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. OK, let’s cut to the chase. Hyper liberals and hyper conservatives will eventually call a truce and get together. Legalist and antinomians, civil society, and all factions of human governments will eventually come to some workable agreement.

    A one world government and kingdom can not exist unless the “bickering” stops and this includes every aspect of human society.

    In the secular world, this can be accomplished by the obvious need for everyone to “just get along” since the world is getting smaller and smaller and more and more leaders see such a need.

    Religion may be a little more difficult since it deals with the spiritual concepts of man and his god. You must create a generic “god” with “one size that fits all” in the religious realm.

    Spiritualism can and will do that. But before you can destroy Protestant Christanity, you must discredit the bible by any means available and possible.

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

    So, the bickering goes on and on about creation and evolution, law and gospel, faith and works, church authority vs. individual accountability, etc…….

    They can and will unite religion precisely because people are inherently lazy and more than willing to have someone else dictate every area of their existence as long as they have all the things they want and think they need. And this applies to civil government as well, doesn’t it?

    The system is rolling now, and only needs a few more things to put it in place. And we need to consider that it is far more advantageous to persuade than to force. So, persuasion is now being used, until the only and last resort is force.

    Once you get the vast majority by way of persuasion, the last few “hold outs” will have little influence and it will be easy to convince everyone that the “hold outs” are simply a small rebel group that have no viable argument and unity is not only necessary but possible.

    None the less, we have this assurance. If we remain faithful to the bible, God will force all His enemies to admit they have abandon the bible and we can “keep the faith” inspite of the overwhelming odds against us.

    Many enemies of the bible today claim they believe and accept the bible, and this makes it more difficult at this time to define and identify a true believer from an apostate. God will force their hand. We can only continue to defend the word.

    So, EGW says this as we near the end….

    “At the news of Luther’s escape, the legate was overwhelmed with surprise and anger. He had expected to receive great honor for his wisdom and firmness in dealing with this disturber of the church; but his hope was
    138
    disappointed. He gave expression to his wrath in a letter to Frederick, the Elector of Saxony, bitterly denouncing Luther, and demanding that Frederick send the reformer to Rome or banish him from Saxony. {GC88 137.3}
    In defense, Luther urged that the legate or the pope show him his errors from the Scriptures, and pledged himself in the most solemn manner to renounce his doctrines if they could be shown to contradict the Word of God. And he expressed his gratitude to God that he had been counted worthy to suffer in so holy a cause. {GC88 138.1}”

    And in reference to the end she affirms this same principle…..

    “From the minister in the desk you will hear, “Peace, peace; there is to be a temporal millennium first before Christ will come.” But what we want is the Bible. {2SAT 28.4}
    Look at Martin Luther. As he stood before the people he cried

    -29-

    out, “The Bible, the Bible, is the foundation of our religion.” And we want to search the Scriptures, praying the God of heaven to give us light upon it. And when these doctrines come pouring in upon us from every side, then we can say, “The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the foundation of our religion.” We want to believe that the Lord is coming in the clouds of heaven, and show our faith by our works, and be getting ready for His appearing. {2SAT 28.5}”

    So we can wait and make no mistake, all who oppose God will eventually admit they do not accept the bible.

    Bill Sorensen




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  2. Re Shining’s Prayer

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

    Hello Shining

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  3. Hi Bob

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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

    ken:

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

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

    Please enlighten me on that post.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  5. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Morality, and therefore salvation, is independent of doctrinal knowledge. ”

    Hi Sean

    I like that concept and hope that is it true. But perhaps I can take it a bit further. Irrespective of religious belief isn’t living a moral life the greatest good one can achieve on earth. Isn’t service to mankind instead of one’s own selfish needs of the highest order? And if everyone practiced that instead of focusing on being exclusively right wouldn’t the world be a better place?

    For me this was the wonderful wisdom of the lesson of the Good Samaritan that remains with me to this day. Love thy neighbour as thyself. Beautiful. Love thy neighbour more than thyself. Sublime.

    You see I think one can find grace and personal salvation in how you live your everyday life. A moral life is a difficult task and one must avoid self righteousness and constantly scrutinize one’s motives. Wash the feet of others indeed! But wash them all, not only those in one’s little club. I’m a long way from that ideal but I believe in trying without any other reward than knowing it is the right thing to do. The hereafter is not my concern, the here and now is.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

      Yes, one can live a moral life according to the Royal Law of Love because God has written this moral law on the hearts of all mankind. Loving one’s neighbor at the cost of personal sacrifice is the very essence of God’s nature and therefore of the Law.

      The Good Samaritan may not have known as much about doctrinal truth as the Jews, and leaders of the church of that day, who passed by without helping one of their own who was injured and in need, but it was evident that he was listening to and following the Royal Law that was written on his heart. Because of this, he was recognized by God as being more righteous than those who did have access to greater doctrinal knowledge or truths about God, but without any apparent effect on their actions of love toward their fellow man.

      It is for this reason that knowledge, by itself, is not what makes a person good or bad. It is motive that really counts when it comes to morality and salvation. The only good that enhanced knowledge bring to the table is that knowledge has the power to bring hope to those who are suffering and dying in this world – to make their lives better here and now.

      Such knowledge, if combined with love for one’s fellow man, will cause one to strive for more and more knowledge so as to more and more effectively minister to the needs of one’s fellow man…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. David Read and Bill:

    I posted this quotation below awhile back, (Jan 19 @ 10 PM) but I think it is appropriate to the current conversation. I would recommend that all the quotations I posted regarding the law should be revisited above, but I repost this one as it is the most appropriate to the topic under discussion.

    I believe what Bill and others such as myself are afraid of is an unbalanced view of salvation. It was once explained to me like this: Salvation is like a rowboat with two oars, one being faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for you and one your own works. If you try to use only one oar, you will wind up going in circles and getting nowhere.

    I have heard many theories on salvation and its relationship to the law. One is that all we have to do is accept Christ as our Saviour and we will keep the law as a natural outcome–we don’t even have to make an effort to do it. I don’t believe that for one second. We are to work out our own salvation, we are told in Timothy. EGW explains this text as meaning we have our part to play in our salvation. I fully agree with her. None of us can keep the law on our own, but we have to make an effort and then ask God to do the rest. Read the quotation below. She specifically says that there is more to it than to just say, “I believe.”

    Faith: here is a quotation from another devotional written by EGW:
    The faith in Christ which saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many. “Believe, believe,” is their cry; “only believe in Christ, and you will be saved. It is all you have to do.” While true faith trusts wholly in Christ for salvation, it will lead to perfect conformity to the law of God.
    There are two errors against which the children of God—particularly those who have just come to trust in His grace—especially need to guard. The first . . . is that of looking to their own works, trusting to anything they can do, to bring themselves into harmony with God. He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility. . . . It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy.
    The opposite and no less dangerous error is that belief in Christ releases men from keeping the law of God; that since by faith alone we become partakers of the grace of Christ, our works have nothing to do with our redemption.
    But notice here that obedience is not a mere outward compliance, but the service of love. The law of God is an expression of His very nature; it is an embodiment of the great principle of love, and hence is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth. . . . Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience.
    From Devotional: Our Father Cares, pp. 68, 69.

    When ministers preach the message of Salvation they need to address both sides of the question or people are misled into believing either we work our own way to heaven or we don’t have to keep the law. Neither of these statements is true. They are Satan’s way of funnelling off the followers of Christ into the wrong paths and thereby lose out on salvation altogether.

    We need Christ’s sacrifice as well as rendering obedience to His law in order to be saved. That is the Adventist stance I have grown up on and it is being attacked by people such as Morris Vendon, who wrote a book called ‘Love God and Do as You Please’ which is absolute heresy. It directly contradicts the Bible when it says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

    Self needs to decrease and God needs to increase in our lives if we expect to be saved into His kingdom, where the commandments will be kept by all.




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  7. Our pastor made a distinction recently that really made the whole faith and works, justification/sanctification, clear for me.

    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.

    God’s standards are the minimum required to be accepted and loved by God. As we see from many stories in the Bible (Mary Magdalene, Ahab, Saul the murderer), God’s minimum standard is very low. Basically, you have to exist and to be breathing for God to love you. God loves you and accepts you just where you are, but at the same time, he points you toward the ideal and encourages you to take one more step in that direction.

    I think that is justification and sanctification in modern language that I can understand.




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

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

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

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




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  9. David Read said……

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Now how about you respond to this statement by EGW?

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

    And this one…..

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

    Was EGW confused, David, or are you?

    Bill Sorensen




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

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

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

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

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

    Ellen White says, “It is not essential to understand the precise particulars in regard to the relation of the two laws. It is of far greater consequence that we know whether we are justified or condemned by the holy precepts of God’s law.” And the answer is that we are condemned by the holy precepts of God’s law, because we have not lived up to them.

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

    Hence my earlier post above.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  12. Re Bob’s Quote

    “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. 🙂

    Whole pile of bending going on!

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  13. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Indeed, but their lives could have been even better and brighter if they had had enhanced knowledge of God… as would be the case for us all.”

    Hi Sean

    Agreed, but who knows that we don’t? 🙂

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  14. Dear friends

    As I witness all this internicine, doctrinal infighting within your ranks, I wonder if this is as far removed from the divine as one can be? So many claiming the high ground eviscerating others who differ in opinion. Such complicated theology that seems to make the simple premise of loving one’s fellow man an afterthought. Actually condeming others to oblivion because they accept Christ but think differently!

    Wasn’t Jesus’s message about being humble and loving one’s fellow man rather than being self rightgeous?

    Perhaps I’m missing the point and have no right to express this opinion. but sometimes the heart speaks for the head.

    Please take care of each other no matter what you think.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  15. I think there is some confusion about the role of science here. Science is very explicit about “proof” and “certainty” in that there isn’t any. I presented you with a half dozen articles in a few minutes of searching. There might be better ones out there but from long experience I know that even the best evidence is unconvincing to the close-minded. Like I said before to be comprehensive would take libraries (and you’re welcome to the public access by the way, I included that in my search parameters). That said you’re right the sense that evolutionists may not have a perfect picture of how the world works, but they never claimed to. That claim is reserved by solely by creationists. I never said it would be convincing. In fact I said several times that it would not be. We all achieve the level of enlightenment that we work to obtain. For those who refuse to see truth or reason, libraries of evidence will never be persuasive. The Bar is set too high. You would have to go back in time and observe the events in person without disturbing the events in motion. The only “evidence” that could possibly be convincing is a notarized statement by god saying this is the way it is, which of course you believe you already have. That this doesn’t make sense is readily explained by being the foolishness of the Greeks. This is fine, let’s look at your story and see if that makes sense. The creation story blatantly contradicts itself between chapters 1 and 2, the flood has multiple problems such as number of animals, zoological necessities, sustainable ecology, the coming and going of all the water, the mysterious olive leaf, extant archaeological evidence predating the flood, lack of geological evidence for a truly global flood, the diversity of people and animals, the time it takes to spread from Ararat to the rest of the world, etc. When you look at the stories, it’s quite clear that Adam and Eve and Noah and the Ark are speaking about spiritual truths not literal ones. Ignoring all the physical evidence, logical idiocies, you have the language in the bible. It’s obviously spiritual in nature, the raven finds nothing, the Dove finds an olive leaf. It’s an blatantly spiritual story meant to have a spiritual lesson. This is a very different kind of language used in other places in the bible to talk about more or less literal events. There may well have been a regional disaster on the Mediterranean at some point, but it clearly didn’t destroy the entire world in a literal fashion. It would violate every known law of physics and biology that we know.




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  16. Sean&#032Pitman: I discuss the evolution of the nylonase enzyme as well as other truly novel examples of evolution in action (which you might find interesting) at:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/kennethmiller.html#Nylonase

    Sean, your logic escapes me. You have a pretty long and detailed explanation of how evolution works, even to point out that there are “470 examples (of new genes by this process) in humans alone”, then in the last paragraph, you say that evolution can’t do what you just got done explaining it does. . . Huh?

    But anyway, you side stepped my question. We both agree that this is an example of evolution.
    My question is, what role does God play in the process? Is God directing it, or is this an “a-theistic” process?

    (Bob, This is a long thread, so if you answered my question I can’t fing it. Can you repeat it?)




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    • @Ron:

      How is it confusing to suggest that the greater a level of functional complexity the exponentially more difficult it is to evolve anything at that level?

      Evolution at very low levels of functional complexity (less than a few hundred specifically arranged amino acid residues) is easily achieved in very short periods of time because of the statistical odds of the success of a random search algorithm (like random mutations in DNA or protein sequence space) are very good at this level in large populations.

      Since you brought it up, consider that nylonase, in particular, is a single protein enzyme that requires a minimum of no more than 355 averagely specified aa residues. Evolution at such a low level of functional complexity is very commonly and rapidly achieved. There are thousands of observed examples of evolution in action at this level of complexity and lower. However, as one moves up the ladder of functional complexity, such examples drop off exponentially. When you reach the level of 1000 specifically arranged aa residues, there are no examples of evolution in action in literature at all – none. Why not?

      The reason for this exponential decline in evolutionary potential within a given span of time at higher and higher levels of functional complexity has to do with the odds of success of a random non-directed search algorithm. The success of such algorithms is dependent upon the ratio and distribution of potentially beneficial sequences in sequence space. As it turns out, this ratio declines, exponentially, with each increase in the minimum size and/or specificity requirement for a given level of functional complexity.

      In short, what this means is that Darwinian-style evolution is possible, this side of a practical eternity of time (like trillions upon trillions of years) for novel biosystems that have a minimum structural threshold requirement of less than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues. For such low-level systems to be realized in a given population of living things, the involvement of intelligent design is not directly needed. However, when you start talking about higher level systems beyond the 1000aa threshold level of complexity, intelligent design is required to explain their origin.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  17. David Read said…..

    “No one is justified by obedience to the law. Whoever does not break the law doesn’t need justification, but so far no one but Christ ever has perfectly obeyed the law. So if I am not justified through faith in Christ, I’m not going to be justified, I’m going to be lost eternally. Even if I keep the law perfectly from here on out, it will not save me. I will always need the atonement of Christ. The goal of he Christisn life is to rely less and less on imputed righteousness, and more and more on imparted righteousness. But no one is justified by works, or by obedience to the law.”

    David, this is the classic response in modern Adventism that denies huge portions of the bible that affirm again and again that we are “justified by obedience to the law.”

    Pauls says clearly, “The doers of the law shall be justified.” and the whole book of James affirm justification by obedience to the law.

    You limit the word “justification” to pardon. And of course, this is how Paul often uses the word. But the bible uses the word “justification” in a far more comprehensive way than many if not most in the church do today.

    So, just one question, How do you harmonize your understanding with this quote by EGW? And there are many more like it…..

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

    And this one…..

    ” It would be far more consistent for nations to abolish their statutes, and permit the people to do as they please, than for the Ruler of the universe to annul his law, and leave the world without a standard to condemn the guilty or justify the obedient. Would we know the result of making void the law of God? The experiment has been tried. Terrible were the scenes enacted in France when atheism became the controlling power. It was then demonstrated to the world that to throw off the restraints which God has imposed is to accept the rule of the cruelest of tyrants. When the standard of righteousness is set aside, the way is open for the prince of evil to establish his power in the earth. {GC88 584.1}”

    The function of any law is to justify or condemn. And this function of the moral law has not been set aside because of the gospel.

    No unbeliever can be justified by the law, for no unbeliever is in Christ. But to claim a Christian can not be justified by the law is just not biblical, nor is it even reasonable.

    Bill Sorensen




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  18. Bob, you’re right that the election of Wilson was viewed by both liberals and conservatives as a conservative course correction. I agree with that assessment. There is reason for optimism.

    But the GC president has little control over non-GC institutions. That’s why the situation at La Sierra U has not appreciably improved. What is more, the somewhat inept attempts to use AAA to positively intervene at LSU are further ground for pessimism. They failed, and they revealed Dan Jackson as, if not an outright liberal, certainly not a vigorous traditionalist.

    Ultimately, LSU is a Pacific Union institution, and if the leaders of the church in that region are not up to governing it—and so far they’re obviously not—then it will continue as it has been going, actively undermining Adventist faith.




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  19. David – I believe you are correct. And given the statements by Daniel Jackson at that LSU taped in-house meeting, I wonder just how much control a GC president has over the elected department heads at the GC.

    His power in the church seems to consiste more in the area of “influence” then direct reporting. (More like the problem of herding cats I suppose).

    We need to pray for him.

    But the good news is that God is ultimately at the helm and will bring in a sifting and shaking — whereby those who oppose the Bible position of the church will not find it convenient to stick with it.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. Bill&#032Sorensen: David Read said over on Spectrum….

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

    As much as I agree with David’s point about two opposing groups trying to gain control of the helm. I would argue on the upside that the GC2010 situation was a turn toward affirmation of the Bible and against the slash-and-burn policies of liberals.

    With the election of Wilson and the decision to through evolutionism under the bus – in favor of acceptance of the Bible – I see at least a glimmer of hope for the conservative, Bible believing group.

    And in the future there is always the “shaking” where God himself arranges events on planet earth such that those promoting the agenda of error will be falling all over themselves trying to find the exit.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. Eddie: Holly, I have been a member of such a grievance committee. Many students admit that being “caught” was good for them. It gave them a chance to change their lives before spiraling downward on a self-destructive path. I personally know many students who have benefited from counseling at our SDA campuses. There are many positive things that happen at SDA campuses and they need our support.I suspect you would be a happier person if you looked more at the positive aspects and less at the negative aspects of SDA education SDA church members.

    Well, Eddie, I am a very happy person. I never said there weren’t “positive” things that happen at SDA campuses, and I have always supported those. That is a “smokescreen” argument, to use Dr. Stone’ categorization.

    The fact that SDA campuses do virtually nothing as far being “proactive” in the drug realm disturbs me quite a bit.




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  22. Mack&#032Ramsy: Not to be picky or anything but the story wasn’t written in stone, it was an oral tradition that was eventually written on animal skins that have long decayed in to dust but were copied over and over again and translated and re-translated over and over again and after a lot of man made influence we have the story. As of the renaissance. You’re more than welcome to put into stone but you’d be the first. You’re probably thinking of the 10 commandments of which we have only the decayed animal skins as proof, and only then all that says is that we need to keep Sabbath holy in reverence to the creator. Not a lot in the way of history there.

    The 4th commandment says “For in SIX DAYS the Lord MADE the heavens and the earth the seas and all that is in them and rested the Seventh day”

    Your argument is the classic atheist claim that the Bible is at most the best efforts of well intentioned men living in pre-scientific cultures Certainly you are welcome to downsize God’s word as the demands of evolutionism may dictate.

    But few SDAs here are willing to leap off that cliff.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  23. BobRyan: Certainly Darwin, Dawkins, Provine, Meyers and others have all gone on record admitting to the same conflict between evolutionism and the Bible.

    Perhaps, but I don’t think any Adventist acknowledges any of them as authorities, and as far as I can tell, they share the same either/or, black or white perspective on the issue as Mrs. White. I think both sides of that argument have failed.

    There are much better ways to frame the discussion now, if anyone would be willing to stop and think a little.

    Bob, the quote, 3SG 90-91 seems totally irrelevant to me until you address the issue of micro evolution. What is it? Is it the result of God’s continued active creation, is it passive creation meaning that God created the mechanisms which are now operating independently, or is it the result of “natural”/”a-theistic” processes?




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  24. Ron: @Holly Pham: Holly, I think how colleges do or don’t respond to drug use is really off topic.You might change your mind about counseling if you ever get any. Good counseling is a lot of hard spiritual work.

    It is another serious problem that has crept into our SDA institutions, because of the rampant secularization of our campuses.

    I am not against counseling and never said so. It simply does not work when done the way most campuses do it. Check out the drug statistics on campuses today.




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  25. Bill&#032Sorensen: “Adventist pastors and Administrators as rule do not criticize other Adventist pastors and administrators by name. It just isn’t done. Whether it should be done or not, it simply has not been the practice to publicly criticize by name.”

    To criticize a pastor or Administrator publicly is to admit to a failure to manage internally. Failure to educate and ensure the right people are in the right positions with the right level of accountability.

    When that internal system falls apart and you have a wild fire raging with no agreement internally on the right course of action – only then is the “last resort” option of public criticism a likely avenue. We saw that with LSU in a decades long process of management issues trying to deal with a problem and never really solving it.

    I frankly do not want every misstep taking by this or that pastor or administrator published abroad. I would rather have a system of grace operating internally that allows for mistakes but still does not protect, ignore, prolong and sanction error promoted from our pulpits, writer’s desks and classrooms.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  26. I frankly do not want every misstep taking by this or that pastor or administrator published abroad. I would rather have a system of grace operating internally that allows for mistakes but still does not protect, ignore, prolong and sanction error promoted from our pulpits, writer’s desks and classrooms.

    in Christ,

    Bob

    I agree, Bob. But we are not talking about a “misstep” or some management mistake. We are talking about basic fundamental doctrine and theology. And I know you agree with this.

    Several years ago, Martin Weber, who is now the Mid America Outlook church paper editor, wrote a book entitled “Who’s Got the Gospel?” or something to this effect. He criticized 5 different theologies that he felt were not true as to how he, at least, did not preceive them.

    The church was going to publish it, but Maxwell used his influence to keep this from happening. He eventually had it published by an outside source. He showed the error of Maxwell’s “Moral Influence Theory” so we see why Maxwell did what he did.

    Weber also published several books years ago and one was called “Hot Potatoes” and “Hot Potatoes II” all dealing with issues in the church.

    The church eventually shut him up by offering him a cushy job and eventually the editor of the Mid America paper.

    When asked about his “Hot Potatoes” books, he responded “I am now an Adventist Sweet Potato.” Somebody asked me what I thought of his response.

    I said, “He is now an Adventist couch potato” since they bought him off. It would seem the church is now about 90% politics with a little Christanity mixed in. When you try to build a denomination on the sole basis of unity and not sound doctrine and theology, it is certain you will finally end up with neither.

    Today, the church has far less interest in what is true, and far more interest in unity. We are seeing the results of this philosophy. And none of us know exactly how it will turn out.

    Maybe the “Big Bang” theory of evolution will come to the SDA church in spiritual matters. And it will all come together in perfect unity like the universe.

    Well……maybe not? But it is about as likely. You know, like the chances are “slim and none?”

    Bill Sorensen




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  27. David Read said to a poster on the Spectrum forum…..

    “Adventist pastors and Administrators as rule do not criticize other Adventist pastors and administrators by name. It just isn’t done. Whether it should be done or not, it simply has not been the practice to publicly criticize by name.”

    This is true, David, except when it is popular to attack some individual that they can get away with doing. Like Dr. Ford, or historically Brinsmead and/or other people who have no acceptable influence.

    I only bring this up here because it represents the duplicity in the SDA church today. Which is one major reason there is so much trouble at LSU and other schools of learning.

    Your discussion of the Moral Influence Theory with Jim, only highlights this duplicity as we all know who advocated it years ago, but was protected because of who he was. Namely, Graham Maxwell.

    EGW never pulled any punches and named names again and again. Kellogg, Canright, Ballenger, and more than a few others by name who attack basic Christanity in general and Adventism in particular.

    Now it is only acceptable if the person is not part of the “in” crowd in Adventism and if they are “in”, they are the “untouchables” by the church.

    Maxwell was obviously one of these, another more recient person would be Morris Venden who is so “off the wall” on his theology, we could wonder how he ever got published by the church.

    The point is, whether you are “in” or “out” will determine who you can attack and who you can’t publically.

    By the way, The Moral Influence Theory is not wrong in what it affirms, it is only wrong in what it denies. The cross is a “moral influence” and we are “saved” by its influence as we are persuaded to give ourselves to Jesus in light of His love for us.

    Sanctification is a part of salvation, and not just the “fruit of it.”

    By the way, Jim’s concern is valid.

    Bill Sorensen




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  28. Oops…….This is what I said…..

    “The cross is worthless unless you respond in the way God has commanded and God can and will “force” anyone to it.”

    The fact is, God will NOT force anyone to do it. My bad.

    A final comment. The Moral Influence Theory is a diversion that few will be deceived by in the end. And even the discussion of evolution vs. creation is a side issue the devil has created while he works continually to build his final deception.

    His work is to undermine the law of God and will use more than a few subtle tactics to accomplish his goal. Diversion works well.

    Kind of like the antichrist sets up a false antichrist and then pretends to expose the false antichrist and “while men slept, the enemy sowed tares.”

    So, Dan Jackson and many other preachers and teachers applaud the vicarious atonement while undermining the law with an easy believeism claiming Jesus did everything, and we do nothing. All this supposedly to glorify God and praise Him while all the time, undermining God’s kingdom.

    Here is EGW’s comment about Dan Jackson and his theology…..

    “There is hope for every one of us, but only in one way—by fastening ourselves to Christ and exerting every energy to attain to the perfection of His character. This goody-goody religion that makes light of sin, and that is forever dwelling upon the love of God to the sinner, encourages sinners to believe that God will save them while they continue in sin and know it to be sin. This is the way that many are doing who profess to believe present truth. The truth is kept apart from their life, and that is the reason it has no more power to convict and convert the soul. There must be a straining of every nerve and spirit and muscle to leave the world, its customs, its practices, and its fashions. . . . {CTr 81.2}”

    Hello? What did she say……?

    “There must be a straining of every nerve and spirit and muscle to leave the world, its customs, its practices, and its fashions.”

    Did you ever hear a sermon by Dan Jackon or any other liberal preacher or teacher build a sermon on this concept?

    I think not. But…..you be the judge.

    Bill Sorensen




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  29. Bill&#032Sorensen: The church eventually shut him up by offering him a cushy job and eventually the editor of the Mid America paper.

    Cushy Job?? are you talking about “New Hope” or Ministry?

    I remember the good ol’ days wen Goldstein, Weber and I used to have our weekly lunches at that Italian place… as I recall – it was “I” who was labeled the card-carrying legalist.

    Martin held up the social conservative POV and Clifford the theological conservative POV. I tended to argue the conservative side of whoever was taking the conservative side — social or theological.

    (I thought of myself as “Middle of the road” as a result.)

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  30. David Read said…..

    “But there was nothing wrong with what Dan Jackson preached at La Sierra the other day. It was biblical truth, and truth that had been denied by an influential local theologian. He deserves praise for that sermon, not nitpicking.”

    I agree, David, that we should applaud truth and those who advocate it. Maybe I have been at this too long…..

    My observation of modern Adventism, maybe like Jim, is that for the last 40 years all we hear about is that no one has to keep the law to be saved, all we have to do is have faith in Christ.

    While there is a biblical sense in which we do not keep the law to be saved, there is also a biblical sense in which we do.

    To harp incessantly that we are saved by “faith alone” and not by works of the law, without a qualified biblical explanation of how we are justified by obedience to the law can only lead to the conclusion there is no biblical context in which we are justified by the law.

    So, while I agree and believe in the vicarious substitionary atonement whereby Jesus had paid our debt, and bore the wrath of God in our behalf and now stands in the presense of God as our Substitute, Representative, and Surety, this will only be applied in the end to those who not on “Believe” this truth, but repent, and obey the law of God.

    In the final judgment, the decision of whether you will be saved or not, is based on your Christian experience of obedience.

    No one can “see” your faith, and God does not appeal to your faith as the evidence. While some liberals do embrace the MIT, the vast majority acknowledge the vicarious atonement and use it to undermine the human factor in salvation.

    So, let me say this, the word “salvation” as used in the bible is far more comprehensive than is implied even in modern Adventism.

    Today, people would throw their hands up in horror if anyone stated that you save yourself. But you do. The cross is worthless unless you respond in the way God has commanded and God can and will “force” anyone to it.

    So, Dan Jackson can preach “the truth” in a limited way, just as the MIT peope do.

    In the end, we are “saved” by the moral influence of the cross, just as much as by its value of a vicarious atonement.

    EGW has well said….

    Today the truths of Scripture are to be brought before the great men of the world in order that they may choose between obedience to God’s law and allegiance to the prince of evil. God sets everlasting truth before them–truth that will make them wise unto salvation, but He does not force them to accept it. If they turn from it, He leaves them to themselves, to be filled with the fruit of their own doings. {AA 241.2}

    And this….

    “It is Satan’s studied effort to divert minds from the hope of salvation through faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God.” Ibid 388

    She makes many such comments that you won’t find in Adventist literature. We had a whole quarters lessons and this concept with a bible explanation is conspicuous by its absence.

    The above quote is taken from EGW’s comments on the Apostacy in Galatia in Acts of the Apostles. And in this chapter, not once does she suggest that the issue was the moral law, but only and solely the ceremonial law. Why is that do you think?

    Simply because the issue in Galatians was not the moral law as our bible lessons endeavored to convey. And this is no minor issue, it is the heart and soul of arguments made by Apostate Protestant denominations.

    They also agree that it is the moral law, and if so, the law has been negated by the gospel and no other conclusion is possible.

    Bill Sorensen




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  31. Holly&#032Pham: Sounds like the typical “hokey” fluff that all colleges have. Regarding a “counseling center” this means absolutely nothing. Most pot smokers will not voluntarily “check into” any type of “voluntary” counseling.

    Mandatory counseling has an abysmal record as to solving or even helping college students, as all colleges have them, and pot smoking in rampant on most campuses despite them.!

    What is PUC doing “proactively” to address this problem? I believe the answer is nothing.

    Holly, I have been a member of such a grievance committee. Many students admit that being “caught” was good for them. It gave them a chance to change their lives before spiraling downward on a self-destructive path. I personally know many students who have benefited from counseling at our SDA campuses. There are many positive things that happen at SDA campuses and they need our support.

    I suspect you would be a happier person if you looked more at the positive aspects and less at the negative aspects of SDA education SDA church members.




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  32. @Bill “Liberals simply don’t like any “challenge” for or against anything.”
    Really, Bill? Are you saying that Conservatives love being challenged? Liberals aren’t condemning all to hell for disagreeing with them. Point out a few gaping flaws in logic and torches and pitchforks start getting handed out out a mob mustering on the lawn. This whole thing got started because a few “liberals” started challenging the paradigm of conservatives. You’ve invented an entire conspiracy about the take over of the church and of the world to try and explain a disagreement between honest folk

    @Bob My language in this forum is not formal. Try not to get caught up in semantic issues. And I actually agree with you on the little distinction between theistic evolution and atheistic evolution. There is very little difference between them. Science can’t tell you why a system is the way it is, it can only tell you how it works. Science can only examine the world through the five basic senses. Our technology allows us to extend those senses from the very atoms and smaller to galaxies and beyond. We can read the genome like a history book. Needless to say the book is sufficiently complex that when we figured out what the letters were it took us 60 years to learn how to read it properly. Everything we know in biology points to plants and animals and everything to them having changed over a long period of time. If you’re going to believe in God, then you need to believe in a God that fits into that process. If he’s the creator then he created it thusly. It is not blasphemy to suggest otherwise. @Ron actually makes a good point, if you believe in evolution on a small scale you can believe in evolution on a larger scale, because when you study the issue carefully (and I mean scientifically rather than religiously) than the distinctions between micro and macro evolution become increasingly indistinct. Though I included at least one paper dedicated to the exchange of heritable information between various groups and how new information can be generated. Though I don’t suspect that these papers will in anyway change minds. Religious belief has never been swayed by rational discourse and will never be. It’s not about rationality, it’s about Faith. Hard core conservatives feel that reality will be twisted around by belief if it is fervent enough and become true purely on the merits of faith. Let me put it another way, if the bible said that there was a giant hole the size of several mountain rangers in the desert when there clearly wasn’t one, then we’d say that the hole was a metaphorical and spiritual. In fact we’d probably say that the entire desert was a metaphor and spend a thousand years arguing over what it means. Maybe even start the odd religious war. Ardent conservatives would believe in a literal hole so completely they’d start creating little sign posts telling people to watch their step. (worst case scenario there’d be a run on shovels)

    We get caught up in our own interpretations of the bible and use those to hurt others (like fire them for the jobs that they were doing brilliantly). Just because people disagree with you is hardly evidence for their inevitable damnation.

    @References:

    Most papers talk about the evolution of the little pieces, the evolution of a particular kind of signal transduction mechanism or environmental response element, that sort of thing. So I included a few of those just because I thought they were interesting. But i thought your question was a little broader than that so I included some more general review articles. The trouble is to be truly comprehensive requires a truly massive book. Whole libraries would have to be devoted to the subject (and there are). This is what I could put together in a few minutes of searching seeing that I do have other matters to attend to in the next few weeks and months.

    Early cell evolution, eukaryotes, anoxia, sulfide, oxygen, fungi first (?), and a tree of genomes revisited.
    Martin W, Rotte C, Hoffmeister M, Theissen U, Gelius-Dietrich G, Ahr S, Henze K.

    Proc Biol Sci. 1999 Aug 7;266(1428):1571-7.
    The origin of eukaryotes: the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
    Vellai T, Vida G.

    IUBMB Life. 2003 Apr-May;55(4-5):193-204.
    Early cell evolution, eukaryotes, anoxia, sulfide, oxygen, fungi first (?), and a tree of genomes revisited.
    Martin W, Rotte C, Hoffmeister M, Theissen U, Gelius-Dietrich G, Ahr S, Henze K.

    Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2006 Jun 29;361(1470):969-1006.
    Cell evolution and Earth history: stasis and revolution.
    Cavalier-Smith T.
    Source
    University of Oxford, Department of Zoology, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK. tom.cavalier-smith@zoo.ox.ac

    The phagotrophic origin of eukaryotes and phylogenetic classification of Protozoa.
    Cavalier-Smith T.
    Source
    Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK. tom.cavalier-smith@zoo.ox.ac.uk

    Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010 Mar 12;365(1541):699-712.
    Endosymbiotic associations within protists.
    Nowack EC, Melkonian M.

    Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2009 Dec;73(4):775-808.
    Biological diversity of prokaryotic type IV secretion systems.
    Alvarez-Martinez CE, Christie PJ.

    Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Oct 12;364(1531):2795-808.
    Evolution of phototaxis.
    Jékely G.

    Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Sep 12;363(1505):2813-20.
    Review. Genetic exchange and the origin of adaptations: prokaryotes to primates.
    Arnold ML, Sapir Y, Martin NH.




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  33. Mack&#032Ramsy: Science can’t tell you why a system is the way it is, it can only tell you how it works.

    Now here we are in agreement.

    Science tells us “what is” and can show us how it works –

    Eukaryote cells have certain common characteristics that are “observable”.

    What we cannot “observe” is a prokaryote evolving into a eukaryote nor can we even “make a eukaryote” cell – evolution or not.

    What is left is “storytelling” about how that cell created itself — not science.

    No wonder Colin Patterson could summarize and even lament the situation as he did – among his fellow atheist evolutionists.

    There is no “amoeba to horse” or even “hyrax to horse” – science to be had. There is only storytelling. And this was the shocker that brought Simpson “up short” when he first published Othaniel Marsh’s fraudulent arranged “horse series” that even atheist evolutionists now admit “never happened in nature”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  34. Mack&#032Ramsy: Early cell evolution, eukaryotes

    I for one am always facinated when evolutionists talk about the way that eukaryotes evolved – having no data at all in the fossil record to show such a thing – nor any science (no not even Urey Miller) showing that such at thing can even be artificially manipulated in a tricked-out lab experiment.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  35. Re Faith’s Quote

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

    Hi Faith

    Thanks for your comments.

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  36. The parable of the Good Samaritan underscores the point that there is no need to drop all doctrine so that everyone can be a member of the SDA Church.

    The standard of behavior is not limited to church members. The Golden Rule applies to everyone. You don’t have to be a member of the SDA Church for you to be my “neighbor” and for me, as a Christian, to be required to treat to you with self-sacrificing love. So being a member of my particular denomination doesn’t entitle you to a heightened standard of conduct from me. Christians owe a heightened standard of conduct to everyone.

    Likewise, freedom of religion and disestablishment of religion mean that no civil advantage attaches to being a member of a particular denomination, nor does any civil disadvantage attach to not being a member. It is strictly a private matter.

    So where is the urgency for the SDA Church to drop all of its doctrines so that no one will be barred from membership on account of not believing what Adventists believe? What’s the point?

    The reality is that there are people who feel an emotional attachment to the church because they were raised in it and have family connections to it, and so they feel that they have a right to be on its membership roles, preaching in its pulpits, teaching in its classrooms, and sitting on its various governing boards, even though they may now be atheists or agnostics. It is hard to know where to begin to describe how ridiculous this is, and how aggressively obnoxious these people are.

    If you’re no longer a believer, you do not belong as a member of the church, much less as a salary-drawing preacher, teacher or administrator. The Adventist Church is not a social club. It is a faith community, or more precisely, a community of shared faith. When you no longer share the faith, you don’t belong as a member of the community. You are always welcome as a guest, but it is incredibly arrogant and obnoxious of you to think that because you were raised in the church, your current beliefs (or non-beliefs), whatever they may be, are proper Adventist beliefs. They are not. The Adventist faith is derived from source documents, namely the Bible read straightforwardly and the prophetic writings of Ellen White. The Adventist faith is not whatever some cultural Adventist currently believes.

    But that is the battle that is now being fought in the Adventist Church. A remarkably large number believe that Adventism is whatever cultural Adventists say it ought to be, regardless of the teaching of the source documents. The current struggle is over whether Adventism will continue to have a distinctive doctrinal content or whether it will simply be a social club.




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  37. Eddie: So Mack, after reviewing those articles it appears to me that there is still no certainty about how prokaryotes evolved into eukaryotes.

    It is hard to be “certain” about a story with no data. (Unless we are talking about the certainty that it is just a story after all).

    Currently they are forced to “believe” stories about prokaryotes that can not even be “manufactured” in a lab.

    Without anything in the lab or in the fossil record to support prokaryote to eukaryote stories – it is merely an entertaining form of fiction.

    Which is why I am surprised that evolutionists would want to expose that point.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  38. Nowack ECM, Melkonian M. 2010. Endosymbiotic associations within protists. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 365(1541):699-712. Abstract (from website, not actual pdf): The establishment of an endosymbiotic relationship typically seems to be driven through complementation of the host’s limited metabolic capabilities by the biochemical versatility of the endosymbiont. The most significant examples of endosymbiosis are represented by the endosymbiotic acquisition of plastids and mitochondria, introducing photosynthesis and respiration to eukaryotes. However, there are numerous other endosymbioses that evolved more recently and repeatedly across the tree of life. Recent advances in genome sequencing technology have led to a better understanding of the physiological basis of many endosymbiotic associations. This review focuses on endosymbionts in protists (unicellular eukaryotes). Selected examples illustrate the incorporation of various new biochemical functions, such as photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and recycling, and methanogenesis, into protist hosts by prokaryotic endosymbionts. Furthermore, photosynthetic eukaryotic endosymbionts display a great diversity of modes of integration into different protist hosts. In conclusion, endosymbiosis seems to represent a general evolutionary strategy of protists to acquire novel biochemical functions and is thus an important source of genetic innovation.

    The conclusion: “endosymbiosis seems to represent a general evolutionary strategy of protists.” Doesn’t sound particularly convincing.




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  39. Holly&#032Pham: Pacific Union College is well on the way down the same road as La Sierra. The problem of pot smoking there is horrible. I have had three relatives attend or are attending PUC, and they all have said over 50% of the students smoke pot, some coming to class “high.”

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

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




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  40. Interesting case.

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @ken:

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

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

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. David&#032Read: Everyone who reads “Educate Truth” knows that I don’t carry water for Dan Jackson. I was critical of him when he met with the La Sierra facility and apologized to them–and said that David Asscherick needed to be “spanked”—when what they needed to hear was that the church has doctrines that they are expected not to attack and undermine, and that when they do, there will be legitimate, justified concern about what they’re doing.

    But there was nothing wrong with what Dan Jackson preached at La Sierra the other day. It was biblical truth, and truth that had been denied by an influential local theologian. He deserves praise for that sermon, not nitpicking.

    I too stated that elder Jackson had gone wayyy down the wrong road at LSU.

    I have not heard Jackson’s sermon on atonement – but I certainly agree with argument for applauding him for anything he does get right after that stunt at LSU – anything along positive lines is very welcomed.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  42. ken: I just read that there are approximately 38,000 Christian denominations in the world. That means that the statistical probability for any specific one being exactly right in its theology is .003%

    Indeed — if religion were just a matter of “rolling dice” we would be having a different conversation entirely.

    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.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  43. No one is justified by obedience to the law. Whoever does not break the law doesn’t need justification, but so far no one but Christ ever has perfectly obeyed the law. So if I am not justified through faith in Christ, I’m not going to be justified, I’m going to be lost eternally. Even if I keep the law perfectly from here on out, it will not save me. I will always need the atonement of Christ. The goal of he Christisn life is to rely less and less on imputed righteousness, and more and more on imparted righteousness. But no one is justified by works, or by obedience to the law.




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  44. Gentleman

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

    Have a good Sabbath friends.

    Your whimsical agnostic friend
    Ken




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  45. Bill&#032Sorensen: We on the otherhand, are lost, and must not only accept the atonement to be saved, we must also keep the moral law as part of being saved.

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

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




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  46. Bill&#032Sorensen: You see the point clearly. And as I said, David represents “the church” of today for the most part.

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

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

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

    This attitude of intolerance of wrong.




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  47. Holly&#032Pham: Is La Sierra an “autonomous” institution with regards to our SDA Church?

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




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




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  48. I just read that there are approximately 38,000 Christian denominations in the world. That means that the statistical probability for any specific one being exactly right in its theology is .003%

    Just an observation.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  49. Re Bill’s Quote

    “It would seem the church is now about 90% politics with a little Christanity mixed in. ”

    Hi Bill

    This likely echoes the history and evolution of all religious institutions, which is one of the reasons that I eschew them. They are invented and controlled by the machinations of mankind who claim a franchise on God. This process will not stop as long as charismatic people seek power.

    Those that make a living within them are not likely to challenge the status quo. Do you really think Ted Wilson is going to disfellowship all that progressive source of tithe funds?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  50. Re Bob’s Quote

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

    Hi Bob

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

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

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

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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




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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  53. Re Bob’s Question

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

    Hi Bob

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  54. Re Sean’s Quote

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

    Hi Sean

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

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

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

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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  56. Bill&#032Sorensen: Bob, my concern is not so much with David Read as it is with the SDA church of today. David reflects modern Adventism and most people, even so called “conservative” Adventists can’t articulate the full scope of the bible doctrine and teaching on “justification”.

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

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

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

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

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

    They are two very different contexts for justification.

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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  58. Useing the marriage as an illustration as the bible often does, we should be able to see that no matter how great an experience can be between a man and a woman, it is still adultry unless they are legally married.

    They may keep all the same covenant conditions that a married couple agree to keep, but if they are not married, they are still “breaking the law”.

    The law demands a legal unity before an intimate experiencial relationship can be valid.

    Just so, how don’t care how “moral” people may be and/or act, unless they accept Jesus as their only title to heaven, they are still lost and will remain so unless they repent. In God’s eyes, they are immoral law breakers and sinful in heart and action.

    So, Jesus said, “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, you will in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

    He then goes into the motive for obedience in His sermon and shows that “civil righteousness” is never good enough. And without the right motive, sin is mingled in every good work. And without Christ, every “good work” is self righteousness.

    And Paul would say, “By the deeds of the law shall no unbeliever in Christ be justified.”

    And James would say, “And no one is saved by faith in Christ without the deeds of the law.”

    Perfect harmony. No discord. They each say the same thing from a different perspective. EGW agrees with this in her personal testimonies and her writings.

    I hope you do too, I know I do.

    Have a wonderful Sabbath and keep the faith.

    Bill Sorensen




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  59. Happy Sabbath, everyone. We are another week closer to His glorious return. “Keep your lamps trimmed and burning. Watch.”

    The time is near. “Today, today, today… until He comes…”




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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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  61. ken:

    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?

    For the sake of evolutionist we had better be seeing life come up out of dust, rock and water. But I think it would be fair to give evolutionists a “win” even if this is just a case of plants turning into animals or amoebas turning into plants or any of the cross phyla walk-up-the-taxonimic ladder story telling done by evolutionists where finches are “no longer finches”.

    Sadly for the salient point in their story telling – no such mechanism is seen to operate there – no not even in Madagascar.

    Piling up “more storytelling” will not suffice as a substantive response — but it may be sufficient to propup evolution for while – at least for a few of its devotees.

    Meanwhile — we have the “glaringly obvious” observations in nature – still being ignored by blind-faith evolutionists.

    Here it is — made easy so “everyone” can get it.

    http://www.thebranch.org/videos/Creation_Calls.mov

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  62. Re Wes’s Quote

    “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.”

    Hi Wes

    Welcome back my friend

    I liked your pithy observation on ID.

    Nothing wrong with using scientific method to look for design in nature in my books. Even if there is an inherent design to the physical laws of our universe – and their resultant cause and effect unfolding to produce life- the question remains: what is the nature of the Design and and our anthropomorphically conceived Designer?

    As our friend Bob has pointed out ID does not automatically default to creationism. But as you have aptly noted, ID may be a theistic step for secularists.

    Can everything, including the first quantum fluctuation that caused the big bang be explained without design? Is the initial quantum fluctuation the irreducible complexity or will astrophysics in time even take us back further towards a first cause? Don’t know, but I applaud all that use empirical methodology to look for design within the universe, including our Dr. Pitman.

    That is why I advocated for and said I would support a Chair for ID at LSU. Unfortunately not one, single, Adventist supported this idea! Thus I agree with you that, at least for YEC Adventists, ID is viewed as a great retreat. That is why Adventists like Prof Kent are so scared of Dr. Pitman using empirical means to prove Adventist faith. The danger of course is that ID might inevitably disprove literal Genesis.

    For our readers please see the link below in defence of ID.

    “http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq/#Godgaps”

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  63. Mack&#032Ramsy: Let me put it another way, if the bible said that there was a giant hole the size of several mountain rangers in the desert when there clearly wasn’t one, then we’d say that the hole was a metaphorical and spiritual. In fact we’d probably say that the entire desert was a metaphor and spend a thousand years arguing over what it means

    Funny you should choose to go down that road – because that is PRECISELY the solution that our Theistic evolutionist friends are taking.

    They have become befuddled to the point of imagining that hyrax-to-horse storytelling has left the realm of story telling and is now “observed science fact”.

    Their solution is to then “bend the Bible” so that it fits the usages of evolutionism nor matter how tortured the Bible bending exercise is for the text.

    Why do you single out their solution as the bad example? Are you rethinking support for the T.E. Bible bending program?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen




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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  66. 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 ”

    Hi Bob

    Perhaps not as long a wait as will be to observe 7 day creation. 🙂

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  67. Re: The 144,000 remnant

    Just curious as to whether this forms part of the Adventists’ pillars of faith and. If not why not if EGW clearly saw it in a vision?

    Your. agnostic friend
    Kem




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  68. Mack&#032Ramsy: 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.

    I’m sorry, Mack, but how you described the scriptures to me and how you are willing to shift their meaning to coincide with the beliefs of mere men, doesn’t really demonstrate to me that you have much respect for, or for that matter, confidence in the scriptures or God.

    As to interpreting the scriptures, we need to adhere to the interpretations God gave us when this church was established. This was not left to human interpretation. The group of people who first established the beliefs of this church spent days and nights in prayer to establish the interpretations according to God’s word. And if they were heading the wrong direction, God sent visions by EGW to correct them. That’s why I have full confidence in the way the church doctrines are applied. It fits together so beautifully…like a jigsaw puzzle of a masterpiece. Why mess with that? Just because some mortal men have come up with a fairytale? Not likely. You are putting your trust in evidence that Satan has tampered with. That you would be willing to change the doctrinal beliefs of our church to fit with that is sooooo unwise.

    I just feel so sad for people who can’t see the beauty of our doctrines. How they fit together so perfectly and are established with several different texts throughout the Bible–sort of like the testimony of more than one witness.

    We have been given extra light on the subject of evolution in the SOP writings. God has outright condemned the theory as error. How can you possibly go against such plain testimony? This is testimony from God–EGW was just the messenger. To reinterpret scripture to fit with evolution is the heights of foolishness.

    Please, Mack, if you have any relationship with God whatsoever, go down on your knees and ask Him. With an open mind, let Him guide you. He will show you the truth if you will let Him. I would advise you to take the time you have been putting into studying the evolutionary error and put it into studying the scriptures and SOP. Your time will be better spent because you will find genuine truth there.




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

    A reagent is added to test for a given precipitant.

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bill Sorensen




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

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

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

    ———————————-

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

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

    Hence my earlier post above.

    David&#032Read: Bob, there’s no conflict between Ephesians and Romans. Ephesians says we’re saved by grace through faith as the gift of God, which is imputed righteousness; Romans 2:13 says the saved will be “declared righteous,” which is imputed righteousness.

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

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

    Agreed – no conflict between the two.

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  73. Mack&#032Ramsy: I think there is some confusion about the role of science here. Science is very explicit about “proof” and “certainty” in that there isn’t any.

    1. Science is all about observation and experiment. Something that the amoeba-to-horse, hyrax-to-horse, and prokaryote-to-eukaryote storytelling is lacking. Hence Pattern’s lament.

    2. Science is being coopted – indeed hijacked by evolutionist-well-wishers in a thinly disguised effort to cover bad religion with a garb of “science terms” all the while destroying science.

    It is interesting that even atheist evolutionists like Patterson will admit to this basic point about “doing harm to systematics” via evolutionism.

    I presented you with a half dozen articles in a few minutes of searching.

    There are a great many articles on a great many topics – that was not the challenge.

    Mack&#032Ramsy:

    That said you’re right the sense that evolutionists may not have a perfect picture of how the world works,

    More to the point – atheist evolutionists such as Colin Patterson are in fact correct when they lament the “revealed truth” religious nature of the argument for evolutionism.

    Where time after time the evolutionist merely assumes the salient point of his argument rather than actually proving it.

    Mack&#032Ramsy: That claim is
    reserved by solely by creationists.

    If you want an bit more of an objective view of that – you apparently cannot go to SDA evolutionists – you have to go to an atheist evolutionist like Colin Patterson who compares the creationist argument for certainty with the evolutionist argument that uses the same religious “certainty as to the fact all the while pleading ignorance as to the means”.

    This is an objective up front comparison of the two groups given to us by an atheist evolutionist!

    How sad that we have some SDA evolutionists that do not wish to step to that level.

    Oh well – I suppose it was to be expected.
    Perhaps the bar that Patterson sets for SDA evolutionists – is just too high for them.

    The only “evidence” that could possibly be convincing is a notarized statement by god saying this is the way it is , which of course you believe you already have.

    Indeed – the proclivity of the evolutionist to grasp the Bible by the throat in an effort to set it aside so they can make their case with more freedom – is not totally unknown to us.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  74. Mack&#032Ramsy: @BobRyan Being familiar with Dawkins I’ve never known him for a loss for words.

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  75. Mack&#032Ramsy: You must either acknowledge a massive global conspiracy, or that there is some truth in what is being taught.

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

    Mack&#032Ramsy: We’re trying to incorporate what the bible teaches in a constructive meaningful way.

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

    Mack&#032Ramsy: Oh i know this is kind of a personal question but how many gay people have you killed this week? No? any pagans then? Hmm. Might want to get on that. Just a friendly suggestion in helping you be personally accountable for biblical teachings from friend in Jesus.

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




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  76. “Martin held up the social conservative POV and Clifford the theological conservative POV.”

    Well, I think Weber went through transition like we all do, Bob.

    I doubt he holds the same theological views and philosophy he did 20 years ago. He was more conservative then. So, like I said, he was bought off for a few pieces of silver.

    He never writes a view point in the paper where he is not attacking the traditional SDA church calling every conservative a “legalist”. In one article, he lamented that his poor old mother had to leave the SDA church and fellowship in a Lutherean church to find “love” and fellowship.

    The people were so cold and non-loving, she had to go else where. All this to undermine historic Adventism and opt for his liberal theology. He incessantly and constantly pushes women elders in almost every issue.

    Maybe you still know him and talk with him. He is not the Martin Weber of the past, and he would probably agree and be proud of it.

    Bill Sorensen




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  77. Bill says, “By the way, The Moral Influence Theory is not wrong in what it affirms, it is only wrong in what it denies.”

    That is exactly right, Bill. The problem with Maxwell’s atonement is not that it affirms moral influence but that it denies substitution. If you have substitution, then you also have moral influence, but if you don’t have substitution, then you don’t have moral influence either.

    There’s nothing admirable about a person who throws himself in front of a bus and dies, but there is something very admirable about a man who pushes a child out of the way of bus, but is hit and killed himself. The former is just a suicide, but the latter is self-sacrificing love. The former is not morally influential, the latter is.

    If Jesus did not have to die to accomplish the atonement, then it isn’t morally edifying that He allowed himself to be killed. But if Jesus did have to die to accomplish the atonement, then the fact that he allowed himself to die the death of the cross is tremendously moving and morally edifying.

    Bill, the thing that worries me about you, Jim Roberts, and Kevin Paulson is that your faith plus works model of salvation seems to end by denying the substitutionary atonement. Evidence of this is in how Jim Roberts reacted to Elder Jackson’s sermon on substitutionary atonement. Instead of praising Jackson for going into the heart of Maxwell country and preaching on substitutionary atonement, Roberts immediately attacked Jackson for, apparently, failing to emphasize regeneration and obedience.

    You guys are so hung up on works that you cannot recognize the astonishingly good news of the substitutionary death of Christ. You hear a sermon like Jackson’s and instead of saying “Amen!” you immediately start in attacking him for not addressing sanctification.

    Everyone who reads “Educate Truth” knows that I don’t carry water for Dan Jackson. I was critical of him when he met with the La Sierra facility and apologized to them–and said that David Asscherick needed to be “spanked”—when what they needed to hear was that the church has doctrines that they are expected not to attack and undermine, and that when they do, there will be legitimate, justified concern about what they’re doing.

    But there was nothing wrong with what Dan Jackson preached at La Sierra the other day. It was biblical truth, and truth that had been denied by an influential local theologian. He deserves praise for that sermon, not nitpicking.




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  78. Bill&#032Sorensen: Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan

    Bill, It is Satan who is the “accuser of the brethren”. You might want to re-read your post with that in mind.

    Bill&#032Sorensen: 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.

    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.)

    The only time he really got angry was when the people were being robbed in the temple, when they were plotting his murder, and when they were condemning sinners.

    I see the spirit of Jesus as being in direct opposition to the spirit of conservativism.




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  79. Mack said……

    “Liberals aren’t condemning all to hell for disagreeing with them.”

    Of course not, Mack. They hold the “Bully pulpit” and if you don’t like it, “Get out of town.”

    They will do everything they can to destroy your influence in the church. And they don’t mind lying to accomplish their goals either.

    And once they get their agenda in place, it is “sweep everything under the rug we don’t want any investigation and exposure.”

    They would shut up Shane and Sean if they could. And now we hear not a word from David Asserick or Jay Galimore about the La Sierra situation.

    Who do you think shut them up?

    Oh yes, the liberals hold the “bully pulpit” and use it to their advantage. By the way, Shane and Sean allow you to post what you please as well as Ken and others who attack the bible and spread their unbelief all over cyber space.

    Why is it Spectrum and A-today don’t allow me free posting on their forums? They allow anyone who attacks the SDA faith to post freely and even encourage such activity. Including a Catholic priest who attacks not only Adventism but basic Protestantism.

    Liberals control not only the secular media and our political system, but religion in America in general and liberals control the SDA church as well.

    The situation at LSU is typical and not some unusual situation in Adventism.

    Shane and Sean have forced into the public arena their double dealing and duplicity for any and all to see.

    Any objective observer can see who controls modern day Adventism. Who do you think “Forces” rock and roll music, jewelry, women elders and a dress agenda that emulates the heathen?

    I don’t know a pastor in the denomination today with the spiritual stamina to stand up and demand accountability of his members for fear of losing his job.

    So, as the saying goes, Mack. “I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.”

    The devil has been working his way into the church for the last 40 years and he is not sitting on the back row. He is in the pulpit.

    “The great issue so near at hand will weed out those whom God has not appointed and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain.–3SM 385 (1886). {LDE 179.2}
    Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. . . . {LDE 179.3}”

    Notice, she said, “many”. Not a “few”.

    Church members don’t really believe it, so the leaders are pulling it off with little difficulty.

    Don’t get me started, Mack. I’ve seen everything for decades. Thankfully, a few like Shane and Sean are now beginning to speak out publically. And, yes, some are beginning to wake up.

    God will yet have a people who hold to the bible only and won’t be intimidated by the liberal agenda.

    Bill Sorensen




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  80. 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.

    BobRyan:
    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.

    No wonder the application of a bit of critical thinking just then – demands that we conclude 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 Ramsy:
    Obviously the references abov

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

    BobRyan:
    Obviously the references abov
    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 “intention” and “Intelligent Design” aspects (so key to your response above) 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.

    Thus you seem to be in somewhat of a self-conflicted position at the moment.

    At least given the content of your statements about “intent” and “backup systems” and “redundancy” designed into the systems themselves (even to the point of “error correction” as we see in the case of nucleic polypeptide amino acid chains and their chiral orientation).

    Of course all that just gets us back here
    http://www.thebranch.org/videos/Creation_Calls.mov

    Mack&#032Ramsy: My language in this forum is not formal. Try not to get caught up in semantic issues.

    Out of curiosity is that statement supposed to provide a solution to just how it is that something “not designed” is able to exhibit unique design characteristics such as “back up systems” – “redundancy” – error correcting mechanism and an “immune system with intention” regarding a specific outcome or goal?

    No doubt the study of biology most definitely shows us that such things are present “in nature” based on “observations in nature” – and so you are right to state it as you did.

    So if you are then going to double back and reject what you just affirmed – what do you have by way of “explanation” for such a self-conflicted course?

    Reaching for a solution of the form – “Pay no attention to my actual words if they do not serve to deny I.D.” does not provide as satisfactory resolution to the problem as you may have at first supposed.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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