The Speech You Didn’t Get to Hear
This is the Presidential Acceptance Speech
You Didn’t Get to Hear
By Jack Hoehn: This is the acceptance speech you didn’t get to hear …..
“I was thinking perhaps an Angel clothed in white raiment with a trumpet in his hand had blown the trumpet loudly in each man’s ear, and then said, ‘Hear ye, Hear ye, my people, Ted meant well, but God likes Dr. Hoehn a lot and Jack’s promise to resign as soon as elected, a lot more.”
Much to the overwhelming surprise of no one, I was not elected president of the General Conference on Friday July 3, 2015. My congratulations to Elder Ted Wilson for such a hard fought and well financed campaign. I can only admire the timing of his pre-election world tours, and the powerful well-orchestrated speech he offered to the delegates just as soon as the nominating committee had been chosen on Thursday evening July 2, before he was nominated by acclaim the next day.
This, added to the fact that I am only known to you, my faithful readers, and the 500 babies and their mothers I saved by emergency Cesarean sections at our Mwami Adventist Hospital during my 9 years serving in Zambia, sort of reduced the chances of my last minute “exploratory campaign” for the GC presidency. Then there is the fact that although a Licensed Minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at that time, I was not any more ordained than if I had been a mere woman.
That technicality aside, I did think that if each and every one of the 218 men on the nominating committee (I wasn’t worried about the 34 women; either they already knew who not to vote for, or else they would just go along with the men if that was their view of their job) had had the identical vision the night before, I might have had an outside chance. So I prepared a draft acceptance speech that sadly I will not be able to give, but I can at least share it with you my readers.
DEAR SISTERS OF THE ADVENTIST WORLD,
and the lesser number of men who have decided to participate in God’s service as Adventists, I would like to start by thanking Nancy Wilson for her kind and loving care of my predecessor, her husband Ted. I realize that neither Nancy nor her husband, nor anyone else anticipated this outcome. And as my own dear wife Deanne told me, “Are you crazy, Jack?”
But since all of the men on the nominating committee had the same Angelic trumpet blast in their ear, and the identical strange and puzzling message, I stand before you tonight, very proud that God loves me, and that He is not too upset over my plan to immediately resign and return leadership of our church to our children, to those younger, stronger, and brighter than all of us over 50 years of age.
BUT BEFORE I RESIGN,
I want to tell you what Pastor Wilbur Alexander once told a graduating class at our Pacific Union College, and I paraphrase:
We are gathered here at great expense to feel good about ourselves and that we must now go from this place with renewed energy and zeal to conquer the world for Christ. But the truth is that the world is a mess, and you are a mess, and what we have been doing isn’t working and will not work in the future.
Hidden in the statistics presented to you this week is the fact that Seventh-day Adventists who once were a progressive and influential voice in the world, are now becoming inconsequential. We are losing members who are educated and thoughtful and gaining members who grasp at any glimmer of hope.
GOD LOVES THE WORLD AND WE ARE PLAYING CHURCH
Opening hymns, taking an offering, preaching a sermon, paying tithe, voting a list of doctrines, holding to past understandings while ignoring the facts staring us in the face, are irrelevant to the real needs of the world today. With the best of motives, but in ignorance, we have made the Bible look like a book for fools. When we refuse to treat it as the introduction to Truth, but not a limit on Truth.
We have likewise destroyed the usefulness of Ellen White as a messenger of Truth by the idolatry of considering her infallible.
EACH GENERATION NEEDS GOD’S TRUTH REAPPLIED
Our teenage founders had it correct. They preached Present Truth, not past truth. Our church was known as the Great Advent Movement, and it did move, leaving behind partial or incomplete ideas about Truth, and following the Spirit of God into new understandings and applications to meet the minds and hearts of men in this age, not in past ages.
WHAT YOU CAN’T DO IS NOT GOD’S TRUTH
God’s Truth is what you can do. When we slip into what you can’t do we become accusers of the brethren. “Judge not that you be not judged” is not my opinion; it is God’s commandment.
Our message is not to tell gay people what they cannot do. Our message is not to tell geologists what they cannot see in nature. Our message is not to tell women what they are not permitted to do for God. Or what tattoos and piercings people may not have. It is not to apply 19th century health advice to 21st century health problems. And we do not please God when we tell others what kind of music, what kind of instruments, and what kind of rhythms they can use to worship God.
HERE IS WHAT WE NEED TO SAY
We believe the Bible is God’s rule for life, and presents the ideals for all behavior. But we also believe that all are sinners and the Bible strongly condemns idolatry of worshiping things (money, cars, clothes, food, success, pride, power) and it calls God’s enemy the accuser. When the church specializes in accusing people of their sins, ignoring their own wealth, education, prosperity, and excess, the Bible says that we are ignoring the log in our eye, while trying to remove the mote in others eyes.
Until a sinner asks us for advice, we should never point out other’s sins; our message is Christ Jesus came to forgive sinners, of whom I am chief.
The Adventist church should be the last people in the world to point out other’s sins. And the first people in the world to welcome and encourage, and love sinners–gay people, prostitutes, addicted people, fat people, rich people, divorced people, unmarried couples of any gender, Democrats and Republicans.
Judging drives people away, Jesus attracted people, even though he was the one sinless person on the planet. We should seek to increase the number of Gay people attending in our churches, and tell them God loves them, and God will teach them how to live. The rest of us should love them and shut up, until they learn to trust us and our love for them, and they personally ask us for advice.
WE SUPPORT TRUTH NOT OPINIONS
Adventists need to tell all that Jesus is coming, and say nothing about when and how.
Adventist need to tell all that Christ is the Creator, and keep personal ideas about the science of when and how.
Adventists need invite all to Sabbath, and encourage each person to have God tell them how to keep the Sabbath.
Adventists need to have all Worship, and not limit the type of worship or the music used.
Adventist need to have all Pray, and not tell people if they have to kneel, open or close their eyes, or meditate.
Adventist need to help people honor God with their bodies, and not enforce their personal opinion on mustard, cheese, pickles, tea and coffee. We can share information, not share conclusions. We should have smoking areas in all our churches, where addicts can go when learning of God’s love for them and his desire to purify their bodies of all pollution.
WE ARE SERVANTS OF THE WORLD, NOT ITS RULING PARTY
Finally we need to remember that Jesus has many sheep not of this fold. Our job as Seventh-day Adventists is to be servants of all. We are to serve Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, and Atheists. We are to serve Islam, Buddhists, Shintoists, and Animists.
We are to care for them in our hospitals, welcome them in our schools and churches, dialogue with them, and learn from them. Our job is not to baptize them, it is the Lord who will add to his church, those he wishes to have joint us. Our job is to serve them, to help them, to love them.
In no city, state, or nation should Adventists be known as those people who are against….anybody or anything. They should be known in every nation on earth as the most helpful, most friendly, most supporting, most kind, most loving people on earth. “If you need help, no matter what you believe, go to the Adventists and there you will find help, love, and encouragement.”
We must weed out of our publications any anti-Catholic, anti-Sunday keeper, anti-Islam, anti-Gay sentiments, and replace them with pro-Jesus, pro-Love, pro-Life messages.
Our course we must be ecumenical, not to lose our beliefs, but to help others wherever we can without compromising our faith. We should say yes, whenever we can, and be the first in cooperation with other Christians for common goals. And with governments and politicians and secular organizations in all their actions for the common good and welfare of their peoples.
This “holier than thou attitude” that has characterized some of our relationships in the past is to be repented of, not perpetuated.
LIFT HIM UP
“I, if I be lifted up, will draw all unto me,” Jesus promises. You, if you be lifted up will drive all from him.
Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted; Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.
Sisters and Brothers, I have no ideas for your, no goals for you, no money for you.
Except to urge you to ask the Lord to give you your orders, discuss it with sisters and brothers in your own area of the world, and then go forward to fulfill not my dream, but Christ’s dream for his church.
But whatever you do, let it be different from what you have been doing before; we have a long ways to go back to the ideal God would have for his church.
And of course you should all pay tithe, some of you should triple tithe! But mostly for the work God gives you to do in your area, with occasional sharing with needs in impoverished fields of those second and third tithers. And no, I would not advise you to pay tithe to any organization that does not practice racial, social, and gender equality in their policies. That is so obvious to the world, I don’t understand why it is not yet obvious in the church.
AND NOW TO MY GENERAL CONFERENCE OFFICERS
The church under the direction of God, has asked me to direct you.
- My first direction is to make the General Conference and its Divisions a facilitating, coordinating organization, and stop acting to try and control Adventist thought and practice. Your job is to say Yes, we will help you accomplish what God is asking you to do. We must openly admit we have no doctrinal function except to assist Adventists in communicating and discussing questions of belief and practice.
- My next direction is that all over 50 years of age, need to offer me a letter of resignation, and a plan to turning over leadership of your department to someone between the ages of 25 and 50 years of age. Please submit me a list of possible candidates you have met in this age group, remembering to suggest women and men, and proportional suggestions from countries of origin for our world membership.
- Our legal counsel are to be directed to draft a new constitution and working policy making it clear that the local church is the fundamental authoritative unit of the church, and the local Conference is the highest authority. The Unions and Divisions of the General Conference are to function as coordinators and facilitators. These offices are not to have any title like Director or President. Chief Servant would be suitable title for my job.
- Control of Adventist publications is to be removed from the General Conference and returned to Divisions and Conferences for their areas of the world.
- Auditing and Risk Management is to be removed from the General Conference and returned to professional corporations meeting national standards in every area of the world.
- All denominational treasurers beyond the local church level must be CPA or equivalent degree qualified in their country of service.
- I would turn over the function of the Biblical Research Committee to our Universities and Colleges and our Seminary.
- I would turn over the function of the Geo-Science Institute to our Universities and Colleges and Medical Institutions
And I now turn over my resignation from this Job, based on the understanding that I will be replaced by an Adventist man or woman over age 25 and under age 50 of the Nominating Committee’s choice, affirmed by secret ballot of this convention, to be chief facilitator of our forward movements.
Thank you for the kindness of
listening to READING this speech.
Your Brother in Christ,
 I was thinking perhaps an Angel clothed in white raiment with a trumpet in his hand had blown the trumpet loudly in each man’s ear, and then said “Hear ye, Hear ye, my people, Ted meant well, but God likes Dr. Hoehn a lot and Jack’s plan to resign as soon as elected, a lot more.”
 (If any of you have questions about this, please go back to that little website scattered like the leaves of Autumn at www.Atoday.org or on Facebook at Adventist Today, all written by Adventists who are not paid to tell you what I want you to hear. There you can read my campaign piece, “Vote for Jack” where my platform is clearly explained along with supporting Bible texts.)
Positive Comments are welcome.
All Critical and Negative comments I will delete
due to my Executive Authority as the President of the GC for One Day,
so don’t bother writing them!
( Don’t worry, I’ll let you complain again next time.)