by Andy Hanson, March 4, 2015: In the Cover Feature of the Adventist Review of February 26, 2015, Nathan Brown makes a clumsy attempt to soften the rhetoric, discharge the passion, and change the clear and unmistakable clarity of expression of Ted Wilson’s inaugural speech into fuzzy religious platitudes. His four-page essay is written to provide help in “Getting Past The Buzz Words” that threaten the unity of the church. The following are direct quotes from Wilson’s speech, lest the reader forget.
From Ted NC Wilson’s milestone address to General Conference delegates July 3, 2010, entitled “Go Forward.” https://www.steps.org.au/page/go-forward-Ted-NC-Wilson.html
“Go forward, not backward…Do not succumb to the mistaken idea, gaining support even in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, of accepting worship or evangelistic outreach methods merely because they are new and “trendy”… Look WITHIN the Seventh-day Adventist Church to humble pastors, evangelists, Biblical scholars, leaders, and departmental directors who can provide evangelistic methods and programs that are based on solid Biblical principles and “The Great Controversy theme.”
“Go forward, not backward! Use Christ-centered, Bible-based worship and music practices in church services. While we understand that worship services and cultures vary throughout the world, don’t go backwards into confusing pagan settings where music and worship become so focused on emotion and experience that you lose the central focus on the Word of God…Worship methods that lift up performance and self should be replaced with a simple and sweet reflection of a Christ-centered, Biblical approach.
“Go forward, not backward! Stand for truth though the heavens fall. Don’t succumb to fanatical or loose theology that wrests God’s Word from the pillars of Biblical truth and the landmark beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Don’t be swayed with every little whim of “new” theology or complicated time chart purporting to carefully explain unusual or obscure concepts that have little to do with our overall theology and mission. The historic Biblical beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church will not be moved. The Biblical foundation will stand secure to the end of time.
“Go forward, not backward! Stand firm for God’s Word as it is literally read and understood…Don’t go backwards to misinterpret the first eleven chapters of Genesis or other areas of Scripture as allegorical or merely symbolic. As just this week we have once again affirmed in an overwhelming manner, the Seventh-day Adventist Church both teaches and believes in the biblical record of creation which took place recently; in six literal, consecutive, contiguous 24 hour days. The Seventh-day Adventist church will never change its stand or belief in that foundational doctrine…To misunderstand or to misinterpret this doctrine is to deny God’s Word and to deny the very purpose of the Seventh-day Adventist movement as the remnant church of God called to proclaim the three angels’ messages with Holy Spirit power.
“Seventh-day Adventist Church members, hold your leaders, pastors, local churches, educators, institutions, and administrative organizations accountable to the highest standards of belief based on a literal understanding of Scripture. Utilize wonderful resources such as the Biblical Research Institute’s new book on hermeneutics that helps us know the correct way to interpret the Scriptures.”
In the same February 26 issue of the Adventist Review, Benjamin J. Baker authored “Who’s That Adventist Woman Beside Martin Luther King, Jr.?” That woman was Yolanda Clarke, who was then the Music Director at Union United Methodist Church in Brooklyn and a member of the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“ There were members at Ephesus who thought I shouldn’t play for Sunday churches. But whatever I did, I was going to shine for Jesus.”
When asked to perform with the official chorus for the March on Washington, Yolanda “jumped at the opportunity,” and ended up on the dais with Martin Luther King, where she heard a speech that left her “enthralled” and “spellbound.”
After the speech was over, Yolanda “just stood there and watched. I felt that God was using everybody that was at that march to speak for all of those people who couldn’t speak for themselves—the Africans who had died on the Middle Passage, the Blacks who were enslaved, the poor who had no voice. It takes everybody—from the lowest to the highest—to bring to focus the things that are vital to humanity.”
Two speeches, one memorable for its ability to exclude and humiliate,* the other to “focus on things that are vital to humanity.” General Conference delegates, if you manage to do that in July, all of us can be FREE AT LAST!
* Andy Nash, writing in the Adventist Review of March 21, 2013, opines in “Beyond Belief,” “While relationships will always factor into any church member’s experience, a new study suggests a shifting landscape in which more and more people are leaving the Adventist Church primarily because they’ve changed their beliefs.” Nash chronicles the experiences of one respondent:
“The tipping point came when I realized we couldn’t expect our sons to tell us the truth if we were modeling a lack of integrity by being active members of a church they knew we no longer believed…We did not leave because we were in any way hurt, angry, bitter, or disgruntled. We left with great grief and great loss, and we left because the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to us so compellingly that we know we could not dishonor Him by remaining in a system that does not know who He really is or what He really did.”