By Educate Truth Staff
September 1, 2009, an article titled “Creating Controversy” by Jack Stripling surfaced at InsideHigherEd.com, covering the controversy surrounding La Sierra University. As a result of this article, EducateTruth.com received a spike in unique hits Sept. 1 — over 7,000 — five times the daily average for August.
Widespread interest in this issue is the natural result of a defiant Biology department and the institutional hand that protects it from reproof or consequences. LSU continues to sympathize with these professors who are openly undermining church doctrine and Biblical creation. These professors are allowed employment at Seventh-day Adventist institutions. It would have been better for LSU to responsibly take action and address the issue, as opposed to denying the existence of the problem and attempting to sweep it under the rug.
Striplingâ€™s interview with LSU biology professor of 38 years Gary Bradley was the most convincing piece of evidence supporting the allegations evolution was being taught as the preferred scientific worldview at LSU. Bradley unabashedly admitted it, saying when evolution debates have emerged before, his response was to “dive under the desk and wait for them to blow over.” In other words, this controversy isnâ€™t new to LSU. It has come and gone, while evolution-promoting professors have stayed to continue turning out faithless or confused graduates. This matches the testimony of many impacted students and parents who have been ignored after attempting to have this issue addressed by LSU.
Bradley said he is backed by President Wisbey, and has felt no pressure to change anything about his course, according to Striplingâ€™s article. If Bradley is telling the truth, President Wisbey is supporting a professor who does not believe in a six-day creation, but teaches to the contrary, refusing to “dismantle” evolution in his class, and considers those who believe in creation the “lunatic fringe.” He said, “They do not represent the majority position in the Church, and yes I’m skeptical of that.”
Stripling wrote: “Bradley says he wonâ€™t undercut decades of peer reviewed scientific research in the interest of religious consistency.”
This contradicts LSU’s claim that students “will be introduced to Seventh-day Adventist understandings of Creation, centered in the Genesis account, which reveals the Creator as a personal and loving God.” According to Striplingâ€™s article, LSU will be adding a seminar for biology students “in which theologians and scientists will discuss the intersections of faith and science.” No word yet on this becoming part of the core curriculum for biology students, or whether it will be headed by creationists or more defiant evolutionists. While this is a nice step on LSU’s part, it still does not address the problem.
The same day Striplingâ€™s article was posted, Executive Director of University Relations for LSU Larry Becker issued a diplomatic statement, attempting to soften what Bradley had boldly stated:
Some of Dr. Bradleyâ€™s statements as reported in the article posted September 1 do not reflect the views of the university. They are his views alone …. The university is saddened that some of his statements, as reported in this interview do not reflect the universityâ€™s commitment to help our students navigate the important issues of faith and science in the context of Seventh-day Adventist higher education.
This no doubt includes Bradley’s use of an expletive during the interview.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church manual says on page 190:
Therefore, although all members have equal rights within the church, no individual member or group of members should start a movement or form an organization or seek to encourage a following for the attainment of any objective or for the teaching of any doctrine or message not in harmony with the fundamental religious objectives and teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Such a course would result in the fostering of a factional and divisive spirit, in the fragmenting of the effort and witness of the church, and thus in hindering it in the discharge of its obligations to its Head and to the world.
The first reason listed in the church manual which would subject a member to discipline is “Denial of faith in the fundamentals of the gospel and in the cardinal doctrines of the church or teaching doctrines contrary to the same” (p. 195).
There is no question LSU is at odds with the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s position on creation by supporting professors who believe and teach contrary to church doctrine. Making claims of conformity to the church’s position is of no effect if LSU continues to allow professors to promote evolution as the preferred scientific worldview over Biblical creation.
Some have criticized the manner in which EducateTruth.com is handling the situation. They quote Matthew 18, but fail to realize for decades there have been many private attempts by parents and students to address the issue, but to no avail. EducateTruth.com is a direct response to LSU’s lack of response.
The church manual also says:
When differences arise in or between organizations and institutions, appeal to the next higher organization is proper until it reaches the General Conference in session, or the Executive Committee at the Annual Council.
A Seventh-day Adventist university promoting evolution is no private matter. It is publicly contrary to the Bible, church doctrine and Spirit of Prophecy. This issue has been kept hushed for decades, and thus evolution has been the fall of many vulnerable minds to worldly doctrine.
In a letter dated August 27 and addressed to me, Dr. Wisbey said:
The Board will set aside a portion of the November 12, 2009 Board meeting for an evaluation of the matter in executive session. The participants will be limited to Board members and such individuals as the Board chooses to invite to provide background information to educate the Board on Biology curricular matters. Written comments including your petition will be received from members of the campus community. Such materials will be provided to the Board as part of their consideration. These materials will be reviewed for their balance and objectivity.
Pray for La Sierra University that the Lord will guide administration into making decisions in accordance with Biblical principles and Spirit of Prophecy enlightenment.