Constituents of the Southeastern California Conference (SECC) voted today directly contradicting the global position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA). The SDA Church does not accept Women’s Ordination or the placement of women in the conference presidency. But today, October 27, 2013, the SECC made Sandra E. Roberts its president. The vote occurred during the Quinquennial Constituency meeting held at the La Sierra University Church in Riverside, California. The SECC has been a subsection and interlocking unit of the world SDA Church.

The president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson phoned Pacific Union president Ricardo Graham Saturday evening and stated that such action, if voted, was out of policy, and that the General Conference would not recognize her as president. (SECC is part of the Pacific Union.) This information was shared with the delegates. During the meeting, several delegates spoke in opposition to the action and in support of the world church. But eventually, the majority voted to elect Roberts.

Southeastern California Conference is a part of the 18 million member Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Church has been carefully organized as an interlocking community. Local members are joined in their local church congregation; these congregations are organized together as conferences; conferences are organized together into unions; unions are organized into divisions of the General Conference. The whole in combination make up one united Seventh-day Adventist Church.

SECC’s meeting was a conference constituency level meeting; the most authoritative administrative body of the Church is the General Conference session. Delegates gather together from round the globe for General Conference sessions every five years. The most recent session was in 2010 and the next in 2015. The meeting enables Spirit-led collective decision making.

In 1990 and 1995 General Conference sessions the Church rejected proposals to permit individual divisions, unions, or conferences (like SECC) to ordain women. As a global organization connecting congregations in more than 220 nations, every subsection of the Church is committed to adhere to determinations offered in General Conference sessions. Unilateral contrary actions—such as that today voted by SECC—are disunifying in nature and prima facie evidence of direct opposition to the world church.

Voted action by 567 SECC delegates has now placed Ms. Roberts and SECC in exactly such a position.

What next? In just four days (Oct. 31) North American Division Year-end Meetings begin, where those gathered include the NAD conference presidents. But current Church Manual (p. 32) and current NAD Working Policy (E-60, p. 244) explicitly prohibit a woman from serving in this position. The North American Division will not be able to include Mrs. Roberts as a presidential participant in its meetings without joining itself to SECC in premeditated opposition toward the world church. All eyes will be on the North American Division and its president as it opens its Year-end Meeting.

The world church is watching the North American Division. After all, ultimately it was NAD’s change of Working Policy E-60 in 2010—and later recognition of its having exceeded its own authority—that led NAD President Dan Jackson to instruct NAD unions on January 31, 2012 concerning how to “move this matter forward” and “consider new approaches,”

“The North American Division and its Unions and Conferences (as local circumstances permit) must become more intentional in the development of pathways to ministry for female pastors. We must also develop intentional methods of mentoring women who can take on executive leadership positions within our conferences. . . . We must continue to move this matter forward throughout the North American Division. . .” (See E-60 Letter, Dan Jackson, http://ordinationtruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/nadletterdanjackson-e60.pdf).

In the same letter, Jackson admitted that in adding the word “commissioned,” NAD had erred and indicated that the word “commissioned” would be removed from NAD Working Policy in the 2011-2012 edition. Thus, NAD Working Policy presently states that “a conference/mission president should be an ordained minister of experience.”

Ms. Roberts does not meet this requirement. Nevertheless, the NAD now has what they wanted—a woman in an executive position of leadership.

But, as much as some NAD officers might like to, the NAD—even president Jackson—cannot with impunity include Mrs. Roberts as a voting participant in the 2013 Year-end meeting in contradiction to NAD and GC Working Policy.

The NAD, already on precarious ground, claiming to respect and stand in harmony with the Church, now has opportunity to show itself part of the world church—by upholding the authorized practices of the world church.

The crisis which has been caused by the NAD has now landed again on their own door step. The global Adventist Church will have evidence whether or not the NAD officers shall demonstrate true respect for the sisterhood of Adventist churches round the world very soon now. On October 31, NAD shall either respect the world church and disallow Ms. Roberts’ participation in the Year-end Meeting, or, they will include her, in demonstration of a spirit of opposition to the world church.

33 thoughts on “SECC elects woman president

  1. Reformation is here! It is exciting to see. It is also interesting to see that the “weeding out” will actually be the misogynistic conservatives. Hallelujah!

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    • I’m afraid that your definition of misogynistic conservative would include nearly every writer in the Bible and the God that inspired them. I don’t believe that any of them were actually misogynistic, God gave Adam one position in the family unit and Eve another position in the family unit. Sin entered and those positions extended to the church family unit. Unfortunately sin has also brought in pride, stubbornness, selfishness, anger, abuse and every other ugly characteristic under the sun. What we need now is not to move further away from Gods original plan, no, we need to move closer to His way. It is unfortunate that those who will be shaken out will be so deceived that they believe that the “others” are the ones that have been uprooted. Truly frightening!! Know your Bible, have faith in the writings or Ellen White, God gave her to His church for good reason. I also find it rather peculiar that the majority on one side of this issue want to hear little from her inspired pen.

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      • There is no doubt many Biblical writers were misogynistic. Thus the exalted male abuse of women and male headship. Male domination is a cultural bias – plain and simple. Know your Bible and get your head out of the sand my friend.

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        • Hi Felix,
          I am trying to understand where you are coming from. Are you trying to tell us that Paul was misogynistic when, under inspiration, he taught male headship as a creation-ordained sex-difference coming to humanity from before the Fall (Genesis 2–when God formed Adam first) (1 Cor 11:8, 3; 1 Tim 2:11-13)? His reasoning, both times, comes from Genesis two. Do you understand these writings (1 Cor/1 Tim) to be written by Paul?

          Felix, Seventh-day Adventists seek to be a Bible-based Church. Maybe you disagree with that approach? If so, fine. Perhaps you are not an Adventist and you base your beliefs on other sources than Scripture. But can you fairly fault others who agree with the explicit Bible-based practice of the church for thousands of years that limits the exercise of spiritual leadership in an ecclesiastical setting to men?

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      • Before sin entered both Adam and Eve had the same roles and positions. There is 100% gender equality before the fall. God’s Edenic ideal was gender equality, this means both male and female share responsibility and authority.

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        • In your opinion did Jesus and Lucifer have equality? I believe that they shared equal value. But we are where we are today because Lucifer felt he was being treated as inferior. He wasn’t satisfied to occupy the position God gave Him. While Jesus, being equal to God the Father was content to occupy a position that, from a human stand point, could easily have made Him feel inferior. We were created in their image. I believe that God created Adam with a position different then the position that He created Eve to fill. Once sin entered, just as the case when sin entered the heart of Lucifer, human beings were no longer content. We want to occupy that throne where only God can rest. Gender equality isn’t the real issue, for me. Are you personally, individually content to occupy the position that God gave you? Men and women are equal in God’s eyes, it is from the eyes of sinful human beings that self exaltation, the yearning to attain a greater status, is thought of as admirable.

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        • It is difficult to support this position from the Bible when Adam was not only made first, he was also given the job of naming the animals (and Eve, too). You must also be careful not to conflate gender role distinction with gender inequality.

          The three members of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all have different roles, yet I would never say that there is inequality in the Godhead. Different jobs != inequality. The human family is but a reflection, or image, of God, so the same principle of different, yet equal, roles still applies.

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    • It was considered reformation by some when Sabbath was changed to Sunday. Many felt liberated from the burden imposed upon them by ‘conservatives’. Was it reformation when pagan customs began to be adopted to become culturally sensitive. We are repeating history. Signs of the times indeed.

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  2. Brothers and Sisters,
    Put your seat belts on if you have not done so already because here we go. Rebellion, Rebellion, Rebellion! Bring it on and let shake for He is about ready to take the reins into His hands.
    Danny Strever

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    • Absolutely, Ted and gang will be shaken out before our very eyes. He is not at odds with the people of the church. I saw someone recently called him failed and this is more failure on his part and more success for God. Amen!!

      Reply
      • Odds with the people of the Church? Not the World church…. You will find out there are many men and women who still believe in Biblical correctness not just political correctness.
        Isaiah 3:12 was foretold… When you say “ordain without gender” whats the next name you will be calling people that follow thus says the Lord…. Homophobic?

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      • Felix, Can u say the same “Absolutely” to your gang, and “shaken out”? Woman ordination is nothing to do with equality, it is pure about employment!

        I have many godly ladies that after finishing their school of theology become more and more against women ordination. Thank you for not believing this facts. That’s your business.

        They focus on winning souls regardless of ordained or not to be ordained. The ordained ladies not all but usually becomes lazy to gets their hands dirty for mission fields. All they want is salary, salary, and salary! Get paid as if they work in Mc Donalds or Wal-marts.

        Those Women Adventist Theologians that against woman ordination keep proclaiming that “The ingredients of the Adventist message & doctrine is 100% the same while we spread the word, without any need to complaint “why can’t I be ordained?” No they never complaint about that. Saving the lost souls is more important than to be ordained!

        Praise the Lord. God will always has a group people that maintain the Bible and the Bible only as the only standards and Principals. Yes. The Biblical standard for every nation, kindredth, tongue and people. Not PUC nor SECC standards. Sorry!

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  3. I live in New Zealand and our church is with Elder Ted Wilson. You are misinformed regarding the convictions of the world church. The world church is against women’s ordination and this is based on the Bible and not culture. If men like you would read their bibles and learn to take up their role as Priests in their familes and churches the women would be able to fulfill their role. Wont be surprised if the next thing you would ask is we ordain Homosexuals.

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  4. Hi Felix, how about at least 3000 SDA women in SECC (16000 in PUC) that against women ordination? “misogynistic conservatives” as u said earlier?

    I don’t know about u it must be guaranteed that your “one sided”, “pick and choose” mentality should prevent you to join the real genuine “hallelujah”!

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  5. With complete humility and fear, let us look to God as 2 Chronicles 20:12 and 15 records, “Neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. . .for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

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  6. ….Eve answered Satan according to his folly and became like unto him…when “a man” makes a claim, before attempting to correct him, make him prove it. Prove that the Bible writers were misogynistic (remember to define the word first), prove Adam and Eve had the same roles before sin and that this was an Edenic ideal, prove the Bible exalts the abuse of women, define reformation and prove that this is….and remember the context is the Bible so the Bible is the standard of proof….answers should be given but not every question us wise to answer. (Proverbs 26:4-5)

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  7. Felix Young said: “There is no doubt many Biblical writers were misogynistic.” If we were truly people of the Word we would know that this statement right here is all we need to hear. That would end any discussion henceforth with one making such statements. The boldness with which such statements are now made is proof of the condition of the church and lack of any fear of God or faith in His Word.

    Do not be deceived in these final hours. Pray for those who would doubt God’s word and cast blame upon it like this statement does. And don’t just pray but move forward in unity. The shaking is truly upon us.

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  8. Yeah, I agree with people on the other sites the point out convincingly that this is position is misogynistic. There is no justification for this. A church that manages power by gender is doomed and not of God.

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    • Felix, you and those of your viewpoint are looking at the issue of WO from the perspective of your own sense of justice. This would be commendable if God had entrusted us to do that which is right in our own eyes. But even “the way of a fool is right in his own eyes” (Pr. 12:15), so we cannot trust our own sense of justice. Surely you will agree that God’s judgment surpasses our own. What appears misogynistic from our personal and culturally shaped perspective is not necessarily misogynistic from God’s. And of course, the only safe course for our church to take regarding WO is to heed the counsel of God as given in His word, regardless of how this course clashes with the judgment of the world.

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    • Felix, you missed my point, brother. You have stated that “There is no doubt many Biblical writers were misogynistic.” I didn’t mention what you said about people alive today I was referring to your assessment of the Holy Spirit. You feel perfectly safe stating that these men — directed by the Holy Spirit — wrote things that were misogynistic. You place judgment upon God as having erred in either His inspiration of these writers or His sloppy overseeing of them to allow such attitudes to be passed off as truth. You are viewing God with such a lens that is contrary to how He describes Himself. But my point is that you seem to feel quite comfortable doing so. The boldness that we demonstrate as we judge God this way is disheartening. I will pray for you, brother, for I truly believe you don’t realize what you are doing when you put down the Bible like that. It is of the wrong spirit, my brother. “Misogynistic: Of or characterized by a hatred of women” (according to the dictionary). May God help us to return to a healthy fear of Him where we would never dare use such words to describe His Spirit.

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  9. Felix, What does the Word of God say? Is God misogynistic because He named the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem after twelve men that He ordained? How about the twelve foundations also? Did He discriminate when He named Adam and had Adam name Eve? The Word says that a Husband is to treat their wife as Christ treats the Church….is the Church given the right to usurp Christ authority?

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    • I see you believe in some magical Bible. This is not Adventist. Reasonable and traditional Adventism takes the Bible seriously, but not in a stupid way. We believe that humans wrote the literature guided by various levels of inspiration. This is consistent with how the Rabbi’s treat the Hebrew Bible. In other words, the culture, the sin, the biases all made appearances in the words and motivations of the writers and scribes. Misogyny is rampant in the cultures, stories, and accounts. You can believe it is not there, but the language scholars make it clear that it is black and white.

      The other curious thing is that there is a whole site dedicated to something that is not even Biblical to begin with. Fundies are strange and fun to watch eat their own.

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      • I believe that Adventism will go the way of mainline denominations if they persist in decommissioning the Bibles full authority. Just look at the first churches that ordained women and now are doing the same for homosexuals. The language of Gods Word is black and white.

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  10. Yes, there is nothing Biblical about this in any way, but then again this is really not new for this conference! In the old testament alone 700 mentions of Priests: every last one was male. Not a single woman. Either they have NOT read or simply do not understand
    1 Timothy 3:2, or 1 Timothy 3: 4-7, or Titus 1:5-8. They have substituted the “opinions of men” for the word of God…just as was predicted in these last days!

    In the words of the late HMS Richards: “I have no problem with the ordination of women Pastors, as long as they can be the husband of one wife”….End Quote

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  11. ….agreement with an opinion does not a fact make, even if an abundance of people are in agreement with said opinion. Popularity and factual are not synonyms.

    “….manages power by gender” – What power?

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  12. “In 1990 and 1995 General Conference sessions the Church rejected proposals to permit individual divisions, unions, or conferences (like SECC) to ordain women or appoint them to positions exercising authority over men.”
    This seems to stretch the truth a long way. Having been present at both the 1990 and 1995 sessions of the General Conference, I don’t recall any action or even discussion that forbids the appointment of women “to positions exercising authority over men” . It would be wisdom to avoid such misstatements. The portion of the sentence referring to ordaining women is of course factual.
    We need to realize that none of Paul’s statements regarding women speak to the ordination for service of any kind by women for the Church. They do refer to the behaviour of women and the functions of a few church officers. Ellen White spoke of the appropriateness of the ordination of women for certain types of service, but Paul says nothing on this subject. There are many situations in the church, in schools and colleges, in business and in government where women “occupy positions exercising authority over men” as teachers, administrators, judges or other similar positions.

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    • Herbert,
      The point is true at least in a secondary or consequential sense. Still, we take your point and have removed the phrase from the article.

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  13. I believe the meeting was Quinquennial, not Quadrennial. The interval was changed from four to five years at the last meeting.

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  14. “Shepherds who fail at home will fail at church—He who is engaged in the work of the gospel ministry must be faithful in his family life. It is as essential that as a father he should improve the talents God has given him for the purpose of making the home a symbol of the heavenly family, as that in the work of the ministry, he should make use of his God-given powers to win souls for the church. As the priest in the home, and as the ambassador of Christ in the church, he should exemplify in his life the character of Christ. He must be faithful in watching for souls as one that must give an account. In his service church there must be seen no carelessness and inattentive work. God will not serve with the sins of men who have not a clear sense of the sacred responsibility involved in accepting a position as pastor of a church. He who fails to be a faithful, discerning shepherd in the home, will surely fail of being a faithful shepherd of the flock of God …..—Manuscript Releases 6:49

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  15. my comment here is not about the Biblical support for or against women ordination. but the SECC actions. i look at this and last year’s actions as plain arrogance, bravado, and worst, rebellion, not against Ted Wilson or the GC but the worldwide SDA church. it is their way of telling us in our faces, ” whether you like it or not, we’ll do it. we dont care how you feel about what we do. we can support and live by our own means and we dont need to wait for the “yes” of the whole church. we will not only ordain women but we will elect a woman as president.” if thats not arrogance, i dont know what that is!

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    • Aren’t you judging rather than honestly allowing the possibility that conscientious fellow-believers are trying to apply inspired writings to practical modern-day issues? I am sorry to say that I have spoken of “California S-dA’s” with an unfavorable connotation. It was 1968 when Finland Conference leaders asked whether their female ministers might be ordained. Have we been fair to delay addressing the issue properly? The Bible is not the sole property of S-dA Christians. We of all denominations should be exemplary in our demonstration of honesty and fairness. The Golden Rule should be enough to guide us in finding a good solution to the stalemate. GC officers & other elected leaders should strive to promote the free flow of information rather than make a recommendation (1989) and expect members to “just trust us.” We need leaders who have the wisdom and courage to say this is a matter which does not need a GC session vote.

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  16. Unfortunately the church is becoming a mirror of society. In a few years the actively gay members will be knocking on the door of SDA leadership. But the Lord is working in his church also; this we must never forget. The wheat and the tares are ripening apace, and anything that can be shaken will be shaken.
    What’s happening now reminds of that verse that talks about a “form of godliness without the power.”

    Reply

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