A Response to the Joint Proposal

The North American Division has received and reviewed the “Joint Proposal of Individual La Sierra University Faculty and Trustees.” The officers of the division are very supportive of the dialog that has taken place with the LSU biology faculty and several trustees and we would encourage a stronger commencement of discussion regarding the concepts contained in the Joint Proposal. We are in general agreement with your core principles: I. Affirmation and incorporation of the Biblical concept of creation, including the Seventhday Adventist understanding of Genesis 1 and 2, as a faith position at the classroom level, when questions of origins are discussed. II. Continued teaching and research in the various disciplines of the modern Biological sciences according to the most-up-to-date rigorous standards of the published science, to which we contribute as practicing scientists and active faculty, including the data which highlight the strengths and weaknesses of various models. It is understood that in an academic setting modern science and faith-based creationism are both frameworks that need thorough exploration and definition to ensure that our conversations are based on mutual understanding of those terms and the implications surrounding them. Also, although the two frameworks are different, they are not individual silos in which we are able to work, without relating to the other framework. It has always been the position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America that we want all of our institutions of higher learning to uphold the highest levels of academics including rigorous science, as defined in section II above. At the same time we support your affirmation of the Seventh-day Adventist position on creation, which is a literal six-day, short-term creation. While we understand the tensions that exist between these positions, the most important values that we hold together are the student’s faith and its expression as they leave our institutions. The NAD is committed to hosting a summit of participating scientists, theologians, and biblical scholars in Adventist higher education to further the dialog and to clarify how to strengthen the faith maturity of our students while providing comprehensive science education. This summit should not be a time of debate over the wording of a position or statement, but should be held in a protected environment to openly discuss how to best move forward within the context of the natural tension between science and a faith-based creation position. We believe this is not only an issue at LSU, but is a broader issue that needs to be considered by the highest levels of the Adventist Church, involving all institutions in NAD. We commend the individuals who have drafted and signed this important proposal. Open dialog and conversation is the only method to resolve controversy and to move forward as an organization. The proposal is a major step forward in that conversation and with prayer and continued diligence is the basis for more direct resolution of the ongoing controversy

surrounding LSU. Thank you for your willingness to open a channel of communication and to work together on behalf of all students in Adventist schools in NAD.

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