The assertion that Ellen White states in CT 431.1 that religion/theology teachers must possess “ministerial experience, (e.g., as a pastor, evangelist, chaplain, Bible instructor, literature evangelist)” is clearly erroneous. She states that the “best ministerial talent” should “be employed,” but she does not imply or suggest, as Ted Wilson’s administration urges, that the best ministerial talent in the Seventh-day Adventist Church is comprised solely of pastors, evangelists, chaplains, Bible instructors, and literature evangelists. To argue that only pastors, evangelists, chaplains, Bible instructors, and literature evangelists possess what can be characterized as “best ministerial talent” perpetuates the medieval church’s heretical dichotomy of the church membership into clergy and laity. Second, the argument disparages those Seventh-day Adventists possessing “best ministerial talent” who work in other professions. Third, there is nothing about the work experience of a pastor, evangelist, chaplain, Bible instructor, or literature evangelist that prepares a religion/theology teacher for the teaching of biblical languages, hermeneutics, First Amendment law, archaeology, business ethics and administration, and other matters of importance to religion/theology students.
Notice the rest of Ellen White’s quotation that is conveniently ignored. She stresses that students should learn from a number of religion/theology teachers, not just one. CT 432.1. Together with that point, she stresses that different and varied perspectives should be shared with students. Id. Drawing on the fact that we have four different Gospel accounts that offer different emphases, she states: “Often through unusual experiences, under special circumstances, He gives to some Bible students views of truth that others do not grasp.” CT 432.4. Granted, you want many of your religion/theology teachers to possess work experience as pastors, evangelists, chaplains, Bible instructors, and literature evangelists. But you will also want to draw on the unique experiences of hermeneutists, lawyers, historians, linguists, businesspersons, archaeologists, and others who may not have work experience in what can be described as clerical roles. To mandate that religion/theology teachers possess clerical experience, as it were, disobeys Ellen White’s counsel in CT 431.1 et seq.
Why is it so hard for GC administrators to accurately interpret a text? If they cannot accurately interpret CT 431.1 et seq., what confidence can we have in their representations that they accurately interpret Daniel 8:14? Don’t they realize that chronic, recidivist, and self-serving misinterpretations of texts ultimately undermine the credibility of the Church? What I find appalling is not that a text is misinterpreted from time to time but that no one in the GC building in Silver Spring seems to care. As long as a favored administrative purpose is furthered, misinterpretation is acceptable to them.
I would urge that instead of mandating particular work experience, such particular work experience be designated as a beneficial factor toward an applicant’s hiring and accreditation.