Comment on Summary of 60th General Conference Session (2015) by Ken Christman.
First of all, you are to be strongly commended for your steadfast advocacy of the teaching of Creationism in a Christian educational institution. There isn’t the remotest rationality behind the promotion of evolutionary theory along with the teaching of salvation through Jesus. After all, if God did not create us in the first place, why would he redeem us?
While there are some who claim to be Christian believers who simultaneously hold to some type of evolutionary theory, the vast majority of evolutionists I encounter are those who do NOT believe in God at all. They ignore Him, deny His existence, and ridicule those who believe in Him. The term generally used for these people is “atheist”. Sadly, there are a number of former SDA’s in this category. At any rate, opening the possibility that there will be atheists in heaven not only shocks me, but again, is contrary to the words of Jesus.
As for American Indians who existed prior to the arrival of Europeans, I am more than willing to allow an honest God to be the judge. For one thing, these folk are long gone, and their destiny is determined. They cannot be reasoned with at this point. For another, I have no say in the matter at all. Thirdly, they were not atheists. They believed in some sort of a Great Spirit. While that Great Spirit was NOT the God of the Bible, there is abundant evidence of supernatural manifestations in the lives of their leaders and witch doctors. Thus, it can be safely assumed that their “Great Spirit” was reptilian in origin. I am much more concerned about those who adhere to those forms of spiritualities today. There are many who continue to revere the Indian “culture” and its many spiritual ramifications. It is glorified in the schools and promoted strongly. Not only American Indian false spirituality, but also Hindu Indian spiritualities, such as yoga, meditation, etc. are being widely used today. Sadly, these are promoted in many SDA facilities and are also diametrically opposed to Christianity. Do you think salvation through Jesus is possible for those participating in these dark forces?
You correctly say “Of course, we are not saved by the law. . .” The Biblical verses you quote do indeed support this. Hebrews 8:10 refers to a new covenant made with Israel which replaced the old covenant made after Egypt. That covenant is, indeed, outside the law, and only through the blood of Jesus.
Quoting Zechariah 13:6, however, does not exactly address a covenant, but refers to the wounds in Jesus’ hands. Consider also that Zechariah lived half a millennium or more prior to the coming of Jesus.
You quoted John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is precisely the point. Atheists refuse to confess their sins. They do not see themselves as being sinful. Furthermore, they do not believe in a Creator God, let alone a Redeemer in Jesus. If they did confess their sins to Jesus, the promise of God’s redemption is every ready to wipe their sins clean. Thus, their sins will be judged after the 2nd resurrection.
As for Ellen White, I cannot reconcile many of her statements with Scripture. That is perhaps why The Clear Word “Bible” was published, which adds and subtracts various texts to reconcile the Word of God with EGW.
I will let you decide whether or not she is indeed a “prophetess of God”. Consider the case of a lack of water at the Paradise Valley Sanitarium, and how she directed that a well digger living in Nebraska be called to dig a well. He used the “wizard water stick” to determine where to dig the well, and indeed found water. This account is found in volume 5, pp 365, 366 of the Biography of Ellen G. White as written by her grandson Arthur L. White. Why did she call a man to dig a well who used an occult power to find water? Would God not have reprimanded her for using an alien power? Did He not condemn the use of divination of any and all types?
Also, why did she take her own children to Dr. James Caleb Jackson in Danville, New York to have phrenology done? Phrenology is the practice of palpating the bumps on the skull to determine personal characteristics and the future. It can be correctly likened to palm reading, which is clearly an occult practice. She pronounced Dr. Jackson’s diagnosis to be good. Do you believe God winks at prophets and prophetesses who engage in Satanic powers? Does He reveal “truth” to them?
If there was another method by which atheists could arrive in heaven, Jesus would not have had to die such a painful death on the cross. Jesus could have rightly argued that His death was unnecessary if there was a different path where unbelievers could be offered eternal life. I am confident I will not encounter any atheists in heaven. I am equally concerned about those who practice alien forms of spirituality. Thank you again for your diligent efforts in preserving the teaching of Creationism.
Ken Christman Also Commented
Summary of 60th General Conference Session (2015)
Allow me to clear up your confusion. I am not willing to “allow for at least some heathen who have never heard the story of Jesus to be saved.” Rather, I prefer to not engage in speculation as to what God will do about long-departed atheists/evolutionists. Based upon the words of Jesus, I do not anticipate bumping into evolutionists stumbling around the streets of the New Jerusalem. There are too many heathen, evolutionists, atheists, and even Christians that we need to worry about who are still living. That is why you are providing a valuable service in leading people to an understanding of Biblical Creationism. I simply do not possess the knowledge, influence, or audacity to speculate on what God is going to do and what He is not going to do.
You said that “In short, there will only be one question asked in the judgement: Did you love your neighbor or not? Did you strive to follow the Royal Law that was written on your heart?”
While this may be the teaching of EGW or other contemporary theologians, it does not synchronize well with the words of Jesus, who maintained that there will be two classes of people–those who believe in Him and those who do NOT.
John 3:18 “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 3:16 . . . whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life.”
Your assertion that people’s eternal destiny hangs on how they treated others regardless of whether they knew the story of Jesus is impossible for me to reconcile with the above words of Jesus,
Thank you for quoting John 1:9, which simply states that Jesus is the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. However, every person is not given a “measure of light”, but rather the opportunity to follow the TRUE LIGHT or to reject it. If Jesus is indeed THE TRUE LIGHT, there is no need to follow a lesser light.
Yes, I have heard all the accusations that Biblical prophets made mistakes, as did Paul, and even Jesus. Thus, Ellen White made a lot of errors, was inconsistent, spoke against the Bible, plagiarized, participated in occultic activities, and that all this is excusable!
Well, is it logical for her to take her own children to a phrenologist while simultaneously speaking against it? While no Biblical prophet was perfect and all lived imperfect lives and were in need of a Savior, do you know of any who participated in occult activities? There was Moses, who smote the rock more than he should have. There was Jonah, who ran away from his duty. Yes, there were many disobedient prophets, and they generally paid for their disobedience. There was King Saul, however, who did actively seek out the witch of Endor, participating in an activity that was prohibited by God. His fate was a sad one. Yet, is it somehow O.K. with God for Ellen White to direct a man to come dig a well using such a wizard water stick? Would God not have revealed to her the awful act that was about to be committed? Do you think God would warn a prophet against palm-reading? Divination of any other kind? Phrenology? Do you think God does not care if His followers use occult powers?
You excuse the practice of using water witching because Ellen White was involved in it and because you have seen it used by “Godly men”. I actually know ministers and missionaries who have used it, but that does not mean that God condones it. Before I go any further, please be aware that I am not perfect either. I have done things in my ignorance that I had no idea were in the occultic realm. I have repented, will never do them again, and know that God forgives me just as He will forgive any other sinner who ceases to use Satanic powers.
Please be aware that there are many, many words for water witching: divining, pendulum dowsing, radiesthesia, rhabdomancy, or map dowsing. Yes, people even place pendulums over maps to divine the location of water, oil, treasures, gold, etc. The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith used it extensively.
I have spoken to many people over the years. Two independent practitioners informed me that it will not work for everybody. But, they said, if it doesn’t work for somebody, all that they had to do was to touch the other person’s hands and it would then work for them as well! This takes this matter completely out of the realm of science. There is a power behind it, and if it is God’s power, why do they call it the wizard stick or water witching? Why is the practice listed as an occult science? I would strongly urge you to investigate further. Ben Hester wrote a book entitled DOWSING–An expose of hidden occult forces. Find it and read it. Then ask yourself if God gives messages to prophets who use occult forces? Why would He not warn them against using such forces?
We have THE TRUE LIGHT. We have the Bible (The greater light). We don’t need any more lights. We have truth. By all means continue your fine work of defending Creation Truth.
Summary of 60th General Conference Session (2015)
Created beings have been questioning the character of their Creator from the very beginning. The Reptile successfully convinced Adam and Eve that God had not been fair with them and that they could achieve godhood and additional wisdom by partaking of prohibited fruit. That bold lie cost them eternal life. Had they only trusted their Creator, they would still be enjoying immortality and a perfect world.
From the moment they sunk their teeth into that forbidden fruit, they were destined to die. There was nothing they could do to prevent death. If they had lived perfect lives from that point onward, they could not have regained their paradise lost. It was completely outside their control. Likewise, we and all their descendants, are infected with the deadly virus of sin and there is NOTHING we can do of our own merit to extricate ourselves from this condition. The matter is completely outside our sphere of influence. However, God did provide for not only Adam and Eve’s redemption, but all their followers as well. It required the sacrifice of the sinless One. By paying that ransom, Adam, Eve, and all the rest of us, could be restored to an eternal life in paradise. It is a free gift, one that is completely outside anything any of us could accomplish by our own merits. We cannot just be good, or just be good enough. We would have to be perfect, and Paul assures us that none of us are perfect. I instinctively know that I am not perfect. Even if I could be perfect from this moment on, I am not going to be acceptable to God on my own merits, my own good works, etc. So, the sacrifice of Jesus is a free gift, and Jesus Himself outlined that any would only need to accept this free gift. That’s all. Paul confirmed this.
I believe Adam and Eve accepted this free gift. I suspect they urged their offspring to accept it as well. After all, they had firsthand knowledge of what they lost, and certainly must have longed for the promised restoration and for their offspring to be part of it. While Abel obeyed God’s instructions, Cain disobeyed and decided he would offer whatever sacrifice he wanted. Sadly, much of God’s creation has followed Cain’s obstinacy. God’s required sacrifice pointed forward to the sacrifice of Jesus, through Whom eternal life would be restored.
Initially, all that God required was faith and obedience. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and others fall into this category. Then, God chose a special people to whom the promised Seed would come. He delivered them from Egyptian slavery just like He will deliver us from the slavery of sin. To those chosen people, He instituted a Law that was impossible to keep (As per Paul). It was a covenant between God and His chosen people, the Israelites. It involved very detailed commands that included sacrifices of all types, especially where there were infractions of the law. All those sacrifices pointed forward to the sacrifice of the sinless One, and when that sacrifice was complete, Jesus conquered the grave, made a complete atonement for the sin problem, and completed the requirements of the Law of Moses (Sinaitic Law, Torah). As we have seen, Jesus then forgave all sins of all people once and for all, from the beginning of the world until the end of the world, of any who should come to Him, believe in Him, and accept His free gift.
Jesus replaced the Old Covenant Mosaic Law with the Royal Law, also known as the Law of Liberty. You have referred to the Royal Law multiple times, and I’m sure you see that James and I Peter refers to the Royal Law and the Law of Liberty as being the same, but in complete distinction from the “whole law” or the Sinaitic Law. This Royal Law is what Revelation 12:17 refers to–“those which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus”.
Well, what is the Royal Law? There are only two parts, possibly three. 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. Arguably, the third part might be Matthew 28, which is to take parts 1 and 2 to the whole world. For me, this is wonderful being description. The idea of exchanging that Old Covenant and all those messy sacrifices for believing and trusting in Jesus is indeed a beautiful gift. That is all I need to do to come into conformity with God? Nothing else? This is a promise that is almost too good to be true. Yet, it is true, as it is based upon the words of the One who made intercession for this sin problem.
Back to the Royal Law. Remember, it had two parts. The first part was to love the Lord your God with all your heart. James and Peter were writing to believers. Christian believers. They would have already understood loving God through Jesus, which is an essential ingredient of that Royal Law. Furthermore, they were trying to draw a distinction between the Royal Law and the Sinaitic Law which was repealed at the cross, as Jesus had kept it for them. What a beautiful deliverance from a law which Paul declared could not be kept.
So, what about pagans who keep part 2 of the Royal Law but do not keep part 1? Well, Jesus clearly says that those who do not believe in Him are condemned already. How sad. Why not accept a free gift? Why did Cain not believe and follow? I cannot explain it.
The sad part of all this is that the old Reptile has succeeded beautifully ever since the cross in convincing people that either there is no God or that they can work out their own salvation on their own terms. All they have to do is to be good enough, keep the law to the best of their ability, etc. He is a liar. Don’t trust him.
There is a prominent Adventist physician who today seeks the highest office in the land. He was recently asked to weigh in on the topic of torture of certain Middle East people. As a Christian, he had a beautiful opportunity to strongly oppose torture on the basis of the Royal Law of Jesus. As a physician, he had another opportunity of expressing his disgust at physicians inflicting torture on anybody. Is not their calling to heal, rather than to maim and torture? However, he completely passed up the opportunity to speak out against this evil practice. Was he consistent with part 2 of the Royal Law of Jesus?
I have a good friend who is a devout Atheist, yet he speaks out strongly against torture and killing at every opportunity. He is an Atheist Jew who feels so strongly about Evolution that he does not think certain people are fit to be President of this country because they hold to Creationism! He tolerates me because we have so many common interests. As a matter of fact, whenever we see each other, he gives me a huge hug and we talk for lengthy periods. We talk about the arts, music, history, politics and many other subjects. Believe it or not, as a young man he studied Adventism. Whenever I try to circle around to God and the Bible, however, he resists. He will not study his own Jewish prophets, will not consider anything in the realm of the supernatural, and is convinced that when he dies, that’s it. He is now over 80, and time is running out.
However, this friend of mine adheres to the second part of the Royal Law better than just about anybody else I know. As a young man, he lived next to the police station in a country undergoing civil unrest. He heard the shrieks of those being tortured and killed. He deplores the evils of humanity and does everything he can to alleviate suffering of any and all kinds. He donates generously. He thinks of himself as a good person, and so do I. As a matter of fact, one Sunday afternoon we attended a musical program at a church. It happened to be an SDA church, but the program had nothing whatsoever to do with religion of any kind and was not a function of the church in any way. However, even though it was a free event, he insisted on leaving a donation. He took an offering envelope, stuffed some cash into it, but then couldn’t decide where to leave it. He finally slipped it under the church office door!
You know, I feel awful about my friend. He is such an intelligent, smart, and generous man. However, in spite of my best efforts, it appears that he will die without a Savior, even though in my opinion he keeps part 2 of the Royal Law better than just about anybody else I know.
Pellagius was a contemporary of Augustine, and argued that Jesus did not come to die a substitutionary death, but rather, to show us how to live a perfect life. Augustine opposed this teaching, which has subsequently been labeled the Pellagian Heresy. Sadly, you and I were taught a heretical salvation doctrine which was based on the writings of Ellen White, who taught that we could never be certain of our salvation, and that even those living at the end of time will be uncertain of their eternal destiny, as they would have to live sinless lives for a period when their Intercessor was unavailable to them. If you will ask Adventists today whether or not they are saved, most will answer, “I hope so”, or “I am trying to be”. Occasionally, a bad Adventist will state unreservedly that he/she will indeed be saved because Jesus paid the price in full. How sad. We have already demonstrated that fallen humans cannot save themselves. It is a very simple matter: just accept the free gift.
In closing, I submit that salvation is not a process, as you and I were taught, but rather, a simple acceptance of a free gift which represents the Royal Law. Part I is acceptance of Jesus as Savior and love for God. Part II is to love my neighbor as myself. If we indeed do love our neighbor as ourselves, we will add Part III, which is to share that free gift with them.
For me, I will not question the character of God. I am sorely distressed by my many friends who are either atheists or who are trying to work out their own salvation, but I recognize that their decisions cannot be made for them. I am simply eternally grateful for a God who loved me enough to come and die in my place. What unbelievable love.
Summary of 60th General Conference Session (2015)
Please note that I did not say that “I have no idea what God will do with those who are long dead and gone who never heard the name of Jesus or understood the true nature of God”. Rather, I said that I prefer to not engage in speculation as to what God will do about long departed atheists/evolutionists. I will never understand why this is such a source of concern with so many people.
Contrary to your assertion about Paul, he did indeed conform to the words of Jesus as far as obtaining salvation. In Romans 10:9, he says that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Jesus likewise said that those who accept Him as the Son of God will not be judged, but those who do not are judged already.
Ellen White, on the other hand, taught in the 1890 Review and Herald that no sanctified tongue will ever say, “I am saved”, prior to the 2nd coming of Christ. She also taught that no man can say, “I am saved,” until he has endured test and trial, until he has shown that he can overcome tempation.” The Kress Collection, p. 120.
Back to Paul, when the Philippian jailer asked what he should do to be saved, the response was ?Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” That was the full sum of the matter.
You, on the other hand, are making room for atheists/evolutionists in heaven. This is a very confusing picture. Ellen White’s method of salvation differs from Jesus and Paul, and your process differs from all three.
If you truly believe evolutionists will make it to heaven one way or another, why do you spend so much time opposing their false doctrines?
As for Ellen White and her occult practices, please be aware that Ellen White spoke out AGAINST phrenology PRIOR to taking her children for their phrenological examinations by Dr. James Caleb Jackson in Danville, New York. If she knew it was wrong, why did she do it anyway, and even go so far as to pronounce his diagnosis to be good?
Anyone speaking in the name of God must indeed be held to a very high standard. He/she must conform to the teachings of Jesus, especially in regard to salvation. He/she must indeed use only God’s power in personal life and NOT partake or allow the introduction of any occult activities. Of particular concern is her tendency to blame God for errors. Please see the Review and Herald, 1950, where she says regarding William Miller’s failed prophecy of October 22, 1843-1844, “The Lord showed me that the 1843 chart was directed by his hand, and that no part of it should be altered; that the figures were as he wanted them. That his hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until his hand was removed.”
Do you really believe that God showed Ellen White that He was deceiving people into error by hiding mistakes with His own hand? I would suggest that we have all the light we need in Jesus, who we agree is the TRUE LIGHT. We come to an understanding of Him via the Scriptures and the Scriptures alone. I would urge you to read and consider what happened to a man of God in the time of Jeroboam. He departed from God’s clear instruction in spite of his good intentions. Yet, he was torn apart by a lion. This is a very sad story to be found in I Kings chapter 13.
In closing, my sincere prayer for you is that you will continue to preach Creationism. The term “Intelligent Design” is not adequate, as it opens the possibility of an entity other than God as creator of this world. Above, stay faithful to the Bible, and the Bible alone. Do not be swayed by anybody’s teaching, regardless of claimed credentials.
Recent Comments by Ken Christman
The Adventist Accrediting Association is Still Reviewing LSU
Ken Ham has developed a wonderful Creation Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio. It is full of evidence of God’s creation of this world (he does not subscribe to Intelligent Design, and neither do I, because this opens the door to some other entity having created the world). The museum experience ends with a beautiful narrative of Jesus death, paying the full price for sin, thus offering salvation for each and every one.
It is incongruous for one to be a Christian while adhering to a theory that denies God’s creation. Why would Jesus die on the cross to save a bunch of creatures that simply “evolved”?
Perhaps church administrators should send ALL LSU professors (including LSU administrators) for a 3-day Creation Museum experience, listening to lectures, videos, etc. At the conclusion, they should indicate whether they believe in a literal 6-day creation by the God of the Bible. If they do not, one can safely assume they are not Christian.
One would assume that if an institution of higher learning is to be labeled “Christian”, its professors and leadership would be believers.
Bringing the Real World to Genesis: Why Evolution is an Idea that Won’t Die—IV [A Review]
While it is sad that Jan Long has rejected Adventism in favor of neo-Darwinism, it is particularly unfortunate that he has taught at La Sierra University. What has happened at La Sierra? Six or seven decades ago, La Sierra pre-med students could not be admitted to Loma Linda School of Medicine if they even questioned the inspiration of Ellen White. Now, it seems as if the prevailing sentiment is toward complete rejection of the Biblical account of Creation. How tragic. Does this disqualify La Sierra Univ. as a Christian institution?
I applaud Sean Pitman’s review of the science (or lack thereof) on the issue of common ancestry between primates and humans. One would certainly expect a greater genetic concordance between primates and humans.
Has anyone ever attempted procreation between humans and primates? Yes, but it has always failed. Thus, there is no science to confirm procreation between these species, and thus, no science to even hint at possible common ancestry, in spite of DNA similarities. Why not just accept science and the Biblical creation account?
La Sierra University Looking for New Biology Professor
Well, they did not come right out and say that preference would be given to atheists/evolutionists, even though professors are increasingly coming from that camp.
Emory University “Welcomes” Commencement Speaker Dr. Ben Carson
It is a calamity that ethics (and lack thereof) have been introduced into the debate about “How We Got Here”. I have numerous friends who ardently and erroneously adhere to Darwinian evolutionary theory, but yet exhibit a sense of morality and ethical concern that is admirable. It is a grave mistake to question evolutionists’ ethics. This debate should be confined to the arenas of science and history.
Since the scientific method is NOT able to advance Darwin’s theories into scientific fact, we must turn to history. The scientific method requires experimentation in order to prove the validity of a theory. Since no scientific experiment can ever be devised to prove evolution (as nobody is able to witness what happened billions of years ago),Darwin’s theories shall forever remain in the theoretical realm, and not confirmed science.
In the absence of scientific confirmation, we must turn to history–the written record. We are fortunate to have such a record (the Bible), and it is at total odds with the pseudo-science of the evolutionists. If evolutionists could be persuaded to examine the Biblical record, they would find incontrovertible evidence of a Creator God, a Redeemer God, and a God who can predict the future. This is the God who gave Nebucchadnezzar and Daniel (and us) a snapshot of future events. Please note that the gods of the Chaldeans, astrologers, magicians, and sorcerers came up with a complete blank, even when threatened with immediate extinction.
Evolutionists need to consider that even their highest ethical standards will come up short at the judgment seat of the Ancient of Days.
Christians and the Sabbath
I am completely befuddled. Perhaps you can help clear up my confusion. You said “Of course, Sabbath observance never saved ANYONE.” I understood that to mean that Sabbath observance never saved Adventists, non-Adventists, Sabbatarians, non-Sabbatarians, etc. In other words, Sabbath observance NEVER saved a single soul. Now you seem to be making allowances for one group but perhaps not another, depending on whether or not a soul is honest and perhaps dependent upon not having “the best knowledge”, etc. I hope you can understand why I am utterly confused and that you will help me understand this better.
We are not talking about “open rebellion against God.” That has NEVER been part of my discussion, and I am not sure why this enters into this question.
As far as “keeping the Law perfectly”, Paul clearly says this is not possible for mere mortals like us. Even if I could somehow keep the Law perfectly from here on out, there is too much in my past that would condemn me. All other mortals are in the same condition. Paul indeed made it very clear that the Law CANNOT save. Furthermore, he condemned the Judaizers in Galatians and Romans for trying to subjugate those early gentile Christians and place them back under the Law, central parts of which were circumcision and Sabbath observance, plus many, many more commandments, 613 in all! Paul called the Galatians “foolish” for falling for slavery after once having freedom.
The most beautiful part of your response is that “It is only by the grace of God that any one of us can be saved. Rather, it is through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf as an unmerited gift that we gain eternal life.” I can say a whole bunch of “amens” to that. I’m glad you put a period after that sentence. Please keep it there!
EGW was very clear about the loss of eternal life for violators of Sabbath-keeping. She also claimed extra-Biblically that the mark of the beast revolves around Sabbath observance. Revelation is clear that those possessing the mark of the beast will forfeit eternal life. Do you have any Biblical support for the mark of the beast being a national Sunday law, or, for that matter, anything to do with Sabbath observance? Do you believe that a national Sunday law is in the future of this country and this world? If so, what will be your recommended approach? If not, should EGW’s writings be more carefully examined? If not, should the whole topic of Sabbath observance be more closely examined as well?
Thank you in advance for your tremendous contribution and for helping to clear my confused state.