Berlin-Central German Conference Issues Statement to General Conference

Editor’s Note: Following the joint statement from the North and South German Unions, the Berlin-Central German Conference issued its own statement on September 14, 2018, regarding the General Conference Unity Oversight Committee, compliance committee creation, and latest documents. The conference’s statement originally appeared on its website. An official English translation has been provided to Spectrum and follows in full:

Written statement of the Berlin-Central German Conference addressing the documents of the Unity Oversight Committee of/by the General Conference

Preamble

We are distressed about the content and mentality as represented in the documents “Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions” and “Terms of Reference for Compliance Committees.” They stand in opposition to our fundamental beliefs of cohabitance and to our understanding of the community of Jesus Christ. We position ourselves as follows:

I. Unity and Plurality

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:2-6)

In the faith in Jesus Christ we are convinced:

Unity in the New Testament means unity in the spirit of Jesus Christ, in love and willingness to serve all human beings. Unity in the church manifests itself in the joint testimony for Jesus Christ. He gives unity in peaceful plurality.

We are opposed to attempts of creating unity through uniformity. The founders of our Church refused to formulate a creed which would become an obligatory standard for all.1

II. Trust and the principle of voluntary nature

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)

In faith in Jesus Christ we are convinced:

Trust and a principle of voluntary nature are fundamental values of the Christian Church. In faithfulness and solidarity members support their local church, return their tithes and sustain the Church through their gifts and talents.

We object to demanding obedience through restriction and pressure. This violates the freedom of opinion and conscience. It promotes a climate of fear and destroys a Church founded on trust and voluntariness.

III. Authority and Service

Jesus called them together and said: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:25-28)

In the faith in Jesus Christ we are convinced:

Our Church is founded on the authority of the local churches. The task of the Church leadership consists in serving the Church by honoring and supporting the plurality of the different forms therein. Church leadership is accountable to the local churches.

We oppose ourselves to any intent of controlling or unifying the faith or conscience of church members. There is no legitimization of such an understanding of authority — whether it be through divine power or commissioning.

As a consequence, we call the members of the General Conference Executive Committee,

1. to reject the documents of the Unity Oversight Committee at the Annual Council in October,

2. to dissolve the Unity Oversight Committees which have been established without involving the Executive Committee and which, consequently, are unlawful,

3. to ensure that the Church leadership preserves the above stated values of the Church. Furthermore it has to be clarified whether the current Church leadership continues to have a vote of confidence.

Notes & References:

1. “To formulate a creed which binds us once and for all is the first step towards apostasy. The second step consists in making the acceptance of this creed a precondition for entering the church. Subsequent steps involve calling members to account based on the creeds, stigmatizing them as apostates and, finally, persecuting them” (John Loughborough, Review and Herald, 8. October 1861, 148, quoted from George Knight, A Search for Identity: The Development of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs, Review and Herald Publishing 2000).

###

The original statement in German is included below:

Further Reading:

German Unions Respond to the GC’s Latest Documents and Committee Creation, Sept. 7, 2018

Adventist Church in Göttingen Calls on German Congregations to Support their Unions, Sept. 10, 2018

Pacific Union Conference Votes Opposition to GC’s Compliance Committee System, Sept. 13, 2018

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9033
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If my memory of academy German holds, I’d say: “Ausgezeichnet,” excellent.

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In more colloquial English…“Right on!”

Thanks…

Frank

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The German Adventists recognize GESTAPO and STASI-like attempts
at church governance when they see it. Their national, political and
historical experience tells them, “No thank you, we expect better than that
from our brethren at Silver Springs!”

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Der Fisch stinkt vom Kopf her = A fish stinks from the head.

– A corrupting influence often spreads from a leader to the rest of the organization group.

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Liebe Geschwister, ich bin sehr froh und zugleich dankbar, dass ihr solch einen Mut gezeigt habt. Ihr seid nur eine Vereinigung, aber euer Mut überschreitet einen der Division. Man sieht es euch, dass ihr die Erben vom Luther seid. Aber warum sind die Anderen in Europa noch still?

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I can only add, AMEN.

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This is one of the best biblical responses I have seen to this whole issue. Yes, excellent!

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this is an important call that appears to be a first…it will be worth watching to see if it gains traction…

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The concept of leadership shouldn’t exist in the SDA church, rather we are the equality of brother-and sister- hood. This concept of equality in God seems to be forgotten, and people have come to believe that they have a calling which exceeds that of the membership. A title I only there to say what one does, it does not define what one is. Maybe it is up to each conference via their constitutency to formulate a constitution which protects everyone from abuse and discrimination, were equality in Jesus Christ our God is separates us from otjer organisations. Were the post of “president” is not defined by ordination, but by the call of the HOLY SPIRIT.

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Und warum so viel Ruhe von den meisten Gewerkschaften und Konferenzen in der NAD?

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Now where can we find a door to nail it on. I suggest the Pioneer Church at Andrews or the Loma Linda Canpus Church.

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I hate to know that there are men who love the idea of leadership and its accompanying notion of power over others.

I hate to admit that there are women who want women’s ordination solely for that power over others.

I don’t believe all feel that way, but I do know a few do. Unfortunately. Question the notion of leadership and they freak out! Big time!

And please don’t give me that mumbo jumbo about “servant-leader”. I live in the real world where people know the dictionary meaning and sense of the word “leader”.

Just ask this 28 year old young man who puts on his resume that he wishes “to further his leadership skills”. What he means is, he wishes to sit around at job sites dictating to others to do all the work while he’s off in a corner smoking dope, drinking, and face glued to some screen.

Ask anyone not associated with the “servant-leader” group. Please.

You have a good point, the reason why people what to be leaders are not honourable. That is why the church has to remove the notion of leadership as being in a position of power, with a caretaker function mentality.

Oooops,

George @GeorgeTichy and Kim @cincerity glad to know we are not the only ones who could see through the thin veneer of our GC officers. PTL!

Where are our beloved North American officers? Their silence is deafening! Is anyone home? October is coming!

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I’ve often wondered what a less codependent christianity looked like.
Of course, codependency always dances with the addict-
but religious addiction is antithetical to spirituality.
The sad reality is that the codependent christian is really addicted to the concept of moral superiority. Same synapses, fired off by the same neurotransmitters.

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I wonder if we will be able to see the response of the GC to this appeal? Was this appeal written after failed high level discussions from GC delegates? Was this appeal widely known among the German membership as a Open Letter?

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Recall, those that accepted Wm Millers hypothesis were disfellowshipped from their home church.The backlash has been a long time coming. None of the principals of 1844 were competent in Hebrew or Greek. Nor is the current President of the General Conference. His take on position is that of his father. Take no prisoners. So he appeals to the fearful, the unlearned, and the egotistical—That is those who know they alone have the Truth. The White robe of today are manuscripts from a questionable source. There can be only one of two outcomes— can the guy or congregationalism.

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Ellen and her family were kicked out of the Methodist church for their fanatical beliefs regarding the date setting of the Millerites. Not because of a belief in the second coming. This document can be found on line. The SDA church has taught that it was because of believing in Jesus coming again, but it was not. It was unbiblical date-setting. Reading Ellen’s side of the story borders on the “not the whole story” (and a lot of victimhood) being told. It looks to be a very biased and childish view of the situation.

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Yes I agree, It was the date setting.

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