Comment on Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’ by Bob Pickle.
Sean, antagonistic remarks?
I wrote Erv on March 10, 2009:
I found your piece to be a little puzzling:
If Sean Pitman was promoting the biblical Adventist belief that God created the world in 6 literal days, what is wrong with that? The way you wrote this piece, it comes across as if you do not believe that yourself.
My report/commentary was about student reactions to the speech not my opinions about the subject matter of the speech. My perception of the efforts of La Sierra University (LSU) faculty and administration is that they are seeking to educate students who “will not be mere reflectors of other men’s thoughts.” It seems to me that LSU is doing an excellent job of educating independent thinkers.
Thank you for expressing your thoughts on this piece.
His response seemed less than forthright. I replied:
You wrote in your commentary:
As an institution functioning within the Christian tradition, as expected, most students approach their understanding of the contemporary world from a theistic perspective and thus hold the view that God is responsible for the ultimate origin of the natural world. In this sense, all Christians are “creationists” and thus, also in this sense, it would be expected that Adventist Christians would adhere to that view as well.
In popular contemporary discussions, the word “creationism” has acquired a connotation that has severely narrowed its meaning to describe a belief that the world and/or all of its life forms were created in the relatively recent past (less than 6000-10,000 years) in seven literal, 24-hour days and that there has been a even more recently, a world-wide Flood. This more restrictive understanding of creationism has been adopted by some fundamentalist-oriented Protestant denominations and the fundamentalist wings of others.
These paragraphs do not describe student reactions, but rather are written in a way that gives the impression that this is your view of things. But you did not mention that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is one of those “fundamentalist-oriented Protestant denominations.” And:
Although some highly conservative elements made a concerted attempt to add fundamentalist language to the official fundamental Adventist statement of belief, these efforts were not successful and the official summary of belief continues only to quote the Biblical expression used in Genesis to describe the origin of the world.
This statement gives the impression that you personally adamantly oppose the idea that God created the world in six days 6000-10,000 years ago, and that there was a worldwide flood since then. It says nothing about LSU students feeling this way.
The way the commentary is written it appears that LSU faculty are educating students to be mere reflectors of the thoughts of infidels. Both 1SP and 3SG have a chapter entitled “Disguised Infidelity” which identifies the idea that the days of creation aren’t literal as being that very thing. If it is true that LSU faculty are teaching such things, that is pretty serious, as well as false science.
Bob Pickle Also Commented
Dr. Ervin Taylor: ‘A truly heroic crusade’
I forgot to give the reference for the above quote. It was from 1T 326.
While in Roosevelt, New York, August 3, 1861, different churches and families were presented before me. The different influences that have been exerted, and their discouraging results, were shown me. Satan has used as agents individuals professing to believe a part of present truth, while they were warring against a part. Such he can use more successfully than those who are at war with all our faith. His artful manner of bringing in error through partial believers in the truth, has deceived many, and distracted and scattered their faith. This is the cause of the divisions in northern Wisconsin. Some receive a part of the message, and reject another portion. Some accept the Sabbath and reject the third angel’s message; yet because they have received the Sabbath they claim the fellowship of those who believe all the present truth. Then they labor to bring others into the same dark position with themselves. They are not responsible to anyone. They have an independent faith of their own. Such are allowed to have influence, when no place should be given to them, notwithstanding their pretensions to honesty.
Erv has had decades to come into line. According to the above counsel from the Lord, “no place” should have been given him regardless of his pretensions. And it is far past time that place cease to be given him.
Recent Comments by Bob Pickle
The Arguments of Adventists Opposed to Vaccines
1. Any idea when the FDA might approve one of the covid vaccines?
2. Any idea when health authorities might gain confidence that immunity from the illness or a vaccine might last longer than 90 days, or whatever current research is showing now?
Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
Sean, you above state: “… a lack of a specific statement in the GC’s Working Policy that explicitly forbids the ordination of women as pastors. As far as I’m aware, such a statement simply doesn’t exist.”
Try BA 60 10 which states: “The world Church supports nondiscrimination in employment practices and policies and upholds the principle that both men and women, without regard to race and color, shall be given full and equal opportunity within the Church to develop the knowledge and skills needed for the building up of the Church. Positions of service and responsibility (except those requiring ordination to the gospel ministry*) on all levels of church activity shall be open to all on the basis of the individual’s qualifications.”
The footnote makes clear that the exception regarding ordination to the gospel ministry is one of gender, not race or color.
Also, B 10 22: “All organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize the authority of the General Conference Session as the highest authority of the Seventh-day Adventist Church under God.” Here we have part of the Working Policy saying that there is no higher authority under God in the Adventist Church than the sessions that voted down WO in 1990, 1995, and 2015.
Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
Sean, in your update you write:
“On the other hand, it also seem clear that on the issue of ordination, in particular, that the “final authority” has been given to the Union level of governance within the church (not to the level of the General Conference) to act as a buffer against too much centralized power within the church. …
“In any case, since honest confusion remains between many honest and sincere members as well as leaders of the church, ….
There certainly is honest confusion regarding this, but I can’t see how everyone is honestly confused.
1. Local churches decide who will be members and who will not, but local churches do not have the authority to make tests of fellowship. Thus the criteria for membership is decided by the world church, while that criteria is applied to individual cases by the local church.
Similarly, though unions decide who will be ordained, they don’t unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination.
2. If unions could unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination, there would have been no reason to bring the matter to the GC Sessions of 1990 and 1995. Particularly in 1995, it seems clear that church leaders understood that without GC division authorization, unions could not approve women for ordination, and that without GC Session authorization, GC divisions could not so authorize.
3. The first I remember hearing that unions could act on their own was after Dan Jackson’s open letter of, I think, Jan. 2012. Maybe we can find this idea being promulgated prior to that date in left-wing journals, but maybe not. Since there certainly has been discussion in some circles about getting rid of unions, it seems difficult to have simultaneous promotion of the idea that we need unions so that women can be ordained.
How it comes across to me is that some want their way no matter what, and are grasping at anything they can to justify their position. For those some, I don’t think the label “honest confusion” fits. Now if they can come up with some sort of historical documentation that local churches can unilaterally determine the criteria for church membership, or that unions can unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination, OK. But I have yet to see any such documentation.
Nic Samojluk: Some unions have slightly departed from the traditional manner in carrying the Gospel forward, and the church has reacted by producing a plethora of documents and wasted millions of dollars in order to forbid what is nowhere forbidden in Scripture. We would be wise, I believe, in stopping this nonsense.
Seems to me that disregarding a GC Session vote is essentially forbidden in Scripture. The issue Sean is highlighting here is not WO, but rather disregarding a GC Session vote.
I find the following citation thought provoking in light of current controversies:
“It has been a necessity to organize union conferences, that the General Conference shall not exercise dictation over all the separate conferences.” EGW in 4 MR 292
Would not this statement be talking about the GC rather than a GC Session?
In some discussions I’ve seen, it seems like some are applying counsel regarding the GC to a GC Session, which is understandable given that the names for each are almost identical. But the GC and a GC Session are quite different.
If the above quote were to be applied to a GC Session, that would be like saying that the decision of the council of Acts 15 was optional, and local churches, James, Paul, and the Judaizers could take it or leave it. That just doesn’t sound like what Acts 15 is all about.