Love Is Enough

Dr. Olive Hemmings, religion professor at Washington Adventist University, preaches on the topic of love:

"The Jesus story is not only the story of God. It is also the story of humanity. Religious tradition has marred that story and plunged the entire creation into a state of alienation. Christianity has often presented a one-sided and distorted story of the Christ event because it frees us from the responsibility to be perfect in love, as God is love. It frees us from the profound spiritual discipline that love requires and the radical, ethical demand it places upon us to be fully responsible selves within the community of being.

Christian dogma encourages us to short circuit the spiritual discipline through a cheap cop out we mistakenly call grace. And to put in its place all manner of unnecessary rules and traditions and policies that only serve to divide us while we wait to evacuate this world when we ourselves continue to contribute to the chaos in it.

What does it mean to love?”

WATCH Love Is Enough by Dr. Olive Hemmings, February 24, 2018, at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church (sermon begins at 49:40):

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Theory in practice is an active force

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James says “Faith HAS to have Action” in order to be True Religion.
We can have all the Belief there is in Love, but if it is NOT put into action
toward ALL human beings we come in contact there is NO True Religion.

This is the FAILURE with SDA Religion. There is TOO much Discrimination
toward Genders, towards certain Human Beings who are NOT like us.
And because WE Reject, WE pronounce that GOD Rejects also.
WE believe we have the AUTHORITY to Speak For GOD.


The Greeks had it better… The English word love has far too many cnotations. That is why Grace is the preferred term. Man’s response should be expressed as gratitude and generosity freely we have received freely give.

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This is present truth. This is a message that will hold people in the church. In this sermon, Hemmings masterfully synthesizes (from the Bible) all the intellectual and social truth that I cling to. We must move away from the pious thought that we (100 years ago) reached the pinnacle of interpreting the Bible. Such a framework is dead. Much has happened in society in the past 100 years that we as Christians must own. In addition, biblical scholarship into original languages has given nuance to make the Bible more meaningful than ever—if we have the courage to embrace it.


So many great quotes I tried to memorize that I could not keep track of them all. Will watch again soon. Here is one of the ideas she shares that resonated clearly and succinctly, “We have made God in man’s image…broken man.” Her message is present truth and sobering. The imagery she paints of us singing “Under HIS Wings” instead of “Under HER Wings” is like ice water to a sleepy head. Wow!


This has to be the most amazing SDA sermon I have ever heard :smile:. Gives me hope that maybe the church will turn the corner from dogmatism to living out the Love of. jesus


After watching Dr. Olive Hemmings sermon on February 24, 2018 at the Sligo SDA Church and after reading G.C. President Ted Wilson’s speech at the Annual Global Leadership Summit in Lisbon Portugal on February 7, 2018 I what to add my response to that speech:
My response to GC President Ted Wilson’s speech at the 11th Annual Global Leadership Summit in Lisbon Portugal on February 7, 2018

To begin with we need to identify the ‘elephants’ in the room. In no particular ranking:

  1. Headship
  2. Patriarchy
  3. Power and Control
  4. Fear
  5. Ordination of Women
  6. Discipline/Censure
    A couple things jumped out at me as I read and re-read TW’s speech. He is a master at supporting his position making it appear as if this is the voice of God. He continues to conflate customs and traditions into spiritual issues when they are not. When your premise is wrong to begin with and then you attempt to spiritualize it you do a disservice to yourself and the institution we call church. Headship has been exploited down through the annals of history and remains an angry force in contemporary society both religious and secular, worldwide.

Edwin Torkelsen and others have responded far more eloquently than I and have made reference to George Knight, and others writings on church polity. Beverly Jean Rumble noted on Spectrum in response to TW’s speech: “Church policy does not equal eternal truth.” The irony is not lost on TW’s extensive quoting of a female prophetess yet failing to acknowledge her growth and change over the years on more than just the current issues in question, which the record supports. Why this lack of recognition and acknowledgement and why the refusal to expose the complete record. Could it be that it does not serve his purpose. Certainly a man of TW’s stature and President of the GC would not be selective in his assessment. It is also disturbingly ironic that the parallels between are current U. S. President and our GC President’s antics give politics within and without the church a bad name. The patterns of manipulation and coercion are well known on both accounts and are strikingly similar.
From an SDA perspective we tend to view society as generally evil, failing to acknowledge the influence of society, traditions, and customs on the church. We cannot separate them. There are also principals that transcend both. While we are in the mist of the Great Controversy between good and evil the battle we are confronting is for more fundamental than that. This is really not about good and evil from a spiritual sense. It is about power and control at bottom line, and holding on to traditions that are not effective

in the 21ST Century. This is not democracy. This is about control; a resistance to understand, acknowledge, and/or ignore the will of the people while failing to comprehend a changing world even at the ‘end of time’. Yes we have a commission, but can we present it to a 21st Century world with a 19th and 20th Century mentality still exploiting headship, power, and control. I think not.
Spiritualizing issues for control and guilt trips are no longer effective and leadership steeped in these traditions needs to adapt or get out of the way. I refuse to be intimidated by leadership whose underlying motivation is coercion, power, and control, regardless of the vocally promoted emphasis on unity. It sounds and feel more like blatant grabs for uniformity and control, because I say so or feel I have the authority to impose my will. Yes I am making a value judgement and I am sticking to it. TW is entitled to his position that he articulates well. Thankyou TW for that. And thank God you don’t have the last word.
I believe in the church and its mission and I am a 4th generation Adventist. Our education system has educated me and my family well. Fortunately I was also taught to think independently. Our mission is God inspired. I think however, to be most effective in leading our church forward certain leadership must change for the unity we espouse, to be achieved. If uniformity is the goal stay the course and truly divide the church. Again change is inevitable while growth is optional.
Some thoughts that ran through my mind as I read the article. Firstly I would ask if TW reads and evaluates what he is writing in terms of the best interests of the entire membership or is he catering to a select few. Or does he feel his mission as president is to purge the church, of all who do not buy into his theology. Several references were made to humility, surrender to the authority of the GC, and the authority of the GC being the highest authority next to God…; rebellion by those you do not conform/comply/bow and kiss the ring, etc. Has TW stopped to think that his admonitions cut both ways and that he has the responsibility to lead by example?
TW makes reference to the General Conference Working Policy, specifically to the rigid application of B 15 10, stating, “The General Conference Working Policy shall be strictly adhered to by all organizations in every part of the world field. The work of every organization shall be administered in full harmony with the policies of the General Conference and of the divisions respectively….” The statement on its face is responsible policy, however rigid application used as a threat for discipline and censure without allowing divisions flexibility for local interpretation and implementation is irresponsible leadership. Responsible leadership must also exercise the ability to understand and evaluate when policy is no longer accomplishing stated goals and is no longer effective and requires adaptation, change or removal. There are times in an organization when it has to admit the implementation of policies are not accomplishing the states goals. It takes secure persons to admit when something is not effective and must change. To refuse to evaluate policy that is no longer effective and continue to perpetuate bad policy is when the institution, members, and administrators need to address the leadership. When leadership fails to do this internally membership of the organization must take action.
The United States has checks and balances shared by branches of government. The Constitution allows for redress by the people, (We the People), when government is abusing its powers and is no longer acting in the interest of the people. The Constitution which governs our country required Twenty Seven, 27, (the first 10 being the Bill of Rights), amendments, over time, to make it representative and effective for all of its citizens and is still not a closed document. There remain allowances for a process for modification and change for the good of the people. There are times in society, government, and in the governing of the church when bad policy must be addressed, and I propose that this is one of those times in the church when leadership and/or policy must be directly confronted.
One also must also understand the elements of, and arrogance of White Male Privilege at play in these current circumstances, and DT and TW are poster twins of narcissism.
Several years ago back in 2013 before I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, I wrote the following with regard to Male Headship. As I am battling cancer currently the statement has all the more meaning:
‘MALE HEADSHIP’ with all its historical religious and cultural ramifications is dead. It’s time to give patriarchy a well-deserved burial. It lived a long life but is old, tired, set-in- it’s-ways, cranky, obnoxious, irritating, limiting; and abusive, suffering from Alzheimer’s, and fraught with a malignant debilitating terminal cancer with no cure. It has no productive use in a 21st Century world. We have all been exposed to it, but one has choices. We can choose to ignore the symptoms and let it infect us and be buried with it, or choose the sometimes radical surgery of progressive thought and action to cure, live, and grow.
I don’t know if we can eradicate, what I am calling, the ‘disease’ of headship, but I believe we can certainly put it in remission. Yes I am suggesting we do more than just explore change in leadership. I am suggesting aggressive grassroots efforts to influence change. Avenues for direct action by the people must be used and efforts to suppress such action should be strongly resisted. We must demand a seat at the table from within through formal established channels, and from without, supporting the formal channels, and seeking other innovative inroads such as this website. For me to sit back and do nothing is unchristian. I am looking for those who are interested in strategizing for a way forward in speaking truth to power.
The elephants in the room as stated in the beginning of Headship, Patriarchy, Power and Control underlying the promoted, self-serving conflict over Ordination of Women in the SDA Church, I have stated this before and I am stating it again, that maybe, just maybe this is one of the things our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior in consultation with the Holy Spirit is waiting for us to get right before He/She/They decides to send Their Son/Daughter to bring us all home. From Their perspective I believe the Godhead may be thinking there is not a bigger issue for gender-created humanity to overcome than gender inequality which we have continued to exploit throughout earth’s history. Our focus has been so riveted on certain identified categories of individual ‘sins’ that we neglect larger, universal justice responsibilities, of which gender inequality and exploitation falls under and that is a sin of both society and of the church. Yes the issue of women’s ordination comes back to this fundamental flaw and continued exploitation in spite of all attempts at justification.
I welcome response, feedback, criticism, dialogue for a way forward. We cannot afford to idly sit by and assume or wish thing will change.
What say You ???


Sligo church looks all black? Isnt the population surrounding that area only 50% black? Looks like another failure of a church to reach its surrounding demographic.


Sligo Church. — Washington, D.C.
It used to be THE CHURCH of the General Conference before it moved to Silver Springs,MD.

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Sligo Church is in Takoma Park, and is mainly attended by the WAU community and surrounding neighbors. There are many Black people from the island nations, Africa, as well as the US, who go to Sligo. People from India are pretty well represented, and I would say a minority of caucasians. The GC is still pretty close, but the “higher ups” can be seen elsewhere.

The county is very diverse, with a large Latino presence, but there are multiple Spanish churches in the area, also Korean churches, too.

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I completely agree, especially your point about original languages.

Dear @LBW, Thank you for your timely and relevant article. When I was baptized at the age of 12 I was not required to “swear allegiance” to any human being, no matter how powerful or influential; only to the loving and gentle Jesus. He neither forced himself upon anyone nor did he threaten them with “dire consequences”. Dr. Hemmings was right. Love Is Enough. You can count me in!


The story of humanity getting lost in God’s familiar humbling places. Begun with historical dotards: unfiltered, unchecked, unguarded fallen too close to home in our own SDA churches.

Authoritarian big power after more power tightly knit web of control escalated harassment made me and others feel diminished. The authoritarian, not to mention name, have had heightened interest in getting that issues suppressed?

Dr. Olive J. Hemmings ends her magnificent sermon with a grand question. “What does it mean to love?

Has the authoritarian true meaning with love forgets his mother’s love?

God could not be everywhere, so therefore He made mothers. The God to whom little boys say their prayers has a face. Very like their mother’s.

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"This is not democracy. This is about control; a resistance to understand, acknowledge, and/or ignore the will of the people while failing to comprehend a changing world even at the ‘end of time’. Yes we have a commission, but can we present it to a 21st Century world with a 19th and 20th Century mentality still exploiting headship, power, and control. I think not."

I think that you have summed up the issue very well. How and what Adventism does with your comment will determine how it survives as a religion in the future. If only those at “The Top” had such clarity, LeRoy.

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