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
Makes me think of :
`Go ye in through the strait gate, because wide [is] the gate, and broad the way that is leading to thedestruction, and many are those going in through it;
The Holy Spirit did not convict the Columbia Union to vote in the way it did. The Bible says:
"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come." John 16:13 (ESV)
Just because women speak on their own authority, it does not mean that the Holy Spirit does. This is the spirit of Satan who is influening these women and women sympathizers. Men who do not want to fix their own supper when they got home. No different then Esau who sold their birthright for a mess of pottage.
The Holy Spirit will lead us all in the same direction. Jesus never spoke about different paths to Heaven. Different paths to Heaven is a pagan belief.
The 144000 in Revelation will all believe the same thing. There is no different beliefs in Heaven. If our belief does not line up with the Bible then we have a problem.
That is why Jesus told us to study for ourselves and He will lead us into Truth as He is Truth.
It is a salvation issue if you believe that it is forbidden by God. Any time we do something that we believe is wrong, we drive a wedge between ourselves and God. I could just sit back and do nothing....I don't get to church, the church doesn't get to me, my younger daughter would have a hard time just knowing we weren't part of the church. But what does that say and what example is that? That I am turning a blind eye to sin. That it's okay to do what the majority wants even if I believe the Bible says no. And maybe I'm wrong....haven't always been right.
Does God hold us accountalbe for doing something that we believe is a sin but it isn't? Hard to explain...suppose I believe that riding in a car is a sin so I avoid riding in cars because I believe it is wrong...but then one day I do it anyway believing that I am wrong and that I am going against God...even if it isn't a sin, it comes between me and God. And that is what I don't want - a wedge between me and God. And as long as I believe WOPE is against God's will, then I believe I am sinning when I agree to be a part of it. And that is a salvation issue. Openly sinning against God is a salvation issue.
Yeah well I understand that if something is forbidden and if we deliberately go against it when we know better..that is wilful sin and there is no grace left for us.
Amen Alli. 'wilful sin' and at times with a deliberate intent to mislead many other, confuse them, get them to question their conviction. live long.
Here is a link to the petition against it Alli.
Anyone who disagrees with this rebellious decision, please make your mark for Christ on this petition.
Heyyyyyyyyyyy Kristina....Yes, I have already been there and done it..quite a while ago when my pastor asked us if we would.
Ty. God Bless..((((hugs))))
Awesome! God bless you to. :0) (((hugs)))
I did question the subject of ordination when a lovely lady was ordained in my church..and then moved away...I did get told that God uses whomever..and kind of got no further..but I have always felt uncomfortable about it. I don't know about women elders though..
And no, I don't want to be a part of something that is wilfully sinning..or seen to be supporting it..I guess some things are kind of not as clear to some as they are to others.
I know that many things are not as clear to me yet..but I will not stop learning.
Here is a small sample of scriptural principles that confirm male leadership in the church:
• From the garden of Eden, God established male leadership within the family and church
(Genesis 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:13).
• While the Lord called the entire nation of Israel to be a kingdom of priests, only men
were appointed to serve as priests for the sanctuary (Exodus12:3; 29:10; 1 Peter 2:9).
• While men and women were both called as prophets, only men ever offered sacrifices
(Leviticus 1:7, 8).
• Only men were anointed by God to serve as kings of Israel and Judah.
• “I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and
the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3).
• Pastors, elders, and bishops should be “husband of one wife” (Titus 1:6; 1Timothy 3:2).
• While Jesus engaged women to share the gospel, He called only men to serve in the
capacity of apostle. When Judas died, his replacement was chosen from among men
(Mark 3:14; Acts 1:21).
This is just the beginning of the evidence.
Hmm....lots for me to study.