Two Conflicting Arguments in Defense of La Sierra University

From posts by John Osborn on the Spectrum blog:

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There are two lines of defense for LSU that make this [debate] particularly confusing:

1. Educate Truth’s vision of Adventist higher education is impossible or inappropriate. The Adventist position on Origins is indefensible, and teaching it at an Adventist school would be brainwashing.

2. Educate Truth’s allegation that LSU is not supporting the Adventist position on Origins is a lie straight from the devil, and David Read and Sean Pitman are bad, bad, people (in a hundred different creative ways) for suggesting such a thing.

These two just don’t go together. If one looks past all the hyperbole, and rhetorical fireworks, the substance of Educate Truth’s charge is that LSU promotes evolution as plausible truth, which is what many of you argue LSU SHOULD do . . .

So Educate Truth’s great slander against LSU seems to be that they are teaching what many of you argue they SHOULD teach. So which is it:

1) Is Educate Truth wrong that LSU should teach from an Adventist perspective? or

2) Is it that they are lying about LSU not doing so?

If it is number one, then it seems very strange that you are so outraged about people accusing LSU of being the kind of university you think it should be.

If you all really want to defend LSU, how about being clear in separating out what specifically Educate Truth is lying about? and what they’re right about? (but that you interpret as positives rather than negatives).

You must admit that if Educate Truth was wrong about everything they say about LSU, many of you would think LSU was not doing its job as a University.  So, what are the lies and where are they just wrong about what an Adventist university should be?  Such a discerning comment could actually be helpful in dispelling falsehoods about LSU. A hundred comments about the dark, dark, personalities of David and Sean, and pseudo-psychological speculation about why they are such bad people, may be highly cathartic, but it doesn’t do much in clearing the confusion about the real facts of the situation for anybody who might not have their mind made up. Perhaps I should use George Tichy’s favored method of Yes/No questions.

Yes/No: Are any LSU teachers promoting the entire evolutionary theory of Origins as the most plausible truth about origins?

Yes/NO: Did LSU just a hire a teacher who promotes the above view?

. . .

If everything they say about LSU is a lie, then that would mean LSU is faithful and unswerving in upholding Adventist teachings. Now I suppose that’s possible, but there’s one thing that’s incredibly strange about that scenario being true. The staunch defenders of LSU on this board passionately argue that for a University to be faithful and unswerving in upholding Adventist teaching, they would have to abandon their duty as a University because Adventist teaching is fantasy. So, if LSU is really faithful to Adventist teaching (meaning that the actual substance of David and Sean’s accusations are false) the question presents itself, why are you and others defending a University that is, according to your own arguments, teaching fantasy and falsehood?

So, in the spirit of presumption of innocence I’m not accusing either side, but that rule doesn’t mean I cannot note this inconsistency in the defense of LSU. Of course, it is is possible that David and Sean are right about LSU teaching evolution as the most plausible theory of Origins (which many of you think is proper) and that the lies you are all referring to are in regard to something else. However, none of that is clear with the “It’s all lies, how can David and Sean live with themselves” rhetoric of the proceeding comments. The truth would be served much better if someone outlined specifically what is being lied about, because common-sense weighs pretty strongly against it all being lies.

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18 thoughts on “Two Conflicting Arguments in Defense of La Sierra University

  1. I will seek to reiterate some facts regarding my own experience at LSU:

    As a student at LSU while Randal Wisbey was President, I can testify that I was blatantly brainwashed with Darwinian concepts. We didn’t weigh the conflicting arguments between the two worldviews. We were told that this and that argument had PROVED Darwinian evolution, when in fact, to any thinking mind, we had simply been shown observations which were interpreted according to a Darwinian mindset! When I spoke up about it to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he conceded that he had no problem with this since, “At the university level” he said, “we teach a more sophisticated knowledge of origins…”

    When I talked with President Randal Wisbey and the former Provost, they were not concerned about what I was telling them. Instead, they instituted a Freshman Seminar where students were told by the Dean of the School of Religion, John Webster, that it’s high time that the SDA Church endorse Darwinian evolution. And, that seminar was touted by Randal Wisbey to parents, supporters, and SDA members as a “balanced” look at the issue of origins. No, Dr Webster told us that the literal interpretation of the Bible on origins is not correct. This is the Dean of the School of Religion folks! And now he is the Dean of the new HMS Richards Divinity School! I know one thing: If HMS Richards were alive, he would be defending the Bible against the teachings of John Webster.

    The rubber meets the road at LSU when the students are sitting in class being told what to believe, rather than being taught how to think for themselves in analyzing scientific observations. To many, it’s not a big deal; the popular worldview will do.

    Yet, at LSU I met a Pastor’s daughter who told me she had become agnostic since attending LSU. Apart from all the media glamor and enrollment counts, there is your fruit re: LSU’s Biology programs. Another friend stood staring at the front of the classroom following Dr. Webster’s presentation in the Freshman Seminar. HE KNEW and shared with me his understanding that what we had just heard was absolutely contrary to the teachings of the Bible. He was shocked, as Dr. Webster received a roomful of applause from people who didn’t realize what they had just heard…

    When I attempted to share my faith and beliefs in the Bible on LSU’s campus, I was repeatedly disciplined by Randal Wisbey’s administration. I was denied my right as a U.S. citizen to defend myself before the various committees that were meeting to discuss what I had “done wrong.” All this was done under the leadership of President Randal Wisbey, who knew my situation well.

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” – Matthew 7:15-16:

    Does LSU’s Dean of the HMS Divinity School support the clear Biblical view of origins? Is Randal Wisbey concerned that the faith of LSU students in the Bible is being sacrificed on a daily basis, all for the sake of a popular worldview?

    I’ve already seen and heard the clear and undeniable answers for myself.




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  2. The article shows the “double talk” people use to defend LSU. Like secular politicians who ask simular questions and work continually and consistently to obsure even the obvious.

    Apparently, they are not real proud of what they believe or perhaps, don’t even know as in the case of how many deal with the bible teachings.

    So, “if you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your baloney.”

    It seems to apply more and more on every level of communication on every subject from religion to politics, business ….etc. The whole world is “Babylon”. Not just religion and spiritual matters.




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  3. Sean, in all seriousness, this article is posted at the wrong site. It needs to be posted at Spectrum since it addresses the Spectrum crowd. Surely you realize this.

    Good day.




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    • Richard, some of us are not allowed to post on Spectrum. I am glad it was posted here for evaluation. It also shows that at least some on that forum recognize the duplicity many use to oppose the truth.




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    • @Richard:

      As Bill notes – Spectrum has a run-and-hide policy when it comes to some of those who do not happen to share their desire to do a hatchet job on the denomination.

      Best to let some of these ideas be posted here where the balancing ideas are allowed to exist even when they do not expose a flattering side of Spectrum.

      in Christ,

      Bob




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  4. What happened to all the warnings? “Come out of her, my people.” Either you believe and teach Bible or you believe and teach evolution. “Two cannot walk together unless they agree!”




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  5. There are several issues being discussed by Sean on this forum. I don’t always agree with the way he defends creation, even though we agree on the creation issue.

    But one of the main issues is church authority. So the question is this, “Does the church have a right to define its understanding and teaching of the bible, and require those who work for the church to support it?”

    The liberals say ,”NO”. For obvious reasons.

    They already know that LSU does not support the SDA church teaching on origins. So to defend their duplicity, they claim the church must tolerate views that oppose the church for the sake of academic freedom.

    Quit frankly, this is simply liberal “hogwash” and everybody knows it. But they assume if the can “blowhard” their view over and over they may actually persuade someone, and in the meantime, keep the church from acting in a responsible way to discipline those elements that attack the church and its understanding of creation.

    Religious liberty does not mean a church can not define its doctrine and teaching and demand accountability to adhere to its declarations of doctrine. Another inane view by the liberals who claim religious liberty means all are free to teach anything they want, even if it opposes church doctrine.

    We begin to wonder if there is a sane human being left on the earth. Common sense is out the window as liberals use any and every ridiculous argument to advance their agenda. As a side note, some of you probably have heard the boy scouts are now planning to allow gay leaders in their organization. What parent would allow their child to join such an organization? More than a few, I would suspect. This only shows the insanity that has griped America on every level. And our church is not far behind.




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  6. @Jenni h: Your words on your post show you do not have the Spirit, for if you did you would not be calling good evil and evil good nor use by inference worldly profanity. “By their fruits…”

    Grace and Peace
    Mike




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  7. So it sounds like Louie’s experience shows that WASC needs to be concerned, not that the sponsoring church is pushing it’s views on the university (thereby limiting it’s academic freedom), but that the university is limiting the academic freedom of its students to weigh the conflicting theories for themselves.

    Louie:




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  8. This article appears to be the most untrue, rabid attack that I’ve ever seen on God’s Word, which is too plain to be miscontrued.

    Thank God for men like Sean Pittman and his staff that stands for truth despite the persecutions from evolutionists and their supporters.

    I am still of the opinion that any church member that does not accept all 28 of our doctrines should by all means find themselves another church. But we know that Satan’s way is to attack truth from within.

    We must be very close to the end of this age as we know it! “Come Lord Jesus, come.”




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  9. From a post by Ron Osborn on Spectrum:

    Accepting the entire theory of Darwinism, however, makes death and suffering God’s means of creating, rather than the result of sin and a reversal of creation; and it makes humans on a gradual continuum with the animals rather than especially made in the image of God. Theistic evolution in some ways could be said to have worse implications for ethics than naturalistic evolution; with naturalistic evolution one can argue that “is” does not equal “ought,” but with theistic evolution, the evolutionary method is the means of a benevolent God creating what He called good and thus cannot be easily dismissed as an arbitrary and capricious way of doing things. You seem to think the only theological problem is departing from strict literalism of Inspired writing, in which case a departure is a departure. If that were the case than Ford’s departure might be comparable to Pitman’s. However, there are much, much, bigger problems than contradicting fundamentalist hermeneutics on this issue – there is God’s benevolence in creation, God’s ability to conquer death by reversing sin, and thus the hope of the Earth made new. Pitman’s acceptance of micro-evolution and Ford’s acceptance “progressive creation,” are not even in the same world of ideas when it comes to those problems.

    I have nothing against people who come to this position, and they may very well feel forced to do so for reasons of intellectual honesty. However, I wish you would all be honest that you have become, according to common usage, evolutionists. If you want to term yourself an “progressive creationist” or an “evolutionary creationist” then fine, but do not be offended by other people calling you evolutionist, because you are what is meant by the term. Everyone knows what’s being debated and it’s not whether Richard Dawkin’s form of naturalism is spreading through Adventism, it is whether theistic evolution is spreading through the church. If you want educate people on the various forms of theistic evolution, then that’s all well and good, but don’t call them liars because they don’t correctly guess whatever label you happen to prefer. As long as you believe God created man through death and suffering, you’re not on what is called the “creationist” side of this debate and it seems like obfuscation to not get that.

    http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2013/01/27/la-sierra-university-responds-recent-attacks#disqus_thread




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    • @Sean Pitman:

      In the Bible truth regarding the history of mankind and the fall – man was warned that sin would result in death.

      In the Darwinian model – death would be the result no matter if man chose to sin or not. In fact in the Darwinian model since the result of rebellion is the same as the result of obedience – there is in fact no penalty at all for rebellion as compared to obedience.

      And in the end – is that not exactly as Satan would have it??

      This really is not so hard to see.

      in Christ,

      Bob




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  10. “I am still of the opinion that any church member that does not accept all 28 of our doctrines should by all means find themselves another church. But we know that Satan’s way is to attack truth from within.”

    We have a little problem, Steve. The 28 are simply a suggestion of what the majority of SDA’s believe by concensus. And therefore, there is a disclaimer at the beginning that states the positions are not “offical” doctrines of the SDA church.

    We have embraced and endorsed Pluralism for so long, we have rendered ourselves impotent to discipline anyone on any subject. This is what happens when you have a “false gospel” endorsed and embraced. And the liberal element has more than substancial control of the church, and apparently we have no ability to do anything about it. Thus, the incesent “bickering” that can not resolve the problem because no one can do anything about it.

    Oh yes, we can have meeting after meeting year after year, but it is at present an exercise in futility. There has been no discipline of LSU nor of the Unions that flagrantly ignored the General Conference about WO issue. And now hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent uselessly in the next two years to tell us they can not come to any substancial conclusion. Pluralism will reign, apparently and no problem will be resolved.

    Bill Sorensen




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  11. Ok so back to the OP – lead blog post. If the Spectrum pattern of response is to say that EducateTruth is wrong for saying LSU is teaching evolution (since presumably that would be a bad thing for LSU to be doing), and EducateTruth is wrong for saying that LSU should stop teaching evolution (since presumably evolution is the best thing for science since sliced bread) — then what we have is the classic “any-ol-excuse-will-do” attack on EducateTruth.

    So the tell-tale in this show is that the two opposing sides both bashing EducateTruth never address each other!!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  12. Two opposing views on LSU at spectrum – join in bashing EducateTruth when in fact you might expect the two sides to address each other and get their story straight first.

    Christ had to face a situation where two groups opposed to each other (Sadducees and Pharisees ) joined forces to oppose Christianity.

    ======== quote
    A deputation of Pharisees had been joined by representatives from the rich and lordly Sadducees, the party of the priests, the skeptics and aristocracy of the nation. The two sects had been at bitter enmity. The Sadducees courted the favor of the ruling power in order to maintain their own position and authority. The Pharisees, on the other hand, fostered the popular hatred against the Romans, longing for the time when they could throw off the yoke of the conqueror. But Pharisee and Sadducee now united against Christ. Like seeks like; and evil, wherever it exists, leagues with evil for the destruction of the good. {DA 405.2}
    ========== end quote.

    Maybe it is just a study in human behavior.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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