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Adventists in Scandinavia Discontinue Ordination for Men


September 21, 2015:    The Adventist national denominational organizations in parts of Europe have decided to discontinue the practice of clergy ordination all together in the wake of the vote against ordaining women pastors at the General Conference (GC) Session in July. Yesterday (September 20) the executive committee of the Norwegian Union Conference took this step, the Danish Union Conference has made a similar decision and the Swedish Union Conference will soon have a meeting to consider the decision.

The governing body of the denomination in Norway voted to discontinue the practices of ordination and commissioning, and replace them with a simple prayer service when a pastor is employed. The service that will be identical for both men and women employed as pastors.

This decision followed careful deliberation by the leaders of the union conference and its local conferences. Awaiting the July vote by GC delegates, the Norwegian Union Conference has not ordained any clergy since 2012, but instead commissioned both men and women called to pastoral ministry. Several of the pastors ordained in past years had requested that their credentials be changed from ordained minister to commissioned minister.

The Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) “consensus statement emphasized the importance that our Adventist understanding of ordination be biblical,” said Pastor Reidar Kvinge, president of the Norwegian Union Conference. “The monumental  871-page report of Trans-European Division’s BRI [Biblical Research Institute] study committee and our own studies have convinced us that the church’s present practice does not conform to the New Testament examples. We see God’s guidance in the San Antonio vote. A ‘yes’ would easily have overshadowed the underlying theological concerns our five year study process has unveiled. With the present unrest, however, our church still has an historic opportunity to make its practice more biblical.”

The statement voted by the Norwegian Union (see full text) argues that the Adventist debate about ordination has focused more on power, position and authority than on humble self-giving service. “The term ordination is not even found in the Bible. Furthermore, the words ‘ordained’ and ‘commissioned’ have come to signify a spiritual hierarchy that is foreign to the thinking of the New Testament church. This is why we will take a time-out from using those categories,” says Kvinge.  “We will have two groups of pastors: intern pastors and pastors. And they will both be set aside for their task with a simple prayer session, and given the necessary authorization to function in their respective roles.”

The voted document, which calls the world church to revisit the recommendations given in the Trans-European Division’s Biblical Research Committee’s report to TOSC, also states:  “Until a classification of pastors is established—a classification without a distinction based on a fundamental discrimination against female pastors—the Norwegian Union Conference will not report employed pastors who are serving in our area to the SDA Yearbook.”

“We do this to eliminate the possibility that our category of ‘pastor’ is  simply converted to ‘commissioned’ or ‘ordained’,  said Kvinge. “We want the world church to know that we no longer use these distinctions, because they carry connotations of a spiritual hierarchy.”

 

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The Scandinavian churches are in full compliance with LB 35 05.  The policy calls for setting apart to be a "concern" of the church.  It is a concern to the Scandinavian churches, it is so much of a concern that they have decided to not do it anymore.  Unconcerned divisions would not put any thought into setting apart.

Shannon, in context the word "concern" means "of interest" or "of importance". Unions are to operate in harmony with the GCWP which, at L45 05 makes it clear that ordination is to the world church, not to the local Union.

They are not following B 10 25 which says that "union conferences/missions, unions of churches ... (are) ... required to operate and minister in harmony with the teachings and policies of the Church, and the actions of the world Church in Session. While individual units of the Church are given freedom to function in ways appropriate to their role and culture, no part of the worldwide organization of the Church has a unilateral right to secede."

NORUC is acting out of harmony with the policies of the church and the actions of the world Church in session. They state as much themselves in their document. You may argue that they are compliant - they state they are not.

Hmm... I thought it was showing that the spirit of independence and rebellion still rules over the WO movement.

The SDA church in Denmark has stopped ordinations as well now.

So, they took their ball and went home, but they couldn't even do that right.

Good one. Get rid of ordination all together and unify the church.

That was gone awhile back.  Those who have god and those that have God.

So basically, even after years of study and a vote and clear rules to follow in our church guidelines, those who supported WO decided if they couldn't have their way that they would sulk and refuse to follow the rules.  Sorry, I don't agree that stopping ordination for all showed compliance and then some as your title states.  I think it shows a clear disobedience  to the guidelines of the GC. ..and no, guideline is not always a suggestion as you would have us believe.  Sowing discord by cutting down those countries that are less wealthy as if they aren't as smart as the rich countries... Really?    Maybe they didn't vote for WO because it isn't bibical.

Totally disgusted that this "solution" was put into play.  What happened to our church having unity?  Instead we have a section in open rebellion and the GC taking no steps apparently to correct their course.  What example does that show the world?  That we voted down WO and tossed out ordination for men and have a major split in the church but hey, we have the bibical truth for you.  We need to get our house in order if we want Jesus to come.  How can we witness if we can't come to accord?

And yeah, I am one of those "rich" Americans so you can't say I come from a poor opressed countries that just doesn't know any better.  And even though I live in the South, I grew up all over the US...just was taught all people were capable of thought regardless of their country of origin. You seriously sound like you believe that people in poor countries can't understand the bible as well as those in wealthy enlightened countries.  Guess you rubbed me wrong on a few spots.  

Like I said, they took their ball and went home, and couldn't even do that right.

Yep

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