Pacific Union Conference Votes Opposition to GC’s Compliance Committee System

Editor’s Note: On September 12, 2018 the Executive Committee of the Pacific Union Conference voted an open letter to the General Conference Executive Committee in regards to the GC’s compliance committee and the documents to be voted at Annual Council in October.

The statement from the Pacific Union follows below in its entirety:

"...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV).

From the Executive Committee of the Pacific Union Conference

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we have hope and life!

We are a people united in the gospel of Jesus Christ, our love for one another, and our commitment to the mission of sharing God’s love and the message of salvation with our community and the world.

We come together with joy and thankfulness in worship and ministry each week, knowing that God will use the diversity of our history, circumstances, and gifts to bring the gospel to those around us.

The opportunity this creates is matched by an obligation to consciously and prayerfully protect our unity of purpose and mission from being threatened by factions or fissures, through faith in God and reliance on His strength and power. God has truly led us in our growth and development through these many years!

Our dependence upon the Holy Spirit and our willingness to be led are the bedrock of the commitments we have made to the church we love and the communities we are called to serve. We are blessed to be a part of the global fellowship of Seventh-day Adventists.

We have learned the truth of the words expressed by Ellen White that “the secret of unity is found in the equality of believers in Christ” (Review and Herald, Dec. 22, 1891).

Through God’s grace we have come to recognize that we only fully represent our shared faith and unity of purpose when we appreciate and respect one another. When the diverse perspectives and the dictates of conscience differ on important points, this takes on heightened significance. As members of a faithful and complex community, our unity and mission of effective witness call us to faithfulness in all things, including how we demonstrate respect for one another.

We are convicted that respect for the dictates of conscience and respect for one another are two sides of the same hand — extended in mission, ministry, and hope.

It is for these reasons that we voice our urgent objections to the proposed creation of “compliance committees” as formulated by the General Conference Administrative Committee and slated for an affirmative vote at the upcoming General Conference Annual Council. (See ANN, September 7, 2018 https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2018-09-07/prayerful-process-continues-gc-adcom-embraces-unity/.) There are four central concerns we share:

1. The “compliance committee” apparatus transplants into the Seventh-day Adventist Church a de facto centralized system of governance that is both unprecedented in its scope and antithetical to our historical practice. It is alarming that a small group would possess authority to “develop and recommend to the General Conference Administrative Committee guidelines that explicitly describe the conduct and behavior of denominational employees” encompassing virtually every aspect of belief, faith practice, and ministry method.

2. The “compliance committee” structure supplants and subverts our current constituent system of governance. The final evaluators of how Seventh-day Adventist teaching is expressed and who is acting as a genuine Seventh-day Adventist will no longer rest with local employers such as conference, union, and institutional presidents and their executive committees or boards. Any questions of denominational fidelity in teaching, practice, or ministry will be dispatched to the appropriate “compliance committee” wherein will reside the responsibility for investigation and the rendering of conclusions.

3. The “compliance committee” configuration will have a corrosive effect on the existing bonds of trust and fellowship among church members and between members and their spiritual leaders. “Compliance committees” will require information to conduct their work, which can only be obtained by informants, reporters, and tips. An atmosphere of fear and suspicion will unseat the openness to present truth that has marked the spiritual life of Seventh-day Adventists heretofore.

4. To our profound dismay, the proposed “compliance committee” pattern is not envisioned to reside only in the offices of the General Conference headquarters. The proposal from GCADCOM urges that “this model could also be adopted by other levels of church organization.” The replication of this type of investigatory methodology to church life would transform this church into something quite unrecognizable.

It is our prayerful call to Seventh-day Adventists, both in our Pacific Union territory as well as our brothers and sisters from every region of our church, to oppose the adopting of this new “compliance committee” system into our faith and practice. We ask that you not only pray but also express your convictions about this to duly appointed and elected church leaders.

These words of Ellen White are most appropriate for us at this time: “Not a hand should be bound, not a soul discouraged, not a voice should be hushed; let every individual labor, privately or publicly, to help forward this grand work. Place the burdens upon men and women of the church, that they may grow by reason of the exercise, and thus become effective agents in the hand of the Lord for the enlightenment of those who sit in darkness” (Review and Herald, July 9, 1895).

We are compelled by our shared faith to affirm our mission and sacred calling — and to state our conviction that “he who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV).

— Executive Committee of the Pacific Union Conference

September 12, 2018

###

Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Mail to: PO Box 5005, Westlake Village, CA 91359 Street Address: 2686 Townsgate Road, Westlake Village, CA 91361 (805) 413-7100 info@puconline.org

Image Credit: Pacific Union Conference website

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8997
5 Likes

It is I think for many it is a true mystery as to what kind of compelling event or issues has so frightened the stewards in GC leadership to resort to such a governance structure. The stated reason being “complaints of lack of compliance” are apparently unaddressed. No explanation beyond this vague description has been forthcoming. After 150 of living without this and in view of so many issues that we have faced as a denomination over the years and overcome we as members must needs demand transparency that is compelling and without hubris. In view of the fact that none has been forth coming I would say it comes from a base desire to obscure and lie about the true reason and exposes their fiduciary and spiritual cowardice.

We have many examples from history how this will work to promote piety police. Such committees will add fire to those who with unholy motives encouraged by the enemy of souls will with great relish turn over anyone who has the slightest appearance of non-compliant behavior. Encouragement of base selfish desires and the creation of fear based environment like this cannot stand.

I am very happy to support the Pacific Union in its opposition to this!

16 Likes

Are we starting to see the beginning of the end? The Pacific Union
Conference has taken a courageous stand!
It is a real pity that listening, dialoguing, common sense, finding
middle ground, being gracious, humility (among other skills and
qualities) appear to be in short supply at the GC Ex Committee,
at present. It even seems that group believes that the Holy Spirit
needs some help from them!
Sooner or later (hopefully the former), people will recognize that
the emperor has no clothes.

15 Likes

So you got your knickers in a bunch because a committee may recommend something to the GC?
I just read a piece about a University professor that shot himself in the arm with a .22 to protest Trump.
Seems your not far behind.

A profound timely and well stated objection to a Cotton Mather proposition.

7 Likes

When this document by the PUC is studied carefully and prayerfully it will be widely accepted as wise and fair. May we all agree with the Serenity Prayer as our church faces the future.

7 Likes

The General Conference statement on Compliance Committees, issued September 7, was so egregious, execrable, extreme, I do not eulogize the Pacific Union Conference for issuing a countervailing confrontation on September 12. That is what every right thinking member of PUC would expect them to do!

What took them so long ??

Our splendid German unions had already “jumped the gun” in proclaiming their fervent opposition.

The BURNING QUESTION is where are similar statements from the North Pacific Union and other bodies in the NAD ???

When will we hear from other components of the Inter European Division and the Trans European Division ??

THE SILENCE IS POSITIVELY DEAFENING !!

5 Likes

Thank you, Pacific Union, for your strategic leadership in opposition.

May other unions take strong stands following yours and the North German and South German Unions’ leads.

Let us speak and use our collective voices.

14 Likes

Thank you … George Knight, German Union Conferences, Göttingen Church, Basel Church, Lothar E. Träder, Pacific Union Conference, Matthias Dorn, Mary Christian, Reinder Bruinsma and all those who risk speaking up to make church members aware of the seriousness of the current developments.

And yet … are we in a SPECTRUMITE filter bubble? Or is there hope that this is the beginning of more?

12 Likes

For context, read below:
“The Islamic religious police (Arabic: مطوع‎ muṭawwiʿ, plural مطوعون muṭawwiʿūn – derived from classical Arabic: mutaṭawwiʿa/muṭṭawwiʿa) is the official vice squad of some Islamic states, who on behalf of the state, enforces Sharia law in respect to religious behavior (morality), or the precepts of Wahhabism.”

Where are we going with the latest compliance committees? You can easily guess by reading the above paragraph again.

Also heard that the Annual Council of 2018 will be held at Battle Creek, Michigan to tap into the bygone spirit of the 1800’s (please correct if wrong on this matter). The male participants have been asked to grow beards to invoke or usher in the unity that comes with strict uniformity as it was in the 1800’s. Always thought that the current president belonged to the 1800’s and totally not suited for world leadership in the 21st century. Sounds like “Make America Great Again” - an appeal to go backwards rather than forward with the focus on reviving the coal industry and letting pollution go unchecked and of course withdrawing from the climate change pact to curb pollution while the climate gets even more extreme.

And lately, “Adventist Health” rebranded to “AdventHealth” in Florida. Have we become so big for our own good? Guess it’s time to split and disperse as we can’t seem to fully understand the mission and scope of where we came from and where we are going.

3 Likes

Ted Wilson’s political strategy is to divide the Seventh-day Adventist Church into a majority that supports him and a minority that he can mischaracterize and misrepresent for the purpose of inflaming the passions of his supporters. And he knows that if he does not succeed in inflaming the passions of his supporters, someone else will be elected GC president. Most of his supporters from the Third World have been led to believe, based on their conversations with the Machiavellian Wilson, that Church employees in the NAD believe in theistic evolution, endorse homosexual sodomy, and by virtue of the support for women’s ordination are radical feminists who believe that children should not be given appropriate motherly care.

I have never heard a Seventh-day Adventist pastor preach in support of theistic evolution, seen one of our local churches host a gay wedding, or met an ordained female pastor who is anything but a conservative in her conduct. But Wilson’s bearing of false witness about Seventh-day Adventists who he is presently persecuting has proven effective with many Seventh-day Adventist leaders in the Third World. But perhaps those leaders are wising up and growing tired of Wilson’s unnecessary divisiveness. We can only pray that such is the case.

12 Likes

Thank you, Andreas, for being one of the very few European SDA academic voices who dares to speak up on this issue in the public sphere - on an arena like Spectrum, an important pulpit of SDA civil society. My (naive) attitude, or hope, is that in the end, the impact of civil society will always prevail over against autocratic powers.

10 Likes

Thank you to the humble servants of God who are faithfully and conscientiously woking in the Pacific Union. May your tribe increase. :hugs:

13 Likes

Thank you to the Pacific Union Conference’s thoughtful and reasoned letter of opposition to the GC’s proposed Compliance Committees. The SDA church’s current structure faces a dramatic negative and impactful change if compliance committees are allowed to go forward. It is striking that these issues are at the forefront while the church as a whole is studying the Book of Acts. The Apostolic period after Pentecost was tasked with the challenges of spreading the Good News in a climate marked by deep traditions, profound prejudices, and doctrinal challenges. Yet, look at the results. At least we’re not back to arguing about circumcision, but we’re close enough for me to be dismayed at the current dialogue. AS for me, my rock is Jesus Christ, He is my Friend and Savior, I rest in His assurance of peace.

10 Likes

There will always be some who do not see the bigger picture, understand the greater risk or have the capicity to seriously question or oppose fundamental danger posed within some authority individuals or organizations. There are clear lessons from history. The great potential for coercion in the authority of the proposed GC compliance committees should be recognized and openly discussed BEFORE it is voted into place rather than trying to undo the damage later. (Oppose bad policy now rather than risk excommunication later.) We cannot win battles for God, within the church or elsewhere, by using Satan’s (coercive) methods. Now where did I put that box of .22’s…

2 Likes

Yes Israel, Demand God send some meat!

That is correct. But unfortunately you are opposing a committee that is only supposed to make a recommendation.
What you are missing is that you can oppose whatever the proposal is rather than hyperventilating before you even know what it is.

I stand with PUC. Proudly!

Until the deafening silence from CUC is shattered. .

9 Likes

Beware of being distracted by the left hand while the right hand picks your pocket. It is a favourite trick of “magicians” to shift your focus so they can do something else. It is also becoming a more popular means of negotiation.
Who would not accept a moderate proposal gladly, if the other perceived option was extreme, even if the moderate option was extreme from the current position. The first step away from your current position is always the hardest. Once you have moved each subsequent step is easier and easier to take. Soon you find yourself where you would never consider going.
The proposal that is put to the AC may well be a watered down vesion of what we have seen, which makes it easier to accept but is still is not acceptable given the Church’s history.
We live in perilous times and need the outpouring of the Spirit now more than ever.

4 Likes

This is Beautiful!. Thank You, PUCEXCOM!

8 Likes