Although we can produce teacher materials that will “teach around …

Comment on By Design by Bob Pickle.

Although we can produce teacher materials that will “teach around evolution,” the students and parents are still receiving the textbooks and are reading the material as factual.

And so, Blackmer says, we must instead produce our own textbooks. Excellent! Praise God!

It was about 1988 or so that I was taking a course from afar on the NT. The textbook taught as fact that Matthew didn’t write Matthew, Mark didn’t write Mark, and Paul shouldn’t have been so hard on homosexuals. The course required digesting the textbook, writing out quiz questions for the chapters read. No material was provided by the teacher to balance out the textbook.

I still maintain that a course taught in such a way is neither Christian education nor Adventist education. I asked the teacher for a different textbook. It was then explained to me why that textbook was used, and it was then suggested that if I still didn’t want to use that textbook, I could drop the class, which I did.

I refuse to take such a class from an Adventist institution.

The evil seeds planted in the student’s mind may sprout and bear evil fruit years later, as Sister White point blank told us.

One of the most avid anti-Ellen White critics out there, who fortunately has decided to devote his energies toward something more uplifting, and thus I don’t know whether he really is still a critic, told me the following after I found out that he had attended the same school from which I was taking that NT course: He had taken that course too, and it had made him ill. Whether that class contributed to his later apostasy I cannot say for sure, but the circumstances sound pretty suspicious.

Thus, it is possible that God will hold that class’s teacher accountable to some extent for the many apostasies that have occurred over the years because of the influence of that critic. Many evangelists and pastors have prepared interests for baptism, or have baptized folks, only to see them disappear due to that critic’s influence.

Blackmer presents a different scenario than the above, where he maintains that even if balancing material is provided by the teacher, the textbook is still a problem. Praise God for this position taken by those responsible for these things. May we support their endeavors with our prayers and offerings and encouragement. The producing of such textbooks has eternal consequences, and the influence of the one reading the textbook will affect so many for good instead of for evil.

Recent Comments by Bob Pickle

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
Sean, you above state: “… a lack of a specific statement in the GC’s Working Policy that explicitly forbids the ordination of women as pastors. As far as I’m aware, such a statement simply doesn’t exist.”

Try BA 60 10 which states: “The world Church supports nondiscrimination in employment practices and policies and upholds the principle that both men and women, without regard to race and color, shall be given full and equal opportunity within the Church to develop the knowledge and skills needed for the building up of the Church. Positions of service and responsibility (except those requiring ordination to the gospel ministry*) on all levels of church activity shall be open to all on the basis of the individual’s qualifications.”

The footnote makes clear that the exception regarding ordination to the gospel ministry is one of gender, not race or color.

Also, B 10 22: “All organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize the authority of the General Conference Session as the highest authority of the Seventh-day Adventist Church under God.” Here we have part of the Working Policy saying that there is no higher authority under God in the Adventist Church than the sessions that voted down WO in 1990, 1995, and 2015.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
Sean, in your update you write:

Sean Pitman:
“On the other hand, it also seem clear that on the issue of ordination, in particular, that the “final authority” has been given to the Union level of governance within the church (not to the level of the General Conference) to act as a buffer against too much centralized power within the church. …

“In any case, since honest confusion remains between many honest and sincere members as well as leaders of the church, ….

There certainly is honest confusion regarding this, but I can’t see how everyone is honestly confused.

1. Local churches decide who will be members and who will not, but local churches do not have the authority to make tests of fellowship. Thus the criteria for membership is decided by the world church, while that criteria is applied to individual cases by the local church.

Similarly, though unions decide who will be ordained, they don’t unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination.

2. If unions could unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination, there would have been no reason to bring the matter to the GC Sessions of 1990 and 1995. Particularly in 1995, it seems clear that church leaders understood that without GC division authorization, unions could not approve women for ordination, and that without GC Session authorization, GC divisions could not so authorize.

3. The first I remember hearing that unions could act on their own was after Dan Jackson’s open letter of, I think, Jan. 2012. Maybe we can find this idea being promulgated prior to that date in left-wing journals, but maybe not. Since there certainly has been discussion in some circles about getting rid of unions, it seems difficult to have simultaneous promotion of the idea that we need unions so that women can be ordained.

How it comes across to me is that some want their way no matter what, and are grasping at anything they can to justify their position. For those some, I don’t think the label “honest confusion” fits. Now if they can come up with some sort of historical documentation that local churches can unilaterally determine the criteria for church membership, or that unions can unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination, OK. But I have yet to see any such documentation.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference

Nic Samojluk: Some unions have slightly departed from the traditional manner in carrying the Gospel forward, and the church has reacted by producing a plethora of documents and wasted millions of dollars in order to forbid what is nowhere forbidden in Scripture. We would be wise, I believe, in stopping this nonsense.

Hi Nic.

Seems to me that disregarding a GC Session vote is essentially forbidden in Scripture. The issue Sean is highlighting here is not WO, but rather disregarding a GC Session vote.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
@Cindy Tutsch:

Cindy Tutsch:
I find the following citation thought provoking in light of current controversies:
“It has been a necessity to organize union conferences, that the General Conference shall not exercise dictation over all the separate conferences.” EGW in 4 MR 292

Hi Cindy.

Would not this statement be talking about the GC rather than a GC Session?

In some discussions I’ve seen, it seems like some are applying counsel regarding the GC to a GC Session, which is understandable given that the names for each are almost identical. But the GC and a GC Session are quite different.

If the above quote were to be applied to a GC Session, that would be like saying that the decision of the council of Acts 15 was optional, and local churches, James, Paul, and the Judaizers could take it or leave it. That just doesn’t sound like what Acts 15 is all about.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
We have repeatedly been taught not to send tithe to offshoots, for good reason. If an entity decides to go against a GC Session vote, at what point does that entity cross a line and become an offshoot?

And if, wherever that line is, that line is crossed, why would an officer of a local church within that conference have to resign, if that local church also believes the local conference should adhere to that GC Session vote?

The situation would be different if there was a plain and clear Thus saith the Lord as justification for disregarding the GC Session vote, since the Bible is a higher authority than a GC Session.