Geoff Patterson, pastor at Forest lake Church in Orlando Florida dedicated his sermon yesterday to the Compliance Document that was voted last Sunday in Battle Creek Michigan. Here is his 25-minute sermon, followed by my observations below. By his own admission, Patterson is a multi-generational member of the church (5th generation).
3:45 — He compares the October 14 Annual Council decision (regarding the Compliance Document) to the October 22, 1844 Great Disappointment. He is personally disappointed that this accountability document was passed. Dear brother Patterson, why export your opinion to a captive Church audience, some of whom are not even Adventists? Would you allow an opposing viewpoint to be shared in a sermon at Forest Lake Church?
4:50 — He acknowledges that there are many visitors in the sanctuary today (for a baby dedication) but he is going to deliver this sermon ‘rant’ anyway.
5:37 — He (Geoff Patterson) says that the passing of the Compliance Document was a “serious blunder……that will cost many tithe dollars.” Sounds like a threat.
7:27 — Repeats a false narrative, that the Compliance Document is a serious breakaway from Protestantism. In other words, accountability is synonymous with Roman Catholicism. Such hyperbole—arising as it does from irrational fear—completely overlooks the Scriptural principles of submission and accountability in the working Body of Christ (Hebrews 10:24; James 5:16; Hebrews 3:13; 1 Corinthians 5:2-5). In a church culture that makes true disciples, accountability is the most natural thing in the world. Geoff needs it, we need it, and I need it. The goal of accountability is repentance and forgiveness and reconciliation for the good of the offender and the spiritual health of the church and the glory of Christ.
9:50 — He acknowledges that the NAD would not discipline wayward Unions and wayward Unions would not discipline Conferences on matters of defiance that they agree on. Truth thus becomes a localized construct, different for Florida than it might be for Argentina.
11:00 — Complains that the world church may not understand local defiance, thus they have no basis to fairly impose discipline. But, the world church understands the problem perfectly. Western Adventism (particularly the North American Division) has adopted a culturally-driven egalitarian gender narrative which obscures them from seeing the plain biblical truth of male-female role distinctions.
11:12 — Says that the Compliance Document breaks the trust of the Church. In reality, trust was broken in the Church in 1995 when Sligo ordained a woman in bold defiance of the Utrecht General Conference Session vote to not allow it. Submission to the Word of God in fellowship with each other according to that Word, builds trust Rebellion breaks it. The good news is that trust can be restored, through repentance.
12:00 — Says that Unions view WO as a moral imperative. Ok—based on what standard, we ask? Either culture can establish morality (which is a symptom of relativistic postmodernism) or the Word of God is the external basis for morality, through objective truth. Oddly, one of the arguments of WO proponents is that “it doesn’t matter either way, just let us do what we want in our own territories.” Geoff Patterson makes this fraudulent argument earlier in his monologue “Just let us do what we want/need in our cultural context.” Thus culture becomes the deciding factor in what is moral.
12:20 — This is a big one. Patterson admits (by inference) that WO is a SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE. It is—for the liberal element in our church, who are rapidly replacing the Everlasting Gospel and the Three Angels’ Messages with social justice ideology. Again, culture become the deciding factor on what is true, and what is moral.
13:00 — Patterson admits that he has a bias towards WO. We appreciate that frank admission. He goes on to say that his bias arises not from Scripture, but rather from subjective observations. He has known some women who (in his opinion) demonstrated a calling for pastoral ministry, and that settles the issue—for him. Such reasoning would have led our Lord to yield to the temptations of the Enemy in the wilderness (Luke 4). Such breakaway from “Thus sayeth the Lord” is also being used to approve homosexuality in the Church, with vacuous arguments like “I met some gay people and they were nice.” We must anchor our faith in the Word of God “which liveth and abideth forever” if we have any hope of surviving the deceitful wilderness of the Time of the End.
15:00 — Patterson calls on the Southern Union to join the Columbia and Pacific Unions in their defiance of the world church (and by extension the Word of God, which the three GC Session decisions was based on). Notice something interesting, Patterson is essentially saying that the Church is in apostasy and has become Babylon. He’s no different than other offshoots we have seen in the past.
16:05 — Here, Patterson gets worked up, and says that the Compliance Document and the world church decision to adopt it is a “Declaration of War.” This has been the ultimate outcome of unrepentance ever since Cain slew his brother, and Satan was kicked out of heaven. Unrepentance hates repentance, and unsubmission hates submission.
16:30 — Says that Scripture’s teachings on male leadership are “Utterly defeated by one simple reality—the life and ministry of Ellen White.” This lays bare the malevolent goal of Satan in the WO controversy—to drive a wedge between the Bible and the SOP. Mission accomplished.
18:15 — Says if the “Compliance Document is not walked back” (rescinded by the world church), lawsuits will prevail. He is essentially threatening divorce. My response: “Only by pride cometh contentions” (Proverbs 13:10).
20:20 — Patterson says he is now fearful of inquisitions and persecution because of the Compliance Document. To those fears we say “Take heart.” Accountability is only fearsome to a person who is determined to remain unaccountable (Romans 13:3).
25:30 — In closing, Patterson repeats the false narrative that accountability is against our protestant heritage. In other words, those who voted for the Compliance Document are voting for Roman Catholicism. Such outlandish accusations are not uncommon among liberal activists in the church. As they reinterpret doctrine, they are also reinterpreting Protestantism as some sort of Christian indulgence from biblical solidarity.
Protestantism was the restitution of biblical authority over our lives, not the yielding of our conscience to the sentimental license of culture.