Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Chicago Dumps Christmas Story Movie from Christmas Festival

Another example of the type of religious discrimination that is freely practiced in America.

Chicago cancels Nativity

It seems Chicago has nixed upcoming film The Nativity Story from its Christmas festivities.

The Nativity Story stars Whale Rider Oscar nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes and is expected to be a faithful, distinctly non-Passion Of The Christ-style take on the biblical epic.

But Chicago officials are worried that ads for the movie might offend non-Christians and have therefore banned it from the town's parade.

Apparently, local government types are concerned about promoting one religion over another, with a spokesperson saying: "Our guidance was that this very prominently placed advertisement would... be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its foods and unique gifts."

The decision has caused anger among pro-Christmas campaigners who say the decision is about bowing to the forces of change.

One religious group's spokesman says: "The last time I checked, the first six letters of Christmas still spell out Christ."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pastors Less Informed About Culture in America

The Adventist Review Newsletter linked to an interesting article by Baptist Press entitled: Is the church out of touch? asks LifeWay culture survey

The article points out that pastors are less informed about popular culture then their church members. The concluding paragraph states:

Sellers also noted that one criticism people often have about churches is that they are out of touch with the world around them. “The data shows ministers are, generally speaking, not all that informed about the culture in which they seek to minister. The people in the pews feel much more informed about the Internet, movies, videogames and other expressions of popular culture than do their pastors. People are definitely impacted by the culture they consume -– the websites they visit or the music they listen to, for instance. Pastors need to be informed about what’s out there in order to understand how the culture is influencing the people they are trying to reach,” Sellers said.
There was however one area where the ministers felt they were better informed and that was the area of politics:

Ministers tend to stay most informed about politics, with 36 percent saying they are very informed about the subject and another 55 percent saying they are somewhat informed. This is the only category in the study about which ministers feel better informed than the laity, with 29 percent of all churchgoers feeling very informed about politics and another 47 percent feeling somewhat informed.
The area's of popular culture were:
12 facets of today’s culture: books, music, sports, celebrities, television programs, politics, magazines, radio and TV talk shows, movies, the Internet, video and computer games, and clothing and fashion.
Granted a lot of that stuff is garbage. I get a free issue of Spin magazine and reading about a lot of the new groups shows just how worthless they are to society. But there always are exceptions and quality. Those exceptions can be found in all of the above areas and are worthy of consideration.

This leaves the minister in the position of needing to be intellectually and culturally relevant. But then again isn't that the same position for all of us. In our world or the world of old it is rarely the uninformed who have an impact.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lesson 9

There is an interesting development in the book of Genesis which I doubt many noticed either in the last lesson or this lesson. When the men came and told Abram that God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah Abram said:

(Gen 18:20-24 NIV) Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.

Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?

Up until this time the question of Justice by God has never been broached. Adam and Eve kicked out of Eden no question about if it was right or not, not even the serpent had anything to say about that. Noah does not ask God what if there are some innocent people in the world about to be destroyed by a flood.

Now however justice as a concept is considered. We are moving from the Almighty God creator of everything and unquestioned ruler to a view which looks at what makes up the elements of God. Genesis 20 brings up the idea of justice again:

(Gen 20:1-5 NIV) Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, "She is my sister." Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman." Now Abimelech had not gone near her, so he said, "Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation?

Did he not say to me, 'She is my sister,' and didn't she also say, 'He is my brother'? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands."

Genesis is beginning to become more complicated with these developments; God has to even explain Himself to the Pagans. By our standards today we would not assume that a King taking a woman against her will to be an act of clean hands and a clear conscience. But in the ancient world Kings had rights which most would equate with selfishness and power abuse. Genesis of course is just an introduction into the world we see however and its stories reflect the time and customs of those early days of Israel.

Abram lived very pragmatically according to the story in Genesis. He realized that the power of the ruler of the days could have taken his life and taken his wife and they would have still thought they had clean hands. The lesson study guide like many people seems content to be content with pointing out sin even though according to Genesis Abram could not have known that much about God. Just a few verses ago God moves through the cut animals as a sign of divination to show that the promise of the great nation is true. God is reaching to a primitive man in a primitive time in a primitive manner, yet many Christians simply assume far too much knowledge on the part of those in the stories. The Bible stories on the other hand do not support such conclusions. The stories present men of incomplete knowledge and very human characteristics, yet these are the hero’s of the faith.

With the birth of Isaac the most obvious question is why so long after the promise is the start of fulfillment given. If God had given Sara a son sooner there would have been no need for Hagar to have given Abram a son, and the conflict with the Arab nations would have never occurred. The most logical answer is that the story is meant to explain the conflict of nations with Israel. This was the method also used with Lot having incestuous relations with his daughters in the previous lesson.

(Gen 19:36-38 NIV) So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father.

The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab ; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi ; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

As is consistent with the rest of Genesis the concept is to explain the world that Israel finds itself in. Through Adam, through Noah, and now through Abraham’s line all the nations are related. All those nations being the only nations they knew about anyway since the history is only related to the Middle Eastern region.

The Lesson States on Tuesday November 28:

Of the many Old Testament stories, this one is not only one of the most powerful, one of the most moving, and one of the most Messianic (in that we see the death of Jesus, God's Son, prefigured) but also one of the most difficult to understand. Even if we grasp that Abraham's need to display his faith (after so many repeated failures in that area), even when we understand his need to be willing to die to self and all that mattered to him—to be asked to do this by God? And to obey? Whatever else we can get from this story, it should show us all the paucity of our own faith and the realization that in the great controversy between good and evil we are dealing with issues that go far beyond what we, as sinners, can understand fully.

The story of Abraham and Isaac actually prefigures the sacrificial system of the Israelites. Of course since the story was written after the sacrificial system was inaugurated to even say that it prefigures the system may be inaccurate. It might be better to say that it is meant to connect the sacrificial system with the Patriarch. Isaac was not meant to be a human sacrifice offered by his father. The sacrifice was only meant to point out that Abraham was willing to follow God even if it meant destroying the only source for the fulfillment of God’s promise.

(Heb 11:19 NIV) Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

(James 2:21-22 NIV) Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

Nowhere in the New Testament is the death of Jesus in any way linked with Isaac. The story simply does not fit with the means to salvation that Jesus supplied. Jesus was not an offering to God, He was a sacrifice offered by God for our benefit. In fact we often misread the sacrificial system to think that is was something done so that God could forgive us, but this is not what the New Testament tells us. It is what church tradition over the last several hundred years tells us, but not the Bible.

Interestingly we are linked to Isaac in the New Testament. As we are like Isaac children of the promise and we though we were dead in sin (as figurative as Isaac) are raised to a new life.

(Gal 4:28-29 NIV) Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Spectrum Blog, Stay Off!

This past week Alex over at Spectrum Blog sent me an email expressing a desire to discuss the more political things with an exchange to be posted on my blog, Spectrum Blog is mainly political in its posts.

I was thinking about doing that with him but then he sent me another E-mail with the following as his concluding statement:

Also, I'm bored with your whining on the Spectrum Blog. Apparently you're not familiar with the 35-year history of Spectrum and the Association of Adventist Forums. Yes, we talk about issues with political implications, both inside our church and without. If you don't like reading it, don't read it. I don't tell you how to run your blog - so stay off mine. How's that for a good libertarian principle.

That statement certainly defines his political views (as I discovered with other E-mails and posts he made on To disagree with Alex is to whine, to suggest alternatives is to whine, and yes even the links to factual data, is to whine. Clearly this is not the method of someone seeking a reasoned debate. It is certainly not a libertarian principle. Libertarians would not seek to tell those of differing opinions to stay off. According to Libertarian Principles Alex’s concluding sentence violates two of them (and there are only about 6 principles):

That all people are entitled to choose their own lifestyles, as long as they do not forcibly impose their values on others.

That the voluntary and unrestricted exchange of goods and services is fundamental to a peaceful and harmonious society.

Therefore if my posts were in reality whining Alex should say “more power to you” if he was behaving as a Libertarian. As a Libertarian he would say that the exchange of ideas on the Spectrum Blog should be unrestricted.

In any case I did not want my blog to get bogged down in politics anyway even if it was only to be a temporary situation. So I will honor Alex’s request, though I don’t think he is operating at all upon the tradition of Spectrum Magazine and certainly is very far from the perspectives of the Association of Adventist Forums. It is a shame that a more mature and thoughtful person was not chosen to lead the Spectrum Blog. As an often dissenting voice in Adventism, Spectrum is an important institution but I will not longer be reading the Spectrum Blog as per Alex’s request.

To Pardon, Legal Fiction

Why every year do turkeys get pardoned by the President?

What was their crime, what do they need to be pardoned for?

Mercy it appears is not a well understood concept in the Western world. We seem to prefer everything in legal terms even when no legality is involved.

It is little wonder that when we read of Jesus' death at the hands of men that we assume it is some kind of divine legal action upon sin rather then a manifestation of mercy offered by God even while men were executing the innocent One. Forgiveness is mecy granted and it requires no legal manipulation.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thankful For Adventism

Alex over at Spectrum Blog asked other bloggers to write up a "what I'm thankful for in Adventism" post for Thanksgiving.

Normally I find the, "what I am thankful for" questions to be superfluous but the specificity of Adventism is an interesting wrinkle. Though my answer maybe equally superfluous

The Pilgrims in 1621 celebrated a feast which we use as the model for our Thanksgiving tradition. There is only one account of the feast.

This is the way the feast was described in a first-hand account presumably by a leader of the colony, Edward Winslow, as it appears in Mourt's Relation:

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, Many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

The Pilgrim’s plenty was related to their hard work and the bounty of the land which was so hard on them just the year before. But the time of the feast was a time of plenty and hope for the future, no organization was responsible for their success or failures.

So what does this have to do with being thankful for in Adventism?

Adventism is what we make it, Adventism can be a totalitarian uncompromising religion or it can be a rational and pluralistic religion. We have the power to mold Adventism. We can dwell in the past or the hard times like the Pilgrims endured; focusing on the past, dwelling on the struggles or we can enjoy what is plentiful and desire to share our good fortune. It is our hope found in God's revelation in the Christian religion whether found in Adventism or any other denomination which spurs us on. We are not there yet, we are not done yet and I are thankful for the journey.

Friday, November 17, 2006

"The U2 Eucharist"

Saw this over at and thought it was interesting. Some of the comments in the article are to a large degree B.S. there are real Christian bands out there with more poetic and thoughtful lyrics. Of course you don't hear them on most christian radio stations but they are out there none the less for those who don't want overt Christian lyrics (This is interesting as in the early days of Contemporary Christian Music people complained that the lyrics could be taken in multiple ways, and now we see ministers complaining that CCM is too overt). They should just admit that this is a technique to reach out to popular culture via the group U2. Though the use of them for a yearly AID's benefit or something is probably a good idea.

From USA Today Here is the article in entirety so you don't have to click them buttons to use the internet as Larry King might say:

Rocking the church

When Anglican Archbishop Thomas Cranmer compiled the Book of Common Prayer during the 16th century, he wanted to make the prayers accessible, so he wrote in English, not Latin, and made sure it was distributed to every church.

About 450 years later, there is another attempt to make prayers more accessible — by an Irish bard who wears wrap-around shades instead of a clerical collar.

It may not qualify as a mini-Reformation, but a Communion service driven by the music of singer Bono and his U2 bandmates is catching on at Episcopal churches across the country.

The U2 Eucharist is not some kind of youth service held in the church basement but is a traditional Episcopal liturgy that uses U2's best-selling songs as hymns.

“It makes you, like, warm inside,” says Bridgette Roberts, 15, who is a Roman Catholic and attended a recent U2 Eucharist at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. “Usually at church, you love Jesus and everything. But this way you can express how you feel.”

Says her friend, Natalie Williams, 17: “I love Bono, and you can rock out to the music. But in church, you hear it in a different way. It's like new.”

The Rev. Paige Blair, an Episcopal priest in York Harbor, Maine, came up with the idea and held the first service at her church on July 31, 2005, displaying U2's lyrics on a screen by the altar. Since then, she informally has consulted with about 150 churches that have had U2 Eucharists, or plan to, in 15 states and seven countries.

Interest in the service is spreading by word of mouth alone, although Blair's church is starting what it calls a “U2-charist team” to take the liturgy on the road.

Much of U2's songbook is explicitly Christian and perfectly suitable for a worship service, even if some people might need time to get used to the idea, Blair says.

“Bach and Handel were the popular music of their day, and they had trouble getting played in church. The Methodist hymn writers once wrote contemporary music. Are we worshiping Bono? Absolutely not. No more so than we worship Martin Luther when we sing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.

Churches increasingly have borrowed the beats and melodies of popular music — rock, country, rap — since the 1960s, just as blues and R&B once influenced gospel music arrangements. Today, an entire Christian music industry borrows from everything in pop music except sex-obsessed lyrics.

U2 somehow seems to live in rock music's hedonistic world — without being of it.

“A lot of contemporary Christian music has such locked-down, straightforward meaning that you can't play with it,” says Lutheran Rev. Christian Scharen, director of the Faith as a Way of Life Project at Yale Divinity School and author of a new book, One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God.

“U2 is good at the art, using language like a poet would, like the classic hymn language. Listen to their lesser-known song Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car, which is about grace. We mess up, but God is merciful. That's playful.”

The U2 Eucharist can vary from church to church, but a key part is an offering for Bono's campaign to eradicate extreme poverty and global AIDS.

“It's a big reason that this has taken off as a movement,” Blair says. “It's what Bono and the band are passionate about.”

A spokesman said U2 is rehearsing and unavailable for comment.

Permissions haven't been an issue; churches that use U2's music for a one-time, non-commercial service do not need permission, says the band's record label, Universal Music Group.

At the service in Briarcliff Manor, the opening hymn was U2's Pride (In the Name of Love). About 110 people filled the tiny church, most of whom were not parishioners. They warbled tentatively at first, as images of Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and others appeared on a large screen, but many were singing out before long. As worshipers approached the communion rail, Bono's recorded voice sang “Let it go/ Surrender/ Dislocate” from the song Bad.

“Tonight is a call to action,” said the Rev. Timothy Schenck, the church's rector. “It's about living out our faith in the world, something, I'm embarrassed to admit, that Bono does better than many professional Christians.”

The Christian themes in U2's music have been widely recognized since their 1981 album, October. But from the start, some have not been comfortable with Bono's regular criticisms of church leadership or his unwillingness to identify with any Christian tradition.

“Bono has said repeatedly that Christianity without an element of social justice is empty,” said a 2003 editorial in Christianity Today. “We agree. But a Christian's pleading for social justice without worshiping God regularly within the community of the church is little more than activism for its own sake.”

Still, there has been little criticism of the U2 Eucharist, even from traditionalists within the deeply divided denomination.

“The U2 Eucharist is simply another form of music used to celebrate the Lord's supper and bring people into the presence of God through worship,” says the Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton of the Anglican Communion Network.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lesson Recap; Why Stories of Power

Now that we have gone through the more general stories of the first 11 chapters of Genesis it is time to ask some questions about what these stories have said about God. I said general stories because the stories so far have in many cases dealt with the whole world; the creation, the flood, the scattering of mankind at Babel. While the stories have been general and may have been thought to be universal they really have only had a very narrow focus upon life in the Middle East. The Ancient worlds of China or South America have no application to the material in the book of Genesis.

However we may view the book of Genesis today it is very likely that to the Israelite the stories in the book of Genesis were treated as actual events. It is also just as likely that the stories they had heard in Egypt, the myths about the Egyptian gods, the creation stories were also held at some time to be accurate accounts also. It is only with the passing of time and the increase in knowledge that people began to see stories as myths, meanings that do not depend upon holding the story as historical truth. From our perspective as Christians it is nearly impossible to separate the stories of Genesis from the expanse of Old Testament and New Testament documents. But it may be important for us to consider the meaning of these stories from both perspectives.

What was God like to the Israelites? God begins by creating the world and then kicks man out of paradise for disobedience. Cain kills his brother and is given a mark for protection and sent to wander the earth, rather similar to the exile from Eden actually. Violence increases and God destroys the world with a flood. After the flood man wants to make a name and stay together. God sees that nothing is impossible to man and comes down and confuses their language to spread them apart. There are certainly some wonderful tidbits within the story such as after the flood the words about the life being in the blood and that no man should kill another because they are made in the image of God.

But what is the image of God that we see in these stories. Is it a God of love? What has God done by His destruction? From the Israelite perspective the destruction is balanced with deliverance and the establishment of the nation of Israel. In fact that is what the whole of Genesis is really about, the establishment of the nation chosen by God to inherit the Promised Land. Even with our advantage of having the rest of the Bible we are left with a very similar view as would be held by the early Israelites. That is that all this is about the establishment of the nation of Israel, we just go farther with the addition of the Messiah through whom reconciliation between God and man is made and the promise of a new World is presented.

What we have to ask ourselves is what was God trying to accomplish with the spectacular of power in such events as the flood. First of all if we assume it is a universal flood then it seems a bit of overkill. But even if it was universal what did it accomplish. Within a few years it seems there were equally wicked people once again asserting their desires upon the less powerful. Nations and kingdoms arise and fall and evil often rises and falls as well. These demonstrations of power did not seem to establish respect for God let alone any love for God among the people who were subjected to the power.

What if the stories were meant to have application to those who were recently freed from slavery and were part of the chosen nation? Then the stories would be encouraging to those people. Theirs was a God of power; theirs was a God with a plan and who stood against evil in the world. It is the first step in the process. For God to be God among the many Gods He had to establish Himself as the authority and the God in control. This may not be the way we want to see God today as we prefer the God of love, but it was the crucial step in the acknowledgement of God to Israel. In a polytheistic world the step toward the one true God is defined by the power of that One True God. In the monotheistic world it is the character of God that is all important. The Old Testament, the stories are leading us in a step by step process in understanding God and ourselves.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lesson 6 Babel without the Babble

Have you ever wondered why we add so much to the stories in Genesis? Think about that some time. Perhaps write down what you think a particular story in Genesis says and then read the story and see how accurate you were. As an example what was the tower of Babel for? If you are like me you were told and believed for years that it was because they wanted to have a possible escape should God send another flood. But that idea is no where in the story. But the story is critical to the goal of Genesis which is the establishment of the nation of Israel in the Promised Land. The story is a link in that chain. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary gives a good description of what appears to be the author’s intent in this story. Maybe this will help us grow in our understanding and away from the idea of literalism that never made much sense and always needed speculative additions to have any real meaning.

The first scene of the story of the building of Babylon opens outside the "plain in Shinar" (v. 2). The narrative specifically notes that the builders "moved eastward" (miqqedem) to the plain where they founded the city. It seems important that we picture the starting point of the events of the story as a "land" (see Notes) west of Babylon. The builders started out in the land and moved eastward to build Babylon. It can hardly be without importance that the author has provided the story with such a geographical orientation. As early as Genesis 3, the author has shown his interest in marking the directions of travel taken in man's search for a home. When the man and his wife were driven from the garden because they had chosen the knowledge of good and evil for themselves, they were made to settle in a land "eastward" (miqqedem) from the garden (3:24). When Cain was cast out from the presence of God because he refused God's instruction, he went to dwell in a land "east of Eden" (qidmath 4:16). When Lot divided from Abraham and sought for himself a land "like the garden of the LORD," he moved "toward the east" (miqqedem) while Abraham remained in the land (13:10-12).

In light of such intentional uses of the notion of "eastward" within the Genesis narratives, we can see that here too the author intentionally draws the story of the founding of Babylon into the larger scheme at work throughout the book. It is a scheme that contrasts God's way of blessing (e.g., Eden and the Promised Land) with man's own attempt to find the "good." In the Genesis narratives, when man goes "east," he leaves the land of blessing (Eden and the Promised Land) and goes to a land where the greatest of his hopes will turn to ruin (Babylon and Sodom).

The central question surrounding this story is why God judged the builders of the city. Though the story is quite brief, the author has left the reader with definite, though subtle, indications of the story's meaning. The clues lie in the repetition of key words within the story, key words that also tie the story to the larger narrative context. We have already made note of the importance of the word "name" (shem) within the larger context of chapters 10 through 12. Within the story itself, the word shem also plays a central role. First, according to the builders of the city, the reason for building a city was "to make a name [shem]" for themselves (v. 4). Second, the conclusion of the story returns to the "name" (shem) of the city, ironically associating it (Babylon/Babel) with the confusion (balal) of their language (v. 9). Thus the builders' attempt to make a name for themselves is a central feature of the story both in terms of the internal structure of the story and its linking with the surrounding narratives.

The term "scattered" (pus v. 4) is another key word that ties the story together internally and externally with the surrounding narratives. The purpose of the city was so that its inhabitants would not "be scattered [pus] over the face of the whole earth" (v. 4). Ironically, at the conclusion of the story it is the Lord who "scattered" (pus) the builders from the city "over the face of the whole earth" (v. 8), a fact repeated twice at the conclusion (vv. 8-9).

The expression "the whole land" (kol-ha'ares) is a third key term in the story. The people had left "the whole land [NIV, "world']" (v. 1) to build a city in the east. The purpose of the city was to keep them from being scattered throughout "the whole land" (kol ha'ares v. 4). But in response the Lord reversed their plan and scattered them over "all the land" (kol-ha'ares vv. 8-9).

The story of the founding of the city of Babylon has been carefully constructed around key terms and ideas. The people of the land are at first united as one people sharing one language and living in the "land" (v. 1). They moved "eastward" (v. 2) and built a city to make a name for themselves so as not to be scattered over the land. When God saw their plan, he initiated a counterplan, one that resulted in the very thing the city builders were attempting to prevent: "the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole land" (v. 8).

Although by itself the story of the building of Babylon makes good enough sense as the story of man's plans thwarted in God's judgment, its real significance lies in its ties to the themes developed in the surrounding narratives. The focus of the author since the beginning chapters of the Book of Genesis has been both on God's plan to bless mankind by providing him with that which is "good" and on man's failure to trust God and enjoy the "good" God had provided. The characteristic mark of man's failure up to this point in the book has been his attempt to grasp the "good" on his own rather than trust God to provide it for him. The author has centered his description of God's blessing on the gift of the land: "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth" (1:28). The good land is the place of blessing. To leave this land and to seek another is to forfeit the blessing of God's good provisions. It is to live "east of Eden."

Within this context the events of the story of the building of the city of Babylon take on a greater range of significance. As Cain left the land and went eastward (qidmath -`eden 4:16) and there built a city (4:17), the people, who were once united in the land (the last-mentioned location of the sons of Noah was the garden planted by Noah, 9:20), left the land, moved "eastward," and founded their own (lanu v. 4; NIV, "ourselves") city, there to make a name for themselves (lanu). God, who saw that their plans would succeed, moved to rescue them from those very plans and return them to the land and the blessing that awaited there.

The story of the building of Babylon ends with only a hint of a return to the land of blessing; but in the continuation of the Genesis narratives (chs. 12 ff.), the next series of events brings God's plans into sharp focus: "The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.... I will make your name great and you will be a blessing'" (12:1-2).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lesson 6 The Earth After the Flood

For this Lesson Study critique I will begin at the end of the week’s lesson because what is said at the end is interspersed throughout the rest of the lesson and we need to deal with it

Friday November 10 the parts in light green were not printed in the lesson study guide:

Geologists claim to find evidence from the earth itself that it is very much older than the Mosaic record teaches. Bones of men and animals, as well as instruments of warfare, petrified trees, et cetera, much larger than any that now exist, or that have existed for thousands of years, have been discovered, and from this it is inferred that the earth was populated long before the time brought to view in the record of creation, and by a race of beings vastly superior in size to any men now living. Such reasoning has led many professed Bible believers to adopt the position that the days of creation were vast, indefinite periods. {PP 112.2}

But apart from Bible history, geology can prove nothing. Those who reason so confidently upon its discoveries have no adequate conception of the size of men, animals, and trees before the Flood, or of the great changes which then took place. Relics found in the earth do give evidence of conditions differing in many respects from the present, but the time when these conditions existed can be learned only from the Inspired Record. In the history of the Flood, inspiration has explained that which geology alone could never fathom. In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood--the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them. (p. 113) {PP 112.3}

Ellen White, is speaking scientifically, woefully ignorant. I could spend a lot of space just posting quotes from her, that are frankly completely wrong. But hopefully a few brief examples will suffice. You can read 7 examples at Mrs. White's Top 7 Science-Defying Statements

Volcanoes caused by underground coal fires, her belief in the amalgamation of man and beast still seen in certain races today and as I have already in earlier lessons mentioned her beliefs about gold and gem stones being hidden by the flood waters yet amazingly they appear in specific strata of rock rather then randomly found.

Even her reports of what scientist’s believed may not be very accurate. There have not been found bones of men vastly superior in size then modern man. It may be that she is referring to the Cardiff giant which we know was a hoax, but maybe she believed it was true. It is likely that this hoax influenced several of Ellen Whites interpretations. The Cardiff giant was said to be ten feet high and have 21 inch feet.

Ellen White writes:

As man came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of lofty stature and perfect symmetry. His countenance bore the ruddy tint of health and glowed with the light of life and joy. Adam's height was much greater than that of men who now inhabit the earth. Eve was somewhat less in stature; yet her form was noble, and full of beauty. The sinless pair wore no artificial garments; they were clothed with a covering of light and glory, such as the angels wear. So long as they lived in obedience to God, this robe of light continued to enshroud them. Patriachs and Prophets page 46

There are ice age animals which were much larger then modern animals, such as the Giant Beaver Short faced bear Mammoths and of course the pre ice age dinosaurs of tremendous size. But not large humans.

What about the influence of Ellen White upon Adventists today? In Tim Jennings lesson study for this lesson he makes the following statement when quoting from Ellen White Patriarchs and Prophets page 90:

Listen to the description of “their wood was of fine grain and hard substance, closely resembling stone, and hardly less enduring...” What does that sound like? Petrified wood maybe petrified wood is wood from the pre flood trees. (about minute 25)

The above statement is made by a highly educated professional. Yet with the inclusion of the word “maybe” he is willing to question all the science, all the evidence of the location of petrified wood in order to submit a fanciful interpretation based upon Ellen White.

The Lesson Study Guide for Monday November 6:

With these verses, we see again the results of sin, of God acknowledging the reality of what life will be like for human beings in a fallen world. It's very interesting, too, that the command against eating blood is something that clearly predates anything Jewish, anything linked with the Levitical laws of cleanliness and uncleanliness. Centuries later, in the book of Acts (15:20, 29), the Gentile converts were admonished to, among other things, abstain from blood, more than likely a clear reference to what was happening here in Genesis (see also Lev. 17:11, 1 Pet. 1:19).

Once again the Lesson Study Guide author works under the assumption that the story here is something given before all the Jewish laws given at Sinai. This is critical to the assumptions that fill these lessons. It allows them to assume many things which are not mentioned at all in the stories. However it is pretty clear that the stories are meant to be read from the perspective of the Jewish people under the Jewish sacrificial system with its ceremonial practices. Further we have no doubt that the stories in Genesis were recorded well after the events potentially occurred and after the exodus from Egypt. The only way the lesson guide author can make his statement above with some accuracy would be if the stories were known to be told before the Jewish laws. That however cannot be determined from the writings in Genesis.

The Lesson Study Guide for Wednesday November 8:

What is fascinating among Peter's words is his statement that the scoffers will say that "all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" (2 Pet. 3:4). These verses point to a dramatic fulfillment of prophecy that has been especially revealed in the past century and a half. Science has proposed a geological interpretation that favors long ages, rather than a sudden catastrophe like the Flood, to account for the surface condition of the earth. In other words, things just keep on as they have before; many of the massive canyons and rock formations didn't come, we are told, by some sudden catastrophe but simply were the result of things continuing as they were from the beginning of creation; they're there only from a long uniform progression of events.

What is really interesting is that in 2 Peter, he is referring to creationists. The scoffers are scoffing about God’s judgment. Their evil desires over ruled their respect for God, the reference to the flood story points out the same type of disregard for God in Peter’s day as those of the past. We must always remember that the “end times”, “last days” are New Testament references which commenced during the New Testament time period.

Does modern science discount catastrophes such as floods? Of course not, Kansas used to be Oceans, much of America was under ice then and when the ice melting huge lakes formed and with the break down of ice dams huge surface changes occurred by water. What science does not do is attribute all this to a world wide flood because it simply does not work. Here in the Northwest we see abundant Ice Age evidence, glacial polish upon the Granite of our mountains, cirques and end moraines. The evidence that many claim to be from the universal flood is not very likely to have occurred at the supposed universal flood, even if one accepted a universal flood what we see is not the product of it. Multiple times areas of the North American continent have been under the sea. Growing up in Oregon I remember finding shells on our farm and thinking they were from the flood. Yet it does not work at all if we assume as many SDA’s do that coal and oil are products of the universal flood catastrophe, buried deep underground yet here we see shells on the surface or as Tim Jennings supposes pre flood wood that is hard as stone on the surface of deserts.

Unfortunately many Christians are being lead unquestioningly through a series of illogical propositions. And worse yet our own church has sought to stifle questions and research. This may explain why the topic of Genesis has come up again so soon in the Sabbath School Quarterlies as the church tries to reinforce the manufactured official statement (Statement about 6 literal days of creation voted at the last General Session) after all the Faith and Science conferences of the past few years. But that is another subject for another time.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Reminder of What Adventist Lesson Discussions Often Are.

Over at Club Adventist they have a Lesson Study section
They have placed the following introduction to the section. Maybe someday they will have a good discussion using the following rules where they all agree with the lesson study guide, though as of the last couple of years that has not happened. I have noticed that there really are a lot of people who find a blessing in being led without questioning. I doubt those kind of people visit this blog however, but they are invited. (Oh the link he offers is just to a general theology discussion area)
WHAT THIS IS... it is a place where people can study the weekly Sabbath School Lesson as a group. I so appreciate the work that James puts into this.

WHAT THIS IS NOT... it is NOT a place where those who constantly disagree with the teaching of the lesson should take the blessing away of those who enjoy it.

The negativity has destroyed forums like this in the past.

If you want to disagree with a generally accepted belief of Adventist then please go to another forum such as this one

When people are studying a lesson, or going though a book together, they should not have to be defensive with those who are not supportive of the study.

It kills the pleasure defending every comment that is made..

Too many people have been turned off by those who feel they need to argue every little trivial point.

That is just how it is.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Douglas Clark's Article on Spectrum Website

The Spectrum website posted an article that is interesting about the recurring theme in Genesis of accounts of human foibles and divine correction, the salient points are excepted here:

Collapse, Correction, and Rescue: A Deluge of Questions
By Douglas R. Clark

Genesis 6–9 is part of what scholars call the "Primeval Prologue," Genesis 1–11, which differs somewhat from what follows in Genesis 12 and beyond with its universal perspective and "prehistorical" flavor. A remarkable collection of accounts about divine origins of the earth and human faith and foibles, Genesis 1–11 proposes five cycles of collapse, correction, and gracious rescue, the fourth of which is the Flood Story. These can be represented as follows:

  1. Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. All was "very good" until Adam and Eve collapsed under the temptation to arrogance in the face of God’s command about the tree. The corrective measure involved death on the day of eating the fruit, but God kindly intervened, rescuing the pair for reasons known only to grace.
  2. Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1–16. Cain succumbed to the rash decision to murder his brother, an act that did not result, as we might expect, in the punishment of "life for life," but in hard labor and exile east of Eden. Graciously, God protected Cain’s life with a visible mark, allowing him to marry and raise a family.
  3. Lamech and his wives in Genesis 4:23–24. While the cycle of collapse, correction and rescue only partially unfolds here, Lamech ascends to arrogance, taking on himself the right to murder in revenge for an injury, thereby violating also the principle of "limb for limb." Neither expressions of punishment nor gracious intervention appear in this cycle.
  4. Noah and the flood in Genesis 6–9. Because of disastrous and disgusting moral human collapse, God brings about the corrective response of a massive inundation intended to wipe out every living thing, only to intervene graciously by saving people and beasts in the ark of safety and pledging no repeat performances like this one—ever.
  5. The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Arrogance again figures in the downfall of humans as they try to rise to the heavens. God confuses their language, thus preventing further construction of both the tower and the hubris it represents. Grace comes not so much in this story, but in the subsequent appearance of Abraham in Genesis 12.

The Flood Story thus does not occur in a vacuum. In context, it represents an increase in the intensity of human collapse to the point of a totally engulfing storm of evil and guilt. It reflects a rise in corrective punishment with the watery burial of everything known to humans. It also conveys increased divine favor, driven only by grace knows what, to rescue, redeem, and reclaim humanity and the world.

I like the concept but it has inserted a few things which aren’t really in the stories rather they are insertions placed in the story by various traditions. For instance in the Adam and Eve story Clark says:

The corrective measure involved death on the day of eating the fruit, but God kindly intervened, rescuing the pair for reasons known only to grace.

This is not found in the story. They are expelled from the garden. The verse was never meant to imply that they would die on the very day they ate the fruit. If it did then God would have lied to Adam and Eve. The concept of God lying to people is something that the author of Genesis would never have considered to be an appropriate interpretation. The point of the story is man fails but God does what He says He will do. The only viable interpretation is that the translation of “day” is idiomatic for “when”. So we don’t have a story with unexplained grace we have actions, with results and consequences. Indeed instead of gracious rescue the stories tell of consequences but the consequences do not show abandonment by God. God remains active even when the people fail.

Clark is more accurate in number 2:

Graciously, God protected Cain’s life with a visible mark, allowing him to marry and raise a family.

You can see why in some ways that Clark wanted to rewrite the Adam and Eve story. It is a little harder to say that God graciously kicked them out of Eden so that they would no longer have access to the Tree of Life. To the traditional Christian it sounds better that God had promised to kill them on the day they ate the fruit and then He graciously decided not to kill them just to expel them. Why the idea of a God saying sin and I will kill you is more attractive to most Christians I don’t know. It is I suppose the siren call of traditionalism as put forth in the penal theory of Atonement generated in the latter part of the Middle Ages. Where the God who promises to kill you is gracious if instead He kills someone else, someone innocent, and let’s the guilty go free. Naturally to make such a travesty seem acceptable the vague story of Creation is the place to start. Fertile ground for speculative additions that it is.

Clark has done well in pointing out to us the replication of the idea of man’s sinfulness and God’s character which does not abandon the sinner. That of course is the focus of Genesis as we move into the promised nation who will in time bring forth the promised Messiah and the reconciliation of all things as the Bible in small steps leads us through the journey of learning about God and ourselves.

Noah's Flood and the Black Sea Flood has a very good article on the flood and the Black Sea flood. Here are a few excerpts:

Two senior scientists from Columbia University have proposed a theory that a massive transfer of water occurred about 5600 BCE - over seven and a half millennia ago. They wrote: "Ten cubic miles of water poured through each day, two hundred times what flows over Niagara Falls." "The Bosporus flume roared and surged at full spate for at least three hundred days." 60,000 square miles of land were inundated. 1 The Black Sea shoreline significantly expanded to the north and east. The lake's its water level was raised many hundreds of feet. It changed from a fresh-water landlocked lake into a salt water lake connected to the world's oceans.

They have drawn on the findings of experts in agriculture, archaeology, genetics, geology, language, development of textiles and pottery, etc. They postulate that this deluge had catastrophic effects on the people living on the shore of the Black Sea. It triggered mass migrations across Europe and into the Near East, Middle East and Egypt. It may have been the source of many flood stories in the area. Some researchers believe that the story of Noah's flood in the Biblical book of Genesis is a myth that had its origin in this cataclysmic event.

Did the Noahic flood story originate in the Black Seas event?

As noted above, conservative Christians generally believe that God prevented the authors of Genesis from making any errors in writing. They believe that the Noahic flood must have happened precisely as the Bible says. The story was derived from the events of a world-wide flood, circa 2350 BCE. It was not based on a local flood of the Black Sea in the 6th millennium BCE. To many conservative Christians, the 6th millennium BCE did not exist, since they believe that the world was created circa 4004 BCE.

Many mainline Christians, liberal Christians, secularists and others are open to the theory that the Genesis flood story was not based on an actual, world-wide flood. Archaeologists have found two truly ancient versions of the flood story which were written down "over two millennia after the [Black Sea] event:"

One in Sumerian "the language of the first known writing, a language with no known roots and no known descendants" and

The other In Akkadia, "one of the ancient tongues of the Semitic language group to which the Arabic dialects and Hebrew belong."

Linguists are able to trace elements of languages back before they were first written down. William Ryan and Walter Pitman claim that "It is possible through linguistics to tie these people together, with speakers of other languages at about the time of the flood and to the region of the Black Sea." 6

The Babylonian flood myth in the Epic of Gilgamesh is generally regarded as having been derived from these earlier flood stories. The Epic dates back to the third millennium BCE. The Epic, in turn, appears to be a main source of the flood stories in Genesis. According to the Documentary Hypothesis, there were originally two stories written in Hebrew by two unknown authors, called "J" and "P." These were interleaved into the single Genesis account by a redactor (editor) called "R." There are about 20 points of similarity between the Bible story and the flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh. 5 The Hebrew version is a monotheistic re-writing of the original Babylonian polytheistic text.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lesson 5 Destruction and Renewel

Lesson 5 for October 28 introduces the flood with a supposed conversation that concludes:

"Fine, but why should we believe in something that has never happened before? The scientists say it isn't feasible; the philosophers say it violates natural law. Water rises from the earth each morning as a mist; it doesn't drop out of the sky, right?"

As with the creation story our lesson speculates about the world to fill in the gaps of the Genesis stories. For some reason Ellen White believed that rain had never fallen on earth until the flood. This idea is not presented in the Bible, it is taken from the second creation account which described a world before any plants or animals or life existed.

GE 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-- GE 2:5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth n and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth n and there was no man to work the ground, GE 2:6 but streams n came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground—

There is no indication in the flood story that rain had never fallen. In fact if one were to assume that the earth was watered with streams that came up from the earth, flood waters could occur without even the need of rain. (Gen 6:17 NIV) I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.

Rain is not even mentioned till Gen 7:4:

Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."

But then the story says nothing about Noah telling the world about the coming flood either. 2 Peter 2:5 calls Noah a preacher of righteousness however as the Expositor’s Bible Commentary says:

5 Peter's second example is the Flood. He has referred to it in his first letter (3:18-22) and will do so again in the next chapter of this one (3:5-6). Noah was the "eighth" (ogdoos) meaning there were seven others saved with him (wife, three sons, and daughters-in-law). They were guarded or protected by God during the Flood that wiped out the ungodly antediluvian civilization. Noah was a herald (keryx) of righteousness. This could refer to his preaching activity not recorded in the OT or to the fact that his lifestyle condemned sin and proclaimed righteousness to his contemporaries (Gen 6:9).

Much of the story at least as Adventists know it, is not consistent with the actual Biblical story. For instance Adventists assume that Noah preached for 120 years. This is based upon a text which occurs before the Noah story even begins.

GE 6:3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with n man forever, for he is mortal n; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

Then Genesis begins with the aside about the Nephilim a subject filled with speculative interpretations, none of which are really satisfactory for a conclusive view. The story of Noah does not say that it had never rained, or that Noah preached to anyone let alone preached for 120 years, nor does it say that people laughed at Noah or declared that their scientists said that it could never rain. Some other things that are often added by Adventists include the idea that the Garden of Eden still existed and there still was an angel guard at the entrance to Eden. Often Adventists view the antediluvians as highly technologically advanced, again without any Biblical evidence. One rather funny view held by some Adventists is that gold and jewels at that time lay easily accessible on the top of the ground and were buried as the result of the flood. If Ellen White had any idea of how gold and gems stones were formed and how they are mined in veins of volcanic and/or metamorphic rock she would not have produced such an interpretation. She can be excused because in the 1800’s the stories of gold found in western states through panning may have made some people think that the source of gold was other then something found on the ground. See

The lesson spends some time on the Nephilim being the sons of Seth. This is by far the most preferred interpretation but it has problems when we consider the other Nephilim mentioned in the Bible who are referred to as Expositor’s Bible Commentary Footnotes states:

The remark in Num 13:33, which identifies the hannepilim that the spies saw in the land with the "sons of Anak" and the hannepilim in Gen 6:3, is not in the LXX and thus may not have been in the original text. On the face of it, the remark presents a problem to the view that only Noah and his sons survived the Flood, since it suggests that the "sons of Anak" were descendants of the "Nephilim" (min hannepilim lit., "from the Nephilim") who lived before the Flood.

It also presents a problem that the Nephilim were meant to be identified as the sons of Seth, with the idea that Seth’s line are the sons of God and Cain’s line is the daughters of men. This idea may have raised a lot of trouble for the men related to Cain, if they were called the daughters of men; sounds kind of insulting to me anyway.

The Lesson for Wednesday November 1 says:

If you read the Genesis account of Noah and the Flood by itself, you'll notice that nowhere does it teach that anyone else was even offered an opportunity to get into the ark. It sounds as if it were to be built only for Noah, his family, and the animals (Gen. 6:13-22). Other verses, New Testament verses, vaguely hint at something else (Heb. 11:7, 1 Pet. 3:20, 2 Pet. 2:5). Ellen White, of course, is very clear that Noah's work on the boat was to be a witness to the world of what was coming and that Noah "entreated them to seek a refuge while it might be found."—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 97. Considering all that we know about the Lord and His desire for the salvation of all humanity (1 Tim. 2:3, 4), it's not surprising that God was offering people a chance to be saved.

This position raises some really vital questions. Why does not the story of Noah say anything about Noah telling people to seek refuge in the Ark? Would not the story have presented God better had it told of God through his servant Noah preaching to the people to flee the coming destruction? Again as with the Creation story if the idea was to present a literal historical view why are the stories so vague, why the need to speculate to fill in the details of the story. Possibly the most curious of all is why would God wait till the latter half of the 1800’s to fill in these details, well over a thousand years after the time of Christ and many thousands after the establishment of the nation of Israel?

The Lesson on Tuesday October 31 says:

The fact that God distinguished "clean" and "unclean" animals long before the difference was explicitly stated in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 presupposes the clear knowledge of the distinction between "clean" and "unclean" animals from earliest times, certainly long before the Jewish nation was established.

This is really a sad commentary on the lesson study author and editor. The whole of the book of Genesis was written well after any of the supposed events took place. The stories seem to contain elements which were taken from the religious instructions delivered after the Exodus. Abel offers the “fat” portion of an animal as a “sacrifice” those are clearly element from the religious celebrations given in the book of Exodus and Leviticus. The couple in Eden were ashamed of being naked again reflecting a cultural shame involved with nudity, which is again seen in the story of Ham seeing his father lying drunk and naked. The lesson study guide ignores the fact that the book of Genesis was written at least 2000 years after the events if the events are dated by the genealogies. Instead it is assumed that the stories are actually reflecting chronological events and what is revealed in the stories was revealed to man at those earlier dates. What is even more peculiar for SDA’s is that in their view those people did not eat meat. So how was it that Abel know about the “fat” portions?

Doug Batchelor in his lesson recorded last week for lesson 5 said that Abel was a shepherd because sheep were needed to offer as sacrifices and Cain raised fruits and vegetables for food. This to Batchelor began the lines of Seth as mountain people raising animals to be used as sacrifices and Cain’s line living on the plains as farmers. However the line of Seth must have been a hungry lot, raising animals for sacrifices and not using the meat. Further, without eating meat Noah somehow knew about clean and unclean animals to be brought on the Ark and then afterwards to offer them as sacrifices and then after all that God instructs that they can eat meat.

GE 9:3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.GE 9:4 "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

The flood story completes the picture of the world that we see. The creation story gave us plants and animals and man as ruler. The fall showed the loose of control by man of the plants. The Flood story takes away man’s dominion over the animals that now fear man (Gen 9:2) and become food for man. All this while reinforcing the condition of man whose violence and rebellion have led them into a condition far from the ideal connection of God and man. The stories have presented God as active in attempting to establish a relationship with mankind even when mankind rejected God and soon via the patriarchs will lead to the nation of Israel. Israel will lead us to the messiah and the atonement and finally ultimate reconciliation. (Just a few more stops to explain languages and races of people at Babel and the book of Genesis will complete it’s explanation of the world we see around us.)

Violence at Atlantic Union College

Since I am slow to get this weeks lesson critique done, here is a taste of violence perhaps the type that filled the earth before the flood, only this is at our Adventist College.

From the

Lumelsky said things became confused due to the chaotic riot that
erupted on the AUC campus before the stabbings took place. He said the
investigation is still ongoing and would exonerate Reid.

According to court documents, the Lancaster Police responded
to reports of a fight at the AUC campus Monday night. Upon arrival, it
appeared the "entire college population" was gathered on campus and
violence was everywhere.

"The situation was out of control," said the police report.
People were fighting in the parking lots, girls were screaming and
rolling in the street, rocks were being thrown and students were
running all over the place.

The report stated it was a "riotous situation" and "students
were throwing any objects they could get their hands on." Police were
informed that someone was injured in the gymnasium and quickly moved to
this location and secured it.

College authorities then requested police initiate a "complete
lockdown" of the campus and backup was called in from Clinton,
Lancaster and Bolton, according to the police report. Police said the
college dormitory deans were "extremely helpful" in directing students
back to their dorms while cruisers from surrounding towns stood guard
throughout the campus.

Police determined the fight started between students from
Haiti and students from Bermuda and that there had been tensions
between these two groups for the past few weeks. The situation "all
came to a head" during a soccer game Monday night. It began as a fight
between girls, but quickly included boys who "jumped in to defend the
girls." Atlantic Union College does not have an inter-scholastic
athletics program, but does run an intramural program that includes

Police maintained a presence at the college throughout the
night and are concerned about rumors that students plan to bring guns
onto the campus and "finish this battle," according to court documents.