La Sierra University Responds to anti-Creation Bond Issue

By Sean Pitman
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Larry Becker, on behalf of La Sierra University, has responded (see attached document below) to questions concerning LSU’s acceptance, in 2008, of a California State bond for $25 million dollars with prohibitive language that seems to limit LSU’s ability to use its science buildings to actively promote the Seventh-day Adventist position on origins – such as a literal 6-day creation week in recent history (Link).

Becker explains, in bold font:

Accepting bond financing does not preclude La Sierra faculty from teaching their disciplines from a strongly Adventist perspective and viewpoint…

He goes on to explain:

The California Supreme Court… held that a school only needs to establish that “…the academic content of its secular classes is typical of comparable courses at public or other nonreligious schools.”  Once that is established, a teacher may “express an idea or viewpoint that may be characterized as ‘religious.'”…

“The university can teach in the Price Science Center the Adventist belief in creation as an explanation for origins of earth and life as long as other alternative explanations of origins with claimed supporting evidence are also presented,” says Hansen…

“This bond funding proposal moved through all appropriate channels,” says Ricardo Graham, Board Chair.

 

At this point the question should be asked as to how a class on the origin and/or diversity of life on this planet can be defined as “secular” from the Adventist perspective?  We aren’t talking about a class on volleyball, calculus or particle physics here.  We are talking about a concept that the Adventist Church considers uniquely fundamental to its very identity.  Yet, LSU signed a document that states (Exhibit B; listed below):

The information and coursework used to teach secular subjects is neutral with respect to religion and neither promotes nor opposes any particular religion or religion in general, and the academic content of classes in secular subjects is typical of that provided in nonreligious institutions for higher education.

While it is great to hear that our own professors are allowed to actually explain the Adventist position on origins despite such language, at the mercy of the California Supreme Court, it seems difficult to understand this situation as ideal if our own science teachers are required to teach in a manner “typical of comparable courses at public or other nonreligious schools” – on the non-secular topic of origins?  After all, the statement signed by LSU in order to apply for the bond to begin with (Exhibit B; listed below) restates the same idea to make it even more emphatically clear:

I acknowledge that in connection with the financing requested… that no bond proceeds will be used to finance any facility, place, or building used to finance any class that includes instruction information or coursework that promotes or opposes a particular religion or religious beliefs, in each case through the useful life of the facility, place or building.

The very same thing is true of the language of the 2007 decision of California’s Supreme Court (cited by Hansen above; and attached as a complete document below):

“We are mindful of the concern that a school with a religious perspective may use the facilities built or improved with the revenue bond proceeds to substantially further its religious mission. Such use would  provide more than an incidental benefit to religion, in violation of the principles we enunciated in Priest, supra, 12 Cal.3d 593, 116 Cal.Rptr. 361, 526 P.2d 513.   To ensure that the classes in secular subjects promote the state’s interest in secular education and no more than incidentally benefit religion, the religious school must meet a second requirement:  the information and coursework used to teach secular subjects must be neutral with respect to religion.   Of course, religion may be an object of study in classes such as history, social studies, and literature, just as in public schools, in a manner that neither promotes nor opposes any particular religion or religion in general.   But a class that includes as part of the instruction information or coursework that promotes or opposes a particular religion or religious beliefs may not be taught in facilities financed through tax exempt bond financing.  On remand, in determining religious neutrality, the straightforward assessment for the trial court to make is whether the academic content of a religious school’s course in a secular subject such as math, chemistry, or Shakespeare’s writings is typical of that provided in nonreligious schools.   When a school establishes, through its course descriptions or otherwise, that the academic content of its secular classes is typical of comparable courses at public or other nonreligious schools, it is not necessary to scrutinize the school’s day-to-day classroom communications.   The circumstance that a teacher may, in addition to teaching a course’s religiously neutral content, express an idea or viewpoint that may be characterized as “religious” does not result in a benefit to religion that is  more than incidental to the state’s primary purpose of enhancing secular education opportunities for California residents (Link). [emphasis added]

 

In light of what seems like very limiting language in the bond and bond application, as well as the 2007 decision of the Supreme Court of California, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario.  Let’s say a science professor at LSU wished to promote empirical evidence for the Adventist position on origins in a manner suggesting rational superiority to the neo-Darwinist position.  Would such an effort not be a clear violation of “Prohibited Use” language of the bond agreement? – as well as a violation of the ruling of California’s Supreme Court on this topic?

For example, consider that the General Conference Executive Committee at the 2004 Annual Council asked all professors in SDA schools to present a “scientifically rigorous” defense of 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.”

 

Would such a request, asked of all science professors, be in violation of the bond agreement signed by LSU? – as well as a violation of California’s Supreme Court decision regarding similar cases?

Of course, LSU’s lawyer, Mr. Hansen, claims that as long as the neo-Darwinian perspective is presented as it would be presented in any secular classroom, then additional evidence favoring the Adventist position may also be presented… even if it is presented in such a manner that suggests that the weight of empirical evidence actually opposes the neo-Darwinian position and favors the Adventist position on origins?  How would this be remotely consistent with the wording of either the bond agreement or that of California’s Supreme Court ruling?

It would be great if Hansen’s suggestion were actually true (though even this level of promotion has yet to be generally achieved by LSU in classrooms of science or religion).  However, the language of the Bond agreement does not seem to allow for this scenario – and neither does the language from the 2007 decision of California’s Supreme Court.  It just seems like a bad idea to sign onto any agreement where there is any such language of any kind that even appears to restrict the liberty of our professors to actively promote the Adventist position on any issue in any classroom over and above the opposing notions of secular society that are taught in public schools.

Of course, the neo-Darwinist position should be explained to our students in our schools.  Our young people should be very well versed on the arguments from the mainstream secular perspective.  However, our students should also be taught, by professors who actually believe in and support the Adventist perspective, that there are very good scientific reasons, even the weight of empirical evidence, in support of the Biblical view of origins as historically held and taught by the Adventist Church.  Unfortunately, it seems that La Sierra University has severely limited our ability to present this evidence for our faith to our own students in our own schools.
La Sierra Bond Response

 

California Supreme Court – Religious School Bond Ruling

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47 thoughts on “La Sierra University Responds to anti-Creation Bond Issue

  1. Pingback: La Sierra Univeristy Fires Dr. Lee Greer; Signs anti-Creation Bond | Educate Truth

  2. In response to this issue a lawyer, Phil Brantley wrote (ADvindicate Website):

    La Sierra University is not going to teach creation science, because there is no such thing as creation science. It is not going to teach biblical science, because there is no such thing as biblical science. It is not going to teach the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s scientific views of origins, because the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not purport to have any scientific views of origins. To my knowledge, there is not one theologian or scientist in the Seventh-day Adventist Church that would claim otherwise.

    David [Read] [also a lawyer] has painted himself into a corner. David is a pseudoscientist–one who argues that all science data should be interpreted in a manner that would support preconceived religious views. In all fairness, he quotes Ellen White in support of his pseudoscientific approach. As a pseudoscientist, he is upset that the bond agreement would, in his opinion, prevent the teaching of pseudoscience in the science complex. Naturally, neither David nor any other pseudoscientist is comfortable in admitting to being a pseudoscientist. But David finds himself in a corner that he has painted for himself, because if we charitably assume that what he wants taught in science class is in reality science and not pseudoscience, then there is nothing in the bond agreement that would prevent that material from being taught and no reason for his criticism of the bond agreement.

    David’s criticism of the bond agreement is a self-indictment, an admission that what he wants taught in science class cannot be fairly construed to constitute science.

    This opinion is dependent upon a definition of science derived from secular scientists and secular courts. It is a circular argument to say, “Science is what secular scientists say it is because they say so.”

    The fact is that science can be defined without any reference to secular or religious ideologies. If, by these definitions of science the methods of science can lead one to conclude that various features of the universe seem to require the input of an extremely powerful intelligent designer or that the fossil record is likely of a far more recent origin than secular scientists would like everyone to believe, then so be it.

    Of course secular scientists are going to define anything that challenges their perspective as “pseudoscience” – and Brantley has swallowed their bravado hook, line, and sinker…

    Also, Brantley’s argument that no scientists within the Adventist system effectively argue for a scientific defense of the Adventist perspective on origins is mistaken. There are numerous scientists within and outside of the Adventist system who argue strongly, and quite convincingly, for a rational scientific basis for our Biblical position on origins…

    As far as David Reed “painting himself into a corner”, Brantley should know better. Brantley clearly knows that the state has defined any argument for the creationists perspective on origins, or even the intelligent design perspective, as “religious” or otherwise “sectarian” positions. It therefore matters not if the state is actually right or wrong here. The bond is the state’s money and the state has already defined the Adventist position on origins as being outside of the realm of “science” and well within the realm of “religion”. Brantley actually agrees wholeheartedly with the state’s definitions in this case. Therefore, it is Brantley, not Read, who has painted himself into a corner here. To let David speak for himself:

    In the context of legal documents, there’s no question that creation science is faith. The courts have ruled repeatedly that creationism and even Intelligent Design are faith positions that may not be taught in public schools.

    Now, I personally believe that just as much, if not more, faith is required to believe the Darwinian origins narrative than is required to believe that we were created.

    But as far as the courts are concerned, there simply is no question that creationism is a sectarian belief. This has been held over and over and over. There’s simply no question that teaching creationism or Intelligent Design in the PSC will violate the prohibited use covenant.

    – David Read

    In short, Brantley essentially admits what we’ve been saying all along – that LSU science teachers have only been actively promoting the neo-Darwinian perspective on origins in their classes. If they had actually been actively promoting the Adventist perspective on origins in their science classes, even Brantley would have to admit that such so-called “pseudoscience”, as he himself describes it, would be in violation of the bond agreement – according to the Supreme Court of the State of California.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  3. Throughout Adventism, regardless of the area of concern, it seems that our beloved church is compromising more and more. If a member from even 30 years ago were to enter many SDA churches today he would be appalled at the music, the dress, or lack thereof.

    In the educational system he would find all too often compromises in teaching, extensive competitive sports, evolution, etc.
    Heaven help us!




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  4. I am quite sure that we have inspired counsel that we should not accept funds that have stipulations attached.

    Our schools were established on the sacrificial giving of people faithful to the cause – who believed Jesus’ coming to be imminent.




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  5. It seems that it all boils down to finances, as some of the people on this forum have been suggesting for awhile now. I must say that it was very irresponsible (and that’s putting it mildly) of the LSU administration to sign any such agreement. It may have been easy money, but at what cost? Actually, the fact it was easy money should have alerted them that there was a problem with it in the first place. I fail to see how educated people could have overlooked the implications of such an agreement. And had they heeded the counsel of the SOP, they wouldn’t have gotten into this position at all. So the bottom line is that they sold out…

    I wonder how much consultation there was with the church administration and, for that matter, the church membership–from whom they expect to get their students. I also wonder how many of our other institutions are in the same boat.




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  6. Thank you Sean for publishing this document, showing how La Sierra knowlingly entered into a contract which is totally in opposition to our stated aims of teaching a moral and religious basis in ALL our classes, not only in courses in “religion.”

    With regards to how many OTHER of our schools have such loans, I have contacted Pacific Union College about this, and they have not responded, either.

    Does anyone know if PUC or other SDA schools have such restrictions on religious instruction? Does the General Conference know about these arrangements. And, if so, did they also “sign off” on them,knowing that this would legally restrict how biblical teaching could be done?




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  7. As we see from some of the above quotes, this problem is not restricted to just Randall Wisbey. The Board, including Ricardo Graham, must have agreed to this, right?

    So we have a university President, administration, Board, and Union President, all agreeing to legally restrict any religious activity, including PRAYER in our college buildings. How is this not selling out?




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    • @Holly Pham: Holly, the Board of Trustees doesn’t get into the details of financial transactions like this. Ricardo Graham and the Board were relying upon Wisbey, Geriguis, and Kent Hansen to tell them the important parameters of the bond financing. I think it will soon emerge that these folks badly disserved Graham and the Board of Trustees, and didn’t reveal the prohibited use covenant language and the fact that it would limit the use of the Price Science Complex to only teaching secular science.




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  8. Randal Wiseby sued the gov’t in Maryland when he was president of Columbia Union College. In the suit, which was seeking gov’t financial aid for students, Wiseby stated that CUC was not “pervasively sectarian” and as such, entitled to the aid.

    This bond issue should come as no surprise to anyone in SoCal, especially the LSU and Pacific Union Boards.




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  9. Good questions, Holly. It may not be apparent to some that the problem is not just the teaching of evolution at La Sierra University, but rather a much deeper problem which involves leadership. The problem extends far beyond La Sierra University. There is a battle in the church. The Bible and the Bible only is not the foundation of religion for many. The world has come into the church and the Bible is no longer the rule of faith for many, including some in leadership positions.

    It is time to heed the call for revival and reformation that we may do the work intrusted to us. We have been given great light, let us walk in that light. We need Jesus more than ever as we approach the end of this world. Difficulties will continue to increase as Bible prophecy is fulfilled. God will have a people who will reflect His glory.




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  10. I encourage all of us here to contact the General Conference and ask for a full investigation of this matter, in order to reveal the total truth about all the details. [edit]




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  11. What a sell out! Selling [out] for a few crumbs of bread or a pot of wretched stew. They despise our birthright [] for just a smidgeon more than 30 pieces of silver. I hope they will throw the coins back [].




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  12. There is coming a time when Adventist Schools will be closed by overruling circumstances.

    I can see one additional format for such a result in the California Bond situation.

    Richard Gates




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  13. I have already contacted Larry Blackmer at the GC to find out what he and they knew about this matter. So far, nothing back. I’ll let you know if and when he responds.




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    • @Holly Pham: Holly, I have heard that Larry Blackmer has recently been experiencing some health difficulties, and that might explain why he has not able to communicate with you. I’ve also heard that his heart is the right place and he really wants to see La Sierra come closer to the Adventist educational philosophy.




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  14. This “time bomb” the church planted in the 1980’s is about to explode.

    The church leaders opted for Pluralism in church doctrine and now they have no norm for discipline.

    True believers will eventually rally around the bible and its clear mandates. Liberals will continue to undermine scriptural authority until they willingly admit they no longer accept scriptural authority.

    Something they have already done in principle but have not as yet admitted it.

    And EGW has said…..

    “The shaking of God blows away multitudes like dry leaves.–4T 89 (1876). {LDE 180.1}
    Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat.–5T 81 (1882). {LDE 180.2}
    Soon God’s people will be tested by fiery trials, and the great proportion of those who now appear to be genuine and true will prove to be base metal. . . . {LDE 180.3}
    When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few–this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.–5T 136 (1882). {LDE 180.4}

    What is happening today is the inevitable results of false ideas and decisions made in the past.

    We need not dispair. We need to take heart because we have been told of this outcome long before the fact.

    Bill Sorensen




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  15. Over on Spectrum, the arguments seem to be falling into two sides. One, represented by David Read and others, is that the language of the State means what is actually says. (Please read it for yourselves)

    The other side, represented by Rich Hannon, Phil Brantley and others, is that there is nothing to worry about or be concerned about, since the words either do not mean what they say or that the restrictions are really not meant to be taken literally (they are simply “boilerplate”).

    Does “boilerplate” wording in a legal document negate or weaken the statements so that they do not mean what they say?




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    • @Holly Pham: Boilerplate may or may not be enforceable, depending upon a variety of factors (chief among which is how often the attorney producing the boilerplate updates his forms based upon the most recent case law and statutory changes).

      The thing is that the prohibited use covenant at issue in this case is not optional, or heedlessly included just because it was in some attorney’s form book or in the attorney’s previous bond deal documentation. This language had to be included because of the CA Supreme Court’s recent (2007) ruling (which Sean has very helpfully linked to at the top of this thread). Prior to 2007, “pervasively sectarian” schools could not issue tax-exempt bonds; it was unconstitutional. But the 2007 case made it constitutionally permissible to issue the bonds, and also specified on what conditions a school could issue those bonds.

      So there’s nothing “boilerplate” about the prohibited use covenant in La Sierra’s bonds. It is required to be there by a case that came down the year before they issued the bonds.

      In all likelihood, no one will ever try to enforce the prohibited use covenant language, even if La Sierra were to stop being Darwinist and become a branch office of Answers in Genesis or the Geo-Science Research Institute. But that’s not the point. No Adventist school should ever, EVER, agree to a contractual provision that limits its right to include worship or sectarian religious content in its classes, or that limits its right to teach religious topics in non-neutral way. It doesn’t matter if it is not likely to be enforced, it should never be done. Period. And I’m just stunned that anyone would think otherwise.




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  16. @David Read, I am NOT “stunned” that Wisbey and the Board would sign such a document. We have seen from past experience that the main emphasis of La Sierra is not SDA belief or principles but to move the school into a more and more secular state. This was started with Fritz Guy, continued on with Larry Geraty, and continues today with Randall Wisbey.

    Is the General Conference aware of and in agreement to these contracts which limit our beliefs from being taught? If so, then we have an even greater problem!

    I have contacted Larry Blackmer, at the GC, to clear up this matter.




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  17. David Read: @Holly Pham: Holly, I have heard that Larry Blackmer has recently been experiencing some health difficulties, and that might explain why he has not able to communicate with you. I’ve also heard that his heart is the right place and he really wants to see La Sierra come closer to the Adventist educational philosophy.

    @David Read, Do you know who I should contact instead of Blackmer? I could not find Ted Wilson’s email contact on the GC website.




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  18. Maybe we could consider an overview of the church situation in general.

    Just an educated guess, but we could perhaps consider the high level liberal element that controls the church about 10%. And on the other end the highly conservatives about 10% as well. And this leaves about 80% in the middle majority.

    The middle group have little or no conviction one way or the other concerning most issues. They are the ones who simply go along with “what ever the church decides”. This suits the liberal agenda nicely since they have the “bully pulpit” which means what ever they can push on the church is accepted by this middle majority.

    And, this also makes the conservative element seem like a bunch of rebels who attack the church since they will not “go along” but demand a clear biblical mandate for any church action.

    It also forces the conservative element to remind the liberals that all these agendas are moral issues and not simply cultural concepts and human preferences.

    Unless we can convince the middle majority they have a moral obligation to decide based on a biblical mandate, it is inevitable the church will eventually abandon many more biblical norms.

    I am not sure this is possible, and if it is, how it can be accomplished. But it seems certain there is no hope of any real revival and reformation until and unless this becomes a fact. As long as the liberals hold the position of authority, and as long as the middle majority have no moral convictions concerning various issues, the liberals will simply continue to corrupt and distort bible Adventism until our identity is totally lost and/or changed to something other than what it was intended to do and be.

    And I think the early church changed the day of worship useing the same agenda and tactics. Calling the “day” aspect of the Sabbath a non-moral issue convincing the majority there was no need for challenge on this issue. The minority were eventually forced out and here is what EGW said about this problem…..

    ” It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand firm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church. The Bible was not accepted as the standard of faith. The doctrine of religious freedom was termed heresy, and its upholders were hated and proscribed. {GC88 45.1}
    After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the Word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children’s children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war. {GC88 45.2}
    Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God’s professed people. There is an alarming indifference in regard to the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith. The opinion is gaining ground, that,
    46
    after all, these are not of vital importance. This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories and fatal delusions which the faithful in ages past imperiled their lives to resist and expose, are now regarded with favor by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ.” {GC88 45.3}

    I don’t think we can ignore the parallel of this situation in the SDA church today.
    As I said, I don’t know the exact answer, but I do know unless something is done in the near future, we won’t have a SDA church left.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      Bill, I enjoyed your comments and concur. I’ve been thinking about the whole situation with the Church, not just the LSU problem but that of “creeping compromise.” I was listening to part of Ivor Myer’s “Sonic Warfare” presentation, how the world’s standard of music is creeping into gospel, and how Satan is using this to build a bridge between the world and the church. Likewise, I’ve seen recently how the SDA Reform Movement makes a point to ONLY use the Bible and SOP in their quarterlies… while the GC SDA Church includes commentary that’s not inspired, and sometimes even unbiblical.

      I don’t agree with the SDA Reformed Movement from the standpoint of starting another Church (which EGW clearly speaks against), but all of these things leave me to wonder… where are the Josiahs and Nehemiahs of our day? Who will destroy the “high places” of idol worship, and “repair the breech” of the Temple walls?

      I’ve said this before, and I still can’t understand… what’s all this talk of “conservative” and “liberal”? What happened to the fundamental SDA beliefs (Bible-based and tested) that we used to know? Do we really need movie and music reviews in the youth-oriented “Insight” magazine? And what’s with the focus on political issues in some publications? Should we, as Christians, really care what the political climate is? I thought we were supposed to be “in the world but not OF the world”? Half the articles I see on the Spectrum website make me want to cringe.

      We’re not changing the world, unfortunately… the world seems to be changing “us” (or at least, some of us).




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  19. @Bill Sorensen, Your analysis is right on target, although I would disagree somewhat on some of your statistics. (they were guesses!) The real problem IS the apathetic moderates who have no real conviction. If they would step up and be heard, we would see some changes in how the Church is being beaten down by the liberals and progressives.

    Both regular members and clergy are a big part of the apathetic majority. Just look at how few SDA pastors are commenting on this website. Sure, there may be a few “anonymous” ones, but even they are too afraid to use their real names!

    We have, I believe, tens of thousands of pastors in the SDA Church. A couple of dozen may actually speak up, here and on other websites. Are the rest simply “too busy” to bother? Not aware? Don’t care? Too afraid?




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  20. Of course I guessed about the percentages for the purpose of making a point. But one thing at least seems to be certain, the majority of those who receive the mark of the beast do so in the hand. They simply do what is expedient to avoid controversy and discomfort. It also releases them from any moral obligation to study for themselves to determine what is true and what is not.

    So their agenda is “the church has said” and consider the matter closed.

    If this is not the heart and soul of Catholicism, I don’t know what is. And hopefully, more and more of us are seeing clearly those who adopt the modern views are opting for a “spirit ethic” over and above the bible.

    They appeal to “the spirit” as the final deciding factor of what is the right decision. They either totally ignore the bible or convolute scripture so badly, that any novice could readily see the abuse.

    As for the “spirit ethic” mentality, go read Spectrum comments about any subject.

    I guess in a way, we could hope this whole thing does blow up so we can see who is biblical and who is not. And I am still convinced that God has a way of “forcing” those who abondon the bible to finally admit it. Every departure from scripture is the spirit of an attack on the Sabbath.

    The devil knows that to persuade people to abandon even the smallest scriptual mandate will lead them eventually to abandon the bible Sabbath. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”

    Keep the faith,

    Bill Sorensen




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  21. Holly Pham: We have, I believe, tens of thousands of pastors in the SDA Church. A couple of dozen may actually speak up, here and on other websites. Are the rest simply “too busy” to bother? Not aware? Don’t care? Too afraid?

    Or too wise? Maybe they have more important things to do than argue about what happened in the past.




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  22. The devil must necessarily create a “generic” Christanity that has little or no definition or objective givens before he can pass himself off as the christ.

    A generic Christanity prepares the way for a generic Christ. Which in turn, prepares the way for Universalism in which everyone is saved. And according to EGW and the bible, this is the final deception.

    “As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power. {GC 588.2}
    The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement
    589
    for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.” {GC 588.3}

    And the down side of all this, is the SDA church as it is today, is leading out in many ways to promote, aide and abet this antichrist movement. And church members have their head in the sand with little alarm or concern for what is happening.

    This is what happens when people are convinced of the “unconditional election” of the church. The “terrible ordeal” EGW calls the shaking is closer than many imagine. Its final effects are soon to take place.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      Bill, the line from EGW saying:

      “The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them”

      seems ever so true, especially now. I myself have been guilty of this, and struggle to not get pulled into what the world sees as “important”. The closer the church tries to align with the world, the more we want to revise things to make it palatable for the world’s tastes, be it dress, music, or message, the more danger that lies ahead.

      We shouldn’t be wanting the world to like us… we should be wanting them to fall madly in love with Jesus!




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  23. Eddie: Or too wise? Maybe they have more important things to do than argue about what happened in the past.

    Those who fail to learn from past history’s mistakes (re: The children of Israel with idol worship, and we, as spiritual Israel, with like error) are doomed to repeat them.




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  24. Eddie: Or too wise? Maybe they have more important things to do than argue about what happened in the past.

    Eddie, What exactly are these “more important” things? Correcting the past mistakes and learning from them may not be something you like to consider or do, but many SDA’s are very concerned about where are Church is headed–in the WRONG direction.




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  25. Holly Pham: Eddie, What exactly are these “more important” things? Correcting the past mistakes and learning from them may not be something you like to consider or do, but many SDA’s are very concerned about where are Church is headed–in the WRONG direction.

    Rather than arguing online with liberals about church politics, when and how creation occurred, and publicly exposing the sins of the brethren, I think pastors should instead spend their time studying the Bible, preparing sermons, attending to the needs of their families, ministering to their parishioners (e.g,. visiting the bereaved, sick and dying, organizing church events, giving Bible studies), etc.

    What good does it do to argue? Has any “liberal” become a “conservative” because of this website? Or vice versa?




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  26. Eddie said……
    “What good does it do to argue? Has any “liberal” become a “conservative” because of this website? Or vice versa?”

    Wow, Eddie. According to you, there would never ever be any reformation movement in the world, past, present, or future.

    How about suggesting your theory to Noah, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Luther, EGW and even Jesus?

    Let me suggest that historically, truth has always gone by way of confrontation more than infiltration. But confrontation is very unsettling, isn’t it. It demands moral participation and commitment.

    Rome didn’t want any confrontation because they held the influence and authority over the people. Just so, the liberals who hold the main influence and authority in the SDA church want no real challenge or confrontation either. And just as Rome cried “unity, unity, unity” the liberals of today cry the same story and agenda.

    As bible Christians, we demand unity based solely on the word. We want no other unity for the sake of peace. I don’t think many would consider the spirituality of your advice as being in harmony with the spirit of true bible unity and reform.

    Bill Sorensen




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  27. Eddie: Rather than arguing online with liberals about church politics, when and how creation occurred, and publicly exposing the sins of the brethren, I think pastors should instead spend their time studying the Bible, preparing sermons, attending to the needs of their families, ministering to their parishioners (e.g,. visiting the bereaved, sick and dying, organizing church events, giving Bible studies), etc.What good does it do to argue? Has any “liberal” become a “conservative” because of this website? Or vice versa?

    Your philosophy is totally incorrect. A large part of a pastor’s job is to proclaim the Truth (along with those other things you mentioned) no matter who or what is exposed.

    A good example of this was Pastor Doug Batchelor’s sermon today (4-28-2012) when he said (I’m paraphrasing, but almost all his sermons can be found online)that some churches (including some of our own SDA ones) teach and preach love, faith, etc. without mentioning, asking for, or even expecting any “repentance” from sin.

    As you and most of us know, Pastor Doug is one of the most hated men by liberal/progressive SDA’s. Why? Because he preaches Biblical Truth, not just some man’s or woman’s philosophy, ideas, thoughts, or speculations.

    So, “arguing” or stating the truth about something may be a BIG part of a pastor’s or even an ordinary churchmember’s job, despite what you think.




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  28. Sean Pitman: Of course secular scientists are going to define anything that challenges their perspective as “pseudoscience”

    This would be an inaccurate claim/statement, no scientific theory/perspective or model can be classified as science unless it can be challenged. This is at the base of any model and is critiqued in order to be classified as a model.




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    • @John J.:

      In theory, yes. In practice, no. Mainstream scientists are just as dogmatic and unbending about some of their ideas as are any group of sectarian fundamentalists.

      In practice, the concept of neo-Darwinism is a religion, not a science. It cannot be tested in a falsifiable manner – even in theory. It is believed based on blind faith alone and defending by appeals to authority and bluster – not real science.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  29. Holly Pham: We have, I believe, tens of thousands of pastors in the SDA Church. A couple of dozen may actually speak up, here and on other websites. Are the rest simply “too busy” to bother? Not aware? Don’t care? Too afraid?

    Holly Pham: Your philosophy is totally incorrect. A large part of a pastor’s job is to proclaim the Truth (along with those other things you mentioned) no matter who or what is exposed.

    A good example of this was Pastor Doug Batchelor’s sermon today (4-28-2012) when he said (I’m paraphrasing, but almost all his sermons can be found online)that some churches (including some of our own SDA ones) teach and preach love, faith, etc. without mentioning, asking for, or even expecting any “repentance” from sin.

    As I mentioned once before, Doug Batchelor is actually my favorite SDA speaker. But if I’m wrong about a pastor’s priorities, why isn’t he joining the chorus here in condemning the sins of liberal professors, pastors and administrators? Is he, in Holly Pham’s words, “too busy” to bother? Not aware? Don’t care? Too afraid?




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  30. Eddie:
    As I mentioned once before, Doug Batchelor is actually my favorite SDA speaker. But if I’m wrong about a pastor’s priorities, why isn’t he joining the chorus here in condemning the sins of liberal professors, pastors and administrators? Is he, in Holly Pham’s words, “too busy” to bother? Not aware? Don’t care? Too afraid?

    I will tell you what one pastor, who knows Pastor Doug very well, told me. And that is
    that Pastor Doug is “hated” (the exact word) by so many people WITHIN our SDA Church that he usually stays out of directly participating in any controversy such as ET, etc.

    However, Pastor Doug is not afraid to take on any controversial issue, as you may hear, see, and even review on the SacCentral website or on the Amazing Facts website, Amazing Facts TV, etc.

    So, I believe Pastor Doug IS too busy (he has virtually two jobs) but is also afraid to speak up because of the angry hatred (please see Spectrum for one simple example) he will get for speaking God’s Truth. He is one of a very few SDA pastors that preaches virtually entirely from the Bible, not from human “wisdom” secular ideas, and the latest intellectual fad. [edit – off topic]




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  31. Eddie:
    As I mentioned once before, Doug Batchelor is actually my favorite SDA speaker. But if I’m wrong about a pastor’s priorities, why isn’t he joining the chorus here in condemning the sins of liberal professors, pastors and administrators? Is he, in Holly Pham’s words, “too busy” to bother? Not aware? Don’t care? Too afraid?

    I forgot to mention that Pastor Doug is not afraid to call out what he believes to be wrong ideas, bad judgements, and anti-Biblical stances by SDA’s. He is not the only one, however. Pastor Harold White is another, as is Mike Thompson. Both are associates of Pastor Doug.

    There are others too. I will not attempt to mention them, as I would probably not mention someone I should. But, compared to the tens of thousands of SDA pastors we have in our Church, we have very few willing to speak up for the Lord.

    If others know of some pastor who they believe IS an actual public supporter of our SDA standards, please encourage them to at least check ET occasionally to see what’s going on. What they do with this knowledge is between them and the Lord.




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  32. Maybe he isn’t hated as much as you think. Just because somebody disagrees with one or a few of his positions doesn’t necessarily mean that the person “hates” him. I happen to disagree with his position on women’s ordination, but I still think he’s a fabulous preacher with a cogent message and I certainly agree with most of his beliefs. It’s unwise to reject a messenger just because there is one message or a few that you don’t like.




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  33. Eddie:
    Maybe he isn’t hated as much as you think. Just because somebody disagrees with one or a few of his positions doesn’t necessarily mean that the person “hates” him. I happen to disagree with his position on women’s ordination, but I still think he’s a fabulous preacher with a cogent message and I certainly agree with most of his beliefs. It’s unwise to reject a messenger just because there is one message or a few that you don’t like.

    Well, the word “hated” was used, and this pastor has worked with Pastor Doug for many years. The Spectrum attack on Doug was very intense, as you probably know.

    Please review some of the comments about him on Spectrum and AT. He was pictorially accused of making Ellen White “sit in the back of the bus” which is using the “race card” in a most unusual way.

    He has also been accused of being “educationally challenged” because of his lack of formal education. There are many other examples, which you and others may check out over on Spectrum, AT, and other places.

    The only persons receiving similar hateful comments recently have been President Wilson and the Michigan Conference President, as you can see for yourself also.




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  34. I once saw a posting, I believe on this site, that called Pastor Doug an embarrassment to the church. Like, REALLY! Anyone who would say such a thing is more of an embarrassment to the church than Pastor Doug will ever be.

    Pastor Doug has had the courage to stand for Bible truth when very few of our ministers would. Since Net 99, I have enjoyed his site, his materials, and whatever sermons of his that I can get my hands on. He was the first SDA pastor I had heard in a long time that would preach the straight SDA truth without error mixed into it.

    I appreciate Pastor Doug and his Amazing Facts organization, and support it as much as I am able to.

    And, just for the record, Doug did come out and make his stand on the Creation issue public. I think it was a couple of years ago. Sean may remember what I am referring to. [edit – off topic]




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  35. Holly Pham: As you and most of us know, Pastor Doug is one of the most hated men by liberal/progressive SDA’s. Why? Because he preaches Biblical Truth, not just some man’s or woman’s philosophy, ideas, thoughts, or speculations.
    So, “arguing” or stating the truth about something may be a BIG part of a pastor’s or even an ordinary churchmember’s job, despite what you think

    Amen, Amen, Amen.




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  36. I made a recent comment on the Spectrum website blog, about David Asscherick and how I think someone like him would be great for the Voice of Prophecy. Of course, the comments that came back about him were quite derrogatory… think there’s any coincidence that Pastor Asscherick is one of the most vocal critics of SDA neo-Darwinism?

    One commentator said that his sermons made them want to run “quickly to the nearest Starbucks for a strong fortifying cup of java.”

    Obviously, they’ve never heard Pastor Asscherick’s sermon on health! But sounds like the commentator might be another SoCal “in name only SDA” like Brother Taylor.




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  37. Faith: I once saw a posting, I believe on this site, that called Pastor Doug an embarrassment to the church. Like, REALLY! Anyone who would say such a thing is more of an embarrassment to the church than Pastor Doug will ever be.Pastor Doug has had the courage to stand for Bible truth when very few of our ministers would. Since Net 99, I have enjoyed his site, his materials, and whatever sermons of his that I can get my hands on. He was the first SDA pastor I had heard in a long time that would preach the straight SDA truth without error mixed into it.I appreciate Pastor Doug and his Amazing Facts organization, and support it as much as I am able to.And, just for the record, Doug did come out and make his stand on the Creation issue public. I think it was a couple of years ago. Sean may remember what I am referring to. [edit – off topic]

    You are correct. Many over on Spectrum have called Doug an “embarrassment” and other derogatory words. But, look at who the GC and other groups ask to preach our message around the world–Doug Batchelor.

    At a recent Amazing Facts evangelism training seminar, Pastor Doug had Ted Wilson, Derek Morris, Mark Finley, Jerry Page, all GC executives, as guest speakers.

    Pastor Doug HAS spoken out on Creation, “gay marriage” and other controversial topics. He preaches straight from the Bible, which, as you have said, we see very little of, even from SDA pastors.

    Others who are also great are Stephen Bohr, John Lomecang, David Assherick, Lyle Albrecht, Walter Pearson, C.A. Murray, Kenneth Cox.

    We also have some younger pastors coming up which I have seen and heard recently. So we do have some that are faithful to the Lord’s Word.




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    • Holly, I don’t know if you had a chance to hear Kameron DeVasher speak or not (he was at the last GYC…. http://www.audioverse.com).

      He’s another one of the young pastors that seems to be really on the mark in terms of Bible truth. Jeffrey Rosario, also…

      Lots from Down Under, also. Paul Godfrey is excellent (www.markwoodman.org).

      And of course, Dr. Sean Pitman. I really enjoyed his presentations from Audioverse.




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  38. jdoe:
    Holly, I don’t know if you had a chance to hear Kameron DeVasher speak or not (he was at the last GYC…. http://www.audioverse.com).

    He’s another one of the young pastors that seems to be really on the mark in terms of Bible truth.Jeffrey Rosario, also…

    Lots from Down Under, also.Paul Godfrey is excellent (www.markwoodman.org).

    And of course, Dr. Sean Pitman.I really enjoyed his presentations from Audioverse.

    I have seen Pastor Rosario on TV, but not the others you mention. I’ll keep my eye open for them. I didn’t mean to infer that my list was anywhere near complete either.




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  39. Dear brothers in Christ,
    I have been quietly following this debate since i last left the university namely Adventist university of the Philippines. and even joined this discussion on how we can show this beloved brothers of ours who have gone astray on the other side of the fence (theistic or even atheistic evolution). to made up their mind and join and concentrate all of our resources and intellect in proclaiming the three angels message to all the corners of the world. you know what brothers, we have been wasting our time here stuck in this issues right here in the Adventist community because we couldn’t consolidate all our leaders and all our minds intellectuals in this issues. i know it is not easy, but it should be if we just humble ourselves and let God speak simply to us. if you are still confuse here is a few of what is out there that speak loudly may be better than we can communicate this topics. follow this link and check it. my only appeal is that our teacher should teach science to our students in the Adventist geography, in the way this people teach in their denomination.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haadES6pDZw&feature=relmfu

    in Christ

    Lyndon Diancin Roque

    (congratulation brother Sean Pitman) for your love to our adventist youth and even for elders.




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