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     When I was a student at Pacific Union College there were  several classmates of mine who were studying for the ministry.  As it neared time for them to graduate each one became concerned about a "call" from a conference.  Some were put in pastoral internships right after graduation and some were sponsored to continue their education at Andrews, a few went on to Andrews without a sponsor.
     How does a conference "call" a pastor to a position?  Since I have never been a pastor nor have been on the committee that does the calling, I can only conjecture as to how it is done.  I certainly would hope that the selection process was carefully done, with much prayer and seeking of the Lord's counsel, and that more than one person was responsible for the sending out of the "calls".
     My concern comes from the many comments I have heard over the years from pastors, teachers, and doctors and their families.  When another church or conference sends them a "call" they many times treat it as a "call" from God.  If it is a "call" from God there would be no question. However, the "call" is not always accepted.  In that case one of the parties, may not be following the Lord's counsel.
     It seems to me that the conference should take the utmost care that each and every "call" they decide upon is done with the Lord's direction.  They should do as much as they can to find out about the person and his family they want and then hold him up to the Lord in prayer and see how He leads.  Then, if they are in accordance with the Lord's will, their call becomes the same as the Lord calling the pastor to that post. Sometimes, I am sure, they make the call when there is no clear answer from the Lord and use the acceptance or rejection of the call as the Lord's answer.  If that is true of the conferences, then it should be an even greater responsibility for the General Conference.
     In 1974 the General Conference called us to teach in Singapore.  Teaching was only one of the "jobs" they expected us to do.  We treated the call very seriously and began making preparations.  We also prayed about it.  The more we prayed about it the less sure we were about the call.  We questioned, "Doesn't the Lord work through the General Conference?  Maybe they picked the wrong person?  How could that be if they are leading God's work here on earth?"
     We started finding out more about Far Eastern Academy.  The more we discovered about its facilities, the teachers and the students there, and the jobs we were expected to do, the less qualified we felt and the more sure we were that the Lord was not leading us to go there.  Finally, we refused the call.  We have never known who took our place.  We have never been "called" by the General Conference or any other conference since.  Twenty-five years later as we have seen the Lord work in our lives we can testify to the Lord's leading in rejecting that call.
     In 1990, much to the surprise of most Seventh-day Adventists the General Conference elected a new president, Robert Folkenberg.  Even Neil Wilson, the previous president, was surprised.  Folkenberg had been in conference work in Central America for several years, since 1971, in fact.
     Apparently most of the people on that nominating committee in 1990, knew him or, at least, knew who he was.  It turns out that most of the people he worked with knew what he was like and what he did.  Was there anybody on the nominating committee that knew?  Did they speak up?  I am sure the Lord knew.  Did the nominating committee seek the Lord's guidance as to who they should nominate?  If they did, and in light of Folkenberg's resignation, the Lord didn't tell them anything.
     Now, it's one thing to be upright and honest, be given a position of great responsibility and then to be tempted and fall.  It is quite another thing to already be corrupted, be given a position of great responsibility and then continue in that corruption, getting even worse.  How could a man who was already corrupted be considered for the highest position in the church?
     I believe this is the most significant thing to have happened to the Seventh-day Adventist church since the turn of the century when the Battle Creek Sanitarium, the Review and Herald and the Pacific Press burned down!  Why is this significant?  Never before has a General Conference president had to resign because his "extra curricular" activities were found out.  Never before has a General Conference president used his position for personal gain that has come to light.  He appears to have had no burden for the gospel message, just what he could put in his pocket.  And then there has been no statement of remorse or repentance from him.  Worst of all, he would have continued on if he had not been threatened with a lawsuit.
     I really doubt that God was leading that nominating committee in 1990.  If God was truly leading, Folkenberg would never have been chosen.  In light of Folkenberg's resignation, God is not being allowed to lead the General Conference.
     Mrs. White wrote in 1896, "In the General Conference the counsels of God have been set aside, and the counsels and wisdom of men have been relied upon.  God has seen this, and He is displeased...My spirit was pained within me, for I had lost confidence in that which I had ever presented before the people as the voice of God to His children.  It has not been the voice of God..." Manuscript Releases Volume Seventeen (17 MR), page 221.
     And then in 1901, "Yet we hear that the voice of the conference is the voice of God.  Every time I have heard this, I have thought that it was almost blasphemy.  The voice of the conference ought to be the voice of God, but it is not..." Sermons and Talks, Volume Two, page 159.

     "He keenly observes the backsliding of those who have been placed at the head of the work--the very men who through communications have been informed that they were out of place and in error in representing the voice of the General Conference president as being the voice of God.  For many years it has not been thus, and it is not thus now; nor will it ever be thus again, unless there is a thorough reformation." 17 MR page 240.

     In light of Folkenberg's resignation the "thorough reformation" God has called for has not taken place.  Here the SDA church sits, 98 years after this counsel, not closer to following God but, further away!
     You are probably going to ask, "We are only talking about one of the G.C. officials, the whole church isn't further away, is it?" For more than a decade now there have been several independent ministries proclaiming the scandals in the SDA church.  If you haven't seen the material presented by Jan Marcussen, Vance Ferrell, John Grosboll, and others, about the corruption seen in SDA schools, hospitals, churches, and conferences, don't bother, it will just make you sick.  If only a fraction of what has been reported is true, you wouldn't even think of asking the above question.  Through the pen of Sister White the Lord states, "If the heart of the work becomes corrupt, the whole church, in its various branches and interests, scattered abroad over the face of the earth, suffers in consequence." 4 T page 210.  In light of Folkenberg's resignation I believe that these corruptions are a direct result of the corruption in the General Conference.
     Now you will probably say, "But, this is not going to continue, it's going to reform before Jesus comes!"  Mrs. White saw the corruption and warned in 1905, "One thing it is certain is soon to be realized,--the great apostasy, which is developing and increasing and waxing stronger, and will continue to do so until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout..." Special Testimonies, Series B, Number 7 (SPTB07), page 57. In light of Folkenberg's resignation the apostasy has continued, developed, and waxed stronger as predicted. And there is no reformation in sight!
     Another thing to consider is the influence Folkenberg has had on SDA's, conference workers, General Conference workers, and non SDA's.  They looked to him as a leader and an example, but what an example! Mrs. White tells us in Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, page 94, "The strongest bulwark of vice in our world is not the iniquitous life of the abandoned sinner or the degraded outcast; it is that life which otherwise appears virtuous, honorable, and noble, but in which one sin is fostered, one vice indulged.  To the soul that is struggling in secret against some giant temptation, trembling upon the very verge of the precipice, such an example is one of the most powerful enticements to sin.  He who, endowed with high conceptions of life and truth and honor, does yet willfully transgress one precept of God's holy law, has perverted His noble gifts into a lure to sin.  Genius, talent, sympathy, even generous and kindly deeds, may become decoys of Satan to entice other souls over the precipice of ruin for this life and the life to come."  In light of Folkenberg's resignation, he has been a strong "bulwark of vice in our world"!  "Now", you ask, "What can I do about it?  Folkenberg's corrupt, the whole Adventist system is corrupt and they have been warned about the corruption since Mrs. White's day, for all of this decade and most of the last, and have not changed.  It looks like they won't ever change.  Is there anything I can do?"
     Yes, there is. But before I tell you what you can do, let me tell you that I have already done it.  In fact, so has my wife and son and daughter.  We all did it five years ago.  We did it long before Folkenberg resigned, before he was elected for his second term.  We did it when we had less information than what is available now.  Mrs. White tells us, "He requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge." 3T page 258.  You see, to take this advice there will be questions that you will not see the answers to before hand.  And so, you will not have "perfect knowledge".  Now, before I tell you what to do, evaluate your faith, how strong is it?  Will you allow God to lead in your life when it appears that too many things are left unanswered?  Offer a prayer to God that He will show you the truth before you read my answer. My answer will come through several quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy, see how long it takes you to discover it.
     "I am weary of trying to withstand the attempts that are being made to do violence to the truth that should be proclaimed at this time.  If my words are taken by some to sustain error, I shall not be led into controversy, but I shall continue to set before the people the truth as God designs them to understand it.  I shall endeavor to make my words so plain that they cannot be misinterpreted.  The truth of God will be vindicated, and effect the purpose that God designed it should.  The mind can only be freed from error when every thread is cut that binds it to the fallacy of the enemy." 7 MR page 188.

     "When man has taken the lines in his own hands to guide and drive, he will be rewarded, for the work of God will reveal terrible mistakes.  Reason becomes blinded, even with the greatness of light, unless that agency is under the yoke of Christ.  Every day some plan will be devised when Satan thinks he can lend a hand to sow his tares among the wheat.  Vice is not to be commingled with virtue, and the cry may have to go forth in no measured tones, even now while missionary work is being done, 'Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you' (2 Cor.  > 6:17).  God is now working for His people, but how many do not recognize the work of God from a strange work." The Upward Look, page 23.

     "The nominal churches are filled with fornication and adultery, crime and murder, the result of base, lustful passion; but these things are kept covered.  Ministers in high places are guilty; yet a cloak of godliness covers their dark deeds, and they pass on from year to year in their course of hypocrisy.  The sins of the nominal churches have reached unto heaven, and the honest in heart will be brought to the light and come out of them." 2T page 449.

     "Even though you may not feel able to speak a word to those who are working on wrong principles, leave them.  Your withdrawal and silence may do more than words.  Nehemiah refused to associate with those who were untrue to principle, and he would not permit his workmen to associate with them.  The love and fear of God were his safeguard.  He lived and worked as in view of the unseen world.  And David said, 'I have set the Lord always before me.'" Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (RH), 05-09-1899.

     "I write this because any moment my life may be ended.  Unless there is a breaking away from the influence that Satan has prepared, and a reviving of the testimonies that God has given, souls will perish in their delusion.  They will accept fallacy after fallacy, and will thus keep up a disunion that will always exist until those who have been deceived take their stand on the right platform..." SPTB07, page 63.

     "I am now giving the message God has given me, to give to all who claim to believe the truth: 'Come out from among them, and be ye separate,' else their sin in justifying wrongs and framing deceits will continue to be the ruin of souls.  We can not afford to be on the wrong side..." Ibid, page 64.

     "There was a coming out, a decided separation from the wicked, an escape for life.  So it was in the days of Noah; so with Lot; so with the disciples prior to the destruction of Jerusalem; and so it will be in the last days.  Again the voice of God is heard in a message of warning, bidding His people separate themselves from the prevailing iniquity." Patriarchs and Prophets, page 166.

     "I was pointed to those who claim to be Adventists, but who reject the present truth, and saw that they were crumbling and that the hand of the Lord was in their midst to divide and scatter them now in the gathering time, so that the precious jewels among them, who have formerly been deceived, may have their eyes opened to see their true state.  And now when the truth is presented to them by the Lord's messengers, they are prepared to listen, and see its beauty and harmony, and to leave their former associates..." Early Writings, page 69.

     "I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists...and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth..." Ibid, page 261.

     In light of Folkenberg's resignation it is time to leave.  In Mrs. White's day it wasn't time, there was still hope. Yet, she saw it coming: "I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation must go through the churches.  Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities and privileges.  As reformers they had come out of the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted.  We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out.  While we will endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, we will not with pen or voice cease to protest against bigotry..." 11 MR page 229.

     If you need more material to assist you in your decision, do not hesitate to ask.  I know of individuals who have seen this message for years and have studied it from many different aspects.  I will be glad to share the results of this research with you.  My wish for you is that you will be ready for the time of trouble and be saved in God's kingdom.
     "If the church of God becomes lukewarm, it does not stand in favor with God any more than do the churches that are represented as having fallen and become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird.  Those who have had opportunities to hear and receive the truth and who have united with the Seventh-day Adventist church, calling themselves the commandment-keeping people of God, and yet possess no more vitality and consecration to God than do the nominal churches, will receive of the plagues of God just as verily as the churches who oppose the law of God.  Only those that are sanctified through the truth will compose the royal family in the heavenly mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him and keep His commandments." 19 MR page 176.

     "We should never give sanction to sin by our words or our deeds, our silence or our presence." The Desire of Ages, page 152.

     "There are conditions to meet if we would be blessed and honored by God.  We are to separate from the world, and refuse to touch those things that will separate our affections from God.  God has the first and highest claims upon his people.  Set your affections upon him and upon heavenly things.  Your tendrils must be severed from everything earthly.  You are exhorted to touch not the unclean thing; for in touching this, you will yourself become unclean.  It is impossible for you to unite with those who are corrupt, and still remain pure." RH 01-02-1900.

               Jim Snipes