The following is a link to a videoclip from GYC …

Comment on Open letter to General Conference by Sean Pitman M.D..

The following is a link to a videoclip from GYC 2009.

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/3690097

Location in video: 1:02:32

The panel of GC Church leaders is asked a question (1:02:32 into the clip) regarding those who teach contrary to the Church’s stated fundamental beliefs on the Church’s dime. What should be done?

The answers given are not very specific, quite vague actually. Personally, I was hoping for something more substantive besides the usual, “We should all stand for truth, but be loving and kind and Christlike in how we deal with those with diverging opinions…”

What does this mean? Where is the practical guidance here when it comes to how and when to take specific action? While all of these comments are true, they gloss over the fact that an organization, even a Church organization, cannot avoid actual practical government which includes internal discipline and action to remove those from positions of paid representation who do not actually represent the stated ideals and goals of the Church as an organization – especially when this has been taking place in a very open manner for decades as some of our institutions (like LSU).

Sean Pitman
http://www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman M.D. Also Commented

Open letter to General Conference

Jonathan Smith: Ignorance of the law is never an excuse in any jurisdiction. As the texts above show, lack of proper knowledge is NOT an excuse since the knowledge is accessible but they simply refused to access or believe it.

You’re mistaken when it comes to God’s Law. Jesus himself excused wrongful acts of the ignorant saying that if a person didn’t know of the wrongfulness of a thought or act, they wouldn’t be guilty of sin (John 9:41).

It is therefore only when one knows that something is wrong, and deliberately does it anyway, that one is guilty of sin. And, only God clearly knows what someone really does and does not know or has or has not deliberately rejected or refused to know… i.e., sinned.

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Open letter to General Conference

Jonathan Smith: I sincerely hope that the evolutionists will realise the error of their ways and repent before it is too late.

Why should they die when God does not love the death of the wicked? Why should they despise Someone who has only shown them love? Why should they reject the word of One who cannot lie? Why should man be so arrogant as to believe he knows more than God? The mystery of iniquity does indeed work.

Be careful Jonathan. You are making a moral judgment here when you cannot do so. A belief in an error is not, in and of itself, a sin. Evolutionists are not wicked just because they believe in a false theory. Certainly there are many very good and very honest and sincere evolutionists. Salvation isn’t based on knowledge, but on motive…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Open letter to General Conference

Ervin Taylor: The problem is not in the excellent leadership provided at La Sierra University first by Dr. Guy, then by Dr. Geraty and now by Dr. Wisbey. With dignity and integrity, all of these enlightened educational leaders have contributed to making La Sierra University an Adventist Christian university committed to the pursuit of truth—both in science and theology—wherever it leads.

All of them have stood resolutely against their misguided fundamentalist coreligionists who seek to turn a fine Adventist university into a Bible college.

Currently, the real problem is the myths and half-truths created and promulgated by the supporters of the EducateTruth web site.

All true Adventists committed to the pursuit of “Present Truth” should actively resist and reject the work of those who wish to follow the example of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Torguemada in how to deal with contrasting opinions in a religious community.

Please do point out any myths or half-truths listed in my letter – or even any exaggerations – however slight.

Do you really deny that many of the science professors at LSU are actively promoting the modern synthesis view of evolution as the true story of origins to their students? If not, why doesn’t LSU at least admit this obvious fact instead of putting out misleading PR campaigns which suggest that LSU is not in fact doing what it is doing – promoting the “truth” of the evolution of life on this planet over hundreds of millions of years of time? You do not actually deny this. You simply argue that the promotion of theistic evolution over vast ages of time shouldn’t be a problem for an “Adventist” university…

So, why is LSU trying to cover up what you think is so obviously beneficial? Why are the teachers of LSU actively trying to prevent access to any of their lecture materials or exactly what is being presented in their classes? Why try to sequester this information? Why be so secretive about what is really being taught at LSU? – if it is clearly what the SDA Church, as an organization, wants? Why is LSU putting extreme pressure on those LSU students who are trying to increase transparency about what is being actively promoted within numerous LSU classrooms?

This isn’t the inquisition Erv. No one is threatened with any civil penalty. It is just that LSU owes it to those who are paying good money to support LSU to explain what they are really getting vs. what they think they are getting. Everyone has a right to get what they are really paying for with their own money…

And, if transparency is so good, why isn’t LSU being forthright, open, honest and transparent with current and potential parents, students, and the SDA Church at large? Why the use of slick language that is calculated to mislead? – such as the oft repeated statement that, “Everyone at LSU believes in creation”? Clearly this statement is given with the intent to quiet the concerns of those who think that the term “creation” means support for a literal 6-day creation week – when clearly this isn’t the actual meaning of this word when it comes to LSU science professors who publicly deride such a “ludicrous” notion…

Please… who is the one telling “half truths” here? It’s time to come clean Erv. We’ve had enough of these word games…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman M.D.

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?