Affirming our position on creation

Responding to ongoing discussions in the church, the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists urges Adventists to look to Scripture as the validity of their faith as it relates to origins.

In a statement released June 19, 2009, Pastor Jan Paulsen appealed to church administrators, ministers, teachers, and writers to articulate and reflect the church’s stand on creation.

“We must not allow ourselves to come adrift from the Bible in defining our values and in stating what we hold,” Paulsen said.

Paulsen referred to the church’s position on creation, which was affirmed by the General Conference Executive Committee in October, 2004.

Paulsen said that his appeal came with respect for integrity and professional skills of educators, ministers, and writers.

I place this appeal before you in awareness of an ongoing discussion in some quarters between faith and science, particularly as it relates to origins and creation.

For us as a community, it has always been of utmost importance to stay close to the Scripture. Faith has that as its final point of reference. We must not allow ourselves to come adrift from the Bible in defining our values and in stating what we hold.

Our position as a church in the matter of origins is clearly, although somewhat broadly, stated in our Fundamental Beliefs. This position is further amplified in a statement voted by the General Conference Executive Committee at the 2004 Annual Council. To remind ourselves of the details of that action, I have included the wording in this appeal:

I appeal to all engaged by our church in the ministries of administration, preaching, teaching, and writing to articulate and reflect our stand as a community on creation. We are a faith-community, and the world of faith is the world in which God’s creative powers are on constant display. Sometimes the findings of science may reflect some of this, but often not. Faith is certainly not subject to findings of science.

To those who teach at our colleges and universities, let me say that you have a demanding, often difficult, but sacred assignment. It is a ministry you hold in trust. It is understood that to care for your ministry responsibly you have to take your students on many a journey of findings into various disciplines of study. They need to know what they will meet in their profession and in life. As part of that exercise, you will also expose them to the elements and concepts of evolution. That is understood.

As your pastor, however, I appeal to you that when you take your students out on the journey, you bring them safely back home before the day is over. And their home must always be in the world of faith. You owe it to the students, you owe it to God, you owe it to their parents, you owe it to the church, and you owe it to yourself as a believer to safely guide them through difficult moments on their journey.

This appeal comes with the greatest respect for your integrity and your professional skills. But you are also my sister and brother in faith, and we share a common commitment to God to whom we shall ultimately bring the fruits of our labor. I pray that He will give to each of us the strength that accompanies faithfulness.

– Adventist News Network

Jan Paulsen (Th.D., Tubingen University) is the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.