Dr. Damsteegt, Theology professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA, presents concerns opposing Women’s Ordination at Utrecht in 1995. The Seventh-day Adventist Church holds a General Conference Session every five years where Seventh-day Adventist delegates gather from around the world to be led of God in deciding matters involving the global conduct of the work of the church. The following was published in the General Conference Bulletin reporting events from July 5, 1995:

NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION REQUEST–ORDINATION

The chairman, Calvin B Rock, outlined the program for this business session dedicated to the request of the North American Division regarding ordination:

The president of the North American Division, Alfred C McClure, will make a 20-minute presentation giving the background and rationale of the North American Division’s request. Then P Gerard Damsteegt from the SDA Theological Seminary of Andrews University will give a 20-minute presentation on why he cannot support this request. Raoul Dederen, also of Andrews University, will then present the opposite viewpoint of why he is in favor of the request. It is hoped that with these presentations, the delegates will have a good overview of both sides of the issue. The floor will then be opened for discussion by the delegates and at approximately 4:45 p.m., the chairman will call an end to the debate and Robert S Folkenberg, president of the General Conference, will make a few remarks prior to a secret ballot being taken.

Voted, 1. To limit the individual speeches of the delegates to two minutes if spoken in English, and three minutes if a translation is given.

2. To support the program for the afternoon business session as outlined by the chairman.

Prayer was then offered by Calvin B Rock.

Following the presentation by Alfred C McClure, Charles E Bradford, former president of the North American Division, was asked by the chairman to make a few comments. After the presentations by P Gerard Damsteegt and Raoul Dederen, the floor was opened to debate by the delegates with the chairman alternating between delegates standing at the for and against microphones.

Shortly after 5 p.m. an action was voted to cease debate of the motion and Robert S Folkenberg spoke for a few moments, closing with prayer in which he asked the Holy Spirit to be present and to guide in the decision of the delegates. The motion before the floor was read for clarity as follows:

“Voted, To refer to the 1995 General Conference Session the North American Division request that the General Conference in Session adopt provisions on ordination as outlined below:

“The General Conference vests in each division the right to authorize the ordination of individuals within its territory in harmony with established policies. In addition, where circumstances do not render it inadvisable, a division may authorize the ordination of qualified individuals without regard to gender. In divisions where the division executive committees take specific actions approving the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, women may be ordained to serve in those divisions.”

Delegates were then instructed to turn in their secret ballot cards to their division representatives. A count of the secret ballots was made with the following results:

In favor of the recommendation: 673

In opposition to the recommendation: 1,481

Total number of votes: 2,154

By this vote, the request of the North American Division was denied.

Adjourned.

Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 11, 1995, pg. 30 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1995-08/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=30).

5 thoughts on “P.G. Damsteegt presentation–1995 Utrecht General Conference session

  1. Amen, amen, amen. Powerful message. Wish we had more faithful Bible believers holding up the standards like this man. God bless those who stand up for right though the heavens fall.

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  2. Yes, I was there. Our lodging was a small hotel in the middle of a field of colorful blooming tulips. Coming off the bus at the congress hall we met the usual anti-Trinitarian folks with their papers trying to convince us that if we read our Bible and EGW writings right, then our minds would open and we would understand that the same type of exegesis would convince us that the ordination of women was as wrong as believing in the trinity. Yes, there were two presentations in favor of WO which you do not show us here. Why? Could it be because these were Scripture based presentations showing us why the anti-Trinitarians were wrong in their hermeneutics?

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  3. Dr. Damsteegt has this exceptional ability to speak to the feelings of his listeners, and he made use of it here. His speech created the desired outcome. When your emotions are touched you need less solid arguments. Even the official GC news of the event pointed out that the discussion was charged with emotions. Then it is difficult to hear the Holy Spirit speaking in that still quiet voice.
    The president of the North American Division, Alfred C McClure, and Dr. Raoul Dederen of Andrews University gave their reasons for requesting the Biblically sound ordination of women. It appears like the majority of the delegates from Europe and North America accepted this as a move by the Holy Spirit, and they have not changed their opinion since then. Delegates from other parts of the world were moved by their traditional thinking and emotions and this majority carried the day. When clinched with a few Amen needs it bother your conscience, since that is a good substitute for using the EGW understanding of Scripture? Why do we seem to be ready to substitute the truth with our feelings?

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  4. It makes me feel extremely sad to see the apostasy coming into our church!… and it is because of lack of study of the prophecy in the spirit of the pioneers! Why is not his generation informed about the pioneers history? I want to hear about it! The people who ignore its history, will end up into disaster!… Only the Prophecy will unite the church!…. William Miller received truths from Gos, why we are not informed about this?… Please consider that the new generation has to be brought to the sacrificial spirit of our pioneers. where is that today? everybody is looking for comfort and good life!…. Ellen White, James White etc were sacrificing everything for the Everlasting Gospel! We want to see this spirit in our churches!….

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  5. Yes, if we would only listen to the admonition of the Spirit of Prophecy:

    [quote]”It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God.” Gospel Workers, page 96.[/quote]

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