LSU responds to Adventist Review article

Source: La Sierra University

On March 31, 2010, the Adventist Review posted on its website an article—“Evolution Controversy Stirs La Sierra Campus.”  This article represents an unprecedented alignment of the official church paper with voices seeking to tear down a church institution.  While the article appeared to be objective, it in fact omitted pivotal information about the issue and the way La Sierra University and its board, administration, and faculty are addressing it.

Lsu Responds to Adventist Review

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17 thoughts on “LSU responds to Adventist Review article

  1. Though I have given my initial response here –

    The LSU response exposes more of what is going on behind the scenes there – the more you take time to stop and look at what they are saying about themselves.

    Larry Becker is so busy providing clues as to the real problem at LSU one can hardly tell if he is in favor of the current LSU policies or opposed to them.

    1. In his first few paragraphs Becker tells the reader that instead of finding that LSU needs to be reprimanded for underminging the Adventist doctrine on origins (specifically creation week) the LSU board of directors chose “In November 2009 and again in February 2010 the Board affirmed the university’s support for the Adventist view of creation.”

    But then “innexplicably” Larry tells us that the board that is issuing a statement of “affirmation” for LSU’s stand on origins has “instructed the University to implement the statement and is monitoring progress“!??

    How does one “implement” a statement of “affirmation”?

    How does one “monitor affirmation”??

    It is as IF Becker is trying to tell the reader “and by affirmation we mean severely reprimand and demand immediate changes be made to rectify the situation”. I.e. some “corrective action” that must be “monitored”.

    As for Loui Bishop – the Review article stated –

    Adventist Review said:

    Caught in the crossfire has been Louie Bishop, a La Sierra student who also showed promise as a professional golfer before his commitment to the seventh-day Sabbath intervened (see Adventist Review, Sept. 17, 2009, Bishop said he was placed on “citizenship probation” by the school for circulating letters opposing the teaching of evolutionary concepts and for posting notes of a professor’s lecture online, despite a verbal agreement that Bishop would not do so without consulting the teacher.

    In a Jan. 25 interview, Bishop said he “thought a lot about that before I did that and I talked to a lot of people because I was wrestling with certain things and the administration issued me this status of citizenship probation. From U.S. copyright law I understand the university doesn’t have the right to do anything if I am posting a lecture online for academic critique. There is nothing wrong with reproducing that.”

    Despite Bishop’s individual case, about which the school is reluctant to comment citing federal student privacy laws, La Sierra’s Becker said the school is trying to move beyond the Web-fueled controversy.

    hmm – in the Review article Loui Bishop’s concern seems to be the gigantic issue of the heresy of evolutionism undermining the core of Christian values in one of our schools. (Something Ellen White calls “the WORST form of infidelity” in 3SG 90-91). An issue so large and significant that Bishop sees the need to provide “real evidence” in the form of actual public statements made in class by a specific professor.

    But in the Review article the reader is lead to believe that LSU’s is blind to the BIG picture issue of the cancer of evolutionism, and instead settles for the “public university” style focus of merely bickering about whether a professor’s lecture notes and comments are “copyrighted”.

    Well that Review article certainly did place LSU in a bad light by claiming that that was the highest value for LSU in such a case.

    But then LSU’s own Larry Becker proceeds to issue what looks like a “public confession” that LSU is in fact responding at no higher level of discernment and insight in the Loui Bishop case, other than bickering over “copyright” nits as we see in Becker’s comments below –

    Larry Bekcker said:
    When a student is reported to have committed an infraction against a specific policy, it is investigated and, if necessary, he or she is heard before a judicial committee.

    Furthermore, the article conveyed the student’s opinion on U.S. copyright law as pertains to posting online a professor’s intellectual property, such as lecture notes and slides. The article did not make clear whether the student’s opinion is based on appropriate legal counsel or is his own interpretation. In either case, the Review article did not give the University an opportunity to share the opinion of its attorney’s perspective on the ethics and legality of unapproved selective posting of faculty intellectual property.

    First of all – many thanks to Becker for admitting that what Bishop posted is in fact the real statements and slides from the real LSU class and not some made-up information to be used against LSU.

    Secondly – thanks to Becker for confirming the AR article’s claim that LSU is acting with total disregard to the MASSIVE issue of evolution undermining Adventism in the Loui Bishop case, and has instead opted to simply bicker about legal issues regarding who can see “lecture notes and slides” by one of their professors.

    With Larry Becker’s own public confession of LSU’s methods and short-sighted focus – can Adventist administrators continue to claim that they are ignorant of the problem or the need to take action?

    Constituency meetings are pending. GC sessions are looming. Time for the Adventist membership at large to ask if leadership has an inclination to get this thing under control.

    in Christ,


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  2. Sean said:
    4. Regardless of the claims of Becker to the contrary, the comments of Dr. Larry Blackmer (GC Vice President of Education), were not taken out of context or presented other than they were received by Dr. Blackmer. Dr. Blackmer has apologized to the editors of EducateTruth regarding his public comments suggesting that EducateTruth presented his comments in a misleading way. What actually happened is that Dr. Blackmer’s comments were published exactly as he presented them. He just forgot, somehow, that he had himself made the comments that he made in the way he made them.

    As far as publishing only a portion of the comments Dr. Blackmer made before a large group of educators, this was done to protect Dr. Blackmer from his own mistaken comments – comments which he himself did not want published. In fact, Dr. Blackmer, even though he made his own comments before a large public forum, did not wish these comments to be published, in full, or in part, by EducateTruth. So, we agreed to remove these comments at his request even though we personally would have had no problem with publishing them in their entirety.

    Dr Blackmer is now on record according to that LSU publication of being 100% behind the existing LSU program ( a program promoting evolution as the right answer on the doctrine of origins, as it turns out.)

    Blackmer is at the top of chain of responsibility when it comes to the policy, focus and health of our educational system. The sign on his desk should read “the buck stops here”. He cannot allow his statements to be coopted into providing cover for evolutionism. He cannot allow his influence or his name to be hijacked in defense of evolution. He is fully enabling such tactics by not coming out decisively on this matter.

    We can all pray for better days.

    in Christ,


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  3. The United States Copyright office defines fair use by these four criteria:

    1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
    2. The nature of the copyrighted work
    3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work


    (1) Nonprofit educational purposes were furthered with documents given by L. Bishop.
    (2) The material he used was from an institution given the commission to “Go ye therefore and teach all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)
    (3) The entire class as a unit was paid for by L. Bishop. What he submitted was a small portion of the entire class lecture, discussion and notes.
    (4) L. Bishop is not using this material to drive LSU out of the evolution market by setting up a class teaching evolution with the same material. The portion submitted was used for review of fidelity of LSU to the SDA church.
    God bless,


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  4. Rich, based on that information the “do not tell others what your professor is saying in class” idea of LSU is more of a ruse — an effort to misdirect away from the larger problem.

    Evolutionism undermining Adventist doctrines on origins and being taught inside a leading Adventist university, is a huge ethical violation of trust by comparison to the “student showed someone else what they were taught in class” problem that LSU seems so excited to tell us about.

    in Christ,


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  5. If I had written the story, I also would have left out those 8 points Larry Becker mentions. The story is about the controversy, and Becker’s 8 points are nothing but an attempted defense of the University’s position, and a pathetically weak defense at that. Let’s see:

    1) The board has examined the situation and wants to monitor progress. Yawn.

    2) The AACU recognized the church’s lack of initiative in bringing together faculty to discuss the integration of faith and science. Not true! The faith and science conferences of 2002-2004 were a major church initiative to discuss these issues:….

    The AACU voted to establish an ad hoc committee (including Randal Wisbey(!) a fox guarding the henhouse). Double yawn.

    3) The association of college and university chaplains issued a meaningless, vanilla statement. Triple yawn.

    4) La Sierra University has begun teaching a new class for all freshmen biology students to “help prepare them to navigate issues of faith and science.” I’d like to see the syllabus for that, and interview the students who took it. From the summary provided, there’s no way to know whether or not LaSierra has created an additional problem, an additional opportunity to proselytize for Charlie Darwin, and without knowing more, I wouldn’t have included it in the article either.

    5) LaSierra is threatening legal action against Louis Bishop for copyright infringement!! Really? Oh, you bet I would have included that, if only to show what incredibly heavy-handed lengths LaSierra is willing to go to prevent the Adventist world from finding out what they are teaching in their classrooms.

    6) Reaction in the secular media has been limited. Why should the secular media care about an intramural Adventist dispute? The fact that there was even one story in the secular media is pretty remarkable, and deserved comment in the Review piece.

    7) The reporter interviewed Wisbey but didn’t use a quote from the interview. I’d be shocked if Wisbey said anything worth quoting. In reality, the author of the Review article mischaracterized Wisbey’s May, 2009, letter in a way favorable to Wisbey and LaSierra. In the letter, Wisbey didn’t deny that Darwinism was being taught, only that “atheistic” evolution was being taught. The implication was that they are teaching theistic evolution. The Review article saw fit to pass over that.

    8) Educate Truth posted a quote from Larry Blackmer and then removed it almost immediately when Blackmer told them it was out of context. Yawn.

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  6. Becker states:

    VOTED to approve the following members to serve on the committee: Eric Anderson, Gordon Bietz, Ron Carter, Dick Hart (chair), Heather Knight, and Randal Wisbey.

    If Wisbey cannot state that he believes that God created the world in six actual days just thousands of years ago, and that a worldwide flood destroyed the world after that, I’m not sure why he should be on the committee.


    In either case, the Review article did not give the University an opportunity to share the opinion of its attorney’s perspective on the ethics and legality of unapproved selective posting of faculty intellectual property.

    If Hansen hasn’t written a letter yet to the university advising it as to the ethical violations and illegality (under divine law) of teaching evolution as fact in a Seventh-day Adventist institution, then the university really ought to get a different attorney who will not be afraid to do the duty God has given him to do.

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  7. Isn’t it ironic that LSU complains when those in the SDA Church think to hold accountable it to the clearly stated fundamental ideals of the SDA Church while at the same time LSU doesn’t mind holding the feet of a student to the fire when that student challenges the practices of LSU? – even though that same student is actually trying to support the stated goes of LSU’s namesake and employer? – the SDA Church?

    Sean Pitman

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  8. I just wonder, when will somebody with a little backbone from the California Conference, Union or GC will stand up and say: enough is enough. If you don’t believe and if you don’t teach what the Bible is clearly teaching, you have no right to be amployed in any of our Seventh Day Adventist institution. Period. Out you go ! We have plenty of dedicated, CHRISTIAN educators to take theyr place.

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  9. It’s clear enough that LSU will not change or even face the issue without calling foul. We need to move on and start the process of closing LSU. I plea with you to understand what I am saying:

    For the SDA there is NO debate about the 7 day creation, it is a fact and not a leap of faith. So there is no reason to debate it here. The debate we should be having is how to remove this tumor. I say we should close the school, tear down all the building and sell it.

    Please understand evolution is a ploy by satan to turn the minds and souls away from God. As the Remnant Church we can not allow satan’s lies to grow in one of our schools.

    I understand no-one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, we all want to see LSU change it ways and be in line with our beliefs. Sadly that is not going to happen, we will dance around this issue for years and never gain an inch. Debating with LSU is useless. So I again call for closing LSU.

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  10. I’m not a theologian; however, if it is Becker’s intent to indicate that Matthew 18 relates to objections to the teaching of evolution and that objectors must go privately to whomever and register their objections that is not my understanding of the admonition in Matthew 18. The issue relates to personal grievances as contemplated by Mathew 18 and not to the theological errors of institutions.

    Further, it is difficult to see why this is a “complex” issue. Action should already have been taken but all I’m aware of are words, words, words. The “spin” is evident and not worthy of an SDA institution. They don’t seem to get it!

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  11. Poor LSU… The whole world is out there to get them and they are innocent. While not mentioned here, I am sure that LSU found AToday and Spectrum Magazine’s reporting to be unbiased and more in line with its beliefs and core values.

    I cannot imagine being in Larry Becker’s shoes right now. Trying to put a positive spin on something obviously against the teachings of the Bible must be very difficult. It is also imoral and it could end one’s carrer. When this is over, I wonder if the PR department will claim that they were just obeying orders…

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  12. It is upsetting that LSU deems it necessary to offer a freshman biology course which teaches for a whole class, “You are going to be taught on this campus false teachings. Be prepared! Your teachers may or may not believe what the Bible teaches. Be prepared! Some teachers WILL teach contrary to the Bible. Be prepared! We don’t feel it is our responsibility to stifle your learning by presenting only one side as TRUTH. Be prepared!”

    Why does such a class need to be offered? What is so difficult about getting rid of those who refuse to uphold Seventh-Day Adventist doctrines and beliefs in their teaching. This is broader than the current creation/evolution issue. Anyone attending LSU should be able to go there knowing that they are going to be taught truth in ALL classes not just one given to “help prepare them to navigate the issues of faith and science”. This should be taught in every class, not relegated to one!

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  13. The devil’s moto is, “if you can’t win them, confuse them.”

    I am not an educator, I have no letters behind my name. I am the (type) student being taught…..hopefully to be anchored “in Christ.”

    LSU has failed in their duty to teach the black and white issue of creation. Should they continue to rebel against Christ, they should succeed from carring the name Seventh-Day Adventist. They should no longer receive God’s money to teach “that” which is not in harmony with Scripture.

    I will take it further, should “those” in power, not do their duty to Christ, they too should go.

    The devil has declared war, and unfortunately, some of God’s own “professed people” have chosen to fight for the rights of the demonic.

    With Regret,
    Deborah Risinger

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  14. Are the members of LSU willing to come out with a statment that affirms the SDA belief that God created the earth in 6 literal days and that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are still the inspired word of God, and at the same time say that evolution is false?

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  15. Again, they’re talking about addressing the situation but they never DO anything of value.

    Some one mentioned the need to shut the school down. I don’t think that’s necessary, what needs to happen is a complete purge of administration and science faculty.

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  16. Again, they’re talking about addressing the situation but they never DO anything of value.
    Some one mentioned the need to shut the school down. I don’t think that’s necessary, what needs to happen is a complete purge of administration and science faculty.  

    Doing a complete purge would be very hard if not impossible, remember LSU in is California.

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