When a single tithe contribution of over $100 million was given to the General Conference about ten years ago, a major conversation ensued over how this large amount should be handled. A large committee with all the stakeholders was convened at the General Conference and it determined that such a tithe could overwhelm a local conference and be counterproductive. The other members of the local conference might assume that they didn’t need to return tithe because the conference had plenty of money. It was decided that this “extraordinary tithe” would be shared with the world field on a special project basis. Divisions would have to submit proposals for how they intended to use the money in the furtherance of the Gospel. Each year’s General Conference financial documents contain a separate section that tracks how this money has been distributed.
When another large anonymous tithe contribution arrived at the General Conference more recently, the local conference and division were not even notified, in spite of the fact that Working Policy outlines how such a tithe payment is to be handled. North American Division personnel learned about it in committee conversations with the General Conference.
Now the Oregon Conference Executive Committee has requested that the General Conference follow the procedure for anonymous tithe that is outlined in the Working Policy. It voted to contact President Ted Wilson about this seeming non-compliance by the General Conference to its own policies. It is this policy non-compliance that is at the heart of the letter (below) and not the money, which was given by a member of the Oregon Conference.
In his letter on behalf of the Executive Committee, Oregon Conference President Daniel Linrud writes:
“GC Working Policy V 09 05 5.c defines the process that is to take place when an entity other than the local church or Conference (Union/Division/General Conference) receives a direct tithe contribution. The policy states: “Since tithe is returned to the Lord, not given, it is inappropriate for that tithe to come with stipulations as to how and where it is to be used. After being receipted by the treasury where it was received, such tithe is to be returned anonymously to the local conference/mission field/union of churches where the member holds membership.” (Italics added)
Linrud reports the action taken by the Oregon Executive Committee to Elder Wilson:
“VOTED, to respectfully appeal to the General Conference administration to protect the sanctity of the tithe system of the Seventh-day Adventist Church by adherence to the tithe policy and protocol as specified in the General Conference Working Policy, with regard to receiving tithe contributions from local conference members, which includes tithe recently received directly by the General Conference from a member of the Oregon Conference.”
Read the whole letter of the Oregon Conference Executive Committee below:
Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.
Image courtesy of the Oregon Conference.
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Yes, and in my mind I’m thinking of a powerful, influential and wealthy SDA family in Oregon who are at the head of the list of contributors to an SDA independent ‘ASI’ ministry whose ‘president’ clearly and openly opposes ‘WO’ . . . .
If I’m thinking on track, then why was the Oregon Conference bypassed on an apparent beeline to the ‘GC’ ? Are there ‘WO’ ‘people’ in Oregon who might have benefited from such a tithe, which was instead diverted directly to the anti-‘WO’ GC ?
There are far too many reasons these days to justify such suspicions and turn rumors into realities.
THis working policy is exactly why trying to “starve” the GC of money is not an appropriate action. When tithe is returned, not given, it is inappropriate to mark it for a special purpose. If you mark it for a special purpose, technically it is no longer tithe.
If tithe is going to be treated like this, well, in my opinion it can be renamed and destined to where it should be, the local church. I am doing it for a long time and so far nobody returned my contributions to “local budget”…
When a Conference has to demand from the GC to “protect the sanctity of the tithe system,” this is a huge red flag. This story is ugly! Which of the 5 ITF (Inquisitional Task Force) will investigate those PEOPLE at the GC responsible for this scandal???
ASI? Isn’t it the first place TW went to deliver a sermon after his inauguration in 2010?
From my first day as a Seventh-day Adventist I have heard sermon after sermon attempting to make one feel guilty if you did not “bring ye all the tithe into the storehouse…” “of the denomination’s treasury”) That dog just don’t wash anymore. The Bible plan is for the support off the work of God in PREACHING the everlasting gospel. (Church Manual p.190). Attending a church that has a pastor once every three or four weeks, I believe they should send only one third or one fourth of the tithe to the conference. Frankly they would be better off to hire their own full time pastor, and I believe there are plenty out there that would take the job and not be told that they must be compliant to the General Conference dictators.
I noticed in the letter and OC website/eCommunique, they refer to “a member”. In the letter to Ted, they say “The only acceptable reason for a member to return tithe directly through the General Conference is for helping the tithe-returner’s identity to remain anonymous to their local field.”
My question is how do they know an OR Conf. “member” gave to the GC if this is supposed to be an anonymous way to return tithe to the OC via the GC? In other words, let’s say that John Doe in the OR Conf. gives $1 in tithe to the GC and others from the OR Conf. also give various amounts. Does the GC list each donation separately and give that info to the OR Conf? Did the GC tell the OC that “a member” donated the $100 million as tithe
The bible says to return the tithe to the “storehouse”.
It doesn’t say which one.
I think you will find that when people in the land of Israel were too far away
from Jerusalem, they could turn their tithe into the local Levite.
SO TECHNICALLY, IT WENT TO THE “LORD’S WORK”.
This might be like giving one’s tithe to the School Teacher at the local church.
Or, to sponsor some type of program at the local church to further God’s message.
I am certain the Oregon Conference is not the only conference who has gotten the short end of the straw from the GC. If a parent does it to one child, chances are the parent will do it to all. Now that the GC has established Review Committees, it is time to put them to work starting with the incongruent behavior of our current GC leadership.
Today the “district pastor” and visiting “pastor” visited my mother in law, and told her that she should increase the amount of tithe she give to 30 percent, and that really upset her. We have a problem, a sickness and all the praying will not help, we need to do something. We need to change the way, the administrators and workers treat us.
I’m not a fan of TW’s tactics. Nor his theological or
administrative bent. I’m for women pastors
to be ordained. I’m glad Oregon Conference did what they
did and hopefully more will be inspired to stand up for
fairness and calling the issues as they are. But if I can’t pray
for those with whom I disagree I have become a sounding cymbal
as Paul says in 1 Corinthians. As Paul says, all is nothing if we give
up on loving those with whom we disagree. The respectful but firm
stand of the letter to the GC demonstrates the right attitude in my opinion.
You’re not just kidding that something is wrong! Pastors out of control. I’ve witnessed this from the platform when abroad on mission trips where, while alter calls were made, pastors circulated amongst the crowd at evangelist efforts pressuring people to respond and go down front. And when I say “pressuring” I mean exactly that. On more than one occasion I saw the individuals pastors were pressuring decline repeatedly before finally relenting, the displeasure written across their countenance.