ANN reports on affirmation of creation and FB #6 enhancement

Session delegates strengthen Adventist Church’s creation focus
Motions affirm creation position, reopen Fundamental Belief for enhancement
By Mark Kellner

Ted Wilson

In the face of a society and academic community where challenges to the Seventh-day Adventist fundamental belief in a “literal, recent, six-day creation” are rampant, delegates to the 59th General Conference Session in Atlanta, Georgia, voted June 30 to reaffirm that belief and possibly strengthen the church’s fundamental belief language on that point.

“The Bible is, I believe, to be the authoritative word of God,” said Ted N. C. Wilson, Adventist world church president. “It is God’s word to us, and it is critical we accept Scripture as it reads.”
Wilson said the first eleven chapters of Genesis “are not an allegory,” but are “an authentic, true and literal explanation” of creation and events following, including a global flood.

“We’re facing a critical time,” Wilson added, where “the devil is trying to undermine belief.” While “our doctrine and our beliefs are centered in Christ and his grace,” he added, the seventh-day Sabbath — which creation supports — is “the one sign God is going to use to seal His people at the end of time.”

Wilson, quoting Ellen G. White, a pioneering co-founder of the Adventist movement, called belief in the days of creation as being of indefinite length “the worst kind of infidelity and an impeachment of [God’s] wisdom.”

The motion to both affirm the 2004 statement reaffirming belief in creation and review the fundamental belief “has my 100 percent support. We must lift up the Word of God . . . God our Creator,” Wilson said.

Following Wilson’s comments, the motion, introduced by general vice president Gerry D. Karst, went to the floor:

“Part A, I move that the [59th] session of the General Conference endorse the 2004 Annual Council statement, reaffirmation of creation. Part B, further, that the General Conference administration be requested to initiate a process to integrate Fundamental Belief Number 6 and the statement ‘A [Response to An Affirmation] of Creation’ as provided for in the 2005 General Conference Session protocol for amending a Fundamental Belief.”

In what some observers viewed as an attempt to stall the more critical aspect of the measure, Southern Adventist University president Gordon Bietz moved to divide the resolution. The motion passed, separating the affirmation of the 2004 statement from the reopening of Fundamental Belief 6 for review and rewriting, the latter to incorporate the intent of the 2004 statement.
However, both parts of the now-divided measure passed with strong votes.

“This statement [on creation] impacts almost every statement in the Fundamental Beliefs,” said E. Edward Zinke, a delegate from North America. “If we don’t accept creation, we have no reason to [exist] as a church.”

Benjamin L. Clausen, a scientist at the church’s Geoscience Research Institute in Loma Linda, California, opposed the measure to affirm the 2004 statement as worded, saying, “It is a dangerous position to base one’s belief in Scripture on science,” and that “we have no working ‘short creation’ [scientific] model and probably shouldn’t expect one.”

Another North American delegate, Donna Richards, supported the church’s historic position on creation, saying that “teaching anything else is inaccurate.” Alberto Timm from South America added his support, noting that “doctrines do not function in isolation” and that belief in creation is “important for all our doctrinal systems.”

Dan Jackson, the new North American regional president, also took to the floor to affirm the importance of Fundamental Belief 6: “My Creator is my Redeemer — the two are linked.”
World church general vice president Ella Simmons, a former provost at La Sierra University, which was recently rocked by a controversy over the alleged teaching of theistic evolution, said that while academic flexibility is important, it “must come without betraying the Word of God. There are absolutes.” She said that while it is important to hold Adventist “schools, colleges, and universities accountable” for what they teach, “we must first provide clarity” to those institutions.

Pacific Union Conference president Ricardo Graham, who also serves as chairman of the La Sierra board of trustees, supported both floor actions, saying Adventists believe “our faith informs our science,” not the other way around.

Keith Mattingly, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Andrews University, said that “how we promote the doctrine” is the issue, adding that he’s had students who’ve questioned their faith because of how the matter has been handled.

Bill Knott, editor and executive publisher of Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, urged delegates to pass both parts of the measure.

“If you support the clarity of part A before us, you must then also support the endorsement of part B. If you wish for clarity, follow through, and you achieve what this movement has always been about.”

Both measures passed by large margins, and the examination and possible revision of Fundamental Belief 6 will proceed during the next five years, with the results being presented to the next Session.

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53 thoughts on “ANN reports on affirmation of creation and FB #6 enhancement

  1. I am concerned. We have chosen to send our daughter, who is an up-coming senior at Campion Academy, to Southern because of its historical, and traditional Adventist teachings. Dr. Bietz has me worried if we are making the right decision. My daughter, wife, and I need to take this next year into serious consideration and as a matter of prayer.

    I am glad we are talking about literal interpretation of events, but WHY IS NO ONE STANDING UP AND USING THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, since Sister White has clearly stated it was given to us as “lifeblood to the soul.” While we all agree that the Spirit of Prophecy is not a new testiment of Jesus, or even additional light, it clearly spells out the truths of our God. WHY ARE WE REMAINING IGNORANT? WILL WE NOT BE FOUND WANTING ON THE SCALES OF HEAVEN?

    The sad thing is the Adventist church has truly become Laodiceia. We think our academic elite, our societies in the western world, our taste for music, our understanding of science, and our riches (did anyone get a look at the NAD mission report from the GC?) leave us in want of nothing. Contrare my dear friends. We lack everything, but we are blind.

    I am privileged to be an adult Sabbath School teacher this quarter (something I haven’t done, since I have spent my life in Cradle Roll and Kindergarten with my five children). This week’s lesson is on being called to be saints. A holy, separated, peculiar people. The lesson asks what challenges our church faces today that should be met with a definiitve, “Thus saith the Lord.” It further asks us to reflect on what sources of knowledge and support God has given us for our times. I strongly proclaim that this crisis in our church, the crisis of creation, will tear us a part, and will dismantle all our other fundamental beliefs. Thus saith the Lord, “…in six days were the heavens and earth, and sea, and all that is in them created, and [I] rested on the seventh day, wherefore [I] blessed, made holy, and sanctified, that day.” The source of knowledge God has blessed us with for a time such as this is the Bible, and the Spirit of Prophecy.

    I am glad the resolutions passed. I am disheartened that it will take until the next GC session to have results presented. There is no need for this delay.




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  2. @Michael J. Cookenmaster, Ed.D.:

    I am concerned. We have chosen to send our daughter, who is an up-coming senior at Campion Academy, to Southern because of its historical, and traditional Adventist teachings. Dr. Bietz has me worried if we are making the right decision. My daughter, wife, and I need to take this next year into serious consideration and as a matter of prayer.

    I can personally assure you that, despite the opposition of Dr. Bietz to the affirmation of creation at the GC session, SAU remains one of the strongest supporters of the SDA position on origins. The science faculty at Southern are extremely supportive of a recent literal 6-day creation and will only hire additional faculty who openly endorse the same.

    I’m not sure why there is such a disconnect between the science faculty at SAU and the president of SAU, but there evidently is…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  3. Dear Michael:

    I appreciate your concerns, and share them also. But I would not be quick to judge the theological integrity of an institution entirely by the actions of its president. Southern Adventist University has a strongly conservative faculty in many areas, and its student body is even stronger in its commitment to fundamental Adventism. I have been a strong supporter of the GYC movement, and Southern is the movement’s strongest campus within mainline Adventism. In the past several years I have attended three of the annual convocations of the South East Youth Conference (SEYC), the GYC regional satellite on that campus. I know many of the young people who attend there, and have very positive feelings about the school.

    Without question, our church is in crisis. But the positive side to what has happened this week in Atlanta is that we now have a strong world church president who is upholding our fundamental doctrines, as well as the transcendent authority of Scripture and the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. In each of his opening statements, Elder Wilson has made this clear, as I am sure he will do in his sermon on Sabbath.

    Under Wilson’s leadership, I am confident that the revision of Fundamental Belief No. 6 will place it into strict harmony with both the Bible and the writings of Ellen White on the pivotal issue of origins.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  4. I have resisted ever posting anything on this web site because the spirit of Christian charity and kindness is not evident in many of the comments. When one posts, you automatically subject yourself to character assassination and misinterpretation of your motives which some of you are doing with Gordon Bietz.

    Dr. Bietz’s comments lasted 15-20 seconds. He gave no speech. He simply asked that the motion be divided since he supported the first part (which was a reaffirmation of Creation and a belief in a 7-day 24 hour literal Creation.) He in a few seconds said he couldn’t support the second part but gave absolutely no reasons for his opposition.

    Why do readers of this web site automatically jump to all kinds of conclusions about Dr. Bietz’s commitment to a belief in a 7-day literal 24-hour day creation, which he publicly supported by saying he supported the first part of the motion, but he doesn’t think that Fundamental Belief #6 needs to be rewritten? Before coming to judgment, why wouldn’t you try to understand his reasons? I’m assuming that within the New Testament counsels those writing here have written him and are not satisfied with his response because that’s the Biblical method. The Bible does not say that with Inter blogging the rules of understanding and conciliation are absolved. Remember that his comments lasted about 15 – 20 seconds.

    Some very conservative individuals, and most of us who know him well consider Dr. Bietz to be in that category, feel the current Fundamental Belief is explicit enough since it basically reiterates what’s in Scripture. They feel that those who feel the statement isn’t explicit enough must not feel the divinely given words of Scripture are explicit enough so want to expand on what is already in the Bible. This doesn’t mean they don’t believe in the first motion. If you voted for the first motion, here is some of the language you were reaffirming —

    “1. We strongly endorse the document’s affirmation of our historic, biblical position of belief in a literal, recent, six-day Creation.”
    3. We reaffirm the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the historicity of Genesis 1-11: that the seven days of the Creation account were literal 24-hour days forming a week identical in time to what we now experience as a week; and that the Flood was global in nature.”

    The two points along with four others are what Dr. Bietz indicated his agreement with in the statement that was reaffirmed.

    I don’t understand why some of you have a problem with even sending your children to SAU because the President voted the strong affirmation of what this web site was set up to defend but doesn’t feel the doctrine needs to be rewritten. Does purity involve supporting every position being advocated as if these motions were somehow verbally inspired?

    Provide some Christian charity and understanding. It seems that with some groups in the church, if you don’t agree with every single word or idea advocated by some, you can’t be trusted with leadership. What are we coming to? This example should serve as a warning of where we are headed when we need to seek understanding.

    From personal observation, I know that in posting I’ve set myself up for a barrage of personal attacks but hope to see something else exhibited.




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  5. @Richard Osborn:

    Dr. Bietz’s comments lasted 15-20 seconds. He gave no speech. He simply asked that the motion be divided since he supported the first part (which was a reaffirmation of Creation and a belief in a 7-day 24 hour literal Creation.) He in a few seconds said he couldn’t support the second part but gave absolutely no reasons for his opposition.

    The reason why I am personally disappointed in Bietz’s proposal is because I know the history behind the effort not to make the wording of FB#6 more explicit regarding the “literal” nature of the 6-day week. Because of this there have been many, to include the administration and science professors of LSU who have interpreted the “days” of creation to really mean indefinite periods of time. It is only in this sense that they feels themselves able to claim that they are in line with all of the SDA fundamental beliefs in their teaching at LSU.

    In fact, the last president of LSU, Lawrence Geraty, along with Fritz Guy, specifically worked to maintain what they considered to be the “vagueness” of the wording of FB#6 for this very reason, to allow for a much greater diversity of opinion regarding the interpretations of “days” than has been the historical norm within the SDA Church and contrary to the very clear statements of Mrs. White on this matter. I am sure that Dr. Bietz is also well aware of this history and the reason for the efforts to continue to maintain this “vagueness” in the language of FB#6.

    Beyond this, however, my father was recently at SAU for a trust services conference. During this conference Dr. Bietz gave a presentation to his group in which he, in no uncertain terms, affirmed the position of LSU and argued in defense of their “academic freedom”. He, like Dr. Geraty, seems to have subscribed to the “big tent” view of Adventism where the Church is tolerate of teachers and preachers who believe in and even actively promote a long-age view of origins on this planet… enabling them to somehow attempt to be in line with both mainstream science as well as a semblance of Adventism.

    Personally, I don’t think this is possible. Like Clifford Goldstein, I believe that mainstream evolutionary views are so fundamentally opposed to SDA and even general Christian thinking that such views would end up undermining everything the founders of the SDA Church and Christianity in general stood for and died for.

    This is why I am disappointed with what Dr. Bietz did. Even if his speech only lasted 20 seconds, it spoke volumes to those who understand the current conflict and its history within the SDA Church…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. Richard Osborn’s comments strike a chord of sympathy with me. I believe he has a very good point. I have myself refrained from making comments at times because of a certain tone that comes across to me.

    Assuming there are legitimate reasons to be concerned by Dr. Bietz’s response, perhaps it would be well to first present the background (as has been done now by Dr. Pitman) for the concern and even then to refrain from drawing firm conclusions since we cannot read hearts.

    When we are writing it is easier to be misunderstood that we are being uncharitable when we don’t mean to be. That is another thing to keep in mind.

    It is disappointing that it will be another five years before a more explicit version of FB6 will be voted on. However, I comfort myself with the knowledge that President Wilson clearly recognizes the seriousness of the issue and has come out strongly for taking the Bible as the “authentic, true, literal” word of God; and by the fact that those who do that and allow God’s Spirit to guide them will not be misled. We must as EGW says, yield our minds to “the great I AM,” recognizing our finitude and dependence on Him to guide us. But those who are too confident in their own reasoning and mental ability will be left to believe a lie.




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  7. Dr. Osborn,

    I for one greatly appreciated your post and agree completely with your concerns. I think the issues here are very complex and support for one particular position does not negate one’s view of the broader picture.

    The one response so far was quite predictable, but I hope that others, following your plea, will be more charitable. Fortunately, there are plenty of Adventists who recognize that the church has grown considerably without 100% agreeement on the wording of every fundamental belief (in fact, most adventists have never taken the time to read every word of every “belief”), and the church will certainly move on as those who love a good fight continue to quarrel and obsess over minor details. Praise God for that.




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  8. “…….the church will certainly move on as those who love a good fight continue to quarrel and obsess over minor details. Praise God for that.” Geanna Dane

    “Minor details?” Geanna.

    The issues are hardly “minor details”. I wouldn’t want to be too critical of your views, but in light of your apparent understanding, wouldn’t the Sabbath also come under what you call a “minor detail”?

    By the way, from what I have read of some of your posts, I could only wonder if you even profess to be a SDA?

    Many, if not most Christians, and certainly bible believing SDA’s are keenly aware that the whole issue of defining God and the comprehensive teaching of salvation is based on the creation story.

    We consider Genesis one as non-negotiable concerning the literal days expressed in the account. Any deviation from this understanding will undermine the whole bible.

    You seem not to know this, but I can assure you the devil does. And hopefully, you will re-evaluate your trite attitude about the importance of this issue and see the need for an intense defense of the scriptural record.

    If not, I think it will certainly affect your attitude concerning the Sabbath in the future, if it hasn’t already.

    Bill Sorensen




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  9. Posted today at Spectrum from Larry Geraty:

    Several times it has been implied in speeches and conversations during this week at the General Conference Session that those involved in drafting the church’s Fundamental Beliefs left #6 (the one on Creation) “open” and “ambiguous” because they were trying to leave room for theistic evolution.

    In fact, this was specifically stated in Ed Zinke’s Yes, Creation! presentation on “Theistic Evolution and the End of Adventism.” In my opinion, as one of the drafters of Fundamental Belief #6 in 1980, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Those of us teaching at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in those days were not even incipient theistic evolutionists, nor did we ever think of trying to make room for such in the statement on creation. When this statement was being discussed on the floor of the General Conference Session, with Elder N. C. Wilson,* president, presiding, there were suggestions from some delegates on the floor supportive of the move to include more restrictive language, i.e. “literal 24-hour days,” etc. However, some delegates resisted in favor of just quoting the language of Genesis 1 to which all delegates could agree, not interpretive language that might cause dissension.

    The aim at the time that the belief on Creation was written was to employ biblical phraseology and thus unify believers in the biblical view of creation. Doesn’t it seem strange for people to argue that biblical language is “open, ambiguous, and in need of revision”? As John Brunt got up to say at the floor mic (but time was called before he had a chance to speak), “One would think that the Bible, mighty as the sword, could withstand delegates tampering with its wording.”

    Evidently many Seventh-day Adventists- including most EducateTruthers- feel the Bible can’t be taken at face value and therefore more words must be added.




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  10. Geanna, it is not those of us who believe the bible is clear enough in itself who want to “add words”. It is the liberal progressives who “add words” that are so contrary to the obvious statements and meaning of scripture, that some comments must be made to point out the obvious and unambiguous meaning.

    “The church” in history has always made some simple comments on scripture just as Jesus did. Not to obscure the obvious, but to point it out.

    This statement is meaningless “One would think that the Bible, mighty as the sword, could withstand delegates tampering with its wording.”

    Those who made this statement were the ones who wanted to obscure its obvious and true meaning. Thus, hopeing to cover their duplicity by claiming to support what the bible says while all the time “adding words” that were so obviously contrary to the original intent we are bound to doubt their honesty and integrity in their statements.

    John Brunt is apparently part of the present California resistance to clear biblical exhortation. LLBN is suspect as being far less than we would expect a SDA television channel would be in representing the true SDA faith. I have little confidence in their ministry and its intent.

    Bill Sorensen




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  11. Richard Osborn said……

    “Provide some Christian charity and understanding. It seems that with some groups in the church, if you don’t agree with every single word or idea advocated by some, you can’t be trusted with leadership. What are we coming to? This example should serve as a warning of where we are headed when we need to seek understanding.

    From personal observation, I know that in posting I’ve set myself up for a barrage of personal attacks but hope to see something else exhibited.”

    Well, Richard, if people have lost confidence in church leadership, it is because they have brought it on themselves by duplicity and double talk on many issues for years. As Solomon said, “The curse causeless shall not come.”

    I am more than a little wary of what is said since on many occasions, the wording of statements were for the purpose of patronizing a less definitive statement for the sake of unity. As a typical example, when the heavenly sanctuary is discussed, they deliberately avoided affirming a literal two apartment ministry and opted to simply call it a two phase ministry. All this to try and keep the Dr. Ford crowd happy and maintain unity at all cost.

    None the less, the heavenly temple has two distinct and literal apartments as clearly stated by Paul and EGW affirms many times in her testimonies.

    If the new president is to be truly loyal to bible Adventism, he has only begun to affirm the historic faith, and if this the extent of his affirmation, it is far less than necessary to bring about any genuine reform in the church.

    I am optimistically hopeful that we will soon see in the coming months more than an affirmation of the true biblical creation account. If I am skeptical, it is because historically in the last 3 or 4 decades, some lip service has been given, with little dynamic action to cleanse the church.

    One more example was how Questions on Doctrine was less definitive than necessary when explaining how the SDA church is “the” remnant church. You don’t have to state a falsehood to tell a lie, all you have to do is be less definitive in the truth in such a way you leave a false impression of what the truth really is.

    And this is what many want to see in the SDA explanation of creation and the true biblical teaching. Because of this, a clear and definitive statement must be made in such a way that no ambiguity is possible.

    We must remember this important point, true Christian witnessing is simply pointing out the obvious in scripture. This must be done because sinful man will always obscure the obvious points and undermine the bible and its message.

    We see in history that some clear and obvious givens must eventually be affirmed and declared by the church community because the obvious has been denied. A classic example is when the Reformation declared the bible as the only and final rule of faith and practice for the Christian community.
    This was no “new truth”. It was known and accept as an objective given until Rome set aside the bible and opted for a spirit ethic to take the place of the bible.

    In principle, this is what we oppose today as we see some attempt to obscure the bible and claim it is not clear and definitive enough in itself and we must trust “scholars” and “science” to tell us what the bible means and how it is to be applied.

    True believers reject such pretentions as Satanic and spiritualistic in its final meaning and appliction.

    The final point being, if leaders are not trusted by laity in the church, they have no one to blame but themselves. The fiasco at LSU has been going on for years. Where were the “leaders” when this issue should have been dealt with years ago?

    Why did it take Educate Truth to bring this to the attention of the church community and now hopefully we will see some dynamic action in dealing with the issue. Or, can we conclude, like the Kellogg fiasco, the situation is beyond redemption? And if this is true, we need to know it so we can act accordingly.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  12. @Geanna Dane:

    The literal words of the Bible quoted in our current FB#6 do not include everything the Bible has to say on the subject. The Bible is a large book and our FB#6 is necessarily short. But there are a few more words on the subject we could quote from the Bible to clarify it, and maybe a few we need to add that are not specifically in one place in the Bible.

    For example, adding the word “literal” should not be necessary, but since people don’t “literally” believe the Bible any more, it is.

    Adding the word “consecutive” should not be necessary (it is obvious from the context, “The evening and the morning were the first day”, etc.) But it is, because people want to reinterpret the basic meaning of language to fit their theories about a long age of the earth.

    Specifying that creation was “recent” (even “about 6000 years ago”) should not be necessary, but it is because to show the evidence backing that would require quoting large portions of genealogies and histories in the Bible. We should simply provide references on which that word is based.

    So nobody wants to add to scripture, but we do need to add words to clarify our statement of belief.

    God bless,

    Warren




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  13. The aim at the time that the belief on Creation was written was to employ biblical phraseology and thus unify believers in the biblical view of creation. Doesn’t it seem strange for people to argue that biblical language is “open, ambiguous, and in need of revision”? As John Brunt got up to say at the floor mic (but time was called before he had a chance to speak), “One would think that the Bible, mighty as the sword, could withstand delegates tampering with its wording.”

    Evidently many Seventh-day Adventists- including most EducateTruthers- feel the Bible can’t be taken at face value and therefore more words must be added.  

    To claim that a more explicit Adventist expression of the doctrine of creation as the church has always understood it would do injury to the Bible itself, is indeed an under-handed defense of science falsely so-called. This is in essence saying that the specifically Sabbatarian understanding of a 24 hr. contiguous 7 day recent creation is unbiblical at worst, and ‘arguing from silence’ at best. Isn’t this exactly what Geraty implies with this statement?

    “…a seven literal historical, consecutive, contiguous 24-hour day week of creation 6,000 years ago which is NOT in Genesis no matter how much the fundamentalist wing of the church would like to see it there.”

    Don’t his own un-biblical and non-SOP roots show clearly when he also makes such a statement as this?

    “Was the Genesis flood worldwide? There is no evidence for that as of now, but it certainly covered the world known to the author… It is the opinion of most experts, and little reasonable doubt remains (although some would dispute this) that the events of Genesis 6-8 must have taken place within a limited though indeed a vast area, covering not the entire globe, but the scene of the human story of the previous chapters.”

    The 2004 affirmation states:

    “2. We affirm the historic Seventh-day Adventist understanding of Genesis 1 that life on earth was created in six literal days and is of recent origin.”

    and:

    “4. We affirm the biblical account of a catastrophic Flood, an act of God’s judgment that affected the whole planet, as an important key to understanding earth history.”

    Let’s be honest, Geraty’s primary reason in continuing to support the current wording of belief #6 is not because it is the most biblical (He is proven to go contrary to the Biblical and Spirit of Prophecy position when it suits him). It is because it provides a tent within which evolutionists (and those that question the traditional Adventist interpretation of Genesis like himself) can feel safe.

    “I am just challenging that that is the only way to understand the Biblical text.”

    The 2004 Affirmation of Creation stated this:

    ” 4. Concern has been expressed regarding what some see as ambiguity in the phrase “In six days” found in the Church’s statement of belief on creation. It is felt that the intended meaning (that the six-day creation described in Genesis was accomplished in a literal and historical week) is unmentioned. This situation allows for uncertainty about what the Church actually believes. Further, it provides room for other explanations of creation to be accommodated in the text. There is a desire for the voice of the Church to be heard in bringing added clarity to what is really meant in Fundamental Belief #6, Creation.”

    The reason that belief #6 must be revised more explicitly is not because the church must add to the Bible’s supposedly open-ended testimony in order to prop up a potentially faulty traditional interpretation which could just as easily be interpreted contrary-wise. It is because those within the Adventist church who seek to nullify, undermine, and misrepresent the most foundationally Bible-based Sabbatarian Adventist position on Creation must be prevented from continuing to do so.

    No Sabbatarian in their right mind should harbor the idea that the ever so Biblically literal, 24 hr. weekly Sabbath day, commemorates indefinite ambiguous time periods harmonious with long-age evolutionism. None in their right mind would reasonably oppose a declaration that more specifically expresses the literal Bible-based Sabbatarian belief. Unless of course they want to entertain and support a contrary infidelity. To say that such an obviously needed revision would do an injustice to the Bible, only further reflects ‘the worst form of infidelity.’




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  14. Bill, we have been informed repeatedly by Geanna that she is SDA, keeps the Sabbath and believes in a literal 6-day creation week in the relatively recent past–so why do you still refuse to believe her? I happen to agree fully with Richard Osborn’s concerns–even though I, too, interpret the Genesis account as conservatively as any of you. I wish you guys could be less eager to condemn others.




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  15. Dick,

    At most you probably ought to criticize the posters here for taking the news story at face value: “In what some observers viewed as an attempt to stall the more critical aspect of the measure, Southern Adventist University president Gordon Bietz moved to divide the resolution.”

    Thus, it isn’t as if some of the posters here arrived at a conclusion that no one else arrived at.




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  16. Eddie says:
    July 6, 2010 “Bill, we have been informed repeatedly by Geanna that she is SDA, keeps the Sabbath and believes in a literal 6-day creation week in the relatively recent past–so why do you still refuse to believe her? I happen to agree fully with Richard Osborn’s concerns–even though I, too, interpret the Genesis account as conservatively as any of you. I wish you guys could be less eager to condemn others.” Eddie(Quote)

    I guess my question to Geanna is this, Eddie, “Why is she so anxious to support apostacy?” The old saying may not be true, but it conveys a point none the less, “Birds of a feather, flock together.”

    Would she be as quick to defend those who advocated Sunday keeping if and when it could occur in Adventism? If not, what’s the difference?

    EGW has well said…..

    When there are among God’s people those who have departed from the path of humble obedience, those who have exalted self, those who have united with Satan in accusing and condemning the men appointed of God to be ministers of salvation, shall we keep silence for fear of hurting their feelings? When there are men in the church who love riches more than righteousness, and who stand ready to take advantage of their fellow men by unjust dealings, shall we make no protest? And when men standing in the position of leaders and teachers work under the power of spiritualistic ideas and sophistries, shall we keep silent, for fear of injuring their influence, while souls are being beguiled? Satan will use every advantage that he can obtain to cause souls to become beclouded and perplexed in regard to the work of the church, in regard to the word of God, and in regard to the words of warning which He has given through the testimonies of His Spirit, to guard His little flock from the subtleties of the enemy. {SpTB02 9.2}
    When men stand out in defiance against the counsel of God, they are warring against God. Is it right
    10
    for those connected with such ones to treat them as if they were in perfect harmony with them, making no difference between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not? Though they be ministers or medical missionaries, they have dishonored Christ before the forces of the loyal and the disloyal. Open rebuke is necessary, to prevent others from being ensnared. {SpTB02 9.3}
    To believe that evil must not be condemned because this would condemn those who practise the evil, is to act in favor of falsehood. If, after a man has been given many cautions and warnings, to save him from his hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong, he takes offense, and refuses to accept the message graciously sent him from heaven, and puts aside the reproof of the Holy Spirit, his heart and conscience become hardened, and he is in great darkness. {SpTB02 10.1}
    The enmity that God has put in our hearts against deceptive practises, must be kept alive, because these practises endanger the souls of those who do not hate them. All deceptive dealings, all untruthfulness regarding the Father and the Son, by which their characters are presented in a false light, are to be recognized as grievous sins. There are those who have become apt scholars in this deceptive work. Those who can not see the danger that is threatening the Lord’s heritage because of these things will soon feel no enmity against the arch deceiver. Those who stand in positions of trust in our institutions are to show constant vigilance, else they will be taken captive. In words and deportment, in all their business transactions, they are to show the exactitude that will win the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” {SpTB02 10.2}
    It should now be clearly understood that we are not really helping those who are determined to do evil, when we show them respect, and keep our words
    11
    of reproof for those with whom the disaffected one is at enmity. A grave mistake has been and is being made in this matter. Shall the servants of Jehovah, into whose heart He puts enmity against every evil work, be assailed as not being right when they call evil evil, and good good? Those who feel so very peaceable in regard to the works of the men who are spoiling the faith of the people of God, are guided by a delusive sentiment. {SpTB02 10.3}
    There is to be a constant conflict between good and evil. Those who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit’s power are to strive with every power of their being to snatch the prey from the seductive influences of men who refuse to obey the word of God, whether they be in high places or in low. Christ’s property is not to pass out of His control into the control of the children of darkness. {SpTB02 11.1}
    If this matter were rightly understood and closely guarded, God’s servants would feel a continual burden of responsibility to counterwork the efforts of the men who do not know what they are about, because they are enchanted by the delusive allurements of Satan. When God’s people are fully awake to the danger of the hour, and work fully on Christ’s side, there will be seen a sharp contrast between their course and that of those who are saying, “Good Lord, and good devil,” and we shall see much firmer and more decided work done to counterwork the schemes of satanic agencies.” {SpTB02 11.2}

    Never was a statement more appropriate and applicable to a given situation than the one we are dealing with concerning LSU and the conflict between truth and error.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  17. Eddie, thank you for defending me. Actually I had not read Sorensen’s diatribes and don’t plan on doing so. I’ve made my positions clear enough and owe him no explanations.




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  18. To Bob Pickle —

    As much as I respect journalists (my daughter was a prize-winning newspaper reporter in California after graduating from PUC before going to law school), they don’t always get it right, especially if they don’t ask the individual about their motivations. The “Adventist Review” author suggested a motive to Dr. Bietz’s division of the motion. They never asked him why he proposed a division. He sat in the same place everyday so it would have been easy for them to find him to ask about his motivations but news reporters work on deadline. Instead they surmised something that was completely wrong. Another person on this web site has suggested that Dr. Bietz was just trying to protect his friends who would lose their jobs with a rewritten doctrine. This conclusion came as the result of his father attending a trust meeting where Dr. Bietz made statements about his alma mater. So we have two theories here — it was an attempt to stall or it was to protect friends. What if he sincerely feels the current statement based on the Bible doesn’t need to be changed while voting for the very conservative reaffirmation statement on Creation which is very strongly written in every detail? And then we end up with parents wondering if they can trust their students to attend SAU. There can be sincere differences of opinion between loyal Adventists on the proper methods for carrying out what each thinks will be best for the church. What kind of a person needs to ascribe motives without even finding out from the individual his/her motivations, especially when the Bible admonishes us not to judge others?




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  19. @Richard Osborn:

    What kind of a person needs to ascribe motives without even finding out from the individual his/her motivations, especially when the Bible admonishes us not to judge others?

    The Bible admonishes us both to judge and not to judge others at the same time. While only God can accurately judge the heart, He has left certain forms of judgment up to us regarding the running and maintenance of His Church here on Earth. We are called to judge the correctness of ideas and actions as far as they are in or out of line with what we feel we have been given as “present truth”; and to act accordingly to correct errors within the Church.

    I think it is quite clear that many in the SDA Church today, especially in areas of higher education, are using the intended vagueness of the authors of the current language of FB#6 to promote various theistic evolutionary theories and discount the historical SDA position on a literal Creation week.

    Lawrence Geraty, along with Fritz Guy, both publicly admit that this was in fact their motivation when drafting the current language of this doctrinal position. Gordon Bietz and Ben Clausen are well aware of this motivation and the current use of the vague language of FB#6 by those at LSU who are actively undermining the validity of a literal interpretation of Genesis in their classrooms – in no uncertain terms.

    In this light, it is very difficult not to be at least somewhat disappointed in the action of Bietz and Clausen at the GC – regardless of their motivation. I’m sure their motives are very good indeed. However, in my opinion, they both made a non-trivial mistake that, regardless of their motivations, will reflect negatively on GRI and SAU in the eyes of those who understand the background behind the current conflict with LSU.

    This is especially unfortunate since I know that the biology department at SAU is very supportive of and actively promotes the scientific validity of a literal interpretation of the Genesis account while, at the same time, providing their students with a good understanding of the modern evolutionary view of origins. The same is true of several other members of GRI.

    If Dr. Bietz or Dr. Clausen wish to clarify their respective positions, and help out SAU and the GRI at the same time, they know very well how to do so. The problem is that Beitz, in particular, is in full support of LSU and opposes any effort to limit the “academic freedom” of those at LSU who by no means support and are still continuing to oppose the SDA view on origins. If this is not a true reflection of Dr. Bietz’s position, as reported to me by my father and supported by Bietz’s actions at the GC, I’d be very glad to hear him say otherwise. The same is true for Dr. Clausen.

    The same is true for you (are you really not allowed by WASC to make statements concerning the “academic freedom” of teachers with regard to the stated goals and ideas of the institution for which they work?).

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  20. @Richard Osborn:

    Dr. Bietz’s comments lasted 15-20 seconds. He gave no speech. He simply asked that the motion be divided since he supported the first part (which was a reaffirmation of Creation and a belief in a 7-day 24 hour literal Creation.) He in a few seconds said he couldn’t support the second part but gave absolutely no reasons for his opposition.

    I agree with your observation. It is unclear as to what Dr. Bietz was arguing against in the second motion given his strong affirmation of the statement on creation. One possible POV he may have had is that since the GC session was voting the affirmation statement – it already had the force of the authority of that body and did not need to be also included into FB#6.

    In any case – I don’t know that his comments can be taken as rejecting a literal 6 day creation. They may be directed more at how a test of fellowship might be used some day in the future regarding Fundamental Beliefs.

    A reading of Questions on Doctrines – page 44-45 makes it appear that we discipline and disfellowship based on holding or not holding to the full set of Fundamental Beliefs.

    At any rate – I am just guessing about his reasons since his statement on that point was so brief.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. Sean,

    If you’re interested in the WASC standards dealing with academic freedom, feel free to go to our public web site where our “Handbook of Accreditation” is posted —

    http://www.wascsenior.org/findit/files/forms/Handbook_of_Accreditation_2008_with_hyperlinks.pdf .

    In these documents you will find the Standards and Criteria for Review with guidelines that visiting teams and our Commission will use to evaluate whether a university which voluntarily applies for regional accreditation meets.




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  22. @Richard Osborn:

    http://www.wascsenior.org/findit/files/forms/Handbook_of_Accreditation_2008_with_hyperlinks.pdf .

    In these documents you will find the Standards and Criteria for Review with guidelines that visiting teams and our Commission will use to evaluate whether a university which voluntarily applies for regional accreditation meets.

    I looked in your document for how WASC expects “academic freedom” to co-exist with certain specific goals and ideals of the organization that owns the school, but am still a bit confused.

    For example, several Catholic schools have let professors go who opposed Catholic doctrines in or even outside of class. A recent case of a math teacher in a Catholic school who questioned the existence of God on a public website comes to mind. She was fired for this ( Link ). Would this case be viewed by WASC as a violation of “academic freedom”? – especially given that she wasn’t even a religion professor at the school?

    There is also the fairly recent case of the well known evangelical scholar, Bruce K. Waltke, who was forced to leave his position at the Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando) because of his stand on evolution ( Link ). Is this a violation of “academic freedom” according to WASC?

    I apologize, but it is pretty difficult for me to tell from the document you referenced. It seems like this is about as good a definition of “academic freedom” as I could find in your document:

    Institutional policies and practices that affirm that those in the academy are free to share their convictions and responsible conclusions with their colleagues and students in their teaching and in their writing.

    What is a “responsible conclusion”? Who defines this term and upon what basis? What rights and protection does the institution have against the attacks of a professor against the primary goals and/or ideals of the institution? Does WASC only protect the professor’s rights? – or does WASC also consider the ideals and goals of the institution as well?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  23. You also need to review the WASC CFRs dealing with institutional autonomy which are important.

    The WASC Commission which includes about 1/3 of its members from faith based institutions will interpret the meaning of these Standards and Criteria based on each individual situation taking into strong consideration the recommendations of peer site visiting teams. The Chair of the WASC Commission who just finished his term was Provost of Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the nation’s premiere evangelical seminaries. Others on the Commission have a good understanding and background of faith based institutions. You can see bios of each Commissioner on the WASC web site.




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  24. Dick,

    The author of the article reported what some observers believed Bietz’ effort to be. The author stopped short of saying that his effort really was that. So I don’t think the author was incorrect as long as some observers did indeed have that opinion.

    Some years ago I read an article I think in the Review but maybe somewhere else in which I recall you stating something like this: our college teachers are to tear down what the parents have built, and then be supportive as the students build back what the students themselves choose to build.

    If parents have taught their children to strongly believe in a recent creation in six actual days with a world-wide flood since, do you believe that our college professors have the responsibility to undermine that foundation? Or have I misunderstood all these years what your intended thought in that article was?




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  25. Bob,

    So do you approve of journalism in a church setting that just passes on the idle gossip and speculation of individuals on such a consequential issue without actually checking with the individual?

    I’ve never argued that college teachers should tear down what parents have taught their children. I’ve referenced how faith development takes place in young people by citing the work of Christian psychologists. I’m not sure which Adventist Review article those ideas would be included within but here is a section of a paper I was asked to give on academic freedom by the organizers of the last International Faith and Science Conference held in Denver, CO in 2004. At the conclusion of that conference, the reaffirmation of creation document voted by the most recent G.C. Session was developed. Here is a section of the paper I gave which you may be referring to and has been included in other articles by me —

    “The worry for some administrators has been that if college students are introduced to ideas contrary to traditional Adventism they may lose their faith and ultimately leave the church as a result. While a few examples might be cited where this has occurred, I would argue that more young people have left the church because they were not properly prepared to leave the confines of a sheltered Adventist campus by not being exposed to the wide variety of views they will experience upon departing from our campuses. Robert Schwindt, retired Professor of Psychology at Columbia Union College, suggested to me more than thirty years ago that he felt more left because of the positive relationships students developed with esteemed professors in secular graduate school programs of non-Adventist universities. They had been ingrained as one of the marketing tools for Adventist higher education that only in an Adventist college would you find caring, loving professors, but found just as many in a non-Adventist setting who had good values and showed them great personal interest. Adventist researchers such as Roger Dudley have discovered that relationship issues in local congregations and a lack of intentional involvement by congregations of young adults is a much greater factor in young adults leaving the church than disagreement with Adventist doctrines. Both Valuegenesis studies led by Bailey Gillespie have found little disagreement with the church’s doctrines.

    Parker Palmer, one of this country’s most profound proponents of the role of spirituality in education, also emphasizes the crucial role of relationships—

    ‘We will find truth not in the fine points of our theologies or in our organizational allegiances but in the quality of our relationships—with each other and with the whole created world. . . . Relationships—not facts and reasons—are the key to reality; as we enter those relationships, knowledge of reality is unlocked.’

    If these findings are accurate, what responsibility do I have as an administrator to create an environment in which faith will increase, not only during the undergraduate years, but on a long term basis as graduates go to graduate or professional school or enter the work force?

    We also need to focus on how faith development takes place which means allowing a lot of room for students to explore the wide variety of viewpoints they will encounter in the world. This should take place with a philosophy of the Adventist professor being “the guide on the side rather than the sage on stage,” to use an expression from teachers of pedagogy. Teachers are on a similar journey of discovering truth, learning along with their students. Of course, they bring more wisdom and experience which should be given great credence in the classroom.

    Several psychological models on faith development have proven to be convincing to me in creating a climate on a college campus. If we don’t allow space or freedom for an open exploration to take place among Adventist students, we end up with too many identity foreclosed graduates as compared to identity achieved young people to use a psychological model that grows out of the work of James Marcia who based his work on Erik Erickson’s theories. Identity foreclosed students have simply held fast to the uncritical patterns of thought and behavior they have been raised with. They are ‘low in personal autonomy and self-directedness and high in their need for social approval.’ Put them in an unfriendly or unfamiliar environment and their whole system collapses. As Marcia writes about them, they are ‘rigid and brittle . . . like glass, if you push at it in one way, it is very strong; if you push at it in a different way it shatters.’ They are also ‘less ‘principled’ in their moral reasoning and decision-making.’ Marcia has discovered that many students in Christian colleges are ‘identity foreclosed’ in contrast to other student populations. An identity achieved student is ‘rooted in personal and critical exploration of alternative goals and beliefs’–the result of the kind of exploration Ellen White encourages.

    Erickson also suggests that late adolescence between 17 and 23 years of age represents a time of “moratorium” for many students as they ‘explore, test, and critique their culture.’ In this setting, religion which has usually been mandated by families is one of the first areas questioned. He suggests that few of these students have had the kind of life crises that promote genuine religious involvement. ‘Religion becomes an option rather than an obligation.’

    Lawrence Kohlberg’s model of growth from pre-conventional to conventional to post-conventional moral reasoning which at its highest level views ‘morality as a set of universal principles for making choices among alternative courses of action’ has been studied in terms of how much growth occurs during college. In research reported in Educational Record, Steven McNeel discovered that the smallest gains in growth toward principled moral reasoning between the freshman and senior year took place at Bible colleges with the largest gains at liberal arts colleges. He also found evidence that off-campus learning experiences such as community service and the frequency of out-of-class contact with faculty may have a beneficial effect on improving these results.

    In considering these models, we must recognize the maturity level of students. You would not expose a freshman student to the same kinds of questions and materials as a senior or graduate student. The maturity level of the student must be considered.”

    In my paper, I went on to develop several paragraphs on the importance of developing a Christian worldview.

    In reflecting on my experience at Monterey Bay Academy in the early 1960s as a student, they did everything by the book — everyone had to work, we learned about Creation and evolution was always belittled, EGW was upheld in strong ways, the cafeteria was vegetarian and no caffeineited drinks were allowed anywhere, worship took place morning and night, music standards were high, dating rules were strict with boys on one side and girls on the other during Sabbath services, white shirts were required on Sabbath, and the list could go on. If you wanted a “blue print” academy, MBA was it. I loved it and it made a big difference in my life. But out of a class of around 80, I think 7 or 8 of us are still practicing Adventists. I know this isn’t the topic of this web site but somehow the feeling is conveyed that if we could only get all of our young people to believe in a 7-day 24-hour literal Creation week, we would have solid and faithful church members. Based on my own personal experience, I’m not sure. As an academy principal at Takoma Academy, we also had strict rules on jewelry and dress and only taught what is being advocated on this web site. The results aren’t a lot better. Perhaps there are more important aspects of our church that we need to worry about.




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  26. Dick,

    I think a journalist can state the fact that some observers saw something a certain way if there really were observers who saw it that way. People’s perceptions can be reported as part of the news.

    Wish I could remember more clearly the wording of what I recall reading. I’ll do some looking to see I can find any notes or quotes.

    There are other subjects other than creation that are important. A NT class taught at Keene in the late ’80’s used a textbook that did not look at the NT text as authoritative. Dirk Anderson told me that at the time the book made him ill. I cannot rule out that the seeds of his later apostasy may have been planted by that class.

    Our schools are helping to mold young minds for eternity. We must be careful in how we do that, for God will call us to account.




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  27. @Richard Osborn:

    As an academy principal at Takoma Academy, we also had strict rules on jewelry and dress and only taught what is being advocated on this web site. The results aren’t a lot better. Perhaps there are more important aspects of our church that we need to worry about.

    There certainly are many other important things that our Church needs to worry about, but this does not mean that our Church should no longer worry about promoting and actively upholding its fundamental doctrines – doctrinal truths discovered and preserved at the cost of many fortunes and lives so that we might have the benefit of their understanding. The current secular society in which we live is naturally attractive to many young people. Interest in religion and God in general is waning in this country and in European countries as well.

    In his book, “Already Gone” Ken Ham points out that young people see the church as simply a nice social club that really doesn’t stand for anything anymore – at least not anything worth sacrificing for much less dying for. Most denominations even question the literal reality of most of the Bible stories – presenting them more as allegories or moral fables.

    For me and most other people, young and old, the idea that the Bible stories aren’t really true or reliable throws out a great deal of meaning that used to be present in Christianity. No one wants to be seen as ignorant or stupid. The opinions and conclusions of mainstream scientists have largely replaced the Bible as the only really reliable source of truth. Churches are therefore rapidly becoming hardly more than glorified social clubs without real conviction or a sense of purpose or of belonging to something important – a movement that is worth risking life and limb to support.

    If you really want the Church to grow, really grow in a vital way, offer something that is worth dying for. Offer something that produces real meaning in life and a solid hope for the future. The promotion of higher critical ideas of the Bible and mainstream evolutionary concepts that strike at the very heart of biblical credibility will end up eroding real growth for any Christian church. Those Churches that are experiencing the most solid growth are those Churches that actually stand for something – where people actually believe what they say they believe and are willing to sacrificing everything for what they see as extremely valuable truths.

    In the final analysis, interest in God and overcoming self cannot be forced and success should not be based on the numbers. After all, looking just at the numbers Noah wasn’t very successful at all. Therefore, what’s the point in watering down truth in order to increase numbers? Numbers are up to God and His Holy Spirit. Our job is to stand for those important truths that God has given us to improve and make our lives more hopeful and joyful – truths which many have sacrificed a great deal to deliver to us; even their very lives.

    These Gospel truths, these precious foundational doctrines of our Church, should not be taken lightly. I myself was brought under the threat of court martial twice while in the Army for refusing to attend unnecessary classes on Sabbath. One time Admiral Barry Black, the highest ranking chaplain in the armed forces at the time, offered to come and defend me and the case was dropped when this was made known. I would not have been able to stand against such pressure if I didn’t believe in the reality of the literal nature of the Genesis account. But, because of my carefully studied confidence in the reality of my religion, it was a thrilling experience for me to be able to stand for God in such situations – a true honor.

    This same sort of call and confidence in the Word is needed to keep our young people in the Church; to successfully compete with the innumerable attractions that the secular world has to offer to distract the mind from the most important issues and decisions of life.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  28. Richard, Your [comment that] “there are better things to be concerned about” is distracting. [Literal six-day] Creation is a fundamental doctrine of the Bible and deserves to be treated as very important!




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  29. Ron,

    You put quotations around something I didn’t write. I wrote — “Perhaps there are more important aspects of our church that we need to worry about.” You write, “there are better things to be concerned about.” This illustrates how difficult communication is with many on this web site. You didn’t even quote me correctly when citing a blog just a few above where you are writing. I didn’t say that this doctrine isn’t important. I suggested in a subtle difference from your quotation that there may be more important aspects of church life that should be focused upon if we want to have better retention of our young people which is a major problem in the church and has been for the last forty years. I get this feeling that some are so obsessed by this one issue that they think it will resolve all the problems in our church and bring revival, reformation, and purification. Don’t forget that when I was going through academy in the 1960s no one suggested anything other than a 7-day 24-hour literal creation week and we all laughed at the evolutionists who suggested we descended from monkies and we doubted the existence of dinosaurs. There was no disagreement with any of the doctrinal positions of the church. None of us had ever heard of the historical critical method of studying the Bible. We were taught that EGW came close to verbal inspiration. We did everything right including our strong belief in your view of Creation. And yet the results? I’ve already cited them for my class. All of the doctrines were treated as “very important” but in the end it didn’t transform my class members into active Adventists into adult life. If you consider a sincere question about how we can do better even when we were taught and believed the fundamental doctrines “distracting,” then we have different concerns about the Salvation of our young people.




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  30. @Geanna Dane:

    Evidently many Seventh-day Adventists- including most EducateTruthers- feel the Bible can’t be taken at face value and therefore more words must be added.

    The Bible can be taken at face value given its entire context. Individual phrases, taken out of context, can be quite ambiguous and need context for clarification. Even though they are taken from the Bible, biblical passages do not stand alone. Their intended meaning is dependent upon other contributing passages and the overall context in which the passage was found.

    Clearly then, taken in context, the obvious intent of the author of the first passages of Genesis was to convey the idea that the creation week was a literal week. This is quite clear to most Hebrew scholars, conservative and liberal. Even Lawrence Geraty supports this conclusion.

    So, the effort to clarify the wording of SDA FB#6 by adding the word “literal” is by no means going beyond the obviously intended in-context-meaning of the biblical text itself.

    Therefore, the resistance to adding this clarifying word to FB#6 by Geraty and others is based entirely on the effort to pacify those who would interpret Genesis in an allegorical manner, contrary to its clearly intended meaning, in order to try to somehow maintain the Genesis narrative while incorporating the evolutionary beliefs of mainstream scientists at the same time.

    The SDA Church need not be open to this sort of pacifist effort – to pacify those with ambiguous language who hold beliefs that fundamentally oppose what we consider to be a vitally important Gospel message of hope as a Pillar of our SDA Faith; and even science.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. “somehow the feeling is conveyed that if we could only get all of our young people to believe in a 7-day 24-hour literal Creation week, we would have solid and faithful church members…. Perhaps there are more important aspects of our church that we need to worry about.”  

    Richard, How’s this? The literal creation story is a foundational principle in our SDA Church. Maybe it’s not “important” enough for you, but for millions of bible-believing SDA’s it IS! I say, as Shane and Sean seem to believe, that is IS worth fighting for. [edit]




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  32. Ron,

    I never wrote that it’s not important but have suggested there may be other issues that warrant greater attention for keeping our young people engaged in and loyal to the church. I’ve noticed silence on your part in addressing this bigger problem for the church which I’ve attempted to ask two times in a sincere way. Without making insults or derogatory comments, go back and read some of my earlier posts and try to suggest some solutions with a tone of positive solution finding.




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  33. EGW said…..

    “To believe that evil must not be condemned because this would condemn those who practise the evil, is to act in favor of falsehood. If, after a man has been given many cautions and warnings, to save him from his hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong, he takes offense, and refuses to accept the message graciously sent him from heaven, and puts aside the reproof of the Holy Spirit, his heart and conscience become hardened, and he is in great darkness.” {SpTB02 10.1}

    It is more than apparent that EGW has a deep concern that people may become too “cautious” in condemning evil. She has no interest in “it’s nice to be nice” when evil infiltrates the Christians community. The devil will use every advantage we are willing to give him. And if he can convince us not to condemn evil for fear of “hurting someone’s feelings” when it is obvious they are blatantly attacking truth, EGW expresses the need to demand and be confrontational of evil in these circumstances.

    Notice how the liberals want to quiet down the confrontation and claim it is the “Christian thing to do.”

    My comment is, don’t be deceived by the advocates of Satan’s tactics who have no spiritual backbone and hope to “wimp out” their obligation and responsibility to defend the faith.

    Jesus never followed one singular format in witnessing. For the oppressed and down troden, he spoke words of encouragement and hope and faith. For the hypocrites, he demanded accountability in no uncertain language.

    This is no time for patronizing, condecending attitudes when those who attack truth continue to lie and endeavor to turn our attention to other issues. And their followers cry “love, peace, and latitude in beliefs”.

    EGW goes on to say…..

    “There are those who have become apt scholars in this deceptive work. Those who can not see the danger that is threatening the Lord’s heritage because of these things will soon feel no enmity against the arch deceiver. Those who stand in positions of trust in our institutions are to show constant vigilance, else they will be taken captive. In words and deportment, in all their business transactions, they are to show the exactitude that will win the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” {SpTB02 10.2}
    It should now be clearly understood that we are not really helping those who are determined to do evil, when we show them respect, and keep our words
    11
    of reproof for those with whom the disaffected one is at enmity. A grave mistake has been and is being made in this matter. Shall the servants of Jehovah, into whose heart He puts enmity against every evil work, be assailed as not being right when they call evil evil, and good good? Those who feel so very peaceable in regard to the works of the men who are spoiling the faith of the people of God, are guided by a delusive sentiment.” {SpTB02 10.3}

    Those of you who feel the need to stand by the historic faith, need not be intimidated by those liberals who cry “foul” when the evil is exposed.

    Meroz was cursed by God because he did nothing in defense of truth and sat complacently by while the evil increased.

    If “the church” is to survive and accomplish God’s goal and mission, it must stand and deliver without compromise.

    She also warns about people becoming to conservative in defense of truth. They don’t want to offend. In some cases, perhaps more than we know, people don’t want to bear the cross and hope to avoid the confrontation for a life of ease and complacency. All in the name of “loving and kind”.

    Such “kindness” is the worst sort of evil. And in the end, is worthless for the defense of truth.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  34. Ron,I never wrote that it’s not important but have suggested there may be other issues that warrant greater attention for keeping our young people engaged in and loyal to the church. I’ve noticed silence on your part in addressing this bigger problem for the church which I’ve attempted to ask two times in a sincere way. Without making insults or derogatory comments, go back and read some of my earlier posts and try to suggest some solutions with a tone of positive solution finding.  

    The so-called “bigger problem” is not going to be helped by teaching SDA students “evolution as fact.” So, stop trying to smoke-screen the real issue, which has been presented here.

    I have read your previous posts, and I find nothing but excuses and rationales for either side-stepping or shutting down the important issues we are discussing here.




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  35. The so-called “bigger problem” is not going to be helped by teaching SDA students “evolution as fact.” So, stop trying to smoke-screen the real issue, which has been presented here.
    I have read your previous posts, and I find nothing but excuses and rationales for either side-stepping or shutting down the important issues we are discussing here.

    Ron, your unfettered disrespect toward others and complete failure to understand a very reasonable discussion seems beyond belief. Lighten up.




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  36. Ron,

    This dialogue is headed no where. You keep misjudging my motives and questions by putting words in my mouth that don’t exist even putting quotation marks around something I didn’t write. If you can point somewhere that I’ve written that I advocate teaching evolution as fact, please cite chapter and verse. My comments are not an attempt to side step these issues but to ask what more is needed for faith development to take place comparing what happened with my generation who all believed what is advocated here but somewhere between 80-90% of my own academy graduating class and even higher in some cases left the fellowship of the church. One of the passions of my nearly forty years in Adventist education was to find an answer to stopping the slide out the door and it hasn’t involved changing the way we have traditionally taught the Creation issue. For evidence I would point you to the hires we made in areas of science while I was President at PUC and to the Biology curriculum of that college. If you can find a single member of the PUC Biology faculty who ever heard me advocating that they teach evolution as fact, I’d like to know because it didn’t happen.

    I don’t know if you’re a parent or grandparent but my concern accelerated with our own two children and now two little grandchildren. If you are a parent, I wish you success in using Creation as the primary way of keeping your own children in the church. If you’re not a parent, the same for your nieces and nephews. May God bless you with the sweet Spirit of a grace filled life that was the theme of this year’s General Conference Session.




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  37. Richard said to Ron……

    “I don’t know if you’re a parent or grandparent but my concern accelerated with our own two children and now two little grandchildren. If you are a parent, I wish you success in using Creation as the primary way of keeping your own children in the church. If you’re not a parent, the same for your nieces and nephews. May God bless you with the sweet Spirit of a grace filled life that was the theme of this year’s General Conference Session.” Richard Osborn

    Well, Ron can speak for himself of course. But my grandparents and parents were SDA. My children and grandchildren are SDA. That means I am in the middle of 5 generations of SDA’s.

    Those who come before me would be shocked and amazed at the attitude many have who claim to be SDA. And yes, we were taught that God as creator in harmony with a literal creation week was imperative. Little, if anything transcends this truth in building the foundation of Christanity.

    Over and over the old testament writers affirm the creator God as perhaps the most important truth to build your faith on. The new testament simply affirms Jesus as this creator God. Everything Jesus accomplished and stood for is useless and worthless without this foundational truth.

    His atonement has no value if He is not the creator. His intercession in heaven is equally void on this same basis. How anyone can consider this less than it is and down play its dynamic and meaning for a bible Christian is beyond me.

    If myself and family remain strong in the faith, it will be based on the certain reality that Jesus is the creator God who accomplished this reality in a literal week. The Sabbath, as well as all Christanity is tied to this foundational truth.

    The intensity in defending this truth should be amplified, not diminished. Hopefully, all true believers will be ready to die to defend it if necessary. How could anyone “preach the Sabbath more fully” as EGW said would happen as we near the end, while attacking the biblical account of creation? I think at least some of us know this whole ordeal is an attack on the Sabbath and its biblical implications. And those who see little to be concerned about on this issue will be even less concerned about keeping the bible Sabbath. The conclusion is inescapable.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  38. Richard, I have 3 relatives attending PUC. I have already questioned them regarding your firing, as I was aware by the way it “went down” that you did not simply “resign” but were either fired or forced to resign.

    All 3 of my relatives, two of which are in the sciences, told me you “seemed like a nice guy” and that “evolution as fact” was not taught at PUC.

    We are not using “creation” as the primary way of keeping either my own or anyones children in the church. You are simply using a straw man argument, much as Erv Taylor did at AT, when he claimed EducateTruth was against teaching “about evolution.” No one has said teaching literal creation is the only way or even the primary way to keep members in the SDA Church. [edit]




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  39. Ron,This dialogue is headed no where…

    I used quotations in my previous post from your post. Since you don’t think literal creation is important enough to defend, what IS more important? [edit]




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  40. Richard, Your insinuation that most of your class left the Church because they learned too much adventism is [a bit of a stretch]. What would have helped them? [edit]




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  41. Ron,

    It’s easy to get sucked into these kinds of blogs but they usually result in a never ending and useless circle of misinterpretation and character assassination where this “dialogue” is at the present time. I’ve written enough and those reading my posts and your responses will understand why I need to focus my time elsewhere. May God bless you. May others understand your methods better than I do so that when you are evangelizing the non-church attending citizens of our country, which I assume is one of your goals, they will be led to Adventism in spite of the weaknesses both of us have as frail followers of Jesus Christ.




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  42. I totally agree wish Sean’s mantra that those who work for the church should not undermine the church’s doctrines, but I don’t see how petty criticism of church leaders is ever going to improve SDA education. It pains me how eager some of you are to smear the reputation of church leaders who you barely know anything about. I happened to have been a student of Richard Osborn and I have also worked for him as a teacher, and I have the utmost respect for him and his wife as devout Christians and SDAs. Surely Satan rejoices each time a fellow brother or sister in Christ is criticized here on the WORLD WIDE WEB, where EVERYBODY can see how petty SDA Christians can be. Go ahead, make my day, now its my turn…




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  43. @Richard Osborn:

    I would argue that more young people have left the church because they were not properly prepared to leave the confines of a sheltered Adventist campus by not being exposed to the wide variety of views they will experience upon departing from our campuses. Robert Schwindt, retired Professor of Psychology at Columbia Union College, suggested to me more than thirty years ago that he felt more left because of the positive relationships students developed with esteemed professors in secular graduate school programs of non-Adventist universities. They had been ingrained as one of the marketing tools for Adventist higher education that only in an Adventist college would you find caring, loving professors, but found just as many in a non-Adventist setting who had good values and showed them great personal interest. Adventist researchers such as Roger Dudley have discovered that relationship issues in local congregations and a lack of intentional involvement by congregations of young adults is a much greater factor in young adults leaving the church than disagreement with Adventist doctrines.

    Apparently the large majority of Christian students have begun to leave the church spiritually before they even get to college. The buck ultimately stops in the family. Have the parents been educated and intentional and spiritual in the formation of children with a genuine Christian experience, a Christian/Adventist/Biblical world-view – as well as world-knowledge and critical thinking skills. Even with the best parents however, an unloving and legalistic church can ruin a child for life. The home and church relationships are of paramount importance in the most critical time period before a student reaches college.

    On another note. Since college is still such a critical time for the development of a mature, knowledgable, and productive Christian world-view and experience – why should we compound the problem already developing in academy days? Why should we expose students to a situation where they can bond in relationships with theistic evolutionist professors who are ‘such nice guys,’ yet hold a world-view that has proven to philosophically erode and undermine a Biblical world-view. If bonding with non-Adventist professors at secular universities who are ‘loving and caring’ can have the negative results you suggest – why would we want to engender such an environment in our own universities? Indeed, some of the theistic professors at LSU are loved by students they have mentored as being caring and interested in their welfare. However, if these same professors promote a world-view contrary to the one Adventists believe in – this is a dangerous combination indeed. Possibly even more dangerous than the one on secular campuses.




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  44. I’ve written enough and those reading my posts and your responses will understand why I need to focus my time elsewhere.

    Dr. Osborn, the contrast between your statements and those of others here is unmistakable. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Many here, including the silent ones, recognize the value of what you have tried to accomplish and understand why you feel compelled to discontinue the conversation.

    God bless,

    GD




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  45. The buck ultimately stops with the individual. Nobody ever gave up God because of a parent, sibling, friend, pastor, teacher–not even a professor at LSU. People make their own choices and can’t blame anybody else. Of course we’re influenced–often strongly–by our acquaintances, but ultimately we’re free to make our own choices.

    SDA colleges and universities should strive to hire the most Christ-like professors possible, but as I have stated before there are very few applicants for vacancies in SDA institutions. Not all applicants are enthusiastically supportive of SDA beliefs and sometimes none of the applicants is supportive. Administrators can’t be blamed for that. Is it Gordon Bietz’s fault that SAU’s Biology Department can’t find suitable applicants for its vacancies?

    As a church we justifiably prize our educational institutions, but there is a dearth of dedicated SDA educators. If you think SDA educational institutions should be shut down because some students are losing their faith, what about those students who find their faith in SDA institutions? How does shutting down SDA institutions facilitate the great commission? If you really want to do something constructive about the crisis in SDA education, identify, encourage and support bright, aspiring youth to become educators.




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  46. @Eddie:

    ultimately we’re free to make our own choices.

    This may be so, but the environment that one grows up in during their ever so vulnerable and impressionable formative years, has a profound impact upon what choices a they make. Parents have a major role to play in the formation of character. Even secular humanists agree on this point. Bad character produces bad choices. Good character produces good choices. How many of the men I work with in prison, who have made very bad choices, had a good family life? Very few.

    Why are so many Christian and Adventist youth making the choice to leave Christ and/or the church? We can say, “Oh well, that was their choice.” Or, we can do something to help maximize the chances that they will make the right choice for Christ. You are absolutely right when you say we need to do something constructive. Nurturing aspiring educators would be an excellent pursuit. Making a career as an Adventist educator more attractive as a vocational choice would also help. These are long term goals.

    In the short-term – pointing peoples attention to the evolutionary leak in the Adventist education dike, and trying to stop the potentially damning flow, is not a non-constructive activity.




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  47. Why are so many Christian and Adventist youth making the choice to leave Christ and/or the church? We can say, “Oh well, that was their choice.” Or, we can do something to help maximize the chances that they will make the right choice for Christ. You are absolutely right when you say we need to do something constructive.

    Dr. Osborn was making a good faith attempt to offer suggestions here but certain individuals took it upon themselves to dismiss his comments as “stonewalling” and demand that he condemn La Sierra. Clearly, Dr. Osborn has much to share but the audience here appears to be much too myopic to appreciate anything he had to say.

    In the short-term – pointing peoples attention to the evolutionary leak in the Adventist education dike, and trying to stop the potentially damning flow, is not a non-constructive activity.

    There are many people who feel this single-minded focus could prove to be counterproductive. I interpreted Dr. Osborn to be saying exactly this and that we need to be open to and engaged in discussion of alternative courses of action that might better instill faith in young people. I’m saddened that so many here are so quick to judge and draw inappropriate conclusions, and are unable to maintain reasonable dialogue that many of us might have benefitted from.

    Chalk up yet another (former) Adventist university president who has been vilified by some at EducateTruth. The list keeps growing. Who’s next?




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  48. [edit]

    Ron,It’s easy to get sucked into these kinds of blogs but they usually result in a never ending and useless circle of misinterpretation and character assassination where this “dialogue” is at the present time. I’ve written enough and those reading my posts and your responses will understand why I need to focus my time elsewhere. May God bless you. May others understand your methods better than I do so that when you are evangelizing the non-church attending citizens of our country, which I assume is one of your goals, they will be led to Adventism in spite of the weaknesses both of us have as frail followers of Jesus Christ.  

    Richard, I don’t see any “character assassinations” going on here. Shane and Sean have done a great job at presenting truthful materials. Maybe you don’t like them, but many of us feel this is very important for our SDA Church to know.

    The “non-church attendees”, as well as those SDA’s that attend church, need truthful information as presented by God’s Word. [edit]




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  49. What’s interesting to me are the statements by those who are “sensitive” to the “criticisms” they “feel” in the various messages. Then those very ones proceed to utter some of the harshest, finger-pointing critcisims of other posters. The fact is, I checked the “educate truthers” (there’s a telling label right there) in an attempt to find answers and never picked up criticism at any point. I did hear solid, intelligent answers. And every time I asked a legitimate question, received a well stated answer. With those of you who write in to criticize these people, all I’m getting is endless circles and whining. To show you how far this criticism in the guise of “kindness” can go, I listened to a man in Sabbath School ACTUALLY criticize Jesus for His approach to the Rich Young Ruler! “Perhaps if He had used a better approach……” All these accusations of criticism appear to be just another way to silence the truth which must be like a grating noise to your ears.

    One final thing to remember: God had intended the 10 Commandments to be all-encompassing but because the minds of the people were so dark and they were so prone to sin, He had to spell the commandments out in detail through the chapters of Deuteronomy. The Bible SHOULD be all that the discerning Christian would need but once again because of the propensity of people to sin and find a loop hole with even the most obvious verses, God has again felt the need to spell it out through the Spirit of Prophecy. Ditto for a revision of #6. And the only criticism seems to be from those who like having those loop holes left open.




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  50. @ Bobbie Vedvick

    What’s interesting to me are the statements by those who are “sensitive” to the “criticisms” they “feel” in the various messages. Then those very ones proceed to utter some of the harshest, finger-pointing critcisims of other posters. I checked the “educate truthers” (there’s a telling label right there) in an attempt to find answers and never picked up criticism at any point. I did hear solid, intelligent answers.

    This comment follows an exchange between Dr. Osborn and Ron Stone. I should think every reader here would identify Ron Stone as an “educatetruther”. Are you suggesting Dr. Osborn is among the harshest, finger-pointing critics? And that Ron Stone provides solid, intelligent answers? You’ve aroused my curiosity.




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