The Adventist FBI and the Sticky Wicket Thicket

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is living through interesting and difficult times. For the past three years much of its top administrative energy has been spent on the issue of compliance as the road to unity.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thank you Dr. Kight for Your balanced contibution to the conversation. This whole fiasco has caused me to begin to loose confidence in the Church that I serve and sacrifice for, but individuals like you have begun to help me to see that there is still hope. My hope is that the Spirit will move mightily among the church and right the wrongs that are so clearly evident.


However, if the proposed document “Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions” will pass at GC AC, I am tempted to create an “Adventist Amnesty International” (Copyrighted)!


Institutionally, Adventism is becoming a tragic joke. Christianity is built upon the assertion that the Creator became man, lived among us, demonstrated His love through healing and teaching. He raised the dead to prove He had the power of life itself. Then he permitted men to mock, beat, torment, and crucify Him. The third day He answered His Father’s call and come forth and now stands as our advocate until He shall return in glory to take His adopted children home to life everlasting. He has given to us to share that Good News globally. Not as inquisitors but as evangelists. God is judge we are messengers. He lives, He Reigns, He pleads our case on His merits, He marks the resting place of each adopted son and daughter. If the rocks would cry out, why muffle any voice that carries the Good News, He is risen,He Reigns, He is coming again. Let us sing There’s A wideness in God’s Mercy like the wideness of the sea. Over the chapel doors of Old EMC were the words—The Gospel of the Kingdom into,all the World in this Generation. That generation is almost past. so what do we hear—Ferret them out to be damned. Gross darkness in high places rather than a city of light on a high hill.


Not according to church polls

Sounds good but lacking analysis/detail (see 1 JN 1:7 & Amos 3:3)

Need to take into account Rom 8:7

The church is impotent & irrelevant because of inept clergy who don’t know how to preach.

The church has transitioned from spiritual salt to spiritual sugar and/or cocaine.

Many Adventist are so programmed to think they are Laodiceans that they don’t perceive that they are actually Sardis spiritual zombies (1 JN 4:5 is a clue)

George Knight. Good job. This won’t get more than 50 mostly negative comments from me. Much rests upon whether the members of the Executive Committee do what our polity expects of them. Yet in the end, these coercive measures will self-destruct. The centralized, hierarchical and authoritarian alternative works reasonably well for Roman Cotholicism because all the leaders of the church at every level have taken the vow of obedience. We’re it not for this, I do not think it would work as well as it does.


But David, doesn’t the current activity at the GC seek to replace the natural loyalty and unity of purpose that a shared set of beliefs tends to engender with a mandated, quantified, documented and regimented set of rules which can more easily be measured and enforced?

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A “sticky wicket” is a cricket term that refers to the difficult condition of the pitch you are bowling on. It seems to have even penetrated the US vernacular.

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Wally S. Most certainly. But this method hasn’t worked. It won’t work. It can’t work. It would be easier to ride a horse to the moon.

For some reason which I do not understand, Elder Wilson continues with the premise that he can bend the denomination in the direction he thinks best by finding better methods of exercising coercive administrative power. He can’t.

One of the very first things every pastor learns is that he or she can compel the congregation to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. The pastor leads with the skillful use of persuasive power or not at all. Because he spent so little time pastoring, I’m not certain that Elder Wilson understands this.

I, too, am appalled by what is happening; however, I am not afraid.

As it always has, the governing Board where I work holds my fate in its hands. If it is pleased with my work, I will remain here no matter how many bad things a General Conference Compliance Committee says about me. If this is not true, I will be fired no matter how many good things about me a GC CC says.

Like Human Resources, Compliance is a highly specialized profession with a significant history, a huge bibliography and well established leaders and SOPs (standards of practice). These aren’t laws; however, courts and juries take them seriously. This is why there is a lawyer on every Compliance Committee. He or she is there to make as certain as possible that it doesn’t do something legally dangerous.

Although they might be there, I don’t see on these committees anyone from the Compliance profession.

I wish not to be misunderstood. I am wholly opposed to what is going on and I am openly resisting it as hard as I can. There can be no doubt that this method in time will self-destruct; however, it will hurt many people in the meanwhile. This is why we should oppose it now.


What happened to the SID report, because if it was not submitted, what happened to the money?


McCarthyism with the times and names changed. We know what happened to Joe. We also know the carnage along the way. Such a destructive inquisitorial spirit is certainly not the Spirit of God.



Science teachers in Adventist schools should immediately start videotaping classes and student contacts in preparation for the investigations by committee #5 of their compliance with FB#6 and official statements on the GRI web site.


Another thought - has all material on the GRI web site been approved by their Board and the GC committee? If not will it be reviewed by committee #5? GRI staff are well represented on committee #5.They may need to be more definitive on some points so that teachers will know what to say in class to be in compliance.


No, far worse than that. The old Soviet empire was built on people reporting others for supposed “disloyalty” that got them arrested, tortured, imprisoned for long periods of time, starved to death or executed. My sister-in-law had several relatives who disappeared because of supposed “disloyalty.” The result was everyone was afraid to do anything because they might get reported and suffer the same fate. Cultivating such a culture in the church will lead to the disintegration of the church because members have the power of choice to leave. Maybe this will be the stimulus to either get rid of the present top leadership or form a new denomination.


“For some reason which I do not understand…”

I think we need to list what the possible reasons might be:

  1. Political strategy for reelection–Ted Wilson calculates that church division and turmoil will inflame his supporters and further his chances to be reelected. He understands that if there is peace and harmony, anyone can be GC president.
  2. Political miscalculation–He is not very good at statecraft, as evidenced by how stunned he was by the rebuke he received at Fall Annual Council 2017. He erroneously thinks his machinations will be effective.
  3. Church purification–He is trying to provoke a mass exodus in order to purify the church.
  4. Delusional eschatology–Consistent with No. 3, he believes that division and turmoil in the church will bring on The Shaking and accelerate the Second Coming of Jesus.
  5. Hardened heart–God has hardened his heart in order to deliver a meaningful victory for those who embrace Galatians 3:28.
  6. Character flaw–He is just too stubborn or authoritarian to adapt to the reality that he will not get his way.
  7. Separation of powers rationale–He feels that he is doing his duty as GC president to maximize the GC’s power with respect to other church entities, as the presidents of those entities are doing the same. This is a benign justification but for the fact that what he has done has seriously weakened, not strengthened, the GC for years to come.
  8. Unknown puppet masters–There are people behind the scenes who are dictating or influencing what he does.
  9. The fog of uncertainty–He is floundering and flailing about, with no strategic direction or purpose, largely because there is so much that he does not understand.
  10. Absence of an alternative–There is no other way for him to impose his will in the church. He is not a theologian, church historian, hermeneutist, astute observer of the contemporary scene, etc. He speaks and writes in clichés and banalities. For him to make a persuasive case that could change hearts and minds is not an alternative that is available to him. To write a controverting essay to what Dr. Knight has written is beyond Wilson’s capabilities, so I think governance jiggering is the only tool in Wilson’s toolbox.

I think explanations 1 and 10 are the ones most on point.


This seems too judgmental, Gideon! Where is “love one another as I have loved you”? Where is “judge not that ye be not judged”?

Women’s ordination, tithe, etc. are NOT mentioned in the great commission!! I believe it is an evil and tragic distraction from our true purpose to be focusing on these things.

The proposed tribunals are purposed to focus on issues that are not mentioned in “the one, the two, and the ten commandments”! None of them.

Let us not be distracted from our priorities by being Pharisaical.


Dr. Knight,

Thank you again for your timely words and admonishing.

It is indeed necessary for us as members to remind the clergy, in leadership positions, that they are out of compliance. With advice and direct counsel from the messenger of God regarding such matters no reasonable person can come to any other conclusion.

Please do not be discouraged or worry that nobody hears your voice. Continue your efforts and be assured that your efforts will be blessed.


Amen and Amen!! A tragic but accurate analysis.

If Wilson succeeds in splitting the church, thousands of us will continue to gather and worship as a remnant of our own - even if we must do so in new locations. He may separate us from his brand of Adventism, but he cannot take away our beliefs.

But could he really have enough support to disband hundreds of congregations and disfellowship thousands of members who’s conscience cannot follow his dictates? No!!

Yes, he has wealthy puppet masters! I’m sure of that. But I think he and they are blinded to the awful events that will occur if they have their way. The loss of many treasured institutions - colleges, universities, medical facilities. The humiliation of multiple churches in prominent locations closing. I believe that “they” are blinded as to the awful legal struggles that will be ignited if they get their way. But perhaps they’d rather be “dead right” and will defend the destruction they cause.

Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists, etc. have all split into multiple denominations. Perhaps that is what is coming to Adventism. We must never assume that this could not happen.

In the mean time, we must pray!


Interesting! Cookie makers possibly?

Sounds about right. Nothing like zealots with money to bankroll a radical agenda, along with the right person(s) in position to push it forward.


I suggest a GRI catechism be produced by a subcommittee so the correct answers could be memorized by faculty and students alike. A sacrament of confirmation could replace semester finals.