7 December 2019 |
The Swedish Union of Churches has issued a statement in response to the warnings and reprimands from the president’s office of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and voted at the autumn General Conference Executive Committee Meeting.
The Sjundedags Adventistsamfundet was one of the entities “warned” about non-compliance by the GC president. Their response is an unapologetic reaffirmation of the union’s insistence on equal treatment of women in ministry. The statement reads in part as follows:
Equal treatment of male and female pastors was voted by the Swedish Executive Committee in March 2016 and confirmed by the Union Session in July 2017. In view of the warning, the Swedish Union Executive Committee wishes to make the following affirmations:
- We affirm the Bible’s authority and its clear call to all Christians to fulfill the Great Commission;
- We affirm the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, its Fundamental Beliefs, and its prophetic role in proclaiming the three angels’ message of an eternal gospel, true worship of the Creator, and righteousness by grace through faith;
- We affirm that God in His Word makes no difference between men and women in the calling to fulfill the Great Commission. We base this on the Old Testament prophecy that God in the last days would pour out His Spirit upon all – men and women, and on the New Testament teachings on the gifts of the Spirit to the Church, the priesthood of all believers, and the examples of women in all the roles of the Church;
- We reaffirm the temporary order adopted by the Swedish Union of Churches Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to equate the pastoral ministry within the framework of the Church’s Working Policy and in accordance with its Fundamental Beliefs on “Unity in the body of Christ” (no. 14) and “Spiritual gifts and ministries” (no. 17). The divergent order is temporary until the Union and the General Conference have found a satisfactory solution regarding the credentials of pastors;
- Finally, we affirm all the men and women, employees and members, who respond to the call to serve God in these last days and in the community in which we live by making Jesus known and loved and His second coming a desired event. We do not allow tensions or differences between us, in different parts of the world or within the congregation, to prevent the Spirit of God from using us as members of Christ’s body.