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“Let there be light”
– Motto of the University of California, Davis
“A golfer has to train his swing on the practice tee, then trust it on the course.”
– Dr Bob Rotella
“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
– Proverbs 22:29 (KJV)
By Michael D. Peabody –
On June 1, 2013, Louie Bishop was named to the University of California Davis Athletics Hall of Fame.
According to the citation, “Louie Bishop led UC Davis golf during the university’s reclassification period, becoming the first Aggie to win PING Division I All-America honors as a senior in 2007. He set school records for career and season stroke average, and won three tournaments. Bishop was equally accomplished in the classroom, garnering CoSIDA Academic All-America third-team accolades and the university’s W.P. Lindley Award as the outstanding scholar-athlete of the year. In 2007, he became the first UC Davis golfer to become a finalist for the Byron Nelson Award for academics, athletics and leadership.”
When Bishop was recruited by UC Davis coach Cy Young, he made it clear that he would not be able to play in Saturday tournaments because it conflicted with his commitment to keeping the Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Other university teams had already turned him down because of this, but Young took a chance and brought Bishop onto the team. Young originally intended to substitute other players in to play on Saturdays but quickly learned that the team actually played better shorthanded.
“We did the math. We did the calculations,” Williams said. “But it made no sense for us to substitute. That’s how good he was.”
According to an article posted on the UC Davis website after Bishop’s graduation, “Bishop’s faith became stronger while he was [a student at UC Davis]. He said his parents’ religion became his religion because he read the Bible and made a personal choice. He has worked for churches since his college golf career ended and went door-to-door asking people if they would like to study the Bible.”
Although Bishop was the UC Davis scholar-athlete of the year in 2007, and was phenomenally successful on the course, even without Saturday play, he eventually gave up a promising career as a professional golfer in favor of a medical career because he knew that he could not continue to keep the Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday and participate in professional tournaments.
But Bishop, who had attended a non-denominational Christian high school and a public university wanted to study medicine in a faith-affirming environment, so he enrolled at the Seventh-day Adventist La Sierra University to study science prerequisites so he could later apply for admission to Loma Linda University. The Seventh-day Adventist church teaches that the world was created by God in six literal 24-hour days and that the seventh-day Sabbath, when God rested, is the memorial of this creative process.
Ironically, Bishop’s commitment to his faith was the very thing that caused serious friction at La Sierra, a 2200 student institution approximately 7% the size of UC Davis, when he ran afoul of school administrators by passing out letters at the La Sierra University Church on Alumni weekend in February 2009 criticizing (and more importantly, publicizing) the biology department’s practice of teaching evolution as the “the single unifying explanation of the living world, and nothing makes much, if any sense outside of this unifying theory.”
(Note: The story of Bishop’s experience at La Sierra University is described in detail here.)
Before writing the letter, Bishop had raised his hand several times during classes to ask the professor why the course was focusing only on evolution, and attempted to meet with the professor outside of class. When this discussion failed to address his concerns, Bishop went to the head of the Biology Department who did not address the issue, but simply said, “I was afraid this was going to happen.”
Not one to give up, Bishop approached the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences who implied that he had a low regard for the biblical position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Unbeknownst to most Adventist church members, professors at the University had been teaching long-earth creationism and Darwinist evolution for decades, but the controversy had typically been confined to the campus.
Rather than welcome the debate as an exercise in academic freedom, the University disciplined Bishop for passing out the letter and for his efforts to bring the students together to study creationism as an alternative to evolution.
But for Bishop, standing up for his faith was par for the course. Like Martin Luther’s act of nailing the 95 Theses on the Castle Church at Wittenberg was a critical moment in the Protestant Reformation, Bishop’s simple act of passing out letters in front of the University Church is sparking a reformation within the Adventist Church that continues to take place today.
Although Bishop will go down in history as one of the greats in the history of UC Davis golf, his Daniel-like commitment to the truth of the First Angel’s Message in the face of fierce opposition will go down in eternal history as his greatest legacy.
Watch the UC Davis induction video here:
Louie Bishop (Golf 2003-2007)
“I saw again another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.'” (Revelation 14:6,7 KJV)
(Photo Credit: iStockPhoto.com)