The church has recently come from a GC session. Most conferences, unions and divisions are going into elections in the next couple of weeks and months. This post is not to condemn anybody or any group. I post it with humility, hoping to understand something from SOP that I did not know before. I would like to be corrected if there is erroneous information I have posted.
Over the last few days, I've been reading Last Day Events, a compilation from the writings of EGW on the end times. It turns out that the compilation includes many citations from previously published EGW sources, but also includes some writing never before published. It seems to me that what EGW says about how the church should run and the practice the church has adopted (of electing/appointing singular leaders of the GC, divisions and conferences) are contrary. I was surprised to read the following excerpts:
1. (LDE p50) It is not wise to choose one man as president of the General Conference. The work of the General Conference has extended, and some things have been made unnecessarily complicated. A want of discernment has been shown. There should be a division of the field, or some other plan should be devised to change the present order of things. - TM 342 (1896)
2. (LDE p53) There are to be more than one or two or three men to consider the whole vast field. The work is great, and there is no one human mind that can plan for the work that needs to be done...
Now I want to say, God has not placed any kingly power in our ranks to control this or that branch of the work. The work has been greatly restricted by the efforts to control it in every line... There must be a renovation, a reorganization; a power and strength must be brought into the committees that are necessary. - GCB April 3, 1901, pp. 25, 26.
3. (LDE p55, 56) At times when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans to restrict God's work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected.
God has ordained that representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man, or of a small group of men, the full measure and authority of influence that God has invested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work. - 9T, 260, 261, (1909).
LDE p50 has a footnote explaining that since 1863 when the Adventist church was organized, it has grown from "3,500 members, half a dozen local conferences, about thirty ministerial laborers and a General Conference of three". EGW urged "a division of the field". This footnote explains why and how the field was divided, but hardly addresses the issue of leadership.
Lest anybody be mistaken, the same chapter (God's Last Day Church) of LDE quotes EGW categorically saying it is wrong to refer to the Adventist church as Babylon. She also says "the church militant: is not pure and perfect as "the church triumphant", but Christ has bestowed upon her "His supreme regard".
I have been made to understand that conferences, unions and divisions are run by boards. However, the impression I get from elections and the practice afterwards is tend to be a one-man show or a small group of men. Am I mistaken? What is the practice in your local conference/union or church? Does what happens match the descriptions in citations 1, 2 and 3 above? Should the church continue this way?
I pray that God will guide His church as He always has in the past.