A little-known history about Belief 6

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“.

History of Belief 6

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241 thoughts on “A little-known history about Belief 6

  1. My how time reveals truth and discards smoke and mirrors.

    Eddie:

    Eddie said in 2010
    I can’t help but wonder if some of you would exclude Geanna and Bravus from worshipping with you.

    And now in 2011 – Bravus declares himself to be “former SDA” because it is so obvious that belief in evolutionism is not consistent with being SDA.

    Bravus:

    http://www.clubadventist.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/491719/Re_Why_I_am_a_former_SDA.html#Post491719

    And it was not long before the big-tenting specs began to weigh in as Bravus noted about AToday… so I reasponded.

    So I address that point here –

    BobRyan:

    See Discussion of this post at Adventist Today: http://www.atoday.org/article.php?id=921 [/quote]

    In that post Taylor says

    Erv Taylor:
    believing is not the most important element in an identification with a particular faith tradition, including the Adventist version

    “Big Tent-ism” is more concerned with plurality than with the actual beliefs of any given group. Its goal is “the bigger party” not “the Truth” as it is in Jesus who IS “the Way the Truth and the Life”.

    If Adventism were willing to sell its soul for popular votes – “big-tentism” would be the classic solution and “the only Faith” of the group would be “anything goes – because you’re ok I’m ok”. It is a view that states in effect “Nothing much is said in the Bible more important than everyone having fun together in the biggest party possible”.

    Matt 7 does not allow for that when speaking of “the MANY”.

    The point is that simply going for a “popularity contest” every time – no matter the cost to truth and Bible doctrine – is not even remotely Adventism – even though it is a great way to sneak evolutionism into the denomination.

    Even Bravus has now figured that out.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  2. Pingback: Lawrence Geraty, Fritz Guy, and the Framing of Fundamental Belief #6 | Educate Truth

  3. George: 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.

    I realize this thread started some time ago, but I can’t let your comments pass without addressing them.

    The answer to your first 2 questions is:
    We aren’t. God would like to save all the people ever born on this planet, but He has made it plain that He won’t be able to do that. Many have rejected Him and His offer of salvation. It is a matter of obedience.

    I am rather alarmed that you would regard truth so lightly that you would accept any wind of philosophy that blows by to get people to join the church. Do you honestly think we should make room in our church for people like Hitler, and all the other mass murderers throughout earth’s history? Did God accept Cain’s sacrifice? Should we allow people to join our church who practice witchcraft and other forms of occultism? Or should we only allow in the liars? Lying isn’t as bad as murdering, right? Wrong.

    The whole point of this life on earth is to give us a chance to learn of God and to live up to the light we have been given. Your idea to accept everyone and anyone into fellowship with the SDA church is ludicrous at best. You can’t save people against their wills. You won’t ever be able to take everyone to heaven. Think how miserable people would be if they went to heaven where God is worshipped when they hate God and refuse to worship Him. Heaven wouldn’t be heaven, would it? Not for anyone.

    When you ask the church to change the truth to accommodate false beliefs you are worshipping humanity, not God.

    So what is more important? It is the true and pure worship of God. It is proclaiming the true and pure gospel–the real truth, not some tainted and false story.

    Man is never more important than God. If your allegiance is to man, you will find to your detriment that man cannot save you and God won’t save anyone who puts other people first. He is to be first and foremost in our lives. He is to be obeyed. No one will enter heaven who calls God a liar, or refuses to live according to His requirements.

    The church is under no obligation to accept anyone into fellowship who does not believe her doctrines. Think…that is what fellowship is all about. It is associating with people who believe the same way.

    It doesn’t take much brain power to realize that where there is dissension there will be strife. Simply putting someone’s name on the books doesn’t change the heart or life. Letting everyone into the church willy-nilly would destroy any good the church could do.

    The church isn’t just a social club. It is a place for people who truly worship God (and who want to obey Him in every way) to get together, worship and praise God, and learn more of Him.

    I hope you will reconsider what is most important.

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  4. George: 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.

    According Matt 7 – only the FEW within mankind accept the Christian Gospel. That Gospel (as unpopular as God says it is) reaches all 7 billion without having to hodge-podge doctrine and without being accepted by all 7 billion. Jesus said that if the world hates him – it will also hate those who follow him. That is the teaching of Christ “in the Gospels” — gassp!

    Libs define “reach 7 billion” as “tickle everyone’s ears”. They tend to hold the “no longer endure sound doctrine” banner high as they march along. In the case of evolutionism – the atheist centric concepts so extreme that they even deny the ID principle of Romans 1 – has higher authority than God Himself.

    In the Lib model – you find fault with the Bible and declare that nice people ought to “pick and choose” when believing the Bible. Kind of like the modern media claims that “nice Muslims” need to pick and choose which parts of the Koran to believe if they want to be accepted by non-Muslims.

    The idea being that the Koran is not really of God anyway – it is merely man-made so no need to “believe it all” unless you are a meany.

    In the same way – Christian libs declare it to be “mean spirited” for someone to choose to believe some part of the Bible that the libs have thrown under the bus for the sake of political correctness.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  5. Faith: Many have rejected Him and His offer of salvation. It is a matter of obedience.

    Out of curiosity, at what age is a person capable of accepting or rejecting Him and His offer of salvation? And what happens to a person who dies before reaching that age?

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  6. @Eddie: The Bible does not specify an age of accountability (to my knowledge), but the Israelites considered the age of 12 to be the turning point. I wouldn’t base a theology off of tradition though. Also, it’s not our place to judge what happens to those who have not been able to make a decision.

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  7. @Eddie:

    Out of curiosity, at what age is a person capable of accepting or rejecting Him and His offer of salvation? And what happens to a person who dies before reaching that age?

    One is only judged for deliberately rejecting the offer of salvation – or for deliberately rejecting what is known to be true and good.

    As far as those children who are not old enough to consciously know right from wrong, God will save them since they have not consciously rejected the right.

    For example, the Bible argues that God winks or passes over our sins committed in “times of ignorance” (Acts 17:30) and argues that sin is based on a conscious understanding of right and wrong (James 4:17 and John 9:41). Also, consider the following passage in Isaiah regarding the salvation of children who have not yet been able to make their own decisions for or against God:

    “But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” – Isaiah 49:25

    Mrs. White also specifically argues that children of believing parents will be saved:

    “I know that some questioned whether the little children of even believing parents should be saved, because they have had no test of character and all must be tested and their character determined by trial. The question is asked, ‘How can little children have this test and trial?’ I answer that the faith of the believing parents covers the children” (Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 313).

    Remember too that God is very partial to young children. After all, it was Jesus who asked for the children to be able to come to him and explained that of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. – Mark 10:14

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  8. Thanks for your comments, Shane and Sean. I hope you won’t mind if I take a kick at the can as well. 😉

    I don’t claim to know everything there is to know, and, like Shane, I will leave the judging of people’s souls to the Lord as that is His prerogative.

    I liked the quotation Sean gave from EGW and I want to point out to you that the children of BELIEVERS will be saved. The reason for this, as far as I can figure out, is that the parents are doing all they can to train their children to go according to their own beliefs. Children who are trained to be SDAs from babyhood often grow up to be baptized into the faith when they get around the 10-12 yrs of age mark. (Especially if the parents have remained faithful members.)

    Unfortunately, the world has a strong influence and sometimes in their teen years these same children stray from the truth. I personally believe that this is because we, as a general whole, have entertained and spoiled our children–giving them all the worldly advantages we can and neglecting their spiritual upbringing. Self-sacrifice seems to be a bad word nowadays. If I had it to do over again, I would bring my daughter up even more strictly than I did. She is a good kid, but I think we could both do with a little more self-sacrifice.

    It used to bother me that when God was clearing out the Canaanites and giving the land to the Hebrews, that He ordered children and babies to be killed as well as the rest of the population. Since becoming a parent, I think I see why God wisely ordered this. If He had allowed them to live, they most probably would have grown up to be exactly like their parents. The Canaanites had “filled the cup of their iniquity” until God would no longer bear with them. They had no possibility of reform–otherwise God would not have ordered their extinction. And, lets bear in mind that we find it hard to see people wiped out like that, but God had to witness generations of horrendous sin and He couldn’t take any more of it. I daresay if we had had to witness innocent babies and children being sacrificed to false gods and the like, we might lose all sympathy for these people as well.

    In answer to your quesion, Eddy, I don’t think the Canaanite children will be saved as a whole. God alone can judge individual cases. I believe He can see into the future that might have been and judge children according to it. Faithful believers would probably have raised their children to know and love God, while heathens would have raised their children to know and fear false gods and commit vile practices of worship. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree,” so to speak, even though in the case of a young child dying, it would be more like “so the tree would have grown.”

    I have full confidence that God is a just & merciful God. He will do what is right in every single case.

    Which brings me to wonder, Eddie, why you are asking this question. You seem to have a great deal of knowledge concerning SDAs. You wouldn’t be asking questions similarly to the lawyers who tried to trap Christ into saying something wrong, now would you?

    I sincerely hope this is not the case. Anyway, my thoughts are my thoughts and not dogma or doctrine. I leave these things to God.

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  9. Sean Pitman, M.D.: 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.

    Sean, This statement is completely dis-ingenuous. The intent of the movement to “clarify” the 6th fundamental belief is exactly that – to impose a civil penalty on those who anything other than the most limited of interpretations.

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  10. Faith: Do you honestly think we should make room in our church for people like Hitler, and all the other mass murderers throughout earth’s history? Did God accept Cain’s sacrifice? Should we allow people to join our church who practice witchcraft and other forms of occultism? Or should we only allow in the liars? Lying isn’t as bad as murdering, right?

    The answer here is an unqualified YES. These are exactly the people Christ came to save, and we should make room for them in the church just as Christ and the early church did.

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  11. Sean Pitman, M.D.: 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.

    Sean, this is very curious. You consider the Psalms and Job to be figurative and Genesis to be literal? That seems totally irrational.

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  12. Ron: The answer here is an unqualified YES. These are exactly the people Christ came to save, and we should make room for them in the church just as Christ and the early church did.

    Well, that takes the cake. People like Hitler don’t have any REMORSE for their sins. Get it? You can’t save anyone who doesn’t want to change their lives and live for Christ and like Christ. You can’t take unrepentant sinners into heaven. Whether or not they need God, is irrelevent. They don’t want God.

    That was my point in using them for an example.

    Honestly, don’t you people get that to save everyone would pollute heaven with sin? What would be the point in punishing Satan, his angels, and the wicked people of the earth and then take them back to heaven? How will this work? Do you think that God will resurrect Satan et al after they burn in the lake of fire? Get real.

    “Making room in the church” is just a tidy term for letting down the standards so that anyone and everyone can qualify for membership. That is so bogus. A person would have to be a drivelling idiot to think that is a solution for sin. If it was that simple, why did Jesus come to earth and suffer and die on the cross? It just makes no sense whatsoever.

    No wonder Bob keeps referring to the “big tent”. I didn’t realize how many believed in this ridiculous theory.

    May the Lord help His church is all I have to say.

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  13. Ron: Sean, this is very curious. You consider the Psalms and Job to be figurative and Genesis to be literal? That seems totally irrational.

    Ron it is not the “book” that determines interpretation but “the context and content”.

    Thus we find very literal statements in Job and Psalms as well as figures of speech being used.

    There is no blanket stamp that covers the entire book just because of the name of the book.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  14. Ron: Sean, This statement is completely dis-ingenuous. The intent of the movement to “clarify” the 6th fundamental belief is exactly that – to impose a civil penalty on those who anything other than the most limited of interpretations.

    What civil penalty would that be?

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  15. I am wondering if some over at the spec of truth board – are suggesting that being employed by the SDA church and consuming SDA tithe, offering and gift dollars is a “basic right” of hindus, atheists and evolutionists – such that any denial of their demands in that regard is a “civil penalty” being applied?

    Time will tell if they are trying to make that case.

    Frankly I doubt that we will see a rush for employment applications by members of those groups operating outside the SDA church today.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  16. @Ron:

    Sean, This statement is completely dis-ingenuous. The intent of the movement to “clarify” the 6th fundamental belief is exactly that – to impose a civil penalty on those who anything other than the most limited of interpretations.

    This is like arguing that an employee of Nike who is fired for wearing and advertising Reebok shoes has just had his civil rights violated.

    You don’t seem to recognize the fact that any viable organization must have the ability to create and enforce internal rules of order and government to which all who wish to freely join as paid representatives must adhere. You also don’t seem to understand that an employee of such an organization is always free to leave at will, free of any civil penalties from the US Government under which we all live.

    You do realize that there is a difference between civil government (as in the US government) and the civil freedoms that government protects and the freedoms one chooses to limit for one’s own self when one joins any organization as an employee?

    I’m sorry, but you’re making yourself look rather foolish here…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  17. Sean Pitman: This is like arguing that an employee of Nike who is fired for wearing and advertising Reebok shoes has just had his civil rights violated.

    Sean, No, it is nothing like a Nike employee being fired for advertising Reebok, because an explicit goal of Nike is to put Reebok out of business.

    The purpose of the church on the other hand is to nurture each individuals spiritual growth. It does that by providing a forum where people can seek and worship God together. In order for people to come to a common understanding of God, they have to be free to talk about and explore the difficult issues. In order for the church to fulfill it’s mission, it needs to tolerate diversity so that people can study and learn, and work through their different understandings until they can come to some common understanding of faith. The effort by some in the church to squash all discussion by authoritarian assertions sabotages the very purpose of the church.

    This spirit of orthodoxy that you are pushing is exactly the same spirit that motivated past religious persecutions. I believe that freedom of thought and conscience is exactly what Christ died to protect. By demanding orthodoxy, even if your formulation is correct, you end up fighting against the very thing Christ died for.

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  18. Sean Pitman: You do realize that there is a difference between civil government (as in the US government) and the civil freedoms that government protects and the freedoms one chooses to limit for one’s own self when one joins any organization as an employee?

    Actually, no I don’t. I do not believe that you give up any civil rights by becoming an employee. Especially that should not be the case in the Seventh-day Adventist church where we are called support Religious Liberty. How can you support Religious Liberty if it only applies out side of the church? Above all people, Adventists should be most sensitive to the evils of coercion. It is impossible to honor freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion while at the same time persecuting those within the church who hold a different view.

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  19. Faith: Well, that takes the cake. People like Hitler don’t have any REMORSE for their sins. Get it? You can’t save anyone who doesn’t want to change their lives and live for Christ and like Christ. You can’t take unrepentant sinners into heaven. Whether or not they need God, is irrelevent. They don’t want God.

    Faith, I agree, that does take the cake doesn’t it. God knew Adam and Eve would believe lies about him but he chose to create them anyway. God loved Adam and Eve so much that he was willing to die on the cross so they could think and explore terrible evil things and learn to know good from evil by first hand experience, and still not be destroyed forever.

    It was while we were yet sinners i.e. we had no desire for God, had no remorse and had no intention of repenting, that Christ came to die for us. It was while Paul was on the way to murder more Christians that God called him. It was while she was in the middle of illicit sex that Jesus called the adulterous woman brought to him in the temple. How do you know whether Hitler had any remorse? He could have. God the creator created Hitler and allowed him to pursue his beliefs and now as a result, the whole world understands the evil of genocide. How do you know whether Hitler understood that before he died and repented? He could have. If God is tolerant enough to allow the Apostle Paul, Hitler, Stalin, Pol pot, et.al to do their evil deeds, should we not have even the littlest bit of grace it would require to tolerate someone who disagrees with us over a creed?

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  20. BobRyan: Ron it is not the “book” that determines interpretation but “the context and content”

    Bob, please don’t be purposefully obtuse. The point is that, assuming you apply the same interpretive principles to each, there is every bit as much reason to think that the Genesis story is talking figuratively about spiritual realities as there is to think such about the descriptions of creation in Psalms and Job. Since none of us were there to provide independent verification, it behooves us to be tolerant of the interpretations of others.

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  21. Ron’s observations are all valid given his conception of what the church is: a social club completely denatured of all doctrinal content. If it doesn’t matter what SDA members believe, then gross doctrinal unorthodoxy cannot be grounds for firing and/or disfellowshipping. And since doctrine or belief systems are utterly and completely irrelevant for current SDA members, why should it matter what potential new members believe, if anything? Why should it matter if they have repented or are in any sense converted?

    To those of us who believe that the church not only has doctrines, but is effectively defined as a community of commonly shared beliefs, then Ron’s basic point of view, and the opinions naturally flowing therefrom, do not make any sense at all. They are utterly bizarre. In fact, Ron’s ecclesiology is so radically different than mine, that that fact alone, without more, would necessarily put us in different denominations.

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  22. Ron: How do you know whether Hitler had any remorse? He could have. God the creator created Hitler and allowed him to pursue his beliefs and now as a result, the whole world understands the evil of genocide. How do you know whether Hitler understood that before he died and repented? He could have. If God is tolerant enough to allow the Apostle Paul, Hitler, Stalin, Pol pot, et.al to do their evil deeds, should we not have even the littlest bit of grace it would require to tolerate someone who disagrees with us over a creed?

    How do I know Hitler didn’t have remorse for his sins? Is there any indication he apoligized and changed his life? No. (By their fruits you will know them.) Instead he apparently committed suicide when he thought he was going to be caught and punished for his heinous crimes against humanity. (Although, I know it is a possibility that someone got fed up on him, murdered him, and made it look like suicide–however, the point is he never turned his life around.)

    You are wrong in your theory that the church has to include every sinner on the planet. The church is there to accept sinners who want to change. God is willing to forgive only if we ask for forgiveness and “go and sin no more”. I know we are all sinners and have to work on it daily. But you have to accept that some people just don’t want to live like Christ or believe in God or do good things. That is just a fact. To bring these people into the church would only serve to pollute the church and wouldn’t better the ones who don’t want to be bettered.

    Again, you don’t seem to care a hoot about what is truth and what isn’t. You seem to think that truth is easily traded off to get people into the church. Such nonsense serves no good purpose. If we lose the doctrines, what do we have to offer anyone? You don’t save people by putting their names on the books. This inclusiveness is a tool of Satan’s to bring evil into the church and kill it from the inside out. If you love God, you will love His church and try to keep it clean and pure. If we were to bring in people who differ with what you term “our creed” what do you suppose would happen to that “creed”? Not that you apparently care anyway. You seem to think there is no value in the doctrines of the church.

    The church isn’t meant to house every unclean spirit. It is God’s institution. What inclusiveness does is put human beings ahead of God. Your attitude demonstrates that you do this. That’s something you should think about very carefully.

    Have you ever stopped to wonder how God feels about this? I notice you don’t have any scripture that tells us to include unrepentent sinners in the church–nor do you have any EGW quotations. Why? Because God does not condone such wreckless disregard for His church or His commandments so you won’t find any such quotations. You will find quotations, however, that state that we are never to lower the standards to bring in members or to keep members who don’t want to keep the standards given us. What does that tell you about how God feels about inclusiveness?

    Another thing you should realize is that God will not tollerate sin forever. It will be wiped out of the universe, praise God. He only allows it to take its evil course to demonstrate to the universe what evil is and what it will do. The world saw Hitler and his genocide program, but did that stop this practice? No, it is still going on in other countries today.

    I really hope you will reconsider your stance on this. It would greatly benefit you if you did. Happy Sabbath.

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  23. @Faith: Aptly, fittingly, clearly, unsparingly, I’d have to say inspiringly, put!

    I could wish that these social exchange programs provided not only LIKE or DISLIKE, thumbs up/thumbs down, but also AMEN! Lacking that e-option, here’s my write-in AMEN!

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  24. @Wesley Kime:
    @ Faith and Wesley; Actually, you both grossly misinterpret my position. I actually think it is hugely important what you think. Your current and future happiness depends on it; and I agree that God will not tolerate sin forever, and neither should we. That is exactly why I am so active about speaking up on this forum. I believe the church is committing a grievous error, if not an outright sin by their current response to the controversy.

    The issue at least for me, is not WHAT the church believes or doesn’t believe. The issue is HOW the church responds to diversity of belief. I believe that fear and coercion are tools of the devil. I believe the tools of God are reason and loving confrontation. Trying to purify the church by developing a creed and expelling every teacher and preacher who can’t or won’t line up is just wrong. By attempting to coerce the conscience, it is using the devil’s methods. And to be frank, it just isn’t pragmatic. It doesn’t get you where you want to go, i.e. a truly unified church which is unified because people really understand and believe.

    The proper method is to engage in thoughtful and respectful dialogue (i.e. don’t use pejorative terms such as “junk science”). Don’t just write people off, be honest, and really deal with the issues. Like God, be tolerant and patient while people work through the issues. Sometimes, as we have seen in God’s dealings with Satan, it takes time. Like God, you have to be tolerant enough to let people explore, and be wrong. At least for a little while until the evidence becomes clear. Yes, I know. For some of you the evidence IS clear. But for some others it isn’t. Religious Liberty means that the majority, for whom the issue is clear, have to tolerate the minority, for whom the issue is NOT clear. As an aside regarding Sean’s assertion, Religious Liberty is not a civil issue. It is an issue of conscience.

    Tolerance does not mean that you are passive, or that you are accepting of a position; what it means is that you engage respectfully, and that you accept some discomfort during the process. I am sorry I am not quoting the Bible or Mrs. White. I find these concepts are so pervasive throughout the Bible and Mrs. White that I would have a hard time knowing even where to start. I mean, the whole point of the Great Controversy is . . . the Controversy, right? Why do you think it has taken so long? It is because God is not willing to short circuit the process by being authoritarian. He refuses to impose on Man’s will; or even the will of Satan and the Angels. He is taking the time to patiently confront the issues one by one as they come up, and the process will not be finished until EVERY issue has come up, and EVERYONE, even Satan himself is convinced. Not convinced by coercion or fear, but honestly, freely, and truly convinced. (Here is an E.G.W quote: Read the Great Controversy).

    That is why God allowed Hitler, so the world could see and freely decide that genocide is wrong. Before Hitler genocide was accepted as an appropriate solution. (Here is a Bible quote: See Judges). After Hitler, it is not accepted. That is why Christ had to die, to show man that here is a God that you don’t have to be afraid of, that it is OK for you to come to Him. He is “There for you”. I have no doubt that if Hitler came to God even in the last few moments after he swallowed the poison, that God would be there for him and accept him. I would not be the least bit surprised to see him in heaven. (OK Faith; I agree that it is highly unlikely, but as a matter of argument and principle, I wouldn’t be surprised.)

    (As an aside: Stop and consider for a moment. What was the real problem in the Garden of Eden. Was it the act of stealing the fruit or was it the fear toward God that Adam and Eve had afterward? What if they had moved toward God instead of running away? God managed to forgive the sins of the Angels in heaven who returned to Him without killing and death, but how could God cure man’s fear? The difference between Man and the Angels was the fear. It was the fear which broke the relationship with God and it required the death of God in Christ to show Man that God would rather die than harm or coerce.)

    God, how did we go from talking about teachers trying to teach science to the best of their understanding to talking about Hitler? This is just completely insane. Where is the church’s sense of perspective? May God help us.

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  25. Ron:

    Here’s an actual quote from Great Controversy:

    “The great deceiver has many agents ready to present any and every kind of error to ensnare souls–heresies prepared to suit the varied tastes and capacities of those whom he would ruin. It is his plan to bring into the church insincere, unregenerate elements that will encourage doubt and unbelief, and hinder all who desire to see the work of God advance and to advance with it. Many who have no real faith in God or in His word assent to some principles of truth and pass as Christians, and thus they are enabled to introduce their errors as Scriptural doctrines.”

    “The position that it is of no consequence what men believe is one of Satan’s most successful deceptions. He knows that the truth, received in the love of it, sanctifies the soul of the receiver; therefore he is constantly seeking to substitute false theories, fables, another gospel. From the beginning the servants of God have contended against false teachers, not merely as vicious men, but as inculcators of falsehoods that were fatal to the soul. Elijah, Jeremiah, Paul, firmly and fearlessly opposed those who were turning men from the word of God. That liberality which regards a correct religious faith as unimportant found no favor with these holy defenders of the truth.”

    Ellen White, Great Controversy, Ch. 32, p. 520.

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    • @David Read:
      Thank you David. I couldn’t agree with this quote more. What you believe is incredibly important.

      One of the errors the deceiver seems to be bringing upon the church at this time is that God is unable to tolerate confusion and perplexity in honest seekers of truth within the Adventist church and that He work requires the use of force and persecution.

      Who do you think Mrs White is referring to in this controversy? I listen to her, “It is his plan to bring into the church insincere, unregenerate elements that will encourage doubt and unbelief, and hinder all who desire to see the work of God advance and to advance with it.” and I ask myself, who in this discussion is insincere? Then I recall words like “junk science”, disrespectful name calling and dismissive attitudes which “encourages (me at least) to doubt about the church’s sincerity”. I hear hard words spoken against honest, hard working teachers by people who seem unwilling to “see the work of God advance and to advance with it.” In this discussion, people don’t want to understand and advance the truth! All I am seeing is a desire enforce an artificial unity by maligning the true seekers and throwing them out.

      I hear people who cannot give any coherent explanation of how their faith is compatible with clear and simple scientific observations, giving “assent to some principles of truth and pass as Christians, and thus they are enabled to introduce their errors (in this case, by trying to make the scripture be more specific than it actually is) as Scriptural doctrines.”

      (I’m sorry, This statement is just so crystal clear as to who in this controversy she would be referring to. The teachers teaching evolution have NEVER to my knowledge ever claimed that their teaching was “scriptural doctrine”. The only faction in this controversy that this statement could in any way be referring to are those who are supporting the tightening of the creed.)

      Notice how the truth that sanctifies the soul is received, “in the love of it”. You may have the most absolutely perfect formulation of truth that has ever been articulated in a creed, and yet, how does using that creed to threaten and coerce help some one receive the truth in love?

      You cannot accept the truth in love, except by rational, respectful discussion.

      “From the beginning the servants of God have contended against false teachers, not merely as vicious men,”
      Who were the “false teachers” in the beginning. Were they not the conservatives? The pharisees, and the Judaizers who were trying to protect the orthodox understanding of God’s word from the changes introduced by the Apostles?

      Who in this current controversy, claims to be upholding the word of God while at the same time acting as “vicious men”? Who was it that the Apostle Paul “opposed to his face”? Was it not Peter, the “General Conference President”, so to speak, of the early church? Who today is claiming to be upholding the truth, while at the same time acting viciously? Is it not the General Conference President himself? Aided by people like Sean and Bob?

      Don’t you find her examples instructive? Elijah, Jeremiah, and Paul were all in open and heated conflict with the establishment and Orthodox of their day. How could this statement be any more clear? This movement to enforce orthodoxy by force and coercion is absolutely wrong.

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  26. Bob explains to Ron why it is that we have both literal and symbolic contexts in books like Psalms and Proverbs and how it is that exegesis can be used not only in Genesis but also in Psalms – rather than a blind sweeping rule of the form “Psalms has a symbol in it – so why not toss out Genesis when it conflicts with blind-faith evolutionism”.

    Ron:

    Bob, please don’t be purposefully obtuse. The point is that, assuming you apply the same interpretive principles to each

    The concept you are struggling with is called exegesis. It is the idea that context and the original intent of the author as the text would have been received by his contemporary readers – determines meaning.

    Ron:

    , there is every bit as much reason to think that the Genesis story is talking figuratively about spiritual realities as there is to think such about the descriptions of creation in Psalms and Job.

    Well I agree that there is as much logic “or lack thereof” in abusing the book of Genesis as in abusing the book of Psalms for those who choose to make sweeping statements.

    Since none of us were there to provide independent verification, it behooves us to be tolerant of the interpretations of others

    Indeed our Catholic, Mormon, TEs, Methodist and Baptist friends all have their reasons for spinning a given text one way or the other. And of course – we as SDAs believe in free will – so everyone gets to decide for themselves which denomination’s beliefs to select.

    My point is that the rules for exegesis are designed to refute your “let us each spin the text as we see fit” ideas — as if it is really 6 of one and half-dozen of the other.

    The book of Genesis is in fact a reliable historic “account” and even states at the end of the 7 days of Creation “this is the ACCOUNT”.

    The TE opposition to the text of scripture fits much more the description we find of it in 3SG 90-91 as being the “worst form of infidelity” because in that inspired statement it is said to be “infidelity in disguise”.

    However I think that is probably more true of the teachers and leaders in the TE arena – rather than those in the pews being duped by the same.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  27. @Ron:

    Actually, no I don’t. I do not believe that you give up any civil rights by becoming an employee. Especially that should not be the case in the Seventh-day Adventist church where we are called support Religious Liberty. How can you support Religious Liberty if it only applies out side of the church?

    You confuse “Religious Liberty” with the privilege to be hired by the church or any other organization. They aren’t the same thing. You are at liberty to worship however you wish. That is your God-given civil right. You are not at liberty, on the other hand, to expect a paycheck from the church or any other organization for doing whatever you want outside of the fundamental goals and ideals of the church as an organization. That is not a God-given civil right. No organization is obliged to hire you or me. The organization itself is also free – free to pick and choose who would be most effective as a paid employee. How do you not recognize this concept?

    What you are suggesting is equivalent to expecting me to send you a paycheck every month because that is your “civil right”. What would you say if I demanded a paycheck from you? – because, after all, it is my civil right that you give me money on a regular basis for doing what I do independent of your own goals or desires for how your own money is spent?

    No organization can be expected to pay just anyone and everyone for their own individual efforts to promote their own unique ideas outside of those of the organization itself. Do you expect the Catholic Church to pay someone for promoting Adventism in their own schools and churches? Do you expect the Adventist Church to pay people to promote the unique elements of Catholicism in our schools and churches? – like the notion that the Virgin Mary is in heaven and is able to answer the prayers of those who ask for her help?

    Come on now, what you are suggesting does not a unique organization make. You are very confused regarding the difference between truly universal civil rights and the privilege of employment by a particular organization.

    How this idea isn’t simply common sense is beyond me?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  28. Ron: (As an aside: Stop and consider for a moment. What was the real problem in the Garden of Eden. Was it the act of stealing the fruit or was it the fear toward God that Adam and Eve had afterward? What if they had moved toward God instead of running away? God managed to forgive the sins of the Angels in heaven who returned to Him without killing and death, but how could God cure man’s fear? The difference between Man and the Angels was the fear

    In the example above – we have “you quoting you” correct?

    That is a kind of circular argument that does not go as far as you may have at first imagined.

    There is nothing in Genesis 3 of the form “because you sinned and feared that I might be telling the truth about the judgment to follow – I cannot forgive you”.

    In fact in Genesis 3 – God offers immediate forgiveness in the promise of Himself — His Son to die for the sins of mankind.

    But God is both JUST and the Justifier — and so the penalty of death – and the result of separation was indeed applied EVEN to the “forgiven” who would themselves not have to suffer the torments of the lake of fire “second death” due to the benefits of the Gospel.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  29. BobRyan: I am wondering if some over at the spec of truth board – are suggesting that being employed by the SDA church and consuming SDA tithe, offering and gift dollars is a “basic right” of hindus, atheists and evolutionists – such that any denial of their demands in that regard is a “civil penalty” being applied?

    Time will tell if they are trying to make that case.

    Frankly I doubt that we will see a rush for employment applications by members of those groups operating outside the SDA church today

    Ron said : Sean, This statement is completely dis-ingenuous. The intent of the movement to “clarify” the 6th fundamental belief is exactly that – to impose a civil penalty on those who anything other than the most limited of interpretations.

    BobRyan:
    What civil penalty would that be?

    Ron: Perhaps “civil” penalty isn’t the right word, but I am referring to the penalty of having your job threatened and your character maligned.

    Ok but that brings us back to my prior statement – listed first in the text above.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  30. Quotes: “..active about speaking up on this forum… Tolerance does not mean that you are passive.” Amen, friend! “fear and coercion are tools of the devil…tools of God are reason and loving confrontation … thoughtful and respectful dialogue…This is just completely insane.” Oh Amen! “The issue is HOW the church responds to diversity of belief… May God help us.”

    Amen, friend and brother; a chorus of amens and an army of thumbs up up and away. Beautifully put. Exquisitely put. Oh how blessed it is when we can devoutly and strongly hold to exactly the same things, like those we have just recited together in harmony and unanimity, and on this Xmas day. And wasn’t our church choir and orchestra’s Messiah, there in our ever bigger, acoustically perfected 6 million-dollar tent, magnificent, yesterday? Applause applause.

    Next stanza: “The issue, at least for me, is not WHAT the church believes or doesn’t believe.”

    OO-oh! A moment of silence. For me it is, the very issue is verily that. Well, (lump in the throat) I guess this is where we part ways. For if our tent is now vast and limitless enough to swallow up a vast diversity of styles and couplings, pastors and producers, banks of klieg lights and boom cameras, it is also large enough for divergent paths to go off into the somehow darkening distance.

    Let us repeat the Mizpah together, if for the last time: “The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another. (Genesis 31:49, to quote Genesis, one last time).

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  31. Ken: Might I humbly suggest that today of all days is not a day for internecine dispute but rather for peace and love.

    Merry Christmas

    indeed – today is the day that we celebrate the birth of the Messiah (the Christ). “God with Us”.

    The incarnation of God Himself — who chose to step off of the throne of the universe and become an infant born to Mary – sent to save the world. A world that welcomed him by trying to kill all the baby boys two years old and under in the vicinity of his birth in an effort to kill him.

    God – our Creator decided that “salvation at any cost” – no matter the price – was worth it to save mankind. And Christ said in Matt 10 that those who freely choose that path of salvation must “take up their cross and follow Me”.

    This is a world where Satan has obtained the cooperation of man in many respects.

    The Angels of heaven said on that day “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will toward men”. Luke 2

    And yet another angel from heaven say in Rev 12:12 regarding the fact that Christ was winning the war against Satan — “Woe to those who dwell on the earth for the devil has come down to you knowing that he has but a short time”.

    Even Christ Himself said in Matt 10 “do not think that I have come to bring peace – I have not come to bring peace but a sword” Matt 10.

    Christ was referring to the fact that Satan – as the “god of this world” 1Cor 4:4 is at war against our Creator and leads as many of mankind as will – to follow his directions – whether wittingly or unwittingly.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  32. Has there ever been an SDA pastor or church who has tried having two services per week–one on Sabbath and one on Sunday?

    Wouldn’t this be the next “logical” step in eucumenical engagement?

    How would the “success” be measured? Whichever day had the most attendees? How it helped the Church to grow?

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  33. Ron: Faith and Wesley; Actually, you both grossly misinterpret my position.

    [I don’t know about that–don’t you think that the doctrines are not important; that the love of man trumps all else? I think I have interpretted your position quite accurately.]

    I believe the church is committing a grievous error, if not an outright sin by their current response to the controversy.
    The issue at least for me, is not WHAT the church believes or doesn’t believe. [And that is what I said you said–you don’t care about the doctrines.]

    The issue is HOW the church responds to diversity of belief.

    [You seem to be thinking upside down and backwards, Ron. We aren’t supposed to have a diversity of beliefs. We are all supposed to be of one mind–the mind of Jesus. Jesus didn’t subscribe to every wind of doctrine that came along and neither should His followers.]

    I believe that fear and coercion are tools of the devil. [You are correct in this–but none of us are using fear or coercion. The professors, however, were using fear and coercion in that they required their students to subscribe to what any true SDA knows is false.] I believe the tools of God are reason and loving confrontation. [The professors used confrontation all right; but it was far from loving. They ridiculed students who dared to believe according to the church! That is the heights of arrogance, as far as I am concerned.]

    Trying to purify the church by developing a creed and expelling every teacher and preacher who can’t or won’t line up is just wrong.

    [Number One: we aren’t developing a creed–the doctrines of our church have been there since the inception of the church and were given by God Himself. Expecting all members to subscribe to these doctrines is only just. Expelling those who won’t live up to and teach the doctrines is not wrong, but totally right. To NOT do so is to allow the enemy to sow tares in the field.]

    By attempting to coerce the conscience, it is using the devil’s methods.

    [Again, as pointed out above, we do not coerce the conscience. The professors and ministers are free to believe whatever they want to–but they are not free to teach for truth that which is error while employed in our institutions. That, too, is one of the devil’s methods.]

    And to be frank, it just isn’t pragmatic. It doesn’t get you where you want to go, i.e. a truly unified church which is unified because people really understand and believe.

    [Also, to be frank, I don’t see what you think will be accomplished by letting this fiasco drag on and on since it has been happening for DECADES. I should think that the professors, as thick as they may be, should have gotten the picture by now. I think 30 or 40 years is ample time to let this thing fester. Now is the time for action. Unity of the church will never be accomplished by allowing a few to sow division into the whole.]

    [We are all offered choices in this life. What we do with that gift of choice shapes our own destinies. If the professors choose to believe things that the church and its institutions don’t ascribe to, they can only expect that if they try to promote their own agendas in the classrooms they will be asked to leave. That only makes sense. If we allowed professors to teach anything they wanted to it would create confusion and chaos. Two things that Satan uses a lot in his warfare against the church. It would also (and has) indoctrinate the youth of the church, who have come to an SDA school to receive an SDA education, into anti-SDA theories. That is fraudulent both to the students and their parents, many of whom have sacrificed to send their children to an SDA sdhool and who trust that their children will receive an SDA education, AS ADVERTISED.]

    [You see, Ron, an SDA school is unique in that it is supposed to teach every subject with an SDA slant. The way things are, they are not living up to their mandate and that means they are cheating their SDA patrons.]

    The proper method is to engage in thoughtful and respectful dialogue (i.e. don’t use pejorative terms such as “junk science”). [Sorry, Ron, it IS junk science–that’s called a FACT] Don’t just write people off, be honest, and really deal with the issues. [Precisely what the we are tring to do.] Like God, be tolerant and patient while people work through the issues. Sometimes, as we have seen in God’s dealings with Satan, it takes time. [And sometimes, the time is up–30-40 years is enough! and what’s more very generous.] Like God, you have to be tolerant enough to let people explore, and be wrong. [Not in our classrooms we don’t. What they do on their own time and their own dime is up to them.] At least for a little while until the evidence becomes clear. Yes, I know. For some of you the evidence IS clear. But for some others it isn’t. Religious Liberty means that the majority, for whom the issue is clear, have to tolerate the minority, for whom the issue is NOT clear. [That’s the wierdest definition of Religious Liberty I have ever heard.] As an aside regarding Sean’s assertion Religious Liberty is not a civil issue. It is an issue of conscience. [Sorry, Sean is correct. Religious liberty largely pertains to the way people are treated by the various forms of government and other citizens regarding their religious beliefs. I.e. employers cannot fire you because of your religious beliefs; you cannot be jailed because you worship on the Sabbath–at least for now. That is religious liberty.]

    Tolerance does not mean that you are passive, or that you are accepting of a position; [yes, it does] what it means is that you engage respectfully, and that you accept some discomfort during the process. I am sorry I am not quoting the Bible or Mrs. White. I find these concepts are so pervasive throughout the Bible and Mrs. White that I would have a hard time knowing even where to start. I mean, the whole point of the Great Controversy is . . . the Controversy, right? Why do you think it has taken so long? It is because God is not willing to short circuit the process by being authoritarian. He refuses to impose on Man’s will; or even the will of Satan and the Angels. He is taking the time to patiently confront the issues one by one as they come up, and the process will not be finished until EVERY issue has come up, and EVERYONE, even Satan himself is convinced. Not convinced by coercion or fear, but honestly, freely, and truly convinced. (Here is an E.G.W quote: Read the Great Controversy).

    [Where on earth did you get that? Are you labouring under the misconception that this thing is going to drag on until Satan is converted????? Satan knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s going down and he wants to take us all with him. He knows he will burn for the sins of the saints, so he figures he will tip the odds in his favour by getting as many of the saints to lose out on salvation as it is possible to do. That way they burn for their own sins.]

    That is why God allowed Hitler, so the world could see and freely decide that genocide is wrong. Before Hitler genocide was accepted as an appropriate solution. (Here is a Bible quote: See Judges). After Hitler, it is not accepted.

    [Again, where do you get that? God allowed Hitler to do what he did because He has agreed to let sin largely take its course to show the result of Satan’s claims against God’s Law. Before Hitler AND AFTER Hitler genocide has occurred and it will continue on until God calls a stop to this experiment. I’ve got to say, Ron, that your view of the Great Controversy is a skewed.]

    That is why Christ had to die, to show man that here is a God that you don’t have to be afraid of, that it is OK for you to come to Him. He is “There for you”.

    [No, it wasn’t–it was to pay the penalty of sin for humanity that we could have a second shot at being obedient to, and in harmony with, God.]

    I have no doubt that if Hitler came to God even in the last few moments after he swallowed the poison, [or blew his brains out??] that God would be there for him and accept him. I would not be the least bit surprised to see him in heaven. (OK Faith; I agree that it is highly unlikely, [true] but as a matter of argument and principle, I wouldn’t be surprised.)

    [Just so you know, I do know that there will be some surprises in Heaven. People who we thought would never make it will be there and people we were sure would be there will be missing. That is why we wouldn’t make very good judges. God knows best. And it is not my intention to judge Hitler–that is up to God. But he’s an obvious choice for an example, in that he committed such awful and plentiful crimes.]
    (As an aside: Stop and consider for a moment. What was the real problem in the Garden of Eden. Was it the act of stealing the fruit or was it the fear toward God that Adam and Eve had afterward? [Actually, Ron, the real problem was distrust and disobedience by Adam and Eve. They weren’t afraid of God at all before they committed their sins. Fear is just a natural result of sin.]

    What if they had moved toward God instead of running away? God managed to forgive the sins of the Angels in heaven who returned to Him without killing and death, but how could God cure man’s fear? The difference between Man and the Angels was the fear. [Again, where on earth do you get that?] It was the fear which broke the relationship with God and it required the death of God in Christ to show Man that God would rather die than harm or coerce.)[No, it wasn’t–it was the disobedience and distrust that broke the relationship with God.]
    …how did we go from talking about teachers trying to teach science to the best of their understanding to talking about Hitler? This is just completely insane. Where is the church’s sense of perspective? May God help us

    [You were the one who brought up inclusiveness and coercion. I was just addressing your concerns. If that is insane, then…]

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  34. Just to clarify a statement I made earlier:

    When I spoke of religious liberty and used the example of your boss not firing you for your religious beliefs, just in case that confused you a bit, I want you to know that what I was referring to is that if you want to take off your Sabbaths you have a legal right to do this without risking your job.

    It does not, however, ensure that the professors are allowed to teach evolution in their classrooms contrary to their employer’s (the church’s) wishes. That is actually willful disobedience and betrayal–in actual fact, not doing their jobs properly–and no employer is required to put up with that.

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  35. Faith, thanks very much for taking the time to deconstruct Ron’s ramblings on a sentence-by-sentence basis. He is so emotion-based and anti-logical that I wouldn’t have bothered, but I appreciate that you took the time.

    For me the significance of people like Ron is that lax discipline and an adoctrinal (or even anti-doctrinal) “Adventism” have prevailed for so long in certain parts of the country that he thinks that for us to now insist that Adventist doctrines be upheld in Adventist institutions is to unfairly change the rules in the middle of the game. And in a sense he is right. But every significant work of reform consists of just such changes, because the old way of doing things was wrong and needed to be changed. The way things were in the time of the Judges is the way things are in some Adventist conferences today: everyone does what is right in his own eyes.

    That has to stop. Now.

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  36. I think it is interesting that it was the corrupt leadership of the Jews at the time of Christ – and to some extent the wide wild singing popular support for them at times – the determined the fate of the Jewish nation.

    Those who hijack leadership roles in a given conference or union in areas of education, administration etc in the SDA church just so they can introduce error – can only survive and prosper in that role as long as there are enough people who will “do nothing” to stop it in their local conference.

    That is why I am glad the Michigan conference leaders had the leadership initiative and vision to take a stand and let the chips fall where they may.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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