May 3 2009
Thanks for taking the time to put this reply together. I have given it prayerful consideration.
Out of respect for the BRC’s final word, I will not offer a counter response.
I will concede that my handling of the statement concerning Christ’s elevation by EGW was not adequately presented and I see that I allowed misunderstanding to occur. I have always believed that Christ’s position to the Father has not changed, though I see that occurs in a different way.
I also see wisdom in the committee not offering a new statement concerning the Trinity as this would cast doubt on the existing agreed statement and your reaffirmation of this position is the correct thing to do considering the churches position.
I appreciate your personal note. I have tried my best to be open to whatever my brethren have presented to me and prayerfully consider it.
Try as I might, I am unable to be reconciled to it.
As you have kindly offered me a personal note regarding my experience, I will briefly clarify by stating that my experience came in response to my study and not the other way around.
I am having a personal wrestle with the issue of my integrity while in my current position. While a Credentialed minister, I would think that Adventist members have a right to believe that ministers that address them should believe those 28 fundamentals. I see that I am vulnerable to the attack of lack of integrity and I am not sure how to deal with this.
My convictions do not allow me to resign as I believe the Adventist church to be God’s appointed covenant people on earth and I am not at liberty to reject that established authority – in terms of organization and leadership. So I am unsure what to do about this.
My understanding of the Father and Son in real terms is now the very centre of my theology and permeates every aspect of my belief system and therefore will underlay everything I present. I don’t know how this can be resolved and I am not even sure if I need to burden you with this issue, but as you can appreciate, you above all have walked with me through this issue along with ______ and I don’t know who else to talk to about this.
I know you have told me that the church can’t remove people based on the 28 fundamentals, but my views are such that it would cause disruption to churches where ever I would present, either by reputation or by a small reference here and there. Two can’t walk together unless they be agreed and yet I can’t leave the church I love of my own choice – this would be rebellion to me. So I find myself in a very difficult spot.
I have wondered whether the church could resolve this tension be removing me. This still would not resolve the channel of authority through the church but it would resolve my integrity issue and that is my main concern at this time. In other words, if I was removed, I still would not feel at liberty to do as I feel because God has not removed his authority from the Adventist church and I am still subject to it whether in or out of this system. As I state, I only care for my integrity and I wish to avoid being accused of trying to undermine the church and its teachings and yet while I hold credentials and membership, I am fully vulnerable to this charge and I fear will bring dishonor to the title of SDA minister that I cherish so dearly and therefore wish to do nothing to dishonor this privileged title.
I have included you, _______, in this email because I value your counsel, input and friendship. You have supported me against many challenges for which I am deeply grateful and I am sorry for the burden I have placed upon you in this regard.
I ask you both to pray for me and if possible offer me some guidance as to what direction I might take – remembering that my conscience is the most precious commodity that I possess and I can’t violate it under any circumstances. I did have a brief discussion with the head of the Theology Dept at Avondale last October and he supported me that above all that I must follow my conscience – but how to proceed with this and what to do is beyond my wisdom to know what to do.