International Day of the Girl Child, GC Annual Council, San Antonio, and Church Policy

October 11, 2016 was the day during the General Conference Executive Committee’s Annual Council that the committee voted a GC-initiated process for addressing compliance issues. As it happened, that day was also designated by the United Nations (UN) as the “International Day of the Girl Child.” A UN statement said:

The world’s 1.1 billion girls are part of a large and vibrant global generation poised to take on the future. Yet the ambition for gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlights the preponderance of disadvantage and discrimination borne by girls everywhere on a daily basis.

In the list of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, number 5 is to: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”

The UN and the global community have a long way to go before this goal can be achieved. What about the Seventh-day Adventist Church? How far away is our denomination from offering our whole hearted support for gender equality?

The GC Working Policy’s Basic Principle of Non-discrimination The Working Policy of the General Conference provides a basic principle that ought to make us better leaders in this matter:

The Church rejects any system or philosophy which discriminates against anyone on the basis of race, color, or gender. (GC WP BA 60 05 Basic Principles)

Have we succeeded in pursuing this basic principle by our example? What about educating new converts? Are we teaching our mature church members the basic principle of rejecting “any system or philosophy which discriminates against anyone on the basis of race, color, or gender”?

What about our decision making at all levels? Are we aware that gender inequality is an integrated part of the culture in many parts of the world where you will find Seventh-day Adventist Churches? Do we recognize that cultural bias will most likely influence decision makers? Are we looking out for decisions made on the basis of cultural understanding rather than biblical principles?

The UN on Gender Inequalities The UN website offers this sobering thought:

Gender inequalities are still deep-rooted in every society. Women suffer from lack of access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. In many situations, they are denied access to basic education and health care and are victims of violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a fast growing church in many areas of the world where “gender inequalities are still deep-rooted,” to use the UN’s phraseology.

The 2015 GC Session, San Antonio During the 2015 the General Conference Session in San Antonio, delegates voted on the topic of letting the division’s executive committees “make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry.” Was the challenge of “deep-rooted” gender inequalities in “every society” taken into account as a factor that could make the vote void if such a cultural influence could be seen as the basis for votes cast? What about the reports of people being threatened if they did not vote no – was that pointed out to be unacceptable? Is it possible to use a majority vote to decide in a matter of equal treatment of male and female when we know that “gender inequalities are still deep-rooted in every society”? Is it at all possible to think that such a vote expresses the will of God?

The 2016 GC Annual Council – October 11 On October 11, the 2016 GC Annual Council voted on how to handle unions deemed to be out of compliance with GC working policy. The focus was not on the Bible. Neither was the focus on the Fundamental Beliefs. The focus was on policy.

Having rules and regulations are vital for any well-functioning organization. As Adventists we are well acquainted with the fact that God gave his people laws and regulations as they left Egypt, in addition to the rite of circumcision given them through Abraham. “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession…” (Ex 19:5).

After Jesus’ resurrection the disciples faced the tremendous task of evangelizing the whole world. New people groups and cultures would be met. This new phase of their mission was a tremendous challenge as they had to think differently. And God used different means to help the leaders of the church to move along in a way that made it possible for them to fulfill God’s call to them.

In the Jerusalem counsel they were gathered for a heated discussion concerning circumcision and the keeping of the law of Moses. Peter tells us why he accepted that the gentiles did not have to practice circumcision and follow the law of Moses, with a few exceptions:

As the Seventh-day Adventist Church has struggled with the matter of equal treatment of male and female pastors, has anybody really asked if the Holy Spirit has been given to any female pastor? Have the numerous female pastors in China been given the Holy Spirit, just as male pastors around the globe have received the Holy Spirit? If the answer is yes, who are we to point to policy as an excuse for not being guided by the basic principle of GC WP 60 05?

Finn F. Eckhoff is Executive Secretary of the Norwegian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7701
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From the U.N.'s website:

“Women suffer from lack of access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. In many situations, they are denied access to basic education and health care and are victims of violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes.”

Do the church’s administrators not see the irony in their statement:

"The church rejects any system or philosophy which discriminates anyone on the basis of race, color, or gender according to their statement of Basic Principles (GC WP BA 69 65)?

Are they in need of God’s eyes who sees us all as equals? Having eyes, do they not see? Is it only the Boko Haram girls or girls like Malala who are still being denied education? Or do they pride themselves as not being those who would segregate and subjugate girls and not see that they have by design devised a segregate and separate system closing the doors for women to have full and equal recognition in the church’s ecclesiastical organization?

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The Church grows through the mind and the heart, not the gonads. The female heart and mind is the equal or superior to most clerics, including delgates and their Nominators TZ

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there can be no question that the jerusalem council’s “twin-track approach” on circumcision, to borrow a phrase from the GC secretariat’s “A Study of Church Governance and Unity,” p.13, was the model that delegates in san antonio should have followed…but clearly, too many of our delegates were simply not biblically literate enough to let this example guide them…and what we have, as a result, is a vote that is out of harmony with the bible…

if annual council really intends to force compliance with such a vote, it will be evidence that we have truly lost the sense that we are the remnant church, the final version of those who resist to the death the imposition of power that subverts freedom of conscience and the word of god…i think millions of adventist onlookers, all over the world, are hoping against hope that our GC will ultimately stop short of any resemblance to popery…

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It seemed like such a tragic irony that Oct. 11 was not only the International Day of the Girl Child, but also Yom Kippur–how appropriate they used the Jewish Day of Atonement to make a scapegoat out of Women’s Ordination and those who support them.

And it seems TW and his tribe have decided to play on the fact that most Adventists don’t realize what the vote in San Antonio was actually about. How many times have i heard people say the church voted no on WO so it must not be God’s will. The vote was not against WO, but against the divisions deciding it. Before that it was in the hands of the unions. The whole reason for having the unions was to prevent the GC from kingly power.

Someone brought up the fact that if this was a true doctrinal issue, there never would have been a vote. No one would consider having a vote over the Sabbath or state of the dead. That’s because these things can only be decided by much prayer and Bible study. In the case of WO study after study has shown there is nothing in the Bible that forbids it. This is why there is so much disagreement–it can’t be proven from scripture. I find it ludicrous some people say stop focusing on this so Jesus can come. Have we forgotten who is coming? Jesus the man who sent the woman at the well to call her whole town to him. Jesus who let Mary sit at his feet like a disciple and rabbi in training. Jesus who didn’t flinch an eye when Mary spilled perfume on his feet and “wasted all that money” on him. Jesus who could have appeared to at least half a dozen men disciples, but he chose Mary and ordained her to give the first resurrection message to the disciples and the world. When we really study the life of Jesus, we can’t treat men or women better than the other. Jesus calls all and loves all.

To punish or disenfranchise people for following their conscience is unAdventist. Even though Wilson said this was not a witch hunt, it is implied by some that WO is from the devil. Our early pioneers would be appalled. I am praying for Mr. Wilson because one of these days, Jesus will call and ask for his church back.

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Aspiring president Donald Trump may have many faults, but some of his statements are meaningful.

When Trump states that admitting devout Muslims who subscribe to SHARIA LAW, makes these would-be immigrants incompatible,with our US constitution, he is right, because Sharia Law is intrinsically misogynist and discriminatory and denigratory of women. Our US constitution is egalitarian and eschews gender discrimination.

Like Sharia Law, the heinous heretical “HEADSHIP DOGMA” is totally incompatible,with modern Western values of non discrimination and egalitarianism.

The international day of the girl child is designed to expand women’s and girl’s rights world wide and educate the planet about the woeful lack of opportunities and advancement for “.girl children”

As humanity edges forward in extending human rights to female members of society, Adventism, like Islamic Sharia Law, seeks to recede and reverse female equality.

No wonder our “girl children” are quitting the denomination in a mass exodus,
eagerly followed by their husbands and boy friends who esteem women and hold them in high regard.

In response to GROUCHO:

Having visited churches, both Sabbath and Sunday keeping, on three continents this year, I am in wholehearted agreement that women predominate in the pews. However, in Adventist churches there is a woeful deficiency of women in the under fifty year old demographic.
How dismaying that with such a majority of women members, their representation as women elders, church board members,
constituency delegates, GC and Autumn Council delegates is so INVERSELY PROPORTIONAL to their presence in the pews!!
Our denomination is presided over by a distinct MINORITY of male chauvinist elitists!
No wonder the mass exodus of our younger women!

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Kristan –
"Dont have to be an [ordained] pastor…"
So are you going to give them a Church, are you going to pay them the same salaries and benefits of Full Time Men spreading the Good News?
I Dont Believe you have Given Too much time to think this comment through and the implications of what you stated.

Russian —
“Gender” covers ALL Sexuality.
It is a Great, a Wonderful World.
YES!!! Don’t change it!!!

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Pastors should lead but have very little authority. That’s why we are Protestants.

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Finn, you need to understand that most devotees of the Seventh-day Adventist alt right, lead by Ted Wilson, are contemptuous of the United Nations. They see support of the United Nations as support for “globalism” and the New World Order. Devotees of the alt right are generally contemptuous of advocacy for women’s rights. They call this feminism. The alt right is largely contemptuous of Europe, which is thought to be a continent that promotes socialism and pluralism. Finally, you should understand that the alt right is overwhelmingly contemptuous of European Seventh-day Adventists, who are cavalierly labeled liberals and apostates and are considered to be too few in number to warrant attention.

Although the alt right is a sliver of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the NAD, this fringe group has seized political power and captured the GC. By joining forces with the Africans and South Americans who engage in bloc voting, the alt right has considerable power necessary for a revolt against mainstream conservative Seventh-day Adventists in Europe and the NAD. Certainly, you are aware of the many Seventh-day Adventist doctrines, teachings, and ideals that have been twisted and adulterated for the purpose of promoting opposition to women’s ordination. Elder Wilson is leading this revolt in the same manner as Donald Trump is leading a similar revolt against conservatives in the Republican Party.

I hate to break the bad news, but Seventh-day Adventists in Africa and South America do not place much value upon personal conscience. Maybe in 500 years they might look askance at the trampling of personal conscience. But not now. So you need to dig deep moats, pray, and freely accept the martyrdom that might come your way. After Hillary Clinton is elected president of the United States of America in November, the misogyny and feverishness you have witnessed across the pond will only become worse.

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extraordinary Circle reasoning, misqoutations, half truths, poor exegis, putting world principles before chuches’, demeanor remarks of fellow members in non western parts of world church, disrespectful, cannot take no for an answer, and much more. Woman and Girls ARE empowered even in the parts of the world that are disgusted by many on this website. We call them brethren, huh? The people that gather at AC and GC Sessions are predominantly educated theologians. Maybe the church ougth to reevaluate the minsterial curriculum if the majority is so narrow mindeD?
Norway abandondeD ordination? Did the president give up his seat? It is only for the ordained. will they abandon baptisme too, and marriage ceremonies, and who will ordain elders? You throW it back into God’s face but retained the privileges?
There is a way to be followed- educate the masses!, and refrain from sectarianism of minority imposing its will on the majority. Endeavor to change the policy FIRST because it is only then that we can be sure that rights of members even at the lowest levels will not be violated by the same high and mighty theologians.
I am a woman and I don’t feel discriminated. 36 years Sda and never felt discriminated.
But Let the male theologians (the majority of the advocators are male) do their home work first and stop whyning. Accept the majorities voice you would want to be maintained in your local churches also.
For order’s sake.
Go back to the dialogue table! You would want that too if you are a true shepherd of God’s flock. Do not shepherd yourself. And don’t bite the hands that feed you. You are not the only one’s that are in the know.
Don’t openly humiliate your academic colleagues. THis figtht is pastors fighting pastors and the flock is left abandoned. What a shame! Truely, if we are really Spirit lead we can do it better! The world is watching and gnifling…

Perhaps many of them have not yet gotten the memo. Anyone who has visited small churches around the US will tell you that there are more women in attendance than men. It is that way in our church, as well.

“Modern Western values” are quite often antithetical to Biblical values. This whole edifice of “equal rights” for women in the context of the church, is built on a false premise: that role distinction is equivalent to discrimination. If that’s the case, then God discriminated against Jesus, since Jesus submitted to the Father, even though they were equals.

It would be one thing to have a honest disagreement on this issue, but the vitriol I see hurled at those opposed to WO makes me question the spirit behind the movement. “Heinous heretical?” “Alt right?” Equating the failure to ordain women with sharia law? "Misogyny? Wow! This goes beyond hyperbole. If we were locking them up in secluded rooms, or binding their feet so they couldn’t move very fast or efficiently, you might have a case. But this is patently disingenuous.

As for the event which precipitated this article, the UN has no credibility anymore. They are a sad joke, an impotent money sucking parasite.

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There are many “reasons” of discrimination of women and girls in this world. The discrimination happens in both worlds, the developing and the developed. But the most untouchable of them all is the “holy” discrimination. The one you can support by holy writings. That’s why the laws of a democratic country as the USA and well meaning resolutions of UN can’t penetrate in such organizations. It would mean the violation of religious liberty. But the leaders of such religious organizations should ask themselves is their religion by demanding the freedom from the society in the same time violating the freedom and rights of its adherents. I see, the same question should be asked in the vast majority of today’s religious and Christian groups. Roman Catholic Church, all Orthodox churches and not to mention Islam. But aren’t we protestants, God’s “peculiar” people who went some steps ahead of medieval practices and established religions.
If our Church fails to recognize these facts about rights and liberties it will lose its meaning in Europe (and maybe in USA & Canada too). After all we are not an organization of 2.000 years of age which can afford itself that their priests dress themselves in long robes and garments and proclaim infallibility. The SDA Church was established as a religion of liberty.
The actual president should not rely on Urim and Thummim in matters of such obvious violations of human rights and at least not to hide him behind the vote which was the result of voters who refer more to the rules of their cultural contexts than to Christian standards.

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Adventist congregations in China are administered free from the direction of our SdA organizational structure.

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"But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says:

“I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation,
I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”"

This is Paul in Romans 10:19, quoting Moses, quoting God in Deuteronomy 32:21.
Paul is describing to the gentiles in Rome how he hopes to provoke his own people, the Jews, to be jealous of, and ‘catch up’ to, the greater ‘faith’ of the gentiles who were rapidly embracing the ‘Good News’ about God, thereby gaining that affectionate ‘faith’ in Him (not trembling, devilish ‘faith’ in Him) which the Jews in Paul’s day clearly despised.

The same despising of the grace of God occurred in SDA history at the time just after Ellen caught the SDA leaders seeking help from the other, Sunday-keeping churches regarding religious liberty . . . in exchange for ‘toning down the Sabbath rhetoric’ in the SDA ‘American Sentinel’ religious liberty magazine (see Salamanca vision). This was also just a short time before Ellen was mysteriously ‘called’ away to Australia by SDA leaders. (Waggoner was sent to England).

How, then, was the SDA church to ‘lead’ anyone out of the anti-Christian darkness of ‘Babylon’ when they were seeking the leadership and support – not of the God of the ‘New Jerusalem’, but – of ‘Babylon’s’ daughters ?
. . . and sent the most avant-garde SDA leaders away from the ‘great center of the work’ still to be done ?

It’s clear that the SDA church has not yet regained the leadership role in the world that God had planned for us. Yes, how is it that the former ‘Lucifer’ has ‘stolen another march’ on SDAdventism, taking the ‘glory’ that belongs to our God for loving women, and men, and all versions of human DNA, equally ?

The SDA church should have long ago been leaders in ordaining women, showing the world just how to give glory to God. . . not followers of the ‘UN’
. . . and most definitely NOT ‘jealous’ of the ‘UN’ !
But are Adventists jealous enough for God’s, or for our own, glory ?

"It is finished !"
God has won the ‘competition’ for ‘glory’, in Heaven at least, 2,000 years ago.
Then why are His people satisfied with dragging along in defeat or retreat, today ?
Shame on us !
We have let the ‘United Nations’ appear to be more equitable in the eyes of
the world than the God of our in-‘iquitable’ ‘dis-united church’.

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Russian –
“Gender” covers ALL Sexuality.
It is a Great, a Wonderful Word.
YES!!! Don’t change it!!

The Adventist Church is not short of philosophers and theologians , but what would such professionals say if Clinton is elected POTUS and then becomes and Adventist? Suppose as part of her conversion process she feels compelled to Be a Minister to a “flock” for Christ? Would our top hierarchy inform her that while she may well be fit to serve as POTUS to over 300 million people who have entrust her with military resources to destroy the planet, Sorry we don’t think you are fit to be ordained as a Pastor in the SDA Church?, The International day of recognition of females is most welcome though symbolic at this point in time.

And I would contend that it has nothing to do with the SDA gospel as much as it serves as a legitimate vehicle to continue with women subjugation but under the guise of religion and God’s mandate. It relieves the guilt and solidifies the primitive discriminatory obsessions and compulsions of their men.

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GROUCHO,
Please read my response to you in my original post.

The apostle Paul, in 1 Thess 5, and Hebrews 13 clearly states the opposite!

He says, Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.

He says, Know them which are over you in the Lord and advise, exhort and admonish you."

This counsel represents original blueprint for churches who profess to follow Christ. This is coming from the greatest apostle, who not only conveys sound ideas, but through the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us an unprecedented window into the very heart and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

By submitting to your pastor, you are not merely submitting to an individual. Ultimately you are submitting to Christ, who has clearly established the office of the pastorate and has hand-selected that individual to live up to that high calling.

A pastor who has “very little authority” most likely is also a very little pastor.

Apparently the Protestant Reformation is not over yet, as this was one of the stumbling-blocks that Romanism infused into the church after it’s split from Orthodox Christianity.

This is God talking:
Come out of her My People that ye be not partakers in her sins.

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