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I'm much less fascinated by masturbation than you are, Mr. Michell. It's not my thing, though I do find your comments here--and your main website which I have now clicked on--rather entertaining. I go by Jeff, I live in the U.S., and I see nothing to be gained from an interview. I'm not an expert on masturbation, but I do find your use of science misleading.
I'm glad you seem to recognize that an association in no way implies causation; yes, most of the articles may indeed state as much, but your blog commentary was intended to portray masturbation as a cause of the negatives--in your words, "the negative effects of masturbation."The Regnerus and Gordon remark about "causal order" addresses the overall problem of emotional and relational dysfunction, but in no way implies that masturbation actually causes the emotional and relational problems associated with masturbation.I'm not sure why you commented on the Hallfors study. Yes, sexual activity (intercourse) can come before depression, as supported by subsequent studies, but now we are dealing with relationship issues, and not masturbation.
Your conclusions misrepresent the conclusions reached by the authors. In most if not all cases, your inferences are derived from associations, which say very little or nothing about cause-effect relationships. As an example, does depression promote higher levels of masturbation, or, inversely, does masturbation promote higher levels of depression? The answer: one does not know unless an experiment is conducted to properly compare two or more groups. You appear to have reached your conclusions without understanding the proper limitations of the studies (which in many cases the authors will spell out). Moreover, many of the comparisons you describe compare masturbation with vaginal intercourse. The latter involves MUCH more than having a simple orgasm, as it includes the many benefits that result from the relationship more so than from the orgasm itself. There are confounding variables that need to be controlled for when trying to identify group differences, in this case between vaginal versus self-induced orgasm. Without controlling for such variables, any differences identified between the groups say nothing about the act of masturbation itself. The better comparison would be between those who have no orgasms versus those who have primarily or exclusively orgasms from masturbation.
One of my African friends assures me you are correct, George, about the assumed "vast proportion" of opposition to women's ordination in Africa.
I admire two things about Kevin: (1) He is a gifted, articulate writer, and (2) he addresses what others write rather than attacking their character. I wish others would be more gracious.
Apparently some of you are surprised, as I am, at the way he has dodged some of my more pointed comments and suggestions. I understand how very difficult it must be for headship supporters to recognize their defiance to FB #14, as they very clearly insist that women cannot "serve and be served without partiality or reservation." The highest levels are reserved only for men.
No one has suggested that a plumber without theological training can serve as an ordained minister. Bad analogy.
Misogyny: "Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women." Deep roots. Prejudice against women is alive and well today in society, among Christians, and among SDAs.
Misogyny has deep roots in culture.
The words "rebellion" and "revolt" applied to trivial ecclesiastical issues are also deeply offensive, and can be viewed as an act of desperation, not strength. You're the pot calling the kettle black.
No majority of "our people...who recognize inspired counsel as the supreme measure" will ever read your story here, Kevin, or brother Phillip's commentary on the alt right. It'll be a wee, little, minuscule, tiny fraction. Unless you truly think there are only a handful of you that remain, all gathered here for one last stand.
Both groups also fail to distinguish between a hoax and a hypothesis when it comes to climate change, and equate environmental justice with end-time scenarios of government true.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God."
Keep championing the notion, George.
Kenneth, FB #14's voted language is more clear than the GC's Working Policy. The language proclaiming unfettered service in God's church by all today is as clear in our culture as Paul's language was for God's church in his culture.
Our disagreement, Kevin, isn't over inspiration; it's over interpetation. Sincere, well-informed SDAs who wholeheartedly and unashamedly embrace the supreme authority of inspired counsel reach differing conclusions on male headship. You are well aware of this but you are blinded by certitude and a keen desire to impose your view on others.
I have no problem with you having your view, but I find your attitude to be the height of arrogance when you claim the higher ground and dismiss as infidelity and rebellion those who see things differently. You're rude and condescending. Many are repulsed by your approach. No one is going to force you, Kevin, to uphold FB #14 by ending your unwise campaign to make distinctions of male and female divisive among us. Continue as you wish.
I am finished with this conversation.
Take your pick. I'm not interested in this nitpicking.
How very clever, Kevin, to write, "yielding and submission is what Paul means when he calls upon women to be silent in church."
Paul wrote, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet."
So you want us to believe that the plain words of scripture here mean that a woman can teach, can speak out, but cannot have authority over man (unless, I know, she is a prophet, for which you remarkably find an exception). Two out of three ain't bad. How generous! And how selective!
Enough of this. Just admit it, Kevin: your theology dismisses FB #14 because you insist that women cannot "serve and be served without partiality or reservation."
And policy, whether inspired or otherwise, is not principle, no matter how much you want to pretend it is. What part of "I do not permit" makes clear that God, throughout scripture, does not permit? The next statement (vs. 13) is clearly in support of Paul's policy, and therefore is an argument of expediency in accord with the culture of his day.
Ellen White makes crystal clear that those who work for God with honest convictions, even if they are wrong in their understanding of issues such as the Sabbath, can still be rewarded.
And if you happen to be wrong, and continue your support of efforts to purge the Church of those who are true to their convictions, God may still reward you as well. And I hope that God will also reward those pushed away by you who would have lived differently had they been dealt with the spirit Paul advocated: "knowledge puffs up while love builds up."
Let's agree in love to disagree, Doug.
Paul issued policy, not principle. Which is why you have no beef with women speaking in church, wearing hair other than in braids, and so forth. What part of "I do not permit" comes across as policy?
I attend two local SDA churches. One, like many others, tolerates different opinions but draws the line when speakers have your agenda: to condemn those with other opinions. The other church has condemned women's ordination and demoted its female pastor, though she continues in the very same leadership capacity but without the title.
I'm at a private Christian university outside of SDA employment. And it tolerates rather than condemns diverse viewpoints.
George, we must accept the reality that misogyny is firmly entrenched not only in our culture, but in our Church as well. We can never eradicate it, but as Michelle Obama so poignantly pointed out, we can certainly fight back when we believe, in our hearts, that it is wrong. (Rather ironic that Kevin can bring up secular politics in an article he writes and then criticizes anyone else who does so.)
Godspeed to you.
Kevin wrote, "when we speak of spiritual male headship, we are in fact speaking of servant-leadership, not autocracy."
With male headship we are also speaking of partiality, and you most certainly know it.
It must frustrate you no end, Kevin, to recognize that your legalistic defense for scorched-earth enforcement of male headship on the basis of the GC Working Policy is open rebellion against official voted doctrine embodied in FB #14. Stop persecuting your fellow believers.
Policy and doctrine never have been and never will be the same thing. If we can't agree with that, there is nothing to discuss.
Sure, Doug. My answer is simple: I don't know with certainty that either decision bore the imprint of God.
The alt right in political discourse and Adventism share a key feature in common: they both seek to impose their views upon others. Having an opinion as you do is one thing, Kevin; condemning those who see things differently by declaring them to be rebels is another. Paul had the humility to accommodate those with differing viewpoints on minor issues, such as the permissibility of eating food offered to idols, but you enthusiastically delegitimize those who see things differently than you do.
As Paul put it, "knowledge puffs up while love builds up." Show some love, Kevin. Show to us and to others Jesus in your heart, not your exalted claim to knowledge.
Our salvation does not require submission to GC authority. Our salvation does not require that we silence women in the church and impose a limit to their witness. Yet the entire point of this article is whip up support for GC submission and subservience of women, two actions that contradict our voted fundamental beliefs and distract from the core activity we should be engaged in: bringing people to Jesus.
FB #12 - "Christ Himself is the Head" (we bow down to none other)FB #13 - "Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness" (let's not condemn or silence those we disagree with)FB #14 - "we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation" (let's allow women to serve without partiality or reservation); "distinctions of...male and female must not be divisive among us" (H-E-L-L-O)
Let's bring people to the Church to develop a relationship with Jesus and not push people away because they disagree with non-doctrinal issues. Let's celebrate a shared love of Jesus rather than our own efforts to downsize the Church. Let's end the endless criticism and condemnation. For God's sake!
What part about "to serve" has nothing to do with "spiritual leadership?"
The voted language of FB #14 could not be more clear: "we [clearly meaning male and female] are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation." There is no footnote to FB #14 to clarify that serving as a leader is, indeed, a partial privilege, reserved only for men, as you insist. You can befuddle as you wish, but the statement of equality absolutely and irrefutably applies to service in FB #14.
Just admit it, Kevin: FB #14 is either woefully wrong, or you refuse to submit to it. Your legalistic approach to enforcing male headship fails badly.
I have no problem with you sharing your theological position--a position the Church has never made official doctrine--but you are waging war against the saints, Kevin. You need to tone it down. And I call on the board of Advindicate to require authors to tone down their accusations of rebellion.
DV2000 quoted Paul: "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."
Do you not recognize the distinction between policy and principle? Paul clearly stated that this was his policy. He chose to use the pronoun "I" to make this clear, and it was because, as in the permissability of eating food offered to idols, he was deeply concerned about sharing the message in the most effective way possible in a patriarchal society that viewed women as chattel. In that culture, women speaking up was obviously taking place (which is why he made the comment), and it was hindering the sacred work.
If Ellen White took Paul's statement seriously, she would have remained silent and never spoken out in church. BUT SHE DID SO, AND ABUNDANTLY. If you yourself take Paul's statement seriously, then you would consider Ellen White to be a fraud whose words and behavior severely contradicted scripture.
Kevin has written, and elaborated, on his long-held position: The fact is that gender is the only distinction between human beings which God created in the beginning.
So, you CLEARLY concede, Kevin, that the "highest authority on earth" got it completely wrong in FB #14 when it was voted that "We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation." That, or you are completely wrong to continue insisting that God is a misogynist.
You are in open rebellion, Kevin. And you feel emboldened because Ted Wilson and many other proud misogynists are in open rebellion as well.
You have still failed to identify where George Knight got it wrong. And that's because you know he has it right. By declaring others to be in rebellion against what you deem to be an infallible Working Policy, you've exposed the pathway of your own rebellion.
They both bear the imprint of men. Obviously. Humans generally try to make the best decision, but the world is full of wrong decisions because no man--not even a bunch of them gathered together claiming to be "the highest authority on earth"--is infallible. To defend anything else is absolutely ludicrous.
Having authority and being infallible are two very different things. She fell FAR short of stating that "authority" means all voted decisions thereafter, until the end of time, would be the express will of God.
Don't give your heart, trust, and loyalty to the fallible decisions of men.
It's simple enough to identify the error(s), Kevin. Which items are wrong?
1) The original working policy had male gender language.2) The wording was changed to gender neutral except for the ordination section.3) The ordintion section has stated all along that only males can be ordained.
It couldn't be any simpler, Kevin--unless you want to dodge the answer.
"Elder Wilson is faced with nothing less than trying to preserve the reality of a worldwide SDA Church organization. Those who oppose him in this are motivated by a wrong spirit."
Don't be absurd. The Church has existed for more than 150 years without a so-called male headship doctrine, it still lacks any such doctrine, and the only reason the issue threatens to damage the Church is because Ted Wilson insists on enforcing a headship doctrine that has never been voted by the Church.
Well, it's clear then that you believe God screwed up with the San Antonio GC vote to maintain him as a division leader. And I'm surprised by how toxic your statement is. Ad hominen at its most dispicable level.
FB #14: "We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation."
David Read, Kevin Paulson, Ted Wilson and others ABSOLUTELY DENY THIS. They teach that females are NOT permitted to serve in the same capacities of males. Talk about rebellion against SDA doctrine; it could not be more clear.
"Isn't that the way it works now?"
You tell us, David. Which SA votes bear the imprint of God: the women's ordination vote, the Dan Jackson vote, or both?
David Read wrote, "the GC would have to dissolve the division, put in place new division offers."
But this would mean the GC vote to place Dan Jackson as President was a screw up by God. How can the GC in session possibly err?
No one's salvation depends on their personal belief about what a woman can say or do in winning souls to Christ. You should know better.
Are you suggesting infallibility? I shy away from churches and people who claim such.
Kevin Paulson pointed out the deficient understanding of the third world delegates. You must think he is ignorant, too--and enjoying it and embarrassing himself.
Seriously, why do you make such demeaning comments?
The document may be intended policy, but I don't believe it is any part whatsoever of the Working Policy. The fact that it contradicts the Working Policy means that the GC and the document itself are out of compliance with the very Working Policy it seeks to enforce against other entities declared to be out of compliance.
I could be wrong, but I think the inane situation I've described, if correct, reflects the haste, narrow-mindedness, and true intent with which the document was put together. I don't believe for a minute that it reflects or will produce a spirit of unity. And I think Kevin's characterization of those who called for further review of the document was insulting. His remarks also demonstrate contempt for the theology faculty at Andrews, Loma Linda, and Walla Walla, who voted unanimously to recommend further study and deliberation of the document. The haste in gaining approval was motivated by a wrong spirit, which Kevin seeks to perpetuate.
Dan Jackson is a spirit-filled man. The SA vote for his place in office was no less spirit-led than the vote on WO. Anyone who insists that the SA vote on WO is the Voice of God had better not denigrate the man. (And, ironically, the Voice of God, aka the GC in session or annual council, seeks to be in a position next year to undo the Voice of God that appointed Dan Jackson to the position.)
A better analogy would be if the CEO of a large company, who never met the employee that works within a subsidiary company of another country, becomes outraged and fires the employee and the subsidiary's officers because the individuals had a personal conviction that it was acceptable to have clean-shaven faces when the main company's Working Policy supposedly required beards, even though the matter was supposedly delegated to the subsidiary to decide.
Oh...I should add that the GC Working Policy (now treated as equivalent to doctrine) at one time required that all pastors wear beards. Evidently former policies were not inspired by God, but now, by virtue of majority vote or by tradition resulting from selective editing, these policies can only be God's express will because, after all, the GC is the highest authority on earth. Surely it cannot err.
"As opposed to weakness, anarchy, and a persecution complex?"
Is this how you would characterize the prior 153 years of our church's organization? Really? Do you seriously think anarchy results in Africa, for example, when a woman speaks from the pulpit or baptizes a new member in a church in Takoma Park, Maryland? Hubris comes easy, Mr. Yowell.
And no, I'm not suggesting that everyone does what is right in their own eyes. As Ellen White made very clear, many ecclesiastical issues are best dealt with by local groups, not a central authority like the GC or a GC President (letter to W. C. and Mary White, Aug. 23, 1883; letter to W. W. Prescott and Wife, Sept. 1, 1896; “The Great Need of the Holy Spirit,” Review and Herald, July 16, 1895, p. 450; letter to Ministers of the Australian Conference, Nov. 11, 1894; General Conference Bulletin, 1901, p. 70).
Sure, attack the messenger when you can't address the message.
Tracing the history of policy formation in the SDA church is a simple exercise that does not require consultation with scripture or SOP. Your deflection tells us only that you are not serious about any kind of "serious analysis."
Legal battles against homosexual hiring and firing may become for SDAs what the mormons once faced against polygamy.
Church historian George Knight sets the record straight regarding the kingly power that the GC is attempting to exercise and its lack of authority over who can be ordained: http://spectrummagazine.org/ar...
Anyone who teaches that God is a misogynist is a misogynist. It's embarrassing to see so many misogynists gathered in one place.
"God’s warning is distinctly addressed to those in ministry who remain undecided in the great dilemma facing God’s church."
I would argue that the Great Dilemma has little or nothing to do with the so-called "rebellion" in regard to women's ordination and other matters, and has more to do with the lukewarm spirit that leads to credalism, legalism, judgmentalism, infighting, and waging war against other saints for the sake of "purification."
The bride should fix her attention on the groom, and not get distracted by petty arguments with the bridesmaids.
Power. Control. Persecution. These are more likely to be the shared qualities. We have quite the precedent to follow; are you not ecstatic about following the familiar footprints?
Kevin, I have one more question for you. According to Mitchell Tyner, the GC (now recognized by vote as the so-called highest authority on earth) already has a policy within the Working Policy for dealing with union conferences deemed out of harmony with women's ordination: B 95 05, B 95 10, and B 95 15. His commentary and excerpts from the policy are here:
In the existing policy, the responsibility lies with the DIVISION to address a union conference in rebellion. If after following strict procedures the DIVISION executive committee determines that a union conference (or other entity) is in apostasy or rebellion and needs to be dissolved, "it shall take an action to dissolve the organization, and shall recommend to the General Conference Executive Committee the expulsion of the unit from the world sisterhood of unions." Only following a recommendation made by the Division is the GC to act.
So why has Ted Wilson maneuvered a new policy that breaks with existing Working Policy to bypass the Division and give the power instead directly to the General Conference? (You and I both know the answer to this: Ted recognizes that the NAD views the union conferences as being in line with policy, so he must, ahem, break with policy to enforce policy. Hypocrisy.)
If, as you claim, the union conferences are in rebellion against the Working Policy by ordaining women, isn't the recent document also against the Working Policy, especially when the existing policy has not been rescinded? Is the rebellion of the GC against the GC's own policy any less egregious than the so-called rebellion of the union conferences against the GC's policy? Are you troubled at all by the inconsistency?
Kevin, I would like to hear your response to George Knight's review of the history of policy on women's ordination:
Among the points made, I find this statement particularly compelling: "But, as Gary Patterson has pointed out, 'the working policy was filled with male gender language until the 1980s when it was decided to change its wording to gender neutral. An editorial group was assigned the task, and made the changes. The fact that they changed all the rest of the document, but not the wording in the ordination section does not constitute a policy, unless it is listed in the criteria for ordination, which it notably is not.' The editorial decision, Patterson points out, was based on precedent or tradition since all ordained ministers up to that time had been male...If the Secretariat’s argument is viewed as conclusive, then we have editors developing binding policy for the world church rather than a vote at a General Conference session."
If we are going to elevate the Working Policy to the level of fundamental beliefs or doctrine, should we not go back to the original wording of the Working Policy and apply all policies only to men, while excluding women? Why the selectivity? Does this trouble you in the least?
What do the GC and the Vatican share in common? Both claim to possess the highest authority on earth. And they both demand the prerogative to wield their power. We are looking more and more like Rome.
Not all of us, however, are willing to bow down to the GC or to Rome. Like Martin Luther, many of us will remain true to our conscience, not the opinions or threats of men. (Ironically, many of us have more respect for the opinion of a woman.) You can call us what you wish, Mr. Paulson, but like Daniel we will stand upright--your fiery language not withstanding.
Insects lack the brain structures and emotions present in vertebrate animals. Snakes are vertebrates that writhe in pain just as you would if your head was crushed or severed, except that being ectothermic with reduced oxygen demands, they sense the pain substantially longer. How can you inflict such cruelty without feeling any remorse?
God cursed snakes, yes. But God also cursed the ground. God even cursed women in childbirth. Again, you're trying to rationalize the ultimate disrespect toward God's creation. Treat it better.
Pet dogs kill far more humans each year in the U.S. than snakes (roughly 30 to 5). Deer collisions with vehicles kill far more humans each year (roughly 200) than snakes. Why aren't you killing dogs and deer with the same justification?You're only using snakebites as a convenient pretext to do what you take much pleasure in: killing those creatures that YOU have decided have no place in God's creation. Yet it was God who declared, after creating them, "it is good."Be honest--you like killing animals. It excites you. But you should give some thought to whether it disgusts God.
Seriously, you guys think it's okay to kill animals?
"Few realize as they should the sinfulness of abusing animals or leaving them to suffer from neglect. He who created man made the lower animals also, and “His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:9. The animals were created to serve man, but he has no right to cause them pain by harsh treatment or cruel exaction." - Ellen White, PP 443
Have a little charity, guys. Poisonous, venomous, or otherwise, these are God's creatures and we all need to treat God's creation with respect, not disdain.
George, I do understand where you are coming from. I took on three issues at EducateTruth that greatly upset its supporters.
First, let me be clear that some of the faculty at LSU created real problems (most were eventually released). I totally agreed with the need to address the issue, though I thought it was a big mistake to do so in the open arena of the internet and local newspapers. We made ourselves look awful in the process. Additional individuals at LSU and at other SDA institutions were vilified publicly and unnecessarily, and I strongly objected to that. LSU as an institution was also smeared beyond what was appropriate. I chose to defend those I believed were treated unjustly while acknowledging many times my conviction that there was, indeed, some fire beneath the smoke.
Second, I took a strong stance against the heterodox view promoted by EducateTruth that the final authority should be human intellect as opposed to God's word. I was stunned by the extent to which Sean Pitman and his supporters pushed this agenda, and I was hated for my opposition to it. I'd guess that as much as 25-50% of the dialogue at the website was based on this one issue. I maintain a steadfast conviction that it's okay to accept the Biblical interpretation of origins even if there is scientific evidence that appears to contradict it.
Third, I objected to the "almost anything goes" approach regarding origins apologetics. Cherry-picking the best evidence and then claiming that the evidence overwhelmingly supports our position can set up our young people to falter when they are confronted by some of the challenges that get glossed over. I think we need to be open and honest about the evidence--but those who take these position are typically castigated and declared "unsafe." Some evidence does, indeed, strengthen our position--particularly some of the biological evidence. However, there are real challenges that exist, especially regarding the geological evidence. More importantly, I think we need to be humble and concede that very few if any of us are sufficiently trained to truly understand the enormous volume of evidence--even in one small area of inquiry. I think we need to build our faith on a personal relationship with Jesus, and not on the assurances of those who declare themselves to be experts on this huge volume of evidence. My position is that we can trust the testimony of Moses and what God wrote with His finger in stone more so than the insistence by Sean Pitman and others that we must place our confidence in the (cherry-picked) physical evidence instead.
Which institution are you talking about? I've taught at a handful of public and private colleges and universities, including several SDA ones, but I haven't drawn a check from the Church now in several decades. And I'm a staunch defender of employees respecting the beliefs of their employers. Are you thinking of some other institution, maybe the GRI? A local conference? The GC? I'd say you overestimate my influence and misunderstand my motives.
Evolution? Who said anything here about evolution? Trust me, I am in no position to introduce evolution--if what you mean is abiotic origins, common ancestry of all life forms, and millions of years of change--into the Church. But fight on if you wish. I was referring instead to issues like original sin and women's ordination, neither of which is formalized as a doctrinal position in our church, and both of which were mentioned in this thread. Differences of interpretation that exist among sincere theologians, pastors, and laypeople are not worthy of all-out war, character assassination, and condemnation.
I suggest greater adherence to inspiration on this matter:
"And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth..." - 2 Tim 2:24-25.
"Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their opinions and ideas are crossed." - EG White
There is a reason we are given this advice. Endless arguments, particularly over minutiae, are damaging to God's cause, Church growth notwithstanding. To put it bluntly, Kevin, many contributors here act in complete indifference to the inspired advice, including you. Advindicate, Fulcrum7, and other websites exist largely to promote the quarrelsome atmosphere we are instructed to avoid. I regret that this atmosphere exists at Spectrum, but they have made a commendable effort to reign the damaging cross-talk.
Endless arguments that do not change minds make our Church look extremely uninviting. Especially when those who disagree are denounced as rebels who disregard Scriptural evidence. Charity has declined substantially in the internet age.
Believe as you wish, Jeremy. I have not spoken personally with the likes of William Johnson, former Adventist Review editor, or others, so I am not about to denounce them for speaking about Jesus at a conference about Jesus on the basis of what others have claimed--others who I'm inclined to question their knowledge of an individual's personal theology and motivation. Surely Matthew 18 demands better of us. As an aside, I have appreciated your defense of women's ordination.
And why would you object to elevating Jesus above Adventism? Since when do our views on death, hell, not eating pork, and the investigative judgment transcend our message about Jesus? Fortunately, the One Project will continue in spite of its detractors. No condemnations here will stop it.
Consider the sources. Some would argue that none of the SDA universities are now SDA (note that one speaker is from Southern, considered by some to be the last vestige of Adventism in academia). Some would argue that the NAD is no longer SDA. I would counter that those who are accusers of the brethren are nothing less than that.
The One Project is not deluded. The speakers are sincere followers of Jesus.
There are individuals here, it seems, who wish to maintain and even promote division in the Church, in contradiction to the express command of Jesus: "A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34,35)
Facebook: how many friendships and family relationships have been damaged by posting political commentary? It has to be in the millions within the U.S. alone. Often the posts are highly unChristlike and even factually incorrect. I humbly suggest we all stop the practice. Surely God would not condone it.
I'd say this is excellent advice from Sister White. Vote? Yes. Stir things up with excess attention? No.
So the phrase "God hates the sin but love the sinner" is total nonsense? God literally hates sinners like Esau? He hates me because I'm a sinner? Does He love you, Bill, or are you hated as a sinner, too? And He alternately hates and loves one who is forgiven of sin and then repents, and then sins and repents, and sins and repents? I think the premise of your statement, "if God's love is unconditional, then Christ died in vain," is flawed. I'll let you answer as you wish, but I'm not going to continue this discussion. I don't think this is a point worth fighting over.
Nice, very positive article. Keep these coming!
If God's love is "unconditional" then, then there is no need to repent."
Love and forgiveness are two very different things. Regardless, the conclusions of sincere and well-studied Christians fall on both sides of this issue. Neither Scripture nor Ellen White use the exact phrase. It's best to let it be and not get hung up on it by endless arguing.
Unfortunately, Rohan, civility takes back seat here to certain other approaches. BTW, I meant to respond to another post of yours here at this thread. I hope you find it.
I was trying to be positive there and gracious, even though I was rudely treated because my thoughts were interpreted by some as being too liberal (e.g., pointing out that intersex conditions with gender ambiguity actually do exist--which was treated as a big fat "deception"). I'm unable to post now because this morning I pointed out that one of the moderators had twice quoted OrdinationTruth.org and also rock musician Bob Dylan. I didn't indicate that the quotes lacked attribution (kind'a odd to use as one's own!), but the implication was there, I guess. I also remarked that "Bob Dylan was a fount of scriptural truth!" Perhaps that's what really upset the moderator, who probably has an affinity for the singer. I do feel a little badly.
Here's the Dylan quote at the news story on Hollywood "SDA" Appoints First Transgender Elder: "Every man's conscience is vile and depraved. You cannot depend on it to be your guide, when it's you who must keep it satisfied." Now isn't that odd? I pointed out the contrast between this statement and that of Paul: "My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day." I added that Paul followed his conscience rather than the dictates of men, which is why those who in good conscience object to the misogyny of male headship are honored for doing the same. Maybe the latter points were more upsetting; I don't know. The moderator was insistent that those who reject "gender-specific role differentiation" deny the Creator. I objected to that as the opinion of men (he actually quoted OrdinationTruth.com).
I'm appreciating the recent trend toward more positive and uplifting stories here at Advindicate. I think we all should adhere to Jesus' words to His followers when divisiveness erupts: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35) Somehow these beautiful words from Jesus get trampled much too often; love and inclusiveness are seen as "liberal" and therefore evil. I definitely need to be more mindful of Christ's words in my own interactions with others.
Academic and intellectual? Hint for those who visit Fulcrum7: when one of the founders quotes others as his own words, including spiritual truths from OrdinationTruth.com and the rock musician Bob Dylan (yes!), it's best to ignore and not point it out. [sorry...I meant to post under Rohan's comment]
Nice. Very uplifting story.
Online divisive Adventism is simply doing what it is intended to do: divide Adventism further and further.
At the very point at which Jesus' followers were bickering amongst themselves and fighting (John 13), Jesus made abundantly clear what he desired of his followers: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." So long as we have Adventists critical of Adventists, particularly in the public arena, we will never be known for our love. I challenge both Advindicate and Fulcrum7 to change their dialogue to reflect Jesus' command so that the world will know better that we are His disciples.
Many of us understand that God's creation order included gender-specific role differentiation...Resistance to this order, or our setting it aside, would be a rejection of our Creator just as rejection of His created order with reference to the week and the Sabbath would be a rejection.
So now a shift from gender ambiguity as a matter of reality to gender role differentiation. I hope you're not suggesting that the 41% of delegates in San Antonio who voted to allow women's ordination have rejected Jesus and the Sabbath. Those delegates and the millions of SDAs they represent.
To share an enlightened quote: "People of honest heart, deep conviction and sincere and careful study of the Bible fall on both sides of this issue. In light of such, Paul’s words in writing to the Romans who were facing such issues of conscience ought to hold sway: “Everyone should be fully convinced in their own mind” (14:5, TNIV). In matters of liberty, the conscience of the believer must be respected. The concept of ordination as it is currently practiced is much more a development of Christian history than it is a biblical issue. As such, it has never been a central tenet of Christian faith or of Adventist belief. It is not referenced in the creeds of early Christianity. It is not referred to in the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the SDA Church, nor in the church’s 13 baptismal vows. In fact, it is never even mentioned in the Bible! As such, it ought to be relegated to the territory of conscience."Let's not demean those whose consciences reject male headship by insinuating they have rejected Jesus and the Sabbath.
Yes, truth can be inconvenient to some.
I see no contradiction whatsoever between textbook portrayals of intersex conditions resulting in gender ambuiguity and Christ's own words: "at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female.'" None whatsoever. Much has changed since "at the beginning"--which is precisely why Jesus visited our planet in a degraded human body. It remains unclear to me how you might see a contradiction. Nowhere in Scripture are we told that every single human born on this planet has been either male or female, from the very first generation to the last. Why would degenerative changes to our reproductive systems be any different than the sin-related changes to our proclivities to sin (in our brains, by the way); our longevity; our body height (Ellen White stated our ancestors were much larger); our skin color (perhaps Adam and Eve were racial mosaics?); and our genes for cancer, hemophilia, and other deleterious physical conditions? Why is it that SO MUCH about the human condition can change, but not gender?
Is your understanding of truth regarding sexual relations and women's ordination so frail that it all crumbles if the capacity for disorders (whether genetic, epigenetic, or developmental) truly have accumulated in our DNA to the point where gender is no longer precisely binary in a small percentage (2% or less, or 148 million) of the world's population? This has nothing to do with magisteria or deception. It has everything to do with how we choose to resolve the conflict between our personal interpretations of Scripture and what we learn from nature by using our God-given senses and brains. I'm suggesting that by denying the possibility of gender ambiguity, you're imposing on Scripture something that absolutely isn't there. Please help me understand you better, my friend. And thank you for taking the time to dialogue about this apparently controversial issue.
Can you elaborate on the distinction, please? What does it mean to "write it in their hearts?" Do you interpret this to be literal writing in the pericardium, myocardium, or endocardium?
Mea culpa. I was thinking of someone else when I mentioned name-calling. I should have stuck just with your insults (but you're not alone):
"Your ability to understand simple conversations is severely limited.""There is an overall understanding of God's word, it's something you seem to lack.""Your attitude is getting very immature.""You just post them to make yourself look intellectual.""You think too much of yourself.""You show contempt for the Bible.""You show contempt for God.""You don't understand the Bible, you have contempt for it.""You need to go study God's word, and pray for knowledge."
One final question: Do disorders of sex development resulting in gender ambiguity exist? You have stated several times that there is only male and female. Why don't you go ahead and clear this up for the record.
There's actually a well-conducted study of SDA views on homosexuality and their participation in church life (Grady, 2013, Adventist Today). The numbers offer some perspectives that should be insightful to all. The study was based on 441 completed surveys from members of 38 churches scattered across the U.S., and reflected reasonably well the denomination's demography in terms of age, ethnicity (though whites a bit overrepresented), gender, and sexual orientation. Respondents identified themselves as conservative or very conservative (31%), moderate (44%), or liberal (25%). Although unmeasured response bias always exists in surveys, comparisons from question to question offer very meaningful comparisons. I'm condensing the actual questions asked about homosexuals and homosexuality:
Results from factors beyond voluntary control: 45% agreedCan be changed to heterosexuals: 55% agreedWould welcome to my church: 94% agreedInsist couple must separate before baptism: 48% agreedAllowed to be members in good standing: 53% agreedAllowed to serve as SS leaders or teachers: 29% agreedAllowed to share musical talents in churches: 80% agreedSDAs should politically oppose legal gay marriage: 56% agreedSame rights to equal employment and housing: 77% agreedBible condemns homosexuality as sin: 86% agreed
Demographic variables statistically associated with greater tolerance toward homosexuals (in order of strength): - liberal respondents - those more acquainted with gay men - younger respondents - white respondents - women - those who live in the northeast
A few words for the wise: there are some clues here for those who wish to target a message toward a particular demographic of the church's membership.
I think you're right about what the Bible has to say, but I'm a bit skeptical that bestiality will grow in acceptance in the western world. I see the opposite happening--as the public is confronted with it more and more, laws are increasingly being enacted to stop it.
"Bestiality is also on the rise in Scandanavia, Australia and Europe."
The article describes bestiality in Denmark. In April 2015, Denmark outlawed the practice. Moves are being made in Australia to do the same. If anything, the increase in publicized stories is creating a negative reaction that is shutting down the practice. Most laws of this nature are reactionary.
Zoonoses are much more than a researcher's bonanza; they one day will catch up with us, resulting in another pandemic of immense proportions. We are long overdue. They already kill us by the millions each year. An estimated 60% of human infectious disease results from zoonoses. I'm not sure why you made that statement.
Meat-eating is indeed cruel and environmentally very unfriendly. I learned just the other day that Loma Linda researchers--the very same individuals doing the renown Adventist Health Study--are making some awesome contributions regarding this (though many SDAs now think "environmentalism" joins "evolution" as another evil e-word).
Despite the power of sexual lust, vanishingly few cultures have accomodated zoophilia; many, perhaps most, have made both the act and pornographic images illegal. If anything, the practice in the U.S. is on the wane since fewer people today live on farms. At least 37 states have now outlawed the practice, most having done so only recently.
It concerns masturbation. It comes from Ellen Whites "A Solemn Appeal." There are more quotes from this source here: http://tinyurl.com/jsgamuo along with further discussion.
Here is a nice summary of Ellen White's views on at least the voting aspect of politics: http://tinyurl.com/zyw4efy
I wasn't referring to La Sierra when I wrote of goings on behind the scenes.
Not overlooked. I just thought that if we want to verify Ms. White's assertions (which I think we should just admit are pretty clearly wrong for this particular health issue), and the developmental pathways you proposed, let's see what happens in the adolescents and young adults.
Actually, I have no idea whether a larger study would support or refute the Saudi study. I'm certainly open-minded. I think a study of prepubescent adolescents through young adults would probably be more informative. I also think that we should examples of EXTREMES in anything to create health issues. I'm sure we both agree that masturbating up to 20 times a day is beyond extreme.
Let's also bear in mind that excessive masturbation and even spontaneous orgasms can result from neuroendrocine and psychosomatic disorders, such as bipolar manic phase, impingement of the pudendal nerve, or spinal cord injury. Unfortunately, researchers examining adolescent masturbation have not teamed up with other researchers capable of making such diagnoses.
Three simple points:
1 - Yes, the study was not particularly well written, which weakens confidence in the findings. You're right: it is not clear that antiepileptic drugs were still being given at the time of the experiment, but the facts that they used the phrase "maintenance dose," mentioned administration of the drugs again in the Results section, and failed to mention their cessation suggests to me that they were administered close to or at the time of the test. If the drugs were discontinued, the question remains as to when the blood samples were drawn, as antiepileptic drugs can take considerable time to clear from the system (I know from experience with a family member).
2 - If estradiol was overestimated by the kits, then it was overestimated for both groups. I'm doubtful normal levels are available for comparison, and even if so, they should be obtained in the same clinic using a similar demographic group.
3 - Again, we are left largely with speculation as to what could transpire if the study's conclusion of reduced estradiol at a very early age was correct. I would have been more convinced, of course, if the report described imbecility, dwarfed forms, crippled limbs, misshapen heads, and deformity.
"I find it bizarre that you feel compelled to misrepresent the 2004 Leitzmann study as finding a correlation. Letizmann's team concluded that: 'Ejaculation frequency was not statistically significantly associated with risk of advanced prostate cancer.'" - I didn't misrepresent anything. The researchers assessed the factors possibly associated with three outcomes: organ-confined prostate cancer, advanced cancer, and total prostate cancer. They found that high rates of ejaculation DECREASED the rate of total prostate cancer and organ-confined prostate cancer, but not advanced prostate cancer.
You went on, Mr. Read, to note in bold font the main conclusion of the study: Conclusions: Our results suggest that ejaculation frequency is not related to increased risk of prostate cancer. Read those words again very carefully: "ejaculation frequency is not related to INCREASED risk of prostate cancer." Some had suspected that sexual activity might INCREASE prostate cancer risk through various means, and this was justification, in part, for conducting the study. Results suggested the exact opposite.
"There is actually quite a bit of research suggesting that intercourse has health benefits that masturbation does not." - Sounds cool. Please elaborate! There are certainly risks to intercourse including disease transmission, pregnancy, rejection by one's partner, and violence. Sadly, women incur these risks disproportionately. I'm curious: what are the benefits that have been measured? I'm not doubting. I'd just like to know.
"The medical profession sees nothing wrong with many things that the biblical worldview has a real problem with, including homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexualism, gender-bending, transvestitism, and pornography." - Your statement is completely wrong. Much has been studied about these topics. If you don't believe researchers have examined the dangers of pornography, for example, here's a simple Google Scholar search of papers subsequent to 2012 (i.e., very recent!): http://tinyurl.com/gs7es5j. Check for yourself since you don't believe much I have to share. These topics have received considerable attention in spite of the fact that a large segment of our society has become "liberal" and tolerant of these issues.
"So why should anyone wonder, or care, that doctors don't think there is anything wrong with masturbation? Because there is no obvious reason to be concerned about physical issues - except for those who indulge it to an extreme extent, perhaps (i.e., multiple times per day). There are llikely more than a billion individuals on this planet that masturbate on a regular basis. If there was an obvious medical issue, it would have been investigated decades ago. Someone would have made themself a HUGE career move by finding a problem.
I will repost here some commentary from another Fulcrum7 article by Dr. Iskander: "A Response to Transsexualism And Gender Identity." You can read more accompanying comments there, including some on the myth of zinc deficiency associated with masturbation. Below, I'll summarize the objective studies published on ejaculation frequency, which includes masturbation. Those willing to learn what science has to say might appreciate this, though I realize others have little confidence in science (but see my comments below on the LLU Adventist Health Study).
Leitzmann et al. 2004, Journal of the American Medical Association 291:1578-1586http://tinyurl.com/chj522u"However, high ejaculation frequency was related to decreased risk of total prostate cancer. The multivariate relative risks for men reporting 21 or more ejaculations per month compared with men reporting 4 to 7 ejaculations per month at ages 20 to 29 years were... averaged across a lifetime, 0.67." - This translates to a one-third reduction in risk of prostate cancer by ejaculating 21 or more times per month compared to just 4-7 ejaculations per month (especially when 20-30 years old). The study was based on data obtained from 29,342 men from the United States.
Giles et al. 2003, BJU International 92:211-216.http://tinyurl.com/3caxjr7"There was no association with the number of female sexual partners or children, but a positive association with being married...Men who averaged five or more ejaculations weekly in their 20s had an odds ratio of 0.66 compared with those who ejaculated less often." - This study of 2,338 Australian men also translates to a one-third reduction in risk of prostate cancer by ejaculating 20 or more times monthly compared to less than 8 times monthly (especially when 20-30 years old).
These studies made no distinction between masturbation and intercourse. Think about it: from the perspective of the prostate gland, an ejaculation is an ejaculation. The mechanism proposed for protection from prostate cancer is that emptying the gland regularly flushes the accumulation of toxins. Importantly, with the large sample sizes available (nearly 30,000 for the 2004 paper!), these studies were able to control for demographic and lifestyle factors, similar to what Loma Linda researchers do with the widely acclaimed SDA Health Study. As a church, we should be very proud of what the Adventist Health Study has shown regarding both our lifestyle and the source for much of what we preach: Ellen White. (Again, I am praising our profoundly insightful prophetess.) The simple reality with the prostate gland: use it or lose it. So if one is not married? You can take matters into your own hands or refrain and buy life insurance.
[I sincerely apologize for posting too many comments initially, including the quotes from Ellen White below. The moderators have done the right thing.]
Here you will find a very detailed and lengthy treatise that Ellen White wrote regarding masturbation in "A Solemn Appeal." You can view the full document at http://sopvindicated.org/Sopvi.... Here are some interesting quotes:
"Numerous complaints of headache, catarrh, dizziness, nervousness, pain in the shoulders and side, loss of appetite, pain in the back and limbs, wakeful, feverish nights, of tired feelings in the morning, and great exhaustion after exercising?"
"Everywhere we look, we see imbecility, dwarfed forms, crippled limbs, misshapen heads, and deformity of every description."
"Children who practice self-indulgence previous to puberty, or the period of merging into manhood or womanhood, must pay the penalty of nature's violated laws at that critical period. Many sink into an early grave, while others have sufficient force of constitution to pass this ordeal. If the practice is continued from the age of fifteen and upward, nature will protest against the abuse she has suffered, and continues to suffer, and will make them pay the penalty for the transgression of her laws, especially from the ages of thirty to forty-five, by numerous pains in the system, and various diseases, such as affection of the liver and lungs, neuralgia, rheumatism, affection of the spine, diseased kidneys, and cancerous humors. Some of nature's fine machinery gives way, leaving a heavier task for the remaining to perform, which disorders nature's fine arrangement, and there is often a sudden breaking down of the constitution; and death is the result."
"Those who have been in the practice of secret indulgence until they have prostrated their physical and mental strength, may never fully recover from the result of the violation of nature's laws."
"Such are just as surely self-murderers as though they pointed a pistol to their own breast, and destroyed their life instantly."
"Females possess less vital force than the other sex, and are deprived very much of the bracing, invigorating air, by their in-door life. The result of self-abuse in them is seen in various diseases, such as catarrh [excessive mucous in throat or nose], dropsy [edema (swelling)], headache, loss of memory and sight, great weakness in the back and loins, affections of the spine, and frequently, inward decay of the head. Cancerous humor, which would lie dormant in the system their lifetime, is inflamed, and commences its eating, destructive work. The mind is often utterly ruined, and insanity supervenes."
Science categorically rejects these comments. I'm simply stating this as fact. I'll post a wee bit of science on the topic in a follow-up message (if permitted to do so).
The discordance between Ellen White and science on this one issue does not in any way mean that Ellen White was not inspired. I adamantly believe she was. However, her thinking on this matter was no doubt influenced heavily by contemporary thought, including the well known claims of Sylvester Graham's "Lecture to Young Men," published in 1834. What this discrepancy should remind us is that prophets were human, and were allowed to exercise free will, including being wrong about some things. Let's not forget the sharp disagreement Paul and Peter had (Galations 2:11-21), in which one was clearly wrong. We have erred by putting Ellen White on a pedestal; she would turn over in her grave today if she knew that many among us have downright canonized every single word she wrote or uttered. We need to be honest and recognize that she wasn't just a prophet; she was also a human being with all the baggage that accompanies this fallen condition.
I realize I will be viewed as anti-SDA and anti-Ellen White for posting her comments (some would like to see them buried) and for offering my interpretation of them (even though I am defending her). It saddens me to think that truth is so fragile to some that it can't be discussed without attacking the motives and character of those willing to confront challenges to our understanding. I probably won't be around here much longer.
COMMENT #2 BY PK
CONCERNS ABOUT THE AUTHOR'S STORY
"Ellen White on Masturbation: New Scientific Verification." - The title of the article is factually incorrect. There never has been scientific verification of Ellen White's views on masturbation. None.
"But the association of masturbation with significantly lowered estradiol suggests that causation flows in the other direction: instead of hormones causing masturbation, masturbation causes changes in hormone levels." - No, no, no. An association was found, but correlation does not imply causation. An experiment is necessary to identify causation. The author of this story agreed with the original paper in that additional research is needed due to the very small sample size, so I'll give credit for that.
"Gratification disorder was, and still is, frequently misdiagnosed as epilepsy." - I'm not sure "frequently" is used properly here, but it can, indeed, happen; I've read the papers on this myself.
"Assuming that pre-pubescent masturbation lowers estradiol levels, the deleterious effects of such masturbation will not manifest until puberty. But at puberty, “while merging into manhood and womanhood,” the lowered levels of estradiol will hamper physical maturation and development of secondary sex characteristics. Insufficient estradiol is connected to a number of neurological and physical problems, including unexplained fatigue, difficulty sleeping, depression and severe mood swings." - Maybe, but a LOT of speculation here regarding how "lowered" the levels might be upon reaching puberty and whether they are sufficient to hamper anything at all, including the conditions described.
"Compulsive adult male masturbators are reporting nervousness, depression, anxiety, social phobia, and social anxiety, symptoms that indicate serious, negative changes in brain chemistry." - Where is the evidence for this? And is masturbation the cause of these issues, a result of them, or completely incidental? The author presumes that non-masturbators do not show these symptoms--but it's hard to believe that a psychologist's office is visited only by those who have nothing going on other than masturbating.
Let's bear in mind that excessive masturbation and even spontaneous orgasms can result from neuroendrocine and psychosomatic disorders, such as bipolar manic phase, impingement of the pudendal nerve, or spinal cord injury. Unfortunately, researchers examining adolescent masturbation have not teamed up with individuals capable of making such diagnoses. Just a possibility.
Anything taken to excess can be unhealthy; obviously, masturbating 2-20 times per day (as reported in the study) is extreme. Still, nothing in this study--or any science for that matter--comes remotely close to supporting Ellen White's claims that blindness, dementia, and cancer--to name but a few conditions specified--can be caused by masturbation.
Moderator Comment: Jeff, we're not going to allow you to hijack and machine-gun spam a comment thread by posting multiple, very lengthy comments one after the other, with no interaction from other readers. That's why we have deleted your last three posts. We're trying to be tolerant of opposing views, but ultimately this is our blog, not yours.
COMMENT #1 BY PK
Dr. Iskander has done a genuinely admirable job of taking evidence from an interesting study and weaving it into a bigger "what if" picture based on her understanding of hormone deficiency. There are numerous problems with this story, however, some of which I'll highlight in this comment and the one that follows. There is nothing wrong with this attempt to bolster confidence in Ellen White (it's well thought out and commendable, really), but I personally believe that it fails to do so.
THREE CONCERNS ABOUT THE PUBLISHED STUDY ITSELF
First, antiepileptic drugs were administered to 5 of the children when the blood samples were drawn. This is a potentially confounding variable; 5 of the 13 masturbating children were given these drugs, whereas none of the 13 children in the control group were given them. The authors did not control for this in their statistical analysis. For all we know, these drugs, rather than the masturbation, may have been responsible for the reduction in estradiol.
Second, the study suffers from a high experimentwise error rate. The criterion for significance was the standard alpha = 0.05. With this, we have a 5% chance of making an error in stating something was significant when it was not. The authors went on a fishing expedition and measured 7 variables. The more variables one measures, the more likely at least one measure will differ significantly between the groups, and sure enough, in this study one measure did--at the P = 0.03 level. The alpha level should have been lowered, such as with a Bonferroni adjustment to 0.05 / 7 = 0.007. Some, however, argue the need to avoid such adjustments, particularly when the analysis is exploratory rather than confirmatory.
Third, a published response (http://tinyurl.com/zntm5xk) to the research article claimed that the method used to measure serum estradiol (by a microparticle enzyme immunoassay) was unreliable due to lack of sensitivity and specificity, which further casts down on the only significant finding of the study.
The article appeared in an obscure journal (Annals of Saudi Medicine) for a reason.
"These are the words of deceiver, friends."
Where's the deception? That textbooks describe human (and animal) conditions of gender ambiguity and even reversal? [This is fact, like it or not.] Or that all of those descriptions are lies and the photos are all fake? [This would be an incredible charge on your part.]
Could you please state clearly whether disorders of sex development exist in humans that result in gender ambiguity. For the record.
You're making my point, Mr. Wagoner. Or are you going to tell me now that this phrase can only be literal and it is therefore reprehensible for me to nuance "heart" into "brain?"
"This is pure proof that the body parts makes up the gender."
I fail to understand the name calling and belittling that goes on here by those who call us to a higher standard. For the most part, I have tried not to respond in kind. At this point, it's better that I not respond at all.
Make up your mind. Is gender binary--male or female--which you have claimed repeatedly must be the case using Scripture, or is there, in fact, gender ambiguity. You stated, "As far as 'open a textbook on medical anatomy,' the Bible says male or female, if you have a problem with that, take it up with God."
I really don't appreciate your endless name-calling and insults. Your tactics say more about your character and beliefs than mine. There is no further point to this discussion, so I am finished.
Try reading Galatians 2.
There is absolutely nothing in medical anatomy textbooks that contradicts Scripture to my knowledge. Before meeting you, Gerry Wagoner, and Dr. Iskander here at Fulcrum7, I've never before had a discussion with someone who denies that disorders of sex development actually occur, resulting in gender ambiguity. If I may ask, did you ever take junior high or high school biology? I learned this stuff in SDA schools in 7th grade science, again in high school biology, and in several college courses. I've taught it to thousands of students in SDA and public universities--and not one individual has even questioned the reality of intersex. I do find this outright denial to be an absolutely amazing and downright bizarre revelation. Sorry to be so forthright. I do admire your tenacity in denying what has been recognized in science and medicine for centuries. Stunning!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mr. Wagoner. I expected no less from you.
The distinction between the two passages has to do with whether the woman is pledged or engaged, not whether she screams. For the distinction between screaming and not screaming, I suggest you back up a few more verses. You're free to see things otherwise; I'm certainly not a theologian and I could be wrong. And yes, you are indeed condescending and judgmental. I see no need to converse further as well.
Please read closely what the author has to say in the preface to The Clear Word. It is a personal paraphrase of the Bible that he put together solely for devotional purposes. I think he did a lovely job myself. The author actually shared with me in person his disappointment that anyone would treat his paraphrase as a translation.
What we keep presenting to you, and you just can't seem to understand, is that just because someone is prone to a particular sin, whether by birth or the environment of his/her upbringing, there is still no excuse to give in to that sin.
I totally agree, and wrote as much. The disagreement is whether God judges us based on the brain's gender instead of the gender between our legs. I'm open to the possibility of the former, to which you are hostile and insist it can be only the latter.
You believe [peophelia] is a sin, but why?
I expanded on this somewhere at this blog, but can do so again. God judges us by our brains, taking into consideration our experience and understanding--just as we do so with contemporary justice. This is why some Sabbath-breakers, for example, will be in heaven, and why we often don't lock up children and mentally incapacitated individuals who commit crimes.
The one universal moral that is independent of religion, yet firmly encapsulated by the 10 commandments, is do no harm to others. Pedophilia violates this because of the power differential between the adult having his/her way with a child, whereas two consulting adults are doing no harm by engaging in same-sex sex. Pedophilia is sin; homosexual certainly can be (obviously for a heterosexual who willfully engages it), but may not be if their brains are hard-wired that way.
We are left to conclude that David Read is again making the tired argument that if one is open to the possibility that God might judge a homosexual or transsexual differently than we have been led to believe, then they gleefully excuse all sin. And then I'm told that I attack the Bible by pointing to a verse that I think is "silly." I've responded to that beneath Ben Trujillo's response.
I suggest that rather than attacking my character, which this website declares it does not allow, it would be more profitable to focus on the issues instead. I know this is difficult for apologists because they have only 8 verses to support their view that merely make a statement and offer no further explanation. The apologists can't argue from the culture at the time, and they can't bring to their defense any science. They are left with only a naked interpretation based on face value, and nothing more. I don't understand why we are even debating this. Just say, "the Bible says..." and be done with it. If we are to never use other sources to interpret Scripture, that's your prerogative.
I don't think so at all. Appreciation for animals is on the increase in our culture, and beastiality would be seen by many as animal cruelty. Fear of emerging zoonoses would also stem any sympathy for it. There are more than enough outlets for those who are looking for something "different."
There are multiple problems with your zinc depletion hypothesis:
1 - Boys who masturbate before puberty don't produce ejaculate and therefore don't deplete their zinc by this means. They may not ejaculate until a year or two after puberty.
2 - Girls who masturbate don't produce zinc-rich ejaculate at all.
3 - More to the point, zinc deficiency is very real, but it's a nutritional issue, NOT a sex issue. The notion that ejaculation depletes zinc is absurd; it's a widespread myth. In a published study that examined ejaculate volume and zinc content at five levels of zinc consumption (from 1.4 to 10.4 mg/d), for example, the authors reported zinc loss per ejaculate averaging 0.00025-0.00042 mg, depending on dietary intake. [Recommended intake is 11 mg, and normal absorption from diet is in the range of 25-35%, or 2.75-3.85 mg.] They concluded "up to 9% of daily zinc intake can be lost via ejaculated semen when zinc intake is low (1.4 mg/d)" [about 1/8 of the recommended daily intake] and "the percent zinc lost via semen becomes negligible at normal dietary zinc intakes." Moreover, "zinc-conservation mechanisms are activated in the male reproductive tract during states of zinc deficiency," i.e., "the total amount of zinc per ejaculum declined significantly during depletion." The samples were measured from volunteers who ejaculated at a frequency of 1 ejaculation/3 days; ejaculation volume and zinc content will decline with increased frequency. - Hunt et al., 1992, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 56:148-157. (Bear in mind the body has compensatory mechanisms to deal with variations in zinc intake and loss; endogenous intestinal losses, for example, can vary from 0.5 mg/day to more than 3 mg/day.)
4 - Did EGW say that masturbation brings on these ills, or that masturbating a lot brings them on? Certainly, an excess of anything (including water) can be injurious to the body. If someone is going to engage this activity, for example, 5 or more times a day (some do), I would expect two things: (1) a neurological or endocrine (psychosomatic) problem and (2) direct and/or indirect detrimental health issues. I think the defense of masturbation being the cause of blindness, dementia, and cancer is a lost cause apart from, potentially, very, very extreme examples (for which other health issues might actually be responsible), in which case blindness is still exceedingly unlikely. None of this means Ellen White was not inspired (I adamantly believe she was). What is means is that she was human and was allowed to exercise free will, including being wrong about some things.
We need to cautious about concluding anything from a handful of (often extreme) cases and inane speculation. There actually ARE objective studies published on ejaculation frequency, which includes masturbation.
These studies made no distinction between masturbation and intercourse. Think about it: from the perspective of the prostate gland, an ejaculation is an ejaculation. The mechanism proposed for protection from prostate cancer is that emptying the gland regularly flushes the accumulation of toxins. Importantly, with the large sample sizes available (nearly 30,000 for the 2004 paper!), these studies were able to control for demographic and lifestyle factors, similar to what Loma Linda researchers do with the widely acclaimed SDA Health Study. The simple reality with the prostate gland: use it or lose it. So if one is not married? You can take matters into your own hands or refrain and buy life insurance.
Now why didn't these researchers think to test for associations with blindness and dementia? Ellen White claimed that masturbation causes cancer, but so far the only evidence contradicts her claim--a claim that just happened to be a commonly held assertion at her time. Blindness and dementia? They obviously don't happen. We are left with the simple question: Was every single written and spoken word from Ellen White inspired? Was she permitted to share uninspired opinions or did God impose 100% accuracy upon her every thought, expression, and action? Did she herself claim to be faultless, or is this an insistence that comes from us?
I think we should welcome informed discussion, but somehow I don't think Dr. Iskander or the board members of Fulcrum7 will appreciate what science has to tells us about these matters. But again, these researchers are using the same methodology as those running the Adventist Health Study, which has recently secured another multi-million-dollar grant because of its widely appreciated success.
Mucho gracias! I'm making the change.
Wait a minute--that's a direct quote from Ellen White and should be correct as is. I don't make this stuff up.
I was indeed sarcastic, and apologize for that. I do agree that we have the creation all around us, and from it we still see--if but dimly--God's remarkable handiwork. I thank God everyday for it.
"The Adventist Church has its doctrines and beliefs, one of which is that God specially created the world in six literal days and rested on the seventh day, as the Scriptures say. Because of sin and rebellion, that beautiful world was later destroyed in a worldwide flood, which left traces in the crust of the earth." - I personally accept these beliefs.
"It is extraordinarily unreasonable to expect Adventist institutions to promote a view of earth history that destroys the rationale for the existence of Seventh-day Adventism as a movement." - I couldn't agree more.
"The 'powerful forces' you ominously allude to are simply believing Seventh-day Adventists who do not want their tithe money used to undermine the Adventist faith." - It goes much deeper than this. You don't live and interact with the SDA science community in southern California, where I have colleagues who share details you do not want me to repeat here. One needs look no further than the highly publicized lynching of one institution's scientist who made a public statement that creationists don't have a very good model to interpret radiometric dating. You're aware of the public outcry, but not a true understanding of this individual's position or what transpired behind the scenes. Yet other individuals can proclaim in front of 450 participants at a Utah conference organized by a millionaire donor and the GC that there are issues which remain problematic, and there is no persecution. There is a long list of individuals who have been persecuted because they asked questions that really should be discussed. I'm stopping now because details can only bring more harm and I won't bring up the issue again. Of course, all one has to do is visit Educate Truth, Advindicate, or Fulcrum7 and ask, "is it possible that the flood didn't cover every inch of earth?" and their character, loyalty to the Church, and intelligence WILL be attacked. Yet even the TOP Adventist expositors on these issues have privately raised questions, as they should because there ARE biogeograpic issues that contradict our interpretation. My point stands--powerful forces have muffled discussion, and in ways you will likely never understand.
"You argue that my piece requires 'faith in the storyteller.'" - I'm making a general statement about all apologetic writings that use science to back claims. It's okay to use the science, but let's do so in a careful and honest fashion; let's be careful about cherry-picking data and arguments; let's be open to where the science may go, as science and its interpretations are not static; and let's be honest to avoid building faith in the storyteller's account. These issues are problems for both sides of the argument.
[Moderator edit: If you want to complain about an article in the Review, leave a comment there. They use disqus, too.]
"You have gone out of your way to find a version, whatever that version is, that uses the word rape...this is a case of seduction...this latest post of yours amounts to slander against the word of God and God himself..."
It's called the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, and I quote: "If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her..."
Slander? Are you serious? What part of this phrase is about something other than rape? And what version is deemed more reliable than the NIV?
I don't condone rape, Mr. Trujillo, and I'm not suggesting that God does either. I'm pointing out that there is more to a text than what we read at face value. This passage issues a very perplexing command on God's part that neither you nor I will accept at face value...but we need to keep in mind that it was written for a different culture.
It appears as though the rapist is to be severely punished for his crime of the moment by both (1) having to pay a "fine" to the virgin's father, and (2) living the rest of his life with a woman he may not want to be yoked to. Is this unfair to the woman? Of course! Women in that culture were chattel--property of much lesser value than a man (e.g., Gen 19:8).
Ex 22:16 and 17 offer a different take. In this parallel passage, a different word is used, "seduces," and it appears the father has the option of giving his daughter to the man--and may well not do so if he feels the man is unfit (as in the case of Tamar, who was not forced to marry Amnon: 2 Sam 13).
I'll offer another take. Because the penalty was so severe in that culture for a woman who has lost her virginity, perhaps the rapist becomes her best option. She might never marry otherwise, and have the support she needs to thrive; she might be a social outcast. This, obviously, would be making the best of a bad situation. We don't fully understand that culture. I could be wrong. I'm just trying to do the same as you--understand a passage that we don't accept at face value.
I am sorry that you feel you have been mislead. I do have utmost respect for Scripture, but I object when we try to demand something of a text that just might not be there--such as permission from God to rape to gain a wife. And while you are free to disagree, there are cases when we should be more reserved and less adamant (and condescending) about our interpretation of a verse or two, particularly when they are deeply embedded in another culture. If, for example, we took Ellen White's comments at face value, without considering her culture, she would strongly condemn any SDA who purchases a bicycle.
I've explained elsewhere that I believe pedophilia is sin. So too is beastiality. And husbands fantasizing about sex with another woman. You're getting carried away.
The Bible says, "If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered...he must marry the young woman...he can never divorce her as long as he lives." Surely you believe we should enforce this, as there are no exceptions; if there were, they would be in the Bible.
I believe God originally created two humans--Adam and Eve. Male and female. Over time, things changed as a consequence of sin. Mutations accumulated. To do we see all manner of birth defects: some are born blind, others are born deaf; some have missing or extra digits, others are missing or have extra limbs; some have a defective or missing structure in their heart; some are born with an abnormally small brain, and others with an abnormally large brain. As you well know, some are born with ambiguous or missing sex structures, and others are born with both male and female structures. You read about many of these conditions in Medical School. Some might maintain that the brain parts can never get messed up by mutations--but of course that's absurd.
Of course I don't believe God created homosexuality. It was a result of sin, just as pain, suffering, aging, death,  are also a result of sin. An entity that is the result of sin doesn't make it a sin.
"Does it really take a theologian to figure out 'male with male, female with female'?"
Anyone willing to open a textbook on medical anatomy, medical physiology, developmental biology, endocrinology, or pathophysiology could be much more qualitified than a theologian or anyone else unwilling to look at the abundant evidence that gender is NOT binary. Sex and gender are within the realms of biology, chemistry, psychology, and medicine--not theology. One could gain a rudimentary understanding by looking up "intersex" or "disorders of sex development" at Wikipedia, but I suspect you've already decided that most scientists and physicians are deceived, just like most theologians, and those accounts are 100% contrived. You might even insist that the hundreds of textbooks and thousands of photographs of intersex conditions are satanic inventions.
Speaking of theology, Paul and Peter disagreed on a major issue, and only one of them had the correct understanding. The other was in error. And these men were inspired! They were prophets! I'm not inspired myself, so I'm humble enough to recognize that I could be wrong and you could be right. In contract, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that your interpretation of truth is absolute and cannot possibly be wrong. You're entitled to that. The question remains: are you on par with Peter or Paul? Which of them was right--like you--and which was wrong--like me?
Nowhere have I stated all natural proclivities may be indulged without sinning. I haven't even come close. Your ad hominen is false witness.
"You have perfectly described Jeff's ethic: If you have a proclivity to do something, it isn't sin for you, but if you don't want to do it, but do it anyway, it is sin for you.
I suggest you stick with the argument, Mr. Read, and leave out your judgement regarding my "ethic." As you are prone to do, you have grossly distorted my position.
"The Bible unequivocally condemns all same-sex sexual activity."
I'd say that you are requiring of Scripture something that isn't there, Mr. Read. But you're entitled to your opinion. Sometimes Scripture clarifies sin further: the 7th commandment, for example, was expanded by Jesus to include immoral thoughts--but nothing was stated about viewing pornography, which we believe to be wrong. Slavery was explicitly permitted in the Bible, yet we both believe it was wrong. We are left to use our best judgment when it comes to interpretation. In the case of rape, your statement above actually judges the victim to be a sinner as well, because the victim was obviously engaged in same-sex sexual activity. I don't think you yourself believe the Bible unequivocally condemns all same-sex sexual activity.
"Your speculation about people's brains is utterly irrelevant to what Scripture condemns."
Speculation? Are you suggesting brains do not regulate behavior differently between males and females, or modulate our sexual behavior? When I take I Sam 16:7 to heart, I'm convinced that God takes into consideration far more than you and I do. I'm not willing to put God in the same box you do.
"The pedophile can say that he was born with a brain that causes him to be sexually attracted to children, but that doesn't matter one whit to the law's condemnation of his behavior; he is going to jail for a long time."
Pedophilia transgresses the universal moral law which is encapsulated in God's law as well: do no harm unto others. I would never justify it or consider it anything other than sin. Homosexuality between two consenting adults stands in stark contrast to the power imbalance of pedophilia.
"The truth is, Jeff, that you never allow Scripture to be normative and to issue non-negotiable standards and demands. If "science" can come up with some excuse or explanation for behavior that the Bible condemns, you are totally on the side of science (falsely so called) and against the Bible's standards."
This is obvious ad hominen; it is unnecessary and factually incorrect. I'm not here to win a popularity contest. I ask that you stick with the arguments rather than denigrate my character.
"The Holy Spirit takes makes us all 'theologians'."
If a theologian is less capable of discerning theological matters than you or I, and we are all equally capable, then I ask you to respect my theological views to the same extent you treat those of yourself, your pastor, and others. I certainly agree that each of us must decide for ourselves.
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." - Phillipians 2:12,13
Blessings to you, Bryan.
"So your definition of heterosexual can include those who "indulge (same sex) gratification where they could get it" You would not term this as bisexuality or homosexuality? You really want to term this a form of heterosexuality???"
Yes and no to your two questions. Yes, if those referred to in the Bible were heterosexuals engaging in homosexual behavior, of course they would have been bisexuals by our contemporary definitions (which I'm not going to repeat); so no, they're not heterosexuals.
You tell me: where in Scripture are we informed such individuals were or were not heterosexuals indulging bisexual practice? My position is the Bible does not inform us. All we have are brief descriptions of the act (male on male, female on female) with no context other than a few instances in which violence was involved. Here are the 8 references to heterosexuality (unless I missed something):
2 refer to rape (Gen 19:5, Jud 19:22)3 refer to intercourse between men (Lev 18:21-22, 20:13, Rom 1:27)1 refers to intercourse between women (Rom 1:26)1 refers to prostitution and possibly pederasty (1 Cor 6:9-10; the words "men who have sex with men" translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts, suggesting a relationship between an adult male and a pubescent or adolescent male)1 is general in nature (1 Tim 1:8-10)
I'm not in any way condoning all same-sex behavior; just as with heterosexuals, inappropriate lust and indulgence can take place. The Bible is absolutely, unequivocally silent about two individuals whose brains or portions of their brains are mismatched with their other sexual organs. Rather than vilify the much larger group of heterosexuals who indulge sexual thoughts and sex to an equal extent, you have singled out this group to vent your condemnation. Why homophobia and not heterophobia? Rather than pick a fight with these individuals let's show them Jesus' love instead--just as you do (I hope) for the heterosexuals.
"That is not true, swimming, drinking tea and eating meat are not called sin in the Bible."
I agree with you on this, but have you not met SDAs who believe these are sins?
"A womans place is clearly defined in the Bible, it's not "opinion"....you do seem to dismiss much of the Bible."
So who gets to decide what the Bible says is sin? The large majority of SDA theologians--those who are best trained to interpret scripture--reject outright male headship. The Church has no official doctrine on women's ordination, only a policy that was voted on the basis of opinion. We don't define the Church's theology or its identification of "sin" based on a vote of policy! And now you're telling me that I "dismiss" the Bible because I disagree with your personal interpretation (opinion) rather than the Church's official understanding. The BIble, by the way, never even uses the term "ordination." Please, Bryan.
I think I'm finished with this thread.
Open sin refers to unrepentent sin in the view of others, does it not? But it comes down to what is sin, which God is better able to judge than you or I. To some, swimming on the Sabbath could be open sin; to others it is not. To some, eating meat could be open sin; to others it is not. To some, drinking tea could be open sin; to others it is not. To some, supporting women's ordination is open sin; to others it is not. To some, sharing an opinion different from their own is open sin; to others it is not.
"Yet you went on to say that you think following our biblical Church Manual is inappropriate because we are at the end of time."
No I did not. And the contrast between the drunk harlot and the pure virgin Church is based on symbols; it refers to loyalty to God, not the need to go on a fact-finding mission to eradicate sexual deviancy in its many forms from all our congregations and from those wanting to hear the message we've been entrusted with. God is not obsessed with sexual matters. He has certainly pointed out many sinful tendencies--among them sex, but also pride, selfishness, anger, jealousy, and much more--that can get between us and our relationship with Jesus. God is obsessed with you, and me, and every single human on this planet; He's obsessed with how we relate to Him with our brains; He bids us all to come to Him.
I answered your question by deferring to the SDA Church Manual. I don't think either of us wants to see it typed out verbatim in this space.
Should every church have a policy on masturbation, pornography, fantasizing, tea consumption, swimming on the Sabbath, eating dairy products, and more? What about wearing makeup, jewelry, ties, and high heels? When we should be doing our utmost to win people for Jesus, why such an intense focus on their sins instead--and one sin in particular? Your obsession with sexual matters seems bizarre to me.
If you were on a plane being highjacked to the World Trade Towers, would you be running from passenger to passenger, asking whether they have had sex with those of the same sex? Wouldn't you be more concerned about other, more germane issues? If you truly believe we are at the end of times, why aren't you using the time that remains to talk about God's love instead of His condemnation?
I totally agree with these interpretations, David. Well stated.
I couldn't agree more, though your pal, Sean Pitman, who insists miracles cannot happen, would have a fit. Science can't reject a miracle; it can only reject the probability of a claim. We are then left with a choice: to accept what science informs us is essentially impossible (according to natural laws), or to accept the event as a miracle (supernatural).
Of course, this creates a dilemma many would not appreciate: scriptural accounts cannot be falsified by science, and Creationist claims cannot be falsified by science. My contention has always been that "creation science" is an oxymoron.
So if Ellen White makes the claim that science "brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation," then how is this at all useful for us? It's an utterly vacuous claim. It's every bit as true that nothing from science, rightly understood, conflicts with the claims of Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, Scientologists, Satanists, and ancient Greeks; any of the claims could be chalked up to a miracle. We could just as well claim that science, rightly understood, never conflicts with fiction because science cannot tell us anything about something that never existed or took place.
He drew a circle that shut me out;heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.But Love and I had the wit to win;we drew a circle that let him in.
I think many of us here recognize that ProgessorKent [sic] is here to convince us that "love" transcends pure bible doctrine and we should tolerate all manner of evil in the name of "love."
Why do you distort so, Bill? Your example of the gunman and the response you imagine of me is absurd. What do you have to fear from love?
If we are to win others to Jesus, let's portray Him in the best light possible; let's not attack those we we hope to win over by calling out their sins and then wonder why they have no interest in hearing more of the precious message we've been entrusted with.
Let's not be a witless witness.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28) "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." (I John 3:18) The second most important commandment is this: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.' (Mark 12:31)
"We are to do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. We are to give to the world an exhibition of what it means to carry out the law of God. We are to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Today God gives men opportunity to show whether they love their neighbor." (EG White, My Life Today, pg. 237)
"God will yet bring about His will by every means of grace available to accomplish His goal."
Grace. Good word choice, Mr. Sorensen. If only we could more effectively reveal God's grace to others rather than condemnation, we'd be helpful in getting the goal accomplished. This agenda should be our highest priority.
If we are to win others to Jesus, let's portray HIM in the best light possible; let's not attack THEM by calling out their sins and then wonder why they have no interest in hearing more of the precious message we've been entrusted with.
Godspeed to all.
Very clever...love it!
David, I don't know the issues well enough regarding spray-on foam to offer a personal opinion; perhaps the environmentalists have gone too far. I think we need to be careful in how we characterize a group based on the actions of some. One could argue that protestants originated because Catholics really just hated people. One could argue that our country originated because Protestants (in England) really just hated people. Considering the horrific statistics for violence against women, one could argue that men really just hate women. When we characterize an entire group based on the deplorable actions of some, we promote prejudice--and in doing so, we actually set ourselves up to be labelled as haters. Surely you and I can agree on this.
Our country would be a better place if we avoided the language that polarizes opinion and makes civil discourse impossible. Let's not contribute to that.
I have to agree about the lies and the misrepresentations. I see it on Fox News (at one extreme) and on MSNBC (the other extreme), and places in between. Fair and Balanced does not exist in our highly polarized and politicized discourse. Very sad.
I've been wrong about many things, Bryan; the article is simply my best effort to sort out what is a very complex issue. I could be wrong, but I do think we have a dim understanding of how God judges us and how He interacted with His people in ancient times, and I think we should give those who choose to follow Him--all precious souls--more liberty to work out their own salvation. Let's pray that we both have the opportunity to learn more at Jesus' knees one day.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled." (Matthew 5:6)
Scripture, Ellen White, and the SDA Church Manual are clear on the principle of disciplining and disfellowshipping members who engage in particularly egregious actions, especially when they bring reproach upon the Church body. I'm comfortable with the Biblical basis outlined in the Church Manual, so I'm not going to reiterate it here.
You and I differ in what we consider to be particularly egregious actions. There are disruptive individuals in congregations, for example, who seek continually to find fault in others or make unreasonable demands of church leadership, and in doing so, can severely damage the unity and integrity of the Church. I'm far more concerned about such individuals than I am about a couple of homosexuals or transsexuals who come merely to worship Jesus--people you see as being heinous sinners. They need the gospel message no less and no more than anyone else. If, however, the homosexuals or transsexuals become disruptive through their own unprovoked behavior (much more often it is needlessly and shamefully provoked, as we all recognize), I would certainly favor discipline or fellowshipping, just as I would for a heterosexual.
I'm not prepared, as you are, to declare their sexual relationship a sin for one simple reason: I'm not able to judge the gender of their brains (nor can I judge with my own eyes the sex chromosome makeup or their internal sexual structures). I believe you deny outright that sexual gender exists in the brain, or that the brain or portions of it can be mismatched with other sexual organs. This seems especially odd to come from an MD, who surely learned about intersex conditions in medical school. From your recent story, it appears you even deny gender ambiguity of the gonads, ducts, and genitals--very bizarre for someone of your training. The science, however, has become increasingly clear in regard to gender and sex differentiation of the brain, in contrast to your apparent reliance on scripture, which is completely silent on the nature (chromosomes, genitalia, brains) of those who engaged in homosexual sex. If our state-of-the-art imaging instruments can now detect brain differences related to gender identity and preferences, I have no doubt that God has knowledge and ability which you, me, and our most sophisticated instruments lack. You're certainly free to place limits on God's ability to understand our cerebral and moral capabilities, but I suggest exercising restraint and humility.
Of course, there is a proper mechanism for church discipline, which builds on Matthew 18. And we have different policies for dealing with visitors to the Church compared to members. If my understanding is correct (and please correct me if I am wrong), Gerry Wagoner would not force non-member homosexuals out the door, whereas you and David Read would. If I am wrong regarding any of the three of you, I would appreciate being corrected. Speaking for myself, I certainly would not appointment myself as the gatekeeper of access to Jesus.
Many Christians? Yes, whether you think it's scientific or not. Have I taken blood samples from humans for research? Other animals, yes, but not humans. Your uncle? He surely had a difficult experience; please recognize that large samples are necessary to detect genetic patterns and that we can't generalize from a single family.
My belief that God can judge our behavior based on our cerebral abilities and experience was not taught to me in school, but it is consistent with I Samuel 16:7. I don't believe most scientists lie about their data (some exceptions occur); I'm not lying about my convictions; I'm sure the professor in the video is not lying about his convictions, though he doesn't speak for me or all other professors; and I wish you would not call anyone who believes differently than you a liar. If people like me are so bad, why am I treating you better than you treat me? You're a precious soul trying to do the right things. I'm not going to resort to ad hominen attacks if we disagree. Could you extend the courtesy of politeness to others, please?
Motrin and Robitussin mixed together do not cause heart attacks, though they are not recommended in very young children. I can't tell whether you think the message in the image is a lie, or the manufacturers of the drugs are lying. Regardless, as you put it, "The one sure truth is the Bible, and that is where I decided to put my faith." We don't put our faith in unfounded claims that we read on the internet; if at all possible, we seek the most reputable source. In God we trust; all others must have evidence.
Your "formula" is much too simplistic, Dr. Iskander. Judging sins like theft and Sabbath-keeping similarly requires a knowledge of right and wrong, which is why both God and society hold normally functioning adults to a higher standard than young children and those with subfunctional IQs, brain injuries, and other issues that affect their conscience.
My point is simple: neither of us fully understands how God judges the confounding of sexual chromosomes, tissues, and organs that has resulted from sin. If one has a Y chromosome and testes (male), but breasts, a shallow vagina, and no penis (female), are they male or female? You may claim to know the answer, but I do not. The individual will pass the eye test as female, but does God rely on the same criteria as you and I? Are we prepared to state that whatever we judge to be male or female must also be male or female in God's eye? Is it possible--at all possible--that God sees in a human more than meets our eyes? I think the possibility exists. Why would you deny it by placing your judgment on an equal basis with God? I certainly won't go there.
Your argument for LGBT disease, suicide, and tax burden is prejudicial and unenlightened. Heterosexuals are hugely burdened by STDs. Heterosexuals, especially in male headship homes, are plagued by male violence directed toward women, and this spills over to children. Heterosexuals are often promiscuous: they divorce, single mothers often raise children in poverty and with social support, and non-biological parents are statistically much more like to abuse and even murder the children of these heterosexual mothers. Homosexuals cannot conceive a child (h-e-l-l-o-!), so a large proportion do not raise children that become a tax burden on society. And when homosexuals commit suicide, it's not because of their orientation; it's because of the unChristlike manner in which believers and non-believers alike treat them. If you were taunted, called names, avoided and treated as an outcast, and told over and over--and over and over again--that you're a reprehensible human being, you'd contemplate suicide, too. And how does an increased tax burden result from suicide compared to living?
The core issues regarding disease, suicide, and tax burden are not orientation so much as they are promiscuity and the overt failure of heterosexuals and Chrisians in particular (in the U.S.) to exhibit Christlike love. Indeed, "By their fruits ye shall know them."
We obviously have some differences of opinion, Brother Glass. Personally, I'm going to let God be the judge of matters I have an incomplete understanding of, including my own sins, which are many. Perhaps you could pray for me.
For now, I see dimly, but one day all will become clear. In the meantime, I take much comfort in Jesus' precious words, which are meant for you, for me, and for every human being, including every single transgender:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Let's not deny anyone access to Jesus. Have a blessed week, Mr. Glass.
Bryan, I have not claimed that God "makes mistake," nor do I feel contempt for God. Why do you resort to these types of comments? Have I called you names or put you down?
If you wish to think I'm egotistical and trying to impress others, you're entitled to that. The name Jeff was not available to take, which is what I'd be pleased to have you and others call me. Having been called Professor Kent for many years, I did not realize it might be offputting to some.
If you want to believe that "With sexuality it's easy, besides just looking down to see if there is a penis or not, you look to see if there is a "Y" chromosome. If there is, then it's a male, if not, it's a female," then I suggest you read about androgen insensitivity syndrome at Wikipedia. After reading it, consider asking yourself, "is someone having both X and Y chromosomes who has no penis or other visible male attributes a male or female?" And then you can ask yourself again, "does God necessarily reach the same conclusion that I do?" and "how would I really know what God sees when He considers discordance among the various sex tissues?" I don't know the answers myself, Bryan.
There are more issues regarding gender that will disturb you at http://tinyurl.com/pe8l8z3.
"Confusion in sexual identity is a mental disorder..."
What do you mean by "confusion in sexual identity" and how is this confusion any more so a mental disorder than confusion on other matters such as the nature of original sin, or whether God actually exists, or whether the second law of thermodynamics supports creation, or whether a person you're dating is being honest with me?
You're patronizing is a bit over the top, Mr. Sorensen.
1 Corinthians 6:9 - Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers (including heterosexuals), nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
I'm not aware of any SDA who condones masturbation, but it's not your usual lunch time or classroom topic (LOL). What's interesting is that Ellen White ascribes numerous ailments, including life-threatening cancer, to masturbation--which no study to date has found to be the case. Moreover, if ejaculations by hand truly cause blindness, dementia, and cancer, then ejaculations with a partner must similarly cause blindness, dementia, and cancer. If anything, there is a MUCH greater risk with a partner, most notably infectious disease.
Wouldn't you agree, then, that sex leading up to male ejaculation is an extremely dangerous activity that no one should engage in? If our bodies are the temple of God, and we are to maintain healthy lifestyle practices, is it not sin to indulge ejaculations--via any stimulation--that leads to these terrible, terrible conditions? Obviously, sex has to rank right up there with smoking and alcohol consumption, which Ellen White went so far as to label as sin. Nowhere did she disagree with John Kellogg that sex and even sexual thoughts were sin.
Of course, no SDAs want to talk about this reality, though maybe a physicians like the author of this article might be willing to do. For the most part, SDA leadership wants to deny the SOP statements regarding self abuse and sex. Schools don't teach it. Sabbath Schools don't teach it. Parents don't teach.
Sexual differentiation, sexual identity, and sexual preference are three different things. They will covary to some extent, but can also be very independent.
How do I define sin, Bob? Any indulged thought or action that separates us from God. Do you define it any differently?
Actually, the published research shows that greater ejaculation frequency (4-5/week versus 1 or fewer per week) significantly reduces the risk of prostate cancer. But we know this has to be false because we are confident that high levels of ejaculations cause blindness, dementia, and cancer. It can't be just masturbation because there should be no difference between a hand and a vagina (Ellen White and John Kellogg recognized this, of course, and advocated complete abstinence and avoidance of marriage). I'm pretty sure the scientists were male and looking to find "evidence" to convince their wives to give them more sex. That ain't right. I don't understand why the Loma Linda University researchers haven't put Ellen White's claims to the test. I'm sure they're afraid to; imagine how many men it would upset! You're right; scientists will show that sex causes these problems when they are willing to.
Yes, but shame and narcissism pale in comparison to blindness, dementia, and cancer. Maybe this is why Kellogg advocated avoidance of sex altogether. An orgasm is an orgasm, eh?
The article seems to overlook the problem of heterosexual adultery. The author writes this: "The SDA Church should make clear that a person who marries someone of the same sex as his birth sex will not be eligible for church membership, and will be disfellowshipped if already a member."
If we insist on barring homosexuals from the Church, shouldn't we also disfellowship all those who commit heterosexual sin as well? Paul stated that "neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men" will inherit the kingdom of God. How is homosexual sin any worse than heterosexual sin? Nowhere in Scripture are we told that heterosexual sin is less grievous or repulsive. And Jesus stated that adultery occurs even when we think about it.
I'm pretty sure the Bible says 100-fold more about heterosexual sin than homosexual sin. We should not be giving a free pass to the 99% of Christians who are heterosexual. I trust all will agree with this.
Check out this pseudoscientific nonsense:
Among them: 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency, androgen insensitivity syndrome, aromatase excess syndrome, clitoromegaly, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Klinefelter syndrome, micropenis, and - my favorite - pseudovaginal perineoscrotal hypospadias. Excuses, excuses, excuses with big fancy names to impress and help get their work published from scientists with fertile imaginations.
Just look at the description of pseudovaginal perineoscrotal hypospadias: "a form of ambiguous genitalia which results in a phallic structure that is smaller than a penis but larger than a clitoris, a chordee, hypospadias, and a shallow vagina." I'm pretty sure this resulted from the excessive male "self-abuse" Ellen White wrote about with additional object penetration resulting in a supposedly shallow vagina. Right. Intersex? Not. A. Chance.
I hope we are not the only intersex deniers here. Oh, we and the author, obviously.
The article as written would tangentially prohibit other sexual self mutilation such as castration, vasectomies, hysterectomies, tube tying, and the Pill.
Might as well add masturbation ("self abuse") to the list, which according to Ellen White results in "catarrh, dropsy, headache, loss of memory and sight, great weakness in the back and loins, affections of the spine, the head often decays inwardly. Cancerous humor, which would lay dormant in the system their life-time, is inflamed, and commences its eating, destructive work. The mind is often utterly ruined, and insanity takes place."
Of course, science has pretty much "disproven" all of this, but never, ever trust a scientist (unless they are a creation scientist). All secular scientists are agents of the devil who use their art (it is nothing more than this) to control the masses.
Take a deep breath and give your burden to Jesus. He doesn't need you to save the Church.
May I humbly suggest that you would represent the Church better if you could make it a warm, inviting place. All we hear from you is condemnation of others and intense anger.
Pretty much as I thought. You do want to change the Church because you think it is headed to perdition. You could have conceded that from the outset instead of calling it hogwash.
I could be wrong with my basic reasoning in that article, Kimberlie, but I am growing more impressed by the need to allow God to do the judging and from a perspective that far transcends what we humans have traditionally understood. We have much to learn about the brain's control over all things sexual, but God surely has things figured out much better than we do. By the way, you may see comments on "intersex" from me elsewhere at this website that contradict what I wrote in the article; they are intended, of course, to provoke thinking by others.
Hogwash, Bill? Maybe so; let's get to the facts, then. From a very small representation among many thousands of comments by you at various SDA blogs:
Bill Sorensen on original sin: "We are born lost, guilty and condemned by virtue of Adam’s choice, not ours...Those who deny original sin are antichrist in doctrine and spirit...Original sin is non-negotiable as a clear bible doctrine. We are condemned and guilty because of Adam’s choice, not our own." [http://tinyurl.com/ztnduco] - This is Catholic doctrine which the SDA Church rejects as heterodox, much to your frustration: "The church still doesn’t admit and openly embrace the doctrine of original sin." [http://tinyurl.com/hj8ngv3]. The Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia states: “SDAs believe that man inherited a sinful nature with a propensity to sin, and their writings either reject or fail to stress the idea that men inherit the guilt of Adam’s transgression.” - Have you now changed your mind on this matter?
Bill Sorensen on the SDA Church and its leadership: "The corruption in the Jewish nation at the coming of Christ, and the corruption of Christanity in the Catholic church, is now transcended by the corruption in the SDA denomination." [http://tinyurl.com/gp5qczf] "Novices have controlled the church for years and the fruit of their inability to discern bible truth is more and more apparent as time goes by." [http://tinyurl.com/zqhla4l] "SDA’s used to be the most intense bible students in the world. Not today, since the false application of the gospel has “dumb down” [sic] any intensity to carefully examine every issue by way of scripture." [http://tinyurl.com/zqeehn5] "Adventism is no longer Protestant in the classic definition. The bible is not the final rule of faith and practice, but the church now places itself above the bible and requests support and unity simply for the sake of unity. In the end, this philosophy will not fly. It is part of the self destruction that began a few decades ago when the church endorsed Pluralism over clear biblical teaching and mandates. It is developing more and more into a non-Christian cult led by politicians who “sell” their agenda over and above the word of God." [http://tinyurl.com/h4rfdsd] - Do you now take a higher view on the Church's membership and leadership?
It's okay, Bill, if we disagree. But there's no justification for ad hominen attacks. Accusations like "corrupt," "evil," "false spirituality," and "duplicity" really should not be a part of any civil discourse. I have a favor to ask: could you simply pray for me instead?
I'm pleased to learn you are no longer critical of the Church's leadership, and that you are now warmly embraced by your local Church. And I'm pleased to learn you have renounced your heterodox views toward original sin, views that the Church body has rejected for more than a century. Perhaps you are more inclusive than I had realized. I apologize if I have misunderstood or misrepresented you.
You have described me with the words "corrupt," "evil," "false spirituality," and "duplicity." I'm going to counter your ad hominen remarks with something more charitable. (I wish those remarks did not come so easily from you.) I have no doubt that you are a sincere, devoted follower of Jesus, Mr. Sorensen, and I hope that you will find forgiveness and tolerance in your heart for those you have developed contempt for. I pray that I'm the only one you ever use those words to describe. God bless you in your quest to grow the Church we both love.
I'm with you, Sister Kimberlie. God bless.
I'm here on my own volition, Zog. What are you suggesting? I'm not aware of any individuals banned from coming onto Church property, so I can't even begin to answer your bizarre question. However, I most certainly do think homosexuals should be welcome in the Church. I haven't met a sinner yet who should be shunned by the followers of Jesus. I don't believe Jesus turned anyone away who came to him; he actually chastized his disciples when they tried to control access to Him. If you feel comfortable declaring yourself a gatekeeper to Jesus, you certainly have the right to do so, but don't expect the rest of us to do the same.
No one is trying harder to change the Church than you are, Bill. As you've stated many times, you have all but departed from the organized Church and your own local church because you are highly critical of both the leadership and the membership. You compose thousands of comments every year at blogs like this one to express your criticism of one issue after another, trying your utmost to change the direction of the Church. You're certainly entitled to your views, but I make no secret of the fact that I disagree with a number of them. I strongly believe we should uplift the Church and all of its believers rather than condemn group after group after group. I know you are critical of those who bring up the word "love," but it's really hard to see Jesus in those who mostly criticize and condemn.
Eric, THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your thoughts, especially regarding the tension between South American Church administrators and theologians. The reality of this must be very painful for those who continue to support the culturally-ingrained view of male headship. They recognize that it is only a matter of time before the Church reject outright their interpretation of scripture. The situation you describe in South America also occurs in much of Africa, where abuse of power similarly led to a repression of votes for women's ordination at the GC session. Mr. Read knows full well that the majority of the Church's theologians disagree strongly with his defense of male headship.
Of course culture is going to drive the debate on female ordination, just as it always did for slavery. God's rules and policies for His people have been formulated differently over time depending on culture. One has to look no further than the immutable 10 commandments to see this, where God clearly permits both slavery and patriarchy. In the 4th and 10th commandments, accomodation rather than condemnation is given for slavery. In these same two commandents, God uses the gender pronoun "He" even though we know that God lacks a penis and gender, and she forbids only men to covet the neighbor's spouse. In that culture, men ruled and slavery was widely practiced. Imagine how much worse those tablets would have been treated if they were written differently!
An alternative view would be that both patriarchy and slavery are acceptable. Of course, the southern separatists made this argument using Scripture's apparent condoning of slavery. Some people fail to understand that scripture is the progressive revelation of God's will for culture.
As one will see more clearly in the comments below, the author is advocating for higher levels of reproduction among Christians to avoid seeing our sacred country overrun by Muslims. Of course, this is xenophobia at its core, and mirrors similar arguments used previously in historic purges of ancient Israelites and mid-20th century Jews, not to mention other ignoble genocides we have witnessed on at least three continents in recent decades.
More disconcerting is how the author's advice squares with Scripture and SOP. What does God have to say? Both the Apostle Paul and Ellen White urged us in no uncertain language to forgo marriage relationships. God has urged Christians to stop making babies! H-E-L-L-O-!-!-! The Planet's clock is about to stop ticking, and we are to finish God's work. We are not to become distracted by what Muslims or those of other faiths are doing. Those matters are in God's hands; they should not be in our loins!!! Why are we even taking the time to read this stuff and argue about it? We have work to do!
Incidentally, Dr. Iskander offers a salient point below (if you click on the link to view newest comments first) regarding Scripture being the progressive revelation of God's will for culture.
Thank you for making my point, Dr. Iskander. God's instructions for His followers changed in relation to their culture. Those instructions included much regarding sexual relationships, decor, treatment of slaves, and who was permitted to speak in corporate worship. Even in the Moral Law, which we regard to be immutable, we see accomodation rather than condemnation of slavery. And why is that?
I find it ironic that you would recognize the progressive revelation of God's will for culture while denying that male headship has anything to do with culture. By any definition, male headship is patriarchy; both mandate the subjugation of women to male leadership. The rules governing male-female relationships changed during the course of time because culture changed.
"God defines what is happening in the LGBT brain as LUST."
I'm going to be frank with you, Elizabeth. This claim by you is completely false. It does not exist in Scripture. The Bible condemns same-sex behavior, but does not tell us whether those who engaged in it were LGBTs or heterosexuals. For all we know they were heterosexuals using sex to control or punish others, or to indulge gratification where they could get it. Moreover, the Bible says nothing about the anatomical or physiological distinctiveness of LGBT brains.
"It is very sad that some people put sexuality at the center of their life."
Couldn't agree more. But I would add that heterosexuals do this every bit as much as LGBTs, so what is your point?
Now we have intersex deniers. How very interesting.
Kimberlie, as you and I both know, the Bible speaks 100-fold more about heterosexual sin than homosexual sin. Sadly, the people at this blog want to expel homosexuals from their midst while remaining largely silent about the 99% of heterosexuals in their midst. Fortunately, the tide is changing, and quite rapidly--which is why these people are so abusive in their treatment of the topic. A study several years ago surveyed North American SDA attitudes about homosexuality, and there is a growing acceptance that homosexuals are no more sinners than the rest of us, and need our love, not the hatred that we hear too much of. There are now good sources of support for homosexuals within the Church, and they should not be hard to find with internet searches.
Let's not allow these people to be the gatekeepers of God's kingdom. Let's not allow them to define our Church. They are desperately trying to downsize the Church through a purge mentality, and become enraged at others who try to grow or "change" the Church instead. The Adventist message is all about the love of Jesus and the love of fellow humans. Do not let those obsessed with identifying sin in others discourage you with their petty issues. Let's keep our eyes focussed on Jesus.
Kimberlie, if you speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and you truly have love, you will be viewed as a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal here. It's just the way it is.
Moderator Edit: This post is false witness. You are welcome to come here Kent, but we have rules in our house and you'll have to abide by them.
Should we be doing everything we can to kick these "sinners" out of the Church, or should we be grateful that they want to continue hearing the Advent message?
Sounds to me like they have a case.
"The apologist's task is to show that science “brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation.” Education, p. 128.
If this was truly true, then all mircacles could be explained by science. Of course, the term "miracle" is applied whenever an event or observation contradicts known science.
The question then becomes, is our understanding of science wrong, or does God truly intervene in ways that contradict science? There are simple claims from Scripture that we all accept as miracles which absolutely defy the laws of physics and/or biology and can be readily falsified by experimentation. These include creating a living breathing human being (much less a simpler organism) from a pile of dirt; throwing a stick in water to make an axe head float; a virgin human (much less any kind of mammal) giving birth to another via parthenogenesis; a human (much less any animal) being dead for 3 days that becomes restored to life; and a human that overcomes gravity with no visible source of propulsion and visibly ascends to heaven.
I'm sure we can all agree that these constitute remarkable, supernatural events that we accept by faith. We believe full heartedly that God has supernatural powers. Without question, all experiments employing the scientific method will always prove these events to be impossible. Always. So which should we believe--divine revelation, or science? We champion miracles, and well we should. But in doing so, do we also concede that science does sometimes actually contradict divine revelation? Can we really continue to have it both ways? Something to think about.
If only the Church was blessed with many dozens of knowledgeable geneticists like Mr. Read, we'd have no doubt proven creation decades ago.
This does, indeed, belong in the apologetics section. When one cherry-picks the evidence and presents just one side of the story, we build up confidence of the Church membership. We believe that's a good thing. But in reality, the evidence for or against creation is so massive and complex that even those highly specialized in a particular discipline can struggle to understand the data, and even more so to interpret it. And they are lost - lacking in knowledge and understanding - when it comes to data in disciplines outside their specialty. Ultimately, with general articles written by non-specialists, the reader's faith is placed more so in the storyteller than anything else. This is too often what "apologetics" is all about.
Some folks sincerely believe that creationists have all things figured out and no major problems exist. Others know better and keep their mouths shut, and still others who dare mention the problem issues get labeled as dangerous heretics. In blogs like these, in official Church communications, and at our educational institutions, our membership is pretty much going to get the standard arguments devoid of the honest problems that exist. Faith, however, gets shaken when individuals given just one side of the story encounter different perspectives elsewhere in the real world--perspectives that they are completely unprepared to assimilate and respond to.
Anyone "in the know" in SDA tertiary education recognizes that there will never again be an honest and open discussion about creation and evolution in the Church. Powerful forces have seen to that. Powerful forces. Readers here I'm sure will be pleased to know that for the most part only sanitized, one-sided stories are being told from this day forward in the Church. You can praise God (or powerful sources) for this if you wish.
I have no idea how accurate the author's scholarship is here, but I totally agree with the central message that Christianity itself is a powerful witness to the reality of Jesus. Unfortunately, that witness is sometimes counterproductive when we are inconsistent with our actions and we exhibit judgmentalism and intolerance.
I'm saddened that some of our college students do indeed get turned off to Jesus, but it would be nice on occasion to read about the many who have been blessed by current SDA tertiary education. I certainly know many such students personally.
Brief but nice article. Excellent verses. A serious problem in our society. Many Church members, unfortunately, do not take Hebrews 13:5 to heart.
The essence of liberalism is that we are wrong, because we are us, and they are right, because they are them.
Wow. Very intellectual. Someone must have spent a lot of time coming up with this nugget.
"It is not earthly rank, nor birth, nor nationality, nor religious privilege, which proves that we are members of the family of God; it is love, a love that embraces all humanity." (emphases supplied)
- EG White, Thoughts From The Mount Of Blessing (1896) Ch. 3, "The Spirituality of the Law", p. 75
I have nothing furher to add, Mr. Read. You may have the closing argument.
Fortunately, neither of us believe today's sexual culture is the greatest thing ever conceived of.
Why are you so determined to promote xenophobia? Aren't you a little loose with your facts: 2 million? 2 million young men absent their families? When Hitler promoted xenophobia by denouncing Jews in Germany, more than 30 million deaths followed. What's your point, David. Do you think Christians should start reproducing like crazy so that we outreproduce the Muslims? Seriously? And if you're going to condemn the polygamy, stoning for adultery, easy divorce, subjugation of women, etc., by a small percentage of Muslims, are you going to denounce God's leadership of ancient Israel as well?
More to the point of my comments, which were a response to yours, will you ever admit that Biblical portrayals ("ideals") of gender inequality (patriarchy) were culturally influenced? If you continue to insist that gender equality in Adventism and Christianity is a culturally-influenced transgression in contrast to God-ordained female subjugation in Scripture, I'd say you're a bit delusional.
A quiz for you, Mr. Read. Which of the following aspects of the Christian-Biblical sexual culture and patriarchal system were God-ordained?
1. "If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity...and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death."2. "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." "If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel."3. If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.4. Polygamy exercised by God's leaders without being killed: Abraham had two concubines; Gideon at least 1; David many; Nahor 1; Jacob 1; Eliphaz 1; Gideon 1; Caleb 2; Manassah 1; Saul 1; David at least 10; Rehoboam 60; Solomon 300; Belshazzar more than 1.5. A woman was "caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” "But Jesus...said to them, 'Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'”6. "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house."7. "If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days...But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks..."8. "And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver."9. "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing....If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself." [men get freedom, but not women]From Scripture, we see treatment of women that is appalling by today's standards. We see inconsistency--God orders the stoning of adulterers, and then God interrupts the stoning of an adulterer. We see freedom of a man to divorce a wife who has lost favor in his eyes. We see gender-based differences in cleanliness of childbirh and monetary value. We see differential treatment of slaves based on gender.
Did God truly ordain all of this? Do you suppose culture had something to do with these policies issued by God? Or would you insist these are principles that never change, which we should therefore adhere to today? And if they are the principles you demand we follow, have you stoned any adulterers in your lifetime?
Will you continue to insist that we have a choice between the Old Testament (with its examples uncontaminated by culture) and today's perverse culture (tainted by favorable treatment of woman)?
"Until about 45 years ago, America and much of the Western world enjoyed a basically Christian-Biblical sexual culture."
Are you suggesting that the cultural treatment of women in Biblical times was God-ordained? Really?
The large majority of the Church's theologians reject male headship theory. The most vocal proponents of it are lay people--like David Read.
I strongly encourage everyone to check out all the lies at the Wikipedia entry for "intersex" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.... Not one sentence is true! We must reject the dishonest science that contradicts the Scriptural view that there are only two genders. Nothing has changed 6,000 years after Adam and Eve; there are still only two genders today. "Gender dysphoria" described by the author is real; some people are truly born psychotic (of course). Anatomical, physiological, and developmental "intersex" is a hoax created by neo-liberals to repress religion and control society. There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. Intersex.
Some fail to recognize the distinction between principle and policy. It's difficult to dialogue with such individuals.
I don't see cleavage. I see duct tape. How can you possibly see what is covered by tape? I suggest you turn your eyes and imagination a different direction.
Bryan, you stated, "First of all, you don't understand the Bible, you have contempt for it."
Okay, our conversation ends right here. You have deliberately made a statement you cannot know to be true. I have utmost respect for Scripture. I'm not going to interact further with someone who makes baseless accusations. God bless you, Bryan, in your quest to grow in Christ, but I'm doubtful you'll be blessed in your efforts to condemn fellow Christians and purge the Church.
I'd like to point readers to a concise summary of the biology (and theology) of gender differentiation, gender identity, and sexual preference: http://tinyurl.com/pe8l8z3. There, you will find a summary of what we know about the simple fact that as much as 2% of the human population has mismatches among the sex chromosomes, internal gonads, internal ducts, and external genitals. And no one has yet to quantify the frequency of mismatches between these tissues and the brain--which is the biggest sex organ of all. In the beginning God created them male and female, yes, but only someone completely ignorant of biology would insist today that gender remains a black-and-white condition; it's not.
The judgmentalism, intolerance, and even hatred toward those of varying sexual identity or orientation arises from one deep-seated conviction: that God judges our sexual identity and behavior on the basis of what's between our legs (external genitals) with complete disregard of our brains.. Think about it: what kind of a God prioritizes our genitals ahead of our brains?
In a sin-riddled world in which (1) genetic mutations abound, (2) emotions during pregnancy can affect not just developmental pathways but even our DNA (i.e., our children's children), (3) and environmental toxins cause neuroendocrine disruption including sex organ and brain development, why would a God be so fickle and ignore the very essence of being human and the organ with which we worship: our brain?
So if an individual has a male's penis and a woman's brain--which research clearly shows can be the case--where in the Bible or in God's commandments are we told that God requires behavior that must conform to the penis rather than the brain? Where? And where are we told that God identifies our gender and appropriate behavior solely by our genitals rather than our brain? Is God incapable of judging our brains, and therefore makes us slaves to our genitals?
I have a simple suggestion for you folks: let God judge these matters.
"The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7.
I do, but only someone with their head in the sand would believe that gender is a binary condition today.
I am doubtful that Rhonda dresses in a seductive way and shouts it to the world on social media. Poor taste is poor taste.
"Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness." I John 2:9
Interesting that you cite Deuteronomy 22, wherein a man can demand of his wife's parents proof of her virginity, and if no proof can be supplied, she is to be stoned to death; and anyone who commits adultery must be stoned; and a rapist must be stoned if the woman is engaged, but otherwise he must marry her (wow!). Curiously, Jesus saved the life of a woman who comitted adultery and was about to be stoned according to the instructions of Deuteronomy 22; why did He disregard His own rules? Or...were the rules of Deuteronomy 22 simply policy relevant to the culture at the time?
So where, Bryan, is the consistency in Scripture between God's words and...God's actions, and where is the consistency between God's Church in Scripture and our contemporary Church? Have you stoned anyone lately? Why aren't you obeying scripture as instructed in Deuteronomy 22? You condemn a man wearing a woman's clothing by expressing hatred toward the act (and probably the person), yet you refuse to stone adulterers? Surely God's law takes precedence over that of man's. Your failure to stone adulterers is..."far beyond just disgusting."
I'm afraid the author of this post and those who side with it have little desire to emulate Jesus with their comments. They believe they understand all things theological, and wish to silence those who disagree with their views--by mockery and other means as they see fit.
BTW, the latest issue of Adventist Review offers an interesting take on environmental stewardship and global warming. You can find it here: http://www.adventistreview.org...
Personally, I don't have a strong position on global warming. I see no need to take a strong stand on either side of the issue. However, I do feel strongly that we should point others to God by showing respect for His creation. According to research cited in the main article, people of faith are measurably less concerned about the creation than those without faith. It seems paradoxical to me that we would decry those who appreciate God's creation and seek to preserve it.
AGW is believed by thousands of sincere scientists who have no desire to perpetuate a lie, deny freedom, or excercise totalitarian control of the people. You have a fertile imagination. The Bible has much to say about those who malign the motives of sincere people. Lighten up and be a little more Godly. Show some charity.
And fertile ground for hating the educated, too.
Mr. Wagoner and Mr. Read,
Neither of you have read scientific papers about anthropogenic global warming (AGW), of which there are many thousands. You haven't attended conferences on AGW. You don't have an ounce of education about ice cores, ocean bed sediments, or tree rings. You have no expertise in climatology. You have no formal training in science. You wouldn't have a clue about how to analyze the data even if you knew how to access it, which you don't.
I think all you really have, guys, are opinions and words. Opinions. And. Words. And what are they based on? Certainly not any facts that you are able to study for yourselves. You don't know the data. You don't know what we can learn from it.
To state that "the data being used to support anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming is typically based on small data sets, single samples, or measurements taken in completely different regions." You have no facts to back this up because you have no idea where to find the massive data sets that exist. No. Idea. Whatsoever.
In God we trust; for anyone else, including you, there must be data. You have nothing to offer.
Definitely a more radical direction.
Wow! Nice set of articles! Nearly missed them, as they were at the bottom of the Table of Contents. Very balanced message for the most part, offering an informed and nuanced take on important issues that have largely become befuddled by the media. We need MORE of this information brought to the forefront of our awareness, not just because it's a spiritual and moral obligation that we care for the creation, but because the messages we get from the media are indeed highly politicized. It's difficult for the average Christian to see past the frantic arm-waving. Please continue to publish meaningful articles like these.
Nice story. Kudos to the authors, who are thought leaders in the Church on these important issues. We shall have to wait and see how evolutionists respond to the challenges. Because evolutionists are, for the most part, the ones generating these studies, I am sure they are already giving considerable thought to the issues and will figure out how to accomodate the new information within their paradigm. Regardless, we can still believe.
Why are so many SDAs inconsistent with legislated morality? They DO NOT WANT Sunday observance enforced by our government, but they DO WANT Biblical marriage enforced by our goverment, even upon unbelievers. The Church's statement, however, properly avoids any assertion that the government's decision was wrong. I'm proud of the continuing stance we maintain on separation of Church and State.
"But without question I stand by Elder Wilson's statements that those denying the literal nature of the Genesis story are not true Seventh-day Adventists. The Sabbath, which lies at the heart of our message and is part of our very name, has no meaning if God is still creating through the process of evolution"
You're still obfuscating, Kevin. Why stop with the Sabbath? Why not continue with salvation--which to you makes no sense without original sin in the Garden of Eden--and declare all Christians who reject the literal interpretation of Genesis as phony? Be honest.
So, Kevin and Allen. While I certainly agree that salvation and other key doctrines make less sense if one dispenses with 6 days 6000 years ago, what are you really saying about such people?
Are you, like Ted Wilson, saying they are not true SDAs? Are you saying they are not true Christians (why would you make the distinction)? Are you saying that you and others who believe in 6 days 6000 years ago are the only real Christians?
"I know nothing of the kind. Without the creation model as Genesis presents it, salvation isn't necessary."
You're obfuscating, Kevin. Deliberately. I said there is no requirement for a belief in 6 days 6000 years ago to be saved. There's a big difference between the need for salvation and the means of it. And you know it.
Kevin, there are millions of Christians who see no issue between an evolutionary perspective on origins and the promise of salvation. I'm saddened that you are in the business of denigrating and delegitimizing the faith of others. That's the job of our mutual enemy.
Paul implored us to work out our salvation ourselves, not according to your rigid plan with strings here and chains there.
""My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee" (Hosea 4:6)."
Nice quote, Kevin, but is the knowledge spoken of by the prophet a knowledge of how and when life forms came into existence? Nowhere in scripture will you find any hint of a requirement for belief in 6 days 6 thousand years ago to obtain salvation. You know this as well as anyone does.
Kevin, I believe as you do in origins, but that belief won't give either of us any advantage over an evolutionist who forms a love relationship with Jesus Christ and depends on Him for the free gift of salvation.
Moral anarchy and obliviousness originates with Satan and sin--not one's interpretation of science concerning an event that was rendered oblivious by Christ's sacrifice. I'm saddened to think that your view of salvation seems to come with strings attached.
"Most assuredly, evolutionists are souls for whom Christ died. But this still doesn't justify the popular but deeply misguided notion that "people are more important than truth," or that how old the hills of Utah are is made irrelevant by the necessity of grace and kindness to all."
There will be many in heaven whose understanding of "truth" and "how old the hills of Utah are" was or is erroneous. Give us a break. Jesus died for these people, not for the knowledge of or acceptance of minutiae that can never save.
Compelling story in which the desire to see a fellow sinner saved trumped ideology. All that truly matters is giving one's heart to Jesus. I wonder whether Kurt Wise saw the contrast between his inclusiveness and the exclusiveness of others who spoke at the conference.
Gripping. We all need to pray for James and the courageous people working with him.
Could we please be supplied a link to follow the unfolding story?
Christianity has its extremists as well. Do we dismiss the claims of or oppose Christianity because of these extreme views?
How ironic that non-believers are doing more to preserve God's creation than believers. Some of us will heed the warning: "The time has come for...destroying those who destroy the earth" (Rev. 11:18). Others will not.
I'm pleased to learn of the attention drawn to our neglect of Creation care. Many in the Church are so preoccupied with proving when and how the Creation came about that they could care less that we disrespect and destroy the Creation which remains. I can't fathom it!
Why does the Church invest so heavily in an institution (the Geoscience Research Institution) and a conference (this one) tasked with studying (or "proving") the when and how of Creation while investing nothing to my knowledge in preserving God's magnificent Creation? I don't get it.
Headship theology teaches that a man can tell a woman what to do with her body. Our Church currently supports headship theology in spite of recent calls to reject it.
The first paragraph of Rich's comment is fine, but in all frankness, the quote should not be shared unless the original author gave explicit permission to do so. Even with names removed, some might recognize the author of the quote and take umbrage at what the author has stated in an email that he or she assumed would be private. As an academic, I firmly believe that private email messages should always remain private--and all the more so when sensitive in nature. If you're a moderator, Rich, consider deleting the quote yourself.
Interesting title changes. Many of us who frequently write will understand what we are thinking, and will try our best to anticipate the alternative interpretations others may take on our words, but we sometimes fail. And someone less educated about evolution (including its many collateral terms and meanings) would be more prone to such error.
I have a colleague friend attending the conference who was keenly disappointed with the opening address, but has found some of the talks and question-and-answer "panels" to be more open and conciliatory than expected. He has also been surprised by the quality of some of the evidence and arguments presented, though he did not elaborate.
Bummer! Guess someone can reinvent the wheel.
There are a ton of Christian small group study products that, for each session, begin with a video segment and then follow with a discussion based on printed material. I belong to a non-denominational group which meets weekly, and we use these products regularly, whether dealing with spiritual development, relationship issues, or whatever. (One recent series centered on male headship--my wife and I weren't thrilled about that one!)
I haven't seen anything comparable produced by the SDA Church (nor have I looked), but these products are very popular among non-denominational groups in my area. The Record Keeper is already diced up into multiple short segments, so it would be ideally suited for such a purpose. I know that the leader of our group would be more willing to consider it if there was a printed study product, particularly one that was not overtly SDAish. As the only SDA couple in the group, we'd be THRILLED to see others learn what we--and Ellen White's lasting witness--have to share with the world.
I've admired your tenacity in dealing with the Advindicate crowd. Some of their responses reflect an astounding lack of reasoning and tact. Kind'a laughable, but more sad than anything else.
Now that the series is out, it's time that someone prepare high-quality discussion material to accompany each episode. I believe this was planned at one time, but it's going to have to originate now from independent individuals or groups. I hope someone will step up to the plate. The material could be immensely valuable for both small (home study group) and large (church evangelistic series) venues alike.
Hold tight, Harry. This series may prove to be just as powerful or more so in changing lives without the Church's endorsement.
Sorry, but I am certain the GC will not alter its course. I've been told by a reliable source that the decision followed the demands of a major donor. Some people have utmost conviction that their opinion is more valid than those of others. And if it takes wealth--and a threat--to ensure their opinion is the only one that counts, they feel even greater conviction that God has given them the means for such purpose.
In contrast to the GC, the Holy Spirit cannot be constrained. Souls will be reached.
Over the weekend, my wife and I got through 8 of the episodes, and during the week I managed to watch the remaining ones. All in all, the series is absolutely well put together and it certainly is engaging and provocative. Well done Mr. Satterlund and collaborators! I have to disagree with Jeremy and concur with Phillip's assessment posted with the last story here at Spectrum that the BRI's dismissal of its theology was inept, if not downright defamatory.
Several early episodes were a bit difficult to follow, no doubt more so for those unfamiliar with the Great Controversy theme, but subsequent episodes clarified the intrigue.
Advindicate.com has now posted the videos, and a number of their "faithful" have, as expected, heaped insults on all aspects of the production. I honestly think their position is that we should let anyone rot who refuses to come to us via conventional or "sanctioned" approaches. However, some at Avindicate do see the extraordinary potential for reaching the unreached. I suspect that Shane Hilde, who runs the website, actually likes the series.
If teams are trying to take down the footage, it's a losing cause. There's no way to put the toothpaste back in the tube with this thing.
Anyone well acquainted with the younger generation recognizes that a vast throng are turned away from Christianity by its cruel treatment of homosexuals. Those who remain have softened considerably. You will deny it, Kevin, but the tide is turning. Inclusiveness is on its way in, and exclusiveness is on its way out. Fight it if you want, but the Holy Spirit calls all of us, regardless of the nature of our sins (we're all in the same boat), and without or without your approval.
How about some major studies and conferences on creative evangelism? Actual evangelism.
I share your concerns. We're Seventh-day Adventists, not Seventh-day Headship, Seventh-day Heterosexuals, Seventh-day Creationists, or the like.
We spend millions on a big study of women's ordination, a sexuality conference in Africa, and a science and faith conference in Utah. Why not direct those millions toward winning souls to Jesus instead of making Adventists into more loyal Adventists?
A shrimp seeking shelter or a place to deposit its eggs might relish encountering the underbelly of an iceberg. You seem so reasonable much of the time, Tom. You baffle me.
Over the weekend, my wife and I got through 8 of the episodes, and have now managed to watch the remaining ones. All in all, the series is absolutely well put together and it certainly is engaging and provocative. Well done Mr. Satterlund and collaborators! I have to agree with Phillip that the BRI's dismissal of its theology was inept, if not downright defamatory.
Advindicate.com has now posted the videos, and a number of their "faithful" have, as expected, heaped insults on all aspects of the production. I honestly think their position is that we should let anyone rot who refuses to come to us via conventional or "sanctioned" approaches. However, some at Avindicate do see the extraordinary potential for reaching the unreached.
In all frankness, Tom, how could you possibly characterize the intricacy of an iceberg, and the myriad life forms generally associated with it, if all you saw was the tiny portion that protruded above the water?
I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment, Phillip.
Bad site for weird stuff. What buttons or links would you click on to save without downloading a dubious program? When I click on "download" it wants to give me an .exe file that my Norton Antivirus does not like.
I'll be checking them out this weekend with Mrs. Kent. We watched episodes 2 and 3 last night, but have a long way to go!
At YouTube, simple type in the search words "the record keeper episode 6" or whatever episode number you want. The uploads from yesterday appear to have been removed, but new ones are now posted. I get the feeling this may become a perpetual cat-and-mouse game between those uploading the files and those trying to block them. At this point, it'll be really tough to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
FYI, all 11 episodes are presently available at YouTube. Download them while you can.
Smokestack-hugger. Quite fitting!
(Actually, I don't care for the child-like use of pejorative terms, but when they are pushed on us excessively, some kickback seems appropriate.)
Christianity, in theory, is a good thing, too...yet there is a political side premised on the notion that government should impose its moral views on all. As Adventists, we reject the political activism, which Ellen White strongly encouraged us to do, but we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
"Perhaps you are unaware that the majority of Canadian GDP comes from the harvest of natural resources."
This will come to a crashing end if they are not used sustainably.
If you and your prime minister support the massive environmental impacts of oil sands mineral extraction, you'll have to answer to God, not the readers of Spectrum. Your assault on God's creation will include: (1) the destruction of thousands of square kilometers of pristine boreal forest and the living creatures that depend on that forest; (2) the removal of water from nearby watercourses and destruction of some of their life forms to support the mining, especially during periods of low flow in winter; (3) the creation of massive holding reservoirs for the highly toxic liquid trailings; (4) the migration of these toxic pollutants into the groundwater; (5) further ecological damage associated with extensive road construction and ex situ support for the industry; and (6) exceptional releases of carbon into the atmosphere. You'll no doubt argue that there are ways of ameliorating some of these impacts, but then you'd have to admit that environmentalists have something of value to offer. Most of the profits will line the pockets of the already wealthy.
Your politicians will boast of prosperity for a few decades until the oil runs dry, but subsequent generations will have to deal with the consequences. You and your descendents certainly will not choose to seek a living in that devastated region, so it will be easier for you to ignore their plight.
Are you seriously trying to convince us that a volcano can actually destroy living creatures?
The environmental damage obviously took much longer to recover than the lifespan of the humans that lived in those ancient civilizations. The Haitians today have far more options to persist.
If you wish to insist that humans can't cause long term damage of any consequence, you and your horse can imbibe that belief all you want. You won't convince anyone here, but you might succeed at the Republican National Convention. I'm finished.
Good point. The Mayans also failed to use their resources in a sustainable fashion. Other civilizations that collapsed because of unsustainable use of their resources included Easter Island, the Poynesians of Pitcairn Island, and the Anasazi of southwestern North America. Those who fail to learn from history will repeat it.
Yes, nature thrives regardless of change, but humans can't thrive when critical ecosystem resources get used up.
Amen, Carol. Three decades ago, our throats and lungs would burn from any outdoor exertion in southern California. We would cough during much of the evening. It was miserable. And after governments enacted regulations--in response to the outcries of environmentalists on behalf of ordinary citizens--this no longer happens. Those who pejoratively refer to "tree huggers" and express utmost disdain for government regulation would have us choking on excessive air pollution to this day under the rubric of "jobs." They are more concerned about economic policies, which favor the wealthy, than the quality of life for everyone else. And then they insist that it's the environmentalists who show no concern for others.
Environmentalists seek to create sustainable employment, not the unsustainable temporary employment that destroys irreplaceable ecosystems services. God established this very principle in the way He instructed us to use the land, giving it a rest every 7 years. When we ignore the signs that an ecosystem is overstressed, the jobs come to an end. Ask the New England fishermen how they felt when they lost their jobs after their overharvested their fish stocks. Ask the millions in third world countries who have lost their livelihoods when capitalists raped and pillaged their resources for a quick gain. Who was on their side, Jeremy? I suppose the answer is to go back now and tell them Jesus loves them and is coming soon, so they need not worry about feeding their children.
Consider Haiti. Today, more than 98% of the forest has been cut down. The deforestation has led to massive soil erosion, which has decreased agricultural yields and resulted in deadly floods and landslides. The soil has run off into the ocean, where the heavy silt has destroyed the once vibrant coral reefs and the fishing industry that the reefs supported. Haiti is now the most economically destitute country on this planet. Coincidence?
There are some who want us to believe that "treehuggers" are wackos who think the planet is delicate, that there are no consequences to selfish and unsustainable exploitation of the environment, and that environmentalists have an unbalanced, inconsistent, and unhelpful message. They would probably want to convince even the Haitians.
I believe the BRI was directed to come up with justification to kill the series. And their analysis was an embarrassment to the Church (stories here: http://tinyurl.com/o2nyzqc; http://tinyurl.com/k35sbxv). Someone, or a handful of individuals, applied undo pressure to get this decision.
I'm Jeff, Elaine! Bille is referring to my comments about wealthy donors, not the membership. But I agree with your position that the GC should pay more attention to the rank-and-file membership. I personally think we should pay a loyal tithe even if portions of it seem to be unwisely spent.
I remain convinced, as I have stated previously, that the GC was strong-armed into shelving this wonderful witnessing tool by one or several major donors who exert undo influence on decision-making. The simple reality that GC leadership faces is whether to approve and release a wonderful witnessing tool, or lose millions of dollars in much-needed gifts. I personally think they should have done the right thing for the masses, but there are details few, if any of us, are privileged to know, and I don't doubt the decision was difficult and painful.
I suspect that Satterlund will find the means of making an even better series that will highlight, in due time and spectacular fashion, the unwise choice made by the GC and the individual(s) who may have to answer one day for their efforts to block the work of the Holy Spirit among those who would never respond to traditional SDA evangelical approaches. I am praying that Satterlund succeeds.
"if i were going purely from what i'm hearing from environmentalists, shutting down alberta's oil machine would instantly transform us back to the days of a frozen arctic, desirably low sea levels, and less catastrophic weather patterns..."
Come on, this is pure hubris.
Pithy? You're worried about a pithy quip?
As you anticipated, I can't grasp your principles (I don't know who your principal was), so I'm not going to comment. I hope this pleases you.
Adventists may well be more attuned to the Creation than other groups. Nevertheless, we should be mindful of our impact on the earth and what we can do to take better care of it. The earth is not ours; it is an extraordinary resource loaned to us with the explicit command to care for it.
I think you're creating a straw man. No one here is suggesting that the gospel mission is irrelevant and worthless. They are gently trying to point out to you that stewardship of the Creation is a part of the gospel, which is something many Christians choose to overlook (and often with glee). Failure to properly care for the Creation will impede the gospel mission.
Jeremy. I wish you and I could sit down together so we could better understand each other.
You write of ignorance, and then launch into a diatribe about environmentalists failing to acknowledge the problems associated with the meat industry. Not a blip on anyone's radar, you say. But what have you done to educate yourself about this issue of which you have such a strong opinion?
I suggest you browse at least the summary of the highly cited FAO/UN report, Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options (http://tinyurl.com/7yzdoy). This extraordinarily detailed report summarizes the hundreds of research articles that address the many disturbing issues of the livestock industry. If you think there is little publicity regarding the conclusions of this report, it's only because the same propaganda machine that you rely on for your facts is doing its best to portray environmentalists as unbalanced wackos.
Ignorance is bliss. Enjoy it.
Environmentally friendly policies are economically advantageous in the long run, which allows Church money to be spent on evangelism and other goals we all agree are important. Unsustainable practices often put money in the hands of the extremely wealthy, and take it from those who could be adding it to the Church's coffer.
And caring for the Creation can and should be a very effective witness. There's no reason to think there's a reciprocal relationship between investments in witnessing and conservation.
I have to agree.
Lucas, here is the more complete quote from Mrs. White:
“Those who profess to love God do not always consider that abuse to animals, or suffering brought upon them by neglect, is a sin. The fruits of divine grace will be as truly revealed in men by the manner in which they treat their beasts, as by service in the house of God.
“Many do not think that their cruelty will ever be known … But could the eyes of these men be opened, as were the eyes of Balaam, they would see an angel of God standing as a witness to testify against them in the courts above. A day is coming when judgment will be pronounced against men who make themselves demons by their dealings with God’s creatures.” [emphasis supplied]
–Ellen White, Signs of the Times, November 25, 1880
Obvious, indeed. As a friend puts it, "healthy humans need healthy environments."
Better sit down and have a conversation with good ol' Walter Veith. As Yoda once said, you can't underestimate the power of the dark side. ;-Q
Let's not forget who really controls Obama and all our other Presidents: the Illuminati.
What makes you think that God expects us to look the other way when humans exploit the Creation in unsustainable ways?
The illegal trade in wildlife is a multi-billion dollar industry that has become so lucrative and easy that it now funds terrorism. With regard to elephant poaching in particular, recent reports such as the very sobering one summarized recently in NewScientist (http://tinyurl.com/lk7jjc8) paint "a bleak picture of a slaughter which is disastrous not just for elephants, but for the stability of African nations, and claims that blood money from ivory has helped to bankroll almost every conflict in Africa in recent decades. 'The modern ivory trade was built on war,' says Vira." Christians who care about the atrocities and poverty associated with war should object vehemently to the killing of these innocent, sentient creatures.
Several months ago, I was blessed to attend one of the extraordinary nature programs that are hosted occasionally by the Loma Linda University Church. When a friend gave me the inside details about the "big surprise," I had to show up. They somehow arranged for one of these gentle giants to be present. It was breathtaking to touch, and to behold others touching, this remarkable ambassador of God's creation. It was an unforgettable experience for everyone present.
The Bible unquestionably calls on us to respect the Creation, and to care for it as lovingly as God regards it. Even though the SDA Church has officially embraced environmentalism through several official statements (http://tinyurl.com/n4m4ajo; http://tinyurl.com/oy5kg53; http://tinyurl.com/qcnxhj9), many SDAs and other Christians have bought into a political mindset that seeks to pit business against the environment. The result is that many now detest anything "environmental." Not only have these individuals relinquished their God-given duty of Creation Care to non-believers, but they ridicule them as well! I often wonder whether these people are described by John in Rev 11:18, where we are told that God will "destroy those who destroy the earth."
There has been a gradual "greening" of attitudes among many Christians--and even political conservatives--in recent years, but it remains to be seen whether the SDA Church will follow this trend. Last year, a group from Loma Linda University published a new book, ENTRUSTED: CHRISTIANS AND ENVIRONMENTAL CARE (http://tinyurl.com/qg8myp8). They also organized a symposium by the same name (http://tinyurl.com/my4cdj3) that, I was told, was well put together but poorly funded and not especially well attended. The Church operates the Geoscience Research Institute to promote the Church's views on the origin of Creation, but no comparable institute exists to promote caring for the Creation. Perhaps SPECTRUM could solicit more articles about environmental stewardship to build more momentum toward change.
(On edit, I now see you are referring to observers of past events, and not confirming one set up for this event.)
These conferences happen periodically. I remember a report from one a few years ago in Canada (http://tinyurl.com/3wenn5h). The Canada one had about 100 attendees, so this one in Utah may be the granddaddy of them all (I heard something like 500 invites, but maybe only half or three-quarters of that number actually attending). I would like to think these events involve open dialogue on all sides of the issue, but I imagine, as you certainly imply, there will be pressure to be silent on anything other than full acceptance of accepted dogma.
These things are generally held in secrecy; for the current one, there is NO mention I can find of it on the internet, and I have to wonder whether we will be privileged to see another summary. I suspect neither David Read nor Sean Pitman are invited. I imagine their history of sharp, public criticism of leadership (including the GRI staff, who seem to be the organizers of these events) would automatically disinvite them. Kind of ironic: these guys want to be seen as authorities on creation science, but the Church leadership seems disinterested in giving them a platform (though I could be proven wrong).
Thanks, Bille. I certainly am willing to concede I don't have all the answers, but I can't understand anyone who insists they know my own answers better than I do! (Although it is a bit entertaining...)
Though it may be more to make sure that thought leaders in the church understand precisely what the "church" expects of them in the way of enforcing the "official dogmas" than it is to "bolster the faith" of anyone.
I suspect you're right, Bille, but hope it does not come down to this.
I give up. If I told you I thought black was black and white was white and red was red and blue was blue, you'd probably insist I was color blind and a man of even more contradictions.
Like you, Joe, I lament the difficult position we find ourselves in when we seek to resolve issues of faith and science. I do believe that, as Christians, we must maintain the highest intellectual integrity. And this can be difficult to do when there is conflict between our interpretations of scripture and science (which originate from two very different canons).
I have no objection to our Church seeking evidence to uphold its historic position on origins. But I do object to the dogmatism that accompanies many of those interpretations and the punitive way we deal with others who ask questions or disagree with those interpretations. Some creationists have taken an honest approach by acknowledging some of the difficulties that stem from science. Leonard Brand's book was a reasonable step in that direction, and the Geoscience Research Institute has ruffled some feathers by conceding difficulties. Sean Pitman and David Read have shrilly attacked the GRI for advocating a faith-based approach ahead of an evidence-based apologetics approach, but the GC, fortunately, has maintained its support of that institution rather than cave in to the extreme voices.
I would say that we need to carefully prioritize the elements of our gospel message, and in doing so, we should ask whether a "correct" view of origins really is essential for salvation and the message Seventh-day Adventists wish to give the world. If we are going to elevate creationism as the center piece of our message, we need to assess how that will play out in saving souls. In my opinion, our ultimate goal should be to bring people to Jesus, not to an absolute conviction that life originated during a literal 6-day period approximately 6,000 years ago. I personally have no issue with the latter belief, but Jesus didn't die to bring us that conviction.
Once again, you have willfully misrepresented my position. I have consistently maintained that SDA faculty should respect and uphold the SDA position on origins and science. I'm appalled, though not surprised, that you would claim I support any teaching that denies supernatural intervention. Your outlandish claims really do damage your credibility.
The evidence for creation is compelling enough without so-called "creation science" that no man is without excuse. God told us so through his apostle, Paul. And I'll accept that at face value.
My relationship in Jesus Christ has the very same basis as that of millions of Christians who chose to believe before there was any knowledge of "creation science." And many Christians today have very limited knowledge of "creation science." You are more than welcome to delegitimize my faith, and that of many millions of others, but I am saddened to think you somehow believe yours is superior because you take comfort in a very rudimentary understanding of biology, geology, and physics. That knowledge is hardly a prerequisite for salvation.
A colleague told me this week that the Church is hosting a mega-conference on science and faith in St. George, Utah, in August. Only a select group of 500 or so individuals have been invited to the 10-day program, which will feature talks by many experts in science and faith, including some non-SDAs. This will be something like a $1 million-plus investment on the part of the Church, which to me, seems designed only to bolster the belief of those who already believe in the Church's doctrines on origins and science.
Out of curiosity, does anyone know who the speakers will be? I'm assuming the usual academics will be there that I've read about before, like Leonard Brand, Paul Buccheim, Art Chadwick, Lee Spencer, and the GRI staff. I'm curious to learn whether others like Sean Pitman, Shane Hilde, David Read, Paul Giem, Joe Willey, David Asscherick, and Jan Long will be there as well. I'm guessing some of these individuals would be deemed either too outspoken or "unsafe."
You're wrong, David. And you seem to have no conscience whatsoever about misrepresenting the views of others.
You know full well that I share your core beliefs on origins and your concerns about La Sierra, but because I have argued that (1) there are many issues glossed over by creationists, (2) the attacks on La Sierra have been excessive and often based on unChristlike speculation (such as your outlandish assertions about the President of that institution), and (3) placing faith in so-called creation science (more accurately, in self-proclaimed creation scientists) rather than in God's Word puts our young people at risk, you choose to label me an advocate of evolutionism.
You tout apologetics evangelism as the way to keep the Church "safe" and the route to salvation, whereas I advocate a personal relationship with the one name under heaven by which we are saved. You preach criticism, fear, and exclusiveness; I support unconditional love, forgiveness, and inclusiveness.
I agree that the concept of salvation makes more sense from a creationistic worldview, but it also make sense only when we depend entirely on Jesus rather than our own worth or sinlessness. Why do you consider Joe more so an enemy of the Church than Kevin, whose evangelism for last generation theology dismantles the sufficiency of Jesus' death? You give Kevin a pass only because he is "safe" in sharing your views on origins--which, frankly, will not save one soul.
While I am a supporter of David and Kevin's beliefs in a relatively young earth and literal creation, I deplore the insistence that Joe Willey and others give up their grasp of Adventism and Christianity because their interpretation of earth history conflicts with the plan of salvation.
The message and reality of salvation is available to all, regardless of one's philosophical views of earth history. Nowhere in scripture will one find a condition for salvation that requires belief in a recent earth and literal creation.
I am grateful that these individuals choose to cling to their faith in Jesus and His blood. Our response should be to encourage them to keep this faith, rather than attempt to rip their faith apart. The latter is Satan's job, not ours.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." - Ephesians 6:18
It's easy to be critical, particularly when the story omitted a key fact. I'm told the hospital is required by California law to meet seismological requirements that the existing facility absolutely cannot meet. Portions of the existing building have to be torn down. They have no choice but to erect a new building that meets California code.
And if you don't live in the Inland Empire, you're not aware that Loma Linda is expansive because of its critical educational role, which Ellen White herself established, and because it is the major provider of healthcare in the massive, rapidly growing metropolitan area. Nor are you aware that they actually do operate many smaller clinics throughout the region.
Let's compare the agendas of heterosexuals versus LGBT:
Which group wants to exclude the other group from employment opportunities?
Which group wants to exclude the other group from spousal/partner or family benefits, including medical, retirement, disability, and income tax benefits?
Which group wants to exclude the other group from hospital visitation rights?
Which group wants to exclude the other group from church membership?
Which group deeply resents any media coverage by the other group, and wants to exclude them altogether from further media coverage?
Which group wants to label the other group as immoral and warped?
Which group wants to impose their religious and moral views on the other group, including many of the group who call themselves Seventh-day Adventist in spite of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's official and long-held support for religious liberty and freedom from government-imposed morality?
We all understand perfectly clear which group, by and large, has the more benign agenda and which group has the more hostile agenda.
Do you, too, claim to have a bridge to sell? Still waiting for details to arrive in my email inbox...
Thank you for sharing those numbers, Allen. I have no reason to doubt them.
Part of the difference may be in the categories: most studies allow respondents to categorize themselves as hetero, bi, and homo. The study I cited explored the possibility that sexual orientation might resemble more closely a continuum, and therefore added two additional categories (5 in all, rather than the usual 3). Nevertheless, I agree that the researchers probably had bias in their methods, generating higher responses from LGBTs than in other surveys. Yet the data still make the point I was addressing: even if upwardly inflated toward a higher proportion of LGBT, the vast majority of respondents (81% of males and 71% of females) still proclaimed themselves to be straight-up heteros.
Thank you for the kind invitation. I actually visited your campus once upon a time, many, many years ago. Probably can't prioritize another visit, but my prayer is that your university will be a beacon of light for the nation.
Bille, I never made that statement, and I'd be highly skeptical about those numbers. However, I can supply some numbers from an actual study (see below; as you know, I prefer actual data to supposition). There certainly may be a response bias, as the survey numbers are self-reported, but the peer-reviewed research does not support the suggestion that there are more "bisexual" males than fully hetero- or homosexual males.
Our friend, IF, may well be secure in his/her sexuality, but I don't think he/she will ever acknowledge that those conservative Christians who complain about the LGBT agenda have an agenda themselves that is far more selfish and exclusive, and no less aggressive.
Orientation: Men (n=828) / Women (n=803)
Heterosexual: 81% (670) / 71% (568)Mostly heterosexual: 9% (72) / 20% (158)Bisexual: 3% (25) / 6% (49)Mostly gay/lesbian: 2% (15) / 1% (10)Gay/lesbian: 5% (46) / 2% (18)
Source: Vrangalova, Z., & Savin-Williams, R. C. (2012). Mostly heterosexual and mostly gay/lesbian: Evidence for new sexual orientation identities. Archives of sexual behavior, 41(1), 85-101.
I'm in the market for a bridge, IF. Please email the details to ProfessorKent .at. gmx.com.Thank you.
(Better yet, post those details. Maybe Spectrum will also be in a bridge-buying mood. - webEd)
Wonderful message. I wish that Advindicate--the bastion of ultra-conservatism where Kevin Paulson pushes incessantly his LGT, anti-WO, and other beliefs on a susceptible groupthink crowd--had the courage to publish the message portrayed here.
One quick question for the author: does Southern--surely the most conservative of our official North American SDA tertiary institutions--teach LGT?
"All to Jesus I surrender..."
I'm with you too, Loren.
Don't you just love the guy's imagination?! Equating the future SDA Church to the League of Women Voters......and future SDA sermons to Face the Nation......how can we not laugh? But definitely strange to impugn preaching reverence for the creation (planet) and kindness to animals; God certainly had much to say about those very things.
"My recollection is that I was the only one complaining."None of us were surprised by your complaints, or that you were the only one who saw evil in a decision endorsed high up the ladder.
Dependency. Indeed, that's what it really is all about. If only we could bottle that and inebriate the soul of every Church member...
Nice quotes. Hang in there!
Yes, have to agree; restrictions and privileges apply to all.
You obviously failed to read the article, which offers ample evidence that same-sex sexual relationships in animals can be beneficial. In nature, reproduction serves one purpose: to perpetuate one's genes. Yet, producing one's own offspring directly is NOT the only way to increase one's genes in subsequent generations. I could explain why that is the case, but you would probably reject the simple math (involving coefficients of relatedness) that forms the basis for all studies of population genetics as an attempt to promote a homosexual agenda.
You define "natural" and "unnatural" in the most limited, crude, and mechanical sense. Same-sex relationships in animals and humans involve far more than dumping semen in a rectum, but is that really where you want your mind to dwell? You seem not to recognize how any behaviors beyond the sex itself could contribute to anything else of relevance, such as helping to raise the offspring of relatives who share one's genes. You seem to focus solely on the sexual act--and as you have pointed out yourself, you are far from alone in that.
You seem deeply offended by my difference of opinion regarding "natural" and "normal," and point to my failure to provide "fact." I cited the references so you could check up on the evidence yourself; what more do you want? Up to 31% of some bird populations involve same-sex pairs; you are free to consider that "abnormal" and "unnatural" if you wish, and you are welcome to dismiss it as something that merely "appears" or "seems" to be the case--which is, of course, easy to do without reading the evidence for yourself. You clearly wish to believe that same-sex sexual activity can't be anything other than illogical, dysfunctional, repulsive, and downright stupid; you're entitled to that. And I have no desire to convince you that science incorporates measures of probability, reliability, and repeatability. Believe as you wish.
I agree wholly with you that God is the creator of mankind and that he created a male and female. Sin has entered the planet, however, and much has changed since then. We see this easily among both animals and humans, to the point where much that was once "natural" is no longer the same. As much as you would like for me to leave the Church, I am quite certain that God feels differently than you do. I am sad that this is your oft-repeated position; I certainly would never encourage you to leave the Church.
I see no point in responding further to your entreaties. We simply disagree, and no arguments or evidence will suffice to change that.
Sorry...I meant "ideal"...and I've fixed it. I'm open to the possibility that God can judge those engaged in faithful, loving, monogamous "same-sex" relationships based on their brain's gender rather than their chromosomes and/or sexual tissues. I'm more comfortable seeing promiscuity and recreational sex beyond a monogamous relationship as sinful. And I think most of us accused of "supporting a homosexual agenda" would agree on this. We do affirm morality in sexual behavior.
Sexual preference is a continuum, as you're kind of hinting at. One recent paper with a sample of 1758 respondents showed support for a 5-category classification: heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, bisexual, mostly gay/lesbian, gay/lesbian. Nevertheless, the authors concluded that orientation was clearly a continuum. (Vrangalova Z, Savin-Williams RC. 2012. Mostly heterosexual and mostly gay/lesbian: Evidence for new sexual orientation identities. Archives of sexual behavior, 41:85-101.)
I'm not sure about the percentage of strict heterosexuals; this particular study won't help due to bias in respondents (which would not invalidate the other findings).
I believe strongly that sexual sin exists, and that the Church should take a stand against it. Faithful, loving, monogamous relationships clearly represent the ideal. My chief concern is our assumptions about how God assesses gender and determines appropriate behavior, and how those assumptions inform our theology and our treatment of those we deem to be "sinners."
What, exactly, is overrated about "orientation," and how would you know it is a "controlled direction?" What do you know about the molecular genetics, physiology, and psychology of orientation? You're making a bald statement while offering no support. I suggest you find some published studies that show, with real data, that orientation in humans (or even animals) happens to be the simple and easy choice that you imply.
You also claim that homosexuality is not logical, is not natural, and is a dysfunction because it does not work for humanity. Where did you get these notions? Did you conclude this from careful perusal of the literature? Did you get these ideas from the opinions of others? Or did you use your personal logic to arrive at them?
You probably don't want to be told this, but same-sex behavior is extremely common and widespread in nature. Numerous studies reveal how it can be adaptive--that is, favored as a good strategy by (frequency-dependent) natural selection. Unnatural, you said? No. It's actually very natural in nature. If you don't believe me, there are entire books devoted to the issue (yes, there is that much data to write about). Here are a few: http://tinyurl.com/mg9t3h2; http://tinyurl.com/kpnn39r; http://tinyurl.com/l5gtmbq; http://tinyurl.com/mrylrww.
If you don't want to read these books (I know you won't), here is a review article that summarizes some of the reasons why same-sex sexual behavior is so frequent and widespread in nature: http://tinyurl.com/d9uxvj4.
There are even good biological reasons why same-sex sexual behavior should exist in humans. Theorectical models based on real biological relationships--not poorly informed hunches, which many people are content to rely on--indicate a surprisingly wide range of genetic conditions under which genes that influence same-sex orientation in humans could propagate and persist. These models also predict that individuals exhibiting both same-sex and opposite-sex sexual behaviors should be common in humans. (see Gavrilets S, Rice WR. 2006. Genetic models of homosexuality: generating testable predictions. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 273:3031–3038.)
You might want to reconsider your argument.
Okay. Let's do place our hope in an end result that motivates further discussion.
Sure, there is no consensus on the exact determinants of orientation. The Wiki article provides considerable detail on the compelling evidence for a highly complex but largely biological cause, just as I have done. Do you want to insist that all (or most) homosexuality is engaged in by those who are straight, but simply want to be gay? A mere choice? Where is there compelling evidence for that? I'd like to see published research demonstrating it...but there is nothing of any substance out there. Just mere assertions, largely by those who have an ideological axe to grind.
George, I have to respectfully disagree. The tone there, as described by Larry Geraty's extensive reporting, was a bit more gracious and understanding than many of us expected. The conference certainly fell short by excluding the voices of those impacted most by our Church's theology and policies, but I felt it reflected a genuine attitude shift, expressing concern that we must minister better to the LGBT community.
We need to work patiently and lovingly with those we disagree with (which is something I need to work on myself), and not treat them the way we perceive them treating us or others.
Very interesting perspective from Brownson! The lust you describe certainly strikes me as something Paul would react to and write about in the strongest terms: more and more stimulation in different and unusual ways.
To be honest, I have my doubts that many of the Church's leaders have the slightest interest in what science--or even cultures past--have to say about the issues we are discussing. They come to the table with long-held convictions, and are quick to dismiss any discussion as an effort to promote the gay agenda and weaken the Church. The dissonant message from the Church's leaders regarding science leads to utter confusion and a diminished capacity for critical thinking. Consider these mixed messages: many leaders dismiss all science (an enormous body of discovery and literature) that casts doubt on the Church's position on creation (I should add that I personally accept the Church's position); many question any science that suggests we are severely degrading our environment (the Church technically has embraced environmentalism with several official statements, though many leaders deplore it); and many trumpet any science we produce that supports creationism or the benefits provided by our health message. Go figure. Science can't be trusted...unless it tells the story we want to believe.
Having said this, I agree that the scientific material could and should have been presented in Cape Town. I was motivated in large part to write this article because the Church needs to be aware of what science has to say. Nevertheless, the stark perspective I've shared is not one most leaders want to hear. I don't believe I would have been allowed to speak about this at Cape Town. I don't believe the Adventist Review would dare publish an article like this, nor any other official Church publication (e.g., Adventist Education, Journal of the Adventist Theological Society). And if they learned more about the science and my main argument that God may see gender in some cases very differently than we do, I'm skeptical that many theologians are willing to confront the question of why the penis, of all things, should be given such high priority when we consider gender-related sexual activities and ordination. Many of the readers here simply do not want to concede that the difference between male and female is something other than black-and-white, and many of the leaders, I'm certain, think the same. If you know of a way to get their attention, and have any suggestions, I'm all ears (or should I say eyes, considering this medium of exchange).
By the way, I appreciate your own ministry. Blessings to you.
Thank you for the fix!
I'm not asking a complex question about a rare condition. I'm asking a very simple question about how God determines gender for the one person in every 50 who has mismatched gender-specific tissues.
There are Sabbath-keeping issues far more complex than what we are dealing with regarding a mere male/female distinction. There is no need to obfuscate.
LOL (I wondered if anyone would pick up on the pun)
By the way, I value your opinion, so I appreciate your input.
Thank you for sharing. Many of us will take comfort knowing that the only real opinion that bears on his salvation is that of God. None of us can claim to know with certainty how God judges us (even though some seem convinced otherwise).
Bille, I'm with you; the terms "liberal" and "conservative" inadequately dichotomize what truly is a continuum. However, I'm describing the more staunchly held views of those who "generally self-identify" themselves as one or the other; many, especially those who see themselves in the middle ground, are uncertain of their views or do not care.
Thank you for catching my error. Perhaps the editor(s) could correct the main article. I did, indeed, mean to use the word "Opponents" rather than "Proponents."
(Fixed. - website editor)
Some here have vigorously disagreed with the issues I've raised, which comes as no surprise. But none have made clear the one issue that I think they need to if they are going to tell others who should be an appropriate sexual partner, and who is qualified to lead: How exactly does God determine one's gender?
Is it based on your genitals? Your gonads? Your ducts? Your chromosomes (X,Y)? Your brain?
If you are so cocksure that you can tell someone they are sinning in their sexual behavior, or they are qualified or disqualified for leadership, then the least you can do is declare with equal certitude exactly which tissue(s) God always, without exception, relies on to define their gender. Help us all out!
So Lot offered his daughters to be raped. History has long been repeated. Christianity makes women second-class citizens; and why not? The Bible clearly supports it, does it not?
Your position invites the disturbing conclusion that any number of congenital or developmental conditions resulting in "effeminization" would bar one from salvation, including defective testicular development, androgen resistance, congenital 17alpha-hyroxylase deficiency, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. It would also condemn all eunichs and those who experience orchiectomy (surgical removal of testes) due to injury or cancer treatment. And what of most children and women who lack substantial testosterone secretion, which would be necessary to remove one's sinful "effeminateness." Do you seriously think all those who are "effeminate" will be excluded from the kingdom of God? Should our interpretation really be so literal?
Your assertion that "no one knows what a GLBTI brain is" and that "the question is too unclear and hypothetical to merit even the pointless academic speculation it solicits" is laughable. We are gradually but surely developing a clearer idea of the distinction between heterosexual and homosexual brains. An imaging study published in 2008, for example, found that heterosexual men and homosexual women (both attracted to females) have asymmetrical cerebral volumes, with connections from the amygdala arising more from the right side and connecting primarily to the caudate, putamen, and prefrontal cortex. Homosexual men and heterosexual women (both attracted to men), in contrast, possess symmetrical cerebral volumes, with connections from the amygdala arising more from the left side and connecting primarily to the anterior cingulate. (Savic I., Lindström P. 2008. PET and MRI show differences in cerebral asymmetry and functional connectivity between homo- and heterosexual subjects. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 105: 9403–9408.) As Sean Pitman, the Church's champion for the priority of evidence and human reason, would say, "You don't know what you are talking about."
Faith-based ignorance is no substitute for science, which can inform us about things the Bible is unclear about. And God, no doubt, is far, far ahead of us. "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7.
Here is the complete aforementioned APA statement, minus the final sentence which I'll provide in the next paragraph: "There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors."
The brochure in which the statement is found also states: "Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation." Thus, the latter phrase clearly indicates a consensus that nature (genetics or biology) plays a dominant role, and this is being omitted from many discussions within the Church and here at Spectrum.
This APA statement, published in 2008 (and is therefore outdated), should come as no surprise, as there are very few, if any, human behaviors for which we have a clear understanding of underlying cause. Unfortunately, this statement is frequently used by those who do not want to commit to the view that the brain may be mismatched with the genitals (penis/vagina), just as mismatches are well documented among the genitals, sex chromosomes (XY/XX), gonads (testes/ovaries), sex ducts, and dominant sex hormones. The ultimate question is how the Church--and more importantly, God--chooses to dichotomize "gender." Do we base "male" and "female"--and "permissible" sexual behavior--on the sex chromosomes, regardless of the more observable sex organs? Do we base it on the external genitals, even if the chromosomes, gonads, and ducts are mismatched? Or do we base it on the brain's sexual identity and orientation, which is something God can surely recognize but remains almost impossible for us to "see?"
The official SDA position is that God judges virtually all sins based on our brain; that is, we are judged by our knowledge and experience. However, when it comes to sexual behavior (and women's ordination), the Church teaches that God cannot take our brains into consideration; He has to check out our external genitals and then judges us accordingly. Is this the box we want to put God in?
David, you argued at that time--quite forcefully--against a proposed merger between the two publishing houses, insisting Ellen White's advice to maintain separate entities was inviolable and applicable until the end of time. Do you really believe she would never change her tune depending on societal change?
Please go online to the Biblical Research Institute and ask them to reconsider their public stance. I've urged a few of my friends to do this, asking them to remind the BRI that both Jesus (through The Rich Man and Lazarus and other parables) and Ellen White (by enthusiastically endorsing Pilgrim's Progress) supported story-telling that presented spiritual truths in spite of SUBSTANTIAL theological error within the stories. Here is the website: https://adventistbiblicalresea.... Just click on "Contact." We really should flood the BRI with our objections.
Tell us, Picidae, how story-telling by The Record Keeper distorted truth more so than story-telling by Jesus when he spoke of the Rich Man and Lazarus. PLEASE. Have you stricken Luke 16:19-31 from your Bible?
"What should be amply criticized is the colossal failure to properly vet the material before going to such lengths and expenditure just to come out and drop the ball on the project."
Andre, there is no need to perpetuate this untruth. As the director stated (http://tinyurl.com/ke8nmte):
"We carefully wrote this series and had to go through a big committee process before we could shoot a single frame. We got the stamp of approval from those committees AND the stamp of approval from the White estate. They agreed with everything we had. Not only that, but representatives from the GC were on set every day of production."
Two GC vice-presidents were actually executive producers of the series. What more do you think needed to be done?
The real problem, as I have been informed, is that certain individuals of wealth objected to the series, and that was all it took to kill it. Seriously -- who can blame the GC for protecting its assets (and refusing to tell all)? Tough decision, no doubt.
I know my words are harsh, but for some causes we need to speak out. I've actually written the BRI and asked them to retract their condemnation of The Record Keeper. All it truly does is make the Church look irrelevant to those--especially young people--who recognize, just as Jesus did, the value of story-telling.
The Biblical Research Institute has now completely embarrassed itself. And it has embarrassed the SDA Church as well. Jesus himself made the following statements that were theologically incorrect (Luke 16:19-31, NIV):
o "the beggar [Lazarus] died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side" - we know that angels do not transport the dead to Abraham's side.
o "In Hades, where he [the rich man] was in torment" - there is no place of torment known as Hades.
o "send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire" - the dead do not speak, experience sensations of thirst or agony, or use their bodies to help each other.
o "But Abraham replied" - come on, he is dead; dead men don't speak.
How are these statements any less "blasphemous" than those criticized in The Record Keeper? Will the General Conference's Biblical Research Institute next demand that all faithful SDAs blacken out the "theological problems" and "inaccuracies" in this blasphemous passage from our Bibles? Let's have some consistency: if the SDA Church is embarrassed by the theological error of story-telling in The Record Keeper, it should be more so embarrassed by the story-telling of Jesus.
Praise God for the souls brought to Jesus during the short life of this series. And who will have to account for those souls who might have come to know Jesus and gained a greater appreciation of Him had the series been given a longer life? Will it be...could it be...another "rich man?" (Again, I don't believe for one minute that "theology" killed this series. Sorry. Bad excuse.) Shame. Shame. Shame.
The damage control merely inflicts more damage.
Your third question is the correct answer. In your words, "there are people in the Church who are impeding the work of the Holy Spirit by preventing these films from being made."
And...if you want to blame someone, think twice about blaming the GC leadership. They have difficult decisions to make. A million dollars and many souls lost is one thing; millions of dollars saved could also result in many more souls saved. Tough decision to make. Very few leaders have the spine to stand against those who have the means to purchase influence. The money can be either a blessing or a curse--and more often, both.
You all have missed the key reason for cancellation: money always, always, always speaks louder than words. In this case, it can only be about the money--but no one "in the know" wants you to know it.
Certain nameless ultraconservatives became irate and declared they would never give money to the Church again if it released the video series. The GC had no choice: it simply could not risk losing millions of dollars from those who have no compunction about dictating church policy via their wealth. Decisions like these, made in response to those who seek control, are routine at all levels of church organization. The delay, the study group, and the purported rationale were, for the most part, nothing but a smokescreen. It was all damage control.
The influential individuals will feel smug about how the means they used will justify their desired end, but we certainly have reason to wonder how God feels about such deeds. This was an unprecedented opportunity to reach those who might never be reached otherwise. If these individuals were wrong, and large numbers of souls will be lost because of the decision, they may one day regret their selfish actions.
By the way, Jason and Rajeev, while your responses were clearly measured, they were also surprisingly positive. Very commendable, particularly when you have every reason to be bitter. Well done.
"So the idea that now there are some new theological issues is new to me and seems to me more like a scripted answer to a complicated battle."Yes indeed...forget the theological issues; it was a complicated battle. One or several wealthy ultraconservatives declared that if the GC aired the series, they would withhold their giving. These individuals want to control the narrative, and they have no compunction about doing so. The GC really had no choice: a million lost in the production, more than a few million spared in cancelling it.Money always speaks louder than words. Our protests will come to nothing.
For all this energy invested in how to treat homosexuals, and in what the Bible teaches about homosexuals, how come no one is advocating for the stoning of rebellious children? Here we find clear, unambiguous instruction from the Sacred Word (Deuteronomy 21:18-21):
If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.
For some reason, Kevin, Picidae, and others who do not want homosexuals in our Church do not urge us to remove rebellious children from the Church as well. Nor do they urge us to stone them. How much clearer could Biblical counsel be? Why the selectivity?
"Using your logic, we could find excuses to legitimize just about anything that the Bible condemns, because of genetic abnormalities or imbalances in brain chemistry. The sky's the limit."
The only thing that differs between my view and yours is that you restrict sexual behavior to gonadal opposites--even though the distinction can be vague to non-existent--and you sincerely believe God would not judge gender by the brain instead, something you declare to be ruled out by a straightforward reading of scripture. In my opinion, your view is contradicted by God himself:
"The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7
Why would you insist that God can judge only on a gonadocentric basis?
You have gone on to suggest that judgment based on limitations of the mind or body would excuse any sin. I don't think you believe this yourself. Do you think God is less understanding of genetic abnormalities and brain imbalances than our legal system is (which sometimes goes too far, but often provides leniency to those who are impaired)? Do you think God judges the behavior of children different than that of adults? Or the behavior of those with psychological deficits different than those with sound minds?
I'm not making excuses for sin. I'm open to the possibility that we can't identify appropriate sexual behavior for every individual human, and that God recognizes sin in different ways than your straightforward reading of scripture might provide.
You talk of the divide and splitting of the Church more than anyone else I've never met. And I think you completely misrepresent the motives of those who support female ordination and homosexuals.
The conservatives, backed by Church policy designed by conservatives, are pushing women away from ministry and homosexuals away from membership and employment. Who is excluding whom?
You've made my point, Picidae: the Bible makes no distinctions about anyone being trapped in the wrong body, and therefore we should be careful to generalize. The ancient writers undoubtedly had a very limited understanding of the anatomical, physiological, and psychological phenomenon underlying gender and sexual identity. Actually, the distinction between male and female may have been stronger at that time.What is more evil--for a female brain to engage in intimacy with a man, or a female brain to engage in intimacy with a female?
Rare exceptions? Wake up! There are far more homosexuals on this planet than Seventh-day Adventists (even including those who you and others want to exclude from the Church). And there is abundant evidence that sexual identity for the vast majority of humans, including homosexuals, is in the brain--not in your gonads.
Let's not split the Church or even talk of it. As the Bible implores, "come now, let us reason together."
So what is homosexual behavior, Kevin, for an individual who has male genitalia and a female brain? Is sex with another man (obeying the brain) "homosexual," or is sex with a woman (obeying the genitals) "homosexual?" Which does the Sacred Word so clearly condemn? What does the Sacred Word so clearly require of us--to worship God with respect to our genitals or our mind? You've asserted that the Church should not allow homosexual members or employees--so how do you propose to identify what is homosexual? And how would your policy be "very much leaving it to God?"
Does the Bible anywhere tell us exactly how we should distinguish a man from a woman, and whether the criterion for homosexual behavior is gonadocentric or cerebrocentric?
Bille, thank you for the kind words. I'm not a theologian by any means, and I haven't read any background on Matthew 19:12, but to me Jesus is telling them (us) that we have a heavenly father who understands our constitution, our weaknesses, our motives, and our decisions. I take comfort with the thought that He knows us much better than those who seek to impose their views on us.