Page 1 of2

From: Sent: Subject:

"Louie Bishop" <\> Wednesday, November 18,20091 :37 AM LSU: GENERAL BIOLOGY SEMINAR

November 17, 2009 Dear LSU Board Members, Today I attended the General Biology Seminar (BIOL lIlA) hosted by the Biology department at La Sierra University. This course is being offered for the first time this year, and is required attendance for all students registered in BIOL 111. Today, the subject according to the syllabus was "faith and the intellect." What I heard was disturbing to say the least. As a result, I have decided to send this personal letter to each one of you. During this lecture, I decided to take notes on my computer, and so was able to record a significant amount of the material presented with accuracy. In other words, what I am saying in this letter is not an afterthought, or just how I feel about what happened today. The first of two presenters today was Dr. John Webster, Dean ofthe School of Religion, and Professor of Systematic Theology. Professor Webster talked about the idea that faith and intellectual integrity are not incompatible - that they can be in dialogue with one another, and will continue to be in the future; that Christianity has been confronted with major scientific and societal changes in the past, and has endured the test oftime. He mentioned a few leading scientists in today's world who are Christiansnamely, Francis Collins and Owen Gingerich. He came to a slide which was entitled "Adventism can contribute." Here he suggested the idea that a "paradigm shift" is needed in our time as we engage with contemporary science. He then came to some slides entitled "Interpreting the Bible Aright." He mentioned four methods of Biblical interpretation: Literal, Mythological, Figurative, and Realistic. He then said that "the final two may be helpful." One of the sub-points under Realistic was "Bible to be taken realistically." What does that mean? Dr. Webster went on to suggest that Genesis 1 and 2 may not be a description ofthe beginning of the world. The take-home I received from Dr. Webster was that the Bible is to be interpreted according to and within it's cultural context. Yes, this is necessary. But his description, shown by his disregard of the literal method of interpretation, makes a simple reading of the word subject to what we may glean from our studies on the culture of the time. As I read the words of Jesus, I don't see Him focusing on explaining Scripture according to its cultural context or understanding. He simply said "But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female.'" Mark 10:6. "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me." John 5:46. The second presenter was Warren Johns, who is from Lorna Linda. He spoke about what a worldview is, why it is important, and the fact that we as students are at La Sierra University are in the process of constructing our own. He then asked the question "How old is the earth?" He said that the answer is based upon what framework you are using. For example, are you speaking of mankind? Life in general? The universe? He then told us that he was going to deal with that question from the Western (Biblical) perspective, as well as the Muslim perspective. He directly said that these perspectives seem to have a "compressed" picture of the age of the earth. Mr. Johns then gave us a chart showing Old Testament Chronology, which was summed up as seven cycles of 490 years each from Creation to the exile of the Hebrews to Babylon. He then asked us a question: Must we use this chart in determining the chronological history of life today? His answer was that the 490 year cycles were a human understanding of how life developed on earth. He said that we don't need to say that this timeline is absolute. In other words, he is teaching La Sierra University students that the Biblical timeline of history can be interpreted according to our understanding of the Hebrew cultural paradigm. This


Page 2 of2

concept will become clearer in the next paragraph. Before I continue, may I ask you a question? In the Bible, from the perspective of fallen mortals, which was the victor: faith, or the intellect? Did Moses first introduce to God his intellectual understanding of the situation, before he obeyed the command of the Almighty? We can simply go to Exodus, Hebrews 11, etc. for our answer. Let's get back to the intellect. Mr. Johns said that the Hebrews, as well as all ancient cultures, built structures according to their views of the cosmos. For his example, Mr. Johns sited the tabernacle in the Sinai wilderness. He mentioned a few things about its construction, such as that the seven-branched candlestick was located on the south side of the structure. He noted how this was consistent with ancient cultural paradigms concerning the cosmos, which always placed the sun (source oflight) in the south. He then mentioned that ancient people groups would take a seven day period to dedicate a temple they had erected. His inference from this was that there was a distinction to be made between the creation of the temple and the inauguration of the temple. He then likened this concept to the account of Creation in Genesis 1 and 2! That God took seven days to "create His temple." Thus, the days of Creation as mentioned in the Bible are not necessarily days of creation, but rather days of inauguration. He then said "As Dr. Webster pointed out, we are now looking at Genesis 1 and 2 in a symbolic way." A few moments later, Dr. Lee Greer asked Mr. Johns a question: "Dr. Johns, are you suggesting that a literal reading of Genesis 1 may not be correct?" Dr Johns replied: "The literal reading of Genesis 1 is a textbook reading ......." His statement, in summary, replied that we must first understand what was originally meant, and then we are able to interpret Genesis correctly. This letter is being written to you to show yet again that La Sierra University is attacking God and His identity as Creator as revealed in His word. Not only this, but such false ideas are being presented to the minds of students right at the time when they are forming their foundational paradigms that will shape the rest oftheir lives! How can such nonsense be taught on a Seventh-Day Adventist campus? I remind you, Jesus said to the Fathe:r "Your word is truth." Today, we did not here one word from the Bible to support the claims being made. We did not hear one word from the Bible period. What we heard was man's interpretation of the Bible, and thus the wisdom of men taking precedence over and above the word of God. As I gathered my belongings to leave the classroom, I looked up to see a young man, standing near me, gazing toward the front ofthe room as ifhis mind was troubled. His friend was speaking to him concerning what had been presented. I asked him what he thought, and told him I would sincerely like to know. So we walked out of the room and headed toward the center of campus. This young man was clearly shocked by the presentation, and pointed out that he believed what we had just heard clearly was destructive to the Christian faith, and the Bible as its foundation. With this testimony of a freshman student realizing that today's presentation uprooted the foundation of the Christian faith, how many more are there in similar shoes in that classroom? What does it take for us to realize how serious this situation is? May I remind you as leaders that you are responsible - we are responsible - to fix this error!
It is high time that La Sierra University be held accountable for what it is teaching to young impressionable minds, as well as for what professors it is employing as representatives of the University, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and most importantly, Jesus Christ.

Sincerely, Louie Bishop