Letter from Pleasant Valley
Seventh Day Adventist Church
to Cecil Woods
To: PVC Business Meeting
From: Pleasant Valley Church Board
Re: Church Discipline of Cecil Woods
On November 29, 2001, the Board of Elders recommended to the PVC Board that Cecil Woods be removed from membership. Following discussion the PVC Board voted (B-2001-02-29) to recommend his removal from membership to the next Church Business Meeting for the following reasons:
1. For disrupting his family by insisting that his wife, join him in seeking a second wife in harmony with his belief in plural marriage.
2. For producing & maintaining a web site promoting his belief in plural marriage.
3. For pursuing a friendship with a single mother in the congregation to determine whether or not she would eventually agree to become his second wife.
In the 18 months since the PVC Business Meeting of June 16, 2000 that voted to censure Cecil Woods, he has not exhibited a change in either heart or mind on the issue of polygamy.
It is with Christian Sorrow that the Church Board recommends that Cecil Woods be removed from membership. However, in order to uphold God's ideal for marriage as "divinely established in Eden (Genesis 2:20-25) and affirmed by Jesus Christ (Matthew 19:1-9, Mark 10:1-12) to be both monogamous and heterosexual, a lifelong union of loving companionship between a man and a woman", we recommend this action with the hope that Cecil Woods will see the seriousness of his choices and turn from the path he has chosen.
Letter from Cecil Woods to
Pleasant Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
It was with sadness that I read of your decision to disfellowship me when a membership transfer was requested. Your reasons, having to do with my beliefs, teachings, and actions regarding polygamy, have been explained.
In parting, I would like to connect this action to its historical context. You, as a group, have just joined yourselves in assent and submission to the Roman Catholic Council of Trent which said, on November 11, 1563, that "If anyone says that it is lawful for Christians to have several wives at the same time, and that it is not forbidden by any divine law, let him be anathema."
Who was the Council of Trent, and why did they say it?
The Council of Trent was a Roman Catholic institution formed for the express purpose of fighting the Reformation. God was having such success, through the efforts of Melancthon, Luther, Bucer, and others, that Rome was in a complete PANIC. To fight it, they held these meetings at Trent over a period of some 20 years, and codified their position.
Rome had been fighting polygamy for centuries. It had introduced the idea that only monogamy was acceptable into Christianity in the 4th century, but it hadn't "taken" very well. God's people continued, here and there, to consider it a viable method of putting families together - preferable to celibacy and infinitely preferable to fornication. Luther, Bucer, and Melancthon joined together in approving it as a solution for a German head of state - Charles V.
As a practice, plural marriage is seeing a quiet but steady resurgence today among those who name Christ as their savior. The reasons and justifications for this are many. I will be glad to discuss them personally with anyone writing to [email protected], but will not attempt to impose them on anyone.
I'm sorry that this congregation of Seventh-day Adventists made this choice. Sadder still that the disagreement over truth has separated my family.
Yours in Christ,
Cecil R Woods