Other Agenda Item
Administrative Response from the Northern California Conference
Administrative Response Re: “Motion of Solidarity”
- We agree with SDA Fundamental Belief 14: “The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His Children.”
Unity is not the same as uniformity. We continue to be united in the faith and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
- The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not a hierarchical system of authority; rather it is representative in nature. Each level of church structure has its own level of authority.
GC/NAD Working Policy B 05 6 – “Different elements of organizational authority are distributed among the various levels of denominational organization. For example: the decision as to who may/may not be a member of a local Seventh-day Adventist Church is entrusted to the members of the local church concerned; decisions as to the employment of local church pastors is entrusted to the local conference/mission; decisions regarding the ordination of ministers are entrusted to the union conference/mission; and the definition of denominational beliefs is entrusted to the General Conference in session. Thus each level of organization exercises a realm of final authority that has implications for other levels of organization. In a similar manner, each organization is dependent to some extent on the realm of authority exercised by other levels of organization. No church organization or entity assumes responsibility for the liabilities, debts, acts, or omissions of another church organization simply because of its church affiliation.” [Italics supplied.]
- The 2015 General Conference motion was: “After your prayerful study on ordination from the Bible, the writings of Ellen G. White, and the reports of the study commissions, and after your careful consideration of what is best for the church and the fulfillment of its mission, is it acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry? Yes or No?”
Since the motion failed, the existing process for ordination continues in place – i.e., the Unions have the authority on “decisions regarding the ordination of ministers.”
- The Pacific Union Conference, in a specially called constituency session [Aug. 19, 2012], approved that ordinations in the Pacific Union Conference would be approved “without regard to gender.” The NCC Executive Committee took action on Aug. 22, 2012 to approve that process in NCC [69% - 39%]. The NCC Executive Committee, on Dec. 3, 2014, affirmed the action taken on Aug. 22, 2012 [89% - 11%].
- The NCC Executive Committee actions are not in contradiction with either the Pacific Union Conference Bylaws or the General Conference Constitution and Bylaws. Nothing about the ordination process is contained in the bylaws. It is only referenced in the policies of the General Conference/North American Division Working Policy [see point #2 above]. There is not a direct reference in the GC/NAD policies that women cannot be ordained.
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