Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick has investigated in particular the history of the past five years that have brought so much disunity to the world church. He tells the tragic backstory of these developments in “E-60 and the WO Endgame.”

First, download (the accompanying chart) that will help the reader understand the sequence of developments and print it out. Then FIND THE PDF VERSION HERE or the standard HTML/mobile version HERE.

UPDATED: 2013-11-05 01:51: Adventist Review Reports on the NAD TOSC Report here: http://www.adventistreview.org/article/6791/archives/issue-2013-1530/30-cn-north-america-church-leaders-receive-theology-of-ordination-report.

2013-11-04 21:59: As the North American Division Year-end Meeting draws to a close, the NAD has finally come to its Division report for the Theology of Ordination Study committee. They voted to receive the report, although 31 voted “No.” NAD has also launched a new website (NADOrdination.com) with several videos. What will surprise some is that NAD has now come out into the open with a new hermeneutical approach in contrast to the Historical-grammatical approach of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The new approach has been designated by its advocates the “Principle-based Historical-cultural” method (PBHC). Kyoshin Ahn writes positively about the new hermeneutic as a representing “a whole new movement in biblical studies. . . . The overwhelming majority of the [NAD] committee feels that these difficult passages [passages mentioned by those who oppose WO] require the modern Adventist reader to employ a principle-based approach” (North American Division Theology of Ordination Study Committee Report, pp. 23, 31). In the Minority Report, included in the NAD-TOSC Report, Edwin H. Reynolds and Clinton Wahlen ably point out the dangers of unsound interpretive approaches. Warn Reynolds and Wahlen in their minority report, “. . .it is one thing to study the historical-cultural backgrounds to enlighten our understanding of the setting in which the text was written.; it is another thing altogether to suggest that the text was culturally conditioned and that, therefore, a trajectory beyond the text must be constructed for our current more enlightened age. If the latter were true, it would mean that the Bible does not set forth universal principles but only that which was perceieved by the inspire writers to be valid for the local situation at the time or, even worse, reflects then-current prejudices and misunderstandings” (Ibid., pp. 196, 197). No doubt, CAP shall publish more on these developments in due course.

2013-10-31 13:26: It appears so far that the first report below may be correct. Ms. Roberts is said to have been welcomed at the Year-end Meeting by NAD Secretary G. Alexander Bryant. Long applause is reported. The NAD, PUC, and the SECC seem to be jointly aligned in upholding actions which are in defiance of the General Conference in session.

2013-10-31 07:22: General Conference Statement “Moving Forward Together” here: http://www.adventistreview.org/article/6780/archives/issue-2013-1530/30-cn-moving-forward-together. Excerpt from the statement: “Working Policy, which is the recording of our agreements as to how we will work together to do the Lord’s work and mission, serves as one of the practical unifying agents that the Holy Spirit uses to bind the church together. Policy is not inflexible. It can be changed but it reflects the understanding of the collective group, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When personal convictions are placed ahead of the collective policy decisions of the worldwide church, troubling precedents are set. God works in an orderly way and wishes His church to exemplify this sanctified behavior through the power of the Holy Spirit. Humility and submission to God for the good of the church body as outlined in the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy are fundamental Biblical principles for the benefit of the church.

“At the 2012 Annual Council in a voted action entitled, “Statement on Church Polity, Procedures, and Resolution of Disagreements in the Light of Recent Union Actions on Ministerial Ordination,” the world church strongly indicated that it does not recognize as ordained ministers individuals who do not meet the criteria outlined in policy. It deeply concerns the world leadership of the church that recently a local conference constituency elected as a conference president an individual who is not recognized by the world church as an ordained minister. Ordination to the ministry is one of the criteria set forth for being a conference president. General Conference administration is working with the North American Division administration as they deal with the implications of this local conference action, which is contrary to the 2012 Annual Council action.” (This statement appears now here: http://news.adventist.org/all-news/news/go/2013-10-31/adventist-officers-release-statement-regarding-a-local-conferences-recent-election-of-president-1/. The NAD Year-end Meeting begins on October 31 at 1:30 Eastern time.

2013-10-31 00:40: It is being reported that NAD officers and the union officers from the NAD met on October 30 and confirmed that Sandy Roberts will be given the same registration packet and badge as everyone else and will participate in the NAD Year End Meetings the same as every other elected president of a local conference.

If this is true, and if it actually comes to pass that Ms. Roberts will be a voting participant in this YEM, the North American Division will be openly aligning itself with the insubordination of the Southeastern California Conference that elected a woman in a position the world church only authorizes men to fill. If indeed this comes to pass it will mean that the NAD stands in open violation of its own Working Policy. Check E-60.

NOTE: Information in this post is to be considered only tentative until confirmed.

NOTE: This post will be updated.

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.

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP)
PO Box 19424
Spokane, WA 99219

OrdinationTruth.com
cap-contact@runbox.com

NPUC, October 25, 2013: Seventh-day Adventist Church members, especially within the North American Division (NAD) territory, continue to be subjected to a misguided and disunifying drive for the ordination of women to pastoral and administrative headship positions. Actions continue to be taken by conferences, unions, and the Division itself attempting to force this change. Consider briefly recent developments demonstrating what appears an attitude of rebellion toward the General Conference.

One decisive step came on January 31, 2012, when the North American Division president wrote to officers, telling them that

“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).

Action was swift after NAD president Jackson’s encouragement that NAD Unions be more “intentional.” Just 36 days later, the Mid-America Union Conference Executive Committee voted to ordain “without regard to gender.” Attempt was made to move the NPUC “forward” similarly (but delayed in this Union’s case by the creation of an ad hoc study committee).

Nevertheless, by summer, constituency sessions of the Columbia Union Conference on July 29, 2012 and the Pacific Union Conference on August 19, 2012 engaged in actions clearly defying General Conference session actions. These Unions voted to ordain persons to the gospel ministry “without regard to gender.” They voted to place women in positions biblical principle has reserved to males.

In contrast, another group of pastors, church officers, and laity within the territory of the North American Division, insist that unity be maintained with the world church. Seventh-day Adventists said “No” to women in men’s roles initiatives in 1990 and 1995 General Conference sessions. No unit is independent. All church members and organizational units are bound to respect those decisions until the General Conference in world session votes a change in policy.

But the spirit of independence has continued and is intensifying. On October 27, 2013, the Southeastern California Conference (SECC) constituency may vote a woman president of that conference. Therefore, the church workers who operate OrdinationTruth.com have been led to promote unification with the world church and discourage insubordination and disunifying activities in the NAD and its unions.

The “North Pacific Union Conference Supporting Pastors” (NPUC-SP) came into being in December 2012 and launched the website OrdinationTruth.com on February 4, 2013 after the NPUC Executive Committee had announced that they would “educate” church members in respect to “ordination without regard to gender,” then, as Columbia and Pacific Unions, hold a special constituency meeting centered on the topic.

NPUC pastors have been contacted by those who take a similar anti-insubordination position in other unions within the North American field. The pastors are ready to work with others wishing to organize. This news release announces their new identity collectively as the “Council of Adventist Pastors” (CAP).

Sections may further organize themselves by Union territories into union-region based “chapters.” The name “Council of Adventist Pastors” (CAP) now becomes the main designation for this group and potential subgroups crossing the North American Division.

A conscious decision has been made that OrdinationTruth.com not limit itself to issues in the North Pacific Union Conference only but also to address questions being asked throughout the Division. Because the Union monthly magazines (Recorder, Gleaner, Messenger, Outlook, etc.) have been presenting only one side of the question, OrdinationTruth.com exists to provide a different perspective—especially from the excluded voices of Seventh-day Adventist Pastors and members opposing WO. CAP participants state that all sides of a question should be made available, and that the presentation only of a pro-Women’s Ordination position is unsatisfactory; the Church deserves better.

To this end, the group has, since the launch of OrdinationTruth.com on February 4, 2013, published numerous pages of opinion, analysis, news, theology, and commentary on Women’s Ordination, Unity, and kindred topics. Henceforth, the name of NPUC-SP is changed to “Council of Adventist Pastors, NPUC Chapter.” OrdinationTruth.com is operated on behalf of all CAP and shall continue to function in consultation with other CAP chapters.

CAP invites interested church members worldwide to peruse the materials published on OrdinationTruth.com. Those materials are presented in support of the perspective widely held by church members and many workers throughout the NAD and the world church, insisting the Church search out God’s design in these matters together as a body, and stand united together in practice. For the sake then of the membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church worldwide, the Council of Adventist Pastors takes up this mantle.
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The NPUC Supporting Pastors/CAP (name explanation forthcoming) sat down and checked what several years of Church Manuals as well as the current governing documents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church say about the requirements for the leader of a conference or union. Perhaps readers as constituents of our conferences and unions are interested in the results? Then read Required Church Manual and Bylaws President Text.

On November 11, 2012, the Netherlands Union constituency voted to approve the ordination of women, and the conference executive committee made that decision effective on May 30, 2013 and announced the action publically on July 5, 2013. These actions were contrary to General Conference voted policy (1995 and 2000), in reality a path of insubordination also taken by the Columbia and Pacific Unions in the US and the Northern German Union in Europe.

On September 21, the Netherlands Union unilaterally acted on their earlier decision. Union president Wim Altink charged ordination candidates to faithful service after which hands were laid on them, one being Ms. Guisèle Berkel-Larmonie. The ordination ceremony was conducted in Christus Koning church in the Hague, Netherlands.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) is a world body. In the SDA church, ordination to the gospel ministry carries worldwide authority. The church of 17+ million members seeks out biblical consensus and makes key decisions collectively, including the decision of whether or not women are eligible for ordination. Since the beginning of the church it has never adopted the practice of ordaining women as ministers with global authority. A decision to change this can only be made in a General Conference session. Such meetings occur every five years, next in 2015. After prayerful study and deliberation, thousands of delegates representing every part of the Lord’s vineyard vote in a decision binding upon every part of the world church.

For union or conference officers to participate in such an ordination as happened in Netherlands is in contradiction to the practice of the world church. For a candidate to receive ordination illegally—or for other ordained ministers to offer it—is a repudiation of the call to be a faithful servant to Jesus through His body, the church.

In another action, related yet unilateral in a different way, the Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (SECC) is recommending to its constituents that they vote Ms. Sandra Roberts as their new conference president on October 27. The Seventh-day Adventist Church does not presently accept the ordination of women as clergy. If that conference should elect Ms. Roberts, they, as Netherlands Union, will by their actions be increasing the fragmentation and disunity of the church.

Ms. Roberts, since the NAD/GC does not recognise her as an ordained minister, cannot be recognized as a conference president. This is certainly known by all parties including the SECC nominating committee.

In fact, neither of the insubordinate actions described in this post are recognized as valid by the world church. Such actions should be seen for what they are—symbolic political statements endeavoring to increase pressure on the General Conference to approve Women’s Ordination.

The General Conference has already made clear its position. A study process is in progress (Theology of Ordination Study Committee) moving toward the General Conference session in San Antonio, TX USA in 2015. The leadership of the world church has asked units of the church, in the interest of unity, not to act unilaterally.

“The 1990(3) and 1995(4) General Conference Session decisions with respect to granting ministerial ordination to women represent the current voice of the Church in this matter. The actions of certain unions indicate their desire to establish an alternative source of authority for a matter that already carries the authority of the world Church” (“An Appeal for Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practices,” http://news.adventist.org/archive/articles/2012/06/29/on-ordination-questions-adventist-leadership-appeals-for-orderly-process).

“The essence of unity in Seventh-day Adventist organizational functioning is the mutual commitment of all organizations to collective decision-making in matters affecting the whole family—and the acceptance of those decisions as the authority of the Church. The action of any union in pursuing a different course of action represents a rejection of this key value in denominational life” (Ibid.).

In this document, our Seventh-day Adventist leaders made four specific appeals to erring units:

1. That your union continues to operate in harmony with the global decisions and global decision-making processes of the Church.
2. That until such time as the Church decides otherwise, your union refrains from taking any action to implement ministerial ordination practices that are contrary to the 1990 and 1995 General Conference Session actions.
3. That the union membership be informed concerning the implications for the entire Church in the event that one entity, for whatever reason, chooses a course of action in deliberate opposition to a decision of the whole Church.
4. That the union actively participates in the global discussion about the Church’s understanding and practice of ordination. The contributions of a union in this discussion can be forwarded to the Theology of Ordination Study Committee through the respective Ordination Study Committee set up by each division (Ibid.).

As seen in the Netherlands Union and potential SECC actions, these units are aggressively pursuing a course in contradiction to items 1, 2 and 3 above. The issue seems to have a power almost to charm individuals. Recently, Trans-European Divison president Bertil Wiklander, after an impassioned presentation in favor of Women’s Ordination, stated “I am converted completely to what I said tonight. I would die for it.” (“Ordination: The Ongoing Search for Understanding,” http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2013/09/13/ordination-ongoing-search-understanding, accessed 2013-09-25).

We can be sure that God is still leading His church on a worldwide basis. The church has a process in motion to resolve the questions surrounding the practice of Women’s Ordination and the spirit which has so far attended it. Heartfelt appeals have been made and still stand. We may pray that these units will return to the family they seem bent on leaving. There is still time to return.

The Southeastern California Conference (SECC) has nominated Sandra Roberts to serve as president of that conference (http://seccsession.org/nominating-committee-report, accessed 2013-09-18). The nominating committee recommendation to delegates is that the constituency session to be held on October 27, 2013 vote to appoint Ms. Roberts to this position. Roberts is currently executive secretary of SECC. However, the Seventh-day Adentist Church, in harmony with biblical principle, throughout its history has ordained only males to this leadership role. The current edition of the Church Manual, states that:

“The conference president should be an ordained pastor of experience and good report. He stands at the head of the gospel ministry in the conference and is the chief elder, or overseer, of all the churches” (Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 2010 ed., p. 32).

The position of conference president is one of male headship. The Adventist Church has nothing against any particular “she,” but the church has indicated that this is a “he” position. The pastor who functions as president “stands at the head of the gospel ministry in the conference.” The apostle Paul stated the authority principle clearly in 2 Timothy 2:12:

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (ESV).

The highest position involving the exercise of authority in a conference is that of its president. No unit which is part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has authority to appoint a female person to this male-specific office. Two General Conference sessions (1990, 1995) forbade any such innovation. If, on October 27 constituents vote as their nominating committee recommends, by this act they shall place Southeastern California Conference in an unambiguous position of voted rebellion against the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

On February 17, 2013, Adventist World published an article titled “WANTED: More Female Pastors—Essential to the Harvest.” The article outlined how the North American Division would begin a process of educating church members about the necessity of hiring more female pastors. It stated that the NAD would proceed regardless of the findings of the Theology of Ordination Study Committee. It stated that the hiring of women pastors would be financially incentivized for conferences in the NAD. Larry Kirkpatrick responds. FIND IT HERE.