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OFFICIAL STATEMENT
For Immediate Release
May 17, 2012


Columbia Union Executive Committee Calls Special Constituency Meeting to Authorize Ordinations Without Regard to Gender


At its May 17 meeting, the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee received a report from an ad hoc committee assigned to study how to affirm women in ministry.

After discussing the report (included below), the committee voted:
  1. To recognize its responsibility to act morally and ethically by expressing unyielding commitment to ordain qualified persons to the gospel ministry without regard to gender, and
  1. To call a special constituency meeting for the purpose of authorizing ordination to the gospel ministry without regard to gender, and
  1. To set the meeting date for July 29, 2012, at 10 a.m., at a location to be determined in Maryland.
The committee approved the motion by a vote of 34-6, with one abstention.

“I believe this action represents our committee’s desire to move the mission forward, and we are calling this special session to facilitate a wider conversation,” said Dave Weigley, union president, explaining the need for input from the larger constituency.

To help members understand the committee’s perspective, leaders will publish a special July issue of the union paper, the Visitor. It will provide an in-depth review of biblical, historical and Spirit of Prophecy guidelines concerning the role of women in ministry.

Contact:
Celeste Ryan Blyden, Communication Director
Tel: (410) 997-3414; Email: cryan@columbiaunion.net

#####

Report of the Columbia Union Ad Hoc Committee
Affirming Women in Ministry

Women in Seventh-day Adventist ministry are being affirmed through appreciation, recognition and representation at many levels in the church. This needs to be continued and increased. The most significant confirmation, however, requires the action of the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee.

The affirmation of women in ministry in the Adventist church has both a moral and ethical imperative based on Scripture, church history and our diversity in unity.

SCRIPTURE: As a global church that values the authority of Scripture, we acknowledge that:
  1. Scripture is clear that the end-time church is blessed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all believers (Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:17-18), with the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9) and through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, both women and men preach God’s message (Fundamental Beliefs 14 and 17).
  2. We are commanded to practice justice in our actions and relationships (Micah 6:8).
  3. Everything contained in the Bible relates to the concepts represented in three words: Creation, Fall, and Redemption. This continuum provides the natural outline to the biblical story. In Eden, God created male and female as equals, both spiritually and relationally, and both are necessary to fully reflect the image of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-20).
  4. Multiple times throughout Scripture God chose women to lead His people (Deborah, Esther, Hulda, Anna, four daughters of Philip, Phoebe, Junia etc.).

HISTORY: As a global church that values God’s leading in its history we acknowledge the following significant hallmarks:
  1. The Seventh-day Adventist Church was co-founded by a woman, Ellen G. White, who remains an authoritative and guiding voice.
  2. At the General Conference Session on December 5, 1881, a motion was made: “RESOLVED, That females possessing the necessary qualifications to fill that position, may, with perfect propriety, be set apart by ordination to the work of the Christian ministry.” Reported in Review and Herald, Dec. 20, 1881. It appears there was no record of any action taken.
  3. Ellen White wrote in the July 9, 1895, Review & Herald, of a ministry that women, who gave themselves to it, should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands.
  4. Willie White ordained deaconesses on January 6, 1900, in Australia. In 1975 an action was taken to ordain deaconesses at GC Session. In 1985 the action was reaffirmed and in 2010 it was recorded in the Church Manual. Ordination of women elders was approved in 1975 and reaffirmed at Annual Council in 1984.
  5. The General Conference voted to authorize women to serve as pastors (1990).
  6. Sixteen female pastors have already been ordained in China. These women are playing a significant role in the rapid church growth in their country and the Northern Asia Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists recognizes their ordinations.

DIVERSITY IN UNITY: As a global church that values diversity in unity:
  1. We affirm that diversity in unity is part of the divine order for creation, redemption, restoration and for the church (Ephesians 4, John 17, 1 Corinthians 12:12).
  2. We affirm God's leading in utilizing the talents of women for the mission of the church. ”When a great and decisive work is to be done, God chooses men and women to do this work, and it will feel the loss if the talents of both are not combined” (Evangelism, p. 469).
  3. We understand that “there must be room to recognize the need for a legitimacy of local adaptation of policies and procedures that facilitate mission while not diminishing the worldwide identity, harmony and unity of the Church” (GC Spring Council 2012 116-12G Report).
  4. We celebrate our diversity of culture, gender and ethnicity.
  5. We recognize that “The distribution of authority and responsibility in the church, along with the recognition that ‘authority rests in membership,’ presents significant challenges in finding a balance between centralized authority (actions of the global church) and the more localized authority (actions of the constituency) in churches, conferences and unions.
              “At the same time, the church has worked to preserve unity, the effect of church growth has enlarged the understanding of diversity and its rightful place in a worldwide community. To expect that every entity in the world church will look and function exactly like every other entity of its type may in itself become an impediment to mission. The development of structural designs in the history of the church indicates that unity must be built on a stronger foundation than uniformity” (GC Spring Council 2012 116-12G Report).
  6. We acknowledge that “different elements of organizational authority are distributed among the various levels of denominational organization … decisions regarding the ordination of ministers are entrusted to the union conference/mission …” (NAD Working Policy B 05, 6).
  7. We recognize that ordination is for the world church (NAD Working Policy L 40 and L 45 05). We further recognize that ordained ministers may not function outside the territory of the organization issuing their credential, unless invited to do so.
Note: All scriptural references are from the New King James Version (NKJV).

COMMENTS POLICY:  Thank you all for sharing your comments. In anticipation of Sabbath and in preparation for the meeting on Sunday, July 29, we will be closing down comments on this story starting, July 26. You may resume posting your comments on the new story that will be posted on the results of the meeting. Please join us in praying for God’s Spirit to guide and His will to prevail.

Andy Stone
2012-05-28 6:41 PM

 
Luke 2:36-38
King James Version (KJV)
 
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
 
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
 
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

My Comments:

Unless the worldwide church can without contradiction show from the Bible that ordaining women is against the entire revealed word of God, the body of Christ has a collective responsibility to no longer discriminate one gender based on some select Bible texts.  Honestly, if the no ordination rule is based on the text that says "women should not speak in church" then the consequence should be that women should never be allowed to speak when it comes to any church matters inside or outside the church which can include the Spirit of Prophecy.  Also note that the body of Christ is referred to as a bride.  E.G. White's writings as presented in the book "Pastoral Ministry" in Chapter 13 talks about "Women as Soulwinners".  The harvest is plenty and we cannot afford to be sidetracked by extreme and unsupported Biblical interpretations.  The Bible is very clear on this and I hope the entire church gets it too so that we can work together in unity of purpose. There are 7 billion to be reached so let's get moving in one accord.  The Biblical concept of the priesthood of all believers infact implies a collective mandate and not limit the work of Gospel outreach to "male" only.  


Jason
2012-07-04 11:13 AM

Petition about ordination www.christorculture.com/petition

Ray
2012-07-07 1:53 PM

Bro. Andy,
Where in the bible it categorically says:  You shall not worship on Sunday or the first day?
 I am waiting for response. Thanks

Ray
2012-05-29 5:13 PM

The Columbia Union is out of order. The World Church voted twice on this matter. You are also in rebellion to God's will. Soon you will also push for gay marriages. You are trying to let the bible fit your opinions of political correctness. God's equality is different from man's equality. The bible says that a man should love his wife as Christ love the church and wives should submit to their husbands. Are you now going to say this dictum is based on culture? Well, if the man's position is based on culture then the dictum that states that man should love his wife would also be no longer relevant to our time! If we cut these two dictums out we would also need to cut out where the bible says that children should submit to their parents as well. What you are trying to do is based on your culture not God's word. God is the head of Christ and Christ is the head of man and man is the head of the woman (1 Cor 11: ......) your rebellion is worse than witchcraft. And you are disrespecting the world church! My brothers and sisters we must do things in order.  President Obama has come out clearly for gay marriages based on the grounds of justice yet God’s word stated clearly that homosexuality is an abomination. Your point about justice for women is a dangerous point the same argument Lucifer used that God is not a God of justice. You are laying the grounds for homosexuality in the context that you are trying to confuse the role between men and women in the family. Gays no longer recognize the difference between male and female they claim it does not matter who one marries to. Likewise, when women step into the man’s role she no longer recognizes the spiritual role that God sets up for male and female. The bottom line she is now a lesbian in the context of spirituality! If you think my statement is radical check again when the bible refers to the false church as spiritual whore! The Criterion for elders and pastors is clear in the bible: I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.1 Tim 2: 12 I pray you Columbia Union will submit to the word!

Al
2012-07-21 4:27 PM

By "rebelling" against the worldwide church, Columbia Union Conference is laying the foundations on which his own Conferences and Local Churches will rebel against him. Please, be prepared.

Geoff
2012-05-30 12:51 AM

Open rebuke is better than secret love. While I appreciate and encourage women to be fully engaged in ministry (because the fields are all white but the laborers are few), it is a sad day in the remnant church when an adhoc committee is chosen, not to study IF it is biblical to ordain women, but they are "assigned to study how to affirm women in ministry."  But in fact, this is not really about affirming women (and men need encouragement too), but about pushing an agenda - female ordination.

 

This real agenda is clearly seen in the resulting actions "to ordain qualified persons."  We already ordain qualified men, so let's be honest, this is about ordaining "qualified women."  The only problem is that there are no qualified women because the Bible qualification is for the husband of one wife. 1 Timothy 3:12 and Titus 1:6.  And not just any man either; there are other criteria. The only way to get around this clear yet often misunderstood instruction is to reinterpret the Bible and say it doesn't mean what it says.

 

The next misapprehension is to make this an issue of justice instead of obedience.  But my question is What does the Bible have to say about this?  Does the Spirit of Prophecy, Ellen White shed any light on this issue?  Supporters of female ordination seem to ignore and disrespect this precious vessel's inspired counsel.

 

Case in point, Chapter 42—Presumption, pp 483, 484:

 

"The sin of this age is disregard of God’s express commands. The power of influence in a wrong direction is very great. Eve had all that her wants required. There was nothing lacking to make her happy, but intemperate appetite desired the fruit of the only tree that God had withheld. She had no need of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, but she permitted her appetite and curiosity to control her reason. She was perfectly happy in her Eden home by her husband’s side; but, like restless modern Eves, she was flattered that there was a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. But in attempting to climb higher than her original position, she fell far below it. This will most assuredly be the result with the Eves of the present generation if they neglect to cheerfully take up their daily life duties in accordance with God’s plan.

 

"There is a work for women that is even more important and elevating than the duties of the king upon his throne. They may mold the minds of their children and shape their characters so that they may be useful in this world and that they may become sons and daughters of God. Their time should be considered too valuable to be passed in the ballroom or in needless labor. There is enough necessary and important labor in this world of need and suffering without wasting precious moments for ornamentation or display. Daughters of the heavenly King, members of the royal family, will feel a burden of responsibility to attain to a higher life, that they may be brought into close connection with heaven and work in unison with the Redeemer of the world. Those who are engaged in this work will not be satisfied with the fashions and follies which absorb the mind and affections of women in these last days. If they are indeed the daughters of God they will be partakers of the divine nature. They will be stirred with deepest pity, as was their divine Redeemer, as they see the corrupting influences in society. They will be in sympathy with Christ, and in their sphere, as they have ability and opportunity, will work to save perishing souls as Christ worked in His exalted sphere for the benefit of man.

 

"A neglect on the part of woman to follow God’s plan in her creation

, an effort to reach forimportant positions which He has not qualified her to fill, leaves vacant the position that she could fill to acceptance. In getting out of her sphere, she loses true womanly dignity and nobility. When God created Eve, He designed that she should possess neither inferiority nor superiority to the man, but that in all things she should be his equal. The holy pair were to have no interest independent of each other; and yet each had an individuality in thinking and acting. But after Eve’s sin, as she was first in the transgression, the Lord told her that Adam should rule over her. She was to be in subjection to her husband, and this was a part of the curse. In many cases the curse has made the lot of woman very grievous and her life a burden. The superiority which God has given man he has abused in many respects by exercising arbitrary power. Infinite wisdom devised the plan of redemption, which places the race on a second probation by giving them another trial.

 

"Satan uses men as his agents to lead to presumption those who love God; especially is this the case with those who are deluded by spiritualism."

 

Now where did that last word come from?  Spiritualism?  Yup that's right.  You see rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.  1 Samuel 15:23.

 

I'll share more on what this piece got right and not quite right you next time.  It's late and I am going to bed, but I do welcome your feedback.

Sincerely,
*** Geoff ***



Celeste Ryan Blyden
2012-05-30 9:54 AM

Thank you all for sharing your comments. Anyone else?

David Lamoreaux
2012-07-26 12:26 PM

I fully support the Columbia Union Conference constituency to vote yes on the principle of  full recognition of unity of men and women for the gospel ministry. There is no reason to delay any longer. This has festered too long and been a source of disunity especially with our young members. 

Cryston Josiah
2012-05-30 12:34 PM

I will like to invite the administrators of this page to not allow people to violate your guidelines to stay within 500 words.  Some of these comments need to be deleted based on the criteria you have set.  That being said...I would like one person to prove scripturally that God is against women being ordained.

Geoff
2012-05-30 11:34 PM

I agree with Cryston on the limitation in all fairness.  But in fairness we should allow a similar works for balance.  How about the well respected Pastor Doug Bachelor?

http://www.womenministrytruth.com/free-resources/media/articletype/articleview/articleid/1128/women-pastors-a-biblical-perspective.aspx

or if you are more of a reader instead of watching a video


http://www.amazingfacts.org/free-stuff/online-library/book-viewer.aspx?g=d78233cc-4258-4391-9bb3-830b53fc3d9b&l=en&t=God's%20Role%20for%20Women%20in%20Ministry

Or since Pastor Tom Hughes posted his long, double header - his own article and Nancy Krone's article,  perhaps we could show one of the Prove All Things contributors.

Now Cryston, I would like to take you up on that challenge "to prove scripturally that God is against women being ordained."  I don't know that God is against women being ordained.  That is something we all need to study.  Perhaps God is not against ordaining women.  The issue is not whether women can be ordained, but whether they should be ordained as pastors and elders.  But I am glad you are interested in what the Bible has to say rather than all the "feelings conventions" I've been hearing lately.  I promise to get back to you on this because I own the rest of my observations about the original official statement.  But let me say no one is saying women cannot preach or teach.  The central issue is whether they are to be ordained as pastors and elders.

Now getting back to those observations.  There are several inaccuracies in the official statement that distort the truth.  It's late and I must be quick, but here's one:

The way in whcih point B in the History section is presented makes it appear that the 1889 proposal was voted but just not acted on.  There is no indication that this proposed resolution was actually voted on and accepted. Making a motion does not always result in a vote and an action.  This happens all too often at many board meetings I've attended.  On point F, we do not do or justify something just because it is already being done (16 female pastors in China), but because like you prefer, God said so (or prohibits).

I'll expand after I get some much needed shut eye.

God bless you,

*** Geoff ***


David Lamoreaux
2012-07-26 12:01 PM

I realize that some folk respect Bachelor but after his sermon against women, I don't have much respect for him or his supporters. I think he and they have put themselves in conflict with Fundamental Belief #14 and until they come around, I have no interest in being in unity with him or them.

Visitor Staff
2012-05-31 3:03 PM

Just wanted to post a comment from our Facebook page: 

 
Zdravko Plantak
Historic moments in our church. So great to be a member of the Columbia Union at this time! We pray for continual blessing upon the leaders and lay people. And I am looking forward to the constituency meeting in July where I desire to be a witness as the justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like ever flowing stream!

Ean Nugent
2012-06-01 5:49 PM

I greatly appreciate the depth of insight displayed by many of the previous commenters. I believe we must all acknowledge that this is a difficult issue and we are in desperate need the Spirit of God to understand His will on this matter.

Without commenting directly on the issue, I would like to share some thoughts on the action to be considered at the special constituency meeting in July. If our constituency votes to authorize ordination without regard to gender, the policy of our union will be in direct conflict with the voted policy of the General Conference. While I sympathize with the intentions of the advocates of this action and even admire their zeal, I believe that taking this step is inconsistent with the following 3 Biblical principles (which I will share in separate 500-word posts).

Ean Nugent
2012-06-01 5:52 PM

Principle 1: Unity of the Church (Jn. 17:9-23): This action will greatly retard progress towards the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer that His followers “may be one”.

Paul wrote:

"Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." 1 Cor. 1:10

We know Paul is not saying we are to have the same mind on every issue. There are some issues where we should “let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5). However, his plea for unity of word and thought surely applies to issues that affect the global church. This he confirms by his own example:

"Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them [those demanding Gentile circumcision], they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question." Acts 15:2

This issue concerned the global church. Accordingly, Paul and Barnabas took it to the “apostles and elders, with the whole church” (verse 22). After the decision was made, the decision was sent to “every city” (15:36; 16:4). Rather than address this only for the church in Antioch, Paul and Barnabas’ actions pushed towards unity for the global church on this global issue.

Without doubt ordination concerns the global church. An individual is ordained as a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They are not ordained as a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Columbia Union or the Atlantic Union. These credentials speak on behalf of the worldwide body and are currently recognized throughout that body. This issue concerns the global church. Therefore, as a global church, let us “speak the same thing.” If and when the global church is ready to unite in this direction, let us proceed. But let us proceed together as one body.

For decades, women’s ordination has been a source of division in our global church family. Even within the North American Division, our different views on this issue have been exploited by Satan to set us against each other. This has been the case while we have attempted constructive dialogue on this matter. So how much wider will the division grow when dialogue is ignored and what will be perceived as insubordinate rebellion takes its place?

Despite our differing views, we, not as the Columbia Union, or the North American Division, but as the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, are one body, the body of Jesus. We must endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).

"We should leave no means untried to preserve unity in the church. Receive in the fullness of your heart the words of Christ, and be doers of his word. We cannot receive the blessings that the love and presence of Christ can bring us, if we cherish feelings that will mar the unity that Christ prayed might exist among his disciples." Ellen White, RH, July 25, 1893 par. 9

Ean Nugent
2012-06-01 5:54 PM

Principle 2: Bearing with One Another in Love (Eph. 4:2): This action will be interpreted as insensitive to the consciences of many members of the worldwide church.
 
Currently, the church is (again) in the midst of studying ordination, of course with the undercurrent of determining the role of gender therein. Being willing to reconsider this matter has taken great humility and sincerity on the part of many in our worldwide church family. Many have held a firm position for decades, but are willing to again open themselves to the Spirit to affirm or disaffirm their long-held convictions. Many of them, just as sincere and zealous for the will of God as those advocating this action, are willing to acknowledge, ‘I have been wrong for 50 years.’ However, before making such a statement, they are waiting to consider the conclusions of the division Biblical Research Committees, and the report of the Theology of Ordination Study Committee to be presented in 2014. They want more information to ensure they are being led in the way of God’s truth. Should we not wait for the Spirit to do what we can never do? If this is His will, does He not have the power to enlighten His people when and how He chooses?
 
An example of the Spirit working when and how He chooses to enlighten His people can be seen in the acceptance of the Gentiles into the early church. Why didn’t Jesus ensure His disciples understood this before His ascension? Why didn’t the Spirit urge this on the disciples at Pentecost? Rather, it was not until the 10th chapter of Acts that this prejudice against, not who could serve in ministry, but against who could be saved, was addressed. This timing does not seem reasonable to humans (see Jn. 7:6; 16:12).
 
Also, how the Spirit brought this to the church does not appeal to human reasoning. When Cornelius had his vision, Philip was already in Caesarea (Acts 8:40; 21:8). Philip would have seemed to be a better candidate for the first preacher to the Gentiles since he had preached to Samaritans and a eunuch (Acts 8:5-39). But God specifically chose Peter for this task (Acts 15:7) to teach Peter and the church that “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). And the lesson, taught in the Spirit’s time, in the Spirit’s way, was learned.
 
This same Spirit is leading the church today and it is His prerogative to guide the church into all truth (Jn. 16:13). I am not suggesting that we must wait until we all agree on this matter. But at least let us wait until the mind of the entire body, expressed by the majority of its delegation, is united in this direction. Let us wait for the Spirit of God.
 
“We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Rom. 15:1). If this truly is the will of the Lord, those who have been privileged by the Lord to receive this enlightenment ought to “bear with the scruples of the weak,” praying that the Lord will enlighten them as well. They ought also to “beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak” (1 Cor. 8:9). “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Cor. 8:1).
 
Even when we are right, rather, especially when we are right, the Spirit of Jesus demands that we patiently, respectfully, lovingly bear with our brothers and sisters who disagree with us. The Spirit of Jesus demands that we seek to win their hearts and minds. The Spirit of Jesus cannot lead us to disregard their concerns of conscience and independently act in accord with what we see to be right.

Ean Nugent
2012-06-01 5:56 PM

Principle 3: The Authority of the Body of Believers (Mt. 18:18-20): This action questions the God-given authority of the church of the living God.
 
Acts 15 also provides an instructive example of the authority of Jesus’ church. The disagreement arose in Antioch and it would seem reasonable to let the leaders there solve it. However, as it involved a concern of the global church, it was sent to the highest level of authority under heaven, “the apostles and elders, with the whole church” (verse 22). They, “being assembled with one accord” believed that their decision expressed the will of the Holy Spirit (verse 28). As stated earlier, these “decisions” were then taken “from town to town … for the people to obey” (Acts 16:4 NIV). The decisions were not subject to the approval of the believers in the different regions. They recognized that the representative body of believers in Jerusalem spoke with the authority of heaven.
 
"I have often been instructed by the Lord that no man’s judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and to say what plans shall be followed. 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 …" Ellen White 9T 260, 261.
 
If it is true that the representative General Conference body has authority ordained by God, it is not reasonable for a union, which has been formed by the representative General Conference body, to have the authority to act in conflict with that body.
 
Furthermore, if it is acceptable for one union to act in conflict with General Conference policy, this logically gives license for all unions to act in conflict with General Conference policy. What could be wrong with a union allowing polygamy within its field? What could be wrong with a union accepting theistic evolution within its field? How could any union be wrong for taking any action that is in conflict with any General Conference policy if our union is not wrong in doing so? If taking this action is not wrong, all General Conference policy is simply a suggestion to be ratified by each union (or perhaps conference, or church, or individual).

Geoff
2012-07-02 3:22 PM

Ean,
I couldn't have put together a better response.  I particularly appreciate your objectiveness and openness to give the benefit of a doubt to the sincerity and integrity of those who would hastily and impatiently forge ahead without regard to the repercussion (although they say they "are aware of the risks of unintended consequences" on p. 13 of July's Visitor).  All three of your points must not be ignored.  We must preserve unity and this action will not do that.  Patience and forbearance is the Christian way.  And we must let due process take its turn. James 1:4.  I also found this in my morning devotions today:


"Let not the Christian, who is dependent on God for every breath he draws, feel exalted above his brethren.  He should not dictate terms to them, as though he has given them life and intelligence, and therefore they were responsible to him.
There is coming in among us a spirit which God will not suffer to rule.  Never should Christians feel that they are lords over God’s heritage.  There should not be among Christians a spirit which makes some patrons and some protégés.  The commandments of God forbid this.  “All ye are brethren” (Matthew 23:8).  No man is to think that he is the owner of the minds and capabilities of his brethren.  He is not to think that others must submit to his dictation.  He is liable to err, liable to make mistakes, as every man is. He is not to try to control matters in accordance with his ideas.
He who yields to this spirit of self-exaltation places himself under the control of the enemy. If ministers of the gospel cannot harmonize with all his ideas and imaginings, he turns from them and speaks against them, pouring out the sarcasm and bitterness in his heart upon ministers and ministry. – This Day with God p. 192
 
Remember 1 Peter 5:2, 3.

GMFreeman
2012-06-03 9:17 PM

Some of the excessively long comments, contrary to instructions, remind me that they too as well as the Columbia Union are engaging in rebellion since the GC in official session twice declined to approve of women's ordination.

Not only has the book - PROVE ALL THINGS- with a female as editor, shown that ordination of women is contrary to Scripture, the book - the Tip Of An Iceberg by C. Raymond Holmes has also definitively proven that women should not be ordained.

Culture is quite obviously a major factor as well as the unhealthy influence of the feminist movement which has intruded itself into the SDA church.

Joe
2012-06-03 11:21 PM

I appreciate with great concerns the contribution of many in the face of one of the biggest heresies among others to take hold of the church. I think the problem we have is in relation to hermeneutics (principles of biblical interpretation). Only a bad hermeneutics will lead to position such as female Pastor and Elder etc. Please understand that there is enough biblical evidence to support only male as pastors and elders etc. My argument to those who twist the Words of God to please their corrupt and reprobate minds is that: (1) The Worship of God is defined by God Himself, not man; the experience of the golden calf in Exodus 32 is a lesson for all of us. (2) God sets the order in His church, not man...

We can see clearly throughout the Scriptures beginning in the Old Testament which is a foreshadow of the New Testament church that all leading roles in religious, civil and family lives were exclusively reserved to men. The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35 tells us why women should not lead in the church: "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive as the law also says [...] for it is shameful for women to speak in church". The reason being as Paul says the law forbids it. Which law does he refer to? Of course, Paul refers to the law as the Old Testament; as we know that is all they had then. Secondly, in 1 Timothy 2: 11-13, he insists again by emphazing that women ought not to teach or to have authority over a man "for Adam was formed first, then Eve. and Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgresssion [...]". Therefore, another reason Paul gives against women leadership in the church is the order in creation.

Allowing women leadership in the church is a challenge to God's creation order and will among his people. There is no precedent in the Old Testament of women leadership. Even Deborah as a prophetess stayed in the background, not leading the armies to war, as did Moses, Joshua and all the male Judges of Israel.

There is much to say about this heresy cripping into the church but not enough space. Please remember that, in order to have the correct hermeneutics one should acknowledge scriptural harmony, and fight against a so called dichonomy between the Old and NewTestaments. As Augustine says "the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed, and the Old Testamen is the New Testament concealed"...

I know some hold secular arguments deguised as Christian's to support this heresy, even using linguistics to make their point. However, we will do well to remember that Christianity did not start with us. More than 2000 years of church history remind us that women were not ordained in the ministry as Pastors, elders etc...Church councils and creeds, even all Reformation documents had never considered nor agreed to women Pastor, elders. Therefore, we should not abandon the old path. We will do well to walk in it.


Rebecca
2012-06-05 11:40 AM

Dear Columbia Union conference members,

The gospel is not affected by anyone's culture. If we believe, as we usually proud ourselves to be the people of the book, that the Bible and the Bible alone, we shouldn't, whenever addressing issues regarding the church talk about the influence of culture on our decision. Isn't it why Paul confronted Peter in Galatians. I thought, as believers, we were redeemed, so new creatures. I thought we belong to the Kingdom of God, being priests and kings ordained by our Father; which means that our culture is from heaven. Why do you want to twist the Bible to support your feminist agenda? Needless to say that we are approaching the end of time. 

Debbie Cox
2012-06-05 11:57 AM

Of course women are to serve, but in what capacities? The same holds true for men. They each have their places in God's plan.

As far as reforms go::
"But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all REFORMS. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous or discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority--not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a PLAIN "Thus saith the Lord" in it's support." GC 595

Jim Cox
2012-06-05 4:48 PM

I have just read the vote of the recent Executive Committee to pursue the ordination ofpersons regardless of gender. What a political way of saying they want to go ahead and ordain women. This action is a blatant disregard and disrespect for the authority of the World Church which has already settled the issue not to mention that the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy is clear on the subject. What I see is a Union setting itself up as an independent organization within the World Church of Seventh-day Adventist and determined to have its own way outside the authority of the World Church. In all my forty four years as a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and forty plus years as a minister have I seen such arrogance on the part of leaders of Conferences and a Union. Surely God can not and will not bless such disrespect. The last days are upon us and the Devil is laughing at what he sees happening.  When we should be striving for the revival and reformation that our Prophetess said is to be our first work we have men and women driving wedges in the heart of the Church with issues such as this. We have more important things to be dealing with. A storm is brewing and the Church will appear to fall. It is almost at that very point! A day of reckoning is on the horizon- even at the door. In all my years in this Church and as a minister I have fought to defend my church and leaders. I will continue to defend the “Truth As It Is In Jesus” and the Remnant, but I have lost  confidence in the leadership in our Union and Conference. Our Church appears to be nothing more than a church following after the worldly customs and no more is it distinctly different. About the only difference left is Sabbath and we don’t do a very good job of keeping it any more.
 
I take courage in that the Prophetess has told us that God will have a purified Church. Until that purification comes may God have mercy on us all.
 

Greg
2012-06-07 3:53 PM

I appreciate the willingness, boldness, inclusiveness and openess of the Columbia Union Conference Executive Committee vote to "call a special constituency session to authorize ordinations without regard to gender."

I agree with Ms. Hills points and would propose to pastor Shafer that not ordaning without respect to gender is "demeaning and insensitive."

I would hope and presume there will be abundant thoughtfull scripture based discussion on this topic.

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 1:34 AM

Greg, the "abundant thoughtfull scripture based discussion" has been occuring for 3 decades and resulted in several no votes. I think now the appeal is an emotional on. 

Ann
2012-06-07 6:23 PM

Advocates of slavery also used the Bible to defend their position. 

Let's continue to pray for God's Spirit to unite us and bring us to an understanding of His will and of the principles that can be found in careful study of Scripture. We are too quick to say, "See!  The Scriptures say thus and thus" without fully considering whether time, place, or circumstances alter the practice of an enduring principle. 

"God wants us all to have common sense, and He wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions. Circumstances change the relation of things."  3 Selected Messages, 217 

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 1:29 AM

Ann, I think you intended to say "enduring policy." Who can alter God's principles? 

Ray
2012-07-12 10:59 AM

Sister Ann,
I agree with you 100% that the advocates of slavery used the bible to defend slavery but lets keep things in perspective. Did the bible condemn slavery? Did the bible uphold the loving relationship between husbands and wives? In first Corinthians 7: 21 the bible support the freedom of slaves. In fact, in first Timothy 1: 9, 10 it categorizes slave holders as unholy and profane, yet  we see the bible supports the role between male and female in 1 Corinthians 11: 1,2, 3 where its says: I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
To interfere with the headship of man would result in a slippery slope. For example, if we say that the headship role of man is no longer relevant then this would lead us to say that God is not the head of man and so on. The term head is based on prominence in respect to a husband and wife relationship it is in the context of when Sarah called her husband Lord and master. Now, if a man is priest of his home why should this headship principle be reversed in the house of God with women acting in the role of elders and pastors in the house of God?  The apostle Paul says women must not usurp authority over men in the church. Sister Ann, this subject is not a difficult subject as some would have it  to be the word is categorically clear as well as the spirit of prophecy: “The husband is the head of the family, as Christ is the Head of the church,” she writes, “any course which the wife may pursue to lessen his influence and lead him to come down from that dignified, responsible position is displeasing to God” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 307).
She also states: "those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of woman's rights and the so-called dress reform might as well sever all connection with the third angel's message. The spirit which attends the one cannot be in harmony with the other. The Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women" ( Testimonies for the Church , vol. 1, p. 421). Sister Ann it is better to obey than to sacrifice of soul salvation! God bless you.
 

Judy
2012-06-07 9:13 PM

So many interesting points to ponder.  I especially appreciated Ean Nugent’s point #2 about the Spirit working in the early church to show that God included the Gentiles in His salvation.  Even though He made it plain to Peter and Peter ‘got it’ there were many back in Jerusalem who were appalled at the idea.

 Is it possible that the Spirit is trying to lead us in a new direction and we are kicking and screaming because we are uncomfortable with the new direction?  I wonder what would happen if all those with strong views on the subject – both pro and con – would honestly come to the point where their past views and feelings, their proof texts and Spirit of Prophecy quotes were truly of no importance to them and they were completely willing for God to show them His will, whatever it is. 

I can personally testify that when I have come to the point where I don’t care what the answer is, I just want God’s answer, God has made His will completely plain to me, and I have had rest on the subject that was troubling me.  I challenge the readers on both sides of this issue to be willing to take the chance that they were wrong, and let the Spirit lead them to the point of total submission – the “I don’t care what the answer is God, but I want your answer” prayer.   

CMS
2012-06-08 10:25 AM

The most dangerous part of this is that the commitee and Columbia Union Conference is usurping the Word of God just as Lucifer attempted to do.

The Word of God is clear on the order of church leadership.  Women can serve and have served throughout the Bible in many capacities.  Miriam sister to Moses and Aaron,who was a Levite,  was not called into priestly service.  She prophecied but was not allowed to function as a priest.

Sister White who of  anyone could have been ordained was clear and set the
example that it is the "man" who is the head by "Thus saith the Lord" found in word and by example throughout the Bibe and very clearly in Timothy and Titus.

Placing individuals in leadership positions without regard to gender then opens the door to acceptance of the homosexual  lifestyle and gay marriage by the church.

The Lord loves the sinner not the sin. This is gospel truth.

I myself once saw nothing wrong with this idea but with prayer and fervent study I have submitted to the Lord's will not my personal agenda or  understanding in this matter.

I pray that the Columbia Union Conference will do the same. 


Dave
2012-06-10 11:41 PM

Wouldn't this create some difficult situations? The World Church has twice voted against the ordination of women (for all divisions in 1990 and for the NAD in 1995). The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the NAD does not allow the ordination of women, but the CUC now will? Does that mean that ordained women pastors in the CUC are only considered ordained in the CUC? When they wish to move to another conference or division, do the then revert to a commissioned pastor? Will the World Church recognize the ordination credentials?

It seems like this should be addressed at a higher level? Does this mean that individual conferences can have polices that are contradictory to that of the CUC? Can the Ohio Conference and the New Jersey Conference decided to ordain homosexual pastors even if the CUC does not permit it?

Please consider the actions we are taking here before we rush into something that is going to rip the church apart.
 
I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that they can be one. As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me. I have given these people the glory that you gave me so that they can be one, just as you and I are one. I will be in them and you will be in me so that they will be completely one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you loved them just as much as you loved me. (John 17:20 – 23 NCV)

David Lamoreaux
2012-07-26 12:53 PM

The world church was out of order in deciding against women's ordination. The proper decision would have been to abstain in directing any decision on this and hand it back to the Unions to decide and move on it. Where a certain Union constituency is uncomfortable with the idea, they can wait. Where we are now comfortable and ready, we should move ahead. This is not and never has been a doctrinal issue except maybe in the Roman Catholic church. Do we really want to follow the RCC?

Lorelei Cress
2012-06-11 3:21 PM

To those of you who disapprove of the ordination of women to ministry:

If God used Deborah to lead the people of Israel to victory at a time when women were considered vastly inferior to men, and if He used Ellen White to establish a new church at a time when women did not have access to higher education, or possess the right to vote, hold office, or own property in their own right, why is He suddenly unable to use women pastors and administrators to lead His church now, when women are being educated and trained to serve Him exactly as men are? Are you really presuming to tell these women who feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to dedicate their lives to ministry that God has not called them to lead? If so, then if you'd been alive in the 1860's you probably would have denounced the leadership of Ellen White - as a woman, God couldn't possibly have called her to hold a position of authority in His church, right? Let's call this nonsense of refusing to ordain women what it is: discrimination. Prejudice. Bigotry. Misogyny. Subjugation. Small-mindedness. Conceit. Foolishness.

I praise God that the leaders of the Columbia Union Conference are willing to acknowledge that males and females are equally called and ordained to His ministry. May many more conferences and unions follow suit!

"So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26-28


Lorelei Cress
2012-06-11 3:26 PM

While women were not members of “the twelve,” it is clear from Luke 8:1-3 that several women traveled with Jesus and the twelve. It was these dedicated women disciples who prepared Jesus’ body for burial (Luke 23:55-56, 24:1), who were chosen to first hear the glad news of his resurrection (24:5-7), and entrusted to share it with the other disciples (24:8-10). In Romans 16, Paul commends many strong women who worked alongside him in the church – Phebe, of whom he writes “assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also,” (interestingly, Young’s Literal Translation uses the word “leader” rather than “succourer”), Priscilla, whom he calls “my helper in Christ Jesus,” Mary “who bestowed much labour on us,” Junia, “of note among the apostles,”  Tryphena and Tryphosa,“ who labour in the Lord,” and “the beloved” Persis “who labored much in the Lord.” In Philippians 4:2-3, Paul also mentions Euodias and Syntyche, referring to them as “those women which laboured with me in the gospel.” These passages indicate that these women disciples and apostles, while marginalized by the culture and society they lived in, were prominent, active and valued ministers of the gospel in the early church.

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 1:25 AM

Lorelei, God can use anyone who surrenders to Him be it male or female. And He has used many women in a mighty way because the men were unwilling. So we should not make this an US vs THEM discussion. Yet, it is clear God chose 12 men as the foundation stones of His church, He himself being the Chief Corner Stone. We cannot lose sight of that important point. And we must ponder the "why" of it. These examples of Christ and the council of Paul have in some ways impacted the decisions of the delegates to the GC sessions for 30 decades. Could it be that changing our minds now might actually be yielding to cultural paradigm shifts or modern mindsets and traditions? 

Lorelei Cress
2012-06-11 3:42 PM

Some words from Ellen White on this subject:

"It is not always men who are best adapted to the successful management of a church. If faithful women have more deep piety and true devotion than men, they could indeed by their prayers and their labors do more than men who are unconsecrated in heart and in life." (Letter 33, 1879, p. 2)
 
There are women who should labor in the Gospel ministry. In many respects they would do more good than the ministers who neglect to visit the flock of God.” (Evangelism, p. 472).
 
"Injustice has been done to women who labor just as devotedly as their husbands, and who are recognized by God as being as necessary to the work of ministry as their husbands. The method of paying men-laborers and not their wives, is a plan not after the Lord's order.... This arrangement... is liable to discourage our sisters from qualifying themselves for the work they should engage in [i.e. ministry].... As the devoted minister and his wife engage in the work, they should be paid wages proportionate to the wages of two distinct workers, that they may have means to use as they shall see fit in the cause of God. The Lord has put His spirit upon them both. If the husband should die, and leave his wife, she is fitted to continue her work in the cause of God, and receive wages for the labor she performs.... This question is not for men to settle. The Lord has settled it. You are to do your duty to the women who labor in the gospel." ("The Laborer Is Worthy of His Hire," Mss. 43a, 1898. MR 267)
 
"God wants workers who can carry the truth to all classes, high and low, rich and poor. In this work women may act an important part. God grant that those who read these words may put forth earnest efforts to present an open door for consecrated women to enter the field." (Ibid., MR 298)
 
“Again and again the Lord has shown me that women teachers are just as greatly needed to do the work to which He has appointed them as are men." (Ibid., MR 330)

"Women who are willing to consecrate some of their time to the service of the Lord should be appointed to visit the sick, look after the young, and minister to the necessities of the poor. They should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands.... This is another means of strengthening and building up the church. We need to branch out more in our methods of labor. Not a hand should be bound, not a soul discouraged, not a voice should be hushed; let every individual labor, privately or publicly, to help forward this grand work." (Review and Herald, July 9, 1895)

"All who wish an opportunity for true ministry, and who will give themselves unreservedly to God, will find in the canvassing work opportunities to speak upon many things pertaining to the future immortal life. The experience thus gained will be of the greatest value to those who are fitting themselves for the work of the ministry. It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God." (Review and Herald, January 15, 1901)

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 1:17 AM

Lorelei, remember that Ellen White, who wrote this material you are quoting, was not ordained as a pastor and she was submissive to her husband often deferring to him as an obedience wife in the Lord even, at times, asking his permission to speak in meeting. 

Lorelei Cress
2012-06-11 3:45 PM

You might also benefit from a foray into church history: Sarah Hallock Lindsey became the first woman licensed as a minister in the SDA church in 1872. Several other women: Ellen Lane, Julia Owen, four others are listed as licensed ministers in the second SDA Yearbook, published in 1884. At the 1881 General Conference (GC) session, a motion was made to ordain women to gospel ministry.  The item referred to the General Conference Committee read as follows: "Resolved, That females possessing the necessary qualifications to fill that position, may, with perfect propriety, be set apart by ordination to the work of the Christian ministry." (Review and Herald, Dec. 20, 1881).

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 1:14 AM

Lorelei, Yes, I found many articles speaking of women and ordination to various offices, but I found nothing which talked about them being ordained as pastors. Did you find anything? 

Ray
2012-06-11 6:14 PM

I am appalled to see how bias the ColumbiaUnion Visitor Magazine was in itspresentation of the June 2012 cover story about female ordination. Those whoread that issue of the Visitor willsee a litany of references to female ordination and not one comment pertainingto an opposite viewpoint. I was even more horrified to see the misleadingcaption on the cover: GodVersus the Red Dragon.  At firstglance one could believe that the caption points to God's opposition to Satanreferred to as the Red Dragon of Revelation 12:3, but on the contrary thecaption was just a ploy to lead one into reading about the apostate push for femaleordination, a rebellion led by Columbia Union! The article elevates femaleChinese pastors but fails to elevate the Bible teaching of women's role.
Whilewe thank God for the spread of the gospel in China for it is a real struggle tobe a Christian there, yet one needs to know that Communist China does notregard God's plan concerning family.  Infact, the Chinese government does not believe in God and idolizes Karl Marx’sideologies which are hostile toward God. Therefore, the practice of female ordination in China should not be heldup as a model for the church. Karl Marx said, “Religion is the opiate for themasses” and here we are supporting Marxist female ordination and failing torecognize God’s authority concerning the role of men and women in the church.God has already settled the matter between men and women. In God’s eyes, menand women are equal and both are precious to Him. It is the feminists who areunhappy with God’s plan. True Christian women enjoy their men taking the lead;Jezebel-like ones do not! The feminists will soon accuse God of not being justin giving men a little greater physical strength; they will soon complain aboutwhy God did not let men carry a child for nine months. Listen, when it comes todeciding on female ordination, the safest choice is God’s choice (1 Corinth11:3; 1 Tim 2:12; 1 Tim 3:1-13). Let us obey God rather than man. His way is truly the best way!

Ray
2012-06-11 6:58 PM

Lorelei, it is the bible that disapproves concerning female ordination and this has nothing to do with hatred! Is it hatred to believe that children must submit to their parents? Is it based on hatred when God sets up pastors and elders to give direction in the church? Is it hatred that God instituted government to rule?  Do you remember how Lucifer rebelled against God's government and influence a third stating that God is not just? Sister Lorelei, are you suggesting that men do not have roles based on the bible? I would sure like to some answers from you.  Please remember Lorelei that I believe 100% when the bible says husbands must love their wives is this bigotry?  I also believe 100% that wives must submit to their husbands and that husbands are the heads of their households!  To your claim concerning slavery God condemns slavery but the role of  husbands and parents still stands. You are comparing apples and oranges and combining the two!  Lorelei, listen to this “She was perfectly happy in her Eden home by her husband's side; but like restless modern Eves, she was flattered that there was a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. But in attempting to climb higher than her original position, she fell far below it. This will most assuredly be the result with the Eves of the present generation if they neglect to cheerfully take up their daily duty in accordance with God's plan“A neglect on the part of woman to follow God's plan in her creation, an effort to reach for important positions which He has not qualified her to fill, leaves vacant the position that she could fill to acceptance. In getting out of her sphere, she loses true womanly dignity and nobility” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 483, 484).God bless! 
  

Celeste Ryan Blyden
2012-06-14 2:33 PM

Thank you all for sharing your comments here. We are reviewing each of them. Please pray for our leaders as they prepare for this specially called constituency meeting, for the advancement of God's work in the Columbia Union, and that more of our members will find ways to share Christ and experience the mission.

Columbia Union Conference
Communication Director

Dean Waterman
2012-06-16 6:26 AM

I believe the moment ordination was given approval in China, to satisfy government regulations, it ceased to be a theological argument, but one of culture and preference. To the humble, gracious, Christ-like women in our Potomac Conference ... you have shown that your ministry is not based on man’s opinion, but on God’s calling.

Dave
2012-06-16 3:51 PM

This article seems relevant to this topic...

http://news.adventist.org/archive/articles/2012/02/14/north-america-retracts-commissioned-ministers-as-top-leader-candidates

The first page of the General Conference Constitution states, “Each division of the General Conference is authorized to carry out responsibilities in the territory assigned to it. …In order to carry the authority of the General Conference, the actions of division committees shall, of necessity, be in harmony with and complementary to the decisions of the General Conference in Session, and the actions of the General Conference Executive Committee between Sessions.”

Ron
2012-06-23 11:13 PM

QUICK QUESTION -

If the constituency decides to move forward with changing the bylaws to practice independent of the General Conference my understanding is that the General Conference may dissolve the union removing us from the umbrella of Seventh-Day Adventists.

From my study of the Biblical principals relating to women's ordination I am strongly against it.

What will happen to my church and my membership. Will we have to open new SDA churches?

Can anyone say "SHAKING"?

Visitor Staff
2012-06-26 10:36 AM

Here's a post from our Facebook page:
Applause for the Ad Hoc committee, the Conference Executive Committee and Columbia Union President, David Weigley for doing the right and moral thing: making ordination in your conference open to all who qualify regardless of gender. Mrs. Ellen G. White would be proud of your courage.

Karen Kotoske

L. David Harris
2012-06-27 8:38 AM

I will not here discuss what Scripture teaches on the subject of women in leadership--it would require more than 500 words. I will say, however, that the issue is worthy of our prayers! God is planning to do something special in His church just before the coming of Christ. As in the days of the early church, unity according the Bible definition (John 17:21), is a necessary precursor to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

That being said, we must be careful not to muddy the waters with distracting  issues: Whether we affirm women in ministry in this manner or not should not impact the Bible model of man being priest in the home. It's too clear to be confused. Whether we affirm women in ministry in this manner or not should not impact the Bible model of marriage between one man and one woman (equally yoked). It is too clear to be confused. Whether we affirm women in ministry in this manner or not should not impact the way we view God's choosing of our sexes before we are born, and us staying with that biological reality. It's too clear to be confused. While we must not have tunnel vision and other issues do relate, we must resist, in God's strength, being distracted.

We do need to be mindful of whether or not such a vote, procedurally, has implications. What relationship do our conferences and unions have with the divisions and the General Conference? What impact on the body does such a vote, yay or nay, have on the whole body? What are the risks vs. rewards of either vote at this level?

We have so much for which to pray. Let's take that so seriously as not to allow our feelings to get in the way. Let's continue to ask for God's guidance. We have much to do in cooperation with Him so we can fulfill our place in Matthew 24:14.


Olive
2012-07-03 7:35 PM

David you seem afraid of something here.  Let me tell you a story.  My parents lived as husband and wife for 65 years after a two month courtship.  And when my mother passed, my Dad followed her because his heart was too broken to keep him alive.  At their fiftieth aniversary celebration my dad stood up to make his speech in front of hundreds of family and friends.  This is what he said;  "My wife is very good with words.  She is my spokesman, so she will speak tonight."  My mom was a strong spiritual leader and she was our priestess.  My dad was loving and affectionate, and he was our go to and place of comfort.  Together they forged an alliance that carried an entire community for decades.  My dad's was an example of true manhood - not defined by socio-cultural division of labor. 

My brother, I say this to say, do not burden yourself with theological propaganda from those not adequately schooled in Scripture.  Nothing in the scripture tells us we must divide our families by some cultic division of labor - the legacy of an era that looks nothing like this era.  Free youself and your family to be your best.  If you are the more spiritual, be the priest by all means.  If your wife is the more spiritual and charismatic, do not divide your family..."submit yourselves to one another" as Paul would say, for "perfect love casts out all fear."  If that makes you less of a man, then you were not a man to begin with.

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 1:09 AM

Olive, today men want to be women and women want to be men. Men want to do a woman's work and women want to do a man's work. Men like to wear women's clothing and women like to wear men's clothing. Does this blurring of the roles please God? What do you think? 

Celeste Ryan Blyden
2012-06-27 1:00 PM

Thanks again everyone for your comments. It's healthy to engage in a wider discussion about this very important topic.

Ron, since you also asked a question, I will try to reply:

The Columbia Union Conference is, and will remain, part of the world church family. Though Seventh-day Adventists are spread across 209 countries of the world, we are united in mission, doctrine and spirit. The church accommodates policy variances in some places for practical purposes, cultural sensitivities or to advance our mission, i.e., polygamy, labor unions, women’s ordination. Here's how the GC addressed this in a recent report:

“At the same time as the Church has worked to preserve unity, the effect of church growth has enlarged the understanding of diversity and its rightful place in a worldwide community. To expect that every entity of the world will look and function exactly like every other entity of its type may in itself become an impediment to mission. The development of structural designs in the history of the Church indicates that unity must be built on a stronger foundation than uniformity.
 
"There must be room to recognize the need for a legitimacy of local adaptation of policies and procedures that facilitate the mission while not diminishing the worldwide identity, harmony and unity of the Church.” 
 
Source: Report 116-12G The General Conference and Its Divisions—A Description of Roles and Relationships in Light of Organizational Structure Development, Current Governance Documents, and Practices, p. 15, presented at GC Spring Council, April 2012. Read the full report at columbiaunion.org/2012specialconstituency in our Resources section. 

Nevertheless, this remains an important discussion that we must carefully and prayerfully navigate. So, please join the many members who are lifting our church and leaders in prayer as we seek God's guidance on how to fully affirm the women He has called to ministry.

Celeste Ryan Blyden
Communication Director

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 1:05 AM

Celeste, one important distinction. Though the church may accomodate policy variances in special cases we are speaking of unions taking actions against the vote of the World Church (i.e. the General Conference in session). This delegation is from every corner of the globe where the Adventist church has a presence and they voted against it. Now, how much "local adaption" is necessary within North America? Can we embrace polygamy and labor unions in North America. Is there that much difference between the states? Are they no longer "United?" That is a poor reason to cite. The actions of the unions is purely rebellious in nature since its intent is to disregard the decision of the World Church - a representation of every nation on earth where there are Adventists. 

David Lamoreaux
2012-07-26 1:04 PM

You mention the topic of polygamy. Interesting. Did you know that in some Unions, polygamy is now tolerated when a man with many wives is converted to Christ and is baptized. No longer is he forced to give up all but one wife but all are welcomed into the family of Jesus. We in North America have no business telling them that they are wrong. Yet some of the folks from that part of the world would deny our recognition of the fitness of women to serve as ministers of the gospel of Jesus our saviour.
And you haven't come around to recognizing how universal the gospel is either. I can pray for your eyes to be opened.

Yolanda
2012-06-28 9:57 AM

We need to pray for our leaders as they prepare for this meeting.

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 12:55 AM

Yolanda, definitely pray! Yet, not as Balaam who knew the Lord's will and yet still petitioned God to change His mind. We must pray that God's will be done, not ours. 

Vince
2012-06-30 8:11 AM

When I read the announcement of the special consituency in the CU Visitor I was stunned, and felt somewhat ashamed, that my "union" would take upon themselves the authority to decide on an issue that clearly is not in the best interest of church unity. Why was it necessary to forge ahead with your own adhoc study when the world church is already doing so? This a form of rebellion of the highest order. I believe that women's ordination should be decided only when the GC is in session. I have not formed an opinion on either side of the issue nor am I wise enough to, but under the leading of the Holy Spirit the right decision will be made at the right time. I appeal to the Union to use restraint in this matter.     

Ron
2012-06-30 8:10 PM

On Ordination Questions, G.C. Leadership Appeals for Orderly Process
'Appeal' Issued to Guide Unions, Conferences (Posted June 29, 2012)

PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE RESPONSE.

http://www.adventistreview.org/article/5489/archives/issue-2012-1518/18-cn-on-ordination-questions-g-c-leadership-appeals-for-orderly-process

Vince
2012-07-01 11:08 AM

I would like to know who were the members of the adhoc committee and state they represented. Also I would like to know the names of the delegates to the constituency from my state of  PA. Since that person is representing me I need to make known my feelings on the issue. 

Geoff
2012-07-02 2:20 PM

I am a layman and simple student of the word and I am perplexed that so many of our “scholars” and expert theologians are missing the obvious.  Apparently we haven’t learned from important lessons of the past.

Ean Nugent's 3 principles (above) are very important considerations.  I noticed in my July Visitor that there appears to be absence of objections to these unwise Columbia Union actions and this raises a flag.  On p. 9 there are two affirming comments and then Ean's caution seems truncated, but his admonition should not be ignored.

If anyone may be tempted to think this doesn’t really matter, I would pointed out that this seems to be such an important issue that this normally 45-page publication has been augmented a full 11 pages by this almost 20 page propaganda to persuade constituents that this is the right thing to do.  But this task, skillful as it may be, may underestimate the ability of the discerning.  So here, as promised are some of the missteps of the Columbia Union in 444 words:

Jason
2012-07-04 10:47 AM

I agree, the lack of an opposing viewpoint, is very unfortunate.  This should have been presented as a topic with both sides.

Geoff
2012-07-02 2:31 PM

Missteps:
1.       Making this a cultural matter and not a matter of obedience.
2.       Impatiently charging ahead, then going back to find justification for our impulsive and emotional actions
3.       Assuming the Holy Spirit was not leading us over the past 130 years, but suddenly He is finally leading us, and leading us contrary to the Bible and SOP
4.       Not being in touch with reality and disregarding the obvious affects of our unwise actions
5.       The use of “strawman” arguments (arguments no one is claiming) that God can only use men in ministry – no one is saying this (so this argument is only a device to detract and distract from the real issue of God’s clear instruction)
6.       Dishonest or unrealistic (at best) expectations – Visitor p. 12 (Q & A): Will this lead to same-sex marriage in our church?  “That’s an unfounded leap because these topics are in no way related.  The church’s stance on marriage is doctrinal, and we therefore affirm it.”

Still the Bible is our doctrine and it teaches clearly:
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”  1 Corinthians 11:3

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”  Ephesians 5:23

7.       Attempts to wrest SOP statements out of context in order to manipulate and convey a different understand than originally intended:

“It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God.”  Gospel Workers pp. 96-97
Please see from the full context in Testimonies to the Church, vol. 6, p. 321 (and even right here in Gospel Workers) that this is NOT about women being pastors as in pasturing a church, but this is a call for both men and women to do canvassing work.

“When a great and decisive work is to be done, God chooses men and women to do this work, and it will feel the loss if the talents of both are not combined”  Evangelism p. 469
Likewise, with the previous quote, the full context of this Evangelism quote is a call for both men and women to Bible work, not to be pastors and elders of churches.
8.       This is an attempt of the enemy, just as with the distraction of the ecumenical movement, to divert us from spreading the everlasting gospel.
Rather than helping to “move us forward” this controversy seems to be bringing us to a standstill

Grant Leitma
2012-07-02 3:46 PM

I read the current issue of the Visitor examining very carefully each page for  biblical and SOP quotes that authorize the church to go forward and allow women to become ministers. Sadly only one reference is relied upon from a 1895 RH article by Ellen White. From my own study, I have found plenty of biblical and SOP references that indicate women are to become actively involved in ministry-- prophets, evangelists, bible workers, bible teachers, preaching, canvassers, caring the poor, ministering to the ill and children. The only reference produced by the writer of the July 2012 Visitor articles on women's ordination is taken from a July 9,1895 RH article. Please read the entire paragraph below and you will find that she is making a call for everyone to become involved in ministry and work with the pastor:
"Women who are willing to consecrate some of their time to the service of the Lord should be appointed to visit the sick, look after the young, and minister to the necessities of the poor. They should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands. In some cases they will need to counsel with the church officers or the minister; but if they are devoted women, maintaining a vital connection with God, they will be a power for good in the church. This is another means of strengthening and building up the church. We need to branch out more in our methods of labor. Not a hand should be bound, not a soul discouraged, not a voice should be hushed; let every individual labor, privately or publicly, to help forward this grand work. Place the burdens upon men and women of the church, that they may grow by reason of the exercise, and thus become effective agents in the hand of the Lord for the enlightenment of those who sit in darkness."
Lets be very fair and honest here. She is advocating for women to become involved as deaconesses but no where will anyone find any reference where she says women should become ministers. In fact the title of the article is "The Duty of the Minister and the People." She worked hard to inform the church woman play an important part for the transmission of the gospel message. Let us go forward and obedient to God's word recognizing that spiritual men and women are necessary to proclaim the three angels messages and prepare a people for Christ's soon return.

Rajmund Dabrowski
2012-07-02 9:13 PM

The July issue of the Visitor reminds me of the best days of Adventist communication. It deals with an issue that many a church member is talking about and wondering what actually is at play, but doing in the spirit of openness. 

Growing up in a home of a Union president, I watched my father make decisions, and only infequently changing his mind. After I read Pastor Weigley's editorial, "5 Reasons I Changed My Views," my first thought was that of respect for a church leader taking a different stand from that of the past six years, and doing so publicly. It takes guts to make a statement about changing one's views on such an issue as ordination of women, and stating it in public.

Then came a moment of reflection when I recalled a 2009 visit with Dr. Jan Paulsen to China. The news reporting did not hide how women in China were making a difference in church mission there, and that, in Paulsen's words, It's clear that the Holy Spirit is at work in China." Many are being ordained, sanctioned by the officialdom of the China Christian Council, but also, many are ordained by local congregations themselves. In an interview with the Adventist Review, Paulsen commented about the women pastors, that, "God is ... spiritually equipping them and using them in a phenomenal manner." One understands that conditions and realities differ from place to place, culture to culture. 

Some of the recent news reporting didn't even mention the exemplary leadership and commitment of female pastors, in-spite of sizable difficulties in their country. However, the June edition of the Visitor brought the stories that need repeating and repeating. Not that one would transfer the methods from one place to another. Yet, God's will for His church may find me, and you, not being available to become swept off our feet by His Spirit, irrespective of who I am and who you are, gender notwithstanding. Well-done, Visitor editors! 

The materials in the July Visitor display a mosaic of what needs to be redeemed. Tip of my hat to the leadership team of Dave Weigley, and the editors. At the end, it will be the members of the constituency who will also take a stand. A prophetic one, may I presume? 

To be a leader of God's church requires not only standing for what is right, but also undoing what is unsustainable in the way unity in mission in today's world is pursued. Be assured of many prayers when the new, or different, is tried by the church as it responds to God's call to unity, but on His terms. 


Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 12:50 AM

Rajmund, perhaps our problem is we place to much importance on ordination. Obviously God can use whomever He wishes whether educated in our seminaries or not, whether ordained or not, whether male of female. Perhaps it is only we who get hung up on ordination. 

Kay Rosburg
2012-07-03 1:03 PM

I just want to say I was so pleased and lifted up when I received the Visitor in yesterday's mail!!  Finally, we have Christian leaders in our Union who recognize that this is a cultural issue and as Adventist Christians, we need to move forward towards equality/mutuality in ministry to have integrity, stay true to our mission, and act as Jesus would do in this situation - give voice to the marginalized.  I am hoping lay members can be present for the meeting on July 29 and that the union has representation in its delegate members that mirrors the gender makeup of its membership within the Columbia Union territory.  My prayers continue to be with the leadership and delegates to this historic meeting.

Visitor Staff
2012-07-03 2:39 PM

Kay, 
We are hoping to stream the session live. Stay tuned to our website for more details. 

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 12:46 AM

Kay, if the issue were so clear cut as it seems to be to you then women's ordination would have happened a  long time ago. If I suggest the decisions against were based on any thing other than a desire to understand and follow God's will then I accuse the delegates of the worst crime against heaven. So I will assume the best and believe that each, being led by God as I believe myself to be, has voted their conscience in such a way as to be cleared before God. 

Ray
2012-07-03 2:42 PM

The argument about culture is very disrespectful. This conjures up a bias against pastors and laypeople who are not Americans! This assertion also says that pastors who are not Americans are not properly trained in their respective Universities and colleges but only American pastors are trained rightfully! Is this arrogance? If this is nor arrogance then what it is? I must share that hundreds of us Americans are adamantly opposed to this ordination apostasy but not just lay people but well respected pastors including Pastor Douglas Bachelor and Pastor Stephen Borh!  I want to point out to the bias feministic magazine the Visitor that it should visit the word based on the divine culture of heaven and it will clearly see the plan of God and in this plan there is no room for the apostasy of female ordination! I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet!  This is not saying that women do not have their role but speaks of the order or role of women relating to men in terms of position or rank in the church. 1 Corthinians 11: 5 sanctions women speaking in church but not as elders and pastors. Paul points to the order of creation in respect to the role of men and women in the church. He said that Adam was first formed so in other words the headship principle was established be for sin and it was reiterated after sin when God says that Adam will rule over Eve. As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee causes thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. (Isaiah 3:12) this text make it clear that women must not rule over men it also makes it clear that children must not rule over parents.  This text describes who should lead.  For those who argue culture let me ask this question. Should children obey their parents only at home but in the church this is reversed? Is this biblical mandate only for those who are not Americans? Why is it that the role of husbands be reversed in the house of God? Isn’t the house of God an extension of the home? If we throw out the role of husbands we might as well throw out husbands loving their wives in the church and restrict it only to the home or perhaps this does not apply to America?  I encourage the Visitor to visit Korah’s  argument: all the congregation is holy!

Al
2012-07-21 4:19 PM

Ray, I do agree with you. Women's ordination is not a cultural matter. On one hand, there are people all over the world who are in favor of women's ordination as well there are people all over the world who are against it. On the other hand, all over the world we do have women able to serve in leadership position. Therefore, if God is calling women to be ordained, He is calling women all over the world to be ordained.

Olive Hemmings
2012-07-03 4:57 PM

As I understand it, if the leader of the world church stridently opposes any of the ploicies voted by the church then he proves to be the most divisive element.  Again as I understand it, the leader of the world church opposes commisioning female clergy and resists the ordination of women to any level of church leadership.  The leadership of the Columbia Union displays courageous and spirit-filled leadership.  The church is merely anstrument of God, not God.  How can it uphold immorality and divisiveness in the name of God.  How can it allow cultures that treat women as second class citizens to determine the policy of the church?

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 12:37 AM

Olive, the lines between men and women are already so blurred that one can hardly speak of second class citizens as you have done. Men want to be women and women want to be men. Is no one happy with their station in life? 

Olive Hemmings
2012-07-25 12:28 AM

At what point does a social role determine one's biologocal make-up?

Olive Hemmings
2012-07-25 12:22 AM

As I understand it, should the leader of the world church oppose any of the policies voted by the church then he proves to be the most divisive element.  Again as I understand it, the leader of the world church opposes commissioning female clergy and resists the ordination of women to any level of church leadership.  The leadership of the Columbia Union displays courageous and spirit-filled leadership.  The church is merely an instrument of God, not God.  How can it uphold immorality and divisiveness in the name of God?  How can it allow cultures that treat women as second class citizens to determine the policy of the church on this issue?
THIS EDITS  MY PREVIOUS POST - JUST REVISITING AFTER  MANY DAYS!

Joann
2012-07-03 5:26 PM

I never for one moment believed that there was any leader in this church that would stand up for righteousness./justice though the heavens may fall.  And here they are before my very eyes - my own union leaders.  It brings tears to my eyes each time I think about it.  May God bless your days and give you long and prosperous lives!

DRDRJCC
2012-07-03 6:03 PM

"Justice dalayed is justice denied." When perpetrated by the denomination in the name of "unity," the delay of women's ordination is a concession to Adventism having become a museum in which the traditions and the way they are related to have obviated if not obscured truth. The predilection toward treading the traditional waters rather than moving forward in faith reminds us that progress comes at the crossing of the waters and not at the treading thereof. Waiting till 2015 for the results of yet another study will accomplish little. Let's honor the authority invested in the unions and stop pretending that homogeneity, uniformity, and consensus elevates our value of truth. 

Max Ferguson
2012-07-03 6:38 PM

For me, perhaps the text that more than any other convincingly validates the necessity and appropriateness of the ordination of my female colleagues is 1 Cor. 12:11, Paul asserts, "He (that is the Holy Spirit) gives them (Spiritual Gifts) to each one, just as he determines."
By refusing to ordain our sisters in ministry the so called powers that be have essentially determined that they have now taken the place, role and function of the Holy Spirit. This is "limited omniscience" at it's finest, but it is also blasphemy. 

Since 1995 the church leaders have essentially been declaring that they alone can determine who has received what gift, otherwise the leadership would have long realized that if someone has been given the gifts for pastoral ministry then that person must be automatically eligible for ordination unless he or she is ineligible for some other reason/s. 

Let the ordination services begin!

Max

necessity and appropriateness of the ordination of my female colleagues is 1
Cor. 12:11, Paul asserts, "He (that is the Holy Spirit) gives them
(Spiritual Gifts) to each one, just as he determines." By refusing to ordain
our sisters in ministry the so called powers that be have essentially
determined that they have now taken the place, role and function of the Holy
Spirit. This is "limited omniscience" at it's finest, but it is also
blasphemy. 

Since 1995 the church leaders have essentially been declaring that they
alone can determine who has received what gift, otherwise the leadership
would have long realized that if someone has been given the gifts for
pastoral ministry then that person must be automatically eligible for
ordination unless he or she is ineligible for some other reason/s. 

Let the ordination services begin!

Jeff Logan
2012-07-07 12:27 AM

Max, God does not need ordination to gift someone, to use them, or call them into service. Your premise about usurping the role of the Holy Spirit is invalid. What ordination does is simply recognize God's calling and the persons qualifications.
The real issue here is unity in that One Spirit. To press an agenda in opposition to the General Conference in Session, which is recognized as the voice of the church, is simply a form of rebellion against the ordained authority God has bestowed upon His earthly church. In the same way the United States government views Arizona's immigrant laws as rebellion against the Federal laws. Not because Arizona established them but because they established them in direct conflict with the Federal laws.
Had the Fed said nothing on the issue of immigration then Arizona's law could not be considered such. So too, had the World Church been silent on women's oridation then the action by the NAD unions would be viewed quite differently and the issue would then be solely one of ordination. Hope that helps. 

Jason
2012-07-04 10:43 AM

First off, this isn't a spiritual gift issue, a politcally correct issue, or an equality issue, it's an attempt by the enemy to fracture our denomination.  As previously pointed out, I'm concerned about the lack of an opposing view point on this topic and the one sided opinion expressed in the issue of the Visitor.
The quotes used in the Visitor are taken out of context and it's sad that the SDA, which prides itself on pointing out other denominations use of single verses to support doctrine, would do the same to support this issue.   The quote on p. 11 was meant for colporteurs and the word "pastor" can also mean spirtitual leader or shepherd.  The concise opinion of EGW can be found in "Daughters of God" appendix C.
There is no doubt that women serve a vital purpose in the church, but men are (supposed to be) the head of the family, whether home or the church.  The question should not be "can a woman pastor a church?" but "why would a woman want or need to have that position?".
This issue if pushed through by liberal members of the church will be a divisive issue.  My family will not be members of a church headed by a woman, period.  If that does not concern you, than you need to search your motives.  My family will not be a part of a local church that goes against Biblical guidelines, we've already strayed away from properly preparing new converts.  We've allowed liberals to come into the church, relaxed our standards on dress, diet and music by their influence, and now we're going to, for the sake of "equality" pervert God's original family structure.  If this is pushed through, the SDA church will break into 2 types, the liberals and the conservatives, if you don't think that will happen than you are probably a liberal.  You could than figure the Godly would be in the conservative churches and the worldly would be in the liberal.  That concerns me.  Will the SDA church survive? of course, will it be the same?, No.

Margaret McFarland
2012-07-04 1:00 PM

I  feel so blessed to be a church member in the Columbia Union.  This is 3 decades  later than I had hoped for back in the early 80s,  but getting  it right.  To have  the support from the wise church men of the Columbia Union  makes me feel such hope again for our church.  Courage to all to do the right thing.  Jesus,  was inclusive of all and now hopefully our  church  will be as well. 

Jason
2012-07-04 6:04 PM

Actually, Jesus chose 12 men to be the original disciples and leaders or "pastors" of the new movement.  If Jesus had wanted to set a precedence of including women in that type of position, he could have done so at the beginning of his ministry.  We know Jesus cared less about following the traditions of man and so would have had no problem calling a woman disciple if he wanted to make that statement.  We need to get back to the Bible in the SDA church and stop caring what the progressives think.

Joann
2012-07-04 8:01 PM

Going back to the Bible and going back to the tiume of the Bible are two different things.  If you want to do the latter you should not utilize any of the modern facilities you so enjoy at present.  Living with the Amish or in Warren Jeffs' community may be a better option for you.  You just cannot have it both ways.  God Gave you a mind.  Give God glory by using it, rather than allowing religious dogma to enslave it  and pull it down into moral depravity.  Study with a spirit of humility, not with a sense of your importance. 

Jesus did not give anyone "position".  He called disciples (a lot more than 12 (Luke 9), both men and women.  Paul was not among  those "twelve" but he was also called as an apostle along with women who were in prison with him (Rom. 16).

In Christ "everything comes from God"  (See 1 Cor 11:11,12).  You are fighting for "position" for men because according to Paul you are walking not after the Spirit, but after the flesh.  Grow up in Christ my friend, and be at peace.

Jason
2012-07-07 8:14 AM

I'm sincerely hoping that you are not in any position in your church.  Jesus chose 12 male disciples, that is a fact, whether you want to include the myriad of followers and disciples that came after that is irrelevant.  If he wanted to establish women as equal in His ministry, then he would have at that point.  I didn't mention getting back to Biblical life, I said we need to get back to Biblical teachings.   If by "grow up" you mean get with the times or become more liberal, no thank you, I would recommend you look around and realize you're liberal beliefs are destroying the uniqueness the SDA church once had.

David Lamoreaux
2012-07-26 1:15 PM

What about the 70 that were sent out as ministers of Jesus gospel? Some of the 70 were women and Jesus was treating them as equals to men contrary to the prevailing culture!! That was radical and important to remember and respect. God is no respector of persons and I think that means that when women are called to be ministers of the gospel they are being called by God. 
You state that going against the GC is rebellion but in fact, the GC has already given up jurisdiction over this topic to the Unions as an official policy. Now the Unions can do their job and make the decisions independently of the GC.
Praise the Lord that this is happening!!

Andrew
2012-07-05 2:50 PM

 
I would like to suggest to the leaders in Columbia Union to abolish all forms of leadership in the Union. Why should they do this? Well, it is not fair to have leaders over the conferences and over the churches since we are part of a royal priesthood! I would suggest also that these leaders call for a special constituency meeting to discuss if it is biblical to return tithes.  I suggest that titles such as president … must be eliminated from conference officials since there should be no distinction among Christians! Why not brothers and sisters in Christ? Is the Christian title too small for you? Why not abandon all authority since it is oppressive to the people? We should also have a special constituency to reanalyze the Sabbath! Some state that we are not worshipping on the right Sabbath since it does fall on the right day that corresponds to the Luni-Solar calendar!  Some say that the doctrine of the trinity is flawed and based on catholic pagan doctrine. I would love for the Columbia Union to call for a special committee to study this as well! Then what about the sanctuary doctrine perhaps we should study it   as well!  Perhaps we should revisit the command for children to obey their parents since these conflicts with equality of all people!  

James Merrifield
2012-07-06 12:14 PM

I have studied each scripture verse you listed in your article in the July Visitor and I can only reach one conclusion.  The Columbia Union Conference is no longer just in the world, but rather of the world.  If we ordain women as pastors, it is just one more step to same-sex marriages, to the use of wine in our communion services, etc.  Revelation teaches us that satan will seek to deceive the very elect and it appears that he is doing that.  You are trying to incorporate pagan beliefs into the remant church, just as the papacy did in the dark ages.  If we go forward with this practice, we can no longer say that we are a true Bible-believing church.


  

Ann
2012-07-06 12:53 PM

Women already hold important jobs in the church.  They should not be ordained to do more.  To ordain women you would have to throw out 1Cor. 11:3&9, 1Cor. 14:34&35 and 1Tim. 2:12  The woman is never to exercise authority over a man, in the home or in the church.  More importantly there are cultures who do not accept women as elected leaders.  We need to respect these groups to preserve unity.  God told us not to put a stumbling block in front of believers.  The general tone of the Bible is that women do good woks but not in leadership positions, though there are exceptions.  This ordination issue is anothe tactic of Satan to divide the church.

Ray
2012-07-06 8:40 PM

Is male leadership based on Sexism?
The reasons for restricting the role of pastor/elder to men are theological, not biological, social, or cultural. This cannot be overemphasized. From both an academic and a biblical perspective, women are not to be appointed as pastors/elders of a congregation because they are positions reserved to males; it is not because of a lack of ability. The homogenization of male and female roles in either the church or the home is absent in Scripture. In qualification descriptions of pastors/elders in 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:5–7, attention is given to “man” (ei tis), being distinct from “woman” (gyne). Further, a man was to rule his own household, a position that could not be held by a woman. This conclusion is further supported by the texture of the passage in 1 Timothy, where Paul describes the qualifications of an elder immediately following the prohibition of women teaching as church leaders (2:11–15). This suggests the two concepts are part of the same ideology. Having explained why women should not instruct men, Paul then dictates what

Jeff Logan
2012-07-06 11:54 PM

The Editorial in the Visitor, July 2012, is very misleading. The author said that our union "would join others who are at variance with General Conference policy." He failed to point out that the variance is with the World Church whose delegates voted "nay" in 1985, 1990, and 1995. In 2010 they voted only to reaffirm their 1985 decision to allow ordination of deaconesses. At that time the World leaders (their title, not mine) agreed to study the matter with a 2014 completion date. The NAD is impatient and wants to press this issue now.
 
For me the issue is not so much women's ordination but rather the rebellious nature of this usurpation of authority by the NAD. I am reminded of the story of Absalom who usurped his father, King David's, throne by subtle rebellion. He would stand at the gate and say to those who came  “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you... If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice.”
 
The NAD tried to usurp the authority and found they could not. Now the NAD union presidents are acting the part of Absalom by means of a loophole they have discovered. What they will discover is internal rebellion as they find they cannot satisfy every petitioner. (241 words)

Ray
2012-07-07 3:51 PM

 
 
Dear Sister Blyden,
What Jeff said in reference to your view concerning diversity is 100% right! I too was thinking the same based on your view of diversity perhaps you would allow for polygamy and perhaps homosexuality. God’s diversity is different from the world’s diversity. In fact, I would agree with you if you advocate godly diversity in respect to how God established the diverse role between men and women. For example, in the biological scheme of things God established diversity in respect to the birth process. My intelligent and beautiful wife gave birth to four beautiful children a reality that would not be possible for me yet God used me in a different capacity to complete the birth process by the ability to fertilize the egg! This is true biological equality in the context of the birth process! In the spiritual context God has also created diversity by reserving the man as head and the women to divinely support the man similar to how Christ supports his father! A church with just men would not be complete without women. The same holds true the other way around. In Christ the male and female is equal yet like biological equality in the birth process men still play a different equal role. God has placed great honor on women by calling his church a woman adored for her bridegroom Christ. When God created the man and the woman he blessed them equally. There is no room for inferiority in God’s creation between men and women. I appeal to Columbia Union not to interrupt the divine union between men and women. Please don’t make the same mistake like Satan when he sows seeds of doubt in the heart of Eve saying she will become like God! I appeal to Columbia Union not to listen to the voice of Satan with his lies that women are not treated fairly! If you continue to listen to Satan God will send a strong delusion that you will slip into further lies! Sister Blyden, please read this text: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. God wants for his church to be one regardless of culture! Christ also says: I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one--as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. Let us abide by the divine culture not American or European, African or others ….God bless!
 
 

Ray
2012-07-24 6:37 PM

  Female ordination the cousin of the homosexual agenda   

Joann
2012-07-25 12:03 PM

So being woman is the same as being homosexual.  We need to get these "undesirable" and "perverted" humanity out of the public sphere.  I remember a time when the black people were included in this dump heap.  ...mmm

Jeff
2012-07-07 5:04 PM

I find this issue is dishonestly framed in the context of women's ordination, when this is not the issue or controversy. The issue is women's ordination to the position of pastor, bishop. The controversy is over the lack of Bible authority for such a position, and the unwillingness of some to submit to God's authority. This is verging upon open rebellion against God.
 
Who is it, that is controlling this debate?  Who is it, that is seeking to galvanize God's people to act, without guidance from the word of God?

Kay Rosburg
2012-07-08 2:16 PM

To all those who so stridently oppose the ordination of women....have any of you known women pastors?  Do they strike you as inherently "evil"?  Do any of you have daughters, nieces or granddaughters who have felt called by God to the ministry?  Unless you can speak from firsthand experience about how your judgmental, condescending, totally ungracious view towards women who feel called by God actually "furthered the mission of spreading the gospel" by denying women their opportunities to lead out in this mission, then please stop your diatribes.  They come from a total lack of experiential knowledge of the transformative, caring and gracious leading that women in ministry can do, are doing, and will do in a more complete way once our church reaches the decision that Jesus would absolutely support if he were a delegate to our union's session on July 29.

Jeff Logan
2012-07-09 12:44 AM

Kay,
Lack of ordination did not stop Ellen White from becoming the most prominent leader of the Adventist movement. All that was required was a willingness to do God's will. God sidestepped men in leadership positions to call on a young, uneducated girl to guide His church and to speak for Him. 
And, God has given to women the highest office possible on earth--that of motherhood. But because modern culture has spurned motherhood and looked upon a housewife as nothing, a mother yearns for some grandiose work outside the home--as if there were another work more important than raising her childern, but there is not. 
So no one is saying women are unimportant or useless. All I am saying at this time is that the General Conference in Session (which is an assembly of delegates from all the churches around the world) have spoken on this matter an their answer is "no". 

Kay Rosburg
2012-07-26 10:46 AM

So, Jeff, you consider the work of a minister as "grandiose"?  WOW!!  The work of women already serving in Adventist ministry speaks to their effectiveness in ministering to our church members and those who desire to know about our Savior.  Let us recognize that they have been called by God instead of denying them this affirmation.  God called them....who are we to say He didn't? 

Jeff Logan
2012-07-08 3:50 PM

From page 31 of the 18th edition of the church manual:

“I have often been instructed by the Lord that no man’s judgment
should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. Never should
the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in
wisdom and power to control the work and to say what plans shall be followed.
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.”—
9T 260.

The General Conference has spoken on this issue several times and the majority vote has consistently been "nay". 

Heber Duarte
2012-07-09 11:57 PM

I am not against of ordination of women to the Ministry.
I UNDERSTAND COULD BE APPROVED AT RIGHT FORUM, AT THE GENERAL CONFERENCE IN SESSION.
Last June Potomac Conference hold a meeting to everybody at camp meeting with Dr. Ron DuPreez from Michigan conference, when He did a nice presentation on some key Bible texts that speaks about the position of women in the Ministry and also an analyze  of the 1990 General Conference Vote. In the “Camp Meeting Times” we read “Let me say, I am not (personally) promoting women’s ordination – THIS IS A DECISION THAT MUST BE VOTED AT THE GC (SESSION).” Saturday, June 23, 2012 – Emphasis supplied.
Questions;
Where is the authorization for the Unions to take a vote on this subject?
 Can my local church after long planning  have a business meeting and approve to manage part of our tiles to be used in Evangelism, or maybe to invest in a large Church facilities with a good goal to better serve our member and to have a better facilities to reach-out our surround neighbors?
Is anything in Bible against it? Or the actual use of our Titles is governing by some “Working Policies” of our Church? Who made those Working Policies? Are they in different level for observance than the Working Policies that govern our local Churches, Conferences, Unions, Divisions and General Conference? Who can change? And more important, who cannot change those “Working Policies”?
Now picture this, suppose our Columbia Union Conference decides to change the Church “Working Policy” without any right to do that, like in the coming meeting. Then suppose one Church decide to do something similar to the above idea? Than this church will have a clear precedent from the “Working Policy” to act. And maybe another Church will like the idea and do the same. Now picture if those Churches could be Sligo, Tacoma Park, South Asia or other the same port. Or maybe one of our Hospitals decides something against our “Working Policies”.  THEY COULD DO, BECAUSE THEY WILL HAVE A PRECEDENT.
Like Dr. Ron du Preez I understand that we need to respect and obey the General Conference Session. The GC SESSION acts without limitation; changes the Church Manual, Working Policies, appoint officers, approve budgets, etc. In 1990 The GC SESSION resolved “we do not approve ordination of women to the gospel ministry, at this time” . It is an order very clear, that still stands and like Ellen White wrote
” “God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled
in a General Conference, shall have authority.”—9T 261.2010 Church Manual page 18
 
“I have often been instructed by the Lord that no man’s judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and to say what plans shall be followed.
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.”—
9T 260. 2010 Church Manual page 31
 
WHAT PART IS NOT CLEAR?
If someone could explain to me, I will be happy to change my mind.

Dwayne Turner
2012-07-10 1:25 AM

Wow...do I have much to say on this issue.... I have read every comment to this point.... and I'll just say, "There are those who read and then watch prophecy unfold, and then there are those who fulfill prophecy, because they don't read"...... Leaders, Pastors, Brothers and Sisters of the Columbia Union Conference .... your "righteous cause" lacks "righteous backing"...... the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy simply do not support what you are doing! ... So when you ask us to pray for your July 29th meeting.... the only real prayer is that you don't have a July 29th meeting.... You are using "flimsy references" to substantiate a complete role reversal attempt.  The material that has been presented by the proponents of Women's Ordination would be thrown out of court for "lack of evidence."  You use so many references that, if adequately quoted, (meaning....using the entire surrounding quotes) would simply show that there is no connection to WO in the references cited.  

If anyone has done Bible work in the homes, as I have done for many years, you undoubtedly have experienced the frustrating situation of having given "oodles" of concrete evidence on a particular doctrine, only to have the student cite some text/s that seems, in the mind of your student, to have such "weight" on the doctrine being discussed; yet in reality has no bearing on the discussion itself.  The "preponderance of evidence" is overlooked for just a simple, unrelated text.  This is what is happening in this WO discussion.  

I am mystified at how individuals think that this might just be the "precursor" to the Spirit leading us into new pathways.  Really???  Rebellion leads to Righteousness???  

We should not be the product of the environment in which we live; but sadly we are!  You shouldn't be able to count on us to reflect the issues that permeate where we live, and then bring those issues into the church that we are a part of; but sadly, you can!  If we were living as we should be, we would be products of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy; which transcends the cultural issues around us; no matter how hot and all-consuming they may be to those around us.  

We shouldn't be able to swap meat recipes with our co-workers, unless we are eating as they do!  Yes, we would certainly have something to offer them; but in reality, it would be just a variation of what they are used to.  We shouldn't sound like we are part of some movement that pillages its opponents; just to defend our cause.  There's only one movement we should be defending, the Advent Movement that God has raised to advance His Three Angel's Messages; a movement that will warn men and women before it is too late.  Sadly, the Movement that consumes us is the Women's Suffrage Movement, SDA Church Edition.

Proponents of WO…Tell me this….. Where are the counsels in the Bible and SOP, concerning the Pastor’s Husband? 

Dwayne Turner
2012-07-10 12:11 PM

Brother Duarte,

As I previously mentioned in my last post, the "righteous cause" of WO lacks "righteous backing" (i.e. Bible & Spirit of Prophecy).  Furthermore, the lump sum of all the legitimate questions you have raised, concerning the implications of the Columbia Union voting to ordain women, seems to me to result in one succinct result, "CONFUSION"!  And we do know that "God is not the Author of Confusion".....my question is.... If He is not the Author of Confusion, then who is?  

Hence, Bro. Duarte, I would think twice about supporting an issue that is carried forward, disregarding the following:

A.  Counsel in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy which only guides us from a "male headship" perspective. 

B.  The far reaching implications of such a reckless meeting and a reckless vote (mainly the inevitable "every-man-will-do-what-is-right-in-his-own-eyes" plague that can/will sweep the church).

C.  The myriad of children/youth who are watching their parents and adults carry forward an agenda that lacks scripture and amounts to "rebellion"; a word that is usually synonymous with the rebellious spirit we are praying will leave our youth.



It is wrong to call this meeting, because it compels members of the Columbia Union to come and vote, for or against, an unauthorized vote; placing the members squarely out of harmony with the church, and in harmony with the rebellion of the Union.  



Wow..... for years we who have been preaching present truth have been accused of "shoving things down people's throats".  That's not been true! Truth itself is imposing!  But it is true that this upcoming meeting of the Columbia Union is "shoving things down people's throats", just as it is to have a woman come to Pastor a church, forcing people to “stay or go".  That's not right!  This rebellion has been going on for some time.  Church members have been forced to accept or reject a woman being their Pastor, while the world church body has not taken a postion to allow women to Pastor.    



I reiterate the question I asked on my previous post, "Where are the counsels in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, pertaining to "The Pastor's Husband?"  Why don't we have that?  Do you really think that the counsel to the Pastor's Wife (that we do have in abundance) is gender-neutral?  That it could just be flipped over to apply to a man, when he finds himself as the Pastor's husband?  Is he now the "nurturer" for the children?



Let me be clear!  Nobody on this forum will answer this question.  Because there is no answer!  The totality of all the counsel, pertaining to the Pastor's relationship to God, his relationship to his wife and family, his relationship to the local church, is written to address the format of:  Pastor - Male, Pastor’s Spouse - Female


Now my questions in the previous paragraph stand!  I would urge all to consider this proposition; that if those questions can't be answered, this cause of Women's Ordination is not of the Lord!

bessie
2012-07-11 1:07 PM

I cannot believe that SDA's are so backward when it comes to ordaining women into the ministry.  Women are the backbone of the family and have been for centuries.  They are strong and not prone to carnal temptations as men are.  Until we wake up and stop this nonsense, women should refuse to tithe- period.  God must be disturbed when He sees all this nonsense.  Wasn't Ellen White ordained of God?  Why did God choose her?  He could have chosen a man, but he chose a WOMAN.  I suppose in heaven we will have women on one side and men on the other.  Maybe we will have people separated by races.  Do you think this is how God sees people?  Throw off the veil of the dark ages and get on with completing God's work.  Women can and should be ordained to complete God's work.  The Lord is coming soon.  STOP messing around with non-issues!

Heber Duarte
2012-07-11 11:25 PM


­­­­If this meeting goes through it will mean "The end justify the means".
In the SDA Church we use to have a way to solve problems with understanding and interpretation of the Church Manual and Working Policies: inquire the higher authority.
Looks like from now on it will be “pick and choose”.
Pick and choose of quotations…
Why not wait for the authorization from whom has the power to authorize, the General Conference in SESSION? 

David Lamoreaux
2012-07-26 1:22 PM

You have ignored all the evidence that the Unions have the responsibility to decide who is ordained. Not the GC. The GC has never had the right to give orders on this subject. 
This is not a doctrinal issue no matter how loud the opposition screams about it. 

Heber Duarte
2012-07-12 12:20 AM

Dear Columbia Union Constituency Members:
As a Church member of this institution I need to remind you:
1. You had been chosen to be a member of this constituency as a SDA Church believer member that accept and respect our SDA Church Manual.
2. In our SDA Church Manual establishes very clear who has the highest authority; the General Conference in Session.
3. No SDA Church institution has authority to change what has been established by the General Conference in Session.
4. If you try to act out of the establishes boundaries you will do so out of the trust that has been given to you, and I say for myself, you will be no longer be my representative.
5. I never entrust anybody to represent myself in a way that would put in question my membership in this Church, as we can see in the appeal from the General Conference officers letters:
“We therefore earnestly appeal to you:
 
1.         That your union continues to operate in harmony with the global decisions and global decision-making processes of the Church.
2.         That until such time as the Church decides otherwise, your union refrains from taking any action to implement ministerial ordination practices that are contrary to the 1990 and 1995 General Conference Session actions.
3.         That the union membership be informed concerning the implications for the entire Church in the event that one entity, for whatever reason, chooses a course of action in deliberate opposition to a decision of the whole Church.
4.         That the union actively participates in the global discussion about the Church’s understanding and practice of ordination.  The contributions of a union in this discussion can be forwarded to the Theology of Ordination Study Committee through the respective Ordination Study Committee set up by each division.

Please do not try to rush to solve one problem and creat a VERY BIG ONE. There is no wisdom in act in this way.

David Lamoreaux
2012-07-26 12:10 PM

The GC's purvue is limited to doctrinal issues. The principle of recognizing the Holy Spirit's influence and power in all believers lives is a universally accepted factor of Christianity. Jesus certainly shared his Good News with everyone without discrimination. He sent women off to share the good news in many instances and he contradicted the discrimination rampant in his times that treated women as if they were unimportant. 
The Unions are where the ultimate decision regarding ordination rests. The Unions have my support to recognize women as equally ordained by the Holy Spirit when it is appropriate. 
This matter has festered too long and too sinfully to be allowed to continue. The GC has no jurisdiction and should remain quiet. 
The Columbia Union Conference has my full support to vote yes to ordain women in ministry.

Peggy McQuitty
2012-07-12 3:06 PM

Sister White REFUSED to be ordained. So why are you people pushing this issue?

Kay Rosburg
2012-07-26 10:43 AM

Your statement is false.  What documentation backs up your statement?

David Lamoreaux
2012-07-26 12:13 PM

Ellen White received ordination credentials many times and was listed many years in the Church Directory with all the other ordained ministers. I think it is an empty argument to bring up now. Too long now there has been a false idea that only men are fit to be ordained. Who came up with that foolishness? Certainly doesn't fit the ideas that Christ preached.

Dwayne Turner
2012-07-13 10:03 AM

The Spirit of Prophecy Quotes provided on this website....are captioned in a misleading way, "Ellen White Quotes on Women in Pastoral Ministry".  Yet, the quotes do not speak of "Women in Pastoral Ministry" in the context of women being pastors, but women laboring in the field beside their husbands, who are ministers, and being paid wages for their labor; as their husbands are being paid.  It does not, in any way, talk about women being pastors over a church.  Since the discussion here is about women being Pastors, and women being ordained as Pastors, the clickable caption you have posted 'Ellen White Quotes on Women in Pastoral Ministry' is misleading.  If it was properly captioned, it would read, 'E.G. White Quotes on Pastor's wives helping their husbands in Pastoral Ministry'.  What bothers me is that no reading of this entire section can lead one to conclude that God was endorsing Women as Pastors.  Yet, it is being billed as such.  Also, the proper reference is 5MR pg. 325.



Quote #2 bears the caption, 'The foundational premise that undergirds all of Ellen White's Counsels about women in ministry is that neither men nor women  can do alone the quality of work that the two can do together'.  This is once again misleading.  The caption on the section of Evangelism that you are quoting reads, 'Both men and women called to do Bible Work'.  The information in this section follows suit, by discussing "Bible Work In The Home", Not "Women being Pastors of Churches".  You are using these quotes, applying them to Women holding the position of Pastor, when they simply don't apply!  No reading of these quotes, forward or backwards, yields the results that you are alleging can be found in the readings. This is as painful as Sunday-keepers substantiating that Sunday worship is legitimate because the disciples came together and broke bread on Sunday (Acts 20:7), Paul preached to them (Same Passage), and in another instance Paul came and collected offering on Sunday (1 Cor. 16:2).  Put it all together, they say, and you have Sunday worship.  Painful!  And the quotes that have been used to justify what you are doing are just as painfully applied as the "Sunday worship" justification texts.  



What I see happening in this whole discussion is:  The quotes on this subject, contained in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, that speak plainly to this issue, providing no ammunition for those in favor of Women's Ordination, are being explained as "not saying what you think it says" and are therefore being "devalued".  Meantime, quotes are being provided that do not speak directly to this issue, but are being "billed" as speaking directly to this issue; hence, these quotes are raised to the level of being "the smoking gun!"   

Please brethren, God's people deserve better than "smoke and mirrors"!  They need unequivocally "Thus saith the Lord".  In fact, it is time that people demand a plain, "Thus saith the Lord."    

To date, that has not been provided.

David
2012-07-13 8:47 PM

Eve was told of the sorrow and pain that must henceforth be her portion. And the Lord said, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” In the creation God had made her the equal of Adam. Had they remained obedient to God—in harmony with His great law of love—they would ever have been in harmony with each other; but sin had brought discord, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of the one or the other. Eve had been the first in transgression; and she had fallen into temptation by separating from her companion, contrary to the divine direction. It was by her solicitation that Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband. Had the principles joined in the law of God been cherished by the fallen race, this sentence, though growing out of the results of sin, would have proved a blessing to them; but man’s abuse of the supremacy thus given him has too often rendered the lot of woman very bitter and made her life a burden. – {PP 58.3}
Eve had been perfectly happy by her husband’s side in her Eden home; but, like restless modern Eves, she was flattered with the hope of entering a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. In attempting to rise above her original position, she fell far below it. A similar result will be reached by all who are unwilling to take up cheerfully their life duties in accordance with God’s plan. In their efforts to reach positions for which He has not fitted them, many are leaving vacant the place where they might be a blessing. In their desire for a higher sphere, many have sacrificed true womanly dignity and nobility of character, and have left undone the very work that Heaven appointed them. – {PP 59.1}

David
2012-07-13 9:02 PM

Here are some interesting studies on this subject.  After prayerfully studying I have finally become convinced 100%.
 
I am sure others could read it differently if coming into this subject with decisions already made.
 
I found that if you are willing to give up all of the hang ups and pride on this subject, the Holy Spirit will be your teacher.
 
 
5MR 323.1- 327.3
RH April 22, 1862 Par. 1-par. 13
BLJ 207.1-207.5
RC 179.1-179.6
1T 449.2-454.2
PP 52.1-52.2
 

Dino
2012-07-14 4:31 PM

Since "a picture is worth a thousand words", kudos to the Visitor’s graphic arts department and their cover illustration;  What a vivid portrayal of the “one sided” content of this edition.  “Women’s Ordination:  A Shameless Advertisement”  would have been a fitting headline.

Marian and Jim Walker
2012-07-14 7:28 PM

Having read some of the comments it is very apparent that the answer is not within ourselves.  It must come from God.  We earnestly pray that God leads in this and that the people making the decision listen to him no matter what His answer is.  It is a matter of honor and integrity that we follow God's lead.   The decision must be made only after prayerful consideration, earnestly seeking His leading, while disregarding man's predjudices and traditions whatever thy are.  After all the Jews In Jesus time steadfastly followed their traditions and closed their minds to God's leading.  How easy it is for man to forget God and plunge onward with total disregard of His guidence..

Consider the Bible verses Matthew 15:9 and Isaiah 8:20.

It is hard to deny the Holy Spirit's leading by the work that is being done by the women in China as was mentioned in last month's Visitor. And isn't it a contradiction to allow women to function as pastors if we refuse to ordain them?  If we continue to refuse to ordain them we must reconsider this practice as well.  

It sounds like this issue could tear our denomination apart.  Clearly that is exactly what Satan wants. We have heard that at the end of time it will look like the denomination has fallen apart.  Could this be the beginning of it?







Barbara Bailey
2012-07-14 9:01 PM

Obviously there are people on both sides of this issue who believe the weight of truth is on their side.  My hope is that the Constituency meeting will not be held without a prayer watch that starts at least an hour before the meeting and continues throughout the meeting so that Satan will be held at bay and any decision made will be God's will.

Daniel Velez
2012-07-17 9:49 AM

The Bible and SOP are very clear on women's role in the Church. Women are not called to exercise the pastoral ministry, but to raise their families in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
1 Timothy 2:11-15

"Eve had been perfectly happy by her husband’s side in her Eden home; but, like restless modern Eves, she was flattered with the hope of entering a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. In attempting to rise above her original position, she fell far below it. A similar result will be reached by all who are unwilling to take up cheerfully their life duties in accordance with God’s plan. In their efforts to reach positions for which He has not fitted them, many are leaving vacant the place where they might be a blessing. In their desire for a higher sphere, many have sacrificed true womanly dignity and nobility of character, and have left undone the very work that Heaven appointed them." Patriarchs and Prophets p. 59

Larry Mowry
2012-07-17 11:43 AM

To the Constituency of the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventist: 

BRAVO!  VOTE YES! for the ordination of women!

As is stated in the Visitor, July 2012 issue, women’s ordination is a cultural issue not a theological issue.  It is the character of the woman and the relationship that she has with the Lord that is of utmost importance.  Ordination by any church is recognition of the gifts that have been given by God to a person, female or male.  An issue that has been studied for over a century does not need more study. 

Many years ago, my wife and I and our two young sons were active participants in the ordination service at Sligo for our good friend Norma Osborn, currently Children’s Ministries pastor at the Pacific Union College church.  Our thoughts now are as they were then:  Sligo could easily handle gender and racial justice while perhaps, stereotypically, a church in downstate Virginia could not.  Even if a church in downstate Virginia could not, stereotypically, handle a woman or a non-white pastor why should that stop Sligo from having an ordained woman pastor?  Why should that stop the Potomac Conference, the Columbia Union Conference, the North American Division, or the General Conference from allowing a woman of God to be ordained to the Adventist Christian ministry?  It should not have then.  It must not now. 

VOTE YES! for the ordination of women in the Seventh-day Adventist church! 

Al
2012-07-21 4:49 PM

If women's ordination is a cultural issue, what is the culture of those in the Columbia Union Conference who believe women should not be ordained?

Dwayne Turner
2012-07-17 11:02 PM

 To all on this posting forum... the "challenges" in my previous posts still stand... I must say.... I did say that no one would answer the challenge, because there are no answers!!!  Once again....where is the counsel to "The Pastor's Husband"?  Where is there discussion in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy for the criteria of selecting a Women Pastor; or Elder for that reason?  

Those who say that, "Where in the Bible does it tell us that God does not want women to be ordained", are approaching this topic with the faultiest premise that I have ever seen.  They assert that "the absence of Scripture pertaining to women being ordained should be taken as an indication that God has no problem with it"  Really???  Has God said anything about the Eldership and the Pastorate of His church?  

Larry Mowry wrote:  "women's ordination is a cultural issue not a theological issue."  Really???  So our church is a "cultural-based" church and not a "biblically-based" church?  Or are we a biblically-based church, that gives the nod to culture when there's a conflict between the two?  Today we are being told that the scriptures, that have spoken so plainly spoken to us over the years, "don't really mean what you think they mean."  The problem is, you simply have too many scriptures to "reface" in order to make the argument stick; because one assertion of "that doesn’t mean what you think it means" leads to many other questions in the mold of "then what does this one mean" and the "chain of truth" is irreparably broken.  Do you understand?  Eventually, large portions of scripture are "reinterpreted" just to suit people's arguments for one issue.  

Bro. Morwy, there's only one being in heaven who "enjoyed" the split taking place in heaven..... Lucifer!!!  There was the same kind of joy going on in the Episcopalian Church amongst the homosexuals & homosexually tolerant; as Gene Robinson was about to be ordained as the first Gay Episcopalian Bishop.  And They Did Win!  They Won The Vote!  (Actually, the backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury)  But it is recorded in the books of heaven that, with Gene Robinson's "ascension" into the Bishopric, his supporters are enemies of God's word and righteousness.

Brothers and Sisters of the Columbia Union in support of Women Elders, Women's Pastors, & Women's Ordination... 

At the end of the day you will feel much satisfaction if Women's Ordination is passed on July 29th.  But that's not where it ends!  Two votes will be registered that day:  The vote for/against W.O., and the vote for/against following God's Word!  The culture we are immersed in, that provided the impetus for us to bring this issue into God's Church, cannot and will not sustain you in the judgment.  

What Side Do You Really Want To Be On?  

Worship Him That Made Heaven And Earth, (A Call To God's Original Design) The Sea And The Fountain Of Waters?  OR FEMINISM (A Call To Anything But God's Original Design)  

Betti Knickerbocker
2012-07-18 7:22 AM

I pray that all delegates to this Special Session will i) surrender their wills entirely to God, and ii) will remember that not all constituents in this Union support this move.

I would also like to comment that we women do our very best to raise our children to serve their Lord wholeheartedly, and sometimes we do a fairly good job, but it always works best if it is the father who is the "priest in the family." I believe that is God's plan for families, and I wonder if He has the same plan for His church.

Betty Grothe
2012-07-18 2:26 PM

The articles in VISITOR of July 12 did not convince. Some of the E.G. White quotes given in support of women's ordination,when read in context, refer to ministry roles other than those of pastors or elders. We should not bypass the Biblical counsel regarding roles - God's call to an individual will not be in conflict with His role for them as given in His Word.

Yvonne Michael
2012-07-19 2:38 PM

My Bible states in 1 Peter 2:9 that all Christians are "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."  The Bible also states in Galatians 3:28 that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."   So if God does not see us as male or female, why is there such a strong aversion to letting qualified females do the work God has called them to do?  May God open our eyes to see one another as He sees us.

Dwayne Turner
2012-07-20 12:30 AM

Sister Yvonne Michael,

You stated, "God does not see us as male or female."  If that is the case, then God would have no problem having males marry males, and females marrying females.  The text you cited does not have anything to do with God making no distinction between gender roles/duties in the church.  The text deals with "Salvation Only!".  

If you will, consider this....

This text, Galatians 3:28. has been cited as substantiating Women as Pastors.  But there are 3 component parts to this text, jew nor greek, slave nor free, male nor female.  If the "male nor female" component was referring to "God having no problem with Women Pastors, and therefore a statement concerning "Church Offices", then how does the "Jew nor Greek" component weigh into the Church Officer structure?  "Jew nor Greek" would certainly mean Adventist nor Non-Adventist in our present day vernacular.  If you try to give this text a "church office slant", you must apply that slant to all component parts of the verse.  You can't say, "this is talking about salvation when referring to the jew/greek & slave/free components, but jumps out of that train of thought when referring to the male/female component.  It's either "all about salvation" or "all about church offices".  Using the "church office slant" you must then say that it matters not whether our Pastors, Elders, Deacons, Deaconess, etc. are Adventists or Non-Adventists.  You can't have it both ways.

I must also say that your idea of "letting qualified females do the work God has called them to do" is troubling.  With all due respect, this phraseology "God has called them to do" is extremely upsetting and is disrespectful to the whole review process the church is currently undertaking.  

You are not the first to use this phraseology!  

Just saying that "God has called them", when it hasn't been established in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy that God calls women to pastor, dismisses the need to "study the question", and declares that God has revealed Himself personally to each woman feeling "called of God".  Their "calling" now takes on the arrogant posture that "once I feel called, who are you to tell me that I wasn't called"?  Scripture substantiates "callings", and must never become subservient to emphatic personal declarations that "the Spirit has spoken to me".  

The Lord has never led His church to pass women's ordination, but there are leaders and laymen who feel that their understanding of this issue trumps the normal way God has led His church over the years. 

Don't you think demanding a plain "thus saith the Lord" should precede such an major shift in ministry?  Should unmistakable, in-depth material in the Spirit of Prophecy accompany the word? 


Robert Cowdrick
2012-07-23 12:54 PM

I am dismayed at the haste and pressure being applied to the subject of ordination of women to the ministry;  especially, in view of the fact that there is already an implemented official action at the GC level on the subject!  

Is there a rational reason why we can't wait for the due process of the system to work?

If the Mission of the Columbia Union is to promote the worldwide mission of the SDA church, then I would consider that this type of hasty action has the potential to promote discord and disunity instead.  We should heed the current GC Appeal for Unity.

I feel that the call for a Const. Meet. in this hasty manner is a mistake!  I feel that the Exec.Comm. should humbly acknowledge a "rush to action" and find a manner, and the means, to be patient until the GC report is submitted. 

Roland & Ann Gray
2012-07-23 9:26 PM

President Dave Weigley and the Columbia Union Executive Committee:

Thank you for calling the July 29, 2012 constituency meeting. Our capable, spirit-led women pastors have waited long enough. Praise God for this opportunity to begin fully affirming their ministry to us. Yes, please bring gender equality to ordination in our Union.


Bill
2012-07-25 6:22 PM

It is my opinion, that the far deeper issue here is not womens ordination but how we interpret Scripture.  The historical-critical method seems to rely more on a cultural basis for interpretation, whereas the historicist method seeks to interpret Scripture in a more literal manner in which culture does not play a prominent part.

In discussing the belief system in the Protestant world today, most would agree, I believe, with the Wesleyan Quadrilateral paradigm.  That is that all Christian churches have four principles upon which they base their doctrines:  Scripture, church tradition, experience with God and common  sense.   Adventists have traditionally tested the last three by the first.

Church tradition and one's experience with God are not applicable here but common sense is.  For me, common sense in our current cultural climate would allow for:

     1)   women to be ordained (women and men are equal)

     2)   homosexuals to be married (why should they not have the same     rights as heterosexuals?)

     3)   theistic evolution (this, at least, would allow God to be involved) 

     4)   Sunday as the true day of rest (almost all go to church on that day)

     5)   those who die go immediately to heaven (most people believe this)

     6)   Christ's atonement completed at the cross (this would put us in line with most all Protestants) 

     7)   All fruits being acceptable for consumption in the Garden of Eden
           (what kind of God would withhold one fruit tree?)

     8)   dismissing the authority of Ellen White (she has almost no credibility in the world at large)

     9)   alcohol  consumption  (the Bible seems ambiguous in this  area and many church-going individuals use it) 

     10)   church tradition, experience with God and common sense trumping the authority of the Bible (most churches allow for varying degrees of this concept) 

Could the acceptance of #1 above lead to the acceptance of any or all of the others in the list, if one is allowed to use a culturally based analysis of each?  If not, than how does one decide?

Finally,  the GC has suggested we wait a little longer.  Why not?  Would you wish to create a schism when not is warranted?










George Tichy
2012-07-26 10:05 AM

"...the GC has suggested we wait a little longer.  Why not?... "

How long is "a little longer?" This issue has been on the table since the 1950s! The only result of every "study group" has been the same, "wait a little longer." Is this a joke? If nobody takes the lead, the GC will keep tricking the church with those unending so called "study groups" that NEVER come up with a conclusion. A smart way to just fool the bozos! It's time to end this nonsense.

Those who want to understand how the GC is trying to abuse power, just read this article by Dr. Gary Patterson:
http://www.atoday.org/article/1297/news/analysis-of-what-is-happening-with-the-ordination-of-women-pastors

According to the Church's bylaws, the GC has NO SAY on this issue. They should be quiet and listen to the church. Of course those "guys in black suits" are not used to this, they want the church listening to them instead!
Little they know that their positions (and the whole GC) are completely irrelevant to the local churches. May this be the reason why they are so fiercely trying to impose an authority they don't have?

Go Unions, go! The discrimination against women has to be eliminated from our church! Now is the time.

GeorgeTichy
2012-07-26 9:49 AM

It was past due time for someone to lead against this shameful discrimination against women in our church, ... a church started by... a woman!

I hope we are finally turning the page on this ugly chapter of Adventist history. It will always be there for future generations to see the male abuse of power. But at least some people are having the courage to challenge the fanatic male rule.

Kay Rosburg
2012-07-26 10:41 AM

Dear CUC Administrators,  Thank you so much for posting the letter from James Greene, Secretary of the New Jersey Conference.  It is so encouraging to have leaders within our union stand for the moral and theological injunction to treat all equally in light of the gospel and our Adventist doctrines.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Visitor Staff
2012-07-26 5:18 PM

Thank you all for sharing your comments and for participating in our discussion about the special constituency meeting. In anticipation of Sabbath and in preparation for the meeting on Sunday, July 29, we will be closing down comments on this story starting, July 26. You may resume posting your comments on the new story that will be posted on the results of the meeting. Please join us in praying for God’s Spirit to guide and His will to prevail. 

 


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