Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case

From the North American Religious Liberty Association
 

Today the Supreme Court decided what is likely the most important religious liberty case to come down in the past two decades.

In Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Court sided unanimously with a church sued for firing an employee on religious grounds, issuing an opinion on Wednesday that religious employers can keep the government out of hiring and firing decisions. [For additional details on the background and facts of the case, see the Liberty articles “An Issue of Church Autonomy: The Supreme Court Examines the Ministerial Exception Doctrine,” (Sept/Oct) and “Hosanna Tabor: The Supreme Court Hears Arguments in a Case with Far-Reaching Implications for Church Organizations” (Nov/Dec).]

The Court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, dismissed as an “extreme position” the plea of EEOC to limit any “ministerial exception” solely to workers who perform “exclusively religious functions.”

Justice Thomas went even further in his concurring opinion, saying that it was clear that the parochial school’s sponsoring church “sincerely” considered the teacher to be a minister, and “That would be sufficient for me to conclude that [this] suit is properly barred by the ministerial exception.”

The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists joined an amicus brief urging the court to rule on behalf of the Lutheran Church.

Said Todd McFarland, associate counsel with the Office of General Counsel and NARLA’s legal advisor: “The General Conference is pleased with the Court’s decision and the reasoning behind it. In particular, the Court’s rejection of the Administration’s view that the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment did not provide protection to religious organizations is especially heartening.  This ruling reinforces that America’s First Freedom remains relevant.”

 

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438 thoughts on “Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case

  1. Interesting case.

    I suspect the ministerial exception would not apply to the LSU biology professors, unless part of their duties were to teach theology vs. biology. Thus LSU likely won’t succeed using this doctrine as a defence.

    Hypothetically if LSU mandated its biology teachers to teach creationism as an alternative to evolution and the biology teachers refused to do so, then LSU could likely fire them for failing to perform their religious duties.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @ken:

      Yeah, that’s probably the argument that would have to be made – even though in reality evolutionism is no less a “religion” than is creationism.

      From my perspective, of course, intelligent design and even young-life creationism are more empirically based and consistent with scientific methodologies than is Darwinian-style evolutionism…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  2. It is surprising that not only did the court rule in favor of the church but the decision was unanimous.

    Seems it should strengthen the church’s position in the LSU case. However, in the LSU case, it seems there were encouraged resignations rather than firings. And it seems the issue is not so much about the loss of a position as some sort of convoluted claim related to eavesdropping on a private conversation.




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  3. I agree with Ken. We have not asked all our teachers to be part of the religious training of our children. If we had had a view of every class being part of their religios education, if we had hired people to do this, our schools would probably be smaller in number but a much greater source of power to the three angels’ messages.




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  4. The article said —

    The employment discrimination prohibitions in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act carry exemptions that deal with such a situation. Churches, religious schools and other religious institutions may limit their hiring to individuals of a particular religion. Also, hiring may be on the basis of religion, sex, or national origin, where the requirement is a bona fide occupational qualification.

    Which means that firing teachers who oppose FB #6 – by teaching blind-faith-evolutionism “as if it were fact not fiction” could be done without restraint.

    In the case in question the problem was not a failure to teach church doctrine.

    The Sixth Circuit concluded that Perich was not a “ministerial” employee, so she could move ahead with her claim that she was fired in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) when the school refused to take her back after an eight-month disability leave of absence for a condition eventually diagnosed as narcolepsy. The school had concerns about changing teachers for her fourth graders midyear, and also had questions about whether Perich was attempting to return too quickly in light of her physical condition. However, her ADA claim was based primarily on the school principal’s statement to Perich that her threat to sue under the ADA justified revoking her “call.”

    In the view of the Sixth Circuit, neither Perich’s “call” nor her religious duties were enough to make the ministerial exception applicable. Her duties after she became a “called” teacher were identical to her duties before that.

    In the self-taped document of the famous three meeting with GC NAD president Daniel Jackson – the teachers were all called “Ministers”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  5. A good decision. I’m not an attorney but there were public comments that the decision was a very narrow one. Can anyone comment on that aspect or was it merely wishful thinking that the decision was narrow?




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  6. Hi Bob

    You are quoting from the lower court case not the Supreme Court ruling that overturned it.

    Unless the fired LSU biology profs fit under the same ministerial exception as Perich the Supreme Court decision would not apply and LSU cannot use that as a defense. In her case part of her job was to teach religious classes. Thus I think the issue for the LSU biology profs is whether the were obligated to teach creationisn as part of their job description or mainstream biology which of course would include
    evolution.

    Thus respectfully, I think your conclusion in law is likely wrong.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  7. This should be a no-brainer. Check the Faculty/Employee Contract issued by LSU. If the Faculty Contracts of our Seventh-day Adventist colleges and schools do not make it clear (perhaps VERY clear) that all employees are to be members of the Seventh-day Adventists Church in good standing, and follow the mission and policies of the Church and the College, and uphold the teachings of the Bible, God’s Word, and the Spirit of Prophecy, then shame on us!!! If they do, then shame on them, and fire them.

    It seems to me, that somewhere in our leadership hierarchy, that there must be an awakening to the importance and clearness in our hiring policies and contracts. Have we gotten stupid to the fact that the devil is doing all he can to prevent the eternal salvation of our youth? Is it too late to wake up?




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  8. “Is it too late to wake up?”

    Probably in the case of LSU it is. And not a few of our other institutions may well be beyond redemption.

    This is why the present process is taking so long. They gave away way too much years ago, and they aren’t likely to get it back.

    Bill Sorensen




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  9. Bill Sorensen: “Is it too late to wake up?”Probably in the case of LSU it is. And not a few of our other institutions may well be beyond redemption.This is why the present process is taking so long. They gave away way too much years ago, and they aren’t likely to get it back.Bill Sorensen

    I agree with you Bill. Pacific Union College is well on the way down the same road as La Sierra. The problem of pot smoking there is horrible. I have had three relatives attend or are attending PUC, and they all have said over 50% of the students smoke pot, some coming to class “high.”

    The administration is well aware of this problem and chooses to do virtually nothing. Something to think about when deciding where to send your SDA children.




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  10. I think we all know that there has always been a “church within the church”. And the bigger “the church” gets, the smaller percentage wise the inside church gets.

    Of course, we fear the influence of the liberal agenda within the church and its affect on our children and grandchildren. But God seems to be able to preserve the honest in heart, even when it seems the majority is going in the wrong direction.

    I am always encouraged by those who are willing to speak out and am hopeful there are many more who feel the same way, but are often silent, partly because they don’t know what to do about it.

    And, by the way, this would include some of our leaders as well. I assume if they speak out, like David Asserick and the Michigan conf. president Jay Galimore, the powers that be have a way of keeping them quiet. You never hear from them again publically.

    One of the greatest curses and misunderstandings that develops within God’s ordained church is this. It is assumed that since we are being “blessed” financially, and in other areas of life, we must necessarily be doing God’s will. And so spirituality is measured by this temporal success.

    It happens again and again and again throughout the history of God’s church. But at some point, God removes the temporal blessing to awaken the people to the reality of the real situation.

    Perhaps it is the only way in the end to awaken the church to a true spiritual reality check. If so, no one is going to like it. But it will weed out the false professors and leave us in difficult straights.

    I don’t think any of us are ready for that.
    WDYT?

    Bill Sorensen




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    • ref=”#comment-36266″>Bill Sorensen:
      I find it curious that you believe the majority in the church are going in the wrong direction, but you defend the “Fundamental Beliefs ” as being correct because they were voted by the church. Which is it? Are the majority right, or wrong?

      Actually, in this case I think I agree with you that the majority are wrong. We should have never voted on a creed. For Adventists, the Bible should be enough.




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  11. I don’t know that we have really gotten to the heart of the problem. We have identified the result but not necessarily the basic cause.

    For the last few decades we have articulated how we are “not justified by the law”. And there is certainly a biblical understanding of this fact. The last quarters lessons were typical of this emphasis. None the less, there is also a biblical context in which we are “justified by the law” and this is either ignored or even denied by many.

    Until we can show the how and function of both concepts, we are doomed to ongoing confusion. We can not fulfill what the ceremonial law typifies which is Christ and His ministry.

    But we can fulfill what the moral law enjoins, and the two aspects working together make up the complete whole of the doctrine of salvation.

    This is no small matter in determining and defining the spirituality of the church. And is the primary cause of the trouble concerning the evolution/creation discussions.

    After the hassle on the law in Galatians in the 1888 fiasco, EGW made this comment…..

    ” It is not essential to understand the precise particulars in regard to the relation of the two laws. It is of far greater consequence that we know whether we are justified or condemned by the holy precepts of God’s law. {WB, September 9, 1902 par. 6}”

    It is not popular, or even acceptable to teach today that we are justified by keeping the ten commandments. Or, that we are saved by obedience to God’s law.

    But we must ask, “Are we not ‘saved’ by following the example of Jesus?”

    Of course we are. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

    No, we are not saved by keeping the moral law if we ignore the atonement and what it implies. Namely, we can not merit and earn heaven by keeping the ten commandments.

    But in the final judgment, the decision of determining whether you go to heaven or not is based squarely on your response to the gospel and the word of God.

    So, she says in the chapter on the judgment in GC…….

    “The deepest interest manifested among men in the
    484
    decisions of earthly tribunals but faintly represents the interest evinced in the heavenly courts when the names entered in the book of life come up in review before the Judge of all the earth. The divine Intercessor presents the plea that all who have overcome through faith in his blood be forgiven their transgressions, that they be restored to their Eden home, and crowned as joint-heirs with himself to the “first dominion.” [Micah 4:8.] Satan, in his efforts to deceive and tempt our race, had thought to frustrate the divine plan in man’s creation; but Christ now asks that this plan be carried into effect, as if man had never fallen. He asks for his people not only pardon and justification, full and complete, but a share in his glory and a seat upon his throne. {GC88 483.3}”

    Justification is dependent on the obedience of the believer and this reality is either ignored or even denied by more than a few in the church today.

    We should see that the present spirituality of modern Adventism is a reflection of the denial of the necessity to obey God’s law to be justifed and when “faith alone” is articulated to exclude this truth, we have the present condition in our church today as the sure result.

    Have a nice Sabbath and keep the faith,

    Bill Sorensen




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  12. Holly Pham: Pacific Union College is well on the way down the same road as La Sierra. The problem of pot smoking there is horrible. I have had three relatives attend or are attending PUC, and they all have said over 50% of the students smoke pot, some coming to class “high.”

    The administration is well aware of this problem and chooses to do virtually nothing.

    Substance abuse occurs at all SDA campuses and the problem is not ignored by the administration of any campus. Any student caught abusing any substance is dragged before a judicial committee composed of deans and faculty members, and promptly suspended for a period of time (varying from 3 days to 1 year, depending on the nature of the behavior) or even expelled, in accordance with each institution’s policies. Furthermore, the student is placed on probation, required to take an online course on substance abuse, required to attend counseling sessions, and required to consent to random drug testing.




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  13. It is true that many in the SDA church “bow the knee to Baal”. But this church is still the apple of His eye. We must each recognize our own responsibility and accountability and answer individually to our God.

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

    “The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place.”

    —Selected Messages 2:380 (1886).

    “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition.”

    —The Great Controversy, 608 (1911).

    The Lord has faithful servants who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the daytime we look toward heaven but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine luster.

    —Testimonies for the Church 5:80, 81 (1882).
    ===========================================
    1 Kings 19

    14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

    18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.




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    • @Charles:
      I note that it is not doctrinal purity that is important, but purity of Christian character. This Supreme court decision might be good news for some churches, but I find it appalling that the Seventh-day Adventist church would file a brief in favor of firing an employee because they have sleep apnea. It may be OK for some churches to fire people over health issues, but it should never happen in the SDA church.




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      • @ron:
        It wasn’t “sleep apnea” it was narcolepsy; there is a world of difference between these unfortunate afflictions.

        While it may not be within the purview of this blog certainly there are medical conditions that militate against persons holding certain jobs. A narcoleptic can fall asleep without any warning.

        Would you want a bus driver who is a narcoleptic? Could it be that the person involved in the legal challenge was expected to be alert at all times?




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  14. Great Sabbath school lesson this week on Creation vs the Bible.

    Further Study:

    Through all her ministry, Ellen G. White was uncompromising in her rejection of the theory of evolution.

    “It is,” she wrote, “the worst kind of infidelity; for with many who profess to believe the record of creation, it is infidelity in disguise.”—The Signs of the Times, March 20, 1879.

    “[S]hall we, for the privilege of tracing our descent from germs and mollusks and apes, consent to cast away that statement of Holy Writ, so grand in its simplicity, ‘God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him’? Genesis 1:27.”—Ellen G. White, Education, p. 130.

    http://ssnet.org/blog/2012/01/further-study-in-the-beginning/

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  15. Bob, I am curious, Sean acknowledged awhile back that everyone, even Adventists believe in “micro evolution “. Is that true of you as well?
    If you don’t believe in microevolution, what do you think about bacteria that develop the ability to breakdown man made materials like nylon, or the genetic mutations that allowed the Tibetans to live at high altitudes and to escape persecution by the Chinese at about the time of Christ?

    Was that a creative act by God? Or was that something that happened “naturally”?

    If it was in fact an example of miroevoltion, was it an evil result of sin and death, or was it a mercy and a blessing given by God (or nature)?




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  16. Bill, (and Bob), You are worried about the Liberal agenda, but doesn’t it bother you a little, that it was the traditionalists that crucified Christ?

    Didn’t Jesus come, to liberate sinners? And did Christ not use the Bible, (David eating the shew bread) to tell the traditionalists that the explicit command of God about how to keep the Sabath did not apply to his desciples? A liberal never exhisted if Christ was not a liberal.

    Then again with Paul. Before his convertion he was conservative. After his conversion he was liberal. How much effort did he put into opposing the conservatives?

    Then again, with Mrs. White, I haven’t personally researched it, but I am told that Mrs. White never used the term conservative with a positive connotation. She always considered conservative to be bad.

    You might want to rethink who you hang out with.




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  17. Ron, the terms “liberal and conservative” have a qualified meaning as we use them today.

    Conservative generally means traditional Christian values based on the bible, and liberal generally means an abandonment of these values. This applies in secular politics as well as religion in America.

    Yes, it was the legalistic “conservatives” who influenced the death of Christ. But notice this statement by EGW….

    “The great sin of the Jews was their rejection of Christ; the great sin of the Christian world would be their rejection of the law of God, the foundation of his government in Heaven and earth. The precepts of Jehovah would be despised and set at naught.” GC page 22

    So, if the gospel was rejected in the name of the law, and it was, then we can know the law will be rejected in the name of the gospel, and it is.

    The church God raised up to clearly define law and gospel in its true and biblical context in these last days, has abandon to a large extent the law in the name of the gospel.

    It is the same scenario the early church fell into when they changed the Sabbath to Sunday in the name of “love and the gospel” and eventually decided the Holy Spirit leading the church transcended the written word.

    But we should see that liberalism can easily be equated with legalism. They killed disenters and anyone who opposed their agenda in the name of justice and truth. And eventually formulated a system of “merit” whereby church members could “buy” their way into heaven not only for themselves, but others as well.

    So we see that conservatism and liberalism are twin sisters standing back to back.

    I have no more affinity for legalism than liberalism. But I oppose any implication that all obligations, conditions and requirements for salvation by the human agent is ipso facto legalism.

    This is the general position held by the SDA church today, and is continually trumpted from the pulpit and our publications.

    In short, God’s stated moral requirements for salvation is not legalism, neither is the investigative judgment for the purpose of determining who has “merited” and “earned” heaven and who has not.

    But again, this is often how it is viewed and attacked by the liberal elements both in the church and the fringe ministries.

    Hopefully, this will define how I personally view the church and its spiritual problems.

    Bill Sorensen




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  18. ron:
    Bill, (and Bob),You are worried about the Liberal agenda, but doesn’t it bother you a little, that it was the traditionalists that crucified Christ?

    If Traditionalist” means – dumping the word of God in favor of “man-made traditions” (Mark 7:5-13 then the closest thing we have to that today – is the liberal idea of dumping the Bible statements in Ex 20:11 in favor of the man-made religion evolutionism.

    I should think that would trouble modern libs a bit.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  19. ron:

    Then again, with Mrs. White, I haven’t personally researched it, but I am told that Mrs. White never used the term conservative with a positive connotation.She always considered conservative to be bad.

    You might want to rethink who you hang out with.

    Ok – I will play this game.

    Here we have Ellen White defending the idea of Fundamental Beliefs – that cannot be changed, that define what an SDA actually is – that are given by divine approval of God.

    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)

    Today we would call that idea “Conservative” – if your point is that Ellen White affirmed that principle but did not slap – the label “conservative” on it, in her day… I am not prepared to quarrel over that point. All I know is that this conservative POV was being defeneded in her writing.

    In fact Ellen White’s claim seems to be that the idea of a “new theology” that undermines the doctrines already established – is the game plan of the “enemy of souls”.

    “The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. …

    Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth?” E.G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, 204, 205.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. Ellen White condemned the liberal notion of reading the Bible merely to conjecture against established doctrine and the reliability of the Bible.

    In fact she even addresses liberalism itself.

    By the cry, Liberality, men are blinded to the devices of their adversary, while he is all the time working steadily for the accomplishment of his object. As he succeeds in supplanting the Bible by human speculations, the law of God is set aside, and the churches are under the bondage of sin while they claim to be free. {GC 522.1}

    To many, scientific research has become a curse. God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in discoveries in science and art; but even the greatest minds, if not guided by the word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to investigate the relations of science and revelation.{GC 522.2}

    Human knowledge of both material and spiritual things is partial and imperfect; therefore many are unable to harmonize their views of science with Scripture statements. Many accept mere theories and speculations as scientific facts, and they think that God’s word is to be tested by the teachings of “science falsely so called.”1 Timothy 6:20. The Creator and His works are beyond their comprehension; and because they cannot explain these by natural laws, Bible history is regarded as unreliable. Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments too often go a step further and doubt the existence of God and attribute infinite power to nature. Having let go their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity. {GC 522.3}

    Thus many err from the faith and are seduced by the devil. Men have endeavored to be wiser than their Creator; human philosophy has attempted to search out and explain mysteries which will never be revealed through the eternal ages. If men would but search and understand what God had made known of Himself and His purposes, they would obtain such a view of the glory, majesty, and power of Jehovah that they would realize their own littleness and would be content with that which has been revealed for themselves and their children. {GC 522.4}

    It is a masterpiece of Satan’s deceptions to keep the minds of men searching and conjecturing in regard to that which God has not made known and which He does not intend that we shall understand. It was thus that Lucifer lost his place in heaven. He became dissatisfied because all the secrets of God’s purposes were not confided to him, and he entirely disregarded that which was revealed concerning his own work in the lofty position assigned him. By arousing the same discontent in the angels under his command, he caused their fall. Now he seeks to imbue the minds of men with the same spirit and to lead them also to disregard the direct commands of God. {GC 523.1}

    Just as the Bible DOES mention a “time frame” for creation in Ex 20:11 – impossible to ignore…. so also Ellen White addresses the issue of liberalism.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. Ken: You are quoting from the lower court case not the Supreme Court ruling that overturned it.

    Unless the fired LSU biology profs fit under the same ministerial exception as Perich the Supreme Court decision would not apply and LSU cannot use that as a defense. In her case part of her job was to teach religious classes. Thus I think the issue for the LSU biology profs is whether the were obligated to teach creationisn as part of their job description or mainstream biology which of course would include
    evolution.

    Thus respectfully, I think your conclusion in law is likely wrong.

    Notice “the details”.

    The lower court denied the claim that the teacher as a Minister and argued that the Lutheran church could not claim religious – since this was not case of dealing with a minister.

    The superior court overturned that ruling and allowed the Lutheran decision to stand. Not sure how this helps your argument.

    I simply pointed out that in that context – Daniel Jackson had already made the claim that SDA teachers are regarded as ministers – that self-taped meeting by one of the “three” where Jackson addressed the faculty at LSU.

    How did you think the details here were helping your POV?

    Your argument seems to be that biology teachers in our schools cannot teach the observed science of biology – but must teach junk-science, never-observed myths about amoebas turning into horses “over time” – as if it were observed fact rather than junk-science fiction.

    But here again you miss the point – as the LSU professors are not on trial for “teaching blind faith evolutionism” nor is LSU on trial in civil court for any view it has “pro or con” regarding blind-faith evolutionism .

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  22. Re Bob’s Quote

    “Your argument seems to be that biology teachers in our schools cannot teach the observed science of biology – but must teach junk-science, never-observed myths about amoebas turning into horses “over time” – as if it were observed fact rather than junk-science fiction.

    But here again you miss the point – as the LSU professors are not on trial for “teaching blind faith evolutionism” nor is LSU on trial in civil court for any view it has “pro or con” regarding blind-faith evolutionism .”

    Hi Bob

    Once again my friend your fervent imagination is running wild as to what you think I am saying. You need to read exactly what I said.

    With respect I think your ‘ legal’ analysis is lacking in proper application of the law to the ‘actual’ facts. I do not fault you for this if you have not had training in this regard. I simply point out that you should be cautious about rendering legal opinions if you are not qualified to do so.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  23. BobRyan: The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error.

    For me conservative, or fundamentalist refers to taking a very literal interpretation of the Bible (actually, the Koran, Mrs. White or anything else) and trying to tightly define orthodoxy and then trying to define anyone who doesn’t agree as being “out”. To me this was the fundamental apostasy of the Catholic church which laid the foundation for it’s apostasy on the Sabbath and so many other issues.

    My understanding of Adventism, is that we were to study and believe the Bible even if our understanding disagreed with the established creeds of the day. That we are to continually follow God’s leading into “Present Truth” “as it is in Jesus”.

    So, those souls who are “piling up scriptures” and trying “to bring in a great reformation” by creating “28 fundamental beliefs” are the fulfillment of this prophesy. I think Mrs. White was speaking against the very thing that you are trying to defend. We are seeing now exactly what was predicted when our forefathers opposed the development of a creed in the first place. As Mrs. White predicted, the most severe persecution is coming from within the church.

    By tightly defining the meaning of Genesis, tighter than the Bible itself, it seems to me that you run afoul of your own quote. You are one of those who is “endeavor(ing) to be wiser than their Creator; (your) human philosophy has attempted to search out and explain (via a creed) mysteries which will never be revealed through the eternal ages”

    It is true that the “28 fundamental beliefs” describe our common understanding of the Bible, but the very act of creating them and using them as a creed undermines the more fundamental principle of letting the Bible speak for itself, and following God’s leading that led to the common understanding in the first place. You are in fact, forsaking the principles (freedom of conscience and sola scriptura) of the Reformation and recreating an “Image to the Beast”, which are those powers within Protestantism which try to use force to impose its own understanding of Scripture. What you are advocating is just flat wrong.




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  24. GMF: It wasn’t “sleep apnea” it was narcolepsy

    Well, everything I know about the case is heresay, so I don’t want to argue about it. Whatever it was, it was my understanding that the process was under control when she went back to work. I still think the church is on shaky ground opposing the principles behind the American’s with Disabilities Act. It seems to me that if anyone would support the ADA, it should be Adventists.




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  25. The liberals may not post all that much, but they sure do “vote”, don’t they? I can’t see any true bible believing Christian giving a thumbs up to any of Ron’s posts.

    But sometimes I realize that at least some don’t understand what is being said and/or why.

    Hopefully, most don’t really take the vote all that serious. I know I don’t. Even though I do appreciate the fact that I know at least some understand what is being said and why.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  26. I wonder how many of us have read the Americans with Disabilities Act? Is it job killing and extreme in some areas? Has it driven out of business small companies who could not afford the requirements imposed on them by the Bureaucracy?
    Anyone have answers to these questions? Before I accept lock, stock and barrel legislation from Congress I want to know its implications.




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  27. Ron: Well, everything I know about the case is heresay, so I don’t want to argue about it. Whatever it was, it was my understanding that the process was under control when she went back to work. I still think the church is on shaky ground opposing the principles behind the American’s with Disabilities Act. It seems to me that if anyone would support the ADA, it should be Adventists.

    I disagree. It depends on what you mean by “disability.” It may and can and HAS been defined to mean virtually anything. Check it out for yourselves!




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  28. BobRyan: Just as the Bible DOES mention a “time frame” for creation in Ex 20:11 – impossible to ignore…. so also Ellen White addresses the issue of liberalism.

    For those who think that the world and all forms of life are never mentioned in the Bible with the explicit “Time Frame” of 6 days for creation followed by a 1 day rest – we have that Exodus 20:11 statement in “legal code” not “poetry”.

    Ron: I’m sorry Bob. I missed the part about 6000 years in your Bible text. Where is that?
    Ron.

    I notice that you did not address the explicit 7 day week as found “in legal code” – and stated to summarize the creation of all life on earth.

    Interesting.

    So assuming you are willing to agree with the Bible on that 7 day period “in legal code” stating that all life on earth came about in a real 7 day week – then what is your point about the 6000 years? Are you thinking that maybe there is some national academy of science approved view on evolutionism saying that all life on earth came about in a real 7 day week – but….err… umm… more than 6000 years ago??

    What problem is this solving for TEs?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  29. Ron: For me conservative, or fundamentalist refers to taking a very literal interpretation of the Bible (actually, the Koran, Mrs. White or anything else)

    Well then we agree that the term “Fundamentalist” is very specific in applying to those who take their holy books seriously “just as they read”.

    Ellen White never condemns fundamentalism and in fact she approves “taking the Bible as it reads” rather that washing it down and diluting it with liberal re-interpretations of the Bible — replacing the Bible with popular man-made traditions.

    I also agree with you that those who a prone to “taking the Bible as it reads” are also prone to taking Ellen White’s writings as they read.

    No argument there at all.

    trying to tightly define orthodoxy and then trying to define anyone who doesn’t agree as being “out”.

    If you take the time to read George Knight’s book about the organization of the SDA denomination you will find that it starts with James White and Uriah Smith giving out personally authorized ministerial licenses – having first obtained affirmation that those claiming to be SDA ministers agreed to the “Pillars” of doctrinal faith already established at that time.

    Here is how our early pioneers viewed this

    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)

    As for tests of fellowship and conservatives. This is not a case of fundamentalists or even conservatives – suggesting that we change our Church policy so that rejection of the cardinal beliefs of SDAs becomes a test of fellowship or cause for discipline.

    Read the church manual for yourself – under the section on church discipline – reason #1 in that list – is already there.

    This is not a change being suggested by conservatives.

    My understanding of Adventism, is that we were to study and believe the Bible even if our understanding disagreed with the established creeds of the day.

    agreed.

    How peculiar then the overwhelming trend in liberal suggestions about the Bible – to be so ill-informed as to how to even begin to exegete the text letting it speak for itself.

    By tightly defining the meaning of Genesis, tighter than the Bible itself, it seems to me that you run afoul of your own quote.

    You illustrate the error that I claimed for the liberal POV – perfectly.

    I show the non-poetic – legal code nature of the time frame in Ex 20:11 and the text itself clearly shows how it applies to Genesis 1 and 2.

    Instead of dealing with the details in the text (so disconfirming to the liberal POV) – you merely “repeat the accusation” as if your doing so constitutes sufficient substitute for substance in your claims.

    How do you expect such a tactic to work in open serious discourse on the point of the Ex 20:11 and Genesis 1-2 timeframe of a literal 7 day week?

    Such a tactic could only work with fellow liberals.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  30. Bob:

    “Your argument seems to be that biology teachers in our schools cannot teach the observed science of biology – but must teach junk-science, never-observed myths about amoebas turning into horses “over time” – as if it were observed fact rather than junk-science fiction.

    But here again you miss the point – as the LSU professors are not on trial for “teaching blind faith evolutionism” nor is LSU on trial in civil court for any view it has “pro or con” regarding blind-faith evolutionism .”

    Ken: Re Bob’s Quote

    Hi Bob

    With respect I think your ‘ legal’ analysis is lacking in proper application of the law to the ‘actual’ facts. I do not fault you for this if you have not had training in this regard. I simply point out that you should be cautious about rendering legal opinions if you are not qualified to do so.

    That is pretty funny – you did not address a single point raise in your response.

    Apparently you are more attuned to the legal-ish mindset than I first supposed.

    Bravo my friend.

    Rest assured – those occasional form-over-substance responses on this forum are not lost on me.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  31. Well, it must necessarily come to the point where the liberals will finally admit they don’t accept or believe the bible.

    Until then, they will simply keep claiming those of a literal and conservative mind set do not really understand scripture.

    And I think it is true in a practical way, that those who explain the bible in a flowing consistent way are certainly closer to the biblical meaning than those who simply butcher their way through the bible with no continuity. These same people will claim the bible is too complicated for the average reader, and we need “spiritual experts” to tell us what it means.

    God has a way of “forcing” unbelievers to admit they are unbelievers. That is because the bible is more than clear in what it teaches and what it means.

    Thus, Rome eventually admitted they had abandon scripture and placed human speculation and tradition above the bible.

    This creation/evolution dialogue is so typical of this scenario. The bible writers were exhorted to “write the vision and make it plain, so that wayfaring men, though fools, need not err therein.”

    And so they did. We need not fear as long as we stay with scripture, even though we may at times fail to see all issues precisely. As time goes along, that which may seem obscure at first, becomes exceedingly plain and understandable.

    The Holy Spirit will continue to create the Christian community by way of the bible. All we have to do is read the liberal forums to see how many have already abandon the bible. We can be assured that those who attack EGW and bible Adventism will soon follow in their footsteps.

    So, it becomes a trial of faith for the true believers to wait patiently as skeptics, and unbelievers to eventually abandon the bible and say so. And we can continue to pray that at least some will eventually see their error, repent, and re-affirm the SDA historic message.

    Again from Early Writings,

    “I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps– the first, second, and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, “Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance.
    259
    The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.” I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step, until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform. I saw individuals approach the platform and examine the foundation. Some with rejoicing immediately stepped upon it. Others commenced to find fault with the foundation. They wished improvements made, and then the platform would be more perfect, and the people much happier. Some stepped off the platform to examine it and declared it to be laid wrong. But I saw that nearly all stood firm upon the platform and exhorted those who had stepped off to cease their complaints; for God was the Master Builder, and they were fighting against Him. They recounted the wonderful work of God, which had led them to the firm platform, and in union raised their eyes to heaven and with a loud voice glorified God. This affected some of those who had complained and left the platform, and they with humble look again stepped upon it. {EW 258.3}”

    It is all part of the shaking, isn’t it?

    Bill Sorensen




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  32. Re Bob’s Quote

    Apparently you are more attuned to the legal-ish mindset than I first supposed.

    Bravo my friend”

    Hi Bob

    Ah …. the title to this thread was Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case. That being the topic don’t you think a “legal -ish mindset” is apropriate in analysing the decision rather than indulging in you in responding to your fictitious claim of what I said?

    Sorry for my exactitude Bob, but you simply invite this sort of response when you segui off into make belief rhetoric.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  33. BobRyan: what is your point about the 6000 years?

    Bob,
    1. It isn’t in the Bible. By making our creed say something that is not in the Bible, you run the risk of incurring the curse in Rev. 22:18. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.”

    2. By trying to make the Bible say something that it doesn’t say, and persecuting believers based on the creed, you injure true believers and you dishonor the name of Christ. The world sees your hate and animosity, and they turn away in disgust, or even fear.

    3. I agree with this statement: Ellen White. . . approves “taking the Bible as it reads” rather than . . . replacing the Bible with popular man-made traditions. Where did the idea come from that creation was about 6000 years ago? It came from Usher’s chronology. It is man’s idea. It is NOT in the Bible. Your own statement condemns the proposed change in FB6 that you support.

    4. You wildly miss-understand me, and in many prior posts, you misrepresent my position. I happen to agree that the Bible teaches a Young Earth Creation. The fact that you seem incapable of understanding me, a mere human, makes me question how you (not just you, but all who advocate excluding anyone on the basis of a creed) can ever presuppose to think that you understand God, and have the authority to speak for God, and to determine who should or should not be part of the church.

    5. I notice that you are quick to condemn nearly all science as “Junk-science”, and you are quick to condemn anyone who honestly struggles with the issue, and yet you fail to answer what I think is a rather simple question about nylon eating bacteria and the Tibetans. If you are unable to come up with a Biblical explanation for such a simple issue, how dare you condemn our biology teachers who struggle with the whole of science. I think they deserve our sympathy and support, not our condemnation.




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    • Ever read the ‘begats?’ Ever analyze or calculate the ‘begats?’ Really pretty obvious. My daddy studied it way back in the ’50s. I still have the chart he made. Try it. You may learn something.




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  34. Bill Sorensen: Others commenced to find fault with the foundation. They wished improvements made, and then the platform would be more perfect, and the people much happier. Some stepped off the platform to examine it and declared it to be laid wrong.

    Bill, Again your own quote condemns the position you are advocating. Can’t you see that the whole notion of developing “Fundamental Beliefs” is doing exactly this? The fundamental belief movement is “getting off the foundation” that our forefathers laid, they considered and explicitly rejected the idea of developing fundamental beliefs in favor of the Bible and the Bible alone. And the reasons they gave are exactly what we see happening today in the “Educate Truth” movement.

    “The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.” Beware of this warning. If you receive the truth as a weapon to condemn others, it will affect your eternal destiny. As a wise man I once heard said, “We never sin so badly as when we are right.”




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  35. Bill Sorensen: Well, it must necessarily come to the point where the liberals will finally admit they don’t accept or believe the bible.

    Certainly there will be people who will finally admit they don’t accept or believe the Bible, but it won’t be the liberals. The liberals will say, “You know, I am not God, and I am not going to pretend I understand every thing in the Word of God. I know what I think He meant (e.g. our 28 fundamental beliefs), but it is probable that God has buried more truth in the simple story of creation than I have yet mine. The fact that I can’t reconcile my understanding of the Bible and what I see from science, in fact makes it quite likely that God will have more to reveal. So I am not going to be too dogmatic. I am going to be patient with people who don’t see it my way, until God makes it clear. In fact, I am going to respectfully engage with them and maybe we can figure it out together.

    To not understand, is not to be unbelieving or faithless. In-fact, if you truly understand something, you can’t have faith. Knowledge pretty much excludes the need for faith.

    Not only will the Liberal be fine, but he won’t have on his conscience the guilt of having done violence to another, and the fact that he has his eyes wide open, will make it more likely that he will see where God is leading.




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  36. BobRyan: Instead of dealing with the details in the text (so disconfirming to the liberal POV) – you merely “repeat the accusation” as if your doing so constitutes sufficient substitute for substance in your claims.

    You still don’t understand. I am not trying to defend Theistic Evolution, or any other kind. I actually agree with the substance of the proposed changes to the “Fundamental Beliefs”. I object to the whole idea of a “Fundamental Belief” as something distinct from scripture. I think I am perhaps even more conservative than you are in that I have not yet accepted the notion of defining what is turning out to be a creed in the first place. And I think the “Educate Truth” response to what is happening at La Sierra represents a very foolish mistake.




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  37. Re Ron’s Quote

    “To not understand, is not to be unbelieving or faithless. In-fact, if you truly understand something, you can’t have faith. Knowledge pretty much excludes the need for faith.”

    Hi Ron

    An agnostic could not have said it better. But if we treat each grain of accepted knowledge in the sandbox of understanding Man will make progress. The real tragedy is to persecute anyone for this pursuit or to disparage anyone’s faith. It simply isn’t necessary It’s a sign of insecurity and a power control mechanism.

    That I think it the most wonderful attribute about the story of Jesus: his loving tolerance for all. That we can all practice irrespective of our ontological mindset. Sean talks about that when he quotes the Royal Law of Love. I think you espouse it as well Ron, and I respect you for it.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  38. For such a smart guy Ron, you are surprisingly ignorant regarding 6,000 years in the Bible. “Ussher’s” chronology is actually “Bible” chronology, found in Genesis 5 and 11 (to Abraham) and Galatians 3:17 to the Exodus (there are other ways but Paul will do), and then 1 Kings 6:1,38 to the completion and dedication of the first temple. A grand total of EXACTLY 3,000 years. There is general agreement the first temple was finished around 960 BC, not quite 3,000 years ago. So while the Bible does not say 6,000 years, it certainly teaches 3,000 years from creation to about 960 BC. Ellen did not need Ussher to get 6,000 years and neither does anyone else!




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  39. Ron:
    You still don’t understand. I am not trying to defend Theistic Evolution, or any other kind. I actually agree with the substance of the proposed changes to the “Fundamental Beliefs”. I object to the whole idea of a “Fundamental Belief” as something distinct from scripture

    Our beliefs are in fact summarized statements from scripture and we first began publishing them to the world “as such” in the 1870’s.

    Ok so I missed the point where you were said that you fully agree with the real literal 7 day creation week – .

    Your main point appears to be that you think God never told us through His prophets that life on earth is only about 6000 years old.

    As has already been mentioned God DID tell us through his prophets the names and life spans of mankind from Adam to Jacob and then gave us the time frame from Abraham to Moses through his inspired prophets. (This we get from reading the book of Genesis).

    And He also gave us this (for those supposed to be “more conservative SDA” than
    me.)

    During the first 2,500 years of human history, there was no written revelation. Those who have been taught of God communicated their knowledge to others, and it was handed down from father to son, through successive generations. The preparation of the written word began in the time of Moses. Inspired revelations were then embodied in an inspired book. This work continued during the long period of 1,600 years—from Moses, the historian of Creation and the law, to John, the recorder of the most sublime truths of the gospel. (Lift Him Up p 117) {LHU 117.3}
    The Bible points to God as its author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varied style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several writers.

    And of course – Ellen White explicitly claims to have been shown creation week in vision –

    I was then carried back to the creation and was shown that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week. The great God in his days of creation and day of rest, measured off the first cycle as a sample for successive weeks till the close of time. “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created.” God gives us the productions of his work at the close of each literal day. Each day was accounted of him a generation, because every day he generated or produced some new portion of his work. On the seventh day of the first week God rested from his work, and then blessed the day of his rest, and set it apart for the use of man. The weekly cycle of seven literal days, six for labor, and the seventh for rest, which has been preserved and brought down through Bible history, originated in the great facts of the first seven days. {3SG 90.1}

    But the infidel supposition, that the events of the first week required seven vast, indefinite periods for their accomplishment, strikes directly at the foundation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. It makes indefinite and obscure that which God has made very plain. It is the worst kind of infidelity; for with many who profess to believe the record of creation, it is infidelity in disguise. It charges God with commanding men to observe the week of seven literal days in commemoration of seven indefinite periods, which is unlike his dealings with mortals, and is an impeachment of his wisdom. {3SG 91.1}

    Infidel geologists claim that the world is very much older than the Bible record makes it. They reject the Bible record, because of those things which are to them evidences from the earth itself, that the world has existed tens of thousands of years. And many who profess to believe the Bible record are at a loss to account for wonderful things which are found in the earth, with the view that creation week was only seven literal days, and that the world is now only about six thousand years old. {3SG 91.2}

    Two inspired sources – Genesis and 3SG 91 point out that life on earth is not billions of years old — and that creation week is a real week.

    So this does not take a lot of genius on the part of an SDA to see what it being said. Where the difficulty seems to come in for some – is in accepting it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  40. Fundamental beliefs —

    Paul’s view on challenging “fundamental beliefs” is found in Gal 1:6-11. Read it closely.

    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)

    In all honesty – I think we all see the “Fundamental Beliefs” concept in that text above – as we do in Gal 1:6-11.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  41. Of course, I agree with Bob on the quote above. Ron, you apparently did not catch her emphasis when she said….

    ““The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.”

    See the word “they”? It means a system of truth built on a collection of truths.

    So she says….”System of Truth.–The subject of the sanctuary was the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious, showing that God’s hand had directed the great advent movement, and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people.–The Great Controversy, p. 423, (1888) {Ev 222.2}”

    And it is this “system of truth” that the liberal in our church are attacking continually.

    So SDA’s do not limit our confession of faith to simply “the bible only”, but the bible as understood and presented to us by the pioneers, especially EGW.

    And as I said, those who reject this “system of truth” will eventually admit they do not believe and accept the bible. It will not be that they don’t believe it like we do as SDA’s, but they don’t believe it, period. Just like Rome.

    Bill Sorensen




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  42. Re Ron’s Quote

    “To not understand, is not to be unbelieving or faithless. In-fact, if you truly understand something, you can’t have faith. Knowledge pretty much excludes the need for faith.”

    Hi Ron

    An agnostic could not have said it better. But if we treat each grain of accepted knowledge in the sandbox of understanding Man will make progress. The real tragedy is to persecute anyone for this pursuit or to disparage anyone’s faith. It simply isn’t necessary It’s a sign of insecurity and a power control mechanism.

    That I think it the most wonderful attribute about the story of Jesus: his loving tolerance for all. That we can all practice irrespective of our ontological mindset. Sean talks about that when he quotes the Royal Law of Love. I think you espouse it as well Ron, and I respect you for it.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Well, Ken, Jesus did not have any “loving tolerance of all” like you wish He did. Satan is more than pleased with such a philosophy.

    And I would think Ron would carefully reflect on his position when it is endorsed by an agnostic.

    We fully believe in “tolerance” for anyone and everyone outside the SDA church, and they are not only free to believe what ever they want, they are also free to express their belief in public.

    But not inside the church, which has the authority to define its understanding of the bible and discipline anyone who joins, and then attacks its doctrines and confession of faith. There is no tolerance for these people inside the church. Of course, they are free to leave if they want, but not to claim a right to teach as they please inside the church without being disciplined.

    Bill Sorensen




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  43. Re Bill’s Quote

    “Well, Ken, Jesus did not have any “loving tolerance of all” like you wish”

    Hi Bill

    What about the parable of the Good Samaritan? Would you reject him from your church?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  44. “1 John 4:12

    King James Version (KJV)

    12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”




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  45. What about the parable of the Good Samaritan? Would you reject him from your church?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Absolutely, if he came in attacking creation and other Christian bible doctrines.

    The point of the parable is every Christian should be a good neighbor. Even heathen sometimes do “good” things.

    And by the way, he was a Samaritan, not an agnostic. So wouldn’t Jesus chide a SDA who ignored his duty as a good neighbor and commend a Baptist who was? Don’t both profess Christanity?

    And didn’t Jesus say to the woman at the well who also was a Samaritan, “Salvation is of the Jews”?

    Samaritans had a spiritual kinship with the Jews. It was not agnostics compared to Christanity.

    And finally, do you actually think any and every church has no right to discipline those who attack it from within?

    Apparently you do, by the arguments you present in behalf of your position.

    Sorry Ken, there is not a single rational human being on the face of the earth who actually thinks any and all organizations have no right to define and discipline members who attack their identity and goals and mission. It is simply inane to think so.

    Bill Sorensen




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  46. Eddie: Substance abuse occurs at all SDA campuses and the problem is not ignored by the administration of any campus. Any student caught abusing any substance is dragged before a judicial committee composed of deans and faculty members, and promptly suspended for a period of time (varying from 3 days to 1 year, depending on the nature of the behavior) or even expelled, in accordance with each institution’s policies. Furthermore, the student is placed on probation, required to take an online course on substance abuse, required to attend counseling sessions, and required to consent to random drug testing.

    The usual “punishment” of CAUGHT offenders (according to my 3 realatives who attend or have attended PUC) is about 3 days or so of suspension. Just a slap on the wrist, as we say. The REAL problem is the administration’s lack of PROACTIVE measures to actually significantly lessen and stop this behavior.




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    • @Holly Pham:

      Actually, the usual sanction for substance abuse at PUC on first offense includes a suspension (as you say) which will reflect negatively on your grade, a record on your PUC citizenship record which will be a factor should you get called before the committee for any reason at a future date, and generally required, binding, counseling for substance abuse.

      I believe the fact that we have a counseling center on campus shows that our administration does take substance abuse seriously and is proactively working to provide resources to individuals who are caught up in unfortunate habits.




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  47. Re Bill’s Quote

    “Sorry Ken, there is not a single rational human being on the face of the earth who actually thinks any and all organizations have no right to define and discipline members who attack their identity and goals and mission. It is simply inane to think so.”

    Hi Bill

    Maybe it is a good thing that it is not organizations that offer salvation for mankind.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  48. Hi Bill

    Maybe it is a good thing that it is not organizations that offer salvation for mankind.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Well, Ken, you are good at trying to avoid the point. None the less, the SDA organization as originally ordain of God does exactly what you claim it does not and can not do. That is, offer salvation to mankind.

    No, we can’t and don’t pretend to be an atonement for the human family. But we offer Jesus and His kingdom to “whosoever will may come.”

    And we show what the rules of the kingdom are and who it is that made the rules by way of the bible.

    And every true believer offers you the same opportunity to know Jesus and His kingdom by the bible. And I might add, Ken, by way of a warning, there will be no agnostics in heaven.

    Many, if not most people who are lost, are “nice” people. So, in and of itself, being “nice” will save no one without Jesus and His atonement. And all Christians should be nice as well. But it is not “nice” to keep quiet while someone’s house is burning down, even if the don’t want to be bothered or confronted with this reality.

    So as Christians, we take seriously that “we are our brother’s keeper” and warn them of the “wrath to come.”

    We are not interested in some “generic” religion that embraces the eccumenical movement that hopes to engulf the whole world. Christanity is demanding and selective. For as Peter said, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

    No exceptions, period.

    Bill Sorensen




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  49. @Ken. Thank you. It seems to me that Jesus once said of someone like you, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of god”

    Bill Sorensen: So SDA’s do not limit our confession of faith to simply “the bible only”, but the bible as understood and presented to us by the pioneers, especially EGW.

    I accept the Bible, and I believe in what Mrs. White had to say about it, and I even accept that our understanding is informed by the experience of our pioneers, but I still reject your statement that our confession is based on the Bible plus anything, including Mrs. White and the pioneers. Mrs. White explicitly rejected that stance. She consistently represented herself as being a lessor light leading to the greater light. She explicitly stated that she was fallible, and that our understanding of scripture is limited and fallible, and she at least strongly implied if not stated outright, that there would come a time when me might have to change some of our long held beliefs. Our forefathers also had a long debate about developing a creed and explicitly rejected the idea so that our church would not be bound down, but would be open and free to follow God’s truth however He leads.

    @ Colin Maunder
    RE: Usher’s chronology. I was a religion major and I am not ignorant of Usher’s chronology. I am not going to get into it now because it is beside the point. Let it be sufficient to say that the Dead Sea scrolls had not been found at the time of Usher and by the late 1970’s even conservative Adventist theologians discredited Usher’s methodology based on linguistic and textual grounds.

    In this point I could be wrong, and I don’t want to argue it here, but I think I remember being told somewhere that Mrs. White accepted the 6000 years because Usher’s chronology was the commonly accepted belief at the time, not that she was given that specific number in a vision. The point is that, whether it comes from Usher, or Mrs. White, it is a man made interpretation of the Bible. It is not explicitly stated in the Bible, and therefore it should not be included in a creedal formulation, even if you accept the idea of a creed which I reject.

    @Bill
    “And finally, do you actually think any and every church has no right to discipline those who attack it from within?”

    First, that is not what was happening here. The teachers at La Sierra were good loyal Adventists who were teaching Biology the best way they knew how given the fact that after 50 years of research the (I forget the name is it the Geoscience Research Institute that was set up by the GC in the 50’s?) has completely and totally failed to find any convincing evidence to support a short earth time. In fact I understand that the GC had to let several of the directors go because they became convinced otherwise after studying into it extensively.

    Second, every other organization of any kind in the world has the right to do that EXCEPT the Adventist Church. The Adventist church does not have that right because of their unique claim to be following Present Truth.

    Religion is full of paradoxes, and here is another one. Once you make the claim that you are the repository for God’s present truth, and state your intention to follow God where ever he might lead, you have to give up the right to be right for several reasons.
    1. If you don’t, you are making the same error that Catholic church made, and you wind up making an image to the beast.
    2. The notion of Present Truth implies that humanity can never fully understand God and that you never know all the truth. There is always more for God to reveal.
    3. The fact that you do not yet have all the truth, implies that much of what you think is true isn’t. (In medical school our teachers said, half of everything we teach you is wrong. It is up to you to figure out which half.)
    4. The search for truth requires open respectful dialogue. Unless everyone just goes their own way independently without regard to reason, you have to have a reasoned argument and that requires both participants be open to influence. It is impossible to search for truth unless you willing to accept the risk of being shown to be wrong. (This is why it is really foolish for me to argue with Bob. I don’t get any sense that he is open to change. I do it partly in the hope of influencing other readers, as well as to test the strength of my own ideas.)
    5. It is also impossible to search for truth unless it is SAFE to be wrong. You need someone to take the opposite side of the issue. Sometimes you need to do it yourself. To be the “Devils advocate” so to speak. Here is where having a creed becomes very problematic. It makes it no longer safe to explore.

    6. Being right puts blinders over your eyes. Here is an example: Those like Bob who advocate for a creed, are so focused on being right about the 7 days, 6000 years ago, and making sure the church is pure, that they totally miss the whole point of the Genesis story! Let me paraphrase the story to see of it helps.

    God gave Man space to be independent. And when you are talking in reference to God, that by definition means space to be wrong. Have you noticed the conundrum implied by the name of the tree, “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”?

    One way to summarize the essence of the story, would be to say that God made a claim. Satan made a counterclaim. Without the “Knowledge of Good and Evil”, how is Man going to know which claim is true? The dilemma is that He cannot KNOW which claim is good, and which claim is evil, until he does the experiment. Until He eats from the forbidden tree and gains the knowledge.

    Wisdom is generally defined as the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. In most of the Bible it is considered a virtue. But here in Genesis, the choice is between being safe and forever innocent, or to take a risk and experience the pain of evil for the sake of gaining wisdom.

    Do you remember the story about the discussion Jesus and God had as to whether they should proceed to create man after Satan’s fall, and Jesus agreed to become “the lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world”? God and Jesus decided, that the value of Man gaining the virtue of wisdom (and love) was worth it; even at the cost of Man’s innocence, and Jesus life, and all the pain of this evil world. So the decision was made to proceed with Man’s creation.

    And when Man did the experiment what happened? Did God reject man? No!
    Yes, there were some temporary short term consequences, and that is the rest of the Bible story, but in the Garden, Jesus came looking for man. He confronted man with the consequences of knowing evil and made the commitment to be the “Messiah”, “God With Us”. God came to live with us, to share the joy of the good, and the pain of the evil with us. And in Revelation, when the story ends, because Man is the only creature in the universe other than God, to have experienced “Good and Evil”, Man is put on the throne with God to judge the living and the dead.

    So you see. The whole plan of salvation is about God making it safe for man to do the experiment. That is why it is wrong for the Adventist church (or any other church for that matter) to have a creed and expel people based on the creed. It sabotages the very gospel itself. It is fighting against the very work Christ came to do, to live life with us. All of us, both the good and the evil. Life is worth it!

    (And Yes, that came directly from the Bible and Mrs. White. It is not my own creation.)




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  50. Bill Sorensen: And I might add, Ken, by way of a warning, there will be no agnostics in heaven.

    Actually Bill, if Agnostic means “to not know”, then Zechariah 13:6 says explicitly that there will be many agnostics in heaven. I think Mrs. White bears this out as well.




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  51. If you accept that man’s interpretation of the bible is fallible and open to change, then you must therefore be open to the idea that inspiration found in Nature must lead you to ideas you had never before considered. The picture that science has of the world is subject to change (obviously) but it never goes backwards. Our understanding of the earth and it’s orbit around the sun has changed many times, but we’ll never go back to a flat earth, geocentric view of the universe. Each iteration of the scientific cycle gives us a better understanding of the world. Evolution is the same. It is real. In so much as anything can be considered a fact in our world, it is a fact and must be dealt with as such. How, and When, the order that creatures came into existence will change, but the underlying premise eternal. The question for the church shouldn’t be is evolution true or not, but knowing that it’s true, what light does that shed of the bible. The Church has had a very troubled relationship in the past including persecution of scientists. But why should we condemn the popes for their persecution of Gallelo and others? The pope BELIEVED as fervently (probably more) as you do, he had an interpretation that was just as justified as your own (a strict literal interpretation of the bible that was as correct so far as he knew). After centuries the church had to bend. The church must always bend, but usually only after a great deal of pain and sorrow and not a few religious wars. Our church obviously doesn’t have the political clout to do more than fire a few employees on the flimsiest excuses. (to which I think we are all thankful that such power is denied us). I think when it comes to LSU and other universities in our system we must make a real decision. Our our biology teachers scientists? or pastors? If they are pastors then send them to a seminary and religious officials can instruct our students. If they are scientists than do not judge them based on religious principles, but scientific ones. One does not judge a surgeon by his skills at welding or fencing, we judge him by the quality of the work he’s trained to do. Not only was their scientific instruction correct, it was no different than what is commonly taught in our schools. A biologist must study how life changes, because change it does. This is what it means to be a biologist. It’s what they think about, it’s what they care about, it’s how they honor and serve god and the work they do is just as meaningful as any pastor preaching from a pulpit (perhaps more). To deny that calling is to deny the calling of God. It is the height of arrogance to say that “god is thus and only thus”. God has written you a message in the language of DNA and you fling it back into his face and say, “the wonders of the universe can be no more grand than what I can understand. I am small an unchanging, thus the world is small and unchanging, and thus god is small and unchanging”.




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  52. Blind faith Evolutionism leads to famous 50 year long junk-science frauds and forgeries – such as Othaniel Marsh’s famous horse series still on display at the Smithsonian and lamented by even atheist evolutionist as a sequence arranged for effect and something that “never happened in nature”.

    There is no evidence at all that the liberal argument – that we need to dump the bible in favor of the junk-science religious tenets of evolutionism, has any merit at all.

    The idea that it is better to deny the statements of the Bible “for in SIX DAYS the Lord made the heavens and earth the seas and all that in them is” Ex 20:11 – as it summarizes the Gen 1-2:4 historic “account” is to be subordinated to the “wishful dreaming” of evolutionists who imagine that “given enough time” an amoeba will turn into a horse!

    The blatant denial of the 2nd law of Thermodynamics is seen in Isaac Asimov’s own claim that the molecule-to-human-mind evolution “storytelling” requires a “massive decrease in entropy” over billions of years of time – at the macro level of “all of planet earth!!”.

    Science “fact” in this case is that entropy is ALWAYS observed to increase WHEN you take into account the local system (inches not AUs) of energy exchange and it’s immediate surroundings.

    The contradiction between the doctrines of evolutionism and that of Christianity are so blatant that Darwin himself admits to them – as does Dawkins, Provine and Meyers.

    It is not just an issue of 3SG 90-91 calling Theistic Evolutionism the “worst form of infidelity… because it is infidelity in disguise”.

    Even atheist evolutionists like Colin Patterson lament the religious nature of the arguments used to promote evolutionism as if it were “revealed truth”.

    How sad that even one SDA would fall for evolutionism with classic blind-faith uncritical thinking.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  53. Mack Ramsy: The question for the church shouldn’t be is evolution true or not, but knowing that it’s true, what light does that shed of the bible.

    that is good fiction – but does not survive the light of day.

    Evolutionism is nothing more than junk-science with no salient point to the argument for it – ever shown to exist via “observations in nature”.

    Hence Dawkins 11 second flummoxed response when asked to give even ONE example of new information added to a species level genome.

    What is sad – is that there are those out there who would so quickly exchange the bible for nothing more than myths about amoebas turning into horses “over time”.

    In fact the species level genomes are static – in terms of the pool of coding genes and the ability to march up the taxonomic ladder. Hence Dawkins “at a loss” in that evolutionism 101 softball scenario handed to him.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  54. Ron: presented to us by the pioneers, especially EGW.

    I accept the Bible, and I believe in what Mrs. White had to say about it, and I even accept that our understanding is informed by the experience of our pioneers, …

    6. Being right puts blinders over your eyes. Here is an example: Those like Bob who advocate for a creed, are so focused on being right about the 7 days, 6000 years ago, and making sure the church is pure, that they totally miss the whole point of the Genesis story! Let me paraphrase the story to see of it helps.

    God gave Man space to be independent. And when you are talking in reference to God, that by definition means space to be wrong. Have you noticed the conundrum implied by the name of the tree, “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”?

    One way to summarize the essence of the story, would be to say that God made a claim. Satan made a counterclaim. Without the “Knowledge of Good and Evil”, how is Man going to know which claim is true? The dilemma is that He cannot KNOW which claim is good, and which claim is evil, until he does the experiment. Until He eats from the forbidden tree and gains the knowledge.

    (

    The details you “gloss over” in the Ex 20:11 summary of Gen 1-2 is where your “paraphrasing” seems to fail in supporting your claims.

    The details you gloss over in the Gal 1:6-11 appeal to a set of “fundamental beliefs” where even an “angel from heaven” is to be accursed if they choose to contradict – is “the bible and the Bible only” aspect of this discussion you are avoiding.

    And for one who claims to accept Ellen White – you seem more than happy to imagine that the source of those quotes from Ellen White “is me”. Why recast this as “Bob making those claims”? Why not admit that this is yet one more area of Ellen White’s writings that you are not comfortable with – since it endorses the “pillars” and fundamental-beliefs idea?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  55. Re Bill’s Quote

    “Ken, by way of a warning, there will be no agnostics in heaven.”

    Hi Bill

    Thanks for your comments.

    If only all YEC’s, let alone Adventists, could just agree on this point. Your brother Sean obviously disagrees with you on this. Who indeed will sit in final judgement Bill? You sound as if you are placing yourself on God’s jury ahead of the trial. 🙂

    In a nutshell isn”t this the problem with all religions: they become exclusive little clubs where membership is limited to those that toe the line, not merely of the sacred text but of those in POWER who interpret it by their own hubris. Isn’t that why Martin Luther left the Catholic Church and founded the Refornation? Isn’t that why EGW picked up the tattered shreds of Millerites and wove them into Adventist cloth? Isn’t that why Desmond Ford was forced to move on and establish his own brand? Isn’t that why folks like Erv Taylor and Fritz Guy have pulled a mini luther to carve out a new niche for theistic evolution? Isn’t that why some of the rank and file are now pushing for a new narrow reinteration of FB#6, a new Reformation so to speak? Isn’t that why even within the YEC subset there is profound disagreement ( Prof Kent and Dr. Pitmam for example)?

    You see it is not personal faith I disparage. It is POWER to control the herats and minds of others I will always try to expose for its intolerance and hubris. Frankly Bill, any afterlife that would exclude a good soul like Mother Teresa, or any good Samaritans for that matter, would in my humble estimation not be a just place.

    And that is why Bill, when I am treated charitably here by Lydian, Sean, Charles, Eddie, Prof Kent, Wes -at times 🙂 , and many others, I understand that the essence of Christianity – that which rises above authoritarianism- is alive and well: A LOVE OF MANKIND. Now Bill, that is a tall order for any human, especially a self acknowleged severely flawed agnostic 🙁 , but a guy should keep trying right?

    Oh I know us secular humanists are guilty of the same old pie in the sky hubtris of which we attempt to criticize. That ironic pie is a bit tart I must say. Sometimes self ridicule can be the best medicine a person can take.

    Oh well, we all have our ideals and it is good to share them if only for the sake of contrast and lively discussion!

    I remain,

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    * Dear Lydian, where art thou, we miss you!




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  56. Re Mack’s Quote

    ” Our our biology teachers scientists? or pastors? If they are pastors then send them to a seminary and religious officials can instruct our students. If they are scientists than do not judge them based on religious principles, but scientific ones.”

    Hi Mack

    You have hit the nail of the dilemma on the head my friend. Great post.

    This is the very point that our friend Bob missed when he came to his conclusion about the application of the principle of ministerial exception to the LSU bio profs. It would only apply, thus justify their firing on this
    ground, if they were teaching religious classes, not biology. And yes Bob, I do understand this is a hypothetical issue, as I alluded, as this was not the ostensible reason for which they were fired.

    Keep posting Mack, you write well.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  57. Re Ron’s Quote

    “@Ken. Thank you. It seems to me that Jesus once said of someone like you, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of god”

    Hi Ron

    Thank you kindly friend. I am not remotely fit or objective enough to judge your opinion. However merely to aspire to love like Christ seems to me to be a step every human being should take. Ron, due to my self acknowledged self centeredness, I don’t even think I’ve got my shoes tied yet to take the first step! But good souls like yourself can help me lace up anytime!

    Gratefully,

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  58. Well, Ron, like all liberals, you agree that the bible is not sufficently clear to make a viable decision on what is true and what is not.

    Then you go on to tell us all about the necessity for sin to exist as a real “good” since by it, we can then appreciate making a right decision.

    But like all liberals, your theory is flawed and blatantly false. No one has to “experience sin” in order to know and avoid its consequences. Satan would love for you and everyone else to think so.

    While no one could possibly know all the consequences of sin, even in heaven before the fall, every moral created being had the ability to understand in an adequate way the issues involved and make a right decision.

    One of the main issues of sin and rebellion is whether a created being can be held accountable for making a wrong decision when they don’t know everything there is to know about any given issue.

    And this is the crux of the matter. Do we have adequate light and understanding enough to do the will of God and not rebel?

    For a Christian and bible believer, the answer is “yes”. Not because we know everything, but we know enough. And we know we will be held accountable and culpable for our actions.

    For any unbeliever like yourself, the answer is “no”. And thus we must “experience” sin and rebellion and this experience is for our better good in the end. In which case, God is actually responsible for sin, since we do not have enough understanding to make a viable decision without first experiencing sin’s results.

    In which case, sin is never rebellion, it is only ignorance. And this is Lucifer’s argument from top to bottom.

    “God permitted him to demonstrate the nature of his claims, to show the working out of his proposed changes in the divine law. His own work must condemn him. Satan had claimed from the first that he was not in rebellion. The whole universe must see the deceiver unmasked. {CTr 12.6}”

    “To the very close of the controversy in heaven, the great usurper continued to justify himself. When it was announced that with all his sympathizers he must be expelled from the abode of bliss, then the rebel leader boldly avowed his contempt for the Creator’s law. He denounced the divine statutes as a restriction of their liberty, and declared that it was his purpose to secure the abolition of law. With one accord, Satan and his host threw the blame of their rebellion wholly upon Christ, declaring that if they had not been reproved, they would never have rebelled. {CTr 16.3}”

    Sin had no need to exist as a “lesson” or any other reason. That it is a “lesson” that will never be repeated is beside the point. So, God may well use the sin experiment to His own advantage, but it is and was not an inevitable necessity for that purpose.

    Bill Sorensen




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  59. Ron. I’ve never studied Usher’s chronology and probably never will. However I have read and looked into the Bible chronology a bit. When I read “and Adam lived 130 years and begat a son… and called his name Seth. And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were 800 years…and all the days that Adam lived were 930 years: and he died”, the meaning is so crystal clear there is no need for interpretation. So it is with the rest of Genesis 5 and 11. Paul in Galations didn’t need to “interpret” the 430 years from Abraham’s call to the Exodus. Sometimes the simplest things can be complicated by a multitude of words.




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  60. Re Bill’s Quote

    “Ken, by way of a warning, there will be no agnostics in heaven.”

    Hi Bill

    Thanks for your comments.

    If only all YEC’s, let alone Adventists, could just agree on this point. Your brother Sean obviously disagrees with you on this. Who indeed will sit in final judgement Bill? You sound as if you are placing yourself on God’s jury ahead of the trial.”

    You are exactly right, Ken. The Christian community is “the jury before the trial”.

    And we “judge” by way of the bible, and we make no excuses for claiming this duty that God has placed upon us. So, Jesus said, “Ye are my witnesses”.

    And Paul says, “We beseech you in Christ’s stead…..”

    Yes, we act in behalf of God to warn you to “flee from the wrath to come.” And Jesus said, “If they hear not you, neither will they hear me, nor the one that sent me.” And “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe even if one rose from the dead.”

    What a “sissy religion” that has come into the world with every one coping out on the duty to “cry aloud and spare not” all in the name of “Oh, we can’t judge.”

    As for Sean’s view that some will be in heaven who did not know about Christ, but manifested the spirit of Christ, I don’t disagree. But that pretty well excludes anyone living in America, doesn’t it?

    Neither does it negate the reality that even these individuals will be in heaven by way of Jesus and His atonement. So, I guess the question would be, “Have you never heard of Jesus and His atonement?”

    Do you have no access to the bible and no knowledge of its specific teaching?

    And do you think you can escape judgment by pleading ignorance while living in a time of manifest light and truth? And then come on a Christian forum and say, “I am an agnostic and proud of it.”

    And say to a Christian, “You have faith, and I have faith, and my faith is as good as your’s.”

    Ken, you belong on the liberal forums who embrace your ideas and theories and will give you massive doses of affirmation and no one will challenge your “belief system.” They agree completely.

    Namely, the atonement of the cross blots out human accountability in the salvation process. And some, like yourself, are smart enough to know if this is true, that you don’t even need to believe in Jesus to be saved. God is responsible for sin, and it is His responsibility to deal with it, not yours.

    And at last, according to this false theory, everyone is going to heaven at last. Satan is right, God is wrong. We are all too ignorant to be held accountable for anything we do.

    Now you can’t “sell” this theory as long as a person believes the bible. So it is imperative to undermine scripture, cast contempt on its clear and plain utterances and claim it can not be understood.

    And isn’t this what this creation/evolution dialogue is all about? You know it is. Destroy the credibility of the bible, and avoid accountability concerning its teachings. Believe what you please, we are all going to heaven. NOT.

    Bill Sorensen




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  61. Let’s assume for the moment that every scientist on earth is wrong, even the Adventist ones, and that evolution is “pseudo-junk science” It remains the only explanation that we have. Even from your own perspective “real” scientists acknowledge that evolution must happen on some smaller levels and what happens on larger levels is a matter of faith. Fine. It still needs to be taught until there can be another rational explanation. You can’t hide the data (“God did it”, is not exactly scientific). As for data there’s lots of it. All the mistakes and chaos in the genetic code match up to what you’d expect to see in an evolving system, the missing links in the fossil record have been found (and DNA sequenced). So now let’s assume that there’s NOT some massive global conspiracy (including Adventist teachers) to mass produce fraudulent data or an intentional and cynical misinterpretation of said data. That for over 100 years the theory of evolution has held dominance in scientific circles. What does that tell you? You must either acknowledge a massive global conspiracy, or that there is some truth in what is being taught. And if there is even some truth then belief must change accordingly. But then what kind of forum is this were people of different perspectives are encouraged to go to “liberal” forums and we can condemn believers to hell. Is this not a place for exchange of ideas and dialog? Perhaps it’s more than liberals who are looking for “massive doses of affirmation where no one will challenge their belief system”. By all means lets make sure that the our understanding of God is enshrined in stone and never progresses. There are some in the Adventist church that would rather a shrine to understanding than understanding itself. @Colin you’re right when you suggest that there’s no way to interpret the bible to support anything other than a young earth perspective, however, it’s rare that any one interprets the bible so literally. Take as example the biblical flood. According to that paradigm it would have happened at around 4000BC. The problem? there’s stuff that is that old, archaeological evidence and so on. it’s hard to imagine fragile cave paintings surviving a world destroying event. Nor is 4000 years enough time for all the animals to spread over the planet let alone create a vibrant ecosystem. IT’s the lesson that’s the key not the dates. Ask yourself what god is trying to tell you in this story not what does the story try to tell you about history.

    @Bill no one is trying to destroy the bible or accountability regarding it’s teachings. We’re trying to incorporate what the bible teaches in a constructive meaningful way. Oh i know this is kind of a personal question but how many gay people have you killed this week? No? any pagans then? Hmm. Might want to get on that. Just a friendly suggestion in helping you be personally accountable for biblical teachings from friend in Jesus.




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  62. David Read made this comment on the Spectrum forum. Liberals over here should take note and see the point…..

    ” I would die for your right to be free from religion, and I wish you’d hurry up and exercise that right. Seriously, if you want to be free from religion, a very reasonable starting point is do not work for a religious organization!! Do not take your pay from the tithes of religious people!! Seriously, what’s so difficult about the idea that non-believers shouldn’t work for churches? If you want to be free of religion, then, in the name of all that is sacred and holy, GET FREE OF IT!! Quit your job at the church or church-affiliated institution, take your name off the church rolls, and quit trolling at nominally SDA websites.

    What you want is a situation where people can work for churches and church-affiliated institutions, yet “be free of religion,” i.e., thumb their noses at the doctrines, values, and mission of the church that pays their salary. The arrogance and profoundly perverse sense of entitlement bound up in that attitude is beyond belief. It is truly satanic. If you weren’t taking that attitude, I wouldn’t believe such an attitude possible.”




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  63. Re Bill’s Quote

    “And isn’t this what this creation/evolution dialogue is all about?”

    Hi Bill

    No, it is about what empirical science tells us about the origins of life, not an atheistic attack on faith. Remember there are lots of people of Christian faith that accept evolution based on overwhelming evidence that has stood the test of time.

    Bill, you can sit as judge and jury if you like but it strikes me that in doing so you are likely usurping the role of a deity.

    Frankly I’m not concerned about hedging my bet to go to heaven. No Pascal’s Wager for me. No pleading of ignorance here my friend, I quite knowingly stand by my convictions come what may. C’est sera, sera. But I’ll always stand up against intolerance and inhumanity, no matter what the belief system.

    Count on it.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  64. Ron: One way to summarize the essence of the story, would be to say that God made a claim. Satan made a counterclaim. Without the “Knowledge of Good and Evil”, how is Man going to know which claim is true? The dilemma is that He cannot KNOW which claim is good, and which claim is evil, until he does the experiment. Until He eats from the forbidden tree and gains the knowledge.
    Wisdom is generally defined as the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. In most of the Bible it is considered a virtue. But here in Genesis, the choice is between being safe and forever innocent, or to take a risk and experience the pain of evil for the sake of gaining wisdom.

    That is the worst logic I have ever come across! Are you trying to imply that God was WRONG to forbid Adam and Eve from eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil????? Do you think that Adam and Eve–or any of their billions of descendants benefitted from their eating that fruit??? Do you seriously think all this death and misery is worth figuring out if Satan was making a wrong or right claim???? Do you think that Adam and Eve never spent the rest of their lives regretting their sin??? Don’t you think that they would have gladly exchanged all the “knowledge” that they gained by disobedience for a chance to live perfect, happy, never-ending lives?????

    Think, Ron. God offers us love, happiness, never-ending life. We don’t need to know about both sides to see that God is good. Why would we need to know more than that? If Satan is His enemy then Satan is not to be trusted or countenanced in any way. Simple deductions–evil is opposite of good. God, in His wisdom, knew that we would not benefit from a knowledge of evil.

    You claim to believe the Bible and EGW, yet how do you not understand that sin separated man from God. God didn’t form the plan of redemption because the knowledge of evil was a good thing. He formed that plan because He loved us. He gave us a second chance to be obedient to Him and His law.

    Do you not realize that this theory is just exactly what was offered to Eve at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil 6000 years ago? It is purely devilish to try to justify this kind of thinking–it is certainly not a thought from God. Ron, you are really, really on dangerous ground. You need much prayer–and I, for one, will be praying that you open your eyes to the truth.




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    • @Faith:
      Faith, Thank you for your kind response. If I am crazy, then I hope God answers your prayers on my behalf.

      I think I am expressing principles that come from Mrs. White who said that from the perspective of heaven, we will see that our worst trials, have turned into our most cherished blessings.

      The answers to most of your questions of course is, “no”. God would have been negligent not to warn Adam and Eve against the consequences of sin. Evil is always evil, and one would never choose evil for the benefit of the greater good. That is not to say that the choosing of evil was outside the plan of God. God had clearly planned for that eventuality, as Jesus was the “lamb slain before the foundation of the world”. So, somehow, before man was even created, God had reconciled himself to the path of evil that man chose. It was not OK that man chose evil, but God was OK with the fact that man would choose evil, because He already had a remedy in place, and he would cause a greater good to come out of the experience that would make the pain and sacrifice worth it.

      So, what could possibly have been so good, and of such benefit, that God chose to suffer the death of his son to get it? Was it not, the resolution of the Great Controversy? It was that man, and by extension, the whole universe could see the difference between good and evil, and chose between Christ and Satan.

      There is a principle, that the good and the evil are often connected in such a way that you cannot have one without the other. It is true that there are some virtues that can be isolated, such as innocence and love, but there are other virtues that cannot. For example, you cannot have courage without something to fear. Your cannot have faith without a reason to doubt. You cannot have perseverance without conflict, and you cannot be an “overcommer” without something to overcome, you cannot be saved without having been first lost. You cannot have wisdom, knowing good from evil, unless there is evil.

      Is death, evil? Of course. But was the death of Jesus the greatest act of love the world has ever seen, or was it the most heinous crime the world has ever seen? It was both. It is important NOT to dismiss the virtue, just because it is the product of evil. Just as it is important not to dismiss the salvation Jesus offers (the greater good) because it is the result of evil(your sin causing his death).

      Have you ever stopped to think that with the exception of the tree of life, there was nothing in Eden that is not available to us today? How many people fail to experience the joy of Eden available to them today because they can’t let go of the fact that evil is also present?




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  65. Are we ultimately going to be judged by what we believe or how we live our lives? What about the pastor, a few of which I can name, who believes all 28 fundamental beliefs yet gets convicted and jailed for statutory rape? Or the staunch conservative that cheats on his or her spouse, or taxes, or whatever, but never gets caught?

    Personally I’m happy that there are liberals who join the SDA Church and consider themselves SDA. And I’m pleased that there are pot-smoking and alcohol-guzzling students who choose to attend SDA schools. How else could we possibly share with them the love of Jesus and the hope for redemption if we completely isolate ourselves from them? They are my brothers and sisters in Christ, even if they don’t agree completely with what I believe.

    The SDA Church never has and never will be “pure.” We are all sinners in need of a savior (well, perhaps a few here are exceptions, but certainly not me). If the SDA Church was as pure as some here seem to aspire, there would be no need of a savior.

    Don’t get me wrong: I don’t condone SDA employees teaching doctrines contrary to SDA beliefs, and I think our leaders have the right to maintain discipline within the church, especially among employees. But I don’t condone the attitude some here seem to embrace that heretics (aka liberals) should be publicly exposed and expelled from the church. God is love and love is God. For Christ’s sake, let’s treat each other with love and respect.

    Ken and Ron, I hope that you don’t give up communicating with SDAs on SDA forums. You’re always welcome in my big-tent SDA church.




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  66. Mack Ramsy: To deny that calling is to deny the calling of God.

    What calling would that be? To call God a liar? To disbelieve the Bible He gave us and preserved through the centuries for our benefit? To put the theories of men before the ETERNAL truths He gave us? If you think for one minute God called any human soul on the face of this planet, past or present, to spread Satan’s evolutionary lies, you are truly, seriously deluded.

    God is unchanging–His truth is unchanging; and all man and the theories his puny intellect can devise can’t hold a candle to God’s wisdom and knowledge. He deigned to share with man the knowledge of how our earth began. How thankless can man be to turn around and say, “That’s not how it happened at all!” Were any of us here???? NO! But God was. It is simply moronic to deny the eye-witness account. I don’t care what supposed evidence you find anywhere in nature. It is being misinterpreted by those who want to prove evolution–something that cannot and never will be proven.

    I, personally, don’t laud or even respect those SDAs–especially the professors–who sell out to any of this evidence. Of all the people on this earth, they should know better. If they had any knowledge of God whatsoever (regardless of what they claim)they wouldn’t countenance this malarky for even a second. Shame on each and every one of them. They have exchanged their eternal birthright for a mess of lies. I sincerely hope that they will recant such nonsense and use their influence in the way that God intended.




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  67. Eddie: Bill Sorensen: And I might add, Ken, by way of a warning, there will be no agnostics in heaven.

    It saddens me that liberals refuse to acknowledge truth. Bill is correct–there will be no agnostics in heaven–for if they never repented of their unbelief they will not be there. It doesn’t mean we are judging anyone, we are just holding up the principles used by God to judge people. It doesn’t take much intellect to realize that God will not be saving any of His enemies. If we are not FOR God we are AGAINST Him. No compromise.

    We are told by their fruits we will know them. Ron keeps posting the most un-SDA beliefs I have ever heard. So, again, Bill is right. And what you, Eddie, should be sad about is that Ron and Ken are not subscribing to the correct beliefs, not that Bill pointed it out.




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  68. Mack Ramsy: You must either acknowledge a massive global conspiracy, or that there is some truth in what is being taught.

    There is a massive global conspiracy, Mack. It is called Satan going around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. All your supposed knowledge, if it contradicts in any way, shape, or form, what God stated in the Bible is WRONG. Anyone who is deceived thereby is not wise.

    Mack Ramsy: We’re trying to incorporate what the bible teaches in a constructive meaningful way.

    Not so–you are doing violence to the Scriptures to try to make it fit man-made theories. You have chosen, unwisely, to reject God’s word in favour of man’s theories. That’s the truth of it.

    Mack Ramsy: Oh i know this is kind of a personal question but how many gay people have you killed this week? No? any pagans then? Hmm. Might want to get on that. Just a friendly suggestion in helping you be personally accountable for biblical teachings from friend in Jesus.

    Hardly a friendly suggestion, Mack, more like a nasty accusation. I wonder how surprised you are going to be to see the wicked punished? God doesn’t like to do the dirty work, but it will have to be done. In the meantime, pointing out sin isn’t the same as killing someone, is it???




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  69. It was neither a friendly suggestion nor a nasty accusation but a satirical statement. God doesn’t call on us to witness to homosexuals or pagans. He calls on us to kill them. And not in the afterlife in the hear and now. He says victims of rape must marry their rapist. That women shouldn’t speak in church. Just how seriously do you take your book. The bible doesn’t say that “hey when times, technology, and customs change than you can change laws” but we do. I’ve noticed women coming to church faithfully every week when according to the law they’re supposed to be exiled for the week around their monthly cycle. It’s the lesson on how to be moral people that’s important. People use the bible to be immoral and that’s wrong no matter how justified they think the bible makes them. And scientists aren’t putting forth “theories of men” they are describing God’s creation and you aren’t listening because of your own rigid ideologies and preconceptions.




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  70. Mack Ramsy: And scientists aren’t putting forth “theories of men” they are describing God’s creation and you aren’t listening because of your own rigid ideologies and preconceptions.

    You must be joking–you really think God’s word can be judged by a wild and crazy theory that a man–not even a Christian man–came up with. God’s creation was created just as God said. How is that so hard to figure out?

    You people who are so wild about change should realize that God’s word–the part that says He made the world and all that is in it in six days a rested on the seventh day to hallow it for us–IS WRITTEN IN STONE–to show that it is changeless.

    You are all so convinced by the “evidence” which you say comes from God’s creation. Yet God’s creation has evidenced the truth of His word and His creation since time began. I want you to remember this: when Moses and Aaron threw down the rod and it became a serpent, the Pharaoh’s magicians APPEARED to do the same thing. Yet only God’s rod was truly made into a serpent and it gobbled up the spurious ones. The lesson you should take from this is: Satan can make things appear to be what they are not. We are told that in the last days we will not be able to believe our senses. Think on that.

    And you’re right–I don’t listen to such folderol. Too bad for you, you do.




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  71. Re Faith’s Quote

    “Bill is correct–there will be no agnostics in heaven–for if they never repented of their unbelief they will not be there. It doesn’t mean we are judging anyone, we are just holding up the principles used by God to judge people. It doesn’t take much intellect to realize that God will not be saving any of His enemies.”

    Hi Faith

    If this is the case why does Sean say there will be some?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  72. Not to be picky or anything but the story wasn’t written in stone, it was an oral tradition that was eventually written on animal skins that have long decayed in to dust but were copied over and over again and translated and re-translated over and over again and after a lot of man made influence we have the story. As of the renaissance. You’re more than welcome to put into stone but you’d be the first. You’re probably thinking of the 10 commandments of which we have only the decayed animal skins as proof, and only then all that says is that we need to keep Sabbath holy in reverence to the creator. Not a lot in the way of history there. No I don’t think that God’s word can be judged by Man’s reason. I’m saying that if God’s word is different than reason, then our understanding of the word must be flawed. Are you so confident that you’ve understood God perfectly and for all time? That you have never made any mistakes in how you understand God and the world around you?




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  73. (by the way if evolution is a conspiracy directed by Satan than it is a vast, vast act of creation nearly equal in scale and cope to the creator’s own original act of creation)




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  74. Faith: And what you, Eddie, should be sad about is that Ron and Ken are not subscribing to the correct beliefs, not that Bill pointed it out.

    Holly Pham: Are the atheists and agnostics going to be changed in the twinkling of an eye?

    A thief and a Roman centurion, both despised as unbelievers (aka atheists and agnostics) by the church of their day, were changed (and at least one was saved) when they saw Jesus on the cross and acknowledged Him as their savior and redeemer. Whatever else they believed did not matter. Nobody will ever be saved by subscribing to the correct beliefs.




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  75. Hi Ken,

    I am not sure why Sean believes that agnostics will be in heaven. That is his thought and he’s entitled to it. However, from what I know of God, the plan of redemption, and God’s law–which is what we will be judged on–He will not save anyone who is His avowed enemy.

    That said, Sean and I both know that people will be judged on what they know…but still further, what they had the opportunity to know. It depends on the will, the character, and the willingness to be obedient to God. How many agnostics do you know that are willing to be obedient to God?

    I will openly and willingly admit that there will be people in heaven who didn’t know the whole truth and who lived up to whatever light they had to the best of their ability. However, in the case of an agnostic, they stand up against God. If they do not repent of this attitude, how can God save them?–they are His enemies.

    You see, Ken, I am not saying that an agnostic or atheist etc. cannot change their beliefs and become a friend of God…but in my view, and using all the knowledge that I have gained within the last almost 60 years of being in this church and learning the Bible, I don’t believe God will save anyone who openly denies and defies Him. He will never again tolerate rebellion among the inhabitants of heaven.

    Its something like this: if a person is offered a fabulous free vacation, on condition of signing a contract, and he refuses to sign because he doesn’t believe it is truly free, then he doesn’t get the benefits that the contract represents.

    Another way to think about it is: the plan of redemption and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was to allow humanity to make a choice–believe on God and He will save you and give you everlasting life or refuse the offer and die the eternal death. God wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble and heartache just to save all human beings, regardless of their characters or beliefs. What kind of heaven would it be if murderers, rapists, and all manner of criminals were allowed into heaven? God kicked Satan out of heaven for the good of its inhabitants. Do you seriously think He will invite people with unchanged hearts and lives to live in the place of purity and holiness? Truth is, anyone who is sinful cannot abide the pure light of heaven. That is what will kill the unsaved when Jesus comes. They will not be able to endure the light when they look on God. What would be the point of taking them to heaven? They would be in unspeakable agony all the time.

    God is too loving and kind to do that to sinners. Earthlings often put down a suffering animal so they will be spared the pain. Would God not show the same kind of love and care for sinful man whom He created?

    We, as SDAs, do not believe in an unending burning hell. That theory came into the early church from Greek mythology and has no biblical foundation. God is kind and loving even to those who are His enemies. There will be a fire at the end for those who refuse His ‘contract’, but the sinner will burn according to his sins and then he will be no more. Once the last one has burned,(who will, of course, be Satan, the instigator of this whole mess), the earth will be purified of sin and sinners. The unhappy presence of sin will be over and done and it will never be tolerated by God again. Should it ever raise its ugly head once more, it will be summarily dealt with. No one will want to, or need to, go through all this again. Praise God.

    Upon these principles I believe that no agnostic will be in heaven. Sean will have to explain his own thoughts on the subject.




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  76. Mack says……

    “Just how seriously do you take your book.”

    No doubt, now, Mack. You don’t consider it “your book ” but “our book”.

    And yes, as Christians, we take it very seriously. We hang our faith and eternal life on its concepts and teachings.

    And we don’t consider it a vague collection of non-definable exhortations and concepts that must fit natural science or be set aside for human speculation.

    By this time, we should not be either angry, surprised, or even frustrated by what has and is happening in our church.

    We do need to consider carefully our spiritual obligations and with much prayer make decisions in harmony with the will of God to the best of our ability as we study the bible and see how God has acted in the past, present and will act in the future.

    And the church in the present age does not administer civil law justice as the church in the old covenant age did. So, no, we will not kill anyone in the name of God by way of a Theocracy as demonstrated in the past.

    While we support civil justice, we believe in seperation of church and state and allow “Caesar” to administer civil justice as long as it does not conflict with the law of God.

    As for religious liberty, I guess we will have to wait and see who is “intolerant” and who is not. Just a note of observation, Cain always kills Abel. He hated reproof and correction in religious matters, and it was not Abel who threatened to kill Cain if he did not “come into line” with Abel’s understanding of God’s will.

    None the less, any church or organization has a right to discipline by expulsion any member who attacks its goals and ideals. And the church itself has the right to determine and decide who to discipline or not. No, we won’t put them in jail, nor kill them. We will put them out the door and they can go and do as they please in the secular world and teach any religion they please and/or believe in.

    But they are not “free” to believe and teach anything they please in the church community when it denies and opposes the goals and ideals of that community. There is no “religious liberty” that is advocated in the laws of the land that allow you such blatant violation of human accountability in the church.

    Bill Sorensen




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  77. Eddie: Nobody will ever be saved by subscribing to the correct beliefs.

    Wrong, Eddie. EGW says that no one will be saved who doesn’t keep the commandments. Why? Because that is what the law of heaven will and does require. That is what the whole controversy is about. Satan claims it needs to be changed, sin shows us that his changes are a disaster of the first water. The entire population of the world, from Adam on down, will acknowledge the righteousness of the Ten Commandments before the wicked are destroyed. But I’m sure you know that.




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  78. Mack Ramsy: Not to be picky or anything but the story wasn’t written in stone, it was an oral tradition that was eventually written on animal skins that have long decayed in to dust but were copied over and over again and translated and re-translated over and over again and after a lot of man made influence we have the story. As of the renaissance. You’re more than welcome to put into stone but you’d be the first. You’re probably thinking of the 10 commandments of which we have only the decayed animal skins as proof, and only then all that says is that we need to keep Sabbath holy in reverence to the creator. Not a lot in the way of history there. No I don’t think that God’s word can be judged by Man’s reason. I’m saying that if God’s word is different than reason, then our understanding of the word must be flawed. Are you so confident that you’ve understood God perfectly and for all time? That you have never made any mistakes in how you understand God and the world around you?

    Wow! you really are deceived–or you haven’t learned much yet. Mack, have I jumped to a wrong conclusion? Are you even an SDA?

    You show no respect for God’s word, you don’t acknowledge that it is the inspired word of God, you do it a great disservice in your belief that it is just some old animal skin with handed down traditions. Just so you know, God has preserved this wonderful Book. He has seen to it that it has remained accurate in all essentials. You think that if is doesn’t measure up to man-made theories it should be changed until it does. That blows me away. I have total trust and faith in it. It is God’s truth.

    SDAs have been known since the inception of the church as the People of the Book. That is because we base all of our beliefs on the Bible. That is the yardstick of all truth.

    Unfortunately there is an unconverted element in the church who refuses to truly believe the teachings of the SDA church. They would do better to repent or leave the organization.

    And yes, I am confident that I understand the word of God in the correct light. God has kindly and graciously given us both the Holy Spirit to guide us and the Spirit of Prophecy to help us understand it the way it was intended. Anyone who rejects EGW loses a lot.

    Have I still more to learn? Of course, we will learn more throughout eternal ages. I’m looking forward to it. But do I have sufficient understanding to know that God is my Creator–the God of the Universe–the only source of all Truth–my Redeemer? Yes, I do. And I also know for a fact–because He told me so–that He created the earth and everything in it in six literal days–exactly like it is written in Genesis–and He hallowed the next day of the week–the Seventh Day–to be a memorial of Creation for endless ages. I believe–firmly and completely.




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  79. Faith: EGW says that no one will be saved who doesn’t keep the commandments.

    Faith, I’m stunned to hear you say that. I attended SDA schools for 19 years and was taught that we are not saved by keeping the commandments. Where exactly does EGW say those who don’t keep the commandments will not be saved? The thief on the cross was executed for failing to keep the 8th commandment, yet Jesus told him he would be saved (Luke 23:43). And Paul stated “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28). The Bible does not teach that no one will be saved who doesn’t keep the commandments. I believe what the Bible teaches.

    Interestingly Sean suggested in another thread that only those who reject the gospel will be lost.




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  80. Paul says in Romans 2 that it is “not the hearers of the Law of God that are just – but the doers of the Law will be justified…on the day when according to my GOSPEL God will judge all mankind”

    Some have supposed that such a claim is “legalism” on Paul’s part. But that is a superficial reading that claims “legalism”.

    Paul is talking about the Matt 7 principle of the “fruits” of the saved, born-again life of the Christian who as Paul says in Romans 8 “walks according to the Spirit – putting to death the deeds of the flesh”.

    Christ said in John 14:15 “if you love Me keep My commandments” and John makes the argument in 1John 2 that the one who claims to be a born-again saved saint and to love Christ – and yet does not “Keep his commandments” and in fact “walk as He walked” – is not telling the truth.

    Here again – the context is the fruit of the saved born again Christian – it is not describing the method by which the lost become saved.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  81. Mack Ramsy: (by the way if evolution is a conspiracy directed by Satan than it is a vast, vast act of creation nearly equal in scale and cope to the creator’s own original act of creation)

    You claim too for the devil when you imagine your equivocation between evolutionists who are still to this day unable to demonstrate the actual mechanism for evolutionism “working in nature” – vs God’s ability to create actual life at all levels.

    No wonder Dawkins could only respond with 11 seconds of totally flummoxed silence when confronted with the classic evolutionism 101 softball topic of showing even one case of evolution’s salient mechanism actually observed in nature!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  82. ron: Bob, I am curious, Sean acknowledged awhile back that everyone, even Adventists believe in “micro evolution “. Is that true of you as well?
    If you don’t believe in microevolution, what do you think about bacteria that develop the ability to breakdown man made materials like nylon

    I am all for those little prokaryote bacteria adapting and remaining “bacteria” the entire time.

    My example by contrast was the wild evolutionist claim that eukaryote amoeba will over time (given enough billions of years) become a horse!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  83. Eddie: Ken and Ron, I hope that you don’t give up communicating with SDAs on SDA forums. You’re always welcome in my big-tent SDA church.

    I like the quaint notion that some still have out there – that the “big tent” specs out there do not block people from posting.

    I find that idea somewhat entertaining.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  84. I think I’m going to have repeat myself again. I have enormous respect for God’s word. If God’s word is not consistent with observable phenomena then it is not God’s word that is wrong, but we who are wrong in our understanding of it. I think others have a misunderstanding in interpretation. Many here think that I have a misunderstanding. Who’s to judge? Well that would be Christian fundamentalists I suppose. I jest of course. God is ultimately the judge, but people seem so very confident at which way he’s leaning

    @BobRyan Being familiar with Dawkins I’ve never known him for a loss for words. The trouble with the question is that there’s no way to satisfy a person like your self. We can say we’ve observed heritable change over time (this is actually the formal definition of evolution, just for the sake of clarity) The reason it doesn’t satisy a person like yourself is that over the course of a human lifetime that change tends to be small. But sure there are plenty of examples. From plants, insects, animals, you name it. I think there was a paper recently discussing how a particular gene that conveyed disease resistance was able to spread through a population and was beneficial. But oh were did that gene come from? they actually have that answer too, they’ve found similar simpler genes littered about the genome but in our species and others. There was even a paper recently that showed in bacteria how a loss of function of a duplicated gene product (That was discovered in nature) allowed multiple copies of the proteins to interact in a way that was much more stable and efficient. Forget the paper I’d have to look it up. The really interesting part was they were able to go back to the lab and duplicate their observations in nature. I think someone mentioned some Tibetans that had some favorable gene mutations, I know there are similar stories about the aboriginal people in the Andes with similar. On a molecular level they’ve been able to show a astoundingly large variety of genes and proteins that have changed over time in response to various things, especially virus. But, creationists say, that’s not REAL evolution that’s not fish turning into monkeys and that sort of thing. We want to observe THAT. Well that sort of thing takes a few million years it’s not observable in the sense that you can see it happening. It does leave traces that are recorded in the genes and in the fossil record. Which oddly enough tend to line up pretty closely. In the last 10 years there has been an extraordinary amount of work done in that field. You can measure the rate of change or to use your language, the increase in beneficial information, extremely precisely. “Well that’s all speculative” one might say. That’s true, but then they can go back to the lab and replicate the phenomenon under conditions suitable to observation. Laboratories are getting sophisticaed enough they almost work as time machines. You can observe a phenomena in nature and say to yourself “Hey this is change from previous observations? It must have happened like such and such” and then take it back to your lab and see if your hypothesis is true. And if it’s not you do something else. There’s always lots to do. I think there was a paper out recently talking about the genesis of an energy transduction mechanism that helped bacteria utilize a protein gradient for energy. Very interesting article actually, a molecule had the ability to become charged by light (this is fairly common phenomenon actually) but it had found a way to pass along that charge to nearby proton pump. It is, they think, one of the many precursors to chlorophyll. I don’t say any of this to “prove” to you that evolution is true. I think if God cam down from heaven and said so himself you wouldn’t believe. I mean the rain forest is a living breathing laboratory on natural selection and evolution. All of it evolves so very quickly but there are those with eyes who can not see and ears that can not hear. And I’m not going to far in my assertion that if evolution is not true than the devil is responsible for an extraordinary act of creation. He’d have to be responsible for creating all extinct plants and animals in fossil record. He’d be responsible for changing our DNA in clever and sophisticated ways so that it appears to have evolved. There’s all this stuff around that was supposed to be destroyed by the flood. Unless God really did create dinosaurs and just didn’t like them very much and decided to bury them in such a way as to suggest a chronological order? He’d have to be responsible for the 100s of 1000s of years found in the ice record. No, if you don’t believe in Evolution then the devil has been very busy creating things.




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  85. Mack Ramsy: @BobRyan Being familiar with Dawkins I’ve never known him for a loss for words.

    I agree – so let’s let the reader/viewer decide if Dawkins’ answer to this softball evolution101 question is “instructive” for the objective unbiased observer:

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

    Even more “instructive” is Dawkins’ later “explanation” that he in fact does not allow himself to be asked evolution101 by anyone but a devotee to evolutionism’s ardent cheerleader club.

    It just does not get any easier than this for the objective unbiased observer!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  86. Mack Ramsy: The reason it doesn’t satisy a person like yourself is that over the course of a human lifetime that change tends to be small

    You glossed over the details in the actual evolutionism 101 question put to Dawkins.

    The question was about “Adding information” to the Genome in an observable manner. The question was not “tell us what convinces the critical thinker” – but just “give an example of information being added to a genome”.

    What was really pretty simple.

    No wonder atheist evolutionist Collin Patterson could ask that question of the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural history – as he reported it in a talk he gave at the American Museum of Natural History 1981

    Colin Patterson (Senior paleontologist at the British Natural History Museum and author of the Museum’s general text on evolution)

    ——————— Patterson said –

    Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing…that is true?

    I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural history and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology seminar in the University of Chicago, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said “I know one thing – it ought not to be taught in high school”

    “For over twenty years I had thought that I was working on evolution in some way. One morning I woke up, and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years, and there was not one thing I knew about it. “That was quite a shock that one could be misled for so long…

    It does seem that the level of knowledge about evolution is remarkably shallow. We know it ought not to be taught in high school, and perhaps that’s all we know about it…




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  87. Mack Ramsy: On a molecular level they’ve been able to show a astoundingly large variety of genes and proteins that have changed over time in response to various things, especially virus. But, creationists say, that’s not REAL evolution that’s not fish turning into monkeys

    The “mechanism” that evolutionist claim will turn an amoeba into a horse “given billions of years” of time, goes far beyond “a virus damaging existing genes within a genome”.

    To demonstrate the claim – they need to get a Prokaryote bacteria to become something like a eukaryote amoeba. They need to demonstrate that the mechanism for adding new genetic information to the genome such that the taxa changes on the way to “a horse” (i.e. NOT the current genome of the individual ) – actually “exists” or is observable.

    No such observation is available. The mechanism has never been observed that can account for that level of change.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  88. Mack Ramsy: And I’m not going to far in my assertion that if evolution is not true than the devil is responsible for an extraordinary act of creation. He’d have to be responsible for creating all extinct plants and animals in fossil record.

    Is it the claim of the Bible that “only the devil can make a fossil”??

    If so – I never found it.

    Nor is it true that a fossil can only come about after a million years of time.

    Given the soft tissue finds in fossils these days – I would say all the critical thinkers are re-evaluating that claim.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  89. Mack Ramsy: He’d have to be responsible for the 100s of 1000s of years found in the ice record. No, if you don’t believe in Evolution then the devil has been very busy creating things.

    Yet another claim that has been debunked.

    Deciphering ice ring layers becomes a problem after the first clearly distinguishable layers disappear under pressure. The layers in the upper area of a core can be counted – and in some cases it can be shown at the upper levels that there is one layer in a year. But when you go deeper down into the core, the layers will thin out as a result of high pressure and ice flow, making countable layers impossible.

    there is the case where the ice-core theory was “tested” in Greenland by real life measurement against known data.

    It was in this area, 17 miles off the east coast of Greenland, that Bob Cardin and other members of his squadron had to ditch their six P-38’s and two B-17’s when they ran out of gas in 1942 – the height of WWII. Many years later, in 1981, several members of this original squad decided to see if they could recover their aircraft. They flew back to the spot in Greenland where they thought they would find their planes buried under a few feet of snow. To their surprise, there was nothing there. Not even metal detectors found anything. After many years of searching, with better detection equipment, they finally found the airplanes in 1988 three miles from their original location and under approximately 260 feet of ice! They went on to actually recovered one of them (“Glacier Girl” – a P38), which was eventually restored to her former glory.

    What is most interesting about this story, at least for the purposes of this discussion, is the depth at which the planes were found (as well as the speed which the glacier moved). It took only 46 years to bury the planes in over 260 feet (~80 meters) of ice and move them some 3 miles from their original location. This translates into a little over 5 ½ feet (~1.7 meters) of ice or around 17 feet (~5 meters) of compact snow per year and about 100 meters of movement per year. In a telephone interview, Bob Cardin was asked how many layers of ice were above the recovered airplane. He responded by saying, “Oh, there were many hundreds of layers of ice above the airplane.” When told that each layer was supposed to represent one year of time, Bob said, “That is impossible! Each of those layers is a different warm spell – warm, cold, warm, cold, warm, cold.”

    Also, the planes did not sink in the ice over time as some have suggested. Their density was less than the ice or snow since they were not filled with the snow, but remained hollow. They were in fact buried by the annual snowfall over the course of almost 50 years.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  90. Hello Mac

    Keep posting my friend, you are making an impact

    If our friend Bob wants to quote a few random excerpts from 30 years ago as proof of the refutation of evolution let him. It is irrelevant in the big scheme of things.

    He already knows, as confirmed by Dr. Pitman, that new coding genes do arise in genomes. What happens over hundreds of millions of years with new coding genes arising in species as a result of natural selection? The argument that we cannot see the mechanism of macro evolution is
    specious due to the time frame over which it occurs. Bob calls this blind faith evolutionism but uses no such language when it comes to observable seven day creation.

    In the final analysis the more people that post rational responses will carry the day.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  91. Faith: EGW says that no one will be saved who doesn’t keep the commandments.

    FB 19 states “Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments.” I personally know SDAs who are theistic evolutionists yet keep the seventh-day Sabbath and the rest of the commandments as well. One such SDA who kept the Sabbath once asked, “Isn’t it enough that Jesus kept the Sabbath?” It’s uncharitable to label such SDAs as “unbelievers.”




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  92. Mack said…..

    “I think I’m going to have repeat myself again. I have enormous respect for God’s word. If God’s word is not consistent with observable phenomena then it is not God’s word that is wrong, but we who are wrong in our understanding of it. I think others have a misunderstanding in interpretation.”

    Well, of course, Mack. It comes down to interpretation, doesn’t it?

    So, someone is mis-interpreting the bible, right? So, I said in the end, those who misinterpret the bible will either repent, or, finally admit they don’t accept and believe the bible, just like Rome did when confronted by Protestantism.

    I would suggest the more you have to run through the bible and re-qualify what it is obviously saying, the more likely it is you are not in harmony with its teachings.

    Even after years of the theory of evolution, I suspect that most practicing Christians still believe in the 7 day creation account found in Gensis one.

    This may not be true of generic Christians who never go to church or practice any Christian ceremonies of any kind but still claim to be Christians. They may confess faith in evolution while having never even read Genesis one.

    And such may say, “Oh, yes, we believe the bible, while having never read a single verse.

    Bill Sorensen




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  93. Mack Ramsy: (by the way if evolution is a conspiracy directed by Satan than it is a vast, vast act of creation nearly equal in scale and cope to the creator’s own original act of creation)

    Satan always has at least one or more fraudulent or false systems, beliefs, etc. for each of God’s truths. Evolution is simply one of them to counter God’s Creation truth.

    Another? God’s Truth: When you’re dead, you’re actually dead (until the resurrection.)

    Satan: When you “die” you just enter another realm of existence–floating around as a spirit, reincarnated, etc.

    God’s Sabbath Truth: The seventh day is the Sabbath.

    Satan: We changed it to Sunday (Roman Catholic Church), “any day is holy as long as I keep it holy” ETC.

    Are these “conspiracies?” I would simply call them LIES.




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