Today we heard various reports.
Juan Prestol gave a presentation on Church finance. He also dealt with a question of tithe being sent to the General Conference, possibly sparked by an open letter from the Oregon Conference last week. Bottom line, a family sold a large business and gave the proceeds to the GC over a period of nine years. They have the right to do so.
David Trimm speaking about membership accessions. Over the years, there have been 22 million accessions and 14 million departures from church membership.
At 2 pm, the Business Session will resume. Look for issue 118-13g to come up this afternoon—dealing with Church Compliance issues. There is a palpable feeling of expectation in the air here.
2:00 PM Delegates entering the room, and finding their seats…
Elder Wilson opening the meeting…
2:12 - Psalm 123
Elder Wilson calling for a Christian spirit today…
2:16 - Elder Wilson sharing a few thoughts on the Unity Oversight Committee findings…
2:18 - “We are here to do the will of the Lord.”
2:19 - “Women’s ordination has driven much of the anxiety and tension. But the real issue is will we abide by decisions of the whole Body.” TW
2:26 - voting will be by card. Green means “Yes”, red mean “No.”
2:29 - vote to limit speeches to two minutes . . . . passed 225-61.
2:34 - enormous amount of misinformation on Compliance Committees. They are really advisory committees. Not some kind of power-grab to hurt people. They advise the Adcom Committee.
2:44 - disciplinary measures are of a low order. Removal of an individual from a Committee for ‘cause.’
2:44 - TW recommends not referring this issue back. Let’s go forward. Too much time has been wasted already on this issue.
2:47 - Mike Ryan explaining the document. Mike is Chair of the Unity Oversight Committee. “We know that this is a contentious issue.” It was done in an open manner—nothing was kept secret.
2:51 - preliminary document was sent to presidents of all Unions. There was feedback from them. Document was edited by UOC. Multiple drafts of the document were made.
2:54 - David Trimm - This was all done openly. Document was translated into six languages. Trimm conducted a Survey in March 2018. Union presidents were asked to respond to six questions as their constituents would—not in their personal opinions Almost 75% of Union Presidents responded that discipline/consequences were appropriate for church entities that defy World Church decisions.
3:04 - Karnik Dhoumetzian - Can executive Committee remove members for cause? Article 13 states that Executive Committee can remove members for cause. A 2/3 vote is required. Current GC bylaws do not provide for disciplinary measures—that needs to be changed. A persistent failure to cooperate is grounds for discipline. Officers are selected by simple majority—removing them requires a 2/3 majority—according to Karnik Dhoumetzian (Karnick is also the legal counsel for the NAD).
3:16 - Hensley Mooroven - some people say enforcing policy will split the church — those who defy world church decisions are splitting the Church. Not administrators who are trying to restore harmony!
3:23 - Mike Ryan - Summary of the document. “People in this room are passionate about Jesus.” Moved that we accept the document.
3:27 - TW - “Private Committee information was leaked to a progressive independent journal. Private documents were taken from the Adcom room in August by a subversive person. Somebody in the General Conference group is a leaker. That is highly unethical.”
The Compliance Document
3:40 - Compliance document being read by Hensley Mooroven . . .
Ron Smith - “We are frustrated because of what is being proposed today". This document heightens distrust.. We are hurt and demoralized. Remove this document from consideration.”
Randy Roberts - Has private information on the vote totals of the document. Says the vote was close and he is concerned about that. Says the document is “fracturing to us.”
Mark Johnson - says we have complex issue facing our church. This document will not help.
Ricardo Graham - encourages delegates to vote against the body. Says Document consolidates power in the hands of a few. No one is safe. If they come for me today, they will come for you tomorrow.
Ksawi Ansah-Adu - A lot of feedback has gone into the document. Appeals to delegates to vote for the document. If an organization goes against the GC - should we allow anybody to do that?
Thomas Muller - Will this document solve the problem? No, it will create more. Document must not pass.
Dan Jackson - Document turn church into problem. Affects all of the church negatively. Document makes central power in church - contrary to sound business practice. Alienates NAD. Say no to the document.
Harold Butler - Schools are teaching evolution, groups fostering homosexuality, all organizations have rules. What will be the end result of congregationalism? Vote this document up.
Kathy Profitt - We are obligated to support the voted action of GC Session. We cannot vote our opinions—we are obligated to support the World Church. There will be no further purpose for holding GC Sessions if we do not press together and support this document.
Jiri Moskala - opposed to document.
Tamas Ocsai - A church divided in Hungary over discipline issues. Cannot support motion.
Tomas Espinoza - supports document. We have wasted too much time on this issue.
Kalevero Aromaki - Issue is about women’s ordination. The ordination of women is here to stay - it will not go away. Europe is built on secular enlightenment—with equality built in to society. Went past his allotted time.
Lowell Copper - will vote against this motion. Document elevates unity over diversity. There is a difference between non-compliance and outright rebellion. We ordain deaconesses—we must recognize ordaining women pastors.
Dean Coridan - We should vote against this document because the lamblike beast will speak as a dragon and we ought not to be like it. Emotional appeal to not vote for the document.
Robert de raad - Trust has served us well for now. We don’t need any more policy - it will not solve problems - fears that compliance will cause police state of the Church.
Doug Batchelor - calls for equal time at the microphone—such fairness has served us well in the past.
Mark Finley - Debate is a good thing. Document does not lead to kingly power - it actually guards against it. Document has extensive due process. We are united in Christ, policies are mutual agreements. Failure to support the document will lead to further fragmentation.
Terry Shaw - Document creates fear so it should voted down.
Adan Ramos Lagos - We have spent too much on this issue The only one winning is the Devil. We should fulfill our church policies
Neil Biloff - issue keeps coming up. The draft board respected my conscience. The church doesn’t respect my conscience. Against the document.
Dave Weigley - Document is flawed. Puts power in hands of a few. Allows overreach of authority. What’s next on this list? Against document.
Norbert Zens - Document challenges trust of church members.
Ian Sweeney - says there are other policies that deal with non-compliance.
Natasha Dysinger - people complaining are also suppressing the will of many people in their church entities. After I spoke against WO at GC Session, I was contacted by hundreds of people who thanked me for speaking and wish they had a voice in this matter.. People who defy the democratic vote are the people exercising kingly power. I support the document.
Jim Howard - The stakes are too high to let this issue pass. If Unions can defy the world Church, Conferences can defy their Unions and churches can defy their Conferences. Supports the document.
John Freedman - fearful that this document is a discipline document. Says Christ is not in this—unity can’t be forced.
Gary Thurber - document makes people feel like they are being singled out. Urges a no vote on the document.
Alex Bryant - Policies do not hold us together. Document threatens trust. Document is divisive.
Clinton Wahlen - Document reflects biblical principles. The noncompliance on this issue is more serious because it shows a rejection of three GC session votes. Supports document.
Nana Kofi Nimako - This document was put together by the Holy Spirit—voting against it is a recipe for pandemonium. Urges members to vote for document.
Roberto Maggolini - question. What has changed that requires this document?
John Thomas - calls for more time to think about this issues.
Ron Carlson (NAD) - there is no rebellion. Unions are led by God as much as anyone. This document is a dangerous precedent.
Werner Dullinger - document would require members to go after their Conference leaders. We need separation of powers. Urges body to not support document.
Roger Cardema - supports the document.
Stefan (Swiss) - We must not try to make people the same — that is like the Roman Catholic Church. Against document.
Tom Lemon - If the answer is compliance under duress - will only bring compliance. This document could bring consequences down the road. Against the document.
Dan Houghton - “millions of people are watching us. This is not about womens ordination. It is about jurisdiction. Many of us were a part of the GC decision now many of us are acting against i. Let us support his document to restore credibility of the Church to those millions of laymen who are watching this process. I support the motion.”
Johannes Naether - opposes the document.
Beseniah Buraga - Deal with issues. We need to recognize the voice of God.
Vincent Waln - Sits on many committees. Have we calculated the man hours required and dollars spent in this compliance committee?
Earl Knight - ‘We have no biblical injunction on the issues before us. We should exercise restraint. Document brings great divide in our Church. I aks this body to vote against this motion.”
Solomon Maphosa - Can two walk together unless they be agreed? In all church policies - they are voted here by us. When we voted we agreed that violation of these police carries consequences. We voted against the ordination of women. I stand in full support of this document, lest we become like Israel who did that which was right in their own eyes.
Jiwan Moon - I voted in favor of unity in 2015. Will this document unite us—calls for delay—more time to ponder the issue. Daughter wants to be a girl pastor.
Kanaope Kanaope - In Church service for many years. I see us as two sides of a coin. We love both sides of the coin. The issue is not whether the document is satisfactory—the issue is whether we are still accountable to one another. I support this document.
Samuel - I speak as a young person. This is God’s Church. Last year we discussed this issue - many people pleaded for more time. Today we have a document that must vote on. We have wasted God’s money and we still plead for more time. We must support this document from the Bible.
Godfrey Musara - failure to support this document will lead to disunity. This document is only trying to hold us together.
Juan Caicedo Solis - I am in favor of the document - it benefits our congregation. It is not right that as we leave this place everyone goes back home and does as he pleases. I support the document.
Micah Choga - I support this document. Unity is fragile—we live in a world of sin. There are many things we are afraid of—some are saying if we support this document it will be divisive. Divisiveness comes those who demand their own way. I support this document.
Victor Marley - against the motion. Fearful that discipline in un-Adventist.
Larry Moore - Some say that people should leave the Church - I hope no one does.
Viriato Ferreira - Committee is united that something needs to be done to deal with compliance. What is the problem as I listen to both sides? Possible rephrase of document that conferences and unions should deal with problems in their own territory.
Elder Wilson clarifies the question. This defiance is taking us into uncharted territory—that’s why we need this provision to send the message that the World Church does not tolerate this defiance.
Etwell Tapera — failing to deal with non-compliance leads to more non-compliance. I support the motion.
Robert Dulay - I did not believe in the authority of the church — before my conversion. Now I believe in it. This document promotes unity. Satan tries to bring disunity - for the sake of unity I will follow the will of the Church. Doing the opposite of what has been decided - is outright defiance. I support the motion
Armando Mirando - It is not the document that we are discussing - we discussing the delay. We are an organized Church. What would be the reaction of a conference if a local church decided not to be compliant to the Conference? We need to be organized. It (WO) was voted down three times.
Samuel Nkonya - Woman’s ordination is not an issue in Africa. The issue is evangelism. I stand in support of this document to promote unity in our church even more.
Mikhail Kaminskiy - It seems that we all need to yield to Jesus. God is a God of order. Most of us are from Democratic countries - peace and prosperity results from that law and order. We support the GC.
Debbie Jackson - Compliance only came around when talked about ordaining women.
Ed Zinke - Compliance is important for the church. We have a potpourri of things attached to this document. Attended Annual Council in 1971. I hope we will ask the question how can 60% of the church dominate the rest of the church?
Andrea Luxton - Our church is diversified - it requires a gentle response. Forced compliance will not bring unity. Trust cannot be legislated. Trust solves non-compliance in a way that policies cannot do.
Peter Landless - Grew up under apartheid. Change came when people were willing to speak their conscience. WO is here to stay. We have things in place to deal with dissidence. We only had two women on the platform yesterday. Think carefully before approving this documen.
Ruben De Abreu - we are happy to belong to the SDA Church. We are in compliance. Concerned about document—could change current checks and balances. Erects top-down compliance. This document is more respectful than previous ones.
Ignacio Navarro Perez - Do we need more policies or should we execute policies we already have? We have many things that are trying to divide us—some are minimizing creation and the Sabbath. We should unite so we can be stronger. The more we dedicate time to our fundamental beliefs - the stronger we will be. On three occasions the church has already decided—the issue is settled. Does this document question the decision of the world Church? Does this committee have more authority than the world church?
GT Ng - my parents believed in compliance when I was a small boy. When I was in compliance I had no fear. The vote is not about WO, or justice. That vote has already taken place. This document is about order and structure. A vote yes upholds agreements that have sustained us for the last 92-years.
Guillermo Biaggi - I support his motion. God has provided this structure to our church. Satan is trying to tear it down.
Esther Abayo - I am in favor of this document. Discipline is necessary. People here are afraid of consequences. They would not have fear if they swallowed their pride.
Emmanuel Dike - many people around the world support this document.
Mario Ceballos - The greatest test of faith is when you don’t get what you want and you still say thank you Lord.
Debate is over….
Time to vote . . .
Votes are being counted . . .
Yes - 185
No - 124
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).