Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division President Paul Ratsara Offers Resignation Amid Academic Qualifications Scandal

Paul S. Ratsara, president of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division of Seventh-day Adventists (SID), has offered his resignation as division president amid an ongoing scandal involving allegations of fraudulent doctoral qualifications. General Conference President Ted N. C. Wilson has asked Pastor Ratsara to reconsider.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

To offer his resignation is the right thing to do.

It’s just a shame that for many years Mr Ratsara held this secret and presented his qualification fraudulently.
This is a worrying indicator of his character.


Why on earth would President Wilson not accept his resignation? It seems like the obvious thing for Ratsara to do. Clearly there are deeper things going on that I don’t understand.


I want to thank Spectrum for the careful and thorough coverage of this story. I feel sorry for those who have been hurt throughout this event. I hope we can all move forward and enjoy a more honest and transparent future.


Let the second guessing begin.

Pastor TW, this is the ultimate enabling of bad behavior. You have done a great injustice to all parties involved. You should have accepted PR’s resignation with whatever caveat you would have wished but you should have never publicly undercut his EXCOM recommendations. What you have done isn’t anymore different from how parents argue, undermine and sabotage each other on how to discipline their children infront of them. An absolute prohibition under any circumstance. Bad judgment on your part.

Remember the ABCs of behavior. Antecedents, behavior and consequence. No one learns a lesson without consequences.


This level of interference by Ted Wilson is simply breathtaking. If he continues to try to prevent natural justice from taking its course, then I’d predict that by the time this is all over, he himself will be out of a job.


In my opinion, the only appropriate action is to require the resignations of Mr. Ratsara and Mr. Charles, and perhaps Mr.Boyna, depending on whether coercion was used to get him to ghostwrite Ratsara’s paper. To do any less is an affront to all students who work hard and honestly to achieve. This dishonest behavior is inappropriate in any setting; all the more in an organization which purports to follow Jesus and teach others about Him.


Having worked hard, enduring sleepless nights and endless reviews, writing and rewriting my dissertation I think it is indeed an insult for the President to basically give Mr. Ratsara time to thing about this dishonest act. This makes me question the Presidents ability and whether or not he understands how insulting it is to us who have been honest in achieving. Why? Why? Would he want him to sleep on this and reconsider?


I must admit I am becoming disillusioned. This church purport to uphold Jesus Christ and God’s law. Yet its leadership simply ignores subjecting its employees to due process. Instead SID EXCOM becomes s referee and a player, a judge and a jury in the same case despite the loud and evident presence of policies and procedures dealing with fraud and corruption as well as every type of misconduct. How does that happen? As a result, Paul Charles continues as if he, as a senior pastor never conducted himself in a grossly dishonest manner. Then Ted Wilson refuses to accept Ratsara’s resignation. Of course he may not have executive powers. But, currently, how does a person who has indicated his willingness to step down then continue to be productive? How do the two persons namely Dr Ratsara and Bonya continue working together given the acrimonious relationship that has been precipitated by the revelation that the latter wrote 5 chapters of the six that constitute the former’s doctoral thesis? How does PR continue to work with a team that obviously has no confidence in him? Is Ted Wilson aware of the danger that he is plunging the organisation into? What does it mean to hard working pastors some of who are studying right now and those who have been honest in their study? Is Ted really saying it is correct to cheat? In his world cheaters will make it to heaven too? Can PR be trusted? Is Ted paying PR back for being dishonest? I am totally disillusioned.


‘Lyin and Cheatin Leaders’

  1. Someone help me out here as I don’t have a PhD. Assuming this report is accurate Ted Wilson is trying to persuade Dr (?) Ratsara not to resign and threatening him that the GC might not accept his resignation. Ted Wilson wants a ‘lyin and cheatin’ Adventist Gospel minister to continue to lead the SID division.

  2. Is Ted Wilson doing a one man show here or does he have the full backing of the GC executive committee? Are they all willing to put their characters and reputation on the line to support Ted Wilsons disregard for Church members concerns and his apparent concern for a probable old friend? - Edgar


His attempts to interfere with representative processes are not uncommon from what I hear. It’s a style of leadership that’s favored by some who wish he’d exercise even more control.


Pastor Ted Wilson,

(1) Think very long and hard about how this looks to those who look to you for spiritual leadership.

(2) If you are trying to show us how to “forgive and forget” perhaps you need to reflect even longer.

(3) Nonacceptance of Ratsara’s resignation will have consequences far greater than you might imagine.

(4) The Adventist Church’s credibility is sliding down hill even faster on a crash course into a wall.


Since this story broke in popular press, the church must respond to ensure to the community that we are a group that values integrity that exceeds worldly mores.

Since our group claims to be Christian the church must respond to show that inward and outward honesty are mandatory for our leaders.

Since we view our educational system with pride, in terms of its comprehensiveness and depth, this behavior MUST be reprimanded. Otherwise, we lose confidence in our church’s claims to being able to offer education in the sense as expected by current best practices. I speak as a Christian, SDA member, 18 year SDA alumnus, parent who has spent big bucks on SDA education, and a regular donor to SDA education.


In regard to a previous article concerning what some academics were writing regarding the scandal of obtaining degrees fraudulently, I said that the involved persons should be removed and that the GC should be involved and if not they should also be blamed. They have become involved in the person of President Wilson but instead recognizing the wrong done, which the division president has done by resigning his position, he has in fact supported his guilt by not accepting his resignation. I don’t know the president and no doubt he is a good man but he has made a serious mistake while holding a very important office and he rightly recognizes it and resigns. But what can we say about what the President of the GC does but encouraging him to remain in office. I can’t understand this action. President Wilson thinks that woman’s ordination is wrong but obtaining a degree by false means is all right. Is that really true? The division also was the most opposed to woman’s ordination. Most divisions even when they opposed it in their divisions were willing to allow it to divisions who felt they were ready but this division not only opposed it in its division but also would not allow other divisions that were prepared to do so to do so. No doubt this was based on his dissertation which was mainly written by someone else. But now the isssue of President Wilson. How can we have him continue as our president if he does not consider such an act which Paul Ratsara did as serious enough for him to resign. This is our church, our integrity who claim to have the truth is going down the drain.


What does this incident show us about the attitude of our GC president in regard to higher education? Does he support the objectives of our academic institutions, our universities who think degrees matter?
Smuts van Rooyen


Given how colonialism works, we would have expected Ted Wilson during his visit to the dark continent of Africa to shine a light, stress the importance of accountability, and urge the resignations of Ratsara and Charles. Instead, we see the tutorial about the virtues of honesty and integrity going in the opposite direction; we see that it is Wilson who is being schooled by the Africans.

There is a tinge of racism in the position that Ratsara and Charles should not resign. This position very much rests on the presupposition that Africans are so inherently ignorant and dishonest that we should not burden them with high standards. But as the recent letter from the various academic scholars in Africa establishes, they hold themselves to high standards and are deeply offended by the boasting of fraudulent degrees.

Given that complaints about the fraudulent degrees of Ratsara and Charles were voiced years ago, I can only conclude that Wilson chose to do nothing in order to jigger the San Antonio vote regarding women’s ordination. The political pressure exerted by the non-scholar Ratsara over his subordinates sitting next to him in San Antonio, the substitution of his personal view for the consensus view expressed by biblical scholars in his division (as I perceive to be the case based on limited information), and the incitement of boos and hisses toward Jan Paulsen, who is a bona fide scholar, were indispensable for Wilson to see his “plain-meaning” absurdity of a biblical interpretation narrowly prevail.

What worries me is the negative change in the public perception of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Africa, as reflected in secular news stories about this controversy. Wilson could have avoided a public scandal if he had acted sooner. It is imperative that he limit the damage done.

The whole controversy represents a breakdown in risk management. The GC needs a director of intelligence. Maybe there is a Seventh-day Adventist in the intelligence community who can be recruited. Threats need to be identified and assessed before harm comes to the Church. Complaints should not be swept underneath the rug. There needs to be strategic thinking about the future. We need people to spend hours looking out the window and thinking about how to prevent crises from occurring. And when crises do occur, we need to investigate what, if anything, could have been done to prevent them from occurring.


This is certainly a case of breaking
Commandment Number 9 Bearing False Witness. Perjury.
It is also breaking the Very 1st Commandment.
"Thou shalt have no other gods before Me’
The god of job.
The god of power, position, authority, control over other persons.
Paul Ratsara certainly had a lot of control and power over his ghostwriter.
For him to felt FORCED to write 5 of the 6 Chapters, and then hide it.
With what I would assume would be a Guilty Conscience all this time.
Can you imagine what he felt every time he had to be in a room with
Paul Ratsara and to see his face, hear his voice!!
The FEAR that if he said anything he would lose HIS job, position,
control, power.
Maybe even have to give his Ordination Certificate back. No longer be
a pastor. The Disgrace to friends, family.
Knowledge that he would probably be sent to some small community.
And the knowledge of what effect this would have on his family and
educational opportunities. Maybe even health access.
I can’t believe that the Executive Committee members are not really angry
about what this all means for the World Church, and for their Division, Unions,
Conferences, and the local members trust in the Seventh day Adventist Church.

But as someone has said earlier on Spectrum –
Maybe this is ONLY the tip of the Iceberg.

EDIT-- Jamesmugo–
That group at SID, when the President came knocking on the door, should have done as Ellen White did when the GC President took the 5 day train from Battle Creek to Elmshaven to see her. SHE REFUSED TO ANSWER THE DOOR. He had to leave and take another 5 days back to Battle Creek.
Ellen left us an example of “It is OK to IGNORE leaders when they come knocking, if their presence is not appropriate.” And his presence was not appropriate at that time. He should have been ignored by that Committee. He caused havock in that Division’s leadership council. May take a very, very long time to repair. Especially now that all this has gone Viral on many FaceBook sites where SDAs around the world reside and can make up their own mind in their own home late at night.
I’ve received it at least 3 times from various persons I have as friends around the world.

EDIT 5/27-- To those as pastors or other leaders.
To those still members.
We have to be careful in THINKING we are working for The Church.
The Church are ALL of GOD’s children around the world. Those in your Community who Love God, those in your Community who do not know God yet, but are still keeping the First 3 Commandments and the Last 6 Commandments without realizing it.
Yes, even if your check says SDA somewhere on it, you are called to serve ALL of these above.
Close your eyes, Open your arms, EMBRACE.
You are called to do, as your Boss, Jesus said, “To do the Works of the Father”. NOT the works of some church. Jesus had to abandon “the church” in His day to do the Works of the Father. Jesus had to IGNORE the Church Superiors of His day in order to do The Works of The Father.
We have to become like Jesus. Paul says THIS is OUR CALLING. To DO the Works of HIM - GOD who “sent ME- Jesus”.
We are not called to do the works that come from some list of Dos and Donts from human organizations. Find your Calling. Do The Works. Bless your Community.


As disturbing as the reports of these top church administrators obtaining degrees by fraudulent means are, the news that Ted Wilson would not accept the resignation of one of these leaders is even more distressing. Ratsara’s decision to resign in the face of these revelations is the only right and honorable thing to do. For Wilson to not accept this gesture is simply wrong and just as unethical as the actions of these leaders. How can the president of the world church, who cares so much for the “truth,” care so little about the untruthful actions of one of his leaders? Remarkable.


This is a very careful, measured report, Jared. It is also very informative.

Elder Wilson’s personal support of Elder Ratsara is sending a clear signal to indigenous leadership in the Division’s of the church that without Elder Wilson’s personal support, their leadership will increasingly come under threat from outside their territory, thanks primarily to independent Seventh-day Adventist journalism not controlled by the denomination.

The question now it seems is whether when they meet this fall the majority of the General Conference Executive Committee who are not practicing moral turpitude will oust Elder Wilson as General Conference President for lacking elemental moral judgement and in so doing take a stand for reestablishing the highest ethical standards for church leadership.


These men maybe very able leaders. none the less they were deceitful to the nominating committee, to the. Church body of which they were appointed. Their resignation was the first honorable act in this series of keystone. Cops.

The problem is Ted Wilson’s doctorate is very lame also–which may have influenced his call to reconsider.

“Truth for ever on the scaffold” Tom Z