Trust is Vital: Loma Linda Board Chair Speaks on Leadership

In this exclusive interview, Lowell Cooper, long-time General Conference vice president, shares insights about governance, leadership and our changing church from his years of accrued wisdom.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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The medical work in beginning Adventism played a major role in making the Adventism name familiar to much of the U.S. for a number of years. Hundreds flocked to Battle Creek for treatment and word spread far and wide of their success.

This was the initiation of the Loma Linda Medical school in the early 20th century and the church understood the healing professions as integral to Adventism.

However, as the medical school grew it also appeared to grow apart from the ministerial arm of the church and because of the complexity of medical issues and treatments, the ecclesiastical and health divisions became more difficult to understand, especially for the ministry. As a result, the physical distances seemed to exacerbate the mutual understanding of the mission of each.

This was reflected by the visit of the LLU medical school dean to Andrews at the invitation of Jon Paulien, dean of Andrews at that time. Dr, Hadley, LLU Medical School dean, spoke about the healing passion and mission of Loma Linda, Paulien said “I was blown away.” The Ministry of Healing has not a trace of apocalyptic while The Great Controversy is an apocalyptic vision without a trace of healing in it,

Dr Paulien was invited to be the dean of the LLU medical school and after three months there he gave this very insightful statement:

“Andrews is the church’s face to its members; Loma Linda is the church’s face to the world. The apocalyptic mindset sees an issue and says, ‘We need to be clear about what’s wrong here so we don’t get trapped by anything that might damage us.’ These two divisions don’t integrate easily.”

The church is faced with this paradox: warning of the imminent Second Coming and healing the immediate mental, emotional and physical needs of the world today,

(Excerpted from the May-August Alumni Journal of the LLU School of Medicine)


Thanks for a value interview, Dr Lowell Cooper and Alita! Superb!! So much food for thought!

Yes! I understand from high level sources that however much Jan Paulsen’s speech is to be admired and appreciated, it did much to shift the mood away from consensus toward conflict. I’m sure that was not Jan Paulsen’s intention. And then, Ted Wilson’s speech given in the dying minutes of debate on the floor was also very influential. It was sad that Ted could not ignore his cell phone for just a few moments while he gave his speech! (If indeed he wasn’t feigning the phone call).

Amen Lowell!
The missio Dei is the hermeneutical lens through which to view the theology and practice of ordination. From before the foundation of the world the three great powers of the Trinity had covernanted together to re-establish the kingdom of God in our planet in rebellion, should that eventuate. They pledged themselves to do battle against the power and kingdom of evil and the Evil One. This was the Divine pledge of Gen 3: 15. The Davidic kingdom would last forever. And though, with the Babylonian exile, this Davidic kingdom appeared to fall, yet great David’s greater son was born in a manger and through his ministry, death and resurrection King Jesus conquered and founded his everlasting kingdom again. The church of God is not that kingdom. Rather, the church of God is a kingdom building institution. The kingdom is to be built by spiritually gifted kings and priests. This is what I have called “temple of God ecclesiology.”

To summarize, the missio Dei is to be continued in our world by spiritually gifted believer-kings and priests, who serve in the temple of God. All believers are called to engage themselves in this missio Dei. The calling is enfolded within the gifting. And this is where FB 18 gets it wrong because it mentions the call of the ministry but not of the whole people of God. Only when we change this thinking can we hope to have all believers mobilizing. And part of calling everyone in the church of God is to authorize, appoint and consecrate all leaders according to function regardless of gender.

Adventists need to have one united theology of appointment to leadership roles, which will grant latitude in our practices of the specific rites of appointment.


“There is an enormous opportunity for the Church to be seen as the most healthy, most helpful, most thoughtful, most peace-promoting institution in the community — simply because God intends for His people to be a light in the world.”

And after nearly 180 years of existence, exactly where is Adventism in the greater scope of things? If it was only one of these things (most healthy, most helpful, most thoughtful, most peace-promoting) it would really would be noted in the world…but it is not. The time has long past where it can use the worn excuse of the church being “imperfect in an imperfect world”.

Appreciated the interview, nonetheless.


It seems to me that Elder Cooper is very optimistic about the church, for one so close to the seat of power. During our few years at the GC, it was all too easy to see feet of clay, along with the desire to be of service.

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That was a thoughtful interview. Thanks for the excellent work!


Thirty-two (32) VPs… wow:blush:

Wonderful interview. I’m very impressed by the humility and balance I see in this board chair. I have good friends employed by LLU who seem pleased by the leadership there (of course there are always minor quibbles), and that is something one seldom hears from academics.


Looks like a great reading list for Spectrum members. Why not have a book going year round?


For years I’ve belonged to a local book club. The group, approximately two dozen members, choose from a list of Pulitzer prize winning books, and those that are usually at least 25 or more years old: IOW, have become recognized as worthy of re-reading.

We are assigned 50 or so pages/week and come prepared to discuss what we’ve read. The moderator is a former English instructor and willing to listen to all comments.

Why couldn’t that be an option offered here? And, please, not just SDA books but many that relate to our interests in world events, other religions, etc.



Books I have read and enjoyed recently–
Grounded, Diana Butler Bass
Red Letter Revolution, Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo
Radical Love, Patrick S. Chen
Grounds for Assurance and Hope, Bryan W. Ball [Avondale press] on the occasion of his 80th birthday
Meister Eckhart -A mystic warrior for our times, Matthew Fox
Meeting Jesus Again For The First Time, Marcus Borg
The Power of Parable, John Dominic Crossan
Churchonepointzero,org SDA church from SanFrancisco area has done several book studies. Is broadcast on the internet at 1200 their time on Sabbath. Usually lasts till about 1PM their time. Good discussion. Is also archived so can be watched anytime. I see it at 3PM EST my time.

Thanks to Alita Byrd for (yet another!) classy interview - she has fine journalistic skills! Thanks to Eld. Cooper too for his years of service. What thoughtful and perceptive responses. I did wonder why a presidential system is ok in our institutions - it seems to me that that’s an unwelcome encroachment too, if you look at how several of our university presidents conduct themselves and “manage” their faculty.

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I’d venture to guess that Dr. Lowell Cooper reads more widely and often than does his putative “boss” Ted Wilson. Dr. Cooper is an educated, deep-thinking administrator; Ted is not.