Should Ted Wilson Run for a Third Five-Year Term?

Good for the church - maybe. Good for God - I wouldn’t want to be the judge of that. Fortunately, God’s church is not limited to the Adventist church.


And not long enough to establish that his views on mission were off-track. How many ministers are moved on before it can be shown that they failed in their objective. All to many. Leave them in the same position long enough, and it becomes very clear what their policies and practices deliver.


Love the photo. TW surrounded by an ethereal swirly whirly.


It is ironic in the 21st century those same religious controls and intimidations are again in play within the Christian, protestant religious communities and more closely within the Adventist church through autocratic rule, hierarchical administration demanding coerced uniformity, loyalty pledges for conformity; rather than unity through servant leadership; administrators that threaten punishment and sanctions, rather that showing leadership through flexibility allowing differant parts our world church to have the autonomy to freely interpret and implement policy within their own territories to meet the cultural norms of their local societies’ under the umbrella of love. The love exhibited by Jesus ultimately embraces unity; E Pluribus Unum (out of many one) was embraced by the founding fathers of the United States of America. This type of unity supports a church that was originally envisioned and structured by our forefathers as being a bottom-up rather than top-down. True biblical leadership is servant-led, who are not threatened by independence of thought, who embraces and welcomes input by membership and is not intimidated. An administration that has the improvisational, adaptable abilities, skills, discipline and experience to flexibly interpret and apply written policy, not become a slave to it, and not use it as a whip. Do we make mistakes, yes? Is it a smooth process, no? We are humans saved by the grace of God, and it can get messy. But with God on our sides we can be victorious. An orchestra seldom gets it right on the first practice, but by the performance, what beautiful music.

The reverse appears to happening today in religious organizations across the board as they become more institutionalized. Our Church is no exception and in need of:
• Administrators who are aware of policy but can hear the voice of the people; who are loyal to doctrine; who use standards and policy as achievable goals, not weapons for guilt. Leadership who are able to meet people where they are and grow together.
• Administrators who can allow independence of thought and not be threatened.
• Administrators who will not allow the traditions of ‘headship’ stand in the way of recognizing the gifts and abilities of both genders without limitation.
• Administrators whose approach is to the understanding of, and allowance for, local interpretation of policy as a guide as long as it does not violate doctrine, rather than threaten by discipline, sanction, and punishment.
• Administrators who do not build their own egos by the limiting of others.

We need to pause a moment and make a distinction between command and demand. As an example, command comes from a position of authority, i.e. the U.S. military, and demand does not. Commands in a military setting come from a position of authority with a ‘chain of command’ down through the ranks that are answerable at each level. Demands are often driven by passionate or strong requests but lacking the power or authority of a command. I maintain in spite of our current church administration the membership remains in that position of that authority, delegating to our administrators, even though it appears to be in the reverse at this time. A review of the history of the formation of our church structure confirms this. It is incumbent upon membership to reclaim that authority and exercise it by commanding answers and action at each level of administration. Especially when administrators assume umbrage, and indignation when theirs positions are questioned or challenged. I am sure some current administrators do not want membership to reminded and educated of the history of this church’s foundation. This is not a power grab but a right supported by our own constitution and bylaws. Know your history and the structure of your church and exercise that right with wisdom and boldness.
When we accept Jesus Christ in the SDA Church, acceptance into membership is thru baptism. As part of the baptism process we agree to a set of baptism vows. Vows 9 and 13 address membership into the ‘body of Christ’ and fellowship. The question is how well members understand what that means. Are they given sufficient orientation about the structure and function of the church and membership role, responsibility, and privilege? The church is very intentional in orienting toward tithe and offering responsibilities but how well do we orient about structure, and operational aspects of the church – how it works. Is there emphasis on the importance of membership knowledge and participation? What is the base level of information for effective participation? Should a basic level of information be part of membership preparation and orientation? Priorities are important but do we promote some at the expense of others. What impact does that have over time? Does leadership at times exploit the lack of member knowledge? How important is transparency? A lot depends on leadership at any given time. History is often times enlightening.

In Adventist Today James Breauer, wrote an article entitled, “Christian Leadership and Spiritual Abuse. He States in part:
“…The behavior of current leadership at the top of our denominational hierarchy constitutes spiritual abuse. The battles for control, the “God talk,” the attempts to discover who is in rebellion on non-Biblical issues—all are classic cases of spiritual abuse.
Abuse takes place when an individual crosses anothers boundaries [2] and attempts to manipulate or control them. Spiritual abuse is similar: it is when an individual or organization crosses anothers boundaries and attempts to manipulate them by use of “God talk,” doctrine, or withholding salvation. Spiritual abuse is an addiction to power, position, being “right,” and allowing only the approved kind of people around you.[3]”
There are several actions I am proposing that membership rally behind in holding our administrator accountable for the coming Annual Counsels and General Conference. Again this is coming in the form of a command from the membership and not just a demand or request. Requests have often fallen on deft ears, placated, mollified, minimized. These are responsibilities delignated by membership and require action by administration. Membership is taking back their constituted rights to require, command action by administration. We have in recent years acquiesced to the dictates of autocratic administration and it is time for membership to halt the downward spiral. Membership loves this church as much as our administrators and have equally as much invested in it as they do and are not naïve as to the inner workings of the church. It is time we step up. This is what I am proposing:
• Empower the Constitution and Bylaws Committee to act independently in drafting constitutional revisions that are gender inclusive.

• Equal with this is the analysis of term limits.

• Remove from the constitution, bylaws, and working policy all criteria referencing male exclusivity along with ministerial license and ordination as qualifications for certain office positions, leaving the only qualifications membership in good and regular standing.

• By modifying the constitution, bylaws, and working policy it opens up the possibilities for taping talent from a broad spectrum of education, experience from any number of disciplines that will meet the needs of a 21st century church for new beginnings and fresh perspective, transparency utilizing technology the benefit of all.

• The nominating committee has a large responsibility in vetting choices for General Conference Officers and specifically the GC president. Typically, one name is recommended to the body. It is suggested that 2 or more names be brought to the floor with full disclosure of backgrounds and vetting process to include a minimum of one female. If two are brought one must be female. If three are brought one must be female, etc. Yes, we trust the committee but I believe our duly elected representatives should have more of a choice. This fosters transparency as well as responsibility.

• The incumbent president is not to be part of the nominating committees work. The previous president’s name can be considered but he should not be part of the deliberations for the office of the president.

• In this process review of the structure of the church in conjunction with the Constitution and Bylaws Committees for the needs of today with the idea of structuring for efficiency.

• If we are seeking revival/change/growth pouring new wine into old wine skins will not work.

• This will require thinking outside the box; openness to new ways of thinking.

• In using this we will be utilizing the best minds across disciplines, taping the best resources within and outside the denomination for consulting purposes.

• We are talking about the management of a world church we have talked about this for years but now is a reality in the 21st Century. Continuing to manage today’s organization from a 19th and 20th century is a formula for disaster. It has had its time and served us; not always as well as anticipated but to continue without change does a disservice to the membership and the larger community we are commissioned to serve.

• Balance of representation between membership and laity at all levels of administrations.

• Develop means of communication that stimulates member involvement engaging in meaningful dialogue using all media forums available.

• If unity is our goal this is going a long way toward fostering it as opposed to forced conformity through loyalty oaths and various forms of strong armed intimidation.

• Timeliness is important to give committees sufficient time to pursue their respective jobs and submit recommendations for study in preparation for future Annual Counsels and the 2020 General conference.

• To remain a responsible a church it becomes the responsibility of membership to hold administration accountable and that responsibility to hold administration comes as a command not a request, understanding who works for whom. The structure exists for us to accomplish this. Failure to implement these recommendations by administration requires responsible membership to move forward in the absence of that leadership. In the 21st century lack of action is a decision will trigger a reaction the church may want to avoid.

• We are at a crossroads with choices and opportunities. Lord help us to make informed choices for a finished work.

• This church will not remain relevant for these changing times on it current trajectory. The world is passing it by as we question our effectiveness. This is not unique to the SDA Church. All institutionalized religions are facing similar growing pains form the tug of war from its founding principles and adaptation to an ever increasing and rapidly changing society in the 21st Century. How we adapt to and manage these changes will determine our effectiveness for the future. As the words of the song says, written by Barnard Ignor, “Everything Must Change, Noting Stays the Same”.


Although we need older pastors who still have a bit of Adventism in them, but I believe it is time for him to go back to the churches and practice his calling TO BE A PASTOR.

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THANK YOU, Matthew Quartey for having the courage and integrity to speak the truth! Wilson should definitely not seek re-election. In fact it would be best for the Church if he would leave office early. In his “unity” quest, he has pushed the Church to the brink of schism…


Well, well… When I read the title of this article I scratched my head strongly. I asked myself, “What are they talking about?” It sounds like crazy!

What is this thing about “RUNNING?” There is no “running” for GC Prez in our Church! Ted Wilson never ran for that position! And there are no elections for that position either! Let me explain my points:

  1. The GC Prez does not “run,” because there are no competitors.
  2. What there is, actually, is a lot of campaigning (politics) aiming to arrange things in a way that the result will be actually “as expected.”
  3. The Prez is CHOSEN by a small group of people. Not sure, but is it 24 people or so?
  4. There is no election when the delegates from the whole world come to the GC Assembly. The already chosen name is presented to them, and they just say, “Amen.” As we saw it happening in SA/2010, the whole process can be as fast as a 90-second and with no questions asked. And the “elected” Prez marches in immediately from behind the curtains for his inaugural speech. He is not even surprised that he was the one just “elected!”
  5. This is not an election. This is just a “maneuver.”

Therefore, I won’t even comment on the details presented in the article, which I read only superficially because there is no point in discussing the matter. Why wasting precious time? The outcome will have nothing to do with running, or being elected, etc. anyway!I

If TW decides to take a third term, and utilizes the correct political maneuvers, he will get it! I know he has been horrible for the Church, but again, the only thing that matters is the final result for him and his team.

But I am glad this article was published here. This way many people will have the opportunity to vent their frustrations, disappointments, and resentments. Catharsis is always good, even if it does nothing to resolve a problem.



Your Point No 1 is correct. The GC Prez does not run for office.

Your Point No 3 is wholly incorrect. The GC Nominating Committee in 2015 contained 252 delegates - 233 from the Divisions and 19 from the General Conference Office. Each Division is allowed to send 10% of its delegates to the nominating committee; the General Conference Office can only send 8% of its delegates. My mother was on the 1985 Nominating Committee in 1985 and she spent up to 12 hours a day, every day excluding Sabbath, almost for the whole duration of the Session in committee.

Here is a description of the Nominating Committee from the 2015 Adventist Review.

"The 252 members of the nominating committee consists of 233 delegates from the Church’s 13 divisions, and 19 delegates from the Church’s world headquarters, also known as the General Conference.

Since the election process begins with the nomination of candidates, the nominating committee is formed on the first day of General Conference Session, according to Myron Iseminger, undersecretary of the General Conference. Delegates separate to form caucuses for their individual divisions. Each division is allowed to send 10 percent of its delegates to the nominating committee. The General Conference, on the other hand, is only allowed to send eight percent of its delegates.

There are other factors for the caucuses to consider when it comes to selecting representatives for the nominating committee. For example, anyone chosen must be a duly accredited delegate in attendance at the General Conference Session.

Also, delegates selected to serve on the nominating committee cannot be elected officials of the General Conference. These officials include General Conference and Division presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, undersecretaries, associate secretaries, undertreasurers, associate treasurers, division officers, officers of the General Conference Auditing Service, and leaders of the General Conference departments.

In other words, if a delegate is currently serving in a position that is up for election at Session, he or she cannot serve on the nominating committee.

You may ask, “Who is left to serve on the nominating committee?” Nominating committees are populated with delegates including, union presidents and officers, local conference leaders, lay members, top leaders of General Conference institutions, including schools, hospitals, sanitariums and the Ellen G. White Estate."

Your Point No 4 is also incorrect. The process allows for considerable discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of any number of potential people to fill any and every parrticular role. This is not to say that Nominating Committee members are necessarily well informed concerning individuals. As I understand it, this is one area where the system could be refined.

The Nominating Committee meets first on the first Thursday evening of the Session. If I remember rightly it was early on Friday afternoon before the secretary of the nominating committee recommended the name of the GC President for that role. In 1990 when Robert Folkenberg was surprisingly elected as one who was not a Division President or GC Officer it was even later on Friday afternoon. On that occasion, Robert Folkenberg had been elected the Nominating Committee Charperson. Upon his election as GC President, Des Hills, one of the two Australia/ NZ Union Presidents stepped up from being Vice Chairperson to Chairperson. Both men were excellent choices for their roles because they had experience in multiple Divisions plus the fact that Des Hills had served as Associate GC Youth Director. Hence they would understand some of the cultural dynamics of the Committee.

Im the late 1940’s or early 1950’s the only New Zealander ever to serve as North American Division President, Pr WG Turner was invited to be GC President. He declined so they invited an American to serve in that role. At a similar time Neal Wilson’s father was serving as the South Pacific President. In 1990, as I understand it, the Inter American Division President was invited to serve as GC President and only when he declined was Robert Folkenberg invited to serve in this role.

In the case of our South Pacific Division President in 2015, the present incumbant was one of three potential candidates worked on by the SPD caucus of the nominating committee. This caucus voted the incumbant by the narrowest of margins and thus his name was put forward to the full nominating committee for their endorsement before finally being recommended to the full Session vote.

Every effort is made to intoduce the nominee for a position to the full session in conjunction with their being voted into office. That is why they are behind the curtain. A nominee is approached before the vote on the floor of the Session to see if he will serve in that capacity. Also, if the nominee is new to that position the person vacating that position is acquainted with that fact before the vote.

You have a very jaundiced view of the whole nominating committee process, George. Such a view is almost wholly unwarranted.


I had all of my education in the SDA school system. Your post just made me realize that in elementary school, my thinking was full-on subordinationism. This was based on my Bible classes at school, Pathfinders, and Sabbath School. I really believed that God was in charge and was for the most part pretty malevolent. If you followed enough of the rules, Jesus would be your friend and protect you from God the Father and His judgement and wrath. Maybe Jesus was a little afraid of God and tried to appease Him. The Holy Spirit was really an afterthought who did what Jesus said to do, and maybe didn’t even exist before Pentecost. Of course, playground chatter undoubtedly influenced these views as well. Later, I found and embraced trinitarianism, which was not really made clear or obvious to me by the Church.

Does the church really just give lip service to trinitarianism? Are TW’s subordinationism leanings actually supported by SDA doctrine?

I hope he doesn’t serve a third term, but who knows what the next President might promote.


If 8 years is regarded to be long enough to be president of the United States of America, why should it not be normalized that 2 terms in office is more than enough for a General Secretary of the SDA Church?

We don’t need a President. We need a humble leader to lead us. Something Ted Wilson has not done. He has been a disaster.


In this case I think it would be better for the church and for him that he runs - away!
Yea, you’re absolutely right, Spectrum has given us an opportunity to vent and to fume, but he will stay. That’s why it should be better that our candidates could openly present their programs and really run for something. So how it is performed now it’s only a big pretending and acting as “Oh brethren, I’m not worthy, I’m really humbled, could you please take another…”
Yes there is a nominating committee, but let’s be honest, if you have 252 people sitting in it, how many actually get to the mike?
There are many reasons to change the way the church makes it’s business. I think that the biggest one is that the people want more transparency. In times of Internet and of enormous possibilities of getting to know everything, you can’t act by the means of secret and illegal committees (take for example the last statement about the One project).


Hey my friend, do you think that I should run again in 2020?

I can always ask my parakeets to do an exploratory survey right now… Of do you think it’s already too late? :smiley:


Go for it, George. Only if not to liquidate the whole GC administrative level, also known as “dead wood.”

I wonder if any Spectrumite can inform where can I get the application forms.

Does the GC also have some money destined to campaigns? I mean, the incumbent can fly all around the world for free in the Air GC One. There must be some budget to make it up for the challengers, right? Fair?


Yes you can :sunglasses:
You’re male, you have a seminary diploma… and after all why not have a prez with a slavic origin.
Just go for it. I like your program of dissolving GC. 'cause we have many new posters here, it wouldn’t be redundant if you would present us that program again.


Generally speaking, age 70 is a good time to consider retirement. However - the typical age recommendation (and most European countries would consider the mid 60s as retirement age) is of as little relevance, as are the averages given in the article - when it comes to calling to ministry or some prophetic office. Thus that particular line of argument is rather weak. Agree? Careful now - I might mention women …

The real reasons why the current president should not be viewed as the future president are much more daunting. Having said that - I don’t believe that the issue is TW, but a systemic one. To believe a retirement would turn the tide of self-destruction … is - dare I say - delusional. Perhaps, just perhaps it requires a little more Holy Spirit? Or rather … a lot.


I suspect that if those around him didn’t share his viewpoint, they wouldn’t remain around him for long.


“It needs repeating that ours is, or should be, an open community whose members have voluntarily come together in fellowship and have equal rights to safeguard our church’s welfare” Well said, and Amen to that brother. Isn’t why we have GC sessions? There are a wide range of beliefs, some strongly held, as to what constitutes “safeguarding our church’s welfare”, hence GC in session is the final body that decides. TW may not put himself forward, which indeed he cannot by the very nature of how we function as a church.

It’s a fact of life that nominating committees make that decision, after prayer, and the body votes up or down, after prayer. If you are among those that believe you don’t turn down a call to serve, unless you have some personal and serious reasons why you shouldn’t, then you will accept. The discussion can start now and will continue until 2020 but at the end of the day, not amount of politiking will stop God’s will for His people.

Since we are in the political sphere, it would be interesting if someone would care to address the issue of white males North Americans (with 2 exceptions from Norway - Olsen after 1888 - and Paulsen after Folkenberg) being elected to GC Presidency from 1863 to this day, especially since the centre of gravity has long shifted from Whites and North Americans to other colours (Black, Brown and lighter brown - or Africans, Asian, Hispanics, etc.). Adventist world membership is 93% in those parts of the world.

Should Dwight Nelson be moved to another church after pastoring PMC for so long that I wonder if he even remembers himself? When he was once nominated to be Ministry Editor he turned it down since he wanted to keep his prestigious PMC pastorate and they wouldn’t have it. He had to choose between moving to Washington DC or forfeit PMC. He stayed where his heart was, I am told. I stand to be corrected if that wasn’t the case.

Age should be discounted altogether, certainly in North America. DJT is 72 and he is talking about running for another term when his first is over. Pope Francis is 81. Popes tend to stay in the saddle until they die. He is the absolute autocratic head of over a billion Christians. He heads the spiritual, the judiciary, the legislative, etc. etc. There are heads of State that are quite advanced in age. The British monarch is 92. She is Head of the Church of England, Head of the Commonwealth of nations, and patron of numerous charities, amongst other things.



You are correct in part. Lowell Cooper jumped before he was pushed (or so it seems to me). Delbert Baker, another recent VP, was left in limbo after he was not returned to his role. Some have suggested this was because he was politicking in search of the role of GC President. All we can be certain about is that the 2015 GC Nomnating elected to downsize the number of GC VP’s, possibly under the influence of the incumbant GC President or of another GC Officer. And then we discovered that the GC President quickly announced that he was employing the services of additional Assistants to the President.

However, we make a mistake if we imagine that there are not many in and around the GC Office who share and applaud the theological tone and adhere to the missiological strategies and methods of the President himself. The most notable example of this is GT Ng.


Sooner or later, we shall witness the nomination and election of a Latin American or African GC president. God forbid!:fearful: I’m Asian and in my part of the world I’ve seen enough autocratic rule outside and inside the church; in our experience, a single 5-year term policy, for all concerned, would probably be in our best interest. Five years should be sufficient time for a good leader to achieve h/er short term goals.