Weeding the Garden of Adventism
by Jack Hoehn
It was a year ago this month, that I decided it was time to begin writing about Creationism in Adventism. I had long been thinking about the subject, and studying creation, evolution, and the age of the earth for many years. But it was when the Adventist Review published this letter from a sister, that I decided I had to begin talking to my church in a more public way. Here is the letter published in the Adventist Review of June 23, 2011, page 5. (available in archives if you are a subscriber at www. Adventist Review.org)
INBOX, Letters from our Readers:
Adventists and Evolution
“God bless Clifford Goldstein for presenting the issue of Adventism and evolution
in a direct but sensitive way (see “A Safe Place,” Apr. 21,2011). Evolution has no place in Adventism. It is the devil’s way of adulterating our image. Creation gives us our Creator, our seven days, and thus our Sabbath.
As for why anyone would “want” to remain “in the church” if they are an evolutionist is often because it is their way of life, a social club, connections (very much like a fraternity), and, unfortunately, because the church provides their employment. These people need to be weeded out so our church can be a “safe haven” not only for our students but also for our new members. If someone is “struggling” regarding the issue, they should be removed from prominent positions.
Support and guidance should be offered to them. We should support Goldstein and others who want to make our church a “safe place.”
(Author’s name and city cited in original).
I wrote the following letter addressed to the author, care of the Adventist Review with a request to please forward it to the author, and permission for the Review to publish the letter as well. The letter was acknowledged, but I have heard of nothing since, and have since been given to understand that not all sides of current issues in Adventism will be represented in the Review. Banned in Silver Springs, but here in Adventist-Today-Blog gentle reader, you will see it first. An Adventist weed replies to an Adventist weeder.
Dear Sister M,
Your letter in the June 23 Review was painful to a lifelong Adventist who now feels targeted to “be weeded out” from my church because of a science question?
I was baptized by immersion into this church in 1959 and have always been a faithful member. It was my privilege to be ordained an Elder in our church at an early age. I teach a Sabbath School Class in a four teacher rotation. My wife and I served as SDA foreign missionaries for 13 years and were considered role models for other Adventist young people.
We have paid tithe and a second tithe ever since our marriage, because we believe Adventism is God’s idea for a needy world. I don’t eat animals of any kind. I don’t attend the theatre. I don’t even go bowling. My wife and I have never worn wedding rings and yet no one has ever had cause to question if I we were married because it is obvious by our deportment.
The people at work all know I am an Adventist and seem to respect me for that. My wife has been on the Union Committee. We observe every Sabbath from even till even.
As a firm believer that God is the Creator of everything that is, and that the Sabbath is the Memorial of that fact, I am distressed that you wish to weed me out of my church because of my conclusions about scientific questions, not spiritual or moral questions.
It is scientifically clearer and clearer that the creation of life hypothesized by godless random chance evolution is impossible. Yet life as intelligently designed has clearly changed and adapted, so the possibility that God designed life to be capable of change and adaptation seems more and more likely. Godly evolution seems to be a reasonable alternative to godless evolution.
I don’t wish to “weed you out” of our church because you believe that earth is only 6,000 years old. (Even though none of your children or grandchildren will be able to agree with you on this and I wouldn’t advise you to make a big deal of it.)
So why should you need to weed out faithful Seventh-day Adventist long term creationists like me out of our church? We both agree that Christ is the Creator of everything and that Adventism stands firmly for that. Aren’t the details of how and when He created subjects to study and learn about, not to pontificate on?
I’m a real person and everything I have written you is true. But I do not wish to have personal notoriety, so I am signing this letter as
Your brother in Christ, a Seventh-day Adventist long term creationist.
Well, so much for personal notoriety!