Walla Walla University School of Theology Issues Statement on General Conference Unity Document

The faculty of the Walla Walla University School of Theolgy have issued a statement concerning the General Conference's "unity" document. The statement echoes statements issued by the faculty of the Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University and the faculty of the Loma Linda University School of Religion.

We the faculty of the School of Theology at Walla Walla University strongly affirm the biblical concept of the unity of the church grounded in our worship of God, in our common faith, our shared community life, and in our shared sense of mission. At the same time, we have very serious concerns about the recent document titled “A Study of Church Governance and Unity” recently released by the General Conference and its portrayal of the nature and authority of the church. We share the concern voiced by other theologians and scholars that there needs to be a significant amount of further discussion on this very important ecclesiological issue before it is adopted in a general and binding way. We further register our concerns over the concept of ordination that is laid out in the document, a concept that seems to borrow a lot more from tradition than from biblical evidence. It is our sincere hope that more discussion and deliberation will take place before the elements of this document become church policy.”

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7686
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Thank you for your statement. The Jesus I know has gifted all of us with a spiritual gift. We are all given his Holy Spirit power to use these gifts. It is not up to the church who gets what gift. Thank you Walla Walla University for recognizing that God calls whom he chooses and we as a people should never put down one of Jesus’ children. Jesus said, “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble” Luke 17:2.

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Your sympathy is misplaced. Save it for the G.C. administration. Ted Wilson is already beginning to experience the grave consequences from the various universities with more to come guaranteed. This is only the beginning of G.C.'s troubles. Did you sense any fear expressed by these university faculty members?

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Thank God for Andrews, George Knight, Walla Walla, the Norwegians and Loma Linda! I hope there is even more…

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Andrews. Loma Linda. Walla Walla.

No surprise that they’re talking about education at Annual Council.

The situation is brittle, and, as we all know, only one person is allowed to lecture us as the voice of God.

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Looks like the GC is fostering unity quite effectively, at least in terms of those who value the equal role of women in God’s work. I hope they also come to realize that by forcing the issue they could end up fracturing the church. At the very least, if they stay this course, they will alienate a large majority of our under 30 members in North America and Europe who have lost patience with regressive and misogynistic attitudes toward women.

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It seems to me that we are “tilting at windmills” on this continued subject of Women’s Ordination, relative to the current discussion and statement from the G.C. Why are we still seeking for any evidence, justification, or the lack thereof from the Bible. The Bible is silent on the term or act of ‘Ordination’. The only references made to a form of ‘setting aside for a special work’ or ‘laying on of hands’ is found in Numbers 3 and the 24 instances where hands were laid on someone for healing, anointing, going forth with a mission, etc. None of these references or even the original language has any act of or terminology that denotes ‘ordination’. The first issue on this subject should be that the G.C. and the church-at-large STOP seeking a Biblical answer to an act, ceremony and credentialing that is man-made and specifically the purvue of the ecclesiastical organization.

The question of Ordination is a church policy issue. Should a female minister who is doing the same exact work as her male counterpart be given full ecclesiastical authority by the issuing of ministerial credentials? That is the crux of the matter! There is no Bible in that question. It is an organizational matter.

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@webEd @JaredWright

Where is the direct link to the statement?


The document was not posted online. It was sent directly to Spectrum. -Website Editor

I’m watching to see if any PUC faculty are allowed by Dr. Knight to make a statement like Walla Walla has! My perception is that she is far more interested in pleasing those at the GC and enhancing her image there than in supporting her own faculty. Malcolm Maxwell went to PUC from Walla Walla. And I felt he had the wisdom and courage to supportive progressive thinking far better than Dr. Knight has.

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Absolutely! No two ways about it. So-called Women’s ordination is purely and simply an ecclesiastical/policy matter. The 66 books of the Bible has nothing on ordination of pastors, male or female. As a church we created the former and we are fighting about the latter. If the World church’s policy allows women to pastor churches, which it does, then it makes no sense to curtail the ultimate privilege and responsiblity of authorising them to function in the same way as their male counterparts do. No “ifs” or “buts”. Just do it. What’s the point of a two tier pastoral role of two fully qualified pastors - male and female - one who has hands laid on them and the other who doesn’t and therefore does not get the full-on recognition and authority the other gets, simply becasue of gender. There’s only one word for it: discrimination! If only pure and simple common sense could prevail!

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The issue at hand is no longer WO, but church hierarchy and power. Unions are threatened / coerced into compliance with the next higher organisation - even in matters of conscience. Language like “rebellion”, “influence of Satan” are manipulating into making this a decisive issue that needs to be regulated top down. …

I applaud Walla Walla, Loma Linda, Andrews to demonstrate “unity” without coercion … and in good **protest**ant tradition.

@oleutaker The Norwegian statement is hard to top. :wink: Seriously, Ole-Edvin, I don’t know about Newbold. But I know there are strong and lively discussions at Friedensau. Maybe the Germans just need a little longer to find a consensus on how to respond. They are certainly working on it. UPDATE: on Oct. 18 there will be a townhall type (“theological conversation”) meeting at Friedensau, discussing “What’s the matter with our church?”

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The problem with making these position papers is that they usually know nothing of organization or policy. Its not their circus.
Specifically

As was pointed out in your other piece entitled: "Analysis: The Use of General Conference Working Policy in the Case of Unions that Ordain Women"
it was correctly reported there is already policy that says the same thing.
Also a vote was taken by the largest most authoritative body stating that it is not acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry?
As such it is on par with policy and the constitution. Where not specifically enumerated policy and organizational documentation follow the world body votes.

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This women’s ordination issue is so very peripheral to the entire Gospel and Salvation. Ted Wilson has turned what should have been a “Storm in a teacup”,into an horrendous hurricane of hermeneutics.

Thankfully the church’s theologians are weighing in on the hermeneutics to the confounding of Wilson and his cohorts. We still await to hear from PUC and Southern Adventist University theologians.

Should there be no uniformity amkng Adventist theologians, how can Wilson possibly demand uniformity from mere lay people, unschooled in the hermeneutics of Hebrew and Aramaic?

When making theological decisions surely right thinking lay people will,side with the educated theologians rather than the bureaucratic untutored administrators!

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Thank you Walla Walla University theology faculty! I am so proud to be an alumni!
Okay PUC… waiting for you. It is your turn! Please step up.

If the Donald tape last week was the “last straw” and the"deal breaker", the GC statement
about those who disagree with TW and his heavy-handed policy on women’s ordination as being "rebellious"
and INFLUENCED BY THE DEVIL was the last straw! Trump could take lessons in demagogery from TW!
Even Trump doesn’t stoop so low as to imply that his opponents are Satan influenced.
Shades of the Inquisition and the Salem witch trials!

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This is not a women’s ordination issue. Period. That issue was studied for 5 YEARS. It was beaten to death, studied endlessly, and was finally voted upon by the world church over a year ago. Its settled. If you are a Seventh Day Adventist, when you were baptized into the church, you confirmed that you believed in the 28 fundamental beliefs of the church. One of those concerns the Spirit of Prophecy and in speaking about E.G. White states: “Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church.” In the book Christian Leadership she states “But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body … God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority.”

This is council from God. And now that that authority has been established, these independent judgements and positions ARE being maintained and still being fought about. In fact much hand wringing and plotting is STILL going on to push these issues. How can you not see this as going against God in light of the quote above? This is not some social justice issue where you’re fighting the good fight. The issue was decided by the entire world church in session, which exercised its authority. This is not Ted Wilson issuing some dictate from the top down. Frankly I’m tired of seeing people lobbing insults and snide remarks in his general direction. The men and women who lead our church have heavy burdens and responsibilities to lead us forward. 18 million people are not always going to agree on how that should come about, but they still deserve our support and prayers and perhaps a little less criticism. The issue at hand now is how to deal with those who stand in open rebellion against what must be seen as God’s leading at last year’s GC session. Comparing this in any way to the horrors of the Inquisition is just sad. And yes, no matter how righteous you may see your point of view as being, it is rebellion against what the world church decided. See above quote again concerning surrendering your position… The church cannot, on an ongoing basis, have portions of the church that decide independently what beliefs they will propagate and teach. You don’t have a church when that happens. You just have a collection of people that all claim the same denominational name and beliefs, but then do whatever they want. For years now we’ve had institutions and conferences that have propagated not only WO, but also evolution, theistic evolution, abortion, creeping ecumenism, contemplative prayer, etc. Maybe finally some action will be taken against these groups that stand in open defiance. Open defiance to the church and its global decisions, and open defiance to God’s leading last year.

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One can only imagine how pleased Pastor TW and his executive committee should be for witnessing how effective they have become in uniting the church. Can we hope for more of our institutions to join in this celebration?

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True, except it is enumerated in General Conference Policy B 05 (Point 6):

“Different elements of organizational authority and responsibility are distributed among the various levels of denominational organization. For example, the decision as to who may/may not be a member of a local Seventh-day Adventist Church is entrusted to the members of the local church concerned; decision as to employment of local church pastors is entrusted to the local conference/mission; decisions regarding the ordination of ministers are entrusted to the union conference/mission; and the definition of denominational beliefs is entrusted to the General Conference in session. Thus each level of organization exercises a realm of final authority and responsibility that may have implications for other levels of organization.”

The vote from San Antonio was merely whether to extend to the Divisions the same ordination authority that the Unions already had. The Church, in General Conference Session, decided not to give additional authority to the Divisions, so it stays with the Unions.

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Thank you for making this statement. I would like to know where do we go from here?

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I am having a real challenge as these religious schools of the NAD of SDA’s take it upon them selves as the “broader” SDA’s and ignoring the expressed will of 95% of the membership which number in the multi-millions. May be those centers of religious learning should take time out from academia and spend a couple of years in the developing world where the millions of SDA’s are living and located and learn from their examples and life how spiritual life is developed… Just maybe, we will hear a different attitude from these religious centers… Just hoping…

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I am stunned, no, I am amazed, aghast, even, that SO MANY PEOPLE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE VOTE!

But, I digress, this “willful ignorance” perpetrated by the church on her own people is sickening, maddening, confounding. A leader would instruct and clarify forthwith.
I guess a Miss Leader, perhaps not so much.

Folks, the church has NEVER voted to disallow ordination of women.
EVER. Why, even that humble lil old founder Ellen was ordained-but oh so Christ-like she never
lorded it over any man. Oh that our present miss leaders would take her cue.

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