Change Will Come: An Interview with Gary Patterson about the Once and Future Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Upcoming General Conference Session

During his 60-year career with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Gary Patterson has pastored small and large churches, served in a variety of administrative positions including as the administrative assistant to the North American Division President, and as a General Field Secretary at the General Conference where he was known for his detailed knowledge of Working Policy.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Gary’s advice is well worth heeding! As one of his congregates he was always thoughtful and creative. He and his thoughts are of good value!

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There may be no provision for cases lik the Coronavirus’ impact of GC sessions. What will happen if the session in June is cancelled/postponed?

I hope it won’t imply that Tedd Wilson will just continue as president. In my opinion, there must bean interim president until it is all resolved properly.


i don’t see how GC2020 can go forward, given developments all over the world, like austin’s cancellation of SXSW, ireland’s cancellation of all st. patrick’s parades, and italy’s now complete travel ban for all of its citizens…and if trump comes down with coronavirus as a result of shaking CPAC’s matt schlapp’s hand, the situation will move into an even higher gear of shattered nerves from where it is now, at least from our perspective…

i think the only thing that can keep GC2020 viable now is a vaccine or cure by june, both of which seem unlikely…


It seems to me that rather than encouraging unity the last 30 years, the recent administration has increased widespread disunity. If those who embrace ordaining women had been as aggressive as the anti-WO administrators, disunity would be much worse.

Compliance committees, warnings, and disciplinary measures are out of place for an organization promoting unity and peace.

By their fruits…


In the Adventist church, whoever holds the most conservative, regressive idea expects they are the most pious and they expect to get their way. And they usually do.

On the other hand, any progressive ideas that might help keep the church viable in the eyes of the young is suspect and by default rejected in order to accommodate regressive ideas.

This happens in our schools all the time:

At our local SDA grade-school, after many years of collecting books on a favorite topic for first graders - dinosaurs - the first grade teacher was forced to put them all away because some ultra-conservative idiot parent complained loudly that dinosaurs never really existed, a fact she naturally found in her bible. All the parents for a decade had no issue. We thought is was cute how much they liked the books. Most of us probably had such books at home. And then all it took was one conservative objection and it was all over.

I was taught “science” at PUC that was at best watered down. At worst it was out of date nonsense. The excuse? Parents might object if real science was taught and withdraw their students.

The reality is that today parents are not considering our schools for the very opposite reason: They don’t teach subjects like science properly - they don’t because science fact disagrees with church fiction.


Pastor Patterson,

Your statements about the 2015 GC vote on WO are cogent, clear and compelling.

IMHO the heinous, heretical, headship dogma is so entrenched in our church hierarchy, I see no movement on this issue.

TW has courted powerful third world constituencies which has pre baked his re- election. We are mired in another five years of miserable medieval misogyny.


A compelling example. Sadly. Being in unity seems to be cherished above and beyond the Holy Spirit. Worshipping unity overshadows truth and facts for many of the Brethren.


Yes, except such actions don’t create unity. They create unrest and worse. Poor leadership such as in my examples make thinking people reconsider their church support and even membership. And they leave. And I support that.

In my extended family, for example - a family who were Adventists since the early 1900’s - hardly any attend church anymore. Many are church employees. They still don’t go.

Of my parents generation only one or two attend church anymore. All of my siblings and cousins but one have left for other churches. Or no church. My wife’s siblings are all out. Neither of my daughters and none of their cousins attend church. They’re probably of the last generation to even be baptized into the church, and they have already left.

Except for two of my cousins - one now a (female) priest in the Anglican church and one who joined the Eastern Orthodox church - they’re all still on the SDA books. Most, like me, believe very little of what the church teaches (it’s not believable), but haven’t bothered to actually remove their names from the church roles.


Though it would be splendid if we could get beyond the current impasse amicably, it may be that unions will need to simply tell the GC Executive Committee that they are operating within policy, that the charges of non-compliance have no standing, given that the 2015 GC Session vote addressed divisions, not unions, and that they will continue the practice of gender inclusive ordination as voted by their constituencies.

If there is not a change in leadership this summer, this seems more likely among Unions across the North American Division. The threatened loss of GC Executive Committee voice and/or vote simply will not hold union constituencies back from doing what they feel is right and just.


Well, Trump said that a miracle will happen and in one day the virus is going to disappear. Let’s give him a chance… :roll_eyes:


Proof they exist is in Silver Spring.


trump has already had too many chances…it’s time for him to go…i thought he looked terrible yesterday at the coronavirus news conference…i hope he really is well, and that we aren’t being given yet another line…

True, he looked really bad, and left unusually fast. Something was wrong
Maybe the Russians told him that they could find nothing on Biden, therefore, he is done… :woozy_face::woozy_face::woozy_face:

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he looked better today, so whatever it was yesterday, it probably wasn’t coronavirus…

The CV will most probably not infect a bug… :smile::smile:


If 1888 is considered, the majority at GC is not always correct.

The GC is however in compliance with the teachings of the RCC regarding the male priesthood. It is as though Satan is at work bringing the SDA Church into Rome’s fold through majority rule with the approval of preachers and leaders like Finley, Bachelor, Bohr, Wilson, Boonstra, and Bradshaw singing its tune.

Will COVID-19 be the blessing that brings the change in the SDA Church’s race to flee from sound Bible doctrine?


it may not be a case of bringing our church into rome’s fold so much as hindering our departure from it…strictly speaking, rome’s grip on the world has been so complete, every true advance in spirituality represents incremental liberation from it on some level…i think it’s analogous to egypt’s grip on israel: after the exodus, was israel really free from egypt in their minds…

personally, i’m not so sure that traditional headship, which is what people like batchelor and bohr are championing, disqualifies from remnant church status if we consider that patriarchy, which is headship on steroids, was a part of the true church’s thinking at one time…it is notable that while god reproved david for murder, he didn’t reprove him for adultery, even though both are equal infractions of his law…and it is a fact that WO advocates don’t necessarily represent recognizable bible-egw truth on other fronts, which is in part why the headship contingent in our church is resisting WO…

as I see it, all segments of our church have ample need for repentance…all of us are depicted equally by laodicean church symbology, but none of us have really felt this - we are all stumbling about in a fog of withered sensibility - which is why we haven’t seen the kind of repentance in our church that we know is prerequisite to the latter rain and the closing up of christ’s ministry in the MHP…

but it may be that coronavirus is the beginning of what can eventually change all of this…coronavirus is a unique, worldwide phenomenon…it seems to mean something…

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Personality traits heavily influenced how issues are addressed and some point in time our GC leaders will have to be confronted with their pathological personality traits that unbeknownst them are hindering resolutions of church policies. For instance with TW, the president of the GC, I would… Nah, forged about it.


Finish your thought Elmer. I have no doubt that it is worth reading what you might add.

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