With Apologies to Gary Kent, IIW Oceania Moves On

Donors to It Is Written Oceania gathered last weekend to meet with church officials in the aftermath of the program’s recent leadership change. Speaker/Director Gary Kent was removed from his position in May by the Adventist Media Center Board, according to a story in the South Pacific Division’s Adventist Record, regarding “conduct inconsistent with the responsibilities of the speaker/director.”

Members of the Adventist Media Board, including its chair, attended the Donors Meeting to listen to donors, address concerns, and explore ways in which ”IIWO can continue its significant role in reaching people for Jesus.”

According to a news release from the South Pacific Division, “In this forum, the President of the South Pacific Division and Chair of the Adventist Media Committee confirmed that the reasons for dismissal of the Speaker/Director was not the result of adultery or doctrinal differences. The SPD is trying to balance the transparency required by all church members, including the IIWO partners, and the dignity for the person concerned. Currently, the Church is restrained by what it can say while legal processes are in place. However, any perceived public humiliation of Gary or his family is deeply regretted.”

In previous releases about the leadership change the church acknowledged, “the contribution that Kent has made to the Adventist Church over many years as a public evangelist, local church pastor and IIWO speaker/presenter.”

The meeting with donors and news releases are in part a response to the social media storm that erupted when the leadership change was initially announced, including, most recently, a Facebook group supporting Kent who seems to be caught in the middle of larger disagreements. The Division’s news release acknowledges that church leaders said, “more discussion could have occurred between the Church and the IIWO partners on points of difference in the last two years. It is noted that both parties could have initiated such discussions during this time and it is pleasing to note that discussions are underway with representatives of both groups.”

Ten years ago the Greater Sydney Conference initiated the IIWO program as a way to reach people in the cities. Kent, who was then pastoring at Fountain in the City Church, was the first speaker. According to the Record article, IIWO operations were transferred in 2008 to Adventist Media, and in 2009 the program began filming local programming.

Apparently, there are differences over the licensing and registering of the program name, and use of donated funds. The Australasian Division (now South Pacific Division) maintains that, “consistent with responsible corporate practice across all business names used by the church, has registered the IIW Business Name as early as 1964. Since then the Church has continued to hold this name. More recently and along with other church brands the Church has upgraded its protection and registered such names as trademarks. Amicable discussions are continuing with IIW International and the SPD/AMN regarding the ongoing protection of the name.” It also declared that all donor funds have been used exclusively for the intention they have been given. Discussions continue between the Division and the program donors.

Bonnie Dwyer is Editor of Spectrum.

Image Credit: Video still from YouTube video.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8042

Brethren , Work it out . Apologize for hurt feelings and move on .

Noting the coverage Spectrum gives other issues, I’m surprised this is all that Spectrum has said on this topic. There’s a lot more that can be said. C’mon Spectrum journalists. Do your job and dig up more info and then publish. This almost sounds like an SPD media release.

In a developed country like Australia you don’t make insinuations about or tarnish the reputation of someone without consequence. Considering SPD/AMN refuse to say exactly what Gary Kent did wrong, and considering the reaction they got at the donors/partners weekend, they must be in a real pickle. Previously it was always ultra conservatives/independents against the leaders. Now, everybody is upset. I fear a large dip in tithes and loss of donations to Adventist Media is coming.


It appears that things are moving on apace in this sad story!

I live about 5 miles from where the It is Written Oceania Donor/Partnership Weekend was held last weekend. I did not attend. I have not been a donor. My monies are used in other equally worthy causes!

The following details are from the statement issued on behalf of the newly elected Partner Representatives of the IIWO Management Committee.

Further, it seems that the unanimous vote by 300 donor/partners of IIWO expressing no-confidence in the IIWO Management Committee and the Adventist Media Network Board had on Saturday 27 May, 2017 and the subsequent motions have focused minds and that things are moving to restore some justice and healing in the situation. I welcome these moves and am tremendously excited by them and what it can mean for the many others dismissed from ministry in the SPD without due process.

4 follow-up motions passed
a) To spill the existing IIWO Management Committee and reform it to comprise not only of Conference Administrators (as previously) but also of church and donor based members.
b) To uphold the 2009 MOU with It Is Written International.
c) To reinstate Pr Gary Kent as speaker/director. (This was unanimously adopted).
d) That Pr Gary Kent’s ordination cannot be part of negotiations over his dismissal.

It appears to me that this whole saga may be summarized as a clash of strategic direction on the part of both the SPD Adventist Media Network and the It is Written Oceania ministry.

It is indeed rare that an Adventist preacher receives such unanimous and whole-hearted support. This is a tribute to the uprightness of character and humility that Pr Gary Kent exhibits.

One slight correction to the original story above. The IIWO Donor/ Partnership Weekend is an Annual Pilgrimage of Donor/ Partners of IIW Oceania that takes place each May. The agenda for this weekend was somewhat modified to deal with the pressing business that transpired. The vote of no confidence in the actions of the SPD Adventist Media Network Board, chaired by the SPD President and the IIW Oceania Management Committee, chaired by the SPD Executive Secretary with regard to Pr Gary Kent and the strategic direction of IIW Oceania, and the subsequent motions were not the only outcomes of the weekend. I understand that no donations were received or pledges made. All of these things taken together must have been instructive for the Adventist administrators. Plus the fact that the reconstituted IIW Oceania Management Committee are well equipped to insist that justice not only be done, but that it be seen to be done and efforts extended for healing. Much more will happen with IIW Oceania after this much needed course correction.


Are you not aware that, in Australia as in the U.S., their are legal rights to privacy? It is the better part of wisdom for further details to not be divulged. There seems to have been acknowledgement on the part of the church that they should have handled this differently. They communicated with those concerned. Now we should respect privacy for Gary, pray for he and his family, and leave it that at.

Let’s be sure prying ears don’t itch to hear more than they should or need to!

Sadly, as I read the beginning of your statement, Pago, it seemed that you see your place as letting Spectrum know it can do no right.

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The only ‘unscary’ response to such news about the ‘corporate’ goings-on of a supposed ‘religion’,
is a visceral, gagging reaction.

There are no more successful ‘mom-and-pop’ family businesses, but only ‘corporate’ ‘big box stores’ . . .
no more ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’ in ‘civilized’ modern societies,
but wealthy corporations are now fast becoming the only ‘persons’ that legally ‘matter’ . . .
and to think that the SDA church of Jesus Christ is no longer concerned with the ‘cozy’, ‘comforting’ language of Isaiah 40, but with the ‘corporate-speak’ most used in ‘scary’, detached, modern ‘legal’ settings – ‘licensing and registering of the program name’, ‘consistent with responsible corporate practice across all business names used by the church’, ‘along with other church brands the Church has upgraded its protection and registered such names as trademarks’ . . . .

Well, no wonder Jesus gags, too, when thinking of ‘His’ church these days.
Any other response by Him would be truly as ‘scary’ as the SDA church ‘corporation’ has become:

“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— . . . .” Revelation 3:16,17 NKJV

Perhaps it would be a good thing on Sabbaths (like today) for the poor, weary ‘sheep’ of the SDA church of Jesus Christ to boycott the SDA pews on Sabbaths, and join Jesus in the bathroom . . .
until the SDA church makes the decision whether to act like a wealthy ‘corporation’,
or like the comforting ‘Good Shepherd’ Who is even their ‘Head’, their ‘CEO’ . . . !

Have you hugged your Earthly ‘lawyer’, today ? . . . or, your Heavenly Advocate ?

What an unnerving form of hollow ‘legalism’ this is that has infected the SDA religion !


And as an aside, Peter, thanks for using the term “to spill” in your post. It was interesting to research its meaning and its history in Australian politics.

Isn’t it just like the church to treat someone horribly, and then act like there is some spiritual cover for that behavior and simply “move on”? That’s why people are “moving on” from any respect for denominational leadership and from participation and support.

This church needs to get its act together.


Perhaps it is time to reconsider the dependency of every mass media ‘evangelistic’ enterprise on the personality of the founder. It was always George Vandeman and It is Written. Or William Fagal and Faith for Today. Or H.M.S. Richards and the Voice of Prophesy. Or J. L. Tucker and The Quiet Hour. Or C. D. Brooks and Breath of Life. And so on.

Do we tell ourselves a lie to believe that the programs can truly prosper once the founder has left?

Indeed I question whether the programs truly ever prospered the church even with the founders at their best. Oh, the programs were financially solid, but by basically out classing local evangelists, local ministers, and in turn lay people en mass, I suspect that a very good case could be made for mass media evangelism actually halting church growth in the U.S. The church doubled its membership over two thirds of a century following the hay day of broadcast ministry in the 1950s. But in the previous third of a century the U.S. church had grown by a factor of 10 at least.

What if the church were to simply end the IIWO? The donor base would still have all of its funding sloshing about in their personal accounts, looking for a new cause to support. Let’s make the new cause and let’s make it congregation by congregation. And let’s look beyond public lecture evangelism for far more effective personal interaction with the society around us.

My thoughts are offered out of the context of personally having an earned Ph.D. in mass communication and an M.A. is journalism, both from widely respected public universities. And my experience includes a friend with comparable degrees from comparable universities who is in congregational Seventh-day Adventist ministry. While I do not speak for my friend, we both were conscripted to teach Interpersonal Communication while teaching at Andrews University in the 1970’s.

Elder Ted Wilson, General Conference president, is right to value Total Member Involvement. And getting beyond public lecture evangelism just may be how the church will reclaim its once legendary growth rate in the West.


Seems to me that before we can ask persons to join the Adventist congregation before they do a Baptist, Pentecostal, Non-Denominational, Methodist, Presby, Episcopalian congregation, that they HAVE to be introduced to God their Father, and Jesus Christ FIRST.
I don’t believe we Seventh day Adventists are very effective in preaching Jesus Christ and introducing our Communities to Christ.
Keeping some of our SDA tenants is a result of our love for our Creator.
Doing so has NOTHING to do with our being saved or forcing God to love US, or accepting us into “Heaven”.
I think that there is a “works” reputation that we SDAs are seen by other people, and have never over come that perception by them.
I will have to say this. That I have been to quite a few Sunday churches that have a more vibrant worship service than a lot of SDA order of worships. And I came away feeling BLESSED. I also enjoy the total congregation participation style of worship that the Episcopalians have. It makes one come away feeling that they have fully “worshiped” God. And done so in Community.

This week-end is the Festival of the Giving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai for our Jewish Friends.
Today most of the Christian World celebrates the Birthday of the Church, Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit.
Happy Birthday!
PS-- I was at church on Sabbath and neither one was mentioned.


IWith apologies we just move on… ?

Here in London we are debating how we move on after several fundamentalist inspired atrocities … following in the WW11 motif … ‘keep calm and carry on’ … ‘we shall not, we shall not be moved’ etc.

Really? Are we really unchanged?

We have by all accounts a successful public evangelist humiliated by a graceless press release to donors.

The question should rather be: what shall we learn?

Since all of the usual implied innuendo has been discounted, we are left with the more likely cause being a passionate preacher with personality persueing a penny poor pastorate.

There is no suggestion that the preacher was too left or too right, there is an inference that SPD wants to coordinate / control quasi independent ministries, but that need not be the cause of a who-haa.

That there was a spat over the appointment of an operating officer, with some bumf about a visa, which is symptomatic rather than causal.

Media ministries to be done well cost bucks - lots of them, they require creativity, they require charisma, they require research, and they require a following - control of each represents some form of power.

The more likely source of learning is to determine how we harness the trust of purposeful but self-elected voluntary donors in directing a program where the default costs reside with an elected umbrella enterprise that is itself subject to voluntary but generalist donors. The more so when both groups make more and more demands of the poor fellow in the middle.

With apologies - it is written - ‘no man can serve two masters’.

They might not live by bread alone, but they do need bread.

We have to stop trying to pretend that pot-luck is a good way to prepare a meal.


For any entity or individual in the Adventist church I offer five simple rules for staying out of scandals:

  1. If you think you see any savior other than Jesus, figure out what it is really. Then run.
  2. Keep asking questions, keep researching, keep digging and don’t stop until you can explain what you own through your investment in 25 words or less.
  3. Know who’s minding the store. Who is accountable and how do they present themselves?
  4. Trust in God , for everyone and everything else, verify. A reasonable effort at verifying the facts could help reveal the truth.
  5. Whether you think leadership is sincere or not, speak up. Ask the questions, even if you think you might appear dumb.
    Here are the facts: Our integrity is put to the test every day, in virtually every situation. We are being watched closely to see how we will respond. The choice of our walk and our witness to the world matching our talk, our behavior matching our beliefs, our character matching our confession is left to us. What will we do?

I have lived within walking distance of the Adventist Media Center for the past 35 years. During the past decade or more the rapid frequency of changes in senior management at the Media Center would be similar to the tenuous terms of Italian Prime Ministers. No business model can function successfully when the management is changed every time the wind changes direction. There is something shambolic about the management during the past decade. No report of the Kent dismissal has surveyed the recent history of the Media Center. No report has placed it in that proper context. Someone later will write a credible history of what appears to be an ongoing fiasco. In the meantime we are getting a soup of innuendo and public relations gloss.


Five hundred years ago, this year, a very devout Roman Catholic priest called Martin Luther made the decision to serve God instead of a Religious Organisation. It seems to me that Gary now has the same opportunity.
Looking at World and Church events, I believe we are in the time spoken of on page 606 of the book 'The Great Controversy between Christ and His Angels and Satan and his angels. By EGW. (I believe this to be the best book outside the Bible for these times.)
Quote.- 'In every generation God has sent His servants to rebuke sin, both in the world and in the church…
'But the Spirit of God came upon them as it came upon Elijah, and they could not refrain from preaching the plain utterances of the Bible, - doctrines which they had been reluctant to present…
'Thus will the message of the third angel be proclaimed…
‘Thousands upon thousands have never listened to words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of truth sent to her from Heaven.’ Uncledon

Our local school or who ever is in local power or church choose to support other denominations independent ministries.
Is confusing to me


Go figue
To many inconsistencies its becoming toxic and supporting toxic politics
Pastors and leaders and shepherds

The scandal is the refusal of leaders to bectrsnsparent. Secrecy and obfuscation and any other unethical tactic to save jobs and the brand.

My husband and I are horrified about what has happened to Pastor Gary Kent and his family after all his devoted years in the Church with promoting evangelism in the whole World. We have known the Kent family for many years and they have baptized and brought thousands of people in the World :earth_americas: to hear the Gospel of Truth… shame on the persons who have done this to Gods man and Gods work! We will only continue our public and financial support to Pastor Gary Kent including the inheritance of our assets that would have been donated to the Media Centre before will now go to Pastor Gary Kents work…

… all these events were so unnecessary … shame on the Accusers. It reminds me what was done to Jesus by certain members of his beloved people! We don’t understand…Dennis and Maryna Kimble South Africa :south_africa:

Shameful shenanigans perpetrated by church leaders.