Higher Authority

Linda Brehm

Vol 3, No.3

World Church Affirmation Sabbath has received feedback that some have difficulties with the following statement in our Statement of Harmony document:
“TO FURTHER DECLARE according to the General Conference Working Policy that the policies and voted actions of the General Conference shall retain authority in the local 
church congregation over all Division, Union, or Conference voted policies.”
Some fear that this phrase might cause division; however, the division was there long before the writing of this statement. The above statement came out of the General Conference Working Policy, to signify that the voted actions of the General Conference shall retain uppermost authority in the local 
churchcongregation, in case the Division, Union or Conference policies conflict with the General Conference votes.  To me this seems very clear.
Here is the phrase from the GC Working Policy:  B10 22 – “All organizations and institutions throughout the 
world will recognize the authority of the General Conference in Session as the highest authority of the Seventh-day Adventist Church under God.”1  There are several other quotes out of the GC Working policy that I could provide regarding harmony and all entities of the churchworking together but I think the above shows the intent of WCAS.
What is the issue right now in the 
church?  The issue is that the General Conference votes and policies are not being respected as the Bible and Ellen White clearly state they should.  We should always respect the higher authority.  The same will be true when the state shall make a law requiring the observance of Sunday.  We as Seventh-day Adventists must respect the higher authority, which is God.  God is the higher authority over the state. 
In this case, the higher authority would be the General Conference in session, or the General Conference Executive Committee.  If the Division, Union or Conference chooses to make policies or act out of compliance with the General Conference then WCAS believes we should go with the higher authority.  This is not disrespect for the Conference, Union or Division.  It would be disrespectful on their part not to walk humbly with the 
world church which have voted at the highest level.
I have served on many committees. When you work with a group of people there will be things that are voted that you don’t agree with.  It is sometimes difficult to accept some decisions. Yet we are told when the General Conference in session makes a vote we need to lay aside personal opinion.  Why?  Because the Lord loves this 
church, and I believe when we pray for God’s spirit to work in this session that He will do so.  It is lack of faith in His guidance that has brought us to this difficult place in Seventh-day Adventist history.  We are unwilling to surrender our will and way to the Lord’s will and way. Self is still alive. Let us uplift God’s church and His authority, for it is the only thing that will give us true unity.
1. GC Working Policy 2015-2016, B 10 22, Pg. 57