Why Do General Conference and World Church Leaders Support Hierarchy?


10/23/18 - #3

That is my exactly my point, David.

This is a multi-billion dollar 501c3 trademarked multi-national corporation that regularly uses the power of the State against individuals.

If anyone thinks the power flows upward, think again.


10/23/18 - #7

Glad to meet you! :slight_smile:

Thank you for that.

I’d prefer not to talk about this now, but I also helplessly watched my friend, David Koresh, and dozens of others burn up at Waco, and my son commit suicide. (Note said, “My religion made me crazy.”)

Many times I’ve said that Waco was a shot across the Adventist bow. Never more true than now, I believe.

Later, I want to discuss the Adventist Great Bereavement in the 1980s, as discussed by the late Adventist historian, Arthur Patrick, and its parallels to today.



Thank you for sharing. Your story is beginning to sound like one of the great characters of the Bible, with God leading in-spite of circumstances and tears of disappointment. I admire your courage and faith.

The link you sent is another gem and very very insightful. The feedback here in Spectrum and the reactions of various commentators are easily linked to the profiles mentioned in the article. We see Fundamentalists, Revisionists and Rejectionist stances.

Certainly on of the most outspoken of these stances is that of the Fundamentalists. With the results of Ellen White studies from the 1970’s it became obvious that their were unrealistic concepts of inspiration which caused many Adventists to adopt extreme positions (http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/rolewhite/egwintro.html#f6) with reference to Ellen White’s ministry, including reversionist attitudes. The Adventist of Fundamentalist inclination, confronted with a massive amount of new information, tends to elevate an idealized past as normative for the present, requiring a strong continuity (even identity) with that past. Therefore, historical data may be seen as the cause of unnecessary problems; primary sources may appear to initiate doubt about the leading of God; probing questions may seem threatening, with even their asking categorized as evidence of lack of faith. Thus judgmental groups tend to form on the edges of the church and mount a guerrilla war, firing salvos at people and institutions. This fundamentalist ideology seems to now hold sway on the leadership today.

The GC meetings this month have really brought out extreme views from the leadership and others who so desire the idealized past that they grew beards and wore costumes from the period they longed to identify with. Playing on the emotional and social cohesion drivers they thrusted their spear of extremism into the heart of the forces of Present Truth that have aggravated them since the 1970’s when the traditional view/use of EGW began to unravel as a result of objective research regarding her writings use and application. That said I think that consensus on the role of Ellen White would go a long way toward resolving many such tensions within Seventh-day Adventism. All the evidence needed to facilitate this objective is on the church’s corporate desk; in fact, it has been there for 48 years. A need remains in the church for a more faithful, informed, and unifying application of the writings of Ellen White. To that end the church needs to understand the reversionist and rejectionist options, and consciously adopt and promote a transformationist stance.



Thanks for the references and links. This is very, very interesting. Someone said something about power and how it ends up corrupting people… This is why we have to stay vigilant.

One note however: a lot of the quotations were about the General Conference. But I have personally seen the same behaviors and thinking at conference level and local church level. This shows that this not a GC specific problem but an issue that appears whenever people are in power.

Hence the necessity of the church members to be involved in the church business at every level.

Exactly! We don’t want to forget that it is a spiritual warfare.

The enemy is at work at every level of the church (even the personal one). Do we want to trust God or human wisdom?


10/23/18 - #10/10

My story is unending brokenness.

Since I wrote that last post above, I’ve been listening to this corny old time Gospel song on a loop, dozens of times.

Sometimes old, old Gospel songs are the only thing that helps.

I’ve listened to this song thousands of times in the last 15 years, I’m sure:

@Nymous Thanks—talk more tomorrow…


10/24/18 - #5

It is impossible to “stay vigilant” when there is no accountability, and no transparency—or even garden-variety honesty.

But the issue is systemic at a fundamental level.

As long as a hierarchical, secretive, top-heavy, bloated bureaucracy is the norm, no amount of vigilance will suffice.

This can’t be cleaned up any more than the RCC can be cleaned up. The inertia is simply too great, and the structure militates against it.

It is an antisocial system, by nature, and will always revert to type, of necessity. As Dr. Philip Zimbardo says,

Bad barrels make bad apples.

Adding Headship Ideology to this already overburdened, anachronistic system is overkill, and will break Adventism from within, even if it splits to “purify” itself of dissent.

Nothing can save it. Micromanagement-by-policy is Adventism’s death knell.

I’ve posted on this topic many times, but I think it bears repeating now:

M.I.T. Lecture: Dr. Philip Zimbardo on The Lucifer Effect


Walter Rea demonstrated that in his book, Pirates of Privilege (which the GC prevented from being published in exchange for Rea’s retirement sustentation to be restored):


However, the fish rots from the head down, as they say. (See above.)

Above a certain level, it appears about as useful as pouring sand down a rathole, in my experience. But I would never say don’t try.

This is make-or-break time. The system is very brittle from decades of buried, unresolved issues and brutal, dishonest policies.

It looks like “break.”

Just my thoughts…

That is the question of the hour, Nymous.

“A Declaration of War” — Pastor Geoff Patterson Examines the Unity Document

10/24/18 - #6

I appreciated your post, David. I’ve written a lot about how those “unrealistic expectations” came directly from “the pen of inspiration,” hence their tenacity, and seeming impossibility of resolution.

Ellen White’s Claims

We must follow the directions given through the Spirit of Prophecy. … God has spoken to us through His Word. He has spoken to us through the Testimonies to the church and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy."
—(Testimonies , Vol. 8, p. 298)

“The Holy Ghost is the Author of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of Prophecy.”
—(Selected Messages , Vol. 3, p. 30)

“God has outlined His plan in His Word, and in the Testimonies He has sent to His people.”
—(Battle Creek Letters , p. 74)

"The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. (
—(Testimonies , Vol. 5, p. 217)

“If you lessen the confidence of God’s people in the testimonies he has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan and Abirum”
— (Testimonies , Vol. 5, p. 66).

“If you lose confidence in the testimonies you will drift away from Bible truth.”
—( Testimonies , Vol. 5, p. 98)

“These books contain clear, straight, unalterable truth and they should certainly be appreciated. The instruction they contain is not of human production.”
—(Letter H-339, Dec. 26, 1904)



It’s hard to argue with “straight, unalterable truth” that is “not of human production.”

As a former very conservative Adventist, I can testify to that.

Of course it would, but that is precisely what can never happen, for a mishmash of reasons—including developmental, social and historical reasons.

Maybe we can talk about that on Barry Casey’s latest article thread, later…

Meanwhile, my washer just went berserko—ahoy there mateys! :sailboat:




I don’t automatically see anything wrong in these statements (of course, they have to be read with their context)… if God has really given the Spirit of Prophecy and the Testimonies to the believers.

I think that, oftentimes, this is the crux of the problem: does God still speak to us through prophets?

Many denominations don’t believe He does and they are very suspicious (and they are not wrong in this) of anybody who claims to have a vision or a message from the Lord. It is true that there have been many false prophets in history but some would say that it is precisely the proof that true prophets exist because whenever there is a counterfeit there is also the genuine article.

Another thing to ponder is that most of the prophets in the Bible have been criticized by the people of their time. Remember that, in the Old Testament, Israel even went as far as saying that the way of the Lord was not right.

So criticizing EGW is nothing new.

The question is to know whether this time spiritual Israel is in the right or whether we are just repeating the mistakes of Israel of Old.


10/25/18 - #9

Assuming “spiritual Israel” to be the Seventh-day Adventist church from your point of view (?), and that all the other material I shared above doesn’t disqualify it, does Revelation 14:12 disqualify it, out of the gate?



10/25/18 - #19

Corny old Gospel song on a loop today:

Tense. Time for a vacay…



No, I was not assuming anything here as I was speaking about the Christian church in general (spiritual Israel).

Also, I don’t think that Revelation 14:12 automatically disqualifies the SDA church.

After all, what is or who represents the SDA church? The GC, the people at large, the doctrines?

Even after the Israel misbehaved, Jesus said that salvation came from the Jews. Why? Because even if many people were in the wrong, the message and the doctrines given to the Jews were not wrong.

The SDA church, from the GC to the local churches, is made up of imperfect people, sinners, like Israel of old, like all the denominations that came before us. And knowing that we are fighting a spiritual battle, we can expect that the enemy will try to do his best to destabilize the believers one way or another like he has been doing since the beginning. And one of his best strategies is to attack the leaders. This is why we are supposed to pray for them (and also let them know that we are vigilant, to keep them honest :slight_smile:).

The question you asked is a pertinent one. Let’s all pray that we will always be part of the saints.


10/25/18 - #20

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Revelation 14:12

Adventist historian, George Knight, feels that Adventist eschatology has been “neutered,” and I passionately agree.


The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent.

This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth.

Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness.


The Great Advent Movement is not “represented” by anything. It is a groundswell of the Spirit, I believe.

As the NAD Adventist article said,

Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness.

Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Nymous.


10/26/18 - #5

Together we are going somewhere…there is no limit to the usefulness…

—James Redfield, The Tenth Insight

The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago--a revelation of Christ.

A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished.

Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow me.”

There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. . . . We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice.

Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.

Heavenly intelligences are waiting to cooperate with human instrumentalities, that they may reveal to the world what human beings may become, and what, through union with the Divine, may be accomplished for the saving of souls that are ready to perish.

There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.
—Ellen White, Maranatha

(Frankmer7) #106

The evidence in some form has actually been on the church’s corporate desk for 99 years…since 1919. But, it quickly was swept off the desk and hidden under lock and key until 1974. The explosion was inevitable, but has still never been dealt with openly enough.




Interesting… James Redfield and Ellen White… quoted together… :slight_smile:


10/26/18 - #10

I know…weird the way my mind works… :rofl:

You’re not the first to observe that, not surprisingly. My categories are, shall we say…porous? :slight_smile:

Hasn’t gone over well with the Adventists—exorcised me for 16 hours, banned me at Spectrum for 6 of the 12 months of 2017, etc., etc.



The church has always been vacillating between being recognized by the world and staying faithful to its mission. It reminds me of the condition of God’s people during Elijah’s days

But will come a time when the people of the church will have to choose.

Let’s not despair because there are people who have not bowed down before Baal.

(reliquum) #110

But, it is such a comfortable delusion.
That we mere nothings can believe even we insignificants can have even some little mite of power is too unsurprisingly seductive. Just keep sending your tribute to us, and we will continue to support the charade that “you too have power”


10/27/18 - #9

Perhaps the Power Paradigm is altogether wrongheaded?

Struggling for power signals that we feel we must get our energy from one another, rather from God.

This is a scarcity mentality.

This is not how the Body of Christ, or our human bodies which model it, are intended to function.

The human body utilizes innumerable feedback loops, positive and negative, to maintain homeostasis and function.

The brain is in no sense a dictator, meting out “grave consequences.”

As long as we are operating from a scarcity mentality, we will, in our insatiable neediness, continue to do what we are manifestly doing right now.

The Kingdom of Heaven is of another order.

(reliquum) #112

It’s that age old question-are you an orphan, fearing paucity?
Or are you an heir, promised plenitude?

Did God provide provision, or hollow promise?
View of ones identity dictates whether my belief says divinity created sufficient for all, in which case I can live with generosity, or if i must clutch, steal, pilfer, coerce to provide for myself.

My powerlessness opens me to the power of divinity.
My usurped power closes the portal.