Robert S. Folkenberg is the president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

We have taken note of the influence of the creation/evolution debate on our church. We listened to Ariel Roth who wrote that "the history of other major Protestant churches suggests that were we once to lose confidence in the authenticity of the creation account, we would soon lose confidence in the validity of Genesis 1 through 11 ... [and in] the Bible as a whole."

Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening in some places in our church today. Accommodationists are trying to reconcile the Bible with contemporary scientific thought, including the reinterpretation of the six days of creation to represent millions of years. As a result, questions are being raised not only in regard to the creation story but also concerning the historicity of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Some Adventists no longer believe in a worldwide flood. They explain Genesis 6-9 with a local flood in ancient Mesopotamia. However, the question has to be asked, if the flood was only in one part of the world, why did God tell Noah to build the ark? All he had to do was to tell Noah to move elsewhere on the planet.

A second reason for the crisis over Scripture in the Adventist Church is the gradual acceptance of a modified form of the historical-critical method by some of its scholars.

The historical-critical method is an offspring of the Enlightenment in seventeenth-century Europe. The French philosopher Rene Descarte raised doubts to a universally valid principle and changed philosophical, scientific, and religious thinking forever. The Enlightenment taught that all truth—including truth contained in Scripture—is rational, and what is rational is capable of proof. The historical-critical method, therefore, sought the eternal truths concealed in biblical history by purifying it of all inadequate forms.

In the process Scripture was stripped of all supernatural elements since they are not verifiable by rational proof.


Robert S. Folkenberg is the president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.