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March 04, 2011

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I want to thank you for this post. Spot-on.
Keep up the good work!
Johnny Ramirez-Jorge

Thank you for this post, it was indeed stimulating; I truly miss the seminary. Dr Gane is spot on with what he states about the process of education; again thanks!

Well said. I hope this provokes a meaningful conversation. The first Adventists didn't become so because they only listened to people in their own theological circle. Seeking truth requires the risk of encountering error.

Thank you, Professor Gane. I really enjoyed this.

Ideas like the one's you've expressed are the antidote to the caricature "Gnu Atheists" and many, many other outsiders like to draw of Christianity as philistine.

Dr. Gane's call for more scholarly dialogue and interfacing with a larger selection of ideas under the umbrella of the seminary resonates with me—and I hope it gains traction. Perhaps one of the reasons some have opposed doing just this is because the seminary has stumbled recently in handling the presentation of divergent views in a way that is sensitive to the spiritual growth of students and the biblical affirmation expected of the Seventh-day Adventist church's premier confessional institution (examples include the most recent HMS Richards Lectureship, which demonstrated that a significant number of seminarians were not equipped to critically evaluate the presenter's direct attack on biblical hermeneutics as understood by Adventists, and the keynote presentation at the recent scholarly symposium—neither of which were responded to in any significant fashion).

So, yes, let's engage in substantive, open scholarly dialogue at the seminary, even with those who hold diverging views. Yet let's do so in a responsible manner which critically engages those invited to present rather than merely providing a platform for the dissemination of their perspectives.

To my above comment, I hasten to add that I am not intending to throw accusations at the dean or any other seminary professors. The examples I cited must be understood within their various contexts and the purposes for which each event was planned, taking into consideration the fluid dynamic of guest presentations. Rather, I am seeking to highlight the need for great intentionality to ensure that public dialogue takes place in such a way that credible, substantive Adventist responses provide the context for the conversation. Without intentionality, such a context will not be created and the conversations naturally take a form which is not befitting a confessional institution (at least in my view).

Now why didn't I simply originally articulate my thoughts in this manner?

It seems that the greatest threat to Liberty are the controls that intend to protect it yet inevitably destroy it. There is always inherent risk in Liberty, yet we do not place our hope in the means of man but the power of the Spirit. What is the role of the Spirit in our colleges and universities? What are the risks? What are the blessings?

Well said.

So have your scholarly debate, but why was this done on Sabbath? We do not hold classes on Sabbath, why this item which was surely expected to call forth dissent?

@Shining: You're hurting my image of Adventism. If thoughtful religious discussions are not allowed on the Sabbath, even by those whose natural element is "scholarly debate," then it must be a pretty thoughtless religion.

I for one always preferred to use the Sabbath for truth-seeking.

If I remember correctly, Professor Walton attaches a great deal of importance to the meaning of the Hebrew word "bara" [Online Bible #01254].

It appears numerous times in parallel structures with other words which either illustrate its meaning or shed light on it:
Isaiah 43:1 But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator <01254> [bara], O Jacob, And He who formed <03335>[yatsar] you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!

Isaiah 43:7 Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created <01254> for My glory, Whom I have formed <03335>, even whom I have made."

Isaiah 45:7 The One forming <03335> light and creating <01254> darkness, Causing well-being and creating <01254> calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD, who created <01254> the heavens (He is the God who formed <03335> the earth and made it, He established it and did not create <01254> it a waste place, but formed <03335> it to be inhabited), "I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Amos 4:13 For behold, He who forms <03335> mountains and creates <01254> the wind And declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness And treads on the high places of the earth, The LORD God of hosts is His name.

It can be plainly seen that to “create” something means to “form” it. Isaiah 29:16 uses the term yatsar to describe one who forms clay. The word is actually translated as “potter” in verses 30:14 and 29:16 of Isaiah.

In the interest of completeness, another word used in parallel with "bara" <01254> should be considered, the word "chadash" <02318>.

This word appears in English translation as "repair," "restore," "renew". "Create
"bara" in me a clean heart and renew "chadash" a right spirit within me," is one example

"Chadash" may have the meaning of repairing or renewing something which already exists. The word is used in an abstract sense to refer to the renewing of the spirit (Ps. 51:10) or the restoration of salvation's joy (Ps. 51:12). It is also used in more tangible tangible ways with reference to repairing the temple (2 Chron. 24:4,12).

After looking at all the passages where "bara" is used and considering the parallel terms used with it, I don't see the idea of functional assignment as preeminent, if it exists at all.

"Chadash" certainly adds to the range of "bara" but not in the sense of function rather than manufacture. Am I missing something?

@Siggy-I think Shining's point might be to not engage in "controversial" actions on Sabbath. I personally think this isn't a bad suggestion since it could at least quell SOME of the criticism. There is the idea that the Sabbath should only be for "uplifting" actions which for some of the critics is pretty narrow. This is a suggestion that I don't think would be too hard to accomplish. I also agree with Sean that debate and discussion should occur just in the proper context.

Dear Roy,
I wholeheartedly appreciate this idea of inviting non-Adventist scholars as occasional speakers. I also agree with your advocacy of promoting critical thinking in our universities.
Best regards,

I come late to this with few comments.
1)I have come to "trust" Dr. Gane from "Altar Call"
a)I respect his education
b)I pray for his disposition of his responsibilities
2)I responded (late!) to another Genesis related topic - Astudy - and I wish to make one of the points made there, here.
a)It is recommended to "us" that we "adapt our" theories to those of others.
1)On what basis should "they" not consider that "they" might do well to "adapt" their theories to ours(!)[because we are "few" in number(Jesus+disciples - all disciples to some degree "minuses", even AFTER Pentecost...].
May be continue to seek God's Will.

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Memory, Meaning & Faith is a blog covering Christian history in light of contemporary issues.

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