Triggering Public Reprimands: Simple Majorities are Not Enough

I would think so too. Resigning in such circumstances has a long and noble tradition that should be continued. Too many are embarrassed outwardly and anguished inwardly because they let others force them to do things which are contrary to what they believe.

Although it is all written with your characteristic and verve, I especially like the last three sentences. Thank you, Dr. Zwemer!

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That may be the case, though it depends upon the constitution of the organization but regardless it seems quite a stretch to assume that the call for a a reprimand statement at a Executive committee session would line up with being a very important vote. Of course potentially dangerous is far to subjective to be of any use here. I would seriously question the fitness of anyone on the committee that thought it was a dagger to the heart! Personally if I was involved and there had to be a reprimand statement I would begin all my statements with. 'speaking as one under GC Bull as an potentially anathema". I think the committee will grow tired of it all very quickly. Either if they are in charge of the announcement of the person involved makes their own announcement.


as i recall annual council 2016, essentially the same 3/2 majority that voted to attach consequences for non-compliance with san antonio voted “no” in san antonio in the first place…this means suggesting that that majority should now be 4/1, when penalties short of the nuclear option are already being considered, probably isn’t realistic…the same fault lines would appear in the event of such a vote…that is, it will be defeated 2/3…

the only solution i see is what seems to be hinted at by the compliance committees already voted affirmatively by GCAC on july 17, which is a course of action that will let san antonio stand, but grant exemptions to unions that are out of compliance…

the theory behind this is that diversity is fine, but that it cannot be asserted and implemented independently…the biblical example here is that paul brought the question of circumcision to the council of jerusalem even though he no doubt had already received definitive visions on how to handle it…

of course this puts TW in jeopardy with die-hard conservatives…but he appears willing to live with the fall-out…

Jeremy, where do you conclude that exemptions may emerge? We’re we reading the same document?

Dr. Larson, Thank you. The question I have is how does this advance the proposal of the theology of a final Perfect Generation. Shamming is part and parcel of the plain people of Penn and Indiana and a few in northern Georgia. Next up will be holy flesh. But Project One was out of order. This proposition is aligned with mob psychology. My observation there are Christians among Seventh Day Adventists, But Adventism is not Christian.

on p.19 of A Study of Church Governance and Unity, released shortly before AC2016, there is grudging recognition of the possibility for collaborative, as opposed to unilateral, diversity in the short segment entitled Acting Collaboratively, not Unilaterally:

while it is true that the secretariat stresses the difference between diversity where a world body has not spoken, as opposed to one where it has, the fact that it also stresses that annual council is now on par with a GC session for council of jerusalem status opens the possibility for negotiation on this point…that is, if we allow for the policy that the GC vote in san antonio must stand, nothing is stopping annual council from issuing exemptions that are negotiated, and therefore collaborative, and not unilateral…the vote by GCAC on july 17 to set up compliance committees to function as go betweens between non-compliant unions and GCAC can realistically only mean negotiated exemptions…this is because there is no need for compliance committees if punishment for non-compliance is the only option, since noncompliant unions cannot be expected to participate in designing their own punishment…

perhaps you mean 2/3rds majority. I suspect a typo, otherwise a 3/2 majority would be difficult to get without cheating. :smiley:

the san antonio vote was essentially 60% no, and 40% yes…this is a 3/2 majority if we see this to mean 3/5 vs. 2/5…this is not the same a 2/3 majority, which, if we are talking about a majority, and not a minority, would normally mean 66% vs. 33%., or 2/3 vs 1/3…a 2/3 minority would mean 2/5 vs. 3/5…

i should have probably said 3-2 majority to prevent confusion…

McLennan, you explain exactly why a real leader would have resigned upon his personal proposal having been rejected by a super majority of the GC Executive Committee last fall. But here we are, back with another try by the same man on the same proposal made more explicitly draconian. Do you favor his resignation should his proposal fail to achieve a super majority? It is no small note, that Act 15 records no vote having been taken.

I am increasingly of the view that there has never been “one” Adventism. That at this time Adventism is very pluralistic is for certain the case. For example, LGT is the first choice of no where near the majority of SDAs around the world and many haven’t even heard of it. Yet only now I am realizing the extent to which it has been pluralistic from the start. So, whether Adventism is Christian might depend upon what kind of Adventism on is discussing.

As I understand it, LGT emerged out of North American pietistic perfectionism which predated Adventism by quite a while. It is virtually unintelligible to people who do not have this cultural background. Increasingly, this is true for North Americans too. Its not so much that they disagree with LGT but that they don’t know what to make of it and feel no need to figure it out.


My proposal is that the Executive Committee should publicly reprimand one of its own members only if at least 75% of those who are present when the vote is taken favor it. I think that these church leaders owe each other this much mutual respect. Because it approves most things with at least 95% of the votes, this seems not to be asking too much. I do not know how this lines up with the other ways of running these numbers.

Did the 2017 document supercede the 2016 one and will the 2018 one supercede the 2017 one? Or will they all remain applicable?

I suspect that he believes he has been called to purify the church so will continue his efforts to the end.


but in this case, votes have been dividing along fairly predictable fault lines…both the san antonio vote of world delegates against WO, and then the annual council 2016 vote of union presidents and other leaders to implement measures to enforce compliance of san antonio, had the same 60-40 split…it’s unlikely that a 75% majority is going to agree on anything in this context…the 60% majority will likely view a recommendation for such a result as an attempt to thwart both san antonio and annual council 2016…

annual council 2017 was a continuation of 2016, and failed mainly because of the way the vote was set up, which many thought was underhanded…but if annual council 2018 votes again on what annual council 2017 attempted to vote on, the measures introduced at annual council 2017 will likely pass along the same 60-40 fault line we’ve seen, especially if the loyalty pledge is dropped…people have had time to think through the proposals, and the fact that non-compliance erodes any point in a GC vote…

i think PUC and CUC should be proactively viewing the newly approved compliance review committees as an opportunity to negotiate exemptions…they should make clear that they aren’t seeking unilateral diversity, which is what they’ve been doing up until now…a negotiated exemption has the advantage of accepting san antonio, while pursuing diversity through collaboration…this course is what the secretariat of the GC has been recommending as far back as 2016…i think it’s significant that the compliance review committees have been voted into existence only now…

i think they’re all part of the same developing offer…the compliance review committees, voted into existence in july 2018, is what’s new…they are what makes possible what wasn’t possible in 2016 or 2017…they are being set up to make recommendations to the GC administrative committee, rather than make recommendations or demands to the noncompliant unions…obviously this is an opportunity for PUC and CUC to make their case…here’s the cryptic ANN article with this glimmer of hope, posted on spectrum previously:

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Trying to think of where we need to go after the next GC Session. Unity in diversity. Suggested Theme: “Diverse But Whole”


Ministers can compel members to do nothing.

All pastors of local congregations know this and so do most General Conference leaders. Those GC leaders who haven’t known this are learning it slowly and painfully. As we see in this proposal, the result is that they are now threatening members less and pressuring ministers more.

This will work in the short run because it is easier for denominational leaders to discontinue an employee than it is for them to disfellowship a member. Yet this will eventually fail too because it relies too heavily on the use of coercive rather than persuasive power.

Someday all General Conference leaders will think and act more like pastors of a global congregation and less like officers of a world wide corporation. It won’t be long!


I think your analysis is heads on. I would add that public evangelism is fear based not Gospel based; Hence the confusion. Centuries ago an African found the Gospel. now Adventism has an other African would spews fear by the Bucket. I understand he is banned from Europe. I thank God for Graham Maxwell.


That there will ever be a future General Conference President who will act like pastor of a global congregation rather than the executive officer of a worldwide corporation seems increasingly unlikely. Here is why.

The vast majority of Seventh-day Adventists are in countries which were once colonized by European countries. These countries becoming independent has all too often resulted in paternalistic government continuing under the rule of actual or in effect dictators. Reports of those observing, within the church, the same kind of, in effect, rule confirms that the people chafe under such dictatorial behavior, but that they seem consistently of the opinion that the solution for kingly power is a new king.

What observations are you making, Dr. Larson, that offer hope that church administration will swing to a pastoral model? That would be wonderful!


“Hope” is the right word. Yet I do believe that one kind of church leadership destroyed itself at the 2017 Annual Council and another is emerging. One small but significant clue is how the two approaches have circulated the proposal. Those who attended the 2017 meetings were given it for the first time in the same session in which they were expected to approve it. The 2018 proposal has been circulated almost three months in advance. This is a huge difference which signals to me the death of one kind of General Conference leadership and the birth of a different and better one. Yet, as Paul says in Romans 8, hope is not certainty!

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