-------- Original Message --------
||3ABN/Amazing Facts Merger: Dead On ... or Dead On Arrival?
||Tue, 08 May 2007 04:41:07 +0000
3ABN/Amazing Facts Merger: Dead On? or Dead On Arrival?
The most recent issue of 3ABN World magazine is now out and
heralds a new masthead with 3ABN/Amazing Facts boldly exhibited
on the front cover.
This reporter has received many inquiries regarding the proposed
merger and therefore we have spent nearly two weeks asking questions,
listening to answers and taking in various statements by various
parties for analysis.
The day the merger was announced with much exuberance there
were admittedly a host of questions from throughout the SDA world
and quite a bit of excitement mixed with some concerns. The excitement
was clearly for a worldwide ministry with a new vision and a
purpose to usher in the Second Coming of our Lord, something
we have eagerly looked forward to as a denomination for 163 and
a half years and spent literally billions of dollars, franks,
rubles, and Deutche marks in evangelism, medical ministry, publishing
and now media entities. And here before us was the proposal for
an Adventist Ministry Conglomerate that transcends the SDA denomination
and finally finish the work with the pied piper reportedly being
Garwin McNeilus, personally overseeing the negotiations.
And what came out of this was a proposal depicted by the Danny
Shelton Apologists online something like this:
An agreement, variously referred to as contracts, and most
likely best described as Letters of Intent, that would allow
Danny Shelton to bring his 3ABN marbles to the playground; Doug
Batchelor would bring his AF Marbles to the playground; they
could play marbles, but neither could play with the others' marbles;
and if either of the key players decided not to play anymore,
they each could take their marbles and go home. It would seem
to be more of a joint venture than a merger, but who's checking
the dictionary of legal terms?
Some, including Danny Shelton, would believe the devil is
in the press that has dogged 3ABN for the past several months;
others would recognize that the Devil is in the details.
In the midst of the enthusiasm, there were a few, particularly
employees from both sides and the denominational leadership,
that were asking some detailed questions: Would Amazing Facts
Secede from the denomination? Would 3ABN join the denomination?
Would the employees of the joint venture be qualified for denominational
benefits? And would denominational leadership still have at
least some seats on the merged Board ex officio as they have
currently on the AF Board? And who would be the new constituency
that would elect the new board and officers of this merged entity?
Again, we were left to piecing together information from a
variety of interviews, e-mails and chat-room apologists. Danny
has clearly stated that he has invited Doug Batchelor to serve
as President, but has clearly asserted that Danny will remain
as CEO of 3ABN. This is in contrast to a Sacramento Central Church
official who clearly had understood that Doug would most likely
not serve as President, but rather Duane Peterson, the former
managing director of AF who retired at the end of March. Duane,
a former VP of Champion Corp, a merged Fortune 500 company, would
clearly bring GAAP to 3ABN, if he could be convinced, but not
likely, to play second fiddle to DLS.
Then there is the issue of denominational affiliation. A chat
room question and answer with Danny Shelton at
probably speaks most profoundly by the very specific issues relating
to denominational affiliation that went unanswered by Danny Shelton.
Whether employees would be denominational employees remains unanswered
to this day. However, Danny Shelton did reveal that the old constituency
would be shed and they had asked the 14-member ASI Mission Board,
Inc. to serve as their new constituency.
Many were left speechless that AF would secede from its current
constituency consisting of a mix of several hundred pastors and
laymen in the Northern California Conference to instead become
the exclusive pervue of a club of SDA businessmen, very similar
to the way 3ABN is run now with the 3-15 members selected by
Danny Shelton also serving as the directors of the ministry.
A situation this reporter has decried as the underlying reason
that 3ABN is facing the dilemma it now faces.
And if the new entity will now be run by 14 laymen and little
denominational leadership on the board, and certainly far from
the council of many advocated by the Spirit of Prophecy, will
AF have cast off its denominational affiliation and with it walked
away from denominational benefits such as pensions, insurance
and a host of other services under the NAD Umbrella? Apparently
that would be the way Doug Batchelor has elected to go, whether
by happenstance or by design is unknown.
But then there is the big question, will the current constituency
opt to let AF simply walk away or secede from denominational
affiliation and become a virtually independent, non-denominational
ministry? And if it does, will the various constituencies continue
to support AF? More importantly, will the talent accumulated
at AF be willing to stay with AF if they lose that denominational
affiliation that currently allows seamless transfers between
AF and NAD opportunities? Or will they opt to stay with the NAD
to complete their pension qualifications and qualify for the
other NAD benefits Umbrella?
Many believe the option of having AF secede is dead on arrival.
The brain drain would likely be too much to bear and would leave
AF simply overwhelmed by the 3ABN side. And then the question,
what if they secede and affiliate with Danny Shelton's 3ABN,
and loose the support of constituency who may see this as endorsing
Danny Lee Shelton and his administration? Who would put Humpty
Dumpty back together again, particularly in light of the recently
filed lawsuit against this reporter and the implications it bears
if they lose?
On the other hand, many welcomed the idea of AF maintaining
its denominational affiliation and allowing 3ABN with its 200
Million plus in assets to merge into Amazing Facts. This would
bring 3ABN into the denominational fold, require GC audits, likely
require significant leadership changes and preserve the assets
for the stockholders in the pews who are virtually unrepresented
in the current governance of 3ABN.
Harold Lance, President of the ASI Mission Board, Inc., former
ASI coordinator for the Ecclesiastical committee that was to
investigate the marriage, divorce and remarriage of Danny Lee
Shelton, and those issues only, would clearly state that this
is perfectly legal. But then he would also chair the constituency
for this merged entity. For most people who learn of the lack
of representation and the clubby self-perpetuating membership
/ board of 3ABN, it is certainly unsatisfactory for a ministry
that derives the vast majority of its funds from the stockholders
in the pews of the SDA Denomination.
Some have even noted the current proposed mission conglomerate
has undertones similar to the leadership issues between the head-strong
John Harvey Kellogg, (leader of the Alpha of apostasy), and the
denominational leadership of his day, ironically only a little
over a century ago. E.G. White frequently admonished Kellogg
and the SDA denominational leadership to practice leadership
dispersion of the work as the God-given order of things, and
frequently spoke against consolidation of the work, but to work
together to finish the work. Ultimately, Kellogg created a rift
that resulted in numerous casualties and disaffection and led
to the medical work shifting from Battle Creek to Loma Linda.
We pray that the wise counsels of many will prevail here and the Lord's Will be done!!!
Gailon Arthur Joy