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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  2. Bill&#032Sorensen: Here is the quote Faith refered to…..
    “If we are faithful in doing our part, in cooperating with Him, God will work through us [to do] the good pleasure of His will. But God cannot work through us if we make no effort. If we gain eternal life, we must work, and work earnestly. . . . Let us not be deceived by the oft-repeated assertion, “All you have to do is to believe.” Faith and works are two oars which we must use equally if we [would] press our way up the stream against the current of unbelief. “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” The Christian is a man of thought and practice. His faith fixes its roots firmly in Christ. By faith and good works he keeps his spirituality strong and healthy, and his spiritual strength increases as he strives to work the works of God. [REVIEW AND HERALD, JUNE 11, 1901.] {NL 38.2}

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

    God Bless

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

    Have a great day, everyone.




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

    Hi Bob

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

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

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

    It is not the arbitrary selection you seem to imagine.

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  4. Hello Shining

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

    Thank you for your kind concern for my welfare.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  5. Sean&#032Pitman: Because of this, he (the Samaritan) was recognized by God as being more righteous than those who did have access to greater doctrinal knowledge or truths about God,

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

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




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    • @Ron:

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

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

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

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

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. I guess the illustration used by SDA evangelists of days gone by is still as applicable now as then.

    If you are caught speeding 90 in a 65 zone, you must pay the fine, (or have someone else do it for you) to be “justified”. This is how the negative side of the law is satisfied.

    So, are you then free to drive 90 and continue to be justified?

    No, you must obey the law or the pardon is simply not worth anything, as the penalty is applied again and again.

    The law justifies those who obey it, and condemns those who don’t.

    Paul is dealing primarily with pardon, James is dealing with the Christian obligation to obey the law. But today, Paul is used to negate the Christian obligation to obey the law to be justified.

    Any lawyer who understands the purpose of “law” would easily and readily understand and see the point.

    Apparently, modern SDA theologians have been so duped by the devil, and intimidated by apostate Protestantism, they can’t simply admit we must obey the law to be justified.

    Our last quarters lesson are classic of how “faith alone” has been wrested not only from the use by historic Protestantism, but far from how the bible explains “justification.”

    And EGW is totally ignored because they can not harmonize their view with hers.

    Here is the quote Faith refered to…..

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

    Salvation is not a one concept proposition. Simply because two seperate minds are involved, God’s and ours. And both parties must agree to do their part.

    God forgives our sins, and we return to obedience to His law. And this is “justification” in the biblical context.

    Bill Sorensen




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  7. Re Ron’s Quote

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

    Dear Ron

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  8. Ron’s Quote

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

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

    More “word games” to avoid the obvious.

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

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

    Bill Sorensen




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  9. Re Bob’s Quote

    “ken: I asked once before and I’ll ask again: what is your background

    We are talking about religion not biology when it comes to evolutionism. Even atheist evolutionist proponents like Patterson confess the religious nature of the argument for evolution where our evolutionist friends are said to “claim the fact while admitting ignorance as to the means” (Patterson’s words not mine).”

    Hi Bob

    You are dodging the question my friend. By doing so you leave us with the impression that you have never even taken a university level introductory course in biology. Am i right in that assumption?

    Now certainly you are entitled to your opinion that evolutionism is religion. But I suspect hundreds of evolutionary biologists that hold PHd’s in the subject would differ with you in that regard. The problem you have is you want to argue evolution is junk science from a scientific point of view without any training or education in the field. The same applies when you render legal opinions.

    Why not just admit your lack of expertise and earn yourself a bit of credibility? You don’t see me running around claiming expertise in interpreting the bible do you? Nor do I use disparaging terms like junk or blind when it comes to describing the sacred text.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  10. God designed our bodies so that they can react to our environment. But He did not create “the amazing amoeba able to transform into a horse”. And in fact we do not observe such a thing at all in nature.

    The evolutionist “hopes” that if any change can be shown in nature – then ALL degrees of change hoped for and imagined – must be possible. That is as Patterson said – a religious conviction – not science. He said they “plead the fact while claiming ignorance as to the means”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  11. Ron: Hmm . . . The only time I recall Jesus challenging doctrine, is when he explicitly contradicted the clear teaching of the Bible on how to observe the Sabbath. (Something to think about.)

    I for one – am happy to have that proven with an actual Bible study – rather than mere wishful thinking.

    It always amazes me that some people take such a light interest in the text itself that they end up making the argument of Christ’s accusers rather than the argument of Christ.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  12. ken: I asked once before and I’ll ask again: what is your background

    We are talking about religion not biology when it comes to evolutionism. Even atheist evolutionist proponents like Patterson confess the religious nature of the argument for evolution where our evolutionist friends are said to “claim the fact while admitting ignorance as to the means” (Patterson’s words not mine).

    If we were talking about actual science – such as Maxwell’s covariant field tensors, or mitosis, or mRNA translation or anything else “observable in nature” or even the equations for string theory – it would be another matter for the “believe it because I say so” crowd.

    But the confirmed history of fraud and debunked myth so central to evolutionism’s salient arguments removes us from the need of a “believe it because I say so” style discussion.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  13. I agree with Mack Ramsay when he says, “I believe that God created a system designed to evolve.”

    Clearly, God did design his creation with the ability to adapt and change. That isn’t at all inconsistent with the biblical truth that God created the ancestral plant, animal and human forms in a literal week a few thousand years ago. To the contrary, that God created life forms able to adapt and change with changing conditions demonstrates the genius of our Creator God.

    In my opinion, the mechanism of change posited by the Neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution—random DNA replication errors—is inadequate to explain not only macro-evolution, or the amoeba to Einstein narrative of mainstream science, but also the rapid post-Flood speciation and adaptation posited by creation science. Random DNA replication errors are palpably inadequate to explain the substantial and rapid evolutionary change that I, as a YEC or YLC creationist, believe has taken place in a relatively short amount of time.

    I personally think the NDT has hampered science and retarded exploration of other evolutionary mechanisms–like lateral gene transfer–that, while they couldn’t substantiate the molecules to man myth, could help creationists explain the rapid evolutionary change that must have taken place in our young life creationist model.




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  14. Re David’s Quote

    “In my opinion, the mechanism of change posited by the Neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution—random DNA replication errors—is inadequate to explain not only macro-evolution, or the amoeba to Einstein narrative of mainstream science, but also the rapid post-Flood speciation and adaptation posited by creation science.”

    Hello David

    That is an interesting and candid comment.

    What mechanism do you think is at play that could explain such rapid, post flood speciation?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  15. Re Wes’s Quote

    “Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.”

    Hi Wes

    There is another very viable option. That the depiction of Jesus by third parties was not accurate. Did his ardent followers try to create a divine being out of a remarkable man?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Ken, this is exactly why you would be classed with the liberal element in the church.

    If your suggestion has any validity at all, we must conclude the whole bible is subject to the same conclusion.

    We could not possibly know if any of it is a reliable source of revelation concerning who God is, what He did, or who we are, or what we should do. It would all be pure speculation with no certainty.

    If you have any real desire to know and/or understand the bible, it doesn’t seem apparent in any of your posts. My evaluation of what I have read of your posting is this,….. You are an agnostic and proud of it.

    You flaunt the confession as if you considered it a sign of superior intellect. And then find refuge in the idea that if there is a “god”, he will surely approve you since you claim “civil righteousness” as you “help” and “love” your neighbor.

    But you have a bible, and I know by your posting that you have read at least some of it. Since your confession is that you don’t know if it is right or wrong, and since you admit it may be right, shouldn’t you worry just a bit that if it is right, you may well be lost?

    Do you think by claiming “I don’t know.” it will let you off the hook, as it were, if the bible is true?

    You seem to find comfort and assurance in claiming you are an agnostic. But the bible tells us “Christ is the light that lighteth every man the cometh into the world.”

    Apparently, you deny this statement and claim you have no such enlightenment. Now no one can know exactly for a fact what another person may know or not know. But Paul’s words may have some relevant meaning in your situation.

    “Be not deceived, God is not mocked.”

    This means you can tell me and everyone else that you have no “enlightenment” to make a viable decision one way or the other. And we can not say otherwise. But we do know in the end, according to the bible, everyone has had adequate knowledge to make a viable decision and if they are lost, it is their own fault and they will not be able to plead ignorance for their lost condition.

    As the professor asked his class, “What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?” And one student answered, “I don’t know, and I don’t care.”

    “Precisely” was the professors response.

    So, Ken, your confession of “I don’t know” may well be coupled with “and I don’t care.” Or maybe more accurately, “I don’t want to know.”

    And if you come on a Christian forum and comment, you should expect to be chided and exhorted and hopefully encouraged to consider that any “I don’t know” won’t necessarily “get you off the hook” when it comes to the final judgment. In such case, you better learn to know and find out before it is too late.

    I suspect and hope that like myself, at least some are praying for you who have read your posts. In some cases I close my post with “keep the faith”. In your case, I can only say,

    “Find the faith, and then keep it.”

    Bill Sorensen




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  16. Re Wes’s Quote

    “Did his ardent followers try to create a divine being out of a remarkable man?” If so, they, we, are madmen, something worse.

    Hi Wes

    Not madmen but perhaps culturally indoctrinated to your particular faith construct from a young age. Do you think you would have been an Adventist if your big tent experience at age 10 had happened in Tibet, India, Afghanistan ……? How much influence did Dr. Pitman’s pastor father have on his beliefs?

    Perhaps if I had been raised as an Adventist, rather than an Angligan, i’d believe as you do. Perhaps…but I think the same questions I asked the Anglican minister would have been the same ones I would have asked an Aadventist pastor. And the answer would have been the same: have faith that our version of God is superior to the others.

    Why?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

      Chorus:
      By genes and educated truth of irrevocably divergent venues
      Are we, ordering our grits and pabulum from different menus,
      Agree? Yet we both can have the last word here, believe it
      Do we both. So let us say it again in unison: amen. So be it..




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  17. Re Bill’s Quote

    “But we do know in the end, according to the bible, everyone has had adequate knowledge to make a viable decision and if they are lost, it is their own fault and they will not be able to plead ignorance for their lost condition.”

    Hi Bill

    I plead no ignorance and hold myself 100% for the consequences of my agnosticism. Moreover I am as deeply convicted to my method of inquiry as you are to your faith.

    Yes I have read the bible. Have you studied evolutionary biology?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  18. Faith said….

    “Ok, I see Bill is commenting on the law and obedience to it.”

    Actually, Faith, I was pleasantly surprised that I got 3 thumbs up on my post concerning law and gospel.

    I was afraid many, if not most, would not even understand the point I was making.

    That we are justified by the law should be so obvious that we could wonder that any professing Christian would deny it.

    The purpose of any law is to justify or condemn. So….if we can not be justified by the law, then neither can we be condemned by it.

    It should also be equally obvious that no unbeliever can be justified by the law for several reasons.

    1. It is the law of faith, grace, love and the gospel. How then could an unbeliever who has no faith in the gospel have any ability to be justified by the law.

    2. Unbelievers can not keep the law since they have no moral motivation or power to do so. So they can’t keep it, even if they try. (Many of us know this by experience.)

    3. The law is based on a love relationship with Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus, you can not have a relationship with Him, nor keep His law.

    4. The law is a covenant agreement simular to marriage. You must be married to Christ and thus be a part of His family before you can keep the “family” law. If you are not a member of the family, it is vain to think by obedience you can become a member of the family. A legal act of marriage precedes the moral action of obedience. None the less, the two work together in a perfect unity, so that if you refuse to obey, the marriage is eventually annuled.

    5. Those who think they can be justified by Christ’s atonement, without entering into the covenant agreement of obedience are self deceived.

    6. Justification then has two aspects. A legal and a moral component. The moral law is not for the purpose of satisfying the legal requirements. Thus, we rightly discern that the ceremonial law, which typifies Christ, can not be fulfilled by anyone except Christ Himself. We are released from this obligation when we accept Him. But this does not release us from the necessity to keep the moral law to be justified.

    Rather than say there is a legal justification, and a moral justification, it seems more appropriate to say justification has legal and moral implications.

    The Catholic church clearly understands that you must keep the law to be justified. All Christians should agree on this point. The error of Rome is to convolute the legal and moral aspects of justification and claim a believer can earn and merit (legal) the favor of God by keeping the moral law.

    Apostate Protestantism discerns that the merit of redemption is found solely in Christ, but seperates the moral law and negates it true intent and purpose by claiming we need not keep the moral law to be saved and/or justified.

    God raised up bible Adventism to set the record straight. We aren’t doing very well, are we?

    Bill Sorensen




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  19. @Ron, Where in SDA history did we (SDAs) say that 1844 would be the Second Coming? Wasn’t this advocated by people before the SDA Church was established and organized? How would this be a “fundamental belief?”




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  20. Ken, if the 144,000 was a literal number there would be only 12,000 saved from each tribe of Israel, which means only Jews would be saved. No born-again Christians, Catholics, Baptists, SDAs, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, Africans, Asians, Native Americans, Polynesians, Bob Ryans, Bill Sorensons, Professor Kents, etc. Unless, of course, they happened to be of Jewish descent. To me it’s an obvious symbol. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, incidentally, interpret the number literally.

    As for trying to understand the distinction between the symbolic and literal interpretation of a scripture, here’s a quote from The Great Controversy, p. 199: “The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. Christ has given the promise: ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ John 7:17. If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.”




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  21. John Henry Newman was a Protestant scholar who, after years of study and evaluation, decided that Protestantism was not a viable explanation of the bible and salvation. He joined the Catholic church and became a Cardinal.

    His difficulty was this, “How can you build a bridge to obedience and Christian ethics by advocating salvation “by faith alone”? It was obvious to him, and me, that if we are saved by “faith alone” obedience has no dynamic to the salvation formula. Had he carefully studied the better scholars in historic Protestantism, he would have found the answer.

    All historic confessions of faith acknowledge that the law is still a rule of life for all believers and all believers are “under the law” as a rule of life, but not “under the law” of condemnation since we are now forgiven. If you break the law, you are again under its condemnation.

    The phrase “faith alone” had a selective and special meaning in the context of their conflict with Rome. It singular application had to do with merit and so it was “faith alone, Christ alone and grace alone.” When it comes to merit, only Jesus can and did merit heaven and offers it to us as a free gift.

    Protestantism seperated merit from a believers works, but did not seperate the moral obligation of the believer to keep the moral law to be justified.

    Bible Adventism re-affirms exactly how merit is a part of the believer’s works. As our works are wrought in Christ, He adds His merit to our works and by His intercession, our works are considered meritorious, even when they are not.

    Catholics and others call this “legal fiction” and reject legal imputation as being unethical and even immoral.

    But we don’t call it “legal fiction” when Mary Smith marries Jim Jones and now becomes Mary Jones, do we? She really is Mary Jones by way of a legal declaration of an authority that unites her to Jim.

    Mary and Jim have a covenant agreement in marriage that can be broken so that either one has a right to divorce the other if the agreement is abandon. Just so, if we break the moral law, God will divorce us eventually and we are no longer “justified”.

    Bill Sorensen




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

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

    I should think that would trouble modern libs a bit.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

    Notice “the details”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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




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  25. ron:

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

    You might want to rethink who you hang out with.

    Ok – I will play this game.

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

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

    No aftersuppositions, contrary to the light God has given, are to be entertained.

    Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time, God has given us as a foundation for our faith. He Himself has taught us what is truth. One will arise, and still another, with new light which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit…
    [Satan] knows that if he can deceive the people who claim to believe present truth, and make them believe that the work the Lord designs for them to do for His people is a removing of the old landmarks, something which they should, with most determined zeal, resist, then he exults over the deception he has led them to believe…
    We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God’s word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.
    — Ellen White, Preach the Word, p. 5. (1905); Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 31-32. (1946)

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen




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

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

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

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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

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




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

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

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

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

    No argument there at all.

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

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

    Here is how our early pioneers viewed this

    We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather together a mass of Scripture, and pile it as proof around their asserted theories. This has been done over and over again during the past fifty years. And while the Scriptures are God’s word, and are to be respected, the application of them, if such application moves one pillar from the foundation that God has sustained these fifty years, is a great mistake. He who makes such an application knows not the wonderful demonstration of the Holy Spirit that gave power and force to the past messages that have come to the people of God.
    — Ellen White, Preach the Word, p. 5. (1905); Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 31-32. (1946)

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

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

    This is not a change being suggested by conservatives.

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

    agreed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Such a tactic could only work with fellow liberals.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

    You might want to rethink who you hang out with.




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

    In fact she even addresses liberalism itself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

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

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




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  33. Bob:

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

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

    Ken: Re Bob’s Quote

    Hi Bob

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

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

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

    Bravo my friend.

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Have a nice Sabbath and keep the faith,

    Bill Sorensen




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

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

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

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

    Interesting.

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

    What problem is this solving for TEs?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  36. Re Bob’s Quote

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

    Bravo my friend”

    Hi Bob

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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

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




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  38. Re Bob’s Quote

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

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

    Hi Bob

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  39. Ron Reply January 20, 2012 at 9:26 pm Bill Sorensen: They seem to have blinders on when they read such declarations of Jesus who said, “Ye are of your father the devil and the lust of your father ye will do.”

    Bill, It is not that liberals don’t see the quote. The problem is that Jesus was talking to the religious establishment, ie the conservatives of his time. It looks to me like Jesus is referring to exactly the kind of thing that is happening at La Sierra, with the conservatives trying to drive out the teachers. The conservatives killed Jesus, and now they are persecuting the believers.”

    You miss the point, Ron. Liberals simply don’t like any “challenge” for or against anything. Like Rodney King, “Why can’t we just all get along?”

    Many Sunday keepers would say, “Fine, keep the 7th day if you want to, just don’t bother me and claim I am lost if I reject your understanding of the bible. I believe in Jesus, we are all going to heaven.”

    And so many may well say in Adventism, “If you choose to believe in a 7 literal days for creation week, fine, I choose to believe science will not support such a position and believe otherwise.”

    But a liberal is only “tolerant” as long as he has the “bully pulpit” and can ram-rod his agenda on society in the secular world as well as in the church.

    The liberal becomes very “intolerant” when he loses power to force his agenda on society and the church. It is only because the liberals have control of the church that they can cry “tolerance” as they force their agenda of liberal music, dress, worship styles and women elders on the church community all in the name of “tolerance and love and the gospel.”

    So they demand that a conservative must set aside their convictions for the sake of unity and love and not challenge the present statis quo that presently controls the church. And so they point out how “loving and tolerant” Jesus was, and refuse to acknowledge His direct challenge to the false doctrine and theology the religious leaders taught in His day.

    So, it is not conservative vs. liberal or visa versa. It is truth vs. error and who holds the “bully pulpit” to force their erroneous agenda on the church community.

    EGW has well said, “Two parties will be developed in the church.” We see that clearly in the church today. But the authority to form and shape the spirituality of the church is the false party and false religion.

    The lines are being drawn. Polarization will continue until a split will surely and inevitably happen. The politicians of the church work earnestly to see if they can avoid it, but they can’t. Truth and error can not exist together very long.

    It was so in Jesus’ day, and has happened again and again in history and will certainly happen again in our time.

    Bill Sorensen




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  40. Ok – that was a funny mistake!

    (He — “Fritz Guy”) also assumed that evolutionist dogma is reality no matter what the Bible says to the contrary .




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  41. Ron: I think that when Mrs. White objected to Evolution, she was referring to Evolution as the Cause. What we have typically labeled “Atheistic evolution”. That was a fundamental error in early thought about evolution and I agree with Mrs. White’s objections, and Bob’s quotes, on that ground, but I am not sure her statements would apply to evolution as a process. As I read Mrs. White’s statements, it appears to me that she is objecting to skeptics using Evolution as an argument to remove God as the cause

    The details do not support that form of wishful thinking.

    Let’s take 3SG90-91 as a test case for that speculation above.

    Notice that in the 3SG example – it is Theistic Evolutionism that is specifically the religion being called into question – not atheist evolutionism.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  42. Mack Ramsy: : but the one thing we know for certain is that it was designed to change. There are so many back up and redundancies designed to make whatever changes that DNA faces to be profitable for the organism, or if their deleterious to ensure they don’t damage the subsequent generation (yes there are very complex methods for doing this) The immune system in fact does it intentionally.

    Obviously the references above to “designed” and “intention” could not be overlooked by the objective unbiased reader applying a bit of critical thinking to the topic. And so my response below merely states the obvious point of agreement on a part of that post.

    BobRyan::

    I assume from your remarks above – that you are an example of an evolutionist that is strongly in favor of Intelligent Design.

    I too favor I.D.

    Mack&#032Ramsy: I don’t believe in ID as it’s traditionally defined. I believe that God created a system designed to evolve.

    In your earlier statement you claimed that system was designed with “redundancy and backup” features. That is not something rocks, gas and water could ever do – hence the term “Intelligent Design”.

    But perhaps you have access to more highly advanced rocks, gas and water?

    Also you mention “intention” as if the immune system was deliberately designed with an end goal in view.

    As it turns out – it is those “inention” and “Intelligent Design” aspects that are at the very heart of I.D. enabled science were we have the freedom to “follow the data where it leads” even if it leads to a conclusion in favor of design that does not fit atheist dogma about there “being no god”.

    how odd then that you seem to later back pedal on your prior observation.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  43. Wesley&#032Kime: Re. dragging Intelligent Design back into it, again, again: As just another litigious, legislatious lobby, IntelligentDesign.org is just A Great Distraction. As a science, Intelligent Design is a Great Leap Forward for agnostics, certainly atheists, towards God. For Christians, a Great Retreat.

    In Romans 1 – Paul claims that even pagans are under obligation to admit to “Intelligent Design” in true “no Bible needed” fashion.

    The idea is not that the observed I.D. aspect of nature so blatantly obvious to all mankind (according to Rom 1) – will get you to the same level of detail as the inspired Word of God telling us that all life forms on earth were created in a real 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago.

    So while it is true that this basic level concept (I.D.) is not the full detailed picture given in Genesis – it is a foundation common to both in the same way that the “observed existence of people” is a basic observed fact that is also consistent with the Genesis story but falls far short of encompassing the details of the Genesis account of creation.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  44. Mack Ramsy: I don’t believe in ID as it’s traditionally defined. I believe that God created a system designed to evolve.

    A number of evolutionists (Theistic evolutionists) take that view – accepting I.D. as an obvious attribute displayed in nature – all the while insisting on evolutionism.

    I just find it funny – when evolutionists who happen to be Christians take the self-conflicted position of arguing the uniquely atheist POV that opposes I.D.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  45. Ron: I think the second coming of Christ in 1844, was THE fundamental belief of the Millerite movement, and if you believe Mrs. White, the movement was directed by God, and God intentionally allowed them to misunderstand. This suggests to me:
    1. That God is sometimes OK with our lack of understanding and
    2. that we should retain just a little skepticism when we assert that we have the truth. Our history shows that what seems absolutely black and white and has even had the power of the Holy Spirit driving it, can still be wrong. We need to believe, but we need to hold our beliefs lightly and always be willing to examine new evidence at the risk of having to change our beliefs, even our “fundamental beliefs”.

    The early Adventists came up with the Sanctuary doctrine after going back and re-examining the Scripture when reality didn’t line up with their beliefs. In the area of geochronology, reality is no longer consistent with our previous interpretations of scripture,

    That is simply a repeat of one of Fritz Guy’s debunked ideas.

    His argument took the Millerite experience (and pretty much anything else that was handy) to argue that the pillars of SDA doctrine that have stood the test of time need to be destroyed in order to “go forward” — in those cases where our doctrine conflicts with evolutionist dogma.

    I also assumed that evolutionist dogma is reality no matter what the Bible says to the contrary – just as you suggest above.

    But you are in fact – merely choosing the religion of evolutionism over the religion of the bible – and tossing science “under the bus” in the process.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  46. Ron: 4. Bob, et. al. object to theistic evolution. But everyone, even Bob admits to what they call “micro evolution”. (I don’t see any dividing line between evolution and micro-evolution. It is all the same as far as I can tell.) But if God is in control of the movement of every atom as Mrs. White describes, how is it that micro-evolution is not theistic evolution?

    The fallacy of equivocation.

    You cannot uncritically equivocate between getting a sunburn, or toenails aging — and “hyrax to horse storytelling”.

    They are very different things – and frankly the hyrax-to-horse story “needs more work” before it leaves the realm of blind-faith storytelling. Whereas toenails aging and tendencies to sunburn, or resist the flu – are “observed in nature” – by contrast.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  47. Ken,

    You aren’t the only one who does not understand the 144,000. Some believe it to be a symbolic number and some believe it is a literal number. I have heard the theory put forth that the 144,000 are a group of people who do a special work to try to evangelize the world just before God comes and that it is a literal number. I have heard a theory that they are the only ones translated to heaven without seeing death and it is a symbolic number.

    In actual fact, no one on earth has been given a specific understanding of exactly who or what the 144,000 is. Why? Because this is not something that adds or subtracts anything to our soul’s salvation. We have been counseled by the SOP not to waste time trying to understand that which God has not revealed to us. I include one such statement here.

    “When men pick up this theory and that theory, when they are curious to know something it is not necessary for them to know, God is not leading them. It is not His plan that His people shall present something which they have to suppose, which is not taught in the Word. It is not His will that they shall get into controversy over questions which will not help them spiritually, such as who is to compose the hundred and forty-four thousand. This those who are the elect of God will in a short time know without question.”

    In my opinion, since no specific information is given us, we are free to suppose, but should never take a firm stand on any particular theory, nor should we spend much time worrying over it. As Ellen says, we will find out soon enough.

    A comment on how Ellen White could see in vision anything that is symbolic:
    John the Revelator, among others in the Bible, saw many things that were symbolic. He was shown the symbols and, at times, an angel guide explained them and John recorded these explanations.

    Ellen was not given an explanation on the 144,000 to pass on to the rest of us. Perhaps the time was not yet right for explanation. Thus it remains a mystery, and will remain so until God reveals it.

    Hope that helps your confusion somewhat.




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  48. Re Bob’s Quote

    “I guess we will be waiting a long long time for that “observation in nature” that confirms the salient mechanism needed by evolutionism’s stories.”

    Hi Bob

    On Madagascar 90% of the plant life is unique or endemic to the island. This is not just restricted to the species or genus levels. They are eight unique families of plants.

    The question for you Bob is how did those unique families arise just on Madagascar? I’m afraid that a Dawkin’s pause in thought or thirty year old quotes won’t suffice as an answer.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • Have any of you ever watched/listened to A.E. Wilder-Smith on You Tube? Almost all of his talks are relevant to the evo-creo debate. Most systematic accounts I have ever heard.




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

    Further Study:

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  50. Mack said…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen




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

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

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




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

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




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




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  54. “Is it too late to wake up?”

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

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

    Bill Sorensen




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  55. Bill&#032Sorensen: “Is it too late to wake up?”Probably in the case of LSU it is. And not a few of our other institutions may well be beyond redemption.This is why the present process is taking so long. They gave away way too much years ago, and they aren’t likely to get it back.Bill Sorensen

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

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




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

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




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




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

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

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

    —Selected Messages 2:380 (1886).

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

    —The Great Controversy, 608 (1911).

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

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

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

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




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




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

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

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




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  59. The article said —

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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




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  61. Are atheists and agnostics going to be changed before they get to heaven? Then they wouldn’t be in those categories, would they?

    Or, will they be allowed into heaven in their atheistic and agnostic states? Who has an answer?




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    • @Holly Pham:
      Agnostic means to “not know”. If that is true, then Zech 13:6 indicates that there will be agnostics in heaven.

      I don’t have any texts for atheists. There probably weren’t any atheists in Bible times, but but knowing Jesus, it wouldn’t surprise me if a few atheists, who were turned off by religionists, are surprised to find themselves in heaven too.




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

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

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




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  63. David&#032Read: “We keep the law to be saved. And faith in Christ is part of obedience to the law and keeping the moral law by doing God’s will is also part of keeping the law.”

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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




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  65. Bill&#032Sorensen: Well, David, apparently you would correct EGW. I think she was very biblical. And I see her position to be stated clearly in harmony with how the bible states it….

    So, she said….

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

    AGain – context is everything.

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  66. David quoted me….

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

    And then he replied….

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

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

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

    So, she said….

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

    or this one….

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

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

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

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

    This then is justification by the law.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Salvation is provisional and conditional.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen




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  67. Bill&#032Sorensen: “We should not obey the commandments merely to secure heaven, but to please Him who died to save sinners from the penalty of the transgression of the Father’s law. The sinner’s salvation depends upon… .—Letter 35b, 1877. {CTr 77.6}

    AGain – context is everything.

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen




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  69. Ron: Obviously you are happy with your faith. That’s fine, I am not trying to change anybody’s mind about their faith. What I am trying to do is to get the fundamentalists to leave a little room in the church for people like St. Thomas, who are loyal disciples, but still have a few questions.

    We are debating evolutionist doctrine vs Christian doctrine on faith issue about origins and trust in the Bible vs trust in hyrax-to-horse stories.

    I thought everyone knew that.

    In Christ,

    Bob




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  70. Ron, with respect, it isn’t a question of leaving room for doubters. As I said in the post over at Spectrum that Bill Sorenson quoted, we are way beyond leaving room for non-believers who have personal cultural and family connections to the church. That these people can be members is simply not the issue.

    The issue is whether the Seventh-day Adventist Church will retain her historic
    doctrines and retain control over her institutions. As we have seen, the progressives are in control at La Sierra University and are teaching Darwinism as truth there, undermining historic Adventist beliefs. How many more institutions will be lost? That is the question. This has become a contentious civil war within the church.

    A live and let live attitude sounds wonderful, but in reality when two mutually exclusive ideologies are warring, they each try to control. The progressives are trying very diligently to subvert traditionalist control over the institutions.




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  71. @Ron, Regarding the “tares and wheat” parable, isn’t the “field” the WORLD and the reapers the ANGELS? How does that jibe with your analysis that the SDA Church should not separate those who outwardly preach and teach what is considered unbiblical doctrine?




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  72. The meaning of the parable of the tares and wheat is that only God can judge the heart. Man cannot judge the inner motives of another. Thus when man takes it upon himself to judge the spirituality and conversion of others, he will sometimes get it it wrong. He will inevitably pull up wheat while meaning to uproot only tares.

    I doubt whether the parable applies to situations in which a person, of his own volition, declares himself not to believe in the cardinal doctrines of the faith. Is the church obligated to treat someone who has freely confessed his own unbelief as though he were a brother in the faith? Doesn’t the person’s clear and explicit denial of faith obviate the need of anyone trying to judge his heart and inner motives?




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  73. And the “tares and wheat” is in no way a parallel to the church situation of today as Holly has pointed out.

    Most people refuse to see the intensity of the church situation and the non-negotiable issues being discussed.

    Historic Adventism is built on bible prophecy and the conclusion is a “system of truth” that is complete and harmonious. Our pioneers did not see the real import of the bible Sabbath until 1844 and its implications were discerned. It took awhile to put the pieces together, but each piece, like a picture puzzle, filled out a clearer picture of this non-negotiable system.

    Remove one piece, and the whole system falls. So, EGW stated it this way…..

    ” The Key to a Complete 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}
    Eyes Fixed on Sanctuary.–As a people, we should be earnest students of prophecy; we should not rest until we become intelligent in regard to the subject
    223
    of the sanctuary, which is brought out in the visions of Daniel and John. This subject sheds great light on our present position and work, and gives us unmistakable proof that God has led us in our past experience. It explains our disappointment in 1844, showing us that the sanctuary to be cleansed was not the earth, as we had supposed, but that Christ then entered into the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and is there performing the closing work of His priestly office, in fulfillment of the words of the angel to the prophet Daniel, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” {Ev 222.3}
    Our faith in reference to the messages of the first, second, and third angels was correct. The great waymarks we have passed are immovable. Although the hosts of hell may try to tear them from their foundation, and triumph in the thought that they have succeeded, yet they do not succeed. These pillars of truth stand firm as the eternal hills, unmoved by all the efforts of men combined with those of Satan and his host. We can learn much, and should be constantly searching the Scriptures to see if these things are so. God’s people are now to have their eyes fixed on the heavenly sanctuary, where the final ministration of our great High Priest in the work of the judgment is going forward,–where He is interceding for His people.–Review and Herald, Nov. 27, 1883. {Ev 223.1}”

    She changed nothing in reference to this statement throughout her lifetime. It is the heart and soul and foundation of bible Adventism and is non-negotiable.

    Everything she wrote was in reference to this “system of truth”. Anyone who joins the SDA church should have been instructed in it. And if they could see no light in it, should never have been added to the church membership.

    I am not suggesting that everyone must know every detail. But if any part of it is contrary to a person’s faith, they should not join the church until it is clear enough in its overview to be accepted and supported. Certainly not denied.

    The Sabbath is so entwined in this system, that any denial of any part of it is to undermine and deny the Sabbath. And I think it is easily discerned by any thinking rational person, that if evolution is correct in its main and primary focus, the Sabbath is totally non-relevant and trivial.

    And this would include the whole SDA denomination and reason for its existence, mission and purpose.

    No true bible believing SDA will sit quietly by while liberals attack any part of our message, mission and purpose.

    While EGW was alive, such individuals simply left the church, knowing it would impossible to remain and hope to convince anyone of their credibility as SDA’s. Today, they are applauded and supported as “progressive” and “open minded” and “highly enlightened” by more than a few, expecially those who hold position of influence, trust, and authority.

    It will change. Exactly how, I don’t know. But I know it will change. And we better be ready for some very unpleasant experiences to say the least.

    Bill Sorensen




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  74. Oh by the way -without any intent to minimilize the impact of Christ upon the world – I think folks like Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and the Dalai are wonderful, extraordinary human beings, perhaps inspired by the divine 🙂 , as well.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  75. Re David’s Quote

    “A live and let live attitude sounds wonderful, but in reality when two mutually exclusive ideologies are warring, they each try to control. The progressives are trying very diligently to subvert traditionalist control over the institutions.”

    Hi David

    Alas, I am afraid you are right. Such is the history of man and religion is no exception. It is one of agnostic reasons I eschew formalized religion.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  76. Re David’s Quote

    “Doesn’t the person’s clear and explicit denial of faith obviate the need of anyone trying to judge his heart and inner motives?”

    Hi David

    Good question.

    Isn’t this what the parable of the Good Samaritan is all about? That notwithstanding belief, helping one’s fellow man is of the highest moral, hence divine, order?

    With respect, i think this why Christ is so appealing even to an apostate such as myself. The example he set does offer a living moral salvation for “all” mankind, not just a narrow subset with defined views – even if they are right!

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

      Morality, and therefore salvation, is independent of doctrinal knowledge. This does not mean that additional knowledge above and beyond what it takes to obey the moral law is irrelevant. Doctrinal knowledge, while not having the inherent power to save or make anyone “good”, does have the power to give people a solid hope or confidence in the future. It has the power to give people a sense of meaning and purpose to their lives and to make their lives better and more hopeful, more cheerful and more bearable, here and now.

      This is the power of the Gospel Message or “Good News”. It is always nice to hear good news when your life is burdened by many trials and cares – even if there will be those who will be saved and live in Heaven someday who never had the blessing of living with the knowledge of this Good News while in this life.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  77. David&#032Read: Ron, if Darwin was right, talk of salvation is sheer idiocy, utterly deracinated and pointless. There was no Adam, no fall, no need of redemption or salvation, no point in Jesus’ death,

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  78. Ervin&#032Taylor: Every few months, some of us have to drop by the EducateTruth (sic) web site to check on what new conspiracy theories are circulating on the HRWAN, the Hyper-Right Wing Adventist Network. The only exception to that generalization are the comments of Wes and Ken who we can note are still trying to bring some light to the otherwise dark side of Adventism.Wes continues to contribute his unique perspectives. May I cite as evidence: “Heroic hermeneutics came upon us along with apoacademic eonic evolution. Recent radioactive decay data suggest that hermeneutics crawled out of the swamp along with other fishy karyopoetics when LSC (which I attended) became LSU (of which I’m considered an alumnus, qualifying me for the full dose of promotional newsletters, featuring gecko-fondling biologists)”Where else could one encounter such rhetorical creativity and winsomeness? Wes must be inspired. I realize that he would never post on the Adventist Today or Spectrum web sites, so one has to come here to read him.

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




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

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

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

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

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




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

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




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  81. Ervin&#032Taylor: The only exception to that generalization are the comments of Wes and Ken who we can note are still trying to bring some light to the otherwise dark side of Adventism.

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  83. David&#032Read: Darwin was right, talk of salvation is sheer idiocy, utterly deracinated and pointless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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




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  86. 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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  87. Bill&#032Sorensen: We are justified by faith and works just as both James and Paul clearly state when Paul says, “The doers of the law shall be justified.”

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

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

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

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

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

    I think you and I agree on these points.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  88. Bill&#032Sorensen: Everyone is on probation, including a Christian. And just because we have accept Jesus does not mean we actually have the final judgment decision until the final judgment takes place.

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

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

    Looking at the fruit — does not change the tree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  89. Re Bill’s Quote

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

    Hi Bill

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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