PUC responds

PUC Affirms Creation
Julie Z. Lee

In response to a recent post by a website accusing a Pacific Union College biology professor of teaching ideas contrary to Adventist beliefs, President Heather J. Knight affirmed PUC’s commitment to the Bible as the inspired word of God and the belief of God as our Creator.

“The biology department’s mission is to provide an excellent education in the life sciences, based upon the latest scientific discoveries and our belief in God as the Creator of life,” said Dr. Knight. “As a devoted Adventist and beloved educator who has taught at PUC for more than 21 years, Dr. Bryan Ness affirms this mission—along with his colleagues, and our students will attest to this as well. Our biology professors are scientists, so they must be dedicated to understanding contemporary issues surrounding science that sometimes conflict with specific theology. However, our professors are also Seventh-day Adventist Christians, and each is at PUC because of his or her commitment to this Christ-centered community of faith and learning.”

On November 1, a website accused Dr. Ness and PUC of undermining the Bible after video of a class presentation surfaced on the Internet. The video in question, taken and posted by a student without the professor’s knowledge, shows Dr. Ness leading a discussion on contemporary issues in science. The discussion was for Ministry Colloquium, a lecture and discussion series for theology majors. During the fall quarter, guest speakers led discussions on various issues confronting theologians today. In October, the religion department asked Dr. Ness to specifically present existing theories in science that conflict with our beliefs as Adventists, such as the age of the earth, the nature of the flood, and fossil records. Dr. Ness was never asked to present his personal views nor does the video show him professing personal beliefs.

At the start of the class, religion professor and Ministry Colloquium coordinator Myron Widmer provided the context for the upcoming discussion before Dr. Ness stepped up to the podium. But the posted video does not include this introduction; for unknown reasons, this important frame of reference was left out.

Ministry Colloquium is required by all PUC theology majors. Past topics have included music in the church and issues in youth ministry. The goal of the course is to prepare future pastors for dilemmas they may face in ministry while strengthening the students’ faith in the Adventist Church and its core beliefs.

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74 thoughts on “PUC responds

  1. So essentially Ness was role playing for the students? Playing devils advocate for them? I suppose more bizarre things have occurred. The statement sounds good and believable, but having watched the video, I find it difficult to just swallow the PR.

    I would also point out that many of the students who have been defending Ness only make the point Educate Truth has been making. They reflect the education they’re receiving in some of these classes, that essentially the Bible does not inform their science, it’s the other way around.

    I’m thankful that Ness has asked students connected on his Facebook page to come and comment here, so that we can get the best picture of the type of education they are receiving.

    Assuming everything they say about how he teaches is true, I’m sincerely confused after watching his presentation on the video. Did he change? Was he being misleading? What happened? Something isn’t panning out.

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  2. Is this spin? Are they playing games with us? One can state that they are a believer in creation and a loyal SDA but avoid saying that they believe in a recent, 6 day literal creation. There are SDA’s that believe in a long timeline for creation but still believe that God is the creator. Come on PUC, tell the church, the people who pay your salary, do you support our belief that God created the earth around 6000 years ago in 6 literal consecutive days followed by His amazing Sabbath. This is not a time to beat around the bush. Take a stand. State it clearly so everyone knows! If you use evasive language, we will know where you stand.

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  3. @ D. Fender

    Is this spin? Are they playing games with us?…This is not a time to beat around the bush. Take a stand. State it clearly so everyone knows! If you use evasive language, we will know where you stand.  (Quote)

    Are ye daft? They explained what was stated up front at the classroom presentation. The video excluded that. How can YOU not recognize spin?

    I think I know the answer: you, Pitman, Hilde, and others thrive on judging and criticizing others. This excites your Christ-like(?!) passions.

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  4. Professor Kent, [edit] Aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black?

    Let’s hear the president of PUC say that she is committed to having her faculty teach the SDA belief that our earth was created by God in 6 literal, consecutive, 24 hour days about 6000 years ago.

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  5. In all fairness, PUC President Heather Knight has only been there one year. It’s going to take a while to change the whole system she has inherited, and it’s obvious that we desperately need to reform Adventist education. Church leaders must grant the political capital to Adventist educators to revamp Adventist education as a whole. I can bet that PUC and LSU aren’t the only ones teaching this philosophy of education.

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  6. As I have mentioned a few times in earlier threads, simply identifying and cyberbullying professors who undermine SDA beliefs in an effort to shame them into resignation or goad educational leaders into firing them is NOT going to reform SDA education. If such professors are fired or forced to resign, who will they be replaced with? Whenever a professor at any given SDA college or university retires or resigns, there are very few suitably qualified candidates for a vacancy, and not all candidates support or are even members of the SDA church. If we really want to reform SDA education, we need to do more–much more–to encourage our youth to become college professors. How many of you actually urge your children to become a college professor?

    Let’s be honest. Why is it that we encourage our children who are interested in science to pursue a career in the health sciences? Is it because we want them to altruistically help people, or is it because we want them to earn prestige in society and a good income? Professors require many years of education to obtain the coveted PhD degree and then they are poorly compensated for their years of training. In fact, professors in many SDA institutions–including PUC–are paid less, even as much as 25% less, than primary and secondary school teachers in SDA schools on the same campus. How fair is that? How can we expect our children to obtain a quality SDA education when we fail to adequately support SDA educators who have sacrificed years of their lives to educate our children?

    If we want quality SDA science professors who are supportive of SDA views of origins, we need to identify potential candidates and provide more encouragement and support throughout their education, from the undergraduate level through the PhD degree. We need to increase the amount of scholarships and research grants available for graduate students at Andrews University, Loma Linda University and Walla Walla University. And somehow, in some way, we need to find a way to increase the level of compensation of our college faculty to be at least on par with our teachers in primary and secondary schools.

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  7. @Eddie:

    professors in many SDA institutions–including PUC–are paid less, even as much as 25% less, than primary and secondary school teachers in SDA schools on the same campus. How fair is that? How can we expect our children to obtain a quality SDA education when we fail to adequately support SDA educators who have sacrificed years of their lives to educate our children?

    I completely agree with this statement. You only get what you pay for. If the Church is really interested in higher education and promoting its own goals and ideals effectively through its own schools, it is going to have to find a way to compensate “effective” professors much better than it currently is.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  8. The bottom line is not that we affirm God as Creator. Many theistic evolutionists do this. The question is, Does Dr. Ness believe the earth was created as Genesis says it was, in six literal, consecutive, contiguous, 24-days, approximately 6,000 years ago? And does he believe the Flood as recorded in the book of Genesis was a global event, or just a local one?

    As an alumnus of Pacific Union College, I’d like some straight answers. Evasive ones won’t do.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson

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  9. Some of the comments regarding payments, benefits etc. etc. are not to be the main point of discussion. These are very important issues to be discussed but the forum is in regards to the Biblical beliefs and the SDA Education system. Since when the SDA principles are going to be measured by the amount of money and or benefits a Teacher, physician or any other professional would receive?. There is no amount of money that will change or affect the SDA principles particularly in Education. To say that because our Pastors, Educators etc. etc. are not paid the same amount of money as the rest of the professionals of the different denominations is
    in detriment of the high standards our institutions follow and observe.
    Look at the state school system, if you are satisfied with it by all means go to it. The point is: PUC is a SDA institution and should follow the SDA principles of Education if someone does not agree with such principles he/she is working in the wrong place.
    My wife and I work with the underprivileged, we assist the needy and the elderly. Nobody pushed us to do so we do it because we want to and feel rewarded doing it.
    Just my thought
    Raul Hernandez, MD

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  10. Professor Kent, [edit] Aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black?Let’s hear the president of PUC say that she is committed to having her faculty teach the SDA belief that our earth was created by God in 6 literal, consecutive, 24 hour days about 6000 years ago.  (Quote)

    You can’t be serious with this. As a student, I’m not going to stand for just one belief be shoved down my throat and told that this is the truth. Isn’t college a time for students to come up with their own beliefs and accept them rather than being forcefed information? That is why I got away from the public education system because I want to come up with my own choice of what to believe rather than having just one side of the big picture.

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  11. I am sadden by the way WE (Christian) act toward each other. It is also sad for me as a Future pastor and PUC attendee that someone would post such an incomplete video of the class. If the video started from the beginning of the class and in its full context it would better make sense and be a non issue. This reminds me of a situation that Jesus dealt with when a woman was accused of adultery and brought to Him. Jesus said to the people that brought her, if any of you have not sin cast the first stone. Too often we are eagerly waiting for someone to fall in hopes of pointing out the specks they have in their eyes. I hope brothers and sisters if a speck is in my eye, you would show me grace and help me out, Instead of coming to me with judgment while there are 2x4s protruding out of your own eyes.

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  12. Why is it wrong to teach opinions that are not Seventh Day Adventist Oriented in class topic about ideas on Creation that will challenge theologians in future once they leave PUC and other institutions where they are surrounded by people with similar beliefs of them. Shall we send out our future Pastors ignorant of what other people of the world think, having them attept to make disciplines of all nations who will quickly ignore them based on the fact they don’t understand why non-sda’s believe they do. A good argument is only as good as the information known on the counterargument. Am I wrong?

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  13. Something I think that everyone seems to be missing on this topic is that we as students are not children, and are not so impressionable that if we’re taught something different, it’s going to affect us so adversely. We’re adults, and are quite past the age of responsibility. As someone else has already said, this is our time to learn to critically think about issues. And for issues like this, we are never going to have all the answers.

    It is interesting to examine all the facts and go to the Bible to try and piece them together. How do we know we’re interpreting the Bible correctly when we place weight on these beliefs? It’s just another question to ask. And we’re not really going to know until Jesus comes…so why get so worked up about it? Explore, question, wrestle with God about it. All a professor is doing is presenting the information and the possibilities, and we as students process them and think about them for ourselves.

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  14. There’s context enough in a 40 minute lecture to see where Dr. Ness stands on these issues. He suggested that the evidence from bio-geography and various dating techniques were damaging to the traditional Adventist narrative of earth history. He also stated that while there might be good evidence of a local flood, there wasn’t much support for a global flood (he did, however, discuss flood geology and Clark’s ecological zonation theory of the fossil record).

    Very subtly, and without being forceful or overbearing, he was mooting the idea that the church could move to a theistic evolution/figurative creation week/local flood view of origins without causing too much trouble for our theology. He did acknowledge and discuss at length, however, the fact that this view would bring death into the fossil record before sin, and hence alter the Adventist view that death, at least of animals, was a result of the Fall.

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  15. The PUC formal published statement says

    Dr. Ness was never asked to present his personal views nor does the video show him professing personal beliefs.

    That statement provides a very wide door for Ness to then say “See, we all agree. Those were not my views, nor even the facts of science. I was merely presenting what an atheist evolutionist might think and trying to get our religion department students to think about ways to solve some of those problems”.

    However as it turns out Ness chose the high ground in this case. He claims to have been telling the truth about what science shows us. His own statements on this point seem to be on the need for a new understanding of the Bible and Ellen White’s statements on the flood, and a literal 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago. (the two issues he is focused on in that video).

    In fact – SDA evolutionist Erv Taylor has come to Ness’ defense saying that presenting actual science and reminding us of our need to either bend the Bible to fit, or change SDA doctrine to be less hardwired to the Bible statements on origins – is not being challenged by anybody as a gross mischaracterization of Ness’ work.

    When we watch the actual video we see a lecture focused less on science (only making broad sweeping claims in science) and focused more on a lively philosophical discussion on how science fits with the Bible and Ellen White. There is never any question that “some evolutionists might be bending science to support their dogma – and if so where are those areas of manipulating the facts – to be found”. In the lecture whatever the claims of science made – are taken as “a given” fact. (As if it were “revealed truth” according to Patterson’s summary of these kinds of claims.). The only “challenge” in the discussion is finding ways to get the Bible or Ellen White to “agree”.

    And what is interesting – is that you are not going to have non-SDA atheist evolutionists discussing ways that Ellen White’s statements might be made to fit the doctrines of origins found evolutionism of the form “birds come from reptiles”. In fact there are no atheist evolutionists even that argue that the Bible is easily bent to that end.

    So WHO exactly would the students be confronted with – that would argue the points both from Ellen White and the Bible trying to get those two sources to agree with evolutionism?

    Answer: An SDA evolutionist who honestly believes science to be totally supportive of evolution and is willing to find new creative ways to read the Bible and Ellen White so they “fit” the new doctrine on origins.

    Perhaps that is the person Ness was trying to get the PUC theology department to be ready to confront. If so – he appears to have been the perfect choice because his style is not of the brow-beating form that we have heard about so much in the case of LSU. He is every bit as respectful of other people’s views in favor of a literal 7 day creation week and creation less than 10,000 years ago as he has claimed.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  16. PUC’s less-than-reassuring statement informs the public that PUC professors believe in “God as our Creator” – (good so maybe some 7 day creationists and some Theistic evolutionists but definitely no atheist evolutionists. Good to know.)

    The PUC statement is careful NOT to speak to the actual issues Ness addresses in the class “belief in a literal 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago” and “belief in a real world wide flood in Noah’s day”.

    And as we have seen at LSU (And decades past at Walla Walla) when
    evolutionists within the SDA church surface in our teaching institutions, they always claim that evolutionism is in keeping with some level of a bent view of our doctrines. PUC is glad to repeat such a watered down vague affirmation. That level of vagueness will be “harder to accomplish” once FB#6 is updated.

    The PUC statement speaks loudly in the areas central to the class lecture that it does NOT take an explicit position on! Apparently PUC has some internal “issues” with actually taking a position on the topics Ness was asked to address! They neither speak to the SDA position on a literal 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago and a world wide flood, NOR do they commit publically to Ness’ position!!

    Wow talking about leaving Ness swinging in the breeze!

    King David once had some kind of plan about having Uriah the Hittite duped into leading out in a battle – only to have “the troops” pull back at the last minute leaving Uriah high and dry. If they are trying to drum up sympathy for Ness by not taking a position affirming his statements on long-ages evolution as real science doctrine on origins for all genomes seen today – they have done it!!

    Or maybe the PUC communications group is trying to tell us something without having to come right out and say it — and this glaringly obvious avoidance of a stated explicit position on the actual subject of the lecture – was the ideal way to do it. (Contrast that vague non-commital positoin from PUC with the explict affirmations of Ted Wilson on these very topics.) Either way – a little bit of critical thinking as the reader reviews the details in the communication from PUC shows that both goals were accomplished!

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  17. Let us imagine for a second that PUC actually “wanted” to have some insightful, critical thinking in their religion department relative to key topics in the evolutionism vs creationism debate. Why not pick the obvious topics that NEED to be addressed in the religion department first — instead of wildly casting about them for any old offbeat idea?

    How about some lectures along these lines?

    1. “How is it that Evolutionist oppostion to I.D. science is in fact “distinctively atheist”?? Why can it not be considered as a valid Christian Theistic Evolutionist opposition to I.D.??

    Here is a topic “in the sweet spot” for a theology department – as they say in tennis parlance

    2. “What list of SDA doctrines must be deconstructed if evolutionism were ever unwittingly embraced within Adventistm”?

    3. “How does SDA efforts to purge Battle Creek of Pantheism, and Walla Walla and LSU of evolutionism differ from dark ages persecution of Galileo”?

    And IF the Theology department actually wanted a foray into “science” (as if this is the domain of theologians) how about a lecture on “past and current debunked assumptions, blunders and fraudulent claims in evolutionism”. (Oh no wait – apparently the current PUC thinking is that the theologians need to “dig those science facts” out on their own.)

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  18. Raul Hernandez states “There is no amount of money that will change or affect the SDA principles particularly in Education.” Unfortunately that is not the case. The average PUC professor earns something like $15,000 less than the average teacher at PUC Elementary School and PUC Preparatory School. No professor in a SDA institution aspired to become a professor for the money. Nobody studies for a PhD degree to make money. Professors simply want an intellectually satisfying job. It’s the LACK of money, not the want of money, that turns away many bright and inquiring minds from becoming a professor. Would you urge your child to borrow thousands of $$$ in loans and spend an extra 6 years in school to get a PhD degree and become a college professor when your child could earn $15,000 more by teaching 1st grade with only a bachelor’s degree? Or earn $100,000 more by earning a MD degree? Is it surprising that only 1 or 2 percent of science students in SDA colleges and universities aspire to become a professor?

    So how is SDA education affected? The pool of potential candidates for becoming a SDA professor is extremely shallow. When a professor leaves or retires from PUC, there are typically only a few qualified candidates for the job. If instead there were 10 or 15 candidates, the probability would be much higher that at least one candidate is strongly supportive of SDA principles. As it is, SDA colleges often wind up hiring non-SDAs or marginal SDAs who just happen to live in the vicinity and need a job. Usually they are hired as contract teachers but some are hired full-time as salaried employees. It is NOT because the administration has a liberal agenda and does not support SDA principles, which some have alleged; instead, it’s because there simply is no suitably qualified candidate who is more supportive SDA principles. And why are there no better candidates? Why is it that conservative SDAs who are highly critical of liberal SDA professors did not aspire to become SDA professors themselves? Is it not the money?

    If you don’t like what’s happening in SDA colleges and universities, don’t blame the professors–they’re just trying to do a job for peanuts that hardly anybody else wants. And don’t blame SDA administrators, either–it’s not their fault that there are so few candidates to choose from. Maybe the blame is in the mirror. If the SDA Church wants high quality professors who support SDA principles, the church is going to have to invest more money in attracting suitable candidates. It will require a change in SDA culture. Maybe God wants YOU to become a SDA professor! Or to encourage a young, bright mind to become a SDA professor. Or to financially support SDA professors.

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  19. I appreciate the dialogue by all on this. I want to point out 3 salient things:

    1) Most times, especially in official news releases, as much is said by what is not addressed, as what is actually said.

    2) If we want to know why all of this is dragging out & taking so long to get official decisions & actions, I would walk down the hall to the legal department & knock on the door – if you understand my hint?

    3) The old adage – follow the $ money $ trail to the truth – is likely as valid in this situation as at any other time….(donor support issues; lawsuit issues; grants & loans issues; outside funding issues; contractural pay issues; etc., etc)

    Our beloved Church & all leadership especially need our prayer support as we near the edge of the greatest storm of human history soon to be upon us….Evolution WILL be a dominant catalyst to initiate this greatest storm! Creation and Creation’s “Memorial Day” WILL be the dominant theme / test of choice during this greatest storm!

    We are living in the “outer bands” now as it is rapidly maturing, deepening, approaching!

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  20. Eddie wrote, in dealing with claims about SDA university agendas in hiring liberal science faculty:

    It is NOT because the administration has a liberal agenda and does not support SDA principles, which some have alleged; instead, it’s because there simply is no suitably qualified candidate who is more supportive [of] SDA principles…don’t blame SDA administrators, either–it’s not their fault that there are so few candidates to choose from. Maybe the blame is in the mirror. If the SDA Church wants high quality professors who support SDA principles, the church is going to have to invest more money in attracting suitable candidates.

    The bottom line: critics of SDA science education will continue to whine and complain and point fingers, but they lack the integrity to discuss or engage in finding the solutions that Eddie keeps bringing up. Watch what happens next: the conversation will go back to more whining and complaining. Someone will even say “this isn’t the issue at stake.”

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  21. @Shane Hilde:

    I received education from Dr. Ness, and if you had been lucky enough to learn from him, you’d change your turn real fast. Dr. Ness is EXTREMELY God-centric. Last time I checked, a bible is NOT a textbook. God and our faith shapes everything about us, but God also loves those that educate themselves. I can tell you that Dr. Ness was one of the very best Christians I met at PUC, and this includes many of the theology professors. Dr. Ness does not TALK about being a Christian, he LIVES it. If you had the pleasure of knowing him, you would see God in him, guaranteed.

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  22. Anent Eddie’s financial insight. Hmmmm. Pay professors less and get Evo pushed? More and get Genesis 1? Really? I didn’t know that. But in practice it seems just the opposite, at least for students. If you want Evo you can get it cheaper, and with “better” teachers, at any State U. And u know it. (Money aside, there’s a difference, for some odd reason rarely brought up, between subjectively promoting-pushing, via even the tone of voice in answering, or even allowing, questions, and objectively teaching about.)

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  23. Something I think that everyone seems to be missing on this topic is that we as students are not children, and are not so impressionable that if we’re taught something different, it’s going to affect us so adversely. We’re adults, and are quite past the age of responsibility.

    @Samantha Owens: I was recently a student too, and you need to understand that we do not exhibit the ability to discern the truth always. The PhDs are influential, no doubt about it, and there were freshmen in the room–young kinds–that don’t critically assess what the professors say. All of these comments by students prove they aren’t assessing this situation as well. Very few are even looking at the video. Their post-modern minds are just making it a personal issue.

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  24. Our beloved Church & all leadership especially need our prayer support as we near the edge of the greatest storm of human history soon to be upon us….Evolution WILL be a dominant catalyst to initiate this greatest storm! Creation and Creation’s “Memorial Day” WILL be the dominant theme / test of choice during this greatest storm!

    This is a solid point. It is becoming very obvious that many are no longer considering the testimonies. Within our church, members are fulfilling the end day prophecies.

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.” 2 Tim. 4:3

    Note: the text says: “sound doctrine.”

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  25. @Eddie: As Sean has stated about salaries, I’m in full agreement. Even though money shouldn’t determine the quality and Biblical faithfulness of professors, it’s only fair to compensate them accordingly. There are leaders in our church who have called for the youth to be professors at our colleges. For one, I’ve heard David Asscherick preach a powerful sermon, encouraging the youth “to study biology for Jesus.” I wish that the church at large would echo this call and back it up with their actions and with their wallets.

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  26. @ wesley kime

    Anent Eddie’s financial insight. Hmmmm. Pay professors less and get Evo pushed? More and get Genesis 1? Really? I didn’t know that. But in practice it seems just the opposite, at least for students. If you want Evo you can get it cheaper, and with “better” teachers, at any State U. And u know it. (Money aside, there’s a difference, for some odd reason rarely brought up, between subjectively promoting-pushing, via even the tone of voice in answering, or even allowing, questions, and objectively teaching about.)

    There it is. You’ve made my point. And you’ve gone so far as to suggest that students attend our universities specifically to get “Evo,” and belittle them for not getting better for less. You are one bright guy.

    By the way, I attended and have taught at both state and private universities. I can state with total conviction that the science instruction at private universities is superior to that of state universities. Two key reasons are the faculty-to-student ratio, and the contrast in emphasis on teaching versus research. And u don’t know it.

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  27. @ Johnny Vance

    [regarding support for training SDA biologists] I wish that the church at large would echo this call and back it up with their actions and with their wallets.

    What a refreshing statement. A breath of fresh air! Who will communicate this to the highest levels of SDA leadership?

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  28. Most posters appear to be defending or attacking Bryan Ness’s personal belief system.

    I believe this is most unfortunate. Only God is an accurate judge of such a personal matter.

    I believe that the issue is not Bryan Ness’s personal belief. The issue is what students take away from the classroom lectures.

    His personal beliefs come into play only as they provide the background for what he teaches. It would be much more helpful if we could stick to what is taught in the classroom, as opposed to what a teacher supposedly believes.

    From watching one classroom lecture, I must conclude that most students would take away the idea that the facts/science are in favor of billions of years of life on this planet, rather than on creation by divine fiat just a few thousand years ago.

    And I am concerned that this is happening in an Adventist university classroom, even though this is not nearly as blatant as what appears to be happening at LaSierra, where it seems that creationist views are openly ridiculed by biology profs.

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  29. Inge Anderson wrote: “Unfortunately, hiring practices in Adventist education systems take too much for granted and the world view of potential teachers is not generally checked.”

    Unfortunately Adventist education systems do not have much of a choice of who they hire for teachers. They do check the world view of potential teachers but the pool of potential candidates is extremely shallow.

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  30. @Lisa:

    @Samantha Owens: I was recently a student too, and you need to understand that we do not exhibit the ability to discern the truth always.The PhDs are influential, no doubt about it, and there were freshmen in the room–young kinds–that don’t critically assess what the professors say.All of these comments by students prove they aren’t assessing this situation as well.Very few are even looking at the video.Their post-modern minds are just making it a personal issue.  

    Lisa I would appreciate it if you didn’t use “we” when making a statement concerning the students of Pacific Union College. You claim that “we”, meaning every student, are unable to think critically, process information, and think for ourselves.

    That very statement alone shows the ignorance in which it was written. You are not able to make such a statement, simply because no student, or anyone, at PUC is able to make such a claim.

    If your statement that “we” are unable to discern the truth, then what right do you have to tell Samantha that she is wrong. Your very statement claims to hold more truth than Sam.

    -Scott Brizendine

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  31. Perhaps we would all be wise not to make this an issue of intellectual or personal maturity, or the alleged lack thereof. Most assuredly the students at PUC, or any of our other institutions, are not children, and should not be treated as such. But that is not the point in this conversation. I have seen adults of advanced years led easily astray by the charisma and presumed expertise of certain ones, and I have seen academy and college students wise enough to not blindly accept everything they hear in the pulpit or classroom, and to calmly apply the Berean test to every idea they encounter (Acts 17:11).

    As I listen to the comments of the various students and alumni of PUC in this discussion, I am struck by the ironic similarity between their desire to be treated with respect, and the feelings I and many of my fellow students had on the same campus in a similar controversy many years ago. Only then, strangely enough, it was those of us who were conservative in our beliefs who were told we were too young and immature to have convictions about the issues at hand. It was we who were defending the orthodox teachings of our faith who were told we were “wet behind the ears” (a phrase one liberal Adventist scholar actually used at that time), and essentially told to take our cues from the “experts” and let them decide for us.

    Had we agreed with those who were attacking fundamental Adventism and seeking to relegate it to the backwaters of a bygone era, we would doubtless have been hailed by the liberal professors and their fellow travelers as the young, idealistic outriders of the coming generation, poised to lead the church into a new era of presumed “enlightenment.” But because we were young yet conservative in our theology, we were seen as immature and lacking depth. Looking at the way many theological liberals are reacting just now to the rise of the GYC movement, it is clear not much has changed. Conservative theology and lifestyle standards being promoted by the young is a contingency most theological liberals simply haven’t programmed into their system.

    This brings up a most important point. “Free thinking” is often a very relative term. Many who consider themselves liberated from the established and settled views of one group of authority figures, often find themselves captive to a different group of assumptions from another set of authority figures. What many such persons have done is to simply exchange one form of dogmatism for another. It is like a bumper sticker I saw years ago: “People who think they know it all are very annoying to those of us who do.”

    In the end, as Jesus said, there are really only two roads for travelers–the broad road leading to destruction and the narrow road leading to eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14). Describing the broad road, Ellen White has written, “There is room for every man’s opinions and doctrines” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 138). One way or the other, we will find ourselves under one or another set of presuppositions, one or another system of authority. It is best we recognize God’s way as revealed in His Word to be the best alternative, without having to learn so the hard way.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson

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  32. Ahh yes, the tension here is so thick, you could cut it with a chainsaw. Well its time i give my two cents…Someone once said “perception is reality” however i wonder if his statement was a subjective analysis or an objective one! So in light of pontificating more and more, lets lay down where i come from (from my perspective!)
    1. I watched the video
    2. I have friends who were in the class during the presentation
    3. I have parents in my congregation who intentionally send their children to PUC for a “SDA” education…

    Weighting the current criteria, i have to say…we need to be very careful about dogging PUC, or even the professors there. The church from the inception is based upon the diversity of personalities, community of service, and unity of beliefs. Church includes(get this!) even the hospitals(yup!) and schools(wowsers!)–If it bears the nike patch, it nike! If it bears the SDA patch, its SDA. If it receieves monetary assistance from the church, its role is to support the church fully. So in light of this development, lets roll up the sleeves and jump in.

    In all honesty and fairness,…

    a-After watching the video, i have to say there’s enough context to say whats going on. This is a presentation of the support that mother earth is an old, old, old lady and that the flood was a fish pond in arizona.

    b-The professor is clearly, clearly in support of these views. This isn’t the ol professor-like “lets think harder” classroom. He seems to support these views and know notice the steel logic! One who supports a view then presents it, obviously falls in the category of “teaching it..” (gasping for air!) You cannot separate the two-its inexorable locked. When as a professor you present anything and lend your support to it, you are intentionally, purposefully, unequivocally leading your hearers to accept what you believe.

    c-Church institutions (rem nike?) such as schools are supposed to present, explain, and defend the fundamentals of the church. This isn’t up for personal discussion, its what the majority decided a long long time ago…Dont like, change your name…PUC has a SDA logo branded on its wing, therefore its primary purpose is make SDAs. Its secondary purpose to educate people in a variety of fields to become productive, law-abiding SDAS in the world-ie adventist lawyers, adventist doctors, and even adventist pastors?! If i want my kid a catholic, i m sending him to a catholic school…its the nature of the beast…lol. Use the name, expect the same!

    In conclusion,
    The video is a professor promoting contrary beliefs in a context not warranted by the majority (they can change it if they want to) But currently, the GC and PUC hold that SDA beliefs are to be advertised, promoted, taught, explained, defended, championed, and finally inculcated into young, growing, impressionable adventists…This my friends, is not SDA. Grow up…. 🙂

    Pastor KK

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  33. @Lisa:

    I did look at the video myself, but it is basically the same lecture that I recently had in one of my Scientific Discoveries class periods. The video is only a 40 minute lecture, as was said before.

    Does no one have a reply to the second half of my comment?

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  34. Dear Samantha:

    I appreciate your spirit of inquiry and desire to learn. But I urge you to consider that the Bible does not present itself as an ambiguous document which all are invited to subjectively interpret and apply as they please to their spiritual walk. The Bible assumes both the existence of an absolute, transcendent standard of right and wrong (Isa. 8:20; Acts 17:11; II Tim. 3:15-16), and the ability of human beings to perceive the content of this standard and be held accountable for it (Eccl. 12:14; II Cor. 5:10; James 2:10-12).

    The Bible not only assumes that God will ultimately hold men and women accountable for their response to His Word; it also commands the faith community to hold one another accountable for faithfulness in word and deed (II Thess. 3:13-14; I Tim. 1:3,4). Belief in the truth and the conscious acceptance thereof is also declared in Scripture to be a matter of salvation (Hosea 4:6; John 8:31; II Thess. 2:13). According to the Bible, when dealing with sacred truth we are not dealing with subjective opinions. We are dealing with eternal realities.

    I am not a trained scientist like the professor whose lecture has been the subject of scrutiny on this forum. But I know others who are in fact trained scientists, who would certainly say that the evidence presented by the professor in question regarding a recent creation and a universal Flood, was seriously incomplete. Merely because a pastor or professor comes across as open, intelligent, gracious, and God-centered does not mean he or she is “playing with a full deck” so far as relevant evidence is concerned.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson

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  35. @Scott Brizendine: I believe that Lisa is trying to make the point that young adult minds are very impressionable still. Even more mature adults are often deceived by people they look up to. How much more impressionable would college-aged adults (18-22) be to professors they look up to? This is the age at which most young adults make a decision whether to stay in the church, or leave it. And unfortunately, many students at PUC probably don’t read the Bible or pray on a daily basis to receive wisdom from the Lord. Hence, the issue of the kinds of professors they are exposed to becomes very important because students are so moldable.

    You are also confusing the difference between being book-smart, and wisdom and discernment that comes with years of experience. Furthermore, even Ellen White warned parents to not send their kids to certain “Adventist” schools because of what they were teaching. Now, can you honestly say that many students from PUC come out of there with a closer relationship with the God of the Bible, as opposed to the whitewashed version of post-modernism that strips Adventism of its Biblically distinct features?

    @Samantha Owens: In response to the second half of your post, I’d like to ask you to consider what the ultimate authority is in your life…

    First of all, keep in mind that as John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This was referring to Jesus. If anyone causes you to doubt God’s word (the Bible) for the sake of tearing it down, they are bringing His character into question. It is an assault on who He is.

    “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

    Scripture has NEVER been discredited in any meaningful way by history, archaeology, science, medicine, astronomy, etc. In fact, it’s been proven correct more and more. If you’re sincerely searching for truth and you find that you’re honestly wanting to know how reliable the Bible is, the presentation at the bottom will answer many if not most of your questions. Unfortunately for many students, their professors have not given them the solid evidence that strenghtens their faith in God’s word. This is why I refer you to the audio presentation below. May the Lord lead you in all you do.

    http://www.audioverse.org/sermons/recordings/2116/is-the-bible-just-another-book-.html

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  36. Eddie:
    I have read your response with admiration and deep reflexion. As a SDA member and a commited supporter of Academic Information, I am involved trying to provide what I believe to be in the best interest of my children. At home we respect their decision making process and provide them with our own insight which sometimes is not what we desire for them but still respect. This is a forum that involves academic information that we take for granted at times. The principles that The SDA Church enables through its Schools and Universities came to life because of Divine Inspiration, sometimes we forget that this educational system was designed to provide what we call “Christian Education” and I truly beleive the Main Designer is Our Lord and Savior. I am not a political or hard line fundamentalist I am only an MD that thinks that every time we forget that God provided us with some elements of inteligence we can make a difference or we can be an obstacle in the intelectual formation of many members, students,believers and non-beleivers. By the way did I mention that I began earning less than the amount you printed above and was very rewarding at the time. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you and His immense grace be upon you and all the students in our SDA schools and Universities.
    Raul Hernandez, MD

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  37. “As men see that they cannot maintain their position by the Scriptures, many determine to maintain it at all hazards, and with a malicious spirit they assail the character and motives of those who stand in defense of unpopular truth. It is the same policy which has been pursued in all ages.” Great Controversy pg. 458

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  38. @Johnny Vance:

    “And unfortunately, many students at PUC probably don’t read the Bible or pray on a daily basis to receive wisdom from the Lord. Hence, the issue of the kinds of professors they are exposed to becomes very important because students are so moldable.”

    Once again someone on this forum claims to “know” what the general body of PUC does or does not do. I truly find it disheartening to see you making a statement like this. Now unless you actually come to PUC and conduct a survey to actually have the backing to say that many of the students at PUC don’t read the Bible or pray I would ask you to not make such an absolute statement.

    Over my years here I have witnessed students pray with one another in the middle of paths between classes, and individual bible studies happen between students in the dorms.

    I am by no means saying that every single student prays or even believes in God. I am simply asking that individuals such as you and Lisa avoid making claims about the students of Pacific Union College in such an absolute manor. I know I can only speak for myself and those that that I have personally witnessed. So unless you have watched these students 24/7 and never seen them pray or read the Bible it is impossible for such a statement to be made.

    -Scott Brizendine

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  39. I want to reiterate what this last commentator said. If you’re looking for a new person to roast because of his lack of faith, Bryan Ness is not your man. I studied biology under him as well and found him to be a dedicated Christian whose life was exemplary and whose teachings in the classroom reflected Christ. Evolution is the “great delusion” of our time. But Bryan Ness is not your enemy. I attended public schools part of the time I was in grade school and during veterinary school and I guarantee you, these questions will come up in settings outside of our schools. If we do not bring up the questions for our students, someone will. And a caring Christian professor is a lot better person to discuss these issues with than they will ever find outside. I assure you, Bryan Ness is a believer and a dedicated professor. @Kristen:

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  40. @Amy Gane: This has absolutely nothing to do with finding some new professor to “roast.”

    I am constantly amazed at the plethora of comments that come from people on here that bring up these issues. Where are they getting this stuff from?

    So here are the irrelevant issues that you bring up.

    1. Ness’ faith.
    2. Dedication to Christianity.
    2. His exemplary life and teachings.
    4. His care.
    5. That he’s a believer and dedicated professor.

    I take no issue with any of these. If you think the point of contention Educate Truth has with Ness has to do with these issues, then you couldn’t be more mistaken.

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  41. The reality is that we do not know how old the earth really is. If you are in heaven with God someday and he tells you that the earth is 10 trillion years old, so what? What difference does it make in the final analysis people?
    People who advocate for a young earth or a very old earth seem to have much in common. They both have evidence that is reasonable. They both are committed to seeking truth; however, neither side knows anything for sure. In the final analysis, the only thing that matters is this:
    Do you want to be God’s trusting friend for eternity and treat others with love and humility or not? Everything else is just details. All of the liberals and conservatives in SDA land need to chill out and let people think for themselves. Start by being generous with each other and seek to understand.

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  42. Shane, in your reply to Amy Gane, you indicated in point #5 that whether Dr. Ness is “a believer” is an irrelevant issue.

    Yet elsewhere you stated: “Educate Truth does not question whether or not your [sic] support Adventism. Ness is unwilling to admit what he believes and says that it’s none of our business. I disagree. He’s unwilling to set the record straight about his personal beliefs.”

    Can you please clear up this obvious contradiction?

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  43. @Professor Kent: Yes, I admittedly jumped on his personal beliefs in the beginning, but after further reflection I see I was a bit hasty to assume what he believed based off the lecture. For that I apologize.

    Personal beliefs aside, the manner in which the presentation was given is highly questionable for an Adventist university.

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  44. Kevin Paulson begins with the actual subject being discussed –

    Kevin Paulson says:
    November 3, 2010 The bottom line is not that we affirm God as Creator. Many theistic evolutionists do this. The question is, Does Dr. Ness believe the earth was created as Genesis says it was, in six literal, consecutive, contiguous, 24-days, approximately 6,000 years ago? And does he believe the Flood as recorded in the book of Genesis was a global event, or just a local one?
    As an alumnus of Pacific Union College, I’d like some straight answers. Evasive ones won’t do.
    God bless!
    Pastor Kevin Paulson Kevin Paulson(Quote)

    Another way to state is would be “in the video Ness appears to believe he is teaching the truth about nature and science. At no point does Ness say that he suggests that the students should not believe him.”

    – Since his position is along the lines of “Science shows evolutionism to be true so what should we do about that” – and the response from students in the video is along the lines of “yes but that contradicts the Bible and destroys the Gospel”, to which Ness’ response seems to be directing students to find ways that the Bible and Ellen White might be made to fit what he is “proclaiming” (not really proving anything scientifically just making claims) to be true from science. So at what point are religion department students invited to find “science answer” other than the one Ness gave them? At what point is some other option explored OTHER than looking for ways to bend the Bible and the messages God gave Ellen White to fit the sweeping claims made for evolutionism at the start of the class?

    This is the point where insightful attention to detail and critical thinking looking for an answer would have been helpful from someone – anyone at PUC.

    Instead we got this series of apparent nonsequitturs.

    ==============

    Kristen says:
    November 4, 2010 @Shane Hilde:

    Last time I checked, a bible is NOT a textbook. God and our faith shapes everything about us, but God also loves those that educate themselves… Dr. Ness does not TALK about being a Christian, he LIVES it. If you had the pleasure of knowing him, you would see God in him, guaranteed.

    Eddie says:
    November 3, 2010 As I have mentioned a few times in earlier threads, simply identifying and cyberbullying professors who undermine SDA beliefs in an effort to shame them into resignation or goad educational leaders into firing them is NOT going to reform SDA education. If such professors are fired or forced to resign, who will they be replaced with?

    Amy Gane says: November 6, 2010

    I want to reiterate what this last commentator said. If you’re looking for a new person to roast because of his lack of faith, Bryan Ness is not your man. …I assure you, Bryan Ness is a believer and a dedicated professor

    ===============================================

    As has already been stated –

    The side trails that do nothing to answer the question at the top of this thread include –

    Questioning Ness’ Dedication, Kindness, Exemplary life, Christian behavior, Care for others, Beliving in God, dedication as a professor at PUC.

    What is being asked for is some kind of “light at the end of the tunnel” showing the viewer of that video that point where Ness either says “I don’t believe anything I just told you” (A highly unlikely scenario given what we can actually see in the video) or Ness says “I am telling you what some other people think – tomorrow I will provide the science answers to the problems I have given you” — or maybe “The religion department is now considered to be science oriented so your homework assignment is to provide the science solutions for what I have presented to you today”.

    If you have any answer to the questions posed at the top of this thread and you would like to post that answer in favor of that seminar and Professor Ness – please do so. Until then we are still waiting…

    Inquiring minds would like to know.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  45. Let us suppose that the video is “Real” and we are seein the “Real class”.

    Now let us suppose that we try that same stunt on the biology department only this time with a religion department professor. Suppose a religion department prof goes to the Biology department in a seminar on “Calvinism” and informs the students via some sweeping claims “turns out hypercalvinism is true based on the Bible”. Suppose that professor then explains that this means that all experiements in the Lab are “predestined by God” with for failure or success and that this is the most extreme form of “Intelligent Design” imaginable. Then when students being to bring up some failed science experiments that appear not to have been “God’s fault” the professors tells them that they will need to find a way to redo those results so that they match hypercalvinism – or they are stuck denying God.

    The students SHOULD tell the religion professor “That sounds like your problem not mine – are you sure you read your bible correctly?”.

    But sadly the religion department students appear not to have had that option when the science department came to them trying that same game – with the shoe on the other foot – so to speak.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  46. Re Bob’s Quote

    “Now let us suppose that we try that same stunt on the biology department only this time with a religion department professor. Suppose a religion department prof goes to the Biology department in a seminar on “Calvinism” and informs the students via some sweeping claims “turns out hypercalvinism is true based on the Bible”. Suppose that professor then explains that this means that all experiements in the Lab are “predestined by God” with for failure or success and that this is the most extreme form of “Intelligent Design” imaginable. Then when students being to bring up some failed science experiments that appear not to have been “God’s fault” the professors tells them that they will need to find a way to redo those results so that they match hypercalvinism – or they are stuck denying God.”

    Dear Bob

    Thanks for your comments.

    My question with your hypothetical is what is the religious prof even doing in the biology class? Dr, Ness wasn’t lecturing in the religious studies class, as a biologist he was teaching biology to students studying biology.

    With respect aren’t you mixing apples and oranges here? And on a macro scale is that not precisely the problem of mixing science and faith which are different disciplines?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  47. Bob, your claims to be “in Christ” are pathetically hypocritical. My science proffesors at PUC are all nice people. I have met a lot of nice Seventh-Day Avdentist people here at PUC. But after reading what you and some others write I would be scared to meet you kind of people. I considered beecoming SDA but not after reading all of the hate here. I didn’t realize SDAS were so haterful. I’m very disaappointed. I’m thinking maybe there isn’t a god after all. if you worship a god who loves you have a really weird concept of love.

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  48. I was an adult student too, but some of your fellow students are indeed children in thinking (they simply take in information, rather than analyzing it as you and I do).

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  49. @George: How would you suggest the Adventist lay-people go about asking the church as an organization to uphold its Fundamental Beliefs? Just because you love somebody doesn’t mean you allow them to do whatever they want as long as they do it in a loving manner.

    Jesus kicked out the money-changers in the Temple when He was on earth. He was pretty strong and firm about it too. Do we now conclude that Jesus is not loving? At the very least we can conclude that God is love; He is also a god that is not to be trifled with. People forget that true love does not mean a “free-for-all” in tearing down His word, which is btw, His character as well.

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  50. As our newly elected Church leadership is tasked with working through the thorny legal, HR, contractural, donor base, financial issues that make the theology of this evolution vs creation conflict perhaps seem the least of their concerns — let us lift them up sincerely in prayer!

    These are the times that will try mens souls…will folks be bought or sold…will they remain true to duty as the needle to the pole?

    I am reminded of the betrayal scenario that Judas entered in to against the World’s Savior…and how even for him there was a chance to be saved right up to the end; and his final decision was made. We need to pray for those who are in the valley of decision on all of this –> Evolution vs Creation WILL be the backdrop for THE ultimate decision about Creation’s Memorial Day.

    The 1925 Scope’s Monkey Trial is looming ever so large these days….there William Jennings Bryan lost it as he failed to connect the consequential dots as Clarence Darrow pinned him into the “theistic evolution” corner and against the plain 24 hour / 6 literal day “thus saith the Lord” from Scripture. And American education has been sliding down this slippery slope ever since….

    And now here we are!

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  51. @George:

    George,

    Please do not think the individuals at this site represent the essence of the SDA individuals. In all religions there are people who claim to be acting in a way that reflects their religion. But this is not always true.

    Take for example the incidents of Catholic Priests that molested young children. Even these individuals who were the appointed representatives of the Catholic Church acted outside of the upholding of their religions belief’s and moral conduct.

    I’m certainly not saying that this forum and these brief exchange of comments is on the same level of that, but what I am trying to say is that a few individuals do not represent the whole being of a religion.

    I’m here at PUC and if you would like to talk some time please look me up.
    -Scott Brizendine

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  52. Somewhere on this web site someone posted very excellent comments by Dr. Snelling about evidences of a world-wide flood. My computer was giving me problems at the time and now I cannot find his comments anywhere even though I have searched every place I know to seach. Can someone please tell me where these comments are?

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  53. George says:
    November 8, 2010 Bob, your claims to be “in Christ” are pathetically hypocritical. My science proffesors at PUC are all nice people. I have met a lot of nice Seventh-Day Avdentist people here at PUC. But after reading what you and some others write I would be scared to meet you kind of people.

    When I look for “some specific” in your accusation the only thing that I said that you actually quote is “in Christ”.

    Surely you will agree that more evidence than that is needed to support your harsh accusations.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  54. Take for example the incidents of Catholic Priests that molested young children. Even these individuals who were the appointed representatives of the Catholic Church acted outside of the upholding of their religions belief’s and moral conduct.
    I’m certainly not saying that this forum and these brief exchange of comments is on the same level of that, but what I am trying to say is that a few individuals do not represent the whole being of a religion.
    I’m here at PUC and if you would like to talk some time please look me up.
    -Scott Brizendine

    A+ on accusation – F- on providing any quote or example to support such harsh critical statements.

    Surely our PUC friends can either not issue harsh statements or at the very least “quote something” that is supposed to support those harsh accusations.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  55. BobRyan said

    Ness appears to believe he is teaching the truth about nature and science.

    At no point does Ness say that he suggests that the students should not believe him.”

    – Since his position is along the lines of “Science shows evolutionism to be true so what should we do about that” – and the response from students in the video is along the lines of “yes but that contradicts the Bible and destroys the Gospel”, to which Ness’ response seems to be directing students to find ways that the Bible and Ellen White might be made to fit what he is “proclaiming” (not really proving anything scientifically just making claims) to be true from science.

    So at what point are religion department students invited to find “science answer” other than the one Ness gave them?

    This is the point where insightful attention to detail and critical thinking looking for an answer would have been helpful from someone – anyone at PUC.

    ==============

    “Now let us suppose that we try that same stunt on the biology department only this time with a religion department professor. Suppose a religion department prof goes to the Biology department in a seminar on “Calvinism” and informs the students via some sweeping claims “turns out hypercalvinism is true based on the Bible”. Suppose that professor then explains that this means that all experiements in the Lab are “predestined by God” with for failure or success and that this is the most extreme form of “Intelligent Design” imaginable. Then when students being to bring up some failed science experiments that appear not to have been “God’s fault” the professors tells them that they will need to find a way to redo those results so that they match hypercalvinism – or they are stuck denying God.”

    Ken responds –

    Dear Bob

    Thanks for your comments.

    My question with your hypothetical is what is the religious prof even doing in the biology class? Dr, Ness wasn’t lecturing in the religious studies class, as a biologist he was teaching biology to students studying biology.

    Ken – there have been a few nonsequitturs posted from our PUC friends that might have lead you to suppose that is the case.

    If you read the opening blog entry carefully here you will find this

    PUC responds
    The discussion was for Ministry Colloquium, a lecture and discussion series for theology majors. During the fall quarter, guest speakers led discussions on various issues confronting theologians today.

    Thus this is in fact a biology professor speaking to theology students on and telling them that science indicates that evolutionism is the right answer and that the flood was no global. As I stated above he leads the discussion more down the road of trying to find a Bible bending solution

    Ken said –
    With respect aren’t you mixing apples and oranges here? And on a macro scale is that not precisely the problem of mixing science and faith which are different disciplines?

    Your agnostic friend

    As noted I think you were mislead down that path by some of the PUC posts making it appear that they were looking for good evolutionist science in their science courses and not SDA doctrine. However this specific class is in fact a class of theology students.

    But having said that – I have no problem with science professors speaking to theology students and Bible professors speaking to Biology students.

    But I do NOT recommend that the Bibl professors “bring their problems with Calvinism” to the biology students or that the science professors present science puzzles to theology students as if theologys students are now equipied with enough of a science background to go “solve the problem”.

    In this case that is not even the suggested solution by Ness. Rather he chooses to lead a discussion along the lines of how the Bible might be bent to serve the evolution and local-flood sweeping assertions at the start of the class.

    Your non-agnostic friend – Bob 😉

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  56. Re PUC response and Bob’s quote

    “On November 1, a website accused Dr. Ness and PUC of undermining the Bible after video of a class presentation surfaced on the Internet. The video in question, taken and posted by a student without the professor’s knowledge, shows Dr. Ness leading a discussion on contemporary issues in science. The discussion was for Ministry Colloquium, a lecture and discussion series for theology majors.”

    “As noted I think you were mislead down that path by some of the PUC posts making it appear that they were looking for good evolutionist science in their science courses and not SDA doctrine. However this specific class is in fact a class of theology students.”

    Dear Bob

    My humble apologies! You are absolutely right. As much as my ego would like to find an excuse and say I was misled, I can’t. This was a case of me not reading the PUC response and just assuming Dr. Ness made his comments in biology class.

    I do note that he was asked by PUC to comment in the context of guest speaker. However I still think it is dangerous to mix faith or non faith with science. For example, if Dr. Ness was an outside guest speaker whose faith or non faith was not known, would he still be facing this criticism?

    As I understand it the real issue for Educate Truth is that scientists from their sponsored institutions must support agreed upon SDA doctrinal statements. I actually have no problem with that as long as the SDA can understand that their scientists and hence their science are faith biased and not objective.

    Thanks for your patience and gentle correction, my friend.

    Cheers
    Ken

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  57. @Scott Brizendine: Scott, don’t take offense to this, but you must realize that the Seventh-day Adventist church is not a country club to be kicking back in. The church as an organization has a clearly stated mission and structure of discipline and guidelines that define what it is. Professors and pastors and any paid representative of the church whom decides to teach and promote ideas anti-thetical to the stated mission are seeking to redefine Adventism and strip it of its true essence. Hijacking it from within is an accurate portrayal.

    A continuance of these ecumenical efforts would result in making the Seventh-day Adventist church just like any other church that has strayed from the Biblical model. As undesirable as it is to address these issues in a public forum, they must be addressed nonetheless.

    It is an enormous misreading of the character of God (as revealed in Scripture) to believe that because He is love, He will accept everything and keep quiet to not offend anyone who may believe or do differently. He takes us as we are and then transforms us into His image, if we allow Him. Just imagine what would happen if the military of the United States admitted just anybody into their ranks. Consider this carefully.

    As for your assertions about PUC, I sincerely hope you’re right. No matter what the case may be, if your professors and pastors are not making you grow in your faith and reliance on the Word of God as something to be trusted, then they are committing one of the biggest betrayals that could ever be. The Bible–as opposed to “science”–is either your ultimate and FINAL authority, or it is not. Compromising Biblical truths in order to be accepted by the community at large is a shameful betrayal. Truth will never be popular in this world, and it is a sad…sad day when people conform to the world in order to be accepted by it.

    It makes more sense to just start a new church from scratch and allow it to create its own theology. That’s what it comes down to. Isaiah 8:20 says, “To the law and to the testimony. If they do not speak according to this, it’s because there’s no light in them.”

    Blessings,

    Johnny Vance

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  58. @ George. First let me say that as you read through the comments and statements here you are reading the statements of individuals, not God. Sadly there is hate and politics anywhere people are involved and that doesn’t exclude the church. There will always be individuals who claim one thing and live another. It is sad but as you read through the issues on this site you are looking at some of the worst aspects of our church. Whenever someone becomes so convinced that they alone, or their group alone has the only truth they many times become very un-Christ-like in the way they treat those who they see as being wrong. This not how Christ would act, but He was perfect and people are not. Any time someone is using hate in their actions or words, regardless of which side of an argument they stand, they are not acting as Jesus would act and do not represent God. Please don’t let imperfect people influence your budding relationship with God. Read the Bible for yourself and learn who Jesus is in its pages. Let Him be your example, not those who make up the church. We all have our imperfections and we all make mistakes. Like you I am a current student and if you ever need someone to talk to feel free to look me up.

    Lyndy Saulsbury

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  59. @Johnny Vance:

    Hey Johnny,

    No offense taken. I don’t think SDA is a country club. I know it is an active and continuously growing walk with God.

    I would like to mention that the point I was making dealt with the manner in which these discussions have been conducted. I agree that we need to discuss issues in the church and schools otherwise whats the point in being a community. I just don’t agree with the methods that have been used here.

    What I believe George had a problem about was the methods and attitude in which these arguments have been presented.

    One last item deals with your statement “if your professors and pastors are not making you grow in your faith and reliance on the Word of God as something to be trusted, then they are committing one of the biggest betrayals that could ever be.” I hope you meant that they are guiding more than making.

    Thanks for bringing more clarity to what I said.
    -Scott Brizendine

    @BobRyan:

    You use a degrading manner in trying to make your point more valid. Instead of simply asking for me to use actual quotes to defend my point you say:

    A+ on accusation – F- on providing any quote or example to support such harsh critical statements.Surely our PUC friends can either not issue harsh statements or at the very least “quote something” that is supposed to support those harsh accusations.in Christ,Bob  

    I hope this quote helps bring some clarity to my point. Also if you want more than one one incident to make something credible, I would ask that the one video of Dr. Ness be used as a final stance.

    -Scott Brizendine

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  60. Dear Bob
    My humble apologies! You are absolutely right. As much as my ego would like to find an excuse and say I was misled, I can’t. This was a case of me not reading the PUC response and just assuming Dr. Ness made his comments in biology class.

    I do note that he was asked by PUC to comment in the context of guest speaker. However I still think it is dangerous to mix faith or non faith with science. For example, if Dr. Ness was an outside guest speaker whose faith or non faith was not known, would he still be facing this criticism?
    As I understand it the real issue for Educate Truth is that scientists from their sponsored institutions must support agreed upon SDA doctrinal statements. I actually have no problem with that as long as the SDA can understand that their scientists and hence their science are faith biased and not objective.

    Thanks for your patience and gentle correction, my friend.

    Ken – thank you for that kind response.

    You are right to observe that a non-SDA theistic evolutionist envited to an SDA campus to explain that he firmly “believes” that science demonstrates evolutionism to be true and then shows some ways that he has tried to get the Bible to fit a “birds come from reptiles” doctrine — would not be criticized at all.

    But he also would not be hired as a science professor at PUC either.

    And in fact this is true even if he were an SDA theistic evolutionist in the case of many of our Universities today. They would not hire him. Clearly LSU has demonstrated that they are an exception to that rule.

    My hope and prayer is that PUC would also not hire someone who applied and informed them that he/she believed in evolutionism. I doubt that Ness is the only person on the entire PUC campus that holds to his specific POV on origins and the flood – but I also don’t think this is a department-wide problem in biology and religion departments at PUC.

    However I will let those at PUC speak to that point.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  61. ReplyGeorge says:
    November 8, 2010 Bob, your claims to be “in Christ” are pathetically hypocritical. My science proffesors at PUC are all nice people. I have met a lot of nice Seventh-Day Avdentist people here at PUC. But after reading what you and some others write I would be scared to meet you kind of people. I considered beecoming SDA but not after reading all of the hate here. I didn’t realize SDAS were so haterful. I’m very disaappointed. I’m thinking maybe there isn’t a god after all. if you worship a god who loves you have a really weird concept of love. George(Quote)

    As is apparently the “custom” in some circles – the harsh accusations above are accompanied by no supporting evidence at all.

    However that form of accusation apparently resonates with a few.

    ReplyScott Brizendine says:
    November 9, 2010 @George:
    George,

    Please do not think the individuals at this site represent the essence of the SDA individuals. In all religions there are people who claim to be acting in a way that reflects their religion. But this is not always true.

    Take for example the incidents of Catholic Priests that molested young children. Even these individuals who were the appointed representatives of the Catholic Church acted outside of the upholding of their religions belief’s and moral conduct.

    I’m certainly not saying that this forum and these brief exchange of comments is on the same level of that, but what I am trying to say is that a few individuals do not represent the whole being of a religion.

    To which I replied that a hollow “accusation first” approach that provides no supporting evidence is not as objective as some may have at first imagined.

    BobRyan said:
    A+ on accusation – F- on providing any quote or example to support such harsh critical statements.Surely our PUC friends can either not issue harsh statements or at the very least “quote something” that is supposed to support those harsh accusations.

    To which we get this reply

    I hope this quote helps bring some clarity to my point. Also if you want more than one one incident to make something credible,

    I would ask that the one video of Dr. Ness be used as a final stance.

    First of all I am glad to have my comment above about the fact that some here are excelling at harsh remarks but failing to provide supportive evidence “stand” as the only evidence that could be mustered in favor of the harsh words above.

    Secondly – your request that the Video of Dr Ness be used as the final stance has not been granted – because we value the added comments/posts that he has made here on this subject as helping us to understand his position as well as the video and the 2009 worship talk that is provided above.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  62. This has become one of the most obnoxious and damaging controversies the Church has witnessed in recent decades. I initially thought Educate Truth had some merit, as I resonate with the supposed goal of providing information, but this has become much more than that. It has become a whipping ground for faith, with science seen as superior and people lashing out at each other. The leaders of this site are no better than anyone else. This place represents the very worst of Adventism. Lest I lose my faith and perish, I am leaving here once and for all.

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  63. It seems that there have been a lot of tossing dust in the air and harrumphing lately – I think we can do better.

    Go back to the top of the thread and look at the opening article “PUC affirms Creation”. If anyone has followed LSU’s history to this point then they also know that

    It is possible given the statement below that “LSU affirms Creation” as well.

    During their meeting on February 11, 2010, the La Sierra University’s Board of Trustees reaffirmed their previous action from November 2009 upholding the Adventist Church’s doctrine of creation. Larry Becker, Executive Director, LSU University Relations, reported that the specific action which was moved and voted was as follows:

    “To reaffirm the ‘Statement of Support for the Adventist View of Creation’ [that was previously voted at the Board of Trustees Meeting on November 11, 2009]. In recognition of the serious and complex nature of this issue, the Board of trustees instructs the continued implementation of the statement. We request the administration to provide progress reports identifying specific actions taken.”

    http://www.atoday.com/content/adventist-creation-doctrine-reaffirmation-la-sierra-university-board-action

    At the very least all are clear that – “LSU FACULTY SENATE AFFIRM ACADEMIC FREEDOM & BIOLOGY COLLEAGUES”

    GC President Ted Wilson reported the action of the Adventist church at the GC session in Atlanta this way.

    . As just this week we have once again affirmed in an overwhelming manner, the Seventh-day Adventist Church both teaches and believes in the biblical record of creation which took place recently; in six literal, consecutive, contiguous 24 hour days. The Seventh-day Adventist Church will never change its stand or belief in that foundational doctrine. If God did not create this world in six literal days and then blessed the Sabbath day, why are we worshipping Him today on this seventh-day Sabbath as SEVENTH-DAY Adventists? To misunderstand or to misinterpret this doctrine is to deny God’s Word and to deny the very purpose of the Seventh-day Adventist movement as the remnant church of God called to proclaim the three angels’ messages with Holy Spirit power

    I firmly believe that there are many faculty at PUC that agree with Elder Wilson and the SDA church’s voted position above.

    I am not at all sure that LSU’s affirmation would go that far in terms of their present Biology and Religion department – but even in that context they can find a way to say that they affirm creation.

    It seems to me that the language that Elder Wilson is using is unambiguous.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  64. to Johnny Vance, Nov. 3

    You are absolutely right. There are more Adventist universities teaching this philosophy of science in addition to La Sierra. When I was at the GC I spoke to some representatives of different schools, and asked about their biology departments. More than one told me,”We are teaching inline with La Sierra.” This whole issue is a lot bigger than any of us have imagined.

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  65. I found as I circulated throught the various university exhibit booths at the 2010 GC Session in Atlanta, that a significant number of them were going out of their way to distribute clearly stated literature that demonstrated THEY were NOT inline with LSU’s teachings.

    This was especially true of SAU, Union, SWAU, AU, OAU.

    I stopped in LSU booth & had a personal conversation directly with their president. He was artful at trying to put a happy face on LSU & the controversy. But an unambiguous affirmation of a literal 24/6 contiguous Creation was glaringly absent from his words, and any literature they had there.

    Why the foot-dragging? If they TRULY support Bible Creation account + Flood account, why not just come out & say it clearly & unequivocably? ALL controversy would be laid to rest in an instant.

    Reminds me of the artful dodging Lucifer exercised in Heaven as he misled 1/3 of the Angels!

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  66. As Bob Ryan pointed out: At the very least all are clear that – “LSU FACULTY SENATE AFFIRM ACADEMIC FREEDOM & BIOLOGY COLLEAGUES.”

    It is obvious that La Sierra’s “affirmation of creation” is a decoy, that LSU is trying to have it both ways. PUC’s statement sounds like it came from the same hatchery that produced LSU’s “affirmation.” This double speak is being noticed in larger circles than the Educate Truth bloggers. In fact, the “Reports of the National Center for Science Education—Defending the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools” took note of LSU’s support of its biology teachers. From the May-June, 2010 issue, quote:
    “California, Riverside: The faculty senate at La Sierra University released a statement on November 6, 2009, supporting the university’s biology department, which (as reported in RNCSE 2009 Nov/Dec; 19 [6]: 6-11) was recently besieged with complaints about its teaching evolution; the university is associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is historically opposed to evolution. The statement (available on-line at http://www.atoday.com/content/lsu-faculty-senate-affirm-academic-freedom-biology-colleagues) affirmed the senate’s ‘strong support for our colleagues in the Department of Biology’ and its ‘commitment to the preservation of academic freedom with intellectual and moral integrity in the context of our heritage, and service as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian University.’ The senate criticized the complaints as not following ‘the protocol established by Jesus and outlined in Matthew 18:15-17 and as making the work and lives of these dedicated Adventist professors more stressful and difficult.’”

    Notice the similarity between the above report and the just posted WASC report. Sounds like their interests are identical. These reports confirm that LSU’s genuine affirmation is for academic freedom without any distasteful constraints from its antique SDA-Bible-school heritage. Conclusion: leave LSU’s dedicated, evolution-supporting biology (and religion) professors alone to teach as they see fit, to define god in Darwin’s image, or whatever mutation they choose, and yet continue to keep them employed with their salaries, health insurance and retirement benefits provided through an SDA institution. Now what can possibly be wrong with that? Given the tenor of the times and LSU’s leading example, other schools are likely to follow suit. Voyage on this academic freedom, present truth, WASC appeasing, glitzy Titanic is the choice du jour. Trying to please man rather than God is never a safe course no matter how many “happy” students have embarked.

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  67. Susie said –

    This double speak is being noticed in larger circles than the Educate Truth bloggers. In fact, the “Reports of the National Center for Science Education—Defending the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools” took note of LSU’s support of its biology teachers. From the May-June, 2010 issue, quote:

    First of all – cudoos to Susie on that one. The question asked above is what kind of reputation, what kind of witness does PUC have? What are they telling people about Seventh-day Adventists?

    Is their witness something that Adventism needs to “counter” with a pro-creationist witness to the contrary of the PUC witness to non-SDAs? It leads us to a search to find out what non-SDA friends of PUC are saying.

    Now for the bad news. Here is the “witness” that PUC has gave to evolutionist purist Wes Elsberry in 2006.

    In 2006, Wes Elsberry and I were invited to come to PUC and debate evolution for part of a student-organized speaker series. We were initially hesitant, since we are generally skeptical of debating creationists. However, after some discussion with the organizers, we grudgingly signed up, since it seemed like there was some chance for a reasonable discussion rather than just a Gish-gallop debate. Wes and I drove up to PUC – but, aware of the YECiness of Adventists, we went in as armed to the teeth as academics can be, with huge powerpoint files solely devoted to putting evidence for the age of the earth and common ancestry as bluntly and non-deniably as possible. When I spoke, I popped the slides up one-by-one and used the basic refrain, “Here are the hard facts. If this evidence has been hidden from you before now by your teachers and professors, you should ask yourself why.” It was pretty much a go-in-with-blazing-guns strategy.

    However, as the discussion ensued, the students, and some of the professors, had some news for me. “You’ve got us all wrong,” they said. “We’re not all old-fashioned young-earth creationists and anti-evolutionists here, that’s an old stereotype about Adventists.” (Note: this is not a direct quote, rather it is just the gist of what I remember hearing.) Subsequent discussion indicated that many of the students & profs were reasonably well-informed about evolution and not really skeptical of it. After some interesting chats, Wes and I drove home, shaking our heads and commenting that if Seventh Day Adventists were becoming OK with evolution, we should keep our eyes open for flying pigs and freezing hells.

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/11/seventh-day-adv.html#more

    ouch!!

    I said at one time that PUC is not at the same crisis point as LSU – I would still “like” to believe that is true – but even if it is true that they are not at the fullblown LSU-crisis stage – it appears they are much further down the “road to LSU” than we may have hoped.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  68. If the impression that PUC left with the two evolutionists that were invited there to debate in favor of belief in evolutionism is any clue for the objective unbiased reader – then clearly they must conclude that someone was asleep at the switch at PUC in 2006.

    While the watchmen slept the enemy stole a march.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  69. I was checking on publications of faculty at Southwestern Adventist University, my alma mater, and was a bit disturbed to learn that the chairperson Suzanne Greer-Phillips is an evolutionist. Here is what she published in a research article:

    Alexandre G, Greer-Phillips S, Zhulin IB. FEMS Microbiology Reviews 28: 113–126 (2004) “In some cases, comparative genomic analysis may produce a reasonable prediction of the transducer specificity [106,108], however, in most cases it will not. This is due to a multi-domain organization of chemotaxis receptors and different evolutionary fate of sensory and signaling modules. The evolution of sensory domains is independent of that of the signaling domains, and the evolutionary changes in sensory domains appear to have much faster rates [110]. This results in a truly remarkable diversity of sensory modules in chemoreceptors.”

    I would have expected to read this from a place like La Sierra, but not SWAU. Is there ANY Adventist college science program that remains truely Adventist?

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  70. Why is the promotion of evolution in our colleges so surprising to everyone? It is the logical ending to the path that our schools have been traveling for years. In order to really change this outcome we are going to have to change their entire path.

    Our schools were originally designed to create missionaries. The training for an occupation was a secondary aspect to this primary goal. Hence the colleges original names: Emmanuel MISSIONARY College, Southern MISSIONARY College, the College of MEDICAL MISSIONARY EVANGELISTS, etc.

    This purpose has been largely lost. The primary goal now is for an occupation and the missionary aspect is a distant second or is not even existent. Everything that compromises their primary goal will be eventually jettisoned. Hence the change in their names; the original names made transferrability more difficult to other colleges.

    Follow the money…

    Which is more conducive to getting a job in the scientific field, creationism or evolution? Obviously, evolution is the way to go. Creationism will be abandoned, it is just a matter of time. Some colleges will succumb more quickly than others depending on circumstances and their constituency.

    Any college that tries to get back to the original purpose will have a very difficult time. Very few Adventists are even interested in going to a college for a missionary purpose, and if they are, then the vast majority are going to the independent colleges; Weimar, Ouachita Hills, etc. Any strong change in direction would most likely bring about a severe loss of students. The largest portion of young SDAs go to college now to get a job and to find a spouse, not to be trained to be MISSIONARY doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, etc. but rather to be “normal” doctors, nurses,teachers and business people.

    We can try to get our colleges to stop promoting evolution, and indeed I think we should, but we must realize that this is merely treating a deadly symptom, like a high-fever. Even if this effort is successful, we must realize that it is not a cure for the disease.

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