Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Friday, June 30, 2006

Pacific Union Recorder Does Tom Mostert know history at all?

This is from the Pacific Union Recorder online edition editorial; President's Perspective:

I’m Almost Afraid to Ask — Is This the End?
Dear Pacific Union Member:
Ever since Jesus left the earth with a promise to come back again, His followers have watched for the signs that it would happen soon.
• The evils of secular society and the apostasy in the church within the first 300 years after Jesus left had believers certain He would be coming back soon.
• During the Middle Ages (a time so bad we call it the Dark Ages), you could be killed if found with a copy of the Scriptures. The faithful certainly thought Jesus' coming would be soon.
• In the early 1840s, there was such a revival of spiritual interest, it has gone down in history as the Great Awakening. Some even set a time for Jesus return.
• Through two world wars with their unprecedented destruction and pain, it seemed Jesus would surely come soon.
But Jesus did not come!

Where to begin, Paul the first of the Christian authors we have wrote about apostasy before the year 100 AD. It was not secular society that he was referring to either. From the very time of the Apostles they thought they were in the last days and Jesus was to soon return.

During the Middle Ages few had copies of the Bible in any language. They were not killing people because they had a Bible. They were chained to pulpits because they were so valuable. There was a time following John Wycliffe English translation from the Vulgate that the Pope did not like it and dug up his bones and burned them and the Roman Catholic Church did not like Tyndales English translation any better. But that is a far cry from saying that you could be killed for having a copy of the Bible. Their were quite a few Vulgate Bibles around as that was the first book ever published on the printing press.

Oh and I almost forgot, why did they call the period from about 476 AD to 1000 AD the Dark Ages?
Wikipedia: Most modern historians dismiss the notion that the era was a "Dark Age" by pointing out that this idea was based on ignorance of the period combined with popular stereotypes: many previous authors would simply assume that the era was a dismal time of violence and stagnation and use this assumption to prove itself.

In Britain and the United States, the phrase "Dark Ages" has occasionally been used by professionals, with severe qualification, as a term of periodization. This usage is intended as non-judgmental and simply means the relative lack of written record, "silent" as much as "dark."

The Great Awakening is not a reference to the revivals of the 1840's:
Series of religious revivals that swept over the American colonies about the middle of the 18th cent. It resulted in doctrinal changes and influenced social and political thought. In New England it was started (1734) by the rousing preaching of Jonathan Edwards. Although there were early local stirrings in New Jersey in the 1720s under the evangelical preaching of Theodorus Frelinghuysen of the Dutch Reformed Church, the revival in the Middle Colonies actually began in New Jersey largely among the Presbyterians trained under William Tennent. His son Gilbert Tennent became the leading figure of the Great Awakening in the Middle Colonies
--The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.

He would have been closer had he said the Second Great Awakening which is often dated from 1820-1900

Maybe I am being overly critical but it seems to me that the President of the Pacific Union Conference should be a little more historically accurate. With an opening like that it is hard to take him to seriously when he gets to the point of his editorial if it indeed has a point.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Adventist Today Articles Introduce Lesson on IJ

Adventist Today began their series of articles on this quarters lesson study guide on the Investigative Judgment, Gospel and 1844. As my previous introduction dealt with the many presuppositions that one must have to accept the concept of an Investigative Judgment the majority of the Adventist Today articles also presented presuppositions which would not be accepted by many, possibly the majority of Christians. The two I will briefly deal with are those by Jack Sequeira and Brad Cole.

Jack Sequeira states:

Before Christ could be our Savior, God had to legally qualify Him to represent us as mankind’s substitute. This is because God’s law will not allow the guilt and punishment of a sinner to be transferred to an innocent person (see Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20). Since the human race is the multiplication of Adam’s life (see Acts 17:26), God accomplished this legal requirement by uniting the divine life of Christ to the corporate life of the human race that needed redeeming (Hebrews 2:17). This union of Christ’s divinity with mankind’s corporate humanity at the incarnation is what legally qualified Christ to be the second or last Adam in His work of redemption (the word “Adam” in Hebrew means mankind, see 1 Corinthians 15:45). Then, by His perfect life in our corporate humanity, from birth to manhood (30 years in the Bible), Christ fully met the positive demands of God’s law, “obey and live.” But this perfect obedience could not cancel mankind’s sins. Hence, by His sacrificial death on the cross, “disobey and die,” also in our corporate humanity (see 2 Corinthians 5:14), Christ fully satisfied the demands of the law on man’s behalf and became our righteousness. This righteousness is made effective by faith (Romans 10:4).This is how the famous Greek scholar, Brook Foss Wescott, expressed it in his book, The Gospel of the Resurrection:

If Christ took our nature upon Him, as we believe, by and act of love, it was not that of one but of all. He was not one man only among many men, but in Him all humanity was gathered up. And thus now, as at all time, mankind are, so to speak organically united with Him. His acts are in a true sense our acts, so far as we realize the union (obey the gospel). His death is our death, Hs resurrection our resurrection” p. 39.

This is a unique way to begin the subject of the Investigative Judgment as it assumes the Recapitulation theory of the Atonement. This is a theory begun by Irenaus and is distinctly different from Paul’s use of the term second Adam. I understand that this is one of Sequeira’s distinctive teachings but it is not very widely accepted. While I disagree with this theory I also disagree with the Penal Substitutionary theory of the atonement. However those are not really the topics of the Lessons. For now I am just pointing out that peculiar theories are the starting point for many peoples introduction to the subject of this quarter's lesson.

His article concludes:

Therefore, to correctly understand what the Bible teaches on the doctrines of 1844 and the judgment we must consider them in the context of the objective facts of the gospel. This is how we will consider these two unique doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventists Church in the next two articles.

This is what I also think is the important issue and it is why I have been pointing out the presuppositions that are being used to introduce the topic of the Investigative Judgment. If the IJ has any real significance we should be able to arrive at it with objective Gospel information. We can all manufacture many different theories which produce even more theories but that is not being objective it is being speculative.

Brad Cole begins with another set of presuppositions:

I appreciate that this quarterly, which hopes to address the issues that relate to 1844 and the investigative judgment, opens with a description of the war that began in heaven. The Heavenly Sanctuary initially became defiled before the creation of this earth and in God’s very presence. For this reason, the concept of a cleansing of the sanctuary can only be understood when we know what defiled it in the first place.

There are 2 closely related issues which lie at the foundation of this war and which resulted in the defiling of the sanctuary:

1. Distortion and misrepresentation of God’s supremely gracious, kind, and forgiving character.

2. Distortion and misrepresentation of God’s principle upon which the entire universe is designed to operate: selfless, other-centered love.

Though it is common in SDA circles to think that the verse in Revelation which describes war in heaven is about something prior to the creation of this earth such is not indicated in Revelation. Revelation gives no time frame for this war, nor is it even clear that this is a literal application. As Revelation is filled with symbolism many commentators view this war as symbolic also rather then a literal war between Michael and Satan. As an example here is what the Expositor’s Bible Commentary says:

As elsewhere in the book, the narrative material can be interpreted only in the light of the hymns. This principle is especially important in vv. 7-9, where the victory takes place in heaven as the result of Michael's defeat of the dragon. Were this the only thing told us about the "war in heaven," it might be concluded that the dragon's defeat was unrelated to Jesus Christ. But the interpretative hymn (vv. 10-12) says that it was in fact the blood of Christ that dealt the actual death blow to the dragon and enabled the saints to triumph (v. 8; cf. 5:9). Does this not suggest that the redeeming work of Christ is here depicted by the cosmic battle of Michael and the dragon as it is elsewhere seen as a loosing from sin (1:5), as a washing of our garments (7:14), and as a purchasing to God (5:9)'? The time of the dragon's defeat and ejection from heaven must therefore be connected with the incarnation, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus (v. 13: Luke 10:18; John 12:31). Christ has appeared in order that he may destroy the works of the devil (Matt 12:28-29; Acts 10:38; 2Tim 1:10; 1John 3:8).

I could probably spend the next 10 pages giving various views about this war in heaven. The point here again is that the introduction by Cole is based upon a particular theory about the war in heaven, again a theory which does not have real acceptance throughout Christianity.

From this presupposition Cole moves to the assumption that heaven was defiled by Satan's charges against God, and heaven is the sanctuary. Again this is a theory which is not accepted by much of Christianity it is again assumed as true because of the influence of Ellen White by many SDA’s. In fact the Bible offers very little in the way of Satan’s comments or charges about God. If we assume the words of the serpent in the Genesis story are really the charges of Satan then we can see charges that God is selfish and not trustworthy, however that is based upon things happening here on earth and directed specifically toward human beings.

Brad Cole presents the following speculative illustration:

In the midst of this war over the character of God, the decision was made to create planet earth, a place that is a “spectacle for the whole world of angels…” (1 Corinthians 4:9 – GN). Amidst Satan’s charges that God is a restrictive tyrant, God majestically created the earth and the human race – a people with absolute freedom, the ability to create, and who were to represent and reflect the very character of God. “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature’…God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature.” (Genesis 1:26,27 – The Message). And then God turned to the on-looking universe and said, so to speak, “I rest my case! Do you still believe Satan’s lies about me?” And we are encouraged to spend every 7th day in review of the evidence of God’s character and to enter into intimacy with our Creator.

While this is an illustration it does not mean that it is accurate, it does not mean that it is Biblically objective, it is however very speculative. Perhaps a fitting way to examine a speculative doctrine but not a good way to persuade anyone that such a doctrine is a true teaching of the Bible.

It would be most beneficial if those about to discuss this quarters lessons began their presentations by removing their SDA traditions and consider how their teaching looks to others. As Desmond Ford’s article begins:

Suppose me to be an evangelical Episcopalian, and I have just been lent the new quarterly by a SDA whose lifestyle and earnestness I deeply respect. He wishes me to be convinced of the truthfulness of what he esteems to be Adventism's distinctive contribution to theological truth.

To be a Bible believing Christian means that your doctrine is to come from the Bible. Theories have a use as does speculation but not when it comes to doctrine unless we want to practice the Roman Catholic method of religious interpretation where tradition is equal with the Bible. As Protestants however we need to hold on to the Bible as our authority and source of doctrine.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Ten Commandments Gleaner Online News

Recently on the Gleaner Online News section the following information was offered. I offer a few comments:

Ten Commandments are a primary source of wisdom about the loving character of God. They are a promise of what God will do in the hearts of those who trust Him. They are spiritually focused and not meant to be used as a political tool to manipulate men.
The Ten Commandments are not about the loving Character of God as much as about how man should relate to God and to his fellow man. In none of the ten does not God even say that He loves man, in fact if it is about the character of God then God does not want man to have the freedom to choose between religious philosophies. If the 10 commandments is a transcript of God's character then God is very selfish, for man's benefit, yet not offering religious freedom. However the point of the 10 commandments is to teach man not to be selfish to actually care about others and have the wisdom to choose to serve a God who is real rather then a pretend God. The ten include promises as well as threats and are not totally spiritually focused as the last ones deal specifically with societal interaction. If the 10 are really a transcript of the character of God then they would not even be possible to use them to manipulate man. The 10 are actually a summation of all the laws given at Sinai, thus the two tables, one for the people and one for God as part of the covenant system common in the Eastern nations.

While most Jewish and Christian depictions follow the first understanding, modern scholarship favors the latter, comparing it to treaty rite in the Ancient Near East, in the sense of tablets of covenant.

Diplomatic treaties, such as that between Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II and the Hittite King Hattusilis III, circa 1270 B.C.E, were duplicated on stone with a copy for each party, and the subordinate party would place their copy of the pact in the main temple to his god, in oath to the king (cf. Ezekiel 17:11-19). In a pact between a nation and its God, then, the Israelites placed both copies in their temple.

Practical Purpose of the Law
The Ten Commandments also have practical legal, moral and political implications that define the appropriate place for God’s law in society. While Americans desperately need spiritual renewal by having the law of God written in their hearts, if individuals resist allowing God to restrain evil in the human heart, according to Romans 13 the state will use external means to preserve safety and security.
The second paragraph contradicts the first paragraph now it has political implications whereas in the first paragraph it "not meant to be used as a political tool to manipulate men. " This is much more sensible aside from the contradiction as clearly the purpose of the 10 was an attempt to mold the new nation coming out from something like 400 years of slavery. It should also be noted that the law written on our hearts does not mean the 10, the meaning in the old testament and new is the entire law, the torah, which is summed up in loving your neighbor as yourself and loving God. Romans 13 is another subject all together so I won't deal with it here.

Misapplying the Law of God
Today's promotion of the Ten Commandments is fraught with potential difficulties and some irony as well.
First, there is disagreement as to what the Ten Commandments say and mean, with Catholics and Protestants numbering them quite differently.
Since the 10 were not named there are simple numbering differences As Wikipedia says:
Religious groups have divided the commandments in different ways. For instance, Catholics and Lutherans see the first six verses as part of the same command prohibiting the worship of pagan gods, while Protestants (except Lutherans) separate all six verses into two different commands (one being "no other gods" and the other being "no graven images"). The initial reference to Egyptian bondage is important enough to Jews that it forms a separate commandment. Catholics and Lutherans separate the two kinds of coveting (namely, of goods and of the flesh), while Protestants (but not Lutherans) and Jews group them together.
Second, there are those pushing the Ten Commandment Movement who would like Biblical commands to become the law of the land, an unconstitutional and divisive goal since people disagree about what the law essentially means.This
This idea of a movement which desires the 10 to be the law of the land is so tiny as to be of little significance. There are likely more who desire communisim then those of Reconstuctionist who believe:
Civil laws must be changed to match the Bible's moral rules. That is, anything that is immoral (by their standards) is also to be criminalized.
Due to the extreme nature of this group as well as their small amount of supporters it is at least now of no significance, generally these people are used as a method to scare people about religious zealots who are out to destroy other's lives.

Third, when it comes to the first table of the law of God involving acts of worship and devotion to Him, the government has no legitimate jurisdiction. And the irony is that those who are the strongest advocates of the Ten Commandment Movement argue that the Ten Commandments have been done away with and are no longer binding.
This is the kind of presuppositions that ruins many an argument. Very few Christians believe the 10 are done away with, they are still there still teaching still leading to Christ still pointing out sin. What these Christians refer to is the binding nature of obedience to the 10 commandments as a method of obtaining Salvation (which is in fact never really developed in the Old Testament). Very Christains say ok now you can steal and kill, they see the 10 as a moral teacher not as requirements for salvation. For many in the Adventist movement however by binding they mean you must observe the specifics of the commandment to keep the sabbath in the specific Jewish time frame they inconsistantly don't demand the type of Jewish strict obedience to the Sabbath commandment.

A Transcendent Code of Right and Wrong
"Just as the law can save no one—not even our beloved country—no state, no law, can change individual hearts and minds or stop criminals from carrying out their evil deeds. Public posting of the Ten Commandments will not achieve this result," says Gregory W. Hamilton, North Pacific Union public affairs and religious liberty director. "But they do serve as a model to demonstrate that there are rewards and punishments—traditional moral values that the magistrate must uphold in any civil society worth its salt."
Here is agreement among most Christians. The posting of the 10 serves moral needs. However there is also historical issues involved which deal with the laws of our Western nations having some relations with Jewish law as seen in the 10 commandments. Relating to the Christian principles that were involved with the establishment of the United States.

In a world of instability and moral ambiguity, the Ten Commandments remain a transcendent code of right and wrong. They are an eternal standard unmoved by cultural fads and political whims—a standard for all people because they were written by the Eternal God, the Creator of the universe.

They are only an eternal standard for those who so choose to accept them as such, just as the first section of the 10 deals with man's relation to God, if no God is accepted the first of the 10 will have no meaning or importance. If the first section is questioned then the second half can be easily questioned. So in fact the cultural fads and political whims have a direct effect upon how people view the 10. The 10 are a transcendent code for those who accept a transcendent God. To those who don't accept transcendent God the 10 can still be important as history and cultural development for the Western World.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Moral Minority - Gleaner Let's Talk Section

The following is from the North Pacific Union Conference Gleaner's Let's Talk where they post your responses to the issues that Steve Vistaunet raises.

Could it be that the time is ripe for individuals that go beyond the rhetoric to follow the practical good sense in a profound set of 10 principles some people call the Moral Code? Could Adventists be well known in their communities and in their places of work for those kinds of values?

What do you think? Are we mentoring our children to be moral leaders in their churches, communities and corporations? As a church, are we modeling anything that America wants or needs? How do we stand for the right without becoming moral bigots? Let's talk at .

My response follows:

Contrary to Marx, the idea of capitalism is cooperation for the best interests of those concerned. I offer something you want and you offer me something I want in exchange. As the Bible says the workman is worth his wage that is capitalism. As with everything greed and selfishness, jealously can destroy the cooperation.

Do I want to see the 10 moral principles of the 10 commandments followed? No Those commandments are contrary to the principles which this nation was founded. Freedom of choice means that I should allow someone to have another god before the Jewish or Christian God. To make their own idols and worship what they want, to work on the day they choose or even to tell their parents to take a flying leap. Those parts of the 10 Commandments were used in a Theocracy and we all know what happened to that Theocracy.

The first section of the 10 commandments can only be kept by freedom of choice and no other method will do. The last half can be legislated against and forced to some extent by society, though again freedom of choice can easily still violate all of those commandments as well. You described the 10 commandments are a moral code, as such it is only upon our consciences that they have an effect. We must choose to accept them as wise and order our life by them. This is why for so long they have been placed in public places, we are a country of freedom and upon that freedom voluntary acts of cooperation must be preformed for the good of society. As in Iraq one of the goals is to effect the hearts and minds of the people so too are the 10 commandments meant to effect our hearts and minds. We have duties to our fellow man and we have duties to our God should we accept that God as our God. Even in the 10 Commandments the first was to acknowledge God from that source all other commands derive authority and meaning.

Freedom of choice with the principles and power of Christ do not however inevitably lead to right. They lead to a restored relationship with God and that is at least on this old world as close to right as we can get.

Friday, June 23, 2006

5 Questions for God, Thought question from

From a Post on
Comes this interesting challange. Which I think is a challange for those who have views of God and Satan based upon what future events they expect.

"Some earnest skeptic challenges God (think "Bruce Almighty" here perhaps?), "Why won't you ever present yourself for inspection if you're really there?" God accepts the challenge but asks, "How would you know it was me?" as well as "If I do this I have to give the Opposition equal time." What results is that TWO "gods" show up and the challenger gets to ask them both the same 5 questions. (Or however many is appropriate for time / content.) Based on the answers he (and the audience) have to choose which one is which and / or which way they really like better. “

First we would have to set up some ground rules for this debate. Obviously if one of you is really God, the all powerful we could ask you to prove you’re God by a demonstration such as calling down fire to destroy your opponent. If you both explode then it is likely that you are both liars or at least equal in power. We could also ask that the one who is God could produce a new Planet and populate it and take us to visit it to prove it has been done. That however assumes that our question or request are the ultimate necessity and more important then a new populated planet. Somehow such requests would likely not be respected by a real God, or at least even if someone who is not God would likely convince us of the presumption of such a request for most any demonstration of God abilities.

As I would imagine someone impersonating God would also impersonate God’s answers so I suspect that one answer will be repeated by the opponent. In which case we must alternate our questions so that there is a possibility we can hear answers which do differ. For instance if our first question was to the real God the opponent would likely answer with an identical answer to God.

Question 1. Does God Kill

  1. Yes
  2. Yes

Question 2: In the Ten Commandments you state “Thou shalt not kill”, how can you kill if it is against your own law.

  1. Because with the gift of life come responsibility for that life, the law against murder is foundational, it is not a law against killing in all circumstances.
  2. Correct I agree completely.

You get the idea if one is trying to impersonate the other assuming the impersonator has a reasonable knowledge of the real God his answers would be substantially the same as God and the audience would have no clue.

However contrary to the thinking of many on the question is not about impersonating God it is redefining God. In which case the premise would have to be God and Satan being asked questions so that the audience can determine who the audience wants to accept as God. In that case, while God’s answer will always be truthful, Satan’s answers would reflect the beliefs of the audience. For example to the Islam audience:

Question 1: Are you Allah of whom our forefather Muhammad instructed us.

  1. Yes
  2. No

What if the premise was no longer impersonation but who is right God or Satan:

Question 1: You have told us in the gospel of John that you are love, yet you speak of hell please explain

  1. Unfortunately you misunderstand the writings by which you think to know me. I cannot be enshrined in the words of some old peoples campfire stories of simple philiosphies. There is no hell you are merely being fed the imaginings of man. My love speaks to you personally you must listen and let it change you.
  2. Unfortunately with revelation also comes the responsibility for interpretation. Love is more then an emotion, more then even commitment to another. Inspiration is required even to see my revelation and what hell may mean to you may not be the meaning of hell at all and even what you see as love may not really be love.
So Now can you tell me in the answers supplied which are the words of God and which are the words of Satan. I would not like to have to be in the audience to make such a decision. This may explain why the Bible does not spend any time on giving Satan's views as liars play a game by their own rules and our salvation is not through knowing Satan or his lies but rather on knowing God.

Could you ask 5 questions which could distiguish between truth and lies or truth and truth as the case may be?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Student' s speech restricted by school, AOK by ACLU

The valedictorian of Foothill High, Brittany McComb, decided to share her faith voluntarily at her graduation cermony. However, before she could get to the part that meant the most to her, Christ, her microphone went dead. Her speech was in no way endorsed by her school, however the school directly participated in censoring her free speech.

Once again the ACLU moves against our freedoms.

Question, will Liberty magazine deal with this issue. Probably not. If you can't wait for the quarterly issue to find out if this topic is discussed check out the North American Religious Liberty Association - West

Introductory comments on the Investigative Judment Lesson study

Earlier on an internet forum Clifford Goldstein stated that this quarter’s lesson would prove the Investigative Judgment using the Bible and not relying on Ellen White. Many on the forum were skeptical and I have been eagerly awaiting this quarter’s lesson to see how well he does.

As a starting point I will reference Kenneth Hart's Sabbath School class and material. Since this is about 4 pages which deal with the beginning presuppositions that are necessary to accept the Investigative Judgment I have placed it on a separate site as long posts don't work that well on this blog.

Read the Introduction to the Investigative Judgment, Gospel and 1844 Lesson Study which begins the 3rd Quarterly at your local SDA church.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Affect of the Blogosphere on Religious Denomination

A lesson on the importance of membership action is the conclusion of the following article:

The Evangelicals are Mellowing by E.J. Dionne

One other force was at work in this year's Baptist voting: the rise of the blogosphere.

Over the last few years, an active network of Baptist bloggers has opened up discussion in the convention and given reformers and moderates avenues around what Parham called "the Baptist establishment papers" and other means of communication controlled by the leadership. Thus may some of our most traditional institutions be transformed by new technologies.

Religious movements stay vibrant thanks to the complicated interaction of fidelity, reflection and reform. The evangelical world is going through a quiet evolution as believers reflect on the perils of partisanship and ideology and their reasons for being Christian. This will probably affect the nation's political life, but it will certainly affect the country's spiritual direction. My hunch is that even solid conservatives will welcome the change.

Washington Post Writers Group

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Spectrum Blog - Why magazine editors should not run blogs!

This is a recent e-mail I received from the person running the Spectrum Blog over a recent comment I posted there. Here is their statement and my comment (though I have to reconstruct it as they edited my comment removing some information, contrary to the purpose of blogs to offer information to the readers):

Regarding the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Adventist Pulpit writes:

"At a time when many are pushing for a more prominent public display of the 10 commandments I think it is valuable to see religous leaders seeking to do more than just show the commandments, but live the principles of the faith by calling for an end to US sponsored torture."

Preach it. And so should every American pastor.


Interestingly enough Bill O'Reilly had two of the signers of the group who placed the ad in the New York Times. One on his radio show and one on his TV show. He asked both these Reverends for examples or incidents of this US sponsored torture. Neither could answer that simple question.

It is also interesting that the guest editorial in the New York Times Op-Ed Contributor Detainees in Despair By MOURAD BENCHELLALI Published: June 14, 2006

Where in he writes:
In the early summer of 2001, when I was 19, I made the mistake of listening to my older brother and going to Afghanistan on what I thought was a dream vacation. His friends, he said, were going to look after me. They did — channeling me to what turned out to be a Qaeda training camp. For two months, I was there, trapped in the middle of the desert by fear and my own stupidity.

As it turns out this guys immediate family have been convicted in France of terrorist crimes. Maybe for a terrorist going to Afghanistan is a dream vacation.

They also refer to my comment on a different day that said:

Why does this ad say nothing about George W. Bush and his anti torture position. Seems biased contrary to it's so called non partisan statement in its mission statement


for a little more

The webmaster of the Spectrum Blog writes in an e-mail to me:

Hey Ron,

I appreciate you joining the discussion. Please grammar
check your
posts before you add them as we try to make
reading Spectrum a reading

this guys immediate family
should be:
this guy's

his anti torture position.
should be:
anti-torture position?

it's so called non partisan statement in its
mission statement
should be:
its so-called non-partisan

Also, we are cutting out the NYTimes post because
it doesn't directly
follow as a comment on its post.
Politics and culture are messy and
Spectrum is most
interested in how Adventism should respond to current

events. Signing or not signing, fighting poverty or
not, we want to keep
things pinned to the Adventist
context. There are plenty of places to

discuss liberal vs. conservative values, the
Spectrum Blog is a place to
think about the
application of Adventism in the world.

If that's not clear, let me know.

The Problem with this kind of editorial reworking is that for one thing it makes the commenter feel anxious about their comments "is this going to be good enough did I spell everything right is my grammar correct?" Most people who receive a comment like the above from the blog webmaster would likely never comment again, I would say that many would never even go back to that blog. As I have been dealing with internet forums for years I have a thicker skin. Having also had articles published by Spectrum's Website and Adventist Today I also know just how much time it takes to go though after presenting my thoughts to check the grammar, spelling and correcting extraneous or missing words. I am pretty sure that it is not something that most people who comment on blogs want to go through and not something that blogs in general make people do. If they wanted to provide a spell check and grammar check in the comment field I would certainly welcome such an addition but as of now, most including Spectrum Blog do not have such niceties. Now I don't know that Alexander Carpenter actually acts as an Editor for Spectrum Magazine but he certainly is acting like an Editor.

Second is the problem of editing out useful information because the information seems irrelevant to the editor. Such as the removal of the comments about the New York Times post. The perspective in the original blog statement presented the idea that the US sponsors torture. (...but live the principles of the faith by calling for an end to US sponsored torture.") The guest editorial is from someone who says they were tortured as the NYT editorial says:

"After two weeks in the American military base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, I was sent to Guantánamo, where I spent two and a half years. I cannot describe in just a few lines the suffering and the torture; but the worst aspect of being at the camp was the despair, the feeling that whatever you say, it will never make a difference."

This is particularly troublesome if the editor of the blog has a political ideology which they are trying to foster. In this case it is the further left liberal position that the U.S. is bad, we are torturing people and we as SDA's should join with these other Leftist groups (National Council of Churches) and a few non-combatant groups like the United Church of Christ. Chaired by former President Jimmy Carter who it appears from his comments the last couple years was not just sitting next to Michael Moore at the last Democrat Convention but has ideology that matches Moore and whose political ideology becomes more important then presenting accurate and truthful information.

Unlike a magazine, a blog provides a much freer environment to exchange information with links to countering views without the need to explain what the countering position is. Just click a link and see. Some like the webmaster of Spectrum Blog see little importance of a terrorist with family terrorist ties (of course the NYT does not mention that part) going on a dream vacation to Afghanistan and getting caught by military forces fighting the Taliban and claiming he was tortured by the U.S. What does that have to do with a comment on a blog that says the U.S. sponsor's torture? While others look at these things as pretty likely propaganda products with a Liberal Political agenda and wonder why a group that places an ad in the New York Time does not even mention any examples about the so-called torture that the U.S is supposed to sponsor and ignore the current administrations own statements made against the concept of torture.

So indeed Politics and culture can be messy but if you want Adventism to respond you have to have a framework of truth to respond to. The Spectrum Blog presented one side of an issue with no evidence to support it's claims. Yes the Adventist church is against torture yet so is President George W. Bush. Yes there is torture in the world but that was not what the Ad was addressing. It was not a call for North Korea to change their practices it was a call for the U.S to stop sponsoring torture, yet the U.S says it does not torture and there has been no evidence that they are sponsoring torture. So from the Adventist perspective do we simply accept accusations from certain Liberal Politico's or do we look at the evidence and question the evidence that is put forth by such groups as the NY Times. The issue is far more serious then a few missed hyphens or a missing apostrophe, if the Spectrum Blog wants to correct misspelling they have my blessing, if they want to censor comments because they don't know the issues they are sorely mistaken.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Call of the Wild: The Sounds of the Lyrebird

Not really related to the topics on this blog but this video is amazing. As it shows the Lyrebird mimicing other birds as well as sounds of man like a car alarm and saws and a camera shutter including motor drive. Link from NPR.Org blog

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Spectrum's blog on on NRCAT torture ad

As I don't want to make this blog political I would just note that the organization which the spectrum blog suggests that Adventist denomination join is hardly non partisan as their mission statement say . It is lead by Jimmy Carter who has taken an extremely liberal political view, more so even then when he was President. Further the Ad is an attack upon American policies which the Ad thinks includes torture though such has not been determined by anyone it is based upon suggestions found in Liberal media like the Daily Koz. [Mission statement reading in part: As United States-based organizations, we feel particular responsibility for the abusive practices being utilized by the United States government today.] It also ignores Past and Present statements such as Bush's speech on the UN's anti torture month presented recently. Of course no sane person supports torture, though if pressed in difficult circumstances such as the possibility of saving hundreds or thousands of lives it may be considered exceptions don't make the rules.

Spectrum Blog 12 June 2006

Adventist Leadership Misses Torture (Statement)
Why did the Seventh-day Adventist church NOT join the significant statement in today's New York Times by the non-partisan National Religious Campaign Against Torture?

Or maybe those Baptists, Evangelicals, Sikhs and
Nobel laureates Pres. Jimmy Carter and Elie Weisel are just getting too wimpy.

Check out Bush's speech:

President's Statement on the U.N. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Today, on United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States reaffirms its commitment to the worldwide elimination of torture. The non-negotiable demands of human dignity must be protected without reference to race, gender, creed, or nationality. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right, and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.

To help fulfill this commitment, the United States has joined 135 other nations in ratifying the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. America stands against and will not tolerate torture. We will investigate and prosecute all acts of torture and undertake to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment in all territory under our jurisdiction. American personnel are required to comply with all U.S. laws, including the United States Constitution, Federal statutes, including statutes prohibiting torture, and our treaty obligations with respect to the treatment of all detainees.

The United States also remains steadfastly committed to upholding the Geneva Conventions, which have been the bedrock of protection in armed conflict for more than 50 years. These Conventions provide important protections designed to reduce human suffering in armed conflict. We expect other nations to treat our service members and civilians in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. Our Armed Forces are committed to complying with them and to holding accountable those in our military who do not.

The American people were horrified by the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. These acts were wrong. They were inconsistent with our policies and our values as a Nation. I have directed a full accounting for the abuse of the Abu Ghraib detainees, and investigations are underway to review detention operations in Iraq and elsewhere.

It is often American men and women in uniform who fight for the freedom of others from tyrannical regimes that routinely use torture to oppress their citizens. From Nazi Germany to Bosnia, and Afghanistan to Iraq, American service members have fought to remove brutal leaders who torture and massacre. It is the American people and their contributions that have helped to rebuild these traumatized nations to give former victims hope.

A little over a year ago, American service members and our coalition partners freed the Iraqi people from a dictatorship that routinely tortured and executed innocent citizens because of what they believed in or what ethnic or religious group they came from. In torture chambers, innocent Iraqis were brutalized and the bodies of the dead left in mass graves. Throughout the past year, Americans have assisted the Iraqi people in establishing institutions to ensure accountability so that such acts do not occur again and to help victims recover.

Despite international efforts to protect human rights around the world, repressive regimes continue to victimize people through torture. The victims often feel forgotten, but we will not forget them. America supports accountability and treatment centers for torture victims. We contribute to the U.N. Fund for the Victims of Torture and support the work of non-governmental organizations to end torture and assist the victims. We also provide protection, counseling, and where necessary and possible, relocation in the United States. We stand with the victims to seek their healing and recovery, and urge all nations to join us in these efforts to restore the dignity of every person affected by torture.

These times of increasing terror challenge the world. Terror organizations challenge our comfort and our principles. The United States will continue to take seriously the need to question terrorists who have information that can save lives. But we will not compromise the rule of law or the values and principles that make us strong. Torture is wrong no matter where it occurs, and the United States will continue to lead the fight to eliminate it everywhere.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Ellen White Summit; Response to Jud Lake's Response

A Response to the Response of Jud Lake (Ellen White Summit 2005)

By Ron Corson

Recently I was informed that Jud Lake posted a response to my blog article on his Ellen White 2005 Summit presentation. My original blog article is found at:
The Audio of the Summit found at:
Jud Lake’s Response is found at:
Since my response includes both Jud Lakes and my original comments it is longer then I wanted to place on this blog so I have linked to it here

I am grateful for his response because the purpose of this blog is to discuss various elements expressed in SDA news, events and media. Too often articles or events are produced and no one really has a chance to discuss the contents except for occasional short letters to editors or conversations with friends. However with the Internet technology it is now possible to examine information in depth far easier then ever before. However there is still a lack of involvement from the leadership in the SDA church dealing with the regular membership. So though what follows is probably not going to make Jud Lake too happy, I do appreciate his desire to discuss the issues even though he chooses to respond on his own web site rather then comment on the article on this blog. To make things easier I am going to place my original article first except for the quotes from Canright’s book, which will be placed later in response to his response. This may sound confusing but they will be color-coded. This way it will not be necessary to go back and forth between my original post and his response. He makes several charges against my statements and it is necessary to refute them. For instance he claims that I criticize his logical fallacies without giving any examples of such fallacies, he also asserts that though I said there was false material in his presentation he can not see where I showed anything to be false. So I will show in more detail what I meant in my original post.

Reading another blog Adventist Pulpit, which is something you should all be doing, I discovered the following comment from Jud Lake:

  1. I have read Ron’s response to my material and agree that it contains much more depth. I respect that and will gladly respond.

    Comment by Jud Lake — June 11, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Bible Study: Inductive Study, Analysis and Application

This is something I wrote for the Sabbath School Class I attend, it is a simply outline of the steps I use in Bible interpretation.

Inductive Study, Analysis and Application

By Ron Corson

In the practice of study whether of the Bible or any other written document there are three general steps. They are Inductive Study, Analysis and finally Application. Inductive Study can be defined as reading the text as if reading it for the first time without using preconceived ideas about the text. This is easier said then done for most Christians. We have heard numerous references to most Bible stories and many other texts in the Bible. What others have said about a particular text may or may not be correct however, so the point of Inductive study is to determine first of all what is the text trying to express. We are not trying to use the text to make a case for something though later we may; we are not trying to read something into the text though later we may see something consistent in the text with something else in the Bible. To some up Inductive study is: a term of logic by which a text of scripture is interpreted without pre-judgment using only the text and context and drawing logical conclusions.

Analysis is comparing and contrasting other information in the Bible. By comparing what Scripture says overall and making logical conclusions based upon the overall information. Study Bible Notes are frequently written from the perspective of analysis often comparing something in the text mentioned with a text elsewhere in the Bible or adding cultural information. Analysis using someone else’s analysis again may or may not be correct. So analysis has to compare what the Inductive Studies logical conclusion was with your own analysis or someone else’s analysis and drawing the logical conclusions. Analysis is best usually done with the aid of many sources of information because in analysis since a great deal of information has to be processed it is easy to overlook something. Something one commentator may overlook another may see and still another may offer something which disproves another’s conclusion. It is the realm of analysis that there are the greatest differences within Christianity, there are over 10,000 Protestant denominations recent numbers suggest over 33,000 however the definition of denomination may be misleading.

Application is taking the logical conclusions from the Inductive study and analysis and finding an application to one’s personal life. This can be a very subjective situation where the analysis may have general application it may have a particular application for the individual or it may not. This is the practical side of Christianity where the information learned from the Bible is applied to each individual’s life and relationship with God.