We want to point your attention to four interesting new websites that did not exist even six months ago. All are the products of laypeople who support the world church in the present crisis!

TheStairView.com is entirely the work of Adventist laypeople who support the long-standing Seventh-day Adventist use of the historical-grammatical method of biblical interpretation. The focus is on sound biblical interpretation. The material fully supports the decision of the world church. Layperson Johnston Robinson is responsible.

Rollene.no is a new website from laypeople in Norway. “Rollene” means “the Roles.” Many Adventists in Norway have remained largely unaware of the crisis concerning women’s ordination. The site invites Adventists to strengthen their understanding of bible truth applied to gender roles. The Bible is to be read according to the “Sola, Tota, Prima Scriptura” principle. Some leaders are resisting the world church and leading church members away from the body with them. The goal of Rollene.no is to minimize the resulting harm. Articles are grouped in the four sections: The Bible, the Family, the Church, and Q&A. The material fully supports the decision of the world church. Layperson Sergey Paniflov is responsible.

UnityInTruth.com is a new site seeking to activate laypeople in support of the world church. Its mission is to promote loving, Christlike accountability in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, so that we may truly reflect Christ to a world in darkness. UnityInTruth.com seeks to encourage leadership and laity alike to faithfulness to message and mission, hastening the return of Christ. The site also features a thoughtful petition calling for action against the insubordinate sections of the Church. The material fully supports the decision of the world church. Laypersons Gabe and Jennifer Arruda are responsible.

AffirmationSabbath.org is the official site of a growing movement of laypeople from across the NAD called World Church Affirmation Sabbath. The work of this group is to hold lay-led meetings where laypeople can meet face to face and learn how to better fulfill heaven’s plan for representative church governance, which has been largely ignored leaving us in the present crisis. The site gives locations for meetings to be held in September, publishes a twice-a-month newsletter, and has links to videos from it meetings. It will include livestreaming links for the September event. The work of Affirmation Sabbath fully supports the decision of the world church, and the initiative has been positively featured in the General conference Executive Committee Newsletter. Laypersons involved are listed on the site.

Many of these sites merit further detailed review and we hope in the near future to describe some of them more fully.

The Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, comprised of churches from Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, released the following statement today, which we reproduce here without comment (the original material is located at the following link: http://uccsda.org/News/news20160722):

A Statement On Mission

by Paul Hoover

SPOKANE, Wash., July 22, 2016 – Our Seventh-day Adventist mission is to go to every nation, language and people group with the good news of Jesus Christ and His imminent return. And, our desire within the Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) is to encourage each of our members to use their spiritual gifts toward the fulfillment of this mission.

With this goal in mind, our Upper Columbia Conference Executive Committee voted a revised Commissioned Minister Policy in March 2016 that underscored the equal calling of men and women pastors. This vote was taken after significant dialogue with our conference pastors and Executive Committee members who represent our conference members.

Unfortunately, the new policy created significant concern among some of our members who felt that it placed our conference beyond the parameters of the Church Manual and the North American Division policy for commissioned ministers. Our conference leadership received notification from seven churches that revealed intentions to request a special constituency session, permitted in our constitution under certain conditions, if the policy were not reversed. When it became evident to us that rising contention among some of our membership had begun to overshadow our focus on mission, we determined to revisit the policy.

Therefore, following a lengthy dialogue during our Executive Committee meeting on July 19, 2016, the committee voted to rescind the recently voted UCC Commissioned Minister Policy. We will continue to use the Church Manual and North American Division policy (referenced below) for our commissioned pastors, in the hope that we can focus more intently on mission.

We understand the diverse reactions this latest decision will invoke throughout our conference and beyond, but we remain committed to affirming the spiritual gifts of each of our pastors—men and women. We will foster an intentional dialogue with our pastors and churches to correct any misunderstandings and strengthen unity of purpose within our common mission.

The Upper Columbia Conference will use the North American Division and Church Manual:

NAD Working Policy 2015-2016
L 32 Commissioned Ministers in Pastoral Positions—Role and Status
L 32 10 Authorized Ministerial Functions

1. A commissioned minister is authorized by the conference to perform substantially all the religious functions within the scope of the tenets and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the members in the church or churches to which the minister is assigned and elected as a church elder. A commissioned minister who serves as an institutional chaplain, and has been ordained as a church elder, may also perform these functions for persons served by the institution. The functions that are excluded are those listed in the Church Manual as follows: Organizing of a church Uniting churches Ordaining local elders and deacons

2. A commissioned minister may perform wedding or baptismal ceremonies outside of his/her pastoral district if authorized to do so by the conference president. If the ceremony is to be conducted in the territory of another conference, it will require the approval of both conference presidents.

© 1998–2012 Upper Columbia Conference. All rights reserved.

We have become aware of two very interesting articles written by Seventh-day Adventist laypeople. These articles outline their concerns with the Upper Columbia Conference’s Commissioned Minister policy. These are offsite links:

Interview with Upper Columbia Conference church member. An interview with UCC member Alyce Ispirescu about the Commissioned Minister policy.

Adventist Laymen Call for Special Session of UCC. Article by UCC member Belinda Lowry.

It is always good to pay close attention to what our church members are thinking. These members are not letting themselves be run over; they are standing firm in the path. What will happen?

WO Symposium “Male and Female HE Created them” | Pr. Stephen Bohr

NOTE: Click here –>Bohr-Handout-Biblical-SOP-Evidence-for-Male-Headship

WO Symposium “Reflections on the Ordination Controversy” | Pr. Louis R Torres

On March 14, 2015, the Chewelah Seventh-day Adventist Church held Grassroots Faith Sabbath. Members of this North American Division (NAD) congregation responded to the NAD “Theology of Ordination Q&A” brochure. Some two weeks previously the Division had printed thousands of brochures and mailed copies to all NAD churches without informing their home conferences. In the unedited video, after a two minute introduction, members respond to the NAD mailing and speak to General Conference session delegates. After receiving the NAD WO brochures, members of the congregation had wanted to respond in their own words, whether in favor or opposed, to women’s ordination and this was arranged. Vocations of those participating include nurse, engineer, psychologist, business owner, wellness educator, farmer, film director-producer, health consultant, software programmer/analyst, missionary, evangelist, and marriage and family counselor. Presentations were uncoached, unedited, unrehearsed and uncensored. Every participant is a member of the Chewelah Church. The Council of Adventist Pastors thought OrdinationTruth.com readers would find the material a fascinating snapshot showing how members in the pews—the real grassroots of the church—view the women’s ordination issue as it has been handled by the North American Division. The denomination has heard from scholars, pastors, and administrators, but the various media have carried relatively less from rank and file membership. It seemed useful to us for interested members of the world church to hear from others who, like themselves, are truly the backbone of the church.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church where this was recorded is located at 2310 Sand Canyon Rd, about two miles off highway 395, Chewelah, Washington, USA.

Louis R. Torres shares an extended study on ordination and its biblical sacredness, and how the question pertains to women’s ordination. Pastor Torres has a long history of service and soul-winning in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Appended to the article is an extended section addressing many questions relating to Ellen White materials on ordination. FIND IT HERE!

The report that follows was made public today (November 12, 2013) by the Inter-European Division. While we do not concur with the decision of their study committee, we share their news release here as pertinent to the the chief topic we have been investigating.

Madrid, Spain [Corrado Cozzi]. The Inter-European Division will recommend to the Seventh-day Adventist world church’s Theology of Ordination Study Committee that there is room for the church to ordain women to pastoral ministry.

The recommendation follows study of the papers presented at the division’s Biblical Research Committee [BRC] as well as those prepared for the Theology of Ordination Study Committee this year from January 15 to 17 and July 22 to 24.

The process is part of the world church’s ongoing study of the theology of ordination, which was first established at the denomination’s General Conference Session in 2010. Each of the Adventist Church’s 13 world divisions is preparing its own report, and world church officials have promised to bring back a compiled report to the 2015 General Conference Session.

The Inter-European Division’s recommendation stems from several points:

  1. The Bible does not specifically define what ordination for
    pastoral ministry is.
  2. There are no direct statements in the Bible either commanding or
    prohibiting women’s ordination.
  3. As the church felt free to develop its organizational structure
    to further its mission based on biblical principles, division BRC
    members consider ordination not as a doctrinal or biblical issue, but something that must be handled at an administrative level.
  4. There are no clear biblical principles that would require or
    guide the application of the principle of headship in the family or the church.
  5. The Old Testament priesthood has its fulfillment in the unique
    priesthood of Christ, which is the basis for the priesthood of all
    believers.
  6. BRC members were unclear over why ordination requires a
    differentiation between genders that doesn’t exist in other levels of ministry or service, such as teachers, deacons, prophets and leaders.

Based on the report of the Biblical Research Committee, the Executive Committee of the Inter-European Division recommends the ordination of women to pastoral ministry, taking into consideration the possibility of applying it according to the needs of the fields (http://eud.adventist.org/news/detail/date/2013/11/12/inter-european-division-will-recommend-that-there-is-room-for-womens-ordination/, accessed 2013-11-12).

The decision was made at the Division’s 2013 Year-end Meeting. The Inter-European Division is one of 13 Divisions which make up the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church. There are nearly 18 million members of the church. Inter-European Division has approximately 178,000 members. It is composed of the Austrian, Bulgarian, Czecho-Slovakian, Franco-Belgian, Italian, North German, Portuguese, Romanian, South German, Spanish, and Swiss Unions.

By OrdinationTruth.com staff

Last week the General Conference’s Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) met in its second substantial meeting and voted 86-8 to approve a consensus statement concerning ordination. We are interested in the developing thought of the committee seen in the areas touched by this document.

In the first of five paragraphs, all members of the church are included in a “royal priesthood.” Believers are called by God and engage in the God-appointed mission of the body. They serve according to the gifts God bestows.

The next paragraph makes clear that beside this general ministry, there are more particularized kinds. There is ministry in terms of “specific leadership positions.” These are on the basis of particular “biblical qualifications,” among them, those sex-specific items found in 1 Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 5-9. Persons are called to serve in these “offices” for “local and global church ministry.” This is amplified by recognition in the document that “some leaders were itinerant and supervised greater territory with multiple congregations” (third paragraph).

One argument that has been urgent to some of those favoring either the ordination of women or a significant overhaul of the Adventist understanding of it, has been that ordination, as it has been practiced by Adventists, is little more than an error emanating from a Roman Catholic tradition that we have copied unwittingly.

This idea is seen, for example, in the 1998 volume, Women in Ministry (WIM). Daniel Augsberger’s chapter “Clerical Authority and Ordination in the Early Christian Church,” closed arguing that

By mid-fourth century the bishops had taken over the power to preach and the authority to judge Christians. . . Clericalism had triumphed. . . . Adventist ordination that is valid worldwide reflects a later,
Augustinian concept of ordination (p. 96).

The idea represented here has been that anything approaching ordination as Seventh-day Adventists have understood it is wrong. Especially here, the new consensus statement is of special interest. The statement rejects this idea found both in WIM and in more recent discussions. The committee concludes rather that the basic Adventist approach is
consonant with Scripture; it is valid. This, then, is an important point of clarification: there is an identifiable biblical approach to this question, and the present Adventist Church position is confirmed.

More might be said. But as we look on and consider the development of this consensus, we see a position whose shapers have sought to develop in a manner biblically defensible. Interestingly, the statement as voted has room for both a baseline equality of men and women, even while honoring distinct, differentiated, creation-assigned sex-roles.

As earlier mentioned, here already is a trend away from the position of the chapter in WIM and toward a more biblical one. Not only has the world church never indicated progress toward the position of the WIM book, but here is seen movement away from that position. We concur that there is a kind of biblically consistent ordination, there is a royal priesthood in which we as believers participate, and at the same time, there are roles which are Scripturally mediated by specific qualifications.

We encourage church members to continue to lift up TOSC participants in prayer. We have added the TOSC consensus statement to our growing list of resources available on OrdinationTruth.com. Download it here:

TOSC-Theology of Ordination Consensus Statement.