Voices From the Dome: John M. Fowler
s I boarded the flight from Atlanta to home, a thousand images of the fifty-ninth session of the General Conference competed for my attention. Yet the focal question is one: What would I remember about this session? I lost six pounds because of the long walks; I enjoyed the wonderful music and the powerful preaching of the Word; I appreciated the efficiency of the Nominating Committee finishing its arduous task a day ahead of schedule; I witnessed the smooth change of guard in church leadership that sent a thrilling message to the world body of believers from Alaska to Papua New Guinea, from Japan to Chile that the 2,410 delegates and thousands of observers were one in hope, one in love, and one in doctrine.
All these are true, but the fifty-ninth session has etched in my mind three dynamics regarding Adventism. The newly elected General Conference president enunciated, affirmed, and reaffirmed three Adventist nonnegotiables, and challenged the delegates to cling to those principles as they live, witness, and march to the kingdom.
Wilson is a child of Adventism. His grandfather N. C. Wilson served as president of three world divisions—Southern Asia, North America, and South Pacific. His father was baptized with the fire of Adventism—14 years as president of the North American Division, and 12 years as president of the General Conference. Ted and his wife, Nancy, are rooted firmly in an Adventist home and served different parts of the world as missionaries and church leaders. At the GC headquarters he is known as the smiling Ted—he knows the names of most people who work in the building, from the humble to the onerous, and he always sends a message of care on each worker’s birthday. Ted is a Seventh-day Adventist, through and through, undiluted, and absolutely committed.
So it was not a surprise that he unambiguously called the world church to
commit to these three imperatives: the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy as the guide of our faith and guardian of our conduct; the Creation account in Genesis—literal, six-day, recent mighty miracle of God; salvation through grace and grace alone, leading to a life of sanctification
With such a powerful call to safeguard and proclaim the faith delivered to the saints, the fifty-ninth session sent me home to ponder, to commit, to proclaim, and to talk the walk, and walk the talk.
John M. Fowler is a recently retired associate director of the General Conference Education Department.