SID Academics, Church Members Write Open Letter to Ted Wilson

“God deserves better than this”

  1. Jesus ‘suffered the little children to come unto him’, so what’s with your ‘divine right of Kings’ model for South African leadership where educated loyal tithe paying ‘plebs’ outside of church employ should ‘mind there own business’ and not trouble unelected Division leadership with their genuine concern of despotic activity by Division leadership?

  2. If during Roman times tax paying citizens could appeal to Caesar above some local governing hack and in Medieval times taxpayers could appeal over some local tyrant to the King why in the 21st Century would you deny loyal,thoughtful, God fearing church members their right to be heard by the highest authority regarding serious alleged behaviors by SID division leaders? Especially after following the chain of command.

  3. This pious platitude that you don’t need a higher academic degree to be a minister of the church is an artful dodge by some to avoid facing the horror that there actually might be deceit, fraud and possible criminal activity by certain Church officials. And how much did the General Conference leadership know and how much are they colluding in deceit?

  4. We all no doubt have our theories as to how this will be handled. Not taking the concerns of serious minded, thoughtful educated church members, no doubt experts in their own field, in my opinion is only deserving of contempt. I think God deserves better than some shabby opaque back room deal in Silver Springs. Best wishes, Edgar


I am surprised to learn that protest letters about this issue were sent to church officials back in 2014. The rot seems more extensive than one bad apple.
I want to make four brief responses to previous comments here:

  1. Ralph Thompson’s remarks echo anti-intellectualism comments I recall being made in the 1960s and 1970s. I believe the public has moved on from that mind-set. The church invests a lot of money in academia. Dumbing down of theological training can only lead to a dumbing down of church communities.
  2. The sub-title of the article by PC in the Friendship Issue of Adventist World reads, “I never repeated a grade at school.” Big deal!! That applies to a significant majority of students. His boast says much about PC himself who, apparently, still cannot resist self-promotion. I find it offensive that the church would publish an author of doubtful credibility.
  3. Dr Ficker, in your first letter of support for RC you wrote of the highest church officials, “Their salaries are no secret.” In view of that can you tell us Ted Wilson’s salary together with all his extra allowances? Can I find his salary and allowances listed on a freely accessible website? In my part of the world the average church pastor is on a base level of 100% and administrator’s levels progressively increase significantly above 100%. And that disparity continues on into their retirement.
  4. Jeremy asks, “What standing do academics outside of church employment have to complain about church matters?” The simple answer is, Quite a lot of standing. Accreditation teams, normally composed of people not employed by the church, would have quite a lot to say if they found one of our universities employing lecturers with dodgy degrees. Let’s remember that the academics who wrote the letter to TW are defending legitimate academic degrees in addition to moral values.

Am not privy to the delicate church matters raised by the group of people mentioned in the letter. Like most people have heard about the matter concerning (Pastors Paul Ratsara & Paul Charles) in the public media.
Am asking myself the following questions.

  1. If we have such diligent and committed church members with so many varied skills and specialist knowledge who can dig this deep to find the truth to 'protect God’s church to this extent then we need not give up but have hope in the future of this church there are always rumours flying around or have flown around and there is hope that they might be investigated searched thoroughly and brought to book with this high calibre of Jealous Protectors of God’s church. We might have
  2. About pastors in leadership at any level will be asked to step down as their character will not qualify them for position of leadership in the church of God.

This is a very sad, bad situation that I hope will serve as an object lesson regarding making an idol out of academic degrees.


The reporting I have received today is that one of Ratsara’s aides, Hopeson Bonya, has admitted to ghostwriting Ratsara’s dissertation. Bonya was recently elected VP of SID. The SID executive committee has voted to censure Ratsara, stating their disapproval regarding how Ratsara obtained his PhD. Consequently, Ratsara has offered to resign. Ted Wilson reportedly is trying to persuade him not to resign. Whether Wilson can turn the committee in Ratsara’s favor remains to be seen.


Dear Dr DuPreez

Thank you for sharing the information about your efforts and that of others who have been privy to what seem to have been common knowledge in some important church leadership circles over a protracted period. It is a travesty that those in leadership who have received your pleas for quiet and definitive resolution decided not to act at a time when all implicated (Bro’Paul, bro’ Ratsara et al) would have had opportunity to come clean and step down, out of sight of the broader church.
The fall-out could have been avoided. The boil could have been lanced surgically without as much public scrutiny, speculation and suspicion as we now witness.
The church that we so dearly love, (South African and international), would have been spared what now increasingly is taking on the form of a full-blown scandal. Contained and swift response toward resolution, in line with your plea and that of others, would have avoided the embarrassing questions that so many church members now have to face. No longer will a titled individual be able to step into our pulpits without someone wondering whether s/he is ‘credible and for real’. The fact is, too, that many of the laity have trusted these men and have been blessed by their ministry, and are likely to be suspicious of leaders. Many are now deeply hurt, some irretrievably.

Commentators have pointed out (on this platform in particular) that it is not now about qualifications - and had actually never been. The qualifications-controversy is the result of much deeper maladies, eg., indiscretion, lack of personal morality, lust for power, and other traits related to psychopathy.

My prayer is that the high level meetings of this past week will also lead President NC Wilson to personally pray for strength to propose the right action, in the hope that such guidance would enable and ignite convictions and requisite courage among those who need to take action to the praise of HIS glorious grace and to benefit HIS Bride. In the absence of decisiveness we are perpetuating the creation of first-stone-casters on so many fronts.

Dr Valiant A. Clapper
Concerned South African Academic and Adventist - pledging support for, and endorsement of, the call of the concerned academics group


Irrelevant. This issue isn’t about education, but about morals. Something that seems to have little value in God’s remnant church. Could that be why Rev 18:4 are God’s true people?


This is simply part of the global politics now being inserted into the running ogf the church. The church has become more of higher qualifications than the fundamental mission of the church ,which is to take the whole gospel to all parts of the world .If we as a church will labor to find honest, hardworking and spirit-filled men and women to lead the church, then the church will move forward but unfortunately, we entrenched in looking for higher academic achievements thereby burying spirituality.The African head of the then, Africa-indian Ocean Division in the 1990s was not a person with theology degree but ordained elder with accounting degree and not even, CPA yet he led the whole continent very well. Let the academicians remain at our universities while we find spiritfilled elders to lead us. Those lied about owning Ph.Ds should be removed and disciplined. we discipline youths(female)for pregnancy out of wedlock, we discipline members for immorality, I hope we will muster the courage to discipline members for perjury


This sounds ominous.

Pregnant women need your love and support. Not ‘discipline’.

Change your thinking.


This also brings to mind the question, is the male youth disciplined?


As stated in the letter, this is a matter of integrity, quite apart from any level of education.

Claiming degrees one has not earned is plainly dishonest and thus a violation of the second part of the decalogue. I believe it is an insult to God Almighty to claim to represent Him as pastor/spiritual leader while living in open violation of His law.


Yes, they should confess, repent and reform, but not be reinstated, at least for many years. We have the example of another high-ranking African pastor and professor to show why too early reinstatement is not a good idea.


I agree with Gerald du Preez in a previous post a while back. Yes Paul’s wheelbarrow kid story is too good to be true. Could Du Preez be true in saying his story is a fable. I wonder what was his intentions.

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I wish to respond to our esteemed academics and will cite Dr R. duPreez as the first respondent…In my limited academic pool of knowledge, I am quite surprised that all of you educated professionals made mere allegations against Elder Ratsara and in your preface in the letter to Elder Wilson, you made reference to the New Age (interesting name) newspaper article as the reason and motivation to write that strong letter to Elder Wilson… Also you did not need to CC Elder Ratsara as he is the one under scrutiny…

Nevertheless, in the New Age newspaper there are a lot of allegations, suspicions and surmisings taking place and I am quite shocked that doctors and professors would use that as reference instead of putting facts about elder Ratsara’s real status regarding his qualifications. The terms “älleged,” ‘‘speculation’’ etc, are used quite widely in the open letter, which means its all rumour mongering until facts are given.

I am also surprised that in the SDA church, a group of people outside the Division’s structures put pressure on a leader to exit the post without using the Matthew 18 principles and due process of investigation??? Offcourse, Elder Ratsara has already resigned and even if he is found not guilty, he will certainly not come back to office as some of his comrades dont trust him anymore…very sad day indeed…

While I am not saying Elder Ratsara is clean, I am also saying who here has facts to say he is guilty???

First it was said his thesis topic isnt online, then someone circulated the UNISA link with his thesis title. Then we had some saying he plagiarised the WO issue from the BRC on ordination…However I would like to remind you that the principles of research and establishment of Adventist teaching are simply biblical and SOP based. It is therefore likely that his conclusions and recommendations would have come parallel to the BRC…Right now I believe Jesus is God based on the Bible and SOP…Will you now accuse me of plagiarism of the SDA church’s fundamental beliefs??? Let us use logic at times brethren.

And with regards linking the No vote on WO to SID and saying our non-credible leaders forced it upon us, be advised, we still would vote NO on ordination because we study the Bible for ourselves as member. No leader tells our conscience what to believe…

Anyway, they mobbed Jesus without due process, they did likewise to Paul…Any now Paul of the 21st century has likewise been taken out…

Let God speak. Amen.

“The whole thing is painful. . .”

  • For . . . God, too ?

“Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel
think of it in relation to themselves and to the world.
Few think of its relation to God.
Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator.
All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony;
but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity.
The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that,
from its very inception,
sin has brought to the heart of God.
Every departure from the right,
every deed of cruelty,
every failure of humanity to reach His ideal,
brings grief to Him.
When there came upon Israel the calamities
that were the sure result of separation from God,
–subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death,–
it is said that
"His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.”
"In all their affliction He was afflicted:
. . . and He bare them,
and carried them all the days of old.“
Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9.” ~ Education 263

“You who make your boast in the law, (‘Sabbath keepers’)
do you dishonor God through breaking the law?
For 'the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,'
as it is written.” ~ Paul, to the Romans, 2:23-24 NKJV

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,
for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes,
for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
~ Paul, to the Romans, 1:16-17 NKJV

If Seventh-day Adventists are to be on the winning side in
’The Great Controversy’,
then we Seventh-day Adventists must allow ourselves to be drawn, primarily,
to focus our greatest empathy,
and our deepest affections on the One who has won it
– at such immense cost to Himself – already . . . .
‘Won it’, in Heaven, at least.
Earth is clearly still undecided.

Can the SDA church ‘win’ souls back to the tender, feeling God
with that ‘gospel of Christ’ while ranking it beneath the ‘gospel of the SDA church’,
and its painful feelings, alone ? Is that type of ‘self’-idolatry’ less Godless than bearing ‘false witness’ regarding personally-attained ‘degrees’ ?

‘Redemption’ is, ultimately, a partnership, not a solo endeavor, not a divorce.