4 October 2018 |
A letter opposing the compliance review committee initiative is currently being circulated among African scholars for their signatures. The letter was forwarded to Adventist Today by Dr. Gerald T. du Preez, education director of the Southern Africa Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and Signs of the Times editor. The introduction identifies the intended audience as lay leaders and church employees who are “committed to God’s mission of sharing the Three Angels’ messages throughout Africa and around the world.”
“Our history as Africans in general is characterised by various forms of injustice, subjugation, unfair treatment and other forms of oppression,” says the statement.
Having suffered racial, social, colonial and even ecclesiastical injustices, it is with great sadness that we have noted that the General Conference Administrative Committee has chosen to subvert the Adventist identity of freedom by establishing and encouraging sub-entities to establish compliance review committees. One hundred and seventeen years ago (1901) our pioneers (including Ellen White) in a General Conference Session understood the dangers of consolidating decision making in the hands of a select few. … The General Conference (GCADCOM) was never created to act as a form of an “ecclesiastical police” or an investigating agency to determine violators and impose punitive measures on them. Given the complex diversity within the Adventist movement the existing Church policy has adequate provisions to deal with this complexity. No matter how well intended the GC Compliance Committees are, their existence will inadvertently lead to animosity between the various structures, institutions and members of the Church.
The letter has not yet been endorsed by the scholars. A note accompanying the open letter asks colleagues to “Read the appeal and put your name on the letter” and “Share the letter with as many colleagues as possible,” with the hope of having all signatures collected by 5 October.