Ravi Zacharias: Should Church Members be Held to a Higher Standard?

Posted by Sean Pitman




The following video clip is of the well-known Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, discussing the difference between being a Christian in a saving relationship with Jesus and what it takes to be a leader or paid representative within a particular church organization – or even a member of a particular Christian church organization. According to Ravi, there’s an important difference:

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99 thoughts on “Ravi Zacharias: Should Church Members be Held to a Higher Standard?

  1. and what it takes to be a member of a particular Christian church organization – or even a leader or paid representative within a particular church organization.

    Or is it this?

    “and what it takes to be a leader or paid representative within a particular church organization – or even a member of a particular Christian church organization.”

    ?
    God bless,

    Rich




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  2. @Rich Constantinescu:

    Hi Rich,

    It depends upon how you read it I suppose. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow your improved wording?

    In any case, Ravi’s rather obvious point is that there is a greater standard for membership within a Church organization and an even greater standard for official paid representation compared to simply being a non-denominational Christian in a saving relationship with Jesus.

    This seems to me to be an obvious truism. The organization itself is beneficial as a means to more effectively spread the Good News of the Gospel message to the world. However, there can be no real organization unless people freely subject themselves to higher-level standards and rules of the organization with regard to membership and especially paid representation…

    In short, this is a practical issue of order and government. It is not inherently a salvational or moral issue.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  3. Zacharias is right on target. If Joe and Jill Churchgoer, who sit in the back row every week and say and do nothing, think “evolution as fact” is great, most of us wouldn’t think too much of it.

    However, if “Pastor Joe” or “Professor Jill” or “President Jim” start preaching or teaching something like “evolution as fact” or “gay marriage” or whatever we believe is contrary to our biblical beliefs, then we DO have a problem!

    I disagree with Sean that this is not a “moral issue.” It certainly IS a moral issue!




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  4. Click on the “Anthropic principle” in that video window at the top of this thread and pay attention to the 2 minute 35 sec portion for a minute or so.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  5. It is possible for one to be wrong on my things while still being morally correct or upright.Let God be God when it comes to judging the heart…Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com  

    I’m not against God “judging the heart.” However, to say something is not “morally” wrong, just administratively wrong, is ridiculous. The bible gives examples of judging people on their words and actions, without necessarily knowing their “inner motives.” Paul did it, and he didn’t even seem to have met the alleged sinners–simply heard some rumors of their “alleged” incest. [edit]




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  6. @Ron Stone M.D.:

    I’m not against God “judging the heart.” However, to say something is not “morally” wrong, just administratively wrong, is ridiculous. The bible gives examples of judging people on their words and actions, without necessarily knowing their “inner motives.” Paul did it, and he didn’t even seem to have met the alleged sinners–simply heard some rumors of their “alleged” incest.

    A doctrinal misunderstanding about the creation week is hardly comparable to incest or murder or any other similar act that is clearly evil for the rational mind. We are talking about efforts to judge the heart or motive behind those who do not understand doctrinal issues that have nothing to do with the relationships between humans – i.e., civil actions.

    On these particular doctrinal issues, particularly when it comes to the SDA understanding of a literal 6-day creation week, I think you’d better leave the moral judgments up to God and God alone…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  7. @Ron Stone M.D.:A doctrinal misunderstanding about the creation week is hardly comparable to incest or murder or any other similar act that is clearly evil for the rational mind. We are talking about efforts to judge the heart or motive behind those who do not understand doctrinal issues that have nothing to do with the relationships between humans – i.e., civil actions.On these particular doctrinal issues, particularly when it comes to the SDA understanding of a literal 6-day creation week, I think you’d better leave the moral judgments up to God and God alone…Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com  

    So, Sean the moral values in the Bible (such as the Ten Commandments)are NOT “doctrinal?” But, the Creation and how it occurred is? I’ve never heard that one before.

    What if I have a “doctrinal misunderstanding” about what “Thou shalt not kill” means. What about “adultery?” How about whether I “misunderstand” “covet” something or somebody? Nobody can “judge” me?

    The Sabbath and murder are both “doctrinal.” Aren’t they? Why is one not a “moral” issue and the other is?




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  8. Let us say for the sake of argument that we have a university administrator or a Union president/board-chair who actually knows a thing or two about the 7 days of Creation in the Bible – knows they are literal as shown to Moses, knows they were literal days shown to Ellen White by her own testimony – but “allows” the evolution fiasco “anyway” because he/she thinks it will be wayyyy too painful to shut this thing down. (Who knows – but that such a person may have been at the helm for many years, and others for just a few years).

    In this case it is not a problem with “does not know what the Bible says”.

    Question — is that a “moral issue”?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  9. A doctrinal misunderstanding about the creation week is hardly comparable to incest or murder or any other similar act that is clearly evil for the rational mind. We are talking about efforts to judge the heart or motive behind those who do not understand doctrinal issues that have nothing to do with the relationships between humans – i.e., civil actions.

    On these particular doctrinal issues, particularly when it comes to the SDA understanding of a literal 6-day creation week, I think you’d better leave the moral judgments up to God and God alone…

    Sean Pitman

    That’s just pious duplicity, Sean. If you can’t judge someone who claims to believe the bible on the issue of origins, neither can you judge anyone who claims to be a Christian that kills, lies, steals, etc……

    By your own standard, the bible is not clear on creation, so, we “can’t judge”. But then you assume the bible is clear on not killing…..etc.

    Your digging yourself a hole you won’t be able to get out of.

    If we applied your rule in its final application, you will have to abandon the idea that the church should fire anyone who disagrees with the church’s position on any level. After all, we don’t know if they are “honestly” teaching evolution or not.

    But the fact is, we don’t care what there motive is, we will “judge” them as outside the biblical teaching on any and all moral issues and act accordingly by the church’s understanding of the bible.

    So we “judge” them not fit to teach if they teach evolution and not fit to teach if they are having an affair with their neighbor’s wife. In theory and application, no difference at all. It is all a moral issue and we “judge” moral issues.

    Bill Sorensen




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  10. @Bill Sorensen:

    If we applied your rule in its final application, you will have to abandon the idea that the church should fire anyone who disagrees with the church’s position on any level. After all, we don’t know if they are “honestly” teaching evolution or not.

    We judge if an action is or is not in line with “present truth”. We do not judge the heart when it comes to doctrinal issues that are not intuitively knowable – i.e., such as the doctrine of a literal 6-day creation week. This particular doctrine was not part of the Law that was “written on the heart” of all mankind. – Romans 2:15 NIV

    The Royal Law of Love was in fact written on the hearts of all mankind and is more easily judged when it is broken in certain obvious cases – like murder, rape, child molestation, etc. This is not the case with an incorrect understanding of the literal 6-day creation week. Moral judgments along these lines should be reserved for God and God alone.

    The fact is that you do not know the heart or true motives of a person who believes in evolution – who doubts the validity of the literal 6-day creation week. You simply cannot judge such a person on a moral basis. The very best you can say is that this person is confused or mistaken and for that reason cannot represent the SDA Church as a paid employee. However, being confused or honestly mistaken is not the same thing as being morally corrupt.

    And, let me tell you, it is far far easier to be honestly mistaken about the truth of the literal 6-day creation week than it is to be honestly mistaken about murder or rape or child molestation. It is completely nuts to compare a lack of doctrinal understanding of the literal 6-day creation week with murder or rape. That’s an unconscionable comparison and will not be supported by this forum. You can argue that those who oppose a literal 6-day creation week are mistaken, but you cannot argue that they are automatically evil for believing in evolution. That’s simply not true. We can afford to be much more charitable in our disagreement with mainstream evolutionists here.

    Now, there may be a case made for a fairly clear moral problem for those opposing the clearly stated SDA positions on the Church’s dime. That is a form of stealing from the Church which has more obvious moral implications since stealing is inherently known to be wrong. Stealing from one’s neighbor violates the Law of Love which has been written on the hearts of all…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  11. @Ron Stone M.D.:

    So, Sean the moral values in the Bible (such as the Ten Commandments)are NOT “doctrinal?” But, the Creation and how it occurred is? I’ve never heard that one before…

    The Sabbath and murder are both “doctrinal.” Aren’t they? Why is one not a “moral” issue and the other is?

    I didn’t say that an understanding of the Ten Commandments as “true” isn’t doctrinal. It is. However, there are certain elements to the Ten Commandments that are inherently known by all mankind. These elements are based on the Royal Law of Love. Beyond this, however, there are elements to the Ten Commandments that are not inherently known – such as the literal 6-day creation week or the Holiness of the 7th day of the week, the Sabbath day. This information is not intuitive. It has not been written on the hearts of all mankind.

    Therefore, it is possible to have an honest and sincere misunderstanding of certain elements of the Ten Commandments and be morally upright at the same time – having honestly lived according to the Royal Law of Love as best as one knew how to do. – Romans 2:15 NIV

    There will be a lot of people who never knew about the true Sabbath or the literal 6-day creation week who will be in heaven someday. There will be many more who knew about it, but who honestly did not understand it as truth who will be there as well.

    This is not the case for those who raped or murdered their neighbors and who never sought forgiveness for these crimes against the Royal Law which was written on their hearts and for which there is absolutely no honest excuse before God.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  12. Re Sean’s Quote

    “We can afford to be much more charitable in our disagreement with mainstream evolutionists here.”

    Now that, to this agnostic, is the true Christian spirit – not morally judging others for different scientific viewpoints.

    I echo Sean’s sentiments, when it comes to me respecting your right to believe in FB#6.

    Let’s debate on with respect and humility.

    Regards, your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  13. “There will be a lot of people who never knew about the true Sabbath or the literal 6-day creation week who will be in heaven someday. There will be many more who knew about it, but who honestly did not understand it as truth who will be there as well.

    This is not the case for those who raped or murdered their neighbors and who never sought forgiveness for these crimes against the Royal Law which was written on their hearts and for which there is absolutely no honest excuse before God.”

    Sean Pitman

    Well, I disagree. History clearly shows that heathen cultures have no morals inherently written on their hearts. So they lie, kill, commit adultry, steal and break every commandment of God with no conscience to tell them otherwise.

    [edit]

    Bill Sorensen




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  14. @Bill Sorensen:

    Well, I disagree. History clearly shows that heathen cultures have no morals inherently written on their hearts. So they lie, kill, commit adultry, steal and break every commandment of God with no conscience to tell them otherwise.

    While it is possible to sear the conscience, God has said, in His Word, that He has written His Law, His Royal Law, on the hearts of all mankind so that all are without excuse. There will only be one question asked in the Judgment. That question will not be, “Did you understand the literal 6-day creation week?” Oh no. The only question asked will be, “Did you love your neighbor as yourself?” That’s the only question that matters when it comes to the final Judgment.

    In your claim that the Law has not been written on the heart of all, you disagree with St. Paul who said:

    For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. Romans 2:13-15 NIV

    Notice that Paul claims that even those who do not have the written law may live according to the Royal Law that is written on their hearts. Do you really want to be disagreeing with Paul there?

    Mrs. White puts this concept in a very attractive way in her book, Desire of Ages:

    Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.

    How surprised and gladdened will be the lowly among the nations, and among the heathen, to hear from the lips of the Saviour, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me”! How glad will be the heart of Infinite Love as His followers look up with surprise and joy at His words of approval!

    Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 639

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  15. [edit] Rahab lied and God overlooked that, even though it broke the commandments, so God does take into account our knowledge (cf. James 4:17). Certainly there are traditions in heathen cultures which God condemns but accepts the ones who follow the light available to them.

    Rich




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  16. Right on the money Sean. This issue seems so clear to many of us, but there are many who have a misunderstanding of God and his ways. We must not judge their hearts. We can however judge many things/actions/ideas to be right or wrong. God has given us his laws and his word for that very reason.




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  17. Illiterate heathen and Seventh-day Adventist university professors, administrators and conference officials are not exactly in the same accountability realm.




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  18. @Susie:

    Illiterate heathen and Seventh-day Adventist university professors, administrators and conference officials are not exactly in the same accountability realm.

    Indeed, but you do not have a truly accurate basis to judge the true motive or sincerity of either the well or poorly educated when it comes to an viable understanding of various doctrinal truths – such as the literal 6-day creation week. Just because a person has been exposed to the words of truth doesn’t mean that there has been an honest comprehension of the truth… even when it comes to those who have been very well educated…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  19. So Seventh-day Adventist university professors, administrators and conference officials could be moral after all, even if they undermine fundamental beliefs?




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  20. To Bill and Sean – you guys are talking past each other by not being careful about terms.

    The “law written on the heart” of Romans 2:13-16 is speaking in the context of Romans 2:26-29 where the uncircumcised man “keeps the requirments of the Law” or as Romans 2:14 “Do instinctively the things of the Law” – as a direct result of vs 29 “circumcision of the heart – by the Spirit” – the New Covenant – and New birth among gentiles without access to scripture. This is NOT talking about “the unsaved” — no matter how the SS lesson got that botched up this quarter (no offense intended Cliff 😉 ).

    However getting to Bill’s point – about the lost — not the saved among the gentiles – Rom 1:18-32 speaks of those who do NOT have the law “written on the heart” and in fact are engaged in that which is totally condemned by God and “without excuse”.

    In that case “without excuse” is due to the fact of the EXTERNAL evidence – in nature (Intelligent Design in the extreme via Romans 1) AND is due to the John 16 principle of “God convicting the WORLD of sin and righteousness and judgment”.

    Thus Bill is right in saying that the lost among the gentiles do not have God’s Law “written on the heart” because as we see in Heb 8 and Romans 2:29 the only way that happens is via the New Covenant.

    Sean is quoting Rom 2:13-16 and also some references from Ellen White talking about the SAVED among the gentiles – who do not have the Bible.

    You guys are therefore talking past each other.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. Susie has a good point in the context of the discussion (and it is going unnoticed) – which is that SDA unversity professors are a far cry from the darkened state of the gentile who has no scripture at all. If that gentile is “without excuse” as Paul says in Rom 1:18-32 – how much more “cover in ignorance” does the SDA professor suppose he/she has as compared to the Barbarian of Romans 1 with no access to scripture at all?

    Another point that needs to be addressed. Even if you disregard the case of the evolutionist SDA professors entirely – what of those appointed to positioons of oversight – who “claim’ they know that the 7 day creation event is fact and yet work to sustain evolutionism in our schools?

    @BobRyan:

    Let us say for the sake of argument that we have a university administrator or a Union president/board-chair who actually knows a thing or two about the 7 days of Creation in the Bible – knows they are literal as shown to Moses, knows they were literal days shown to Ellen White by her own testimony – but “allows” the evolution fiasco “anyway” because he/she thinks it will be wayyyy too painful to shut this thing down. (Who knows – but that such a person may have been at the helm for many years, and others for just a few years).

    In this case it is not a problem with “does not know what the Bible says”.

    Question — is that a “moral issue”?

    What “air cover” do they have for those actions (supporting what they KNOW Ellen White calls “Disguised infidelity”) as compared to what Paul calls “the barbarians” of Romans 1 – whom Paul says are “without excuse”?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  22. So Seventh-day Adventist university professors, administrators and conference officials could be moral after all, even if they undermine fundamental beliefs?  

    Yes, Prof, according to “Sean’s Royal Law of Love!” They are undermining God’s Word and rejecting what they have learned about Creation from the bible, believing instead worldly humanistic philosophy, but are doing so in “good conscience” so we have no right to “judge” them at all!

    Oh, I forgot. They are “stealing” from the church, which Sean states they SHOULD know, since it is part of the Royal Law of Love. So we SHOULD “judge” them.




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  23. Well, I disagree. History clearly shows that heathen cultures have no morals inherently written on their hearts. So they lie, kill, commit adultry, steal and break every commandment of God with no conscience to tell them otherwise.[edit]Bill Sorensen  

    Exactly Bill, Sean’s “proof text” is speaking about those in the world who may “obey” or follow some of God’s or the Bible’s commands or precepts despite the fact that they have not actually or formally studied or even heard of them. This certainly can be true, as atheists or “pagans” sometimes believe in biblical principles such as “Do not kill” etc.

    However, you are correct that this is a “sometimes” thing, as many worldly cultures do the exact opposite. The Greek and Roman world was full of many examples. I will not go into details, as we are all familiar with many examples, of which even the Bible has detailed.

    We are dealing with the opposite problem here, as those we are criticizing have heard of “Creation” as espoused by the bible, and choose to deny, reject, and oppose it, despite their “knowledge.”




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  24. Looks to me like the majority of readers here favor Ron’s position: the SDA professors and leaders who tolerate or promote evolutionary views are immoral.




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  25. Re Ron’s quote

    “We are dealing with the opposite problem here, as those we are criticizing have heard of “Creation” as espoused by the bible, and choose to deny, reject, and oppose it, despite their “knowledge.” Ron Stone M.D.”

    Dear Ron

    Thanks for your comments.

    Is hearing of something knowledge of it?. Once upon a time the world heard the earth was flat and the earth was the centre of the universe. Was that knowledge of it? Dr. Clausen, an Adventist with a Ph D. in nuclear physics says there is no scientific recent earth model. Is that then knowledge of an old earth creation?

    With respect, I think this is why Sean is rightly saying that there has to be empirical tested data to support YEC. Without it, it is conjecture. That is why I don’t think Sean sees Dr, Clausen’s position as morally blameworthy. Dr. Clausen, based on empirical data,does not think the earth is recent.

    So, I msy not agree with the position of YEC Adventists but I don’t think them morally blameworthy for interpreting the Bible and the writings of EGW to conclude a young earth.

    Do you agree with this moral position or is everyone that disagrees with YEC’s morally corrupt?

    Regards
    Ken




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  26. Even if you disregard the case of the evolutionist SDA professors entirely – what of those appointed to positioons of oversight – who “claim’ they know that the 7 day creation event is fact and yet work to sustain evolutionism in our schools?@BobRyan:What “air cover” do they have for those actions (supporting what they KNOW Ellen White calls “Disguised infidelity”)as compared to what Paul calls “the barbarians” of Romans 1 – whom Paul says are “without excuse”?in Christ,Bob  

    Sean has an easy answer, Bob. Instead of calling sin “sin” he would say they just have a misinformed concept of what God’s Word “really says.” Even though they have studied, in some cases probably their whole life, the concepts of God’s Truth, they just happened to honestly “misinterpret
    all that biblical stuff because it is so difficult to understand what the bible really says about “creation” and other plain issues.




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  27. Looks to me like the majority of readers here favor Ron’s position: the SDA professors and leaders who tolerate or promote evolutionary views are immoral.  

    Well, I don’t know about those here, but I would say the majority of bible-believing SDA’s certainly do. Virtually everyone I have spoken to about this problem are outraged regarding LSU and the incompetence of the Board and the Pacific Union Conference leaders.

    To have SDA teachers, administrators, Board members, and conference executives either support or condone “evolution as fact” is a “moral” issue, despite Sean’s “Royal Law of Love” rationalization.




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  28. Yesterday I made tuition payments for my two children who are attending an Adventist university. I am not donating that money to help support long-age propaganda or Biblical deconstruction. I would never knowingly pay for classes like the ones that have been recorded and posted on this website, or the class with the syllabus as shown by Paul Giem. As an application of the “Royal Law of Love,” Matthew 18:6 sums up my sentiments exactly!

    I take this verse at face value: Romans 1:20 “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” I don’t see an exemption clause for highly educated Seventh-day Adventists who have agreed to teach at a Seventh-day Adventist institution. Nor am I admonished to be deaf, dumb and blind and not call out “wrong” when I see it. (Which is not the same as declaring someone’s eternal fate since that remains to be seen.)

    That being said, I have no illusions of convincing anyone here of a different opinion than what they have already formed. I am not able to split hairs as finely as Sean or some others are able to do. But that is not the point. This website has informed me, alerted me, along with many others, for which I am very grateful. I will continue to hope and pray that a genuine change and reform will occur at La Sierra and throughout our churches and schools and for myself and my own family as well. These are difficult times and very difficult choices and decisions are required of all of us.




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  29. Sean,

    I have heard you make this argument about this not being a moral issue before as well in previous venues you have spoken, and that is the only time I disagree with you. If these were not moral issues, why make a big deal about it? Our church needs to determine what mountains to die on, and they better be moral ones!

    Knowledge of how God created and promoting those views in itself asserts a view of who God is and His character, which the law is a transcript of. The creation week is in the heart of the 4th commandment and runs even deeper and more comprehensively through all aspects of doctrine than the more concise “thou shalt nots”. I would seriously request you take the time to really search and pray and study this suggestion of morality out some more.

    God bless you in what your doing, even if you don’t think you are morally compelled to defend it,

    Jason Shives




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  30. @Sean Pitman: Sean,”there will be a lot of people in heaven who never knew about the Sabbath”,,,,are you KIDDING me ?? Have you not read the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy ?? When I read it, it tells me EVERY PERSON shall have heard & had the chance to accept or reject the Sabbath befor Christ’s return !! I think you’d better re study this issue ! In His Love, Nanci




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  31. You guys are all talking nosense. If it is a fundamental belief of the church that God created the earth and man in 6 days then that is what should be taught in our colleges to our young people. those that believe something else should not be hired as teachers and paid from our tithes. For one I quit paying my title until the church leaders step in and do their job to protect our students. Our colleges being approved by worldly standard is not that important. We are heading to a real show down as too many ministers are preaching and teaching things that Adventist don’t believe.




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  32. For one I quit paying my title until the church leaders step in and do their job to protect our students.

    So let me get this straight. It’s okay to steal from God (withholding tithe; Malachi 3:8) because others are stealing from the Church (by preaching and teaching beliefs different from the fundamental 28)? And if someone undermines FB #6 behind the pulpit or lectern, it’s okay to undermine FB #21 on the World Wide Web?




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  33. @BobRyan:

    In that case “without excuse” is due to the fact of the EXTERNAL evidence – in nature (Intelligent Design in the extreme via Romans 1) AND is due to the John 16 principle of “God convicting the WORLD of sin and righteousness and judgment”.

    Thus Bill is right in saying that the lost among the gentiles do not have God’s Law “written on the heart” because as we see in Heb 8 and Romans 2:29 the only way that happens is via the New Covenant.

    The only way a person can be “convicted” of sin is if that person does in fact have the Law, the Royal Law, written upon their own heart. Otherwise, there would be no basis of conviction for sin is the conscious rebellion against that which is known to be true. Jesus Himself said that if one had not known what is right there would be no sin. It is only when there is knowledge of what is right, with rebellion against that knowledge, that sin remains.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  34. @Jason Shives:

    Sean,

    I have heard you make this argument about this not being a moral issue before as well in previous venues you have spoken, and that is the only time I disagree with you. If these were not moral issues, why make a big deal about it? Our church needs to determine what mountains to die on, and they better be moral ones!

    There are more than moral mountains worth dying on. The “big deal” is that a rational hope in a bright and glorious future is based on the weight of empirical evidence. While such knowledge does not save anyone, nor does a lack of such knowledge directly cause anyone to be lost, it does have the power to give a solid rational hope in a very bright future. The power to provide that hope to people here and now, while here on this Earth, is worth dying for – in my opinion.

    Knowledge of how God created and promoting those views in itself asserts a view of who God is and His character, which the law is a transcript of.

    Agreed. But, knowledge of who God is and what His character is like is not enough to save a person. Satan as far more knowledge along these lines than all of us put together. Does this knowledge save Satan? Of course not. Likewise, a lack of such knowledge does not cause a person to be lost. It is possible for a person to have absolutely no knowledge of the Bible or a correct understanding of God’s signature in nature and yet be saved in heaven someday – according to if that person did or did not live by the Royal Law of Love that was written on his/her heart. The only question that will be asked of that person is, “Did you love your neighbor as yourself”. That’s it. That’s the only question that will be asked of us all. It is how we treat our brothers and sisters (all mankind) that we reflect our love for God. For it is how we treat the “least of these” that we have acted toward God – “having done it unto Him”…

    The creation week is in the heart of the 4th commandment and runs even deeper and more comprehensively through all aspects of doctrine than the more concise “thou shalt nots”. I would seriously request you take the time to really search and pray and study this suggestion of morality out some more.

    I suggest you do the same. I have long thought and prayed about these issues. While I do consider the Bible to be the Word of God and very valuable information indeed. I do not consider the Bible to be the basis of salvation nor a correct understanding of the literal 6-day creation week or it’s meaning regarding the true character of God to be what saves a person. What saves a person is based on how they use their knowledge to act lovingly toward their fellowman as best as they know how. They are not going to be asked, in the judgment, “Did you correctly understand the 6-day creation week?” They aren’t going to be asked that question at all. They only question we all are going to be asked, yet again, is, “Did you love your neighbor as yourself?” That’s it. Upon this one question God will “divide the sheep from the goats”…

    God bless you in what your doing, even if you don’t think you are morally compelled to defend it,

    Jason Shives

    But I do believe that I am morally compelled to defend it. Once one does have an improved understanding of the Truth, one is, at that point, compelled to promote that Truth in an effort to improve the lives of his/her neighbors here and now. I feel so morally compelled to share this great news with my friends and neighbors, even with my enemies, that I would die before I denied this truth…

    All the best to you my friend. I’ve always praised God for your friendship and your sincere efforts to support God’s truth…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  35. @Nanci Williams:

    “there will be a lot of people in heaven who never knew about the Sabbath” – Sean Pitman

    Are you KIDDING me?? Have you not read the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy ?? When I read it, it tells me EVERY PERSON shall have heard & had the chance to accept or reject the Sabbath before Christ’s return!! I think you’d better re-study this issue!

    In His Love,
    Nanci

    If you would read the Bible and Mrs. White more carefully, you would notice that it is only at the very end of time that the issues regarding the Sabbath and creation are made so clear to all that there is no longer any rational excuse for any misunderstanding. This is not the case for people who have lived before this very closing period of Earth’s history. There have been and currently are many many people who do not honestly understand the importance of the 7th-day Sabbath or of the literal 6-day creation week who lived and are living holy lives before God – who have lived and are living according to the very best knowledge that they had available and understood. Such will be saved… according to both the Bible and Mrs. White.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  36. @Professor Kent:

    For one I quit paying my title until the church leaders step in and do their job to protect our students.

    So let me get this straight. It’s okay to steal from God (withholding tithe; Malachi 3:8) because others are stealing from the Church (by preaching and teaching beliefs different from the fundamental 28)? And if someone undermines FB #6 behind the pulpit or lectern, it’s okay to undermine FB #21 on the World Wide Web?

    Amazingly, I actually agree with Prof. Kent on something! 😉

    We are not free to withhold our tithes and offerings from the Church just because there are individual leaders here or there who do not support the Church or have mismanaged Church funds. The Church leaders in Jesus’ day were very far from noble or upright. After all, they were trying to kill Him all along. Yet, Jesus very clearly supported the efforts of those who wanted to give money to the Church. The system of the Church service and the basic doctrines of the Church, even in Jesus’ day, were given by God and should be supported – even if the leaders are corrupt.

    This does not mean, of course, that we should not strive to correct the wrongs within the Church. It just means that you have no right to complain if you are not supporting the Church with your time and money. It also means that if you aren’t giving your tithes and offerings to God’s Church (as you see it), an organization that was clearly inspired by God Himself, you are in fact robbing God.

    Again, this is true regardless of the failings of the people within the Church. The Church organization is bigger than the people in it. If the Church, as an organization, still publicly supports God’s truth with respect to its doctrines and policies in general, it is still God’s Church and I for one will continue to support it until it officially removes itself from supporting God’s truth as revealed in the Bible…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  37. I just want to clarify that I believe in paying tithe to the “organized” church. We all should, if we are bible-believing SDA’s. However, the Pacific Union Conference is so apostate, that I have chosen to apply God’s money elsewhere in our SDA Church. I refuse to support the humanism espoused by many in our California SDA Churches and in the Religion Departments at LSU, LLU, and even PUC.




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  38. Dr. Pitman:
    “it is only at the very end of time that the issues regarding the Sabbath and creation are made so clear to all that there is no longer any rational excuse for any misunderstanding.”

    Indeed and only when the seven last plagues fall will it be apparent who doesn’t have any excuse. Even William Miller was layed to rest while he resisted the Sabbath…to the satisfaction of his influential associates.

    Following truth revealed through our consciences and seeking available truth is a moral issue since God is Himself the moral standard and is, “abundant in goodness and truth” but God will judge who had comprehensible light and who resisted how much. Soon enough they will be declared “unbelieving” with the “abominable and the whoremongers” etc. etc. Ex. 34:6, 7; Rev. 21:8.
    God bless,

    Rich




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  39. “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”I don’t see an exemption clause for highly educated Seventh-day Adventists who have agreed to teach at a Seventh-day Adventist institution.

    Well, Susie, Sean has an excuse–they don’t really have a true understanding of God’s Word, even though it is plainly written for all to see. In fact, as we see, those who have studied the most, including “Religion Professors” may be even more likely to disbelieve God’s Truth. Check out the departments at LLU and LSU for yourselves.




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  40. Is it not true that even the 12 Disciples, closer physically than granted any other human beings before or since, actually leaning upon His breast, He the greatest teacher the world has ever known or ever could or will, not a one of them understood what He said, though He repeatedly repeated it by multiple modes — parable after parable, direct flat out statements? And they still didn’t understand. Until…later, and not until the Holy Spirit Itself intervened. Maybe Sean has a point.




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  41. @Sean Pitman:

    Sean said:
    The only way a person can be “convicted” of sin is if that person does in fact have the Law, the Royal Law, written upon their own heart.

    BobRyan replies –

    There is no bible text for that idea.

    What we do have in scripture is the Hebrews 8 teaching about the New Covenant where those under the New Covenant have entire forgiveness of sins and have the Law written on the heart – as part of the born-again “new nature” (2Cor 5) experience where “all things become new”.

    That is the experience of the saints – alone.

    By contrast we have the case of John 16 where the entire world is “Convicted of sin and righteousness and judgment” without any reference at all to the New Covenant or to the law “written on the heart”.

    There is in fact no scripture stating that only after the New Birth – only at the point of entering into the New Covenant with God where we are entirely forgiven of sin – are we then “convicted of sin”. That would require 2 untenable requirements.

    1. God would have to employ universalism to get “the World convicted” of sin and righteousness and judgement – where ALL the World is born-again saints – all under the New Covenant fully forgiven.

    2. God would have to employ the Calvinist model of causing the New Birth BEFORE conviction of sin.

    As Arminians – and as those who believe that it is only the “few” of Matt 7 that actually enter into the New Covenant promist (the gospel) – we cannot go to either a Calvinist or Universalist solution.

    Those in Romans 1 who are “without excuse” are said by Paul to be non-Bible aware non-Jew non-Christian “barbarians”. Which means that in the extreme – the wicked are confronted by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and are confronted by the “invisible attributes of God being clearly seen in the thigs that have been made”. (That is actually ID in the extreme being promoted by God Himself).

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  42. Sean said –
    Jesus Himself said that if one had not known what is right there would be no sin. It is only when there is knowledge of what is right, with rebellion against that knowledge, that sin remains.

    It is true that Jesus says people are accountable for what they “know” and the Jews (at least some of them) may not have known that the Carpenter’s son from Nazareth was in fact the Messiah – the Son of God. And they could not get that knowledge by looking at nature. So “yes” there is knowledge that the lost do not get from nature.

    But in the case of Romans 1 (and also seen again in Romans 10) God speaks of the level of knowleged that the lost DO have from nature — and it is ID “in the extreme” because it conveys the “invisible attributes of God — clearly seen in the things that have been made”.

    God does not say in Romans 1 that some of the lost “have excuse” rather He says that ALL of them are “without excuse” in this specific regard.

    Notice that in Romans 1 the “sin” of the lost for which they have no excuse not “Sabbath breaking” or “lack of tithing paying” or “failure to know about the Trinity”. And the knowledge that they are said to have in Romans 1 and in Romans 10 is not the knowlege about the gospel, or the knowledge that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.

    Paying very close attention to the details in Romans 1 (as we also see in Lev 18) there are only certain sins and a certain minimal amount of knowlege of God that Paul is claiming that ALL mankind (even the non-Bible aware barbarians as Paul calls them) have and are responsible for –

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  43. @Susie:

    Susie says:
    August 21, 2010 Yesterday I made tuition payments for my two children who are attending an Adventist university. I am not donating that money to help support long-age propaganda or Biblical deconstruction. I would never knowingly pay for classes like the ones that have been recorded and posted on this website, or the class with the syllabus as shown by Paul Giem. As an application of the “Royal Law of Love,” Matthew 18:6 sums up my sentiments exactly!

    Well said and I believe a very large number of SDA parents are being told that LSU is not doing – what LSU is doing in its religion and biology classes for the very reason that as you state – many SDA parents would not sacrifice those funds just for the joy of having their students subjected to such apostasy from inside the SDA church.

    Susie said:
    I take this verse at face value: Romans 1:20 “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” I don’t see an exemption clause for highly educated Seventh-day Adventists who have agreed to teach at a Seventh-day Adventist institution.

    That is true. That text points to the fact that even non-Bible aware “Bararians” (Paul’s words not mine) are able to see not only the ID aspect of God’s hand in nature – but also the fact that certain sins of mankind are without excuse based on that level of ID.

    But notice that the Apostle Paul is not claiming in Romans 1 – that non-Bible aware Barbarians are also convinced of the Sabbath or even a literal 7 day creation week. Just that God is the Creator and clearly the fact that God did make the “things” we see in nature. And the text argues that they see the point “to the extent” that God is also judge and has the right to hold them accountable for “certain” sins.

    Those LSU professors that do not go out of their way to deny I.D or to promote the homosexual agenda – are not necessarily in violation of bare-bones minimal standard that Romans 1 says all mankind are held accountable to.

    Their violation is in a number of areas – in science it is in the area of promoting the junk-science and proven fraud of evolutionism’s alchemis-myths about “birds coming from reptiles” as if it were science. In values and ethics they are in the position of preaching against the fundamental Beliefs of the denomination that owns and operates their teaching facility. In Religion they are in the position of denying the most basic concepts of reading the Bible, testing doctrine, affirming the foundation of the 7th day Sabbath and accepting the 1Cor 12 benefits of the gift of prophecy as 3SG90-91 specifically condemns theistic evolutionism.

    But – my question is going unanswered at the moment – which is that there a few LSU administrators that “claim” to be creationists and yet have worked to create and sustain the fiasco at LSU. How in the world are they thinking that they have no responsibility for what is created under their watch?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  44. Will Raoul Wallenberg be Lost?

    @BobRyan:

    That text [Romans 1:20] points to the fact that even non-Bible aware “Bararians” (Paul’s words not mine) are able to see not only the ID aspect of God’s hand in nature – but also the fact that certain sins of mankind are without excuse based on that level of ID.

    I’m sorry Bob, but it is quite possible for an honest soul to have grown up sincerely believing in the validity of Darwinian-style evolution. I know this because many of these individuals, having come to a realization that what they had been taught all their life was wrong, have referred to their former training as a form of “brainwashing” – a brainwashing for which they honestly had no other option to rationally believe otherwise.

    These persons were not in deliberate rebellion against what they knew to be true. This is evidenced by the fact that they readily changed their minds once they did recognize the truth for what it was. Yet, some of these persons did not recognize the truth until later in life – some much much later in life. I myself had serious questions after finishing medical school regarding the potential validity of Darwinian-style evolution. I didn’t know what was really wrong with the theory until I did some rather extensive investigation of my own. Until I did this personal research, it was up in the air for me, for a while, if I would stay in the Church or not. I had determined to leave the SDA Church, and Christianity as well, if my research showed that mainstream evolutionary ideas were in fact correct. As you can see, I’m still here, but the point remains. The point is that there are many very sincere people out there who have been honestly tricked to believe a lie – a trick for which they are not morally responsible.

    Such a person does indeed have a very good excuse for not knowing the truth of the literal 6-day creation week… and therefore can be saved as long as he/she lived a life according to the Royal Law of Love as best as he/she knew how given the light they did understand while here on Earth.

    I don’t think you can honestly argue that God is going to ask anyone, at the final Judgment, “Did you believe in the literal six-day creation week?” or “Did you recognize my Signature in nature?” Quite the contrary. We are told, by Jesus Himself, that He will say to all at the Last Day, “As you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it unto me.” Matthew 25:31-40.

    No other reason for salvation is mentioned. It is only as we acted toward our brothers and sisters with the motive of selfless love that we will be judged as having acted toward the person of Jesus Himself. No other doctrinal understanding or misunderstanding will be brought up or discussed.

    Consider, as an example of this, the life of Raoul Wallenberg. Wallenberg was a Swedish humanitarian who worked in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. Between July and December 1944, he issued protective passports and housed Jews, saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives. The exact number of lives he saved is uncertain. It is estimated that he saved between 80 and 130 thousand people – far more than anyone else. He risked his life over and over again to save the lives of strangers… and eventually lost his own life at the end of the War in the process.

    Wallenberg become a legendary name after the War; films were made about him, streets were named for him, and the United States awarded him honorary citizenship. He was also designated as Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

    http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/guest/entry/remembering_raoul_wallenberg

    What is also interesting and relevant here is that Wallenberg was a socialist who was also agnostic if not actually atheistic (even though he was born into a protestant family). Oskar Schindler, who also saved thousands of Jewish lives, was very secular in his thinking before the War, not at all religious nor did he show any conviction in any belief in God. Yet, I strongly believe that both Wallenberg and Schindler will be welcomed into heaven when Jesus comes again to claim His own.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  45. Sean – I completely agree with your point that atheists, agnostics (and even many Christians who now swear allegiance to evolution) will tell us that they are entirely convinced of their positions. And I suspect they are right.

    In John 16:2 Christ said that the Bible-informed leaders of the Jewish church would go so far as to kill the followers of Christ and claim “They are doing service to God”. In Matt 12:24 the Jewish leaders attribte to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s ministry. In Matt 12:31 Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was condemning such things. In Ellen White’s day many who charges that her visions were “of the devil” witnessed that they “Actually felt blessed” for having said it.

    Replacing light with darkness is a long subtle course and many who do it are not aware of the line in every detail. In 2Thess 2 God says he “turns them over to strong delusions… who do not receive a love of the truth”. I believe they are “sincerely” deceived at that point. No pretending on their part.

    It works the same way with the New Birth according to Christ in John 3 – people are not always aware of just where and when that process started – they ony realize it at the end when they decide to accept salvation.

    But in Romans 1 we have the veil pulled back – just as we see it in John 16. God tells us that no matter what their claims or how sincerely they may be rejecting light today – this course did not start out with God “asleep at the wheel”. He was convicting them from the very start and the Romans 1 element left them without excuse – at the very start.

    In Romans 9 God describes a principle where over time the heart becomes hardened against the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. If you ask someone at various points along that way if they are “sincere” I believe a great many will say “yes”.

    In Matt 7 those who complain to Christ when they come up in resurrection saying “Lord lord did we not do all these things in your name??” – are “sincere” in their complaint – 100%.

    Scripture says “The heart is deceitful” and so “who can know it”. Jer 17:9

    Human history shows that self-deception is the hall mark of rebellion and this rule holds true going all the way back to Eve. Ellen White describes Eve as fully convinced after having eaten the forbidden fruit – that the serpent was right and that she was entering into a higher state of existence – and that this would be a wonderful thing for Adam as well.

    When people tell me they are sincere and fully convinced (on a great number of topics where the Bible “differs” with their beliefs) I never doubt them. But I do know from Romans 1 and Romans 10 (and John 16) that there is a certain basic list of convictions that though they may have ignored them to the point of oblivion by this time – were at one time “noticed” by them.

    William Miller was said to be convicted about the truth of the October 1844 event – but was mislead by his close friends and advivsors after so long a struggle – to reject it. Ellen White claims she saw Miller as one of the saints in the 2nd resurrection. So the fact that he was convinced of the truth on this point at one time and then turned from it – did not entirely eliminate his hope of eternal life in that specific case. God deals with cases as we know from the I.J doctrine. I am not claiming to peer into the soul and see the saved/lost state of each person in the discussion. However I believe that Romans 1 and Romans 10 objective facts are clear in regard to the work that God does in convicting people of certain basic facts. How they deal with it – and the extent to which they can get by with it – is up to God to judge not me.

    However – my argument on this point has been less about the biology and religion professors at LSU that claim to be sincerely duped by evolutionism – and more about the claims of Administrators – the paid watchmen – who to this very day claim they believe in Bible creation in a literal 7 days – and yet they enabled and “grew” the fiasco to what it is today.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  46. @Sean Pitman:

    Wallenberg become a legendary name after the War; films were made about him, streets were named for him, and the United States awarded him honorary citizenship. He was also designated as Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

    http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/guest/entry/remembering_raoul_wallenberg

    What is also interesting and relevant here is that Wallenberg was a socialist who was also agnostic if not actually atheistic (even though he was born into a protestant family). Oskar Schindler, who also saved thousands of Jewish lives, was very secular in his thinking before the War, not at all religious nor did he show any conviction in any belief in God. Yet, I strongly believe that both Wallenberg and Schindler will be welcomed into heaven when Jesus comes again to claim His own.

    Sean Pitman

    That is an impressive case and I certainly don’t claim to know the status of atheists such as Wallenberg and Schindler. Romans 2 says that there will be those who had no access to scripture – that are shown to have tghe New Covenant work of the law written on the heart – and are judged by God as Jews “for he is not a Jew who is one outwardly but he is a Jew who is one inwardly and circumcision is of the heart by the Holy Spirit”.

    But I do know this – there was only one person brave enough to stand up at the trial of Christ and loudly declare, center stage before rulers, authorities and Roman guards that Jesus was innocent and that He should not be mistreated. That man’s name was Judas.

    Ellen White states that had it not been for the unmasking in the final hours of Judas’ life all the disciples would have marked him as one of the greatest disciples to have ever lived.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  47. @BobRyan:

    But I do know this – there was only one person brave enough to stand up at the trial of Christ and loudly declare, center stage before rulers, authorities and Roman guards that Jesus was innocent and that He should not be mistreated. That man’s name was Judas.

    I’d hardly compare Wallenberg to Judas. Judas’ public confession was forced by a guilty conscience, not by a love for Jesus. Wallenberg’s act’s of mercy to strangers, at the risk of his own life, were not forced by a guilty conscience, but by sincere love and concern for his fellowman… big difference.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  48. My point is that the disciples were pretty close to Christ at the time – and “they thought” Judas was numero-uno. I realize your view of Judas and my view of Judas is not nearly what the Disciples thought of him at the time. (Hindsight being what it is and all).

    I am simply stating that just because you and I might agree that someone is good or bad does not necessarily make the final court of appeal anymore than the disciples would have been correct in their high rating of Judas.

    As I say – I certainly would hope the very best for Wallenberg. But I do not consider his case to indicate that we have proof that God never gave him the basic conviction of Romans 1 that even barbarians had in Paul’s day. How and to what extent he was able to stiffle that conviction and still get by with it – is up to God to decide. I am not claiming to know his salvation status.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  49. @BobRyan:

    How and to what extent he was able to stiffle that conviction and still get by with it – is up to God to decide. I am not claiming to know his salvation status.

    This is exactly my point. These issues are not inherently moral issues since morality is based on internal understanding and motive – and only God can correctly judge such things in all cases. Therefore, those people who think to automatically judge the morality of those who do not yet believe in the truth of the literal 6-day creation week are on very shaky ground in my opinion… ground upon which only God can firmly stand.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  50. Will Raoul Wallenberg be Lost? Perhaps so. Perhaps not. But the rest of us are getting lost. Anyone wanna offer a concise (if at all possible) closing argument here?




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  51. Romans 12 describes the dark ages work of the mechanism Satan used to persecute the saints for 1260 years. Turns out the many of the saints in those years were “protesting catholics”. Turns out that many of those doing the killing, supporting and affirming the persecution were inside the “Christian church” of that day. So were all Catholic believers that were not protesting “lost”?

    Probably not.

    Is the point to know which of the non-protesting Catholics were lost vs those that were in some way getting by with it? I don’t think so. The point is to know the difference between right and wrong. The saints that stood for unpopular truth were right. Those who persecuted others and who in some way promoted it or even defended it, or who did nothing to oppose it — were doing the wrong thing. God was certainly not promoting that error.

    However – we must all admit that we do not have some kind of saved-o-meter to figure out which of the non-protesting Catholic Christians were lost while not “protesting” the errors and abuses of the RCC of the dark ages. And that was never the basis for our knowing right from wrong in the first place. The same is true of the problem supposedly Biblically-informed educated Adventists promoting evolutionism. Our effort is not to come up with a saved-vs-lost meter – our effort is to clearly state right – vs – wrong.

    in Christ,
    Bob




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  52. With regard to the discussion of the ‘Royal Law of Love’ written on the heart, there is another verse which I think speaks to the discussion too, which is John 1:9 and is describing Christ, and says “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”

    To me, this seems to support the idea that the Royal Law of Love, (certainly to some degree) is in fact written on the hearts (or minds) of all humans. We instinctively ‘Know’ what is right from wrong on the basics. I think that verse implies it is universal, and has been that way throughout all time.




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  53. Bravo! I agree with you, Mr. Zacharias.

    Sean:
    Your arguments regarding Wallenberg and Schindler are very interesting. According to your theory we can not judge our fellowman. You appear to be judging these men into heaven even though you say they made no profession of belief in God. That smacks of the theory that we can, by our works gain heaven.

    I disagree with you regarding the judgment in heaven. We will not be solely judged on how we treated our fellowman. The Ten Commandments are split in two sections—love to God and love to man. It is on both these sections of the law that we will be judged.

    It is a paradox that a good man can do evil things and an evil man can do good things. The actions of these two gentlemen in their saving of the Jews were good…but they do not override the requirement to believe in God. Consider this: how would an agnostic or atheist get along in heaven? Do you think they would be there trying to convince the saints that there is no God? That would be like allowing sin to rise again for the second time, don’t you think? Just because someone does something wonderful does not fit them for heaven. God has often used the heathen to work for His people…that doesn’t make them any less heathen.

    And by the way, I am not sure what criteria you use to define the Royal Law of Love that you keep talking about, but some of the statements I have read here come awfully close to the same song and dance that Satan used in heaven. He said that the angels needed no law as they instinctively knew what was right and wrong. Apparently God disagrees. Not even angels could do without the law—how much less can humans do without it?

    One of the foundation principles of humanism is that we cannot judge in any way, shape, or form. That is not true and is one of the things that Satan employs to make us lose our horror of sin. Be careful, Sean, as I believe you are treading on dangerous ground with this. No, we cannot judge the hearts of people—that is God’s job–but definitely. However, as these professors have come out in open rebellion against God, the Bible, the church, etc., we can know them by their fruits. This is open rebellion just as much as the rebellion that took place while Moses was up in the mountain obtaining the law.

    You cannot have this thing both ways, Sean. You, as well as the rest of us, have already judged these people as having stolen from God by teaching heresy in their classrooms. And we are correct in this. You cannot now turn around and say that, oh shucks, we can’t judge them because we do not know their hearts and they may indeed be sincerely deceived. When they opened their minds to the error of evolution in direct opposition to the Holy Word of God, they allowed themselves to be deceived. They have been given intellect and knowledge of the truth. This information gives them ample evidence to judge right from wrong. They have chosen to believe a man-made lie over the inspired writings of the Lord. Can this be judged wrong? Of course it can. It is clear as day. And worse, they have been acting as the devil’s agents in steering the young people in their classrooms away from the truth. That is heinous in my eyes and I have no doubt at all in God’s eyes as well. They have acted as unfaithful stewards of the talents given them by the Lord.

    Where I draw the line, is judging these people as condemned for all time. It is my hope and prayer that they will all come to a realization of where they have gone and retrace their steps back to the Lord in time to save themselves. Unfortunately, some of them and some they have led astray may not ever do that. I leave that between the Lord and themselves.

    In the meantime, Sean, don’t faint at calling sin by its right name. For this is definitely sin and they are at the present time guilty of it. What may happen in the future is totally up to them.




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  54. @Faith:

    Sean:
    Your arguments regarding Wallenberg and Schindler are very interesting. According to your theory we can not judge our fellowman. You appear to be judging these men into heaven even though you say they made no profession of belief in God. That smacks of the theory that we can, by our works gain heaven.

    This theory suggests, as does the Bible, that “by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:16

    Do I know the motives of Wallenberrg and Schindler for sure? No, but I think I have a pretty good idea… and I think that if my idea is correct that God will in fact save such people and give them a place in Heaven. While it is possible that a person may hide evil motives by the cover of good works, this seems highly unlikely in the case of Wallenberg and Schindler…

    My real point here, of course, is to point out that moral judgments when it comes to doctrinal issues, to include a belief in the existence of God, should be left up to God.

    You seem to support what Ravi said in the video clip I posted. Did you miss the part in the video where Ravi Zacharias noted that it is possible to be in a saving relationship with Christ while still having doctrinal errors? – errors as defined by various church organizations?

    I disagree with you regarding the judgment in heaven. We will not be solely judged on how we treated our fellowman. The Ten Commandments are split in two sections—love to God and love to man. It is on both these sections of the law that we will be judged.

    Love to God, given no other knowledge of God, is judged based on our love to our fellow man. Jesus Himself explained that, “As you have done it unto the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40

    This is the reason why Paul suggests that even the heathen, who do not have the written Law, who do by nature according to the unwritten Law that was placed by God into the hearts of all mankind, will be saved. Romans 2:14-15

    It is a paradox that a good man can do evil things and an evil man can do good things. The actions of these two gentlemen in their saving of the Jews were good… but they do not override the requirement to believe in God.

    This notion of yours is not supported by either the Bible or by Mrs. White. Those who have never heard of God or who never had a correct conception of God, can be saved according to the love expressed toward their fellowman. Note that it was John who said,

    If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

    and Jesus said:

    My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13 NIV

    In other words, if someone does love his brother to the point of risking or even laying down his life for strangers, there is no greater love – according to Jesus. And, such love toward our fellowman will be recognized as having a Divine origin and be attributed as love toward to the objects of God’s supreme love – i.e., toward God Himself.

    Consider this: how would an agnostic or atheist get along in heaven? Do you think they would be there trying to convince the saints that there is no God?

    There will be no agnostic or atheist in Heaven because the evidence will be overwhelming at that point. We will be able to see the glory of God directly in Heaven. Even the lost who do not enter Heaven will no longer be agnostic or atheistic. Satan himself is not an atheist. He is very much a believer in God. The problem is not that he doubts God’s existence, but that He hates God and everything that God loves.

    Those who love God, or who love what God loves, will be safe to save in Heaven…

    You cannot have this thing both ways, Sean. You, as well as the rest of us, have already judged these people as having stolen from God by teaching heresy in their classrooms. And we are correct in this. You cannot now turn around and say that, oh shucks, we can’t judge them because we do not know their hearts and they may indeed be sincerely deceived. When they opened their minds to the error of evolution in direct opposition to the Holy Word of God, they allowed themselves to be deceived.

    You confuse our ability to make judgments regarding doctrinal error with an ability to make moral judgments. These two types of judgments are not the same. It is much much easier to make judgments regarding doctrinal error compared to the making of moral judgments – judgments of motive and internal understanding of the truth.

    I judge those who believe in the theory of evolution to have made a mistake in their interpretation of the evidence. I do not judge them to have made a mistake in motive. Big difference.

    Now, if someone deliberately and knowingly promotes the theory of evolution on the dime of the SDA Church, knowing full well the fundamental doctrinal position of the SDA Church on topic of origins, that person has stolen money from the SDA Church. There is simply no other way, that I can tell, to describe such a situation. The Church hired them to promote the SDA doctrinal perspectives and they have deliberately promoted directly opposing doctrines on the Church’s dime. That is clearly a form of theft from the Church.

    Stealing, even from people or organizations that you think to be in error, is still stealing – a moral wrong before God in anyone’s book. It is a moral wrong because, even in stealing “from the least of these”, whom God died to save, one is in fact stealing from God (see the argument of Jesus along these lines as already noted above).

    So, you see, the moral wrong here is not in having a sincerely mistaken belief (I’m sure that even you and I have more than a few mistaken beliefs), but in taking something that one knows doesn’t belong to him/her – i.e., stealing (a breaking of the Royal Law of Love that has been written on the hearts of all mankind).

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  55. Sorry, Sean, I still think you are wrong on this. We are indeed judged on our relationship with God and not just by the way we treat our fellowmen. There are two sections of the law and we will be judged on both. And that is according to the words of Jesus Himself.
    When asked what the Great Commandment was, Jesus replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Then He adds, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matt 22:37-39
    Notice, Sean, that the first obligation is to love the Lord. How, then, could it be possible that God would save his avowed enemies (which is what agnostics and atheists are) to live with Him in eternity? Not going to happen. Ellen White says that sometimes God uses the heathen to aid (or punish) His people. That doesn’t make them suddenly saved. They are still heathen.
    I am sorry Sean, but I think your theory borders on humanism and I believe you are incorrect in this. Though I do agree with you that people will be judged on the knowledge they have.
    And, just for the record, I do understand the difference between judging what people do (something we can do by a knowledge of the law) in contrast to judging their fitness for everlasting life (which is God’s prerogative only.) I just think you are wrong in your belief that breaking the law is not an issue of morality. It most certainly appears that way to me.




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  56. @Faith:

    Sorry, Sean, I still think you are wrong on this. We are indeed judged on our relationship with God and not just by the way we treat our fellowmen.

    The way we treat our fellowman is the way we treat God.

    It is impossible to truly love each other unless we essentially love God first – which is possible to do without even knowing the name of God, without having ever heard anything about Him, without having read or even heard of the Bible, and without knowing anything about the life and death of Jesus. It is possible to have a relationship with God without knowing or comprehending any specific information about Him.

    How so? Because, it is possible to listen to the voice of His Holy Spirit speaking to the heart according to the Royal Law of Love that has been written on the hearts of all – even of the heathen who have no other knowledge of God. At the very least they know how to love that which God loves. And, in doing so, they show that they also love God Himself without consciously realizing it…

    There are two sections of the law and we will be judged on both. And that is according to the words of Jesus Himself.

    When asked what the Great Commandment was, Jesus replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Then He adds, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matt 22:37-39

    Notice, Sean, that the first obligation is to love the Lord.

    Indeed. And how do we show our love to the LORD? Is it not in loving that which our LORD loves?

    How, then, could it be possible that God would save his avowed enemies (which is what agnostics and atheists are) to live with Him in eternity? Not going to happen. Ellen White says that sometimes God uses the heathen to aid (or punish) His people. That doesn’t make them suddenly saved. They are still heathen.

    Not true. Mrs. White specifically notes that the heathen who live according to the Royal Law of Love will be saved – even if they never knew the name of God or Jesus and knew nothing of the Gospel story or the Bible.

    Consider the following statements of Mrs. White in this regard:

    When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another.” Thus Christ on the Mount of Olives pictured to His disciples the scene of the great judgment day. And He represented its decision as turning upon one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering…

    Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.

    How surprised and gladdened will be the lowly among the nations, and among the heathen, to hear from the lips of the Saviour, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me”! How glad will be the heart of Infinite Love as His followers look up with surprise and joy at His words of approval!

    – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 637-638

    Notice how she argues that salvation is not based on knowledge of the written Word or even of direct knowledge of the existence or character of God, but on the motive of love expressed toward one’s fellow man…

    I am sorry Sean, but I think your theory borders on humanism and I believe you are incorrect in this. Though I do agree with you that people will be judged on the knowledge they have.

    Indeed. One cannot be fairly judged based on knowledge one doesn’t have or doesn’t understand. That’s my whole point. And, you don’t know what knowledge a person really does have and correctly understands or comprehends. It is one thing to hear the truth. It is another thing entirely to understand or comprehend the truth when you hear it.

    And, just for the record, I do understand the difference between judging what people do (something we can do by a knowledge of the law) in contrast to judging their fitness for everlasting life (which is God’s prerogative only.) I just think you are wrong in your belief that breaking the law is not an issue of morality. It most certainly appears that way to me.

    One cannot be fit for everlasting life if one is in deliberate rebellion against what one knows or believes to be true. Unless you know the heart of a person, and what their true inner motives are and comprehension of the facts is, you are in no place to judge the fitness of that person for salvation. Only God can accurately judge the morality of a person’s act’s regarding doctrinal issues – like a belief in a literal 6-day creation week.

    This is why when I argue that evolutionists are mistaken, clearly so in my opinion, I do not argue that they are therefore committing a moral sin. One does not necessarily follow the other. Again, sin depends upon knowing or believing something to be true and rebelling against that truth. I cannot judge sin or morality in this case because I can neither judge the true comprehension of a person nor can I judge true motivation. I can only judge if what a person says or does is in or out of line with what I believe to be “true”.

    It is for this reason that I do not judge you on a moral basis. I think you are in error, but I do not think that you are in moral error. I think you are most likely honest and sincere and, if I’m correct in this assumption, I believe that you are savable and will be in Heaven someday…

    I think many of my evolutionist and even my “heathen” friends, to include those like Schindler and Wallenberg, deserve the same sort of benefit of the doubt from us “Christians”.

    There is no way on Earth that I would tell someone like Wallenberg, who just saved the lives of over 100,000 strangers from certain death, sacrificing his own life in the process, “Sorry, but since you didn’t have the correct view of God while on Earth you may not enter into Heaven and into the companionship of the One who inspired you to do what you did and whose ‘still small voice’ you followed when you did it…” Rather, I’d very much like to meet Wallenberg and say to him, “Come, let me introduce you to the One who gave you the wisdom and power to do what you did…”

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  57. @ Sean Pitman

    …I believe that you are savable and will be in Heaven someday…I think many of my evolutionist friends, to include those like Schindler and Wallenberg, deserve the same sort of benefit of the doubt from us “Christians”.

    Surely ye jest.




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  58. JohnB says:
    August 28, 2010 With regard to the discussion of the ‘Royal Law of Love’ written on the heart, there is another verse which I think speaks to the discussion too, which is John 1:9 and is describing Christ, and says “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
    To me, this seems to support the idea that the Royal Law of Love, (certainly to some degree) is in fact written on the hearts (or minds) of all humans. We instinctively ‘Know’ what is right from wrong on the basics. I think that verse implies it is universal, and has been that way throughout all time.

    The “only promise” in all of scripture of the law written on the heart is found in the “New Covenant” as recorded in Jer 31 and repeated in Heb 8. This the the “One Gospel” preached in both NT and OT according to Heb 4:2 and Gal 1:6-11 that speaks of the New Birth work done by the Holy Spirit.

    That is why in Romans 2 Paul specifically addresses this as the Work of the Holy Spirit that is “of the heart” and “he is a Jew who is one inwardly”.

    There is no indication at all from John 1 “He is the light that coming into the world – enlightens every man” or John 16 “he convicts the World of sin and righteousness and judgement” really means “new Covenant Gospel transformation with Law written on the Heart”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  59. @BobRyan:

    There is no indication at all from John 1 “He is the light that coming into the world – enlightens every man” or John 16 “he convicts the World of sin and righteousness and judgement” really means “new Covenant Gospel transformation with Law written on the Heart”.

    The Royal Law of Love is written on the hearts of all mankind – even on the hearts of those who do not listen to or live by this internal conviction of truth regarding how one should treat one’s neighbor.

    In short, everyone has been given a conscience. From the very first chapters of Genesis we are told that God has supernaturally placed “enmity” between us and evil. Genesis 3:15

    If it were not for this internal sense of right and wrong, no one would have a conscience. It is because even the heaven have an internal sense of right and wrong (as do even very young children who do not need to be taught how to feel guilty when they do what they know they should not be doing) that they are in fact free moral agents and can be judged accordingly – according to how they did or did not follow the Law that was written on their hearts by God.

    It is also because of this internal sense of right and wrong that anyone can actually be attracted to the Gospel message – – because it resonates with what one internally knows is morally true and upright. In other words, there is a Divinely implanted ability to sense and appreciate the “beauty of Holiness”. Psalms 96:9

    This ability to recognize the beauty of holiness is not natural to the carnal mind. It must be implanted by Divine power… and it has been implanted from birth into all human hearts. One has to consciously reject the calling of this implanted knowledge in order to be lost – in order to actually be judged on a moral basis. If one does not reject the whisperings of the conscience within the heart; if one decides to accept this calling; to accept the beauty of what the conscience is calling for, such a one will be saved – even if that person has never heard the name of God and has never been told of the plan of salvation or about the life and death of Jesus as our Savior…

    This only reflects even further the Mercy and Glory of God… in that He is willing and eager to save even those who never really knew or understood much about Him while they were on this Earth. It is wonderful that He does not base salvation on our knowledge, but on our motive – our motive of unselfish love for those around us…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  60. What is morally wrong is undermining people’s faith in the Ten Commandments as well as the rest of the Bible by ridiculing Genesis 1-11, Exodus 20:8-11, and Christ’s words and example, and trying to force their students to lie, and to violate their consciences in other ways on pain of getting a bad grade or being expelled from school. It is also wrong to claim that they are teaching Seventh-day Adventism when they are undermining the Bible. Those who continue to do so would not be comfortable in heaven and in the new earth. They would be constantly ridiculing Jesus Christ and the saints in person if allowed in. God will hold them responsible for the loss of eternal lives that they have engendered.




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  61. @Dorothy Skadsheim:

    It is also wrong to claim that they are teaching Seventh-day Adventism when they are undermining the Bible.

    Now, I do agree with this statement. Taking money from any employer while doing directly counter to the clearly stated goals and ideals of that employer, is called stealing – a clear moral wrong in anyone’s book since it is a violation of the Royal Law of Love. Deliberate misrepresentation is inexcusable. And, this is what is going on at LSU – I hate to say it, but it’s true.

    However, this sort of “sin” is not the same thing as honestly believing in the modern theory of evolution and doubting the validity of the literal 6-day creation week. Such an error is not necessarily an indication of a moral deficiency. It is possible for one to be perfectly upright, morally, before God, and yet hold errors in doctrinal understanding and knowledge in general.

    This is because morality is not dependent upon accurate knowledge, but upon living according to the very best knowledge that is currently known in a loving manner toward one’s neighbors that is heart-felt…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  62. BobRyan said
    There is no indication at all from John 1 “He is the light that coming into the world – enlightens every man” or John 16 “he convicts the World of sin and righteousness and judgement” really means “new Covenant Gospel transformation with Law written on the Heart”.

    The Royal Law of Love is written on the hearts of all mankind – even on the hearts of those who do not listen to or live by this internal conviction of truth regarding how one should treat one’s neighbor.
    In short, everyone has been given a conscience.

    We need to be very carefull when dealinng with the text of scripture.

    It is true that all have a conscience, and that the “World” is convicted of “sin and righteousness and judgment” John 16.

    But at no point does the Bible text ever equate that to the New Birth or the New Covenant promise of Heb 8.

    General conviction of sin – is very different from the Gospel transformation that is the New Covenant in Heb 8 and Jer 31. When you read the actual text you see that in the case of the New Covenant – the Law is written on the heart AND all sin is forgiven AND the sinner is fully adopted back into the family of God.

    That is in fact the ONE Gospel of Gal 1:6-11 and there is no text in all of scripture stating that the Law of God is written on the heart appart from that process.

    That is a very different thing from the convicting of the lost done by the Holy Spirit that “convicts the WORLD”. Never is “Convicting the world” said to be “writing the law of God on the heart of all people in the world” in scripture.

    The points must come from scripture itself.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  63. Sean: “This is because morality is not dependent upon accurate knowledge, but upon living according to the very best knowledge that is currently known in a loving manner toward one’s neighbors that is heart-felt…”

    GC88 597.2 says, “The truth and the glory of God are inseparable; it is impossible for us, with the Bible within our reach, to honor God by erroneous opinions. Many claim that it matters not what one believes, if his life is only right. But the life is moulded by the faith. If light and truth are within our reach, and we neglect to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing it, we virtually reject it; we are choosing darkness rather than light.”

    LP 87.2 says, “But the Lord, who sent out his ambassadors with a message to the world, will hold the people responsible for the manner in which they treat the words of his servants. God will judge all according to the light which has been presented to them, whether it is plain to them or not. It is their duty to investigate as did the Bereans. The Lord says through the prophet Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee.” Hosea 4:6

    False doctrine is worse than the act it inspires. The doctrine which justifies or condemns the act of sin is as superior over it as the seed is superior over the flesh of a fruit. We can never say of the seed, “that’s not the flesh, that’s just the seed.” “It’s not the issue.”

    Ex. 34:6-7
    God bless,

    Rich




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  64. Rich and others: I humbly suggest you be careful in undermining Sean’s credibility. I think you’re winning this one, but he will keep coming back to defend his position. He’s like the Energizer Bunny–he keeps going and going and going. He’s like a Weeble–weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. He’s like a Timex–he takes a lickin’ but keeps on tickin’. He’s like the lady in the Wendy’s commercial: “Where’s the beef?” Okay, so you’re scratching your head now…




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  65. @Rich Constantinescu:

    Sean: “This is because morality is not dependent upon accurate knowledge, but upon living according to the very best knowledge that is currently known in a loving manner toward one’s neighbors that is heart-felt…”

    GC88 597.2 says, “The truth and the glory of God are inseparable; it is impossible for us, with the Bible within our reach, to honor God by erroneous opinions. Many claim that it matters not what one believes, if his life is only right. But the life is moulded by the faith. If light and truth are within our reach, and we neglect to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing it, we virtually reject it; we are choosing darkness rather than light.”

    A deliberate neglect to learn the truth that we could have learned is not honest ignorance. Such is the basis of a moral downfall as Mrs. White points out here. I’m not talking about deliberate avoidance of what one suspects might be true. I’m talking about truly honest ignorance or a truly honest lack of comprehension. Such a person cannot be accused of a moral wrong any more than an amoral animal, like a dog, can be accused of a moral wrong. A moral fall is dependent upon a conscious deliberate rejection of what one knows is true or suspects might be true if further investigation were carried out.

    For example, if God had not told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would not have been guilty if they ate the fruit of the tree. It is only because they knew that this fruit was not theirs to take, that they became guilty of stealing when the ate it – guilty of breaking the Royal Law.

    LP 87.2 says, “But the Lord, who sent out his ambassadors with a message to the world, will hold the people responsible for the manner in which they treat the words of his servants. God will judge all according to the light which has been presented to them, whether it is plain to them or not. It is their duty to investigate as did the Bereans. The Lord says through the prophet Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee.” Hosea 4:6

    Again, I’m not talking about a deliberate rejection of knowledge. I’m talking about an honest misunderstanding of knowledge. This very popular text in Hosea is talking about a deliberate rejection of knowledge – not an honest misunderstanding or non-comprehension of the truth. God would never reject someone who honestly didn’t know any better; who had never deliberately rejected suspected truth…

    And, in order to accurately make such a judgment, regarding truths that are not intuitively knowable, one must know the heart of another person – which is impossible for all except God.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  66. @BobRyan:

    That is a very different thing from the convicting of the lost done by the Holy Spirit that “convicts the WORLD”. Never is “Convicting the world” said to be “writing the law of God on the heart of all people in the world” in scripture.

    Paul is very clear (Romans 2:14-15 NIV) that one can be convicted by the Holy Spirit to do what is right and to love one’s neighbor without actually knowing where the conviction is coming from; without having access to the written Word; without having knowledge of God from the written Word; and without having knowledge of the life and death of Jesus. Mrs. White also confirms this in the Desire of Ages when she writes:

    When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another.” Thus Christ on the Mount of Olives pictured to His disciples the scene of the great judgment day. And He represented its decision as turning upon one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering…

    Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.

    How surprised and gladdened will be the lowly among the nations, and among the heathen, to hear from the lips of the Saviour, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me”! How glad will be the heart of Infinite Love as His followers look up with surprise and joy at His words of approval!

    – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 637-638

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  67. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God.

    Good one! I really do love this quote. The Holy Spirit can capture even the most wayward soul. There is hope for a despised soul like me after all.




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  68. Re Professor’s Kent’s Quote.

    “Good one! I really do love this quote. The Holy Spirit can capture even the most wayward soul. There is hope for a despised soul like me after all. Professor Kent(Quote)”

    Dear Sir

    Who despises your soul?

    Regards
    Ken




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  69. Ken,

    You’re a kind and gracious soul. You asked who despises my soul. For starters, I do. Perhaps the words of Amazing Grace are familiar to you:

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost but now am found,
    Was blind, but now I see.

    My soul is wretched and, on its own, has no merit other than being a dim reflection of God’s likeness. I despise it. However, I have the blessed hope of a very different future because God has found me. But until perfected by the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit, I’m still very much a work in progress. I despise the part of me that falls short of the glory of God.

    And if you haven’t noticed, there are others here who despise me as well. Why? Because I oppose the approach, method, and content of this website; I disagree with many statements made here about faith and science; and I call a spadix a spadix (pardon the play on words; Dendrolagus spadix is the lowlands tree kangaroo from New Guinea). These make me descpicable to some. What I don’t understand is the pervasive suspicion that I am a theistic or hard-core evolutionist (i.e., full of evil). It’s amusing, really.




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  70. What I don’t understand is the pervasive suspicion that I am a theistic or hard-core evolutionist (i.e., full of evil). It’s amusing, really.

    My friend, Geanna Dane, was run out of here, in part, for the very same treatment. Although she believed, or at least heavily leaned, toward young earth creationism, she was belittled for doubting the science described by contributors here. I thought she was treated with disadain and disrespect. Of course, I think she brought much of it on herself by mimicing the same tone and tactics used by others, which I do myself on occasion. It’s okay to write a certain way if you’re on the “supportive” side, but it’s damnable if you’re on the “other” side.




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  71. Professor Kent,

    You might present evidence that Geanna Dane was run out of here because of “the very same treatment.” You shouldn’t expect Ken or anyone to take you on your word for it alone. Geanna brought it upon herself because she was “mimicking the same tone and tactics used by others”, you say.

    This supposed “mimicking justification” is a waste of time used from time to time and recently on the “Hate Speech?” article at Spectrum blog. When illogic fails at overcoming, with increasing frequency some try to shift blame on other people of their obnoxious, illogical postings under pretense that they were meant so for a noble purpose: of teaching others a lesson.

    Such argument is a waste of time and moreso disdaining and maligning for it blames others not only perpetuates the “evil.” Rom. 12:12
    God bless,

    Rich




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  72. Professor Kent,

    You might present evidence that Geanna Dane was run out of here because of “the very same treatment.” You shouldn’t expect Ken or anyone to take you on your word for it alone. Geanna brought it upon herself because she was “mimicking the same tone and tactics used by others”, you say.

    This supposed “mimicking justification” is a waste of time used from time to time and recently on the “Hate Speech?” article at Spectrum blog. When illogic fails at overcoming, with increasing frequency some try to shift blame on other people of their obnoxious, illogical postings under pretense that they were meant so for a noble purpose: of teaching others a lesson.

    Such argument is a waste of time and moreso disdaining and maligning for it blames others not only perpetuates the “evil.” Rom. 12:21
    God bless,

    Rich




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  73. @ Rich

    When illogic fails at overcoming, with increasing frequency some try to shift blame on other people of their obnoxious, illogical postings under pretense that they were meant so for a noble purpose: of teaching others a lesson.

    I appreciate your admission that, in mimicing the tone of many others here, Geanna’s posts were, like theirs, obnoxious and illogical. Your logic is interesting, particularly in light of the way you yourself treated her.




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  74. Rich, in a post that I can’t locate, Geanna pointed out that the language in the Noah’s flood account cannot be interpreted literally as a worldwide flood that covered every inch of dry ground. She pointed out huge inconsistencies with the meaning of “all” throughout the account (and elsewhere early in Genesis). In the thread, David Read saved the day by quoting Leupold, who stated that use of a double “all” (“kul”) was intended by the author to render clear that water covered ALL of the earth. However, Geanna adroitly located two more examples of the double-kul (I Sam 2:22 and II Sam 3:37) that could not be interpreted as literal. She went on to argue that our Adventist belief in a flood that covered every square inch of land could only by supported by Ellen White, and not by the Bible. I think she’s correct.

    As I recall, there was not a single response to this obvious dilemma. Even you failed to offer a rejoinder (though you certainly tangled with her on other non-substantive issues). Is this an example of her “illogic,” or did her theological understanding simply flummox you?




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  75. And now I’m reminded that Geanna wanted me to make clear to Dr. Pitman that his parents were undoubtedly mistaken in their recollection of her. This is for two reasons: (1) Geanna was baptized by her own biological grandfather in a mountain lake, and not by Dr. Pitman’s father; and (2) Geanna is quite certain she has never knowingly met Dr. Pitman’s father.

    So…if there is a Dane family out there now stained by the memory of Geanna’s remarks (most of which I thought were absolutely on the mark), may the curse be lifted.




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  76. Professor Kent,

    Geanna did acknowledge the logical progression of my flood response to her. And in the midst of her withering sarcasm, which I asked her to leave off so we could focus on the task at hand, she got mad and resorted to her oft-repeated “I’m just a little college girl, so let me say what I want.”

    If she wants to take up my discussion with her, she’s welcome to do the work. I don’t believe you are fitted for the task.
    God bless,

    Rich




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  77. Wow, a friend gave me a phone call and sure enough, my name has come up here again.

    Ken, please understand that you are seeing some of the worst of Adventism at this website. I don’t understand the mean-spirited and snarkey posts that are so common here even from clergy like Pastor Constantinescu. I can forgive their treatment of me and others as I attribute their comments to the impersonal nature of the internet. I strongly suspect that if I were casually chatting with them in the foyer after church they would be very kind and gracious, much like most other church members that I sit down with in the pews each week. I prefer to assume these men are sincere upstanding Christians and so I don’t wish to respond in kind to their remarks.

    I actually have family in Michigan and fully intend to sit in on a service by Pastor Constantinescu one day. I will make a point to visit with him personally after the service and he will not know who I am (unless I decide to publicy post my impression afterwards- which I think would be uncharitable of me). He will answer to God how he has treated me and others here, and how he treats people in person. I don’t care to defend myself further. Believe whatever you wish to believe, Ken, but know that Jesus loved his enemies and we should be willing to do the same.




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  78. Professor Kent, thank you for defending me, but its not really necessary. You have been very kind to me and I have greatly appreciated the way you and your wife so generously share your faith. You have given me added confidence in the Bible and I have a better understanding of how to trust God’s word ahead of science. Thanks to your encouragement I now enjoy attending church more than ever. I have also learned that my personal experience with God is much stronger when I avoid contentious and negative websites like this one. After reading a few posts here I can’t bear the thought of reading more. Makes my stomach turn.

    Your friend,
    Geanna




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  79. Any discussion about Geanna or anyone else ends here. You can choose to comment about the article or not comment at all. Personal attacks and inflammatory behavior will not be tolerated. If you want to praise or criticize, give examples as to why it is good or bad. General attacks on a person or idea will not be tolerated. If you are are attacked, don\’t respond in-kind. No belittling of individual members, their character, or their motives. Only rebut issues, not the members who write them.

    I’ve been lax in enforcing this. Please be responsible and govern yourselves.




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  80. I guess Geanna can defend herself if she wishes (and is allowed to), but I will share a comment from Sean Pitman, posted at another website, which I think is reasonable enough to post and should not be construed as inflammatory:

    Although neither Shane Hilde nor I agreed with Geanna, she expressed herself well and her thoughts contributed a great deal to the desired discussion of the relevant issues at EdTruth.

    Moving right along, the Ellen White quote that Sean provided earlier in this thread is interesting, and I love it:

    Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God. – EGW, Desire of Ages

    Sean had put in bold the last two sentences, but I also like the one that immediately preceded them.

    I find this statement curious, along with the other remarks that Sean made regarding it. I one can actually “worship God ignorantly,” with the apparent absence of “evidence” of God, or “knowledge” of appropriate doctrinal beliefs, then could it be that the absence of faith, or even “blind faith” (if one could argue this is “blind”), actually does them more good after all than believing in the much-ballyhooed Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    Just curious.




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  81. Geanna,

    I somehow missed your posts, though perhaps they were approved after Shane made his requests. I’m sorry that I brought up your name. You still sound upset by things, but do come by for another visit.

    PK




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  82. Yes, firings can be justified, but probably with difficulty. What one says in the hearing of several people may be enough, but what words were used and tne context used. What is said to one person in private is probably not good enough for a firing. Firings must be done humanely as well. Income financial support should be given for months until the person gets other employment. I believe this to be a Christian duty – a spirit of love to all – period.




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  83. Dear All

    Thanks to everyone for their comments.

    I’m fortunate that this old agnostic has been treated with great respect on this site. My great wish is that you can all do the same with each other.

    Even among those of the same strong faith, differences are going to arise. That’s the very nature of man/woman’s free will. That is apparent on this site. But I think that if one is truly strong in faith one need not fear what anyone says or need to become overly defensive. Sometimes the need to be personally right, even in interpretation of the Word of God, can cause one’s objectivity to cloud. As a parent/coach/teacher/ professional/agnostic, I’ve learned after many years to patiently listen and ask why someone believes in any given position, rather than hammer home my own. Why? Because although I am willing to listen to others and open to persuasive arguments, my harshest intellectual critic is myself.

    I was quite disturbed by Professor’s Kent admission that he despised himself; dear sir I hope you can conquer that. We are all potentially worthwhile human beings. In my humble experience, I’ve found that if we cannot learn to love ourselves, it is very difficult to love others. Self idolatry, egoism,or narcissism are not true self love, merely insecure imposters. Oddly when we are giving to others we reach the height of self love because we understand our true significance is not solipsistic.

    In my estimation the reaching out for God is a noble attempt to understand and connect with divine perfection. But people reach out for perfection in many different ways. Consider that just perhaps, Darwin and Einstein were seeking perfection in their own unique way. Might their genuine efforts have been just as divinely inspired as EGW’s? And if only God knows the heart of men/woman can any of us really say?

    I have great difficulty shoehorning the notion of science into any box of faith or non faith. It’s universal appeal is its attempt for non biased intellectual inquiry. Do the scientists that practice it often fail? Yes. Does subsequent scientific inquiry improve upon or change previously held beliefs. Yes. Are scientists that make the attempt to be totally objective irrespective of belief or non belief being virtuous? I’ll allow you my friends to answer that.

    I hope I serve some purpose on this site rather than my own intellectual stimulation. That would be nice.

    Be good
    Ken




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  84. Ken – you accept evolution from an agnostic POV and the simple fact is that most Bible believing Christians here see a perfect harmony between the atheist or agnostic world view – and evolution. Hence your position has a lot more credibility than the transparently compromised bible-bending efforts “of some” theistic evolutionists trying to marry “SIX days you shall labor…for in SIX days the Lord made” to evolution’s “birds come from reptiles over deep time” idea.

    you said –

    Consider that just perhaps, Darwin and Einstein were seeking perfection in their own unique way. Might their genuine efforts have been just as divinely inspired as EGW’s? And if only God knows the heart of men/woman can any of us really say?

    Given the agnostic world view as context that suggestion makes sense.

    Given the Bible view of Christians however – it is violates key Bible statements on how prophecy works – such as 2Peter 1:20-21 “Holy men of old moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” and of course Is 8:19-20 “To the law and to the testimony if they speak not according to this word they have no light”. (And I am saying this primarily in reference to Darwin. I don’t know that Einstein ever made any theological arguments about the Bible not be true — by direct contrast to Darwin on that point).

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  85. 1. In a discussion with anyone on the subject of evolutionism vs science we often appeal to logic and reason and the fact that science does not support evolution’s teaching that birds come from reptiles or that cells pop up out of non-living materal or that static genomes in eukaryote systems “acquire” new coding genes over time.

    Thus the argument is from evidence to conclusion based on reason.

    2. Reasons for believing the Bible account of origins is not based on science “alone”. It is not based on “an eyewitness video” of God creating the world in 7 days so believing in the bible account does have some science support for young life and young earth but does not have a “reproducible experiment” where God steps in the lab and creates things for scientists to observe as often as they wish to conduct the experiement. A degree of faith is always part of that decision to accept the Bible’s eyewitness details.

    3. By contrast it takes no faith at all – and it only requires very basic reasoning and reading skills to simply “observe” that the Bible records a 7 day creation event instead of a 4.5 billion year creation event. Dawkins got it, Darwin got the point, and most Bible believing Christians today get it. Thus to fail to master this very basic step represents a significant departure from the tried and true reason-to-conclusion methods central to the evoltion-vs-science in point 1 above.

    Hence the much larger “divide” when it comes to Bible Believing Christians vs T.E as opposed to atheists or agnostics that choose to believe in evolutionism.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  86. @Professor Kent,

    I don’t see any problem in that the Bible says the waters covered all the earth. Geanna must be looking for something that isn’t there, consider:

    Gen 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.

    Gen 7:20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

    Gen 7:21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man:(AKJV; same as the KJV)

    ALL the hills and mountains of the earth were covered. ALL flesh died,. That means ALL of the earth was covered with water. Here is the Hebrew for all:

    H3605
    כּול כּלo
    kôl kôl
    kole, kole
    From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense): – (in) all (manner, [ye]), altogether, any (manner), enough, every (one, place, thing), howsoever, as many as, [no-] thing, ought, whatsoever, (the) whole, whoso (-ever).

    The Bible says it, and I believe it, and that settles it!

    “While God has given ample evidence for faith, He will never remove all excuse for unbelief. All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon will find them. And those who refuse to accept and obey God’s word until every objection has been removed, and there is no longer an opportunity for doubt, will never come to the light….” {DD 11.3}

    “There is but one course for those to pursue who honestly desire to be freed from doubts. Instead of questioning and caviling concerning that which they do not understand, let them give heed to the light which already shines upon them, and they will receive greater light. Let them do every duty which has been made plain to their understanding, and they will be enabled to understand and perform those of which they are now in doubt.” {DD 11.4}

    Rich, in a post that I can’t locate, Geanna pointed out that the language in the Noah’s flood account cannot be interpreted literally as a worldwide flood that covered every inch of dry ground. She pointed out huge inconsistencies with the meaning of “all” throughout the account (and elsewhere early in Genesis). In the thread, David Read saved the day by quoting Leupold, who stated that use of a double “all” (“kul”) was intended by the author to render clear that water covered ALL of the earth. However, Geanna adroitly located two more examples of the double-kul (I Sam 2:22 and II Sam 3:37) that could not be interpreted as literal. She went on to argue that our Adventist belief in a flood that covered every square inch of land could only by supported by Ellen White, and not by the Bible. I think she’s correct.As I recall, there was not a single response to this obvious dilemma. Even you failed to offer a rejoinder (though you certainly tangled with her on other non-substantive issues). Is this an example of her “illogic,” or did her theological understanding simply flummox you?  




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  87. Steve Billiter wrote

    @Professor Kent,
    I don’t see any problem in that the Bible says the waters covered all the earth. Geanna must be looking for something that isn’t there

    I’m sorry that I can’t agree with you, Steve. I had saved Geanna’s remarks, and managed to find them this evening. I’m including them below but have expanded on them. The bottom line is, quite simply, the word “kol” meaning “all” very seldom means “everything” in the Bible, including the flood account, and there is no escaping this. Here are but a few examples:

    Genesis 3:20 – “Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living” (NIV). In this case, “all” referred only to humans among the “living”.

    Genesis 7:4 – “For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made” (NIV). But we know for a fact that God did not destroy all living things, because many survived on the ark. Not only that, but living things had to survive outside the ark because, after all, trees and other vegetation eventually appeared from an outside source, which the bird released by Noah found. Further, according to Ellen White, “Satan himself, who was compelled to remain in the midst of the warring elements, feared for his own existence” (Patriarchs and Prophets).

    Genesis 8:9 “But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark” (NIV). But from Genesis 8:5, we know that the tops of the mountains were visible 40 days before this! “The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.” (NIV) In this case “all” refered only to the area over which the dove flew.

    So, I respectfully do not believe that the Bible’s statement can stand on its own. I agree with Geanna on this point.




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  88. To continue:

    In the majority of instances, “kol erets,” meaning “whole earth,” does not refer to the entire planet earth. Of the 205 instances of “kol erets” in the Old Testament, it might refer to the entire planet just 40 times, and even some of those are questionable. Here are just a few examples you could contemplate:

    “Is not the whole [kol] land [erets] before you? Please separate from me: if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13:9) (The “whole land” was only the land of Canaan)

    “And the people of all [kol] the earth [erets] came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.” (Genesis 41:57) (The people from the Americas did not go to Egypt)

    “You shall then sound a ram’s horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all [kol] through your land [erets].” (Leviticus 25:9) (The Hebrews were not required to sound a horn throughout the entire earth)

    “Thus for every [kol] piece [erets] of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. (Leviticus 25:24) (The law does not apply only to those who own the entire earth)

    “behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all [kol] the ground [erets], then I will know that Thou wilt deliver Israel through me, as Thou hast spoken.” (Judges 6:37, see also 6:39-40) (kol erets could not refer to the entire earth, since it would not be possible for Gideon to check the entire earth)

    “And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout [kol] the land [erets], saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” (1 Samuel 13:3) (Obviously, Saul could not have blown a trumpet loud enough to be heard throughout the entire earth)

    “For the battle there was spread over the whole [kol] countryside [erets], and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. (2 Samuel 18:8) (No, the battle did not take place over the entire earth.)”

    Would you like more examples?




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  89. Again, I wish that Leopuld’s “double kol” argument (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/leupold/genesis.ix.html) held water, but similar usage in I Sam 2:22 and II Sam 3:37 nullifies Leopuld’s conclusion. The simple reality is that belief in a worldwide flood that covered every piece of land in existence (Gen 7:19-20) cannot be supported by Sola Scriptura any more so than the belief that Eve gave birth to all living creatures, including wolves, spiders, and pathogenic microbes (Gen 3:20).




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  90. Re Bob’s Quote

    “Given the agnostic world view as context that suggestion makes sense.”

    Dear Bob

    Thanks you for your kind comments. I certainly appreciate, understand and respect your distinction between the SDA FB biblical view and the agnostic and theistic evolutionary ones.

    Regards
    Ken




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  91. Just to clarify: I’m not saying the flood could not have been universal, covering every single piece of land and killing every single living organism outside of the ark. I’m just saying that the Bible’s language does not require these. Dogmatic belief in these ideas goes beyond a simple “thus saith the Lord.”




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  92. @Professor Kent:

    Just to clarify: I’m not saying the flood could not have been universal, covering every single piece of land and killing every single living organism outside of the ark. I’m just saying that the Bible’s language does not require these. Dogmatic belief in these ideas goes beyond a simple “thus saith the Lord.”

    That may be your opinion, but it is not the opinion of the SDA Church nor is it the opinion of many mainstream Hebrew scholars – such as James Barr.

    Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the `days’ of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.

    – James Barr, Oxford University

    Beyond this, the SDA Church, in particular, has the testimony of Mrs. White who is very explicit in her claim to have been shown the world-wide extent and effects of the Noachian Flood.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  93. @ Sean Pitman

    That may be your opinion, but it is not the opinion of the SDA Church nor is it the opinion of many mainstream Hebrew scholars – such as James Barr.

    And the best you can do is appeal to the “opinion” of some scholar named James Barr? Are these “mainstream” scholars, per chance, also in agreement with the Seventh-day Sabbath? (If so, then I suppose we should take them seriously.)

    Beyond this, the SDA Church, in particular, has the testimony of Mrs. White who is very explicit in her claim to have been shown the world-wide extent and effects of the Noachian Flood.

    No one disputes her claim and the SDA belief in it; certainly not me.




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