9 October 2018  |

The executive committee of the Adventist denomination’s Czecho-Slovakian Union Conference in Europe has voted a statement sent to the leadership of the denomination’s General Conference (GC). It specifically addresses concerns about the proposed action on “unity” and “compliance” that is on the agenda for the annual meeting of the GC governing body which begins on Thursday (October 11).

The statement begins by recognizing “the responsibility of worldwide church leadership … to build and keep unity” in the denomination, and that the “dynamic growth” and “diversity” of the Adventist movement mean that “it is not easy to protect the unity of the church.” The statement continues with a quote from Ellen White, one of the cofounders of the denomination: “The secret of unity is found in the equality of believers in Christ.” (Selected Messages, Volume 1, Page 299)

The key point of the statement: “We want to express our conviction that the best way to build and keep unity is through open dialogue, mutual listening and respecting freedom of conscience in issues that do not impact the Church’s fundamental beliefs.”

It then makes three specific observations about the proposed document: “We do not consider it worthwhile, beneficial or useful: (1) to create another system of control at the worldwide church level, a system designed to gather information on inconsistent conduct in a given territory. … (2) to add more amendments [to] reinforce the disciplinary authority of the GC Committee to the disciplinary measures already available (Working Policy B 95). … (3) to discipline Union presidents for decisions made by Union Executive Committee or to deprive them of GC Executive Committee membership.”

The statement ends with an appeal for a “biblical model of the stewardship and leadership of the church” instead of the proposed approach. The Czecho-Slovakian Union Conference is part of the Inter-European Division of the denomination and includes the nations of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. There are three local conferences, 185 congregations and nearly 10,000 church members in the union conference among a population of 16 million.

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