Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Adventists Changing Beliefs

Recently Desmond Ford recently published a few chapters from his book Daniel 8:14 The Day of Atonement and the Investigative Judgement. Chapter one has a section which is entitled: New Sanctuary Positions Assumed by Adventist Scholars. What is most useful about this chapter is that it shows the progression of modern Adventists. The official church rarely admits to the changes which we as members have seen throughout our lives. The following is an abbreviated version of the positions laid out in the chapter without the majority of source quotes.

The Atonement

Old Position: "Christ did not make the atonement when He shed His blood upon the cross. Let this fact be forever fixed in the mind." U. Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, pg. 237.

New Position: (52) See Questions on Doctrine for representative statements, particularly noticing the Ellen C. White appendix on the topic. In essence, the Atonement was made at the cross, and let that fact be forever fixed in the mind. According to Questions on Doctrine, Adventists "fully agree with those who stress a completed atonement on the cross in the sense of an all-sufficient, once-for-all, atoning sacrifice for sin. They believe that nothing less than this took place at Calvary" (pp. 342-343).

Literal Apartments in Heavenly Sanctuary

Old Position: Christ from AD 31 to Oct. 22, 1844, was in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and then at the latter day entered a flaming chariot to enter the second apartment.

New Position: From 1931 our Yearbook official statement of Fundamental Beliefs speaks of "phases" of ministry, not "apartments." In an article written in the mid-sixties I

Did Blood From The Offerings Of The Common People Go Daily Into The First Apartment?

Old Position: Yes. See Smith's The Sanctuary. 203.

New Position: No. See Leviticus. 4:27-30 and note comments of Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. See also Andreasen's The Sanctuary Service, 137.

Does Blood Defile?

Old Position: Yes. (All our old writers so affirm).

New Position: No. Blood cleanses. See Heppenstall's Our High Priest, 82-83.

What Sins Were Recorded By The Blood?

Old Position: Transgressions of the Ten Commandments.

New Position: Only accidental or ceremonial errors never the deliberate transgression of any one of the Ten Commandments. See Andreasen's The Sanctuary Service. (55)

Within the Veil Heb. 6:19

Old Position: Can only mean "within the first veil" See works by Smith, Watson, Andreasen, etc.

New Position: It means "within the second veil" Said Andross:

Moses passed "within the veil" and poured the holy anointing oil upon the ark of the testament, and also sprinkled the blood of consecration upon it before the regular service in the sanctuary began. In like manner, Christ, after making His offering on Calvary, passed "within the veil" of the heavenly sanctuary and anointed the ark of the testament, and with His own blood performed the service of consecration. (56)

Nature of the Judgment

Old Position: Since 1844 God has been examining the books to find whom He has the right to save.

New Position:"... not to be conceived as God's poring over the record books. (61)

Old Position: The Father judges, and Christ is the mediator.

New Position: The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son. John 5:22.

Daniel 7:9.13

Old Position: This passage pictures an examination of the sins of the believers in Christ. (All Seventh-day Adventist comments on this chapter before 1950 so affirm.)

New Position: This passage pictures an examination of the sins of the little horn, judgment upon that power for the sake of the saints.

Revelation 14:7

Old Position: This judgment is the investigative judgment of the saints.

New Position: This judgment concerns the wicked world as well. (64)

Daniel 8:14

Old Position: Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed the investigative judgment will cleanse the heavenly sanctuary records.

On the basis of the KJV rendering (which is a mistranslation), Dan. 8:14 was linked with Leviticus. 16, and explained as the investigative judgment.

New Position: But in the twentieth century, an endeavor has been made to link the answer of 8:14 to the question of 8:13. Evangelists had had great difficulty in this area, and therefore the new view of the "daily" found enthusiastic acceptance, as well as energetic opposition of some such as S. N. Haskell, Leon Smith (the son of Uriah), J. S. Washburn, C. B. Starr, F. C. Gilbert and others who held extreme views on the nature of the inspiration of Ellen C. White. Such was the verdict of W. C. White as he surveyed the controversy.

Terminus for Dan. 8:14

Old Position: The cleansing reaches to the end of the investigative judgment at the close of probation.

New Position: The "cleansing" involves the whole work of judgment and extends to the setting up of the earth made new. See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary 4:845, and note the words of L. E. Froom in Prophetic Faith 4:1159-1160.

Just so, the Sabbatarians came to understand, the final cleansing of the antitypical sanctuary, accompanied by a heart cleansing among the people of God, not only is to end in the judgment of all men, and in the redemption of the saints, but is finally to eventuate in a clean universe, through the ultimate banishment of all sin and perversion and the total eradication of all of its effects forever. (Rev. 20:9.11)

Little Horn of Daniel 8

Old Position: Cannot be applied to Antiochus Epiphanes.

New Position: Can be applied to Antiochus, though he does not exhaust it. This is believed by S. Horn, R. Cottrell, D. Neufeld, Ford, etc. At the 1919 Bible Conference, Lacey, Wirth, M. Wilcox and others saw the prominence of Antiochus in Daniel

Hebrews 9

Old Position: A basis for our sanctuary doctrine. (All our early books so affirm.)

New Position: No basis for our sanctuary doctrine. From Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary 7:468, we quote:

This commentary believes unqualifiedly that Christ's heavenly ministry is carried on in "two great divisions," or to borrow the symbolism of Scripture, in the "holy" and then the "most holy place" of the heavenly sanctuary (see especially on Ex. 25:9; Dan. 8:14); but that the book of Hebrews is hardly the place to find a definitive presentation on the matter.

"Holies" in Hebrews 9

Old Position: The plural form in such verses as 8:2; 9:8,12,24,25; 10:19; 13:11 proves a reference to two apartments.

New Position: Inasmuch as the plural form is applied to each apartment separately it can never be used to prove plurality of apartments. The plural form may simply be an intensive plural with a singular application. In our next chapter we quote the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary and others to this end.

Texts Such as Acts 3:19; I Peter 4:17, I Timothy 5:23, Prove the Investigative Judgment

Old Position: Yes.

New Position: No. Acts 3:19 means the same as 2:38, and I Peter 4:17 applied when Peter wrote. No text is known that directly teaches the investigative judgment.

The Year-Day Principle is a Biblical Datum

Old Position: Yes.

New Position: No. We quote the Review, April 5,1979, "This Generation Shall Not Pass," by Don F. Neufeld.

If the events of Matt. 24 are supposed to apply both to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and to the events preceding Christ's second advent, why does Jesus say specifically, addressing the disciples who asked Him about end events, "I tell you this: the present generation will live to see it all" (verse 34, NEB)? Obviously He knew that the 2300-day prophecy needed to be fulfilled before His return.

Verse 34 in the King James Version reads, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

It seems obvious that if we had been one of the disciples who had asked the question, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (verse 3) we would have interpreted Jesus response as The New English Bible states it. The "you" we would have applied to ourselves and the "this generation" we would have thought as designating the generation in which we were living.

Second Advent Could Not Come Till After 1844

Old Position: Affirmed.

New Position: Denied. See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary 7:728-728. (This has important implications for the investigative judgment doctrine. Where would it have fitted if Christ had come in the first century?)

Prophecies of the End

1844 As Beginning of the End Supported by Such Prophecies as Rev. 11 on the French Revolution, Rev. 9 on the Ottoman Power, Dan. 11 on the French Revolution and the Ottoman Power, Rev. 16 on the Euphrates and Armageddon, Ma ft. 24:34 "This Generation Shall Not Pass ..," The Earthquake of Lisbon, The Dark Day, and the 1844 Meteoric Showers, and Dan. 12:4 Increase of Scientific Knowledge.

Old Position: Asserted that the atheistic revolution of France supported the "time of the end" beginning in 1798; the fulfillment of Litch's interpretation regarding Aug. 11, 1840, indicated that the seventh trumpet began in 1844; the current deterioration of Turkey showed that the scroll of prophecy was almost completely unrolled; and the few still alive since the falling of the stars proved Christ must come within a few years.

New Position: None of these prophetic positions are reliable. All are based on erroneous exegesis, and history supports none of them.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Deuling Errors now known as posted the fact that there will be two competing ideologies on The Loma Linda Campus. The article begins:

Crossfire on LLU Campus

The weekend of September 5-6 will feature a theological showdown of a sort on Loma Linda University campus.

At the University Church (the larger of the two campus churches), the “Good News Tour” will arrive on Friday evening and all day Saturday. A key objective of this program is to highlight a certain picture of God that emphasizes God’s kindness, compassion and non-violence. GNT is said to be Inspired by the teachings of Graham Maxwell who provided a strong reaction against the penal substitutionary atonement theory. In essence, Maxwell saw the cross as a showdown of governing principles between God and Satan, and a divine expression of unconditional love. In that expression, there can be no violence.

Over at the Campus Hill Church, the Adventist Today Foundation is hosting two lectures by Desmond Ford, probably one of the most significant (and controversial) theologians produced by the Adventist church. The two lectures entitled “The Theory of the Forensic Atonement in Light of the Gospel” and “This I Believe” will take place at 3pm and 8pm which means the first lecture will go up straight against all the afternoon sessions of the Good News Tour. My sense is that Ford will defend the substitutionary understanding of the atonement which has been a centerpiece of his theology.

Of course I am not near LLU so I won’t have to make a choice. In fact I disagree with both speakers. The Good News Tour people use an irrational method of accepting Ellen White ideas and rejecting Ellen White ideas. Holding to the prophetic guidance of Ellen White while ignoring many of the things Ellen White says on the subject. It is too bad that they are so inconsistent and focus so much upon the idea of no violence. Because factually Ellen White was very supportive of the Penal/Substitutionary view of Atonement and secondly the Bible is full of violence with much of it being attributed to God. Holding to Ellen White while ignoring Ellen White is certainly a formula for failure. The sad part is that they are on the right track but being so indoctrinated with Ellen White they don’t have the courage to leave her and her nineteenth century views behind.

Desmond Ford on the other hand holds a traditional Evangelical view which is that Christ suffered our punishment for sin, God poured out His wrath upon Christ so that He could forgive our sins. Nothing new here, just the basic stuff that Protestant religion has produced since the Reformation. This is the view of most of the Protestant Christian world.

So which one would I choose to go to? Probably the Good News Tour because I continually hope they will make a break through past their Adventist Ellen White dependence. It is holding them back from reaching both Adventists and the outside world. Any knowledgeable person attending their lectures would immediately see that they are heavily dependent upon extra biblical sources and that the sources are used as the primary basis for propositions. But then again that is not much different from the Penal theory which main claim is that it is the accepted tradition. When people see the verses in the Bible that speak of atonement they remember how the Penal theory uses those verses and assume that the Bible was written using the Penal Atonement theory as a reality. Not according to the facts that the Penal theory took over a thousand years to appear in Christianity.

For more see: Response to Graham Maxwell's Great Controversy View

Church History of the Atonement

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Did Jesus Die the "Second Death"

Recently several Adventist discussion forums have started threads asking the question "Did Jesus die the second death". They were all started by the same individual and it is somewhat interesting to see how the people on the different forums answered the question. What is also interesting is the total lack of Biblical material to make the assertion that Jesus died the second death. The following is taken from my article What is wrong with the Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement.

Did Jesus Die The Second Death

While it is a common concept in the substitutional theory of the atonement that Christ paid our debt or our penalty for sin, the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church has carried the idea even farther. As one of the SDA quarterlies recently said: "At the cross, Jesus died the "second death" (Rev. 20:14; 21:8)..." (Nov 26 2001 Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide).

Prominent in the SDA church is the concept that Christ died the second death, and God poured out His wrath on Christ on the cross. The book Seventh-day Adventists Believe..A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines (The Ministerial Association Review and Herald Pub. Ass. 1988) writes as follows on page 111:

"Christ's self-sacrificing is pleasing to God because this sacrificial offering took away the barrier between God and sinful man in that Christ fully bore God's wrath on man's sin. Through Christ, God's wrath is not turned into love but is turned away from man and borne by Himself." (the book is quoting from Hans K. LaRondell, Christ Our Salvation p. 26,27)

However there is little Biblical basis for such a statement. Certainly, the Bible does not ever speak of God's wrath on Christ. It is most often used of those who reject God, such as:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, (Rom 1:18)

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (John 3:36)

LaRondell's conclusions seem to be based on Romans 3:25 and Ephesians 5:2

God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- (Romans 3:25)

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)

None of which warrant such a conclusion as Christ bore God's wrath. The life, death, and resurrection is the "blood" which reaches to us, to offer us the gift of forgiveness and life. Blood in both the Old Testament and in all the other ancient religions was a symbol of life. It is the life which Christ proved was in Him that proved death had no hold on Him and therefore us, if we accept the gift of life He offers. Christ always lives and always will (John 1:1) He is the Way, Truth and the Life, it is not His death that saves us it is His life and power over all things that save us.

There is another method often used in the SDA church to assert that Christ suffered under the wrath of God. It is developed something like this:

God is revealing His wrath upon the wicked; He gives them over to their sinful desires. Likewise on the cross Christ was delivered over for our sins. Thus God separated Himself from Christ on the cross and Christ died the "second death".

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, (Rom 1:18)

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (Rom 1:24)

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Rom 4:25)

Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. (KJV)

Amazingly enough the point of tying wrath and Christ is developed from a frequently used New Testament word variously translated as; "betray, bring forth, cast, commit, deliver (up), give (over, up), hazard, put in prison, recommend. (3860 paradidomi (par-ad-id'-o-mee)". When a word is used 130 times in the New Testament it becomes clear that someone is playing fast and loose with the principles of Biblical interpretation. How was Jesus given up is a legitimate question, and it should well be considered:

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Rom 8:32)

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36 KJV)

Paul in Romans uses the idea of Christ given up or delivered in much the same way as it is used in Acts. In Acts as well as the text above in John, it is the idea that God allowed sinful men to lay hands on Christ and do what sin does, kill. In fact the ultimate act of sin, is the rebellion against God to the point where man kills his own creator. In the Book of Acts we are told who killed Christ, and never once is it said that He died by God. Men, human beings were the cause of the death of Christ. It is clear that God knew it would happen and God intended to use mans evil for God's ultimate purpose.

This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. (Acts 2:23)

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.(Acts 3:13)

The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead-- whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.(Acts 5:30)

Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him-- (Acts 7:52)

"We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, (Acts10:39)

It is not only in Acts that it is plain as to who killed Christ, Paul and the Gospel writers wrote:

For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men (1 Thes 2:14-15)

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (Matt 16:21)

The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;(Luke 24:20)

There is indeed no shortage of evidence as to who and how Christ was killed. With such strong evidence as that given above it is peculiar that people continue to make such comments as "Christ died of a broken heart" presuming that it was from the separation of His Father that Christ died. Ignoring the plain facts that Christ had been beaten, and nailed to a cross to die. As if the Roman method of execution was not efficient at killing. (Matt 27:26 The NIV Study Bible notes "Roman floggings were so brutal that sometimes the victim died before crucifixion." See What is wrong with the Substitutionary Theory Appendix 5)

How is it that contrary to the witnesses of the Crucifixion that people assert that, "At the cross, Jesus died the "second death". Unless one has a preconceived concept about Christ death it is fairly obvious that He did not suffer the second death. The verses which mention the second death involves complete destruction from which there is no return. To assert such an idea is to ignore the many Biblical texts which set forth fire as the ultimate destroyer. A concept still easily seen today, few methods of destruction leave so little behind as fire. In most cases fire leaves nothing but ashes, often nothing is left to even indicate what was destroyed.

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.(Rev 20:14)

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Rev 21:8)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (Rev 2:11)

Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Rev 20:6)

No place in the Bible does it tell us that Christ suffered the second death, however Jesus certainly mentions what will be latter known as the second death when He says:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt 10:28)

Those who hold to the idea that Christ died the second death usually fall back upon a single incident in scripture to indicate that Christ was separated from the Father causing Christ's death.

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"-- which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)

They usually ignore that Jesus is quoting the first words of the Psalmist messianic prophecy about how the messiah would be rejected and abused by evil men.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? (Psalm 22:1)

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?", does not necessarily indicate the separation of divinity from divinity, the human suffering which Jesus went through is certainly adequate to explain the feeling of being forsaken. To be at the mercy of sinful man is often a crisis. The Psalmist complains of such feeling several times. Christ, quoting the first words of Psalm 22 give important relevance to Christ's position as the one who suffers at the hands of evil men, yet who will ultimately triumph. (See Appendix 4) The more prevalent Christian idea that there was a short, momentary separation is certainly less objectionable than a second death concept.

On the cross Jesus Christ revealed the true nature of God. Divinity did not leave Christ on the cross, God's love was revealed to mankind. Even while being tormented by evil men, Christ forgave them, showing as He had earlier that He was God Himself by His ability to forgive sin (Luke 23:34). Ultimately it was to God that Christ commits His spirit, which is hardly the act of someone suffering under the "second death", or someone suffering the wrath of God.

Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)

God has through the life death and resurrection of Christ ransomed us from our own headlong rush toward death. Not with the blood of sheep and calves, but with the life which is in God. A life laid down by Christ voluntarily subjected to the torture and murder by people in rebellion against God. To show us the love of God, the depths that He would go to show us His love. To reveal the true nature of evil which hurts and kills, so much so that men would kill their own creator. Finally to show us that God is willing and able to forgive us our sins and raise us up to life immortal. Christ who willingly laid down His life also took it back up again (John 10:17-18). That is the reconciliation of God, the lengths to call people back to trust in God. The mercy of love which is freely forgives, the justice which is the return to harmony with our Creator.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Theistic Evolution or Evolutionary Creationist

I ran across this interesting article on Evolutionary Creationism (AKA theistic Evolution). The article is an interview with Denis Lamoureux makes some very good points. The article is published by Candian Christianity .com Here is a segment of the article:

Denis Lamoureux: First, a comment on terminology. The better term for born-again Christians who accept evolution is 'evolutionary creationist.' This is to distinguish us from deists (those who believe in the impersonal God-of-the-philosophers) and liberal Christians. Evolutionary creationists believe in miracles. I'm charismatic and have often experienced signs and wonders. We believe that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. I drink from it daily, for my spiritual nourishment. And we believe in intelligent design in nature, as revealed in Psalm 19 and Romans 1 -- for example, that complexity within the cell declares the glory of God. In fact, evolutionary creationists will even say the Big Bang and the evolution of life reflect the mind of God.

The problem with the term 'theistic evolution' is that the substantive -- the more important term -- is a scientific theory (the noun 'evolution'); and God is only the qualifier (the adjective 'theist'). I refuse to have the Lord as secondary to a human theory about the origin of the physical world. I am first and foremost a creationist. I believe in the Creator. I believe the world is His creation. From my perspective, it is clear to me that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit created the world through an ordained and sustained evolutionary process, in the same way that God created each of us in our mother's womb through an ordained and sustained embryological process.

Now to your question, and it is a very good one. I am in complete agreement with Billy Graham's approach to the Word of God: "The Bible is not a book of science, but a book of redemption."

For example, I do not go to God's Word to find out about the size of mustard seeds (Matthew 13:31-32 and Mark 4:30-32 say it is the smallest of all seeds), or how they germinate (John 12:23-24 and 1 Corinthians 15:34-37 state that they must die before growing). Moreover, I do not go to Scripture to understand reproductive problems (only women are barren in Scripture: Genesis 11:30, 25:21, Isaiah 54:1, Luke 1:7, 23:29, Galatians 4:27, Hebrews 11:11). And I do not use the Bible to inform my understanding of the structure of the cosmos (the earth is immovable, in 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalms 93:1, 96:10 and 104:5; the sun moves across the sky in Joshua 10:13, Ecclesiastes 1:5 and Psalms 19:6; a solid firmament exists overhead in Genesis 1:6-7, 14-16, and Psalms 19:1).

Therefore, if I do not use the Bible to understand the structure and function of the world, I will not use it to find out about how the Lord created the world. The scripture simply reveals that God created everything in the universe. During the Biblical inspiration process, the Holy Spirit employed the science of the Hebrews as a vessel to deliver this foundational theological fact. In other words, the Holy Spirit accommodated to the intellectual level of ancient peoples. This is the very same communication technique that parents use to answer a four-year-old's question about where babies come from. They spare all the physical details of the sexual act, but reveal the most important point: that babies are a gift from God, because mom and dad love each other.

Back to Reverend Graham. He also said: "I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process . . . or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. Whichever way God did it makes no difference, as to what man is and man's relationship with God." I applaud Dr. Graham's honesty. He is not a biologist, so he will not make a statement about an issue that is not his area of expertise. However, he understands the purpose of God's Word perfectly. It is to reveal that we have been created in God's Image, and that we have sinned against God.

To conclude, I do not reconcile my position with Scripture -- because the intention of the Bible was never to reveal scientific facts generations prior to their discovery by modern scientists. Thus, there is no need for any reconciliation. Of course, the belief that the Bible is scientifically correct is a common assumption (termed 'concordism' -- or better 'scientific concordism') held by the majority of evangelical Christians. But it is a mistaken interpretive principle. In fact, it is an un-biblical assumption, because the science in the Scripture features an ancient science from 3,500 years ago.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Strange Bedfellows, Adventists and Philip Morris

SDA’s partner with Phillip Morris and Tobacco State Representatives and declare themselves on the side of right.

Speaking of the win in the Senate this last week James Standish writes on SDAnet:

I was discussing the impending vote with coalition colleagues yesterday, and in that discussion I noted that Adventists have been leading this charge for a long, long time now. Indeed, we could say that along with the Methodists, we invented this movement. It is wonderful that each of us has been able to play our part in keeping this flame alive. The other side has the money, the influence, all the tricks of their trade, but we have right on our side and we will never, ever, ever give up!

Earlier this week on the Liberty Blog Standish wrote in part:

Vote on Our Tobacco Bill this Week!

Dear Friends of Freedom:

This is an urgent appeal. For years, Seventh-day Adventists have worked diligently and persistently to protect our children and our society from the predatory practices of big tobacco. Now we finally have a vote scheduled in the U.S. House of Representatives.

So who is in this coalition of right and why do they think that the government needs to pay 12 Billion dollars to pay out Tobacco farmers.

From CBS News

An unlikely coalition of anti-smoking advocates and tobacco-state senators pushed to secure the 78-15 vote to add the twin measures to a massive corporate tax bill that the Senate then passed on a voice vote and sent to a House-Senate conference committee.

The House-passed tax bill includes a plan to pay tobacco farmers to leave the federal tobacco-growing system but does not give the FDA any new powers. Health groups hailed the Senate action.

The FDA asserted authority over cigarettes in 1996, but the Supreme Court later ruled that only Congress can give the FDA that power.

Philip Morris USA is the only major tobacco company to support FDA regulation of cigarettes. Company executives say it could better communicate with customers about new, safer products in a regulated environment with clear, uniform rules.

The other major tobacco companies say the new advertising restrictions would make it harder for them to gain new customers while ensuring that Philip Morris retains its market share.

Those companies have supported the House buyout approach, which isn't linked to FDA regulation and would pay farmers $9.6 billion over five years with taxpayer money.

The $12 billion farmer buyout approved by the Senate would be paid for by an assessment on the companies.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, was the lead sponsor of the Senate buyout. He called it "vital to the future livelihoods of our tobacco farmers and their families."

So is this really some kind of right side that gives corporate welfare to tobacco growers and sides with the largest Tobacco companies in the United States. Tobacco which is normally grown as an annual plant; means that it is planted and harvested yearly and thus not a long term plant or tree does not really seem to at first glance need a buyout for tobacco farmers. In other words the land that tobacco grows on can be used for other crops at the desire of the farmer. So now we see why the Tobacco state representatives are voting for this bill. 12 billion dollars from the federal government, that is you and me to a few Tobacco growing states is good for their economy.

U.S. Tobacco Subsidies in United States totaled $530 million from 1995-2006.

At the same time the U.S has required warning labels on cigarettes since 1966 and the warning message was last updated in 1984, yet we subsidize it’s growth and marketing and now want to spend even more in a proposed buyout of farmers to stop growing something that the Federal government has subsidized and advertised as hazardous to smoker’s health.

Is that what government is for? Is it really the best way for SDA’s groups like the North American Religious Liberty Association to be joining forces with Philip Morris and Tobacco State Representatives and claim that they are on the side of right.

The following conversation took place in the debate over this bill and is relayed by the Courier-Journal, it is rather telling as it displays the difference between government bureaucracy verses the nanny state, and which side is really about freedom.

We offer this strange exchange between House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. The edited transcript from The Congressional Record follows:

"Mr. BOEHNER … Now this bill has been hanging around here for 15 years. For 15 years, we've been trying to move this piece of legislation. We're going to charge the tobacco companies about $5 billion over the next few years to pay for a bureaucracy here in Washington so we can regulate tobacco.

"Now, listen. Most of my colleagues know that I smoke. I know that smoking is probably not good for my health. Most people who smoke in America know that smoking is probably not good for their health. Do we need the federal government to tell us? Do we need to spend $5 billion of smokers' money for the government to tell us that smoking is not good for us? I don't think so ... Frankly, the whole idea that the federal government ought to regulate more and more and more of our lives just gets under my skin.

"I have great respect for my colleague from Michigan. He is a great member of Congress, and we've worked together on a lot of issues, but this is a bone-headed idea … We've already got labels on cigarettes. You've got some companies that might as well put a billboard on a pack of cigarettes so that you know that it's bad for you. I can imagine what will happen after we get more government regulations on this issue.

"I would just ask my colleagues: How much is enough? How much regulation and how much government and how much bureaucracy do we need before we finally say, 'Enough is enough?' Let's stop. Let's vote against this bill.

"Mr. DINGELL. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 15 seconds for the purpose of responding to my beloved friend, the minority leader.

"This legislation is on the floor because people are killing themselves by smoking these evil cigarettes. The distinguished gentleman, the minority leader, is going to be amongst the next to die. I am trying to save him, as the rest of us are, because he is committing suicide every time he puffs on one of those things."