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. Re Bob’s Quote

    “The evolutionist needs the amoeba to turn into a horse!”

    Hi Bob

    I may be wrong but I don’t think there is or has ever been one evolutionist that has stated this. In fact on this foroum you are the only one that states it. We objective unbiased readers due take notice of rhetorical exaggeration you know. 🙂

    Its important to stick to the facts. For example in a previous post you said I apparently found a kindred spirit in Dr. Taylor! Yet I have said nothing or alluded to Dr. Taylor on this thread until this very moment! With respect, when you resort to fabrication or mistatement you impair your credibility as an honest person seeking the truth.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  2. I suppose any discussion can become tedious and non-productive after awhile.
    If you are a Christian and been one for some time, things that are obvious and non-negotiable in the bible may still be to some extent obscure, either to an unbeliever, or even a new believer who has not affirmed some things by way of continual study and affirmation.

    So, if the bible is true, some of the dialogue is useless after awhile. If a person denies the bible, you must first convince them of the validity of scripture and go from there.

    I find it difficult to believe that anyone who really takes the bible seriously would even pretend to embrace evolution as an explanation of origins.

    But, if and when you dialogue with a Sunday keeper, you may find the same degree of frustration after a period of time when they either refuse to see your point, or, simply do not actually see it.
    We can’t always tell, but we can judge to some degree by the way they may respond.

    This applies to so much of the bible as a Christian sees things “clearly” and can only wonder at the density of one who doesn’t. Or, is it rebellion?

    For me personally, true witnessing is simply pointing the obvious of what the bible teaches. Even the issue of “justification by the law” is so obvious to me and EGW, if she were alive, she could wonder how any SDA would deny it.

    Moses, Elijah, and all the prophets along with John the Baptist and Jesus would simply agree that the human perspective is so warped, the obvious may also be obscure.

    Even Paul would wonder how in the world he was so misunderstood in his view of law and gospel. And Peter might say, “Well, Paul you have a way of stating things in a way that is a little difficult for a novice to see and comprehend.”

    Much of Paul’s writings are based on the assumption that you already know a great deal about the law and salvation and he is simply showing that Jesus is the reality of the ceremonial law. Most of his writings are not directed to novices who know little or nothing about the bible.

    As an example, in Rom. 7, he begins “I write to those who know the law.” And this is the format of all his letters in general. He writes mostly to Jewish Christians who have been converted to Christ with the Gentiles in mind who can benefit as well.

    So, what may be “obvious” to a bible student of many years, is still in some cases “obscure” to a novice.

    If people will fasten their belief system to the bible, we can be sure that in the end, we will have the unity God desires as the Holy Spirit affirms scripture and creates the Christian community.

    Much of the bickering in the church is a refusal of the church to study the bible carefully and demand a conclusion based solely on the word. Now we have all kinds of factors such as culture and a host of other so called evidences to interpret the bible and its meaning and application.

    The bible doesn’t need our help in explaining itself. It speaks for itself.

    How the discussion on creation/evolution is finally concluded, we can be sure that anyone holding to scripture will also hold to a 7 day literal week. It is an objective given beyond negotiation. As are many other biblical concepts.

    Bill Sorensen

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  3. Bill, eventually you’ll realize that calling anyone who disagrees with you a “novice” is not an argument, it is ad hominem.

    You could take a lesson in how to winsomely present your views from Stephanie Dawn, one of the columnists on Shane’s new website, “Advindicate”. She believes that: “At the end of time, God will have a sealed people who completely reflect His perfect character, and the observance of the seventh day Sabbath will be the sign of God’s sealed people, setting them apart from the rest of the world.”

    But note, “This sealing, however, will not be accomplished by trying to keep the Sabbath as perfectly as possible. If we are keeping the Sabbath as a means of obtaining Salvation, we are actually not keeping the Sabbath at all, because we are denying God the redeemer, the one who saves us by grace through faith and not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9).”

    http://advindicate.com/?p=605.

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  4. BobRyan: How odd that anyone would fall for it.

    Bob, What’s the alternative? You keep making pejorative statements about theistic evolution, but you still haven’t answered my question.

    How do you interpret the evolution of nylonase in bacteria? Was that natural, “a-theistic” evolution, or was it “theistic evolution?

    If you know of a third alternative I am all ears, but tell me, how do you account for this rather simple development?

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

    I expected as much. You must be one of those rare people who has perfect control. I am not surprised that you cannot relate to the experience I described. Until you get to that spot, Mark 2:17 applies.
    “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

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  6. Bill, eventually you’ll realize that calling anyone who disagrees with you a “novice” is not an argument, it is ad hominem.

    You could take a lesson in how to winsomely present your views from Stephanie Dawn, one of the columnists on Shane’s new website, “Advindicate”. She believes that: “At the end of time, God will have a sealed people who completely reflect His perfect character, and the observance of the seventh day Sabbath will be the sign of God’s sealed people, setting them apart from the rest of the world.”

    But note, “This sealing, however, will not be accomplished by trying to keep the Sabbath as perfectly as possible. If we are keeping the Sabbath as a means of obtaining Salvation, we are actually not keeping the Sabbath at all, because we are denying God the redeemer, the one who saves us by grace through faith and not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9).”

    http://advindicate.com/?p=605.

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  7. BobRyan: How odd that anyone would fall for it.

    Bob, What’s the alternative? You keep making pejorative statements about theistic evolution, but you still haven’t answered my question.

    How do you interpret the evolution of nylonase in bacteria? Was that natural, “a-theistic” evolution, or was it “theistic evolution?

    If you know of a third alternative I am all ears, but tell me, how do you account for this rather simple development?

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

    I expected as much. You must be one of those rare people who has perfect control. I am not surprised that you cannot relate to the experience I described. Until you get to that spot, Mark 2:17 applies.
    “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

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  9. Bill Sorensen: anyone holding to scripture will also hold to a 7 day literal week. It is an objective given beyond negotiation.

    Bill, I am curious, Do the first 3 chapters of Genesis teach you anything else? Have you discovered any truth in those chapters that was not previously spelled out by Mrs. White?

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  10. Ron: addressed to David Read from Ron: 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

    BobRyan

    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.

    Ron: Bob, What’s the alternative?
    You keep making pejorative statements about theistic evolution, but you still haven’t answered my question.

    How do you interpret the evolution of nylonase in bacteria?

    Simple. Plasmids. Something that well never get you from amoeba to horse nor from prokaryote bacteria to eukaryote amoeba. Bacteria do not “Acquire a nucleus” via plasmids. Simply does not happen.

    And contrary to recent suggestions that evolutionists can just stay stuck at the amoeba level and never get to “horse” — and claim that is all good evolutionism — it isn’t. Evolutionists need to go from single celled eukaryotes (you know – like an amoeba) to horses “over time”.

    Just having bacteria “adjust their diet” so the “turn into” even more bacteria… does not provide the salient mechanism needed for evolutionist story telling.

    I am not sure why this oft repeated response is so hard for some of our readers (at least one maybe two) to follow.

    If you know of a third alternative I am all ears, but tell me, how do you account for this rather simple development?

    hint: plasmids. The design and architecture built into the prokaryote model allows them to co-opt plasmids far more readily than a eukaryote that walls off its DNA in the nucleus. While plasmids still have some effect in the eukaryote architecture – it is nothing like the wild wild west environment for prokaryotes getting exposed to plasmids.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  11. I mentioned my concern on this practice in another column some time ago but apparently very few, if anybody, saw things the same way so I’m mentioning it again here because I feel it is very important.

    I simply cannot understand how anyone who truly respects the Bible as God’s Word to us can write it’s name over and over again and never capitalize the B. This is GODS’s Book to His children–the most important Book in the world and yet we do not pay it the respect we pay any old secular book. Who would write “Gone With The Wind” as “gone with the wind?” Nobody with any education at all would even think of doing such a thing unless they meant to degrade it for some reason.

    This Book is the most important Book in the world! God gave it to His children to guide their steps to heaven. It should be handled with the utmost respect and I am reasonably sure God is not honored (or pleased) when we treat it with disrespect–which, to me anyway, is what we are doing when we do not even give it the respect we show to novels and other books that flood the market!

    This Book is no ordinary Book. It is as sacred as God is–it’s Author is God Himself and it demands our deepest respect. We claim to believe what it SAYS–and we need to respect what it IS. At least this is the way I see it.

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  12. A first one exchange for context –

    Ron said: It 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

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

    And then we get this –

    Ron:
    I expected as much.

    To which I have to say — that in those small areas where we do find at least some agreement (like the above) we can simply celebrate our agreement.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  13. Ron: addressed to David Read from Ron: 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

    BobRyan

    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.

    Ron: Bob, What’s the alternative?
    You keep making pejorative statements about theistic evolution, but you still haven’t answered my question.

    How do you interpret the evolution of nylonase in bacteria?

    Simple. Plasmids. Something that well never get you from amoeba to horse nor from prokaryote bacteria to eukaryote amoeba. Bacteria do not “Acquire a nucleus” via plasmids. Simply does not happen.

    And contrary to recent suggestions that evolutionists can just stay stuck at the amoeba level and never get to “horse” — and claim that is all good evolutionism — it isn’t. Evolutionists need to go from single celled eukaryotes (you know – like an amoeba) to horses “over time”.

    Just having bacteria “adjust their diet” so the “turn into” even more bacteria… does not provide the salient mechanism needed for evolutionist story telling.

    I am not sure why this oft repeated response is so hard for some of our readers (at least one maybe two) to follow.

    If you know of a third alternative I am all ears, but tell me, how do you account for this rather simple development?

    hint: plasmids. The design and architecture built into the prokaryote model allows them to co-opt plasmids far more readily than a eukaryote that walls off its DNA in the nucleus. While plasmids still have some effect in the eukaryote architecture – it is nothing like the wild wild west environment for prokaryotes getting exposed to plasmids.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  14. I mentioned my concern on this practice in another column some time ago but apparently very few, if anybody, saw things the same way so I’m mentioning it again here because I feel it is very important.

    I simply cannot understand how anyone who truly respects the Bible as God’s Word to us can write it’s name over and over again and never capitalize the B. This is GODS’s Book to His children–the most important Book in the world and yet we do not pay it the respect we pay any old secular book. Who would write “Gone With The Wind” as “gone with the wind?” Nobody with any education at all would even think of doing such a thing unless they meant to degrade it for some reason.

    This Book is the most important Book in the world! God gave it to His children to guide their steps to heaven. It should be handled with the utmost respect and I am reasonably sure God is not honored (or pleased) when we treat it with disrespect–which, to me anyway, is what we are doing when we do not even give it the respect we show to novels and other books that flood the market!

    This Book is no ordinary Book. It is as sacred as God is–it’s Author is God Himself and it demands our deepest respect. We claim to believe what it SAYS–and we need to respect what it IS. At least this is the way I see it.

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  15. I mentioned my concern on this practice in another column some time ago but apparently very few, if anybody, saw things the same way so I’m mentioning it again here because I feel it is very important.

    I simply cannot understand how anyone who truly respects the Bible as God’s Word to us can write it’s name over and over again and never capitalize the B. This is GODS’s Book to His children–the most important Book in the world and yet we do not pay it the respect we pay any old secular book. Who would write “Gone With The Wind” as “gone with the wind?” Nobody with any education at all would even think of doing such a thing unless they meant to degrade it for some reason.

    This Book is the most important Book in the world! God gave it to His children to guide their steps to heaven. It should be handled with the utmost respect and I am reasonably sure God is not honored (or pleased) when we treat it with disrespect–which, to me anyway, is what we are doing when we do not even give it the respect we show to novels and other books that flood the market!

    This Book is no ordinary Book. It is as sacred as God is–it’s Author is God Himself and it demands our deepest respect. We claim to believe what it SAYS–and we need to respect what it IS. At least this is the way I see it.

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  16. Ron: 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.

    This is utter nonsense. To cease to try to resist temptation is exactly what Satan wants, and will cost you your salvation. We cannot have enough strength to resist temptation on our own, but we must do our part.

    Ron: It also makes you realize that neither God, nor the church are threatened by things like biology teachers teaching evolutionary biology.

    How could you possibly believe such a thing? If, as you claim, you are all about the love of God, how could you stand by and see Him insulted? How can you see Satan robbing Him of the glory He so richly deserves? Is that your style of love?

    He created us–each and every one of us. Genetics is the vehicle He uses to do so, but make no mistake, He is involved in the creation of each new life. He endows us with physical characteristics, grants us talents to use in His service, and then, with tender regard for this creation of His, teaches us, through the Bible, all about Himself and how the earth was made. Evolution spits in His face, steals from Him, and denies Him. Why should the church, who loves Him, accept and tolerate such abominible treatment?

    Anyone who accepts evolution does not love God. You’re fooling yourself if you think such acceptance has anything to do with love for God or man. And one thing I do know–God does not accept such blatent rebellion against Him. If you think that tolerance of sin is love, you are absolutely deluded.

    Ron: 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.

    What we see is not fear, but the handwriting on the wall. Think, Ron, what would be the point of keeping the Sabbath if not for Creation, which it is a memorial of? It isn’t just a day off from work. Keeping the Sabbath means that we acknowledge God as our Creator. That point is so important, that it will divide the saved from the lost. If we don’t accept the Creation account as written in the Bible, we forfeit the right to eternal life with the One who created us. Why? Because we side with Satan in the Great Controversy if we deny God as our Creator. Did you understand what I just said? It is Satanic to believe in evolution.

    So, yes, we have a right as SDAs to be upset by teachers/professors teaching this tripe to our children and young people. We have a duty to demand that this situation be corrected post haste, and we have an obligation to see that this heresy be put out of our church. Anyone who clings to this rather than the truth needs to find somewhere else to go and worship whatever apostate god they are esteeming higher than the real, genuine, God of the universe.

    Ron: 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.

    I find that incredible that you would trade your salvation for the theory of a mere man. How cheaply you sell it out.

    I can only hope and pray that Elder Wilson will hold true to his mandate and will indeed be successful of purifying God’s church from the heresy that has crept in.

    You say you feel sad for Bill, but I feel sad for you and all your companions in this delusion. How you cannot see where you are wrong is beyond me. But I guess that is what it means to be deluded, isn’t it? Plain and simple–if you accept evolution, you deny God. How can you not see it?

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    • @Faith:

      “This is utter nonsense. To cease to try to resist temptation is exactly what Satan wants, and will cost you your salvation.”

      I am only speaking from personal experience. This is the way it worked in my life. I admit that it was very scary to admit defeat and stop trying. But I didn’t just stop trying. I stopped trying; I gave it to Jesus, and I stopped feeling guilty. I had the same fears as you, that Satan would take over. But that isn’t the way it worked. To my great surprise, I didn’t turn into a raving addict. In fact on that issue, pretty much nothing happened. Instead, God redirected my attention to other more important things that needed to be addressed in my life first. Then later, actually several years later, he dealt with the issue that was my first concern, and now I am pretty much free. If it turns out I am lost and deluded, then, I guess I am lost and deluded, because I wasn’t able to do it, even with Jesus “help”. I trust Jesus will do with me whatever He chooses. I am OK with that. At least, for now, I am a whole lot happier.

      “neither God, nor the church are threatened: . . . How could you possibly believe such a thing? If, as you claim, you are all about the love of God, how could you stand by and see Him insulted? . . . Anyone who accepts evolution does not love God.”

      First, I am not afraid for the church, because I believe Jesus won the battle at the cross. And, Mrs. White had that funny little vision about the precious gems being trampled in the barnyard. When they were picked up and washed off, they were none the worse for wear. Whether we believe truth makes a huge difference in our lives, but it doesn’t make any difference at all to truth itself. Truth is still truth whether we believe it or not, and it will out in the end.

      Second, God is a “big boy”, he can take care of himself. He was reconciled to everything that happens on this earth even before he made it, so I am sure he has a plan. I am here to help where ever I can, but in the end, whatever anyone else believes is between themselves and God. I don’t see how threatening a person’s job is going to help them understand, or believe, or think more highly of God.

      “I find that incredible that you would trade your salvation for the theory of a mere man.”

      I have given my heart and life to God. That is all I can do. Whether I am saved or not is up to Jesus.

      “How cheaply you sell it out.”

      I haven’t sold out at all. In fact I am here arguing on behalf of God the best I can.

      “If you accept evolution, you deny God. How can you not see it?”

      I do see it. I think I understand exactly why you believe the way you do. But I see the issue in a larger context. As I have tried to explain in may other threads on this website, I do not believe there is any inherent reason that evolution and creation are incompatible. I think that is a mis-conception developed 150 years ago when the concept first appeared and that both sides of that argument are wrong. Are we bound to the misconceptions of our forefathers? Doesn’t God expect us to learn and grow with time? We have had 150 years to think about this, and our perspective has grown and changed. That is the concept of “Present Truth”.

      If Elder Wilson attempts to “purify the church” by this method, he will be going against the direct, expressed command of Jesus himself. Math. 13:30.

      I believe the proper way to purify the church, is to do what Sean and PaulUC are doing on another thread. Sean is compiling scientific studies that support his opinion, and he and PaulUC are having a civil debate over the merits of said studies. If enough people did that, then over time, a body of evidence would grow to the point that more people would find it convincing. I believe this is the hard work that our church has neglected to do. I don’t believe it is fair to punish individuals for an organizational failure.

      (PS. I want to commend Sean for his efforts in that direction.)

      There is no way to short circuit that process. Nobody will be convinced by firing biology teachers. To most people, that looks too much like the Roman Catholic church persecuting the heretics. It didn’t work for Rome, and it won’t work for SDA’s.
      In fact, even if evolution is truly a heresy, just your calling it so is disrespectful of the people you are hopefully trying to win over. It is counterproductive to your true interests. That is why Jesus told us not to do it.

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  17. Lydian: This Book is no ordinary Book. It is as sacred as God is–it’s Author is God Himself and it demands our deepest respect. We claim to believe what it SAYS–and we need to respect what it IS. At least this is the way I see it.
    Lydian

    I agree with you Lydian. When I am typing and I make a mistake, I feel impelled to go back and correct it. Capitalizing does show respect. It is unfortunate that in this busy world we don’t take the time and/or effort to show this respect to God’s Word.

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  18. Lydian: I mentioned my concern on this practice in another column some time ago but apparently very few, if anybody, saw things the same way so I’m mentioning it again here because I feel it is very important.I simply cannot understand how anyone who truly respects the Bible as God’s Word to us can write it’s name over and over again and never capitalize the B…

    I agree with you, and I actually made that same error a few months ago. I believe I have corrected it since then.

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  19. Re Bill’s Quote

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

    Hi Bill

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

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

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

    Count on it.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

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

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  21. Mack&#032Ramsy: To deny that calling is to deny the calling of God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  23. Mack&#032Ramsy: And scientists aren’t putting forth “theories of men” they are describing God’s creation and you aren’t listening because of your own rigid ideologies and preconceptions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  28. Re Faith’s Quote

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

    Hi Faith

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. &#045Shining: 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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. “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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. Martin W, Rotte C, Hoffmeister M, Theissen U, Gelius-Dietrich G, Ahr S, Henze K. 2003. Early cell evolution, eukaryotes, anoxia, sulfide, oxygen, fungi first (?), and a tree of genomes revisited. IUBMB Life 55(4-5):193-204. Abstract: Genomes contain evidence for the history of life and furthermore contain evidence for lateral gene transfer, which was an important part of that history. The geological record also contains evidence for the history of life, and newer findings indicates that the Earth’s oceans were largely anoxic and highly sulfidic up until about 0.6 billion years ago. Eukaryotes, which fossil data indicate to have been in existence for at least 1.5 billion years, must have therefore spent much of their evolutionary history in oxygen-poor and sulfide-rich environments. Many eukaryotes still inhabit such environments today. Among eukaryotes, organelles also contain evidence for the history of life and have preserved abundant traces of their anaerobic past in the form of energy metabolic pathways. New views of eukaryote phylogeny suggest that fungi may be among the earliestbranching eukaryotes. From the standpoint of the fungal feeding habit (osmotrophy rather than phagotrophy) and from the standpoint of the diversity in their ATP-producing pathways, a eukaryotic tree with fungi first would make sense. Because of lateral gene transfer and endosymbiosis, branches in the tree of genomes intermingle and occasionally fuse, but the overall contours of cell history nonetheless seem sketchable and roughly correlateable with geological time.

    Note the following statements above: “must have therefore spent much of their evolutionary history,” “New views of eukaryote phylogeny suggest that fungi may be among the earliestbranching eukaryotes,” and “the overall contours of cell history nonetheless seem sketchable and roughly correlateable.” Nice hypothesis, but no certainty about how eukaryotes evolved.

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  39. Mack&#032Ramsy: For example we know how prokaryotes turned into eukaryotes. We know how information got copied down to start with so it could be passed along. I never said we didn’t know, I said it was directly observable, in the same way that the signing of the declaration isn’t directly observable. It’s history, there’s a record. All you have to do is know how to read it.

    Mack, with due respect I think you’ve overstated the case. I looked up all of those articles you later cited using Google Scholar and found freely available full-text PDFs available for each article. I have not had the time to sit down and read each article, but I have read the abstract of each, which I’ll comment on in the next series of messages.

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  40. Alvarez-Martinez CE, Christie PJ. 2009. Biological diversity of prokaryotic type IV secretion systems. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 73(4):775-808. Astract: Type IV secretion systems (T4SS) translocate DNA and protein substrates across prokaryotic cell envelopes generally by a mechanism requiring direct contact with a target cell. Three types of T4SS have been described: (i) conjugation systems, operationally defined as machines that translocate DNA substrates intercellularly by a contact-dependent process; (ii) effector translocator systems, functioning to deliver proteins or other macromolecules to eukaryotic target cells; and (iii) DNA release/uptake systems, which translocate DNA to or from the extracellular milieu. Studies of a few paradigmatic systems, notably the conjugation systems of plasmids F, R388, RP4, and pKM101 and the Agrobacterium tumefaciens VirB/VirD4 system, have supplied important insights into the structure, function, and mechanism of action of type IV secretion machines. Information on these systems is updated, with emphasis on recent exciting structural advances. An underappreciated feature of T4SS, most notably of the conjugation subfamily, is that they are widely distributed among many species of gram-negative and -positive bacteria, wall-less bacteria, and the Archaea. Conjugation-mediated lateral gene transfer has shaped the genomes of most if not all prokaryotes over evolutionary time and also contributed in the short term to the dissemination of antibiotic resistance and other virulence traits among medically important pathogens. How have these machines adapted to function across envelopes of distantly related microorganisms? A survey of T4SS functioning in phylogenetically diverse species highlights the biological complexity of these translocation systems and identifies common mechanistic themes as well as novel adaptations for specialized purposes relating to the modulation of the donor-target cell interaction.

    The article focuses on prokaryotes. No mention of the word “eukaryote” in the abstract. I searched the text for “eukaryote” and found only one sentence:

    “Bioinformatic screens have, however, identified proteins with eukaryote-like domains including Ank repeats, tetratricopeptide repeats, coiled-coil domains, leucine-rich repeats, GTPase domains, ubiquitination-related motifs, and eukaryote-like kinases and phosphatases (273, 274).”

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  41. Vellai T, Vida G. 1999. The origin of eukaryotes: the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Proc Biol Sci. 266(1428):1571-7. Abstract: Eukaryotes have long been thought to have arisen by evolving a nucleus, endomembrane, and cytoskeleton. In contrast, it was recently proposed that the first complex cells, which were actually proto–eukaryotes, arose simultaneously with the acquisition of mitochondria. This so–called symbiotic association hypothesis states that eukaryotes emerged when some ancient anaerobic archaebacteria (hosts) engulfed respiring αproteobacteria (symbionts), which evolved into the first energy–producing organelles. Therefore, the intracellular compartmentalization of the energy-converting metabolism that was bound originally to the plasma membrane appears to be the key innovation towards eukaryotic genome and cellular organization. The novel energy metabolism made it possible for the nucleotide synthetic apparatus of cells to be no longer limited by subsaturation with substrates and catalytic components. As a consequence, a considerable increase has occurred in the size and complexity of eukaryotic genomes, providing the genetic basis for most of the further evolutionary changes in cellular complexity. On the other hand, the active uptake of exogenous DNA, which is general in bacteria, was no longer essential in the genome organization of eukaryotes. The mitochondrion–driven scenario for the first eukaryotes explains the chimera–like composition of eukaryotic genomes as well as the metabolic and cellular organization of eukaryotes.

    Note the following statements above: “thought to have arisen by” and “it was recently proposed.” The article describes a “mitochondrion–driven scenario” which is a hypothesis–not fact–for the origin of eukaryotes.

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  42. Re Bill’s Quote

    “One of the main arguments, and perhaps the only and final one is this,….The bible can not be understood by the average individual and it is necessary for “religious experts” to define and decide its true meaning and application.”

    Hi Bill

    Interesting treatise. I presume this is all part of Adventist eschatology?

    Who do you perceive the “religious experts” will be who try to impose their will upon others? The Catholic church?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Yes, Ken, ultimately, the Catholic church. But before then, they are being prepared before hand by all the denominations in one way or the other. And this does not exclude Adventism.

    I don’t think we generally understand how hard “faith” is and the absolute necessity to nurture and maintain it continually.

    And I don’t mean to simply go to church and let other people “bottle feed” you their religion and yours. Faith is fragile and not easily maintained and will be even more so in the future.

    “The Influence of Doubt

    I do not ask an explanation of your course. Brother [C. W.] Stone wished to read your letter to me. I refused to hear it. The breath of doubt, of complaint and unbelief, is contagious; if I make my mind a channel for the filthy stream, the turbid, defiling water proceeding from Satan’s fountain, some suggestion may linger in my mind, polluting it. If his suggestions have had such power on you as to lead you to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage–the friendship of the Lord’s enemies–I want not hear anything of your doubts, and I hope you will be guarded, lest you contaminate other minds; for the very atmosphere surrounding a man who dares to make the statements you have made is as a poisonous miasma. {2SM 166.4}
    I beg of you to go entirely away from those who believe
    167
    the truth; for if you have chosen the world and the friends of the world, go with those of your own choice. Do not poison the minds of others and make yourself Satan’s special agent to work the ruin of souls. If you have not fully taken your stand, make haste to resist the devil before it shall be forever too late. Do not take another step into darkness, but take your position as a man of God. {2SM 166.5}”

    I know what she meant and I think to some extent, we need to beware of bickering with the enemy of all truth and those who want to advocate doubt and skepticism about the clear biblical teachings.

    Many in our church, like Canright, doubt the fundamentals of bible Adventism and even blatantly attack the bible. All in the name of freedom and “higher enlightenment”.

    God will keep us true and faithful, but we need to beware of presumption like Peter who affirmed his loyalty no matter how anyone else responded.

    The spiritual condition of the church today is deplorable in its non-defense of bible truth. And many members look to their church leaders to tell them what to believe, and what to do.

    The Sabbath will no doubt be the final test, but many have already given up the Sabbath in spirit and will soon do so in form. Just because people are presently still going to church on the Sabbath is no reason for us to believe this will continue in the future as the spirit of the Sabbath is attack and spiritualistic sentiments are advocated over and over.

    And like Paul, we should “fear, lest having defended the truth in the past, we will give it up ourselves in the future.”

    If we have the true spirit of the Sabbath, then we will keep it. “But he that hath not the spirit of Christ is none of His.”
    Paul

    God knew all the things that had to happen in His end time church before its final victory. God has all the time He needs. My time is limited and so is yours. But I think we can see that it must surely almost be over. If not, it would seem the question, “When the Son of Man cometh, will He find faith on the earth?” would be “no”.

    Jesus eventually forced the issue in His day, and He can do it again when the time is right.

    Bill Sorensen

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  43. Cavalier-Smith T. 2002. The phagotrophic origin of eukaryotes and phylogenetic classification of Protozoa. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 52(2):297-354. Abstract: Eukaryotes and archaebacteria form the clade neomura and are sisters, as shown decisively by genes fragmented only in archaebacteria and by many sequence trees. This sisterhood refutes all theories that eukaryotes originated by merging an archaebacterium and an alpha-proteobacterium, which also fail to account for numerous features shared specifically by eukaryotes and actinobacteria. I revise the phagotrophy theory of eukaryote origins by arguing that the essentially autogenous origins of most eukaryotic cell properties (phagotrophy, endomembrane system including peroxisomes, cytoskeleton, nucleus, mitosis and sex) partially overlapped and were synergistic with the symbiogenetic origin of mitochondria from an alpha-proteobacterium. These radical innovations occurred in a derivative of the neomuran common ancestor, which itself had evolved immediately prior to the divergence of eukaryotes and archaebacteria by drastic alterations to its eubacterial ancestor, an actinobacterial posibacterium able to make sterols, by replacing murein peptidoglycan by N-linked glycoproteins and a multitude of other shared neomuran novelties. The conversion of the rigid neomuran wall into a flexible surface coat and the associated origin of phagotrophy were instrumental in the evolution of the endomembrane system, cytoskeleton, nuclear organization and division and sexual life-cycles. Cilia evolved not by symbiogenesis but by autogenous specialization of the cytoskeleton. I argue that the ancestral eukaryote was uniciliate with a single centriole (unikont) and a simple centrosomal cone of microtubules, as in the aerobic amoebozoan zooflagellate Phalansterium. I infer the root of the eukaryote tree at the divergence between opisthokonts (animals, Choanozoa, fungi) with a single posterior cilium and all other eukaryotes, designated ‘anterokonts’ because of the ancestral presence of an anterior cilium. Anterokonts comprise the Amoebozoa, which may be ancestrally unikont, and a vast ancestrally biciliate clade, named ‘bikonts’. The apparently conflicting rRNA and protein trees can be reconciled with each other and this ultrastructural interpretation if long-branch distortions, some mechanistically explicable, are allowed for. Bikonts comprise two groups: corticoflagellates, with a younger anterior cilium, no centrosomal cone and ancestrally a semi-rigid cell cortex with a microtubular band on either side of the posterior mature centriole; and Rhizaria [a new infrakingdom comprising Cercozoa (now including Ascetosporea classis nov.), Retaria phylum nov., Heliozoa and Apusozoa phylum nov.], having a centrosomal cone or radiating microtubules and two microtubular roots and a soft surface, frequently with reticulopodia. Corticoflagellates comprise photokaryotes (Plantae and chromalveolates, both ancestrally with cortical alveoli) and Excavata (a new protozoan infrakingdom comprising Loukozoa, Discicristata and Archezoa, ancestrally with three microtubular roots). All basal eukaryotic radiations were of mitochondrial aerobes; hydrogenosomes evolved polyphyletically from mitochondria long afterwards, the persistence of their double envelope long after their genomes disappeared being a striking instance of membrane heredity. I discuss the relationship between the 13 protozoan phyla recognized here and revise higher protozoan classification by updating as subkingdoms Lankester’s 1878 division of Protozoa into Corticata (Excavata, Alveolata; with prominent cortical microtubules and ancestrally localized cytostome–the Parabasalia probably secondarily internalized the cytoskeleton) and Gymnomyxa [infrakingdoms Sarcomastigota (Choanozoa, Amoebozoa) and Rhizaria; both ancestrally with a non-cortical cytoskeleton of radiating singlet microtubules and a relatively soft cell surface with diffused feeding]. As the eukaryote root almost certainly lies within Gymnomyxa, probably among the Sarcomastigota, Corticata are derived. Following the single symbiogenetic origin of chloroplasts in a corticoflagellate host with cortical alveoli, this ancestral plant radiated rapidly into glaucophytes, green plants and red algae. Secondary symbiogeneses subsequently transferred plastids laterally into different hosts, making yet more complex cell chimaeras–probably only thrice: from a red alga to the corticoflagellate ancestor of chromalveolates (Chromista plus Alveolata), from green algae to a secondarily uniciliate cercozoan to form chlorarachneans and independently to a biciliate excavate to yield photosynthetic euglenoids. Tertiary symbiogenesis involving eukaryotic algal symbionts replaced peridinin-containing plastids in two or three dinoflagellate lineages, but yielded no major novel groups. The origin and well-resolved primary bifurcation of eukaryotes probably occurred in the Cryogenian Period, about 850 million years ago, much more recently than suggested by unwarranted backward extrapolations of molecular ‘clocks’ or dubious interpretations as ‘eukaryotic’ of earlier large microbial fossils or still more ancient steranes. The origin of chloroplasts and the symbiogenetic incorporation of a red alga into a corticoflagellate to create chromalveolates may both have occurred in a big bang after the Varangerian snowball Earth melted about 580 million years ago, thereby stimulating the ensuing Cambrian explosion of animals and protists in the form of simultaneous, poorly resolved opisthokont and anterokont radiations.

    The abstract is super long. The author states: “I revise the phagotrophy theory of eukaryote origins by arguing that the essentially autogenous origins of most eukaryotic cell properties (phagotrophy, endomembrane system including peroxisomes, cytoskeleton, nucleus, mitosis and sex) partially overlapped and were synergistic with the symbiogenetic origin of mitochondria from an alpha-proteobacterium.” Nice hypothesis, but not much certainty.

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  44. Arnold ML, Sapir Y, Martin NH. 2008. Review. Genetic exchange and the origin of adaptations: prokaryotes to primates. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 363(1505):2813-20. Abstract: Data supporting the occurrence of adaptive trait transfer (i.e. the transfer of genes and thus the phenotype of an adaptive trait through viral recombination, lateral gene transfer or introgressive hybridization) are provided in this review. Specifically, we discuss examples of lateral gene transfer and introgressive hybridization that have resulted in the transfer or de novo origin of adaptations. The evolutionary clades in which this process has been identified include all types of organisms. However, we restrict our discussion to bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. Each of these examples reflects the same consequence, namely that the transfer of genetic material, through whatever mechanism, may result in adaptive evolution. In particular, each of the events discussed has been inferred to impact adaptations to novel environmental settings in the recipient lineage.

    Okay, so gene transfer occurs at a lot of different group of organisms. But it doesn’t explain how prokaryotes evolved into eukaryotes. In fact, a search of the full text reveals that the word “eukaryote” appears only in the literature cited section.

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  45. So Mack, after reviewing those articles it appears to me that there is still no certainty about how prokaryotes evolved into eukaryotes. Instead, there remain several competing hypotheses lacking a step-by-step process that can be demonstrated in a laboratory.

    After decades of manipulating the genome of bacteria (prokaryotes), have any ever been produced with a true nuclear membrane, non-circular chromosome, multiple chromosomes, golgi apparatus, chloroplasts, endoplasmic reticulum, 80S-type ribosomes, DNA wrapping on proteins, mitosis, lysosomes, peroxisomes, or a flagellum composed of more than one fiber? If eukaryotes evolved from prokaryotes, why can’t the sequence of events be repeated within the lab?

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  46. Eddie: “Bioinformatic screens have, however, identified proteins with eukaryote-like domains including Ank repeats, tetratricopeptide repeats, coiled-coil domains, leucine-rich repeats, GTPase domains, ubiquitination-related motifs, and eukaryote-like kinases and phosphatases (273, 274).”

    I for one am happy to have an evolutionist observe an enzyme here or there – even if it is just a kinase enzyme.

    But to equivocate between observing an enzyme – and actually having a eukaryote cell formed from a prokaryote cell is nothing short of pulp fiction. Of course if that is really all they have for the prokaryote to eukaryote storytelling … well I suppose they have to make do with what they have.

    Oh well – blind faith being what it is.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  47. Jékely G. 2009. Evolution of phototaxis. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 364(1531):2795-808. Abstract: Phototaxis in the broadest sense means positive or negative displacement along a light gradient or vector. Prokaryotes most often use a biased random walk strategy, employing type I sensory rhodopsin photoreceptors and two-component signalling to regulate flagellar reversal. This strategy only allows phototaxis along steep light gradients, as found in microbial mats or sediments. Some filamentous cyanobacteria evolved the ability to steer towards a light vector. Even these cyanobacteria, however, can only navigate in two dimensions, gliding on a surface. In contrast, eukaryotes evolved the capacity to follow a light vector in three dimensions in open water. This strategy requires a polarized organism with a stable form, helical swimming with cilia and a shading or focusing body adjacent to a light sensor to allow for discrimination of light direction. Such arrangement and the ability of three-dimensional phototactic navigation evolved at least eight times independently in eukaryotes. The origin of three-dimensional phototaxis often followed a transition from a benthic to a pelagic lifestyle and the acquisition of chloroplasts either via primary or secondary endosymbiosis. Based on our understanding of the mechanism of phototaxis in single-celled eukaryotes and animal larvae, it is possible to define a series of elementary evolutionary steps, each of potential selective advantage, which can lead to pelagic phototactic navigation. We can conclude that it is relatively easy to evolve phototaxis once cell polarity, ciliary swimming and a stable cell shape are present.

    Note the following statement: “it is possible to define a series of elementary evolutionary steps, each of potential selective advantage, which can lead to pelagic phototactic navigation.” Again, a nice hypothetical set of steps, but no certainty. And it’s staggering to think that “three-dimensional phototactic navigation evolved at least eight times independently in eukaryotes”!

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  48. Eddie: Note the following statements above: “thought to have arisen by” and “it was recently proposed.” The article describes a “mitochondrion–driven scenario” which is a hypothesis–not fact–for the origin of eukaryotes

    “thought to have arisen by…” and “was recently proposed…” is the language of storytelling.

    For some that will substitute for observable science – but for the objective unbiased reader using a bit of critical thinking – it is nothing more than a demonstration of wishful thinking.

    No wonder Patterson – a diehard atheist evolutionist himself was compelled to lament the distinctively religious nature of the argument for evolutionism.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  49. David Read said over on Spectrum….

    “I understand that in a church as large as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, there will be many hangers on, non-believers or extremely heterodox believers who are connected through marriage and/or other family ties to the church. That’s unavoidable and it doesn’t bother me. But we are now way, way beyond that. We are now in a situation in which liberals and traditional Adventists are in a “winner-take-all” struggle for control of the church and its institutions. It’s a civil war, and at this point the conservatives are being routed, I think largely because we’ve been in deep denial about the extent of apostasy and rebellion in the official church.”

    Let me say I think God for men like David and could only wish a lot more people would become informed of what is happening in the SDA church. Now notice a response to David’s comments by a liberal…

    “Rich Hannon – Mon, 01/23/2012 – 18:39
    David: an effective tactic to shut down serious conversation where substantive disagreement is occurring but respectful people might listen and perhaps understand each other – is to try and convince participants and bystanders that there is a war going on. So I can understand your tactics. But this is your perception, your spin. Not reality. And I think pushing this distortion of reality is disgraceful.”

    They hope to avoid any real evaluation of their forum as an apostate SDA forum that not only attacks and opposes the SDA church, but Christanity in every context.

    Not only must they be exposed as an antichrist movement, but must be opposed and run out of the church as anti-Adventism.

    We can wonder how long they will tolerate David Read on their forum? They run me off for the same reason. They hate real challenge and hope to avoid exposure by claiming to be a “supporting ministry”.

    Just like the devil in heaven as he attack and opposed God’s kingdom while claiming loyalty to His government. A perfect parallel is obvious.

    Wake up SDA’s!!!! “Your house is on fire, and your children will burn……”

    I always wondered what that “Lady Bug, lady bug, fly away home” was all about? Now I know.

    Bill Sorensen

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  50. Cavalier-Smith T. 2006. Cell evolution and Earth history: stasis and revolution. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 361(1470):969-1006. Abstract: This synthesis has three main parts. The first discusses the overall tree of life and nature of the last common ancestor (cenancestor). I emphasize key steps in cellular evolution important for ordering and timing the major evolutionary innovations in the history of the biosphere, explaining especially the origins of the eukaryote cell and of bacterial flagella and cell envelope novelties. Second, I map the tree onto the fossil record and discuss dates of key events and their biogeochemical impact. Finally, I present a broad synthesis, discussing evidence for a three-phase history of life. The first phase began perhaps ca 3.5 Gyr ago, when the origin of cells and anoxic photosynthesis generated the arguably most primitive prokaryote phylum, Chlorobacteria (=Chloroflexi), the first negibacteria with cells bounded by two acyl ester phospholipid membranes. After this ‘chlorobacterial age’ of benthic anaerobic evolution protected from UV radiation by mineral grains, two momentous quantum evolutionary episodes of cellular innovation and microbial radiation dramatically transformed the Earth’s surface: the glycobacterial revolution initiated an oxygenic ‘age of cyanobacteria’ and, as the ozone layer grew, the rise of plankton; immensely later, probably as recently as ca 0.9 Gyr ago, the neomuran revolution ushered in the ‘age of eukaryotes’, Archaebacteria (arguably the youngest bacterial phylum), and morphological complexity. Diversification of glycobacteria ca 2.8 Gyr ago, predominantly inhabiting stratified benthic mats, I suggest caused serial depletion of 13C by ribulose 1,5-bis-phosphate caboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) to yield ultralight late Archaean organic carbon formerly attributed to methanogenesis plus methanotrophy. The late origin of archaebacterial methanogenesis ca 720 Myr ago perhaps triggered snowball Earth episodes by slight global warming increasing weathering and reducing CO2 levels, to yield runaway cooling; the origin of anaerobic methane oxidation ca 570 Myr ago reduced methane flux at source, stabilizing Phanerozoic climates. I argue that the major cellular innovations exhibit a pattern of quantum evolution followed by very rapid radiation and then substantial stasis, as described by Simpson. They yielded organisms that are a mosaic of extremely conservative and radically novel features, as characterized by De Beer’s phrase ‘mosaic evolution’. Evolution is not evenly paced and there are no real molecular clocks.

    The author states: “I argue that the major cellular innovations exhibit a pattern of quantum evolution followed by very rapid radiation and then substantial stasis, as described by Simpson.” But the author fails to explain the precise steps required for a prokaryote to evolve into a eukaryote.

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  51. Mack&#032Ramsy: The question for the church shouldn’t be is evolution true or not, but knowing that it’s true, what light does that shed of the bible.

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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

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

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    • @Holly Pham:

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

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

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  53. Re Ron’s Quote

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

    Hi Ron

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

    Gratefully,

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen

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  55. Hi Bill

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    No exceptions, period.

    Bill Sorensen

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

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  57. Re Bill’s Quote

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

    Hi Bill

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  58. Re Bill’s Quote

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

    Hi Bill

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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

    Bill&#032Sorensen: So SDA’s do not limit our confession of faith to simply “the bible only”, but the bible as understood and presented to us by the pioneers, especially EGW.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  62. Re Bill’s Quote

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

    Hi Bill

    Thanks for your comments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I remain,

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

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  63. Re Bill’s Quote

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

    Hi Bill

    Thanks for your comments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  65. Re Mack’s Quote

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

    Hi Mack

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

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

    Keep posting Mack, you write well.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen

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  67. Re Ron’s Quote

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

    Hi Ron

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen

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  68. Fundamental beliefs —

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

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

    No aftersuppositions, contrary to the light God has given, are to be entertained. Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time, God has given us as a foundation for our faith. He Himself has taught us what is truth. One will arise, and still another, with new light which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit…

    [Satan] knows that if he can deceive the people who claim to believe present truth, and make them believe that the work the Lord designs for them to do for His people is a removing of the old landmarks, something which they should, with most determined zeal, resist, then he exults over the deception he has led them to believe…

    We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years.

    And while the Scriptures are God’s word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.
    — Ellen White, Preach the Word, p. 5. (1905); Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 31-32. (1946)

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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

    Holly&#032Pham: Are the atheists and agnostics going to be changed in the twinkling of an eye?

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

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

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  72. Bill&#032Sorensen: Others commenced to find fault with the foundation. They wished improvements made, and then the platform would be more perfect, and the people much happier. Some stepped off the platform to examine it and declared it to be laid wrong.

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

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

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  73. Re Ron’s Quote

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

    Hi Ron

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

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

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  75. Bill&#032Sorensen: Well, it must necessarily come to the point where the liberals will finally admit they don’t accept or believe the bible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  78. Hi Ken,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  79. Mack&#032Ramsy: (by the way if evolution is a conspiracy directed by Satan than it is a vast, vast act of creation nearly equal in scale and cope to the creator’s own original act of creation)

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen

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  82. Mack says……

    “Just how seriously do you take your book.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen

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

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

    I find that idea somewhat entertaining.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Again from Early Writings,

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

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

    Bill Sorensen

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  85. Mack&#032Ramsy: Not to be picky or anything but the story wasn’t written in stone, it was an oral tradition that was eventually written on animal skins that have long decayed in to dust but were copied over and over again and translated and re-translated over and over again and after a lot of man made influence we have the story. As of the renaissance. You’re more than welcome to put into stone but you’d be the first. You’re probably thinking of the 10 commandments of which we have only the decayed animal skins as proof, and only then all that says is that we need to keep Sabbath holy in reverence to the creator. Not a lot in the way of history there. No I don’t think that God’s word can be judged by Man’s reason. I’m saying that if God’s word is different than reason, then our understanding of the word must be flawed. Are you so confident that you’ve understood God perfectly and for all time? That you have never made any mistakes in how you understand God and the world around you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  86. Bill&#032Sorensen: anyone holding to scripture will also hold to a 7 day literal week. It is an objective given beyond negotiation.

    Bill, I am curious, Do the first 3 chapters of Genesis teach you anything else? Have you discovered any truth in those chapters that was not previously spelled out by Mrs. White?

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  87. A first one exchange for context –

    Ron said: It 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

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

    And then we get this –

    Ron:
    I expected as much.

    To which I have to say — that in those small areas where we do find at least some agreement (like the above) we can simply celebrate our agreement.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  88. Lydian: This Book is no ordinary Book. It is as sacred as God is–it’s Author is God Himself and it demands our deepest respect. We claim to believe what it SAYS–and we need to respect what it IS. At least this is the way I see it.
    Lydian

    I agree with you Lydian. When I am typing and I make a mistake, I feel impelled to go back and correct it. Capitalizing does show respect. It is unfortunate that in this busy world we don’t take the time and/or effort to show this respect to God’s Word.

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  89. Lydian: I mentioned my concern on this practice in another column some time ago but apparently very few, if anybody, saw things the same way so I’m mentioning it again here because I feel it is very important.I simply cannot understand how anyone who truly respects the Bible as God’s Word to us can write it’s name over and over again and never capitalize the B…

    I agree with you, and I actually made that same error a few months ago. I believe I have corrected it since then.

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  90. I mentioned my concern on this practice in another column some time ago but apparently very few, if anybody, saw things the same way so I’m mentioning it again here because I feel it is very important.

    I simply cannot understand how anyone who truly respects the Bible as God’s Word to us can write it’s name over and over again and never capitalize the B. This is GODS’s Book to His children–the most important Book in the world and yet we do not pay it the respect we pay any old secular book. Who would write “Gone With The Wind” as “gone with the wind?” Nobody with any education at all would even think of doing such a thing unless they meant to degrade it for some reason.

    This Book is the most important Book in the world! God gave it to His children to guide their steps to heaven. It should be handled with the utmost respect and I am reasonably sure God is not honored (or pleased) when we treat it with disrespect–which, to me anyway, is what we are doing when we do not even give it the respect we show to novels and other books that flood the market!

    This Book is no ordinary Book. It is as sacred as God is–it’s Author is God Himself and it demands our deepest respect. We claim to believe what it SAYS–and we need to respect what it IS. At least this is the way I see it.

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  91. Ron: 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.

    This is utter nonsense. To cease to try to resist temptation is exactly what Satan wants, and will cost you your salvation. We cannot have enough strength to resist temptation on our own, but we must do our part.

    Ron: It also makes you realize that neither God, nor the church are threatened by things like biology teachers teaching evolutionary biology.

    How could you possibly believe such a thing? If, as you claim, you are all about the love of God, how could you stand by and see Him insulted? How can you see Satan robbing Him of the glory He so richly deserves? Is that your style of love?

    He created us–each and every one of us. Genetics is the vehicle He uses to do so, but make no mistake, He is involved in the creation of each new life. He endows us with physical characteristics, grants us talents to use in His service, and then, with tender regard for this creation of His, teaches us, through the Bible, all about Himself and how the earth was made. Evolution spits in His face, steals from Him, and denies Him. Why should the church, who loves Him, accept and tolerate such abominible treatment?

    Anyone who accepts evolution does not love God. You’re fooling yourself if you think such acceptance has anything to do with love for God or man. And one thing I do know–God does not accept such blatent rebellion against Him. If you think that tolerance of sin is love, you are absolutely deluded.

    Ron: 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.

    What we see is not fear, but the handwriting on the wall. Think, Ron, what would be the point of keeping the Sabbath if not for Creation, which it is a memorial of? It isn’t just a day off from work. Keeping the Sabbath means that we acknowledge God as our Creator. That point is so important, that it will divide the saved from the lost. If we don’t accept the Creation account as written in the Bible, we forfeit the right to eternal life with the One who created us. Why? Because we side with Satan in the Great Controversy if we deny God as our Creator. Did you understand what I just said? It is Satanic to believe in evolution.

    So, yes, we have a right as SDAs to be upset by teachers/professors teaching this tripe to our children and young people. We have a duty to demand that this situation be corrected post haste, and we have an obligation to see that this heresy be put out of our church. Anyone who clings to this rather than the truth needs to find somewhere else to go and worship whatever apostate god they are esteeming higher than the real, genuine, God of the universe.

    Ron: 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.

    I find that incredible that you would trade your salvation for the theory of a mere man. How cheaply you sell it out.

    I can only hope and pray that Elder Wilson will hold true to his mandate and will indeed be successful of purifying God’s church from the heresy that has crept in.

    You say you feel sad for Bill, but I feel sad for you and all your companions in this delusion. How you cannot see where you are wrong is beyond me. But I guess that is what it means to be deluded, isn’t it? Plain and simple–if you accept evolution, you deny God. How can you not see it?

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    • @Faith:

      “This is utter nonsense. To cease to try to resist temptation is exactly what Satan wants, and will cost you your salvation.”

      I am only speaking from personal experience. This is the way it worked in my life. I admit that it was very scary to admit defeat and stop trying. But I didn’t just stop trying. I stopped trying; I gave it to Jesus, and I stopped feeling guilty. I had the same fears as you, that Satan would take over. But that isn’t the way it worked. To my great surprise, I didn’t turn into a raving addict. In fact on that issue, pretty much nothing happened. Instead, God redirected my attention to other more important things that needed to be addressed in my life first. Then later, actually several years later, he dealt with the issue that was my first concern, and now I am pretty much free. If it turns out I am lost and deluded, then, I guess I am lost and deluded, because I wasn’t able to do it, even with Jesus “help”. I trust Jesus will do with me whatever He chooses. I am OK with that. At least, for now, I am a whole lot happier.

      “neither God, nor the church are threatened: . . . How could you possibly believe such a thing? If, as you claim, you are all about the love of God, how could you stand by and see Him insulted? . . . Anyone who accepts evolution does not love God.”

      First, I am not afraid for the church, because I believe Jesus won the battle at the cross. And, Mrs. White had that funny little vision about the precious gems being trampled in the barnyard. When they were picked up and washed off, they were none the worse for wear. Whether we believe truth makes a huge difference in our lives, but it doesn’t make any difference at all to truth itself. Truth is still truth whether we believe it or not, and it will out in the end.

      Second, God is a “big boy”, he can take care of himself. He was reconciled to everything that happens on this earth even before he made it, so I am sure he has a plan. I am here to help where ever I can, but in the end, whatever anyone else believes is between themselves and God. I don’t see how threatening a person’s job is going to help them understand, or believe, or think more highly of God.

      “I find that incredible that you would trade your salvation for the theory of a mere man.”

      I have given my heart and life to God. That is all I can do. Whether I am saved or not is up to Jesus.

      “How cheaply you sell it out.”

      I haven’t sold out at all. In fact I am here arguing on behalf of God the best I can.

      “If you accept evolution, you deny God. How can you not see it?”

      I do see it. I think I understand exactly why you believe the way you do. But I see the issue in a larger context. As I have tried to explain in may other threads on this website, I do not believe there is any inherent reason that evolution and creation are incompatible. I think that is a mis-conception developed 150 years ago when the concept first appeared and that both sides of that argument are wrong. Are we bound to the misconceptions of our forefathers? Doesn’t God expect us to learn and grow with time? We have had 150 years to think about this, and our perspective has grown and changed. That is the concept of “Present Truth”.

      If Elder Wilson attempts to “purify the church” by this method, he will be going against the direct, expressed command of Jesus himself. Math. 13:30.

      I believe the proper way to purify the church, is to do what Sean and PaulUC are doing on another thread. Sean is compiling scientific studies that support his opinion, and he and PaulUC are having a civil debate over the merits of said studies. If enough people did that, then over time, a body of evidence would grow to the point that more people would find it convincing. I believe this is the hard work that our church has neglected to do. I don’t believe it is fair to punish individuals for an organizational failure.

      (PS. I want to commend Sean for his efforts in that direction.)

      There is no way to short circuit that process. Nobody will be convinced by firing biology teachers. To most people, that looks too much like the Roman Catholic church persecuting the heretics. It didn’t work for Rome, and it won’t work for SDA’s.
      In fact, even if evolution is truly a heresy, just your calling it so is disrespectful of the people you are hopefully trying to win over. It is counterproductive to your true interests. That is why Jesus told us not to do it.

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  92. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Unless one of us has already reached perfection, there is always room for improvement or “enhanced knowledge of God” – wouldn’t you agree? ;-)”

    Hi Sean

    Wholeheartedly. In my case the room is so big I find myself walking around in circles a lot! 🙂

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  93. Re 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.”

    Hi Ron

    This is the essence of Platonic Idealism that had a profound effect upon me when I studied it as a first year university student. I’ve referenced the link below for you.

    http://www.philosophicalsociety.com/Archives/Plato%20And%20The%20Theory%20Of%20Forms.htm

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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    • @ken:
      That was a very nice presentation. It helped make Plato’s idea much more accessible for me. I am not sure of the conclusion, that just because the ideal of a leaf (or of a Ron)is eternal, that eternity necessarily lasts forever.

      It seems to me that what Plato called eternal, we call conceptual. It seems to me that the eternal/conceptual, only lasts as long as there is some material object, i.e. a human brain to conceive. This would go along with what my professors told me, that in the Bible, eternity is not a length of time, but a state of being.

      That said, without denying the traditional understanding of the Bible there is a sense in which the whole of the Bible story is fulfilled in my life in the here and now such that even if our traditional understanding were not true, and there never was a literal Second Coming, the Bible would still be true in my life. Here is an example that might help.

      With the exception of the Tree of Life, everything that was in the Garden of Eden is still here in this world. Many people are so overwhelmed by the evil in the world that they don’t see it. Since Jesus came into my life (the second coming, where he comes to get me personally, and takes me to live with him) and I was born again, my eyes were opened, and I now live a perfect life in Eden restored.

      Basically, I have a choice. I can, and sometimes do, live in hell, or I can chose to live in heaven. Most of the time, I prefer to live in heaven.

      If I understand the Bible in this way, then it is directly observable to me, and I don’t really have to worry about whether the creation story, or the second coming are literal events. I hope, and chose to believe they are, but in the hypothetical case that they aren’t, then I am not disappointed, because the promise has already been fulfilled in my current life.

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