In the December edition of Adventist World, an article titled "Question on Women's Ordination Sent to GC Session" by Andrew McChesney reported, "Annual Council delegates agreed to ask the General Conference session next year to decide whether each division may decide for itself whether to ordain women. Many expressed hope that a final decision on the matter will allow the church to focus more fully on its mission of proclaiming Jesus’ soon coming."
Concerning: “each division may decide for itself”
My Brothers and Sisters in the World Church: why do we need to vote for each division to decide for itself? It is already that way! The NAD, via the Southeast CA Conference is currently deciding for itself regarding women’s ordination, with nothing stopping them as are some European entities. Personally, I see it as a mockery to our church manual which clearly states:
The standards and practices of the Church are based upon the principles of the Holy Scriptures. These principles, underscored by the Spirit of Prophecy, are set forth in this Church Manual. They are to be followed in all matters pertaining to the administration (emphasis mine) and operation of local churches ... and the conference or other entities of Seventh-day Adventist denominational organization. Church Manual, 18.6
The Church Manual also expresses the Church’s understanding of Christian life and church governance and discipline… Church Manual, 18.4
It seems we have not the will or desire to stay rebellion, so we are asking the World Church to vote a change in the church manual rather than insisting the rebellious conferences, unions, and divisions come into line or be subject to discipline by the Church. Sounds like a high price for unity. In hindsight, I wonder if Eli might counsel us differently. May both sides repent, the one for their rebellion and the other for not applying loving discipline.
If this topic passes, what would prevent each independent Division from passing additional non-World Church decisions, ie, gay rights, Sabbath issues, etc?
Concerning: “a final decision”
Why would anyone believe this decision will be final? This too is a mockery of two previous GC World decisions who voted this same measure down in 1990 and 1995. The first decision was not final, the second decision was not final, 20 years in between was not final, so someone please explain to me how this decision will be final. This is very reminiscent of a belligerent little child crying and acting out, while his parents say, “No! and that’s final," only to have the child wear them out with continual crying until the parents give in.
Again, where’s Eli, when you need him?
So what is scary is it sounds like the committee is really saying, “We hope it passes this time... finally, so our kids will quit screaming and we can get on with the work of the church!" Folks, giving in does not help a family to run smoother. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting to say no just to make a point. But seriously, when two GC Sessions voted this down, there was and are good biblical reasons. Please don’t vote on what feels right to you. Please study this out and look into the 1990 and 1995 arguments, they are still valid!
For those who are depressed with things within the Church, may I suggest a powerful sermon on Audio-Verse by the late WD Frazee titled "The Ministry of Heresy." God will see His Church through!
And who knows, maybe at the next quinquenium Session in 2020 we can vote “Each man for himself” and then the World Church would be in complete unity no matter what anybody does.