Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dr. Jonathan Gallagher's forced resignation

A sad day for the credibility of Adventism. Today the General Conference released the following statement according to Adventist Today

Official General Conference Response to Dr. Gallagher Accusations

Official Response from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

July 24, 2008, Silver Spring, Maryland

In recent days, a number of documents have been circulated by email that we understand originated from Dr. Jonathan Gallagher regarding his perspective on his leaving employment with the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. In light of the nature of employment matters, the General Conference is restrained from sharing details regarding such matters. However, because of accusations made by Dr. Gallagher, we want to be clear that actions by Dr. Gallagher regarding his travel raised questions of his significant use of Church funds for personal purposes. These matters were investigated thoroughly by General Conference Administration, including significant communications with Dr. Gallagher's legal counsel, resulting in a recommendation to terminate Dr. Gallagher’s employment with the Church.

Less than three days before the meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee called to decide this matter, Dr. Gallagher submitted a letter of resignation in which he qualified his resignation indicating that the allegations made against him were not true. After a thorough review of the facts, the General Conference Executive Committee voted to acknowledge receipt of Dr. Gallagher’s letter of resignation and ended his employment with the church effective immediately. The conditions raised in his resignation letter were not acceptable to the General Conference. Subsequently an “Executive Summary” of the allegations and actions taken by the General Conference which was prepared by Dr. Gallagher’s attorneys has been circulated by Dr. Gallagher or others on his behalf. The General Conference has reviewed the documents and statements being circulated and states that the document does not reflect the accuracy of supporting documents relied on by the General Conference to arrive at its decision and is not based on the facts accumulated, verified and reviewed by the General Conference Administration and General Conference Executive Committee.

The General Conference and its Administration wish Dr. Gallagher well in whatever his new pursuits may be.

Dr. Gallagher appears to have circulated his evidence in regard to the charges via and executive summary by his attorneys, Ziprick & Cramer, LLP on July 8, 2008, at one point in the article it states:

“…In looking through such materials, all of which were submitted well after the first deadline for a response of April 28, 2008, Dr. Gallagher’s expert and Ms. Cramer both discovered that the times and dates available in which Dr. Gallagher was being accused of downloading and viewing pornography were in fact between 7/5/07 and 7/11/07, all dates and times during which Dr. Gallagher was either preparing or teaching at Pine Knoll with others present. Based upon this discovery, it became very clear that Dr. Gallagher was being attacked by the G.C. as the teacher at Pine Knoll, and that just as distressingly, even Pine Knoll or its class attendees were being implicated.

My first thought at hearing about this was that this is very likely the result of some General Conference leaders antagonism toward the theology produced by Pine Knoll, particularly through their free production of Sabbath School lessons with a focus upon the so called “Larger View” a theological view whose major offense is that it is not the Penal/Substitutionary view of the Atonement.

I have thought for some time that Dr. Gallagher’s position as UN representative for the Adventist Church was largely a drain on Adventist resources though in bureaucratic terms it probably gave a bit of cachet to the Adventist church and Dr. Gallagher certainly was capable of giving the best appearance possible to the Adventist church. The sad fact is that it is very easy for an organization to force someone out of employment when employees are hired and fired “at will” and even if one fights the organization and wins, which is less likely unless the case is somehow racial or sexual discrimination, as a place to work it will usually never be a comfortable again. Under such circumstances it is often best to do as Dr. Gallagher did and submit his resignation.

The attorney’s article conclusion reads as follows:


In conclusion, Z&C provided multiple Reports to the G.C. of evidence clearing Dr. Gallagher of the outrageous and ludicrous charges alleged against him. There is no question that if Dr. Gallagher had intended to defraud the G.C. and/or the donors, he certainly could have done it in a much more plausible manner. Instead, what Dr. Gallagher did was comply with his job description, give credit to the SDA Church for its desire to work in the area of Religious Freedom and Liberty, worked tirelessly to assist the U.N. in helping peoples who were denied their Religion Freedoms in foreign countries, and set about working to bring the right to worship God to those who are deprived of practicing such right. Unfortunately, what Dr. Gallagher got for his service, dedication and effort in the area of religious freedom were absurd and false charges of defrauding the very entity which he was committed to serving. There was no due process in this matter whatsoever. Due process affords one an opportunity to address and confront his accuser and it allows for an unbiased review of the charges by someone other than the accuser serving as judge and jury. At best, this was a kangaroo court designed for and intended to discredit the credentials of Dr. Gallagher and to persecute him for exercising his own religious beliefs by the G.C. Administration for his involvement in teaching Sabbath School Classes in Redlands.

In case there is any question regarding Dr. Gallagher’s behavior as it relates to the SDA Church and his fulfillment of his job duties and responsibilities, Z&C stands firm in its documented position that in any legitimate organization, Dr. Gallagher’s name would have been cleared and the G.C.’s efforts to disgrace and defame him as well as his involvement with Pine Knoll would have resulted in a clear victory for Dr. Gallagher and sanctions against the accusers.


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Frank said...

This was a political maneuver, plain and simple. Make up a devastatingly embarassing "crime" and then promise to scandalize an individual if they do not quietly leave.

This is blackmail and extortion at its worst, and it happens in the church much more than people realize.

This promises bad karma for Bob Kyte.

Anonymous said...

What is going on - and why is JG a victim?
Why is the "larger view" and embarrassment? and why are the non-progressives so dominant?
Is it because they are right? i doubt it!

Anonymous said...

The powers that be in the SDA church believe in the forensic/substitute/propitiation theory of salvation and have very little patience and tolerance for differing views. The forensic view, when broken down to it's foundation, has a picture of God, that in the end, has to kill sinners with fire and brimstone in order to be just and satisfy the law, which in effect is saying "love me or I'll have to kill you," and does not cast God's character in a very good light. Very similar to the Jewish Pharisees in Jesus' time, but now Jesus is doing all the legal stuff for you-all you have to do is let Jesus death, at the hands of an angry God, be your substitute and let Christ's righteousness cover you, so God only sees Christ and not you, and thus has to let you into His kingdom. This goes against all the reasoning capabilities God has given us, but those who like this view of God, seem to be happy with it and sincerely believe it and can support it with scripture. However, they are not very tolerant and loving toward those with a different view of God and the atonement-again a very interesting comparison to the Pharisees and priests in Christ's day.
JG's views of God and His character, which emphasizes God's love and His gracious offer of eternal life as a free gift for those who choose to agree with and believe Christ's revelation of God and be reconciled to a loving God, who would risk everything to show us the He is worth trusting and loving, which Satan accuses Him of not being. This Great Controversy View can also be supported by scripture and makes sense of several scriptures which otherwise do not make sense in the forensic model. Ellen White came to have this same view as she got to know God and His true character and you can see it her later writings. The true meaning of atonement is to be at-one-ment with God, reconciled, and in agreement with. I look forward to spending eternity with a God who wants to reason with me, wants me to love Him freely, and wants to call me His friend. This kind of God I would want to have as a neighbor and yet love with all my heart.
Jonathan's resignation is indeed a sad day in Adventism.

Anonymous said...

Where does hatred come from? Don't answer that question....

Anonymous said...
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