Ted Wilson Meets With Church Leaders in Germany, Discusses Ordination In Depth

Adventist leaders in Germany who have long supported women’s ordination had a chance at last to discuss the issue face to face with the leader of the Worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, a longtime opponent.

Ted N. C. Wilson, President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the Inter-European Division of Seventh-day Adventists (EUD) jointly reported yesterday on a meeting between Elder Wilson and leaders in the EUD, held on March 8 in Frankfurt, Germany. The meeting, publicized both on Wilson’s Facebook page and the EUD website, included leaders of the Inter-European Division, the officers of the North German Union and the South German Union, and the seven conference presidents from the two unions.

The EUD report noted the following topics of conversation at the meetings:

German leaders gave Ted Wilson a detailed report on the special concerns of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany. In the afternoon, a number of current issues were discussed such as the missionary efforts of the Adventist Church in Germany, the situation of the German Adventist churches, the high administrative structure of the German associations (unions/conferences), dealing with the world church decision on ordaining women as pastors, the relationship to other churches, dealing with various current trends in the Adventist churches and questions about the Adventist identity.”

The report went on to say somewhat opaquely, “Also the consequences of the decision of (not) ordaining women pastors, made at the last 2015 General World Conference in San Antonio, Texas, were discussed in detail.”

For his part, Elder Wilson spoke glowingly of the meetings, saying on Facebook,

The Holy Spirit was very much present as we prayed together and discussed many things. There was a very positive spirit as we focused on the great mission challenge of reaching millions of people in Germany with the Advent message—the love of Christ, His righteousness, His saving message, His three angels' messages, His sanctuary message, His health message, His prophetic message, and His soon second coming. The German leaders expressed a strong commitment to our fundamental beliefs and their desire to be very much a part of the world church and its mission.”

"The meeting was marked by mutual openness, unity, solidarity in the beliefs of our Adventist Church and a spirit of mutual respect," said Wolfgang Dorn, President of the Bavarian Conference. “Personally, I perceived Ted Wilson as a good listener, very spiritual, emphatic and a strong leader, a man of God," said Dorn. "It was striking to me his focus on mission, local communities and his emphasis on involvement of volunteers in missions."

The Inter-European Division recommended in 2013 to the General Conference Theology of Ordination Study Committee that women be ordained in the Adventist Church. The division's executive committee "voted unanimously to recommend the ordination of women to pastoral ministry, taking into consideration the possibility of applying it according to the needs of the fields."

Elder Ted Wilson (Center) with leaders from the Inter-European Division, meeting in Frankfurt. Photo Courtesy Adventisten.de.

The Adventist Church in Germany has long been at the forefront of the issue of women’s ordination. In April 2012, the North German Union Conference became the first union in the Adventist denomination to vote to ordain women. Only weeks before the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, during which delegates voted not to allow the denomination’s thirteen divisions to make provision for ordaining women within their territories, the Berlin-Central German Conference voted to speedily implement women's ordination in accordance with the North German Union Conference’s 2012 action.

In the months following the San Antonio ordination vote, the The Hansa Conference in the North German Union Conference also affirmed its commitment to the union’s 2012 action. The Hansa Conference issued a statement saying in part,

We continue to encourage female church members to opt for the pastoral ministry and hereby reiterate our intention, to act in accordance with the decision of the NDV [North German Union / Norddeutscher Verband] general assembly of April, 23rd 2012, which recommends pastors to the ordination in ministry regardless of gender.”

In Germany’s Southern Union Conference, Stephan G. Brass, pastor in a three-church district, was among the first male pastors to turn in his ordination credentials for commissioned credentials in solidarity with his female colleagues. Brass said that during a pastors’ family retreat soon after, “...our conference president asked all pastors not to follow my example and hand in their ordination certificates. He explained that our goal is not to give up our ordination but to support the ordination of women.”

These brief examples demonstrate the level of commitment to ordaining women among leaders in the Adventist Church in Germany.

While the specifics of the ordination discussion between Elder Wilson and the Inter-European Division leaders in Frankfurt have not been disclosed, the open dialogue on the generally-contentious issue reveals a collegiality not seen prior to San Antonio.

There is no indication in the reports that German leaders were asked to walk back their recent actions on women’s ordinations, suggesting a possible furthering of regional autonomy on the issue, the General Conference vote notwithstanding.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7372

Seems like there’s been no ‘Grave Consequences’ handed down…Yet.

Stay tuned.

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If a picture can say it best, then take a good look at this one. It is sad that they are all men, they are all smiling, and they are identified as “Adventist leaders in Germany…”.

Where are there no women in this picture?

The managing editor of Spectrum goes on about in describing this fantasy, saying about this meeting, “the open dialogue on the generally-contentious issue reveals a collegiality not seen prior to San Antonio.”

Wow! Because Brother Ted did not ask these men to take back what they previously stood up for “no indication in the reports that German leaders were asked to walk back their recent actions on women’s ordinations” we are to rejoice and be glad.

This is progress?

The supply of good women far exceeds that of the men who deserve them. ~Robert Graves

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The human caused glacial movement toward acknowledging God’s will in this continues.

Good 'ol Boys Club pictured showing the utter paucity of women’s godly influence in the overall work of the church (and we have the gall to be discussing the role of women with none present!). Too, how revealing to have Elder Wilson report glowingly that to the fundamentals of the Church the leadership is committed, but yet not acknowledging that “working in harmony” with the Church’s basic beliefs women could be part of that as fully recognized spiritual leaders God Himself has ordained them to be. We are a mixed up, self depleting (if not defeating) organ of mission.

As for handing out “grave consequences” Elder Wilson reveals his limited authority in that respect, and the limited authority that was on display in S.A. The vote didn’t resolve an iota of the issue, but only, yet again, prolonged the agony of coming to the sensible and right decision to recognized the calling and gifting of God in the other half of our membership.

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Ted sees his limited power and influence waning. He doesn’t want his last four years to be irrelevant. He is losing on WO, YEC, sexual orientation, and the media network is fading and the church is getting more and more women presidents of its universities. From H.M. S. Richards to Doug, ugh. tom z

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Reading Ted Wilson’s comments, I get the impression that they have avoided the topic of WO. Please tell me I am wrong!

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i think ted wilson understands that regardless of the vote in san antonio, a policy that lacks biblical consensus cannot be enforced…in dealing with WO, and regardless of personal preferences, i think we’ll see a different ted than the ted who deals with evolution and homosexuality…

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For a report that Wilson meets with church leaders to discuss “Ordination in Depth” there was precious little mention of ordination, particularly of women, as well as no women present. It was simply more on such often repeated interests of the President on the “three angels’, the sanctuary, health, prophetic messages and the soon second coming.” All Adventist cliches but absolutely nothing new about women’s ordination.

The title should have read “Ted Wilson Meets with Church Leaders in Germany” period. A false lead is confusing, if not intended.

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Elaine, I hear you … especially if you look at what TW made of the meetings. However, it is quite clear to me there has been no other reason whatsoever for the visit of the “Brethren” in Germany than the question of WO. That so many other things are being reported suggests how much progress has been made on the question of ordination in this consultation, i.e. none.

Incidentally, the theologians at Friedensau Adventist University (Germany) shortly after the visit, but completely unrelated, published a statement on the issue … interesting read. Keep looking. :wink:

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Please note that the the title of this article derives from the EUD’s own report about the meeting, which was quoted in this article:

Wilson in his discussing the meeting on Facebook seemingly chose to focus on his agenda rather than the EUD leaders’ agenda for the meeting.

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Doesn’t Spectrum have the ability to choose the title of its own reporting?

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Where may one find the theologians’ article please?

“…we focused on the great mission challenge of reaching millions of people in Germany with the Advent message—the love of Christ, His righteousness, His saving message, His three angels’ messages, His sanctuary message, His health message, His prophetic message, and His soon second coming. The German leaders expressed a strong commitment to our fundamental beliefs and their desire to be very much a part of the world church and its mission.”

I’m glad Elder Wilson was able to determine that the church in Germany is still Adventist. I’m wondering, though, when did we decide he was the final arbiter on the matter? Does the Pacific Union Conference have a say in the matter? Or the Southern Africa Union Conference? Or the people of your tiny home church in the middle of Ohio? Did we really give the president that kind of ultimate authority? If so, was that really a good idea?

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Elder Wilson’s quote sounds very much like trying to put a positive SPIN on a discussion that was likely more of a stalemate. I stand with the NDV.

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Such an awkward statement. So revealing of the “actual” agenda for a trip to Germany. Why would there be any question that the German leaders are part of the world church and its mission?

No doubt the entire reason for the trip was that very detailed discussion on ordaining women in leadership in Germany, conveniently left out of Elder Wilson’s description of the meeting.

Is this the first of such meetings by Wilson with unions or divisions to discuss the women’s ordination issue? Perhaps face-to-face meetings with church entities who are actually voting to ordain women is a good idea for Wilson. Dorn said Wilson is a “good listener.” That’s a tad hopeful.

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My ONE comment.
Wilson spent all that time and money on air fare just for Germany. Seems he slighted a number of other Unions with his presence while he was in Europe.
I wonder WHY that was???
Was Germany the only place he thought had left the Adventist fold??? It is several months until Oktoberfest!

Edit-- Andreas
What a great piece of Scholarship in that short [less than 900 English Words] but powerful statement. Thanks for posting for us.
It is certainly Far Ahead anything coming out of Andrews University, Southern University, or Loma Linda University.

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to be fair, I think he was on his way to Asia. Just a stopover…

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Maryann, the statement has just been posted at:

http://www.thh-friedensau.de/wp-content/uploads/Statement-Ordination-FAU-2016.pdf

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Wilson’s report of the meeting is irrelevant. It’s simply to calm the troops, a whitewash, a gilding of the lily. What really matters is the deals done at the dinner table and at the water bubbler and behind cuffed hands in the hallways. That’s where the real action takes place.That’s where directions are given to move troublesome ministers to the boondocks. That’s where strategies are hatched to form power blocks. I guarantee the fox high tailed it out of Germany knowing he had snipped enough holes in the chicken coop to come back and wriggle his way in at night and devastate the farm.
And not a sign of a female in the photo shoot. Or were some only dressed in men’s suits and wearing males wigs so that Wilson would not feel contaminated by a woman? Last time he visited my neck of the woods he virtually had to be dragged onto the rostrum for a woman’s ordination and he wouldn’t join in laying hands on her head even though she had no lice infestation.

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Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture? Would have it grieved the Lord had the female believers who served the “Catawba” grape wine during the meeting been asked to join in the picture?

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