Iowa-Missouri Conference President Issues Open Letter Regarding GC’s Compliance Documents and Committees

Editor’s Note: On October 1, 2018, Dean Coridan, president of the Iowa-Missouri Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, issued an open letter to constituents regarding the GC’s compliance documents and committees. The letter follows in its entirety:

To the constituents of the Iowa-Missouri Conference:

As your elected representative I feel it is my duty to communicate to you my concerns regarding the recent developments at the General Conference, namely the GC administrative committee’s latest document “Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions,” their formation of five compliance review committees, and their decision to activate two of these committees ahead of Annual Council (which, incidentally, bypasses the recommended process they themselves laid out in the document).

These developments have been an ongoing topic of discussion for the Iowa-Missouri Conference executive committee, which is entrusted with the responsibility of representing your interests between constituency sessions. The committee and I are greatly troubled by and strongly oppose the move toward a hierarchical form of church governance and a centralization of power within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

In Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (p. 291, 292), Ellen White writes:

Everything that has been planned in regard to consolidation shows that men are seeking to grasp the scepter of power and hold control over human minds. But God does not work with them in their devising, and the voice they now have in the cause of God is not the voice of God. They have proved themselves utterly unworthy of a place as wise managers; for their strength is used to turn men away from their rights, to benefit themselves. There have been acts of apparent liberality, but God knows the motive which governed them, and He will not accept their offerings until they repent and become conscientious doers of His word.

There is great necessity for unity in the work and cause of God; but for a long time influences have been at work seeking to create disaffection, and the men who feel that they have the power in their hands care little. They say within themselves: When this consolidation is perfected, we will show them who is master. We will then bring things into line. But they will never have that work to do.

Over 150 years ago, the Adventist Church was founded as a Protestant movement with a representative form of governance. In line with these ideals, current policies (Section B 95 of GC Working Policy) already lay out a process by which the church is to deal with an entity that decides to go its own way. These existing policies rightly make the erring entity accountable to its own representative governing body, not to the GC. The GC’s and each division’s role, then, is to provide counsel and resources to unions and conferences to help them navigate such matters.

If this document is approved at Annual Council and these compliance review committees are allowed to begin policing any entity they choose, we will cease to be a Protestant movement. Instead of churches being accountable to their boards and members, and instead of conferences and unions being accountable to their executive committees and constituents, all authority will be placed in the hands of a small group of leaders at the GC and their five hand-picked committees. Instead of larger issues being decided by a two-thirds majority of GC executive committee members, they will instead be decided by a simple majority—and those who don’t fall in line will be publicly reprimanded/humiliated for expressing dissent.

Sister White makes clear in the above quotation that individuals who advocate for consolidation and centralization of power and unwarranted authority in our church have unfit themselves from serving in office. I believe we must heed her counsel and call a question of confidence on the current GC administration.

What is being done under the guise of unity can only hope to produce conformity, but God will never accept conformity in place of unity. Only the Holy Spirit can produce unity in the church.

From the passing of the first unity document in 2016, disunity in the church has only increased. This gives no glory to God. Please join me in seeking the Lord at this critical time. Let us ask Him specifically to pour out His Spirit to do the work He alone can do: form the spirit of man within him (Zech. 12:1). Then and only then will Jesus’ prayer in John 17 be realized, that we may be one as He and the Father are one.

If God gives me the opportunity to address the GC executive committee at Annual Council, as your representative I will urge them to reject this latest document, disband the compliance review committees, and repeal their 2016 approval of the first unity document.

Annual Council will take place October 11-17. Between now and then, I encourage you to not only make this a matter of specific, unified prayer, but also to familiarize yourselves with what has transpired over the last two years. To learn more visit imsda.org/policy-discussion.

God bless,

Dean Coridan President, Iowa-Missouri Conference

This letter originally appeared on the Iowa-Missouri Conference website.

Photo: Dean Coridan at Annual Council 2017 during the discussion on the document “Procedures for Reconciliation and Adherence in Church Governance.” Image Credit: Flickr.com / North American Division / Dan Weber.

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 http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9061
1 Like

Seems like anti-GC compliance forces are …consolidating.

2 Likes

this is the second call for a vote of confidence in TW’s presidency that i’ve seen from a conference (the first was here: Berlin-Central German Conference Issues Statement to General Conference )…this likely means there are other conference and union leaders who are thinking the same thing…

i think we can safely say that whatever the original intent of the compliance review committees, they aren’t leading to unity…even more so than with the san antonio vote, they seem to be exacerbating disunity and insurrection…is this an indication that the fruit of the compliance review committees aren’t good, which would in turn mean that the compliance review committees themselves aren’t good…

but everything the GC has done since 2014, or so, has tended towards disunity…even NADOUP’s 2014 recommendation to move NAD out of the GC headquarters seemed to suggest disunity at the time, at least in the minds of some…maybe we really have been on the receiving end of a big drip-drip hint that the GC doesn’t want unity, and that in fact no-one wants unity, without even knowing it…after-all, if no-one in the GC, divisions, unions, or conferences did anything whatsoever since 2014, would there be more disunity than there is now…

5 Likes

Pastor Coridan:

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you, be gracious unto you and give you peace.

We need leaders like you and may your tribe increase in numbers.

BTW, where are our other leaders? Collateral damage even before the AC2018 begins?

14 Likes

Sounds like Ted had gone a bridge too far.

8 Likes

i think people are holding their fire…and i think we’re going to see real fireworks in a few days…the compliance review committees seem to have pushed buttons that even san antonio didn’t…

5 Likes

it’s the predictable result, given the GC’s apparent grab for power…no-one wants to lose power without a fight…

2 Likes

Thank you Pastor Coridan for showing back bone! This is what EVERY Conference and Union President should do before the AC18 meetings start.

The only thing I think is missing in the paragraph I quoted above is to include disbanding also the whole GC - an institution that now became an embarrassment to the members of the Adventist Church.

Please continue fighting for this abuse of power at the GC level!!!
Thanks for being part of the oppositional movement, helping the dominos effect to take place faster.

Image result for dominos picture

8 Likes

I have the impression that God is going to speak loudly this time… :sunglasses:

7 Likes

you know, george, your call to disband the GC is looking more and more credible all the time…i don’t think anyone wants to see a gestapo church…

9 Likes

It is so great to see Jeremy on the same page we are unlike AC2017. After all Jeremy represents a large swath of the SDA population out there…

5 Likes

I know Jeremy, sometimes people may think that I am joking, or just being unrealistic about eliminating the GC. But I am not, I am serious. As long as the GC keeps utilizing the same tools the Gestapo, the KGB, and many others used, I will call for the dismantling of that obviously ill-intentioned agency of the Church.

I saw this coming for a long time. This is why I launched my candidacy for GC President in 2014 or so (for SA15), remember?.. Well, it didn’t work very well… but my platform was to dismantle the GC within 6 months of my governance. After all, NOBODY benefits from its existence.

Now the Conferences and Unions can finally see the wisdom of my platform at that time… I bet they would support me now… :roll_eyes:
WDYT, should I run for 2020? Ted Wilson is certainly already running, so… :innocent:

4 Likes

not so fast, elmer…see my comment on the NCC thread…i think we can all agree that we don’t want to see totalitarian government from the GC, but do we want to see it at our conferences or unions…according to what Spectrum is reporting, NCC and PUC aren’t even bothering to discuss several concerns submitted by constituents, likely conservative constituents…are NCC and PUC catering only to progressives…if so, why are they expecting fair treatment from the GC…

2 Likes

As in medicine when formulating a differential diagnoses, you rank your diagnoses beginning with the most critical and emergent diagnosis then down the line. At this point in time, AC2018 trumps the rest…

3 Likes

Whew . . .
I’ve been waiting anxiously to hear someone in a position to do more than nothing,
suggest such a thing !

1 Like

I would like to see a letter from outside NAD, NED or SPD. Until that happens we are still largely in the same blocks as SA. Nothing will change until those blocks dissolve.

3 Likes

but if one diagnosis is causing the other, isn’t it prudent to deal with that causative diagnosis first…if NCC’s refusal to listen to conservative constituents is causing the GC’s proposed actions at AC2018, maybe their conservative constituents concerns are what they should be turning their attention to first…

3 Likes

The GC issue will cause more pain for a larger swath of church members than NCC. That has to be contained, then it trickles down. You’d better contain the stroke than excise an ingrown toe nail. :laughing:

2 Likes

I’d like to see leaders from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, particularly the Philippine union conferences where I come from, stand up and be counted. Sadly there is a concept known as “ under the saya” meaning the husbands hide under their wives’ skirts. Very strong tradition. :wink:

3 Likes

HaHa… Good one Elmer! … LOL
Have it in Portuguese, “Atrás da saia da mulher.” (Behind the wife’s skirt)

4 Likes