Report of the SAU Theology of Ordination and  
Women’s Ordination Committee  
 
 
Members:  
G.  T.  du  Preez,  A.  Platts,  P.  Chobokoane,  G.  T.  Allers,  E.  Scholtz,  N.  Fleming,  R.  N.  Mavuso,  L.  E.  Du  Preez,  M.  
C.  Nhlapo,  J.  Mongwe,  T.  Danxa,  D.  Williams.  
 
17 July 2014  
 

 

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Contents  
I.  Mandate  .......................................................................................................................................................  3  
II. Preamble  .....................................................................................................................................................  3
III. Statement  on  Women’s  Ordination  to  Pastoral  Ministry  ...........................................................................  4
IV. Response  to  SID  Recommendations  as  outlined  in  “The  Summary  of  SID  BRC  Position  on  the  Ordination
of  Women.”  .....................................................................................................................................................  5  
V.  Elaboration  of  the  Statement  on  Women’s  Ordination  to  Pastoral  Ministry  .............................................  6  
1. Whereas  according  to  the  Consensus  Statement  for  the  Ordination  to  Ministry  by  the  Theology  of
Ordination  Studies  Committee,  ordination  does  not  convey  any  special  qualities  or  status  and  repre-­‐
sents  an  endorsement  and  dedication  of  a  person’s  talents,  time  and  service  to  God  ..........................  6  
2. Whereas  the  World  Church  does  not  have  consensus  with  regard  to  the  biblical  evidence  ..............  6
3. Whereas  the  World  Church  does  not  have  consensus  with  regard  to  the  writings  of  Ellen  G.  White  7
4. Whereas  the  Fundamental  Beliefs  insist  on  the  equality  of  genders  without  partiality  or  reservation
and  that  issues  of  gender  should  not  be  divisive  ....................................................................................  7  
5. Whereas  Official  Statements  of  the  World  Church  argue  for  the  equality  of  all  people  irrespective
of  gender  and  maintain  that  women  should  play  an  increased  role  in  the  leadership  and  decision-­‐
making  bodies  of  both  church  and  society  ............................................................................................  10  
6. Whereas  authority  in  church  governance  does  not  reside  with  the  church  pastor,  but  with  the  local
membership  including  both  men  and  women  ......................................................................................  10  
7. Whereas  a  leader  in  the  SDA  Church  is  not  aligned  with  having  authority,  both  men  and  women
may  be  ordained  as  elders,  and  elders  may  fulfil  the  role  of  an  ordained  pastor  in  the  absence  of  an  
ordained  pastor  .....................................................................................................................................  11  
8. Whereas  roles  assigned  to  church  officers  based  on  gender  is  not  an  evident  part  of  local  church
election  procedures  ..............................................................................................................................  12  
9. Whereas  there  is  no  policy  prohibiting  the  ordination  of  women  to  pastoral  ministry  presently  in
existence,  nor  has  there  been  in  the  history  of  the  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  .............................  12  
10. Whereas  human  rights  are  concerned  to  promote  the  equal  treatment  of  both  genders  .............  12
Appendix  A  .....................................................................................................................................................13
THE  SUMMARY  OF  SID  BRC  POSITION  ON  THE  ORDINATION  OF  WOMEN  ...............................................  13  
Appendix  B  ....................................................................................................................................................  16  
CONSENSUS  STATEMENT  ON  A  SEVENTH-­‐DAY  ADVENTIST  THEOLOGY  OF  ORDINATION  ........................  16  
Appendix  C  ....................................................................................................................................................  17  
HUMAN  RELATIONS  ..................................................................................................................................  17  
WOMEN’S  ISSUES  ......................................................................................................................................  18  
Appendix  D  ....................................................................................................................................................  19  
VALUES  ......................................................................................................................................................  19  
50th  ANNIVERSARY  OF  THE  UNIVERSAL  DELARATION  OF  HUMAN  RIGHTS  ..............................................  20  

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I.  Mandate  
This  is  stated  in  action  12-­‐214  of  the  SAU  minutes  in  the  President’s  Council  Report:  To  receive,  screen,  study,  
formulate  and  submit  a  response  on  the  ordination  of  women.  
 

II.  Preamble  
The Theology of Ordination and Women’s Ordination Committee (hereafter referred to as “the
committee”) acknowledges that any conclusions drawn by the committee are not representative
of all the constituents of the South African Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and division on the issue will remain irrespective of the statements of this committee. The committee has
not undertaken to resolve the women’s ordination question by engaging in seminal research on
the issue. The committee acknowledges that SDA scholars, administrators and members have
wrestled with this issue for decades and unanimity continues to elude discussions on women’s ordination. The committee acknowledges that biblical materials can be compiled on both sides of
the debate and has not undertaken to resolve biblical arguments. The committee has addressed
the question of women’s ordination according to the currently held convictions of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church in terms of the way it has identified itself. This identity can be discovered in
general terms in the  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  Manual,  18th edition (2010), and is also expressed
in the following (though not limited to these factors):  
1. The Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church  
2. The Official Statements of the Seventh-day Adventist Church  
3. Seventh-day Adventist Church Governance  
Any  stated  position  on  women’s  ordination  should  cohere  with  the  fundamental  precepts  of  the  Seventh-­‐
day  Adventist  Church  as  voted  by  the  General  Conference  in  Session  and,  in  a  derivative  sense,  statements  
voted  by  the  General  Conference  Executive  Committee  and  its  subsidiary  committees.  The  committee’s  con-­‐
clusions  with  regard  to  the  ordination  of  women  into  pastoral  ministry,  therefore,  are  founded  on  the  eccle-­‐
siology  of  the  World  Church  as  it  is  currently  professed.    
 

 

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III.  Statement  on  Women’s  Ordination  to  Pastoral  Ministry  
1.  Whereas  according  to  the  Consensus  Statement  for  the  Ordination  to  Ministry  by  the  Theology  of  Ordina-­‐
tion  Studies  Committee,  ordination  does  not  convey  any  special  qualities  or  status  and  represents  an  en-­‐
dorsement  and  dedication  of  a  person’s  talents,  time  and  service  to  God;  
2.  Whereas  the  World  Church  does  not  have  consensus  with  regard  to  the  biblical  evidence;  
3.  Whereas  the  World  Church  does  not  have  consensus  with  regard  to  the  writings  of  Ellen  G.  White;  
4.  Whereas  the  Fundamental  Beliefs  insist  on  the  equality  of  genders  without  partiality  or  reservation  and  
that  issues  of  gender  should  not  be  divisive;  
5.  Whereas  Official  Statements  of  the  World  Church  argue  for  the  equality  of  all  people  irrespective  of  gen-­‐
der  and  maintain  that  women  should  play  an  increased  role  in  the  leadership  and  decision-­‐making  bodies  of  
both  church  and  society;  
6.  Whereas  authority  in  church  governance  does  not  reside  with  the  church  pastor,  but  with  the  local  mem-­‐
bership  including  both  men  and  women;  
7.  Whereas  a  leader  in  the  SDA  Church  is  not  aligned  with  having  authority,  both  men  and  women  may  be  
ordained  as  elders,  and  elders  may  fulfil  the  role  of  an  ordained  pastor  in  the  absence  of  an  ordained  pastor;  
8.  Whereas  roles  assigned  to  church  officers  based  on  gender  is  not  an  evident  part  of  local  church  election  
procedures;  
9.  Whereas  there  is  no  policy  prohibiting  the  ordination  of  women  to  pastoral  ministry  presently  in  exist-­‐
ence,  nor  has  there  been  in  the  history  of  the  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church;  
10.  Whereas  human  rights  are  concerned  to  promote  the  equal  treatment  of  both  genders;  
The  findings  of  this  committee  are  that  there  are  currently  no  conclusive  arguments  that  prohibit  the  ordina-­‐
tion  of  women  to  pastoral  ministry  in  the  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church.  The  committee,  therefore,  con-­‐
cludes  that  ordination  to  pastoral  ministry  should  not  be  determined  by  gender.  

 

 

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IV.  Response  to  SID  Recommendations  as  outlined  in  “The  Summary  of  SID  
BRC  Position  on  the  Ordination  of  Women.”  
The  committee’s  response  follows  the  numbers  as  listed  in  the  SID  recommendations  and  each  point  is  ad-­‐
dressed  in  turn  (See  Appendix  A  for  the  SID  document  entitled:  “The  Summary  of  SID  BRC  Position  on  the  
Ordination  of  Women”):  
1.  Since  there  is  no  biblical  support  for  the  ordination  of  woman  pastors,  then  the  ordination  of  women  elders  
should  also  not  be  considered.  That  implies  that  as  from  the  action  date,  women  shall  no  longer  serve  as  el-­‐
ders.  
Response:  The  World  Church  is  divided  on  the  biblical  evidence  and  the  argument  that  there  is  no  biblical  
support  for  the  ordination  of  women  as  pastors  is  not  an  opinion  that  is  uniformly  accepted  within  the  SDA  
Church.  The  issue  of  the  ordination  of  women  as  elders  goes  beyond  the  SID’s  mandate.  Hence,  pronounce-­‐
ments  related  to  women  as  elders  is  out  of  place  and  inapplicable.  
2.  The  church  should  continue  to  recognize  the  spiritual  gifts  of  both  men  and  women  and  encourage  them  to  
be  involved  in  appropriate  ministry  according  to  the  biblical  model.  
Response:  The  committee  agrees  that  the  church  should  recognize  the  spiritual  gifts  of  both  men  and  wom-­‐
en.  The  committee  also  agrees  that  men  and  women  should  be  encouraged  to  be  involved  in  appropriate  
ministry,  as  long  as  the  term  “appropriate  ministry”  is  not  taken  to  mean  anything  prescriptive.  The  commit-­‐
tee  is  unsure  as  to  what  is  meant  by  “the  biblical  model,”  since  this  has  not  been  clearly  established  and  no  
such  model  is  consistently  accepted  by  the  World  Church.  
3.  Recognizing  that  we  have  taken  actions  that  are  not  in  line  with  the  biblical  model,  we  should  review  all  
principles,  policies,  and  practices  not  consistent  with  the  biblical  model  presented  above.  
Response:  In  light  of  the  fact  that  there  is  no  single  “biblical  model”  accepted  by  the  World  Church,  recom-­‐
mendations  based  on  an  acceptance  of  such  a  model  are  moot  and  not  open  to  further  evaluation.  
4.  The  church  should  create  a  variety  of  ministry  opportunities  for  women  with  ministerial  training  such  as  
counsellors  and  teachers.  
6.  Ministerial  Training  institutions  should  provide  greater  scope  of  study  for  women  in  ministry  training,  such  
as  doing  a  double  major  in  theology  and  counselling.    
7.  The  Admission  office  of  the  ministerial  training  institutions  should  advise  prospective  women  theology  stu-­‐
dents  of  the  ordination  vote  and  guide  accordingly.  
8.  Females  who  are  currently  enrolled  in  our  theological  seminaries  need  to  be  channeled  in  ministries  that  
would  not  require  ordination.    
Response:  The  committee  notes  that  points  4,  6,  7  and  8  are  recommendations  based  on  the  assumption  
that  the  General  Conference  in  Session  in  2015  will  oppose  the  ordination  of  women  to  pastoral  ministry.  
Recommendations  of  this  nature  need  to  be  shelved  until  such  a  time.  
5.  The  church  should  create  a  remuneration  system  that  does  not  discriminate  on  the  basis  of  gender  but  rec-­‐
ognizes  the  capabilities  and  abilities  of  every  individual  in  ministry.  
Response:  The  committee  applauds  the  sentiments  in  this  statement  and  endorses  the  importance  of  not  
discriminating  on  the  basis  of  gender.  
9.  The  proposal  to  regionalize  ordination  should  not  be  allowed  because  it  will  lead  to  further  fragmentation  
which  will  threaten  the  unity  of  the  world  church.    
Response:  The  proposal  to  regionalize  ordination  is  an  attempt  to  find  middle  ground  on  the  question  of  the  
ordination  of  women  to  pastoral  ministry.  The  regionalizing  of  ordination  is  not  an  ideal  and,  in  this  sense,  
the  committee  agrees  with  the  SID  recommendation,  but  acknowledges  that  sometimes  pragmatic  solutions  
are  the  only  way  forward  where  consensus  is  not  a  possibility.  

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V.  Elaboration  of  the  Statement  on  Women’s  Ordination  to  Pastoral  
Ministry  
The  Statement  on  Women’s  Ordination  to  Pastoral  Ministry  is  divided  into  ten  clauses,  each  of  which  is  am-­‐
plified  below.  Additional  documentation,  if  required,  is  provided  in  the  appendices.    
1.  Whereas  according  to  the  Consensus  Statement  for  the  Ordination  to  Ministry  
by  the  Theology  of  Ordination  Studies  Committee,  ordination  does  not  convey  any  
special  qualities  or  status  and  represents  an  endorsement  and  dedication  of  a  
person’s  talents,  time  and  service  to  God  
The following excerpts from the document serve as elaboration for this clause (see Appendix B for
the full document):  
a.  “  English  versions  of  the  Scriptures  use  the  word  ordain  to  translate  many  different  Greek  and  He-­‐
brew  words  having  the  basic  idea  of  select  or  appoint  that  describe  the  placement  of  these  persons  
in  their  respective  offices.  Over  the  course  of  Christian  history  the  term  ordination  has  acquired  
meanings  beyond  what  these  words  originally  implied.  Against  such  a  backdrop,  Seventh-­‐day  Ad-­‐
ventists  understand  ordination,  in  a  biblical  sense,  as  the  action  of  the  Church  in  publicly  recognizing  
those  whom  the  Lord  has  called  and  equipped  for  local  and  global  Church  ministry.”  
b.  “While  ordination  contributes  to  Church  order,  it  neither  conveys  special  qualities  to  the  persons  
ordained  nor  introduces  a  kingly  hierarchy  within  the  faith  community.”  
c.  “Ordained  individuals  dedicate  their  talents  to  the  Lord  and  to  His  Church  for  a  lifetime  of  service.  
The  foundational  model  of  ordination  is  Jesus  appointing  the  twelve  apostles  (Matt  10:1-­‐4;  Mark  
3:13-­‐19;  Luke  6:12-­‐16),  and  the  ultimate  model  of  Christian  ministry  is  the  life  and  work  of  our  Lord,  
who  came  not  to  be  served  but  to  serve  (Mark  10:45;  Luke  22:25-­‐27;  John  13:1-­‐17).”  
 
2.  Whereas  the  World  Church  does  not  have  consensus  with  regard  to  the  biblical  
evidence  
The  committee  acknowledges  that  issues  pertaining  to  the  Church  and  its  functioning  is  best  resolved  by  
proclamations  from  Scripture.  However,  with  regard  to  the  question  of  women’s  ordination,  opinion  within  
the  SDA  Church  is  divided  as  to  the  nature  of  the  biblical  witness.  The  very  fact  that  Scripture  does  not  seem  
to  address  the  question  explicitly  has  meant  that  conclusions  on  women’s  ordination  drawn  from  Scripture  
have  largely  been  inferences.  For  example,  it  is  possible  to  argue  that  the  designated  twelve  apostles  of  Je-­‐
sus  were  all  male  and  to  thereby  infer  that  only  men  may  be  ordained  as  pastors.  One  could,  however,  con-­‐
tinue  with  this  logic  and  infer  that  since  the  twelve  apostles  were  all  Jewish,  only  men  who  are  Jewish  may  
be  ordained  as  pastors.  The  argument  from  inference  has  limited  weight  purely  because  it  is  a  conclusion  
that  is  drawn  from  the  evidence  rather  than  one  that  is  explicitly  stated  in  Scripture.  
The  committee,  while  not  wishing  to  negatively  judge  any  SDA  exegetes  of  Scripture,  perceives  that  interpre-­‐
tations  of  Scripture  with  regard  to  the  question  of  women’s  ordination  to  pastoral  ministry  often  appear  to  
be  guided  by  pre-­‐established  convictions.  That  is  to  say,  that  if  a  person  is  in  favour  of  women’s  ordination,  
then  their  task  is  to  amass  biblical  evidence  in  support  of  their  position.  Similarly,  a  person  opposed  to  the  
ordination  of  women,  will  compile  biblical  evidence  in  support  of  their  position.  Proponents  on  both  sides  of  
the  divide,  hence,  claim  to  hold  to  a  biblical  perspective.    
While  individual  members  of  the  committee  have  opinions  as  to  which  “biblical”  arguments  are  compelling  
and  which  arguments  are  not,  the  committee  is  forced  to  acknowledge  that  there  is  a  large  body  of  essays,  
papers  and  books  that  present  conflicting  conclusions  based  on  the  biblical  evidence.  The  committee,  there-­‐
fore,  maintains  that  the  Bible  has  not  spoken  with  sufficient  clarity  on  this  issue  to  provide  the  SDA  Church  at  
this  point  in  its  history  and  development  with  the  definitive  answer  it  seeks  on  women’s  ordination.  Mindful  
of  this,  the  committee  would  like  to  make  the  following  affirmations:  
a.  The  lack  of  a  definitive  biblical  answer  does  not  mean  that  the  Bible  cannot  give  general  guidance;    
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b.  The  Church  has  a  responsibility  to  address  and  respond  to  this  question  in  a  definitive  manner  as  it  
is  a  question  that  has  severe  and  present  implications  for  the  Church  and  its  membership;    
c.  The  women’s  ordination  issue  is  currently  not  perceived  by  the  Church  to  be  one  of  Church  doc-­‐
trine  requiring  a  specific  inclusion  in  the  fundamental  beliefs;    
d.  Since  the  fundamental  beliefs  represent  the  Church’s  best  expression  of  the  Bible  as  voted  at  a  
General  Conference  in  Session,  these  serve  as  biblical  guidance  on  ecclesiological  questions  of  this  
nature.  
The  committee  acknowledges  that  the  list  of  resources  offering  “biblical  arguments”  both  for  and  against  
women’s  ordination  to  pastoral  ministry  is  extensive  and  suggests  the  following  as  provisional  readings  (one  
for  and  one  against).  
Against:  

P.  Gerard  Damsteegt,  Edwin  Reynolds,  Gerhard  Pfandl,  Laurel  Damsteegt,  and  Eugene  
Prewitt,  “Interpreting  Scripture  on  the  Ordination  of  Women,”  Presented  by  Eugene  Prewitt  
at  the  Theology  of  Ordination  Committee,  January  21-­‐25,  2014.  

For:  

Ángel  Manuel  Rodríguez,  “Evaluation  of  the  Arguments  Used  by  Those  Who  Oppose  the  Or-­‐
dination  of  Women  to  the  Ministry,”  Theology  of  Ordination  Study  Committee,  Columbia,  
January  2013.  

 
3.  Whereas  the  World  Church  does  not  have  consensus  with  regard  to  the  writings  
of  Ellen  G.  White  
Although “Seventh-day Adventist accepts the Bible as their only creed”  (Church  Manual  2010, 156),
the writings of Ellen G. White “are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide
for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction”  (Church  Manual  2010, 162). Unfortunately, explicit guidance on the ordination of women to pastoral ministry from Ellen White’s
writings has not proved decisive and commentators on both sides of the issue have made use of
her works to bolster their position. In view of the varying approaches to the reading of Ellen
White, the committee is not convinced that Ellen White can be used to resolve the question one
way or the other. The following essay serves as an example:  
Dennis Fortin, “Ellen White, Women in Ministry, and the Ordination of Women,”  Theology
of Ordination Study Committee, November 10, 2013.  
 
4.  Whereas  the  Fundamental  Beliefs  insist  on  the  equality  of  genders  without  
partiality  or  reservation  and  that  issues  of  gender  should  not  be  divisive  
The  purpose  of  this  analysis  is  in  order  to  derive  theological  principles  from  the  fundamental  beliefs  that  may  
give  direction  on  the  question  of  the  ordination  of  women  to  ministry  in  the  SDA  Church.  The  reason  for  this  
is  that  the  28  fundamental  beliefs  represent  the  beliefs  of  the  Church  as  voted  at  a  General  Conference  in  
Session  and  as  such  represent  the  Church’s  best  understanding  of  Scripture.  Since  the  question  of  women’s  
ordination  is  an  ecclesiological  question,  the  fundamental  beliefs  that  are  most  obviously  relevant  are:  #12  
The  Church;  #14  Unity  and  the  Body  of  Christ;  and  #17  Spiritual  Gifts  and  Ministries.  These  beliefs  have  been  
cited  in  full  below:  
The  committee  failed  to  observe  any  indication  in  the  fundamental  beliefs  that  any  ecclesial  role  or  function  
should  be  exclusively  designated  for  men.  The  fundamental  beliefs  appear  to  state  quite  the  opposite,  argu-­‐
ing  that  all  believers  are  equal  in  that  they  are  children  of  God,  and  that  each  believer  is  called  on  to  serve  
the  church  in  accordance  with  the  gifts  that  the  Holy  Spirit  bestows.  There  is  no  indication  that  the  gifts  are  
bestowed  on  the  basis  of  gender.  What  follows  is  a  brief  exposition  of  the  pertinent  beliefs  outlining  the  ba-­‐
sis  for  this  conclusion.  

7  

#12 The Church  
The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join
together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord’s
Supper, for service to all mankind, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church
derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word, and from the Scriptures, which are the
written Word. The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis
of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself
is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her.
At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish (Church  Ma-­‐
nual 2010, 160).  

The committee notes the following:  
a. “The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.”  The
church is differentiated as a community in that it consists of those who believe in Jesus Christ as
Lord and Saviour. This differentiation is one of belief irrespective of gender.  
b. “The church derives its authority from Christ.”  Any authority that the church (the community
of believers) has is derived from Christ in whom true authority resides. The church as a whole
derives this authority and it is not the unique province of specific believers.  
c. “The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the
new covenant.”  The church is adopted into God’s family and each member, whether male or female, is likened to a child. There is no differentiation between genders, but all members are
accorded the familial status of a child. All are children and there is no indication that sons are
elevated above daughters or, indeed, vice versa.  
d. “The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head.”  
The church is likened to a “body . . . of which Christ Himself is the Head.”  The church collectively as the community of faith is the body of Christ. There is no indication of differentiation in
status or roles based on gender with regard to different body parts. This seems to reaffirm that
Christ alone has authority in the church since He is the head.  
#14 Unity in the Body of Christ  
The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and
differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us.
We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with
one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His
children (Church  Manual 2010, 160-61).  

The committee notes the following:  
a. “The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and
people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality,
and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive
among us.”  The belief notes that the church is composed of members of “every nation, kindred,
tongue, and people.”  Hence the church by definition includes tremendous difference among its
members. These differences, and male and female is listed among them, must  not  be  divisive  
among  us.  That the issue of women’s ordination has become divisive in the church is scarcely in
dispute. The imperative stated in the fundamental belief that issues of gender not  be  divisive
means that the church is out of step with its stated beliefs. The resolution to the dilemma is
presented in the following sentence.  
b. “We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and
with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation.”  Where divi8  

sions in the church arise related to class, economic status or gender (“differences between high
and low, rich and poor, male and female”), the fundamental belief presents equality as the solution. Believers are “all equal in Christ”  and “are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation.”  With regard to the ordination of women to ministry, the following is noted:  
i. The intent of this belief is that these principles apply directly to gender issues.  
ii. The office of the pastor/minister is directly aligned with service and as such falls directly into the ambit of this belief.  
iii. “Without partiality”  means without bias in favour of anyone, but equal to all. The idea
that ordination to ministry is something reserved only for males demonstrates partiality
that contradicts the belief.  
iv. “Without reservation”  means that there are no conditions under which this does not apply. The withholding of ordination based on gender is an exception that the belief does
not allow for.  
c. “This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children.”  The basis of church unity is “the oneness of the triune God”  and the belief reaffirms that
our status in relation to God is that of children and that our unity has its source in this fundamental truth. Since we are all God’s children, there should be no partiality among us. The notion that a particular office has been set aside for only males is out of step with the belief and is
a dissonant amendment.  
#17 Spiritual Gifts and Ministries  
God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts which each member is to
employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency
of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and
ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and
encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, apostolic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to
foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false
doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love (Church  Manual
2010, 161-62).  

The committee notes the following:  
a. “God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts which each member
is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity.”  God bestows gifts on all members.  
b. “Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts
provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained
functions.”  The gifts are given “by the agency of the Holy Spirit . . . as He wills.”  There is no indication that the gift is predicated on any attribute of the receiver; gender, class or otherwise.
Each person receives gifts to perform “divinely ordained functions,”  that is, functions that are
determined by God. In this regard, the belief implies that what is meant by the word “ordain”  is
that which is determined by God alone.  
c. “Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the
church in pastoral, evangelistic, apostolic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip
the members for service . . . .”  It is noted that the “pastoral”  gift is specifically mentioned as one
of those recognized as a “divinely ordained function.”  This is granted to members as the Spirit
wills. There is no indication in the belief that there should be a division of gifts amongst mem-

9  

bers according to stereotypical gender roles. Gifts are determined by the Holy Spirit, not by social norms and mores.  
 
5.  Whereas  Official  Statements  of  the  World  Church  argue  for  the  equality  of  all  
people  irrespective  of  gender  and  maintain  that  women  should  play  an  increased  
role  in  the  leadership  and  decision-­‐making  bodies  of  both  church  and  society  
There is no indication in the Official Statements of the Church that any special status is granted
to men over women in terms of roles or position. The following are selective quotes (see Appendix C for the full statements and references):  
a. “Seventh-day Adventists deplore and seek to combat all forms of discrimination based on
race, tribe, nationality, color, or gender”  (Human Relations).  
b. “The equality of all people is one of the tenets of our church”  (Human Relations).  
c. “Seventh-day Adventists believe that all people, male and female, are created equal, in the
image of a loving God”  (Women’s Issues).  
d. “Women are entitled to the God-given privileges and opportunities intended for every human
being—the right to literacy, to education, to adequate health care, to decision making, and to
freedom from mental, physical, or sexual abuse. We also maintain that women should play an
increased role in the leadership and decision-making bodies of both church and society”  (Women’s Issues).  
e. “Ultimately, we believe that the church will fulfill its mission only when women are empowered to achieve their full potential”  (Women’s Issues).  
 
6.  Whereas  authority  in  church  governance  does  not  reside  with  the  church  pas-­‐
tor,  but  with  the  local  membership  including  both  men  and  women  
“The  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  form  of  governance  is  representative,  which  recognizes  that  authority  rests  in  
the  membership  and  is  expressed  through  duly  elected  representatives  at  each  level  of  organization”  
(Church  Manual  2010,  28).  Inasmuch  as  SDA  Church  governance  is  representative  and  “authority  rests  in  the  
membership,”  the  committee  notes  that  the  authority  of  a  pastor  at  a  local  church  level  is  derived  and  in  
service  to  the  local  membership.  The  idea  that  the  position  of  the  ordained  pastor  is  one  of  authority  over  
the  church  membership  is  a  misunderstanding  of  the  nature  of  the  office.  
“In  the  Church  today  the  General  Conference  in  session,  and  the  General  Conference  Executive  Committee  
between  sessions,  is  the  highest  ecclesiastical  authority  in  the  administration  of  the  Church”  (Church  Manual  
2010,  31).  It  should  be  noted  that  no  individual  is  granted  ecclesiastical  authority  in  the  SDA  understanding  
of  governance.  In  this  regard  the  Church  Manual  quotes  Ellen  White:  
I 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.—9T 260 (Church  Manual  2010, 31).  
“The  local  church  operates  within  defined  roles  in  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  structure.  Within  the  con-­‐
text  of  those  roles,  the  business  meeting  is  the  governing  body  of  the  local  church.  Members  in  regular  
standing  are  encouraged  to  attend  and  entitled  to  vote”  (Church  Manual  2010,  123).  It  is  noted  that  govern-­‐
10  

ance  at  a  local  church  level  is  by  the  business  meeting  and  that  all  members  in  regular  standing  (men  and  
women)  are  entitled  to  vote.  This  means  that  ultimate  authority  at  a  local  church  level  is  the  province  of  
both  men  and  women.  
It  is  acknowledged  that  the  local  church  in  its  day  to  day  functioning  is  guided  by  the  church  board,  but  the  
church  board  is  nevertheless  subservient  to  the  business  meeting:  “The  business  meeting  has  authority  over  
the  board  and  may  delegate  responsibilities  to  the  board  in  addition  to  those  assigned  by  the  Church  
Manual”  (Church  Manual  2010,  124).  
Any  objection  to  the  ordination  of  women  as  pastors  based  on  the  idea  that  women  should  not  have  author-­‐
ity,  misunderstands  the  role  of  the  pastor.  SDA  Church  governance  does  not  allow  final  authority  to  be  given  
to  any  individual  and  people  who  are  voted  into  office  serve  the  church  according  to  the  description  of  their  
particular  office.  In  this  sense  it  is  true  that  the  “pastor  should  be  the  congregation’s  spiritual  leader  and  ad-­‐
viser,”  since  this  is  the  expected  role  of  the  pastor  (Church  Manual  2010,  33).    
The  committee,  therefore,  notes  that  authority  in  church  decision-­‐making  does  not  rest  with  the  pastor,  but  
rather  with  the  local  membership.  The  argument  that  women  should  not  be  ordained  as  pastors  cannot  be  
sustained  on  the  basis  that  it  confers  authority  that  is  uniquely  reserved  for  men,  since  the  nature  of  the  
pastoral  role  according  to  the  SDA  model  of  church  governance  is  one  of  service,  not  authority.  To  argue  that  
women  cannot  have  authority  over  men  is  something  that  can  be  debated,  but  to  apply  that  debate  to  the  
ordination  of  women  as  pastors  misunderstands  the  nature  of  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  governance.    
A  footnote  to  this  should  add  that,  at  a  local  church,  final  authority  resides  with  the  church  business  meeting  
(which  is  comprised  of  both  men  and  women).  In  terms  of  the  World  Church,  final  authority  resides  with  the  
General  Conference  in  Session  (which  is  comprised  of  men  and  women).  It  is,  therefore,  fair  to  say,  that  in  
Church  governance,  the  SDA  Church  does  not  differentiate  between  men  and  women.  Both  have  equal  au-­‐
thority.  
 
7.  Whereas  a  leader  in  the  SDA  Church  is  not  aligned  with  having  authority,  both  
men  and  women  may  be  ordained  as  elders,  and  elders  may  fulfil  the  role  of  an  
ordained  pastor  in  the  absence  of  an  ordained  pastor  
The  term  leader  in  a  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  context  should  not  be  understood  as  having  authority  over  the  
church  membership.  In  fact  the  word  “leader”  is  applied  freely  across  all  aspects  of  church  life  and  each  
church  may  have,  for  example,  a  youth  leader,  a  family  ministries  leader,  a  health  ministries  leader,  a  reli-­‐
gious  liberty  leader  and  so  on.  Indeed,  elders  are  specifically  called  “religious  leaders  of  the  church”  and  
“spiritual  leaders”  (Church  Manual  2010,  71).  There  is  nothing  in  church  policy  that  prohibits  women  from  
functioning  in  any  of  these  leadership  roles.  
In  addition  to  this,  “in  the  absence  of  a  pastor,  elders  are  the  spiritual  leaders  of  the  church  and  by  precept  
and  example  must  seek  to  lead  the  church  into  a  deeper  and  fuller  Christian  experience”  (Church  Manual  
2010,  71).  If  an  ordained  woman  elder  can  function  as  an  ordained  pastor  in  the  absence  of  an  ordained  pas-­‐
tor,  the  church  indirectly  has  already  ratified  the  validity  of  women  serving  as  ordained  pastors.  Further  to  
this,  it  is  crucial  to  reiterate  that  “leadership”  in  the  SDA  Church  does  not  mean  authority:    
Christian leadership is servant leadership. Healthy, growing churches usually have strong
and effective pastoral leadership. But strong does not mean dominating or manipulative
leadership. “You know that rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are
great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires
to become great among you, let him be your servant”  (Matt. 20:25, 16), (Seventh-­‐day  Ad-­‐
ventist  Minster’s  Handbook 2009, 101-102).  
 
11  

8.  Whereas  roles  assigned  to  church  officers  based  on  gender  is  not  an  evident  
part  of  local  church  election  procedures  
The committee notes that roles in the Seventh-day Adventist Church are not designated according
to gender, but rather according to talents and abilities. The committee acknowledges that there
are certain church officers that tend to be distinguished by gender. For example, it is improbable
(though not forbidden) that a man become the women’s ministries leader. The manual also distinguishes between deacons and deaconesses. In this regard, however, it should be noted that while
deacons tend to take up the offering and deaconesses tend to prepare the communion bread, for
example, this is a matter of tradition not prescription. There is nothing in church policy that
would prevent a deacon from preparing communion bread or a deaconess from collecting the offering on a Sabbath morning. The roles are not distinguished by gender.  
The committee is mindful that role distinction according to gender is an argument that has been
emphasized by some opposed to the ordination of women to pastoral ministry (see, for example,
Bacchiocchi, Samuele. Women  in  the  Church:  A  Biblical  Study  on  the  Role  of  Women  in  the  Church.  Berrien Springs: Biblical Perspectives, 1987), but notes that no such role distinction is practiced by
the Church. All church officers may be either male or female, including, elders and pastors. The
only current withholding is that of the ordination of women as pastors and not  the withholding of
the role of pastor. Irrespective of the validity of the role argument, the committee reiterates
that ordination is not a role and that roles assigned to church officers within the Seventh-day Adventist Church are not distinguished by gender. For this reason, the role argument does not currently have relevance in a Seventh-day Adventist context.  
 
9.  Whereas  there  is  no  policy  prohibiting  the  ordination  of  women  to  pastoral  
ministry  presently  in  existence,  nor  has  there  been  in  the  history  of  the  Sev-­‐
enth-­‐day  Adventist  Church  
The  issue  of  the  ordination  of  women  to  pastoral  ministry  has  been  on  the  table  of  the  General  Conference  
from  1881  to  the  present  day.  In  this  time,  there  has  been  no  policy  against  the  ordination  of  women  to  pas-­‐
toral  ministry.  As  has  been  mentioned  by  the  minority  report,  the  ordination  of  women  has  been  discussed  
at  least  nine  times  over  the  period  1881  to  2012,  but  there  has  been  no  vote  against  the  ordination  of  wom-­‐
en  pastors  by  the  GC.  The  committee  notes  that  the  absence  of  explicit  policy  preventing  the  ordination  of  
women  to  pastoral  ministry  within  the  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  throughout  its  history  suggests  that  
the  practice  of  not  ordaining  women  has  been  inculcated  more  by  years  of  tradition  than  theological  pre-­‐
scriptions  and  doctrine.  
10.  Whereas  human  rights  are  concerned  to  promote  the  equal  treatment  of  both  
genders  
(See  Appendix  D  for  the  Official  Statements—“Values”  and  “50th  Anniversary  of  Declaration  of  Human  
Rights”—referenced  in  this  section)  
Questions  have  been  advanced  as  to  whether  the  role  of  women  in  Adventist  ministry  and  the  affirmation  of  
that  role  through  ordination  can  also  be  understood  within  the  framework  of  human  rights.  The  committee  
acknowledges  that  while  the  issue  of  human  rights  is  not  decisive  in  establishing  a  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  
theology  of  ordination,  there  are  nevertheless  key  points  that  are  raised  that  are  valued  by  the  Church  and  
relevant  to  the  Church.  The  Official  Statement  on  “Values”  of  the  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  reads:  “Our  
sense  of  mission  is  driven  by  the  realization  that  every  person,  regardless  of  circumstances  is  of  infinite  value  
to  God  and  thus  deserving  of  respect  and  dignity.  Through  God’s  grace  every  person  is  gifted  for  and  needed  
in  the  diverse  activities  of  the  church  family”  (Values).  
It  is  the  expressed  view  of  the  SDA  Church  that  discrimination  of  persons  on  the  basis  of  religion,  gender,  
race  and  culture  is  a  violation  of  biblical  imperatives  (Galatians  3:28),  flies  against  our  sense  of  mission  and  is  
an  infringement  of  basic  human  rights.  “From  its  very  inception  in  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  
12  

Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  has  supported  human  rights”  (50th  Anniversary  of  Declaration  of  Human  
Rights).  
In  terms  of  Human  Rights  the  right  to  be  affirmed  for  serving  in  ministry  is  inalienable.  Ordination  is  an  af-­‐
firmation  for  Christian  service  and  mission.  This  need  for  affirmation  is  fundamental  and  innate.  It  is  inherent  
and  not  organizational.  It  may  be  institutionally  granted  or  denied,  but  its  natural  presence  can  be  neither  
ignored  nor  suppressed.  Further  to  this,  Ellen  White  believed  in  human  rights.  She  believed  that  basic  human  
rights  are  “God–given”  and  are  the  “legitimate  inheritance  of  every  human-­‐being,  male  or  female”  (Great  
Controversy,  295):    
There are rights which belong to every individual, in doing God’s service. No man has any
more right to take these rights from us than to take life itself. God has given us freedom
to think and it is our privilege and duty always to be a doer of the Word and to follow our
impressions of duty. We are only human beings and no human being has jurisdiction over
the conscience of other human beings (Ellen G White, Letter 92, 1895, Manuscripts  Releases,
19:213).

 

Appendix  A  
THE  SUMMARY  OF  SID  BRC  POSITION  ON  THE  ORDINATION  OF  WOMEN  
INTRODUCTION
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has debated the issue of the ordination of women to the gospel ministry for over a hundred years. In all instances, the decision has not been in favour of women ordination. The absence of a clear biblical basis has been the reason for lack of support for the ordination of
women. In recent years the topic has generated increasing discussion.
There has been a growing awareness of the increasing participation of women in various aspects
of ministry. There is also a notable contribution and participation of women in ministry and this is commendable and encouraged. Perhaps the debate about ordination is indicative of the fact that women are
active in the mission of the church.  
The contribution of this paper is to develop a position based on biblical foundations and the writings of Ellen White in dealing with women participation in ministry and women ordination.
I. BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS
In the discussion of this topic, time has been invested in establishing sound hermeneutics of the
Bible and the writings of Ellen White. The first three chapters of Genesis are recognised as playing a
foundational role in the development of theology. Hence, they are taken to be the starting point on which
the discussion of ordination of women should be established. Some pertinent issues that arise out of these
chapters are:  
1. Both male and female were created by the Creator in His image (imago dei). They are equal in
their essence (ontologically) as reflected in Gen 1:26-27, Mk 10:6, and 1Tim 2:13. None is inferior to the other, and this resonates well with E. G. White (see PP 46 and AH 115).
2. Male Headship/leadership role:
a. Man (Adam as in ish) represents God in headship as stated in the layout of Gen 1-3 and
1Cor 11:3, 7-8.
b. There is clear role differentiation which started before sin and continues even after sin
(Gen. 2:7; 1Cor 11:7-8; Eph. 5:22-31).
c. Primacy of man (Adam) in creation (Gen 2:7, 22; 1 Cor. 11: 12; 1 Tim 2: 13).  
d. God gives Adam the prerogative to name the animals and Eve (Gen 35  2:19-23; PP 48).
e. Amongst the ordained priests in the Old Testament there were no women (Ex 28: 41).
13  

f. Amongst the ordained apostles of Jesus there were no females (Mark 3: 13-19).
g. There were also no female elders amongst the ordained leadership of  the church.
h. Male headship is reflected in Eden, in the home and in the church (Eph. 5:23).
3. The curse which resulted from the entrance of sin, brought a distortion of God given roles not
an introduction of new roles (Gen 3:16).
4. There is a lack of biblical precedence for the appointment of female elders.
5. The priesthood of all believers in the New Testament sets every believer on  the same level. Yet
the same New Testament demonstrates the appointment of ordained male leaders.
II. GUIDANCE FROM THE WRITINGS OF ELLEN WHITE
1. Ellen White, consistent with the OT and NT models, affirms the participation of women in
ministry within the specified roles as stated in the article where she directly addressed the laying
on of hands on women in 1895:
Women who are willing to consecrate some of their time to the service of the Lord should
be appointed to visit the sick, look after the young, and  minister to the necessities of the
poor. They should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands. In some
cases they will need to counsel ith the church officers or the minister; but if they are devoted women, maintaining a vital connection with God, they will be a power for good in
the church. This is another means of strengthening and building up the church. -RH, July
9, 1895.
This statement does not relate to the ordained minister’s functional roles (administration, ordinances or raising of new churches). It describes a part time function for persons who must consult with
church officers or a minister.
2. Ellen White is recognized as having occupied the prophetic office within the Adventist
Church and yet there is no record where she requested to be ordained nor received ordination from the church.
3. Ellen White did not receive a vision, instruction or revelation on the issue of her ordination.
III. POSITION ON WOMEN ORDINATION
In view of the study conducted and the arguments presented above, SID BRC recommends that
the Biblical model of ordaining men only, must be maintained.
IV. OUR AFFIRMATIONS
We affirm:
1. The Bible has and should still continue to inform practice and ministry in the church,
both in the past and present.  
2. The Old Testament and New Testament models of ministry leadership give us  timeless
principles regarding the appointment of men and women to different  functions.
3. The Old Testament and New Testament demonstrate that no women were ordained.
4. In the selection of leaders in the Old Testament and the appointment of apostles in the
New Testament, culture was not used as a determining factor. Christ’s Model in the selection of apostles provides the fundamental framework for ministry and its practice in the
Christian church within the multicultural context of the expanding church without introducing women’s ordination.
V. RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Since there is no biblical support for the ordination of woman pastors, then the ordination of women elders should also not be considered. That implies that as from the action
date, women shall no longer serve as elders.
14  

2. The church should continue to recognize the spiritual gifts of both men and women and
encourage them to be involved in appropriate ministry according to the biblical model.
3. Recognizing that we have taken actions that are not in line with the biblical model, we
should review all principles, policies, and practices not consistent with the  biblical model
presented above.
4. The church should create a variety of ministry opportunities for women with ministerial training such as counsellors and teachers.
5. The church should create a remuneration system that does not discriminate on the basis
of gender but recognizes the capabilities and abilities of every individual in ministry.
6. Ministerial Training institutions should provide greater scope of study for women in
ministry training, such as doing a double major in theology and counselling.
7. The Admission office of the ministerial training institutions should advise prospective
women theology students of the ordination vote and guide accordingly.
8. Females who are currently enrolled in our theological seminaries need to be channeled
in ministries that would not require ordination.
9. The proposal to regionalize ordination should not be allowed because it will lead to further fragmentation which will threaten the unity of the world church.
 

15  

Appendix  B  
CONSENSUS  STATEMENT  ON  A  SEVENTH-­‐DAY  ADVENTIST  THEOLOGY  OF  ORDINATION  
Revised 07-23-13tkb
TOSC to AAS-EOM+ADCOM+GCDO13AC+13AC+15GCS
130-13GS CONSENSUS STATEMENT ON A SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST THEOLOGY OF
ORDINATION
RECOMMENDED, To adopt the document, “Consensus Statement on a Seventh-day Adventist Theology
of Ordination,”  which reads as follows:
In a world alienated from God, the Church is composed of those whom God has reconciled to
Himself and to each other. Through the saving work of Christ they are united to Him by faith through
baptism (Eph. 4:4-6), thus becoming a royal priesthood whose mission is to “proclaim the praises of him
who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”  (1 Pet 2:9, NKJV). Believers are given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20), called and enabled through the power of the Spirit and the gifts
He bestows on them to carry out the Gospel Commission (Matt 28:18-20).
While all believers are called to use their spiritual gifts for ministry, the Scriptures identify certain specific leadership positions that were accompanied by the Church’s public endorsement for persons
who meet the biblical qualifications (Num. 11:16-17; Acts 6:1-6; 13:1-3; 14:23; 1 Tim 3:1-12; Titus 1:59). Several such endorsements are shown to involve “the laying on of hands.”  English versions of the
Scriptures use the word ordain to translate many different Greek and Hebrew words having the basic idea
of select or appoint that describe the placement of these persons in their respective offices. Over the
course of Christian history the term ordination has acquired meanings beyond what these words originally implied. Against such a backdrop, Seventh-day Adventists understand ordination, in a biblical sense,
as the action of the Church in publicly recognizing those whom the Lord has called and equipped for local and global Church ministry.
Aside from the unique role of the apostles, the New Testament identifies the following categories
of ordained leaders: the elder/supervising elder (Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Tim 3:2-7; 4:14; 2 Tim
4:1-5; 1 Pet 5:1) and the deacon (Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3:8-10). While most elders and deacons ministered in
local settings, some elders were itinerant and supervised greater territory with multiple congregations,
which may reflect the ministry of individuals such as Timothy and Titus (1 Tim 1:3-4; Titus 1:5).
In the act of ordination, the Church confers representative authority upon individuals for the specific work of ministry to which they are appointed (Acts 6:1-3; 13:1-3; 1 Tim 5:17; Titus 2:15). These
may include representing the Church; proclaiming the gospel; administering the Lord’s Supper and baptism; planting and organizing churches; guiding and nurturing members; opposing false teachings; and
providing general service to the congregation (cf. Acts 6:3; 20:28-29; 1 Tim 3:2, 4-5; 2 Tim 1:13-14; 2:2;
4:5; Titus 1:5, 9). While ordination contributes to Church order, it neither conveys special qualities to the
persons ordained nor introduces a kingly hierarchy within the faith community. The biblical examples of
ordination include the giving of a charge, the laying on of hands, fasting and prayer, and committing
those set apart to the grace of God (Deut. 3:28; Acts 6:6; 14:26; 15:40).
Ordained individuals dedicate their talents to the Lord and to His Church for a lifetime of service.
The foundational model of ordination is Jesus appointing the twelve apostles (Matt 10:1-4; Mark 3:1319; Luke 6:12-16), and the ultimate model of Christian ministry is the life and work of our Lord, who
came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45; Luke 22:25-27; John 13:1-17).

 

 

16  

Appendix  C  
HUMAN  RELATIONS  
Seventh-­‐day  Adventists  deplore  and  seek  to  combat  all  forms  of  discrimination  based  on  race,  tribe,  nation-­‐
ality,  color,  or  gender.  We  believe  that  every  person  was  created  in  the  image  of  God,  who  made  all  nations  
of  one  blood  (Acts  17:26).  We  endeavor  to  carry  on  the  reconciling  ministry  of  Jesus  Christ,  who  died  for  the  
whole  world  so  that  in  Him  "there  is  neither  Jew  nor  Greek"  (Gal.  3:28).  Any  form  of  racism  eats  the  heart  
out  of  the  Christian  gospel.    
One  of  the  most  troubling  aspects  of  our  times  is  the  manifestation  of  racism  and  tribalism  in  many  societies,  
sometimes  with  violence,  always  with  the  denigration  of  men  and  women.  As  a  worldwide  body  in  more  
than  200  nations,  Seventh-­‐day  Adventists  seek  to  manifest  acceptance,  love,  and  respect  toward  all,  and  to  
spread  this  healing  message  throughout  society.    
The  equality  of  all  people  is  one  of  the  tenets  of  our  church.  Our  Fundamental  Belief  No.  13  states:  "In  Christ  
we  are  a  new  creation;  distinctions  of  race,  culture,  learning  and  nationality,  and  differences  between  high  
and  low,  rich  and  poor,  male  and  female,  must  not  be  divisive  among  us.  We  are  all  equal  in  Christ,  who  by  
one  Spirit  has  bonded  us  into  one  fellowship  with  Him,  and  with  one  another;  we  are  to  serve  and  be  served  
without  partiality  or  reservation."    
 
This  statement  was  approved  and  voted  by  the  General  Conference  of  Seventh-­‐day  Adventists  Administrative  
Committee  (ADCOM)  and  was  released  by  the  Office  of  the  President,  Robert  S.  Folkenberg,  at  the  General  
Conference  session  in  Utrecht,  the  Netherlands,  June  29-­‐July  8,  1995.  
Official Statements of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, “Human Relations,”  
http://www.adventist.org/information/official-statements/statements/article/go/0/human-relations/ (accessed
July 17, 2014).
 

 

17  

WOMEN’S  ISSUES  
Seventh-­‐day  Adventists  believe  that  all  people,  male  and  female,  are  created  equal,  in  the  image  of  a  loving  
God.  We  believe  that  both  men  and  women  are  called  to  fill  a  significant  role  in  accomplishing  the  primary  
mission  of  the  Adventist  Church:  working  together  for  the  benefit  of  humanity.  Yet  we  are  painfully  aware  
that  throughout  the  world,  in  developing  and  developed  nations,  adverse  societal  conditions  often  inhibit  
women  from  fulfilling  their  God-­‐given  potential.    
The  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  has  identified  several  major  problems,  well-­‐documented  by  research,  that  
often  keep  women  from  making  valuable  contributions  to  society.  Stress,  the  environment,  and  increased  
demands  have  placed  women  at  greater  risk  for  health  problems.  Poverty  and  heavy  workloads  not  only  de-­‐
prive  women  of  their  ability  to  enjoy  life,  but  also  impair  their  physical  and  spiritual  well-­‐being.  Family  vio-­‐
lence  takes  a  heavy  toll  on  its  victims.    
Women  are  entitled  to  the  God-­‐given  privileges  and  opportunities  intended  for  every  human  being-­‐-­‐the  right  
to  literacy,  to  education,  to  adequate  health  care,  to  decision  making,  and  to  freedom  from  mental,  physical,  
or  sexual  abuse.  We  also  maintain  that  women  should  play  an  increased  role  in  the  leadership  and  decision-­‐
making  bodies  of  both  church  and  society.    
Ultimately,  we  believe  that  the  church  will  fulfill  its  mission  only  when  women  are  empowered  to  achieve  
their  full  potential.    
 
This  statement  was  approved  and  voted  by  the  General  Conference  of  Seventh-­‐day  Adventists  Administrative  
Committee  (ADCOM)  and  was  released  by  the  Office  of  the  President,  Robert  S.  Folkenberg,  at  the  General  
Conference  session  in  Utrecht,  the  Netherlands,  June  29-­‐July  8,  1995.  
Official Statements of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, “Women’s Issues,”  
http://www.adventist.org/information/official-statements/statements/article/go/0/womens-issues/ (accessed
July 17, 2014).

18  

Appendix  D  
VALUES  
Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  values  are  rooted  in  the  revelation  of  God  provided  through  the  Bible  and  the  life  of  
Jesus  Christ.    Our  sense  of  identity  and  calling  grows  from  an  understanding  of  Bible  prophecies,  especially  
those  concerning  the  time  immediately  preceding  the  return  of  Jesus.    Consequently  all  of  life  becomes  a  
growing  experience  and  demonstration  of  involvement  with  God  and  His  kingdom.    
Our  sense  of  mission  is  driven  by  the  realization  that  every  person,  regardless  of  circumstances,  is  of  infinite  
value  to  God  and  thus  deserving  of  respect  and  dignity.  Through  God's  grace  every  person  is  gifted  for  and  
needed  in  the  diverse  activities  of  the  church  family.    
Our  respect  for  diversity,  individuality  and  freedom  is  balanced  by  regard  for  community.  We  are  one-­‐-­‐a  
worldwide  family  of  faith  engaged  in  representing  the  reign  of  God  in  our  world  through  ethical  conduct,  
mutual  regard,  and  loving  service.  Our  faithfulness  to  God  involves  commitment  to  and  support  of  His  body,  
the  church.    
____________________  
This  statement  was  approved  and  voted  by  the  General  Conference  of  Seventh-­‐day  Adventists  Executive  
Committee  at  the  Annual  Council  in  Silver  Spring,  Maryland,  October  10,  2004.  
Official Statements of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, “Values,”  
http://www.adventist.org/information/official-statements/statements/article/go/0/values/ (accessed July 17,
2014).
 

 

19  

50th  ANNIVERSARY  OF  THE  UNIVERSAL  DELARATION  OF  HUMAN  RIGHTS  
From  its  very  inception  in  the  middle  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  has  sup-­‐
ported  human  rights.  Inspired  by  biblical  values,  the  early  Adventists  were  involved  in  the  struggle  against  
slavery  and  injustice.  They  claimed  the  right  of  every  person  to  choose  beliefs  according  to  conscience  and  to  
practice  and  teach  his  or  her  religion  in  full  freedom,  without  discrimination,  always  respecting  the  equal  
rights  of  others.  Seventh-­‐day  Adventists  are  convinced  that  in  religion  the  exercise  of  force  is  contrary  to  
God's  principles.    
In  promoting  religious  freedom,  family  life,  education,  health,  mutual  assistance,  and  meeting  crying  human  
need,  Seventh-­‐day  Adventists  affirm  the  dignity  of  the  human  person  created  in  the  image  of  God.    
The  1948  Universal  Declaration  of  Human  Rights  was  written  and  adopted  by  individuals  who  had  emerged  
from  the  unprecedented  destruction,  disorientation  and  distress  of  World  War  II.  This  harrowing  experience  
gave  them  a  vision  of  and  desire  for  a  future  world  of  peace  and  freedom.  Coming  from  the  best  and  highest  
part  of  the  human  heart,  the  Universal  Declaration  is  a  fundamental  document  standing  firmly  for  human  
dignity,  liberty,  equality,  and  non-­‐discrimination  of  minorities.  Article  18,  which  upholds  unconditionally  reli-­‐
gious  liberty  in  belief  and  practice,  is  of  special  importance,  because  freedom  of  religion  is  the  basic  human  
right  which  undergirds  and  upholds  all  human  rights.    
Today  the  UDHR  is  often  violated,  not  least  Article  18.  Intolerance  frequently  raises  its  ugly  head,  despite  the  
human  rights  progress  accomplished  in  many  nations.  The  Seventh-­‐day  Adventist  Church  urges  the  United  
Nations,  government  authorities,  religious  leaders  and  believers,  and  non-­‐government  organizations  to  con-­‐
sistently  work  for  the  implementation  of  this  Declaration.  Politicians,  trade  union  leaders,  teachers,  employ-­‐
ers,  media  representatives,  and  all  opinion  leaders  should  give  strong  support  to  human  rights.  This  would  
respond  to  and  help  reduce  growing  and  violent  religious  extremism,  intolerance,  hate  crimes  and  discrimi-­‐
nation  based  either  on  religion  or  anti-­‐religious  secularism.  In  this  way,  the  Universal  Declaration  will  grow  in  
practical  importance  and  luster,  and  never  risk  becoming  an  irrelevant  document.    
 
This  statement  was  voted  by  the  General  Conference  Administrative  Committee,  November  17,  1998,  and  
released  by  the  General  Conference  Office  of  Public  Affairs.  
Official Statements of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, “50th  Anniversary  of  the  Universal  Declaration  of  
Human  Rights,”  http://www.adventist.org/information/official-statements/statements/article/go/0/50thanniversary-of-the-universal-declaration-of-human-rights/ (accessed July 17, 2014).  

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