A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning
Instead of writing on politics within the American government, this week’s article is about our own Seventh-day Adventist politics. On Oct. 18, the Executive Committee of the General Conference, which is made up of officials in the Adventist church from around the world, met to vote on a policy about compliance.
This vote was mainly in response to the explosive women’s ordination issue and the fact that some unions ordained women against GC rules. Everyone’s all riled up from this meeting on Sunday, but what actually happened?
First, let’s look at the document in question. This document was written to address how the church should deal with church entities (local churches, conferences, unions and educational institutions) that aren’t in compliance with GC rules, i.e. the unions ordaining women.
The document outlines the proper steps for enforcing compliance, beginning with reporting the non-compliance to the organization closest to the matter. Meaning, if there’s a union that ordains women, it becomes the responsibility of the division to report it.
The next stipulation is if the organization closest to the issue doesn’t report it, the next highest level must. Following the earlier example, if the division doesn’t report it, then the GC gets to make the final decision. After the report has been filed, a plan must be made to bring the matter back into compliance.
Now comes the fun part. If the plan isn’t followed and the entity continues to be non-compliant, a written warning will be issued. After that comes a public reprimand, which means every time they go to a fancy-pants meeting within the GC, the agenda notes will list them as “non-compliant.”
Lastly, if this doesn’t motivate them to follow the rules, the leaders of the organization are subject to possible removal.
During the discussion of the policy, the foundational opinions of each side became evident. Those who were for the policy’s passing stated the necessity of unity within the church and that consequences for breaking rules must be enforced.
Those against the policy argued that it would change the structure of the church to operate from the top-down, so the GC can interfere in local church matters. Not to mention, achieving complete unity by kicking out people with different viewpoints seems pretty shady. Unfortunately, the vote passed to enforce this compliance issue and there has been a lot of outrage.
Is the church still putting Jesus at the center of their mission? Or has it become just a blind allegiance to the organization?
Ashley Bower is a junior studying english language arts education.