Amazing Facts Says Batchelor Will Move Meetings from Florida to Michigan

When the leadership of the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists recommended to the Spring Meadows Church in Sanford, Florida that the congregation reconsider its invitation of Amazing Facts speaker Doug Batchelor to a series of meetings in October, calling Batchelor a "polarizing influence," the reaction was swift and, perhaps unsurprisingly, polarized.

Batchelor supporters and fans of his television ministry decried the move as heavy-handed, while those who disagree with Batchelor's strident anti-women's-ordination agitation lauded the move by the Florida Conference.

Amazing Facts issued a response on its website, noting that the meetings previously scheduled for Sanford have been moved to Lansing Michigan in the heart of the Michigan Conference, whose leadership is more in tune with Batchelor's stances. The message, signed by Pastor Jëan Ross, Amazing Facts' Vice President for Evangelism, follows in its entirety:

Dear friends,

Amazing Facts has been receiving a number of inquiries regarding why our venue was changed from Sanford, Florida, to Lansing, Michigan, for the upcoming Heroes of Faith meetings beginning October 2.

In July, 4, 2014, Pastor Doug Batchelor spoke to a packed sanctuary at the Spring Meadows Church in Sanford, Florida, at which time the pastors and members there invited Amazing Facts to return in October 2015 for a 10-day evangelistic program.

In good faith of that invitation, the following year Amazing Facts invested significant time and resources toward planning and preparing for the success of the Heroes of Faith series.

However, following the General Conference session, we were contacted by the Spring Meadow pastor who told us that he was sorry to inform us that the Florida Conference leadership had advised his church to cancel these meetings.

Having not heard from the conference directly, Pastor Batchelor called and had a friendly conversation and prayer with the Florida Conference president, Mike Cauley, who said he felt that Pastor Batchelor’s position on women’s ordination was too polarizing and not in harmony with General Conference policy.

(Amazing Facts and Pastor Batchelor fully support the voted General Conference position regarding ordination, and the ministry has never traveled to other conferences to speak publically on this subject.)

Naturally, this was very disappointing as we had invested considerable funds in advertising material and broadcast time in the Orlando area.

However, Amazing Facts is very thankful for the invitation from the Michigan Conference to relocate the meetings to Lansing, where Pastor Batchelor and our media crew will be working with Pastor Wes Peppers, a former Amazing Facts evangelist and AFCOE leader. We are now moving ahead in faith, trusting that the Lord will work all of this together for good. We deeply appreciate your continued prayers, support, and encouragement!

Now, “forgetting those things which are behind” (Philippians 3:13), Amazing Facts intends to focus our full energies on preaching the three angels’ messages and bringing people into a saving relationship with Jesus.

For any other specifics regarding this matter, please contact the Florida Conference.

Finally, we encourage all our friends in Florida and around the world to participate in Heroes of Faith: Stories of Salvation for the Whole Family on 3ABN and AFTV beginning October 2. Please visit www.theheroesoffaith.com for more details about the program and how you can get involved!

In the Blessed Hope,

Pastor Jëan Ross Vice President of Evangelism Amazing Facts

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7042
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Two very distinctive streams of Adventism have emerged. This kind of polarization will increasingly occur in the future.

Basically it’d be nice if we could all get back to ‘We Have This Hope’, but it doesn’t seem likely for quite a while.

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i think women’s ordination has turned out to be a major cleaver…when i first became aware of it as an issue, about two years ago, i naively assumed that the problem was a lack of a clear understanding of relevant texts, and that headship advocates could be persuaded through a thorough, detailed presentation…

but the problem is much deeper than a coherent understanding of texts…people who are otherwise reasonable and broad in their views suddenly become very parochial, limited and set in their views when it comes to women’s ordination…as i see it now, it’s an entire culture that will have to die out before real progress can be made…headship has a grip every bit as much as racism had at one time, and still has for some…

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It is rather curious that the conference that officially banned any students from LSU from appearing at church facilities is now picking up DB from a conference that discouraged a church from hosting DB. The ironies of the church!

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At first I thought this was from Barely Adventist - moving to the homeland of ultra-conservatist Adventism, Michigan seemed too good to be true. But then it makes sense. Of course if it were in January, Batchelor might find he got a lot less people coming to hear him at an event in Michigan, than if it had been in Florida, but maybe in October some east coast faithful will still turn out - won’t be deterred by icy weather.

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I really believe in religious freedom for all! Both for Florida churches and for Californian evangelists. In the initial blurb about the disinvite to Doug, I gained the impression that Doug was to give a series of revival meetings. Now it turns out that he was to have a 10 day evangelistic program.

It seems to me that if Doug is giving an evangelistic series, there is almost no fear of his even touching the “O” subject with a 40 foot.

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You have to admire Doug’s gracious response…He did not respond in kind to the adjective used by the Florida Conference leadership…Perhaps the real losers and the ones that got the proverbial “black eye” were the members in the Florida Conference…It shows the true colors and the pettiness of the thinking of the leadership in the Florida Conference to the entire SDA church family of the global church as well as the onlooking unbelievers…

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I have to say this does look very bad for the Florida conference. What kind of precedent does this set?

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“Naturally, this was very disappointing as we had invested considerable funds in advertising material and broadcast time in the Orlando area.”

I understand and investment of time and energy, but unless AF had an extraordinary financial arrangement with this church, the majority of the meeting costs would have been paid with evangelism funds of the Florida Conference with a nominal contribution of the local church. If this is true, it puts the advisory by Conference administration in a different light. The major donor to the meetings got cold feet due to DB attitudes toward women.

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Amazing Facts apparently did not book a public hall for their crusade and I presume no money has changed hands to book a seat at the church so there are no financial ramifications to the cancellation.
And the cancellation has been done 2 months ahead of the scheduled time rather than at the eleventh hour.
I, therefore, see no problem with the Conference decision. They are quite within their right to choose who speaks within their jurisdiction.
Personally I wouldn’t cross the road to listen to anyone from the so-called Amazing Facts organisation. I have always prefered to call the group Mundane Distortions.

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This changes the picture considerably. No one should be upset at all then, since with a 2 month lead there is really no loss. Considering some of the things Batchelor has been saying leading up to and at the GC session I think it was a responsible decision to cancel his meetings. He is divisive, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t recognize that at this point. I have even heard people who support him say he is divisive, and they think that is fine, as they seem to believe that a good, strong message just is divisive, since Jesus’s message when He was on earth was so divisive. Well, times were different then, Batchelor is not Jesus, and no conference needs someone who will cause dissension.

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It seems to me that the Florida Conference President has created the intolerance of diversity of views and the polarization within his own Conference… ironic, really!

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A “gracious” response would be the example of Paul in KJV 1 Corinthians Chapter 8. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

For the cause of Christ, Paul was careful not offend the cultural sensibilities of those new converts to Christ. WO is the cultural cross current of today. At the highest level, the theology of ordination in the SDA Church has been studied and the overwhelming consensus has been that it is a cultural issue and not theological.

The Florida Conference has taken the position that Amazing Facts, and Doug Batchelor, are divisive to the point of offensive. The number of available venues in North America for Amazing Facts is declining as most conferences don’t allow the use of conference evangelism funds for evangelists not approved by the conference. Most of the funding for Amazing Facts evangelism in North America is funneled through ASI. Does that surprise anyone? Why would any conference allow tithe funds to be used to fund this divisive and offensive ministry?

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It fallows the Michigan Conference Precedent of disinviting the La Sierra University Choir enroute to its engagements at Andrews. The exclusivism of Adventism is nothing new. I am reminded of Lady Macbeth’s outrage at being discovered for her shinnanegans, “Out damned spot!”

Trust God.

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Follow the money…yet again…

Why would Doug hold these meetings in Florida … it’s packed with retirees - those most likely to support Amazing Facts. Why retreat to Michigan …There’s nothing like preaching to the choir when it comes to offerings. You would think, if Doug wanted to enlighten all those “who have gone astray” he wouldhave pitched his tent anywhere in California; but it would have been slim-pickins in the offering plate. No surprise.

Having said that, Florida should have let him speak. The reaction was a knee-jerk reaction, made out of frustration - a blow against what happened in San Antonio.

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That comment could fly both ways depending on your point of view. I’m sure there are conferences that disallow more liberal speakers. Seems to me that the more conservative one’s view is, the less tolerance of ‘opinion diversity’.

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Mike Cauley has now stepped into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. To restrict freedom of expression is an abuse of power. Notwithstanding DB’s position is aligned with the church’s official policy and the planned evangslism had nothing to do with WO and internal politics. Interesting to see what plans Mike has for evangelism for the coming year? Probably little time to evangalize as there is internal politics to focus on and hospital conferences to attend.

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This tells us a very good thing about the Florida Conference, i.e., they are not promoting DB’s separatist group. And are probably making sure that no more money is diverted from the Church to a private ministry.

Bachelor actually belongs to Michigan. Protected for ever from the La Sierra University Choir. Isn’t it also that Conference that gave Bachelor’s book to every pastor on their team?

Gallimore and Bachelor - they deserve each other. So why to bug other Conferences that are not interested in DB’s cultic movement? Let the Michigan Conference have it all for themselves!

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Intriguing… in view of the comments above having to do with the loss of funds from an “evangelistic series”… that no one has mentioned the obvious fact that Amazing Facts has been “diverting” money from the church with their televised calls for “gifts” ever since their beginning. It’s NOT just a matter of his stand on WO… it’s a matter on his whole relationship to the church that he bleeds even while he feeds his audiences.

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