Following the discussion and vote on ordination at the General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas on Wednesday, July 9 in which the Worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church decided to pursue its current course on the ordination of women, the Adventist Church in the Netherlands has issued the following statement :
The delegates of the Dutch churches voted at their Session in the autumn of 2012 to ordain women in an equal way to their male colleagues. The vote took effect in June 2013 and will remain in effect. The decision of the General Conference Session in San Antonio does not change this.
Female pastors will continue to be ordained in the Netherlands Union Conference. We thank God that he calls men and women to serve him. We want to enthusiastically confirm that call by the laying on of hands.
contrast with the statement from the NAD
".......we will continue to follow General Conference policy by commissioning women pastors, and ordaining women elders and deaconesses."
The GC has somewhat of an authority over the divisions of the Church but zero authority over the UCs..
Thats why the vote one WO only ever was for divisions. There is nothing the GC can do with UCs ever since the 1901 restructuring of the Church by EGW and the GC.
NAD = Division
Netherlands = UC
Thats where the contrast comes from. The other european UCs ordaining women will follow the Netherlands example as will China and most of the US UCs.
Now lets see if the GC tries to "force" the UCs through financial pressure.. :)
I like the plain and straight forward no-politicking statement from the UC.
No they will not Manuela for following reason
Balaam and the WO
Hilari: Welcome to Prophetic Insights. I am sitting here with Pastor Andrew Henriques of Prophesy Again and Saved To Serve Ministries. I am Hilari Henriques, and we are discussing the recent vote on women’s ordination that was held Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Pastor, there was a lot of anticipation leading up to this vote as to whether or not women should be ordained as pastors and elders in the gospel ministry presiding over churches and conferences within the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination. After the ballots were counted, the majority voted against women’s ordination. So what are your thoughts regarding the outcome of the vote?
Pastor Henriques: Well, I believe that the issue surrounding women’s ordination in the Seventh-day Adventist Church can in many ways be applied to the account of Balaam. This indicates that as a denomination, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has reached the anti-typical banks of the Jordan and is at the very borders of the heavenly Canaan.
Hilari: I would like for you to explain some more how Balaam’s account applies to this issue; but first let’s look at the reaction of some Seventh-day Adventists who are now rejoicing that the vote turned out the way that it did. Many conscientious and well-meaning Seventh-day Adventists have fasted and prayed that the outcome would be that the denomination would not approve of the divisions of the church having the authority to ordain women if they so choose, and are now rejoicing at the outcome of the vote, believing that somehow the denomination was saved from apostatizing. However, the apostasy had occurred even before the ballots were cast.
Pastor Henriques: Let me interject Hilari. In case you are not aware, it is worth mentioning that prior to the General Conference Session of 2015, the issue of women’s ordination was brought to a vote two times before, in 1990 and 1995; and was voted down both times. What is significant about this particular issue, is not the outcome of the vote, but rather the fact that an unscriptural practice even reached the level to be voted upon at the General Conference Session, now for the third time.
Hilari: Who is it that decided to bring this issue to the floor to be voted upon at the General Conference sessions?
Pastor Henriques: The denominational leaders and administrators at the annual council held a few months prior to the sessions are the ones who decided to bring this issue to the General Conference Session. And while many are celebrating and viewing the outcome of the recent vote as a victory for the denomination; this is a false illusion. I say it is a false illusion because, regardless of the outcome, the leaders had already sinned by allowing this unbiblical item to be brought to a vote at the General Conference Session, now for a third time.
Hilari: I agree with that point. In Matthew 5:21, 22, 27, and 28 the Bible is clear that sin begins in the mind even before the act is manifested physically or carried out. Furthermore, the mere fact that the Seventh-day Adventist leaders contrived the unbiblical practice of women’s ordination and went further to push it on to a vote, indicates a manifestation of the sinful thought and the practice. You had mentioned earlier that this issue parallels with the account of Balaam, and I would like you to expound on that.
Pastor Henriques: The history of Balaam’s continual disregard for God’s word, pursuing his own agenda, which would surely lead to God’s people being cursed, strikingly parallels with the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church bringing the unbiblical practice of ordaining women, not once, not twice, but thrice before the General Conference Sessions to be voted upon. The point I am making is not that the leaders are directly cursing the people, but by the thought of pushing women’s ordination forward to be accepted by the people, would bring the curse of God to the recipients. Let’s analyze this account a little closer. When pagan king Balak asked Balaam to curse God’s people, Balaam should have emphatically said “no” and entertained no further dialogue with the enemies of God’s people. Yet Balaam responded by stating that he would go and seek God to discover His will concerning the matter, even though Balaam, once a prophet of God, knew that pronouncing a curse upon God’s people was a sin; you can find that in Numbers 22:6-8. Of course God did not permit Balaam to move forward in his pursuit according to Numbers 22:12. And based on verse 19, when Balak sent men again to Balaam, offering even more rewards and inducements, Balaam again stated that he would inquire of God a second time, even though he knew what God’s will was. Due to Balaam’s sinful persistence in the matter, God allowed Balaam to have his own way. And according to Numbers 22:20-22, God’s curse ever after rested upon him.
Hilari: This brings out the point I was making earlier, that Balaam’s commission of the sin did not only occur when he went to curse the Israelites; his sin was committed when he cherished the desire in his mind to go against God’s will, and presumptuously sought the Lord, as if the Lord would somehow change His mind.
Pastor Henriques: Exactly. Let me now read from Patriarchs and Prophets to emphasize and bring out a few more points here: “In the night season the Lord appeared to Balaam and said, ‘If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.’ Thus far the Lord would permit Balaam to follow his own will, because he was determined upon it. He did not seek to do the will of God, but chose his own course, and then endeavored to secure the sanction of the Lord. There are thousands at the present day who are pursuing a similar course. They would have no difficulty in understanding their duty if it were in harmony with their inclinations. It is plainly set before them in the Bible or is clearly indicated by circumstances and reason. But because these evidences are contrary to their desires and inclinations they frequently set them aside and presume to go to God to learn their duty. With great apparent conscientiousness they pray long and earnestly for light. But God will not be trifled with. He often permits such persons to follow their own desires and to suffer the result. ‘My people would not hearken to My voice. . . . So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.’ Psalm 81:11, 12. When one clearly sees a duty, let him not presume to go to God with the prayer that he may be excused from performing it. He should rather, with a humble, submissive spirit, ask for divine strength and wisdom to meet its claims.”1
Hilari: Wow! I can see how the account of Balaam really applies to the process that led up to this vote and how the proponents of women’s ordination were motivating their constituents to pray and seek God so that He would allow them to get a yes vote, even though it goes contrary to scripture. But I also see that this account applies to those who share the sentiments of the General Conference President, that though women’s ordination is not supported by the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy, they were in favor of organizing the TOSC to study again what had been previously studied leading up to 1990 and 1995. Like Balaam, did they except to get a different answer?
Pastor Henriques: So three times the issue of women’s ordination has been brought to the floor for a vote. It is interesting that God sought to prevent Balaam from carrying out his sinful agenda three times. According to Numbers 22:32, Balaam smote his ass three times while on his way to carry out his sinful desires. I believe that the female ass represents the church body, while Balaam represents not only the proponents and leaders of the women’s ordination movement, but also those who allowed this unbiblical issue to be brought to a vote.
Hilari: What would you say to a person who asks how are the leaders who may not directly endorse women’s ordination, but allowed it to be brought to a vote, comparable to Balaam?
Pastor Henriques: Those leaders simply should have said “no” when that item was proposed; but instead, they allowed it and were willing to go along if the vote would have turned out in favor of women’s ordination. Hilari, some may say that I am advocating church leaders that are dictators. I am in no way saying that. What I am saying is that if a leader knows the truth, he should take a stand and not compromise though the heavens fall; and by him standing, the sincere people would also stand with him. Even I would stand with and support such a firm and spiritual leader.
Hilari: In addition to what you already stated about Balaam smiting the ass, certain leaders have been aggressively pushing and urging the members to accept women’s ordination and have been attempting to have it as a voted policy. You know Pastor, as we continue in our dialogue, I do not want this point to be lost, so I will reiterate it. Whenever an unbiblical policy is placed in a position to be voted into practice, and the possibility that the church will vote in favor of that unbiblical practice is there, the church has already sinned, even if it is voted down. So this “no” vote is really not a victory at all.
Pastor Henriques: I agree. Let’s now take a look at what Balaam was really after. Balaam was covetous for position, promotion, and wealth; he was therefore willing to blatantly disregard God’s revealed will to attain these rewards; and many today who are willing to set aside God’s Biblical order and principles are doing the same thing in order to attain numerical church growth, which would increase the tithe and offering, popularity, and also to be in harmony with other denominations. I have a statements here that expresses the sentiments of Jan Paulsen and Calvin Rock. Let me read it for you:
“…our best and finest minds, most dedicated individuals have looked at this, examined it locally and globally…and culturally, and we asked ourselves what is the best solution….We support a ‘Yes Vote’ at the General Conference session 2015.’ Jan Paulsen, former General Conference President.” “…certainly if He wishes to gift a woman in this day and time; when that gift is accepted, in places where it is accepted, it should be recognized.” “For me the whole ordination question boils down to one simple question, ‘does this person have the gift?’ If so, who are we not to recognize it.’ Calvin Rock, Former General Conference Vice President.”2
Hilari: It is worth mentioning that Balaam sought to push his agenda three times, and three times he utterly failed, as was the case with women’s ordination in 1990, 1995, and now 2015.
Pastor Henriques: That is exactly the point that I am emphasizing. The three failures of women’s ordination directly parallel with Balaam’s three failures, and this shows that we have arrived at the anti-typical banks of the Jordan about to cross over into the heavenly Canaan. And the same apostasy that occurred right on the banks of the Jordan, we can find today among God’s professed people. [Numbers 24:10 and 11]. Now in Numbers 25, even after his three failures, Balaam found another way to carry out his sinful agenda. He brought in the heathen, Midianitish women to unite with God’s people, which brought God’s curse upon thousands of the Israelites who died on the banks of the Jordan and did not enter Canaan. Likewise, I believe the NAD and other divisions supporting women’s ordination will find another way to carry out their sinful agenda. Now Hilari, this is the part that truly saddens me. Balaam’s fate was even worse for having led God’s people into the transgression. Balaam, once a true prophet of God, died with the enemies of God, and his obituary states that he died as a soothsayer, a spiritualist, one who promotes lies [Numbers 31:6-8; Joshua 13:22; and Micah 5:12].
Hilari: Pastor, I see where you are going with that. If the leaders of the movement in favor of women’s ordination are unrepentant, they may very well read their own fate in Balaam’s demise.
Pastor Henriques: This is my prediction, even though I don’t claim to be a prophet. Since the vote has been “no” for the three times that it has been brought to the floor, in 1990, 1995 and 2015, all of the divisions in favor of women’s ordination will have to make one of two decisions. They will either surrender their positions and practices of ordaining women or remove themselves from under the General Conference. I believe the latter will be the decision based upon the North American Division’s previous statements that they are taking steps to remove themselves from under the General Conference. Hear what this says: “The Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America has a need to have its own unique message and strategies that are relevant and work in our territory, Jackson told the church leaders from across the U.S., Canada, Bermuda, and Micronesia. While the Seventh-day Adventist movement began in North America, we are among the youngest divisions in the church, and it’s time that we grow up and leave our parent’s house.”3
Hilari: You know pastor, this is highly probable that the NAD will not relinquish their practice because Sandra Roberts was reelected as President of the Southeastern California Conference.4
Pastor Henriques: And to add to that Hilari. The NAD put out a video in which Marquis Johns expressed the vision of the NAD to double the 107 women pastors in five years. This video was shown at the GC session even before the vote took place.
Hilari: During the voting process Elder Ted Wilson stood up and said “that he would abide by the vote, whatever the outcome. Noting that his views on the issue were ‘well known, argued for a united decision,’ and said ‘agitation on this issue’ should discontinue after the vote so that the church’s focus can return to evangelistic mission. ‘My prayer,’ he said, ‘is, ‘Let us stay together.’”5 Really? Knowing and even acknowledging in the past that this practice is unbiblical? Are we to just go along for the sake of unity?
Pastor Henriques: Well let me just read this quotation in closing from The Great Controversy, page 45 says: “To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war. Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God’s professed people.”6
I share the sentiments of the apostle Paul for Seventh-day Adventists: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Romans 10:1.
Perhaps we should be clear on where authority lies in this God's church. Lies with God who speaks to us through the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. With that out of the way, Bible position on women ordination is a clear NO! I concur with GC position on being united in following a Biblical position. I do not buy into the democratic approach in determining whether we understand the Bible to say/mean yes or no to women ordination.
Those who choose to follow the GC or rest of the bodies we have in the church structure better be reminded of who holds the key to heaven's gates. We better listen to the brethren whether at the GC, Divisions, Conferences, Churches, etc---listen to them in Christ. In other words, these be managers/stewards of God's flock and yet servants at the same time. Am I to be blind to the Biblical teaching by following these God's men, No!
Divisions ordaining women are going against Bible teaching; meaning God parks whilst they go ahead with their new understanding of His teaching on the subject--justified (according to them) by amongst other from what I gather the need to use whatever means/methods are available for as long as the mission is persued. If a human being is brave enough to summon God whenever he feels like or tell him to park, who is another human being in the face of such a people? Why would we expect anything different from such a group until and unless God's light is allowed to convict them otherwise.
This is a sad picture and for those members intent on following the Biblical position, it is even more critical to voice and walk the talk at the grass roots, prayerfully minding the growth of new members in God's church and those women who have been compromised by being offered Pastoring offices in Divisions and Conferences without giving much thought to the church members' acceptance of such. God bless.
"...With that out of the way, Bible position on women ordination is a clear NO! I concur with GC position on being united in following a Biblical position..."
Most bible scholars theologians and pastors disagree with that statement.
You can call them "compromised" or "biased" etc but this doesnt change the fact of the "biblical position" being nothing speaks against WO in a biblical approach.
"This is a sad picture and for those members intent on following the Biblical position, it is even more critical to voice and walk the talk at the grass roots, prayerfully minding the growth of new members in God's church and those women who have been compromised by being offered Pastoring offices in Divisions and Conferences without giving much thought to the church members' acceptance of such. God bless."
Here we have the problem you, like so many others seem to ignore:
The Church is not and can not grow in the "western" hemisphere when we exclude and discriminate against women. It is acceptable and even expected in other regions of the world but what works in one region must not be working in any other given region. As example in "southern" regions the Churches have a bylaw on its books which allows polygamous marriages within the Church even practicing because it is needed in regards to the region. The "western" hemisphere does not do so because it is neither needed nor accepted.
The "western" hemisphere needs WO because it isnt acceptable nor biblical to discriminate against women. Not even to mention that in certain countries discrimination against women in that question essentially would force the Church to shut down and leave the country. Show me growth when you are not allowed to work there.
Either way within the SDA Church authority goes from down to up not the other way around hence why the GC does not have authority over UCs and hence why the vote of a GC session can only affect divisions.
Thats the one thing which made me wonder listening to the GC Session.
All the calls for "unity" but than refusing to allow the symbolic vote which would not affect any region who doesnt want WO. All the UCs already stated forehand that a no vote would not overturn their bylaws and it was well known that many of these UCs couldnt, even if they would want to which they dont, stop ordaining women.
Calling for "unity" and voting no under these circumstances is kind of strange imho but even more strange it is when one wonders afterwards that he UCs do exactly as they said they would since years...
That vote did exactly nothing other than draining the member base even further. There are already reports out there of people leaving the Church because of that symbolic vote.
Manuela, thanks for the response. Did you by any chance hear the young lady who commented at the GC session against allowing Divisions to go their own way, etc? If you did, that young lady hit the nail on the head.
You see I refuse to be scholarly led, professor driven, etc on matters that have a Biblical bases. You and others hang on to the silence in the Bible on WO and on the same breath---the Bible is so loud on male ordination, headship as Christ is to the Church.
Bylaws are subject to Bible law and not the otherway round, just like culture is. We all fit the same jacket friend, even as we come in our different sizes, God cuts us to size not the other way round. You think Africa chose and still chooses not to ordain because it suites or fits Africa? Big No! It is because the Lord, we serve and listen to says so; and we choose to follow that-period.
Top down is what is happening in most of the applied practice especially when it pertains to sensetive issues. Most people don't even realise that a church member has an obligation to God to call a Pastor to order when necessary. Most of us who do, have been discouraged from pointing out or addressing such. Some of us are just not brave enough to as we think or have been taught it is not right to do so. How then do you expect a church situated in some remote area in South Africa to even begin to think they can query matters of grave importance eg. items nowadays added to or edited in the church manual...."bylaws allowing polygamous marriages????? God forbid. How did/does that even happen under these managers God has? So because it is the church's bylaw God blesses it? Sad lie that.
"Manuela, thanks for the response. Did you by any chance hear the young lady who commented at the GC session against allowing Divisions to go their own way, etc? If you did, that young lady hit the nail on the head."
I did hear the president of the GYc Natasha Neblett yes.
I found it somewhat interesting here she is speaking against women leadership roles while being in a leadership position herself and with a very strict style of leadership when you have some insight into GYC....
Furthermore as i stated already earlier the "no" vote is now dividing the Church as the GC has no authority over UCs and the UCs can not and will not stop ordaining women.
So if you truly do not want a divide in the Church you need to respect the needs of regions other than yours especially when the vote is a symbolic one and not one dictated by any of our fundamental beliefs or through scripture.
""bylaws allowing polygamous marriages????? God forbid. How did/does that even happen under these managers God has? So because it is the church's bylaw God blesses it? Sad lie that."
Not a lie that is just a fact and its practiced in regions where the Church is growing.
Its a necessity there because of the culture and to protect the people who come into the church with such a marriage.
It is just one of so many examples where the "unity" is just not there. a regional UC has its own bylaws and essentially is its own Church. The only thing which connects us are the 28 fundamental beliefs and 13 division. Pretty much everything else is left for the regional UC and their local needs and delegates to decide. Go from one region to another region and you essentially find a whole new Church with its own ways of doing things which is connected only through the fundamentals. It is one of the most eye opening things one can do and it does give a lot of new perspective on things.
Not going into the theological discussion anymore.
You heard all these arguments for and against WO countless of times we hold different opinions on that front. My bible tells me there is nothing against WO. Your bible tells you the opposite.
There is no chance to reconcile these positions as long as one position wants to force the other position to change or conform and thats whats causing the divide since decades within the Church. There are a lot of women being called to serve as pastors by the Holy Spirit nothing can change that and i for one do not want to be the one to tell the Holy Spirit who is allowed to be called or who is allowed to be gifted.
Its 41% of the Church and not just theologians or professors as you disparagingly address them its 41%....
Sister Manuela you said the following:
"The Church is not and can not grow in the "western" hemisphere when we exclude and discriminate against women."
So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that until the SDA Church stops discriminating and excluding women then the SDA Church in the Western hemisphere will not grow numerically?
Is that what you are saying? A yes or no answer will suffice :)
Can you share with us any evidence to support your statement if the answer to my question is "yes"
PS Respectfully, it is not my nature to debate with the brethren either.....:)
Answer is yes
Proof is the membership numbers and the drain of members we currently face since around 2 decades.
Within the NAD nearly 60% of our "millenials" or youth leave the Church many not disagreeing with the fundamentals but disagreeing with the culture within the Church and ongoing social injustice.
In Europe its pretty much the same in some UCs even worse but here you have the added hurdle that if you discriminate against women as a church you get shut down by the governments for doing so after paying hefty fines for the first infraction.
Chinas Church is only allowed to work when they do have WO in their bylaws.
Show me how you grow the Church when you are not allowed to be or work in a region or country?
How will we grow when we loose most of our own youths? Etc?
Just to add quickly:
WO and the discrimination of women is not the only problem we face in these regions and neither is WO the ultimate solution to fix all problems but it is indeed one of the major points and reasons why we have huge issues in the regions and our youth.
Thank you for sharing with us Sister Manuela.
You mean, they are bothered as to why current culture doesn't completely eliminate scripture? Well, that was already foretold by Mrs. White how this would turn out. The rebellious will all leave to the world, and they will be replaced by those that adhere to scripture.