Since I have been retired from La Sierra University for three years, I'm not in the middle of things any more, though Gillian and I still live in the community, help out where we can, and continue to know and observe what is going on. While I'm sure LSU and some of its professors have made mistakes and have learned many lessons from the latest fuss, this action by the Michigan Conference is astounding to me.
LSU continues to be a sound, loyal Seventh-day Adventist institution where victories for Christ happen every day. I wish its critics would also circulate the fact that enrollment (including in biology) is at an all time high. It continues to send out student missionaries and baptize students (the latest group this last weekend), defend the church and stand for truth around the world, including in many professional settings where the Michigan Conference would not be recognized nor have a voice, etc.
I believe the tea party movement and radical right-wing politics is affecting our beloved church, not only in belief but in tactics that have no place among Christians. If you care about Truth, I suggest you dig a bit deeper than either Shane Hilde or the Michigan Conference have done.
Christ tells us they will know us by our love, not by our commitment to a seven literal historical, consecutive, contiguous 24-hour day week of creation 6,000 years ago which is NOT in Genesis no matter how much the fundamentalist wing of the church would like to see it there.
Fundamental Belief No. 6 uses Biblical language to which we can all agree; once you start interpreting it according to anyone's preference you begin to cut out members who have a different interpretation. I wholeheartedly affirm Scripture, but NOT the extra-Biblical interpretation of the Michigan Conference. Since when is salvation by correct knowledge anyway?
I don't mean to take sides or get anyone upset; I just wanted you to know there is a much larger picture out there with forces at work that are disrupting the unity of the church--and that the force is not one or two professors at LSU whose views are being dealt with constructively by LSU's administration in whom you can continue to have every confidence.
Lawrence Geraty is president emeritus of La Sierra University. In 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger named him to the California Postsecondary Education Commission.