MICHAEL RYAN: We would like to call the afternoon session to order. And to begin our afternoon session, I would like to request Elder Paul Ratsara from the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division to have our opening prayer.
PAUL RATSARA: [Prayer.]
BRADFORD NEWTON (yes): Here is what is already the truth in the Seventh-day Adventist Church today: Women as pastors are here to stay and are a blessing to the church wherever they serve. Second, our theology of ordination does not specify gender. Third, the GC TOSC concludes that there is no light from the Bible regarding women’s ordination that our church agrees upon.
Therefore, to maintain the unity of the church, Mr. Chair, I would ask our delegates to please consider these three letters. And since I try to be a preacher, though I act as a memory aid, Y-E-S. Y is for youth. Our children and grandchildren are listening for us to embrace our mothers, sisters, and daughters as equal partners in the work of servant leadership in the
Seventh-day Adventist Church mission.
“Yes” is for our youth.
E is for evangelism. Seven billion men and women on this planet call out for us to utilize every spiritual gift and every ministerial calling for mission. The Holy Spirit does not distinguish between women and men in the giving of the gifts and the call to ministry. Therefore, we cannot be a faithful church unless we are obedient to the Spirit’s work in our midst. “Yes” is for evangelism.
And S is for submission to one another in love. This is the time for us to reach out across the aisles of this General Conference and ask the question “What will assist my brothers and sisters?”
“Yes” is the path forward, the key to unity, the way to a finished work.
MARIO VELOSO (no): I’m already an old guy, so since 1973 I’ve been a member of all the committees that dealt with this issue. I have been listening to all the arguments. There was not much change from the first time. The same texts from the Bible, the same paragraphs from the Spirit of Prophecy, always coming to the conclusion that we are all based on the Scriptures, always saying that we would abide by the Scriptures.
At this point somebody asked me, “What is the strongest argument against ordination of women?”
I said, “At this point I’m not looking for argument; I’m looking for attitudes.”
And I find here in the text that was read. But the best evangelist that we have this morning, this sentence: “From whom the body join and knit together.” This is my concern, to keep the body together.
So my plea to these delegates is to accept the same way of reading the Scriptures, not having two different ways of reading, one biblical and the other cultural. We need to stick with the Bible.
MARC WOODSON (yes): I fear we have placed way too much emphasis on this issue on not ordaining women pastors and have elevated to a level of a testing truth. It is not a testing truth. May I remind my brothers and sisters that this issue is nowhere found in our 28 Fundamental Beliefs, it is nowhere found in our ChurchManual, it is nowhere found in the GC WorkingPolicy or the GC constitution or bylaws. It is not even found in our official church statements. It can’t be a moral issue. Great Adventist Christian theologians and Bible students are on both sides of this issue.
We differ on this issue in good conscience.
There was no consensus from the Theology of Ordination Study Committee. That ought to tell us something.
Many have made this an issue of unity, not allowing each division to decide for itself. This is a false sense of unity. It is a false basis for our unity. Our unity should be based on our mission, founded through Christ’s Great Commission and the remnant message of the three angels.
What some want is not unity; they want uniformity. But as a world church we are built on unity and diversity. That’s why we have 13 divisions. By voting “Yes,” we’ll be standing in favor of refraining from dividing our church over a subject that does not constitute attesting truth. On this matter let us honor one another by applying the ancient Christian maximum: in essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, love.
DOUG BATCHELOR (no): I’m standing to speak in opposition of the motion.
About 40 years ago I never even heard of Seventh-day Adventists. And I was living up in the mountains in a cave, and I read the Bible and accepted Christ. And then I began to search for what I understood to be the true church. And after carefully studying, I decided the Seventh-day Adventist Church was the church the closest to the Bible.
And since then, I’ve been involved in doing evangelism all over the world. Amazing Facts has evangelism training schools for young and old, men and women. Matter of fact, one of our largest classes in Manila this year had more women than men. And we sent them out preaching and teaching, and there were many baptisms, fulfilling Joel 2.
Ordination wasn’t necessary.
Now, I think that our church having two different theologies on ordination is going to cause a lot of problems for our evangelists. It’s going to be very difficult to explain to people that Seventh-day Adventists have the truth but that church across the street has a different theology than our church because they don’t understand. It’s going to send a message to other people that we really don’t know what we believe. I think it’s so important that we come together on this.
And I should add that there are people I love on both sides of this issue, but it’s more important to me to really impress Jesus and be faithful to Him.
We’re living in very interesting times, with same-sex marriage and transgender bathrooms. Our culture is awash in gender confusion. And I think this is no time for us to get fuzzy about what the differences are between men and women, which I think is very clearly defined in the Bible. I do believe it’s a biblical issue.
When we look at the history of what has happened to other churches that went down this road, it devastated their mission. And I think we should consider that.
JEROEN TUINSTRA (yes): I’m the president of a small conference in the heart of Europe, Belgium. You’ve seen me on a number of issues at this microphone, issues that many of you consider controversial. I’m just trying to keep the church real.
We may not be of this world, but we are still in this world. We may wish to be in heaven tomorrow, but we are standing with our feet in the dirt of the Lord’s vineyard showing the love of Christ. I’m just trying to keep the church real.
And reality, in my part of the world, is that God is calling women to the full ministry and leadership. Maria is a young woman born in Colombia that grew up in Belgium who felt the call of God to nurture and pastor the church that she has grown up in. And she is a good pastor, open to her members, guiding them spiritually and being able to identify specifically with the children of the many immigrants from South America who are caught between two cultures. Appreciated by many members, she shows evidence of God’s calling.
After one of our pastors’ meetings we would discuss with all pastors the issue that is playing out in front of us. Standing in the elevator, she cried. She cried because when she listened to the call of God, she never wanted to be part of a controversy in the church. She only wanted to respond to the calling of God in her life. She cried because she had to hear that only because she was born a woman she was less than her male counterparts, that her church saw her as less capable or less called than if she would have been a man. She cried.
Dear delegates, please recognize that God is calling women to the full ordained ministry in our part of the world. I cannot and do not want to speak on behalf of your region, so I don’t know whether God is calling women in your part of the world. But I know, see, and recognize what is
happening in Europe.
Please allow us to confirm the calling of women done by God in our part of the world by ordination. Answering yes to this question allows her to respond to the calling of God, and I ask us to do the same.
GUILLERMO BIAGGI (no): With humbleness I stand in front of the Lord to express my personal convictions and also a little bit on behalf of my dear delegates from the Euro-Asia Division who find it very difficult to stand and to speak to all the delegates because of some reason that I won’t mention.
I have five reasons to stand for the word “No.” First, as I read the Holy Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, the Lord is indicating to me what is His will. I have decided not to challenge and not to question our Lord about what He has not revealed or what He has not prohibited.
Second, I consider that it would be better for our church to have one body of ordained pastors in all the world and not to have different bodies of ordained pastors by divisions.
Third, I think we need to learn of the experience of other Christian churches that have decided this question in a positive way and later have followed with undesirable and unethical decisions.
Fourth, I am convinced that with such important decisions, it would be better for us to retain the power of the decision at the level of the General Conference and not delegate in each division.
And fifth, because of mission reasons. From the place that we have been serving in the past years, I heard and were told that we are an American sect.
And we try to convince authorities to respect the Seventh-day Adventist Church, that our church is a traditional church based on the Bible, when the Orthodox Church, the main church in those regions, says that they do not ordain women because it’s not biblically based.
CALEB JARA (yes): I stand in favor of the motion, because when I come to the Bible, I see that God holds both men and women to preach the gospel. I read in Joel 2:28 that in these last days He will pour out His Holy Spirit upon all flesh and He will give us the power to preach the everlasting gospel to everybody. The text says, “And your daughters shall prophesy.”
In the New Testament I find that the Holy Spirit gives to both men and women without regard to gender, socioeconomic status, or race. And Revelation 1:6, 5:10, and 20:6 says that we already have been made a priesthood of all believers, again without regard to gender.
I stand in favor of the motion, because when I study the writings of Sister White, I find that she said in Testimonies for the Church, volume 6, page 322: “The Holy Spirit of God . . . prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God.” And she repeats the same thing in Review and Herald, May 18, 1911.
So the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy does not prohibit us from ordaining women as pastors.
KHANYISANI MALUFU (no): We have no biblical evidence of a woman on whom hands were laid upon in ordination. From the statement of consensus it reads, “Seventh-day Adventists understand ordination, in a biblical sense, as the action of the church in publicly recognizing those whom the Lord has called and equipped for local and global church ministry.” That means when someone is ordained into ministry, they are not only ordained to be gospel ministers in that division only; they are ordained for the world church.
Letting individual divisions decide on this matter will create individualism and regionalism. It is going to divide the church instead of uniting it.
I therefore am requesting that we need to be united as one church and stick to the wonderful counsels from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.
We have wonderful examples from the Bible. And I say “No” to allowing divisions to decide on this issue affecting the world church. Women can still be very useful, and we are going to continue to use them in all other lines without necessarily having to ordain them.
LOWELL COOPER (yes): I wish to speak in support of a “Yes” response to the question before us, and I submit the following reasons.
1. A “Yes” response best aligns with our theology of ordination. A “No” response places our practice in conflict with our theology.
2. A “Yes” response best aligns with Bible teaching regarding spiritual gifts. A “No” response says to God that we will not permit certain people to fully use the spiritual gifts that He, in His sovereignty, gives to His children without regard to age, race, nationality, culture, position, or gender.
3. A “Yes” response is an expression of permission for the church to act in response to differing circumstances around the world. A “No” response is an imposition of authority that blocks opportunity to respect and respond to differing circumstances.
4. A “Yes” response indicates that we will trust our brothers and sisters in division committees to be faithful to God in the circumstances where they live. A “No” response says that we cannot trust our brothers and sisters in division committees to be faithful to God unless that faithfulness is expressed through behaviors that are acceptable to me.
5. A “Yes” response is entirely consistent with an earlier decision of the church to permit but not to require the ordination of women to the role of local church elder. This decision has not resulted in the fracturing of the church. A “No” response is inconsistent with previous decisions regarding the role of women in leadership.
6. A “Yes” response enables the world church to move forward, to get past the question that has been a diversionary agenda item for more than 50 years.
I urge the delegates for an overwhelming “Yes.”
MICHAEL RYAN: We’re going to take a couple more names, and then we are going to pause for a little prayer session. I really believe that we need to implore that the Spirit is among us as we discuss and make this decision.
COLLEEN ZIMBEVA (no): I want to thank God for the remnant church. Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Times may change, but God doesn’t change. We are from Eden, and we are going back to Eden. As a very committed lay businesswoman with values and principles, I’ve been working in the Women’s Ministries Department. I’m talking from a lay perspective. We have been preaching, teaching, evangelizing, and in various other programs. They have been running smoothly with no hindrances.
Second, I would like to thank you for the Revived by His Word program, which actually assisted me on my research of women’s ordination. I also looked at the Spirit of Prophecy, which is very silent about it. There is no implicit writings or findings in the Bible. Better be conservative to maintain identity, message, mission, and unity of the worldwide church.
Therefore, based on my research, my opinion is “No” to the first motion and “No” to having divisions deciding.
JAMES STANDISH (yes): It’s great to see this stadium full and particularly the delegate section full. But I have a question. Why wasn’t it full when we talked about mission? Why wasn’t it full when we talked about the character and nature of God? Why wasn’t it full when we talked about youth ministry? This stadium this afternoon is evidence of how distracting this issue is to our church mission.
There are godly, Bible-believing, faithful Seventh-day Adventists who believe women should not be ordained. There are also Bible-believing, faithful, godly Adventists who believe they should. So the question for us is: What should we do when we have a difference of opinion among godly Adventists that is not a fundamental belief and is not a matter of salvation?
We must remember there’s no biblical distinction between ordination for pastors and elders. This is a man-made distinction that we’re arguing over. Is this the kind of issue we should tear our church apart over?
My perspective, after prayer and study, is this: This is not the kind of issue wort
h splitting our church. It is not the kind of issue in which one church member should impose their views on another. It is not the kind of issue in which uniformity is required for unity. Sometimes we just have to take a step back and let each other live in peace.
I therefore humbly and respectfully appeal to my fellow delegates, even the ones who weren’t here much during the week, to vote “Yes” and brothers and sisters, let’s get back to the mission of our church.
MICHAEL RYAN: I would like to request Elder Harald Wollan to come to the microphone and to just offer a short prayer that closes our prayer time. So let’s just turn to the person next to you, and let’s have it be reverently quiet as we enter into this communication with Heaven.
Just a reminder: Elder Wilson in his opening remarks commented that through your prayerful study of the Bible, your considerations of what might be best for the world church, you should think independently.
KEVIN NWAIGWE (no): The question before us is: Do we allow divisions to make decisions as it concerns women’s ordination? I recall that at the 2010 General Conference session a study committee was set up to find the position of the church. And the report we have from that committee today indicates that there are three positions. In other words, the church has not seen their way clear on the position as it relates to women’s ordination.
If we go back to the current experience, it means that the church is still open to further studies. If we take a decision today either way and we conclude in the future in a direction, how shall we defend ourselves? I foresee a situation where I go for an evangelism with a brother of mine and I’m asked, “Does your church support women’s ordination?” I say “Yes,” because I’m from division A, and he says “No,” because he’s from division B. Are we still in one mission?
ROGER ROBERTSEN (yes): This issue is not based in our fundamental beliefs, it’s not part of the pillars of faith that the early pioneers lifted up and preached. It’s something that’s coming to us from different areas of the world.
I want to follow the Lord. I need to follow Him the way I find Him presented in the Bible. Will you allow me to do it? In the church of God we must have that sort of freedom when it comes to beliefs that are not rooted and grounded in our Fundamental Beliefs. If not, it certainly is not democracy; it’s something else.
When Paul and the other apostles ran into problems, they had different ways of solving these issues. Remember Paul and Barnabas? At one point they had to separate because they disagreed. How did they handle that disunity? Well, my Bible says that Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
Please allow us to go in the direction we feel we need to, because we think it’s based on the Word of God. And we should all pray for each other, even when we have to detour, because we’re preaching the same gospel message. That which has been entrusted to us.
JAY GALLIMORE (no): I ask the delegates to vote “No,” not because our sisters are inferior. God loves His daughters as much as He loves His sons. We believe and need our sisters involved in ministry. We love to see them exercising their gifts in all kinds of gospel work. God created a divine order of function at creation with special roles for both. Sin did not change the fact of childbirth, agriculture, or Adam’s headship role. Sin injected pain into all three.
It is to that divine order that the apostle Paul appealed when he reserved the office of elder for a man. He was directing the church into the same order established at creation, the sanctuary, and Jesus’ 12 apostles.
The gifts of the Spirit, of which pastoring is one, are given to everyone, including children. Children may have the gift of the spiritual nurture, as well as men and women, but the office of overseeing the church and the family was reserved for men.
Voting “No” will be the best route to restore and preserve the unity of the church. As a church we are not held together by diversity, as much as we enjoy it, nor culture, as much as we like it. We are held together by the Bible. Allowing everyone to do their own thing on something as crucial as the ordaining of our ministers is to court division and pluralism.
Yes, some may leave, sadly, but let it not be because we compromised the teachings of God’s Word. Some will say this is not a biblical issue, but it is. Some will say it’s not part of the 28 Fundamental Beliefs. Neither is the mark of the beast.
A large portion of North America will bless you.
ROSCOE HOWARD (yes): What a blessing it is to address this global delegation of multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural Seventh-day Adventists. We all see the world through different cultural lenses that inform how we think and act and live each day. In fact, we bring meaning to the page even when we study the Scriptures. Culture is so pervasive that we cannot get away from it: culture invades everything.
And as this church gets larger, we will be dealing with more and more difficult issues in a multimillion-membership church.
I was once—and I give you my own testimony—a right-wing, ultraconservative Seventh-day Adventist, Bible-quoting, Ellen G. White-quoting member going around crucifying every woman who was in ministry.
I had a literal hermeneutic that I used, and I’ve heard these arguments throughout today. Until I had an epiphany and I was studying one day, and God gave me a text. And He said, “Rosco, have you considered your hermeneutic on this text?” And I’ll read it to you. Ephesians 6:5: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ” (ESV).
For 200 years preachers and slave owners in this country used this text to enslave Africans in this country, years, a misappropriation and a misunderstanding of the biblical text. And God told me, “Roscoe, you might want to change your hermeneutic.”
Someone has asked, why do we keep bringing this up? You remember the woman in Scripture who begged Christ over and over. She said, “Even the dogs get crumbs from the master’s table.”
DAVID POLOCHE (no): [translated] In the story of the judges there was a time when there were no judges and everyone did as they pleased. This is not going to happen in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We have been united thus far until today. For more than 30 years specialists have sought Scripture to support women’s ordination, and the church has decided not to ordain women. We haven’t found a new manuscript of the Bible that says differently. And two years’ study for our theologians have proved the same as we believe today.
We need to be united. There can’t be divisions that accept one thing and other divisions that accept another thing. That is not unity.
So I firmly say no.
MARVIN WRAY (yes): I have enjoyed watching through the years the growth of the various world divisions. I’ve been privileged to serve as a missionary in what was the Far Eastern Division for six years. I served as a pastor for 42 years. This issue before us is a very volatile topic. It’s been related to women’s ordination, and while it is more directly about allowing divisions the opportunity to apply methods, not theology, that will enhance the furthering of the gospel within their territories.
Interestingly and wonderfully, North America has now become a minority in membership while still a majority financial supporter. And I would plead for minority understanding and compassion. As you—the global south, perhaps—were being formed and growing, we strove to give you the tools and understanding that you needed within your culture. We at times made concessions to delicate cultural issues that were not in harmony with our beliefs. Would you please allow us the same privilege with issues that are not acceptable within you
We ordain women as elders, granting them all of the privileges of male elders. Even the TOSC committee could not come to consensus, except to say that divisions should be allowed to choose for their own territory. I would with other divisions recognize the differences in culture that do not diminish our unity and vote “Yes” on this question.
If, as Dr. Stele has suggested, that this is to be the decision to settle and cease debate, then we must allow for variance by division. To do otherwise will be both divisive and destructive. A “Yes” vote will impose nothing on anyone; a “No” vote will place a restraint on us that will impact our youth.
MICHAEL RYAN: While Elder Torres is coming to the microphone, I want to respond in a positive way to the request that Elder Wilson made. And I would request Elder Paulsen, Jan Paulsen, former president of the world church, to make his way to the microphone. And I’m going to reserve the right to him to make a comment immediately after Elder Torres. All right?
LOUIS TORRES (no): In my field, Micronesia, we are not in support of ordaining women. I surveyed my pastors, and none of my pastors support it. I know other conferences in the North American Division that do not support it, which tells me that we are divided even in the North American Division.
Now, my field has grown during the past five years, with more than 2,000 baptisms. We have trained men and women to preach. None of the women that have preached have requested ordination. The Spirit of God has used them, which doesn’t mean that you have to be ordained in order to win souls or that that stops women from being able to do evangelism.
I thank God for the women and the men who are preaching. All my women’s ministries directors do not support women’s ordination. I’ve met with them, and none of the women in my field support it.
In reference to spiritual gifts, it is God who decides who gets the spiritual gifts. And just because you prophesy doesn’t mean you need to be ordained.
The silence in the Bible is not an argument for women’s ordination. It is an argument that Sunday keepers use to keep Sunday. If we use an argument of silence, then we have to say that it’s all right to keep Sunday. There are many other things that the Bible doesn’t say you have to do, but it means that you shouldn’t do it because God doesn’t.
I emphasize that this issue has caused division, and once it’s settled, I hope it will end division.
MICHAEL RYAN: Elder Jan Paulsen.
JAN PAULSEN (yes): I appeal to my brothers and sisters to vote “Yes” on the motion before us. A “No” vote will cause rupture and serious damage to our global church.
Let me say this: I have served our church in ministry for 55 years. Most of these years have been in senior leadership roles. I’ve lived and served the church from Africa, in Europe, and the global church for our world headquarters here in North America. And just for the record, let me say that the Spirit that guided me during the years I provided leadership for the church did not leave me when I left office.
I believe that I know this church, this global church, well. I know what it is that holds us together. I know also many of the tension points when cultures meet that cause difficulties for us. But we as a church can overcome these things.
I’ll be clear about it. It has been stressed by several speakers what we are really voting on today. It is not the question of who has won the argument for ordination or not ordination. This is a question of trust.
We have leadership established around the world in every one of the 13 divisions. They work in counsel together. They work also in close counsel with the General Conference leadership. They pray, they search Scripture, they seek the Spirit’s guidance, and the Spirit is guiding them. Do we trust them enough, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to know what is good for the church in their particular part of the world?
Let me say to you, my brothers and sisters from Africa: Do you trust your leaders, elected leaders, from Africa to give the best leadership for the life and mission of the church in Africa? If you do, vote “Yes.”
I say to you, my brothers and sisters from South America: Do you trust your elected leaders to provide reliable, good, Spirit-driven, Spirit-inspired leadership to the life and witness of our church in South America? Then vote “Yes.”
The same applies to North America and to Europe. We need to trust each other to get together and to vote “Yes” on this motion.
Voting “No” will do damage to our church. I am fearful of what will happen if we do not allow the church to go forward on this. So I say to you, please do not let delegates from major segments of our church return to their fields bruised and bleeding and confused and disenfranchised because they are being driven by this community to live a life somehow judged by this community not to be worthy of the responsibility that they have.
It is important, I think, that we empower our delegates, allow them to go back home and to know that they have the right and the empowerment of this body to respond under the Spirit’s guidance to God as to how they can best lead the church.
We are struggling in some parts of the world. We are struggling badly to try to hold the church together, to engage young and old, men and women, in the mission and ministry of the church. We need everyone’s involvement.
We are bleeding in many ways. We’ve got to stop this. We are losing so many of our youth and young professionals. They have problems with the moral integrity of the church, and they say, “Why is the church having problems with this matter? The public does not. It’s not a problem to the public. Why should it be to the church?”
And there is no biblical injunction that stops us. We have to fix this one.
Please, brothers and sisters, I believe that it is the will of God that we should enable the church in every part of the world to make the decisions that are best applicable in the part where they live without being a violation of the will of God. Thank you.
LISA BURROW: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I can sense, as you can, that the tension has risen in the room. And I’m wondering if this would be an appropriate time to pause for prayer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
MICHAEL RYAN: Thank you. And I think that is something that is very, very advisable.
I would like everybody to pray silently. And we will pause for a period of time.
GLENN TOWNEND: I think if the church for the past 40 years has been discussing this issue of the role of women in the church in various ways and we haven’t come to a consensus, it’s obviously not something that unites us. We don’t need to be uniform in everything to be united.
What we need is the Spirit of God to guide us.
I remember the first time I went to the church, and they told me I had to take my shoes off and sit cross-legged. I felt extremely uncomfortable. But we don’t dictate how people worship, so I believe that we shouldn’t be dictating who leads when we cannot come to a consensus. Unity has not been affected when we’ve allowed women deacons and elders.
SAMUEL LARMIE (no): A person who was converted recently in the church said that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not one of the churches, it is the church of God.
And the devil is working against so many churches, trying to move churches from what the Scriptures have said. The devil is against the truth. What we are talking about is not about allowing or disallowing women to minister or to teach or to evangelize. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re not talking also about prophets. It has nothing to do with that. We are not talking about disallowing people to use their talents. No. It’s not about that.
It is about ordination of women into the ministry. And if we want a source to guide us, the Holy Scriptures is the best
source we must go to, nowhere else. It’s the infallible guide that we can have. Ellen G. White herself never was ordained by the church. Did the church make a mistake? Is that what we are saying today?
When you come to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, He selected 12 disciples. He selected all men. Did He make a mistake? No, He didn’t.
We come to Paul, who talked about equality. He ordained only men. He never ordained a woman. The Bible is clearly disallowing this that we are talking about today.
The church is one church and a global church. The church must stand where the Bible stands and not elsewhere. If it is good for us to do it, then we must all do it together, not regionally. If it is not good for us to do it, then we must not do it across the world. We want to stay together.
CHARLES SANDEFUR (yes): Forty-three years ago Josephine Benton became my pastor and my colleague. The next year I was ordained, and she wasn’t. She had better skills than I had, better gifts than I had, she was more organized than I was, but she waited 40 years to be ordained.
I understand how for many of us here it is a point of conscience that Josephine Benton not be ordained, but that for some of us it’s a point of conscience that she be ordained.
How do we deal with differences of conscience in this church? Can we go back to Acts 15, where, in the issue of circumstance, there were differences of conscience?
By the way, at the first Jerusalem Council, there were no rules of procedure; there was no failed electronic voting; they met for one day; and they completed their business. And, astonishingly, the Holy Spirit led them to permit both circumcision and noncircumcision into a complicated unity, rather than an easy consensus. And the people who came with their conscience and voted their conscience were allowed to go home and exercise their conscience.
We can do that here. Let’s go back to Acts 15. Let’s bring our conscience, vote our conscience. What we need is not your permission; we need your blessing for us to act in ways that will fulfill the mission of our church.
TONYE EREKOSIMA: A small clarification. I have a problem with the motion on the floor here. My question is: Has there been any time the GC made reference to divisions to take actions on any policy issues or what have you? Have there been any time some decisions have been deferred to the various divisions?
I think I’m afraid we are trying to set a precedent in the light of some contemporary issues that will make divisions begin to make decisions by themselves. So we need to be very careful so that we don’t polarize on these issues, because we may begin to have issues that we may not be able to have control over. Divisions will now come up to make decisions, contentious decisions, without regard to the GC.
MICHAEL RYAN: Thank you for that comment. I know you’re making a point of inquiry, and there probably would be people better qualified to respond to that than I am. But I do know that even with the constitution and bylaws, we provide a model constitution and bylaws, and divisions have the flexibility to adopt them. It is true that there are certain points in that constitution that divisions are required to reflect, but there’s quite a bit of leeway in it.
I also know that when you look from division to division, there’s flexibility in certain financial policies and, as a matter of fact, different offering plans. And these are division decisions. So it’s not something that’s unusual to have divisions make this decision.
I think the thing we need to keep in mind here is that we have brought this to this body because this issue is owned by the General Conference in session. And certainly this body can define how they want to have this administered or not administered. And that’s why we’re here today, to address that question.
ALEX OTTI: Let me start by apologizing to the GC Executive Committee, because I may not have very kind words for them. Look at the proposal and read it: “Is it acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? Yes or No.”
If you listen very well, you also hear what is not being said. And what is not being said is what is most important here: that the leadership has not taken the qualities of leadership into serious consideration. A leader has to be fair, courageous, and bold irrespective of where the pendulum is swinging.
I don’t think we have come for a popularity contest here. I expected that if this was going to come, a decision has to be taken. There is no decision here. And what I sense is that the GC Executive Committee is outsourcing its function of making a decision to the delegates here. And I don’t think it’s right. I believe that this proposal should be for a consensus. If there’s no consensus, they should continue working on it, even if it takes 30 years until we bring a proposal that says, “This is our position.” We can vote “Yes” or “No,” but this is like sitting on the fence and asking us to make a decision that should have been made by Executive Committee. I really don’t think that a good job on this has been done.
JIM HOWARD (no): I would like to first address some of the comments made about Ellen White. She uses the words “pastor” and “pastoral laborer” to refer to anyone who exercises the spiritual gift of pastoring, nurturing the flock through visitation and personal ministry. She describes pastors’ wives and even church members doing pastoral labor.
But when speaking of the office of minister, Ellen White writes, “The primary object of our college was to afford young men an opportunity to study for the ministry and to prepare young persons of both sexes to become workers in the various branches of the cause” [Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 60]. Young men she specifically identifies for the ministry and those of both sexes for the various branches of the cause.
Testimony Treasures, volume 2, page 239, says, “Those who enter the missionary field should be men and women who walk and talk with God. Those who stand as ministers in the sacred desk should be men of blameless reputation.” Ellen White was making a distinction in both of those places.
Furthermore, the question before us, allowing each division to decide whether or not to ordain women in their region, assumes that there are differences between divisions but that there is unity within our divisions. It assumes North America believes one thing, West Africa something else, etc.
But this is simply not the case. In the North American Division there is a sharp divide over this issue, and voting “Yes” would be disastrous to our division. Rather than allowing us to focus on mission, it would simply pass the battle to divisions, unions, conferences, and local churches. In North America there is a large portion, if not a majority, of church members who are not in favor of ordaining women, even where conference leadership is in favor of doing so. I believe that every church in the North American Division will be put in an awkward situation if this is passed.
BRUNO VERTALLIER (yes): Women, sisters, I love you. God does too. In the three angels’ messages—and we speak a lot about that—we are called to give glory and worship the Creator, who has created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the springs of water. We love this declaration. We support it. This is good and mandatory. We want to glorify the Creator.
What about the respect of the creatures of the Creator? In society we continue to discriminate against the creatures of the Creator because of religions, of skin color, of strong nationalism, even because of gender. It seems that humankind always finds good reason to discriminate. We always try to control, dominate a group of people. It happens also in our church.
We continue to discriminate against many of the creatures of the Creator. Do you know that women h
ave been created by God, the Creator? They are precious to God. They are precious to us. Women are creatures of God.
If we want to become consistent and glorify the Creator, we must recognize the women and respect them in their full dimension as human beings and creatures of the Creator and stop discriminating in any way. Let us be in the Asia church the champions in glorifying the Creator and respecting women as creatures of the Creator and stop discriminating. If you understand that, you will know how to vote. Let us glorify the Creator in respecting His creatures. Women, we love you.
FREDERICK NYAGA (no): This issue of women’s ordination has always been there. And in all the other past General Conference sessions, it was not approved, not because anyone was against women’s ordination, but because the church wanted to maintain unity. And I stand here to ask: Does it mean now that we don’t need unity? I believe that if there was ever a time the church needed unity, it’s today.
If we want to vote that every division does as it wishes, it will be just a question of time and the unions and local conferences will also start saying, “Can we be allowed to do the things that we want?” Eventually there will be the local churches. And I ask myself, Where will the unity of the church be?
We are not against women being ordained. We are not against women doing the work of the church. We are only saying, If we are going to say “No,” let us say “No” as a church. Let us have one stand.
There are many things that we do not do, not because they are wrong in themselves, but because of the impact they are going to have either to the individual or to the church. And I believe this is one of them.
If we are going to say “Yes,” what impact are we going to have? This issue is not a question of life and death. And therefore I would that we rather say “No” to maintain that unity that we have been having. The church has continued to today without women’s ordination, and it will continue growing. God bless you.
ANNA KRISZTINA ZARKANE TEREMY (yes): I appreciate how the Adventist thinking is reflected in the Sabbath School, as in lesson 6 of the quarterly Women in the Ministry of Jesus. A quote from that lesson: “In the time of Jesus, as in some cultures today, women were deemed of little worth. . . . Against such a backdrop
. . . Jesus brought the good news that woman are” “children of God of equal worth with men in the sight of God” (May 2).
The message today for women of all nations remains the same: We are all men and women, one in Christ Jesus.
This is what we studied in 215 countries in Sabbath school, which is supposed to unite our church. However, could it be that in this respect some of us are like those Christians who read “Sabbath” but understand “Sunday.” From the same lesson, a quote from Ellen White, Evangelism, page 464: “The Lord has a work for women as well as for men. They may take their places in His work at this crisis, and He will work through them. . . . The Savior will reflect upon these self-sacrificing women the light of His countenance, and will give them a power that exceeds that of men.”
One hundred years ago the church in Hungary, where I am from, was established, but many of the men were taken in World War I. At that time women stood up to carry on the work, becoming role models for later generations.
God gave the fruit of the Holy Spirit to those women, and also blessings. So what would Jesus do?
NATASHA NEBBLETT (no): I want to speak on behalf of thousands whose voices are not being heard in my division. Thousands of NAD members do not agree with women’s ordination. The initiative to bring it to the front has served not to unify but to polarize our division.
As the president of GYC, which is the largest annual youth and young-adult conference in the Adventist Church, I hear from those within the NAD who feel their voices have not been heard or at least not been acknowledged. There are those in this division who believe that we should be considerate of the world church and what regional beliefs will mean for our unity, rather than feeling that the world church needs to be considerate of us.
And if the division has not acknowledged all of the convictions within their own division, how can we anticipate that they will appreciate and consider the convictions of the world church on other issues when we have once set a precedent that each locality can decide for itself?
I am a young woman, a young adult, an ethnic minority, and a leader of one of largest youth movements in Adventism. And God has already called me to work for Him, and that is all the calling that I need. Not all young people, not all young women, and not all North Americans want our church to be divided for the sake of somebody putting their hands on us.
And while people recognize my work as president of the Young Adult Conference, they should give more recognition when I become a wife next February and a mother after that, since the Spirit of Prophecy says that position is higher than the ministry and the desk and the king on his throne. We should focus on giving that the dignity and honor that it deserves. I say “No” to the question and “No” to dividing the church.
CHERYL DOSS (yes): The church has followed a very careful process in coming to this day. As we have heard for two years, the Theology of Ordination Study Committee, a committee officially convened by the General Conference, met to study the issue of ordination. The duly appointed members from around the world, including many of our church’s best biblical scholars, studied the Bible together, discussed and prayed and listened to each other. At the end of that process, two thirds of that committee agreed that the church should allow the practice of ordination to vary in different parts of the body. To have two thirds of those committee members, a majority, after much study, agree on the direction for the church to take on such a difficult issue seems to me to be a strong indication of the church’s leading, the Spirit’s leading.
The Bible says that just as a body requires different parts, the unity of the church requires differences. The church’s responsibility is to empower all the parts of the body from mission, not to reduce the body to sameness.
Our theology of ordination document clearly states that ordination in the Adventist Church is functional, not sacramental. If one part of the body will function better if women are ordained, then that is what they should do.
All parts do not have to function in the same way, nor do they need to be exactly alike in ordination practices to function well together.
We put shoes only on our feet, not our hands. We put food in our mouths, not in our ears. To fulfill our mission, we need to allow divisions to make decisions that will empower their mission and help their part of the body function well.
PEDRO MENDEZ (no): [translated] We’ve been reviewing the reports of the different divisions, the progress that has been seen in each of them, and we have seen men and women working together, and we have seen the church grow.
Viewing those present—and I know that in other countries there is expectation—I’m embarrassed to see that before, with such a beautiful program of revival and reformation, we have not seen a suspense and expectation as this, as if this were a point of life or death.
The enemy placed in David’s heart the desire to count the people, and his victories went to the ground.
I believe women’s ordination at this moment is a distracting and divisive influence. This church needs to keep united, as it has been for the progress of its mission.
The church should not depend on the pressure of its surroundings to make the right decision.
I believe we should take a “No” position.
RICARDO GRAHAM (yes): I would like to support a “Yes” on the motion, because this motion allows for accommodation on a local bas
is, which has a long history in the denomination.
Examples include but are not limited to the following: 1. Regional conferences were originally created because the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the United States of America yielded to the prevailing racial code of segregation and would not accept Black Americans as full equals in the mission of the church. They have proved a great blessing in every level of the organization.
2. There has been accommodation to polygamy in membership within the church, as spelled out in the working policy, C70, which reads, “Wives of a polygamist who have entered into the marriage in their heathen state and who, upon accepting Christianity, are still not permitted to leave their husbands because of tribal custom, may, upon approval of the local and union committees, become baptized members of the church.” This has been a blessing to the growth of the church.
There has been an accommodation in doctrines. It was voted in 2005 at St. Louis, Missouri. General Conference delegates arrived with 27 Fundamental Beliefs. We left with 28. A new belief, number 11, “Growing in Christ,” was added in response to the requests of Adventists in developing nations for a statement of spiritual warfare yielding to the current 28. This was an accommodation to the needs of members who believed this would enhance their mission and ministry.
There are people in many parts of the world who believe that acknowledging the giftedness of God upon all people and recognizing that officially would be a boon to their mission and their ministry in the local area where they serve and function.
I urge a “Yes” vote.
TED N. C. WILSON: Brother Chair, if you could put up two minutes, I’d appreciate it.
With all humility and with respect, I speak to my brothers and sisters. Most of you know already where I stand on this issue, and I humbly submit that my views are rather well known and, I believe, very biblically based, plainly said. But I will not refer to them after this.
I don’t want anyone to misunderstand. I have heard the angst and the emotional deep feeling by so many. I think we all hold these views rather strongly. But let me give you a very strong pastoral appeal.
I believe we need to stay together as a church in making a united decision, not separately. We have had a fair and open process. Our real challenge for the future is to maintain a sweet spirit. After the vote is when we really will be tested, whichever way it goes. I want us to focus upon the mission and upon evangelism and not continue agitation on either side for this issue. The mission of the church is so precious to all of us. We have been entrusted with the proclamation of the three angels’ messages, and today we read in Revelation 18 the fourth angel.
I will be praying that we stay together.
MICHAEL RYAN: Thank you very much.
LESLIE GILLETT (no): I must not support this motion, because when I read the Bible, I realize that at the foundation of what we believe as Seventh-day Adventists is the instruction that comes from God to His people. When I look at the sanctuary message, God told Moses that His people was to make for Him a sanctuary that and he was to follow the pattern that was seen in heaven.
It is clear to me, then, that what Moses did was what God showed him. When I look at the ministry of Jesus and of Paul, and, in fact, when I look throughout Scripture, I do not see Scripture disagreeing with itself. It is, therefore, clear to me that if it was God’s will, we would have had a clear “Thus saith the Lord” on this matter.
I believe, however, that if we study the prophecies and we look at what’s happening in the world, we would realize why this issue is coming up at this time, and therefore as a church we should stand firm on the Word of God, and we should say “No.”
MICHAEL RYAN: Again I would like to have the delegates pause for a moment of prayer. We’re starting into the voting process where the world church is going to make a decision. And I would again invite you to find someone next to you, and we are going to take just two or three minutes to ask the Lord to again bring a sweet spirit over this house and that we would have the guidance of Heaven as we make a decision, a very important decision on this issue. So let’s pause and find someone to pray with.
Rosa Banks will read for the last time the motion on which we will be voting.
ROSA BANKS: “After your prayerful study on ordination from the Bible, the writings of Ellen G. White, and the reports of the study commissions, and after your careful consideration of what is best for the church and the fulfillment of its mission, is it acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? Yes or No?”
MICHAEL RYAN: I want to make mention of the fact that we have the auditors of the General Conference involved in this process; they have been entrusted with a very important responsibility that requires the utmost integrity.
[The voting was done by secret ballot.]
I’m not seeing any more persons going to vote. I am declaring the end of voting.
[Singing of songs.]
All right. We have the ballot totals in. And just before I read the totals and the decision on the question, I want to remind the body that I responded to someone who said, “Are we going to close this session with prayer?” with “Yes, absolutely we are.” I just think it’s the most important time that we spend together.
And so immediately upon reading this and my declaring the motion, we are going to take a little time to turn to the person next to you and pray together. I don’t know what will be on your heart, but I do know that Jesus and the Holy Spirit will keep this church focused on mission.
There were a total of 2,363 ballots cast. And that includes those that abstained. There were 5 votes that abstained.
There were 977 delegates who voted “Yes” on the question; 1,381 delegates voted “No” on the question.
There’s nothing triumphal about this. There are not winners and losers. I would ask that you turn to the person next to you and just pray. Let’s pray together.
At this time Elder Wilson, the president of the world church, will make a concluding comment.
TED N. C. WILSON: Brothers and sisters, I want to thank the chair and others who have helped the secretary and others, but most of all I want to thank you. Thank you for the careful and prayerful manner in which you have conducted yourselves and addressed the subject today. I’m sorry that we did not have more time for those who wished to speak, but we have studied this item for decades, papers and materials have been available worldwide for a long time, and we have placed it in God’s hands.
I also want to thank the fine voting process that our Secretariat and GCAS conducted. We are very much in appreciation of that.
We’ve been here together to watch God’s work take place as an assembled group in this session. And I believe the Holy Spirit has worked on hearts.
I want to speak to your hearts for a moment. We have today a spiritual opportunity to refocus our attention on mission and turn our eyes away from this subject.
I appeal to all of us in this church to put away differences of opinion. You may guard an opinion, but let’s be careful how we express it, and move ahead. We need to humble ourselves before God as we recognize God’s instructions regarding a General Conference in session.
I share with you in humility Testimonies, volume 9, page 261: “God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth”—and that means every single one of you—”when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority.” In this quotation we see the call to humility on the part of all of us in order to accomplish the prophetic mission that God has given to
My friends, my colleagues, my fellow church members in this great Advent movement, now is the time to unify under the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ and His power, not our own power. Now is the time—and I’m very serious about this—to unify in the mission of God’s church. As we move forward in unity, I appeal to your heart for calmness and peace.
How important it is for us to avoid controversy since the mission of the church is at stake.
Another beautiful quotation from Testimonies, volume 9, page 216: “Let every believer do his best to prepare the way for the gospel missionary work that is to be done. But let no one enter into controversy. It is Satan’s object to keep Christians occupied in controversies among themselves. . . . God’s workers are to be of one mind and one heart, praying for the impartation of the Spirit and believing that God will fulfill His word.”
My dear brothers and sisters, here at the 2015 session, let us unite under Christ’s leadership. Let us fulfill Christ’s prayer in John 17. We are to plead with the Lord for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit, who will give us the needed unity and purpose of mission in proclaiming the messages of the three angels and the fourth angel of Revelation 18. Let’s place ourselves in the hands of God as we grow in His grace and serve together.
Another quotation from Testimonies, volume 9: “We are not to seek to maintain a peculiar identity of our own, a personality, an individuality, which will separate us from our fellow laborers. We have a character to maintain, but it is the character of Christ. Having the character of Christ, we can carry on the work of God together. . . . Strive earnestly for unity. Pray for it, work for it” [pp. 187, 188].
In closing, my dear friends, I earnestly appeal to each of us to put away any animosity, any frustration, and unite in the Lord’s entrusted mission for His church. Unity can come only as we lean completely on the Lord for His direct guidance in our lives and in connection with each other.
Now, at the end of this discussion and after this period of voting, may our hearts be softened through the Holy Spirit. May there not be anxious thoughts, independent action, agitation, but may we receive clear guidance from the Holy Spirit about how we can unite in the mission of the church.
May we earnestly ask that all concerned will seek the unity that Christ pleaded for in John 17.
Let’s place ourselves in His hands.
I close with one of the most powerful messages in the Pauline epistles, Ephesians 4:1-6: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” [KJV].
We are one family. I plead with you. Let us, as we’ve been encouraged in the Spirit of Prophecy, press together, press together, press together. Let us unite. The mission of the church, entrusted to us by heaven itself.
Arise! Shine! Jesus is coming!
And I believe soon. I encourage you to unite by singing our theme song right now, “We Have This Hope.”
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” [Jude 24, 25, KJV].
MICHAEL L. RYAN, Chair
ROSA T. BANKS, Secretary
R. J. KLOOSTERHUIS, NILTON D. AMORIM,
and CLAUDE SABOT, ProceedingsEditors
Sixtieth General Conference Session
July 8, 2015, 2:00 p.m.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that the gospel commission is addressed to all followers of Jesus Christ. As an expression of discipleship and engagement in the gospel commission, men and women have held important leadership roles in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church at all levels of denominational structure. Since the late 1960s, much attention has been focused on the role of women in leadership positions requiring ordination. Several General Conference-appointed commissions1 as well as individual authors have studied this question from the standpoint of theology, ecclesiology and mission.
The General Conference Executive Committee voted in 1973 that continued study be given to the “theological soundness of the election of women to local church offices which require ordination . . . and that in areas receptive to such action, there be continued recognition of the appropriateness of appointing women to pastoral-evangelistic work . . . ”2 The 1974 Annual Council reaffirmed sections of the 1973 action and added its opinion that “ . . . in the interest of world unity of the church, no move be made in the direction of ordaining women to the gospel ministry.”3
General Conference Sessions have also expressed decisions regarding the role of women in church work. The 1985 Session urged that “‘affirmative action’ for the involvement of women in the work of the church be a priority . . . and to request leaders to use their executive influence to open to women all aspects of ministry in the church that do not require ordination.”4
The 1990 Session, upon recommendation of the 1989 Annual Council, accepted a report and recommendations from the Role of Women Commission. In its report the Commission stated that it “does not have a consensus as to whether or not the Scriptures and the writings of Ellen G. White explicitly advocate or deny the ordination of women to pastoral ministry . . . Further in view of the wide-spread lack of support for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry in the world church, and in view of the possible risk of disunity, dissension, and diversion from the mission of the church, we do not approve ordination of women to the gospel ministry.”5
The 1995 Session denied a request from the North American Division that each division might be given “the right to authorize the ordination of individuals within its territory in harmony with established policies. In addition, where circumstances do not render it inadvisable, a division may authorize the ordination of qualified individuals without regard to gender.”6
During the 2010 General Conference Session a delegate requested an official Church study of ordination. In response to this request, General Conference administration informed the Session of its commitment “to establishing a process to review the subject of ordination and will report back to Annual Council during this quinquennium.”7
Consequently the General Conference Administrative Committee suggested a process of study for the division Biblical Research Committees and appointed a Theology of Ordination Study Committee. Committee membership included more than 100 persons of both genders serving the Church as theologians, pastors, administrators and laypersons. As in previous commissions, the Theology of Ordination Study Committee did not arrive at a consensus regarding a biblical position or Ellen G White’s counsel on the matter of whether or not ministerial ordination should be gender inclusive. Diverse interpretations of Bible passages give rise to firm convictions in favor of or in opposition to the ordination of women to gospel ministry.
However, the commission did reach a high degree of accord concerning a biblical theology of ordination.8 This statement summarizes several important aspects of ordination as practiced in the early Church and recorded in the New Testament. Two foundational concepts in this Statement are:
1) that “Seventh-day Adventists understand ordination, in a biblical sense, as the action of the Church in publicly recognizing those whom the Lord has called and equipped for local and global Church ministry”, and 2) that “While ordination contributes to Church order, it neither conveys special qualities to the person nor introduces a kingly hierarchy within the faith community.”
The proceedings of the Theology of Ordination Study Committee and division-appointed Biblical Research Committees provided opportunity for a global conversation in the Church regarding its understanding and practice of ordination. The Theology of Ordination Study Committee’s report9 was presented to the General Conference Executive Committee at the 2014 Annual Council. This report included theological and hermeneutical rationales for conclusions on both sides of the question. The Committee suggested three ways forward but did not make a consensus recommendation concerning the practice of ordination in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Differing interpretations of the Bible on this matter and conscientious convictions based on those interpretations may be found in virtually all areas of the world. As a result, the question becomes one of how Church members will live in harmony and unity while acknowledging the presence of differing views on a variety of issues.
Recognizing the importance of this question with respect to understanding the Bible, the multinational and multicultural nature of the Church and its mission, and the biblical example10 of addressing differences that do not directly involve fundamental beliefs, the General Conference Executive Committee chose to again call for guidance from the global Church. The decisions of the Church in a General Conference Session are recognized as the will of the Church. Ellen G White affirmed this view as follows: “I have been shown that no man’s judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any one man. But when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon the earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered.”11
WHEREAS, The unity for which Jesus prayed is vitally important to the witness of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and;
WHEREAS, The Seventh-day Adventist Church seeks to engage every member in its worldwide mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ among people from every nation, culture and ethnicity, and;
WHEREAS, Various groups appointed by the General Conference and its divisions have carefully studied the Bible and Ellen G White writings with respect to the ordination of women and have not arrived at consensus as to whether ministerial ordination for women is unilaterally affirmed or denied, and;
WHEREAS, The Seventh-day Adventist Church affirms that “God has ordained that the representatives of His Church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference Session, shall have authority”12,
THEREFORE, After prayerful study on ordination from the Bible, the writings of Ellen G White, and the reports of the study commissions, and;
After careful consideration of what is best for the Church and the fulfillment of its mission, it is
VOTED, To not allow division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry.
Michael L Ryan, Chair
Rosa T Banks, Secretary
Myron A Iseminger, Actions Editor
Wendy Trim, Recording Secretary
VOTED, To approve the following partial report of the Nominating Committee:
General Conference Ministerial Association