CAP pastor Doug Batchelor presented the above at Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church on Sabbath, May 30, 2015. Granite Bay Church is located at 3785 Placer Corporate Dr., Suite 600, Rocklin, CA 95765.
With the approach of the General Conference session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in San Antonio, Texas in 2015, advocates of women’s ordination in the church have begun to launch new articles, videos, and websites promoting their views. Some sixty days out from the beginning of the session, six retired church leaders launched a site with video and text doing this very thing. Their site identifies them as “elder statesmen” of the church.
They argue that it is now time for the church to embrace women’s ordination on a per-division basis. They also speak of fracture in the church if women’s ordination is not permitted by the upcoming vote in San Antonio.
The Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP) have viewed the site and video and the arguments of the “elder statesmen.” In the document linked to this post, CAP considers this material and reacts to the ideas and arguments presented by the retired leaders. The Council of Adventist Pastors invites delegates and readers to consider our response in reference to these serious matters.
Secrets Unsealed ministry has released a video featuring CAP Pastor Stephen Bohr, addressing the recent one-sided actions of the North American Division and of Adventist World magazine promoting women’s ordination.
nad-wo-qa-brochure-cap-responseIn February 2015 the North American Division mailed to Adventist Churches in its territory thousands of brochures posing carefully phrased questions and advocating women’s ordination. Very little Scripture support is offered in the document. The link below reproduces the “answers” as included in the NAD mailing. The Council of Adventist Pastors interacts with this material.
Note. Document version updated on March 8.
This week at Annual Council (AC), delegates voted to send to the 2015 General Conference session the following question:
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.
In voting this recommendation, Annual Council has not left the question to stand only at “Shall separate divisions be permitted to make the women’s ordination decision for themselves as they see fit,” but rather, on the basis of the inspired writings of the Bible and of Ellen G. White, they have asked does the church consider it appropriate for division executive committees to make provision for women’s ordination? Thus, the decision is placed squarely at the question, What do the inspired writings say?
Present at AC was Ms. Sandy Roberts from the Southeastern California Conference. Last Fall, against the teaching of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, members there voted Roberts “president” of that conference. However, because her placement in that office is contrary to the practice of the world church, her name does not appear in the SDA Yearbook as president for SECC. Conference presidents in the division in which an Annual Council meeting are held are invitees to AC meetings and are permitted to function as delegates with voting privileges. Thus, this year the NAD conference presidents participated but Ms. Roberts attended only as a guest. (This paragraph has been corrected from an earlier version.)
The core of the Adventist approach is to seek out the divinely revealed will and adhere to it. We don’t ask people to become Adventists because a committee likes the idea of the Sabbath, but because the Bible by divine authority teaches the observance of the seventh day.
Should the 2015 GC session in San Antonio vote “Yes” on the AC-approved motion, Imagine how damaging it would be to evangelistic outreach when we ask that people embrace the Sabbath on the basis of biblical authority, but when it comes to other questions we permit each section of the church to decide based on local cultural preferences!
The North American Division sent out a report on AC including this statement:
A vote on women’s ordination could put an end to—or further prolong—a decades-old debate that has threatened to divide the denomination, according to those on both sides of the issue (NAD NewsPoints, October 15, 2014).
Here the NAD indicates that should the world church refuse to accede to NAD’s insistence on women’s ordination, the Division might reject that “No” answer, prolonging the debate.
The fact is that whatever the world church decides, Yes or No, on women’s ordination, its decision is the last word. The Council of Adventist Pastors rejects any notion that after the GC in session has spoken, units will be at liberty to proceed independently of the world church.
Furthermore, the headline title of the NAD NewsPoints article was misleading. By titling the article, “Annual Council Asks Session to Consider Letting Divisions Decide on Ordination,” the NAD is making it sound as if the Annual Council is asking the GC Session to approve a request from the Annual Council that divisions be allowed to decide. That is false of course (please reread the motion quotation at the top of this article). Headline titles do not change the facts on the ground.
We remain confident that the process now under way will lead to a final resolution of the question in San Antonio. Members should study the questions surrounding women’s ordination as the world church has directed: with special reference to what is revealed in the Bible and writings of Ellen G. White. Advocates of women’s ordination, with renewed energy no doubt, will insist their arguments for WO are Scripturally sound. Such claims should be closely tested, as no other denominational group has yet successfully canvassed them. We are a Bible people. God has these matters in hand.
VIDEO SPECIAL! In this video several participants from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) share their responses to current questions about women’s ordination and the future of the church. Includes interviews with Laurel Damsteegt, Don Mackintosh, Kevin D. Paulson, Eugene Prewitt, David Read, Daniel Scarone, Ingo Sorke. LENGTH: One hour, 21 minutes.
Prs. Wayne Kablanow and Jim Brackett discuss women’s ordination. Is WO as we have seen its proponents attempting to introduce it to the church today, actually congregationalism just at a larger scale? Is letting each division decide independently in essence the same as letting each congregation decide independently? Kablanow and Brackett work their way into the topic carefully in this extended study. Unity in diversity is discussed. The core biblical components of unity are uncovered. 32 minutes. Pr. Kablanow is a successful church planter, presently serving West Plains in Airway Heights and also the Spokane North View churches.
Dear Seventh-day Adventist worldwide family,
I wish to somehow send my voice to you, that you may know that I am one among many within the North American Division who do not agree with the consensus from the few at the top who are pushing women to be pastors and elders. I am a Seventh-day Adventist, 33 year-old woman, and it is clear to me from the Bible, our firm foundation, that God has not chosen women to be pastors or elders. I feel that I am not being represented correctly by the current Seventh-day Adventist leadership in North America. As you are in a position of responsibility in the church and with the potential to be among those who will vote on serious issues at the next General Conference session, I am writing this letter to encourage you to be faithful to the word of God. I am saddened to witness the politics and rebellious spirit here in the Pacific Union and the North American Division at large behind the movement for women to be ordained as pastors and elders. It is my plea for you to not be moved by the unseemly politicking in the church, to not be moved by the current culture of this corrupt world, to not be moved by threats or fears alike, but please, please, please, be moved by the Bible.
I can’t help but see the chilling similarity of this current power struggle to the one given us as an example in the word of God – the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. The fearful consequences of their push for the leadership unassigned to them ended in tragedy, and I pray that tragedy is not also our end in the Seventh-day Adventist church over the same issue. If this issue of women’s ordination is unclear to us, it is because our hermeneutics have evolved into that which can erode any of the pillars of our faith, including the truth about the Sabbath. The same hermeneutical principles that have allowed some to embrace women’s ordination will lead to embracing Sunday sacredness as well.
The discourse in “Prove All Things, A Response to Women in Ministry” thoroughly points to the clear Biblical evidence of God’s will to have women very much involved in ministry, but not in the roles of pastor and elder. In a much abbreviated summary, the subsequent Biblical evidence seems more than enough to make this matter clear.
In the creation account alone—before the fall—there is abundant evidence that God put man as the leader and head. God created Adam first (with which God denotes headship – Exodus 22:29, Numbers 3:12), He created woman out of man, He created woman for man to be his “helper,” and Adam named Eve before and after the fall (“woman” and then “Eve”). One wonders, why didn’t God make Adam and Eve at the same time? Man’s headship is directly affirmed in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 11:3, 8, 9, “…the head of the woman is the man… for the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” God gives us the order and manner of the (pre-fall) creation of man and woman as the reason that “the head of the woman is the man.” To reject the New Testament interpretation of Genesis 2 is not taking precept upon precept and line upon line, but it is in fact rejecting the internal witness of the Bible.
God even cemented role distinctions into our very physical being at creation. It is absolutely impossible to carry on the human race without recognizing role distinctions God has created in us, as a woman cannot reproduce without a man and a man cannot bear the child. Our very physical nature reflects role differentiations.
After the fall, although it was Eve who sinned first and led Adam into sin, God holds Adam responsible. Why would He do that if Adam was not the leader of both? God reaffirms and adds to man’s headship by telling the woman that “he shall rule over thee” (Genesis 3:16). God rejected woman’s attempt to take on the leadership role at the fall. Man’s headship is also reaffirmed in the New Testament in Romans 5:12, “Sin came into the world through one man.” Why doesn’t it say “sin came into the world through one woman”?
We are also familiar with the texts in 1 Timothy 2 that describe women professing godliness—women that are in “subjection,” women who do not “usurp authority over the man.” And what are the reasons given? The order of creation, and the account of the fall. “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:13, 14).
How can a woman meet the Scriptural requirements for congregational leadership as listed in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6, that an elder must be “the husband of one wife”? Certainly Paul could have been generic here in regard to gender had he been inspired to by the Holy Spirit. And, although the New Testament church is described as “a royal priesthood” in 1 Peter 2:9, God’s Old Testament church was also described as the same in Exodus 19:6, “a kingdom of priests,” yet God still had men, not women, in leadership of the congregation. All believers are to work for the salvation of others, but not all are to lead in this work.
A question with no logical answer is begged, how can a woman “submit” herself (as it says in Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18) to her husband at home, but then as soon as they walk into church on Sabbath morning, he is to submit to her leadership? Is she not his wife at church also?
Even just these few Scriptures are more than sufficient to thoroughly convince me that ordaining women as pastors and elders is wrong and not in God’s order; for to come to the opposite conclusion would mean to deny these direct and clear texts. And, in further study throughout the rest of the Bible, in studying the spirit of prophecy and Adventist history, it is affirmed again that ordaining women as pastors and elders is wrong and not in God’s order.
This issue is bigger than we may think, for the same hermeneutics that twist these plain texts of Scripture to ordain women as pastors and elders are the same hermeneutics that will lead us right out of the church in embracing Sunday as sacred. Please, let us not follow the example of Satan who aspired to a position higher than he was assigned by God. Please, let us not follow the example of Eve who, “like restless modern Eves, she was flattered with the hope of entering a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. In attempting to rise above her original position, she fell far below it” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 59). Please, let us not follow the example of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram who were dissatisfied with the roles God had given them and sought the priesthood also.
I am one voice among the many in the North American Division who disagree with the few that are misrepresenting us. I feel that I am not being represented correctly. With the many others who are being misrepresented by the pro-women’s ordination push, I believe there would not have been such a consensus among the North American Division leadership and other Union and Conference leadership were it not for the politics and unfairness practiced in making these decisions. Please know that there are many Seventh-day Adventists in the North American Division who do not agree with the rebellion manifested in the manner the issue of women’s ordination is being pursued, nor with the very movement itself to ordain women to the office of pastor and elder.
Complete obedience to following anything the Scriptures command is the key to understanding them (John 7:17). Are we willing to be obedient? Please don’t make your decision on this issue as a political decision, nor by the corrupt culture of this world, nor employ the consequential reasoning that leads to compromise, but let your decision be based on the word of God, our firm foundation.
With love and respect,
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On May 18, 2014, the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (a unit in the insubordinate Pacific Union) held its constituency meeting in Angwin, California. The conference of some 40,000 members was represented by hundreds of delegates. Several churches in the conference combined to bring to the delegates three items proposed for action. One item was a statement supporting the unity of the church and directly addressing the question of women’s ordination. A majority of delegates chose not to make a “yes” or “no” decision on the matter but to refer the motion to the conference executive committee. The full text of this motion was:
Resolution Supporting Unity of the Church
Whereas, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in response to conflicting practices within the church, the Apostles established church order by holding the Jerusalem Council, whose decisions were regarded as binding upon the Church everywhere;(1)
Whereas, in like manner, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was established as the highest constituted authority determining policies and procedures for the worldwide Church as reflected in the General Conference Working Policy;
Whereas, the Pacific Union has been delegated authority to represent the Seventh-day Adventist Church in its geographical region, conditioned upon the Union’s willingness to work in harmony with the working policies of the denomination as documented below;
Whereas, the General Conference Model Union Constitution and Bylaws requires sections essential to the unity of the Church worldwide, appearing in bold print, to be adopted into the Bylaws by each union conference;(2)
Whereas, the General Conference Model Constitution includes bold print mandatory language that requires all purposes, policies, and procedures of the union to be in harmony with the working policies and procedures of the North American division and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists;(3)
Whereas, the Pacific Union Conference recognizes its role, as part of the worldwide church, as indicated by its adoption of Article III into the Bylaws of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Article III incorporates required language from the Model Union Constitution of the General Conference Working Policy as follows:
“The Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is part of the North American Division which in turn is part of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, a world church organization.
“All policies, purposes and procedures of this Union shall be in harmony with the working policies and procedures of the North American Division and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.”
This Union shall pursue the purposes of the Church in harmony with the doctrines, programs, and initiatives adopted and approved by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Constituency Session.(4)
Whereas, to assure the future unity of the Church, the Article XIV of the of the Pacific Union Conference Bylaws specifically precludes the Constituency Delegation from voting changes to its Bylaws which are not in harmony with the spirit of the Model Union Constitution;(5)
Whereas, Article VII, Section 7 of the bylaws of the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (NCC) requires that rules and regulations of the NCC adopted by the Executive Committee shall be in compliance with the Bylaws of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (PUC);(6)
Whereas, the current edition of the General Conference Working Policy declares all appointments and responsibilities within the church to be open to persons regardless of gender, “except those requiring ordination to the gospel ministry.”(7)
Therefore, be it hereby resolved by the Northern California Conference in constituent session assembled, that the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists shall refrain from pastoral ordination to the gospel ministry without respect to gender in practice, policy, rule, or regulation until such time as the Delegates of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in worldwide session approve a Bylaw, policy, rule, or regulation which allows such ordination.
1. Acts 15
2. 2012-2013 General Conference Working Policy, D 10 05 Constitution of the Union Conferences, Page 135
3. 2012-2013 General Conference Working Policy, D 10 05 Constitution of the Union Conferences, Page 136, Article III – Relationships
4. Bylaws of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, August 29, 2011, 5, Article III – Relationships
5. Bylaws of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, August 29, 2011, Page 16, Article VII – Amendments
6. Bylaws of the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Artcile VII, Section 7
7. 2012-2013 General Conference Working Policy, BA 60 10 p. 113
As can be seen, the proposed motion was entirely reasonable, respectful, and appropriate. It was directed to the very body of persons—Northern California delegates—who should make such decisions. It would have inculcated unity and harmony with the world church.
Unfortunately, the Pacific Union and its subentitites has increasingly and persistently demonstrated a voted pattern of insubordination toward the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Union is operating in open violation of General Conference decisions in 1990 and 1995. A unit within the Union, the Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, voted itself a woman president outside the agreed policies of the church in 2013 who is not recognized by the General Conference.
The motion, and the two other motions, were never read to the meeting, nor debated. They were consistently treated as a set when they were three distinct and separate motions. When their turn on the agenda arrived, almost immediately two delegates moved they be referred to executive committee. Several minutes of debate ensued, with many delegates opposing such course of action.
In the end, a slim majority of the delegates voted to defer all three items to a conferance administration that has supported the insubordinate action of the Pacific Union on women’s ordination and operated in contradiction to the world church. Northern California churches entrusted the delegates to represent them and to make decisions. Rather than vote “yes” or “no” on important issues impacting the mission of the church in their field, they punted.
Today’s action by delegates in the Northern California conference, emanating yet again from within the Pacific Union, is added evidence that units in this section of the church are operating independently of the world body. Rather than moving toward unity, this field is spiraling further away from the broader consensus of the world body.
Other items included a plan to change from two to five year apart constituency sessions. That plan was rejected by the delegates. Agenda items condemning the teaching of evolution and which also would have stated “unqualified disapproval” of the practice of homosexual acts, were, like the unity motion, referred to the conference executive committee. The most recent previous Northern California constituency session was held May 20, 2012.
The text of all three important motions is available here from the Northern California Conference website.
A 19 page set of footnotes supporting the Unity motion meticulously compiled was made available to delegates via the Northern California website, and is available VIA THIS LINK.
NOTE: ADvindicate.com has an article now offering more detail about the events at NCC Constituency meeting: The rest of the story: NCC constituency meeting
Pacific Union Conference communication director Gerry Chudleigh published his paper on May 1, 2014 titled, “A short history of the Headship Doctrine in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” Chudleigh proposes that in the 1980s a small group of Adventists from Southern Michigan raided Calvinist theologians for their “headship theology.” Nevertheless, he says, practically no Adventists had heard such ideas until 2012. According to Chudleigh “headship theology” is a brand new doctrine for Adventists, and the TOSC process “may be the first Adventist school of headship theology.” Via TOSC, according to him, this divisive new doctrine is being spread across the world field. Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick (Bonners Ferry and Clark Fork Idaho churches, Upper Columbia Conference, NPUC, NAD) considers Chudleigh’s rendition of events in this short response video. He is one of several ministers who are part of the Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP).