In response to the “Unity in Mission” document voted by the General Conference executive committee at their Annual Council in October, the Mid-America Union executive committee, at their regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 17, voted the following statement:
The Mid-America Union Conference executive committee, after reviewing the “Unity in Mission” document voted by the General Conference executive committee at the 2016 Annual Council, wishes to express the following thoughts about this action:
- We share the need for and pray for worldwide unity and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
- We affirm the document’s call to mutual listening, consultation, and prayer as we work together over differences.
- We, as a Protestant organization, believe the true authority of our church lies with the local members comprising our churches. Furthermore, we recognize our working policies delegate authority to our constituencies as voted by our church members.
- We believe all members and entities in the church should be held accountable when needed by the constituencies to which they are responsible, as has been outlined by our church’s working policies. We see this as paramount, because to do otherwise would be a departure from our Protestant heritage. By staying with and following our long-held policies for accountability, the appearance or threat of kingly power is held in check.
- We express grave concern with the Unity Document’s establishing working policy as on par with our fundamental beliefs. Whereas policy is made for the organizing of our church for the purpose of mission, our fundamental beliefs speak to the Biblical truths we hold as a people.
We are alarmed by the “Unity in Mission” document and object to the direction it is taking our church. True unity will not be achieved based on voted policies, but rather through showing our spirit of “Christlike forbearance,” as Ellen White counsels us to do.
“The church may pass resolution upon resolution to put down all disagreement of opinions, but we cannot force the mind and will and thus root out disagreement. These resolutions may conceal the discord, but they cannot quench it and establish a perfect agreement. Nothing can perfect unity in the church but the spirit of Christlike forbearance” (MS 24, 1892).