A Pastoral Message from Trans-European Division President Raafat Kamal


(Spectrumbot) #1

Ever since the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, the Trans-European Division leadership and Executive Committee has sought to work closely with the General Conference leadership to gain a common understanding, resolve differences, and seek positive solutions on issues particularly facing the church in Europe. Following due process, and in a spirit of cooperation, the TED Executive Committee made several recommendations to the GC leadership regarding the challenging issue of equality in ministry.

While we recognise that there are a variety of viewpoints across Europe as across the world, the recent discussion and vote in Battle Creek has created difficult and conflicting emotions for many of our members - children, youth, pastors and leaders. While the process voted on Sunday, 14 October is focused around a concept of unity, the current feedback and discussions with pastors, laity and across social media appears to be pointing in another direction.

How should I react? As I read again Hebrews 12, I am encouraged because of Jesus. This is not our struggle, it is His! Winning a vote in Battle Creek is not our goal, He is! Jesus has already won the most important victory for us, the Holy Spirit cheers us on our way telling us to “Keep going, keep looking ahead to Jesus”, and “When you find yourself flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item… that will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb 12:3, The Message)

I want you to know that the Trans-European Division continues to recognise the call of both men and women to serve God, including to the Gospel Ministry, a position we believe to be in harmony with the teachings of Holy Scripture. We understand that all spiritual gifts are given for building up the church, without regard to gender. We come to this understanding, not for the luxury of being right or winning an argument, but because of our Mission to connect, inspire and change the people of Europe. We will not let the recent decisions distract us from this.

The events at Battle Creek equally cause us to pause and think again about our church. What happens when we struggle to agree on matters of faith and practise? As we see, sincere people under God often view things differently. As they did in the first century, so they do in the 21st. If there is one thing I learned from the recent Sabbath School studies in Acts, it is that Paul adapted his message about Christ according to the city he was in. Following his mission-driven example, it is possible to contextualise the Gospel for our setting, and still remain faithful to Holy Scripture.

For me, this is the balance and beauty of the Word of God. Unity in Christ, particularly within the Adventist family, provides me with warm and loving relationships both globally and locally. Every brother, every sister I see through His eyes. Every person whether they know Him or not, I see as His child and as such treat with dignity. I belong not to an old-age weary denomination, but to a vibrant movement of people on a journey, not only managing for the Lord His present Kingdom of grace, but expectantly watching and waiting for His soon coming Kingdom of glory.

You will have often heard an appeal made by Ellen White for the Adventist family to “press together, press together, press together”. [Evangelism p 102] As I try to unpack what she meant, I am convinced she would identify with words often attributed to John Wesley

In Essentials Unity In non-essentials Liberty In all things Charity (Love)

This is who we are, this is what we believe, this is how we work.

I commit to continue seeking positive solutions in a Christlike manner following church processes to address inequality for those serving in ministry, while, together with all our Adventist brothers and sisters, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. [Heb 12:2 NIV]

This letter originally appeared on the TED News Network, the official news service of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Image Credit: Flickr.com / ASI Ministries / Enno T. MĂĽller

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9133

#2

Well said, Pastor Kamal. The challenges of each division are unique. May God continue to demonstrate His love for the people of the TED while there is still opportunity for evangelism. I will be praying for you. Be strong in the Lord. :pray:t5:. As the old gospel song says, “Jesus will fix it after a while.”


(Robert Lindbeck) #3

This is a great quote, and very applicable. Oh for the widom to discern which is which.

EGW’s call for us to “Press together” could also be said as “Press forward.” Press together can mean both “come together” and “press collaboratively.” The current discussions around Unity/Uniformity are causing us to not “come together” or “press collaboratively.” The current discussions and votes are causing us to “press against” each other - a battle for dominance and “subjugation.” The mission will not be accomplished by us while we battle. The question our leaders should be asking is not “Do I have the numbers to win the vote?” but rather “Do I have the right spirit to advance the Mission?”


(George Tichy) #4

This is what is needed, leadership toward the elimination of discrimination from our Church. It’s rewarding to see that the TED has a, too, leadership that respects its members and has room for diversity.

I know the GC created an horrible, unacceptable, and embarrassing situation in Battle Creek. But, at the end of the day it’s what I have been saying for some time now: The GC became totally irrelevant to the real Church, the local churches. Therefore, it’s imperative for the Divisions to support their Unions, and prevent the GC from assaulting the Unions’ established authority. The GC should not be allowed to subvert the current balance of power and authority.

I hope that we will soon hear from other Divisions and Unions, too. Or not, if they decide to perpetuate discrimination of women in their territories.


(Peter Marks) #5

Thanks Raafat!!

Wise words indeed!

I particularly appreciate the following:

I believe your stance in recognising the call of both men and women to serve God is the correct one because it is in harmony with Scripture.

What bothers me is that the GC leadership have rarely given the same signal.

Until there is some agreement on this foundational issue we should never anticipate agreement on the ordination issues.

There are many Adventist believers opposed to WO who also oppose the fact that God call individuals of both genders into pastoral leadership. Others who oppose WO embrace the fact that God calls both men and women.

Where does the GC leadership stand?


(C.B.S.) #6

After the totally failed «battle» at «creek»: Let us start with «Ecclesia semper reformanda»


(Steve Mga) #7

What a wonderful 1st Century Pauline letter to the church living in the 21st Century.
The words of our Spiritual Relative, John Wesley, [Ellen was once a Methodist], are
still true today.
In Essentials – Unity.
In Non-Essentials – Liberty of thought, belief, action
In All Things – demonstrating Love, Charity

Looking at the changes in attitudes, practices of Control Issues of the Advent Movement
on to the NOW Denomination of today, the 21st Century, October 14, 2018 have drastically
changed.
In Early 1870’s, James White lists a small handful of GENERALLY BELIEVED Beliefs that
the members and followers of the Movement were in Unity over.
October 2018 – there are “28” that MUST BE BELIEVED or one’s membership, welcomeness
as a “follower” comes up for Question before a Tribunal which has the POWER to SEVER
one’s relationship with the NOW Denomination [which is Now No longer a Movement].
NO!! The Seventh-day Adventist Denomination is NOLONGER a Great Advent Movement!!!
In some respects it is becoming like our Grandmother Church in her earlier days. For some
reason THOSE GENES are being expressed in our Leadership of October 2018.
Our Leadership has NOW become an EMPIRE, no longer a Movement under the banner of Christ.
Revelation – a study in the War between EMPIRE Mentality [secular and religious], and that of the Lamb, the Leader of the True Church, True Movement, the one called “THE WAY” by the 1st
Century church – [as in Path, as in Journey].


(George Tichy) #8

Steve,
Isn’t it a shame that the institution that should be an example on this principle declared by Wesley, the GC, has absolutely not regard for it? They do the opposite, thus witnessing to the world that SDAs are just a cultist people. Which we are not!

Thank you again, Pastor Kamal, for standing for what is right, what is moral, what is Christian. For this you may certainly be targeted by the “KGC,” but please, don’t ever budge a single inch!


(Mark Cady, MD) #9

“Right Spirit”…is likely the prayer God’s hopes to hear. And He is infinitely willing to instill, nourish and grow that Spirit which we each need. The Sourit of truth, love and grace.

All of these to foster His message and His children. Even those who do not yet see His light.


(Mark Cady, MD) #10

Pastor Kamal,

Such a confession of submission, surrender, belief and love. I am inspired, emboldened and at peace.


(Steve Mga) #11

George –
Yes, what a difference between James White, and our current President and his
minions in Silver Springs.
It would be “nice” to believe that NAD President Jackson is more like James White.
James White in attitude and CONTROL.


(George Tichy) #12

Steve,
It is obvious that it will be easy for the GC to implement their Kompliance document within the realm of the GC, nowhere but in their own building!

I just don’t see how they pretend to invade the Divisions’, Unions’, Conferences’, Churches’ offices to force those entities to be subjects of investigation by the GC?

Those komandos will always be “persona non grata” at those other entities. Actually, they have no legal authority at the Union level. What are they going to do?

I think that TW shot his feet AGAIN!


(jeremy) #13

these are the words of a wise, thoughtful leader who truly sees the big picture…i’ve been saying for some time now that rafaat kamal should be our next GC president…

it’s sad what’s happened under TW…i thought he brought energy and certainty in our church when i saw his election acceptance message in 2010…i was so hopeful that the freshness and conviction i felt from him would carry us into a better state, better equipped for the end of the world than we were before…

but now it’s all turned to strife and ugliness…adventists are pitted against adventists…there’s more disunity now than i recall seeing or feeling at any previous time…


(George Tichy) #14

Well Jeremy, next time, listen to me! I am your prophet, infallible so far!.. :wink:

Seriously now, it’s interesting how two people can see/hear the same event and reach opposite conclusions. Maybe you remember that right after that sermons of TW in 2010, the first after his inauguration, preached at the ASI, I wrote here on Spectrum that the Church “train” was just engaged in the reverse gear, “going forward back to the past.” Destination: 1844. Remember that?

Little I knew that I was actually prophesying… Some people criticized me for that, for being “disrespectful to the GC Prez…” Well, where are they right now that the mission was accomplished, and the destination has been reached right there again, in Battle Creek… All with beards and funny cloths. And, sure, TW reminded people who the “captain” is…

So, Jeremy, please, next time… listen to me!!!.. :innocent:


(jeremy) #15

you just lucked out, george…TW, mark finley and michael ryan could have just as easily followed a different, more conciliatory course leading up to san antonio, and since san antonio…recall that for a time, mark finley was pushing Acts 15 during the year before san antonio…but in the end, they all went for the power grab, and an us vs. them mentality…

i can’t explain it…i thought we all had the same religion, but apparently we don’t…one thing i really wonder is whether the compliance review committees are part of some vendetta against PUC and CUC that TW may have been secretly nursing all these yrs…do you remember him going to CUC some yrs back, and basically begging them not to ordain women before san antonio…but then they promptly ordained someone anyway, at which point he warned there would be grave consequences (or maybe it was dire consequences, i can’t remember all the details to this story)…or may he warned that there would be grave or dire consequences before they ignored him and went ahead with an ordination…

and with PUC, i think it’s possible that there’s been a long-standing stand-off between TW and this particular union…for instance, i don’t recall seeing anywhere that TW has ever been invited by randy roberts to speak at LLUC, even though he graduated from there, and which is one of our largest churches in the world, or even appearing anywhere with sandy roberts or ricardo graham…has he ever been invited by chris oberg to speak at LSUC that you know of…and you know for yourself that the followers of conservative ministries are constantly saying that PUC is in apostasy…look at that last NCC constituency meeting, which played right into the hands of the people making this charge…

if all of this is a just a personal vendetta, it makes it doubly worse…


(George Tichy) #16

You don’t believe in any prophets, do you? You are definitely an infidel!!! :slight_smile:

Jeremy, also remember that after watching that fatal sermon, I also said that TW would either,

  1. Resign before the end of his mandate, or
  2. Split the Church.

Which one do you thing is closer now?
(Oh…, sorry, I forgot that you don’t believe in prophecies… :wink: )


(jeremy) #17

well, i don’t think either will be happening, actually…i think TW will resign at indianapolis 2020, at which point rafaat kamal will hopefully take over…and i don’t think the church is going to split…i’m expecting that dan jackson will find a way to keep things afloat until a change of GC presidencies in 2020, when things will unify, and everyone will breathe a lot easier…

but it is interesting that you predicted a resignation or a split…a split is what a lot of people have been talking about…


(Cfowler) #18

It is fascinating to me how differently two people can see the same event. Poles (or a universe) apart for sure!


(jeremy) #19

how did you see TW election, carol…


(Cfowler) #20

When I saw his speech, it came across as very controlling, dictatorial & legalistic. I saw no joy or kindness in his countenance. I saw that he really loves quoting EGW. And I didn’t see anything that would allow for compromise, or seeing things outside of his worldview (EGW worldview).

I have said before that it was chilling to me. Kind of like (in my mind) the way a stern, controlling, demanding father would look and sound. All done, of course, for your own good. :wink:

And to add to this, all of his sermons/talks that I watched (maybe 5-10) were exactly the same.