like with instruction for what I can do AT THIS TIME:

    “At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason” (5T 136).

    If apostates are fearless about trumpeting their apostasy, why should I not be even more emboldened with the truth. Error has no future. Gaddafi was a strong man yesterday, where is he today?

    What we sow we reap (Gal 6:7) is a law throughout the universe. Sow faith, reap faith. Sow hope, reap hope. Sow love, reap love.

    There are two sources of seeds to sow. One source is the word of God. The other is the enemy. One sows good seed, the other tares. By the command of God, the tares must grow till harvest (Mt 13:30). The fruit alone can expose the seed for what it is. The seeds of darkness and doubt that have been sown for 6,000 years must fully ripen.

    We are not surprised by anything today, because the harvest is near and the fruit is ripening. But though there will be a pitiful harvest of evil, I rejoice that there is a much more abundant harvest of righteousness. We can see it by faith. The word of God is not going to return void. The weeds of sin are not sufficient to crowd out the harvest of righteousness. The death of Christ, his mediation in heaven are not in vain. Sin, and those who insist on clinging to it, will be destroyed, while those who cling to Jesus have a sure refuge.

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  47. David Read: The latest thing I’m being told by the Spectrum crowd is that there isn’t any one normative Adventism or one normative set of doctrines, but an array of Adventisms, varying widely from place to place. I’m pretty sure that will come as news to most Adventists.

    David, You are so correct! Over on Spectrum, even “Father Jim” ( a Catholic preist) gets more “ups” than “downs” on the approvals. I guess even he could be an SDA? Maybe even a “member in good standing” at the Loma Linda University Church? Does Dr. Taylor know?

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  48. Holly said…..

    “Over on Spectrum, even “Father Jim” ( a Catholic preist) gets more “ups” than “downs” on the approvals. I guess even he could be an SDA? Maybe even a “member in good standing” at the Loma Linda University Church? Does Dr. Taylor know?”

    Well, Holly, anyone who is “judgmental” is automatically “out”. That means you and me and anyone else who “judges” by the bible directive.

    So, “By their fruits ye shall know them” is now, “no one can tell or know who is a Christian or not, even by their actions or what they confess and say.”

    You may have noticed that even Sean tends in this direction. Apparently the bible writers did not subscribe to this idea, as they “judged” again and again, and even exhorted the Christian community to do the same.

    We can not “judge” whether a person may eventually repent or not. But we can certainly “judge” a person’s spiritual experience by their actions and words. This is one reason why we have a bible.

    Bill Sorensen

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  49. Bill Sorensen: Holly said…..“Over on Spectrum, even “Father Jim” ( a Catholic preist) gets more “ups” than “downs” on the approvals. I guess even he could be an SDA? Maybe even a “member in good standing” at the Loma Linda University Church? Does Dr. Taylor know?”Well, Holly, anyone who is “judgmental” is automatically “out”. That means you and me and anyone else who “judges” by the bible directive.So, “By their fruits ye shall know them” is now, “no one can tell or know who is a Christian or not, even by their actions or what they confess and say.”You may have noticed that even Sean tends in this direction. Apparently the bible writers did not subscribe to this idea, as they “judged” again and again, and even exhorted the Christian community to do the same.We can not “judge” whether a person may eventually repent or not. But we can certainly “judge” a person’s spiritual experience by their actions and words. This is one reason why we have a bible.Bill Sorensen

    Well, Bill, I agree, but we can certainly “judge” whether a Catholic priest represents SDA beliefs or not by what he says and does, correct? Or is that too “judgemental?” Or can a Catholic priest actually be a “type” of SDA?

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  50. “Well, Bill, I agree, but we can certainly “judge” whether a Catholic priest represents SDA beliefs or not by what he says and does, correct?”

    Exactly, and we can “Judge” whether his views are biblical or not. And for a Protestant, if he denies the bible and admits it, he is not a Christian, period.

    No doubt there are many Catholics who don’t know what they believe, nor do they know what their church teaches. And this applies to many who profess Protestantism as well.

    “My church has said” is sufficient for many in both groups.

    This attitude is, in and of itself, an antichrist position. It is non-Christian.

    And more than a few would try to convince us that the bible is not sufficiently clear to make a definitive decision on many issues that are more than clear to any person who comes with a willing and open mind.

    So, the bible is only obscure to those who hope it is so they can justify their unbelief. Paul warns, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.”

    A person may convince themselves, and they may convince others that they don’t understand. But when they “stand before the judgment seat of Christ” they will all admit they only lied to themselves.

    And because they continued in their self deception, “God gave them up to strong delusion to believe a lie, because they loved not the truth” and their damnation is just by God’s judgment and their own.

    A challenging reality that we must all consider if we hope to be saved at last. After all, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked…..”

    We especially live in an age where anyone can recieve massive doses of affirmation in their unbelief, not only by the world, but by the church, including Adventism.

    As demonstrated by A-today and Spectrum. Not to mention right in the middle of the church teachings in SS and from the pulpit.

    So, let me ask. What does this mean, and how is it applied?

    “The great issue so near at hand [enforcement of Sunday laws] will weed out those whom God has not appointed and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain.–3SM 385 (1886). {LDE 179.2}
    Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. . . . {LDE 179.3}
    Some will go out from among us who will bear the ark no longer. But these can not make walls to obstruct the truth; for it will go onward and upward to the end.–TM 409, 411 (1898). {LDE 179.4}
    Ministers and doctors may depart from the faith, as the Word declares they will, and as the messages that God has given His servant declare they will.”–7MR 192 (1906). {LDE 179.5}

    Actually, I don’t think people in the church today really believe it. They certainly don’t act like it. Do they?

    Bill Sorensen

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  51. David Read: The latest thing I’m being told by the Spectrum crowd is that there isn’t any one normative Adventism or one normative set of doctrines, but an array of Adventisms, varying widely from place to place. I’m pretty sure that will come as news to most Adventists.

    The latest example of this is Alexander Carpenter’s lauding of Elaine Johnson’s 87th birthday. Elaine is an ex-SDA who has spent at least the past 7 years at Spectrum denigrating, demonizing, and trying to undermine and destroy the SDA Church and its bible-based beliefs. And, as expected, Spectrumites LOVE her! Read for yourself.

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  52. “The latest example of this is Alexander Carpenter’s lauding of Elaine Johnson’s 87th birthday. Elaine is an ex-SDA who has spent at least the past 7 years at Spectrum denigrating, demonizing, and trying to undermine and destroy the SDA Church and its bible-based beliefs. And, as expected, Spectrumites LOVE her! Read for yourself.”

    Actually, Holly, her name is Elaine Nelson. But your point is right on target in your evaluation of her spirituality.

    In fact, she represents the real spirituality of Spectrum and A-today. That’s why she is so popular over there like our “friend” Ken is on this forum.

    Like Elaine over there, I believe Ken has more posts than anyone else on all the threads on this forum.

    Have a great Sabbath, Holly, and all who love Jesus and keep His commandments.

    Bill Sorensen

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  53. If you are talking about “Ken your agnostic friend” – then I beg to differ.

    I do not detect the “I used to be an SDA and now I just want SDA doctrine to die” message here on Educate Truth – from Ken — that comes out so transparent and clear from Elaine over at the spec.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  54. Well, Holly, I see we are thumbs down. I assume you don’t really care much about who votes one way or the other. I know I don’t. Truth never made any headway by way of votes.

    I might also add, we are a “prophet” church. Our whole identity is a prophecy dynamic. Now a prophet never really likes his job. They were generally more than willing to have someone else do the “dirty business” of reproof and correction.

    I don’t see many having a “well adjusted” life style. Perhaps a few. But not many.
    I doubt Noah coveted the job of warning the world of the coming flood.

    Who would like to live like Elijah?

    We clearly see how Jonah responded to the call to witness.

    Jeremiah often wished he could just ignore his obligation and responsibility.

    How many would like to live like John the Baptist? And EGW entreated God again and again to find someone else.

    And now God has called a whole church community to be a “prophet church”. And EGW has written a great deal concerning this “prophet church” and how its members should dress, worship, act as well as what to eat and how and where to live.

    But I am afraid the “prophet church” rejects its call to ministry and the conditions of success to be accomplished by following the spiritual exhortations given to qualify the “prophet church” for ministry.

    The “prophet church” loves the world and the things that are in the world. The “prophet church” loves compromise in the hopes of world wide acceptance and fellowship with “Baal” worshipers.

    No doubt the “prophet church” is rapidly becoming the “false prophet” described in the book of Revelation.

    No doubt, God still has a “prophet church” within the church. In which case, you can believe “the church” will surely get much smaller, before it gets bigger.

    Thumbs down? Oh well. Such is the life of a “prophet” and all who support and embrace the same principle.

    By the way, any and all who have the “testimony of Jesus” is a prophet. And what is “the testimony of Jesus?”

    “And if I go away, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”

    Do you testify to this truth? Then you also have “the testimony of Jesus”.

    Have a blessed and joyful Sabbath. I trust you all have “the spirit of prophecy.”

    Bill Sorensen

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  55. Bill Sorensen: “My church has said” is sufficient for many in both groups.

    And how is this different than the “Fundamental Beliefs” of Seventh-day Adventists? On at least 28 points of doctrine Seventh-day Adventists no longer believe in the Bible and the Bible only. They now believe in the Bible PLUS our Fundamental Beliefs/Creed.

    Actually, I think they believe their Fundamental Beliefs more than the Bible.

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  56. Bill Sorensen: So, let me ask. What does this mean, and how is it applied?

    “The great issue so near at hand [enforcement of Sunday laws] will weed out those whom God has not appointed and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain.–3SM 385 (1886). {LDE 179.2}

    Well Bill, For one, the enforcement of the Sunday law is no longer an issue. There aren’t any Sunday laws, and quite frankly, I don’t think most people in our society care enough for it to become an issue any time soon.

    Second, if it did become an issue, you would have to leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church to remain faithful, because what ever church remained, would have had to apostatize in order to remain a legal entity.

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  57. Ron, I have no objection to the church stating its fundamental beliefs as long as it is back up by the bible. If people will carefully consider what is said and compare it to scripture, then they can agree or disagree based on a scriptural evaluation.

    But this is not how people often decide today in modern Adventism. In many cases, it is simply “the church has decided” and they make no biblical evaluation if the decision is right or wrong.

    Such as, why was it a sin to wear jewelry in the past, but not a sin now?

    Why was reverence a real issue and expected in the past, but not now?

    Why did we have formal church services as the biblical norm in the past, but not now?

    How is it the ordination of women is now being advocated as the norm today, but not in the past?

    I suggest on these and many other issues the bible has been so “dumb down” and ignored, as well as the council given in the spirit of prophecy, that people don’t even evaluate these issues to determine if they are biblical or not.

    “My church has decided” is satisfactory for many if not most people. It is falsely assumed that our leaders are ipso facto spiritual and would surely make a clear biblical decision on these issues.

    Sad to say, we see historically, that the leaders are often more “carnal” than the people they claim to represent. So it was in Israel in the past, the early church, and in modern Israel today.

    So there is nothing wrong with stating church beliefs in written form. As long as people take seriously their obligation to carefully consider what is written to determine if it is biblical or not.

    And by the way, nothing written is totally adequate to convey every aspect of truth except the bible itself. Some things could be considered error by omission. So that what is left out may cause people to misunderstand the truth as easily as what is stated could also be wrong.

    This especially applies to our Sabbath School lessons on Galatians. It is fine to explain how we are “not justified by the law” as long as we then explain how “we are justified by the law.”

    To never explain how we are justified by the law, can only lead to the conclusion that there is no biblical teaching that affirms this concept.

    Our historic biblical view of the final judgment is precisely about how we are “justified by keeping the law”. And if you don’t believe that, you are not really a SDA in harmony with our historic teaching and EGW.

    Bill Sorensen

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  58. Bill Sorensen:: So, let me ask. What does this mean, and how is it applied?

    “The great issue so near at hand [enforcement of Sunday laws] will weed out those whom God has not appointed and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain.–3SM 385 (1886). {LDE 179.2}

    Ron:
    Well Bill, For one, the enforcement of the Sunday law is no longer an issue. There aren’t any Sunday laws, and quite frankly, I don’t think most people in our society care enough for it to become an issue any time soon.

    Second, if it did become an issue, you would have to leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church to remain faithful, because what ever church remained, would have had to apostatize in order to remain a legal entity.

    1. There is no state Sunday law in the past 100 years that measures up to the much predicted stringent Sunday legislation predicted to come.

    2. In Rev 13 – the “signs and wonders” event comes in BEFORE the “image to the beast” is set up.

    That means that while we do not have the mechanism in place today to argue for such radical legislation – the change is more of a function of “how fast can Satan setup signs and wonders” then “how slowly does culture change”.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  59. Bill Sorensen: This especially applies to our Sabbath School lessons on Galatians. It is fine to explain how we are “not justified by the law” as long as we then explain how “we are justified by the law.”

    To never explain how we are justified by the law, can only lead to the conclusion that there is no biblical teaching that affirms this concept.

    Our historic biblical view of the final judgment is precisely about how we are “justified by keeping the law”. And if you don’t believe that, you are not really a SDA in harmony with our historic teaching and EGW.

    That is an interesting topic.

    There are two justification contexts. The one that you find in Rom 2:13-16 is in the future. The one that you find in Rom 5:1 is in the past.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  60. “There are two justification contexts. The one that you find in Rom 2:13-16 is in the future. The one that you find in Rom 5:1 is in the past.”

    in Christ,

    Bob

    One aspect is an explanation of the gospel, and the other, an explanation of the law. And while they are seperated by time, none the less, both are tied together in an inseperable unity.

    Another point. One is an explanation of the sovereignty of God,(He knows everything) and the other an explanation of the sovereignty of man.

    And finally, we can never use one to deny the other.

    This paradox is the heart and soul of true dynamic bible theology. And human reason can not ever figure it out and those who seek to will never believe.

    Bill Sorensen

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  61. BobRyan: If you are talking about “Ken your agnostic friend” – then I beg to differ.I do not detect the “I used to be an SDA and now I just want SDA doctrine to die” message here on Educate Truth – from Ken — that comes out so transparent and clear from Elaine over at the spec.in Christ,Bob

    You’re absolutely correct, Bob. Elaine Johnson is the “poster girl” over on Spectrum. Just about everyone loves her. Why? She hates the SDA Church and isn’t afraid to say so. Check her out for yourselves. BTW, she’s also over on Adventist Today, spewing her derogatory remarks daily.

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  62. Obviously there is a contrast between Ken and Elaine. None the less, there is also a parallel. Ken freely admits that he does not believe the bible, but he does not attack it openly. Elaine, on the other hand, attacks the bible over and over.

    But regardless of this contrast, neither believe the bible, and this parallel puts them contrary to Christanity. And neither one is a “friend” of the Christian community.

    To ignore the parallel is dangerous. In one context, Ken is far more dangerous than Elaine who freely admits and denies the bible. She states her “colors”. Not Ken. He rides the fence with the confession that he is not sure one way or the other.

    Kind of like the picture at the head of the thread “A Christian agnostic”, that can not be defined as a man or a woman.

    I assume this was done on purpose to convey the idea, “I don’t know who I am, or, what I believe.”

    None the less, it still blames God for unbelief, claiming God has not revealed the truth in a coherent way and thus, they are not culpable for any lack of decision.

    The same argument John Alfke uses on Spectrum to justify his attack on the bible.

    And it is the same argument used by so-called “Christian evolutionists” who deny that Genesis is clear in its description of creation and by who and how it was accomplished.

    Let’s not waste too much time “bickering” with unbelieves, and “be about our Father’s business.”

    Millions are truly seeking light who have never heard the truth. Let’s give them a chance to see and hear the bible message. And follow the exortation of Hosea, “Ephriam is joined to idols, let him alone.”

    Hope everyone has a good coming week.

    Keep the faith,

    Bill Sorensen

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  63. Bill, I am happy for the church to state what they believe as well, but the minute the church starts to do what Educate Truth is advocating, demanding orthodoxy as a test of fellowship and employment, then you have crossed over the line. The church no longer believes the The Bible and the Bible only, because it is usurping the role of the Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible to each individual, and to bring conviction.

    Instead of allowing the Bible to be broadly interpreted as needed to meet peoples need, the creed limits the Bible to one narrow understanding which may not be where the Holy Spirit is going in some people’s lives. At the very least, the church is putting itself in the place of God by attempting to coerce thought and belief. Coercion is Satan’s tactic, not God’s.

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  64. BobRyan: Our historic biblical view of the final judgment is precisely about how we are “justified by keeping the law”. And if you don’t believe that, you are not really a SDA in harmony with our historic teaching and EGW.

    Bob, here is good example as to why the church should not have a creed, because I happen to believe almost the opposite, that you can not really be an SDA and believe that we are “justified by keeping the law”. At least not since 1888.

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  65. Ron: Bill, I am happy for the church to state what they believe as well, but the minute the church starts to do what Educate Truth is advocating, demanding orthodoxy as a test of fellowship and employment, then you have crossed over the line. The church no longer believes the The Bible and the Bible only, because it is usurping the role of the Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible to each individual, and to bring conviction.
    Instead of allowing the Bible to be broadly interpreted as needed to meet peoples need, the creed limits the Bible to one narrow understanding which may not be where the Holy Spirit is going in some people’s lives. At the very least, the church is putting itself in the place of God by attempting to coerce thought and belief. Coercion is Satan’s tactic, not God’s.

    And that, folks, is the crux of the whole situation. These statements clearly show that the ones who want to deny the Bible, who want to interpret things in their own way, have got the whole thing backwards. They want the church to cater to them and their wants and desires; they don’t want to SERVE THE LORD. Their philosophy is a “me” philosophy–which is from the devil.

    They accuse the conservative church of “demanding orthodoxy” when in actual fact it is the Lord who demands obedience. This isn’t a supermart situation–you can’t pick and choose what kind of salvation you want. The plain and simple truth is, God calls the shots. As our Creator, He has the right and the wisdom to tell us what is right and wrong and it is up to us to trust Him and follow in the way He has provided for us to find salvation.

    Narrow? Yep! That is what the Bible tells us. The way to salvation is narrow and there will be comparitively few that find it. Why? Because it is inconvenient for them to give up the pleasures they enjoy or it may be that by believing Creation, they may put themselves in the way of ridicule from the secular scientific community. OOOEEE–what did Christ suffer for us? Was He not ridiculed, beaten, and spit on? Why is it such a surprise that we should be treated the same way for our beliefs?

    You mention coercion–who is coercing anyone to be in the church? I have often stated that if people don’t want to believe the doctrines of the SDA church, they are welcome to leave; no one is holding them here. It is useless to remain in a church when you don’t believe the things it teaches. You can’t stay in the church and try to change it. God clearly established this church and it’s doctrines and no one has the right to try to change it. You don’t agree? Go to where you can agree, but be aware that you do so at the peril of your soul.

    Funny, isn’t it? How the ones who are unsatisfied with the doctrines our church teaches are always accusing the ones who agree with the doctrines of being unchristian. How is it unChristlike to follow what Christ says to do?

    Let me assure you, Ron, the Holy Spirit never leads in a different direction than Christ leads. They are one, and they work in concert to bring us salvation. If Their way is not to your taste, that means you need to change your taste.

    The Holy Spirit is not going around willy-nilly making one set of rules for one person and another set for someone else. The Law of God is just that. It is His law and His set of requirements. We don’t have the gospel according to Ron, and the gospel according to Faith, and the gospel according to Educate Truth. And, by the way, Faith and Educate Truth are not making our own rules, we are advocating God’s rules. Just so you know.

    I am confident that the SDA church is God’s remnant church. I believe the doctrines it is founded upon 100%. That is why I am here. I want to serve and follow the Lord to the very best of my ability. I may not be perfect, but I do try, and will continue to try until the door of opportunity closes. And I fully believe that, with God’s help, I will be successful.

    I agree with Bill, we really don’t have time to be infighting. We need to get it together and pull together to finish this work. We need to “come into line” as the angel urged in Ellen’s vision. The church needs to get rid of the worldly philosophy “trash” that has rubbished it for too long.

    God will have a church that is purified and able to do His work–He is giving us an opportunity right now to choose whether or not we want to come into line. If we do not, we will find ourselves out of the SDA church. That’s just a natural progression of things–can two walk together except they be agreed? The separation will come in God’s own time. Now is the time to make our choice.

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  66. Re Bill’s Quote

    “Kind of like the picture at the head of the thread “A Christian agnostic”, that can not be defined as a man or a woman.

    I assume this was done on purpose to convey the idea, “I don’t know who I am, or, what I believe.”

    Hello Bill

    It’s OK my friend, I understand why you need to say the things you do. I won’t reciprocate because to do so will only violate the graceful Christian principles that all us, including secularists, should follow. In my estimation Jesus may have been the most important person who has ever lived.

    On to interpretation and the perils and hazards of assuming that one is indubitably right. May we look at your quote and your supposition of the figure posted at the start of the thread? You concluded that the figure represented an androgynous existential lost soul. However if I can respectfully direct you to paragraph 6 of the thread you will see that Dr. Pitman refers to Alice’s Wonderland. In the last paragraph Dr. Pitman refers to Mr. Hatter, which I assume is in reference to Dr. Taylor. Please note that the picture of the mad eyed, red haired chap in the hat also appears alongside paragraphs 6 and 7.

    Now I have no expertise in Adventist hermeneutics. But it seems to me – obvious to the objective unbiased reader as our friend Bob Ryan likes to hyperbolize his opinions – that the character in the picture is the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. In fact it is a picture of Johnny Depp playing that role in the movie directed by Tim Burton.

    Now why do I take the time to point out this rather trivial matter? To point out my friend, that we can all be wrong in interpreting matters- I do it all the time!- and no one has a franchise on the interpretation of the truth. And the upshot of that is that we should all be tolerant and patient with each other because we all make mistakes.

    Bill, I won’t give up on friendship and I hope you can make some room in your heart for us fellow, fallible humans.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  67. Ron:

    BobRyan: Our historic biblical view of the final judgment is precisely about how we are “justified by keeping the law”. And if you don’t believe that, you are not really a SDA in harmony with our historic teaching and EGW.

    Bob, here is good example as to why the church should not have a creed, because I happen to believe almost the opposite, that you can not really be an SDA and believe that we are “justified by keeping the law”. At least not since 1888.

    It appears that you quoted Bill and then put my name to it.

    The actual quote is as follows –

    Bill Sorensen:: This especially applies to our Sabbath School lessons on Galatians. It is fine to explain how we are “not justified by the law” as long as we then explain how “we are justified by the law.”

    To never explain how we are justified by the law, can only lead to the conclusion that there is no biblical teaching that affirms this concept.

    Our historic biblical view of the final judgment is precisely about how we are “justified by keeping the law”. And if you don’t believe that, you are not really a SDA in harmony with our historic teaching and EGW.

    BobRyan:

    That is an interesting topic.

    There are two justification contexts. The one that you find in Rom 2:13-16 is in the future. The one that you find in Rom 5:1 is in the pas

    As you can see – my post places the clarity on the point such that both Romans 2:13-16 (future justification) and Romans 5:1 (past justification) are upheld and firmly believed.

    In your response you appear to have substituted Rom 5:1 in – and then taken an “either or” approach — believing one text but not the other.

    That was never the intent of 1888.

    The 1888 focus on righteousness by faith was an effort to uphold Romans 5:1 without deleting Romans 2:13-16.

    Both-and — not either-or.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  68. Ken, you obviously know more about Alice in Wonderland than I do. I suppose you know the “mad hatter” is a man. As for me, on this subject, I admit I don’t have a clue.

    All I can go by is the picture itself, and I sincerely doubt that anyone without the previous knowledge you have, could identify the picture as a man or a woman.

    So, I’ll take your word for it.

    The goal of Jesus was to always be redemptive, whether He was challenging and chiding some and encouraging and affirming others. Although I do not have the same spiritual intensity and insight Jesus does, none the less, all believers testify on some level in harmony with the same principles.

    While I can not judge the final outcome of anyone’s spirituality, I can certainly judge a person’s present spirituality by listening to their testimony and/or observing their lifestyle.

    The bible does not say in vain, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” and, “By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.”

    As a self confessed agnostic, I have no difficulty identifying you as an unbeliever. That is in harmony with your own confession.

    And I sincerely hope you find the truth of the bible and confess it freely.

    Bill Sorensen

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  69. Dear Bill

    Thank you for those kind words.

    You have characterized me properly and I take no exception to such. I do think though that humane freindship can indeed cut across boundaries. I can condident we can do so if our hearts are willing.

    All the best

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  70. 10/31/11

    Ron (October 30,2011)

    “Bill, I am happy for the church to state what they believe as well, but the minute the church starts to do what Educate Truth is advocating, demanding orthodoxy as a test of fellowship and employment, then you have crossed over the line. The church no longer believes the Bible and the Bible only, because it is usurping the role of the Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible to each individual, and to bring conviction.

    Instead of allowing the Bible to be broadly interpreted as needed to meet peoples need, the creed limits the Bible to one narrow understanding which may not be where the Holy Spirit is going in some people’s lives. At the very least, the church is putting itself in the place of God by attempting to coerce thought and belief. Coercion is Satan’s tactic, not God’s.”

    ******************

    Ron, I am somewhat “befuddled” by your response to Bill. For one thing, every organization I know of has its set of “rules and regulations” that every individual belonging to it is expected to abide by if they expect to remain a part of the organization. Why should a church be any different?

    Besides, it wasn’t just a group of people getting together and “deciding” on their own what the church should or should not stand for and expect it’s followers to adhere to.
    Much earnest Bible study and prayer by our early pioneers were used to determine what was–or was not–what GOD intended for His true followers to believe and practice. Where did you ever get the idea that God left it to the “Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible TO EACH INDIVIDUAL, and to bring conviction”

    Perhaps I misunderstood it but that came across to me that the Holy Spirit might bring one person to believe in evolution and another to believe in Creation–but by a slow process rather than the “six days of evenings and mornings”in which He accomplished it all and rested on the seventh DAY.”.

    The Holy Spirit ALWAYS leads sincere seekers after truth in the same direction–to the plain “thus saith the LORD”. And the Lord’s instructions are the same for everyone regardless of age, race, color or nationality. ALL which reach the kingdom of God are going to be united on every point of doctrine–the “doctrines” plainly given in the Bible–of which a literal six day creation followed by a Sabbath rest on the seventh DAY–marking off a one week, seven day.period of time. Incidentally, where do you think the 7 day period of time came from anyway? (As I understand it, several times there have been efforts to change it in some way or another but they have never succeed. Have you ever wondered why?)

    Adventists are not yet perfect Ron and, unfortunately, do not always believe everything exactly the same. We are all fallen human beings but before Jesus comes ALL of His true followers will be united on the same platform of truth–the truth as given in the Bible. There is only one way to heaven and that is called the “straight and narrow” and, as I understand it, ALL will be believing the same interpretation of Scripture. (There will be some, as I understand it, who never had a chance to even see a Bible who “worshiped God” by a life of kindness and helpfulness to others who will also be there and will be charmed and happy when they get to meet and know the wonderful “Father” they never met before.

    I must admit I have a hard time believing the church should allow people teaching something diametrically opposed to what we believe and stand for to continue teaching our youth or preaching in our churches. How long do you think Catholics would allow someone to preach the Sabbath in one of their schools?

    Personally, I think God led these young men to do what they are doing. They–like the rest of us–aren’t perfect, but neither were the disciples or the other writers in the Bible. Unfortunately, fallen human beings are all that the Lord has to work with but He does use those who truly love Him and are devoted to doing what ever they can (sometimes not “perfectly”) in the situation they live in. (I’m amazed that they can do what they do and still find time for their work and families!)

    Please forgive me if I misunderstood what you wrote. If I did, please rewrite it so 87 years old dummies like me can truly understand what you meant.

    Thanks,

    Lydian

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  71. @Bill Sorensen: Anent this particular sentence that you wrote and posted October 30, 8:29 pm, directed at Ken: “As a self confessed agnostic, I have no difficulty identifying you as an unbeliever.” You will want to rewrite it. (As it is, sounds like you’re saying “takes one to know one.”)

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  72. Pingback: Creeds and Fundamental Beliefs | Educate Truth

  73. Ken said……

    ” I do think though that humane freindship can indeed cut across boundaries.”

    I’ve never denied this, Ken. I have at least a few friends on a “civil righteousness” level.

    We play golf as well as other things any “friend” would do to help each other.

    But I repeat, as an agnostic, you are not a “friend” to the Christian community. Your confession of faith (or lack of it) denies everything we believe in.

    If a robber came to my home to steal, and then called me “friend”, I would let him know in no uncertain terms that he is not my friend.

    I put you in the same catagory in a religious Christian discussion.

    Bill Sorensen

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  74. Like most of you I happen to accept all 28 fundamental SDA beliefs (by faith, not by scientific evidence, in contrast with some of you), but if I had to choose one of you to be marooned with on a tiny island for the rest of my life, it would definitely be……Ken!

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  75. Eddie said……

    “….. if I had to choose one of you to be marooned with on a tiny island for the rest of my life, it would definitely be……Ken!”

    And may I suggest, Eddie, that if you had to choose between Elijah and king Ahab, you would choose Ahab.

    Probably a “really nice guy”…..eh?

    Bill Sorensen

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  76. I recently viewed a YOUTUBE video of Dr. Walter Veith at La Sierra….THis man is an intellectual giant who supports creation with all his being. Can someone tell me why the auditorium was 95% empty? Was his visit there discouraged? If so, by whom….Thank You

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  77. @Eddie:

    Eddie November 1, 2011 at 10:22 am

    “Like most of you I happen to accept all 28 fundamental SDA beliefs (by faith, not by scientific evidence, in contrast with some of you), but if I had to choose one of you to be marooned with on a tiny island for the rest of my life, it would definitely be……Ken!”

    *********
    I am impressed with your blind faith, bereft of any evidence. Nevertheless, I have a question for you: Did Gideon rely on blind faith when he received a message from the Lord to free the Israelites from oppression?

    Did the children of Israel rely on blind faith when Moses was sent to them with the news that the Lord had sent him to free them from slavery?

    Did the people of Israel rely on blind faith when Elijah challenged them to return to the worship of the true God on Mount Carmel?

    Did King Nebuchadnezzar rely on blind faith when he decided to admit that the God of Daniel was the true God?

    Did the disciples of Jesus rely on blind faith when they accepted him as the promised Messiah and were willing to die as martyrs for their faith?

    If blind faith is all we need, then why do we have so many miracles recorded in Scripture?

    When we read those supernatural events recorded for our benefit and believe, can we honestly say that we are relying on mere faith without any evidence of God’s power and authority?

    When we look at the scientific evidence in the Grand Canyon testifying that a great catastrophic event must have produced it, can we say that we believe in Noah’s Flood merely on the basis of faith?

    I think that Sean and Shane have stronger arguments favoring a solid faith supported by all the evidence both from Nature and Scripture.

    If I am stranded on a deserted island with Kent, Sean and Shane, I believe that Kent’s arguments will be no match for those of Sean and Shane.

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  78. Mark Dix: I recently viewed a YOUTUBE video of Dr. Walter Veith at La Sierra….THis man is an intellectual giant who supports creation with all his being. Can someone tell me why the auditorium was 95% empty? Was his visit there discouraged? If so, by whom….Thank You

    LIberal SDA institutions like La Sierra hate men like Dr. Veith. Check Spectrum’s recent article vilifying Dr. Veith, as they have done to others such as Doug Batchelor, Ted Wilson, etc.

    As a heretical and apostate institution, La Sierra would not like to hear what Dr. Veith has to say. I’m shocked he was even ALLOWED to speak at La Sierra.

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  79. Bill Sorenson writes “if you had to choose between Elijah and king Ahab, you would choose Ahab.” Nic adds “I am impressed with your blind faith, bereft of any evidence.”

    Thank you, gentlemen, for being so kind, gracious, loving and Christ-like.

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  80. Ron:
    Bill, I am happy for the church to state what they believe as well, but the minute the church starts to do what Educate Truth is advocating, demanding orthodoxy as a test of fellowship and employment, then you have crossed over the line.The church no longer believes the The Bible and the Bible only, because it is usurping the role of the Holy Spirit to interpret the Bible to each individual, and to bring conviction.

    Instead of allowing the Bible to be broadly interpreted as needed to meet peoples need, the creed limits the Bible to one narrow understanding which may not be where the Holy Spirit is going in some people’s lives. At the very least, the church is putting itself in the place of God by attempting to coerce thought and belief. Coercion is Satan’s tactic, not God’s.

    Sorry, Ron but you are completely wrong. The Bible does not mean a different interpretation to each individual.As each person who seeks truth studies the Bible with earnest prayer–The Holy Spirit will bring conviction to the seeker as to Bible truth, and the need to be born again (John 3:3) to enter the kingdom of God. You seem to advocating an “anything goes” type of theology which does away with solid doctrines and Adventist pillars of faith. This will never work.

    “Narrow interpretations” has nothing to do with a foundational belief in Scripture. Men may seek individual guidance from the Creator in prayer–otherwise, the will of God for man is found in the Bible.

    2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
    2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost(KJV).

    “God has given in his Word sufficient evidence of its divine character. The great truths which concern our redemption are clearly presented. By the aid of the Holy Spirit, which is promised to all who seek it in sincerity, every man may understand these truths for himself. God has granted to men a strong foundation upon which to rest their faith.” {GC88 526.2}

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  81. Nic, I’ve decided to answer all of your questions:

    I am impressed with your blind faith, bereft of any evidence. Nevertheless, I have a question for you: Did Gideon rely on blind faith when he received a message from the Lord to free the Israelites from oppression?

    NO.

    Did the children of Israel rely on blind faith when Moses was sent to them with the news that the Lord had sent him to free them from slavery?

    NO.

    Did the people of Israel rely on blind faith when Elijah challenged them to return to the worship of the true God on Mount Carmel?

    NO.

    Did King Nebuchadnezzar rely on blind faith when he decided to admit that the God of Daniel was the true God?

    NO.

    Did the disciples of Jesus rely on blind faith when they accepted him as the promised Messiah and were willing to die as martyrs for their faith?

    NO.

    If blind faith is all we need, then why do we have so many miracles recorded in Scripture?

    BECAUSE BLIND FAITH IS NOT ALL WE NEED. WHEN DID I EVER STATE IT WAS? DO YOU KNOW ANY SDAS WHO ACTUALLY BELIEVE BLIND FAITH IS ALL WE NEED? I AND OTHERS HAVE ALREADY POINTED OUT REPEATEDLY IN THIS FORUM THAT OUR BELIEFS ARE BASED ON BOTH EVIDENCE AND FAITH, SO I’M A WEE BIT PUZZLED WHY SOME OF YOU KEEP ADMONISHING SOME OF US FOR PROMOTING BLIND FAITH.

    When we read those supernatural events recorded for our benefit and believe, can we honestly say that we are relying on mere faith without any evidence of God’s power and authority?

    NO.

    When we look at the scientific evidence in the Grand Canyon testifying that a great catastrophic event must have produced it, can we say that we believe in Noah’s Flood merely on the basis of faith?

    NO.

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  82. Nic, now that I have answered your questions, would you mind answering mine? What specific “scientific evidence” (which can be observed or measured by the human senses or technology) supports the following SDA fundamental beliefs (I’ve picked only a few):

    #2: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons.

    #4: God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ.

    #5: God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption.

    #7: Man and woman were made in the image of God.

    #24: There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man.

    #26: The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed.

    #27: The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections.

    #28: On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence.

    If you believe “scientific evidence” supports all of our beliefs, I’m very happy for you. My beliefs are based on a mixture of evidence and faith, but if you still want to believe my faith is blind or that I am in error because I am unable to find scientific evidence supporting my belief in a future new earth, that’s okay. You’re still my friend.

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  83. Steve Billiter: You seem to advocating an “anything goes” type of theology which does away with solid doctrines and Adventist pillars of faith. This will never work.

    No, you misunderstand me. I am advocating almost the opposite. I am advocating that our theology is a consensus created through a process of respectful and disciplined reason and persuasive argument.

    My point is that appeals to the authority of a creed and the use of coercion undermines the very process by which we discern truth and develop consensus. True argument is at its root, a cooperative and respectful process where each participant presents the reasons for their belief to a critical participant who in turn presents their reasons for their opposing beliefs. The outcome matters, and each participant wants to bring the opponent to their side, and in turn risks being themselves convinced. This process of critical evaluation gradually builds consensus.

    The minute one closes them self off from the possibility of being persuaded (e.g. creates a creed), or attempts to coerce the opponent into acceptance, the process fails. Force may get acquiescence, but it will never produce faith and commitment.

    God’s appeal is “come let us reason together”. Note, where does the authority lie within this statement? Is this God asserting “the truth” by his own authority? No, God is here, respecting, and in fact, appealing to the authority of man’s own personal reason. There can be no true shortcut to this process. To do anything else is to remove from man the very thing that makes him human, and for which Jesus died – rational thought and moral responsibility.

    I will note that God enters into the process in good faith. We have at least two instances of man arguing with God, and convincing God to change his mind. Once on Mt. Sinai when God proposed destroying Israel in favor of Moses descendants, and again with Abraham arguing with God over Sodom. In both cases the arguer appeals to human reason and humanities sense justice and God changes his mind.

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  84. Steve Billiter: 2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

    Here again I believe you make my point for me, or at least I would claim this scripture as supporting my position.
    The very act of making a creed creates a “private interpretation”. True, it might be a private interpretation that is held in common with millions of believers, but the whole purpose of a creed is to privatize an interpretation. The creed defines a boundary that says, “we are in, you are out. We hold this belief against all reason and authority and we will no longer accept or risk influence from external sources (even Biblical)”. An interpretation is only public as long as it remains open to persuasion by the public through force of convincing reason and a free conscience.

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  85. Steve Billiter: By the aid of the Holy Spirit, which is promised to all who seek it in sincerity, every man may understand these truths for himself. God has granted to men a strong foundation upon which to rest their faith.

    Here again, how is man convinced? Is it by appeal to God’s “Divine Authority”; God said it so I believe it? No, It is by the aid of the Holy Spirit when man seeks (trough the process of argument and reason) for truth in sincerity (with a heart and mind open to influence) based on a “strong foundation” which again, is an appeal to human reason and objective/scientific evidence. God seeks to win people’s hearts and minds, never to coerce them.

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  86. I believe the references I provide in the post below – including the quote you find below – are the very thing many want to avoid and would call “a creed”.

    BobRyan: When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. No aftersuppositions, contrary to the light God has given, are to be entertained. Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time, God has given us as a foundation for our faith. He Himself has taught us what is truth. One will arise, and still another, with new light which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit…
    [Satan] knows that if he can deceive the people who claim to believe present truth, and make them believe that the work the Lord designs for them to do for His people is a removing of the old landmarks, something which they should, with most determined zeal, resist, then he exults over the deception he has led them to believe…
    We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God’s word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.
    — Ellen White, Preach the Word, p. 5. (1905); Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 31-32. (1946)

    But I am willing to test that claim.

    Ron – please click on the link with my name on it – and let me know if my statement is correct. Is this your idea of a creed?

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  87. If we remove ourselves from the context of the morally corrupt practice of trying to steal SDA tithe and tuition dollars in efforts to undermine the SDA denomination “from within” – and just look at the more general issue of SDA doctrine presented to non-SDAs,… I give you “evangelistic series”.

    Here we have all the “free will” and “choose as you will” context that you could ever wish to have.

    In fact the only “lose your job” context in that regard is that “you might lose your job if you accept SDA doctrine”.

    Here we have “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still” message running all day long.

    But once someone signs up as SDA, and claims to be such a wonderful leader that they want to be hired to teach in our schools – to mold and educate our young adults.

    Far be it from us to fall asleep at the helm and let some of them steal SDA tithe and tuition dollars to be used in their efforts to undermine the SDA denomination.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  88. Ron: This process of critical evaluation gradually builds consensus.

    So, Ron, do you think that we will be judged by consensus? Do you think that the law of God can change by consensus? You seem to think that man is free to change anything with no thought of what God considers to be right or wrong. You have a man-oriented religion if you believe that concensus can change anything about God or the law.

    The whole point about Creation is that God Created us and He knows what is best for us. We have a choice alright enough–we can choose to obey or disobey what God has told us to do in following His law.

    Satan has already made his choice. He has refused to obey. What did that get him? Do you think he is happy? He is not. And now he is trying to make as many of us as unhappy as he is. You think he doesn’t know what his end will be? Of course he does–and he wants you and me to burn with him.

    Your theory that the church has no right to coerce anyone into believing the truth is a lot of hog wash. The church doesn’t coerce anyone to believe our doctrine. Everyone has the power of choice. If God wanted to coerce anyone, He would have started with Satan. He didn’t do that. He offers us the opportunity to eternal life–but the qualifier is that we ascribe to His law. Why would He ask anyone who doesn’t agree with Him to live with Him? You should have proof enough in this world that such a situation only causes strife. It would be the same as asking Satan back into heaven. Do you want to live in heaven? You can choose to do so if you choose to follow the law. That is your choice and no one will force you to change your mind. You are the captain of your own destiny.

    However, this situation that we face with the biology (and for that matter the religion) departments of our colleges and universities has nothing to do with coercion. Are we ordering the professors to believe as we do? No, we are asking that IF they don’t believe as we do, they do the honest thing and go teach somewhere where they can teach what they believe to people who believe the same way. We have the RIGHT to expect that the professors are teaching our beliefs. That only makes sense.

    What you are talking about in finding a consensus and with an open mind to allow ourselves to be convinced contrary to the SDA truth is pure foolishness. We have the truth given to us by God. To leave ourselves open to that which is not the truth is to leave ourselves open to a lie. That door should be firmly closed in order to remain faithful to God. People don’t bring us salvation–God does. And I assure you, it is not given to us by concensus. You sir, are on dangerous ground. According to the error you have promoted here, I would say that your soul is in peril and you need to turn around and run, don’t walk, back to the basic fundamental beliefs of the SDA church if your soul is to be saved.

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  89. @Eddie:

    Eddi November 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    “Nic, now that I have answered your questions, would you mind answering mine? What specific “scientific evidence” (which can be observed or measured by the human senses or technology) supports the following SDA fundamental beliefs (I’ve picked only a few):”

    *********
    Thanks for answering all my questions. I will try to answer yours. My answers will appear under your numbered questions.

    #2: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons.
    None! The doctrine of the Trinity was added in the third and fourth centuries and copied from pagan dogmas.

    #4: God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ.
    Hard, science based on verification and replication cannot be applied to historical evidence. You have to decide whether the recorded witness of those who for three years lived and saw the miracles performed by Jesus Christ are credible or not. Tradition tells us that all the original disciples of Jesus ended their lives as martyrs. Had they invented the story of Jesus’ resurrection, they would have caved in to the pressure placed on them to recant of their faith in the one who had claimed to be the Son of God.

    #5: God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption.
    None! The original term for Spirit we find in Genesis one can also be translated as “wind,” and even “presence.” The Trinity doctrine was invented by the Catholic Church.

    #7: Man and woman were made in the image of God.
    None, except the credible testimony of those who wrote the Bible under the divine inspiration of God.

    #24: There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man.
    None, except the testimony of inspired writers whose credibility is beyond question. If Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, then we must remember that he claimed to have been under God’s teaching for three years prior to his extensive preaching tours.

    #26: The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed.
    None, except the promises by the one who did predict that he would come from the tomb alive and kept said promise to his followers.

    #27: The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections.
    None, except the most logical interpretation of Scripture.

    #28: On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence.
    None, except of the testimony of all those who wrote under the inspiration of the Almighty.

    “If you believe “scientific evidence” supports all of our beliefs, I’m very happy for you. My beliefs are based on a mixture of evidence and faith, but if you still want to believe my faith is blind or that I am in error because I am unable to find scientific evidence supporting my belief in a future new earth, that’s okay. You’re still my friend.”

    It seems that we do share a common belief that our faith is solidly based on a “mixture of evidence and faith.” The question is:

    What led me to conclude that your belief was based on blind faith? I need to go back to the original posting where you said something which made me conclude that this was the case.

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  90. Eddie November 1, 2011 at 10:22 am

    “Like most of you I happen to accept all 28 fundamental SDA beliefs (by faith, not by scientific evidence, in contrast with some of you), but if I had to choose one of you to be marooned with on a tiny island for the rest of my life, it would definitely be……Ken!”

    *********
    Notice that you did not say “a mixture of faith and evidence” but rather “faith, not by scientific evidence.” I believe this led me to conclude that for you evidence was not an integral component of faith.

    You do accept all 28 FB’s. I don’t. I only accept those which can be defended by what we find in Scripture.

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  91. Nic Samojluk: #2: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons.
    None! The doctrine of the Trinity was added in the third and fourth centuries and copied from pagan dogmas…The Trinity doctrine was invented by the Catholic Church.

    How can you be SDA, Nic, when you deny the Trinity?

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  92. Nic, I just spent some time browsing through your website letsfocusonlife.com. Nicely organized and very informative! But I’m shocked and dismayed to learn that SDA physicians perform abortions in SDA hospitals. Very disturbing. Clearly our physicians should be heeding the counsel of prophets rather than the siren of profits.

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  93. @Professor Kent:

    Professor KentNovember 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Nic Samojluk: #2: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons.

    None! The doctrine of the Trinity was added in the third and fourth centuries and copied from pagan dogmas…The Trinity doctrine was invented by the Catholic Church.

    “How can you be SDA, Nic, when you deny the Trinity?”

    *********
    I have a question for you: The Adventist pioneers were non-Trinitarians. This is a fact. Were they Adventists?

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  94. Hi Nic

    You are correct. My agnosticism relates to my view on God and has nothing to do with my moral code.

    At the top echelon of my code is respect for human life, including the defenseless unborn.

    It does not bother me in the least growing with Judeo – Christian ethics, which have had such a positive influence. But it is not the exclusive one. The Dalai Lama and his Buddhist teachings about the relief of human suffering are noble as well.

    If every human being could practice the Royal Law of Love, religious doctrinal differences as illustrated on Educate Truth, would be small potatoes indeed in the Human Moral Garden.

    You are a good man, keep up the great work.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  95. @Eddie:

    Eddie,

    I must be a prophet. As I predicted, my previous responses directed at you were deleted, probably before you had a chance to read them. It would be foolish for me to repost them.

    Since you are already familiar with my own web site, you will find the same material I used to answer your comment there. Look for my most recent entries and let me know what you think. Use my own web page for answering instead of Educate Truth.

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