Revolutionary Thoughts

I consider myself an easy going, laid back, reasonable person. I generally trust decisions that church leaders make. They are leaders because they have demonstrated good judgment in the past. They have more information than I do. They have spent more time studying the issues than I. They deserve the benefit of the doubt.

In mid-October a friend told me that his son had told him that some European Unions were being disciplined at Annual Council because the unions had chosen to not ordain men or women as pastors. My first thought was, “That can’t be right. The church voted to not allow women to be ordained as pastors. Not ordaining men does not violate that policy. I’ll wait for the Adventist Review for the real story.”

I read the Adventist Review, and my friend and his son were essentially correct. The General Conference Executive Committee at Annual Council reprimanded the unions for violating the GC Working Policy. I assumed the AR article would eventually say something like, “The Unions violated clause xyz of the Working Policy” and I could tell my friend, “Our leaders are correct, the unions are violating policy xyz.” To my surprise, the unions were reprimanded for violating the spirit of the Working Policy. I thought, “It’s not really fair to reprimand an organization for violating the spirit of a policy, but my leaders are probably correct. I will read the policy myself. It’s probably pretty obvious the unions are in error.” To my surprise, the Working Policy is not available for the average member to read.

I am for women’s ordination in certain divisions. I am against any level of the church breaking the rules of the GC, and those who break the rules should be disciplined. But it should not matter what side of the women’s ordination debate a person is on or how a person thinks non-compliant organizations should be handled. We can all agree that holding organizations to an ambiguous standard based on a document that members (who elect the leaders) cannot read is not fair.

Those in our church who are against women’s ordination have the votes and therefore the power to impose their will on those who are for women’s ordination. The action at Annual Council shows me that the will of the majority will be imposed on the minority without regard to fairness.

I am not a revolutionary, but after those discoveries, I had revolutionary thoughts. I considered giving my tithe to my local church budget. I considered trying to get 10,000 of my friends to wear “Reprimand Me Too” t-shirts to the General Conference Session in Indianapolis. In the end I paid my tithe. I decided I had to do what is right even if my leaders do not. But I am angry. If there was a way for the divisions that favor women’s ordination to separate from those that oppose it, I would work toward that end. I am not a genius. If I am having these revolutionary thoughts, so are others who are smarter and more inclined toward activism than me, and they will have better ideas and more energy on how to implement a revolution.

The 60% majority has the power to impose its will, but not without consequences. It’s not too late to draw back. There are obvious compromises in front of us. I urge delegates to the GC to change course. If that does not happen, I urge members to replace current delegates and leaders with delegates and leaders who will enact policies that lead to unity not division.

Jody Marsh is a husband, father, and high school teacher.

Image: A delegate at the 2019 Annual Council examines his voting card during the debate regarding warning and public reprimand of unions. Photo by Tor Tjeransen, courtesy of the Adventist News Network on Flickr.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10136
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Why is the Working Policy of the Seventh-day Adventist Church shrouded in secrecy, unavailable, and lacking in openness? This is the document of policies by which we run the church, but we want no one really to know what these policies are? Why are we hiding our policies?

Is this true?

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Many, many delegates are not selected by members in the pew. Many are selected by virtue of position in the church; others are often selected by the people in those positions. So in many ways, the delegation is biased in favor of current leadership. Yes, local constituencies selected leaders at the local and union conference levels, but were not necessarily involved in selecting delegates for the General Conference session.

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How much do we really control. The church is not really the church, but a group of individuals who come up with they think is correct and present via the GC their opinions. Now the working policy is not voted by the GC session, therefore I don’t see how it has authority, because working policies in countries might differ, just like tax laws differ from one country to another.
It is true that the working policy is not available to members, hence it doesn’t apply to us. When God gave Moses the commandments, nothing was withheld, or held in secret for just a few to know, God showed that He was transparent. Now if one says that the working policy is equal to the church manual, then the working policy must be subjected to the same criteria as the church manual. I have a question, many someone out there knows the answer, in what year did ordination become a requirement to church management ( to become president ). I would like to know if that was presented to a GC session or was it done in an Annual Council Meeting, and who was present when the voted was taken.

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Yes, It is WISHFUL thinking to believe that local church membership can
CHANGE the future delegates to the General Conference.
Union and Conference Delegates Have To Be VERY CAREFUL. If they
Cross the wrong persons, they can lose their jobs quite quickly.
So, YES, most of them are YES persons when it comes to the Voting,
and with what they say in public.
THAT is the nature of the “Beast” as they say.

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Perhaps they believe that we aren’t intelligent enough to understand them?? :thinking:

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Church government in practice is government of the clergy, by the clergy and for the clergy - all paid for by the layman.

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I know it was true in the past (60s, 70s, 80s at least), but was not aware that it is still the case in our days. Not surprised, though! There is a lot of “mafiosity” in our remnant church… Who would tell, uh?

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Well, it is indeed very difficult to understand them most of the time… :innocent:

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Welcome to the “revolutionary club!” :+1: :+1:
We are nor revolutionaries either, just have some revolutionary thoughts! :laughing: :innocent:

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Maybe that’s where most of the “confusion” lies…:laughing:

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If a layperson asks for a copy, they are told it contains proprietary information and is therefore unavailable to anyone but administrative officials. From the GC Secretariat Resources webpage:

General Conference Working Policy

"The General Conference Working Policy contains the policies adopted by Annual Councils of the General Conference Executive Committee. It is therefore the authoritative voice of the Church in matters relating to the work of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in all parts of the world.

Due to the administrative nature of the Working Policy , it is only distributed through the divisions to the administrative entities of the world Church."

If you search the internet you can generally find old copies that have been uploaded by various people, undoubtedly without the GC’s knowledge or consent, but I’ve never found a GC WP newer than 2007-08 online. You can find newer versions of various divisions’ WPs, but I would assume those differ at least slightly from the GC’s.

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HERE ARE MY “ REVOLUTIONARY “ THOUGHTS :

We need to take a leaf out of the UNITED METHODIST CHURCH playbook.

They successfully dealt with women’s ordination issue decades ago — they have been ordaining their clergywomen since 1956 !
My Methodist conference president is an ordained clergywomen as is my bishop ( equivalent to Union Conference President )

My current pastor, whom I adore, the Rev Donna Pritchard, the lead pastor for the large First Church In Portland Oregon, tells me that if the Methodist vote to ordain women were taken today, it might not pass.

Why ? Because in the sixty plus years since ordination was voted there have been huge numbers of new converts in tribal Africa and third world countries,
who by cultural heritage are misogynistic and patriarchal.

In our own Adventist denomination this WO debacle is not theologically based but CULTURAL.

My Pastor Donna has been a leading member of the world wide Methodist Committee ( 18 members ) THE WAY FORWARD —
a committee to encourage more inclusivity and love for the LGBT children of Methodist families.— and a committee which I heavily funded.

Last year, their Methodist General Conference voted this down to great consternation to the congregations who favored love and acceptance of their gay children.

Now a new development:

There is suddenly an AMICABLE accord between the homophobic haters and the accepting loving inclusive crowd.

An AMICABLE split is suggested
,
whereby the more conservative, traditional churches who despise LGBT people, will be permitted to leave the denomination, taking their church properties with them. There is even a proposed multi million dollar inducement for them to do just that.

This will enable the egalitarian, LGBT accepting congregations to proceed with their agenda —- performing same sex weddings for monogamous gay couples and allowing gay / lesbian clergy.

What is not to like about this amicable arrangement ??—

A divisive, discordant, disruptive problem mired in cultural taboos, will be settled by the Methodists in peaceable fashion.

My revolutionary idea is to flollow this splendid Methodist example to settle our own disruptive, discordant, divisive WO ISSUE.
——allowing the traditionalist misogynist congregations to go their own way, and permitting the egalitarian pro women churches to gleefully ordain their clergywomen.

Problem is I cannot envision our intransigent GC President being AMICABLE— there is not an amicable bone in his body!

Nonetheless this is a “ revolutionary” suggestion —-probably
resisted to the hilt by TW because the progressive congregations are the most affluent — they will take their money with them !!

KUDOS TO THE UNITED METHODISTS FOR A RADICAL SOLUTION TO A DIVISIVE DISCORDANT DISRUPTIVE PROBLEM IN THEIR DENOMINATION ,

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amical is french…i think you mean amicable…

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Robin –
I don’t know how much you kept up with the Last General Conference of
the Methodists, but it was the African and other 3rd World delegates that
kept the desires of the North American delegates to have their desires
voted “YES”.
No DIFFERENT than with our own SDA General Conference in 2015, and
AGAIN! coming up in 2020.

However, a number of Methodist churches here in Macon, GA are deciding to
do what they see as right.
Two have woman pastors on the staff. One of these has a HUGE sign out
front of the entrance saying, “All are Welcome. ALL Means ALL”. and the only
definition of being a member is “accepting Christ”. Last time I visited for Sunday
church there was 2-3 rows of “Gays -M and F”. Several of these DO hold a
church office. Yes, with them, ALL means ALL.

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Thank you Jeremy for correcting my *”franglais “
by using AMICAL instead of amicable - many years
of owning homes in France has made me combine the two
languages

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you’re welcome, and your point is well-taken…certainly a split in our church is a worthy consideration…

another option is to simply wait TW out, if he’s voted into a third term…any other president would be able to see our problem in the terms you describe: the misogynist cultures in africa and other third world countries…under such a circumstance, the one delegate one vote approach that our GC is so devoted to doesn’t lead to a representative result when a world vote is taken…what happens, instead, is the adoption of the will of the part of the world with the most votes, which means africa will always be running our church…

instead of the one man, or few men, kingly power our prophet has warned against, we effectively have a one delegation kingly power calling the shots, which in my view is actually worse, since it gives the cover of being a representative voice…but we can see that what we’ve gotten is not representative, because had NAD and europe stayed home for the past five yrs, our voted policy at the world church level would be just what it is today…

there is no point in a world church vote under these circumstances…there is no point in participation as a world church under these circumstances…

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Hi Jody Marsh. There are only two ways. Perhaps you can simply accept that God is in control of everything that happens in the church, or as you say, create a revolution against those who are in favor of the ordination of women (against your ideas).

If you want to succeed to achieve your pro-revolution goals, you just have to review the history of the US (and act according to it), the world power of Revelation and Daniel:

“Under the National Security Doctrine, the United States promoted the series of coups that followed in Latin America from the 50s onwards. The objective: to stop the advance of communism - within the framework of the Cold War - and the revolution in America through the control and internal repression of the population, particularly the threat became real after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, encouraging the increasing interference of the US in the internal situations of each country.
Political / military intervention, in its various forms, is one of the imperialist mechanisms that the United States used (and continues to use) to appropriate strategic resources, such as natural resources and the exploitation of the labor force. Also to have territorial control in areas of influence that may be useful to defend their interests against the threat of other powers or a revolutionary process. Today, for example, the commercial war with China was decisive in its strategic turn towards Latin America, a scenario of dispute between both powers.”

Perhaps the comment is somewhat sarcastic, but deep down we know that it is a reality. You just have to use the methods, very well tested by the US, to impose your ideology.

Cheers :kissing_closed_eyes:

Just to clarify something that I see repeatedly in different articles:
TRUE:
“Delegates voted to not allow each division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to decide for itself whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry in its territory.”
FALSE:
“The church voted to not allow women to be ordained as pastors”

They are two similar ideas but totally different.
Greetings :blush:

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Edgardo –
There are lots of people, as you have noticed, who lurk and post on
Spectrum who read what you stated was TRUE, but PROCESS what
they read very differently. [The False statement]
A person forced to think of something against their will remains of the
same opinion still.— This is true on Spectrum. And TRUE in the Articles
that are posted on Fulcrum 7.
The Question to the Delegates was “Double Talk” in order to confuse the
persons who had to read and vote on it, ESPECIALLY those for whom
English is NOT their 1st language.

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