Annual Council Votes to Continue Dialogue on Unity and Reconciliation Process

Following nearly six hours of discussion and debate, a majority of members of the Executive Committee of the General Conference (GC) of Seventh-day Adventists voted during their Annual Council meeting to send a document entitled “Procedures for Reconciliation and Adherence in Church Governance: Phase II,” back to the Unity in Mission Oversight Committee for further review.

“The body has spoken,” said Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “It will go back to the committee. By God's grace, we will find a way of bringing something together again.”

The Scope of the Second Document

The document outlines the second phase of a process of reconciliation voted during last year’s Annual Council that sought to initiate standard procedures for maintaining church unity in matters involving non-compliance. Areas addressed include Fundamental Beliefs, voted actions or working policies of the church.

Phase I, voted at the 2016 Annual Council, sought to provide a “pastoral” approach involving dialogue and a greater understanding among those involved. The Phase II document emphasizes the Executive Committee’s commitment to “preserve the governance and organizational structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on all levels” in the context of “godly forbearance, Christian charity, and redemptive grace.” Introductory paragraphs also highlight a commitment on the part of the Executive Committee to “the continued forbearance and discussion process” which offers “additional time to find solutions.”

“I believe that the church has been forbearing,” said Wilson during the day’s discussion. “Our purpose is to redeem. But we have to respect what the world church votes.”

Policy Within the Church

The Phase II document that was referred back to the originating committee also makes an unapologetic case for the need of church policy, anchoring its roots in biblical references, along with principles articulated by Church co-founder, Ellen G. White. “Throughout scripture, organization has been a priority for God’s people,” says the document. “Church organization is also a clear biblical mandate and foundational biblical teaching for God’s end-time people.”

While recognizing that “the policies of the Church are not infallible,” the document explains that policies offer “the best judgment of a representative group of Church leaders at a given time on how denominational entities live and work together.” The General Conference Working Policy is the result of votes taken by representatives from around the world during either the General Conference in session every five years, or during the annual meeting of the Executive Committee.

The Phase II document is built on existing voted policies such as B 15 05, which clarifies “the authoritative voice” of General Conference Working Policy and B 15 10, which requires global adherence to Working Policy. The document recognizes “non-compliant practices can be very complex expressions of cultural, ethnic, theological, communication and economic values, beliefs, and practices,” and “differentiates non-compliant practices into three categories.”

Category 1 deals with the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Category 2 deals with voted actions of the General Conference Executive Committee that are “designed for global implementation” and which if not implemented “would adversely impact Church unity.” Category 3 involves “policies, initiatives, and practices that are local in nature, and not in violation of actions voted in General Conference Session or voted by the General Conference Executive Committee and would not impact Church unity.”

Background to the Document

An introductory report was given by Thomas Lemon, GC general vice president, and chair of the Unity in Mission Oversight Committee. Lemon was charged with facilitating follow-up to the voted 2016 Unity in Mission document. “We took the process that you voted last year as a pastoral mandate, an opportunity to engage with people all around the world,” Lemon explained.

Throughout the year, invitations to meet and dialogue came from the North American Division (NAD), Trans-European Division (TED), Inter-European Division (EUD), and South Pacific Division (SPD). Lemon met with the first three, while scheduling conflicts kept him from meeting with SPD.

Lemon said while there are compliance issues, he saw “no sign of rebellion” in his interactions with the entities he engaged with. “Unity and the commitment to the message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is as strong as I have ever seen.”

Lemon also introduced the Phase II document, emphasizing that it came through the Unity in Mission Oversight Committee, was then discussed by the Administrative Committee of the General Conference (ADCOM), and was finally referred to General Conference and Division Officers (GCDO) before coming to the Annual Council Executive Committee today.

Prior to discussion from the floor, G.T. Ng. GC Executive Secretary, explained that while the document addresses the matter of the ordination of women to ministry and “was triggered” by the issue, it is much broader in scope, and “it is about governance.” Ng reminded members that “personal conscience is not on trial, but church governance is.”

Juan Prestol-Puesán, world church treasurer, also offered introductory words. He explained that he favors the ordination of women as a personal conviction. “However, there is one more overwhelming, superseding conviction—staying together,” said Prestol-Puesán. “My personal conviction needs to be subservient to what holds the body together.”

Comments from the Floor

Discussion of the proposed document began with Wilson reminding committee members of decorum. “We will begin our discussion in the spirit of charity and respect,” explained Wilson.

The 14-page document was read aloud by Hensley Moorooven, GC associate secretary. The Committee members and invitees then addressed comments to the chair from various microphones on the floor, in the order which they scanned their badges in a system logging comments.

Comments were diverse and varied in their perspectives on the material in the proposed document. Both Church leaders and lay committee members from around the world spoke openly, and at times passionately, in favor or in opposition to the document.

Some urged the Committee to approve the document and move forward, while others supported referring the document back to a committee for further refinement. Those supporting referral raised questions about the constitutionality of certain segments of the document. Still others asked for refined language in the Phase II document.

One thing was clear. Despite strong convictions on both sides of the matter, no one suggested a split within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “I want to give this body some assurance,” said Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division. “We have absolutely no intention to split the Adventist church and to start our own church in North America. We will not split from this church. We are committed to the work of this church both in North America and around the world.”

Votes and Actions

The major vote of the day resulted from a motion to refer the document to the General Conference Constitution and By-laws Committee. The motion suggested potential conflicts between the document and provisions within the GC Constitution and By-laws. The action was subsequently amended to refer the document back to the Unity in Mission Oversight Committee, and was voted on by secret ballot, carrying 184 to 114.

Noting the item will not come up for discussion by the Executive Committee until the 2018 Annual Council, Wilson said that “we still have the challenge of those who are not in compliance. So, pray for those of us who need to work on that. And try to encourage compliance,” he urged members. “We will hope to come back with something that helps all of us toward our goal of mission.”

Read the full document, "Procedures for Reconciliation and Adherence in Church Governance: Phase II.”

This article originally appeared on the Adventist News Network (ANN) website and was written by both ANN and Adventist Review staff.

Image: Jan Paulsen, former GC president, spoke in opposition, saying “I do not see the hand of God in this document.”

Image Credit: Mylon Medley / ANN.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8299

Adventist church historians will debate the issue of who blinked first at yesterday’s standoff. In the meantime, progress can be made.True learning only takes place when there is a change in behavior by each person willing to learn. We may have to “.to Continue Dialogue on Unity and Reconciliation Process” until Jesus returns!

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“However, there is one more overwhelming, superseding conviction—staying together,” said Prestol-Puesán. “My personal conviction needs to be subservient to what holds the body together.”

I am left wondering if President Wilson and others opposed to women’s ordination are equally committed to the idea that their personal convictions need to be subservient to what holds the body together. This idea is a double-edged sword. There have been numerous opportunities along the way to find workable solutions to the question of women’s ordination. Those who have systematically and repeatedly fought to prevent the church from going down these paths, including by marginalizing the majority TOSC findings when they went against their wishes, cannot honestly say that they have been working above all to hold the body together.

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The need for “compliance” to have a unified world-wide church is a late criterion to the party. Years ago I recall whole conferences holding back tithe for years, ignoring audited reports during the constituency meetings that their leadership was violating policy. When conference leaders defended their decision by pointing to the good things done for the conference by withholding tithe, they were re-elected. I do not recall any effort by the GC to “force” them into compliance with some of these draconian measures. Why not? Why is funding the church so much less important than maintaining an exclusively male ministry and leadership which requires ordination?

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TW should heed what “The body has spoken,” which in reality is the rejection of his management approach, not just “the document.” As such, the only viable option for him is to model how to come to a resolution by apologizing for his mismanagement and offer an olive branch. By doing so, the various entities involved will coalesce around him and he could yet salvage his reputation. Exactly just how family disputes are settled.

Please prove me wrong, Pastor TW.

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Hus, Waldo, Wycliffe, Zwingli, Luther, Calvin et al thankfully did not have such hubris to believe that their palpable pride in their manly institutions did NOT trump liberty of conscience. This may explain why it seems there is no one on the anti-WO side willing to suggest any compromise. Not that they have no conscience, necessarily, but that their pride in their manly craft is greater.

Seems that there is little accession by the leadership that the pro-WO side is conscience-driven, and certainly no dignity or respect is offered for such, as evinced by the tactics used to try prevent any estrogen making its way into those hallowed testosterone addled vege-smoke filled back rooms in the Silver Spring duomo.

No, If God feared schism, he would never have allowed Lucifer, Adam, or the rest of us orphans our prodigal excursions. Seems God values free moral agency beyond lockstep and enforced “unity”.
If our leaders are truly “the voice of god on earth” methinks they should reflect a better, less beast-like image, but I fear they are less lamb and more ram (despite their humble attestations), don’t ewe?

QUestion; if it is OK to have parallel racially divided conferences, why not a variance to permit a gender based one? Then no split would be needed, as all the pro-WO co-ordination Unions and Conferences, even individual churches (or countries-ie China) could remain within the fold. That we permit dispensation of noncompliance to both China and the SouthEastern conference for issues that true equality would negate strongly indicts any ecclesiological logic in present leaderships mulish maleheadedness.

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Reminds me of M. Adler’s Ten Philosophical Mistakes. Are we not reaping the consequences of “little” technical errors - a procedural mistake in San Antonio - we’re still unwilling to admit?

How might WO in the China Union Mission have affected global unity in mission? It seems that efforts are being exerted to bring them into conformity and compliance with GC Working Policy.

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having watched the entire 6-hr proceedings livestream yesterday (monday), and having slept on it, i can only give glory to god for the 184-114 vote at annual council 2017…there is no doubt in my mind that god will allow mistakes to be made in our church - and the san antonio 1381-977 no vote was surely an important mistake in our church’s history - but in the end, he will not allow mistakes and our unavoidable fallibility to derail the seventh-day adventist church, which i feel so confident he will be using directly until christ ceases his mediation in the heavenly sanctuary, and brings human probation to an end…who would have thought that a motion to return, upon a motion to refer, the 14-page phase 2 document was the vehicle he would use to give us more time to see why the one-policy cultural solution, voted at san antonio, is so out of harmony with the two-policy cultural solution he inspired our apostolic forbearers to achieve at the council of jerusalem…of all people on earth, we need to be the embodiment of Galatians 3:28, in which all people, regardless of circumstances of birth and fortune, are free to become full demonstrations of what god wants to do for each and all of us…

the lesson here, at least as i see it, is that there is no single culture on earth that all who are saved must adopt…instead, the three angels’ messages must be presented in a way that all can relate to, and be convicted by…WO may not be the only cultural adaptation we will need to make in order finish the work…as we reach out into more and more parts of earth, and as the places we’re already in experience cultural transformation, there may be other adaptations that god will call for us to make…

surely the high point of the council - the moment when conviction was most palpable - was when president jan paulsen took to the mike and honestly, but forthrightly, said that he couldn’t see the hand of god in the phase 2 document, and that in fact the document was making the holy spirit’s work more difficult…paulsen expressed the heartfelt opinion that the tone of the document was “missing” with respect to the spirit of unity, and that requiring members to sign a loyalty pledge brought something “alien” into the work…paulsen, sounding like a wycliffe or a luther, insisted that his signature was in his heart…

as soon as i took in the effect of paulsen’s speech, i felt certain that something would prevent the phase 2 document from passing…i think TW also sensed the conviction in paulsen’s words because he initiated a pause in the proceedings, and asked members to stand and exercise a little…he then asked mark finley to pray…finley made the point that he couldn’t say to independent groups that they needed to comply with the GC’s definition of storehouse if there isn’t an understanding that the organizational structure of the church, as expressed through a GC vote, must be respected…but this important consideration couldn’t overcome the effect of paulsen’s words…while there were a few speakers who tried to insist that voting for the document was important for church unity, the momentum of concern for passing something that hadn’t had time to be studied, that was possibly unconstitutional in some respects, and that required members to sign a pledge of loyalty to the church was too much…the secret ballot vote to refer the phase 2 document back to the unity committee passed decisively, and quietly, as it needed to…

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Elmer,
What we are seeing is a GC President acknowledging in public what we already knew: That he couldn’t care less about what the “body says.” What the 'body" is saying is clear, but he, Ted Wilson, is fighting the body fiercely trying to impose his own ideas instead of the body’s decisions. The man does not want to listen to the Church’s voice. He just said, “The body has spoken, BUT…” Is this what legit GC Presidents are supposed to do???

First was the defeat in SA, when Ted had the bright idea of trying to expand the authority on ordination from the Unions to the Divisions, thus trying to grab the power that belongs to the Unions alone. Did he listen to the “body?” No, absolutely not.

And now this fiasco, in which he tried again some of his maneuvers but was defeated by the body. Is he listening to the body? Of course NOT again!

Isn’t it time for such a bad leader to step out? Geeeeshhh, He is fighting against “the body” that he says to believe represents God’s will. But he is fighting against it! What kind of dissonance is this, spiritual dissonance? It appears obvious that the time came for this guy to pack up and go home!!!

Isn’t it 184/114 a massive defeat, enough for anyone to understand the will of the “body?”…

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Some observations:

  1. The accusation that Ted Wilson is a Stalin or a pope has been thoroughly debunked. It seems he abides by the Working Policy.

  2. The accusation that those who reject the Working Policy are rebels against lawful authority is true. They rejoice that the Working Policy prevents Ted Wilson from doing what he might want to do on his own, yet they themselves reject the Working Policy.

  3. What’s next? Obviously, rejection of the Working Policy means nothing. What other NAD unions will now ordain women against the Working Policy? What union will be the first to ordain a practicing homosexual? What union will be the first to withhold tithe?

  4. The rejection by unions of GC Working Policy opens the door to rejection of unions by conferences, and conferences by churches, and churches by individuals. The grasping for power by rebels has destroyed the power so coveted by rebels.

  5. In the future, please spare me the self-laudatory talk of rebels who see themselves as no different than the classic reformers. These rebels are not Martin Luther. Satan was a rebel. The Confederate States of America were rebels.

  6. I look forward to a more democratic SDA church in the future when membership determines representation at the Annual Council. Zimbabwe alone has nearly the membership of the NAD, yet the NAD gets more representation.

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I watched most of the proceedings and couldn’t help wonder at the vitriol of those ranting against the Lord’s anointed who graciously accepted the mistakes in the document he had proposed, the vote of the council, and allowed for another year of review. Num. 12:3 says, “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.” Is it not written so?

Besides that, on this business of WO, how it is that some SDA angrily demand that women be allowed to take up the mantle of priestess in the House of God (contrary to the commandment of God in the Old Covenant), but zealously guard “the edges of the Sabbath”, casting aspersions on all but themselves because those others would not keep the seventh day holy like them (according to the commandment of God in the Old Covenant)? Are they not an Old Covenant denomination? Do they not contradict themselves?

Tell me, on this business of having women rule in Kingdom of God, does it not seem strange that some SDA demand it without an iota of scriptural proof from the Old Testament for their lame arguments (except to cry aloud the feminist mantra), yet they refuse to touch the carcass of the pig lest they become defiled, an animal deemed to be unclean by the word of God in the Old Testament? Are they not hypocrites? Do they not appear foolish?

Behold, SDA exalt to heaven the earthly sanctuary of the ancient Hebrews and tearfully imagine the innocent lamb being brought to the alter for their many sins. Indeed their whole reason for being is found there, like an immovable rock, like the massive foundations of the highest tower. And in the sanctuary they admire so much, no woman was allowed to minister! How is it then that some SDA cast that culture (of the ancient Hebrews they admire so much) to the ground, trample it, wipe their mouth, and say, “These are modern times. Give us a woman to rule over us like the companies around our congregations lest we die”?

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See? This is what I mean. The pro-WO camp has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to offer but surmises and insinuations and the tired non-biblical mantra of the feminists. Their bag of tricks is empty; yet they bravely carry on their shows, speaking loudly and angrily wherever they go, to compensate.

Nowhere, neither in the Old nor the New Covenant, is there any Priestess or woman Apostle.

Secondly, consider this for governance: “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:28-29)

And, even more pertinent, this: “Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves – and by extension, you and your data – against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS.” (Spectrum Conversation)

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I watched the entire afternoon session yesterday. These are some of my observations:

  1. Given that the document is so flawed that half of GCDO members minus one oppose it, Ted Wilson should have never brought it to the GC Executive Committee. And Wilson’s casting of yes votes by proxy for GCDO members undermines confidence that GCDO endorsement, limited as it is, of the document is valid and legitimate.
  2. Wilson’s decision to spring the document upon Committee members and deny them an opportunity to review it beforehand can fairly be characterized as deceitful, and I think his deceitfulness backfired.
  3. I commend Clinton Wahlen for supporting an amendment, which was voted, to the document that ensures freedom of speech for Committee members who wish to criticize Committee actions. That this vote to amend the document on this important issue had to be taken was a signal to Committee members that the document as a whole is suspect and probably not very good.
  4. I commend Todd McFarland, GC counsel, for opining (and you have to read between the lines of his hemming and hawing) that the document is unconstitutional.
  5. Mark Finley needs to be to tutored about what the God-given and inalienable right of freedom of conscience actually means.
  6. I found opponents of women’s ordination to be tired and beset with misgivings. I think there is a growing awareness that opposition to women’s ordination is inextricably linked to anti-Trinitarianism, and this growing awareness is giving opponents of women’s ordination second thoughts.
  7. In a nutshell, this is what Ted Wilson tried to do. He cannot infringe upon the rights of Committee members without a two-thirds majority vote, as per the constitution. He camouflaged within a 14-page document the granting of a power to do so by a simple majority vote. Delegates through the power of the Holy Spirit gradually discerned what he was up to. Wilson does not have a two-thirds majority to punish proponents of women’s ordination but he may have a simple majority. After yesterday, he may no longer have a simple majority. I don’t know. The 184-114 vote to refer (which in essence is a vote to reject) is a stunning rebuke. Or it may merely indicate that third world delegates who voted yes really did not understand what was happening. Again, I don’t know.
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Withdrawn. It appeared as a response to the wrong author.

It was not a vote to reject. You mistake the forbearance of God for weakness. Judgment will come when the cup of iniquity is full. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Jim,
ONE FAILED SHOE BOMBER, AND MILLIONS immediately HAVE TO REMOVE THEIR SHOES AT EVERY AIRPORT, but after multiple mass shootings, most recently, LAS VEGAS, — NO ACTION,

This shows the POWER OF THE PURSE —in this case the monetary clout of the National Rifle Association who bribe members of both parties to veto any responsible action on gun control.

Similarly, Adventist Church members who favor women’s ordination, can exercise enormous financial clout, by merely refraining from marking church donation envelopes “tithe “.

Our largest and most affluent Conference, the Southeasten California Conference need take no official action in exerting monetary influence, —
merely allow their members the liberty of designating donations appropriately.

Meanwhile the inaction and silence of the NORTH PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE is positively deafening!

I have a home in downtown Portland Oregon and tend to be a conservative Republican, but am overwhelmed by the hugely liberal progressive numbers of Democratic voters,who yes, are also egalitarian and non misogynistic.

KATE BROWN, Oregon governor, Washington US Senator PATTY MURRAY, and the irrepressible SARAH PALIN of Alaska are female power players indicating that the population of the Pacific Northwest finds female authority figures non threatening.

So why are Adventist members in the NPUC not demanding the honoring of their women pastors by informing their elected church officials that ORDAINED women pastors are non threatening to them also?

High time for the NPUC and other Union Conferences in NAD to emulate the SPLENDID examples of those Union Conferences who already honor their women!

If ALL entities in NAD would act honorably, the outcome a year from now, would be a foregone conclusion— the evisceration of TW’s aggrandized authority.

High time for individual Adventists to deprive TW of unbridled power by depriving the GC of cash flows!

JOHN CARSON,
You state that the brethren of the NPUC were willing to make the WO issue subservient to the unity issue.

My response : A union / unity of depraved discriminators and miserable misogynists manifests a medieval mindset and is not “ a match made in heaven “. Lets us move beyond the age of Galileo where blind conformity /. unity to fraudulent concepts later made the church a laughing stock.

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sometimes I think when Jesus comes again, He’ll find all the committees still in session, wasting time, still arguing about WO, Unity and Reconciliation, not noticing that He’s come. And they’ll all look up and horrifyingly think to themselves, “what…was…I…DOING? We had the bread, and we’ve been arguing about who will serve it…”

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“My personal conviction needs to be subservient to what holds the body together.”

So said world church treasurer Juan Prestol-Puesán, who did, at least, express publicly his support for full gender equality in ministry. But what he and commenter Marcus Sheffield both miss is this:

So-called “lawful,” or institutional, authority is abusive when it confuses unity with sheer uniformity. Can anyone, based on the discussion as reported here, and on the document that was under discussion here, make a plausible case that Martin Luther would have survived under such an understanding of unity and compliance as the one put forward by GC leaders?

The current leadership is anti-Protestant, or at best lukewarm and ill-informed concerning what it means to be Protestant. Our problem, which yesterday’s vote may help, thankfully, to defuse, is drift toward a papal conception of church governance. (I said “drift,” not that we are now already fully papal.)

If someone disagrees, intellectual integrity requires a convincing historical argument, not just an animal cry. I suspect no one will attempt such an argument.

Chuck

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I watched the entire proceedings from the comfort of my home in Tranquillo Terrace on the Park. [A salubrious address in the hinterland of the Gold Coast, Australia’s premiere tourist playground]. They began at 3.30am and finished mid morning, Australian Eastern Time.

Praise God! The Spirit of God was unleashed on that meeting of the afternoon/ evening of October 10, 2017. Many Paul’s stood to withstand the Peter’s to their face, just as the Apostle Paul did with his colleague the Apostle Peter as recorded in Galatians. Anciently, Peter had neglected to follow gospel principles! This week Adventists were in danger of falling for an equally sub-optimal principle that would not have represented the liberating gospel of Christ.

Who were these Paul’s who so effectively spoke truth to power and helped unleash the power of the Spirit on the minds and hearts of the delegates! Space prevents me from mentioning them all. I will mention those who made the most salient points against the motion to incorporate the document as the Policy Enforcement Policy.

  1. Christine Burt from the TED - She said the document had come too soon, and too little time to consider was on offer, especially when there were any number of ways to invite input from Committee members.
  2. Lowell Cooper agreed. He highlighted the facts that the document didn’t recognize that committee members often are accountable to their constituency, it didn’t deal with the actions of such contituencies, it emphasized policy compliance not policy development, and it stifles dissent.
  3. Randy Roberts gave details of the passage of the document through GCDO as he understood those details and closely challenged the Chairman as to the legitamacy of that process, given that the document had passed Committee scrutiny by the barest of margins, if at all.
  4. Thomas Muller, Danish Union President, TED highlighted the fact that the GC had begun following the policy voted last year but had not completed that process of mutual discussion with Unions requesting it. Thus it was premature to move to Phase II of this unity and reconciliation process.
  5. Werner Dullinger from the Inter-European Division was the first person in the debate to express concern about the provision for signing a document confirming their personal policy compliance.
  6. Norbert Zens, also from the Inter-European Division was the first person to suggest that the document seeks to have people violate their conscience. It goes too far.
  7. Dean Coridan, NAD was the first to indicate that the document moved us away from the great principles of Protestanism and from a representative form of government.
  8. Robert Sjolander, Swedish Union President was one of the first to reinforce the idea that there ought to be more work done on the document before the Executive Committee should vote on it.
  9. Larry Moore, NAD was one of the first to reinforce the idea that if one votes “NO” to the document one may still be within policy. He was also the first to suggest that the document was way too long.
  10. G Thomas Evans, NAD made several succinct points. The document needs to be reworked minus the provision mandating that Committee Members would need to sign a policy loyalty oath. He also asserted that McCarthyism may have arrived in the church.
  11. Next a committee member whose name I didn’t catch, repeated the thought that voting no didn’t mean he didn’t support policy. Such action can’t be rebellion. The real question before the committee was one of how they should use church authority. He asked where such authority stops. He requested for the document to be tabled.
  12. Jan Paulsen presented a bold and Spirit-indicted challenge to all delegates. He said that it was the Spirit’s task to create unity and that he had prayed daily since San Antonio that the Spitit would help us. “We are making the Spirit’s task [of bringing unity] more difficult… I do not see the hand of God in the document and it should not be voted.”
  13. Gary Thurber, NAD said that he had already been contacted that afternoon by seven of his Union committee members who had encouraged him not to sign any such document, though his Union was fully compliant with GC Policy.
  14. Suranjeen Pallipamula, a lay committee member from the Northern Indian Union, Southern Asia Division was the first to suggest that the document really indicates that we don’t trust each other. He moved an amendment that uprooted the prohibition against advocacy of policy change from the document, replacing it with wording prohibiting a working against policy. This amendment passed successfully pushed by a small handful of committee members who disliked the banning of advocacy.
  15. Daniel Jackson, NAD highlighted five warning signals concerning the document. Each of them were weighty in their import. He was the first to suggest that he had a little problem being called “Joseph Conradi” if he disagreed with the document.
  16. Rafat Kamal, TED pled for understanding and help for Europe. He asserted that the dialogue with the ‘Unity in Mission Oversight Committee’ was incomplete. He said that young people were negatively affected by this discussion. They do not understand the issues of concern to the church.
  17. Maveni Kaufononga, PNG Union President, SPD gave a very gentle and quite subtle sppech. He asked the question as to whether this document would produce unity . His answer was ‘No.’
  18. Jiri Moskala reinorced the idea that if we can’t trust our leaders and their word, there is a big problem. Trust problems can’t be fixed by signatures. He questions as to whether we were going against Sola Scriptura. He highlighted the fact that there appeared to be no appeals process.
  19. David Weigley asserted that the document violated the GC constitution and the bylaws. He made the motion to refer the document to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. A whole bevy of committee members supported this motion.
    a. Brad Kemp, New Zealand Pacific Union President, SPD reinforced questions as to the lack of constitutionality of some provisions of the document.
    b. David Trim said it was the Adventist way to use committees to refine documents, and referring it to the Constitution Committee.
  20. Dan Houghton, GC recommended it be referred back to the orginal ‘Unity in Mission Oversight Committee’ that ultimately had guided its formation.
    a. David Trim then supported this revised motion.
  21. Bob Folkenberg, China Union, NSD although recognizing the need for compliance asserted that our system is based on trust and the document doesn’t foster that trust.

After much procedural confusion a secret ballot was taken that resulted in 184 in favour of referring it back to the committee stage, 114 against.

Ted Wilson, the Chairperson accepted the result graciously.

What Led to the Defeat of this Proposed Policy Document

  1. It may safely be asserted that the development of this document was done in a very short time frame.
  2. Randy Roberts highlighted the fact that near to 50% of the GCDO disapproved of the proposed document. This red flag was ignored.
  3. Tom Lemon, GC VP and Chair of the ‘Unity in Mission Oversight Committee’ charged with conducting dialogue and other pastoral measures with out of compliance unions asserted at the start of the session that Unions not complying with policy were not in rebellion.
  4. Juan Prestol-Puesan, GC Treasurer was the first to assert that personal convictions about the ordination of women, could co-exist with Unity of the whole. While he also accepted that such convictions will be superceded by requirements for policy compliance, his initial assertion was still sigificant.
  5. The half-hearted endorsement of the GC Office of General Counsel concerning the policy document and also the half-hearted statement of committee members to be in compliance.
  6. The following deficiencies in the document were highlighted
    a. Lack of opportunity for Committee members to have input into the formation of the policy document.
    b. Too little time to consider the document before voting it.
    c. Committee members are accountabe to their constituencies, and none of the policy provisions deal with these constituencies and their actions.
    d, There is no provision for policy development in the policy. It is all about policy compliance.
    e. The document (as it read before amendment by the committee) banned policy advocacy - a right accorded within freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. It sought to stifle dissent. It would change the nature of the church.
    f. Phase I of the mandated Unity and Reconciliation Process contained in the document voted last year had not been completed. Phase II of this process (Policy Enforcement) was to be brought into play at this ill-timed juncture.
    g. The document is antithetical to a spirit of unity.
    i. The document runs counter to the Spirit of the Protestant Reformation.
    j. The document is antithetical to the development and maintenance of trust within the fellowship of Adventist leaders.
    k. One can vote ‘NO’ to this policy measure without being in rebellion against the Lord and against his people.

For all these reasons the proposed policy document failed to carry. The proposal was rightly defeated. It would have been unsafe to do otherwise.

11 Likes

Compliance of policy shouldn’t be just for Women’s Ordination, should it?

When the Ratsara incident in South Africa occurred Ted Wilson bent policy to protect one of his own. Even so far as to give him a pastorate (we promote cheats and liars per policy?)
When the Indian pastor in South Africa was forged his qualifications, Ted Wilson hedged and hawed. Policy was nowhere to be found.

When Duane MCKey created an account for TMI that raised over $70 thousand US dollars (to which Wilson and his wife donated) and was outside of Treasury and the public accountants red flagged that. Ted Wilson forgave that indiscretion. When MCKey’s travel budget was overspent, Ted Wilson not only forgave that but promoted him to AWR. Where his travel budget includes massages at hotels (against policy). But more importantly when donor monies given specifically for AWR are used for TMI (against policy? I don’t know, but definitely against the law of some lands depending on the donor), Ted Wilson has chosen to forgive that, too.

Is compliance only on gender issues? Because there are several financial issues as noted above that are almost criminal yet Wilson has discouraged (quite vocally) any action against MCKey. Even to a point of appointing MCKey’s wife as social media manager for the president with full travel budget to accompany her husband. A Pence among us? I don’t know.

TMI for the longest time had a database that was operated by an outside source with no protection for user information; user information was probably used/sold to other independant ministries or ministries connected to MCKey. Add to that Justin Kim travels on the GC budget promoting GYC and has solely used GYC members for GC writing and video projects.

This document had nothing to do with compliance. It was a power grab technique to bring to heel anyone, or institution, that did not agree with the big brother of the church.

Just an added note. Whenever a senior statesmen such as Elder Paulsen makes a sensible speech, be ready to hear Wilson call out Mark Finely to say something or pray. Dog whistle to the base or those from countries that support Wilson without thinking things through.

Welcome to the end times. We have our little horn that speaks big things. We are what we prophetically have spoken about.

12 Likes

Everyone says unity
Unity in what ?
Some people on these forums are naming people
Can we all ?
These comments should be taken down