Disclaimer: The following article is not to point fingers at certain individuals but to show my concern for a ministry within the Seventh-day Adventist church. I talked to the speakers one on one and I believe that they sincerely love Christ but have not come to the conclusion or the awareness of the dangerous doctrines they have allowed to creep into their teaching. This is my personal testimony of what I witnessed when I went to the One Project meeting in Boulder on August 14, 2016.
I have seen all of the Omega Emerging videos at least three times, I’ve heard about the One Project speakers and the possible false doctrines that they were teaching. But I wanted to see it for myself--to know if the One Project was actually as bad as what I’ve heard and read about. I thought people might have been misquoted, or things might have been blown out of proportion. So I went to Boulder Colorado for this one-day event that was to focus on Jesus of Nazareth.
I drove two hours from Laramie Wyoming to beautiful Boulder Colorado for this One Project event. It was a beautiful Sunday, and I was excited to finally learn the truth for myself, and to settle any conspiracy theories of what the One Project was all about. Their motto is “Jesus All”, so it sounds safe.
Walking into the Boulder Seventh-day Adventist church, I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as I walked through the doors I was greeted. I picked up my name tag through registration and then was invited to have some drinks and appetizers that consisted of muffins, fruit and coffee. I already eaten and was well-hydrated, so I made my way to the sanctuary. It wasn’t hard to find, I just followed the sounds of rock music. I opened the doors of the sanctuary and made my way to the back of the pews and sat down. I was still trying to keep an open mind about my One Project experience— and where Christ was leading me at that moment — but as the day went on my experience grew darker.
Since I am quoting some of the speakers, I will provide a link at the bottom of this article that corresponds with specific times in the video so that you may hear exactly what was said in the context that they said it.
This meeting was an all-day event consisting of eight speakers — five of whom were female. One of the speakers made a joke saying that many people in the church that would hate to see this event because there were so many female speakers. This kind of cynicism will be seen throughout the majority of the speakers as they spoke about Jesus of Nazareth. A majority of the women that did speak could be seen wearing six-inch high heels, an arrangement of jewelry also consisting of earrings followed by sexy, tight and revealing clothes. As a married man of 12 years with three kids, I spent most of the sessions looking down at my Bible while I listened.
Many of the speakers were from Colorado; some were local lay members and some were pastors from various states. I was excited at first, but not after I listened to the messages.
The first speaker was Alex Bryan from Walla Walla University and before long this “revival event” swung straight into church politics. At 16:41 of his talk he brought up women’s ordination--right out of the blue--so that his own agenda might be heard. He spent the whole time taking little stabs at historical and conservative Seventh-day Adventists, calling them legalists.
The next speaker was Dena King whose message was titled “What Jesus taught about the trinity.” She began by saying that the Seal of God is no longer the Sabbath but is now the Holy spirit filling us (22:03). She also talked about the family of God and how they should be understood. There was God the Father, Christ our brother or sister and the Holy Spirit--our heavenly mother (5:38).
The third speaker was Diane Johnson and in one of her stories she talked about being at Starbucks and sipping on her coffee as if that was an everyday thing and therefore an acceptable lifestyle practice.
After a couple of speakers, we were directed to break into groups and talk about what we just learned from the speakers. They call this “recalibration.“ The questions were usually designed in a manner to talk about how a conservative or historical Adventist is a legalist and what that looks like. The discussion was not for a better understanding of the gospel of Christ, or to better oneself as a follower of Christ. One of the first questions was pointing at Donald Trump and how he appears to mirror those legalists. I went to at least four different groups and each one of the conversations were all geared to talk about why conservative Seventh-day Adventists were legalists. I was not feeling very revived. Then it was back to the presentations.
A Pastor of 'discipleship' named Jessyka Albert gave a talk on the Great Commission and what that looks like. As a recent graduate of Union College who appeared to be on fire for Jesus, she gave a talk that made me—as a Bible worker—very uncomfortable. She quoted Matthew 28: 16-20 and said that we were doing discipling wrong. She said that we need to go out and baptize people first and teach them later She was saying that we need to do it in order as it is written in the Scripture (9:41). I followed up with pastor Jessyka later, to express my concern and to make sure that I understood what she was trying to say. I asked her “Are you saying that we need to baptize first and then teach the 28 fundamental beliefs later?” She said “Yes!”
A sister by the name of Stacy Soapmann spoke from the the Clear Word Bible, while constantly criticizing conservative Adventist beliefs saying that the studies on long-living vegetarian Adventists were not because of our diet and guidance of the Spirit of Prophecy. She said the longevity of Adventist life is because of their faith in Jesus. She also compared that study with a study done on meat-eating, alcohol drinking nuns, concluding that long life is primarily because of one’s faith. She ended by saying that she would “rather err on the side of love than on the side of law”.
Sam Leonor had an interesting talk on divorce & remarriage and the teachings of John the Baptist. He used the story of when the Pharisees questioned Jesus about divorce (Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12). In brother Leonor’s talk—through his dramatic stories and hair flipping—he dances around the question of marriage and remarriage and what that looks like and concludes that John and Jesus were talking specifically about Herod in that circumstance. Thus Jesus' statement on divorce (Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12) was confined to a local cultural situation, rather than a universal expression of truth for all times and all people.
The last speaker was Terry Swenson for the grand finale! This talk was on Jesus and the end times. Throughout his talk, he repeatedly noted that we don’t need to be focusing on the signs and the events of Jesus’ soon coming but to just focus on Jesus. Jokingly, he said that Jesus is always with us and he won’t leave us if we even walk into a movie theater. He made fun of Revelation Seminar efforts to win souls and helping people to get ready to meet Jesus soon. He repeatedly said that we need to focus on the now, and not the end.
The One Project ended with an anointing ceremony. We’re not just pastors, not just elders, but everyone in the audience was instructed to anoint each other with oil and to pray over each other. Coming from the biblical view that only an ordained male can anoint another individual it was very discomforting as I was being anointed by a sister in Christ.
As I said in the disclaimer, all the individuals that I’ve talked about here appeared to be sincere individuals. I would even team up with them for the winning of souls, as the wheat must grow with the tares. However, I had to share my concerns for the edification, reformation and growth of our church body. Another thing I observed was a skillful technique of saying things without saying them. This is accomplished through a blend of innuendo, omission, and shadow scorn for anything conservative (or anything not progressive).
In this article, I wanted to add a lot of my own thoughts & opinions on what was being said and how they were being said. I wanted to predict what the end result of this ministry might look like and how it will affect our church negatively, but I decided to hold that back. I wanted to even talk about how the music played there is scientifically getting the lay members’ brain to hear and accept everything that was about to be spoken to them, but I’m going to hold that in reserve. I went to the One Project to see if it was actually what it was being portrayed as by many ministries. Now I know. I will allow you, the reader to do your own diligent research and form your own conclusions, as our church nears the soon Coming of Christ.
Jerrod Boling is an Iraq War Veteran, has been married for 12 years, he has three kids, a Bachelor's in Human Services, a graduate of Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism and has been a Bible worker for almost 2 years. In 2017 he will be a full-time Revelation evangelist. Feel free to contact him for future series and talks. firstname.lastname@example.org