Compliance Committees Out and Other Reversals as Annual Council Agenda Takes Shape

The non-functioning Compliance Committees created prior to the 2018 Annual Council meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee may never see the light of day. Last week, the General Conference Committee known as ADCOM voted their demise. ADCOM is the in-house administrative committee that prepares the agenda and documents for the General Conference Executive Committee’s Annual Council meeting. The ADCOM action to end the Compliance Committees that were created a year ago but have never functioned will now be forwarded to Annual Council.

There was news last week, also, that work is underway to clarify the church’s stance on abortion. Twenty-seven years ago, the General Conference Executive Committee adopted Guidelines on Abortion to help the many people involved in abortion decisions: individuals and their families, doctors, hospital representatives, and pastors. Although many church members are unaware of the Guidelines, hospital representatives say they have served the Adventist health care system well, because while they disparage abortion in general, they do allow for discretion to be exercised in extreme situations.

In the current US political climate where abortion is again a major topic of discussion, and the General Conference has received many requests for the church to stop Adventist hospitals from “slaughtering babies,” General Conference President Ted Wilson asked the Biblical Research Institute to prepare a new statement on the sanctity of life and abortion.

With a new theological statement drafted, a small group of health care representatives were invited to the General Conference earlier this year to review the work of the BRI theologians. They were presented with a paper that adopted a much more restrictive position than the Church’s current Guidelines, and were told this was the eighth draft of the document. Given that it presented only a theological argument with proof texts, the health care representatives suggested that if the statement was meant to be used within the Adventist hospitals, it also needed to include recognition of family dynamics, clinical judgment, and ethical principles for decision making.

On August 9, a new version was sent out, and on August 12, a Zoom call was held with representatives from the General Conference and the health care systems. By then, it was the 15th draft of the statement, but health care representatives said they saw little that was new and nothing that addressed the shortcomings that had been called to the attention of the BRI earlier in the year.

There were suggestions from the health care side that more work was needed, that the Bioethics Committee should spend time together working on the document. The General Conference representatives suggested that perhaps the current Guidelines could be retained and the BRI’s document could stand separately.

That scenario was dropped and last week there was an announcement of an action by ADCOM establishing a new Working Group on Abortion with 26 members from 13 General Conference Departments. General Conference Vice President Artur Stele is chairing the committee whose task is to study both the current Guidelines and the BRI document, seek feedback from various elements of the church, and “prepare a draft of one unified statement that will clearly be based on biblical principles that underline the sanctity of life and recognize the exceptionally difficult cases/anomalies women can face,” according to the news story released by the Adventist News Network and the Adventist Review.

Stele was also quoted as saying, “The process of drafting any church statement should include representation from all segments of the church. This important statement involves the participation of theologians, medical practitioners and clinicians, healthcare administrators, Church administrators, and both men and women.”

The process going forward, according to the news release is for a working draft from the 26-member committee to be reviewed September 4, and then a larger group of more than 30 representatives from the Church’s five healthcare systems in North America, members of the GC Bioethics Committee, and specialists from the denomination’s teaching hospitals to hold a major discussion in mid-September.

That will trigger more work by the Writing Committee so that an action will be ready to go to the Executive Committee in October.

The worldwide nature of the committee was emphasized in the news release that said the committee includes 23 members from countries other than the United States. Six members of the Working Group are female, and three of those are on the statement Writing Committee.

There was no indication of the ages of the Working Group. This issue is a young person’s issue, so whether or not there are any people under the age of 30 on the committee would be interesting to know.

Tithe parity is the third topic of particular interest going into this year’s Annual Council Meeting, given the vote by the North American Division Executive Committee to seek parity in the amount of tithe each Division sends to the General Conference. Meetings between the NAD and the GC have taken place recently with no conclusive proposal ready to present to the GC Executive Committee which is where decisions on tithe percentages are finalized.

Further Reading:

Massive Oversight Committee System Set Up at the General Conference, August 23, 2018

General Conference Issues Statement on Compliance Committees, September 11, 2018

Annual Council 2018 Vote on Compliance Document, October 17, 2018

North American Division Votes Request for Tithe Parity, November 6, 2018

Adventist Church Works to Clarify Its Stance on Abortion, August 30, 2019

Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.

Photo courtesy of the Adventist News Network / Flickr.com

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9850

:+1:
Much trouble for nothing. All the talks, all the (literal) weeping person I consoled, all the anger, all the suspicion in advance. This tells me something, I will never take weird stuff coming from my church that serious again. I will advise persons around me the same. It’s an organization based on voluntary membership and shouldn’t cause cardiac arrest.

Father, forgive them (and us) for they (and we) do not know what they (and we) are doing.

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Disparage, That is an interesting choice of words. I guess it would be true if one was of the mindset that they should shout their abortion!

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Thank-you, Bonnie; this is very much a young women’s issue and young women should be represented on the committee. I also think there should be many more women on the committee and fewer men. Fathers are not always represented in the decision-making process, for many valid reasons. But women and their health care team need to make as informed a decision as possible.

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Disparage –
belittle, trivialize, minimize, undervalue, under rate, ridicule,
mock, scorn, condemn, discredit, etc.

Sounds like More Guilt coming!
Will Abortion end up an Unpardonable Sin?
REQUIRE going to another Christian Community to obtain
absolution? and Freedom in Christ?

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So…, the castle collapsed? WOW! That is good news.

Now, whoever is responsible for the amount of money wasted with the creation of that fake committee should reimburse the church’s coffers in full. And whoever came up with that idea, and those who pushed for it, should all be VOTED OUT! For incompetence and for misleading the Adventists people.

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That’s what happens when there are Unlimited Monies for eating out
3 meals a day, Hotel [not motel] rooms, opportunity for sightseeing and
shopping in the U.S.
AND the opportunity to create FEAR in Pastors, Educators, and others
for months on end.

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And now, Steve, more of the same to reverse it? Tell about great amenities… LOL
I wonder if TW will apologize for pushing that absurd idea through so vehemently. Now it’s all nothing but an embarrassing fiasco and an obvious debacle. And no dictator powers. Great!

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Executive Privilege, Steve? :smiley:

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@GeorgeTichy it is good the committees are gone but what is being done behind the scenes to replace them. TW invested so much political and personal capital into the establishment of the committees he is not going to just let the idea or purpose go way. There is definitely a purpose for seeming to back down. It may well be an attempt to improve his chances of being re-elected. It may be that he has sold the story that the task of the committees is better done by a smaller group closer (more loyal) to GC President’s Office. I fear the magician’s trick - wave the right hand while the left picks your pocket “hey look over here, nothing to see over there”.

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Robert, you are a long term SDA, aren’t you? You know how the system works, and can pick it up when tricks are played on the crowds.
Yes, something is fishy in this story, and it may not be revealed only until the re-election of TW.
Let’s stay tuned!!! :wink:

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Wasn’t there a more than one person with the nickname “Slick”?

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LOL…
Exactly.
20 slick characters… :wink:

Much time and wasted effort could have been saved had they included bioethicists along with theologians from the beginning of the revision process. Applying Biblical principles to real-life complicated contexts requires multiple perspectives. Why can’t those who commission these revisions recognize and benefit from the wide range of expertise available?

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Barry –
THEY! would lose Too Much Power.
I figured you would know that by now! :smiling_imp:,:poop:
“Much time…wasted”. That would cut down on their “vacation” activities
during the deliberations.

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A fundamental premise in parenting is to never set limits which cannot implemented. It is the surest way to lose credibility. The principle applies to all organizations, including “the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon the earth.”

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What is tithe parity?

Just follow the link (seen as “the vote” in blue text) in your quote block from the body of the above article.:innocent:

These are grownups. One can always hope, right?

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If you are saying that they are 21 and older. Yes!
Remember when Jesus taught against Pride, Position, Power He was
talking to “grown ups”.
Grown ups in the Religious community.
The Chosen Church.

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