Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference

Pittman FamilyUpdate (10/18/16): 

It has recently come to my attention that there is a great deal of honest and sincere confusion regarding the governance of the Seventh-day Adventist Church – confusion, even among a large number of church leaders over if church governance is set up in such a way as to allow, or not allow, the General Conference “in session” to have an entirely clear path to dictate to unions or their conferences on the topic of ordination in particular (despite the bylaws of the unions and conferences themselves continuing to state that they must follow all “Working Policies”, not just doctrinal policies, determined by the General Conference in session; Link).  Although confusing for many and seemingly contradictory, there still seem to be a great deal of well-meaning very sincere and honest discussions on this issue (such as the 2016 article by George Knight entitled, The Role of Union Conferences in Relation to Higher Authorities) – the outcome of which is not, at the present time, entirely clear to me.

While those like Knight explain the history and reasons for the existence of Union Conferences as a buffer between the General Conference and the individual conferences, a buffer that Mrs. White was particularly pleased to see put in place as a check against dictatorial “kingly” powers of the officers of the General Conference, it doesn’t seem to be as clear that the General Conference “in session” should also be buffered by the Unions in the same manner – that the Unions should still have independent authority on the matter of ordination or any other general policy issue in the face of the world church in session or the “Working Policy” established by the world church? After all, the world church in session is a large representative decision-making body that Mrs. White herself said as late as 1909, “shall have authority” (Link). She went on to explain that, “When, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body…” (Link). For me, that seems to include unions and regular conferences as well since this language reaches all the way down to the individual member… at least when it comes to non-fundamental policy issues which would allow one to function in line with GC policy without injury to personal conscience. However, the original language of the General Conference action in 1877 says:

“The highest authority under God among Seventh-day Adventists is found in the will of the body of that people, as expressed in the decisions of the General Conference when acting within its proper jurisdiction; and that such decisions should be submitted to by all without exception, unless they can be shown to conflict with the word of God and the rights of individual conscience.” – General Conference Action, 1877

What does the phrase “within its proper jurisdiction” mean if there are no limitations to the decision making power of the world church within the church body? – especially in the light of the subsequent phrase, “should be submitted to by all without exception”?  It would seem like the world church in session does in fact represent the decentralized powers of the decision making body of the entire church and therefore should have authority over the entire church that it represents – which is its “proper jurisdiction” as reflected in the Working Policies of the General Conference. On the other hand, it also seem that on the issue of ordination, in particular, that the “final authority” as to who is ordained under the “Working Policy” has been given to the Union level of governance within the church (not to the level of the General Conference) to act as a buffer against too much centralized power within the church. In this way, checks and balances within the church governance structure are formed – which may not be such a bad thing. Yet, the Working Policy of the General Conference seems to be clear that all other organizations within the church, including unions, must adhere to these basic working policies that have been set in place by the world church in session as they make their decisions on ordination and all other policy issues:

“Administrations of all organizations and institutions within a division’s territory shall be responsible to their respective executive committees/boards and operate in harmony with division and General Conference Executive Committee actions and policies.” (Bylaws of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Art. 1, Sec. 4)

“The General Conference Working Policy shall be strictly adhered to by all organizations in every part of the world field. The work in every organization shall be administered in full harmony with the policies of the General Conference and of the divisions respectively. . . . All conference, mission, or institutional administrators shall cooperate in maintaining these policies as they affect the work in their respective organizations. Only thus can a spirit of close cooperation and unity be maintained in the work of the Church in all parts of the world field.” (B 15 10, par. 1)

A potential problem, however, is that, although male-specific language is and has always been used in the Working Policy of the world church regarding the ordination of pastors, there is nothing in the Working Policy that specifically forbids the ordination of women to pastoral ministry. Since no such specific policy exists forbidding the ordination of women, some argue that there was therefore no valid reason to vote on giving permission – that the failure of the “in session” vote to authorize such ordination, on three separate occasions now, results in things remaining as they already were – i.e., that women’s ordination continues to be neither specifically authorized nor forbidden in the Working Policy of the world church.

Of course, there are those who argue that the ordination of women as pastors should not be allowed because of historical precedent and common perception as to the intent of the Working Policy since the Working policy only mentions men as being ordained to pastoral ministry (similar to how the language of the Ten Commandments in the Bible is directed at men – yet still somehow applies to women as well). However, it is also true that neither precedent nor perception form actual policy. Technically speaking then, the General Conference has yet to explicitly forbid Union Conferences, in its own Working Policy, from ordaining women as pastors. Still, I doubt that a correction of this little technical oversight on the part of the GC would quickly and easily bring the all of conferences and unions into line on this particular topic…

In any case, since honest confusion remains between many honest and sincere members as well as leaders of the church,  I have therefore decided to continue to pay my tithe to my local church in support of the Northern California Conference until these issues are worked through in more detail so that greater clarity on the issue of church governance is generally realized.

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Originally Posted (10/17/16):

constituency-sessionI’ve never posted anything in this forum outside of the topic of creation. However, some events within the church are so important and so pivotal that they cannot be ignored in any forum dealing with important issues within the church. So, in this line, I feel compelled to report on the decision of the Northern California Conference (NCC), at it’s constituency meeting yesterday, to act independent of the General Conference (GC) and in apparent conflict with its own bylaws and the bylaws of the Pacific Union Conference:

Before the special session the same legal counsel advised that while the Executive Committee [of the Pacific Union Conference] did not have the authority to approve the ordination of women without changing the bylaws, the delegates to a constituency session did have the authority to vote to approve the ordination of women, with or without changing the bylaws… [The legal counsel] explained that since the constituency delegates create and modify the bylaws, the constituency delegates may choose at times to act out of harmony with their own bylaws… [since] the constituency has the authority to vote exceptions. (Link)

And, this is exactly what happened.  On August 19, 2012, the Pacific Union delegates to the Special Session voted (79% to 21%) to “approve ordinations to the gospel ministry without regard to gender,” but the delegates did not vote to amend the bylaws to say the Union would “generally” follow world church policy. That motion, which required a 66.7 percent positive vote to pass, received only 65.3 percent. So, the Pacific Union bylaws remain the same – stating that the Union will always follow voted world church policy (Link).  Of course, this they are not doing… contrary to their own current bylaws.

Now, I was a delegate at the constituency meeting for the NCC held yesterday in Lodi, California (at the Fairmont Seventh-day Adventist Church). Outside of general business of the conference and its financial reports, the main issue of the day concerned the conflict between the NCC and the GC policies on women’s ordination – with the NCC being in favor and the GC being against. Because of this conflict, a motion was forwarded by the Anderson and Sacramento Central Churches as follows:

Submitted by: Anderson Church and Sacramento Central Church
Pastors: Murray Miller and Chris Buttery

  • WHEREAS, the words of Jesus admonish us to be “one” as the Father in Heaven and He are one (see John 17:20-22) and one of our fundamental beliefs states that “differences between male and female must not be divisive among us” (Fundamental Belief 14);
  • WHEREAS, both the Church Manual (page 31), and North American Division policy emphasize that “all subordinate organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize the General Conference in session as the highest authority under God” (NAD Working Policy B01 20 3);
  • WHEREAS, on Wednesday, August 22, 2012, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Northern California Conference [hereafter referred to as NCC] Executive Committee, time was spent debriefing the actions and decisions of the Pacific Union Conference Special Constituency Session held August 19, 2012. Out of that discussion, the motion was made that the NCC will recommend to the Pacific Union Conference candidates for ordination without regard to gender;
  • WHEREAS, the May 18, 2014, NCC Constituency Session voted to refer the duly introduced agenda item of women’s ordination to the NCC Executive Committee for an official statement;
  • WHEREAS, the NCC Executive committee voted to affirm their previous decision of August 22, 2012, to recommend to the Pacific Union Conference candidates for ordination without regard to gender;
  • WHEREAS, the July 8, 2015, General Conference Session voted down a motion that would have allowed each Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church® to decide for itself whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry in its territory (which includes the Northern California Conference);
  • WHEREAS, we have been admonished by both the General Conference and North American Division Presidents to comply with the 2015 Session’s outcome;
  • WHEREAS, Article VII, Section 7 of the NCC Constitution states, “The Executive Committee shall have the authority to adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its affairs and the affairs of the Conference, provided that the same are not in conflict with these Bylaws or those of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, or of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,” and at present Executive Committee votes conflict with General Conference policy;

The Motion:
We now vote to retract the Executive Committee votes of August 22, 2012, and December 3, 2014, in order to be in harmony with the World Church as represented by the General Conference session of July 8, 2015. We will continue to support women in ministry with the exception of issuing a ministerial credential and thus abide by the outcome of the vote of the World Church.

There was a session of prayer followed by a 30 minute discussion where delegates made a long line to speak, for two minutes each, at the microphone (most in the line did not get to speak). Those who were able to speak to the issue during the 30 minutes were very passionate – on both sides of the issue.  Those for women’s ordination argued that it would be a serious injury to women and to the church for the conference to refuse to ordain women pastors – regardless of the position of the GC.  Those who argued in favor of the motion primarily pointed out that the key issue wasn’t really about the ordination of women pastors (who would remain pastors regardless of receiving an “ordination” certificate), but about church unity, order, and government.

After another session of prayer, a vote was taken and the motion was defeated by fairly good margin (211 Yes vs. 294 No votes). The NCC had just stepped away from the church body to chart its own independent path – for better or for worse and with the best of reasons and intentions.

Now, as the son of a pastor, I do sympathize with the leaders of the conference during this time in particular. In no way do I envy them their positions and the very difficult topics and decisions that are now on their plate. My thoughts and prayers are certainly with them.

It seems to me, however, that this vote was more serious and potentially has far reaching consequences that go well beyond what many imagine.  Now, I for one strongly favor ordaining qualified women as church pastors (since women have long functioned as church elders and pastors and since Mrs. White herself was given ministerial credentials citing her “ordination” as a minister by the General Conference on multiple occasions – and especially since I see no clear Biblical reason not to do it given that we are now a “priesthood of all believers” with Jesus as our only “High Priest” – 1 Peter 2:5-9.  For further information see Ty Gibson’s article: A Closer Look at Women’s Ordination).  However, I’ve never been able to see official “ordination” as a fundamental issue for the church, nor is it listed among the Fundamental Doctrinal beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“Ellen White’s name was among those voted to receive papers of the ordained ministers, although her ordination was not by the laying on of hands by men. The conference session closed on November 27 [1887].” Ellen G. White: Volume 3—The Lonely Years: 1876-1891, By Arthur L. White, Page 377.

Rather than ordination by men, Mrs. White says: “In the city of Portland the Lord ordained me as his messenger…” Mrs. White, The Review and Herald, May 18, 1911.

Therefore, in recognition of the ordination by the Lord Himself, Mrs. White was given papers of the ordained ministers of the Gospel (see the following copy of one of those ministerial ordination papers):

ellen-white-ministerial-credentials

In comparison, however, it seems like the order and government of our church is fundamental, set up at the beginning of our church by Divine guidance as a world-wide church with a world-wide mission.  In other words, the SDA Church is not a “congregationalist” church.  This is not to say that the SDA Church has reached perfection nor is it without error by any means.  However, the order and government of the church has been setup by God as the most effective means of spreading the Gospel message to the entire world during these final days of Earth’s history. What then should happen if this or that part of the world-wide church body thinks itself more advanced than the rest of the body?  Should it therefore think to break away from the body at large to act in an independent, and less effective, manner all by itself? – over a non-fundamental issue?  What would happen to the organization of the church if all unions and conferences, or even individual churches or teachers or pastors, acted like this? It seems like God desires to lead the church in a united manner without one part running ahead of all of the other parts. In the words of Mrs. White:

Ellen WhiteGod is leading out a people, not a few separate individuals here and there, one believing this thing, another that. Angels of God are doing the work committed to their trust. The third angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him unitedly. Some run ahead of the angels that are leading this people; but they have to retrace every step, and meekly follow no faster than the angels lead. I saw that the angels of God would lead His people no faster than they could receive and act upon the important truths that are communicated to them.

– Mrs. White, Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 207

After all, is it not part of the bylaws of the Unions and the Conferences that, “All the policies, purposes and procedures shall be in harmony with the working policies and procedures of the North American Division and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists” (Link)?  And, is it not true that the General Conference, in session, has voted to disallow for the ordination of women, by Unions or Conferences, at this time?  Is the conference vote to act independently on this issue therefore even valid? – without a change in its own governing bylaws?

gary-pattersonThe counter, as argued by Elder Garry Patterson (Link), is that the structure of the church (established in the 1901 and 1903 General Conference sessions, as clearly stated in policy B 05.6), “places the authority for the ordination of ministers at the union conference level of church structure. While it is true that the general level does establish the criteria for both membership and ordination, it does not have authority as to who may be accepted as members or who may be employed or ordained, so long as they meet the criteria established [by the General Conference].”

Yet, it seems clear to me that the GC has established criteria that are not being followed by various unions and conferences around the world – despite elder Patterson’s argument that, “Unless and until the General Conference changes the policy by specific vote, any action contrary to that policy is a violation. Thus, the union conferences are not out of policy on this matter of gender inclusiveness in the ordination of ministers. The General Conference itself is out of policy by intruding where it does not have authority.” (Link).

I, for one (though I do not personally agree with the GC’s decision), cannot accept Patterson’s argument here in light of Mrs. White’s very clear statement, written in 1909, that specifically addresses this concept:

Ellen WhiteI have often been instructed by the Lord that no man’s judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any other one man. Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and to say what plans shall be followed. But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body…

At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict God’s work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man, or of a small group of men, the full measure of authority and influence that God has vested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work.

– Mrs. White, Testimonies, Vol. 9 p. 260-261 (Link)

As others have pointed out before me, many people have misunderstood what Mrs. White said in previous years about the authority of the General Conference officers not being as authoritative in contrast with the authority God has placed with His world-wide church in session. There is a very important difference here that Mrs. White makes very clear.

Yet, some have argued that there are “different levels of final authority” within the church body – which allows for independent action at different levels within the church (such as at the church or conference or union levels). However, as far as I can tell, at this current point in time the conference/union level of government within the church has not been given “final authority” on the question of the setting criteria for ordination – which I personally think is unfortunate.  I wish the conference level had been given this authority on ordination criteria.  That would have solved a whole lot of problems.

So, as it currently stands, the conference/union appears to be under obligation to follow the decisions of the GC in session when it comes to the criteria for ordination as a pastor within the Seventh-day Adventist Church – according to the bylaws of the union and the NCC itself.  This is the reality of the situation – however much one may personally disagree with this decision of the GC in session.

Criteria for ordination, as noted earlier, have always been set by the world Church: initially by GC Sessions, but by the GC Executive Committee since 1930 when responsibility for the selection of candidates for ordination was devolved to unions, who would apply the criteria set by the world Church.

A Study of Church Governance and Unity, 2016, Secretariat, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (Link)

The argument that the conference may still act in an independent manner on this issue if it “can be shown to conflict with the word of God and the rights of individual conscience” could be used as an argument to act as an independent organization on any point of conflict with the world church. How can it be said then that individual members of the church need to support the local conference even if it is going against one of the fundamentals of the church while, at the same time, telling members that it is Ok for their conference to do this very same thing when it doesn’t agree with a policy decision of the world church? – and a non-fundamental policy decision at that? Is this not a clear inconsistency?

I honestly don’t see how those making such arguments are being consistent in their defense of the course of action of the NCC with respect to the world church? The NCC can remove itself from the governance and support of the GC as it sees fit, even over a non-fundamental policy issue, while the individual member should not follow suit – even when the issue at hand is actually fundamental to the world church as an organized body? I guess I just don’t understand that concept.

So, regardless of my personal disagreement with the decision of the GC on this particular issue, I do not see how I can personally support any effort to step ahead of the church as a body on a non-fundamental issue like “ordination” – especially given that women have long been and will continue to be recognized as pastors and leaders in the church, receiving equal pay, and all the rest. Why then step outside of the church as a body over a documentation of human recognition of the Divine call of women who are already pastors and who are already obviously called by God to service?  Where is the moral imperative here to split the church by stepping out ahead of the church as a body?  Will this effort not lead to further disregard of the order and government of the SDA Church, as an organization, regarding truly fundamental concepts? such as the literal creation week or the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman? After all,  Elder Garry Patterson specifically questioned the church’s use of specific language regarding the literal nature of the creation week in its statement of fundamental beliefs – despite this position being part of the very name “Seventh-day Adventist”. (Link),

I just can’t do it.  I just can’t step outside of the church as an organized body to following the decision of the Northern California Conference on this particular issue.  I feel that I must remain with the main body of the church, recognizing its world-wide nature and mission, despite some disagreements that I may have with it.  I feel that it is vital to stay and continue to work through issues within the body of Christ rather than to take my marbles and go home – acting in an independent manner outside of the main church body and rejecting the concept of a Divine origin in its organization and advancement over time.

At this point I am, obviously, very torn. I’m having difficulty knowing what to do. I wish the GC itself would provide some guidance on this issue. So far, the best I can come up with is to return my tithe to the GC directly and let it distribute it back to the local conference as it sees fit. That way the responsibility will rest on the world church as to how to deal with the actions of the NCC on this fundamental issue of independent action. And, the world church specifically allows for such an action on the part of individual members. Under the “Official Guidelines” of the church regarding questions on tithing it says:

b. If members, for reasons of confidentiality, choose to send a portion of the tithe to the General Conference or their union conference, those offices may accept such tithe but shall send it without the person’s name to the member’s home conference for distribution to the world church. (Link)

I just see no other reasonable course of action and will recommend, as the head elder of my local church and a lifelong member of the church at large, that others do the same.  I know that this has the potential to split local churches and seriously injure the conference itself, but I’m at a complete loss as to what else to do?

I feel so sad having to take this action.  Such a thing has never happened in my lifetime or in the history of the SDA Church as far as I’m aware.  It seems to me that the church is taking a needless hit here and that such divisions over non-vital issues are a serious distraction to the work that the Church has been called to do.  It seems to me that a much better course of action would have been to stay with the General Conference on this issue, but with a note of duress, pointing out that our conference favors women’s ordination, but is willing to continue to work with the GC as the church moves forward and learns over time as we all follow the angels that are leading the church under God’s direction and providence.

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Addendum:

 

J.N. Loughborough on Church Order and Government:

 

Many often quote the original founding fathers of the SDA Church as being opposed to church order and government. Consider, for example, the thoughts of J.N. Loughborough in his 1861 statement regarding the issue of Church order, government, and discipline:

The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth is to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And, fifth, to commit persecution against such.

– J.N. Loughborough, October 8, 1861, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 149.7

 

However, these universally fail to reference Loughborough in his 1907 work, The Church, Its Organization, Order and Discipline. Although originally opposed to such constraints, it was John Loughborough, together with James White, who first started to realize the need for some sort of internal enforcement of Church order and discipline – i.e., a Church government. Quoting Mrs. White, Loughborough wrote:

“As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization, there would be great confusion, and the work could not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying on the work in new fields, for protecting both the church and ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for other objects, organization was indispensable.”

Loughborough, 1907 – Quoting Mrs. White (Letter 32, 1892) in which Mrs. White reviewed at length how the Sabbath-keeping Adventists were led to adopt church order (January 29, 1893, General Conference Daily Bulletin, 22.6.) – for some background to Mrs. White’s letter see: (Link)

Of course, those who were not considered to accurately represent the views of the early SDA Church did not receive “cards of commendation”.  And what was the attitude of such persons? – according to Loughborough?:

Of course those who claimed “liberty to do as they pleased,” to “preach what they pleased,” and to “go when and where they pleased,” without “consultation with any one,” failed to get cards of commendation. They, with their sympathizers, drew off and commenced a warfare against those whom they claimed were “depriving them of their liberty.” Knowing that it was the Testimonies that had prompted us as a people to act, to establish “order,” these opponents soon turned their warfare against instruction from that source, claiming that “when they got that gift out of the way, the message would go unrestrained to its `loud cry.’

One of the principal claims made by those who warred against organization was that it “abridged their liberty and independence, and that if one stood clear before the Lord that was all the organization needed,” etc… All the efforts made to establish order are considered dangerous, a restriction of rightful liberty, and hence are feared as popery.

Loughborough, 1907, The Church: Its Organization, Order and Discipline, p. 122.1 – Quoting Mrs. White from Testimonies for the Church. p. 650. Vol. 1.

 

To directly access these quotes by Loughborough, as well as the quotes of Mrs. White that Loughborough used:

www.EGWWritings.org

  • Mrs. White’s works are under “EGW Writings”
  • Loughborough’s works, as well as the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald and the General Conference Daily Bulletin are under “Adventist Pioneer Library”

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Women in Church Leadership Positions:

 

Regarding the topic of Women in leadership roles within the church, it seems like the leaders of the early Seventh-day Adventist Church had a very different take on the key passages usually used against women’s ordination (to include Uriah Smith, James White and J.N. Andrews) – such as 1 Timothy 2:11-14; 1 Corinthians 11:3; and 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35 – and other relevant passages:

jn-andrewsJanuary 2, 1879 by J.N. Andrews and James White (Link):
 .
There are two principal passages cited to prove that women should not take any part in speaking in religious meetings. These are 1 Corinthians 14:34, 36 and 1 Timothy 2:12. But a careful study of the books of Corinthians shows that the passage first referred to can have no such application.
 .
The Corinthian church was in a state of great disorder. The first chapter shows that they were divided into parties in reference to the apostles themselves. The fifth chapter shows that one had taken his father’s wife, and others did not mourn over this act. The sixth chapter shows that they went to law with the world, and implies that they james-white-2were guilty of violating the seventh commandment. The eleventh chapter shows that when they celebrated the Lord’s supper, the rich ate and drank until they were intoxicated, and the poor were waiting and suffering hunger.
  .
Now it appears from the fourteenth chapter when they were assembled in meeting, the women threw everything into confusion by talking among themselves, and acting with such indecorum as to be a matter of shame to them. So that what the apostle says to women in such a church as this, and in such a state of things, is not to be taken as directions to all Christian women in other churches an in other times when and where such disorders do not exist. [emphasis added].

See also:

uriah-smith-2May 29 1879 by James White (James White, J.N. Andrews, Uriah Smith editors):
  .

In the Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, holy women held positions of responsibility and honor. The first case we will here notice is that of Miriam, mentioned in Exodus 15:20, 21: “And Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.”

Compare with Micah 6:3, 4, where the great God appeals to rebellious Israel in these words: “O my people, what have I done unto thee? And wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” Here we find a woman occupying a position equal to that of Moses and Aaron, God’s chosen servants to lead the millions of Israel from the house of bondage.

The next case is that of Deborah, mentioned in Judges 4:4-10: “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphatali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward Mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun.

“And I will draw unto thee, to the river Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go; but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee, notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kadesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet; and Deborah went up with him.” Notice the following particulars in the foregoing statements:—
  .
1.       Deborah was a prophetess. She received divine instruction from Heaven, and taught the people.
  .
2.       She was a judge in Israel. The people went up to her for judgment. A higher position no man has ever occupied.
  .
… And the dispensation which was ushered in with glory, honored with the labors of holy women, will close with the same honors. Thus says God by his holy prophet: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Acts 2:17.
So, here we have leaders of the early Adventist Church commenting on the very same texts that are usually presented against putting women in the highest leadership positions within the church coming to a very different conclusion as to their meaning. And, Mrs. White did not correct or argue against their conclusions, but seemed to support these conclusions in her own writings.
Ellen WhiteAll who desire an opportunity for true ministry, and who will give themselves unreservedly to God, will find in the canvassing work 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 (Ellen White, Testimonies. vol 6, p 322).
 .
Young men and young women who should be engaged in the ministry, in Bible work, and in the canvassing work should not be bound down to mechanical employment. The youth should be encouraged to attend our training schools for Christian workers, which should become more and more like the schools of the prophets. These institutions have been established by the Lord, and if they are conducted in harmony with His purpose, the youth sent to them will quickly be prepared to engage in various lines of missionary work. Some will be trained to enter the field as missionary nurses, some as canvassers, and some as gospel ministers (Ellen White, Testimonies. vol 8, p. 229).
 .
“It is not always men who are best adapted to the successful management of a church. If faithful women have more deep piety and true devotion than men, they could indeed by their prayers and their labors do more than men who are unconsecrated in heart and life” (Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 56).
 .
“If men and women would act as the Lord’s helping hand, doing deeds of love and kindness, uplifting the oppressed, rescuing those ready to perish, the glory of the Lord would be their rearward… Of those who act as His helping hand the Lord says, ‘Ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord; men shall call you the Ministers of our God’” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, October 15, 1901).
 .
It seems then that even Ellen White advocated that women train for various forms of pastoral care within the church – even to the point of being ordained or specially set aside by the “laying on of hands” for such responsibilities (The Review and Herald, July 9, 1895).  Also, what Ellen White has done with Isaiah 61 is quite illuminating. She quotes the prophecy, invoking the language of “Priest” and “Minister,” and applies it to both brothers and sisters, men and women, within the church. This is of extreme significance, because it demonstrates, unequivocally, that Bible prophecy envisioned the body of Christ as a priesthood of all believers, and Ellen White simply assumed that the prophecy pointed to both men and women occupying the priestly and ministerial role, in the Christian church.
_________________
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Male “Headship”:
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As far as the “headship” passages in the Bible, originally it wasn’t intended to be like it is now.  Eve was made from Adam’s rib, indicating equality. Mrs. White is very clear about this.  “Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” (Ellen White, Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 1 p. 159 – Link). It wasn’t until after the Fall that the “headship” of the man over the woman within the marriage relationship, in particular, was established – but only because the fallen nature of mankind required such an arrangement.  “God had made [Eve] the equal of Adam, but sin brought friction, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of one or the other. Eve had been the first in transgression. By her urging Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband.” (Ellen White, BOE, p. 19 – Link).
 .
This current “headship” of the man over the woman is, however, limited to the marriage setting.  No other man is the natural head over my wife and I do not consider myself to be the head of any other man’s wife.  That’s not how it works.  The woman is only called to answer to her own particular husband as the head of her own household.  She is not called to answer to any other man in this manner.
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175 thoughts on “Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference

  1. What many seem to forget is that True Christianity is not a “democracy.” Either God has the final say or not. This whole issue has/is and will divide this church and any one with any form of a military background knows to defeat an enemy one must divide, divide and conquer. Satan is a master of such techniques and we see it now. We are told the “church will appear as if it is about to fall” and we are seeing it now.

    You certainly are correct that there is no justification for any union, division etc to turn from the decision made at THREE GC meetings. It is simply another form of “we will do what is right in our own eyes. Also I know that this whole issue will open the door, if it hasn’t already, for other major issues that have negatively affected other Christian denominations. We are on a slippery slope and it will speed up as we get closer to Christ return.




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        I have prayerfully considered this matter and decided to not merely “talk about it” as if it would be gossiping but to go to the source. I wrote Pastor Wilson on 11/6 a private email that I made an open letter on 11/9/2016.A copy is enclosed below.

        Brother Wilson,

        There is no doubt that God loves you! The evidence is all about you. But because God loves you, His rebuke is upon you and the church for which Christ gave His precious life that is suffering on account of your sins and rebellion against the will of God.

        A video was shown at church Sabbath (yesterday) in which you lamented the lack of unity within the church and the departure of some members from the tried and true waymarks established when God founded the Seventh Day Adventist Church as a movement in prophetic history. But the leader of the rebellion against God is yourself, Brother Wilson. And for that you must make confession and reformation before it is forever too late.

        The will of God in ordaining Ellen White to be a gospel minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church is settled theology. If the LORD did not want a woman to be ordained He would not have blessed that waymark that He placed in this Church at its prophetic onset. But the misconstruing of this issue is not unlike that of circumcision in Paul’s day. The pro-circumcision party had God’s word in Genesis on their side, and tradition, and the law of Moses; and Paul did not have a single text to prove that they were wrong, but Christ had come to fulfill the law and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit made it known to Paul that that which had been ordained was no longer Present Truth.

        You decry that some are departing from the waymarks, while you lead the rebellion in this instance. Not only have you denied the leading of God in the ordination of Ellen White, but by not seeing the truth in the Scriptures, you have cherished the darkness of man’s pride. Have you not read Christ’s prayer to our Father which art in Heaven, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”? In the Revelation of God that HE gave to Jesus Christ, HIS will is revealed: the redeemed in Heaven are kings and priests before God. Are men only to be redeemed?

        But knowing the way that the LORD has led in our past church history, knowing that God’s will is to be done on earth as it is in Heaven, knowing the view of Brother Jan Paulson, who sat in your seat, and continuing to rebel against the LORD is the grievous sin that is causing the damage of which you lament. Cause is followed by effect. The unity of the body in Heaven and earth is fractured. And those who are remaining faithful and refusing to follow a path that violates a clear thus saith the LORD are being defamed as the rebels. But that is as it should be to fulfill that which is written.

        The same is true about new light that God has been pleased to give to the SDA Church that is being cast as if it is all sorts of errors that are trying be brought into the Church. The call to stay true to historicism is an effort to exalt man’s methodology above a thus saith the LORD. Historicism is only as good a methodology as those who follow it correctly make it. When historicism is followed incorrectly, it is a blight. But like woman’s ordination, historicism out of focus will tear the unity from the heart of God’s Church.

        I am not under the deception that you will hear me any more than your dad valued the copy of the Gorbachev letter that I forwarded to him so many years ago to give him some insight as to how God was working behind the scenes. But instead of waiting until after the fact as in my communication with your dad, I will tell you before it happens so that you will know that this is not my opinion to be brushed aside lightly. The word of the LORD has come to you to test you and your response will either be to buy eyesalve from Christ and the gold of faith that you need for this time or to seal your rebellion apart from Christ.

        Iran will attack America after the results of the US election are made known. I suspect Donald Trump will win and that will be the catalyst because he has said that when he is president he will sink Iranian boats that violate the safety zone around our fleet at sea. After Iran attacks the US fleet, President Obama will take a 3rd term that will be an attack on America’s Constitution. He will then attack God’s Covenant (Sunday Law) and then God’s people.

        The events will be rapid ones. The work that could have been done in a time of peace and safety will be done in the most trying of circumstances and the 1888 attitude of the church leadership will be manifest for what it has been.

        Do not delay to pray and listen to the very message of Present Truth that will refresh your soul. But if like those in Noah’s day, who waited for it to rain to be sure that Noah had the Present Truth, by delaying, you will know the truth, but they had neglected to obey the message until they were sure; and it was too late to undo their delay when they know that Noah had the right message at the right time. There is no wisdom in repeating their folly.

        We are in the final sealing time. Our characters will be sealed to the glory of God or we will be shaken from the platform. There is no middle ground for Laodiceans. Christ said I would that you were hot, but He will accept cold if that is what we choose.

        Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, and let it be the LORD!
        _________________________
        “Ignorance is sin, when knowledge can be obtained” (HR, September 1, 1866 par. 3).




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        • Brother Henry,
          So far I have not become involved in the issue of Women’s ordination. I will make a comment on the ordination off Ellen White. She was in a special way the “messenger of the Lord.” Because of her position, her work, and her relationship to the Lord she was ordained.
          However, we have no evidence that she was a pastor of a church, and did not, so far as I know, get into the politics of the church, except to present messages from God as she received them. A good example is the 1888 issue. Even in the heat of politics, she did not take sides — until she received a message from the Lord, which she passed on to others.
          In our present situation, to be ordained to the ministry is closely tied to being the pastor of a church. I believe that this is not necessarily the plan of God. We have a number of ministries in the Adventist church. Most of them are not a matter of ordination, but instead leaders are “commissioned.”
          I served a term in Ethiopia. When I became head of the hospital in Gimbie, I was commissioned. It never occurred to me to seek ordination. In our present situation, we still have the problem of the close tie between ordination and being pastor of a church. I am not sure that this is necessary. When women are called to ministry, they have special talents that fit them for a number of areas in the church. Wouldn’t it be good to ordain them for these special ministries, for which they are best suited?




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        • “ALL who desire an opportunity for true ministry, and who will give themselves unreservedly to God, will find in the canvassing work 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.” {6 TESTIMONIES 322.1}

          EGW IS VERY CLEAR. When she nears the end, she uses HE not to discount women that she just said should be pastors, but she had made a statement regarding the HUMAN AGENT and the male gender is inclusive of both men and women when writing. We say mankind, but mean women as well, Then EGW returns to THEY THEIR AND THEM referring to men and women pastors.

          Let us set aside opinions and follow a thus saith the LORD.

          Man is not to rebel against what God has settled in Heaven, God winked at our ignorance AND it would be no issue today if it had stayed as it was. BUT with the recent General Conference session that was swayed by Brother Wilson’s personal call to actions that are contrary to the way God has led His people in the past and with proposals to compel those who rightly divide the word to submit to the will of those who clearly do not rightly divide the word of God and who are not obeying it, this confrontation has erupted. Pastor Wilson is obliged to confess that he has deviated from the leading of the Lord as it was evident during the times of Ellen White, What God has allowed in the prophetic formation of the SDA Church is not to be disallowed by a small majority on the border of the promised land. And for a small group in the General Conference Offices to even suggest that they will exert authority to compel obedience to their dictates is Rebellion against the structure that God ordained in the SDA Church.

          “Important interests in the cause of God cannot be wisely managed by those who have had so little real connection with God as some of our ministers have had. To entrust the work to such men is like setting children to manage great vessels at sea. Those who are destitute of heavenly wisdom, destitute of living power with God, are not competent to steer the gospel ship amid icebergs and tempests. The church is passing through severe conflicts, but in her peril many would trust her to hands that will surely wreck her. We need a pilot on board now, for we are nearing the harbor. As a people we should be the light of the world. But how many are foolish virgins, having no oil in their vessels with their lamps. May the Lord of all grace, abundant in mercy, full of forgiveness, pity and save us, that we perish not with the wicked!” {5T 104.4}




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        • Brother Hills,
          To your quote from Testimonies vol 6, I say a loud AMEN. When I was in college at PUC, 30 – 40 ministerial students spent the summers canvassing. It was a wonderful experience for them. I guess is not done that way any more. When it comes to women’s ordination, I think the problem is not just women’s ordination, it extends to men’s ordination too. I believe that men also need to have the experience of winning souls before they are ready for ministry. Those women who have the ability and experience of winning souls from the community would have a place and make a real contribution to the ministry.




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  2. In the days after Solomon died, Israel was divided because the new king became too authoritarian. It was of the LORD. I would not be to concerned about this situation. There is scriptural evidence supporting that women’s ordination is biblical and that the GC is refusing to yield to God’s word, while saying as much about the other camp.

    It may be that this will bring the shaking.and that God Himself will take charge of His Church and see it through to its heavenly port.Now that the NCC has taken its stand, there may be others in other conferences that will now send their tithes and offerings to support it.




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    • I also think this will produce a “shaking”, but I don’t think it’s “of the LORD” in this case. Just because something is “true” and “right” doesn’t mean it is fundamentally important or worth creating a deep division or split in the church over it. Staying with the church body and working with it over time as an organization through proper channels, a process ordained by God, trumps lesser non-fundamental issues – however true and right they may in fact be.

      Beyond this, any government that exercises any kind of authority is going to be viewed as “too authoritarian” by someone. Yet, if a government exercises no authority, no enforcement of its policies of any kind, then it really isn’t a government at all…




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    • Biblical evidence?? Paul could not have been any clearer when he wrote to both Timothy and Titus that a bishop/elder/overseer is to be the husband of one wife. How can a female be the HUSBAND of one wife??? Unless of course one is into the PC of today’s scenario.




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      • Again, the topic here isn’t really about the arguments for or against WO – which are many on both sides. The particular topic in play here has to do with the basis of church order, government, and discipline as a collective organized body with a common goal and purpose.




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        • I understand that Sean but I could not let his comments go by without responding. It seems to me there are individuals who do not have a concern about splitting the church so they can get what they want. It is my understanding that the committee that was set up to “look into the issue,” those for WO had NOTHING Biblically to justify their position. Just what they wanted. I may be wrong but after reading all I could find regarding this whole issue it is a shame THIS Union, the Union I belong in seems to care MORE for what it wants than what God said in those 3 GC’s.




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        • @Sean Pitman: Many say as you that it is only about “unity.” It certainly is about unity, but not “only,” in much the same manner as the One Project’s focus on “Jesus. All.” is incorrect. There can be no unity apart from truth, just as there can be no love apart from law. Ultimately, if we cannot grasp the plain “thus saith the LORD” of the Bible, and base our doctrines thereon, we have no possibility of finding “unity.”

          Paul wrote godly counsel to the New Testament church relative to gospel order. We ignore his inspired writings at our peril. It is commendable that you recognize the need for unity. It would be the more honorable if you did not attempt to divorce that unity from a proper understanding of the Biblical passages upon which the entire issue is based. As Mrs. White stated so well, “None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. To every soul will come the searching test: Shall I obey God rather than men? The decisive hour is even now at hand. Are our feet planted on the rock of God’s immutable Word? Are we prepared to stand firm in defense of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?” (Great Controversy, p. 593)

          Many today base their doctrines on opinions in place of a “thus saith the LORD.” In this they act unwisely and are out of harmony with the third angel’s message.




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        • @Sean Pitman: It is not for me or others, of course, to question your sincerity. We all well know, however, the possibility of being sincerely wrong. In place of being sincere, we must study to show ourselves approved unto God–i.e., we should strive to be diligent. I may be sincere, but I would rather be praised for diligence than sincerity.

          Diligence in this study requires some linguistic scholarship. Hebrew and Greek must be consulted to ascertain certain facts. For example, the “husband of one wife” passage becomes inescapably clear when a careful study is made of it. One cannot lightly add to the Word of God in twisting the phrase into “wife of one husband.” Nor can one lightly claim there is no distinction made between genders in the Bible on account of Galatians 3:28–doing so would enable homosexuality by the same interpretation. In fact, of course, the context is that of salvation and not of ordination nor of sexuality. But when the context does not suit the post-modern “progressives,” they wrest the lines that they like from it to leverage a thought never expressed in the original, supporting a concept foreign to its author. Thus they fall prey to a deception of their own making.

          Mrs. White made clear that the last great deception would include self-deception. We see that happening among many today. The frightening thing with self-deception is that one may be oblivious to the fact. Sincerely self-deceived? How terrible the possibility! None of us can be confident of our own views except as they are based on a PLAIN “thus saith the LORD.”




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        • I appreciate your honest sincerity here, but I simply have to disagree with you on this particular point.

          And no, I don’t think God condemns anyone who is honest and sincere and has earnestly tried to carefully study and look into the matter in question – even if they may be mistaken at the present time. After all, not one of us is omniscient. You yourself, no doubt, occasionally make honest mistakes and come to honest conclusions as to what the Bible is saying that are incorrect. Such honest mistakes are easily solved by providing additional information that such a person can actually comprehend and understand. God actually winks at such ignorance until the time when the truth is actually comprehended by a person. Only at that time is a person held morally accountable.




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        • Not true. Uzzah deliberately ignored opportunities given to him to know the truth. His was not sincere or honest ignorance, but deliberate ignorance (actually, not really ignorance at all, but simple apathy regarding God’s commands which he did in fact know). Otherwise, it would have been completely unfair of God to do what He did…

          For example, as Mrs. White points out, “The Philistines, who had not a knowledge of God’s law, had placed the ark upon a cart when they returned it to Israel, and the Lord accepted the effort which they made. But the Israelites had in their hands a plain statement of the will of God in all these matters, and their neglect of these instructions was dishonoring to God.” – Mrs. White, Conflict and Courage, p. 176 – Link)

          So, you see, God treated the ignorance of the Philistines differently because it was truly honest and sincere ignorance. Not so with Uzzah…




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        • Ultimately, if we cannot grasp the plain “thus saith the LORD” of the Bible, and base our doctrines thereon, we have no possibility of finding “unity.”@Tongkam:

          What you say about basing doctrine upon Bible is true. It seems to follow that, where there is no clear ‘Thus says the Lord,’ we should have no doctrine. To create a doctrine where there is no direct instruction appears to be ADDING to the Holy Scriptures.

          The same seems true, also, of the 3 GC statements, which basically were non-statements based on a lack of ‘Thus saith the Lord,” which morphed into prohibition without any decisive basis.




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        • @S. Heisey: I agree with what you are saying. This is why adding women’s ordination to our doctrinal repertoire is so problematic. There is simply no Biblical support for it. Contrariwise, the scriptures speak plainly of ordaining men.




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      • I understand your perplexity, it is nothing new. I had no intention of getting into this Women Ordination type discussion again. But since you asked, I will share my study. The Scripture does say quite a bit about the role of women as does the Spirit of prophecy and the SDA pioneers:

        As for a bishop to be the husband of one wife it was not uncommon for men in Bible times to have multiple wives. But if a woman was called to be a bishop, she should be the wife of one husband.

        “We object to that narrow-souled theology which will not allow the old ladies to have dreams because the prophecy says, ‘your old men shall dream dreams;’ and that will not allow young women to have visions because the prophecy says ‘your young men shall see visions.’ These stingy critics seem to forget that ‘man’ and ‘men’ in the Scriptures, generally mean both men and women. The Book says that it is ‘appointed unto men once to die.’ Don’t women die?” (James White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, February 25, 1862; Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 24).

        What does the Bible say from Genesis to Revelation?

        1) Genesis 3:16 “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall RULE over thee.”

        2) Genesis 1:16-18 “And God made two great lights; the greater light to RULE the day, and the lesser light to RULE the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to RULE over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.”

        [In the event that anyone missed it; in both texts RULE is the same word. Man RULES his woman as the sun, moon, & stars RULE.]

        Did Jesus fulfill the role of becoming the head of the Church?

        Ephesians 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he [Christ] is the Saviour of the body.”

        [The man that is the head of his wife, Another man is not the head of my wife, And no man is the head of the church since that is now Christ’s role.]

        What is the answer to Jesus prayer in Matthew 6:10 “Thy will be done in earth, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN”?

        Did Jesus reveal how it is in Heaven?

        Revelation 1:1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by His angel unto his servant John:”

        THIS IS THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST OF WHAT WILL BE ALLOWED IN HEAVEN:

        Revelation 1:5-6 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath MADE US KINGS AND PRIESTS unto God and his Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” [Amen means SO LET IT BE.]

        From reading that passage should we assume that there will be no women redeemed in Heaven. But in Heaven God’s people will be KINGS and PRIESTS.

        ” And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9)

        Should I understand those passages to say that only men will be redeemed?

        To let the redeemed (men and women) be kings and priests in Heaven, but not on earth is to reject Christ’s prayer “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” To argue that the redeemed are not men and women is to keep women out of heaven. To argue that priests is not a good translation of ἱερεύς is to deny the fact that ἱερεύς is only translated as priests ever time (31) that it occurs in the New Testament.

        We are advised in the Spirit of prophecy:

        “Do not carry your creed to the Bible, and read the Scriptures in the light of that creed. If you find that your opinions are opposed to a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” or to any command or prohibition He has given, give heed to the Word of God rather than to the sayings of men. Let every controversy or dispute be settled by “It is written.” {RH, August 13, 1959 par. 2}

        “Distinguish Bible principles from principles of human manufacture, who, with sharp discernment could separate the strangely perverted, human imaginations, which have been working for years, from things of divine origin.” {1888 1556.1}

        Paul prohibits women from speaking in public (1 Corinthians 14:34-35) as well as stating that a man is to be a bishop and the husband of one wife. Is it rightly dividing the word to allow women to speak in Church against Paul’s counsel and to be dogmatic about adhering to his counsel regarding the bishop having to be a man? That lack of consistency is confusion, it is not of God.

        “Elder Haskell talked in the afternoon and his labors were well received. I had in the evening, it was stated, the largest congregation that had ever assembled at Arbuckle. The house was full. Many came from five to ten and twelve miles. The Lord gave me special power in speaking. The congregation listened as if spellbound. Not one left the house although I talked above one hour. Before I commenced talking, Elder Haskell had a bit of paper that was handed in quoting a certain text prohibiting women speaking in public. He took up the matter in a brief manner and very clearly expressed the meaning of the apostle’s words. I understand it was a Campbellite who wrote the objection and it had been well circulated before it reached the desk; but Elder Haskell made it all plain before the people” (Ellen White to James White, April 1 [Letter 17a], 1880; Manuscript Releases vol. 10, p. 70).

        But is it God’s will that His church on earth should refuse to allow what He allows in Heaven?

        But the shaking must come before Christ Comes. And this issue is an excellent issue to bring the shaking about because it divides those who rightly divide the word of truth from those who do not, while both groups believe that they have it right. And since both camps are basing their belief on how they read the Scripture it comes down to faith verses presumption. Holy Spirit discernment vs man’s creed. And for this to have reached the level of dispute that it has between conferences and the GC is IMHO an indication that God is in it.

        The time has come for us to lay aside anything that is not ordained of God and to be a pure and holy people (church) ready to meet Christ at His coming.




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        • @Henry C Hills: Greetings, Brother. I am interested in your possible comparison between the two texts: Genesis 3:16 with Genesis 4:7. Both texts in KJV follow a very similar phrase pattern. One is between Adam and Eve; the other between Cain and Abel. I have heard that in 3:16 ‘he shall rule over’ [Eve] was a command of God as punishment for disobedience and the fall. In Gen 4:7, the ‘he shall rule over’ statement is the DISOBEDIENT shall rule over the OBEDIENT. I can hardly believe that it is a command of God for evil to rule over good; yet the phrase is so nearly the same in both texts as to demand the same application. Is it not that God is describing the result of sin now residing in the heart that causes the stronger to try to control and dominate the weaker? That would fit both scenarios, would it not?
          Both texts basically say, ‘your desire shall be to [him] and he shall rule over you.’ which is NOT a command, but a result of the sinful nature.




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        • @S. Heisey: Thank you for pointing that out. At this moment I am working on a book about the 3 Angels’ messages and don’t have the time to go into another study.

          I would venture to say that there are many things in the Scriptures that are difficult to understand and we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to bring the truth to our understanding.

          IMHO we are entering the shaking and the situation between NCC and GC are a sign that Christ’s Coming is even at the door.




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    • @Henry C Hills: There is NO Scriptural evidence for “WOMEN’S ORDINATION” NONE!

      However, there is plenty of Scripture in support of MEN’S ORDINATION, throughout the entirety of the Bible, not one woman was ever called and ordained or appointed as an elder, pastor, priest, apostle over any church congregation. Not one. While there are multitudes of MEN called and ORDAINED Eldership and Pastoral MINISTRY “in EVERY church” and “in EVERY city” Acts 14:23 & Titus 1:4

      This stark contrast is enough to show that it is NOT God’s will or plan for any woman to be an elder or pastor of any church congregation.

      “SURELY the LORD God will DO NOTHING except He FIRST REVEALS HIS secrets (plans, will) to His servants the prophets” Amos 3:7

      If WOMAN’S ORDINATION were God’s will then why was it the He NEVER revealed it to any of His prophets?

      The testimony of the NEW JERUSALEM is that it’s 12 Gates of Pearl and it’s 12 FOUNDATION STONES are all made of the names of men taken from the all male leadership of the Old Testament Church & the New Testament Church.

      What godly WOMEN would gripe about God’s “gender inequality” while walking through those gates and over the floor resting upon 12 male apostles.

      BIBLICALLY? There are no women priests, apostles, elders, or pastors, ORDAINED or NOT, NONE in the Bible. . . There should be NONE in the Remnant Church of BIBLE Prophecy which is a REPLICA of the Apostolic Church which had not one female elder, pastor, or apostle. . . That’s the WILL of the Holy Spirit, placed each member in the Church Body “severely AS HE WILLS” with not one woman pastor or apostle! Not one. That’s the Biblical TRUTH.




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      • @Pastor Richard P Mendoza:

        Thank you for your note: I read it. If you read all of my comment, then you see the Scriptures that I based my view on.

        But I would say that we do not always rightly divide the word of truth. An example that comes to mind is the issue of circumcision. The Bible says to do it in Genesis, but Paul said not necessary in the NT. There was a command to do it for ever and no place in the Bible did God change it until Paul under the influence of the Holy Spirit showed that Christ fulfilled the law.

        The same can be said about your position. It is Biblical (as was the argument promoting circumcision), but it is not correct. To say “There are no women priests, apostles, elders, or pastors, ORDAINED or NOT, NONE in the Bible.” is to overlook the fact:

        Romans 16:1 “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a of the church which is at Cenchrea:”

        2 Corinthians 3:6 “Who also hath made us able of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

        2 Corinthians 6:4 “But in all things approving ourselves as the of God”

        Paul and Phebe are both of the gospel.

        To say “There should be NONE in the Remnant Church” is to condemn God because He ordained Ellen White and Sean has posted a photo copy of her credentials. For man to remove from the Remnant Church what God has placed in it is sin.

        And it is this misappropriation of authority that is rebelling against God’s authority that has brought the Church to this crisis NCC vs GC. And that is GOOD in a sad way. The wheat and tares have grown together, and now God is separating them. They all profess to be following the LORD, but now it can be seen who is really…

        Both parties are convinced that they are correct and both have Biblical evidence. But in the judgment of God (not in the arguments of men), it will be seen who is the faithful servant and who is the apostate.




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  3. While I can understand your concern for the rebellious action of NCC and I agree with you fully with respect to that concern I wish you had been silent about your own preference concerning WO. I believe it mat weaken your position with respect to Creation which is infinitely more important.




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  4. When we got home after five years in Ethiopia, we attended first the Alhambra, CA church. It was the first “million dollar Adventist church” I had seen. I remember being a little confused. “What was going on.” In Ethiopia we attended a simple church with cement block walls, and a corrugated iron roof. I commented on this at another such church, and was informed that the church should be of such quality at least as the homes of the people. Hmm-m-m- maybe.

    At a camp meeting I visited with some ministerial students at one of our colleges. As we talked, I got the impression that they were looking forward to being the “CEO of a large Adventist church!” From my observations elsewhere, I noted that the most “successful” ministers were those of charismatic personalities who were skilled at preaching interesting sermons.

    Looking back to the 1940’s at our church in the Northern California Conference, we had a pastor who refused to conduct public “efforts.” He said it “was not his thing.” But he was constantly conducting personal Bible studies with people. Every month or so he brought in new people for baptism. As he aged, and was put in a nursing home, he was still writing letters to save souls. I have ever since been impressed with this pastor.

    When it comes to women’s ordination, I have thought we need to examine our program of ordaining men! We need to ordain men who have an interest and ability to save souls. Especially from among people in the community. We have a liberal sprinkling of charismatic and talented pastors who can attract Adventists from other Adventist churches. We need to change our program to ordaining only those pastors who show an interest and a talent for reaching the community with our message. If some of those new pastors happen to be women, and they have a demonstrated interest and talent for winning souls, and are willing to see this as their most important work; I say “More power to them.” We need them.




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  5. It’s so sad that Conferences and some Churches in NAD think and feel they are at liberty to act as they please without reference to the well-being of the whole, i.e. the world body. Satan is always the Architect of Division, Chaos, and Selfishness. I believe this is because they feel their self sufficiency as sufficient grounds but fail to realize that many of the contributors are from parts of the global church other than NAD and should be respected in their decisions. This is time for “On the Knees” warfare to humbly agonize before HIS throne of grace and mercy to Defeat this Hydra-headed monster of the enemy through the Blood and Faith of JESUS, the Christ and Captain of this great Adventist movement.




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  6. Sean,
    I just happened upon your page by accident and saw your post while researching something on creation. I would urge you to reconsider your decision with regards to your tithe. I live in Michigan and for years my conference has not conformed to the General Conference policy on various issues.
    I have considered sending my tithe to another conference several times during the past few years. Each time, after much thought and prayer, I decided to continue sending my tithe to the Michigan Conference. Your decision to redirect your tithe to another conference and calling upon others to do likewise might also be perceived a form of rebellion itself. Is this the direction you want to go?
    Have you considered a possibility that God could have actually listened to the prayers uttered during the NCC session? Perhaps this is God’s way of slowly nudging the church at large in the right direction? This decision was not about a fundamental Adventist teaching like the Sabbath, or 6-day creation, where resistance would indeed be in order.
    Reformation movements have rarely been initiated from above, if ever. Most begin at the grass roots level. Think John Huss, Martin Luther (read Great Controversy 135, last paragraph on the page), Rosa Parks, or perhaps even Jesus. The religious leaders of His times would have loved Jesus to conform to their policies. And sometimes Jesus urged His followers to do so (Matt 23:2-3a) but then He did not (vs.3b-4). In the end, they crucified Him for nonconformity. In His “rebellion,” however, Jesus was correct!
    Good bye and God bless as you make your decision in this matter.




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    • Thank you for your thoughts.

      My problem here is that I don’t agree with the method that my conference has chosen to address this issue. The local conference should work with the General Conference – not independent of the General Conference in an effort to try to “force” the hand of the GC. The proper channels for change need to be used – not independent action on a non-fundamental non-vital issue from an arm or a leg of the body. This is not how an orderly government of any kind can be run and it is in conflict with Divine instruction regarding proper order and government.

      Your example of the actions of Martin Luther are not really applicable here because Martin Luther did not desire to leave his church. He tried to change it from within for a long time – through proper channels of action from within. It wasn’t until the church of his day took a definitive stand against him on a clearly moral issue that he was forced to leave it behind. I’m sorry, but I cannot separate from the main body of the church in line with my local conference over what is to me a non-fundamental non-moral issue. To me, such a separation from a Divinely appointed church government over such a lower-level issue is what would be unethical.

      That is why I can no longer support my own conference as long as it takes such an independent position on a non-fundamental issue in direct opposition to the clearly stated directives of the GC.




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      • Thank you for your response.
        As the saying goes: “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Unfortunately, authoritarianism always breeds the opposite reaction. This is the fact of life. Elder Wilson did not have to make “women’s ordination” “the mother of all his battles” and yet he chose to do so in the first year of his administration (and again during the last General Conference in San Antonio and the last Annual Council). Unsurprisingly, the reaction followed. If I parented my children the way the GC leadership “parents” the Unions I would most likely end up with the rebellion on my hands too.
        There are so many more important battles such as six-day creation versus theistic evolution, acceptance of homosexual relationships, denial of substitutionary atonement, etc. These are the battles worth dying for. Instead, because of this bruising, unnecessary battle over ordination, the General Conference has damaged its own authority among much of NAD membership. How can we now speak in one voice against the other issues I mentioned?
        Perhaps it is now the time for the highest leadership of the GC to wash the feet of the “rebellious” Union and Conferences’ leaders and make peace with them rather than continue waging war over ordination, as we witnessed during the last Annual Council. The Adventist church in the USA did not collapse following the votes of PUC and CUC in 2012. In fact, the ministry of women received a tremendous boost. The Church may collapse, however, if the GC carries on the threat of grave consequences next year.
        It is in the hands of the GC leadership to calm the waters, end the war over ordination (it has proven futile) and focus on mission and other important issues. I truly wish the events portrayed in the video “What Might Have Been” shown before the GC in San Antonio came true. Unfortunately, I do not see that happening at any time soon.




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        • I agree that there are much more important battles. I think that’s obvious from my article. However, the fact remains that it wasn’t Ted Wilson’s decision to start this battle. It was the GC “in session.” That goes way beyond Elder Wilson’s personal opinion. And, as much as I disagree and wish this issue had never been entertained in GC session, it was and now we are stuck with the results until at least the next GC session. Again, it isn’t the “GC leadership” that’s the real problem here. Hundreds of delegates voted on this issue – of their own free will. They could easily have countered the desires of the GC leadership. However, they didn’t and this is where the church, as a body, currently stands. It is now the job of the unions and conferences to work with that decision – not independent of it. It is clear rebellion against the church as an organized body for unions or conferences to act independent of the decision of the GC “in session”. So, what should those who disagree with the outcome of this GC “in session” decision do? Well, they should keep working from within the church body for change from within that body – not from outside of it via independent action. That’s anarchy – not a part of Divine order and government.




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  7. My heart sank as I read this report. My thought was “the church will appear to fall” and here we see it happening. We have conditions in the world where the Pope and others are calling for fundamentalists (which we have been) to be labeled as terrorists and for a Sunday law, while we fight over who gets top billing and wages in our churches.
    We recently visited friends in a small town on the Oregon coast. She told me she was amazed that the church there asked her to be an elder Then she went on to say that her husband was a deacon but she was an elder. She seemed amused but it isn’t funny. The spirit that was shown to my husband and me was not what could be perceived as a sanctified one.
    We are in a hot bed of confusion right now. Most women in our churches look & act so worldly. Most look more like men than women. When I was a teenager unisex dressing became a fad. May be that is why we think feminism in the church is ok. Let the women rule over the church. God said that would happen to His people as a result of their rebellion (Isa 3:12) This is Korah, Dathan and Abrim saying we can minister and lead. I heard the report of members of TOSCA and how shocked they were at the lack of Biblical support given by those in support of WO and how much was quoted from sources many of us would still consider questionable. Those who say there is plenty of Biblical support are purposefully overlooking the overwhelming preponderance of evidence in the Bible starting in Eden, where God had Adam name the animals and gave him the warning about Satan before Eve was even created. She was given the position as Adam’s helpmate not taken from his head to rule over him. Why do we refuse God’s order and think we will be loyal to the Sabbath? That doesn’t make sense.
    We are told we would repeat the history of Israel and right on the borders of the promised land we sure are!




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  8. Sean, while I don’t currently have time to address all the issues in your post, one thing concerns me greatly – that, as head elder, you would recommend that your church members should use their tithe as a tool of political action.

    If your recommendation were followed by others, hundreds of thousands of people would be justified in not turning in tithe at all because they believe that the General Conference is out of line, being manipulated and controlled by a very small number of people. (But that’s another story.) And, really, anyone who disagrees with something done in the conference or the GC would be justified to withhold or re-direct tithe, following your reasoning. I do hope that you will decide that you “just cannot go there.”

    When Jesus commended the widow who gave her last two coins, the “church” was as corrupt as it ever was or will be. Yet God recognized the gift as given to *Him,* and He blessed her and millions of people since then.

    When we return our tithe to the Lord, I believe we must do it in faith, letting go of any control of how it is used. If administrators misuse it, they must answer to God. When we don’t return to God what already belongs to Him, we must answer for it. The way I see it, since the tithe already belongs to God, it is not ours to manage.

    Offerings are another matter. If you feel your local conference is out of line, you are free not to send them the usual percentage for the conference budget and send it elsewhere.




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    • How do you define “the church”?

      There are two options in front of me. 1) Give my tithe to the local conference that has stepped away from the church body or 2) Give my tithe to a conference that is still in line with the church body.

      I’m not suggesting a withholding of tithe from the church. Not at all. What I’m suggesting is that tithe should be given to those elements of the body that are still attached to the body. As an extreme example, would you still give your tithe to a conference that happens to vote to reject the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus? Would such a conference truly be in service of the church that we are to nourish and support? Obviously not.

      Again, I’m not talking about a minor point of contention here. I’m talking about a conference that has chosen to act as an independent entity outside of the organized church body as a whole. Why should I support an appendage that has deliberately separated itself from the main body? Even if I agree with all of the reasons why the appendage separated itself from the body, I cannot agree with the decision to actually remove itself from he main body – over a non-fundamental issue. I’m sorry, but I don’t see how your argument addresses this point?




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      • @Sean Pitman: Here is an interesting statement on the reallocation of tithe that is related to women in ministry:

        “There are ministers’ wives–Sisters Starr, Haskell, Wilson, and Robinson–who have been devoted, earnest whole–souled workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions will be revised. The Word says, ‘The laborer is worthy of his hire.’ When any such decision as this is made, I will in the name of the Lord protest. I will feel it my duty to create a fund from my tithe money to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work as the ministers are doing.”– Letter 137, 1898; MR 959.




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        • Yes, but that was a special circumstance where women ministers were being treated unfairly – where they actually deserved tithe monies that they weren’t getting from the church. As things currently stand, I would not advise anyone to withhold his or her tithe from the organized church in order to support some favored mission project. That type of decision has not been given to us. God asks us to give our tithe monies to His church organization – not our own special interests however good they may be. That kind of giving should be based on offerings – not tithe.




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    • @Inge Anderson: I would like to make just one point. When Jesus was commenting on the widow who gave her last two mites, He was making a point that the widow gave sacrificially or “all she had” as opposed to the wealthy who gave only from their “abundance”. It is not how much we give, but our motive in giving. We are to give from the heart. This was the point Christ was trying to make. We are to be good stewards. If we know, or if we are certain that funds are being blatantly misused and we continue to give, we become as guilty as the ones misusing the funds. One more point… the widow probably had no other options as to where to give her money. In our world today we have many options regarding where to give our tithes and offerings. All of our funds ultimately belong to God. Therefore we need to manage His funds wisely.




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  9. I appreciate your concern and sincerity about this very troubling issue that is threatening to divide our world church. But it appears that you may have only receive partial information about that actual setup of the line of authority in this church that the GC is not being transparent about recently. The reality is that the SDA church is not designed to be controlled from the top to the bottom like many other churches and nearly all corporations. Early on leader of this church tried to force it to be set up that way and met fierce opposition from one of our most important founders, Ellen White herself. At that time the Unions were added specifically to prevent the leaders at the GC level from being able to dictate their wishes over the conferences and local churches. However that intervention is being neutralized by a new generation of leaders that seem bent on defying the intervention of God which is how Ellen White described that event.
    Your concerns therefore are predicated on some presumptions that are not necessarily true. The GC was never to be the final authority over a number of things though they are insisting repeatedly that they are. Telling a lie long and loud enough never makes it a truth. History is being masked in the rush for a reassertion of ‘kingly power’ that Ellen White warned against last time we encountered this problem.
    As for the GC in session being the highest authority of God on earth, that too is a very conditional statement that Ellen herself repeatedly renounced in later years. These later statements are also avoided by those in power wishing to steer public opinion to their desires. I could encourage you to do a little more digging, openly and honestly examine more evidence that apparently you were not aware of yet and I think you may be able to see this from a much broader perspective than what many are insisting is transpiring. God bless your honest search for truth.




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    • Where, specifically, did Mrs. White renounce the concept that the GC “in session” should have authority over the church? or that this authority constitutes “Kingly Power”? How can the anyone call a vote taken by hundreds of representatives from around the world “kingly power”? This certainly wasn’t Mrs. Whites view of the power of the GC “in session”. After all, the passage I quoted from Mrs. White in my article above was from 1909 (she died in 1915). So, where, in those six years, did Mrs. White argue that the GC “in session” shouldn’t have ultimate authority over church matters? – regarding decisions that do not clearly go against the Word of God found in the Bible? Where did she ever make such a comment during her whole life?

      As far as I can tell, the “kingly power” comment is only in reference to a small group of individuals that may be officers of the GC. It doesn’t seem to be in reference to the GC “in session”. After all, the Union Conference system was adopted in 1901 – well before her 1909 statement that I reference in my article.

      In reference to “kingly power” Mrs. White explains that what she is talking about is putting too much power in the hands of a small group of men – that power should not be put into the hands of a few General Conference officials:

      There must be a committee, not composed of half a dozen men, but of representatives from all lines of our work, from our publishing house, from our educational institutions, and from our sanitariums, which have life in them, which are constantly working, constantly broadening… The division of the General Conference into District Union Conferences was God’s arrangement. In the work of the Lord in these last days there should be no Jerusalem centers, no kingly power. And the work in the different countries is not to be tied up by contracts to the work centering in Battle Creek, for this is not God’s plan.” (Link)

      So, you see, the Union Conferences were to be set up to distribute power among more than a handful of leaders, leader who knew more about what was actually happening in the field, but they were not to overturn the decisions of the General Conference “in session” where hundreds and even thousands of delegates have a voice. That concept is nowhere to be found. On the contrary, as referenced above, Mrs. White was very clear, well after the Union Conferences were established in 1901 that the GC “in session” should have authority to govern the church:

      God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man, or of a small group of men, the full measure of authority and influence that God has vested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work. (EGW, Testimonies, Vol. 9 p. 260-261)




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  10. Dr. Pitman, let me get this right. You have chosen to divert your tithe because of your personal conclusion that NCC is not within church policy? And, you come to this conclusion even though many faithful NCC and Pacific Union delegates determined that ordains women was within church policy? And their position is backed up by knowledgeable and thoughtful analysis of the authority of unions to ordain women? Yes, the GC has a different position.

    If I am correct you are deliberately violating GC Working Policy (sec V 05 020) and the Church Manual (Chapters 8 and 11) that tithe is paid to the local church. As the head elder, the Church Manual emphasizes your role as an example in tithe paying to the local church. I’ll leave it to others to determine if you are qualified to hold that office.




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    • Yes, I’ll probably have to resign as head elder fairly soon, probably this week… all very unfortunate and very sad and difficult for me.

      Remember now, all this just happened yesterday. I haven’t had time to deal with all of the repercussions that I will obviously have to deal with in order to remain in line with the church as an intact body of believers. However much I may personally disagree with the GC’s position on the non-fundamental topic of WO, I simply don’t think it is right to act in an independent manner outside of the church as an organized body. That’s a much worse ethical problem for me.




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      • Sean, I wasn’t meaning to be harsh and critical or trying to pick on you. I’m trying to explore and better understand the role of conferences and unions in the SDA organizational structure. Amy take is that NCC and Pacific Union are doing what GC policy allows and that there is a difference between them and the GC over who has what roles. We don’t have a hierarchy with a chain of command system. We have interrelated units with their own constituencies and their own roles and authority.




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        • Not on this particular topic when it was voted by the GC “in session”. Such a vote, by the GC “in session”, is supposed to have authority on issues like this for unions as well as conferences. There is no reasonable basis, as far as I can tell, for the separation and independent action of the conference from the GC vote, in session, on this issue – even though I really wish there were! It is even part of the bylaws of the unions and conferences. There’s just no way round it…




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        • Sean, don’t read into the 2015 San Antonio vote what isn’t there. The vote was whether “division executive committees” could make provision for ordination of women in their territories. That language does not include unions or conferences. It doesn’t even refer to a division’s subsidiary entities or other similar language to include unions and conferences. So, voting down the question only affects what division committees could do. Nothing more.




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        • I refer you again to Article VII, Section 7 of the NCC Constitution, which states:

          “The Executive Committee shall have the authority to adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its affairs and the affairs of the Conference, provided that the same are not in conflict with these Bylaws or those of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, or of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,”

          How do you get around this language? language that exists within the bylaws of every union and conference? – language that was put in place by the GC in session? – for the very reason that the GC “in session” can make policy decisions that do in fact (or should) affect and have authority within unions and conferences alike? Again, I also fail to see “kingly power” in play here. This was the decision of hundreds of delegates in session. The intent seems quite clear… at least to me. So, I fail to see how a conference acting against this decision of the GC “in session” does not qualify as a deliberate act of independence and non-recognition of the authority of the GC “in session”?




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        • @Sean Pitman: As a practical matter, the first levels to determine a conflict between the NCC constitution and bylaws and the union or GC constitution and bylaws was the executive committee when then adopted a resolution, and the constituents who approved the resolution. Of course, if the union, division or the GC thought otherwise, any one of those entities could initiate the policy provisions to ultimately adjudicate the question. Ultimately, though, under Working Policy, rescinding a policy believed to be in conflict comes back to the conference constituents to vote a removal. I don’t think that any other entity can do that on their own. So, in the end, the constituents determine a conflict and its resolution.

          I don’t see a conflict here. My view is that the union and the conference are simply exercising the authority given them under Working Policy and the applicable constitutions and bylaws. Conferences have authority to recommend pastors for ordination. Unions approve those ordinations. Gender is not a stated basis in GC policy for determining qualifications for ordination. Instead, we have tradition of not ordaining women – a tradition that is no longer as widespread as it was in the past.

          Sean, this describes why I think unions can make a good faith argument that they are not in conflict and are acting within the roles approved by policy, which itself was approved by GC Session.

          I know that the GC has a different argument. So, either this matter is resolved through some agreement or joint policy development, or the GC Administration seeks to disband the union. That starts us down the road requiring approval of the GC Executive Committee and GC Session. If successful, then the issue comes back to delegates in the union’s area. Disbanding a union wouldn’t make null any decisions of the disbanded union. Rather, new constituency delegates would have to address the question again. Same question, same geography, same general attitudes among the membership, a different result?




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        • This doesn’t make sense to me regarding church hierarchy and government. How can a conference or union define for itself if it is in or out of conflict with policy that is set by the GC in session? That makes absolutely no sense to me. It is the GC that sets policy for all underlying organizational elements who, according to their own bylaws, must abide by policies determined by the GC in session. In this line, consider the following relevant comments:

          GC Working Policy itself underscores the constitutional provisos. It is described as “the authoritative voice of the Church in all matters pertaining to the mission and to the administration of the work of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in all parts of the world” (B 15 05). Strict adherence to Policy is required of “all organizations in every part of the world field,” with “work in every organization [to] be administered in full harmony with the policies of the General Conference and of the divisions” (B 15 10, 1). All conference/mission, union and division “Officers and administrators” are, moreover, “expected to work in harmony with the General Conference Working Policy” (B 15 15). Crucially, too, “departure from these policies” requires “prior approval from the General Conference Executive Committee” (B 15 10, 1).

          What, then, does GC Working Policy indicate about the authority of constituency-based organizational units vis-à-vis the GC or division executive committees? No mission, conference, or union has a right to take unilateral decisions on important matters, or to depart from decisions taken by units at a higher level of structure with wider authority. While the local church, the conference/mission, and the union each have their own constituency and constitution, their status “is not self-generated, automatic, or perpetual.” Instead, it “is granted to a constituency as a trust . . . by an executive committee or a constituency session at higher levels of denominational organization” (B 05, 3.), only “by vote of the appropriate constituency [or] actions of properly authorized executive committees” (B 10 25).

          Recognition as a conference/mission or union brings with it decision-making authority in defined areas and the right of representation at higher levels of denominational structure, but “status” is contingent on “compliance with denominational practices and policies” and “can be reviewed, revised, amended, or withdrawn by the level of organization that granted it” (B 05, 3.). In sum, it is very clear that even though unions have their own constituencies and their own constitutions, in the interdependent Adventist system of church governance they do not have a right to disregard actions of GC Sessions or policies voted by the GC Executive Committee. This is true, too, of other organizational units. The responsibility of unions, conferences and missions, and local churches to comply with world Church “practices and policies” supersedes all other considerations. (Link)




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        • Sean, you are getting hung up by a false presumption, that is that our church is a strictly top-down hierarchy. This is not the case. The Catholic church and many others do have that structure and maybe the majority of Adventists presume it is our structure but that does not change the facts written into policy for many years. This is the crux of the controversy raging right now.
          Each level of organization has been given ‘final authority’ over various aspects of church responsibility that no other level can control. This was deliberately created to disrupt a top-down hierarchy that would violate the clear command of Christ. This is why so many are confused about what is happening and is part of why you are struggling to make sense out of all this. Your statement that ” It is the GC that sets policy for all underlying organizational elements” is not accurate. This is not how this church is organized no matter how many people try to wish it so.




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        • When it comes to setting policy, this doesn’t appear to me to be true. Policy decisions are determined by the GC in session (which isn’t “top-down” dictatorial rule since the GC in session is made up of hundreds of delegates from around the world representing a bottom-up decision making process). And, these policies, determined by the world church in session, must be recognized and followed by all other organizations within the church government – according to the bylaws of all of these various levels of organization.

          It seems to me like you’ve perhaps made assumptions and come to conclusions about church governance that just aren’t true. Certainly your comments about Mrs. White’s position on this topic don’t seem to be accurate…




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  11. Sean, I want to say that I appreciate your determination to remain faithful in this remarkable situation. I want to strongly affirm your commitment to continue to return tithe to God through His Church. It is clear that NCC and some other conferences are operating in opposition toward the Church and indeed have rather intentionally chosen a position of separation from the Church. It would be folly to see it as other than it is. Since some entities are operating in what is in essence a separated situation from the church, entirely refusing the authority of the world body, there is a logic in your decision that many will find difficult to disagree with. Since it is obvious that the members themselves in NCC are sharply divided on this question, I believe it would be well for the NCC to hold a special session to reestablish harmony with the world church and with their own members. I personally entertain the hope that the members of NCC and other entities which are in a position of separation from the church will rethink and repent of their voted actions which have placed them in defiance.




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    • I really hope you’re right. It would be wonderful if the NCC somehow came up with a rethink of this whole situation and what it means to many members who wish to remain in line with the church as an organized body of believers.




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    • @Larry Kirkpatrick: Pastor Kirkpatrick, it seems to me that it is one thing to make strong statements that NCC and Pacific Union are in conflict with GC policy. It’s quite another thing to make a unilateral declaration that they are separated from the church body. My reading of GC Working Policy is that only the GC Session can disband a union – separating it from the organization. Does your exclusion of NCC and Pacific Union, without any GC Session vote, say more about how quickly you would reject those in disagreement rather than what entities are part of the sisterhood of unions?




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      • What is clear is that the NCC has chosen to act contrary to a policy decision of the church body – the GC “in session”. That’s the problem here. A union need not be official “disbanded” before one can clearly recognize that it has deliberately separated itself from the body of the church to take independent actions on various points of contention.




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      • @Brent Stanyer: You either misrepresent or misunderstand. My meaning was that the administration of NCC (with a number of delegates) has intentionally chosen a position of separation toward the world church. This separation is manifested in a vote exceeding the grant of authority the Church makes to them as a conference, in a practice which the world church has quite specifically NOT approved. The world church, operating within its appropriate purview, has not approved the ordination of women. NCC has voted to follow a different practice, even though the world church does not grant to individual conferences the authority to set criteria for ordination. Really, more than all of this, the NCC administration has generated its position of separation not at random but by putting into practice a different plan for interpreting the Bible than is the practice of the Church. Meanwhile, not all NCC stands in this separated position, for a significant percentage of constituency delegates agrees with SP, at least to the point of viewing the decision to act in opposition toward the world church to be something they cannot agree with. I was pointing not to a declaration by myself but to the repeated voted actions of the NCC–actions which are separating the NCC from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I cannot help but wonder if it is really the will of the broader NCC constituency to have leaders who are leading the conference into this situation. But whatever you or I think, time will tell. It always does.




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        • @Larry Kirkpatrick: Yes, Pastor Kirkpatrick, time will tell. And, every administrator, pastor, delegate, member in NCC and the Pacific Union are every bit as much part of the church as you or I. Claiming separation is simply your rhetorical attempt to dismiss them based on your disagreement with them. It might mean something to you, but has no effect on who is part of the church or which conference and unions are part of the sisterhood of unions and conferences. All of us are working through these issues together as we determine how to handle our differences. I trust that God will bless us in that endeavor.




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        • The problem is one of church order and government. If the topic of ordination was under the jurisdiction of the General Conference “in session” to decide, then those who went against such a decision would in fact be out of line with the very basis of church order and government – a concept which is in fact fundamental to the church. In this particular case of ordination, however, I’ve recently realized (through a particular conversation I had late yesterday with a higher-ranking leader in the church) that it isn’t exactly clear that the GC, even when in session, has “final authority” on the topic. It seems like this authority as been given to the union conference level within the church – similar to the final authority of individual churches to decide on church membership (which the GC cannot do, even in session, according to church policy). And, it seems unwise to try to dictate to unions on this topic to the point of threatening to dissolve unions who don’t implement or agree with the official voted “recommendation” of the world church over a non-fundamental policy issue on ordination. Such a nuclear option over a non-fundamental issue that is not clearly under the jurisdiction of the world church seems like it is perhaps an overreach at this point.




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        • @Sean Pitman: On the contrary, the GC has such authority. The GC sets the criteria for ordination; unions decide who meet those criteria but do not set the criteria. You can read a short item on this very question here:

          http://www.fulcrum7.com/blog/2016/10/10/gods-end-time-church-is-to-be-an-organized-church

          If the unions have the kind of authority we (suddenly) hear that they have, then what use is the GC? (If Divisions and Unions have this authority, then why did they seek for permission via the GC session to make provision for the ordination of women in their territories?) If the Church has no ability to establish global cohesion of belief and practice, then the Church is fundamentally broken and fundamentally effectively regionally congregational. Then when conferences in the Pacific Union feel its time for LGBTQ, you’ll be faced with the same questions about fundamental loyalty.




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        • At this point in my understanding of church government (an understanding which is obviously changing over time and is still fairly tentative) it seems to me that the world church in session has the power to make new doctrinal statements and changes. However, the ordination issue is not one of the official church doctrines. Therefore, the GC in session cannot dictate regarding the policies of unions on the topic of ordination because the unions have been given “final authority” on this topic (like the “final authority” given to individual churches regarding church membership). As far as I can tell at the moment, there seems to be nothing that the world church can do about this (short of the “nuclear option” of taking over a union – over a non-fundamental issue) unless it actually turns ordination into a fundamental doctrinal matter… which seems like it might be rather difficult to do.




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        • @Sean Pitman: With all due respect, I think you are making the same mistake that many in our church are making today regarding the acceptance of the “fundamentals” as our “creed.” Because of what Ellen White said about creeds, Adventists have studiously avoided using the word, but nonetheless have adopted a creed under the title of “fundamental beliefs.”

          The problem with choosing to only accept as one’s beliefs what happens to have been voted on as a “fundamental” is that Ellen White said we should do no such thing: we are to have only one creed–the Bible. Because we have erred from this divine counsel, we now have a situation where many important doctrines are not recognized as doctrines–including ordination. What does “doctrine” mean? It means “teaching.” Do we teach about ordination? We certainly do. But to illustrate the importance of this shift away from a Biblical creed to a “fundamentals” creed, consider another one: forgiveness. That’s not among the “fundamentals.” Why? Jesus said if we do not forgive our brethren, H will not forgive us. Fundamental or not, it is crucial to our salvation. I’d say it’s a fundamental.

          Am I in rebellion against the world church for believing in forgiveness when it is not a voted doctrine of the church? If so, should my local church disfellowship me? Call me an apostate if you will, but I accept what J. N. Loughborough and James White so clearly stated: making a creed was a step toward apostasy. Ellen White affirmed that we should have no creed other than the Bible.

          Our church has made some missteps. One was permitting women elders. One was making the “fundamental beliefs” and enforcing them. The recent action of the GC Annual Council took a step toward enforcement of those. This is disturbing.




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        • I’m sorry, but the concept of “ordination” isn’t really in the Bible at all – at least not as it is currently practiced in the church. It is more akin, currently, to Catholic practices of creating hierarchical leadership positions – which really weren’t part of the early Christian church where no one was called “father” or anything else except for “brother” or “sister” all equally under the kingship of God. Therefore, the concept of ordination, as it is currently practiced, in no way qualifies as a fundamental doctrinal issue.

          Beyond this, without actual enforcement of the primary goals and ideals of the church upon its own official representatives, some actually discipline, you don’t have an functional organization. You’ve just got chaos.

          You need to read what James White and J.N. Loughborough wrote about and even Mrs. White wrote about church order, government, and discipline after they finally figured out that these things were not really all that bad after all, but were actually required for larger organizations – and that specifically stated doctrinal positions (particular interpretations of the Bible and the church’s unique collective views on what the Bible actually says) were needed as a basis of unity for the growing church as well as a basis to establish a unified message to the world.

          The difference here, of course, is that a “creed” cannot be changed or modified while the SDA fundamental beliefs can be as new truths come to light – which is a significant difference.




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        • @Sean Pitman: Sean, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, and thinking through this in a public forum. Your update, the original post, and the comments, have prompted me to clarify my own thinking on the organizational challenges ahead.

          Your point about the Adventist organizational structure and how authority is dispersed among entities (GC, Union, and Conference) is key. These entities each have their own constituencies, and exercise final authority over matters in their jurisdiction. Decisions within that jurisdiction are made by them, not for them. Yes, the GC has its own jurisdiction, and makes its own decisions through its Executive Committee or GC Session, but it doesn’t have the jurisdiction to overrule the decisions of other entities acting within their jurisdiction. The tensions inherent in that system seem to cause much of the dispute over how some unions and conferences are exercising their independent jurisdiction over ordination. There are tensions between the policy jurisdiction of the GC versus the pastor and ordination decision making of the Unions and Conferences. Current policy is not as clear as opponent to WO argue that it is. Several other tensions are also at play – one’s view on whether women should be pastors (even though this is settled in GC policy), whether ordination should be male only, and preferences for local or centralized authority, etc. will make this matter a difficult challenge.

          Often left out of the discussions, is that while all of the disputes and debates are occurring, and study documents and policy changes are considered, women are effectively working right now as pastors – blessing their congregations and communities with their service. Let’s enhance the ministry of all pastors – men and women – with our time, talent and money, instead of the nuclear options.




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        • Yes, this does seem to be the case when it comes to the topic of ordination in particular. And, I also agree that it sure would be nice to avoid the “nuclear options” that some are trying to put on the table…




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  12. I keep hearing they are going against GC which is technically true, but they are really going against the whole world wide church which is some what implied but just stating the GC does not do the issue justice. The problem with saying they are going against the GC, one continues to think it is just a handful of men out of touch with reality and the local church, which is not the case. The Northern California Conference is really saying they are more in tuned to what our Lord would have God’s church do then literally hundreds of dedicated lay men and women, very experienced Pastors, Bible scholars and elected administrators from all around the world, who studied, prayed, investigated, and hashed out this very issue. In a sense a handful of people in the Northern California Conference are better informed and equipped to guide the church…. so we each can go our own way. I believe this is very slippery slope to proceed on. I would imagine if some off shoot group with in their own geographical bondaries would try to do something similar in doctrine or practice not sanctioned by their conference after the conference had taken under consideration whatever matter it would be and also voted on it .They would either censor them or disfellowship them. Humility is a difficult thing for human beings.




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    • The problem is that, even if a person does know better, that person still shouldn’t act independent of the church as a body. That person should work from within the church to change it – not just go off by him/herself and do his/her own thing if he/she actually wants to be part of the body of Christ. The strong should bear with the weak and work at a slower pace than they themselves may otherwise like to proceed (Romans 15:1).




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    • skip mcclannahan: The Northern California Conference is really saying they are more in tuned to what our Lord would have God’s church do then literally hundreds of dedicated lay men and women, very experienced Pastors, Bible scholars and elected administrators from all around the world, who studied, prayed, investigated, and hashed out this very issue.

      I find these comments somewhat amazing given that the GC deliberately and openly ignored the very group of people I presume you refer to here. If one honestly examines the conclusions of the TOSC it would be impossible to insist that the NCC is contradicting their conclusions – that simply is wishful thinking on the part of those who did not like how that turned out. My question would be, why did the GC leaders choose to completely ignore the findings of these people that cost them over a million dollars to conduct this study? Why did men at top levels of the church carefully orchestrate all sorts of things to push through their own agenda instead of honestly and openly taking into serious consideration the findings of this committee? Because they did not like it so they chose to compel the world church to vote on something the GC has never had authority over for many years.
      I also have a serious question regarding your stance on the GC in session as unquestionably the highest authority of God on earth. The way you are relating to it along with many others seems strongly to be based on a presumption that is another way of saying that the GC in session is infallible. I realize those are strong words, but so too is the stance of all who insist on this being the final word. Are we claiming that when we get enough people together in the name of Adventism that we can claim the same boastful authority that the pope claims for himself? Are we suggesting that every decision of the GC in session is therefore to never be questioned and that they are all truthful and in the best interest of God’s work on earth? I shudder at such claims knowing human nature and the tendency of humans to be influenced and even corrupted by power, even large groups of people. This is also in direct contradiction to the plain teachings of Jesus that His people will not participate in a hierarchical way of relating to each other. It also presumes that the GC can do no wrong, a claim I could never countenance. Something has gone tragically wrong in the way many have come to view authority I’m afraid. We have been seduced into believing that God exercises authority the way we do here on earth which is a travesty.




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      • No one is saying that the GC in session is “infallible”. This does not mean, however, that the GC in session has no authority or that decisions that we may not like can simply be ignored. Such a situation does not a viable organization make…




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  13. We have repeatedly been taught not to send tithe to offshoots, for good reason. If an entity decides to go against a GC Session vote, at what point does that entity cross a line and become an offshoot?

    And if, wherever that line is, that line is crossed, why would an officer of a local church within that conference have to resign, if that local church also believes the local conference should adhere to that GC Session vote?

    The situation would be different if there was a plain and clear Thus saith the Lord as justification for disregarding the GC Session vote, since the Bible is a higher authority than a GC Session.




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  14. Sean, you mention this is not about fundamental beliefs. I am no pastor, but don’t we have one about the priesthood of all believers and everyone being equal without predjudice in our church? It is within GC policy for women to be pastors, but men are ordained and women are commissioned. That is like the “separate but equal?” schools in segregated America. If ordination is a recognition of God’s call to a person as a pastor, then why do women get a separate type? Yes the GC session is important, but I listened to those in SA boo a former GC president and heard reports of underlings being told how they were supposed to vote. The NAD president did not get to speak about the impact on our mission. There were also reports that other parts of the world were sick of being bullied by the NAD in the past, and now that they had greater numbers, were going to put us in our place. I also do not understand why you are upset at your conference leaders. They do not control the votes of the constituents and did put the item on the agenda. I would suggest giving yourself some time before making a decision. It is never wise to act when angry or upset. Pray about it first.




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    • I have prayed and thought about these things extensively. And, I’m not upset with the conference leadership. I have no idea how they voted and they didn’t try to influence the vote one way or the other. In short, they’re not the ones who made the decision. It was the conference delegates who voted to keep the conference out of compliance with the world church as a body – to remain rogue and act independently.

      Again, I don’t personally like the decision made by the GC in session on the topic of WO. I think I’ve made that quite clear. However, just because I don’t like the decision doesn’t mean that it isn’t binding if I wish to remain part of the church body. Like it or not, the GC decisions while “in session” are and should be binding on all levels of church government. If changes need to be made, and I believe that they do, they should be made from within the church itself through proper means and methods – not independent of the church as an organization.




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  15. Sean,

    I can easily follow your reasoning here! The GC in Session has spoken. Normally, people would respect their decision. The fact that so many around the world are unsettled by it, is sufficent cause to believe that it was premature to take the vote in the first place. Also, one must believe that the issues will be revisited. Before that happens however, the GC would be well advised that they have arrived at a consensus position that will stick. (No Adventist Church Board in its right mind would vote on a contenscious issue they knew would not provide a satisfying approach to the issue. However, the GC did exactly this). However unseemly it is for disunity between church entities to exist to this degree, it probably will ensure that the issues are revisited sooner rather than later. May I humbly suggest that, before this happens, that we find a way to cultivate a more united view on the nature of ordination.

    The battle is on between those who see huge theological objections to the ordination of women and those who see huge ethical objections if we do not permit the ordination of women. The options provided for the resolution of this dilemma for the most part involve the taking of either the theological high ground or to take the moral high ground. I say “A plague on both their houses.” Both options for the most part seek to work within what I can only describe as a very brittle paradigm that is even now very broken.

    The consensus-building that I advocate seeks to re-envision the nature of Adventist leadership, ministry & mission. It seeks a revitalized understanding of the nature of ‘ordination’ if we like that terminology. To deconstruct the term and to build a new paradigm concerning Adventist leadership, gospel ministry and mission is our present and most urgent task. This new paradigm concerns all that we conceive Adventist leadership and gospel ministry and service to be. It will include a renewed theology of appointment to leadership and the associated policy guidelines for doing so. We dare not avoid doing this essential study and consensus building of a new paradigm if we desire unity!

    Such a consensus-building process will involve the following four elements:

    1. A renewed Adventist mission driven hermeneutic distilled from the Scriptural meta-narrative of the missio Dei and the ministry of Jesus to be continued by his people is fundamental if we are to understand the nature of Adventist leadership and thus the purpose of ‘ordination.’ People such as Bertil Wiklander, Jan Barna, Cristian Dumitrescu and Fernando Canale are Adventist scholars who have done a lot of this preliminary work for us.

    2. Based on such hermeneutics, study should be given to producing a comprehensive theology of Adventist leadership, gospel ministry and mission. Again, Adventists have much material at their fingertips already of this nature.

    3. Based on such a theology, foundational principles should be developed and enunciated to guide policy formulation of things like ‘ordination’ and credentialing. The two foundational ecclesiological principles contained in the Study of Church Governance and Unity document surely leave much to be desired.

    4. Only then should our renewed ‘ordination’ and credentialing policy formulation begin .

    If we attempt to bypass any of these four steps we will fail of ever building consensus on these issues. We may surprise ourselves as a global faith communion how compelling and inviting such work can be.




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  16. Sean Pitman:
    This doesn’t make sense to me regarding church hierarchy and government. How can a conference or union define for itself if it is in or out of conflict with policy that is set by the GC in session?That makes absolutely no sense to me.It is the GC that sets policy for all underlying organizational elements who, according to their own bylaws, must abide by policies determined by the GC in session.In this line, consider the following relevant comments:

    Sean, sorry if I wasn’t clear. All that I meant about a conference or union making the initial decision about conflict was this: When NCC make its original decision to forward women’s names to the union for ordination, it would have given some thought to its authority and whether its decision was within policy. Likewise, when the union, in its session, made a decision to ordain women, it would have made some type of determination of whether it was in policy – especially since Elder Wilson was present to state the GC’s case.




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    • I don’t think that’s true. They knew full well that they were acting outside of established policy and the decision of the GC in session – a decision that their own bylaws require then to accept. Yet, they decided to do ignore policy, their own policy, anyway… regardless of previously set bylaws, policy, or any other established basis of world-wide church order and government…




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  17. Sean, I appreciate your desire to please God in all things, which comes out plainly in your post and in your comments. May God continue to guide you into all truth, and into the path you should pursue in these difficult times for our church. I will pray for you, and for me, and indeed, all who are impacted by these events.

    I find the following citation thought provoking in light of current controversies:
    “It has been a necessity to organize union conferences, that the General Conference shall not exercise dictation over all the separate conferences.” EGW in 4 MR 292

    I’m not sure exactly how that citation applies to your dilemma, but the Holy Spirit knows! May He anoint your mind with heaven’s wisdom.




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    • It seems to me that the unions were established as a buffer between the conferences and the General Conference leadership. However, it is not so clear to me that this also applies to the world church “in session”. There seems to be a few reasonable questions in this regard on both sides of the current issue. Therefore, I’m willing to wait and see if time and additional discussion will clarify this issue…




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    • Cindy: It is not the General Conference; it is the entire World Church voting several times on the issue at a General Conference meeting. You are taking the quote out of context.




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    • Cindy: I’m not sure how your quote applies to “light of current controversies” since it is a quote taken out of context. The General Conference — and a vote of the World Church Delegates at a General Conference session — are two different topics.




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  18. I suggest that each man goes to his family and call his wife and his children together and start the process of ordaining his wife to be the elder of the house FIRST,or ordain your wife to be priest in the house.If we have not done it at home(the church at home in our houses) then ……….do not try it in local church,conference church,union,division or even at General conference

    Pauline writings instruct order…family or society or government.tHERE IS ORDER BETWEEN MUM AND DAD,ORDER BETWEEN CHILDREN AND PARENTS AND ORDER IN SOCIETY AND GOVERNMENTS




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    • Nowhere does the Bible say that the head of the home (the husband) must also be the head outside the home. In fact, I would be pretty upset if some other man, just because he is a man, claimed to be in charge of my wife. I’m her husband, nobody else. What then gives any other man an automatic leadership position over my wife in any position? – outside of Jesus of course who is the head of all – men, women, angels, and everyone else.




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  19. S. Heisey: To create a doctrine where there is no direct instruction appears to be ADDING to the Holy Scriptures.

    This reminds me of the following incident. John and James complained that someone who was not a disciple was performing miracles in Jesus’ name. Notice how Jesus responded to this departure from accepted policy:

    “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us. But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.” [Mark 9:38-39]

    Some unions have slightly departed from the traditional manner in carrying the Gospel forward, and the church has reacted by producing a plethora of documents and wasted millions of dollars in order to forbid what is nowhere forbidden in Scripture. We would be wise, I believe, in stopping this nonsense.




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  20. Henry C Hills: Paul prohibits women from speaking in public (1 Corinthians 14:34-35) as well as stating that a man is to be a bishop and the husband of one wife. Is it rightly dividing the word to allow women to speak in Church against Paul’s counsel and to be dogmatic about adhering to his counsel regarding the bishop having to be a man? That lack of consistency is confusion, it is not of God.

    Excellent quote!




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  21. @Cindy Tutsch:

    Cindy Tutsch:
    I find the following citation thought provoking in light of current controversies:
    “It has been a necessity to organize union conferences, that the General Conference shall not exercise dictation over all the separate conferences.” EGW in 4 MR 292

    Hi Cindy.

    Would not this statement be talking about the GC rather than a GC Session?

    In some discussions I’ve seen, it seems like some are applying counsel regarding the GC to a GC Session, which is understandable given that the names for each are almost identical. But the GC and a GC Session are quite different.

    If the above quote were to be applied to a GC Session, that would be like saying that the decision of the council of Acts 15 was optional, and local churches, James, Paul, and the Judaizers could take it or leave it. That just doesn’t sound like what Acts 15 is all about.




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  22. Nic Samojluk: Some unions have slightly departed from the traditional manner in carrying the Gospel forward, and the church has reacted by producing a plethora of documents and wasted millions of dollars in order to forbid what is nowhere forbidden in Scripture. We would be wise, I believe, in stopping this nonsense.

    Hi Nic.

    Seems to me that disregarding a GC Session vote is essentially forbidden in Scripture. The issue Sean is highlighting here is not WO, but rather disregarding a GC Session vote.




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  23. Wow! The steady stream of excellent Creationism discussions have suddenly morphed into tithing and the withholding thereof. Quite a radical departure. While I would urge that you continue the former, I would strongly recommend that you thoroughly review the tithing practice. You need no help with the former, but permit me to offer some sketchy facts on the latter. For a thorough review, please consult your Bible–any scholarly Bible version except for J. J. Blanco’s Clear Word “Bible”, which offers additions, subractions, and alterations, thus rendering it completely unsuitable for serious Bible students.

    While Melchizedekan tithing is mentioned in both Genesis and Hebrews, the SDA tithing system is not patterned after it, but rather, the Aaronic tithing practice. Interestingly, the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) does distinguish between an Aaronic priesthood and a Melchizedek priesthood.

    The Aaronic tithing system was ordered by God on Mt. Sinai for the specific purpose of supporting the tribe of Levi, as the Levites were not going to receive an inheritance, and the other 11 tribes were to support Levi with 10% for the Levite service in the Temple in offering sacrifices to God for remission of sin. The Levites served as an interface between Israel and God. The sacrifices all pointed toward the coming of the Messiah, that ultimate sacrificial lamb. That tithing system was to last until there was no further need of animal sacrifices. Please consult Daniel 9:27, where in the middle of the 69th week, the Messiah would “cause the sacrifice of oblation to cease”.

    Well, the Temple sacrifices did NOT cease in A.D. 30-31 with the crucifixion of Jesus. They continued until July 17, A.D. 70, just a few days prior to the Roman destruction of the Temple. They should have ceased then, as the veil between the Holy and Most Holy Place rent from top to bottom, signifying that God’s place on earth was vacated. With no more sacrificial requirements, the Levite ministry came to a conclusion for all those who accepted the Messiah as Son of God, and thus, the tithing system came to an abrupt conclusion as well.

    Interestingly, Deuteronomy 14 describes tithes being also used for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow (the poor).

    Did the early Christians tithe? Absolutely not. To have paid a tithe for the support of the Temple and its sacrifices would have been tantamount to denying the coming of the Messiah for remission of sin. Furthermore, it would have supported the entity that was directly responsible for the death of the Savior and the persecution and deaths of many early Christians. They did not tithe at all. By that time, they were giving far more than 10%. They supported the gospel with everything they had, including their lives. So, while God instituted the Aaronic (Levite) tithing system, it came to an end with the crucifixion of Jesus. Thereafter, God’s true followers (Christians) were required to follow all the way at whatever cost, not just 10%.

    Mormons determined in the early 1800’s that extracting 10% from its members would cause the movement to grow rapidly. It did. Today, LDS continues the practice, but essentially does not have a paid clergy, and the financial resources of this church structure are immense. The SDA church did not initially begin advocating a tithing system, but soon found that it would work well. I would not be surprised if the SDA church borrowed this concept from LDS.

    At any rate, the SDA church maintained that the tithe (10%) was only to be used for the support of ministers, Bible teachers, etc.). Other church ventures were to be paid for out of freewill offerings. For some, it is a huge leap to translate 10% of earnings to support the tribe of Levi as commanded by God to a different non-sacrificial system thousands of years later. I know of no Levite priests or ministers in either the LDS or the SDA church. As a matter of fact, the LDS refers to all non-Mormons as “gentiles”. Thus, even the Jews are gentiles as far as they are concerned!

    As the worldwide SDA church grew, a small problem developed. In the North American Division, there developed a huge excess of “tithe” funds. In the other world Divisions, there was an excess of non-tithe funds. So, how is the church supposed to handle a situation where supposedly only “tithe” money is to be used for the support of the ministry? Well, this is how it works. The local conference collects the tithe from all the churches and keeps a certain percentage for paying the pastors. It sends a huge chunk on to the local Union Conference (at one time it was about 40%, but can vary). The Union Conference keeps a piece of that and sends the remainder on to the General Conference.

    Meanwhile, world Divisions have an excess of non-tithe money and send this to the General Conference as well. In the past, it worked to the advantage of the world Divisions, as they generally got more for their non-tithe money that they submitted. After this little accounting trick at the G.C. level, excess tithe money is used in the rest of the world, while the “tithe” money suddenly becomes “non-tithe” money and via a system of reversions, reverts back to the local conferences. What do you suppose God thinks of all this? The Aaronic priesthood is long gone, sacrifices are long gone, and now we’re using accounting tricks to whitewash tithe money in order to maintain it is only to be used for the ministry? Is God amused? Perplexed? Saddened?

    As for ordination of women, it would seem to me that God commanded all of us to spread the gospel in Matthew 28 and Mark 16. The issue has been brewing in the SDA church for decades. Neal Wilson was adamantly opposed to the idea, and his son Ted obviously feels the same. Are there other more central concerns to the gospel?

    As for the creation of Union Conferences, it might be pointed out that several decades ago, there was quite a movement toward consolidation of Union Conferences, as much of the work was duplicative and wasteful. Those with a higher degree of resource conservation were in favor of consolidation. Those whose administrative positions were at stake, were adamantly opposed. If my memory serves me, both sides quoted Ellen White for their positions! Finding support for both sides was not difficult.

    If you feel compelled to pay 10% of your earnings to a man-made organization, please feel free to contribute to which ever organization suits you best, as there is no Biblical instruction as to where those funds are to be deposited today. However, if you organize a mass rebellion in your church to send your church’s tithe funds to another conference, first consider the consequences. Check the title of your local church building. If it is held in the name of your local conference, as it most certainly is, you should first check with the officers of such conference and ask what the repercussions would be if the church should no longer channel tithe funds in the usual way. If the owner’s response is that the church body would be expected to vacate the premises, you should start looking for new facilities immediately.

    I think you should be commended for your boldness. However, is this the hill you really want to die on? Why not send the conference the ultimatum that it should no longer support via financial contributions of any kind to any educational institution that advocates evolutionary theory? The conference should send no money to such institution, no students to such institution, etc. After all, if there is no Creator God, there is no need for a Savior for remission of sins. Furthermore, such a doctrine is directly contrary to the G.C. statement of beliefs, is it not? So, after issuing such an ultimatum, if there is no positive response, withhold tithes. If the conference evicts the serious church members for such, next appeal to the General Conference and see what kind of war ensues. It might make interesting reading in the pages of the Adventist Review, or maybe Christianity Today. At any rate, you would be taking a strong stand for the Creator God. While you’re at it, also insist that such pagan practices as yoga, tai chi, contemplative prayer, and other mystical practices be banned in SDA churches, educational, and medical facilities within the conference.

    May God richly bless your efforts in teaching Creationism.




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    • The problem I have with your comments on tithing is that Mrs. White has quite a lot to say about tithing herself – comments that don’t seem to me to go along well with many of your conclusions.

      As far as “hills to die on”, I do the best I can with what I think I know at the current time…




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  24. Sean Pitman:
    The problem is one of church order and government.If the topic of ordination was under the jurisdiction of the General Conference “in session” to decide, then those who went against such a decision would in fact be out of line with the very basis of church order and government – a concept which is in fact fundamental to the church.In this particular case of ordination, however, I’ve recently realized (through a particular conversation I had late yesterday with a higher-ranking leader in the church) that it isn’t exactly clear that the GC, even when in session, has “final authority” on the topic.It seems like this authority as been given to the union conference level within the church – similar to the final authority of individual churches to decide on church membership (which the GC cannot do, even in session, according to church policy). And, it seems unwise to try to dictate to unions on this topic to the point of threatening to dissolve unions who don’t implement or agree with the official voted “recommendation” of the world church over a non-fundamental policy issue on ordination.Such a nuclear option over a non-fundamental issue that is not clearly under the jurisdiction of the world church seems like it is perhaps an overreach at this point.

    Church order and government was well established in Christ’s day. But the leaders of the Church in Christ’s Day misused their authority and pushed the Romans to crucify Him. Instead of using the established Church order and government to get the gospel to the world, God had to leave it behind and establish a new Church order and government. The same thing happened when Rome went astray and when the Protestant Reformation went astray.

    The last church (Laodicea) is reproved for thinking that it has need of nothing and counseled to make changes, The Lord identified the problem and gave the right counsel. The organized church may not make it through to the kingdom, but God’s church will as it was in the examples cited.

    “Much of the preaching of late begets a false security. Important interests in the cause of God cannot be wisely managed by those who have had so little real connection with God as some of our ministers have had. To entrust the work to such men is like setting children to manage great vessels at sea. Those who are destitute of heavenly wisdom, destitute of living power with God, are not competent to steer the gospel ship amid icebergs and tempests. The church is passing through severe conflicts, but in her peril many would trust her to hands that will surely wreck her. We need a pilot on board now, for we are nearing the harbor. As a people we should be the light of the world. But how many are foolish virgins, having no oil in their vessels with their lamps. May the Lord of all grace, abundant in mercy, full of forgiveness, pity and save us, that we perish not with the wicked!” {5T 104.4}




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    • I’m sorry, but I believe that the current nature of the organization of the SDA Church is Divinely inspired. A large church without rules or organized government simply isn’t effective, but chaotic.




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  25. You made an excellent point when you pointed out that Ellen White made quite a few comments about tithing. May I suggest that you spend more time with the Greater Light, as you will find considerable internal conflict with the Lesser Light. You will always find unadulterated truth in the Greater Light.




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    • I do read the Bible extensively on a very regular basis – and have done so since childhood. However, I simply do not see the inconsistencies that you see with the writing of Mrs. White – someone I consider to have also been directly inspired and given specific light and privileged information on the topic of tithing that is not at all inconsistent with the Bible as far as I am able to tell.




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    • @Kenneth Christman, M.D.:

      I might point out Sean, that most “evangelism” is not done today by the “official’ SDA church. Independent ministries do more evangelizing than the official church.

      That the church is fragmenting is obvious. It may not be the ideal that God intended in the beginning. But the positive result will be that each individual member will be “forced” to decide for themselves and not simply say, “Well, the church has said.”

      The definition of the church is up in the air for many for various reasons, and you also are now confronted with a dilemma that others have had to deal with on various levels.

      The the issue of creation vs. evolution, male headship, the Gay agenda, Women’s rights and more and more issues will arise as time goes by. Loyalty to the church will get no one to heaven. Loyalty to the bible is the sole test of true Christian faith.

      If we as a people were more biblically literate, at least some of the conflict would never have happened. Under the circumstances, it may be God’s will for the purpose of creating division that will eventually draw like minded people into one common faith. As in the case of WO vs. male headship, it can be viewed as a Korah rebellion against church authority by the male headship faction. Or, a Martin Luther reformation to liberate women from slavery by the WO faction. So everyone will be forced to decide which side they are on, just like the Reformation of the 16th century.

      EGW constantly reminds us that only those who have fortified their minds with bible truth will be kept from the final delusion that is sweeping the world today and the SDA church is not immune from this delusion.

      It was nice to see Hubb is alive and well. Hang in there old friend. The A-tomorrow forum was long ago.
      Keep the faith




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  26. Sean your reasoning concerning the vote is correct. The issue is governance and not ordination. I do not think many of the delegates understood the issue correctly, thinking that they were voting for ordination or no ordination. The conference leadership failed to make the issue clear to the delegates. Those, who have justified the vote and the position that the Union has taken, do not appreciate the ramification of their position or do not care. Even if there were a technicality loop-hole, to think that it is ok for a Union or Conference to go its own way separate from the body is Satanic reasoning. It is the same reasoning Satan used to separate himself from the government of God. Now concerning your dilemma regarding tithe and resigning your office as head elder, I would suggest you use the same thinking you have stated regarding what the Conference should do. The Conference should work with the GC to find a way to come into compliance with the “body’. My suggestion is that you do the same with the Conference. Work with the Conference as head elder of your Church and continue to give your tithe to the Conference. I believe that the Conference is continuing to give its portion of tithe to the Union and the Union is passing on its portion of the tithe to the Division and so on. Your example will be the example the Conference should follow.




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  27. Sean Pitman:
    I’m sorry, but I believe that the current nature of the organization of the SDA Church is Divinely inspired.A large church without rules or organized government simply isn’t effective, but chaotic.

    Sean, thanks for sharing. You’ve done an excellent job in reporting this issue.

    I agree with you that God established the current organization that is the SDA Church. But He also established the organization that became the Church of Christ’s Day. And God established the Apostolic Church that morphed into the Roman System. And God established the system that developed from the Protestant Reformation. And in each instance that which God established apostatized from God.

    So the real issue is not:
    Has God established the current organization that is the SDA Church?
    But rather:
    Has the SDA Church organization that God established apostatized from God?

    If the SDA Church organization that God established has apostatized from God THEN what is the recourse of the Unions, Conferences, and Members?

    The message to the Laodiceasns (the last church era revealed in Revelation) is to stay true to Christ. To him who overcometh…




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    • Staying true to God is primary. However, the organization of His church is so important that I plan to stay with it as long as it does not officially recant it’s fundamental positions and embrace clearly erroneous doctrinal positions.




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  28. Sean Pitman:
    I do read the Bible extensively on a very regular basis – and have done so since childhood.However, I simply do not see the inconsistencies that you see with the writing of Mrs. White – someone I consider to have also been directly inspired and given specific light and privileged information on the topic of tithing that is not at all inconsistent with the Bible as far as I am able to tell.

    Those who prayerfully read the Scriptures and use the Lesser Light as it was intended are blessed more than those who do not. Praise God that the Greater and Lesser lights that He placed in our dark world are being the blessing to those us use them that God ordained. It is sad that everyone is not availing themselves of these blessings to the uttermost.

    [had the Greater and Lesser Lights been allowed to do their work in each and every soul without Satan’s shadow being cast over the saints, we would not be discussing church division, but church unity]




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  29. “It has recently come to my attention that the governance of the Seventh-day Adventist Church may not be set up in such a way that the General Conference, even in session, has an entirely clear path to dictate to unions or their conferences on the topic of ordination in particular.”

    Does this mean that each group — General Conference administration, World Church at General Conference meeting (with vote), Unions, and Conferences can all do what is right in their own eyes?

    When the Spirit is missing; we argue legal in/outs and wording of human laws. Jesus just knelt, prayed, sweat blood, and submitted. Can Conferences, Unions, and women kneel, pray, sweat, and submit? We have a creative God who will bless sincere submission with more than we can ever ask or think — Conferences, Unions, and women will be blessed. I do not see WO in the bible. I think God has an order of leaders and helpers who will be blessed in their roles and duties.




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    • Evidently, the “final authority” within the Seventh-day Adventist church for the question of who may or may not be ordained as a pastor rests with the union conferences, not with the General Conference (except that unions are supposed to follow the GC’s Working Policies regarding ordination – policies that do not yet explicitly forbid the ordination of women). In this way, church governance is diffused and decentralized – at least that was the original goal of establishing the Unions within the church government.

      Now, one may disagree with the decision of a union or conference on the issue of ordination, but it turns out that the church has not defined ordination as a doctrinal concept or even a moral issue. It is therefore officially just a non-doctrinal policy issue.




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  30. Sean, I commend you for your report on the NCC’s actions and your personal reaction toward it. Educate Truth has done a powerful service to the church and to individual readers in its pursuit of faithfully reporting issues regarding a fundamental doctrine of the church–Creationism. Whether or not the teaching of evolution as a true science in harmony with scripture is removed from our institutions, you have done your part in informing your readers. You are not responsible or have the power to transform your readers.

    The same is true regarding the issue of church governance and how we should relate to the issue of GC authority in the cases you have stated. We may or may not agree, but it is not within our authority as individual members or as individual conferences to defy that authority.

    Thank you for your sincere and careful presentation in this article. I plan to forward it to dozens on my mailing list. I am of the persuasion that we are leading into extremely difficult times within the church. And the enemy of souls is clapping and cheering that he can bring about a breaking away of one of the great conferences of the Church. NCC has had important role to play. I think of the work of Amazing facts within that area and God’s blessing of its wide ministry. To have our world work disrupted, to have the sense of brotherhood diminished, and to have a spirit of dissension among the remnant church means success to only once source. The great controversy between Christ and Satan is raging. Sadly, it has entered the hearts and thinking within the church and NCC is opening the door for others to follow.

    Blessings to you, Sean, for your determination to stay “within the ship” as EGW as counselled. I am with you. I pray that there will yet be a rethinking of the NCC action and an eventual change in that determination.




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  31. Hubert F. Sturges: If some of those new pastors happen to be women, and they have a demonstrated interest and talent for winning souls, and are willing to see this as their most important work; I say “More power to them.” We need them.

      (Quote)

    Why do they have to be pastors to do this work? Let’s stick to God’s ordained method for church administration. Male headship was ordained by God before sin entered. Adam was king and priest in the home. Eve was his “help meet” or supporting cast. And this has been the norm in the family, the church and society in general for thousands of years. How come all the sudden this order of authority is now abandon for “higher enlightenment” that goes beyond the biblical norm?




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  32. Sean Pitman:
    Staying true to God is primary.However, the organization of His church is so important that I plan to stay with it as long as it does not officially recant it’s fundamental positions and embrace clearly erroneous doctrinal positions.

    I too am of that view. Pray for the church and encourage it to take the right action.




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  33. Sean Pitman:
    Not true.Uzzah deliberately ignored opportunities given to him to know the truth. His was not sincere or honest ignorance, but deliberate ignorance…

    Please note that I did not say Uzzah was not ignorant. I certainly agree with you that Uzzah was ignorant. I simply said Uzzah was sincere. You seem to think God will overlook errors if we are sincere. But neither ignorance nor sincerity will commend us to God.




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    • Again, it’s not true that Uzzah was honestly ignorant or sincere. The Philistines were honestly ignorant, but Uzzah was not. He knew better. He just didn’t care about what God had clearly said. For Him the commands of God weren’t that important. Uzzah wasn’t “sincere” nor was he ignorant of God’s commands.




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  34. Sean Pitman:
    I’m sorry, but the concept of “ordination” isn’t really in the Bible at all – at least not as it is currently practiced in the church. It is more akin, currently, to Catholic practices of creating hierarchical leadership positions – which really weren’t part of the early Christian church where no one was called “father” or anything else except for “brother” or “sister” all equally under the kingship of God. Therefore, the concept of ordination, as it is currently practiced, in no way qualifies as a fundamental doctrinal issue. …

    Actually, the Bible calls “the laying on of hands” a “doctrine.” See Hebrews 6:2. I look forward to the day when Isaiah 29:24 will be fulfilled: “They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” Remember Jesus’ story of the wise man and the foolish man? The Bible calls that “doctrine.” (See Mathew 7:24-28.) No vote is required to determine doctrine. Nor is doctrine the same as church governance. Conflating them does not make them equal.




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    • The “laying on of hands” is a simple recognition of the calling of God. It has no power of its own and does not elevate a person to a higher status than his or her brothers or sisters.

      Beyond this, we are talking about fundamental doctrines. Not everything that may be true is necessarily fundamental to the primary goals and ideals of the church. It is therefore Ok for the church to allow for diversity of opinion on these non-fundamental issues.




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  35. “Beyond this, we are talking about fundamental doctrines. Not everything that may be true is necessarily fundamental to the primary goals and ideals of the church. It is therefore Ok for the church to allow for diversity of opinion on these non-fundamental issues.”

    Well, Sean, we still have a dilemma based on the fact that the church has no “official” fundamental doctrines. The disclaimer at the beginning of the Fundamental Beliefs book affirms that the positions are not official SDA doctrines. This leaves the church free to disavow any position and claim it is not officially endorsed by the church.

    When the church opted for “Pluralism” several decades ago, it emasculated itself of any real authority to discipline what could be perceived as false doctrine. And now the church is basically impotent to do anything but pontificate threats that it can not carry out. And I think we all know that any organization that can not discipline itself, is powerless to discipline those who are supposedly under its authority.

    The situation can not be resolved except those who agree with each other will be forced to unify in harmony with their stated views that they all agree on. Both sides will be forced into this situation at some point. And who ever we decide is “the church” based on our personal view of the bible will be who we unite with and support.

    Our parents and grandparents never envisioned this situation and never thought that what we have today would be a factor. The church against the world was the only situation they considered. But the church against the church by definition was totally foreign to their thinking. None the less, we are confronted with the situation as some Unions consider that their authority has been limited to less than they consider acceptable.

    Unions have a level of authority, but never outside the stated policy of the General Conference. And this is the issue that people need to deal with. Just as a pastor has authority in the local church to baptize new members, but a pastor is not free to baptize anyone outside the stated policy defined by the SDA church.

    Our church government starts from the bottom up with church members being delegates to conference meetings to appoint conference officials. From there Union and division levels of authority are appointed and from there the General Conference is derived as the final level of authority in church government. It does not start top down. But bottom up. And to claim the SDA church is a parallel to the Roman Catholic Church is simply bogus. The RCC is top down from beginning to end. Authority starts at the top and remains at the top and members of the church have no voice on any level of authority in church government. This is not the SDA system. And those who accuse the church as being a parallel to the RCC need to quit making this false charge. And people need to be educated concerning the system of church government the SDA church is built on. A lack of education on this issue is one major problem and those who are advocating rebellion are deliberately misrepresenting our church government to influence people to support their rebellion.

    I would hope the church members become more intelligent and not be deceived and deluded by the rebellious party who claim freedom to do as they please outside properly ordained church government and authority as outlined for the SDA church.




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    • Contrary to your claim, the SDA Church most certainly does endorse an “official” statement of “fundamental beliefs”. It is just that this statement is not viewed as a “creed” since the Bible is the only creed of the SDA Church. What this means is that the FBs of the church can be modified and changed – but not the Bible. In short, this doesn’t allow for “pluralism” within the church with regard to the church’s current understanding of its own fundamentals, its own primary goals and ideals. It does, however, allow for pluralistic views regarding other concepts that are not yet viewed as “fundamental” to the church’s primary goals and ideals…

      Opening Statement to the SDA Church’s Fundamental Beliefs:

      Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the church’s understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference Session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of God’s Holy Word. (Link)




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      • Maybe the new book of 28 is different than the original 27, which states on page iv,

        While this volume is not an officially voted statement—-only a General Conference in world session could provide that—it may be viewed as representative of the truth……in Jesus (Eph. 4:21) that Seventh-day Adventists around the globe cherish and proclaim.”

        So, if the book of 28 omits this statement, then it would necessarily have to proclaim that the new book is an “official” church statement of the church’s doctrine.

        If so, quote the statement for me, as I only have the book of 27.




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        • I think you’re a bit confused on this statement. This statement correctly notes that the volume, the commentary book itself, on the church’s fundamental beliefs has most certainly not been officially endorsed by the church. However, the actual statement of “fundamental beliefs” has in fact been officially endorsed by the world church in session – and was reaffirmed in 2015 at the San Antonio session (with a few officially endorsed modifications).

          It was back in 1946 that the General Conference session officially voted a Statement of Fundamental Beliefs (Link). Ever since, the fundamental “belief statements” have been officially voted expressions of Adventist doctrine. The expositions of these officially voted doctrinal positions, on the other hand, are not officially voted upon, but “can be used to amplify and deepen members’ understandings of those beliefs.” (Link)




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        • All you have shown and affirmed Sean, is this. They will not affirm that any of the statements are “official teachings of the church”. This would mean anyone who disagreed or differed with any statement would be subject to church discipline.

          Like we do the seventh day Sabbath. Or other positions like baptism. You must be baptized by immersion to be a member of the SDA church.

          So these books about the “fundamental beliefs of the SDA church” are just stated opinions by scholars who have put together the list of beliefs. Just like the book “Seventh-day Adventists believe…..27”

          And is described as “A Biblical Exposition of Fundamental Doctrines” under the title.

          So you have given no evidence that any list is an “official list of doctrines of the SDA church.” We have no “official list”. Period.




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  36. Dear Sean Pitman.

    Hi! I have read all of the above re WO & ministry that you have produced in writing above, & it saddens me to believe that you have not written one scripture text to support your position. How can this be so with so much produced by you? You puzzle me & how many others must think likewise. 2 Tim 3:16. & 2 Tim 4:1- 5.




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    • The reason I’m not citing many texts in this discussion (there are actually a couple texts mentioned if you look carefully) is because I’m not really discussion WO in particular here. I’m discussing church order and government and how various levels within that government relate to the world church “in session”…

      As far as the actual topic of WO and the particular texts you cite, please consider reading Ty Gibson’s thoughts on these and other relevant texts (Link).




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      • @Sean Pitman: Normally I not comfortable about speaking about specific individuals but to use Ty Gibson as a reference, sorry it is, in my humble opinion, a big mistake. I’ve tried to get some dialogue going with him regarding his sermons dealing with Righteousness by Faith, specifically his sermon dealing with Romans 7. He has not answered me. IF someone claims to be preaching “Righteousness by Faith,” the message given to us by God in 1888 I would strongly advise them to study THAT message given by Jones, Waggoneer and Mrs. White BEFORE attempting to preach it! Ty’s message presented dealing with Romans 7 was flat out wrong when comparing it to Waggoneer’s book “Waggoneer on Romans.” So as far as I am concerned, having almost all of the books he wrote, Ty’s books that is, I find that his understanding has changed, he has moved off of the mark. I would suggest instead of using him as authority in this or any subject pray for him!




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  37. Sean, in your update you write:

    Sean Pitman:
    “On the other hand, it also seem clear that on the issue of ordination, in particular, that the “final authority” has been given to the Union level of governance within the church (not to the level of the General Conference) to act as a buffer against too much centralized power within the church. …

    “In any case, since honest confusion remains between many honest and sincere members as well as leaders of the church, ….

    There certainly is honest confusion regarding this, but I can’t see how everyone is honestly confused.

    1. Local churches decide who will be members and who will not, but local churches do not have the authority to make tests of fellowship. Thus the criteria for membership is decided by the world church, while that criteria is applied to individual cases by the local church.

    Similarly, though unions decide who will be ordained, they don’t unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination.

    2. If unions could unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination, there would have been no reason to bring the matter to the GC Sessions of 1990 and 1995. Particularly in 1995, it seems clear that church leaders understood that without GC division authorization, unions could not approve women for ordination, and that without GC Session authorization, GC divisions could not so authorize.

    3. The first I remember hearing that unions could act on their own was after Dan Jackson’s open letter of, I think, Jan. 2012. Maybe we can find this idea being promulgated prior to that date in left-wing journals, but maybe not. Since there certainly has been discussion in some circles about getting rid of unions, it seems difficult to have simultaneous promotion of the idea that we need unions so that women can be ordained.

    How it comes across to me is that some want their way no matter what, and are grasping at anything they can to justify their position. For those some, I don’t think the label “honest confusion” fits. Now if they can come up with some sort of historical documentation that local churches can unilaterally determine the criteria for church membership, or that unions can unilaterally determine the criteria for ordination, OK. But I have yet to see any such documentation.




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    • Thank you for this link to Elder Wilson’s thoughts on this topic. While somewhat helpful, in that it shows the male-oriented language of the ordination policy, Elder Wilson doesn’t really address the question of a lack of a specific statement in the GC’s Working Policy that explicitly forbids the ordination of women as pastors. As far as I’m aware, such a statement simply doesn’t exist. And, given the church’s established precedent of ordaining women as church elders, many would argue that it only stands to reason that unless there is a specific Policy statement forbidding it, that the ordination of women is actually allowed by the Working Policy of the world church…




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      • Sean, I have been very impressed with your honesty and the integrity of how you are handling this whole debate being carried on here. You have been very careful to discern the difference between opinions and facts, something very few are choosing to do. Several here have relied on opinions expressed by ‘high’ authority in the church presuming that our church is organized in a way foreign to the plain teaching of Jesus that we are not to emulate the hierarchy of the Gentiles.
        You have pointed out several times here what you have recently learned, that in fact the Unions were put into place over 100 years ago for the express purpose of defeating attempts to enforce just such a hierarchical system by people at the top intoxicated with an undue desire for control over others. Ellen White repeatedly warns against just such a spirit, yet nonetheless it is raising its ugly specter once again just as it did repeatedly in her day.
        I would like to ask a similar question to those who want to insist that the ordaining of women is forbidden by church beliefs without quoting specific references from doctrine or policy. They point to opinions by Ted Wilson but that is not reflective of actual policy, only his take on it. I would add that most of this is also predicated on a recent presumption affecting the thinking of many in our denomination that male-headship is a doctrine of our church. Yet again there is no actual evidence from GC resolutions to defend this assumption. These are issues that are not being faced honestly by many who are arguing against you here.
        What concerns me far more however, than how well either side can ‘prove’ their position by accurate references to legislated church beliefs by a GC in session is the much more vital issue of the condition of our spirit. According to the teachings of the New Testament in particular, I find God far more concerned with the disposition of how we treat others and the spirit which motivates our discourse much more than the accuracy of our beliefs. I have come to see that from heaven’s perspective this appears to be the more deciding factor in our salvation above everything else. No matter how well one may be able to string texts together to ‘prove’ the correctness of their position or how many biased quotations they may use from EGW to ‘prove’ their point, I have learned that when the spirit is tainted with animosity or a desire to force one’s opinion on the conscience of others, even if that has a majority vote in a church, it has not being inspired by heaven.
        I pray that we all will be more willing to humble ourselves rather than seeking to force our opinions on others. And from my observation this tendency seems to be seen most clearly among those demanding that everyone in the world conform to their insistence that women must never be treated equally with men when it comes to recognizing the gifting of the Spirit independent of our preferences or beliefs. As I see it, those asking for recognition of the desires of certain Unions to be free to ordain women to help spread the gospel unencumbered by human restrictions are not trying to force this on anyone else. They are in fact seeking to humbly invite the world church to respect the freedom of conscience that Christ died to defend. These things I believe are the real issues at stake here, not just whether women’s ordination can be proven legitimate or not. It is the issue of who is the true leader and head of every person in the body of Christ and who has the right to force the conscience of another.
        Again, thank-you for seeking to maintain a spirit of honesty, openness and humility through all of this. You have been an inspiration and a model for me as I watch how you have responded to strong statements from many sides of this issue.




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        • @Floyd:
          Concur and amen, and how on earth and under heaven does the man do it! So consumed by pathology, heading the group, business of the group, consulting hematopathologist for the area; building a house and laying down patios; begetting, romping with, and educating young boys and being an ideal father and husband and champion of women’s rights per ordination (suddenly eosinized hair notwithstanding); hospitable to friends and strangers (angels?); endless reading and hard study not only in pathology (take it from me, a vast field) but also cosmology (a boundless field); webmastering and responding; editing, delivering of sermons and lectures, clear- and level-headed no nonsense author of books (in the shadow of a column of turtles); serious and heart-rending participation in church office and church affairs, policy, organization, and doctrines; and more. And he’s still young! God bless! We are blessed.




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        • I do believe 1 Timothy 3 is very clear. It starts off with “This is a TRUE saying . . . ” Paul is clearly telling Timothy the order of things to be done within the “hierarchy” of the church. The term translated “bishop” could also have been translated “overseer,” “superintendent,” “guardian,” and even “elder.” And the individual to fulfill such a very important place “MUST be blameless, the HUSBAND of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior . . . ” etc. In his letter to Titus he confirms this order! Not once but twice does God through Paul tell us the order of HIS church. I will not argue with God about this. Everything must line up with THAT understanding. Why? Because God has said so.




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        • Again, I think this has to do with the morality of a person, not so much the gender of a person. You must realize that the Bible was written by men for men. It is very gender biased. However, just because various statements are directed at men in particular (as in the Ten Commandments for instance) doesn’t mean that they don’t apply to women as well. You have to overcome this implication before you can clearly make the claim that God only views men as being capable of being in leadership positions within His church – especially since He chose a woman to be a prophet for this church and to help set up and lead this church during its earliest formative years as a pastor/leader to His flock… ordained by His own hands for her leadership and pastoral role within the church.




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        • With all due respect Sean Mrs. White makes it clear we are to take Scripture as it is written. It says what it says and words have meaning. IF the term “man” in this case was generic than it makes no sense for Paul to say “MUST be blameless, the husband of one wife” for it is impossible for a woman to be the HUSBAND.




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        • By that logic it seems like all ordained pastors would have to be married. Are you suggesting that we revoke the credentials of those who aren’t married? Also, by that logic, it would seem as though women might not be required to keep several of the Ten Commandments – since several are specifically addressed to men only. After all, nowhere in the Ten Commandments does it tell women that they can’t covet their neighbors husbands. Only coveting a neighbor’s wife is specifically mentioned (Exodus 20:17). Also, we are not talking about priests here, but simple pastors to the flock of Christ – common citizens of the Kingdom where only Jesus is the head.

          We are to call no one “father” or in any other way elevate anyone to a state of superiority within the church simply because of the office that is held (Matthew 23:9). Only as we see the power of the true Head of the church leading in someone’s life do we give recognition to the Divinity that is shining through the weak human vessel – be that vessel a man or a woman.

          God is no respecter of persons here when it comes to His church or who is most effective at spreading the gospel message or managing a church congregation. “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.” (EGW, T. V6, p322). “Piety and devotion are what count — It is not always men who are best adapted to the successful management of a church. If faithful women have more deep piety and true devotion than men, they could indeed by their prayers and their labors do more than men who are unconsecrated in heart and in life.” (EGW, Manuscript Releases 19:56).

          In short, it seems clear to me as that, for His church, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28) – and there is no head of the Church except for Jesus (Ephesians 1:22 and 5:23) – and all are called and can be ordained to minister for Him regarding the good news of the Gospel. If we are all one is Christ Jesus, how in the world can someone claim some sort of automatic leadership role, ahead of say, my wife (who is way more gifted by God and more consecrated in heart and life than most men I know), simply because of his Y-chromosome? when only Jesus claims such a priestly leadership role in the church today?

          Again, there is no need to have a human male priest represent what Jesus was going to do through the symbolism of the Sanctuary service since Jesus has already come in fulfillment of all of these symbolic types and rituals. At this point, there is no more symbolism – just the reality of Jesus Himself and what He has already done for us and is now doing on our behalf. Our only job as ministers in His Church is to point others to Him and encourage them with what He has already done. And, this can be done by both women and men who are guided by His Spirit.

          Sure, I remain, by Divine appointment, the head of my own house and the head of my wife – because of this fallen world in which we live. However, this Divinely appointed headship ends there – within the home. It does not seem at all clear to me that this husband headship spills over into God’s church during these last days.




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        • “Again, I think this has to do with the morality of a person, not so much the gender of a person. ”

          Sean, this is equal to saying the Sabbath “day” of the commandment is not important as long as we keep the spirit of the Sabbath.

          So the quote has to do with both the morality and the gender of the individual. Just as the Sabbath has to do with the literal day as well as the true Spirit of keeping the Sabbath.




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        • I don’t think so. Given the context of Paul’s statement, I think it is quite clear that this was no proscription against women at all times and all places teaching, preaching, or otherwise leading men as they are called and directed by God. You’d have to deny much of what Ellen White did herself in apparent conflict with some of these statements Paul wrote to say otherwise…




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  38. It is my understanding, admittedly not the product of such extended thinking and research and quote-quoting as that of so many others, that at “the end” our “church” would undergo a great shaking. But on .. Wo’s Ord? Silly me, I’d always thought the Sabbath would be an issue, the issue. God, or Satan (in this case, at this point really hard to tell; some sort of adversarial chess interaction, aka Great Controversy; not parties in cahoots ) moves in mysterious ways, and/or has a great sense of humor after all. Anyway, part of my “understanding” (since I possess so little, less every day, I put it in quotes) is that at “the end” Adventism would have ceased being a legal entity but by default an aggregation of people unified, yes, unified in thought. If so, no hierarchy to hassle. We needed one in 1888 or whenever. But 2180 (or sooner, maybe much sooner)?




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    • “It is my understanding, admittedly not the product of such extended thinking and research and quote-quoting as that of so many others, that at “the end” our “church” would undergo a great shaking. But on .. Wo’s Ord? Silly me, I’d always thought the Sabbath would be an issue, the issue.”

      Wesley, the final test is the Sabbath/Sunday issue. But no one goes to school and fails every test all year long and then says “What does it matter as long as I pass the final test?”

      Obviously, if you are failing test after test during the years, you will certainly not pass any “final test” when the time comes.




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  39. Gina Wahlen: I would encourage you to read the Q & A that is on Pastor Wilson’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PastorTedWilson/
    He very clearly answers the question…

    This sound like a good idea. Sadly though it can also create an illusion of unity that is being heavily censored. A growing number of people are being blocked from commenting there or even asking questions even though their thoughtful and honest questions were very polite. It is starting to look a great deal like those who don’t support the particular views of Pastor Wilson are not counted among the Total Membership Involvement he claims to promote.
    In addition it is becoming apparent that the answers provided there continue to skirt or ignore completely the facts of both history as well as actual written policy. The answers are more his personal interpretations of history and policy rather than clear explanations. I believe these are important facts to be aware of when visiting his page.




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    • @Floyd:
      Floyd,
      The last time I looked at his Q & A there were quite a few comments of people who didn’t agree with him, as well as comments from those who did agree.
      And secondly, he is directly quoting from the Working Policy book. How can that be his own “personal interpretations” when he’s quoting from the sections of the policy that address qualifications for ordination? Seems pretty clear and straightforward.




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  40. Sean Pitman: Sure, I remain, by Divine appointment, the head of my own house and the head of my wife – because of this fallen world in which we live. However, this Divinely appointed headship ends there – within the home. It does not seem at all clear to me that this husband headship spills over into God’s church during these last days.

    Actually, headship does not end in the home simply because home is not separate from the church. There is no such thing as separation of church and home as there is with separation of church and state. Consider Mrs. White’s words on the matter:

    “Every Christian family is a church in itself. The members of the family are to be Christlike in every action. The father is to sustain so close a relation to God that he realizes his duty to make provision for the members of his family to receive an education and training that will fit them for the future, immortal life. His children are to be taught the principles of heaven. He is the priest of the household, accountable to God for the influence that he exerts over every member of his family. He is to place his family under the most favorable circumstances possible, so that they shall not be tempted to conform to the habits and customs, the evil practices and lax principles, that they would find in the world.” {1NL 77.2}

    “If a man does not show wisdom in the management of the church in his own house, how can he show wisdom in the management of the larger church outside? How can he bear the responsibilities which mean so much, if he cannot govern his own children? Wise discrimination is not shown in this matter. God’s blessing will not rest upon the minister who neglects the education and training of his children. He has a sacred trust, and he should in no case set before church members a defective example in the management of his home.–Manuscript 104, 1901. (“The Need of Reform,” October 8, 1901.)” {5MR 449.4}

    Yes, we still have priests today. We are still a “kingdom of priests,” just as we are in the “kingdom of God.” While the Israelites were to be a kingdom of priests and princes, we are never told that they were to be a kingdom of priestesses and princesses. Neither do we hear of queendoms. I believe there is a reason for this. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Why do we try to separate the wives from their husbands? When God created “man” in His image, we are told “male and female created he them.” If a woman wants to serve in an ordained capacity, let her marry a minister and be his helpmeet. They are one. He is the head of the home, and she is his helper.




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    • I’m talking about the marriage relationship in particular. The headship I have in my marriage does not spill over outside of my marriage to give me automatic headship over any other woman – within or outside of the church. That simply isn’t a reasonable interpretation of the Bible’s instruction on these issues.

      Again, my own wife is far more intelligent, spiritual, and able to lead than most men I know. There is simply no way that she should let any other man, besides her own husband, take the leadership position outside of our own unique marriage just because he is a man and she is a woman. The Bible makes no such claim.

      Actually, such a suggestion is a slap to my own face as her husband – as it should be to all men. It would be an affront to me and my relationship to my own wife for any other man to claim a similar privilege over my wife – a privilege and responsibility that she has given only to me under God.

      _________________

      As an aside, regarding your quote on church management, Mrs. White had something rather interesting to say about that:

      “Piety and devotion are what count — It is not always men who are best adapted to the successful management of a church. If faithful women have more deep piety and true devotion than men, they could indeed by their prayers and their labors do more than men who are unconsecrated in heart and in life.” —Manuscript Releases 19:56.




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  41. Sean Pitman: The headship I have in my marriage does not spill over outside of my marriage to give me automatic headship over any other woman – within or outside of the church. That simply isn’t a reasonable interpretation of the Bible’s instruction on these issues.

    Sean, I’m not meaning to slap you in your face, as you seem to look at it, but the Bible and Ellen White do teach somewhat differently than what you appear to have understood. Let’s start with headship. A man is head over his children as long as he lives. That means your father still has headship over you if he is still alive–even though you are married. This is Biblical. And it’s in Ellen White’s writings.

    Of Abraham it is written that “he was called the friend of God,” “the father of all them that believe.” James 2:23; Romans 4:11. The testimony of God concerning this faithful patriarch is, “Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” And again, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” It was a high honor to which Abraham was called, that of being the father of the people who for centuries were the guardians and preservers of the truth of God for the world–of that people through whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed in the advent of the promised Messiah. But He who called the patriarch judged him worthy. It is God that speaks. He who understands the thoughts afar off, and places the right estimate upon men, says, “I know him.” There would be on the part of Abraham no betraying of the truth for selfish purposes. He would keep the law and deal justly and righteously. And he would not only fear the Lord himself, but would cultivate religion in his home. He would instruct his family in righteousness. The law of God would be the rule in his household. {PP 140.3}
    Abraham’s household comprised more than a thousand souls. Those who were led by his teachings to worship the one God, found a home in his encampment; and here, as in a school, they received such instruction as would prepare them to be representatives of the true faith. Thus a great responsibility rested upon him. He was training heads of families, and his methods of government would be carried out in the households over which they should preside. {PP 141.1}
    In early times the father was the ruler and priest of his own family, and he exercised authority over his children, even after they had families of their own. His descendants were taught to look up to him as their head, in both religious and secular matters. This patriarchal system of government Abraham endeavored to perpetuate, as it tended to preserve the knowledge of God. It was necessary to bind the members of the household together, in order to build up a barrier against the idolatry that had become so widespread and so deep-seated. Abraham sought by every means in his power to guard the inmates of his encampment against mingling with the heathen and witnessing their idolatrous practices, for he knew that familiarity with evil would insensibly corrupt the principles. The greatest care was exercised to shut out every form of false religion and to impress the mind with the majesty and glory of the living God as the true object of worship. {PP 141.2}

    Obviously, Abraham was head over more than simply his own family. He was head over heads of families who had come to join his “household.” Any man who is head over you must necessarily, by extension, be head over your wife–else your wife is not under you, or not part of you. Abraham’s household included servants, guests, and others who came to stay with him. He was head over all such persons as were in his household. God said of him, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord….”

    Both his “children” and his “household” (including non-relatives), over a thousand people, were commanded by Abraham, and God approved and commended this. In fact, this form of headship, both in the family and in the church, relates precisely to the issue of unity facing our church today.




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    • I’m sorry, but my household is not your household or visa versa. Therefore, I cannot, simply because I am a man, claim “headship” over your wife or any other woman in your household. The same is true for the church. The church is independent of my own household. Therefore, I cannot claim automatic headship over all of the women in the church just because I am a man because I am not the “head” of the church – Jesus is its only head. It’s a silly argument to claim that a man has “headship” over all women in the church or anywhere else – and is not supported by the Bible.

      Again, no other man in the church or elsewhere has been given “headship” over my wife. That position has not been given to you or any other man by my wife or by God – only to me by my own wife according to God. The head of my wife is only me, not any other man, and the head of me is Christ alone (1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:23). The Bible calls upon women to “submit yourselves to your own husbands” (Ephesians 5:22) – not to any other man, except for Christ, outside of that marriage relationship.

      As an aside, I’m not going to have “headship” over the future wives of my sons just as my own father does not have “headship” over my wife. We are called to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), but that isn’t the same thing as the “headship” situation within a marriage setting where a man and a woman are called to “leave father and mother” and to “cleave” only to each other (Genesis 2:24). You’re misinterpreting things here as well. The “headship” passages in the Bible only deal with a man and his own wife. These passages are not saying that a man is given automatic “headship” over all women. That might seem like fun from the perspective of some men, but that simply isn’t what the Bible is saying…
      ___________

      Regarding Women in Leadership Positions:

      “Those placed in the position of responsibility should be men and women who fear God, who realize that they are humans only, not God. They should be people who will rule under God and for Him. Will they give expression to the will of God for His people? Do they allow selfishness to tarnish word and action? Do they, after obtaining the confidence of the people as leaders of wisdom who fear God and keep His commandments, belittle the exalted position that the people of God should occupy in these days of peril?”— Mrs. White, Manuscript 163, 1902.

      Here we have Mrs. White clearly presenting women, as well as men, in positions of leadership and rulership among the people of God under the will of God…

      “Ellen White’s name was among those voted to receive papers of the ordained ministers, although her ordination was not by the laying on of hands by men. The conference session closed on November 27 [1887].” Ellen G. White: Volume 3—The Lonely Years: 1876-1891, By Arthur L. White, Page 377. [a copy of these ordination credentials from 1887 can be found in the main article above].

      Rather than ordination by men, Mrs. White says: “In the city of Portland the Lord ordained me as his messenger…” Mrs. White, The Review and Herald, May 18, 1911.

      A couple more items may be of interest to you regarding 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and other relevant passages, as interpreted by the early leaders of the SDA Church, to include James White and J.N. Andrews:

      January 2, 1879 by J.N. Andrews and James White (Link)

      There are two principal passages cited to prove that women should not take any part in speaking in religious meetings. These are 1 Corinthians 14:34, 36 and 1 Timothy 2:12. But a careful study of the books of Corinthians shows that the passage first referred to can have no such application.

      The Corinthian church was in a state of great disorder. The first chapter shows that they were divided into parties in reference to the apostles themselves. The fifth chapter shows that one had taken his father’s wife, and others did not mourn over this act. The sixth chapter shows that they went to law with the world, and implies that they were guilty of violating the seventh commandment. The eleventh chapter shows that when they celebrated the Lord’s supper, the rich ate and drank until they were intoxicated, and the poor were waiting and suffering hunger.

      Now it appears from the fourteenth chapter when they were assembled in meeting, the women threw everything into confusion by talking among themselves, and acting with such indecorum as to be a matter of shame to them. So that what the apostle says to women in such a church as this, and in such a state of things, is not to be taken as directions to all Christian women in other churches an in other times when and where such disorders do not exist. [emphasis added].

      See also:

      May 29 1879 by James White (James White, J.N. Andrews, Uriah Smith editors)

      The next case is that of Deborah, mentioned in Judges 4:4-10: “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphatali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward Mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun.

      “And I will draw unto thee, to the river Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go; but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee, notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kadesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet; and Deborah went up with him.” Notice the following particulars in the foregoing statements:—

      1. Deborah was a prophetess. She received divine instruction from Heaven, and taught the people.

      2. She was a judge in Israel. The people went up to her for judgment. A higher position no man has ever occupied.

      … And the dispensation which was ushered in with glory, honored with the labors of holy women, will close with the same honors. Thus says God by his holy prophet: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Acts 2:17.

      So, here we have leaders of the early Adventist Church commenting on the very same texts that you’ve presented to me coming to a very different conclusion as to their meaning than what you seem to have concluded. And, Mrs. White did not correct or argue against their conclusions (one of which was her own husband), but seemed to support these conclusions in her own writings.




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      • “, but seemed to support these conclusions in her own writings.”

        What EGW “seemed to support” and what she actually advocated is not one and the same thing. And to constantly compare the ministry of EGW with an ordained church official is a false dilemma with no comparison.

        A prophet is in no way compared to an ordained church ministry where the church itself considers the qualification of an individual and then decides who will hold what office.

        Anybody who has any working knowledge of the bible knows that God alone picks and chooses the prophet and ordains the prophet for a special work that goes far beyond any church office that is filled by the will of the church community. And then for anyone to compare the ministries as being equal in authority and ordained on the same basis is a false application and far from the reality.

        Whether the church community accepts the ministry of a prophet or not, will in no way alter or change the authority of the prophet’s message or ministry. How then can anyone compare the ministry of EGW to a church elder or pastor that has been chosen by the church itself?

        And equally absurd is the false idea that some advocate in affirming that God Himself chooses the elders and pastors, and the church only affirms who God has previously chosen and thus the church does not choose the elders or pastors. Some of these false ideas can only merit scorn and contempt and deserve to be mocked by any viable bible scholar. But the leaders “sell” this false agenda and many church members are so biblically illiterate they don’t know their bibles well enough to know the difference. And worse than that. They don’t care.

        So the false spirituality of modern Adventism is at the feet of apostate leaders who are “hell bent” on patronizing modern society and the “social justice” agenda, they would abandon the bible with little or no concern with massive doses of affirmation from each other of the wonderful strides in spiritual advancement they are making while they lead church member down the path to perdition. God has ordained male headship in the beginning and no amount of human speculation or reasoning will change this fact. What we have is blatant rebellion against God and His authority to define how the human family will function in society, the family and the church community.

        And as Gerald Wolfe once said, “Just because you won’t accept it, won’t change it.”

        It is simply any attack of God and His authority to define created order and no one will change it.




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        • I’m sorry, but all of the “male headship” passages in the Bible appear to be restricted to the relationship between a man and his wife… and not beyond. It doesn’t seem to me as though you’ve been given headship status over my wife nor me over your wife or any other woman who is not my wife just because I’m a man. And, the only man in charge of or the “Head” of the Church is Jesus – no one else. I fail to see where the Bible says otherwise? – regardless of how much you might wish it to be true…




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        • “. I fail to see where the Bible says otherwise? –”

          A lot of Sunday keepers reject the Sabbath in the name of the gospel, just like you reject male headship. And “They fail to see otherwise”, but it won’t change the reality. The bible is crystal clear that Adam was head of the human family, and Jesus is the “second Adam”. And Jesus is not “Adam and Eve” no matter what some claim about the position of Eve as being equal to Adam and claim they reigned as co-regents before sin entered.

          And it is a superficial argument to claim that since “Christ is head of the church”, He has not ordained levels of authority under His headship, and thus everyone is “equal” to hold any office.

          Christ is head of the home. Does this negate male headship in the home? Apparently so, since if one application is valid, so is every other application.

          But, there have been many presentations by both sides, just like the Sabbath/Sunday issue. The bible is not vague or ambiguous on either subject.




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        • The argument that Adam always had “headship” over Eve, even before the Fall, is not supported by the Bible and Mrs. White is particularly clear on this point.

          “God had made [Eve] the equal of Adam, but sin brought friction, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of one or the other. Eve had been the first in transgression. By her urging Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband.” (Link).

          Clearly then, according to Mrs. White the “headship” role for Adam and the “submissive” role for Eve didn’t start until after the Fall – not before. It was put in place because of the friction that sin brought into their relationship. Before sin entered, however, there simply was no friction at all and therefore no need for “headship” or “submissive” roles in their relationship. It would just make no sense.

          Beyond this, just for arguments sake, even if Adam did have headship over his wife before the Fall, how does that give you headship over my wife? – just because you’re a man? That just doesn’t follow. All of the headship statements in the Bible are in reference to the marriage relationship alone – not to the place of men or women outside of the marriage relationship. There is simply no way that any other man can claim “headship” status over my wife. That’s a patently absurd conclusion…

          Also, it’s a reality that Jesus is the only head of the church and that no one else under him has a hierarchical advantage over anyone else… since there are no priests anymore. All are now one is Christ since Christ replaced the priestly and temple service – which were only types pointing forward to the reality found in Him. In Him, in His Church, there is no inherent distinction among men or women or anyone else. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). This lack of any other “headship” in the church does not spill over into the home because the a successful husband/wife relationship in this fallen world required that one or the other be given headship. However, outside of this particular relationship, there is no injunction against women in any kind of leadership role over men in the pages of the Bible acting within the Church that Jesus set up.

          The early founders of the SDA Church recognized this quite clearly – as did Mrs. White herself. The passages that were then used and are still used today to suggest that women cannot be placed in leadership positions, that women cannot teach or preach or run a church, are shown to be taken out of context – a context directed at a particular problem in Paul’s day (Link).

          “Piety and devotion are what count — It is not always men who are best adapted to the successful management of a church. If faithful women have more deep piety and true devotion than men, they could indeed by their prayers and their labors do more than men who are unconsecrated in heart and in life.” —Manuscript Releases 19:56.




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        • “Beyond this, just for arguments sake, even if Adam did have headship over his wife before the Fall, how does that give you headship over my wife? –”

          This is a typical question that creates a “false dilemma” that has no relevance to the situation.

          The home government is a separate entity in and of itself. I have no authority over you, your wife, or your children in the context of your home.

          Is Christ head of the church of heaven? If so, how is it there are orders of authority in heaven? The angels in heaven are in various orders of authority, and before sin, Lucifer was head of the church under the authority of Christ. It was Satan who claimed there should be no order of authority on any level, and not even Christ should have authority over the angels. Your whole theory is chaos and is false by any rational consideration.

          As for Adam before the fall, she said this.

          “When Satan declared to Christ, The kingdom and glory of the world are delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it, he stated what was true only in part, and he declared it to serve his own purpose of deception. Satan’s dominion was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not an independent rule. The earth is God’s, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan’s hands, Christ still remained the rightful King. ” DA 129

          And she states in the restoration in heaven,

          “….now, through the work of the atonement, Adam is reinstated in his first dominion.” GC 648

          But even your theory about sin bringing the subjection of Eve to Adam, where is the logic of assuming that since Jesus has died, there is no order of authority in this world of sin. And if this is true, how is it your wife is subject to your authority since sin is no longer a factor in the human race?

          Your theory doesn’t hold water under any situation or explanation and only genders rebellion in this world as it did in the beginning in heaven. It is challenge to God’s authority to ordain various levels of authority both in heaven and on earth. And it is a false application of the atonement to claim this system of authority God has ordained has been negated by the cross.

          In the end, it is simply a rebellion against God and His right to define how the government in heaven and earth will operate and the various levels of authority He has ordained.




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        • Of course Adam was the head of the human race – but so was Eve before Fall. They were made “as one” with full equality, both equally in the image of God – like the situation that exists in the Godhead where Jesus and the Father are “one” (John 10:30). Again, you’re completely ignoring the passages where their equality before the Fall is clearly stated. You can’t just take some passages without the others. An honest student must at least try to harmonize everything that has been said on the topic by Divine inspiration…

          In the creation, God had made [Eve] the equal of Adam. Had they remained obedient to God—in harmony with His great law of love—they would ever have been in harmony with each other; but sin had brought discord, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of the one or the other.

          Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self; showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one.” EGW, The Adventist Home, p. 25, 115 (Link) (Link)

          When God created Eve, He designed that she should possess neither inferiority nor superiority to the man, but that in all things she should be his equal. The holy pair were to have no interest independent of each other; and yet each had an individuality in thinking and acting. But after Eve’s sin, as she was first in the transgression, the Lord told her that Adam should rule over her. She was to be in subjection to her husband, and this was a part of the curse. – EGW, Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 484 (Link)

          What is confusing about the phrase, “In all things she should be his equal”? How do you explain this from your pre-Fall “headship” perspective?

          Also, you’re using the language and texts for the “headship” that exists for the husband in the marriage relationship (which is all of them) as a argument for the headship of men, in general, within the church. That argument simply doesn’t follow. I’m not the head of all women in the church simply because I’ve been given headship within the context of my own marriage. Yet, this is the actual argument that you and others are presenting. It makes no sense when one really thinks about it candidly.




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  42. “When God created Eve, He designed that she should possess neither inferiority nor superiority to the man, but that in all things she should be his equal.”

    They were not equal in authority and she makes this clear in other statements. The Father and Son are “equal” but not in authority. Jesus, the Son of God, was and is always subject to His Father and the Father is first in authority. Jesus had to get permission from His Father to come to this earth and make atonement for the sinfulness of man.

    And in the end of all things, Paul states, “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him (Christ), then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Cor. 15:28

    This whole section in 1 Cor. explains the order of authority in heaven with the Father first in authority. At one point in heaven before the rebellion, Lucifer stated he was willing to be subject to the Father, but not Christ. All heaven understood that the Father was the first and ultimate authority and we still understand that the Father and Son are “equal”. So the word “equal” is a qualifying word that must be explained in a given context such as “Adam and Eve were equal”. Not in authority, but in value.

    The Father ordains authority to Christ, and Christ ordains various levels of authority in this world. Male headship is the first rule of authority in this world. And nothing negates this rule either in the fall, or in the restoration. Levels of authority do not define levels of value. In fact, it is quite likely that a woman’s value in the home transcends the value of the man on many levels of Christian education and home administration. But she is not equal in authority and always acknowledges the final authority of her husband in the home government.

    She willingly subjects herself to her husband’s authority as ordained by God and if her husband is a God fearing man, he will protect her individuality and rights as any Christian husband would do. Just as a true believer willing subjects themselves to Christ as a faithful protector of His children and their rights as members of the family of God.




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    • So, when Mrs. White says that “in all things” Eve was to be the equal of Adam, she doesn’t really mean it? – since you know that it wasn’t really “all things” – particularly when it came to “authority”? Even though Mrs. White specifically discusses the “authority” question noting that Eve “should possess neither inferiority nor superiority.” Where then is there any room for “superior authority” on the part of Adam? There simply is no such statement that says that Adam was inherently superior in authority relative to Eve before the Fall. Mrs. White makes it very clear that the position of authority, such as “headship” or “rulership”, within the marriage, wasn’t given to Adam until after the Fall.

      But, you argue, that their relationship was like that of the Father and the Son – where you claim that Jesus and the Father were “never equal in authority”.

      Well, that’s a rather Arian concept. Arianism is idea that promotes the inherent superiority of the Father over the Son (Link) – an idea that was at first popular with many of the founders of the SDA Church, but which was decidedly rejected by Mrs. White and, because of her influence, was also eventually rejected by the rest of the founders of Adventism as well. Mrs. White made it very clear that the Father gave nothing to Jesus which Jesus did not originally possess. The Father did not create Jesus nor give Jesus His equal position within the Godhead – a position of equality with God in the “highest sense” which was entirely natural to Jesus – and the only reason why Jesus could fulfill the Law in His life on death on the cross since only one entirely equal with the Father, in every sense of the term, could also be equal to the Law of God and pay the debt. As Mrs. White explains:

      “The law cannot lower the standard or take less than its full demands, therefore it cannot cleanse us from one sin; but God’s Son, who is one with the Father, equal in authority with the Father, paid the debt for us.” [emphasis added] – EGW, R&H, July 29, 1890 (Link)

      Notice that Mrs. White counters your claim here that Jesus was not in fact “equal in authority” with the Father. According to her, Jesus was in fact naturally equal in authority to the Father and in every other way.

      Jesus was not only “with God” from eternity past, but Jesus “was God” (John 1:1) with life “original, unborrowed and underived” (Link) within whom “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead” (Colossians 2:9). Jesus is therefore entirely and in every way “equal with the Father” (Link) and always has been. He voluntarily took onto Himself the subordinate role from the foundation of the world – from eternity past. However, he was not inherently subordinate, but completely equal to the Father. Only in this way would His sacrifice be equivalent with the requirements of the Law – a Law which is equal with the Father Himself. Therefore, only someone truly equal with the Father in every way, not at all subordinate or inherently dependent in any way on the Father, could satisfy the requirements of the Divine Law of God – through Jesus’ life and death on the cross.

      Again, all of the passages in Scripture, and in the writings of Mrs. White, that deal with Jesus as subservient to the Father, are because Jesus voluntarily took on this position. It’s all voluntary on the part of someone who is otherwise in every way completely equal to the Father.

      “But while God’s Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding his pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with his Father. From everlasting he was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if they accepted him, were to be blessed. “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Before men or angels were created, the Word was with God, and was God.” — EGW, The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906 .

      “God and Christ knew from the beginning, of the apostasy of Satan and of the fall of Adam through the deceptive power of the apostate. The plan of salvation was designed to redeem the fallen race, to give them another trial. Christ was appointed to the office of Mediator from the creation of God, set up from everlasting to be our substitute and surety.” — EGW, Selected Messages 1:250.

      You see, Jesus held this title of “Son of God” only in the sense that He deliberately chose to take on this mission from eternity past. Mrs. White makes it very clear that Jesus was always the “Son of God” or “One of a Kind”, to be more precise, because of His promised mediatorial role for us – because of His promise to come as a human being to save us. This promise was part of the Divine “Plan of Salvation” from eternity past. It is only because of this that the Father assumed the “headship” position – because Jesus would be taking on an inferior position and could no longer be equal to the Father from the perspective of His promised human condition. However, Jesus did not consider His original “equality with God” something to be “grasped” or “held onto” given the prize set before him – i.e., us! (Philippians 2:6). In other words, Jesus was in the position of our Mediator from eternity past and will continue to be human as part of His sacrifice for us for eternity yet to come. However, this subordinate position as a “servant” was not inherent to His nature, but a deliberate choice that He took upon Himself for our sake.

      The same was true for Eve. Originally, Eve as not created to be subordinate in any sense of the term. It was only because of sin that such a role was put in place for her… in order to maintain peace in a home that was otherwise fractured by sin.

      “God had made [Eve] the equal of Adam, but sin brought friction, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of one or the other. Eve had been the first in transgression. By her urging Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband.” (Link).

      Again, the relative positions of authority and submission within a marriage were simply not necessary until sin entered the world. This was never the original ideal plan or situation.

      ________

      As an aside, your claim that, “Lucifer stated he was willing to be subject to the Father, but not Christ.” is nonsense. Lucifer rebelled against the entire Godhead – including the Father. He was not willing to submit to the Father at all, but wanted to make his own throne “like the most high” (Isaiah 14:13-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-17; 28:6). He acted contrary to the Father’s direct commands and wishes in his efforts to elevate himself.




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      • Sean Pitman: Thank you for your explanations and referring to quotes from God’s word in its various forms. I have read the Equality statements in EGW and understand the Bible quotations that indicate that truly ‘in Christ there is neither male nor female.” I still have a question about the Genesis statements found in Gen. 3:16 and Gen. 4:7. I read this in the KJV, and have never heard anyone address this comparison TD.

        Both verses say basically the same thing. When I read it, I thought, Whoa! I never saw THAT before.
        3:16 – …”her desire shall be to her husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
        4:7 – …”your (Abel) desire shall be to him (Cain), and he (Cain) shall rule over thee.” (Abel).

        I have heard a husband say that in 3:16 God commanded the husband to rule over the wife (after all, she was deceived and fell first. [implication])

        When I read 4:7 and saw that the same verbiage was used, it did not make sense to e that God would have COMMANDED Cain – evil – to rule over Abel – good. I now understand this structure to mean, as a RESULT of sin in the heart, the stronger may take advantage of the weak, and seek to dominate. There is where EGW says NEITHER should seek to dominate the other, for it destroys love.

        I also noticed in Genesis that God gave THEM dominion, repeated twice in the same chapter. I have always heard it said that God gave Adam dominion. ‘Adam’ was used like a family name, Mr. & Mrs. Adam.

        Am I misunderstanding or misinterpreting the scripture meaning of Gen 3:16 and 4:7?




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        • You’re misreading Genesis 4:7. This passage isn’t talking about Cain ruling over Abel, but about God telling Cain that he needs to gain mastery and rule over his sinful desires. Consider this passage from another translation and I think the meaning will become clear to you:

          If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” – Genesis 4:7 NIV

          You are correct, however, that it is recorded in Genesis that God originally gave rulership or dominion to both Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28).

          As far as the “headship” or rulership of the husband over the wife, this situation was set up, by God Himself, after the Fall in order to preserve harmony between husband and wife in a sinful world.

          In the creation, God had made [Eve] the equal of Adam. Had they remained obedient to God—in harmony with His great law of love—they would ever have been in harmony with each other; but sin had brought discord, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of the one or the other. (EGW, Conflict and Courage, p. 18).




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        • Thank you, Sean, for replying to my query on Gen 3 and 4. I have read the NIV, but put less stock in NIV than KJV, which has a better reputation in our circles. IF the NIV translation applies in Gen 4:7 – that “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Then is it fair to assume that Gen. 3:16 also means that “you shall desire your husband, but he will master you.”
          Is the same Heb. language used in both texts? I don’t know Biblical languages.

          I do believe in the principle of Eph. 5:21, as well as 5:22, etc.
          Somewhere in EGW I received the idea that God wants to bring us back to the stated relationship that originated in the Garden. Restore the Sabbath; restore the pre-fall marriage relationship. Sin causes tension, separation and bitterness… The closer we come to Jesus, the less desire we shall have to dominate each other. Harmony between the sexes can exist when we (self) is hid in Christ. Domination of one human by another human of either sex is to interpose self between God and mankind, who is to be our true Master. A gentle leader (husband) will inspire a submitting wife.

          Thank you for reading, and perhaps responding as you see fit.




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        • The KJV is a fine translation, but sometimes the intended meaning is lost on those who are not familiar with older English words and phrases. Because of this, it is often helpful to compare the wording of a particular passage among several translations to get a truer pictures of its intended meaning.

          As far as the God explaining to Eve that her husband, Adam, would now stand in a position of rulership or “headship” over her, this situation was set in place in order to provide stability between husband and wife while living within a sinful world. I do think that as both the husband and wife get closer to Jesus that there will be less and less natural tension in the marriage and that they will get closer and closer in their relationship to how things were originally intended to be.




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  43. My last post and comment on this subject, Sean. This quote by EGW in Story of Redemption, page 13 speaks for itself.

    “The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that He might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon His Son. The Son was seated on the throne with the Father, and the heavenly throng of holy angels was gathered around them. The Father then made known that it was ordained by Himself that Christ, His Son, should be equal with Himself; so that wherever was the presence of His Son, it was as His own presence. The word of the Son was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son He had invested with authority to command the heavenly host.”

    God the Father is first in authority confirmed both by the bible and affirmed by EGW. So ” The Father then made known that it was ordained by Himself that Christ, His Son, should be equal with Himself; so that wherever was the presence of His Son, it was as His own presence.”

    And Jesus has ordained that Adam and only Adam was king and sovereign over the human family and the whole human race, including Eve, was under the rule of Adam. In the book of Job when the various rulers of the worlds assembled for a meeting, it would have been Adam and not Satan who represented this world. Not Adam and Eve.

    People are in the process of sealing their minds in truth or error as we approach the final test. And every error embraced is the tool of Satan to destroy faith in the word of God and foment rebellion against God, His authority, His government and kingdom.

    Placing women in positions they are not qualified to hold by God’s ordained system of church government is simply a parallel to the attack on God’s authority in heaven and is now repeated here on earth by wicked men who refuse to subject themselves to God’s ordained system of church government. And to wrest and twist scripture is also a parallel to how Satan twisted and deceived many in the angelic host in the same manner. This issue is not ambiguous nor unclear in its biblical revelations.

    So, you can continue in rebellion against the clear declarations of the bible and affirmed by EGW, or carefully rethink your present position and move into line with the word of God.

    I did not spend time looking for her quote that Lucifer affirmed he would subject himself to the authority of the Father, but not to Christ. I could find it if I really looked for it. She said it. But it is not necessary to find and post it. There is more than enough evidence to clearly show that God the Father is first in authority and this has nothing to do with your false charge of Arianism of those who reject you view.

    Like the incarnation of Christ when He became both man and God, it is not explained by pure reason, but accepted by revelation. And much of your defense of creation falls into this same context. You can not “prove” creation by any natural law or science. Miracles are not provable by science as to how they take place. So, as I said, this is your forum and you can and will have the last word. I won’t respond to what you conclude. People will have to “prove all things” and decide for themselves with the awareness that their eternal life is at stake based on a final conclusion.




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    • Again, this is indeed an Arian concept – that the Father is somehow fundamentally superior to Christ in nature and/or authority and that Christ derived His own position and authority from the Father. That’s a clear form of Arianism.

      The reason why the Father assembled the angels together to explain the position of Jesus is because Jesus had taken on the form of an angel (the Archangel Michael) and Lucifer had made confusing accusations regarding the true status of Jesus. The Father was simply making known a reality to the heavenly angels that they didn’t yet understand or realize – that Jesus was in fact fully God in His own right – not created or in any way subordinate or otherwise inferior in inherent power or authority. In other words, the Father was not endowing Jesus was something that Jesus didn’t already have all on His own. Jesus was Himself God and always had been – with life and authority “original, unborrowed, and underived” from anyone (EGW, DoA, p. 530). Regardless of their lack of understanding, the reality of the situation is that it was really Jesus who had made everyone standing there before God’s throne, together with the Father, and had life and power and Divine authority, in its highest sense, inherent within Himself that was “underived” from the Father.

      Now, regarding your comment that Lucifer was willing to submit to the Father, that’s clearly mistaken because Lucifer directly rebelled against the Father’s clearly stated wishes and refused to submit to the Father’s will. Sure, Lucifer’s initial jealously and feud was with Jesus. However, the notion that Lucifer would readily submit to the Father and be entirely satisfied as long as he was put second in command is just nonsense. It is quite clear that he wanted it all. He wanted to be “like God” (Isaiah 14:14).




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        My evidence that God’s order is a family with the father as the head, loving and supporting his helpmate and both nuturing and growing the children — men ordanined, women as helpmates, and both nurturing and growing the church — is the reality of what has happened to men, women, and our society since women were “ordainted” in our society. I don’t like the results; and I prefer God’s order. I can’t believe how many “in-tact” and successfully functioning SDA families nurturing successful children want to try the experiment of “women’s ordination” in the SDA society. In the public society, we are to the point of a mother asking her child, “Do you think you are a boy or girl? (with doctors ready to fulfill the answer)” and therefore, “Which restroom shall you use today?” Public elementary schools are facing this legal-mandated downhill slide. I think SDA women should submit to God’s order as a “firewall” to society’s slide. Having the strength to submit and serve as God’s firewall takes great faith and trust in God. Women have a powerful role to play in our society — in fulfilling the role God created for women — helpmate. That takes the real guts today. I view it similar to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane — “Yet not as I will, but as You will.”




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    • @Bill Sorensen:
      Someone posted this on Facebook: Ten Reasons a Man Should Not Be Ordained

      10. A man’s place is in the army.

      9. The pastoral duties of men who have children might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.

      8. The physique of men indicates that they are more suited to such tasks as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do ministerial tasks.

      7. Man was created before woman, obviously as a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

      6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. Their conduct at football and basketball games demonstrates this.

      5. Some men are handsome, and this will distract women worshipers.

      4. Pastors need to nurture their congregations. But this is not a traditional male role. Throughout history, women have been recognized as not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more fervently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

      3. Men are prone to violence. No really masculine man wants to settle disputes except by fighting about them. Thus they would be poor role models as well as dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

      2. The New Testament tells us that Jesus was betrayed by a man. His lack of faith and ensuing punishment remind us of the subordinated position that all men should take.

      1. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep sidewalks, repair the church roof, and perhaps even lead the song service on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the church.

      ~ Dr. David M. Scholer, a former professor at Fuller Theological Seminary.




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      • @Hubert F. Sturges:

        “Someone posted this on Facebook: Ten Reasons a Man Should Not Be Ordained”

        What is posted on Facebook, Hubb, to mock the word of God is hardly a credible or viable reason to endorse some Facebook posting.

        The bible as well as EGW is very clear on this issue that has come up in the last few decades by way of the liberal agenda and the women’s lib movement.

        The Sabbath will soon be attack with this same spiritualistic argument that “the Holy Spirit is leading”. Even SDA’s are so biblically illiterate they are being easily duped by satanic delusions of some false equality that has no bearing or application to the issue.

        We could wonder why Dr. Pitman is intent to defend the literal creation week, and then attack the clear bible declaration of male headship. It would seem that if the devil can not deceive people on one point, he will simply deceive them on another. The devil has undermined the bible and its authority on so many subjects that the credibility of the bible itself is on the line.

        Small wonder Jesus said, “Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way and few there be that find it.” The broad road to destruction has many avenues of deception and the equality of women in positions of authority that God has ordained for men only, is simply one avenue to perdition. Historically, we expected all the confusion about bible teaching and spirituality would be in the world in general, but now we see it is even more widespread in the SDA church.

        The Christian community and the world are uniting very swiftly and the SDA church is right in there with a “me too” attitude that is both shocking and surprising in light of all the council we have from EGW as well as the bible. We must be close to the limit of God’s grace and tolerance in light of the blatant rebellion against His authority and setting up our own agenda far from the biblical norm. The end must necessarily be near and rebellion will be punished in no uncertain terms as defined in the word of God.

        Fear of God has been abandon as people have opted for a false gospel that denies and sets aside God’s justice. There is no cure for this spirituality but only a false assurance based on presumption and rebellion. It is a sad situation that has griped the SDA church and will not be tolerated much longer.




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        • Hello Bill,
          Thanks for your reply. As for “Ten reasons that men should not be ordained” — it was simply humor, and intended to lighten up the conversation.
          Seriously, we as a church desperately need to become more knowledgeable on the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, When I hear a sermon, it is clear to me as to whether the Spirit of Prophecy has been consulted. Ellen White has given us information and warnings that we all need. It is sad to see the blatant rebellion in the church over women’s ordination. It is also sad to see some churches still hanging onto “New Theology” (all of grace and none of keeping the law, salvation even for those who continue in sin.) Possibly even worse is to see “church growth” coming hand in hand with eastern forms of meditation, etc. But enough of that.
          I consider myself to be a literate SDA. I have read much in the Spirit of Prophecy. I have the EGW CDROM on my computer. Which makes it easy to find answers in the SOP without having to read the context. I have all my life used the Bible as a reference book — looking up texts, reading portions here and there. Our Sabbath School Lessons promote this approach. About five years ago, I decided to read the Bible through cover to cover. It was an eye opener! It brought to mind many important messages I needed to know. Each year I choose a different Bible to read. — The King James Bible is my standard, The Andrews Study Bible (NKJV), Everett Fox’s translation of parts of the Bible – translating the Bible to be read aloud, The Reese Chronological Bible, etc.
          I strongly recommend that every SDA read the Bible through cover to cover. Even if using just your own favorite translation. I like to mark my Bible, using four different colors to emphasize certain points.
          One other thing, it is impossible to find a Bible in a bookstore of such quality that your highlighter does not bleed through to the next page. I would recommend looking at http://www.evangelicalbibles.com This is a source of really good Bibles. Such will cost from $150 – $220. But if you are going to spend many hours reading it through, it is worthwhile to have a high quality Bible. It makes it a joy to hold it and read it.
          Pray while you read the Bible. It will strengthen your prayer life. Get up an hour early each morning to read and pray. It will brighten up the whole day




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        • “Hello Bill,
          Thanks for your reply. As for “Ten reasons that men should not be ordained” — it was simply humor, and intended to lighten up the conversation.
          Seriously, we as a church desperately need to become more knowledgeable on the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy,…..”

          I appreciate your comment and perspective, Hubb. Reading and studying the bible has many benefits both generic and particular. Here are a few “particular” reason to study the bible.

          When a specific issue is challenged about God and His government, we have the bible to define what is truth and what is error. Many things that are true are accepted by implication by the Christian community, and only when some aspect is challenged, is it necessary to make clear and definitive statements to defend and support truth.

          This principle began in heaven when Lucifer challenged the authority of Christ. All heaven had assumed that Jesus was the final authority, and there was no need to make a particular statement to affirm what was obvious. None the less, in light of the challenge, we read in PP by EGW that God assembled the heavenly host and stated in no uncertain terms that Christ was the ultimate authority and always had been. Later in the same chapter, she states this was no new “revelation” but was necessary because of the challenge by Lucifer about this issue.

          Down through salvation history, this principle has come into play again and again. What has been accepted as an objective given in the past, is challenged and must be clearly defined and affirmed in the believing community. As one example, the bible has always been the accepted authority in the believing community and until the Reformation called Rome on this issue, and Rome claimed the Holy Spirit working in the church transcends the written word.

          So now the challenge comes as to what is the final authority? Protestantism re-affirmed what had been known for centuries but was now being challenged by Rome. And this is typical of how the true believers are confronted on various issues that may have been an objective given and never challenged in the past, but is now being challenged and some clear affirmation must be stated.

          In the SDA church, we have some who want to affirm science over the bible account of creation. Thus Dr. Pitman and others are affirming the traditional bible view that no one would have challenged in the past who had any viable credibility.

          And now the issue of Women’s ordination has become a focal point when male headship like many other objective givens were the obvious accepted norm in history. We see this principle also applies to defense of the state of the dead, and the bible Sabbath and various other issues in the historical process of salvation.

          In these cases, we don’t just read the bible for some generic spiritual edification, but for a careful evaluation concerning truth and/or error about specific issues. Thus, we could read the bible through every year and obtain a tremendous blessing and never even be aware of some issues that confront the Christian community and never even considered what was right or wrong about any specific given subject. Only when a given subject is challenged is there a dynamic necessity to be very articulate on any given issue and defend the one and only truth about that subject.

          The benefit of this, is it expands our comprehension of bible truth and our minds grow more and more in an understanding of God and His kingdom and the principles He ordains and specifies as to how His kingdom operates.

          I always enjoy your comments and appreciate your service to God’s kingdom in so many ways in the past.
          Bill




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  44. Sean, you above state: “… a lack of a specific statement in the GC’s Working Policy that explicitly forbids the ordination of women as pastors. As far as I’m aware, such a statement simply doesn’t exist.”

    Try BA 60 10 which states: “The world Church supports nondiscrimination in employment practices and policies and upholds the principle that both men and women, without regard to race and color, shall be given full and equal opportunity within the Church to develop the knowledge and skills needed for the building up of the Church. Positions of service and responsibility (except those requiring ordination to the gospel ministry*) on all levels of church activity shall be open to all on the basis of the individual’s qualifications.”

    The footnote makes clear that the exception regarding ordination to the gospel ministry is one of gender, not race or color.

    Also, B 10 22: “All organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize the authority of the General Conference Session as the highest authority of the Seventh-day Adventist Church under God.” Here we have part of the Working Policy saying that there is no higher authority under God in the Adventist Church than the sessions that voted down WO in 1990, 1995, and 2015.




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  45. Hubert F. Sturges:
    Hello Bill,
    Thanks for your reply. As for “Ten reasons that men should not be ordained” — it was simply humor, and intended to lightenup the conversation.
    Seriously, we as a church desperately need to become more knowledgeable on the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, When I hear a sermon, it is clear to me as to whether the Spirit of Prophecy has been consulted. Ellen White has given us information and warnings that we all need. It is sad to see the blatant rebellion in the church over women’s ordination. It is also sad to see some churches still hanging onto “New Theology” (all of grace and none of keeping the law, salvation even for those who continue in sin.)Possibly even worse is to see “church growth” coming hand in hand with eastern forms of meditation, etc. But enough of that.
    I consider myself to be a literate SDA. I have read much in the Spirit of Prophecy. I have the EGW CDROM on my computer. Which makes it easy to find answers in the SOP without having to read the context. I have all my life used the Bible as a reference book — looking up texts, reading portions here and there. Our Sabbath School Lessons promote this approach. About five years ago, I decided to read the Bible through cover to cover. It was an eyeopener! It brought to mind many important messages I needed to know. Each year I choose a different Bible toread. — The King James Bible is my standard, The Andrews Study Bible(NKJV), Everett Fox’s translation of parts of the Bible – translating the Bible to be read aloud, The Reese Chronological Bible, etc.
    I strongly recommend that every SDA read the Bible through cover to cover. Even if using just your own favorite translation. I like to mark my Bible, using four different colors to emphasize certain points.
    One other thing, it is impossible to find a Bible in a bookstore of such quality that your highlighter does not bleed through to the next page. I would recommend looking at http://www.evangelicalbibles.comThis is asource of really good Bibles. Such will cost from $150 – $220. But if you are going to spend many hours reading it through, it is worthwhile to have a high quality Bible. It makes it a joy to hold it and read it.
    Pray while you read the Bible. It will strengthen your prayer life. Get up an hour early each morning to read and pray. It will brighten up the whole day




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