Stan

If there was one change the Church could do in 2017

55 posts in this topic

Green, I have substantial agreement with your listing.  However, will comment on the following:

I strongly believe that the following statement is not accurate, at least in North America.  I cannot vouch for other countries.  I acknowledge that there was a time when it was true in North America, at least for some, but I am not  certain that it was true for all.

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-- Automatically deduct tithe monies from workers' salaries, procedurally, usually without the individuals' ability to choose otherwise (you sign the consent to get the job)

I do disagree with your comment about the use of the copyrighted names for the denomination.  I can remember when, in one location, one could do  their laundry at a place that used the name of the denomination in the name of the business.    As to the copyright of the word "Adventist."  The denomination has clearly established that as a trademark and has it covered by copyright protection.  The courts have, so far, allowed those protections to exist.  However, my personal thinking is that the word "Adventist" has actually passed into the public domain and  therefore it may be used by anyone as long as one does not falsely use it to indicate a relationship with the denomination that does not exist.  I personally believe that one good attorney who knew what he/she was doing could remove that word from some of the protections that  the denomination now has.

In general, I do not believe that the following is accurate.   However, I do acknowledge that it is possible that it may have occurred  in very limited circumstances both as to an individual congregation and as to a specific ministry.

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-- Prohibit churches from forwarding donations to independent or supporting ministries.

I do believe that the denomination has had very little success  in the following:

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Force supporting ministries to sign agreements called "memorandums of understanding" (MOUs) in order to authorize their work and cooperation with the church

 

  

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Gregory,

I refused to sign the consent form for automatically taking tithe out of my salary when I worked for the church in one conference.  I was the only conference employee in that status, with all others in compliance--largely because I insisted in sometimes heavy conversation on the topic with the conference president until finally I had secured my liberty, an act of bravery seldom seen in opposing a superior for that region.  Even then, my liberty came with certain conditions to which I gave oral consent.  I am aware of this still being true today in certain places.  As such, it is still true of the "church" which is a worldwide organization, not merely a North American one.

I attempted to follow the church's wisdom in signing the MOU as a representative of another ministry, only to have the whole thing backfire.  In the end, the policy was pushed, virtually forced, division-wide.  All of the big players among the independent ministries have signed.  Where I am, we did not end up doing so.  After some research, I discovered Ellen White wrote strongly against signing such agreements.  Although, since we did not sign, we have received no support from the church, God supplied our lack.

Adventist schools in my part of the world that are operated by lay members have resorted to either removing "Adventist" from their names or shortening it to "Advent."  However, there are other groups, not Adventists, who use the term "Advent" as well, thus creating confusion.  It is no longer possible to be certain if a school is operated by Adventists around here judging by its name.  This is unfortunate, and creates inefficiencies and even pitfalls for newcomers to the area.

Wanderer has no idea what he speaks of regarding my experience, and would be wise to remain silent on it.  He is in error to say the church has not, by these policies, hindered my work.  One of the church policies regarding employment prevented me from distributing Christian books--which I had felt God calling me to do.  The church does many things well.  It also makes mistakes, and should not be seen as inerrant.  It is our duty to speak up about the wrongs we encounter, and to sigh and cry for the abominations in the church.  To remain silent and consenting is to (sinfully) agree with the wrong.  I have spoken up to the leaders in each place I have been regarding some of these things.  My voice may not have effected changes, but the decisions of the leadership were then their own responsibility, and not mine. 

To me, personally, learning of the merger of the publishing houses was the greatest blow this past year.  That was a sin.  Ellen White wrote very specifically about that, and the leaders who made the decision were aware of her comments!  As such, I find the church to have egregiously gone contrary to a "thus saith the LORD."  Our publishing houses are in danger of being closed up all around the world.

This topic is about changes we would like to see in the church.  If all were well, there would be no need of making any such.

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I actually do know what I am talking about Green. The "changes" you speak of should not stop you from doing outreach with books or literature.

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3 hours ago, Green Cochoa said:

#1:  I am not excited about it.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In place of "excited," I am dismayed and discouraged.

#2:  I have not misrepresented.  If I have, you have failed to show where and how.

#3:  It is according to the Lord's will that each be both "fully persuaded in his own mind" and have independence to work for the Lord as he sees fit, without others acting as conscience for him.

Those are facts.

The only thing that we MIGHT be able to call "fact" here is item #1. It could be that you do not yet even realize the correct word to put in there. I can only say how it is coming across to me. I dont speak for anyone else here on the forum. Others may feel differently

I actually am proud of you for standing up to the policy of tithe being automatically deducted. I have always thought that was wrong. I have been a church employee on two different occasions, and I actually do know how it goes. I think that one thing which needs changing is the whole way the church leadership views and practices the whole tithing thing. That is, they need to change what they think it means when someone does, or does not put a tithe envelope in the offering plate. Many times they have no idea what it means. I think of one poor fellow I was friends with, years ago, and he had not put any tithe or offering in the plate for a month. There were questions, rumors, and allegations that started to circulate, my friend was an elder. as was I at the time. I was the only one who knew why he was not tithing, and I had to call the church board together for a meeting to tell them before they went crazy and defrocked him. The reason he did not say anything at first was because he was embarrassed to admit he was on welfare temporarily. and I have to admit that I was embarrassed and angry when they still decided to remove him from the elders group.

Green; I dont have to prove anything to you about your situation. My only license here would be to say what my experience was, and how something I have said could indicate that you are not handling the issues at hand very well. I think this thread should have a rule that no one gets to complain about the Church, without showing what wrong thing they too have done in the matter being complained about.

For eg, above I said the church needs to change the way they practice "acceptance."  And as soon as I said that, I saw several ways that I also was guilty of not doing things well in that department when it comes to treating others the way I want to be treated. .

But none of the things you listed, whether or not they are true, should stop you from distributing literature or from other ministry. I made the decision to quit my employment with the church so that I could do that more freely, so yes. I think I know very well what i am talking about when i say the church cannot prevent you from working for Jesus if you decide that you really want to. Maybe you are like I once was?  So upset and discouraged that you cannot do it right now. But that is not the church's decision to make. That was mine; and this decision you are in the middle of is your's alone to make. When the church mergered thos 3 publishers in your area; how would that stop you from "distributing books?"

 

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18 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

I actually do know what I am talking about . . .

It's human nature to think so.

When you've walked a mile in my shoes, you'll be certain to update your perspective.  You have no clue, really, as to what I've experienced.  You probably did not know that in some conferences of the church on this planet, the conference-employed literature evangelism director is prohibited from selling books by local policy.  It has to do with the GC policy that forbids a "conflict of interest" in having multiple sources of income.  Since he's paid a salary, he cannot also sell books.  It is very ironic, of course, that the LE director cannot have any experience doing what he supposedly teaches to others (to non-conference employees, because employees could not sell books per the same policy).  Furthermore, such a policy flies in the face of Ellen White's counsels.  Mrs. White taught that pastors should sell books.  For example: "I have been shown that the most precious ministry can be done by canvassing, and that by ministers. By doing this work, they will obtain a varied experience and will be doing the very work that the apostle Paul did." --Ellen White.

You said:

11 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

But none of the things you listed, whether or not they are true, should stop you from distributing literature or from other ministry.

Again, you have no idea what you are talking about with respect to my personal experience.  The conference I was working in at that time was the one, as my employer, which contacted the labor department on my behalf which issued my missionary visa to the country, including my work permit.  Had I not complied, I would have had to leave the country.  That's a pretty big show stopper, don't you think?  It's hard to distribute books when you cannot physically be present to do so.  The church in that location did use its powers for securing visas to control which foreign missionaries were allowed to stay.  I will not go into further details on this.  I'm not here to bash the church.  These are simply statements of fact relative to my experience which you ought never to have needed in order to have some respect for what I have shared.  Suffice it to say, I am happy to no longer be working for the church.  As an independent, they can no longer stop me from distributing books.  [Now it's the government stopping me (another story)].  But this, again, underscores the need for the church to have a paradigm shift in its perspective regarding control of the workers.

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3 minutes ago, Green Cochoa said:

.  Suffice it to say, I am happy to no longer be working for the church.  As an independent, they can no longer stop me from distributing books.  [Now it's the government stopping me (another story)].  But this, again, underscores the need for the church to have a paradigm shift in its perspective regarding control of the workers.

I knew it! You should have said so in the first place. You have also not walked in my shoes and should likely claim less privilege to be saying what I am really thinking.

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Would the 1844 doctrine exist if Ellen White had not had a vision about it? Why is it that no other Christian group or theologians have been able to look at the scripture and come up with the same year and resultant doctrine? 

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Green:

I am glad to dialogue with you and as I have never claimed perfection, I appreciate any disagreement that you may have with what I have said.  So, I will respond again:

1) Tithe deducted:  I am aware that even in the NAD, denominational employees are often required to pay tithe to the Conference that employees them.  I am not aware that they also may still be required to have the tithe deducted from their salary by the Conference that employees them.  I strongly object to that.  God has left the calculation of tithe to the individual person and in my thinking, for the Conference to do that calculation violates the will of God.

I will relate my personal experience:  As a congregational pastor of a 3-church district, the Conference Treasurer was sitting in my home going over the records of the three churches that I pastored.  All of a sudden I heard him exclaim:  Why you are paying a honest tithe.  I immediately asked him what he meant.  He replied that I was clearly paying tithe through two of my congregations and the Conference had only checked for payment through one of the congregations.  I then engaged him in a conversation that included several aspects of this issue that do not need to be stated in this post.  :)

2)  As to the use of the word "Adventist.:"  I believe that the authority that the denomination presently has over the use of that word could be overturned by a competent attorney who knew what they were doing.  The problem is that such would require funding that few have.  The present use  of such names by the so called Reform Movement  is one, but not the only, example of what I am talking about.  In my opinion, the denomination would lose any attempt to prevent the use of the word Adventist. 

3)  As to the sale of SDA publications:  There are aspects of denominational policy on that which I  believe are ill-advised and prevent the circulation of our books.  So, while I might not agree with every aspect of what you think, I do have, I think, substantial agreement. 

4) As to the Conference LE not being allowed to sell books:  In my experience that was allowed, but only in concert with working with the individual LEs and in such cases the employee received the financial credit for the sales that the Conference LE made.  My agreement   with that policy stems from the idea that in "ethics" one must avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest as well as the actual fact.  That is the ethical standard in the world at large and as such I will suggest that it is important that it be followed.  NOTE:  Please do not give me a current example from the political world around us in which that appearance is seemingly not being followed.   :)

5)  As to the response that The Wanderer made to you:  You have come across to me as over reacting a bit.   I would suggest that it might be well to cool it a bit.  I think that you made some points in responding to him.  But, I think that you would have done yourself better by being a bit more relaxed.  Just a piece of unasked for advice which I have given you free of charge and you obviously do not have to agree with.   :)

6)  As to your no longer working for the denomination:  People who are doing a work for he Lord are not all required to be denominational employees.  You can work for the Lord outside of denominational employment.  On a personal basis, I agree that such is probably best for you and the denomination.  That is not a negative perception of you.  So, do not take it as such.

Green, blessings on you.  In all of your life, may you follow the leading of God, wherever God may take you, even when it is in a direction that you do not expect.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Green Cochoa said:

It's human nature to think so.

When you've walked a mile in my shoes, you'll be certain to update your perspective.  You have no clue, really, as to what I've experienced.  You probably did not know that in some conferences of the church on this planet, the conference-employed literature evangelism director is prohibited from selling books by local policy.  It has to do with the GC policy that forbids a "conflict of interest" in having multiple sources of income.  Since he's paid a salary, he cannot also sell books.  It is very ironic, of course, that the LE director cannot have any experience doing what he supposedly teaches to others (to non-conference employees, because employees could not sell books per the same policy).  Furthermore, such a policy flies in the face of Ellen White's counsels.  Mrs. White taught that pastors should sell books.  For example: "I have been shown that the most precious ministry can be done by canvassing, and that by ministers. By doing this work, they will obtain a varied experience and will be doing the very work that the apostle Paul did." --Ellen White.

You said:

Again, you have no idea what you are talking about with respect to my personal experience.  The conference I was working in at that time was the one, as my employer, which contacted the labor department on my behalf which issued my missionary visa to the country, including my work permit.  Had I not complied, I would have had to leave the country.  That's a pretty big show stopper, don't you think?  It's hard to distribute books when you cannot physically be present to do so.  The church in that location did use its powers for securing visas to control which foreign missionaries were allowed to stay.  I will not go into further details on this.  I'm not here to bash the church.  These are simply statements of fact relative to my experience which you ought never to have needed in order to have some respect for what I have shared.  Suffice it to say, I am happy to no longer be working for the church.  As an independent, they can no longer stop me from distributing books.  [Now it's the government stopping me (another story)].  But this, again, underscores the need for the church to have a paradigm shift in its perspective regarding control of the workers.

Well, why would one not want to comply with whatever it takes to get into another country to sell the books? And how does the church doing that for you constitute "a show stopper?" I see you are taking things personally, and really emphasizing how I "have no idea," and asserting that I "have no respect,"  and yet you still feel free to say "You probably dont...." and then you fill in the blank with what you yourself dont know. lol Thats an adhominem smokescreen if I ever saw one. I worked for two years as a Literature Evangelist and i do know what goes on. Just because I didnt watch every move you made back then it does not follow that I 'have no idea."  The church has all kinds of rules and practices that can be a show stopper IF we let it. Most of the time, its not the church that makes that choice.  I made the choice to quit because I did not want those church strictures anymore. I suspect thats the kind of thing that happened in your case; and i say that based on information you provided, how that you are now an "independent worker." I am not sure how welcoming I would feel with someone who has your kind of "disappointment" or anger, coming to my door. I would challenge you to examine yourself carefully and make sure that you are the right kind of worker. It sounds like you are upset still with things.  When I was in the business, there were two kinds of literature evangelists. One sold books, and the other worked WITH Jesus to spread the gospel. To the latter kind, it was/is never a situation of just "selling books." I did not let any beef with the church I had become a show stopper for me, and I know that others can also make the same decision; when they feel God is calling them to the ministry.

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1 hour ago, Gregory Matthews said:

My agreement   with that policy stems from the idea that in "ethics" one must avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest as well as the actual fact.

I will respond to just this point.  Who is your employer?

 

I consider myself to work for God.  It is NEVER a conflict of interest to do two things for Him at once, provided I am temperate with my time and energy.  If they both give me an income, so much the better, as I will then have more resources to use in furthering God's work.  God's work is NOT merely an 8-5 job, as the Conference had it (though I regularly did work overtime).  For more perspective on the matter, I would recommend checking the Ellen White CD for "signing agreements".

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Green; I will apologize for making you feel that I am being "disrespectful," and would like to point out that I did find some agreement with you on the tithe question/problem. We are two different people in two different worlds. There will be agreements and disagreements. Its up to us how we handle them. :)

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Posted (edited)

BTW, EGW was not talking about the literature Evangelism work when she addressed "the signing of agreements"
 

Quote

 

The Signing of Agreements.

To the managers of our sanitarium, and to our physicians, nurses, and medical missionary workers throughout the world, I am instructed to say that it is our duty highly to respect Dr. J. H. Kellogg and his associates in the medical missionary work at Battle Creek. We should feel profoundly thankful for the work that God has wrought through the labors of His faithful servants in the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and especially for Dr. Kellogg's steadfast adherence to and advocacy of the principles of hygienic reform.  {SpM 366.1} 

 

 

Edited by The Wanderer

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Green, every denominational employer for whom I have worked has expected that I work more than 8 - 5, 40 hours a week and at no extra pay.  SDA pastors are clearly expected to work more than an 8 l- 5 job.

By the way, in both my service as a military chaplain and as a VA chaplain, I was expected to work additional hours at no additional pay.  That expectation even included a time when I was an hourly worker and only paid by the hour for the hours that I worked.  Even then, I was expected to put in unpaid hours.

NOTE:  For aprox. 10 years, as a VA employee, I was an hourly worker officially expected to work 20 hours a week for much of that time.  When first hired  it was at less than 20 hours a week of official pay.

As to ethics and who one works for:  By accepting pay for  services rendered, one incurs an ethical obligation toward the human source of that pay.  Therefore any Conference LE leader should avoid even the appearance of evil by not competing with the other LEs in the sale of literature.

NOTE:  I am well aware that if you wished, you could propose a situation where I might say differently.  Let us not go that route.  I am simply responding to your post and the way that you worded it.

 

 

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16 hours ago, Green Cochoa said:

I believe the church most needs a change in structural philosophyThe church must cease and desist from its continual efforts to centralize, to organize under a single leadership entity or organization, to legitimize and enforce "memorandums of understanding" upon supporting ministries in an effort to essentially annex them to the church, and in general to "bureaucratize" the work of the Lord's servants.

I agree.  The concept of there being one "true" denomination is problematic because the organization becomes the focus of attention.  Naturally, the power-hungry will seek to gain control of it, while the devout will seek to keep it pure, and it's very difficult to tell the difference, even within one's self. 

The Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another, but doing that --especially when it is denominational leadership that has erred-- threatens to tarnish "the denominational name" or reputation, so confessing the mistakes of the organization and owning up to them often goes out the window.  The results of that are debilitating spiritually.

I don't see anywhere in Scripture where Jesus authorized his followers to form a denomination.  Even the word "church" doesn't belong in the Bible, if it were translated correctly. 

When Jesus was on earth, he operated largely outside the realm of the existing organized religious authority and structure.  Jesus didn't need religious power or political influence. 

A re-evaluation and change of structural philosophy is definitely needed.

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5 hours ago, Gregory Matthews said:

As to ethics and who one works for:  By accepting pay for  services rendered, one incurs an ethical obligation toward the human source of that pay.  Therefore any Conference LE leader should avoid even the appearance of evil by not competing with the other LEs in the sale of literature.

NOTE:  I am well aware that if you wished, you could propose a situation where I might say differently.  Let us not go that route.  I am simply responding to your post and the way that you worded it.

No man can serve two masters.  I serve the Heavenly one.  The human authorities do not have the right to tell me how to serve Him.

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Green:  Then they have the right to separate you from their employment and financial  pays.

When you accept their funds, then they have a right to tell you what to do.

At that point you have the right to say "no" and separate from their employment.  No problem.

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1 hour ago, Green Cochoa said:

No man can serve two masters.  I serve the Heavenly one.  The human authorities do not have the right to tell me how to serve Him.

You have not been asked to "serve two masters." 

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20 hours ago, Sojourner said:

Would the 1844 doctrine exist if Ellen White had not had a vision about it? Why is it that no other Christian group or theologians have been able to look at the scripture and come up with the same year and resultant doctrine? 

Yes it would have. No, no other church or theologian have formulated quite what we have. But they all have the different elements spread among different churches and theologians. Some have even been discussing with our theologians in forming their own doctrine of judgment and like ours even if they don't buy every detail of it.

There is a big difference between if we were to claim to have this doctrine but with nothing to back it up. Here again like I said you can learn about the cycles from with both the Investigative Judgment and the Year day theory are applications of in Henri Frankfort and others "Before Philosophy" The year-day cycle is common in the ancient world. Scholars in things like Egyptology, and other ancient studies all have the year-day theory. Two independent papri prove that the decree for the decree to rebuild and restore was effective on the day of atonement 457 BC. etc. etc. No the others have not put it together like we did, but you can find all the aspects of the doctrine spread out among the other churches and theologians and historians. So which other person's view should we give up so that we don't have our doctrine. As I said if no one had any of the parts then maybe we are wrong. But when we keep finding parts of it spread among the others that indicated that we are right.

 

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On 01/04/2017 at 5:26 AM, Gregory Matthews said:

Green:  Then they have the right to separate you from their employment and financial  pays.

When you accept their funds, then they have a right to tell you what to do.

At that point you have the right to say "no" and separate from their employment.  No problem.

This type of "ethical" thinking diverges significantly from the work ethic taught by Mrs. White.  She makes it clear that individual liberties in service to God must be respected, and that no individual should feel it his or her duty to dictate to others what or how to do the work.  There is a stark contrast between working together in harmony, and lording it over each other, "as the Gentiles do."  Jesus taught His disciples a different way than the typical "hierarchy."  It seems many in our church today still haven't gotten His message.  Oh, and perhaps shockingly to some, Mrs. White advocated church support for independent ministry at times.  Furthermore, she goes so far as to recommend doctors be paid by tithe monies to work alongside pastors in gospel work.  Our church has seemingly a narrow vision of what the work should look like--mostly patterned after the world.  That's why I have urged in this topic a change of structural philosophy.  This is truly a needed change.  And I believe until the change is made (will the "old guard" have to pass on before it can happen?), the church will never be able to join hands with the laity in a cooperation that will finish the work.  Yet until that cooperation is reached, the work will not be finished--according to Mrs. White.

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Green said:

  There is a stark contrast between working together in harmony, and lording it over each other, "as the Gentiles do." 

Recently, one of the area SDA congregations in the area where I  live decided that in an attempt to reach people in their area who had not been reached, the congregation would sponsor a "Creation Health" meetings.

For the purpose of this discussion, let us say that the Head Elder in that congregation decided that he  needed to conduct a series of meetings, on the same date and at the same time as the CH meetings. 

I would say that in the above situation, the local congregation would have every right to tell the Head Elder that he/she could not tell people that those meetings were sponsored by the local congregation.

Being open, I will say that a better course of action might be to have both meetings.  I would say that perhaps God could lead in both.  but, that is not my point.  My point is the right of the local congregation to decide to only sponsor one.

I can understand that you probably feel that in the past you have been victimized by people who have lorded it over you.  Perhaps you have.  Your experiences are a part of your personal life.  But, I would ask you this:  Can you say with confidence that you have never done the same to others?

  

 

 

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In psychology, in working with people, one task may be to help  people to become aware the power that they may have.  Yes, there may be consequences of exercising that power.  But, people have power.

This is true within the Church.

I am reminded of a congregation that had been asked to consider an evangelistic series and the Conference had recommended a person.  That person took over the main Sabbath service, where he presented his thinking as to what should happen if he did a series.  Following his presentation, the local leaders were to meet and decide, with the individual congregational members having the opportunity to share their thinking.

At the end of the service I found the Head Elder.  I asked him if he had noted the number of people who had walked out of the service while the  man was still preaching.  When he said that he had noted it, I responded:  The message they were telling you is that this congregation is not going to support him in any meetings that he holds.  If he holds meetings here, they will fail, due to a lack of support.  He responded that he agreed with me and he would recommend that this person not come to hold meetings.  That is what happened.

I am not going to name names in this public forum.  But, I could do so.  I am aware to congregational pastors who have said "NO" to high level elected denominational officials.

People have power. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Gregory Matthews said:

Can you say with confidence that you have never done the same to others?

Yes, I can.  At least, in my mature life.  (Let's leave childhood out, ok?)

1) In most cases I was not placed in a position where I could exercise any degree of authority.

2) In the places where I was in charge, I granted large liberties to those under me to do as they saw fit, in their own wisdom and service to the Lord.

 

Most administrators do not do as I did.  I believe their spirit of control, however, runs contrary to scripture and Ellen White.  Mrs. White said no one should hunger for positions of authority.  Unfortunately, the ones usually in such positions are there because they much desired to be.  The times when I was in authority were not because I had desired such, but because others chose me for that position.  In every case, their choice came as a surprise to me.

I discovered, as the one in charge, that there were two kinds of workers:

1) Those who thrived in the liberties granted them, and who were motivated to shine by them; and

2) Those who were so accustomed to being told what to do that they were lost in the environment of "do your best work for the Lord."

 

One of my staff in group 1 went on to work at another institution, with high recommendation from me.  At institution #2, the freedoms were those of the usual hierarchical system--i.e. they were expected to follow orders.  This staff member did not do well in that environment, and ended up leaving and/or being let go/fired.  On the other side, those who've grown dependent on following someone else's will on things do not find adequate structure in freedom, and will not do well.  Mrs. White addresses the latter condition and points the finger of blame toward those of authority who in the past trained such workers, stripping them of their God-given rights.

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Green, I am not going to personalize this discussion by focusing on your life and whether or not you do what you criticize others for doing.  This forum is not the place for such.  I do appreciate your response.

Again, I do not in any way challenge you as to your personal experience.

But, I will comment further on your comments in regard to the denomination, at least as I understand them, and as I have experienced them.

*  Fundamental to this issue is the individual that the power that each person has.   None of us can totally control the circumstances of our lives.  But, to a greater, or lessor extent each of us has some level of freedom as to how we respond to the circumstances that we are in, even if we do not have total freedom. On some levels, we all have the power to say "no."

*  If we decide to say no, that may mean that our relationship is ended, either through our choice, of by others with the power to end it.    But, in either case, the power is in our hands.

*  I can personally testify that I have done such, both in the U.S. Army, as an employee of the Veterans' Administration, and in working for a SDA Conference.  Now, I have paid a price for doing such.  In the Army it cost me promotions.  In the VA, it cost me a supervisory positon.  As a denominational pastor, I chose to leave congregational ministry, which I deeply loved, and move into another field of ministry.  But, in every situation, I am deeply convinced that God was able to use me in ministry and protected me when people whom I had made angry wanted to terminate my employment.

*  Green, you come across to me as strongly independent.  I can understand as so am I.   You probably do not realize the extent to which I am independent.  IOW  I am much more like you than you realize.  As a very independent person, one of the struggles that I have   is to work cooperatively with others.  You come across to me as having the same issue in your life.  Yes, I may be wrong.  But, that is how you come across to me.

*  You reference EGW as to your understanding of comments that she has made about not lording it over others.  I will suggest, and you will probably know the references, both EGW and the Bible talk about the importance of cooperatively working together on common goals.  In fact, that is part of the Biblical admonition that we should not neglect to worship together.

*  I can say that God has used me, to include my independence, to accomplish tasks the God has given me.  I will also say that denominational authorities have recognized such.  But, this post is not gong to center on me and how God has used me.

*  Instead I will simply say that God has taken imperfect people like me and placed us in positions where we could best be used, and has attempted to mature us in the process.  I will suggest that the same can apply to you.  I do not see you as perfect,  just as I am not perfect.  I do not believe that God is through with you.  God may have much more in mind for you if you will listen and respond.

 

Blessings on you, Green.

 

 

The Wanderer likes this

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12 hours ago, Green Cochoa said:

  Our church has seemingly a narrow vision of what the work should look like--mostly patterned after the world.  That's why I have urged in this topic a change of structural philosophy.  This is truly a needed change.  And I believe until the change is made (will the "old guard" have to pass on before it can happen?), the church will never be able to join hands with the laity in a cooperation that will finish the work.  Yet until that cooperation is reached, the work will not be finished--according to Mrs. White.

I am sorry to hear that your experience is the way you have been describing it. I do understand somewhat, the challenges you are talking about. It can be hard to work "cooperatively" with others who have a different or the wrong mindset. But I would add that there are many examples from around the world of the church "joining hands with the laity" and doing God's work. I am thankful for these examples, and I think that they are safe in God's control and that Jesus is able to work through them, inspite of the ones who are "patterned after the world."

Gregory Matthews and phkrause like this

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