Higher Education Part IV, A Line Drawn in the Sand


Higher Education, the Great Deception
Part IV - A Line Drawn in the Sand

by Richard Myers
 


 

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made them a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." The children of Israel had broken their allegiance to God. "Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me." Both the innocent and the guilty who had repented of their idolatry came forth. The guilty who did not repent were slain.

Dr. Gary Bradley, semi-retired biology professor in the Department of Biology of La Sierra University, gave an interview to an internet-based higher education news service on August 31, in which he shared his perspectives on the discussion of how creation and evolution are taught in La Sierra University classrooms. Dr. Bradley does not speak on behalf of the university or the biology department. Some of Dr. Bradley's statements as reported in the article posted September 1 do not reflect the views of the university. They are his views alone.....

Dr. Bradley has served with distinction for 38 years as a biology professor at La Sierra University. During this time, he helped to academically prepare numerous biology researchers and health care professionals who continue to serve the world and the Church with a strong sense of devotion to God and a high level of competence. (1)


What did Dr. Gary Bradlely say?

Bradley says he’s felt no pressure to change anything about his course, and says bluntly that he doesn’t plan to turn his class into a theological seminar, or to present evolutionary theory only to then dismantle it for students. While he’s fine with helping students work through struggles of faith, Bradley says he won’t undercut decades of peer reviewed scientific research in the interest of religious consistency.

Bradley joined the church as a boy, but when asked if he was a practicing Adventist, he said “On record, yes. You can read into that whatever you want.” “It’s very, very clear that what I’m skeptical of is the absolute necessity of believing that the only way a creator God could do things is by speaking them into existence a few thousand years ago,” Bradley added. “That’s where my skepticism lies. That’s the religious philosophical basis for what I call the lunatic fringe. They do not represent the majority position in the Church, and yes I’m skeptical of that. But I want to say to kids it’s OK for you to believe that, but it’s not OK for you to be ignorant of the scientific data that’s out there." (2)


How can evolution be taught in a Christian school?  It happened at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown and many other Christian schools. They were established to teach "truth", Bible truth. They all understood that man did not come from monkeys. Now they are worldly wise and disdain God and His Word. They laugh at the idea of Adam being created by God.



            


How can this happen at Seventh-day Adventist schools? We were the "people of the Book". According to a recent studies only 51% of the Seventh-day Adventist administrators, pastors, and lay people who responded have any form of daily devotions and family worship. These studies indicate that Seventh-day Adventists in some places are no longer the "People of the Book." (3)

What about church authority? Has the General Conference taken a stand against such rebellion? Yes, the General Conference has done much to ensure our teaching is in harmony with Scripture as understood by the church in the area of creation.

In 2004 the General Conference Executive Committee voted in Annual Council this statement: We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins.  We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation. (4)

General Conference President Jan Paulsen has expressed this same sentiment. I appeal to all engaged by our church in the ministries of administration, preaching, teaching, and writing to articulate and reflect our stand as a community on Creation. (5)

Not all have been as forthcoming in their public statements against the rebellion. North American Division President Don Schneider who had failed to respond publicly to the issue at La Sierra has now taken a position. He responded to a question about what should be done when church employees receiving a check from the church openly seeks to undermine the very teachings they endorse.

It has been my job to deal with people [and] some of them I have asked to quit. Very rarely. Almost always, as we visit, I can find the time to ask a question: Are you having a lot of fun doing what you are doing? People who are not supportive of this church are, by and large, not having fun either. And people who are not enjoying what they are doing are not doing [a] good job supporting this church often. And that leads me to another point then, Hey if you're not having fun and you're not really into the mission of this church would you want me to help you find something else? Almost always that has taken care of the issue for me. Almost never have I said, Okay, next Tuesday we go to trial. Be ready cause we’re coming at ya. That just hasn’t been necessary in my experience. (6)  

It appears that he may be saying he is against the teaching of evolution at La Sierra, but maybe not. It may be some time before the biology professors cease "having fun" at La Sierra University. If he has discussed the subject with them, it is not known to the church at this time.

When it was seen that some in leadership positions in the church were not taking a stand, some organizations in the church were moved to use their influence to encourage them to take a stand with God against the rebellion. ASI fired off a letter to NAD president, Don Schneider. The rapidly exploding reports and dialog regarding the alleged teaching of evolution in various forms in some of our Seventh-day Adventist Colleges and Universities was brought up in our ASI Missions Inc. Board of Directors meeting today.....Given the vital importance of the Biblical Doctrine of Creation to the Christian Faith and to the Seventh-day Adventist message, the ASI Missions Inc. Board voted unanimously to urge the top leadership of the church to weigh in on this matter with voice, pen, broadcast, and any other media or administrative vehicle that will send a clear, unmistakable signal of reassurance to our lay members. (7)

Not all conference ministers have remained silent in the face of this rebellion at La Sierra.  Some recognize the urgency and the need to take a stand on the Lord's side. Michigan Conference president, Jay Gallimore took a stand. The GC leadership has made a clear appeal to be faithful to the Genesis view of origins. We will be watching to see if the institutions involved produce a positive, correcting response...

This is a defining moment in the history of our Church and its institutions of higher learning.....For all faithful Seventh-day Adventists, teaching evolution as the preferred view of origins in an Adventist college or university is an awful betrayal of sacred trust. If tolerated, it will become a powerful destructive force undermining Adventist churches and schools. ( 8 )


With so much concern being voiced by church leaders and church members, what was the response by La Sierra University president, Randal Wisby? As an institution of higher education, a Seventh-day Adventist university provides an excellent setting for examining evolutionary process - a subject that is foundational to the modern biological and behavioral sciences. This broad topic will recur throughout our students' educational experience if they continue on to graduate studies and basic research in these fields, and is of growing importance in biomedical applications. At La Sierra, students investigate this process surrounded by faculty, staff, and peers who care about their whole person, not just their academic life. (9)

Randal Wisby is leading a modern worldy university that wants to be in the world and in the church. Many on the faculty understand they cannot deny the world's science of evolution and succeed in their great desire to be honored by the world as an institution of "higher education".  The Faculty Senate understood the situation when they voted on November 6, 2009 to support the rebellion in the biology department.

Therefore, be it resolved, that the Faculty Senate of La Sierra University, representing the combined faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Religion,
    * affirm our strong support for our colleagues in the Department of Biology;
    * and affirm our commitment to the preservation of academic freedom with intellectual and moral integrity in the context of our heritage, and service as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian University.  (10)


Of course, the president of the school and the faculty senate do not have the last say about such things. The responsibility begins and ends with the board of trustees. They have the ultimate say and responsibility for the direction the university takes. How has the La Sierra Board of Trustees responded to the rebellion? At first they decided to form a committee to study the matter while expressing heartfelt support of the church. Then with continual objections from the church they issued another statement on November 11.

The Board of Trustees has heard and taken to heart the concern that Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and teachings have not been given appropriate priority in biology curriculum and instruction. Specifically, the Board is committed to assuring that the teaching of the theory of evolution takes place within the context of the Adventist belief regarding creation.

The Board of Trustees is committed to a spirit of open inquiry and discussion in the university’s classrooms and laboratories. The Board intends that when varying viewpoints are raised they will be heard with due respect.  (11)


Open inquiry? Academic freedom? Questions are fine, but false teaching is not. When one stands up in a classroom and presents lies as if they were truth, the following can and does happen. "When I was in academy part of the biology course included a 'debate' between a creationist and an evolutionist. At the time, as a teenager who was questioning things, what the evolutionist said had more logical appeal to me and I chose at that point to use the information from his presentation to become an atheist. This part of the biology course was done to 'expose' the students to what others believed and it did. It won at least one student, me, to a false, anti-Biblical, view of origins for a time. I am sure this was not the intent of the teacher, but it was the result." (12)  This is the testimony of Immanuel Roth who now is back in the fold and is helping to pastor a church. The story often does not end so well.

Has the La Sierra Board of Trustees now suddenly changed their minds regarding the course taken by La Sierra University for many many years? The proof will be in what is being taught in the Biology Department at La Sierra. To date, nothing has changed regarding the teaching of evolution. The professors continue to teach evolution as fact to our young people. It is sad that the media in the world is now reporting exactly what is happening at La Sierra regarding the teaching of evolution.

Are the "watchmen" in God's church wrong when they speak up? How does God view those who stand on vantage ground, having been ordained ministers in His church and having been given great light, who remain quiet at such times when rebellion runs rampant?

"Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." Here we see that the church--the Lord's sanctuary--was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust...These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God....No superiority of rank, dignity, or worldly wisdom, no position in sacred office, will preserve men from sacrificing principle when left to their own deceitful hearts. Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ring-leaders in apostasy and examples in indifference and in the abuse of God's mercies. Their wicked course He will tolerate no longer, and in His wrath He deals with them without mercy. (13)

Do some in the church understand that God does indeed expect a line to be drawn in the sand? That some issues are so important that God will demand a position be taken? We have another university president that came to a conclusion on this question twelve years ago. Gordon Beitz, president at Southern Seventh-day Adventist University stated

"Not that there should be mindless agreement, not that there are not places where we draw a line in the theological sand, not that ideas should never be opposed with every fiber of our being, but that we not personalize our differences and build caricatures of those who disagree with us." (14)

Not all academics have served the church. We, the people have waited for many years to see change. It has not come and in many cases, the situation grows worse. As Gordon Bietz has stated, there are times when we are to draw a line in the sand. There are ideas that are to be opposed with every fiber of our being. This line that is drawn in the sand today is very pointed, there is to be no teaching of evolution as fact in our schools. Every fiber of our being is opposed to this teaching. Those who have been supporting this effort to lead our youth away from Bible truth are to be removed from our schools and conferences if they do not cease supporting the teaching of evolution as fact.

Ricardo Graham president of the Pacific Union Conference and chair of the La Sierra Board of Trustees has stated: "I'm not interested in being a part of a witch hunt." (15) As the one chairing the board, he has the greatest responsibility for the error that is being taught to our young people at La Sierra. As an ordained minister and elected union president, he stands on vantage ground.


Each day that goes by, each student that is directed away from faith in the Bible account of creation because of the teaching of evolution as fact at La Sierra, brings greater guilt upon our church as long as La Sierra is connected with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is not good enough to study the matter for years. Action must be taken to stop this abuse of responsibility. The buck stops with the La Sierra Board of Trustees. We call on each member of that board who is on the Lord's side, to stand up and be counted. There is no reason to hide one's beliefs. It is time that all choose whom they will serve. As the President of the Michigan Conference said "This is a defining moment in the history of our Church and its institutions of higher learning." A line has been drawn in the sand.

We call on all of the board members to publicly state their position on this issue, especially our ordained ministers. Ricardo Graham, President, Pacific Union; Arnold Trujillo, Vice President, Pacific Union; Kelly Bock, Director of Education, Pacific Union; Theodore Benson, Treasurer, Pacific Union; Gerald D. Penick, Sr. President, Southeastern California Conference; Tony Anobile, President of the Arizona Conference; and, Larry L. Caviness, President, Southern California Conference.

To these ordained conference leaders I ask, are you being faithful witnesses of Him who gave all for us? God has entrusted to His people, His truths. Are you being good stewards of these truths when you allow La Sierra Seventh-day Adventist University to teach that man came from a monkey? That the earth was not created in six days as the Bible states? The world watches as do Christians in fallen churches as they seek a home where they can be safe. What do they think of God's church as they witness evolution being taught in our schools? They do not want their children exposed to such lies, any more than we do.

For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had awaited the Savior's coming. Upon this event they had rested their brightest hopes. In song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, they had enshrined His name. And yet at His coming they knew Him not. The Beloved of heaven was to them "as a root out of a dry ground;" He had "no form nor comeliness;" and they saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." Isaiah 53:2; John 1:11.  

Yet God had chosen Israel. He had called them to preserve among men the knowledge of His law, and of the symbols and prophecies that pointed to the Savior. He desired them to be as wells of salvation to the world. What Abraham was in the land of his sojourn, what Joseph was in Egypt, and Daniel in the courts of Babylon, the Hebrew people were to be among the nations. They were to reveal God to men. Are not we to do likewise?

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  What will ye presidents and elders do? Are you going to walk in the path of Abraham, Joseph, and Daniel, or are you going to be as was Israel when their Savior came to them? We pray you will choose Jesus and His truth over the false science of the world. While you are in the valley of decision, souls hang in the balance, both yours and a multitude of our youth.  

(1)  Larry Becker. LSU Statement September 1, 2009
(2)  Creating Controversy...Inside Higher Ed. September 1, 2009
(3)  General Conference Statement page, 2010, http://www.followthebiblesda.com/statement.html
(4)  General Conference Executive Committee at the 2004 Annual Council
(5)  Jan Paulsen, GC President. Paulsen speaks on issue of origins. Adventist News Network, June 19, 2009
(6)  Don Schneider, President NAD. GYC Questions and Answers January 2, 2010
(7)  Letter to  Don Schneider, President NAD...ASI MISSIONS Board of Directors May 27, 2009
(8 )  Jay Gallimore, Michigan Conference President, “Michigan Memo,” August 2009, Volume 21, Number 5.
(9) Response of Randal Wisbey, President of La Sierra University May 18, 2009 Addressed to
      Board of Trustees, La Sierra University Faculty & Staff, La Sierra University
(10)  Approved unanimously by the Faculty Senate, La Sierra University November 6, 2009
(11) VOTED November 11, 2009 by the La Sierra University Board of Trustees
(12) Statement of Immanuel Roth, Remnant Online, March 2010.
(13) Volume 5 Testimonies for the Church pg. 212
(14) "Serving the Church in the Academic World" President Gordon Bietz Nov. 19, 1998
(15) Unraveling a Witch Hunt:La Sierra Under Siege, Spectrum May 29, 2009

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I was born into a non Adventist home, well that is an understatement really. My father was and still is a heavily practicing Satanist and as such, myself being a female, made me a target for ridicule and I was most certainly placed way below my brothers in the family......Tamara's Testimony

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