In response to Slingshot's contribution, I note that you've done very well to explain the different functions of the various administrative levels of the church. You say that ordination is a function of the Union Conference and that the world church should not interfere in this at all. However, towards the end of your contribution you say "this action sets no precedent for a Union to change the Church's theology within its territory". What you do not seem to appreciate is that the controversy surrounding women ordination is a question of theology and not administrative function. In fact, everyone knows that this is so - that is why certain administrative divisions have repeatedly tabled the women ordination motion at world church sessions. If they genuinely believed that this was an issue for the Local Conference they wouldn't have tabled it at GC sessions. Moreover, whenever this issue has been discussed, theological (not legal) arguments have been advanced by either side.To me, this unwise action by my brothers and sisters is really depressing. Nevertheless, this is God's church and I know that ultimately this will be the 'Church Triumphant'. Trying to be clever and exploiting every available loophole in the church constitution may give us a sense of victory in the short term. However that victory is hollow. Remember that for thousands of years Lucifer thought that he was winning against Christ, until Christ pronounced those historic words "IT IS FINISHED".
To the extent that the Church has spoken through various studies and commissions, the consensus is that the Bible neither explicitly prohibits or allows female ordination.
Interesting. I just read on a non-SDA forum the following similar argument:"The issue is that nowhere in the NT is anyone obliged to observe a particular day (Col 2:16).""Absolutely nowhere in the NT in the Law of Christ are we ever commanded to observe the sabbath. The sabbath was never moved from Saturday either."
My concern is not so much the Women's ordination per se. The way the church "functions" in how we deal with this process is my major concern. Stepping back from the process to 40k feet... Is the issue regarding Women's ordination stopping the presentation of the Gospel (the resulting debate and decisions from differing "camps"... has most of the thread. Depending on how this is handled ... is being watched by other "fringe" elements on both the liberal and conservative wings of the church in order to "push their agenda". I agree with Slingshot's technical point, but also agree with the theological premise of the dissussion (SIC). I'll use an illustration of misdirection used in the computer world. Someone attacks a website and tries to break into it... all the resources at the bank scurry to fix and defend a really small bank... (website)... while the attack is in progress another attack is lauched which is hardly detected (the real purpose of the attack). I think that there are "other issues" at play in this .. and hence my statement regarding HOW we deal with the issue.I was appalled in how the church dealt with Desmond Ford back in 1979-1982... making this a complete litmus test is maybe the desired response those that are presenting and pushing this are trying to create.It's kinda obvious that the pink elephant in the church has come out of slumber. There are alot of issues and "buttons" that are going to be pushed in order to "activate" God's people to action.. wherever and whatever church they belong to.The bottom line is that the "administrative" decision regarding this from the GC level will not hold water. To fully do so would require a signicicant policy change .. which may be mitigated or enhanced for shall we say... certain political considerations.I find it interesting that we are so vehemently against a technicality and other stuff is slipping thru (with the process debacle)... unnoticed.with kind regards,Gracevessel
GraceVessel, you bring up good points Looking at the bigger picture, it is interesting that this issue that has been smoldering for several years has erupted with a vengence at the time when a major thrust of the GC has been for revival and reformation in the church around the world. It also appears that the Adventist message is having great success in many parts of the world, and even in Muslim countries it is believed that many thousands are receiving our message via various media. It is no surprise that Satan will make every effort to disrupt and cause disunity and fighting between factions to try to bring the church down. But I know that God is in charge and he will work things out for His glory and the furtherance of the gospel. Our main goal as individuals is to make "our calling and election sure." (2 Peter 1:10)
The vote by the union to go their own way is nothing other than in your face rebellion against the world church. Women's ordination has been voted down twice in GC sessions. Variance for the NAD has been voted down twice in Autumn Councils. It has been argued and studied at length as a theological issue and books and articles have been written. It is quite clear how the world church views it. To suddenly try to make it merely a matter of policy and none of the GC's business represents a change in tactics away from the biblical/theological arguments that cannot support women's ordination. Does anyone believe that when the bylaws were written which outlined the administrative authority of the Unions that it was intended for the Unions to be allowed to decide on and make drastic changes as to who can be ordained into the ministry, and that this could differ from place to place in the church? That is unthinkable and would represent an avoidance of responsibility on the part of the General Conference. If the church as a world body in GC session cannot make decisions as to who may and who may not represent the church as ordained ministers, then the church has truly been "neutered." I do not think it is an overstatement to say that this is an attack on the very structure and unity of the church. As elder Wilson said, it will have "grave consequences." As we all well know, as Slingshot said, Ellen White warned that just before the close of probation there would be a "shaking" in the church and that the church would appear as about to fall. It will not fall, but a large number will leave. I fear that that may be "grave consequences" that Elder Wilson warned about. . "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." (1Sam. 15:23)
I believe that what Elder Wilson said could be said another way and that would be 'This is only the tip of the iceberg.In North America the Sabbath is on the slide in a practical sense. The track is being greased by the word 'legalist'. In North America the stand on the homosexual issue is being eroded by the word, 'accepting'Mrs. White has become to many 'my favorite author'. The investigative judgment is simply ignored. Then there is the question of a seven day creation....Denominations tend to split after 150 years -- Catholics to Anglicans --- 150 years---Anglicans to Methodists--- 150 years --- Methodists to SDAs 150 years.... and now??? God forbid. What happened yesterday will manifest itself now but in other ways. There will be collateral damage.