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Garfield Forbes: Oh, if Erica could be stupid, too!

Published:Friday | August 28, 2015 | 8:00 AMGarfield Forbes
A grab from Erica's Edge, a video commentary on The Gleaner's website. Presenter Erica Virtue recently laid into the Adventist Church as being stupid in refusing to ordain women as pastors.

IN THE 125th year of Seventh-day Adventism in Jamaica, Erica Virtue, senior Gleaner writer and host of the online feature Erica's Edge, classifies the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a "stupid 19th-century church" based on the decision (by a vote process at the recently convened General Conference Session in Texas, which included women) not to ordain women.

Lamenting and still "shocked", she opines, were she an Adventist, having heard the decision, that would have signalled her immediate departure from the faith. I humbly submit that that kind of thinking is not common among true Seventh-day Adventists.

Good Seventh-day Adventists are best described as those whose faith is grounded in Jesus Christ, not Ellen G. White or any creature, ideology or thing, and whose anchor holds in the vilest of storms.

A "shocked" Erica Virtue said she would also take flight, were she "an Adventist", all because of the outcome of a wholly transparent and democratic process, by the ballot, wherein the Seventh-day Adventist Church maintained its stance not to ordain women as ministers of the Gospel. Explicit in the decision taken is no conference belonging to the worldwide Church must act independently in this regard. There is nothing in the position that can be deemed as the "ostracising" of women from the pulpit.

There was no subsequent blocking of roads or hurling of missiles across the conference room. The matter was put to rest. The General Conference ended in fine style. Forbearance is a Christian virtue, dear Erica. We are not immune to shock, neither are we stoics.

Undeniably, since the establishment of this church, there have been thousands who have not kept the faith. They, like brats, threw tantrums, packed their bags and left.

WE HAVE ROOM FOR YOU

When all is said and done, it is my sincere hope that Erica's flight mirrors that of a homing pigeon, only that the return flight culminates just below her "bedroom window", as she says, there is a Seventh-day Adventist Church. There she will find her bosom "brilliant" friends willing to welcome and forgive her for inadvertently regarding them as "stupid".

We have room for your wonderful gift to write, articulate, enunciate, postulate to speak your mind fearlessly. That does not require an ordination certificate or a pulpit. Your voice thunders in cyberspace.

Finally, I am not perturbed at the "stupid" label. First, according to the apostle Paul, God uses the "foolish things" (as His word has been regarded by scoffers) to confound the wise.

Isn't it ironic, shocking for some, that from a "stupid church", the world has seen the likes of famous neurosurgeon Ben Carson. From a "stupid" church-owned NCU have sprung world-beaters in computer science.

"stupid" health message

Our health facilities, like Andrews Hospital, which is owned and operated by the "stupid 19th-century church", continue to minister to the whole being, even to people not of the faith, without prejudice. Why are we "stupid" Seventh-day Adventists proven among the healthiest people on planet earth? Why is this "stupid church" the fastest-growing one in Jamaica (as she admits) and parts of the world? Could it be that our brand of stupidity, though baffling or unfathomable, and foolish to some, provides a cure for the ills plaguing the society.

Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of The Christ, had its genesis in Ellen G. White's commentary on the passion of Christ in her book, The Desire of Ages. What a treasure he found in a book written by a founding member of a "stupid church".

While some theologians seek vainly to discredit the life-changing counsels in her writings, medical practitioners are baffled at the facts and healing wonders expressed in her book, The Ministry of Healing.

I will embrace this brand of stupidity. I am sure that it can serve to whet and set Erica's Edge as well ... not in any way muzzle or silence it. Definitely, it has the power to confound the wise, woo the willing and obedient, and lead the wandering sheep back into the fold of safety before it is too late. It prepares people here to stand clean in the presence of a Holy God in the earth made new.

Erica, you have invited us to "watch" your space. We sure will love to see your face in church. When you come, let others call you "stupid", but we'll have a word for them. We are "not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." Romans 1:16.

- Garfield Forbes is a graphic artist and Seventh-day Adventist. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and artphotosing@yahoo.co.uk.