On August 19, 2012, the Pacific Union Conference (PUC) held a special constituency session, chaired by PUC President Ricardo Graham, to discuss and vote on the ordination of women to Gospel ministry.
A recognized guest, General Conference President Ted N. C. Wilson, requested and was given the opportunity to outline the process for the GC Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC), and asked the union to allow TOSC to do its work before the union voted on the ordination of women.
The accompanying three-minute video excerpt of Wilson's much longer speech presents his explanation of how the TOSC process was to proceed. The text of the video is provided below courtesy of the Pacific Union Conference website. The full video of Elder Wilson’s appeal along with videos of the rest of the special constituency session are also available on that website.
Key to Wilson’s pitch was the idea that the TOSC process would be “open” (mentioned four times in three minutes) and fair. Wilson sought to rebut the notion that the process was predetermined in his message to PUC constituency members: “Some people have the idea that everything will be maneuvered, everything will be controlled, and that information will not be made known to people, whatever it might be.” The antidote, Wilson seemed to suggest, would be the process’s openness. “I would appeal to you to allow that process to truly function.”
The question, with six years’ worth of hindsight to consider, is whether the process has played out as promised.
WATCH Ted Wilson Outlines TOSC Process in Appeal to PUC (3 minutes):
The transcription of the video follows:
TED WILSON: However, I do want to share some thoughts of clarification in terms of certain allegations, certain things that have floated around through Internet and through other communications.
However, I do want to indicate very specifically at this point that the Theology of Ordination Study Committee is well on its way to functioning. All 13 divisions have been participating so far in their biblical research committees, and soon, we will be appointing a specific committee. I want to tell you about this committee. Some people have the idea that everything will be maneuvered, everything will be controlled, and that information will not be made known to people, whatever it might be. I want to tell you this study committee will be something beyond what has ever happened before, for we're going to call a group of people together who are going to spend incredible time on their knees, studying the scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, listening to the impression of the Holy Spirit to understand how God would have us look at that subject. We're going to have a balanced group of people, people  from various perspectives, gender inclusive, people from international perspectives, people from North America, theologians, teachers, pastors, lay people who are going to come together in an open setting.
I would appeal to you to allow that process to truly function. It is going to be reported to the Annual Council of 2014, and that committee is going to have openness. People are going to be able to express whatever they want. They're going to be able to look at things in a very, very critical and specific way. The report, well, perhaps even reports, because they're going to try to come together in consensus as much as possible, but on those items where they do not find consensus, I'm sure there will be more than one report, but that information will go to the Annual Council, and the Annual Council will make a decision as to what it would like to place on the agenda for the 2015 General Conference session. It will be a world body, the Annual Council, with representation from all over the world that will make the decision as to how to treat the information.
Please believe that we want openness. I want to know God's will. You need to know God's will. We are desperately asking for the Holy Spirit to lead us. I want you to know that that process will be a very open and fair process. I hope you will trust us sincerely with that.
Jared Wright is the former managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
Image: Video still.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to better reflect that this was a special constituency session of the Pacific Union Conference.
Perspectives on Adventist Women and the Ministry by Kendra Haloviak Valentine
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