Women Ordination - an on-going debate for Adventists

Women Ordination - an on-going debate for Adventists

Lüneburg, Germany, 14.08.2012 [APD]. Equality for women within the Seventh-day Adventist Church still has a lot of issues, stressed the Presidents of the Southern and the Northern German Federations of the Church, pastors Günther Machel (Ostfildern near S

August 24, 2012 | APD

Lüneburg, Germany, 14.08.2012 [APD]. Equality for women within the Seventh-day Adventist Church still has a lot of issues, stressed the Presidents of the Southern and the Northern German Federations of the Church, pastors Günther Machel (Ostfildern near Stuttgart), and Johannes Naether (Hanover), in the August "Adventist Today". Thus, during the assembly of delegates of the Northern German Federation in April 2012, the assembly decided to allow ordination of women to the pastorate in the Northern German Federation area with 160 votes yes and 47 no. The Southern German association did not join this decision after its delegate assembly in May 2012 (101 in favor and 128 against).

"That does not mean that there are different points of view regarding this issue," both church leaders emphasized. The German Federations welcomed the fact that the ordination issue will be clarified at the next General Assembly of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference (World Synod) in 2015 in San Antonio, Texas, USA,. "We are for equality and equal treatment of women in the pastorate. In practice, we have decided differently in the matter, but we want to be united at the General Assembly in 2015 and hope that a satisfactory solution will be found for all countries. "

Machel and Naether pointed out that the Adventist delegates from all around the world took two days to discuss this issue during the General Assembly meeting in 1990 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. It became clear that theology, culture, and sociology determined the opinions of each person. "It was not only about biblical arguments, but also about culture and history. No satisfactory conclusion was taken by all participating countries at that time.”

In 1995, the World Synod of Utrecht, Netherlands adopted the following statement: "We believe that women should be more involved in leadership and in decision-making in the Church and in society. Finally, we believe that the church can fulfill its mission only if it enables women to realize their full potential. "

In 2010, during the World Synod in Atlanta, Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan / USA received an official task to make a research on 'ordination'. The general aim was to clarify to the General Assembly 2015 in San Antonio and how the Seventh-day Adventist Church should deal with ordination in a changing world. The research should give an answer to the question whether the current practice of ordaining only men to the pastorate, is entirely supported by the Bible.

The two federation presidents highlighted the fact that among the followers of Jesus there were many women, and Christ had given them special attention. "Even among the early Christians, women were an essential part of the community. Thus, we conclude that the patriarchal structure of Judaism wasn't adopted by the first Christians. "

Yet the question remains. "In today's world, people are closer thanks to the modern media, but we cannot ignore the huge differences among the various continents and countries." Life in Azerbaijan and India is different than in Austria or Sweden. The social role of women in many African countries is different than in North America or Europe.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany very clearly declares in Article 3 that men and women are equal: "No person shall be favored or discriminated against because of gender. "Government only allows churches a deviation from this principle. According to Machel and Naether, western citizens perceive a different professional treatment of women and men in churches as discriminatory. "Even in our communities we have to constantly face questions on this issue."

According to the current theology, women can be 'blessed' as pastors in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and perform almost all official acts, such as baptism, communion, marriage and funerals, yet only men are allowed to be ordained. Thus, only male clergy can be appointed as church leaders and run certain offices, such as the presidency of a "union" or "federation" (regional or national church leadership).

The ordination of male pastors has validity all around the world, whereas women pastors may act only in areas that belong to a church administration, which practices women ordination. While there was a decision made at the General Assembly Meeting of 1881 in Battle Creek, Michigan, USA, to ordain women as pastors, the decision has never be implemented and has been quickly forgotten. The synods of the Adventist church in 1990 in Indianapolis, USA and in 1995 in Utrecht, Netherlands on the other hand have rejected the ordination of female clergy by a majority of votes. The recognition of women as ordained pastors is controversial only outside of Northern America, Western Europe, China and Australia / Oceania, where only about 13 percent of the world's 17 million adult baptized Adventists live.

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