Friedensau Adventist University Administration Issue Statement on "Unity in Mission" Document

Today, the administration of Friedensau Adventist University issued a statement responding to the General Conference's "Unity In Mission" document, which that body's Executive Committee voted during its Annual Council on October 11, 2016. The response from Friedensau follows in its entirety. -Ed.

We, the administration of Friedensau Adventist University, Germany, wish to express the following observations and concerns regarding the above-mentioned document voted by the recent Annual Council of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We do this in a spirit of love and loyalty to our church.

  1. We share the concern of the document for the worldwide unity and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church and we pray for this “unity in mission” as Jesus himself did (John 17). To us, the major elements of reconciliation suggested in the document are of utmost importance: listening, consultation, and prayer. In this process, both sides at variance will be heard graciously.

  2. There is, undoubtedly, need to counsel with any church entity that appears to have overlooked or ignored biblical principles as expressed to the best of our understanding in the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This applies to all entities from the local church to the General Conference.

  3. he “Procedures in Church Reconciliation” voted in the document mentioned above were evidently occasioned by church entities not in compliance with the decision of the 2015 General Conference or certain parts of the Working Policy relating to ordination. That vote did not end the debate and bring about the hoped-for unity of belief and action. This is mainly due to the fact that ordaining or not ordaining women or men is not only a matter of church policy, but also of Christian conscience, ecclesiastical authority, cultural factors, and mission concerns.

  4. Voted actions and working policies that are binding for the entire church need to be based on clear biblical principles. If, on the other hand, church actions or policies are not clearly based on such biblical principles, as is the case in the ordination question (where Fundamental Beliefs 14 and 17 are interpreted in divergent ways), policies must not supersede theological discussion and a reasonable range of opinions should be accommodated.

    Church leaders at all levels should actively work for the unity in mission of our church. We are seriously concerned that the document “Unity in Mission” in conjunction with its announced follow-up will be used to discipline church entities seemingly in non-compliance with the church but actually striving to uphold its teachings and values and acting faithfully within the sphere of responsibility entrusted to them.

It is our sincere hope and prayer that God will guide our church members, pastors/leaders, and committees to avert further damage from the church we love and support, to practice enabling leadership, and to foster a healthy diversity without which spiritual and organizational unity cannot be truly maintained.

In the words of Ellen G. White:

“The church may pass resolution upon resolution to put down all disagreement of opinions, but we cannot force the mind and will and thus root out disagreement. These resolutions may conceal the discord, but they cannot quench it and establish a perfect agreement. Nothing can perfect unity in the church but the spirit of Christlike forbearance.” (MS 24, 1892)

Administration of Friedensau Adventist University November 14, 2016

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

God bless you all. :slight_smile: :smile: Let it be so.


Thank you for taking the time, effort, and care to respond to the “Unity Document” that seems to be causing, conversely, disunity and amping up division with its emphasis on uniformity.

May God bless your faculty and university as you focus on clear, biblical principles, listening, and a spirit of love.


It is nice to hear from a university outside of the US. We may have different opinions on the ordination question but I do agree that there is much prayer needed to resolve this problem. The ordination question has been raised many times going back a few decades, but it is now coming to a head. I am in favor of women’s ordination not because I am a woman but because women can and will make a difference in our church and the world. Many in North America feel there isn’t a problem with ordaining women. I feel that the GC needs to be more specific in spelling out their reasons for not ordaining women. If North America ordains women it doesn’t mean it has to go worldwide. Every culture is different and therefore their differences should be respected. What is good for China may not be good for Germany and so on. Let us all pray that this will be resolved peacefully.


Better late than never… Proud to be part of the Friedensau administration who voted the statement. The attempt to find a conciliatory tone was important to us (and that does take time) - especially as we didn’t want to water down the intended content.


Excellent statement. I appreciated the EGW quote at the end.

In Adventist theology, we are seeing a growing divide between higher education on one side and the GC and louder elements among our laity on the other side. It’s a shame that one side seeks to “win” by squelching (in the name of “unity”) the views on the other side.


It is a Great Reply.
Nobody is Listening!!!
As they say in the States [North American Division]-- You are talking to the Choir.
As you know… most church Choirs only have a FEW members of the congregation in them.
Again, Nobody of Importance is Listening…
Sorry to be so Blunt. Truth is NOT Pleasant!

this Women’s Issue was brought up by Ellen White herself.
The White Estate itself has allowed her comments regarding the ELEVATION and EQUALITY of Women In Ministry to be printed in her books.
This goes back AT LEAST 130 years or so.
IF one will take the time to ACTUALLY READ Ellen, one will find that SHE HERSELF was at the forefront of THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT. Not in a political sense, as required to obtain Voting Rights.
BUT she WAS in the forefront of the Women’s Movement.
PLEASE – Give her Her Dues as they are required!!

Danielle – Southern HAS to be careful what goes on there. Perhaps you do not recall what happened to the Theology Dept in the early 80’s and how it was decimated, but I do. I was a student working on my BSN degree. My lab partner was the wife of one of the Religion Teachers who were finally Fired. Off Campus, and a large financial contributor and one protesting student that not enough EGW was in the classes, caused the huge event. It even caused the President to resign not long after.
I am sure 32 years HAVE NOT erased the memory of this horrendous event.


Like the USA, as a whole.

1 Like

Was WO an issue( to the extent it is now) 150 years ago, 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 25 years ago? Were the SDA scholars then not as educated and inspired then, as they are now on WO?

Take an X-Y chart and graph the ramp of increase in denominational discord and see if it doesn’t plot alongside the USA/western world growth of women’s movement culture shift/trend.

What is the real catalyst or driving force/motivation for this discord?

SDA members spend 120-180 minutes a week at church and the balance of the 7000 waking minutes with the world.

This issue is not brain surgery or rocket science.

Come on leaders of other Adventist universities. Time to make a stand. You’ve been silent so often on so many matters that defy healthy thinking. You’ve been complicit, understandably so, with unintelligent and unethical things in the church and leadership for so long. Time to stand up. Dare to be a Daniel.


Thank you Friedensau for adding your voice to this great movement.

As our conscience is enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we are compelled to do what is right - even if it involves the “unlearning” of many long-held beliefs. May the Holy Spirit continue to pour out His spirit upon all flesh.


James White addressed the issue in the September 1857 Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. A number of articles appeared through the early years, as the same accusations immediately came forth from those who wanted to squelch women from preaching. In 1861, Uriah Smith wrote the introduction for an article by J.A. Mowatt. Mowatt contended that “neither Paul nor any other apostle forbade women preaching, or lecturing” and said “such a command is nowhere in the Bible, and I shall proceed to prove it; and, besides, I will prove that Paul taught the very opposite.”

Here’s what Uriah Smith, a respected scholar, church leader, and author wrote:

“We consider the following a triumphant vindication of the right of the sisters to take part in the public worship of God. The writer applies the prophecy of Joel-‘Your daughters shall prophesy,’ &c., to female preaching; but while it must embracepublic speakingof somekind, this we think is but half of its meaning. We have nothing to say upon what the writer claims to have been done by certain females. That to which the attention of the reader is especially called is the argument by which he shows that they have a right to do this, or any amount besides in the same direction.” --U. S.

You can read a very revealing summary of the topic of women’s spiritual leadership as it appeared in the Review in this article in the Andrews University Seminary Studies journal, Vol. 43, No. 1. pp. 41-58 by Beverly Beem and Ginger Hanks Harwood.

Their excellent work is titled “‘Your Daughters Shall Prophesy’: James White, Uriah Smith, and the ‘Triumphant Vindication of the Right of the Sisters’ to Preach” You can read it here: “Your Daughters Shall Prophesy”

This is a section of Adventist History that isn’t studied in most Adventist History courses in academy or college. Did you study this topic or see Ellen White’s ordination certificates?

Read this article and see what their Bible Study, thorough, intentional and scholarly, resulted in. See what they thought of the “Priesthood of All Believers.” This is truly “Classic Adventism,” as @kevindpaulson likes to use the term. But this is REAL “Classic Adventism.” The year when James White began publishing in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald about this was 158 years ago.

It’s especially interesting that the church founders wanted Adventist women preachers to LEAD other denominations to show them the true meaning of the Priesthood of All Believers, not to be the tail complaining about Adventist pastors. Quite interesting, don’t you think?


Friedensau Adventist University, Thank you and amen.

1 Like

“The darkest chapters of history are burdened with the record of crimes committed by bigoted religionists.” – Ellen White, The Sermon on the Mount, p. 309.

"Then as the children of God are one in Christ, how does Jesus look upon caste, upon society distinctions, upon the division of man from his fellow man, because of color, race, position, wealth, birth, or attainments? The secret of unity is found in the equality of believers in Christ. The reason for all division, discord, and difference is found in separation from Christ. Christ is the center to which all should be attracted; for the nearer we approach the center, the closer we shall come together in feeling, in sympathy, in love, growing into the character and image of Jesus. With God there is no respect of persons. – {1SM 259.2}


@Danielle, obviously you never were at Friednsau : There you can ask questins, you can discuss - can displlay your view and hw you achieved t - - - -

I hope next fall al to have the possbity for the leong travel to Friedensau once again. with a bunch of questsons.


The fact that “women’s spiritual leadership” was an issue from the beginning has everything to do with the other fact that the driving force behind the SDA church is a woman. These issues are driven by culture as much as by religion, as one drives the other. It was right around the same time that women were looking for the right to vote and the right to be educated, as well.

One problem WO has, is that both sides of the issue depend on how one reads the Bible - interpretation; and culture interprets Bible. Much of the theology of the SDA church was the product of 19th century culture that has been modified as time went on. the place of women in the church isn’t the only issue that has to tiptoe through the Bible. Just like any other debate, the side that can quote EGW the best, wins. Ironic, in this case, isn’t it.


Thank you so much Friedensau.

As the Trans European Divison’s excutive comittee Winter Meetings concluded today I am sad to say that while this document was debated and many of the same Points were made, though probably not all so well phrased as the Friedensau statement, yet still no official statement was made like the one you have produced. We’ve been promised that there will be some further discussions on this issue, and hopefully that might result in a similar statement, though it still remains to be seen.

I pray to God that this issue will be resolved “in the spirit of forbearance” or I am afraid we will loose a Whole genereation of Young People (and quite a few of the older ones too) whose ideals and keen conscience cannot allow them to live within a Church that will muffle those who disagree on mere policies.

And while policy is needed for the efficient working of a large organization like the Church, there must be some leeway for flexibility within the framework of that policy. A too rigid structure will crumble under pressure, that’s why we build houses that will Sway during strong Winds or earthquakes. But it is also true for organizations: Too much bureaucracy in an organization will slow Down its pace and become a great barrier to perfoming its core tasks and fulfilling its mission.


I wasn’t referring to Friedensau. I was referring to most other Adventist universities. I applaud Friedensau’s response and freedom to think and express. I wish I was there!


I applaud every university that crossed the church president’s aggressively held views against women in spiritual leadership, who affirmed the role of women, and who highlighted our Classic Adventist embrace of The Priesthood of ALL Believers. Each university that has issued a statement has done so with honesty, courage, and “unity.”

1 Like