Amid Silence from Adventist Leaders, Church Members Again Confront Paul Charles in Open Letter

The following open letter, has been sent to newly-appointed Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division (SID) President Dr. Solomon Maphosa and other top leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination after several months of silence on the matter of SID Commucation Director Paul Charles' ongoing employment. Paul Charles has been the object of ongoing scrutiny from Adventist Church members after news broke of his fraudulent academic qualifications, which Charles used to advance his career. -Ed

The Matter of Paul Charles (SID Director of Communication, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty)

Follow Up from Concerned Adventists in Academia 15 September 2016

Dr. Solomon Maphosa President, Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church 27 Regency Drive, Route 21 Corporate Park Nellmapius Drive, Irene 0174 Pretoria, South Africa

CC:

President of the General Conference (Dr. Ted Wilson) Executive Secretary of the General Conference (Dr. GT Ng) Associate Secretary of the General Conference (Pastor H Moorooven) Executive Secretary of SID (Pastor Gideon Reynecke) Chief Financial Officer of SID (Goodwell Nthani) Director of Communication, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty, SID (Pastor Paul Charles) President of Southern Africa Union Conference (Dr David Spencer) Executive Secretary of Southern Africa Union Conference (Pastor Trevor Kunene)

We would like to express our continued concern over the matter of Pastor Paul Charles (Director of Communication, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty at the SID), which has still not been resolved 5 months after it broke into the public domain. It has now been confirmed, that Paul Charles does not have any legitimate academic qualifications, which in itself would not have been of great concern had it not been for the following:

  1. He claimed to have a Masters and a Doctoral degree from the Freedom Institute for Theological Studies & Research which appears to have been a diploma mill.

  2. Although he claimed that he studied at Spicer Adventist University (India), he has never produced a copy of his Bachelor’s degree in Theology or Religious Studies, which would have been a normal requirement for appointment as a minister in the Seventh- day Adventist Church. He therefore secured his appointment as a minister in the Southern Africa Union Conference territory under false pretence.

  3. It has also become known that Paul Charles was only at Spicer University for a very short period (not more than 2 years) and then left without completing his studies. And it was in that very same year, 1997, (when he left Spicer University) that he “acquired” the Master of Divinity degree from Freedom Institute for Theological Studies & Research. This is clear evidence that his M.Div. degree was fraudulent (“acquired” within a few months after leaving Spicer University before completing his undergraduate degree). He then subsequently “earned” the Doctor of Philosophy (Missiology) degree in March 2001.

  4. He knowingly misrepresented his qualifications to the church in order to be employed as a minister. He even approached (in 1999/2000) a government institution, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), which is a dispute resolution body established in terms of the South African Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995 (LRA), where he laid false charges against the church. He arm-twisted and threatened the church to employ him based on his academic “qualifications” which evidently were illegitimate.

On the basis of these considerations, it is evident that Paul Charles was deliberately dishonest and knowingly made false claims about his academic qualifications. This is not a case of someone who actually studied at an unaccredited institution, but of someone who took deliberate steps to get what looks like degree certificates without going through the required studies.

Fraudulent degrees have become a matter of great concern across the world, including in the countries of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division. In some countries (e.g. South Africa), it is considered a criminal offence that can be pursued legally through the laying of charges against an organisation or an individual with the South African Police Services.

It is also on record that Paul Charles has claimed to have earned a second doctoral degree. These claims have been made by him in writing as well as in sermons he has preached, as well as in seminars and presentations he conducted. Once again these claims were made as “testimony” to what God has done for him, given his humble childhood. He was also on Hope Channel TV on a program with Kandus Thorp, where he claimed to the entire global Adventist community as well as non-Adventist viewers, that he has studied for two doctoral degrees and was studying for another degree at the University of South Africa. This is the link for the Hope Channel TV interview (It was removed by Hope Channel, but has since been uploaded by another party. Hope Channel is taking steps to have it removed again. -Ed.)

It is on the basis of the above that it is evident that Paul Charles does not have the moral and ethical characteristics, nor does he have the integrity required of a minister in the Seventh- day Adventist Church. It is our strong conviction that the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division and the General Conference have a moral and indeed a spiritual obligation to act on this matter for the sake of God’s name, integrity and image and for the sake of the church, which is the body of Christ on earth. The Seventh-day Adventist church takes its calling to be the remnant church of these last days seriously and we endeavour to do all that we can to represent Jesus Christ to the world. This explains why we set very high moral and ethical standards and expect that we all prayerfully live up to these. Our church disciplinary processes (which apply to all, including church workers), in as much as they are redemptive, are also meant to help us demonstrate to all our deep abhorrence for sin and everything that brings God’s name into disrepute.

It is therefore untenable to have Paul Charles continue to serve in a leadership role in the Church, and represent the Church in the public sphere, while it is public knowledge that he has falsely claimed (for 15 years) to have the aforementioned academic qualifications.

We therefore need to heed the call by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5: 22, to “abstain from all appearance of evil”. It is crucial that the SID leadership urgently acts to facilitate due process on this matter and take appropriate action on his future as a worker in the Adventist Church. This is important in order to restore the trust and respect in ethical leadership, which have been deeply eroded over the last few months.

It would be erroneous for the SID to believe that ignoring this matter or treating it like a trivial issue will make it simply go away, because as long as it is not resolved, it will continue to surface and will distract the church from focusing on its mission.

We hope and pray that God guides and leads His church as we deal with this matter.

Dr. Alvin Masarira, PrEng Structural Engineering Consultant &Visiting Academic: University of Cape Town and University of Johannesburg

A/Prof. Edward Chamisa Department of Finance and Tax University of Cape Town; South Africa

Mr. Clinton Plaatjes Executive IT Country Manager South Africa

Mr. Pitso Tsibolane Lecturer: Department of Information Systems University of Cape Town, South Africa

Dr. Bernhard Ficker (Retired Academic) Associate Director of Research Cape Peninsula University of Technology Cape Town, South Africa

Dr. Misheck Ndebele School of Education University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Dr. Fusi Madela Specialist General Surgeon Addington Hospital University of KwaZulu-Natal Durban, South Africa

Dr. Ron du Preez Retired & Part-Time Pastor-Arizona Conference, NAD & Adjunct /Online Professor: Adventist University of Africa (Kenya); Andrews University (Mich., USA) Southern Adventist University (Tenn., USA)

Prof. Mziwoxolo Sirayi Executive Dean: Faculty of the Arts Tshwane University of Technology Pretoria, South Africa

A/Prof. Dr. John Akokpari Department of Political Studies University of Cape Town, South Africa

Mr. Wandile Bangisi Pastoral Counsellor, Pretoria

Professor Chuma Himonga Faculty of Law University of Cape Town, South Africa

Mr. Zolani Simayi Lecturer: Department of Precilinical Studies University of Limpopo, South Africa

Dr. Jeff Crocombe Deputy Vice-Chancellor Pacific Adventist University Papua New Guinea (Lecturer: Helderberg College, South Africa) 2006 - 2011

Mr. Bongani Khonjwayo Researcher and HR Policy Development Specialist Durban, South Africa

Dr. Motsamai Molefe Lecturer: Ethics Unit University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

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Could it be that there are others in high administration that need vetting, thus the dragging of feet. TZ

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They are using all the wrong indicators.
None of the Apostles nor Christ himself could meet their educational requirements.
As that is an undeniable fact…why make the letter over academic qualifications?
The fact is that academics trade in a currency they are familiar with like all elitists. Far better to address the fraudulent aspect as their point of contention than the educational one. The one is simply a PC ruse for the other.
This is simply a return to the practices of old where doctors and lawyers and pastors could go to whatever conferences youth camps for a free vacation under the terminology “Workers Retreat” as if they were the only ones working in the Lords vineyard.
Its core is pathetic and ill considered.

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The question these church members raise is not about academic qualifications (i.e. degrees) per se. It is about character, honesty and integrity of church leaders. That is made clear in the following statement:

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So I assume the person they are hoping to replace him with will not need any degrees either? Because if not…IT IS about degrees. If it wasnt about degrees then why not complain about he isnt as good a speaker as we were led to believe…or he preaches fine but he doesnt visist and you know visiting is a large part of a pastors job…
The point is that a Pastor or Conference leader can do a lot of things poorly that they should do well but they all let that slide…except for the academics…

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What is pathetic is the fact that this man committed fraud and lied to his employers (and apparently the entire world church on Hope TV) and some people (including our GC president) are willing to excuse such dishonesty. Unless the Lord build the house it is in vain.

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Is Ted Wilson ‘Colluding’ in Fraud?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
1.Assuming the Spectrum reporting and the information in the open letters is accurate, then Ted Wilson and the GC committee appear to be colluding in fraud.

2.Fraud is defined as ‘deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain’ Collusion is defined as ‘secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others’

3.It has been alleged on the Internet that Ted Wilson has known about this matter for about 2 years. It has been alleged that others on the GC committee received emails regarding this matter.

4.So this issue is NOT about academic qualifications. It is more than about character, honesty and integrity of GC leaders. It is about Ted Wilson as President and Spiritual leader of the world church of Seventh day Adventists and the GC committee knowing about fraud, doing absolutely nothing about it and willfully sanctioning it by their silence and possible behind the scene power plays.

5.Has Ted Wilson and the GC committee violated GC policy and procedures? Are they guilty of ethical misconduct? In the case of Pastor Charles. Has he violated South African law. He sued the Adventist church over not being chosen as a pastor in a district. He won. Did he misrepresent himself to the Labor tribunal with his false academic history?

6.So is the Adventist church going to add an addendum to it’s propaganda film ‘Tell the World’. ‘We Adventists tolerate fraudulent leaders in our midst and are proud to have them represent us’.

7.Ted Wilson needs to come clean and give us some answers as this is not going to go away. Innocent members of the GC committee need to dissociate themselves from this. The integrity of the world Church is much more important than Ted Wilson.

8.The bigger question is what does Pastor Charles have on the Church? Any other organization would have fired him? Why is Ted Wilson willing to risk insult and injury to his reputation and to the world Church to safeguard Pastor Charles? Best wishes, Edgar

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More of these problem staff events need to take place so there can be greater consideration and quality control related to hiring practices and regular oversight/accountability as to employee lifestyle. Since the denominational members gets their adrenaline highs on eschatological paranoia and crime gossip, the SDA marketing dept. ought to get with HR to improve background checks. Watch this story continue to take a back burner due to other issues in the secular news arena…ie presidential debates/race. The only other item on the SDA news radar was the youth molesting school principal. When hired at my last job, they verified my education history and I am not even working on classified or secret projects

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In regards to point number 2, there are several who have been appointed as ministers in the North American Division without advanced degrees or even a bachelor’s degree in theology or equivalent. Perhaps Doug Batchelor is a notable example. However, in regards to the other points, the misrepresentation is a serious issue and should be addressed without getting distracted by point 2 which does not properly reflect the practice of the church.

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It is not about the academic qualifications at all. The concern is about LYING and misrepresenting degrees that never existed. He never had to get doctoral degrees to preach the gospel. He chose to make those false claims. That is so very sad. His lies were done publicly both in writing, on television and from the sacred desk. He has brought public shame to the body of Christ. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.”

I am concerned that the General Conference has not acted on this issue. Is something amiss?

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Let US face facts.
Out of the 18,000,000 SDAs in the world church.
ONLY those who post on Spectrum give a rip.
Probably 17,999,000 dont know anything about Paul Charles and have
probably not even heard of him.
So Paul Charles and any others like him are going to continue on
"running" the church Administratively and be deciding in which
direction The Church is going “to go in the future”.

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While the Ratsara case was not identical to Charles’ misrepresentation of his academic success, it is similar enough to given him the awareness, the motivation, and the mandate for him to do likewise. His failure to voluntarily resign from his position only further demonstrates his disregard for the church and its reputation. He has lost trust for future church employment anywhere.

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As a whole, this issue (PR and CP) only reveals that our SDA leadership is completely failed.

I mean, from the top, Ted Wilson went to a Constituency meeting at PUC to interfere and to threat them with “grave consequences” if they voted the opposite of what he wanted, yes, this same man does not have the courage to deal properly with this academic fraudulent case? When Ratsara was about to step down, TW even suggested him not to do it but rather to “think it through.”

What kind of craziness is this?
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Good friend Edgar, when/if you find the answer to this question, please notify us.
I wish you went to the LOUNGE. We can have a real discussion there, on the same issues posted here. Anyone can participate there, so why not you???

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Maybe if you touch one card, the whole house of cards may collapse. Who knows?..

If the GC cannot be effective in cases like this, what is it, again, good for???
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Had they voted for the right person in SA/2015 we wouldn’t be in this mess. There wouldn’t even be a GC anymore at this time!

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Incredibly sad that the “Moral High Road” appears to be traveled by church members NOT by Adventist Administration. Moral Bankruptcy isn’t a pretty thing but this is where the TW Administration has brought Adventism to.

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Posted with this caption by Elder Wilson on his official Facebook page:

Pastor Ted Wilson
September 4 ·
“Lord, help us as Christians to be known as a people of integrity – a people that are honest and can be trusted. #UIP20

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The frustrating thing about this continuing saga is that it has been crying out for leadership from day one. This does not have to be a headline grabbing story if somebody would just step in and begin to call things to order.

What I find extremely perturbing with the lack of leadership is the way in which the church organisation allows an individual person to be dragged through the mud in a publicly humiliating way over and over and over again. Any leader that is worth his salt will take seriously his burden of care towards an individual in his organisation. (I’m using the masculine pronouns purposefully because it fits best in this context.) If you value the work that your employee does, you cannot let him hang out there for months for anybody to take a shot at him. If you, as a leader, feel that your employee has really messed up, you still have a responsibility to deal decisively and justly with his situation. If I was Paul Charles I would be wondering if anybody is on my side by now. For him it would certainly feel as though his organisation is letting him down in this situation as well.

Please Mr. President! (If Pastor Maphosa won’t listen, Ted Wilson really needs to listen!) For the humanity and dignity of your employee you cannot keep exposing him to the public tribunals over and over again. Urgent action is needed!

As somebody who has worked close to pastoral ministry I know how fragile one’s reputation and spiritual authority is. It does not take much to lose it, and sometimes it does not even need to do anything wrong. I think our previous president Pastor Ratsara became aware of this himself. One leadership question in this situation would surely be, “has the person acted so unethically that one cannot allow him to continue in any leadership position? If yes… then there is no point in delaying action. If it is deemed that this point is debatable, then the strong leader still needs to create the conditions and support for the person to rebuild their integrity in a safe environment.” If the organisation fails to do this they fail in their duty of care to the individual, and the longer they do this, the more damage they cause not only to the church’s reputation, but to the individual as well.

The other very frustrating element to watch in this situation is the role that communication can play to resolve the issue. Here we have Spectrum, a public media outlet, who exposes information about a case. It seems as though the facts are accurate. Surely the church needs to respond and communicate in a redemptive way that will help readers and the interested public to focus on more constructive issues.

The problem in this case is that it is the director of communication that is in the spotlight! So the church’s ability to communicate at the right level becomes severely compromised. In most cases the individual who is in this communication position would realize that his position is untenable and either step aside or call in help. The SID communication department has been a lame duck for the last five months.

In this case, I think the correct course of action should be for the higher organisation, the GC communication department to begin to communicate clearly, and properly, and redemptively in order to help clear the issue for the general public. They also need to show some leadership and some grit in this situation. Maybe they don’t have the expertise? Did I understand correctly that the issue came into the limelight when the GC communication department appointed Paul Charles as vice president for crisis communication? Maybe the GC needs to get somebody in who can help them with this aspect.

This is a very frustrating saga. I hope and pray that the church will get their act together, and do so quickly.

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OK, another case of boasting questionable qualifications given with cheap or cheated M:DIV, M SCI. PH.D.

Now behginning, I am collecting a number of declarations, quotations, argument, boasted result of wonderful success and anstonishing sucess - and pass it to David Larson - maybe he has the possibiliteis to break up these frauduent halleluia - we are right - mesages

(No, I will not present crucial theologies provoking these or that interpretions, I just rely on false quotations, false translations from Greek, false scientific statements in matters of Health ("If you extract water from alcohol, the result is ether -and then the peolpe are really drunk ! - The Deprtment of Health from the GC - - ) - -Poor scholarship ! Poorest scholarship !

And Adventists live 7 to 12 years longer than the rest of the population - - -

And - ridiclous enough, Alan R. Handisides calls for “integrity” - clusters of boasting , even wrong informations spread the SDA world , coming from his institution ! - just last Monday !

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An FYI: We don’t have to boast, That isn’t our own quote. It was stated in National Geographic, Forbes, pbs.org and several other publications.

Mormons have the same life expectancy. If there is a group of people who don’t drink or smoke, those two things, in and of themselves, will increase life expectancy. Using common sense in eating habits, in addition to not smoking and drinking (or even drinking moderately), then the chances are very good that most people will live a pretty long life.

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This case has Ted Wilson’s fingerprints all over it. It is a failure of moral and ethical leadership on his part. He could have and should have intervened long ago. Instead, he publicly came to the defense of those in the SID who clearly acted in a fraudulent matter. This incident strips away the pious veneer on Wilson’s presidency.

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