Higher Education Part V, What Must I Do?

 

 

Higher Education, the Great Deception
Part V - What Must I Do?
by Richard Myers

 

Andrews University


 

In Part IV of this series we laid out the problem with the teaching of evolution at La Sierra University. In this last article of our series we want to consider what we as church members need to do. When the true watchmen fail to act their part, then those to whom God has given understanding become the watchmen. When danger is revealed to a "watchman", it is his solemn duty to warn those who have not seen the danger coming. When souls hang in the balance, action needs to be taken. Those who remain silent in the face of extreme danger are as "dumb dogs that will not bark." [1]

We have, up to this article, dealt with only one issue in one school: evolution at La Sierra. But, what if the problem was more extensive than one school? What if there were multiple issues of a similar nature? What if the teaching of evolution was only the tip of a very, very large problem? What if this very large problem extended into other institutions of the church and even into the church itself? Is that possible? And if it is true, then how could it have happened, and what do we do?

Some "theologians" and influential teachers in our church have attempted to deceive the church in regards to our present and past condition. They have told us that the message brought to the church in 1888 was accepted and repentance was widespread. This is a lie. The message was rejected by many in leadership positions and there was no real reformation that took hold. There were some changes made, but the backsliding of the church did not change. The Laodicean message did not work a miraculous change. Christ was not brought into the hearts of most ministers and most of the people. How do we know this, not having lived at that time? The prophet writing in the Review tells us the condition of the church. It was far from repentant, for in 1902 she wrote:

"'Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.' 

I am instructed to say that these words are applicable to Seventh-day Adventist churches in their present condition. The love of God has been lost, and this means the absence of love for one another. Self, self, self, is cherished, and is striving for the supremacy. How long is this to continue? Unless there is a reconversion, there will soon be such a lack of godliness that the Church will be represented by the barren fig tree. Great light has been given to her. She has had abundant opportunity for bearing much fruit. But selfishness has come in, and God says, 'I will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.'"
[2]

Having now seen that the 1888 message did not do the work it was meant to do, then we must consider that maybe we are still in that unrepentant condition spoken of in 1902. If so, then we again ask, how extensive is the rebellion? Is it isolated to La Sierra or does it extend beyond? It does indeed extend beyond one school. It is throughout many of the schools of higher education in Europe, Australia, and North America. I believe the problem in higher education is the result of attempting to build on a crooked foundation. The church itself is in need of correction before we can expect our schools to be the institutions that God intends. After all, our schools are primarily under the control of the church at all levels.

  The backsliding also extends to our publishing houses in the North American Division.  Elder C. Mervyn Maxwell, in response to a request from a denominational leader, penned this twenty years ago and the situation has worsened since then: "The fact that New-Theology people control the chief NAD publications and colleges represents choices made by entities of the NAD. Choices involve consequences. If NAD entities have chosen such editors and presidents, NAD must expect a reaction." [3] What is this "new theology" that this respected leader in our church who is now resting in Christ spoke of? A "new theology" is different than what we as a people have been taught in the past. This "new" teaching allows one to believe he has eternal life while sinning. One of the teachers of influence in the church who has spread this far and wide teaches that it is heresy to say one must be justified again after sinning.  He calls this Bible truth "a monstrous teaching that has no support from the Word of God." [4] His liberal teaching allows for a man to sin and retain his justification. This is to say that from our pulpits we now hear that one has eternal life while sinning. This is the monstrous teaching that has no place in our churches. But  it appears to be the most common message that is being preached in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Elder Maxwell was quite concerned that this new theology had such a strong foothold in the church by having "control" over the "chief NAD publications and colleges." Many in the North American Division do not perceive the sinister influence they are under when reading in these periodicals or attending some of our schools. The Apostle Paul was likewise concerned about any theology that was a "new" theology. He used the term "another gospel" and his words were very much stronger than Elder Maxwell's. "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel....If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."  Gal. 1:6,9.
 
The problem is systemic in three of our divisions, not all of the world church is involved. In these three divisions, the lack of consecrated leadership extends into our hospitals, one of which merged with a Roman Catholic hospital, our publishing houses, our schools, and our churches. The good news is that this is God's church and it will see revival and reformation. When Robert Folkenberg was General Conference president, he understood the need and he continually called for revival and reformation.  The first time he addressed the world church as the newly elected General Conference president, he preached "We must plead that God will give us, personally and corporately, repentance and victory over sin." [5] That call for reformation has not been heard from that office since he left. Instead we get a push for women's ordination that violates the World Church's mandate that there be no women ordained as pastors in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

This is another indication of the extent of the rebellion. This push to elevate women to the same role as men is not only contrary to the Bible, but is contrary to the decision of the world church. Three worldly divisions are the leaders in this rebellion against the world church's decision to not ordain women pastors. In 2000, five years after the world church's second vote saying "no" to women's ordination, the Southeastern California Conference decided that they would ignore the world church and they proceeded to ordain their women pastors. They laid hands on the women and began issuing one credential to both men and women. That credential states that the individual is an "ordained-commissioned" minister. [6]The rebellion in the heart was put into outward action.

Some argue that the decision to have one credential does not violate the GC mandate. But, it surely does. All understand the issue. The world church said women are not to usurp the authority of men. The rebellion seeks to place women in all positions of leadership with no distinctions between men and women. This they have been steadily doing in an attempt to go around the authority of the World Church. This is rebellion in its truest sense against both God and His church. It seems that those blessed with financial prosperity, North America, Western Europe, and Australia have been seduced by that success. The world has found yet another way to enter the church.

  Jan Paulsen, then newly elected president of the General Conference, instead of outright condemning the action, thought to offer a gentle reproof and then at the same time encouraged the traitors. He on one hand said they did wrong. "Although I accept that it is not the intent, I feel that the action by the SECC reflects a mindset which sends unmistakable signals to the rest of the world Church." At the same time he encouraged the rebellion by saying, "The issue is not the rightness or otherwise, ethically, morally or biblically, of the position that there should be no difference between them." [7]The president of the NAD understood that the SECC action was rebellion against the church and he issued a more pointed statement that the NAD would not recognize the SECCs new certificate. [8]

We have mentioned that the teaching of evolution in our schools is a line drawn in the sand. Men must choose whom they are going to serve. Another line now drawn in the sand is women's ordination. All must choose on which side they are going to stand. Will we stand on Scripture and with God, or are we more concerned about pleasing men and women?

Understanding the immorality in California, one may ask, can any good thing come out of California? Recently an ordained Seventh-day Adventist pastor from California uttered these words "This is a dangerous subject for me to share....If I perish, I perish." [9] What means this? Why would one of our pastors be concerned about perishing? Think about what happened when Jesus stood up for truth? What was the response of the leadership in the church when He said, "In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men"? His disciples responded "Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?"  His disciples feared that Jesus might perish, and they were right. He was murdered by those whom He offended.



 


The faithful California pastor borrowed a phrase from Scripture and then stood on God's side of a line drawn in the sand. He wanted the church to know where he stood and why. What was he going to do? He was going to preach a sermon on the Biblical basis for role distinction in the church and home. In other words he was going to stand up against the mighty tide of rebellion in the North American Division and in his union conference which is the hotbed of rebellion. The Pacific Union Conference is home to the teachers of evolution at La Sierra University. It also has within its union the  Southeastern California Conference which ordained the first women pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The pastor comes under the authority of both the  Northern California Conference and the Pacific Union. Both are on record supporting the ordination of women pastors. [10] Even so, surrounded by this rebellion, Pastor Doug Batchelor is standing boldly for Christ and His Word.

Recently the General Conference did a survey to measure the status of the movement to remove this role distinction. There are three divisions that were ready to ordain women pastors, "or significant parts of their division would do it.” There are eight divisions that said they would not ordain women. [11] To better understand the degree to which this trio of divisions [12] are antagonistic to the church's refusal to ordain women pastors, you must see the response to Pastor Batchelor's sermon. Both the Pacific Union and the British Union are on record not only supporting women's ordination of pastors, but now their presidents have indicated there is concern about Pastor Batchelor's preaching on role distinction. They are not just hoping for a change in church law, but there is an active working policy toward placing women in leadership roles in the church. If a pastor dares to stand in their way, they are ready to address the matter as being "serious". The Pacific Union president received a letter from the pastoral staff of La Sierra University church which expressed concerns about Pastor Bachelor's sermon. [13]  The response from the union president was "While there was no action taken in the President's Council, there was a serious discussion and the consensus was a positive affirmation for women in ministry, particularly relating to positions of leadership. We also referenced the 1995 vote of the Pacific Union Conference on this item, which has not been changed." [14] The '95 vote was in favor of the ordination of women pastors.

The British Union President openly joins with the rebellion when he writes to the leaders of his conference in response to Elder Bachelor's sermon: "The general position of the Church on the ordination of women is that the Bible does not encourage it or discourage it, in which case we are left as a church to apply the great principles in scripture of how God deals with His people. Our understanding is that male and female stand before God as equals, Christ having broken down the wall of separation and alienation between Jews and Gentiles, bond and free, male and female." This brother is double minded as he also said that "The British Union supports the position of the world church on the subject as voted in session...." [15]

The Southeastern California Conference, as the leader in this rebellion to place women over men, has sought to label Pastor Bachelor as the one in rebellion. As did Lucifer in heaven, they have planted their feet in concrete and chosen to continue their battle against the truth and its teachers. Highly offended, the Executive Committee insists that leadership in all lines of work within the church take action to stop Elder Bachelor from preaching this truth. They call on the conference to hold him "accountable". The most outrageous statement issued by this conference in rebellion, is that Pastor Bachelor fails to respect "church authority".[16] This, coming from the ones who began the open rebellion by ordaining women pastors in defiance of the world church.

The timing of Pastor Bachelor's sermon was of God. The intent of our series on higher education was to open to the view of God's church the nature of the rebellion. It is not "just" the teaching of evolution. No, in the NAD, Western Europe, and Australia, the rebellion is widespread, reaching into all areas. It effects both leadership and laity alike. This bitter response by church leadership to the teaching of a faithful pastor illustrates how far this rebellion has gone.

We have been told that there would be "far more to fear from within than from without...But how often have the professed advocates of the truth proved the greatest obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan's devices." [17] The resistance to the truth in 1888 which led to God destroying both the Review and Herald building and the Battle Creek Sanitarium in 1902 has continued on until this our day. In 1903 Ellen White warned the church "Unless the church, which is now being leavened with her own backsliding, shall repent and be converted, she will eat of the fruit of her own doing, until she shall abhor herself. When she resists the evil and chooses the good, when she seeks God with all humility and reaches her high calling in Christ, standing on the platform of eternal truth and by faith laying hold upon the attainments prepared for her, she will be healed."[18]

The teaching of evolution and the placing of women over men has come about in such a way, that in the providence of God, the errors that have been coming in can be seen by the honest of heart. These errors are now to be met head-on.  We call on the divisions that have been faithful to remain faithful. To those in leadership positions in the unfaithful divisions that remain in rebellion, we plead that you turn from your resistance and flee to Christ.
 

This information could be very discouraging, but it is not. God warned us of our condition in the third chapter of the Book of Revelation. Jesus speaks to our church in the message to the Laodiceans. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  Rev. 3:15-22.

We are openly rebuked as a people! But, the solution to our condition is presented. Jesus offers us all that we need. In Him we find our happiness, our hope, and our salvation!

There is a sad silence when it comes to this message from Christ. Some have tried to make it say something else, but none need err in understanding that many in the church are in a lost condition. As a people, Jesus has asked us to repent. Repent of what? Sin. Why is it that one can be guilty of sin and not feel the need to repent? Why can a whole church find itself in this Laodicean condition and not know it?  Satan is very smart. He has had 6,000 years to think about how to deceive us. He has been successful. He entered our schools, especially our schools of religion. He brought into them what the Apostle Paul calls "another gospel". In fact he does not just work on one side of the road, but he has provided deceptions for both the liberal and the conservative mind. As it was before 1888, there are those who love to preach the law, the law, the law, but have no love. They are deep in sin themselves and have made excuses just as the Pharisees did. They are hypocrites that are preaching the law, but do not keep it themselves.

The other side of the road is the "new theology" that rejects the old paths wherein the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy light the way. This new theology promises salvation based upon one's profession of faith, not a real saving faith in Christ that produces good works. The theology of Desmond Ford that has so strongly influenced a large percentage of the Australian church has extended across the mighty oceans to infect Europe and America. We are in need of Christ!

God loves His Church even though there are tares among the wheat. Jesus says to us today, "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

Will the Word of God impact our minds? Will His great love touch our hearts? Will we choose to stand on God's side of the lines that are now drawn in the sand?  "Christ's followers have no right to stand on the ground of neutrality. There is more hope of an open enemy than of one who is neutral." [19] God's promise to us as a people as we stand with Him is "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee."   

Let us choose this day whom we will serve! Let us press together and stand with our Lord as we prepare for His soon coming! Jesus is knocking, let Him in! Let revival and reformation begin with me!


_________________________________________________ _____________________________________
[1]   The Seal of God: Ellen G. White; Testimonies For the Church, Volume 5,  page 211;  Review and Herald Publishing Association
[2]   The Need of a Revival and a Reformation: Ellen G. White; The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, page 385; February 25, 1902
[3]   Letter: On Disciplining Hope International; C. Mervyn Maxwell, May 1992, Remnant-Online.com
[4]   Beyond Belief: Jack Sequeira;   Chapter 11 – Justification and Sanctification; Pacific Press Pub Assn
[5]   Sermon:  We Shall Behold Him; Robert S. Folkenberg; General Conference Session, 1990
[6]   Adventist News Network: April 6, 2000
[7]   President Regrets Action to Issue Same Ministerial Credentials to Men and Women: Adventist News Network: March 29, 2000
[8]   Leadership of Adventist Church in North America Clarifies Position on Ordination: Adventist News Network; April 18, 2000
[9]   Sermon: Women Pastors-A Biblical Perspective; Doug Batchelor, Sacramento Central SDA Church, February 6, 2010
[10]  Northern California Conference statement on women's ordination
[11]  Women's ordination issue not on World Session agenda: Adventist News Network; April 7, 2000
[12]  Resolution passed by South Pacific Division to seek General Conference approval to ordain women pastors; Annual General Meeting November 17, 2009
[13]  Article: A-Today; March 26, 2010
[14]  Ibid.
[15]  Letter: British Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; to pastors and first elders of the BUC;  March 30, 2010
[16]  The Need of a Revival and a Reformation: Ellen G. White; The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, pg 386; February 25, 1902
[17]  The Church's Great Need: Ellen G. White; Review and Herald; March 22, 1887
[18]  Response to Doug Bachelor's Presentation on Women in Ministry: Resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; March 25, 2010
[19]   A Call For Reformation: Ellen G. White; Testimonies For the Church, volume 8, page 251

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