General Conference Answers Questions Regarding Its Leadership


"The papacy is a system of centralized, top-down authority centered in an infallible pope and his cardinals. But in the Adventist Church authority flows in both directions, from the bottom-up and the top-down, through representatives who include at all committee levelswomen[sic] as well as men, and lay members as well as pastors."

While it is true we are representative, the further up the structure we go the more ex-officio the committee membership becomes, and because of our ordination policy, the less women are eligible to be there ex-officio. I have sat on four union executive committees. Three of the four due to an ex-officio position because of my employment. And realistically, the unofficial pre-presidents council prior to the meetings guide both the agenda and the outcome before we even sat as an executive.

Thus the further up one goes - the less layfolk involved and the less women. Representation is an optimistic word for reality. I cannot help but wonder at how glibly TMI is trotted out by our GC president. I heard it at the autumn council from his own lips several years ago, when our GC policy in fact precludes genuine TMI. It seems to me the GC have not really thought through the logic of that.

(Phillip Brantley) #23

These are my observations about the Statement:

  1. The author of the Statement is General Conference Executive Committee Newsletter Editorial Team. We do not know who is on the Team. But we can infer from reading the Statement that the Team is controlled by Ted Wilson and is his mouthpiece. We can be thankful that the Statement does not reflect the views of many GC officers and GC Executive Committee members.

  2. The Statement reflects that Wilson has learned nothing from the essays written by our highly-distinguished church historians George Knight, Denis Fortin, and Nicholas Miller, all of whom are opposed to the GC’s proposed massive oversight committee system.

  3. The Statement perpetuates the unbiblical distinction between “church leader” and “individual,”
    a distinction that originated in the medieval church. Scripture teaches that Christ is the sole Head of the church. Every Christian is a disciple of Christ. Accordingly, His church cannot be dichotomized into “church leaders” and “individuals.”

  4. The Statement in idolatrous fashion argues that “faithfulness to Christ” and obedience to the GC’s policies are one and the same.

  5. The Statement fails to understand that union officers and union executive committee members have a duty to carry out the wishes of the constituents of the union. Those wishes are reflected in policies enacted by the union. As the Statement admits, “[union constituents] are not forced to accept [GC] policies.” If that admission is credible and if the admission offered that “[c]oercion is not part of heaven’s plan” is credible, then the Statement’s ire toward certain “church leaders” is misdirected, misguided, and more important, disingenuous. Wilson should admit that he is seeking to subjugate not just a few “church leaders” but hundreds of thousands of Seventh-day Adventists who disagree with him.

  6. The Statement fails to understand that the vote taken in San Antonio in 2015 did not effect a change in GC policy. Accordingly, unions remain free to act on matters regarding ordination, including women’s ordination, as they historically have done so.

  7. To argue that the Church is somehow divided because of diverse ordination practices around the world is shrill. Such an argument elevates policy up to the level of biblical teachings and the Church’s Fundamental Beliefs. This elevation of policy conflicts with Sola Scriptura. There is much diversity in policy throughout the Church. What unites Seventh-day Adventists is biblical teachings as expressed in our Fundamental Beliefs, not policies.

  8. If we reject the GC’s proposed massive oversight committee system, that does not mean that we are ignoring “decisions that we make as a global body.” As I have stated on other occasions, the GC can uphold the San Antonio vote of 2015 by simply declaring that the ordinations of women as ministers are not valid outside of the particular unions in which such ordinations are conducted. Such declaration would be the most accurate responsive action the GC could take.

(Tobias Koch) #24

In Page 14 from the Publication i read: „The decision regarding who should be ordained to the gospel ministry is made by the union, based on recommendations of local conferences in harmony with biblical qualifications articulated by the world church.
A local church is not authorized to baptize someone who is not in
full agreement with the statement of 28 Fundamental Beliefs voted
by the world church, nor is a union authorized to ordain someone who does not qualify for ordination based on criteria voted by the world church.“

This ist the point and i can‘t understand why we talk year after year about policy.

TOSC was asked for a „Theology of Ordination“.
But GCLeadership made in GCSA15 a surprising shift to a policy-question: should divisions decide whether women can be ordained in their field, or not. Without clarifying what we understand as „ordination“ and who can get it for which task.

The theological questions remained open: why we do not ordain women when we believe in a universal priesthood?
Is the Holy Spirit sovereign in empowering with spiritual gifts?
We believe in the FB yes. These questions from the FB were not even discussed, or decided.

So we have no conclusive justification for the rules of ordination that results from the FB or the Bible.
For this reason, the GC’s reasoning does not work. their task after Atlanta2010 was to give a biblical answer to these questions. GC did not.
Instead, GC is now working with a lot of pressure to enforce a policy that does not fit into our FB, instead of dealing with the actual question. That’s the heart of the problem and I do not understand why the leadership of the GC can not or does not want to see that.

(Carsten Thomsen) #25

Perhaps we can now look forward to a tsunami of resignations of leaders at all levels of the church?

The document quite clearly spells out that individuals have the freedom to follow their conscience, but leaders, do not, unless they resign.

Herein lies the fundamental challenge that the church faces…when so many church leaders are impacted, is the GC wise in following its current course of action?

Instead, why not use this as an opportunity to go back to the drawing board to re-examine how we read and apply the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.


(David R Larson) #26

Complying or Resigning are not the only two options. The third is to continue not complying while publicly and respectfully accepting whatever penalties there may be. This is ecclesiastical disobedience which parallels civil disobedience. Much has been written about the theory and practice of civil disobedience. It’s worth reading.

(David R Larson) #27

Well…here we go!

When fair minded people who haven’t been following this discussion for years compare the measured expressions and controlled emotions of this General Conference statement with the intemperate, irresponsible and inexcusable outbursts of those who have introduced Revelation 13, the papacy, Roman Catholicism, Curia, Hitler, Stalin and Mao into this discussion, they will choose the General Conference. If this is all they know, they should.

In just a few paragraphs, those who have given themselves permission to express themselves in these unfortunate ways have hurt the credibility of those who have been respectfully working on these issues for decades.

No one in these discussions is more vulnerable to the work of these Five Committees than I am. I’m not worried about it because I have lived, worked and said what I believed in a General Conference institution with these very same pressures since September 1, 1974. I know how to live with them and so do many others.

The last thing we need is people who have become energized about these issues only in the last couple of years and don’t know how to live with the stresses and strains they inevitably entail without launching unjustified claims and unfair attacks.

Calm down, saints. For many of us this is business as usual.

(Carsten Thomsen) #28

I absolutely agree that the third option is the most viable in that elected leaders keep their influence. What I am pointing out is that the GC’s statement seems to imply “confirm or resign” and doesn’t recognize that the current “civil disobedience” is a brave, deeply committed act of conscience seeking the good of the church.


(David R Larson) #29

You are right. Thanks for making this point because it is an important one.

(David R Larson) #30

"Dave, don’t bother defending yourself, " Elder Paul Heubach said to me when I was just getting started. “Your friends don’t need it and your foes won’t believe it. Do what you think is right and leave the rest to the Lord.” I’ve done well whenever I remembered this and unwell every time I forgot!

(Yvonne Stratton) #31

This article is a blatant distortion of truth. The basic assumption is the world church voted that women should not be allowed to be ordained. Not what was voted. From there, it goes downhill.
Another assumption that negates the article is that all delegates received the package, had access to the internet, and the TOSC and associated papers were in a language they could read.
As has been stated the article twists words, puts it all in holy language and portrays those opposed to the compliance/unity documents dishonestly. It also implies GC in session, ADCOM and Executive Committee as being the voice of God, a clear violation of the third commandment.
Unfortunately as demonstrated by some commenters here, the deceit is believed.

(Egil Fredheim) #32

As for Rev 13, someone has written “If God Himself refused to force our worship and obedience, and was even willing to go to the cross rather than force worship and obedience, what does it tell us about how evil this final confederation of forces will become?”
This statement would no doubt be frowned upon by our present GC leadership. It would not appear in our publications, if they could help it, I think.

(Carol June Hooker) #33

Dr. Larson, I respect your lifetime of dealing with these issues. Please be patient with those of us who lack your experience on the literal firing line. The compliance committees created prior to 2018 Annual Council potentially adversely affect every church employee, every church retiree, and every female who chooses to follow God’s guidance in her life. This year’s challenges are new to most of us. I hope you will use the wisdom you gained, during more than four decades, to advise us toward wise behavior. For most of us, The General Conference is our employee, not vice versa.


‘Babylon’ ? ‘Egypt’ ?
What’s the difference if the SDA GC is where it is NOT supposed to be ?
In ‘captivity’, and therefore leading others into ‘captivity’.
But, Who Alone delivers ?

Alonzo Trevier Jones, speaking to the assembled SDA GC, as officially recorded in the General Conference Daily Bulletin, 121 years ago, shows how even the SDA GC has changed God’s law, because God Alone delivers, NOT the SDA GC:

"You have agreed now that that is the situation, that Egyptian bondage is the cause of all this, and that unbelief is the cause of the Egyptian bondage. You have agreed that we need not now, as the others needed not, to wait longer to be delivered from Egyptian bondage. Now we will study a moment, how that deliverance shall be; and the key of it is in these words: “Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”
{March 5, 1897 ATJ, GCDB Q30.2}

"Let us turn to the commandments of God, and look at them a moment, in the twentieth of Exodus. If any further evidence was wanted that we are yet under the influence of Egyptian bondage, certainly this thing is the cap-sheaf that fixes the evidence. Till very lately, you and I never saw a copy of the ten commandments, issued by the Seventh-day Adventists, that had all the ten commandments in it. I never did until very lately. And yet we have talked about keeping the commandments; we have preached to other people about the commandments; we have pointed out how Rome has changed the commandments and left out the fourth and divided the tenth, while all the time we ourselves, from our published copies of the commandments, or the ones that we bought that somebody else had published, have left out a part of the commandments ourselves."
{March 5, 1897 ATJ, GCDB Q30.3}

“God spoke his law from heaven. Did he speak more than belongs with the commandments? Did he speak too much? Did he speak more than was needed?-No; for it was perfect, and there was nothing to be added when he ceased speaking. Well then, as there was nothing to be added when he ceased speaking, did he begin before he needed to? As there was nothing to be added when he ceased speaking, is there something before he began to speak directly to us for our good? In other words, did he speak a word too much or a word too little?-No! no! no!”
{March 5, 1897 ATJ, GCDB Q30.4}

"Let us see, then, what he said. Here it is: “And God spake all these words, saying, . . . Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Is that where he begins? Does he begin speaking with, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me?-No. Have you begun there? You know you have. Well, if God did not begin there, and you and I do begin there, don’t we leave out something that he said, that is essential for our good, too? Where did he begin? Read it. “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God. which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” "
{March 5, 1897 ATJ, GCDB Q30.5}

"Don’t you see that we have left out the very thing that shows deliverance from Egyptian bondage? And why have we left it out? O, because we have considered that we have not been delivered from Egypt,-and that is so. We have considered that we never were brought out of the land of Egypt,-and by our unbelief that is so. We have thought, “We were never in bondage to any man.” But we were. We were in bondage to ourselves, to the power of sin-to spiritual Egypt. But there is deliverance from Egyptian bondage to-night, and God calls you and me to this deliverance from Egyptian bondage. And he says to you and me to-night, with a voice thundering as it did from Sinai, with the salvation of Jesus Christ in it, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Will you come out? Will you allow that he has delivered you from the land of Egypt? from the house of bondage? If not, why not?"
{March 5, 1897 ATJ, GCDB Q30.6}

“Our enemies are throwing it at us,-O, those commandments are not for me. I never was brought out from Egypt. The enemies of the law of God, the enemies of the salvation of God, cast that at you. They have said it to me-to all of us-that that law is not binding on anybody but the Jews, because nobody was ever delivered from Egyptian bondage but the Jews. They say, O, you need not preach that to me, I never was brought from Egypt. That is true enough, of course; but that is no credit to them. You and I are to stand up like those that are redeemed from Egyptian bondage, and answer that thing with, Thank the Lord, I have been brought out of Egypt; and, my poor, forlorn brother, unless you are delivered from Egypt, you will perish in the corruption of Egypt.”
{March 5, 1897 ATJ, GCDB Q30.7}

“Of course no one can keep that law while he is in Egypt. They could not do it. God delivered them from Egypt that they might keep the law. To be in Egypt is to be in sin, and no man can keep the law of God in sin; for sin itself is the transgression of the law. Of course you can’t keep the commandments while you are in Egypt. You can’t; I can’t. But let the Lord deliver us, and then we can keep the commandments, and not until then. The Lord knew that well enough; therefore, when he wanted Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go, he said, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Of course they could not serve God in Egypt. He wanted them delivered, not only bodily, but spiritually. And then, when he would give them his law to keep, the first thing that he says to them is, “I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,” so that they might keep it.”
{March 5, 1897 ATJ, GCDB Q30.8}

"What kind of law is this anyhow?-A spiritual law. “We know that the law is spiritual.” What Egypt is it, then, in the first verse of the law?-It is spiritual Egypt. “The law is spiritual.” The Egypt, then, named in the law is spiritual Egypt, and it means to you and me deliverance from spiritual Egypt, which is deliverance from the bondage of sin."
{March 5, 1897 ATJ, GCDB Q31.1}

. . . We are expecting snow here in Minnesota, today.
I remember a ‘News from Lake Wobegone’ tale by Garrison Keillor from years ago.

He was telling how he had his young son in his car when they were caught in a blizzard and he couldn’t see through the windshield. So, wanting to be a good father and get his son to safety, he opened the car door and followed the tire tracks in the snow with his own front tire . . . made by his own front tire.


There seems to be an element of manipulation in the document, especially given the timing of its release. The GC has pushed people’s buttons and got a reaction. Now they stand back and say, via this document, “Look how these noncompliance meanies treat us, the remnant church!” To individuals who get their news from only sanctioned outlets, imagine how it looks. Many are now eager for the Church/GC (to them, the same entity) to be vigorously defended.

I feel that I have been told not to let the door hit me on my way out.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #36

A convoluted guilty plea.[quote=“harrpa, post:5, topic:16934”]


Under the sub-heading: “When someone does not agree with church leadership …”

Is it indicative that the GC article faults the apostle Paul for NOT RESPECTING
corrupt authority/leadership?
Isn’t it also ironic that the GC brethren engage in a ‘flat’ reading of Acts 23:5, thus
portraying the apostle as RUDE AND UNINFORMED? Whereas a nuanced reading
picks up Paul’s repartee and well-aimed sarcasm:
“Friends, I’ve lived with a clear conscience before God all my life, up to this
very moment.” That set the Chief Priest Ananias off. He ordered his aides
to slap Paul in the face. Paul shot back, “God will slap you down! What a
fake you are! You sit there and judge me by the Law and then break the Law
by ordering me slapped around!”
"The aides were scandalized : “How dare you talk to God’s Chief Priest like
Paul acted surprised: “How was I to know he was Chief Priest? He doesn’t
act like a Chief Priest …” Acts 23:1-5; The Message
P.S. “… judge me by the Law and then break the Law…” echoes into the
21st Century as: Judge me by the Policy and then break the Policy!

(David R Larson) #38

carol_june_hooker. Thank you for your response. Your last sentence summarizes the irony of all this. I suspect that not all GC leaders think of themselves as your employees even though they should.

In any situation like this, it is probably a good idea to try to figure out both the magnitude and the likelihood of the threat. In this case, the magnitude is huge but the likelihood is small.

As one can see from this statement, the committees are designed to satisfy those who think the GC is being too permissive as anything else. Some of its strongest supporters are losing confidence in current GC leadership because they believe that Elder Wilson and his closest colleagues have failed them and in sense so far they have.

They are in a tight corner because they repeatedly threatened “grave consequences” before they fully realized how difficult it would be to bring them about.

In any case, I do not object to attempts to discern how best to deal with such situations. This is what we are all trying to do. I do object to using inflammatory language which discredits the speaker and his or her cause and demeans those who see things differently.

(George Tichy) #39

This statement is as misleading as possible. It’s like saying, “Oh, let’s just forget everything, all will be alright.Let’s move on just pretending nothing of this ever happened”

NO! Dr. Knight’s articles were not “misguided criticism.” Neither was the criticism of “others here and elsewhere.” It’s too much asking us all to just hide our heads in the sand.

And this reply from the GC is nothing but a joke. Maybe written by their attorneys, not by their true theologians.

The more we read the more it becomes clear how “soviet” this GC administration is. And you want us read more? We certainly will, but it will keep having “grave consequences.” The last thing the GC and its supporters/defenders should do is ask people to “read more”… (It may increase awareness… :roll_eyes:)

With all due respect…

(George Tichy) #40

Question, please don’t dodge it:

Are you a GC employee??
____ YES … ____ NO

(George Tichy) #41

Elmer, it seems that this is the level at which the GC wants to play its game. It’s either they can’t play at an adult, serious, honest level OR they think that they will treat us, the members, as children who they can easily manipulate. What a big mistake.

This response they offered is not only a joke, it is an offense to the members’ intelligence! Unfortunately for them, before we saw what they say (this “explanation”) we saw what they did (their actions for ca 8 years). Which one do they think speaks louder??? :thinking: :thinking: :thinking: