Download PDF: Who Will Finish The Work? Who Gave You This Authority?GC And NAD Continue Power Struggle
Since the General Conference Executive Committee meeting October 5-12, which produced the document titled “Unity in Mission: Procedures in Church Reconciliation” to deal with unions that continued to ordain women as pastors, granting them a one-year grace period in which they were to come in line with the voted policy, there have been further developments that indicate that the North American Division and its various unions have no intention of changing their minds or practices. The North California Conference delegates at the conference’s constituency meeting voted down a motion that had stated that the conference will abide by the General Conference’s voted policy that unions do not have the authorization to ordain women as pastors. The motion read thus: “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.”1 There were 297 opposed, and 211 in favor. This means that the North California Conference will continue to rebel against God’s word and the General Conference, by ordaining women as pastors and elders, outright rejecting the offered year of grace that came out of the General Conference Annual Council.
This is not at all unusual considering the ongoing trend of defiance exhibited by North American Division President, Dan Jackson and other union leaders bent on ordaining women as pastors. Going back to the 2015 General Conference vote, the very day the vote was taken and the results tallied and revealed, Dan Jackson gave the following remarks: “‘We will continue with our intention of placing as many women into pastoral ministry as possible. We affirm the important role they play in reaching all of God’s children.’”2 From its official website, it was made clear that the vote changed absolutely nothing and that they would continue to allow unions to ordain women as pastors. “This vote does not determine whether or not women can serve as ministers. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has already decided that women may serve as credentialed ministers. As several delegates pointed out during floor speeches (including special guest former GC president Jan Paulsen), this vote was not about whether female pastors should be ordained, but who should decide whether or not to ordain them. Dan Jackson… said that regardless of whether or not they are ordained, the 107 women pastors currently laboring in the NAD will continue serving their churches and communities… Neither does today’s vote change the current GC policy on the ordination of women as local church elders, as stated in the 2009 Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Handbook, p. 94…”3
Fast forward one year to the 2016 GC Annual Council wherein it was reported that the General Conference would possibly take over unions that continued to defy the General Conference’s voted policy as it relates to the ordaining of women, and the timing of the Pacific Union’s voted resolution that should unions be dissolved or taken over by the General Conference, all of the union’s assets would be given to the local conferences within that union. However, the decision that came out of the GC Annual Council meeting was that a one-year grace period would be granted for the unions to be reconciled with the voted policy regarding the denied authorization of unions to ordain women as pastors. Again the NAD president was not silent after the Annual Council vote and penned his “open letter to female pastors in the North American Division”4 wherein he affirmed that the results of the vote that had taken place the day before did not in any way affect their status as pastors and that “the North American Division remains committed to empower and establish our women in pastoral ministry.”5 The NAD with its unions supporting and carrying out the ordination of women have made up their minds and have left no uncertainty that they neither want nor need the year of grace offered them; perhaps they are hoping that the General Conference leaders will use that year of grace to come in alignment with their agenda and grant the unions authority to ordain women.
If the above evidences are not clear enough, consider the first-hand account of a sermon delivered by Dan Jackson also following the resolution from the General Conference Executive Committee meeting for its Annual Council reported by Fulcrum7. “On Tuesday morning, 10-18-2016, Dan Jackson attended a worship meeting held in the chapel of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI. He (Dan Jackson) was introduced by Jiri Moskala, Dean of the Seminary who stated that ‘Dan Jackson preached good news without an agenda and that he favored ministry for all, even women… He began his talk by saying that the vote at Annual Council didn’t change a thing…’ The NAD president stated that he was saddened by the vote at Annual Council. He disagrees, he says, with the reconciliation document being treated like Scripture… He said the NAD will not turn away or change their minds. They will pursue their course and they are not innocent anymore…They are developing strategy but will not share it… Jackson claimed that he would not back down in his support for women’s ordination. He told those present that the N.A.D. had budgeted $700,000 with the intention to bring 1,000 more women into the pastoral ministry of the Adventist Church in the North American Division. He says he has a strategy for this too.”6 What are the implications of such emotionally-charged language and defiant determination, one may be inquiring. This quite possibly will have a domino effect upon other conferences and the unions will follow after the same policy, leading to an irreparable severance of such conferences and unions from the General Conference.
While Seventh-day Adventists are deeply entangled and fixated upon the controversy now taking place within the denomination, the Lord is looking for faithful individuals who will do their part in the closing work. Only those who have been ordained by God, can be co-laborers with Him in carrying forward the Three Angels’ Messages. It must be emphatically stated that the ordination of God does not encompass ordaining women to the role of pastor or elder; these roles are specifically designated for men according to scripture.
However, women do have an important role to fill in the promulgation of the gospel, just as they ever have.
Just as it is today, there was a controversy among the Jews over authority, or it could be termed ordination, in the days of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?” Matthew 21:23. Jewish leaders taught the people to believe that unless they authorized or sanctioned a person to go forward in ministry, a person was not to be listened to, believed or followed. See John 7:45-48. They likewise taught that unless a person has gone through the prescribed channels and systems of education deemed necessary, they were unqualified to do ministry in any capacity. “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” John 7:14 and 15. Therefore the majority of the leaders and people they rejected John the Baptist and Jesus. This is the very reason why many today are rejecting the messages, warnings and entreaties faithfully carried forward by self-supporting ministers/ministries, regardless of their fruits or the messages they are bearing, but simply because they have not been authorized by leaders within the SDA conferences. They are called names, considered disloyal and have their characters grossly maligned; however, God’s Word clearly makes known who it is that He will work through in these last days to give the final warning; and it does not include the pompous, self-sufficient, the worldly-educated mere professor of religion, regardless of his credentials.
“Thus the message of the third angel will be proclaimed. As the time comes for it to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power–all will be unmasked.”7
Since Christ is our example in all things, it would be well for all to consider the ordinations that Christ performed. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” Mark 3:14 and 15. In the succeeding verses (16-19) are mentioned the names of the twelve, and not one was a woman. Were there no faithful women in the days of Christ? Surely Christ had the opportunity to ordain women if he so chose, but the work in which the twelve were ordained to do were not the roles that God had designated for women to perform and lead out in. It is sad that when it suits individuals’ beliefs and desires, they are all too ready to use Christ as their example, while in other areas they ignore the examples of Christ; at least they should be consistent, or not use Christ as an example at all. Of course if they use Christ as their model in all things, they would have to acknowledge that the men Christ ordained were rejected by the majority of the Jewish leaders and people. Additionally they will also have to acknowledge and accept the self-supporting work (ministries not connected to any conference) and they would also have to admit, that women’s ordination is unbiblical and abominable.
Because John the Baptist and Christ did not go to the Rabbinical schools and were not given authorization or man’s ordination, they were rejected, mercilessly slandered and prohibited from preaching in the synagogues and the leaders dissuaded the people from following them. How is it today? How will it be for the preachers who have taken a public stand against the ordination of women? Need you be reminded of the marginalization of Doug Batchelor from the Florida Conference and other conferences, because he has been extremely vocal against the ordination of women? Those preachers who have made a career out of traveling from church to church preaching sermons and that have also taken a stand against women’s ordination, can expect doors to be closed to them from the many unions, local conferences and churches that not only support, but are moving forward in ordaining women.
Maybe such preachers and people will begin to see the necessity of the true self-supporting work and why God calls for it in these last days. However, this work is in no wise easy and without trial. “In this time of persecution the faith of the Lord’s servants will be tried. They have faithfully given the warning, looking to God and to His word alone. God’s Spirit, moving upon their hearts, has constrained them to speak. Stimulated with holy zeal, and with the divine impulse strong upon them, they entered upon the performance of their duties without coldly calculating the consequences of speaking to the people the word which the Lord had given them. They have not consulted their temporal interests, nor sought to preserve their reputation or their lives. Yet when the storm of opposition and reproach bursts upon them, some, overwhelmed with consternation, will be ready to exclaim: ‘Had we foreseen the consequences of our words, we would have held our peace.’ They are hedged in with difficulties. Satan assails them with fierce temptations. The work which they have undertaken seems far beyond their ability to accomplish. They are threatened with destruction. The enthusiasm which animated them is gone; yet they cannot turn back. Then, feeling their utter helplessness, they flee to the Mighty One for strength. They remember that the words which they have spoken were not theirs, but His who bade them give the warning. God put the truth into their hearts, and they could not forbear to proclaim it.”8
7. White, Ellen. The Great Controversy (1911), page 606
8. White, Ellen. The Great Controversy (1911), page 608