One thing on the positive side of Randal Wisbey’s ledger is that he helped uncover a true hero residing within a modest, unassuming young man named Louie Bishop.
In 2007, Louie graduated with a degree in business management from the University of California at Davis, where he was a member of the men's golf team. Louie is a great golfer. In his senior year, Louie was named “Student Athlete” of the year, in recognition of his excellence in athletics, academics and community service. In 2013, Louie was inducted into the UC-Davis athletic Hall of Fame. Louie could have gone to “Q-school” to get his PGA tour card, and gone out on tour to seek fame and fortune. But professional tournaments are played in four rounds, on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and Louie Bishop doesn't work on the Sabbath.
Although he was a varsity golfer at a large state university, Louie Bishop never competed on Sabbath. Often, Louie was able to turn conversations about his unwillingness to compete on Sabbath into opportunities to witness about the Sabbath truth. On one occasion, the UC-Davis campus newspaper ran a long story, covering the entire back page of the paper, about Louie, his golfing, and his Sabbath-keeping.
A year or so after graduating from UC-Davis, Louie felt a call to go into medical ministry, and enrolled at La Sierra University to take pre-med. Soon after he began attending the biology courses, Louie learned that Darwinism—the theory that all living things, including humans, evolved from a common ancestor over the course of hundreds of millions of years—was being taught at La Sierra.
And it wasn’t being taught just as mainstream science that Adventists might want to understand but not believe; it was being taught as the truth, as a true description of how our world and all of its living creatures came into being. Bishop was told that evolution “is the single unifying explanation of the living world, and nothing makes much, if any, sense outside of this unifying theory.” This troubled Louie, who had sacrificed much in order to observe the Sabbath that is a memorial to God's creation of the world in a single week. (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:11)
Louie decided to do everything he could to counteract the teaching of Darwinism at La Sierra. Although Louie did the right thing from the perspective of a believing Seventh-day Adventist, La Sierra retaliated against him three separate times.
On an alumni weekend in February, 2009, Louie distributed flyers in the parking lot of the La Sierra University Church describing what the La Sierra’s biology department was teaching. A University Church pastor physically assaulted Louie in order to stop him passing out the handbills. Although Louie apologized for his role in this incident, when he went to register for the fall quarter of 2009, he found that an administrative hold had been placed on his student account.
For several days, Louie was given the bureaucratic run-around, and no one would tell him why he had been barred from registering. The charges against him were eventually revealed, and the main reason turned out to be his distribution of the handbills in the church parking lot. Finally, after Louie answered the charges, the admissions committee voted to allow him to register, but by then he had missed an entire week of classes.
In the Autumn quarter of 2009, La Sierra launched a new seminar class, Biology 111B, designed to defuse the growing public controversy over La Sierra's teaching of Darwinism. Biology 111B was Randal Wisbey’s idea, and was to “introduce students to a Seventh-day Adventist understanding of creation, centered in the Genesis account.” But the course turned out to be yet more Darwinistic propaganda.
Louie Bishop attended this seminar class and found that John W. Webster, the dean of the School of Religion, discouraged students from believing that the Genesis narrative should be taken literally. Webster argued that the story of the creation week found in Genesis is not describing the creation of the world, but rather the dedication or inauguration of the “cosmic temple.”
(This theory is the brainchild of Wheaton College professor John Walton, as set out in his book, “The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate.” I have read Walton’s book, and it is one of the goofier attempts to accommodate the Bible to the Darwinian origins narrative. A few years ago, it enjoyed a passing moment of vogue as an accommodationist theory, but its internal contradictions are many. Among other departures from the faith, Walton’s insistence that a temple is a model cosmos obscures the lessons the Hebrew sanctuary teaches us about the plan of salvation and Christ’s ministry on our behalf.)
Fortunately, Dr. Webster’s lecture was video-recorded, and a transcript made, so there’s no doubt about what was said:
• The literal method of interpreting the Bible is "not particularly helpful." (Transcript Page 11)
• A more useful and fruitful reading of scripture suggests that the opening chapters of Genesis might not really be about how the world came into being, but might be about how we understand the world as God's dwelling place, as the temple of God. (Transcript Page 11)
• The Old Testament Chronology, which was summed up as seven cycles of 490 years, is a human understanding of how history developed and when we have a humanly created product, we don't need to say this is absolute—that the earth can be no older than 4012 BC. (Transcript Page 20)
• The temple in ancient times was believed to be a miniature cosmos. When they built their temples, they built them as symbols of the entire cosmos, the entire universe. (Transcript Page 21)
• Genesis 1 tells us God took 7 days to create His temple. In ancient Jewish thought the temple was always dedicated in a seven-day ceremony. And so, when a temple is inaugurated, it wasn't created then but only dedicated. So you need to think in terms of the days of creation as being days of inauguration; God putting his stamp of ultimate approval saying ‘It is good.’ (Transcript Page 22)
• The dedication of God's temple meant that he could now enter it, and have a dwelling place; this is what happened in 7 days, not the actual creation of the world. (Transcript Page 22)
• We are now viewing Genesis 1 as figurative-it's full of symbolism as well as having a literal time aspect; seven literal days-but they are days of inauguration, not of initiation or beginning. (Transcript Page 23)
• After graduation you will say “I got my degree in June of 2013” but you are getting something you earned over a period of time. You did not earn all your degree in one day. It is the same way with the days of creation. There was a lot of work that went on beforehand. (Transcript Page 23)
• Question by Dr. Lee Greer: are you suggesting that a literalist approach to Genesis 1 may be a misreading? Answer: The literal approach doesn't work in ancient thought. Once we understand what it originally meant, then we can have harmony. (Transcript Page 23)
• Book to be posted on course website, "The Lost World of Genesis One" is a way of harmonizing science and religion. It's the inauguration view of Genesis 1. (Transcript Page 23)
In response to this new assault on the Seventh-day Adventist faith at a supposedly Adventist school, Louie privately circulated a personal letter to about two dozen of his friends and acquaintances. The letter was as follows:
I am writing you in regards to the promotion of the theory of evolution in La Sierra’s Biology classes. We are being told that we are a product of millions of years of gradual change. We are also being told that the theory of evolution and the Bible are entirely compatible. Yet, as we have seen (Biology Seminar on 11/17), in the eyes of many the Bible is significant chiefly because of its cultural richness. As Webster suggested, the figurative or “realistic” models of Bible interpretation may be helpful, but the literal model of interpretation is not.
This is hard for me to accept, especially when I read what Jesus Himself said: “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.” Mark 10:6. In context, Jesus is speaking of humans, and He is quoting directly from Genesis! Jesus also said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” John 5:46. Evolution teaches that humans were “created” at the end of the world timeline. Jesus teaches that humans were made at the beginning of the creation of the world, not at the end. Who will YOU believe?
If you are wrestling with doubt or wondering even why things like this are being taught at a Christian university; if you want answers, scientific answers, Biblical answers—then email me and share your concerns. I have permission from a top SDA scientist to share his peer-reviewed work that has been published in leading scientific journals. My email is ________
The letter was eventually circulated to the Board of Trustees, which enraged Wisbey, who had been telling the Board that Biology 111B was going to solve the (by then well-publicized) problem of the teaching of Darwinism at La Sierra. Wisbey apparently forgot to tell the Board that his seminar class “solved” the conflict by accepting Darwinism and surrendering the Adventist and Spirit of Prophecy reading of Genesis in favor of Walton’s cockamamie theory. Naturally, Wisbey was not pleased when Louie Bishop exposed the deception.
For circulating this letter, Louie was disciplined by the La Sierra “judicial committee.” After a “hearing” that Louie was not allowed to attend, a letter of censure was sent to him and placed in his student file.
In the third incident, Louie attended a lecture in which then La Sierra instructor Dr. Lee Greer taught that humans and chimpanzees descended from a common ancestor. Louie sent the lecture notes and Powerpoint slides to the website “Educate Truth,” which published them. For sharing the notes and slides, Louie was put on “citizenship probation.” Professor Greer has stated that he did not want Louie punished for having leaked the lecture materials, so apparently Randal Wisbey took it upon himself to make sure that this discipline was imposed.
There is more to the Louie Bishop's story than can be recited here. One poignant detail is that Louie asked for permission to start a creation club on the La Sierra campus. Permission was denied.
The bottom line of the Louie Bishop story is that Randal Wisbey so resented Louie publicizing the fact that La Sierra was promoting and evagelizing Darwinism (and making atheists of young Adventists) that, in retaliation, he caused Louie to be disciplined three times.