3ABN's ordination survey: bubble or bombshell?

At the recent international ASI convention held in Grand Rapids, Mich., 3ABN broadcast a live program during which hosts Jim Gilley and Danny Shelton moderated an open study regarding women’s ordination. The panel featured Michigan conference president Jay Gallimore; Pastor Doug Batchelor, president of Amazing Facts; and Pastor Stephen Bohr of Secrets Unsealed. All the panelists on the program supported what they would call the historic Adventist view on women's ordination.

During the broadcast, the global viewing audience was invited to participate in an online survey regarding the ordination issues now facing the Adventist church (ordinationsurvey.com).

Some are suggesting that the results of the survey were predictable if not a foregone conclusion, as 3ABN, one of the largest Adventist networks in the world, features a more conservative support base.

However, what makes this survey worth a second look is what happened in the days following. The website featuring the survey was widely circulated through social media among both conservative and progressive members—and the results remained virtually unchanged.

Over 80 percent of the 3,300+ responses came after the survey hit the Adventist social media. It was evident from the pro and con Facebook chatter in recent days that the survey had crossed typical party lines. Again, any Seventh-day Adventist around the world was invited to freely participate in the 11 question survey.

While the survey and its results are unscientific, the responses that have come in so far have been consistent and should raise the eyebrows of the North American Division (NAD) leadership.

In a nutshell, approximately 75 percent of those responding were opposed to women being ordained as pastors and 80 percent didn't believe the Bible taught that women should be ordained as elders. Over half of the response (54 percent) from women and 71 percent came from within the NAD. Especially troubling is that 82 percent of respondents believe the women’s ordination issue will lead to some form of split within the church (see survey results from July 31 to August 11).

At the very least, the ordination survey results should raise questions about what most NAD constituents have been hearing from many of their leaders, who would have us believe there is an overwhelming tsunami of support for women’s ordination in the NAD.

With the General Conference session in San Antonio now less than a year away, we can expect the pro-ordination marketing campaign to shift into overdrive. A little more honesty and a lot less propaganda on both sides would be welcome.

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