Non-Compliance over What?
During the last two Annual Council meetings little if anything at all has been said about the problematic issue of the Ordination of Women to ministry. The debate has shifted. The “problem” is now perceived as something more serious — a challenge to authority. The role of hierarchy and what is permitted and not permitted by Unions and the General Conference’s policy book is the topic of anxious concern and perceived as a threat to unity.
Annual - Council - Report - Unity - Oversight
As we approach another Annual Council to hear a report from the Unity Oversight Committee on how to handle this “problem” it is important for the church at large to remember the core dispute that lies behind the charge of non-compliance. It is the question of who can be a minister and what we call the process when we set such individuals apart. When looked at closely from a functional perspective of what ministers do and from the perspective of what the Church Manual already allows it would seem that the Unity Oversight Committee is actually dealing with a dispute over very little indeed. In view of what the Church Manual already permits the dispute is over little more than the names we give things. Is that seriously a reason for discipline and schism?
What does a minister in the Adventist Church actually do? It was a question I was sometimes asked by the students in a scripture class I occasionally taught at the public high school near the church I pastored. I have occasionally asked the question myself of the young people in my baptismal class to get a discussion going on the doctrine of spiritual gifts. How would church members answer the question? Usually several central functions are identified that differentiate what a minister of religion does compared say to what a...
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