Ohio Conference President Responds to Pipim Rebaptism
by Monte Sahlin
By AT News Team, July 10, 2014
Pastor Ron Halvorsen, Jr., president of the Ohio Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, issued a statement yesterday (July 9) in response to “numerous inquiries” generated by the re-baptism of Dr. Samuel Pipim. The baptism took place at the Columbus Ghanaian Adventist Church, which is part of the Ohio Conference. The statement indicates that conference administration was not aware of the event until after it happened, the pastor who conducted the baptism is from a different conference and the pastor of the church was out of the country at the time.
The re-baptism “does not mean that Pipim is once again a Seventh-day Adventist minister,” Halvorsen wrote. “The Ohio Conference will not recognize or endorse any attempt by Pipim to resume a denominational ministry within our conference. Ohio Conference pastors have been instructed to not have Pipim preach, teach, or lead in any of our conference churches. We ask our local church leadership to refrain from inviting Pipim to preach, teach, or lead out in our churches as well.”
“A minister from the Georgia-Cumberland Conference did re-baptize Pipim on Friday evening, June 20,” the statement says. “I have been told the pastor of the church where the baptism took place was on a mission trip in Ghana during this time,” Halvorsen stated. “The Ohio Conference was unaware of this event until it was seen on Facebook several days after it took place. When I first heard that Pipim had been re-baptized, I believed it must have been in another conference because I did not recognize the name of the pastor who baptized him” because he is not one of Halvorsen’s pastoral team.
“I have been unable to personally speak with this pastor regarding the details surrounding this re-baptism and how it came about, but will be speaking with him at the first possible opportunity,” Halvorsen told his members. It is unclear why key leaders were left out of the loop in the preparations for an event that had already been the topic of considerable discussion in the neighboring Michigan Conference, where that president has also made it clear that the move was ill-advised and that a decision has already been made that Pipim will not be allowed to return to pastoral ministry or hold any leadership role in the church.
Halvorsen put the event in perspective. “What does this mean for the Ohio Conference and the Seventh-day Adventist denomination? It simply means that Samuel Pipim was re-baptized at a local church in Ohio, where I have been told he has family. It does not mean that Pipim is once again a Seventh-day Adventist minister. The Ohio Conference will not recognize or endorse any attempt by Pipim to resume a denominational ministry within our conference. Ohio Conference pastors have been instructed to not have Pipim preach, teach, or lead in any of our conference churches. We ask our local church leadership to refrain from inviting Pipim to preach, teach, or lead out in our churches as well.”
Adventist Today has previously reported on both the divisive issues related to Pipim and his sexual misconduct and abusive behavior toward women. He continues to publish books and a Web site dealing with topics of religion and Bible study.