After hours of discussion including speeches from General Conference president Ted Wilson, GC vice-president Lowell Cooper, and North American Division president Daniel Jackson, the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted 209 to 51 to authorize ordination to Gospel ministry without regard to gender. With their vote, the CUC joins the Nothern German Union in enacting ordination equality. The Pacific Union Conference will vote on a similar provision on August 19.
Today's special constituency session lasted over three hours. During the meeting, both Elder Wilson and Elder Cooper spoke in strong opposition to the motion to move independently of the world-wide Church, which is currently conducting a study on ordination. Wilson predicted dire consequences for deviation from the desisions of the General Conference in session.
The meeting began with worship, during which Daniel Jackson spoke to delegates of love and of God's Spirit.
"The hallmark of the church is that we love each other," Jackson said, adding that the body's primary responsibility, personally and collectively was to God. Jackson did not directly address the issue at hand, but instead appealed to the work of God. "Either the Spirit of God was poured out in Bible times, or it wasn't," Jackson said, adding, "And if it was then, it is today."
After Jackson, President Wilson addressed delegates.
He framed the issue as one of unity or disunity: "I come to you today because I care about the unity of the church at large," Wilson said.
Wilson appealed to his father, former General Conference president Neal C. Wilson, saying, "If dad were alive today, he would be very concerned about today's recommendation, as are thousands around the world."
The president then warned that a vote in favor of ordaining women might lead to "fragmentation, congregationionalism and a breakdown in collegaialism." But Wilson was quick to add to his warnings, "I'm not threatening you in any way, just presenting facts."
He then took issue with the idea that the vote would put the CUC at variance with the World Church, calling variance "a nice, polite word." "In reality, if voted it will put you inopposition to World Church," Wilson said. The president repeatedly used phrases such as "grave consequences" and "out of harmony" to describe the move to ordain equally.
Wilson again appealed to delegates to defer to the ongoing process of study, that he said would involved the Biblical Research Institute, an entity that thus far has been excluded.
Following Wilson's remarks, Vice-president Cooper addressed delegates reiterating the appeal to "refrain from autonomous action." Both Wilson and Cooper made political appeals, but did not address biblical or theological issues.
After Cooper, Wilson added a few more comments, saying that he was inviting delegates "to be integral part of remnant church." The clear implication was that by voting for ordination equality, they would be outside the confines of the remnant church. The president concluded by saying, "I implore you, do not vote the recommended action...we should stay in harmony with each other and not branch out independently, which could have devastating effects."
Following remarks from the General Conference leadership, members of the CUC Ad Hoc Committee that brought the recommendation to ordain equally spoke about their process.
Potomac Conference president William Miller provided a brief history of the move in CUC to be gender inclusive. He demonstrated that the process goes back to the 1970s. Miller pointed out that in the past when similar discussions arose, people predicted dire consequences, but "The earthquake didn't happen," Miller said repeatedly. Miller showed that policies affecting women in ministry were historically enacted at local, grassroots levels, and then were eventually adopted by the world church. Whenever changes toward inclusivity were made, Miller said, they were not initiated by the World Church.
"One of our favorite pastimes as denomination is to commission another study," Miller said pointedly.
Ohio Conference president Raj Attiken was next to speak. He noted that authority in the Adventist denomination has historically rested with people at local levels, and has flowed up through delegation. Attiken addressed the idea of church unity, saying that unity lies in ideals rather than church structure. "Diveristy is intrinsic to authentic unity," he told the audience.
Attiken pointed out that in 1881, the General Conference voted to ordain women, and there was no dissent from Ellen White. A little later, Attiken shared a statement from Ellen White, in which she said that "The General Conference ought to be the voice of God, but it is not."
Next, pastor Brenda Langford Billingy delivered a rousing speech in which she compared ordination to graduation. She pointed to her own prospering congregation as evidence of God's enabling power through women ministers. After dressing in a CAP and gown "of grace" to illustrate God's calling, Billingy concluded by movingly turning in her ministerial credentials.
"I brought my commissioning diploma. I will leave it on the table in hopes that as you vote today...I will be able to see our president sign his name on this diploma and choose to put X over the word commissioning and write in 'ordained.' All heaven awaits your vote," she said to loud appluase.
Immediately after Billingy finished, the motion came from the CUC ledership: "MOTION - That the Columbia Union Conference authorize ordination to the gospel ministry without regard to gender."
The floor was opened to delegates to speak to the motion. Delegates were given two minutes each to speak. Some who opposed the motion ignored the two-minute stricture and attempted to continue speaking after their time elapsed. The commenters gave the impression that a majority of delegates supported the motion, though speakers on both sides spoke equally passionately. Many speakers appealed to their families. Some appealed to unity, others to inclusivity. Some praised the action, others denounced it.
Following comments, an amendment was offered to the motion to clarify its wording. However, several minutes of confusion ensued as delegates tried to understand what they were being asked to vote. After much deliberation, the amendment was voted down, and CUC president David Weigley called for a vote on the original motion.
Delegates voted by secret ballot. After several minutes of voting and vote tabulation, Weigley called the group to order to announce the result of the vote.
Weigley announced that there were 260 votes with 9 abstentions and a few blank cards received. Of those who voted, 209 voted yes, 51 no. With an 80% margin, the motion carried. Weigley told the audience, "This is not a surprise to those of us who have been listening carefully around this union."
Weigley went on to akcnowledge the leaders from the General Conference and the North American Division who attended, and asked NAD president Dan Jackson to close with prayer. Following Jackson's benediction, the congregation sang together "Blest Be the Ties That Bind."
On August 19, the Pacific Union Conference will be the second union within the North American Division to hold a special constituency session related to ordaining equally. The PUC will be voting on changes to the GC model constitution in order to allow for a previously approved policy permitting ordination without regard to gender. Because delegates will vote to change the constitution and by-laws, that vote will require a 2/3 majority for passage.
Photo Credit: Columbia Union Conference Visitor
Messianic believe prophecy differently..they believe in the feasts and many other weird things..it is not an option for us SDA's really. Some of us have to stick around to keep the real truths being taught..seriously....
@Alli M. thanks. yes I will do that. I dont agree with all SDA practices - esp like this women ordination thing - no way! but am worried - I may end up in a church that practices even more things unacceptable to God. I want to just wait and see - and above all - pray to God for guidance always! to make the right choices!!
So long as you do not practice any things you think are wrong Irene..and so long as you continue to go to the bible and re study and re study...and you don't involve yourself in church things that may be wrong....then you will be there to help others with truth instead of error.
Satan wants those who really want to do what God says and not what man says...and the best way he can confuse people is in the church where we "trust" the pastors and members.
I no longer trust until I know who I am talking to there..after my experience with a progressive SDA..and his flying the flag for gay marriage...and just knowing there is a shepherds rod that comes to my church, but is not a member..and says he will not become one..he says it is his job to take sda's out of the church..not bring people in lol.
And just being around so many SDA chat rooms, forums and SDA groups..has opened my eyes to at least half those I meet teach differently than what the real SDA teaches. It has shocked me to be honest.
So I am not going to leave my church....I will stick around and try and remind any false teachers of what the Bible says...and if they don't like it..they can kick me out lol..it won't be the first time lol.
But right now I think my church has good pastors..although I think they might believe womens ordination as pastors is ok..but hey..if they do that then it will be on them if they are wrong..not on me.
But I think I will just focus on my ministry starting up soon with one of the pastors..which will "educate" some members..and hopefully I can somehow help to make my church a better place..although it is terrific right now ..unless there are sneaky things going on with people that i don't know about lol..but then i do not want to know lol.
@Alli M. thanks what you wrote! I agree with you.
not sure what else to say about it myself - but you have helped me with what you wrote here!
"I will stick around and try and remind any false teachers of what the Bible says...and if they don't like it..they can kick me out lol..it won't be the first time lol."
Amen. Sister white tells us that we must not sanction sin by our silence, and I think that is great council. :0)
Happy Sabbath. :0)
I was not born SDA, I was christian orthodox before( the Orthodox church is the majority in Romania and in the East Europe either), I left the Orthodox church because God had won me with His presents and His word, although I was learned from my childhood that if I was born Orthodox I must die in Orthodox believe to the contrary I will be burn in hell, so I am determined to follow Jesus and His word, if SDA church don't want to do this any more is his problem not mine.
1 Timothy 2:11-14 "Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. 13 For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result."
Paul, grew up in Tarsus (the same city an earlier, unwilling prophet was heading towards to try and run away from God). While he was raised in a Jewish home, the environment was a Gentile culture, not the Jewish culture of Palestine, as some claim.
Dear Sister Dorothy,
I understand your concern. But we are not in darkness, we have the Spirit of Prophecy. These events are all prophetic. Did you know there will be a great shaking in this church? Did you know 90% will be shaking out and take a stand under Satans banner (Sunday Worship). SOP tells us that when Sunday Law passes, there will be SDA churches opening there doors for Sunday Worship. In addition, the organization of our church will be swept away. It will be like it was in apostolic times.
I will tell you something else this work will be finished by the laity. People like you and I who stand for truth. We will have great opposition with in our own denomination to the truth. SOP tells us they will call it fanaticism. But "yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." 1 King 19:18
Bottom line is this church will see it through to the end. Sister message me privately. It is important that you understand the prophetic line of events both with in our church and with out. Do not let the Devil deceive you into going into Babylon. Now more then ever we need to be grounded in our faith. The winds are blowing.
"I need to stress that even if the GC allows WO, those who honestly believe it wrong will not be forced to accept it in their churches."
If this were true, it would be bad enough. However, it is like the proverbial Arbian camel and getting its nose into the tent. Once allowed into the church, as we have already seen, it seeks to take over the entire church.
Ordaining women as local elders started in the Columbia Union Conference and the Southeastern California Conference. Since then, it has spread all over the NAD, including here in the North Pacific Union and virtually everything in between.
Then this movement picked up ordaining lesbians. Lesbians who were openly living together. The parents of one of the girls told me about this themselves, with tears in their eyes.
Then it swept up single women. Singles are not to be ordained, no matter what their gender.
Then came to include women whose main attraction was displaying their body up front. Of course, some men have done the same thing, but this does not make it right or proper for an ordained person to be involved in.
The church is a body. When my toe hurts, my whole body suffers. When I get an infection in my neck, my feet hurt. So, when the infection of ordaining anyone who will enters the church, it makes the whole church sick, and will kill it if not removed. So, don't think for a split second that it will not affect "your church."
teresa said, "I need to stress that even if the GC allows WO, those who honestly believe it wrong will not be forced to accept it in their churches."
What is the basis for making that statement? The Church Manual makes it clear that the Conference appoints the pastor and that churches can be dissolved for refusing to operate in harmony with the Church Manual or rebellion against the Conference.
The recent history of our church shows that it is much more likely that churches will be forced to have a pastor of the conference's choosing. It has happened before and I have no reason to suppose that it will not happen again. Churches have been disbanded for refusing their conference's choice of pastor. I would certainly not accept that any church would be able to refuse a pastor on the basis of their sex just because a church member says so.
The other point that this idea brings out very clearly is that of a two-tier church. We already had two-tier ordination (commissioning versus ordination) and now we are invited to have a church that is able to choose between two sets of qualification for ordination?
I am extremely suspicious of the haste with which this matter was dealt with. It has still not been explained why it was necessary to act at this precise moment but to then go on and say, ok, let's just have whomsoever we want as pastors in our churches makes a mockery of the process. It was this same point of allowing the NAD to ordain whoever they want that the church voted against so overwhelmingly in 1995. I am extremely doubtful that the feminist movement in the church will sit back and potentially allow any church to refuse a female pastor.
"Churches have been disbanded for refusing their conference's choice of pastor."
I will back you up on this, as I have seen it happen.. I would not be surprised at all to see it happen here as well..
What will happen if a member of the church refuses to accept the authority of the pastor; is that they will be disfellowshipped. Just wait and see. I have already seen this approach being used already. In some cases, not full disfellowshipping, but asking members who do not agree with the pastor to not attend that church. And their ownly sin was privatly not agreeing with the pastor. Nothing was made public, but the pastor felt threatened and wrote a letter, basically asking them to not return.
In another situation, which was almost identical, the man was disfellowshipped. I know of another man who was disfellowshipped because the pastor, who was married, liked the girl that the single man was dating. So, he tried to destroy his reputation so she would not marry him. And the list goes on. So, when the issue comes to a female pastor or even an elder, when someone is totally opposed, it will give rise to a crisis of faith.
The issue will be this:
Will we do what man (a woman) says, and go contrary to what is clearly stated in the Bible? Or will we love God more and even if we are disfellowshipped, we will stay true to God?
The Sunday law is right upon us. If we cannot take a stand on the Bible when the Adventist church apostacizes, how will we be able to stand when the National Sunday law is put in place? This is just a proving ground to prepare us for that final test. The prophet Malachi prophesied that:
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes." Malachi 4:5 (ESV)
The only message that is recorded that Elijah stood for was being against the following of Ahab and Jezebel and their leading Israel into sun worship. Which is what those who advocate WOPE are doing today. They just do not have the GC under their control yet, but they are trying.
Elijah said this.
"And Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." And the people did not answer him a word." 1 Kings 18:21 (ESV)
This is the test that the SDA church is facing today. How long will we do studies on the ordination of anyone who will, when the Bible is crystal clear on the subject? Just like some respond today. When facts are presented, they "answer him not a word." WHY? Becasue there is no answer, they want to do things their way.
In Revelation, we are told about the final battle of sin. It is called the Battle of Armageddon. The symbol is drawn from the battle that Elijah lead out in on Mt. Carmel, just above Megeddo. The last day Elijah will be leading out in the same battle at the end of time. So, we should expect that this apostacy on the part of CUC is just either the opening salvo of the battle or the skrimish before the main battle.
Either way the Battle of Armegeddon is upon us. Who will we serve? The gods of Egypt or the God of Heaven. I for one will not hesitate to stand up and be counted as being on God's side. I pray that everyone on this forum will follow me in that choice.
Who is on the Lord's side?
Will you let your vote be heard?
I suspect that in Eastern Europe there may still be a mentality of "follow the West" in some, particularly those in administration. For the average church member there will be some interesting choices: a disaffected, possibly pre-existing, church or conference, or the Reformed SDA Church? Or there may be another Hungarian experience.