The Danish Union of Seventh-day Adventists (DUChC) voted in 2013 at a session a statement regarding equality, which includes that, the church: “will not distinguish between genders when appointing pastors, and wishes to see equality between genders in all areas of responsibility.” In the same statement was included that the Danish Union “will suspend the ordaining of any new pastors until the General Conference session in 2015” where the question of allowing the ordination of women was up for discussion.
According to GC Working Policy E05 05 other credentials can be issued and the Danish Union will through the Trans-European Division urge the General Conference to find a term for a credential for our pastors that covers both women and men.
On the basis of this request and the statement on equality, which is based on a biblical understanding that both man and woman is created in the image of God and that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts equally to women and men, it was 20th September 2015 voted in the Union Executive Committee to move away from the terms ordination and commission but from now on simply “set apart pastors.”
In the future DUChC will only use one term and one credential: “pastor” for both men and women who successfully have completed the intern-period.
The full statement on equality from 2013 can be found here.
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Giant KUDOS to our church leaders from Denmark. Once again they have shown us a better way!
Their solution makes great sense and paves the way for understanding and unity. Some may say it is “rebellion” but this is creativity in the face of adversity. I wonder what other lessons we can learn from our Danish brothers and sisters…
In Denmark, there is a very different understanding of what “freedom” means. In that country, they have gone a long way to ending the enormous anxieties that comes with economic insecurity. Instead of promoting a system which allows a few to have enormous wealth, they have developed a system which guarantees a strong minimal standard of living to all – including the children, the elderly and the disabled. The United States, in size, culture, and the diversity of our population, is a very different country from Denmark. Can we, however, learn some more important lessons from them? You bet we can.
This is fantastic and creative. I have reflected what most theologians have told me that our modern practice and nomenclature is not Biblical. I have stated this repeatedly here and elsewhere. We have morphed ordination practices to suit our organization, preference, and cultural desires. Unfortunately, this has distorted the source of inspiration and cheapened the acknowledgement of God’s will.
I truly believe this is an act of righteous inspiration that we can only hope emboldens other Union Conferences to work the loophole to find a closer path to God’s ideals of equal access to God’s blessing and charter. It is a closer path to unleashing God from the cultural handcuffs we place on him with our sad biases. For me this an example of God not willing to be bound by humans. He can’t and won’t be.
I have scanned the interwebs and see the ranting and accusations by fundamentalists, so it is vital that we that see this as positive feed the flame and encourage more. Go God!
Cheer for today’s faithful “Protestant” Adventists in Norway and Denmark. They are Protestants in the true sense of the word.
Depends on how you define “Sound Theology”. I’d say when a denomination spends millions of dollars to get an answer on WO and the answer is that there is no theological reason not to ordain women - that IS "sound theology.
Jesus gave such a beautifully simple answer as to what He considered the most important theology - that which would cause us to be saved. Let’s see, did He say, "Thou must at all cost now allow women to be ordained [oh, He didn’t speak about ordination?], and must never consume caffeine [oh, He didn’t know what that was?].
No! Read Matthew 25. That is all the “sound theology we need”. But some just can’t accept that. They must earn their salvation their way by arguing about and emphasizing things Jesus never spoke about. I call that
honestly, this action by norway, and now denmark, is the best news i’ve heard since the great disappointment of 2015 in san antonio…i was totally shocked that the general conference, in session, could come to such a wrong decision as that no vote…i was so confident that god would intervene, right up to the very last, when that awful vote count was announced…i have to say that, for me, the memory of san antonio - the first general conference i followed somewhat closely - will probably forever remain enshrouded in darkness…there is a part of me that may never again instinctively believe the best for the church, or automatically think of things in a positive light…
on the other hand, i now seem to feel myself gathering hope from the norwegians and the danes…things are starting to look and feel bright again…knowing myself, and despite my better judgement, i’ll no doubt be drawn into recovering all my prior hopefulness, and then some, only to be horribly disillusioned all over again at some point in the future…mais c’est la vie, n’est-ce pas…whoever said the way we feel has to make any sense…
thank-you norway and denmark for turning things around…hopefully your brave, ingenious example
will catch on
Both, the Norwegian and the Danish Union were strongly influenced by the 800+ document prepared by the TED (TransEuropean Division) on the ordination issue in response to the GC request. The problem with documents that large: nobody actually likes to read them… So here is the short version: ordination is a Roman concept, not one originating in the NT, let alone the OT. (But don’t be fooled - there is a lot of theology nevertheless).
If you want theology, I continue to recommend: B. Wiklander, Ordination reconsidered (NAP 2015), available through Amazon or directly from Newbold College. If you want to refute the decisions of Scandinavia, Wiklander’s book might be good starting point to understand the reasoning.
Why did nobody in the NAD, not one of its union executive committees, before and soon after SA, think of recommending this (the Norwegian and Danish unions’ actions) to their respective constituencies as a way to equality? Instead, it seems that almost everyone in the NAD who supported WO, including members of the Spectrum board and the LLU Church-sponsored fora, promoted a Yes vote for the sake of unity.
I don’t want to be cynical, but ordination credentials matter to many careers here. If they didn’t, we’d see a lot more men who were supporters of WO changing theirs.
It sounds like ordination is not as necessary for career advancement in Norway and Denmark. I am thinking it is for division president, but not union or conference?
It is necessary here. Those opposed to WO would not be satisfied with no ordination because, like I said above, they want a clear distinction of power. Those in favor of WO are reluctant to give up their ordination credentials because it will hurt their careers. They would be thrilled if the whole church (or maybe even just the NA Division) abandoned ordination, but if it is only them, or only their union, the costs are too high.
Edited to add that I don’t want, in any way, to detract from what Norway and Denmark did. I admire their far-sightedness in not requiring ordination for higher positions. When the groundwork is laid for doing the right thing, it is easier to do the right thing.
My comments were more pertaining to why I think that solution hasn’t caught on here as much. IMO, Wilson should have jumped on it like a drowning man thrown a lifeline. His theology did not allow that unfortunately, and so here we are.
I called the Norwegian Union’s move in addressing SA 2015’s vote on WO as “brilliant” as have many others. It was indeed a remarkable, thoughtful, and careful decision in the attempt to address their realities on the ground in regards to ministers and country laws. It also meets in a Christian manner a middle ground surrounding our traditional views on ordination in a Working Policy that needs to be seriously addressed and adjusted to make it internally consistent with itself. Here lies the problem, not the SA vote, which was a misguided attempt to give the GC muscle against unions that have decided to ordain female pastors.
That said, after some more reflection on the Norwegian, and now Dutch, move questions arise as to its overall effect. First, the unions are very small and more easily voted to move in this direction. Can it be duplicated in larger unions such as PUC and CUC? How does it affect the current working policy about ordain ministers being the official agents of the church world wide? How does it affect retirement? These answers will be forthcoming in the near future as the GC assembles a response to these two unions. Autumn Council holds even more interest now as it will most likely set the tone for the next five years on this issue.
Autumn Council will be expected to address the request now on the table to form an investigative impartial committee to investigate the vote in San Antonio.
Will this be ignored? Will this be addressed?
Will strong actions be taken to further sideline women in spiritual leadership positions to punish? To make a strong point? To provide “grave consequences”? To move forward the Wilson Agenda?
How will the official Church react to this event? While some try to minimize these actions by the Norwegians and Danish because of their small size, their actions show bold leadership, are inspiring, and put ordination back on the church’s agenda after a deeply discouraging session disparaging and dissing women. I fully expect a full frontal attack by the official church to diminish these unions’ actions and warn others not to follow suit. I’m sure the church’s attorneys are busy prepping for Autumn Council even if it is another issue to “distract” and diminish these courageous actions.
In the scope of history, some day our great grandchildren will study a timeline for how the church changed its mind on ordaining women. These actions by Denmark and Norway may well be the triggers that return the church to more solid ground regarding the equal access of women to the Holy Spirit.
Today want equality between men and women. Tomorrow will want equal Gender and will rebel in defiance order to make the General Conference accepted the ordination of homosexuals. So it was with all the traditional churches have accepted the ordination of women.First they ordered women and then ordered homosexuals.
While visiting Britain in June this year, I was alerted to the fact that this is what the unions in the TED were intending to do.
I think it is the only strategy that has the potential to get Adventists to revisit the whole issue. I trust that such action will lead eventually to the creation of a completely new paradigm concerned with the appointment of Adventists to serve as leaders.
I also highly recommend Wiklander’s book - Ordination Reconsidered and the brief action plan he outlines at the back of the book. The comprehensive narratival hermeneutic he uses as a platform in his reconsideration of the ordination paradigm is not so foreign to Adventists. It is based on the Mission of God to undo evil in the universe.
The recommendations of the TED BRC report to TOSC must be revisited, as the full statement issued by the Norwegian Union observes.
Regrettably, ordination is a required condition for prospective promotions to more prominent positions in the Divisions and the GC.
An ossified “old boys club” obstinately obstructs access to most Division and GC committees and GC delegate lists. This results in a fossilized fiefdom of geriatric gentlemen presiding over a patriarchal patronage system that is exclusively male.
We endorse the Danes but hope that it will not backfire in preventing advancement for talented candidates, of which Niels-Eric Andreason president of Andrews, is a prime example.