By Ed Truth Staff
La Sierra’s quarterly paper just came out on campus, and can also be read on online here. The interview with Geoff Blake is of particular interest because of its references to the conflict at La Sierra University. Blake is a youth pastor for the Paradise Valley Adventist Church in San Diego, Calif. According to the article, Blake started a Facebook page called â€œLa Sierra Loved Me (Testify)â€ in May 2009* to counter the negative attention LSU was receiving. While Blake credits Educate Truth’s “campaign” as “very organized and well orchestrated,” he thinks Educate Truth’s “campaign” is “fundamentally misguided,” but does not offer a reason why.
Blake weighs in on the conflict:
Well, Iâ€™m a pastor and not a scientist, so I wonâ€™t attempt to compare and contrast the details of various theories of origin. However, being an Adventist pastor, I canâ€™t help but look at how our Fundamental Beliefs start: â€œSeventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creedâ€¦â€ Now, if you take that to heart and believe the Adventist foundersâ€™ concept of â€œpresent truth,â€ then it seems like an ideal, faithful Adventist academic community would take present-known findings and realities (i.e., science), hold them next to the Bible in a back-and-forth kind of conversation, and explore the implications.
The problem with this idea of â€œpresent truthâ€ that our church foundersâ€™ put forth is that itâ€™s a really dangerous and difficult task, full of disagreements and wrong turns. Searching for â€œpresent truthâ€ means there is always more to find, and thereâ€™s always more to learn. It would be much easier to just spoon-feed concrete truths and amazingly simplistic facts to students. Just â€œeducate truthâ€? For that matter, why canâ€™t we just have church leaders come in and have all LSU professors sign off on what they can and cannot teach, then have the professors transmit the pre-determined information to students?
Well, for one, if that kind of thing was happening, our Bible wouldnâ€™t be our churchâ€™s only creed anymore, and two, our search for present truth would be over. Luckily, those arenâ€™t the kinds of principles our church was founded on, and thatâ€™s not what LSU is doing. La Sierra isnâ€™t supposed to â€œeducate truth,â€ itâ€™s supposed to educate a process of searching for present truth.
In response to a question about his motivation, Blake said, “I actually had the same purpose in mind that the main website for the negative LSU campaign states as one of its purposes: ‘So potential students and their parents could make informed decisions.'” He states that parents need to hear from a broad range of “real students” that have or are attending LSU as opposed to just a “couple of loud and disgruntled” voices.
In conclusion, Blake encourages the faculty and staff at LSU to “keep up the good work” and the Seventh-day Adventist Church to “go back to our roots to move forward! We need to continue to keep our foundersâ€™ principles in mind and encourage our colleges and universities to have the freedom to search for present truth and educate that process.”
Blake ignores the primary contention though that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has with La Sierra University–LSU professors undermining biblical doctrine by promoting blatantly contradictory theories as truth. In addition to this, these professors ignore opposing evidence to the theory of evolution and only present students with one side of the story. Paul Giem makes this very clear in his Sabbath School presentation “What is being taught about creation/evolution in our schools?” While bias cannot be avoided, it appears these professors are not interested in even presenting students with any of the evidence that contradicts what they promote in their courses. One might wonder if they’re even aware of any of the evidence for short age etc. Phillip Brantley‘s recently publicized donation of a $1,000 to La Sierra for “professional development and continuing education opportunities for [LSU] teachers in the biology department” could be used to help bring awareness to LSU professors of the plethora of evidence out there that contradicts the theory of evolution and confirms the Bible.
*UPDATE 11/1/2010: The Facebook page was started in May 2010.