Revisiting Ted Wilson's 2012 Appeal to Pacific Union

On August 19, 2012, the Pacific Union Conference (PUC) held a special constituency session, chaired by PUC President Ricardo Graham, to discuss and vote on the ordination of women to Gospel ministry.

A recognized guest, General Conference President Ted N. C. Wilson, requested and was given the opportunity to outline the process for the GC Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC), and asked the union to allow TOSC to do its work before the union voted on the ordination of women.

The accompanying three-minute video excerpt of Wilson's much longer speech presents his explanation of how the TOSC process was to proceed. The text of the video is provided below courtesy of the Pacific Union Conference website. The full video of Elder Wilson’s appeal along with videos of the rest of the special constituency session are also available on that website.

Key to Wilson’s pitch was the idea that the TOSC process would be “open” (mentioned four times in three minutes) and fair. Wilson sought to rebut the notion that the process was predetermined in his message to PUC constituency members: “Some people have the idea that everything will be maneuvered, everything will be controlled, and that information will not be made known to people, whatever it might be.” The antidote, Wilson seemed to suggest, would be the process’s openness. “I would appeal to you to allow that process to truly function.”

The question, with six years’ worth of hindsight to consider, is whether the process has played out as promised.

WATCH Ted Wilson Outlines TOSC Process in Appeal to PUC (3 minutes):

The transcription of the video follows:

TED WILSON: However, I do want to share some thoughts of clarification in terms of certain allegations, certain things that have floated around through Internet and through other communications.

However, I do want to indicate very specifically at this point that the Theology of Ordination Study Committee is well on its way to functioning. All 13 divisions have been participating so far in their biblical research committees, and soon, we will be appointing a specific committee. I want to tell you about this committee. Some people have the idea that everything will be maneuvered, everything will be controlled, and that information will not be made known to people, whatever it might be. I want to tell you this study committee will be something beyond what has ever happened before, for we're going to call a group of people together who are going to spend incredible time on their knees, studying the scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, listening to the impression of the Holy Spirit to understand how God would have us look at that subject. We're going to have a balanced group of people, people [30] from various perspectives, gender inclusive, people from international perspectives, people from North America, theologians, teachers, pastors, lay people who are going to come together in an open setting.

I would appeal to you to allow that process to truly function. It is going to be reported to the Annual Council of 2014, and that committee is going to have openness. People are going to be able to express whatever they want. They're going to be able to look at things in a very, very critical and specific way. The report, well, perhaps even reports, because they're going to try to come together in consensus as much as possible, but on those items where they do not find consensus, I'm sure there will be more than one report, but that information will go to the Annual Council, and the Annual Council will make a decision as to what it would like to place on the agenda for the 2015 General Conference session. It will be a world body, the Annual Council, with representation from all over the world that will make the decision as to how to treat the information.

Please believe that we want openness. I want to know God's will. You need to know God's will. We are desperately asking for the Holy Spirit to lead us. I want you to know that that process will be a very open and fair process. I hope you will trust us sincerely with that.

Jared Wright is the former managing editor of

Image: Video still.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to better reflect that this was a special constituency session of the Pacific Union Conference.

Further Reading:

Perspectives on Adventist Women and the Ministry by Kendra Haloviak Valentine

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1 Like

TOSC should have been the centerpiece of decision-making, made available to all in their native languages (not just emailed to delegates), and taken seriously since it had international participation.

It disappeared and was stifled and shut down.

Why was that?


One of the basic principles of Parent Management Training is never set limits with children that which you cannot police or implement. The reason being is you teach your children not to listen to you the next time around. Why would they if you don’t follow through. The same advice applies to interpersonal relationships. So when our honorable GC president makes an appeal to “allow the (TOSC) process to truly function” and then disregards it himself, “tossing it out the window,” his influence diminishes so now he has to resort to power plays as evidenced by the AC2018 bloc votes. Somewhere I read that a psychiatrist has joined the GC staff. TW should be consulting with him.


OPENNESS, “please believe that we want [it]”. Really, TW?
“I hope you will trust us …”
After all that has happened since 2012 (when that was said),
has not members’ trust been squandered and openness and
transparency been buried by GC leadership?
Despite the religious verbiage used as righteous attire by Church
leadership, it has become unmistakably clear:
“The emperor has no clothes.”


I should sooner stuff my wallet with three-dollar bills than put any stock in what Ted Wilson says. But I do admire his calm demeanor. He must be burning inside with anger that TOSC did not go as he expected, that the aftermath of the San Antonio vote is not going as he has expected, and that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is being moved by a mysterious wind that he cannot control.


Um, so TW doesn’t have the ear of God, after all.


What a farce…what a farce.



I dislike deficient leaders! I dislike deficient processes! I will always use my influence to call for a better way!

However, information about administrators and their motivation is so often only mediated to us via a third party. This is a recipe for likely inaccuracy at best and downright manipulation of the truth at worst.

Do I wish the outcome of the TOSC committee had been used differently? Yes. Do I wish the SAN Antonio vote had been handled differently? Yes. Do I wish Elder Wilson were able to appreciate a variety of Adventist styles? Yes. Are there biblical principles which have been transgressed in the recent Annual Council 2018 decision? Absolutely!

But our God is able to use the detours we take him on for His good purposes. And he will. And in those processes He will make us into more of what He wants us to be.


Peter, respectfully, this information isn’t from a third party–this is directly from his mouth.



In 2012 Elder Ted Wilson promised openness in the TOSC Committee process. This happened on many fronts.They fulfilled their advisory function admirably, even reaching consensus about the nature of ordination. Though this consensus could be made more use of.

Most of the various Division Biblical Research Committees fulfilled their function admirably. Even a paper of mine was included in the South Pacific Division BRC corpus. Another contributor, a former College roommate and an Old Testament scholar, in commenting on the task of adding to the conclusions of the SPD BRC Committee process said that rarely had he enjoyed such a challenge of digging into the Word for a real purpose.

The process was so open ended that TOSC Committee members gathered in support of three different positions on whether WO was advisable or not. Most people had assumed that there were only two possible positions.

Yes, there may well have been flaws in the process followed. But the question of whether Elder Ted Wilson’s motives can be impugned is a totally different question.

I believe TOSC was commissioned by GC10. As such, it should have been distributed, in their preferred language, to every delegate to SAGC15 to be studied before arrival in San Antonio.
That would have been proper and transparent procedure.
Unfortunately this is only one of several documented instances where our GC president has SAID it would be proper and transparent procedure, and was anything but.



I am the first to agree with you about the value of producing TOSC documents in the preferred languages of delegates.

In fact, I have suggested to Mike Ryan before today that the GC Sessions ought to have scrolling summaries of delegate speeches in the major languages of the delegates.

He thought this was a valuable suggestion. I do not fault anyone for not thinking of this.

Neither should we fault one particular individual for not thinking of better ways of encouraging greater inclusion of non-English speakers on the floor of the GC Session.

1 Like

Doesn’t pass the smell test.


In this audio clip from 2012 he said the result would go to 2014 Annual Council and that body would make the decision of how to treat TOSC reports. Four years ago, I watched the 2014 Annual Council, searching for what would be done. The agenda was packed with other issues so that the topic of TOSC report came up late in the final day. The procedure did not allow much time to discuss. Elder Wilson presented the wording that came to be used in GC 2015. He said he and a group had come up with this wording and urged the group to endorse his proposal. He said he and his colleagues had prayed and had a sweet spirit and knew that this wording was Holy Spirit endorsed.


I might agree with you except I know having documents beforehand in a delegates preferred language or at least one they can read and understand, has been suggested multiple times since the 1980’s. I think three decades is plenty of time to implement. Obviously not a desired process by GC higher ups. An educated delegate is not desirable. Too much openness and transparency.
Kind of like WO being stuck in many committees since 1881.


Simple math: TOSC didn’t reach the conclusions that TW anticipated, and needed for his next maneuver. Therefore, he just trashed the whole thing and came up with his own “stuff.”



Thank you for responding.

The TOSC study is the last place where the world church came together to find common ground. Yes, it had three options; why not start back there?

TOSC was not given a chance. It should have been the jumping off place for discussion at GC15. Instead, the administration met behind closed doors to bring about the option they wanted and did not allow the process to proceed from the world wide participation of TOSC.

What were Elder Wilson’s motives? His actions have belied his words.

I, too, watched the Autumn Council that Carmen referred to. Leadership did not provide time for a thorough review of TOSC, nor was there an obvious intent to find common ground. Since then, punishment for supporting one of the TOSC options has been the pursuit.


As soon as the TOSC project was announced, I announced that it was a FAKE study group again - not the first one in SDA history.
And yes, it ended up being an over a $1 mil FIASCO!!!


how many women were on the committee.? The word Elder is not gender specific. It means senior level. neither is the word pastor


Elder TW or any members of your ADCOMM, not only did you neglect to follow through with the appeal made during the PUC meeting, you also are now obligated to repair the damage and the loss of credibility for not following through. What went wrong?