Why I Love Being a Seventh-day Adventist (Despite A Very Disappointing Vote on Women’s Ordination)

14 thoughts on “Why I Love Being a Seventh-day Adventist (Despite A Very Disappointing Vote on Women’s Ordination)”

  1. Simone!! Thanks for this article. I was curious so I clicked on the link. I’m glad I did. I’m probably one of the most jaded individuals raised in an ultra Adventist Home. I’ve had ‘one foot out’ for a decade now. I’ve been seriously thinking about leaving altogether for a while. I’ve been contemplating what I believe and why constsntly for the last 3 years and haven’t really come up with anything concrete. But after reading your wonderfully put words I realized that there are great aspects of being a Seventh-day Adventist Christian woman. I hope that I’ll end up in the right place….God help me lol

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    1. Zinette! Long time no hear! I’m glad I can help. You and I both know (and perhaps you know especially) that it is not easy being a part of this church. But I met you and your family through it — that has to be one plus side right? 🙂 Let’s keep on keeping on.

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  2. Simone,

    Thank you for an inspiring post! (not sure if my previous comment went through – you can delete one if this got submitted twice =]) Though, as you said, the church is far from perfect, you’ve found an anchor (or anchors) that is deeper than these imperfections. This anchor is Christ, and He has kept me and you here. I love you points on culture and diversity–both in thoughts and ethnicity. And what a blessing it is to know how to be healthy!

    Your voice shows that there are young people in the church who can see through hypocrisy and faults as they are, but can still see Christ, the true reason why we’re Adventists. This reason of our faith is deep and it will not be easily swayed! Let’s keep holding on…

    Josephine

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  3. Well said. I too have a multi-generation heritage in the SDA church going back at least 5 generations. I’ve always had a bit of trouble with authority. When I pledged my allegiance to Christ and became a baptized Adventist, however, I made my covenant to follow Jesus not the GC. I know too much about what can happen behind the scenes among Adventist leaders to be over-awed by their authority. My uncle was a Conference President – a very good man – and I watched him challenge higher authority to prevent a wrong being done to the people of his conference. He paid a price for it too. He was very brave and one of the the most unassuming, lovely human beings I’ve ever known.

    Watching his example, I learned this about church membership. Being a member of this or any church congregation is not a passive business. It’s not about whether the church pleases you or earns your respect as an organization. Your church IS YOU! If you don’t like what your church is doing, stand up and fight for what is right. A struggle within a church is not necessarily a bad thing if it is a struggle between right and wrong and not just a struggle for power. If it’s a struggle for right and you pray for God’s aid, He will be right there with you. I’ve seen Him do it.

    I joined one mid-sized church once. The people seemed decent and nice, but I soon found there was an iron-fisted clique running things. If the pastor didn’t toe the line, they scuttled off to the conference office and got him fired. We couldn’t keep a pastor and no pastor wanted to take the job – it was a career killer to come to our little church. We lost a whole generation of young people because of the spirit within that church and because the older generation refused to let the youth take a role in the church.

    A group of parents and grandparents got tired of it and began to stand up to the folk who believed they owned our church. We established youth programs. There was a lot of tongue-clicking at the music and the sounds of happiness emanating from the Sabbath School rooms and the Pathfinder meetings. Some who had bowed to the whims of the old guard came over and began encouraging young people to participate too. When the persons in power inevitably went after the pastor, the conference president backed the pastor in support of the main body of the congregation. The old guard retaliated by boycotting services. They believed we couldn’t get along without them. Well we did. We managed to keep them out on boycott long enough to replace every one on the church and school boards. When we did get a new pastor and they returned, our new head elder took many of the boycotters aside and told them that there had been some sentiment to the effect that no one who boycotted should ever hold an office in the church again. We never took it to a vote, he explained, but we’ll be watching.

    Some left the church because they no longer had control. Many of our lost youth came back – enough to more than replace the ones who left. They were welcomed home with open arms. The youth now are the driving energy of the church. Special musics are wonderful with young voices raised in praise. Ironically, the conference president who helped us save our church is now banned from speaking in any pulpit in the conference by the new president. He’s not the first conference president to be driven out either. It always seems to be the best leaders that they do that sort of thing to. You wouldn’t believe the lies and dirty tactics these people will use to enforce their will.

    I grew up in an SDA college town. We were blessed with some amazing pastors like Ron Halvorsen and Morris Venden. The old guard hated them and went after both of these Godly men in a most shameful fashion. The members of the church had to stand solidly behind their pastors to keep them from being brutalized by these bad church “leaders”.

    Satan can be expected to infiltrate churches and inspire much discord. But the church belongs to us, it’s members. We are duty-bound to stand for what is right. I’ve been asked to withdraw from youth leader positions by individuals who thought they had the right to tell others what to do. For most of my life I fought them. Sometimes they won, but I never thought of leaving the church because my feelings were hurt. I stood for what was right and that was what was important. I may have lost a fight for position in the ministry of the church here and there, but I have come to know in later years that my influence and my stand for what was right was seen by the young people I worked with and that many remained in the church because they saw that someone could and would stand in the breach and fight for them.

    We are not in the church to hear soothing words and be entertained by lovely music. We are in the church to SAY soothing words and to raise our voices in songs of praise. We are in the church to do right. We are in the church to oppose evil, to stand against power-hungry arbiters of church practice who care more about getting their way than filling the pews. Ironically, in my hometown church, the quickest way to get in trouble with the “committee” (I kid you not, they had a committee) for a pastor was to put too many sinners in the pews. It diluted their power and made it difficult for them to control the church.

    My plea to the young people of this church is that you know Jesus first and that be courageous in defending his church from those who would abuse power and who lust for control. An army of youth, committed to the cause of Christ working with their parents and grandparents and church members who care more for God than they do for pride of place can drive out the forces of darkness that seek to rule rather than to serve.

    I have seen good people take back their churches and turn it back into a happy place again where the young people are nurtured and encouraged to take their place as leaders and as soldiers in the army of God. We can change things for the better, but we can’t do it if we allow self-interested people to manipulate events in the dark. We cannot keep silence. We must speak out and speak out with courage. We can’t shrink from this duty simply because someone criticizes us. As I told someone yesterday, they can criticize, harass me, strip me of church offices and duties, disfellowship me for all I care. They can’t keep me from going to church. They can’t keep me from praying. They can’t separate me from Christ. They have no power to harm me. I am an Adventist and always will be. That’s between me and God and no discussion at an elder’s meeting, no manipulation of an election, no amount of strong-arming, bullying or haranguing is going to dislodge me from my place among God’s people.

    Take courage. You are not alone, Simone and Josephine. There are a whole lot of us old codgers standing willing and ready alongside you. We shall not be moved, as the old song says. God bless you and keep you and if not in this world, I will see you on the other side.

    Tom King
    Puyallup, Washington, July 10, 2015

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  4. Great article. It managed to get me hungry.

    Anyway, this article is what many need right now. I too didn’t agree with the NO vote but it didn’t cause me to be shaken or engage in needless arguments. Neither do I think we should vote YES on the basis of gender equality. I will continue to voice my perspective when asked but only if it is in a Christ-centered conversation where there is love and desire to understand.

    The moment we begin to realize how imperfect we are , as you so beautifully pointed out, we will not be so quick to point fingers at other imperfect people within our church. Instead we will pray and encourage them to continue on the narrow way with us.

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