Women’s Ordination: The Truth about the Real Position of the 13 Divisions in the Seventh-day Adventist Church

(Thomas J Zwemer) #24

Ted is taking Adventism back to its cultic roots with ruthless dogmatic intensity that plays on cultural biases of several divisions with a large base. He seems to ignore the fiscal base. The end game is not likely to be pleasant. I want to hear the Gospel by one knowledgeable and. Committed to its redemptive love with a focus on this generation not the last. Competence and commitment not gender are critical to the message.,

(Steve Mga) #25

“The case of the Southern Asia Pacific Division and the West Central Africa Division are worth noting because they describe their position as not in favor of WO, BUT indicate that IF the World Church approves WO they would not object.”

I believe THIS STATEMENT sets the Tone of the Article.
Just add any other Division’s name in this statement.
ALL of the 13 Divisions ARE the World Church. When voting they are NOT OUTSIDERS just watching. So if one goes by this statement WO will NOT be approved by the so-called “World Church” because so many Division Representatives at the VOTING BOOTH would Vote NO!!
Even though there is no Biblical Reason to Vote “NO!!”
And, by Vote of “YES!” does NOT obligate their Division or Unions to
institute WO in their areas.
I believe that my opening statement reveals WHY WO will Never be
a VOTED “YES” by the World Church, and the Leaders at Silver
Springs understand this Reality.

(Edward McField) #27


In my humble opinion and as someone with a more recent interest in the matter, it seems to me that the issue has been framed incorrectly.

  1. Since there has never been a vote to prohibit women ordination, why was there a need to vote on this?
  2. Asking the GC to take on this issue, was also a strategic mistake, because the GC suddenly became the forum/venue/jurisdiction and arbiter on these issues. Unfortunately, the vote on ordaining women as elders set precedent.

Those in favor of WO should demand to see a vote that denies/rejects women ordination. It certainly was not the 2015 vote. You don’t have to ask for permission for something that is not prohibited.

(Steve Mga) #28

Ed - “You DO NOT have to ASK for permission for something [TO DO something] that
IS NOT prohibited.”
YES! This is the Crux of the Whole Issue.
WHY ask permission to do something if there never has been, and is NOT now prohibited?

You Stated the CORRECT ANSWER. Thank You.
But as you know --NOBODY IS LISTENING.

(Edward McField) #29


One of the great difficulties is overcoming the narrative promoted by the "official’ church news organizations. See the actual full wording: White, J. (2015). The Ordination Question Before General Conference 2015 Delegates. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/document/270047490/The-Ordination-Question-Before-General-Conference-2015-Delegates

Whereas various groups appointed by the General Conference and its divisions have carefully studies the Bible and Ellen G White writings with respect to the ordination of women and have not arrived at consensus as to whether ministerial ordination for women is unilaterally affirmed or denied, and; Whereas the Seventh-day Adventist Church affirms that “God has ordained that the representatives of His Church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference Session, shall have authority, Therefore, the General Conference Executive Committee requests delegates in their sacred responsibility to God at the 2015 General Conference Session to respond to the following question: After your thorough study of the Bible, the writings of Ellen G White, and the reports of the study commissions on ordination, and; After your careful consideration of what is best for the Church and the fulfillment of its mission, Is it 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? Yes or No.

Let us analyze this a little more.

“…After prayerful consideration of all the facts including park safety, is it acceptable for Edward’s uncle, as he deem it appropriate, to make provisions to allow Edward to visit the park? Yes or No.”

  1. Would a no vote prohibit Edward from going to the park? No! it simply means that Edwards uncle would not make that determination. Although some may consider the park safety, ultimately, it is not the park safety or permission to go to the park that is at stake, in stead, it is simply a question of whether Edward’s uncle makes the decision.
  2. Considering that the decision of going to the park was previously made by Edward’s parents, a no vote would simply mean that the Uncle doesn’t call the shot, and instead, the parents continue to have the decision.
  3. If going to the park has never been prohibited, Edward could go to the park on his own.

So, notice that the preamble doesn’t really matter in how the question is framed or interpreted The fact that different people could interpret the item being voted on differently, should also give everyone reason to pause and reflect. Could the question have been framed better to eliminate ambiguity?

(Steve Mga) #30

Ed –
Regarding Permission.
What you are proposing IS HIGH LEVEL REASONING – the doing something that
has NOT been prohibited.
So No Matter What The DIVISION LEADERSHIP THINKS, the Unions in those areas
MAY DO what they believe is essential to spreading the Gospel.

But I believe that the WAY THE CHURCH Leadership has PROGRAMMED the “World
Church” is that to DO anything, one HAS To ASK Permission FIRST of the GENERAL
CONFERENCE in Silver Springs.
And has been this way since at least 1901. Which WAS NOT the Intent of Ellen White
when she promoted it.
She intended that the Unions would have an enormous amount of authority to decide
what needs to be done, WHO needs to do it, WITHOUT ASKING anyone else.

(Joselito Coo) #31



What I find extremely discouraging, and yes, disconcerting, is that although the NAD is held up as the division most in favor of WO, in point of fact, only two of the nine union conferences have actually ordained their clergy women.

All the others appear to be “sitting on the fence “ and being deplorably derelict, delinquent, disregardful and dawdling in treating their women with equality and dignity._

This does not auger well for a final egalitarian outcome for our female church members. It seems that the heinous heretical headship dogma will prevail!

Compare these odious offensive, obnoxious optics with our Methodist brethren who have been ordaining their clergywomen since 1956!

(Edward McField) #34


I think you just proved my point. All of the “wheras” were not presented.

Additionally, no amount of preamble can change the core structure of a sentence: Subject, Predicate, Clause, Phrase, etc.

In policy/legislative world we use a “bill or policy analysis” to ensure that there is no ambiguity.

Any thoughts on the example regarding Edward’s uncle?

(Terrill Utt) #35

Our church recently had one of the TOSC steering committee members speak about the activities and report of the committee. He described how Ted Wilson spoke to them as they started their work about the solemn importance of their task. Apparently, after the work was complete and the report published, Ted’s enthusiasm had waned and when the matter was put before GC2015 for a vote, the TOSC report and related internal votes were not included in the GC agenda. Efforts were made to present the TOSC report, but it was prevented. Place this this along side of the lack of multiple language translations of the report and it seems clear there has been a concerted effort at the GC to prevent a more open and honest discussion within the church on WO. Very sad. It is time for a change…

(reliquum) #36

Unless the ambiguity was intentional.

Had the vote been “yes”, the GC, vis-s-a-vis the Divisions (which are but tentacles of the mother octopus) would have had legal power to STOP any and all gender non-discriminatory ordinations. Power that the vote would have given them.

I actually believe that God intervened, and brought confusion on the no-wo, MOO (male only ordinators) bloc. Teds words from the podium “we will abandon the electronic voting if not enough responses are registered during this the last test” was all he needed to make the votes non-electronic (hence visible). The statement “You all know where I stand” was enough to tell the NO bloc they HAD to vote Teds way, otherwise Ted would know who didn’t support him and “his way”.

It was, pure and simple, a “HEADS I WIN, TAILS YOU LOSE” contrived vote.
As it was a “NO”, Ted was all too willing to allow an uninformed world church believe it was a referendum on “womens ordination”, and NOT on who had the legal authority to proctor it.
He “won”, either way.
Wilson the Second learned his voting finesse from his father, Wilson the Elder.

(Peter Marks) #37

ThanksEd! I will finish what I have started.

(Steve Mga) #38

Question 1 – Has the SDA church as a body [all members]
been conditioned to FEAR?
The FEAR of doing something Unusual, Radical, Not thought
about by a COMMITTEE at a “higher level”.

Question 2 – When we think of people with Personality Types
[the Enneagram] – ARE THEY ALL THE SAME in positions of
Leadership in the SDA church? So we have NOBODY who can
think “outside the box” of the other Leaders in the group?

(Dan Springer) #39

‘…perfect love casts out fear, that’s why we’re scared to death…’

(Thomas J Zwemer) #40

The issue of women in the ministry has intruded all denominations so much so that the book Two Iviews on Women in Ministry has gone into a revised edition. It seems that it is take your pick issue. all arguments are based on analogies of ancient cultures. Today the issue should be limited to preparation, competence, and commitment. One must pass the prevailing thought at the GC that Christ is the Model Manand see Him as our High Priest.

(Ian m fraser) #41

Is there any reason not to take s ballot except the logistics?

(Peter Marks) #42


Please read the finished product!

(Edward McField) #43


Thanks for the additional contribution.

I was going to include a formal “limitations” section which would have discussed the fact that I was limited to reviewing the presentations by the Division BRCs. I did not review the “long reports”. The primary reason being that the reports are not all available for each Division, and therefore, only reviewing a few would/could have biased this qualitative inquiry. I had to use the one document all 13 Divisions had on file.

I acknowledge your concern regarding the South Pacific Division. The truth is that the South Pacific Division has several papers on the TOSC website, however, my analysis was limited to the BRC resentation (document with 6 pages), which after reading it several times, I could not find a statement that specifically indicated support or opposition to WO. https://www.adventistarchives.org/south-pacific-division-brc-report.pdf

As a researcher, I could infer from the BRC presentation that South Pacific was a “yes” or at least a “very strong lean yes”, particularly because it stated that it “does not see any scriptural principle which would be an impediment to women being ordained.”

However, the South Pacific presentation did not have a specific statement stating “we support women ordination” or “we encourage women ordination” (see NAD for example). As an “objective researcher”, I had to go with the content that was available in the BRCs presentation and that is why I listed them as “lean yes”. However, to inform the reader of the most accurate South Pacific position, I included key observations in the appendix and also included the update that the South Pacific Division voted to formally request reconsideration of the 2015 vote at next GC. Both of these would give the reader a better idea of the true position of the South Pacific Division.

As a researcher, I could not honestly report a “yes” only using the South Pacific BRC report, but I wanted to give the reader additional information so they would know where South Pacific stands today, and that’s why i included the news of the recent vote taken although that is obviously outside the realm of the documents that were analyzed.

Some of the arguments included in the South Pacific Division BRC included:

  1. Ordination is a practice driven by mission and practical needs informed by biblical studies and theology
  2. Ordination is not to be considered a sacrament. Biblical evidence supports the symbolism of the laying on of hands when appointing individuals for a task, but there is no firm evidence for the transfer of grace or virtue in this context. Consequently, we must reject attributing sacramental value to ordination.
  3. Where Scripture is silent on current issues, a theology of ordination must be based on the principles of Scripture, taking adequate account of what Scripture says as applied in its local or issue-specific contexts.
  4. The significance of ordination is influenced by culture. In some parts of the world, culture bestows inordinate status upon a minister at ordination

Additionally, they then end their presentation with the following conclusion:

  1. The Biblical Research Committee of the South Pacific Division does not see
    any scriptural principle which would be an impediment to women being
  2. The calling of the Holy Spirit needs to be recognized for both men and
    women. There is a sense of injustice that needs to be addressed.
  3. The mission of the church is a primary determinant of praxis, both in the
    history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and in its climax as the Holy
    Spirit is poured out on both men and women during the latter rain.

(Edward McField) #44

I still wonder if NAD and others should push for a “Divisions to vote on WO”. It may be a better strategy to argue policy, instead of requesting a new GC vote. If the Union authority truly comes from current policy, they should strongly defend that position.

(David Johnson) #45

Carlo, such an action is illegal in the Unites States and is not part of the pension plan as written.