By Educate Truth Staff
This forty-eight slide presentation briefly outlines the history of fundamental belief six. It sheds light on why La Sierra University can accept Belief 6 and still continue to endorse long ages of life on earth. It is also noteworthy that two of LSU’s previous presidents were key players in the wording of Belief 6.
Belief 6 needs to be amended in General Conference Session as soon as possible to reflect the four historic Adventist landmarks on creation which were recently affirmed in “A Response to an Affirmation of Creation“.
241 thoughts on “A little-known history about Belief 6”
A huge number of educated SDAs believe that there must be more to the creation account, and most of them have put in huge amounts of thought and study to determine what they believe. And yet here you are advocating that the church make sure that there are no “loopholes” so that they not be “allowed” to pursue these lines of thinking. Is this about pursuing truth, or is this about some kind of weird purging of the church in which anyone who believes a little differently is booted out?
This highlights that there are influential church leaders that support each of the perspectives (literal/historical interpretation and non-literal/progressive interpretation). There also seems to be a significant number of members who support each of the perspectives. It seems to me that the denomination stands to gain by keeping a big tent with both perspectives and we stand to lose by forcing one side or the other out.
We believe we have been called to announce the soon coming of Jesus Christ and to invite and encourage people to enter into a relationship with Jesus. This is our mission. We believe we have been given a special calling by God. There are about 15 million of us trying to reach almost 7 billion people in the world. There are so many people out there with so many different ways of thinking. Do we really want to make creation/evolution a barrier to our mission? It seems to me that there are many people who have a lot to contribute to the body of Christ that we would turn away unnecessarily.
At some point in the past something happened and this earth came into being and life came into being. Whether one believes creation or evolution or something else does not change the fact of what happened.
God has allowed sincere, intelligent believers to be convinced of creation, and He has allowed sincere, intelligent believers to be convinced of evolution. He loves them all and accepts them into his Kingdom. I would like to believe we could do likewise.
“Although there must be nothing that resembles an inquisition, no effort to divide, hurt, or destroy those who may seem to have a slightly different orientation””
Geanna Dane(Quote)View Comment
This is about consistency and transparency. If the SDA Church organization really does stand for a literal creation week, it should make that stand very clear. If it does not, it should also make that stand very clear. Ambiguity on a point of doctrine that has historically been one of the most foundational pillars of the SDA Church (to the point of being included in the very name Seventh-day Adventist) is simply unhelpful and will ultimately lead to disunity and a stalling of Church progress and effective influence as an organized body.
This isn’t about trying to coerce anyone into believing anything a person isn’t convinced is true from personal search and investigation. All are and should be free of any civil reprisals or moral implications to leave the employ of the SDA Church. This is strictly about the practicality of organization. It is not inherently an issue of salvation (contrary to what some may suggest). Some may be surprised to learn that not all in heaven someday will have been SDAs… shocking I know!!! ; )
Yet, the SDA Church, as an organized body, is important. And, all viable organizations must impose internal limits on who is or who isn’t hired as a paid representative of the organization. Not just anyone can effectively represent a particular organization as a paid employee in a leadership role. There must be limitations and specific qualifications for employed representation – to include such representation within the SDA Church organization.
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
Maybe we should be more humble about our personal convictions. As a life-long SDA I have always believed in a six-day creation week in the relatively recent past and I have always believed in a worldwide flood, based more on faith than physical evidence. However, I question the wisdom of being dogmatic about the details of what really happened. I think it is unwise to insist (as some here seem to wish) that all SDAs interpret all verses of Genesis literally. And I think it is equally unwise to insist (as some SDA professors do, which is the only reason why this website exists) that the Genesis account of origins is a myth that should be discarded. There are many, many unresolved questions that none of us know all the answers to.
I also think we should be more concerned about being better stewards of what we now have than arguing about how and when it all got here. I fully realize some of you will totally disagree with me, which is okay. Rather than attempting to impose my personal belief system on others, I’m content to let God be in control. I look forward to the day when I will no longer “see through a glass, darkly” and can get answers to all of my questions firsthand from the Creator when we meet “face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12).
So all this fighting and bickering about an official church position that La Sierra may well be upholding?? And now the church has to more narroly define its position for what- “practicality”? Practicality? So that current employees can be shown the door?
Let the inquisition and hurting and purging begin. I used to love my church but the more I learn about the way Adventists treat Adventists the more shame I feel being an Adventist and I want to vomit. This will never end. You people will fight unitl the day Jesus comes. And I think you love it. Let me say that again. I think you LOVE it.
Geanna Dane(Quote)View Comment
It is interesting that even 30 years ago the liberals were carefully scheming to preserve ambiguity in the language, so that they could hide behind “anfractuosities of language”, as Clifford Goldstein so felicitously put it.
Putting Fritz Guy and Larry Geraty in charge of drafting a fundamental belief on creation is like having John Dillinger draft the laws against bank robbery.
David Read(Quote)View Comment
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Who on Earth decided that those who never did believe in a literal creation week should be the ones to draft the official SDA position on creation? Amazing…
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
One of the things that even Fritz Guy appears to admit – is that the GC exec committee plan was NEVER for the team at Andrews to rewrite the existing 27 FB once the initial draft had been completed by the GC. Yet they did, and even Fritz Guy was surprised by that surprise level of innaction on the part of the GC.
While I DO support adding whatever language is necessary to clearly state what the actual belief of the denomination is in this regard (literal 7 day week, all genomes created, less than 10,000 years ago, real world wide flood… etc) – I have already listed the areas in which the (now 28) Fundamental Beliefs refute evolutionism even as they are today.
And specifically stated this about Belief #6
Evolutionism denies every single point of doctrine 6 for it says;
1. God is not the Creator of all things. At best he created the big bang and then let everything else evolve and create itself over billions and billions of years. Thus the “intelligence” of the Creator cannot be seen in a single thing in nature today unless it is done “by faith alone” believing in spite of seeing nothing.
2. Scripture does NOT give an authentic account of anything such as the creation of all life on earth in a literal 7 day week. It is myth, poetry and storytelling.
3. God did not rest on the 7th day of the first week of Creation — because there was no “week of creation” with 6 literal days and then a 7th literal day in it such that God could rest in a completed work – with mankind already in Eden on day 7. Simply “no such thing” according to evolutionism.
4. Thus God could NOT have “established the Sabbath on day 7”. No not on “Day 7” nor on the 7 Millionth year nor even the 700 Millionth year!
5. Since the Christian God is not a violent grunting animal-eating cave-dwelling hominid – the first humans were not in the image of God nor did they even have a language complex enough to understand a 7 day creation week concept much less the notion of “keeping the 7th day holy” or seeing God as the ONE true God creator of all life..
6. The first hominids were of such basic mind that there is no way they could have been given “charge” of the earth to “care for it”. They were lucky to even “survive” as day by day they bashed in their ration of monkey brains in their caves.
7. Evolutionism says that by the time mankind came along – the world was ruled by the law of tooth and claw. It was a ruthless and bloody place where “creation” was achieved by virtue of starvation disease, and predation. It was not “good” at all – and humans today should not seek to return to such a bloody death-overall origin.
So while we can see how they have been chipping away at the Sentry Guard positioned at Belief 6 — they have far from removed it’s pointy spear aimed at their pet mythology. The TE’s false religion based on an atheist view of origins and unwittingly adopted (swallowed whole) by some non-critically thinking Theists – is fully exposed in the light of day – by details still remaining in Belief 6.
Recall that many people have claimed to “embrace the 4th commandment” while claiming it was changed to another day of the week – or claiming that it does not really mean the seventh-day from Friday evening to Saturday evening. As much as they like to imagine that “the text does not support the Saturday Sabbath” teaching – it does.
Do we really need to chisle into the 4th commandment “And by this we mean Saturday” or are these imaginative musings of our theistic and anti-Saturday friends really that compelling?
I would be happy for more specificity – but I believe the Theistic Evolutionists myths are much more fully impaled by the remaining statements of Belief 6 – then they want you to realize.
Those teachers at La Sierra University who are promoting Darwinian thinking as the true story of origins are not upholding the truly historical SDA position on origins as one of the main founding pillars of Adventism. They may claim to be hiding behind some sort of ambiguity in the language of Fundamental #6, language originated by theistic evolutionists Fritz Guy and Lawrence Geraty, but this perspective by no means represents the understanding of the SDA Church, as an organization.
Also, LSU is trying to hide the fact that it is actually promoting the modern mainstream evolutionary synthesis view on origins in its classrooms. If it is so proud of the education that it is providing at great cost to parents and students, why not be open and honest and completely transparent about what is taking place in the classroom? Why given those students who are trying to stand up for the Church’s clearly stated position on origins, like Louie Bishop, such a hard time? – bringing him before academic probation committees and threatening him with censure and permanent negative comments on his transcript? Why limit access to classroom notes and videos? Why be so secretive about what is really going on at LSU behind closed doors?
Now, if the SDA Church wishes to recant one of its strongest foundational pillars, it should do so very clearly so as to avoid any confusion that leads to what is currently taking place with LSU. Either way, the SDA Church should step up to the plate to clear up any appearance of ambiguous language regarding its stand on origins so everyone can make up his or her mind if he or she does or does not want to continue to support the SDA Church as an organization… and to make SDA schools truly representative of the SDA ideals parents are paying a great deal of money to obtain for their children…
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
Far from declaring victory and sitting down – our theistic evolutionist evangelists realize that in fact they have a long way to go beyond the tiny victory they achieved in 1980 – if they really want TE to be supported by actual Seventh-DAY Adventists.
Fritz Guy admits his evolutionist bias and his desire to see the Adventist denomination CHANGE â€“
There Fritz Guy claims victory over the long-ages idea for the Universe – but STILL admits that we have a “short age LIFE” doctrine for earth (inspite of his efforts regarding belief 6.)
Fritz Guy makes it clear that his own views do NOT favor the “short life” or “young life” position of Seventh-DAY Adventists – and so he argues that we need a CHANGE. He is trying to argue from the standpoint of success regarding the age of the Universe and possibly the age of rocks on earth – in an effort to move the bolder uphill one last mile.
Guy freely admits that our statement on doctrine DOES NOT support his belief in billions of years of life on earth! He argues explicitly for a change! He argues that just as the Millerites had WRONG doctrine – so do we now have WRONG doctrine.
He never argues “Belief 6 teaches that life has evolved for billions of years” all he did with Belief 6 is try to adjust the stranglehold noose that Belief 6 puts on evolutionism – by a notch. But it is there all the same and he knows it!
Make no mistake about it.
in that above statement – Fritz Guy adds the point that at present not only does Belief 6 condemn his “3 billions years of fossil life on earth” mantra – it also leaves us in a place that does NOT support “a diversity of views on this subject” and so — at the very least – he urges that we change in that regard.
This is far from “I changed belief 6 and now it is all over but the screaming and yelling”.
If the limits are themselves ambiguous, then they really aren’t effective limits are they? An organization without known or effective limitations on what it does and does not stand for will not stand for long.
Being ambiguously ambiguous is even worse than being very clear about where you are or are not ambiguous as an organization. If the SDA Church really doesn’t want to take a clear position on origins, it should make this new stand very clear. It should say, “We really don’t know, as an organization, if the creation week was literal or not”.
As it currently stands, the leadership of the SDA Church makes it appear as it if stands decidedly on the side of a literal creation week and worldwide Noachian flood in recent history (except when it comes to making sure that such notions are being actively promoted in its own classrooms that is). After all, it was the members of the General Conference Executive Committee who wrote, in 20004:
Do they really believe this “affirmation” or not? Or, would they rather stand by the ambiguous language originally proposed by theistic evolutionists Fritz Guy and Lawrence Garety? One way or another, this issue is coming to a head and decided and clearly presented positions for or against ambiguity on this issue will have to be taken by the Church organization.
Thanks again for your thoughts. It was good to see you this past week.
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
There’s nothing to fight or bicker over since the general issue is cut and dried, and clear and simple.
As far as vomiting goes, have you considered Jesus’ words in Rev. 3:16? “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” If we Adventists refuse to take a stand for Bible truths like creation because of a treasonous desire to get along with apostates, we will be spewed out of Christ’s own mouth. Not a pleasant thought.
Adventists who have apostatized to the point that they have embraced a most dangerous form of infidelity, and are using their position as employees to poison others with their apostasy, shouldn’t be employees.
Bob Pickle(Quote)View Comment
Not just of drafting and to some degree hijacking the process of editing the 27 Fundamental beliefs statement – but of putting them in charge of training our young people our ministers our theologians for decade after decade.
Some administrator, some department head decided to “Sow to the wind” and now we reap the whirl wind.
An account they will have to settle with God some day – I am sure. But for now we should pray and act in ways that encourage leadership to start taking a right course of action.
This is about distinguishing truth from error – light from darkness.
This is about stating accurately what the denomination’s doctrine actually IS and not simply saying “I choose to believe it is wrong so I will make up another doctrine”.
This is about having the honesty not to knowingly and deliberately undermine voted Adventist doctrine – while claiming a pay check from the Adventist system itself FOR supposedly teaching the REAL view of Adventists on that very subject. About having SDA Administration at ALL levels “wake up” to that not-so-subtle reality.
And ultimately it is about having a level of clarity in our statement of beliefs such that the average Joe-member can read it and say “I either DO agree or I do NOT agree” and then make their own choice of what group better suits their own view of the Bible and the World.
As much as these principles may irritate evolutionists — they are still the “1,2,3” basics of any religious organization.
According to this article, it appears the purpose of the fundamental beliefs project was to preserve historical Adventist landmarks. And, it is a problem that that fundamental belief 6 does not reflect historical Adventist landmarks regarding creation. In other words, we need to preserve the things of the past and not consider new ideas. It sounds like tradition has some authority in deciding doctrine.
It makes sense to advocate for creationism because that is what the Bible literally says. Advocating for creationism because it is a landmark of history closes our minds to the influence of the Holy Spirit trying to give us new light. It’s also backward looking instead of forward looking.
Curious, isn’t it, how clearly church leaders of the past attempted to prevent statements that went beyond what the Bible says about creation. And now, the sponsors of this Web site claim that we must make things more clear than the Bible statement because we can’t change our traditional beliefs.
So, what’s more important: Limiting ourselves to what the Bible says or preserving our traditions?
I agree. We need to take a stand that we need to help people know Jesus and be liberated from the burdens of sin. We need to stand up and say that spreading the gospel is more important than origins.
When? Where? The Bible explicitly states that creation took 6 days, that Noah’s Flood was worldwide, and that life on earth has existed for but thousands of years. The presentation says nothing about statements that go beyond these simple, plain teachings of Scripture.
Yet evolution destroys the gospel, and thus your suggestion does not make sense.
The Bible teaches that the human race fell. Evolution teaches that the human race is climbing ever upward.
The Bible teaches that that fall brought death into the world for the first time. Evolution teaches that death existed long before man.
The Bible teaches that we need a Savior in order to be transformed. Evolution teaches that we are improving on our own, and have been doing so for millions of years.
The Bible teaches that its utterances are authoritative truth. Evolution teaches that the Bible is full of error.
Evolution undermines the gospel to the point that, from what I recall, doctorf, an evolutionist who is a professor at an Adventist school, and who somehow still claims to be an Adventist, has stated that he does not believe in the virgin birth, and that he is unsure whether we will be resurrected. And Erv Taylor could not state a single Bible story that he believed to be accurate and authoritative as written, whether from the OT, the gospels, or Acts.
Why don’t you take a little survey of the skeptic academicians out there and see how many believe various facets of the gospel message, like the fall of man, the depravity of fallen human nature, the virgin birth and incarnation of Christ, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement, the resurrection of Jesus, the high priestly ministry of Christ in both its phases, the soon return of Jesus, and the resurrection of the righteous dead at that return? You might be surprised at the results.
Bob Pickle(Quote)View Comment
Hint: THE Gospel accounts START with Origins – read John 1 to see for yourself.
The very BIBLE itself STARTS with Origins – check out Genesis 1-2:3.
The very CORE of worship to God is centered in ORIGINS – check out Rev 14:6-7 and yes that is called “The Everlasting GOSPEL”.
It is possible that a non-Adventist may not be familiar with these basic details – but I am tempted to assume that ALL Adventists are aware of this.
There is no “monkey became man then fell into sin and so was doomed to hell” in the Bible. Or as Dawkins puts it – “Ancestor of Ardvark” decided to become ancestor of man and then falls into sin -and is doomed to the Lake of fire. All such fictions are foreign to the Gospel – as it turns out.
“SIX DAYS you shall LABOR.. for in SIX DAYS the Lord Made” Ex 20:8-11
Only a gross level of eisgesis would demand inserting DIFFERENT meanings for day into the text when dealing with the SAME author on the SAME subject in the SAME sentence!
Adventists simply are not known for the extreme eisegesis you are hoping for when it comes to the text of scripture.
As I pointed out here
– even Fritz Guy admits to the huge problem that evolutionists have when confronted by our doctrinal statements – specifically Belief 6 in this case.
Thus he argues that we need to declare our voted doctrines related to origins to be “wrong” and move on to a more atheist-centric doctrine on origins.
That detail is not fitting your argument well.
Well it is true that the Bible “really says” “SIX Days you shall labor…for IN SIX DAYS the Lord made…” and obviously that alone justifies the decision to hold up the trustworthy nature of scripture on this doctrine.
In Gal 1:6-11 Paul argues that they are to be “accursed” who come to you with a different teaching, a different gospel then you have already heard from us.
Thus there IS a Bible precidence for not wiping out established doctrinal truths.
Never have we seen anything but “Sola scriptura” arguments in defense of the NATURE of the argument for accepting “what the bible says” on this topic from creationists. However the next point that is always brought up when evolutionists try to bend this around to “well that is just YOUR bible and YOUR view” (as if ONE person just came up with this) – is the inconvenient historic fact that the Church in GC session VOTED to affirm the Bible teaching on this subject as well.
Thus we have a mountain of evidence from BOTH scripture AND from the actions of this last day Church as it is guided and directed by God – that both affirm the 4th commandment “details” to a level that is not consistent with more atheist-centric doctrines on origins.
The Gospel’s message of a solid hope in a bright literal future is largely based on a correct understanding of origins…
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
(I didn’t quite finish my thought, so I’ll finish it here.)
The logic of this article seems to me to be that we should hold this doctrine because of it is our tradition. This reminds me if the Roman Catholic principle of using tradition as an authority in determining doctrine. As Protestants, we hold to the principle of sola scriptura. I’m thinking that logic based on the Bible (and there’s plenty of it) is better than logic based on tradition.
Then again, the principle of sola scriptura is a 500 year tradition among Protestants. Perhaps tradition is inescapable.
(PS, thank you for your other responses to my posts. I’ll post another thought later.)
We should hold this doctrine because this is what a straight reading of the Bible says about a literal creation week. It is very clear, from a straight reading of the text of the first two chapters of Genesis, that the author(s) of this account intended to describe real historical events that took place in a week of six literal days.
Consider the following comments from James Barr, Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford:
Consider that Prof. Barr did not believe in a literal creation week. But, he did believe that the writer(s) of Genesis believed in a literal creation week.
So, it is not us “historical” Adventists who are trying to alter the obvious intent and meaning of the biblical authors. We believe that their understanding was correct. Those who think that they didn’t understand what they were talking about are the ones who wish to take the Church away from a truly biblical basis of belief.
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
I think this is critical. Origins are very important. They do significantly affect our future.
I’m going to ask, what is the Gospel? I would say that it says that humanity is sinful and in need, and that God has come to save us. This is here and now and very real.
It seems to me that this works with or without a belief in a literal 6-day creation. Am I missing something?
Agreed. This is the case for a 6-day creation.
I agree that the writer(s) of Genesis believed in a literal 6-day creation week. I have also read that they believed the sky was made of hard metal that was hammered out by God, and that it is held up by pillars beyond the horizon. I’m not going to press this point. I’m just sayin…
Iâ€™m not trying to fight belief in creation or support belief in evolution. Iâ€™m trying to advocate for the core of the Gospel and tolerance of other differences.
It seems to me that John 1 is primarily talking about the origin of Jesus. He links Jesus to the concept of the Word, or Logos, that was prevalent in the Greco-Roman culture of the day. The story of the Word becoming flesh in the form of Jesus was kind of a new concept at the time. John was helping people see that the concept of Logos that they already understand was actually a partial truth that is made clear by the Gospel of Jesus. It seems to me that the phrase “Through Him all things were made” works with or without a literal 6-day creation.
It is true that Paul writes against those that are preaching a gospel different than what he taught. In Galations, Paul is primarily writing against the Judaizers, who are preaching that people must keep the laws of Moses to be a real Christian and to be saved. (Am I getting that right?) In the current creation/evolution dialog, who is requiring that we hold on to ancient requirements of God in order to be true Adventists, and who is advocating for promotion of the core of the Gospel and tolerance of diversity? Iâ€™ll expand on this thought in another post, and you can tell me where Iâ€™m off track.
You are right that the Bible teaches that humanity is fallen. Genesis tells a story of how that fall happened. As a sinful person, I know I need help, and Jesus is that help. I donâ€™t necessarily need to understand how my ancient ancestors got us into this situation. I care about my own story and those in my family and community. I think the Gospel thrives with or without the Genesis story of the fall.
The Bible also teaches that there is hope, there is a brighter future. As Adventists we believe in the concept of progressive truth and progressive revelation. Through history God has revealed more and more about himself so that we can better understand Him. There is a kind of upward growth through Abraham, Moses, Hezekiah, Josiah, Ezra, the Gospels, Paul, Martin Luther, William Miller, and Ellen White. (I’m sure there are others that could be added.)
We’re not going to change each other’s mind. I just hope you’ll give my ideas a little consideration. I think we can make the tent big enough for all of Godâ€™s children. I think that is what God wants us to do. Thereâ€™s almost 7 billion people out there God has asked us to share His love with. If we’re going to make progress in our lifetime, we’re going to need to make room for people who are different from us.
As I mentioned earlier, Iâ€™m not trying to fight belief in creation or support belief in evolution. Iâ€™m trying to advocate for the core of the Gospel and tolerance of other differences.
When thereâ€™s conflict, I see wisdom in asking what is really most important. It seems to me that the most important issue is that humanity is sinful and in need, and that God and has come to save us. This is the essence of the Gospel and we are called to share it with the world. Please correct me if Iâ€™m missing something. Iâ€™m going to write this post using this definition, and Iâ€™ll adjust later if I need to.
As SDAs, after about 150 years, we are about 15 million people trying to reach almost 7 BILLION people. We represent about 2 tenths of 1 percent of the world population, so we have a long way to go.
At different points in history, God has chosen to shake things up and radically change how people understand Him. Iâ€™m thinking of Abraham, Moses, Jesus (obviously), Paul, Luther and others in the reformation, and Ellen White and the pioneers. In those times, people had to let go of long held beliefs in order to accept Godâ€™s new light. Is it possible that this might be one of those times?
Genesis 1 is beautiful poetry. Perhaps it’s not intended to be a scientific document. Perhaps it’s intended to show that God is the source of life, He’s powerful, He’s orderly, He’s loving. I think the Gospel as I described it above is the same with or without a literal 6-day creation.
In Deuteronomy, the 4th commandment is explained as a commemoration of God bringing His people out of the slavery of Egypt. This is symbolic of how God brings each of us out of the slavery of sin. In a sense, the Sabbath has more value as a reminder of how God has saved us than it does as a reminder of Godâ€™s power at creation before humanity even existed. In a sense, we can be a better blessing by shifting our origin of the Sabbath from Exedous to Deuteronomy.
The Judaizers in Paulâ€™s day were no doubt very pious, sincere believers. They believed that Jesus had come to save humanity from sin. They also believed that we must hold on to what God has revealed through prophets who had gone before. Godâ€™s people had held these beliefs and practices, as revealed through Moses, for 1500 years. How could they be abandoned now? These beliefs and practices were seen as essential in every way. Paul understood that the core of the Gospel is that humanity is sinful, and Jesus had come to save us. He saw that the Judaizers were adding unnecessary barriers to entry that was hindering the spread of the Gospel. His efforts prevailed, and that is what we believe today. By making belief in a 6-day creation a requirement, are we becoming the Judaizers of our day?
God revealed through Gallileo (and other scientists) that the earth is not the center of the universe. Gallileo, et al, were not prophets, but humanity did learn through them truths about Godâ€™s other revelation, nature. There was probably strong Biblical support for the belief that the earth was the center of the universe (I think Iâ€™ve heard Psalms was part of that). To believe what the scientists of their day were saying was considered heresy. In time, Godâ€™s people came to believe the heliocentric truth that God had shown them. And this even became a basis for further spiritual insight (eg, everything revolves around the Sun/Son).
Godâ€™s creation is full of diversity. Geology, climactic zones, plant life, animal life, atomic elements, sub-atomic particles, humanity, language, ideas, even religion. God not only tolerates such diversity, He created it, and I believe He embraces it.
Is it possible for us to promote what is essential, that humanity is sinful and God is here to save us, and embrace diversity in everything else, including origins?
I’ve been looking for a copy of the article you quoted from Fritz Guy entitled Realities for Adventist Theology in the 21st Century, but I haven’t been able to find it online. Do you have a reference for an online version of the article?
John Turner(Quote)View Comment
George: My question for you is, why does the Seventh-day Adventist Church have to change its doctrines in order to incorporate Darwinism? All of the mainstream Protestant denominations have made their peace with Darwinism, so it is very easy to find a Christian fellowship that tolerates Darwinism in its midst.
What you are really arguing, in effect, is that every single form of Christianity–every single denomination that has ever existed or ever will exist–must bend the knee to Charles Darwin. Because if there is one denomination that should be allowed to continue to believe in a literal six-day creation, it is the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with its emphasis on the Biblical Sabbath, and worshipping the creator God on the day of rest that He specified as a memorial to His six-day creation.
You speak of tolerance and diversity, but when you think about it, what you are really demanding is that no denomination, not a single one, should be allowed to believe in, and insist on, what the Bible clearly teaches on origins. How can you not recognized the totalitarianism of your demands?
David Read(Quote)View Comment
I’m trying to just make suggestions. I’m not making any demands. I doubt I’ll convince anyone of anything. I just want to share my thoughts with the hope that it will help someone. I’m also hoping to learn from you.
Within all of Christendom, I think it is very reasonable to have a denomination that holds to the literal interpretation of Genesis. Perhaps that is the niche that the SDA denomination aspires to fill.
At the same time, there are sincere, intelligent believers who have grown up in the SDA community, who have ties to many people and institutions within this community, who conclude that there is reasonable evidence for a very old earth. I don’t think we need to cut them off of their community because of this. The SDA church is really special and I don’t think there’s another denomination out there quite like it.
I keep coming back to the same questions … What is most important? As we try to reach the world, how are we going to make room for 7 billion people? How does God make room for 7 billion people? Or, maybe those who require a 6-day creation don’t aspire to reach 7 billion people, but rather to fill a smaller niche within Christendom.
“What is most important? As we try to reach the world, how are we going to make room for 7 billion people? How does God make room for 7 billion people? Or, maybe those who require a 6-day creation donâ€™t aspire to reach 7 billion people, but rather to fill a smaller niche within Christendom.” (George)
Amen to this!
Geanna Dane(Quote)View Comment
“The SDA church is really special and I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s another denomination out there quite like it.”
Exactly, George, exactly. And I’d like to keep it that way. But accepting Darwinism would utterly change it, and destroy its special mission of calling people to “worship Him who made heave and earth, the seas and the fountains of waters” by worshipping on the day that He made holy as a memorial to the fact that He created in six days and rested on the seventh day.
As to cultural Adventists, I don’t understand their psychology. I have two siblings who were raised in the same home as I and went to the same Adventist schools. But they decided that Adventism wasn’t for them, and the left the church and never looked back. If I no longer believed in Adventism, I’d be gone. I can’t imagine hanging around for the vege-meats. I can’t understand the mentality of people who, no longer believing in the doctrines, want to hang around and call themselves Adventists. It’s weird.
The Adventist church does not aspire to universality. There’s already a “Christian” denomination that tries to do that–the Roman Catholic Church, and they do it by inviting every foul pagan practice and belief into their fellowship, including Voodoo in Haiti. Adventism is not about syncretism; it is not about trying to combine every known belief and superstition into one big universal glop. Adventism asks people to reform their lives and their belief systems, and that will always screen out the vast majority of humanity.
David Read(Quote)View Comment
I really appreciate your comments.
Apparently, Adventism offers something to cultural Adventists that they want to keep even if they don’t accept all of the doctrines. It seems some people don’t make these decisions based on doctrine alone.
Again, I really appreciate your comments!
It is much harder to misinterpret the idea of “evenings and mornings” representing a literal day vs. the idea of what material the heavens might be made of. For example, even a little child would be able to describe a television set so that most would know what the child was talking about even if the child didn’t understand how the television worked or that real little people were not really inside the little box on the shelf.
Beyond this, you may actually be mistaken about the beliefs of the biblical writers regarding the nature of the “firmament”.
The idea that the ancient Hebrews believed that the heavens were a solid metallic vault appears to have emerged for the first time only during the early 19th century when introduced as part of the flat earth concept originally proposed by none other than Washington Irving and Antoine-Jean Letronne. Scholars who supported this idea argued that the flat earth/vaulted heaven was held throughout the early Christian and Medieval periods, and indeed, was an idea that goes back into antiquity and was held by both ancient Mesopotamians and Hebrews. However, more recent research has shown that the idea of a flat earth was not held by either the early Christian church nor Medieval scholars. Indeed, the overwhelming evidence is that they believed in a spherical earth surrounded by celestial spheres (sometimes hard, sometimes soft) that conveyed the Sun, Moon, stars and planets in their orbits around the Earth. Moreover, research of ancient Babylonian astronomical documents shows that they did not have the concept of a heavenly vault. Rather, this was erroneously introduced into the scholarly literature by a mis-translation of Enuma Elish by Peter Jensen.
A review of the linguistic arguments that the Hebrews believed in the idea of a flat earth and vaulted heaven shows that the arguments are unfounded. The arguments derive from passages that are clearly figurative in nature. Indeed, one of the great ironies in recreating a Hebrew cosmology is that scholars have tended to treat figurative usages as literal (e.g. Psalms and Job), while treating literal passages such as in Genesis as figurative. The noun form of raqi’a is never associated with hard substances in any of its usages in Biblical Hebrew; only the verbal form raqa. And even the latter cannot be definitely tied to metals, etc. Rather it is understood as a process in which a substance is thinnedâ€”this can include pounding, but also includes stretching. The noun raqi’a is best translated as expanse in all of its usages.
– from a paper by Randall W. Younker on this subject…
The Myth of the Solid Heavenly Dome: Another Look at the Hebrew [raqi’a]
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
Upon what basis do you believe that God even exists? – or that He is trustworthy and will really come back here to save you or me? A belief in this very good news is nothing more than wishful thinking, or hoping in vain, as St. Paul put it, if the biblical stories aren’t real – if they didn’t really happen as described. If Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, all your hope in the Gospel’s “good news” of forgiveness and salvation is worthless.
Now, it is quite possible to live according to the Royal Law of love without ever having a conscious knowledge of the solid hope of the Gospel. The heathen who have never heard the name of God, even atheists who strong oppose the idea that God exists, can be saved because of this. However, hope is not based on being morally good or following the law of love that is written on the hearts of us all. A solid hope in the Gospel is supported by the demonstrated reliability of the messenger – the biblical authors in this case.
Reliability or trustworthiness, as you know, is based on a form of scientific predictive value. If you can show that the biblical authors are clearly not reliable in that which you can physically put to the test, then that puts into serious question their reliability regarding their metaphysical claims as well.
There are many other problems as well for the Gospel’s “good news” if a literal creation week isn’t true – but this will do for now…
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
John it is from an essay he presented to the Adventist Society for Religious Studies in Boston Nov. 21, 2008, and also to the School of Religion faculty at Loma Linda University Feb. 3, 2009. They can help you access the text.
So far I too have not found a copy of it online.
In John 1 – Jesus IS God in human flesh.
In John 1 – it is affirmed that NOTHING has come into being apart from His creative act.
In John 1 it is affirmed that the WORLD was MADE by him
In John 1 – the role of Christ as CREATOR is the context and foundation for his work as savior.
The proposal that we toss what God’s Word says about His work as creator out the window — and then call the rest of it “gospel”, significantly underestimates the scope, urgency and solution found in the Gospel of our salvation.
If we deleted the rest of the Word of God – you would be right.
But John 1 is written in the context of the “scriptures” of the OT already being accepted as the “scriptures” of NT saints. That is the context for John’s letter – and exegesis does not allow us to toss it out the window.
Given that context – John is arguing that the creation doctrine on origins is foundational to understanding the Gospel itself. And so he begins his Gospel with that very focus.
Actually I think you missed that one. Paul is not arguing in Gal 1:6-11 that “Scripture is bad” and that “now we have something new for you”. Paul argued from the beginning (as we see in Rom 3:31) that the NT Christian faith “establishes the Law of God”. His argument is not “ignore scripture because now we have better ideas to give you”. Rather as we see in Acts 17:11 the NT saints “studied the scriptures DAILY to see IF those things spoken to them by Paul WERE SO”
The idea that accepting God as Creator JUST as the Word of God presents Him – is now “a bad thing” is an idea that divides up the Bible into “Good Bible” vs “Bad Bible” sections. Something that the Adventist church has been against from day 1. And it is not supported in either NT or OT.
The core of the gospel – cannot escape the John 1 “foundation” for the Gospel which has to do with the Role of Christ as CREATOR.
Indeed and if you were the one authoring and inspiring the text of scripture – perhaps you would not have made the ORIGINS doctrine foundational to the first 2 chapters of the Bible and foundational to the Gospel of John and foundational to the Worship of God as we see in Rev 14.
I grant you that – had you been sitting in His chair – and given your preference as stated above – you probably would have chosen another focus.
But this is not actually about “rewriting the Bible” or “editing what is written” is it?
So as interesting as that thought is – the substantive point is that God chose not to go the direction that you have shown a preference for –
Makes a good comparison and contrast I suppose – but not much else we can do with that.
True. Which is why we think of 3SG 90-91 as something to be noticed and respected for what it is – rather than “tossed under the bus” (as some would say).
And there by divine revelation – we see the point made that evolutionism as a religion when taken into the soul and accepted — is poison to foundational truths clearly revealed in God’s Word.
And I think that is a key point to remember as context for that discussion.
Indeed – a church that believes the Bible is trustworthy, that the Ten Commandments still exist, that the 4th commandment is “real”, that the 2300 year timeline is ended, that the Investigative Judgment is going on today, that the close of probation is right around the corner, that the Mark of the Beast will take everyone by surprise, That the dead do not go to hell when they die, that hell does not burn forever etc etc –
Is going to be “unpopular” by definition. In Matt 7 Christ was clear that the road of truth is going to be the road “less traveled by”.
This web site has been more focused on what we should be paying for – rather than who should be disfellowshipped in church.
But getting to your more generalized argument – I would point out that the world is loaded with unitarian universalist leaning churchs that welcome everyone and stand for nothing. One more church of that flavor is not going to be noticed by anyone. I don’t see the SDA church making much of an impact at all if it chooses that “we are all just fine” path.
Plus I think it would be pointless to raise up yet another such group in the last days.
You could stick any belief you want to in that “some people prefer not to believe the Genesis account” with “some people prefer not to believe Jesus was actually God” and “some people prefer not to believe the Old Testament still applies” and even “some people prefer not to believe the Gospels still apply since they speak mainly to pre-cross life and issues of non-Christian Jews”.
There is really no end in sight to the “some people prefer…” list.
It is the message, the truth of the SDA church that makes it unique. Thus Christ could say “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.
But if we stubstitute in lets say “Anglican doctrine” or “Univerasalist” values instead – we get a vanilla everyday “also ran” result.
Reach the world with what?
More “I’m ok – you’re ok”??
More “no need to worry because nothing is wrong – let’s all be nice” ??
I agree with “Love your neighbor as yourself” – but we also are supposed to “Love God with all of our heart” – and that means “paying attention” to His Word as if it were true.
If popularity is the measure of the Christian Gospel — then the Catholic Church has us beat hands down.
Paul said in Romans 11 that he was seeking by all means to “save some of them” — some of the Jews — out of a much larger set of Jews that had all taken the position that they “preferred” not to accept Jesus as the Messiah.
Yet that simple story in Genesis explicitly teaches that the fall occurred because of unbelief in the literalness of what God had said. God had said that they would surely die if they ate the fruit. Satan said they would not surely die. Eve believed Satan. Satan lied. Eve died.
The gospel is therefore a message of hope to lost men and women, that if they will believe, God can recreate them anew by grace because of Christ’s death on Calvary.
We cannot lose sight of the fact that the gospel’s purpose is to bring us back into belief in, submission to, and obedience to the Word of God, the very point from which we strayed in Eden.
On the other hand, evolution demands that we reject the gospel’s message of hope and continue in our unreasonable, inexcusable, rebellious refusal to believe the Word of God.
Bob Pickle(Quote)View Comment
Then you are not taking the time to dig a bit into the Gospel.
God is saving these advanced hominids from what?
As we tune in to our show today — our hero – the hominid “Adam” squats in his cave, bashing in his daily catch of “monkey-brains” for breakfast, when suddenly!!….. he thinks a bad thought! And then OOPS! there goes the whole ruman race – LOST!
We watch in awe as they all go rushing out of their caves in a frenzie because NOW – not only do the T-Rex’s want to eat them – but God now wants to toast them in the fires of the Second Death — the lake of Fire! Doomed! Doomed! Gone are the monkey brain breakfasts! It is all over!!
Oh what shall become of them??
Good news! As mankind goes scurrying off into the forest – God has come up with a plan. He himself will suffer the lake of fire death owed by those naughty hominid brutes so they can get back in their caves in the style they had become accustomed to -.
Hurray! A solution!
Now we fast foreward 20,000 years and — hmmm those brutish hominids are WEARING suits and eating at 5 star hotels!! Well! Time to end it all – because the good news is that it is time to send them back to the caves! That was “the plan” all along – to RESTORE what was lost! And now thanks to the death of the Son of God, the plan to send them back and restore what they had lost is ready to be executed.
And the beauty is that once in those caves and with all the T-Rexes brought back – mankind will get to see mass extinction events once again just like in the good ol’ days! Before things “went bad”. (Of course the ironic part is that those suit-wearing city slickers will be the first ones “culled from the herd”, since they are the least equipped to deal with the tooth-and-claw rigors of “life in the wild”)
The idea that the gospel is not affected at all by injecting evolutionism into it – never really gets off the ground, as it turns out.
Sean said “The idea that the ancient Hebrews believed that the heavens were a solid metallic vault appears to have emerged for the first time only during the early 19th century”
Thanks for sharing this Sean. I had heard about the metallic vault from Dr. Brian Bull. This is something for me to study further.
I’m gathering that you highly value belief in what the Bible REALLY teaches, and that it is good to be part of a church that is distictive and different from other Christians. Taking the Gospel to the world is of somewhat less importance, especially when there are about 2 billion other Christians in the world who can do that, even though they don’t have the full truth that the Bible teaches. Am I close?
I find your logic “illusive” since the Bible “really teaches” in Matt 28 that we are to go into the all the world.
Your model seems to be to pit one truth against another AS IF you cannot hold to what the Bible really teaches AND follow the Bible command to spread the gospel. As IF you must choose “one”. Imagine for example, going into all the world with whatever message you just so happen to “feel like” taking instead of what we actually find in the Word of God as the Gospel that is founded on the John 1 role of God as creator and the trustworthy nature of His Writen Word. “Man does not LIVE by bread alone but by every WORD that proceeds from the Mouth of God”(John 6) — as Christ said “my WORDS are spirit and are LIFE” (Again – John 6).
Why go down the road of separating God from His Gospel – and separating the Word of God from the Gospel command to evangelize? What is the motivation for your either-or imposed template?
close to what??
I given my best effort at marrying the evolutionism taught at LSU with the Gospel in my example link here:
Do you have one to offer — since in fact you are suggesting the exercise to begin with? A solution that pays attention the details and how they would need to be reconciled?
By not taking action the Church is in fact taking a stand that it doesn’t really stand for what it claims to stand for as “fundamental pillars of faith”. This is, in a very real sense, a form of deception – of false advertising. A claim to have a “fundamental” stand on something should be backed up by an organization. Otherwise, it is just a bunch of hot air and false advertising. Either stand for what you say you stand for or stop advertising that you stand for something when you’re really just blowing smoke.
This isn’t to say that the Church should squelch all questions and debate on these issues. However, such debates should be done in the proper forum. The proper forum is not a teacher telling a classroom full of students that the Church’s fundamental positions are “ludicrous” or a pastor telling a general congregation that this or that fundamental doctrine of the Church is clearly mistaken. That sort of activity is deliberately subversive and should not and would not be tolerated by any viable organization of any kind.
In any case, this lack of any hope of decided action on the part of the Church, if that is in fact the case, needs to be clarified by the Church so that those who do actually want to take a real stand on some of these issues can go elsewhere and form a new organization that does in fact take a real stand on issues that they feel are important… a real stand that is more than just words, smoke and mirrors…
So, to that end, I will push for clarity on this issue until it happens… one way or another… It is the only fair and right thing to do. The Church membership at large has a right to know, very clearly, what it can and cannot expect from the Church, as an organization, when it comes to issues that are claimed to be “fundamentally” important.
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
Yes, Dr. Bull is also a friend and mentor of mine. However, there are many things that Dr. Bull assumes are true, because well-educated people have told him so, that aren’t necessarily so after careful investigation. The whole idea that the biblical authors believed in a flat Earth covered by a metallic dome of some sort seems to be one of these “not necessarily so” ideas.
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
Unfortunately Dr. Bull represents yet another (former now) president of a major Adventist university (perhaps our most well known even) who is a firm believer in evolution. I cannot understand why we (Adventists) don’t attempt to set some standards (beliefs wise) for those individuals who we place in positions of great authority.
Can you recommend any books that would help me understand this better?
While I don’t see it as black and white, I think I do see it in terms of lighter and darker shades of grey. I think that requiring belief in a 6-day creation creates a barrier to entry, and so it hinders our ability to reach a few billion people. So, I’m trying to identify what is essential (and here I’m thinking that that is that humanity is sinful and God has come to save us). I don’t think belief in a 6-day creation is essential (I don’t fight against it, I just don’t think it’s essential).
It sounds like you do believe that belief in a 6-day creation IS essential and if that creates a barrier to entry for some, that’s just the way it is. We are to take the Gospel to the world, and the Gospel includes the fact that humanity is sinful, and God has come to save us, and a 6-day creation is an essential part of the framework that is the Gospel.
Am I reflecting correctly what you’re saying?
I’m not sure how to respond. I’m not trying to reconcile creation and evolution, or the Gospel and evolution. I’m trying to identify what is truly essential, stand firm on that, and then in every other respect make the tent big enough for 7 billion people to join.
I remember once sharing a Ellen White book with a non-Adventist (I think it was one of those small books that had only the closing chapters of Great Controversy)). He appreciated the book and thought it had much value butt could not get past the 6,000 year comments she made, so he decided not to finish reading it and basicaly to reject all of it..
I may believe in the literal creation week and the short term chronology but I find it sad that others feel inclined to discard our church (including our sabbath and other cherished docrines) because of this one test of faith. Why cant one be saved wihtout believing in 6 days and 6,000 years? Does the “gospel”” really begin and end with FB 6?
Geanna Dane(Quote)View Comment
Equating church membership with salvation is wrong.
Shane Hilde(Quote)View Comment
Fine – let’s start with that then. Let us say that they are in fact not reconcilable. Let us say that the scenario I drew out for what happens when you try and marry them together – is correct… you get “mush” instead of “Gospel”.
In that case Darwin was right, Dawkins is right, Provine was right, P.Z Meyers is right – and so also Ellen White is right — there is simply no way to marry the two opposing views on origins and the view on origins is in fact so central to the gospel and to Christianity – that all you have left is “mush” (as I pointed out in my earlier post) — if you try to marry them together.
Let us say then that you have actually affirmed that point – in your not reconciling them —
How “innexpliciable” then – your next comment.
If the Bible is not essential to the Gospel, if Christ as Creator is not essential to the Gospel – if you found a way to reconcile evolutionism with the Gospel — then you would have your “Gospel can be married to evolutoinism so why make it a sticking point” conclusion.
But given that nothing you have presented so far even attempts to make the supporint case that would be needed for that — how innexplicable that you still argue that origins is not essential to the Gospel.
In the 3SG90-91 statements the term for “infidelity” does not simply refer to “being unfaithful” it refers to be an unbelieveer – a non-Christian.
We find a similar argument by John in 1John 2 where he also talks about non-Christians appearing in Christian clothing.
Your argument is that there is someway to marry evolutoinism to the Gospel and come out with a Gospel that is not “mush”.
I have shown how that exercise in fact results in a Gospel that is no Gospel at all.
So far you have found no fault at all with the details I presented there in terms of the salient argument in either evolutionism or the Gospel.
Darwin also noticed the problem and so he tossed Christianity out the window.
Dawkins, Provine and Meyers are all on record as saying that they too “noticed the problem” and dumped Chrisianity.
Evolutionism’s doctrine on origins is poison to Christianity – poison to the Gospel. Hence the “makes mush out of the Gospel” problem I identified earlier.
Ellen White in 3SG 90-91 states that God Himself argues the case – that there is a huge problem trying to draw reach your hand into evolutionism and draw out “the Gospel”. It simply is not there.
It is like saying – I perfer to think that Satan was never kicked out of heaven – and that everyone goes to heaven no matter what Jesus said about the Narrow Road and FEW that are choosing to travel that way.
It is a happy thought – but it never goes anywhere.
I must say, I am appalled that the Adventist Seminary was not sorted out when they refused to include the fundamental beliefs in the writing of Belief #6.
That they would even try to change the wording in the first place should have been a huge warning sign of trouble to come. If I had been the ministers involved, I would have started investigating what exactly they believed and were teaching way back then.
Think of all the trouble that would have been prevented. We would not be here right now with a history of our universities and colleges teaching untruth to the students…whether in the science or religion departments.
I am also floored that the Seminary had so much power that they could reject or approve of our beliefs in the first place. Our beliefs are founded on the Bible and they had no right to have any say in it.
Just who’s idea was it to send it to them to begin with, like they were some kind of god to approve or disapprove God’s plain word? That is the fundamental mistake made in the first place. The original wording as reported by the Review on Jan 17, 1980, was a good statement of our beliefs, pure and simple, and should have been unequivocally approved with no further ado. Mere man has no right to approve or disapprove of God’s written word.
Let’s just hope that this error will be corrected as soon as possible at this GC session; along with a lot more desperately needed correction. We need to return to the undiluted, unchanged pillars of our faith.
I don’t mind if people want to be part of an organization like the one you would consider to be most ideal or “American”. I actually encourage and support the potential for such in free civil society. I just want the organization that I personally choose to be a part of to declare itself for what it really is. If it is in fact ambiguous in what it really stands for, then say so. If it will not actually do anything to internally support its stated positions, then say so very clearly. People have a right to know what they can expect for their invested time and money. Anything less from any organization is a form of deception or dishonesty toward the customer – the church member in this case.
It isn’t just harmless political “compromise”… it is a deception to say one thing and do another. There’s just no other word for it. This is why politicians are often viewed as untrustworthy… because often they get a reputation for saying a lot of stuff that they don’t really mean. I don’t care what word you want to call that sort of thing, but I call it lying…
All I’m doing here is asking for clarification so that I can know best what to do with my own support.
Personally, I’d rather be part of an organization that stands decidedly for, among other things, the notion of a literal creation week and has a decided policy of internal government to support such a stand by only hiring those who also agree with this stand. That’s just me. I know that many don’t agree with me for the reasons you list off. I don’t mind if they want their own organization with their own rules and I fully support their efforts to obtain such. I would hope, however, that the type of organization I’d like to be part of would also be tolerated in this great country of ours… but I fear that such toleration is slipping away fast even among those who claim to be “SDA”. Uniformity seems to be the only politically correct path these days…
I know it must sound somewhat humerus to you that I speak about the need for toleration and uniformity when it might seem that I’m being very intolerant and strictly uniform in my attitude toward those who disagree with me. The fact is that I’m only intolerant of deception within the Church. I think it is a moral wrong to advertise one thing and deliver something completely different. If the advertising were in line with the product, even if I personally wouldn’t want to buy the product, I’d have much much less problem with that. Of course I’d leave if I didn’t agree with the product – but not with any hard feelings nor with any effort to force an end to the efforts of those with which I don’t agree. I just don’t like their product is all – nothing personal. And, I would hope that if they didn’t like my product that they would feel quite free to simply shop elsewhere… Again, nothing personal.
Anyway, I hope this helps to clarify why I’m doing what I’m doing…
Sean Pitman, M.D.(Quote)View Comment
The Bible teaches that we are saved by faith. Since the devils believe that there is a God and tremble, we know that saving faith is more than mere intellectual assent, more than mere belief, but it is at least that.
Eve sinned and lost her salvation, as it were, when she refused to believe what God had said. Similarly, anyone who knows what God has said and refuses to believe has put at risk their eternity.
There are those of God’s children who do not know what God has said, and who are living in harmony with all the light they have. God smiles upon them.
Since we cannot read the heart, we cannot judge, but we have a God-given responsibility to warn others of the damning effect of unbelief.
Consider your question again: Are you suggesting that people can be saved even if they have no faith, since you asked why someone can’t be saved if they don’t believe something that God has said?
Bob Pickle(Quote)View Comment
The Holy Spirit is purposing to write ‘6 days’ on our hearts/minds. What does that say if we refuse to allow that?
Victor Marshall(Quote)View Comment
I fully favor revising Belief No. 6 so that it defines the six days of creation as “literal, consecutive, twenty-four (24) hour days,” with God resting on the seventh day of that first week–also defined as a literal twenty-four (24) hour period.
At the same time, I can’t see how one can read Belief No. 6 as it presently exists and find any way of justifying long ages or macroevolution. Perhaps one can do this simply by not defining the actual six days of creation as literal. But what about the statement that God rested “on the seventh day of that first week”? If one is an evolutionist believing in long ages, when did God enter this “rest”? How long were the earlier days of creation, and how long did God in fact rest?
As I understand the thinking of evolutionists, including the so-called “theistic” kind we have in various Adventist circles, they believe God is still creating even now, and that the process has never ceased. I have seen such statements myself from Adventist evolutionists, as have others in this conversation. How then do they reconcile their belief in evolutionary “creation” as a never-ending process with the statement in Belief No. 6 that God “rested on the seventh day of that first week”?
Much as I agree that Belief No. 6 should be revised so as to prohibit any reasonable misunderstanding, I still am having a hard time figuring out how Fritz Guy, Larry Geraty, Erv Taylor, or others of like mind can feel comfortable with the language of Belief No. 6 even as it presently reads. Even the present wording seems to imply quite strongly that the first week of time is exactly as Genesis says it was, with creation occurring in six days and God resting on the seventh day of that first week. No one has yet offered any evolutionary explanation of this statement–especially as it concerns the Sabbath and the stated completion of the creative process–which makes any sense. Or, for that matter, any explanation whatsoever.
Pastor Kevin Paulson
Kevin Paulson(Quote)View Comment
The Bible has very little to say about our origins. It has a lot to say about salvation. I, personally believe that life on earth was created in six literal days several thousand years ago. But is that the gospel that will reunite man with his Maker? No. Therefore it is of less importance.
If we allow narrow views of origins hinder our efforts to reveal the loving God to His people, we fight against God. The great plan, laid from the foundation of the earth, was not the particular way that God laid the foundation of the earth, or how He brought life to its current state, but it was a plan of how He would restore man to Himself.
Why, then, do we burden ourselves (the Adventist church) with so many beliefs (28), which only have the tendency to separate, albeit in the name of unity? How many of our so-called “fundamental beliefs” are truly fundamental to salvation? Or are they just fundamental to the religious body? Will an incorrect view on origins prevent us from entering God’s kingdom? No! But will an incorrect understanding of who Christ is prevent us from entering? Quite possibly! So which is more important? Which is truly fundamental to salvation?
I fear this has become such an issue, not because it is central to salvation (and therefore God’s work), but because it threatens those who place their identity in a belief system, rather than in Christ.
Is our Savior coming to save those who believe all the right doctrines (as though any church, including our own, has all the “right doctrines”)? Or is He coming to save those who have lived their lives according to the light that He (as opposed to the church) has given them? Let us never get side-tracked on enforcing belief in menial details like origins, but only make issues of those beliefs that are truly fundamental to salvation.
Ray Dickinson(Quote)View Comment
I am sitting here in complete sadness at many of the answers and comments posted here. Most here are worried about changing Belief #6. This is one of the roots of the problem: 1) Will changing this belief in any way fix or alter the problem at La Sierra. NO! 2) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here again – A Fundamental Statement of Beliefs shouldn’t even exist – a man-made book has become a standard as to what SDA’s believe. And look at it – almost nothing is clearly spelled out in this book. The Pioneers (including our prophet EGW) were against any creeds. They actually said that to get up a creed would be fashioning our church and copying the Babylonian churches (who also had similar books or statements) and would be a step in the wrong direction.
Why are many SO worried and concerned about this book (Fundamentals Book)? This is not the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy. Until we realize this the problems will continue and worsen.
LSU having their accreditation removed would be in God’s plan – but the problems might still remain because people have to be educated to the dangers of “higher learning”.
David R.(Quote)View Comment
@David R.: I agree that clarifying Belief 6 does not fix the problem at La Sierra. Our belief in a recent, six-day creation is not based on a man-made book. It’s based on the Bible. Did you think some of our core beliefs were based on tradition? They most certainly are not!
J.N. Loughborough in his 1861 statement regarding the issue of Church order and government, is often used in support of what you’re claiming:
However, you and others, fail to reference Loughborough in his 1907 work, The Church, Its Organization, Order and Discipline. Although originally opposed to such constraints, it was John Loughborough, together with James White, who first started to realize the need for some sort of internal enforcement of Church order and discipline – i.e., a Church government.
Of course, those who were not considered to accurately represent the views of the early SDA Church did not receive “cards of commendation”. And what was the attitude of such persons, according to Loughborough?
Your claim that there is an over emphasis on the fundamentals book is wrong. Our beliefs are based on the Bible and that is our creed.
Shane Hilde(Quote)View Comment
There is absolutely no reason to leave out ‘literal days’; the biblical account in writing about six days actually means literal days; ‘literal’ is actually built into the expressing: ‘in six days God created the heavens and the earth …and rested on the Sabbath,’ as found in the Decalogue, Ex. 20:8-11; it is also built into the summary of creation found in Gen 2:1-3. To leave it out would be doing injustice to the text. In today’s scientific world it is even more crucial to insert ‘literal.’ Including ‘literal’ days in our origins’ account will not intimidate people any more than upholding the 7th day Sabbath; there are already many non Adventists who believe in a fiat creation. Even if accreditation is threatened or taken away from LSU or any of our institutions it matters not. We are not here primarily for accreditation, we are here to present the truth to the so-called 7 billion people we write of. It is time that Adventists stand up and speak up to us, the leaders of our church. Remember, truth does not lie in the leadership; it lies in the Bible. If the leadership get it wrong then we must be told so, and must be made to accept the truth or cease and desist being a leader in our organization.
Ron Henderson(Quote)View Comment
That is the LSU POV — But Ellen White herself stated that the “voice of God” is heard when the church meets in session and affirms a doctrinal position.
Creeds that do not allow for advancement in new light – was the focuse. Tearing down the foundation that had already been built was not the focus of those statements by Ellen White.
We are told that God wants us to take those voted statements as authorotative.
Thus the importance of the 28 FB.
Thus the downfall of the LSU all-for-evolutionism argument that would pretend to exault itself higher than the appointed means God has set up.
As FOR WHY we even HAVE Beliefs as a Church that we unite upon – glad you asked.
Paul says in Gal 1:6-11 that we ARE to stand on the foundations that have been established – rather than tossing them out the window.
Ellen White appears to agree with Paul –
Then she gives a list of wild crackpot errors.
Thank God we are not left in that “every wind of doctrine quagmire”
Unity in a common faith – is critical to the success of the church. HENCE the “existence” of the 28 FB – voted statements by the denomination.
Certain ones in this discussion seem to have embraced one of the most destructive and unscriptural notions in modern and postmodern Adventism–the idea that doctrinal truth does not save a person.
While it is true that mere theoretical knowledge will save no one, the Bible is quite clear that the internalized acceptance of doctrinal truth is very much a salvation issue. God declared through Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee” (Hosea 4:6).
Jesus declared in His conflict with Satan in the wilderness, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ (Matt. 4:4). “Every word” certainly forbids any division of God’s written counsel into “salvation” and “non-salvation” parts. There is no such dichotomy anywhere in God’s Word. And to His disciples Jesus stated, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed” (John 8:31).
Paul declares, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (II Thess. 2:13). According to this verse, we are saved both by the Spirit’s sanctification and by embracing God’s truth. And to Timothy the same author wrote, “Take heed unto thyself, amd unto the doctrine: continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (I Tim. 4:16).
These verses of Scripture give no allowance to the theory that having the right doctrine is unimportant to our salvation. On the issue of origins, it is breathtakingly clear that how we believe is without question a salvation issue. As I have said repeatedly in these discussions–without a reply so far from the apologists for theistic evolution–if evolution is true there is no fall, no sin, and thus no need of a Saviour. If evolution is true, the brutal and merciless process of natural selection–“survival of the fittest”–becomes both the norm and the ultimate good in the saga of life. There is no room for grace or mercy in such a worldview, since it is by the strong devouring the weak that nature and humanity advance to higher and better things.
Some in this conversation are alleging that voted belief systems are unimportant because a mere statement of theoretical truth won’t solve the present problem in places like LSU, etc. Certainly a mere statement of fact will not solve the problem by itself. But it is imperative that such a statement be made as a basis of clarifying beyond any doubt the church’s stance, before our members and before the world. To say a mere theory of truth isn’t enough is like saying a marriage ceremony isn’t enough for two to become one. Technically that is correct; much more than attendants, guests, a minister, and expensive gowns are needed for a marriage to work. But the ceremony still counts.
Regarding “creeds,” our pioneers opposed the use of human tradition as a measure of the Christian’s beliefs. They most assuredly did not oppose the use of God’s Word as such a measure. One cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, interpret the pioneers’ resistance to creedalism as an endorsement of theological pluralism in the church, or as implying that how one believes or lives should not jeopardize one’s church membership if one is found to be unfaithful to what the Word says. The pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church were as far from the pluralistic notions of theological liberalism as the east is from the west.
We can’t say it often enough. Evolution and Christianity are incompatible at the most basic levels. To uphold and defend the one is to attack and overthrow the other. The church must choose between the two. No compromise is even remotely possible.
Pastor Kevin Paulson
Kevin Paulson(Quote)View Comment
Why is it that our church leaders keep falling into the category of being ‘the Laodecidean church’ neither hot nor cold. They all seem to think that they are smarter than God – no way – God is omnipotent, man is a failure without God, but keeps trying to say that they know best.
It specifically states that ‘God created the earth in six days and rested and blessed the seventh day’ is that not clear enough OR do all of these supposed leaders of the church and ‘earthly shepherds of Gods flock’ think that they are much more knowledgeable that the Creator?
If you follow the years of life of the Patriarch of the Bible, it is clear that this world is just over 6000 years old, NOT infinitismally long ages.
Let us go back to being a Bible believing church, rather than this collection of ‘garbage.’ We are suppose to show respect the pastors that are doing their best to cripple this church, why?
NO MAN should be able to make the decisions of how the churches beliefs are to be shown, TRUST GODS DESCRIPTION.
William J(Quote)View Comment
William Jeffreys, Sr.(Quote)View Comment
@Ray Dickinson says:
What is the gospel but the good news that God in Christ is reconciling the world to Himself, through Jesus’ perfect life and death on the cross for us?
And why do we need to be reconciled? Because of sin, which brings death. Death occurred *after* and as a result of Adam’s sin. If you believe in long ages of evolution prior to Adam and Eve, then you believe in death before sin. And if so, there is no reason for Jesus to die to bring you eternal life, because your sin is not the cause of death, and thus His salvation cannot actually save you from death.
Now, do you see why creation is so important, as taught by the Bible?
Regarding the idea that a recent creation creates a “barrier to entry, and so it hinders our ability to reach a few billion people.”
I suspect that it will not be a barrier to entry to the large majority of people, who are living from day to day and haven’t had time to reflect on their origins. Many of them will be delighted to learn of a loving God who created them with a purpose (rather than let them evolve over millions of years).
It will not be a barrier to entry with the Muslim world.
If it is a barrier to entry for those who consider themselves intellectual, who “professing themselves to be wise, became fools”, who do not recognize that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, that is to their loss, due to their own foolish pride.
On the other hand, not taking a (kind, loving, but firm) stand on this issue will be a barrier to entry to all who “take the Bible just as it reads”. Those who are joining the church in large numbers among the poor of the world may be scorned by those with a worldly education, but they are great in faith and great in God’s kingdom.
This is an interesting thought. Does this mean that people can be saved without believing the correct doctrine? However, in order to be a member ofthe SDA church, one must have the correct doctrine? So, in God’s eyes, the SDA church is a special group of those who have the truest doctrine?
Is this common among educate-truth-ers?
Is this common among last generation believers?
@George: So you’re saying that just because you’re a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church you’re saved?
I have to disagree with you. I can’t speak for other’s on this site.
Shane Hilde(Quote)View Comment
Doesn’t the 7th day sabbath hinge on the six literal days of creation. For in 6 days God made heaven and earth and rested the 7th day. How can the sabbath question remain so important to us as SDA’s if the six days before can be indefinite time periods?
Chris Calvin(Quote)View Comment
Who wrote Genesis 1-2? Tradition tells us Moses wrote them (around 1500 BC?). I’ve recently read about the Documentary Hypothesis on Wikipedia, which says that Gen 1 was written by the Priestly source during either Hezekiah’s time (700 BC?) or Ezra’s time (460 BC?), and Gen 2 was written by the Jahwist source (950 BC?).
Does one have to be a member of the SDA church to be saved? No. I agree. (If I typed otherwise, it was a mistake.)
Should the SDA church require members to believe in all the fundamental beliefs, including a corrected version of #6?
Are there any last generation believers here who can say whether, in the last days, those who do not perfectly reflect Christ’s character will be saved?
As far as I’ve been told the only reason for a seven day week is because God created it. There are other reasons for yrs and months but only one for the seven literal days of a week. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work but the Seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.
Chris Calvin(Quote)View Comment
Yes, the church should, and I believe they do, require new members to believe in all our fundamental beliefs before baptism. The church manual speaks strongly on this.
Shane Hilde(Quote)View Comment
There is a reason they call it “every wind of doctrine”.
Bart Ehrman has a long list of “other options” for Bible sources and reasons behind not trusting the Word of God.
Nothing new there.
The JEDP Hypothesis has been around for quite awhile. It is of course ‘higher criticism’ of the Bible. If you ascribe to this theory then much of the Bible is nothing more than a ‘pious fraud.’ It is not only tradition that attributes the Pentateuch to Moses – but many portions of the Bible itself do as well. Why did Jesus refer to the Bible as ‘Moses and the Prophets’ if Moses didn’t write any of it?!
One of the more intriguing supports for the Divine authorship of various portions of Scripture is an internal evidence called ‘chiasm’ or ‘chiastic structure.’ Many portions of the Bible reveal marvelous parallel structures that indicate a Divine hand in their composition. The first 5 books of the Bible are such a unit. Instead of being nothing more than a cobbled together mass of confusion, scabbed together over hundreds of years by liars who foisted themselves off as prophets – they manifest a startlingly harmonious, Divinely orchestrated composition.
Like a triangle or mountain, with Genesis and Deuteronomy at its base, Numbers and Exodus on the sides, and Leviticus at the peak – The Torah fits together like a perfectly composed symphony. The mirror like reflection of Exodus and Numbers is often word for word. Passages in Genesis and Deuteronomy also reveal powerful parallels. The most striking of these is the last words of Jacob to his twelve sons vs Moses last words to the twelve tribes. Contained within each of these prophetic speeches is a reference to the Messiah Jesus, as the Rock or Stone.
The central passage in a chiastic structure contains a truth that God often wants us to focus on especially. In this case (the pinnacle of the triangle or mountain) – the heart of the book of Leviticus – is chapter 16, which describes the Day of Atonement. The first half of Leviticus parallels the last half. The first half focuses primarily on blood and sacrifice (justification?). The last half, primarily on holiness (sanctification?). The parallels of Chapter 16 lead to the center of the chapter when the high priest enters the most holy place and then comes out (the very heart of the Torah). Thus, the marvelous composition of the books of Moses actually confirm the unique Adventist emphasis on the importance of the antitypical Day of Atonement.
My suggestion to you George is that you read the Bible on your knees in faith and try to avoid reading these human theories that have been largely discredited, and only serve to undermine and ruin faith.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
“Sanctify them by Your Word. Your Word is truth.”
“For we did not receive cunningly devised fables.”
Finally. If one accepts the cunningly devised fable of Darwinism – much of the Bible likewise becomes a lie.
Victor Marshall(Quote)View Comment
Anyone can post on Wikipedia. Do you believe everything you read?
Shirley H.(Quote)View Comment
Well said, Ray.
I am trying to learn from this dialog. Here is what I’m hearing from those who believe strongly in the fundamental beliefs, and a 6-day creation.
From what I can tell, the means of salvation is shared with most all of Christianity … we are saved by grace through faith, by what Jesus has done for us, and not anything we do.
Further, there is the desire to be part of a special group of Christians that hold to the truest understanding of the Bible, which includes the 6-day creation, the Sabbath, 2300 year timeline ending in 1844, the Investigative Judgment, the close of probation, the mark of the beast, the state of the dead, the fate of the lost, the millennium, and the new earth.
Salvation is not so much an issue. Having the real truth as given to us by God in the Bible, is a tremendous blessing.
At the same time, it appears from some posts today that some believe that one must not just believe (like the demons) but also internalize the fundamental beliefs in order to be saved.
Please forgive me if I’m incorrect. Please correct me so I can better understand.
God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)
“In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week.”
There is no way anyone can be confused over this statement. it clearly says “day” and “week.”
Just like the Sabbath commandment except for the “week,” however the week is still given in “six days” and “seventh day.”
Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:
Belief # 6 parallels Vs. 11 here; and other proof texts are given also. Adding “literal” “consecutive” or “24 hour days” will do nothing for the heretic who disbelieves the Bible record anyway. All this conjecture about 1000 year days in Genesis, came from those who were reading…..Genesis. So re-writing # 6 will do nothing for anyone who doubts God’s word.
it is impossible for LSU to find a loophole in # 6 now unless they change the worldwide definition of a day to something else. They cannot do that.Then they would have to convince millions otherwise.
A heretic is a heretic, and will remain such until he repents of his unbelief.They already know the correct/accepted teaching of Christianity and the SDA church is day=24hrs. Re-writing the belief will not suddenly make them believers.
Someone is splitting hairs in saying LSU has a loophole in 6.
Theres only two options here. Fire all the heretics and “do nothing” conference heads, and get people in who believe the Bible. Or continue to do nothing and nothing will get done.
Steve Billiter(Quote)View Comment
I am a Christian. By that I mean that I follow Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) This is a serious statement as it asks from me as a disciple to accept everything Jesus has said, not about His person alone, but for everything He teaches & stands.
Jesus accepted that we had a father and mother, created by God in the beginning: “And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? ” (Matthew 19:4,5)Jesus acknowledges that God created mankind in the beginning. Matthew 19:5 is a direct quotation from Genesis 2:4.
By believing in Evolution we deny the truth to believe Jesus’ words of creation. God created mankind on the sixth day according to Gen 1:26-31. To believe in Jesus as my Saviour, should include the fact that Jesus teach the creation of man. Not only that, the creation tory also include the story of the fall of man. The danger of believing only parts of what Jesus taught is to deny His Lordship over us. How can I believe in Jesus as my Saviour if I deny the creation story, which He also taught? Jesus can only be a Saviour if there really was a creation of man and a subsequent fall into sin. (See Genesis 3)Either all the accounts of Genesis are true, or they are all false and Jesus was a liar and the same as the serpent who mixed truth with error and presented that to man as truth.
Jesus also believed in the story of Noah and the flood. He said: “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:37-39) Jesus accepted the account of the flood and that the prophet Noah existed as given in the Old Testament Scriptures. (Genesis 6-11) He also makes a comparison with the wicked who perished during the flood and those who will be living at the end of the world’s history.
Again, by believing in the Evolutionary account of the origin of life (which includes that of man) we deny the truth taught by Jesus’ about the flood. This denial has another consequence: we then also deny the promise of His 2nd Coming with which Jesus linked the story of the Flood. How can I as a follower of Jesus deny the creation story and the flood story, but believe that He will come to save me from a world of sin?
Paul warns us that there will come a time when Christians will fall away from the truth as it is in Jesus and teach another Jesus the apostles knew not: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” (2 Corinthians 3-5) (See also Galatians 1:6-9)
The Gospel about Jesus contains more than just His death on the cross for sinners – it also contains the Judgement of wickedness, to worship the God of creation (of which the 7th day is His sign). This all forms part of the 1st angel’s message to a dying world. We know that Jesus our Saviour from Sin and our High Priest is the Judge appointed by God (Acts 17:30,31). We also know that Jesus is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (Hebrews 1:1-3).
As Seventh-day Adventist Christians we are existing on the earth at a specific time in history to make known these truths about Jesus. We are living in a time of religious confusion (Babylon that made the nations drunk with her false teachings – Rev 14:8; 17:1-6) If Jesus is the only Way to God, the only Origin of Life and the Truth, then we have to follow Him closely. We cannot follow the doctrines of Man which are in contradiction to Jesus’ teachings as revealed in the Scriptures and still be called loyal disciples, can we?
There are many things Jesus said we do not understand, but which the promised Spirit of Truth will make plain to us (see John 14:16-26).
Faith demands that we accept that God created everything (Hebrews 11:1,3,6,11)- even Noah and the Flood. To deny these things is to question the authority of Jesus’ teachings. Biblical truth should take precedance over the teachings of modern man (modern humanistic Science)where it contradicts Scripture.
May God help us to be strengthened in our faith when we are faced with challenges that we are not able to refute “scientifically.” Satan is the arch deceiver and we are not immune to his fiery darts of doubt. By the shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit we may be strong in the battle. Remain faithful to Jesus my fellow believers.
Robin Lewis(Quote)View Comment
We have already presented the case for how effectively evolutionism’s atheist doctrinal core – specifically destroys the gospel.
And so far we have no “solution” for that problem posted here – coming from our evolutionist friends.
So why are evolutionists willing to let their narrow, and unwittingly atheist views of origins, make “total mush” of the Gospel and thus hinder their efforts to reveal the loving God to His people. Why do they choose to embrace “the worst kind of infidelty” — and so fight against God? The great plan â€¦ was a plan of how He would restore that which was lost — Paradise restored. Recall that in the Paradise of God, man was in perfect and full sinless, harmless, peaceful fellowship with God and with life on earth. Thus the promise of God that the saints “shall inherit the earth” just as we see in Daniel 7 and in Heb 11 and in Matt 5.
Why then do they also choose to burden themselves by staying in the Adventist church which has officially voted so many beliefs (28)? Beliefs which more times than not – run counter to the atheist core of evolutionism’s doctrines on origins? Pushing their evolutionist agenda inside such a group has the tendency to separate, (albeit in the name of unity and pluralism?)
But one thing we do applaud our evolutionist brethren for – is transparently and openly “going after” the voted doctrines of the Seventh-DAY Adventist church as in the following
Thus no one “needs” to be mislead by their goal and objective.
Each time these inconvenient details are brought up – the response from those promoting evolutionism inside Adventist institutions seems to be of the form “we will not let the inconvenient facts (regarding the way evolutionism poisons both science and trust in the bible as well as the goodness of God seen in the Gospel) get in the way of a good story”
George, I think we all understand that there will be many people saved who didn’t even have a Bible. It is simple trust in God that saves us.
But, from those to whom much has been given, much will be required. God isn’t keeping salvation from the simple believer who never saw a Bible. But one who doesn’t believe the Bible God has given him, does not really trust the God who gave it.
You may well be saved in spite of not believing in recent Creation. I’ll let God be the judge. But you may also destroy someone else’s faith in God in the process, and God has made it very clear in His word that those who do such would better have a mill stone around their neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
So please consider what your disbelief may do to others.
I can’t understand how you could feel that our origins are not important or how they are separate from our belief in Christ and our salvation. Our origins lie in the very foundation of the great controversy. Whether you realize it or not, you are actually allying yourself with the enemy when you belittle the importance of our origins and take away the glory due to Christ for His wonderful creative powers. Do you not see that this is the very thing Satan was determined to do? He doesn’t want Christ to have the worship He deserves for creating us and our planet. Your statement seems to support Satan’s agenda.
As to our fundamental beliefs, they were actually developed with the Lord’s help as was shown by the visions He sent to His servant Ellen White when the pioneers met to establish the beliefs of this church. Apparently God considered it that important. Should we consider it any less so? If you don’t fully believe that our church has the right doctrines, you err, and you had best look to your own salvation, my brother. This is the remnant church, and we have been instructed by God that it will go through to the end. How you consider the church to be opposed to the light God has given her baffles me.
Our belief in creation in six literal days is not a “narrow view”, but rather a succinct statement of truth. I find it very strange that you cannot see how our salvation is indeed interconnected with our belief in Christ as the Creator. Far from “fighting against God” in this issue, we are actually bringing truth to light and fighting for Him. It is the Sabbath, the celebration and remembrance of Creation, that will be the final test of all mankind just before the close of this earth’s history. How, then, can you separate salvation from creation? You cannot. I fully believe that if we reject Christ as our Creator and disbelieve the clear statements Christ has made on the subject, we will be prevented from entering heaven…how you could see it otherwise, how you could call it a menial detail when Christ puts so much emphasis on it, is a total mystery to me.
I am not against Church organization. And I believe that others like myself are misjudging. Of course there must be organization and discipline. But our church IS putting much emphasis on the Fundamental Beliefs book. Sure I know and you know and probably everybody knows that we get a literal six-day creation from the Bible. But why is everybody concerned about the Fundamentals book? Get down to it – it is a man-made book. Many Sunday preachers/theologians are quoted throughout it. Our doctrines are presented in such a way that things are unclear as to what we precisely believe.
Brother Shane, I commend your efforts on the matters you have taken up – but let me ask you this – If we (meaning the SDA Church) do not place so much emphasis on this book as you claim – please explain this statement found in the current Church Manual on pg. 33 listed under “Vow (Alternative)”. Here is vow #2: “Do you accept the teachings of the Bible as expressed in the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and do you pledge by Godâ€™s grace to live your life in harmony with these teachings?” Please note the clever and careful wording of this statement – it says to accept the teachings of the Bible as expressed in the Fundamentals book. The Fundamentals book is the acid testhere! not the Bible! Wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) it just say something like just accepting the Bible and the Bible alone as our source for doctrine? There is a large movement to make the Alternate vows the main vows. I’ll throw in also that the Church Manual is another man-made book. One may argue that we need to have ‘rules’ or the church will fall apart. Well how did the early SDA church exist until the 1930’s without one? Read 2 Timothy 3:16.
We can deny these things – but the evidence points the other way. Bro. Shane, just apply the Loughborough quote you presented to me to the Fundamentals Book – every word of what that man said has come true. If you were to denounce the Fundamentals book you will be derided and possibly disfellowshiped if you were persistent on it. I do not believe I am over exaggerating.
Again there are ‘members’ out there who are against church organization and discipline, etc… This is not the case with myself. People like me get confused with others just because I point out error. Please take the consideration into matter because error is deadly and if God’s people follow error and put any complete trust in a man-made book it could very well lead to eternal ruin. That’s all I’m concerned about.
David R.(Quote)View Comment
You are correct, the pioneers did INITIALLY stand against any type of organization and adopting any creed. The experiences they had gone through prior to, during, and after the Great Disappointment made them a bit gun-shy of organized churches. But if you knew your church history, you would know also that eventually the Lord specifically, through a vision to Ellen White, instructed them to organize and actually helped the process of establishing our doctrines through further visions. This church was organized and is sustained by the Lord Himself, and to fight against our organization or the doctrines established by the pioneers with Divine help, is to surely lose your salvation.
The seven days of creation are a perpetual sign of Gods creative power,from Genesis to Revelation. The Three angels message of Revelation starts with the 1st angel telling us to worship the creator God. The creator God of Genesis that calls an evening and a morning (a) day. As SDA’s we identify with the evening to evening motif of Genesis every Friday evening till Saturday evening as we set aside the Sabbath as a special (day) of communion and rest in our Lord.
Chris Calvin(Quote)View Comment
I appreciate your opinions but you are living proof to my whole case. You actually believe that if we didn’t have the 28 Fundamentals book we would be blown around by every wind of doctrine and fall apart. Amazing!!! Well please look around – there IS so much doctrinal confusion (and more so than at any other time in the history of Seventh-day Adventism) within the church and we HAVE the Fundamentals book.
You “claim” that the pioneers were only against certain creeds that didn’t allow advancement. I noticed that you did not (and I will say cannot) produce any inspired statements to back up your claim. Matter of fact it is the other way around: Here is the official statement from the 1883 Church Manual Committee printed in the Review and Herald Nov. 20, 1883: Review and Herald, November 20, 1883
“It is the unanimous opinion of the committee appointed to consider the matter of a Church Manual. We consider it unnecessary because we already have surmounted the greatest difficulties connected with church organization without one; and perfect harmony exists among us on this subject. It would seem to many like a step toward the formation of a creed or a discipline, other than the Bible, something we have always been opposed to as a denomination. If we had one, we fear many, especially those commencing to preach, would study it to obtain guidance in religious matters, rather to seek it in the Bible, and from the leading of the Spirit of God, which would tend to their hindrance in genuine religious experience and in knowledge of the mind of the Spirit. It was in taking in similar steps that other bodies of Christians first began to lose their simplicity and became formal and spiritually lifeless. Why should we imitate them! The committee feels, in short, that our tendency should be in the direction of the policy and close conformity of the Bible, rather than to elaborate, defining every point in the church management and church ordinances.”
PLEASE NOTE in the above statement that they UNANIMOUSLY rejected a man-made book because it would bring in “difficulties” and people might start to use it as a form of governance other than the Bible. And this surely today is in full force.
A week later General Conference President, Elder George Butler (President 1873-1874 and 1880-1888) comments in opposition to a Church Manual:
Review and Herald, November 27, 1883
“When brethren who have favored a manual have even contended that such a work was not to be anything like a creed or a discipline, or to have any authority to settle disputed points, but was only to be considered as a book containing hints for the help of those of little experience, yet it must be evident that such a work, issued under the auspices of the General Conference, would at once carry with it much weight of authority, and would be consulted by most of our young ministers. It would gradually shape and mould the entire body; and those who did not follow it would be considered out of harmony with established principles of church order. And really, is this not the object of a manual? What would be the use of one if not to accomplish such a result? But would this result, on a whole, be a benefit? Would our ministers be broader, more original, more self-reliant men? Would they be better depended on in great emergencies? Would their spiritual experiences likely be deeper and their judgment be more reliable? We think the tendency all the other wayâ€¦We have preserved simplicity, and have prospered in so doing. It is best to let well enough alone. For these and other reasons, the church manual was rejected. It is probable that it will never be brought forward again.”
PLEASE NOTE that those who did not agree with a man-made book (if adapted) would be considered “out of harmony”
Would this be an official act from God because as you stated by supplying a SOP quote that “the General Conference in session is the voice of God”? Well many times when I present a SOP quote that condemns error I get accused of taking her writings out of context. I never get corrected just accused. But in essence this Bob, is what you are doing (and you may be doing it unawares). Here is a progression of statements made in the SOP about the GC as the voice of God:
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, pg, 492 (1875)
I have been shown that no man’s judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any one man. But when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon the earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered.
(1894) Paulsen Collection, pg. 422
Do not understand me as approving of the recent action of the General Conference Association, of which you write, but in regard to that matter it is right that I should speak to them. They have many difficulties to meet, and if they err in their action, the Lord knows it all, and can overrule all for the good of those who trust in him. – Testimony To Elder Littlejohn, August 3, 1894
(1894) (Letter 71, April 8, 1894, Pamphlet #149, p 22)
â€¦that would make Battle Creek, like Rome, the great head of the work.
(1894) Manuscripts Release Vol. 9, pg. 178, 179 (also MR No. 714 Presidents)
The fact that a man has been selected to be the president of a conference does not mean that he shall have authority to rule over his fellow workmen. This is after the practice of Rome, and it cannot be tolerated, for it restricts religious liberty, and the man is led to place himself where God alone should be. Work has been done in the conference before the ruling president was placed as its head. If he assumes to restrict individual action, and confine men to his own ideas, which he supposes to be right, or if a board shall make rules that enter into the details of what the workers should do, no help will in any way come to those who are engaging in the work.
God has not laid upon any living man the burden of jealously guarding the movements of his fellow men, for this would restrict their intelligent freedom.
In following a course of this kind, men are pursuing a similar course to that of the Roman Catholics who center in the pope every power of the church, and ascribe to him authority to act as God, so that those below him in station lay every plan at his feet that he may prescribe the rules for men and women in every minutiae of life. In following a course of this kind, there is danger that no chance will be left for God to answer the prayers of His delegated servants according to His promise in giving them wisdom in pursuing their work.
God does not purpose to have one man prescribe how his fellow workmen shall perform His work. When this manner of action comes in among our people, there is need of a protest.
(1894) Publishing Ministry, pg. 144 (also Letter 71, April 8, 1894)
Battle Creek Not to Swallow Up Everything – The present is a time of special peril. In 1890 and 1891 there was presented to me a view of dangers that would threaten the work because of a confederacy in the office of publication in Battle Creek. Propositions which to their authors appeared very wise would be introduced, looking to the formation of a confederacy that would make Battle Creek, like Rome, the great head of the work, and enable the office of publication there to swallow up everything in the publishing line among us. This is not God’s wisdom, but human wisdom.
(1895) Manuscripts Release, Vol. 4, pg. 441 (also Ms 11, 1895, p. 12)
It would be dangerous to consolidate all our institutions under one head at Battle Creek, and let one institution control all the others. This would prove a curse.
(1895) Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pg. 359, 361
At the center of the work matters are being shaped so that every other institution is following in the same course. And the General Conference is itself becoming corrupted with wrong sentiments and principles. â€¦They are following in the track of Romanism.
(1895) Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pg. 359
I do not find rest in spirit. Scene after scene is presented in symbols before me, and I find no rest until I begin to write out the matter. At the center of the work matters are being shaped so that every other institution is following in the same course. And the General Conference is itself becoming corrupted with wrong sentiments and principles.
(1896) 1888 Materials, p 1558-1573 (also Letter 81, May 31, 1896)
A warning that “the same work that has been done in the past will be carried forward under the guise of the General Conference Association.”
(1896) PH080 – Special Instruction Relating to the Review and Herald Office, and The Work in Battle Creek, pg. 19-20
Who can now feel sure that they are safe in respecting the voice of the General Conference Association? If the people in our churches understood the management of the men who walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling, would they respect their decisions? I answer, No, not for a moment. I have been shown that the people at large do not know that the heart of the work is being diseased and corrupted at Battle Creek. Many of the people are in a lethargic, listless, apathetic condition, and assent to plans which they do not understand.
(1896) Ellen White 1888 Materials, pg. 1608-1609 (taken from a letter to Elder O.A. Olsen, Sunnyside, Cooranbong, N.S.W., August 27, 1896
It is not in the order of God that a few men shall manage the great interests throughout the field. Many of the men who have acted as counsellors in board and council meetings need to be weeded out. Other men should take their places; for their voice is not the voice of God. Their plans and devisings are not after the order of God. The same men have been kept in office as directors of boards until under their own management and their own opinions, common fire is used in the place of sacred fire of God’s own kindling. These men are no more called Israel, but supplanters. They have worked themselves so long, instead of being worked by the Holy Spirit, that they know not what spirit impels them to action.
(1896) Ellen White 1888 Materials, pg. 1558-1559 (taken from a letter to Elder O.A. Olsen, Sunnyside, Cooranbong, N.S.W., May 31, 1896)
Much pride and loftiness and a spirit which desires to rule has been manifested, but very little of the spirit which leads men to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of him, has been shown. Human inventions and human plans are eclipsing sacred things, and excluding divine instruction. Men are taking the place of God by seeking to assume authority over their fellow-men.
(1899) MR No. 1048 â€“ â€œChurch Leaders to Obey Godâ€™s Wordâ€ (taken from a letter to S. N Haskell, “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N. S. W., Nov. 16, 1899)
Let those in America who suppose the voice of the General Conference to be the voice of God, become one with God before they utter their opinions.
(1901) General Conference Bulletin, April 3, 1901,
That these men should stand in a sacred place, to be as the voice of God to the people, as we once believed the General Conference to be,–that is pastâ€¦God has not put any kingly power in our ranks to control.
We were never to have a hierarchal system of church organization.
(1901) General Conference Bulletin, April 5, 1901 (â€œIn the Regions Beyondâ€ remarks by Mrs. E.G. White)
We want to understand that there are no gods in our Conference. There are to be no kings here, and no kings in any Conference that is formed. â€œAll ye are brethren.”
The Lord wants to bind those at this Conference heart to heart. No man is to say, “I am a god, and you must do as I say.” From the beginning to the end this is wrong. There is to be an individual work. God says, “Let him take hold of my strength that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.”
The Early Elmshaven Years, Vol. 5, pg. 257, Letter 24a, 1896 (also General Conference Bulletin, April 10, 1903, pg. 160)
It is not wise to choose one man as president of the General Conference. The work of the General Conference has extended, and some things have been made unnecessarily complicated. A want of discernment has been shown. There should be a division of the field, or some other plan should be devised, to change the present order of things.
Letter to Judge Jesse Arthur from Ellen White, Elmshaven, January 15, 1903
The result of the last General Conference has been the greatest, the most terrible sorrow of my life. No change was made. The spirit that should have been brought into the whole work as the result of that meeting was not brought in because men did not receive the testimonies of the Spirit of God. As they went to their several fields of labor, they did not walk in the light that the Lord had flashed upon their pathway, but carried into their work the wrong principles that had been prevailing in the work at Battle Creek.
(1903) Kress Collection, pg. 1-6 (also Manuscript 94, August 27, 1903)
Warning that the 1903 adoption of a new organizational structure was similar in rebellion to the building of the tower of Babel. (Read the entire pages)
(1903) Spalding and Magan Collection, pg. 325 (also Letter 212, September 23, 1903)
We are to have no kings, no rulers, no popes among us. It is time for us diligently to heed the messages that have brought us out from the world.
(1905) Special Testimonies B#7, pg. 15, November 20, 1905
That which has been done there since the General Conference held at Oakland in 1903 will result in the loss of many souls.
Please take these into consider
David R.(Quote)View Comment
I noticed I made a mistake in my reply to Shane. In the 2nd sentence of my reply I said “And I believe that others like myself are misjudging.” I MEANT TO SAY “And I believe that others like myself are misjudgED.”
David R.(Quote)View Comment
Is there a difference between never having a Bible and not believing in a 6-day creation, and having a Bible, understanding it is a source of spiritual truth, but not understanding that it is the clear Word of God, and therefore not believing in a 6-day creation? If one has a Bible (and thus, much has been given), but doesn’t understand it correctly, is much still required. If one is convinced that a 6-day creation is correct, and yet rejects it, that is a clear rejection of God’s word. What if one has God’s Word but doesn’t rightly understand it? Are they lost?
I can only let God be the judge of that. However, each must check his motives. Is is truly a search for truth, or is it an effort to harmonize human opinion (e.g. modern science) with truth? “Friendship of the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4)
I concur with David that that using the 28 Fundamentals book and church manual as the acid test is dangerous. They were not needed by the pioneers, and tellingly, you actually reduce what we believe when you put them in front of the Bible.
What about the sermon on the mount? That is an important set of belief statements about how we treat others. It is in the Bible. But it is not in the “28 fundamentals”. And I could list many other such things, in the Bible, but not in the “28 fundamentals”.
I believe all of those 28 fundamentals and maybe they are good summaries of and explanations of where we get our beliefs, but we should *never* let them be placed above the Bible, which is what seems to be happening at least in the minds of some.
Also keep in mind that we cannot unify the church on them. For one thing, the entire church is more likely to have the Bible in their language than those books. For another, if we did unify on those books we would easily open ourselves to accusation that we are no longer “The People of the Book” (the Bible).
We must keep “The Bible and the Bible Only” as our creed, standard of church organization, discipline, origin of doctrine, etc. Each of us is responsible to do that in our local churches and as far as our influence may reach.
If we really want to look at “fundamentals” we should consider the four pillars of connected belief we have. They are a connected system of Biblical truth that are important for these last days. I call them the “four S’s”.
State of the Dead
These all relate to our obedience to God’s commandments and our faith in Jesus (see Revelation 14:12).
The Second Coming is the event we look forward to in faith. The Sabbath is the point of obedience especially under controversy in the last days. Our understanding of death as a sleep protects us from the false manifestations of the devil working miracles to deceive if it were possible even the elect. Understanding Jesus work in our lives to cleanse us as he is finishing his work in the Heavenly sanctuary, helps us to cooperate with Him as he changes us into His image (See Malachi 2:17-3:6)
Yes, there are other important things in the Bible, but these four pillars all build on the foundation of faith and obedience, relevant to what we should be doing to prepare for Jesus soon coming.
Of course, if you are introducing someone to Jesus, you won’t start with these. But they are especially important for people to understand and put into practice in these last days.
The crux of the matter is, do we trust Jesus enough to obey Him? Do we trust Him to work in our lives and change us into His image? Are we confident that “He who has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6) and are we submissive to Him as he does this work?
I appreciate your input. Again when have I ever said I’m against organization? I have actually confirmed the opposite. Yes the Lord DID establish our doctrines (and our whole church) through our pioneers and our prophet BUT where is the statement that a Church manual or any type of creed was approved by God? You have not produced any statements to show this. In essence I agree with the actual statements you make but you are putting it in the context that it applies to a written creed. At this point I may have to suggest you do not know the church history based on what you have presented. Please provide some clear statements. I am not and do not want to fight against the Lord.
David R.(Quote)View Comment