Authority and Unity
by Raoul Dederen, Dr.es-Sc. Mor.
Professor emeritus and former dean
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan
Supplemented to the May 1995
The first part, “Church Authority: Its Source, Nature, and Expression,” is a paper presented to the Commission on World Church Organization at Cohutta Springs, Georgia, in 1994.
Church authority: its source, nature, and expression
As long as the Seventh-day Adventist Church exists in the world, it has work to do and tasks to fulfill. It must live to give glory to God (see Eph. 1:3, 4, 11-14), share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all humanity (see Matt. 28:19, 20), serve those who are in need of comfort and help, and to build up and provide for the spiritual well-being of those who are drawn into its fellowship by the Holy Spirit (see Eph. 4:16; Jude 20; 1 Cor. 14:26). It is not merely a gathering of people who come together to celebrate Jesus Christ and His teachings, but a people called together by God as part of His plan of redemption for humankind. The church does not exist for its own sake, but rather to accomplish the commission that was given to it by its Lord.
The second part, “Unity and Tensions Within the Adventist Church,” is based on a transcription of an oral presentation given in the Euro-Africa Division.
Unity and tensions within the Adventist church
We shall begin with the prayer of Jesus: “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. And the glory which thou hast given Me I have given them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me” (John 17:20-23).*A call to unity
Copyright © Biblical Research Institute General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists®