2 October 2018
In a letter to constituents dated 1 October, Dean Coridan, president of the Iowa-Missouri Conference, denounces the General Conference administration’s compliance procedures. After quoting Ellen White’s strong criticism of General Conference overreach in her day (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers pp. 291, 292), Coridan writes, “I believe we must heed her counsel and call a question of confidence on the current GC administration.”
Coridan is backed by the Iowa-Missouri Conference executive committee. “The committee and I are greatly troubled by and strongly oppose the move toward a hierarchical form of church governance and a centralization of power within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
This is the first judicatory in the North American Division to question publicly whether the current GC administration should continue in power, though the German Berlin-Mitteldeutsche Vereinigung made a similar suggestion recently.-
Over 150 years ago, the Adventist Church was founded as a Protestant movement with a representative form of governance. In line with these ideals, current policies (Section B 95 of GC Working Policy) already lay out a process by which the church is to deal with an entity that decides to go its own way. These existing policies rightly make the erring entity accountable to its own representative governing body, not to the GC. The GC’s and each division’s role, then, is to provide counsel and resources to unions and conferences to help them navigate such matters. If this document is approved at Annual Council and these compliance review committees are allowed to begin policing any entity they choose, we will cease to be a Protestant movement. Instead of churches being accountable to their boards and members, and instead of conferences and unions being accountable to their executive committees and constituents, all authority will be placed in the hands of a small group of leaders at the GC and their five hand-picked committees. Instead of larger issues being decided by a two-thirds majority of GC executive committee members, they will instead be decided by a simple majority—and those who don’t fall in line will be publicly reprimanded/humiliated for expressing dissent.
Coridan is not a member of the GC Executive Committee, which is composed of union conference presidents from around the world. But “If God gives me the opportunity to address the GC executive committee at Annual Council, as your representative I will urge them to reject this latest document, disband the compliance review committees, and repeal their 2016 approval of the first unity document.”