Following October 14’s vote on the document “Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions,” many of our church members and leaders have been conveying their deep disappointment and apprehension, mainly on social media and in addressing their Conferences, Unions, and the Division.
“We would like to call to the attention of all our distressed brothers and sisters that there are solid reasons for us – members of the worldwide Adventist family – to be confident and hopeful regarding our future as a loving and united family,” said Mario Brito, President of the Inter-European Region of Seventh-day Adventists (EUD), “after the last decision taken at the Annual Council of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists held in Battle Creek, Michigan on October 11-17, 2018.”
“If we carefully read the New Testament, and study the history of Christianity and of the Adventist Movement, we will easily realize that the early Church and our pioneers were confronted with similar challenges, which they managed to successfully overcome,” affirmed Pastor Brito. “Led by the Holy Spirit, they came to a point in which they concluded that a perplexing situation as described in Acts 15, for instance, could be converted into a blessing for the Church. Although the text doesn’t explicitly mention it, we can easily infer that their decision was based on some fundamental scriptural teachings to which we all should pay careful attention:
1. Not to judge another’s motivation and sincerity. That is, to consider that a person who thinks differently from us is not an honest and faithful believer. This is a temptation to be firmly resisted.
2. To treat others as we would like to be treated. For that to happen, we need to attentively listen to each other – individually and collectively – trying to understand the worldview, needs, frustrations, and expectations of the other. The attentiveness ought to be even higher, wider, and deeper if the communication is done in the larger context of culturally different people-groups.
3. Open and courteous dialogue help us to get to know and trust each other better and to come to consensual decisions.
4. Respect and careful application of the decisions agreed upon. The decisions of a body duly appointed are to be respected (to be taken seriously) and applied in the best possible manner.
5. Yet, it is important to have in mind that a vote, as any other human decision, may always be restudied and reconsidered.
6. To learn how to remain together and united, in spite of our differences. It is not always easy, but it will greatly help us grow and testify that we are Christ’s disciples.
7. Led by the Holy Spirit. If we truly want the will of God to be done in our lives and in our churches, we need not only to listen and to respect each other, but to unceasingly pray that the Holy Spirit guides us. If we really mean it, He will definitely show us the way to follow and will empower us to do so.
Thus, this is a time for us to pray as never before! We do need to be united, as never before, for the Mission that the Lord has entrusted us!”
This article originally appeared on the Inter-European Division’s news website, EUDNews.
Image Credit: Flickr.com / Brent Hardinge / Adventist News Network
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