@Sean Pitman: Many say as you that it is only …

Comment on Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference by Tongkam.

@Sean Pitman: Many say as you that it is only about “unity.” It certainly is about unity, but not “only,” in much the same manner as the One Project’s focus on “Jesus. All.” is incorrect. There can be no unity apart from truth, just as there can be no love apart from law. Ultimately, if we cannot grasp the plain “thus saith the LORD” of the Bible, and base our doctrines thereon, we have no possibility of finding “unity.”

Paul wrote godly counsel to the New Testament church relative to gospel order. We ignore his inspired writings at our peril. It is commendable that you recognize the need for unity. It would be the more honorable if you did not attempt to divorce that unity from a proper understanding of the Biblical passages upon which the entire issue is based. As Mrs. White stated so well, “None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. To every soul will come the searching test: Shall I obey God rather than men? The decisive hour is even now at hand. Are our feet planted on the rock of God’s immutable Word? Are we prepared to stand firm in defense of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?” (Great Controversy, p. 593)

Many today base their doctrines on opinions in place of a “thus saith the LORD.” In this they act unwisely and are out of harmony with the third angel’s message.

Tongkam Also Commented

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference

Sean Pitman: The headship I have in my marriage does not spill over outside of my marriage to give me automatic headship over any other woman – within or outside of the church. That simply isn’t a reasonable interpretation of the Bible’s instruction on these issues.

Sean, I’m not meaning to slap you in your face, as you seem to look at it, but the Bible and Ellen White do teach somewhat differently than what you appear to have understood. Let’s start with headship. A man is head over his children as long as he lives. That means your father still has headship over you if he is still alive–even though you are married. This is Biblical. And it’s in Ellen White’s writings.

Of Abraham it is written that “he was called the friend of God,” “the father of all them that believe.” James 2:23; Romans 4:11. The testimony of God concerning this faithful patriarch is, “Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” And again, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” It was a high honor to which Abraham was called, that of being the father of the people who for centuries were the guardians and preservers of the truth of God for the world–of that people through whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed in the advent of the promised Messiah. But He who called the patriarch judged him worthy. It is God that speaks. He who understands the thoughts afar off, and places the right estimate upon men, says, “I know him.” There would be on the part of Abraham no betraying of the truth for selfish purposes. He would keep the law and deal justly and righteously. And he would not only fear the Lord himself, but would cultivate religion in his home. He would instruct his family in righteousness. The law of God would be the rule in his household. {PP 140.3}
Abraham’s household comprised more than a thousand souls. Those who were led by his teachings to worship the one God, found a home in his encampment; and here, as in a school, they received such instruction as would prepare them to be representatives of the true faith. Thus a great responsibility rested upon him. He was training heads of families, and his methods of government would be carried out in the households over which they should preside. {PP 141.1}
In early times the father was the ruler and priest of his own family, and he exercised authority over his children, even after they had families of their own. His descendants were taught to look up to him as their head, in both religious and secular matters. This patriarchal system of government Abraham endeavored to perpetuate, as it tended to preserve the knowledge of God. It was necessary to bind the members of the household together, in order to build up a barrier against the idolatry that had become so widespread and so deep-seated. Abraham sought by every means in his power to guard the inmates of his encampment against mingling with the heathen and witnessing their idolatrous practices, for he knew that familiarity with evil would insensibly corrupt the principles. The greatest care was exercised to shut out every form of false religion and to impress the mind with the majesty and glory of the living God as the true object of worship. {PP 141.2}

Obviously, Abraham was head over more than simply his own family. He was head over heads of families who had come to join his “household.” Any man who is head over you must necessarily, by extension, be head over your wife–else your wife is not under you, or not part of you. Abraham’s household included servants, guests, and others who came to stay with him. He was head over all such persons as were in his household. God said of him, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord….”

Both his “children” and his “household” (including non-relatives), over a thousand people, were commanded by Abraham, and God approved and commended this. In fact, this form of headship, both in the family and in the church, relates precisely to the issue of unity facing our church today.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference

Sean Pitman: Sure, I remain, by Divine appointment, the head of my own house and the head of my wife – because of this fallen world in which we live. However, this Divinely appointed headship ends there – within the home. It does not seem at all clear to me that this husband headship spills over into God’s church during these last days.

Actually, headship does not end in the home simply because home is not separate from the church. There is no such thing as separation of church and home as there is with separation of church and state. Consider Mrs. White’s words on the matter:

“Every Christian family is a church in itself. The members of the family are to be Christlike in every action. The father is to sustain so close a relation to God that he realizes his duty to make provision for the members of his family to receive an education and training that will fit them for the future, immortal life. His children are to be taught the principles of heaven. He is the priest of the household, accountable to God for the influence that he exerts over every member of his family. He is to place his family under the most favorable circumstances possible, so that they shall not be tempted to conform to the habits and customs, the evil practices and lax principles, that they would find in the world.” {1NL 77.2}

“If a man does not show wisdom in the management of the church in his own house, how can he show wisdom in the management of the larger church outside? How can he bear the responsibilities which mean so much, if he cannot govern his own children? Wise discrimination is not shown in this matter. God’s blessing will not rest upon the minister who neglects the education and training of his children. He has a sacred trust, and he should in no case set before church members a defective example in the management of his home.–Manuscript 104, 1901. (“The Need of Reform,” October 8, 1901.)” {5MR 449.4}

Yes, we still have priests today. We are still a “kingdom of priests,” just as we are in the “kingdom of God.” While the Israelites were to be a kingdom of priests and princes, we are never told that they were to be a kingdom of priestesses and princesses. Neither do we hear of queendoms. I believe there is a reason for this. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Why do we try to separate the wives from their husbands? When God created “man” in His image, we are told “male and female created he them.” If a woman wants to serve in an ordained capacity, let her marry a minister and be his helpmeet. They are one. He is the head of the home, and she is his helper.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference

Sean Pitman:
I’m sorry, but the concept of “ordination” isn’t really in the Bible at all – at least not as it is currently practiced in the church. It is more akin, currently, to Catholic practices of creating hierarchical leadership positions – which really weren’t part of the early Christian church where no one was called “father” or anything else except for “brother” or “sister” all equally under the kingship of God. Therefore, the concept of ordination, as it is currently practiced, in no way qualifies as a fundamental doctrinal issue. …

Actually, the Bible calls “the laying on of hands” a “doctrine.” See Hebrews 6:2. I look forward to the day when Isaiah 29:24 will be fulfilled: “They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” Remember Jesus’ story of the wise man and the foolish man? The Bible calls that “doctrine.” (See Mathew 7:24-28.) No vote is required to determine doctrine. Nor is doctrine the same as church governance. Conflating them does not make them equal.