Kim I for one stopped giving to the Church a long time ago. My wife and I have chosen to give as the Lord inspires us. If the true mission of the Church was to spread the everlasting gospel to a broken world I could see us giving again to the SDA organization. Growing up my dad used to say that our role was to give and Gods role to determine how that money is used. I disagree with that statement for two reasons. 1. Being a good steward means knowing just how that money is used. 2. Those who profess the loudest that this is what God expects comes from those who have the most to either gain or loose from this type of philosophy. Why is that I ask? I have been convinced for many years that the SDA Church is a structured business just like IBM or Cheveron. The stock holders, ( individual members ) pay their union dues for the false sense that somehow it assures us of salvation and reduces the guilt associated by not giving.
George has explained several times that we do have the choice of keeping our giving local. For the most part I would agree that that provides a option. However, the system has a bit of a loop hole. That loop hole is that the GC controls what percentage is returned to the local church, conference, and or union. If in the great wisdom of GC leadership not enough money is being sent up the ladder then that percentage is reduced to reflect the initial giving. So there is a large barrel that is kept ever present. A large church such as LLU or LSU could function just fine if the pastors and support staff were Independant " congragationalism ". That can not be said of a very small church. This barrel gets even larger should the small local church refuse to meet the compliance committees expectations. Leverage, even if subtle, places young pastors in a most difficult position. I can see how pressure is brought to bear to support male headship and other theological differences. Going so far as to label the GC corrupt is certainly not my place but it creates a relationship far from being trustworthy. And it’s even further from the stated mission of spreading the everlasting gospel.