“A Declaration of War” — Pastor Geoff Patterson Examines the Unity Document

“This document is not a unity document. It’s… a declaration of war.”

For his October 20, 2018 sermon, Pastor Geoff Patterson of Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church in Apopka, Florida examined the unity document and discussed his disappointment in the vote and concerns for the future of the church.

Patterson, who is continuing the church’s “Faith, Hope, and Love” series (based on 1 Corinthians 13:13), said he was beginning not with hope, but with significant disappointment. “But by God’s grace, we will arrive at hope at the end,” he said.

Patterson went on to discuss the recent Annual Council vote on the compliance document, which passed 185 in favor, 124 against, with 2 abstentions on October 14, 2018.

“We, as a world church, have made what I consider to be a very serious blunder,” said Patterson, “that in the end will cost us many tithe dollars, a great deal of energy that could have been used on mission, a large quantity of time far better spent on other pursuits, and more than a few good men and women from both sides of this issue.”

He continued saying, “this document has done more in one day to unravel the very carefully woven fabric of the Seventh-day Adventist Church than anything else that has occurred in my lifetime.”

WATCH Pastor Patterson’s 25-minute sermon here:

Alisa Williams is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org

Image: Video still.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9146

Rather The Great Divorce. The pain is to the heart and soul. It began with the White Lie. The leadership has been fighting a battle for Identity and it thinks it has found it in gender and age of the earth and sexual orientation. It can’t make a case on its merits so it creates a policy war. Sad, but we each face the end of time, Let us use it in gratitude and generosity, not some aggressive behavior towards precived threats.


Thanks for putting this on Spectrum. It was on AToday.
Thanks for making it available to a wider audience.



I think that the Davenport and Folkenberg episodes were more harmful in local congregations than the Compliance Committees will be.


While on the Board at LLU I was seated next to Dr. Shepard, President of Walla Walla. it was early before the chair called the group to Order. We were both reading the morning news. in walked Dr. Davenport.He strode up to the Chair and ingaged him in conversation… Dr. Shepard poked me in the ribs and asked, Tom would you buy a used car from that man? I said not on your life. Several years later I was voted by the local Augusta Church to be a delegate to the Georgia Cumberland Constituency meeting… As such I received several documents by mail prior to the meeting… I reviewed the financial statement There seemed to be a gap of about $500,000. I called the president and said, I am not an accountant and I don’t know how to read this report, but it seems that $500,000 is unaccounted for. maybe someone else has had the same trouble. I suggest you have the treasurer alerted so he can walk the members through the document. I learned later that The president just about lost it.Weeks laker the whole scheme came tumbling down. And him with it.


As an outgoing ‘web member’ of your congregation, and the SDA church, I’ve never met you, Pastor Patterson, and never will, but you could not have expressed my own thoughts and feelings with less 2-faced-ness.

However, it is not my own thoughts and feelings that matter, is it ? Nope. This war is against Christ, and His own thoughts and feelings – it is ‘anti-Christ’ – and my wife and I no longer dare to remain in the company of such 2-faced rebels as those to be found now ruling in the SDA GC. . . and still be able to face the Christ who washes feet and refuses to adopt the ruling methods of this world, saying to those who would crown Him THAT KIND of a ‘king’, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. . . .” – 180 degrees un-like the strong male kings of this world who like to be pictured ‘eating the flesh and drinking the blood’ of their enemies to preserve their own lives.

Yet, on the Council of Adventist Pastors (‘CAP’) / ‘Ordination Truth’ website (link attached) they have chosen to misinterpret both the ‘Prophet’ ( See sidebar “Truth and the Heart”, quoting DA 392, ‘The Crisis in Galilee’) and ‘Christ’ in this very same ‘worldly, kingly’ way as those disciples who left Jesus, described in this very same account from John 6 quoting Jesus . . . except ‘CAP’ is opposing Jesus, but is right in line with the current SDA GC Annual Council ‘ruling’ majority.

And now, portions of ‘extraordinary tithe’ are most likely going toward spreading the anti-‘gospel’ of those Christ-opposing popular SDA broadcasting media-evangelists (who are proudly listed as ‘CAP’ members) over SDA GC-controlled stations, apparently. Are any of those popular SDA T.V. and media stars with pre-packaged programs ready to air through SDA channels NOT opposed to ordaining Women, and also NOT at war with Christ’s own thoughts and feelings regarding the only way to ‘rule’ in His ‘spiritual kingdom’ ?

One of the SDA ‘elders’ listed as a ‘CAP’ member was formerly the ‘pastor’ of the dying SDA congregation in my county. He once told me that the ‘Gospel Commission’ was given to ordained ministers only . . . ? ! ? This is not even ‘compliant’ with the SDA GC’s ‘TMI’, let alone with Christ, or with one of ‘His Prophets’ who we are to ‘Believe In’, Ellen. Experiences like this are why I could not bring myself to join and support an SDA congregation in Michigan, where I live. Now, I can’t imagine anywhere in this world where it would be wise, or ethical, to remain an SDA under the GC’s leadership.

I’ll listen to your sermon, later. Otherwise I won’t sleep tonight, either.


It is indeed and a declaration of war by our church against the Holy Spirit by declaring that it can decide to, based on gender, either not recognize the gifts of the Spirit or create sub-classes of the gifts through gender.


Are you kidding? They uphold a vote, taken by the church at large, and you call them two faced? If it had gone your way, and they had not upheld it, would you be happy?

Where did Christ say we HAD to ordain women? It is not mentioned. But you declare it is rebellion unless it is done. Who is setting up their own standard here? Jesus never said a word, but you presume to declare those who disagree two faced. Hmmmm…

I guess you could say that apostasy has become policy and those now who recognize this are considered rebels. This is what happened in the early Christian church and has now come full circle.


Pastor Patterson, powerful sermon that the core this GC document will surely destroy is trust among church members. Money can be replaced immediately. Buildings can be replaced immediately. Leaders can be replaced immediately but trust can only be developed and requires nurturing and time. Incompetent leaders can destroy in a second what took years to develop. The votes have been drawn and now only a new set of leaders with a new paradigm can prevent this church from falling off a cliff. That time cannot come any sooner.


Where did He say it about men? Is it mentioned?


I was just reading prophecy in Ezekiel before looking at Spectrum, and happened to come upon the allegory in Ez. 13 about the flimsy wall symbolically built by the leaders in Jerusalem, and how, when it is destroyed by storm and torrents [and great is the fall of it] it will be said of it, Where is the whitewash with which you whitewashed it? It seemed to me very apropos to your insightful comments, and in harmony with the same color scheme.


10/27/18 - #3


Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:

Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.

Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.

So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it;

To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.

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10/27/18 - #4


Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

What is perhaps a silver lining to all this is that it force (speaking for myself) a careful examination of my beliefs to ensure that they are not whitewashed…


The Ky-Tenn conference only lost 160,000$ back then to Davenport, claimed it wasn’t so bad as they had earned more than that in interest. REALLY? When you have an investment, making a return, do you save the interest knowing the principal will vanish? no, you spend the interest, knowing (hopefully) that the principal will be there to earn more.

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However he describes his personal feelings of animosity toward the church leadership we are still left dealing with a vote that is directly against the Holy Spirit. His expression is a sampling of the disaffection that I fear is becoming more widespread in the church because of a generalized pattern of bureaucratic establishment that is taking place. The “vote” you refer to is just the most recent action in cementing the bureaucracy. The drive to define and describe our beliefs produced a list of 28 fundamental beliefs that got expanded to 29. The next issue is to define the Holy Spirit and excluding women from pastoral work, which is not defined in scripture. So top church leaders are drawing an ever-smaller box around our concept of God and His abilities. I praise God that He is already working outside those lines with power that makes the wisdom of men appear more foolish the longer they try to define and confine Him. God WILL overcome this.


You should have listened to the sermon and you could have slept better last night knowing that the church still has pastors who cannot be seduced, bought or sold. Men who will stand for their beliefs. Inspiring sermon.


Since when is Christ’s ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ a ‘democracy’ run by a ‘majority vote’, and not by Christ, who subscribed to the ideas of loving God supremely, and loving your neighbors as equals ?

So where are there such single-faced, Christ-alone-reflecting ‘Christians’ represented in that divisive majority vote ?

Perhaps I’m less human than you, less neighbor ?
Perhaps you would like to turn me in to a ‘compliance committee’ for ever daring to have become an SDA ?

130 years ago, Ellen was ready to walk away from the Minneapolis SDA General Conference session for fear of its evil influence affecting herself, even, when an angel told her to stay at her post because ‘Korah’s Rebellion’ was replaying among the SDA leadership.

At one point those rebellious, ‘2-faced’ leaders tried to establish the truth of either Waggoner’s and Jone’s perspective, or that of their many opposers, by a vote. Ellen was told to block that vote from ever occurring or being officially recorded and the ‘pre-fall’ Jones later explained to another GC Session soon after in Ellen’s absence (Australian exile) that the vote was blocked because, clearly, ‘the papacy was in it’.

So, now, there has been no Ellen, and no Jones, to block this latest SDA GC vote which invites, and even legislates, papal behavior into the SDA ranks with open arms, contrary to God’s own Law and Gospel of freedom.

What should matter most in the SDA church is not my own way, but the way of that Christ who said, “Follow me.”, and who also said to wipe even the dust from off of my feet when leaving places where the Gospel of His Kingdom is not received.


I’m not a college graduate. My vocabulary and inherited ‘native tongue’ tend toward ‘cussing’ . . . so, tell me, would ‘blind’ and ‘hypocrite’ be kinder, gentler adjectives to use in this crisis time ?

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves , neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”

Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!”

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.”

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.”

“Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? . . . .”
~ Jesus the Christ, remembered in Matthew 23

Like many other ‘uneducated’ construction workers I’ve heard, even Jesus Christ was not above cursing – over 7 times – when His blessings were ultimately rejected, just before the ‘rejectors of His mercy’, humiliated and crucified Him . . . the first time, thereby damning themselves, and proving Jesus to be right and blessed, all along.