Members of the N.A.D. Executive Committee spent many hours on Friday & Monday discussing the Unity Document. The Unity Document seeks resolution if there is a disagreement between Unions and the World Church on biblical matters. Making this document a necessity are two Unions that have ordained women in defiance to the expressed will of the world church (Columbia Union, and Pacific Union).
During the discussion on Friday, some young members of the N.A.D. Executive Committee said that they viewed the Unity Document as a "threat to their future." One young delegate said, “I go to a school that believes in equality. I believe in equality. . . Students are confused, hurt. They feel helpless.”
“This issue is talked about on our campus often," said another university student, “It may determine whether people will stay in the church.”
Then, on Monday, Randy Roberts stepped to the microphone and said that the Unity Document is having a "profound demoralizing effect" on members of the N.A.D. It appears that the prospect of accountability, and the simple goal of theological unity has the brethren in a bit of a dither.
Randy went on to make a motion that the N.A.D. authorize a "committee" to formulate a response to the Unity Document. His motion in part:
Therefore, in light of this document, we move to authorize NADCOM to appoint a subcommittee to craft a thoughtful path forward. Furthermore, recognizing that the underlying focus and context of the Unity in Mission document was the ordination of women to ministry in two unions in our division, we wish to once again publicly affirm our unwavering support and steadfast intent to realize the full equality of women in ministry, in fulfillment of biblical principles, in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In light of these realities, we do not want the Unity in Mission document to be a deterrent to the ongoing, proactive progress toward the full equality of women in ministry in our Division. We invite earnest prayer for the leading of the Holy Spirit as we engage in this process.
The motion was voted:
- 163 yes
- 35 no
- 1 abstention
This means that the NADCOM Committee will appoint a subcommittee to address N.A.D. concerns about the prospect of accountability and theological unity in the church.
It is true--in an age of postmodern subjectivity--that the prospect of theological unity (and integrity) does often have a profound demoralizing effect. It demoralizes disunity, cultural accommodation, and discomfits the enemy's desire to dissipate God's people. Good show!
We certainly don't want our students to feel triggered by accountability, resolution and/or theological integrity. It might help to create 'non-theological unity' "safe spaces" on our college campuses, but that may be a bit redundant. It appears that most of them are that already.
In summary, me lads. Taking part in the 2015 Session vote (and two others) and then declaring that “We are going to do our own thing anyway” is making a mockery of the world church system of governance. It would have been more honourable for the N.A.D. to boycott the 2015 vote altogether, than to seek to undermine it after it didn’t go their way.