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A Response to William Johnsson’s One Project Concerns (And Some Concerns of My Own)


I’ve been to the One project three times, in Atlanta, Seattle, and Chicago. However, I haven’t attended since retiring from the White Estate three+ years ago. Though I didn’t find the One project splendid in every way as did my good friend William Johnsson (see "the One project: Why I'm Mad"), neither did I find it the hotbed of iniquity described by some of our Adventist brothers and sisters.

What Blessed My Soul  
*The beautiful, Christ-centered music led by Nicholas Zork’s praise group (violins, cellos, and flutes are not typically used in rock bands)
*The opportunity to discuss the presentations in small groups with candor and honesty
*The emphasis on becoming active in our communities to aid the poor, the marginalized, the voiceless
*The focus on Jesus’ grace and righteousness made by some of the presenters
*A recognition that it is the Holy Spirit who anoints for the task to which He calls.

What I Missed
Any positive references to:
*The three angels’ messages of Revelation 14
*The concept of a remnant raised up by Christ for a specific purpose in time
*Creation in seven literal contiguous 24 hour periods, an act of God which precedes predation (Here's why it matters.
*Ellen White’s book, The Great Controversy
*The pre-Advent judgment
*Public evangelism, such as the satellite series hosted by various well-known Adventist evangelists
*A Christ whose overwhelming grace inspires holiness in lifestyle and affects our choices in dress, food and drink, entertainment, and sexuality
*The prophetic portions of Daniel and Revelation

Even though for me there was more “missing” from the One project than what was a blessing, you have not heard or read of me vilifying it or advocating that it be banned from existence for what I see as serious omissions. Why? Because it is really important to me not to demonize or threaten those who may have convictions or emphasis different from my own. Jesus may be using some of those presenters’ words to reach people who I cannot.

In a similar vein, I’m shattered to my core by the vitriol I’ve read on the web against fellow Adventists who support women in pastoral leadership and women's ordination. The words of the “anti’s” on this subject are often bitter, mean, condemning, harsh, and characterized by a seeming “kill ‘em before they multiply” mentality. (This is not to say I have not also read some pretty uncharitable remarks written by those who are supportive of women in spiritual leadership.)

In His final words and prayers, Jesus talked so much about unity and love among the followers of His words and dogma. (Yeah, some presenters mock doctrine, but for Adventists, doctrine is simply the teachings of Jesus. All of our 28 Fundamental Beliefs are centered in the words of Christ found in Scripture.) It would even appear that the coveted gift of heaven, the Latter Rain of God’s Holy Spirit (Hosea 6:3) will not be bestowed until we quit the in-house fighting and negative labeling.

So you can imagine my shock and disappointment to hear that the General Conference has set up a committee for the express purpose of punishing the North American Division Unions who have voted their conscience in regard to the ordination of women to the mission for which the Spirit of God has gifted them. The word from some on site who cannot be identified because they do not have permission to disclose information is that this committee is seriously considering nuclear fissure—completely dissolving—these Unions. (Apparently, for reasons not disclosed, the European Unions which have voted the same get a pass.)

Here are my questions: In order to put real teeth into the threat of “grave consequences,” this committee would recommend bringing certain chaos, disunity, and a fighting spirit into the ranks of God’s professed people? Getting the last word is worth a delay of the gift of the Latter Rain and the coming of Jesus, while this thing is tied up for years in courts as a spectacle of Adventist priorities? (see 1 Peter 4:17 and EV 696) And all to defend a practice which is against the consciences of hundreds of thousands of Adventists worldwide? A practice that is not even a policy, much less a fundamental belief or core doctrine?

I can find nothing in either the Bible or the writings of Ellen G. White which would defend this kind of divisive action. In fact, I find much food for cogitation in this citation: "Organizations, institutions, unless kept by the power of God, will work under Satan’s dictation to bring men under the control of men; and fraud and guile will bear the semblance of zeal for truth, and for the advancement of the kingdom of God" (Testimonies for the Church, 7:180, 191)

We can’t get much more incongruous than to write documents using copious Bible and Ellen White comments on how much Jesus prizes unity and then conclude that the best thing for the church of Christ is to fracture it.

If there is a work of separation which needs to occur over this non-doctrinal issue in His church, God is able. Nowhere does He call on us to be the agency that “purifies the church” of those who disagree with our convictions on ecclesiology.  This Jesus, of whom we all sing, pray and preach, is the redemptive, unifying, Shepherd of all His people. He wants us to press together so He can bring us home. He wants us to meet together at His cross, one “melded humanity,” united in our mission and believing and living our oneness in the Spirit.

Rabid vilification and cries of “Crucify them!” never originate with Jesus.


Cindy Tutsch is retired Associate Director of the Ellen G. White Estate at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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