Comment on Last Thursdayism by Susie.
Why are we wandering down some tangent trying to satisfactorily prove that believing in the Bible is the right thing to do? It seems to me that another website would be a better venue if someone is back at square one, trying to decide if God is real or not and whether the Bible is Godâ€™s Word or not… I am not trying to be cantankerous because I am extremely grateful for the untiring efforts to make this website possible and the numerous well-written, thoughtful blogs and postings that Sean, Shane and the faithful bloggers have provided. I hate to see this website deteriorate and become irrelevant because its mission was valid and the stakes are too high. I realize that as individuals we all have our differing perspectives and different opinions, except, hopefully on the very important pivotal principles.
Hereâ€™s my short answer Sean, to your question about how/why we have confidence in the Bible rather than the Book of Mormon or the Qurâ€™an or Dr. Seuss, from my non-scientist, ordinary â€œman/woman on the streetâ€ viewpoint. I use the basic tests for truth that William James describes, to paraphrase: 1) immediate luminescence 2) philosophical reasonableness 3) moral helpfulness I also subscribe to the SDA acceptance of the Bible as Godâ€™s Word because of historical evidences, the prophetic evidences, the internal consistency and its internal claims, the life-changing application and the fact that spiritual things are spiritually discerned, i.e. a person has to allow God to impress their heart or all the knowledge in the universe will not penetrate. If we are to follow the example of Christ, then we have to believe in the inspiration of scripture, at times, even going so far as to refute what our senses are telling us, as Christ did during the time of temptation in the wilderness, and while dying on the cross, for an excruciating period of time. If we donâ€™t have faith in the Bible as Godâ€™s Word, all these arguments are futile. We would be better served to go out and have some fun rather than sitting at our computers, debating about nonsense.
The weight of evidence that the Lord has seen fit to give us so that we can believe in Him and His Word, is only thatâ€”-a weight of evidence, not 100% doubt-proof. The evidence given would not meet the standards for a criminal conviction, only a civil conviction. If we were given overwhelming evidence, our freedom to choose would be compromised; weâ€™d be â€œforcedâ€ by the evidence. Now, during this probationary period, it has to be our free-will choice to believe or not to believe. At the second coming and after the millennium, every knee will bow because the evidence will be 100%. But knowing God and loving God are NOT synonymous: love is always a choice.
Although the Lord accommodated his doubts, doubting Thomas was not commended for his demand for additional evidence: â€œBlessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.â€ There are some references in scripture that could be described as intuitive knowing or behavior (a motherâ€™s love for her childâ€¦men exchanging their â€œnaturalâ€ affectionâ€¦knowing God as creator from what is seen) in all of these people can chose to go against their intuitive knowing, but they will not be excused for that.
A homeless man asked me yesterday if I knew what “Bible” meant, and then he answered himself: â€œbasic instructions before leaving earth.â€ And yet here we are, with unlimited access to Godâ€™s Word, full exposure to the Seventh-day Adventist message, and we have pastors and teachers who canâ€™t give a message as clearly as that homeless gentleman did!
Isnâ€™t this website about the fact that La Sierra claims to be a Seventh-day Adventist Christian institution yet is allowing teaching that is not in alignment with SDA beliefs? If someone chooses to be a LDS and teach at Brigham Young, they teach in accordance with the LDS doctrines; or a Catholic who teaches at Notre Dame, etc. The validity of their beliefs or whether they are based on â€œblind faithâ€ is not the point.
If we have chosen to be Seventh-day Adventists then we have chosen to believe in the Bible as the Word of God and to align ourselves as consistently as we can with the stated fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If someone is â€œsincerely deludedâ€ about the veracity of scripture and the validity of the churchâ€™s 28 fundamental beliefs, then by all means, donâ€™t pretend to be a Seventh-day Adventist and especially do not attempt to be a representative of the church! It is a high calling to be a teacher or administrator at a Seventh-day Adventist institution. It is not a right. There are basic minimum requirements that must be met.
I am thankful God wonâ€™t require a science test as the heavenly entrance exam. If that were the case, Iâ€™m a lost soul. My confidence comes from knowing in Whom I believe, and that means God, as He defines Himself, not a god of my own or anyone elseâ€™s devising. He is not a wimpy, impotent, nebulous, deceptive God trying to trick us by describing six days when He actually meant eons. His creative power to speak matter into existence (Psalm 33:6-9) is clearly stated.
Ecclesiastes 12 begins with â€œRemember your Creator in the days of your youthâ€¦â€ and concludes with â€œOf making many books [i.e. scientifically peer reviewed articles & Educate Truth website blogs] there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment including every hidden thing whether it is good or evil.â€ There is not one section of scripture that can be used alone to fully define the basis of salvation, or Godâ€™s character, or anything. God has given us all 66 books, plus inspiration through Ellen G. White, for our instruction and to keep us from falling into deception. The Bible is full of admonitions that will make us â€œwise unto salvation.â€ The narrow path that leads to salvation is not the broad road of a social gospel only. Revelation 22:14 describes many classes of people who are outside the holy city.
There is no end to scientific â€œdiscoveries,â€ theorizing and extrapolating. If that ever takes precedence in a personâ€™s allegiance, then it is idolatry. The requirement to walk humbly with our God, means we worship Him on His terms. We can choose to be â€œever hearing but never understandingâ€¦ever seeing, but never perceiving…â€ (Acts 28:26) but that does not erase our accountability. I donâ€™t have a burden to defend the morality of false teachers and false shepherds, quite the contrary. My burden is that the false teaching and administrative cover-ups, cease— now, rather than later!
What is occurring at La Sierra is egregious. There is no excuse.
Recent Comments by Susie
Board of Trustees Addresses Curriculum Proposal
Holly, I concur with you that money speaks. That’s why I used the expression “well heeled.” Money is probably an unspoken but standard prerequisite, although in this case it appears herd mentality is the highest priority.
Board of Trustees Addresses Curriculum Proposal
Somewhere along the way, the Board of Trustees has lost the Trustee part. Anyone who is not willing to be part of the administration’s rubber stamp club will be dismissed. Three new seats on the LSU Board are now available; qualifications as follows:
1.Individuality is strongly discouraged.
2.All candidates will be screened carefully to be certain no conservative theology lurks inside.
3.No talking to the faculty or constituents will be allowed.
4.Well-heeled puppets strongly preferred.
Former board member never talked with biology faculty
If ever truth was stranger than fiction, the unfolding La Sierra saga proves that point. Somehow in the midst of this hostile environment where everyone was forbidden to “talk” with everyone else–a tentative/temporary solution was offered. Board members (or two of them, apparently) had the gall to actually listen to and carry on some sort of meaningful communication with the biology teachers. The board appointed committee to analyze the creation/evolution concerns didn’t talk with the biology teachers. (Read their previous report.) I challenge anyone to read through the LSU by-laws and board constraints of recent years and not conclude that there is an extremely dictitorial-style (hide everything behind closed-doors) administration holding on to an inordinate amount of power. Communications between faculty and board members, between board members and the general public, and even between faculty and the general public, are either forbidden or carefully controlled. A few brave souls were willing to put their names on a proposal. Not a declaration. Not a “final document” — a PROPOSAL!! One that turns out to have enough redeeming qualities that the NAD and the LSU board (after having a hissy fit about “process”) were willing to endorse. A biology FACULTY proposal that appears to have been presented as a hopeful gesture to satisfy WASC and AAA or at least keep possibilities of resolution in sight. Our church doesn’t need to worry about the “second grade level” of its membership. Our church needs to worry about the large population of leaders and administrators with the emotional maturity level of two-year-olds.
La Sierra University Granted Window to Show its Faithfulness to Churchâ€™s Creation Belief
Shane pointed out what may be crucial in forcing LSU to choose it’s allegiance. Since Wisbey has pledged the administration and the board will “resist efforts that would compromise academic freedom and institutional autonomy” how can AAA’s requirements be met? Which one will LSU oblige? Wisbey has committed the school to an impossible dilemma. With WASC reevaluating, at any time now (if not already) the answer may be forthcoming quite soon.
LSU Board says ‘we apologize’
The memo, letter and attached report involves over 30 pages of double speak to address the creation/evolution controversy—it’s not hard to see where that tactic leads. Despite the words attempting to convey apology and reform and standing true for church principles, at the same time there are statements which excuse or provide convenient outs. Nor are there any real apologies noted. Where is a published apology to the hundreds of students in the past who signed petitions? Where is a published apology to Louie Bishop?
The Board appointed evolution/creation study committee concluded that any tangible hands-on-investigation such as looking at curriculum or visiting classrooms or talking directly with the teachers was beyond their expertise, therefore the Provost conceived the survey idea. But even with the survey results, notice this disclaimer: “The only way in which to fully benchmark these results, however, would be to have this same survey conducted by La Sierraâ€™s sister institutions in North America. Without such comparisons, any criticism of La Sierraâ€™s effectiveness at supporting Adventist beliefs relative to other institutions is speculative, at best. It would be helpful if other Adventist institutions could work on the curriculum challenges surrounding this issue in a collaborative manner.”
The philosophizing in the committee’s report does nothing to clarify; it supports the notion that no matter what is taught, it is under the rubric of higher education and academic freedom (yet still supposedly under the SDA umbrella — an umbrella that they have stretched beyond recognition)..â€œThe educational enterprise by its very nature introduces students to new ideas and new ways of looking at the world that are often very different from what they have known before. This can sometimes create tension and anxiety, but never more so than when the new ideas seem to contradict deeply held belief whether in the social, political or religious domain.” Joel Martin is quoted, “Religion is not a science and should never masquerade as such.” Then further talk of the arrogance of both sides.
How can any organization maintain its distinct identity if it attempts to coexist with pluralism? Truth is always consistent with itself. Those of us who send our children to Adventist schools did not pack their heads full of Santa Clause stories and then complain because our children are being taught something different in their advanced classes. No, we brought them up believing in God, His Word and the foundational principles of Christianity (specifically the SDA worldview) and there is no reason that those beliefs should be attacked and discredited at a Seventh-day Adventist school. “Advanced” instruction in ANY field of learning taught within a SDA institution does not give license to discredit SDA beliefs and values.
Even though LSU is admitting that listening to constituents was lacking on their part, yet: â€œNevertheless, at least as worrisome as the issue of how the universityâ€™s biology curriculum presents creation and evolution is the hostility and the lack of civility with which some members of the constituency have conducted the dialogue of this issue.” Well, that lets them off the hook! They don’t have to listen to anyone who doesn’t support their agenda, because of course, those people are not “civil” or “reasonable.”
And finally, all of this tempest in a teapot is going to dissipate because: they’re going to have ongoing workshops; ongoing surveys (which are only valid if the other SDA universities do likewise); they bring in people like Chris Oberg to explain scripture and LSU’s administration is on the job—neither faculty nor board members are to speak on their own. The faculty cannot because they are “not experts at speaking outside the classroom” and the Board, by their own by-laws, are required to put smiley rubber stamps on all actions voted by the majority (under the watchful eye of the president and the attorney.) All “results” will be filtered through the administration and PR. Furthermore the Board has been admonished to focus on the more positive aspects of the university. There. It is all fixed. And the future propaganda will verify the fact. Just wait and see.
Amidst all of this scrambling for explanations, where is LSU’s clear statement affirming creation? By comparison, here’s what a clear statement looks like: