GC Session Actions
November 24, 1879
“TWELFTH MEETING, NOVEMBER 24, 1879, 7 P.M.
Prayer by Elder James White. Minutes of previous meeting approved. Elder G. I. Butler presented the following resolutions:--
WHEREAS, Certain difficulties in the past in connection with this cause have grown out of the subject of ordination, arising from the question, Who is authorized to baptize and administer the other ordinances of the church? and
WHEREAS, In the rapid growth of this cause, these difficulties will probably increase, as it extends to other people and draws from other denominations ministers and official members, and
WHEREAS, It is very desirable that some uniform plan of action should be adopted by our different conferences and ministers in all parts of the field; and as our work has reached that stage where some action on this subject is eminently desirable, therefore
RESOLVED, That to meet this want we express the opinion as the sense of this Conference, that none but those who are Scripturally ordained are properly qualified to administer baptism and other ordinances.
This was discussed by Elders G. I. Butler, James White, and D. M. Canright, and adopted.
The following was also discussed by the brethren last named, and by A. O. Burrill, A. A. John, and E. B. Lane, and adopted:--
WHEREAS, We regard ordination as a solemn and impressive ceremony, sanctioned by the Holy Scriptures and indicating the setting apart, or separation, of the person receiving it from the body of believers with whom he has been associated, to perform the office to which he is ordained, and as suggestive of the conferring of those spiritual blessings which God must impart to properly qualify him for that position; and
WHEREAS, In our age of the world there are many different sets of professing Christians which teach more or less of false doctrine, and whose practices are in many respects inconsistent with the principles of our faith; and
WHEREAS, Ordination signifies the setting apart, or appointment, of a person to some official position; therefore,
RESOLVED, That we consider it inconsistent for our conferences to grant credentials to individuals to occupy official positions among our people, who have never been ordained or set apart by our people.
MOVED, That G. I. Butler, B. L. Whitney, and W. C. White be a special committee to consider the subject of the proper qualifications of ministers, and report to the next meeting of the Conference. Carried.”
Source: General Conference Session 63-88, 162-163 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1863-88.pdf#view=fit).
November 25, 1879
“The committee on the proper qualifications of ministers reported verbally through the chairman, G.I. Butler, recommending, as the mind of the committee, that all candidates for the ministry should be thoroughly examined, --
In reference to their knowledge of all points of our faith, on which they should be well informed.
In regard to their spiritual qualification. Evidence should be sought to determine whether they are really converted men, or whether they hold the truth as mere theory.
In reference to their practical capabilities; namely, whether they can set things in order in the church, give good counsel touching the temporalities of the church, bring up the members to a proper standard in all their practical duties, and thus edify and build up the church.
In reference to their general information; and in this direction, a course of study, including different branches, should be systematically pursued.”
“The report was accepted.
“The chairman having made some suggestions in regard to the practical carrying out of this matter, it was
“Moved, That the chair appoint a committee of three, of which he shall be chairman, to take such steps as may be necessary to accomplish this end. Carried.”
Source: General Conference Session, 63-88, 165 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1863-88.pdf#view=fit)
December 5, 1881
“Resolved, That all candidates for license and ordination should be examined with reference to their intellectual and spiritual fitness for the successful discharge of the duties which will devolve upon them as licentiates and ordained ministers.
“This was spoken to by D.M. Canright, D.H. Lamson, W.H. Littlejohn, S.H. Lane, G.C. Tenney, E.R. Jones, W.C. White, A.S. Hutchins, and R.M. Kilgore, and adopted.
“Resolved, That females possessing the necessary qualifications to fill that position, may, with perfect propriety, be set apart by ordination to the work of the Christian ministry.
“This was discussed by J.O. Corliss, A.C. Bordeau, E.R. Jones, D.H. Lamson. W.H. Littlejohn, A.S. Hutchins, D.M. Canright, and J.N. Loughborough, and referred to the General Conference Committee.”
Source: Source: General Conference Session, 63-88, 197
November 20, 1885
“The question of church elders was then introduced, with regard especially to the extent of their jurisdiction, and the effect of their ordination as to other churches; that is to say, Can an elder of a church upon removing to another church be elected to the eldership of this last church without re-ordination? After remarks by a number of members, a motion was made and seconded to refer this question to a committee of six, to be appointed by the chair, to act with himself.
“While this motion was pending, the Conference adjourned to call of chair.”
Source: General Conference Session, 63-88, 274
November 23, 1885
The Committee on Resolutions made the following partial report:--
. . .
3. WHEREAS, We have a goodly number of men who have been ordained and furnished with credentials on the expectation that they would become efficient laborers, but who from some cause have not developed into regular laborers; therefore--
RESOLVED, That credentials be granted to such only as are willing to devote their time to the work, and are so situated that they can do so.
. . .
Resolution 3 was referred back to the committee for revision.
Source: General Conference Session, 1863-88, 279-80
November 24, 1885
EIGHTH MEETING, NOVEMBER 24, 1885, 9:30 A.M.
Prayer by L. McCoy. Minutes of previous meeting approved. The Committee on Resolutions again presented the resolution referred back to them, with the addition of these words: “And exceptions to this rule should be very carefully made;” so that the resolution as revised would read:--
3. RESOLVED, That credentials be granted to such only as are willing to devote their time to the work, and are situated so that they can do so; and exceptions to this rule should be very carefully made.
As revised, the resolution was adopted.
Source: General Conference Session, 1863-88, 280-81
December 2–3, 1885
[Fourteenth Meeting, Dec. 2nd]
The Committee on Theological Queries made a partial report, as follows:--
“The committee to whom was referred the subject of the ordination of local elders, would respectfully report that we find there is a difference of opinion existing, and there has been a difference in practice in different conferences, in regard to the jurisdiction of local elders, or to the extent of their authority to act. In some places, the jurisdiction and ordination have been looked upon as confined to the church which elected them; in other cases, they have been permitted to administer the ordinances wherever they might chance to be, as unrestricted as a minister. We have tried to canvass the ground thoroughly, and find that there are difficulties in both positions if separately traced to their conclusions. All agree that it is to be regarded as purely a matter of church discipline, and we believe there is truth in both positions which may be combined into one consistent system. We therefore offer the following recommendations:--
“1. That the jurisdiction of a local elder, or his authority to administer the ordinances, be confined to that church which elected him as elder; the only exception to this is where the Conference Committee deems it advisable to instruct him to go to another church under special circumstances.
“2. If he is re-elected, or properly elected elder of another church, his ordination shall stand good. He need not be re-ordained.
“3. But in case of his removal to another church or another conference, the fact that he has acted as elder over another church should not be considered a ground for calling him to act as elder again. The church should consider his qualifications just as they would if he had never been an elder; and if there is any doubt, inquiry should be made of some minister or of an officer of the conference, to ascertain whether he filled the office acceptably.
“4. It is well understood that a license from the conference does not authorize the licentiate to celebrate the ordinances, to administer baptism, or to organize a church. And, therefore, if a local elder receive a ministerial license, it does not enlarge his sphere of action as an elder; it gives him no authority to celebrate the ordinances outside of the church of which he is acting as elder.
“5. And, finally, though his ordination shall stand good for all time, except in case of apostasy, whenever and wherever he may properly be called to act, he cannot exercise the functions of an elder beyond the time for which he was elected, unless he is re-elected, or elected by another church. But if from any cause there should be a failure to hold an election, he may then act until his successor shall be elected.
“We believe that a failure to regard either of the above recommendations will open the way to disorder and confusion in our churches.”
The report having been read, the Conference adjourned to call of chair.
Source: General Conference Session, 1863-1881, 294-295
December 3, 1885
Prayer by A. D. Olsen. The minutes of the previous meeting approved.
The report of the Theological Committee being before the meeting, a motion was made to adopt, and after due consideration of the question, the motion prevailed.
Source: General Conference Session, 1863-88, 295
March 5, 1893
“5. Resolved, That candidates for ordination and first credentials be required to furnish to the committee satisfactory evidence on: —
a. Their standing upon various points of present truth, especially in regard to Spiritual gifts, tithing, health reform, or any other distinctive feature of our faith or of our work.
b. Proof of their ministry.
c. Their own convictions of the call of God upon them to the sacred work of the ministry.”
Source: General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 6, 1893, page 483 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1893-24/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=1).
June 4, 1941
Moral Standards of the Ministry
We recommend to the General Conference in session that paragraph 13 under “Credentials” in the “Working Policy of the General Conference,” on pages 58 and 59, be amended to read as follows:
“It is to be recognized that in case of moral fall by any minister in violation of the seventh commandment, he has by that transgression made void his ordination to the sacred office of the ministry and forfeited his right to church membership. In such case the conference which last issued him credentials shall annul his ordination and withdraw his credentials. Thus divesting him of all authority and privileges that pertain to the gospel ministry; and it shall be the duty of the conference to inform the church, of which the offending minister is a member, of its action, and the duty of the church, when it is informed of such action on the part of the conference, to disfellowship him from church membership.
“While one so offending has access to the mercy and pardoning grace of God, and in reformation of life is assured of the love and good will of the brethren, it is clearly indicated that, for the sake of the church and the maintenance of moral standards, the individual must plan to devote his life to some other calling or business than that of the ministry.
“When a minister who has been disfellowshiped from the church because of the violation of the seventh commandment gives evidence of repentance and conversion, he, as any other former church member, shall be re-baptized before rejoining the church.”
[It was moved, seconded, and carried to adopt the recommendation on “Moral Standards of the Ministry.”]
Source: General Conference Bulletin, June 8, 1941, pg. 203
June 6, 1941
(This recommendation on “Ministerial Ordination,” as well as the following recommendations on the “Ordinances of the Lord’s House,” and “Sabbath Worship,” originated in a memorial sent to the General Conference Committee from the Bible Teachers’ Council held in August, 1940.)
In harmony with the call to greater evangelism as sounded in this General Conference, and realizing that those ordained to the sacred work of the ministry should, as far as possible, be free for the definite work of soul winning; and,
WHEREAS, The original purpose of the ministry as set forth in Mark 3:14 was “that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach,” and again that they should give themselves “continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4); and,
WHEREAS, Only those whose lives, after thorough investigation of their spiritual standing and their knowledge of the teachings of God’s word, and whose experience as soul winners, have proved their call to the sacred office of the ministry are eligible for ordination; and,
WHEREAS, The solemn act of ordination is for the specific work of evangelistic and pastoral ministry and dare not be entered into for the sake of advantage, convenience, prestige, or official standing; therefore,
We recommend, That all candidates for ordination be thoroughly examined with respect to their experience, motives, and beliefs; and that we do not lay holy hands on any who do not feel definitely called, and who have not given evidence of such a call to this holy office.
Source: General Conference Bulletin, June 12, 1941, pg. 261 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1941-11/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=5).
July 20, 1950
10. When a person who has been involved in divorce proceedings is finally readmitted to church membership, as provided in section 8, every care should be exercised to safeguard the unity and harmony of the church by not giving such a person responsibility as a leader; especially in an office which requires the rite of ordination, unless by very careful counsel.
Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 23, 1950, pg. 229 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1950-10/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=5).
July 16, 1975
[At the tenth business meeting, 9:15 A.M., July 16, 1975, the following recommendations were submitted to the delegates and approved.]
[Deleted words are in parentheses and additions are in italics.] 88:7 Replace 88:7-19 with the following:
90:4-15 Deacons Must be Ordained.—(The) A newly elected deacon cannot fill his office until he has been set apart by an ordained minister who holds current credentials from the conference. The sacred rite of ordination should be simply performed in the presence of the church by an ordained minister, and may consist of a brief reference to the office of deacon, the qualities required of such a servant of the church, and the principal duties he will be authorized to perform of the church. After a short exhortation to faithfulness in service, the minister, assisted by an elder where appropriate, ordains the deacon by prayer and the laying on of hands. (See also pp. 93, 245.)
If he has been once ordained as a deacon, and has maintained his church membership, it is not necessary for him to be ordained again, even though he has transferred to another church. When the term for which he was elected … his ordination as an elder covers this office.
90:16-27 The Duties of Deacons. –The deacons have responsibility for the care of the church property … . This also includes (also being responsible for seeing) insuring that the janitor work is cared for … or the church board may authorize the deacons to employ a janitor. Church board authorization should be obtained for all major repair expenses. All bills for repairs, as well as for water, light, fuel (repairs) et cetera, are referred to the church treasurer for payment.
Deacons should assist at baptismal services, insuring that the baptistry is prepared and water heated, and that male candidates are cared for both before and after the ceremony.
Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 18, 1975, 11 (http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1975-07/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=11).
July 18, 1975
B. E. SETON: In the endeavor to draw some line of differentiation between the ordination of a minister to the gospel ministry, the ordination of a church elder to his office, and the ordination of deacons, we have the following recommendation in the interest of clarity: [Sections deleted are in parentheses and new material is italicized.]
Page 245. When these have been elected, the elders (and the deacon) should be ordained. After (remarks in regard to their) a brief outline of an elder’s duties and the mutual responsibilities of members, the elders (and the deacon) should be called to the platform; and(, kneeling in prayer, they should be dedicated to their work,) invited to kneel while the officiating ministers pray (laying) and lay hands upon them (in token) to signify that the church sets them apart for this service. A similar but shorter dedication should take place for the ordination of the deacons. When this has been done, the church is (in full working order) fully organized and ready for service.
[The recommendation was voted as read.]
Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 31, 1975, pg. 14 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1975-09/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=14).
July 4, 1985
“Voted, To refer to the Church Manual Committee the amendment of CM, p. 94, “The Deaconess,” for consideration at the 1990 General Conference session.”
Source: General Conference Bulletin, Twelfth Business Meeting, July 5, 1985 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1985-07/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=24).
July 5, 1985
Ordination of Women to the Gospel Ministry
Voted, 1. To take no definitive action at this time regarding the ordination of women to the gospel ministry.
2. To maintain the church’s present position on this matter.
3. To prepare further Biblical and other studies on the question of ordaining women by assigning specific topics to scholars and theologians for research.
4. To assign discussion of the documents growing out of such research to a special representative committee that will be scheduled to meet early in 1988, its findings to be presented in a report to the 1988 Spring Meeting of the General Conference Committee and subsequently to the 1989 Annual Council, at which time the entire issue will be reviewed.
Women’s Participation in Church Work
Voted, 1. To urge that “affirmative action” for the involvement of women in the work of the church be a priority plan with church leadership, and to request leaders to use their executive influence to open to women all aspects of ministry in the church that do not require ordination.
2. To give special emphasis to the work of Bible instructors, both women and men, and to urge that conference and field administrators restore this ministerial category to importance and accord it proper recognition in the work of the church.
3. To recognize the desirability of a pastor and his wife working together as a team and the spiritual strength that will result through such combined ministry, and to urge that this concept be studied further, together with the development of a financial plan and training program that would support its implementation wherever feasible.
4. To recognize that a great need exists to educate our people regarding the major roles that women may fill in the Lord’s work without ordination, and to request that specific plans to meet this need be developed and presented to the 1985 Annual Council.
Ministerial Ordination—Reform of Practices
Voted, To institute a reform in the church’s ordination practices for the purpose of limiting ministerial ordination only to those who perform direct pastoral, evangelistic, ecclesiastical, or other clearly ministerial-type duties.
Ministerial Worker Functions in NAD—Clarification
Voted, To request the North American Division committee to clarify the functions of ministerial workers who hold ministerial licenses, including how such functions relate to women who serve as pastors or associates in pastoral care, and to request that a complete proposal on roles and procedures be submitted by the North American Division to the 1985 Annual Council for consideration.
Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 11, 1985, pages 20-21 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/doc_info.asp?DocID=1446).
July 10, 1990
ChMan/GC0/89AC/263-89G/900CS to CBR
137-90G CHURCH MANUAL DIRECTIVE
VOTED, To authorize the Church Manual Committee to use inclusive language in all gender references where appropriate.
Source: General Conference Committee, Eighth Business Session, 55th General Conference Session, Indianapolis, Indiana, page 90-134 (http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCC/GCC1990-07.pdf#view=fit)
July 11, 1990
“136-90Ga ORDINATION OF WOMEN TO THE GOSPEL MINISTRY
Prior to a vote being taken, the Chairman requested all delegates and visitors to pray individually or in small groups for the leading of the Holy Spirit. The delegates were then asked to vote by a show of hands and a count was made with the following results:
In favor of the recommendation: 1173
In opposition to the recommendation: 377
VOTED, To accept the following report and recommendations of the Role of Women Commission as recommended by the 1989 Annual Council:
The presidents of the world divisions of the General Conference reported to the Commission on the situation in their fields with respect to the ordaining of women to the gospel ministry. In several divisions there is little or no acceptance of women in the role of pastors, ordained or otherwise. In other divisions some unions would accept women as pastors, but indications are that the majority of unions do not find this acceptable. However, in the North American Division there seems to be wider support for the ordination of women.
The division presidents also reported that based upon extensive discussions, committees, commissions, surveys, etc, there exists the probability that approving the ordination of women would result in disunity, dissension, and perhaps even schism. Hence the presidents came to these two conclusions:
1. A decision to ordain women as pastors would not be welcomed of meet with approval in most of the world Church.
2. The provisions of the Church Manual and the General Conference Working Policy, which allow only for ordination to the gospel ministry on a worldwide basis, have strong support by the divisions.
The General Conference and division officers present at the Commission concur with the conclusions of the presidents.
The Commission, having listened to the arguments and presentations for and against the ordination of women; having sensed the needs and concerns of the world field; having carefully considered what is probably best and the least disruptive for the world Church at this time; and recognizing the importance of our eschatological mission, the witness and image of our spiritual family, and the need for oneness of and unity in the Church, reports to the 1989 Annual Council of the General Conference the following results of its deliberation:
1. While the Commission does not have a consensus as to whether or not the scriptures and the writings of Ellen G. White explicitly advocate or deny the ordination of women to pastoral ministry, it concludes unanimously that these sources affirm a significant, wide-ranging, and continuing ministry for women which is being expressed and will be evidenced in varied and expanding gifts according to the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
2. Further, in view of the widespread lack of support for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry in the world Church, and in view of the possible risk of disunity, dissension, and diversion from the mission of the Church, we do not approve ordination of women to the gospel ministry.
Source: General Conference Committee, Tenth Business Session, 55th General Conference Session, Indianapolis, Indiana, 90-1039-1040 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCC/GCC1990-07/index.djvu).
July 11, 1990
Ordination of Local Elder—Church Manual Revision
(The Church Elder—Ordination of Local Elder)
Voted, To revise Church Manual, page 57, Ordination of Local Elder, to read as follows:
Ordination of Local Elder.—Election to the office of elder does not in itself qualify one as an elder. Ordination is required before an elder has authority to function in that office. During the interim between election and ordination, the elected elder may function as church leader but not administer the ordinances of the church.
The ordination service is only performed by an ordained minister with credentials from the local conference. It may be a courtesy to invite a visiting ordained minister to assist in the ordination, but only on the specific request of the local conference officers would the visiting ordained minister conduct the ordination.
The sacred rite of ordination should be simply performed in the presence of the church, and may include a brief outline of the office of elder, the qualities required, and the principal duties the elder will be authorized to perform for the church. After the exhortation, the minister, assisted by other ordained ministers and/or local ordained elders who are participating in the service, will ordain the elder by praying and the laying on of hands. Having once been ordained as a church elder, ordination is not required again upon reelection to office as an elder, or upon election as elder of another church, provided that good and regular standing in the church has been maintained. One who has been ordained as elder is thereby qualified to serve subsequently in the deaconate office.
The Deaconess—Church Manual Amendment
Voted, To amend Church Manual, page 64, The Deaconess, to read as follows:
Deaconesses were included in the official staff of the early Christian churches. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae, that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well” (Rom. 16:1, 2, RSV).
The deaconess is elected to office, serving for a term of one year. It does not follow that the wife of a man chosen as deacon thereby becomes a deaconess, nor is it incumbent upon a church to choose the wife of a deacon as deaconess because her husband is a deacon. The deaconess is to be chosen from the standpoint of consecration and other qualifications that fit her to discharge the duties of the office. The church may arrange for a suitable service of induction for the deaconess by an ordained minister holding current credentials.
Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 17, 1990, page 15 (http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1990-08/index.djvu).
July 2, 1995
THE CHURCH ELDER, ORDINATION OF LOCAL ELDER—CHURCH MANUAL AMENDMENT
Voted, To amend the Church Manual page 57, The Church Elder, Ordination of Local Elder, to read as follows:
Ordination of Local Elder—Election to the office of elder does not in itself qualify one as an elder. Ordination is required before an elder has authority to function in that office. During the interim between election and ordination, the elected elder may function as church leader but not administer the ordinances of the church.
The ordination service is only performed by an ordained minister with credentials from the local conference. It may be a courtesy to invite a visiting ordained minister to assist in the ordination. However, only on the specific request of the local conference officers would a visiting ordained minister or a retired ordained minister conduct the ordination.
The sacred rite of ordination should be simply performed in the presence of the church and may include a brief outline of the office of elder, the qualities required, and the principal duties the elder will be authorized to perform for the church. After the exhortation, the minister, assisted by other ordained ministers and/or local ordained elders who are participating in the service, will ordain the elder by prayer and the laying on of hands. Having once been ordained as a church elder, ordination is not required again upon reelection to office as an elder, or upon election as elder of another church, provided that good and regular standing in the church has been maintained. One who has been ordained as elder is thereby qualified to serve subsequently in the deaconate office.
THE CHURCH ELDER, TRAINING AND EQUIPPING OF LOCAL ELDERS—CHURCH MANUAL ADDITION
Voted, To add a new section to the Church Manual, Training and Equipping of Local Elders, in the section The Church Elder, page 58, following Ordination of Local Elder, to read as follows:
Training and Equipping of Local Elders—The Ministerial Association, in cooperation with the departments, promotes the training and equipping of local church elders. While the pastor has the primary responsibility for training local elders, conferences/missions/fields are encouraged to schedule periodic meetings designed for training them. In order to support a pastor-elder team relationship it is recommended that pastors also attend these meetings. Leaders of companies who function in the place of local elders should also be invited to attend.
Alfred C McClure, Chair
Lowell C Cooper, Secretary
Rowena J Moore, Recording Secretary
Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 5, 1991, 21 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1995-05/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=4).
July 3, 1995
THE CHURCH ELDER, RELATIONSHIP TO THE ORDAINED MINISTER—CHURCH MANUAL AMENDMENT
Voted, To amend the Church Manual page 58, The Church Elder, Relationship to the Ordained Minister, to read as follows:
Relationship to the Ordained Minister—In a case where the conference committee assigns an ordained minister to labor as a pastor of a church, he should be considered as the ranking officer, and the local elder as his assistant. Their work is closely related; they should therefore work together harmoniously. The minister should not gather to himself all lines of responsibility, but should share these with the local elder and other officers. The minister serving the church regularly as pastor acts as the chairman of the board. (See pp. 88, 118, 119.) There may be circumstances, however, when it would be advisable for the elder to act in this capacity. The pastoral work of the church should be shared by both. The elder should, in counsel with the minister, assist in the pastoral responsibility, such as visiting the church members, ministering to the sick, arranging or leading out in anointing services and child dedications, and encouraging those who are disheartened. Too much emphasis cannot be placed on this part of an elder’s work, who as an undershepherd should exercise a constant vigilance over the flock. If the appointed pastor is a licensed minister, the local church or churches that he serves should elect him as an elder. (See p. 119.)
Because the pastor is appointed to the position in the local church by the conference, he serves the church as a conference worker, and is responsible to the conference committee, yet he maintains a sympathetic and cooperative relation to and works in harmony with all the plans and policies of the local church. The elder having been elected by the local church is naturally responsible to that body, and also to its board. (See pp. 58, 118.)
THE CHURCH ELDER, TO FOSTER ALL LINES OF MISSIONARY WORK—CHURCH MANUAL AMENDMENT
Voted, To amend the Church Manual page 58, The Church Elder, To Foster All Lines of Missionary Work, to read as follows:
To Foster All Lines of Church Work—Under the pastor and in the absence of a pastor, the local elder is a spiritual leader of the church and is responsible for fostering all departments and activities of the work. The elder should maintain a mutually helpful relationship with all other church officers.
THE CHURCH ELDER, THE BAPTISMAL SERVICE—CHURCH MANUAL AMENDMENT
Voted, To amend the Church Manual page 59, The Church Elder, The Baptismal Service, to read as follows:
The Baptismal Service—In the absence of an ordained pastor, the elder shall request the president of the conference or local field to arrange for the administration of the rite of baptism to those desiring to unite with the church. (See p. 45.) A local church elder should not officiate in the baptismal service without first obtaining permission from the conference/mission president.
THE CHURCH ELDER, TO COOPERATE WITH THE CONFERENCE—CHURCH MANUAL AMENDMENT
Voted, To refer the recommended amendment to the Church Manual, The Church Elder, To Cooperate With the Conference, to the standing Church Manual Committee for further study.
THE CHURCH ELDER, TO FOSTER WORLDWIDE WORK—CHURCH MANUAL AMENDMENT
Voted, To amend the Church Manual page 60, The Church Elder, To Foster Worldwide Work, to read as follows:
To Foster Worldwide Work—Another important feature of the elder’s work is to foster world mission work. This should be done by making a careful study of the worldwide work and presenting its needs to the church. The elder should encourage members to take a personal part in both supporting and working for the cause of misisons. A kindly, tactful attitude on the part of the elder will do much to encourage liberality on the part of the church members both in the regular church services and in the Sabbath School.
Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 5, 1995, 21 (http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1995-05/index.djvu?q=docs/GCB/GCB1995-05/index.djvu&djvuopts&page=21).
July 5, 1995
NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION REQUEST--ORDINATION
The chairman, Calvin B Rock, outlined the program for this business session dedicated to the request of the North American Division regarding ordination:
The president of the North American Division, Alfred C McClure, will make a 20-minute presentation giving the background and rationale of the North American Division’s request. Then P Gerard Damsteegt from the SDA Theological Seminary of Andrews University will give a 20-minute presentation on why he cannot support this request. Raoul Dederen, also of Andrews University, will then present the opposite viewpoint of why he is in favor of the request. It is hoped that with these presentations, the delegates will have a good overview of both sides of the issue. The floor will then be opened for discussion by the delegates and at approximately 4:45 p.m., the chairman will call an end to the debate and Robert S Folkenberg, president of the General Conference, will make a few remarks prior to a secret ballot being taken.
Voted, 1. To limit the individual speeches of the delegates to two minutes if spoken in English, and three minutes if a translation is given.
2. To support the program for the afternoon business session as outlined by the chairman.
Prayer was then offered by Calvin B Rock.
Following the presentation by Alfred C McClure, Charles E Bradford, former president of the North American Division, was asked by the chairman to make a few comments. After the presentations by P Gerard Damsteegt and Raoul Dederen, the floor was opened to debate by the delegates with the chairman alternating between delegates standing at the for and against microphones.
Shortly after 5 p.m. an action was voted to cease debate of the motion and Robert S Folkenberg spoke for a few moments, closing with prayer in which he asked the Holy Spirit to be present and to guide in the decision of the delegates. The motion before the floor was read for clarity as follows:
“Voted, To refer to the 1995 General Conference Session the North American Division request that the General Conference in Session adopt provisions on ordination as outlined below:
“The General Conference vests in each division the right to authorize the ordination of individuals within its territory in harmony with established policies. In addition, where circumstances do not render it inadvisable, a division may authorize the ordination of qualified individuals without regard to gender. In divisions where the division executive committees take specific actions approving the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, women may be ordained to serve in those divisions.”
Delegates were then instructed to turn in their secret ballot cards to their division representatives. A count of the secret ballots was made with the following results:
In favor of the recommendation: 673
In opposition to the recommendation: 1,481
Total number of votes: 2,154
By this vote, the request of the North American Division was denied.
Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 11, 1995, pg. 30 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB1995-08/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=30).
July 5, 2005
LICENSED MINISTERS—CHURCH MANUAL AMENDMENT
Voted, To amend the Church Manual, Chapter 10, Ministers and Workers, pages 137 and 138, Licensed ministers, to read as follows:
To give young men—No change
In its actions the conference/mission/field committee shall not go beyond that which the division committee authorizes. It shall not authorize a licensed minister to go from church to church outside the church or group of churches of which he is a local elder, performing church rites which pertain to the functions of an ordained minister. A conference/mission/field committee action cannot be substituted for church election or ordination to gospel ministry.
Source: General Conference Bulletin, July 14-28, 2005, pg. 32 (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/GCB/GCB2005-08/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=2).
July 2, 2010
A second item was mentioned on the floor—this actually has been mentioned several times. This was regarding the subject of ordination, and someone had made a particular suggestion to the Steering Committee. This was discussed again, and I believe the leaders of the church are aware that this is an issue in the church. One could see the sincerity, the spirit of prayer, the seriousness with which that topic was discussed. I would just give this brief report, a reaction from the Steering Committee. The General Conference administration recognizes that the theology, the function, and practice of ordination is an important facet of church life. There is no one there who is saying, “This is insignificant. We are going to ignore it.” I think all there recognized that this is an important facet. The General Conference administration commits to establishing a process to review the subject of ordination and will report back to an Annual Council during this quinquennium. I know some would like to see immediate reaction on the floor here, but there a lot of voices on this subject, from many places around the world. There are many people who need to be brought into counsel on this. It is important that we make this commitment by responding to the voices of those who have spoken on the floor. We thank you for those comments, and you can look forward to seeing some progress.
Source: Adventist Review, July 8-22, 2010, pg. 34.