The issue of women’s ordination is not a new topic. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been wrestling with this off and on for more than 100 years. Adventist historians say that between 1870 and 1900 the church had seen over 20 women receive ministerial credentials, Ellen White among them.
There was in the church, before and during the 2015 General Conference Session, a lot of discussion leading up to the “No” vote. The question that was voted was on whether or not to allow the 13 divisions to each decide for themselves about ordaining women to the gospel ministry within their own territories. The vote by secret paper ballot was 1,381 opposing and 977 in favor.
Therefore, this vote does not allow divisions to ordain women to the gospel ministry as they deem fit. However, this vote does not change the policy on commissioning women pastors. We, as a conference, will respect the decision of the world church.
I think the question we need to ask now is, What’s next? To answer, I quote Elder Daniel Jackson because I think his remarks sum up the North American Division’s position and thus the Minnesota Conference’s position:
“We ask our members to focus their energies on the one thing we can agree on—the mission of the church. God has called all of us to serve Him in ministry, whether we are recognized by the church or not.
The NAD recognizes that every person, no matter his or her race, age or gender, has a vital role to play in sharing the gospel message with the world. Let us be united as a family that is bound by the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
While we may disagree on various approaches to ministry, let us all agree on the need to reach all people with the message of hope, wholeness and a new life in Jesus.
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. We ask that all members of the Adventist Church keep praying for God’s guidance as we move forward in mission.”
Brian Mungandi is communication director for the Minnesota Conference.