Post Number: 664
|Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 3:44 pm: || |
Last Saturday was a big event for the Romanian SDA Church, Ted Wilson was present in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania.
As far as my personal view of "his holiness" is concerned, he qualifies as a classical sociopath, a plastic personality, incapable of true empathy with a superficial charm, but incapable of showing true emotions, with a grandiose sense of self. I'm usually giving people the benefit of the doubt, but the first impression I got watching Ted preaching at the General Conference was only reinforced.
What makes this man tick? Beside having a grandiose view of himself, I don't have a clue. He's robotic, his moves are calculated, he smells artificial from top to bottom. While he made reference to particular things related to the Romanian SDA Church, they were just ineffective attempts to connect with the audience. It seemed that they were made just for the sake of politeness. Even the reception of gifts had an aura of rigidity. His posture was similar with a tank moving forward without much care paid to what happened under it's tracks.
For example, he didn't care that the people who came to see him had already went through a morning meditation and sabbath school program that was longer than an hour. After a short pause, when the program was resumed, he got up to preach after another 40 minutes of songs, welcome speeches and other interventions. Still, he preached (with translation) for 75 minutes, if the final long prayer is included. If this tells something about the respect he has for others, it screams that he respects only his person.
The Romanian SDA Union tried to impress Ted with their involvement in printing and distributing the Great Controversy in different size and formats. He didn't seem too impressed, even if he commended them for this. His favorite subject, to which he dedicated around 30 minutes was the revival and reformation which he considers to be accomplished by a focus on Christ's righteousness, obtained by faith.
Well, things get interesting when it comes to this part. Of course he reiterated the view which received enough treatment from Dale Ratzlaff in Proclamation!, where his inaugural sermon was analysed. It's no use to repeat the ideas, rather, in a follow-up post, I'll look at what is not catching the attention. What is left out speaks loudly than what is included.
Post Number: 13768
|Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 5:32 pm: || |
Gabriel, I find your analysis quite fascinating. I'm eager to read your next installment. Your description of his "robotic" affect does match my impression of his inaugural sermon; that adjective does seem to apply there as well.
I'm glad you were there; an eyewitness account is significant.
Post Number: 534
|Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 8:19 pm: || |
Maybe Ted Wilson is trying to "mimic" George Van da Man ! (spelling?)
Post Number: 59
|Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 10:04 pm: || |
George Vandaman happened to be a very nice, caring, and truly humble person. I met with him privately several times and he was a true gem.
Post Number: 229
|Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 9:23 am: || |
Truer words never spoken, Gabriel. I've watched several of his sermons, including the 2010 GC speech, several on the internet and a couple of things on the Hope network. He is so bizarre to watch. Very, very robotic, almost seems more machine than human.
He does love to talk about revival and reformation, which of course means following Ellen much more closely...diet, reading her writings, etc. He "almost" comes alive when talking about EGW.
I think he sees himself as the GC leader to bring about Jesus second coming...by perfecting the saints of course.
Post Number: 13771
|Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 12:42 pm: || |
Indeed. It raises so many questions in my mind...but all I can conclude is that he seems a fitting representative of an organization that has specialized since its inception in deceit and masquerading.
It's justóbizarre, as you said, Foofighter.
Post Number: 914
|Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 6:37 pm: || |
He was speaking about Christ's righteousness obtained by faith? I get that he seemed phony, but am I missing something? Was he preaching the true gospel?
Post Number: 665
|Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 9:17 am: || |
Sorry for the delay in posting, I didn't intend it.
IMHO, the awkwardness surrounding president Wilson has the source in what he doesn't say or express explicitly, but in his implicit message that he purposefully wants to spread. The core of it is a view of Ellen White that is as traditional adventist as it can ever be, fully trusting in her as an infallible interpreter of Scripture.
Where I got this? Ted Wilson's entire behavior is similar to Ellen's behavior: he acts as he is infallible, or as if he thinks he is infallible. Anything coming from him smells perfect trust that his message and his mission has the approval of heaven, is entirely non-negotiable. He acts as he's coming from another world, otherworldly, supposedly with a prophetic voice. Remember that the old covenant prophets had strange behavior, they were in a class by themselves, God requiring them to act in awkward ways. They were in a great measure isolated from the public life of their society, lone wolves. I guess Ted has similar thoughts about himself, he is a class by himself.
What transpires from him is a one way street: the direction is from him to others, not the other way around. In his message he quickly go over the opinions of those he criticized (in this case the "cheap grace" view and "perfectionistic" view) and presents the case for his views. But even if he brings some texts, he doesn't make too much effort to persuade the audience that his take on those biblical text is accurate: he quotes from Ellen White and in his mind this settles the question. Ellen White is in his mind the final authority and, without telling others that this is so, he acts accordingly. He will not tolerate dissent, he will recognize and praise only conformity to his views.
He is smart enough not to express his views explicitly. The righteousness by faith emphasis has two reasons:
1. apologetic: clearing adventists from the charge of legalism
2. promotes activism and perfectionism (the latter in a veiled form)
Before launching in presenting his view about what he calls the "all encompassing rightŽousness of Christ" he raised two straw men, "cheap grace" and "perfectionism". The first category endorses justification but rejects sanctification, the second does the opposite.
At first glance I thought that he used those caricatures in order to be easy to put them down. Where are those believers in justification by faith alone who promotes immorality? Where are those who say "we are under grace, we can live immoral lives"? And where are the other category, those perfectionists who rejects justification, forgiveness of sins, and think that they did all that is necessary and are perfect? I have to met former and respectively current adventists arguing for one or the other position.
But at a second look, when I heard his solution, namely, the adventist view in which the "all encompassing righteousness of Christ" accepts both justification and sanctification, it struck me that, without explicitly affirming, his argument was that both categories (cheap grace and perfectionism) are right in what they affirm and wrong in what they deny, or reject. The solution is for "cheap grace" people to embrace not only justification but also sanctification, and for the "perfectionists" to embrace also justification. But, beside embracing what they currently deny, they could retain their previous position.
With other words, the perfectionists could retain their views of moral perfection intact, and all is OK if they embrace justification. They are not wrong in putting their trust in the internal work of the Holy Spirit, in their fight for perfection, they should only add trust in justification. Ted Wilson never criticized the perfectionists for checking a list of behavior in order to evaluate their progress.
Consequently, in this indirect way, he can sneak in his perfectionists views without explicitly endorsing them, at least not more than in quoting Ellen White.
When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.Christ's Object Lessons (1900), page 69
He didn't quote the above paragraph this time, but the following from Steps to Christ
Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us.
This is not at all surprising, but when you get what's in Ted Wilson's mind, these words are intended to be a final word of dictatorship imposing perfectionism as a non-negotiable program, all under the guise of "living by faith, living by grace".
I look forward to the way in which Ted Wilson will act at the third conference of the BRI, in Israel. The theme is the adventist anthropological views, namely the reaffirmation of the non-existence of the human soul. He mentioned that he's going to deliver a message the following Saturday. IMHO his presidency is more darker and dangerous than it appears at the first sight.
Post Number: 1704
|Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 10:36 am: || |
I haven't heard the speech referenced above so this is based on my experiences reading and talking with various SDA sources as opposed to the specifics of this presentation.
Generally, while SDA theology does talk about obtaining Christ's righteousness by faith, it does so in a way nearly identical to Roman Catholicism. SDA and Catholic theology believes that a person is justified before God via imparted righteousness. The imparted righteousness of Christ enables the person to live righteously so that the person is justified before God and declared righteous on the basis of their fruits (think Investigative Judgment).
By contrast, the reformers, and most protestants following them, embraced imputed righteousness. Imputed righteousness is the substitionary, foreign righteousness of Christ credited to our account apart from anything that we do. We are forensically, legally justified before God and declared righteous, not because of our righteous deeds, but because Christ's life and righteousness substitutes for our own. In terms of salvation, it is not our fruits that are judged, but the righteousness of Christ given as a free gift on our behalf.
Protestants would not deny that there is then an ongoing work of sanctification in the believers life that begins to conform the life to the legal reality. However, protestants see a significant distinction between justification (the finished substitionary work of Christ) and sanctification (the ongoing work of the Spirit requiring our submission and obedience). Catholicism and Adventism tend to see sanctification and justification as basically one and the same (we are justified only to the extent that we are obedient). Catholics and SDAs often refer to the protestant view of imputed righteousness as "a legal fiction". Protestants see imputed righteousness as being at the very core of the Good News.
Post Number: 24
|Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 1:32 pm: || |
Thank you so much for that clear explanation Chris! When I left adventism many years ago and began my wandering journey, I frequently fell into friendships with Catholics devout Catholics that practiced forms of spiritual formation- I could not put my finger on why my spirit was oppressed by what they tried to share but I can see it was it's very similarity to SDA ism - no wonder there was no joy- the "very core of the Good News" was missing- again thank you for saying it so clearly...
Post Number: 666
|Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 1:57 pm: || |
Since you brought the distinction between justification and sanctification, that was Dr. Ford's position for which he was fired by Neal Wilson, the father of the current president. Hearing Ted speaking on this subject for a good part of his sermon, he sounded like his father resurrecting the old battles, fighting them in order to put the monster to death. His invisible adversary seems to be Dr. Ford and all the former adventists who found that justification by faith alone is sufficient to decide somebody's eternal destiny. This is the Achile's heel of adventism: sanctification should be included as a decisive element. There is no basis for a future test if sanctification doesn't have to say anything regarding where a person is going to spend eternity.
Post Number: 667
|Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 2:12 pm: || |
When Walter Martin wanted to find answers from an authorized speaker from the General Conference, Neal Wilson told William Johnson who performed very badly the following:
It will be difficult, Bill. You will face a no-win situation. They will try to trap you with the questions they put to you. But if you can just stay calm and sweet and make clear that as an Adventist you believe in righteousness by faith, that will be sufficient, whatever else they try to trick you into saying.
It's quite possible that the same mentality is what makes Ted tick, his talk about righteousness by faith. He said that other people believe Adventists are legalists, but this impression needs to be corrected. And this will happen through revival and reformation when people will embrace the "all encompassing righteousness of Christ", his undercover push for perfectionism. When you connect the dots, even if it's circumstantial evidence, you can have a good case that he's in this business.
Post Number: 177
|Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 10:28 pm: || |
Gabriel, I don't mean this in a critical way at all, but as "Formers" why are we concerned about the GC President's mannerisms?
Chris, thank you for the great explanation of imparted vs. Imputed righteousness.
Post Number: 13774
|Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 11:15 pm: || |
Gabriel, thank you. That was a really insightful analysis. I agree with your conclusions. I do believe his presidency is "dark", as you said.
Truman, individually, there's no particular reason for formers to be concerned with Wilson's mannerisms. In the big picture, however, it's quite significant. Adventism is not just an independent, isolated sect. It is connected in significant ways (but invisibly to most people) to political power bases, and it is not changing into an "evangelical" organization. On the contrary, Wilson is steering it very deliberately back to its original foundations.
This fact has implications for those who are still in Adventism, for those who don't understand Adventism, and also for the shape of events to come. Those of us who deal with Adventists have to deal with the Adventism that is represented from the General Conference.
Post Number: 668
|Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 7:14 am: || |
Truman, I realize that not all the people have a passion for profiling, as I have. Feel free to skip the thread, if you like.
My interest in Ted Wilson was stirred by Paul Carden's comment on a Q&A Friday session at the 2012 FAF Weekend. Around minute 15 he says that the best issue of Proclamation! to be used as a tool to make evangelicals understand the problems of adventists, is the one with Ted Wilson on the cover, July/August/September. Ted Wilson is reaffirming the classical, traditional teachings of adventism, and this will help the evangelicals understand why we left adventism, instead of disbelieving us. Colleen can tell you more, she was approached by evangelical pastors who were upset that her ministry criticizes adventists for nothing, in their view adventist was evangelical.
It should be our purpose to use Ted as first and easy proof that adventism is not evangelical.
At the same time, Ted is aware that adventism gets a bad rap. Consequently I think he wants to dispel the myth of adventism as being legalistic, and he will use the "all encompassing righteousness of Christ" as a cover-up, evangelical mantra, for promoting his agenda. From this perspective, the image of the former adventists may suffer badly if his position is not understood and exposed in the proper light. Evangelical pastors will not understand us, will not understand why we left, and things will take a bad turn against us.
Post Number: 225
|Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 11:00 am: || |
I remember coming across Jan Paulsen when I was studying at Andrews. He seemed inflated as well. He went on and on about himself when he started talking. I don't remember a lot about what he said, it was more than ten years ago.
I do feel that Ted Wilson is nothing but a EGW fanatic. Everything is about what EGW said, did, and cared about. It makes the SDA more and more cultic. I wish he wasn't like that.
I do think that many still in the SDA denomination are unhappy with his presidency. I am sure more people will leave because of him. Good.
Post Number: 13775
|Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 11:40 am: || |
My prayer is that those who leave, leave for Jesus, not just because they're sick of Adventism. If people leave because they don't like the historic focus, they will still carry their Adventist worldview with them. They are still stuck and in bondage...they're just in bondage at the core and "in rebellion" or rationalizing at the conscious level.
Unless we process our Adventism, we remain connected to it.
Jesus, the real Jesus of the Bible, is the Truth that sets us free!
Post Number: 228
|Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 10:53 am: || |
Colleen, you are right. Yet I think that one main reason why SDAs leave the church is because they have been hurt, are tired of the fakery and legalism they see, or just feel spiritually burned-out. That's why most former SDAs don't join other faiths. I have noticed that most of those who have left the church have nothing to do with Christianity.
I find it comforting to come to these boards here and find former SDAs who realize that they were in a cult and now have found true grace with Jesus.
Post Number: 412
|Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 2:18 pm: || |
I agree Colleen. I dropped my membership but not the identity. I still believed the doctrines. I remained connected to sda church & people. I didn't process my doctrinal beliefs until 2 years ago. When I renounced sdaism, the bible came clear to me.
The big dividing point for many is the belief that the sabbath is biblical from creation. For years I said if you stop being sda where do you, where CAN you go? The sabbath replaced Christ. It's hardly about Jesus at all for sdas.
Butterfly_poette that is what I see as to why so many sdas do not join any other faith.
Post Number: 66
|Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 3:23 pm: || |
I cancelled my SDA membership two weeks after becomming a member. I was 17 and wanted to deducate my life to Jesus through baptism and the only Christian minister I knew was SDA. I asked him to baptize me on Profession of Christian faith as I did not want to be a member of the SDA denominAtion. He told me it was policy that all newly baptized be put onto church membership and it would take around 2 weeks for the regionAL conference to be able to process my request so wait 2 weeks and write a request of member termination letter and send it to the conference. So, that's what I did. So, I was SDA for 2 weeks. That would have been 44 years ago.
Post Number: 20
|Posted on Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 10:56 pm: || |
"Adventism is not just an independent, isolated sect. It is connected in significant ways (but invisibly to most people) to political power bases"--Colleen, I'm curious to know more about this. Thanks.
Post Number: 13782
|Posted on Monday, June 18, 2012 - 6:42 pm: || |
For example, when I covered the story of Bob Folkenberg's lawsuit when I worked for Adventist Today, I learned that he was being sued by his long-time business partner (we're talking multiple decades) with whom he had been doing land deals, etc etc. involving accounts in the Caymen Islands and so forth. This business partner was a fund raiser for the pope's charity, Vicariatus Urbus.
Over the years Bob and said partner had been sharing profits; they would give parts of their earned income to the SDA church, parts to the Catholic Church, and each of them would receive a cut. It was among the SDA leadership at the top levels (those in the pews knew nothing) that Folkenberg and this man were partners and were sharing profits between their respective non-profits corporations.
Of course, this wasn't talked about; the people in the pews were the engine that kept the businesses of the respective churches running.
Post Number: 25
|Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 9:42 am: || |
Wow, just reading Adventist News Network's article about the Ted Wilson visit after spending a morning is powerful worship and praise. His words are dead... At one point he says the Romanian Adventists have "been blessed with a love for"
The Adventist message-- no mention of the good news of the Gospel- -then says they can only "impact" the community if they are "personally connected" to Jesus..... Personally connected is such a pale, description of the awesome power of the gospel- I can't imagine Paul, a seasoned warrior afflicted and imprisoned for his passionate love of and sharing of the saving Gospel , describing his encounter with Christ as a mere "personal connection"....
Not sure why I subscribed to this ANN but it's a "downer"....