ATLANTA: Today, Daniel Jackson, 61, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada since 2002 became the president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
He replaces Don Schneider who has been president of the NAD since 2000.*
He discusses his biography and how he addresses various issues and challenges in this earlier interview with the Adventist Review:
Well, I’m a Westerner. I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, spent my early life in Edmonton, and attended Canadian University College. I’ve pastored in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and overseas in Sri Lanka and India. I’ve also served as president of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan and British Columbia conferences, and was elected president of the Adventist Church in Canada in November 2001.
He discusses how he addresses ethnic diversity, the integration and retention of youth. On education he says:
There’s a mixed bag on that. Last June we conducted a national pastors’ convention at CUC. The emphasis of that convention was Adventist Christian education, to encourage our pastors to become more actively involved in education, because education is a part of who we are. It’s a teaching of the church. Some pastors are actively involved in our schools; in other areas, it’s not that way.
Pastors who were not raised in the church sometimes don’t have a full understanding of how Adventist education got started, how it kept going, the sacrifices involved—so they only partially understand Adventism. I believe that no one should enter the ministry without some instruction about Adventist education and its history. About 300 pastors attended the convention, and I would say one third of them had never before seen our college.
If an Adventist pastor says, “I don’t believe in Adventist education,” I have a real problem with that. There are too many issues at stake. The lives of our children, the spiritual foundation of our children, are far too important for us to place them into the hands of [a public school teacher] you don’t even know. You may get a very fine teacher who respects your child’s religious worldview; but you also may get one who doesn’t. If your child is taught not to believe in the Creation story and becomes unsure that God even exists, try to reverse that when they’re 18.
In that interview he addresses how he wrestled with the legalization of same-gender marriage in Canada:
Canada is not a Christian nation. It’s a secular, pluralistic society. When the issue of same-sex marriage started to grow in intensity, we became involved. Our legal counsel at the time, Barry Bussey [now associate director of GC Public Affairs and Religious Liberty], made presentations to the House of Commons Justice Committee. When Parliament sent the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada to have it decided, one of the 12 presenters was Bussey. We, of course, used the Bible, but because Christians aren’t in favor in Canada, we didn’t come at it from a strictly biblical perspective. Our position was not to suggest to the judiciary that they couldn’t do what they wanted in this regard, but that they maintain the rights of Canadians who choose not to participate either in the forming of same-sex marriages or in hiring practices. In other words, in a free and open society you can have a law that provides for same-sex marriage—but we don’t agree with it. Don’t penalize the person who does not choose either to practice it or promote it.
*Correction. The article originally said 1990. Photo: Gerry Chudleigh/ANN
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2465