NAD Ministerial Association Leaders Issue Statements on Annual Council Vote

On October 15, 2018, the North American Division Ministerial Association leadership team wrote short statements of support to pastors following the compliance document vote at Annual Council 2018. Below are the statements from six NAD Ministerial leaders:


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/news/2018/nad-ministerial-association-leaders-issue-statements-annual-council-vote
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I wish the NAD Ministrrial Association could cease and desist from using the term ‘clergy’.

It betrays an immature theological understanding of the theology of the whole people of God. It also betrays a tendency toward a sacramental theology of ministry.

It also builds an incipient ecclesiastical hierarchy which is exactly what you are opposing.

It is a curious thing to me that at times retired ‘clergy’ are described as being laypeople.

I thought that the Minostry magazine had moved on from being a ‘Journal for Clergy’ as early as the mid 2980s. Instead now it represents itself as a ‘Journal for Pastors ‘ or similar.

I notice that the women leaders of the NAD Ministerial Association are the Chief culprits in this regard.

Thank you for the very caring and encouraging words - I am praying for God to uplift us together in His love, His service, and for wisdom in necessary future planning.

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Here we go again as the self-appointed thought & word police protest.

Why don’t we have people cease & desist from using the word church and call them …“Life Enrichment Centers”

Yes I dislike the word ‘church’ in a multitude of contexts. Much prefer the word ‘congregation.’ Come to think of it I believe I’m in good company. William Tyndale had a similar preference. Gideon Jnr, words and theological terms especially tend to reflect our theology.

Yes, language, culture, theology, church politics etc, etc,- together with ego-tripping -
can be a ‘disastrous recipe’ for serious misunderstandings, and worse.

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Amen. Thank God for all the voices raised loud and clear affirming women in spiritual ministry.

Thank God for all the voices who have been sidelined for being female but who choose to continue to serve as pastors.

Thank God for the alternative Adventist press who provides a platform for women’s voices, objective news, conversation, and journalism not available anywhere else.

Thank God for the NAD and its goal of 1,000 women clergy. Amen.

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I am so grateful for the courage and compassion of our NAD leaders and the Ministerial Association leaders. The GC has voted yes on the Compliance document which has devastating consequences for our churches, and our women pastors. It is easy to get distracted by word-smithing when what is before us is so momentous and we can hardly bear thinking about it. Be ceaseless in prayer my friends, uphold our pastors and churches and our leaders before God. Be ready to give an encouraging word and be ready to stand for what we believe in. I am heartsick by what is happening in our corporate church.

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God works through human beings. ‘Ye are all gods’–in charge of this world and of God’s work. The ‘gods’ are called to act with right judgment: how long will you judge unjustly? How long will you show partiality? Defend the cause of the poor and disadvantaged and needy in our ranks (speaking not just of worldly goods but of those needing real backing to do their work and to fulfill their God-given and God-blest calling). Support not just in word, but in deed. ‘They walk about in darkness. All the foundations of the earth are shaken.’ ‘If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ Yes, surely take care of their beautiful flocks, but cry to the LORD who sees and discerns every matter, Who is the ultimate Good Shepherd, tender and fair, with staff and rod, to keep the strong sheep from butting the ‘lesser’ ones out their way, and who will judge between sheep and sheep (Ez. 34); or in a different figure, judge the under shepherds and save His sheep from their mouth. Scripture (Zech.) warns of ‘worthless’ shepherds and Jesus speaks of hirelings–something none of us wants to be, and 99.99% are not.
Let us not risk trying to ‘pull the wool’ over the LORD’s eyes or anyone else’s by glossing over a crying shame. I am not addressing those who are sincerely trying to keep things together for the sake of the flock, but rather urgIng that we not ignore our responsibility under God to do what is right and fair, and not to gloss over inequities just because the work is prospering. How much more might it prosper if all were properly equipped to do their job?! In business and in other lines of work, responsibility without authority is decried as less effective and certainly demoralizing–how much more essential might it not be to model for the world an example of truth and equity and streamlined effectiveness, and not to impede the LORD’s working with an unfounded two-tiered system that puts us in danger of charges of discrimination from the very world that we should leading in truth and righteousness! I am not trying to step on any toes, for I believe that all are sincerely trying to fulfill the gospel commission; but I am just a voice pleading for us to open our eyes anew, an attempt to call us to account for the reality of things as they stand at present. All would acknowledge that this is become a cause celebre now. “Once to every man, [woman, youth], and nation comes the moment to decide…New occasions reach new duties; time maketh ancient good uncouth. They would upward e’er and onward who would keep abreast of truth.” Our pioneers (bearded or not–and some just do not have in their power to grow the requisite beards. Perhaps that is the problem!) emphasized ‘present truth,’ the truth for our time; we’ve had a magazine “Signs of the Times.” Are we forgetting our pilgrim roots? But ‘behind the dim unknown standeth God within the shadow keeping watch above His own,’ which all of us are as long as we own Him, ‘toiling up new calv’ries ever, with the cross that turns not back.’ God help us us every one at this crucial juncture as we all do his business, as He said, till He come.

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Yes. A kind of “headship” theology composed of a class of ordained women and men clergy separate from laypeople that stands in the way of true unity.
https://atoday.org/church-governance-in-times-of-conflict/
Church Governance in Times of Conflict
By Denis Fortin 27 August 2018
Church%20GovernanceFortin2

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Thanks NAD for sending to the pastors some messages of assurance in these times when the message they get from the KGC only makes them insecure about their own future.

In the next few months the pastors will be terrified every time someone knocks on their doors or rings the bell, wondering if it’s the KGC agent who came to “verify” them.

This is why the NAD has to keep sending messages of reassurance to their pastor, telling them that they are not alone, that the NAD will protect them during these horrific days of terror inaugurated by the GC last Sunday.

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Peter Marks,

How can you read the poignant , plaintive, impassioned statements from the ministerial association and then launch into a PETTY polemic on syntax and semantics ??

Whatever your priorities they appear to be misplaced!

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No Robin!

My critique of the NAD Ministerial statement is not PETTY polemic on syntax and semantics.

I am really critiquing the sacramental theology out of which the ugly contemporary term ‘clergy’ has grown. It is a term that is rarely used among Adventists in Australia and New Zealand. (I have worked as a pastor in three of the six states of Australia and in New Zealand). Sacramental theology has no place among Adventists.

Joselito Coo, the second responent to my critique here agrees with me and further points out that the term is indeed allied to a kind of “headship” theology. Additionally, she points out that Dr Denis Fortin also critiques such “headship” theology.

Dr Wendy Jackson, a New Zealand Adventist theologian and medical doctor in her excellent chapter “Is Ordination a Sacrament?” within the book South Pacific Perspectives on Ordination, ed. Graeme Humble and Robert McIver (Cooranbong, NSW, Australia: Avondale Academic Press, 2015) has concluded that

"The NT uses the Greek word kleros, from which the English word clergy is derived, to convey the idea of something that is assigned by lot, or more loosely, as a portion, share or inheritance. In contrast to the regular contemporary useage of the term “clergy,” the NT never uses the term kleros to describe a group of leaders. Rather, it is used to describe all of God’s people who are his possession and share in the benefits of belonging to God (1 Pet 5:3; Acts 26:18 and Col 1:12). The entire group of Christian believers are part of the kleros.

"An examination of the Greek word laos from which the English word laity is derived is also helpful. Laos takes on several meanings in the NT. The Gospel writers use it to describe a group of people or a crowd, and more specifically when discussing the nation of Israel. In the rest of the NT the word often moves beyond both these meanings to signify the idea of the Christian community as a whole. Christians are rightly called the laos of God. Both words laos and kleros, are used in ways that signify the Christian community as a whole. The NT context does not support a difference between them.

"Changes in the meaning of each of the words occurred gradually over the first few centuries of the early Church. As a distinct leadership hierarchy emerged, those individuals at the top of the hierarchy came to be understood as clergy and were given increased status and sacradotal function. As a consequence the understanding of laity became more restricted. In comparison to the clergy they were increasingly seen as unqualified and uneducated and therefore unable to make decisions about the Church. With further time, the laity came to be defined as those who were “not clergy” and supposedly therefore not called og God. Thus the idea of a distinction between clergy and laity emerged in the post-NT church." pp. 201,202.

The Salvation Army movement had it correct until recent years. For many years the officers of the Salvation Army refused to be labelled as clergy. The officers were an important sub-set of the soldiery, but soldiers none the less.

Their explicit rejection of clericalism has eroded in recent decades. In 1978 they gave into pressure to embrace an ordination theology. They authorized their cadets to be ordained as well as commissioned and consider themselves clergy. They wanted to fully recognized in society as bona fide members of the clergy. But it has caused great unhappiness in their midst.

So, Robin I stand on my original response.

Having said this I am very happy to fully embrace my sisters in ministry and continue to work toward the day when God’s right to call who He wills as leaders of the flock of God will be recognized and all such gifted individuals shall be affirmed, blessed and consecrated for their specific role of leadership.

As I see it, one of the big problems with those who have not favoured the ordination of women is that few can be certain whether or not they really embrace the idea of women having any biblically sanctioned role in public pastoral leadership at all.

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In the letters to Timothy, one can see him as an overseer, a facilitator within that body
of believers. So that collection of believers will become what Paul envisions they should
become.
Actually, most of the Letters in the New Testament came first. THEY composed the
Gospel Message on paper. The Gospels were written much later than some of Paul’s
letters to the Church.
So Paul, James were defining the Gospel [along with the Old Testament in the churches]
message among the believers around Rome, Greece, Turkey, and other places.
As Peter points out, and can be attested to by other Christian writers-historians, it took a
couple of centuries, but soon there became a divide between the Laity and the Priests.
Has anyone ever thought as to the purpose of the RAILING at the front of the church?
That was a SEPARATION DIVIDE between the 2 groups in church.
VESTMENTS are also a SEPARATION DIVIDE.
Eucharist used to be an activity one could do around the meal table – it was customary
for Jews to have a blessing of Wheat [bread] and Wine prior to or maybe after the meal.
Jesus turned this common practice into a Remembrance of Him – Body, Blood given.
THEN the bread and wine went to Church. No longer an activity around the HOME
Table. And then ONLY a PRIEST could minister the Bread and Wine.
And this home blessing of bread and wine was never again revived. Not even in SDA
churches. It is ONLY Quarterly, and ONLY by the CLERGY.
PS-- even in SDA churches seating for Laity and seating for CLERGY are separated by
THE STAGE which is elevated.

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Thanks for highlighting these dimensions of the divide.

Peter –
Most of those things I wrote I DID NOT learn in my SDA education [16 years].
I learned them through my decade journey with my Episcopalian friends. My
1/2 decade journey with my Jewish friends.
I had to wait until very late in life to be able to have further instruction in my
Christian Education. But it has had a detrimental effect on me. I am still SDA,
but I think Church would be much more “fun” if we allowed ourselves to have
more freedom in Christ as presented in the OT and NT. And the Sabbath
services were more Laity inclusive, rather than just a “performance” on the
Stage with the Laity watching.
I have been blessed by my non-SDA brothers and sisters. Actually, it is because
of my non-SDA family that I have all the wonderful community ministries I am
engaged in – homelessness, tutoring kids, English class for foreigners, weekly
Bible study/Eucharist at my apartment, supporting a 250 student school in Haiti.
Other fun things.

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Thank-you, NAD Ministerial Association for you words of encouragement and for standing tall in the wake of the disastrous GC Compliance vote! More than ever, we need those who will continue to persevere in Him to the end.

Yes. Still supporting a sacerdotal system. Why?

Need to “zoom out,” seems to me.

Too radical to contemplate.

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The message to SDAs in the Columbia Union “Visitor” will probably
NEVER be seen in the Southern Union “Southern Tidings”.