From my simple perspective:
On December 2, 2017, Oakwood University hosted an NAD Q&A Forum with Dan Jackson and Alex Bryant.
The NAD session began with a jazz-style band, which almost convinced me that I was watching the tonight show with Jay Leno. I guess no one in the NAD office has read what EGW says about that style of music? But hey, we’re talking about the NAD.
The first question which came out was a big one — what does the Church say about jewelry? The question was shifted to Dan Jackson, President of the North American Division of SDA. His response was this (from my memory) “I don’t believe we have a standard in the church about wearing jewelry.” I guess he’s never read fundamental belief 22 Christian behavior, but hey, it’s Dan Jackson.
His next response was that this topic needs to be handled at the local level and not at his level. I guess he doesn’t want to fulfill the responsibility of telling those beneath him to follow our beliefs. He went on to say that those who question others about their jewelry are judgmental people and are unloving. “People need to learn about love” he said. I guess communicating to others what the Bible says is very unloving and judgmental.
The next several questions were about race, equality, social justice and how we respond to things happening in the world. Let’s get to the main issue here which most want to talk about.
The question of women’s ordination came up again. Without any hesitation, Dan Jackson and Alex Bryant publicly stated for the record it is their opinion that women’s ordination is truth and will get passed soon. So, what is being said here by Dan Jackson is that his opinion is that women should be ordained ministers. By any objective analysis, this is a statement that he disagrees with the world church; he and those under him are following through with ordination which demonstrates that he does not care to follow or teach what Seventh day Adventist believe. If this is so, then does this not legally disqualify him and others from their position?
Then there is the overriding ethical question, how can they consciously lead in the SDA Church while directly opposing what the church believes? It boggles my mind how these men are still in office.
Dan Jackson later stated the NAD has a book they want to release on the role of women in the church but they will have problems releasing it. He could be referring to the problem of using tithe money--that is suppose to go to gospel ministry and sharing of truth--to share their propaganda (which they and others have done already). And when they do this they are using God’s money to fight against God’s world church. What great leaders we have in the NAD wouldn’t you say? Or he could be referring to the possibility that he gets taken to task by NAD members for misusing Scripture to push an NAD agenda on members of the World SDA Church. I hope that is the case!
At another point, women’s ordination came up again and Dan Jackson contradicted himself in just a few sentences. He stated that 92% of pastors in NAD are pro-ordination (so 92% are against the SDA Church position), and that the reason it has not passed is that the members in the NAD are against it. But then he stated when talking about having a gallop poll done on this issue amongst members, he stated that he believed that 60-65% of NAD members are for female ordination. So if that’s the case then why did he first say they weren’t? Also if he believes that 65% are for it then why waste money on a gallop poll?
They had a couple breaks with the jazz band playing as they came back, and many more questions were asked in regards to LGBT. I agreed with Alex Bryant's statement that we are to show these individuals the love of Christ even while not accepting their lifestyle. But my question is "Why at some youth events does the NAD encourage the acceptance of that lifestyle and why has the NAD allowed homosexual elders and leaders to be in office? These are serious questions that I wonder about.
It was interesting to note a question about mingling with other denominations and our role in this. I found it very telling that Dan Jackson was all for this, and that he admitted to working with the Lutheran church. Need I remind you what organization the Lutherans just submitted to?
I’m all for reaching others, especially those in other faiths, but what I have seen is when SDA's co-mingle with other denominations, it is the SDA Church that starts to change and be like the Sunday keepers. This response reminded me when I had discussion with people who wanted to use Rick Warren's books as a way to grow the Church because--as they said--he had present truth and "we need it." I discovered that they were getting this crazy notion from my local conference who was reading his [Warren's] books as a devotional to begin their day at the conference office.
Many on the chat room debated the issues and asked questions. But, from what I saw, it was a bunch of people who weren’t educated on any of the issues, arguing without biblical or Spirit of Prophecy to guide them. What I found — which wasn’t surprising — is that those who agreed with the NAD had all the same comebacks as those who fight against the SDA message and EGW as prophet. What were their arguments? They were uneducated responses and the typical responses without any proof that we hear from enemies of the Church. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us. What’s the old saying “If you tell a lie long enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”
Dan Jackson also answered a question about fake news. I end with this thought. You cannot tell others that those who tell the truth are fake news, but that you are real news when you lie to them.
Ray Chavez is an AFCOE graduate and elder of his church in Albuquerque, NM. He is happily married to Jessica and they currently have one awesome daughter.