Conference President says Wilson Unfit to Serve

Dean Coridan, president of the Iowa-Missouri Conference, essentially states in an open letter to his constituents that Elder Ted Wilson is unfit to serve as General Conference President. He wants to call for a “no confidence” vote on the current GC administration:

“Sister White makes clear in the above quotation that individuals who advocate for consolidation and centralization of power and unwarranted authority in our church have unfit themselves from serving in office. I believe we must heed her counsel and call a question of confidence on the current GC administration.”

A “no confidence” vote is a feature of the parliamentary (Westminster) system of government where the party leader of the winning party becomes the prime minister. Members of the parliament (MPs) can call for a “no confidence” vote, and if that party leader/prime minister loses the vote (which would require him to be so unpopular that members of his own party or governing coalition would vote against him) he can be removed from office. A “no confidence” vote does not apply in systems, like the U.S. Constitution and the SDA system, in which the chief executive is separately and individually elected to office for a fixed term. The remedy in those cases is impeachment or, much more usually, for the electorate to vote for someone else next election.

Elder Coridan’s call for a “no confidence” vote is yet another response to the proposed establishment of five committees at the general conference level that will be tasked with working on instances of non-compliance with denominational policy.

If a committee’s efforts to address and reverse non-compliance fail, then the committee is to report that fact to the Administrative Committee of the General Conference (ADCOM). ADCOM could then respond with a warning, a public reprimand, or removal of the president of the non-conforming entity, if that can be done under existing bylaws and working policies (which it cannot).

President Coridan shares the view of (the un-medicated version of) Professor George Knight that any attempt to enforce the San Antonio vote is galloping papism. Coridan argues that adoption of this disciplinary mechanism will render the SDA Church a papist entity that is effectively no longer even a Protestant denomination:

“If this document is approved at Annual Council and these compliance review committees are allowed to begin policing any entity they choose, we will cease to be a Protestant movement.”

So in the view of President Coridan, any attempt to enforce the San Antonio vote on female ordination is popery (not potpourri), and papism of such a high order as to render the entire denomination effectively Roman Catholic.

The Ellen White quotation Elder Coridan cites is from Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 291-2:

Everything that has been planned in regard to consolidation shows that men are seeking to grasp the scepter of power and hold control over human minds. But God does not work with them in their devising, and the voice they now have in the cause of God is not the voice of God. They have proved themselves utterly unworthy of a place as wise managers; for their strength is used to turn men away from their rights, to benefit themselves. There have been acts of apparent liberality, but God knows the motive which governed them, and He will not accept their offerings until they repent and become conscientious doers of His word.

There is great necessity for unity in the work and cause of God; but for a long time influences have been at work seeking to create disaffection, and the men who feel that they have the power in their hands care little. They say within themselves: When this consolidation is perfected, we will show them who is master. We will then bring things into line. But they will never have that work to do.

The historical background of this testimony was that, during the 1890s when Mrs. White was in Australia, denominational leaders in Battle Creek, Michigan, wanted to consolidate several institutions under one governing Committee. This included both the Review & Herald Publishing Co. and the Pacific Press, and would have created an Adventist publishing monopoly. It would also have created a “monopsony” in which all Adventist writers would have only one publishing outlet, which could then set unreasonably low royalty rates for the writers, destroying their ability to support themselves from their labors. This issue of publishers trying to beat writers out of fair compensation was very near and dear to Ellen White’s heart, and is what she was addressing when she wrote, “their strength is used to turn men away from their rights, to benefit themselves.”

Clearly, the above quotation has no relevance to Elder Wilson’s attempts to quell the great mutiny underway in developed-world Adventism, in which division, union, and conference presidents believe themselves at perfect liberty to ignore a General Conference session vote on female ordination, go their own way, and decry any attempt at enforcement of the San Antonio vote as a new papal inquisition. Sadly, these men are as unable to rightly apply the writings of Ellen White as they are to interpret and apply Scripture. They twist and misconstrue all inspired authority to reach conclusions aligned with prevailing ideological fashions on feminism and much else.