The Use of Pillory and the Seventh-day Adventist Church

The General Conference Administrative Committee voted on July 17, 2018 a document called “Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions.” The document was prepared by the Unity Oversight Committee as a suggested way of dealing with Unions that do not follow voted actions of the Church (regarding women’s ordination).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I can see a day in the not too distant future where this verbal reprimand/disclaimer being suggested, could become a badge of honor. It seems that by labeling our loyal dissent we have begun to own it and begun the process of elevating it more than what it deserves. The Bible teaches us that if things/ideas come from God they will stand the test of time…whatever happened to:
“The best way to substantiate truth is to question it” ?


Finn E Eckhoff, Executive Secretary of the Norwegian Union

We love Norwegian Airlines with their stellar service and unbelievably low fares and travel with them frequently!

Your Norwegian analysis of the current brouhaha/brawl/ imbroglio in Adventistism is right on. Your pillory analogy is apt and apropro.

Women’s ordination should never have become a theological issue,since its underpinnings, pro and con, are fragile/frail/feeble/flimsy.

Misogyny versus respect for women is a cultural issue, pitting modern western peoples championing equality/egalitarianism/eqal opportunity, against African and South American cultures mired in machismo/patriarchialism…

Regrettably, our GC President, consumed with his heinous, heretical “headship” dogma, aligns himself with the tribal demographic.

What should have been a “storm in a teacup” has been whipped up into a foaming frenzy and has become a turbulent tsunami.

The optics of these abysmal antics do not play well to observers from other denominations.

The Methodists have been ordaining their women pastors since 1956!


Well, the Amish practice shunning. Other than that, what Christian denomination in the 21st century systematically reprimands their leaders in a planned fashion? Maybe this will become another “unique” tradition of the Church. Fundamental Belief number 29: the sacrament of penance and reconciliation? Oh wait, that one is already taken… and it’s even done in private.


i don’t think the suggestion of a public reprimand is going to get very far…even the idea of stripping union presidents of their voice and vote, when all they’ve done is do their constitutional duty and follow their constituents’ votes, is a bit much, although i can see it passing AC2018 if nothing else materializes…

i think the best idea, heading into october, is the compliance review committees recommended by UOC, and voted affirmatively on july 17…what needs to happen is to have san antonio stand, but then have WO unions receive an exemption…the compliance review committee is the mechanism to do just that…

i don’t see much potential for a slippery slope with the compliance review committees…i think these committees would be mature enough to distinguish between non-compliance over a policy vs. non-compliance over an actual biblical doctrine, which i think would need to be handled differently…


Seems similar to childish name calling or boasting to me. What an immature way to deal with differences. What good will it accomplish? Certainly not “compliance”!

It reminds me of the “Scarlet Letter” story by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850). (In this story a woman is made to a wear scarlet letter meant to be a symbol of shame, but instead it becomes a powerful symbol of identity. The letter’s meaning shifts as time passes. Originally intended to mark the woman as an adulterer, the “A” eventually comes to stand for “Able.”)


No. Nor do I find it acceptable to be associated with a church that discriminates towards women on WO, and has in other ways for many decades until forced (screaming and kicking) by employment laws to stop, even while trying to claim in court that such laws don’t apply to them. In once instance the judge laughed at church attorneys and threatened them with contempt of court if they continued with such idiot arguments.

I’ll try not to let the door hit me on my way out.


The heart of our problem is the pretense that NT Christianity took the form of an heirarchical organiization or in any way authorized such. There is no evidence that Christians in one location had ecclesiastical authority over Christians in another. Where would they even get the idea? There was no Roman Catholic Church yet to imitate.

A factor in our unfortunate experiment with heirarchical despotisim is the widespread misreading of Acts 15 as the occasion of a church council in which Pope James decreed that Gentile Christians were not subject to the Old Testament Law (vs 24). His decision was correct theologically but not ecclresiastically. His announcement and letter promised that members of his congergation would cease “troubling” the diaspora with nomanism, not a papal bull giving them dispensaion. He denied that he had ever pretended to tell them what to do.

There simply was no “church council”-which would have implied some sort of obligation of uniformity and control–no invitations, no mention of delegates, no participants in the discussion except locals and Paul and Barnabus and a few Gentile converts they picked up along the way .

This all reminds me of an unhappy Roman Cathiolic priest who observed that Jesus had NOT said,
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have OBEYED one to another.”


His father was conning but the federal courts got him and Glacier View Haunts Him. The son is just crude but not as Cunning, but he will either destroy the church or the church will destroy him. Imagine the church without the North American Division. it has already lost Europe.
He sure ain‘t going to get any Middle East oil money even though he did a tour in Egypt. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. SA will be a greater disappointment than 1844.


Tom –
Maybe to use the words of FDR – “Infamy”!!


I am sickened by this proposal. It deserves to be defeated by even larger margins than the previous one for two reasons. 1) The use of public shaming has absolutely no biblical precedent or justification and is completely counter to the Spirit of Christ. It is a shameful suggestion that should be brought down by the GCEC with a resounding “No, never!” 2) The “research” on which this document is based is seriously flawed. Someone like David Trim, a former research fellow, is far too bright to do this sort of shoddy work. Time to return to you War Studies, David!


Like many of you I find this troubling especially as Church leaders should know better than to do this when so much warning and counsel has been provided against this type thinking and action.

Fundamentally such policies are born out fears such as loss of identity or ideological rightness, or control. This and other recent actions have all the earmarks of Moral Panic on the part of various individuals within the Church leadership.

What is the root source of this fear I wonder, is it the fear of losing cherished beliefs, fear of cultural forces that have caused many to reexamine these beliefs, loss of identity, loss of control over the level of thinking of members and which types of topics are the cause?

One thing is sure such actions have been taken by other churches in the past to control the clergy or others who have voice. Such reactionary policies tend to only harden the leadership, inflame passions and cause disillusionment. If there is suppression of opinion, open dialog, and examination of beliefs as new understanding of Bible truth comes to light from various sources, historically this causes reformation though not without casualty.


When the Knower asks of you your soul, will the answer
“we religiously whited our holy sepulcher/church” be acceptable?


“Unions receive an EXEMPTION from the GC”.
To accept THIS means one is Accepting the Idea that the GC has Control of
the Union!
Unions are autonomous and answerable only to their constituents when it comes
to certain issues.


I am a bit surprised by then objections to this policy.

First, a verbal reprimand is sometimes required. I would do it as a last resort, but the Unions have been publically disregarding the vote of the GC in session, so a public reprimand really would be an appropriate first step

Second, the left, at least here in America has been using public humiliation for some time. Think of the name calling and disruption of of speakers on campus whom the left deams unacceptable. And the calls of “Shame! Shame!” that some Trump administrators have had to endure. And let me tell you, those on the right often hide their thinking for fear of reprisals.

So, why should not the GC use this quite effective strategy?


The GC in session is the ultimate constituency meeting! The whole church is responsible to it! It took a vote, and some are ignoring the voice of the constitutents! So, what to do with those who refuse to go along with the constitutents?

What would you do with a group or person that refused the voice of the constituents?

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Jesus did say, if you love me you will keep my commandments. But what if members choose not to keep his commandments? And who decides what commandments are to be kept, and how?

I Cor 5 gives an example of commandments that were not kept and the result was one was asked to leave. I think it is a bit more nuanced that you make out.

Right. His commandments. There are two:

  • Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
  • Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

There’s just the two. Keep both.

Corinthians does not contain any commandments of Jesus.


Paul reprimanded the church for not kicking a man out who had taken his step mother as wife. Liviticus 18. So, expelling one is not something that is out of bounds. And, Jesus mentioned such action in Matt 18.

And Jesus gave more commands than just the two you note. (Do as the Good Samaritan did, etc., Be servants to one another etc.)

You refereed to Jesus commandments.

The two are the ones widely considered Jesus commandments. Other statements made have generally not been put in the same category.