A second division has voted to recommend that Adventist women pastors be ordained. In its recent annual meeting, the executive committee members from the 11 conferences (12 European countries) that make up the Inter-European Division (EUD) voted unanimously to recommend the ordination of women to pastoral ministry, taking into consideration the possibility of applying it according to the needs of the fields. There were no abstentions.
About 80 representatives came from the countries represented to attend the meetings in Madrid, Spain, from November 1 to 5. Corrado Cozzi wrote this report from Madrid, published today on the EUD website.
The Inter-European Division will recommend to the Seventh-day Adventist world church’s Theology of Ordination Study Committee that there is room for the church to ordain women to pastoral ministry.
The recommendation follows study of the papers presented at the division’s Biblical Research Committee as well as those prepared for the Theology of Ordination Study Committee this year from January 15 to 17 and July 22 to 24.
The process is part of the world church’s ongoing study of the theology of ordination, which was first established at the denomination’s General Conference Session in 2010. Each of the Adventist Church’s 13 world divisions is preparing its own report, and world church officials have promised to bring back a compiled report to the 2015 General Conference Session.
The Inter-European Division’s recommendation stems from several points:
- The Bible does not specifically define what ordination for pastoral ministry is.
- There are no direct statements in the Bible either commanding or prohibiting women’s ordination.
- As the church felt free to develop its organizational structure to further its mission based on biblical principles, division BRC members consider ordination not as a doctrinal or biblical issue, but something that must be handled at an administrative level.
- There are no clear biblical principles that would require or guide the application of the principle of headship in the family or the church.
- The Old Testament priesthood has its fulfillment in the unique priesthood of Christ, which is the basis for the priesthood of all believers.
- BRC members were unclear over why ordination requires a differentiation between genders that doesn’t exist in other levels of ministry or service, such as teachers, deacons, prophets and leaders.
Based on the report of the Biblical Research Committee, the Executive Committee of the Inter-European Division recommends the ordination of women to pastoral ministry, taking into consideration the possibility of applying it according to the needs of the fields.
During the year-end meetings, the EUD committee also discussed membership figures. Corrado Cozzi reports:
Gabriel Maurer, EUD Executive Secretary, presented his report giving a general picture of the growth of the church.
To be realistic, we are happy for new members, but at the same time the ones that drop out every year concern us. “We have to ask ourselves what we can do to stop this hemorrhage” said Maurer. “It is foolish to continue doing things the same way, but expecting different outcomes. Only analysis, reflection, vision and action can bring efficient change” Maurer affirmed.
At the end of 2012 the EUD had a membership of 177,874. At the end of the 3rd quarter of 2013 the EUD records a membership of 178,264 which represents a slight growth of 390 members, or an average of 35 members per union in 270 days, and one per week per union.
Looking at the exact figures during the first 9 months of 2013 in Europe we had 3,261 total growth. This is made up of 2,903 baptisms and 358 professions of faith. At the same time we registered 1,706 deaths and 1,054 dropped membership, and 163 are missing: the total sum is 2,923. “This data of 163 missing concerns me,” said Maurer, “how is it possible to miss members? Looking at all these figures, we should better coordinate of efforts to find clear solutions.”
Image: From the EUD website.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5636