Samuel or God? Who Bears Responsibility for the Amalekite Genocide?

Having made a career in the sports industry I appreciate your leanings to soccer over football because of your enviornmental upbringing. The value of playing sport has nothing to do with the actual physical output. ( Curling is one of my favorite Olympic Games ) The value is in those outside the sports objectives. Things such as learning to be a teammate, respecting your opponent, setting goals and working towards achieving those goals, making commitments to your teammates etc. The argument that you can get some of these values in other ways is completely valid. It just happens that some people enjoy this avenue more than others. Jesus demonstrated this by his selection of the twelve. All twelve had different personalities and personal objectives which the “Coach” Jesus wove together not only to achieve the overarching goal but to be able to minister to the human diversity of not only those times but for all time.

Peter and John the Beloved were very different in who would listen to them. I don’t have any scientific evidence to back this next statement but it appears to me that the seminary wants a bit more of a cookie cutter pastor. Certainly in ministry, as with playing sports, you want your players to embrace everyone being on the same page. However, the coach wants diversity when it comes to presentation. Speed in some positions and power in other positions. I saw a interview with Steve Jobs many years ago and the question was, " Are you a tech geek?" He said no but I need them on my team and the geeks need me.
So while we need young energetic youth pastor, we also need the research scholarship types. The structure currently employed by the church is set up to have only cookie cutters in leadership. This model works well for some aspects of ministry but is a deterrent in other aspects.

Some parts of ministry require experience while other parts require scholarship and still others require nurture. In the end however the objective(s), spreading the Gosple should be the common goal. If the Spectrumites reflect the SDA membership then we present a good example of why we need diversity in thought and presentation.

There can be too much diversity as well. So while we need altos, sapranos, baritones etc… They must be singing the same song at least. The real question before the church is who gets to be in the choir. Some who post here prefer cookie cutter right down to the color of the carpet. Others here prefer the smorgasbord approach. It’s kinda like the democrats right now. There is a great deal of diversity among the candidates. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar are both Democrates but miles apart on their platform. At the end on the day they both have the same overarching objective, beat Trump.

If we compare and contrast SDA diversity we find individuals such as TW and say a Randy Roberts miles apart in many areas but probably both share the same overarching objective.



The homophobes commenting on this site and on other blogs are so VENOMOUS and VITUPERATIVE one wonders what they have to hide ??—are they closeted gays so filled with self loathing that they feel compelled to off load their venom to validate themselves ?


The lady doth protest too much, methinks !


It has been opined that opinions are like an anatomical thing everyone has.
With that said, I say nothing brings a whole bunch of opinions together in a cluster than something that is none of their business.

And that is my opinion.


This hits the nail on the head. I actually see very few students come in as SDA and leave as atheists. The few that do follow this path seem to do so for the very reasons you mention. They felt lied to about so many things. Sometimes I have a student like this come and talk to me privately, and I try to encourage them to contextualize their doubts. They grew up very sheltered, and were never given the opportunity to explore the larger world of ideas. As children they weren’t ready to be exposed challenging ideas, but in addition they may have had parents that were particularly harsh and dogmatic. I encourage them to consider why they then feel a pull to become atheist, all the while pointing to the broader umbrella of beliefs within Adventism, that there are those who have found ways to accept large amounts of scientific truth and still accommodate the Bible and SDA practice.

I am deeply committed to the SDA church, but I am more deeply committed to a Christian worldview in general, and when confronted with concerns from students like this I try to draw them into that, at the very least. Sometimes they are so opposed to being SDA by this point, due to their harsh and dogmatic upbringing that it is probably hopeless to save their faith in the SDA church, but I do hope to save their faith in God and the Bible.

The very discussion we are having in response to the article here, about God’s order to destroy the Amalekites and God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and even includes the moral repugnance that some of these students feel about a God who would destroy all mankind except one family by the flood. These are acts by a God who seems especially harsh, judgmental and unloving, and they feel they have been taught these stories uncritically as they grew up, and such an unloving and vindictive view of God leaves them cold. If God really is that way, they want no part in him, and to many of them they see atheism as a valid choice. This is where I talk to such students about other ways that Christians, including many SDAs have come to terms with these things, some ideas of which have already been expressed in this discussion. An option for some SDAs and other Christians in terms of the flood, for example, is to consider it a more localized event, an act of judgment still, but not one that destroyed all life, including so much innocent animal life. And note that the impetus for reinterpretation in this case is not coming from science, but from a theological view of God and His character. That science might be supportive of such a view is simply convenient for students in this case.

I also get another kind of student, one who comes in already atheist and sometimes even arrogantly so. Those kinds of students usually leave my classes with some of their rough edges smoothed off when they realize that there are a variety of ways to interpret the Bible, some of which make the bible much more compatible with the findings of science. I have been thanked by a number of atheist students over the years for my openness in discussing these issues, and although I can never know if I brought them out of atheism back to belief, I can at least say I gave them tools they thought were useful to better navigate their approach to belief. A few of the angriest ones, who initially had only contempt for SDA belief and believers, were much friendlier after a bit, and stopped being incredulous about how anyone could actually believe in God.

We interact with such a great variety of students in H.E., and we must be open and honest in our teaching if we hope to have any positive impact on them as a group. They come to us not to be indoctrinated, but to be taught how to think critically, to learn what they need to pursue a profession, and to grow spiritually. I take these things seriously, and even begin each of my classes with a short devotional thought and prayer. It is not easy to navigate the world of thought as a young adult and I do my best to smooth their path toward deeper knowledge and more mature spirituality.


Thank you. I figured, Jesus is indeed the lens through whom you view all biblical stories.

The lady doth protest too much… I agree with you on the protest area of a bunch of things. For example, the Tea Party and the Birthers during President Obama’s eight years and now the Never Trumpers fall into this area. But that’s just me probably. There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. All sides of these LBGTQ+ issues, Me Too’s, and BLM groups all have legit causes that should be debated and addressed but all these groups have sub groups that are more interested in causing hate and division then helping solve a particular issue.
If you or I wish, we can find numbers, studies and authoritative sounding political figures to agree with our particular holdings. Religions like the Catholics or SDA’s love numbers to voice their opinion. SDA’s love giving and baptism numbers. Political figures love polls. Trump, well Trump! GDP, minority jobs, and on and on and on. I think you see my point even if you disagree


Certainly, Adventist schools should by no means isolate students from popular ideas that are prevalent within secular culture. If anything, students educated in our schools should have a much better understanding of ideas like neoDarwinism or homosexuality than students educated in secular institutions. However, the education of students within Adventist schools shouldn’t stop here. Adventist education should also give students a reasonable explanation as to why the Adventist perspective on these ideas is actually supported by the Church - by professors who actually personally hold to the Church’s positions on these topics (like the topics of origins or homosexuality, etc).

Again, it is simply counterproductive to have a church school if professors in that school teach that the church’s position is not only wrong, but downright ludicrous, outdated, and completely opposed to the overwhelming weight of “scientific evidence”. Such teaching, by professors that are respected by the students, will strongly influence most students to be naturally opposed to the church’s position on these topics. Clearly then, this would not be in the church’s best interest. It would be far better, from the church’s perspective, not to form church schools at all than to have professors within their own schools attack the church organization from the inside.

I’m in total agreement here. Again, it is one thing to teach about a particular concept that opposes the teachings of the church. It is a far far different thing to then support this particular concept as “true” as compared to showing the students why you, as their teacher, don’t find it convincing.

That is why a teacher, employed by the church, is actually stealing from the church when they attack the church’s position on a given topic from within their own classroom or via a public forum. Such activity simply goes against what a teacher is being paid to do by his/her employer.

Of course, many in this forum just think I’m just the pot calling the kettle black here. What about my own employment? Would I really resign rather than speak against what my employer hired me to do? Yes, I would. I just don’t think it is morally right to go around actively undermining one’s employer while on the employer’s dime.

That is why I’m glad that, in some sense, I don’t work for the church or a particular organization where I would feel bound in what I say in public forums. I’m a self-employed pathologist, which allows me more freedom than if I were a pastor or a teacher. That’s just the way it works.

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I think you would view that as an attack only if you assume that church position could not in any shape or form ever be wrong.

Do you think that such is the case?

If a church position is wrong about some scientific issue, like it was before about a whole string of scientific discoveries that had church re-shape it’s understanding of human body, mental illness, cosmology, geology, physics, and numerous other disciplines… at what point in time should a scientist stop a criticism of a position that can be demonstrated to be false and outdated?

Do you think that today we may hold to some false and outdated beliefs, given the very progressive nature of truth that we hold to as SDA believers?

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You do realize that @GeorgeTichy actually agrees with me on this one. George wrote:

“I do not condone homosexual practices. Never did, never will… They were born stuck with a very troubling nature. Yes, biblically [they] cannot have homosexual practices, I always agreed to this. So, what they do? They have to stay celibate.” - @GeorgeTichy

How is this significantly different from what I’ve been saying? - from one of your own “experts”?

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The church can most certainly be wrong (and has been wrong many times before). However, attacking the church from the inside (i.e., from the pulpit or classroom) is not the place to address errors within the church - perceived or real. There are internal means to address errors without taking them public before one’s congregation or one’s classroom. And, if these “errors” are not corrected via the proper channels within the church, to one’s satisfaction at least, one is always free to resign one’s position within the church and then, at that point, publicly address these “errors” from outside of church employment. That is the only honest way to go about these kinds of things.

Certainly, no viable organization can long tolerate active subversive activities from its own employees that directly attack the primary stated goals and ideals of the organization. That’s just not how viable organizations work…

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You still don’t get it. It was about their inhospitality. Ezekiel said so almost 1000 years later. It was how they treated strangers and the poor. IT WASN’T SEXUAL. That is the point.

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If your saying in a later post that your not talking about sexuality, then why are your talking about homosexuals and heterosexuals?

This isn’t at all about politics, this is about people using the story of Lot to prove some point about sexuality. And what I am trying to point out is that IT WAS NOT. It is about people who didn’t care about others. PERIOD. No politics, no sex.

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OK let’s take this slowly so even you can understand.

You said - Sodom was about inhospitable people. It was not about homosexuality at all.

I had not said a word about “homosexuality”. What I did say was that Sodom was about “deliberate sinning”. You immediately assumed I meant homosexuality.

Soooo, I said - “Did I say that?” It (whatever it was) was bad enough for God to destroy the cities.

Now you’re saying, “If your saying in a later post that your not talking about sexuality, then why are your talking about homosexuals and heterosexuals?”

You are the one who introduced “homosexuality” into the conversation.

I hope we have covered it sufficiently


I wouldn’t even begin to put you and @GeorgeTichy on the same page of LGBT issues, even if there is this one point of agreement between you as you quote.


Why would you describe a matter of scientific disagreement with certain erroneous position of the church as a form of “attack”? Likewise, why do you think that a science classroom or a public forum wouldn’t be a place to present a diverging view that invites public conversation about these issues?

You seem to think that any criticism and disagreement with official scientific perspective should be kept on the hush hush… even in the realm of academia which exist solely for such discussions to take place so these could be tested by people who understand what they are talking about before making it up the chain to theologians like Doug Bachelor who are the card-holding members of the Dunning-Kruger society when it comes to this subject.

Do you think that church, with top-heavy operation and management by theologians would have adequate background to examine these things from a perspective of people who spent their lives studying scientific theories?

You may think so, but I doubt it. It took a long while for Adventism to shift from YEC to OEC at the level of Higher Education. But it still largely regurgitates FALSE science from pulpit… largely because pastors are not aware that even creationists abandoned some of these arguments.

And I’ve done a great deal of time of “confronting via proper channels” attempting to correct obvious falsehoods of people at the helm, who keep repeating it year after year. But, the generic attitude of leaders is that they were placed by God to dispense “the truth”. Very seldom they actually listen to my private criticism and adjust their belief.

So, I don’t think that public discourse that pressures the leadership to confront certain fallacies repeated from pulpits today is a wrong thing to do.

You seem to fall into the “is ought” fallacy if the org structure when you point to a set of rules set up by the hierarchy as the rules that must be followed and maintained even one disagrees.

You may think that it’s damaging to the institution, but on the other side of things , no institution can survive if it ademantly ignores facts if reality.

The church leadership isn’t “the king of Adventism”. We the members support it and pay to perpetuate its structure. Likewise, we the members delegate certain authority to the hierarchy for the sake of efficiency. There’s ZERO Biblical mandate to run the 501c3 Corp we are running today, with all of the implications for power structure imbalance that goes along with it. We are doing it predominantly for functional efficiency. A lot of people tend to think that it somehow spelled out in the Bible along with all of the Corporate-style mandates.

If you think that a person who disagrees with a couple issues has to resign after a life of paying into the structure with monetary and service support… YOU need to resign and join the Catholic Church, because it would be a much better fit for you when it comes to member-organization expectations and understanding how authority is distributed and why.

It’s not a master-slave relationship structured in the corporate world. Church is an egalitarian institution, and people tend to forget it, largely because they are blinded by their management titles.

It doesn’t mean that all of us should expect our personal perspective to be honored. But all of us should expect our disagreements to be heard instead of supressed. It may take a life-time of debate and discussion to resolve, but the wrong thing to do is to run counter-reformation witch-hunts just to make sure uniformity of belief is maintained.


BUT I also said that the issue is between them and their Creator, that we should not judge anybody. This is not our problem, it’s God’s problem.

If because of their gender orientation they end up in some homosexual relationship and then engaging in some homosexual practices, this is their issue, between them and their Creator. Again, I believe the “practice” will be wrong, but it’s none of my business to get into the discussion. The discussion is between God and them. I have no role in it. And this is where the friction always starts, when som e people make themselves “more right,” or “more saint,” and start to dictate to others what they can/cannot do.

Just my opinion.



Thank you Tom . You are indeed a wise man. :+1:


I know where you are coming from. I was the one who mentioned Sodom, and I too did not connect homosexuality with the reason it was destroyed. But homosexuality seems to be the default mode that most folks think someone is talking about when Sodom is mentioned.

People need to read Ezekiel 16, particularly verses 48-50. But read the entire chapter to get the setting. Jesus mentioned Sodom when he said to those in Capernium that they were even worse than Sodom. Jesus never mentions homosexuality as the reason for his saying this.

Jesus brought the gospel to Caperneum first hand and they rejected it, so in that sense they at least were given a chance to accept it and they didn’t. There were no missionaries sent to Sodom with a message calling for repentence. So against the backdrop of that, Jesus considered Caperneum the worst of the two, hence the reason he said what he did, IMO.

If I tried to explain that in a sermon in an SDA pulpit I would be branded as twisting scripture. The ones who are really twisting the Bible are those who have turned the story of Sodom into a referendum of God condemning gays. Back in the mid 60;s when I was in Juniors, I don’t ever remember homosexuality being mentioned as a reason God destroyed Sodom. It was described as a city so filled with wickedness that there were only 3 that were righteous and escaped.

And I wouldn’t call Lot’s daughters righteous. They ended up getting Lot drunk, had incestuous sexual relations with him to preserve there family line. Their descendents were the Moabites and Ammonites, dreaded enemies of Israel.

The only question that is really germane to the subject of this blog is this: God nuked Sodom and Gomorrah himself. But with the Amalekites he directed Israel to do wipe them out. Would someone mind giving their take on why you may think it was this way, and let’s get off this gay merry-go-round. We have beat the gay horse to death here, but I’m sure we will take it up again on another blog. You can bet on that happening for sure.


You made several truthful and important statements in your post. You correctly pointed out to several problems that happen in our church. it is not helpful when people put the Church above all and everything, and basically worship the Denomination. The Church is not always right, and sometimes it is even fallacious. But some people will still keep their eyes closed and will stay in denial no matter what.

Until the Church is demoted to its proper level of importance, some futile issues will keep distracting us from what is actually important.


I think we should stop calling the organization and leadership structure of 501c3 corp “the church”. That’s not what the meaning of the term is.

There’s this perspective that when one offers criticism, then one is not the church, but one is attacking the church.

It’s like saying that a toe attacks the body when it sends pain signals that surrounding organs may be aware of. It’s nonsense. People who criticize the church are just as much “the church” as the organizational leadership, given that certain parameters of belief are maintained.