Adventism Splitting Is Not the Worst Thing! Graham Stacey’s Response to Chapter 10 in Where Are We Headed? by William Johnsson

A number of conservative and progressive Adventist leaders are now trading places in their views about how bad it would be for the denomination to split over ordaining women. This crisscrossing of positions will make the October 5–11 General Conference Annual Council even more interesting than it was already going to be.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

A split is never good, because once there is a split, the 2 entities will inevitable diverge from each other, and in time, will have little in common. So-called “progressives” will push for other liberal innovations, such as the normalization of homosexuality (and its cousins) within the church, acceptance of some form of theistic evolution, rejection of the SOP, and the IJ, just to name a few.

I’ve read David Read’s article and he makes many good points. Taking a stand on homosexual issues would gain much more support than fighting over WO, since it’s a much more serious issue, and one which has much fewer adherents than the WO lobby…

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Paul and Barnabas disagreed about Mark’s suitability to minister. This disagreement was not resolved. Instead, Paul and Barnabas separated and each went his own way. Was that a church split? Was that a schism? I don’t think so. This story from Scripture teaches that we can remain united even if we disagree. We can remain united even if women are ordained as ministers in some parts of the world and not ordained as ministers in other parts of the world. Indeed, we have remained united despite the diversity of women’s ordination practices. Paul was eventually persuaded as to Mark’s suitability to minister. Similarly, as more women are ordained as ministers and the fruit of their ministry is made manifest, opposition to women’s ordination will appropriately soften and decline.

It is amusing that some speculate the Seventh-day Adventist Church will split over LGBT issues. The Church has not split over anti-Trinitarianism (which has surged during Ted Wilson’s presidency), Last Generation Theology, theistic evolution and the teaching of science, heterodox soteriological beliefs, widespread disbelief of the doctrine of the sanctuary, different approaches to hermeneutics, concerns and questions about Ellen White, Africans in Rwanda chopping off the heads of their fellow congregants, the proliferation of supporting ministries and independent ministries (which by their very nature connote organizational separation), the rise of the Seventh-day Adventist alt right, etc. To think that the Church will split over LGBT issues is weird.


A split would be a disaster for both sides. The liberal side would begin pursuing more liberal policies such as gay membership and theistic evolution. Such liberal attitudes, would lead to more disunion as the liberals will eventually split among themselves as most all such spits have done in the past. None have survived as I recall. When the mooring of the conservatives give is let loose, no telling what may happen.

The conservatives lose because of the diversity of more liberal thinking is good for them. They also have the money on their side.

We actually need each other, even though there are those here and there that think that is foolishness. But it is not. Bic is right, the liberals will slowly move away from traditional Adventism. And the conservatives would become more rigid in their thinking. Bad for both.

And God’s mission would suffer, there would be fewer in the kingdom. Sad (as Trump says).

And Adventism would split over gay issues. It is not weird to think it would be so. The Bible is too adamant on the issue.


Anti-trinitarianim, acceptance of lgbt & same-sex marriage by increasing number of Adventists, and other non-biblical views and practices have surged during Ted’s presidency, as other controversial issues did during previous presidencies. Is the president to blame for those, as you imply? Or are you referring to (as I suspect) one particular aspect of anti-trinitarianism to nail complementarians with?

If The Church [congregations] SPLIT, it will be over this – VALUING HUMAN BEINGS over RULES AND REGULATIONS.
In North America at least, there has been an undercurrent for the past 40 years to VALUING of Women. VALUING Women as created in God’s Image. Called by the Holy Spirit the SAME WAY the Holy Spirit calls MEN and ALL HUMANS.
There has also been an undercurrent, at least since 1976 [organization of Seventh-day Adventist Kinship] to the VALUING OF ALL HUMANS and ESPECIALLY the Children of ALL PARENTS in the Seventh-day Adventist church community.

YES! VALUING OF HUMANS HAS to come FIRST before Rules and Regulations. ASK JESUS, as the Gospel Writers presented Jesus. Remember, Jesus said, “THE TEMPLE HAD TO GO!!” To GO because the VALUING OF ALL HUMANS CAME FIRST!!
Perhaps the Seventh day Adventist “TEMPLE” HAS TO GO!! LIKEWISE.

If you might recall your Secular History, It Was the Zealots who caused the original Temple
to go up in FLAMES!


This whole war over women’s ordination is a CULTURAL conflict, between westerners, ( North Americans, Australians, Europeans ) who are predominantly egalitarian and honoring of women, and patriarchal third worlders, whose women are second class citizens.

Even those most misogynistic Saudi Arabians are finally allowing their women to drive.

Let us hope that this groundswell of equality for women will also infect our African brethren.

The LGBT issue is a GENERATIONAL one, between millennials who are hugely in favor of same sex marriage ( even offspring of very conservative Republican parents are in this pro-SSM camp ) and their geriatric grandparents who hold homophobic views.

While David Read might hope for a split over LGBT issues, his blog site, FULCRUM7.COM is a gathering of geriatric guys who grouse and gripe and grandstand their anti-gay gibberish ad nauseam.

If the church can survive another 15-20 years, the millennials will be the dominant demographic and LGBT dissonance will no longer divide the denomination.

If the church can survive another 15-20 years, non-discriminatory democracy will hopefully be universal, and we will no longer have a cultural divide over women’s issues between the developed world and the third world.



Do not panic people!

The possibility of a split is not as high as many are predicting. In my opinion, it will NOT happen. All the discussion about it and the fear generated is because we know how Ted Wilson operates, i.e., by threatening others is his views are not implemented as “the only truth.” The “grave consequences” bill is still running…

This is the end of the so-called YOG - year of grace - or, as I call it, YOGA - year of grace absurdity! It’s all FAKE anyway, and absolutely nothing will happen. The only probable action will be the implementation of a YOGA II - another fake year of grace absurdity!

If TW pushes for a take over of the two Unions (via making them into Mission) it will be just a treat, another FAKE maneuver with absolutely no consequences. HE DOES NOT WANT THIS HAPPENING! Do people realise that Missions don’t send money anywhere, so why can the GC do something that would stop the pouring of money into their coffers? Just the SECC missing on the financial map would cause a major disturbance in the whole system.

So, my prediction is: NO SPLIT, maybe some form of FAKE threat again. YOGA II?

BUT, if some split happened, what would be bad about it?

Geeeesh! Robin, I just checked David’s article on F7. The comments people posted are the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.
It sounds like a bunch of judges fighting between killing us (those who fight against discrimination of women) by decapitation or by cutting off our heads…

I posted my comment above on their site, as a comment to David’s article. Let’s see for how long it survives…
@elmer_cupino @timteichman @harrpa @robert_sonter @andreas


Outside of a handful of GC and Union administrators who are empire building and fighting a turf war and outside of a handful of laymen, does anyone really care? My anecdotal evidence leads me to believe that 99% of the SdA membership in North America is oblivious to all this political posturing.


More than 20 years ago theologian and historian Lothar Träder (the founder of Germany’s Adventist Forum) predicted the church would split … not so much over one particular issue, but as a normal process of church historical development. All churches - except the Roman Catholic and the SDA churches have split into more regional entities eventually, with some more or less loose interaction. He said then that this … is not the worst thing… it is to be expected.

However, to me it seems today, the more militant the attempts to maintain uniformity the greater the damage, the more casualties - left and right. It is this collateral damage I am grieving more than a potential split. Because we are talking about brothers and sisters, men and women, human beings.


"Yet, not even once did he say something that progressives have often said: that splitting the church over this issue would be an unthinkable disaster."
Interesting disclaimer, inference, trial ballon, who knows?
As an "unthinkable disaster"Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident offers a key lesson to Adventists: We should focus more on the highly unlikely but worst case scenarios and prepare for them. That means thinking about such worst things happening as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, solar storms, multiple failures and situations that seem freakishly unusual, according to a recent National Academy of Sciences report. Those kinds of things triggered the world’s three major nuclear accidents. We need as individual persons to think of the “unthinkable disaster” of having to stand or going on without the training wheels of a comfy denominational support system. The protective layer of “institutions” has provided shelter, refuge and cover for so many that losing continuity of alliances, friendships and financial security becomes the “unthinkable disaster”.

“We need to do a soul searching when it comes to the assumptions” of how to deal with worst case events, said University of Southern California engineering professor Najmedin Meshkati, the panel’s technical adviser. Engineers should “think about something that could happen once every, perhaps 1,000 years” but that’s not really part of their training or nature, he said. “You have to totally change your mode of thinking because complacency and hubris is the worst enemy to nuclear safety,” Meshkati said in an interview. The same idea is applicable to us as Adventists. Complacency and hubris are in our midst already.

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I read David Read’s article. I find it to be fairly clear-eyed in it’s description of the issues and perhaps the most cynical piece of political infighting that I have ever read.

Yes, the preponderance of the church in North America supports women’s ordination (also in Europe and a variety of other places), but no, most of the NA church is not tolerant on LGBTQ issues. I do however, think that like the United States, the church is moving towards tolerance towards LGBTQ and that will continue as America discovers that gay people are actually people and not some evil, s*xual deviant out to corrupt or assault us. So I think that if the GC were to follow Read’s policy that it would be effective in splitting the church, but not costing the loss of most of North America. And, I think that if the GC were to do that, they should do it now, because in 10 years, North America and Europe SDA’s are likely to accept that gay people are in fact just people.

Having said all that, I don’t think that the GC is ready to engage in that sort of scorched-earth warfare against their fellow SDA’s, that the backlash against such may cause many congregations to leave the GC fold and that, even if successful it would not solve the issue of women’s ordination among the church that stay, just perhaps delay it a bit. So ultimately I don’t think it would be successful either.

I don’t see a clear answer on the horizon, simply more pain and strife continuing.

(and to the poster before who said that the only two churches that haven’t split are SDA’s and Roman Catholics, I would beg to differ. We, and all of the Protestant churches are the result of splits from the Catholic Church (thank you Martin Luther) and Mormon’s have basically not split (although they are starting to face some of the same rumblings, they are just a couple of decades behind us).


Allen, does your view that splitting would be a disaster lead you to believe that a compromise is in order?


whether or not a split in our church is impending, i think it may be worth considering whether a split, sparked by the san antonio anti-WO vote and subsequent non-compliance of a number of unions, has merit…as i understand it, annual council will be deciding soon whether to uphold the san antonio vote as the will of the world church - a vote achieved by a margin of 399 votes, or less than 17% of the delegates voting and abstaining - which many assume means inflicting punishment on those few unions who have been openly non-compliant…one line of thinking in support of inflicting punishment is that a lack of enforcement of a GC vote would indicate a pointless unity, which a split, if punished unions decide to leave, doesn’t necessarily worsen…and because of the demographics behind the san antonio vote, there is the possibility that a lack of enforcement could indicate tacit racism, which could initiate a split along an even larger fault line…in view of the strength of these reasons alone, the slim margin of the vote to be enforced is arguably unimportant…surely what matters is a cohesive church with meaningful policies that all who choose to can feel part of…

however - and there is always an important however to consider - an examination of the substance of the vote to be upheld, at a possibly church-transforming cost, shows that the choice to inflict punishment of any kind is almost certainly out of proportion to the presumed crime…in the first place, the biblical merits of the no-vote in san antonio was not agreed to by a majority of our scholars in our seminary and BRI, or select individuals in TOSC, or several of our most important world leaders, and this after decades of purposeful study…what does it say about the value we place on specialized church members who exercise their intellectual gifts for the good of the church when their contribution is summarily overturned in final policy calculations…do we see examples in the bible where success is achieved when the considered counsel of specialists and councilors is trampled underfoot…is this race to the bottom for the sake of artificial democracy really the intention behind our delegate system, and does it bode well for our church moving forward…

but in the second place, the one biblical example we have where there were two strongly held opinions on policy in the church - the council of jerusalem and the question of circumcision - resulted in a dual-policy solution, and not an enforced one-policy solution…i have read several attempts to re-frame james’ verdict as a one-policy solution of non-circumcision for the entire church, and not just the gentiles…but this effort flies in the face of a plain reading of Acts 15 and Galatians 2, and even more so in the case of AA: 188-200…even the secretariat’s own A Study of Church Governance and Unity, September, 2016 references the “twin-track approach” achieved by the apostolic church, p.13…is this dual-policy, set by the apostolic church under the evident guidance of the holy spirit, and recorded in both the bible and egw, something we read for our personal amusement…or is it an example we are behooved to work towards as a church if we are to be in harmony with inspiration…

i have just looked through the recently released 127-page agenda of our upcoming fall council, entitled Reach The World: Faithfulness To His Word…aside from taking in the implications of this title, i have noted, on p.27,our three-part mission statement, part two of which is entitled Our Method, and which opens with the words, “Guided by the bible and the Holy Spirit…”…the readily discerned point to make here is that if we accept that Acts 15 and Galatians 2 are part of the bible, and AA:188-200 is part of the guidance of the holy spirit, our mission statement compels us to be in harmony with these inspired sources…this can only mean that the one-policy solution reached in san antonio must be renounced…we must summon the courage and humility to declare the san antonio vote a mistake, because it has placed us directly out of harmony with the example of the apostolic church…above all, we dare not add sin to sin by enforcing such a vote onto the church, even if it succeeded as a legitimately voted policy…

the fruits of the san antonio vote over the past two years have not been positive, to say the least…our church is arguably more divided than ever…but can there be any doubt why this is so, if the vote which is guiding our general conference, because it is so evidently out of harmony with the bible and egw, is not of god…we are a people of the book…we are the remnant church of Revelation 17…we are god’s chosen agency to enlighten the world of the soon coming of christ…can we not now rise up to our responsibility to undo the profound mistake that took place in san antonio before irreparable harm is done to our church…it is even clearer to me now than it was immediately after the vote in san antonio that, as a church, we have been out-maneuvered by the forces of darkness…and now it is equally clear that our san antonio mistake is poised to inflict lasting damage onto our church…whose interests are being served by a shattered remnant church…is it ours…is it god’s…i submit that our upcoming fall council must include and call for extensive and earnest church-wide repentance and a special seeking after god…we are living in the anti-typical day of atonement…now is not the time to be on the wrong side of the bible or the teachings of our prophet, and in any way attempt to defend that position…we must find the heart to come together as a church and put this horrible episode behind us…i feel hopeful that we can recover quickly, and resume our mission as a united, rejuvenated seventh-day adventist church, if we act now…

circumcision wasn’t the only issues at council

Morgan’s framework of how to look at organizations was very helpful. Thank you. Also, the notion of “loyal opposition.” Yes, I think Spectrum decided in 2010 that we wanted to be a part of a loyal opposition----


As usual, my friend, David, has written a provocative piece, referenced in this article. As usual, his visions of the church and for the church are quite dystopian. That grumpy view of things would not, I think, be a sustaining vision for most, but certainly it energizes some. Moving to the merits, it would be hard to disagree with the general idea that at some point a wall defining who is in and who is out makes sense. An extreme example – child sacrifice in the name of Adventism – would make the point. Let the trademark lawyers stand at the ready. If one accepts the general point, from there on out the discussion is not so much whether to have a wall, but where to build it. As Frost reminded us, though, something there is that doesn’t love a wall. Thankfully, most of us would rather put our energies into figuring out how to hold together than in how to blow us up. So where to build the wall? What a relief to hear David agree that it should not be built over women’s ordination. Let us take that as a gesture of reconciliation and build on it. If David is Ok with folks like me, who support WO, being n his church, then I am ok with him and his friends, who hold to the male headship theory, being here, too, even though, as he concedes, that theory has not been part of official church teaching. Let us stretch the tent and stay inside for awhile longer together.


As GS mentioned toward the end of his talk, one can pick a bible verse to forward his agenda which supports the reality that after a year of posturing, the issue of WO decision will be a personal choice by our leaders and their ability to garner votes to support their decision. And this personal decision is a function of their personality traits. There are ten personality disorders recognized by mental health professionals and the although none of our leaders are personality disordered, each of them would have variants of symptoms ranging from paranoia, histrionic, narcissistic and obsessive compulsive traits. If church members have responsibility in choosing our church leaders, let it be known that vetting should, at the minimum, include psychological evaluation and personality inventory testing to make electors informed voters.


“He went on to say that “some things would be even worse than splitting.”

Yes, the SDA church participation in the genocide of the unborn is much worse than splitting the church over any other issue.

BTW, my heart was split in two when the church decided that splitting the unborn in many pieces was morally acceptable back in 1970.

We need to repent of this great evil against the Creator of life. King David repented of his great sin against heaven and was forgiven, The same can happen with our church.

King David publicly confessed his sin, we must follow his example and do away with our guidelines on abortion that allow for elective abortions to take place in our own medical facilities.

The more the GC pushes toward making “unity = uniformity” the more the chances of a split increase.

Unity cannot be defined by uniformity, unless there is a dictator with supreme powers who imposes a certain set of views on the group. Sometimes this attempt may include forcing people to sigh allegiance/faithfulness contracts… Which can easily lead to people refusing selling their souls this way, then starting an oppositional movement that can lead to a split.

Are we getting there yet???