Hosting of Stephen Bohr Creates Chaos in Potomac Conference Churches

After preaching for a January Sabbath service at the Roanoke Seventh-day Adventist Church, Steve Leddy, the Potomac Conference associate director of pastoral ministries, was speaking with one of the church’s elders. As the Roanoke Church is currently without a pastor, such conversations have been routine. This one, however, was different. In passing, Leddy was informed that Stephen Bohr had been invited to speak at the church on May 5–6.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/news/2023/hosting-stephen-bohr-creates-chaos-potomac-conference-churches

I am a little disappointed by this news report. What disqualifies Stephen Bohr is not that he opposes women’s ordination, believes in last generation theology, has on various occasions ratified disobedience to the Church Manual, has been defiant toward SDA Church administrators, or has been a divisive wrecker of various local churches. What disqualifies him is that he is not a Christian, as Christians have defined themselves and safeguarded the name of Christ throughout the centuries. Bohr is a notorious and outspoken promoter of the anti-Trinitarian heresy of neosubordination, which holds that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father in the functional sense.

Neosubordination is precisely the charge urged by Lucifer in his rebellion in heaven. The principal endeavor of the counterfeit trinity is to diminish and debase the Son.

I realize that SDAs have historically struggled to be Christians. Many of the Adventist pioneers were anti-Trinitarians. Ellen White was slow to affirm Trinitarianism. For many decades, the larger Christian community appropriately assessed that SDAs are not Christians. Not until 1957 with the publication of Questions on Doctrine did SDAs attempt to counter that assessment. But then immediately afterwards, a large faction of our faith community continued to debase Christ in another way by claiming that He has a sinful human nature. And when Samuele Bacchiocchi in 1987 ushered into the SDA Church the anti-Trinitarian heresy of neosubordination, (a glittering bauble of a new twist on the ancient Arian heresy), there was no pushback whatsoever.

I understand that some people think that everyone who wants to be called a Christian should be regarded as a Christian, whether that person is an SDA anti-Trinitarian like Bohr, a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness, or a secular philosopher who thinks highly of Jesus. But if we follow that convention, we misrepresent who and what God truly is. We become false witnesses. We become disciples of the counterfeit trinity.

Everyone should read my review of the Seminary’s video presentations on the Trinity and watch them. The No-Longer Neglected Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity (spectrummagazine.org). And everyone should read Matthew L. Tinkham, Jr.'s essay on neosubordination, in which he identifies prominent SDA neosubordinationists, including Bohr. (See footnote 79). “Neo-subordinationism: The Alien Argumentation in the Gender Debate” by Matthew L. Tinkham Jr. (andrews.edu).

I wish the messaging of Potomac Conference had been more precise, accurate, and informed by the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. But I applaud raising the heat in the crucible on those who need to be refined, not only for their sake but for the benefit of those who do not deserve to be deceived.

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this article is a good deal more detailed and nuanced than the accounts given in Fulcrum7, but i remain convinced that President Tapp and the Potomac Conference have demonstrated exceptionally poor management in this entire Roanoke-Gaithersburg saga…there doesn’t seem to have been any recognition anywhere in Conference leadership of the strength of feeling in conservative Adventist communities who aren’t OK with WO and other progressive initiatives, particularly in wake of the San Antonio vote…one would have thought that a Conference bucking a GC vote and appeal from a GC president would be more tolerant of resistance to its own authority…

how much wiser would it have been to simply allow Roanoke and Gaithersburg the dignity of their invitation to a speaker they held in regard to proceed unopposed…Pastor Bohr would have come and gone by now, and the entire Conference would have moved on smoothly, and without incident…but the Potomac Conference’s efforts to micromanage and insert itself into this situation, not to mention second guess its own churches’ conservative values, after allowing a pro-LGBT presentation in one of its progressive churches (according to Fulcrum7), will now have an impact that will likely linger for yrs to come, and possibly ignite conflicts elsewhere in the Conference…

effective leadership has to be about empowering those being led, and of fostering a climate that affords maximum freedom and dignity to all involved…but picking theological winners and losers, as the Potomac Conference has obviously attempted to do, through a not so subtle attempt to force its views under the guise of shepherding, can only produce the kind of backlash that’s going on now…the exodus of 85% of an entire church’s membership says it all…

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Well, I guess Bohr has once again answered the question of whether or not he is divisive by being just that. It is also disheartening to see that there remains an audience for the poisonous headship doctrine and LGT. :cry:

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To be silent is to be complicit. Silence is taking a side.

You are OK with preaching that Jesus is not a full member and equal in the Godhead? This is not heresy to you?

When is the 5 Ways to Cook Steak cooking school arriving at an Adventist church near you?

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It’s ironic that some claim Bohr preaches the gospel, when this man clearly is not preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ or seem to understand what it means. Any religion based on our works is a false one. The Bible and the church SOP us clear on that. Jesus is our Substitute and His life is ours and lives within us when we accept Him as Lord and Saviour. We repent of sin and are forgiven immediately None are perfect outside of Jesus’ as Substitute. We continue to be sanctified but still make mistakes and are forgiven. We are perfect in Him whatever level we are on. Thus we can rest in Him which is what the Sabbath symbolizes and we celebrate His rest, The keeping of a day does not save us. I believe in the Trinity but I doubt we are saved or lost on that issue. However, Bohr seems a long way from perfect if he believes in such. Jesus is our center not man made traditions or we would be practicing polygamy as done in the OT where women were owned.

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To exclude any preacher on the basis of their opposition to women’s ordination is insane! Conservatives are always described as totalitarian or extremist…but the majority of the world sda church does not agree with WO and for a conference to use that as one of the reasons to not even allow a pastor to speak at the pulpit is the definition of extreme.

Since when did wo become a test of faith? Nad argued that each area should be able to decide for itself but I guess that doesn’t apply to individual churches??? So no one who opposed wo can preach in any Potomac conf church even as a passing guest? Absurd…and talk about a compliance committee lol the conference leaders are taking much more extreme steps than the gc on this

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If Bohr’s theological stance requires diminishing the role of Jesus to support an argument for limiting the role of women, then his theological perspective raises questions. Have I grasped the concept accurately?

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It doesn’t matter what any wannabe Christian says or thinks in regards to who is and who is not a Christian.

What matters is what Jesus thinks.

But he left the scene several years ago without providing any unambiguous instructions on how to determine if one is or is, or is not, part of his club.

That said, maybe one day he’ll return and say to some, “Hey, I know you!” while not even recognizing others who claim to be his biggest fans.

In the meantime, however, and based on the reports we do have, it seems best to avoid trying to make this determination on our own and to instead leave those particular judgments to Jesus and his dad.

You say you can’t wait that long to know who’s in or out?

I’m thinking waiting may not only be the best option, it is, in fact, the only option Jesus left us.

Are you still confident that the SDA center will hold?

Would you be willing to place a gentleman’s wager of one US dollar to a Canadian “loonie” that a schism is inevitable?

How confident are you that Bohr is not the next David Koresh?!?!

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Look, I usually really like your comments, but if you’re willing to trust a bunch of vegetarians to cook a proper Chicago medium, you’re a whole lot braver than I am. (Sorry, I’m being handed a note from Neil Nedley saying it’s a plant-based lifestyle now, because apparently “vegetarian” wasn’t pretentious.)

But speaking of silence, you’re absolutely right. The letter from that one member is…well, look at it again:

It’s wild to me how anyone thinks this is a reasonable thing to do. (Except it’s not, because I’ve been there before, and have no interest in reliving it. Maryland isn’t the only place with members like this. Honestly, I’m pretty sure most SDA congregations have at least one lurking, although most contain them.)

Anyway, they’re free to sound like – let’s just say it – an unhinged lunatic. But the congregational leaders allowed this member to seemingly hand this out to everyone, and not even rebut with “hey yo, we don’t think the Potomac Conference is the arm of Satan.” If they don’t speak up, they don’t get to complain when everyone else thinks they agree with it.

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Yes well, their coverage also has a header photo where, amusingly, everyone in attendance appears to be asleep. You’d think a speaker worth fighting over would be less boring (or Bohr-ing).

Not really. AToday covered this, and it seems the head elder just straight up lied to the congregation. They were told if they attended a meeting, they’d be kicked out of the Potomac Conference, which of course isn’t true.

But none of this really matters. These same people want to tell every other church how to run their pulpit when it comes to women, but when they’re told not to give air to one specific well-known neo-Arian (see Phil’s comment), they throw a fit and drop their membership. The self-absorption and hypocrisy is astounding.

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Astounding?

Or just Adventists being Adventists and purported Christians being Christians?

Could this be prevented?

Sure.

All anyone has to do is prove that Jesus never intended to start another religion

Which of course is impossible as we have no way to prove a negative.

So even if an individual wants to help, he cannot refute the basic assumption-even though it is only that-and conclusively show that all of Christianity is unfounded and Ill-conceived. Thus, the 2,000 year long, slow motion train wreck of internecine subdivision cannot be prevented as the cult Jesus never personally sanctioned tears itself into smaller and smaller subsects.

What are an individual’s options?

As far as I can tell the choices are to get on board and go along for the ill-fated ride or choose to stay home, tend one’s garden as Voltaire suggests, and do his best to avoid becoming collateral damage as the carnage continues.

:wink:

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The Adventist theology, itself, is responsible for this chaos. The Adventist “catechism” - “the 27… 28,…29? Points of Doctrine” titled, Seventh-day Adventists Believe… contains the word “gospel” 4 times within its 392 pages including the INDEX and the TABLE OF CONTENTS. No mention of “gospel” in the Table of Contents, and only as “Gospel commission” in the Index. In fact, there is no definition of GOSPEL in the entire book (the 27 point version). Seventh-day Adventist do not know the definition of GOSPEL.

Those of us who have stumbled across the definition of the word, and survived the “Adventist Inquisition”, also known as “Glacier View” left the church, either physically or intellectually, but are hanging on emotionally. The academic arm of the church is trying hard to reconcile some of the tenants of Adventism for the sake of their jobs or their sanity, or both, living with dichotomy.

The inner kernel of Adventism embraces all that Bohr is preaching. It is what the older generation grew up with and was fed weekly; so they remain in the pews, asleep. The youth have left and are just waiting for emancipation when life takes them physically away. Then we have the cultural divide. Let’s just say, good Catholics make good Adventists. It happened in my own family, where Adventist life hadn’t changed much except for the candles and Friday fish dinners.

And so it goes - until the split - in which case both sides declare themselves as the winner.

,

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That’s the crux of the matter. The nonsense that is taught by Bohr, Batchelor, Wilson, Findley, Köhler and their fellow travellers, as well as the idiocy promoted at Fulcrum7 by guys like David Read, Larry Kirkpatrick as well as their immature and puerile supporters in their comment section is false, pernicious, immoral and evil, but it’s thoroughly Adventist. Idolatrous veneration of EGWs writings (with many of the extremists referring to these writings as the “spirit of prophecy”), ridiculous conspiracy theories about “Sunday laws”, an infantile belief in a 6000 year old creation, a childish and narcissistic sense of self-importance, predicting that SDAs will uniquely be selected for persecution, are all part and parcel of SDA tradition. It’s complete and utter nonsense, and I strongly suspect many of the ring leaders know it’s all nonsense, but it’s thoroughly Adventist.

Schism will be the likely result where the adults who have moved on from 19th century silliness and the physically older but emotionally immature will cling to the immorality and falsehood of the 19th century will no longer cohabit within the same organization.

I wouldn’t give a toss about it if traditional SDAism was only practiced among consenting adults, but I’ve seen too much of the harm inflicted on innocent and defenceless children through the indoctrination programmes for me to be left indifferent.

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Bohr wasn’t divisive for the people who invited him and presumably paid his flight, fare and stay, not to mention offerings…

in reality he was divisive only for the people who had nothing to do with the situation, but who insisted on using their clout to force their own personal theology onto those whom they obviously were’t skilled enough to convince otherwise…of course that clout didn’t stop the meetings, either at Gaithersburg or at Roanoke - it apparently led to overflow attendances - and now they’re minus 85% of the tithe and offerings of the Gaithersburg Church, and stuck with a pitiful 15% remnant without so much as a place to meet…my guess is that irretrievable losses from Roanoke can’t be far behind…

as for the Church of the Brethren, renting out to Gaithersburg, i can’t imagine any of them being impressed with the Potomac Conference, nor anyone in the area who would have read about this sordid soap opera in local papers…for that matter, wherever this story has circulated, i’m sure there are those who now have a less than favourable impression of our Church…it’s just bad calculation by the Potomac Conference on so many levels…

have you noticed that the entire bible is a demonstration of patriarchy, which is headship on steroids, and that all of egw demonstrates a mindset that was OK with women not being allowed to vote…do you think God disqualified persons from these backgrounds from being his spokespersons…

Gaithersburg and Roanoke are practically hillbilly country…good luck with spreading any part of your enlightened mantra there…

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This threating warning, was a long letter send to every member. It sounds like a Papal Bull, to me. Although I am not in harmony with Bohr, I wish for Religious Freedom and Liberty to be practiced as the church has taught for many years. There are many other ways love could find to resolve the situation. In my opinion, some at the Conference are playing the part of a bully, Worst of all, over theology that has EGW endorsement. Why not be honest, as let the Conference say the truth, they do not agree with EGW on some the the issue that Bohr is teaching from EGW.

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Not clear, @vandieman.

Yikes: This is a poster for an example of “avoiding the question.”

Why shouldn’t a conference exercise critical oversight on matters that come under its purview?

Should the criteria, as you state, for speakers be that the local church holds them “in regard”?

Why?

Why isn’t the difference that the GC voted on matters over which it simply does not have say; i.e., like me voting for the presidency of Victor Ponta, over Klaus Iohannis, though I’m not a resident of Romania?

HA

I agree with @Yoyito. I say this as a person who is pro-W.O.

That someone is against women’s ordination doesn’t seem like it should be a reason to prohibit a speaker, especially since the SDA church has no established or set position, let alone a doctrine, on the topic. (That is, unless a subject has become utterly explosive and divisive, for some reason, it seems that a conference would do well not to modulate its discussion at the local level. This is especially the case in countries, like the U.S., which place a high value on free speech.)

The problem, however, seems to be Bohr’s W.O. position is encumbered with other ideas, some of which have been spoken to here; e.g., @phil’s statement on neosubordination.

Also, as @sgir.v states, Bohr’s Last Generation Theology is, from an SDA position, a heresy.

Further, Bohr apparently has a track record for being a “destroyer of worlds”; i.e., he leaves wrecked churches in his wake. If nothing else, based on the above narrative, he seems to have a grifter-like respect for church structure, authority, and hierarchy. These alone, it seems, should, perhaps, lead church groups to 100-yard dash the other way whenever he appears.

HA

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Well stated and succintly accurate. My only comment is that you have left off some (quite a few) names that should be in that list that peddle falsehoods daily within Adventism and are venerated by Adventists who want to be fed what to believe instead of studying for themselves. If we continue to excuse and sweep things under the rug, we will become less and less relevant in a world that needs to hear the good message that Adventism has. Does anyone still remember what that message is?

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I am not claiming the Conference handled this all that well, but their actions did not cause the divisiveness, it was already there, just not as visible. Sure, the Conference could have just kept out of it and no one would be the wiser. It is clear that there are strong divisions within the Roanoke Seventh-day Adventist Church driven primarily by those inflexible supporters of headship theology and LGT within that congregation. Fire-breathing ultra-conservatives have always been the ultimate source of divisiveness of this kind.

The Conference should at least be given some credit for trying to turn down the heat. If the local church and Bohr would have agreed to meet at an off-church location, they could have proceeded, but that would not have prevented the divisive nature of Bohr;s message from poisoning the church.

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