LOWELL COOPER: We welcome you back to the afternoon session. [Prayer.]
There is a main motion on the floor to adopt the fundamental beliefs on creation and on the great controversy.
In the course of consideration of that motion, someone suggested or was ready to propose a motion to refer.
[The motion to refer back was received by common consent.]
SPEAKER FOR CLARE BARNES [who is in the Nominating Committee]:
Unless the word “recent” can be clearly defined and approved by Scripture, I move that the use of the word “recent” be referred back to the committee.
LOWELL COOPER: I think we have the common consent here that matters are going back to the committee, and those who are taking the notes will record that concern.
MAINKA HOLGER: God created the earth in six days. This is what the Bible says. How He exactly did this remains a mystery. Now we are reading all those additions: “recent,” “literal,” “historical,” and most cumbersome, “unit of time that we call a week today.”
I believe those revisions are not helping much with reaching out. This looks more like shutting doors. Sometimes less is more.
JOHN PHIRI: The first part has already been observed, so I won’t bear much on that, but I have a similar observation on the use of the word “recent.” It creates an ambiguity because it’s a relative term. What do we mean when we say “recent”? Could 1 million years be recent enough on a time scale of 10 billion years?
The second problem I noted is in the phrase “a recent six-day creation.” What are we trying to imply? Do we have something called an old six-day creation, something like that? I’m saying this because I’m conscious of other religions who hold that time is cyclic. Today you’re born; at some point, the world is demolished; another creation is taking place; and it goes on like that. So in that context it would make sense for me to say something could be a recent six-day creation. Since we don’t prescribe to that kind of theology, I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, that we drop the phrase “a recent six-day creation.” Thank you.
LOWELL COOPER: I think the comments about the use of the word “recent” have been repeated several times, and I believe the committee has that.
Kevin Rhamie at microphone 3.
KEVIN RHAMIE: This is of an editorial comment dealing with line 35. “In six days”—I’m quoting the original document—“In six days the Lord made,” and it seems as though the original document continues with “and rested on the seventh day.” Whereas, when you look at the original document, it is stated as “In six days the Lord ‘made the heaven and the earth’ and all living things upon the earth.”
So it’s confusing when a person wants to understand what the original statement was.
LOWELL COOPER: The original statement was that which is crossed out.
PINTOKO TEDJOKUSUMO: My concern is also with the word “recent.” English is not my mother tongue, but when I read “a recent six-day creation,” that gives me an impression that the concept of a six-day creation is something that is recent. Forgive me if I’m wrong about that understanding. But I would move that the word “recent” be omitted or be changed to a literal six-day creation.
LOWELL COOPER: We will not take that as a motion to be dealt with separately, because the item is going back to the committee and then will be returned here after the committee has considered all of the comments.
ROGER ROBERTSEN: Sometimes clarity is desirable and it’s important, but other times ambiguity is necessary.
The point number six says God is the Creator of all things. Is He? He did not create Satan. He created Lucifer. He did not create the atomic bomb. He created the atoms. So it’s a very ambiguous statement for ambiguities. “All things”—what do we mean?
But then when it comes to the historical account, that term creation actually occurred in prehistoric times, didn’t it? What does it mean, historical account? It means that it needs to be historically verifiable, something you can go back to and check it out. And I don’t think we can when it comes to creation.
I believe in creation. I believe in a recent creation. But I think some of the terms we’re using are not good. And saying that it’s a historical account, that’s a strange term for me, because historiography is an atheistic endeavor, and it doesn’t operate with the supernatural.
When they talk about the historical Jesus, what do they mean? They mean the Jesus of history. That means Jesus without the miracles. And if we talk about creation as a historical account, what do we mean? I think we need to say it’s true, it’s a true account, or something else. But some of these terms need to be changed.
LEE-ROY CHACON: I call the question on the motion.
LOWELL COOPER: Before you leave the microphone, we really don’t have a motion on the floor. I tried to explain that as we began. I suppose perhaps your intent is that we close debate?
LEE-ROY CHACON: That’s fine. It was my understanding that there was a motion on the floor. I will then end debate.
LOWELL COOPER: The motion is to close debate.
Is that motion seconded?
A motion to close debate is itself debatable. And so we need to ask if anyone wishes to debate the motion to close debate.
If not, I want to be fair. I don’t see anyone approaching the microphone on that—I’m sorry. That being the case, we will ask you to vote. The motion is to close debate on fundamental beliefs 6 and 8. That would mean, if the motion is passed, we will not continue debate, and the comments that have been shared thus far in the morning and the afternoon will go back to the committee.
Those in favor of the motion to close debate, please indicate with your voting card.
Those opposed to closing debate, by the same manner of expression.
The motion to close debate, I believe, requires two-thirds. And the motion is passed. That means we will close debate on items 6 and 8.
And we turn to Dr. Stele to lead us into the next portion that he would like us to address.
ARTUR STELE: I would like to invite you to go to fundamental belief 24, “Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary.”
Here we have a grammatical change, of the word “that” instead of “which”; and a change to be gender-inclusive language, the word “humans” instead of “man.” And then the main change is that we have a clear reference of typology language between the heavenly sanctuary and the earthly sanctuary. And so I would like to move it. [It was seconded.]
ELIAS BRASIL DE SOUZA: I have a suggestion that the word “symbolized” be replaced with “typified.” I think the concept of “type” represents better the relationship between the heavenly and the earthly sanctuaries.
[This suggestion will be studied by the Fundamental Beliefs Committee.]
ARTUR STELE: Let’s go to fundamental belief 19, “The Law of God.” We have two changes. Instead of “man,” “human beings”; and then instead of “fruitage,” we use the word “fruit.” It is more understandable and fits more to the space.
So I move it.
[This motion was seconded and voted.]
ARTUR STELE: Thank you. Let’s go now to fundamental belief 12, “The Church.” Here we have a bit of language, inclusive language. Instead of “all mankind,” we use “humanity.” And then for clarification we’re using “Word revealed in the Scriptures.”
I move it. [It was seconded.]
MARIO VELOSO: The former reading said “from Christ” and “from the Scriptures.” Now it says only “from Christ.” “The Scriptures” is left out. There is a reference to the Word, but that is an identification of Christ, if not a reference to the Word.
ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: The way the statement reads now implies that the church has two sources of authority: Christ and the Written Word. And what we’re trying to eliminate is the idea that we have two sources of authority. We have only one: Christ as revealed in the Scriptures, not Christ and the Scriptures.
MARIO VELOSO: I would like to keep the concept that it is also the Scriptures, because there are many people that would read this as meaning only Christ and leaving out the Scriptures.
ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: We want to emphasize that we have only one source of authority, that Christ as revealed in the Scriptures, not Christ and the Scriptures.
MARIO VELOSO: It is like the recent creation, Brother Chairman.
REINALDO SIQUEIRA: “Only Christ” is pretty close to what we hear from the Catholics. That means you don’t need Scripture, just Christ, who gave authority to the church, and the church can do whatever it wants. We should keep the Scriptures as a source of authority.
DAVID TRIM: I speak in support of the motion to vote the change. I think the current wording is actually eminently clear as to what is the authority of the church. And I think we need to exalt Christ as the source of authority for the church. We understand that as individual believers, the Bible is our rule. This wording does not contradict that. And so I believe we should support that.
And as it’s been debated and the motion to refer defeated, I move to call the previous question.
LOWELL COOPER: Is there a second?
Those in favor of the motion to call previous question, please indicate by lifting the card.
That is clearly carried.
We move now to voting on the main motion. The motion is to approve fundamental belief 12 as presented.
We’ll ask you now to vote.
Those in favor, please indicate by the lifted card.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That is carried.
ARTUR STELE: Mr. Chair, we go to fundamental belief 10, and Dr. Rodríguez will present.
ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: There are two primary changes. The first one toward the end of line 15, if we read the text as we have it, says, “ . . . and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example.” And we were not sure how these titles related to each other. For instance, “Lord and Christ, Substitute and Example.” So we decided to perhaps improve the reading, soften it down a little by saying so “Jesus as Saviour and Lord, Substitute and Example.” And you have kind of a parallel between the titles now.
The second change is on line 16. The original reads “This faith which receives salvation.” And we thought that the person is the one that receives salvation and that it may be better to simply state it: “This saving faith comes through the divine power.” In other words, we’re trying to make the sentence flows a little better.
I move that these editorial changes be accepted.
LOWELL COOPER: The motion has been seconded.
The motion is to adopt fundamental belief 10 as amended in the presentation. It has been supported.
Those in favor, please indicate by lifting the card.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That is carried.
ARTUR STELE: Let’s now go to the fundamental belief 2, “The Trinity.” And here, besides the rearrangement of the biblical passages, we have added a phrase on line 35. Previously it stated, “He is forever worthy of worship.” And now, instead of “he,” we start the sentence “God, who is love,” because we felt this concept of God’s being love would be very helpful having it in our Fundamental Beliefs.
I move it.
LOWELL COOPER: The motion has been seconded. The motion is to adopt fundamental belief 2 as presented.
Those in favor, indicate by lifting the card.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That looks unanimous.
ARTUR STELE: Now fundamental belief 3, “The Father.” And here, besides the arrangement of the biblical passages, we have changed one word. “The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father.” This was the previous reading. And now we suggest that instead of “revelations,” we use “those.” “The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also those of the Father.”
So I move it.
LOWELL COOPER: The motion is supported to adopt fundamental belief 3 as presented.
NEALE SCHOFIELD: Just with the change there where we have the Son and the Holy Spirit—that the qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also those of the Father, a question to the Biblical Research Institute and the broader church leadership: Does this now make it very, very clear that Jesus is not eternally subordinate to the Father?
ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: As far as I can tell, such a teaching hasn’t been part of the Adventist body of beliefs, and this passage denies the subordination.
LOWELL COOPER: Does that satisfy the question?
NEALE SCHOFIELD: Perfectly.
LOWELL COOPER: Those in favor, please indicate by lifting the card. This is the motion to adopt fundamental belief 3.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That is carried.
ARTUR STELE: fundamental belief 4, “The Son.” On line 8: “He became also truly human” instead of “man.” And “ascended to minister” on line 13, we have added “ascended to heaven to minister.”
I move it.
LOWELL COOPER: The motion is supported. The motion is to approve fundamental belief 4 as presented. We have an opportunity for discussion.
MEGEN MOLE: I have two grammatical points on line 13, which currently reads—“and ascended to heaven to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf.” The instances of the word “heaven” and then “heavenly” are redundant. I move that we alter that to read “and ascended to heaven to minister in the sanctuary there.”
Regarding the phrase “in our behalf,” it’s my understanding that the use of the word “in” is particularly American. I move to amend line 13 so that phrase reads “on our behalf” rather than “in our behalf.”
So with my amendments, the second part of the sentence would then read, “And ascended to heaven to minister in the sanctuary there on our behalf.”
ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: The reason we decided to keep the redundancy is to be very clear and very specific. We want to indicate clearly that Christ ascended to heaven. This is theologically important. Jesus is in heaven with a human nature. But we also want to emphasize the idea that there is a heavenly sanctuary where Christ is mediating on or in our behalf. We thought that perhaps sacrificing the softness of the language a little will help us in clearly expressing what we believe.
MEGEN MOLE: That’s fair enough.
LOWELL COOPER: We take it from that that you’re willing to withdraw the motion?
MEGEN MOLE: Yes, I’m willing to withdraw the first motion. But I would still like to move to amend the phrase “in our behalf” to “on our behalf.”
BILL KNOTT: I don’t speak as an expert on prepositions. I have copy editors who do that. But I would add that the phrases are deemed roughly equivalent, at least in English, and are often used interchangeably. The language there is original from 1980. A rule of our operation was to change as little as necessary in order to communicate clearly.
LOWELL COOPER: The parliamentarian has pointed out that the motion that has been given addresses language that is not presented for change. In earlier procedures we have rejected those kinds of motions that are not addressing the amendments that are being brought forward. In light of that and to maintain consistency with that practice, we would need to reject the motion to change that preposition.
LARRY BOGGESS: The Spirit of Prophecy says there’s a danger, when it comes to studying the nature of Christ, that we make Him fully human. The question that I have concerns line 8, where it says, “He became also truly human.” Was that concept from the Spirit of Prophecy thought about when we used the word “human” instead of “man”?
ARTUR STELE: Yes.
ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: This terminology is inserted to make it absolutely clear that Christ took a human nature; not the appearance of a human nature, but that He became fully human, truly human. We are eliminating “man” also because today “man” can also mean “female,” and we don’t want to say that He became a male member of the human race. He became a human being.
So the emphasis is on the reality of His human nature. It’s an extremely important theological statement, affirming that He was not only divine but that He was truly a human being.
LARRY BOGGESS: Jesus became a man. We understand that Jesus was truly God and truly man.
ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: The Bible says that He became flesh,
sarx, a human being. The way we have it now, it doesn’t say “also truly a man,” so that it’s being used in a generic sense. He became flesh, sarx, a human being.
LARRY BOGGESS: There are those who teach that Jesus was all man and not divine. And so I hope we do not leave any margin for people to believe that we would teach that Jesus was only man.
ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: I would point out that the beginning of that sentence says “Forever truly God.”
P. GERARD DAMSTEEGT: I move that we keep the original meaning of the man, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the man. Not the woman Jesus Christ; the man Jesus Christ. And that is very important, to keep this in our mind.
GEORGE REID: When the angels announced the birth of Jesus, they said that He was to be a son. That has gender. His masculinity is an important feature of understanding Christ and His earthly ministry.
I hope we will remain loyal to the actual meaning of the words, the Greek words
anthropos and aner, which have quite different meanings, and they should be reflected in what we have in our statements.
MARIO VELOSO: To avoid the fact that we would be entirely opposing the motion we have before us, I would like to refer the reading so that the committee would look at it and not decide this matter here.
There is a theology that is calling God “father and mother.” And with this reading, we may be open for Christ to become son and daughter. I don’t think it is the intention of the committee, but I would like for them to consider avoiding the possibility.
My motion is to refer it back to the committee to consider this item.
ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: Line 8 states, “Forever truly God, he became also truly human, Jesus Christ.” This is about the Incarnation. This is about God becoming, not a male, but a member of the human race. This is about God becoming one of us. And that includes the male and the female elements in our planet. This is about the Incarnation, not about the gender of the Son of God, who became human.
LOWELL COOPER: Dr. Veloso, in light of that, do you still wish to make the motion?
MARIO VELOSO: Yes, I still do, because he has not listened what I said. I agree with what he said, but still it is open for somebody to interpret theologically as the mother and father in God, which is not just gender.
LOWELL COOPER: The motion presented is to refer this item, in light of the comments, back to the committee.
It is supported.
The motion to refer is debatable.
DAVID TRIM: Dr. Rodríguez is correct in saying that Ellen White uses this term. In a letter of February 1897, which is in volume 8 of
Manuscript Releases, she writes, “We want to comprehend so far as possible the truly human nature of our Lord. The divine and human were linked in Christ, and both were complete.”
YORIKO ISHIDA: I like to mention that the Bible does use the expression “Son of man” in Daniel and Jesus even called Himself Son of man.
JEROEN TUINSTRA: I speak against referring it back. I don’t exactly know what a “truly man” is. But I can understand a “truly human being.”
DAUMANTS KLEIMANIS: I would like to speak against the motion to refer it back. I think the “human” correction is very appropriate.
ANTHONY MACPHERSON: I want to speak against the move to refer back. There is a danger of trying to pack every belief into one sentence. It’s about the Incarnation, and the counterpart to divinity is that Jesus assumes humanity.
ONYEBUCHI NWANKPA: I want to speak against the motion to refer. We know that Jesus came for both man and woman. It does not say that Jesus became a female. That is not what is here, but it’s inclusive.
[The motion to accept the recommendation made concerning the fundamental belief “The Son” has voted.]
ARTUR STELE: We would like now to go to fundamental belief 7, “The Nature of Man.” We suggest calling it “The Nature of Humanity.” And on lines 10 and 11, there is a sentence that states, “When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position under God.” The phrase “under God” is by some misunderstood, as if God were involved in the process of falling, and so we felt that if we took it away, we would clear up those misunderstandings.
[A motion to accept was moved, seconded, and voted.]
ARTUR STELE: Now fundamental belief 5, “The Holy Spirit.” Besides rearrangement and work on the passages, we have added a second sentence: “He is as much a person as are the Father and the Son.”
I move it, Brother Chair.
LOWELL COOPER: That is supported. The motion is to adopt fundamental belief 5 as presented.
Those in favor, please indicate by lifting the voting card.
Those opposed, by the same process.
The motion is carried.
ARTUR STELE: We have fundamental belief 18, “The Gift of Prophecy,” that we need to discuss. A few words of explanation. [Gave the rationale for rearranging sentences, adding Scripture references, and replacing words that have caused some confusion.] I move to adopt fundamental belief 18 as presented.
LOWELL COOPER: Thank you. It is supported.
[Next several delegates made comments regarding wording, personal approval, and/or concerns.]
HOMER TRECARTIN: The Nominating Committee has a very large report to make right now, and our secretary, Dr. Leslie Pollard, will start leading us through that section by section.
LESLIE POLLARD: We wish to move the name of Mario Ceballos to serve as the Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries director for the General Conference.
[The motion was seconded and voted.]
LOWELL COOPER: The body would like to receive a block of the names in the Nominating Committee report.
LESLIE POLLARD: We will move now the names being recommended for the General Conference: Children’s Ministries director, Linda Mei Lin Koh (an incumbent).
Communication director, Williams S. Costa (an incumbent).
Education director, Dr. Lisa Beardsley-Hardy (an incumbent).
Family Ministries director, Dr. Willie Oliver; associate director, Mrs. Elaine Oliver (incumbents).
Health Ministries director, Dr. Peter N. Landless (an incumbent).
Ministerial Association secretary, Elder Jerry N. Page; associate secretary, Mrs. Janet R. Page (incumbents).
Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director, Dr. Ganoune Diop (currently associate director) (retirement of John Graz).
Sabbath School and Personal Ministries director, Dr. Duane McKey (currently Southwestern Union vice president) (retirement of Jonathan Kuntaraf).
Women’s Ministries director, Mrs. Heather-Dawn K. Small (incumbent).
Youth Ministries director, Dr. Gilbert R. Cangy (incumbent).
LESLIE POLLARD: I wish to move the acceptance of these names. [The motion was seconded and voted.] [Someone wished to speak to the Nominating Committee concerning the names presented.]
LOWELL COOPER: The practice that we’ve used here is that someone wishing to refer a name would have an opportunity to speak with the chair and the secretary of the Nominating Committee so it can be determined if the Nominating Committee has already addressed the concern that may be expressed. So I’d like to give you that opportunity right now, if you wish to come here and speak to the chair and secretary. In the meantime, we will await the result of that consultation.
Meanwhile, we’re working on fundamental belief 18.
[“The Gift of Prophecy” was approved.]
ARTUR STELE: Only one item is left, “The Holy Scriptures.” A number of delegates spoke to us. They have a problem with the word “final” authority. They feel it is a chronological problem, and they asked us to look into it. Would it be accepted, by common consent, that we take it back, we look at it, and bring it back tomorrow with others? This way we finish the work tonight. [It was accepted.]
HOMER TRECARTIN: We have discussed the issue [with the person wishing to speak to the Nominating Committee] and decided that that is not something that we’re ready to take back to the Nominating Committee, so we will proceed with the motion as it is.
LOWELL COOPER: The motion is to approve the report of the Nominating Committee with respect to departmental directors.
Those in favor lift the voting card.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That is carried.
LESLIE POLLARD: In this section we are presenting the completion of the associate secretaries of the General Conference: Claude Richli; Gerson Santos; Hensley Moorooven.
LOWELL COOPER: Moved and seconded.
Those in favor.
That is carried.
LESLIE POLLARD: We continue now by taking the names for the General Conference Auditing Service. Mr. Paul Douglas, director; Daniel Herzel, associate director; C. Maurine Wahlen, associate director; Kimberly Westfall, associate director; Paul Edwards, associate director; Gary B. Blood, associate director; Robin Kajiura, associate director; Furaha Mpozembizi; Rogelio Cortez; Jeremy T. Smith; Sandra C. Grice. I so move.
LOWELL COOPER: There is support.
Those in favor, raise the voting card.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That is carried.
LESLIE POLLARD: For the GCAS board: Esther G. Abayo, Lyudmila Chyzhevska, Hyden Gittens, Jack Krogstad, Masao Yanaga, Ailton Dorl, Margaret Dines, Phillip Ndlovu, John Stanley, Elirie Arañas, Frensly Panneflek, Nnamdi Onyenmuru.
HOMER TRECARTIN: There is one division that is still not represented on the GCAS board. That is being worked on. It’s not completed yet, but for now this is the list that we have to present.
LESLIE POLLARD: I move this list.
LOWELL COOPER: There is support to the motion. The motion is to approve the names as presented as members of the General Conference Auditing Service board. There are five ex-officio members that will be added to these names to be on the board. These are the laypersons representing the divisions.
Those in favor, lift the voting card.
And those opposed, the same sign.
That is carried.
LESLIE POLLARD: Brother Chairman, we now present the slate of division presidents recommended from the various caucuses to the Nominating Committee.
East-Central Africa Division, president, Blasious M. Ruguri (incumbent).
Euro-Asia Division, president, Mikhail Kaminskiy (new).
Inter-European Division, president, Mario Brito (new).
Inter-American Division, president, Israel Leito, (incumbent).
North American Division, president, Daniel R. Jackson (incumbent).
Northern Asia-Pacific Division, president, Jairyong Lee (incumbent).
South American Division, president, Erton Carlos Kohler (incumbent).
South Pacific Division, president, Glenn Townend (new).
Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, president, Dr. Paul Ratsara (incumbent).
Southern Asia Division, president, Ezras Lakra (new).
Southern Asia-Pacific Division, president, Leonardo Asoy (new).
Trans-European Division, president, Raafat Kamal (new).
West-Central Africa Division, president, Elie Weick-Dido (new).
Brother Chairman, I move those nominations.
LOWELL COOPER: There is support. The motion before us is to elect nominees as president of the respective divisions.
ADEDEJI ADELEKE: I request that the report be referred back to the Nominating Committee because I have some concerns that I want to express.
LOWELL COOPER: We invite you to meet with the chair and the secretary of the Nominating Committee.
We have several comments. One has already requested referral, and so we have invited him to speak with the chair and secretary.
If there are others who wish to speak to the Nominating Committee officers with respect to this report on division presidents, proceed to the side of the stage.
All right. While we’re waiting, there is an item ready for us. Item 145.
BILL KNOTT: At the proposal of the executive board of Adventist Review, the name is being modified by the addition of one word: from “Adventist Review” to “Adventist Review Ministries.”
The department produces much more than the
Adventist Review magazine. That’s the oldest journal in Adventism, but only one of several now, including the one that many of you may be more familiar with, Adventist World, now 10 years old as of this General Conference session. We also produce Adventist World Digest and KidsView and large-scale Web sites.
The recommendation of the executive board of Adventist Review is that the name of the department be changed to “Adventist Review Ministries” to include the many things that are being done in that department.
BILL KNOTT: I move this recommendation.
LOWELL COOPER: It is supported. Those in favor, lift the voting card.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That is carried.
ARTUR STELE: It’s a very good tradition of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that every time we meet in session we have a statement of confidence, on the Holy Bible, how we respect and treasure the Scriptures, and also a statement of confidence in the writings of Ellen G. White. And so we have a recommendation to approve the following resolution on the Holy Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White.
First, the statement on the Holy Bible.
It reads as follows: As delegates to the 2015 General Conference session in San Antonio, Texas, we affirm our commitment to the authority of the Bible as an infallible revelation of God and His will. In them God revealed His plan to redeem the world through the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and mediation of Jesus Christ. As a trustworthy record of God’s acts in history from creation to new creation and framed with a doctrinal and ethical instructions, the Scriptures shape the intellectual and practically experience of believers.
We recognize as the Scriptures divine perspective to intelligent and ethical challenges of the contemporary world. Given current definitions of God-given institutions such as marriage, for example, commitment of God’s written revelation remains necessary more than ever. Only the biblical worldview of a loving God battling to redeem creation from sin and evil provides believers with a coherent framework to understand reality and obey God’s law.
We reaffirm that amidst the hopelessness and relativism of the contemporary world, the Bible presents a message of hope and certainty that transcends time and culture. The Bible gives certainty that in Jesus our sins have been forgiven and death has been defeated. The Scriptures also announce that He will soon return to put an end to sin and to re-create the world. While we are waiting for the consummation of all things, the Bible calls us to live a holy life and become heralds of the everlasting gospel, taking every opportunity and means to announce the good news by word and deed.
Given the importance of the Scriptures, the benefits of their study to the Church, and the challenges posed by the contemporary world, the delegates of the General Conference in session appeal to all Seventh-day Adventist believers to read and study the Bible daily and prayerfully. Moreover, because of the special challenges faced by new converts and young people, we urge every believer to seek ways to share the Bible with these groups in a special way and foster their confidence in the authority of the Scriptures. We also urge pastors and preachers to base their sermons on the biblical text and to make of every sermon an occasion to uphold the authority and relevance of God’s Word.
Let us show the beauty, love, and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the Scriptures. Let us think and act in accordance with a biblical hope of the soon return of Jesus, our Lord.
[This statement was moved, seconded, and approved.]
HOMER TRECARTIN: Mr. Chairman, these are vice presidents of the General Conference. All 13 of them are vice presidents of the General Conference representing their individual area, their individual region and division, but they are vice presidents of the General Conference.
In addition to that, the General Conference has several general vice presidents. That was the group—the general vice presidents were the group that we brought to you yesterday, and it was sent back. The Nominating Committee met with several individuals this afternoon, had a good time in discussion with them, and the recommendation of the Nominating Committee is to bring back the same motion that we had before, so our secretary will read that, but we are bringing back the same six names that we had before.
Pastor Wilson, I think, wanted to make a comment before we proceed with that.
TED N. C. WILSON: We are grateful for your indulgence in the time that has been taken to review the report that was brought and now is being brought again. I want to just share a little bit of understanding as to the foundation of a change in the number. We had nine vice presidents before. We are proposing six vice presidents.
For various reasons—and I won’t take a lot of time—we have had a reduction in the number of General Conference institutions. Pacific Press Publishing Association and Oakwood University have transitioned and are in the process of transitioning to the North American Division. Review and Herald Publishing Association continues in name and in some function, but not with facilities as we have known them, and that stays with the General Conference.
And after our looking over all of the responsibilities and adjusting things, it has been proposed to have six. In addition, there will be a very strong emphasis on mission. There was concern about the lack of someone who would carry mission. Actually, that, to a great extent, is carried by Secretariat and was transferred to Secretariat some time ago. Adventist Mission, Global Mission, and many aspects of outreach.
We also do have the assistance in the future of those who may have retired, who would assist us with some specific areas.
So we are fully covered for many areas.
In addition, there was some concern about representation from the world field.
The division president acts as a vice president of the General Conference. Therefore we have 13 representative vice presidents of the General Conference who also associate with us closely when we meet during our Annual Council and our Spring Meetings.
Thank you, Pastor Trecartin, and thank you, Brother Chair, for this opportunity.
LESLIE POLLARD: Thank you. Brother Chairman, we wish to recommend as the Nominating Committee the following to serve as general vice presidents of the General Conference. Ella Simmons, incumbent; Artur Stele, incumbent; Geoffrey Mbwana, incumbent.
New General Conference general vice presidents: Guillermo Baiggi, Abner De Los Santos, Thomas Lemon.
LESLIE POLLARD: I move it.
LOWELL COOPER: This has been a motion that has been with us since yesterday. We are reactivating consideration of it. If we are— We’re receiving a point of order from [at this moment several delegates raised points of order; the chair ruled that theirs were not points of order].
LOWELL COOPER: We turn to microphone 5, Dan Houghton.
DAN HOUGHTON: Yes. Mr. Chairman, I would like to close debate on the question and call question on the motion.
LOWELL COOPER: All right. Thank you. And this was not as a point of order. It’s in the proper sequence of discussing a motion. The motion before us is to call the previous question. Is that supported? Thank you. It is.
That means that we will vote on whether or not to close debate.
Those in favor of closing debate, please indicate.
Those opposed by the same sign.
That is carried. We now turn to the main motion, which calls for us to approve the nominations and elect the general vice presidents of the General Conference as per the names presented to us.
Those in favor of that motion, please indicate with the uplifted cards.
Those opposed, by the same sign.
That is carried.
Did we have the presentation of these individuals?
HOMER TRECARTIN: Yes. We would like to have the newly elected vice presidents, general vice presidents, come out so they can be welcomed and a picture can be taken.
All right. You have heard and received the affirmation of the General Conference session delegates, vice presidents and spouses. We wish you God’s blessing and thank you for your service to the church.
And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I think we are prepared to call adjournment to the business session today.
As we dismiss today, we will be led in prayer by Yuen-Hwei Chen Chi from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division.
Let us stand to have our closing prayer.
LOWELL C. COOPER,
GARY D. KRAUSE, Secretary
R. J. KLOOSTERHUIS, GARY B. PATTERSON, and CLAUDE SABOT, Proceedings Editors
60th General Conference Session
July 6, 2015, 2:00 p.m.
VOTED, To close debate on Fundamental Belief #6 Creation and #8 The Great Controversy.
VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #19, The Law of God, to read as follows:
19. The Law of God
The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works,
but its fruitage and its fruit is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of wellbeing. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow human beings. men. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness. (Exod. 20:1-17; Deut. 28:1-14; Ps. 19:7-14; 40:7, 8; Matt. 5:17-20; 22:36-40; John 14:15; 15:7-10; Rom. 8:3, 4; Eph. 2:8-10; Heb. 8:8-10; 1 John 2:3; 5:3; Rev. 12:17; 14:12.) (Ex. 20:1-17; Ps. 40:7, 8; Matt. 22:36-40; Deut. 28:1-14; Matt. 5:17-20; Heb. 8:8-10; John 15:710; Eph. 2:810; 1 John 5:3; Rom. 8:3, 4; Ps. 19:7-14.)
VOTED, To not refer Fundamental Belief, #12, The Church, back to the Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee.
VOTED, To call for the vote on Fundamental Belief, #12, The Church.
12. The Church
VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #12, The Church, to read as follows:
The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, for service to humanity,
all mankind, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word revealed in the Scriptures. Word, and from the Scriptures, which are the written Word. The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. (Gen. 12:1-3; Exod. 19:3-7; Matt. 16:13-20; 18:18; 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38-42; 7:38; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:22, 23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11; 5:23-27; Col. 1:17, 18; 1 Peter 2:9.) (Gen. 12:3; Acts 7:38; Eph. 4:11-15; 3:811; Matt. 28:19, 20; 16:13-20; 18:18; Eph. 2:19-22; 1:22, 23; 5:23-27; Col. 1:17, 18.)
VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #2, The Trinity, to read as follows:
2. The Trinity
There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three coeternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation.
He God, who is love, is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Gen. 1:26; Deut. 6:4; Isa. 6:8; Matt. 28:19; John 3:16 2 Cor. 1:21, 22; 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2.) (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:46; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.)
VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #3, The Father, to read as follows:
3. The Father
God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also those
revelations of the Father. (Gen. 1:1; Deut. 4:35; Ps. 110:1, 4; John 3:16; 14:9; 1 Cor. 15:28; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 John 4:8; Rev. 4:11.) Rev. 4:11; 1 Cor. 15:28; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8; 1 Tim. 1:17; Ex. 34:6, 7; John 14:9.)
VOTED, To call for the vote to refer Fundamental Belief #4, The Son, back to the Fundamental Beliefs Committee.
VOTED, To not refer Fundamental Belief, #4, The Son, back to the Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee.
VOTED, To call for the vote on Fundamental Belief #4, The Son.
VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #4, The Son, to read as follows:
4. The Son
God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly human,
man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God’s power and was attested as God’s promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to heaven to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. (Isa. 53:4-6; Dan. 9:25-27; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-3, 14; 5:22; 10:30; 14:1-3, 9, 13; Rom. 6:23; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; 2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17-19; Phil. 2:511; Col. 1:15-19; Heb. 2:9-18; 8:1, 2.) (John 1:1-3, 14; Col. 1:15-19; John 10:30; 14:9; Rom. 6:23; 2 Cor. 5:17-19; John 5:22; Luke 1:35; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 2:9-18; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; Heb. 8:1, 2; John 14:13.)
VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #7, The Nature of Man, to read as follows:
7. The Nature of Humanity
Man and woman were made in the image of God with individuality, the power and freedom to think and to do. Though created free beings, each is an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit, dependent upon God for life and breath and all else. When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position.
position under God. The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its consequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil. But God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker. Created for the glory of God, they are called to love Him and one another, and to care for their environment. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:7, 15; 3; Ps. 8:4-8; 51:5, 10; 58:3; Jer. 17:9; Acts 17:24-28; Rom. 5:12-17; 2 Cor. 5:19, 20; Eph. 2:3; 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 John 3:4; 4:7, 8, 11, 20.) (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:7; Ps. 8:4-8; Acts 17:24-28; Gen. 3; Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12-17; 2 Cor. 5:19, 20; Ps. 51:10; 1 John 4:7, 8, 11, 20; Gen. 2:15.)
VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #5, The Holy Spirit, to read as follows:
5. The Holy Spirit
God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He is as much a person as are the Father and the Son. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ’s life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen. 1:1, 2; 2 Sam. 23:2; Ps. 51:11; Isa. 61:1; Luke 1:35; 4:18; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 5:3; 10:38; Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; 2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Peter 1:21.)
(Gen. 1:1, 2; Luke 1:35; 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:11, 12; Acts 1:8; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:7-13.)
VOTED, To call for the vote to refer Fundamental Belief #18, The Gift of Prophecy, back to the Fundamental Beliefs Committee.
VOTED, To not refer Fundamental Belief #18, The Gift of Prophecy, back to the Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee.
VOTED, To call for the vote on Fundamental Belief #18, The Gift of Prophecy.
VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #18, The Gift of Prophecy, to read as follows:
18. The Gift of Prophecy
One The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and we believe it was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church. are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Num. 12:6; 2 Chron. 20:20; Amos 3:7; Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10; 22:8, 9.) (Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; Heb. 1:13; Rev. 12:17; 19:10.)
VOTED, To change the name of the Adventist Review department to Adventist Review Ministries.
VOTED, To approve the Resolution on the Holy Bible, which reads as follows:
RESOLUTION ON THE HOLY BIBLE
As delegates to the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, we reaffirm our commitment to the authority of the Bible as the infallible revelation of God and His will. In them, God revealed His plan to redeem the world through the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and mediation of Jesus Christ. As a trustworthy record of God’s acts in history from creation to new creation and framed with doctrinal and ethical instructions, the Scriptures shape the intellectual and practical experience of believers.
We recognize that the Scriptures offer a divine perspective to evaluate the intellectual and ethical challenges of the contemporary world. Given current redefinitions of God-given institutions, such as marriage for example, commitment to God’s written revelation remains necessary more than ever. Only the biblical worldview of a loving God battling to redeem creation from sin and evil provides believers with a coherent framework to understand reality and obey God’s law.
We reaffirm that amidst the hopelessness and relativism of the contemporary world, the Bible presents a message of hope and certainty that transcends time and culture. The Bible gives certainty that in Jesus our sins have been forgiven and death has been defeated. The Scriptures also announce that He will soon return to put an end to sin and to recreate the world. While we wait for the consummation of all things, the Bible calls us to live a holy life and become heralds of the everlasting gospel, taking every opportunity and means to announce the good news by word and deed.
Given the importance of the Scriptures, the benefits of their study to the Church, and the challenges posed by the contemporary world, the delegates of the General Conference in Session appeal to all Seventh-day Adventist believers to read and study the Bible daily and prayerfully. Moreover, because of the special challenges faced by new converts and young people, we urge every believer to seek ways to share the Bible with these groups in a special way and foster their confidence in the authority of the Scriptures. We also urge pastors and preachers to base their sermons on the biblical text and to make of every sermon an occasion to uphold the authority and relevance of God’s Word.
Let us show the beauty, love, and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the Scriptures. Let us think and act in accordance with the biblical hope of the soon return of Jesus, our Lord.
VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #10, The Experience of Salvation, to read as follows:
10. The Experience of Salvation
In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This saving faith faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 45:22; 53; Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 33:11; 36:25-27; Hab. 2:4; Mark 9:23, 24; John 3:3-8, 16; 16:8; Rom. 3:21-26; 8:1-4, 14-17; 5:6-10; 10:17; 12:2; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Gal. 1:4; 3:13, 14, 26; 4:4-7; Eph. 2:4-10; Col. 1:13, 14; Titus 3:3-7; Heb. 8:712; 1 Peter 1:23; 2:21, 22; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rev. 13:8.)
(2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 3:16; Gal. 1:4; 4:4-7; Titus 3:3-7; John 16:8; Gal. 3:13, 14; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; Rom. 10:17; Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23, 24; Eph. 2:5-10; Rom. 3:21-26; Col. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 8:7-12; Eze. 36:25-27; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rom. 8:1-4; 5:6-10.)