July 2, 2010

Seventh Business Meeting

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: We welcome you to the business session.

[Prayer by Alfredo Marenko.]

We have some items that we need to care for before we get to our agenda. One of these is the request that came from this body to use a two-thirds majority vote for the discussions and voting on the Fundamental Beliefs. The Steering Committee has deliberated on this subject. There are pros and cons for that alternative. And Elder Wilson is going to share with us the background and the recommendation of the Steering Committee.

TED N. C. WILSON: [Explained the rationale for undergirding the recommendation from the Steering Committee to remain with the simple majority vote.]

I want to thank you for being here. I want to thank you for what I hope will be a sweet spirit as we go into this discussion.

You’ll recall, on Thursday morning, we made a very special appeal, that in whatever way we relate to people, we will do so with a sweet, Christlike approach and respect for each other. And I want to thank those who have shown that spirit.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: Thank you, Elder Wilson.


Just a few other items that I’d like to bring to your attention that have been addressed. We heard yesterday and before that there were some issues in the area of microphone 3. We have someone monitoring that today. And if there seems to be further problem, please come down to the front here where the technicians and the Secretariat is located and notify them so that something can be checked further. And we hope that that condition will be taken care of.

And generally, when you go to a microphone or go to person who is registering your permission to speak, treat them kindly. Remember, all of our actions here at this session need to reflect the character of Jesus Christ, which includes kindness and courtesy to those who are involved.

I would like to mention that the discussion today on the Fundamental Beliefs are very important, but we have two days to discuss these. However, this day, Monday, is the first day, and we will need to try to get through all of them. Because if there are comments or suggestions that need to go back to the writing committee, they need time to work on those and then bring their decisions back for the session tomorrow on Tuesday.

So let’s try to gauge our time. Let’s refrain from standing just to speak, to hear ourselves speak. Let’s try to limit our debate so that we can move through quickly on these items.

Regarding the voting devices, a number of you have turned them in. We ask that you not try to turn those in during the time of our business meeting. You can turn them in immediately after the business meeting ends at noontime or later, after the session ends in the late afternoon.

And so, if you would, abide by those suggestions. But please do turn in those electronic voting devices so that you will not be on a list of those who have to be charged some large fee because they were not returned.

I’d like to introduce those who are serving with me on the platform this morning. We have our parliamentarian, Todd McFarland. To my left is Augustin Galicia, one of the associate secretaries of the General Conference. And we have Tami Boward, who is recording secretary here. I appreciate their help, and we will work together to try to make this an efficient experience.

OK. We have a person at microphone 5, Henry Moncur.

HENRY MONCUR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a quick observation, question. You can correct me if I may be wrong.

I know there are a number of individuals here who are career delegates, and so they are versed when it comes to the rules of order. I heard it mentioned earlier by Elder Wilson in terms of not misusing the terms of order and other parliamentary procedures. But at the same time, there are individuals here who are not career delegates, and so they are not as well versed on the rules of order. And what transpired was the rules of order just simply placed in your delegate bag, and you are left alone to try to maneuver through all of those rules of order. I don’t know if there’s a possibility, just before we enter the session, if they may be able to be given a brief summary in terms of how to utilize it so that the process is not abused. But I think the assumption is being made that everybody knows the rules of order and understand it. And I think that is what is creating some of the challenges. So I don’t know if we can have the opportunity, just a slight one- or two-minute summary, to help those who may not be career delegates to really understand the whole use of the rules of order.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: OK. Thank you. If you have your booklet on rules of order, the General Conference Rules of Order, I’ve asked our parliamentarian to quickly go through those. And perhaps, if you turn to page 12, there is a chart there, at least in the English section, and in all the other languages as well. That’s a good summary. And maybe if we all look at that page, some comments can be made about the various motions and how this all works, along with the definition of a point of order.

TODD MCFARLAND: Sure. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Before I say, it’s important to understand the fundamental principle of rules of order. It is to respect the rights of both the majority and the minority, to respect the will of the majority and protect the rights of the minority.

That, really, is what all of these rules are designed to do. And that, of course, can be a balancing act, because sometimes protecting the rights of a minority may impede the will of the majority. But that is the bounds that the rules try to balance.

You’ll see in your motions table, if you look there in the middle, there’s something called a main motion, and that has a “1.” And that just simply means the rank. What is a main motion? That’s when we’re doing something substantively. When the gentlemen are up here and they read a change to the Church Manual and they say, “I move it” and there’s a second, that’s a main motion.

After a main motion, you have several options. I’m not going to go through all ten of these. But the one that’s the most common is an amendment, and that is to change something. One thing you have to understand about amendments—and this came up yesterday—is that because our constitution—and the constitution overrides the rules of order—has a provision that says any new business is referred to the Steering Committee.

So if someone attempts to amend something that is not being changed, is not on the agenda, then that has to be referred to Steering Committee, and it is not appropriate for this body, per the constitution that was voted. And that particular amendment, I believe, was implemented in Atlanta. And, of course, an amendment requires a second, and it requires a majority.

The other motion here that I would like to talk about just real briefly—and it is, in fact, my favorite one—and it’s the one to limit and extend debate. And that is—well, I’m sorry. It’s part of that. It’s actually down below there, and it’s related. And that is a motion to call the previous question.

What does that mean? That means that if you vote that, then that ceases debate. And that is important for you to understand. That requires a two-thirds vote. But if you hear that phrase, “Mr. Chairman, I vote to call the previous question,” we’ll try to remind the chairs to tell you what that means. That means that we cease debate immediately on that item and we go immediately to a vote.

Now, why did I say that’s my favorite way? As a parliamentarian, I’m supposed to stay neutral, and I am. But as any person who is sitting up here, the only thing I’m hoping for is a quick meeting. Now, having said that, it’s your meeting.

So that is important, and it’s a very powerful motion, but it can be one to help limit debate.

And the other one that is on here is what is called a question of privilege or what we refer to as a point of order.

What is a point of order?

A point of order, one of the best examples is what happened yesterday when Israel Lieto stood up and said, We’re not hearing the Spanish translation. Points of order interrupt the business, and so they go to the highest priority, but they should deal with issues that affect the rights of the body or the ability of the body to conduct its business. And no Spanish translation or any other language is a perfect example of that.

And why is that? Because if there’s no Spanish translation, then the Spanish-only speakers are entirely disenfranchised. And so we need to stop the business immediately and get that fixed before we go on.

Other points of order, of course, are a violation of the rules. If you believe that the chair has ruled on something, then that can be a point of order. Another one that has come up that is an appropriate point of order is, of course, the decorum. We are trying and to—you know, applauding and expressing emotion for speakers and so forth is inappropriate in this meeting or any meeting. It’s not how we conduct business. And the chairs try to do their best to remind the body of that. But that is an appropriate point of order if you believe the body is not showing proper decorum.

So I think, just briefly, that covers many of the major issues.

A couple of things, you know, other rules that we’ve talked about—and you’ve already seen this come—one of the big rules that we have of course here is that we don’t accept nominations for names from the floor. They have to come from the Nominating Committee. And we also have a very special process about how things can be referred back. And the chair can, at his discretion or her discretion, send a name back. If they choose not to do that, then it goes to a vote.

And that’s one of the big changes that we have here.

So, Mr. Chairman, hopefully that explains some of the Rules of Order to people. You know, I’d be more than happy at an appropriate time afterward, if a person has a question about something—and a lot of you have felt free to talk to me, and I am more than happy to answer any of your questions when we’re not in session.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: Thank you. I see a person at mike number 2, Pastor Lee-Roy Chacon.

LEE-ROY CHACON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In order to move matters quickly and expedite matters today, I move that we limit conversation to two minutes per individual.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: OK. Brother Chacon, would you be willing to make it three minutes if there is translation that is required?

LEE-ROY CHACON: That’s fine.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: Two minutes for regular persons speaking; three minutes if they have to have a translator.

LEE-ROY CHACON: That’s fine, sir.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: OK. Is there a second to that motion? Please indicate.

Yes. I see a second to that.

And this is a motion that is debatable, so if anyone wants to comment on it, we can.

Now, I see that at microphone number 6 we have someone who is claiming a point of order. Let’s check and see if it truly is a point of order.

SAMUEL DAVIS: Yes, Brother Chair. On Friday there was a recommendation that a two-thirds majority should be taken on the changes to the fundamentals. It was referred to the Steering Committee. The president has said that the Steering Committee has voted but they can only make a recommendation to this body. This body now needs to vote that we are to go with a simple majority.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: OK. That is not a point of order so I’m not going to act on that. We have a motion on the floor about limiting the time of debate for each individual, and we will speak to that issue.

Microphone number 3, Carlos Moreta, are you speaking to this motion on the floor?

CARLOS MORETA: No. It’s on another point.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: OK. We’ll hold that, then. Are we ready to vote on this motion to limit an individual’s time of speaking to two minutes and, if they require translation, it would be three minutes? Are you ready to vote?

All in favor, please raise your cards.

OK. Thank you.

Any opposed, the same card.

OK. It is carried. That motion has been carried.

Now let me go back to brother Carlos Moreta at microphone 3. And you have two minutes.

CARLOS MORETA: [Translated.] Good morning, Mr. President and chairman. At the start of the session this morning, as president asked us to pray for the Holy Spirit to be with us. I would appeal to the chairman that the decisions that are made here by the body are respected and in a firm way. For example, so yesterday, as an example, we took an action of the board—or the body voted to use the paper cards, voting cards. So we voted not to use the electronic devices. And the majority of the delegates voted in favor of that. And so there was much ambivalence and debate regarding that with the 2,000 or so delegates that are here. And so that’s where we’re wanting to follow their thought or their wishes, their desires. We don’t have enough time to complete the work that’s before us. I would request that we respect the majority vote of the body.


CARLOS MORETA: [Translated.] That’s the process that we follow from throughout our denominational structure from the local church to the GC. Thank you so much.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: Thank you. Let’s go back. There was a brother here who felt we ought to actually vote as a body about the two-thirds majority matter. Did you want to make that into a motion, since you thought we should vote on it?

SAMUEL DAVIS: I move, Brother Chair, this body votes on that recommendation.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: OK. The motion—and I’ll have to interpret your motion a little bit here so we know how to vote. The recommendation that comes from the Steering Committee is that we do not use two-thirds majority for voting on the Fundamental Beliefs here. So if you would vote in favor of that, you don’t want to see the two-thirds majority. If you vote against that, then you would still like to see the two-thirds majority.

We were just discussing what the motion actually was. The speaker did not make it entirely clear.

Essentially, we need to vote “yes” or “no” on the use of the two-thirds majority. And I tied it into the Steering Committee.

OK. After consultation, we have come to the conclusion that the motion is essentially to accept the recommendation that was brought to this body, which means that if you vote in favor of the motion, we will not use the two-thirds majority. If you vote “no,” then you’re still open and perhaps you’re one who would like to use the two-thirds majority.

Do you understand how to vote?

I see a person at mike number 2, point of order, Julie Keymer.

JULIE KEYMER: Morning, Mr. Chairman. Yesterday I requested that these points—these motions be put in writing for all of us, including the English-speaking people. So if we could continue to do that from now through the rest of the session, that would be very helpful. Thank you.


We’re going to try to get that motion on the screen.

And we have another person here at microphone number 1, Brother Lante Thompson.

LANTE THOMPSON: Good morning, Mr. Chairman.

I think we need some clarity from this Committee. Besides this main motion, there could be some other motions that will be raised. Do we go by simple majority on those motions as well? And we hope the Steering Committee will give some clarity on that. Thank you.

TED N. C. WILSON: Brother Chair, if I can comment. We don’t want anyone to be confused here. The way the church conducts business in almost every respect except for the changing of constitutions—you have a constitution, wherever you are. It may say in there it needs to be by two-thirds. The way we conduct business at Annual Council, at the General Conference session, in normal committee meetings, whether they be at local level, union, division, General Conference, is by using a simple majority, which means you have to have one vote more than the exact middle of however many people you have at the meeting.

So there is no need to clarify anything further by the Steering Committee. And the individual who brought up the aspect that we voted, we only voted to recommend or to share with you what it is.

So the motion that is now in place is to accept—as we understand it, to accept the recommendation from the Steering Committee that we do not change the simple-majority approach but that we continue with that and we do not accept the two-thirds majority that was being suggested the other day. That is our recommendation. But in almost every other case except for the constitutional changes, we are recommending, and we use throughout the church, a simple majority. We do that not just with a political or a procedural approach, but we do most voting with a direct asking for God’s guidance through prayer.

Thank you, Brother Chair.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: I see a point of order at microphone 6, Brother Balapi.

BROTHER BALAPI: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I sense now and even previously that after a motion has been made, the chair takes a little bit time hesitating to call for second. That creates a room for some kind of discussion before the motion is really moved. I request, Mr. Chair, that you call for a second on this motion so that if there is a need for discussion, we do so; otherwise, we vote on it. Thank you.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: I do call for a second on this one, I think. Yes. My colleagues say that we did call for a second on this motion.

OK. We have one more at microphone 2, Larry Boggess.

LARRY BOGGESS: Mr. Chairman, good morning.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: Good morning.

LARRY BOGGESS: I sit in the North American Division section, and I can hardly read that. For those in the back, they probably can’t read it, so I would encourage us to make a bigger font.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: [Explained the background and reasons for the review of the Fundamental Beliefs.]

ARTUR STELE: [Reviewed the process employed to present the Fundamental Beliefs for consideration by the session’s body.]

The only refinement that is done in these Fundamental Beliefs is that we have looked in the Bible references, and we have changed the way they are presented.

We have used the canonical order of presenting the biblical messages, starting from Genesis and then following through the book of Revelation.

We have not touched fundamental beliefs 13, 14, 15, 16, 26, 27, 28.

[A motion to accept the untouched fundamental beliefs was made.]

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: Does that include the preamble?

ARTUR STELE: Yes. We have not touched—

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: It includes the preamble. So you have the motion before you. Let me restate the motion. This is coming to you as a request for approval of the preamble, and numbers 13, 14, 15, 16, 26, 27, and 28.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: Are you ready to vote on this cluster of the Fundamental Beliefs?

All in favor, please raise your voting cards.

Any opposed?

It is carried.

ARTUR STELE: The next fundamental belief is number 25. Beside the rearrangement of the biblical text, we have a change of one word. When you look at fundamental belief 25, which you have in your hands, you will see that on line 20 there is added one word. We used to have “Christ’s coming is imminent.” And we suggest to use a word that is a direct quote from the Gospel of Matthew, saying “Christ’s coming is near.”

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: It’s moved and seconded.

All in favor, please raise your voting cards.

Any opposed?

That is carried.

ARTUR STELE: The next fundamental belief is number 20, the fundamental belief about the Sabbath. Besides a biblical reference rearrangement, we have changed one word. The fundamental belief starts with “The beneficent Creator.” It’s an English word that is very difficult for some of us to pronounce, and it has been also a challenge for some to understand. The suggestion is to use a clearer and more understandable word, “gracious”—a “gracious Creator.”

I move it, Brother Chair.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: It’s seconded. We are ready to vote.

All in favor, please raise your voting cards.

Any opposed?

It is carried.

ARTUR STELE: Brother Chair, the next fundamental belief is number 11. It is one that was added in 2005 called “Growing in Christ.” One added sentence: “We are also called to follow Christ’s example by compassionately ministering to the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of humanity.”

I move it.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: It’s seconded.

All in favor, please raise your voting cards.

Any opposed? Same sign.

It is carried.

ARTUR STELE: Brother Chairman, the next fundamental belief is number 9, “The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.” Here is only one change. We have added one word, the word “bodily,” making it the “bodily resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph.”

I move this change.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: It’s seconded.

All in favor, please raise your voting cards. Thank you.

Any opposed? The same sign.

It is carried.

ARTUR STELE: The next fundamental belief is number 17, “Spiritual Gifts and Ministries.” Here we have two changes.

The first change is to replace the word “which” by the word “that.”

The second change is to delete the word “apostolic.”

The two changes have been moved and seconded.

ÁNGEL RODRÍGUEZ: The list is based on the spiritual gifts. And we thought that “apostolic” was probably referring to missionaries. And we concluded that the idea of mission is already present in the statement. So we did not see a need to repeat.

PASSMORE MULAMBO: I do appreciate the explanation given, but as I understand this part, it seems to me like a direct quotation from Ephesians 4. And I want to submit that probably we would do better to maintain the direct quotation as we have it in the Bible.

KEVIN RHAMIE: I believe that the world needs to know that we believe in the apostolic gift. It’s one of the main gifts listed in the Bible.

We’re voting to refer it back to the committee.

MAUNGA NAINI: Mr. Chairman, this appears to me like a person preaching. Even when you are quoting a verse, you can choose not to mention certain words. Even when you are writing, you can use ellipsis marks and leave out certain words. And I don’t see any quotation marks in that passage that you are looking at. So, for me, really dropping the word “apostolic” would not make much difference. So I agree with the recommendation from the chairman on leaving out that word from that passage that you are studying right now. Thank you.

[The motion to refer the belief back to the committee was defeated.]

NEIL NEDLEY: I want to call the question on the main motion.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: We will now vote on the main motion.

The motion is to accept number 17 with the two small changes as have been presented to us.

All those in favor of accepting number 17, please raise your voting cards. Thank you.

Any opposed? [The motion concerning the two changes was voted.]

ARTUR STELE: Let’s go now to fundamental belief 21, on stewardship. In order to make it clear that all of us are invited to be faithful stewards, we are replacing the word “men” with “fellow human beings.”

The second change is that we have used the word “tithes” in the plural, but to avoid the confusion, we have now put it in the singular, “tithe.”

To include both genders, we have used “stewards” in the plural instead of the singular “steward.”

[The motion to accept the recommended three changes on stewardship was made, seconded, and voted.]

ARTUR STELE: With fundamental belief 22, “Christian Behavior,” there is the challenge of how to explain “principles of heaven.”

We have suggested the following change: “We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with” and instead of “the principles of heaven,” “biblical principles.” And then we have added “in all aspects of personal and social life.”

I move that.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: It’s seconded.

All in favor, please raise your voting cards.

Any opposed?

It’s carried.

ARTUR STELE: The next fundamental belief is 23, “Marriage and the Family.”

One of the major changes is to include single people when we emphasize the family.

Now when we speak about the family of God, we acknowledge that the family of God embraces both single and married persons.

The word “disciplinarian” we are suggesting be changed to “Christ is a loving, tender, and caring guide.” And in two other places, instead of “marriage partners,” we have introduced the expression “a man and a woman,” because language has changed, and this is really what was meant there.

I move it.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: It’s seconded.

Microphone 3, Ray Hartwell.

RAY HARTWELL: I strongly encourage the delegates to vote in favor of statement 23, especially where it identifies marriage as being between a man and a woman.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: Lawrence Geraty.

LAWRENCE GERATY: I would like to suggest that on line 17 we keep the same terminology that we’ve lived with for several years. We already have “a man and a woman” in line 12, so that is clear. So I would suggest a different terminology, the one that was originally there, because there is a difference.

You can talk about couples as a woman and a man and their characteristics. But when you talk about marriage partners, there is a closeness that is conveyed by that phrase that I would hate to lose. So my recommendation is, since we already have “a man and a woman” on line 12, let’s not be redundant in 17. Let’s keep “marriage partners.”


ARTUR STELE: It depends what the body wishes.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: Dr. Geraty, did you want to have that referred back for consideration?


BENJAMIN SCHOUN: We will then vote on that.

TED N. C. WILSON: Fellow delegates, as we know, this issue is a very contentious issue around the world. We want to be loving and kind and Christlike to everyone. As we have stated, everyone is to be treated with respect and as someone that Christ wishes to redeem. However, when it comes to an understanding from the Bible as to marriage, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is very clear. And in this fundamental belief, we want to leave no ambiguity about it.


We want people to know that Seventh-day Adventists, who follow the Bible not only in teaching but in practice and in loving our fellow human beings, believe that marriage is between only a man and a woman.


BENJAMIN SCHOUN: We have a motion before us to refer this back to the committee. You can vote it up or down.

All in favor of the motion to refer, please raise your voting cards.

Thank you.

Those opposed.


The motion has lost. Emmanuel Mwale, microphone 6.

EMMANUEL MWALE: I think what we have done relative to fundamental belief 23 gives the church much confidence. Because this is one of the contentious issues that we have in the church right now.

And I wanted to mention that the intent of what was done here to remove “marriage partners” is really to help the church. Because in the jurisdiction in Europe, which I’ll not mention for security reasons, it has two marriage acts, one that goes with the definition of marriage that we have here, and another one that is the civil partnership act that provides for homosexuals. And so because of this, we have to be very straightforward as we have done, and we don’t have to change anything. Thank you.

RAY ROENNFELDT: I’m referring to line 21 and the expression there, “the earmarks of the final gospel message.” And I wonder whether we couldn’t just simplify that. That’s a strange expression and, I think, probably difficult to translate. And it could just be worded as “Increasing family closeness is one result of the final gospel message.”

And I’d like to recommend that it be referred back to make that change.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: We were just discussing the fact that since we just voted whether to refer back or not was the prevailing factor or whether the fact that this was on a little different subject would enable us to consider a referral. And I think I will give the benefit to the speaker here, and we will accept that as a motion to refer back to the committee for that particular suggestion. And we will vote on this matter of referring fundamental belief 23 back to the committee for the consideration of that particular item.

Those in favor of referring back, please indicate with your cards.

Those who are opposed, please show your cards.


The motion has been defeated. We’re back to the main motion.

ONYEBUCHI NWANKPA: I want to thank the Lord for the way the church is looking at the issue of marriage and family. I thank God for the way the church is dealing with the issue of marriage and family, not to leave anybody in doubt as to what we believe, where we stand. But I have a concern. And that is that we must keep the position of marriage, because marriage—the way marriage is conducted—defines a very important aspect of our ethics, our Christian ethics. But today we look and we see that in many places some young people, male and female, come together, live together before the official marriage. And sometimes you discover that at the end of the day these end up—after living together for some time—to be recognized as husband and wife.

And we know that such living together before marriage, no matter what social environment they are coming from, from the biblical point of view amounts to fornication. I want to ask or suggest that since we are talking about marriage and family here, something be put here to clarify the fact or the stand of the church on this in order to also help the sanctity of marriage.

Now we return to voting on fundamental belief 23.

Are you ready to vote?

All in favor of accepting fundamental belief 23, on marriage and family, please raise your voting cards.

Any opposed?

It is carried.

ARTUR STELE: Let us go now to fundamental belief 6, “Creation,” and fundamental belief 8, “The Great Controversy.” The assignment that we have received is to harmonize fundamental belief 6 with a response to an Affirmation of Creation. Some elements that go into the document are really better to present in the area of the great controversy, because we didn’t want to speak about the fall in the fundamental belief of creation and the flood and so on. This is why you will find part of the changes in fundamental belief 6 and part in fundamental belief 8.

Fundamental belief 6 now reads “God is the Creator of all things.” And then: “His creative work, performed and completed in six literal days that together with the Sabbath constituted the same unit of time that we call a week today.”

Instead of quoting Genesis 1:1, we are quoting the first commandment. And this is important for the theological consideration of Chapter 1 in Genesis, because it allows two different interpretations of understanding of Genesis 1:1.

When we go to the fundamental belief about the great controversy, we have implemented here a reference to the historical account of Genesis 1 to 11 and referring to the flood as worldwide.

Together with the rearrangement of the biblical passages, I move the acceptance of fundamental beliefs 6 and 8.


BENJAMIN SCHOUN: We have a motion before us to consider both number 6 and number 8. And we have many speakers.

LAWRENCE GERATY: I wanted to applaud the work of the editors who have worked hard to revise and improve this whole Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.

Having been a delegate at the GC session in Dallas, Texas, in 1980, when they were adopted, I would say that the process we’re engaged in now is what was intended back then.

The editors have been especially successful at employing gender-neutral language so that all Adventist believers feel included.

A few changes appear to be designed to exclude, and some of these are found in number 6, on creation.

The problem I wish to address is the proposed wording in the creation statement that is nonbiblical. There are interpretations that have been inserted, interpretations that are possible, and may even be right, because they come from the writings of Ellen White, but they are not in the Bible. Thus they open us to the challenge that we base our beliefs on Ellen White and not on the Bible.

We say we are committed to
sola scriptura, but in these proposed changes we suggest otherwise.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: There is a point of order.

RAYMOND HARTWELL: I would like to refer these two back.

For belief 6, stating it this way: “God is the Creator of all things. He’s revealed in Scripture the authentic and historical account of His creative activity. God created the universe, including the angels and unfallen worlds. Later, in a recent six-day creation, the Lord made this world’s dominions of,” and then continue with the rest of the statement.

In belief 8, on line 28, where it speaks of the worldwide flood as presented in the historical account of Genesis 1-11, I would refer to the committee to use the word “global” either in conjunction with “worldwide” or in place of “worldwide.” There are certain Bible scholars that identify “worldwide” as being only the world the Bible writer knew of in their own personal experience, but not a global flood.

I move to refer these back based on the comments I’ve suggested.

ARTUR STELE: We have received, especially after the vote of the Annual Council, a number of suggestions. And what the previous speaker suggested was requested by a number of people, especially with a reference that the language that was now suggested was used in the document Affirmation of Creation with regard to the flood.

By common consent, we will take it back and bring it back tomorrow after we work on it.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: We will not vote on this. We will accept as a suggestion. The committee will take it back and review it.

MEGEN MOLE: I have a couple of grammatical concerns about 6 and 8.

In lines 34 and 35 we talk about authentic and historical account of creative activity. Those are actually synonyms, so I would like to propose that we amend that to “trustworthy account of his creative activity.”

In line 36 the phrase “the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” are in quotation marks, which is the only time a biblical quote is in quotation marks in the Fundamental Beliefs. I’d like to amend that to remove the quotation marks.

In line 40 we have the phrase “the same unit of time that we call a week today.” I find that language grammatically and, for purposes of clarity, problematic. For example, in Japan in 2011 with the massive earthquake, we found that scientifically a day was actually shortened by a few seconds as a result of that earthquake. Comparatively, for such a small event, if we then imagine a worldwide flood, how much more impact could that have on the length of days or the length of hours or that sort of thing?

We could amend line 40 to say, “together with the Sabbath constituted the first earthly week.”

In belief 8, on lines 28 and 29, you have “as presented in the historical account of Genesis 1-11.” I find this reference unusual, and again, this is something that doesn’t appear in the rest of the Fundamental Beliefs. So I wish to amend those to remove the specific reference, as it occurs also at the end of the fundamental belief.

JIŘÍ MOSKALA: I recommend three refinements to the committee for their further consideration.

The first three sentences in this fundamental belief give the impression that God is the Creator of all things at once; namely, that He created the entire universe, together with life on earth.

However, we as Seventh-day Adventists strongly believe that the great controversy originated before the creation week of Genesis 1.

In order to harmonize it and have time for Satan’s rebellion in heaven, I recommend to insert between the sentence two and the third sentence the word “later.”

It would be helpful to clarify what it means that God created all things. It is interesting that our 28 Fundamental Beliefs presuppose the existence of angels, but it is never stated how and when they came into existence. It would be fitting to include such a statement.

It would be very useful to explain that the phrase “the heavens and the earth and the sea” of Exodus 20:11 refer to this world’s three domains and that this text is not speaking about the whole universe.

WILLEM ALTINK: The preamble to our Fundamental Beliefs states the Bible is our creed. I think there is a danger if we go too far in explaining, especially from the point of view of mission.

If we want to bring people to Christ and the good news of the Sabbath, people need to have time to grow into the understanding of the Bible.

It is not good to accept the changes. We will exclude members who are very loyal to the church. They agree with the present wording, but the changes will exclude them. It is important that the Fundamental Beliefs include the whole body of believers of our church.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: We have a point of order: Bertold Hibner.

BERTOLD HIBNER: I move that time be extended to two minutes 30 seconds for the presenter. And also four minutes with translation. Thank you.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: All of those opposed, please raise your voting cards.

The motion is defeated.

RICHARD DAVIDSON: The quotation of the fourth commandment, without any further explanation, could be understood by many outside the church as referring to the creation of the whole universe in six literal days, and this would leave no room for the great controversy occurring before creation week, as is clear in many other biblical passages.

JERILYN BURTCH: When certain topics or questions come up with my children, I give them an age-appropriate response. I tell them what they need to know at that point in their lives. The differences in comprehension ability and maturity between my children and me is diminishing every day.

I look at the accounts of creation and realize that the difference in maturity level and comprehension ability between God and me is immeasurable, I have no reason to expect that God gave me a complete technical explanation of how our eternal God created the world. What I find in Scripture is what I need to know now.

Knowing the questions that we would be facing today, God let Scripture go to press without a clear statement that the creation week was the same unit of time that we call a week today. There is no “thus saith the Lord” on this point. Genesis mentions that the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the deep before God said anything, but it doesn’t specify how long that water or the rocks that contained it had been there.

Scripture is silent on that point. Let’s keep our statements of belief focused close to Scripture.

DELMER NAVALLO CARO: I’m not comfortable with some words here in number 6, and I would like to take them into consideration for the committee.

On line 34, add “is the only.”

On line 35 it says “In a recent six-day creation.” The week was not created before creation. That’s why I would suggest to cancel or to erase the word “recent,” because the week exists since God created our world.

God is not creative only; He is almighty.

L. JAMES GIBSON: I support the suggestions that have been made to replace the word “worldwide” in fundamental belief 8 with the word “global” and to clarify some of the aspects of belief 6 that have been suggested by others.

JEROEN TUINSTRA: What do we mean with the word “recent”? Is this 6,000, 50,000, or 1 billion?

Are we actually saying that the heavens and the earth, the cosmos, is created in a recent six-day creation, not allowing any space between Genesis 1, verse 1, and Genesis 1, verse 2?

What do we mean by “recent,” and are we saying here that the whole cosmos was created in six days?

ARTUR STELE: In order not to say that the whole cosmos was created in the six days, we have changed the quotation from Genesis 1:1 to the quotation from the first commandment. It is a scholarly discussion, and not everyone will understand this change.

Concerning the word “recent,” no one knows exactly the number of years. To clarify the word “recent,” we have added here a reference to Genesis 6.

BENJAMIN SCHOUN: We are going to close our discussion for the morning. All of those who have indicated an interest in speaking, we will take this up right after lunch, and we will finish the discussion on these items.

Sarah Wassef is going to come and have a closing prayer.


Proceedings Editors

Session Actions

Sixtieth General Conference Session July 6, 2015, 9:30 a.m.


VOTED, To limit speakers today to two minutes, or three minutes if the speaker needs translation.


VOTED, To call for the vote on the item of simple majority voting.


VOTED, To accept the Steering Committee’s recommendation to vote using a simple majority for every item that will be voted during this Session, except for Constitution and Bylaws items.


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #13, The Remnant and Its Mission, to read as follows:

13. The Remnant and Its Mission

The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Dan. 7:9-14; Isa. 1:9; 11:11; Jer. 23:3; Mic. 2:12; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 4:17; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Jude 3, 14; Rev. 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4.) (Rev. 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4; 2 Cor. 5:10; Jude 3, 14; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Rev. 21:1-14.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #14, Unity in the Body of Christ, to read as follows:

14. Unity in the Body of Christ

The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Ps. 133:1; Matt. 28:19, 20; John 17:20-23; Acts 17:26, 27; Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 5:16, 17; Gal. 3:27-29; Eph. 2:13-16; 4:36, 11-16; Col. 3:10-15.) (Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; Matt. 28:19, 20; Ps. 133:1; 2 Cor. 5:16, 17; Acts 17:26, 27; Gal. 3:27, 29; Col. 3:10-15; Eph. 4:14-16; 4:1-6; John 17:20-23.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #15, Baptism, to read as follows:

15. Baptism

By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38; 16:30-33; 22:16; Rom. 6:1-6; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12, 13.) (Rom. 6:1-6; Col. 2:12, 13; Acts 16:30-33; 22:16; 2:38; Matt. 28:19, 20.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #16, The Lord’s Supper, to read as follows:

16. The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot-washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians. (Matt. 26:17-30; John 6:48-63; 13:117; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:23-30; Rev. 3:20.) (1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:23-30; Matt. 6:17-30; Rev. 3:20; John 6:48-63; 13:1-17.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #26, Death and Resurrection, to read as follows:

26. Death and Resurrection

The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later. (Job 19:25-27; Ps. 146:3, 4; Eccl. 9:5, 6, 10; Dan. 12:2, 13; Isa. 25:8; John 5:28, 29; 11:11-14; Rom. 6:23; 16; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 20:1-10.) (Rom. 6:23; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Eccl. 9:5, 6; Ps. 146:3, 4; John 11:1114; Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:1-10.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #27, The Millenium and the End of Sin, to read as follows:

27. The Millennium and the End of Sin

The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections. During this time the wicked dead will be judged; the earth will be utterly desolate, without living human inhabitants, but occupied by Satan and his angels. At its close Christ with His saints and the Holy City will descend from heaven to earth. The

unrighteous dead will then be resurrected, and with Satan and his angels will surround the city; but fire from God will consume them and cleanse the earth. The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever. (Jer. 4:23-26; Ezek. 28:18, 19; Mal. 4:1; 1 Cor. 6:2, 3; Rev. 20; 21:1-5.) (Rev. 20; 1 Cor. 6:2, 3; Jer. 4:23-26; Rev. 21:1-5; Mal. 4:1; Eze. 28:18, 19.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #28, The New Earth, to read as follows:

28. The New Earth

On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence. For here God Himself will dwell with His people, and suffering and death will have passed away. The great controversy will be ended, and sin will be no more. All things, animate and inanimate, will declare that God is love; and He shall reign forever. Amen. (Isa. 35; 65:1725; Matt. 5:5; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 11:15; 21:1-7; 22:1-5.) (2 Peter 3:13; Isa. 35; 65:17-25; Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21:1-7; 22:1-5; 11:15.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #25, The Second Coming of Christ, to read as follows:

25. The Second Coming of Christ

The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is near. Christ’s coming is imminent. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-6; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; Rev. 1:7; 14:14-20; 19:11-21.) (Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:43, 44; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8; Rev. 14:1420; 19:1121; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Thess. 5:1-6.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #20, The Sabbath, to read as follows:

20. The Sabbath

The beneficent gracious Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God’s kingdom. The Sabbath is God’s perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God’s creative and redemptive acts. (Gen. 2:1-3; Exod. 20:8-11; 31:13-17; Lev. 23:32; Deut. 5:12-15; Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Ezek. 20:12, 20; Matt. 12:1-12; Mark 1:32; Luke 4:16; Heb. 4:1-11.) (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Matt. 12:1-12; Ex. 31:13-17; Eze. 20:12, 20; Deut. 5:12-15; Heb. 4:1-11; Lev. 23:32; Mark 1:32.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #11, Growing in Christ, to read as follows:

11. Growing in Christ

By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus’ victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. We are also called to follow Christ’s example by compassionately ministering to the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of humanity. As we give ourselves in loving service to those around us and in witnessing to His salvation, His constant presence with us through the Spirit transforms every moment and every task into a spiritual experience. (1 Chron. 29:11; Ps. 1:1, 2; 23:4; 77:11, 12; Matt. 20:2528; 25:31-46; Luke 10:17-20; John 20:21; Rom. 8:38, 39; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18; Gal. 5:2225; Eph. 5:19, 20; 6:12-18; Phil. 3:7-14; Col. 1:13, 14; 2:6, 14, 15; 1 Thess. 5:1618, 23; Heb. 10:25; James 1:27; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:18; 1 John 4:4.) (Ps. 1:1, 2; 23:4; 77:11, 12; Col. 1:13, 14; 2:6, 14, 15; Luke 10:17-20; Eph. 5:19, 20; 6:12-18; 1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:18; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18; Phil. 3:7-14; 1 Thess. 5:16-18; Matt. 20:25-28; John 20:21; Gal. 5:22-25; Rom. 8:38, 39; 1 John 4:4; Heb. 10:25.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #9, The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ, to read as follows:

9. The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ

In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The bodily resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow. (Gen. 3:15; Ps. 22:1; Isa. 53; John 3:16; 14:30; Rom. 1:4; 3:25; 4:25; 8:3, 4; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4, 20-22; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15, 19-21; Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 2:15; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.) (John 3:16; Isa. 53; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4, 20-22; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15, 19-21; Rom. 1:4; 3:25; 4:25; 8:3, 4; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Col. 2:15; Phil. 2:6-11.)


VOTED, To call for the vote on referring Fundamental Belief, #17, Spiritual Gifts and Ministries, back to the Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee.


VOTED, To not refer Fundamental Belief, #17, Spiritual Gifts and Ministries, back to the Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee.


VOTED, To call for the vote on Fundamental Belief, #17, Spiritual Gifts and Ministries.


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #17, Spiritual Gifts and Ministries, to read as follows:

17. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries

God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts which that each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, apostolic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love. (Acts 6:1-7; Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11, 27, 28; Eph. 4:8, 1116; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Peter 4:10, 11.) (Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:9-11, 27, 28; Eph. 4:8, 11-16; Acts 6:17; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Peter 4:10, 11.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #21, Stewardship, to read as follows:

21. Stewardship

We are God’s stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use. We acknowledge God’s ownership by faithful service to Him and our fellow human beings, men, and by returning tithes tithe and giving offerings for the proclamation of His gospel and the support and growth of His church. Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victory over selfishness and covetousness. The steward rejoices Stewards rejoice in the blessings that come to others as a result of his their faithfulness. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15; 1 Chron. 29:14; Haggai 1:3-11; Mal. 3:8-12; Matt. 23:23; Rom. 15:26, 27; 1 Cor. 9:9-14; 2 Cor. 8:1-15; 9:7.) (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15; 1 Chron. 29:14; Haggai 1:3-11; Mal. 3:8-12; 1 Cor. 9:914; Matt. 23:23; 2 Cor. 8:1-15; Rom. 15:26, 27.)


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #22, Christian Behavior, to read as follows:

22. Christian Behavior

We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life. principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which that will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness. (Gen. 7:2; Exod. 20:15; Lev. 11:1-47; Ps. 106:3; Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 10:31; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 10:5; Eph. 5:1-21; Phil. 2:4; 4:8; 1 Tim. 2:9, 10; Titus 2:11, 12; 1 Peter 3:14; 1 John 2:6; 3 John 2.) (Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 John 2:6; Eph. 5:1-21; Phil. 4:8; 2 Cor. 10:5; 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 3:1-4; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 10:31; Lev. 11:1-47; 3 John 2.)


VOTED, To not refer Fundamental Belief, #23, Marriage and the Family, back to the Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee.


VOTED, To not refer Fundamental Belief, #23, Marriage and the Family, back to the Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee.


VOTED, To call for the vote on Fundamental Belief, #23, Marriage and the Family.


VOTED, To amend the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, #23, Marriage and the Family, to read as follows:

23. Marriage and the Family

Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between a man and a woman partners who share a common faith. Mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, marriage partners a man and a woman who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ through marriage may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church. God blesses the family and intends that its members shall assist each other toward complete maturity. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message. Parents are to bring up their children to love and obey the Lord. By their example and their words they are to teach them that Christ is a loving, tender, and caring guide loving disciplinarian, ever tender and caring, who wants them to become members of His body, the family of God which embraces both single and married persons. God. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message. (Gen. 2:18-25; Exod. 20:12; Deut. 6:5-9; Prov. 22:6; Mal. 4:5, 6; Matt. 5:31, 32; 19:3-9, 12; Mark 10:11, 12; John 2:1-11; 1 Cor. 7:7, 10, 11; 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4.) (Gen. 2:1825; Matt. 19:3-9; John 2:1-11; 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:21-33; Matt. 5:31, 32; Mark 10:11, 12; Luke 16:18; 1 Cor. 7:10, 11; Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:14; Deut. 6:5-9; Prov. 22:6; Mal. 4:5, 6.)


VOTED, To retain the current limit on speakers today to two minutes, or three minutes if the speaker needs translation.

Benjamin D Schoun, Chair
Agustin Galicia, Secretary
Myron A Iseminger, Actions Editor
Tamara K Boward, Recording Secretary