Comment on Perspectives from alleged LSU students by Christiane Marshall.
Michael and Neptunnus, Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us here. It is obvious Michael that you have put in a lot of thought and effort in your letter. But as a teacher myself, I can’t help but point out a couple of things in your presentations of your opinions.
Michael, You make a logical argument, and you have the right to express your opinion. But even Robert’s Rules of Order (on debates) states, “… the nature or consequences of a measure may be condemned in strong terms. It is not the man, but the measure, that is the subject of debate.”
Of course as Christians we have even more powerful admonitions to treat each other with respect. Calling those with differing opinions “ignorant” or “fringe” is not being “well mannered,” and is not considered Christlike behavior. In James 3:6 the Bible tells us that “the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil…” It’s important to be careful in our use of words.
I’m glad to hear that your belief in and relationship with God remain strong. I hope that you continue to grow in your walk with Christ.
But please try to bear in mind that the SDA church ascribes to certain beliefs and that we expect that our schools will uphold and teach those beliefs. If you do not believe these things, please try to understand that we do have the right to expect this from our institutions. That doesn’t make us ignorant, or “fringe.”
I respect the professors for being honest about what they believe. However, I wholeheartedly agree with Kingsley that an employee who finds himself in the position of believing contrary to the denomination has an ethical responsibility to resign. If they had voluntarily made that decision, perhaps the students at LSU would have been spared much undue turmoil.
You also call us “meddling.” If you think about it, since LSU is one of our schools, we are not meddling. (Also keep in mind that many individuals outside of our church would consider some of our other beliefs, including those you probably also believe, “ignorant.”)
Neptunnus, As a student in a university, you may have forgotten that we need to back up statements like the one you made with data.
You said, “Quite frankly, most Adventists in the United States understand that the scientific consensus is for evolution, but the church leadership pays lip service to creationism due to conservative elements within the world church.”
Just curious if you have any data that shows that ‘most’ Adventists believe that the church leadership only pays lip service to creationism? Being careful to only state truth requires that we take great thought before speaking or writing something as fact. Honesty requires this. (This is also integral to the practice of science. Stating opinion as fact reflects a belief in science rather than the practice of science.) The more education you have, the greater the responsibility not only to practice this, but to model it for others.
I also noticed that you called precious souls that our Lord loves, “elements,” which implies they are less than human.
(Also, Michael, your use of the word “fringe” implies that this is quantifiable. Do you have such data?)
Thank you for taking the time to read my critique.
I too have committed to pray for all involved, and that we all will remember our responsibility to be respectful and Christlike in our interactions with each other.
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Perspectives from alleged LSU students
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Recent Comments by Christiane Marshall
We may just be arguing apples and apples. I am certainly not advocating ‘blind faith’ as you have had cause to address frequently on this sight. I am arguing against an over-dependence on extra-biblical evidence for our faith walk.
How do you know that the Bible is really the Word of God, while other religious texts, like the Book of Mormon, is not? How do you tell the difference? My LDS friends tell me that God gives them a warm feeling deep within themselves when they see or hear the truth. That is how they know that the Book of Mormon is from God. For me, I donâ€™t find this approach very helpful when it comes to establishing a solid hope or confidence in the Bible as Godâ€™s word.
I actually had the opportunity to study many of the world’s so-called sacred texts before accepting the Bible as the true one. The Bible’s internal testimony coupled with the convicting witness of the Holy Spirit is what finally tipped the scales for me. Yes, I did do a bit of reading about historical and archeological and logical reasons why this testimony was credible – but it was the testimony of the Bible itself (coupled with the personal witness and testimony of Christians and the witness of the Holy Spirit) that helped me experience a saving faith. Most people are not as analytical as you or I. Most read the Bible and are convicted that it is true – without undertaking an extensive research project into the scientific reasons that may be so. Poor uneducated people in the third world experience a more vital faith than you or I, without such in-depth confirmatory knowledge. Doug Batchelor did not have a computer and a library full of data to assist him in that cave outside of Palm Springs – only the Bible! Most people who are converted to Christ testify that it was through influence of friends who witnessed to them about their relationship with Christ (a very subjective thing scientifically) – not through a rigorous scientific examination of the empirical data.
Once again, most people have no empirical evidence that the resurrection took place – they have only the testimony of those who witnessed that it took place. Yes, there are logical inferences that confirm that it must have taken place. But when you say empirical I’m assuming you are saying something that can be observed in present time reality and scientifically tested.
“Empirical evidence is a fancy way of describing facts that can be experienced and tested only through the senses.”
Faith has to do with learning to trust our spiritual senses above our physical ones. How else would you explain the numerous persons who testify that they were ‘deeply impressed’ to take a certain path when all the empirical data seemed to say otherwise – later to find out that their life depended on this ‘spiritual sense’ choice! Of course I’m not arguing for pentecostalism here, but you get the idea.
Did the faith of Jesusâ€™ disciples increase or decrease after they saw Him resurrected from the grave?
Of course it was strengthened. Christ said however that it was a more blessed experience to believe without such empirical experience. What was He saying? I think He was saying that it is more blessed to take God at His Word than to demand or depend upon empirical evidence. The story of Gideon is a powerful testimony to this principle.
Victor,Sometimes itâ€™s appropriate to hit-the-nail on the head.Take for example Jesusâ€™ statement to the Samaritan woman, â€œYe worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.â€That might seem inappropriately direct, but it wasnâ€™t.It was just what she needed.The scattered servants of Christ needed to hear the president of the world church express a clear understanding of where the church needs to go.And my own experience with non-Christians is that they respond much more vigorously and appreciatively to a meaningful presentation of the Bible than they do to a generalistic and generic appeal to their feelings.Iâ€™m sure you arenâ€™t advocating a meaningless presentation, but Iâ€™m all for exactly the type of message President Wilson gave.I suspect those outside the church who care enough to listen to his message appreciate the frankness with which this leader expressed the direction he intends to go.I think many of them know he wasnâ€™t targeting them â€“ he was talking to us.
Robert, I agree with you AND with Victor. I don’t really know what the answer is. In the information age, everything has changed. We have to rethink a lot about how we do things. We want to have a private evangelistic series and present truths by presenting the building blocks first, and building understanding before presenting the “more difficult aspects.” But how can we now? The last meetings we held, people went home and googled our personal names as well as doctrinal topics.
Sure we want a clear and meaningful message, but we want to protect those who are not ready to receive all of the truth at this time. We don’t want to push them away. It isn’t that we are afraid of offending them personally. It’s that we don’t want walls to go up so that we can’t reach out to them successfully.
I don’t know what the answer is. Even this forum is disturbing when our members have out and out conflicts, especially when behavior is not becoming of a Christian. It’s available for the whole world to see!
What it comes down to is things are different now. We need to approach everything differently. Otherwise, evangelistic interests will begin to think of us as the religious “Amway” brigade and lock their doors before we go up the steps.
The increase of knowledge and the rapid availability of it has changed our landscape. Christiane
Did Wilson explain how SDA members can actually hold our leaders accountable?We have many leaders out here in the Pacific Union Conference who have not been accountable and still arenâ€™t, but what can ordinary â€œJoe and Jill Schmoâ€ church members do?
I wondered the same thing. I just realized this year that I really don’t know enough about how our church works and how changes are made. It’s my intention to study this out. Of course Biblical principles and a Christlike attitude must be followed (Matthew 18, and Proverbs 17:9–“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends”). Biblical principles and Christlike attitude first, church policy second.
Michigan Conference takes substantial action in LSU conflict
I hope more will follow, and will do so prayerfully.
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A classic case which should cause any Adventist to stop in their tracks when judging motive or destiny is the following one:
“If William Miller could have seen the light of the third message, many things which looked dark and mysterious to him would have been explained. But his brethren professed so deep love and interest for him, that he thought he could not tear away from them. His heart would incline toward the truth, and then he looked at his brethren; they opposed it. Could he tear away from those who had stood side by side with him in proclaiming the coming of Jesus? He thought they surely would not lead him astray.
God suffered him to fall under the power of Satan, the dominion of death, and hid him in the grave from those who were constantly drawing him from the truth. Moses erred as he was about to enter the Promised Land. So also, I saw that William Miller erred as he was soon to enter the heavenly Canaan, in suffering his influence to go against the truth. Others led him to this; others must account for it. But angels watch the precious dust of this servant of God, and he will come forth at the sound of the last trump.” – EW 258