The Eve of the Ordination Discussion

(system) #1

SILVER SPRING - In the final hours before General Conference Executive Committee members from around the world take up the issue of ordaining women at the 2014 Annual Council meetings, there are some things we know, and some things we don't. Annual Council delegates are expected to take most of Tuesday discussing the language they will send to the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas.

Just before the close of Monday's business session, General Conference President Ted N. C. Wilson prepared delegates for Tuesday's much-anticipated discussion. Elder Wilson advised delegates to arrive early because the session will, by all accounts, feature a capacity crowd. He stated that only those with credentials will be allowed to enter the room. That includes delegates, who have voting rights, and members of the press, we understand. Others will be able to watch from an overflow room.


The meeting will be prefaced by worship from 8:00am to 9:00am during which associate director of the GC Health Ministries Department Peter Landless will give a presentation entitled "Mission, Hope and Healing."

The morning business session is scheduled for 9:00am to 12:00pm (Eastern). The afternoon session is scheduled for 2:00pm to 5:00pm (Eastern)

General Conference vice president Mike Ryan will chair both the morning and afternoon sessions.

According to the agenda, the Theology of Ordination Discussion looks like this:

a) Introduction and brief history b) Prayer Session c) Review of Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) (READ FULL REPORT HERE) d) Consensus Statement on a Seventh-day Adventist Theology of Ordination explained and moved to receive and endorse TOSC consensus statement (READ IT HERE) e) Discussion and vote to receive and endorse Consensus Statement on a Seventh-day Adventist Theology of Ordination f) Prayer Session g) Introduction of Theology of Ordination Study Committee reports h) TOSC Summarized report and suggested “Way Forward" #1 (purportedly by Clinton Wahlen) i) TOSC Summarized report and suggested “Way Forward" #2 (purportedly by Carl Cosaert) j) TOSC Summarized report and suggested “Way Forward" #3 (purportedly by Nicholas Miller) k) Prayer Session

l) General Conference and Division Officers (GCDO) recommendation to Annual Council explained and moved for acceptance m) Discussion on motion and voting on motion n) Prayer Session

Leaders do not believe there is a theological solution to the issue. Vice President Artur Stele, in remarks to young adult delegates, said the solution will be ecclesiastical.

Spectrum's news team will be in the room as the meetings take place providing live tweets and summary reports.

You can receive up-to-the-moment updates from Spectrum's Twitterfeed. (GET LIVE TWEETS HERE)


The best kept secret, by design, has been the recommendation that the GCDO will bring to delegates for consideration. The leading theory is that the proposal will include a provision allowing divisions to decide whether or not to move forward on the issue. The North American Division and Trans-European Division were the first divisions to seek variance to policies prohibiting women's ordination.

There has been no clear indication how delegates might vote on the question of whether to allow divisions to decide. There have been some comments during discussion of the Fundamental Beliefs in opposition to gender inclusive language, but they provide few helpful clues about attitudes toward women's ordination.

Nobody can predict what might happen in San Antonio if delegates vote to send language to the GC Session that would allow women to be ordained on a division-by-division basis. The roughly 2,500 GC Session delegates could deviate significantly from the Annual Council decision, or not.


Those in favor of ordaining women have faced strong opposition at every turn. That will likely be the case during Tuesday's discussions as well. While Church leaders have come to the conclusion that the issue cannot be solved simply by appealing to theological positions or biblical passages, there are no guarantees that delegates will favor a regional ecclesiastical solution. Because passions can run very high, a vocal opposition could stop ordination from proceeding to San Antonio in 2015. And even if delegates send a positive recommendation to San Antonio, it is by no means certain that the World Church in Session will retain the proposed language. There are two significant opportunities for women's ordination to be voted down. If General Conference delegates in 2015 vote in favor of allowing ordination to proceed, the victory may not be the one proponents seek. By far, the likeliest win for proponents will be the allowance of ordination regionally, not church-wide. Consequently, many divisions could continue to prevent women from receiving ordination.


Those who oppose ordaining women will probably not get what they want--particularly male-headship advocates who oppose ordaining not only women pastors but also elders. A critical mass of ordination proponents in many parts of the world will require opponents to make some concessions. Some divisions have long pushed for variance to policy, indicating support at that level. Several unions, conferences and congregations have already voted to ordain women and have carried out ordinations. It is highly unlikely that they would all reverse those ordinations and negate votes by their constituencies to proceed with ordination. Furthermore, all indications point to growing acceptance of and demand for equal ordination among younger generations of Adventists. Organized opposition could prevent ordination from advancing to San Antonio or kill the proposal on the floor of the General Conference, but that likely will not stop ordination from advancing.


Annual Council delegates will have the opportunity on Tuesday to make their case one way or the other, and whatever the outcome, Spectrum will provide real-time updates and record the outcome.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Rheticus) #2

Someone needs to stand up at this meeting and point out to the delegates that the GC simply does not have any authority to tell the union conferences what they can and can not do.

To be precise, one of the delegates from one of the Union Conferences that are already ordaining women should do this.

By allowing the meeting to pretend it can recommend to the GC that the GC has such control, the union conference delegates are taking a step on the slippery slope to being under the GC’s control.


Don’t do it. The union conference delegates should simply tell them that their unions will do what is right for their unions regardless of what the GC says. That they don’t need the GC’s permission to do this.

The GC leadership is guiding the denomination down the slippery path to a papacy,

First you elect bishops and agree to listen to them. Then you listen to their advice on trivial matters where the answers are obvious. Then you agree to follow their rulings on the hard matters. Then they discuss amongst themselves and they start pushing their combined opinion and you agree to abide by the ruling from such a discussion. Then they elect a pope, and let him make popular rulings. Then they let him make the hard rulings and they pass the rulings down and enforce them.

Next thing you know (took the RC about 300 years, but the SdA pro-top-down politicians are aiming for 150 years) you have a political organism making rulings aimed at preserving itself at the expense of the truth and freedom.

(SurprisedByGrace) #3

Definitely still very uncertain as to where this is going, but I do believe the ordained women in PUC and CUC will not be reversed and those unions, and two in Europe will continue the practice no matter the vote.

(Shining) #4

You got that straight. No way are we going back.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #5

They should make a movie about this entitled Star Wars 2.5 with George playing the part of Harrison Ford. Tom Z

(George Tichy) #6

Hey, if they don’t hurry up at the GC, Pope Francis will arrive at the destination before they do!
He is already providing a safe place for gays, a place where they can be respected and accepted as human beings. (Check today’s news).
I can see the Pope opening some space for women before we do. He doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that supports discrimination. Will see.

(Carolyn Parsons) #7

It is done, the executive council voted to send a question to the GC session in 2015

That wraps today's session. Here is the language that will go on the 2015 @gcsession in San Antonio. #GCAC14

— SPECTRUM (@spectrummag) October 14, 2014

(Bille) #8

Did you watch the whole thing?

Do you have any comments?

(Carolyn Parsons) #9

I followed the twitter stream, which was excellent. I think it is the second best thing to being there absent a web broadcast.

If you are on twitter, follow @Spectrummag and look at the entire feed for the last day. It is long but has good information including some photos that help give some flavor of what it was like there.

(Carolyn Parsons) #10

There will be a full report shortly on Spectrum, It was quite a day of politics with the leadership proposing a question be sent to the GC session instead of a recommendation, affectively shirking some of their leadership responsibilities.

(Shining) #11

they wouldn’t allow Dave Weigley’s ammendment to even be voted on. Said it was hostile. They must have a different dictionary that I do. I thot it interesting that the prez and Ryan kept insisting that what they were presenting was unanimously agreed upon but the people in that meeting that I know and trust didn’t seem to be agreeing with them. I am on pretty good terms with a couple of them. Would love to ask what really happened last Wed/Thurs. but even if I found out I probably couldn’t share it without violating their trust.

I am going to be in San Antonio as an observer and maybe help some who are promoting wo… Hope my heart can take it :smile:

Acts 15 in 2015

(Carolyn Parsons) #12

The question boils down to one question. Should divisions around the world should allow to decide WO for themselves. The question brings up issues because there are many very conservative delegates to the GC Session and their preference would be to vote no, and in effect block all Ordinations of women worldwide. I see this as a serious option so the church would end up with conservatives and male headship theorists joining together as a voting block. The defining characteristic of these group seems to be that if they are against ordination without regard to gender believe that their view should have primacy in the entire church.

(Rheticus) #13

Wow - back up the bus.

Look at the wording in

In particular, look at the wording in the very top section, almost cut off, that claims the GC “shall have authority”.


They want the delegates from the unions to agree that the GC has authority over the union conferences. The issue for them is not WO. That issue is a distraction - effective because so many people see it as so important, for or against - from their real goal, which is getting the union conferences to agree that the GC has authority over them.

The Union Conferences need to be very careful about this.

(Shining) #14

true true true true true
discus now saying i cant juat say
true true true true true

(Ann) #15

On the one hand, I’m pleased that the question whether to allow a division-by-division solution is the one going to GC Session. The momentum is such that delegates will likely vote yes.

However, I feel there is something important left undone–church members want to know what this group thinks about the issue. Without a poll of this duly chosen, representative body from the world church, the disinformation campaign of the Secrets Unsealed gang will continue to paint this discussion as good against evil. We have heard repeatedly at this meeting that honest Seventh-day Adventists who are committed to Christ and committed to scripture can disagree on the issue of women’s ordination. If this is true, then why are Annual Council delegates being prevented from being polled?

Having kept my finger on the pulse of the various blogs discussing this issue, I can’t help but feel that the rancor will escalate for nine more months unless Annual Council delegates go on the record as to where they stand. Leaders are supposed to lead. Judging by what person after person said at the microphone today, I am convinced a large majority are in favor of allowing each division to decide for itself. Stand up and be counted, even if the poll carries no weight. There’s one more day of meetings–it’s not too late…

(Bille) #16

You are SO RIGHT!

This is why the question sent to SA is nonense. For even if they vote to allow the Divisions to each make their own decisions… the position taken from the beginning of the Wilson Dynasty is that the Divisions are only an integral part of the GC and have no constituency of their own. Therefore… if the GC has the authority it needs, then it can put the clamps on the Divisions and make them do whatever the GC president want them to do.

And it is really doubtful that the delegates to SA would even vote yes… for most of them have been taught that they should follow the Leader in whatever he says… and without a clear directive for them to vote yes, they will doubtless vote no… .since that is what he obviously wants them to do.

It is a sad state of affairs… when Division Presidents and GC Vice-Presidents who did stand up for the principle that the Annual Council was expected to LEAD, not merely to pass along a question… are treated with the disrespect and disdain as they were today.

(Bille) #17

I wish I could be so optimistic. But I’m afraid all my optimism as to this being the time and place where the REAL leaders would take their stand against the manipulative measures that we have had to live with for the past 50 years… has melted away into nothing more than a small “grease spot”.

(George Tichy) #18

Exactly. The key to all this mess is what happened Wed/Thur.
Will it ever be fully disclosed?

(Bille) #19

Of course not… but things tend to escape and go flying on the wind… so if you keep your parakeets in good flying condition they just may bring you some clues. Frankly, the bigger question that I have has to do with those who were involved whom one can be quite positive were NOT in harmony with what went on. Do any of them have any plans to try to halt the march toward Babylon. Are there any crossroads that could get us back on track for our original destination?

(George Tichy) #20


  1. We have to wait, some of my parakeets will certainly tell more about what happened at PREXAD.

  2. The question sent to Session WILL NOT pass. Write it down. Today was the chance to fix the problem, but as good Adventists, they missed the opportunity and the problem will continue.

  3. Unless I really win the election in SA, within a few months after the Session another fake committee, OSC (Ordination Study Committee) will be formed, to keep the bozos happy for another 3 to 4 years, pretending again that the problem will be addressed in 2020. The saga will be repeated.
    (Since it’s been defined that the issue is not Theological, I ignored the “T” previously used in TOSC).

  4. I believe many Unions will not put up with this abusive manipulation and undeniable discrimination of women, and will go their way by ordaining women despite this GC manipulation. It’s been too much to watch all this pretending and waiting hopeful while the “guys upstairs in black suits” keep cooking the meal their way.