Response by a Young Adult to GC Annual Council Vote
By Moses Maier, October 14, 2016: I have been silent on this issue for some time, but I believe that there is a need to speak when the Spirit leads. I do not wish to inspire division more than division is already present, however, I wish to inspire thought for those who cannot find peace regarding this issue.
I firmly believe that the Lord has led in the creation of the Seventh-day Adventist church, my church. I will not let this issue divide me from my church and the calling God has for me within this church. The issue of women’s ordination has been discussed for many decades now and at length especially within my conference: the Southeastern California Conference. Currently, I attend Southern Adventist University where I am the Student Association President. In no way do these thoughts reflect the official thoughts of the Student Association or of Southern Adventist University.
I grew up in a conservative home and have had extensive exposure to both sides of the issue. I have seen that both sides of the issue have had sincere and spirit led individuals promoting their individual beliefs. At the same time, I have seen that many people, regardless of their stance, have become bitter and divisive, demonstrating a spirit that is not from the Lord. I am not alone among my peers when I say I have seen an attitude in this issue that is not from the Lord. With great sadness I have witnessed people degrading fellow members of the body of Christ; my generation is not ignorant of the hatred that is demonstrated against each party.
I believe that the time for theological debate regarding this issue is past. After many years of study, the General Conference Committee on the theological study of Women’s Ordination came to the conclusion that there is evidence neither for nor against the issue in the Bible. Repeatedly, the debate of this issue has been argued at length and at present, there is little value in continuing the debate on the issue. The discussion now is what to do with those who do not agree in policy to the decision made in the 2015 General Conference Session. There is a challenge in how to appropriately approach this issue because regardless of the action taken by the General Conference, there will be a backlash from either side.
I want to appeal to the General Conference. My generation is leaving the church in mass. I love my church and it pains me to see so many friends, colleagues, fellow students, and family members leave the church I love for various reasons. I pray for my church and for my generation in the church that does not seem to accept the church and God’s leading in it.
There is a parable that Christ shared in the gospels where a farmer planted a crop in the field. During the night, an enemy came and planted weeds. When the seeds began to sprout and the crop began to grow, the farm hands noticed that there were weeds among the good plants. When they asked the farmer if they should pull the weeds, the farmer forbade them with the reason that when they pulled the weeds, they might also pull the good plants.
I am not advocating the idea of relative truth, I am merely stating the fact that as a body of Christ we are comprised of various people who each were created with unique ideas and approaches to life. My appeal to my church is this: Let us not become distracted pulling the weeds that we each may think must be pulled. To the end of time, there will be individuals, ideas, principles, and beliefs that we will consider to be weeds choking the progress of growth in the church. I fear for the future of my generation in my church. I fear that there is a principle that is being demonstrated with the recent considerations of the General Conference that appears to be more authoritarian than loving. The fear I have is not a disbelief in God’s ability to work in the church, but rather it is a catalyst to pray more for the strength of the church.
My generation is watching and many of us cannot understand why this is still an issue. The outcome of this will have a lasting impact on us. I firmly believe that if even half the time spent arguing, fretting, and belittling each other about the issue of women’s ordination, were to be spent in prayer, the love of God would be spread as never seen before. I believe that the devil is content to distract the Lord’s church in whichever way he can, even through pious deliberations about ordination. My prayer is that we focus our attitude on Christ and Christ alone who is the mission and purpose of this great movement. I pray and appeal that there is a careful consideration to the future of the church specifically my generation and the affects this decision has on the minds of my generation. I also appeal that in our journey to make a decision, we do not “pull weeds from among the wheat” as we may believe weeds to be. May Christ permeate all and be all, may we not seek to pull the “weeds” from our life in place of planting the goodness of Christ in the world around. This is my appeal and this is my prayer for my church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Moses Maier is president of the student association at Southern Adventist University. He told Adventist Today, “I am a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and am passionate about its message. Recent decisions have saddened me.”