WCAS Principles of Action #1
Unity: Optional or Mandatory?
Early on, in the formative days of World Church Affirmation Sabbath, its lay-led founders saw the usefulness in articulating the reasons for its existence in what is now featured on this website and at WCAS events as its “Principles of Action.”
In this first of several articles, principle number one is highlighted with the following commentary:
Principle #1: Participants support the decisions of the world church expressed through the General Conference.
The fact that this is set forth as the first of these ten principles speaks volumes to the urgent need for all Seventh-day Adventists—its laity and leaders—to affirm the working policies of the General Conference.
In the following, watch for why our support of the decisions of the world church is essential.
The Biblical Mandate for Unity
“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light and the kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3.
This appeal to God’s Old Testament church is yet applicable to God’s people living in the time of the end (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 717-718). The moral darkness grows increasingly deeper as the end approaches. On the Isle of Patmos, John was shown the worldwide movement of the end-time church as it would live and preach the everlasting gospel. John, like Isaiah, saw the earth lightened with spiritual glory as the church gave God’s last invitation of grace.
Time of the End Mandate for Unity
“The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. … Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken. …All His purposes will be fulfilled.” Acts of the Apostles, pp. 9, 11, 12.
Operational Mandate for Unity
Specifically, when speaking about supporting the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, we must avoid thinking of the “GC” merely as the headquarters of the church; it is much more: it is the sum of its constituent parts, with operational decision-making delegated to our union conference presidents from the entire world field. The crucial point that needs to be understood and respected is that unions are not merely components of the General Conference; they are the General Conference. Therefore, when the General Conference makes a decision, it is not something unions can depart from because the General Conference, in a real sense, is not distinct from the unions. Because all have contributed to decisions, all have an obligation to carry them out.
It is WCAS’s belief that we as laity and leaders can grow our sense of unity by accepting that God, through the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled, will provide for the prosperity and advancement of His work.