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  1. Gregory Matthews
    06 July 2013 @ 11:53 am

    [quote]One of the events leading up to this occasion was the evangelism series led by Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church . . .[/quote]

    President Wilson serves in an honorable as President of the world-wide SDA Chruch.  He should be respected for that.  I wonder in what sense is he a pastor?

    My pastor is in his (I have a male pastor.) congregation from Sabbath to Sabbath.  During the week, he is immediately available to me by telephone and e-mail.  If a relative dies, he will conduct the funeral.  He proclaims, to me each  week, the message of the good news of God's gift to me.    In brief, My pastor is exactly that a personal pastor to me.

    President Wilson cannot be that tome.  If I were to meet him someday, there might be some 20 second spiritual message–How is it with you and the Lord?  Perhaps it might stretch into a 20 minute conversation? Then it would be over.  In all proability we would have no more conversations for the next 30 years, which would be never in this lifetime.   In what sense is President Wilson a pastor and to whom?

    I do not intend to diminish the importantance of his presidential role.  But, to me, the most important role in the SDA  Church is sthat of the congregational pastor.  I will suggest that to call the President of the world-wide SDA Church a pstor is to fail to understand the role played bythe congregational pastor and effectiely diminishes it.

    • William Noel
      06 July 2013 @ 2:01 pm


      While I disagree with Elder Wilson on several items and have been critical of him for them, I must give him credit for his participation in the New York evangelistic effort.  He spent a number of years working in the city in the 70s and 80s so I imagine for him it was a "going home" opportunity to work again in familiar territory.  He also has been an advocate of church leaders getting more involved on the local level in ways such as that so they will not become separated from the membership.  So I applaud his involvement and leadership by example.

  2. Gregory Matthews
    06 July 2013 @ 2:54 pm

    I was not speaking to that.  I confined my remarks to hils desire that people call him"Pastor."

    Participation in periodic evangelism, by President Wilson, does not cover the responsibilities of a congregational pastor.

    • Monte Sahlin
      06 July 2013 @ 3:16 pm

      The title "Pastor" for a conference president (at any level) is the result of history. There is no Bible text directing as to the correct nomenclature.

      When the Adventist movement began, most Christian denominations used the title "Pastor" for a local leader in a parish or congregation and the title "Bishop" for a leader of pastors in any given territory. (Bothof these titles are used in the New Testament and are entirely biblical.) Early Adventists decided not to use the title "Bishop" for two major reasons: (A) The negative history associated with the way Bishops in the medieval period exercised dictatorial power modeled after the government authorities of the time (kings, princes, etc.). And (B) because in the early decades there were very few clergy among Adventists and the few ministers had to serve both as pastors and leaders of pastors.

      This history has led to the fundamental understanding that Adventist presidents are primarily pastors; pastors of local pastors and the wider fellowship. They are to exercise a pastoral style of leadership, not a princely approach.

  3. Ella M
    06 July 2013 @ 6:22 pm

      I am happy for the outreach in New York and hope this is the beginning of something big.

    I do hope that individual pastors are there following up on the baptisms with the required pastoring skills that Gregory was referring to.

  4. Gregory Matthews
    14 July 2013 @ 2:03 am

    [quote]This history has led to the fundamental understanding that Adventist presidents are primarily pastors; pastors of local pastors and the wider fellowship. They are to exercise a pastoral style of leadership, not a princely approach.[/quote]

    The idea that a Conference President could be a pastor of a local pastor raises an ethical issue of dual role/relationship.

    The administrative role that a President has rules out that same person filling the role of a being a pastor to alocal pastor.  In fact, as many of our SDA clergy will tell you by personal experience, they have seen that one simply can not fill those two roles at the same time.  It does not work.  By experience, it has not worked all too often.

    I am reminded of a ministerial director,  when I was a congregational pastor who informed another pastor that the ministerial director would represent his interests at a meeting that would discuss whether or not to retain the local pastor.  When the meeting took polace, it was the ministerial director who made the motion to terminate the employment of the local pastor.   That ministerial director went on to become a Union President.

    Any administrator who beleives that he/she can fulfill the role of Administrator and Pastor at the same time simply does not understand ethics.

    I will suggest that President Wilson should be highly respected for the important role that he fills.  But, the highest role lin the SDA Church should be that of the congregational pastor who works with the members on a 24/7 basis.  No administrator can do that at the same hime he/she is an administrator.  To call President Wilson "Pastor" is to diminish the role of the congregational pastor.

  5. Elaine Nelson
    14 July 2013 @ 3:58 am

    Thank you, Gregory, for your plain and simple reason why no one can wear "two hats" when he only has one head.