Posted by: adventlife | March 22, 2016

Should Ben Carson’s Church Get Out of the Abortion Business? By Nic Samojluk

Three Angels

Some months ago Donald Trump, who is a Presbyterian, attempted to put in a bad light the evangelical authenticity of his then rival presidential candidate Ben Carson’s Seventh-day Adventist Church [SDA].

In his response to this criticism, Dr. Ben Carson, who is renowned for his extraordinary work as a neurosurgeon, expressed his pride in his church’s long term commitment to health living and its extensive network of hospitals and medical clinics.

A Pro-life & Health Movement

This dedication to health was the result of the work of a woman named Ellen White, who guided with her prolific writings the development and worldwide influence of the Adventist denomination for seven decades until her death in 1915.

Thanks to her vision, Adventist flagship health work at Loma Linda, California, was born; it prospered, and now is known around the world for its dedication to healthful living–In fact, the city of Loma Linda prides itself for the large number of long living residents who exhibit the advantage of a vegetarian diet and a positive attitude towards life.

In view of this, you may wonder the appropriateness of questioning the need of reform in the Ben Carson’s church. Is there something amiss in the teachings and behavior of this church that needs to change?

A Serious Moral Detour

The Adventist movement was born as a pro-life denomination a century and a half ago, but in 1970, the then leader of the organization in North America, Neal Wilson, issued a declaration that astounded many of its members.

He publicly declared that his church was leaning towards abortion because there were too many people and too much hunger in the world.

“Though we walk the fence, Adventists lean toward abortion rather than against it. Because we realize we are confronted by big problems of hunger and overpopulation, we do not oppose family planning and appropriate endeavors to control population.” [1]

What motivated this man of God to make such a morally flawed pronouncement in a country with an overwhelming oversupply of food? The answer is quite simple, but troubling.

The Fear of Revenue Loss

The management of the Castle Memorial Hospital, located in the state of Hawaii, which was owned and operated by the church, was under intense pressure from half of its non-Adventist physician’s staff to offer elective abortion services to their patients.

The concern for the potential loss of sorely needed revenue prompted the church to compromise with evil on this issue. The fear of the Lord went out the window and the church began to profit from the killing of innocent unborn children. Soon after several Adventist hospitals decided to take advantage of this additional source of revenue.

This created a controversy in the SDA church that lasted a couple of decades until the Autumn Council of the General Conference of the denomination approved a set of abortion guidelines [2] which set a limit on the number of elective abortions permitted in its large number of medical institutions.

A Feeble Attempt to Undo the Moral Damage

Was this effort to reduce the number of abortions in Adventist medical institutions enough? Many concerned members of the church strongly believe that it is not. How can a denominational that invested so much in health living dared to also profit from the death of innocent human beings?

Since its beginning Adventists criticized the Catholic organization for altering one of God’s Commandments—the one mandating the observance of the Sabbath [3] as a day of rest.

Messing With God’s Moral Law

How can then Adventist dare to alter another of God’s rules [4] for human behavior—the one protecting the right to life—and replace it with its humanly created guidelines on abortion?

Someone may wonder what is wrong with those guidelines. The answer is quite simple: Said document seems to justify the killing of unborn children under a variety of circumstances, including when there is evidence of malformation; when the pregnancy is the result of rape; incest; and even when the unwanted pregnancy affects the mental health of the pregnant woman.

The Need for Real Reform

Mental depression is undesirable, of course, but it is temporary; while abortion is a permanent and irreversible condition. Society allows a rapist to live, but it permits the killing of the innocent victim of rape. Isn’t this a travesty of the justice system?

How can a church that has prided itself on insisting on the validity and permanence of God’s holy Law, justify the violation of one of its most significant precepts for the sake of profit? Is the sacredness of the Sabbath more valuable than the right to life?

Isn’t it time for Dr. Ben Carson’s church to abandon its guidelines on abortion, stop the profiting from the violation of God’s Law, and return to the pro-life commitment of its original truly pro-life pioneers who founded the Adventist movement a century and a half ago? You be the judge!

References

[1] [George Gainer, The Wisdom of Solomon? Spectrum 19/4 (May 1989): 38-46.]

[2] https://www.adventist.org/en/information/official-statements/guidelines/article/go/0/abortion/

[3] Exodus 20:8.

[4] Ibid. 20:13.

Note: Nic Samojluk is a second generation Adventist and the author of two books on abortion and the Adventist Church and of a large number of published articles: http://www.lulu.com/shop/nic-samojluk/murder-in-paradise/paperback/product-21623695.html ; https://adventlifenews.wordpress.com/pro-life-books/

 

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Responses

  1. Should Dr. Ben Carson’s Church Get Out of the Abortion Business? That is a “Have you stopped beating your wife?” type question. The Adventist Church is not in the abortion business and never has been. Some Adventist physicians do abortions as part of their medical practice. The Adventist Church wisely does not tell them how to practice medicine. And that is a good thing.

    • Your comments raised several issues I would like to address:

      “The Adventist Church is not in the abortion business and never has been.”

      Your claim that the Adventist Church is not and has never been involved in the abortion business must be based on wishful thinking and or perhaps a willing ignorance of what the facts of the case are.

      I suggest you read what Adventist historian George Gainer documented for posterity on the pages of Ministry some years ago, and the document known as Guidelines on Abortion approved by the General Conference Autumn Council back in 1992. You will discover that some of our hospitals began offering elective abortions to their patients back in 1970 with the full knowledge of the church leadership.

      Between 1975 and 1982, for example, according to a Washington Post report, our Washington Adventist Hospital terminated the lives of 1494 unborn infants, and the church never apologized for this shameful departure from moral duty. Our medical work was founded with a healing ministry objective. Killing should have never been added to what we do as a church.

      Ref.: Abortion: history of Adventist guidelines:

    • https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1991/08/abortion-history-of-adventist-guidelines
    • Ref.: Guidelines/Abortion

    • https://www.adventist.org/en/information/official-statements/guidelines/article/go/0/abortion/

    • “Some Adventist physicians do abortions as part of their medical practice.”

      You seem determined to minimize the work of Adventist physicians performing abortions. It is true that the church cannot control the behavior of every Adventist doctor. They are free to engage in killing in addition to healing, but we should not rent office space to those who depart from the healing mission of the church.

      What would we do if one day ISIS succeeds in defeating the U.S. and imposes its sharia law on our citizens? Would we then agree to rent rooms to rapists because it is legal? And do not forget that the victims of rape are in most cases allowed to survive and eventually recover from such a tragic ordeal. The victims of abortion are not granted such benefit. The action is final and irreversible.

      Nic Samojluk

By: adventlife on March 23, 2016
at 4:43 pm

Reply

  • Dr. Irvin’s response lacks moral, spiritual, factual, and intellectual clarity. The evidence that the SDA church has been, and still is directly involved in the promotion and practice of abortion is so overwhelming that to suggest otherwise is either ignorant or an intentional attempt to be deceptive. AT this very moment one of our educational centers has a building in which they honor the abortion accomplishments of a Seventh-day Adventist doctor. If the church cannot tell it’s own members how to represent their church sponsored “medical mission” the right arm of the gospel is detached from the body and is therefore, no longer Seventh-day Adventist. If the indiscriminate killing of the unborn is merely “the practice of medicine” then perhaps history is wrong about the morality of Dr. Mengele’s ground breaking “medical procedures” at his clinic in Poland. And if God Himself is equally as unconcerned with the deaths of billions of perfectly healthy unborn children why isn’t Dr. Taylor more direct in his criticism of those who are trying to save those lives rather than destroy them?


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