LSU student: ‘Apostates or Apostles’?

Educate Truth shares the following article excerpts from La Sierra University’s student paper The Criterion as a service to readers. Opinions expressed in these reports do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Educate Truth.

Apostate or Apostles
By Natalie Romero

On May 25th, 2010, the Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists removed La Sierra University from its employee subsidy list. The charge: apostasy.

Some are outraged. Many see it as, since it happened last year. Others have no idea what is going on. The case, I believe, deserves some attention, however—especially after recent visitations from both WASC and AAA accreditation bodies. For those who are not up to date on their religious vernacular, apostasy means a complete desertion and departure from one’s religion, cause, or principles. La Sierra University has been accused of this desertion due to the inclusion of the theory of evolution in some biology courses.

There has been talk of other conferences taking the same action, which could prove disastrous for many students who are counting on that financial aid in order to attend La Sierra.

Defining just how we learn and how we teach, especially in the field of science at this institution is important. ‘Different people mean different things when they use the term evolution,’ said Dr. Gary Bradley, a professor of biology and genetics at La Sierra. He explained that for most conservative Christians, the word ‘evolution’ carries the usual anti-God connotation. However, for a scientist, the word represents the process by which all kinds of alterations and modifications happen in our world. Dr. Bradley believes that the Creator God designed the world with the ability for evolution to occur, and urges everyone to learn as much as they can about our Lord’s created universe. ‘There is abundant evidence that living things change. Thus evolution is well documented and well supported in the scientific world. It is unconscionable for a science student to remain ignorant of this fundamental aspect of life.’

This past summer, WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) reaffirmed La Sierra’s accreditation for eight more years; and hopes are high that the Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools (AAA) will follow suit and also renew LSU’s accreditation when they convene on March 31st. Accreditation is vital, because it means that the university in question has been deemed to be operating at the level of quality consistent with its mission statement, as well as with the expectations of a school of higher education. As President Wisbey put it, ‘Accreditation is one of the most important marks a university can earn. It is a measure of excellence in education.’

Despite the renewal of accreditation, the WASC evaluation team noted the issues pertaining to LSU’s Biology Department. While they understand that it’s mainly a denominational issue, it directly touches on several WASC standards, including the roles of the faculty and academic freedom. As a result, WASC plans to send a team back to our campus later on this spring for a reevaluation. And hopes are high

But despite the concern by some, others are confident that this will all subside in time. ‘I’ve seen this kind of thing happen in other times and places. Eventually, it has blown over and the focus has shifted elsewhere,’ said Jocelyn Fay of the Southeastern California Conference.

In the opinion of Dr. Kendra Haloviak of the School of Religion, we are a ‘passionately Adventist institution,’ far from apostasy. The Twenty-Eight Fundamental Beliefs are some of the most important aspects that define us as a church. And despite what others may say, the Twenty-Eight Beliefs are actually taught in a variety of ways at La Sierra. ‘When I heard about the decision by the Michigan Conference I wondered if anyone there had contacted our campus before their action,’ Haloviak said. ‘If those with concerns had been able to have a conversation with the members of our community, they would encourage their employees’ college-aged children to further their Adventist education at La Sierra University.’ And with the highest enrollment in recent memory, with 2,098 students registering for Fall quarter, Haloviak’s confidence in LSU’s standard of education seems to be substantiated.

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49 thoughts on “LSU student: ‘Apostates or Apostles’?

  1. Defining just how we learn and how we teach, especially in the field of science at this institution is important. ‘Different people mean different things when they use the term evolution,’ said Dr. Gary Bradley, a professor of biology and genetics at La Sierra. He explained that for most conservative Christians, the word ‘evolution’ carries the usual anti-God connotation. However, for a scientist, the word represents the process by which all kinds of alterations and modifications happen in our world. Dr. Bradley believes that the Creator God designed the world with the ability for evolution to occur, and urges everyone to learn as much as they can about our Lord’s created universe. ‘There is abundant evidence that living things change. Thus evolution is well documented and well supported in the scientific world. It is unconscionable for a science student to remain ignorant of this fundamental aspect of life.’

    What kind of evolution is Dr. Bradley speaking of when he says God designed the world with the ability for evolution to occur? Different people mean different things when they use the term evolution, says Bradley, but he doesn’t define what he means. This is exactly the type of vague, slippery language that is used in order to cloak what these professors believe and how they’re teaching evolution at LSU.

    Indeed, the word “evolution” does mean many things to many people, so it suspect when Bradley makes his observation and then makes a vague, undefined comment about what he believes. Remember this is the same Bradley who was quoted in INSIDE Higher ED”

    ‘It’s very, very clear that what I’m skeptical of is the absolute necessity of believing that the only way a creator God could do things is by speaking them into existence a few thousand years ago,’ Bradley added. ‘That’s where my skepticism lies. That’s the religious philosophical basis for what I call the lunatic fringe. They do not represent the majority position in the Church, and yes I’m skeptical of that. But I want to say to kids it’s OK for you to believe that, but it’s not OK for you to be ignorant of the scientific data that’s out there.’

    There is an obvious difference between what the Seventh-day Adventist Church views evolution and Bradley. LSU just doesn’t get it. Everybody already knows what’s going on there, but they continue to pretend otherwise.




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  2. This article in the school paper is distressing. I was recently assured that the General Conference had resolved the matter and “evolution” is not being taught at La Sierra any longer. The matter is an important one and the issue will not go away as some in the Southeastern California Conference believe. No, the teaching of evolution at La Sierra is a line drawn in the sand. Any ordained minister who supports this or fails to stand up against it, ought to be removed from his duties if he does not repent. It is an open attack against a fundamental belief that all Christians hold who trust the Bible rather than the wisdom of so called “higher” education.

    It is very sad that these matters are being viewed by the world and other denominations. The Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Bible teach that man was created on the sixth day of creation. We believe the Bible is correct in stating that that there were six literal days of creation.

    The General Conference in session at Atlanta this past summer entertained a motion from the floor that was not on the agenda. That motion was to insure that none in the church would misunderstand the church’s teaching on this fundamental belief. It was overwhelmingly passed to so state that we hold this truth to be one of our fundamental beliefs. There was very little opposition, but it was and is there.

    There are some in leadership positions in our church that are in rebellion against the world church. This is very sad. It is not something that I need to say since the king has no clothes and all can see by the teaching at La Sierra and the current article from La Sierra. The students have been infected at this institution with heretical doctrines such as evolution. I am not spreading the disease nor am I spreading the information. The world already sees it and it continues to go on and on in direct contradiction to those who say it will go away. It will not go away. God has drawn a line in the sand and it is time for the Pacific Union Conference to take a position exactly as did the World Church at Atlanta.

    Why have we not seen a resolution come forth from the Pacific Union or the Southeastern California Conference, or the Southern California Conference, or any other conference in the Pacific Union? How long shall we have to wait to hear from those on the board at La Sierra? Many are ordained Seventh-day Adventist ministers holding leadership positions in conferences. Tell the world what we believe as a church. Don’t let them believe we are being represented by the teachings at La Sierra, they do not represent what we believe, no matter what many in the Pacific Union Conference state. La Sierra and the Southeastern Conference have much in common that misrepresents the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I say this for the benefit of our church and many that are not of our faith and question what we believe when faced with what they have seen coming forth from these two institutions in our church.

    We are Bible believing Christians. I for one will say so and refuse to allow these false teachings to be seen as coming from faithful Seventh-day Adventists. They do not. May the Pacific Union Conference and her local conferences be faithful to deal with this matter in an expeditious manner just as did the world church when in session. This is the prayer of millions of our brethren throughout the world.




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  3. Adventist World had a full page ad on the back in support of LSU. There are no “actions” to back up the many words condemning evolution being taught at this institution.

    Bill Sorensen




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  4. I can’t believe that Natalie Romero would actually quote professor Gary Bradley, of all people, in support for her argument that La Sierra University is teaching in line with the fundamental beliefs of the SDA Church on the topic of origins – that LSU has not really “apostatized” from supporting the Church’s fundamental position on origins.

    As everyone knows by now, many of LSU’s science professors, to include professor Bradley, do not believe and do not support the Church’s position on a literal six day creation week within recent history much less a world-wide Noachian Flood. They believe, teach, and actively promote the mainstream view that life has existed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years of time.

    Has Ms. Romero forgotten Dr. Bradley’s public statements published in an article by Inside Higher Education? In this article, Dr. Bradley is quoted:

    “I am not OK with getting up in a science course and saying most science is bull**it,” he said.

    “It’s very, very clear that what I’m skeptical of is the absolute necessity of believing that the only way a creator God could do things is by speaking them into existence a few thousand years ago,” Bradley added. “That’s where my skepticism lies. That’s the religious philosophical basis for what I call the lunatic fringe.

    The author of this article went on to note that, “While he’s is fine with helping students work through struggles of faith, Bradley says he won’t undercut decades of peer reviewed scientific research in the interest of religious consistency.”

    This activity, on the part of LSU’s professors, is a direct attack on the foundational doctrinal pillars of the SDA Church and the Church leadership is rightly concerned. The Michigan conference, in particular, is well within bounds to call out LSU as diverging, fundamentally, from the goals and ideals of the SDA Church as an organization.

    For the SDA Church, outside of the Michigan Conference, to fail to definitively respond to this long-standing attack on its fundamental positions by LSU (and others), to include the re-accreditation of LSU by the Adventist Accreditation Agency (AAA) without significant comment regarding this issue, seems to be a sign that the SDA Church is somehow intimidated by LSU and/or WASC. However, unless the Church decides to directly confront this issue, head-on, this fundamental rift in the Church will end up tearing it apart from the inside in relatively short order…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  5. I would like to thank the Michigan Conference of SDA’s for being willing to take ridicule on this issue. La Sierra is obviously in a tough place right now as they continue to speak out of both sides of their mouth when it is convenient for them to do so. I like it when people call a spade a spade, and La Sierra is definitely apostatizing from the SDA church’s and Bible’s account on origins (amongst other things). Can we get a more balanced perspective presented to the students now that they have heard the one-sided LSU talking points in this article?

    Jason Shives, M.D.




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  6. Seems to me that Dr. Bradley hardly represents a true follower of Christ, aside from his rather “colorful” language which by the way lost him all due credibility as a “Christian”. Furthermore Dr. Bradley contradicts himself in his own quotes, which I found to be rather disturbing. Hey, I guess lying seems to be the thing to do these days to cover ones own dissent into apostasy and blatant lack of trust in God’s word.
    At least be honest with yourself and others if you dont believe in something, isnt that the Christian thing to do?
    Sadly, Dr. Bradley lost all my trust and faith in him as a professor of Adventist higher education.




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  7. Eddie – Christians are not Blind. Jesus said we can judge the fruits of People. A good tree does not bear bad fruit nor a evil tree good fruit. Nathan’s remarks were not “judging” – Dr. Bradley was advertising.

    “Don’t Judge” is usually shrieked by those who have a form of Godliness while denying the power. When they exhibit unGodly Character or action and are called on it they bleat out “Don’t Judge”. The fact is a spade is a spade. Abd it is too bad that we have such a unconsecrated, unlearned and uncouth faculty member at one of our Institutions.




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  8. Roy said…..

    ““Don’t Judge” is usually shrieked by those who have a form of Godliness while denying the power.”

    This is typical of the liberal agenda in the church today. The idea of “don’t judge” has be warped from its true biblical perspective. It simply means, don’t judge someone’s final salvation as such a judgment comes at the end of the world.

    It does not mean we can not judge the present condition and spirituality of an individual based on present evidence. But if we can’t “judge” in this context, we must necessarily tolerate every form of sin and evil in the church. The liberal agenda has made tremendous inroads into modern Adventism and total confusion about the bible has been advocated on many issues, such as creation vs. evolution.

    Every idea and concept must be studied in its biblical context. This doesn’t seem to be the norm for drawing various conclusions about the meaning of any phrase or word.

    Bill Sorensen




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  9. Dr. Jason Shives wrote:

    I would like to thank the Michigan Conference of SDA’s for being willing to take ridicule on this issue.

    I found it interesting to learn that only 4% of LSU’s students are exposed to the biology curriculum that has been questioned. And for that, LSU is considered apostate? Non-SDA? So the Michigan Conference sought to penalize not just those “exposed” to false teaching, but also the 96% of students for whom the issue has no bearing. Now that is Christian charity at its very finest.

    By the way, who has ridiculed the conference?




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  10. Kent,

    It’s my understanding that the apostasy is not limited to the Biology Department but also extends to the Religion Department, which every student takes classes from.




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  11. This only 4% biz is shear non-sense. According to their enrollment at the beginning of the year (2,098) that means only 84 students take general biology or are biology majors?

    That’s boloney. When I took general biology there were at least that number just in my class. It had to be in a stadium seating classroom to fit everyone. I could be wrong on this but I think general biology is a required GE course. I was an English major and I had to take it.

    Don’t take everything LSU PR spits out hook line and sinker.

    Have you been over at Spectrum? You’ll find enough over there to qualify for ridicule.




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  12. Ethan,

    You may be right about the religion department, though the facts supporting this are less clear to me. However, I don’t believe they are actively teaching or promoting theistic evolution in their religion classes, and I haven’t seen evidence of this. They may depart from the officially sanctioned SDA position on the historical-grammatical approach to interpreting the Bible (as suggested by a video posted last year), but if you were to read the thread on Why Those Who Hate the Bible Love Blind-Faith Christians, you would see that Sean Pitman and Bob Ryan (and possibly Inge Anderson and David Read) also reject the official Church position as well. They actively promote subjecting the Bible to human reason and criticism, Sean Pitman especially. I don’t believe Shane Hilde is in agreement with them. Curiously, I have not seen a Michigan Conference statement on Educate Truth’s position in this regard.




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  13. @Professor Kent:

    If you were to read the thread on Why Those Who Hate the Bible Love Blind-Faith Christians, you would see that Sean Pitman and Bob Ryan (and possibly Inge Anderson and David Read) also reject the official Church position as well. They actively promote subjecting the Bible to human reason and criticism, Sean Pitman especially.

    Humans do not have access to anything other than human reason when it comes to determining the credibility of the Bible over any other claimed source of privileged information since we are, well, only human.

    The Bible itself deliberately appeals to human reason in its efforts to support its own claims to a Divine origin. If it did not appeal to human reason at all, if it was actually unreasonable in its claims from the human perspective, it would be entirely irrational to accept the Bible as Divinely inspired. This is not the position of the SDA Church.

    The SDA Church clearly promotes the idea that the Divine origin of the Bible is rational – built on a firm empirical basis. If the Church did not support this idea it would not be backing institutions that seek to find empirical support for Biblical credibility because there would be no need for such support from the position of empirically-blind faith in the Bible as God’s Word.

    I don’t believe Shane Hilde is in agreement with them. Curiously, I have not seen a Michigan Conference statement on Educate Truth’s position in this regard.

    Shane is also in basic agreement with us on this issue as is the Michigan conference and the SDA Church at large. It is quite clear that if empirical evidence played no part in our efforts to spread the Gospel message of the Bible, that no one would be up in arms over the issue of promoting evolutionary theories in science classes at LSU. It is quite clear that most people see at least some overlap between science and/or empirical evidence and useful Biblical faith – that science and the Bible shed light on each other.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  14. @ Sean Pitman

    The SDA Church clearly promotes the idea that the Divine origin of the Bible is rational – built on a firm empirical basis. If the Church did not support this idea it would not be backing institutions that SEEK TO FIND EMPIRICAL SUPPORT FOR BIBLICAL CREDIBILITY because there would be no need for such support from the position of empirically-blind faith in the Bible as God’s Word. (emphasis supplied)

    You continue to misconstrue SDA hermeneutics. In 1986, the SDA Church in its Annual Council approved the “Rio” statement on Bible Study. The official position of the SDA Church, which you have repeatedly denigrated, is “Human reason is subject to the Bible, NOT EQUAL TO OR ABOVE IT. Presuppositions regarding the Scriptures must be in harmony with the claims of the Scriptures and subject to correction by them (1 Cor. 2:1-6). God intends that human reason be used to its fullest extent, but within the context and under the authority of His Word rather than independent of it (emphasis added).”

    This document goes on to state that it IS appropriate “…to explore the historical and cultural factors. Archaeology, anthropology, and history may contribute to UNDERSTANDING THE MEANING of the text (emphasis supplied).” However, science and human reason are NOT to be used to assess the VALIDITY of the scriptures.

    Your insistence that we must seek “empirical support for Biblical credibility” directly contradicts Ellen White, who wrote, “The opinions of learned men, the DEDUCTIONS OF SCIENCE, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority–not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence FOR OR AGAINST any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support.” GC 595 (emphasis added).

    I have often stated that a plain “Thus saith the Lord” should be our position, but you have repeatedly belittled this sage counsel from Ellen White herself. She makes crystal clear that the DEDUCTIONS OF SCIENCE have absolutely NO BEARING on the CREDIBILITY of the God’s word. You are on shaky ground, Dr. Pitman, and you should confess your heresy.




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  15. Some 6,000 years ago, God commanded Adam and Eve: “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” This command was arbitrary, and predicated on one simple test: could Adam and Eve trust God’s word. As we all know, Satan very cleverly appealed to Eve’s reason, and convinced her that a simple “Thus saith the Lord” was not good enough. “Blind faith,” Satan insisted, was quite useless.

    Today, Sean Pitman appeals to our reason in an effort to convince us that we can accept a “Thus saith the Lord” only if there is evidence from science and reason to back up God’s word. But like Eve, we are in grave danger today when we subject God’s word to science and human reason.

    Richard Davidson, representing the Education Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, eloquently encapsulated the danger Sean Pitman has urged upon us with the following statement:

    Humankind’s mental and emotional faculties have also become depraved since the Fall; but even before the Fall, neither human reason nor experience could safely be trusted apart from or superior to God’s Word. This was the very point upon which Eve fell – trusting her own reason and emotions over the Word of God (Gen 3:1-6). The wisest man in history (who ultimately failed to heed his own warning) perceptively observed: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov 14:12).

    As Lanny and Barbara Davis adroitly pointed out, “If they speak not according to this word, there is NO light in them.” When you are told that God’s word alone is insufficient to believe, you know the source.




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  16. Sean Pitman unmistakably rejects the historical-grammatical hermeneutic (the official position of the SDA Church) in favor of a histical-critical hermeneutic. Of the latter, Dr. Davidson wrote:

    The one principle that is most characteristic of the method, without which it cannot remain the historical-critical method, is the principle of criticism. The word “criticism” here is used in its technical sense of Descartes’ “methodological doubt,” and refers to the autonomy of the investigator to interrogate and evaluate the Scriptural witness, to judge as to the truthfulness, adequacy, intelligibility, etc., of the specific declarations of the text.

    The 1986 “Rio” document approved by the GC states explicitly:

    Even a modified use of this method that retains the principle of criticism which subordinates the Bible to human reason is unacceptable to Adventists. (AR, Jan. 22, 1987)

    Thus, the SDA Church soundly rejects the reckless and self-serving assertion by Dr. Pitman that we must apply science and reason to validate the Bible and its claims.




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  17. For the honest soul who wants to better understand the Church’s official position on Scriptural interpretation, here are things in a nutshell (i.e., a condensed version):

    HISTORICAL-CRITICAL METHOD (Sean Pitman’s preferred hermeneutic)

    Definition: The attempt to VERIFY THE TRUTHFULNESS and understand the meaning of biblical data on the basis of the principles and procedures of humanistic historical science. (emphasis supplied)

    Basic Presuppositions: Secularism norm: The principles and procedures of humanistic historical science constitute the external norm and proper method for evaluating the truthfulness and interpreting the meaning of biblical data. Principle of criticism (methodological doubt): the autonomy of the human investigator to interrogate and evaluate on his own apart from the specific declarations of the biblical text.

    HISTORICAL-GRAMMATICAL METHOD (the official SDA Church hermeneutic)

    Definition: The attempt to understand the meaning of biblical data by means of methodological considerations arising from Scripture alone.

    Basic Presuppositions: Sola Scriptura: The authority and unity of Scripture are such that Scripture is the final norm with regard to content and method of interpretation. (Isaiah 8:20). The Bible is the ultimate authority and is not amendable to the principle of criticism: biblical data are accepted AT FACE VALUE and not subjected to an EXTERNAL NORM to determine truthfulness, adequacy, validity, intelligibility, etc. (Isaiah 66:2). (emphasis supplied)

    Source: Dr. Richard Davidson, J. N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, Andrews University, and a member of the SDA Biblical Research Institute Committee (http://fae.adventist.org/essays/26Bcc_017-055.htm)

    By the way, I have no problem with whatever belief Dr. Pitman subscribes. I am doubtful he will concede any form of error. However, when he declares others to be undermining official SDA beliefs, he ought to take a more careful look at his own position. I think it’s unfortunate that so many have been led astray by his vigorous arguments.




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  18. Professor Kent said……

    “By the way, I have no problem with whatever belief Dr. Pitman subscribes. I am doubtful he will concede any form of error. However, when he declares others to be undermining official SDA beliefs, he ought to take a more careful look at his own position. I think it’s unfortunate that so many have been led astray by his vigorous arguments.”

    While it is commendable to carefully affirm what we believe in a biblical context, there is nothing more devastating and counter-productive in a discussion than incessant bickering on any given subject.

    The bible speaks for itself, and in many ways, needs no comment. It is self affirming and more than adequately clear in its affirmations of what it means, affirms and/or condemns.

    Often times, we “over-explain” the bible to the point that people may well wonder if we really believe it ourselves and if we are really convinced of what we affirm. Sure, people will ask legitimate questions that need some answers and so some discussion is healthy. But in many, if not most cases, ongoing dialogue is not really productive.

    We can readily see that Eve “over-dialogued” with Satan and lost the argument. She “over-explained” the obvious and Satan continually challenged her understanding on the issues. We can hear his questions….

    “Are you sure you have understood what God really meant?”

    “Maybe you did not clearly understand what He has said.”

    “In fact, this is what the real truth of the matter is.”

    So, this creation/evolution discussion is following the same format. And it applies to every clear bible teaching including the SDA view of 1844 and the pre-advent judgment. The state of the dead. And the second coming scenarios.

    I have a bible study every Sabbath afternoon at the county jail. There is usually 15 to 30 people that attend. Many see the bible teaching clearly and of course, there are always some questions. I don’t EGW to affirm our 1844 time prophecy.

    We must conclude in the end, that either God will affirm by the Holy Spirit the clear truths of His word, or, the world is doomed to continual on going confusion with no hope of any consistent conclusions.

    The devil has done a marvelous job of obscuring the bible in a variety of ways. He well knows he must discredit scripture by way of Babylon confusion before he can “deceive the whole world”.

    The liberals in the church have been his “helping hands” and often serve his purposes without really knowing what they are doing or the final outcome. For the most part, people generally want to be right. But the conlusion is often more akin to hopeing they are right than a real careful biblical conclusion.

    If we take the position, “the bible speaks for itself” we can limit “bickering” to a minimum and quit “over-explaining” what we believe to the point that our own faith is undermined by the continual unbelief of those who attack the bible.

    As some of you know, they run me off all the liberal forums simply because I expose their duplicity and accuse them of being non-supportive of the SDA biblical message. I occasionally read some the dialogue, but really have little interest in their discussions. It’s always the same people with the same lame arguments and positions. That’s my opinion, anyway.

    Bill Sorensen




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  19. Bill, I respect what you have to say. I can’t tell whether you are unhappy with my defense of the SDA hermeneutic, but what could possibly be more fundamental to the Church than the approach we use to interpret and understand Scripture? Do we really want to undermine that?

    If someone’s faith is weak and they lack a close walk with Jesus, I suppose they can benefit from the crutch Dr. Pitman insists they need. Yes, there is some evidence (of which few agree with him that it is “overwhelming”) for a young earth and literal creation (which I myself believe in). But the SDA Church makes abundantly clear that the Scripture can be interpreted and believed without any requirement of historical or scientific confirmation. If one does not accept this premise and publicly argues against it, they are undermining the fundamental tenets of the SDA Church.




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  20. Professor Kent said…..

    “Bill, I respect what you have to say. I can’t tell whether you are unhappy with my defense of the SDA hermeneutic, but what could possibly be more fundamental to the Church than the approach we use to interpret and understand Scripture? Do we really want to undermine that?”

    I believe your defense is reasonably accurate. I don’t agree with Sean. I think his point is this, “God does not bypass our reasoning powers to understand truth.” But I think he goes beyond this simple assumption and tries to use science and other “evidence” as some sort of “proof” of what the bible teaches.

    We agree that science does not contradict scripture. None the less, science is totally inadequate as “proof” of what the bible teaches. Miracles are beyond human explanation. Did Jesus heal the blind man in John 9? Yes. And there was clear “proof” the man was healed.

    How did Jesus heal the blind man? We don’t know. It was a “miracle” beyond human comprehension. And this is the same with creation. We know that creation exists and we have “proof” of this by experience and reason. None the less, we don’t know how God can create “by the word of His mouth.”

    Obviously, we don’t know, and we don’t need to know how God can do this. But it is equally obvious that we must accept it as reality simply because the bible says so.

    “Proof” of the bible and its authority is prophecy. It is self validating in this regard. Thus we use Daniel and Revelation to not only affirm the validity of the bible itself, but to affirm basic SDA truths concerning the second coming and other eschatological events.

    In the end, about creation, we have no idea how old anything was when God created it. Can God create a rock a million years old? of course He can.
    We do know that many things created were already mature in some degree. Adam was not a new born baby. Neither was Eve. How old were they chronologically? One day. How old were they in maturity? We don’t know.

    The same with trees and other animals and plants. So it is a useless argument to “prove” anything time wise by science. We do know there were six literal days (evenings and morning) and the seventh day Sabbath that makes up a literal week. And this is all we need to know about that because the bible does not give us futher information.

    Some speculation is not wrong to do. But when it challenges and/or denies the biblical account, it must be rejected by any bible believing Christian.
    And neither is the bible obscure on this issue. This is the devil’s play ground. He wants to obscure the obvious and then say, “Are you sure you know and understand what this is saying?”

    So I don’t agree with Sean. And a few other things he believes as well.

    But I read most of the dialogue on this forum. I wonder if Goldstein is aware of this forum? I never see him here. I guess I can ask him…..

    Bill Sorensen




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  21. Prof. Kent,

    You yourself appeal to empirical evidence all the time as a basis for your faith in the Bible as truly having a Divine origin vs. other competing options. You wrote:

    In short, there is ample evidence to support the Bible and Christianity, including fulfilled prophecy, the lives and testimony of the apostles, archeology, the impact of the Bible on personal lives, and so forth. All of this is “empirical evidence” that goes beyond what is needed to establish the validity of scripture. The other religions are confronted with serious shortcomings on these issues, in my opinion… – Professor Kent

    I agree. If the Bible did not have the backing of the “weight” of such empirical evidence (as Mrs. White also explained), there would be no rational basis for belief in it as the true Word of God vs. the claims made for any other text as the true Word of God – such as the Book of Mormon, the Qur’an, etc.

    According to Mrs. White, “God appeals to reason and waits for each person to decide on the basis of the weight of evidence and the constraint of love.” – Steps to Christ, pp. 43-47; The Desire of Ages, p. 458; Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 255; vol. 4, pp. 583, 584.

    The “weight of evidence” is different for different people. Only God knows what a person does and does not actually comprehend or what does and does not appeal to a given individual’s mind. That is why only God can truly judge the moral state of a person since only God knows if truth has been comprehended based on the evidence given and deliberately rejected.

    I do not judge the moral state of those LSU professors who go about promoting the Darwinian story of origins as the Gospel truth to their students. I think it likely that in their own minds they are doing the right thing. Only God knows for sure of course, but it is quite possible that these professors could be sincere based on their own individual understanding of the weight of evidence.

    Yet, while they may be morally upright before God (due to their misunderstanding of the weight of evidence), their honesty in this regard does not mean that they are fit to teach in our SDA Schools of higher learning.

    Honesty and sincerity alone do not fit a person to be an effective representative of the goals and ideals of the SDA Church – or any organization for that matter. One must actually believe in the goals and ideals of the employer first before one can be an effective representative of those goals and ideals.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  22. Didn’t Adam and Eve have empirical evidence that the serpent was telling the truth? God had told them that they would die if they ate the forbidden fruit. But Adam and Even had empirical evidence, based on what they saw, heard and tasted, that the serpent was telling the truth: he had eaten the forbidden fruit, could talk, appeared to be wise, and didn’t die. Rather than obeying and trusting God’s explicit commands, Adam and Eve did exactly what Sean continues to promote: they based their beliefs on empirical evidence.




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  23. Exactly what we mean by what we say is not so easy in a paradoxical discussion. Sean comes off saying some things that we may interpret differently than he intends.

    We see that “words” are not totally adequate as a form of communication. And in this light, we must allow a person to explain and qualify as many times as necessary to make any given point.

    None the less, if and when a person explains and re-explains a postion again and again in the same light and same context, we must conclude our understanding and evaluation is reasonably accurate as to the meaning and idea being communicated.

    Also, if and when a view we express is opposed and/or mis-understood, we tend to repeat the same position again and again, even if and when we use a different format to make our point.

    When I say the bible is self validating, I do not mean there is no exterior evidence to support its claims. I do mean that any exterior evidence can not deny and/or contradict what the bible has already stated and/or explained about itself.

    In this context, science does not “prove” the bible, even if it is some evidence of what the bible affirms. Neither can we accept any scientific “evidence” that opposes or dis-proves the biblical affirmations. So, in the end, we must accept the bible as a self-affirming authority that does not allow for any disagreement by any outside source or “evidence” that may be produced to challenge its self affirming authority.

    And even this statement may need some qualifying, but I think it pretty well explains my own personal understanding and conviction.

    Bill Sorensen




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  24. @ Sean Pitman,

    You overlooked the heart of my statement: “All of this is “empirical evidence” that goes beyond what is needed to establish the validity of scripture.”

    What part of “sola scriptura” do you not get? We don’t need you, your reason, your website, or any other “empirical evidence” or “reason” to believe that what God tells us in scripture can be believed. You’re still pushing an anti-SDA theology.




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  25. Bradley’s “lunatic fringe” (as quoted in Shane’s post) makes up the vast majority of SDA’s in our world church. Far from being a “fringe” or “lunatics” the SDA Church is made up mainly of bible-believing, faithful members. I’ve been an SDA member for over 42 years and can testify to this myself.

    Bradley needs to [edit] see the SDA Church as it really exists, instead of in the ivory-tower, fantasy world in which he lives. [edit]




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  26. @ Eddie

    Didn’t Adam and Eve have empirical evidence that the serpent was telling the truth? God had told them that they would die if they ate the forbidden fruit. But Adam and Even had empirical evidence, based on what they saw, heard and tasted, that the serpent was telling the truth: he had eaten the forbidden fruit, could talk, appeared to be wise, and didn’t die. Rather than obeying and trusting God’s explicit commands, Adam and Eve did exactly what Sean continues to promote: they based their beliefs on empirical evidence.

    Outstanding. Satan is eagerly poised to exploit this innate human weakness: trusting empirical evidence and our own reason. Sean is setting up our undiscerning members, particularly our young people, for another “great disappointment.” We simply MUST NOT base our beliefs on what science or http://www.detectingdesign.com tells us about origins. We MUST base them instead on the sure word of God.




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  27. Several years ago, LSU professors were apparently undermining SDA fundamental belief #6 regarding creation. THOUSANDS of you signed petitions in protest of the heresy. Many of you wrote angry letters to leadership of the higher echelon.

    For much of the past year Sean Pitman has clearly been undermining the most fundamental of SDA fundamental beliefs. This belief is listed as #1 for a reason: scripture is the basis of all other fundamental beliefs. According to belief #1, scripture is “the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history.” And who has protested this? Who has written letters to the higher echelon of leadership? I can count those protesting this heresy on ONE HAND!!!

    Why the cowardly silence? If you are angry that LSU administrators were silent about the heresy at LSU, why are you silent about the glaring heresy here at Educate Truth? Is it because the wolf is wearing sheep’s clothing?




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  28. Professor Kent said……

    “Why the cowardly silence? If you are angry that LSU administrators were silent about the heresy at LSU, why are you silent about the glaring heresy here at Educate Truth? Is it because the wolf is wearing sheep’s clothing?”

    I disagree with Sean, as I have said. But to classify him and his statements with the same influence and authority as LSU is absurd. In the first place, Educate Truth is an independent ministry not sanctioned or supported by the denomination. If it was, then we might want to officially protest what we may think is “heresy”.

    If you want to demand accountability of our church leaders, you might want to start with why they allow A-today and Spectrum to have a high level of influence in our church when they have a booth at the GC meetings. And there are a lot more areas of accountability within the church itself that should be addressed.

    As for Shane and Sean, for the most part, they are like you and me when it comes to some level of influence. Our influence is not “officially” sanctioned or endorsed by the church. Neither are they paid to express their views by tithe and offerings from the church in general.

    So to equate the differences here on this forum with the differences at LSU vs. the church, is hardly worthy of a consideration. Some are just glad they are willing to take their own personal time and effort to inform the church community of the duplicity going on at LSU and other institutions of learning.

    Professor Kent, you and I seem to agree on the position and authority of the bible in relation to science. And I understand why you would challenge and oppose Sean. I simply don’t agree with the level of opposition you would create in the parallel with LSU.

    Bill Sorensen




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  29. Bill, your comments are reasoned and I’m out of time today to contemplate a well-thought-out response. My knee-jerk thought is that Satan can make better use of subtle than overt error. I have composed some thoughts on why I believe the historical-critical approach combined with creation apologetics presents grave potential to damage our young people. I have submitted an essay to your favorite journal, Spectrum. I have no idea whether they will publish it. I support Spectrum and Adventist Today for the very same reason you apparently support Educate Truth: our Church benefits (though not always) from open discussion of divergent views.




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  30. @Professor Kent:

    You wrote:

    You overlooked the heart of my statement: “All of this is “empirical evidence” that goes beyond what is needed to establish the validity of scripture.”

    What part of “sola scriptura” do you not get? We don’t need you, your reason, your website, or any other “empirical evidence” or “reason” to believe that what God tells us in scripture can be believed. You’re still pushing an anti-SDA theology.

    And the Latter-day Saints say the same thing about the Book of Mormon and the Muslims say the same thing about the Qur’an. I’m sorry, but people like me need a rational reason to determine that the Bible is in fact the Word of God vs. a host of self-proclaimed competing options.

    I’ve asked you this question very directly before:

    My question:

    How can you can determine that your faith in the supreme credibility of the Bible is superior to the faith of someone else in the greater credibility of the Book of Mormon, or the Qur’an, or any other source of claimed authority? How do you know? Is it not arrogant of you to simply assert that your faith in the Bible is superior to all other faiths? – even in a situation where all other evidence, besides your faith, is admittedly against you? – Sean Pitman

    Your response:

    I personally believe the Bible has more credibility than the Book of Mormon, which I have browsed extensively. I think history supports the Bible much better than the Book of Mormon, and I have read extensively from Joseph Smith’s Doctrines and Covenants and I see lots of problems there. Most people do not consider history to be “science,” but if you want to make it that, go right ahead. Still, I don’t compare my faith to those who believe in the Book of Mormon. – Professor Kent

    Did you not just reference some external empirically-determined reality as a basis for the superior credibility of the Bible as a source of Divine Authority? This is essentially the very same claim that I’m making. I see no fundamental difference between our respective claims in this regard. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me like you’re claiming here that your understanding of the superiority of the Bible vs. other claimed sources of Divine inspiration is based on at least some form of empirical evidence. I agree.

    I agree with your argument that the Bible does in fact have greater credibility compared to the Book of Mormon because of the external empirical evidences – to include the historical evidence as determined by the historical sciences (and yes, our understanding of history is based on a form of science or empirically-determined truth that caries a useful degree of “predictive power”).

    Yet, at the same time, it seems like you go on to argue that faith in the Bible cannot be shown to be superior to faith in the Book of Mormon. How can you claim that your faith in the Bible seems to be superior to faith in the Book of Mormon because of the historical evidence and yet argue, at the same time, that all faiths are equal without any empirical basis for determining which one is most likely true? – or are we just talking past each other because of symantics here (which I suspect is most likely true to at least some degree…)?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. Sean,

    I prefer not to compare apples and oranges. I spoke only to historical credibility, not the authority, source, or superiority of God’s word in Scripture. I believe I have been consistent from day one arguing against your position of the superiority of science and reason over the Bible. I have defended faith; you have belittled it. There are ample posts at this website testifying to this–as even you must recognize. If I have written anything that could be misconstrued as a need to validate Scripture, it would have been a failure on my part to articulate my long-held position, which is Sola Scriptura.

    We have not been speaking past each other. You have repeatedly denigrated simple faith in God’s word, and declared it on multiple occasions to be as useless as belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Ferry, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I was not alone in my opposition to your wild assertions. I do not share your hypocrisy or apostacy. Rather than focusing on what I believe, I think you need to reflect on your own position and understand why you have surrendered your mind to our enemy. You have quite the penchant for finding fault in others.

    Here is your chance to set minds at ease (though you may be in luck; it appears most EducateTruther’s are with you on this): do you agree wholeheartedly with Sola Scriptura and the historical-grammatical hermeneutic elucidated by the “Rio” document and the SDA Biblical Research Institute scholars? And if so, do you continue to believe that those who accept a simple “Thus saith the Lord” are as duped as believers in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster?




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  32. I’m definitely on the bandwagon with Sola Scriptura and the historical-grammatical hermeneutic elucidated by the “Rio” document, the SDA Biblical Research Institute scholars, and SDA fundamental belief #1.




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  33. @Professor Kent:

    I prefer not to compare apples and oranges. I spoke only to historical credibility, not the authority, source, or superiority of God’s word in Scripture. I believe I have been consistent from day one arguing against your position of the superiority of science and reason over the Bible. I have defended faith; you have belittled it…

    How do you know that the Latter-day Saints are mistaken in their assertion the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible as a source of God’s Word? – that they are mistaken that the Book of Mormon is the true “Scripture”? After all, the Book of Mormon makes no uncertain claims to its own superiority – as does the Bible. Given that you now withdraw your arguments for superior Biblical credibility based on empirical historical evaluation, you seem to now be defending “faith” without explaining how one reasonably determines which faith, among a great many options, is most likely the true faith?

    Upon what basis does one determine the true faith? How can one know? Obviously most faiths are mistaken in their choice of their “Scriptures” or sources of “Divine Authority”. So, what basis is there for one to pick among so many false options? Must one blindly pick among the vast array of competing options and hope against hope to get lucky? Or, is there something more than random luck involved in making the right choice?

    At least the LDS Church points to the “burning in the bosom” when they hear or see the truth as their evidence for “knowing” that the Book of Mormon is true and that the LDS religion is superior to all others. What basis are you suggesting to know that they are wrong and that you are right regarding the superiority of the Bible’s claim to Divine Authory? – hopefully something better than a warm fuzzy feeling inside…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  34. Sean wrote:

    At least the LDS Church points to the “burning in the bosom” when they hear or see the truth as their evidence for “knowing” that the Book of Mormon is true and that the LDS religion is superior to all others. What basis are you suggesting to know that they are wrong and that you are right regarding the superiority of the Bible’s claim to Divine Authory? – hopefully something better than a warm fuzzy feeling inside…

    My response: Sola Scriptura.




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  35. @Eddie:

    My response: Sola Scriptura.

    The LDS also use the phrase, “Sola Scriptura”, not in reference to the Bible, but in reference to the Book of Mormon.

    So, your response does not address the question that I actually asked: i.e., How do you determine that your “Scripture” is better than someone else’s “Scripture”? Upon what basis do you decide between competing options when you know that most are false? How do you pick the right “Scripture”?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  36. Sean has insisted that I answer the questions he has posed. I believe I’ve answered these already and on multiple occasions the past year, but will do so again [sigh].

    “How do you know that the Latter-day Saints are mistaken in their assertion the Book of Mormon is superior to the Bible as a source of God’s Word? – that they are mistaken that the Book of Mormon is the true “Scripture”? After all, the Book of Mormon makes no uncertain claims to its own superiority – as does the Bible.”

    Much of the Book of Mormon strikes me, personally, as happy fiction (as Bob Ryan would call it). It claims to build upon the Bible, which predates it, but having read it extensively I see nothing but inconsistency. Therefore, its internal claims fail. Externally, there are no historical data to back up its claims. And reading it never gave me a warm feeling in my gut, although my neck was very stiff a day later and the following week I succombed to a severe cold that included vomiting.

    “Given that you now withdraw your arguments for superior Biblical credibility based on empirical historical evaluation, you seem to now be defending “faith” without explaining how one reasonably determines which faith, among a great many options, is most likely the true faith?”

    If internal consistency fails, it’s dead in the water far as I’m concerned. I have written repeatedly that the lives of the apostles, successful prophecy, changes in personal lives, the impact on my life–all of these lead me to continue to accept God and his word as revealed in the Bible. My faith builds upon my acceptance. It’s not something that I chose. It’s not like I went on a shopping trip to see how much faith I could get from reading different religious books.

    “Upon what basis does one determine the true faith? How can one know? Obviously most faiths are mistaken in their choice of their “Scriptures” or sources of “Divine Authority”. So, what basis is there for one to pick among so many false options? Must one blindly pick among the vast array of competing options and hope against hope to get lucky? Or, is there something more than random luck involved in making the right choice?”

    You’re good at asking the same questions in different terms. If you don’t think I already answered this, I don’t know what to tell you.

    “At least the LDS Church points to the “burning in the bosom” when they hear or see the truth as their evidence for “knowing” that the Book of Mormon is true and that the LDS religion is superior to all others. What basis are you suggesting to know that they are wrong and that you are right regarding the superiority of the Bible’s claim to Divine Authory? – hopefully something better than a warm fuzzy feeling inside…”

    We’re back to this again? I already answered it. But I will add one thing: I like Mormons and respect their faith, and I think we need to emulate their devotion to family programming.

    I think the bigger problem, Sean, is that once I accept God and that he actually communicated with us via Scripture, I don’t need to look elsewhere to decide whether I can believe what God says is true. If external evidence appears to contradict God’s word, I need to choose God’s word and assume that the evidence, or my reason regarding it, are wrong. This is where you and I depart.

    I find it inconsistent that you would fault anyone for rejecting an SDA doctrine when you actually tell them they must reject it if that’s where they see the evidence leads them.




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  37. I have an important question to ask of anyone.

    Are there any EMPIRICAL data that relate to the oft-repeated claim that students who are taught that everything in Genesis is literal are less likely to abandon the SDA Church and, ultimately, God, compared to those taught a less-than-literal interpretation?

    Yes, yes, yes, I’m aware that there are many anecdotal accounts of so-and-so who was exposed to this or that teaching, and ended up saying “good-bye” to it all. But virtually all of us know of even more individuals who were taught a more literal interpretation and still abandoned their faith. An equally important question is what becomes of those who were raised on a less-than-literal interpretation.

    I recall that the former president of Pacific Adventist University visited ET last year and remarked on a study that showed how relationships had a greater influence on retention than doctrines. Several individuals here didn’t want to hear it and shouted him out. I would have liked to learn more from the man, who was dealing directly with the heart of the controversy.

    I ask my question because I wonder whether it’s okay to accept the claim on blind faith, or whether we should withold judgment until empirical data become available to inform our superior human reason.




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  38. @ Sean Pitman,

    Okay, having answered your questions, perhaps you’ll answer mine. I ask, once again:

    1) Do you agree wholeheartedly with Sola Scriptura and the historical-grammatical hermeneutic elucidated by the GC “Rio” document and the SDA Biblical Research Institute scholars?

    2) If so, do you continue to believe that those who accept a simple “Thus saith the Lord” are as duped as believers in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster?




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  39. Professor Kent:

    You wrote:

    “1) Do you agree wholeheartedly with Sola Scriptura and the historical-grammatical hermeneutic elucidated by the GC “Rio” document and the SDA Biblical Research Institute scholars?”

    I believe that once one has established the credibility of the Scriptures to the level of having a very high likelihood of being of Divine origin, then it would be unwise to set them aside in favor of anything else…

    You go on to ask:

    “2) If so, do you continue to believe that those who accept a simple “Thus saith the Lord” are as duped as believers in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster?”

    It depends on why they accept the Bible as their source of authority. Different people have different weights of evidence. What does it for one may not do it for another – only God can judge.

    However, I do know that God does in fact desire us to make an intelligent decision in favor of His Word based on the weight of evidence – the weight of empirical evidence. He does not desire empirically-blind faith in His Word. He desires His children to have a thoughtful rational religion – not a religion based on mere emotion-driven blind faith that is devoid of any basis in empirical reality…

    You realize this yourself, deep down, or you wouldn’t keep referencing consistency with historical data as one of your bases for supporting the Bible’s authority vs. other claimed sources of Divine authority. You yourself cannot help but present empirical evidences to support your own belief in the Bible’s Divine origin.

    So, there you have it.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  40. Thank you for your clarification. You wrote:

    However, I do know that God does in fact desire us to make an intelligent decision in favor of His Word based on the weight of evidence – the weight of empirical evidence. He does not desire empirically-blind faith in His Word.

    If I realized this deep down, I would take Noah for a fool when God instructed him to build a massive boat to escape a rain and a flood the proportions of which reason would dictate to be impossible. Why did Noah obey? Was it simple trust in God’s word, or use of his emotion-free reason?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      You wrote:

      If I realized this deep down, I would take Noah for a fool when God instructed him to build a massive boat to escape a rain and a flood the proportions of which reason would dictate to be impossible. Why did Noah obey? Was it simple trust in God’s word, or use of his emotion-free reason?

      Not if you had talked directly with God like Noah did and had hundreds of prior years of experience with God, experiencing his constant reliability and credibility.

      Noah had abundant very direct empirical evidence of God’s existence and power – much more direct empirical evidence than we have today. His was not an empirically-blind faith by any means in the word of some stranger claiming to be God.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. @ Sean Pitman

    Noah had abundant very direct empirical evidence of God’s existence and power – much more direct empirical evidence than we have today. His was not an empirically-blind faith by any means in the word of some stranger claiming to be God.

    Oh really? How was the empirical evidence available to Noah any different than what we have today? Did he have a Bible to guide him? Did he have a large body of science to draw from like we have today? Did he have http://www.detectingdesign.com to guide him in his interpretation of empirical evidence? I’d like to know exactly what this empirical evidence was that you speak of. Or did he have–I dare ask–little more than God’s word? You have conceded that Noah “talked directly with God.”

    Let the reader compare Sean’s claims to the statement of Ellen White:

    “BY FAITH Noah, being warned of God OF THINGS NOT SEEN AS YET [therefore lacking empirical evidence of validity], moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7. While Noah was giving his warning message to the world, his works testified of his sincerity. It was thus that his faith was perfected and made evident. HE GAVE THE WORLD AN EXAMPLE OF BELIEVING JUST WHAT GOD SAYS.(emphasis supplied) – EGW, PP chptr 7

    Sean, what would you advise Elder Neil Wilson if he announced that the SDA Church was going to engage in a massive fund-raising campaign and construction program to erect a massive dam around the entirety of Greenland’s coast, because, he claimed, God had appeared to him personally and instructed him to do this to save the planet from global warming, which the glacier ice melt would facilitate?

    Would you tell him to stick with trust in God’s word, or would you tell him to use his reason and all available empirical evidence to recognize the sheer absurdity of God’s instruction?

    And one more question: what would YOU have done if you were an antedulivian and heard Noah’s urging to join him and his family in the ark? Would you have listened to Noah (God’s word), or relied on your reason, your knowledge of scientifically based empirical evidence? After all, the world had never seen rain or a flood, much less a massive boat built far from the coast.




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  42. To Drs. Pitman and Kent–

    Thank you for elucidating some very basic problems in our church (and the world at large).

    Pitman:
    “I believe that once one has established the credibility of the Scriptures to the level of having a very high likelihood of being of Divine origin, then it would be unwise to set them aside in favor of anything else…”

    And with that, the Bible cannot be trusted to stand on its own. It is simply a document like the Qur’an, Bhagavadgita, or any other book. The cancer of cultural relativity sets in a priori, before the Bible is even opened.

    The standard by which the Bible is to be judged becomes “empiricism”?

    The sands of science shift constantly. That’s the nature of discovery. Which is why “empirical” data, science, archaeology, and all the rest make lousy standards for judging.

    Buying into the human philosophy of relativism is dangerous. Dr. Pitman–please reconsider exactly what faith means. God calls on us not to base everything on blind faith–He encourages us to taste and see that the Lord is good.

    I’m sorry if you have not yet had that experience.

    “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom 10.17) If we discount the very SOURCE of faith and deny the Bible’s ability to PRODUCE faith, and instead rely on changing externals to convince us, HOW is that faith at all?

    “Hope that is seen is no hope at all.” (Rom 8.24)




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  43. @Concerned Adventist: God has given us all the gift of reason, and when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead our reason we can come to an understanding of truth. This is the mechanism by which we understand the Bible to be true and reliable. God will provide us the evidence we need to rest our faith. Notice what Ellen White says in Steps to Christ page 105:

    God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith.

    There are plenty of examples in the Bible where God gives evidence of his word. Yes, faith does come from God’s Word, but before a person can come to the place in their life where they believe that, they must have good reason to believe. God doesn’t ask us to believe in something for no reason at all.




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