UPDATED: Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division President Paul Ratsara Offers Resignation Amid Academic Qualifications Scandal

It’s very sad, it reminds me the “would you rather” game. Would you rather have a male minister who is breaking God’s commandments (but is a male!), or a female minister who cannot be ordained? I hope brother Ted knows what he is doing here.


Incredible. He was recently on 3ABN. I was impressed by his, think, 2 hrs.daily Devotion time with Our Father.

Have mercy, I say.

News gets worse.x


This is so sad… Recognizing that their actions were at fault and unethical, lets continue praying for our brothers and have the right spirit.


Our denomination’s administrative structure possesses many checks and balances that can prevent any one person from always getting his or her own way. They work when they are used but don’t when they aren’t.


Breathtaking indeed.

Incidentally, could someone enlighten us, whether this actually is the case? It has been my understanding that usually the secretary is the vice-president, taking over a president’s responsibilities until the next term, whenever there is a president no longer able and/or willing to serve office.


paul ratsara’s possibly fraudulent degree - has anyone checked into the motives of hopeson bonya in “confessing” authorship in ratsara’s doctoral thesis, given that his SID vice-presidency likely means he’s next in line if ratsara leaves - has certainly cast a deep pall over this entire episode in our south african church…one gathers the sense that known weaknesses have had a code of silence agreement of protection for some time, but that all of it has unraveled now…and the question really is, why now…if fall-out from the no-vote in san antonio is the culprit, it seems evident that spilling the beans well before san antonio would have been more effective…

i continue to feel that the backdrop many non-white south africans are operating under is the real context of this story…no-one needs to pretend that either paul ratsara or paul charles will likely recover from the effects of apartheid in their life-time…i have seen, with my own eyes, non-white south africans leave their homeland more than 40 yrs ago, and establish impressive prosperity in north america…and yet the hurt of having been treated systematically as an inferior during their formative yrs is still evident in their eyes, and in what they don’t say…the sad reality is that for more than 20 yrs, beginning in 1960, millions of non-whites were systematically driven from their homes in a mass deportation that was symbolic of so much more, and worse, to come…i honestly believe that if victims of these circumstances saw an opportunity to better themselves in the aftermath of apartheid, using methods that they would have seen others use to get ahead, it simply isn’t merciful, or even just, to impune their character over it…does a weary traveler forced to cross the kalahari on foot refuse a cup of cold brackish water with dead flies floating in it…not likely…i find it heart-breaking that ratsara and charles’ accusers, many of whom would have similar backgrounds as ratsara and charles, are apparently unable to see or feel this truth…i cannot pretend to know the cases of ratsara or charles as they unfold in the books of record in heaven…but if there’s one thing i’ve come to understand about the god of the bible and egw, it’s that their cases will receive much more mercy in heaven than they are currently receiving from their church…

as i see it, the one bright spot in this regrettable saga is the course of action of ted wilson…of course ted understands that ratsara will need to resign…but by delaying the inevitable through means that only he can access, he is saying to ratsara that he understands his past - his full past - and that on balance, he doesn’t hold anything against him…like a true african, he is preserving the dignity of his friend in his time of need, and reassuring him that nothing can change their friendship…ted knows full well the construction some onlookers will be placing on his dealings with ratsara…but he doesn’t care…he correctly perceives that his first duty is the healing of his friend, whatever it takes…

bravo, ted…your vision of adventism is what many of us identify with…

thx for this information, shining…if paul charles didn’t grow up in apartheid south africa, this fact changes the complexion of his case significantly, because while i’m sure indian poverty would have been grinding, nothing compares to the psychological damage inflicted by south africa’s apartheid, which was a unique evil that will cloud the dynamics of SID for many generations yet…

your points about managing bad behavior are all well taken, and i suspect a major shake up of SID is in the works, even though ted is doing it in a way that preserves the dignity of his friend, which i personally think is a good thing…i don’t think either ted or ratsara seriously believe ratsara should continue as president…while it is desirable for the african church to be governed by africans, it is not unimportant how that goal is achieved or implemented…the appointment of someone who obtained his education honestly will be the wise move for ted to make, and i’m sure he’s considering names now…perhaps, after a full, public confession on ratsara’s part, there is a position for him in SID that isn’t so public, and that doesn’t carry the expectation of degrees…

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It is simply not good enough to cite upbringing for lapses in ethical and moral integrity Jeremy. What an affront to anyone who finds themselves in difficult situations that has struggled and with Gods help overcome temptation. Yes it is true that we are all sinners and there but by the grace of God go I. It is also true that when that sin is revealed it should be called for what it is and the personal consequences accepted. For the GC president to choose face saving of a personal friend over upholding Biblical principles is troubling for what it says about his integrity and as a result damaging for the entire world church. The real issue is why this was not dealt with by him when it was first brought to his attention. This speaks to a troubling lack of judgement by the churches world president. You don’t have to go to far back to see what happens when a lapse of judgement by a GC president tarnish the church http://articles.latimes.com/1999/feb/09/news/mn-6391


In my short career with the Adventist church, (some 30 years), I have learnt that you are wise always to respect the wishes of your fellows. The call of God come as both an inner call to your being and at the same time as an outer call to you from your colleagues and the whole people of God through committees and leadership bodies. Thus, even if every fibre of your being cries out to stay, you must also share the confidence or your peers if you are to effectively carry the burden of being called to Adventist leadership.

The reported actions and behaviour of Ted Wilson in this saga should certainly call into question his judgment and wisdom!


This reeks of cronyism: the appointment [and retention] of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications. We should expect better from the highest levels of leadership.


Beth: Certainly it does not make sense.

Vandieman: In my opinion Hopeson Bonya is an accessary to the crime.


This is one of so many unethical scandals to be ‘covered up’ or protected and even nurtured within the Adventist church - and not only this GC president but past ones as well. As a personal friend of some caught up in this scandal, and some falsely accused while the guilty got promoted and protected in other scandals that went right to the top of the Adventist church, I can honestly say that I have learned to hold on to CHRIST ALONE and not any organisation. I have long waited for ‘social media’ to hold people accountable as our church leaders and processes allow coverups over and over again. It’s no accident our headquarters are in Washington DC, right where corrupt USA government is also based. Our Advent message is God honouring, but so many of our leaders from all sides of the political spectrum are not. I feel deeply for all those involved - both the guilty and those who are caught in the cross fire. We must be kind, loving, yet uphold Godly standards and integrity. Let’s stand for excellence in both love and honesty: “Be excellent in what is good, be innocent of evil” Romans 16:19


This is such a cut and dry case and one wonders why it is being treated as if it is rocket science.
The Adventist church worldwide deals with members and workers who violate church principles all the time. Be is at local church where a member has to be disciplined or church pastors or other employees. We don’t even debate it because our Biblical positions are clear. Of course we should be redemptive, but we should also clearly demonstrate that we do not condone sin. We have a simple case of a Division President who was dishonest in how he acquired his PhD. When one hears about the background one begins to realize that this matter was brought to his attention a very long while back. Link that to the Paul Charles fraudulent degrees and that this too was reported to the Division President and GC leaders. The fact that nothing was done is more worrying than the “crimes” themselves. The appearance of a cover up is worrying.
I have been wondering if the recent hive of activity (SID Excom meetings, Ted Wilson spending 3 days in South Africa) would have happened if the matter hadn’t been reported in the media. Did SID and GC leaders start doing something because they were worried about the matter itself or they wanted to be seen to be doing something because the matter was now public. Do you confess because you have been caught? If no one catches you…you don’t confess.
Those who argue that the church must be left to deal with these things internally ignore that sometimes the church does NOT deal with these things at all. The argument that we should leave the church to deal with issues internally away from public attention needs to be accompanied with an effective mechanism to ensure the church DOES deal with these issues. Ted Wilson’s involvement has turned what would have been a relatively “lizard like” matter into a “dinosaur”. Why was he keenly interested to be personally involved? Why is he putting pressure on Paul Ratsara not to resign? The matter will draw attention to himself and pretty soon he might find himself the subject of an investigation.
Paul Ratsara became a “person of interest” because he appeared to be protecting Paul Charles (who was initially the subject). Ted Wilson too might become the next “person of interest”. Is he worried about something if Paul Ratsara were to go?


The Advenrist church in South Africa has had low ethical standards on several levels.
Two South African Adventist educators, known to me, husband and wife, had equal years of service teaching in an Adventist school.

Upon retirement, the wife was offered a church pension significantly less than her husband who had equal qualifications and years of service.

Fortunately the post-Nelson Mandela South African constitution, in a repudiation of decades of Apartheid discrimination, was vehement in its stand for equality for ALL ( the only country in the world giving constitutional protection to LGBT people!).

Knowing that gender discrimination was ILLEGAL under the new constitution, this couple threatened the"brethren" that they would sue the church for unfair and unequal gender bias.

Whereupon the"brethren" acquiesced, while admonishing the couple: “please do not tell the other faculty members”.
Implying that they were unethically going to contravene the country’s constitution for future retirees!

Did Mary Kay sue the Pacific Press in vain?
Do the “brethren” never learn?
The Michigan conference’s long term cover up of the Pipim case is another example of the dispicable lack of morals and ethics in higher reaches of the church!



Who is Mr Bonya? Why did he write the thesis on behalf of Dr Paul Ratsara? What is his motive or what does he stand to gain by making this confession now? There is more than meets the eye in all this. I wonder if Bonya ever prays for church leaders or he spends his time entrapping church leaders in sin.
"Then there arose some from what is called the Freedmen, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. They secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God. And they stirred up the people, he elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council.” Acts 6:9-12 NKJV

I do not condone fraud but the questions that immediately come to my mind that nobody here is interested in are:

  1. Who has Bonya made his confession to? Has Bonya gone to UNISA and confessed that he defrauded UNISA? UNISA is the injured party and it is UNISA that must conduct forensic investigations on the credibility of Bonya’s allegations.

  2. If Bonya walks the moral high ground, why is he not resigning his position on the grounds that he is a self confessed fraudster?

  3. Why is it expedient for the SDA Church to act against Ratsara and not against Bonya? Who is protecting Bonya from sanction and for what reasons?

  4. If Ratsara has misrepresented UNISA qualifications or defrauded UNISA through plagiarism, why is UNISA not stripping Ratsara of the qualifications and commensurate titles?

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How many times did the Hebrew historians say of their kings, "And he did evil in the sight of the Lord."
I recall, too, a modern king by the name of Richard “Trickie Dickie” Nixon being impeached for dishonesty.
Is there a lesser standard of morality applicable for SDA kings?
Methinks we see a degraded morality in play right now.


Why be so surprised about Wilson’s support of Ratsara if we already know that Wilson is a type of person who does not recognise evidence.
Some of his claims against evidence:

  1. The Earth is young, very young…
  2. Historicist interpretations of Bible still hold in spite of evidence that there is something wrong about that approach.
  3. Always putting EGW on level with Bible in spite of FB 1.
  4. No big deal the majority of TOSC which concludes something on basis of evidence.
    … and you name the other claims he makes in spite of evidence.
    TW has forgotten or is unaware that this is the age of the Internet. His attempt to ignore the members is a game with his own destiny and maybe with the destiny of the Church.
    Quo vadis ecclesia mea?

“Come out of her my people that you be not partakers in her sins.”

I have a real hard time imagining that someone who thinks that fraud and theft are matters to ‘sleep over’ is not in cahoots with the devil.

Trust God.


Granted, wrong needs to be corrected and perpetrators need to be held accountable for their actions.

Even so, in this instance could Ted Wilson be operating under this philosophy?

“True Christian love cherished in the heart and exemplified in the life, would teach us to put the best possible construction upon the course of our brethren. We should be as jealous of their reputation as of our own. If we are forever suspecting evil, this very fact will so shape their course of action as to produce the very evil which we have allowed ourselves to suspect. In this way, a great many difficulties are manufactured that otherwise would never have had birth, and brethren are often wronged by our being suspicious, free to judge their motives, and express our opinion to others in regard to their actions. That which one may be ready to construe into grave wrongs, may be no more than we ourselves are chargeable with every day.”
[Mind, Character, and Personality (1977), Vol. 2, p. 789]

And this one:
“I wish that we had much more of the Spirit of Christ and a great deal less self, and less of human opinions. If we err, let it be on the side of mercy rather than on the side of condemnation and harsh dealing.” [Letter 16, 1887]

It is also not surprising at all that some have brought up the issue of Ratsara and Pipim and women’s ordination, as if it is only complementarians who fall into sin. For those who are calling for blood, would you have done it with the same vehemence if it had been a leader/s who supported women’s ordination?

Finally, since we are not privy to Elder Wilson’s or the committee’s thinking and reasons why certain actions have been taken, or not taken, wouldnt it be better to withhold judgment and dont cast any stones yet (if we feel called to do so) until we do know?

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What is most breathtaking is that the leader of the world church doesn’t even seem to understand the improper use of his authority, nor the idea of appropriate consequences. He is trying to use his position and power to circumvent the natural outgrowth of consistently fraudulent behavior. He is thus acting as an enabler. His judgement seems impaired, at best. Unless he does a complete 180 here, how there could not be a vote of no confidence to remove him from office would be mystifying.