If you vote for Jack he promises to resign…
by Jack Hoehn, June 17, 2015: “Hello, I was thinking of running for the office of President of the General Conference next month in San Antonio, and was wondering if I could count on your support?”
Motivated by the excitement in American political parties for the office of President of the United States, including a Seventh-day Adventist (retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson) as one candidate, and another candidate with an Adventist wife (US Senator Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi), at least 6 announced or likely candidates are going to ask for the Democratic party nomination, and 20 Republicans have or will thrown their hats into the ring. Ben Carson is African-American, Hillary Clinton is a woman, and Lindsay Graham has never married. Some, such as Senator Cruz, are Hispanic, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has east-Indian parents and there are lots of married white guys running for the job, so Americans can’t say they don’t have any choices.
But in addition to these 26 prominent souls from the dominant parties, there are literally hundreds of other candidates for the presidency of the USA from smaller third parties like the American Freedom Party, the Constitution Party, the Green Party, the Justice Party, the Libertarian Party, the Objectivist Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Reform Party USA, the Socialist Party USA, and then my personal favorites, the Independents of no party who number in the scores, usually as write-in candidates, but who have filed in one or more states to be on the ballot.
So after I form an exploratory committee of “Jack for President of the GC,” and set up an advisory board of senior politicians (whoops, I mean senior church administrators), and most important of all, when I start getting enough large cash donations from all of you to fund a major TV campaign promoting my virtues to be president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist church, I think it only wise that we have more than one candidate for this office.
If the mere presidency of only one of the 196 nations on the face of this earth (admittedly, one of the larger ones) is important enough to generate this much interest and so many choices, surely the administrative head of God’s work on earth deserves a little more interest than just a chance to live in the White House and fly around on Air Force One.
So why, dear fellow Adventists, should you vote for me?
Well, modesty and an unfortunate lack of necessary qualifications keep me from filling too many pages with the reasons to consider me as your next General Conference President, but here are a few things to consider as you decide who should lead God’s church on earth. I can think of a few minor virtues that might make you consider me, or perhaps another of the hundreds of other qualified candidates that I am sure could be worthy of the GC presidency:
- Firstly I am not a Bush, or a Kennedy, or a Clinton, or a Wilson. My father was not a President, so I don’t have to stand in my dad’s shadow and prove myself just as good a man as he.
- Second I don’t have any obligations to anyone in our church; I haven’t worked for anyone else; I haven’t even supported anyone else. No one owes me anything, and I don’t owe anyone anything.
- Thirdly I’m financially independent (family physicians don’t roll in the dough like other specialties, but I earn enough to pay taxes). So I am not overly impressed when people with lots of money from making and selling junk-food, cement mixers, mixed nuts, or garbage trucks try to tell me that things in the church have to be done their way or they will stop sending me their tithe. I’d point out to them that since I am self-supporting I don’t need their tithe. And if God does they’d better discuss this with Him and not me.
- I am not an American, although I live here. I am Canadian-born. I have lived in Austria and learned how to speak German. I lived in Lesotho and learned how to speak a little Sesotho, and also lived in Zambia for 9 years. I have lived in London, England. I love Americans, and married one, but I realize other points of view exist in this world than the American point of view. I consider this a virtue for the president of the General Conference.
- Sadly, although I lived in Africa for 13 years, I am not black or a woman; otherwise, I think I should be a shoo-in for the job in a church founded by a woman whose members are largely females of color.
- I am quite sure that God has not called me as His personal champion to defend truth, or to protect His doctrines from you. I am very willing to let all God-fearing Seventh-day Adventist people of good will have differences of interpretation, and would function as a facilitator and peace maker among different factions. I would let you decide if you want to drink Postum or coffee to keep awake during my sermons, and not drive all the coffee sellers out of the stadium to deprive you of your freedom of choice.
- I would get a large rubber stamp for my desk, and to all suggestions from different parts of the world, I would apply this stamp to your suggestion. The stamp would say:
YES, GREAT IDEA. NOW YOU FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE IT WORK!
- Finally, if elected, as my first executive action, I would immediately request the resignation of everyone over 50 from any top office, to step down into a service or pastoral ministry. I’d let the young and vigorous take God’s work forward for the 21st century and the advancement of truth. And I’d free up the older to care for children, visit the slums, help build houses for the homeless. I’d ask our children and their friends, to lead us forward into God’s will for today, instead of dragging Adventism backwards to the weakness and partial truths of our past.
So there you have my 8 point platform, dear fellow Adventists. Vote for me, and I will as my first executive action resign myself and take with me all the officers under my control who are older than God said should serve him. You do believe the Bible is inspired truth, don’t you? Then how could you be opposed to the implementation of Numbers 8:24-26:
“This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”
God regulated the priestly office and limited the age of His church leaders to 25 to 50 years. Anyone younger or older was not eligible to have a leadership position, male headship or no. So why don’t we follow this plan? God said it, I believe it, that settles it, as far as my “exploratory candidacy” is concerned.
(By the way, shouldn’t all delegates to the General Conference adhere to that Biblical age requirement? The rest of us younger and older than that can go to work for them as support staff, but not as voting delegates or leaders.)
What’s that you say? You want to vote for me, but you can’t, since we don’t vote for our church president? You say this is all handled by a small group of delegates behind closed doors? Sounds like old-fashioned party politics to me.
Well, if you are on the GC Nominating Committee could you just nominate me as a surprise write-in-candidate? Or at least consider the five, twenty, or hundreds of other people who just might make an excellent president of the General Conference, given the chance? And please remember the age for leadership the Bible advises. No one under 25, no one over 50.
Well, couldn’t you at least send me a cash contribution for my “exploratory campaign”? Or better yet, perhaps you should send a donation to Adventist Today. https://atoday.org/product/gc-coverage-donation
That way, if I am ever elected, or perhaps someone is elected who is even more qualified for the job than me, you’d be the first to know….