September 18, 2019—Itú, Brazil
The last day of the session has arrived and the day started with the morning worship by Brother J. Cruz of the United States entitled “Lift Him Up As the Head of the Church.”
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” ().
Brother P. Lausevic presented a short message to the delegation finishing off a series of studies he delivered throughout the session on the Three Angels' Messages. He asked the question referring to yesterday's message, “How is this picture of the children of Abraham applicable to our time?” As the light was rejected by the ecclesiastical authorities in the days of Christ, so it has been rejected in every succeeding generation. "When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class."—The Desire of Ages, p. 232.
Brother Lausevic emphasized that very few today listen to the voice of God and accept the truth in whatever way it may be presented. Often Reformers are forced to turn away from the churches they love in order to declare the plain teaching of the Word of God. Those who are seeking for the light are by the same token obliged to leave the church of their fathers, that they may render obedience to the Word of God.
The General Conference Secretary presented the minutes of the previous day which were accepted by the delegation session.
The Nominating Committee presented a final report.
General Conference Publication Approval Board:
- Paul Chapman (Chairman)
- Cicero Barros
- David Zic
- Walter Lukic
- Alwin Vedhasingh
General Conference Doctrinal Council:
- Eli Tenorio, President
- Rolly Dumaguit, 1st Vice President
- Liviu Tudoroiu, Secretary
- Peter Lausevic, Committee Member
- Romulo Borges, Committee Member
- Franz Terceros, South American Region
- Marcelo Araujo, South American Region
- Jose Angel Usuga, Central American Region
- Marin Barbu, European Region
- Alexander Volgin, Eurasian Region
- Zahid Williams, Asian Region
- Paul Chapman, Pacific Region
- Newton Kakonko, Southern African Region
- Edison Bigirimana, Northern Africa
- Jorai Cruz, North American Region
General Conference Finance Committee:
- Huldeni Souza (Chairman)
- Patrick Jean-Francois
- Moises Heredia
The temporary Medical Committee presented a final report and was accepted as follows:
1. Recommendations to members of the SDARM ()
- Regular health check-ups
- Regular check of B-12 levels
- Regular check of Vitamin D, especially those who live in the northern hemisphere
- Other necessary analysis (lab, ultrasound, blood pressure, mammogram, PAP test, PSA test . . .)
2. Diseases found and increasing in the SDARM (CTBH 12.3; Deuteronomy, )
- Surgery is effective in treatment: ( , )
- Radiotherapy is effective in treatment
- Chemotherapy is effective in treatment
- Best results come when we use all possible methods of treatment for cancer (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, diet-therapy, natural treatment, spiritual care)
B. Obesity and insulin resistance (Hyperinsulinism): (Child Guidance, p. 379.2)
C. Depression and Melancholy (; Psalm )
- Pastors have their place in the treatment of depression. It is important that they know and are familiar with their place in this treatment.
- We recommend that they read The Ministry of Healing, the book by Dr. Neal Nedley, and the books of Dr. Daniel Amen, in addition to the last chapter of Steps to Christ.
D. Cardiovascular Disease: Prevention of this disease is much more than vegetarianism and not smoking (; ).
3. Principles of Health That Have Been Forgotten (The Adventist Home, p. 508.2; Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 25.5;)
("I saw that the reason why God did not hear the prayers of His servants for the sick among us more fully was, that He could not be glorified in so doing while they were violating the laws of health."—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 25.5.)
- Regular physical exercise of at least 30 minutes per day.
- Regulated use of electronic devices, especially in childhood and youth.
- Mistakes in diet: use of refined sugars, refined fats (trans-fats), aspartame, and insufficient intake of raw unrefined food (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 7.5).
- Insufficient time in sunlight ( ).
- Insufficient water intake and insufficient use of water for prevention and therapy (Healthful Living, p. 90.1).
4. Health Principle Publications (The Publishing Ministry, pp. 226, 227)
- Publication of a Sabbath Bible Lesson quarterly on health principles.
- Such a lesson book to be accompanied by a pamphlet(s) that give the latest scientific evidences in support of each lesson.
- Regular publications of health materials in smaller and larger formats.
5. Proposal for Incoming Medical Department Director
- Start of a Facebook closed group page for all medical field workers, in addition to Viber and WhatsApp groups.
6. Coordination of Medical and Missionary Workers
- Stimulate better communication and cooperation between medical workers and the ministry (including pastors, Bible workers, and church leaders).
- Stimulate better communication and cooperation between medical doctors and those practicing natural therapy.
- Stimulate young people to enter the study of health sciences.
- Existing missionaries who have finished their training should be encouraged to receive health sciences education to increase their effectiveness.
“Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess” (, 33).
Temporary Doctrinal Committee
The Temporary Doctrinal Committee presented a final report and was accepted as follows:
WHEREAS the point on Armageddon was discussed, it was
RESOLVED, that Armageddon is a universal war between all the nations of the earth during the sixth and seventh plagues that is the result of a peace conference (compare:; ) held in Palestine ( ) after the nations surrounding the Euphrates River have been left powerless or have been annihilated, thus paving the way for the eastern nations to be involved in the Middle East ( ). This peace conference will be devised by the nations as a result of a strong seemingly godly religious influence ( , ). However, the result of this deceptive religion is the worship of false gods. Therefore, this religious influence must be the three evil spirits papal system ( , ) which had set the final date for the destruction of God’s people ( ; The Great Controversy, pp. 590, 604) blaming them for all the plagues and wars. Instead of peace, this conference results in a universal world war ( ). This attempt on the lives of the saints is interrupted by the voice of God which delivers His people ( ; ), destroys a good portion of Babylon ( ), stops the war among the nations ( ) and delivers the people of God by the second coming of Christ ( , , ). This is how “Providence has a part to act in the battle of Armageddon” (The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 983).
The seven last plagues are a result of the great conflict between Christ and Satan ( The Great Controversy, pp. 449, 450, 605). As the plagues near their end, the battle intensifies, and God arises in defense of His people. God uses not only natural disasters but also the nations themselves to inflict His judgments upon them (, , The Desire of Ages, p. 596). From this we see that although Armageddon is a literal war between all the nations of this earth, the religious basis is clear and comes to an end by the second coming of Christ ( ) and ushers in the millennium ( ).
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the door is not closed for further study on this point.
#4 Communion Cup
Point #4 of the Temporary Doctrinal Committee’s agenda (Communion Cup) was discussed two times during this session. The first time with the word hygiene on the proposal and the second time without the word hygiene.
The first proposed resolution read as follows:
WHEREAS the proposal of the outgoing Doctrinal Council was considered and a clarification added, the proposed resolution read as follows, it was
RESOLVED, That we uphold the practice of blessing the wine in one cup during the Lord’s Supper service. (1 Cor.; Matt. ). As found in our original Principles of Faith and Church Order, (Order point #8), approved in 1925 in Gotha, Germany, “cups or glasses” may be used for the ministers or elders to serve the wine to the congregation. Following the example of Jesus, one cup per minister shall be used to serve the wine. (Matt. ; ; ; ). In cases where a member(s) declines to receive the wine directly from the cup due to transmissible sickness, hygiene, or health concerns, the wine may be poured from the minister’s cup into a smaller cup held by that member before other participants are served. Each minister’s personal convictions shall not be violated in accommodating these concerns (GW 473.1). In no case is the wine to be distributed by the minister or elder in smaller cups on a tray (multiple cups).
A conciliatory letter prepared and signed by 10 delegates (5 chosen to speak in favor of the proposed resolution and 5 chosen to speak against it) was read, with a modification to the beginning of the fourth sentence of the proposed resolution by removing the first clause up to and inclusive of “due to” and replacing with, “For those members that have”, and Whereas a motion was made to hold a vote now and, if it does not pass, then a full discussion tomorrow morning and Whereas some delegates expressed their desire to make a different motion regarding whether or not to continue discussing this point after voting, with the support of the majority of the delegates the Chair decided to put to vote the proposed resolution as modified and after that, based on the results, the delegates will determine future action.
After a session of prayers led by the prayers of Davi Paes Silva, Matheus Souza, Marin Barbu and Aroldo Gessner, a delegate counting showed 206 delegates present and a voting was held showing the following results:
1. Yes—Accept the proposed resolution 149 (72.3%)
2. No—Do not accept the proposed resolution 52 (25.2%)
3. Abstain 05, (2.4%)
WHEREAS 155 votes (3/4) were necessary to pass a doctrinal point, the proposed resolution failed to pass. Therefore our official position has not changed.
As some delegates requested a change to the proposed resolution by removing the word “hygiene” from the proposal, and after the prayers by Matheus Souza, Davi Paes Silva, Walter Lukic and Manuel Henda, a delegate count showed 206 delegates present and voting was held showing the following results:
1. Yes—Accept Proposal 134 (65,0%)
2. No—Do not accept 63 (30,6%)
3. Abstain 07 (3,4%)
4. Non-Voting 02
WHEREAS a doctrinal point needs 75% (3/4) of the votes to pass, the proposed resolution failed to pass. Therefore our official position has not changed.
Brother Eli Tenorio addressed the session with a short message thanking all who participated and made the 23rd General Conference Session a success. He spoke of Jesus’s prayer which, in fact, was the theme of this session.
“The prayer of Christ to His Father, contained in the seventeenth chapter of John, is to be our church creed. It shows us that our difference and disunion are dishonoring to God. Read the whole chapter, verse by verse.”—Manuscript 12, 1899.
“I wish that we had much more of the Spirit of Christ and a great deal less self, and less of human opinions. If we err, let it be on the side of mercy rather than on the side of condemnation and harsh dealing.”—Letter 16, 1887.
Brother Tenorio reminded us that in trying to solve our problems as a church, we have proposed many resolutions, several of which did not pass. But perhaps we have forgotten our old resolutions, that have passed, but are not fully implemented, particularly when it comes to subjects that deal with dress reform.
Brother Tenorio highlighted the reality that there are things creeping into our churches that God disapproves. The standards are lowered. "Brethren," appealed Brother Tenorio, "let us seek the old paths so we may find them and be prepared for eternity."
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein,” ().
“Although there are evils existing in the church, and will be until the end of the world, the church in these last days is to be the light of the world that is polluted and demoralized by sin. The church, enfeebled and defective, needing to be reproved, warned, and counseled, is the only object upon earth upon which Christ bestows His supreme regard. . . .
“God has a distinct people, a church on earth, second to none, but superior to all in their facilities to teach the truth, to vindicate the law of God. God has divinely appointed agencies—men whom He is leading, who have borne the heat and burden of the day, who are cooperating with heavenly instrumentalities to advance the kingdom of Christ in our world. Let all unite with these chosen agents, and be found at last among those who have the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus.”—Counsels for the Church, p. 240.
"Dear Brethren, God has chosen you!" Brother Eli continued. "Let us be His special agency and unite our efforts to prepare a people for translation.”
The 23rd Delegation Session was adjourned with the benediction given by Brother Eli Tenorio:
“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” ().