The Executive Committee of the Trans-European Division met for its 2019 Year-end Meeting (TEDYEM) November 21 to 24, 2019. The business from the General Conference Annual Council (GCAC) in October was as usual an important part of the agenda. The warnings voted for the three Scandinavian unions, among other unions, were naturally part of the agenda. The TEDYEM was not streamed, and I have received many questions on what took place in the meetings concerning the warnings voted at GCAC. There is a brief report from TED concerning this item. Additionally, I find it appropriate to give a glimpse of this particular matter, from my perspective.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2019/principles-proceedings-compliance-and-conscience
the entire debacle we’re embroiled in as a church at the moment continues to look worse the more it is examined…this in itself is a sign that everything about it is wrong…
we need a fresh start - an extreme makeover…nothing about san antonio can be salvaged…the only way to move meaningfully forward is to own that it was a mistake to overlook the bible’s example, recorded in Acts 15, of a dual church policy with respect to cultural issues and resolve to do better in the future…
all of us make mistakes…how can it be reasonable to think that a GC vote cannot ever be a mistake…
The writing is upon the wall…will the GC leadership give heed or will they continue on the pathway of destruction in the Adventist Church regarding Women’s Ordination?
b) Fundamental Beliefs
• #14 “…differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us.”
This is a simple, direct, and important Fundamental Belief. How revealing that the top church administration had led in violating this principle.
Paul says that Christ is the Head of the Church. [not the GC committees]
Christ said “Go, preach the Gospel, baptize”.
He did not say only men could baptize.
Paul himself had a number of women around the Christian world at
that time who were managing “churches”. And he was free with his
praises for them.
The Gospel [as quoted by Martin Luther] is not to be hindered by
“heads of the church – popes”, nor “church councils”
YES! The TED is at a crossroads. I pray that they stand with
the Gospel being proclaimed in their territories and that those who
proclaim it may baptize believers uninhibited by Human Rules and
Peter said, “We ought to obey God rather than men – said this to
the Jewish General Conference.”
In those days, the Jewish General Conference was seen to be the
Highest Authority of God on Earth.
What if Peter had said, “OK, you speak for God. We will stop preaching.”
The Christian Church in Europe, which includes the Seventh-day
Adventist church, is finding itself in decline. Fewer persons believe
in God, a declining attendance at church has been going on for
quite some time.
On the radio tonight I heard some statistics. The researcher said
over the past several of years there has been a marked decline in
the United States of church attendance. He reported it used to be
33% of regular attendance. Now it has dropped to only 18% of
Americans who attend church on a regular basis.
It appears there needs to be a change on how we meet the average
72% with the Gospel of Christ, the making of God as their “Higher Power.”
Our Evangelism techniques need to change.
Today we see the same picture that Paul did when he was preaching in
the Roman World and the Greek World.
The church vote is not reflective of the church, whose membership is at least 60%, perhaps much more, women.
The voters are mostly men since women have been ruled ineligible for positions that require ordination (to make sure their voices are muted).
Youth are also underrepresented as voters.
No vote that does not represent the entire church body of the church is not representative of the membership around the world.
Hopefully, this will change soon so the Holy Spirit can move in a mighty way in selecting leaders regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, etc. It’s past time.
I am no expert last time I looked at the fundamentals was at baptism
I am surprised 14 fundamental has no clear reference to the BIBLE
CHRIST is the word and UNITY in the word - its like the 14 fundamental wasn’t even thought of properly
then you have fundamental 7 nature of created humanity
They need to be warned and, if needed, reprimanded. The GC is violating #14. They should be disciplined!
I hosestly feel the church in the western world may be losing the plot. In Africa we are busy with evangelism & growing at a phenominal rate. This preoccupation with female ordination must surely rest. The church voted, it was narrow decision, nonetheless it was a decision. Lets respect it. In future we ll review it & vote again. For now lets proceed. For those regions with few ordained males in the ministry, we have an abundance of male pastors in Africa. When missionaries established the church in Africa, it was all white males & their families, we have since grown, thank you & its now time we re-evangelise you back. The shortage of males cannot be used to justify reversing a decision already decided by a GC vote.
What vote are youy referring to? Please clarify.
It’s the first time ever that I see the “shortage of males” being mentioned as an argument. Because the issue is not availability of males, it’s the calling to the ministry that women may feel and are denied to respond to because of males who are discriminators and keep the power & control in their male hands.
I applaud that busyness. But that does not make the Church in Africa superior to the Church in other places, does it? Just look at the corruption and fraud that the Church has been involved with in so many places in Africa! That should disturb the flock much more than any discussion about women’s ordination.
“Must?” Hmmm… Says who???
This sounds really dictatorial. Therefore it’s not an acceptable tone for continued conversation on women’s ordination. It’s almost like saying, “Discrimination of women is OK, let’s rest the discussion about it.” Sorry, this is not the way we deal with issues on this side of the globe.
I know people in Africa like Ted Wilson a lot. He has been successful in his politicking in Africa. But what we need now is a GC President who is NOT a discriminator, and who is NOT a LGTarian. Discrimination is an abomination, as is also the heresy of perfectionism (aka LGT).
The article clearly points at the procedural failures of the “warnings” and once again lists the dilemma some regions are in…
Sorry, but the Scandinavian and North German Union were NOT warned for female ordination - because they do NOT ordain females, in order to be in compliance with the world field. They were warned for not ordaining males (but rather blessing them in their calling and commissioning them - just as their female collegues).
Okay … name three pastors in your region who are willing to learn Norwegian, overcome visa restrictions and live above the arctic circle and adjust to the Scandinavian culture sufficiently to be heard there. I am sure the Scandinavian Unions are willing to listen. Would be nice, if things were that simple.
HOWEVER, what I really resent is the insinuation that churches in Europe do not grow, because we do employ female pastors. It simply is not true.
You said, “When missionaries established the church in Africa it was all white males and their families.” I’m glad you acknowledge their families. In some cases the wives were better missionaries than their husbands or at least as good as. We have never given the wives the full credit they deserve. If you want to argue from church history you will have to admit that success came by the united efforts of Spirit-filled men and WOMEN. The Spirit does not recognize gender.
It’s the first time ever that I see the “shortage of males” being mentioned as an argument. Because the issue is not availability of males…
“In Scandinavia the church is totally dependent upon employing female pastors, as there are not enough men who are willing, or possibly do not feel that they have the gift of pastoring”
So there you are, using shortage of men. I rest this one.
What vote are youy referring to? Please clarify.
“Elder Wilson made it clear that belonging to an organization means you cannot set aside a voted decision on the basis that you “do not like it” "…
I applaud that busyness. But that does not make the Church in Africa superior to the Church in other places, does it?
The church in Africa is not superior, infact quite the opposite is true.
Welcome to the conversation.
Having said that, I will respectfully disagree with you. Not about what is happening in Africa. I am glad it is going well for you (although some of the reports about issues with some of the Unions and Div. in Africa are troubling).
I will disagree in that it feels like you are making a bit light of something that many of us feel is important. In many ways it feels similar (but not the same) to the rights (and lack thereof) that blacks have had in America, both in general society as well as within the church. Also, while I am not from South Africa so I apologize if this analogy is incorrect or offensive, in the era of Apartheid, there was both legal structures that insured that blacks within South Africa had less power and there were also operational structures (how things ran) that insured that blacks were second class within the country.
Just because the country had laws that made apartheid legal, did not make it right or moral. In fact it was immoral.
Some of us believe strongly that it is immoral to accord women a second class status within our church. That we allow women to be pastors, but do not credential them the same way, pay them the same or allow them the same opportunities as men. A vote to institutionalize this behavior (San Antonio) is not right, but rather a legal covering for an immoral situation. To be clear, the San Antonio vote was not to force Africa or South America to ordain women, but to allow those of us in other Unions who feel it is the moral choice the right to do so. Instead, the various divisions in the world church felt that they must force their beliefs upon us.
The European Unions, in a gentle and Christ-like attempt to find a solution said that within their Unions only they would no longer ordain anyone and simply give the same “commissioned” credential to all ministers. The GC has decided that this means the Unions are acting in bad faith and are “warning” them and threatening to punish them (and as the article extensively noted are doing so in a way that is neither Biblical, nor is it following the fundamental belief’s of the SDA faith).
I appreciate you want to focus on spreading the gospel. You should do that. But, I hope my comment gives you some understanding that if in 3 or 5 or 10 years from now, large portions of the denomination choose to separate from the General Conference because we do not believe that they are acting within God’s will.
Greetings In Christ’s Name
I ll ignore the African Unions other problems since thats not our focus, l feel its unfair to raise it as a side issue, to score an easy punch. Every division/union has its issues. I ll also ignore the S.African apartheid reference, since in my view its disconnected.
The issue at hand is that in your own words the equality of women to men that you draw upon is based on secular view of gender equality. Thw biblical view is similar yet fundamentally different. We teach that women are equal yet given different roles to men. Just because lm an ordained elder does not make me superior to the womens ministries director or S/School superintendent. A married man is not superior to his wife, his role as head of the family is a functional one not one of gender superiority. Big difference. In secular society, they understand that differently. As the remnant church we hold a unique biblical of equal yet different roles. More like trinity roles. Co-equal but different roles.
The preoccupation with this dispute is rather unfortunate as it points to organised diobediance to church authority. The church manual challenges members who are opposed to unity & those who refuse to co-operate as being unfit for office (page71). If GC votes at a session, the resolution binds us all. We do not then find other ways of pushing through our agenda but rather wait for next opportunity without employing near-world political methods.
The approach of some western regions smacks of unilateralism. Some churches wld rather pull off from the sisterhood of fellowship than accept to lay down their tools
This is the Headship Heresy. It is not what “we teach.” It is based on the devaluation of Jesus in the Trinity (Neo-Subordination). This heretic theory says since Christ is no longer an equal to God in the Trinity, women, therefore, are not equal to males. They are a level below.
You can read about the Headship history that came into Adventism in the 1980s here:
A History of Headship in the Adventist Church
Indeed. The preoccupation of the SDA administration with pushing women out of spiritual leadership, women whose gift from the Holy Spirit is obvious to local congregations, is the source of disunity. Women pastors are gifted leaders, ordained to the Gospel of Jesus and leading some of the largest churches in our denomination, especially in China.
To go against the Holy Spirit is the unpardonable sin. Grieving the Spirit is a deadly sober thing. Brethren (most of the voting members for policies in our church) do not realize that when the Holy Spirit empowers an individual, whether male or female, it is a sober thing to block those gifts from being expressed. That kind of action creates disunity and pushes the “male only” agenda which is worldly, tradition, and anti-Christ.
What an army of men and women we have through the Holy Spirit to finish God’s work, empowered to move forward. Those who block any of God’s children from their purpose and God-given missions will have much to answer for on Judgment Day.
This headshi thing is indeed an issue that we never heard of until the 80’s. It was just invented out of desperation by males who were terrified with the possibility that women would be treated as equal in the Church. Discriminators could not live with it. So they introduced this convenient heresy.
Greetings my fellow African. I think you are failing to see something important here. Maybe we as a church should revise our way of making decisions. The voting system has its problems, chiefly that it can be rigged.
For the record, I do not fully understand the the matrix of WO but still having listened to my Western friends about the challenges in their region. It is an open secret that the majority of those who vote against WO are from Asia and Africa and having been in the voting processes of the church, chicanery cannot be ruled out. Our brothers (and sisters) are saying the current position is hurting them and their work and it is not fair for us to try to muzzle their discontent. I think we are better off listening to one another instead of dwelling on conspiracy theories.
As for being busy with evangelism, well, I agree numbers are there but my brother if you are honest enough you will agree that people in our region respond to welfare ministry because most basic needs are lacking. We are also experiencing a greater number of those who leave the church because as a church we are happy with statistics instead of nurture. That’s sad in my opinion.