The Potomac Conference Executive committee voted on February 26, 2019 to submit the name of Therezinha Barbalho for approval for ordination to the gospel ministry. Barbalho, a woman, serves as pastor in the Silver Spring, MD church. Union approval is required before a conference proceeds with an ordination. The target date for Barbalho’s ordination is June 2019.

The world church voted in General Conference Session 2015 not to permit Divisions to decide unilaterally whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry. Disregard for that decision led the General Conference Executive Committee to create and vote a special compliance process in 2018.

The highest human authority in the church is the General Conference Session held every five years. Between GC Sessions, the General Conference Executive Committee handles necessary business items. The GC in session is analogous to a church business meeting, and the GC executive committee to the church board meeting. In the case of the General Conference, these meetings have global authority. Divisions, unions, and conferences in their turn, are all under the authority of the next higher level of organization. The Church Manual, p. 27, reminds us, “In the Seventh-day Adventist Church structure, no organization determines its own status, nor does it function as if it had no obligations to the Church family beyond its boundaries.”

Because the world church has not approved the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, neither Potomac Conference nor Columbia Union, subsidiary entities that they are, have not been delegated authority \to conduct such an ordination. In the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the ordained minister is recognized by the Church as having authority to minister on behalf of the church globally. For this reason, no sub-entity can act unilaterally; ordination grants authority across the entire organization.

It is ironic that the Conference and the Union are following the lines of authority to approve such an ordination at the lower levels when they clearly lack the authority at the higher levels. When conferences and unions act unilaterally and in contradiction to the decisions of the world church, they are engaging in a form of congregationalism. They are disrespecting the decision-making process of the very entities which have delegated to them the authority they are misusing. They are sowing disunity in the Church.

6 thoughts on “Potomac Conference to Ordain Woman in June

  1. The major problem rests with the World Church Leadership. The Church in session has spoken and denied this privilege to the field. It is now time to stop kicking the can down the road and take a decided stand. Call it what it is and take action. This blatant refusal to follow the World Church action on the part of the Division, Union and Conference must end. I was on the rostrum with the Potomac President in February (Prior to their decision) and he presented a powerful message on Christ. All the while he was preaching, I felt an uneasiness in my soul that troubled me. How can I support what I believe to be rebellion against God’s Remnant Church and her authority? What would happen if a local Church decided that the tithe can be kept and distributed as the Church sees fit? We would be told to come into line or they would come and lock our doors. This has gone too far! The General Conference needs to act now!

    Reply
    • Jim Cox is right. The GC must act. Calling more meetings and pontificating policy will never produce any viable results.

      The responsibility of discipline lies with the GC. They must use properly ordained authority to do what is necessary for the right results to be attained.

      Reply
  2. “All who exalt their own opinions above divine revelation, all who would change the plain meaning of Scripture to suit their own convenience, or for the sake of conforming to the world, are taking upon themselves a fearful responsibility” (The Great Controversy, p. 268). Oddly enough, nowhere in scripture does it specifically prohibit a woman from being ordained. Secondly, in Judges, Deborah was a judge of Israel (i.e. chosen by God to lead His people) and a prophet of God. So here in the Bible we have a clear example of an individual holding the highest office in the land, who could offer burnt offerings (the highest form of sacrifice) for the sins of the people, and who was God’s chosen servant here on earth. I can’t really think of anything higher, or any higher accolade. What does “ordained” mean? Merriam-Webster defines it as “to invest officially (as by the laying on of hands) with ministerial or priestly authority” or “to issue an order, i.e. so the gods have ordained”.
    By the very definition was Ruth ordained by God? Yes. She was ordained by God Himself to carry out His Will on earth. Food for thought, as Gamaliel so well put millennia ago in Acts Chapter 5 “for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; verse 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” Have you ever stopped to even consider, to ponder, to reflect on your stance and that you very well may be fighting God’s Will? I pray you are not blinded by your own traditions as a group of “rabbis of the law” were 2,000 years ago, they missed out on this guy named Jesus. Don’t know if that’s a big deal or not?

    Reply
  3. ELDER JIM COX – The major problem rests with the World Church Leadership. The Church in session has spoken and denied this privilege to the field. It is now time to stop kicking the can down the road and take a decided stand. Call it what it is and take action. This blatant refusal to follow the World Church action on the part of the Division, Union and Conference must end. I was on the rostrum with the Potomac President in February (Prior to their decision) and he presented a powerful message on Christ. All the while he was preaching, I felt an uneasiness in my soul that troubled me. How can I support what I believe to be rebellion against God’s Remnant Church and her authority? What would happen if a local Church decided that the tithe can be kept and distributed as the Church sees fit? We would be told to come into line or they would come and lock our doors. This has gone too far! The General Conference needs to act now!

    BILL SORENSON – Jim Cox is right. The GC must act. Calling more meetings and pontificating policy will never produce any viable results.
    The responsibility of discipline lies with the GC. They must use properly ordained authority to do what is necessary for the right results to be attained.

    My oh so brilliant reply, we have everything, a little E.G. White, scripture, history, and a dose of my award winning sarcasm.

    “All who exalt their own opinions above divine revelation, all who would change the plain meaning of Scripture to suit their own convenience, or for the sake of conforming to the world, are taking upon themselves a fearful responsibility” (The Great Controversy, p. 268). Oddly enough, nowhere in scripture does it specifically prohibit a woman from being ordained. Secondly, in Judges, Ruth was a judge of Israel (i.e. chosen by God to lead His people) and a prophet of God. So here in the Bible we have a clear example of an individual holding the highest office in the land, who could offer burnt offerings (the highest form of sacrifice) for the sins of the people, and who was God’s chosen servant here on earth. I can’t really think of anything higher, or any higher accolade. What does “ordained” mean? Merriam-Webster defines it as “to invest officially (as by the laying on of hands) with ministerial or priestly authority” or “to issue an order, i.e. so the gods have ordained”.
    By the very definition was Deborah ordained by God? Yes. She was ordained by God Himself to carry out His Will on earth. Food for thought, as Gamaliel so well put millennia ago in Acts Chapter 5 “for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; verse 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” Have you ever stopped to even consider, to ponder, to reflect on your stance and that you very well may be fighting God’s Will? I pray you are not blinded by your own traditions as a group of “rabbis of the law” were 2,000 years ago, they missed out on this guy named Jesus. Don’t know if that’s a big deal or not?

    Reply
  4. “By the very definition was Deborah ordained by God? Yes. She was ordained by God Himself to carry out His Will on earth.”

    We don’t use an exception to the rule to throw out the rule and negate it. So your whole argument and theory is not valid.

    We live in a world of sin and sometimes an exception to a rule is applied as a necessity. A woman becomes head of the home if he husband is dead or he leaves her. This does not negate the principle that the man is head of the home.

    If there had been no sin we would all be vegan but sin has allowed an exception because of sin circumstances.

    We oppose the liberal agenda that would use any exception to a rule to throw out the rule as not valid.

    Reply

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