Ex-gay Speaker Michael Carducci Disinvited From North England Conference Camp Meeting

(Spectrumbot) #1

The North England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has withdrawn its invitation of Michael Carducci, the founder of EXCEED Ministry, and a self-described former homosexual man, to the "Strong Families, Strong Churches" camp meeting. Carducci had been slated to headline the "Holy Sexuality Conference," scheduled for April 21-25 in the South England Conference, and up until April 16, was listed as a speaker for the Youth program at the North England Conference camp meeting. Carducci was also disinvited from the "Holy Sexuality Conference" and the event was canceled.

North England Conference's camp meeting will continue, but without Michael Carducci in attendance.

"Coming Out Ministries," a small group of Adventist speakers who profess being cured of their homosexuality, stirred up significant controversy when the "Holy Sexuality Conference" became widely publicized. More than 40,000 people signed a Change.org petition seeking to bar the speakers from entering the UK. The petition included a statement from British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who said,

If anything needs curing, it is the outdated belief that being gay is wrong or something to be ashamed of. Sexuality is not an illness but an inherent part of who you are."

A spokesperson for the South England Conference told Spectrum that the "Holy Sexuality" event was not caceled in response to the widespread protest (though when it came to light, it didn't help matters), but because,

Seventh-day Adventists are a people of peace who believe in hope and dialogue. However, it appeared that rather than drawing people together the conference had the potential to divide. The Adventist Church recognises that the individuals invited to speak at the Holy Sexuality Conference have compelling life stories to share but equally appreciate that there are those who take a different point of view.

Within a few days of the sexuality conference's cancellation, Carducci's name and profile disappeared from the North England Conference camp meeting web page. The event will take place at the Butlins Holiday Park in Skegness, Lincolnshire. So far, a replacement Youth speaker has not been named for the event.

Michael Carducci did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6765

(Robert Sonter) #2

I’d take it from the above, that Michael Carducci had been intended as the main Youth speaker for this conference camp meeting event? If so, it’s hard to see how this reached such an advanced stage of planning.

Irrespective of how one views the present debate about homosexuality in the Adventist church, it’s clear that the major focus of Carducci’s ministry revolves around his own struggles in this area. This hardly represents a balanced approach in terms of Youth ministry.

I found the following statements on his ministry’s web page:

"He (Jesus Christ) slowly led me out of the darkness of sex and masturbation…"

“Now, I am in ministry to help others who are sexually defiled.”

“My ministry is called: EXCEED Ministry. Excellence in Christ through Evangelism for the Erotically Defiled.”

Even if you take what he says at face value, hopefully the majority of the North England Conference youth are not “erotically defiled” and therefore don’t constitute the target audience of this speaker.

But at a deeper level, these statements demonstrate unhealthy attitudes toward sex and masturbation, and would appear to stem from his own extreme and atypical experiences as a young man. I wouldn’t presume to judge either his personal journey in Christ, or his calling, but fear that the audience which might actually benefit from his ministry would be a fairly narrow band of the spectrum of Adventist youth. And those who don’t benefit, may likely be harmed.

Hard to see how he was invited to this camp meeting in the first place, and good to see that common sense has apparently now prevailed.

(Pagophilus) #3

Most people’s ministry revolves at least partially around their life story. Compare Doug Bachelor and his Richest Caveman. Every one presents a different side of the story. If you want the balanced picture you need to let every one of these speak, not censor the ones you disagree with. North England conference looks like they’re caving in to public pressure. If they can’t stand on this, how do they hope to stand in the time of trouble around the corner?

(Robert Sonter) #4

So Pago, how would you feel if the Victorian Conference in Australia decided to invite Kari Ann Stickle or Daneen Akers to be the feature Youth speaker at their next camp meeting? Would this help with your picture of balance?

(Elmer Cupino) #5

To what extent this could influence GYC’s agenda moving forward will yet to be seen. The fact that it was part of GYC in the past is sobering, knowing that this line has been fed to maturing, developing and innocent minds of the next generation SDAs, “a people of peace who believe in hope and dialogue.”

There are a number of “ways to skin a cat.” Confrontation and being divisive should have no place in our church. It’s time for the organized church to gradually separate herself from GYC. The borders to date have been confusing.

@kevindpaulson Any comments? (Please refrain from calling people out to comment, instead allowing people to respond to articles when and if they see fit to do so. Thank you, Moderator.)

(Pagophilus) #6

Actually, Seventh Gay Adventists has already had its (unofficial but tacitly supported) run in Victoria, so I think they need to invite Mike Carducci there.

Also, since most conference-invited speakers in Victoria are of the liberal variety, they should balance things and invite speakers of the likes of Stephen Bohr, for example, and openly promote AYC.

(Frank Peacham) #7

I wonder if this topic would be considered viable in any other evangelical youth gathering? Except, as I have read, Mormon Missionaries are requested to refrain from this practice. Our founding Mother has set an elevated standard proclaiming the “exceeding sinfulness of this degrading” habit, which pollutes the “whole character of the man…when children practice it their intellect is dimmed,” and soul dammed.

(Robert Sonter) #8

This seems to be a value judgement on your part. I suspect you would characterise 90% of Adventist speakers as being “of the liberal variety”. If that is the case, then “balance” would probably be achieved when you are unhappy 90% of the time, with the actual speakers who are chosen.

Are you at least happy with 10% of the speakers at Victorian Conference camp meetings? If the answer is “yes” and you still have an issue with this, then it would seem you’re not happy to live with the practical consequences of your own advice when you say

(Pagophilus) #9

I don’t know about 10%. I think they had Gary Kent this year. He’s ok. I didn’t go to camp this year.

I’d like to see, for some real balance, to counterbalance the seriously one-sided science department at Avondale, an Avondale-sponsored Walter Veith creation series.

(Robert Sonter) #10

I’ll ignore your comment about Avondale’s science department being seriously one-sided. As regards Walter Veith, surely you understand Avondale couldn’t sponsor such a series? Veith has no recognised qualifications at all that could justify an accredited Australian college or university extending this type of invitation, or sponsoring such a series. To do this would damage Avondale’s academic credibility, and potentially jeopardise its accreditation. A Conference on the other hand, could invite Walter Veith to present a series at camp meeting if they so chose.

You haven’t mentioned why you didn’t go to camp, and I wouldn’t want to presume. It’s a shame you missed out on the opportunity to hear Gary Kent speak, as it seems you would have appreciated and been blessed by this.

In reading your comments I can’t help but think that in calling for “balance”, you’re calling for more speakers who see things your way. I’d suggest your views represent a very conservative band of the spectrum of Adventism and that because of this, you’re likely to be frequently disappointed with the speakers that are chosen for major church events. In saying this I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with being conservative - just that if you hold a minority view, you will frequently be dissatisfied with the message that’s delivered within the mainstream of the church. Oddly enough I can appreciate this, because I also hold a minority view :smile:. But in the final analysis, we must accept that most others see things differently than we do.

(Warren Ruf) #11

The gospel according to powerful personal testimony has useful evangelistic benefits. Beyond the wow factor and the notion that, “If God did that for him/her, what could he do through me,” there is is the problem of authenticating the truthfulness of the story, or even the “Brian Willliams effect” of testimony enhancement. While the personal narrative is a compelling aspect of evangelism, if that is all there is, it’s hard to shift the attention back to Jesus and the Biblical perspective that is the foundation of discipleship. The more sensational the testimony, the more careful we have to be about fact checking.

(Rohan Charlton) #12

Haha Walter Veith being invited to Avondale! My home church. I’d actually love to see that! How about a center stage discussion between my parents good friend Dr Lyndon Rogers and Dr. Veith.

I’d pay money…

(Rheticus) #13

Why don’t they do this right.

A slow online debate, where each side has one week between issuing either new claims, new defenses, or refutations of the other sides arguments

Oh, I know - because every time such a slow considered approach has been tried, the YEC loose.

Veith et. al. depend on theatrics, constantly shifting ground, and using myriads of easily refuted arguments rather than any solid ones.

(Rheticus) #14

It is hard to see how anyone thought building a conference camp meeting around such a narrow and easily refuted agenda was a good idea

(Thomas J Zwemer) #15

this fixation on gays seem totally out of proportion, it affects 8-12% of the population. while lust, porno, greed, evil surmising, gluttony, profanity, hate, affects 100%. Whether a gay life style is a sin or not, it is out of God’s intended order. Certainly a sympathetic understanding is in order. I have championed their place in the sun and in the workplace and have greeted them as neighbors and have held a hymnal with them in church. But this constant headline drumbeat seems a bit overdone. I know I’ll get a Lot of heat on this comment, but I feel that there is an over abundance of attention given to an issue to the neglect of more critical issues facing both the civil and religious world. Christians that we converted are being slaughtered and we are obsessed with condoms, fleet, and KY jelly. Tom Z

(Pagophilus) #16

Yes, worldly accreditation vs biblical truth. Actually, Veith does have relevant qualifications and has done some research in areas relevant to Adventist beliefs (though not relating to origins itself). But he is very familiar with evolutionary theory being professor for some time. He hasn’t worked for some time in that field so may not be up to date with the latest.

Actually, I haven’t been able to go to camp for 5 years or so either because I’m in the Philippines for mission, or on at the hospital over Easter just prior to going to the Philippines. Hopefully next year I can go. (Last year I made it to the South Australian camp meeting and heard Gary Kent there and was blessed.)

(Steve Mga) #17

Many years ago there was discussions in main-line Christian Magazines about guest speakers in general who provide their “life stories”. These discussed that with young people leaders would get the sensationally lived and now converted persons. And this seems to be the continued trend among youth speakers even in SDA groups.
The Magazine Articles pointed out that having Christian Youth who had no dramatic conversion experience, but had found Christ, and living positive lives were NOT asked to present any testimony.
It pointed out the dangers that youth were drawn to the “sordid lives – conversion” stories, and this was actually detrimental. The thinking of one had to be really “bad” and then convert.

Changing Topic.
With all ages 10 yrs and up having access to the Internet, there is no topic on earth that cannot be explored by youth. ALL types of sexual questions can be asked by internet and answers can be gotten. Information is almost limitless. This includes GLBTIO Issues. This includes masturbation. On the Internet one can meet normal, everyday acting, people like in your own family, GLBTIO persons, and their non-sensational, dull living selves. Majority who are not, and have not been like Michael and Wayne in their growing up, maturing years. So to youth, early adults who have met these lives on the Internet, do persons PROMOTED by the SDA World Church like Michael and Wayne actually turn off church youth as to the VALIDITY of those who Organize the campmeeting youth programs?
We have discussed on here the projected numbers of youth [ages 10 to 25] who attend Public Middle School, Jr-High, High School, Public Colleges. These SDA persons are going to mingle with all types of persons, talk to them, watch them, make judgments about them. Among these are going to be quiet, well-behaved, ambitious persons just like them, but be GLBTIO. They might even make close friends with them.
Then they go to SDA sponsored week-end youth gatherings, hear persons like Mike and Wayne, and the Sisters [not mentioned here], and say that’s not like the GLBTIO friends I know. And wonder WHY the SDA church dislikes their friends, and why the SDA church promotes NOT allowing them to attend.
Then we wonder WHY there is a disconnect with the Youth-Young Adult group and the Leaders of the SDA Church, and eventually with the SDA church in general. And, stay home doing other things on Sabbath.
It is not necessarily the attending of the Public Schools that is the problem, it is seeing real life in general there, and NOT seeing there the issues that the SDA church presents in Youth Meetings.
Masturbation is another topic that is easily explored on the Internet by any person who can spell it. Information all the way from early 1800s which warn against losing one’s vital force, making one mentally dull and unable to participate in society, maybe even be institutionalized. To sites where masturbation is said to promote prostate health.
Again, this age group has the opportunity to compare “Church Teachings” by guest speakers to what they have access to see and read about on the Internet.
Again there can arise the Disconnect.
There is no conclusion to my ramblings. Just that for Youth-Young Adults church promoted topics by self-educated persons can not be seen as relevant, and if not relevant in these areas, where ELSE is the church Not Relevant in its Teachings? It can really open a Pandora’s box of questioning and disappointment.

(SurprisedByGrace) #18

I don’t know that I have heard anyone in Coming Out Ministries that claim they are “cured.” What I do hear is that Christ’s grace is sufficient to live the life Christ is calling them to and in their case with their past it is sexual purity. It is inaccurate to use the loaded term “cured” when addressing this issue.

(Winona Winkler Wendth) #19

“Erotically defiled”? Wow: that’s poetry. This is the territory of MFAs, not MDivs. Or sociologists, or anthropologists, or psychologists, or psychotherapists, or psychoanalysts.

(k_Lutz) #20

I remember a constant diet of ‘reformed’ drug users in the late sixties and early seventies at academy that some stories could be related by the audience with the poster child standing on the stage. I, for one, was dis-incentivised to reject recreational medications since it was obvious one could get out of whatever addiction. A general display of the survivors does not, even when the survival rates are elaborated, does not translate into the treacherousness of wallowing in ignorance. Yet I find that most of these displays are of the most extreme of worldliness, which appeal only to the less enculturated. Sheep will go where they are led.

Trust The Process.