Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ron Gladden's Ordination

It is no secret that when Seventh-day Adventist pastors get together, whether for camp meeting, workers’ meetings, or camp work bees, the conversation often turns to the need to change the organizational structure of the church. Frustration is expressed over the bureaucracy, and the question often arises: “Why doesn’t somebody do something?” “Why, if I were in charge, I would…” Some of those pastors go on to serve in the conference office. Their rhetoric then takes a softer tone. Some even become administrators. At that point they seem to forget their resolutions and become lapdogs for the higher administration. Forgetting their conversations in the little huddles years back, they then turn on someone who finally did something. Ron Gladden’s ordination was voided last week. This is something that was not done even to John Osborne, who caused so much damage to the Church over a period of several years with his lying attacks and video propaganda. Isn’t it ironic that a pattern is being followed just like the pattern that frustrates us all when politicians have been in Washington too long? Rather than dealing with the serious issues of the day, they spend their energies making personal attacks on anyone daring to be different. Some of you reading this may be administrators thinking, “Not me! I am not a lapdog who turns issues into personal attacks!” Fine, if you know Ron’s heart, know his commitment not to attack the Church, know his desire to further the Advent Movement and make a positive difference, and know his fidelity to Adventist Beliefs, then show your support for his leadership by sending him an e-mail or, if you really want to be a difference-maker, by granting honorary ordination and credentials to Ron Gladden, a true modern day pioneer, light-years ahead of his time. As for me, I give to Ron an open invitation to speak at our local Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Dennis Pumford
Assistant Directional Leader

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am deeply saddened over the voiding of Ron's ordination. I sent a letter to the NPUC pleading with them not to do it, but I guess my appeal was very ineffectual.
Herman Bauman

David said...

Sad news indeed about Ron Gladden's ordination. But the fact that Ron would request the conference meeting be voice recorded shows the tension and distrust he has toward his brothers. That point alone indicates to me that Ron may be the one fostering discord, not the NPUC. I'm sorry to hear it has turned out this way.

David Beaudoin, Pastor

Anonymous said...

Having known Ron for many years, I know that there is good reason for there to be some distrust of the NPUC. Unless they had something to hide, I would think they would welcome the suggestion to have the meeting recorded. That would actually protect all parties involved. Ron fostering discord? I hardly think so, unless preaching the Advent message fosters discord among the Adventists. It is sad and disappointing to think that the denomination has sunk to this level. Ron and Mission Catalyst are in our prayers.

Chris said...

I heard Mission Catalyst referred to indirectly as the new organization that wants their families to benefit from Adventist educational structure without organizationaly investing in that structure. Sometime before hearing that comment I predicted that without monetary investment from Mission Catalyst into the denominational structure, a rift would be inevitable. I wonder if this played a small part in the loss of ordination. Perhaps it would have made no difference at all, but "paying our dues" clearly indicates the desire to belong - and the desire for the organization to survive.

Scott said...

Gentlemen,

I'm saddened to see this step taken by your denomination towards Mr. Gladden. I've personally spoken with Ron on the phone in the past, have used his materials in my own church, and find him to be passionate about saving the lost while remaining true to his denomination's message. I'm not Adventist but can respect his loyalty. This is what I have observed "on the outside" of your politics.

It's not my place to judge but for the good of the kingdom, those of you who do have a voice should find a way to get the fences mended and correct this. Unless Ron has committed a grevious sin that would tarnish his leadership ability within the Adventist Church, there needs to be some way that this can be mediated.

I know your denomination to be of good character, with solid people, committed churches, and focused vision. I have Adventist pastor friends I pray with here in Denver as part of a larger minister's group. Please don't let the unsaved see this type of dirty laundry. Work together to see if this can't be fixed.

In Christ
Scott

Anonymous said...

Interesting editing of Ellen White's statement. The unedited version may speak more clearly to both sides. It reads;

The Lord does not ask permission of those in responsible positions when he wishes to use certain ones as his agents for the promulgation of truth. But he will use whom he will use. He will pass by men who have not followed his counsel, men who feel capable and sufficient to work in their own wisdom; and he will use others who are thought by these supposedly wise ones to be wholly incompetent. Many who have some talent think that they are necessary to the cause of God. Let them beware lest they stretch themselves beyond their measure, and the Lord shall leave them to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings. None are to exercise their human authority to bind minds and souls of their fellow-men. They are not to devise and put in practice methods and plans to bring every individual under their jurisdiction. {RH, July 23, 1895 par. 1}

JDavidNewman said...

I have known Ron ever since we hired him as the pastor of the Cincinatti Church in Ohio back in the early 80s. I am greatly saddened that the North Pacific Union would take this step especially when Mission Catalyst is doing the same thing the Adventist church is doing--winning people to Jesus. I am reminded of the words of Jesus when replying to John who didn't like people not of his organization. "Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us." 50 "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you." Luke 9:49-50
My prayers are with you. J. David Newman.

Anonymous said...

I would guess, without knowing much about the politics, that it is about funds. If he is accepting "tithe" for Mission Catalyst it won't be tolerated.

Dick Larsen

Anonymous said...

I too am saddened about the news of the NPUC and their decision about Ron's ordination. In all fairness to both sides though I think it would be well to ask for the NPUC to give a statement of their side of the issue so those of us who have not been privy to the inside workings could be better able to see both sides of the coin.

Then our prayers could be more enlightened for God'e intervention in this matter.

Marc Scalzi

Doug Stuivenga said...

Hi Dennis:
I am curious how you can invite Ron to speak at your local SDA church if you're leading in a Mission Catalyst church. Are you still a member of a local SDA church and leading out in Mission Catalyst?
Doug Stuivenga

Mission Catalyst said...

Doug,

We are still members of the SDA church where I last pastored. We now help out at an SDA church plant in Northern California. I preach, conduct public seminars, and have a good relationship with the church and the local pastor. Both Mission Catalyst Network and the SDA Church are working toward the same goals. Our ministry is a good example of how it can work. There should be no animosity between the two. Mission Catalyst is helping people to realize that there is not just one way to organize the proclamation of the same message. Seventh-day Adventists need to realize that they can think outside the "box" when it comes to designing a local church and its ministries.

Dennis

Anonymous said...

It's just a piece of paper. True ordination comes from Jesus. Keep on serving and preaching and it will all work out.

Pastor Jason said...

Has it really come to this? Do we have to attack people who yield their lives to Jesus and love His message? Do we have to try and destroy people who don't skip to our administrative drum beat? Perhaps we studied the beasts of Revelation so long that we have inbibed their spirit of intolerance. I thought those who were not against us were for us, according to Jesus.

I'm an ordained Seventh-day Adventist pastor, but beastly behavior like this fills me with shame... Our woman of Revelation has teeth and a taste for attacking fellow believers... Which chapter are we in anyway?

Shame on Us,

Jason

Warren said...

Regarding frustration with the need to change the organizational structure-- I get tired of hearing people complain without doing something. Perhaps pastors feel they'd lose their jobs. We should be more bold than that. If things really need to change, we should trust God to take care of us, and do what needs to be done, to change them.

That said, I also believe it is human nature to complain when you don't know what is really involved. I have another take on why people stop complaining when they get to higher levels. Rather than assuming it's all politics, could it not be the case that when people get to higher administrative levels, they finally understand why things are done the way they are?

Regarding Ron Gladden vs. John Osborne being "unordained", I'm not sure why John wasn't, but keep in mind that he did apologize for his actions and return to good standing. I'm guessing, like others, that taking Tithe is the real issue with Ron Gladden. Unlike others, I think that losing ordination over that is reasonable. When being ordained as an Adventist pastor, one should know you are agreeing to support the organization. Retracting that ordination we know doesn't remove the possibility of being ordained in God's sight, but it does demonstrate the denomination does not feel Ron Gladden supports the organization any longer. And it seems that is the case, if Tithe is being taken, whatever he may claim to the contrary.

Whether you feel the denomination's tithe distribution system is better or worse than MCN's (I feel better, but that's my view), it seems clear that the ordination of a pastor is tied to their support of that structure. Otherwise, they might as well just ask the local church to ordain them and skip having conference ordination. (Not that I think that is a good idea-- it would go against the principle of submission to the larger body of believers).

As Ellen White has said, God does not work through individuals alone, but through His people. Why can we not trust Him to work through the body of believers?

Minimization of government may be a good thing in politics, given the sinful nature of man, but having an organization is all the more important in Christianity, where we need to be learning submission, humility and how to work together. Having a larger body of believers to make decisions, than the local congregation, is an important safeguard that MCN mostly fails to provide. I'm aware MCN has some member guidelines, but their minimal nature is not a good thing. Though they do provide more accountability than having an independent congregation, they don't enough accountability, in my view.

To conclude: I wish Ron Gladden well in his efforts, and I hope he maintains his good faith promise to remain true to the doctrine of the church. Though I feel there are serious shortcomings in the MCN strategy, only time will tell the final result. May God work through it all to bring about His kingdom.

Mission Catalyst said...

Warren,

I believe as you that it is time for people to do something rather than complain. That is why Ron and the rest of us have done something. We are happy you are content being a part of the organization, and we applaud that. God bless you and those who hang in there.

Dennis

Anonymous said...

Ron

I am sad! This is another of those things that keeps me embarrassed about my denomination...I am definately supportive of anyone who tries to share Jesus in a new and bold way. You will continue to receive my prayers and my support. Go Ron.....also thanks for all the good you did many years ago in the New Jersey conference while I was a member there!

Cherry Ashlock
SDA but embarassed to say I am one........

Anonymous said...

An inspired lady once said "We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ's sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action." {Mar 19.3}

Strange world we live in is it not??

Anonymous said...

It does not behoove those from whom Jesus has so much to bear, in their failings and perversity, to be ever mindful of slights and real or imaginary offense. . . . The heart filled with that love which thinketh no evil will not be on the watch to notice discourtesies and grievances of which he may be the object. The will of God is that His love shall close the eyes, the ears and the heart to all such provocations and to all the suggestions with which Satan would fill them. There is a noble majesty in the silence of the one exposed to evil surmising or outrage. To be master of one's spirit is to be stronger than kings or conquerors. {OHC 240.4}

Attacks? No. Warren said it best.
I have seen situations where if I was unsure about an issue I would look for the response of those involved.

I am Glad to see Ron not taking this attitude.
I hope it extends to the rest of the organization.

kramerjudy@comcast.net said...

Did we not learn from the history of Heaven. Satan thought he was right and justified in his accusations. I suspect that if all of you knew and understood the total picture, there'd be no more discussion. Put your energies and efforts in coming together. A house divided will fall. Though imperfect the church may be, I am stirred with emotion when I see how God has led His church. It's only natural that Satan would try and sabatage its mission especially knowing how short his time is. I believe the NPUC has done the right thing, and I also believe it was a painful process for them. I retired after working for that organization for 20 years, and words are inadequate in saying how much I was blessed. I also believe that those who complain and then find themselves moving up higher in the organization and becoming less verbal is due to a humbling experience in realizing they had been wrong. I think Ron is a very fine person. I enjoyed the time working with him, and I was sad when he chose to break away. Nothing would please me more than to see him return and be reinstated working together to finish the work. These matters are in God's hands, and I comfortable with that knowledge.

Judith Kramer, SDA member

jesus7710 said...

I am hurt by this recent behavior. Whatever happened to "blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." It saddends me to see that if one dosen't agree to what organized religion has to say how that person will get shunned and persecuted. I will be praying for this perplexing situation. When it comes to the issue who's right and who's wrong we will never really know but behaving like we live in the Middle(Dark) Ages is not the solution.

Chester said...

It might be noted that John Osborne was a layman prior to his establishment of an independent congregation in Florida. His later ordination by John Grosboll and Ralph Larson at the independent Steps to Life campmeeting in 1992 was never recognized by the Adventist Church as a valid ordination to the gospel ministry. Thus this comparison and claim of unfairness is unfounded.

A careful study of the Jerusalem councils and the attitude which Paul and his associates took towards the higher (than the local congregation) church structure leadership would be helpful for an accurate perspective on these unfortunate outcomes.