Comment on The Metamorphosis of La Sierra University: an eye-witness account by Bill Sorensen.
“If we cannot show the Bible to be true in some form, than on what basis can we claim the spiritual claims of the Bible are true?”
And I have consistently responded that is by way of prophecy. The bible prophecies. And its validity is firmly rooted in this reality.
Jesus Himself continually appeals to “Moses and the prophets”. And when our church does viable evangelism, we always use Daniel and Revelation, not only to substanciate our biblical arguments, but to affirm the validity of the bible itself.
We can certainly observe physical things and ask questions of how they came to be. But we can never by science explain their origin nor the continual energy that maintains them.
Once we affirm the bible, then yes, we see the hand of God in a thousand ways acting in behalf of His creation and even our own experience testifies to this reality. And ultimately, we do not affirm the bible by our experience, but we affirm our experience by the bible.
Is there any validity in sharing our experience, including some scientific realities, with an unbeliever? Yes, if our ultimate purpose is to bring them to the bible to find answers to their questions.
In this context, “The law is a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.” And we find Christ in His word.
As you said, Shane, I am not sure there is much disagreement with Sean and those who dialogue with him. But he never really clears up any confusion he seems to create in his posts.
His theory seems to follow his idea that all have some inherent knowledge of God and His law and by natural science we can convince them and teach them about the true God. This is faulty reasoning. Nature is corrupt and can only lead to a false conclusion. So even nature must be understood and interpreted by scripture.
A knowledge of the true God has been passed on from generation to generation in society in general. And so it is true, in rare cases, some have discerned enough truth by the knowledge passed down in society, to yield to the influences of the Holy Spirit and will be saved in the end.
Thus, in heathenism, where some knowledge of the true God has been preserved by tradition, they have discerned the truth. Not because they had some inherent knowledge of love and truth, but because a true godly tradition had to some extent been preserved. People are not born with an inherent knowledge of the truth. Spiritual truth must be taught by an objective source that has preserved it.
If parents, or society does not teach children true bible morality, they could not and would not ever know what it is or have any ability to discern the true God. Sin has no definition apart from the bible.
In this area, I think Sean does not discern this reality and thus builds an idea of natural revelation and from there assumes he can teach creation by this means.
This is how I preceive his arguments and ideas. And if not, then I don’t know what he means.
Bill Sorensen Also Commented
The Metamorphosis of La Sierra University: an eye-witness account
Well, in the end, Sean, the way you use the phrase “scientific evidence” is pretty loose ended. It is certainly not how most people would interpret the phrase. I have to admit, I am still not sure I understand what you mean. But I am sure you do.
For me, your “scientific evidence” lends itself to affirming “scientific proof”. And if so, this is where you will get a lot of flack from such an affirmation. And maybe more than a few see your argument as I do.
“Youâ€™re mistaken. If life on this Earth can be conclusively shown to have the appearance of having been here for hundreds of millions of years of time, that would be very problematic for the validity of the Genesis account of originsâ€¦ problematic for the candid rational mind.” – Sean Pitman
Exactly, Sean. Your “candid rational mind” will never see or know how miracles happen. Nor how “He commanded, and it stood fast.” Nor how “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made and all the hosts of them by the breath of His mouth.”
And all the trees and flowers and animal life were not “one day old” in their development. Adam was a full grown man and so were the animals. And the trees were not “one day old” either. They were created full grown.
Adam’s intelligence and comprehension were not on the same level as a new born baby. Many scientists who want to support creation by way of science are backing themselves into a corner and will finally see they can not substanciate the age of the earth by determining the age of rocks or anything else from the day of creation.
Through bible history we can determine the age of the earth as being aproximately 6,ooo years old. Not 7 thousand, or ten thousand. And EGW affirms in the Great Controversy the age of the earth is about 6,000 years.
And extra thousand years is not viable. And ten thousand years is way off the mark. If people will not accept the bible’s own evidence of self validation, all the science in the world will not persuade them.
Even if the truly find Noah’s ark, those who choose not to believe will remain in unbelief. So Jesus said, “If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe even if one rose from the dead.”
And Paul affirms, “Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.”
Is there evidence of a flood? Yes. But all unbelievers soon find another answer by way of “science” to dis-credit the bible.
Take note, Sean, how earnestly the devil works to dis-credit prophecy. It is the one infallible testimony to validate the bible and its claims.
Dr. Ford, one of Satan’s main agents, worked earnestly to dis-credit Daniel and over throw bible Adventism and attack EGW and her ministry. And not a few have followed in his foot steps who hold a good deal of influence and authority in the SDA church today.
Spectrum and A-today never should have had a booth at the GC in Atlanta. They are not SDA forums, nor are they sponsored by the SDA church.
Do we let a Roman Catholic ministry have a booth at our GC sessions? To do so is to admit these ministries have a valid influence for truth and should be seriously considered for their teaching and spirituality.
If through science, you can influence someone to consider the bible and its validity, then “the law is a schoolmaster to lead us to (the bible).”
By a careful study of scripture, a scientist may be persuaded and even agree that natural science does not attack scripture. But you will never use natural science alone to prove the age of the earth, nor validate the creation week. On the other hand, you can use the bible alone to validate its stated truths.
“It depends upon the established credibility of the witnesses, using a form of scientific reasoning to establish this credibility, in your own mind.”
Sean, you use the word “scientific” in a loose ended generic sense. Because people can think and reason, you call this “scientific”.
So, in my opinion, you create more confusion than clarity.
Even in spiritual matters, we call it the “science of salvation”. But we do not mean appeals to natural law science. There is a spiritual law science that is not oppose to natural law, but neither is it validated by natural law as the authority for any conclusions.
And I personally doubt you can “prove” or even substanciate with reliable evidence from nature the age of the earth. Namely, because no one know how old the earth was when God created it. The biological age could have been millions of years, even if the cronological age was only one day.
How old was Adam on the first day he was created? or the animals? or the trees and other plant life? We don’t know and we don’t need to know. Apparently, it is not relevant and so we have no biblical information to go by.
Just so, we don’t know how old the rocks were nor any other element. This is why I find it fruitless to bicker or try to prove the age of the earth by natural science.
Recent Comments by Bill Sorensen
The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
” That’s what I’ve been saying (and what Morris Venden and MacCarty have been saying)”
Well, I did not do a complete search on all the MacCarty says or believes. But in the case of Venden, I did do such a study and Venden had a doctrine of “sanctification by faith alone” that was totally outside the bible teaching.
“Faith alone” by definition means we play no part in it. If so, it is not “faith alone”. But Venden’s view of sanctification was definitely “faith alone” and we play no part in it but believe. At any rate, there is more confusion than bible definition in his definition of sanctification, and I think this applies to MacCarty as well. Like I said, I read his book a couple years ago and it was circular with no real definition of what he meant.
But basically, he equated the old covenant with legalism which is bogus. We agree a misapplication of the old covenant is not the same thing as a clear understanding of the old covenant and its purpose. So let’s not take a misapplication of the old covenant, and then claim this is the old covenant.
As you have defended the Sabbath against a misapplication of the new covenant and not called it the new covenant we must do the same with the old covenant. Our conclusion should be that a misapplication of any truth does not equate to the truth that is being misapplied. The confusion continues on many levels in the SDA community today.
Your defense of creation against the liberal agenda is a classic illustration of how the liberal agenda misapplies the new covenant on every level from false teaching to simply denying the bible outright. And all this from a misapplication of the new covenant that creates a false “spirit ethic” that takes the place of the bible and the ten commandments.
I appreciate the dialogue. Some may see the point eventually and some never will. Since we don’t know who’s who in this context, we leave it up to God to sort out the various issues and determine who “gets it” and who don’t.
The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
“You honestly think that you can simply choose to do good through your own willpower.”
I never said any such thing or even suggested it. Did you even read what I wrote. If so, you decided to impute to me something I never said or suggested. Let’s at least try to be objective in our evaluation of what the other person said.
I said the Holy Spirit liberates the will and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to believe, repent and obey. How then is this your false claim that I think “You honestly think that you can simply choose to do good through your own willpower.”
You rightly point out that without the Holy Spirit, we have no way to know God’s will, let alone do it. And yes, Jesus “puts enmity between sinful beings and the kingdom of Satan.”
But “putting the enmity by Christ” will save no one until and unless they choose to respond in the God ordained way He has stated in the bible. Each individual must choose to first accept the atonement, then repent, and then obey the law. Thus, the Holy Spirit empowers the will, but it is the sinner who must respond. And this is not “doing it on their own” as you seem to imply. Jesus said, “Without me, you can do nothing.” But as Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which stengthenth me.”
Paul states what he can do by the power of God. And it is not God doing the believing, or repenting or obeying. It is Paul. EGW makes this very clear to refute the mystics who try to claim that Jesus or the Holy Spirit gets in them and does the willing and doing.
” While these youth were working out their own salvation, God was working in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. Here are revealed the conditions of success. To make God’s grace our own, we must act our part. The Lord does not propose to perform for us either the willing or the doing. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort. Our souls are to be aroused to co-operate. The Holy Spirit works in us, that we may work out our own salvation. This is the practical lesson the Holy Spirit is striving to teach us. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” THE YOUTH’S INSTRUCTOR
August 20, 1903
Lessons From the Life of Daniel—9
This concerning Daniel and his friends.
She refutes the modern day mysticism that would destroy the will of man and interpret “Christ in you, the hope of glory” totally outside the biblical context.
But “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is the same thing reflected in the words of Paul, “For me to live is Christ.” Meaning, I love Jesus so much my whole life is dedicated to His glory and will.
Our “own works” that she refers to, are those people do outside a biblical relationship with Christ. It does not refer to the works of a true believer who conforms his life to emulate the life of Christ. Where does Skip MacCarty point out this difference?
Much, if not most of modern spirituality in Adventism is pure mysticism that convolutes the identity of Christ and the believer to the point the believer has no identity. It was highly stimulated by Morris Venden who tried to show that “faith alone” applies equally to sanctification as it does to justification. It was and is totally bogus. But it has infiltrated the church by him and others to the point that mysticism is rapidly becoming the major spirituality of the church.
You may mean well, Sean. But like so many others, you don’t take the time to carefully consider the implications of what you say nor explain it is a clear definitive way so that it fits the bible context. If the true bible position on sanctification is clearly presented, then it is obvious we “save ourselves” by the way we respond to the word of God. In which case, the law is salvational, but only in the biblical context. Simply put, we are “saved” by doing what God says and this includes faith in the atonement.
Many are so “hell bent” to avoid what they think is legalism, they wrest the scriptures to their own destruction and not only deceive themselves, but others who do not carefully consider the implications of the conclusion of their false idea and theory.
But to claim that those who reject your view think they can “do it on their own” is a false representation that prejudices others who don’t carefully follow the conversation. Having said all this, I am more than willing for anyone to explain and qualify and re-qualify as many times as necessary to make it very clear what they mean by what they say.
So I agree, sanctification is by faith, but not by “faith alone” in the same context that justification is by faith alone. Without a clear explanation, all we have is ongoing confusion on sin and salvation and the divine factor vs. the human factor in a full and complete view of what the bible teaches about the issues.
The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
“We “work out our own salvation” by simply opening to the door the Spirit of God. That’s our only “work” to do here. That’s the only “work” we can do. The rest is beyond human power.”
Your whole theory is pure mysticism as the rest of your explanation affirms. The purpose of sanctification on the part of God is to liberate the human will for self government. It is the believing sinner who chooses to have faith and repent, and obey the law of God.
Neither is it “automatic” but by careful evaluation of the will of God and the implications of the outcome if we chose not to accept the free offer. You undermine and in the end, destroy the human factor in salvation and the moral accountability of man.
So when we are confronted by the gospel, we must choose to believe, choose to repent and choose to obey. God will not do this for us. Neither will the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the “holy motive” as He inspires and empowers us to “save ourselves” by responding to the word of God exactly as it is stated in the bible.
Much of the SDA church has opted for some mystical non-biblical explanation of the plan of salvation that has no affinity to the true teaching of the bible.
So sanctification is not “just give yourself to Jesus and He will do the rest.”
Basically, you convolute the divine factor and human factor in such a way that you end up negating the human factor altogether.
I doubt anything I would share with you would challenge your thinking, since in the past you have rejected other clear biblical concepts on sin and salvation like the doctrine of original sin. At any rate, if you post my response, perhaps one of your readers will actually see the point and consider the implications of our dialogue.
The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
Yes, as EGW and the bible affirm, we are justified by obedience to the moral law. Not in a legal sense, but in a moral sense. And this is what the Investigative judgment is all about. The word “justification” in the bible has a more comprehensive meaning than people perceive today. Like the word “atonement” and “salvation” the word “justification” has been limited to a non-biblical meaning and application that foreign to the bible and the full meaning the bible gives to these words.
And yes, we save ourselves by the way we respond to the word of God. No, we don’t save ourselves by meriting heaven and earning the favor of God. “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments.” Jesus
This is too plain to be misunderstood except by those who convolute the bible to support their false doctrine. No one is justified by “faith alone” except the special context used by the Reformation to oppose Rome when Rome taught legal merit in the believer’s response to the conditions for salvation.
“Faith alone” in this context was “Christ alone” who stands in the presence of God in our behalf as the meritorious cause of salvation and eternal life. This is not sanctification nor is sanctification “by faith alone” as some faulty teachers try to present and defend. Sanctification is always by faith and works on the part of the believer as we “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.”
And justification by faith in the bible, is the believer’s faith in Christ, not Christ’s faith in the believer. This subject is so confused and warped by SDA scholars it has no affinity to bible teaching and doctrine. So it is the believer’s faith in Christ that justifies. This is the whole theme of Paul and the new testament emphasis and message.
The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
” “All that the Lord has said, we will do.” (Exodus 19:8).”
That’s right Sean. And the Lord said, “The people have well spoken there commitment.” But then added, “Oh that there was such an heart in them to do it.”
The issue was proper motivation based on a clear understanding of sin and all that this implies. God never chided them for their statement of faith but their lack of understanding the sinful human heart.
How is that any different than today in the new covenant era? How many are baptized making the same valid commitment and confession of faith only to find the difficulty of living out the Christian experience.
Neither will Jesus get into anybody and obey the law for them. The motivation will ratchet up as our understanding is increased and the love of God that motivates works in a more dynamic way with the increased knowledge.
But many assume the old covenant was a system of legalism and then contrast the new covenant as a true system of faith. This is bogus. True believers in the old covenant era trusted in Christ. These are the old covenant experience people and not Cain or anyone else in that era who either refused the offer God provided or convoluted it. So those who imply that the old covenant was in and of itself a system of legalism like MacCarty does, have a false idea of old and new covenant that is simply not biblical. And then they try to explain how in the new covenant God writes the law on our heart and not in stone.
God wrote His law on the heart of Abel, Noah, Abraham and every true believer in the old covenant era as Jesus “put enmity between Satan and man” by a revelation of the love of God in His willingness to make atonement for fallen man. The new covenant era simply means God will finish writing His law on the heart of every true believer and this is not some “new” covenant different than the old.
Only in the sense that the atonement promised in the past is now a reality in the present. And this ratchets up the motivation in harmony with the life of Jesus more fully revealed by way of the new covenant writers. It is false doctrine to present the idea that no one had the law “written on their heart” during the old covenant era. Did you ever read the words of David in the Psalms, “Create in me a new heart, and renew a right spirit within me.”?
This is not the new covenant in the old covenant era. There is no “new covenant believer” in the old covenant era. This is impossible. The new covenant is after the fact of the atonement and is based on the time element of the two covenants. The first covenant (old covenant) is based on a future event. The new covenant is based on a past event. This is the whole spirituality of Paul and repeated and affirmed in the book of Hebrews. What God had promised during the old covenant era, He has done.
There is certainly an affinity in both covenants as both are based on Jesus and His sacrifice. Everyone in heaven will have trusted in the atonement of the cross whether it was before Jesus made the atonement or after He made the atonement. Again, I say it is bogus to claim Cain represents an old covenant experience and Abel a new covenant experience. And it is equally false to claim anyone who is a legalist in the new covenant era is an old covenant experience. Namely this, the old covenant is not legalism and never was. Just because people corrupt the old covenant does not equate to claiming they were legalists by virtue of being in the old covenant era.
This is MacCarty’s error and he speaks for more than a few SDA scholars who are as confused as he is. God made no legal covenant with anyone with the exception of His Son. God’s covenant with all is based on the moral law and this is not legalism unless, like the Catholic church, you think you can merit heaven by keeping the moral law.
The moral law, like I said, is a family law and those who refuse to enter into this moral covenant to “obey and live” will never be in heaven. Children in a loving home don’t obey their parents to merit and earn the favor of their parents or earn a place in the family. None the less, they are in covenant relationship with their parents and if they rebel enough, can be disinherited, just like Adam and Eve who rebelled against the family law.
Adam and Eve in a state of sinlessness were not meriting the favor of God. Nor do the sinless angels merit the favor of God. Nor do the redeemed in heaven merit the favor of God. None the less, all are under obligation to obey the family law of God or forfeit eternal life like Adam and Eve in the garden. Love for God never releases anyone from the moral obligation to do God’s will and submit to His authority. This issue is so intense even in the SDA church that many now assume if you love God you have no obligation to obey and that you simply do God’s will because “you want to, not because you have to.” This is bogus and the lie of Satan that he advocated in heaven. We better get it straight and if not, “Spiritualism is at the door deluding the whole world.”