Spring Meeting Postlude

The General Conference Executive Committee completed its work early and was adjourned at noon on Wednesday, April 11. As the members were making their way to the airport a document that curiously never made it onto the agenda was posted on the Adventist News Network. Under the headline “An Invitation to Uplift Jesus: A Statement from the General Conference Executive Leadership and Division Presidents,” the document resembled in many ways the loyalty oath portion of the document sent back to committee from Annual Council 2017. This time the request for loyalty was being made to independent organizations with the One Project being singled out as an example.

“We appeal to all organizations and initiatives that are united with us in mission to reaffirm or to respond positively in their official communication channels to the following crucial questions:”

Seven questions follow touching on substitutionary atonement, the role of doctrine, understanding of the heavenly sanctuary, uniqueness of Adventism, literal six day creation, biblical authority and prophetic interpretation, support for church teaching on marriage and the family and LGBTQ relationships, and church membership in the light on Scripture.

The full document follows below, or read it directly on ANN’s website by clicking here:

To honor and exalt Jesus is the foundational commitment of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and undergirds its prophetic message expressed in the 28 Fundamental Beliefs. Salvation by Faith alone leading to a life of discipleship to Jesus is the goal of our mission. As we proclaim the three angels’ messages let us make sure that Christ stands at the center of all our activities and initiatives.

A number of entities both inside and outside the church organization have been founded for the purpose of exalting the name of Jesus. Such an honorable task also brings the challenge of proclaiming a Christ in harmony with His Word. It is our conviction that the Jesus whom Seventh-day Adventists are to follow and emulate is the One revealed in the Bible—the One who presented Himself as the Truth and upheld the authority of the Scriptures. It is of utmost importance that we never forget that Jesus identified Himself with “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He is actually the Word (John 1:1).

Church leaders are often asked for advice on how to relate with some initiatives and organizations, some of which are well established and widely accepted, such as ASI-recognized entities, which have long cooperated with the church and its leadership. A more recent development is the One Project (now apparently transitioning to become the Global Resource Collective), about which some questions have been raised. Therefore, the General Conference executive leadership with Division presidents has decided to offer some guidance regarding the evaluation of any initiative seeking church endorsement.

We commend those who, prior to joining any initiative or movement, study for themselves to assess whether such movements are in accordance with the revealed will of God (Acts 17:11). As Jesus Himself advised us: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:16). He also gave the warning, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt 7:21).

In harmony with the conviction expressed above that the name of Jesus must be uplifted in ways consistent with His propositional revelation in Scripture, we invite our church leaders and any concerned individuals to assess the biblical foundations of any ministry or evangelistic initiative in the light of Isaiah 8:20: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

The Church will be eager to work with all who share its prophetic message expressed in the 28 Fundamental Beliefs. In light of issues that have been raised regarding some recent initiatives, the following questions although not exhaustive provide some guidance for an assessment of such groups. We appeal to all organizations and initiatives that are united with us in mission to reaffirm or to respond positively in their official communication channels to the following crucial questions:

1. What does it mean to accept Jesus Christ? When we say we accept Christ is this a mystical Christ of experience only, or, does it mean an acceptance of the doctrinal truths He taught, or, both? Does such ministry or initiative uphold the substitutionary atonement of Jesus?

2. How do they understand the role of doctrine in Christian faith? Is there an organic connection between the person of Christ and the teachings or doctrines of Christ? Is there the understanding that knowing Christ necessarily includes knowing and living His teachings and the Biblical truths He taught?

3. What is their understanding and support of the message and mission the Adventist church in the light of its prophetic mission? How do they express their understanding of 1844 and Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary?

4. Do they have a clear understanding of the uniqueness of the Seventh-day Adventist movement? Are they clear in how Adventist faith differs from other evangelical denominations that exalt Jesus?

5. What is their understanding of creation? Do those involved in new ministries and initiatives believe that God created this world in six literal days and rested on the seventh day in the recent past as understood and voted in our 28 Fundamental Beliefs?

6. What is their understanding of biblical authority and prophetic interpretation? Do they accept the historicist explanation of Bible prophecy and do they share the Adventist understanding of the little horn of Daniel 7, the beast powers of Revelation 13 and the antichrist of Scripture, and that faithfulness to Christ will ultimately climax in a conflict over the law of God with the Sabbath at the center of that final controversy?

7. Due to current perceptions of gender and sexuality, which contradict the biblical teaching on marriage and the family as accepted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, these pertinent questions must also be asked: How do they understand gender identity and the question of LGBTQ+ relationships to church membership in the light of Scripture? Do they have a clear, unambiguous and biblical understanding of this subject?

Organizations, groups, or individuals that cannot affirm the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and provide clear and unambiguous answers to the questions above should not expect endorsement from the organizations of the Church. The General Conference executive leadership with Division presidents invites every member and entity of the church to uphold the name of Jesus by presenting him to the world and living according to His will. In doing so, Jesus must be proclaimed in connection with the truth as revealed in Scripture and understood by Seventh-day Adventists. Consequently, we reaffirm our utmost commitment, which is to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2).

—General Conference Executive Leadership and Division Presidents

Bonnie Dwyer is editor of Spectrum.

Image: Ted Wilson at Spring Meeting, video still of live stream, April 11, 2018.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8690

I find it easy to make the affirmations that are being sought in the above questions. Jesus’ message was ‘the gospel of the kingdom’ as He indicated on many occasions. The coming of this kingdom was prophetically forecast in the Old Testament, established in the teachings and ministry of Jesus, and the continuing kingdom building by the church of God, and by its remnant in particular, must also likewise have a solid prophetic dimension in our teachings and ministry.


As Seventh-day Adventists, we have no other creed than the Bible and the Bible alone as the source of faith and doctrine. The 28 fundamental beliefs were designed to explain our beliefs to other Christians, not as a test of faithfulness to the church. While I agree with the content of our faiths fundamental beliefs, this document suggests something beyond the original intent of our fundamental beliefs electing them to credal status, and therefore must be rejected.


Much more like an inquisition document than an affirmation of faith.


Well Tom,

What is your solution to those anarchist gainsayers who counter the positions in items 3 through 7. Should pastors throw in the towel and just present quick/short sermons…“It’s all finished at the cross”, “It’s all about Jesus”, “Let go and let God”, “Jesus is enough”, “Just be nice.”, “Don’t make waves”,“I find it uncomfortable to argue”, “Can’t we all just get along?”. “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.”


we’re living in an age where what could previously be taken for granted needs to be spelled out…the GC is simply adapting to what it perceives is the reality we’re experiencing now…with respect to TOP, very many have questioned whether it is genuinely adventist…

(this photo of TW seems to feature new eye glasses - power eye glasses, with bigger and heavier rims)…


Thank you.

Saying that the Bible alone is the basis of faith for SDA is not enough. After all, there are things unique to the denomination such as its interpretation of Bible prophecy and its acceptance of Ellen White’s provision of “comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction” (FB No.18). To say that one is Seventh-day Adventist means more than that one is Christian.


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Ted has a bee stuck on purge. Certainly service prior toordinationis essential as well as consultations with senior ordained members of the cloth. But a yes or no approach is a very negative way of verification of orthodoxy. The 28 plus is a far cry from the centrality of the Cross. The last time Iwas in an Adventist Church the Children’s talk took 14 minutes all about Eve and the Serpent. The bottom line was don’t behave as Eve.

I was with a retired Union Conference president who just raised his eyebrows to me.


Most telling of all is that this surreptitious document closes with a citation that fails to quote 1 Corinthians 2:2 in full.

The actual verse reads: “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭2:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“. . . not to know anything among you,” seems a clear call to cut down to the bare bones, the genuine fundamental belief- that of following Jesus. It also denies an authoritarian dictating to others of what they should believe. If even Paul set aside that authority (and Jesus also urged us to do so, Matt 20:25-27), shouldn’t our church leadership also avoid it?

The specificity and intent of this document is to once again establish GC authority over a great MANY details (far exceeding the simplicity of Jesus Christ and Him crucified). It completely negates the use of the full verse. Thus the abbreviated version of 1 Cor 2:2, which in essence renders it false.


The Statement claims that “the foundational commitment of the Seventh-day Adventist Church” is to “honor and exalt Jesus.” But nowhere in the Statement is there a rejection of anti-Trinitarian heresies that devalue and debase Jesus. With respect to the Statement’s seven clusters of questions, conspicuously missing are questions that seek to discern a supporting ministry’s fidelity to the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Conspicuously missing are questions such as the following: “What is their view of the Trinity? Do they believe in the biblical doctrine of the Trinity or do they advocate anti-Trinitarian heresies such as Eternal Functional Subordinationism, which holds that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father in the functional sense?”

If we were truly committed to honoring and exalting Jesus, we would be concerned about Ted Wilson’s Neo-Restorationist tendencies. We would be alarmed at the surge of anti-Trinitarianism in the Church that has occurred during his presidency. We would loudly proclaim our rejection of Eternal Functional Subordinationism, which is the principal component of male headship theory. We would cut ties with groups such as GYC, Secrets Unsealed, Advindicate.com, and Fulcrum7.com that have advocated Eternal Functional Subordinationism for the purpose of inciting opposition to women’s ordination.

Eternal Functional Subordinationism has been hotly debated in Christendom over the course of the last forty years. There is no longer any reason for any of us to sit on the fence. For Dante, there is a special place in hell for those who sit on the fence. So if questions are to be asked, allow me to urge Ted Wilson, Mark Finley, Clinton Wahlen, Doug Batchelor, and other fence-sitters to get off the fence, go on the record, and answer this question: Do you accept orthodox Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity or do you believe that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father in the functional sense?


The problem is How does an 19th century enthusiasm reach a millennial generation. Enthusiasm does not fit nor does Stepsto Christ. The British have the better approach. There is enough fear without Dan. And Revelation seminars. God has been vindicated let us rejoice and be glad in our acceptance and service. The return of Jesus is only 3 Score and 10 years away.


Eternal Functional Subordinationism is the issue of our time. You are right, @phil, anti-Trinitarian heresies that devalue and debase Jesus have made tremendous inroads into our church to oppose ordaining women.

Hardly any wonder that a movement that focuses on Jesus as equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit would be attacked and singled out. This seems to be no accident.

Is it possible that adherents to Eternal Functional Subordination had a hand in writing this week’s creed document?


How many theories are there of the atonement? Seven? Instead of upholding the “substitutionary atonement of Jesus,” what if I were to uphold the Christus Victor theory, does this mean I am not “in harmony of Matthew 7:16 & 21?”

Substitutionary theory was a development of the reformation, specifically Calvin & Luther who modified Anselm’s Satisfaction theory. Jesus was punished in the place of sinners in order to satisfy the justice of God and the legal demand of God to punish sin. What if my parents raised me not to be so anal-retentive and neurotic about my guilt and raised me instead to believe that Jesus Christ died in order to defeat the powers of evil in order to free mankind from its bondage? Am I less of an SDA?


It seems it was quite sneaky to post this after the Spring meetings even though it was NOT even on the agenda. Seems deceptive and underhanded. Hard to trust the judgment of leaders who can’t do things out and in the open.

And what about belief #3 The Trinity? The false doctrine of male headship which doesn’t agree with Jesus being equal with the Father seems to be eroding the faith of many in our midst, but I don’t see that on the list.

And what about fundamental belief #17 that God calls people as He wills and spiritual gifts are given with no partiality?

And what about fundamental belief #11 which affirms the full equality of all people in the body of Christ?

It actually seems quite hypocritical to pick and choose the beliefs which a certain little group of old men thinks is important while they continue to ignore a woman union president and neglect the weightier matters of the law of LOVE to the marginalized whom Jesus loves. Jesus warned about Pharisees, he said: “they will travel over land and sea to make a convert twice the child of hell that they themselves are.” Don’t blame me, Jesus said it.

To paraphrase Gandhi, I love your Christ (and yes, even your Ellen White) but you act so unlike your Christ and prophet.

Oh, and while we are on the topic of EGW and the beard competition for Annual Council, if we go back in time to 1800s can we get a woman to lead the church again? It seems things were done with greater fairness and love back then.

Also instead of growing beards, I suggest the GC elders focus less on how the pioneers dressed, and more on how they lived out their faith:

“The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is, to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And fifth, to commence persecution against such.”

If they keep straining gnats and swallowing camels, I fear their house will be left to them desolate. I hope not, but when Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, he won’t be scanning through the 28 fundy beliefs, he will be looking for love.


i agree…i can’t understand who is advising TW…this last minute dump mechanism is what so many found objectionable at annual council 2017…do people never learn from mistakes made in the past…it’s obviously always best to be up front and put all your cards on the table if you want to avoid the inference of manipulation…


Even if he is being well advised, President Wilson may not be taking the advice.


Certainly not less a Christain.


Could he be hearing voices when no one is around? I mean, really?! It’s about time the Norwegian psychiatrist set up camp at the GC headquarters.


I’d suggest that those details which may be unique to our tradition, are not necessarily “the basis of our faith.” Our traditional views are drawn from scripture and our own prophetic leadership (who always referred to such as a lesser light inferior and subject to scripture) but they inform our faith rather than anchor it.

My faith is in Christ and Christ alone. Our traditions, such as the traditional Adventist view on the sanctuary broadens my view of a personally active and involved Savior. The traditional Adventist belief on the state of the dead helps me to see a just and compassionate God. The tradition of continued observance of a Seventh-day Sabbath informs me about the consistency of God’s character, a compassion for human weariness, and that it’s God’s provision, not my frantic work that really puts food on my table. All those “beliefs,” those traditional Adventist viewpoints enrich my relationship with God, but they are not the basis of my faith.

I expect, as did the first Adventists, for my faith and enlightenment to continually grow. Given this, my faith in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus is sufficient to make me fully Christian and fully Adventist.


I find it hard to believe that the invitation is to uplift Jesus if it holds to the substitutionary atonement view. It is seriously the most distorted view of Jesus and God of all the atonement theories. I mean even the Ransom theory makes more sense ( and God paying the Devil a ransom makes little sense)!