NAD Statement on 2018 General Conference Annual Council Vote
This is a very challenging time for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. Actions taken at the 2018 General Conference Annual Council meeting in Battle Creek, Michigan, did not have the outcome for the church that we had strived toward. Many of us are dealing with fear, disappointment, and even anger.
We believe that this voted document, which outlines a system of governance to address church entities not in compliance with church policy, does not follow the biblical values proclaimed by the Protestant reformers and the founders of the Adventist Church. This document, as voted, has made centralized power possible, and created a hierarchical system of governance.
In a collaborative effort, leaders in the NAD are discussing how the church in North America will move forward. Although this is difficult, amid the rancor we must keep our faith in Jesus. He is our Leader, and it is our trust in Him that will light our way. The mission, the work of the church, must and will go forward.
Policies don’t hold us together. The Spirit of God holds us together. We urge you to pray for the Church; pray that we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work, to let the Holy Spirit keep us united.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9, NIV).
— North American Division Officers
A Message to the North American Division Women Clergy
My Dear Sisters in Christ,
I am sending you this brief note to let you know that our NAD leadership team believes in your ministry. You have our confidence and the assurance that we will do all in our power to strengthen and empower you.
The action of the General Conference Executive Committee on Sunday afternoon does not alter your status. You are appreciated and needed in the overall ministry/evangelistic plan of the North American Division. Your ministry is invaluable.
Please understand that we will continue to work toward the fulfillment of our dream to have one thousand female pastors in our division. There will be some temporary setbacks along the path, but we are not deterred.
May God continue to bless and direct you in every way.
— North American Division Officers
Document Voted at Annual Council Outlines Process for Dealing With
Non-Compliant Church Entities
On Oct. 14, 2018, after more than five hours of presentations and discussion, the General Conference Executive Committee, at its Annual Council meeting, approved a recommendation from the church’s Unity Oversight Committee: the creation of a new compliance process to assist with the need to implement church policies and voted actions.
In a vote of 185 to 124, with two abstaining, the document, entitled "Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions," follows up on the October 2017 vote by the GC Executive Committee, that referred an earlier compliance proposal back for further study and revision.
A joint Adventist News Network/Adventist Review report outlines the voted process. Below is an excerpt from this report:
"The process begins with perceived non-compliance being reported to the administrative level of the Church closest to the matter. ... As part of the process, the non-compliant entity would be asked to provide evidence of compliance or a plan to 'achieve sustained compliance.'
"If no resolution is reached at the closest administrative levels, the General Conference Administrative Committee (ADCOM) may refer the matter to one of five advisory committees. These committees, termed “compliance committees” had earlier been endorsed by ADCOM."
During the Discussion
GC Executive Committee Members and invitees from the NAD spoke to the body during the discussion period before the vote.
NAD officers and union conference presidents spoke to the proposed document, saying it added in an unnecessary level of administration when current church procedures already define a process to deal with disagreements in church policy. Comments also expressed the need to bridge the differences between church entities on non-doctrinal issues. Questions were also raised on the challenge of policy interfering with mission objectives.
Jiri Moskala, dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, commented, "This document violates Sola Scriptura. ... This is the first time in history of the church that we punish our leaders on non-biblical grounds."