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Interesting Article on Administrative Transparency -- Adventist Review

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V. Hahn:

--- Quote from: Larry Lyons on March 06, 2010, 12:10:46 AM ---Other loyal church members in addition to David Dennis have, over the years documented the "abominations that be done in Jerusalem" and many today are "crying and sighing" over these things. (See Ezekiel chapter 9). God knows what is going on and will act when the time comes. We must all cling to His promises and no matter what anyone else does, determine to be one of those of whom it will be said, "Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Rev. 14:12) By all means, never allow the corruption and sins of others to discourage us and provoke us to disconnect ourselves from God's truths and from His people.

--- End quote ---

Well said, Larry.  Amen.

ejclark:
We used to have a person on our board at church that was continually disruptive and argumentative.  After two years of having to deal with this, the nominating committee changed the duties of this person, and the new duties in effect took this person off of the board.  This person was so upset of the changes, they left our church and resigned their responsibilities.  A few days later, my wife and I received a number of phone calls from members who had received a letter from this person, stating how the church board had so horribly wronged them.  In the letter they made statements that were true, but in the context stated, made them false.  The main problem with the letter was that information about discussions on the board that were not yet to be made public, were.  Because of the hurt feelings, this person felt justified in defending themselves, instead of letting God defend them.

I applaud Adventist Today for complying with the conference in their request, and I applaud the present conference leaders in trying to keep this ordeal contained within the realm in which it belongs.  It shows they understand the authority God has given certain committees and certain people who have been called to do His work.

What David Dennis and the others who have made certain information public, I believe, fail to understand is a couple of things.  The people who have been called to do these duties are elected by a process that, again I believe, is a process of God calling these individuals.  It's not like our civil government in which people run for office and then the people vote them in.  It is a process in which people are called into.  And because of the nature of the work, they are not held accountable to the people of the churches, they are held accountable to God.  The business they attend to is not the business of the people, but the business of God.

As the different committees and groups do Gods work, sometimes mistakes are made and ugly business has to be taken care of.  It is wrong for much of this information to be made known to the general church public, because the general church public has not been called into the position to deal with these things.  The general church members have not been called into God's business of having to judge activities and people's hearts.  For this to be made public causes great harm to God's remnant because it influences people into choosing sides and making judgment calls in matters they were not called into.

Another reason this information was made public is for selfish reasons.  By making public, these wrongs committed to which ever individuals, these writers are making themselves the defenders, and not resting on God to let Him be their defender.  Also they are milking the general public for pity upon these wronged individuals in cases where the general public is only hearing one side of a story, again in matters they were never called by God to hear or judge.

I believe it's important for the people in the upper levels of our church conferences to let us beneath them know what is going on.  But there is a lot of behind the scenes activity that we have to understand we at the lower levels are not called to participate in.  And we have to have faith that the people God called into those positions will do His work faithfully.  And we also have to have faith that when they don't, God will in His own way and time, deal with them properly and timely.  When we involve ourselves in second guessing and judging the matters we have not been called into, we are in fact second guessing and judging God.

Larry Lyons:
Ej, people who are elected to positions of leadership in the church are to be respected, but they must also be held accountable. Ellen White warned against "kingly power" being exercised by a few men at the top. Although many are "called" to the ministry and to administrative positions, that does not necessarily mean that thay are holier and more saintly than everyone else, and it certainly does not mean that they are infallible and should never be questioned. There have been many occasions when a church leader failed to represent a Christ like character and became involved in activities and behavior that a Christian should not do, much less one in high church office. Even the Apostle Peter had a problem for which Paul rebuked Him.

The Bible is full of stories of wicked kings and priests leading God's people. God often raised up men such as Elijah, Isaiah, Nathan, Ezekiel and others to exxpose their wickedness. The Bible also warns us against ignoring or covering up wickedness and wrongdoing. God through the prophet Isaiah rebuked Israel's leaders as "blind watchmen" and as "dumb dogs who cannot bark." In certain cases God required the death penalty for both the evil doer and those who looked the other way and failed to report it. (Lev. 20:4,5)

God does not want His people to behave like sheep and blindly ignore wrongdoing and wickedness and use as an excuse the claim that it is wrong to question leadership. He expects a high level of responsibility from His people, and especially from those who are elected to be leaders. If a leader is involved in activities and behavior that is damaging to His cause and harms other people, they need to be dealt with in a direct and forthright manner, along with others in leadership who were accessories before and/or after the fact by failing to speak out against the evil. But sometimes those who are resposible to do this fail to take appropriate action. This compounds the wrongs, and may for a time hide them but it is still there because God sees and knows. How God dealt with Achan and Annanias and Sapphira gives us an idea of How God regards sins and crimes against the church of a financial nature that Bro. Dennis discovered. It is no small thing.

David Dennis was a man whom God had called to watch over the financial interests and activities of the church. When he discovered irregularities he brought it to the attention to the appropriate people and took steps to see that the problems were corrected. He was known to be faithful, competant, and successful in his work, and he uncovered a number of unethical and dishonest practices on the part of some church administrators in the course of his career in various parts of the world. His honesty and integrity have never been questioned. The weight of credibility is on his side.

God tests His church. Who can say that God is not at this time using the account of David Dennis' experience to bring to the surface some sins and wrongs that for too long have been kept swept under the rug. It is not too late for the church to set things right.

God will soon pour out the latter rain in great measure. The shaking will come first, and He will have a church "without spot or wrinkle" that will give the final warning and will emerge triuphant, but our faith must not be based on any pastor or church administrator. They are sinners just like we are, and we should pray for them, but we should not become discourgaged if some fall.  
We have already been warned that "many lights that we have admired for their brilliance will go out."

Soli Deo Gloria:

--- Quote from: Larry Lyons on March 07, 2010, 09:46:14 PM ---
David Dennis was a man whom God had called to watch over the financial interests and activities of the church. When he discovered irregularities he brought it to the attention to the appropriate people and took steps to see that the problems were corrected. He was known to be faithful, competant, and successful in his work, and he uncovered a number of unethical and dishonest practices on the part of some church administrators in the course of his career in various parts of the world. His honesty and integrity have never been questioned. The weight of credibility is on his side.

--- End quote ---

Well said Larry.


--- Quote from: ejclark on March 07, 2010, 08:12:27 AM ---We used to have a person on our board at church that was continually disruptive and argumentative.  After two years of having to deal with this, the nominating committee changed the duties of this person, and the new duties in effect took this person off of the board.  This person was so upset of the changes, they left our church and resigned their responsibilities.  A few days later, my wife and I received a number of phone calls from members who had received a letter from this person, stating how the church board had so horribly wronged them.  In the letter they made statements that were true, but in the context stated, made them false.  The main problem with the letter was that information about discussions on the board that were not yet to be made public, were.  Because of the hurt feelings, this person felt justified in defending themselves, instead of letting God defend them.

What David Dennis and the others who have made certain information public, I believe, fail to understand is a couple of things.  The people who have been called to do these duties are elected by a process that, again I believe, is a process of God calling these individuals.  It's not like our civil government in which people run for office and then the people vote them in.  It is a process in which people are called into.  And because of the nature of the work, they are not held accountable to the people of the churches, they are held accountable to God.  The business they attend to is not the business of the people, but the business of God.

As the different committees and groups do Gods work, sometimes mistakes are made and ugly business has to be taken care of.  It is wrong for much of this information to be made known to the general church public, because the general church public has not been called into the position to deal with these things.  The general church members have not been called into God's business of having to judge activities and people's hearts.  For this to be made public causes great harm to God's remnant because it influences people into choosing sides and making judgment calls in matters they were not called into.

Another reason this information was made public is for selfish reasons.  By making public, these wrongs committed to which ever individuals, these writers are making themselves the defenders, and not resting on God to let Him be their defender.  Also they are milking the general public for pity upon these wronged individuals in cases where the general public is only hearing one side of a story, again in matters they were never called by God to hear or judge.


--- End quote ---

EJ,

It is difficult to read your last post. You seem to be saying that the church is always right no matter how egregious the behavior. To compare David Dennis to that disruptive board member is so unfair. The only "crime" Dennis was guilty of was exposing gross embezzlement of tithe funds by none other than the GC president Folkenberg. Because of this they resorted to occultic psychiatric means to get some unstable young woman to uncover memories of an affair that never happened just to get Dennis fired. This reminds me of what king David did to cover-up his gross sin by sending Uriah to battle on the front lines, and the occultism that King Saul used.

David Dennis did not want a cover-up. He was willing to go to an open court of law to clear his name. But the GC spent 5 million dollars of hard earned tithes and offerings to keep this from going into a court of law, where Dennis was willing to put all the facts on the table.

EJ, if you are willing to read this book, I will send you the book for free if you PM me. You must not keep your head in the sand, and pretend the church is always right. If there is another side to the story that would exonerate Folkenberg and his rich cronies, then let's hear it.

Larry is right. The sins of Achan and Balaam need to be exposed. It is ironic that a recent SS lesson focused on the story of Balaam.

Stan

10K MIX:
On the A-Today webiste on this subject, a person involved in the decision posted this on the public Blog:

On March 7th, 2010 Nathan Schilt says:
Hi Danny,

As with all group decisions, there is no definitive "rationale". Since I participated in the process, I can assure you that there were a variety of views. We all wished that the GC could be more open to dissenting critical views. Where we disagreed was on whether the GC's right to be wrong should be respected and accepted. I personally felt that it was not at all unreasonable for the GC to ask us not to be what they perceived as a potentially negative, divisive influence at their party. It was not unreasonable, was it, for Notre Dame to expect President Obama to refrain from expressing his views on abortion when he spoke at last year's graduation ceremony? The GC is a private corporation with the right to control what happens at its events on its property, including the conduct of invited guests. What are the legitimate limits to free speech and expression at private events?

Others felt that, as Church members, it is our party too, and we should not be asked to hide our identity. Criticism - seeking transparency and accountability - is a part of who we are.  By agreeing to the terms set by the GC, would we be implicitly advancing their agenda, and accepting the inference that the books in question are negative influences on the Church.

Pragmatism won out.

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