Here at the Annual Council we have spent almost a week focusing on mission — hearing presentations, taking time to discuss and pray about how we can go forward in our God-given mission as His last day remnant church. And on Oct. 12, the final day of this Annual Council, we will continue to focus on mission and on the soon coming of Jesus Christ.
During the Oct. 11 afternoon session, we spent about 2 hours and 40 minutes presenting, discussing, and then voting a document regarding unity in the church. The discussion was carried out in a civil, Christ-like manner. Please know that no one wants to split the church — I certainly don’t. Our aim is to bring reconciliation along with a focus on mission.
I love our church everywhere whether we agree on everything from one portion to another. I want to say from my heart, I love the church everywhere. I think that as we go into this process of unifying reconciliation, I would hope that people will not surmise the worse, but that we will work with diligence to bring good dialogue and discussion. It is in our plan to work with divisions in a consultative, prayerful way, to engage in what we know is the most important thing to bring about the coming of the latter rain — and that is to fulfill Christ’s prayer of John 17 — to be in unity.
How that will happen, I don’t have the full answer. But the Lord is not going to let His church falter. This church will move ahead in its mission.
Let’s remember that marvelous passage in Ephesians 4:1-7. Paul was a prisoner of the Lord and He was beseeching those in Ephesus:
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”
This is the mandate for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And I encourage you to understand the church isn’t on a witch hunt. It’s on a journey to bring us into unity and an understanding that when we make decisions, whether we agree with them or not, we work together. We have One Lord. One Faith. One Father. Let’s work together.
I ask for your prayers. And I will pray for you. And let’s not forget the real reason why we are here — it is the mission of the church. And God will see to it that we accomplish that mission.