A General Conference employee named Sam Neves, associate director of the communication department, told Seventh-day Adventists who actively advocate for LGBTQ equality to leave the church. This was communicated using his personal Twitter account, which creates a confusing message because it also boasts an official Seventh-day Adventist logo badge and the words “this account is affiliated with Adventist Church.” Whatever one thinks about his “love it or leave it” argument, this blurring of the personal and the corporate stands outside best professional communication practices.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2023/does-general-conference-want-you-leave
This feels like the GCs Unity vs Uniformity debate and we haven’t moved very far from that. Does God want a group of robots who don’t think for themselves and have no personal opinions? Or are we to be students of the Word and to dig deep and study, discovering new “truths”.
Either the church is a community or it is a business. If it is a business, then we can move on and create a new company. But if it is a spiritual community, then we are obligated to stay and wrestle with the difficult questions, not looking for an easy way out. This is my church too. I grew up in the church and it is (was?) my spiritual home. If someone feels my comments are heretical and wants me to leave without ever having a conversation with me or hearing my story, then there is something rotten in the church body.
I don’t like the term activist, but if it means that I can save the life of one LGBTQIA+ person by speaking up, then I proudly take on that label and will continue to speak out until the GC agrees to sit down with me and with SDA Kinship to hear our stories.
Since the GC has never apologized for supporting Colin Cook and his monstrous and failed gay change ministry, it is the least they could do to honor the memory of those who didn’t survive that era.
Instead it presents a stale sermon and Q&A with many falsehoods, repeating the message that LGBTQ Adventists are not allowed to be LGBTQ, but gives no reproducible method of changing one’s orientation. Haven’t they learned that there isn’t one? So instead of preaching a sermon to appease fundamental members, sit down and talk with queer members of SDA Kinship. We have 44 years experience of cleaning up the church’s failures… starting with Neal Wison through today with Ted Wilson.
Unless… focusing on LGBTQ issues is simply a distraction for something more rotten in Silver Spring…
Making it doubly concerning that he has an official title of Associate Director of Communications.
He has a history of posting pointless screeds like this on Twitter though, so here we are. (Like, seriously…why? What does yelling into the Twitter void prove, other than that he needs to get outside a whole lot more? For that matter, why am I commenting here? My head hurts now.)
If he worked somewhere that actually knew anything about communications, marketing or public image, they would’ve reined it in a long time ago. Luckily for Sam, he works for the GC instead.
Not according to him. According to him, you don’t exist, because there are “22 million [Adventists] who believe same-sex intimacy is a sin.”
It’s the same old tactic you always see from ultra hardliners and the current GC. Everything is black and white, what they say is the only real church’s stance, and there’s no room for discussion. (Unless proof texting Ellen White quotes counts as “discussion.”)
Who knows, maybe it really is their church. It would certainly explain why the SDA Church will be dead in North America 20 years from now.
I guess I should thank him. If it wasn’t for hard-working people at the GC like him, I might still be putting my tithe in the church, instead of using it to buy classroom supplies for the local grade school.
Mark Finley , the link given :
Impressing ! Strong slogans ! Selected verses out of the “Marked Bible” !
Omitting Judges 19 - for cruelty, incredible cruelty , for this using - “sexuality” !! (like in Gen 19. ! )
Creation, Gods will !! - - Omitting Jesus remark in Matth 19 : 12 ( “eunuchs” = “not apt for marriage” - “born” - “from their mothers womb” ) and with a tendency guided translation of I. Cor 6 : 10 (addressing a certain prostitution of arsenokoitai = wealthy elderly gentlemen and malakoi = teen boys, effeminated, prostitutes, softies, with hairdo and rich cosmetics around the Aegeian Sea) (see Philo alexandrinus, Leges III 48 - - )
Simply an ilustration of some dealing with a serious problem - on high glossy paper - - -for some with their “Society Weekly” on ther coffee table - - -
As I understand it, while the local congregation pays the mortgage, the name on the deed is always the GC.
So, yes, legally the church and the grounds belong to the them and I suspect any persona non grata-LGBT, progressive, independent, libertarian, intellectual, etc.-could be considered trespassing.
I’m not going to risk it and will continue to not “darken the door”.
“You have heard, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ but I say to you, Love your enemies … .” To make enemies of LGBTQ people by insisting they cannot live within God’s grace as heterosexuals do is a denial of Jesus’ central message. We think we can know the will of God by quoting scripture that never–as far as we can tell–wrestled with these issues clearly unmasked by modern medicine and psychology? What arrogance we display and what judgment will we receive by being so judgmental? Jesus also warned, “Judge not that you be not judged.” The splinter you see in his or her eye blinds you to the “log” clouding your eye. The pain we inflict in the name of the Lord is a blasphemy masquerading as love, truth and God’s will.
“Does the General Conference Want You To Leave?”
I am pretty sure the answer is yes.
They seem to be doing everything they can to alienate almost everyone:
- Everyone who accepts scientific knowledge - particularly natural history, archeology, genetics, geology, cosmology, astronomy, and any other scientific discipline that indicates the world is very old.
- Related, those with a higher education.
- Everyone LGBTQ+
- Everyone with any sort of progressive approach to the study of scripture (which is ironic)
- Everyone interested in social justice - especially within the church - equality among humans of different genders, ancestral history, faiths, and so on and so forth.
So, this more or less leaves homophobic conservative old straight men with limited education who are science deniers as their targets audience. And, I suppose, those willing to ignore many of the statements in the Fundamental Beliefs - and from leadership - who go on being members despite their disagreement with one or more of the official church teachings.
Ted has openly invited everyone who does not ascribe to the 28 Fundamental Beliefs and to a literal reading of the bible to leave the church. I took him up on that offer.
I personally no longer want to be a member of a club that is officially 100% into science denialism. It’s just too much for me to respect leaders that won’t look out the window and see the world for what it is.
My daughters and most of their former-SDA friends are out because they don’t want to be part of a misogynistic and homophobic organization. They see no upside in that.
Add to that list the people at the Spanish Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where the conference sent the pastor to tell the people who didn’t buy the official “party line” to leave, and the pastor took all their audio-visual equipment away because they invited an ordained preacher from “California” (apparently the most extreme “liberal” state) to present some meetings. The booted-out church members met in a park last week all because they wanted to hear what the California pastor wanted to say. They really seemed to like the church but the denomination doesn’t like them.
It’s not just telling them to leave - the Potomac Conference is kicking them out and locking the door behind them.
So it is definitely happening already. It is frightening for those who love the church and want to stick around to see a whole group kicked out. If the Gaithersburg church was an English-speaking church this probably wouldn’t have happened but the conference president is probably trying to use the language barrier to its advantage.
I’m Seventh-day Adventist. I stand with my queer sisters and brothers, daughters and sons. And I’m staying.
Being church is our highest and most difficult calling.
Thank you, Alex! The list of things about which the current leadership of the General Conference says people should either agree or leave continues to grow.
Using sociologist Robert Merton’s distinction, the manifest function of these declarations is to preserve the denomination’s theological and ethical integrity. Their latent function—consciously or not consciously and intended or not intended–is to be seen by the the 95% and more SDAs who do not live in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand as leaders who should continue serving where they now are seving because they are bulwark’s against the erors of the 5% of those who do live in these regions.
We should anticipate more of these as we approach the next General Confrence Sessions. Although this article had to be written, and although it is well written, in the eyes of most SDAs around the world it has strenthened the effective influence of the GC’s current leadership.
David: I think that’s pretty much it. The GC will surely take the support of American hardliners, but their target audience is the Global South. They’re the pliant areas who keep voting these people into power, then complaining North America is selfish for implementing tithe parity.
I wasted too much time (so…any, really) looking at his Twitter thoughts. And sure enough, there they were like clockwork, a bunch of world church members clapping like trained seals about his “spiritual insight” or “candor and boldness.” Was not aware “get out, you filthy gays” was spiritual insight, but perhaps I haven’t been dropped on my head enough times yet.
The GC does not decide who are members of the church. That is up to the local church board.
It is really up to the congregation. The board is supposed to act as a filter and recommend acceptance or dropping off members, but the ultimate decision lies with a congregational vote.
in my Church i’ve seen dropping off members done through a Business Meeting vote…
Mark Finley lacks updated information on the "gay et al"condition. Yes, he appears lacking proper education on the subject, and should keep his mouth shut on it. Dealing with human life is serious business, and I am not sure the Church Manual or the Church have any provision in the case some gay person commits suicide for being set totally hopeless by Mark’s irresponsible/uneducated statements.
What’s next, full support of the anti-LGBTQ+ Law in Uganda??? The GC appears to be going berserk at full speed!
Until those radical people are kicked out from the GC, NOTHING will change.
Irresponsible statements like Finley’s may have "grave consequences."What is a person becomes discouraged and hopeless listening to his BS (Best Statements) and becomes suicidal to a point of killing themselves (which is indeed very much possible)??? Finley won’t be able to claim “ignorance of the facts” in Court! How can he just toy with human lives??? Imbecilic!
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"I’m not going to risk it and will continue to not “darken the door”.
Hey Bruce, don’t get discouraged, jeep knocking on the “shut door” …
Indeed, the method for the entire congregation to do so.
Statements like Finley’s are nothing but a clear/undeniable confession of total ignorance. They are based on ideas from half century ago when medicine and psychology had not yet discovered what is known on the subject nowadays.
Here is a great article by Jack Hoehn,
Mr Neves must think God would be pleased with his comment.
Hard to believe!