A Troubling Disconnect

I have been a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for some 70 years. For more than 50 of those years I served as a minister, an employee of the church. The responsibilities with which I was entrusted embraced various avenues of service that entailed travel throughout the world church.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2018/08/02/troubling-disconnect

Terrific article! Thank you so much, Dr. Johnson. You have highlighted two issues that trouble many of us; two issues that have done considerable harm to church unity.


If you don’t know what people saw wrong with the One Project you just have been living under a rock for the past few years. It’s well documented. Their recommended reading lists containing books by “emergents”, their invitation to “emergents” to speak at some of the gatherings, and their thinly-veiled criticism of the church, especially it’s doctrines. Examples abound on the internet, including videos. Sounds like you weren’t willing to dig deep enough to find any of these criticisms.


I think you are right. Jesus set this new standard of letting the Spirit not Scripture speak. This became the standard for the early church leaders. Jesus openly set aside Mosaic laws, giving no Biblical proof text for his actions. Jesus touched bleeding women and gentiles, worked on the Sabbath, declared foods do not create a state uncleanness but words make one unclean, touched the dead and sick and allowed women ready access to his presence even if they might be unclean. Whereas Moses taught that God demands obedience, Jesus taught that that love fulfills the law.


A well written real concern for the present state of the SDA Church. First lesson don’t give a Project a name that hasn’t been vetted by the GC. second lesson, in a denomination in which the women member out number the men don’t give men the voice in session. It seems that losing a rib man lost a balanced view of humanity. Tell women to go into medicine or law and they will soon own the GC.


To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you. Gen 3:16

To Elder Johnsson,

Do you know what that word “desire” means?

Thank you so much for writing this timely piece. Your voice of reason, which lacks hubris, is very refreshing.

As in the late 19th century Adventist church, many still oppose the call to come out of the traditions of men. There is no prophet to admonish those who stubbornly refuse to open their hearts to hear and act on the calling of the Holy Spirit. I fear though that even if there was one that many who cling to tradition would still refuse to be swayed by the direct message of God Himself. The calamity of our forefathers in the Church which caused a delay in Jesus return is repeated yet again.

How long will God be willing to put up with his chosen people refusing to come out of the traditions of men and false piety (Babylon)? What will be his answer to a people who stubbornly refuse to build higher on the foundation of truth to reach ever greater heights of faith and understanding and thus fail to fulfill their high calling?


I viewed videos of the the One Project meetings. I saw nothing offensive in them.
The ONLY thing I saw offensive in them is that they were NOT promoted by the
Adventist Services and Industries [ASI money folks]. And of course the ASI have a lot
of influence with the Staff of the General Conference.
they were NOT promoting “PERFECTION” so that Christ could come.
All they were promoting is, like in the song, “I would be like Jesus”, and exploring
How to Live the Life of Jesus in this Earthly Kingdom that seems to be run by
a different Power.
It was a simple, uncomplicated Message. Only ONE message. JESUS.
It was “JESUS” that got them in trouble and rejected.
Remember “Jesus” was rejected when He said, “I am the BREAD come down
from the Father in heaven. EAT this bread, DRINK this cup-- My blood which is
shed for you.”
You will recall that ONLY the 12 were left standing there. All others left.
Remember, they shouted at Jesus – this is a hard saying. Turned and left.
Perhaps our SDA Leadership is saying the same thing, and have Turned and Left.
Perhaps rejecting Jesus is what will fulfill – the greatest Lights will go out. The GC?

FEAR is the problem with Men accepting Women since the 1880’s. THAT is why it was
“tabled” and never brought to light again. FEAR keeps it STILL being hidden.
If one reads the reports way back in the 1880s and 1890s one will find WOMEN praised
for their activities of beginning church groups. Actually, it announces that WOMEN were
MORE Successful than their MALE counterparts.
I say FEAR is the reigning Emotion in the Male Leadership. And they will DO ANYTHING to
Prove from Paul that Women should shut their mouths, and only meekly talk when they are
at home, in the house, asking questions about Spiritual Topics.
However, SDA MALES also preach that Women of the church should be “Servants” - or as
Paul calls it – Slaves [unpaid servants]. And put them on a guilt trip if they don’t follow Male
It was FEAR in the 1880s, it is FEAR in 2018.
One CAN’T Overcome the FEAR in others. Overcoming FEAR has to come from within the
person who has the FEAR.
It was FEAR by the 10 spies that kept the Israelites [over a million people] wandering in the
Wilderness for another 38 years – untill all but 2 [Caleb and Joshua] had died. Even Moses,
Aaron, Miriam had to die.


Desire in context is in a marital relationship as it mentions husband, it implies nothing else.

Perhaps you could make your point more clear:
a) Are you suggesting that we should not act to restore and practice what God put into place in the beginning (prior to the fall)?
b) Are you also suggesting that women should endure severe pain of child birth without the respite of modern medicine (i.e. epidural)?
c) Should we live under the curse or aspire to live as God originally desired?
d) Are you suggesting that all women must be married?
e) Are you suggesting that all women should be confined in their activities in life to the marriage and by extension have no other role in society, business, education, etc.?


Some like myself could benefit from an explanation of what “emergents” is as I have not heard of that before.

1 Like

Near as i can determine, such a one is he who has dared to escape the concretion of his self-hewn cistern, er, cocoon. Otoh,butterflies are free!


David –
The term “emergent” is bandied about among SDAs to cause Fear and Rejection of
investigating what it “actually” means.
I would say that persons like Pago Probably Do Not know what it means – probably
only by “hearsay” from others.

Persons like Marcus Borg [no longer with us] was one who spent his WHOLE adult life-time
trying to discover Jesus, as he wanted to live like Jesus. The majority of his books was in
pursuit of WHO the REAL Jesus was, and WHAT made Him “Jesus” – in side the mind of
“Jesus”. “Jesus” was a REAL HUMAN, only Human Powers. He depended on His Father
for everything. And what amazing things He did, The Father did through Him. Gave Him
Instructions, and “Jesus” carried them out – even to the going through that 36 hours of
Torture and finally the 6 hours of hanging naked on the cross, and ONLY His Father to
talk to and to recite the Psalms in His mind. He only had the energy to speak out loud
that ONE VERSE of the Psalm – and got jeered at for that. But the Religious Leaders
who were there KNEW that Psalm and KNEW what He was reciting in His mind.
He also had only enough breath to tell one “thief”, I will see you at home. And He also
forgave the other “thief” and the Jews and Romans for doing what they did, because
they were ignorant of what they had just done.
There are others in search of the REAL Christ, the REAL Father, write about their
journey, and are finding the REAL Christ, the REAL Father outside of their “Religion”
and are excited about it.
A.J. Swoboda. Has a much better reason to be promoting The Sabbath, than we SDAs
do. See “the dusty ones --how wandering deepens your faith”. See “subversive sabbath -
the surprising power of rest in a non-stop world.”
I have 5 other books in my library on the Sabbath, not written by SDAs who have promoted

Timo – Liked your picture of the Caterpillar – munching on the Word all Summer –
going into the Cocoon, studying – What does this all mean? In the process not
realizing, that because of the Word nourishing it, it is changing in to a beautiful butterfly.


Thank you, William Johnson.

When starting my ministry, some 36 years back, WO was delayed, not questioned, due to cultural reasons.
Patience of the saints might do it - I was wrong.

Later in my ministry “headship ideology” was introduced into the debate.
Never did I think this would become a serious argument in my church - I was wrong.

Currently headship ideology is becoming more and more anti-trinitarian.
Never would my church turn anti-trinitarian - I might be wrong again.

The ONE project and the WO issue are the tip of an iceberg … and we are heading towards it with triumphant assurance…


I could reiterate my statement about living under a rock.


This response is neither helpful nor in the Spirit of Christ between brothers. It is simply my desire to understand what you mean as I don’t know.


As I reported earlier – Pago probably only heard it bandied about himself, and doesn’t
really know. So it is IMPOSSIBLE for him to answer your question.


Thank you for your candor, it is most insightful. If Pago is representative of level of thinking and approach to understanding/expanding Bible truth of Adventists at large it is very troubling.


Thank you, Bill! One specific comment and then a general one.

  1. I think that we should not cooperate with the administrative malpractice which occurs when an “above” leader does not work through the proper process to reach a “below” one. For instance, although I have been “given the opportunity,” I do not directly answer questions from General Conference people. I answer my Dean after the GC questions have come to him through the Board Chair, President and Provost. We have a good system of checks and balances and we should use it.

  2. There is a difference between trying to do the will of God and trying to take the place of God. It seems to me that some of our leaders----not many, actually---- come too close to crossing this line. But why? My impression is that they are afraid that if they do not exercise what they call “strong leadership” the church will lose its way or fall apart. It won’t!


3 likes to your reply and I wonder if any of the 3 understand what “desire” means.

By all means elucidate us then…as one brother to another please explain