An appeal to the laity in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists to engage, act, and take decisive action.
Introduction & Overview
The mission and message God has entrusted to us (Seventh-day Adventists)—to take the Three Angel’s Messages to the world—and the global church organization that came about to serve this mission—are both at risk, and it is time for the laity of the Church to stand up and be counted. This document is not written to tear down or to point the proverbial finger, but to expose the very real problems we are facing so that a positive solution might be sought and found.
Concerned faithful laity first need to understand the problem, to study, pray, and participate in decision making at the local level and beyond. We need to collaborate and take action using biblical principles with a Christ-like spirit. In the Netherlands, lay people filled with the Spirit used their organizational gifts to make a huge difference. Hopefully this document will inspire each of us to arise and shine in every field where we are needed.
What The Three Angel’s Messages Say
The Three Angel’s Messages start with the everlasting gospel, announce that the hour of God’s judgment is come, and call us to worship God as Creator. When received, the Three Angel’s Messages result in a people who actually keep the commandments of God and who are identified as the Remnant in Revelation 12:17. These truths are also embodied in our fundamental beliefs.
How The Three Angel’s Messages Are At Risk
Some within our Church believe and teach a more generic gospel. The Law of God, the investigative judgment, the spirit of prophecy, and church discipline have fallen into widespread neglect. Biblical creation, role distinctions in the church, the LGBT agenda, Biblical unity, the meaning of baptism, and the doctrine of the Church, are at stake. The issue before the Church in the present crisis is about the supremacy of Biblical authority over popular culture, scholarly speculation, and the vagaries of personal experience.
How Our Global Church Structure Is At Risk
We have unions and conferences that are challenging the right of the General Conference session to set the parameters for ordination. A related trend is allowing local churches to set their own parameters for baptism and church discipline instead of following the Church Manual. Spiritual accountability of ministers and teachers, of local churches, of our university campuses, and of corporate levels is desperately needed. In our examples, we will refer to the baptism of a married practicing lesbian into the membership of the Chico Seventh-day Adventist Church in California, and how student leaders at Pacific Union College are demanding that the Church open itself up to the LGBT agenda and to interspirituality. These examples are bedfellows in a Union (Pacific Union) that has refused to comply with the world church on women’s ordination.
The present rebellion against the Biblical unity and policies of the Church encompasses all of the above issues, and thus calls for compassionate and decisive measures on the part of the world body. As the servant of the Lord has stated, “Severity to a few may prove mercy to many” (Prophets & Kings, p. 675).
- 2007 — A group of North American SDA professors, most of them still employed by the church, publish a book attacking the church’s Bible-based beliefs regarding homosexual practice.      (also see endnote 27)
- 2009 — A professor still employed by the H.M.S. Richards Divinity School at La Sierra University declares his disbelief in a literal understanding of the Biblical creation story in Genesis 1 and 2.  
- 2010 — A motion asking that the Northern California Conference (NCC) initiate accountability procedures for pastors and teachers based on the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual voted down by the constituency meeting, with strong opposition from pastors as well as lay people. 
- 2012 — Northern California Conference Mission Statement, developed in 2012, leaves out any mention of the Three Angels' Messages (Revelation 14:6-12), in contrast to the General Conference Mission Statement, which is intended as a model for other church entities.  
- February 23, 2013 — A faculty member of La Sierra University preaches “Repenting of our Patriarchy and Heterosexism” at the Hollywood (CA) SDA Church, linking women’s rights and gay rights. 
- October 2013 — Study shows that almost half of Adventist college students and recent graduates would accept practicing homosexuals as SDA church members in good and regular standing. 
- 2014 — A retired Adventist professor and college president publicly embraces the practice of homosexuality within the church. 
- October 31, 2014 — Campus chaplain at Pacific Union College preaches a sermon titled “Adam and Steve,” urging that the church be more tolerant of practicing homosexuals within its fellowship.   
- September 9, 2015 — Pacific Union Conference executive committee formally rejects the action of the 2015 General Conference session regarding women's ordination, vowing to go forward with its illegal ordination policy. 
- January 25, 2016 — Oakwood University president calls the church to “prepare for a revolution” regarding the acceptance of homosexual activity within the church, and says women's ordination will go forward regardless of what the General Conference does, and uses the term “blessed” to describe the various LGBT lifestyles. 
- June 4, 2016 — “Ordained” and retired La Sierra University religion professor  baptizes a “married” lesbian into the Chico (CA) Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Even though no visible disciplinary action had yet been brought by the Northern California Conference against the Chico church or its pastoral staff for this blatant disregard of the church's Biblical teachings, nine months later the North American Division issued a statement supporting the handling of this case by the Northern California Conference.
- August 28-29, 2016 — Pacific Union constituency meeting rejects 2015 General Conference decision on women’s ordination by declining to vote to rescind its 8-19-12 constituency action allowing ordination in the PUC. 
- October 16, 2016 — Northern California Conference, at its mid-term constituency meeting, formally rejects the 2015 General Conference decision regarding ordination.
- November 12, 2016 — Senior pastor of Walla Walla University Church calls for greater tolerance by the church for homosexual behavior. 
- November 21, 2016 — Pacific Union Conference executive committee openly challenges the General Conference's October “Unity in Mission” document and declares that it will continue to pursue ordination without regard to gender, in defiance of the General Conference. 
- December 3, 2016 — Loma Linda University faculty and staff panel participants recommend acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle within the church. 
- January 27, 2017 — Female ordained pastor who baptized a married lesbian at Chico church (see exhibit 11) is featured as a speaker at the Northern California Conference Women's Conference. 
- March 11, 2017 — Two senior pastors—one from the La Sierra University Church in southern CA,  the other from the Green Lake SDA Church in Seattle, WA   — call for the denomination to accept practicing homosexuals on the basis of their spiritual gifts. The Green Lake pastor asks, “If God has accepted them, why can't we?”
- May 24, 2017 — Pacific Union College student leaders demand women’s and gay rights in the church and promote interspirituality. 
- June 2017 — Pacific Union Conference Recorder praises bisexual ex-pastor in an article published after her resignation. 
- June 3,10,17,24, 2017 — Glendale (CA) SDA Church hosts month-long Gay Pride Party. 
- Crosswalk SDA church in Redlands (CA) affirms full acceptance of LGBT members, acknowledging it is contrary to General Conference guidelines. 
- August 1, 2017 — Pacific Union Conference mails the book Where Are We Headed? to all its pastors. The book recommends the hermeneutics of a former professor and college president now promoting homosexual acceptance within the church.  It is highly critical of the current General Conference president and of the policies of the worldwide church. The Sept. issue of the Pacific Union Recorder features an ad for this book and another recent book which compares the current General Conference leadership to the Roman papacy and to Nazi Germany. 
Supporting Links, Documentation And Commentary
 Regarding Exhibit 1 - https://spectrummagazine.org/node/210 Last accessed 9/18/2017. December 22, 2007 article announcing a new book, Christianity and Homosexuality: A Seventh-day Adventist Perspective, edited by Fritz Guy, David Larson, and Dave Ferguson, with John Jones contributing. SDA Kinship International and Adventist Forums collaborated on the production of the book.
 Regarding Exhibit 1 - https://lasierra.edu/divinity/faculty/ Last accessed 9/18/2017. Listing of faculty of the HMS Richards Divinity School at La Sierra University (LSU) showing Fritz Guy and John Jones as current professors.
 Regarding Exhibit 1 - http://www.llu.edu/pages/faculty/directory/faculty.html?uid=dlarson &eid=1a25049 Last accessed 9/9/2017. David Larson is an associate scholar and professor in the School of Religion of Loma Linda University. (See endnote 27 for quotations from David Larson on homosexuality.)
 Regarding Exhibit 1 - https://spectrummagazine.org/article/book-reviews/2008/09/02/book-club-discussion-christianity-and-homosexuality-some-adventist-p Last accessed 9/18/2017. A book review showing that, while the writers are SDA, what they write does not reflect any official SDA position. They employ a hermeneutic which first considers autobiographical, biomedical and behavioral science fields before coming to the Bible.
 Regarding Exhibit 1 - http://www.sdadefend.com/Health/HomoBook.pdf Last accessed 9/18/2017. Another review of the book Christianity and Homosexuality: Introduction of quotes from Fritz Guy, a current faculty at LSU: Fritz Guy, article entitled “Same-sex Love: Theological Considerations.” The book says that Guy is “Research Professor of Philosophical Theology at La Sierra University.” “It is theologically and morally imperative for serious Christians—Adventist and otherwise—to welcome, affirm, celebrate, nurture, and support individual choices for caring, committed samesex relationships. This conclusion entails several practical implications . . “Christians should discontinue their moral condemnation of same-sex intimacy in caring, committed relationships . . Christians should encourage their congregations to welcome, affirm [approve], and support [encourage] persons engaged in morally appropriate same-sex relationships . . “In these and other ways serious Christians can contribute to the realization of God’s intention for all humanity and the actualization of God’s loving will ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matt. 6:10).”— Guy, 4/57-4/58.
 Regarding Exhibit 2 - Prior to 2010, it became a concern that Fundamental Belief #6 on creation notably left out reference to the first week (creation week) as literal, historical and recent, and that the omission of such specific wording could be used to shelter within our churches and schools the teaching of theistic evolution that involves millions of years. For one example, in this video Dr. John Webster of La Sierra University says that a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 is “not particularly helpful” and suggests that higher critical methods of interpretation may be helpful. http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/presentations/biology-seminar-111a-class-videos/ Last accessed 9/27/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 3 - http://www.nccsda.com/site/1/DEPT%20Administration/Executive%20 Secretary/Constituency%20Materials/ConstituencyMinutes2010.pdf Last accessed 9/18/2017
 Regarding Exhibit 4 - http://www.nccsda.com/article/60/about-us/more/strategic-plan-2012-2016 Last accessed 9/27/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 4 - https://www.adventist.org/en/information/official-statements/statements/article/go/-/mission-statement-of-the-seventh-day-adventist-church/ Last accessed 9/21/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 6 - https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2013-10-17/landmark-survey-reveals-in-depth-beliefs-perceptions-of-adventist-members/ Last accessed 9/28/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 7 - http://spectrummagazine.org/article/news/2014/04/05/viewpoint-how-our-understanding-homosexuality-has-changed Last accessed 9/18/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 8 - https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=adam+%26+steve+jon+henderson&qs=PF&cvid=7cb6e3c44e644056a466ddffde01cb45&cc=US&setlang=en-US&ru=%2fsearch%3fq%3dadam%2b %2526%2bsteve%2bjon%2bhenderson%26form%3dEDGHPT%26qs%3dPF%26cvid%3d7cb6e3c44e644056a466ddffde01cb45%26cc%3dUS%26setlang%3den-US&view=detail&mmscn=vwrc &mid=6B378E275FCA5AA62C136B378E275FCA5AA62C13&FORM=WRVORC Last accessed 9/18/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 8 - https://spectrummagazine.org/article/news/2014/10/10/sabbath-sermon-adam-and-steve Last accessed 9/18/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 8 - https://issuu.com/pacificunionrecorder/docs/2015-06_issuu page 7. Last accessed 9/28/17.
 Regarding Exhibit 9 - http://ordinationtruth.com/2015/10/08/pacific-union-rebels-against-gc-wo-decision/ Accessed 9/9/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 11 - http://spectrummagazine.org/article/bonnie-dwyer/2013/02/13/unique-ordination-services-being-held-0 Last accessed 9/18/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 11 - http://www.fulcrum7.com/blog/2017/2/2/married-lesbian-baptised-into-chico-seventh-day-adventist-church?rq=chico Last accessed 9/18/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 11 - As of Aug. 31, 2017, administration has yet to publicly reprove the Chico church, its pastors or Ginger Harwood, who did the baptism. Harwood’s credentials remain untouched, and the 2 Chico pastors remain in their positions.
 Regarding Exhibit 11- Statement from Northern California Conference on Chico church baptism:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of nccinfo
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 3:54 PM
Subject: [Pastors] Chico Church Baptism
Dear NCC employees,
Today, the North American Division sent out a statement in its e-newsletter, Newspoints, regarding an event at one of our churches.
Last summer, a woman was baptized at the Chico church by a retired denominational employee, and she was voted into membership there. Chico church Senior Pastor Dan Wysong said that the woman, part of a same-sex couple, had been attending one of the church's Sabbath School classes with her partner. They had been married in a civil ceremony two years earlier.
NCC administrators did not learn of the baptism until afterward. We have met with Pastor Wysong to discuss this matter. We cannot disclose any actions that took place as they are protected by employer/employee confidentiality.
The Northern California Conference supports our Church's Fundamental Belief #23: "Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship." We also support the Church's official statement on homosexuality, which reminds us that "Jesus affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin."
We encourage all our members to discuss this situation in a Christian manner. May Jesus’ example of thoughtfulness and kindness be our guide as we reach out to a hurting world.
President, Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
http://www.nadadventist.org/article/1073743437/news/current-and-archived-news-stories/2017-current-news-archives/2-13-17-statement-from-the-north-american-division-on-baptism-at-chico-seventh-day-adventist-church Last accessed 9/18/17.
 Regarding Exhibit 12 - https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2016/08/30/such-time-2016-pacific-union-conference-constituency-session Last accessed 9/20/2017.
 Regarding Exhibit 13 - http://www.nccsda.com/article/529/about-us/more/constituency-session/reports/other-agenda-item/a-joint-motion-of-the-anderson-and-sacramento-central-churches Last accessed 9/28/2017. The vote was 211-Yes, 297-No.
http://www.nccsda.com/article/528/about-us/more/constituency-session/reports/other-agenda-item/administrative-response-from-the-northern-california-conference Last accessed 9/28/2017.
The administration pre-empted the motion by placing a statement in the Constituency Book arguing that the General Conference vote confirmed that the unions “have the authority on ‘decisions regarding the ordination of ministers.’ ” They thereby encouraged that this motion be rejected.
 Regarding Exhibit 14
https://livestream.com/accounts/7962515/events/5049944/videos/141723171 Last accessed 9/18/2017.
Alex Bryan preaches the sermon “Ask Anything LGBTQ.” He decries the culture of intolerance within Christianity and says the church should be a safe place for all of God’s children since we are all made in God’s image. How do we make the church a safe place for all people? According to Bryan, we can’t judge others and we have to be flexible with people, like God is.
 Regarding Exhibit 15
Background: In October, 2016 the General Conference Annual Council had voted “Unity in Mission,” a document detailing measures to address church entities not adhering to voted actions of the world church. See https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/0/annual-council-approves-measure-to-encourage-adherence-to-church-policies/ Last accessed 9/19/2017. (This report of the October 2016 Annual Council’s action includes a link in the second paragraph to the complete document.)
http://atoday.org/pastoral-letter-from-the-pacific-union-conference-executive-committee-11-21-2016/ Last accessed 9/19/2017.
In response, the Pacific Union Conference executive committee issued a November 21, 2016 pastoral letter to constituents, “To be True to our Calling,” reaffirming the Union’s prior decisions supporting ordination without regard to gender and stating that the SDA church exists “to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Three Angels’ Messages… Our hearts and minds are bound together as one people by the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the values that have guided our development, and our commitment to mission.” Given the evidences of LGBT accommodation, particularly within the Pacific Union, we must respectfully question these claims of unity with the teachings of the church, including the Three Angels’ Messages.
An email the next day from Northern California Conference president James Pedersen explained that this PUC pastoral letter is the Pacific Union Conference’s response to the “Unity in Mission” document. He also stated, “We are committed to prayerfully advancing the mission and message of Jesus Christ, which we have been called to do as part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Thank you for all that you are doing to help fulfill the Gospel Commission and in proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages.”
 Regarding Exhibit 16 - https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=loma+lgbt Last accessed 9/19/17. Notice how the panel members advocate for acceptance of practicing LGBTs based on a hermeneutic that subordinates the authority of scripture to personal experience, cultural factors and human reasoning.
 Regarding Exhibit 17 - This indicates Harwood’s continued leadership role, not only in the local church but also conference-wide.
 Regarding Exhibit 18 - https://vimeo.com/207974719 Last accessed 9/19/2017. Pastor Chris Oberg preached the sermon “Make it Pink! Make it Blue!” Oberg said that getting to know three transgender Adventists is changing her opinions on the subject. She says we “don’t dish out sin and call sin down on people” around here. But to move away from identifying sin is to move away from calling people to true repentance, genuine conversion, and ultimately salvation as expressed in our fundamental beliefs. Oberg also currently serves on the Pacific Union Conference executive committee.
 Regarding Exhibit 18 - http://www.fulcrum7.com/news/2017/3/22/john-mclarty-portions-of-the-bible-should-be-rejected-to-accommodate-lgbtq Last accessed 9/19/17.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBDqng3YMZg Last accessed 9/18/17.
 Regarding Exhibit 18
http://liberaladventist.blogspot.com/2017/03/what-to-do-with-real-people.html Last accessed 9/20/1017. “Liberal Adventist Pastor” website displays the following sermon notes, posted by John McLarty the day before the sermon. (There are many differences between these notes and the actual sermon he preached the next day. See transcript above.)
 Regarding Exhibit 19 - http://www.pucsa.co/diversity-statement.html Last accessed 9/21/2017. Twenty Pacific Union College student leaders sign a manifesto to affirm the “full empowerment and equality of women;” the rightful place of the LGBT+ community “within our campus, our church and our community;” and that “inter faith and intra- faith diversity strengthen us as a religious community.”
 Regarding Exhibit 20 - http://www.fulcrum7.com/news/2017/4/25/arizona-conference-issues-statement-on-bisexual-pastor Last accessed 9/28/17. A review of the Arizona Conference’s statement regarding Alicia Johnston, who had resigned as pastor after announcing that she is bisexual and posting a video sharing her convictions and research on the subject. "This is who I am (bisexual), and that's something I love about myself." The Arizona Conference statement describes Johnston as “a gifted theologian and pastor” with future “ministry,” lending credence to her convictions about the morality of her life choice.
 Regarding Exhibit 21 - http://www.fulcrum7.com/news/2017/7/2/glendale-city-church-hosts-gay-pride-party Last accessed 9/19/17. This celebration of gay pride month was in an Adventist church known for decades to be gay-friendly, “which is now intentionally experimenting with having an openly pro-gay, homosexuality-is-not-wrong-at-all SDA Church.”
 Regarding Exhibit 22 - This link was active but it no longer works, as of 9/25/2017: http://www.buildingsafeplaces.org/index.php/resources/church-responses/crosswalk-seventh-day-adventist-church-s-statement-on-acceptance-and-diversity.html
This statement was found at this link when it was active:
As members of the Seventh-day Adventist church, we believe that the mission of our congregation, “Learning to Love Well,” proclaims the radical love and inclusive essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite recently published “guidelines” by the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists calling for the disfellowship of LGBT church members, the Crosswalk Community welcomes the diversity of humankind, created in God’s image, including those of us who are LGBT. We continue to support the traditional Seventh-day Adventists policy that holds that Adventist church membership is determined locally. Our community is compelled to do this in our commitment to listen, grow, and learn better how to “love well.” - The Leadership Team
 Regarding Exhibit 23 - In his book Where Are We Headed? William C. Johnsson, retired Review editor, praises the hermeneutics of his seminary professor Dr. Sakae Kubo. Apparently these same hermeneutics led Kubo later in life to endorse the homosexual agenda for the church. Note Dr. Kubo’s Spectrum article at http://spectrummagazine.org/article/news/2014/04/05/viewpoint-how-our-understanding-homosexuality-has-changed Last accessed 9/18/2017.
Also note further links and analysis at: http://www.fulcrum7.com/blog/2017/8/21/pacific-union-sends-pro-wo-book-to-each-of-its-pastors?rq=PUC%20book Last accessed 9/27/17.
 Regarding Exhibit 23 - https://issuu.com/pacificunionrecorder/docs/2017-09_issuu page 47 [just inside back cover]. Last accessed 9/27/17. The second book advertised here is George R. Knight’s August 2017 book Adventist Authority Wars, Ordination, and the Roman Catholic Temptation. These are the first two books to be published by the Pacific Union Conference’s newly formed publishing venture, Oak & Acorn.
"For certain individuals have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (Jude 4).