But in the case of our fearless leader’s case, TW, it has nothing to do with the African leaders’ ability to compromise but in TW’s ability to compromise. Let it be clear, no one is there to blame but TW himself. As you had pointed out succinctly, the issue lies with “Elder Wilson’s personality.” Clearly he has demonstrated in a number of occasions, the most glaring being at the GC SA2015, that his ability to empathize has convuloted and atrophied. No amount of therapy will prove successful in fostering a psychological function that does not exist. At the end of the “year of grace,” TW will forge ahead with his threat. This is classic personality issue. If it were spiritual, a compromise would have been made earlier as exemplified in Acts 15 where no grace period was required.
What does equality and fairness mean? With respect to governance in relation to third class divisions, has anything changed? What was practiced in the past is still true today. At the end of the day, what really matters, as far as our first class union conference cousins are concerned, is whatever they have determined in advance would be in everyone’s best interest. Never mind if the setting apart of women and men as a class of clergy distinct from the laity find no support in Scriptures.
"And yet, two years removed from this unfortunate vote, our leaders’ self-justifying rallying cry is that the West was, and continues to be, dictatorial on WO. We must correct this self-serving mischaracterization of the record; the West is not forcing their views regarding WO on us. If anything, it is we who are forcing our position on them."
Thank-you, Matthew, for this excellent article.
I am struck by those who first felt discrimination but who now are the “discriminators”. You have clearly outlined how and why this phenomena came into being. It appears that the “Lord of the Flies” in this sad debacle is Ted Wilson and his band of fellow believers in Last Generation Theology. The best thing for Adventism would be for him to step down to allow true leadership to fill the void. Short of this happening there maybe no stopping the tsunami of schism and this may end up being Ted’s legacy to Adventism.
How can we hasten the Lord’s coming?
Some would argue it is the wrong question but let’s run with it for now.
Adventists in the past have believed that they could scurry around and baptize 144,000 individuals and when they reached that magical number then Christ would come.
More recently Adventists have believed that when enough believers have reached perfection by their own means then Christ will come.
I wonder if TW is deliberately rushing headlong into a Shaking Time in order to hurry Christ’s Coming.
By manufacturing a hypothetical timeline that allegedly leads up to the Second Coming we set ourselves up for delusions and further frustrations. TW is running in that hamster wheel.
Another leader like Jan Paulson would be a tremendous boost for the gospel.
TOSC and many other such study committees throughout the decades have concluded that the issue is NOT a doctrinal issue.
If those who support WO as a moral issue are in the right, as you suggest, why would acting justly and rightly be considered “defiant”? To obey one’s conscience and act morally, justly, and to walk closely with God is Biblically sound. To do otherwise would be immoral and against one’s own conscience and community.
Your narrative is revelatory to me, as an American lay person, that western Adventists have accommodated/acquiesced to cultural concerns of African Adventists ( polygamy and demon possession ).
How appalling that there is no reciprocity of good will and " give and take" when our own overwhelming cultural mores of egalitarianism and gender equality are compromised and threatened.
Would it be appropriate for us to repudiate and reverse our prior assent/accommodation to polygamy ( which is so egregiously counterculture to our values ) until our African brethren show an equal latitude of laissez faire and liberality to our cultural concerns?
With long history of several family members serving their lifetime in Africa, I had questioned, as a querious young man, the seeming duplicity in how my faith community absurdly bent morals to accommodate the polygamy slant. My question then was: why did the church not foster an adoption program to embrace the children of such polygamy-at least until their single-again mother remarried?
To use poetics, if the church would only stand up, the orphans and widows would be embraced…
Thank you Matthew for your eloquence and beg your forgiveness to humor my additional observation. Given the dissonance between a biblically exposited history of polygamy (which is a complex subjugation of women in the guise of “hand out” to an unmarried woman in a future-less society for an unmarried woman) and our risible fixation that somehow “sexual sins” are of a special severity, it is risible to argue theological logic that prohibits co-ordination but simultaneously countenances polygamy. The connection between the two, sadly, seems to be subjugation. The bible can easily be used to support this hyper-negative view of “sexual sins” this way-but gender discrimination ordination practices cannot.
As I read the mostly exquisite responses, I was struck by what Kim (cincerity) notes above "I am struck by those who first felt discrimination but who now are the “discriminators” "
A similar caution should be heeded here-not only within our faith community but especially within our larger society as well, that those discriminated against not exact even an ounce of retribution.
That may not be humanly possible; pray for the spirit to infuse our hearts afresh.
I sense Mr Wilson will leave a “W.O. is mine” legacy, after all. You can’t hold back the dawn.
The sun set on apartheid, on segregation, and will equally surely soon set on gender discrimination.
Great article, so well written. It expresses the obvious but, unfortunately, the obvious has to be repeated over and over again because there are still too many people in Church who are discriminators of women.
I applaud the Unions that did not bow to “Mr Sovereign” during the fake “year of grace.” I say fake because since the beginning, a year ago, we all knew it was nothing but a fantasy in TW’s mind. A very childish way of dealing with serious people, the Unions’ Presidents. It appears that he is using a technique that works with little kids, “If you don’t eat cookies between meals, I will give you a glass of milk”…
We don’t need to discuss WO anymore. It’s all obvious. What is needed is ousting, dethroning those discriminators that are perpetuating such a shameful practice in a religious environment. In doing so they are desecrating our Church, making it an agent of continued discrimination - all done in the name of God.
So the fake “year of grace #1” is over. And now what??? What will possibly be the excuse this time for not “going after the Unions?” Another fake year of grace, #2?
It concerns me that the response to polygamous converts in Africa has been to ask them to put all but one wife away. While monogamy is clearly endorsed in the Bible (it was God’s original design, after all), polygamy was never forbidden (except in the case of choosing church leaders). Divorce, on the other hand, was. When Jacob married both Leah and Rachel, God made an effort to preserve Leah’s relationship with Jacob, despite her gaining the marriage through deception and her being the less-loved wife. God gave her children, and and for a long time withheld them from Rachel, to balance the relationship (Genesis 29:31-35). There is a lesson in this. Even imperfect marriages are to be cherished and preserved, because once given, it cannot be taken back.
God knows that polygamy is not the best for humanity, but with divorce He is clear: God Hates Divorce (Malachi 2:16). Two wrongs do not make a right, and one sin cannot be covered by adding another.
Nor would avoiding a conjugal relationship with the other wives be any better, because Paul made it clear that this is part of the responsibilities of marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:5).
Lucifer’s rebellion was also about obtaining civil rights and equality for himself and the angels. After all, why should sinless creatures be ordered around by some Being who claimed to have created them. Why should they have to adhere to His plan for their lives like a bunch of children or slaves?
Unfortunately, Ted Wilson’s genetics play a greater part in his actions than does the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in his heart. He grew up as the son of Neil Wilson, who also ruled with an iron hand when he was GC president [Glacier View, and his attempt to dissolve the Mountain View Conference are two examples; another is his assertion at the Merikay trial that he as president of the GC held the same power as does the pope in the Catholic church]. The statement “blood is thicker than water” seems to be appropriate at this juncture (although our gospel message can never be likened to water).
Unfortunately also, Ted’s wife is a member of a family dearly beloved by my own family going back more than 90 years. They are/were dear, dear people. I’m sure it’s only through God’s grace that they are able to continue to abide this sad travesty of immoderate “leadership.”
I never fail to trust God regardless of the happenings in our temporal organizations (e.g., the USA president) or in our wonderful church organization. We are promised that God will bring an end to the tribulations, and Christ will return to take us all home to live with Him; so I merely talk to Him constantly throughout the day, thanking Him for this wonderful truth, and renewing my vows as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian.
BTW, nowhere is it written that we must trust every single mortal labeled SDA who attempts to rule our behavior. Ted Wilson doesn’t speak for me, and I applaud Elder Jan Paulsen – looking forward to being able to meet him in heaven and shake his hand with loving praise for all he accomplished here on this earth when he was president of our church organization. He is my example. (Thank you, Elder Paulsen.)
This article has been a valuable contribution to my knowledge of the African membership. They are dear people. It’s a blessing that we’re becoming more open to those from below the Equator – I have always wished I could travel down there in person. But soon enough when we all get to heaven, I hope to meet this author in person.
If Ted Wilson carries out his threat against the Unions, he will probably follow in the steps of his dad who made a great mistake when he authorized the church medical institutions to offer elective abortions to their patients back in 1970.
We need to pray more than ever before for God to prevent this from taking place. When the church departs from a “thus said the Lord” it becomes an expert in the straining of gnats.
Although 2 years on I still get that horrible feeling in my stomach when reminded about the responses from our African brethren (both delegates and observers) to Dr Paulsen. I have experienced the mild mannered, thoughtful careful words and precision of Dr Paulsen’s leadership since Newbold College through to TED President.
As the spouse of a delegate in San Antonio I had never heard him speak with such passion and emotion in my life.
Having no official voice at that Session I could only sit there and accept the insulting mumbling and booing when Dr Paulsen said he had worked in Africa; the complaint from the floor that he had more time than other delegates followed by applause; the sarcasm of Father Ted when asking for the timekeeper to put 2mins on the clock when he spoke; Father Ted’s non-statement that ‘you all know where I stand’ when many didn’t.
Without knowing the subject under discussion these are all insulting and unChristian and I felt so embarrassed about my church. I agree with all the sentiments of the article. Yes, time will eventually bring our denomination to its senses. However, how many spiritual casualties will need care and healing when it is over. Presuming Jesus’ coming will not happen first.
Why don’t you tell the truth about the jeering of Jan Paulsen? He spoke well over the allotted time per speaker and he spoke in a patronising way to the African delegates. It’s a pity video footage hasn’t been shown so everyone can see exactly how in panned out instead of relying on one person’s word over another’s.
Matthew Quartey’s excellent article motivates one to reflect on what typically becomes an underlying corporate malady, one that produces unhealthy outcomes. Bull-headed, authoritarian managerial effort in a religious setting motivated by a false premise that God has chosen him to crack the whip to accomplish the task.
Ted Wilson was actively involved in opposing women who had been called by the Holy Spirit to become bona fide ordained women in the Adventist Church. Quartey is correct when he stated, “In San Antonio, he [Ted Wilson] had been masterful in engineering a vote he thought would settle the Women’s Ordination (WO) question forever, in his favor.”
When anyone in a leadership position, actively attempts to, overtly or covertly, interfere in a democratic process, the effort, not only identifies the person as an authoritarian manager; a negative descriptive on any leadership continuum. The process, inevitably, interferes with due process.
We’ve witnessed Ted Wilson’s overt efforts to impede the Holy Spirit. Some are beginning to realize the extent to which his less obvious but equally pervasive autocratic efforts have also been obstructive.
Yes, Matthew Quartey is right when he states “The younger generation gets it.” Some older ones do, too.