By Loren Seibold | 4 November 2018 |
Sunday—today—was the day we were all waiting for, because this was when we were expecting discussion about the “Compliance” document voted by the General Conference executive committee two weeks ago.
First, let me say we were treated to some truly fascinating reports today, and I wish I could tell you all of them. Perhaps the most interesting came from retired Adventist university president Gordon Bietz, who reported on efforts to bring all the Adventist colleges and universities into a cooperative organization so that they would share instruction. You can check that out at our Twitter feed.
What most of you want to hear about, however, was the discussion about the compliance document, and how that was handled. I made an executive decision to not try to summarize every argument, but instead to share with you those made available to me.
Let’s start with Elder Dan Jackson’s introduction. He began by reminding everyone that “You are here to represent the interests of the North American Division, no matter where you are from.” He went on to say, “This is a family discussion. But we are part of a larger family—the entire church.” He said that our first prayer today is to say to God, “We don’t have any answers to this.”
Said Jackson, “It is time we quit trying to lead with predisposed opinions and documents that we put forth, and then say let’s pray about it.” “We are not going to present you with documents that that we have generated so that you can get on your knees and pray about what we’ve already decided.” “What we are saying does not eliminate opinions.”
He then proposed that the group name a “writing committee” that would gather some basic principles from the discussion and make them into “doable” actions that the group could act upon. The writing committee is as follows:
- Kyoshin Ahn ♂
- Sandy Roberts ♀
- Ashton Hardin ♀
- John Freedman ♂
- Celeste Ryan ♀
- Les Pollard ♂
- Randy Roberts ♂
- Debbie Jackson ♀
- Daniel Honore ♂
Jackson then laid out three principles to keep in mind during the discussion:
- Does it advance the mission of the NAD?
- Does it pass the “Christlikeness” test?
- Is it consistent with Biblical principles?
An interesting aside: Jackson has often said that the NAD is in complete compliance with NAD policy. There was one moment, however, he admitted, that the NAD voted something out of policy, and that was policy E 60 in 2012. It said that “a conference president shall be an ordained/commissioned minister”—GC policy says clearly that a conference president must be an ordained minister. He said that was reversed as soon as lawyers were consulted. Otherwise, said Dan, “You would discover that perhaps the most faithful organization to policy of the world church is the NAD.”
At this point discussion from the floor began. Elder Jackson only requested that no one, at this point, bring financial proposals, wanting to save that for a separate discussion.
I’m going to pass over some of the other reports in favor of the statements from the floor, some of which were profound, and which I’m presenting in separate articles—links below. The writing committee will come back with its summary tomorrow.
Loren Seibold is a pastor, and the Executive Editor of Adventist Today.