The Church Manual shows how every department functions, and what the role of the leader is.
We are grateful to God for the privilege to belong to His church, the Remnant Church, and without a doubt we are certain that the Seventh-day Adventist church, of which we are members and dedicate our lives, is the true church with the unmistakable characteristics revealed and accepted in the Bible.
Before we become members of the church, all, without exception, are instructed and accept the 27 doctrines that are the fundamental beliefs of our hope and faith. For this reason I believe that all Adventists are ". . . prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" 1 Peter 3:15.
Inspite of it, the percentage of members that know the structure, organization and administration of our church is small.
The unity of the church
It is a privilege to be a Seventh-day Adventist, if we understand that we are members of the body of Christ of which He is the head. The Bible refers to this church in these terms: "Body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12); "Church of the living God" (1 Tim. 3:15); in addition, we know that the church has the following characteristics: prophetic origin, with a prophetic and apostolic message, a world mission with a message for "every nation, tribe, tongue and people" (Rev. 14:16).
This church symbolizes a body with many members, functions and preserves the unity according to the words of the apostle Paul: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:3-6).
Here we find a reference that the ministry of the church should also be manifest through the unity of its structure, organization and administration. We recognize that this unity in a great measure is the result of a system of ecclesiastic government directed by the Church Manual.
"Just as there can be no living, active body unless its members are organically united and functioning together under central control, so there can be no living, growing, prospering church unless its members are organized into a united body, all performing their God-given duties and functions under the direction of a divinely constituted authority" Church Manual, p. 34.
Every member should know how the church is organized, to do so, it is necessary to read the Church Manual, since in it is found all that pertains to its administration, structure, and organization. If this were possible, at least, each church officer should obtain a copy and share it with the others. Many of the questions presented by the brethren are found clearly and well documented in the Church Manual.
Reading this material, you too can find a summary of the 27 fundamental beliefs that we possess as a church. The responsibilities and duties of the church leaders, in relation to nominations, church discipline and other important matters are discussed in detail. Many churches are taking as an administrative guide and procedure "the elders tradition" and not the concepts established in the Church Manual. Why does that happen? Simply because they are not acquainted with the guiding principles of the church.
On one occasion a brother, president of a state college and university professor whom I was privileged to prepare for baptism, told me with great surprise: "Pastor, I thought that the locale where I met was an organized church, but I discovered that it is only an organized group. What can we do to organize it as a church? I can tell you in advance that we have a brother who is quite old to be the elder. . ."
I was surprised by this brother's words because I thought I had prepared him very well for baptism. Thus, I recognized that I made an error in giving him only the doctrines and failed to teach him how our church is organized. Just like that brother, there are many more members who have no idea what it means to be a church elder.
Translated by Gladys B. Rios.