News from the SECC constituency meeting:
It was a well-planned, well strategized, and perfectly executed meeting, and election of officers.
There was presentation after presentation after presentation and no discussion time after a beautifully crafted sermon that was rooted in rebellion and wrapped in emotionalism with misapplication of Scripture and SOP. It was so well done and evoked so much emotion that like Agrippa said to Paul “Thou almost persuadest me.”
But, in remembering the Word of God and the GC counsel I was quickly brought back to my senses as the emotionalism fell away.
“Grace”, “family”, and “growing together” were the words of the day. Everything presented, almost every rebuttal, and practically every comment included such nomenclature.
When it came time for the election of the officers, one delegate challenged the newly proposed by-law statement that indicated compliance with the NAD and GC. In doing so, the Parliamentarian stepped in and shut him down.
A pastor pointed out that the SECC was out of harmony with GC policy. When it was mentioned that the SECC was out of compliance with the General Conference by having a woman president, there was loud applause from about 70% of the audience. Another individual referred the matter back to the Nominating Committee, his motion failed by a vote of 70% to 30%.
Another delegate then stood up and strategically asked for a call to vote. With this request, discussion was abruptly stopped and the vote was forced. As a result Sandra Roberts was voted back into office with 70 % voting yes and 30% voting no.
[It may interest you to know that Sandra Roberts ‘dissertation’ is on Spiritual Formation, the very things that Elder Ted Wilson and Rick Howard (in his book) warned the Seventh-day Adventist Church to avoid. In her dissertation she describes leading youth and youth pastors in mystical Lectio Divina exercises (pages 43 and 62).]
One might think that I would be upset with the proceedings of the day, but though I was not pleased, what is most disappointing to me is that over 300 delegates were absent. Maybe these missing delegates believed there was no reason to show up, that everything was a done deal and there was no need to vote. I beg to differ. Or maybe they were trying to prevent a quorum from happening, thereby cancelling the session…the rest of us who did attend didn’t get that memo.
My takeaway from yesterday is this. No matter how well executed and planned the events of the day were, or the shutting down of those who spoke out against non-compliance, what could not have been shut down was the number of votes. In matters such as this, numbers rule. With over 300 more “no” votes the outcome could have been different. When we are elected to perform duties and accept those positions we are to be faithful in fulfilling those duties. What words, by-laws, Scripture, and specific GC council as well as the Church Manual could not change, the outcome of votes could have. So if you’re not happy with the outcome…were you there? Did you vote? Did you make your requests and concerns known?
This should be a call to duty for everyone moving forward, to take these responsibilities seriously, know that your vote can count when there is a full representation in place. For those who weren’t there, there should be no complaints, no grumblings and no finger pointing. This morning as my mind reviewed the events of the day, I wonder…the grace they kept referring to and that they themselves were expecting, if they will be as willing to extend that same grace to those of us lay people, leaders, and Pastors who do not comply with their non-compliance? It will be interesting to see if grace flows both ways and if not, the true spirit behind what happened yesterday will be revealed.
This should be a call to prayer for all of us. What God has allowed, He has allowed. Our trust is in Him and not in man. This is and remains His church. It’s an introspective time as well, what can we do, what can we say, what stand can we take as we move forward? We are to begin with the renewing of our own hearts and minds, and move forward with the love of Jesus and the empowering grace that flows from our heavenly Father while He works out His good and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
Through all of this, I have felt such amazing peace and love for my Brothers and Sisters—who whether they understand it or no—are under the influence of another spirit. When you see someone you love and care for, standing up defending non-compliance your heart breaks and yesterday my heart was broken and it remains broken.
How can two people, two groups of Brothers and Sisters in Christ have such differing opinions whether it be women’s ordination, women in leadership, or otherwise? Only one way can be right in the eyes of God for He IS the Way.
So, if you’re standing on His Word today, then know that you are safe and in God’s will. If your heart doesn’t break for these people, then you have another issue, which is worse than being in rebellion. In situations such as this there are no winners, only all of us in need of a Savior. We can’t be right and have a wrong heart. I beg you to pray for your own heart and for those who are not in the position to pray for themselves—for those who are caught in this benumbing miasma.
Pray that they will be released from bondage. We have that responsibility. It’s a privilege and it’s only through the power of prayer that these people will be released from Satan’s ground and no longer be slaves but free men. Then they will be free to serve the lord in Spirit and in truth and pave the way for growing together in Christ.