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Pastor Resigns in Wake of La Sierra University Controversy
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Submitted: Jul 1, 2011
By Atoday Editorial Team


The ripples are ever widening in the La Sierra University fountain of turmoil. Now a pastor is declaring his unwillingness and inability to identify with many official Adventist Church actions, particularly in unequal disciplining of employees. To him, the most recent resignation of four individuals associated with La Sierra University is the proverbial straw on the camel’s back.

Steven Hadley, in his own words below, declares he can no longer accept official church positions on social equality and basic justice. He has made his letter of pastoral resignation available exclusively to Adventist Today, in the hope it will bring wider understanding of his frustration with the cavalier lack of due process within Adventist church employment circles.



Steven R. Hadley M.A., J.D.
San Diego, CA 92111
srhadley@san.rr.com

June 29, 2011

Ricardo Graham
President
Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
P.O. Box 5005
Westlake Village, CA 91359

Dear Elder Graham:

I regret to inform you that at this time I do not consider myself an ordained minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Accordingly, I am returning my ordination certificate to you, and asking that you remove my name from your list of ordained ministers.

For some time I have strongly disagreed with the denomination regarding issues of social equality and basic justice. Socially, I simply cannot support the Church’s attempts to “have it both ways” by encouraging women to enter ministry, but denying them ordination and certain leadership roles; by gladly accepting the talent and resources of the gay community, but denying them the pastoral support and blessing we give those in heterosexual relationships. Regarding issues of justice, I have anguished over the Church’s inconsistent administration of its rules and policies; and in most of the cases I have witnessed over the past half century, a lack of procedural and substantive due process in matters of conflict and discipline.

Many times I have thought of writing this letter, but stopped, because I hoped the day would come when I could do more to affect some small change. I have continued to encourage basic justice in the Church as I served on local boards and committees. I even drafted and helped pilot a justice branch of church governance for the Southeastern California Conference. As a former Adventist pastor now working in a political setting, I have had many opportunities to care for people and help them think about what matters most in this life and the next. But, sadly I have spent more time trying to disprove the assumption that, because I retain my ordination I must concur with Adventism’s social views, and, therefore, I must be judgmental, exclusive and intolerant. I have gladly accepted this challenge, and have not hid the fact that I am ordained, even when it cost me endorsements in a recent election. But, the recent events at La Sierra University have prompted me to finally write this letter.

Others may debate and weigh the morality of what the four individuals who were asked to resign said or did, but my concerns have to do with the inexplicable lack of fairness and due process in the Church’s administration of justice. You and I can both name others across North America who have said or done far worse things, even criminal, but no one asked them to resign; or if they did, quietly found them a new place to continue to work. Yes, sometimes Adventist justice varies from situation to situation based on the wrongdoer’s repentance and cooperation and the options available to a grace-oriented administrator/judge. But, more often than not the variations in justice are based on such things as who and how many are watching, the expectations of those watching, the relationship of the wrongdoer to the judge or other people of value in the community, whether the judge “owes” the wrongdoer for past favors or help, whether the wrongdoer knows damaging information about the judge, whether the wrongdoer is or will be a loyal and valuable subordinate, etc.

Having asked for the resignations of these four individuals for these alleged offenses based on an inadvertent discovery, will you now do the same to all others who have committed equal or greater offenses for whom you have or will receive “evidence”? No, you cannot, at least not for long. To do so would be to encourage a chilling witch hunt across Adventism in North America. I suggest that to be fair and respected, the final action in this matter needs to be proportionate to that taken in response to similar and greater offenses in the larger context of the administration of justice in North American Adventism.  If it does not, this incident will simply become another landmark case in our sad saga of unequal justice. 

Due process begins with such basic elements as an administrator/judge who is detached from and neutral to the prosecution of the offense(s) in question. Having taken on the role of the prosecution in meeting with the four individuals, and on behalf of the church leadership asked for their resignations; you or any other church administrator cannot now be detached and neutral as the chair of the judging body, the Board of Trustees. I know you are leading this process in the way the denomination routinely conducts business, but the realization that a person cannot be detached, neutral and fair while judging his own case dates back to at least the 15th century. This is only the first element of procedural and substantive due process that our church members and those watching in the secular world expect to see.

The larger issue for Adventists is that our religious freedom depends as much on equal justice and due process as it does the substantive protections of the First Amendment. Persecuting authorities through the centuries have dispensed with equal justice and due process, because “what’s wrong is simply wrong, and only needs to be punished.” History records that the church’s administration of its rules and policies without equal justice or due process models and gives permission to persecuting behavior on the part of its own members that eventually turns against God’s people, their brothers and sisters.

My heart is still that of a pastor, and I continue to be active in my local Adventist congregation. People in the secular world understand that if you belong to a church as a lay person you may or may not agree with everything it teaches or practices. Many have this kind of relationship with their own faith communities. But, they assume that if you are an ordained minister in a particular denomination, you must agree with and support its teachings and practices. Regrettably, in regard to social equality and basic justice, issues that matter most to secular people and me, I do not at this time agree with nor wish to be identified with the Church’s official positions and administrative practices.

Sincerely,



Steven Hadley



Steven R. HadleyCurriculum Vitae abbreviated for publication

Education:  
1999
 
California Western School of Law, San Diego, CA - Juris Doctor
1987
 
Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA - Master of Arts, Religion, Church History
1979 Loma Linda University, Riverside, CA  Bachelor of Arts, Ministerial Studies, Business Management minor
   
Experience:  
2004-2010
 
The City Council, San Diego, CA - Chief of Staff, The Honorable Donna Frye
2003-2004
 
Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Riverside, CA, Administrator, Escondido
Church
 
2001
 
Council Representative, The Honorable Valerie Stallings
2000
 
Council Representative, The Honorable Deputy Mayor Harry Mathis
1999
 
Office of the Public Defender, San Diego, CA, Certified Legal Intern
1994-1997
 
Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Scottsdale, AZ, Senior Pastor, Tucson Desert Valley
Church
 
1987-1993
 
Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Denver, CO, Senior Pastor, Denver South
Church
 
1995

 
Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, Research Assistant to Dr. V. Norskov Olsen, immediate past
University President
1981-1985
 
Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Scottsdale, AZ, Pastor, Yuma Central Church


Elaine Nelson
2011-07-01 6:09 PM

Very well written summation of many who hold the same values. What will be the outcome with the publication of this letter?

Bob Pickle
2011-07-01 7:47 PM

What does Hadley mean by "gladly accepting the talent and resources of the gay community, but denying them the pastoral support and blessing we give those in heterosexual relationships"?

Does he mean blessing them while they refuse to engage in sin? Or does he mean blessing them while they engage in fornication with the same sex?

If the former, I fail to see how pastoral support and blessing has been withheld. If the latter, then it is probably a good thing that he resigned.

It matters not how long his C.V. is: If Hadley no longer believes what the Bible teaches about fornication and creation, then he isn't qualified to serve as a pastor within God's remnant church.

T. Joe
2011-07-01 7:47 PM

Let's look back a few months ago. This current state of affairs can be traced to an apology letter released by the LSU Board. The apology letter was based on manipulation of the biology student survey which asked certain questions about how evolution theory was taught a LSU and whether or not students thought they were marginalized, even sometimes ridiculed for holding a traditional SDA creation perspective. The student answers showed a "very signicant difference" by agreeing to such questions on how the professors presented "helpful ways of relating science and religious faith," that "science is unable to definitively answer questions about the ultimate origins of human life," and "evolution is presented as a scientific working theory in biology classes." Thirteen out of sixteen questions statistically showed this remarkable agreement with the student supporting the biology progarm and in the end 80 percent said they would recommend the biology program to their friends and others considering enrolling at LSU.

Despite this Board actually decided to stack all of the "neutral" responses in a Likert six-level questionnaire into the disagree column and by manipulating the data structures make the biology program appear to have nearly 40 percent greater "shortcomings" than what the students said. Consequently, the report from the Board concluded that the SDA view of creation was not adequately presented or supported.

The student survey report and the subsequent open apology letter drew the ire of the Board for the Adventist Accreditation Association (AAA). The Education director of the SDA world headquarters called the apology, "A Step in the right direction," even though the data structures had been manipulated to reflect a fraudulent outcome. So then the AAA Board was able to pronounced that "LSU has "deviated from the philosophy and objectives of the Seventh-day Adventist education."

Next, a meeting in the University Church where Elders Dan Jackson and Larry Blackmer attempted to soften the AAA decision to the LSU faculty.

But at least a few faculty left that meeting unhappy with what has been transpiring. One was a biologists who taught a LSU for 39 years with an outstanding following of students...and you know the rest of the story. The consequences of telling the truth about the biology student survey shows that a great deal was at stake...but you will not be hearing an apology for that difference. Apparently there are exception to ethical and moral standards.

Cheers

tjoe

Kevin Riley
2011-07-02 2:49 AM

Many a researcher has proven his/her point by a judicious decision of whether neutral responses 'really' signalled agreement or disagreement with the question. Whether considering surveys or investigations, the church leaders usually know what the 'right' answer should be before beginning the process. Many people are persuaded that, when fighting the Lord's battle, the end does indeed justify the means. I think you will find many members are prepared to accept any means the church believes to be necessary in order to bring LSU back into line. I don't know why anyone who has studied church history would be surprised by any of this. Being right always has trumped being fair or just, and no doubt always will.

Bill Cork
2011-07-01 9:03 PM

I think the headline is incorrect. Steve (a classmate of mine) has, as he says in this letter, not served as a pastor for quite some time, focusing on political involvement. He did retain ministerial credentials, which in this letter he is turning in.

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-02 12:03 AM

As it is usually understood, ordination is for a lifetime, not dependent on whether one is pastoring or not as there are business administrators and such who have been ordained that never pastor a church.

Don Bowen
2011-07-02 12:17 AM

Ordination can be revoked if the conference president thinks that it is justified. It has happened in the Central Calofornia Conference. It was a very a unfair process that I witnessed first hand. It was not me but happened to someone I know very well. I was a member of the CCC Committee when the injustice was done.

Seminary Student
2011-07-02 8:50 AM

After reading the article , and the comments . , interesting , he was not a Pastor in reality .Why would someone continue to be called Pastor , if he doesn't pastor a church ? it doesn't make sense . Why would he continue to keep ordination credentials if he no longer represent the Adventist church , he needed to return those credentials the moment he stopped working for the church .It is also a lesson for the church , Ordination shouldn't be for life , only for those working for the church .

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-02 11:52 AM

We should applaud his actions for being honest in returning his ordination when he could no longer support the church. "Pastor" is more an honorific, and ordination is frequently given to those who never pastor a congregation.

Thoughtful
2011-07-02 4:26 PM

The title of this is certainly misleading. A more accurate title would be, "FORMER Pastor Resigns in Wake of La Sierra University Controversy."

Certainly it was the right thing to do to turn in his resignation. Perhaps he should have done this long ago. His letter makes it apparent that he should not be preaching in Adventist churches since there appears to be bitterness expressed in this letter and bitterness defiles many (Heb 12:15).

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-02 5:47 PM

Bitterness is a natural reaction of being "used" as a machine. No one appreciates or prefers to work in such an organization.

Thoughtful
2011-07-02 8:36 PM

It is true that "bitterness is a natural reaction of being 'used' as a machine." That is the problem. God calls us to something higher than our natural reactions.

I love Jesus and His ways, they are so different from my ways (Isa 55:8). "Jesus did not contend for His rights. Often His work was made unnecessarily severe because He was willing and uncomplaining. Yet He did not fail nor become discouraged. He lived above these difficulties, as if in the light of God's countenance. He did not retaliate when roughly used, but bore insult patiently. Again and again He was asked, Why do You submit to such despiteful usage, even from Your brothers?" DA 89. I, myself, have to my shame treated Him despitefully, but His forbearance has won my heart and I now want to be like Him.

If Jesus received despiteful usage from his brothers, we need not expect better from our brethren. And we have His example as to how to best reach them. It is not by being like the abuser, neither is it by becoming bitter. "He who under abuse or cruelty fails to maintain a calm and trustful spirit robs God of His right to reveal in him His own perfection of character. Lowliness of heart is the strength that gives victory to the followers of Christ; it is the token of their connection with the courts above." DA 301.3.

Seminary Student
2011-07-02 8:52 PM

I agree the title is very misleading . How can he resign ? if he is not employed by the church ? it seems that this " Pastor " had quit working for the church many years ago. I would say he did the right thing , if he can not represent the church , quit and work somewhere else . I think this " Pastor " wanted to make an statement " he could have returned his credentials quietly but he wants to enjoy his 15 minutes of fame . This is a non story , it does not affect anybody . Is not like if he had been Pastoring and quit .

Anonymous
2011-07-02 9:55 PM

"This is a non story , it does not affect anybody . Is not like if he had been Pastoring and quit."

Not at all newsworthy and hardly worth commenting on -- so I shall refrain from stating in more detail the obvious.

L. Humberto Covarrubias
2011-07-03 12:03 AM

Thank you Steven for your faithfulness to the truth "though the heavens fall". Since likewise I am not in agreement with my church's behavior in many respects and with its "official" theological interpretations, I should surrender my ordination as an elder thus expressing my inability to officially represent my church. Being a simple lay person one may enjoy more freedom and may to oneself be true.

Anonymous
2011-07-03 2:16 PM

So the ends justifies the means. This seems to be the mantra that most large religious organizations have followed throughout the ages, from the bitter wars of the crusades to the Catholic/Protestant conflicts of the middle ages. Institutional Adventism is no better at maintaining due process than any other organization trying to preserve itself at all costs and as it's first priority. Claiming we are some sort of special case because we are "the remnant" is just sheer ignorance used to justify our institutional bigotry. If we can be bullies and get away with it, we will. Kudos to Mr Hadley for being willing to call a spade a spade.

Steve Billiter
2011-07-04 7:17 AM

Good riddance. Kudos to this pastor who has at least the courage to resign--albeit for partially misguided reasons, in my opinion. He states, "by gladly accepting the talent and resources of the gay community, but denying them the pastoral support and "blessing" (quotes mine) we give those in heterosexual relationships."

I believe the church manual states that anyone living in unmitigated sin will be disciplined and then his/her membership privileges will be removed unless there is repentance. Certainly, a liberal pastor like himself may have baptized a known homosexual, or granted them membership (with collusion by the church board) without examining them properly according to the manual.

These persons should not be offered jobs in the church therefore qualifying a lifestyle of homosexual sin

Categorically and without compromise, God Himself all throughout the Bible condemns homosexuality, while still loving the sinner. Any pastor that holds these views is totally unfit to serve God's people as an ordained minister, or in any other capacity, period. My prayer and hope is that he, and us, will seek that loving relationship with the World's Redeemer, and truly seek to do His will. "If you love me, obey My Commandments" John 14:15.

That includes, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" Exo.20:14.

Trevor Hammond
2011-07-04 7:32 AM

The question still remains: “How many MORE of these ‘insurgents’ (can I call them insurgents?), are still operating within our Church who are propagating their dodgy views which distort true Biblical Belief and teachings, yet are employed at our Institutions?” Imperceptibly they seem to have infiltrated our institutions and brought in their erroneous beliefs and worldviews which they insidiously propagate in order to erode and attack our core Fundamental Belief’s. Sadly, from their positions of power, they have ‘force fed’ those who look up to them and come to learn from them, the ‘amoeba origins juice’ which is dashed with the ‘sin is not sin’ lie.

The Dr Desmond Ford ‘trojan’ was one of such attacks which came from ‘within’ and was used by opportunists to ‘hack’ into Traditional Beliefs and Structures right at the heart of our Academic Institutions and Structures of the General Conference. Dr Ford should have resigned back then when he took the off-ramp and decided that he was bigger than the SDA Church.

T

Steve Billiter
2011-07-04 1:58 PM

Interesting Trevor, that you should mention Desmond Ford, because I just read this referenced editorial letter (a long one) in AToday.

“My second concern is this: Jon(Paulien)faults me because I “largely discard the historicist tradition so familiar in Adventist evangelism.” He is right. I do. But he is wrong in not following suit. And again I challenge him: find for me “ANY apocalyptic scholar respected by his worldwide peers who does NOT agree with me in this. No scholar of general esteem accepts the historicist emphasis on finding dates in the prophecies (usually done in order to damn Roman Catholics). The words of Christ in Acts 1:7 forbid such exegetical historicism. Again I thank Jon for his very Christian wording in his review, and I wish him and his wife and family God’s richest blessing.” 1
Des F o r d
Shelly Beach, Queensland, Australia

1. AToday, Spring, 2011, Issue 2, Web. Retrieved from; http://www.atoday.org/article.php?id=668

History is a mirror reflection of prophecy—a fundamental truth that seems to have escaped Desmond Ford. It is also another Biblical principle that light rejected means that any further light will not come to the rejecter of God’s truth unless there is decided repentance. “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day"(Proverbs 4:18; AKJV).

Any scholar that is not guided by the Holy Spirit, no matter how educated, cannot ever rightly divide the Word of truth.

There seems to be a strange twist here on Acts 1:7, where the writer above claims that the verse forbids historical exegesis. Not so. We have the 1260 year prophecy that determines the rule of power for the papacy; verified by the 42 months, and time, times, and half a time (Daniel 7:25). We also have the 2300 years of Daniel 8:14 that seemed to have upset Mr. Ford for some reason.

Acts 1:6
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Acts 1:7
And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.

Christ is clearly speaking of things future which the disciples did not need to know; recall the Jews were so concerned about the Roman rule and again making Israel the premier power in the earth. It does not mean that we are to not understand the prophecies in God’s Word now and apply time periods that are critical for proper exegesis.

Rev 1:3
Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Of course Desmond Ford is well known for using rather strange Bible versions like the NIV, and others that destroy Daniel 8:14. Is it no wonder that God reveals to us that many would misinterpret time prophecies in addition to the preterist and futurist viewpoints? Not at all!

Dan 7:25
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change **times** and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.














Tracy Calvert
2011-07-05 2:01 PM

"Any scholar that is not guided by the Holy Spirit, no matter how educated, cannot ever rightly divide the Word of truth."

Steve, are you saying anyone who does not follow the traditional SDA historicist method of interpreting apocalyptic scripture is not guided by the Holy Spirit? Sounds rather arrogant; or what I like to call the arrogance of infallibility. Are there no new truths to be learned? Do SDA scholars have the definitive interpretation of every single passage of scripture? If so, congratulations, there must be some sort of prize for perfection. Why doesn't the GC admin began a full scale witch hunt for all members who don't hold strictly to all 28 fundamental beliefs? Why hold back? Let's get rid of all the heretics. Maybe once they're out, church membership would be at an exact 144,000, with white ascension robes waiting for each. I think it's time we all pay more attention to the plank we each have in our eye.

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-05 5:33 PM

And maybe stop drinking the Kool-Aid issuing from the Springs (Silver, that is).

lance hodges
2011-07-10 3:01 PM

you should have resigned earlier considering your strongly-held views in opposition to mainstream church values. I think however that some of your views are worthwhile.

Trevor Hammond
2011-07-12 6:50 PM

How is it that all those who DENIGRATE Ellen White are freely allowed to do so without been banished? Or is this just a rule made to protect certain allies who are MORE equal than others?

Traditional SDA's who hold true to our Fundamental Beliefs, BRI, Adventist Review, GC, Ellen White Estate, GC President, World Church Leaders and Structures, etc., are all DENIGRATED freely on this website and even encouraged to do so? Huh!

T

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-12 7:29 PM

It's an equal opportunity site.

Thank God we have no SDA word police==yet.

Ervin Taylor
2011-07-12 11:01 PM

From Mr. Hammond's comment, I have to conclude that he does not understand that freedom to express one's opinions (assuming that the expression of opinion is civil) is highly valued at Adventist Today, both in the magazine and on this website. That's is one of the many ways in which Adventist Today distinguishes itself from the Adventist Review.

May I also note that I share the puzzlement of Tracy Calvert with regard to the strange comment of Mr. Billiter that "Any scholar that is not guided by the Holy Spirit, no matter how educated, cannot ever rightly divide the Word of truth." Perhaps Mr. Billiter can enlighten the rest of us as to how he determines whether a scholar is or is not "guided by the Holy Spirit."

Trevor Hammond
2011-07-14 9:10 AM

The honourable Dr. Taylor has somehow drawn a conclusion after I queried the DENIGRATION rule on A-Today. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt as he is the Boss. However, my honest query only came after the A-Today ‘rules’ were displayed on the Home Page which warned of BANISHMENT for those guilty of denigration YET this practice seems to be a norm on A-Today levelled against those shortlisted in my query . (The rule suddenly vanished from the rules list thereafter).
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I remember not too long ago been called to order for mentioning that when I think of A-Today the thought of ‘Apostates Today’ does cross my mind... (and I haven’t mentioned it since). I am again the recipient of such courtesy by been given a crash course on what ‘civil’ opinion on A-Today is about for which I thank the honourable Dr. Taylor. I will concur though that A-Today is very different from the A-Review; but for OTHER reasons of course.

T

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-14 11:20 AM

"A-Today is very different from the A-Review; but for OTHER reasons of course."

For that, we should all be thankful. What are the chances that your opinions we be accepted for publication by the Review? Every organization needs an independent press and those who benefit should not be discrediting it.


Trevor Hammond
2011-07-14 3:18 PM

"those who benefit should not be discrediting it"
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Benefit?
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T

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-14 3:31 PM

Most of the contributors here feel grateful for an independent forum where they can freely discuss SDA issues. If there are those who neither appreciate this forum and feel they get no benefit from it, they are free not to use it.
Paranoia is an equal opportunity for those who experience it.

Trevor Hammond
2011-07-14 4:24 PM

For starters, Ma'am - you aren't an SDA from what I have gathered and it is a fact that you and 'others' zealously denigrate and insult the Adventist Church. Backstabbing the Adventist Church is NOT a benefit. Think of all the damage this has done over the years: all in the name of Intellectual Arrogance. I have heard that even winning souls to Jesus Christ is NOT the main reason for the the BENEFIT'S existence.

Like Saul on the Damascus road, I really hope and pray that the BENEFIT will see the light and repent and turn from their path of destructive delinquency and STOP the 'progressive' backstabbing of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church. All this for what? Secular Cultural Evolution in the West. A 'COLD WAR' within Adventism? Well how 'bout no! Stop insulting the Seventh-day Adventist Church on a supposedly Adventist platform.

Constructive criticism and discussion is one thing: the destructive, denigrating kind you seem to flaunt - another!

T


Elaine Nelson
2011-07-14 6:50 PM

There is no qualification on this site that posters must be members of any church. I daresay that, having been a member for more than 50 years, and a PK entitles me to have a wee bit of knowledge of that denomination.

If "damage" has been done from former or current SDA members their faith is far too fragile too withstand questions.

In the early history of both the Christian church and the SDA denomination they did not all believe in one accord, nor do they today. Their adoption of doctrines were fought long and hard with much dissent. Questions were volleyed back and forth and there was not always consensus on many things, and the victors won the day.

This is the way truth is ferreted out: turning the searchlight on the Scriptures to see whether these things be so. It is dangerous to look too closely as there is no consensus in the Bible that the SDA church was, or is the only true church, despite its claims. The RCC church has made those claims for 2,000 years while the SDA church, a Johnny-come-lately, also makes the same claims. Can they both be right?

If you are certain that the SDA church is the only true church, by all means stick with it, but if you are certain, it should not bother you at all that there are more who do not share your view than those who agree with you. You should need no constant assurance that your position is right, nor be threatened by those who do not.

One person's constructive criticism is another's destructive criticism. Do you never criticize the RCC church? Or is it constructive, to build it up?

Editor
2011-07-14 8:28 PM

To All:

Elaine is absolutely correct - we are not a SDA church group entirely for our own, but rather full of generosity towards, along with open invitations to, those who wish to debate the merits of various belief systems. We do have plans in place which include non-SDA writers, so see if you can identify these individual(s) as they join our team. Topic(s) may be a give-away, but I think you will be surprised.

The open forum continues, with the one transgression to avoid of insulting individuals - Ideas can be trashed but not people. Thank you for being part of the stimulating exchanges - CH.

Trevor Hammond
2011-07-15 7:39 AM

Dear Editor - Thanks kindly for the info.
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While it may be (in my opinion) the main objective of this forum to allow belligerent attacks on Traditional Adventism (which is your undoubtedly your prerogative in the name of civil discussion), I just raised the issue regarding the denigration of Ellen G. White, and those shortlisted above in order to highlight the repercussions of such animosity.
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Open mindedness, Freethinking, Freedom of Opinion, etc., has its rightful place but something just ain’t right about this. Seems we have lost our way in encouraging disparaging attacks on our Church. Even when Traditional Adventism is at its worst, I have not come across this type of rude world-view even when dealing with other denominations.
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With that been said, I am fully aware of the partiality shown towards Detractors of Ellen G. White on this forum. Thanks for not showing me the door just yet...

T

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-15 3:03 PM

Is there a "Traditional Adventist" that will identify the requirements?

The history of Adventism discloses that there never has been a time when EGW was not questioned, so this is certainly not new. The possible reasons for other denominations not similarly engaged is because they are not so insistent that they are the "only true church" and their doctrines are to be unquestioned. This assures that there will be questions and doubt on the perfect church.

Trevor Hammond
2011-07-15 3:40 PM

Perhaps I should mention that Traditional Adventism has not only attracted its fair share of hostile detractors, but it has also been the object of satan's fury.
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[Rev 12:17 - Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.]
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Questioning is one thing: attacking is another...

T

Patti Grant
2011-07-17 4:24 PM

Ah, Mr. Hammond, but therein lies the rub. Who decides what is Questioning and what is Attacking? When one's own opinions are blindly assumed to be the apogee of all truth forever and forever amen--the iron and the clay begin to quiver.

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-17 6:45 PM

It's like the Supreme who said of pornography: "I know it when I see it."
Each person is entitled to his own opinion, but it is only subjective and has no more significance than an opinion from someone else.

The freedom of AToday to allow all opinions, conducted in a civil manner, should be appreciated, no matter how diverse.

Ervin Taylor
2011-07-17 9:25 PM

Mr. Hammond suggested that "Even when Traditional Adventism is at its worst, I have not come across this type of rude world-view . . ." This comment must mean that Mr. Hammond has never been to the EducateTruth(sic) web site, which considers itself to be the most solid defender of "Traditional Adventism." When he reads some of the comments posted there by self-described "traditional Adventists," I would assume that he will change his evaluation of what "traditional Adventism" is like--at its worst.

By the way, I'm not sure what a "rude world-view" might be. Perhaps Mr. Hammond can enlighten us.

Nathan Schilt
2011-07-17 10:20 PM

Trevor - What would you say about the following statements: "You are of your father, the Devil"; "you are a den of vipers"; "you are whitewashed sepulchres"? Surely you've spent enough time dialoguing on this website to know that it does not treat Ellen White or the institutional Church as sacred cows. Nor does it treat progressive perspectives as sacrosanct.

I don't know what your basis is for thinking this site shows partiality for those who denigrate the institutional Church and its icons. Is it the blog of Herb Douglass or that of Cindy Tutsch? To the extent that this site may appear partial towards liberal points of view, it is probably because liberals are more interested in robust exchange of often heterodox ideas than conservatives. Presumably you think Adventist Today serves an important role in the Church, or you wouldn't be here.

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-17 10:58 PM

Does the Adventist Review have such a site where all comments are accepted? That would be the perfect place for Traditional Adventists, wouldn't it?

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-17 11:40 PM

Does anyone here have any information on the Ohio pastor who is preaching that the commandments have been nailed to the cross? Someone asked me in an email and there are lots of sites online about this, but I haven't seen it here.

Trevor Hammond
2011-07-18 7:22 AM

Mr Schilt, Sir - let me answer this way... suppose there was a ‘lawyers today’ website with a blog containing the following:

What is the difference between a dead lawyer and a dead dog lying on a road?
-->Answer: There are skid marks in front of the dog.

Though the above quip may have some humour and comprise of tongue in cheek innuendo, it may be viewed as insulting to all lawyers in general. Those who are not lawyers really won’t be bothered and may add their own opinions and remarks based on what they think about lawyers: some good, some bad. Then there are those disgruntled lawyers, disgraced lawyers, anti-lawyers, ex-lawyers etc., who may hang around this website just to ‘diss’ all lawyers just because there’s opportunity to do so irrespectibve of the damage done to the 'lawyers associaton'.

Won’t the main lawyer association and those loyal to what the association subscribes to and believes, be denigrated and hurt by this? Then when someone says: “Hey stop this!”, they become the bad guy for spoiling the freedoms advocated by the website and warns them of the various rules which it seems only those who are ‘more equal’ than others favoured to continue the denigration of the ‘law association’...

One last question: "Is AToday then a sacred cow?" (no offense to Hindus intended)

T

Nathan Schilt
2011-07-19 1:02 AM

Trevor - I'm afraid you posed your question to the wrong lawyer. Despite the fact that the legal profession has been very good to me, I happen to believe that there are way too many laws, regulations, and lawyers. Society pathologically looks to more rules and more legal constraints - on others of course - as the answer to the problems of society. So I would find self-deprecating, iconoclastic legal websites quite refreshing. I happen to enjoy good lawyer jokes, just like I get a kick out of Erv Taylor's latest blog.

Any organization or group is vulnerable to the temptation of taking itself too seriously. There are websites that expose junk science, government waste, waste in higher education, corporate abuses, etc. These websites are not necessarily anti-government, anti-science, anti-education, or anti-free market. The responsible websites serve to keep both public and private institutions within society honest.

That's what independent voices within the Church, like Adventist Today, do at their best. Sure, some of the voices are hostile; some are mouthpieces for the apologists. But what is important is that we get a variety of perspectives, and are hopefully, in being challenged by contrary and sometimes hostile opinions, forced to think more deeply about what we believe.

Most definitely, AToday is a sacred cow for me. But I don't get offended if some folks, who only look at the hindquarters of the cow, have a more excremental mental image of AToday. Just hold your nose and continue the dialogue.

Elaine Nelson
2011-07-18 12:20 PM

Trevor, I don't know if you remember Pres. Truman's famous comment, but it is applicable here:

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Anonymous
2011-07-18 10:12 PM

"Constructive criticism and discussion is one thing: the destructive, denigrating kind you seem to flaunt - another!"

Maybe when you are 88 you are given some kind of license by Erv.

Anonymous


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