September 9, 1997
Elder Wintley Phipps
Dept. of Public and Religious Liberty
G.C. of Seventh-day Adventists
12051 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Springs, Maryland 20904-6600
Dear Elder Wintley Phipps,
Thank you for responding to my letter on June 30. I apologize for the long delay in getting back to you. I have been out of town, but I still like to return letters to people on a prompt basis.
In answer to your letter - yes, I am referring to the General Conference suing churches that are Seventh-day Adventist, but not part of the General Conference (and are operating independently). I believe that they should be given "liberty of conscience" and left alone.
As I mentioned in my first letter, I think that it is very wrong for the General Conference, representing all of the affiliated churches and members, to join with the state (by trademarking it's name) and then use the state's power to persecute these churches (by suing them)! That is what the Roman Catholic Church did - they claimed others were not "Christians" that did not "affiliate" themselves with their church - and persecuted them using the state's power. Do you not see that the General Conference is doing the same thing by calling those who will not "affiliate" themselves with the G.C. of Seventh-day Adventists, not "Seventh-day Adventists" and then suing them??
Yes, I can see that the group of Davidians in Waco - and other groups who use the name Seventh-day Adventist - can cause some confusion. But, in spite of this, I believe we are to trust in God, follow His counsel, and "leave them alone!". We should let God be the judge and take whatever action He sees necessary. "Revenge is mine saith the Lord". God is certainly able and willing to take care of His church, if they are living in obedience to Him! Many stories in the Old Testament point out that when His people did not obey Him but did what they wanted to, trusting in themselves instead of Him, He left them alone to let them see the result of their course of action. I believe that God will do the same with any group of people who are not living in obedience to Him! If the G.C. Seventh-day Adventist Church does not obey God, He will not take up for them against other "Seventh-day Adventists" who are obeying Him! I know some that are!
I sincerely hope that you will prayerfully look at this matter deeper than it appears that you have based upon what you have written in your letter to me.
Yours in Christ,
Barbara Isenburg, P. O. Box 284, Spring City, TN 37318-0284