"Stop the Voices!"

Randy Bierwagon

Seventh-day Adventist Church members have been experiencing a disconnect with some leaders. The voices of members are not being heard. Even the voices of members who are elected representatives assembled in General Conference Session are being ignored by the leaders of some world church Divisions. But is this perception or reality? Are some pursuing an agenda independent of the expressed will of God and His Church? Or, are such concerns only paranoia?


None need remain in doubt. The questions are answered in an article published December 27, 2012, by the North American Division Ministerial Department, explaining a plan voted by the North American Division (NAD). (Throughout this article, all emphasis is added.)

In the article ( by G. Alexander Bryant, executive secretary of the NAD, Bryant states:

"The North American Division (NAD) has voted to focus on six areas of emphasis over the next quinquennium, which we refer to as 'Building Blocks.' These building blocks are foundational for the continual growth of the North American Division."

Bryant lists the building blocks, including number six, "Women in Ministry." He clarifies that, "The focus of this article is on the 'Women in Ministry' Building Block."

This "building block" "focuses on the recruitment of more women in pastoral leadership, and it will move forward independent of the findings and conclusion of the ordination issue."

After claiming that more women pastors are needed, Bryant affirms,

"Let there be no mistaking of our resolve to make the accomplishment of God's mission within our Division territory our number one priority. Therefore, we will exercise a stubborn determination and commitment to find solutions to the many issues, which could negatively impact our ability to mobilize this mostly unused pool of resources (women) for God to effectively carry His mission forward throughout the North American territory."

This "stubborn determination" calls to mind another statement from the Spirit of Prophecy:

“…when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body" (Gospel Workers, p. 489).

Bryant continues,

"The North American Division, its Unions, and Conferences must become more intentional (as local circumstances permit) in the development of pathways to ministry for female pastors."

The "as local circumstances permit" clause is interesting. Apparently, NAD Division leaders will push the WO agenda into every space that doesn’t push back. Are you, as laypeople locally in your conference, sufficiently networked with each other to resist such attempts? Proceeding onward, Bryant asks and answers the key question:

"What is the strategy? What kind of collaborative 'Human Resources' approach is needed to initiate, develop, and implement this new 'Women in Ministry' Building Block?"

"The strategy is to design, build, and implement a process mechanism, which identifies, targets, and provides partnership to support females, who feel called by the Lord, from college level through the seminary, leading to full-employment into the local conferences. The goal and result of this strategy is to increase the number of employed female pastors by 100% over the next five years or by 2016. The strategy will also include a comprehensive approach to education and communication of the NAD membership."

Three points of action making up this strategy are listed as:

• Programs for the orientation and education of church members
• Incentivizing the hiring of greater numbers of women clergy and administrators
• Development of church administrator support structures for women clergy

Bryant concludes,

"In 2013, the North American Division will begin to aggressively implement an emphasis on 'Women in Ministry' within its territory, which will start with a communication strategy while simultaneously building partnerships with employing entities to place and identify women God has called to assist in ushering in His Second Coming. There will also be a significant financial commitment from the North American Division to support this endeavorWe cannot fail in this Building Block, and we will not fail because God's work needs and calls for these additional laborers in His field. Jesus said, 'The harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few.' Yet, there are women lined-up and standing at the gate waiting to come in to help with the Harvest. It is time to let them in!"

Again, a Spirit of Prophecy statement comes to mind;

"The spirit that led to the apostasy in heaven is in unceasing activity in all parts of the worldSatan flatters his subjects with the assurance that their forces will be sure to conquer" (Manuscript 96, 1904, p. 2).

Have the strategies above described been carried out? Have they been "aggressively" implemented?


All three strategies should concern us.

"Development of church administrator support structures" means, so it appears, making certain that the right individuals are in place as conference presidents and administrators who will work relentlessly to advance this strategy. Nominating Committee and Executive Committee members need to be alert and do their own research, considering as eligible for service only those names who demonstrate full support for the World Church and decisions reached in General conference Session.

"Incentivizing" means that the NAD provides financial incentives to the local Conference drawn from the tithe returned to God by NAD constituents. This policy sends the message to young men who might seek to prepare for the ministry that their work is less desired than the work of women. The NAD is incentivizing a practice intended to lead to the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, and doing so using the very tithe faithfully returned by NAD members, many of whom disagree with placing women in the male spiritual leadership role of elder. (NAD Working Policy requires that women serving as pastors be ordained as local elders.) When tithe is used for a political purpose, members are discouraged from returning it through regular channels. We don't want to see that happen. We want the Seventh-day Adventist message and mission funded and to advanced in our Conferences, not tangential cultural agendas.

The first strategy, "Programs for the orientation and education of church members," is the "communication strategy."

How has this been accomplished? Our church papers published in the NAD have carried pro-WO articles, with absolutely no voices permitted to speak in opposition to the unbiblical practice of ordaining women to the gospel ministry. Another example of this strategy included sending bulletin inserts to every church in the North American Division, accompanied by a letter signed by G. Alexander Bryant dated January 5, 2015, stating,

"Enclosed are copies of the Theology of Ordination brochure, which addresses common questions about the topic of ordination. These may be posted on your church bulletin board and shared with your congregation…"

This brochure "answered" questions concerning the "theology of ordination" in a way that described the ordination of women in pastoral roles as a positive and even necessary theological innovation.

This strategy for the "orientation and education" of the members of the church, while not explicitly stated, also includes the silencing of opposing views. This is seen in the refusal to put into print in our union papers any articles in opposition to the "theology of ordination," and has been demonstrated in other ways as well.


An editorial by Dan Jackson appeared in the June 2015 issue of "The Gleaner" (Union paper of the North Pacific Union Conference), titled "An Appeal to the Family" ( It begins with a request:

"I want to ask for a moment of silence."

In the next paragraph,

"Lately there have been a lot of voices talking about the many 'problems' with the church—things like style of worship, who is called to ministry, the education that our pastors receive at our institutions of higher education, even simple things like the outreach methods that are undertaken…"

A few lines further down,

"My concern is that recently the many voices have become very loud. Not just in volume, but in intensity…"

After talking about conflicts in the home and family, the author asks;

"What does this have to do with the Seventh-day Adventist Church? If we believe that Jesus Christ is the head of our church, then we need to let Him lead. We need to stop our talking, stop trying to run the church our way and just pray for His leading…"

We wonder. Who is Jackson writing about when he says we should "stop our talking" and “stop trying to run the church our way"?

Near the end of this article the author says,

"If we truly believe this is the church of Jesus Christ, we must stop the voices and let Him lead. Let Jesus resolve our conflict and heal our family. Let’s put aside our differences and support each other…"

In all fairness, Jackson may truly desire permitting Christ to lead, but in the years since his editorial was published, voices in support of the world church decision have continued to be silenced. There is no sign of putting "aside our differences" and supporting each other.

This attempt to silence the voices of the members of God’s Church has had an effect. But there is hope! Church members are waking up. A movement is developing among the members of God's Remnant Church who are learning how to be more involved in the governance of the church from the local church level upward. Their voices will be heard!

This isn’t happening without some resistance. Some in leadership positions are afraid of this lay-led movement. They make few efforts to help members understand their responsibilities in the governance and structure of the church. If the laity were involved their voices might be heard. But no. Instead, "Stop the voices!"


There are some voices that will be silenced, and others that should NEVER be silenced.

"God Himself will work for Israel. Every lying tongue will be silenced. Angels' hands will overthrow the deceptive schemes that are being formed. The bulwarks of Satan will never triumph. Victory will attend the third angel's message. As the Captain of the Lord's host tore down the walls of Jericho, so will the Lord's commandment-keeping people triumph, and all opposing elements be defeated…" (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 410).

Notice that it is not man's work to cause these voices to be silent; it is God's work and the angels.

Then there are the voices that should never be silenced!

"I have often been instructed by the Lord that no man's judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and to say what plans shall be followed. But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body.

"At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict God's work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man, or of a small group of men, the full measure of authority and influence that God has vested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work.

"When this power, which God has placed in the church, is accredited wholly to one man, and he is invested with the authority to be judgment for other minds, then the true Bible order is changed. Satan's efforts upon such a man's mind would be most subtle and sometimes well-nigh overpowering, for the enemy would hope that through his mind he could affect many others. Let us give to the highest organized authority in the church that which we are prone to give to one man or to a small group of men" (Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 260-261).

"Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" Matthew 16:19. Thus the voice of the church is placed as the highest authority God has upon the earth, and those who move out independently of that voice place themselves in a position where God cannot correct their wrongs and give them warnings. Therefore they are confirmed in their own deceptions and blinded in their own errors" (Manuscript 8, 1883).

When we refuse to listen to the voice of the Church as described in these two statements, when that voice which is the "highest authority God has upon the earth" is silenced, then we have put ourselves on very dangerous ground. When God's voice has been silenced by man, then the lying voice which has been chosen in its place will eventually be silenced by God, and woe is that man or woman who listens to that voice!

There is another voice that should never be silenced:

"The Lord calls for a reformation. In every place where believers have adopted worldly principles, He desires a voice of warning to be raised. 'Cry aloud,' He says, 'spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, (that's very loud) and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.'…" (Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, p. 206).

There should always be watchmen on the walls of Zion lifting their voice of warning. That warning voice is given for a purpose—in hopes that it will be heeded! Whether a Conference President or a janitor of the local church, it is always God's will and desire that this warning voice be heard and obeyed.

WCAS 10 Principles of Action

  1. Participants support the decisions of the world church expressed through the General Conference.
  2. Participants seek unity on the basis of inspired truth rather than cultural compromise.
  3. Participants uphold God’s purpose for church organization and for pressing together rather than separation.
  4. Participants learn Protestant biblical interpretation – the historical-grammatical method.
  5. Participants are active and responsible members in their local congregation.
  6. Participants learn how to work effectively in board and constituency meetings.
  7. Participants commit themselves to pray for faithful workers, and for Heaven to provide godly, decisive leaders for the harvest.
  8. Participants embrace the conviction that God is in control, and choose not to be intimidated by factions opposing truth in the Church.
  9. Emphasizing connection to Jesus our Lord, participants learn how to resist pluralism, congregationalism, and other present errors.
  10. World Church Affirmation Sabbath emphasizes the Seventh-day Adventist representative form of church governance. We are the Church.