Ordination regardless of gender

December 5, 2012 highwayadmin

Ordination Regardless of GenderAug. 17, 2012By Pastor Dan Shafer(Pastor Shafer’s Notes as he viewed the process at the C. Union Constituency)The Columbia Union Constituency Meeting, July 29, 2012Elder Dan Jackson stated in his opening remarks, “Either we believe in, and uphold this book [the Bible], or we don’t.”NOTE: Sort of ironic when you consider that Elder Jackson believes firmly in ordination regardless of gender without backup from the Holy Scriptures. In actuality, he believes in moving forward in spite of clear Biblical evidence which states the contrary.Next, Elder Ted Wilson gave his opening address: “I care about church unity at large and because of scripture. ‘That they may be one, even as we are one.’ [John 17:22.] I also care about the Columbia Union…. Dad [Neal Wilson] would be very concerned were he here today.… Grave consequences will result with a ‘Yes’ vote on this issue today… When you decide to do this ‘independently’ of the world body, it will lead to ‘congregationalism’…. What you do today is extremely important…. To vote this item will put the Columbia Union at ‘variance’ with the world family…. But I say that in reality, it will put the Columbia Union in ‘opposition’ to the world family….The process of study is ongoing by the General Conference. You say that you cannot afford to wait.… I say you cannot afford ‘not’ to wait.… Private judgment must not be ‘stubbornly’ maintained. Authority is in the world body. Our appeal to you has been endorsed by your own North American Division president, Elder Dan Jackson…. Do not vote something that would put you out of step with the world field.… Qualifications for ordination are voted by the Executive Committee of the GC, and all union presidents are part of that process…. And although the union has the privilege of deciding who will be ordained and who will not, they must follow the qualification guidelines that have been voted by the world body. I humbly implore you—do not vote for the recommendation. Let’s stay in harmony, not [acting] independently. Let us see the bigger picture.”He then quoted, “The members of the church need now to confess their backslidings and press together. My brethren, allow nothing to come in that will separate you from one another or from God. Talk not of differences of opinion, but unite in the love of the truth as it is in Jesus. Come before God, and plead the shed blood of the Saviour as a reason why you should receive help in the warfare against evil. You will not plead in vain. As you draw near to God, with heartfelt contrition and in full assurance of faith, the enemy who seeks to destroy you will be overcome.”1GC Vice President Lowell Cooper counseled, “Refrain from autonomous action outside the world church. This is not an unreasonable request.”Immediately after these pleas from the GC leadership, Elder Dave Weigley stated, “Now we need to discuss why we need to move forward.” This, in my estimation, is total disrespect to our world leader, not to mention the rebellious attitude in regard to an item that has already been voted on by the world body in a GC session.Potomac Conference President William Miller quoted Joel 2, which speaks of dreams and visions—not referring at all to ordination. He misapplied this text just as Elder Weigley did in the _Visitor _article. He took a cheap shot at the GC when he uttered, “The favorite pastime of the GC is to study the issue. How long do we wait?” He also stated that when the church began ordaining women as local elders, an “earthquake” was expected. “The earthquake did not happen.”What Elder Miller does not know is that the “earthquake” did happen. Our beloved church has experienced much division and controversy ever since. Once the camel gets its head into the tent, it’s not long before he takes complete occupancy.Ohio Conference President Raj Attiken stated, “We can no longer condone this ‘evil.’”I noted that each time a delegate came to the microphone and spoke against the motion there would be snickering, laughter, and outright rude responses from most of the other delegates. It was very clear to me that this act of rebellion had already been decided and nothing was going to get in its way.“The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist of giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.”2The Columbia Union, with the exception of its Mountain View Conference, is now officially an offshoot movement. They can now be considered an “independent ministry” apart from the world body of Seventh-day Adventists.In 1992, there was a book published, with no revealed author, entitled Issues: The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Certain Private Ministries. The book was authorized by the North American Division’s officers and its union presidents.That book dished out much criticism and made many misrepresentations regarding faithful ministries that are working toward reform for our beloved church. It also stated that these ministries were drawing away funds from the denomination. They have been counseling us not to send our means to these “independent ministries.” Now that the Columbia Union has become an “independent ministry,” I wonder if they would still give the same advice.I pray that the General Conference will act swiftly to bring action against this travesty. What will it be—scripture or culture? Let us follow the Bible and the Bible only.Did the 1881 General Conference Session Vote to Ordain Women?The 1881 GC session considered a resolution to permit ordaining women to the gospel ministry.3 The minutes clearly show that instead of approving the resolution (as some today have claimed), the delegates referred it to the General Conference Committee, where it died. Neither Ellen G. White nor the other pioneers brought it up again. The issue did not resurface until recent decades.Some authors in Women in Ministry make the oft-repeated claim that at the 1881 GC session, the church voted to ordain women. Recycling this myth, one of the authors referred to the comments of a current GC vice president who chaired the Utrecht business meeting session (July 5, 1995) that considered the ordination question.What many readers of Women in Ministry may not know is that there is no need to speculate on what happened regarding women’s ordination in 1881. What actually happened is recorded in the Review and Herald. The 1881 GC session never approved the resolution, and therefore the referral to a committee was not for the purpose of implementing the resolution.Here are the facts regarding the 1881 resolution brought to the GC:1) A proposal was brought to the floor that women be ordained.2) After discussion, the resolution was not “approved,” as was almost every other resolution on that page, but was “referred to the General Conference Committee,” which never sent it back to that session or to any subsequent GC session.3) In order for an item to be “referred to [any] committee,” those present at the session had to vote in favor of referring it to committee. Referral does not happen just because one person calls for it.4) The fact that the “resolution” (i.e., the proposal brought to the floor) was “referred to the General Conference Committee” means that the 1881 GC delegates did not accept the women’s ordination proposal.5) Therefore, contrary to some widely held assertions, the 1881 GC session actually declined to approve the proposal to ordain women! For whatever their reasons (we are not told in the minutes of the session), the delegates referred the matter to the General Conference Committee and let it die there. No one brought it to the GC delegates again until 1990 (North American Division request at Indianapolis) and 1995 (North American Division request at Utrecht).6) The minutes of the 1881 meeting, published in the Review and Herald, reveal that prior to the matter being “referred to committee,” it was discussed by at least 8 of the 14 delegates. And having discussed it, the delegates voted that it be “referred to the General Conference Committee.” Thus, contrary to some pro-ordination scholars (not writers in Women in Ministry), the “resolution” was entertained on the floor.7) If the 1881 resolution was referred to the committee to be implemented, as Women in Ministry alleges, one wonders why at the next GC session no one questioned the failure of the committee to implement it. GC sessions were held yearly until 1889, after which they were held every two years. One also wonders why Ellen G. White failed to speak out against this alleged injustice against women when a group of three committeemen supposedly refused to act upon a GC decision. The silence of subsequent GC sessions and Ellen G. White is additional evidence showing that in 1881, the church never approved the resolution on women’s ordination.Why did the General Conference in 1881 turn away from women’s ordination? Was it because the delegates were not bold enough, or open-minded enough, or even prudent enough to act “with perfect propriety” to ordain women who were “serving as gospel ministers”?For answers, it is best to read the published theological position of the leading Seventh-day Adventist pioneers on the question of women serving in the headship roles of elder and pastor. When we do, we discover that, for the editors, because of God’s “divine arrangement, even from the beginning,” women could not serve in the headship roles as husbands in their homes or as elders or pastors in the church. To do so, according to our Adventist pioneers, would be to disregard and abuse God’s divine arrangement.1. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 11, 12.
2. Selected Messages, bk. 1. p. 204.
3. Review and Herald, Dec. 20, 1881, p. 392.
4. The editorials by Uriah Smith, J.H. Waggoner, James White, and J.N. Andrews—resident editors of the Review and Herald and Signs.