General Conference Statement on Sandra Roberts' Election as Conference President

Seventh-day Adventist world church officials today released a statement regarding a local conference that recently elected as president a person who is not recognized by the world church as an ordained minister. Ordination is one of the criteria for being a conference president. The statement, in its entirety, follows:

Moving Forward Together

A response from the General Conference to recent actions in North America

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been called by God as an urgent, end-time voice proclaiming God’s love and last day message to the world. He has commissioned us to proclaim the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12 to people worldwide desperately looking for hope. The message and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is unique and is heaven-sent. Our top priority as a church is knowing Jesus ourselves and sharing His message of redemption. Nothing is to stand in the way of this proclamation as we unite to reach every “nation, kindred, tongue and people” with the “everlasting gospel.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a fellowship of believers bound together by a common commitment to Christ, the truths of the Bible, a worldwide church organization and a mission to the world. Each of these elements is vitally important in preserving the unity of the church and keeping it from fracturing. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not organized as a collection of independent units. Although each Conference/Mission, Union and the General Conference (which includes the divisions) have their own constituencies, they are also united by common commitments, mutual trust and agreed upon policies. The Church, the body of Christ, is inter-related. Actions that affect one part of the body affect the whole. The Apostle Paul stated it succinctly in these words, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

Working Policy, which is the recording of our agreements as to how we will work together to do the Lord’s work and mission, serves as one of the practical unifying agents that the Holy Spirit uses to bind the church together. Policy is not inflexible. It can be changed but it reflects the understanding of the collective group, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When personal convictions are placed ahead of the collective policy decisions of the worldwide church, troubling precedents are set. God works in an orderly way and wishes His church to exemplify this sanctified behavior through the power of the Holy Spirit. Humility and submission to God for the good of the church body as outlined in the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy are fundamental Biblical principles for the benefit of the church.

At the 2012 Annual Council in a voted action entitled, “Statement on Church Polity, Procedures, and Resolution of Disagreements in the Light of Recent Union Actions on Ministerial Ordination,” the world church strongly indicated that it does not recognize as ordained ministers individuals who do not meet the criteria outlined in policy. It deeply concerns the world leadership of the church that recently a local conference constituency elected as a conference president an individual who is not recognized by the world church as an ordained minister. Ordination to the ministry is one of the criteria set forth for being a conference president. General Conference administration is working with the North American Division administration as they deal with the implications of this local conference action, which is contrary to the 2012 Annual Council action.

The world church is currently working together in a Theology of Ordination Study Committee with participation by all divisions to better understand the functions of ordination as well as the role of women in relation to ordination to the gospel ministry. A careful process is functioning and reports will be given to the 2014 Annual Council with the expectation that this subject will go to the 2015 General Conference Session for a decision under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We have every confidence in the Lord’s leading of His precious remnant church. By God’s grace and through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the church will find its way through this challenging time as we move forward with the unique message and mission entrusted to the Seventh-day Adventist movement. It is God’s plan that we proclaim His end-time, prophetic truth to every corner of the globe and especially the enormous metropolitan centers of the world through “Mission to the Cities” utilizing every form of comprehensive urban evangelism including comprehensive health ministry and many other methods. We urge all church members and leaders to pray that the Holy Spirit will unite us to fulfill Christ’s promise that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) United in Christ’s love, bound together in a common Biblical message, linked through a common church organization and committed to one another with mutual respect and trust through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are confident this church will triumph at last and proclaim Christ’s eternal message of truth to the ends of the earth in anticipation of Jesus’ soon second coming.

—The General Conference Executive Officers


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5605

I grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist message. I am still a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I firmly believe that the church has a number of beliefs that are Biblically strong. However, I also believe that the leadership of the church has from its inception, chosen to monopolize the message of salvation and Biblical truths. While the church claim to be God’s remnant church, it often shoots its self in the foot by denouncing the very principles by which God’s remnant church is defined.

In fact, the Seventh Day Adventist Church constantly, and I would say deliberately, defies scriptural facts when it comes to inferring theological explanations on Biblical issues the church considers essential to its existence as a body or organization. Three of such deliberate acts of rejecting scriptural evidence are: 1. The Church’s belief on the Sanctuary, in particularly the role of the Scapegoat of Leviticus 16, claiming that goat to be representative of Satan, a theory that completely diminishes the role of Christ as the sin bearer as recorded in Isaiah 53, and Hebrews 9; a theory that also cannot be found or supported by scripture. 2. The Church’s complete and deliberate rejection of the Biblical facts regarding the continuing role of Spiritual Gifts in God’s church, by claiming Ellen White as the last day prophet. Such a claim is a deliberate rejection of the Biblical truths recorded in Romans 12: 3-8; 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14; and Ephesians 4: 1-16. Finally, the third area I have identified as the Church’s deliberate rejection of God’s word is the issue to which I am commenting, the Church’s unbiblical position on women in leadership of God’s people.

The first fundamental belief of the Seventh Day Adventist Church states: " The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history."

If the Leadership of the Seventh Day Adventist Church truly believe that first fundamental belief, then, the church would not have embarrassed itself by issuing a statement regarding the election of Sandra Roberts as President of Southeastern California Conference, and its conspicuous non recognition of her name on the Adventist Online Yearbook’s listings of top administrators. The action of the church leadership in this matter is a total denial of key scriptural evidence that clearly recognized women as church leaders and their role in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus in his commission of the gospel to his disciples recorded in Matthew 28: 15, 16; Mark 16: 15; did not limit his work to the male gender only. God, in his dealings with the nation of Israel, in a time of great apostasy, called Deborah to judge Israel. Judges 4-6. God through inspiration instructed the Apostle Paul to list the gifts and offices of his body in Romans 12: 3-8; 1 Cor 12,14; Eph 4: 1- 16. This is God’s word, he did not specify whether male or female should carry out his work. Could it be that Sandra Roberts is the modern day Deborah, chosen by God to lead in a time of grave defiance to God’s word by the leaders of the Seventh Adventist Church?

Look, the time has come for the leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church to stop following human tradition and beliefs and follow God’s word. It is not by chance the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3: 28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” I urge the leadership of the Seventh Day Adventist Church to stop following tradition and follow the word of God. The Church needs to pull this statement it publish on Sandra Roberts and let God’s work go on. Stop playing God and let God be God. We are all called to work for God. Let us go about doing that work led by God’s Holy Spirit without the hindrance of human theory and philosophy or self-righteous interpretation of God’s word.
The time has come for the church to be truthful and God fearing in its entirety. stop monopolizing the scriptures and let the Holy Spirit lead.

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The official working policy of the church on ordination (dates, please) states that only males qualify for ordination?