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3ABN sued
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Tommy Shelton

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The Actual Lawsuit
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From Jamaica: Jonathan Smith's Concern About the Lawsuit

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Jonathan Smith joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2000 partly because of the ministry of 3ABN. He wrote 3ABN expressing his concern that Danny Shelton's lawsuit against Gailon Joy and Bob Pickle is contrary to the counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy. We print below 3ABN board chairman Walt Thompson's reply, followed by Jonathan Smith's further thoughts.

Jonathan Smith is a lecturer at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

Walt Thompson's Reply to Jonathan Smith

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Walt Thompson
To:  Jonathan E. Smith
Subject:  3abn
Date:  Friday, July 06, 2007 2:33 PM

Dear Jonathan,

Thanks for your e mail with the accompanying quotations from the Prophet of the Lord. The quotations are true. They must also be read in perspective to the remainder of her writings. The Apostle Paul also wrote to the Corinthian believers, denouncing the use of the courts in settling personal matters. Yet, this same Paul wrote regarding the role of government in our walk with the Lord, acknowledging that Governments are under the directions of God, and His means of maintaining a sense of order in a world of sin. You may read this in the Book of Romans, chapter 13. Furthermore, Paul himself appealed to Ceasar when his own "brothers" nearly tore him apart in Jerusalem and sought to kill him. Please read carefully the account in the Book of Acts and in the Acts of the Apostles book describing Paul's encounters and his appeal - and her predictions of similar events in the last days - not at first by the public, but by the brethern.

Only permit me to say Jonathan, that we have had serious allegations made against us and the ministry we represent. This law suit is not about us, but about our duty to stand up in defense of the Ministry to which He has assigned us responsibility. We recognize that there are some who may see our decision to go to the courts of the land as denying the counsel of the Lord. We believe otherwise, having earnestly sought direction from heaven before making any decisions, and then by faith, accepting what we believe His answer to our requests to be. Please study the Scriptures and writing referred to. You may still not agree with our decision, but it will broaden your perspective at least. Job's friends did not agree with him either, but He was certain that he was in God's hands - and even when he was proven right, they remained friends. We have all had different experiences and ways of seeing things. This is all part of God's design and plans, and our reward depends not so much on our differences, but upon our love for God and our fellow men, and our love and trust in our God. The Israelites were warned to first eliminate the Caananites, and certainly not to mingle with them. Yet, Elija was forced to go to the woman of Zeraph for sustainance, Joseph was sold by his brothers, but God preserved him among the heathen of Egypt. Many of the prophets were killed by their own people. So, there is plenty of biblical precedence for resorting to assistance and protection by those not of our faith.

Thanks for your comments, and please feel free to respond if you wish.

Sincerely in Jesus' precious name,

Walter Thompson MD
Chairman, 3abn Board

Walt's efforts to justify the lawsuit are worthy of a better cause. Since when must 3ABN defend Danny Shelton to the point of imperiling its very existence?

Jonathan Smith's Reply to Walt Thompson

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Jonathan E. Smith
Organization:  Management Studies, UWI Mona
To:  Walt Thompson
CC:  Mollie Steenson
Subject:  Re: 3abn and Lawsuits
Date:  Wed, 11 Jul 2007 14:03:15 -0500

Dear Dr. Thompson and Mrs. Steenson,

I have received and read your response carefully.

First let me say that I came into the SDA church partly through 3ABN in 2000 and am very concerned for its survival. It has done a wonderful job for the Lord. Through 3ABN I have learned a lot about the history of the church and its reasons for existence. The various ministries that are featured on 3ABN have also provided a great source of inspiration. There is absolutely no wish or desire on my part to see 3ABN diminished in any way. In fact, I am anxious to see all the world reached.

Secondly, I have read of various allegations made about personnel presently or formerly with 3ABN. It has been my considered opinion that if I cannot prove or disprove these allegations, I will not accept or repeat them to others (i.e., I do not declare either guilt or innocence). This includes the allegations of adultery on the part of Linda leading to her subsequent termination from 3ABN. I do not wish to get into those details either since the issue at hand is about the lawsuits.

Concerning Your Justification

Certainly, if a person believes s/he has been hurt by others, the person hurt has right to seek redress through lawful channels. That is a necessary right of a civilized society. I do not seek to take away your right at all. Nevertheless, these you must consider:

  1. Joy and Pickle are Seventh-day Adventists, so are you (Thompson), the Sheltons (Danny, Linda), the Steensons and others. That makes you brothers and sisters in Christ in the remnant church.
  2. As members of the church we are ONE body.
  3. When parts of the body fight against other parts, there is cause for concern about the survival of the body or some of the parts. As a medical doctor, Dr. Thomson knows about that more than all the other parties.
  4. The Seventh-day Adventist church is generally hated and despised for being so different from the rest of society. 3ABN, with a mandate for "counteracting the counterfeit," will be especially hated.
  5. The letter in 1 Corinthians 6 is very clear about the horror and repugnance that God has for members of the same body using the heathen to settle internal disputes (the body is naturally designed to be self healing - if it has a normal functioning immune system).
  6. Paul's appeal to Caesar resulted after HE was drawn into courts, by members NOT of the body he was now part of, but by men who hated the body. Thus in this case, Joy and Pickle would fit the role of Paul - for it is they who are being accused IN COURT of wrongdoing.
  7. I am NOT addressing the question of if Joy and Pickle are right or wrong.

Given the above-mentioned points, the church IS the means for settling the disputes. If the parties could not agree on an independent group, then shame must be placed on all persons involved. Only unreasonable positions can stymie such a process. Why did you all not agree on ASI? What other group is there? How about the lawyers employed by the GC or NAD?

If the purpose of the lawsuit is to only force a retraction of alleged false statements and cessation of alleged harmful practices, then your intentions are honorable but the medium is wrong. If the purposes of the lawsuit includes financial payments to 3ABN and/or inflicting severe financial hardship on Joy and Pickle, your lawsuit is demonic. Please bear that in mind.

  • Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 1 Corinthians 6:7.

When you suffer rightly, God will be your reward, God will vindicate you. Your appeal to the cases of Paul and Elijah fail on the account that Paul and Elijah were in the minority, oppressed by much more powerful human forces and the contexts were different. 3ABN would more likely fit the role of Ahab et. al. since it is the organization with many friends and backers going after two fairly poor, insignificant men. 3ABN does not compare with Paul and Elijah in this case.

Let me repeat that I am not casting judgement on who is right or wrong in the issues of the lawsuit. My problem is with the lawsuit itself. If you do not cease and desist and seek an internal solution,

  1. 3ABN will have all its linen exposed to the public. The allegations about Danny, Tommy, Melody, Linda and all others will become fodder for gossip-hungry people. You will not be able to stop more professional investigators from digging and digging and leaking and leaking.
  2. 3ABN will be portrayed as a bully.
  3. 3ABN will likely be forced (in the long run) to have a different set of people altogether at the leadership level as members of the church who understand 1 Cor. 6 react.

A graceful and honorable withdrawal of the lawsuit under terms of seeking arbitration within the church is your best course of action. A lawsuit to shut up your accusers is likely to be seen as an attempt to silence the critics. Critics cannot be silenced by force, unless you exterminate them all. They are best silenced by FRUIT. A good tree is known by its good fruit. Bitter water and sweet water cannot come from the same spring at the same time.

Make sure that all your actions are honourable, moral and godly. You are a public organization with many eyes on you. As a Ten Commandment supporting institution, you are expected to keep the moral law in spirit. As Christians, we may be ashamed of our past but once in Christ we must produce good works.

All the evidence may not be revealed on earth. I surely do believe in a real heaven where we can all go. We have to make our calling and election sure. 3ABN will not answer to God, but Shelton, Thompson, Steenson, Joy, Pickle and Smith must. What can be hidden from men is all plain to God. Do not travel so far on the narrow road and jump off now. Stay on it, suffer loss, suffer ridicule, do what is right, abhor the way of the world and God will be your exceeding and great reward.

I sincerely wish 3ABN all the best and that it prospers abundantly.

Jonathan E. Smith

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