I have been watching with interest the fight between the North American Division of SDA and the General Conference of SDA over the issue of women’s ordination. The latest drama is explained well at http://www.fulcrum7.com/blog/2019/1/2/fulcrum7-responds-to-the-nads-attack.
When I was an SDA pastor it was a big deal to be able to point toward the unity of the SDA Church as evidence of God’s leading and as an affirmation as God’s chosen last days church (a key doctrine for SDA).
The SDA Church is a global structure organized by divisions and conferences all tied together through the local church tithe, doctrinal agreement, and compliance with each other in submission to its General Conference oversight.
Several years ago one piece of that puzzle, the North American Division, went lawless over the issue of ordaining women. Conferences within the division had been allowing and encouraging women to be selected and placed in roles of local elders and local church pastors.
Women in the roles of a local church pastor were licensed as SDA ministers, meaning they were granted ministerial authority that could only be exercised locally.
Ordination is a higher level of authority that grants recognition globally, because the SDA Church is a worldwide organization.
Unfortunately for women ordained as SDA ministers, the whole global church does not accept that and they have the problem of the North American Division forcing their women’s ordination upon the entire global church. It has not been much different than what the pro LGBQ leaders are doing within some denominations like the United Methodist Church.
The General Conference has voted against the ordination of women because of this global issue. The North American Division has been very vocal against its superior which is why I refer to it as lawless. There seems to be a bias push to place women in ministry positions at the expense of trained available to men. The recent year-end North American Division meetings showcased its President going on record as an obstinate politician who reminded me of the Obama administration deciding what laws it wants to ignore or what it wants to uphold.
I probably should add that I am not personally opposed to the ordination of women to ministry roles. I believe there is a headship role (church pastor/elders) that the Bible intends males to fill, but I am also open to the sometimes fact that men are not always making themselves available to serve.
The function of ordaining women has its place in the ministry of the church and the big glaring issue may really be that if SDA churches were autonomous they could better reflect their own regions, areas, and communities.
One parting thought on this, when I was an SDA minister and realized that my own position was at odds with my employer, the SDA organization, I moved on. I could no longer call myself an SDA if I knew I wasn’t 100% an SDA. So, I do wonder why the North American Division doesn’t just move on from the SDA church.
Of course what I really wonder is why the North American Division does not care that their drama is a spectacle for us outside of Adventism, too.
Anyways, if you are interested in drama, please go to at http://www.fulcrum7.com/blog/2019/1/2/fulcrum7-responds-to-the-nads-attack.