The following tabulation lists each of the 13 current divisions which make up the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The leftmost column indicates the basic favoring/opposing Women’s Ordination position of their biblical research committee and 2013 division Year-end Meeting vote. In reading the actual completed reports which are now becoming available, we note that in several cases the response is not purely yes/no. Our heart goes out to these Adventists from round the globe who have labored with these issues, and we cherish the thought that they will pardon us for the inevitable simplification in reducing their reports to raw yes/no answers. Every division has been asked to give input to the General Conference TOSC (Theology of Ordination Study Committee). Remember, there is no necessary direct correlation between the view of the broader membership of a division, the views of its administrators, and the vote of its study committee. There is, however, a correlation between the membership of a Division and the number of delegates that shall be sent to the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio. While this list does not include an estimate of the regular delegates to come from each division, it suggests something about the relative delegate count and of the possible direction they could be coming from when vote is taken concerning the ordination question.

WO  DIV MEMBERSHIP NAME
=====================================================
No   ECD 2,704,468  East-Central Africa Division
No   ESD   120,351  Euro-Asia Division
Indt IAD 3,612,480  Inter-American Division
Indt IED   177,902  Inter-European Division
Yes  NAD 1,135,233  North American Division
Yes  NSD   661,652  Northern Asia-Pacific Division
No   SAD 2,101,991  South American Division
No   SID 3,062,672  South Africa-Indian Ocean Division
Yes  SPD   423,891  South Pacific Division
No   SSD 1,175,324  Southern Asia-Pacific Division*
Indt SUD 1,607,108  Southern Asia Division
Yes  TED    84,093  Trans-European Division
No   WAD   866,254  West-Central Africa Division
No   = No
Yes  = Yes
Indt = Indeterminate

*This is a close call. The SSD BRC recommendation is more indeterminate, but the decided majority was “no,” often by approximately a 2 to 1 margin in the eight votes recorded by the committee at the end. In all cases, we encourage readers seeking more exact data to read the actual reports on the Adventistarchives.org website.

Last updated: 2014-01-31 06:27Z

27 thoughts on “SDA Divisions comparison

  1. I am from the South Pacific Division. Though the leadership may have voted for Women’s ordination there are a good proportion of us who do not support this. Members of the church I attend are against women’s ordination. We have had women commissioned in the division and a church close by has a woman ‘pastor’. The Division newsletters are openly promoting WO. Those who speak out against this are labeled troublemakers and churches which do not support WO are pushed to the fringes with deliberate moves to keep their members out of executive committees. I pray this is quickly put to an end and the leaders who have promoted this false theology are removed. I have the confidence that God will see us through this crisis as he has promised through His prophet. God bless Elder Ted Wilson and his associates.

    Reply
      • The same in Spain. The Spanish Union leaders openly speak against the General Conference and told me if I love Ted Wilson “go to him and leave us alone”.
        In my church there is a woman “pastor” and the members are following the “wise theologians that know and understand the Bible better that us”. They have banned me to preach and even to speak in the church and consider me crazy and fanatic.
        I believe the Omega apostasy will clean the Church of God and a little Remnant will remain. God bless His People!

        Reply
        • Fortunately, I have never heard anyone from the Portuguese leadership say a word in public about the issue. I do believe they are respecting the Church’s Working Policy. But we have to see what they’ll do since the Division has stated its position.

          Reply
    • Yes, I think our leaders went off to the GC without representing their constituency. Many dont view it as they do but they pushed their own agenda notably Townend and the Record editor at the time Standish.

      Reply
  2. I am a member of the Inter-european Division, from Portugal. Likewise, there are many members in Portugal and across Europe who do not share the official position of the Division.

    I’m not sure about the Unions, but the members were not called to have word on the subject.

    Regards.

    Reply
    • Good to know there are people all over the world who still base their believes on God’s word. We need to pray for God to intervene. We need to encourage Elder Ted Wilson and the GC leadership to stand firm in God’s strength.
      Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;
      Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong;
      Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,
      Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.

      Reply
  3. I introduced woman elder in a Fijian church in Fiji-(a-member-of-the-SPD), for it was only prevalent in the English Church.

    In that year I saw a very disappointed members on my decisions though that local church voted yes and for ordination, but the Admin of the Fiji Church against it but still allowed the eldership of the lady. It was a landmark in the Islands but i caused an uproar in the church with pastors and members. So in the following year I advised that local church to turn down the lady’s renominations on these grounds:

    1). the reason for the ordination was for all woman officers in the local church would feel free to liaise with her and open up with her.

    2). She was not to be ordained for I was not a proponent of it but to help women in ministry.

    3).The reason for my not wanting her for renomination the following year was my deep sympathy for the older pastors and members who have been faithful to the church and who am I to treat them to such cause as to bring disunity to the church as a whole, so in 2005 I did not appoint her.

    The South Pacific Division Admin and the Australia might approve who have little membership in this division, Papua New Guinea has the majority members and when combined with other island churches of conferences like mine here in Fiji, (Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Solomon, Vanuatu, Cook Island, etc). the SPD has no mandate.

    All the islands culture forbid women domination over men and in this instance ordination of pastor and elders of women.

    Biblically, I agree that women should have leadership role in the church like Leader of Dorcas and Women Ministry, etc but not ordination for there is no direct confirmation of ordination of women in the bible as elders and pastors but as leaders for women group.

    Secondly, The scriptures is very clear that the office of deacons and elders is for men only according to Paul’s letter to Timothy.

    So let us not try to be proponents of Women’s Liberation Theology or be tossed to and fro with other Higher Criticism of the Bible.

    Women are equal with men in the Pre-fall Edenic role functions stipulated by God and it was again stipulated after the fall and it was still confirmed by the Holy Spirit to Paul in his counsel to the ordination of Elders and deacons as man of one wife, so where in the Bible does it say the ordination of the bible, I am well aware of the Andrews University Scholarly book supporting ordination of women but it is just superficial assumption and presumption without the biblical data is one of the horrendous sins the Spirit of Prophecy states.

    So please let us not be like unstable Christians tossed about like we have no assurance of the biblical data, for the biblical data is plain, no ordination of women as pastors and elders, Period.

    Reply
      • DeeDee,
        But we do not know for certain that Phoebe was a deacon/deaconess. When the first deacons (as an official office) were chosen in Acts 6:3, Luke writes ANDRAS EX (six males) were chosen. In 1 Timothy 3:8-13 where Paul gives the specifications for deacons, he says that the deacon must be a GUNAIKOS ANDRES, a one-woman male (husband of one wife). Phoebe in Romans 16 is clearly female although the word translated servant there, DIAKONOS, is in the masculine. Likely, this is a general usage, as when we call EGW a “prophet” although more specifically, she is a “prophetess.” When we look more broadly at the Bible testimony, it seems best to translate into English, as many have done, that Phoebe was a “servant” of the church in the more general sense, rather than necessarily filling an actual office of deacon, which according to 1 Timothy she is not and cannot be qualified for.

        Having said this, whether or not Phoebe filled an office as “deacon/deaconess” at that time is somewhat beside the point. The key issue is that because of Genesis two male and female roles, when Jesus raises up His NT church, women are not to teach authoritatively in the congregational setting. Gifts of teaching are thus seen in connection with the office of elder (1 Timothy 3:3:2; 2 Timothy 2:24; 4:2; Titus 1:9), but not as a requirement for deacon.

        I hope this helps.

        Reply
      • DeeDee,

        Phoebe was a female servant not a deacon. When Paul spoke of deacons in 1 Timothy, he was addressing the masculine gender for the function of which he was speaking.

        I hope that helps.

        Reply
  4. Having many Fijiian and Tongan friends in the US, I would be very surprised if the large majority of them including women, were not against women’s ordination. I assume that the yes vote was determined by Australia and New Zealand.

    Reply
    • It was unanimous. The understanding both in SPD and TED is that WO be allowed where the people want it.

      I wonder how many people were disappointed when we accepted a woman prophet? How do the people in the South Pacific feel about listening to the writings of Ellen White?

      Reply
      • Why do we keep mixing up prophet and Elder. These are two seperate roles. No one has a problem that Ellen White a woman was a prophet because God has had woman as prophets before.

        Reply
      • God had women prophets in the Bible so that is the srandard by which we test Truth. If we can have women ministers because the Bible does not say we can’t, we can then sprinkle candidates instead of immersing them. This is not an issue of who is superior but different functions for those who meet the criteria set forth in the Bible.

        Reply
      • “If they speak not according to this Word it is because there is no light in them”. This is our safeguard even in making sure we don’t twist Ellen White’s words.

        God bless

        Reply
  5. So the Divisions have split 7.5 to 5.5 (giving 0.5 to each from the IAD). To me, this shows that there are legitimate differences in how devout SDAs view this issue. Keep in mind that the biblical research committees from each Division are writing these reports and that they represent all major regions (North and Latin America, Asia, Europe, Australia/Pacific) of the world except Africa

    To those opponents of WO, rather than denigrating those see WO as consistent with Biblical principals, it is time to recognize that these differences are not going to go away with a committe report or even a GC vote (Since when was truth determined by majority vote anyhow?). The challenge for both sides will be how to move beyond this issue in unity. It may be that global uniformity will have to be sacrificed, allowing WO in some Divisions.

    Reply
  6. The divisions comparison has limited validity, as I think we noted. The appointment of the division BRCs could either be accomplished with an attempt to be representational in the participants, or it could “stack the deck” for or against a particular position within that division. So God alone knows how truly representative each BRC is of that division’s generalized view.

    Also, when all the BRC reports are made public, we may have to revise the chart.

    If each side is using a different system of interpretation, it will indeed be a challenge to have “unity.” How would we do that? It is to be hoped it could be solved. And yet, it may be that this situation will ultimately reveal that there have developed two quite different churches under one administrative structure. What then?

    Reply
  7. The time approaches very fast that each faithful SDA will have to stand alone. We knew all along this will come and now it is near, very near. It is happening before our very eyes! Our beloved Church is heading for a huge ship wreck, that’s for sure, but as in the time of Elijah the Lord knows His people. Soon it will be revealed who is a child of the Lord (Mal 3:18) – when time is over. Prophesy is fulfilling as we speak.
    What use is there for Church administration if we cannot be one? Don’t you see that this is the devil’s work to counteract the Lord’s? Satan knows that the work must be finished for Jesus to come and that divided house will never stand. But the work will be finished. Even now there are many non-SDA’s whom the Lord is calling to bring the last truths to the world. Even the stone will cry out! The message of truth will be told and the heavens will be enlightened by the everlasting gospel. I see unbelievers eager to hear the message and hungering and they will on their turn to their part and go and preach the message of separation. The Lord has always had a faithful remnant people. The ultimate last remnant will be the 144.000. At the very end of time.
    Some people in our Church want to restore the state before the Fall in their own strength. In Eden man and woman were equal comrades. But there was a Fall and things were changed and the Lord choose to give man and woman different functions in order to make the most of the transition to Eden restored. But the Eve’s and Adams of our time no longer agree with this history record as most of them don’t agree with Creation. They accuse the Lord that it was wrong to burden the Church with this order of things. He could have allowed man and women to “repair” the discrimination. Since He did not, it is time we do it ourselves. Even if it kills our testimony to the world, it is a matter of principle. The next things we will not agree on are the order of marriage and sexuality. And one does not have to be a genius or a prophet to see that that’s the way were are heading. In my country we see the contours of that development already appearing above the horizon. In our own SDA Church. We have become our own gods.
    The Lord knows what He is doing. He did then, He does now. We would better to abide by the structure the Lord has appointed for the wellbeing of His Church. He gave us a reason – Eve was tempted and she gave in. Adam consented. Fact is that they both sinned. Because of the Fall and the symbol of salvation by sacrificing blood (i.e. life) and women having a monthly issue of blood, she was unfit to have a priestly role. So God divided the huge new responsibilities that emerged with sin – Adam got spiritual headship; Eve became family keeper –household headship (Prov 31:10-31). As the Church is a family too, the Lord installed the same order for His Church on earth. It will not be before the New Earth that the state of equality for man and woman of before the Fall will be restored. There will even be no marriage there and no sexual living (Luk 20:35-36).
    By trying to restore sin on our own we are choosing the devil’s side who wants to convince the world that there was no Fall, so there is no sin, no death, and even no God and that humanity must take matters into their own hands. Sad to see that many of us are so ready to buy his lies, but so easily deny the gift of Love.

    Reply
  8. Here is another report from Gleaner, slight different than Ordinationtruth:

    To recommend ordination of both men and women to pastoral ministry:

    Inter-European Division
    North American Division
    South Pacific Division
    Trans- European Division

    To allow certain areas of the world church to ordain women:

    Southern Asia Division

    To not recommend the ordination of women:

    Euro-Asia Division
    Southern-Africa and Indian Ocean Division
    West-Central African Division

    To accept whatever decision is made at the 2015 General Conference Session:

    Inter-American Division

    No public recommendation to date:

    East Central Africa Division
    Northern Asia Pacific Division
    South America Division
    Southern Asia Pacific Division

    The updated information is included in the Jan. 17, 2014, news report video from Adventist News Network

    Reply
  9. Southern Asia came out at Silver Spring as supporting each region doing what they want – so another Yes.

    Southern Asia Pacific said they will support whatever GC votes. You call that a Mix.

    This leaves 5 divisions against WO out of 13, 6 Yes to WO (at least regionally) and 2 saying they will follow the GC vote.

    Reply
  10. I am from the South Pacific Division (Vanuatu) and do not necessarily agree that there is a fall out in the church because of this issue. In my locality, I believe that many church members are mature enough to sustain a discussion of this matter since Paul strongly urges us to study the Bible and prove for ourselves the Truth.

    Nevertheless, what I fail to understand are the following issues:
    1. God is unchangeable – now therefore, are we to follow His Word only and not His Actions when he chooses to use women over men in leadership throughout the Bible and also in our time through EG White? Isn’t it possible that we are misinterpreting His word since His actions tell us that God does not discriminate against women?
    2. Woman at the well – how do we interpret Jesus action of sending a woman to proclaim his message to the people over the disciples who were with him that day? Why couldn’t Jesus wait for the disciples to come then send them to the community?
    3. Holy Spirit – Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. Now therefore, if within a congregation the Holy Spirit urges the heart of a girl/woman to study theology for the purpose of taking up leadership role in His church who are we to say “No you can’t”. In the same manner, if the Holy Spirit impresses upon the hearts and minds of certain church leaders to commission and/or to ordain a lady to church leadership who are we to prevent the leading of God through His Holy Spirit? I say that we can’t stand in the way of God’s leading through the Holy Spirit of His church unless of course we assume that those “still small voices” are not from the Holy Spirit but from the Devil. If that is so then we have to rethink deeply who our church pastors and elders are – whether they are of God or of the devil.
    4. Elephant and the Dinosaur – In a discussion of this topic the field secretary of the SPD referred to the “elephant” in the room, i.e. EG White. However, I’d like to add that there is also a “dinosaur” in the room which takes the form of God choosing women to work with. The argument proposed by some is that God has the prerogative of decision and therefore what He does is within this scope of prerogative. Yet, perfection in Christ means that we human beings are to attain the Character of Christ. Hence, if Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Father are one, aren’t we missing the point here? We seem to hold the position that what humans do is more important than what God is trying to show us through His actions.

    These are my honest questions and it would be good to get more light on these.

    May God Bless

    Reply
  11. Let me try to give you some honest answers…
    1) It is obvious that God sometimes had to work with the material that He had. It is like Jesus telling the people in His time that divorce papers were not in God’s plan, but came in the picture because of sin and hard heartedness. Deborah became leader because the MAN that was chosen was too chicken. Deborah knew God’s position; Balak knew it too.
    2) Here you present a very specious argument. Where does the Bible say that women cannot evangelize – tell the people what God has done to and for her? The gospel command is for EVERYONE. But not everyone can be leader in the CHURCH. We don’t even accept every male that say that the HS is leading him to do something in church, as a leader. So beware for false arguments.
    3) Thy Word is the truth. The HS will NEVER bypass the Word of God. So we must KNOW what the word stipulate and do our utmost to follow that. We might think that the Spirit leads us in a different direction, but beware it is our own inclination.
    4) See point 2). The only elephant AND Dinosaur is the WORD. God IS choosing women to work with but the debate is over leadership position.
    Hope this clarifies something for you …

    Reply
  12. Why is it so difficult to accept the clear words of Ellen White when she says:

    [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]

    Reply
  13. With the Estate changing the texts I would want to know if the original says “men and women” and since Gospel workers is a compilation I would like to know if the contexts sustains this quote.
    That’s the danger of changing the inspired writings – once it is definitely proven that words are being changed, one can never be sure again.
    Men and women are needed in the work, but our Church has always walked in the Biblical understanding that only men can be pastoral leaders in the Church. Women can have pastoral duties though – the instance that one has care for the souls of other’s, one has a pastoral position. And we are all each other’s keeper.
    The problem with EGW is many quote to prove their points and I come along many mis- and out of context quotations. that way EGW heritage is broken down and the confidence of the people in the inspired words likewise.
    When I wrote the above I thought it wise to search for the quote – and the context of the quote gives another meaning than my dear brother Johann – it is about evangelizing and not ministering …
    “All who desire an opportunity for true ministry, and who will give themselves unreservedly to God, will find IN THE CANVASSING WORK (I cap.) opportunities to speak upon many things pertaining to the future, immortal life. The experience thus gained will be of the greatest value to those who are fitting themselves for the ministry. 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. As they cherish the thought that Christ is their Companion, a holy awe, a sacred joy, will be felt by them amid all their trying experiences and all their tests. They will learn how to pray as they work. They will be educated in patience, kindness, affability, and helpfulness. They will practice true Christian courtesy, bearing in mind that Christ, their Companion, cannot approve of harsh, unkind words or feelings. Their words will be purified. The power of speech will be regarded as a precious talent, lent them to do a high and holy work. The human agent will learn how to represent the divine Companion with whom he is associated. To that unseen Holy One he will show respect and reverence because he is wearing His yoke and is learning His pure, holy ways. Those who have faith in this divine Attendant will develop. They will be gifted with power to clothe the message of truth with a sacred beauty.”
    I am truly saddened to see how some misuse the writings of this inspired lady. Making her legacy of non-effect to the members of the Church.

    Reply
    • Quote copied from the 2008 EGW CD:
      “Canvassing as an Education For the Ministry

      “One of the very best ways in which young men can obtain a fitness for the ministry is by entering the canvassing field. Let them go into towns and cities to canvass for the books which contain the truth for this time. In this work they will find opportunity to speak the words of life, and the seeds of truth they sow will spring up to bear fruit. By meeting the people and presenting to them our publications, they will gain an experience that they could not gain by preaching. {GW 96.1}
      When young men enter the canvassing field filled with an intense longing to save their fellow-men, a harvest for the Lord will be reaped as a result of their efforts. Then let them go forth as missionaries, to proclaim present truth, praying constantly for increased light, and for the guidance of the Spirit, that they may know how to speak words in season to those who are weary. Let them improve every opportunity for performing deeds of kindness, remembering that they are doing errands for the Lord.

      Note: It does NOT include men and women

      Reply

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