NAD Issues Statement on Chico Adventist Church Baptism

Leaders of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists today issued the following statement in response to the baptism at the Chico Seventh-day Adventist Church of a woman in a same-sex marriage. The baptism received attention as the result of an article in a far-right website. The Church in North America issued its response in a special edition of the NAD NewsPoints bulletin via email and the NAD website. The statement follows in its entirety.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2017/02/13/nad-issues-statement-chico-adventist-church-baptism

A sanctuary city is a place to go if a person is unwilling to comply with certain requirements and will thereby be protected from resources being utilized to “encourage” their compliance.

I couldn’t help but come to the realization that we have the same thing with homosexuals and Christian denominations.

I guess we have sanctuary sanctuaries now!

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What is confusing?
The NAD clearly stated that: “ALL people, no matter their sex, race, gender, identify or orientation are called into a lasting relationship with Jesus Christ”.

Some would have us believe that being homosexual is worse than any other sin.

Surely when we are immersed in baptism, we all go under the water as sinners, and NONE of us emerge perfect.

This baptism “received attention as a result of an article in a far right website”.

This “far right website” is so consumed with the topic of homosexuality, no other sin is ever mentioned.

Since only four per cent of the church demographic is gay, and since the vast majority of Adventist gays vote with their feet, to leave the church, because of shunning, shaming, denigration, demeaning, DEMONIZING, and other unwelcoming behavior, this obsession with gay sex seems inappropriate and disturbing.

The remaining gays in the pews, probably are only one/two per cent of the congregation and most are celibate

Once upon a time divorced people were not accepted for baptism, but this has changed. Other appropriate changes will follow in view of new research and science on human sexuality

One thinks this "far right website’s " obsession with gay sex, is a case of: “thou dost protest too much”.

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When we read Ellen White’s counsel that a smoker should be retained as a church member and when we then read the Church Manual, the provisions of which ignore and implicitly rebuke the substance of this wise counsel of hers, we begin to understand that this principal governing document remains an avert-your-eyes goiter in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This pathological text is what you get when you assign responsibility to marginally-educated church purificationists rather than experts who are spiritually gifted in matters of governance.

Whether a church should admit as a member a person in a same-sex marriage requires consideration of a large number of relevant factors. Reliance on a single criterion, a rule, a statute of the sort set forth by the Church Manual, does not and will not result in wise governance. Most of our churches in their wisdom often unwittingly disregard the wooden strictures of the Church Manual in favor of an approach that weighs everything in the balances. Only by considering all relevant factors was Ellen White capable of making a determination, wise as it most certainly was, that a scandalous and recidivist sinner should remain a church member.

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Hypothetical question: if the lady under condemnation (at the failing fake news website - sad!) sat next to Ted Wilson in a church pew (however unlikely this might seem to some), which of the two would be the bigger sinner? (If someone claims to know, I suggest they should seriously reconsider.)

Another hypothetical question: if the lady and Ted were both at a Church service, who would Jesus seek out to sit beside?

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It is unfortunate and of curious dynamics that matters of sexual orientation and presumed practice generate seemingly inordinate and often poorly informed attention.

I beg that respondents please be loving, gracious and balanced in this forum, just as in all arenas of life.

It has been disappointing for me to see how reactionary partisan political outbursts have become frequent as articles and responses on this SPECTRUM web site. Please do not let the responses on this thread degenerate.

Jesus was clear that we should not judge others, but love them.

I am glad that my church ministers to a wide variety of sinners, including me and my family and friends, among whom I count the individuals referenced in this article. Who among us is not a sinner in need of a Saviour?

If this topic, or any other topic generates anxiety, fear or anger, consider why. If the reason is elusive, consider getting help. For a beneficial read, try “How God Changes Your Brain”. Perhaps I should offer a book review to the SPECTRUM editor.

People will forget what we say, but they will never forget how we make them feel. When I feel the love of God, then I tend to share the love of God. “Enter into the kingdom of heaven” is Jesus invitation for us to enter and dwell on an ongoing basis.

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Your premise suggests Jesus would sit by the Lady instead of Ted…why? To what end? Just to give her a big attagirl? You don’t realize that the subconscious conclusion you are admitting is that she is in the wrong and Christ is asking her to change her ways? You dont realize that[quote=“ezbord, post:5, topic:12919”]
The NAD clearly stated that: “ALL people, no matter their sex, race, gender, identify or orientation are called into a lasting relationship with Jesus Christ”.
[/quote]

is not a call to maintain the condition they are in when the call is made?

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It is very encouraging to see the members of the Chico church welcome this new member into fellowship. For those who would criticize the pastor for baptizing this women, or the members for voting her into membership, you need to remember a couple of important realities in SDA church governance.

  1. When a pastor baptizes someone, they are not baptizing them into the Adventist church - they are simply baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is the members of the congregation who (typically, immediately following the baptism) vote the person into church fellowship;

  2. Church membership is the sole prerogative of the members of the local Adventist congregation. If the Conference feels that an entire church has departed so badly from Adventist ecclesiastical practice that the church should no longer be part of the Adventist sisterhood of churches, then the conference can effectively expel the congregation in its entirety, from the church. But short of this, neither the Conference, nor the Union, Division or GC, can interfere in any way at all in the workings of the local church. It’s unlikely that a church would be expelled over the admission into membership of someone the Conference considered dubious. Indeed, it is worth noting that the Pacific Union College church retained Des Ford as a member in good and regular standing, right up until he returned to Australia and voluntarily relinquished his membership on the grounds that he was no longer going to have an active involvement with that congregation. All levels of the church administrative hierarchy absolutely hated this, but there was nothing they could do about it.

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Oh the irony-nowhere does (old testament) holy writ condemn “two women laying together”, yet the Advindictive/Fullofthemselves7 bloc (I hate the far-right appellation given them above, more like far-wrong) claims women are not to be ordained because the scripture does not, by gender, specifically endorse them. Risible then to use the fomented fear-mongering that baptizing lesbians is a result of the effort for equality within Adventism.
I am neither arguing for or against the recent much ballyhooed and oft booed baptism at Chico Hills…i wonder how God feels about these shifting tittles and jumping jots? Is this theological shell game we seem to major in a worthy sin as well? Should not that be written as creedal belief #30 as well? After all, Mt 5 18 is plainly and simply written, no? Far more logically defensible than some of them, even the ones we so cunningly craft and re-massage to suit…

Edit to add- (Thank you Brian)
I was attempting a small humorous fête, and failed by not specifying that “nowhere in the (nomothete) old testament…”

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“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart,
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will be like the most High.”
Isaiah 14:12-14

The above is a description of the origin of ‘I will’ – not ‘God will’ – sin in Heaven, in a sex-less, created angel, who simply became insanely proud in the face of God.

Pride, then, is the greatest, the most Satanic, ‘sin’.

I am guilty of pride many times a day, and watching proud , ‘sinless’, SDAs is not helping me ‘overcome’ my ‘unnatural taste’ for pride. . . .

So, please – some better, some humbler, Seventh-day Adventist out there – please, start disfellowship proceedings against me.

And, while you are at it, start them, also, against all other proud, stone-throwing SDA church leaders and members as well, because clearly Jesus was wrong when He said:

[“And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them,]
They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick:
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Mark 2:16-17

I was under the impression that baptism was the beginning of such healing – safely, humbly, confessing my sinful state, dying to ‘self’, while rising up, hidden safely ‘in Christ’, ‘our righteousness’ . . . who is now resurrected all the way up to stand before the reconciling face of ‘Our Father Who art in Heaven’, while I ‘heal’ in ‘My Father’s’ own good time . . . clearly I was wrong.

Clearly too many good-standing SDAs still think of ‘baptism’ as the ‘diploma’ that entitles us to join that SDA ‘club’ who proudly have no need of the ‘healing’ ‘Savior’ Jesus, or of ‘Our Father’s’ reconciling face.

I disagree with those ‘too many’ ‘good’ SDAs.

Being created a ‘man’, or a ‘woman’, with sexual appetites, was NOT a mistake, an ‘error’, a ‘sin’. . . on God’s part. ‘Sin’ has ‘created’ many things that God never designed, never intended, like my ‘pride’. 'Pride happens, just like ‘Gay’ happens. But only God has the power of ‘re-Creation’ to heal my pride . . . in His own good way . . . in His own good time . . . unless my self-‘pride’ – ‘straight’, ‘gay’ . . . or ‘otherwise’ – gets in the way.

So, please, disfellowship me from that proud SDA ‘club’,
before it is too late for my healing.
I need to find the nearest branch of ‘Arrogance Anonymous’, ASAP.
That ‘good’ SDA ‘club’ is simply ‘not doing it for me’.
And, ‘I will’ NOT be able to overcome my Satanic pride, my-self.

. . . and, to that baptized ‘gay’ SDA couple:

Happy Valentine’s Day !
You keep your eyes on the face of Jesus,
and He’ll raise you to where the ‘Our Father’ has raised Him !

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This problem is a result of ignorance regarding what Baptism means. And what membership is and how it is granted.

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Phil, The Church expressly states that marriage be between a man and a women. Were EGW alive today, she would agree. For anyone to try to argue that this should be allowed in the SDA Church either does not understand the clear biblical teaching of marriage or refuses to heed what the Bible says. For a “minister” of our church to perform a baptism of practicing homosexuals should lose all ministerial credentials.

I’m glad that an Adventist publication is reporting blatant violations of Biblical/SDA beliefs by pastors, current or former. This far-left website should learn to do the same.

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Fulcrum 7 is a muck raking blog site catering to reactionaries who are obsessed with this particular subject. When I tried to carry on some civil discourse with people over on that site to offer some balance to its mostly homophobic posters and commenters, I was tolerated for awhile, although I was met with a lot of suspicion and downright hostility at times. But when I was a lone voice challenging their trashing of the Chico church, and spoke in favor of the lesbian couple I was finally banned by the moderators.

As for Spectrum being a far left website, that is simply not true. There is a wide spectrum of opinion allowed here. Spectrum has printed blogs on the subject of homosexuality ranging from Daneen Akers and Stephen Ayers productions to also including in this discussion a thread from Coming Out Ministries called Journeys Interupted.

What matters the most in the judgement can be found in Jesus last parable told in the book of Matthew where Jesus talks about separating the sheep from the goats. “As you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.” It seems like you can’t be any lesser than the least of these in some christian circles and be gay. Even if you are celebate, you are still marganalized and viewed with some degree of suspicion.

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I volunteer at a county jail in NW Arkansas. There are 50 of us male and female who hold services there. We are called Jail Ministers. I am the only SDA. The head chaplain’s in the last 17 years have all been hard core Pentecostals. There are baptisms every couple of months. It is an important part of the ministry for both inmate and minister. One makes a public statement, and the other see’s the fruit of their labor in partnership with the Holy Spirit. An Ordained minister from outside the jail comes in and baptizes by immersion. The point is. It took me awhile to get with the program because of the strict SDA rules for baptism. I am now wholeheartedly part of it. The baby christian is baptized into Jesus not into any church membership. Perhaps in the future if an Adventist church has this situation. Baptism absolutely should be granted. Church membership shouldn’t follow or be promised immediately afterwards. What do you think?

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Tony,

Do you have a family member or dear friend that you love so very much who is gay? What if one of your children announces this in the future? How could you deny a baptism of one so loved to become a member of the family of God? The baptism was into Christ–not necessarily an institution. Remember Christ’s baptism?

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I am so thankful to hear about a loving, accepting church that would allow a lesbian couple to be baptized into membership in their church. Those of you who have been Spectrum blog members for many years have heard the oft-repeated arguments pro and con for homosexuality ad infinitum. There are many (more all the time) who realize that the very few verses in the Bible that oppose sex between two males have a completely different context from what we have today, so there’s little point in going into them again. But we do err when we display our judgmentlism and lack of understanding for those who have struggled with their sexual orientation. I pray there will be many more churches like Chico in the future!

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Isnt a retired denominational employee the same as a retired conference employee.

I would invite the church scholars to study Genesis 18 &19.Abraham and the Angel of God agreed to save thousands of sinners if 10 righteous could be found . The question is, " Where there 10 righteous there ?" The number 10 is never used in the Bible to refer to a number less than 10 . 10 was the set number to look for , than 10 righteous people where there. How did Abraham know ? Because these 10 people had left his tent and traveled to Sodom. Lot was a man with 5 daughters . We only hear about the two single daughters , but never anything about the three married daughters. If so, Lot and his wife plus their two daughters make four. Add to that his three married daughters and their husbands , and you get ten Genesis 19: 12-14. I said all this to say that the righteous are the protectors of others. E.G. White says , " Had Lot’s entire family left Sodom, God would had held off His judgement ." This issue in the church today must be met head on with us lifting up the standard and showing the love of Christ to everyone. But the Standard stays lifted up high. I will for give you said Jesus, but go and sin no more.

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“Come unto me ALL ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that ALL who believe in Him might have eternal life.” Tony, you seem to have overlooked these clear Biblical statements which are not subject to ifs, ands, or buts… Have you forgotten that Jesus was criticized for keeping the company of “sinners” who “the church” did not approve of?

When the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized in Jordan, did Phillip first make sure that the eunuch was “pure”? The eunuch was not a Jew, remember. Tony, don’t condemn a pastor who baptizes someone because they want to give their lives to the Lord! That is not in harmony with the Biblical example! Perhaps you need to go back and study the Biblical concept of baptism. It is not for those deemed “good enough” by people like you or me. It is for people who choose to commit themselves to Jesus Christ regardless of whether they meet with our approval!

I’ve come to believe that, for many, having or retaining membership in an Adventist church is more a sentimental desire than a ticket to heaven. We do not need Adventist membership to be saved! Nevertheless, to be accepted into a group of fellow believers can help us grow spiritually. So, shall we then reject from our fellowship those with whom we disagree or even those we disapprove of?

Is it any wonder that more and more Adventist young people see the church as rigid and unwelcoming, and thus never join the church? Is it any wonder that more and more people reject the rigid, fault-finding culture of conservative Adventism and leave?

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God specifically sent Phillip to the Ethiopian eunuch. God knew that the eunuch was living up to the light that he had and was faithfully studying the scriptures, and that he was in search of further light. Surely the Lord knew his heart and knew that he then would follow all of the further counsel that Phillip gave him. See the EGW quote below–

“Our God knew about the Ethiopian who was in his chariot studying the prophecy of Isaiah concerning Christ, and he sent Philip to meet that Ethiopian, and the Ethiopian asked him to come and sit in his chariot, and there Philip proclaimed the truth to him more fully. And he said, Here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And he was led down and baptized, because he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. {The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials 1746.3}”

Membership in any organization has at least some minimal requirements. If earthly clubs and organizations have rules and bylaws, why would we scoff at the Church (which is the most important organization on earth) for having rules? Other wise you have chaos, just as Satan desires.

When I found the Truth as it is in Jesus in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I didn’t look at the “membership requirements” as a negative. It’s a blessing to know what God expects! It’s actually quite liberating!!

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