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The latest Adventist theological formulations, and their administrative extensions and applications, are separating us far from non-Adventists, but are also splitting our church diffusely from within.

Can we be united as a church in worship? We express emotions through our primary values. But what do we do when our value systems differ or even collide? How do we function as a church when what is normal for one side of the world is unacceptable for the rest of us?

So many voices have been heard, and yet not. So, many arguments have been presented, and yet, we are not finished arguing. So many women are working in ministry, and VERY few of them were at the Annual Council meeting on Sunday. I watched, and I listened, and I suddenly understood that I was holding a grudge against all the people in favor of the proposal represented. I was snorting, laughing at the people in favor, feeling they insulted me and all the people not in favor of the proposal discussed. 

The General Conference overreaches its authority when it goes beyond basic biblical issues and attempts to dictate the ministry methods of the whole world. Resisting this overreach is not rebellion. It is returning to the wisdom of our forebears.

A woman is not a second-class citizen and surely is not second class in God’s creation. There are not hierarchies in God’s kingdom.

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It is difficult to discern what could be fueling this descent into authoritarianism, of which shaming is an outgrowth. On the surface it seems to be about denying women the same privileged ownership to the ministry that their male counterparts take for granted. But at its core it is about control.

To expend hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring delegates from across the globe to vote a document that can do severe damage to the mission of the church is reckless and (forgive me) borders on theological insanity.

Before we are anything else, we’re Christians. And as followers of Christ, we have overwhelmingly more that binds us together than divides us. Or at least we should.

The AdventNetwork, a forum of both lay church members and pastors in the Southern Africa Union Conference, has penned an open letter to the General Conference regarding its compliance committee system.

Is this my church? Is this the church of James and Ellen White, of J. N. Andrews, of A. T. Jones, champion of religious liberty? It is not. The ideas emanating from the GC are alien to our past history, to the Reformation, to the life and teachings of Jesus. I protest. I cannot remain silent.

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