By their fruits ye shall know them
You stated that GC scrapped the bottom of the Barrow to find pastors who were against. Many of the pastors that you referred to as bottom feeders, were preaching before some of the pro’s were born. They had advanced degrees and actually studied the SOP.
For a long time I have been asking, “What is the GC good for, why do we need it?”
Actually, my challenge has always been, “Show me one, just ONE benefit that any local church receives because of the existence of the GC.”
SO far it’s been frustrating having received no answer to these questions. Apparently nobody can justify the existence of the GC other than the great opportunity given by the GC to the local churches to contribute financially with the GC…
Read Sutherland’s book here
Does anyone honestly believe the General Conference is going to attempt a takeover of PUC over Women’s Ordination? Now, if PUC were somehow withholding tithes and offerings I could believe it. However, in the absence of a financial element the GC, in my opinion, does not have the fortitude for such a gambit. The fallout would be profound in the West and the GC knows this fact. This I suspect is face saving saber rattling and nothing else. It will shake those who actually believe the GC is relevant to activities of the church but it will do nothing for those who have concluded GC pronouncements are meaningless.
- linked is the outline UPDATE: General Conference Considers Taking Over “Rebellious” Unions - #60 by PaulKevinWells.
In my view, while it attempts to be very scholarly and even-handed, it’s very approach is to insist that unity is the over-riding principle and is being used as a bludgeon (in my view) to chastise way-ward Unions and make the case that they need to be punished.
Almost of greater significance than the document’s stance against Women’s Ordination is it’s comments regarding Ordination. Specifically that pastor’s cannot voluntarily set aside Ordination (and choose to be Commissioned in solidarity with women pastors who are not allowed to be ordained) and it’s comments that the differences between commissioned and ordained is not just a minor issue of job description (i.e. commissioned pastors cannot start churches, or lead meetings, or head organizations that are reserved for ordained pastors). I find this to be particularly troubling. Now the GC is interfering in a manner of individual conscience and NOT allowing men to accept a “lower” standard. This also goes to show that separate is not equal for women ministers if the GC considers ordination to be a spiritual calling that cannot be set aside, while the same is not true of commissioning.
Lastly to address ajshep’s comments, who said:
“I think the more liberal need to realize that if they were able to set up an entity that, lets say, included the Pacific Union, the Columbia Union and a few other entities (European Unions are so small they could make little contribution) and that it included all the institutions that were located there, that it would not be a going concern. Liberal churches are almost uniformly declining, their seminaries are closing and the churches being sold. And besides, liberals do not have the loyalty of more conserve folk to a cause.”
I find that statement to be unsupported in all respects as follows:
A. In the event of a division, if all churches could vote to be a separate SDA denomination it would be significant. I don’t remember the specifics, but as I recall, about 45% plus voted for WO in San Antonio and well over half of the NAD delegates did.
B. In the event that just the Pacific and Columbia Unions formed their own they would have significant resources. I don’t have a breakdown of totals, but the resources would be substantial.
C. ajshep says that liberal churches are almost uniformly declining, I’d like to see evidence of that, and I’d like to compare such evidence with more conservative churches in the same area to see what they are doing. It my local area, the more liberal churches are the ones that are growing in the North American market.
D. Liberals do not have the loyalty of more conservative folk to a cause. With respect, frankly that is an insulting statement. I’m sure it wasn’t mean to be so, I’d encourage the commentor to reconsider. In the issue of Women’s Ordination, those who support it believe that it is a fundamental right and a proper biblical position that women are equal to men and are called to preach, teach and spread the Gospel just like men can. ajshep’s statement is similar to what was said a hundred years ago when women and liberals believed that women also had the right to vote.
I don’t know what will happen. Perhaps the NAD and the GC will reach an accommodation that recognizes women’s right to minister equally with men. Perhaps no accommodation will be reached and the church will split. But make no mistake; loyal Seventh-day Adventists will elect not to associate with a denomination that discriminates against women in the name of unity. That will make them no less Christian and no less Seventh-day Adventist, in spite of what those in power choose to say.
I think that it is only fair to recognize this action for what it is.
There is a whole branch of the church I love who honestly believe that they have been called by God to refine and purify the Adventist Church - and that until that occurs we will never reach the level of purity that is necessary for us to “finish the work” so that Jesus can return. People like Ted Wilson, Stephen Bohr, Doug Bachelor and many others in their particular camp sincerely long for the “shaking” to occur so that the Latter Rain can be poured out and we can all go to heaven. In pursuit of that goal, this and other things that are in the works are something that they are intentionally doing to purify the church and to shake out anyone not in line with their particular view of Adventism. I think that most dispassionate observers can clearly recognize that this carefully considered and calculated move is the opening salvo in what promises to be a catastrophic series of events!
The tragedy is that this is going to split our church - right down to the bedrock - and that while it hopefully grieves them that many will be driven out of Adventism, they feel that their pursuit of holiness for themselves and the Adventist Church justifies their actions.
T.S. Eliot, in his book Murder in the Cathedral, says, “The last act is the greatest treason. To do the right deed for the wrong reason.” I would change it to read, “The last act and the greatest treason is to the believe that you are doing the right thing and to do it with misguided reason!” We need to keep our NAD and Union leadership in our special prayers right now that they do not become discouraged by what appears to be happening. They need to hear the Holy Spirit quietly speaking into their hearts, “Illegitimi non carborundum,” and to go forward confident that God can get us all through this.
The larger question also needs to be how are we going to respond? Too many of us are so hurt, disappointed and disillusioned by actions like this that we become just like those we feel so strongly are using the devil’s methods to try to do the Lord’s work. Friedrich Nietzsche is qsuoted as saying, ““He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.”” It is true that beholding we become changed, and many us us, in our anger and frustration, are sinking to the level of those we disagree with. One has only to read the invective on both sides to realize that the devil must be delighted.
I would plead with those who cannot begin to comprehend how those on the far right of Adventism think and act to remember that they are God’s beloved children as well and to pray that God will somehow touch their hearts and lead them out of the legalism and demigogery that so threatens our church.
I understand to some degree where they are coming from. The first ten years or so of my ministry I was right there. I cannot be too hard on people like Doug because I have walked in his shoes - truly believing I was doing the right thing and choosing to ignore the trail of brokenness I left in my wake as I worked to purify the church and deal with anyone who looked at any theological idea other than my narrow view. I truly believed that i was doing the Lord’s work and was broken when the God of so much grace opened my eyes and led me into the paths of His righteousness and love.
So, I would plead with you to do battle on your knees as we face this newest crisis and to trust God to deal with those who are making so many destructive moves to impose their power on God’s church.
Why would you enjoy seeing someone upset? Even when I disagree with someone I don’t revel in their unhappiness.
I would like to see a poll taken of SDA.
On a scale of 1-5…with .5 being a great concern.
- How does the WO issue impact or affect operation and/or morale of your local church?
- How much does the WO issue affect your attitude with how you spend your regular lifestyle?
This writer responds
In all of this, I see little of Jesus.
I see power and control. Institutions, traditions and policies. Arguments and threats.
I see parallels with the religious leaders of Jesus’ time and the Pharisees.
No longer my church. No longer my religion. If it was, why would I want to try and get anyone of quality ethics and integrity to join.
SDAism has become SADism - and worse.
I’m ashamed to have any association with what the church leaders have become.
You are obviously NOT
–a woman pastoring anywhere in the world.
–a female called by God sacrificing to go to the Seminary.
–a female (or male) professor at a seminary supporting each student.
–a female in the pews who would prefer to counsel with a female pastor.
–a young woman looking for spiritual role models (other than Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, or Myley Cyrus).
–a mature woman pastor who has humbly served for several decades.
–a man or woman in the pews who appreciates a balance of viewpoints at the decision-making tables of the church.
–a parent of a young woman called to the ministry.
–the husband of a woman called to the ministry.
–a member who cares deeply for those who are gifted with spiritual leadership and affirming their calling.
–an individual who does not support gender discrimination.
–a member who found the trial of Merikay Silver for equal pay for women church employees significant.
Your response is acknowledged and noted.