General Conference, NAD Joint Statement Follows Closed-door Meeting

Leaders of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists held a closed-door meeting yesterday with union presidents from the North American Division. The meeting was the first step in a five-part action plan created by the General Conference for dealing with what it views as instances of policy non-compliance. Though the GC has stated that the issue is not the ordination of women per se, ordination has been the subject of the GC's ongoing efforts to bring all territories into alignment, which for the GC means not ordaining women ministers as some territories currently do. The GC has framed the issue with the conciliatory language of unity and reconcilation. However, GC leaders have also explicitly stated that compliance with GC dictates is mandatory for all territories of the World Church.

Thursday's meeting marked the first step of the GC's action plan, which is described as taking effect when "executive officers or governing body become aware that there may be 'reason for concern regarding a subsidiary entity’s actions.'" The process calls for praying and listening as step one.

Following the meeting, the General Conference and the North American Division jointly issued a statement briefly summarizing the meeting and expressing their wish for whatever processes may follow. That statement follows in its entirety.

GC/NAD Statement on Unity Discussion

General Conference and North American Division leaders issue joint statement after day-long meeting.

The General Conference officers and the officers and union presidents of the North American Division met on Thursday, January 19, to discuss unity in mission as it relates to church governance and women’s ordination. The group affirmed their commitment to Christ through the Holy Spirit, the 28 Fundamentals Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, our prophetic end-time mission and worldwide church organization. After a candid and open discussion with frank interaction, the group agreed that there will be ongoing consultations to seek positive solutions to the challenging issues that the church faces.

It is our prayer that the church will move forward in unity and focus on mission to prepare the world for the soon return of our Lord.

General Conference Officers Ted N. C. Wilson, President G. T. Ng, Secretary Juan Prestol-Puesan, Treasurer

North American Division Officers Daniel R. Jackson, President G. Alexander Bryant, Secretary G. Thomas Evans, Treasurer

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7847

Farce --making unity the prime objective rather than equity. TZ

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We have read that the GC summoned the NAD union presidents to discuss alleged policy noncompliance with respect to women’s ordination. But what is happening to address serious and significant policy noncompliance that is occurring in Africa and South America? Are leaders in those parts of the world also being summoned by the GC? My fear is that those leaders have come to an understanding that their governance will not be subject to meaningful GC oversight so long as they continue to vote according to Ted Wilson’s instructions.

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Yes.

Remember Mike Ryan at Annual Council last fall denying that the “Unity Document” was directed to ordaining women?

If that were true, why haven’t we seen other longer-term violators called to headquarters? Those out-of-policy with funding? Those out-of-policy with polygamy? Those out of policy with discrimination against women?

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The church must become inclusive, non-authoritarian, and focused on the mission of justice for all, if the kingdom is to be ready to hand over to the father. 1 Corinthians 15:20-25

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Plenty of people making nice sanctified comments through gritted teeth. On both sides.

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The kingdom and its coming is not dependent on the SDA church organization and its actions…thankfully. It will be realized in its fullness as God decides, and populated by those who do justly, and love mercy, regardless of whether or not they have the SDA badge on their sleeves.

This organization reflects the top down governance of the church it has historically vilified…Roman Catholicism. Centralized power, uniformity, and control are the name of the game.

Speaking of which, this meeting sounds like the beginning of an extended veiled threat…my way or the highway. The populist agenda backed by Elder Wilson is what rules the day. Never mind sound biblical exegesis, and the fact that Adventist scholars have repeatedly stated that this cannot be supported from the scriptures clearly, in either direction.

But, hey, why listen to people who have real education and expertise in this area? Sounds like the political climate in America at the moment.

Thanks…

Frank

@frankpeachamvt

The governance system of the kingdom, and ideally of the church is to be from the bottom up…servant leadership. According to Jesus, “The Gentiles lord it over one another, but it will not be so among you…the greatest among you will be as servants.”

The fact that the GC could word a statement calling unions subsidiary entities of the GC itself, is appalling. It advertises that they view the church as a power entity that governs from the top down, totally out of step with the values of Jesus and the kingdom. It advertises that they equate the GC structure with the church. It is not. It is merely administrative apparatus whose sole function should be to serve the health and well being of the local churches…the real church on the ground.

People lament worldliness in the church. Look no further.

Frank

@frankpeachamvt

Both have God’s approval if one reads the OT and NT as flat equals. But if one sees Jesus as the ultimate revelation of God, as per Hebrews 1 and the prologue to John’s gospel, then what he says can and often does overturn what was believed and practiced in the OT and by ancient Isreal.

Jesus introduced a new kingdom ethic of servanthood and servant leadership. He introduced a new picture of God that only he believed at the time, that God lives to wash dirty feet. That the creator lives to give himself even to death for the good of his creatures.

The problems arose when his contemporaries rejected what he was saying and modeling, and held onto an ethic of a god of power and force. If the NT church, of which Adventism claims to be the last day vanguard, holds onto this through authoritarian and top down governance, then we are in the same boat as them.

Frank

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Interesting that the powers that be didn’t enunciate the other four “steps” to this so-called agreement. I wonder which of the remaining four steps will include the word GULAG.

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this is why these NAD/GC talks are going nowhere fast…

i’m starting to suspect that what we’re witnessing now is all a formality designed to reassure the global south that they’re as important as NAD…no-one in NAD or GC leadership has any intention of seeing the church split…i’m guessing that in the end, NAD will receive an exemption from the san antonio no vote, end of story…

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NAD doesn’t need an exception. Ordinations are in the hands of the Unions and Conferences, over which the GC vote is irrelevant. Divisions are pieces of the GC without authority.

“Come out of her My people, that you be not partakers in her sins.”

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The GC SA2015 Vote regarding Yes or No for Divisions.
That was ALL a Red Herring action.
As Ken correctly stated Ordination of ANY Person is a Union/Conference
decision as Agreed Upon by the local church Members who make up the Constituency.
Now whether the Ordained person can accept Ordained position outside of their
Union is another matter.
Reciprocity to other Unions is another matter and as far as I know has not
been discussed among the NA Unions. But I don’t see why not that it would
occur in the near future.
I would like to see the Southern Union be part of the group with Columbia Union.

“PURITY” OF THE “DENOMINATION” [notice I did not say Christ’s Church].
The Church of Christ has NEVER been expected to be PURE.
The O.T calls for the “heathen” to come to Jerusalem and worship.
Jesus did NOT hob-nob with the Lawyers, Pharisees, Sad-u-cees. His crowd was
made up of party-people, revolutionaries, “night-workers”, tax-collectors, Many of
the Un-Churched, notorious Sinners.
That is why His Ministry was called into Question!! Most of His friends lived on the
"other side of the tracks".
Jesus NEVER did Want a “Pure” group of followers. He wanted just disciples. The
ONLY real command He said to all was, “Follow Me.”

PS-- It was Man Made Rules that made up “Herod’s” Temple. The Court of Men, The
Court of Women, The Court of Gentiles.
In the O.T. we DO NOT see Segregation before the Throne of God. All persons – Men,
Women, Children, believers, “non-believers” [or as Jewish would say, circumcised and
non-circumcised] were to be shoulder to shoulder, side by side, arm in arm TOGETHER
before God.

To Dan S. –
You would enjoy reading this book. “Accidental Saints – finding God in all the wrong
people”, by Nadia Bolz-Weber.
Pastor of the Lutheran church – House for All Sinners and Saints, in Denver, CO.

Pastoring For Job Security–
In all my years from Academy, College and Beyond, the persons I’ve had known who
said YES to pastoring, all felt called to that Calling. They wanted to bring the Word of
God, the Gospel to others. They did NOT always know what they were agreeing to,
that is true. There is a lot of hardships, difficult times in Pastoring. Esp if one is CALLED
to Missions at home or overseas. The persons I have known in positions of responsibilty
have ALL BEEN CHOSEN. ELECTED to office by some group of persons. They HAVE
to have something to offer, either inately, or cultivated by training.
Now their personalities might change. Change from serving, change from helper, change
from facilitator. Change to an I AM IN CHARGE attitude and behavior.
But I am sure that wasnt where they were when they 1st accepted the Call.

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It would be nice to think you are right. However, MANY of us are concerned that the GC and Ted in particular want to weep–with both sadness (lost souls) and joy (rid at long last of those lost souls)–when the Church retracts (splits) as a result of Ted’s divine calling to purify her. “Get on board or get lost” will be the unspoken refrain. This is Ted’s train to ride.

Lord, we ask that you give courage to Elders Jackson, Bryant, and Evans.

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Perhaps it is long past the time for the GC to get out of the Washington D.C. area.
Who has had the greater influence upon who ?

Just remember, in spite of this glossy, legal ‘corporate speak’,
these plain words from humble former Seventh-day Adventist leaders still apply:

"Caste is hateful to God. He ignores everything of this character. In His sight the souls of all men are of equal value. He “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.” Without distinction of age, or rank, or nationality, or religious privilege, all are invited to come unto Him and live. “Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference.” “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free.” “The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the Maker of them all.” “The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 17:26, 27; Galatians 3:28; Proverbs 22:2; Romans 10:11-13.
{DA 403.3} ~ Ellen

"In matters of conscience the soul must be left untrammeled. No one is to control another’s mind, to judge for another, or to prescribe his duty. God gives to every soul freedom to think, and to follow his own convictions. “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” No one has a right to merge his own individuality in that of another. In all matters where principle is involved, “let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Romans 14:12, 5. In Christ’s kingdom there is no lordly oppression, no compulsion of manner. The angels of heaven do not come to the earth to rule, and to exact homage, but as messengers of mercy, to co-operate with men in uplifting humanity.
{DA 550.6} ~ Ellen

"Further than this, these professed Protestant churches know that there is no commandment given for that thing. They say that. They say that it began with the primitive church. I do not care how far back they claim to get it in the primitive church. If it be a church institution, a church ordinance, that the church commands men to perform, it is the same thing. It is the same evil thing. Because any church that would attempt to do it, becomes in the nature of the attempt, an apostate church. Trace it to the days of the apostles if you want to, yet the church that did it is, in the nature of things, an apostate church, attempting to save itself and others without the power of God. Therefore whatever church did it, it is in the nature of things a fallen church, because it is not the church’s office in the world to command men. The church’s office in the world is to obey God and not to command men. {March 3, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 468.15}

Any church, therefore, that presumes to command men is, at the very motion of it, an apostate church. The church that obeys God is the church of God. God commands; His is the power. His is the authority. He used the church, that through it He may reflect His power and His glory unto men. But the church has no right to command anybody. It obeys God alone, too. {March 3, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 469.1}

Now I will put that in another way or state it a little more plainly. It is not the church’s place to command anybody, and it is not the church’s place to obey anybody, but God only."
{March 3, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 469.2} ~ Alonzo

~ ~ ~ * * * ~ ~ ~

. . . I’m an electrician. I bend pipe, therefore I have an ‘eye’ for angles. A couple of years back something caught my eye about the SDA trademark logo on the bottom right of the Sabbath School Quarterly on ‘Christ and His Law’. During all of the ‘Egyptology’ boom in the popular media beginning in the 1990s, I had seen an illustration showing the ‘Benu’ or ‘Phoenix’ bird resting on a ‘ben ben’ stone. In the text, the author was describing how the capstones of obelisks and pyramids may have been derived from this ‘ben ben’, and also how it may have been connected symbolically with the first ‘ma’at’ ‘order’ (law ?) to have appeared ‘out of chaos’.
( 'Chaos such as that of the ‘Great Flood’ ? ) So, what caught my eye was the angles at the base of the SDA corporate logo triangle.

I took the quarterly to my drafting table and traced the outline onto a sheet of white paper so I could measure the base angles with my adjustable drafting triangle.
I was right, they were 52 degrees, just like the base of the Great Pyramid of Khufu on the Giza Plateau.

As I said, I’m an electrician. I have rubbed shoulders with ‘Luciferians’ most of my life. They control the labor union I was raised up in through my father and uncle. When my uncle joined the ‘Luciferian’ inner circle, he soon betrayed my father, broke my father’s heart, and split our family apart. When I was in business I did work for a ‘Luciferian’ family whose father hired me, for 1/2-price, to play outside with his son one day, building ‘forts’ in their woods, because he was too busy inside obeying the ‘dreams’ he was having about how to invest his parents’ estate in the stock market . . . he believed strongly in the ‘corporate’, ‘hierarchical’, reincarnation-caste-slavery system . . . the mother eagerly longed to talk with the dead . . . their family soon fell apart.

So, is it any wonder that the SDA church is falling apart ? I saw no other SS quarterlies with that same 52 degree angle at the base of the SDA corporate logo.
Just the one challenging Christ’s reign.

Its high time the GC clean its own corporate headquarters, leave the oppressive influence of Washington D.C. and abandon Egyptian-Luciferian-‘corporate’-hierarchical- reincarnation-‘degree’ . . . philosophies of ‘order’.

Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

What is there to explore as “positive solutions” when there is already a mandate? The only possible solution, given the constraints, is for someone to fail. FAIL. Is this a positive solution?

This is a perfect and shining example of how to be a schizophrenic parent in order to raise schizophrenic children. Why draw a redline only to ignore it? Does Pastor TW and his EXCOMM have any idea of what they are doing? It is medically necessary that our GC officers call my psychiatric office for a free psychiatric evaluation to determine their competency.

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as a non pastor, yet lifelong Adventist, i am baffled as to how as a church body, we take a single passage from Paul and build a policy around it. Especially when Paul indicated that the thoughts shared were his own (and by inference, not God’s) Having said that, the women that i have seen ordained (one conference), seems that it is more political than spiritual in form. I have been blessed to sit on the ordination committee for a woman, not an Adventist, who i felt, was definitely called of God. Sex or gender had nothing to do with it, there was no ‘quota’ or political pressure for the ordination, yet our church, if it does ordain a woman, seems to ignore the calling, and ordain them on the basis of political. I would love to see a person of ANY gender ordained because of a genuine call of God to the ministry.

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This statement really says nothing. If neither party budges from their current positions, then what? Must one side change or acquiesce? Can there be an agreement that both positions can exist in ‘unity’, allowing for Divisions to do what is culturally acceptable since this is only policy and not creed, doctrine or biblical mandate? Is our goal, solutions or rigid positions in which we will fight to the bitter end to preserve one’s individual belief? Is this a power struggle? Must there be winners and losers? In the ultimate goal of our mission will this benefit or hinder our
mission.

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Of all the deviations from policy in the world: theft of church funds, demanding bribes, criminal falsification of credentials, sexual abuse of children, this is the sole concern of the administrators of Seventh-day Adventist World Headquarters?

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Jeremy,
I wish this could be the final goal. But I doubt. Personalities like TW do not make provisions for some future conciliatory, tolerating situations. They work with specific maneuver toward their own specific goals. Ted Wilson already knows what is the only goal acceptable to him. He is just maneuvering those people - can’t anyone see that???
There is a bigger chance of him looking for dissolution of the Unions than agreeing to stop the discrimination of women. (Believe me, believe me…)

All the GC’s (I mean, TW’s) goals will eventually be reached, either with the “prayers and listening” or without them.

Ken,
This is why I believe that the ultimate goal is actually seeking the dissolution of the Unions in North America - first. Once this is accomplished, it will be much easier to dissolve ALL of them around the world. They cannot try it all at once now, because there are too many employees out there (outside the NAD) who cannot lose their jobs. And about those in the NAD, well, who cares, right? Trump will take care of them anyway…

Russians, Germans, Cubans, North Koreans, and so many other nations have heard this same threat before. I am afraid that discrimination of women will prevail and will finally split the Church. … Well, who is actually going to split the Church is Ted Wilson, nobody else!

“FAIL?” Elmer, didn’t you actually mean “FALL?” I am sure it was a typo!

I think that the only solution is actually for someone to fall, from their position. As long as TW remains occupying a chair that he believes is a throne, discrimination of women will be perpetuated. At this point, only a rebellion can save the Church. A rebellion against this abuse of power by people who appear to be mirroring Machiavelli, who wrote:

It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.

Does more need to be said???

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Adventist women should have watched Saturday’s marching for equality all around the world to realize that women have found power and will, and should use it when it’s a fight for equality and justice.

Are Adventist so fearful of using their power? Or have they become so long beaten back by men that they are afraid to exercise their God-given gifts of demanding respect? Otherwise, their religion is only talk and no action. When has equality for women ever been magnanimously given when not fought for? I’m ashamed for the Adventist women who silently acquiesce to crumbs they are offered.
Their daughters are now leaving this male-ordered church while they placidly wait for changes. How’s it been working for them so far?

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George, the economic viability of the world church is dependent on the funding by the NAD. If TW and company win the day and unions in NAD are dissolved, he may well have to take a big pay cut and move church headquarters to someplace like to Uganda. Remember the Golden rule. He who has the gold rules. TW may well meet his Waterloo on this one.

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