Texico Conference Issues Statement against the Group “World Church Affirmation Sabbath”


(Spectrumbot) #1

Editor’s Note: In December 2018, the Upper Columbia Conference issued a statement against the group calling themselves “World Church Affirmation Sabbath” (WCAS). On January 7, 2019, the Texico Conference issued a statement condemning WCAS’ actions, and the Southwestern Union Conference issued a statement supporting the conference’s decision. These statements follow below in their entirety:

Statement Regarding World Church Affirmation Sabbath

As the duly-constituted organizational unit of the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Texico Conference is authorized, and empowered, to implement the Church’s operational and missional initiatives within the territory of West Texas and New Mexico (excluding San Juan County). As members of the Executive Committee and administrative leaders, we affirm our belief in, and support for, the doctrines, fundamental beliefs and policies of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are committed to sharing the Good News of the Three Angels’ Messages and to serving the needs of our communities with the compassion, and invitation, of Jesus.

In the Texico Conference, we serve under the motto: Unity in Diversity, Partnership in Mission. While we recognize the diversity within our field, we must remain focused on faithfully serving each other in the spirit of Jesus’ prayer (John 17) that we may all be one, as He and the Father are one. At this time, we are facing a challenge to this unity, and we invite each of our members to join with us in prayerfully seeking the ‘unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace’.

We have become aware of a group of individuals known as “World Church Affirmation Sabbath” (WCAS). This group of laypersons, which originated in the Upper Columbia Conference in the Pacific Northwest, while claiming to “build up the church by participation of church members in presentations and talks designed to equip and bless the Conferences” has, in reality, caused disruption in a number of churches within the North American Division. While we recognize the rights of individuals to hold various viewpoints on issues that face our church, according to the Upper Columbia Conference, “the fruits of their efforts, under the banner of World Church Affirmation Sabbath, have increasingly led to further dissension among members and the spread of false information.”

We first became acquainted with the WCAS in recent months when it was discovered that certain members within the Texico Conference were allied with individuals associated with the WCAS and had held a weekend of meetings at one of our churches. It was further determined that they had established an online presence that was titled “Texico World Church Affirmation Sabbath” without seeking authorization to use the name of our Conference in reference to their organization.

In late 2018, this group began circulating a ‘Statement of Harmony’ document among churches and pastors which calls for local churches, through their church boards or in business meetings, to declare their loyalty to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists “irrespective of votes of the Division, Union or Conference voted policies.” It further requests local churches to vote approval of this document and for pastors to complete and send the document to the group in Spokane, Washington. This is a completely foreign process from what has been established by the Working Policies of the General Conference and the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual.

We have determined that no organizational entity within the Seventh-day Adventist Church has sanctioned or authorized this group, or any other group or individual, to solicit members or churches to approve any such statement as the one being circulated. Inquiries have been made of the General Conference and they have confirmed that it is not in support of this group and their agenda.

The WCAS, itself, is in violation of the policies, procedures and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. To pledge loyalty to the General Conference without also respecting the actions of all the duly-elected committees including those of the North American Division, the Southwestern Union and the Texico Conference, is to disregard the long-recognized official organizational structure that describes the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

Over the past several years, individuals within our conference have asserted that the Texico Conference was not operating in compliance with General Conference policies. This is not now, nor has it been, an accurate statement. In addition, severe misrepresentations have been disseminated by some individuals regarding actions taken by the delegates at the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas. These erroneous statements include misinformation regarding the appointment/employment of female pastors, a practice fully approved and supported by the General Conference as voted by the delegates to the 1990 General Conference Session. These misrepresentations have caused significant harm and confusion among our members.

Among the Ten Principles on which the WCAS was founded is the concept of political activity that would attempt to influence outcomes at church board meetings and conference/union constituency meetings. This type of activity is contrary to the principles of Seventh-day Adventist Church governance and is expressly prohibited by the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual. When individuals involve themselves in such radical activity it encourages members to conspire against God’s appointed leaders and demonstrates their lack of trust in God to lead His Church through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must never forget that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church.

Therefore, we the Executive Committee and Officers of the Texico Conference affirm that the group, or activity, under the name “World Church Affirmation Sabbath”:

• Is not sanctioned nor approved as part of the Texico Conference.

• Did not solicit approval to work or operate within the Texico Conference.

• Is at variance with the transparency of truth as is foundational in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

• Is opposed to policies and voted actions of the Divisions, Unions, and Conferences perceived to be out of harmony with their understanding of the voted actions of the General Conference.

• Operates without legitimate Denominational sponsorship.

• Is inappropriately attempting to collect data from individual churches to advance their cause.

• Is out of alignment with the counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy, interpreting it to fit their agenda.

• Is distributing unauthorized, divisive materials to our church members which will spread disharmony.

Executive Committee Action

Therefore, the Executive Committee of the Texico Conference, following extensive discussion, took the following action on December 4, 2018:

VOTED:

1. That no Texico Conference church, school or property shall be used to host a meeting, either public or private, relating to the World Church Affirmation Sabbath.

2. That no Texico Conference pulpit or facility shall be used to promote the World Church Affirmation Sabbath activities or agenda.

3. That there are to be no safe zones for any organization that attempts to create division or dissension among our members.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to work together, and to love each other as the greatest confirmation of our discipleship. We must never lose sight of our mission to reach our world with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in anticipation of His soon return. This must remain our primary focus no matter the distractions that may come our way.

May we each renew our commitment to living in such a way that the people around us will recognize Jesus in us, our churches, our families, and our relationships with everyone. Let us pray for the reconciling Spirit of unity to call our hearts toward God’s vision for each of us.

The Executive Committee & Officers of the Texico Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Corrales, New Mexico

January 7, 2019

Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Officers’ Response to the Texico Conference Executive Committee Action Of December 4, 2018 regarding the World Church Affirmation Sabbath

“This statement of the Texico Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and the voted action of its Executive Committee regarding the World Church Affirmation Sabbath, is supported by the administration of the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.”

Larry R. Moore, President

Buford Griffith, Jr., Executive Secretary

John Page, Treasurer

January 7, 2019

This statement originally appeared on the Texico Conference website. Image courtesy of Texico Conference.

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9337

(Steve Mga) #2

Bravo!!!
May other Conferences copy this declaration against causing dissention among the
members of the North American Division. The creating of false fears among members,
and causing a sense of distrust of the elected officials of the Conferences and Unions
in North America.
Their HYSTERIA that they project in meetings, in printed materials, is done to incite the
Same Hysteria in the members of every Local Church.
The materials and presentations at meetings are not Biblical based. Are just to cause
FEAR among the laity and pastors, other church employees.


(efcee) #3

The WCAS group encourages believers to take an oath of allegiance to the global corporate entity known as the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Jesus teaches differently:

“I say to you, ‘Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King’” (vv. 34–35).

Our loyalty as Christians must be to Christ alone. We must never conflate any organization or entity to the status of Christ.


(Billman) #4
  1. That there are to be no safe zones for any organization that attempts to create division or dissension among our members.

This could be problematic in terms of interpretation. Who decides whether an organisation is creating division or dissension? I would think that Fulcrum, Spectrum, the GC, certain union conferences and local conferences, have all been accused of this at one time or another.


#5

Too funny. Churches diverge. Some churches just baptize you, make you a member. Other churches, they indoctrinate you, stand you before the congregation, make you raise your right hand, and swear on oath to accept anything and everything. The letter makes it sound as if they are contradicting themselves. First they say they will always follow the criteria of the GC, then tell this group you can’t make people swear to that. Well, which is it? What’s the difference between agreeing to agree, and taking an oath to agree to agree? The truth is, not every Adventist takes all 28 beliefs as they stand. Making people wear that they do, is tantamount to making people take an oath that the GC is king. Or just saying, “Yeah, we do whatever the GC dictates in its rules.” Are you lying? https://the-undercover-adventist.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-seventh-day-adventist-church-has-as.html


(Frank Peacham) #6

The underlying issue is–not acknowledging “God’s appointed leaders.” In other words, to be elected to a Conference office is due to the direct action of God and the Holy Spirit (nice and simple). Every member should be in full submission, never questioning their decisions or policies. Since God has placed them in office, they are his voice and will. Almost as a prophet or a king. The Pope sits on Peter’s chair, while Conference leaders are elevated above all other members in matters of church management–both through an election process. To question their judgment, is to disturb the status-quo and thus to bring “harm and confusion among our members.”


#7

The organization that supports World Church Affirmation Sabbath is the very one promoting a “loyalty oath” to be actually signed as unquestionable loyal to those elected to the General Conference. And you are supporting such a loyalty oath?


(Frank Peacham) #8

It is interesting that the Texico Conference and the WCAS use the same premus to support their campaign. WCAS wants a loyalty oath to the GC; while Texico Conference wants members to not swear this oath at all because they are “appointed by God” to be their leaders. We can’t have it both ways, can we? WCAS want members to be loyal to church doctrines set by the GC, while Texico wants them to desist from this practice–all because they are “God’s appointed leaders.”

The church is at war with itself–internal strife is the sure results of loss of spiritual vitality, when authority in leadership overshadows the only Commandment Jesus gave–“love one another.” Attaching sacredness to doctrine and policy was how the early church grew into the all powerful Papal church. Remember that M. Luther must be punished by the church–because he attacked both.

Oath taking was a method that EGW used toward GC president A. G. Daniels to swear off meat eating. Jesus said, “Swear not at all.”—Matthew 5:34.

Also interesting is that EGW did not regard elected position as “God’s appointed leaders.” She writes, “Brother Rice is not qualified to fill the position he occupies. He needs to be transformed in character. He needs to be more conciliatory. He is too dictatorial. He wishes his will to be regarded as law. He is not willing to receive counsel or advice." (1887).


(Stan Lastings) #9

Hysteria is a strong word indicating an irrational viewpoint on a subject. It also can point to violet emotional outbursts. If I might suggest a different framework for this group. Ronald Larsen labels it urgent apocalypticism. His thesis is, sections of Adventism are unable to acculturate into society because they are certain that the 2nd Coming is immanent both personal (perfection attained by them for God’s law to be finally vindicated in history) and effectual shortly for the world. So it is their misguided theology that invigorates them. Bad theology on their part drives them to these type of disruptive actions. The reasoning is at best circular, since the NAD and Conferences ask them to cease their activity it is a sign that the end is near. Their reasoning at worst solicits self righteousness from the adherents. Everybody sees the spirit except them.


(reliquum) #10

Sadly, the GC itself has a number of issues it should itself be likewise repudiating, as well fostering transparency, integrity, congruency. TOSC, TRK, electile dysfunction @ SA015, clarifying what was/was not voted and the consequnces, LGT, WO, ordination of Ellen, EGW estate, etc etc.
Although I’m not holding my breath that even one issue would be adressed.


(Jeffrey Kent) #11

This too shall pass.


(Bill Garber) #12

The basis for forbidding the use of any church building in the conference to be used in promoting the World Church Affirmation enterprise is blatantly legal, not ecclesiastical. The conference owns the buildings. Plain and simple.

The very same legal status can be used to attempt to monitor compliance with any policy or ‘fundamental belief’ espoused by the local conference.

The local conference also has another, rarely used, but reportedly used by the Central California Conference to disfellowship a few vocal anti-trinitarians. In this instance, the conference by vote of the executive committee converted the congregation from church to company status, making the executive committee of the local conference the official church board. Then, acting as the church board it disfellowshipped the offending members. And then, apparently, reconstituted the company as a church and moved on. It is all quite hazy, but it appears that such a transaction can be handled in a single meeting lasting just a few minutes. One wonders if local conferences such as Upper Columbia and Texico may get into the disfellowshipping mode next.

One now especially has to wonder if the ultimate intent of the voted hierarchical transfer of power to discipline individuals is to invest the GC with ultimate power regarding policy matters. And if so, will it in time seem but a slight wording change to clarify the ‘intent’ of the original vote to thus institute excommunication … ah … disfellowshipping as the intended ultimate responsibility of the GC President with a covering vote by his personally endorsed division officers?

This does not seem like a mere kerfuffle. And if so, for now we do well to keep in mind that of mere kerfuffles religious fascism and the like sprout.


#13

Aw, so you are a fellow Scotsman, Bill!


(Stan Lastings) #14

Bill, as someone who has friends whose family were interned inTreblinka using Nazism as a descriptor is offensive.It depreciates those who faced something unthinkable compared to disfellowshipping. I knew what you meant that power is dangerous in the hands of even the best of humanity. But there is no parallel to Nazism. Thanks, was not trying to admonish just sharing the thoughts and deeply personal feelings some have with the use of the word. Again thanks


(Leandro) #15

Is the GC afraid that another wolf will take away the meat (of the saints) off its mouth? Yes, she could have sensed the threat of another wolf. GC is a wolf that used Jesus for its banner. Here’s my unsolicited view of our church: The church organizational structure is a small pyramid (conferences-unions-divisions-General Conference) that sits on top of a giant base of 18 million members. This pyramid is just a food chain that never cycled. I have not heard of a conference extending financial help to a local congregation to build a church building. They professed as shepherd but never functioned as one. They don’t even care about their church school teachers. Some poor church school teachers in SMM under SPUC in the Philippines are currently receiving less than 100 US dollars monthly. These teachers falsely believe that they were carrying the cross of Jesus. The bottom of the food chain are the church members.


(Michael Wortman) #16

Well…Is it evident whether the GC has reacted or weighed in on the activities of WCAS? Has it been silent? Have the divisions been assertive in any way by accommodating or criticizing WCAS. In American politics a very strong leader will sometimes either surround himself with yes-men or flex muscles in such a way as to make underlings think twice before saying something that will enrage said leader. Is there an element of this within the SDA structure?


(Bill Garber) #17

Thank you Stan. I am re-editing my comment by replacing ‘Nazism’ with ‘religious fascism’. It is more accurate and less unnecessarily evocative. And as is frequently the case, the first actions are in harmony with a stimulus of unrecognized sourcing.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #18

The Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath. Recall that the Jews sought to throw Jesus over a cliff on the Sabbath. murder yes milling a hand full of wheat no or Healing a cripple and ordering to take up his bed and walk no. One can honor the gift of the Sabbath without being self righteous.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #19

I should have included that no institution should come in the way between a sinner and their salvation. The Apostles Creed with a lower case c in catholic is placed after one’s pledge of allegiance to Christ. The sinner and the church has one foundation. Eqc Must build upon the Rock of Ages . It is the Lamb of God that triumphed not the church.


(George Tichy) #20

I wish!
How do you explain all the politicking that we all know takes place so often in all those “elections” of new (or old) officials? Still “direct action of God and the Holy Spirit?” Seriously???

Who do you think is being fooled with this kind of beautiful statements???

And then this?

I am assuming you were being sarcastic about this issue, so I am not actually holding it against you. WOW, for a minute I though you were serious…