LSU responds to Michigan Conference

Source: La Sierra University

May 28, 2010

In response to the recent action of the Michigan Conference Executive Committee, we at La Sierra University reaffirm our commitment to being part of the global circle of Adventist higher education. La Sierra University is an integral part of the Church’s shared endeavor to educate our young people to think well and to believe well. Our students constitute our best hope for the future of the Church, a Church that must be responsible, redemptive, and relevant if it intends to meet the needs of the world in the 21st Century. And we affirm, as consistently declared by our university and by our Board, our strong belief in God the Creator and Redeemer, as revealed in our Church’s Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.

Let me speak specifically about the heart of this Adventist university:

To our students we note our gratitude for the way in which you daily exhibit your faith. Your commitment is revealed in the manner in which you express your love for God through your worship, your academic work, and your service to those both on and off this campus. You beautifully represent our university and our Church, and we encourage you not to allow this moment to discourage your walk with God in any way.

To our faculty and staff we express our thankfulness for the way in which you daily live out the mission of this wonderful university by seeking truth, loving God, and serving others. You make this Adventist learning community a place of integrity and hope for our students, and your work is best revealed in the lives of countless graduates who now serve with great faithfulness and ability throughout the world.

To our alumni we assert our continued commitment to be the kind of university that you have every right to love and to support. We pledge to continue to daily reveal our love for learning within a supportive Adventist environment that will enable our current students to experience what you consistently remind us has been most helpful to you in your personal and professional lives.

To the members of the Michigan Conference Executive Committee, and to those who have supported their action, we would implore you to stop and to think about the message that you have given to these 1,850 students and 310 faculty and staff who make this a vibrant and faithful Seventh-day Adventist learning community. We believe that it would be impossible for you to take this action if you would look into their faces, if you would sit with them in classes and in offices, and if you would join us in worship.

And, to the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who today wonder if there is a place in this Church for you, we say, Do not lose faith. The Church is big enough for all, and we must never forget that our Lord desires that each of us might give our very best to His work. There has been little genuine conversation, and far too much anger, criticism and recrimination. We must never forget that God calls us to “act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”

Today, as members of the La Sierra University learning community, we renew our commitment to provide outstanding teaching in an environment that values academic integrity and spiritual commitment. We will continue to celebrate certainty and curiosity. We will find joy in the dynamic interplay between faith and learning. We determine to remain open to conversation and challenge.

To the members of the Michigan Conference Executive Committee, and to those of you who do not know our university, we invite you to come to campus and to see why La Sierra is increasingly attractive to students and families who value the privilege of receiving an Adventist education within a setting of outstanding academics. You will find a welcoming spirit of openness of inquiry, and the faith-encouraging climate in which questions may be asked and the most hopeful answers found.

Randal Wisbey
President
La Sierra University

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138 thoughts on “LSU responds to Michigan Conference

  1. As a retired faculty member of LSU, I came to recognize that there are very influential people at the core of the administration and staff of the university, particularly in the College of Arts and Science, who have agendas designed to dispense in one way or the other with certain faculty members. Such faculty members included some who could not be bought or sold for job security purposes. Questionable tactics have been employed again and again to eliminate them, notwithstanding the strong evidence for their integrity, experience, and the quality of their work in just about every measurable dimension. Such persons would be treated with “benign neglect”, denied support to attend professional conferences even at prestigious centers of learning such as Oxford University, and their most significant accomplishments condemned with faint praise. Some have been denied tenure on spurious grounds and given the “silent treatment” or obfuscations in response to legitimate inquiries. And much more. I’m saying all this to suggest that there have been influential operatives at LSU who had highly questionable ethics regarding truth, honesty, fairness, and transparency.

    It should not be surprising, then, that such questionable ethics manifest themselves in larger, more defining issues such as belief in biblical creation – particularly when post-modernism is the driving force that informs beliefs and unprovable dogmas of science become normative. I’m not at all surprised though that there are good people at LSU; I taught many students who inspired me by their intellectual, spiritual, and moral qualities. After all you can find good people everywhere, including at Harvard and UCLA. And I had warm fellowship with some faculty members whose honesty, trustworthiness and even friendship I cherish – even when their attitude toward church, many of their beliefs, and critical aspects of their lifestyles were not fully compatible with mine.

    My problem has been with the lack of transparency, the evasiveness, and what strikes one as fundamental dishonesty of an influential group of people whose agnosticism could not accommodate thoughtful people of faith, who seemed to think that if you were a person of active faith you had to be somewhat foolish or weak-minded, and whose old-fashion ethnocentrism and conservatism were covered up with a liberal and progressive veneer. I have no axe to grind and no opponent to smear or discredit. I am only saddened that, with all the good this university has done and continues to do, the educational process at LSU has become so vitiated at the very heart of its theology, its philosophy, its scientific inquiry and certitude, and its relationship with the church. I shared with Larry Geraty some of my views on creation and evolution. He always treated me with respect and dignity, and I would give him the benefit of any doubt.

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  2. I’m shocked by Randal Wisbye and his either self-deception or intentional blindness/ignoring of the facts. As one said, what does a million good things do, when you are teaching one fundamental thing wrong!! Was that what Christ taught? As long as our majority of actions are right, then it doesn’t matter if a few basic issues are wrong?

    Why does this happen so often within Adventism? Why can’t people see clearly? Why is it that people use their well-articulated words to get around the real matter? The church should put people in these positions who don’t know how to articulate themselves, so they wouldn’t be able to talk their way around the issues!

    Secondly, why is it so important to LSU to not correct what they have been asked to correct? If the matter is so unimportant as Randal Wisbye claims, why can’t he just correct it then according to be clearly supportive of the SDA Church?!

    Thanks to Michigan Conference for daring taking the action they have done.

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  3. This controversy over evolutionary thought being taught in the University is not unlike the controversy over pantheism as taught by Dr. John Kellogg just over a century ago. This challenge must be met head-on without pretense.

    At that time, Ellen White worked hard to bring Kellogg away from his thought that God was physically in every living thing, but he refused and a schism was brought upon the church.

    I fear we shall see similar results here but not until the eternal life of students has been jeopardized as if this life were nothing but a pawn in an academic exercise.

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  4. This is also very similar to the Ford controversy regarding Daniel from 30 years back.

    The long and short of it is this. If you find yourself in disagreement with the church and the fundamental beliefs, you have a decision to make. Can you be intellectually honest in fellow-shipping with those that are at variance with your beliefs and still keep faith with the church that teaches what you don’t believe?

    If you say, “Yes”, you are being more than intellectually dishonest, you are being self-deceiving as well. You need to then work within the church to change it and be up front about it. Or, you need to leave.

    La Sierra (choke) needs to leave. If this is the best moral argument they can make (“look into their faces”) then there is more wrong than just the evolutionary teaching in biology. There are some serious delusions being taught. It should stop.

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  5. “Today, as members of the La Sierra University learning community, we renew our commitment to provide outstanding teaching in an environment that values academic integrity…”

    How can integrity be equated with presenting theory as fact? Especially in the area of science? I’d call that indoctrination. Some of us have been questioning these directions and attitudes for about thirty years now. Some of the lamentable results of exposing our young people to strong, well honed minds bent on propagating non-biblical concepts are now coming to fruition in ways that leave many scratching their heads and wondering where did this come from? I don’t think it takes a prophet to tell you when you are on a road headed to a destination, you are likely to get there.

    We definitely need to be redemptive, but we have a serious moral obligation to preserve the integrity of our educational system by dealing with this kind of thing. Kellogg stole the Battle Creek medical work from the church by declaring that it was the property of ‘the people’, or some such as I recall, and I can hear the same type of call from some of our educators in this–‘what right do we have to teach outdated biblical principles and only proven scientific fact when it contradicts the current politically correct agenda?’, etc.

    I’d think we have an obligation to save our institutions for the church, there is no reason these people cannot find employment in a context that they can support and that can support them. My thinking is we’re given this philosophic progression all these years to come to fruit, so perhaps it’s time to be faithful stewards of the vineyard of the Lord. I’d rather retain my credibility with the Creator than with the mainstream liberal scientific establishment.

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  6. This is above all a spiritual matter and cannot be fought on the strength of human argument or reasoning. We know through prophecy that our church will face critical times of great falling away of some of our sharpest and most able individuals. This seems to me to be a clarion call to be sober, be vigilant of our own individual and corporate spiritual conditions. We need to humble ourselves and pray.

    Even as I write this and share this, I am sobered to think that again we are facing interesting times in our church. From its inset we have had periods of severe controversy and sharp divisions. But through it all God has always brought the church to more solid ground. These events should turn each of us as individuals to search our own hearts, to open our own bibles, to surrender our own wills and pray to find ourselves filled and guided by his Holy Spirit and Empty of ourselves. Because this is the only condition that will help us stand through the tests and trials that we will all face, both individually and as a church.

    I support the humble, prayerful, and urgently necessary stand that has been taken by the Michigan Conference. It is like a spring of water in the dry desert. It took courage and how much we need the integrity of our leaders to stand behind what the church believes and who will take action. I would like to hear from the conferences in the Pacific Union as well.

    I pray for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction for His truth in our times that will stand above any debate or opinion, that can be offered.

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  7. I cannot believe that an Adventist institution is being corrupted from within. It is the responsibility of all Adventist to advocate the truth (God as creator of everything and a literal 6 day creation.) I have read what Randal Wisbey has to say and frankly, he’s saying a whole lot of words without really saying much at all. The fact that the professors and even the president of LSU have not and will not apologize and acknowledge that the misguided theory of evolution is wrong and contradictory to our believes is astonishing. We must pray for the right thing to be done and for our leaders to stand up and act.

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  8. I spent all my school life in Adventist schools, but knew nothing of this current conflict until today when I read the statement regarding a literal Genesis in the Recorder.
    And here I thought I alone had concluded independently that a 6 day literal creation was not possible! Good for the biology faculty of La Sierra U! I applaud their courage to separate biology from religion.

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  9. When I attended LSU circa 1970, the university had a course called Philosophy of Science in which creation and evolution were compared. Although the professors tried to support the traditional, literal interpretation of Genesis, the scientific evidence for their position was simply not there. Evolution also had its own problems. I left La Sierra deeply troubled by the issue, but I knew that the professors were completely honest and honorable men who would never lie to me. In turn, their honesty convinced me that the Seventh-day Adventist church was also an organization which valued truth above all else. We were all searching for truth, together.

    Since, I have not attended the classes in question, I can not say with certainty that LSU is completely innocent. However, I am positive that the response of the critics will lead to disaster. Since conservative theologians have inserted themselves into the scientific debate, it is impossible for Adventist science teachers to be honest with their students. Professors can not present a balanced assessment of the scientific evidence, when they face censor for not supporting the theologians’ version of truth. It appears that in the Seventh-day Adventist church, “Truth” has become a code word which stands for “Tradition.”

    The evidence for Evolution is ubiquitous in our society. Students, who are seeking truth, will eventually discover that the church has deceived them. The results will be dire. Not only will they lose faith in the integrity of the Seventh-day Adventist church, but they will also lose their hold on God entirely. When the Seventh-day Adventist church sets out to deceive its students, its schools will become little factories churning out cynics and atheists.

    Adventists love to criticize the Roman Catholic church. Unfortunately, this criticism often fosters arrogance. By placing ourselves so high above the Catholic church, we have made it impossible for us to learn from their mistakes. Our Adventist theologians obviously don’t understand the damage done to the cause of God, by the medieval Roman Catholic church, when priests persecuted Galileo, and other scientists. Is the anti-scientific aroma, which has hung around the Roman Catholic church for centuries, really what our pastors want for the Seventh-day Adventist church? Really?

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  10. Reminds me of Martin Luther separating from the Catholic church. Don’t want to have free thinkers upsetting the dogmatic apple cart do we?  

    No Ken, we don’t want dogmatic Darwinians, who have no empirical evidence for the mechanisms of Darwinism, forcing their philosophy down students throats!

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  11. Dennis all through the Bible creation is told to us as a literal event, even Christ spoke of it as a literal event. So it’s not the church you are accusing of being deceptive, it’s God Himself. It was He who told Moses to write, “for in six days God created…..”. It was not the SDA church who is responsible for that Biblical statement. It’s tiresome to me when I hear people claim the church is deceptive on this issue when what they are really saying is that God has told a lie.

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  12. A visiting pastor two weeks ago mentioned (I’ll say, from my standpoint, alleged) that LSU teaches evolution as the truth. That was the first I had heard about it, so I started looking into the matter. The visiting pastor also said that much of what we hear and read in viewer responses on CNN and Fox and on web blogs are opinion rather than fact. So far I see a lot of opinion.

    What are the facts? Dr. Sean Pitman (I am ever respectful, as a nurse) has said elsewhere that SWU and SWAU teach ABOUT evolution, but that LSU presents evolution as the truth while spurning the six-day creation account of “Genesis.” But the LSU president and biology department and others at LSU state that they teach about but do not embrace evolution. Someone is lying, or if that is too harsh, misrepresenting or shading the truth–whatever you prefer.

    I have been in the Adventist Church only since age 40, about 17 years now, having been raised as a Roman Catholic. I am an old dog; I am like a Frenchman who has come to America–I suppose I still speak with an accent, still influenced by the smell of French food, in a way that most of you cannot possibly understand. I see Adventist teaching about Roman Catholicism to be similar to teaching ABOUT the theory of evolution, because Catholic teachings, I will admit, are theory or fantasy where they stray from Scripture.

    In any case, you longer termers had better get this matter settled, please, because it tends to draw from my confidence in Adventist leadership. I’m a big believer in the scriptural adage, borrowed by Lincoln, about “a house divided.” I became an Adventist, at the start, because my wife was Adventist, and God gave me the insight that a home should not be divided. I now embrace Adventism, but no longer evolution since if Christ could instantly cure a withered hand, he could obviously call the very elements into a living being.

    As someone stated elsewhere on one of Dr Pitman’s pages, there begins to be a parallel, in my mind, between the two chuches where administration is concerned. Power begets abuse of that power. And the discussion is beginning to sound more like the supposed rancor at a union meeting–except that unions are quite harmonious by comparison. If it takes the General Conference to bring the parties together and figure out the truth (if that is possible), then so be it. But please do it SOON. OK, now I’ll hang up and listen.

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  13. Richard, said, ” It’s tiresome to me when I hear people claim the church is deceptive on this issue when what they are really saying is that God has told a lie.”

    Speak for yourself, Richard. Unless you are God, when someone disagrees with you, that is not the same as disagreeing with God. Theologians make may serious mistakes, but God never lies! Undoubtedly, many Catholic theologians made similar accusations against Galileo.

    Conservative Adventists have the right to hold any theological opinion they wish, so long as they are clear that their opinions are not based on science. When they use ecclesiastical decrees to force their opinions on scientists, and when scientists comply with their wishes and teach theology under the guise of science, that is dishonest. When the church goes down this anti-scientific path, where will we stop? Mrs. White had a great deal to say about medicine, much of which the Adventist professional schools ignore. Will our professional schools, including Loma Linda University School of Medicine, be forced to check their scientific teachings with Mrs. White’s writings, to be sure they agree, before they teach them? In your search for theological purity, are you going to force Adventist doctors to swear to teach only those scientific facts which agree with Mrs. White? If so, how long will Adventist professional schools be able to maintain their accreditation? Perhaps, if we are lucky, the Seventh-day Adventist church will be able to roll back the clock to the days when Adventist institutions were not accredited.

    Remember now, the issue under discussion involves a clearly stated fundamental Pillar of the SDA Faith. And yes, notion that very high level intelligent design and creative power was required to produce life on this planet, and the idea that this life was produced in a very vast array within recent history, has a great deal of scientific backing. I’m sorry, but mainstream opinion does not mean that the SDA position on origins isn’t based on good scientific reasoning, because it is.

    Also, I am a medical doctor and I think Mrs. White contributed heavily to the cutting edge position of the SDA Church in the medical sciences. After all, why else do you think that SDAs are the longest lived group of ethnically diverse people in the world?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  14. Dear Ron

    I couldn’t agree with you more. That’s why it is important for students to be exposed to both creationism as a faith based religious theory and evolution as the broadly accepted scientific theory, and let them decide for themselves That’s freedom.

    Regards
    Ken

    Creationism is no more a faith-based theory than is evolutionism. Creationism is also much more in line with the available weight of scientific evidence than is evolutionism. Why then should be teach our students that real science is opposed to our faith? – when it isn’t? They are in fact, or at least than can and should be, one in the same.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  15. Dear Richard

    Excellent point.

    Now ask yourself: how did EGW interpret the 2300 days, or “evenings and mornings” from Daniel 8:14? Literally?

    Does this mean that in some cases days are days and in other cases days are years, depending on who is doing the interpreting? We will have to ask Ron about empirical evidence one way or another on that issue.

    What I am saying is everyone needs to practice humility when it comes to investigating the truth. Yes, and this absolutely includes darwinians, Catholics, atheists, etc. One of the best attributes humans have is an honest search for the truth. But one does not find the truth by shackling the mind, only by freely exploring all possibilities and deciding for one’s self.

    Regards
    Ken

    You can do better than this. Daniel interprets itself as a prophetic book that is based on a symbolic use of “days”. There really is not confusion here. Genesis was written by the author(s) with the clear intention to be taking literally – not symbolically or metaphorically…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  16. Dennis all through the Bible creation is told to us as a literal event, even Christ spoke of it as a literal event. So it’s not the church you are accusing of being deceptive, it’s God Himself. It was He who told Moses to write, “for in six days God created…..”. It was not the SDA church who is responsible for that Biblical statement. It’s tiresome to me when I hear people claim the church is deceptive on this issue when what they are really saying is that God has told a lie.  

    Exactly! Is God a liar? Was Jesus a liar? Were all the prophets and disciples liars? Many at LSU say “YES!” What should be done about this? Well, so far, Nothing!

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  17. Ken I’m not sure what you are asking. Danial 8:14 says nothing about the evening and the morning. The Bible is very clear throughout about Creation. It’s not mans interpretation, there is nothing ambiguous about what the Bible says, there is no room for interpretation like there might be on other issues (like for instance weather or not the SDA church is the remnant). There is nothing in the Bible that someone can point to and say God related the Creation account as a metaphor or simply as a myth. And it’s on the Genesis account of origins and the subsequent fall that gives us the need for a savior. Genesis is the base for the other 65 books of the Bible, if we disregard it as a myth then the rest of the Bible is also reduced to a myth, including the new testament and it’s account of Christ.

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  18. I cannot believe that an Adventist institution is being corrupted from within. It is the responsibility of all Adventist to advocate the truth (God as creator of everything and a literal 6 day creation.) I have read what Randal Wisbey has to say and frankly, he’s saying a whole lot of words without really saying much at all. The fact that the professors and even the president of LSU have not and will not apologize and acknowledge that the misguided theory of evolution is wrong and contradictory to our believes is astonishing. We must pray for the right thing to be done and for our leaders to stand up and act.  

    Sam, I don’t know where you live, but out here in California, our SDA Church is being rotted out from within in both our educational institutions, such as we see at LSU, and in many of our SDA Churches.

    Our so-called leaders have NOT stood up and in fact, are a major cause of the problems that we face. Please check this out for yourself, if you are able. You WILL be “astonished!”

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  19. Sean Pitman said:
    “Remember now, the issue under discussion involves a clearly stated fundamental Pillar of the SDA Faith. And yes, notion that very high level intelligent design and creative power was required to produce life on this planet, and the idea that this life was produced in a very vast array within recent history, has a great deal of scientific backing. I’m sorry, but mainstream opinion does not mean that the SDA position on origins isn’t based on good scientific reasoning, because it is.”

    I’m not sure why you added this word of caution? Is that a warning of some type?

    Is it possible that we are not discussing the same thing? I recently attended meetings put on by the Adventist Theological Society about creation. They believe that the earth was created about 6,000 years ago, in 7 literal days. That is what I have always believed is the traditional Adventist position. You statement is sufficiently vague, that it doesn’t affirm either of these things. Do you accept them? What do you mean by a short time, 6,000 years, 100,000 years, a million years? Let me give an example of information which goes against the traditional SDA position about the age of the earth. Scientists have drilled ice cores from the antarctic which they have dated to 800 kyears ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_core Since ice floats, any world wide flood would probably predate the glaciers on the antarctic. Do you accept these dates?

    Dr. Pitman also said:
    “Also, I am a medical doctor and I think Mrs. White contributed heavily to the cutting edge position of the SDA Church in the medical sciences. After all, why else do you think that SDAs are the longest lived group of ethnically diverse people in the world?”

    Dr. Pitman, I agree, that Mrs. White did indeed have a great many good things to say about health. That is not my point. Dr., do you embrace everything Mrs. White said on health? Do you incorporate all the information contained in her book, SOLEMN APPEAL TO MOTHERS, into your practice? Since “self abuse” is the cause of so much illness, including insanity and dementia, surely you question your patients about “self abuse” and warn them of the dangers. Have you submitted any scientific papers describing how red heads are more resistant to “self abuse” than other people? Mrs. White had a great deal to say against drugs. Dr. Pitman, do you use drugs in your practice?

    Dr. Stone, the same questions I asked Dr. Pitman apply to you. Do you believe Mrs. White was a prophet of God. If so, do you believe that every word she said about medicine is literally true? Are you willing to put everything she said into practice? Do you use drugs in your practice? If you don’t follow every word in her writings, is it fair for me to ask you if you believe that “God is a liar?” If you are secure in your position, and if you know that the facts will support you, why do you feel the need to use such inflammatory statements to carry your point?

    Dr. Stone asked:
    “Dennis, please inform us of the “ubiquitous” evidence for evolution in the world. I’m sure I’m not the only one interested in your “new” information! Ron Stone M.D(Quote)”

    I don’t remember making the claim that I have “new” information about evolution. Can you refresh my memory?

    Evolution is all around us. For example, when bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, some of them develop resistance to the antibiotics they encounter. That is why doctors are cautioned not to use antibiotics indiscriminately. Antibiotic resistance is a classic example of the scientific law of evolution. Although the wikipedia is not always correct, the definition found under evolution should suffice for our discussion:
    “Evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution
    In other words, evolution is the study of how living things change over time. That is a well established scientific principle.

    Darwin’s book about the origin of species is entitled, THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, not THE ORIGIN OF LIFE. The question about how life began in the first place is a different issue altogether. At this time, there is no generally accepted scientific explanation for the origin of life.

    Now, that I have presented some of the abundant evidence for evolution, perhaps you doctors would be willing to present the scientific evidence to support the traditional SDA position that the earth is about 6,0000 years old, and was created in 6 literal days. Afterwards, perhaps you gentlemen would like to explain why you think theologians should be able to impose their interpretation of the Bible onto the science lab. How is the stance taken by the modern Seventh-day Adventist church different from the stance assumed by the Roman Catholic church when they persecuted scientists who disagreed with their theology. Since you are both physicians, are you prepared to allow theologians to dictate medical science to you? How long do you think Loma Linda Medical School would retain its accreditation, if doctors give theologians the same authority over their field that the church has asserted over general biology? Under the circumstances, why should any legitimate accrediting agency continue to accredit Adventist universities?

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  20. Dear Educate Truth Staff

    I want to sincerely thank you for letting all comments pro and con stand, without editing or deletion. This debate is very important and the opinions of all should be seen.

    Even though I am not of the same opinion as you, I congratulate you airing this open debate.

    Best Regards
    Ken

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  21. Dear Sean and Richard

    Thank you gentleman for your learned comments on Daniel 8:14.

    I certainly confess that I am not a biblical scholar. However I find it very confusing that one part of the Bible is meant to be taken literally while the other is meant to be taken metaphorically or symbolically. Why don’t ‘days’ mean the same thing throughout the Bible? Is it just a matter of interpretation or am I missing the obvious somehow? I would appreciate your further erudition on this point.

    P.S. Ron, thanks for your apology for an honest mistake.

    Regards
    Ken

    Regards
    Ken

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  22. Dennis, [edit] So, I say again, show us the “ubiquitous” evidence for Darwinian evolution! Even Stephen Gould couldn’t do it, and he gave us “saltation.” Frances Crick gave up and said we “evolved” from outer space genes!

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  23. Dear Educate Truth StaffI want to sincerely thank you for letting all comments pro and con stand, without editing or deletion. This debate is very important and the opinions of all should be seen.Even though I am not of the same opinion as you, I congratulate you airing this open debate.Best Regards
    Ken  

    Ken, The edits, censors, and deletions are alive and well here on Educatetruth. They’re even WORSE than on Spectrum and AT. I know from first hand experience!

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  24. Dr. Stone said:
    “Dennis, [edit] So, I say again, show us the “ubiquitous” evidence for Darwinian evolution! Even Stephen Gould couldn’t do it, and he gave us “saltation.” Frances Crick gave up and said we “evolved” from outer space genes! Ron Stone M.D.(Quote)”

    Dr. Stone, I would enjoy a debate about creation and evolution, but first I want to make some comments which are directed towards the purpose of this forum, which is to determine whether it is appropriate for theologians to dictate scientific truth. I see you have not responded to any of my questions about your practice of medicine. Why not? If SDA physicians refuse to allow theologians to dictate their craft, why should they expect general biology professors to allow the theologians into their class rooms? To put it kindly, SDA physicians who encourage this type of behavior by theologians are inconsistent.

    There are very many medical statements in Mrs. White’s writings, which modern Adventists physicians ignore. I have already mentioned the grave dangers of self abuse which most SDA doctors ignore. Next, I will mention the extreme risks associated with wigs. Let me quote her here:
    “Fashion loads the heads of women with artificial braids and pads, which do not add to their beauty, but give an unnatural shape to the head… The artificial hair and pads covering the base of the brain, heat and excite the spinal nerves centering in the brain….The heat caused by these artificials induces the blood to the brain. The action of the blood upon the lower or animal organs of the brain, causes unnatural activity,…{RH, October 17, 1871 par. 9}…
    In consequence of the brain being congested its nerves lose their healthy action, and take on morbid conditions….RH, October 17, 1871 par. 10}
    Many have lost their reason, and become hopelessly insane, by following this deforming fashion. Yet the slaves to fashion will continue to thus dress their heads, and suffer horrible disease and premature death, rather than be out of fashion. {RH, October 17, 1871 par. 11}”

    Dr. Stone, as an Adventist physician, you do believe that Mrs. White is a prophet of God, don’t you? If so, do you acknowledge that heavy wigs around the base of the skull can heat up the brain and cause insanity and death? Do any of your patients wear wigs? If so, have you warned them that their wigs might cause insanity? If you don’t accept Mrs. White’s statement about wigs, is it fair for me to proclaim that you believe “God is a liar?”

    Doctors, who are cheering while theologians dictate scientific truth, should sober up, and think about the implications from what has happened. Seventh-day Adventists theologians have dug up the bone which Roman Catholic priests buried hundreds of years ago, and have set themselves up as authorities, who have the right to judge the validity of scientific theories. This smelly bone has already diminished the Roman Catholic church. It reeks even more now, after all these years. By its actions, the Seventh-day Adventist church is severely damaging the cause of Christ, since many people will generalize to all Christians, and will assume that all Christians are antagonistic to science.

    Now, to answer your question. In my previous post, I provided an example of evolution, which can be verified in the lab. When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, they change to develop resistance to those antibiotics they have encountered. That is evolution. Recently, scientists unearthed hominoid bones from tiny creatures, Homo floresiensis, they have labeled “Hobbit.” Their bones are found surrounded by stone artifacts and charcoal indicating that they shared many traits with us. These primitive hominids are evidence of evolution. Their existence does not exclude creation, but it does make the task for anyone who wishes to take Genesis 1 literally more difficult.

    You asked me about two scientists, Francis Crick, and Stephen Gould. I understand that they are both dead, and can not speak for themselves. I believe that both of these men were confirmed evolutionists until their deaths. In other words, in their minds, the evidence for evolution was greater than any unresolved problems. Neither of them was able to solve the problem of how life began in the first place. There is still no adequate scientific theory to explain the origin of life.

    When I was at La Sierra, circa 1970, the professors spent most of their time trying to poke holes in evolution. They were fairly successful in pointing out problems in Darwinism. Unfortunately, none of these problems in Darwinism were fatal to the theory. My professors’ were using an approach has been labeled “God of the Gaps,” because we find our God wherever scientists have gaps in their theory. As scientists fill in the gaps, the evidence for God becomes smaller and smaller. Because it depends on shrinking gaps, by itself, God of the gaps is not adequate. My professors were unable to close their argument by providing a positive scientific theory, of their own, which could explain the evidence. I have tried to keep abreast of the field, and so far the church still lacks any convincing scientific theory to replace Darwin’s theory. A few weeks ago, the Adventist Theological Society had a creation conference in Keene, Texas. The turn out was pitiful. Fortunately, we were treated to a lecture about the big bang by Dr. Bernard Brandstater, from Loma Linda University. Apparently, Dr. Brandstater recognizes that God of the Gaps is inadequate, since he has taken up philosophy to help him understand the issues surrounding creation better.

    After attending the meetings by the Adventist Theology Society, I have concluded that the Adventist theologians are working from a position of weakness. If they were sure that science will support their fundamentalist theology, there would be no need for them to vote about scientific truth. The evidence would speak for itself. It other words, if they can’t win the scientific argument on its merits, they will settle the questions by legislation. This will not end well.

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  25. The case of the president and certain science teachers at La Sierra University is an incredible interesting case of principle from a universal SDA pespective:

    (1) La Sierra University is not the only SDA school in the world with evolutionist tenets, and it would be inconsequential to require hard messures from it and not from (perhaps) presidents and (certainly) faculties of other S.D.A institutions, who, I anticipate, will have to make “a confession” in like manner as is required of L.S.U.

    This highly possible scenario, of a universal academic theological “confession-cleansing” process, curse it, or praise it, as I see it, can in turn easily expediate into an educational revolution of unprecedented dimensions in the history of our people, with daunting consequences for the future of the entire church, again I say, curse it, or praise it.

    The recent moves certainly carries the seeds in it for this, because the world-wide S.D.A departments of biology are not the only group of departments in the educational system of the church in which certain faculty members openly propose heretical, unorthodox, and/or heterodox adventism, when we are using the 28 Fundamentals as a measurement. Measure up and observe what S.D.A academicians, especially those from the slowest growing membership areas of the world, are able to enmass of negative insinuations in regard to the 28 Fundamentals, you will wonder. A whole army of teachers and professors are engaged in this enterprise: The quickest and probably most comprehensive starting point to get an overview is “Spectrum” and “Adventist Today,” in all fairness, praise the apparent honest and tolerant spirit in these magazines!

    That is the reason the L.S.U. president could state, with an apparent trace of (premature, I guess) triumphalism: “And, to the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who today wonder if there is a place in this Church for you, we say, Do not lose faith. The Church is big enough for all, and we must never forget that our Lord desires that each of us might give our very best to His work.”

    There is certainly need of much faith in that coming quake that has been announced by the brave move of Michigan Conf., and hazened by the coming of a new G.C. president, who does not seem to be in the slightest doubt whether God was able to create, and actually did create, the world in six literal days, and rested on the seventh.
    May God be praised and may His work be cut short in grace and righteousness.

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  26. Kenn says:
    “This highly possible scenario, of a universal academic theological “confession-cleansing” process, curse it, or praise it, as I see it, can in turn easily expediate into an educational revolution of unprecedented dimensions in the history of our people, with daunting consequences for the future of the entire church, again I say, curse it, or praise it.”

    Kenn, I love your post. It is delightful to imagine the drama in these confession-cleansing meetings. I have already pointed out two major areas in which SDA medical institutions fall short of the standard of medicine set forth in the Red Books. According to the purifiers, the doctors have failed in many areas. For some reason, Loma Linda, is more interested in the worldly credentials of its staff than in their doctrinal allegiance to the church. They even hire professors who are not Seventh-day Adventists for their staff! If the theologians are consistent, they will summon the dean of the medical school, to their inquisition chamber, and force him to confess that he has not always followed Mrs. White’s medical directives in his school. Because he has been such a bad boy, they will probably force him to grovel on the floor and plead for forgiveness. If he refuses to grovel, they will feel justified, to fire him and the entire medial staff at Loma Linda, and replace them with good people, from holy institutions, like Weimar or Wildwood. The present impure group doctors, who work at Loma Linda, routinely substitute their own fallible human judgment, based on scientific experimentation, for God’s absolute truth found in Mrs. White’s books. While the theologians are purifying the medical school, they can correct some other injustices. Every doctrinally pure Adventist knows that doctors make far too much money. Any two bit doctor, who works 60 – 70 hours a week, can make as much money in 3 months as the average preacher makes in a year. That can not stand. The theologians should empty all the Porsches and Lexuses from the doctors parking lot, and fill it with faded Chevettes and dented Ford pickups! To show that they have learned their lesson, and are truly humble, the male doctors should wear overalls to work, and the lady doctors should wear ankle length skirts and bloomers. Why should doctors be allowed to put on airs, like they are better than everyone else? To be sure the reforms stick, medical students must all be brought in for their own “confession-cleansing” sessions. No one who places scientific experimentation above God’s word will be allowed to graduate from Loma Linda school of Medicine. Mrs. White’s books will become the main textbooks for the medical school. Only those aspects of conventional medical science which supports her writings will be allowed in the curriculum. If Genesis, which was written in ancient Hebrew, a language which no modern person understands perfectly, and which has been recopied many times over the centuries, is to be given priority over science, why should the church attribute any less authority to Mrs. White’s medical statements?

    Since we know that God never lies, let me present our next pearl of medical wisdom:

    There are works of fiction that were written for the purpose of teaching truth or exposing some great evil. Some of these works have accomplished good. Yet they have also wrought untold harm. They contain statements and highly wrought pen pictures that excite the imagination and give rise to a train of thought which is full of danger, especially to the youth. The scenes described are lived over and over again in their thoughts. Such reading unfits the mind for usefulness and disqualifies it for spiritual exercise….{CT 383.1}
    Even fiction which contains no suggestion of impurity, and which may be intended to teach excellent principles, is harmful. It encourages the habit of hasty and superficial reading, merely for the story. Thus it tends to destroy the power of connected and vigorous thought; it unfits the soul to contemplate the great problems of duty and destiny. {CT 383.2}
    …Many a miserable, neglected home, many a lifelong invalid, many an inmate of the insane asylum, has become such through the habit of novel reading. {CT 383.3}
    It is often urged that in order to win the youth from sensational or worthless literature, we should supply them with a better class of fiction. This is like trying to cure a drunkard by giving him, in the place of whisky or brandy, the milder intoxicants, such as wine, beer, or cider. The use of these would continually foster the appetite for stronger stimulants. The only safety for the inebriate, and the only safeguard for the temperate man, is total abstinence. For the lover of fiction the same rule holds true. Total abstinence is his only safety. {CT 383.4}

    When one of the professors at a major Adventist university informed me that many of the books published by SDA publishing houses are fiction, I was shocked. In light of Mrs. White’s opposition to fiction, I had always assumed that the church would never knowingly publish fiction. I was a gullible child, who believed every word in those books. I based my faith in God on the information I received from Adventist books and periodicals. The professor went on to inform me that one of my favorite evangelistic books, THE MARKED BIBLE, was pure fiction. Finally, I learned that some of the “true” stories have been so intermingled with imaginary conversations and scenes, that people who were actually there can hardly recognize the story. The main difference between the SDA church publications and secular publications was that the secular publications were more open about which books were true and which were fiction. The publishing houses have improved their labeling somewhat, since they now refer to their fiction as “true to life”. If the church really believes that God, Himself, through Mrs. White, has told us that fiction is always very dangerous, and in some cases can cause insanity, how could they possibly justify their actions? In light of Mrs. White’s warning about fiction, there is no possible moral or legal justification for the behavior of the SDA publishing houses, and for the Book and Bible Houses which sell that dangerous material. Anyone in the church who has participated in secretly causing spiritual decline and mental illness among innocent Adventist children must be held accountable. Everyone involved in the publishing work must be forced to attend the“confession-cleansing” sessions. Those sessions should be a fascinating spectacle.

    While it is fun to laugh at human folly, there is a serious down side to this folly. Many people have been hurt by the purifiers. After the church has completed those private “confession-cleansing” sessions, the church leaders themselves should submit to a “confession-cleansing” session to the rest of Christendom, for their role in promoting the myth called “creation science.” “Creation science,” as they interpret it, is an oxymoron. Other conservative Christian groups, who also reject orthodox science, have drawn their inspiration from the Seventh-day Adventist church. Thus, the Seventh-day Adventist church has amplified the damage to the cause of Christ which began when the Pope set himself up as the arbiter of scientific truth. When theologians set themselves up as authorities in science, they make themselves look foolish, and thus they effectively break the bonds between faith and reason. There is no reason for this damage. There are more productive ways to interpret the Bible. When the Bible is properly understood, science is the product of faith, not its enemy. The Bible tells us that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is a God of laws, including the laws of nature. He has presented Himself in two complementary books. The Bible is God’s revelation written in human language, nature is God’s revelation written in matter. Both books contribute to our understanding of God.

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  27. @ken:

    Dear Richard

    Excellent point.

    Now ask yourself: how did EGW interpret the 2300 days, or “evenings and mornings” from Daniel 8:14? Literally?

    Does this mean that in some cases days are days and in other cases days are years, depending on who is doing the interpreting?

    Ken, when you argue for the big tent idea that “all views have equal validity” from an agnostic POV – I admit that you are arguing from a consistent agnostic position.

    But when you venture into the realm of exegesis of Daniel 8 and 9, and the history of the Adventist Church, you appear to be leaving your field of expertise.

    1. As George Knight points out his history of the Adventist church – and as wikipedia now points out, the church did not get’s day for a year principle from Ellen White. William Miller is the one most closely associated with the history of Adventists, that accepted that school of prophetic interpretation. Thus, this is not even remotely an “Ellen White’s interpretation” question.

    2. Almost every protestant group on the planet accepts the day-for-year principle in Daniel 9’s 490 year prophecy (70 weeks of years). Thus the main point of difference is the close link between Daniel 8 and 9 where in Daniel 9 the 490 year timeline is given as a means of explaining “the vision” of Daniel 8 (according to the text).

    3. In the book of Daniel – all time prophecy given by Daniel that relates to the span of nations (so that would be Daniel 7, Daniel 8, Daniel 9) is consistently in Day-for-year format. No exceptions.

    By contrast – in Daniel 9 – when Daniel reads Jeremiah’s 70 year prophecy – it is year-for-year because the prophecy is Jeremiah’s – not Daniel’s.

    Thus the only groups that have a problem with logic and consistency in Daniel when it comes to “day for year” is the non-Adventist groups that select day for year in Dan 9 but not in Dan 8 and Dan 7.

    What I am saying is everyone needs to practice humility when it comes to investigating the truth.

    When it comes to Bible doctrine (or the abuse thereof), be it origins, or purgatory, or immortal soul, or seventh-day Sabbath, or literal 2nd coming, or prayers to the dead, or the use of images in worship, or free will, or eternal hell, the mark of the beast, the 3 angels messages… the issue is much MORE than “humility”, just as with calculus the issue in solving the problem correctly goes beyond “humility”.

    For Bible doctrine one needs something like exegesis correctly applied and a heart willing to listen to the Holy Spirit.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  28. @ken:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. That’s why it is important for students to be exposed to both creationism as a faith based religious theory and evolution as the broadly accepted scientific theory, and let them decide for themselves That’s freedom.

    That is the solution we would expect in an agnostic public university setting where all ideas are to be evaluated equally and without bias.

    In a religious institution we do not present the immortality of the soul vs the Bible doctrine on soul sleep as both being “equally valid”. Neither do we take the atheist doctrine on origins found in evolutionism and contrast it to the Bible doctrine on origins claiming that they are “equally valid”. Our universities start with a vision, a mission and it is not to be “the best public university that Adventist tithe, tuition and gift dollars can buy” – as much as this comes as a shock to the leadership at LSU.

    This is a church institution – it is not a branch of the National Academy of Sciences. Our mission was never to teach calculus because “Adventist calculus is better than secular calculus”.

    Our views are distinctively Christian, and even more specifically Seventh-day Adventist. The sciences are to us a means of viewing the handiwork of God without being forced to adopt the atheist “there is no god” mantra, and in the context of the Bible being the infallible, inspired Word of God, applying accepted standards of exegesis and the historical grammatical method of Bible interpretation.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  29. Re Bob’s quote

    “That is the solution we would expect in an agnostic public university setting where all ideas are to be evaluated equally and without bias.”

    Dear Bob

    I sincerely appreciate your honest comments about biased education, which is precisely my point.

    Regarding the bible, I agree wholeheartedly that I am far out of my realm of expertise. I appreciate the time you spent to explain the meaning to me but I must confess it is confusing. It really does not seem to be obvious but rather a matter of interpretation as to what is a literal day versus a prophetic day.

    Query: if William Miller was wrong about the return of Jesus, could he not be equally as wrong about the interpretation of the day for year principle?

    Regards
    Ken

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  30. Ken,

    Just some thoughts that seem reasonable to me:

    A key difference between Genesis 1:1-31 and Daniel 8:14 is that Genesis 1:1-31 is past tense and Daniel 8:14 is future tense. The times when God uses a day for a year (e.g. Ez. 4:6/Num. 14:34) it is in the future tense. A historical account would therefore not lend itself to accept these precedents to use the prophetic day-for-a-year after events already occurred. I do not claim to be an expert on Scripture, but this seems strait-forward enough to understand and apply to other history. Jesus didn’t fast for forty years but forty days in the wilderness, because Matthew 4 is also past tense.

    God bless,

    Rich

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  31. Dear Rich

    Thanks, that’s interesting and informative. It helps me to appreciate the distinction between the use biblical language to describe historical versus prophetic events.

    However, I think the distinction may well beg the question. That is, why use a straight forward term ‘day’ to mean two different things depending on context? When a book does this it opens up a Pandora’s box of different interpretations. Didn’t this interpretation problem cause the SDA to disfellowship Desmond Ford?

    In my profession I draft a lot of documents. In these documents I take great pains to make sure the terms mean the same thing throughout to prevent confusion. So, when I am told that ‘days’ in the Bible sometimes means one thing and sometimes another, depending on who is interpreting (SDA’s Ford, Catholics, etc.) the issue in my humble mind is as clear as mud. Why aren’t all references to ‘days’ in the Bible simply interpreted as a 24 hour period. That is what would be plain and apparent to this simple mind.

    Now, I am appreciative that the authors of Genesis and Daniel were likely different and may have intended different meanings for days. But if we accept that ‘days’ is interpreted differently in the Bible by the SDA should not the SDA be more tolerant of other different interpretations of days as well? ; a fortiori within its own ranks?

    I hope this helps to further elaborate the dilemma I see when any one person or institution claims to have the only, clear understanding of God’s Word.

    Respectfully
    Ken

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  32. Dr. Wisbey,Hang in there, there are still a lot of us who support La Sierra. Now is the time to stand for the truth though the heavens fall. Now is the time to stand up for freedom of conscience within the Adventist church. Many of us have not forgotten the horrible price paid, in the struggle against authoritaianism and tyranny, by those who first taught us Righteousness by Faith. I am sorry this attack is coming on your watch. I would not want to be in your shoes for anything, but I am praying for you and I am happy to send money to help replace any funds lost through lack of support from the church. When will Christian’s learn to one thing Christ came to teach, God’s love and mercy?  (Quote)

    Amen! and Amen! However, He did not separate “God’s grace and mercy” from “God’s law.”

    I understand the desparate need to do so. It is uncomfortable and there is risk of sounding legalistic if we hold to a higher standard. If we cling to the Fundamental Pillars of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. However, there’s something very Baptist and Methodist about clinging only to “God’s grace and mercy”.

    Elder Gallimore was not being legalistic. Elder Gallimore was being a responsible Seventh-day Adventist leader. Gallimore is an extremely compassionate individual, and I would daresay a man who is at a place where the things that break God’s heart breaks his heart. While I cannot speak for him – or anyone else on the Michigan Conference Executive committee – I risk some ridicule in saying that I firmly believe that this decision grieved them greatly.

    I am greived that there are so many people who supposedly understand “God’s grace and mercy” that are so forgetful of just what caused the extension of that grace and mercy. How dare we step back and say that teaching any untruth is acceptable simply because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or make them feel less important? How dare we quietly and winkingly allow anyone to be so outside of God’s will. Isn’t that the purpose of “God’s grace and mercy”? To bring us into a saving relationship with Him?

    As leaders in the Seventh-day Adventist instutitions we truly show how little we understand of God if we think that He will not judge us for leading so many astray. Jesus already died for us. That doesn’t give us the right to tell Him that He’s a liar and we don’t care about the things that are important to Him.

    Today it’s evolution and challenging a 7-day creation. It may seem simple enough. However, as a church we have plenty of historical evidence that it’s anything but simply and it won’t stop by “merely teaching students how to reason.” We can do that without ripping the church and it’s fundamental beliefs to shreds and making our young people even more confused about who they are, what we believe as a church and exactly who God is in their lives.

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