In response to the recent action of the Michigan Conference Executive Committee, we at La Sierra University reaffirm our commitment to being part of the global circle of Adventist higher education. La Sierra University is an integral part of the Church’s shared endeavor to educate our young people to think well and to believe well. Our students constitute our best hope for the future of the Church, a Church that must be responsible, redemptive, and relevant if it intends to meet the needs of the world in the 21st Century. And we affirm, as consistently declared by our university and by our Board, our strong belief in God the Creator and Redeemer, as revealed in our Church’s Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.
Let me speak specifically about the heart of this Adventist university:
To our students we note our gratitude for the way in which you daily exhibit your faith. Your commitment is revealed in the manner in which you express your love for God through your worship, your academic work, and your service to those both on and off this campus. You beautifully represent our university and our Church, and we encourage you not to allow this moment to discourage your walk with God in any way.
To our faculty and staff we express our thankfulness for the way in which you daily live out the mission of this wonderful university by seeking truth, loving God, and serving others. You make this Adventist learning community a place of integrity and hope for our students, and your work is best revealed in the lives of countless graduates who now serve with great faithfulness and ability throughout the world.
To our alumni we assert our continued commitment to be the kind of university that you have every right to love and to support. We pledge to continue to daily reveal our love for learning within a supportive Adventist environment that will enable our current students to experience what you consistently remind us has been most helpful to you in your personal and professional lives.
To the members of the Michigan Conference Executive Committee, and to those who have supported their action, we would implore you to stop and to think about the message that you have given to these 1,850 students and 310 faculty and staff who make this a vibrant and faithful Seventh-day Adventist learning community. We believe that it would be impossible for you to take this action if you would look into their faces, if you would sit with them in classes and in offices, and if you would join us in worship.
And, to the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who today wonder if there is a place in this Church for you, we say, Do not lose faith. The Church is big enough for all, and we must never forget that our Lord desires that each of us might give our very best to His work. There has been little genuine conversation, and far too much anger, criticism and recrimination. We must never forget that God calls us to “act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”
Today, as members of the La Sierra University learning community, we renew our commitment to provide outstanding teaching in an environment that values academic integrity and spiritual commitment. We will continue to celebrate certainty and curiosity. We will find joy in the dynamic interplay between faith and learning. We determine to remain open to conversation and challenge.
To the members of the Michigan Conference Executive Committee, and to those of you who do not know our university, we invite you to come to campus and to see why La Sierra is increasingly attractive to students and families who value the privilege of receiving an Adventist education within a setting of outstanding academics. You will find a welcoming spirit of openness of inquiry, and the faith-encouraging climate in which questions may be asked and the most hopeful answers found.
Randal Wisbey is President of La Sierra University.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2399