In a unanimous vote, the Trans-European Division Executive Committee affirmed the 730-page Theology of Ordination report from the division's ad hoc Biblical Research Committee. Chief among the committee's recommendations was that "the Church should allow for an inclusive and gender-neutral ministry, which means that credentials will be granted to men and women on equal terms for all offices which require ordination, presently the gospel minister, the elder, and the deacon/deaconess."
A statement on the Trans-European Division website listed the committee's recommendation for the upcoming General Conference Session: "We propose that a recommendation be brought to the General Conference Session in 2015, that it approves a revised policy in which unions, whose constituency meetings in session have voted approval and whose division committee has voted approval, be allowed to maintain an inclusive pastoral ministry which removes all gender distinctions within the work of the church in that union territory."
The TED report on the meeting noted that the committee's report not only addressed the issue of women’s ordination, but also "the matters of biblical hermeneutics, the biblical teaching on ordination, ministry, offices, terminology, rituals, the significance of laying on of hands, the development of ordination after the completion of the writings in the New Testament, the understanding and practice of ordination in the major Christian churches, its introduction and later development in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the view of Ellen White."
TED president Bertil Wiklander, who also chaired the division's Biblical Research Committee, said after the unanimous vote according to the TED website, "It is clear that the leaders in the TED wish to see a thorough review of ordination as a whole and to have an inclusive ministry without gender distinctions. We have worked for 19 months with this report and have become astonished at what we have discovered in the Bible and various historical sources."
The vote to accept the committee's report means TED will recommend the Report to the Seventh-day Adventist World Church’s Theology of Ordination Study Committee, which will meet on 21-25 January, 2014.
This is the fourth division to vote to recommend ordaining without regard to gender to the General Conference. The Trans-European Division vote follows the votes of the North American Division, the Inter-European Division and the South Pacific Division.
Read the full article from the Trans-European Division website here.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5649