Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

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Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
‘Variance’ for North American, Trans-European Division Constitutions Fails Annual Council Vote
Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Do you think this would help us here in Britain?

http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=4799
Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

llovelyladybird2000
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galations 3:28
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
So I'm taking it that you are on the side of having commissioned ministers taking administrative leadership of the church.
Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
Thought it might be informative to post the update from GC for you to read:



‘Variance’ for North American, Trans-European Division Constitutions Fails Annual Council Vote
Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership
Mark A. Kellner, news editor, Adventist Review

A request to allow commissioned ministers in the North American and Trans-European divisions – those who have not been formally ordained as Seventh-day Adventist pastors – to serve as conference presidents sparked more than six hours of debate October 11, 2011 during the world church’s Annual Council.

In the end, the controversial measure was defeated by a written ballot vote of 167 to 117. The 50-vote margin defeating the NAD proposal also effectively ended the TED request, which would have permitted commissioned ministers to head church unions as well as conferences.


Noting a need for experienced leadership within the North American division’s conferences, Dan Jackson, NAD president, said, “We believe the position of a president of a conference should be open to treasurers, to finance officers, to secretaries who are not ordained, to those who carry a commissioned minister’s credential, but are not on an ordination track, including women.”

Jackson added, “This is not a request for women's ordination. … We are talking about governance and leadership.”

Bertil Wiklander, Trans-European Division president, voiced his division’s request for a a similar variance: “We need your help to allow all our members in outreach. Opening doors for women in leadership would strengthen growth of the church in Europe,” he said, noting the Adventist Church “in the Trans-European Division faces an extraordinary mission challenge where people are extremely resistant to the gospel and joining a church is an exception rather than the norm in these countries.”

Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, General Conference president, took the rare step of relinquishing the chair during the morning session to speak in opposition to the NAD proposal.

“My thoughts and convictions are just those,” Wilson said in introducing his comments. “They are not the collective decision” of the General Conference’s administrative committee, known as ADCOM.

Wilson said he objected to the proposal on several grounds: First, he said, “the church is an ecclesiastical body, which is organized for the church. Leadership has been based, in the past, on trained leadership, on spiritual leadership.” He said he wasn’t suggesting commissioned ministers were not trained or not spiritual, but he did note a difference in those who are ordained: “According to scriptural injunction and our own history, we have a particular mode which we have followed in terms of top spiritual leadership.”

Second, Wilson noted, since only ordained ministers can unite congregations and ordain local church elders and deacons, there was a question of a commissioned minister fulfilling all the tasks of a conference leader.

Third, he said, “whatever we vote, will have some impact on the world church. We have taken the position in the past that ordination is recognized around the world. We are not here in the U.S. as the American Seventh-day Adventist Church; we are, rather, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in America, in Germany, in Congo, in Brazil, in the Philippines.”

Wim Altink, Netherlands Union president (part of the Trans-European Division), noted the objections that many Adventist leaders from other parts of the world might have to the proposal. However, he pleaded for understanding: “It is not that we from our division want to impose this to other divisions,” he said. “Have room and respect for certain fields in the world where this would be a great blessing. It will be a great impetus for mission in our fields.”

Uganda Union Mission director John B.D. Kakembo was among those voicing concern on that very point: He said he was troubled that “when we say that if we don't do this, we will be seen as people who are discriminating.”

Baltic Union president Valdis Zilgalvis spoke in support of the variance: “Women in the early Christian church were recognized” as ministers, he said. “In fourth century, women were pushed away from ministry at the altar, and you know which church did that. … I agree the leader should be trained, but I don't see a difference between the genders.”

Paul Ratsara, president of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean division, urged caution in the process: “Definitely this topic is a very sensitive one,” he said. “It is very hard for me to stand here when I think of the request of my dear colleagues from this [North American] Division. … We need to agree on that first: is this negotiable, is this something we can say, 'You can do it, no problem?'”

Retired General Conference president Jan Paulsen underlined the complexities in cultural approaches to leadership: : “If we say to the NAD ‘You may not go this way,’ please keep in mind, not only for this issue, but for other issues, what do we do with a situation that may develop that is in breech of what we decide. Some of you know very well in the name of democracy and in some Western settings, leaders may not have full control over a delegation that comes to a session,” he said. “I would be profoundly troubled,” he added, “if the church in one particular country found itself in a situation at variance with the church.”

Nepthali J. Manez, president of the North Philippines Union, opposed the measure, saying, “If this is approved, I would encounter a lot of difficulties. If we grant this motion, at least from the way I assess my constituency, it would give me a lot of problems.” He urged that delegates “wait at least a year” before moving forward.

West African Union president James M. Golay also expressed his concerns, saying, “The church is God's church. I don't want for the issue to divide us.”

Golay said he had “read scripture,” but did not “see it. It’s not in the church manual or in the policy book. If this is going to be a new policy, we need to consult heavily.”


PRESIDENT'S STATEMENT: Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson says he is against the request of NAD to allow commissioned ministers to serve as conference presidents. NAD president Dan Jackson, left, and NAD secretary G. Alex Bryant, center, sit nearby. [PHOTOS: Ansel Oliver]



JACKSON INTRODUCES MOTION: NAD president Dan Jackson introduces an agenda item that would allow North America to have a conference president who has been either ordained or commissioned. The world church's policy currently only allows for ordained ministers to serve as a conference president. "We need to celebrate and respect culture in the church."



SIMMONS SUPPORTS: GC vice president Ella Simmons address the chair at Annual Council in support of NAD's request to allow commissioned ministers to serve as conference presidents. West-Central Africa Division president Gilbert Wari waits his turn to address the chair. The motion was later defeated 117-167.



MIRANDA OPPOSES: GC vice president Armando Miranda addresses the chair at Annual Council regarding the North American Division's request to allow commissioned ministers to serve as conference presidents.



Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
Here's the time table for the study on Ordination:

http://news.adventist.org/2011/10/process-timetable-un.html
Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
An Appeal For Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practices

Since the beginning of 2012 several union conferences1 have recorded actions expressing support for, or commitment to, the ministerial ordination of women.  The world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church is currently engaged in a study of the theology of ordination and its implications.  This study is scheduled for completion by the 2014 Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee.  At that time the Executive Committee will determine the report which will be given to the 2015 General Conference Session along with whether or not any new recommendation should be considered by delegates to the Session. [Main News Story]

In the light of this current study and the actions of several unions, General Conference officers2, including presidents of the 13 world divisions, have unanimously communicated an appeal for unity in respect to ministerial ordination practices.  The appeal calls: 1) for unity in respecting a global church action (i.e. the 1990 and 1995 General Conference Session decisions on ministerial ordination); 2) for each union executive committee to carefully review the far-reaching effects of pursuing a course of action that is contrary to the decisions of the General Conference in session; and 3) for each union to participate in the current study about the theology of ordination and its implication.


1. Respecting a global decision of the Church
The world-wide Church recognizes the General Conference in Session as the highest ecclesiastical authority for Seventh-day Adventists.  The 19903  and 19954  General Conference Session decisions with respect to granting ministerial ordination to women represent the current voice of the Church in this matter.  The actions of certain unions indicate their desire to establish an alternative source of authority for a matter that already carries the authority of the world Church.

As currently understood in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, ordination to the gospel ministry is ordination to serve the global Church.  No provision exists for a geographically localized ministerial ordination.5   Consequently the decision to change or modify ordination practices is a global one and necessitates a decision from the world body.

For any union to introduce a different ministerial ordination practice is seen, by the rest of the Church, as readiness to set aside a world Church decision and proceed in another direction.  Such actions, taken at the very time when the world Church is engaged in a study and discussion of the matter, pre-empt the process and any decision that might come from it.  This creates widespread confusion, misunderstanding as well as erosion of trust and also nurtures doubt about these unions acting in good faith as members of the world-wide family.

Some who would encourage unions to proceed with ministerial ordination for women draw attention to selected statements from a General Conference Executive Committee document.6   As used by these individuals, the statements would indicate that a union has final authority in matters relating to ministerial ordination.  The intent of the document from which such statements have been taken is to emphasize the interconnectedness of Seventh-day Adventist denominational structure.  The authority and responsibility entrusted to any entity of the Church is exercised within the context of beliefs, values, and policies of the entire Church.  Being a part of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church obliges every organization to think and act for the good of the whole and to shun a spirit of autonomy and self-determination.


2. The effects of unilaterally pursuing a different course of action
The significance of any union proceeding in a manner contrary to a global Church decision is not limited to the specific action involved (ministerial ordination in the present instance); it touches the very heart of how this Church functions as a global family.  The essence of unity in Seventh-day Adventist organizational functioning is the mutual commitment of all organizations to collective decision-making in matters affecting the whole family—and the acceptance of those decisions as the authority of the Church.  The action of any union in pursuing a different course of action represents a rejection of this key value in denominational life.  Unless this value (i.e. collective decision-making and the acceptance of those decisions as the authority of the Church) is maintained, all other values that contribute to unity are seriously weakened.

For one entity to express its reasoned dissent with a global decision of the Church might appear to some as a legitimate course of action.  However, the implications of acting contrary to a world Church decision are not limited to the one entity.  Any organization contemplating a course of action contrary to a global Church decision must ask itself, “Is this the pattern of participation in Church life that we wish to establish and recommend for other entities to follow?”  “How will we deal with the situation if an organization in our territory should decide to discontinue its participation in one or more matters under which it disagrees with the larger family of organizations?”  Mutually agreed upon policies benefit the entire Church and keep it from fragmenting into independent, locally-driven units. They are the reflection of the Spirit-directed will of the body and allow each entity to look beyond itself for the good of the whole body of Christ.


3. Participation in the current study of ordination and its implications
General Conference officers welcome and invite unions to participate in the global study of ordination.  This study will be the most widespread and thorough study the Church has undertaken on this topic. Earlier studies have been conducted by commissions.  This is the first time that a study of ministerial ordination engages the whole Church through the 13 divisions.

Biblical Research Committees in all divisions have been asked to conduct a study on the theology of ordination and its implications.  In addition, during 2012, the General Conference Administrative Committee will appoint a Theology of Ordination Study Committee, with representation from all divisions, to oversee and facilitate the global discussion process and to prepare reports for presentation to the General Conference Executive Committee.  The Annual Council 2014 will determine what action, if any, should be recommended to the 2015 General Conference Session.  Careful thought is being given to ensure that the study and education process is conducted with fairness and thoroughness in respect to examining the theology of ordination and its practical implications.

All unions are welcome to submit their conviction as part of the global dialog on this question.  Their voices, along with others, in this matter need to be heard.  Now is the time for unions to share their position on ministerial ordination, and the rationale behind it.  Doing so will ensure that various perspectives will be clearly understood by the world Church.

The appeal sent by the General Conference officers to certain unions also reflects this Church leadership group’s message to other unions that may be considering similar steps with respect to ministerial ordination practices.  The communication concludes:  “We have shared with you our deep concerns about the course of action you have chosen.  We realize that sharply differing convictions with respect to ministerial ordination for women exist in our global family.  We also realize that the passage of time without finding satisfaction for the tensions on this question can give rise to frustration and the erosion of confidence that a timely and mutually satisfactory resolution can be found.”

“We therefore earnestly appeal to you:

1. That your union continues to operate in harmony with the global decisions and global decision-making processes of the Church.
2. That until such time as the Church decides otherwise, your union refrains from taking any action to implement ministerial ordination practices that are contrary to the 1990 and 1995 General Conference Session actions.
3. That the union membership be informed concerning the implications for the entire Church in the event that one entity, for whatever reason, chooses a course of action in deliberate opposition to a decision of the whole Church.
4. That the union actively participates in the global discussion about the Church’s understanding and practice of ordination.  The contributions of a union in this discussion can be forwarded to the Theology of Ordination Study Committee through the respective Ordination Study Committee set up by each division.

“Thank you for your willingness to receive and reflect on these things.  We join you in diligently and prayerfully seeking to know the will, the blessing and the guidance of God in this and all other matters affecting our life together as a Church and our collective endeavor to advance His kingdom.”
Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
A special July 29 constituency meeting called by the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted a resolution: “That the Columbia Union Conference authorize ordination to the gospel ministry without regard to gender.”
 
Using secret ballots, delegates from the eight conferences of the union’s mid-Atlantic United States territory voted 209 in favor and 51 opposed, with nine abstentions. The Columbia Union says it has 135,000 members in more than 700 congregations.
 
To read more, please click on the link below

http://www.adventistreview.org/article/5566/archives/issue-2012-1521/21cn-columbia-union-votes-gender-neutral-ordinations
Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
So the scores on the door so far in favour of Women's Ordination are:

April 23, 2012 Northern German Union (Euro-Africa Division)                  160 to 47 (77%)
July 29, 2012 Columbia Union Conference (North American Division)       209 to 51 (80%)
August 19, 2012 Pacific Union Conference (North American Division)       TBA

Looks like grass root members having thier say!!! Other conferences have previous to this year voted in favour of WO but decisions have been put on hold pending GC outcome, the voting above have been carried out in defiance of GC policy but stand in their own legal right.

Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
Thought it might be good to list some of the blogs/tweets coming out from the Union Session at CUC to give you a feel of what went on




WarrenTrenchard•6 hours ago




The constituents of the Columbia Union Conference were led by the Spirit to act with courage, integrity, responsibility, and insight. The theological, historical, and policy
information and arguments that members of the ad hoc committee shared were well
researched, carefully prepared, superbly delivered, and extremely effective. The vote was decisive and significant. The outcome will have profound influence on other units of the church as a model for similar actions to affirm ordination of pastors without regard to gender. We are in their debt.


David Peacham•15 hours ago



We all agree that at Creation both sexes were created in the image of God. Have we not preached for over 100 years that we should strive for the “Eden diet” and not the flesh diet after the Fall? Why not raise women to their pre-fall equal condition of rib-to-rib and side by side, instead of requiring woman to submit to man, according to curse of the Fall? Was not the Fall the result of failure to work together?

The church should reflect the Eden home model of leadership, Eve was the second self of Adam. Why not reflect a marriage between men and women based on unselfish love, not in authority. Sure, some men and women can perform certain tasks better than the other can, but when they support each other they are stronger.

To reflect the pre-fall condition, we need both male and female leadership. How many women are better at home finances, and overall management? Children are more difficult to rise with one parent, so likewise a church is more likely to be mismanaged without both female and male authority, at the top. Let’s allow a place for women to be Presidents, Treasures, Ordained ministers, and Ministerial directors. According to the heterosexual family model, we should open channels for women to assume at least 50% leadership. This is the Eden family model, in which Sabbath keepers that honor creation and marriage should be foremost in promoting, or lets advocate a flesh based diet.


A_T_T•8 hours ago•parent


That seems to me to be at the heart of the vegetarian lifestyle we promote as well as some views on perfection.
God is supposed to be restoring us to Adam pre-fall to demonstrate His power.


Kay Rosburg•2 days ago


After years of struggle around this issue, it was truly amazing to be in a constituency meeting surrounded by people who actually AGREED with my long-held position on women in ministry!! What a blessing today's vote was. And, during the whole session, it felt as though the spirit truly was present. Acrimony and hostility were kept at an extremely bare minimum - so refreshing! The leadership of the union is to be commended on their stand and on the spirit that was felt at today's meeting.


Robert Jacobson•a day ago•parent


I was impressed by the civility of the process. Only rarely did passions spill over (ignoring time limits, accusations of "paganism"). Well done, CUC.


R. Vincent Dehm II•2 days ago


Proud to be a pastor in the Columbia Union.


L. David Harris•a day ago

I was a delegate today. One thing is certain: God was there. I am not saying this, because of the vote, merely. It was evident in all of our interactions, even when we were not in agreement. There was no artificial euphoria, nor was there any undue cloud of oppression hovering there. While the vote was an overwhelming "Yes," I did not get the sense of some worldly rally. There were obviously those who were happy and others who were disappointed, but in all of this, it was evident that God kept His promise to be in our midst. For this, I am most thankful. To God be the glory.


jdavidnewman•2 days ago


I was present as a delegate. Elder Wilson's remarks presented in a kind
 tone lacked any real substance. He never explained what the
consequences might be from a yes vote. He could not explain the
difference between unity and uniformity. Pastor Brenda's speech was the
 most moving for she demonstrated that her ministry was just as valid as
 her male colleagues but she was not given the same license. The church
 really decided the matter when the 1990 GC in Session voted to allow
women pastors. With that all the verses used against ordination became
invalid because 1 Tim 2, ! Cor 11, Eph 5 speak to the issue of women
teaching men and serving in leadership. They do not speak about
ordination at all.


akouete•a day ago•parent


David, have you ever heard Elder Wilson restate the position of the Columbia Union leadership and others who would like women to be ordained. Is there any indication that he might be willing to be a true statesman in this matter to bring the church into unity in the midst of diversity?


FredEastman•a day ago



I am very proud of the CUC's action today. I only wish my sister, Nancy Eastman Marter, could have lived long enough to see this vote.(she died in Aug. 2008) She and her husband Dr. Lyndon Marter served as missionaries in Africa for many years. Upon her return to the USA she was one of the founders of the Association of Adventist Woman. She served as it's president and promoted women's issues when it wasn't politically correct but was morally correct. She had many "discussions" with Neal Wilson yet they remained friends over the years. She was not a "feminist" but was a loving mother who stood for what was "right" inspite of the opposition from the GC. She was an elder at the Capital Memorial Church up until her death. At her memorial service the number of people who spoke of her Godly service had to be limited to several hours... As I sat with her the weekend she died I told her that I along with her family would continue the "quest for equality" that she had started. Her father Wilfred Walter Eastman would be very proud of today's decision. His 1933 Book of Golden Memories description as the class president read "But just a man who dared to take, His stand on justice, make or break". The apple didn't fall far from the tree!! Love to you Nancy, Dad and Mom!!


John Osborn•12 hours ago

Kevin Paulson,

You are in serious denial about the politics of this situation. This is not a war between theological liberalism and conservatism as you characterize it. The only way people see it that way is from deriving their view of the situation from internet debates rather than the real church. Theological liberals only have a significant presence on internet sites like Spectrum. I'm fairly confident they only compose a tiny fraction of the leaders in CUC represented at this meeting - certainly they are nowhere near 80%. So we're not talking about an existential struggle between liberalism and conservatism - we're mostly talking about a struggle between conservatives and ultra-conservatives; and the anti WO force is only definitely more conservative in the sense of Christian tradition - it could well be argued that the proponents of equality are more conservative both in their fidelity to the spirit of Scripture as well as the spirit of early Adventism. There isn't a single Scripture text condemning women as pastors. There is a trajectory of Scripture that suggests a movement toward equality, as well as specific instruction regarding female leadership that both sides agree are culturally conditioned - women speaking in church. The issue at stake that you see as a dividing line between those accepting Scriptural authority (women as pastors and women ordination) is at best not addressed in Scripture (ordination is not) and at worst is contradicted by Scripture - New Testament strongly suggests that women were in pastoral roles; these references were obscured by later translations of Scripture apparently influenced by church tradition, the same tradition us conservative Adventists reject. As such, most of the 80% who voted for equality did so not inspite of inspired counsel, but BECAUSE of it.

 Even if you're right though there is no way the G.C. has the political capital to force this issue. The idea that the GC is going to force this issue by disbanding the Union is simply delusional. If that was on the table don't you think the threat would have been leveled rather than just speaking about vague "grave consequences." Your support of a top-down authoritarian ecclesiology is far afield from the classical Adventism you claim to espouse - such sentiment would cause our anti-creedal pioneers roll over in their grave. I'm doubtful that the GC even has the official authority you claim they do. You're suggesting that lower levels derive their entire existence from the GC and are merely administrative divisions of the GC designed to enforce GC policy. This is not how I understand church structure. However, even if the GC does have the official authority to do what you suggest, they do not have real political ability to pull this off. There's is no way the GC is going to roll over a decision made by 80% of a constituency. It would be political suicide. I highly doubt Ted Wilson has any intent to pursue the actions you suggest and if he did he would be removed by the many leaders in our church who do not think this issue is worth destroying North American Adventism and the leaders who do not think we should purify the church of 80% of the leadership in what is probably one of our more conservative unions.


Kevin Paulson•10 hours ago•parent−

John, I think you assume too much about those who voted at this meeting, as if they represent the grassroots of the church in the Columbia Union territory. I seriously doubt that 80 percent of the membership in that Union wants to break from the policies of the world church and thus jeopardize unity, even if in fact they favor women's ordination. I am sure, if a poll were taken of the overall membership of the church in the Columbia Union, and if they were asked whether or not the Union should submit its desires to the worldwide Adventist body for adjudication, or simply strike out on its own without General Conference permission, I am quite confident the first option would have prevailed.

I have been around theological liberals long enough to know that this kind of "pushing the brethren" is standard operating procedure for them. Rather than wait to participate collectively in the decisions of higher bodies, they adopt the course of "just do it." I have seen it happen over and over again, with regard to a variety of issues. And it is never a unifying or faith-building experience for the bod of Christ when it happens.

When you consider the consequences of permitting this destabilizing decision to stand, how it would open the door to congregationalism and the fragmenting of the financial security and sustenance on which the worldwide efforts of the church depend, the picture becomes clearer as to what has to be done. I frankly believe that most of the world church considers North America to be "going rogue" on this and any number of issues. Once the door is opened to the break-up of global unity on an issue such as this, all bets are off. If this insurrection is not put down, the condition will spread, and the consequences will be ruinous.

And remember, North America and those other Divisions that support such actions as women's ordination constitute a scant 15 percent of the world church. Most of the rest of the world field considers this course to be contrary to Scripture, and wonder why the church's home Division persists in agitating a question of which they are blessedly weary. From my observation, quite a number of North Americans feel the same way.

You ask why the GC brethren didn't spell out the "grave consequences" that may be pending. If you stop and think about it, I think you'll understand the wisdom of not choreographing one's strategy in advance. Politically as well as militarily, that is not wise.

And this has nothing to do with the "anti-creedal" thinking of our pioneers. This is about the authority of Scripture over the authority of culture and societal trends. It is unthinkable that the pioneers of this movement would support the methodology of those now promoting women's ordination in the church, even those in that camp who may be more conservative in their beliefs than those who regularly post on this site.

I think of what happened in September of 1962, when President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert (then serving as Attorney General) were constrained to force the integration of the University of Mississippi over the local opposition of the Governor and so many others. After ordering Army troops onto the campus to assist the federal marshals, the President turned to his brother and asked, "Have we started the second Civil War?" Robert replied, "No, I think we've preserved the Union."

I believe a similar dilemma exists now, for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.


Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
In order to give both sides of the discussion adequate voice, I've also attached comments from the 20% that voted against.

Efrain Avila


I have often been instructed by the Lord that no man's judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work, and to say what plans should be followed. But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body . . . . God has ordained that the 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 of authority and influence that God has vested in His church, in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work.--Testimonies, Vol. 9, pp. 260, 261. {ChL 1.5}
 
I am saddened by the vote taken by my Union. As a member of the CUC, I do not agree with the decision made this past Sunday and believe it was a terrible mistake. How can we have unity with disunity? What do we do next? What will stop people/churches/conferences from doing what they "feel" is the right thing to do? I am afraid of what can happen next. Does this mean we now can ordain homosexuals, and bi-sexuals?  Lord Help us..
 
Elder Efrain Avila
 Wayne Seventh Day Adventist Church
 Wayne, NJ

Blessed

Women and men have been given different roles at creation itself.  Woman was given supportive role or a helper role, not leadership. All 70 elders who were sent out to preach, to teach and to heal were MEN. All 12 disciples and Judas's replacement were MEN.  All the priests were MEN. There were prophetesses that God hand picked, but He never appointed a woman to do priestly ministry. Our church has become a place of confusion and Columbia Union has taken the lead to cause it. This is not courage, this is pure rebellion.
 
What's next?  When we rebel and deviate on one, then every abominable thing will follow, and it won't be long.
 
Let's have two Unions - one with women pastors and one without so that the minority who are not comfortable with a woman pastor in their church also can have the privilege of worshiping in a church setting and not be discriminated against.  I applaud the ones who have decided to send their tithe elsewhere.  Why should they support a Union that has decided to rebel against God and the worldwide church?  Let it be used by a Union that still fears God and keep His bidding.

J. Marr


  In any household a good Christian spouse refrains from causing contention, disunity and strife. If my spouse informed me that using the word “Ordination” was objectionable and that I should refrain from the use of the word…out of respect to my spouse I would not use such word.
  WHY? Would a (Godly) leader and other leaders choose to elicit such diverse volatile reactions by bringing up a Subject …AGAIN!!! It is like a “Dog returning to his vomit” How is it that this subject comes up again AFTER it was voted on twice….HOW???  If you truly value your spouse your church your fellow man …then WHY do you bring up such a topic ANEW????  As rhetorical as the question is…the answer is quite evident …you DON’T CARE and you don’t represent the "world church"….  We are counseled to stay away from topics that will cause division…and yet here we are again.
   The subject of Ordination of women should be stricken permanently from any further GC !!!  And those who flagrantly went against the wishes of the World Church should be reprimanded and penalized for being so BOLD. There is an EXACT order that exists in Heaven …An Order that Lucifer himself tried to alter…An Order that dictates to every prudent Bible student …who was ordained to enter into the Sanctuary … Who was ordained into the Priesthood…this Open act of Prematurely Usurping and preempting the ORDER prescribed by the World Church is a major indicator that CUC’s leaders do NOT respect HOLY order and therefore this desire to entertain “women’s ordination is a Manifested symptom…
 We have noted that our precious Biblical Standards are deteriorating …and we are left with “bubble gum” theology and feel good tactics…………
 G et away from “Feeling” what is culturally Correct and GET back to Primitive GODLINESS…try it !!! IT WORKS!!!


Michael Kay


 This action is contrary to the following inspired counsel:
 
I have often been instructed by the Lord that no man's judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work, and to say what plans should be followed. But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body . . . . God has ordained that the 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 of authority and influence that God has vested in His church, in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work.--Testimonies, Vol. 9, pp. 260, 261. {ChL 1.5}


Jerry Sandel


I am dismayed and saddened by the outcome of July 29th's session. Was the leadership of the Columbia Union afraid to wait until the GC session in 2015 because they anticipated that the majority of the representatives would again reject ordination of women as pastors? If they were convinced that they were in the right, they would have expressed that confidence by waiting for a vote that would reflect the will of God by the world church.
 
An argument was put forth by Dave Weigley that this was no longer a theological issue because of the past decisions by the GC to allow the ordination of women as local elders and deaconesses. Was that remark made because the ordination of women cannot honestly be defended from the Bible?
 
One of the conference presidents cited papers by some of our theologians who claimed they could find no prohibitons of women's ordination in the Bible. Employing that faulty logic we could keep Sunday instead of the 7th day Sabbath because there is no prohibitions against it in the Bible. What we do have is biblical language that we "remember the Sabbath day" and that we "ordain men." The specific command to do the one automatically excludes the other.
 
I was not always an Adventist. I became one because I was convinced that the SDA Church had the the truth. Well, the truth is still the truth, but it seems the Church is no longer  following the truth is has. Too, bad.

Mario Petrovalle


 Dave Weigley, union president says. 'We remain part of, united with, and fully committed to the mission of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.'
 
He must think we are idiots - if he was fully committed then he would let the worldwide church decide this issue. If he believes God wants Women Ordination, he would let God impress the GC leaders and the delegates to the GC session.
 By not waiting for the GC to do what God wants - Columbia Union Conference is rebelling against their authority.
 
EGW says, "We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action.-- Letter 184, 1901. {Ev 696.3}
 There are consequences for this wrong course of action, I pray that the other unions do not follow on this path.
Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
So we've heard whats others have to say, locally, whats our thoughts on this subject?
Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
The closing remarks from President Weigley's video is shown below

Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
If you want to watch some of the reasonings of the Ad Hoc Committee, please view below.

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And here is the first response from General Conference:

An Appeal for Oneness in Christ:
A Response by the General Conference Officers and Division Presidents to the Columbia
Union Conference Constituency Meeting Action

“Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as
We are” (John 17:11, NKJV).

The unity among disciples for which Jesus prayed is a precious gift of God: this gift must be
continually nurtured and is a never-ending and often difficult task of those gathered in His name. Thus
the apostolic church could engage in vigorous discussion and even robust disagreement with the
assurance that each member’s personal surrender to the Spirit would result in a God-honoring resolution
to the challenges and conflicts so that the essential unity of the church was preserved and extended (Acts
15:1-29). Disagreement in such a community of faith is neither fatal nor schismatic, for each believer
accepts the responsibility to fulfill the prayer of Jesus by acting and speaking to preserve the unity He
expected as indicated in John 17.
Unilateralism—the premise that one individual or one group may pursue its vision of truth at the
expense of the unity of the whole—was and is the great adversary of the unified Body of Christ. It
ruptures the essential bond which brings people from everywhere into the remnant church, tempting them
to prefer one truth above the higher and collective requirement to act in concert with each other.
Appealing for a serious recommitment to the principle of church unity, the officers of the General
Conference and the division presidents issued a call for restraint in their consensus statement of June 29,
2012, “An Appeal for Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practices”. Fully aware that
significant differences exist regarding the theology of ordination and the appropriateness of ordaining
women to the gospel ministry, they nonetheless urged all entities and individuals in the church to respect
current Church policy and General Conference Session decisions, and to work harmoniously through the
process established by the General Conference Executive Committee in October 2011. That action
established a worldwide three-year study and discussion process culminating with a Theology of
Ordination Study Committee which will review all aspects of the practice of ministerial ordination in the
Seventh-day Adventist Church including the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, with reports
provided to the October 2014 Annual Council meeting of the Executive Committee. This would allow
any agreed-upon resolutions to be placed on the agenda of the 2015 General Conference Session, the
body accepted by church entities and affirmed by the divinely-inspired counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy
to be the official voice and the highest ecclesiastical authority of the church. The General Conference
Executive Committee, the highest deliberative authority of the worldwide church between General
Conference Sessions, includes nearly 120 union conference and union mission presidents as voting
delegates, along with elected officers, departmental directors, pastors, frontline employees and numerous
laypersons.
It was thus very disappointing to the senior leaders of the worldwide church to learn of the
unilateral action taken by the delegates of the Columbia Union Conference at a special constituency
meeting on July 29, 2012. That action is not in harmony with General Conference Working Policy—the
collective decisions of world leadership that define the operating procedures and relationships applicable
to all organizations. Further, the action sets aside the 1990 and 1995 decisions of the General Conference
in Session respecting the practice of ordination. It pre-empts the process voted by the General
Conference Executive Committee for the current study of ordination theology and practices by
committing the Columbia Union Conference to a particular outcome before the study-and-discussion
process is completed. In so doing, it asserts the right of one entity to place its conclusions above the
principle of unity in the Body of Christ. By this action, the delegates have allowed for a principle of
unilateralism and autonomy throughout their territory that can only be disruptive to the harmonious
functioning of the Columbia Union Conference, as well as to that union’s relationship with the world
church family. Unfortunately, some conferences, congregations, and individuals may try now to
incorrectly cite the example of the Columbia Union Conference itself as justification for pursuing any
independent course of action. It is possible that some who voted for the resolution on July 29 may not
have fully understood the danger their action poses to the functional unity of their own region and to the
wider denomination.
The action taken by the Columbia Union Conference represents a serious threat to the unity of the
worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, and thus, at its next meeting in October 2012, the General
Conference Executive Committee will carefully review the situation and determine how to respond. In
the Spirit of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the officers of the General Conference and the division
presidents again appeal to all entities, organizations, and individuals, including the Columbia Union
Conference, to refrain from independent and unilateral decisions and implementing actions on issues
affecting ministerial ordination, and to invest their energies and creativity in fostering a vigorous dialogue
through the established process about how the Church should recognize and affirm the gifts of the Spirit
in the lives and ministry of believers.
An important companion document, organized as a series of questions and answers about key
assumptions, assertions and historical backgrounds discussed at the recent Columbia Union Conference
constituency meeting or in related communication, will be available approximately Wednesday, August 8,
through the media outlets of the General Conference.
August 7, 2012
Noey
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Noey
Bit of a long text, but here's the official link to questions and answers response. You can also download the full text from this site:

http://news.adventist.org/archive/commentary/2012/08/09/questions-answers-regarding-current-issues-of-unity-facing-the-church

Noey
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Noey
OK, lets get this discussion going, what do we think? here's my opening thought, do you agree or disagree?

The main response from the General Conference (GC) has been to maintain unity by means of recognising GC as the entity that everyone should abide by, Unions and conferences that choose to ignore GC policy is causing disunity and therefore doing Satan's work. But let me suggest a different angle.

Adventists in China haven't waited (nor asked the permission of the rest of the world church...) and the unity has not been broken. In fact, we seem to be striving valiantly to include and embrace them as a part of the whole denomination rather than pushing them away.

What about the biblical argument for not ordaining women? There are no "thus saith the Lord" that women should not be ministers, so why don't we just move ahead with this? just like we did regarding slavery.

The institution of slavery was not prohibited in the Bible, but to contrary was recognized, allowed and even some might say encouraged. The slave owners in the South (of America) in fact considered it to be God ordained as being quite Biblical.

But that obviously changed. Even without a "Thus saith the Lord" from Scripture.

So how can change happen at all if someone does not take the first steps in the direction of change of that sort?

Again, it is not a Biblical doctrine at stake. If it were a Biblical doctrine then the church in China should be required to have their women leaders and ordained pastors step down and surrender their ordination as being unBiblical.

As far as "running ahead of the church", that is thinking in the wrong direction. Those in favor of WO are not running ahead but have been continuing on the path and course set by the founders of the Adventist Church. Unfortunately, those who have, for a variety of reasons, felt unable to keep up with that progress or the pace of progress are insisting that those already far down the path stop and wait for all the rest to catch up, or in some instances, turn around and go back to the point long since past.

If you want to press the doctrinal idea, it is as if those mature in the faith are being asked to revert to the old ways and conform to the ways of the spiritually immature so as to make them feel more comfortable. Imagine a new convert, trying to give up smoking and drinking and eating unclean meat demanding that those long in the faith to stop and to join them in the eating and drinking whatever until they mature a bit more and get comfortable with this new idea of being a vegetarian (which by the way is not a Biblical mandate either). And that is another fine example of allowable variations in practice. Vegetarians live and let live with those that aren't and vice versa. In fact, at churches all around the UK and even in many ethnic congregations here you will see meat dishes.
Noey
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Re: Spirited debate marks major discussion of women’s roles in leadership

Noey
UPDATE: Latest Vote

So the scores on the door so far in favour of Women's Ordination are:

April 23, 2012 Northern German Union (Euro-Africa Division)                  160 to 47 (77%)
July 29, 2012 Columbia Union Conference (North American Division)       209 to 51 (80%)
August 19, 2012 Pacific Union Conference (North American Division)      316 to 84  (79%)
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The response from General Conference officers :


A RESPONSE TO THE ACTION OF THE PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE CONSTIUENCY MEETING ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 19, 2012

The 17 million members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are united through the Holy Spirit in a common commitment to Christ and the truths of His Word, an urgent end-time mission, and a divinely inspired church organization. A threat to any one of these places at risk the unity of the church. It is for this reason that the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church affirms the Pacific Union’s action not to change their Constitution and remain in harmony with the world church. This represents a step in a positive direction. The General Conference leadership is seriously concerned, though, with the Pacific Union’s subsequent action to preempt the collective decisions of the world church regarding ordination. Unilateral actions contrary to the voted decisions of the global church seriously threaten the unity of the church.

The world church recognizes the vital role that women play in the life, ministry and leadership of the church and encourages their active involvement. Because the General Conference Administrative Committee has already voted and commenced the most comprehensive study in our history on the subject of ordination, which will include the study of the ordination of women, the action of the Pacific Union to grant Ministerial Ordination “without respect to gender” preempts the process voted for the current study of ordination theology and practices by committing the Pacific Union Conference to a particular outcome before the study-and-discussion process is completed. It also expresses a lack of trust in the integrity of the general process accepted and voted by General Conference administrators and personnel, division officers, and pastors and lay members from all the world divisions who serve on the General Conference Executive Committee, which includes the presidents of the 125 unions representing the world church, regarding how we approach common challenges.

Further, the action is contrary to General Conference Working Policy and sets aside the 1990 and 1995 decisions of the General Conference in Session respecting the practice of ordination. The action taken by the Pacific Union Conference represents a serious threat to the unity of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, and thus, at its next meeting in October 2012, as indicated in another recent public statement by General Conference officers and division presidents, the General Conference Executive Committee will carefully review the situation and determine how to respond. In the spirit of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the officers of the General Conference appeal to all entities, organizations, and individuals, including the Pacific Union Conference, to refrain from independent and unilateral decisions and from implementing any such actions.

It is our prayer that the “oneness” Jesus prayed for in His great intercessory prayer in John 17, and that which the disciples experienced in Acts 2, will be manifest in His church today. We pray that the result of this “oneness” will be lives transformed by His grace, united in His love, and empowered by His Spirit to proclaim His last-day message in all of its fullness to a perishing planet, hastening the glorious return of our Lord.

Ted N. C. Wilson, President
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

G. T. Ng, Secretary
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Robert E. Lemon, Treasurer
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Noey
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Noey
Here is the Official TED (Trans European Division) position.

Motion on Women in Leadership
 
• We maintain our Bible-based conviction that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a fellowship of the “priesthood of all believers” and that the Holy Spirit calls and equips men and women with various gifts, including that of leadership. Ministry in the New Testament is based on spiritual gifts. It is the fellowship of believers that recognises and endorses these gifts and sends out women and men for service.
 
• We express our sadness and disappointment at the decision of the Annual Council. We prayerfully and sincerely believe it will damage the work of God’s people in many parts of the TED.
 
• We find it difficult to understand why the election of a commissioned minister by a local constituency could harm other world divisions, since a commissioned minister serving as president only impacts the local organisation.
 
• We believe that ordination or the “setting aside” of members, regardless of gender, for leadership in the church is made by prayer and the laying on of hands in order to confirm the presence of the spiritual gift of leadership, as the Bible teaches, and not to convey a particular quality of “priestly holiness” or spiritual status.
 
• We recognise that changes to the bold print in the model constitutions in the TED Working Policy must be approved by the General Conference. We have maintained this position within the TED when unions or conferences have been tempted to walk an independent path. However we request the General Conference to understand that for many this is an ethical and legal matter that strongly affects their consciences.
 
• We recognise that the World Church has approved a timetable for studying the theology of ordination with a view to bring a proposal to the General Conference Annual Council in 2014. We regret the extended timeline as it places some unions/conferences/missions/fields in an ethical and legal dilemma.
 
• We recognise that while waiting for the World Church to establish the Biblical theology of ordination, there are unions/conferences/missions/fields within the TED where the issues of women’s ordination and their election to leadership positions are matters of ethical integrity and individual conscience which may challenge the church and undermine our sharing of the Adventist message with the vast majority of the population. After consultation with the TED administration and approval by the appropriate church governance body, such unions/conferences/missions/fields may apply parity between male and female pastors on the grounds of the TED’s existing policies and guidelines for ordained/commissioned minister credentials. [tedNEWS]
Noey
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