GC ADCOM Votes Unity Document for 2018 Fall Council

SILVER SPRING MARYLAND - Adventist News Network just released the following News item:

The Seventh-day Adventist church’s General Conference Administrative Committee voted on Tuesday, July 17, a document recommended by the Unity Oversight Committee. The recommendations came after nine months of listening and consultation with church entities around the world outline a process of addressing entities not in compliance with the actions of a General Conference (GC) Session, the GC Executive Committee, or working policy. The outlined process includes setting up a number of compliance review committees that will address specific issues of non-compliance and will make recommendations to the General Conference Administrative Committee.
The Unity Oversight Committee was informed by quantitative and qualitative data gathered from church leaders worldwide as well as dialogues with the thirteen world divisions, General Conference Leadership Council, and GC institutions. Comments from Executive Committee members during previous Annual Councils were also considered.
The Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research was tasked with developing a questionnaire and administering a survey of all union and division presidents worldwide. All those surveyed submitted a response, even though in some cases they chose not to answer all questions. The results of the survey were published in a previous article, and showed that a majority of the world Church’s union presidents favored some kind of process for dealing with non-compliance.
Following standard process and protocol, the document voted today by GC ADCOM will also be discussed by the General Conference and Division Officers Committee. It will then be sent to the GC Executive Committee at its Annual Council this October for consideration."

 

Observations

113-18G REGARD FOR AND PRACTICE OF GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION AND GENERAL CONFERENCE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ACTIONS -- Document

  •  Page 1, lines 7-9.  "A sacred trust exists between church members and their elected Church leaders. Unity and trust are strengthened as church members and organizational leaders commit to being led by the Spirit to regard and honor the constituted decisions made by fellow church members and leaders."  This is correct.  It is also correct that failure to hold defiant church leaders accountable impoverishes the faith of the entire Church, and allows rebellion to beget rebellion.
  • Page 1, lines 18-22.  "All perceived non-compliance shall officially be identified and reported by the Administrative Committee of a conference and/or union and/or division successively to the next higher organization, beginning with the administrative level of the Church closest to the matter.   If any level of organization does not report an issue of non-compliance, it becomes the responsibility of the next higher organization."  This will hopefully expose any complicit Divisions and Unions.  There needs to be a mechanism where the next highest Church entity can hold subordinate entities accountable if they fail to accurately identify non-compliant entities under them. The NAD is in many ways acting as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army who orders those under him to respect no higher authority then himself.  "From now on, you are not to regard any orders from the Pentagon or the Commanding General.  I am the highest authority in this Army--what I say goes."
    In the Army, such efforts would earn the Lieutenant Colonel one last meal and a blindfold.
  • Page 1, lines 27-32.  "Administrators dealing with any matter of perceived non-compliance shall exercise Christian due process which will (a) include much prayer and dialogue, (b) provide a clearly written statement defining the perceived non-compliance, (c) provide an opportunity for the executive officers of the perceived non-compliant entity to provide both a verbal and written explanation, (d) create an atmosphere by which compliance and unity may be achieved, and (e) provide a reasonable time frame to realize change and consistent progress."  As Believers, we must discipline in compassion, and speak the truth in love.  And true compassion demands swift action.  This lengthy process outlined above introduces a delay where none is warranted.  The whole church knows who the non-compliant entities are; what remains to be done is swift constitutional discipline.  We have seen their rebellion, we have heard their self justifications for it.  To do less, is to risk losing the compliant majority of the Church.  Let our response to insubordination, be redemptive, swift and sure (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
  • Page 1, lines 42-45. "An entity seeking appeal may do so directly to the assigned General Conference Compliance Review Committee.* The appeal process made by the non-compliant entity shall be considered part of the work of the General Conference Compliance Review Committee* as defined by its terms of reference."  The appeal process, which will invariably occur as non-compliant entities seek to delay any discipline, needs to be limited to 30-days to avoid dithering. 
  • Page 2, lines 1-2.  "With sound judgment and prayerful discernment, administrators may use existing General Conference working policies and guidelines as tools for resolving matters of non-compliance."  Agreed.  This includes dissolving defiant Unions.
  • Page 2, lines 4-6.  "If the matter continues to be unresolved, the next higher level of Church organization is tasked with the responsibility to resolve the matter or facilitate the initiation of a process leading to consequences."  There needs to be a shelf-life on how long the Columbia Union and the NAD are allowed to dither and delay this process.  Let us agree on a reasonable and prudent timeline to bring the problem to swift resolution.
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  • Page 2, lines 14-19.  "Warned—By vote of simple majority of the General Conference Executive Committee, unions/unions of churches that have complied with a General Conference Executive Committee and/or General Conference Session actions but have taken actions that are not in compliance with the practices of the Church as defined by the General Conference Constitution and Bylaws and the General Conference Working Policy may be “warned.” Being “warned” applies generally to a non-compliant entity and does not intend to identify individuals for further action or mention."   For all practical purposes, this is toothless.  Elder Wilson warned two non-compliant Unions who changed their bylaws to accommodate their genderless agenda in 2012 / 2013 that there would be "dire consequences" for doing so. They are the right words, but they have not been followed by the right action over the last five years.  We call upon the General Conference Executive Committee to give your support to Elder Wilson at this crucial time in SDA history.
  • Page 2, lines 21-27.  "Public Reprimand—By vote of simple majority of the General Conference Executive Committee, the president of such unions/unions of churches that have not complied with General Conference Executive Committee actions and/or General Conference Session actions, including Working Policy that has been voted by the General Conference Executive Committee and/or General Conference Session, may be given a public reprimand. Each time the union president exercises his right of voice to address the General Conference Executive Committee, the members will be informed that the speaker has been given a public reprimand."  This step should be combined with the aforementioned warning, or simply replace the warning.
     
  • Page 2, lines 29-35.  "Placed on Removal for Cause and Subject to Policy Application—When non-compliance continues after public reprimand, the relevant General Conference Compliance Review Committee, by virtue of prior General Conference Executive Committee actions and General Conference Session actions, shall have authority to consider and recommend to the General Conference Administrative Committee, division officers, and General Conference Executive Committee, applying the existing General Conference working policies and guidelines, such as removal of the individual member “for cause.”—Bylaws Article XIII Sec. 1. c. and GC B 95."   If the General Conference Compliance Review Committee is not made up of a demographic similar to the GC Session Delegate body, this Review Committee will likely sabotage the expressed will of the Church (as demonstrated in three General Conference Sessions).
  • Page 3, lines 12-15.  "Presidents of conferences/missions whose unions have been “reprimanded” shall continue to exercise voice, as provided by the General Conference Bylaws, and the body will be notified that the invitee requesting voice is a constituent representative of a conference/mission of a “reprimanded” union.  This is absolutely wrong.  These individuals should forfeit their voice on executive Committee decisions.  To do less is to taint GC EXCOM decisions with rebellion, and rebellion can not accomplish the will of God (Job 34:37; 2 Samuel 23:6; 1 Samuel 15:23; Psalm 68:6).

 

Summary

 
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"The outlined process includes setting up a number of compliance review committees that will address specific issues of non-compliance and will make recommendations to the General Conference Administrative Committee" (ANN News Release).  This appears to be kicking the can down the road--again.  What is needed at this crucial time in Adventist history is swift action, coupled by compassion, not more committees.  To do less is to consign the compliant unions in our Church (almost 90%) to a diminished morale.

Dear Brother Wilson and Seventh-day Adventist world leaders.  I have lost count over the years of fathers who have told me "I wish I would have dealt with a discipline issue in my child earlier when it was easier to deal with.  Later on it became nearly impossible."

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The Adventist Church is in a death struggle for its identity.  To fail to bring necessary discipline to insubordinate entities in the church is to allow the Seventh-day Adventist Church to be totally redefined by the sin of rebellion.  This steals the birthright of generational members, and performs a bait & switch on convert members, substituting an Isaiah 3 matriarchy for true biblical leadership.

There is disproportionate representation of western Adventism in the GC ADCOM Committees, and in the GC Executive Committee.  By their very makeup, these Committees are atypical of the GC Session delegate body, heavily tilted towards the NAD and and TED.  These Committees are at a tremendous disadvantage to uphold and enforce General Conference World decisions, when they are packed with non-compliant sympathizers.

The ADCOM Committee, for instance, is about 90% filled with individuals from the NAD.  True, they are not all WO sympathizers, but a majority of them are sympathetic to the Division in which they reside.  This prevents objectivity in matters of high significance.

The GC ExComm is not weighted fairly division-wise.  People working at the GC are not weighted fairly.  Unions are not divided up fairly.  Ex-Officio and Members-at Large are not weighted fairly on the GC ExComm.  The NAD is extremely over-represented, as are ESD/EUD/SPD and TED.  The NAD has 71 members (or 20.5%) on the GC ExComm.  The combined western Divisions of NAD/SPD/TED/ESD/EUD have 43% of the ExComm members.  Look for a Fulcrum7 article on this aspect of disproportionate representation.

The Spring Council has 68% of its members from these five Divisions.

If the Seventh-day Adventist Church kicks this can down down the road again, it is our prediction that we will soon run out of road.  The Church will be entirely re-defined, leaving little beyond a lingering sentiment to tie us to the organized work of the Three Angels' Messages.  We can not afford to go down that road.

We call upon the members of the Adventist Church to rise up and demand that the insubordinate Conferences and Unions (and Divisions that provide cover for them) receive the discipline that they have long earned.  Contact the General Conference, members of the GC ExComm, and leaders around the world and demand that we stop kicking this empty can down the road.  Nothing less will restore our sense of unity, purpose and world vision.

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"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so" (Psalm 107:2).

"Deliver me from all my transgressions (rebellion): make me not the reproach of fools (Psalm 39:8).