General Conference Issues Statement on Compliance Committees

Editor’s Note: On August 23, 2018, Spectrum editor Bonnie Dwyer published a report about the creation of five compliance committees by the General Conference. On September 7, the GC issued its own statement on the matter. It is published in full below:

Prayerful Process Continues: GC ADCOM Embraces Unity

The General Conference Administrative Committee (ADCOM) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church recently took action to further support and embrace the unity of the global church, and to complement church policies already in place.

The Adventist church operates in more than 200 countries, grows at more than four percent per year, and establishes more than 30 new groups of believers each day. Growth and diversity require flexibility, always in the context of holding fast to Biblical truth and best practices of operating.

Decisions regarding agenda items are determined by majority vote. Most agenda items for the world church come from processes previously agreed upon or as a result of input from elected members of the General Conference Executive Committee.

On July 17, 2018, the General Conference (GC) ADCOM established five compliance committees to serve unity, helping retain voted church beliefs and operating procedures and process. The terms of reference for these committees are available here. The names of the committees and those elected to committee membership can be found at the end of this article.

Two Primary Expressions

The establishment of the five compliance committees resulted from two primary expressions of the world church:

1. A worldwide survey conducted by the church’s Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research of church leaders, including all union presidents, showed strong support for some type of consequences for entities not in compliance with voted actions of GC Sessions and of the GC Executive Committee. Results of the survey were published on March 23, 2018, by Adventist News Network (ANN) and Adventist Review, and in the April 2018 GC Executive Committee Newsletter (ECN).

2. For several years General Conference Executive Committee members have correctly observed that non-compliance to GC Session and Executive Committee actions can be found in several areas of church practice and operation. Repeatedly, questions have been posed asking why church leadership has not addressed these issues. This action by ADCOM responds to those concerns.

The purpose of these committees is to have a group of qualified people, upon the recommendation of GC ADCOM, look into reported non-compliant practices. The goal of each committee is to focus the church on its mission and message, using a redemptive approach to achieve church unity. In addressing compliance issues, this model could also be adopted by other levels of church organization.

As explained in the vote taken by the GC ADCOM, the subcommittee process begins with a referral from the GC ADCOM and thereafter follows the normal practice of gaining wide input, building a majority consensus through the GC ADCOM, General Conference and Division Officers (GCDO), and the General Conference Executive Committee.

A Common Understanding

Church authority is owned by the membership of the church. The decisions that come out of GC Sessions and Executive Committee meetings endorse Biblical beliefs and define church operating policy and practice. It is Biblical for people and organizations to work together with a common understanding that the message and mission found in God’s Word might circle the globe.

Hensley Moorooven, secretary of the GC ADCOM makes this prayerful appeal: “What we really need is to have the church be found on their knees, praying for the Holy Spirit to draw us together. Regardless of where on the continuum we come from, we have a mission and we have a message, and that needs to become the focus of the church. That is the appeal of the leadership of the General Conference, of the divisions, unions, conferences, pastors, and members. Let us be on our knees.”

General Conference Compliance Review Committee with Doctrine, Policies, Statements, and Guidelines for Church Organizations and Institutions Teaching Creation/Origins


Stele, Artur A, Chair Gibson, L James, Secretary Donkor, Kwabena Klingbeil, Chantal Nalin, RonalPhillips, Suzanne Porter, Karen J Ryan, Michael L Standish, Timothy GThomas, John H Younker, Randall W


Woods, Jennifer


Wilson, Ted N CNg, G T Prestol-Puesan, Juan R

General Conference Compliance Review Committee with Doctrine, Policies, Statements, and Guidelines for Church Organizations and Institutions Regarding Homosexuality

MEMBERS Stele, Artur A, Chair Brasil de Souza, Elias, Secretary Beardsley-Hardy, Lisa MBlanchard, Gary T Landless, Peter N Mueller, Ekkehardt F R Nedley, Neil Oliver, Elaine Oliver, Willie Proffitt, Kathryn L Santos, Gerson P Yingling, Lori T


Wetmore, Thomas E


Wilson, Ted N CNg, G T Prestol-Puesan, Juan R

General Conference Compliance Review Committee with Doctrine, Policies, Statements, and Guidelines for Church Organizations and Institutions Regarding Issues of Ordination


Biaggi, Guillermo E, Chair Moorooven, Hensley M, Secretary De los Santos, Abner Finley, Mark A Hasel, Frank M Page, Janet R Page, Jerry N Ryan, Michael L Stele, Galina


Doukmetzian, Karnik


Wilson, Ted N CNg, G T Prestol-Puesan, Juan R

General Conference Compliance Review Committee with General Conference Core Policies


Wahlen, J Raymond II, Chair Orion, Daisy J F, Secretary Biaggi, Guillermo E Richli, Claude J Two additional members to be named GCAS Associate from the Region Under Review


Pierre, Josue


Wilson, Ted N CNg, G T Prestol-Puesan, Juan R

General Conference Compliance Review Committee with the Distinctive Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for Church Organizations and Institutions


Brasil de Souza, Elias, Chair Wahlen, Clinton L, Secretary Arrais, Raquel C Finley, Mark AGoia, Pavel Moorooven, Hensley M Page Jerry N Small, Heather-Dawn K Simmons, Ella SThorp, BradTimm, Alberto R


McFarland, Todd R


Wilson, Ted N CNg, G T Prestol-Puesan, Juan R

This statement was written by the GC Executive Committee editorial team and was originally published on the Adventist News Network. Image courtesy of ANN.

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

When I saw the title on Spectrum I have naively hoped that there will be a decrease in sharpness and volume. But as we all can see they are proceeding and moreover they are giving us very obscure clues about the reason for the establishment of those committees:

  1. A survey which was performed in a total childish way. We discussed it already here on Spectrum. The “survey” has been made in a manner that it could give only such results which could please the leadership of the GC.
  2. The alleged questions raised by members of the GCEC. I ask myself, did they also hear the questions of other members of the GCEC who wanted to achieve the so desired unity by leaving those unions alone and letting them do the work of God with inclusion of female pastors?

Further, they are continuing with giving to the ADCOM such authority and jurisdiction which is not known and not allowed by the current GC working policy. Everyone now can see that the ADCOM has initiated a process of an irreversible take over of the role of the GCEC.


If you were to describe to a first century Christian a system of government based on hierarchies, power hungry leaders fattened by lavish financial resources demanding special treatment, backstabbing for personal gain and control through intimidation and retaliation, they would think that you were talking about the Roman Empire. And yet this describes the way Adventism is operating today where high-powered lawyers have more say in what goes on in the church than pastors.

Paul, the defender of freedom in the Spirit (Romans 14) would be shocked at the idea that the church would become a political and financial behemoth, solely concerned with its own material interests and willing to persecute those who disagree with “majority votes.”

This is particularly disturbing for a protestant denomination which has built a vast theological system to condemn the abuses of the papacy that it now seems eager to inflict on its own community.


Looks like the GC is doubling down. Not good for the unity of the church. Apparently they have heard the negative feedback. The big issue with their philosophy is that GC becomes the ultimate authority that can suppress the voted actions of the Union’s constituent members. If this were the case, why even have Unions in the first place? A majority vote of the GC invalidates the voted actions of all others.


It will be interesting to see how the guidelines on creation/origins apply to individual science teachers. Will they have to submit videos of compliance with church teachings and policies? How specific will quidelines be eg. The entire universe was created 6000 years ago.


Conference and unions only exist because congregations have constituted these organisations in being. It is by the congregations that these organisations functions, not the other way around. These congregations define by vote what the rules and working policy of a particular conference or union are, and these structures are subject to their constitutency. Now the unions have be tasked with when a person is ordained into the ministry, which makes this structure the highest competent authority, which regards to who and when said ordination takes place. It must also be recognized and acknowledge, that the constituency is what defines what the criteria that will be used, and that can be different depending to the region said union is situated. The GC on the other hand is not an competent authority, because it can’t ordain, it has no authority to execute ordinations. Which leads me to this question, when or how can an organisation which has no authority nor constitutency over said union or conference, exercise authority, when said local constituency is the only legal and binding authority.


I note that the secretary of the commitee on creation and several members are staff of the Geoscience Research Institute. Will material on the GRI web site be assumed to represent the official church position?


ex officio The fist that holds the rubber stamp. A man totally unprepared for leadership.


If as much energy was put into pursuing the Holy Spirit as is being misapplied to seeking compliance I believe we would see God healing divisions and growing the church faster than we have seen in the past.


Irony on a conundrum, note the logo, lower right of picture.

The GC is behaving exactly like an abusive husband, corralling codependent help to enable his abuse, triangulating,coercing, threatening to be stripped of (church)home, resources, friends, community.

Our Laodeceiving our selves…we are so blind, braille-roading the entire church into submission. Just don’t dare think for yourself, discuss the issue, let anyone else know, and, by all means, remember we don’t care about your conscience.


“Church authority is owned by the membership of the church. The decisions that come out of GC Sessions and Executive Committee meetings endorse Biblical beliefs and define church operating policy and practice. It is Biblical for people and organizations to work together with a common understanding that the message and mission found in God’s Word might circle the globe.”

That is a wonderful paragraph. It brings the church to what the real goal is for us and who
we are as a people.

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I have a well-placed colleague who told me last weekend that many individuals on the committee lists had no idea their names were on the lists–and no idea even what the committees were all about. Seeing their names in the earlier Spectrum article came as a huge surprise to them! I can’t confirm this; I’d just call it “word on the street.”

I don’t know whether the list of names has changed between the earlier Spectrum article and this official statement released by the GC, but I have to wonder whether the GC has actually reached out to those individuals and confirmed their willingness to serve on the committees. We’d all like to think that the GC has the integrity to confirm willingness to serve before publishing names. Does anyone know anything more?

EDIT: I’ve just compared the two sets of lists; they are identical. If the proposed committees are passed this fall (color me skeptical), I’ll be curious to learn how composition of the committees changes between now and final implementation. My hunch is that some individuals will object to serving.


For the committee on creation, Jan Paulien says
“There is a strong tendency in today’s world to push to the extremes. This is very evident in political speech and often also in the theological and scientific realms. Instead of a genuine search for truth, people prefer to cherry-pick the evidence that supports a predetermined conclusion. This happens on both sides of the origins debate. A theologian of faith is easily tempted to ignore the problems by focusing only on evidence that challenges the prevailing theory and disparage all who disagree as perverse. The evolutionary scientist may, consciously or unconsciously, avoid experiments and evidence that don’t fit the prevailing theory, because a God who acts in history is not a working concept for him or her. Scientists of faith, I believe, will know and teach the assumptions on both sides, assumptions that color the evidence and the models one creates to explain the evidence. Scientists of faith will acquaint themselves with alternate interpretations of the data, so they can compare different ways of understanding the evidence. Helping students sort out the strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the tension will prepare them to evaluate the arguments they will face in later years.”


This indicates to me that the actions of the GC in this regard may well be disingenuous / deceptive.

Power in organizational leadership comes from achieving ownership of decisions, and it appears to me that very significant portions of North America and Western Europe are not in “ownership”, i.e. support, of what has been proposed.

The church’s only hope is to move beyond these yearly assaults on unity in diversity. Radical action must be taken. Women must be allowed ordination and positions of leadership in the church. Differences in Biblical interpretation must be respected as they were when our church was developing after 1844. (There was no “Statement of Beliefs” then, and it was actually opposed.) LGBT people must be respect accepted as members of the community.

Ellen White said the our church would appear as though it was going to fall. I never realized before now that this tragic fracture could be caused from within and not without the denomination.

Why is there insufficient evidence from the GC of redemptive, pastoral concern rather than threat and control? Why is there such apparent hardness of heart? Why is there such denial or indifference from the GC about the very real possibility of many thousands leaving the denomination - tragic schism? It appears we are headed for a time of trouble as there never was before. Again, caused from within.

A prayer I love says: From all false doctrine and schism; from hardness of heart…Good Lord, deliver us.


GC ADCOM’s reaffirmation of the establishment of the 5 compliance committees
concludes with Hensley Moorooven’s appeal: “Let us be on our knees.”
are you reminded of a/n (in)famous cartoon depicting Bismark and the Kaiser at the
cathedral altar, where Bismark says to the emperor, “Let us prey”?


And above all, don’t resist!

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Women have been yearning and willing for decades to serve God which is the primary reason for the creation of these review committees. If the GC had no integrity in the past to confirm women’s willingness to serve God, why would they do so now? You cannot draw blood from turnip.


Helping students work out strengths and weaknesses on both sides cannot possibly be the explanation for teaching them that nothing makes sense without evolution, i.e. teaching them not what our side holds true but what atheists hold as indisputable.

There simply isn’t any possible reconciliation between the God of creation and the God of evolution.

Catching up with reading/commenting after a couple of days, now writing from Vienna, on vacation:

My good friend…, since you are a long-term SDA, you knew you would be frustrated about it at the end, right? What is happening now is unprecedented in amount but not in substance. It’s more than obvious by now that this GC is so obsessed with keeping discrimination against women alive that they couldn’t care less about the fact that they are indeed trying to split the Church. Hopefully, as He already did several times before, God will confuse them all again and their Machiavellian plans will be sent to the trash can again as well. How many times will they be defeated before they finally resign???

And we all were probably taught that the persecution would come from the outside of the Church, uh?

Dictators have the conviction that they are above the law, any law. That they can make law on their own, that they are actually the law themselves.

It’s called “plot” or “coup d’état” though in religious realms it may be called mere abuse of authority.

Dictators always make themselves “ex officio.” This way they control everything while blaming everything on others. This is part of their “manipulative wisdom.”

With the only limitation that the wife cannot call 911 on them. But maybe the Union constituents will be able to call some votes on them…

I can’t believe what I am seeing happening to our Church. How the boss just assigns the Church employees (not his) to do whatever he thinks they should be doing to advance his ill, malignant agenda. And what will happen if they just say “no” to this kind of abuse, will they lose their jobs as the first victims of the group of 40 komrades?

By now I have the impression that this GC is determined to have a huge fight with the real Church, trying to impose a totally centralized model of dictatorship.

This is why the Unions have to be always well prepared. Did you notice that every group has it’s own “legal counsel?” I hope the Unions already mobilized their teams of counsels as well. This thing may indeed end up in the Courts. I wish we could stop the craziness by helping the crazies in our NUTCRACKER CLINIC…

The major problem is that there are too many people that don’t know what to do with the “God of science,” the God who created everything based on scientific principles. And while some humans gradually learn about those principles, they are viciously attacked by others who want to completely ignore those same principles and facts learned about the created mother Nature.

It’s indeed a difficult reconciliation.

If only someone could say this about the GG:

“…will automatically close in a month.” :wink:


Is a member of a local church, also member of the GC? Because at local level, the church as a whole votes, and that is “law”. Now it is through the combined efforts of many members of many congregations that an conference or union comes into existence, because these members become active participants, something like a shareholder. Some might object to this term, but it is only used to describe the issue at hand.
The membership must become active not only in evanglism, but also on governance, because without the active participation of each member, there is No Church. There is no problem having paid church workers, on the contrary, it would be difficult to achieve success if it were not for paid workers, but paid workers no matter the function nor designation, will be treated the same, no matter what their gender.

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