Editorial: One Project Vs. GYC, or One Project And GYC?


(Spectrumbot) #1

At The One Project gathering in San Diego this past weekend, it became clear to me that the The One Project is not just another conference or more Adventist programming--it is the clear articulation of a vision for the future of Adventism. It’s a vision in competition. The competing vision is perhaps best exemplified by the Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC), about which Suzanne Ócsai has written definitively.

The other thing made clear was that The One Project is not a fringe movement, a marginal independent venture. It’s mainstream. There were participants from division offices, Adventist universities, many of the largest churches in North America, ADRA, Adventist healthcare...if anything, one could say that The One Project has, in the five years since its genesis, become downright institutional. It operates under the auspices of the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and enjoys strong institutional support. But it remains a movement in competition.

While both GYC and The One Project emphasize Jesus-centric music and preaching stocked with references to Scripture and Ellen White’s writings, the two are a study in sectarian contrasts.

At one gathering, attendees can expect contemporary worship music with percussion and electric instruments led by hipster-types in casual dress, and at the other, hymns played on grand pianos led by clean-cut men and women in suits and dresses.

At one gathering, participants might receive free copies of “Do Justice: Our Call to Faithful Living.” At the other, attendees get copies of “[truth] LINK” doctrinal study guides.

One gathering emphasizes community, social justice, peacemaking, and Christian spirituality, and the other places its emphasis on soul-winning, truth, evangelism, and defending the faith.

In one context, attendees can expect to hear from leaders who have spoken and who will speak against ordained women preachers; In the other context, attendees can expect to hear ordained women pastors preach.

Both the GYC and The One Project started at the local level and grew upward in their reach and in their acceptance within the denomination. Both the GYC crowd and the One Project crowd feel they represent the truest, most authentic expression of the Adventist faith. Both camps eye the other with suspicion and, oftentimes, with disapproval. Both the GYC and The One Project (I know this for a fact) have been investigated by General Conference leadership over theological and ecclesiological concerns.

Both are inevitable outgrowths of Adventism, and both the GYC’s brand of Adventist Christianity and The One Project’s brand of Adventist Christianity are vitally important to the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church because there are wide swaths of the denomination who find meaning and refuge in both interpretations of Adventism.

A spiritually-mature Adventist denomination makes room for a range of faith expressions. As much as the two streams of thought depart from one another, Adventism is enriched by their both being available, but the moment one is championed to the exclusion of the other, the church becomes toxic and dysfunctional.

If any leader, from a local pastor to the General Conference president, paints one or the other camp as illegitimate and un-Adventist, the environment becomes toxic. We cannot say of those we consider to be the proverbial “weeds,” “An enemy hath done this,” and try to root them out, as if we’ve never heard the Lord of the Harvest demand that all living things be allowed to grow up in the field together!

If any policy statement intentionally defines a group of people out of the church, it is the product of a dysfunctional system, not a healthy one. We cannot write policy that intentionally excludes people and pretend to be followers of the Shepherd who insisted that he had a flock in other sheep pens!

We receive daily reminders from various parts of the globe that the communal and rhetorical violence of demonizing and excluding is the first step down the road to deadly, physical sectarian violence, and is every bit as caustic!

In saying all of this I am not saying I would feel equally at home in either stream of thought. Like anyone else, my own predilections naturally fall closer to one group than the other, and by the same token, I would have strong critiques of things on both sides of the ideological divide. But as long as there is an Adventist denomination, there must be room for people on both sides. The surest way to destroy the Church is to force the people in one camp or the other out of the Church.

On the other hand, when we move past our ecclesiological partisanship, there’s a strong likelihood that we’ll discover deeper, more enduring values that bind us together.

Jared Wright is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6625

(Rohan Charlton) #2

Such an interesting balanced article. Thanks again Spectrum.

At one gathering, attendees can expect contemporary worship music with percussion and electric instruments led by hipster-types in casual dress, and at the other, hymns played on grand pianos led by clean-cut men and women in suits and dresses.

Hymns on the piano please. If I want hipster stuff i’ll put on my DEAFHEAVEN sunbather album. (awesome).

Maybe I could go to the worship service at GYC and the sermon at ONE? That’d be perfect!


(Kevin Paulson) #3

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

“Divisions will come in the church. Two parties will be developed” (2SM 114).

“We cannot purchase peace or unity by sacrificing the truth. The conflict may be long and painful, but at any cost we must hold fast to the Word of God” (HS 197).

Some further thoughts about the One Project being “mainstream.” I daresay that a survey even of our North American members—to say nothing of the membership worldwide—would demonstrate that the One Project and its acolytes are decidedly removed from the mainstream convictions of most Seventh-day Adventists. That doesn’t make either camp correct or incorrect in its beliefs or practices; only the written counsel of God determines that. But one is curious as to how and on what basis these labels are being applied. The theory that large institutional pastorates and leading personages from these locations necessarily represent the main body of Adventist believers is seriously arguable.

When one considers what has happened to those denominations that have tried to make room for the kind of widely varied beliefs and lifestyles the One Project would like to see Adventism accommodate, the record of the past few decades is decidedly negative. None of these mainline churches have experienced growth or greater societal influence because of the theological and moral accommodations they have attempted.

The Biblical record demonstrates that “maturity” is not achieved by spiritual compromise. Most apostasies in the Old Testament were an attempt to find “middle ground” between the worship of the true God and pagan idolatry; consider how the golden calf worship was announced as “a feast to the Lord” (Ex. 32:5). (Today we might call that “seeker-sensitive.” But the experiments by Aaron and Jeroboam in this respect were not honored by God or His chosen messengers.)

What is happening in contemporary Adventism, as the inspired statements noted earlier make plain, is the inevitable division that occurs when truth and error come into conflict. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is being summoned to a decision. I believe the striving faithful can be quite confident that the Lord will demonstrate dramatically that He is still guiding His church, and that the two camps here described cannot peacefully work and worship alongside one another.


(Jared Wright) #4

To which I say, “Both are inevitable outgrowths of Adventism, and both the GYC’s brand of Adventist Christianity and The One Project’s brand of Adventist Christianity are vitally important to the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church because there are wide swaths of the denomination who find meaning and refuge in both interpretations of Adventism.”

ps. nice edits after my response. :slight_smile:


(Brenton Reading) #5

Excellent thoughts Jared!

I am intrigued by your concluding statement, “On the other hand, when we move past our ecclesiological partisanship, there’s a strong likelihood that we’ll discover deeper, more enduring values that bind us together.”

I wonder if other commenters would share what they think these values might be. I would love to hear some thoughts on this.

Brenton


(Brenton Reading) #6

“What is happening in contemporary Adventism, as the inspired statements noted earlier make plain, is the inevitable division that occurs when truth and error come into conflict.”

Or, perhaps it is the inevitable division that occurs when theological, sociopolitical, scientific, technological, cultural, and philosophical changes undermine the current authority at the heart of our faith causing some to cling ever tighter to the existing authority (in this case Sola Scriptura as defined by the protestant reformers) and others to search for a new source of authority (in this case I think the Spirit led community as articulated in Acts 15).

To maintain that one is truth and the other error is to miss the significance of what is happening. The good news is that even though the Great Reformation 500 years ago resulted in terrible division and violent loss of life, eventually the various offshoots of protestantism and the traditional church herself ended up in a better place.


(Bryan Ness) #7

Why see this as a division and not rather as diversity? I am really disappointed with people that see this whole thing as a us vs. them, good vs. evil thing.

“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Phil. 1:15-18

Even Paul recognized this sort of principle. What is important is to be preaching Christ and Him crucified.


(David Read) #8

“One group emphasizes the literality of the Creation narrative and insists on a very short chronological framework while the other focuses on the broader themes in the Creation account and acknowledges the evidence for a very long chronology.”

Does the One Project really want to marry itself to Darwinism? That’s surprising. Helpful, but surprising.

What I hear Jared saying is that the SDA Church is in effect developing two separate and ideologically opposing parties, represented by GYC and the One Project. He is right. This fact has become very obvious. I preached a sermon with a rudimentary version of this theme over four years ago, at the 2010 Idaho Camp Meeting, and developed the thought further in a two part article almost a year ago:

So how does this end? Do the two factions live in equipoise forever? That I don’t know.


(Jared Wright) #9

I will reiterate it as often as necessary:

“Both are inevitable outgrowths of Adventism, and both the GYC’s brand of Adventist Christianity and The One Project’s brand of Adventist Christianity are vitally important to the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church because there are wide swaths of the denomination who find meaning and refuge in both interpretations of Adventism.”


(Thomas J Zwemer) #10

Jared One is rooted in pre 1888. The other is rooted in post Glacier View. The seventh day Sabbath is the only Glue common to each. Adventism is dead in Europe, dying in North America, Rebranded in Australia. It is a third world pass time. And an academic football. Spectrum remains the only game in town. Be assured that the medical arm and the academy are the only viable properties–neither responsive to the G.C. publishing and media are doomed. It has taken almost a century for the impact of the1919 Bible Conference to be realized. There can be no common thread if Christ is not Lord of all. You seem to find it in both. I see it as a game being played in a very restricted field. Tom Z


(Jared Wright) #11

An important note: This observation was based on generalizations about people who might ally themselves with “One Project Adventists” but was not part of any of the presentations at the San Diego One Project gathering, or any other gathering that I’m aware of.

I received a message from leaders of the One Project objecting to the inclusion of this clause, and at their request, it has been removed from the article.

David Read, please take note of this before attempting to make this the subject of any further criticism. Fairness demands letting people speak for themselves, not putting words into their mouths. I was wrong in that regard, and I’ve made it right by removing that clause. I hope you’ll do the same.


(David Read) #12

Okay, well that answers my question. The One Project does NOT want to marry itself to Darwinism.


(Kevin Paulson) #13
              Bryan, neither Jesus nor the apostle Paul was a pluralist.  Jesus declared of the choices facing the Christian:

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).

Jesus went on to say, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father, which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

The apostle Paul speaks of the Adam of Genesis as a real, historical personage (Rom. 5:12-19), and declared that those practicing sexual immorality should be removed from the fellowship of the church (I Cor. 5:9-13). He also instructed Timothy to forbid the teaching of doctrines contrary to the apostolic message (I Tim. 1:3), and wrote in another epistle:

“And if any man obey hot our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (II Thess. 3:14-15).

None of this sounds in any way like the spirit of the One Project and the pluralistic diversity it wishes to foster in the church. The attempt to paint the present conflict as the product of sociological and non-supernatural forces, rather than in the colors of the great controversy theme found throughout the Bible, offers the clearest evidence as to why these two paradigms cannot peacefully co-exist. One of these paradigms is that of Scripture. The other is fundamentally antithetical to Scripture.


(Eric Sayler) #14

I have attended two ONE project gatherings and have listened to some GYC presentations. I’ve been blessed and challenged by both. I differ with both movements on some things, yet see value in both.
I’ve often thought that it might be beneficial for both movements, and for the church at large, to have some careful, intentional cross-pollination in speaker selection.

I applaud you, @JaredWright, in pointing out that we must allow for and support diversity of thought and experience in God’s church. Cracking down on what is foreign, uncomfortable, or even threatening to us will not create a healthy church. What we MUST do is provide space for Spirit-filled, love-centered, trust-developing, respect-building conversations about our differences of practice and interpretation, as well as our great similarities and ultimate goals. We have the forum for this, the ONE project creates that space.


(Eric Sayler) #15

Wow, brother @kevindpaulson, that’s a pretty damning interpretation of those verses when applying them to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ!

You and I were friends at the seminary. Though we disagreed on many topics I grew to love you as a brother in Christ. Would you say that I am on the broad road that leads to destruction because I value the ministry of the ONE project (which, it seems you have not experienced, correct me if I’m wrong)?

Maybe you could get first hand information before you assume, generalize, and decry it as heresy.


(George Tichy) #16

The best application of this statement is regarding the infiltration of heresies in the Church. At this time the rupture that I see to be the most dangerous is between those who teach the heresy called Perfectionism (aka LGT now) and those who reject it and stay firmly holding the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ.


(Eric Sayler) #17

A book that came to mind as I read this post is “The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism” by George Knight. In this book Knight points out that we need both the “beastly” preaching (prophecy, Great Controversy), as exemplified by GYC and the “Lamb-like” preaching (Desire of Ages, Christ focus) of the ONE Project.


(Rob Folkenberg) #18

Some very good thoughts here. I agree. I have attended at least three GYC conventions as well as a One Project Gathering. I was blessed and challenged at both. I totally agree with @esayler that it would be beneficial to see a bit of cross-pollination of speakers. This said, there are some incompatibilities as well as things I differ with in each group. But I have been blessed by individuals who speak and participate on either side, and I shake my head at across-the-board damning that goes on. John 17.


(Kade Wilkinson) #19

I have always seen striking parallels between Anglicism and Adventism. It seems this is an example of Adventism’s own “high church” and “low church” (assign the titles as you wish). While both have things to offer and both have faults, what is necessary to avoid a split and allow the most benefit to be gained from the various perspectives seems to be an Adventist “broad church” party.


#20

While not new to Spectrum, I am newer to the Spectrum blog. I am curious why some commentators feel compelled to respond to every article on this blog that they obviously disagree with? I wonder this just as I wonder why proponents of GYC and other more conservative movements feel the need to carefully monitor the activities of those they disagree with. I have never gotten on a GYC blog to point out why I think they are wrong. I don’t know of any of my friends who attend the One Project who get tickets to GYC so they can record the happenings. This is ultimately why as much as I would like to believe what Jared writes here, I do not see the two camps finding compatibility. While I may not agree with the tenets of GYC, I do not feel the need to exclude them from our church or demonize them. The same cannot be said of the reverse. If one side is bent on the demonization and elimination of the other there is little chance for living side by side. The inability to acknowledge and accept difference cancels opportunities for finding ties that bind.