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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876 thoughts on “Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case

  1. Ron’s Quote

    “He spoke of God’s ideals, and God’s standards. The ideals are perfect and God will accept nothing less that perfection as an ideal. That is the unreachable star by which we guide our lives. They are expressed in God’s perfect law.”

    Ideals and standards are not two different things in God’s law or God’s government.

    More “word games” to avoid the obvious.

    God’s law is the ideal, and God’s law is the standard.

    I don’t know how far all this duplicity will go in the SDA church before it simply blows up. Eventually people will “catch on” to all the double talk and either walk out, or, wage war. I guess only God knows when enough, is enough.

    Bill Sorensen




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  2. Sean said…..

    “…..knowledge, by itself, is not what makes a person good or bad. It is motive that really counts when it comes to morality and salvation.”

    Excuse me, Sean. Are you suggesting anyone can have a “good motive” without knowledge?

    There is no viable “motive” in our relationship either with God or our fellow man that is acceptable to God unless it is created by a biblical “knowledge” of who God is, who we are, what God requires, and how we can obey His will.

    And while there is a “general” knowledge of God in society, even this will not create an acceptable motive. Even the golden rule is worthless without a biblical revelation.

    And the reason should be obvious, no one can keep it, not even Ken, unless they submit to Jesus and build a biblical relationship with Him.

    The pharisees thought they could. But we see they couldn’t. Oh yes, they could make a superfical show of keeping the golden rule. But they did not have the right motive when the chips were down.

    How much knowledge of the true God did the Samaritan have? We don’t know. We aren’t told. The story simply proves that even a Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, or even a Catholic might have a better “knowledge” of God than a SDA.

    So Jesus says of His Father, “Whom to know, is life eternal.”

    We are “saved” by knowledge. And without knowledge, there is no salvation. How could anyone have faith in Jesus if they don’t even know who He is?

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      There is no viable “motive” in our relationship either with God or our fellow man that is acceptable to God unless it is created by a biblical “knowledge” of who God is, who we are, what God requires, and how we can obey His will.

      That’s simply not true. The Bible claims that God has written the Royal Law of love onto the hearts of all mankind – even for those who had no knowledge of the Bible. It is therefore possible for someone without any access to “biblical knowledge” to be saved.

      Paul makes this especially clear in Romans 2:14-15:

      Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. – Romans 2:14-15

      Along these same lines Ellen White writes:

      Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.

      How surprised and gladdened will be the lowly among the nations, and among the heathen, to hear from the lips of the Saviour, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me”! How glad will be the heart of Infinite Love as His followers look up with surprise and joy at His words of approval!

      – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 637-638

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  3. ken: “And the “odds against you ” detail above – is all the more reason to adopt an objective exegetical approach to the text – rather than the “bend the text to the usages of evolutionism” ideas some of our T.E. friends seem so fond of these days.”

    Hi Bob

    Or bend the text so the 144,000 folks seen in EGW’s vision are symbolic rather than literal, or turn 2300 days into 2300 years, or to objectively predict the commencement of the Investigative Judgement on October 22, 1844…..right Bob

    “as it turns out” – almost every Christian denomination on the planet admits that the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are in fact 70×7 years – 490 years.

    The SDA application of exegesis applies the same rule that everyone already accepts in Dan 9 to Daniel 7 and 8.

    It is not the arbitrary selection you seem to imagine.

    Rather the SDA decision to go with exegesis in this case is the more consistent option of the two.

    And the 144,000 folks were first seen in Rev 7. Almost every Christian denomination on the planet has members that differ as to whether that number is symbolic or literal.

    I am not sure if it was your intention to bring out the strengths of the SDA position by comparison.

    Did you intend that? Probably so, since you are posting on an SDA discussion board. eh?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  4. Out of curiosity – how did this thread switch to the topic of sanctification and law vs grace – given the subject at the top?

    Is there a claim that only a sinlessly perfect organization has the right to fire professors that go out on their own rogue doctrinal agenda?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  5. Re Bob’s Quote

    “And the 144,000 folks were first seen in Rev 7. Almost every Christian denomination on the planet has members that differ as to whether that number is symbolic or literal.”

    Hi Bob

    Just like the SDA has members that differ on whether six days is symbolic or literal right? So if you not only acknowledge, but freely admit, that other Christian denominations differ on interpreting the literal versus the symbolic, you should be accepting that the SDA does so, right?

    If every denomination,including the SDA, bends the Bible what determines that your particular twisting is the most objective my friend?
    That’s the point.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Your agnostic




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    • Friend ken, I have continued to track this thread tho it has been a while since I posted to it. Thank you for bringing this thread back to the main theme of this web site. A literal creation account is foundational to a literal Sabbath, literal salvation from a literal savior, literal ressurection at the literal return of the literal savior with our literal friends giving literal eternal life living in the literal new earth. Without its literal acceptance, the whole Bible become irrelevant.

      As a youth I myself questioned the rightness and reasonableness of my faith in a Creator-God. My study led me into a deep acceptance of the reality of the literal explanation of Gen 1-11 because of literal evidence in the literal cosmos and earth and biosphere, fulfilled bible prophecy in literal history, simple literal probability and logistics, the literal ability to reason and love and be aware and communicate,and finally literal answers to my literal prayers.

      I know that you openly are not sure about anything (agnostic) and I appreciate tho am saddened by your open position. God has given you enough room to doubt if you choose to. Anyone who understands what the word PROOF means will acknowledge that there is no proving how things happened in the past. Creation, true tho I believe it to be, cannot be proved. However there is quite a lot of evidence to support its rational acceptance. A.E. Wilder-Smith has some very reasonable comments, so do the scientists speaking on originstv, Walter Veith, and a number of others (all on YouTube).

      Peace to you, -Shining




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  6. Hello Shining

    I appreciate and respect your position. Just as importnat, I admire the Christian manner in how you stated it. 🙂

    Thank you for your kind concern for my welfare.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  7. Bill Sorensen: Here is the quote Faith refered to…..
    “If we are faithful in doing our part, in cooperating with Him, God will work through us [to do] the good pleasure of His will. But God cannot work through us if we make no effort. If we gain eternal life, we must work, and work earnestly. . . . Let us not be deceived by the oft-repeated assertion, “All you have to do is to believe.” Faith and works are two oars which we must use equally if we [would] press our way up the stream against the current of unbelief. “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” The Christian is a man of thought and practice. His faith fixes its roots firmly in Christ. By faith and good works he keeps his spirituality strong and healthy, and his spiritual strength increases as he strives to work the works of God. [REVIEW AND HERALD, JUNE 11, 1901.] {NL 38.2}

    Thank you, Bill, for finding that quote for me. I was too busy at the time I posted to find it and I didn’t want to attribute it to EGW unless I was sure she wrote it.

    God Bless

    PS My apologies to anyone who was annoyed to have the topic of salvation raised on this thread. I can’t remember how it was started either, but I remember feeling someone else’s post needed a reply. If it was my fault, I’m sorry. I try to stick to the topic at hand, but I do get carried away sometimes. That said, however, I must say that I feel salvation is foundational to all our threads on this site as it is the Truth about salvation that we are all here trying to defend. It is pretty difficult to separate Creation or any other Bible topic from salvation as it is all woven into one fabric of truth.

    Have a great day, everyone.




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  8. Sean Pitman: Because of this, he (the Samaritan) was recognized by God as being more righteous than those who did have access to greater doctrinal knowledge or truths about God,

    Sean, I am a little confused by what appears to me to be glaring inconsistency.

    Jesus clearly accepted and in fact preferred the Samaritan who didn’t recognize and probably even opposed a fundamental belief of his time regarding the sanctity of the Jewish Temple. If Jesus affirmed people in His time who were doing the best they could with the information available to then, should we not be just as tolerant to believers within our own church? I believe the teachers at La Sierra were teaching biology as best they could with the information available to them. The fact is, no one, for 150 years of church history has been able to reconcile the Bible’s account with empiric observation. There is no evidence that I know of that the teachers were undermining the churches theology, only that they made a distinction between the teachings of theology and the teachings of science.




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    • @Ron:

      Just because the Samaritan was more righteous than the church leaders of the day does not mean that the Samaritan would therefore be fit to teach or represent in some official paid capacity the doctrinal elements of Jewish theology.

      You’re confused in thinking that righteousness is the same thing as being qualified to be a paid representative of the a particular church organization. There are righteous Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, and even agnostics and atheists who will no doubt be in heaven someday, but who would not make good representatives or promoters of all of the fundamental goals and ideals of the SDA Church as an organization.

      For example, let’s say that you had a heart condition that required surgery to repair. Let’s say that your next door neighbor is a very nice man who is morally upright in every way and has generously offered to do your surgery for free! The only problem is that he’s not a doctor and has no medical training of any kind. Does the fact that he’s still a very nice and good man mean that he is therefore qualified to perform cardiac surgery on you or anyone else? – for free or for pay?

      In the same way, just because someone is morally upright and righteous before God does not mean that such a person is automatically qualified to be a paid representative of a particular church organization…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  9. -Shining: Anyone who understands what the word PROOF means will acknowledge that there is no proving how things happened in the past. Creation, true tho I believe it to be, cannot be proved.

    Shining,
    Are you not here acknowledging that agnosticism is the truest, most honest stance to take with anything not directly observed? Agnosticism, not in the sense of never believing anything, but in the sense that all of your truth is provisional and open to further evidence seems to me to be the most principled stance.

    The position that I should believe something I was told second hand regardless of what I see directly with my own eyes, seems to be a precarious position. How then would you be able to tell if you are being told a lie?




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    • @Ron: Pardon me for being just one of those legalists preoccupied by purity rites, but shouldn’t this clarification of truest agnosticism be over in the “Christian Agnostic” thread?




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    • @Ron: Agnosticism is only honest if you have not come to a conclusion one way or the other. Since I believe the Biblical account, it would be dishonest for me to claim or support agnosticism. There is no truth in agnosticism as it states no position – but rather says it does not know what is right: God or no-God. I did not say that my understanding of creation truth was provisional, only that it could not be proved. I have checked out the evidence for the Bible and I believe it is true. While part of this is second hand, a number of things I mentioned are first-hand. I could give you the long version but what I wrote I think is sufficient to show why I am a believer.




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  10. Re Ron’s Quote

    “Agnosticism, not in the sense of never believing anything, but in the sense that all of your truth is provisional and open to further evidence seems to me to”

    Dear Ron

    I am extremely indebted to you for that comment. But I want to add that I do not disparage faith, and particularily on this forum Adventist faith. We all believe different things, the great danger is not belief, it is absolute belief married to power. Then there is abuse and trajedy.

    I’ve learned a lot from my Adventist friends and also those that have expressed enmity towards me. I’m grateful.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  11. I’ve learned a lot from my Adventist friends and also those that have expressed enmity towards me. I’m grateful.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Well, Ken, I hope you do not consider me one of those who have “expressed enmity towards (you).”

    You freely confess you are a non-believer in Christanity. Although, you often refer to some aspects of Christanity as being what you also believe.

    In some sense, I do find it interesting that you would come into a SDA hot bed discussion on some of our certral doctrines and express unbelief in our system of understanding bible truth.

    I think most are aware that you support the liberal agenda that implies the bible is less than definitive than our church claims it is, even about creation.

    Since you confess that you are not a Christian in any sense, I would hope most would take your comments with a grain of salt, knowing you have no convictions about the bible either way. And since you are not positive about the bible and its authority, then you must necessarily be negative. You can’t speak positively about what you don’t believe.

    And your comments follow this format as you continually cast doubt about the bible.
    Especially as the SDA church understands it.

    I suppose I am still wondering why you even participate on the forum. Unless it is a purposeful attempt to undermine Adventism and our teaching and doctrine while avoiding stateing this purpose by claiming you are an agnostic.

    You have no credibility, Ken. Like John Alfke over on Spectrum who also works continually to undermine the bible in general and Adventism in particular.

    As long as people know who you are, and what you stand for (nothing), then perhaps you are less harmful than those who claim to believe our doctrine and also work continually to undermine the bible and our historic biblical message.

    So, unless you are deliberately claiming to be an agnostic so you can undermine our message in a more subtle way, you are at least the more honest of the two groups.

    I suspect you post as much or more than anyone else on the forum. That is for Shane and Sean to decide, and how much they will allow you to do is up to them.

    Bill Sorensen




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  12. Ken: Re Bob’s Quote

    “And the 144,000 folks were first seen in Rev 7. Almost every Christian denomination on the planet has members that differ as to whether that number is symbolic or literal.”

    Hi Bob

    Just like the SDA has members that differ on whether six days is symbolic or literal right?

    That is called the fallacy of equivocation.

    We have loads of confirming data from both history and the text of scripture legal code summarizing the T.E.-doubted text of scripture in Gen 1-2. The Legal code summarized it this way “Keep the Seventh day holy… Six days you shall labor…for in SIX days the Lord MADE the heavens and the earth the seas and ALL that is in them and rested the Seventh day – therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” Ex 20:8-11

    So far even the T.E.s here have not gone to the extreme of making arguments that claiming that legal code is also “just fluff and poetry” not to be taken literally by the reader.

    Thus your attempt at equivocation is lacking actual support from the text.

    As for the 144,000 not having that kind of triangulation and confirmation in other texts – well that to is a pretty small task to discover since the 144,000 are only mentioned a few times in all of scripture. (So very unlike the 4th commandment).

    So if you not only acknowledge, but freely admit, that other Christian denominations differ on interpreting the literal versus the symbolic

    Massive broad sweeping generalization and equivocation on that level above is hard to find these days. It is like saying that if a physics book ever uses an illustration that is not purely literal than we are all to be befuddled in knowing what part of the book is literal.

    That kind of rationalization does not work in real life. But I do agree that your “if even one text is symbolic then the entire bible is up for grabs” idea is not original with you – we have some T.E.s trying to make that idea stick.

    If every denomination,including the SDA, bends the Bible what determines that your particular twisting is the most objective my friend?
    That’s the point.

    I fully agree that your conclusion is perfectly reasonable if your predicated examples were not so tortured and hollow.

    You are assuming the salient point that leads to your conclusion rather than proving it my friend.

    That kind of reasoning can only appeal to people that are unwilling to question your world view and conclusion.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  13. Faith, the topic of faith and works came up because Bill quoted something I said at Spectrum on a thread following a video of a sermon on substitutionary atonement that Dan Jackson preached at the LSU Church the Sabbath before last.

    Not everyone in the SDA Church believes in substitutionary atonement, largely because of the efforts of Loma Linda theologian Graham Maxwell. He died not long ago, but his followers are still full of vim and vigor, and still peddling his theory of the atonement that denies substitution. I thought Elder Jackson showed tremendous spine in going into the heart of Maxwell country and preaching a sermon on substitution. (I only wish he could have shown similar spine when he and Larry Blackmer met with the La Sierra faculty last year.)

    But instead of praising Elder Jackson, someone named Jim Roberts immediately attacked him for not emphasizing works. Now, Elder Jackson did not say anything to contradict the Bible, or the book of James, or the Ellen White statements that you and Bill have quoted above. He apparently just assumed that, because Elder Jackson preached on the substitutionary atonement, Jackson must believe in cheap grace, or that the law of God has been made of null effect.

    Of course, those of who believe in the biblical doctrine of substitution do not believe the law has been made void, because if the law could have been changed, Christ would not have had to die for us to be saved. But He DID have to die, precisely because the law can never be changed or set aside. Transgression of the law must be punished, and our transgression was punished in Christ on the cross. This is forensic justification, and it is the farthest thing possible from cheap grace, or antinomianism.

    Those of us who believe in the substitutionary atonement know that the law cannot be made void, else Christ would not have had to die. Far from believing in cheap grace, we know that the grace afforded to us by Christ’s death on the cross was bought at a terrible price, and hence we can never presume to tread upon it by willfully breaking the law.

    So I don’t accept, not even for an instant, that preaching the doctrine of substitutionary atonement leads to presuming on grace, or making void the law of God. It does not. Just the opposite is true. It is those who don’t believe that Christ really bore our sins on Calvary, nor that it was OUR sin that made His atoning death necessary, who are led to view sin as a trifling matter, and thus presume on grace.




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  14. My point was, David, that Jackson is a liberal, and many liberals believe in the Substitutionary atonement. Dr. Ford believes it. And at least most of his followers do as well.

    While defense in the Substitutionary atonement is commendable and we should as a church affirm it, it is not “present truth”. Billy Graham believes in it and most apostate Protestants do as well.

    And people at Spectrum commend Jackson’s sermon and some even think he would be a great GC president instead of Ted Wilson. Hmmmmmm…..I wonder why?

    Because anyone can claim to support the law of God even while they are undermining it and its meaning and application to the Christian community. IE….Dr. Ford.

    I think few realize how wide spread the attack on the law of God is in the SDA church. How blind can we be? The celebration and eccumenical movement is so entrenched in the church that for those who see it clearly, it would seem impossible that it can be expelled.

    In my opinion, Dan Jackson is no friend to historic bible Adventism even if he does affirm the vicarious atonement. It is fine for him to speak out against the Moral Influence Theory, but why does he not speak out against the celebration movement in the church?

    Either he sees nothing wrong with it, or….he is a politician like many of his peers. The bible doctrine of justification by works is conspicuous by its absence in the SDA church today.

    I think we can rightly assume that few believe in it and all the EGW quotes supporting it are also absent as well.

    Such as….

    “Is it anything strange that one should do this or that under the conviction of the Spirit of God, under a sense of the fact that a refusal or neglect to do so would endanger the soul’s salvation? Is this a matter hard to comprehend, that obedience on our part to all God’s law is absolutely essential to eternal life? Is this an unfathomable mystery to the Christian—to secure the soul’s salvation at any cost to self or selfish interest? Does the Word of God give us any assurance that we can get to heaven just as well transgressing the law as obeying it? If so, the whole requirement of God as a condition of salvation is an entire mistake. {CTr 77.3}
    Were the inhabitants of the old world who perished in the Flood punished for their disobedience of God’s requirements? Or were they washed by the waters of the deluge straight into glory because our merciful God is too good to execute the final penalty of transgressing His law? Were the Sodomites punished for their disobedience and only Lot saved? Or were the inhabitants of Sodom winged by the fire that fell from heaven straight into glory? {CTr 77.4}
    Has God commanded? Then we must obey—without hesitating and seeking to find some way to be saved without obedience; this would be climbing up some other way. “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”“I have kept my Father’s commandments,” says the Majesty of heaven. . . . {CTr 77.5}
    We should not obey the commandments merely to secure heaven, but to please Him who died to save sinners from the penalty of the transgression of the Father’s law. The sinner’s salvation depends upon . . . ceasing to transgress and obedience to that transgressed law. No one should venture or presume upon the mercy of God, feeling at liberty to sin as much as they dare. . . . It is a sad resolve to follow Christ as far off as possible, venturing as near the verge of perdition as possible without falling in.—Letter 35b, 1877. {CTr 77.6}”

    I challenge anyone to find this quote, or any like it in any modern SDA publication endorsed by the SDA church.

    You may find it in historic EGW writings and comments, but not repeated and published in any church papers of today.

    People must necessarily eventually abandon the bible if and when this concept is not endorsed and published continually in any Christian church or denomination. But you can’t believe in this quote and then “rock and roll” around the golden calf, wear jewelry, dress as you please and tell everyone that God accepts everybody, no matter what. Jackson is a liberal, David, and you know it, no matter what he states about the vicarious atonement.

    Bill Sorensen




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  15. “The bible doctrine of justification by works is conspicuous by its absence in the SDA church today.”

    Bill, I repudiate such language in the strongest possible terms. There is no Bible doctrine of justification by works, so its absence from the SDA Church, or any other Christian Church, is not surprising. To speak of the “bible doctrine of justification by works” is to repudiate the Bible.

    I just want to make clear to anyone reading this thread, Bill, that your faith is not my faith. I am not giving up the gospel just because you hold yourself out as a conservative, and claim that salvation by faith is a liberal doctrine. I believe in salvation by faith in Christ alone, not by works.

    The Bible is clear enough on this point, so clear that any man using language like “justification by works” ought to tremble in fear of Almighty God. Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 3:20-28; 4:1-5; 10:9-13; Gal. 2:15-16.

    And don’t think Ellen White subscribed to such a heresy as “justification by works”, either:

    “Let the subject be made distinct and plain that it is not possible to effect anything in our standing before God or in the gift of God to us through creature merit. Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins. Salvation, then, is partly of debt, that may be earned as wages. If man cannot, by any of his good works, merit salvation, then it must be wholly of grace, received by man as a sinner because he receives and believes in Jesus. It is wholly a free gift. Justification by faith is placed beyond controversy. And all this controversy is ended, as soon as the matter is settled that the merits of fallen man in his good works can never procure eternal life for him.” “Through Faith Alone” MS, 1890.

    “God saves man through the blood of Christ alone, and man’s belief in, and allegiance to, Christ is salvation.” Signs, Dec. 30, 1889.

    “All religious service, however attractive and costly, that endeavors to merit the favor of God, all mortification of the flesh, all penance and laborious work to procure the forgiveness of sin and the divine favor,–whatever prevents us from making Christ our entire dependence, is abomination in the sight of God. There is no hope for man but to cease his rebellion, his resistance of God’s will, and own himself a sinner ready to perish, and cast himself upon the mercy of God. We can be saved only through Christ. Not by any good works which we may do, can we find salvation. There is no mercy for the fallen race except that which comes as the free gift of God. There is no blessing we receive but that which comes through the mediation of Christ. It is ever to be borne in mind that ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him’ as his personal Saviour, able to save to the uttermost all who come unto him, ‘should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ The Father gave his well-beloved Son, that through this divine channel his love might reach to man. The Father loves those who believe on Christ, even as he loves the Son, for they are made one with Christ.” Signs, August 24, 1891




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  16. Ron: I believe the teachers at La Sierra were teaching biology as best they could with the information available to them. The fact is, no one, for 150 years of church history has been able to reconcile the Bible’s account with empiric observation. There is no evidence that I know of that the teachers were undermining the churches theology, only that they made a distinction between the teachings of theology and the teachings of science.

    Ron, you would have to be purposefully blind to what is going on in LSU to state such nonsense. They are well aware that they are teaching evolutionary theory in direct opposition to historic SDA beliefs.

    The fact is, they think they know better because they are ‘better educated’ than the rest of us. It is the conceit that often overtakes those who have ‘higher education’ that is fuelling their fires. They are willingly following the beliefs and suppositions of the ungodly while denying the Bible Truth–God’s truth.

    And, make no mistake, they are rebelliously trying to teach their heresy to the young, impressionable minds that have been entrusted to them to teach God’s Gospel Truth. If it had been an honest mistake and they were trying to do their best to lead their students in the paths of righteousness, they would not be lying and trying to cover up and continue on in their heresy. They wouldn’t continue to try to compromise God’s truth with the worldly theories of evolution. And they wouldn’t, as was so plainly shown in the infamous recordings, baldly try to steal the church’s own property out from under it. There is no honest defense for their behaviour.




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  17. David, you are correct in what you are saying in that we cannot gain salvation through works. But we also have to acknowledge that works are a part of the process. It is an outcome of our salvation that we want to keep the commandments of God and that we are wholly dependant on Him to do so. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” is His requirement. Then He helps us fulfill this requirement. What marvelous grace He gives us! And how thankful we should be for His lovingkindness and care for us. He could have blotted out the planet Earth and all its inhabitants long ago, but instead He chose to save us. What a God we have the privilege of serving!




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  18. Re Bill’s Quote

    “As long as people know who you are, and what you stand for (nothing),”

    Re Ron’s Quote

    ” Agnosticism, not in the sense of never believing anything, but in the sense that all of your truth is provisional and open to further evidence seems to me to be the most principled stance.”

    Hi Bill

    Please see Ron’s quote on agnosticism. That is what I stand for. You certainly may opine that is nothing but at least one other Adventist thinks differently. That is something.

    Please note that I always take great care not to disparage your personal faith. I think that is something as well.

    Bill, my goal is not to undermine Adventist faith but rather to look for truth. As my friend Dr. Kime now understands my method is different but no less sincere. There is much I admire about the Adventist faith even though I do not subscribe to it. Also, and I do hope that Dr. Pitman sees me as an ally in this regard, I think that the concept of intelligent design is worthy of much more investigation. I think Adventist institutions should be supportive of Dr. Pitman’s efforts in this regard. In fact I have promoted a chair in Intelligent Design at LSU in this regard. So far no takers but hope springs eternal in the heart of an agnostic. 🙂

    Insofar as being a frequent poster, I am grateful to and at the mercy of our benevolent Christian editors. To let me into their ‘house’ speaks well of their Christian charity and tolerance of a diversity of opinion. But, if I might note, you and Bob comment frequently as well, and nobody is suggesting this not be the case. 🙂

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  19. The lost are saved by grace through faith Eph 2:8-10.

    The saved are judged by works Romans 2:13-16 “on the day when according to my Gospel God will judge all mankind”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. BobRyan: If every denomination,including the SDA, bends the Bible what determines that your particular twisting is the most objective my friend?
    That’s the point.

    Thus our agnostic friend admits to the goal and purpose of the the “Bible bending” idea. It relies on an “any old excuse will do” form of proof where simply not having everyone agree as to whether the 144,000 of Rev 7 is a literal number, is all the excuse you need to offer up the entire Bible on the altar of Bible bending – wrenching it to the usages of blind faith evolutionism as the need arises.

    The agnostic POV then asks – if all this bible bending is to be taken as “a given” then why put so much faith and importance in what is said in such a clay based, mold-to-your-preference text?

    Now certainly we all know why we that idea is perfectly consistent with the agnostic POV – but why are our T.E. friends so anxious to go down that agnostic road?

    Why would anyone accept such a notion when it is so “any old excuse will do” driven?

    Here is just another point where objective unbiased readers using a bit of critical thinking would not have fallen into that bible-bending conclusion.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. Ken: But, if I might note, you and Bob comment frequently as well, and nobody is suggesting this not be the case.

    Are Bill and I fellow agnostics with our agnostic friend?

    fellow non-SDAs with our agnostic friend?

    fellow evolutionists with our agnostic friend?

    What is the pattern you are appealing to in that statement where you Bill and I are sharing the same point of reference?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  22. Ron: The fact is, no one, for 150 years of church history has been able to reconcile the Bible’s account with empiric observation. There is no evidence that I know of that the teachers were undermining the churches theology, only that they made a distinction between the teachings of theology and the teachings of science.

    The fact is – as even some of our atheist evolutionist friends (like Colin Patterson) have pointed out – evolutionism is being promoted within a distinctively religious context “I know it happened yes I know it did” while “claiming ignorance as to the means”.

    Evolutionism is the blind faith belief that prokaryotes turn into eukaryotes and amoebas turn into horses given enough time and chance.

    It is not something we “observe in nature” it is merely blind faith in an extreme conclusion without the data to support the salient points of the argument.

    It is an example of yet another “any old excuse will do” system of reasoning.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  23. Re Bob’s Question

    “What is the pattern you are appealing to in that statement where you Bill and I are sharing the same point of reference?”

    Hi Bob

    Well free speech my friend, from which you, Bill and I appear to benefit greatly. After all you don’t think anyone of us has a franchise on educating truth, do you?

    By the way you continue to ignore and evade my question as to whether you have taken any university courses on biology, especially evolutionary biology. Seems to the objective unbiased reader you have something to fear in evading that question.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  24. Ken: By the way you continue to ignore and evade my question as to whether you have taken any university courses on biology, especially evolutionary biology. Seems to the objective unbiased reader you have something to fear in evading that question.

    The question may be asked, “Why do you keep badgering Bob Ryan as to whether or not he has taken any courses in biology?” I might point out that taking courses in biology has done irreparable harm to many involved in this whole issue. The professors who have been at the heart of this whole scandal certainly didn’t benefit from their study as it cost them their faith and belief in the Truth. Many of their students, receiving the heresy at the hands of their professors, have likewise lost their faith in Bible Truth.

    Personally, I am a little tired of the worship of education. Education only has value if what is learned is truth. Much of what is taught in ‘higher education’ is error, and thus of no benefit to anyone. Much of this error is based on the suppositions and opinions of men who have taken this ‘higher education’ and have earned a few letters after their names. Once they have accomplished this, people seem to think them some kind of demi-gods and their opinions become ‘facts’ to those who have not had this education.

    What Bob is saying is truth. He doesn’t need a certificate or diploma or letters after his name to state it.




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  25. Re Faith’s Quote

    “Much of this error is based on the suppositions and opinions of men who have taken this ‘higher education’ and have earned a few letters after their names. Once they have accomplished this, people seem to think them some kind of demi-gods and their opinions become ‘facts’ to those who have not had this education.”

    Hi Faith

    Thanks for your comments.

    Would your comments apply equally to Adventist theological students with academic credentials and letters after their names? You see I don’t disparage their knowledge of the Adventist faith and concede they are likely experts in that regard. But they get that expertise through higher education don’t they.

    The same applies to rendering scientific opinions on evolution which our friend Bob tends to do. You see I have no problem with you or anyone attacking evolution from a faith perspective. But when someone like Bob goes up against the likes of Prof Kent, or Mac, or Pauluc on a scientific basis, then I think we are all entitled to ask about Bob’s credentials in biology. You say I am badgering Bob, but the point is he refuses to answer the question while asking plenty of his own. Fair is fair Faith, as I have now answered your question.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  26. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Just because the Samaritan was more righteous than the church leaders of the day does not mean that the Samaritan would therefore be fit to teach or represent in some official paid capacity the doctrinal elements of Jewish theology.”

    Hi Sean

    I think you are right on with this point. The question is whether advenitst biology professors should be teaching faith based biology at an Adventist institution. That is a complex question as it deals with issues of autonomy of an academic institution from its supporting church as well as the autonomy of science professors to teach science independent of their theological convictions. I don’t know the answer to that.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

      Since all science is “faith-based” to one degree or another, a mix of both evidence and leaps of logic or faith into that which is not absolutely known or knowable, the only question that remains is what type of faith/evidence-based science should be taught at an Adventist school? You keep trying to draw a dividing line between science and faith when science itself is not independent of faith – of the need to make leaps of faith.

      Given this understanding of the true nature of science and intelligent leaps of faith, why should popular secular ideas of origins that are directly opposed to SDA fundamentals be the only ideas taught in our schools as scientifically valid? Why shouldn’t we present scientific evidence that favors the SDA position in our own schools as well? – and why shouldn’t these ideas be presented by those who actually subscribe to the validity of the SDA position on origins as the most rationally tenable world view?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  27. Ken: Re Bob’s Question

    “What is the pattern you are appealing to in that statement where you Bill and I are sharing the same point of reference?”

    Hi Bob

    Well free speech my friend, from which you, Bill and I appear to benefit greatly.

    In that case – I suppose the entire posting board aside from the board management would be included.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  28. Ken: The same applies to rendering scientific opinions on evolution which our friend Bob tends to do. You see I have no problem with you or anyone attacking evolution from a faith perspective. But when someone like Bob goes up against the likes of Prof Kent,

    That old “tell me what to think” argument never did carry a lot of weight with me – or with most people reading this message board.

    Not sure why you feel it is going to work for your line of argument.

    As far as junk-science evolutionism goes – my point is that the violation of real science is so glaringly obvious that even the atheist evolutionists themselves are admitting to it.

    Just how far in the dark did you suppose we would have to be “not to notice”??

    And as for having a degree in science – I have one. But I never make that an argument for “believe this because I say-so” kinds of arguments.

    In fact I argue that the blatant gaffs, blunders, confirmed hoaxes, and confirmed frauds of evolutionism are so glaringly obvious that the non-science person among us need not be befuddled by the wild sweeping claims of evolutionists.

    I prefer to keep the point at a level where every single reader easily “gets the point”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  29. BobRyan: Evolutionism is the blind faith belief that prokaryotes turn into eukaryotes and amoebas turn into horses given enough time and chance.

    It is not something we “observe in nature” it is merely blind faith in an extreme conclusion without the data to support the salient points of the argument.

    Surely we can all agree – that all readers easily get that point!

    Our evolutionist readers may not like it – but they get the point and they can tell that those reading the post all get it as well. Nothing “hidden in the weeds” there.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  30. Ken: Re Sean’s QuoteHi SeanI think you are right on with this point. The question is whether advenitst biology professors should be teaching faith based biology at an Adventist institution. That is a complex question as it deals with issues of autonomy of an academic institution from its supporting church as well as the autonomy of science professors to teach science independent of their theological convictions. I don’t know the answer to that.Your agnostic friendKen

    Is La Sierra an “autonomous” institution with regards to our SDA Church? I’ve always thought it is not. How could it be “autonomous?”




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  31. Ken: I think you are right on with this point. The question is whether advenitst biology professors should be teaching faith based biology at an Adventist institution. T

    To Larry’s credit that IS one of the many points he “got right” with a big home run in his talk at LSU regarding the mission of SDA teaching institutions.

    We start out with world view that is not atheist – nor even agnostic. We stick with “actual observations” in nature – and discard all the fluff and junk-science about amoebas turning into horses “given enough time”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  32. Ken: Re Sean’s QuoteHi SeanI think you are right on with this point. The question is whether advenitst biology professors should be teaching faith based biology at an Adventist institution. That is a complex question as it deals with issues of autonomy of an academic institution from its supporting church as well as the autonomy of science professors to teach science independent of their theological convictions. I don’t know the answer to that.Your agnostic friendKen

    Regarding the “autonomy” of college departments, would a music teacher (I believe we had one here but I forgot his name) be allowed to teach “hip-hop” “heavy metal” “rap” and other forms of music our SDA Church generally disaproves of in one of our SDA colleges?

    Would a physician at LLU medical center be allowed to use “medical marijuana” as part of his treatment for whatever his patient complained of?

    Our these types of things happening in our SDA institutions?




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  33. David Read said……

    “Bill, I repudiate such language in the strongest possible terms. There is no Bible doctrine of justification by works, so its absence from the SDA Church, or any other Christian Church, is not surprising. To speak of the “bible doctrine of justification by works” is to repudiate the Bible.”

    Do you then repudiate the book of James as well? Or do you, like Luther, believe the book of James should be in the bible?

    For James says, “You see how then, that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

    And why did not you comment on the EGW quote that I gave? Isn’t it because you can not harmonize your theological understanding with either James, or EGW?

    I am not surprised that you don’t believe it, David. Our church has attack it and denied it for 40 years or more. Small wonder our church spirituality is going down, down, down.

    You quoted EGW, and I will comment on what you quoted. Here is what she said….

    ““Let the subject be made distinct and plain that it is not possible to effect anything in our standing before God or in the gift of God to us through creature merit. Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins. Salvation, then, is partly of debt, that may be earned as wages.”

    Notice the key words, “merit”, “purchase”,
    “debt”, “earned as wages”, etc…..

    She opposes the Catholic view that we can “buy” the favor of God. She does not oppose the view that we are justified by the moral law because the moral law never functions in the same context of the ceremonial law which typifies Christ and His meritorious work.

    Just because we can not merit, buy, purchase, and do any thing in a legal way so that God owes us salvation, does not mean we are not morally justified by keeping the law of God. Just as Adam and Eve were morally justified in the Garden of Eden in doing God’s will.

    This is, until they chose not to do so, and then they were condemned by the same law that had previously justified them.

    The purpose of any law is to either justify or condemn. And what is rather amazing, historically, Adventism has been gung ho in making a clear distinction of how the moral law functions vs. how the ceremonial law functions.

    Now we simply deny the function of the moral law in the salvation process because apostate Protestantism has accused us of legalism, and by all means, we must necessariy patronize apostate Protestantism so we can avoid the label “legalism”.

    So, David, in this context you are right, your faith and mine are light years apart and I am in harmony with the bible and EGW while you and much, if not most, of modern Adventism is not.

    To claim we are not justified by the law is to simply negate the law and throw it out the window. We have been doing it bit by bit for years. You are simply the product of modern Adventism.

    Now how about you respond to this statement by EGW?

    ““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}”

    And this one…..

    ” It would be far more consistent for nations to abolish their statutes, and permit the people to do as they please, than for the Ruler of the universe to annul his law, and leave the world without a standard to condemn the guilty or justify the obedient.”

    Was EGW confused, David, or are you?

    Bill Sorensen




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  34. Bill, if we’re having a semantical disagreement, it isn’t about moral vs. ceremonial law, rather it is about justification. When we keep the moral law, our actions are just and do not need forgiveness. But keeping the moral law from now on doesn’t justify our transgressions. When you’re on trial for murder, it does no good to say, “well what about all the people I didn’t kill. What about when I was kind to strangers and old people.” Keeping the law on a going forward basis cannot justify transgressions. Only the atonement of Christ, claimed by faith, can justify. Thus, there is no “justification by works” only justification by faith in Christ.

    James doesn’t contradict this. “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” 2:18. Works are evidence of genuine faith, not the means of salvation. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” 2:19 Saving faith is not mere intellectual assent to propositional truth.

    “You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?” 2:20-21. Abraham believed God so completely and utterly that he was willing to obey God even to the point of sacrificing the son of the promise. In other words, saving faith is believing God so completely and without reservation that you obey him no matter what. But it is still the faith that saves, not the obedience of itself.

    “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and was called God’s friend.” 2:23 James quotes the exact same verse that Paul uses in Romans: Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. James believes just as Paul does, in imputed righteousness, righteousness credited because of belief. But James wants to emphasize that genuine faith believes strongly enough to obey; genuine faith is not mere intellectual assent to propositional truth.




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  35. “To claim we are not justified by the law is to simply negate the law and throw it out the window.”

    No, Bill, it isn’t. We are not justified by the moral law unless we keep it perfectly, which none of us has ever done except Christ. The moral law does not justify; the moral law condemns. It shows us we are sinners because we do not live up to the standard.

    It is interesting that James, in the context of showing favoritism to rich believers over poor believers, says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” 2:10-11.

    Obviously, none of us has ever perfectly kept the law except Christ, and if we’ve broken it in one particular, we’ve broken the whole thing.

    The hopelessness of salvation by keeping the moral law is highlighted by what Christ has said, namely that calling your brother a fool breaks the commandment against murder, and looking on a woman with lust breaks the commandment against adultery. I’m condemned by this law, not justified.

    Ellen White says, “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.” And the answer is that we are condemned by the holy precepts of God’s law, because we have not lived up to them.

    Paul says, “no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” Rom. 3:20. The moral law shows us we are sinners, it doesn’t justify us or declare us righteous.

    James has the same view of the law: it is like a mirror that reveals us to be sinners. But James points out that if you keep breaking the law, even after you know what it is, you’re “like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 1:22-25.




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  36. Bill and David – there is a sense in which you are both right when it comes to justification, and the law.

    BobRyan: The lost are saved by grace through faith Eph 2:8-10.

    The saved are judged by works Romans 2:13-16 “on the day when according to my Gospel God will judge all mankind”.

    Bill is emphasizing the Romans 2:13-16 concept of justification. Also found in Christ’s teaching in Matt 7.

    David is emphasizing the Eph 2:8-10 concept of justification that is also found in Romans 3.

    Hence my earlier post above.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  37. David said…..

    “The moral law does not justify; the moral law condemns. It shows us we are sinners because we do not live up to the standard.”

    Of course, David, the moral law can not and does not justify an unbeliever. What you deny, is that a believer can keep the law.

    I made it clear what the ceremonial law typifies. Forgiveness of sin. And in the context of Paul, EGW has well said, “Pardon and justification are one and the same thing.”

    What you deny is the moral aspects of justification and in so doing, you deny the moral law has any application to a believer.

    Worse yet, you deny that obedience to the moral law is salvational. And you did not comment on this statement….

    “” It would be far more consistent for nations to abolish their statutes, and permit the people to do as they please, than for the Ruler of the universe to annul his law, and leave the world without a standard to condemn the guilty or justify the obedient.”

    And of course, you deny the real dynamic function of the Investigative judgment which shows our justification is just as dependent on our sanctification as is our sanctification being dependent on forgiveness of sin and/or pardon.

    You can not possibly harmonize your theology with this statement….

    “If we cannot without pain trace the workings of our own hearts and review the record of our lives, how can we stand before the Judge of all the earth, who is infinitely pure and holy, and who will determine our cases by the unerring standard of his perfect law? {ST, January 4,”

    If a judge “determines” by the law what his decision will be, how can you blatantly deny that a Christian can and must obey the law to be justified?

    We are so obviously and clearly justified by obedience to God’s law, (according to the bible and EGW), you have to actually dupe people into believing otherwise.

    The devil’s lies are only subtle to those who are willing to be duped by them.

    So, you say to people, “We can’t be justified by fulfilling what the ceremonial law typifies, namely, the death of Jesus and His merits in our behalf” and then say,”and this applies to the moral law as well.”

    This is a blatant lie. It not even subtle. We must have a title and fitness for heaven. Jesus is our title. He paid it all, we come to God in His name. But Jesus is not our fitness. We must obtain a fitness for heaven by obedience to the law, and the law justifies all true believers who obey it.

    In the end, you and the church deny the real dynamic of the new birth experience and claim no one is really “born again”. We are all just unregenerate sinners who can’t keep the law and so we can’t be justified by it.

    Is sin mingled with a believer’s works? Yes. But Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary removes the sin, and all that is left is perfect obedience to the law of God. Absolute pure undefiled works and obedience. And these works justify the believer.

    And it is absolutely necessary for the Christian community to not only be informed of this reality, if they are not, and are convinced they need to keep the law to be saved and justified, the church will simply degenerate lower and lower into immoral oblivion.

    The Sabbath is at stake here. Your theology undermines the Sabbath and any need to obey it. The SDA church has been undermining the Sabbath for at least 40 years.

    Obviously, people don’t read the bible much and the Spirit of Prophecy less. Let me suggest you go read the Chapter in the GC entitled “Facing Life’s Record” and then come and tell me a Christian is not justified by keeping the law of God.

    Are you a lawyer, David? What kind of a lawyer would deny the purpose of any law is to justify or condemn?

    What is really sad is this, you reflect the modern apostate SDA theology of today and think you are supporting the gospel.

    Sad delusion.

    Bill Sorensen




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  38. Bob, there’s no conflict between Ephesians and Romans. Ephesians says we’re saved by grace through faith as the gift of God, which is imputed righteousness; Romans 2:13 says the saved will be “declared righteous,” which is imputed righteousness.

    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13.

    They’re not saved because they obey the law; they’re saved because they are “declared righteous,” and they’re declared righteous because their obedience is evidence of saving faith, genuine conversion and sorrow for sin.




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  39. Bob, my concern is not so much with David Read as it is with the SDA church of today. David reflects modern Adventism and most people, even so called “conservative” Adventists can’t articulate the full scope of the bible doctrine and teaching on “justification”.

    The concept of law and justification is far more comprehensive in the bible than the vicarious atonement.

    The church has spent years in explaining how we are “not justified by the law”, and there is a biblical concept that supports this truth. Sad to say for the church, there is a biblical concept on how we are justified by the law, and our church today never discusses it or explains how it works.

    Consequently, people don’t believe we are justified by the law in any context. And when you state that we are, you are accused of legalism.

    For the most part, we have novices who define bible truth and have the influence and authority in modern Adventism.

    David rightly said this in response to my statement…..

    ““The bible doctrine of justification by works is conspicuous by its absence in the SDA church today.” Bill Sorensen

    Bill, I repudiate such language in the strongest possible terms. There is no Bible doctrine of justification by works, so its absence from the SDA Church, or any other Christian Church, is not surprising. To speak of the “bible doctrine of justification by works” is to repudiate the Bible.

    I just want to make clear to anyone reading this thread, Bill, that your faith is not my faith. I am not giving up the gospel just because you hold yourself out as a conservative,…….” David Read

    David simply reflects what he has been taught. It is superficial theology at best, and heresy at worst.

    Bill Sorensen




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  40. “So, you say to people, ‘We can’t be justified by fulfilling what the ceremonial law typifies, namely, the death of Jesus and His merits in our behalf’ and then say,’and this applies to the moral law as well.'”

    Bill, I didn’t say that, but it raises an opportunity to discuss the ceremonial law vs. the moral law. The ceremonial law pointed forward to Christ. The ceremonial law was in the place of Christ, before Christ. Confessing your sins on the head of a lamb without blemish and then sacrificing the lamb was intended to convey the truth that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins, and was intended to point forward to Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, who would bear our sins and shed his blood on our behalf.

    But now we have Christ and his death on the cross, so the ceremonial law, with its system of types and symbols, is no longer necessary. We don’t need the shadow because we have the thing itself, we don’t need a type or symbol, because we have the anti-type or anti-symbol.

    Unlike the ceremonial law, the moral law is eternal and unchangeable, because it reflects aspects of God’s character and government. It is as much a sin for Christians today to murder, commit adultery and break the Sabbath as it was for Jews in the Old Testament to murder, commit adultery and break the Sabbath. So in no sense am I trying to set aside or do away with the moral law. As I have now said several times, if it were possible to do away with the moral law, Christ would not have had to die, and we know He DID have to die for us on Calvary.

    But today as in Old Testament times, we are not saved by keeping the moral law. We are not justified by keeping the moral law, because keeping the moral law doesn’t make up for breaking the moral law. (Again, think about my illustration of the man on trial for murder; it isn’t helpful for him say, “hey, your honor, even though I’ve been out on bond, I haven’t murdered anyone in the last 9 months”). In OT Times, the atonement, the pardon for breaking the moral law, was accomplished by the sacrificial system, which pointed forward to Christ’s atoning death, and in NT times, we look back with faith toward Christ’s atoning death.

    “Is sin mingled with a believer’s works? Yes. But Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary removes the sin, and all that is left is perfect obedience to the law of God. Absolute pure undefiled works and obedience. And these works justify the believer.”

    Bill, why doesn’t Jesus remove the sins from the UNbeliever’s life record? Isn’t it exactly because the unbeliever is not a believer? So in fact it is faith, and only faith, that saves, because Christ’s merits cover the transgressions only of believers, not unbelievers.




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  41. BobRyan: Bill and David – there is a sense in which you are both right when it comes to justification, and the law.
    =================================

    BobRyan: The lost are saved by grace through faith Eph 2:8-10.

    The saved are judged by works Romans 2:13-16 “on the day when according to my Gospel God will judge all mankind”.

    ———————————-

    Bill is emphasizing the Romans 2:13-16 concept of justification. Also found in Christ’s teaching in Matt 7.

    David is emphasizing the Eph 2:8-10 concept of justification that is also found in Romans 3.

    Hence my earlier post above.

    David Read: Bob, there’s no conflict between Ephesians and Romans. Ephesians says we’re saved by grace through faith as the gift of God, which is imputed righteousness; Romans 2:13 says the saved will be “declared righteous,” which is imputed righteousness.

    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13.

    They’re not saved because they obey the law; they’re saved because they are “declared righteous,” and they’re declared righteous because their obedience is evidence of saving faith, genuine conversion and sorrow for sin.

    Agreed – no conflict between the two.

    As you point out the Romans 2 text is a future justification that refers to the good fruit being seen on a good tree in the I.J. (so also does James 2 make that point)

    When you talk about what it takes for a lost person to be saved – you are speaking of justification that is needed by the lost “now” not at the I.J. And that is described in Romans 3 and Romans 5:1 and Eph 2:8-10. No amount of obedience can save the lost. They need the miracle not only of forgiveness but also of the 2Cor 5 new creation.

    The gentiles in Romans 2:13-16 who “will be justified… on the day when according to my Gospel God will judge all mankind” are not “saved” or “born-again” at the future I.J. Their “justification past” (Rom 5:1) must already have taken place long before their name comes up in that future judgment – where they will be justified just as the good tree of Matt 7 that is already “a good tree” before the fruit is ever evaluated.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  42. Bill Sorensen: Bob, my concern is not so much with David Read as it is with the SDA church of today. David reflects modern Adventism and most people, even so called “conservative” Adventists can’t articulate the full scope of the bible doctrine and teaching on “justification”.

    The concept of law and justification is far more comprehensive in the bible than the vicarious atonement.

    I agree that the substitutionary atonement – as seen in Lev 16 where the sin offering is slain – is the first necessary step in the entire process of Atonement.

    For our Calvinist non-SDA friends it is “the only step” but in the bible model for atonement in Lev 16 – it must include both the subtitutionary atoning sacrifice AND the work of the High Priest in the sanctuary.

    However I think the problem that you are having in this discussion is that you and David keep talking past each other.

    You are switching context and meaning for the word “justification” – sometimes one of you uses it to refer to the lost becoming saved – while the other person refers to it in the sense of a saved saint being judged by works in the I.J. where “judgment is passed in favor of the saints” and yet it is done “for the doers of the Law not the hearers only ” Rom 2:13-16.

    They are two very different contexts for justification.

    The key to an effective dialogue is to first define terms.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • Friends, So much of what I am reading is semantics. We agree that Jesus paid the price for our sins. We agree that God made good laws and in not keeping them unhappiness results. I know precious few people who really want unhappiness. We agree that without Christ we cannot be good, that our best efforts are as filthy rags. It is Christ in us that wills and does good. How we slice the differnt parts, what words we use is not so important as how we live it in our lives. Let us be patient and tolerent of each other. This is not a matter like those who deny Jesus’ power, His work of creation and recreation.




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  43. Take the case of analysis for content of a certain element in solution. So given two test tubes – and unknown to the one testing – one of them has the element you are looking for, and the other tube does not.

    A reagent is added to test for a given precipitant.

    The element you are testing for is already there before the precipitant is seen during the text. Testing for the element does not cause it to be there. Evaluating the fruit of the tree – does not change the tree. Evaluation of fruit – is not how a bad tree becomes a good tree.

    One context for justification talks about how the tree changed in the first place. (Or in the first illustration – how the element got into the solution to start with).

    The other context for justification is only about how you tested to see what the current state is. That context for justification does not change the solution, or the tree… it simply shows an accurate picture of “what already is”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  44. Bob, I have made it very plain about the part David emphsizes that I agree with. He refuses to admit that the moral law justifies a believer in any sense.

    You see the point clearly. And as I said, David represents “the church” of today for the most part.

    So I am well aware of what the ceremonial law typifies and that forgiveness of sin is by “faith alone” in that “Christ alone” has made an atonement that merits our salvation.

    I have also stated that justification has two parts, what Christ did and does, and what the sinners does in response in response to the gospel.

    But the church today denies that what the sinner does in response to the gospel has anything to do with being justified except to believe it.

    The fact is, the church has wrested the doctrine of justification from its biblical context and placed its own convoluted interpretation on it so we can be approved and accepted by apostate Protestantism.

    Such as, “We don’t keep the law to be saved, we keep the law because we are already saved.”

    This is false. We keep the law to be saved. And faith in Christ is part of obedience to the law and keeping the moral law by doing God’s will is also part of keeping the law.

    And as Christians, we continue to keep the law to remain saved just like Adam and Eve should have done in the beginning.

    Only the angels in heaven who have not sinned keep the law because they are already “saved”. They were never lost. We on the otherhand, are lost, and must not only accept the atonement to be saved, we must also keep the moral law as part of being saved. And we are justified in the final judgment by our obedience to the law, just like Adam and Eve before they sinned and all the angels who have never fallen.

    Like the Moral Influence Theory, David is wrong in what he denies and not wrong in what he affirms. But like the Moral Influence Theory vs. the vicarious atonement, you either have both, or you have neither.

    Bill Sorensen




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  45. Interesting banter. If conservative SDAs can’t agree on the details of something as vital as how a person obtains salvation, how can all members ever be expected to agree on the details of less important matters such as how and when the creation occurred?




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  46. Gentleman

    We should all take care -and I do include myself in the group – to not engage in ape like behavior on this forum, lest we provide first hand empirical evidence of evolution. 🙂

    Have a good Sabbath friends.

    Your whimsical agnostic friend
    Ken




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  47. Bill Sorensen: You see the point clearly. And as I said, David represents “the church” of today for the most part.

    When it comes to the original topic of this web site, how to deal with members in our church who hold a minority position on how to interpret Gen. 1, I find this comment very instructive.

    Bill here acknowledges that his view on the fundamental belief of salvation by faith differs from that of the church at large. Some how the church tolerates the membership of Bill, and people like him.

    Yet, Bill and others on this web site advocate the excommunication of Biology teachers and others who differ with them over the timing of creation.

    This attitude of intolerance of wrong.




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  48. Bill Sorensen: We on the otherhand, are lost, and must not only accept the atonement to be saved, we must also keep the moral law as part of being saved.

    Bill, How is that working out for you? Are you married? Do you have kids? I wonder what they think.

    For some reason the words, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” keep repeating themselves in my head like a gong.




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  49. Holly Pham: Is La Sierra an “autonomous” institution with regards to our SDA Church?

    Perhaps the institution is not autonomous, but the thoughts of the the people within the institution should always be, with the possible exception of hate speech.




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    • @Ron: @Holly Pham: I am not opposing private thoughts but public teaching. I myself at one time watched some of what was taught in a seminar that was supposed to be supporting a Biblical view. It did not. I have myself read what some have stated in a published interview. It too was antithical to my understanding of what God has said




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  50. Ron said…..

    “Bill here acknowledges that his view on the fundamental belief of salvation by faith differs from that of the church at large. Some how the church tolerates the membership of Bill, and people like him.”

    You don’t know that, Ron. I was threatened with censorship which is the first step in disfellowshiping a member.

    I was head elder in my church. The elders opposed the celebration movement and the conference “forced” a pastor on us against our will. The conference split the church, not us.

    Now, Ron, let me say clearly, I agree that “the church” has a right to disfellowship me, or anyone else they deem unworthy of their fellowship. I have no right to demand fellowship where I am not wanted. Nor plead “religious freedom” if they consider my views are contrary to the church. But this is the principle you advocate for false teachers at our schools.

    I am also well aware that I am equally free to “censor” the church I attend and put them on probation until they repent and come into agreement with my view on salvation which is both biblical and in harmony with EGW.

    After a period of time, unless there is a change on my part, or theirs, there will necessarily be a seperation. Either by their choice, or mine.

    When they finally abandon the Sabbath because of their false doctrine, people will become more intense in learning what is truth, or, many will simply float along as they have always done, and do “Whatever the church decides”.

    Like, Rock and roll around the golden calf, wear jewelry and any dress attire they please, advocate satanic music, and advance the celebration movement in general, or, repent and admit their leaders have led them astray and demand accountability of themselves personally and their leaders in particular.

    All this, because the church refuses to admit we are justified by obedience to the law of God and claim, “all you have to do is believe” and God does everything else.

    When the time comes, Ron, I am hopeful that more than a few will see clearly what has happened and “repent” and stand up for truth. Since I am not God, I don’t know who that will be and fear for my own salvation “lest having taught others, I myself might become a caste away.”

    No Ron. I don’t think the church should abandon their moral obligation to define and decide who is qualified to be a member of the church and/or teach in it.

    Don’t put me in your camp. We aren’t even close. And this discussion on law and gospel is totally and absolutely relevant to the issue at LSU over creation vs. evolution. If we are not justified by obedience to the law, we can throw out the bible and teach anything we want.

    But “the law” commands us to follow the bible in every particular so we can be saved and justified in the final judgment.

    Bill Sorensen




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  51. Interesting banter. If conservative SDAs can’t agree on the details of something as vital as how a person obtains salvation, how can all members ever be expected to agree on the details of less important matters such as how and when the creation occurred?




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  52. Ron: Perhaps the institution is not autonomous, but the thoughts of the the people within the institution should always be, with the possible exception of hate speech.

    I don’t see the SDA Church punishing anyone for their “thoughts.” Is it anywhere?

    What people, especially SDA Church and institutional employees say and teach is certainly worth evaluating and might deserve being punished.




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  53. Eddie asks….

    ” If conservative SDAs can’t agree on the details of something as vital as how a person obtains salvation, how can all members ever be expected to agree on the details of less important matters such as how and when the creation occurred?”

    Eddie, there is no problem at all if people would simply read the bible with a desire to know it and do it.

    I come to know the gospel by way of the “Brinsmead awakening”. And in a real sense, it was a “left-handed blessing” in that we were forced continually to carefully evaluate what we believed and if it was true or not.

    Study the bible and EGW for 40 years with this intensity in mind, and by God’s grace, you will no doubt see more clearly all the issues of sin, the law, grace and the gospel in a pretty clear light.

    When Brinsmead abandon the faith, it became even more challenging as to why he abandon everything he stood for in the past.

    In a nut shell, he and Dr. Ford were casual friends from Australia, and Dr. Ford along with an evangelical, Geoffrey Paxton, persuaded Brinsmead there was no pre-advent IJ that began in 1844.

    Brinsmead was a clear minded reasoner and always followed his conclusions to the final end. If Adventism isn’t right, neither is the bible. It only took him a few years to end up where he did.

    Dr. Ford, on the otherhand, either deliberately, or through ignorance, hoped he could remain a bible believing SDA while attack EGW and the IJ.

    Now go read Spectrum and you will see the majority in the far liberal camp think like Dr. Ford. And make no mistake, the Dr. Ford influence is strong and alive and well in the SDA church today.

    Now we have incessant attacks on the bible. Some more subtle than others. And this creation/evolution discussion never would have occurred had our church leaders accepted their obligation to “man up” theologically and run apostates out by exposing clearly their false doctrine.

    Now they teach and flaunt their outright rebellion against the bible in the name of their convoluted “gospel” that sets aside the bible and its teachings on salvation and the law.

    It seems doubtful that the SDA denominational structure can be saved because the rebellion is at times subtle. None the less, as Paul says, “We can by all means same some” as individuals.

    Both the bible and EGW are clear and plain enough for anyone who truly desires to know it and do it. For those who seek some “easy believeism” the bible has been convoluted and we have the fruit of it manifested in all the churches in some form or another.

    You better know what you believe and conflict with the church you are a member of will help create a demand on every member to carefully evaluate what is being taught in their church and compare it with scripture.

    I’m not usually here so much, but it rained today. I hope all who love the Lord will rejoice in the day He has set aside for us sinners to find grace and acceptance in His dear Son.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  54. -Shining: This is not a matter like those who deny Jesus’ power, His work of creation and recreation.

    I agree that perfect understanding on all points of doctrine – how Romans 2:13-16 fits so well with Rom 5:1 and Eph 2:8-10 for example) is not as essential as getting the “basics” about who God is – who created the World and the lost state of mankind — in need of the Gospel.

    But that does not mean it is not worth discussing. 🙂

    In Hebrews 6:1-2 Paul argues that his readers need to “move on past” the simple stuff and get into the meatier matters of the Gospel.

    The glaringly obvious fact of I.D. is so clear that in Romans 1 God says even pagans are “without excuse” when they pretend to ignore it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  55. Bill, the word you are searching for is not censor but censure. You were threatened with censure.

    And that should have been an opportunity for reflection and self-examination, for you to think about whether your views, and especially your modes of expression, are balanced and biblically sound. There’s a reason why your ceaseless use of language like “salvation by works” makes your fellow church members uncomfortable–so uncomfortable that they’ve threatened you with censure– and it isn’t because they want to dance around the golden calf.




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  56. Ron: Bill Sorensen: You see the point clearly. And as I said, David represents “the church” of today for the most part.

    When it comes to the original topic of this web site, how to deal with members in our church who hold a minority position on how to interpret Gen. 1, I find this comment very instructive.

    Bill here acknowledges that his view on the fundamental belief of salvation by faith differs from that of the church at large. Some how the church tolerates the membership of Bill, and people like him.

    Yet, Bill and others on this web site advocate the excommunication of Biology teachers and others who differ with them over the timing of creation.

    This attitude of intolerance of wrong.

    Let us say for the sake of argument that Bill opposes some doctrine of the church — is the church under an obligation to pay him to teach that doctrine to our students?

    That is what this entire web site is all about. Who are we “required to pay” to teach our students? Those who differ with our stated doctrines?

    Some liberals argue that we need to do that but only IF the one teaching in opposition to the mission and message of the SDA church – is teaching evolutionism.

    Bill’s statement above seems to be that there is a popular view in the SDA church that opposes his position. But in his response to me he stated that he accepts salvation by grace through faith and that not of works – when it comes to the context of “how a lost person becomes a saved saint”.

    In affirming that point – he affirmed the SDA doctrinal statement on justification.

    You and I may suggest that it is not wise for him to position his views the way he does – and so be it. We also are not required to pay him to do it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  57. “We keep the law to be saved. And faith in Christ is part of obedience to the law and keeping the moral law by doing God’s will is also part of keeping the law.”

    Bill, here’s how you should consider saying it: “We are saved by faith in Christ. And keeping the moral law by doing God’s will is also part of having faith in Christ.”

    The teaching is essentially the same, but the first formulation sounds profoundly heretical to a biblically literate person, whereas the second wording sounds biblically sound. This is what I mean about modes of expression.




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  58. Eddie: If conservative SDAs can’t agree on the details of something as vital as how a person obtains salvation, how can all members ever be expected to agree on the details of less important matters such as how and when the creation occurred?

    Eddie, what makes you think creation is a less important matter? Creation is interwoven into our salvation. It was creation that caused Satan to go on the warpath in the first place. He felt he should have been consulted in the matter. And because he was not consulted, he is now trying to deny it ever happened in order to steal the glory from God. Evolution exists for this purpose. You should know that.




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  59. David quoted me….

    ““We keep the law to be saved. And faith in Christ is part of obedience to the law and keeping the moral law by doing God’s will is also part of keeping the law.” Bill Sorensen

    And then he replied….

    “Bill, here’s how you should consider saying it: “We are saved by faith in Christ. And keeping the moral law by doing God’s will is also part of having faith in Christ.”

    The teaching is essentially the same, but the first formulation sounds profoundly heretical to a biblically literate person, whereas the second wording sounds biblically sound. This is what I mean about modes of expression.”

    Well, David, apparently you would correct EGW. I think she was very biblical. And I see her position to be stated clearly in harmony with how the bible states it….

    So, she said….

    “The sinner’s salvation depends upon . . . ceasing to transgress and obedience to that transgressed law. No one should venture or presume upon the mercy of God, feeling at liberty to sin as much as they dare. . . . It is a sad resolve to follow Christ as far off as possible, venturing as near the verge of perdition as possible without falling in.—Letter 35b, 1877. {CTr 77.6}

    or this one….

    “The ten commandments, Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not, are ten promises, assured to us if we render obedience to the law governing the universe. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Here is the sum and substance of the law of God. The terms of salvation for every son and daughter of Adam are here outlined. . . . {AG 134.3}

    This is just a small sampling of her quotes on the law as being salvational.

    So, whether we call it faith and works, or, works and faith is not relevant. The point is, we are not saved “by faith alone” in the way the church presents it today.

    We are saved in the investigative judgment by our obedience to the law, for the “judge” only considers the evidence found in the book where our life is recorded. Thus, we are “judged by the law” to determine if we go to heaven or not.

    This then is justification by the law.

    “Angels have registered both the good and the evil. The mightiest conqueror upon the earth cannot call back the record of even a single day. Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or to condemn. {GC88 486.3}

    The world doesn’t like EGW’s “modes of expression” and apparently the church doesn’t either.

    I am content that her “mode of expression” is very biblical and if our church was not so hell bent on patronizing apostate Protestantism, they would not shy away from her clear statements on justification by obedience to the law of God.

    We are not justified by Christ alone without our obedience to the law, and we are not justified by our works alone without Christ.

    But the last quarters lessons were all about how we are justified by faith alone without keeping the law of God.

    Christians are taught in the SDA church that they need not keep the law to be saved. This is blatantly false. It is true that we can not keep the law before we come to Christ, but we come to Jesus so we can be born again and keep the law.

    Jesus saves us by liberating the will so we can do God’s will, and thus, be saved.

    Salvation is provisional and conditional.

    “Does the Word of God give us any assurance that we can get to heaven just as well transgressing the law as obeying it? If so, the whole requirement of God as a condition of salvation is an entire mistake. {CTr 77.3}”

    We could only ask how far the apostacy must go on in the church before it is obvious the church has abandon the bible?

    Not everyone, no. But those who hold authority and influence and “make the rules” have. Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” We need no futher evidence that the doctrine and theology is non-biblical by the fruit it produces.

    And as long as you believe we must obey the law to be saved, I have controversy with you, David. In which case, you don’t believe we are saved by “faith alone”.

    Faith alone by definition and reason tells us we need not obey the law, and if we do, then it is not “faith alone”.

    I agree with how the phrase “faith alone” was used by the reformers. Merit alone is in the person of Christ and His work for us. Our works have no merit. None the less, we have a moral obligation to obey the law to be saved.

    Bill Sorensen




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  60. Bill says, “We are not justified by Christ alone without our obedience to the law, and we are not justified by our works alone without Christ.”

    Ellen White says, “Should faith AND works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature.”

    And, “When men learn they cannot earn righteousness by their own merit of works, and they look with firm and entire reliance upon Jesus Christ as their only hope, there will not be so much of self and so little of Jesus. Souls and bodies are defiled and polluted by sin, the heart is estranged from God, yet many are struggling in their own finite strength to win salvation by good works. Jesus, they think, will do some of the saving; they must do the rest. They need to see by faith the righteousness of Christ as their only hope for time and for eternity.”

    Did you catch this sentence?: “Jesus, they think, will do some of the saving; they must do the rest.”

    Bill says, “if our church was not so hell bent on patronizing apostate Protestantism, they would not shy away from her clear statements on justification by obedience to the law of God. . . . But the last quarters lessons were all about how we are justified by faith alone without keeping the law of God.”

    Oh, yeah, the Sabbath School Quarterly editor, that crazy liberal Cliff Goldstein (who has written a book defending the IJ/1844 doctrine) is up there fiendishly trying to use the quarterly to get us to embrace apostate Protestantism.

    Ellen White says, “The light given me of God places this important subject above any question in my mind. Justification is wholly of grace and not procured by any works that fallen man can do.” Faith and Works, pp. 19-23

    Bill, no one is arguing for “cheap grace” or for faith as mere intellectual assent to propositional truth, or for being saved in your sins, or for breaking the law of God, or for continuing to crucify Christ.

    But you’ve got to let of go of your heretical, repulsive language about being “justified by works” or being saved by faith AND works. This is not Christian language. It is not language fitting to someone who fathoms the mercy of God, and what Christ has accomplished by His atoning death on Calvary.

    I think your heart is in the right place, but your language is deeply divisive and injurious to the Body of Christ. You state things in a manner calculated to cause controversy, and then consider yourself a martyr because your Adventist brothers have threatened you with censure. You are not a martyr. You’ve brought censure on yourself by your stubbornly persistent use of unbiblical, heretical language.




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  61. God to Adam and Eve – “if you eat this fruit you will die”. Your ‘works’ will kill you if wrong or allow you to live forever if right (if combined with the fruit of the tree of life).
    However “all have sinned” (wrong works, against God’s will) so ALL MUST DIE. To say our works can or can’t save us, is not adressing this fact and is a big, fat, red herring. ONLY the death of an innocent substitute, and this, approved by the Lawgiver, can free us from the penalty we deserve. (save us) Not our works.
    ONCE FORGIVEN, our right works, combined with The Bread and Water of Life, will allow us to live forever while our wrong works, if not repented of, will still condemn us to death.
    There are books that would reach to the moon on this subject but I believe truth is brief and straight forward.




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  62. Well, David, the bible says, “By their fruits, you shall know them.”

    You apparently are well pleased with the “fruit” of the modern SDA theology of faith and works. Law and Gospel as presented by the church is manifested by the conflict at LSU. If you don’t see this reality, I guess the apostacy must intensify. Or, perhaps you don’t believe this liberal theology in the church is the cause of the controversy, not only about creation and evolution, but every other liberal activity condoned and advocated by the church today.

    You quote EGW when she opposes merit and affirms no one can merit and earn heaven to be justified by the law. You then push this statement to include the moral obligation of people to obey God to be justified and be saved.

    The purpose of the ceremonial law in parallel and contrast to the ten commandments was precisely for the purpose of making this issue clear. It simply shows their are legal aspects of justification and moral aspects of justification.

    To use the legal aspects typified by the ceremonial law to negate the moral aspects of justification is apostacy and heresy. The legal aspects of justification are by “faith alone”. Just as the reformation interpreted it. To now take this same phrase and apply it to the ten commandments is neither historic Protestant nor Catholic. It is a novelty created by apostate Protestantism to avoid the obligation and necessity to keep the Sabbath.

    If and as long as the church continues to support this apostate Protestant view of law and gospel, the final end is to abandon the Sabbath. Just like the liberals attack creation week with the same arguments.

    So, David, if you can not harmonize all the statements by EGW, you must conclude like many do, that she “changed her mind” about justification and salvation, or, she was wrong all along and the church was never right as many claim, or, people fail to understand either EGW or the bible. I opt for the latter.

    By the way, David, many if not most of the church members knew I was right and told me so. And some who attack me later came and apologized when they realized what the conference had done. And neither am I “cry babying” all over the church because of what happened. I simply state it as a fact because I know others have been dealt with in a simular manner.

    My wife and I are well content with our relationship with Jesus and church for that matter. Our first concern is to belong to the church of heaven, and when the church on earth reflects this church in heaven, Jesus, with all the angels will come and take us home. Selah

    Bill Sorensen




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  63. David Read: “We keep the law to be saved. And faith in Christ is part of obedience to the law and keeping the moral law by doing God’s will is also part of keeping the law.”

    Bill, here’s how you should consider saying it: “We are saved by faith in Christ. And keeping the moral law by doing God’s will is also part of having faith in Christ.”

    The teaching is essentially the same, but the first formulation sounds profoundly heretic

    I agree that context is everything here. By making strong statements easily taken out of the context of justification past – seen in Romans 5:1 – Bill’s statements appear to argue for something that he is not actually willing or even wanting to teach.

    That is why I prefer the Matt 7 way of stating it – which is that one that is ALREADY a good tree – gives evidence of that already existing state – with good fruit.

    “Looking at the fruit” does not change the tree.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  64. Romans 2:5-13 Talks about the saints who through “perseverance in doing right” are shown to be “the doers of the law” and not merely hearers only.

    That “perseverance in doing right” is the part of the walk of the saints – that Bill seems to be promoting.

    In Romans 8 Paul calls it “putting to death the deeds of the flesh – by the power of the Holy Spirit”.

    In 1Cor 9 Paul says “I buffet my body and make it my slave lest after preaching the Gospel to others I myself should be disqualified”.

    These are the view of one (such as Paul) who is already saved, born-again, a new creation. The call is to “persevere” in that state — lest you fall.

    As Paul says in Romans 11 “you stand only by your faith… you should fear for if HE did not spare them neither will HE spare you” – speaking of the need to persevere as being one of the saints.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  65. Bill Sorensen: Well, David, apparently you would correct EGW. I think she was very biblical. And I see her position to be stated clearly in harmony with how the bible states it….

    So, she said….

    “We should not obey the commandments merely to secure heaven, but to please Him who died to save sinners from the penalty of the transgression of the Father’s law. The sinner’s salvation depends upon… .—Letter 35b, 1877. {CTr 77.6}

    AGain – context is everything.

    In that quote the “WE” is the saved born-again saint who has already been turned into the new creation and yet who is a sinner.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  66. “We should not obey the commandments merely to secure heaven, but to please Him who died to save sinners from the penalty of the transgression of the Father’s law. The sinner’s salvation depends upon… .—Letter 35b, 1877. {CTr 77.6}

    AGain – context is everything.

    In that quote the “WE” is the saved born-again saint who has already been turned into the new creation and yet who is a sinner.

    in Christ,

    Bob

    Yes, Bob, context is everything. And the fact is, no one is “saved” until the final judgment. Faith means we appropriate the final judgment decision before the fact. And so, we can claim we are “saved” even when we are not. Because….”God…calleth those things which be not, as though they were.” Rom. 4

    Everyone is on probation, including a Christian. And just because we have accept Jesus does not mean we actually have the final judgment decision until the final judgment takes place.

    Thus, we know if we will accept the atonement and keep the law, we will be “justified” in the final judgment. Our works will determine if we have returned to obedience and loyalty to God. And our works are the basis of the judgment decision. Just like the bible and EGW affirm.

    So, she says clearly…..

    “Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, when, with Daniel, every individual must stand in his lot, at the end of the days.” {Ev 221.3}

    Do you think the law is salvational? Are we saved by keeping the law and following the instructions of Jesus who said, “Follow me”? Did He not say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life?”

    Is He not our example, and are we not saved by following His example?

    Are we not “saved” by keeping the Sabbath as a sign we are resting and trusting in Christ?

    If we acknowledge God’s law and His authority and follow His command, “Thou shalt have no other God’s before me,” are we not saved from disobedience by doing exactly as He commands?

    And the bible says,”This is the way, walk ye in it,” is this not salvational to do it? And are we not justified by doing exactly as the law commands?

    Jesus said to Mary, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.” Was she not justified by following the command of Jesus?

    In fact, we can rightly interpret this promise and command in this way, “Neither do I condemn thee, (if) you go and sin no more.” Did Mary understand that condition?

    Of course she did. And Jesus is saying,
    “Unless you cease from sin, neither are you free from condemnation.” She was justified by believing the words of Jesus and doing as He commanded.

    Now, could she be forgiven solely by ceasing to sin? NO. Jesus must pay the debt. But is she justified by “faith alone” without fulfilling her part of doing just as Jesus commanded? NO.

    We are justified by faith and works just as both James and Paul clearly state when Paul says, “The doers of the law shall be justified.”

    There are legal and moral obligations to justification, Jesus fulfilling the legal aspects of the law, and the believer fulfilling the moral aspects of the law.

    It is not one or the other. So, it is not “either/or” but “both/and”.

    When Paul says, “By the deeds of the law, shall no flesh (unbeliever) be justified,” he is contrasting the ceremonial law with the ministry of Jesus in heaven. Put the word “unbeliever” in place of the word “flesh” and you will see the meaning of Paul.

    Paul is writing to people who refuse to accept Jesus and hope to be “justified” by the ceremonial law. And again the word here for justified is forgiven. So, put the word “forgiven” in the place of justified, and Paul is crystal clear.

    You can not be forgiven by the ceremonial law. So, we can summarize Paul as saying this….”Obedience to the moral law, without faith in Christ are dead works.” The ceremonial law has been negated as a means of forgiveness.

    James says in complimenting Paul. “Yes, Paul” and “Faith in Christ without obedience to the moral law is dead faith.”

    Paul speaks of dead works. James speaks of dead faith. Paul speaks of unbelievers who think they can be saved by obedience without Christ. And James speaks of believers who think they can be saved by faith in Christ without works.

    So, Bob, I won’t bicker with you or David or even the church for that matter. I know what I am talking about. I understand Paul, I understand James. I understand EGW.

    Frankly, I don’t understand half of the church claims to believe, and in my opinion, I don’t think they do either. So, as Jesus said, “Ye worship ye know not what.” And I believe this applies to the SDA church today in a very real way.

    I have little influence in “the church” I am sure. That doesn’t bother me. Jesus didn’t have any either. Most issues on law and gospel are not “either/or, but “both/and”.

    I take heart in the fact Jesus said the elect will never be deceived. So I know the elect will believe. Matt. 24:24

    Hope everyone has a good week.

    Bill Sorensen




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  67. Bill Sorensen: “We should not obey the commandments merely to secure heaven, but to please Him who died to save sinners from the penalty of the transgression of the Father’s law. The sinner’s salvation depends upon… .—Letter 35b, 1877. {CTr 77.6}

    AGain – context is everything.

    In that quote the “WE” is the saved born-again saint who has already been turned into the new creation and yet who is a sinner.

    in Christ,

    Bob

    Yes, Bob, context is everything. And the fact is, no one is “saved” until the final judgment

    Now see – once again “Context” and “defining terms” is the missing piece.

    In 2Cor 5 “If anyone is IN Christ he IS a new creation” in this context “saved” does not mean “the 2nd coming has happened and I went to heaven”.

    And since I am SDA and SDA are arminian in doctrinal belief “Saved” is not defined as “once saved always saved”.

    Rather it is the John 3 “Born again” and 2Cor “New Creation” state accomplished through the Romans 5:1 “Justification” that is in our past “Having BEEN justified by faith we HAVE peace with God”.

    That is very often the Bible context and meaning of the term “saved” when an SDA uses it this side of the 2nd coming. And it is how I am using it.

    Your response that this use of the term “saved” does not mean that the 2nd coming has happened and I am in heaven – goes without saying.

    Romans 8:24 “In hope you HAVE been saved” – presents this current state of “saved” in the context of an arminian “Die daily” choice that the Bible insists upon in Luke 9:23.

    So if we start by agreeing to context and then to the meaning of the term “saved” – the problem of “no second coming has happened yet” is not an issue.

    No one gets saved in the IJ. The IJ merely confirms (Audits if you will) the state that you are already in. Either you are already a new creation, born again saint when your name comes up — or you are not. Having your name come up as a lost person – will not get you saved.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  68. Bill Sorensen: Everyone is on probation, including a Christian. And just because we have accept Jesus does not mean we actually have the final judgment decision until the final judgment takes place.

    Thus, we know if we will accept the atonement and keep the law, we will be “justified” in the final judgment. Our works will determine if we have returned to obedience and loyalty to God. And our works are the basis of the judgment decision

    Saved by grace through faith and that not of works Eph 2:8-10 — and yet judged by works, where “Judgment is passed in favor of the saints” Dan 7:22 because the saints come into the judgment to start with as “the good trees” of Matt 7 and the judgment exposes their “good fruit” showing that they are good trees.

    Looking at the fruit — does not change the tree.

    If you are a bad tree going into the IJ when your name comes up – you will not come out of it as a good tree. Rather the IJ will expose the bad fruit of your life and certify that indeed you are a bad tree no matter the profession of faith that we may have.

    The IJ is not there to change bad trees into good trees. It is there to declare “what already is”.

    It is “justification future” as we see in Romans 2:13-16.

    But the Romans 5:1 “justification past” – actually changes your state from “bad tree” to “good tree”.

    Prior to justification past – you are lost – but after it, you are born-again, you have peace with God, you are an adopted child of God, a saved saint.

    But saved “in hope” all the same, because it is only those who “persevere in doing good” Romans 2:6 that will be shown in that future IJ to be the “good trees”. Perseverance in doing good — is “good fruit” according to Romans 2:6-8.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  69. Bill Sorensen: We are justified by faith and works just as both James and Paul clearly state when Paul says, “The doers of the law shall be justified.”

    That is only true of “justification future” – the one received in the I.J. the one future to Romans 2:13-16 “on the day when according to my Gospel God WILL judge all mankind” — the one where “judgment is passed in favor of the saints ” Dan 7:22.

    But in “justification past” that we see in Romans 5:1 – the lost sinner does not come to God and say “hey I gave bread to someone yesterday – now am I worthy to become born again, worthy to be accepted by my own good works?”. That is not how the lost comes to God.

    The only way for the lost to find acceptance is to admit to sin, admit to our need of Christ, repent and accept the born-again, new creation, adoption, peace with God “starting point” for all the saints.

    When Paul talks about “by the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the flesh” in Romans 8, and when he talks about “persevering in doing good” in Romans 2:6 he is talking about activities that only a saved born again saint can engage in.

    in fact we do NOT want the lost to persevere in being lost. Nor do we want them to reject the gift of the Gospel and try to be saved without it – be being “better behaved lost people”.

    I think you and I agree on these points.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  70. Hello David, Bill and Bob

    Gentleman.

    I’ve been contemplating on your various positions regarding the importance of faith and works. Interesting, but very complicated stuff.

    How does the treatment of the good Samaritan and the good thief on the cross factor into your theology on this topic?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Your a




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    • @Ken: I”‘ve been contemplating on your various positions regarding … very complicated stuff. …How does the treatment of the good Samaritan and the good thief on the cross factor into your theology on this…?”

      As an old man who believes more strongly in it each day (and I am great of days), and, to my surprise, seems to be understanding it a bit more each day, I’ll not join the disputation that took over the Reformation long ago and this thread recently, certainly not adjudge it, but rather come and join you, and the onlooking universe, in the grandstand. I’m two rows in front of you, 20 seats to your right. Hi!

      Ho boy! — would I EVER have joined in when younger – instantly, loquaciously, prolixly, ferociously, deafeningly, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. Strange – surprises me – but the more I pray and read Christ Himself and Paul himself and EGW herself, not selected quotes, and the more I understand it, and the more at peace with it I am, the less urge I have either to deny, doubt, or disdain any of it, or to harangue it. And the more urge to proclaim it, increasingly frustrated by the decreasing urge to harangue it. Standing aside to avoid the blows and dislikes, but still likely to become collateral damage from friendly fire, I think our discussions of such things do sort of, kind of begin to sound rather like (see how timid I am in saying this, in my old age) a medieval joust between scholastics. It’s gentle of you to call it “complex”.

      By the same token, I personally feel no urge to discuss cases, especially those of the good Samaritan or the good thief on his cross. The more I think I know of the mechanism, the less I know how it applies to individuals, certainly good me and good thee. Too complex. Good word there. I believe that’s best left to God, as Christ Himself admonished in the case of Peter’s asking Him how the case of Good John would be handled: What’s that to you? (John 21:22; I like to paraphrase it.) Hmmm, not having a God to leave it to, a good agnostic would have all the greater urge to go case crazy, I suppose.

      Your good ahermenutic friend, W




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      • Over the years I have stopped asking what is the minimum required to get into heaven. I find more joy and happiness in seeking to do everything I can to please God and promote His kingdom. I find pleasure in giving pleasure. And I find that His commandments are an awesome guide to great living, great health, great peace, great friendships. Do I do this without fail? No. But I do not call my seperation from God’s will, OK, acceptable, and certainly not praiseworthy.

        I also have found that the God who went to Calvery rather than have robots with no individuality, at times deals differently with various ones based on that individuality. Sometimes it seems God is asking things of me that is not on the docket for others. That is ok. Should I worry about what is expected of others? should I refrain from learning any more than what others can handle? should I limit my degree of obedience and happiness to what the majority understands and is willing to reach for? Maybe it isnt even right for them. What I need to know is what is best for ME. I at times find myself asking, “Creator of the Universe, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. God what do You want me to do? God, how can I help You? Come be with me and make this happen.” I still get sidetracked at times but I find Jesus who long ago began a good work in me, continues on in the process. PTL




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  71. Hello David, Bill and Bob

    Gentleman.

    I’ve been contemplating on your various positions regarding the importance of faith and works. Interesting, but very complicated stuff.

    How does the treatment of the good Samaritan and the good thief on the cross factor into your theology on this topic?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Your a




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    • @Ken: I”’ve been contemplating on your various positions regarding … very complicated stuff. …How does the treatment of the good Samaritan and the good thief on the cross factor into your theology on this…?”

      As an old man who believes more strongly in it each day (and I am great of days), and, to my surprise, seems to be understanding it a bit more each day, I’ll not join the disputation that took over the Reformation long ago and this thread recently, certainly not adjudge it, but rather come and join you, and the onlooking universe, in the grandstand. I’m two rows in front of you, 20 seats to your right. Hi!

      Ho boy! — would I EVER have joined in when younger – instantly, loquaciously, prolixly, ferociously, deafeningly, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. Strange – surprises me – but the more I pray and read Christ Himself and Paul himself and EGW herself, not selected quotes, and the more I understand it, and the more at peace with it I am, the less urge I have either to deny, doubt, or disdain any of it, or to harangue it. And the more urge to proclaim it, increasingly frustrated by the decreasing urge to harangue it. Standing aside to avoid the blows and dislikes, but still likely to become collateral damage from friendly fire, I think our discussions of such things do sort of, kind of begin to sound rather like (see how timid I am in saying this, in my old age) a medieval joust between scholastics. It’s gentle of you to call it “complex”.

      By the same token, I personally feel no urge to discuss cases, especially those of the good Samaritan or the good thief on his cross. The more I think I know of the mechanism, the less I know how it applies to individuals, certainly good me and good thee. Too complex. Good word there. I believe that’s best left to God, as Christ Himself admonished in the case of Peter’s asking Him how the case of Good John would be handled: What’s that to you? (John 21:22; I like to paraphrase it.) Hmmm, not having a God to leave it to, a good agnostic would have all the greater urge to go case crazy, I suppose.

      Your good ahermenutic friend, W




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      • Over the years I have stopped asking what is the minimum required to get into heaven. I find more joy and happiness in seeking to do everything I can to please God and promote His kingdom. I find pleasure in giving pleasure. And I find that His commandments are an awesome guide to great living, great health, great peace, great friendships. Do I do this without fail? No. But I do not call my seperation from God’s will, OK, acceptable, and certainly not praiseworthy.

        I also have found that the God who went to Calvery rather than have robots with no individuality, at times deals differently with various ones based on that individuality. Sometimes it seems God is asking things of me that is not on the docket for others. That is ok. Should I worry about what is expected of others? should I refrain from learning any more than what others can handle? should I limit my degree of obedience and happiness to what the majority understands and is willing to reach for? Maybe it isnt even right for them. What I need to know is what is best for ME. I at times find myself asking, “Creator of the Universe, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. God what do You want me to do? God, how can I help You? Come be with me and make this happen.” I still get sidetracked at times but I find Jesus who long ago began a good work in me, continues on in the process. PTL




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  72. I think you are working your way through these concepts, Bob, and I appreciate your comments. And I think most SDA’s have some idea of how it works. But if you hammer out year after year for 40 years how you are NOT justified by the law, and never explain how you ARE justified by the law, the end conclusion is there is no context in which we are justified by the law.

    Rome’s view of justification and the law is this, Jesus came and showed us how we can merit and earn heaven by keeping the law, both moral and church ceremonies.

    Luther first attack church ceremonies by denying anyone can merit heaven in doing these things.
    Eventually, he also realized that even keeping the moral law could not merit heaven. Then he imposed the moral law on Galatians and used Galatians to show we can not keep the moral law and merit heaven.

    Paul was not talking about the moral law in Galatians. It is solely and only the ceremonial law. Paul is talking about a law that was “added” and then explains how that law is now “subtracted”. Obviously, the ceremonial law.

    While we can rightly see a moral law application in principle, it creates total confusion to claim in the historical context that Paul is talking about the moral law. It would mean the moral law has been “subtracted” and now has no application to the Christian community.

    Historically, SDA’s have been very careful to explain the difference between the function of the ceremonial law and the moral law. But now we take the book of Galatians and explain it as if there is no difference.

    Let me give you a reading assignment. Go read the chapter entitled “Apostacy in Galatia” in the book Acts of the Apostles.

    You may be somewhat shocked that EGW never suggests or implies in any way that the law in Galatians is the moral law. That is because she knows it is not. But she also knows that we can impose a moral law application in principle, since no one can merit heaven by the moral law and fulfill the legal requirements of the law by way of the moral law.

    In some ways, she created more confusion in the 1888 fiasco than she clarified. And today, because of some of the things she said, we now conclude that Galatians is about the moral law.

    Apostate Protestantism is happy and willing for us to use Galatians as we do today. They know that in the end, if this interpretation is correct, Adventism will necessarily give up the Sabbath. All they have to do is wait. Neither is the devil going to cause trouble in a church that is coming over more and more to his side.

    In this light, a word about the celebration movement. As SDA’s, we generally don’t have a clue of what the churches of the world are “celebrating”.
    Simply this, “Jesus died and did away with the law.” And we think we are celebrating the same “gospel” they are. And, sad to say, in many ways we are.

    We state it slightly different, but in the end, it means exactly the same thing. So we say, “You don’t have to keep the law to be saved.” Totally false. It would be accurate to say an unbeliever can not keep the law unless he comes to Jesus. And even then, he can not keep the law and merit heaven.

    The bible never places the function of the moral law in the room of what the ceremonial law typifies as Rome does. But the bible clearly defines how we are justified and saved by keeping the moral law in a biblical relationship with Jesus.

    In conclusion, it is OK and commendable to show how we are not justified by the law, as long as we continue the explanation and show how we are justified by the law. We don’t do this in the church anymore, and the members are becoming more and more biblically illiterate as they reflect what is being taught in their church today.

    In the end, the Sabbath is at stake and confusion reigns from top to bottom.

    Bill Sorensen




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  73. Hello David, Bill and Bob

    Gentleman.

    I’ve been contemplating on your various positions regarding the importance of faith and works. Interesting, but very complicated stuff.

    How does the treatment of the good Samaritan and the good thief on the cross factor into your theology on this topic?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Ken, the bible is always an enigma to an unbeliever, and for the believer as well in some ways.

    The main factor that seems to confuse people is the issue of time. The law and the continuing historic process of time is simply ignored by the gospel.

    The gospel is about the sovereignty of God and since God knows everything, past, present, and future, time is not relevant to Him in this context.

    So, immature believers have a tendency to use this reality to deny time and the process of law. But the gospel does not negate either the historical process, nor the law.

    So, we are “saved by faith”, meaning, we believe we are saved, even when we are not. We claim the final judgment verdict before the judgment sets.

    And, we act in harmony with this future decision, knowing it is based on two factors, 1. Jesus has paid our debt, and 2. We must repent and obey the law.

    The point is this, just because we claim the final verdict before the fact, does not mean there is no need for a court session and judgment.

    The final judgment remains a moral influence to warn against presumption of thinking you are actually saved, when you are not. You are saved “by faith”.

    If and when a person understands the bible, it is not a “complicated” as many suppose. The sovereignty of God does not negate the sovereignty of man nor man’s obligation to keep the law to be saved.

    While it is an enigma from one perspective, it is not beyond comprehension. Just don’t try to use the fact that God knows everything to negate the sovereignty of man and his obligation to the law in the context of time.

    This issue has been a problem again and again through out the conflict of sin and creature accountability. It started in heaven and will be consumated before Jesus comes back.

    Only the Holy Spirit can help us resolve this issue, for human reasoning can never “figure it out” by human logic.

    Bill Sorensen




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  74. Re Bill’s Quote

    “Only the Holy Spirit can help us resolve this issue, for human reasoning can never “figure it out” by human logic.”

    Hi Bill

    Thank you very much for thorough reply. You have obviously spent a majority of your life studying and pondering the meaning of the Bible and that should be respected by all. And I agree with you on this point: truth is not a popularity or cultural contest. It is possible that you may be the only Adventist that is right, but if so what would that mean for the salvation of other Christians?

    What does it mean when different folks infused with the Holy Spirit believe different things. Whose belief is right?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  75. Ken: I’ve been contemplating on your various positions regarding the importance of faith and works. Interesting, but very complicated stuff.

    How does the treatment of the good Samaritan and the good thief on the cross factor into your theology on this topic?

    Both of them are examples of the Matt 7 principle of the “good tree” showing good fruit. Showing the impact of the change that happens when one chooses to embrace the light that they have instead of always questioning and doubting it.

    My guess is that you probably agree with this.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  76. ken: What does it mean when different folks infused with the Holy Spirit believe different things. Whose belief is right?

    In acts 15 – there was a dispute within the Christian church. But there is a mechanism for settling the matter for those willing to submit to God’s order of management for His church on earth.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  77. Re Bob’s Quote

    “Both of them are examples of the Matt 7 principle of the “good tree” showing good fruit. Showing the impact of the change that happens when one chooses to embrace the light that they have instead of always questioning and doubting it.”

    Hi Bob

    Does that mean that you think that the Good Samaritan would go to heaven for good works irrespective of his religious beliefs? Does that mean you think the thief would end up in heaven based on faith alone, without good works?

    Does that mean to you think secular folks who embrace the light of goodness to humanity are on a plane like the Good Samaritan?

    My guess is perhaps you don’t question and doubt human goodness, irrespective of religious belief?

    “In acts 15 – there was a dispute within the Christian church. But there is a mechanism for settling the matter for those willing to submit to God’s order of management for His church on earth.”

    So between you, Bill, David and Sean what is the mechanism to which you all submit that will determine who is right as to who will get to heaven? The Holy Spirit, biblical interpretation, church fundamental beliefs?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  78. ken: Hi Bob

    Does that mean that you think that the Good Samaritan would go to heaven for good works irrespective of his religious beliefs?

    The Romans 2:13-16 text tells us that gentiles with no access to the Bible at all will be in heaven if they show the works of the law written on their heart (a result of the New Covenant work of the Holy Spirit according to the end of Romans 2).

    The “level of information” that they have does not matter.

    What matters is that they chose to follow “The Spirit of Truth” mentioned in John 16. It is the Holy Spirit that causes the New Birth.

    And as Christ said in Matt 7 – that New Birth (bad tree becomes good tree) surely results in “good fruit”.

    Does that mean you think the thief would end up in heaven based on faith alone, without good works?

    1. As we have already stated – all of the lost are justified – are saved “by grace through faith and that without works”. It is how all the lost (bad trees) become one of the saints (good trees of Matt 7).

    2. It is not true however that Christ’s rule in Matt 7 got suspended in the case of the thief on the cross. Even in that case the thief confesses Christ while the other thief merely continues to attack and reject Christ. The “good fruit” was seen even in that case.

    Does that mean to you think secular folks who embrace the light of goodness to humanity are on a plane like the Good Samaritan?

    Christ is the light that coming into the world “enlightens EVERY one of mankind” John 1 – – not just Christians.

    The world “loves darkness rather than light” and so most people choose to reject that light. But Christs “Draws all mankind to himself” John 12:32 anyway.

    Those who choose to accept and respond to the light of Christ are transformed by it. Those who choose to doubt, question, delay and dismiss it – are choosing darkness even in the arena of the little light that they have.

    Each person makes his own choice.

    It is not the amount of light that you have that counts – it is what you do with it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  79. ken: Hi Bob

    Does that mean that you think that the Good Samaritan would go to heaven for good works irrespective of his religious beliefs?

    The Romans 2:13-16 text tells us that gentiles with no access to the Bible at all will be in heaven if they show the works of the law written on their heart (a result of the New Covenant work of the Holy Spirit according to the end of Romans 2).

    The “level of information” that they have does not matter.

    What matters is that they chose to follow “The Spirit of Truth” mentioned in John 16. It is the Holy Spirit that causes the New Birth.

    And as Christ said in Matt 7 – that New Birth (bad tree becomes good tree) surely results in “good fruit”.

    Does that mean you think the thief would end up in heaven based on faith alone, without good works?

    1. As we have already stated – all of the lost are justified – are saved “by grace through faith and that without works”. It is how all the lost (bad trees) become one of the saints (good trees of Matt 7).

    2. It is not true however that Christ’s rule in Matt 7 got suspended in the case of the thief on the cross. Even in that case the thief confesses Christ while the other thief merely continues to attack and reject Christ. The “good fruit” was seen even in that case.

    Does that mean to you think secular folks who embrace the light of goodness to humanity are on a plane like the Good Samaritan?

    Christ is the light that coming into the world “enlightens EVERY one of mankind” John 1 – – not just Christians.

    The world “loves darkness rather than light” and so most people choose to reject that light. But Christs “Draws all mankind to himself” John 12:32 anyway.

    Those who choose to accept and respond to the light of Christ are transformed by it. Those who choose to doubt, question, delay and dismiss it – are choosing darkness even in the arena of the little light that they have.

    Each person makes his own choice.

    It is not the amount of light that you have that counts – it is what you do with it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  80. “In acts 15 – there was a dispute within the Christian church. But there is a mechanism for settling the matter for those willing to submit to God’s order of management for His church on earth.”

    ken:

    So between you, Bill, David and Sean what is the mechanism to which you all submit that will determine who is right as to who will get to heaven? The Holy Spirit, biblical interpretation, church fundamental beliefs?

    Apparently I missed the post where David, Sean, Bill and I were debating which one of us gets to go to heaven.

    Please enlighten me on that post.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  81. Dear Wes

    I humbled by your response and deep faith. More importantly I am so glad you are finding peace of mind with your faith.

    You are right that we examine the world from different points but goodwill transcends all
    that.

    Be well old friend you are in good hands.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  82. Hi Bob

    I liked that part about Romans 2. Seems rather just to me. Many non Christians respect Christ and what he stood for, including myself. Thus to try to keep Judeo-Christian ethics is a good thing int books. I think when we serve others we transcend our natural egocentricity and send am important message to humanity. We may not all believe the same things but we can choose to serve others rather than just ourselves.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  83. Re Bob’s Quote

    “Apparently I missed the post where David, Sean, Bill and I were debating which one of us gets to go to heaven.

    Please enlighten me on that post.”

    Hi Bob

    Me too, did someone say there was one? 🙂

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  84. Re Shining’s Prayer

    “Creator of the Universe, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.”

    Hello Shining

    That is a wonderful, non – doctrinal, entreaty the everyone should support.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  85. Bill Sorensen: All this, because the church refuses to admit we are justified by obedience to the law of God and claim, “all you have to do is believe” and God does everything else.

    Bill Sorensen: the 1888 fiasco

    Bill, My heart is sad for you. It seems to me that you have rejected God’s leading as He brought the church out of the Closed Door teaching and into the truth of Righteousness by Faith in the 1888 movement, then again with Ford, and again, by way of reaction to Brinsmead’s perfectionism.

    You are right. There is an easy way to judge the truth here. “By their fruits you shall know them”.

    Is is my observation that on the road to salvation many people go through the experience when they recognize that there are certain sins in for which, after years of effort and prayer, they still have absolutely no control. They finally come to the conclusion that if years of effort and prayer are not effective by now, then they might as well give up trying. If Christ chooses not to save them, then they are truly lost. They come to recognize that unless Christ intervenes there truly is no hope.

    It seems to be when they abandon all hope of salvation even to the point of ceasing even to attempt to resist the temptation, it is at that point that Christ steps in. Kind of like a lifeguard at the beach. Who swims out to be nearby, just out of reach, until the person gives up and stops struggling completely. Only then is it that the lifeguard takes hold and brings the person to shore.

    Going through this experience breeds a profound sympathy, compassion, and tolerance for others. It also breeds confidence that God has not abandoned those who seem to be struggling helplessly, whether it is with addictions, or the confusing philosophies of academia. It also makes you realize that neither God, nor the church are threatened by things like biology teachers teaching evolutionary biology.

    I know that your heart will rise up against this description because it is scary to give up all hope and to quit struggling against sin. We have been taught so long, that we need to struggle against sin that this will certainly seem abhorrent heresy to some.

    But it is easy to judge. On which side does the good fruit lie?

    On the one hand we see anger about the church being taken advantage of in the salaries of it’s employees, we see fear of loosing God’s favor through wrong belief. We see fear of losing the Sabbath, and blindness to all the other reasons to keep the Sabbath that would continue even if it weren’t a symbol of creation. We see conflict between the elder’s and the conference with the splitting of the church. We see the use of force in response to rejection of the conference’s attempts to place a pastor that they presumably think would be helpful to the church. For the sake of purity we see the persecution of our deepest thinkers until they are driven out of the church. We see the rejection of joy and praise in music. We see members wishing other members would leave the church, or even the discussion board. We see churches stagnating and dying.

    On the other hand we see peace, and confidence in Christ and the church. We see joy and praise in music. There is free and vibrant debate with the resultant growth and progress in Present Truth. There is tolerance and compassion for those who are “obviously wrong”, or even just seeking. We see warmth and inclusiveness that brings new member’s flocking to meet a Jesus that loves even the most unlovely.

    I’m sorry Bill. I have absolutely no desire to go back to your kind of church. If it works for you, then I wish you well. If it means that my faith in Christ and evolution are delusions and that I am lost, then I am lost. If Elder Wilson is successful in driving people like me from the church, then I will go in peace. My only goal here is to keep a clean conscience and to do everything I can to speak out against the bigotry and intolerance that historically leads to abuse and at the extreme, to the inquisition.




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  86. Ron, if Darwin was right, talk of salvation is sheer idiocy, utterly deracinated and pointless. There was no Adam, no fall, no need of redemption or salvation, no point in Jesus’ death, no hope of a supernatural future free of death and disease and predation (because there was no perfect creation free of death, disease and predation). Darwinism makes utter, contemptible nonsense of Christianity.

    I think Bill is profoundly misguided and unbiblical in his views about justification, but he’s much closer to sound religion than you are if you embrace mainstream science’s origins narrative.




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  87. Re David’s Quote

    “Darwinism makes utter, contemptible nonsense of Christianity.”

    Hello David

    I appreciate the logic of what you are saying. It’s a case of literal dominoes, once the first domino of creation falls the.rest of the story gets knocked over as well.

    Of course I’m the worst apostate,non Christian on this site, but I want to come to the defence of Christianity if I may. Christian/Judeo ethics have had a profound influence upon the world on how we should live our lives. No matter what one believes about the divinity of Christ his universal appeal of sacrifice and service to mankind is likely the most important principle in a predatory, materialistic world. I say this cautiously as an agnostic, with great respect to your Adventist faith, but I think if the focus is placed on Christ’s message rather on who is literally right or wrong more can be accomplished for the welfare of mankind. As I pointed out before with over 28,000? Christian denominations in the world there is bound to be some doctrinal disagreement. Isn’t a bit of Christian tolerance required of each other?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  88. Dear Wes

    It is of late that you are having your most profound effect upon me. I like the Kimean hermeutic of the heart- that’s where the poetry of life emanates.

    Hope we get to meet some day.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @ken: Kimean hermeneutics?

      Long of tooth, I’m such an ancient Adventist I can remember when we did bible study, not hermeneutics. Back in that big evangelistic baptismal tent that I recalled for you from 73 years ago, that you always remind me of, sawdust and all, there was considerable about Daniel 2, nothing whatsoNEVERever about hermeneutics. Nor do I recall the word from the course in upper division Pauline Epistles that I took at, of all places (as I like to say), LSU nee LSC (C for College) from Edward Heppenstall, PhD, the most academically advanced theologian in our then un-inflated tent. He ventured into exegesis but not, at least in public, hermeneutics. And advanced to our seminary. (He did propose, I recall, some new flavors, not new recipes, for our beloved staple, “justification by faith through grace”.)

      Of all the Pauline epistles, Romans is one of the most challenging books both to heart and mind ever written, and it wasn’t as though Dr. Heppenstall didn’t play its esotericism for all it is worth. On the first day of every new course, in the first ten minutes, he would grin his electric grin and inform us premedical students that, our SATs notwithstanding, mere materially-oriented premeds could never comprehend it. Only the spiritually ordained could, which, in retrospect, now that I’ve learned the word, would seem to bar the hermeneutically-disoriented. Hermeneutics is many award-winning things but one thing it is not, is spiritual. Rarefied, yes; spiritual, no. Alas for hermeneutically sealed Romans.

      Heroic hermeneutics came upon us along with apoacademic eonic evolution. Recent radioactive decay data suggest that hermeneutics crawled out of the swamp along with other fishy karyopoetics when LSC (which I attended) became LSU (of which I’m considered an alumnus, qualifying me for the full dose of promotional newsletters, featuring gecko-fondling biologists). That our re-metamorphosed (horrors! not born-again) transcendentally post-grad hermeneutic Postadventist adventurers find mere bible study, even exegesis, and doctrines accruing therefrom, sorely embarrassing, is embarrassing and disheartening to me. Hermeneutics is one of those buttons on my keyboard that shouldn’t be punched lest all my old bells ring and I light up and go tilt.

      It’s not that I am not equipped, despite my pre-medicalness, perhaps because of it, to hermeneutic haranguesmanship, as I once so loved, generating quite a stack of Kimean hermeneutics, but I’ve been disqualified. It’s not that age has mellowed me. Becoming rather spiritually oriented has. Alas for Kimean hermeneutics.

      But never you mind all that, my friend. Actually, I have been waiting for a chance to spring-unload on (harangue) hermeneutics, but not in response to any progressive paen to it, of which there have been plenty hereabouts. (Pannings, not paens, and all the puns in the world, are its just deserts.) However unwittingly, totally unwittingly and unexpectedly, you gave me the right cue. Seriously, Ken, it was so sweet of you, what you said. Your heart, and hermeneutics, are in the right places. On you that hermeneutic hat, cocked just so, looks becoming.

      Your ahermeneutic friend, W

      PS: Meet some day, somewhere, we must, and shall.




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  89. Ron: Is is my observation that on the road to salvation many people go through the experience when they recognize that there are certain sins in for which, after years of effort and prayer, they still have absolutely no control. They finally come to the conclusion that if years of effort and prayer are not effective by now, then they might as well give up trying

    I think I will take Paul’s advice in 1Cor 7:19, and pretty much all of Romans 6 — instead of that speculation above.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  90. David Read: Ron, if Darwin was right, talk of salvation is sheer idiocy, utterly deracinated and pointless. There was no Adam, no fall, no need of redemption or salvation, no point in Jesus’ death,

    Reminds me of Acts of the Apostles – chapter 18 where we are told that Paul had to first teach “the basics” to non-Christian pagans – basics about creation and intelligent design (on the basis of observations in nature) – when laying the foundation for the Gospel.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  91. Every few months, some of us have to drop by the EducateTruth (sic) web site to check on what new conspiracy theories are circulating on the HRWAN, the Hyper-Right Wing Adventist Network.

    The only exception to that generalization are the comments of Wes and Ken who we can note are still trying to bring some light to the otherwise dark side of Adventism.

    Wes continues to contribute his unique perspectives. May I cite as evidence:

    “Heroic hermeneutics came upon us along with apoacademic eonic evolution. Recent radioactive decay data suggest that hermeneutics crawled out of the swamp along with other fishy karyopoetics when LSC (which I attended) became LSU (of which I’m considered an alumnus, qualifying me for the full dose of promotional newsletters, featuring gecko-fondling biologists)”

    Where else could one encounter such rhetorical creativity and winsomeness? Wes must be inspired. I realize that he would never post on the Adventist Today or Spectrum web sites, so one has to come here to read him.




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  92. Ervin Taylor: Every few months, some of us have to drop by the EducateTruth (sic) web site to check on what new conspiracy theories are circulating on the HRWAN, the Hyper-Right Wing Adventist Network. The only exception to that generalization are the comments of Wes and Ken who we can note are still trying to bring some light to the otherwise dark side of Adventism.Wes continues to contribute his unique perspectives. May I cite as evidence: “Heroic hermeneutics came upon us along with apoacademic eonic evolution. Recent radioactive decay data suggest that hermeneutics crawled out of the swamp along with other fishy karyopoetics when LSC (which I attended) became LSU (of which I’m considered an alumnus, qualifying me for the full dose of promotional newsletters, featuring gecko-fondling biologists)”Where else could one encounter such rhetorical creativity and winsomeness? Wes must be inspired. I realize that he would never post on the Adventist Today or Spectrum web sites, so one has to come here to read him.

    Dr. Taylor, Why don’t you get Dr. Kime on the AT bloggers list so he could have his own column.




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  93. Ervin Taylor: The only exception to that generalization are the comments of Wes and Ken who we can note are still trying to bring some light to the otherwise dark side of Adventism.

    Our agnostic friend Ken – apparently finds a kindred spirit in Erv Taylor.

    I myself would never have questioned that association. I am glad to see that Erv affirms it as well.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  94. I was under the impression that this particular site was about the “Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment” case. (It seems to me that it has wandered very far away from that topic. Am I the only one who feels this way?)

    Does anyone know what the current situation is on that topic at the present time? Some of us would really like to know. (Am I the only one who feels this way?




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  95. Ron: In many places on this web site we have talked about “micro-evolution” of new genetic material which is subsequently expanded in the population by Darwinian selection. Bacterial nylonase is one, antibiotic resistance is another. The genetic changes that allowed Tibetans to reproduce at high altitudes is an evolutionary change at the human level which ironically occurred at about the time of Christ. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that these examples of Darwinian inheritance are incompatible with creation.

    The only real debate is when did evolution start? 6000 years ago when Cain was born, or millions of years ago.

    Here again you miss the point entirely.

    The evolutionist gains absolutely nothing if bacteria remain bacteria for 3 billion years only “eating different food” from time to time.

    The evolutionist needs a prokaryote to do much more than “eat new food” – he/she needs it to develop a nucleus!

    The evolutionist needs the amoeba to turn into a horse!

    You have decided to grossly equivocate between “a person resisting the flue” and an amoeba turning into a horse as if seeing one is just as good as if you had seen the other!!

    No evolutionist on the planet is going to be satisfied with evolutionism limited to “finches turning into more finches only with different beak shape”.

    No evolutionist is going to be satisified with God creating all the phyla – all the gene pool specific “kinds” on planet earth in a single 7 day week – 6000 years ago – as the given “Starting point”.

    My prior statements about critical thinking not being employed in the argument for evolutionism stands.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  96. Ron: David Read: Darwin was right, talk of salvation is sheer idiocy, utterly deracinated and pointless

    Hmm. . . I think Mrs. White and Darwin were both wrong on this score

    Now that is at least consistent of your support for T.E.

    The T.E. position denies both the inspired text as well as the leading proponents of evolutionism to make it’s least-logical argument.

    Why anyone would go to the most self-conflicted of all options is a wonder.

    It does not work for those who accept inspired writing AND it does not work for anyone who follows the logic of Darwin on the subject of evolutionism.

    How odd that anyone would fall for it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  97. David Read: Darwin was right, talk of salvation is sheer idiocy, utterly deracinated and pointless

    Hmm. . . I think Mrs. White and Darwin were both wrong on this score. There is no inherent reason why creation and evolution are mutually exclusive. You have to remember that neither Mrs. White, nor Darwin had any knowledge of DNA or modern genetics. (Somewhere lost in this long chain is a link to an article by Sean giving a very nice explanation of how evolution works).

    A search on “heredity” reveals that Mrs. White had no clear understanding of genetic inheritance as distinct from prenatal and educational influences, however, she still describes Darwinian inheritance in Prophets and Kings 62. She here describes how genetic improvements are passed on for many generations.

    PK 62 “For the construction of the wilderness tabernacle, chosen men were endowed by God with special skill and wisdom. . . . The descendants of these workmen inherited to a large degree the talents conferred on their forefathers.”

    She also describes the negative selection of poor genetics. “Imbruted souls, bodies weak and ill-formed, reveal the results of evil heredity and of wrong habits.” {WM 197.3}

    In many places on this web site we have talked about “micro-evolution” of new genetic material which is subsequently expanded in the population by Darwinian selection. Bacterial nylonase is one, antibiotic resistance is another. The genetic changes that allowed Tibetans to reproduce at high altitudes is an evolutionary change at the human level which ironically occurred at about the time of Christ. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that these examples of Darwinian inheritance are incompatible with creation.

    The only real debate is when did evolution start? 6000 years ago when Cain was born, or millions of years ago.

    And whether it is the result of a creative act of God, theistic evolution, or whether it is the result of natural law without God’s involvement “a-thiestic” evolution.

    If you believe that God is the author of both nature and scripture and that properly understood, they cannot be contradictory, then the evidence indicates to me that a loving God created all organisms with the ability to adapt genetically to changing environments, and like Mrs. White who wrote that God guides the motion of every atom, (even Brownian motion is controlled by God) I believe that God continues to be active in the process. My belief in evolution affirms my belief that the God who never changes, remains, and continues to be an active creator.




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  98. “The only real debate is when did evolution start? 6000 years ago when Cain was born, or millions of years ago.”

    Exactly so, Ron. The difference between Bible history and mainstream science (Cambrian explosion) is five orders of magnitude. That’s an enormous difference. It cannot be papered over, or compromised. We all must choose whom we will believe.




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  99. Ron: In many places on this web site we have talked about “micro-evolution” of new genetic material which is subsequently expanded in the population by Darwinian selection. Bacterial nylonase is one, antibiotic resistance is another. The genetic changes that allowed Tibetans to reproduce at high altitudes is an evolutionary change at the human level which ironically occurred at about the time of Christ. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that these examples of Darwinian inheritance are incompatible with creation.

    The only real debate is when did evolution start? 6000 years ago when Cain was born, or millions of years ago.

    Here again you miss the point entirely.

    The evolutionist gains absolutely nothing if bacteria remain bacteria for 3 billion years only “eating different food” from time to time.

    The evolutionist needs a prokaryote to do much more than “eat new food” – he/she needs it to develop a nucleus!

    The evolutionist needs the amoeba to turn into a horse!

    You have decided to grossly equivocate between “a person resisting the flue” and an amoeba turning into a horse as if seeing one is just as good as if you had seen the other!!

    No evolutionist on the planet is going to be satisfied with evolutionism limited to “finches turning into more finches only with different beak shape”.

    No evolutionist is going to be satisified with God creating all the phyla – all the gene pool specific “kinds” on planet earth in a single 7 day week – 6000 years ago – as the given “Starting point”.

    My prior statements about critical thinking not being employed in the argument for evolutionism stands.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  100. Ron: David Read: Darwin was right, talk of salvation is sheer idiocy, utterly deracinated and pointless

    Hmm. . . I think Mrs. White and Darwin were both wrong on this score

    Now that is at least consistent of your support for T.E.

    The T.E. position denies both the inspired text as well as the leading proponents of evolutionism to make it’s least-logical argument.

    Why anyone would go to the most self-conflicted of all options is a wonder.

    It does not work for those who accept inspired writing AND it does not work for anyone who follows the logic of Darwin on the subject of evolutionism.

    How odd that anyone would fall for it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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