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  1. Cindy Tutsch
    09 June 2014 @ 4:03 am

    From my perspective, this is really an issue of defending the character of God in order to better forward mission.  Note this statement from the June, 2014, issue of Adventist Frontiers, a publication of Adventist Frontier Missions:

    "Would Jesus' ministry have been successful if He had conformed to people's perceptions of Him?  Absolutely not.  Therefore He went about seeking to clear up the confusion in order to reveal His character.  Doing this meant that He needed to defy convention, challenge cherished traditions, and even do things that were considered taboo.  He was often mocked, looked upon with contempt, and vehently opposed, yet in the end He succeeded." 

  2. Yung & Carmen Lau
    09 June 2014 @ 10:27 am

    Exactly, the issue is bigger than just women's rights….excellent article.

  3. Anonymous
    09 June 2014 @ 1:32 pm

    Very well stated.  Now some want us to reverse course and unordain women elders and prohibit women pastors

  4. Anonymous
    09 June 2014 @ 1:43 pm

    Very nicely stated!! It is about the "character of God"!!
    Fred and Valerie Eastman

  5. Elaine Nelson
    09 June 2014 @ 3:23 pm

    A number of years ago when men began practicing in formerly all-women's professions (nursing, elementary teachers) no on flinched.  In fact, whether a result or not, nurse salaries greatly increased and nursing became a more elevated profession.  

     

    The same result when women became corporate executives, surgeons and practicing in all the medical      specialties, they gradually became accepted and now are nearly half of all medical school graduates.
    Women have entered what was almost exclusively male professions:  engineering, physics, etc., with equal recognition based on their work not on their sex.

    The last holdout is the ministry.  The pattern was set in the 12th century when celibacy was required of the all-male priesthood and the Protestants simply continued the practice, without any stated reason as did the Catholic church.  There is no biblical model of ordination; so to claim it is a male privilege only indicates the ideology of some males that they, alone, have been given God's blessing to carry the Gospel.  What a travesty of interpretation!

  6. Anonymous
    09 June 2014 @ 4:37 pm

    Did I miss something? I read Eric Webster's "Open Letter Blog" which talked about three options that were available to the Commttittee studying ordination. Those appear to be different options – or a different committee -than what you are referring to, Cindy. Could you please clarify?

     

    I generally like The Way Forward statement, though I fail to understand why the fact that ordination decisions have historically been made at the Union level is a reason to persist in giving discretion to a Union to overrule the local conference on this issue.

     

    I also think it is problematic to use the words of Paul, affirming equality before God, as authority for a proposition that he clearly never intended, and would, given his cultural understandings, have roundly condemned. There are many solid reasons to support WO. But the reality of Kingdom moral equality before God is not one of them. Such arguments, it seems to me, put one on a rather slippery slope toward LGBT ordination.

  7. Cindy Tutsch
    09 June 2014 @ 4:59 pm

    Elaine, interestingly, Sandra Day O'Conner was told in law school forty years ago that she shouldn't be there because her presence in the field of law would mean that a young man would be excluded.  Someone remarked at the TOSC, in informal conversation, that if women were ordained, that action would push out young men who were in line for employment as pastors. This argument precludes the Holy Spirit's anointing on whom He will.

    Nathan, I agree that "rights" argument puts us on dangerous ground, on several levels, including the obvious sliding one!  But I differentiate between  "rights" and equality before God.

    Eric Webster was postulating what he saw as the three options going forward.  He is not a member of TOSC.  In the end, the actual three options going forward were not those he predicted.  

    Very briefly stated, and there is much more info on various other sites unpacking this, the three options that emerged from TOSC were 1.  No WO anytime, anywhere, and retract women elders and women pastors.  2.  Allow WO where the Division/Union believes that action would  advance the mission of the church (see the statement of #2 above–a much longer theological basis for that statement will soon be available at adventistarchives.org (we were told)  3.  WO permitted under very extenuating circumstances, as a less than ideal circumstance.  This proposal was built on the theological underpinning that male leadership in the church is God's general pattern and ideal.    

    • Anonymous
      10 June 2014 @ 8:07 pm

      Thanks Cindy. Very helpful. And thank you for your constructive, faith-based contribution to what I am sure was a challenging process.

  8. Dr. Eric Webster
    09 June 2014 @ 8:19 pm

    A verty good article, Cindy. It is true that I was not a member of the TOSC. I simply gave three possible moves as someone looking on. I suggested three moves – the first was the status quo, the second a backward move, and the third a forward move. I think your number 1 above is covered by my nr 2 – the backward move. Your nr 2 is equal to my nr 3 – the forward move.  The TOSC's nr 3 is also a Forward move but I do not believe it is based on sound reasoning.  It might be "built on the theological underpinning that male leadership in the church is God's general pattern and ideal." It is God's general pattern as a result of Genesis 3 – God meets man where he is in his fallen condition. But it is not God's ideal. To find God's ideal we must look at Genesis 1 and 2 and not at Genesis 3. God's ideal in Genesis 1 and 2 before sin was full equality. "In the creation, God had made her the equal of Adam" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p 58). That is a picture of the ideal – Genesis 1 and 2. As a result of sin we read, "It was by her solicitation that Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband" (PP, p 58, 59) – a picture of Genesis 3. God's ideal – equality; God's accommodation – subjection.

  9. Barrington
    09 June 2014 @ 8:42 pm

    Good article, Cindy.  It is still amazes me how the belief in male headship is so pervasive among Christians.  It has corrupted Christianity.  I am praying the women ordination will move forward in our Church. 

    Barrington

  10. Inge Anderson
    10 June 2014 @ 3:22 am

    Thank you for your participation in TOSC and this article. 

    It seems to me now that "the way forward" should include disseminating this option far and wide through whatever means available to us and praying that the Holy Spirit will influence minds to see the "rightness" of this option – especially since it allows for diversity in such a manner that no one needs to act against his/her conscience.

    Compelling the conscience of others should never be an option in our faith community. It is the way of the enemy of Christ and the power on this earth that exalts itself against the Most High. May our church never partake of such a spirit!

  11. nobigwoo
    10 June 2014 @ 5:53 am

    Fear is such a powerful enemy, because it feels so real compared to faith.  I hope Adventism has enough faith to overcome the fear of WO.   Maybe we should pray for more faith.  

  12. Herbert
    10 June 2014 @ 7:49 pm

    Thank you Cindy for the analysis of the TOSC results.  The prophecy of Joel 2:28,29 more clearly than any other scripture speaks to the church of the last days in showing that neither gender nor age is a limitation for those who are to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and to prepare the world for the "coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord".  I pray that our church will move forward in following Jesus and Scripture so that all menservants and maidservants can proclaim together the good news of the gospel.

  13. Anonymous
    11 June 2014 @ 2:03 pm

    Cindy.  Did anyone switch positions because of the papers and conversation together?  If not, we would have saved a lot of money by taking the vote by mail at the beginning.

  14. Jim Hamstra
    11 June 2014 @ 2:05 pm

    Well if nothing else, at least they were forced to talk to each other and listen to each other and consider other opinions besides their own.

  15. Elaine Nelson
    11 June 2014 @ 5:14 pm

    We will see if it was worth the time and money to make any changes.

  16. alphameg
    11 June 2014 @ 6:02 pm

    i predict should WO not be accepted at GC in 2015, at the individual conference level, it will be a disaster for the SDA Church. Perhaps even a split, it has happened at much larger churches than SDA, over contentious issues. 

  17. Cindy Tutsch
    11 June 2014 @ 9:12 pm

    David,

    I know of several specific individuals who moved to the position of Groups #2 and #3 who held to the position of Group #1 coming in.  I do not personally know of anyone who moved from the ideologies of Group #2 or even #3 who moved to the position of Group #1.  It may have happened, but I don't know of such a person or persons.

    However, I think that most people did not move too far from the position they held before the TOSC.  The exception would probably be the 22 people who voted for Group #3 at the end.  Many of those probably would have stayed with Group #1, but they found the position too inflexible and rigid, and the rhetoric to defend it too harsh.  When Miller/Trim proposed a way to allow for diversity in WO but still hold that male headship/leadership (to be fair, Miller/Trim did not use the word headship but it seems fairly interchangeable to me) is the general divine pattern for the church, a lot of people found a "new home."

    I do feel that the TOSC was valuable, if for no other reason than the paper that Angel Rodriquez wrote showing what is biblically untenable and unsustainable  from the No/Never/Ever group. There were other important papers presented, as well.  It is good that the world church may now read those papers and make a prayerful decision for themselves based on the bibilical evidence.    

    Those papers are available at adventistarchives.org if there is anyone left in the English-speaking world who has not yet taken the opportunity to read them! 

  18. Inge Anderson
    11 June 2014 @ 11:44 pm

    Kevin Paulson claims that Jerry Moon switched sides from being pro-WO to being against. He knows no one who switched the other way.

    I think it would be good to post the specific URL to the papers whenever they are  mentioned. 

    • Lynda du Preez
      13 June 2014 @ 2:53 am

      Inge, I am quite certain that Kevin Paulson is incorrect about Jerry Moon being pro-women's ordination at the beginning of the TOSC meetings. A member of the TOSC told me that Jerry went into the TOSC as anti-wo; but at the end Jerry caucused with Group #3, the N Miller/D Trim #3 Proposal (because it more closely repesented Jerry's views). Jerry had previously supported women's ordination, and had even written in support of women's ordination, but he had changed his mind well before the beginning of the TOSC meetings.

  19. Cindy Tutsch
    12 June 2014 @ 3:31 am

    Nathan,

    Note the wording of the Going Forward #2 document carefully.  This does not give the unions the right to override the will of the conference.  The unions have historically been the entity that issues the ordination papers, or grants ordination permission, based on the recommendation of the conferences the union serves.  Thus, in this model, if a local conference does not submit any women as ordination candidates, that conference would not ordain women! 

    This policy is already in place in one of the NAD unions which has authorized the ordination of women within its territory.  One of the conferences within that union did not wish to ordain women until the matter is "settled" by the GC in session, and the union did not force that conference to ordain women. 

    This is a microcosm of how this regional ordination policy could work in the larger world field.        

  20. Dr. Eric Webster
    12 June 2014 @ 8:41 am

    Cindy, I refer to your paragraph above: "Therefore, building on the belief and practice of the Adventist pioneers, Adventists continue to reject the false doctrine of exclusive male leadership [headship] in the church, and promote the restoration of Eden’s ideal for all relationships." 
          It is of some interest to me that when it comes to diet, the Adventist church is generally happy to direct members back to the ideal in the Garden of Eden, by encouraging members to return to a vegetarian diet where possible and practical. Should not the church  be equally energetic in encouraging members to get back to the ideal of equality between men and women as experienced in the Garden of Eden. Especially is this so in the light of E G White's clear statement, "In the creation, God had made her the equal of Adam" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 58). 
         

     

  21. Cindy Tutsch
    12 June 2014 @ 7:24 pm

    Dr. Eric, my feelings precisely!  And could that restoration of Eden's ideal even be a prerequisite for the bestowal of God's special outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the time preceding His second Advent, what we commonly speak of as "the Latter Rain?" 

    Sometimes, I wonder if God is waiting on us to finally get this right. And what a witness to a watching world that would be!    United in mission to forward His message–an opportunity for God to release His Spirit and empower the Loud Cry

    • Jim Hamstra
      13 June 2014 @ 6:09 pm

      I totally agree with this comment !

      Adventists like to preach about the Most Holy of the Sanctuary.  Mostly we ignore the Courtyard – a curious omission since that is spiritually where the believers on earth serve.  It is interesting to study the history of the Courtyard.  In the Sanctuary in the Wilderness there was a single courtyard for priests and believers.  In Solomon's temple there was an inner courtyard for the priests and an outer courtyard for the people.  Zerubbabel's temple added a separate courtyard for the women.  Herod's temple added a separate courtyard for the Gentiles.

      We like to preach about the restoration of the Most Holy to its proper place.  But I think we might actually make more headway as a movement if we also paid attention to restoring the courtyard.  According to Revelation, the final judgment begins in the courtyard.  But it does not begin until the courtyard has been restored. 

      Early Adventists believed that the courtyard was restored by the proclamation of the Law.  I submit that restoration is not complete until we have the original courtyard with no walls of separation.  Jesus came to break down every wall of separation – between God and humans and also between different races, genders, social and religious elites. 

      Angel Rodriguez rightly proclaims that the belief in male headship in the church strikes directly at the doctrine of the Trinity.  There are no barriers among the Trinity.  There must be no barriers among the believers if we are to fully reflect the character of God on earth.

  22. Johann Thorvaldsson
    13 June 2014 @ 5:24 pm

    I rejoyce with you, Cindy Tutsch, that you have endured the TOSC meetings with a clear vision of God's ideal for His church, "United in mission to forward His message." That is what we are here for. As a third generation 81-year old Adventist veteran it has been difficult to understand all the opposition we have seen in our denomination co-founded by a woman called of God, also to encourage women to participate in the pastoral work of our beloved church. Thank you for bringing the torch of the Holy Spirit from these meetings to your Sisters and Brothers in Christ.

  23. Moose
    13 June 2014 @ 5:42 pm

    Cindy,

    Time for a public confession.  Back in the day, I came to see you as an inflexible right-wing ultra-conservative and rolled my eyes when I heard you were on the study committee.  Your gentle grace and respectful approach and the reasonable conclusions on the subject as well as your willingness to grow and to allow God to lead us all in ways that are not lock-step are not only an inspiration, but are a hard whack to the side of my spiritual head that being judgmental is not pretty – no matter where it originates.  My public apology!  And my thanks for renewing my confidence that God is indeed leading us all – no matter which side of this very complex issue we are on.

  24. Anonymous
    13 June 2014 @ 10:05 pm

    Those who know Cindy (A least the ones I have talked to) do not view her as an "inflexible right-wing ultra-conservative."  She is neither inflexible nor ultra-conservative.  I would assume that she herself is confortable being viewed as a moderate Adventist conservative.  Whether she would accept  fndamentlist assumptions about the Bible is not clear. Given her views on women's ordination, I would suspect not. On the other hand, some of her expressed opinions on other topics seem to lean on that side.

  25. Truth Seeker
    14 June 2014 @ 1:49 am

    The promotion of WO can easily be traced, if you wish to follow the trajectory, to the feminist crusade that overtook our country some years ago when women were privileged in those entities that subscribed to affirmative action.
    There was a women's crusade in EGW's day and she spoke against it. The argument that it's all about equality is totally unrelated to WO. It's about headship as well as the Biblical examples through the ages. Christ could have chosen 6 males and 6 diciplettes but He didn't.
    It may yet split the church.

    The arguments go on and on but one finds a dearth of support in Scriptures for women serving in spiritual headship positions so supporters of WO must resort to culture.
    Maranatha

  26. Johann Thorvaldsson
    14 June 2014 @ 4:43 am

    Some of us are old enough to remember when what you term the second women's lib campaign took place. That was around 1970. A lot of water has flown underneath the bridge since then.

    Yes, Ellen White refused to support the women's lib movement in her day. The fact that she at the same time called for greater participation of women as pastors and that she also called for the ordination of women is a strong indication she did not hitch those things together. Why should we go against her today?

  27. Truth Seeker
    14 June 2014 @ 12:27 pm

    EGW never recommended, insofar as the record is concerned, that women particpate in headship positions of pastor. Certainly there is a function for women in the SDA church but being ordained in not one of them. And unity in diversity is totally unrelated to the issue of WO.
    One wonders why women appear to shy away from Bible worker positions?? Isn't that even more important than that of a pastor? What is the female motivation?

    '

    • Anonymous
      15 June 2014 @ 9:51 pm

      I'm reasonably certain that "Truth Seeker" has an answer to his own question: "What is the female motivation"  to "shy away" from Bible worker positions? Wouldn't he like to share his view on what the female motivation is with the rest of us?  We are all waiting with great eagerness to know.

       

  28. Johann Thorvaldsson
    14 June 2014 @ 12:52 pm

    My mother, with the same education as was required of Gospel ministers at that time, was a Bible worker. At that time – in the 1920-ies – the interns who had a Bible worker who was able to win enough souls for him, received the honors for what the Bible worker did – winning the souls in the homes – and was ordained for her qualifications. In several instances the Bible worker and the intern got married.  Ellen White was not satisfied with this kind of arrrangements. She wrote clearly that these women should also be ordained and receive the same kind of salary as the minister.

    Too many truth seekers today leave any such facts unnoticed.

  29. Dr. Eric Webster
    14 June 2014 @ 3:43 pm

    Truth Seeker, I have a feeling that you would have been very uncomfortable if you had been present at the Jerusalem Council as recorded in Acts 15. You probably would have joined the Judaizers in saying,  
    "These Gentiles must follow the Scriptures as recorded in Genesis 17 and be circumcised. Does it not say in verse 12, 'He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant.' Foreigners (Gentiles) must be circumcised. Please show me a text where Gentiles are released from participating in the sign of the everlasting covenant."
         To depart from Moses' clear Scriptural instruction was just as serious as to depart from Paul's counsel that women be silent in church and not teach or have authority over a man. There was no text giving the early church authority to move from clear Scripture – only the mighty moving of the Holy Spirit. With Paul there are some of his other statements which change the rigidity of 1 Tim. 2:11, 12. But even if there was nothing further, there is another mighty moving of the Holy Spirit today (Joel 2:28-32) as there was at the time of Acts 15. Let us hear what the Spirit says to the church today as they did in Acts 15.
     

    • Truth Seeker
      20 June 2014 @ 12:10 am

      Judge ye not, my good brother. It is in the worst taste possible to hypothetically ascribe  to anyone else a position on an issue.
      Over and over again we hear from liberals – do not judge. Even when a commentator is citing facts and not judging. It boggles the mind to see liberals so often violating their own code.
      Maranatha

      • William Noel
        20 June 2014 @ 1:23 am

        Only Liberals should quit judging others?  What about someone who throws Ellen White quotes and Bible verses at someone without sympathy for their struggle as they learn to know and follow God not the exact same behavior, just in the opposite direction? 

      • Dr. Eric Webster
        20 June 2014 @ 1:44 pm

        Truth Seeker, I was a little concerned as to where you might have stood at the Jerusalem Council. However, if you feel I misjudged you, kindly forgive me. God bless you in the future.

  30. Johann Thorvaldsson
    15 June 2014 @ 3:18 pm

    In a letter to her brother Ellen Harmon – before she was married – tells how the passage about the silence of women was distributed to the audince to prevent her from speaking. She told her brother how grateful she was that a person stood up and told the audience that this text could not be used against a woman preaching today. So the audience stayed and listened to her sermon.

    What does that tell us about a woman preaching as attsted by the Spirit of Prophecy?

    • Anonymous
      17 June 2014 @ 11:21 pm

      I hope "Truth Seeker" has not gone away angry because his arguments have been refuted in such an excellent way by Dr. Webster and Johann Thorvaldsson.  I am still looking forward to his response to the question about what he thinks the motivation is of those women who wish to respond to the call of the Spirit to become Adventist pastors?

  31. Johann Thorvaldsson
    18 June 2014 @ 12:56 pm

    Could anger be a better argument than truth?

  32. Anonymous
    18 June 2014 @ 6:30 pm

    Hmm. Anger a better argument than truth?  I would suggest not.  However, there is the often told story of a preacher who had written in his notes for a sermon "Argument very weak.  Pound the pulpit and speak in a loud voice."  Perhaps that is what is going on.

  33. Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
    18 June 2014 @ 6:55 pm

    Dr Taylor, in his remarks directed at Truth Seeker, suggests that because someone delays in responding to comments on the blog – or perhaps chooses not to respond at all, then that person’s statement has been refuted by the one who shouts the loudest and/or has the last say.  Of course these would obviously have to say the things Dr Taylor likes to hear – anything and everything liberal.  Thus Dr Tutch and Dr Webster have won his favour, and although both are newbie’s to the culture of progressives, they are catching on fast.
     

    • Elaine Nelson
      18 June 2014 @ 10:55 pm

      What's your problem–a little slow?

  34. Johann Thorvaldsson
    18 June 2014 @ 9:18 pm

    If I understand the report given by another member of TOSC in AR, Mark Finley, as saying what he has learned from these metings is that those who use labels like "liberal" or "conservative" or "progressive" do not understand what the meeetings were all about. Was he all wrong?

  35. Cindy Tutsch
    18 June 2014 @ 11:15 pm

    Moose,

    No apology needed!  Maybe I am indeed still an inflexible right-wing ultra conservative, notwithstanding the efforts of some in Group #1 to paint me as a flaming liberal! 

    Or maybe we all should just throw this ridiculous labeling into the depths of the sea, that God may at last be able to answer the prayer of Jesus "…that they will all be one."  John 17:21

    • Moose
      20 June 2014 @ 6:02 pm

      Well stated, Cindy!  Wouldn't be great to just be seen as people without the labels!  Highly respect you and appreciate your graciousness openness to letting the Spirit lead in your life.

      • Cindy Tutsch
        20 June 2014 @ 6:08 pm

        Thank you, Moose.  I guess to be truly gracious, I should have stated that I certainly accept your apology!  =)   And it was a good reminder to me to not even mentally engage in labeling.  Certainly the temptation is there!

  36. Dr. Eric Webster
    19 June 2014 @ 9:29 am

    When a girl takes the medical course and graduates, are we surprised that she has a desire to be a doctor?
    When a girl takes the law course and completes her studies, are we amazed that she has a desire to be a lawyer?
    When a girl completes an engineering course and graduates, are we stunned that she has a desire now to be an engineer?
    When a girl takes a Theology course along with her male peers and completes all the requirements, are we taken aback by her desire to be a Gospel minister?

    • Elaine Nelson
      19 June 2014 @ 3:24 pm

      The entire problem began when women began to read.  It opened up a new world which they had not been able to study.  Now, there are more women graduating college than men, and women are taking their rightful places in all professions and CEOs of large corporations. When women and men both participate in any undertaking we are given the benfit of a wider range of options.

      Ask the father of girls if they believe their daughter should be limited in their aspirations?

      My eldest daughter desperately wanted to study medicine after she received her R.N. but was discouraged by her father at that time.  Unable to follow her dream, she earned several master's degrees while working full time as a single mother.  Today, she has an excellent position with the State of California.  But women make excellent physician.  Personally, for most visits to my internist, I prefer seeing the NP or PA as they spend more time listening–a learned skill of women.

  37. Johann Thorvaldsson
    19 June 2014 @ 10:27 am

    Today marks the one hundreth anniversary since women could vote in my country. The greatest opponents feared that women would start participating in politics, so a compromise was made at first. Only women 40 years of age and older were permitted to vote.

  38. Jim Hamstra
    19 June 2014 @ 4:04 pm

    Ironically, I just finished a phone conversation with my uncle who is from a Calvinist faith tradition.  Several of my mother's cousins and their offspring are pastors in that faith.  Now both a son and a daughter of one of my Calvinist pastor relatives (whom I met for the first time at my Adventist pastor father's funeral) are serving as pastors.

    So I asked my uncle "do you ordain women pastors?"  He replied "we do now".  This did not happen without major dissension in their ranks as we are experiencing within the Adventist church.  He told me that one of the foremost women theologians in their faith, whose husband was president of one of their colleges, had strongly opposed women holding office as elders or pastors.  Now she is retired and attends one of the largest Calvinist churches in their area.  One of the (ordained) associate pastors of that church is a woman.  This retired woman theologian recently told my uncle that she had been opposed to women pastors, but that the ministry of the woman pastor in her own church was changing her mind.

    My uncle thought it very ironic that our own church whose major religious leader was Ellen White would be arguing about women in spiritual leadership positoons.  To appreciate the significance of this comment, you have to understand that one of the arguments the Calvinists have traditionally used against Adventists is the role of Ellen White as a woman prophet.  They claimed there were no women literary prophets in the Bible and therefore she must have been a fraud.  They claimed that the Bible strongly teaches male headship in the church, that women must not be allowed to exercise spiritual authority over men.  I myself have found it particularly ironic to see "traditional" Adventists using the very same arguments against ordaining women that my Calvinist relatives have used against Ellen White.

    As I have previously remarked on this web site, my Calvinist roots on my mother's side run as deep or deeper as my Adventist roots on my father's side.  One of my mother's cousins (Rev John Jay Byker) was one of the "holy seven" students who over 60 years ago objected to "modernist" teachers at Calvin College, and later started a "traditionalist" off-shoot of their particular faith.  Recently one of my cousins (Dr Gaylen Byker) retired as president of that same institution (now a university).  It has been interesting to watch my Calvinist relatives grappling with all of the same theological issues that we Adventists grapple with.  We are not as unique as we like to imagine.  There are many other devout, God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians beyond our insular walls.  And they are also being led by God's Spirit.

    • Jim Hamstra
      19 June 2014 @ 4:07 pm

      Correction – make that Rev John J Byker of the "sacred seven".

  39. Dr. Eric Webster
    19 June 2014 @ 6:51 pm

    A very interesting and thought provoking comment, Jim. You do think that with Ellen White at our helm, we would be a little ahead of our Calvinistic cousins.

  40. alphameg
    20 June 2014 @ 3:27 am

    In every large group there are always some who through pride, cynicism, chauvinism, machoism, misogynism, and just being dead wrong, would rather die than admit they were wrong, DEAD WRONG. Adam and EVE were of the same DNA, created as equals. Every seed created by woman has the potential to be male or female. Man loves to see the woman do her work, and part of his, and he has always let her do double duty, yet he always stands up to accept the honors. It must be a living hell for woman to abide in a home where the male reigns supreme. It must be a living hell for such supreme male creatures to observe the progress that women are making in all professional ranks. So be it. The Holy Spirit calls "all" who will honor Jesus Christ, to spread the Good News of the gospel message. ("hey, hey", you there, QUIT IT RIGHT NOW!!!! You are not permitted to preach the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ, thats reserved only for us favored chosen MEN.)
       

  41. Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
    20 June 2014 @ 4:57 am

    If the majority of TOSC members remained in the same position they came into the meetings with, (give or take a few who may have switched sides), then the percentage voting in favour of WO in whichever group really doesn’t say much except that the committee itself was obviously a biased one right from the start.  I wouldn’t call it a ‘rigged’ committee at this point in time, but it would be merely a farce at the end of the day in my opinion.
     

  42. Cindy Tutsch
    20 June 2014 @ 5:13 pm

    I am curious why the papers from June, 2014, are not on adventistarchives.org, as we were told at the last TOSC they would be. At least you may read the summary document from Group #2 above.  I hope that the summary documents from all three groups, with their supporting longer papers presented at the June TOSC, will soon be posted at adventistarchives.org

  43. Bill Garber
    20 June 2014 @ 6:18 pm

    If the committee truly wanted consensus, it not have taken a vote it seems to me.

    No vote taken in Acts 15 (I know, a good many see no connection between circumcision and women's ordination, though it is hard to deny that they both are gender specific issues)

    The chair would have been within the biblical pattern to have assessed the conversations and presentations and have stated something lone these lines …

    "We begin by confirming the reports of the Holy Spirit clearly endorsing the work of women already ordained as pastors in various parts of the world.  And on this basis, we are by consensus reporting our support for continuing to bring all members, without regard to gender, fully into the work of the church as the Holy Spirit is seen to be leading in the lives of members by the various individual communities of believers around the world.

    "While various of our believers in reading scripture continue to see constraints with regard to gender ideals, by consensus we are agreeing not to use gender to measure of the work of the Holy Spirit in our communities around the world.  We agree that neither salvation nor the gifts of the Spirit are rooted in or limited by gender.  On that basis, we recommend that the church recommend that communities around the world embrace whom them believe the Holy Spirit is endorsing to them as their leaders without or without ordination."

    I sense that if the chair had made this summary and presented it to the committee, that the committee would have, as was the case in Acts 15, acknowledged by their silence the position as the right position for the church to take.

    It is a missed opportunity, though not the last opportunity.

    What we will see going forward is whether the sect of the Pharasiees prevail with the General Conference Annual Council this fall when it makes recommendations regarding women in leadership positions to the General Conference in Session next year, or whether a consensus statement be supported, as happened in Acts 15.

    We have hope that with 9 out of 13 divisions on record as endorsing something akin to the draft consensus staement above, that it will be what is presented to the General Conference in Session next year.

     

    • Moose
      22 June 2014 @ 3:31 am

      Well spoken, Bill!

      it's really easy to get cynical when it comes to the actions of some of our leaders until I look in the mirror and see my own character defects!  Ouch!  The last 50 years God has continued to move our church in the direction of doing what is right and he will not abandon us now.  

      There is is no president, General Conference or otherwise, who is greater than God.

      I am increasingly convicted that the change we all pray for has not happened for good cause, not good reason.  God has waited for the day when our motivation is right and we make the change based on solid study of the Bible rather than because of cultural pressure.  He also, I believe has waited until our hearts were filled with a deep desire to fulfill his wishes to restore what was lost in the Garden and a grace and kindness towards who disagree rather than being motivated by anger and bitterness and resentment.

      Cindy's opinion piece is an example of that kind of spirit and is, I believe, the kind of thing that is opening the door for this much needed and long overdue change to occur!

  44. Dr. Eric Webster
    20 June 2014 @ 6:57 pm

    Very well stated, Bill! Is there any definite way of getting these two paragraphs to the GC leadership and suggesting that they be presented to the GC Session. I think that is just about all that needs to be said on the topic. After presenting this brief report the Session could be invited to take part in a season of prayer and then the Session could be called upon to give their general consensus. Then we can all go back and get on with presenting the Gospel around the world.
          Because the two paragraphs are so good I am ready to just suggest a little careful editing before sending them forth. Check some of the words and I am sure the last sentence should read, "with or without ordination."

    • William Noel
      20 June 2014 @ 10:10 pm

      Dr. Webster,

      You think the topic would actually be allowed to come to the floor at the GC Session next year?  I can only imagine what "anonymous" committee or acting chairperson (oops! chairMAN) would table the motion.  🙂

    • Elaine Nelson
      20 June 2014 @ 10:32 pm

      When large committees break for prayer, you can expect whatever the decision is to be called a direct answer to the Holy Spirit.

  45. Bill Garber
    20 June 2014 @ 10:35 pm

    Thanks Dr. Webster,

    This said, a couple old guys like us need not imagin that we are even keeping up with the Holy Spirit here.   It is quite an amazing exhibition of the Holy Spirit bringing us together we are seeing.  

     

    • Dr. Eric Webster
      21 June 2014 @ 6:12 pm

      Bill, I have been impressed by many of your comments on numerous blogs, including your very good contribution on the Sabbath School lesson of the 21st June. I am interested in what you have been doing through the years. If you don't want to give the details on this blog, you could drop me a line or two on my email:    ecwebb@telkomsa.net
            Blessings to you.

  46. Lynn
    21 June 2014 @ 9:03 pm

    Wonderful article. It's a testimony to know other believers are convicted by the reformative power of the New Convenant our Saviour graciously died for. To God be the glory. And may fellow Christians find their strength and basis of authority and even more humility at the foot of the Cross. It is unsettling it has taken so long but I'm pleased to live in such a time as this to witness and be a witness that Christ died so everyone of every creed, race, past, class, or gender can take part in Him and follow according to their own faith and willingness of heart.

    Church is not a barrier to God but, rests softly under Him

  47. Lyudmila Paly
    23 June 2014 @ 12:26 pm

    The papers from June, 2014 meeting can be accessed here – http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2014/06/20/june-tosc-papers-posted.