In the main I consider this paper extremely helpful!
The South Pacific Division Year End Meetings voted "to request the GC to reconsider the recommendations made last quinquennium by the divisions’ Biblical Research Committees, the TOSC committee, and to review the GC Session 1990 action referring to women’s ordination for its context and its relevance to the missional needs of the church at this time, and further, and that in the context of the above items, and specifically in relation to FB # 6,7,14 and 17, to request the GC to place on the GC 2020 Session agenda an action item on the ordination of women in light of the missional needs of some areas of the world church."
Ed, you have just made any GC reconsideration of the recommendations made in November 2013 by the divisions’ BRC’s a whole lot easier. Thank-you for that!! Yet I would suggest that these papers and the concluding recommendations attached to each need to be trawled through with a very fine toothed comb.
In one or two areas Ed could have more adequately reflected the stance of the Divisions. I say this having reflected on many of these reports and having had two articles published on this blog site in 2014. I had particularly commented on the stance of the East-Central Africa Division Report along with that of the Trans-European Division.
NB It concerns me that while the various Division Presentation and summary papers are available with the other TOSC papers on the ASTR website the longer more comprehensive papers produced by each Division no longer appear on the ASTR website.
The Central Recommendation of the East Central Africa Division BRC was “NO, NOT YET.” They clearly envision that a new paradigm of ministry and ordination may yet be implemented in the Adventist communion. The necessary creation of this is a very valid reason for the requested delay. They explain their decision well as follows:
“ECD BRC still sees no light in ordaining women as pastors under the current praxis of understanding and practicing ordination. Our Committee decision is not conclusive and members are urging further studies until the Church is convinced that ordaining under current modalities is biblical.” (p.14).
The real surprise for me is that for the ECD BRC the cultural dimensions of ordination are in large focus.
The ECD Report makes 4 assertions:
"Different modalities need to be urgently developed and implemented in the Church’s praxis so that no servant of God … feel[s] unappreciated and undervalued by the Church.(p.14). Creativity in the development of culturally sensitive practices of appointment to leadership are recommended because “the God of Israel did not bypass cultural norms when he communicated important messages.” (p. 19).
“Ordination” presently carries unhealthy nuances which need undoing in order to facilitate servant leadership for the Adventist Church. (p.14). These unhealthy nuances are named elsewhere in the document:
- “Notions of hierarchy and patriarchy” (p.19).
- “A concept and practice of ordination such that it perpetuates the notion of male domination in the church.” (p.19).
- “The traditional African worldview where ordination is a male ‘spiritual rite of passage’.” (p.19)
- “The traditional understanding that male/ female roles are fixed.” (p.20).
- “The person who has been set apart considers himself/ herself as superior or better, and therefore endowed with magical powers.” (p.20).
- The differing views on interpreting Scripture, and especially passages on headship as clearly taught, have left the two sides of the debate … engaging in what might be considered “dialogue of the deaf” or “selective inattention whereby human beings hear what they want to hear.” (p.11). Thus, they in their own context make a strong call for more study of the issues before GC 2015. [Remember this call was made in November 2013 and reported to TOSC in January 2014].
4. Their greatest desire was for a “theologically intelligent and responsible church” and this will undoubtedly involve information sharing “down to the grassroots.” “It will be counterproductive for the Remnant Church’s delegates at San Antonio General Conference Session to cast their vote for or against women’s ordination if they do not have adequate information.” (p.15).
[In “An Open Letter To the GC Officers Concerning Ordination” published on this blogsite and dated 06/12/2014 I plead with the GC to make provision for this education process. I warned that as the ECD BRC had concluded the 2015 GC vote would be counterproductive otherwise. And so it has proved. Thankfully, you Ed are making a similar call now].
Ed, I think you have misunderstood the stance of the South Pacific Division big time. The SPD BRC Secretary invited me to submit a paper for the BRC. I am very familiar with all the papers which were published a few days before the 2015GC Session began in the book South Pacific Perspectives on Ordination. Plus the fact that the SPD President at the time, Dr Barry Oliver, a TOSC member wrote a summary paper on “Moving Ahead in Unity.” Please look again. THe SPD do not merit being placed in the ‘Leaning Yes’ column as far as WO is concerned. Their resolve has always been firmly, ‘Yes’ we should ordain women; and just as firmly to cooperate in making a global decision about it.
Ed, please write to me personally thru my Gmail. petersomerset@g…