What does it take to be a true Seventh-day Adventist?

By: Sean Pitman

 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Bible-believing Christian Church that wishes to promote a Christ-like character and lifestyle.  Does this therefore mean that all it takes to be a representative of the SDA Church is the simple recognition of Jesus as one’s personal Friend and Savior?

Some have suggested that this is in fact the case.  That nothing further is needed to gain salvation or to be an effective member of the Adventist Church as an organization – that acceptance of various doctrinal positions and other details really isn’t that important when it comes to being a “Seventh-day Adventist”.

However, consider that a great many non-Adventist individuals and organizations are committed to and take on the name of Jesus Christ – like the Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Mormons (LDS), etc. However, as surprising as it may sound to some, the simple criterion of being committed to one’s own personal view of Jesus Christ my not, by itself, qualify one as being an effective representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Now, this isn’t to say that being committed to Jesus Christ and His example, as detailed in the Bible, isn’t a good thing. It’s a very very good thing and the motive of love behind such a decision is the very basis of salvation. However, even being in a saving relationship with Jesus, by itself, is not enough to qualify an individual as an effective representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in particular.

The Adventist Church takes on basic Christianity as well as an additional mission – a mission which includes upholding before the world some 28 doctrinal beliefs which the church considers “fundamental” or crucial to its primary goal of spreading the Gospel message of a solid Hope during these last days of Earth’s history.

Now, one may be saved without being a part of the Adventist mission or church. In fact, the vast majority of people who will be saved in Heaven one day will no doubt never have even heard of Seventh-day Adventists. So, this isn’t really an issue of salvation in and of itself. It is an issue of appropriately representing the primary goals and mission of an organization as that organization defines itself.

But what if one’s own personal mission is not in line with the “fundamental” goals and ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as an organization? How can such an individual effectively represent the Adventist Church?  Of course, not being in line with the primary goals and ideals of the Adventist Church doesn’t mean that such a person is necessarily good or bad or outside of the saving love and grace of God. It just means that such an individual cannot effectively represent all that the Seventh-day Adventist Church stands for. Without first being in line with the fundamental goals of any organization, all efforts to represent or promote the organization would be counterproductive.

That is why it would be much better, and far more honest, for those who find that their own personal goals and ideals are no longer in line with those of the church to take on a label that more accurately represents their own world view… rather than trying to infiltrate and undermine the church’s primary goals and ideals from within by taking on a false appearance or false label of “Seventh-day Adventist”.

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298 thoughts on “What does it take to be a true Seventh-day Adventist?

  1. M&#046&#032Shelton: I can even see where it would be necessary for our schools to “weigh the evidence” for creation versus evolution.

    And what will you do, Shelton, if the “evidence” and the SDA interpretation of Genesis diverge? Will you, like Dr. Pitman, go with the evidence rather than God’s word and abandon your beliefs in God and the Bible?

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    • Professor Kent

      I agree, Jesus did gently chide Thomas but it is also true that Thomas had had plenty of “evidence” beforehand on which to base his faith in a sacrificial Christ but he, and the other disciples, did not base their faith on the evidence given. They not only had the Scriptures but the words spoken by Jesus himself. It doesn’t appear to me that “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” necessarily mean there was no previous evidence does it?

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  2. Sean&#032Pitman: Science has also shown that a broken down car that has sat rusting in a field for 10 years won’t get fixed via any known naturalistic mechanism. However, science has also shown that someone who knows how to fix cars is able to restore such a vehicle to its original fully functional glory – via the creativity of intelligent design.
    The same is reasonably true for the mechanisms of living things. Science is not at all in conflict with the idea that the original Designer and Creator of all living things could easily fix what is broken in a dead body and bring it back to life – via very high level creativity and intelligent design. Such a concept is not at all inconsistent with any known discoveries of science.

    By your reasoning, it would be consistent with Ellen White’s statement and your heterodox philosophy to accommodate one’s belief that a literal Tooth Fairy could place a tooth beneath a child’s pillow; that a literal Santa could deliver presents to every single home on the planet in a 24-hour period; that a Flying Spaghetti Monster could appear above a stadium and steal the show at a football game; and that a Mormon could experience a genuine warming of the gut caused by the Holy Spirit.

    As you yourself put it, “science is not at all in conflict with the idea that the original Designer and Creator of all living things could easily” engineer these remarkable beings and feats, which you have gleefully ridiculed on multiple occasions. Nor is science at all in conflict with the idea that these could be supreme beings in addition to God himself. After all, there is no science to show that these entities and feats do not exist.

    Your very selective set of beliefs betrays your obvious confirmation bias that originates from faith and trust in God’s word, not from evidence.

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    • As you yourself put it, “science is not at all in conflict with the idea that the original Designer and Creator of all living things could easily” engineer these remarkable beings and feats, which you have gleefully ridiculed on multiple occasions. Nor is science at all in conflict with the idea that these could be supreme beings in addition to God himself. After all, there is no science to show that these entities and feats do not exist.

      So, outside of wishful thinking, is there a way to rationally determine, empirically, if God likely exists vs. Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? If not, a choice to have faith in God (or the Bible that talks about God) really isn’t faith. It’s wishful thinking…

      Science is based on hypotheses that are testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. How then can any hypothesis that any one of these fantastic beings exists be rationally or empirically tested? How can any useful predictive value be established?

      Well, one would have to propose a hypothesis that could be tested and potentially falsified where only the entity in question, or something indistinguishable from such, could actually produce the phenomenon in question. You could call it the God-only hypothesis or the Santa-only hypothesis, etc. In other words, what would it take to convince you that God or Santa or the Flying Spaghetti Monster really does exist? – outside of wishful thinking that is?

      And yes, there are potential evidences that would convince even the most hardened scientists that a God or God-like being does in fact exist – if such evidences could actually be produced (given that the scientists in question are honest seekers for truth). If not, what you have is a blind faith that is in fact equivalent to wishful thinking. If God had not provided us with any more evidence of Himself than that which exists for Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then He could not, in any seriousness, expect rational people to believe or have faith in Him, His existence, His love, or the validity of the Bible – vs. any other fairytale story. What separates the Biblical accounts of the existence and acts of God from other fairytale accounts must be evidence – empirically verifiable evidence.

      If such evidences could be demonstrated, it would no longer be irrational, or contrary to scientific forms of thinking, to conclude that the claims associated with the sources of such evidences for the existence and activity of God in human history are actually credible.

      Again, it all has to do with the degree of demonstrated credibility of the source of various fantastic claims… which can be determined in a scientific manner – via the weight of evidence regarding those elements that can be empirically tested.

      In short, without a basis in the weight of evidence, there is no faith beyond wishful thinking. Faith and evidence walk hand in hand. Faith does not exist without evidence and evidence is almost meaningless without the ability to make leaps of faith beyond that which can be absolutely known (i.e., the basis of science). One does not really function well, if at all, without the other.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean

        I am beginning to think you are all hat and no cattle. You say of science and hypotheses testing;

        “Well, one would have to propose a hypothesis that could be tested and potentially falsified where only the entity in question, or something indistinguishable from such, could actually produce the phenomenon in question. You could call it the God-only hypothesis or the Santa-only hypothesis, etc. In other words, what would it take to convince you that God or Santa or the Flying Spaghetti Monster really does exist? – outside of wishful thinking that is?”

        So now you seem to be wanting to test some overarching hypothesis in some scientific Toure de force.
        Lets start with something a little more modest and tractable. It is now 2013 and we discussed on this site in 2010 a need to subject your ideas on preloading of genetics and 1000 fsaar limits to experimental testing. You have not done so in any way so proposals to test more expansive hypotheses completely lacks credibility and are just so narratives.

        Similarly coming from a soldiers mouth the words
        “saved through their obedience of the Royal Law of Love” have a very hollow ring and for me at least conjure up images of a holy warrior dressed in fatigues with an M16 in one hand and a scalpel in the other triaging justice and mercy by the sword of God; healing to our friends and a bullet to the head of the infidel.

        I am assuming that an armed forces scholarship and rank of Major are not available to a conscientious objector. But maybe that image is restricted to people like me and Leo Tolstoy who takes Matthew 5 far too literally. Or maybe it is just melancholy that the Swiss are going the way of any country where everyone has a weapon and peace and safety is assured by the knowledge that the good will always shoot first.

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        • I am beginning to think you are all hat and no cattle.

          Oooh Ouch! 😉

          So now you seem to be wanting to test some overarching hypothesis in some scientific Toure de force. Lets start with something a little more modest and tractable. It is now 2013 and we discussed on this site in 2010 a need to subject your ideas on preloading of genetics and 1000 fsaar limits to experimental testing. You have not done so in any way so proposals to test more expansive hypotheses completely lacks credibility and are just so narratives.

          As I’ve already explained to you, numerous times, my hypotheses seem to me to be testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. For example, all you have to do to falsify my hypothesis regarding the creative limits of RM/NS is to show this mechanism actually producing any qualitatively novel functional system that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues – or how it would likely be done in a reasonable amount of time. Simple as that – to include any type of information system that is based on the meaningful functionality of character sequences (as in any kind of language system) or any kind of system that is based on specific functionality of specifically arranged parts in three dimensional space (to include automobiles, airplanes, spaceships, computers, cell phones, etc).

          The problem, of course, is that there are no such examples detailed in literature – nor are there even theoretical calculations as to how such a feat might even be possible in any kind of population this side of trillions of years of time. You’ve tried a few times before to come up with something to falsify this hypothesis. By doing so, you have already admitted, despite yourself, that this hypothesis is in fact potentially falsifiable and therefore a valid scientific proposal.

          So, you see, my hypothesis is in fact tested on a daily basis without falsification thus far. Every day it gains more and more predictive power. You yourself have admitted that you don’t really understand how the proposed Darwinian mechanism does what you believe it did. Your a Darwinist, not because you understand the mechanism, but because you see evidence that things have changed over time – regardless of any real understanding of the mechanism.

          You also seem to confuse science with the concept of absolute demonstration. That’s not part of science. Science isn’t about absolute proof, but about producing useful predictive value. No scientific hypothesis can be absolutely proven to be true. Yet, it can still be a valid scientific hypothesis as long as it is open to testing and at least the potential for falsification.

          Similarly coming from a soldiers mouth the words “saved through their obedience of the Royal Law of Love” have a very hollow ring and for me at least conjure up images of a holy warrior dressed in fatigues with an M16 in one hand and a scalpel in the other triaging justice and mercy by the sword of God; healing to our friends and a bullet to the head of the infidel.

          I am assuming that an armed forces scholarship and rank of Major are not available to a conscientious objector. But maybe that image is restricted to people like me and Leo Tolstoy who takes Matthew 5 far too literally. Or maybe it is just melancholy that the Swiss are going the way of any country where everyone has a weapon and peace and safety is assured by the knowledge that the good will always shoot first.

          I know you are anti-military and anti-police and therefore like to make fun of and deride my military service as a medical officer in the United States Army (an experience for which I am grateful and proud). Now, you tell me, without a military, without a police force that carries the threat of civil punishment, how long would civil society survive in your country? Living according to the Royal Law does not mean that civil law and order should not be defended, with the threat of lethal force, against those who would think to destroy innocent life and the peace of civil society for their own personal gain. Nothing could be more Biblical (Romans 13:4).

          In this line, you confuse the maintenance of civil law with the maintenance of religious or philosophical beliefs. As I’ve already explained to you before, I’m a very strong believer in the separation of church and state. Religious beliefs are personal – a part of a personal relationship with God. Therefore, these should never be dictated with the use of civil power (in line with your reference to Matthew 5). All should be completely free to join or leave any religious organization without the threat of any kind of civil penalty.

          So please, do try and keep these concepts separate in the future. Do not accuse me of trying to enforce religious views on anyone with civil force just because I believe in the need for upholding civil society and civil government at large against those who would desire to tear it down if the threat of lethal force were ever removed. Also, do not confuse the natural right for religious freedom with the desire of some to get paid by the church while attacking the church’s goals and ideals from within. These are not the same. There is no natural right for anyone to expect to get paid by any organization while going around attacking the primary goals and ideals of the organization. Freedom works both ways. Organizations are also free to hire and maintain only those individuals who would most effectively represent the organization’s goals and ideals.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  3. So, those who accept the bible alone as their only creed should call themselves what… “Loughborough Adventists”? The 28 Fundamentals are not a creed by which to measure the validity of fellow believers. Please don’t try to make it such. J.N. Loughborough once wrote, “”The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is, to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And fifth, to commence persecution against such.”

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    • The problem, of course, is that those who reference the founding fathers of the church with regard to church order and government fail to reference Loughborough’s 1907 work, The Church, Its Organization, Order and Discipline. Although originally opposed to such constraints, it was John Loughborough, together with James White, who first started to realize the need for some sort of internal enforcement of Church order and discipline – i.e., an actual Church government.

      As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization, there would be great confusion, and the work could not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying on the work in new fields, for protecting both the church and ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for other objects, organization was indispensable.4

      Of course, those who were not considered to accurately represent the views of the early Adventist Church did not receive “cards of commendation.” And what was the attitude of such persons? According to Loughborough:

      Of course those who claimed “liberty to do as they pleased,” to “preach what they pleased,” and to “go when and where they pleased,” without “consultation with any one,” failed to get cards of commendation. They, with their sympathizers, drew off and commenced a warfare against those whom they claimed were “depriving them of their liberty.” Knowing that it was the Testimonies that had prompted us as a people to act, to establish “order,” these opponents soon turned their warfare against instruction from that source, claiming that “when they got that gift out of the way, the message would go unrestrained to its `loud cry.’ ”

      One of the principal claims made by those who warred against organization was that it “abridged their liberty and independence, and that if one stood clear before the Lord that was all the organization needed,” etc… Upon this point, when church order was contested, we read:

      “Satan well knows that success only attend order and harmonious action. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. . . . He deceives even the professed people of God, and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality; that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course. . . . All the efforts made to establish order are considered dangerous, a restriction of rightful liberty, and hence are feared as popery.”5

      When those who back in the “sixties” [1860s] witnessed the battle of establishing church order now hear persons, as conscientious no doubt as those back there, utter almost the identical words that were then used by those opposing order, it need not be wondered that they fear the result of such statements as the following:

      “Perfect unity means absolute independence, – each one knowing for himself. Why, we could not have outward disorganization if we all believed in the Lord. . . . This question of organization is a simple thing. All there is to it is for each individual to give himself to the Lord, and then the Lord will do with him just what he wants to, and that all the time. . . . Our only safety, under God, is to go back to the place where God is able to take a multitude of people and make them one, without parliamentary rules, without committee work, without legislation of any kind.” – General Conference Bulletin of 1899.

      Superficially considered, this might seem to be a blessed state, a heaven indeed; but, as already noted on a preceding page, we read of heaven itself and its leadings that “the god of heaven is a god of order, and he requires all his followers to have rules and regulations to preserve order.”

      For further discussion along these lines see:

      http://ssnet.org/blog/2012/03/creeds-and-fundamental-beliefs/

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  4. And I’ll say it again: True SDAs and the Church’s leadership always have and always will find your claim of prioritizing human reason and empirical evidence ahead of simple trust in God’s word repugnant.

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    • It is our God-given ability to think and reason, together with an honest desire to know the truth, that brings honest hearts toward God. God does not act in a manner to trump our ability to think and reason. Rather, He acts in a manner calculated to appeal to our intelligent minds and our reasoning capabilities. Otherwise, He could simply overwhelm us and turn us into robots incapable of thinking or reasoning outside of His direct control.

      The problem here is that God doesn’t want robots who follow the dictates of blind faith without the need for rational thought and understanding – without conscious intelligent consent to follow what is intellectually known to be true out of a love of truth. Those who act blindly or from emotion alone cannot truly love. Those who act without an intelligent rational basis in real knowledge cannot truly love. True love requires an intelligent understanding of the other shared between lovers and freedom to choose between options. True love is not based on empirically-blind faith, but exists in the light of the weight of empirical evidence.

      In short, God does not expect us to love Him without first revealing Himself to us in the form of the weight of empirical evidences – evidences that demonstrate His love for us. Otherwise, it would be just as rational for us to place our ultimate faith and love in anyone and everyone who happened to come along… including Satan himself.

      Why pick God over Satan? Because of the weight of evidence in God’s favor. That’s why. And, that’s what the “Great Controversy” is all about…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  5. Sean&#032Pitman: The ability to be rationally-minded, the ability to think in a scientific manner, is a gift of God.

    Agreed.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Empirically-derived knowledge is the basis of rational faith and hope, but not of love or salvation.

    Agreed.

    Sean&#032Pitman: We should not be telling people that God is unable or unwilling to provide them with any more evidence than what could support wishful thinking or belief in the reality of any fairytale story.

    Agreed.

    And a good year to all.

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  6. Sean&#032Pitman: The fact is, however, it wouldn’t be honest for anyone who feels this way to expect a paycheck from the church while telling his/her students that the church doesn’t know what it’s talking about – that there simply is no reasonable empirical evidence to support the Biblical view of a literal 6-day creation of all life on this planet in recent history…

    This is a VERY different issue. It’s interesting that you portray anyone’s position that differs from yours in the most extreme. The position of virtually all SDA scientists is that SOME evidence supports the SDA position, but that SOME or MUCH evidence points a different direction and we believe regardless.

    You paint a false dilemma: our scientists either believe and teach that the weight of evidence supports our position (which is merely an interpretation, which you fail to appreciate), or they teach there is no evidence. There may be a small handful who take either extreme, but the vast majority are in-between.

    I think your lengthy efforts at propagandizing have put you out of touch with reality.

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  7. M&#046&#032Shelton: And speaking of unbelief, this is the evil inherent in this teaching. It is the unbelief of the professor who then instills it into the hearts of some students. We’re not asked to scientifically explain if these things are possible, we are asked to believe God’s Word, not judge it by man’s wisdom which is “foolishness” with God.

    I was referring to those who do believe, but base their belief on scripture rather than science. Dr. Pitman has stated repeatedly that those who refuse to teach that the weight of scientific evidence favors the Church’s position are unfit to be employed.

    M&#046&#032Shelton: We’re not asked to scientifically explain if these things are possible, we are asked to believe God’s Word, not judge it by man’s wisdom which is “foolishness” with God.

    I completely agree with you, Shelton, but you’re at the wrong website to promote this position. Dr. Pitman and all true supporters of Educate Truth (i.e., “true Seventh-day Adventists”) argue vehemently against this position. They insist that your position is equivalent to and as useless as belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I suggest you rethink your position if you wish to remain a true Seventh-day Adventist.

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    • The Adventist Church, as an organization, has asked all science professors, in particular, to be able to give a scientifically rigorous defense of the church’s position on origins.

      Now, you may disagree with this request, or think it impossible, but this is in fact the church’s position. If you disagree with it, fine. You are perfectly free to work elsewhere. The fact is, however, it wouldn’t be honest for anyone who feels this way to expect a paycheck from the church while telling his/her students that the church doesn’t know what it’s talking about – that there simply is no reasonable empirical evidence to support the Biblical view of a literal 6-day creation of all life on this planet in recent history…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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    • Professor Kent:
      I am posting my earlier reply to you that I did not post because I had to leave for an appt. and I wanted to reread first.

      “Professor Kent:

      “I was referring to those who do believe, but base their belief on scripture rather than science. Dr. Pitman has stated repeatedly that those who refuse to teach that the weight of scientific evidence favors the Church’s position are unfit to be employed.”

      Where in Scripture are we asked to prove God’s Word scientifically. However, I believe that in order to be credible in today’s world, we need to teach what we have discovered as to creation according to Genesis. I have not an understanding of Dr. Pitman’s teachings or beliefs but I would believe from what I have read on this site that he does not equate belief in God and His miraculous doings in Scripture unless proved by man’s scientific reasoning to be likened to fairy stories. I would believe he has some sound reasoning for a young earth as do I. However, mine is not very scientific but surely makes sense to me. Evolution is a very far-fetched theory whose main supposition is not fact but plain old unbelief!

      However, I could very well believe that Dr. Pitman believes that the weight of evidence “suggests” the creation story is true. I do myself. I think so-called scientific evidence of evolution is a satanically-derived bunch of phooey regardless of how many he has deceived. If it were not so serious a deception, I think even angels would laugh at it. But since not many are laughing at it, there is a need to put forth the evidence we have for a young earth according to the Bible at least in our schools where young people are forming their beliefs.

      Since some of our schools employ professors who are proselytizing our young people with evolution, I am thankful that there are also some who are not only objecting to that but are putting forth scientific evidence for creation according to Genesis.

      I would believe that Dr. Pitman and myself would agree on this subject.

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  8. @ Shirley,
    “In our time, we still struggle with Righteousness By Faith–which is the Third Angel’s Message “in verity.”

    I agree with most of what you wrote, however, the above quote is the problem for our day as well as over one hundred years ago when Ellen White stated that pride of opinion and prejudice was the cause of our dear brethren in mostly rejecting Righteousness by Faith a “most precious” message which God sent from heaven. We, as yet, still struggle with the very same mindset. Now we find it easier to do so using the messengers losing their way (we need to study what she says was the reason for their downfall) and also what she says will be the result of using their later failure for our rejection today. If, according to her we would be in the kingdom today had it been “accepted as God intended”, says volumes as to whether we have the true “full-orbed” message or a watered-down version which has made it of “no effect”. The fact we are still here over 142 or so years later should resonate with us.

    Then a comment on this statement:
    “At the end is it going to be “just two classes of people” — Seventh-day Adventists,–and the rest of the world?NO!At the end there will be those who are willing to follow Jesus WHEREVER He leads–whatever further light God reveals in His WORD; and those who think they know better, rejecting God and truth–because THEY KNOW BETTER.”

    If we are unwilling to accept what the Scriptures clearly teach and Ellen White spells out concerning “one fold and one Shepherd” with God bringing the Seventh-day Adventist church and it’s end-time mission into existance i.e. the call to Babylon, there is still a veil over our eyes that God must remove so that we may “see”, a promise of the eyesalve and one of the remedies of Rev. 3:14-22 to the church of Laodicea.

    According to Scripture and Ellen White (I have read her writings for over 50 yrs. and know whereof I speak) there will most surely be only two classes of people at the end, faithful SDA’s not shaken out by “one pretext or another” and the majority of all God’s faithful Christians in Babylon who have heard the “last voice of mercy” to a doomed world and have opened their hearts to the truths that God has given to the Seventh-day Adventist Church to proclaim to “all the world”. They will gladly join with God’s church and together will make up His bride.

    We do not know what form the church will have at that time but EGW says the denominated church will “endure to the end” so in whatever form it will endure in, we know that it will still be God’s denominated church. It is the seventh and last church and it will triumph, God will not come for a bride He must gather from the streets because His church has failed her mission. He is coming for a latter-day group of faithful, truly dedicated disciples such as the first were on the day of Pentecost. When we at last are willing to humble ourselves, as you have written, and become teachable by the Holy Spirit, we will, under the latter rain power, finally take the gospel of God’s character as He sent it to a world which desperately needs to hear who God really is and what He came to earth to accomplish. Again from COL p.415, “Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, “Behold your God.” The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.” This is the “most precious” message according to Ellen White that already has come and this will be the last message to a perishing world and will have the effect of calling God’s true children together into one body.

    Many say that a knowledge of God’s love is not sufficient but Scripture says it is the “power of God unto Salvation”. We have all the truth we need, not all the truth there is by any means, and if we would seek God with all our hearts in humility, He will enlighten us so that we can spread the message of who God is, what He has done for us, and what He is now doing for us in the Sanctuary in heaven and by cooperating with Him, He can finally finish His work in us and He will come to take us home.

    Thank you for your comments! God bless. .

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  9. “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isa 40:6-8.

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    • @Professor Kent:

      Indeed, but what if your interpretation of what the Word of God is, and/or what it is actually trying to say, is different from someone else’s interpretation? Do you have a God-given right to expect much less demand payment from anyone else who doesn’t share your views regarding the nature or the meaning of “The Word of God”? – especially if you go around promoting your own views in direct opposition to the views of your employer? How is that honest or ethical?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  10. It would appear that Dr. Pitman aspires to be the modern Adventist version of Girolamo Aleandro.

    For those a little hazy about the history of the Reformation, Girolamo was the individual appointed as papal nuncio by the Pope to be the theological point person opposing Martin Luther and his theology at the Diet of Worms. (The Diet of Worms was an assembly of churchmen and political elites of the Holy Roman Empire in Germany which met in 1521, not a list of things to eat to reduce your weight. And Worms was not an item on the menu, it was a town).

    Girolamo argued that Luther had no right to challenge the church’s theology. That theology had been settled for hundreds of years and had been agreed upon by scores of theologians. It was the truth.

    Girolamo wrote the denunciations of Luther that were embodied in the Edict of Worms which declared Luther to be a heretic.

    After attending the Diet of Worms, Girolamo went to Brussels and was instrumental at having two monks who had adhered to the teachings of Luther burned at the stake.

    Sean, like Girolamo, appears to view his role is to root our heresy where ever he finds it in the Adventist Church.

    Fortunately for the rest of us, Sean,
    unlike Girolamo, has no power to carry out what he would to see happened to those he denounces as Adventist heretics.

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    • @Ervin Taylor:

      The Catholic Church in Luther’s day was perfectly within its rights to determine who it would and wouldn’t hire to officially represent the church. Where the Catholic church went out of bounds is when it thought to take on powers of civil authority to enforce its religious views on society at large.

      Religious liberty is key to any truly Christian society. All should be free to join or leave the church, any church, at will. However, it is not a civil right for a person to expect to get paid by any organization, not even a church organization, outside of the will of the employer. Liberty works both ways…

      Dr. Taylor should understand this concept as an obvious truism. Yet, for some reason, he thinks to compare any effort to uphold church order and government, or any suggestion that the church has a right to hire only those who will effectively represent the church (and how the church defines itself), as equivalent to the Inquisition of the Dark Ages – equivalent to a bank robber claiming that the police who arrested him have deprived him of his natural God-given liberties to steal from whomever he wishes!

      Again, this isn’t inherently about salvation or the defining of “heretics”. Not at all. As already mentioned, one does not need to be a Seventh-day Adventist to be in a saving relationship with God. However, one does have to be in full support of the primary goals and ideals of the Adventist Church before one can expect to be hired by the church as a paid representative… or an effective representative of any kind.

      The same is true for any viable organization that wishes to avoid anarchy and eventual fragmentation into chaos.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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    • @Professor Kent:

      How haughty we are to suppose we deserve a paycheck from any organization when we choose to publicly undermine the primary goals and ideals of that organization – when we claim that no organization really has the right to define itself and what it stands for as an organization outside of our own personal views.

      Why not take on some honesty and integrity and work for an employer who is actually willing to pay you to promote your own personal perspective?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  11. Excellent comment on the Trinity as it developed in Adventism, Sean. Now if you will do the same with the doctrine of original sin, you will it is an equally valid Christian doctrine held by all viable Protestant scholars as well as the Catholic party.
    Bill Sorensen

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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      It depends upon what you mean by “original sin”?

      Certainly we inherit a tendency to sin and a separation from God in our natural tendencies from birth – i.e., a “sinful nature”.

      In counterbalance, God has also put into each heart a hatred or “enmity” for sin and a love of the Truth – or a desire or love for God and the beauty of holiness. While we are not naturally able to make ourselves good or holy, God has given us an attraction for holiness and an ability to recognize holiness as something good if it could be obtained.

      Hence the internal struggle between good and evil in each soul. God has provided the Power to escape evil by listening to His Spirit. If we deliberately choose to listen to the call of that “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit that speaks to each heart, God will provide the Power to obey the call. However, we also have the power to resist the call of the Spirit and reject God’s gift of holiness and sanctification – despite the justifying sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for each one of us.

      So, while we have been sold into a sinful nature by our original parents, we have been redeemed from it by the Second Adam; by Jesus Christ. Through Him we have been given the option of victory over our natural selves – if we so desire to obtain victory through the Power of God.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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      • We all agree, Sean, that everyone is born weak and physically degenerate both morally and physically. Orignial sin means we are born guilty of sin even before the act. For two reasons in the divine context.

        1. God knows we will sin because He is sovereign. and…
        2. We should know that people are born degenerate and have no option concerning sin unless they are born again. The will is dead, unless the will is generated and informed by the bible and Holy Spirit. No one can choose to do good. They can only choose to do evil. We are not born saved nor are we born already generated by the Holy Spirit. It is a super natural act of God who “puts enmity between Satan and the human family.” And on this we agree as well.

        What you do not want to admit is that we are born condemned and guilty in our natural state. So you appeal to individual accountability in light of prevenient grace where the Holy Spirit begins to work immeadiately even on babies and little children to bring them to faith and awareness so they may “escape their heritage of sin, guilt, and condemnation.”

        Some claim the cross “cancels the guilt of original sin.” Wieland, Joe Crews, and many others hold this view. Not so. This is wrong. The cross is provisional, even in the context of original sin and original sin is not, ipso facto, canceled because Jesus died for all men. The cross is the means God uses to enlightened the mind of fallen sinners so that each individual can choose to accept Jesus. No one is saved simply because Jesus has died. All are lost, and remain lost and guilty and condemned unless and until they accept Jesus as a personal Savior. David could rightly say….

        “The wicked are estranged from the womb, the go astray speaking lies as soon as they are born.” Ps. 58

        Because David knows all are born with the spirit of sin and can not do anything but sin unless they are born again.

        And finally, no one is born in limbo. We either born saved, or, we are born lost. We are given the ability to change and alter this situation by being born again. But we are born guilty before God because of who we are, not because of what we do. What we do, is because of who we are.

        Ellen White concurs in these words….

        ” Satan’s Power May Be Broken.–Parents have a more serious charge than they imagine. The inheritance of children is that of sin. Sin has separated them from God. Jesus gave His life that He might unite the broken links to God. As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death. But Christ steps in and passes over the ground where Adam fell, enduring every test in man’s behalf. . . . Christ’s perfect example and the grace of God are given him to enable him to train his sons and daughters to be sons and daughters of God. It is by teaching them, line upon line, precept upon precept, how to give the heart
        476
        and will up to Christ that Satan’s power is broken. {CG 475.3}”

        This statement is too clear to be misunderstood and needs no one to tell us what it means. It means exactly what it says. We are all born guilty of sin by virture of being the children of Adam. But Jesus had made a way of escape. Corporate guilt is a biblical concept.

        If you are willing to admit guilt and condemnation is what we already have by way of Adam’s sin. Then we agree. If you deny that we are born guilty of sin unless and until we actually commit sin, then in my opinion, your position is not biblical. This is no small issue as many have admitted like Dennis Priebe who has devoted his whole life ministry to deny this clear bible doctrine.

        Bill Sorensen

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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          Certainly we are born into a state of separation from God with a natural propensity toward sin. However, I fail to see how this concept is at all in conflict with any fundamental doctrinal position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

          The Adventist message is a message of hope that while we are born in a state of separation from God, we can choose to take hold of the Power of God, becoming connected with God, and be given victory over sin.

          Even the heathen can listen to the Spirit of God without knowing much of anything about the nature, character or even existence of God or of the sacrifice of Jesus which makes it possible for them to be saved through their obedience of the Royal Law of Love – a law that has been written on the hearts of all and will be the basis of the Final Judgement of all mankind.

          In any case, I really don’t see the relevance of this discussion in this particular thread?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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        • It is your forum, Sean. You can discuss anything you like or not. But let me ask you a question. Why is the doctrine of the Trinity more important than a clear biblical doctrine of sin?

          You refuse to admit we are born guilty. But the bible and EGW affirm it in no uncertain terms. I don’t come here often because you only post what suits yourself and I acknowledge you have this right. But it does not gender good bible discussions because you control the conversation.

          Bill Sorensen

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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          You refuse to admit we are born guilty. But the bible and EGW affirm it in no uncertain terms.

          Did I not specifically affirm the concept that all of us are born in a state of separation from God? with a fallen nature inherited from Adam?

          To be morally “guilty” of something, however, requires that one is consciously aware of what is right, but deliberately chooses to do what is wrong instead (James 4:17). Without the interplay of free will, there is no moral “guilt”. Otherwise, one could accuse a mechanical robot or an animal of “sin” – which is obviously ludicrous. Sin can only exist where free will and moral knowledge exist. And, free will can only exist where the will actually has knowledge of good and evil and is able to actually choose the good.

          It was Jesus Himself who made this point quite clear when He said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin…” John 9:41. Paul also points out that death (eternal death) has passed on all men because all have sinned (not simply because Adam sinned independent of deliberate personal sins of the rest of us) – Romans 5:12.

          I’m not sure, then, how any concept could be any more Biblical?

          As far as the position of Mrs. White is concerned, I don’t see her contradicting this idea. In fact, she seems to support the notion that God can uphold even very young children through the faith of the parents:

          Even the babe in its mother’s arms may dwell as under the shadow of the Almighty through the faith of the praying mother. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. If we will live in communion with God, we too may expect the divine Spirit to mold our little ones, even from their earliest moments.

          More to the point, however, what doctrinal position of the SDA Church do you believe to be in error? Now, I don’t mind discussion in this forum, even among those who are opposed to my own opinions (obviously), as long as it is actually relevant to the topic at hand…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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        • And the topic at hand is “What does it take to be a real SDA?”

          It takes someone who is willing to follow the bible and its teaching in every particular. If you don’t believe this, you are not a “Protestant” SDA.

          You then bring up the Trinity. Which is fine. But that is certainly not the only thing that qualifies for the topic of your thread.

          So, here is what you stated to me…..”To be morally “guilty” of something, however, requires that one is consciously aware of what is right, but deliberately chooses to do what is wrong instead (James 4:17). Without the interplay of free will, there is no moral “guilt”.”

          So a person is “born” selfish, proud, coveteous, vain….etc, but not “guilty” of being, selfish, proud, coveteous, vain….etc. Your limited view of “guilt” is not biblical. Half a truth is equal to a lie. There is certainly conscience guilt. But guilt is more than awareness of right and wrong. “Sin is transgression of the law”, and the law doesn’t care what you know, or don’t know. If you break the law, you are guilty of breaking the law.

          Just admit the truth, Sean. But don’t accuse me of going outside the intent of this thread when it was not specifically stated as a thread about the Trinity.

          Just “man up” once in a while and admit you are wrong. We are all born guilty in the eyes of God. And our ignorance does not free us from this fact.

          Bill Sorensen

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        • @Bill Sorensen:

          And the topic at hand is “What does it take to be a real SDA?”

          It takes someone who is willing to follow the bible and its teaching in every particular. If you don’t believe this, you are not a “Protestant” SDA.

          Lots of people of other faiths believe that they are the ones really following the Bible. There are many different interpretations out there as to what the Bible is really saying about various topics – interpretations that are not in line with those of the SDA Church.

          You then bring up the Trinity. Which is fine. But that is certainly not the only thing that qualifies for the topic of your thread.

          The SDA Church has a clearly stated “fundamental belief” on the doctrine of the Trinity. As far as the nature of sin, I’m not sure if you agree or disagree with the doctrinal statements of the SDA Church regarding the nature of sin? Where is your disagreement with how things currently stand?

          So, here is what you stated to me…..”To be morally ‘guilty’ of something, however, requires that one is consciously aware of what is right, but deliberately chooses to do what is wrong instead (James 4:17). Without the interplay of free will, there is no moral ‘guilt’.” – Sean Pitman

          So a person is “born” selfish, proud, coveteous, vain….etc, but not “guilty” of being, selfish, proud, coveteous, vain….etc? Your limited view of “guilt” is not biblical. Half a truth is equal to a lie. There is certainly conscience guilt. But guilt is more than awareness of right and wrong. “Sin is transgression of the law”, and the law doesn’t care what you know, or don’t know. If you break the law, you are guilty of breaking the law.

          So, are animals “guilty” of breaking the Law? No? Why not? Because, moral guilty presupposes freedom of choice. Without real freedom of choice; without knowledge of both right and wrong and the real freedom to choose the right, there is no morality or moral guilt.

          As already noted, Jesus said exactly this same thing… that without knowledge, there is no sin. I’m sorry, but I think you’re the one presenting half truths here…

          Just “man up” once in a while and admit you are wrong. We are all born guilty in the eyes of God. And our ignorance does not free us from this fact.

          No. We are all born separated from God with a very strong tendency to sin. However, the moral guilt of sin itself requires a conscious assent to that which one knows is wrong. Otherwise, robots and animals could be guilty of sin.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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        • @Sean Pitman:
          “Even the babe in its mother’s arms may dwell as under the shadow of the Almighty through the faith of the praying mother. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. If we will live in communion with God, we too may expect the divine Spirit to mold our little ones, even from their earliest moments.”

          Seems to me this gets right into the nature of Christ, a fascinating and important subject and since it was brought up I will comment. The above quote by you indicates how Jesus was from birth in a sinless state though born with our sinful human nature. He did not have our “propensities” to sin because He took our sinful nature upon His sinless nature and therefore had no past sinful propensities. Our nature was not His by right, He merely assumed it. He was born filled with the Holy Spirit just as we can be by accepting the new birth. To say as some believe that we are born guilty is an Augustinian theory which resulted in the Catholic doctrine of an immaculate conception.

          Although we inherited Adam’s sinful flesh we are not guilty until we deliberately, consciously choose to sin. If that were not so how could babies be saved who have not reached the age of accountability to repent and believe? But many will be. They need a Savior too, all sinful flesh needs a Savior, and praise the Lord, we have one!

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        • @Bill Sorensen:
          Regarding this quote from you:
          “The cross is provisional, even in the context of original sin and original sin is not, ipso facto, canceled because Jesus died for all men. The cross is the means God uses to enlightened the mind of fallen sinners so that each individual can choose to accept Jesus. No one is saved simply because Jesus has died. All are lost, and remain lost and guilty and condemned unless and until they accept Jesus as a personal Savior.”

          I will say this:

          Before Christ died on the cross of Calvary, it was a PROVISION. Just as us, He had to walk the path to Calvary and in His case, the world’s salvation depended on His overcoming temptation and winning the battle over sin and satan.

          However, once He bowed His head in death, it was a REALITY, a done deal so to speak, the temple veil was rent along with His heart and all sin was paid for every man, woman, and child that ever lived. It was no longer merely a provision. That is a mistaken belief far far short of what Jesus actually accomplished by tasting the second death for every man, woman, and child. This act not only gave each a title to heaven already signed and delivered but it reconciled the Father to the human race. Now the thing for us to do is to be reconciled TO GOD, and individually respond to the Holy Spirit’s wooing by convicting us of the sin of crucifying our Lord with all our sin debt placed on His precious body. When we do this we have been born again and we begin to walk in the new nature we are given and deny ourselves and crucify our sinful human nature. As He writes His beautiful laws in our hearts and minds, it becomes easy as we will then be “but carrying out our own will”. We are not saved by repenting and accepting Christ, we are already saved by His blood. But we must allow Him to apply it to our account. However, we will be lost if we “neglect so great salvation”.

          Unless we willingly reject His sacrifice, we are saved day by day and can know that eternal life is ours! We can and should have that assurance.

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  12. I just looked in my WordSearch computer Bible program and “trinity” is not a Bible Term. “Godhead” is found in three places, all in the New Testament.
    Ellen White made another comment, that we must recognize three persons in the Godhead, equal in their being divine and eternal. Beyond this, “silence is golden.”
    It is so easy to want to know more. But we are only asked to believe, trust, and love.

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  13. Thanks for sending me this well written article. My personal observation is that if one’s simple recognition of Jesus as one’s personal Friend and Savior is genuine, they will also fully fully embrace our fundamental beliefs, including the standards that have been sadly let down by nominal SDA’s. Carroll Graybeal

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  14. A favorite scripture of mine is Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God!”

    How haughty we are to suppose WE have ALL the truth. GOD is TRUTH; but how many of us know Him as we ought to know Him? A knowledge of the truth is progressive. Our founders history shows that we have had to correct our thinking in our search for truth. What makes us think that we now have a full and correct understanding of all spiritual doctrine? God has led us to the Bible, but isn’t it possible that we may fail to rightly understand some things? Even recently the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was added to. Praise God for more information.

    Jesus had to point out in His day that sin is in the mind. Sin is lack of faith. Sin is an attitude. For many years we have looked at sin strictly as behavior. In our time, we still struggle with Righteousness By Faith–which is the Third Angel’s Message “in verity.”

    At the end is it going to be “just two classes of people” — Seventh-day Adventists,–and the rest of the world? NO! At the end there will be those who are willing to follow Jesus WHEREVER He leads–whatever further light God reveals in His WORD; and those who think they know better, rejecting God and truth–because THEY KNOW BETTER. I hope those following Jesus will include many Adventist believers! It is right for us to think that we are right–to walk according to our consciences–“fully persuaded in our own mind.” AT THE SAME TIME, may we be humbly teachable, or like the Pharisees, we can be just as lost!

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    • @Shirley:

      Again, if you don’t support some “fundamental” position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, that’s fine. It’s perfectly fine to go and do your own thing or join a group that is more in line with your own personal perspective. Such a move is not inherently immoral or unethical. And, as you point out, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not immune from the potential for error nor does it have an inherent lock on “Truth”.

      However, it would be unethical of you if you were to choose to undermine the church while claiming to represent the church – especially as a paid representative. Jesus would not have such unethical or immoral behavior from anyone taking on the title of “Christian”. Such is equivalent to stealing from one’s employer – a moral wrong in anyone’s book…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  15. Yes, I agree.

    Luke 13:23-30 is sobering:

    23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

    And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. 29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.”

    Lord, please keep that from happening to me!

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  16. Sean&#032Pitman: Now, you may disagree with this request, or think it impossible, but this is in fact the church’s position. If you disagree with it, fine. You are perfectly free to work elsewhere.

    At one time many years ago I was employed by the SDA Church, but I am not currently and don’t ever expect to be again. However, if I was employed, I’d be perfectly comfortable telling students that our core belief on origins is based 100% on scripture–God’s word–regardless of where the evidence is today or where it will be 20 years down the road. And I would be at zero risk of losing my job because the Church’s leadership would strongly support my position, your wrath and efforts to publicly humiliate me notwithstanding.

    Your militant fanaticism is dangerous to the Church.

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    • You would not be in line with the church’s position on what it expects from its own educators if you were to go around say, “The empirical evidence, science, is overwhelmingly contrary to the church’s position on origins. All the church really has to stand on is amazing ‘faith’ in the truly fantastic, otherwise unsupported, essentially irrational, claims of the Bible alone.”

      Such a position is in direct conflict with the very clear goal of the church to present its young people with the very strong empirical evidence supporting its position on origins. The church has in fact requested that all of its educators in the area of science be able to present their students with a rigorous defense of church’s position on origins. If you do not feel like you can do this, in good conscience, then it really isn’t honest of you to expect a paycheck from the church for acting contrary to the church’s very specific direction on this issue.

      We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.

      http://adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat55.html

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  17. A Challenge

    Again, Ellen White makes this comment, which Sean Pitman deems inspired, literally correct, and unimpeachable: “Science is ever discovering new wonders; but she brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation.

    If this statement is indeed correct, then there must be some scientific data “rightly understood” which indicates that a human body dead for three days can come back to life. I challenge Sean Pitman or anyone else to provide us this “rightly understood” empirical evidence.

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    • @Professor Kent:

      Science has also shown that a broken down car that has sat rusting in a field for 10 years won’t get fixed via any known naturalistic mechanism. However, science has also shown that someone who knows how to fix cars is able to restore such a vehicle to its original fully functional glory – via the creativity of intelligent design.

      The same is reasonably true for the mechanisms of living things. Science is not at all in conflict with the idea that the original Designer and Creator of all living things could easily fix what is broken in a dead body and bring it back to life – via very high level creativity and intelligent design. Such a concept is not at all inconsistent with any known discoveries of science.

      Therefore, your challenge of Mrs. White is misplaced. It should be an obvious truism that scientific discoveries, rightly understood, cannot but be in harmony with the original Author of science – that science does indeed bring nothing from her research that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation (the key phrase being “rightly understood”). Your position, in comparison, seems to be that God is in conflict with Himself…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  18. Let’s face it: evidence can be construed to support whatever one would like it to support. It’s all subject to personal interpretation, and one can “weigh” the evidence as one desires. And because science can’t falsify or prove a negative, it can be consistent with essentially anything one imagines, as Sean Pitman’s cleverly reasoned evidentiary basis for Christ’s resurrection makes clear. Thus, one can construct an elaborate rationalization for any belief by declaring that evidence supports it and/or does not refute it.

    Accordingly, a faithful Adventist can “rationally” accept any claim that Ellen White, Sean Pitman, or Walter Veith puts forth as having a foundation in evidence rather than wishful thinking. We should be so proud!

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    • Only God knows if a person is being honest with the evidence provided and comprehended – according to one’s own God-given powers to rationally think and reason. The ability to be rationally-minded, the ability to think in a scientific manner, is a gift of God.

      Otherwise, you’re correct. The same thing is true of any scientific hypothesis or theory. As Thomas Kuhn famously pointed out, science itself involves a great deal of subjectivity when it comes to making conclusions as to what the evidence really supports. One’s own background experience, mental capabilities, social influences, and overall personal biases definitively come into play when interpreting evidence.

      When scientists must choose between competing theories, two men fully committed to the same list of criteria for choice may nevertheless reach different conclusions… I am suggesting, of course, that the criteria of choice with which I began function not as rules, which determine choice, but as values, which influence it.

      Thomas Kuhn (1977), The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change. University of Chicago Press. pp. 320-339.

      This is also why empirically-derived knowledge is not the basis of salvation. Empirically-derived knowledge is the basis of rational faith and hope, but not of love or salvation. The basis of salvation must be something that is generally accessible by all to the same degree. That is why the Royal Law has been written on the hearts of all mankind and why only the Royal Law will be used as a basis for the Final Judgement. This is why others, besides Adventists or Christians or even those who believe in a God of some kind, can be saved…

      Regardless, it is a mistake to argue that it doesn’t matter if one’s faith is based on one’s own understanding of the weight of evidence. It does matter. We should not be telling people that God is unable or unwilling to provide them with any more evidence than what could support wishful thinking or belief in the reality of any fairytale story. That paints the Christian religion and Biblical faith as inherently irrational – which is contrary to how the Bible depicts the equal link between faith and evidence. It also paints God as arbitrary, willing to judge and condemn (or praise) people regardless of if they understood what they did or not. I, for one, could not love such a God.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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