LA Adventist Forum Recordings: Adventism After San Antonio

What did it feel like to be on the ground in San Antonio when the Adventist Church voted on ordination? What seismic shifts are taking place in the denomination? What is next for Adventism?

On Saturday, July 25, the Los Angeles chapter of the Adventist Forum hosted a conversation digging into those questions at the Glendale City Church. Five presenters led the conversation: Kendra Haloviak Valentine, a General Conference Session delegate and New Testament professor, her husband Gilbert Valentine, an Adventist historian who accompanied her to San Antonio, La Sierra University president emeritus and GC delegate Larry Geraty, Spectrum Editor Bonnie Dwyer and Spectrum Website Managing Editor Jared Wright, who together led Spectrum's reporting team in San Antonio.

Below is the audio recording of the meeting, divided into eight segments. Click on a link to begin the MP3. Recordings courtesy of the Glendale City Church and the LA Adventist Forum chapter.

Glibert Valentine on several major shifts in the Seventh-day Adventist Church (11:34).

Kendra Haloviak Valentine on pleading with friends and her students not to leave (8:21).

Bonnie Dwyer's interstitial remarks and introduction of Larry Geraty (2:08).

Larry Geraty on the way the denomination has changed the Fundamental Beliefs he helped to craft in 1980 (15:30).

Question and Answer Part One (21:05).

Bonnie Dwyer's remarks on the new landscape in Adventist media and introduction of Jared Wright (4:12).

Jared Wright on media at the General Conference, Millennial voices, and how a hashtag became a movement (11:37).

Question and Answer Part Two (19:33).

*Clarification on Twitter media impressions. In his presentation, Jared Wright noted that on July 8, Spectrum's Twitter accounts garnered 2 million impressions, stating that 2 million people saw Spectrum's tweets. In fact Spectrum's tweets were seen 2 million times, rather than being seen by 2 million absolute unique viewers.*


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7003
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Larry Geraty says…

“Scholars in the church were appreciated and utilized”.

On the contrary, Neil Wilson exploited the scholars for his own goals of creating a central power.

The Wilson’s - father and son - repeatedly played the ploy of pretending to consult the academics in closed sessions, and then making official statements in public about what “happened”, even though people in those closed sessions repudiated them.

Larry Geraty describes one such instance.

“How will these now be used”. Why, to declare people heretics of course.

Why is Geraty not attacking the concept of the GC controlling the denomination? But he did, at the very end “[I] won’t allow the GC to dictate what I believe”.

“What thinking people who believes in evidence-based research is going to want to join…”

or, indeed, stay in.

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You’ve brought up a legitimate sentiment, one we can all no doubt respect. When weighing Geraty’s more balanced perspective as a well-known church employee, and I pose this as an open-ended query, is it really all that surprising to find a higher degree of professional objectivity between scholars and academics (on either side of the spectrum) than one finds on partisan-driven blogs?

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That all depends on the group of scholars and academics…lol

In reality you have a point- but I have found huge amounts of politicking/partisanship in the scholarly and academic circles.

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Geraty knows what he is talking about! Listen to what he is saying to our church. I’ve followed Dr. Larry Geraty’s work and life for a number of years. He was a teacher, mentor and ministerial colleague who I found to be honest, clear, and very thorough as an academician and creative thinker. He is among other things an excellent archeologist. To think like an archaeologist, it’s important to understand what an archaeologist actually does. While movies such as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark may pique our interest in archaeology, they also may lead to misconceptions about the field. According to the Society for American Archaeology, the essential concepts of archaeology are that cultural systems are the focus of anthropological study; awareness of the past is a fundamental element of archaeological study; archaeology is the scientific study of cultures, based on their material remains; humans affect and are affected by cultural resources; and stewardship of archaeological resources saves the past for the future. All of this background has served him well to be fair in the current discussion of WO issues. This background makes Dr. Geraty an extraordinary resource in our study and journey to deciding on the WO issue. Larry looks carefully at the context of an issue and is not jumping to conclusions or acting on impulse. Context refers to the relationship that artifacts have to each other and the situation in which they are found. Archaeologists use context (where artifacts are found) and association (the connection to other archaeological remains found with the artifacts) to begin to reconstruct our understanding of the past. When Larry gave an opinion we all listened because we knew that as a scientist he had thought out what he was going to say in a careful manner. I’m glad he is involved in several discussions regarding what we believe is God’s leading for us.

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TW returned to Tacoma Park a winner in his own mine. Thus despite the residual tension, I believe he feels he has a mandate to purge… he finds intellectuals the greatest threat to the church…He finds his confort zone with the likes of Doug Batchelor. He is a theological greenhorn. his advanced degree is from a School of nursing. About the level of Freshman Englis… He learned politic a the feet of a master. it is called manipulation. 30 Years ago the theology of the church took a pounding. at the same time the Spirit of prophecy was revealed as popular rewrites of some obscure scholarly work. A Similar Trend was found in the Health Mssage…Now in one way or another the issue is the Final Generation. The Shaking of Adventism cut real deep.

solid scholarship has demonstrated there is no there there. So the issues have reverted to process and headship. but of what? Tom Z

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I am wondering if there might be 2 SDA churches.
That Academic world – such as Spectrum and maybe sites like Advindicate and such. The Academic world around our Universities, or persons well attached to University voices around the world.
Then there is the “common Adventist member in the local church” who has no sense that anything is going on in the church except a blurb here a blurb there from the pulpit. But really have no knowledge of any SDA discussion groups, and have really no interest in them if they do.
They only have a passing interest in what went on at GC2015, but never kept up with the questions or the vote in particular. I would think that these “common SDA members” are the huge majority of members.

Are groups like those on Spectrum and such and people that put on the Forums maybe 1%?
And 99% are those who have no ideas other than their Local Church?
Perhaps this is why anything can be done, promoted, and nothing is said. People get the type of Leadership they want, or are willing to have. And I think for the most part this is what has happened. We have an Un-Aware Citizenry in the SDA church, and being Un-Aware is Bliss.

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gilbert valentine - and i believe there’s a typo preceding the link to his presentation - mentions a few interesting “shifts” in our church, in evidence in san antonio, which i think is his euphemism for negative developments, as he sees it…i was interested in his take on our apparent shift towards “an imperial presidency”…i agree ted is imperial - i think this is his particular persona - but i disagree that this is necessarily a negative thing…israel wanted a king, we want a president…people in democracies feel connected to their president or prime minister, it’s just human nature…and if we’re going to be a world church, we can’t have a world leader who’s a wimp with no charisma…people do better under strong leadership, whether they love it or hate it…

Not true. In NZ, Australia, and many other countries Prime Ministers come and go and are generally seen as a necessary evil. Certainly not someone to follow.

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In NZ, Australia, and many other countries Prime Ministers come and go and are generally seen as a necessary evil. Certainly not someone to follow.

Too true! Especially in the case of Tony Abbott :unamused:

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What you speak of belongs to Christ, not man. As He invited the 12 to follow Him, so we also have the same invitation.The charisma belongs to him not either an elected or appointed officer. TW has made himself into a popish figure. The phrase, the highest authority of God on earth has been vastly over played…The world and the church are heading into some troubled times. The test will be individually not corporately… Thus, one must look past institutionalism to the Aurhor and Finisher of our faith. All politics is local and all religion is personal. Let us look for the One Who sealed the Everlasting Convenant. He alone is our leader. Tom Z

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Thank you for publishing the recordings.

The “Denver” story (not known to me up to now), reported by Lawrence Geraty is particularly haunting - though unfortunately not surprising. @GeorgeTichy, I now understand much better, why the Ratsara manouvre went through without any resistance. Geraty’s report (as well as Jared Writght’s) make it rather clear that there is a clear, cunning strategy, rather than innocent naivitè going on. And the Valentine’s nailed the emotions all this triggers … eerie.

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Sounds like politics, eh, Steve? One of my friends says that it is good that more don’t vote because they are woefully ignorant of most any facts, etc. lol

Most SDA’s that I have known are only interested in what goes on primarily in their church- perhaps if an issue comes up in their own conferences. They seem to just trust that the Conferences and Unions are running things and don’t concern themselves much.

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Is it possible to briefly summarize the “Denver Story” without listening to 11 minutes of tape recording?

Somebody else probably would do a better job… TW came to meeting of scientists and theologians (then chair of the Science and Religion Committee) and presented a statement that he wanted to get voted. Scientists and theologians clearly responded that this is not representing what they stand for. Instead TW got the document voted at the GC Committee. The Adventist Review presented it as being voted at the Denver meeting - where in fact the proposal was not voted for, but clearly rejected. (listen to from 7:20 - though all the 11 minutes are worth their time for some interesting historic perspective, Elaine) … This apparently was the kick-off moment for changing FB 6.

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Indeed… my local church is blissfully unaware … was blissfully unaware. Whereas being unaware is not diminishing the destructiveness of all the political manouvering I keep my church informed.

And, in fact, if you listen to Jared’s 8 minutes, there is good reason to believe that church members are starting to listen (yes, with astonishment, most of them), obtaining and creating an awareness of what is happening and what it means to the church (members leaving in the wake of San Antonio certainly add to the “wake up” feeling). Thus for instance about 900 members (up to date) have signed an open letter of solidarity and support for female pastors in Germany (which is quite an astonishing number for our little church in Germany). If you talk about:

perhaps the dividing line is not quite with “ignorant” vs. “knowing” … but if it should be, it is our task, to change that.

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Thanks, I’ll listen to that portion.

i think this is true of politics, in general…but i still think people latch on to their presidents in the u.s., and their prime ministers in canada…i think it’s human nature to want a leader who has qualities people admire…personally, i think it’s a real downer when leaders have problems, as was the case when george w. was in the white house, and i’m not even american…

We should all be reading Saul Alinsky and V.Y. Mudimbe along with the (necessary) works on hermeneutics; the first will help us know what to do about this, the second to understand part of what’s happening in Africa. Recognizing that some of the players are not intellectually able to lead, they do have the ability to corrupt. Even Harding was smart enough to do that (by whom I meant the U.S. President).

Tom,

You so inspire, especially using phrases such as ‘Author and Finisher of our faith.’ I’m hopeful that as Creator of the universe, the Redeemer is equally universal in the work of redemption. John surely writes of the World as the object of God’s love, and Jesus’ power to save.

Salvation must be more than a chance, other than an opportunity, or only a possibility or we are doomed. As the ever thoughtful and bold Ellen White noted, any theology that makes the Creator dependent on the creature for the creature’s salvation is heresy, not that she didn’t elsewhere and repeatedly seem to claim the creature’s persistence and performance will determine their eternal destiny.

Well, what can we say? The wages of sin is death. And we have all sinned. So she is right. We are destined to die. And Jesus saves!

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