North American Division Votes Response to Unity in Mission Document

SILVER SPRING - The North American Division Executive Committee at its 2016 Year-end Meeting voted a response to the General Conference “Unity in Mission” document, authorizing the North American Division Administrative Committee (NADCOM) to create a path forward.

The statement was introduced by Randy Roberts, senior pastor of the Loma Linda University Church in the Southeastern California Conference. The discussion resumed after having been tabled on Friday after a lengthy and at times impassioned discussion.

The full statement is as follows:

The Seventh-day Adventist Church exists to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Three Angels’ Messages. Nothing should impede this prophetic mission.

It is thus with grave concern that the members of the North American Division (NAD) Executive Committee witnessed the passing of the Unity in Mission document at the recent Annual Council. The implementation of this document will create--indeed, is already creating--a profoundly divisive and demoralizing reality in many parts of the NAD.

While we wish to register our vigorous disagreement with the intent of the document, we do not wish to respond impulsively. Therefore, in light of this document, we move to authorize NADCOM to appoint a subcommittee to craft a thoughtful path forward.

Furthermore, recognizing that the underlying focus and context of the Unity in Mission document was the ordination of women to ministry in two unions in our division, we wish to once again publicly affirm our unwavering support and steadfast intent to realize the full equality of women in ministry, in fulfillment of biblical principles, in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In light of these realities, we do not want the Unity in Mission document to be a deterrent to the ongoing, proactive progress toward the full equality of women in ministry in our Division.

We invite earnest prayer for the leading of the Holy Spirit as we engage in this process.

The motion carried, 163 in favor, 35 opposed, and 1 in abstention.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I’m grateful for the courage of the NAD to so clearly state their support of women in ministry. I hope that Dan Jackson is the next GC president.


It is indeed very encouraging to see this very positive vote from the NAD. Many thanks to Pastor Randy Roberts for making this motion and those who had the courage to follow his lead affirming the Biblical principle of equality!


10,000 comedians out of work and here you are telling jokes. Never gonna happen!


A large part of our church members seem to find it very important that we do not recognize God’s call of women. So important that they would even prefer a split. They would rather be separated from North America, Europe and Australia (and China) than recongnize that God calls women as he calls men.
I wonder how large this part is. What would African and South American Adventists answer if asked: would you rather separate from these parts of the world church than accept that some unions recognize God’s call of women.I think the majority would say no. In that case we don’t need more committees. TW would have to resign and we could start anew. If the majority says yes…we shouldn’t waste any more time with this chapter and separate in peace.


I get tears in my eyes every time someone stands up against bullying and stands up for all marginalized people, but being a woman in a church where I often didn’t feel I was as valued as a man, this means so much to me and it affects much more than women pastors.

Thank you to Randy Roberts and Dan Jackson and all the men in this division who treat women the way Jesus does!


“Nothing should impede this prophetic mission.” “We wish to once again publicly affirm our unwavering support and steadfast intent to realize the full equality of women in ministry, in fulfillment of Biblical principles.”

Mission and the importance of gender equality for the carrying out of that mission within the NAD context seem to be the heart of this statement.

Two votes now, both supporting the full equality of women in ministry within the NAD, pass at just over 80%.

This is no longer about a couple of rebel unions or rogue leaders. It is a strong message sent by the Division-at-large to other divisions and division leaders, “Please work with our needs in mission as we have sought to work with the needs in your local contexts. Let’s truly be united in mission.” (I’d really like to see a back-channel dialogue among the division leaders without the involvement or interference of the GC president.)

Even if this plea is heard, the GC and Divisions would have to find a way to undo what was done in San Antonio (what was done in San Antonio?). So what is the solution? If the result of the 2015 GC Session vote proves untenable, what options are there for correcting course before 2020? What is the “thoughtful path forward?” I have to believe that a course of action exists that will take this issue off of its current political footing and firmly grounds it in the mission of God.


I am grateful to the NAD executive committee for voting this motion overwhelmingly. I don’t know how the GC will react, but if the TED, Australia and China follow suit, this should be more than the GC can ignore. I hope the “thoughtful path forward” includes investigation into the coerced vote in San Antonio, as well as an underscoring of the authority and responsibilities of Unions. . I will be among those on our faces before God about this in the weeks and months ahead. Praise God that courage has not failed in the NAD!!!


You may be right that the majority of individuals would say no, Marianne.

But the votes in San Antonio and Annual Council 2016 consolidated power, so your proposed option is closed off.

Now the options are your:

  1. “separate in peace,” or
  2. civil war

Dan Jackson seems to have opted for civil war, which is reckless, in my opinion, no matter how many hours of prayer it is packed in.

I think this will prove socially harmful in more ways than can be anticipated.

The time for courage was when Adventism was being infiltrated with headship doctrine.

Making this about women’s ordination obscures the issues fatally, I believe.

Those who hold headship ideology cannot be dissuaded by any means, and they have far too much Ellen White material to back them up to ever back down, not to mention the cultural reinforcement from a large segment of the Christian Right.

The least socially harmful scenario, I believe, is to just walk away from this unprofitable struggle, from which it is far too late for heroes to emerge.

[Edit: How is that not the first shot at Fort Sumter? He said earlier that he would comply, but right there, in black and white, he also said he had no intention of complying. At best this is confusing, at worst, obfuscating. Adding: And I acknowledge using “NAD” and “Dan Jackson” interchangeably–should be more precise.]

How is this going to play out but in a litigious struggle for power and real estate?


It is interesting how you couch this in terms of Dan Jackson’s responsibility. I believe almost every child is taught from early on that it takes two to make a fight.


Oh they have no problems recognizing them. They just don’t want them ordained. And somehow, they have Pauline texts to support their views. Hilarious when you realize that Paul’s admonishments have nothing to do with ‘ordaining’ but with women having authority. Something the GC seems to have no problems by allowing women to be unordained pastors and elders. The headship doctrine precludes any sort of authority and yet the GC seems to think all of this pertains to ordination. Ridiculous nonsense and hypocrisy. EGW had the most authority of anyone in our church, formulating doctrine, controlling decisions through the prophetic gift. Ordination is a mute point in Paul. Authority is, however and the GC and other anti-WO supporters fail to see the fallacy of their arguments by allowing women in authoritarian roles while claiming WO is anti-biblical


“…the bullying of the GC…”

Ted Wilson doesn’t understand; but he is a SERVANT to the membership – NOT the boss.
With that in mind, I move his immediate removal from office. He has no idea what his position there should actually be.


Perhaps you missed the discussion on Friday in which it was suggested that NAD vote to skip the year of grace and tell the GC NO right now. Elder Jackson’s response was something to the effect that he would respect the body’s right to vote that motion, but he would not carry it out. In my opinion, that’s far more statesman-like than “opting for civil war”.


For me this is the key point and the only thing that keeps me standing up for women’s full equality and women’s ordination. I will continue to wear black for now when I go to church, but I will do so with a wee bit more hope. It will be interesting to see where things end up a year from now. I am just thankful we have leaders willing to state clearly where many of us stand on this issue.

If the GC wants to see the church split, it will be their doing, now ours. I will not leave the church just because some Unions refuse to allow WO. They need to recognize that the reverse needs to also be respected, that some Unions must allow WO on moral grounds. To dey women whop are clearly called of God to serve the same ordination that men receive is to deny their God-given equality. We are all one in Christ, there is neither male nor female, we are all one.


Excellent. Pleased to see such thoughtful, balanced leadership.


What an unfortunate and inappropriate thing it is to declare that Dan Jackson has “opted” for civil war. I believe he is doing an amazingly diplomatic job right now. I’m wondering if it isn’t someone else in our denomination who has declared war (perhaps unwittingly), and Dan Jackson is the saintly diplomat doing his best by God’s grace.

Your statement, Cassie, brought to my mind the following statement: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” I see Dan Jackson as being such a person.


I was present for the discussion of the “Unity” document at the Year End Meetings last Friday. Dan Jackson was the model of an evenhanded leader and discussion moderator. I deeply admired his leadership. We are most fortunate to have him in the lonely role of President of the NAD, a GC position.

Dan Jackson has not opted for civil war. There was a vote taken of leaders and lay representatives from across our Division. The vote was overwhelmingly positive. This was not Dan Jackson acting. It was our Division uniting within itself.


I Wonder WHICH States WERE NOT in favor of this document, and WHAT PARTS of the document they were NOT in favor.
I would presume that Michigan was one of those States.
Wonder which way the Southern Union States voted.

It is true, Pastor Jackson is “Leader”. But because of the way things are organized, the Unions [along with their individual Conferences] are allowed to openly express their opinions and to Vote their opinions.
To be a True Leader, Pastor Jackson can only be a Facilitator.
And he Facilitated the Creation of this very important Document.
Before 1776, important Documents were created. I believe this one is EQUAL to those.


At the GC Annual Council, Southern Union President Ron Smith gave an eloquent speech in favor of ordaining women. The President of Oakwood gave an eloquent speech at GC Annual Meeting in favor of ordaining women.

Many people don’t realize that Dr. Barbara Ruf was the first ordained elder at the Collegedale Church in the 1970s. Dr. Bietz brought women on board as pastors when he was in leadership there. Two women serve on the Collegedale Church pastoral staff where women have served as pastors for decades.

Dr. Bietz chaired the NAD TOSC and totally supported, spoke around the country and led in empowering women to be ordained. The idea that the Southern Union is totally conservative is false. Many of today’s leaders are graduates of Southern: Alex Bryan, Allan Martin, Dwight Nelson, Dave Weigley, Thomas Mostert, and many others. Dr. Dr. George Knight was just on campus as an Alumni weekend speaker.

When will this topic be posted in The Lounge? @JaredWright @webEd

Dear Brother Aaron Patton (@Aaron) :

You have quoted a statement from Ellen White. I’m surprised that you brought her up since you say “a woman is not allowed to teach…which would omit the authority to preach.” You know she taught, preached, led, and chastised men. Have you considered her other statements and her own life of preaching and teaching? Here are some thoughts for you to consider…

First, here are James White’s comments on the use of “MAN” in the scriptures:

“STINGY CRITICS.” “DON’T WOMEN DIE?” By James White. “We object to that narrow-souled theology which will not allow the old ladies to have dreams because the prophecy says, ‘your old men shall dream dreams;’ and that will not allow young women to have visions because the prophecy says ‘your young men shall see visions.’ These stingy critics seem to forget that ‘man’ and ‘men’ in the Scriptures, generally mean both men and women. The Book says that it is ‘appointed unto men once to die.’ Don’t women die?”
(James White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, February 25, 1862; Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 24).

And some other readings about women in ministry for you, @Aaron, from Ellen White herself. Enjoy:

Pastoral Ministry, p. 76. “There are women who should labor in the gospel ministry.”

Manuscript Releases, 12:167. “Study the Scriptures for further light on this point. Women were among Christ’s devoted followers in the days of His ministry, and Paul makes mention of certain women who were helpers together with him in the gospel (see Philippians 4:2, 3).”—Letter 142, 1909, pp. 4-6. (To A. G. Daniells, October 27, 1909).

“For consecrated men and women God has made full provision. Actual service will determine the character of the work of those ORDAINED OF GOD to bring salvation to human hearts and minds.” (RH March 11, 1909, par. 12).

Testimonies for the Church, 1:710.
“When God specially calls your wife to the work of teaching the truth, then should you lean to her counsel and advice, and confide in her instructions. God may give you both, as possessing an equal interest in and devotion to the work, equal qualifications to act a prominent part in the most solemn work of saving souls.”

“Women…should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands.” --EGW, RH, Jul 9, 1895, p434

Testimonies for the Church Volume 6, p. 322.
“It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God.”

“It is not always men who are best adapted to the successful management of a church.” Ellen G. White to Brother Johnson, Letter 33, 1879; Manuscript Releases, 19:55-56.

“[M]ake no mistake in neglecting to correct the error of giving ministers less than they should receive. . . . The tithe should go to those who labor in word and doctrine, be they men or women.” (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, 1:263).

“When a great and decisive work is to be done, God chooses men and women to do this work, and it will feel the loss if the talents of both are not combined.” (Letter 77, 1898; Evangelism, 469).

There is a “special need of men and women who possess Christlike qualifications for service” and “executive ability” and who “practice the words ‘All ye are brethren [and sisters].’” (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, 2:88).

RH Jan 31, 1871 p56 “on motion it was voted that credentials be renewed for the following ministers: James White, EG White, JH Waggoner…”

16h layperson
Episcopal, charismatic church, etc. They all will be in line with current NAD positions.
REALLY? Give us evidence

They even shouted down GC president when he was addressing NAD on women ordination.
REALLY? Give us evidence.

Lots of claims from @layperson but not much of any evidence.

EDIT for @frankpeachamvt

No matter how diplomatic Jackson endeavored to be…I believed NAD has declared war against their GC leaders.
Isn’t it just the opposite? The G.C. declared war on the NAD by not working an accommodation directly to policy years ago instead of taking it to the world church where it was politically doomed?

Didn’t the G.C. declare war on the NAD when women, called of God, were affirmed by their local congregations, conferences, and unions, but the G.C. threatened “dire consequences”?

Didn’t the G.C. declare war on the NAD when it created the agenda for the Annual Council without trying to work out with the NAD some kind of policy variance as collaborators, colleagues, and brothers in Christ do?

AGREED: Wilson should take the initiative, should have done this a long time ago, to work out a compromise, deal, accommodation, policy variance, etc. Wilson should have been the glue at the San Antonio G.C. instead of the “divider” and politician. Remember, Wilson did not cooperate with the process already in place to incorporate the findings of the TOSC into a workable policy. Instead, HE declared war by the structuring of the question to be voted at G.C., by his antagonistic remarks, his refusal to participate in the commissioning in Australia, and now, through bypassing his own BRI, ignoring the findings of the TOSC, and by leaking a very divisive and punitive document a couple of weeks before Annual Council, and placing on the agenda at Annual Council a three-page document then having Mike Ryan deny that it had anything whatsoever to do with ordaining women.

Just looking at facts…


What I find especially sad is that opponents of women’s ordination are uniform in their willingness to jettison biblical counsel regarding church governance. One would expect that there might be at least one opponent of women’s ordination who would say something like this: “I oppose women’s ordination, but we Seventh-day Adventists should adhere to biblical counsel regarding how we govern ourselves. We should not conflate and confuse doctrines with policies. We should not allow a bare majority to trample upon the personal conscience of a large and significant minority. We should not engage in bloc voting. We should not split over a policy disagreement.” But there appears to be no such opponent of women’s ordination who is capable of differentiating the issue of women’s ordination from larger governance concerns. Notice that this vote margin of 82 percent/18 percent is identical to the vote margin of the action requesting that the GC recognize the SECC president for who she is. Given the significant flaws in the Unity in Mission Document, we would rightfully expect that mentally-disciplined opponents of women’s ordination, if they were to actually exist, would have made the margin of the vote today greater than it was. I do not see opponents of women’s ordination publicly celebrating the Protestant Reformation in anything other than a sheepish way.

We have also seen that opponents of women’s ordination are uniform in their willingness to jettison many Seventh-day Adventist doctrines. Notice that we have not heard any opponent of women’s ordination say something like the following: “I oppose women’s ordination, but…
a. I believe in the doctrine of the sanctuary; I believe that the OT priesthood points to Christ rather than an exclusively-male church pastorate; or
b. I believe in the doctrine of salvation, specifically that women can accept Jesus as Lord and Savior; I reject the metaphor advanced by Clinton and Gina Wahlen that suggests that women are dependent upon men for their eternal salvation; or
c. I believe in the doctrine of the Trinity; I reject the Tritheistic view that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father; or
d. I believe in the doctrine of the church; I believe that Christ is the Head of the church, not just in a minimally nominal way, but in such a real way that no person by sole virtue of ordination can claim to act in His stead and with His authority.”

These are just four of the many doctrines that opponents of women’s ordination have cast to the ground. I could list many more.

Opponents of women’s ordination are uniform in their fear of the study of hermeneutics, which is why they embrace the “plain-meaning” alternative to the study of hermeneutics. If you try to persuade opponents of women’s ordination why their interpretative method, which is identical to that taken by the Christian southern segregationists, is unsound, you will invariably be met with some Ellen White quotation about how the unlearned ignoramus can interpret Scripture just as well as the biblical scholar.

Opposition to women’s ordination has become such a totalizing phenomenon, a cancer that undermines and destroys much of conservative Seventh-day Adventist doctrines, teachings, and ideals, that we as proponents of women’s ordination are correct in realizing that our struggle is not limited to affirming women in ministry but is for the very soul of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.