Nobody owns the Church... Part 2
In Part 1 Jean Fiscalini had approached Danny Shelton concerning
his neglect of duties associated with fulfilling the office of
an Elder in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Having received
no assurance from Danny that he intended to change his behavior,
the next step was to approach the nominating committee and request
that Danny Shelton's name be removed from the list as an Elder
in the Thompsonville SDA Church.
Peering individually into the astonished faces of the Nominating
Committee members of the Thompsonville SDA Church, Jean Fiscalini
repeated his last few sentences again, "There are no honorary
positions in the Biblical Church. Every member is called to fulfill
the duties of an office when he agrees to serve in that position.
When Danny Shelton agreed to fulfill the office of an Elder in
the Thompsonville Church, it was not offered as an honorary position,
but as a position of service. To re-elect Danny as a church Elder
without the assurance of his intent of faithfully fulfilling
that position is an affront to God and to those church Elders
who willingly sacrifice their time and put aside personal pleasure
to serve the church."
A deafening silence filled the room, as the Nominating Committee
pondered what they had just heard. Pausing for a moment to allow
the gravity of his words to be absorbed by those in attendance,
Pastor Fiscalini then continued, "If Danny Shelton's name is
not removed from the list of Elders, by conscience I will have
to publically oppose the acceptance of the list as presented
at the second reading next Sabbath."
No discussion followed Pastor Fiscalini's statement nor were
any questions asked by the members of the Nominating Committee.
Looking into their faces he realized the burden of truth expressed
in his explanation placed them in a position of moral dilemma.
The majority of them worked for 3ABN. Danny Shelton was their
boss. And in their experience the Thompsonville Church and 3ABN
functioned as one unit:
- Their pastor's salary was partially paid by both the Conference
and 3ABN. Where was the line drawn in the separation of his duties
as local church pastor and an employee of Danny Shelton? How
could he faithfully serve two masters? What would be the result
when loyalty to one came into conflict with obligation to the
- It was Danny, not the Illinois Conference, who selected
the Pastor of the Thompsonville Church. Of course the Conference
always approved Danny's choice for his church and agreed with
any suggest he made regarding it's operation. Why did this situation
- If they were to follow Biblical counsel and remove Danny
Shelton's name as a candidate for the office of Elder, how would
that effect their future at 3ABN?
A myriad of possibilities flashed before their eyes. Looking
into the face of the Swiss pastor, whom they had come to know
and respect for his honesty and integrity, they realized that
by entertaining his request they were being driven into unchartered
waters in their experience as members of the 3ABN church. Danny's
right of authority within the local church, based solely upon
his position as President of 3ABN, irregardless of ability or
acceptability, had never been challenged.
In less than one week the second reading of the Nominating
Committee would be given and offered for approval in the Thompsonville
SDA church. What would be the outcome of Pastor Fiscalini's heartfelt
appeal to the members of the Committee? Jean realized this would
be the end of the game and the beginning of reality concerning
the actual relationship of the Thompsonville SDA Church and Danny
Shelton. Despite warnings that he was cutting his own throat,
he took his stand on the side of conscience.
Slowly standing up Pastor Fiscalini thanked the members of
the Nominating Committee for listening to his concerns and considering
his request. His heart was lightened as he turned and left the
room, passing other church members waiting to address the Committee
as he exited the building. He knew the position he had taken
would not be to pleasing to Danny Shelton, but he had the responsibility
to uphold Biblical standards while remaining faithful to the
calling God had given him as a minister of the Gospel.
To be continued...