If the Creation Account Isn’t True…

Adventist Review
By Mark Kellner

A recent New York Times op-ed, “The Evangelical Rejection of Reason,”1 would’ve busted a blood-pressure machine had I been connected while reading.

According to authors Karl W. Giberson, a “former professor of physics” at Eastern Nazarene College, and Randall J. Stephens, an associate professor of history there, affirmation of what many of us consider to be the basics of Christian faith, such as belief in a literal, recent, six-day creation, renders one anti-intellectual, and perhaps even un-Christian.

“Like other evangelicals, we accept the centrality of faith in Jesus Christ and look to the Bible as our sacred book, though we find it hard to recognize our religious tradition in the mainstream evangelical conversation,” they assert. “Evangelicalism at its best seeks a biblically grounded expression of Christianity that is intellectually engaged, humble and forward-looking. In contrast, fundamentalism is literalistic, overconfident, and reactionary.”2

Now, some Seventh-day Adventists would strenuously reject any association with “evangelicals.” Many more equally abhor “fundamentalism” as they understand it. However, in attacking core evangelical beliefs such as Creation and the sanctity of marriage, and in asserting, “Christian theology can incorporate Darwin’s insights and flourish in a pluralistic society,”3 Giberson and Stephens give their blessing to the kind of flaccid faith that likely won’t sustain anyone through anything. They are diminishing, in essence, some of the core beliefs of Adventism.

If the Bible account of Creation isn’t true, as Giberson and Stephens imply in offering to “incorporate” Darwinism in Christian faith, what must logically follow?

If there’s no Creation . . .
. . . where, and how, did sin enter the world?
. . . why do we need a Savior?
. . . from what did God, if He even exists, rest?
. . . why should we rest if, absent Creation, there’s nothing from which God rested?
. . . how can we believe anything else in the Bible?

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160 thoughts on “If the Creation Account Isn’t True…

  1. Bill&#032Sorensen: We go on and on. The final conclusion is this. Those who believe the bible is the final authority will always make science fit the bible.Those who hold science above the word will always make the bible fit science.You can not resolve this conflict. You can only identify it and accept the conclusion.Do you think you will convince the “Dr. Taylor’s” of this world who hold science above the word of God?Not unless you can convince them the final locus of authority is the bible. In that case, you must “prove” the validity of the bible before you can “prove” anything by the bible.So, perhaps at this point, we are “beating a dead horse.” Just a thought.Bill Sorensen

    Well said, Bill. There are an abundance of those who do not accept the validity of scripture over science. AND, they have that right. But not to come into the SDA church and sow tares of such teaching within our ranks – and especially upon our children. The true SDA faith takes Scripture as ultimate and final authority and “science” must be subject to it. AND, there are plenty of brilliant scientists who see no conflict there.




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  2. While talking, a thought struck me, and I said to her, “You know, Sue, if you’re right and I’m wrong, and there is no God and no creation, at least I have tried to behave myself and be a good citizen, and have lived a good life. If the creation account isn’t true, I will have nothing to lose! But, if I’m right and you’re wrong, and there is a God who created, who gave us the plan of salvation, and the Bible as a guide of life, and you reject Him, then you will have everything to lose! I would rather be safe than sorry!!”
    The only point this argument makes is that Christians view faith in God as the ultimate life insurance policy. Isn’t there a better reason for belief in God?




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  3. Ron said…..

    “….. I would rather be safe than sorry!!”

    Ron, I don’t think this reasoning is very good. Even Ken might agree and go along with this reasoning.

    We need a better and firmer foundation than, “I think it is probably true, and if not, well, I have nothing to lose.”

    God has created us with a desire to be right. And this is a necessary component of the human existence. And while it is true, that we can only be relatively certain about spiritual matters, one necessary confession of faith is this, “the bible is our only rule of faith and practice and is sufficiently clear to “make one wise unto salvation.”

    The scriptures have a flowing continuity that is unbroken and those who carefully consider the several components of truth, can discern this clear and flowing continuity as the Holy Spirit guides us through its teachings.

    If there is no God, and we have tried to formulate our lives around scripture exhortation, we are utterly foolish. Neither is our life “better” when we have been totally deceived by spiritual delusions concerning what is true and what is not.

    I put this idea in harmony with those who would claim the possibility of evolution is infinitesimally remote by odds that could not even be discerned. I reject this statement as well.

    If such is true, then so is evolution in light of eternity. Evolution is impossible, period. There are no odds. If there are any odds, then evolution is true.

    I understand your point. But it still has a certain weakness that could make Christanity look foolish.

    Bill Sorensen




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  4. @ken: That God, through the bible, among so many other things and ways, including what I myself see and sense and have experienced, is my core, crux, and premise, I affirm polsolutely and unapologetically. Again. Likewise certainly, unapologetically, and resoundingly, that objective observation of the natural universe, the at-bottom definition of science, already fits and is already subject.
    Your reaffirming friend,

    W




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  5. Of course any reasonable person knows the creation story is not literal, but fundamentalists are not reasonable, they believe everything the Bible says no matter how absurd.
    Also as a part of history, the book of Genesis began with Chapter two verse three, the seven-day creation story was added by the Deuteronomist at Babylon during the fifth century BC (See Harper’s Bible commentary)




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  6. Great article! Regarding the questions asked, liberals and progressives in the SDA Church simply either ignore them or say they are “not salvational.” To them, virtually nothing is salvational.




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  7. Mark Kellner is right on the money. Upon what basis does one accept the fantastic claims of the Bible regarding the pre-existence, incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of the God-man Jesus but reject biblical claims regarding the origin of life on this planet?

    Erv Taylor, in particular, claims that those who believe all of the empirical claims of the Bible are living in Alice’s Wonderland. I don’t get it. If one is living in part of Wonderland, why make fun of those who live in other parts of Wonderland? who accept all of what the Wonderland Book says about the place?

    It is fine to appreciate the ethics of Christianity, but Christianity is more than an appeal to good Christian ethics. Christianity is also a promise of a solid hope in a very real, empirically literal, very bright future with the same Jesus who lived and died and was raised again to save us. If you don’t believe what the Wonderland Book says about other empirical realities, why believe what it says about Jesus and our future with Him?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. Apparently Erv Taylor finds “yet another place” to differ with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

    Surprise surprise.

    Or was it?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  9. Hello Bill

    Thanks for your comments.

    Do you use your own reasoning to interpret the Bibke or understand the reasoning of others who do so? What is your ultimate authority for your own reasoning if not your own mind? Don’t you yhink God gave you free will to think for yourself or are you saying the Bible is doing your thinking for you?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    You create a “false dilemma”,Ken.

    As I stated, God has given me enough “reasoning power” to determine and decide that my subjective views and opinions are not reliable.

    I can also “see” enough truth in the bible to affirms its own stated views of self-affirmation and final authority.

    Therefore, I discount my own ability to know and understand truth apart from the divine revelation of scripture.

    And that conclusion is “reasonable”.

    Meaning, I understand this concept clearly and my mind is able to comprehend its meaning and application.

    So, my mis-understandings are continually corrected by an objective standard outside myself.

    How difficult is that to comprehend by logic and reason?

    Bill Sorensen




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  10. “The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual’s own reason and critical analysis.”

    – the Dalai Lama

    Of course, this is false. While we can not claim to know and understand everything in the bible, we can know enough to acknowledge the bible holds the final authority over our own reasoning.

    Thus, we “wash our brain” continually through the bible seeking a clearer and fuller revelation of God and His will.

    So the Christian experience is a limited and faulty experience as we fluctuate around an infallible standard, the law of God. And because of this, our concepts and our obedience is always mediated through the person of Jesus who cleanses our work and understanding from false ideas and action. Or, as EGW has well said, “When we do our best, He makes up the difference and becomes our righteousness.”

    None the less, when sin is cleansed and the merits of Christ are added, the works of the believer are a testimony of their faith and honored by God. They are considered “worthy” of eternal life, not because they have personally merited heaven for themselves, but because they are united to Christ and come to the Father in His name.

    Again, EGW has well said, “In ourselves, we are sinners, but in Christ we are righteous.”

    This statement then, includes the angels who have never fallen nor rebelled against this system of government God has ordained for all created beings.

    So we never posit final authority in ourselves, nor our limited understanding. Christanity is a fluctuating morality around an infallible standard. Thus, we always need Jesus and thankfully, those who have faith, always have Him.

    We are “perfect in Christ” and can not ascend above this reality. This, Satan hates and opposes. Small wonder he hates Jesus. He can not rise above Him.

    Bill Sorensen




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  11. @Ken:

    I am being honest, Ken, my friend.

    How does “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…” become “Remember the day of the sun, to keep it holy…”? There is no real or credible dispute as to the definition of which day is which.

    How does Genesis 1 & 2 which lays out six “evening and morning” days followed by the seventh “sanctified” day, become long eons of time? (Consider that today, the whole world – including YOU – DOES observe the same seven day weekly cycle – a phenomenon which is powerful testimony to the literal scriptural creation week.)

    How does “He spake, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood fast…” become “He did some amazing things in his natural laboratory”… “He put the evolutionary process into motion…”? (Or whatever.)

    Is this interpretation?

    Either you believe the scriptural account or not. No need to “interpret” most of scripture.* It is there for the simplest of us humans to read and understand. But if I choose NOT to believe, I should just make that choice and not attempt to re-mold the scripture into saying something that it does not say.

    *True, much of scripture does include prophecy in cryptic language. But that can be clearly understood as well, through deep and prayerful study. The keys that unlock the symbolisms are also clearly found in scripture.




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  12. Re Bill’s Quote

    “Of course, this is false. While we can not claim to know and understand everything in the bible, we can know enough to acknowledge the bible holds the final authority over our own reasoning.”

    Hello Bill

    Thanks for your comments.

    Do you use your own reasoning to interpret the Bibke or understand the reasoning of others who do so? What is your ultimate authority for your own reasoning if not your own mind? Don’t you yhink God gave you free will to think for yourself or are you saying the Bible is doing your thinking for you?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  13. I guess my final comment is this, if we believe any lie, we can not possibly experience a higher quality of life.

    And I believe in absolute faith in God and in the bible. If I even entertained the idea that on this point, I could be wrong, it would damage my faith and my quality of life.

    You know I have stated the bible is self affirming. I have had individuals in the past chide me because I would not read books that criticize the bible.

    I’m not interested. Being a sinner like everyone else, my faith can be shaken and even fragile because of our sin nature.

    While I am willing to challenge my own understanding of the bible, I will never challenge the credibility of the bible itself.

    I think Jesus had to hold this same opinion or He would not have been successful in His mission. All the spiritual affirmation by His Father was only valid as it harmonized with scripture.

    So, for myself, I refuse to accept any “what if?” when it comes to the authority of scripture, and like Luther, I hope I can say, “My conscience is bound by the word of God.”

    As you can see, this is a “closed door” affirmation. I am a “bigot” on this issue.
    And I hope to remain so.

    Bill Sorensen




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  14. Dear Wes

    “The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual’s own reason and critical analysis.”

    – the Dalai Lama

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  15. I might add, I don’t read a lot of the science debate and have only a minor interest in it. How old was Adam when God created him?

    We don’t know. We do know he was not a baby one day old in a biological sense. Nor the trees and plants, nor any of the animals.

    Since this is obviously true, neither can we know exactly how old a rock might be when it is created. What if it is apparently a million years old? So what? It will give us no clue of its age at creation. So for me, the whole argument is a false dilemma based on vain speculation.

    Either you accept the biblical account and believe it, or you don’t. And as I have stated, the real evidence of scriptural validity is prophecy. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place……”

    This is more than adequate “proof” of the validity of the bible for any rational soul seeking to find and know the truth. The Holy Spirit speaks and affirms it to those who desire to know it.

    Bill




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  16. Mr. Yonder is a new reasonable and rational voice on the Educate Truth(sic) site. It will be very interesting to read how the TBGs (True Believer Group) will respond.




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  17. Abe Yonder (and Erv),

    This is interesting. Now the creation account has moved from the Priestly Code to the Deuteronomist literature. Is it that hard to keep your story straight?

    For the rest,

    Note that the “reasonable and rational voice” basically denies the Mosaic authorship of anything in the Pentateuch. This illustrates one point of the original article. If one goes this route, one finds it very difficult to believe anything else in the Bible, as the method used to discredit the creation account is used to discredit anything else in the history of the Pentateuch, and thereby discredit the knowledge of Jesus and the New Testament writers. That is why, if one wishes to maintain the Bible as having any authority (besides “I like it”), one must find an alternative to the standard Higher Critical method.

    Let the discussion begin.

    Paul Giem

    PS. Note the poisoning of the well. Abe claims, “any reasonable person knows the creation story is not literal, but fundamentalists are not reasonable, they believe everything the Bible says no matter how absurd.” That is an interesting definition of the word “reasonable”, or else an interesting claim. Is Abe willing to back this up, or is this just another unsupported claim?




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  18. Ervin Taylor said….
    “Mr. Yonder is a new reasonable and rational voice on the Educate Truth(sic) site. It will be very interesting to read how the TBGs (True Believer Group) will respond.”

    Hogwash……

    By the way, Faith, Jon may have meant “remove the possibility of doubt and you remove free choice.”

    He needs to qualify what he meant.

    Bill Sorensen




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  19. Before you ever get to the Gospel – you must first cover the topic of Intelligent Design. Not I.D. in the very modest thin layer that is proposed today by Discovery Institute – but rather I.D. in the Romans 1 sense.

    In Lystra there was no Jewish synagogue, though a few Jews were living in the town. Many of the inhabitants of Lystra worshiped at a temple dedicated to Jupiter. When Paul and Barnabas appeared in the town and, gathering the Lystrians about them, explained the simple truths of the gospel, many sought to connect these doctrines with their own superstitious belief in the worship of Jupiter. {AA 180.1}

    The apostles endeavored to impart to these idolaters a knowledge of God the Creator and of His Son, the Saviour of the human race. They first directed attention to the wonderful works of God—the sun, the moon, and the stars, the beautiful order of the recurring seasons, the mighty snow-capped mountains, the lofty trees, and other varied wonders of nature, which showed a skill beyond human comprehension. Through these works of the Almighty, the apostles led the minds of the heathen to a contemplation of the great Ruler of the universe. {AA 180.2}

    Having made plain these fundamental truths concerning the Creator, the apostles told the Lystrians of the Son of God, who came from heaven to our world because He loved the children of men. They spoke of His life and ministry, His rejection by those He came to save, His trial and crucifixion, His resurrection, and His ascension to heaven, there to act as man’s advocate. Thus, in the Spirit and power of God, Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel in Lystra. {AA 180.3}

    Thus those SDAs who cannot even muster the acceptance of light and truth – to affirm the oh-so-thin layer of I.D. proposed today – could never have even reached square one – when Paul came to town.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. My prior post not meant to disparage SDAs since almost all the SDAs I know (and apparently almost all of those voting at the 2010 GC session to condemn evolutionism) – fully accept the Genesis account just like our FB #1 says “as a trustworthy record of God’s actions in history.

    However there are “a few” who choose to embrace evolutionism no matter who self-conflicted that position may be. And then choose further to go down the “reject I.D.” road in their “sacrifice all for evolutionism” agenda.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. Ken: You are discussing a very interesting hedged bet philosophy known as Pascal’s Wager. Please see the referenced link below.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager

    Indeed. Suppose one places a few rocks, dirt and some water in a sealed a “very large” glass container such that no water can escape.

    Suppose they imagine to themselves that no matter how many times you say “billions and billions of years” over that glass container – the rocks, dirt and water will never turn into an elephant or a tree or a rabbit.

    So then they conclude that given a starting point of Rocks, dirt and Water — the only way to get an “elephant” as the result is to “be God”.

    After a bit more thought – they conclude the same thing for an amoeba, and rocks, dirt and water. They conclude that even in that case “no rabbit and no hat”.

    Well then Pascal’s wager looks better and better all the time.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  22. Bill, you aren’t a bigot on this issue. I understand perfectly how you feel about this. I am not one to entertain any doubt in the veracity of the Bible or the existance of God. (I even had a problem typing that one sentence, remember?) And I agree with you that the Bible is self-affirming. I am not promoting doubt in any way, shape, or form. I would never do that.

    It is just one of those ultimate “What-if” scenarios that pops into people’s heads. Bottom line is: True religion is never going to hurt anyone. That’s all it means.

    I recently had a little discussion with someone on here concerning doubt. Can’t remember who or where at the moment. But you are totally right to be closed-minded where doubt is concerned. I have no doubt whatsoever, either. Not do I believe we should open our minds to it.

    I was referring to people who already had the doubt there–showing them that there is no reason to doubt because nothing bad can come of trusting God and believing in Him.

    Do you see what I am getting at, Bill?

    God Bless you.




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  23. Doug Batchelor tells this story….

    A little girl who is a Christian goes to public school. The teachers is an atheist and endorses evolution and challenges the class by asking who believes in evolution. The whole class raises their hand to please the teacher and this one little girl does not.

    So, the teacher asks her why. “I believe the bible”, she says. “And who taught you to believe the bible?” the teacher asks.

    “My parents are Christian and they taught me.”

    So, the teacher asked, “If your parents were morons, what would that make you?”

    “I’d be a evolutionist.”

    Well, Jesus used humor sometimes, didn’t He?

    Such as, “If I cast out devils in the name of devils, by what authority do you and your children cast them out?”

    Have a nice week end, great Sabbath, and happy new year.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  24. “Do you see what I am getting at, Bill?

    God Bless you.” Faith

    Yes, I do. And I think bible faith is rational, but only in a certain context.

    I don’t deny everything Sean says or disagree with him on everything. I do think he overstates the value of science as “proof” of the bible and creation.

    Yet I don’t disagree that when the bible predicts an event, and it comes to pass, then this validates the bible.

    Even the wise men of Babylon acknowledged that no one could know what the king had dreamed except the God who is above human knowledge. And then God predicts the future after relating what the king had dreamed.

    And the bible tells us this is the creator God who then conveys our duty to Him and to our fellow man.

    Science can not affirm this. Anybody can claim they created the world. Science will neither deny any claim nor affirm it.

    I suppose in the end, I have difficulty assuming that the bibles exhortations on the way to live is still the best, even if there is no God. It would be based on a lie, wouldn’t it?

    Maybe it is harmless to affirm this position. Or, maybe it is like Eve who told the Snake that God had forbidden them to eat of the tree or even to touch it.

    In adding the prohibition to touch it, she added something God did not say, and in so doing, opened the way for Satan to challenge what she had claimed.

    She made up what I would call a “helper law”. Perhaps in her mind, she reasoned that if she did not touch it, she would surely be safe from eating it. Kind of like the Jews who made up many “helper laws” that were beyond God’s commands and in so doing, missed the point of the moral law completely.

    I think you know I appreciate the firm stand many have taken on the creation/evolution discussion and it helps me to affirm and maintain my own faith.

    Some people are becoming aware more and more that our church is in big trouble and none of us know exactly how to deal with it. I call it a “God size problem” and we know He will eventually create the scenario where we can know who will follow the bible and who won’t.

    We are all “on the bubble” faith wise and should be aware that faith is easily damaged and/or even destroyed by many issues and possibilities. If the apostle Paul “feared, lest having preached to others, he himself should be lost”, how much more should we feel the same possiblity and guard the avenues of the soul with “fear and trembling”.

    Not because God is not willing, but because we are so prone to indifference and “neglect so great salvation.”

    Thanks again for your comment and encouragement.

    Keep the faith.

    Bill Sorensen




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  25. Re Bob’s segue from Pascal’s wager to a closed environment

    “Suppose they imagine to themselves that no matter how many times you say “billions and billions of years” over that glass container – the rocks, dirt and water will never turn into an elephant or a tree or a rabbit.”

    Hi Bob

    A fortiori, I’d wager that no Galapagos finches with different beaks would evove in the Ryan tank as well. 🙂

    Cheers
    Ken




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  26. “God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His Word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth, will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith.” STC p. 105

    Remove doubt, remove choice.




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  27. I think this week’s Sabbath School lesson is awesome and right on target. This quarter’s lessons are mostly contributed by “Jo Ann Davidson”, Professor of Theology at Andrews University.

    For those here who do not study the Sabbath School lessons, I’d like to share a couple of paragraphs from The Heart of the Creator (Monday, Jan 9 lesson)

    “Think of how mother birds lovingly prepare the nest for their babies. Then, picture them hovering over their babies, bringing them food, and teaching them how to fly. Moses, who had taken care of sheep for 40 years, must have seen this natural phenomenon happen each spring, and it must have made him think of God’s tender care. Under inspiration, he pictured the same emotions in the Holy Spirit’s heart as our human “nest” was being constructed.”

    Everything in the Creation account, then, in contrast to the various evolutionary models–which depict our Creation as the work of forces violently competing with each other–reveals a God who loves His creation, who cares about it, and who purposely and carefully designed it. There’s nothing impersonal about the creation, nothing emotionless, nothin purposeless. Love was there at the start of the Creation week. What a contrast to evolution, which teaches that love somehow emerged only after billions of years of selfish violence. Love motivated the Creation, and love will be there when this damaged version of Creation is createded anew.”

    Thank-you Jo Ann, for clearly stating the true Adventist position so simply and understandably.




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  28. Faith, for every statement in the bible, there is a counter-statement. And the same principle applies to EGW as well. So, what do you think of this one…..

    “Sins of Priests Caused Some to Offer Own Sacrifices.–As the men of Israel witnessed the corrupt course of the priests, they thought it safer for their families not to come up to the appointed place of worship. Many went from Shiloh with their peace disturbed, their indignation aroused, until they at last determined to offer their sacrifices themselves, concluding that this would be fully as acceptable to God, as to sanction in any manner the abominations practiced in the sanctuary (ST Dec. 1. 1881).” {2BC 1010.4}

    I don’t recommend “home” churches as an alternative to the organized church. But neither can I condemn them.

    But I am often frustrated by what goes on in the church I attend. And how can I be spiritually fed, if this is my reaction?

    And since I am a SDA, in a long line, neither can I simply be silent on all levels. Like Abel, I believe I am “my brothers keeper”, at least on some level.

    And quite frankly, in my opinion, the SDA church today is nothing more than an apostate Protestant church that goes to church on Saturday instead of Sunday. It has developed into a “spiritual social club” that more socializing than evangelizing.

    And I am not against true spiritual family fellowship. It is a wonderful blessing. But bible Adventism was built on bible doctrines. Doctrines create the church, and fellowship is a residual benefit. Just like in a marriage, the fellowship may at times get a little rocky, but the commitment to the covenant agreement is what holds the marriage together in rocky times.

    So, doctrine holds the church together and the fellowship is secondary. I am looking to find those who believe what I believe in bible doctrine, and the fellowship will follow. This is how Adventism came into existence, and it is how it will remain intact until Jesus comes. And I think we all know it is a false gospel that would set aside sound doctrine to maintain some spiritual fellowship for the sake of unity.

    Keep the faith,

    Bill Sorensen




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  29. Bill says,

    “And quite frankly, in my opinion, the SDA church today is nothing more than an apostate Protestant church that goes to church on Saturday instead of Sunday. It has developed into a ‘spiritual social club’ [with] more socializing than evangelizing.”

    Three years ago, I would have considered this an absurdly harsh and mean-spirited evaluation of the SDA Church. And I still do not agree with Bill’s sentence of “apostasy,” but the truth is that we have serious and widespread problems in this church.

    We’ve always acknowledged that we are “lukewarm,” a prophetic fulfillment of the Laodicean Church of ancient Asia Minor, but it now seems that lukewarmness would be an improvement. To me, lukewarmness implies having correct doctrine, but not having a vivifying spirit, not being “on fire” for God. Now it seems that not only are we not inspired with divine fervor, but we will not even have correct doctrine. We are just drifting along with the culture in both practice and belief.

    I do not consider the church to be apostate, but I now see that there is entrenched rebellion in places within the church. I want to be positive about the church, but self-deception is pointless. It is going to require vigilance to keep the official church true to its mission and message. If we go ahead and accept that fact, we can still be positive and hopeful about the future.




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  30. Thanks for your comments Bill.

    We may be miles apart in belief, or lack thereof, but that does not mean I do not appreciate your education in the Bible. I do.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  31. Do you see this phenomenon as part of the great shaking that EGW predicted?

    The LSU incident merely demonstrates the need for the much-predicted shaking event to come.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  32. Bob, you know our church still stands clearly on solid ground on a number of bible doctrines. And for this, as SDA’s we are grateful. We need to continue to affirm bible truth.

    The problem is this, like the early church that began a compromise on the bible, while still affirming some bible truth, opened the door to ongoing compromise that eventually led to a final denial of scripture.

    If you compromise on a single issue, you open the door to total apostacy. This should be the clear lesson we see in history.

    We can also affirm that God did not immeadiately abondon the early church because they abandon the Sabbath. Many souls were enlightened on some important and basic bible truth before the church eventually become so corrupt, it no longer represented enough truth to be God instrumentality.

    So, our concern is not because at the present time our church has abandon all basic bible truth. No. It is because we see the beginning of the process that will eventually do just that.

    Bill Sorensen




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  33. Hello Bill and David

    Interesting perspective as to the current status of the Church.

    Do you see this phenomenon as part of the great shaking that EGW predicted?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    It is difficult, Ken, to put your finger on exactly where we are. No one knows exactly when a God ordained ministry has committed the unpardonable sin. Like an individual, it comes by degrees.

    And I agree with David in that I at least hope we are not beyond redemption as a church community. But unless the church community considers this a real possibility, from top to bottom, then I think the outcome is inevitable.

    Jesus Himself could not saved the Jewish community as a whole. Primarily because the leadership held the “bully pulpit” and controled the majority by deception.

    Even the disciples were totally amazed at the final outcome. They could not envision nor comprehend what finally happened. It was so far from their built in convictions, it was not even considered.

    They were bound to believe that somehow the nation would eventually rally around Jesus. Jesus did everything He could to make that happen. But it didn’t.

    We are enjoined to join Jesus by faith in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary and prepare for the judgment and coming storm. This is where all true believers will gather and this is the final church. Out of every denomination they will come. Pure bible doctrine and nothing less can and will create the final Christian community. Any error, ever so slight, will be an opening Satan can use to undermine truth and diminish the moral motivation necessary to stand fast.

    For now, Ken, I still believe in “the man with the dirt brush” in William Miller’s dream. But if he does not come soon, it would seem that it will surely be too late to effect any real revival to maintain the SDA denomination. But I am not God and it is a “God size” problem that He has total control over the final outcome.

    So, EGW has well said….

    “Today, Sunday, I have not attended meeting, but have had to visit considerably. I am grateful to God for the strength and freedom and power of His spirit in bearing my testimony, although it has made the least impression upon many minds than at any period before in my history. Satan has seemed to have power to hinder my work in a wonderful degree, but I tremble to think what would have been in this meeting if we had not been here. God would have worked in some way to prevent this spirit brought to the meeting, having a controlling power. But we are not the least discouraged. We trust in the Lord God of Israel. The truth will triumph and we
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    mean to triumph with it. {3SM 178.3}”

    She had a lot of faith. But that was over one hundred years ago. Things change with changing circumstances.

    Bill Sorensen




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  34. Laura: I feel sad that so many people see it as a black and white, either/or choice. Either believe the Bible wholly and literally or not at all. The problem with that is that there is so much scientific evidence that shows that the Bible cannot possibly be literally true.

    At least that is the story our evolutionist friends like to tell us.

    But in fact they have no observations in nature at all showing that prokaryotes turn into eukaryotes or that amoebas will eventually turn into horses.

    In fact that core mechanism for such extreme levels of change – has never been observed “in nature”.

    How instructive then that even some of their own atheist evolutionist promoters of evolution — have gone on record lamenting the distinctly religious nature for the argument for evolutionism.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  35. I feel sad that so many people see it as a black and white, either/or choice. Either believe the Bible wholly and literally or not at all. The problem with that is that there is so much scientific evidence that shows that the Bible cannot possibly be literally true. That,however, does not shake my faith. It IS possible to have faith and listen to science too. I just wish so many people weren’t threatened by science. There is obviously a huge divide within the Adventist church between those clinging to the dogmatic interpretation of the Bible and those who welcome new scientific data and interpret it in light of the Bible. Historically we know that the latter will win out. I just feel bad for those who feel their entire faith will collapse if they cannot hold onto a literal Bible. Please allow yourself to acknowledge that there might be different interpretations of human faith and knowledge that might be correct. We as humans are constantly learning new things and we should be embracing that fact, and not trying to run and hide from it.




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  36. Read wrote in part: “I do not consider the church to be apostate, but I now see that there is entrenched rebellion in places within the church. I want to be positive about the church, but self-deception is pointless.”

    Some of the rebellion appears to be in high places which makes it even more difficult to root out. When a pastor of a large SDA church is permitted, with impunity, to be the editor of a publication which is often at odds with the SDA church something is definitely out of kilter.
    Cleaning house will take our current GC President more than one term to bring things into order unless God sees fit to perform a miracle.




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  37. ron: One problem with this article is that every Adventist that I know agrees that the creation story is not true.

    You must travel in very small circles.

    Almost all the SDAs I know (and apparently almost all of those voting at the 2010 GC session to condemn evolutionism) – fully accept the Genesis account just like our FB #1 says “as a trustworthy record of God’s actions in history”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  38. Charles: I think this week’s Sabbath School lesson is awesome and right on target. This quarter’s lessons are mostly contributed by “Jo Ann Davidson”, Professor of Theology at Andrews University.

    For those here who do not study the Sabbath School lessons, I’d like to share a couple of paragraphs from The Heart of the Creator (Monday, Jan 9 lesson)

    I agree this is a great study.

    I like the last sentence of the lesson – emphasized over and over during other days of the lesson for this week – where we are told that evolutionism destroys the Gospel.

    We might as well all be agnostics or atheists if we are going to dump the Bible in favor of blind faith evolutionism.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  39. Jon&#032S&#046&#032Klingbeil: Remove doubt, remove choice

    Do I misunderstand you? You think we have to have doubt in order to have choice, Jon? I strongly disagree.

    Adam and Eve had choice even before Satan tempted Eve to doubt God’s word. Doubt is a lack of faith in God. As EGW says, God has not removed the possibility of doubt, but that doesn’t mean He wants us to doubt. I think that this statement has been misunderstood. God established the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Eden, but that didn’t mean He wanted Adam and Eve to eat from it.

    Jesus told Thomas that those of us who have not seen the physical evidence of His crucifixion that Thomas saw, yet who do not doubt, are blessed.

    I hope you will reconsider the above statement.




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  40. Well, I think we can see that you can not posit final authority in both. It is one or the other.

    Science will never endorse a miracle. And biblical miracles transcend science.

    Isn’t that obvious?

    In which case, you can not “prove” one by the other.

    The bible claims its own authority by way of prophecy. And just because the bible points to nature as the product of God’s doing, you can’t “prove” that by nature itself.

    “The heavens declare the glory of God” only to those who believe the bible. The bible gives us a “first cause” while nature gives us none.

    Science has no testimony for a “first cause”. And scientists don’t agree on the various possibilities they speculate about.

    If I were of that ilk, I would simply say nature has always existed and has no “first cause”. But if this is true, then science is no longer science.

    In the end, it should be more than obvious, you can not harmonize evolution with the biblical declarations. They are mutually exclusive.

    And if so, trying to prove the biblical explanation by way of nature is an exercise in futility.

    Bill Sorensen




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  41. “Thou shalt not steal”

    “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.”

    “Thou shalt not make… any graven image..”

    What is to interpret?

    When you were a kid and your mother told you to “take the trash out…”, what did you do? “Interpret” that as setting it outside the door or just throwing it into the back yard? I guess you could have made that argument?

    For me, scripture is clear in most of what it says and there is little room for variance in “interpretation”.




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  42. The T.E. and his “Imaginary Bible”

    On another board –

    Bravus said –
    http://www.atoday.org/article.php?id=952

    I think Nathan Brown makes an interesting point over at AToday.

    Nathan Brown
    Amid the origin wars and pseudo-religious political debates, we must remember the simply fact of our existence, however we came about, is a foundational miracle and source of wonder. The Bible does not tell us how the world was created — in a scientific, literal sense — and we need to be careful in seeking, contriving and relying on certainties beyond what the Bible actually says. Rather the Bible tells us a story of the creation itself, how wonder-filled that creation was and is, and even more importantly why our world was created.

    The Bible is filled with celebrations of the natural world

    erv taylor said:

    I hope that the positive spirit of Mr. Brown’s comments about looking at and appreciating God’s creation will not be disminished by the comments of others who require God to have preformed his creation in a certain time frame

    Clearly our theistic evolutionist friends like to pretend that the Bible did NOT say “FOR in SIX DAYS the Lord created the heavens and the earth the seas and all that are in them” — but rather that the Bible actually said “celebrate the fact that God created this world and all life in it – in some unspecified wonderful way beyond your thinking – which could have included evolution”.

    Thus they tend to “imagine the Bible” that they “need”. One that does not actually specify the “time frame”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  43. GMF: Some of the rebellion appears to be in high places which makes it even more difficult to root out. When a pastor of a large SDA church is permitted, with impunity, to be the editor of a publication which is often at odds with the SDA church something is definitely out of kilter.
    Cleaning house will take our current GC President more than one term to bring things into order unless God sees fit to perform a miracle.

    If the GC president had the full support of all department heads at the GC and of all the Union and Conference senior administration going all the way down to the level of that rogue pastor – then you are right – that this would be a matter for the GC president to solve.

    Sadly – I don’t think he has the luxury of such a situation.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  44. ron: I think the Theologians need to adress this issue. Is micro-evolution the result of God’s ongoing creative activity, or is it the result of “a-theistic ” processes?

    Micro evolution — “The changing of a finche’s beak over time”.

    This does not get you amoeba’s turning into horses over time. It does not get you finche’s turning into anything but “more finches” over time – regardless of the measurement of their beaks.

    So while such micro level changes are “observed” — as “finches turn into more finches but with differences in shape of beak” — those micro level changes are not questioned inside or outside the church.

    What is questioned is blind faith evolutionism about reptiles turning into birds… about amoebas turning into horses.

    etc.

    Just stating the obvious at this point.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  45. One problem with this article is that every Adventist that I know agrees that the creation story is not true. At least not true in the sense of not being complete. Every Adventist I know believes in “micro-evolution ” which the story does not address. I think the Theologians need to adress this issue. Is micro-evolution the result of God’s ongoing creative activity, or is it the result of “a-theistic ” processes?




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  46. This exhortation to D.M. Canright is applicable to more than a few who hang around the SDA church today. EGW was straight forward in dealing with those who abandon and/or attack bible Adventism.

    Canright left the church, but not today. People who would agree with him, refuse to “go away” and continue to sow doubt, skepticism, and unbelief while professing a certain loyalty to the SDA church.

    Maybe if she were alive today, things would be a lot different. At any rate, here is a portion of her letter to him.

    “Dear Brother:

    I was made sad to hear of your decision, but I have had reason to expect it. It is a time when God is testing and proving His people. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Only those will stand whose souls are riveted to the eternal Rock. Those who lean to their own understanding, those who are not constantly abiding in Christ, will be subject to just such changes as this. If your faith has been grounded in man, we may then expect just such results. {2SM 162.1}
    But if you have decided to cut all connection with us as a people, I have one request to make, for your own sake as well as for Christ’s sake: keep away from our people, do not visit them and talk your doubts and darkness among them. Satan is full of exultant joy that you have stepped
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    from beneath the banner of Jesus Christ, and stand under his banner. He sees in you one he can make a valuable agent to build up his kingdom. You are taking the very course I expected you would take if you yielded to temptation.” {2SM 162.2}

    He left, of course. We could wish others of the same opinion would do the same.

    Bill Sorensen




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  47. A little girl goes to a school run by a fundamentalist church. The teacher is a fundamentalist and endorses Young Life Creationism and challenges the class by asking who believes in Young Life Creationism. The whole class raises their hand to please the teacher and this one little girl does not.
    So, the teacher asks her why. “I believe the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence,” she says. “And who taught you to believe in the scientific evidence?” the teacher asks.
    “My parents are scientists and they taught me.”
    So, the teacher asked, “If your parents were morons, what would that make you?”
    “I’d be a Young Life Creationist Fundamentalist.”




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  48. David asks…..

    “Bill, it speaks poorly of us that the unconverted feel comfortable among us, and feel no need to leave the church. What kind of Christian am I, that unbelievers in my fellowship have no plans ever to believe? That the unconverted feel comfortable in my church, calling me one of them?

    It is not a worse commentary on me than on them?”

    David, I don’t think they feel very “comfortable” around me. I don’t comment a lot in SS class. But when I do, I think most people listen, as I am unually making a counter point from the position taken. And, NO, I am really not a trouble maker in the church.

    But many, if not most, know where I stand on many issues. When my wife and I started attending a church closer to our home, we would not move our membership because of the women elders as well as a number of other issues, like the music, dress, etc.

    So people come and ask me why. And I tell them. And then some will say, “Well, we don’t believe in these things either, but…….”

    But we still financially support the local church for the same reason Jesus told Peter to pay the temple tax. The church was in transition in Jesus’ day. And I think it is the same today.

    Jesus healed the blind man in John 9. In the end, the leaders threw him out of the church. We have no information of what the outcome was, except Jesus affirmed his faith, but did not tell him to make peace with the church.

    The fact is, David, I can’t tell every individual exactly what their duty is in light of the present church situation. I am not even sure what my duty is in every situation.

    But I can truthfully say this, I have more fellowship and freedom in my jail ministry Sabbath afternoon than I do in SS. In that situation, I have the “bully pulpit” when in SS I don’t. And I might add, I believe many in jail are learning more about the bible in my bible class, than most members in the SS class at church.

    Now and then, I do a bible study on church authority and the non-qualification of women to be elders. I have never had a single class member challenge this position. Oh, and by the way, the ward I teach in are all women. But like I said, “I have the bully pulpit” and maybe some would disagree and just not say so.

    And finally this, many would be surprised at how much bible knowledge many people have in jail. We have a good spiritual time, and many tell me when they are getting out, they will keep the bible Sabbath. Of course, that don’t mean they will, but at least they know the truth, don’t they?

    Bill Sorensen




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  49. David&#032Read: Bill, it speaks poorly of us that the unconverted feel comfortable among us, and feel no need to leave the church. What kind of Christian am I, that unbelievers in my fellowship have no plans ever to believe? That the unconverted feel comfortable in my church, calling me one of them? It is not a worse commentary on me than on them?

    David,

    I don’t think I would take the most of the blame on this theory. I know what you are saying is true to a point…if we were living in complete compliance with the truth, it would be a lot less comfortable for the heretics to remain in our church. However, there are also many other factors involved.

    The music in my church is appalling, yet the minister seems to think this is the way to go. My sister and a friend and I all went before the church board to protest the type of music being performed (and I do mean performed) in our church. The pastor promised he would get back to us on it–yet over a year has passed without any feedback–nor change. Is this my fault? Nope, I have done what I can to rectify the situation. But I don’t have the power to clean up the problem; therefore, I don’t take the blame for it, either. That is only one example of what is going on in the churches today.

    Dress standards are falling right, left, and center, while the skirt hems are going up, the necklines are plunging, the make up is thicker, more heads are turning color, and the jewellery is more prominent. Some of this may be just a bump in the road while growing up; but some of it is permanent and some of the young ones don’t recover, but leave the church altogether.

    When I was younger, I went through the jewellery thing (my family were jewellers for generations back–not sure if that is a gene thing or not). I was convinced by someone that jewellery was not bad on a modest scale. I never pierced my ears or anything, I can’t remember wearing earrings for more than a couple of times, but my conscience won out sooner or later. I was given a lecture by the pastor at the time, which would have probably borne more weight if the head elder’s daughters had been treated the same way I was at the same time.

    There needs to be a spiritual reformation in our churches. That is obvious. However, that is also what Satan is using to infiltrate our churches with Spiritual Formation, which is evil.

    I have to finish this off abruptly, sorry, I have to go to work.




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  50. A little girl goes to a school run by a fundamentalist church. The teacher is a fundamentalist and endorses Young Life Creationism and challenges the class by asking who believes in Young Life Creationism. The whole class raises their hand to please the teacher and this one little girl does not.
    So, the teacher asks her why. “I believe the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence,” she says. “And who taught you to believe in the scientific evidence?” the teacher asks.
    “My parents are scientists and they taught me.”
    So, the teacher asked, “If your parents were morons, what would that make you?”
    “I’d be a Young Life Creationist Fundamentalist.”

    Erv:

    All you did by this is prove that you see black as white and white as black. You just proved to all and sundry that you know how to twist and turn truth into lies. What an accomplishment! (she said, her lips dripping with sarcasm.)




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  51. Hi Bill,

    I have great respect for your reasoning powers and the strength of your belief, but I must say that I tend to think the same as Ron on this one.

    I don’t see any harm in his statement and I have even used the same myself in the far distant past. To me it is only logical. If I believe the Bible and follow it as well as I can, if it all turns out to be a hoax, I have still lived a better life. All the instructions contained in the Bible–and especially in the ten commandments–are for our good and will make us happier during our sojourn on this earth. Just think how much better my life will be if I treat my fellow human beings in the manner laid out in the holy law? And if I worship a non-existant God, how is that doing me any harm? (Wow! I can hardly bear to even type the word non-existant while linking it with God. My faith in Him is that strong.)

    That said, however, I KNOW that the Bible is true–I have seen the workings of the Lord in my life–I have had prayers answered–I know my faith is based on solid rock.

    No, I really don’t see how it takes anything away from the Bible to use this logic–which is what it is–just human logic. However, I believe that this is a case where our soul salvation is not based on whether or not we agree or disagree with this argument.

    God Bless you, Bill. You are a good soldier for Christ. Keep the faith.




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  52. P>So, the teacher asked, “If your parents were morons, what would that make you?””I’d be a evolutionist.”

    Yes, I smiled as well.

    In reality, evolutionists are not morons. Just brilliant misguided brothers and sisters who need to listen to the “still small voice.”




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  53. We wouldn’t expect any other response from you, Dr Taylor.

    What is sad is you profess to be a Christian while undermining everything a Christian believes in.

    Apparently, the little girl did not claim to believe the bible and then support evolution.

    Your duplicity is showing……




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  54. Bill, it speaks poorly of us that the unconverted feel comfortable among us, and feel no need to leave the church. What kind of Christian am I, that unbelievers in my fellowship have no plans ever to believe? That the unconverted feel comfortable in my church, calling me one of them?

    It is not a worse commentary on me than on them?




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