The Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists held its constituency meeting yesterday, Sunday, October 16. A resolution was presented before the constituency that would bring the conference into compliance with the World Church. The NCC has been ordaining women pastors contrary to three votes of the General Conference in Session since 1990, the last at San Antonio in July of last year.
The Northern California Conference is part of the Pacific Union Conference which has also rebelled against the General Conference and its own by-laws. Both of these conferences reflect the society in which they reside. In a day when women are now placed on the front line of battle, and there is threatened law suits if women are not drafted into military service, it does not surprise anyone that a worldly church would not reflect the same worldly principles which seek to make women rulers over men.
Over 20 years ago, the leadership of the Northern California Conference opposed a resolution to support the General Conference position on women's ordination with the statement, the NCC is bound by its constitution and bylaws to support the decisions of the General Conference. Thus, the resolution before the constituency is not needed. It seems there is some conflict with what they said and what they have done.
While it is entirely appropriate for one to reject church law when it is out of harmony with Scripture, the making of women rulers over men is what is contrary to Scripture. There is now open rebellion in the Northern California Conference, which is supported by the Pacific Union Conference and the North American Division.
There is a large number of Northern California church members who stand in opposition to the rebellion in their conference. This was reflected in the vote at the constituency meeting. While the effort to bring the conference into compliance with the world church failed with 294 voting against the measure, there were 211 voting in support.
The resolution read as follows:
Submitted by: Anderson Church and Sacramento Central Church
Pastors: Murray Miller and Chris Buttery
WHEREAS, the words of Jesus admonish us to be “one” as His Father and He are one (see John 17:20-22) and one of our fundamental beliefs states that “differences between male and female must not be divisive among us” (Fundamental Belief 14);
WHEREAS, both the Church Manual (page 31), and North American Division policy emphasize that “all subordinate organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize the General Conference in session as the highest authority under God” (NAD Working Policy B01 20 3);
WHEREAS, on Wednesday, August 22, 2012, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Northern California Conference [hereafter referred to as NCC] Executive Committee, time was spent debriefing the actions and decisions of the Pacific Union Conference Special Constituency Session held August 19, 2012. Out of that discussion, the motion was made that the NCC will recommend to the Pacific Union Conference candidates for ordination without regard to gender;
WHEREAS, the May 18, 2014, NCC Constituency Session voted to refer the duly introduced agenda item of women’s ordination to the NCC Executive Committee for an official statement;
WHEREAS, the NCC Executive committee voted to affirm their previous decision of August 22, 2012, to recommend to the Pacific Union Conference candidates for ordination without regard to gender;
WHEREAS, the July 8, 2015, General Conference Session voted down a motion that would have allowed each Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church® to decide for itself whether to ordain women to the gospel ministry in its territory (which includes the Northern California Conference);
WHEREAS, we have been admonished by both the General Conference and North American Division Presidents to comply with the 2015 Session’s outcome;
WHEREAS, Article VII, Section 7 of the NCC Constitution states, “The Executive Committee shall have the authority to adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its affairs and the affairs of the Conference, provided that the same are not in conflict with these Bylaws or those of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, or of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,” and at present Executive Committee votes conflict with General Conference policy;
We now vote to retract the Executive Committee votes of August 22, 2012, and December 3, 2014, in order to be in harmony with the World Church as represented by the General Conference session of July 8, 2015. We will continue to support women in ministry with the exception of issuing a ministerial credential and thus abide by the outcome of the vote of the World Church.