Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Unity and Tolerance in the Church

It was a pleasant surprise to read the article entitled Unity and Tolerance in the Church By Mark F. Carr, Ph.D; in the latest online version of thePacific Union Recorder.

Please check out his editorial which begins:

I know Seventh-day Adventists who believe that God created this world over a period of millions and millions of years. Generally, they sit in church right next to other Seventh-day Adventists who believe God created this world over a period of six literal days about 6,000 years ago. Let this be the first snapshot of unity and tolerance in our Church. And please, do not forget that the point of all this is to help us live together in peace. This is the push of Christian ethics.

How should we deal with this very important matter of belief in God as Creator? Is there room in our Church for those who believe the earth is hundreds of millions of years old? Are these Adventists believers in evolution? And if so, does that make them enemies of God and those of us who believe in creation? On this issue, one Church leader wrote: “For those among us who have already decided—despite the Bible and Ellen White—on evolution, there are plenty of other Churches for you. Ours isn’t one.” Perhaps, as this person suggests, we should just show them the door and ask them to leave. We would be better off without them. Or so the thinking goes.

Throughout the next few months I want to take a look at a couple of other snapshots of unity and tolerance in the Church. I’ll clue you into my bias right now. I believe that Seventh-day Adventists as Protestants have always been and should always remain tolerant of a wide range of beliefs, particularly as it relates to our ability to worship together in Christ.

On a possibly related subject Progressive Adventism blog offers a link to a Ronald Numbers interveiw in has interviewed Ronald Numbers for its January 2 issue entitled “Seeing the Light—of Science.” (After you get there, to read the article for free, click on red “Wired Science” logo and then click “Enter Salon” above the ad on the right which will appear about 2 seconds after the ad.)

The blurb on the interview states: “Ronald Numbers—a former Seventh-day Adventist and author of the definitive history of creationism—discusses his break with the church, whether creationists are less intelligent and why Galileo wasn’t really a martyr.”

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