Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Friday, March 04, 2005

10 commandment Religious Liberty Association

There is a recent release from North American Religious Liberty Association on the 10 commandments, apparently the church is taking a stand without taking a stand. I could find no official SDA site that had the release that was sent out via email to various places. So I will copy the whole thing here from SDANEWS.

SDANEWS: Ten Commandments Controversy
From: North American Religious Liberty Association (
Date: Wed Mar 02 2005 - 22:24:15 EST

Ten Commandments Controversy

It is over 3,300 years since Moses brought two tables of stone down
from Mt. Sinai. Three thousand three hundred years is a long time by
any human reckoning, and yet, the Commandments have never been as
relevant or as controversial as they are today. This week the U.S.
Supreme Court are set to decide if the government can display the Ten
Commandments, and if so, in what context.

Government Displays of the Ten Commandments are Problematic

Whenever the government becomes involved in religion, it is problematic
and the posting of the Ten Commandments is no exception.

• Which version? There are three widely recognized versions of the Ten
Commandments; the Protestant, the Catholic and the Jewish. When the
government decides to display the Commandments written out, it must
choose whose version to endorse. In recent years, edited versions of
the Ten Commandments have been displayed. These edits exclude, for
example, any reference to resting on the seventh day. This exclusion
has profound theological ramifications.

• What does the setting communicate? God placed the Ten Commandments
in the Ark of the Covenant under the Mercy Seat where blood
representing the atoning sacrifice of Christ was sprinkled. This
setting communicates the grace of God who mixes mercy and forgiveness
with judgment. The secular court house is a completely different
context. Here, if a man is guilty, he must pay the price. There is no
blood of Christ sprinkled as an atonement for his wrong doing that sets
him free. Placing the Ten Commandments in the court house setting takes
the heart out of the gospel message.

• Are the arguments accurate? At the heart of the arguments in favor
of government Ten Commandments Monuments is the claim that America’s
laws are based on the Ten Commandments, but is this true? If we look at
the Ten Commandments, only four are commonly found in the legal code,
and three of those are found in virtually all legal codes throughout
history. These three are: 1) Prohibition on killing, 2) Prohibition on
stealing, and 3) Prohibition on lying (American law forbids this in
very specific circumstances). The only laws that are uniquely based on
the Ten Commandments are prohibitions on engaging in certain kinds of
work on Sunday, which are a mistaken attempt to enforce the Fourth
Commandment. There is nothing in our laws about coveting, making graven
images, having gods before God, forcing children to honor their
parents, blasphemy (western nations used to enforce blasphemy laws),
and little if anything left regarding adultery. In truth, the laws of
the United States developed out of a long, complex legal tradition that
reaches back to the dawn of history and includes a broad array of
influences and cover a broad range of issues not even hinted at in the
Ten Commandments (e.g. everything from parking regulations to federal
communications law).

• Is this the right emphasis? There can be no doubt that society has
drifted away from God’s law. Ironically, much of this drift has been
encouraged by churches who have taught that the Ten Commandments were
“nailed to the cross” and therefore are not binding on Christians
today and that, further, it is impossible for those living under God’s
grace to keep them. Before soliciting the state to erect monuments of
the Ten Commandments, churches need to begin lifting up the law of God
as fulfilled in the life of Christ and imbued to His followers by His

Ten Commandments Litigation is Unproductive

Despite the problems surrounding the government posting of the Ten
Commandments, the litigation to have them removed is singularly
unhelpful. This litigation causes serious offense to the general public
for little, if any, gain.

Indeed, after their last Ten Commandments “victory” in Alabama, USA
Today published a pole that found 77% of Americans disagreed with the
removal of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court. There
are times when deeply offending 77% of America may not only be
worthwhile, but essential. This is not one of those cases. The backlash
caused by these cases is likely to hurt religious liberty for decades
to come.

Ideal Way to Communicate a Gospel Focused Message

Because of the uniquely unproductive nature of this litigation, NARLA
has not filed a brief on either side of this case. Rather, NARLA-West
has produced a brochure written by Christa and Alan Reinach and edited
by Cliff Goldstein, explaining the role of the Ten Commandments in our
lives today, and a poster to publicly display.

The brochures and posters are now available to be distributed to
friends, family, colleagues and the press, and can be ordered from the
NARLA website:

This is a great time to talk to our communities about the Ten
Commandments and to engage in our constitutionally protected right to
display them. The “Written on the Heart” brochures and posters are an
ideal way to share the joy found in Christ.

Addendum: The Ten Commandments in the U.S. Supreme Court

Sometimes people are surprised to learn that, yes, even in the U.S.
Supreme Court there are artistic renderings of the Ten Commandments –
in fact two of them. How could the government display of the Ten
Commandments be unconstitutional if the Supreme Court itself displays
these documents?

The back of the Supreme Court (the East Pediment) is where you’ll find
the first example of the Ten Commandments. Most people don’t see this
side of the Court, but it is interesting indeed. The designer of the
sculpture on the East Pediment, Hermon MacNeil, stated that his goal
was to represent “such fundamental laws and precepts as are derived
form the East.” To do this, he designed a sculpture that groups
Confucius, Moses and Solon (the great Athenian law maker) together. To
their left and right are various allegorical figures representing
aspects of the law.

On the north and south walls inside the court are friezes that include
the great lawgivers of history. This is where we find the second
depiction of Moses with the Ten Commandments. Here he is one of
eighteen lawgivers all represented in equal proportion in chronological
order, with the Egyptian Pharaoh Menes first, Hammurabi, King of
Babylon, second, Moses third, followed by lawgivers all the way up to
Napoleon Bonaparte, and including Muhammad and Confucius.

Some people think there is a third display of the Ten Commandments on
the east frieze inside the Court. Here we find a single tablet carved
with the Roman numerals I through X. According to the sculptor, this is
intended to represent the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to
the U.S. Constitution), not the Ten Commandments (hence it is
represented on a single panel, rather than on two tablets of stone).

In conclusion, the Ten Commandments do appear in two places in the
Supreme Court. In both cases, they are in connection with Moses, in one
case in a display of great lawgivers from the East and the second in a
chronological series of lawgivers. In neither case is a particular
version of the Commandments chosen.

We don’t know what the Supreme Court will say about governmental
displays of the Ten Commandments, but we can easily imagine that they
will focus on the context of the display and the intent, as they have
done in other similar cases. If so, they could rule that the displays
in certain contexts violate the Constitution, while in other contexts
– like those found in the Supreme Court building itself – they do not.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Adventism's latest offshoot

Here is an article from the right wing of the SDA movement. The first thing I noticed here is that in the area of offshoots they don't mention people like "Hope International" who produce "our Firm Foundation Magazine" or people like the "The Association of Creation 7th Day Adventists".

Adventism's Latest Offshoot, Pt. 1:

This article co-authored by Pr. Larry Kirkpatrick, Pr. Kevin D. Paulson, and Associate David Qualls on August 12 and 13 and published on August 13, 2004.
The Launch of Adventism's Latest Offshoot

First there was the Messenger Party, then the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement. In short order came the Shepherd's Rod. Herbert W. Armstrong launched the Worldwide Church of God, then along came the Branch Davidians. Next, the Brinsmead group, the post-Glacier View “Gospel Fellowship” movement inspired by Desmond Ford's attack on the sanctuary doctrine, then the Steps to Life home church movement.

Now comes “Mission Catalyst Network.”

A group of (former) Seventh-day Adventist Church employees, who insist that the structure has lost its evangelistic potential, are in the process of forming a break-away organization of churches which will be separate from the denomination that has so long employed them. They insist that they are

An association of churches that embrace the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, are outreach focused, grace oriented, and fully committed to God (, accessed 6:13 p.m. August 12, 2004 PDT).

However, their own published doctrinal mission statement belies this claim. Entirely absent from it is any mention of the investigative judgment, the remnant Church, the prophetic gift as manifest through Ellen G. White, or church standards. Claiming that as a Church they are the “Same cart” but with “new wheels,” the absence of these key features and the presence of others which we shall in this series mention, make clear that this is an altogether different “cart.”

Carefully endeavoring to cloak their true nature, this break-away group, Adventism's newest offshoot, claims it is not separate from us. Yet Scripture warns:

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us (1 John 2:19).

The exact sequence in which events were shaped is not always readily traceable. Some now involved in the Offshoot were terminated in March. The domain name “” was registered in May. Adventist leaders met with Gladden in August. Whatever we may say about what led to what, the separation is here.
Ringleaders in Apostasy

The new offshoot has, of course, its own set of leaders. As the Spirit of Prophecy says, “Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be ring-leaders in apostasy...” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 212). These people, who by and large have been respected as leaders in church planting in the denomination, believe that God is leading them to form a new organization of churches. Their non-profit corporation, their website, their own structures and plans, did not spring up 24 hours ago. It has been a long and laborious pathway to separation. Who are these people?

The names of those associated with this project which follow include both ringleaders in this apostasy and also those who have provided resource papers that hang on the offshoot's website.

The offshoot includes Ron Gladden, until recently employed at North Pacific and Mid-America Unions as Director for Church Planting (As identified by the Adventist Review online at Ron Gladden, “Building Castles for the Kingdom,” accessed August 12, 2004, 7:40 p.m. PDT).

Christianity at Bay, Spectrum article

Another Brillant article, yes true it is mine but I am not biased. When we look at the world today I wonder how anyone can believe that a strict fundamentalist Christian religion will ever become the dominant force in America.

Christianity at Bay

By Ron Corson
(March 2, 2005)

Lately, I find little with which I can agree as I read the opinion pieces in Time magazine. However, I recently read an essay that contained statements with which I could agree.

In her essay "The Battle Is Over, but the War Goes On" (Dec. 6, 2004), author Michelle Cottle posits the following : "Those who think they won on ’moral values’ may be in for a surprise." Cottle notes that liberals are "discombobulating" over the U.S. presidential election in November. But she attempts to comfort them with assurance that they "have the luxury of ignoring conservative America," with only rare intrusions. "Social conservatives, by contrast, cannot escape the world view of blue staters," she asserts. "Every time they go to the movies or turn on the television or open their child’s school books they’re reminded that traditional values ain’t what they used to be."

A cultural shift is happening in the United States, a shift away from traditional values to, as radio commentator Bill O’Reilly would say, a "Progressive Secularism." A media machine seems intent with an agenda for removing Christianity and many traditional values. Progressive Secularism is rampant in the educational system of the United States, from the lofty towers of universities to kindergartens.