By Connie W. Adams
Both brother Caldwell and brother Scott replied to my July 6 article in good spirit as all of us would have expected. I am thankful for their responses because it affords an opportunity to focus the discussion on the precise point of concern.
The Issue of Character
Brother Caldwell states that he knows Shane Scott to be a man who “has a humble spirit, and tender heart, and a sincere desire to know and teach only the truth of God.” I have never doubted that nor did anything in my article even approach the issue of character. The point of my criticism was the published views of brother Scott on the days of the creation week. Also, brother Caldwell expresses concern for “how many souls may be lost because of my impatience and persistence in discrediting a brother who is sincere and honest.” While all that may be true, it evades once again the point of criticism. As brother Scott suggested, he has established a “track record” and is known and loved as a sincere brother. While I do not know him personally, I do know a good many who know him well and who think highly of him. I have no reason to doubt that. None of that changes what has been taught in the public record.
Brother Scott is concerned that I have never contacted him personally “though he knows who I am and where I work.” I felt no need to contact him personally about something he has openly taught. It is where he works that gives me cause for concern about what he has openly taught.
Read For Yourself
We thank brother Caldwell for providing information as to how to access the materials to which he referred. I urge any who has not done so, to avail himself of this information. While I commended the good material against evolution, I say again that it avoids the point of complaint. Listen carefully, you are not dealing with the real complaint. What about the days of the creation week? Is it impossible for them to be literal 24-hour days or MUST they be ages, as brother Scott taught? What compels brother Scott to conclude that these days must be taken figuratively and not literally?
As to the speeches of brother Wolfgang at the Florida College lectures in February 2000, I was present and heard them. I also appreciated his warnings and appeals to the school in his closing remarks the second day. But whatever brethren have said on this subject in the past, while of interest historically, does not address the problem of a present teacher of Bible at Florida College. That concerns us in the here and now. We have children and grandchildren to consider.
Both men referred to the background which led to brother Scott’s article in Sentry in 1995. Brother Caldwell said, “Without some of this background one would see brother Scott as dogmatic about this topic.” Well, brethren I knew the background. I thought brother Greg Gwin did an excellent job in reviewing the piece written by brother Scott. Perhaps others did not know. But now that this has been spelled out by brother Scott, I have a simple question. Do you still believe the days of creation cannot be literal and that they must be ages? Those were section headings in your article. Our brother Scott said, “At the end of my article I allowed that the literal day view may be correct, though in my opinion it is not the best interpretation.” So, he is of the same opinion still and that is why I am concerned about where he works.
He says he has never “bombarded others” with his views. But he has publicly advocated them, though brother Caldwell reports that he has changed his position since 1995, brother Scott still says, “In my opinion it is not the best interpretation to say that the days of the creation week were literal days.” Whatever has been changed, he is still set in that opinion. Brother Scott, have you changed on that?
Where Brother Scott Works
While conservative brethren may have held these views throughout the history of the restoration, to my knowledge this is the first time one of such views has been a teacher of Bible at Florida College. Brother Caldwell said, “Because he admits to being unsure about parts of this study, he (Shane Scott) does not present a conclusion in class.” Now let’s look at this picture. Here is a teacher dealing with the very first chapter of the Bible (even if it is just in one class period in the whole year), he presents alternative views of the days of creation and offers a critique of the strengths and weaknesses of each, and then leaves it up in the air for the students to decide. Well, of course, students will reach their own conclusions. But if the teacher is unsure about some of this, where does that leave the student?
For any who may not know, I am a graduate of Florida College. I began in 1948, the last year L.R. Wilson was president. I was there when James R. Cope came in 1949. I was a four-year student when the school offered a four-year degree the first time around. I graduated with Melvin Curry and John Clark. Over the years at least twenty people who are related to me have attended Florida College. I had a granddaughter there last year. We have tried to be a friend to the school in whatever ways we could. I had many classes in which various erroneous positions were examined, but I was never left in doubt as to where the teacher stood. We might not always agree with the teacher, but we knew what he believed, where he stood, and how he arrived at his position. Classes that leave vital issues up in the air with a scattering of alternative views are dangerous. Paul’s question here is appropriate: “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?” (1 Cor. 14:8).
Were His Views Known in Advance?
We ask brother Caldwell if he knew brother Scott’s views on this matter before he came to Florida College. I did. So did a number of others. Why were these views not known in light of the 1995 article? Why that was not more of a concern baffles me. One of the reasons brother Scott gave for believing the six days of creation could not be literal days was that there was just too much for the Lord to do on the sixth day. I mean, there the Lord was with the task of creating land animals, man and woman, all in one day! Adam gave names to the animals. Given the nature of God, may I ask what was the problem that demands long ages of time? No, brother Caldwell, with all due respect, that is not the kind of teacher this brother wants for the children and grandchildren of his friends, nor for his own.
Brother Scott says his track record stands in “sharp relief to brother Adams’ assertions.” I have not heard brother Scott teach or preach as others whom I know have. I offered no criticism of any of that, not even one “assertion.” My criticism was aimed directly at what he taught in the Sentry article and at the school administration for employing a teacher to teach Genesis, among other things, who holds such a view, when admittedly, every one of the teachers in the science department holds that the days of creation were literal days. This became even more troubling with the classes taught by Hill Roberts at the 1999 lectures when many brethren around the country knew what he believed. Had they said, “We goofed and should have known better” then I, for one would have said, “Forget it and move on.” I am confident others would have as well. But couple the defensive stance taken about that with the attitude taken about the presence of brother Scott as a Bible teacher and the ignoring of the real complaint while raising side issues, and that only aggravates the problem. Others will have to speak for themselves, but I would dearly love to recapture the confidence I once had in Florida College and count myself as one of its chief promoters. Given the current atmosphere, sadly, I cannot do that.
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