A 3(ABN) step process
Danny Shelton Steps Down as 3ABN President
A 3(ABN) step process
On September 27, Danny Shelton stepped down from his position as president of Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN). 3ABN is an independent, nonprofit ministry that, while working closely with the Adventist church, is not directly accountable to it. This is in contrast with The Hope Channel, which is the official broadcasting network of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Shelton founded 3ABN in 1984 and served as president from 1984-2008 and from 2015-2019. In February of 2019, Ted and Nancy Wilson appeared on 3ABN in an interview with Danny Shelton and his current wife, Yvonne. In the interview, Danny explained that he feels it’s time for him to slow down, but maintained that he isn’t quitting altogether. It remains unclear exactly what he meant by that statement or what his role in 3ABN will be going forward. Greg Morikone, the current vice president and production manager, will take over as president alongside his wife, Jill, who serves as COO. Shelton had originally considered each of the Morikones for the position and let them decide who would accept the position between the two of them. According to Spectrum, Greg Morikone decided to take the job instead of Jill because he “witnessed attacks against Shelton and wanted to protect his wife from ‘darts’ that she might face.”
The leadership transition comes in the midst of an ongoing dispute between Brenda Walsh, the former Kids Time producer and host, and 3ABN. In 2013, Walsh and 3ABN announced plans to build a new children’s production studio in Collegedale, TN and began fundraising for it. Six years later, in early 2019, a video surfaced online from 3ABN and Shelton accusing Walsh of mishandling funds in Australia while raising money for the studio. 3ABN cited these accusations as the reason 3ABN would be separating from Walsh, resulting in 3ABN’s total abandonment of the studio project and Walsh’s termination. Walsh responded with her own video denying the accusations and disparaged Shelton for mentioning her divorce in the 3ABN video as an attack on her character. Today, the bitter feud continues with accusations of misconduct and unethical behavior flying both directions. Walsh has accused 3ABN of trying to coerce her into committing fraud on their behalf in order to use the donated funds for other projects instead of their designated purpose. She maintains that she refused to comply with their demand and insisted the funds raised be used for their designated purpose. Since then, Walsh has started her own nonprofit, Brenda Walsh Ministries, and both her organization and 3ABN have sent multiple letters to donors of the children’s studio fund, encouraging them to redirect their donations to their respective organizations in order for them to be used for different purposes. The feud between Walsh and 3ABN has escalated to an ongoing legal battle over the donations and the intellectual property of KidsTime. Walsh still intends, as a part of her new nonprofit, to build a children’s programming and leadership training studio in Collegedale.
Oh Danny boy
This is not the first time Danny Shelton has come under fire. In early 2007, a website sprung up detailing many of the controversies 3ABN has faced. The site’s goal is to hold the network accountable with the hopes of saving it from its problems. In 2004, Danny accused his wife of 20 years, Linda Shelton (a popular host on the network), of adultery and divorced her. Linda’s subsequent firing from 3ABN raised questions about Danny Shelton's accusations of adultery and the presence of "biblical grounds," since no proof of adultery was presented. Danny soon married his third wife, Brandy, who filed for divorce in 2010. Danny Shelton’s leadership during this time was constantly called into question by those around him as well as critics of 3ABN. After Linda was fired, Danny hired his older brother, Tommy Shelton, a Church of God pastor, as the new production manager. Tommy had been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct with men and boys prior to his 3ABN tenure. Similar accusations were brought against him during his time at 3ABN, with Danny accused of helping to cover up the crimes. Tommy was eventually jailed in Virginia over similar charges after his time at 3ABN. In 2008, Shelton stepped down as president citing “problems in his personal life,” but resumed his presidency again in 2015.
Word on the street is…
Long-time critics of Shelton for many of the reasons above are thrilled to see him step down, but they are concerned about his seemingly cryptic “not giving up” comments. On the other side, fans of 3ABN and of Shelton’s books and productions are sad to see him go. Many in the middle theorize this was simply a move to distract from the Brenda Walsh controversy and a way for Shelton to pass his problems onto someone else. Despite its history of controversy, 3ABN has thrived under different leadership before, so there isn’t much concern out there that 3ABN will suffer at all from these changes. Nevertheless, people are keen to see how the Morikones will lead the organization
AToday Opinion Article Sparks Renewed Online Creation Discussion
The Creation conversation...evolves
Paul Priest, a layperson in California, published an article in Adventist Today (AT) putting forth his reasoning for why he is a self-described “evolutionary creationist.” He suggests that there can be a perfect harmony between evolutionary theory and the biblical creation account that allows both to simultaneously be true. Priest posits that God used evolution as a vehicle for Creation and the Genesis 1-2 accounts of Creation represent an ancient understanding of the world, but they are not a literal retelling of God’s method of creation. He argues death existed before Adam, that the Genesis Adam was not a literal person. Rather, “Adam” serves as the name for humankind, presenting the story of Adam and Eve as a parallel narrative to Israel’s history. This article sparked instant debate on AT’s Facebook page and many other groups on social media. Many wonder why AT would allow an article like this to be published when it is so contrary to the official Adventist beliefs. Others defend AT’s right to publish articles like this because AT is an independent organization that is not directly accountable to the denomination, adding that the publication of the article in the "Opinion" section demonstrates that AT does not necessarily endorse Priest's position. This article has reignited an ongoing conversation in the denomination on the origins and age of the earth. For more information on the official SDA stance on Creation, check out Fundamental Belief #6 and the Origins Resources YouTube channel created by the Origins Institute at Southern Adventist University.
ADRA Operations Banned in Bangladesh
This year’s protest catalog brought to you by...ADRA?
ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) released a statement, posted on its website on September 9, announcing it has been banned from operations in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government alleges the aid organization was supporting anti-repatriation protests by Rohingya refugees at the Cox Bazar refugee camp. Protests coalesced around the two year anniversary of the Rohingya’s expulsion from neighboring Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma). Protesters resisted recent efforts by the Bangladeshi government to repatriate the refugees due to the continued hostile environment in Myanmar for Rohingya people. ADRA is accused of financing the protests, including providing the protestors with clothes. According to bnews24.com, a Bangladeshi internet newspaper, the government has also halted the agency’s bank transactions within the country, preventing them from accessing their funds. The Dhaka Tribune further reports another NGO, Al-Markazul Islami, was also banned at the same time as ADRA, and 41 other agencies were withdrawn from the camps a few days earlier. An additional six aid organizations were banned earlier this year. ADRA categorically denies providing any type of political support to the refugees and according to Adventist Today, asserts that they provided clothing to the refugees “for visibility,” not for use in protests. The agency maintains it has held to its long-standing policy of neutrality in conflicts. Some critics say ADRA has grown careless about maintaining its neutral stance, making decisions that could be construed as biased in favor of the refugees. Others suggest that the government of Bangladesh is tired of dealing with the Rohingya and is banning aid agencies in order to make life more difficult for refugees.
Contributors: Ryan Becker, Sean Maycock
Editors: Ryan Becker, Kevin Christenson, Jill Evans