General Conference Re-asks the Questions of 2017

General Conference officials are seeking the opinions of church leaders about the views of their membership by doing a simple poll of division and union conference presidents. They are asking the presidents essentially the same questions that were sent back to committee for further review at Annual Council 2017, but this time they are asking that the presidents base their answers on their view of the opinions of their membership rather than on their own personal opinion.

The consultation being sought from the divisions and unions came to them in the form of a questionnaire from the Unity Oversight Committee that asked the following questions:

  1. Should the General Conference Unity Oversight Committee appoint a team to listen sensitively, counsel and pray with the presidents of unions not in compliance with voted actions of General Conference Sessions and of the GC Executive Committee?
  2. Should there be further organizational consequences for unions that do not comply with voted actions of General Conference Sessions and of the GC Executive Committee?
  3. Should church leaders be asked to sign a document saying that they will follow voted actions of General Conference Sessions and of the GC Executive Committee?
  4. Should presidents of unions not in compliance with voted actions of General Conference Sessions and of the GC Executive Committee be allowed to speak (i.e. have voice) at meetings of the GC Executive Committee?
  5. Should presidents of unions not in compliance with voted action of General Conference Sessions and of the GC Executive Committee be allowed to vote in meetings of the GC Executive Committee?
  6. Should presidents of unions not in compliance with voted action of General Conference Sessions and of the GC Executive Committee be allowed to serve on standing committees or ad hoc subcommittees of the GC Executive Committee?

The first question in the survey is a rephrasing of the action that was voted by the Annual Council in 2016. Questions 2-6 are a reshaping of the 2017 document that was sent back to the Unity Oversight Committee for further work. At that time, much was made by Executive Committee members of being asked to vote on a 14-page document without time to consider what was in the document. Now church leaders are being asked to project the opinions of the entire church membership who have never been given any explanation about why the questions would be asked in the first place. Re-asking the questions could be seen as doubling down on the proposed actions. Or, is this the action of an administration that is not used to losing a vote on a major issue asking the questions again, hoping to get the answer it wanted to hear originally?

Recently, there had been some indications that advisers to General Conference President Ted Wilson were suggesting that the whole process be slowed down, that he retool his tactics and strategy and not bring an action to the upcoming April Spring Meeting, because the 2017 Annual Council vote was being read as a message that the proposed action was punitive and vengeful rather than helpful. Will this survey revive the punitive proposal? Will it give the Unity Oversight Committee any new information about how to fulfill its assignment of reshaping the proposed action? How will unions and divisions figure out the views of their membership on these questions? The survey seems to create even more questions about the proposed actions.

Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.

Image credit: Pexels

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8515

Interesting. Seems the committee is looking for advice on how to proceed, and may get it.

They are focusing on the problem of a legitimate vote taken by the whole church in legitimate session, which some unions have chosen to ignore. That is a recipe for anarchy, whether you are for WO or not. I have heard all the arguments about the illegitimacy of the vote, but have not seen that, with this close examination, it was any where near illegitimate. Other votes have been taken that were of great consequence that, since there was general consensus, had no unions doing as the “rebel” unions are doing now, refusing to go along with a vote in general session.

If you allow for a pass on this one, especially by a small but significant group that refuses to submit, there is no hope for successful governance. Anyone can object to anything, call it a moral issue for them, and go their own way. Think of the Africans on homosexuality, or some unions on tithe paying. There is a reason we meet as a body, and it is to gain the counsel of a group of wise minds. I think it is reasonable to go slowly and carefully on this. But to ignore the actions of those that refuse to give respect to the group as a whole, is to begin the process of disunion.

Some in the early church refused to go along with the council’s vote against requiring circumcision, done as a group together at Jerusalem. They were rebuked by Paul in Galatians and elsewhere. WO folk are standing in the same place, refusing to go along with the group. It is not a healthy portion.

We are not allowed to post answers, so I will “edit” my post:

To Peter and his points about the Salvation Army:

But WO folk are going against the deliberate decision of the body! No “Pope” or “General” who can mold the group to his will. And don’t tell me about Ted. He could not do anything like General Shaw Clifton did.

To Charles and the quotes he gives:

I am not sure what to make of this. Did they mean that all decisions were to be left to the individual and that any action could be disregarded? And, although Ellen disagreed with being sent to Australia, she still went.

Note to that the reservation is phrased: “…and the decisions should be submitted to by all without exception, unless they can be shown to conflict with the word fo God, and the rights of individual conscience.” Forbidding WO does not conflict with the Word of God. But some individuals think it is immoral not to do it. I might add, how can not doing WO be immoral when we have no command to do it? Jesus doesn’t say we have to, nor do the apostles. So how can saying it should not be done be immoral?

But the bigger issue is the problem of congregationalism. If any church or union can do as they wish, regardless of the body’s action, I still see disintegration. How is that to be prevented?

Yes, sure Allen. They appear to be “looking for advice” the same way they did with the TOSC. And when they got the $1MI+ “advice,” what did they do with it? Tossed it immediately because it did not come the way they wanted. Anyone out there who can deny this fact?

It sounds so friendly… But it will open the door for a crusade against those who repudiate discrimination of women!

I especially liked the “and pray.” Isn’t it beautiful and so Christian? It’s always used as a weapon against those who dare to sustain opinions different from the GC’s kommanders’ wishes. In fact, we actually need less prayer and more decency, more humane actions, and more morality being put in practice.

Wait…, was that “pray” a typo? Did they really mean… “prey?”… The surveyees need to be careful since they may end up losing their jobs over this survey; or they may end up getting a “call to serve” somewhere close to Siberia… We know how those things work when people put their names on those “surveys,” don’t we?

Stop hiding behind prayers people! Just do the right thing for once and eliminate DISCRIMINATION OF WOMEN from this Denomination! “Tear down this wall.”

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Is this questionaire related to Women and their positions allowed by MEN?
Actually, the role of Women In The Church, [and the role of GLTIO’s in the church] is
due to a Difference Of Opinion as one Reads and Interprets Scripture.

Even WHO MAY BAPTIZE a God Fearer is up for grabs, depending on how the
New Testament Scriptures are interpreted.
DOES one have to be “Ordained” to baptize, or can anyone??
In addition, ANY ONE WHO Confesses their Faith In Christ is eligible for Baptism.

There are a number of “RESTRICTIONS” in the SDA Church which may be interpreted
different ways from a reading of Both the Old AND New Testaments.

From what I see of the Questionaire, ALL 6 QUESTIONS are what could be termed:–
FIGHTING WORDS!
IF President Wilson is wanting a SPLIT, this is certainly a SHORT CUT to REALITY.

Tim–
Swimming – NO. Playing in the water at the beach of Lake, Ocean? Questionable.
Snorkling – YES.
Scuba Diving – YES.
Enjoyed your “swimming” story. LOL.
My first answer is the Traditional One. What harm is there enjoying WATER that God
created 1st? Created before He did anything else.

PS-- This PRAYER THING has GOT TO GO!!! If some leader [like was done at GC] DOES NOT get their WAY, the Leader says, “Time to Pray”. And “Pray” as Many Times as it takes until the Leader gets what HE wants. [1/20/18]

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OK, it’s time to follow the money. Who benefits from all these meetings and conferences and study groups? Well, it keeps the 3-ABN crowd happy as long as they know there was a session of prayer before the meetings; and anybody that’s waiting for some sort of meaningful outcome, or even change, can keep on waiting until another bunch takes the helm; and we can start the studies all over with different people leading the prayers. in the meantime, the old-timers are happy to see their church “at work”; and the complainers can keep running around their own circles, hurting nothing - business as usual.

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The correct answers to all 6 of those questions is: No!

Some additional questions that would fit right into this sort of insidious survey:

  1. Should presidents be required to report infractions?
  2. Should presidents really be presidents if they don’t adhere to all church policies and procedures?
  3. Should presidents bow down before Ted Wilson in a show of loyalty?
  4. Should Ted’s words be carved in stone for all eternity?
  5. Is this the most transparent insidious power grab you can remember?
  6. How many times would the founders of the church roll over in their graves if they were given this survey? Please answer from 1 to 10.
  7. Can anyone think if a bigger waste of time than the church’s constant battle with women and gay people?
  8. Is it OK to go swimming on Sabbath yet?
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It is amazing how people can be come so obsessed about a certain issue in the church, while other issues are overlooked and not even regarded as an “evil”. If we want an inquisition this is how we start, look for scape goats, and blame them for the condition in the church. It questionnaire will never see the light in my conference or union, because we as members mean nothing, we are to do because they say, and yet they demand our tithes, because it is biblical. I would rather remove leaders who steal and abuse resources of the church for their benefit, and send them to jail, and pray for them.

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Frequently a set of parents would come for consultation regarding their child’s disruptive behaviors. After the initial interview we would discuss what factors contributed to the onset of the symptoms, what the diagnosis is and the treatment of choice. This juncture becomes enlightening and sheds prognosis. Those parents who assume their rightful parental responsibility will forge ahead with the treatment formulation whereas those parents who are ambivalent or weak for whatever reason will turn to their child who is still to achieve cognitive independence and ask “OK Johnny, what would you want?” This gives an indication as who the patient should be, Johnny or his parents.

The same applies to this GC questionnaire. All evidence point to our GC leaderdhip’s incompetence and total abdication of their responsibility. They created this mess. Why ask someone to follow them while carrying the bucket and shovel?

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It’s hard to swim upstream when you can’t swim…
The sad part of not being able to swim on the beaches of Puerto Rico when I was growing up was that it was OK to swim as long as you were not playing on the beach or smiling too much. The little church in Luquillo that I went to had deacons who were experts when it came to detecting “wayward children”. If someone went by the nearby beach with a skimpy bathing suit we were to dive underwater immediately! I never did learn to swim…
This questionnaire appears to be coming from the same “stream”.

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Allen,
The question as to whether the San Antonio vote was legitimate or illegitimate is really beside the point. Why?
1. Because it hasn’t created a durable solution to the issue at hand, even for those, like me, who don’t see the point of running counter to its dictate.
2. Because the issue of who ordains who has an answer not comtemplated by many holding to any perspective on these issues.

Let’s deal in facts for a moment.
a. One Union president has reminded me that he has no need to alert the GC as to whether he follows policy. The GC has copies of Union Executive Committee minutes and can readily make that determination for itself.
b. Who ordains who? Ordination is really a matter of God’s appointment. Adventists in their representative bodies endorse particular individuals as they discern that God has appointed that individual for a particular role.

As I have written before - Ordination is not about a man’s right to be the head of a congregation or entity. Christ is the sole head of his Church. Equally, ordination is not about a woman’s right to lead either. Rather, ordination is about God’s right to appoint whoever He will, and to invest them with the representative authority, the responsibility to act on behalf of the body.

The Experience of the Salvation Army Reinforces this Particular Point!

The Salvation Army have often seen themselves as unique as an ecclesial mission movement, even as Adventists do, though for different reasons. Many Salvationists down through the years have eschewed the terms denomination, church, laity and clergy in reference to the Army even as some among us do. Accordingly, the Salvation Army did not ordain anyone before the year 1978, the centenary of their taking the name Salvation Army. The Officers of the Salvation Army were regarded many times simply a leading section of the soldiery, all of whom were to continue Christ’s ministry of saving souls.

It was rarely easy to maintain the historic Salvationist stance that its officers were not clergy. Finally, in 1978 there was something of a capitulation on this point. In that year, the commissioning service was altered to reflect much of the contemporary thinking and practice in the Salvation Army.

Beginning in 1978 in the commissioning services Salvationist cadets from their training colleges made their Affirmations of Faith. Then the Commissioning Officer would say, “In accepting these pledges which you have made, I commission you as officers of The Salvation Army and ordain you as ministers of His gospel.” No hands were laid on the individuals concerned. About half of these individuals are women.

The determination that ordination should be made the order of the day was made by the Salvation Army General himself, admittedly in consultation with his advisers, and conveyed to the troops through a dispatch from his Chief of Staff to his territorial commanders. (If only it were this easy in Silver Springs).

General Arnold Browne was the General doing this. All through the 1980’s and the 1990’s there was disquiet about this in many quarters. Many prized the “all lay” ethos of The Salvation Army where officers including the general differed from their troops only in function but not in status. These things were reviewed both in 1988 and in 1992, and in 2002 the new General John Gowans amended the commissioning service. The Commissioning Officer was now to say to each cadet in turn, “Cadet (name): Accepting your promises and recognizing that God has called, ordained and empowered you to be a minister of the gospel, I commission you an officer of The Salvation Army.”

A new Salvation Army General came on the scene in 2006. His name was General Shaw Clifton. He disagreed with the Gowan initiative of 2002 and had previously resisted adopting it. He actually reversed it before he retired in 2011.

Presently, it is the case that both forms of words are variously encountered in practice.

Lessons from The Salvation Army Experience

  1. As much as theology should be ultimately determinative of our practice as Christ’s disciples, our practice often precedes our theology. Such a modus operandi is well illustrated here. This can become problematic when multiple and opposing practices co-exist.

  2. Praise the Lord that Adventists are not governed as a quasi military bureaucracy and decisions are not made by fiat decree of any earthly general, we hope. Decisions are made in deliberative fashion by representative bodies in consultation with one another. Our practices and theology are apt to be a little more stable than the above illustrates.

Conclusion
Perhaps it is time to adopt the belief that “ordination” is something already done by God rather than in a ceremony by a representative of the organization. If this is the case, argument about which human entity ordains whom is really beside the point. This may in fact be an additional reason why the term “ordination” ought to be deleted from our Adventist vocabulary, unless it be to facilitate discussion about what God does.

@ajshep
From my perspective Allen, it is important that Adventists move beyond clinging to our entrenched positions about ordination. The question “who ordains who” may help us to understand the futility of any and all positions along the spectrum. The assertion that it should be the unions who ordain men and women is as superficial as the assertion that the general conference doesn’t allow its divisions to make the determination about whether to ordain women or not. The real deep truth is that God ordains or appoints whoever He wills. Ellen White certains claimed that God had ordained her. Thus, if we leave this vocabulary as a reference solely to what God does, then we could begin to use other terminology for what the Advent movement does in discerning God’s will about the ordination of particular individuals. It just may help us to move beyond the current push-pull scenario.

Thank God, Allen, that Adventists have consultative and deliberative processes that have a proven track record. Let’s use them!

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In 1873, at a duly called GC session, a resolution was passed that allowed for non-compliance with GC actions under certain conditions.
RESOLVED, That the highest authority under God among Seventh-day Adventists is found in the will of the body of that people, as expressed in the decisions of the General Conference when acting within its proper jurisdiction; and that such decisions should be submitted to by all without exception, unless they can be shown to conflict with the word of God and the rights of individual conscience. The Conference accepted the report of the Committee, and unanimously adopted the resolutions. SIXTEENTH ANNUAL SESSION GENERAL CONFERENCE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS September 20, 1877; FOURTH SESSION September 28, 4:30 p.m.
Notice the word “unless” and one condition that follows. “Rights of individual conscience.” This is the reason why some are not following the GC votes on women’s ordination. It violates the rights of their individual conscience. So in essence, they are not in rebellion of GC actions but actually are in compliance with them because the 1873 action gives them the option of not being compliant. This reasoning can be seen in Ellen White’s response to a GC action taken at the 1888 GC Session. The following is the resolution and Ellen White’s response.
1888 General Conference Resolution 23. RESOLVED, That we recommend, as far as reasonable, a practical experience in the canvassing field before persons are encouraged to enter the Bible work or the ministry. (F. E. Belden, Nov. 1). TWENTY-SEVENTH ANNUAL SESSION GENERAL CONFERENCE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS HELD AT MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, OCTOBER 17 TO NOVEMBER 4.
Ellen White’s response to Resolution 23 at the 1888 General Conference Session (91 Delegates Present) - Another resolution was passed that might have been laid upon the table, i.e. The one in reference to training all licentiates in the canvassing work before permitting them to enter the ministry. This was to be an absolute rule, and notwithstanding all I had to say against this resolution, it was carried. It was not right for the conference to pass it. It was not in God’s order, and this resolution will fall powerless to the ground. I shall not sustain it, for I would not be found working against God. This is not God’s way of working, and I will not give it countenance for a moment.—Letter 22, 1889, pp. 10-11. (To R. A. Underwood, January 18, 1889.) {2MR 62.1 }
Ellen White’s retrospective in 1894 in reference in action taken in 1888 - Let us consider the proposition presented at the Minneapolis meeting. Some who did not receive their counsel from God prepared a resolution, which was carried, that no one should labor as a minister unless he first made a success in the canvassing field. The Spirit of the Lord did not indite that resolution. It was born of minds that were taking a narrow view of God’s vineyard and His workmen. It is not the work of any man to prescribe the work for any other man contrary to his own convictions of duty. He is to be advised and counseled, but he is to seek his directions from God, whose he is, and whom he serves. If one undertakes the canvassing work, and is not able to sustain himself and his family, it is the duty of his brethren, so far as lies in their power, to help him out of his difficulty, and disinterestedly open ways whereby this brother may labor according to his ability and obtain means honestly to sustain his family.—Manuscript 34, 1890, 2. (Testimony 4, August3, 1894.) {2MR 62.2}
Was Ellen White rebelling against a GC session action? No. Why not? Because the action violated Ellen White’s conscience and the 1873 GC action give her the right not to comply if it did. The 1873 action would have to be amended for non-compliance to be rebellion.

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In other words, “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves.”

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This is a fool’s errand.

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it’s understandable that a natural reaction to this initiative, give what we’ve seen for at least 4 yrs, is cynicism laced with suspicion…but i think it is possible to view it positively - that the GC is genuinely interested in determining what the church body thinks should be done in order to be guided by that thought…if the GC was genuinely interested in determining what the church body thinks should be done in order to be guided by that thought, disseminating the original questions considered by AC16 and 17, that brought no consensus for action by annual council, would be a logical place to start, especially if the questions capture concerns that the GC believes cannot be dismissed…

unions and divisions can pass the questionnaire on to their conferences, who can pass it on to their member churches, who can insert a secret ballot into church programs and post a deadline for its return…of course the views of members who are staying home wouldn’t be included, but what real interest do church members who never show up have in what’s happening in the church…i don’t think this, or any aspect of the GC initiative, needs to be viewed dubiously, or suspiciously…

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Maybe my SDA ‘president(s)’ will read this, most likely they won’t.

But before I give my opinion on these 6 questions here, let me protest that the SDA church, in my experience, has been run far too much according to the mere ‘legal’ opinions of its merely human leaders, at the expense of the Gospel ‘opinions’-- desires – of the Divine-human Christ.

I see no “Comfort you. Comfort you my people, says your God.” (Isaiah 40:1) coming from the GC, but a whole lot of, “Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your laborers.” (Isaiah 58:3). I can appreciate this gesture of stooping to consider what us ‘laborers’ in the pews think, but we might all think a lot more clearly if the GC would drop their legal whips, altogether, and follow Jesus . . . or would we ? Sometimes we forget to ‘take out the trash’ until it stinks. So, let us thank God for the warning stench, again, and again . . . and again.

We SDAs are a Gospel ‘religion’ NOT a merely legal ‘state’.

  1. Yes,
    But the appointed team must act as equals – not patrons – willing to also accept ‘sensitivity’ and ‘counsel’ and God’s own answers to ‘prayers’. Counsel based upon Christ’s own stated and clearly-published – not merely ‘voted’ – desires and actions for His own SDA church. Desires and actions which have been known, but neglected and/or rejected – in heart, if not in mind – for at least 130 years, now, by the assembled General Conferences over which Christ’s Spirit has evidently NOT been allowed to ‘preside’. If He had been, then today His Spirit, alone, would now be allowed and encouraged by the GC to ‘govern’ all SDAs, as if we are conscientious adults, not clueless, misbehaving children needing to be patronized: The Spirit of, “Christ in you, the hope of glory . . . for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. . . therefore let no mere man judge you . . . .” (Paul to the Colossians)

  2. No,
    Not until the GC, as a body of free, conscientious adults unanimously agrees – from the heart – to comply with Christ’s own stated and well-documented desires for His own SDA ‘body’ of which He, alone, is the ‘Head’. A ‘Head’ well connected to, and therefore well able to deal with, each individual part of that body, as well as solely able to the coordinate the actions of those many parts. When the parts of my body no longer respond to my ‘head’, I will look for a doctor, a healer, not for another person’s mind to forcefully preside over my body parts . . . ‘or else !’.

  3. NO !!!
    That would be an open, ‘legal’ act of treason against the government of ‘President’-Christ, especially as things stand right now in the GC, seen from Heaven’s perspective. Christ governs the individual through the Heaven-trained ‘conscience’ of their ‘heart’. When the GC legally ‘votes’ to attempt to enslave (‘train’) individual consciences, they are not only ‘condemning God to justify themselves’, but they are robbing Christ of his free conscientious subjects which He ‘trains’ and gains through His Gospel. Like the Kings and Priests of Israel and Judah, the ‘GC’ is merely a ‘steward’, or an ‘ambassador’, of God’s authority and Gospel, with no independent authority of its own to oppose that ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’. To pledge ‘legal’ allegiance to such a mere ‘steward’ or ‘ambassador’ –
    especially if they are in Gospel rebellion – is the first step toward open rebellion against Heaven.

  4. Yes,
    To the extent that they speak for Christ as informed students of His – not merely their – desires for action in His SDA church-kingdom.

  5. Yes,
    To the extent that they vote according to Christ’s stated desires for heart-‘action’, regardless of any mis-informed or openly-rebellious GC Session’s merely ‘legal’, voted, form-al-‘action’.

The SDA GC has proven in the past that it will seek to ‘legally’ – by vote – rebel against Heaven’s heart-Kingdom Gospel . . . will seek to be ‘Gospel Rebels’, even while apparently upholding the ‘Law if God’ ( just not in the invisible, free, individual, conscientious ‘heart’ ). At the 1888 GC Session a substantial portion of the delegates were ready to vote into a mere ‘legal’ creed just what SDAs were to ‘believe’ and ‘obey’, whether hypocritically, or not. This was in direct opposition to what the Holy Spirit – sent by Jesus from Heaven – was trying to teach SDAs at that conference through Waggoner and Jones regarding the Heavenly Gift of Gospel-belief – the Faith of Jesus – that works to keep God’s law, not through fear, but through affectionate love, and as a result purifies the ‘soul temple’, enabling our lips to pray ‘clean’ right prayers from the heart where Christ’s Holy Spirit reigns by free choice. That Gospel-purification – or ‘righting’ of ‘the holy’ – was made available beginning in 1844, after 2300 years of the reign of mere ‘form’-al hypocrisy in the heart-kingdoms of far, far too many of God’s people.

Later, Jones reminded the 1893 General Conference Session (The Third Angel’s Message, #12, 1893 GCDB) – as clearly, publicly recorded in the General Conference Daily Bulletin of 1893 – “Were we not told at that time (1888) that the angel of God said, ‘Do not take that step; you do not know what is in that.’ ? 'I can’t take time to tell you what is in that, but the angel has said,‘Do not do it.’ The papacy was in it. That was what the Lord was trying to tell us, get us to understand.” You see, as Ellen wrote in DA 615, “It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth.”, and pure ‘motives’ reside only in the individual human ‘heart’, and perhaps in Godly unanimous votes, but never in mere ‘majority votes’, such as those the GC seeks to enforce upon all SDAs in a form of ‘spiritual rape’.

We SDAs have been repeatedly warned in our historical records, so that any ‘voted action’ taken by GC Sessions – and especially since 1888’s near-disaster – must be scrutinized and compared to that 2300-year-old anti-Christian, mere ‘form’-al, ‘law-enforced’ anti-Gospel hypocrisy which the ‘papacy’ so successfully exploits. Now, should an SDA GC Session ‘vote’ to do the same, or similar, and then be obeyed ? ! And, if those who have ‘eyes that see’ the GC’s ‘voted action’ error(s) are not allowed to speak up against, or to vote down errors, who will warn us of our danger(s) ?

  1. Yes,
    To the extent that they refuse to waver from following Christ, and refuse to become, or to follow, mere ‘bully’ committee members who prefer to follow themselves – and are not afraid to lead others into their personal ‘cult’.

. . . In other words, only those who comprehend and appreciate the long-neglected gifts given to the SDA church by Heaven 130 years ago – and even before there was a ‘GC’, 174 years ago – have a clue as to how Christ still desires to lead His SDA church, today, and will not get in His way . . . those are the ‘stewards’ and ‘ambassadors’ who are helping Heaven to point our way Home, and out of this ‘Groundhog Day’ ‘legal’ mess, NOT ill-informed GC Sessions or bullied Committees.

Ellen, writing to P.T. Magan (founder of ‘Andrews University’ in Berrien Springs, Mi ) from South Lancaster, Mass., Dec. 7, 1901, just as she was heading into exile in Australia:

"How can finite man carry the burdens of responsibility for this time? His people have been far behind. Human agencies under the divine planning may recover something of what is lost because the people who had great light did not have corresponding piety, sanctification, and zeal in working out God’s specified plans. They have lost to their own disadvantage what they might have gained to the advancement of the truth if they had carried out the plans and will of God. Man can not possibly stretch over that gulf that has been made by the workers who have not been following the divine Leader. We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel, but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action. Now, have men who claim to believe the Word of God learned their lesson that obedience is better than sacrifice? “He hath showed thee (this rebellious people) O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God”? "

When we claim ‘It’s God’s will.’ as a defense for our own wrong, ‘insubordinate’ ‘actions’, we ‘charge God’. And God’s will for His ‘patient saints’ has been clearly-expressed in the free gift of the Gospel of ‘the Faith of Jesus’ no less than in ‘the Commandments of God’. (Rev.14:12) Therefore those who rebel against that Gospel of just how God puts His Law into human hearts – motivating them to freely subordinate their wills to His own desires – are just as guilty of insubordination against God as if they had ‘crucified’, had ‘humiliated’ His Law. Mere ‘forms’ and ‘legal actions’ cannot ‘hide’ their guilt from Heaven’s eyes. The Jewish leaders who tried to cover up their mistakes in humiliating their Messiah learned that fact.

So, what d’ya say ? Does it sound reasonable, that before any ‘delegate’ or ‘GC committee member’ shows up at the next GC Session, or committee meeting, they should be expected to study up on the mistakes made in past sessions in order to learn why we are still here, on Earth – 130 years later – holding GC sessions at all . . . and then try to ‘vote’ our ‘Way’ Home ?

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Someone should publish a list of unions not in compliance with voted actions of General Conference Sessions and of the GC Executive Committee; detailing each deviation from policy. This will allow everyone to know who is eligible to cast stones in the first round.

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I think we need a well-conducted survey among the North American membership regarding women’s ordination. I’m amazed we haven’t had this study yet. Both the pro- and anti-WO groups assert that members overwhelmingly support their side (I’d place my bet on the pro-WO assertion), and now the leaders are supposed to project the “opinions of their membership?”

Data speak louder than words. Someone get it done!

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Who posting here would like the denomination to be a plebiscite on this issue?

Why did the American founding fathers establish a republic instead of a democracy?

What % of SDA are NOT poor, blind , naked, lukewarm , worldly/secular minded Laodiceans who have never once read the whole bible, who probably have never read even 1/4 of it (New Testament), who spend less than 3% of their weekly waking minutes on spiritual matters or devotions, or ever read their SS lesson???

How often do you hear calls or appeals for members to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Evidently they don’t have it …and if they don’t, will they vote appropriately?

Today I listened to an online SS lesson at one of the largest SDA churches in USA and heard ZERO bible verses read for 40 minutes.

I am watching the denomination head toward a crisis and crash & burn state.

Compared to the bible thumping, verse by verse teaching SUNday/Babylon churches I also attend, the SDA churches I visit are a fanatic, pathetic lot.

"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mk 8:38

Just one SDA Central Calif conference church. Even the conference president knew he was an extraordinary pastor teacher

plus 2 non denom & 1 Baptist church.

All with expository teaching pastors

Most pastors present , non fat dry milk typical topical shallow theological therapy, nurturing, soft sell, sugar coated, feel good, damage control, cliché , obscure religious lingo loaded lectures.

Former GC ministerial director, Roy Allan Anderson, would say…“a few happy thoughts served on a dainty dish of some obscure text.”

BTW, the homiletics book I got that from , I told a SDA pastor about and he said after he had read that book (somewhat recently) that he understood he had been preaching wrong for 25 years.

One can identify institutionals by their remarks about others who are…“attacking the church”

Did U figure it out yet?

Readers, notice the overwhelming number of “likes” after my post…and the “likes” after the posts of those who challenge mine…
One of my chief regrets is returning all of that tithe to this denomination.

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Honestly, I don’t see this as an altogether bad or good thing. It is what it is and I’m okay with it either way. Churches and denominations have come and gone throughout the millennia. God isn’t looking for a church, he’s looking for individuals, collectively or independently to reflect his image. This obsession with whether the denomination survives or dies is just another idolatry.

um… say what?

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Save the headline, “General Conference Re-asks the Questions of 2017”, to reinsert a new year…each and every year.

4 Likes