I have been told that the AAA site visit will …

Comment on La Sierra University Hires Another Darwinist by David Read.

I have been told that the AAA site visit will be in April. I recommend that everyone call or write Lisa Beardsley-Hardy at the GC Department of Education:

Department of Education
General Conference World Headquarters
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, Maryland 20904, USA

and tell her that we expect AAA to do its job and deny Adventist accreditation to an institution that is not upholding the Adventist philosophy of education, and is in effect an anti-Adventist school.

By April, the question may be moot, because WASC-recommended changes to the La Sierra bylaws that are to be voted on by the LSU constituency on February 21 may effectively cut the school’s ties to the denomination. T. Joe Willey has posted an article at Spectrum saying that the bylaw changes will remove the Pacific Union Conference president from the post of Chair of the Board of Trustees:


If that happens, I wonder how long the larger church will continue to play along with the idea that La Sierra is a church school.

In times past the union with which the college was affiliated owned the land. We know that this is no longer true of La Sierra–it owns its own land–and may no longer be true of any of the Adventist colleges.

Another safeguard that bound the colleges to their sponsoring unions was that the union conference president is ex-officio chairman of the board and the presidents of all constituent conferences are ex-officio board members. If La Sierra’s bylaws are changed to significantly dilute the control of church officers over the boards, I wonder what is even left of church control.

And yet I think it remains important to the liberals to be able to argue that La Sierra is an Adventist school. Their larger goal is to redefine Adventism to include a Darwinistic view of origins. They seek “pluralism” on that issue as well as many others. That La Sierra has now educated more than a generation of students to believe that some form of theistic evolution is acceptably Adventist has greatly furthered their goals.

My sense is that the church at the higher levels–and I mean Ted Wilson, Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, and many, many others–is still somewhat in denial about how bad the situation is, and how hostile large tracts of the church in North America, Europe, and Australia are to what used to be considered basic and essential Adventism. I don’t think even Ted Wilson wants to be remembered as the man who acknowledged the true severity of the crisis facing Adventism from within.

David Read Also Commented

La Sierra University Hires Another Darwinist
@Professor Kent: Jeff Kent, I have no personal vendettas or axes to grind about La Sierra. The situation is not personal to me in any way, shape or form.

And the situation is not just one or few rogue professors; if it were, it could easily be dealt with and would already have been dealt with long since. The problem is ideological, and pervades the institution. La Sierra has a president, a Board of Trustees, and a faculty that represent a type of cultural Adventism that is hostile to believing Adventism.

The faction that controls La Sierra seeks doctrinal diversity on origins, meaning that it wants to make theistic evolution and other similar views as acceptably “Adventist” as the view that we were created in six literal days. But it isn’t just this one “small” foundational belief that is under attack. The faction that controls La Sierra wants doctrinal diversity on essentially all of our beliefs. Beyond that, they want to de-emphasize doctrine entirely, and replace it with social welfare and “social justice.”

I now believe that the threat posed to believing Adventism by La Sierra’s graduate school of religion is probably greater than the threat posed by the Darwinist faculty, because it is not merely an attack on the factual foundations of one doctrine but an attack on our way of reading the Bible, i.e., the hermeneutical foundations of all of our doctrines.

What La Sierra represents is an attempt to legitimize liberalism within the SDA Church, both in theology and in practice. Yes, Randal Wisbey is committed to Darwinism, but that is merely symptomatic of his larger and more comprehensive commitment to destroying traditional Adventism and replacing it with a liberal form of “Adventism.”

Recent Comments by David Read

La Sierra University gets 3-year AAA Accreditation
@Beatrice: Beatrice, I note that you have posted here a copy of your post at ADvindicate.com.

It’s interesting that you say that John Perumal replaced Lee Grismer as department chairman “a long time ago,” but the first news of that change was your own comment at ADvindicate a couple of days ago. There was no public announcement, and no news from any of the usual sources: the Review, ANN, Spectrum, ADvindicate, or Educate Truth. When I was researching my story, there was nothing on La Sierria’s official website to indicate that the chairmanship had changed; the website was not updated to reflect the change in chairmanship until after my article was posted at ADvindicate on October 17. Am I “lazy” if I don’t telephone La Sierra every couple of months and ask if Wisbey has had a change of heart and demoted the hardened Darwinist that he promoted to department chair two years ago?? I cannot help but wonder why this change in departmental leadership was a closely held secret until AFTER my article started making the rounds and being read by Adventist opinion leaders, but some mysteries will likely remain mysterious.

It’s hardly an excuse for wrecking the Adventist faith of those who take upper division biology courses at La Sierra that most students do not take upper division biology courses. But the information that has been provided by LSU students like Louie Bishop is that even a seminar science-faith course intended for a broad non-specialized student audience–specifically the one instituted in response to the 2009 controversy over the teaching of origins–was destructive of Adventist faith; LSU religion teachers, including John Webster who (at that time) was chairman of the religion department, told students that the Adventist hermeneutic was unhelpful, and that the Genesis narrative should not be taken literally as a description of the creation.

If AAA has witnessed a change of direction at La Sierra–and I very much doubt that–then it is up to them to say what they saw, and why they voted the way they did, in connection with their vote to extend Adventist accreditation for a further three years. There is a very public controversy about La Sierra’s blatant undermining of Adventist beliefs, and if AAA is, in the face of that controversy, going to certify that LSU is fulfilling its Adventist mission and upholding its Adventist identity, then AAA must publicly explain its vote, and justify it by outlining the changes that it observed.

You say that I “have not taken the approach Jesus advocated” and I assume that by that you are referring to Matthew 18. That passage does not apply. No one at La Sierra has wronged me personally; I have no personal stake whatsoever in the matter. The issue is that LSU is publicly undermining Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, and the response to that issue needs to be public. The relevant passage is 1 Tim. 5:20: “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” Please look at Testimonies, v. 2, pp. 14-16.

It is not my desire or goal to undermine unity in the church, but there can be no unity except on the basis of sound biblical truth. La Sierra has been sowing the seeds of a very profound disunity, as it has for a generation been training Adventist youth at an Adventist institution (AAA approved!) to lightly regard the word of God. It has been telling the Adventist youth entrusted to it that God’s claim to have created the world in six literal days and rested on the Sabbath day (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:11) is unsustainable nonsense. This can only lead to disunity on the most fundamental level, as one group, raised and educated in the SDA Church, has an entirely different conception of what the Bible teaches and God requires than another group also raised and educated in the church.

Lay people are under an obligation of conscience to see that those who live off the tithe uphold the religious mission of the church. One very highly placed Adventist official has instructed us to “hold them accountable,” and he is right. In the absence of a vigilant laity, the SDA Church will lapse into corruption as did the post-apostolic Christian Church.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@Paul Giem: Paul I will pray that you are right that there has been a sea change. But it will take more than a (until recently, covert) change in the biology dept. chairmanship to convince me of that.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@gene fortner: That’s a good list, Gene, but do not forget Arthur Chadwick (Ph.D, U. of Miami, geology/sedimentology) and Lee Spencer (Ph.D, biology/paleontology, Loma Linda) and Kurt Wise (Ph.D, geology, Harvard) and Marcus Ross (Ph.D, paleontology, U.R.I.).

The first two are Seventh-day Adventists and very strong creationists; the second two are creationists. Kurt Wise is a good friend of Art Chadwick and has come to SDA-sponsored events before.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
It will be interesting to see how much power John Perumal will be given, and will exercise, in reshaping the biology department. He should have veto power over new hires, and he should be able to recommend whether contracts for untenured professors are renewed or not, and whether tenure is granted or not. Typically the academic dean or provost has some say over this as well, but the department chair’s power is considerable.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@Paul Giem: Paul, your theory is indeed very reasonable, but I don’t think it is correct. First, I have argued that WASC’s concerns about autonomy were solicited by Randal Wisbey so that he could get bylaw changes that would give him greater autonomy from the church. One key item of evidence that has become public is that in 2011 one of Wisbey’s minions, then LSU board member Lenny Darnell, recorded himself saying that he planned to write WASC and demand that WASC recommend and insist on changes to the board structure that would dilute the power of the church officers on the board:


Second, the bylaw changes Wisbey wanted were approved by the constituency back in May, so WASC has no grounds to complain about the lack of institutional autonomy, and has indicated that it is pleased with what was done:


My theory as to why this change of department chairmen has been so hush hush is that, 1) Wisbey didn’t want his liberal base to know that he had thrown any sort of bone to AAA; he wanted them thinking he had gotten an unconditional surrender from AAA, and 2) Wisbey doesn’t want the wider SDA Church to know that AAA thought there was anything wrong at La Sierra that needed changing, much less that the chairman of the biology department needed changing.