Creeds and Fundamental Beliefs

By Sean Pitman:

There are many people who think that the “Fundamental Beliefs” of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have turned into a kind of creed or unchangeable set of doctrinal beliefs or Biblical interpretations that supersede the Bible itself in importance and authority.  It has therefore been suggested that the Adventist Church is in danger of falling into the same trap that other Christian denominations and religious organizations have fallen into, of making human interpretations and traditions superior to the Bible as its own creed and interpreter.

Is this true? Has the Adventist Church truly diverged from the foundational protestant statement, “We have no creed but the Bible”?  Are the efforts of those of us who manage this website to promote, within our own schools and churches, the teachings and authority of the basic fundamental goals and ideals of the church, as an organization, way off base? – at conflict with the concept of the Bible as its own interpreter for each individual?  There are those who think so. Consider, for example, the following comment recently posted to this forum:

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. (Link)

This individual is not alone in his concerns over this issue.  This was also the basic concern of the founders of the Adventist Church.  Many of the founding fathers, and mothers, of our church had been active and devoted members of other protestant churches.  When they had come upon what they believed to be new light from the Bible, which happened to conflict with the creeds of their own churches, they were removed from fellowship with the church families that they loved.  They therefore originally thought of creedal statements, and even church organization, as entirely evil and fought very hard to prevent the early Adventist movement from organizing or forming official creedal statements of belief.  This feeling has continued within our church to one degree or another and is often cited as a basis for allowing fundamentally divergent views to be preached and taught within our churches and schools.

For example, in support of allowing paid SDA representatives to teach fundamentally diverging opinions, Randal Wisbey, current president of La Sierra University, has quoted J.N. Loughborough in his 1861 statement regarding the issue of Church order and government:

J.N. Loughborough

The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth is to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And, fifth, to commit persecution against such.(1)

The problem, of course, is that Wisbey and others who reference the founding fathers of the church with regard to church order and government fail to reference Loughborough’s 1907 work, The Church, Its Organization, Order and Discipline.  Although originally opposed to such constraints, it was John Loughborough, together with James White, who first started to realize the need for some sort of internal enforcement of Church order and discipline – i.e., an actual Church government.

      As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization, there would be great confusion, and the work could not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying on the work in new fields, for protecting both the church and ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for other objects, organization was indispensable.(2)

 

Of course, those who were not considered to accurately represent the views of the early Adventist Church did not receive “cards of commendation”.  And what was the attitude of such persons? according to Loughborough?:

     Of course those who claimed “liberty to do as they pleased,” to “preach what they pleased,” and to “go when and where they pleased,” without “consultation with any one,” failed to get cards of commendation. They, with their sympathizers, drew off and commenced a warfare against those whom they claimed were “depriving them of their liberty.” Knowing that it was the Testimonies that had prompted us as a people to act, to establish “order,” these opponents soon turned their warfare against instruction from that source, claiming that “when they got that gift out of the way, the message would go unrestrained to its `loud cry.’ ”

One of the principal claims made by those who warred against organization was that it “abridged their liberty and independence, and that if one stood clear before the Lord that was all the organization needed,” etc… Upon this point, when church order was contested, we read: “Satan well knows that success only attend order and harmonious action. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. . . .  He deceives even the professed people of God, and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality; that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course. . . .  All the efforts made to establish order are considered dangerous, a restriction of rightful liberty, and hence are feared as popery.” (3)

When those who back in the “sixties” [1860s] witnessed the battle of establishing church order now hear persons, as conscientious no doubt as those back there, utter almost the identical words that were then used by those opposing order, it need not be wondered that they fear the result of such statements as the following: “Perfect unity means absolute independence, – each one knowing for himself. Why, we could not have outward disorganization if we all believed in the Lord. . . . This question of organization is a simple thing. All there is to it is for each individual to give himself to the Lord, and then the Lord will do with him just what he wants to, and that all the time. . . . Our only safety, under God, is to go back to the place where God is able to take a multitude of people and make them one, without parliamentary rules, without committee work, without legislation of any kind.” – General Conference Bulletin of 1899.

Superficially considered, this might seem to be a blessed state, a heaven indeed; but, as already noted on a preceding page, we read of heaven itself and its leadings that “the god of heaven is a god of order, and he requires all his followers to have rules and regulations to preserve order.” (2)

 

Yet Wisbey, and others, often quote Ellen White, of all people, in support of “progressive” Adventism where the maintenance of internal church doctrinal standards is viewed as quite harmful to growth, akin to what the Catholic Church did to Galileo:

     There is no excuse for anyone to take the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that our expositions of the Scripture are without error.(1, 4)

 

Such “progressive” individuals fail to note that although Ellen White does indeed use the phrase “unity in diversity,” (5) and stated that “Instructors in our schools should never be bound about by being told that they are to teach only what has been taught hitherto,” (6) she also maintained that the landmarks and pillars of Adventist truth were to remain.  Concepts that impact the science of geology which she “was shown” to be  identified as permanent include the concept of six literal, empirical,  historical 24-hour days of creation, culminating with a literal 24-hour Sabbath day of rest, and that life on earth was non-existent before the literal creation week described in Genesis.(7)

She also writes that no one is to go ahead or fall behind the current leading of God in the understanding of the Church as an organized body and expect to remain a recognized part of that body.

     God is leading out a people, not a few separate individuals here and there, one believing one thing, another that.  Angels of God are doing the work committed to their trust.  The third angels is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly. Some run ahead of the angels that are leading His people; but they have to retrace every step, and meekly follow no faster than the angels lead… (8)

The Word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. If there were no church discipline and government, the church would go to fragments; it could not hold together as a body. There have ever been individuals of independent minds, who have claimed that they were right, that God has especially taught, impressed, and led them. Each has a theory of his own, views peculiar to himself, and each claims that his views are in accordance with the Word of God. Each one has a different theory and faith, yet each claims special light from God. These draw away from the body, and each one is a separate church of himself. All these can not be right, yet they all claim to be led of the Lord. The word of inspiration is not yea and nay, but yea and amen in Christ Jesus. (9)


How are those who think themselves so “progressive” in advance of the foundational pillars of the organized SDA Church on such basic fundamental issues going to be remotely capable of “bringing our young people home at the end of the day?”,(10) as Elder Paulsen put it, if they don’t really believe in or see evidence for the home message to begin with?  Ultimately, is there to be no real accountability to the organized SDA Church for what is presented as “truth” from either pulpit or classroom? – by paid representatives supported by God’s own monies in the forms of tithes and offerings?

Such a perspective does not lead to growth, but to chaos and anarchy and eventual fragmentation of any organization.  For any organization to remain viable, internal order and discipline must be maintained.  This is not the same situation as occurred between the Catholic Church and Galileo where the Church thought to take on political and civil powers over all peoples.  That is never a good idea and is the very reason for the need of separation between church and state.  People should always be free to join or to leave any religious organization at will without any repercussions under civil law. However, this isn’t to say that internal government within the churrch is also dangerous or that it is unnecessary.   To the contrary, without the enforcement of internal order and government upon certain core principles and ideals, no organization of any kind could exist.  The order and government of the Adventist Church is itself inspired by God and in keeping with the general harmony and order that is displayed in Heaven.  God is a God of order and government.  He is not a God of chaos and anarchy.

The viability of the SDA Church, as an organization inspired by God, and the developing minds of a generation of SDA young people, is in our hands.

 

1. Dwyer, Bonnie. In the Eye of the Storm. 4, s.l. : Spectrum, 2009, Vol. 37.

2. Loughborough, JN. Testimonies for the Church. No. 32, p. 30.

3. Loughborough, JN. Testimonies for the Church. p. 650. Vol. 1.

4. White, Ellen G. Counsels to Writers and Editors. p. 35.

5. Nichol, Francis D. SDA Bible Commentary, 7 vols. plus supplement. Washington, D.C. : Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1970. p. 1083. Vol. 6.

6. White, Ellen. G. Silver Spring, MD : Ellen G. White Estate, 1888.

7. —. Spiritual Gifts, 4 vols. Battle Creek, MI : Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1858, 1860, 1864. pp. 90-93. Vol. 3.

8. —. Testimonies for the Church. Vol. 1. p. 207.

9. —. Testimonies for the Church. Vol. 1. p. 428, 429.

10. Paulsen, Jan. An Appeal. Adventist News Network. [Online] 2009. [Cited: December 21, 2009.] http://news.adventist.org/statements/an-appeal.html.

 

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133 thoughts on “Creeds and Fundamental Beliefs

  1. She also said……

    “Those who know the truth are to be worked by the Holy Spirit, and not themselves to try to work the Spirit. If the cords are drawn much tighter, if the rules are made much finer, if men continue to bind their fellow-laborers closer and closer to the commandments of men, many will be stirred by the Spirit of God to break every shackle, and assert their liberty in Christ Jesus. If men would act toward their fellow-men as to those whom Christ loves, if they would obey the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” there would be sweet harmony among the brethren. How much better it would be if those who claim to be Christians would behave like Christians. How much better it would be if all would cease speaking of their own good works and ways, indulging their self-esteem; refrain from the putting forth of the finger, imagining evil, and using their influence to weaken, oppress, and destroy. If men will not come to the terms made by the leading workers, they will not entertain them, they do not care what results may follow their injustice. With them it is rule or ruin. God has not appointed any man to do such work. And no human being shall be permitted to prescribe my liberty or intrench upon the perfect freedom of my brethren, without hearing my voice lifted in protest against it.” {RH, July 23, 1895 par. 2}

    For every statement, there is a counter-statement.

    The fact is, every individual will answer to God for himself.

    None the less, if you disagree with the fundamental church teaching, go start your own church. No one is stopping you.

    This is what the Protestant Reformation did.

    We are all free to do the same.

    Bill Sorensen




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  2. “People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become Seventh Day Adventists and keep Saturday holy” (Saint Catherine Catholic Church Sentinel, Vol. 30, Nov. 22, May 31, 1995)




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  3. Some time ago in our Sabbath School class our head elder and head deconess got into a somewhat heated discussion. During this discussion I realized we had three visitors setting behind me. I became more and more nervous as the “discussion” continued. Later, to my dismay, those visitors told the person that invited them they would NOT be back. Their reason: “Hey, you people don’t know what you believe!” Paul is clear in 1 Corinthians 1:10 we should all speak the samethings, that there be no divisions and that we should be perfectly joined together. It is the devil’s goal to divide and conquer while Christ’s is to unite in Him. IF we are truly united together in Him we will be in harmony, we WILL be saying the samethings because it will be Christ speaking, not ourselves.




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  4. @Daniel Shannon:

    IF we are truly united together in Him we will be in harmony, we WILL be saying the samethings because it will be Christ speaking, not ourselves.

    There are many honest and sincere Christians who are not on the same page when it comes to various doctrines that the Adventist Church considers to be “fundamental”. This is due to the fact that different people are on different points in their understanding of the Scriptures and in their walk with God. God does not expect everyone to be on the same point in the path when it comes to knowledge or their relationship with God. So, there will be differences of opinion which are inevitable – even among the saints of God.

    This is not to say, however, that all are therefore qualified to be an official representative of a particular organization, like the Adventist Church, simply because they might be in a saving relationship with God.

    To be an effective representative of an organization requires training and education and general agreement when it comes to the primary goals and ideals of the organization itself. This also implies that just because there are those who may not qualify as effective representatives of a particular organization does not mean that they are therefore not in a saving relationship with God or that God is not leading them and inspiring them. It just means that they do not currently represent, in an effective manner, the primary goals and ideals of the Adventist Church. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    In short, this is not a moral issue. It is simply a practical matter of church order and government. That’s all. Church order and government, as with any viable organization, requires the enforcement of internal rules to which all who wish to belong must voluntarily submit or leave the organization. Otherwise, there would be chaos within and the organization itself would fragment and crumble into irrelevance.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  5. Sean wrote: “For any organization to remain viable, internal order and discipline must be maintained.”

    Precisely! And the most effective means is to use websites such as this to publicly identify and vilify heretics, including friendly and unfriendly agnostics.




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  6. I have attended several “new believers” Sabbath School classes where the Fundamental Beliefs (both 27 and 28) have been used as a text. This is a great way for members, both old and new, to become acquainted with what and why we SDA’s believe what we do, based on biblical evidence.




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  7. @Eddie:

    Sean wrote: “For any organization to remain viable, internal order and discipline must be maintained.”

    Precisely! And the most effective means is to use websites such as this to publicly identify and vilify heretics, including friendly and unfriendly agnostics.

    Evidently the church body has been unaware of the fact that certain suborganizations within the Adventist Church, La Sierra University in particular, have been actively attacking, in a very conserted and deliberate manner, certain key fundamental beliefs of the church on the church’s dime for several decades. The church, as a body, needs to become more aware of this situation and act accordingly if it is to maintain effective order and government as an organization.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. Jon S. Klingbeil: “People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become Seventh Day Adventists and keep Saturday holy” (Saint Catherine Catholic Church Sentinel, Vol. 30, Nov. 22, May 31, 1995)

    Great Quote. Has anyone ever tried to dispute this logic? From either within or outside our SDA Church/




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  9. In this quote Sean claims that Ellen White was not soft on heresy and false doctrine. That she was firm on the issue of our Fundamental Beliefs –

    Sean Pitman: Mrs. White is not arguing against rules of church order and government or against the internal enforcement of these rules – without moral judgements or implications.

    Ok – so let’s see what Ellen White said about that.

    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)

    She just said we are NOT to receive the words of those who contradict our faith!

    And in the next quote – “let none tear away the foundations”

    Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith,–the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work, by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for the last fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way, and that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid. But this is a great deception. Other foundation can no man lay than that which has been laid.
    {RH, March 3, 1904 par. 13}

    “Listen not a momment” to what?? To LSU teaching students that they can dump the SDA doctrine on origins?

    Listen not a moment to the interpretations that would loosen one pin, remove one pillar, from the platform of truth. Human interpretations, the reception of fables, will spoil your faith, confuse your understanding, and make of none effect your faith in Jesus Christ. Study diligently the third chapter of Revelation. In it is pointed out the danger of losing your hold upon the things that you have heard and learned from the Source of all light.” (1MR 54.4)

    And finally – “no lie is of the truth” –

    No lie is of the truth. On every occasion possible Satan is on hand to introduce the leaven of his deceptive fallacies. Listen not a moment to the interpretations that would loosen one pin, remove one pillar, from the platform of truth. {12MR 126.1}

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  10. 11/1/11
    Eddie Says:

    “Precisely! And the most effective means is to use web sites such as this to publicly identify and vilify heretics, including friendly and unfriendly agnostics.”

    Eddie–

    We weak human beings cannot read another’s heart–Jesus could. So we need to be careful how we “judge” another human being. For all we know Ken (he is the only acknowledge agnostic I know of on this site) may be a lot closer to God than some of us who profess to be SDA Christians.

    I have never known him to write one unkind word to any one nor respond in a harsh way to any unkind remarks thrown his way. That comes pretty close to “being like Jesus” in my estimation. I just wish I could say the same about every one of us who post on this site.

    “Among the pitfalls of our life
    The best of us walk blindly–
    So, friend, be careful, watch and pray–
    And judge your brother kindly.”

    (This may not be quoted 100% correctly–I couldn’t locate my copy of it–but the thought is the same.)

    So please let us give him the benefit of the and concentrate on the real danger to our church–those who teach and preach a “gospel” that is the exact opposite of what we, as a church organisation, believe.

    I don’t care how deeply someone may believe in evolution–or any other doctrine that is contrary to our beliefs (and they are welcome to their beliefs) but it is downright dishonest to accept a pay check from us (or any other organization) while you do every thing possible to undermine what we (or they) stand for. That is known as “stealing”! And stealing is not a good character trait in anyone. (And, by the way, neither is “mud slinging!”)




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  11. I agree with the article. Let’s maintain order and accountability in God’s church! We uphold the standard of God’s word in our church entirely. The church is to be the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:16). The literal 7 day week from Creation, and the Sabbath are Bible teaching…plain and simple. It’s not merely some person’s conjecture. We have every right and necessity, as God’s people, and His church for the last days to UPHOLD the Bible’s true and clear teachings. If some individuals want to distort or misrepresent those Bible teachings, the church must, needs to, and shall hold them accountable. If they don’t like it, they can go start their own church of “so and so says” religion, and mix whatever kind of philosophy and heresy they want to. But don’t call it 7th-day Adventism. That’s the farthest thing from it.




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  12. BobRyan: Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith,–the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work, by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for the last fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way, and that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid. But this is a great deception. Other foundation can no man lay than that which has been laid.

    Come on, Sis. White. Is that really what the apostle Paul was referring to with that text?




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  13. Dear Lydian

    Thank you very much for your kind comments. I respect your faith and connection to God even though I might not understand it.

    When it comes to proximity to the Creator i suspect you are on the top rung of the ladder while I am still muddling around in the dark trying to find its base. You do raise an interesting point though that I do not agnostically rule out: might God be influencing me in mysterious ways of which I am not even aware? It would be pretty cool if Educate Truth was a rung on the ladder in that respect!

    Hope this finds you well.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  14. BobRyan: [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…

    Bob:

    Wow! You surely hit the nail on the head with this post. The whole of it was exactly what is needed regarding this whole issue–Ellen could have penned these passages this morning just for this time. What an awesome God we serve! He had the solution to the whole problem written about a century and a half ago.

    If people would only study, hearken, and act as advised, we wouldn’t be here now.

    I am just thrilled as I read the quotations you have posted for our benefit. Thank you so much, Bob. It was exactly what I, for one, needed. I was highly discouraged with this mess and I really needed these words to renew my hope.

    I know some people think I am too unkind in the posts I write; but it is just this determined resistance to this whole ugly situation that I feel so strongly and want to pass on to others that makes me write as I do. I don’t want to see any lost. I don’t think we should be suffering this heresy to continue to destroy our beloved church from the inside out. As I have said before, I hate the fact that the young minds who are led to believe this evolutionary trash are being led to their eternal destruction.

    I can hardly stand the snide smugness that Erv Taylor, Eddie, and their ilk seem to love to add to their posts here. I find it absolutely shocking that man–so weak and flawed–has the temerity to question the Word of our precious Lord and try to rob Him of the glory He so richly deserves in Creating and Redeeming us. How they can, with such determination, work against the God of the Universe–the One who made them, is more than I can take at times.

    I almost never signed in to this site tonight–I am so grateful that I did.

    God Bless you, Bob Ryan, a million times over.




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  15. Ben B.: I agree with the article. Let’s maintain order and accountability in God’s church! We uphold the standard of God’s word in our church entirely. The church is to be the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:16). The literal 7 day week from Creation, and the Sabbath are Bible teaching…plain and simple. It’s not merely some person’s conjecture. We have every right and necessity, as God’s people, and His church for the last days to UPHOLD the Bible’s true and clear teachings. If some individuals want to distort or misrepresent those Bible teachings, the church must, needs to, and shall hold them accountable. If they don’t like it, they can go start their own church of “so and so says” religion, and mix whatever kind of philosophy and heresy they want to. But don’t call it 7th-day Adventism. That’s the farthest thing from it.

    One of the major “creedal beliefs” of liberal and progressive SDA’s is that “nothing is salvational.” No matter what you believe or don’t believe, it really doesn’t matter since you probably believe some other “true” stuff, and that is “enough” to make it into heaven.

    One of the principal objections to this website, as stated over on Spectrum and Adventist Today, is that belief or non-belief in “evolution as fact” doesn’t matter since the belief in the Genesis account is “not salvational.”

    Name any biblical truth, and many Spectrumites will tell you it “isn’t salvational.”




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  16. Roy Binghy: BobRyan: Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith,–the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work, by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for the last fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way, and that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid. But this is a great deception. Other foundation can no man lay than that which has been laid.

    Come on, Sis. White. Is that really what the apostle Paul was referring to with that text?

    Hint – Paul wrote BOTH 1Cor 3 and Gal 1:6-11 so… “yes” that really is what he was talking about.

    What else did you expect?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  17. Faith: I am just thrilled as I read the quotations you have posted for our benefit. Thank you so much, Bob. It was exactly what I, for one, needed. I was highly discouraged with this mess and I really needed these words to renew my hope.

    You are very welcome – and thank you for those kind words.

    And you may notice that your strong affirmation of the solution that God handed to us through HIS messages given to Ellen White – is not always appreciated by the “doubt first” passers-by that visit from time to time.

    So what else is news?

    I for one – enjoy having a clear point of reference. God gives Ellen White very pointed instruction regarding this very situation. And then the nay-sayers loudly complain.

    All is as it should be.

    As for me and my house – We live to serve!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  18. BobRyan: When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth.

    Bob, that is part of the point. God has shown that He is a lover of diversity, that love, growth and development are all parts of his character. Certainly you remember Mrs. White’s description of heaven and how we will continually be growing, developing, and discovering new things. Would you agree with me so far? I think you would.

    Then please come with me just a little bit more and notice that there is more than one way to characterize evolution. In your oft repeated quote, Mrs White isn’t saying evolution is bad. She is saying that using science to disparage belief in God is bad. The understanding of evolution was very limited in Mrs. White’s day and the discussion was framed in such a way that people were confused.

    Today we understand evolution differently. We recognize now that evolution is really the physical manifestation of God’s character as described in my first paragraph. God is the creator, and evolution is only a word we use to describe his ongoing creative activity.

    Evolution is God creating more diversity, and adapting biology to better fit an ever changing environment. I say biology because that is the topic here, but if you look around, everything, even inorganic matter and human spirituality evolve. They do it because that is a revelation of God’s nature as surely as is the 10 commandments.




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  19. Sean, I thank you for your taking my comment seriously. I appreciate your thoughtful response.

    The issue here for me is not unity of the church, or even church authority. The issue is the method by which unity is achieved and how the authority is exercised.

    How is the church to achieve unity? One of the foundational principles of the Seventh-day Adventist church, is that truth is arrived at by careful study and appeals to reason and conscience. J.N. Loughborough’s 1861 statement is as true today as it was then, and none of the quotes above lessen it’s force. It is no more right for the Seventh-day Adventist church to excommunicate members and to coerce teachers today on the basis of a creed, than it was for the Protestant denominations of the 1800’s to excommunicate members for belief in the second coming of Christ and the Sabbath on the basis of their creeds.

    I agree with the quotes above. But there as nothing like that going on at La Sierra. There were no teachers who have “claimed that they were right, that God has especially taught, impressed, and led them.” or taught that they had “special light from God”. No one was trying to undermine the foundations of the church. No one was claiming to “have a stronger foundation than was laid”. These are simply Biology teachers trying to teach basic science the best they can with the best information they have. They weren’t even teaching anything new! They certainly weren’t trying to disrupt church organization.

    I could possibly credit your concerns if the church had a clear understanding and could reconcile the Bible with the Science, but the church doesn’t and can’t. No one can, and it seems unreasonable to expect a single biology teacher to be able to do what NO ONE has been able to do in the last 150 years.

    Sean Pitman: this is not a moral issue

    Actually this is a moral issue. It is categorically immoral for anyone, let alone the church to use coercion and persecution to enforce anyone’s belief against reason and conscience. Short of threatening one’s life, I don’t think there is an stronger threat that can be made, than threatening someone’s livelihood. We like to claim religious freedom when the secular world threatens jobs over our Sabbath belief. Is religious freedom within the church any less moral?




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  20. Faith: As I have said before, I hate the fact that the young minds who are led to believe this evolutionary trash are being led to their eternal destruction

    Faith, I am sorry that you find this so distressing. I wish that you could feel confident of God’s love and acceptance, and I wish you could see His wisdom and love in the evolution of his created universe.




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  21. @Ron:

    I agree with the quotes above. But there as nothing like that going on at La Sierra. There were no teachers who have “claimed that they were right, that God has especially taught, impressed, and led them.” or taught that they had “special light from God”. No one was trying to undermine the foundations of the church. No one was claiming to “have a stronger foundation than was laid”. These are simply Biology teachers trying to teach basic science the best they can with the best information they have. They weren’t even teaching anything new! They certainly weren’t trying to disrupt church organization.

    So, telling one’s students that life has clearly existed and evolved, via Darwinian mechanisms, on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, that the concept of a literal 6-day creation week, not to mention a worldwide Noachian Flood, is logically and scientifically untenable, is not really an act of undermining any of the primary goals or ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Where have you been?

    Did you miss the fact that the General Conference Executive Committee, at the 2004 Annual Council, asked all professors in SDA schools to also present the SDA perspective on origins in all classrooms?

    “We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.” (Link)

    How is LSU supporting this request of the Adventist Church? How is LSU not directly undermining the Church’s position on a literal 6-day creation week as the true story of the origin of life on this planet?

    I could possibly credit your concerns if the church had a clear understanding and could reconcile the Bible with the Science, but the church doesn’t and can’t. No one can, and it seems unreasonable to expect a single biology teacher to be able to do what NO ONE has been able to do in the last 150 years.

    Beyond the fact that this statement isn’t true on its face (there is in fact a great deal of scientific evidence in support of the Biblical claims on origins), it is irrelevant to the question of church order and government. The church has every right to expect that those who are hired to represent its interests will actually do so. It also has the right to release those from employment who cannot support the church’s goals and ideals from pulpit or classroom.

    Sean Pitman: “This is not a moral issue.”

    Actually this is a moral issue. It is categorically immoral for anyone, let alone the church to use coercion and persecution to enforce anyone’s belief against reason and conscience.

    Of course you are right here, but only with regard to those who do not claim to be representatives of the church. Your problem is that you think it is the right of all people, regardless of one’s individual views or ideas, to become paid representatives of the Adventist Church. It is not a basic human right to be paid by the SDA Church for promoting one’s own individual views independent of the views of the church who employs you. To be hired by the Church as an official representative from pulpit or classroom is a privilege, not a right, for which not everyone qualifies. Therefore, it is not persecution, in any meaningful sense of the word, for the church to refuse to hire or continue to pay those who do not accurately reflect the goals and ideals of the church as an organization.

    The church has not taken on civil authority here. You can do as you wish with respect to your own religious preferences in this free society of ours – thank God. You can leave or join any church at will without any fear of civil reprisals. And, that’s a very very good thing. However, the church, like all viable organizations, must also be free to hire only those who actually do represent the goals and ideals of the church.

    How is this not common sense? What you are arguing for here is chaos and anarchy within the church, not order and government for the Church.

    Is religious freedom within the church any less moral?

    There should always be freedom of religion in society at large. However, for a particular organization to remain viable, there must be selectivity when it comes to hiring official paid representatives. Freedom of religion in society at large does not mean that you can expect payment from any particular organization within that society for doing whatever you want independent of the goals and ideals of the organization that you hope will support your efforts financially.

    For example, if you like to wear Reebok shoes, you think they are the best, don’t expect to be hired by Nike for promoting the superiority of Reebok. In the same way, why should the SDA Church pay someone who thinks that Catholicism is better? – or who openly promotes anything that counters the basic goals and ideals of the SDA Church as an organization?

    What you are suggesting here is, again, not “freedom”, but chaos and anarchy. It was tried in the early formation of the Adventist Church. It didn’t work then, for obvious reason detailed above, and it will not work now.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  22. Ron: BobRyan: When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth.

    Bob, that is part of the point. God has shown that He is a lover of diversity, that love, growth and development are all parts of his character.

    Certainly you remember Mrs. White’s description of heaven and how we will continually be growing, developing, and discovering new things.
    [/quote]

    1. God is not the author of confusion. The idea that ripping up the Word of God is to be recast as “diversity” does not come from God.

    2. Indeed I do recall her report of what God showed her along those lines. I also recall her 3SG90-91 report of what God told her about the earth created in a real 7 day week just as we have today, and that God considers theistic evolutionism to be the “worst form of infidelity… it is infidelity in disguise”.

    Surely you agree with me – that all these are things that God revealed to Ellen White.

    Then please come with me just a little bit more and notice that there is more than one way to characterize evolution. In your oft repeated quote, Mrs White isn’t saying evolution is bad. She is saying that using science to disparage belief in God is bad.

    I suggest that some attention to detail is needed just then to make your case stick.

    Let us try an experiment. Take the 3SG 90-91 (or 90-94 of you prefer more context) and “Show us” that our claim holds water.

    “Show us” that Ellen White is not making any statement inconsistent, antithetical or flatly condemning of theistic evolution.

    I for one would be very happy to have you demonstrate the reality of your claim.

    Without that careful attention to detail – without addressing the hard questions – without addressing the test cases, it is merely wishful thinking.

    Surely you would agree.

    God is the creator, and evolution is only a word we use to describe his ongoing creative activity.

    That is not what Darwin found evolution to be.

    That is not what Dawkins claims to have found out about evolutionism.

    That is not what Provine and Meyers said they found out about evolutionism as compared to Christianity.

    Or is it your claim that these guys just don’t know anything about what evolution actually is?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  23. Ron: Actually this is a moral issue. It is categorically immoral for anyone, let alone the church to use coercion and persecution to enforce anyone’s belief against reason and conscience. Short of threatening one’s life, I don’t think there is an stronger threat that can be made, than threatening someone’s livelihood.

    I see. So using that as our “rule” – then no SDA professor turned atheist, no SDA professor turned Hindu, no SDA educator turned Catholic who then promotes their views to the destruction of the SDA beliefs and the Bible – should ever be asked to stop — because that is just one step short of threatening their life?

    Did you really think that one through or are you simply looking for any old excuse here?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  24. BobRyan: I see. So using that as our “rule” – then no SDA professor turned atheist, no SDA professor turned Hindu, no SDA educator turned Catholic who then promotes their views to the destruction of the SDA beliefs and the Bible – should ever be asked to stop — because that is just one step short of threatening their life?

    Why do you assume that a professor turning to Atheism or some other belief would threaten Adventist belief? Are you afraid that Adventist beliefs can’t stand up to such scrutiny? To my mind, resorting to a creed and coercion implies that you really don’t have faith in your beliefs.

    No, the appropriate response is to engage with them. Find out why they are persuaded to an alternate view. Then engage in constructive argument and reason. What is more, you should do this in good faith, remaining open to influence yourself. Jesus is the light that enlightens EVERY man, so we have a lot to learn from atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Catholics. The truth has nothing to fear. Truth is truth no matter where it comes from, and no matter how long it is thought to be heresy. If Adventist beliefs cannot stand the test of reason and time without the support of coercion, then they are worthless.




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  25. BobRyan: That is not what Darwin found evolution to be.

    That is not what Dawkins claims to have found out about evolutionism.

    That is not what Provine and Meyers said they found out about evolutionism as compared to Christianity.

    Or is it your claim that these guys just don’t know anything about what evolution actually is?

    No, my claim is that Darwin, Dawkins et.al. are making a false dichotomy and that Mrs. White was responding to the false dichotomy. Creation and evolution are not intrinsically exclusive and that this is an area where truth is progressive. We do not understand the issue the same way that even Mrs. White did. Her statement does not apply to evolution as I see it, because what I believe is not what she was describing.

    I can believe without cognitive dissonance that God created life in 7 days, 6000 years ago with the ability to evolve/diversify/adapt to a changing environment.

    When I look around at the world and ask myself, what is God like? What kind of a God created what I see? One of the conclusions that I draw is that God is a creator, because I see new things constantly being created.

    I think God loves diversity all the way down to the individual level, because the individuality and diversity I see in the world is almost overwhelming.

    I think God loves change, because the one thing that never changes is that everything changes. If God loves change and he loves his creatures, then it seems logical that He would create creatures that have the ability adapt/evolve with the change. And when I look, lo and behold every single living creature (well, almost) uses DNA for it’s genetic material, and it appears to me that DNA is made to evolve. Every single creature, with the possible exception of mitochondria, has a mechanism in place that creates change and diversity within its DNA.

    What’s more, is the mechanism working? YES! Far better than Darwin ever imagined. We see even humans evolveing within just the last 3000 years. http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/101001_altitude
    I mean, that is almost as recent as when Jesus was here!

    Tell me. Is there anything here that threatens Adventist faith? Help me, because for the life of me I don’t see it.




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  26. Sean Pitman: So, telling one’s students that life has clearly existed and evolved, via Darwinian mechanisms, on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, that the concept of a literal 6-day creation week, not to mention a worldwide Noachian Flood, is logically and scientifically untenable, is not really an act of undermining any of the primary goals or ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

    No, I am not defending the teachers. I am saying that the church is responding to the teachers in the wrong way. I believe that the church is abandoning it’s most fundamental of principles by responding they way they have, or at least the way you would like them to.




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  27. Ron: No, my claim is that Darwin, Dawkins et.al. are making a false dichotomy and that Mrs. White was responding to the false dichotomy. Creation and evolution are not intrinsically exclusive and that this is an area where truth is progressive. We do not understand the issue the same way that even Mrs. White did. Her statement does not apply to evolution as I see it, because what I believe is not what she was describing.
    I can believe without cognitive dissonance that God created life in 7 days, 6000 years ago

    Well certainly Darwin, Dawkins, Provine and Meyers would all agree with you that your idea of calling the act of God – creating all forms of life in 7 days 6000 years ago — is certainly not what they mean at all when they talk about evolution.

    So your claim that their definition of Evolution and yours’ are different – you win hands down there. Your view is not what any of us would call evolution.

    And when I look, lo and behold every single living creature (well, almost) uses DNA for it’s genetic material, and it appears to me that DNA is made to evolve. Every single creature, with the possible exception of mitochondria, has a mechanism in place that creates change and diversity within its DNA.

    DNA has the ability to “shuffle” existing information already in the static genome of the species it defines – but it has no observed ability at all to acquire new genetic information and advance to the next phyla.

    Therefore – no amoeba to horse transition.

    Of course you don’t need such a transition because you say that horses are created by God on day 6 and amoeba on day 3.

    So …err.. umm.. I guess that is not what any of us would call evolution.

    We see even humans evolveing within just the last 3000 years.

    Indeed – 3000 years and “humans are still humans”.

    But in your model we have amoeba on day 3 and horse on day 6 – all within a real 7 day week.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  28. Regarding your suggestion that we must pay with tithe and tution dollars to have every form of heresy promoted to our young adults – because in your view to deny anyone a job – paid by our church – to teach heresy – is almost like a life threatening event.

    BobRyan: I see. So using that as our “rule” – then no SDA professor turned atheist, no SDA professor turned Hindu, no SDA educator turned Catholic who then promotes their views to the destruction of the SDA beliefs and the Bible – should ever be asked to stop — because not getting paid (even for teaching error ) by SDA tithe and tuition dollars is really just one step short of threatening their life?

    Note – SDAs exchange notes with agnostics, atheists, hindus, muslims, Catholics and protestants all day long.

    But we do not pay those non-SDA professors to come in and promote their views to our students.

    Ron:
    Why do you assume that a professor turning to Atheism or some other belief would threaten Adventist belief?

    Why do you assume that professors have no effect, no impact at all on students?

    Why do you assume that we cannot get wrong-headed ideas from professors all day long at non-SDA public universities? We don’t need SDA schools to provide that “benefit”.

    Why not admit that we came up with SDA schools to provide the “value add” benefit of professors that actually have their heads on straight, are thought leaders rather than thought-befuddled and can demonstrate the mechanism for finding answers rather than demonstrating the “virtue of doubting God”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  29. Ron: Faith, I am sorry that you find this so distressing. I wish that you could feel confident of God’s love and acceptance, and I wish you could see His wisdom and love in the evolution of his created universe.

    Ron:

    I wish you could see the truth instead of subscribing to the evolutionary lie.




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  30. @Ron:

    I can believe without cognitive dissonance that God created life in 7 days, 6000 years ago with the ability to evolve/diversify/adapt to a changing environment.

    That’s not the issue here. We all believe in limited forms of evolution via random mutations/natural selection. The problem is with the modern concept of evolution where there are no limitations to evolutionary progress with respect to functional complexity – where every living thing is claimed, by modern evolutionists, to have evolved over hundreds of millions of years from a single common ancestral life form and ultimately from non-living materials via purely mindless naturalistic mechanisms.

    That’s what the LSU science professors have been teaching their students for decades, that life has existed on this planet for hundreds of millions of years and that it evolved form a common life form via Darwinian mechanisms without the obvious need for the input of intelligent design from anyone – not even God. Sure, they will admit that perhaps God did guide the process here and there, but they will argue that such guidance is non-detectable by science – that science is incapable of detecting the actions of God within the empirical world in which we live.

    Your arguments for evolution in action, and the low-level examples you cite, are without contest on my part. Of course evolution happens at such low levels of functional complexity – quite rapidly indeed as you point out. The evidence for design, however, is in showing that evolutionary progress is limited, this side of a practical eternity of time, to such low levels of functional complexity. Nothing functionally new that requires a minimum of more than a few hundred specifically arranged amino acid residues (in single or multiprotein systems) can evolve this side of trillions upon trillions of years of time. That’s the problem for the modern ToE.

    No, I am not defending the teachers. I am saying that the church is responding to the teachers in the wrong way. I believe that the church is abandoning it’s most fundamental of principles by responding they way they have, or at least the way you would like them to.

    This is interesting. What would you recommend, in particular? How should the church respond to those paid representatives who are and have long been actively attacking the most basic and “fundamental” goals and ideals of the church organization? If you can think of a better way to resolve this issue, which hasn’t already been tried in this particular case, that would be absolutely wonderful! I’m all ears…

    Why do you assume that a professor turning to Atheism or some other belief would threaten Adventist belief? Are you afraid that Adventist beliefs can’t stand up to such scrutiny? To my mind, resorting to a creed and coercion implies that you really don’t have faith in your beliefs.

    Just because I’m not threatened by the beliefs of atheists or agnostics or Catholics or Baptists or whatever does not mean that I should therefore hire those who hold such beliefs to preach in Adventist churches or to teach in Adventist schools. That would defeat the whole purpose of having a unique Adventist organization that actively and collectively promotes the uniquely Adventist position in all of our institutions.

    No, the appropriate response is to engage with them. Find out why they are persuaded to an alternate view. Then engage in constructive argument and reason. What is more, you should do this in good faith, remaining open to influence yourself. Jesus is the light that enlightens EVERY man, so we have a lot to learn from atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Catholics. The truth has nothing to fear. Truth is truth no matter where it comes from, and no matter how long it is thought to be heresy. If Adventist beliefs cannot stand the test of reason and time without the support of coercion, then they are worthless.

    Again, this is great advice when it comes to your neighbors and friends, but not when it comes to paid employees of the Adventist Church. You’re mixing up concepts here. I have a lot of friends outside of the Adventist faith, to include Catholics, Hindus, agnostics, atheists, and all the rest. We get along great and have a wonderful time together. But, you see, they don’t claim to be Adventist and they don’t expect to get a paycheck from the Adventist Church for promoting their views which are fundamentally at odds with those of Adventism.

    I fail to see how it makes any sense to you that any organization would deliberately hire those who fundamentally opposed the clearly stated basic goals and ideals of the organization? It’s fine and even good to honestly and sincerely talk to those from outside of the organization who hold opposing views. But, if you or I or anyone else within the Adventist Church becomes convinced by these opposing views, it behooves us to resign from our positions within the Adventist Church and join the organization that we can honestly and actively support. Certainly one should not expect to get paid by the Adventist Church for going around attacking the clearly stated goals and ideals of the church. That’s an argument for anarchy my friend – not a viable organization of any kind.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. Fundamental Beliefs –

    Someone here may say that the comment I have to make is off topic. True, it is not about evolution but it is about one of our most core fundamental beliefs. It is related to our very name “Adventist” and the issues upon which this church was founded.

    When this church was founded, it was upon the belief of a very near coming of Jesus in power and glory. That was more than 150 years ago.

    Am I mistaken when it seems to me that our discussions tend toward the long term?

    One of our more fundamental beliefs, discussed here, would probably draw an even more heated discussion than our belief in a literal 7-day recent creation week. I’ll put it out there for response.

    We believe that in the near future, God’s REMNANT church will face terrible persecution related to their faithfulness in worshipping the true God and keeping HIS Sabbath holy. In fact, this belief is so core to our existence that the day was made a part of our full name as an organization.

    I believe that the preparations for this persecution are mostly in place and there remain only a few triggers to engage it fully.

    So what will we as Seventh-Day Adventists be doing when the world-wide law is established that enforces the observance of Sunday? How quickly do YOU think this could happen? Will we be operating the finest medical facilities in the world? Will we be operating cutting-edge educational institutions?

    Will we be posting our messages here on the internet? Will we be meeting in our prominant beautiful churches on “Main Street”? If so, will it be on Sabbath? Or Sunday?

    How will we be doing all of that from the mountains and caves where we will be hiding?

    Ellen White (yes, she was a true prophet) says that “the final movements will be rapid ones.” There are those among us who are pointing to the signs that this is true. We are almost to the time when this earth will be evacuated by God’s “saved”. Should we not be wholly focused on proclaiming the mission that is the cause for our existance?

    Why are we here? What are we doing here? Why are we not yet in God’s Heavenly kingdom?




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  32. Apparently Ron thinks by creating all kinds of false dilemmas and muddy up the water of reason, he can demonstrate a “Christian” attitude concerning those who attack stated church teaching.

    So, he re-defines evolution in a way no one would subscribe to and hopes to convince others of his ideas by doing so.

    I suggest it is rather typical of modern unbelief on many issues. If you can re-define, convolute other definitions, and generally destroy the human language as a means of communication, you can create a Babylon confusion where dialogue is impossible.

    So, anyone can use a phrase or word in the context of a statement, and when challenged by the standard useage of the word or phrase, simply say, “Well, I mean thus and so, even if it is not in harmony with common useage.”

    Seriously, don’t you just get tired of all the word games and double talk unbelievers use to try and defend their positions?

    I know I do.

    Bill Sorensen




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  33. Re the topic.

    Will someone be brave enough to define exactly what “THE TRUTH AS IT IS IN JESUS” means to Adventists? It appears that unless we have a clear understanding as to what this phrase means to Adventists, when used by Adventists, we will not understand the difference between Creeds and Fundamental Beliefs.

    For example, does THE TRUTH AS IT IS IN JESUS, change?

    Ranald.




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  34. Hello Charles

    I enjoyed your post.

    I suspect that the reason this topic is currently off the radar is due to the publicity surrounding the exposure of Harold Camping. I doubt that Advenstists want to repeat this folly, especially wtih no signs of a mandated Sunday law in sight.

    Eschatology is tricky business and the word soon loses its edge as years, decades and centuries roll by.

    That’s my respectful view from the agnostic peanut gallery.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  35. Sean wrote, “God, and therefore Truth, never changes. However, our human understanding of truth does change —”

    Sean, my question is very specific, am I correct in assuming the above is what you understand this phrase, commonly used by Adventists, means?

    As we have a 50/50 vote, so far, I suspect someone must disagree.




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  36. Sean, if God and therefore truth never changes, then the truth as it is in Jesus must be represented by the Bible, not by the volume 28.

    Cf. the following. “While this volume is not an officially voted statement — it may be viewed as representative of “the truth . . .. in Jesus (Eph. 4:21) that Seventh-day Adventists around the globe cherish and proclaim.” Seventh-day Adventists Believe — 27, p. iv.

    How many times have people been falsely censured, disfellowshipped, or had credentials withdrawn, by applying the volume as “the truth as it is in Jesus.” instead of the Bible?




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  37. Ranald:

    I agree with Sean, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His truth does not change. However, you seem to be in disagreement with something written in the Seventh-Day Adventists Believe, and I am curious to know what it is. In theory, SDAs believe according to the Bible. While I have never read the book, I would like to know where it seems to you to vary from the Bible. I only believe what is in agreement with the Bible and if there is something in that book with the 28 fundamental beliefs, I want to know about it. Could you enlighten me?




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  38. Ranald McLeish: In 2002 I wrote four times to the SS Dept asking for an explanation,without a response. A couple of months ago, after years of researching the subject, I wrote again, this time I have received an acknowledgement, but as yet no response.

    You “wrote to the Sabbath School department”???

    At what point did you ever decide that the Sabbath School department was some kind of doctrinal vetting ground or had the authority of the denomination in terms of doctrine or beliefs?

    I have read some very good Sabbath School quarterlies and some that were “not so much”. I don’t expect perfection from those guys every time they step up to the plate. I respect their efforts and most of the guest writers they sign up for a tour of duty – do a pretty good job.

    What in the world were you thinking with your appeal for an explanation from the Sabbath School department” ?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  39. “What in the world were you thinking with your appeal for an explanation from the Sabbath School department” ?”

    in Christ,

    Bob

    Well, Bob, I think we have a right to expect the SS quarterly to reflect the world wide thinking of the SDA church, don’t you?

    If anything is “official” SDA teaching, it certainly should be the quarterly.

    Bill Sorensen




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  40. I like to imagine that the SS Quarterly would be infallibly doctrinal perfect in its every statement from today forward.

    I have a hard time imagining that such a thing has happened in the past.

    There is no board of SDA theologians vetting every word that comes forth in print from the quarterly as it turns out.

    It is instead the best efforts of well intentioned individuals expressing some diversity in viewpoints and encouraging discussion.

    But it is at times far from the “gold standard” on doctrinal purity. Though some optimists might wish to think it is “not far from it” — I am slightly more realistic.

    😉

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  41. Ranald McLeish: Will someone be brave enough to define exactly what “THE TRUTH AS IT IS IN JESUS” means to Adventists? It appears that unless we have a clear understanding as to what this phrase means to Adventists, when used by Adventists, we will not understand the difference between Creeds and Fundamental Beliefs.

    For example, does THE TRUTH AS IT IS IN JESUS, change?

    Truth never changes.

    Our understanding of it improves over time.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  42. Hi Bob,

    The topic is Creeds and Fundamental beliefs, my question and response has been with that in mind.

    I agree with you regarding the SS Quarterlies, however they do not claim to represent “the truth as it is in Jesus.” As far as I am aware, only the book Adventists Believe, makes that claim. Thus the question does that make it creedal, especially when people are judged by it as opposed to the Bible?




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  43. There used to be a couple who attended our church over 25 years ago. They were very interested in our beliefs and studied deeper and deeper. We thought they were going to be baptized and join the SDA church after the bible study. Then they stopped coming.
    Later on we found out that they, their uncle and some friend bought a piece of property close to the city center and turned it into a Church. they called it Church of God Seventh Day and worshipped on Saturdays instead of Sunday. The church is still there with the same name. The group have been attending various churches, picking the various churches’ doctrine that they like and put it together into one and used it as their doctrine.
    This is the proper thing for them to do. Those who don’t agree with the SDA FB and are trying to dismantle it and divide the church should learn a lesson from this group and form their own group/church.
    It is not right for them to collect pay cheques from the SDA church and at the same time undermine/destroy the basic SDA beliefs of the organisation that pay them.




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  44. Ranald McLeish: I agree with you regarding the SS Quarterlies, however they do not claim to represent “the truth as it is in Jesus.” As far as I am aware, only the book Adventists Believe, makes that claim. Thus the question does that make it creedal, especially when people are judged by it as opposed to the Bible?

    I guess it depends on how you define “Creedal”.

    There is a video still on the internet in which William Johnson is being interviewed by Walter Martin (Kingdom of the Cults) and John Ankerberg – where Johnson recounts an instance where he spoke to a Gathering of SDA ministers saying that they could either remain with the church or leave – based on the answer to one question and one question only.

    “Can you in all good conscience support and teach the 27 Fundamental Beliefs” –

    Is this your definition of a “Creed”?

    Is it your claim that if we reject atheism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Mormonism, etc and insist that our own voted body of doctrines be promoted “instead” that we have a “creed”?

    If you read the specific posts I gave regarding the 19th century position of one of our key church leaders on this subject – you will see the view that held the day back in those early years.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  45. Hi Bob, and c.lee.

    Your Question was largely answered in my response to C. Lee. However as that post has disappeared I will respond again.

    I believe “the truth as it is in Jesus” is only found in one book, the Bible.

    I believe the church needs to have a statement of beliefs, I have no problem with that. The problem is when a church’s statement of beliefs, is made equal to, or above the Bible, that is when the beliefs become a Creed.

    It appears Educate truth is not happy to leave the final say with the Bible, cf. “James Londis, Don’t Change Our Belief on Creation, the Words of Scripture Suffice, OCTOBER 4, 2011. cf. the disclaimer, Educate Truth does not share the opinion of this author.”

    You see Bob, I am quite happy for Educate Truth to have an opinion that incorporates the Bible +, as long as I can believe differently, cf. Matt 13:25-30.

    Do you honestly believe that a few chosen men, given less than a week, could put together 27 statements of belief that would never have to be changed?

    Re your question, “Can you in all good conscience support and teach the 27 Fundamental Beliefs” –

    First of all let me be very clear, In general the 28 are very good statements, When it comes to the interpretation of the voted statements, the answer “in all good faith” has to be no. Because it is clear some teachings in that book are certainly contrary to to the Scriptures. Furthermore as it is clear that teachings contrary to these beliefs are presented to our people through the official publications of the church, It is clear various departments of the Church feel that they are not strictly bound by some of these specific beliefs today.

    In the SOP writings there are 45 hits for the phrase, “The Bible and the Bible only.”
    It was good enough for the Reformers, to see the light, it was good enough for the Pioneers to see the light, and I believe it is the light for me to walk in today.

    Trusting that answers your questions,
    Your brother in Christ,
    Ranald.




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  46. The book – the 27 Fundamental Beliefs presents a fairly accurate rendering of the 27 Fundamental Beliefs – leaving little room at all for Bible wrenching by the reader.

    No one ever said that everyone will choose to believe the SDA 28 fundamental beliefs. Opinions may certainly vary.

    No one has ever demonstrated that the 28 Fundamental Beliefs do not come from the Bible.

    These points are beyond dispute.

    There certainly are those who would wish to wrench and bend some of the statements – such as FB6 so make it bow in service to blind faith evolutionism.

    Those who wish to see the Fundamental Beliefs “change” over time should then be ecstatic that they are about to get their wish with FB 6 – a “change” is coming so that the literal 24 hour day sense of the text is impossible to ignore.

    My point was that the statements you read about the pillars of our faith ‘not changing’ though challenged for decades at the time of the writing of that statement – fits precisely with the use of our beliefs to this very day.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  47. Ranald McLeish: You see Bob, I am quite happy for Educate Truth to have an opinion that incorporates the Bible +, as long as I can believe differently, cf. Matt 13:25-30

    You can believe whatever you want. you can choose to believe the Bible or not.

    you can choose to believe SDA doctrine or to believe Catholic doctrine or … whatever.

    But if you want to choose Catholicism, or mormonism and then “label it Seventh-day Adventist” you get some push back from those who actually believe SDA doctrine.

    Surely we all see that.

    The question is not “what CAN you choose to believe” – the question is whether you are free to misrepresent any old list of doctrines you choose to come up with – as “catholic” or “Mormon” or “SDA” slapping labels on it to suit your fancy — or whether you need to be accurate in those claims.

    Normally someone would not go out of their way to be agnostic and yet claim to be SDA – UNLESS they had a job – paid by SDAs “as if you are SDA” and they did not want to put that job at risk.

    Thus the “conflict of interest” problem well known to the rest of the world.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  48. Hello Ken, my friend.

    “… repeat this folly, especially wtih no signs of a mandated Sunday law in sight.”

    According to the story (or “legend” if you do not believe it’s true) of Noah, he preached for 120 years and backed up his belief by building a gigantic boat on high and dry land. Yep! And he was mocked and ridiculed for his belief. Imagine the crescendo of mockery as a week passes AFTER they enter the boat. According to the story, the whole world was destroyed except for the few in the boat:

    Matt 24 –

    37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

    39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    Those are the words of Jesus – Who IS the Creator of this world.

    If one is waiting for absolute proof – as in watching for the storm clouds and raindrops to fall – then it will be too late. Too Late!

    One either believes or does not believe. Honestly, those of us who do believe have studied the matter and have adequate evidence to believe.




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  49. Ranald McLeish: Re your question, “Can you in all good conscience support and teach the 27 Fundamental Beliefs” –

    First of all let me be very clear, In general the 28 are very good statements, When it comes to the interpretation of the voted statements, the answer “in all good faith” has to be no. Because it is clear some teachings in that book are certainly contrary to to the Scriptures. Furthermore as it is clear that teachings contrary to these beliefs are presented to our people through the official publications of the church,

    First of all – I have not seen you point to any place where the 27 FB differs from the voted doctrines of the Church or the Bible.

    A great place to “start your list” would be here – http://www.clubadventist.com

    A few years ago poster calling himself “Bravus” came here from the clubadventist area and posted that he was SDA and yet felt free to declare Ellen White wrong when she reported what God told her in 3SG90-91, that the SDA church is wrong in its view of creation, that the doctrinal statements could be bent to serve the usages of evolutionism and that he was not saying this as an evolutionist but as an SDA.

    Over the years he finally did admit that he is speaking as an evolutionist.

    And now has posted this statement below – stating that he is no longer SDA – and listing the doctrinal areas where his views are in conflict with SDA doctrine.

    http://www.clubadventist.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/491719/Re_Why_I_am_a_former_SDA.html#Post491719

    At last after all these years he his let his outward profession of religious affiliation match his outward arguments against the Bible on creation and against the SDA church on a number of doctrinal points.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  50. Hi Charles

    I appreciate the depth of your faith. I’m sure it is of great comfort.

    I trust you undrestand that I do not come by my agnosticism lightly.

    Always good to hear from you.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  51. Hello Bob,

    First of all Bob I hope you are quick enough to read this RESPONSE in case it is pulled again. In answer to your statement, “First of all – I have not seen you point to any place where the 27 FB differs from the voted doctrines of the Church or the Bible.”

    This time I will ask you and Educate Truth to answer a simple question based on Scripture, and then explain how it fits with the FB statement below.

    “The following is a brief synopsis of the voted Adventist statements of belief, regarding the little horn. presented in the volume, Adventists Believe — 27, now 28. While this volume is not an officially voted statement — it may be viewed as representative of “the truth . . . in Jesus (Eph. 4:21) that Seventh-day Adventists around the globe cherish and proclaim. Seventh-day Adventists Believe — 27, p. iv.

    * The little horn power extends from the fall of the Greek empire till the “time of the end” (Dan. 8:17). Only Rome, pagan and papal, meets these time specifications. Seventh-day Adventists Believe, 27, p. 321.

    How long do Daniel and John say the little horn power rules?

    I look forward to your responses to this question.

    Regards,
    Ranald.




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  52. Ranald –

    1. Your quote is from the text explanation of the 27 FB found in the book 27 Fundamental beliefs – and not from the actual belief statement itself.

    If your argument is that the committee that worked on the explanation of the belief did not always write every word out to 100% accuracy – then I am not in a position to challenge you in that regard.

    However on this forum you will often find the reference to our voted belief statements – not necessarily a claim that the 1000’s of words in the book called by that name are each infallibly correct.

    2. You seem to be grasping at straws – but if you wish to make your case – I suggest clubadventist because it has a “Theological town hall” where you can talk about his all day long. I am there as well.

    3. Having said all that – and at the risk of this post getting deleted. I would argue that in Dan 8 “out of one of them” (out of one of the four winds) (the four points of the compass) we have the Roman empire arising. This fact is also in 11.4 where the four winds are the four points of the compass.

    Since we are talking about Daniel 8 and you ask how long a period of time is associated with this event. The only time element given in Dan 8 is 2300 day (2300 years in the day for year model obviously used in Dan 9 and in 8 and 7 as well).

    No single entity in Dan 8 does anything for 2300 years. Rather the 2300 years of Dan 8 covers the entire timeline addressed by Daniel 8 from Persia to well past the Roman empire.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  53. I am saying that there is only 1 timeline given in Dan 8 from which the little horn statement that you quoted is being taken. And that chapter does not state that the little horn actions last for 2300 years (because in fact they do not).

    In vs 13 the question is asked “How long is the vision” (how long a time period is covered by the vision) and in vs 14 the answer of 2300 years is given.

    We notice that in vs 1-4 the vision begins with the age where Persia is dominant. Long before Rome.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  54. Daniel 8 does not address the length of time that the little horn rules. The little horn of Daniel 8 arises after the division of Greece.

    But the little horn of Daniel 7 arises after the division of Rome into 10 divisions. In Daniel 7 the little horn persecutes the saints for 1260 years.

    The little horn of Daniel 7 cannot include Pagan Rome.

    But you pulled references from the little horn of Daniel 8 to make your complaint and in so doing you lost the specificity of the Daniel 7 timeline. There is no way to see Daniel 7 in every point read from Daniel 8 without deleting the added detail that we find in Daniel 8.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  55. Hi Bob,

    You correctly stated “1. Your quote is from the text explanation of the 27 FB found in the book 27 Fundamental beliefs – and not from the actual belief statement itself.”

    You also stated, “First of all – I have not seen you point to any place where the 27 FB differs from the voted doctrines of the Church or the Bible.”

    I quoted from FB, “While this volume is not an officially voted statement — it may be viewed as representative of “the truth . . . in Jesus (Eph. 4:21) that Seventh-day Adventists around the globe cherish and proclaim. Seventh-day Adventists Believe — 27, p. iv.”

    Now Bob, and anyone else, especially Educate Truth, the question is simple:

    How long does the little horn of Daniel 7 and 8 rule? Bible answer please. This is not a “straw man” question.

    Am I right in assuming FB 27 was written to present the Adventist understanding of the little horn among other things. Now if it, FB, presents the “the truth . . . in Jesus (Eph. 4:21) that Seventh-day Adventists around the globe cherish and proclaim,” surely someone can answer this simple question!!

    Regards,
    Ranald.




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  56. “How long does the little horn of Daniel 7 and 8 rule? Bible answer please. This is not a “straw man” question.”

    The little horn represents pagan Rome, Dan. 8:9 and “another little horn” represents Papal Rome. Dan. 7:8.

    So the time element would include both pagan and papal Rome. But as SDA’s we are more interested in “another little horn” which is from 538 AD to 1798 AD. The Papacy.

    Bill Sorensen




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  57. BobRyan: Daniel 8 does not address the length of time that the little horn rules. The little horn of Daniel 8 arises after the division of Greece.

    But the little horn of Daniel 7 arises after the division of Rome into 10 divisions. In Daniel 7 the little horn persecutes the saints for 1260 years.

    The little horn of Daniel 7 cannot include Pagan Rome.

    But you pulled references from the little horn of Daniel 8 to make your complaint and in so doing you lost the specificity of the Daniel 7 timeline. There is no way to see Daniel 7 in every point read from Daniel 8 without deleting the added detail that we find in Daniel 8.

    Ranald McLeish: Now Bob, and anyone else, especially Educate Truth, the question is simple:

    How long does the little horn of Daniel 7 and 8 rule? Bible answer please. This is not a “straw man” question.

    How is it that quote of mine above is not the answer to your question??

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  58. Hi Bill,

    You said, “The little horn represents pagan Rome, Dan. 8:9 and “another little horn” represents Papal Rome. Dan. 7:8.

    So the time element would include both pagan and papal Rome. But as SDA’s we are more interested in “another little horn” which is from 538 AD to 1798 AD. The Papacy.

    Bill I am glad you see the word “another” in Daniel, means Just that. So I am presuming you see two little horns in Daniel 7 and 8, The LH of 7:8 representing the Papacy, and the LH of 8:9 representing Rome.

    My question to you is this, As you see the 1260 years of 7;25 apply to the Papacy, which time element applies to both Rome and the Papacy? i.e. how long does Rome rule for? Or as FB puts it how long does” Rome pagan and papal” rule?

    Blessings,
    Ranald.




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  59. Hi Bob,

    You said, “But you pulled references from the little horn of Daniel 8 to make your complaint and in so doing you lost the specificity of the Daniel 7 timeline. There is no way to see Daniel 7 in every point read from Daniel 8 without deleting the added detail that we find in Daniel 8.”

    Where did I ever say that? Please do me justice and quote me correctly.

    Bob you also said, ” Daniel 8 does not address the length of time that the little horn rules. The little horn of Daniel 8 arises after the division of Greece.”

    I believe you are correct, if you see two little horns in Dan. 7 and 8. So please tell me, how do you fit your understanding with the statement from FB, that is considered by Adventists to be the truth … in Jesus?

    I am assuming from what you have said that you and Bill agree the LH of 7:8 is “another horn” that represents another power, a new power, the Papacy, that arose in the midst of the 10 horn kingdoms, and ruled for 1260 years, 7:25.

    Blessings,
    Ranald.




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  60. Sean Pitman: For example, if you like to wear Reebok shoes, you think they are the best, don’t expect to be hired by Nike for promoting the superiority of Reebok. In the same way, why should the SDA Church pay someone who thinks that Catholicism is better? – or who openly promotes anything that counters the basic goals and ideals of the SDA Church as an organization?

    Sean, If you see the goal of the church to create a homogeneous group of believers who believe a narrow prescribed set of doctrines, then I will grant your assertion that the church has the right and obligation to carefully vet and fire teachers based on what they teach.

    However if you want the church to be a safe place for everyone, including pastors and teachers, to submit their true thought to the critical evaluation, in a lively dynamic search for present truth, then you can’t do that.

    Sometimes in order to thoroughly examine an issue for the purposes of figuring out what you actually believe about it, you have to argue for for the opposite position, the one you may not like, in order to see where it’s strengths and weaknesses are. You have to have the freedom and safety to accept and argue for positions that you might not ultimately accept. You can’t do that in an organization that demands orthodoxy.

    Maybe you want an orthodox church where everyone believes the same. If so, then I guess you need to continue doing what you are doing. In my opinion such a church would be a dead church. I would not want to belong to such a church.

    By the way, I am amused by the phrase “Darwin’s mechanisms” coming from a creationist. If you really believe in creation, then they aren’t Darwin’s mechanisms, they are God’s mechanisms. You have to settle in your own mind whether God created the world or didn’t he? If he did, then you have to accept that he also created the mechanism’s by which organisms evolve.




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  61. BobRyan: Is it your claim that if we reject atheism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Mormonism, etc and insist that our own voted body of doctrines be promoted “instead” that we have a “creed”?

    Bob, The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that we should not reject Catholicism, Hinduism, Mormonism or any other “ism” out right. Certainly not on the basis of an extra-Biblical creed, but we should always listen to everyone with courtesy and respect remembering that Jesus was the light that lights “every man” who comes into the world, and Jesus has sheep who are “not of this fold”. So we should approach every “ism” with an open mind to find the truth that Jesus has especially revealed to the that community. We don’t have to accept everything they say, and we certainly don’t have to give up what we believe without reason, but we need to be open to what God might be trying to teach us through his other children. Light shines in both directions.




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  62. BobRyan: The question is not “what CAN you choose to believe” – the question is whether you are free to misrepresent any old list of doctrines you choose to come up with – as “catholic” or “Mormon” or “SDA” slapping labels on it to suit your fancy — or whether you need to be accurate in those claims.

    Bob, you seem to think it would be a grievously dishonest for a person misrepresent a doctrine as being “Adventist” when it wasn’t, and I agree with you whole heartily. I a perplexed that you don’t seem to hold the same standard up when you distinguish or fail to distinguish between science and religious belief. You seem to want to call our SDA religiousness belief in creation “Science” when it is not. I think the Biology teachers are right to reject this mischaracterization. It seems equally intellectually dishonest to me.




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  63. Sean Pitman: We will always be learning more and more about Truth throughout eternity.

    So, as a pragmatic matter, yes, truth changes.

    Actually, God does change. We have evidence of him changing his mind in response to both Moses and Abraham. If the natural world in any way reflects the character of God, then one would infer that God “never changes” only in the sense that he never stops changing.




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  64. c lee: This is the proper thing for them to do.

    @ C Lee The trouble with that, is that I was a Seventh-day Adventist before the creed was developed. In fact I can trace my linage back to the falling of the stars even before 1844, and I never agreed to the change in doctrine represented by the Fundamental Beliefs. I remember that those who promulgated the Fundamental beliefs promised that they would never be considered a creed (read the pre-amble), but now we see their lies revealed and the true character of those who promote the Fundamental beliefs.




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  65. @Sean,
    I apologize if I don’t respond to some points. I am finding it hard to navigate back and forth.

    Re: evolution: If you admit “micro” evolution, you admit “macro” evolution. There is no biological or functional boundary between the two. The time is really immaterial. I can’t see that it matters much whether God created organisms with the capacity to evolve 6000 years ago or 6 billion years ago, evolution is still a scientific fact. That is true and needs to be acknowledged as true by Seventh-day Adventists. Our theologians need to get busy and show the rank and file how evolution is compatible with our beliefs, because frankly, it is, and denying the truth doesn’t help.

    Sean Pitman: I fail to see how it makes any sense to you that any organization would deliberately hire those who fundamentally opposed the clearly stated basic goals and ideals of the organization?

    I think part of the issue here is that you and I have a fundamentally different views of what the church’s “goals and ideals” are. It appears to me that for you it is to define orthodoxy and promulgate doctrinal purity. That would be why you support the “Fundamental Beliefs”

    For me, the most fundamental goal and ideal of the church is to facilitate the searching for truth. The reason Adventists exist as a denomination in the first place is that we didn’t agree with the orthodox views of the day. It used to be that Adventists were distinguished by their unwavering commitment to truth as they understood it, even when it disagreed with traditional “fundamental beliefs”.

    Don’t miss understand me. I honor the scholarship and leading of the Holy Spirit that I have inherited, and from that perspective I accept the “Fundamental Beliefs” as a limited statement of understanding for a particular time. I value it as I would an anchor on a ship. Something stable to help us weather a storm, but not something to slow down or prohibit progress.

    I don’t remember who it was, but someone once said, I don’t give a whit for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give the world for the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity. To simply deny the evidence for evolution is not honest, and that is the simplicity on this side of complexity. To acknowledge the truth of evolution and do the hard theological work to harmonize the Bible and science gets us to the simplicity on the other side of complexity. Or, do the hard scientific work needed to convince people that there is some alternative, ANY alternative. I watched a documentary on the Dover trial last night. Michael Behe himself, under oath, stated that Intelligent Design is not a theory and by the criteria he himself proposed, it was scientifically refuted.

    You asked, how do you resolve this? You resolve it by being tolerant until you can do the hard scientific and theological work needed to convince people rationally without coercion.

    Orthodoxy by dent of “Fundamental Belief” and coercion is on this side of complexity. Orthodoxy based in respectful dialog, reason with hard scientific and theological effort is the simplicity on the other side of complexity.

    The complexity between here and there is messy and painful, but it cannot be short circuited without doing violence to people and conscience.




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  66. Ron: Re: evolution: If you admit “micro” evolution, you admit “macro” evolution. There is no biological or functional boundary between the two. The time is really immaterial. I can’t see that it matters much whether God created organisms with the capacity to evolve 6000 years ago or 6 billion years ago, evolution is still a scientific fact. That is true and needs to be acknowledged as true by Seventh-day Adventists. Our theologians need to get busy and show the rank and file how evolution is compatible with our beliefs, because frankly, it is, and denying the truth doesn’t help

    Classic “blind faith evolutionism”.

    The claim “if become immune to a disease – or get over a cold – then birds come from reptiles and horses from amoeba” is the kind of junk-science poor-religion that we expect from blind faith evolutionists.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  67. The “mechanism” for creationism is observed every day. Intelligent designers create books, computer programs, works of art that rocks and gas will never produce no matter the times the blind-faith evolutionist utters their sacred mantra “beeeellions and beeeellions”.

    By contrast – the “mechanism” for evolutionism whereby static genomes acquire new coding genes such that the amoeba turns into the horse (after the appropriate beeeeellions and beeeellions is said over it) – has never been “observed in nature”.

    Hence Dawkin’s 11 seconds of totally flummoxed silence when asked to point to the actual mechanism of evolutionism “at work”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaKryi3605g

    Thus atheist evolutionist like Collin Patterson lament that the much imagined mechanism for evolutionism has never been found.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  68. Ron: BobRyan: The question is not “what CAN you choose to believe” – the question is whether you are free to misrepresent any old list of doctrines you choose to come up with – as “catholic” or “Mormon” or “SDA” slapping labels on it to suit your fancy — or whether you need to be accurate in those claims.

    Bob, you seem to think it would be a grievously dishonest for a person misrepresent a doctrine as being “Adventist” when it wasn’t, and I agree with you whole heartily. I a perplexed that you don’t seem to hold the same standard up when you distinguish or fail to distinguish between science and religious belief. You seem to want to call our SDA religiousness belief in creation “Science” when it is not. I think the Biology teachers are right to reject this mischaracterization. It seems equally intellectually dishonest to me.

    1. News flash – the Creation science movement is a product of Seventh-day Adventism.

    2. 3SG 90-91 declares the TE notion to BE the worst form of infidelity. This is the view of Adventists in the 1800’s.

    3. Darwin himself admits to the incompatibility of blind-faith evolutionism with Christianity.

    So also do Provine, Meyers and Dawkins today. If they know anything at all – they know evolutionism and they have a good grasp of at least the overt gap between LEGAL CODE that is of the form “For in SIX days the Lord MADE the heavens and the earth the seas and all that is in them and rested the SEVENTH DAY” vs “the beeeeellions and beeeellions mantra” of evolutionism.

    At this point – one wonders how even a former SDA such as you claim to be – could get so confused on these obvious facts.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  69. Ron: BobRyan: Is it your claim that if we reject atheism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Mormonism, etc and insist that our own voted body of doctrines be promoted “instead” that we have a “creed”?

    Bob, The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that we should not reject Catholicism, Hinduism, Mormonism or any other “ism” out right. Certainly not on the basis of an extra-Biblical creed, but we should always listen to everyone with courtesy and respect remembering that Jesus was the light that lights “every man” who comes into the world, and Jesus has sheep who are “not of this fold”.

    Curiously – at no point do you talk about comparing beliefs to the clear statements of the Bible.

    At no point do you observe the Bible claiming that it took “beeellions and beeellions of year to create life”.

    How does that happen??

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  70. Ron: BobRyan: The question is not “what CAN you choose to believe” – the question is whether you are free to misrepresent any old list of doctrines you choose to come up with – as “catholic” or “Mormon” or “SDA” slapping labels on it to suit your fancy — or whether you need to be accurate in those claims.

    Bob, you seem to think it would be a grievously dishonest for a person misrepresent a doctrine as being “Adventist” when it wasn’t, and I agree with you whole heartily. I a perplexed that you don’t seem to hold the same standard up when you distinguish or fail to distinguish between science and religious belief. You seem to want to call our SDA religiousness belief in creation “Science” when it is not. I think the Biology teachers are right to reject this mischaracterization. It seems equally intellectually dishonest to me.

    Ahhh yes – “science” vs religion. That one-sided distinction for our TE friends where they fail to step up to the plate set for them by even the atheist evolutionists who are more willing to “Admit to the facts”.

    BobRyan: Collin Patterson – Paleontologist British Museum of Natural history – said:

    Patterson – quotes Gillespie’s arguing that Christians
    “‘…holding creationist ideas could plead ignorance of the means and affirm only the fact,’”

    Patterson countered, “That seems to summarize the feeling I get in talking to evolutionists today. They plead ignorance of the means of transformation, but affirm only the fact: ‘Yes it has…we know it has taken place.’”

    “…Now I think that many people in this room would acknowledge that during the last few years, if you had thought about it at all, you’ve experienced a shift from evolution as knowledge to evolution as faith. I know that’s true of me, and I think it’s true of a good many of you in here…

    “…,strong>Evolution not only conveys no knowledge, but seems somehow to convey anti-knowledge , apparent knowledge which is actually harmful to systematics…”

    Well said – say we all to our atheist evolutionist friend – Collin Patterson.

    If only the TE’s at LSU could muster such objectivity when it comes to their religious devotion to evolutionism.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  71. I’m puzzled as to what the real conflict is. The 28 Fundamental Beliefs(FB) are all scripture supported and based, therefore there is no deviation from the bible. Like the 10 commandments when one willingly and lovingly makes personal change they cease to be rules or laws; they become standards we strive to maintain as we move in a Christ-like direction. It is impossible to have a global organization or movement and not have a standard. Many of the 28 FB are overtly accepted by other Christian denominations. I ask for anyone who does not agree with the beliefs to point out any that aren’t scriptually based. To bring it home anyone who’s ever worked for a company has had to adhere to company guidelines. Those that intend to be good employees have no problem, those that don’t…..I suspect FB#22 is the one that generates the debate.




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  72. When people believe that the gospel does away with the law, in the end, it actually means the gospel does away with the bible. All we have to do to affirm this is to see how Rome deals with the bible.

    The bible is not salvational, the church is. And of course, the church is guided by spiritual experiences that transcends the written word.

    Sad to say, this philosophy is taking root in some minds of those who lead and teach in the SDA church. And is manifested in more than a few ways, one being an attack on the biblical account of creation and substituting various evolutionary concepts that transcend the word of God.

    There are many other manifestations of spiritualism in Adventism. The creation vs. evolution discussion is simply one of the more obvious ones.

    Bill Sorensen




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  73. Bill Sorensen: When people believe that the gospel does away with the law, in the end, it actually means the gospel does away with the bible.

    That is true because “God’s Word” defines Law – so to do away with God’s Law is to do away with God’s Word.

    However that is not the main issue on Educate Truth. Here the main issue is the same one that Darwin, Dawkins, Meyers, Provine (and Ellen White) all mention as doing away with Christianity – evolutionism. Which means that TE is itself an oxymoron and could never be adopted by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

    What then of those who wish to marry evolutionism to the Bible?

    Well we all have free will. Each person must make his/her own choices.

    But if someone chooses to be Hindu, or Muslim or Evolutionist they do not then have the freedom to insist that the Adventist denomination be Hindu, or Muslim or Evolutionist.

    That is where we draw the line.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  74. Daniel Shannon: IF we are truly united together in Him we will be in harmony, we WILL be saying the samethings because it will be Christ speaking, not ourselves

    Is it possible that we could be perfectly united and yet all say different things because we are each in a unique personal relationship with Christ? If we all say the same thing, then what’s the point of there being more than one of us? All the rest are redundant.




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  75. @Henry:
    @ Henry: OK. (except for this)

    @ Bob: “former Adventist”? Hmmm. . . What kind of a spirit would prompt a comment like that? You may wish it was that easy. No, I am still an Adventist in good standing.

    @O. Nelson:

    @ O Nelson:
    Actually, I don’t have any trouble with the “Fundamental Beliefs” as they are currently articulated. I think they are Biblical. They just, aren’t Scientific. As an accurate description of how Adventists interpret the Divine story, they are great. As a description of modern genetics, they are not.

    The problem is when you insist that the “Fundamental Beliefs” are the ONLY way to interpret scripture, then you cut yourself off from the power and mystery of the Divine Story which reinterprets itself to every human heart in every unique situation. You also cut yourself off from the further revelation of Present Truth.

    As long as the “Fundamental Beliefs” remain beliefs, i.e. a position statement from the theology department, I am OK with them. It is when they become a creed trying to pose as science in the science department, enforced by sanctions, that we have a problem.

    The other problem is that there are some in the church who want to reformulate the “Fundamental Beliefs”, to tighten them up so to speak. They want to introduce an extra biblical interpretation into them. The Bible says God is the creator. It says nothing about evolution. To say that God could not, and did not, create animals with the capacity to evolve is to add something extra Biblical to the creed which might not stand the test of time. In fact, as I read Genesis, it STRONGLY implies post creation evolution, even though it doesn’t spell it out explicitly.

    With all due respect to Usher, the Bible also doesn’t give a time frame. All Adventist theologians that I know of think that Genesis 1 is ambiguous. The ancient Hebrew cosmology is so different from our modern cosmology, that it is hard to say exactly how much of the Universe is encompassed by the term “In the beginning . . .” So, to say that creation happened in exactly 6 literal days, 6000 years ago is to add something extra Biblical to the Fundamental Beliefs. It isn’t really what the Bible says, it is what some of us think the Bible says. In my mind there is an infinite difference between the two.

    Now, to say that something is extra Biblical is not to say that it isn’t true, or that there isn’t a good reason to make the statement, certainly Mrs. White thought the earth was created about 6,000 years ago, but I think we are on thin ice to put something into our “Fundamental Belief” statement based on Mrs. White. She always deferred to scripture, and she never claimed to be infallible, and at least as I read her, she had great respect for science. In fact in one place she said that the reason to teach science in our schools is to correct errors in theology. To me, that just raises a caution flag. This is an area where I think we need to not be dogmatic. Just because Bob can’t see how evolution and Genesis are compatible doesn’t mean that I can’t. And if I can see it, then maybe, over time, others will see it too. I guess it really comes down to what are you afraid of. Bob seems to be afraid that God isn’t big enough to save evolutionists, I am afraid of being too small, and trying to make God stay in my box.




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  76. BobRyan: Well…that is what Hindus say about their relationship with all their many gods. To each village – its own choices of gods.

    Smile: Well, I believe that God speaks to Hindu hearts as well as he does to Adventist hearts. Certainly Hindus have something to learn from Adventists, maybe Adventists have something to learn from Hindus; possibly religious tolerance?

    (oops, sorry Henry)




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  77. Seeing BobRyan responding to himself is very distubing but I appreciate that most visitors including myself have long since realized the futility of response and can graciously click down without unnecessarily derailing the rest of the conversation. There is absolutely nothing anyone can say that will at all change his perspective and the hostility with which he delivers his opinion “in Christ” is particulalry disconcerting to those of us who have a high view of the ethic of the Kingdom of Heaven.
    Almost as disturbing is the apparent inability to acknowledge that both Patterson and Dawkins have documented the circumstances surrounding his favourite quotes (extracted as they seem to be from the AiG RQB) and the 11 second pause. The dubious nature of his use of this evidence has been pointed out to BobRyan before as has the questionable practice of citing for support someone who you think a liar. To make the argument either Dawkins and Patterson were lying in explaining themselves after the events or they were less than transparent initially. Either way a lawyer like David Read would not use them to make any supportive argument.




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  78. O. Nelson: I’m puzzled as to what the real conflict is. The 28 Fundamental Beliefs(FB) are all scripture supported and based, therefore there is no deviation from the bible.

    Certainly that is true.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  79. Ron: Just because Bob can’t see how evolution and Genesis are compatible doesn’t mean that I can’t.

    Darwin was objective enough to admit that evolutionism and the bible are not compatible. Dawkins, Provine and Meyers all did on-camera interviews admitting to the same point.

    We find that point in 3SG 90-91.

    You take the standard TE solution of the form “I just can’t see it”. Free will being what it is – you are welcome to go down that road.

    But in the 2010 GC vote we heard “once again” that the Adventist church itself DOES see that point clearly. Evolutionism and the Bible are not compatible.

    When evolutionists engage in “self-talk” they like to imagine that it is just one person here or there that admits that the Bible and evolutionism do not mix.

    I suppose they need to do that to keep going down the road they are on.

    But for the rest of us… the truth is a better solution.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  80. Ron: As long as the “Fundamental Beliefs” remain beliefs, i.e. a position statement from the theology department, I am OK with them. It is when they become a creed trying to pose as science in the science department, enforced by sanctions, that we have a problem.

    The other problem is that there are some in the church who want to reformulate the “Fundamental Beliefs”, to tighten them up so to speak. They want to introduce an extra biblical interpretation into them. The Bible says God is the creator. It says nothing about evolution.

    Notice that when the entire denomination votes to restate the literal 7 day week in Belief #6 – the self-talk for the evolutionist does the revisionist-history hat-trick of making that merely “some people want to tighten up” a particular belief.

    How “instructive” for the unbiased objective reader.

    The world view given to us in the Bible is 100% opposed to evolutionism – as even Darwin himself admitted. Thus you will never find evolutionism stated as “For in SIX DAYS God created the Heavens and the earth the seas and all that are in them” Ex 20:11 (As shocking as this point is for some of our TE friends.).

    Almost every human on the planet “sees the point” that creationism and evolutionism are two opposing views on how life in all its forms has come to be. Only our TE friends are so engaged in self-talk so as to imagine that the two can be married together.

    This is probably why 3SG 90-91 refers to the TE position as the “worst form” of infidelity.

    And no wonder – even Darwin himself could not cling to the self-conflicted notion of marrying the Bible to blind-faith-evolutionism.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  81. pauluc: Almost as disturbing is the apparent inability to acknowledge that both Patterson and Dawkins have documented the circumstances surrounding his favourite quotes (extracted as they seem to be from the AiG RQB) and the 11 second pause. The dubious nature of his use of this evidence has been pointed out to BobRyan before as has the questionable practice of citing for support someone who you think a liar.

    For those accustomed to using critical thinking when reading wild baseless claims such as the above – we note that you actually gave no detail, no evidence, no argument at all to show any of your wild accusations to be even remotely true.

    The little dance done in that post above – carefully avoids the need to step up to the level of objectivity demonstrated in my practice of letting Dawkins, Darwin, Patterson, Provine, Meyers, Reese, Susskind make my points for me.

    The TE’s favorite rock to hide their failed arguments under is the “I just can’t see it” rock.

    And that rock is effectively removed when we point out just how well these well-known evolutionist sources ARE admitting and even dealing with the very issues that our TE friends want to claim “they just can’t see”.

    In each case – how instructive for the unbiased objective reader.

    in each case – the point made is that EVEN our atheist evolutionist friends are at times more objective and above aboard on these topics than some of the TEs within the church.

    The TE’s reponse?? “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. ??!! How was that solution on their part ever supposed to be taken seriously??

    Impossible point to miss (no matter the level of ad hominem, sneering comments to which the evolutionist posters may choose to resort.)

    This just could not be any more obvious. How did the evolutionist TEs posting here, suppose this would work out in their favor?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  82. Re: What every human being on the planet believes?

    Empirically, as i don’t have blind faith I could know this, perhaps it could only be a divine being that could do so. 🙂

    Always open to correction though to those that know the absolute truth,

    I remain,
    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  83. BobRyan: Almost every human on the planet “sees the point” that creationism and evolutionism are two opposing views on how life in all its forms has come to be. Only our TE friends are so engaged in self-talk so as to imagine that the two can be married together.

    Clearly our atheist and agnostic friends see the point above easily – so also do many Christians.

    My focus was on the specific group known as TE’s – I have not been as focused on problems regarding agnostics and atheists. In any case – most people in that group have no problem admitting that “FOR in SIX DAYs the Lord made the heavens and the earth” is not another way to say “evolution did it”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  84. pauluc: To make the argument either Dawkins and Patterson were lying in explaining themselves after the events or they were less than transparent initially. Either way a lawyer like David Read would not use them to make any supportive argument.

    First of all I am reluctant to accuse David Read of anything based on your wide ranging accusations in your posts.

    So lets take the point “in general”. Do we have lawyers out there claiming that Christians do not accept math, history or spelling books, news reports, x-ray reports written by atheists?

    Hopefully those lawyers are not going down that road.

    Very often in accounts written in the Bible or in the dark ages where enemies of the saints are making their case – we accept details from those accusations as proving the veracity of some point of truth.

    For example in the gospels – we see the enemies of Christ saying that the body of Christ was stolen. What they do NOT say is “it is still there right in the tomb – right where it is supposed to be so what is all the fuss about”.

    In other words – even though we take them as hostile witnesses – and against the Gospel account – yet the objectivity of noting that key elements of the Gospel account are affirmed EVEN by the enemies of the Gospel is an argument hard to refute.

    The point remains.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  85. I apologize for hiding the evidence about Dawkins 11 second pause and Colin Pattersons talk within a link so that some have concluded that my comments were without basis. Here it is in full from http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/patterson.html

    “Dear Mr Theunissen,

    Sorry to have taken so long to answer your letter of July 9th. I was away for a while, and then infernally busy. I seem fated continually to make a fool of myself with creationists. The specific quote you mention, from a letter to Sunderland dated 10th April 1979, is accurate as far as it goes. The passage quoted continues “… a watertight argument. The reason is that statements about ancestry and descent are not applicable in the fossil record. Is Archaeopteryx the ancestor of all birds? Perhaps yes, perhaps no: there is no way of answering the question. It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way to put them to the test.”

    I think the continuation of the passage shows clearly that your interpretation (at the end of your letter) is correct, and the creationists’ is false.

    That brush with Sunderland (I had never heard of him before) was my first experience of creationists. The famous “keynote address” at the American Museum of Natural History in 1981 was nothing of the sort. It was a talk to the “Systematics Discussion Group” in the Museum, an (extremely) informal group. I had been asked to talk to them on “Evolutionism and creationism”; fired up by a paper by Ernst Mayr published in Science just the week before. I gave a fairly rumbustious talk, arguing that the theory of evolution had done more harm than good to biological systematics (classification). Unknown to me, there was a creationist in the audience with a hidden tape recorder. So much the worse for me. But my talk was addressed to professional systematists, and concerned systematics, nothing else.

    I hope that by now I have learned to be more circumspect in dealing with creationists, cryptic or overt. But I still maintain that scepticism is the scientist’s duty, however much the stance may expose us to ridicule.

    Yours Sincerely,

    [signed]

    Colin Patterson”

    And Dawkins comments from http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/creationistdeceptionexposed.htm on the infamous 11 second pause.

    “As a preamble, I should explain that, following the advice of my colleague Stephen Jay Gould, I have a policy of not granting interviews to creationists or flat earthers. This is not because I cannot answer their arguments, but because I have better things to do with my time and I do not want to give them the oxygen of publicity.

    On September 16, 1997, Keziah Video Productions, in the persons of Gillian Brown and Geoffrey Smith, came to my house in Oxford to film an interview with me. I had agreed to see them, on the misapprehension (as it later turned out) that they were from a respectable Australian broadcasting company. I had no idea they were a creationist front and I would not have granted them an interview had I known this, because of my policy as mentioned above.

    The interview began. I have considerable experience of television work, and I was initially surprised at the amateurishness of their filming technique, but I carried on without voicing my surprise. As the interview proceeded, I became increasingly puzzled at the tone of the questions. Puzzlement gave way to suspicion that Keziah was, in fact, a creationist front which had gained admittance to my house under false pretences.

    The suspicion increased sharply when I was challenged to produce an example of an evolutionary process which increases the information content of the genome. It is a question that nobody except a creationist would ask. A real biologist finds it an easy question to answer (the answer is that natural selection increases the information content of the genome all the time – that is precisely what natural selection means), but, from an evolutionary point of view, it is not an interesting way to put it. It would only be phrased that way by somebody who doubts that evolution happened.

    Now I was faced with a dilemma. I was almost certain that these people had gained admittance to my house under false pretences – in other words, I had been set up. On the other hand, I am a naturally courteous person, especially in my own house, and these were guests from overseas. What should I do? I paused for a long time, trying to decide whether to throw them out, and, I have to admit, struggling not to lose my temper. Finally, I decided that I would ask them to leave, but I would do it in a polite way, explaining to them why. I then asked them to stop the tape, which they did.

    The tape having stopped, I explained to them my suspicions, and asked them to leave my house. Gillian Brown pleaded with me, saying that she had flown all the way from Australia especially to interview me. She begged me not to send her home empty handed, after they had travelled such a long way. She assured me that they were not creationists, but were taking a balanced view of all sides in the debate. Like a fool, I took pity on her, and agreed to continue. I remember that, having had quite an acrimonious argument with her, when I finally agreed to resume the interview I made a conscious effort to be extra polite and friendly.”

    These statements clearly are not congruent with the origin citations we have seen on these pages which suggest that Colin Patterson supports creationist models or that creationists can easily ask a question of Richard Dawkins that will easily stump him and shows the vacuousness of his arguments.

    There is such as thing as integrity and honesty with the data. If you wish to make an argument against some model of descent with modifications at least make it honestly. That surely is the Christian approach.




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  86. PaulUc: The dubious nature of his use of this evidence has been pointed out to BobRyan before as has the questionable practice of citing for support someone who you think a liar.

    ================================
    No “dubious nature” facts where raised in Pauluc’s accusation above – he merely “accused” and made the “claim” that at some point he had established “the dubious nature” of the use of that evidence.

    Thus he “Claimed” success where in fact no success in that area was ever demonstrated by Pauluc.

    How in the world were we “not supposed to notice”??

    Hence my response as follows –

    BobRyan:

    For those accustomed to using critical thinking when reading wild baseless claims such as the above – we note that you actually gave no detail, no evidence, no argument at all to show any of your wild accusations to be even remotely true.

    The little dance done in that post above – carefully avoids the need to step up to the level of objectivity demonstrated in my practice of letting Dawkins, Darwin, Patterson, Provine, Meyers, Reese, Susskind make my points for me.

    The TE’s favorite rock to hide their failed arguments under is the “I just can’t see it” rock.

    And that rock is effectively removed when we point out just how well these well-known evolutionist sources ARE admitting and even dealing with the very issues that our TE friends want to claim “they just can’t see”.

    In each case – how instructive for the unbiased objective reader.

    in each case – the point made is that EVEN our atheist evolutionist friends are at times more objective and above aboard on these topics than some of the TEs within the church.

    The TE’s reponse?? “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. ??!! How was that solution on their part ever supposed to be taken seriously??

    Impossible point to miss (no matter the level of ad hominem, sneering comments to which the evolutionist posters may choose to resort.)

    This just could not be any more obvious. How did the evolutionist TEs posting here, suppose this would work out in their favor?

    pauluc: I apologize for hiding the evidence about Dawkins 11 second pause and Colin Pattersons talk within a link so that some have concluded that my comments were without basis. Here it is in full from http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/patterson.html

    Sadly for your own accusation – the link you provided states that the Patterson quotes are perfectly accurate – and that in the case of the talk Patterson gave at the American Museum – that text is an exact verbatim from the recorded event.

    nothing “dubious” about the nature of that complete testimony from Patterson himself.

    Even worse – the link you gave not only affirmed the points I claimed that Patterson had made – but it ALSO argued that my claim that Patterson is an “Atheist evolutionist” is every bit as accurate as I claimed it to be.

    How in the world was this supposed to help you in your claim that the quote is “dubious”??

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  87. When I point to Dawkins’ 11 second flummoxed response to the evolutionism-101 Q&A softball lobbed for him – asking that he show something like “scientific observation in nature” of the fundamental “mechanism” for evolutionism. (the ability to add new coding gene “information” to an existing genome) —

    Your solution it to find some long rambling rationalization from Dawkins where he makes enlightened statements such as –

    pauluc: And Dawkins comments from http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/creationistdeceptionexposed.htm on the infamous 11 second pause.

    “As a preamble, I should explain that, following the advice of my colleague Stephen Jay Gould, I have a policy of not granting interviews to creationists .

    WoW – Dawkins only gives interviews to cheerleaders – never to those who might seriously question his doctrine!

    Does that sound like “science” to you?

    Or does it sound like the blind-faith system – hinted at by Patterson?

    Let the reader decide.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  88. Dawkins is apparently soooo befuddled in his attempts to restore his 11 seconds of fame to something he would be proud of – that he makes this very telling statement

    The suspicion increased sharply when I was challenged to produce an example of an evolutionary process which increases the information content of the genome. It is a question that nobody except a creationist would ask

    Essentially Dawkins is admitting that evolutionists are not accustomed to critical thinking when it comes to evolutionism – and that only creationists are known for asking the hard questions when it comes to his pet doctrine.

    Folks – it just does not get any easier than this!

    At what point was the Christian supposed to get so confused as to join Dawkins in that explicit, self-defeating strategy?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  89. Can’t edit – must repost —

    ====================

    Dawkins is apparently soooo befuddled in his attempts to restore his 11 seconds of fame to something he would be proud of – that he makes this very telling statement

    Dawkins said:
    The suspicion increased sharply when I was challenged to produce an example of an evolutionary process which increases the information content of the genome. It is a question that nobody except a creationist would ask

    Essentially Dawkins is admitting that evolutionists are not accustomed to critical thinking when it comes to evolutionism – and that only creationists are known for asking the hard questions when it comes to his pet doctrine.

    Folks – it just does not get any easier than this!

    At what point was the Christian supposed to get so confused as to join Dawkins in that explicit, self-defeating strategy?




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  90. I praise the Lord for people ilke BobRyan .
    He teaches me that as a disciple i must subjugate my natural response and practice patience and compassion.

    Why do I continue to post on this site when there is so little evidence of any useful educational outcome.

    To some degree it reflects my view that education has value and there is nothing that cannot be examined critically and honestly and that christain faith and faith are robust and can withstand scrutiny.

    ligion and faith




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  91. Sorry last message sent before editing.

    I mostly post here because I believe that Christian belief and faith can withstand scrutiny. I also post because as a scientists I value integrity and honesty and feel sorry for the many young people who may be pursuing higher education or seeking a career in science who are being told that they must deny the clear data they are encountering every day or they cannot be a Christian.




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