BREAKING: Annual Council Votes Women's Ordination Question for 2015 GC Session


(system) #1

SILVER SPRING - At approximately 5:37 local time, Annual Conference delegates voted to approve language crafted by The General Conference and Division Officers (GCDO), that will now go to delegates at the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas. The language from GCDO came in the form of a question, posted below.

Delegates will be asked,

After your prayerful study on ordination from the Bible, the writings of Ellen G. White, and the reports of the study commissions, and;

After your careful consideration of what is best for the Church and the fulfillment of its mission,

Is it acceptable for division executive commitees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? Yes or No

The discussion of ordination, and specifically the issue of whether or not women might be ordained as pastors, spanned two business sessions, the first from 9:00 am until approximately noon, the second from 2:00 pm until just after the final vote.

Before delegates voted, they heard three summary presentations that represented the three positions that emerged from the Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC). Biblical Research Institute scholar Clinton Wahlen presented Position 1, which favored denying ordination to women pastors in elders, and supported male headship. Walla Walla University professor Carl Cosaert presented Position 2, which would allow those church fields that support ordination to proceed. Andrews University professor Nicholas Miller presented Position 3, which sought to marry the male headship language of Position 1 with the variability in practice of Position 2.

When the floor opened for discussion, countless delegates spoke to the motion both in favor and against. The final vote was 243 in favor, 44 opposed, and 3 in abstention.

Check back for a full report on the day's proceedings soon.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6333

(Steve Mga) #2

When does the Lobbying of SA2015 delegates to Vote No begin by Advindicate Board Members?


(Kevin Paulson) #3

This is a great victory for Position No. 1, and for the following reasons:

First, both sides are invited by this motion to base their vote on Biblical and Spirit of Prophecy authority. The idea that this issue cannot be settled theologically, but only ecclesiastically, was plainly rejected by the language of this resolution. Whichever view prevails, it will be on inspired grounds, not merely ecclesiastical ones.

Second, to lay before the world church the question of whether each Division can decide on pastoral ordination, is a master stroke for the anti-women’s ordination camp. The Third World Divisions in particular are strongly opposed to any weakening of the central structure of the denomination. And they fully recognize that the two camps approach the Bible differently, which in the event each Division decides this issue would mean each Division could potentially develop its own theology and Biblical hermeneutics. That course will be fully unacceptable to the vast proportion of the world body.

Thus, to use the language of the present motion to legitimize women’s ordination is to ensure its defeat. Congregationalism is a specter dreaded by church leaders at most every level, and any hint of it will make an affirmative vote on this resolution toxic.

Third, by going the direction they have taken, the General Conference officers and the Annual Council have made it possible for the world body to settle both the ordination question (on Biblical grounds) and to address once and for all the issue of each Division going its own way. In sum, the issue will be settled both theologically and ecclesiastically, whichever way it goes.

Fourth, it is quite obvious that the highest governing bodies of the church will overwhelmingly follow the lead of the president and his fellow officers when asked. This has now happened at three of the most recent Annual Councils, with regard to this issue:

  1. The 2011 Annual Council, when the North American Division asked for a variance on the qualification for Conference presidents, and the Council rejected this request by 167 to 117.

  2. The 2012 Annual Council, where the resolution of condemnation against the rebellious North American Unions, and a refusal to recognize their illegitimate ordinations, passed 264 to 25.

  3. And now, the 2014 Annual Council, where against vocal opposition from pro-women’s ordination forces the Council recommended to the pending GC session a resolution designed to settle this issue at the global level once and for all—by yet another devastating margin: 243 to 44 to 3.

Now the battle moves to San Antonio, where the numbers favoring Position No. 1 will be vastly stronger, and where Elder Wilson has publicly pledged to make his position known—together with the Biblical reasons for it—to the world body. Judging from today’s outcome, I suspect he may have the votes.

May the Lord be praised for today’s outcome, and for His continued superintendence over His end-time covenant community.


(Kevin Paulson) #4

Immediately. And not just by ADvindicate, but by multitudes of others.


(Ann) #5

I just finished posting this sentiment on another thread–The Eve of the Ordination. Kevin Paulson’s disinformation campaign has been ratcheted up already–proving my point below. Can the church really take 8-9 more months of this??? ANNUAL COUNCIL DELEGATES, PLEASE STAND UP AND BE COUNTED. WE WANT TO KNOW WHERE YOU STAND!

"On the one hand, I’m pleased that the question whether to allow a division-by-division solution is the one going to GC Session. The momentum is such that delegates will likely vote yes.

However, I feel there is something important left undone–church members want to know what this group thinks about the issue. Without a poll of this duly chosen, representative body from the world church, the disinformation campaign of the Secrets Unsealed gang will continue to paint this discussion as good against evil. We have heard repeatedly at this meeting that honest Seventh-day Adventists who are committed to Christ and committed to scripture can disagree on the issue of women’s ordination. If this is true, then why are Annual Council delegates being prevented from being polled?

Having kept my finger on the pulse of the various blogs discussing this issue, I can’t help but feel that the rancor will escalate for nine more months unless Annual Council delegates go on the record as to where they stand. Leaders are supposed to lead. Judging by what person after person said at the microphone today, I am convinced a large majority are in favor of allowing each division to decide for itself. Stand up and be counted, even if the poll carries no weight. There’s one more day of meetings–it’s not too late…"


(Roccos) #6

Some would perhaps argue active “Lobbying” is unneeded now and instead point to “Precedence” as a rallying anthem. Or not.


(Carolyn Parsons) #7

Lobbying is absolutely crucial for GC leaders who are “running” to return to their offices. This includes Pastor Wilson who is absolutely going to lobby on the gift he gave the regions of the world that support him the most. He has shown that he believes that the devil came after his family to discourage them from leadership in the church. This interpretation suggests that he believes that he is required as president to vindicate the church against “the devil”.


(Bille) #8

It never stopped. And it has only racheted up another notch at each evidence that Ted was on their side and not at all interested in whatever scholarly conclusions that the TOSC memebers and other scholars came to.

It is at near tsunami strength now… and only God’s intervention will turn the tide toward sane and rational discussions and actions.

And God may not act to keep us from tearing ourselves apart. God has never shown Himself to be partial to big organizations… especially big world wide organizations that attempted to dictate how men should belief and worship.

I do not personally fear Congregationalism as some do. It is a very real fact that much of the infrastructure that would be needed to support a variety of separate Adventist organizations is already in place. God may choose to act in ways that will allow us to stay together as one denominational unit and still allow individuals the freedoms that are their right as Chrisians… but He may not. And either way we can still trust Him to bring blessing to the world out of even the chaos that we could well be bringing upon ourselves by our tolerance of leaders who serve themselves rather than the God of Heaven.


(Roccos) #9

The “Lobbying” nightguy2 referred to was toward a No-Vote for WO at the next GC Session. And so I suggested maybe “Precedence” was in order—or 1995’s No-Vote on divisional autonomy. But I did get your half-mocking point.


(Elmer Cupino) #10

TW does not need to wait for SA2015 “to make his position known.” Any thinking person can read between the lines from his pledge this morning. On second thoughts, why would he make a pledge? Was it because he was guilty of the “Ratsara Manuever?”

@GeorgeTichy


(George Tichy) #11

This was a legit “Wilson Maneuver.” It runs in the family. Remember Glacier View?


(Roccos) #12

More like Utrecht. Spectrum (Wright?) earlier tweeted:

“If what we’re hearing is true, the issue before Annual Council today will be essentially the same thing that was defeated in 1995. . . . In 1995 at the Utrecht General Conference Session, delegates said no on question of whether divisions should decide ordination.”


(Marcel St Germain) #13

On the street where I grew up this is called a “Catch 22”. Perfectly legal. Very well done!


(Ann) #14

OPEN SEASON HAS BEEN DECLARED UPON THE SHEEP–Dateline Silver Spring, October 14, 2014

This is what the breaking news headline should read.

Because leaders have abdicated their responsibility to let the church know where they stand, they have decided to allow extremists to speak for them instead. Maybe Kevin Paulson has it right. Maybe today’s AC action was a great victory for Position 1–all women elders are to be stripped of their ordination. The idea that women’s ordination cannot be settled theologically has been “plainly rejected.”

If Mark Finley is to be believed, then honest Seventh-day Adventists who are committed to Christ, committed to scripture and committed to the church can come to different conclusions on the issue of women’s ordination.

ANNUAL COUNCIL DELEGATES, please demonstrate that this is true by taking a poll. If it’s not safe for you to take a stand, then what makes you think it will be safe for members in the pews to take a stand? We get it that the final decision will rest with GC Session delegates, but please don’t leave us at the mercy of misinformation campaigns!

Do you think divisions should be allowed to decide whether to ordain women as ministers in their territories?


(Kevin Paulson) #15

That question has rightly been referred by the Annual Council to the church’s highest and most authoritative governing body. And that is where it will be decided. Obviously the Council was not even closely divided on this issue, and I predict San Antonio won’t be either. Overwhelmingly they will uphold the Biblical position that men and women have equally important and essential roles within the body of Christ, but that these roles are neither identical nor interchangeable.

Ann, Mark Finley is a dear friend of mine who has won multitudes to the message, far more than I. But like me, he is not infallible.


(P Kevin Wells) #16

In spite of what some folks may think of the brilliance of this maneuver on its face it appears to be cowardly. When leaders refuse to take a position and publicly state what that position is they have completed their transition from that of leader to follower. Leaders clearly articulate their views. Followers defer to their constituents and let them decide what the outcome will be.
Adventist polity, in theory, is designed to allow for consensus. However, in this case it appears that leadership has taken the politically expedient way of ducking the question and referring it to the General Conference Session. I hope that is not the case.
Instead I hope this recommendation is legitimate and is not intended as a poison pill for the Church. It seems those who would deny the Holy Spirit the flexibility to ordain women view this as a politically astute maneuver by raising the bogeyman of congregationalism, oh my, as a means to killing the motion before it even gets a fair hearing.
Side Note: It’s amazing how often Satan is invoked in this discussion, mostly by those who oppose the freedom to think independently of the collective. Stop doing this please. It needlessly insults people and makes the speaker look petty and superstitious.


(Beth Again) #17

I think the fact that WO is already being decided regionally changes everything. San Antonio delegates, even if opposed to WO, can see that they can acknowledge what is reality- that those regions already ordaining are not going to go back - and vote accordingly. Voting no means wishing for something that is not going to happen. The church is not going to be united under one vision of WO. The regions who are ordaining now are going to continue to do so. A no vote might discourage some other regions for awhile, but the church is no longer one that decides WO universally. It is one that decides it regionally. Voting yes for regional decisions will allow the semblance of a united church to continue, and when it comes to power and perception, that’s important.


(Kevin Paulson) #18

Thankfully, Beth, we have a General Conference president with an entirely different, and Biblical vision, of Adventism’s future.


(Rheticus) #19

The GC-in-session has the power to make/change the GC rules. It does NOT have the power to change a Union Conference rules.

The GC rules TODAY say that GC Divisions can not help their constituent union conferences (UCs) ordain women, but the UC rules say that they can ordain women without the help of their GC Division.

This question being fed to the GC does not change whether UC’s can ordain women. All it changes is whether the GC will stop making idle threats when the UC does so.

The big danger here is that the UC’s will agree to something or act in a way that looses some of their existing autonomy.

Ted Wilson is looking for a face-saving way out of the idle threats that he made, and he is looking for some path that starts to establish GC control over UC’s.

Meanwhile the NAD is looking to create more autonomy within the GC’s Divisions.

KP completely misses the politics of power going on here.

It really amazes me that conservative SdA yearn for a pope, like the Israelites yearned for the flesh pots of Egypt.


(Rohan Charlton) #20

Kevin,if the SDA church does officially sanction
and begin ordaining women what will you do?Do youfeel strongly enough about the issue to leave?