@Eddie: Did Jesus never call anyone out by name who …

Comment on NCSE Report: Adventist Education in the Midst of a Sea of Science by Sean Pitman.

@Eddie:

Did Jesus never call anyone out by name who was actively and publicly opposing his people or his message? What about the Biblical authors in general? – the Bible never calls anyone out, who held a position of high public responsibility, by name, for millions to see over thousands of years, for attacking God’s people or his truth? What about the founding fathers/mothers of the SDA Church? – they never called anyone out by name who was actively and publicly and beligerantly attacking the church from within? – especially when it came to those who held positions of high responsibility within the church? And, what about you? Again, are you not publically calling out and reprimanding the efforts of specific individuals? You could contact me privately about your concerns. But no! You evidently feel the need to make public statements against me and my efforts? – without even identifying who you are? How is this not inconsist with your own advice?

Look, I appreciate your motive. I think your motive here is pure and noble… highly commendable in fact. And, if there had been any other way I would have been glad to keep this thing at LSU as low key as possible. It is just that everything else I could think of had already been tried over many years of effort. Nothing helped. It also would not have helped to simply publisize the fact that science and even religion professors at LSU were/are attacking the Adventist position on origins without producing any specific evidence to this effect. Without presenting detailed evidence, nothing would have happened.

I’m sorry, but when you or anyone else takes on a public position of responsibility and you act in that position in a very public manner against the organization that hired you, you must be called out in like manner if you refuse to listen to any efforts of the leadership to reform your actions in line with the wishes of the organization you were hired to represent.

The Adventist Church at large needs to become aware of issues like this so that the decades of subversive activity against the church by one of our schools can finally be dealt with. And, if not effectively dealt with, at least generally publisized so that potential parents and students considering LSU will not be deceived into thinking they are purchasing one thing when they are actually recieving something very different for their money.

If LSU and/or the Adventist Church leadership cannot or will not provide this information to our church family at large, or act in a decided manner to address such problems, I will at least sound the warning to all who are willing to listen… to the very best of my ability (Ezekiel 33:6).

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman Also Commented

NCSE Report: Adventist Education in the Midst of a Sea of Science
@MiddleGround:

Again, I agree that the public confrontation of this website is not the most ideal method given any other more private method that would have actually worked. However, what else would you have done that has not already been tried to substantively address the long-standing and entrenched problem at LSU? I’d really like to hear some other reasonable approach to this problem that has not already been tried without any effect…

I’m sorry, but you guys seem to me to be more concerned about the reputation of teachers and institutions than you seem to be over the undermining of the faith of the youth of our church or the very long standing and determined attacks on various fundamental goals and ideals of the SDA Church – the SDA position on origins in particular.

Again, I ask you, why is it such a problem to publicly declare, in no uncertain terms, what parents and students can expect from our own schools? – especially given the great personal cost involved for most parents who send their children to our schools? Shouldn’t our primary concern be for them? How can such an effort to inform parents, students, and the church membership at large rationally be referred to as a “scorched earth policy”?

If our schools cannot proudly and publicly proclaim the honest truth of what they are teaching our young people, we obviously have a real problem. I don’t think it is right for individuals or institutions to hide behind arguments for Adventist privacy over what we actually teach in our schools while they attack the very fundamentals of Adventism, on the Church’s dime, for decades. It’s time for this sort of thing to stop.

If you have a better idea on how to get this done, I’m all ears…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


NCSE Report: Adventist Education in the Midst of a Sea of Science
@Sterling:

As I’ve explained many times before, the maintenance of church order and government (i.e., only hiring those paid representatives who will actually represent what they are being paid to represent) has nothing to do with salvation.

These are not moral judgments. These are practical judgments regarding the maintenance of church order and government. One does not have to be SDA to be saved you know. However, one does need to be SDA to be an effective leader or paid representative of the SDA Church.

If you don’t believe in the SDA message, that Ok, just don’t expect to get a paycheck from the SDA Church while you go about undermining the basic goals and ideals of the church. Try working for an employer who has goals and ideals more in line with your own.

Also, no one is arguing for the exclusion of anyone from basic attendance and worship with us in our churches. Anyone who actually wants to fellowship with us is welcome. Many of my best friends are not members of the SDA Church, a number are even agnostic and a few are pretty ardent atheists. Yet, we get along just fine and occasionally these same friends of mine come to my church with me to support something I’m doing.

You see, the problem here isn’t over basic socialization or diversity in worship. The problem is over paid representatives of our church attacking the church on the church’s dime. That’s the main issue here. No organization of any kind can long tolerate such subversive activity coming from within…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


NCSE Report: Adventist Education in the Midst of a Sea of Science
@Christina:

I actually agree with you on one level. I most certainly agree that a public forum is not the most ideal place to air any form of the church’s dirty laundry. However, at some point for certain important issues one is left with little choice but to use less than ideal methods to address very important issues within the church. For example, I’m sure Martin Luther wished there were some less public way to effectively address the significant problems of the church of his day rather than to nail his 95 Theses to the most public forum available – the front door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. Likewise, I very much wish there were some much more private and inconspicuous way to effectively address the active and long-standing attack on the church from within one of our own universities. Unfortunately, I was unable to think of any other way (which had not already been tried).

If you know of another way, by all means do share it with me…

You’ll have your reward one day.

You certainly sound gracious and Christlike to me 😉

How about at least giving me the benefit of the doubt as far as my motive and possible ignorance is concerned before passing moral judgment? How about at least pardoning me as far as Jesus did when He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”? – Luke 23:34

But, perhaps, I’m beyond all hope? My doom is sealed? – for trying to protect Adventist young people in our own schools from the unending attacks on Adventism from within – from our own hired professors?

Oh, and by the way, while I get many anonymous E-mails and even hand written letters on occasion (which I do not read unless they are signed) I’ve only been privately contacted by a handful of individuals who’ve identified themselves and who’ve expressed concerns about the effect of this website. As far as the one’s who’ve actually identified themselves, all have been male (as far as I recall). So, I assume your private message must have been anonymous?

Also, you should know as well as anyone (and should explain to your friend in case she is not aware) that public comments to the articles posted to any discussion website like this do not necessarily represent the perspective and/or goals of the managers/owners of this website. The attitudes of many commenters certainly do not reflect my own positions or attitudes. What then should I do? – block all comments with which I personally disagree? – including yours?

Also, you’ve failed to respond to my most sincere question as to how the issue at LSU should have been dealt with? How would you have dealt with the problem? What, specifically, would you have done? I’m really interested in any useful advice along these lines…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Christians and the Sabbath
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?