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If two people are always agreeing, one of them is not necessary.”

My college professor tossed out the line in jest to encourage vigorous discussion in his classroom. But now, 35 years later, I am still blessed by the insight.

To be human is to disagree—at least occasionally, sometimes strongly. The God-given differences in personality and viewpoint between even the happiest spouses and the closest friends ought to make us respectful of the importance of careful disagreement to our lives as disciples. We learn, we stretch—we grow—as believers through the process of disagreeing. Our accustomed ways of seeing the world are challenged—and occasionally, reformed—by the experience and ideas of others.

You say that chocolate is an invention of the devil, meant to tempt us into gluttony. I say that chocolate—in moderation—is a blessing meant to brighten a tasteless day. You point to studies that show that consumption of fat and sugar are contributing heavily to America’s epidemics of diabetes and obesity. I point to the recently published study offering convincing evidence that middle-aged men who consume at least a quarter-cup of chocolate per week have a markedly lower incidence of stroke.1 And we both appeal to the Word, which asks, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” (1 Cor. 6:19, NKJV).2

Is one of us fundamentally right and the other inescapably wrong? Or is our disagreement only a further illustration of the fact that we are each created in the image of a Lord who wishes us to employ our whole selves—intellect, personality, emotions, and opinions—in following Him? 

Fortunately, the disagreements between believers are usually over more substantial things than chocolate. Though we are loath to admit it, we read the Word through the lens of our own experiences with God; we tell our stories of how grace works with grateful enthusiasm, even as we listen to another’s very different story and wonder how it came to be. The most vital facts of the life we are called to live together are the respect we show to those who “know” differently and our mutual surrender to the authority of God’s Word that ought to be more important than our own life stories and opinions. 

Jesus says that He is present wherever two or three are gathered in His name (Matt 18:20). By definition there will be differences of opinion when two or three gather, even in His name, implying that Jesus also expects at least some disagreements among us. His church is founded, not on unanimity—and certainly not on uniformity—but on the covenant created by divinely given love and goodwill. As we learn to listen to each other, and bow to each other, and pray earnestly for each other, the disagreements that emerge will only serve to sharpen the quality of our thinking and our service to His body, His church.

In the coming weeks this magazine will highlight numerous articles and insights under the banner “Called Together.” These interviews, letters, features, and editorials are specifically designed “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14, NKJV), a time when the vigor of our disagreements over the appropriateness of ordaining women to gospel ministry and the process to follow in making that decision have threatened our ability to stay in civil conversation with each other. 

This journal, now 163 years old, was the vital bulletin board of ideas and visions around which the first generation of Sabbathkeeping Adventists gathered to learn how to talk and live with each other. I’m praying that what we read and ponder here in the days ahead will improve the quality of our conversations and our respect for those who disagree with us.


Neurology, Aug. 29, 2012;
2 Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bill Knott is editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published September 13, 2012.

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Deborah Pickell Chennault said:

Why is there a rule about not misleading people when no one is deemed able to discern a misleading argument or to call it what it is?

Not that I have a particular thing in mind, even.. Just in general, why IS that a rule? I see a LOT of misleading being done. And we have to pussy-foot around it with coy words and phrases so as to not be TO specific. So as to not be called out for naming names, as it were.

This rule is telling members to be truthful and not to intentionally mislead others.  The person doing the misleading knows if they are being deceptive and knows it is against our rules.  Sometimes others can see deception too.  This rule was put in place to make it against our rules to concoct personas, stories, profile details, or any other intentionally deceptive posts.  It is a rule so that we can have a fair recourse against those who do not act truthfully.  It is a rule to eliminate deception, not a rule to eliminate other points of view.

You say you see a lot of misleading being done.  How do you know a member is misleading others?  Have they interpreted scripture differently than you?  Does that mean they are not being truthful?  They may be wrong.  But that does not make them deceptive.  Unless we can prove deception, we endeavor to follow the advice of EGW and "treat every man as honest".

We encourage you to rebut every belief you see as false with your beliefs and the basis you have for those beliefs.  That will reveal God and scripture to all.  You do not have to pussyfoot around with coy words.  You can be very specific.  You just have to reveal truth from scripture.  The truth from scripture speaks loudly.  But pure scripture is something you can know.  What you can't know is the heart of others. So proclaiming specifics about the heart of others is un-provable and unwise... so unwise that the members here included it as forbidden in our rules.

Calling someone who believes differently a liar is completely at odds with the advice we are given on how to deal with those who believe differently than us.  I encourage you to study the basis quotes we give for our Site Rules & Guidelines again.  No where in there does it say we have to let stand what we see as evil.  But it does tell us how to treat others with Christ-like love as we study with them to reveal truth.  The wisdom and love revealed in those quotes should be life-changing. :-)

Blessings and prayers,


You posted:

"This statement may have revealed more than was intended. It sounds eerily similar to the attitude that, when milder measures fail, one may justly resort to force. That, folks, is the spirit of persecution."

I'm sure you believe that to be true, so I will not call you a liar. G

However, on a more serious note, I do believe that you need to re-evaluate that statement.  It is not the case that using more force when milder measures fail, is persecution.  Let's look at an example.

  1. I am caught speeding.  An officer of the law stops me and gives me a verbal warning.
  2. The next day I am speeding even faster and the same officer pulls me over.  This time he gives me a written warning.
  3. A few days later, I am caught going even faster.  This time he issues me a ticket.
  4. I go to court.  The officer tells the judge all that has happened.  None-the-less, the judge lets me off.
  5. The next day I am driving at a reckless speed and the same officer pulls me over and gives me a much more severe ticket, i.e wreckless driving.
  6. This time the judge throws the book at me and sends me to jail.  On the way to the jail, I tell a news reporter: "I am being persecuted."

No, using mild method first does not mean that more severe methods involves persecution.  This is only in the mind of those who have a "persecution complex."  A very common sickness, by the way.

Maranatha :)



Reply by Deborah Pickell Chennault

Now see, I may get a reprimand, but I think you are a liar, Sarah.. Not only do I think you are a liar, but I KNOW you are..

GC policy leaves the final decision of this to the unions.

LIE. So, I MAY get a reprimand, but that wont change that your statement IS a lie.


To lie to make your point, IS pointless..


Yes, Deborah, you will get a public reprimand.  There was nothing Holy or uplifting with your public judgment of another.  This is completely unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated here.  You have no proof that another member is lying.  Unless you are God and can look on the heart, these negative unfounded pronouncements hinder the cause of our beautiful Savior.  They eclipse His beauty with our own filthiness.  You may disagree with what she said.  You may even think it is not factual.  But neither of those things makes it a lie.

After a quick review, I would say your post infringes on rules 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8.

Rule 1. Your comments do not express or show love in any way.

Rule 4. I'd say calling someone a "liar" would break this rule.

Rule 5. You don't know the motives of another.  Suggesting you do breaks this rule.

Rule 6. You are not rebutting the issue at all.  You are only rebutting the person.  This breaks rule 6. 

Rule 8. Your post represents "personal differences, arguments, old grudges".  Posting this does nothing to further the work of our Lord.  It only serves to elevate self.

A big problem with your statement is that you knew it was against the rules to post this and yet you chose to do it anyway. Further actions like this will cause you to be restricted from posting here.

Blessings and prayers,



You wrote:

“You are mixing apples and oranges, brother. Civil law enforcement has authority to rule our driving behaviour. No onehas authority to rule another's religious views or conscience. Please read the passage which I have quoted from Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing. I think it will serve to clarify the point about religious persecution.”


OK, by your invitation, let’s look at the quote from MB that you selected and posted.

“The sin that leads to the most unhappy results is the cold, critical, unforgiving spirit that characterizes Pharisaism.”  Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 126

First, the spirit of the Pharisees is the same as that of those who seek to promote WOPE.  They were ignoring God’s instructions and seeking to establish a religion of their own making.  No different then what we are seeing today.

There is a major difference between forgiveness and not speaking up when open rebellion against God is being promoted.  It is you who is mixing apples and oranges. 

No loyal servant of Jesus can nor will condone studied, intentional deviation from what is plainly stated in God’s word.  To seek what is called: “forgiveness,” is in fact seeking permission.  This is something no human being has any authorization to give.  For God’s word stands forever, it is not something any other being in the Universe can set aside or change.

The very fact that those who are advancing WOPE are not able to present any passage in either the Bible nor the Spirit of Prophecy, that commands, authorizes, gives permission or condones the ordination of women as either pastors or elders, is all the evidence that is needed to show the practice is wrong.

Virtually all of the “evidence” that is presented is “empirical” in nature, i.e. this was done in the past.  A lot of wrong things were done in the past, so just because someone mentioned in the New Testament may or may not have been ordained is a moot point today.  We must not base our theology on what humans have done.  That is tradition, the major source of authority in the Roman Catholic Church.

When we base teachings or practice on tradition, we are mimicking their philosophy.  They set tradition above the Bible, and when examples from the New Testament are cited as permission to ordain women, we are doing the exact same thing.  Tradition never supersedes the Bible, no matter how many may claim that it does.

Then Ellen White continues with:

“ When the religious experience is devoid of love, Jesus is not there; the sunshine of His presence is not there. No busy activity or Christless zeal can supply the lack.”  Ibid

Love is not some warm fuzzy feeling, as so many seem to believe.  God is love and only what comes from God is love.  Since ordaining women does not come from God, then it is not love.

She continues with: 

There may be a wonderful keenness of perception to discover the defects of others; but to everyone who indulges this spirit, Jesus says, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” He who is guilty of wrong is the first to suspect wrong. By condemning another he is trying to conceal or excuse the evil of his own heart. It was through sin that men gained the knowledge of evil; no sooner had the first pair sinned than they began to accuse each other; and this is what human nature will inevitably do when uncontrolled by the grace of Christ.”

It is of interest that the very ones who have been foremost in accusing our brother  Pipim, are the first to claim that this is wrong when their sin of following  human wisdom instead of God’s instruction is pointed out.  Where was this instruction hiding when you were demanding that Dr. Pipim be punished to the fullest extent of the law and never be allowed back into the SDA church again?  Very interesting.

Then she writes:

“When men indulge this accusing spirit, they are not satisfied with pointing out what they suppose to be a defect in their brother. If milder means fail of making him do what they think ought to be done, they will resort to compulsion. Just as far as lies in their power they will force men to comply with their ideas of what is right. This is what the Jews did in the days of Christ and what the church has done ever since whenever she has lost the grace of Christ. Finding herself destitute of the power of love, she has reached out for the strong arm of the state to enforce her dogmas and execute her decrees. Here is the secret of all religious laws that have ever been enacted, and the secret of all persecution from the days of Abel to our own time.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 126

There is not one word in the quote you presented that deals with how those who are flagrantly going contrary to God’s instructions should be treated, when they are teaching and defending false doctrine.  Standing up for what God’s word says is not exercising an “accusing spirit.”  That feeling comes from a guilty conscience reprimanding the individual who has wavered from the truth.


You wrote, as quoted above:

“No onehas authority to rule another's religious views or conscience.”

This is true.  Therefore, for a minority to demand that the entire church accommodate their misinformation and their desire to be like the world, they are trying to rule the religious experience of the church instead of submitting to the teachings of the church.  So, in fact, your post was a criticism of what those supporting WOPE are doing, not of what those of us who are opposing WOPE are doing.

Maranatha :)


Ray said:

"There is not one word in the quote you presented that deals with how those who are flagrantly going contrary to God’s instructions should be treated, when they are teaching and defending false doctrine."

I have asked that all read and study anew the basis quotes for our Site Rules & Guidelines.  In that material there are several quotes about how we should deal with those we feel are "flagrantly going contrary to God's instructions".  For example:

"In the advocacy of the truth the bitterest opponents should be treated with respect and deference. Some will not respond to our efforts, but will make light of the gospel invitation. Others--even those whom we suppose to have passed the boundary of God's mercy--will be won to Christ. The very last work in the controversy may be the enlightenment of those who have not rejected light and evidence, but who have been in midnight darkness and have in ignorance worked against the truth. Therefore treat every man as honest. Speak no word, do no deed, that will confirm any in unbelief."

Ray said:

There is a major difference between forgiveness and not speaking up when open rebellion against God is being promoted.  It is you who is mixing apples and oranges.

While what you say is true, it is also a false dichotomy.  Those are not the only two alternatives.  Another alternative (the one I recommend) would be to present the truth with Christ-like love.  "The surest way to destroy false doctrine is to preach the truth. Keep to the affirmative. Let the precious truths of the gospel kill the force of evil. Show a tender, pitiful spirit toward the erring. Come close to hearts."  EGW - Letter 190, 1902


Ray said:

Standing up for what God’s word says is not exercising an “accusing spirit.”

That is true.  But one can certainly exercise an accusing spirit while speaking the truth.  Just because one is speaking the truth does not make it impossible for them to be doing so in a non-productive and evil manner.  Our method is to speak the truth while constantly showing Christs love in every action and word.

Both sides have quoted from the 6th chapter of Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing.  I think reading the whole chapter repeatedly would help all of us treat others as He would have us treat them.  Read the whole chapter here:

Blessings and prayers,

Only God can change hearts.  That is His job.  :-)  We are here to reflect Him and present His truth.  He will work on the hearts so change can happen.

"Do not, when referring to the Testimonies, feel it your duty to drive them home.  ... Be sure that you do not make the word of the Lord offensive. We long to see reforms, and because we do not see that which we desire, an evil spirit is too often allowed to cast drops of gall into our cup, and thus others are embittered. By our ill-advised words their spirit is chafed, and they are stirred to rebellion.

Every sermon you preach, every article you write, may be all true; but one drop of gall in it will be poison to the hearer or the reader. Because of that drop of poison, one will discard all your good and acceptable words. Another will feed on the poison; for he loves such harsh words; he follows your example, and talks just as you talk. Thus the evil is multiplied.

Those who present the eternal principles of truth need the holy oil emptied from the two olive branches into the heart. This will flow forth in words that will reform, but not exasperate. The truth is to be spoken in love. Then the Lord Jesus by His Spirit will supply the force and the power. That is His work."   {6T 122,123}

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Isaiah 58:1. {CTr 350.1}

The last great conflict will be short but terrible. Old controversies will be revived. New controversies will arise. The last warnings must be given to the world. There is a special power in the presentation of the truth at the present time, but how long will it continue? Only a little while. If ever there was a crisis, it is now. {CTr 350.2}
Decided efforts should be made to bring the message for this time prominently before the people. The third angel is to go forth with great power. Let none ignore this work or treat it as of little importance. The truth is to be proclaimed to the world, that they may see the light. {CTr 350.3}
This is our work. The light that we have upon the third angel’s message is the true light. The mark of the beast is exactly what it has been proclaimed to be. All in regard to this matter is not yet understood, and will not be understood until the unrolling of the scroll, but a most solemn work is to be accomplished in our world. The Lord’s command to His servants is “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” {CTr 350.4}
There is to be no change in the features of our work. It is to stand as clear and distinct as prophecy has made it. We are to enter into no confederacy with the world, supposing that by so doing we could accomplish more. If any stand in the way, to hinder the advancement of the work in the lines that God has appointed, they will displease God. No line of our faith that has made us what we are is to be weakened. We have the old landmarks of truth, experience, and duty; we are to stand firmly in defense of our principles, in full view of the world. {CTr 350.5}
It is essential that workers be raised up to open the living oracles of God to all nations, tongues, and peoples. People of all ranks and capacities, with various gifts, are to stand in their God-given armor, to cooperate harmoniously for a common result. They are to unite in the work of bringing the truth to all nations and peoples, each worker fulfilling his or her own special appointment. {CTr 350.6}
There is a wide field of action, and in their plans and devising, all need to consider the result. Everything is to move according to the divine plan. The whole body must be fitly joined together, that each member may promote the designs of Him who gave His life for the life of the world.—Manuscript 3, 1899. {CTr 350.7}


These are fantastic quotes that apply to us.  None of them are at odds with the counsel we have about the way we are to treat others.  We CAN and MUST spread the truth to a dying world.  Time IS short.  None of that changes the way we are to deal with those that are in darkness, falsehood, or do not believe as we do.

None of these quotes justify the poor treatment of sinners.  The quotes are not mutually exclusive or at odds with each other.  We must do both.

Here again is advice from God about how we are to treat others.

If two people are always agreeing, one of them is not necessary.”  I can't agree on that opening statement when it comes to God.  With real truth, there is only one answer.  Even the chocolate the end, there is one perfect amount in one perfect recipe that is right.  God wants us to come together in perfect unity.  There is not more than one version of truth.

In my children's generation (20s), that is something that is being taught that is not correct.  There is right, period.  Other versions may be mostly right, partly right, wrong but there is only one perfect answer to every question.  You can't have two right answers if the question is stated properly.  Yes you can ask a question like "is the sun round"  One can say, yes and another no and both be right because basically, yes but it has flares that distort the perfect roundness.  In the end, the answer is a complete statement but there is only one answer.  God doesn't give us multiple answers to spiritual questions.  It just means we have to study till we get the complete answer.  The only answer.

If two people are always agreeing, one of them is not necessary.”  I can't agree on that opening statement when it comes to God.  

We have Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John....all speak about Jesus, and yet all approach the Gospel differently--and even some contain details not present in the other Gospels.  Does the differences--and even omissions make the account of Christ's life any less valid?  No. 

@ Dorothy.  you say..... With real truth, there is only one answer.     my thoughts exactly on this.

This 'if two people are always agreeing, one of them is not necessary.'... we also talked about at university and what where we studying? business management.  what is the motivation? to make more money and one of the ways to consider is to cut costs on human resource by letting go of those who are not creative thus taking advantage of both creativity and cost cutting or fostering an environment that produces thinkers, who will interrogate a concept or business idea or any given situation; however for purposes of improving the bottom line.

God's absolute truth...can we equate how it should be treated, taught, taken, lived to how people are taught to behave in the world business environment and its worldly ethics? As much as we should accommodate each other's differences and growing to know Christ, knowing and standing for the truth in a discussion pertaining to doctrine or Bible principle (i believe) should not be brought down to worldly engagement standards.

If the discussion were about how to furnish the church given the budget, ie. come up with proposals on how to, when to, etc; I would understand the use of this of them is not necessary line.


You introduced an interesting variation.  I too have a minor degree in business administration, so I understand what you are saying. 

The problem is that a balance must be maintained.  Because:

1.  If everyone agrees with you, you do not get any good impute in order to grow.

2.  If everyone disagrees with you, it would take up so much time sorting out the good ideas from the bad, that nothing is accomplished, even if some good ideas were presented. 

So, a balance must be found between agreement and productivity.  Also, a balance must be maintained between those who have experience and training in the area under consideration vs. strongly help opinions.

The same is true in seeking for truth.  Christian courtesy and divine love must be a part of the mix. However, if anyone demonstrates a disposition that it must be their way or the highway, then a situation developes where everyone is cowtowing to the one person inorder to have "peace" and no spiritual growth takes place.

However, if someone in the mix refuses to learn from the evidence and continues to "plough right on through, no matter what" then the time comes for conformity to the leader to take over.  Which, in the Christian community, that leader is Jesus.

Truth is truth, period, no discussion.  However, a given truth may give me an answer in one situation and that same truth may also bring you an answer to another question in another situation.  Yet, it is still the same truth.  Just like sunlight will reflect off of a green field of grass, or off of a snow scene, or off of a mirror like lake of water.  It is still the sun that is reflecting, but it lightenes up three different scenes

Having owned several businesses, I found that being an owner operator is always a balancing act.  E.g.  One business I owned was a printing company.  I had several people working for me.  Some in the press room, others in layout and another in type setting (the old fashion way).  If I had a question in regards to the operation of the press, I would not go and talk to the layout artist.  Likewise, if I had q question about a layout, I would not talk to the pressman.  While I was trained in most, if not all, of those areas, those who worked for me were not. 

If a person who was a layout artist, disagreed with something that was happening in the pressroom.  I would be far more likely to listen to the opinions of the pressman then those of the layout artist.  Not that I liked one better then the other, but becasue they have more experience and training in that area.  This is a crude illustration, but hopefully it communicates. 

So too in the area of theology.  If one person can turn to God's word to support their position, I will be far more apt to listen to them, then to someone who can only just share their ideas or assumptions.  The one sharing their opinions might be well able to talk and/or persuade.  But, unless they have knowledge to back it up, they really are not safe to listen to.

Maranatha :)


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