Dr. Jan Paulsen, a theologian and retired General Conference President (1999-2010) appeals to the delegates to the GC Session to vote Yes for letting individual world Divisions decide whether to allow women’s ordination in their territories:
“We are a mission movement. God has established this church with a specific assignment and missions. So we have to ask ourselves: how can we do this best? How can we do this effectively? How can we be what God wants us to be, and stay whole, united?
“And I believe that we now must look at the church as a global community and ask ourselves: What’s good here? What’s the best way there? We don’t do things the same way everywhere around the world. It’s such an obvious thing that it hardly needs to be said. Our identity is the same, our doctrines are the same, we will never abandon our identity as a church. It’s the same globally. But life expresses itself differently in various cultures around the world.
“So we now must ask ourselves: how can we best do mission for God where we are? Because this is where we function. We can have all kinds of opinions about the rest of the world, but where can we do it effectively where we are? Because mission is what we are here to accomplish, and I think that we need everybody. Everybody to be part of this.
“You know, it’s important I think also to keep in mind that you can enhance mission by what you do. You can end the mission by what you refuse to do–and to be locked in the mindset which says, ‘we cannot change.’ When the Bible does not speak specifically, but we have to ask ourselves, what is the reasonable, right base on which to proceed.
“We should not have fear of change. Have no fear of the future. God owns the future, and God is going to take us through this one. And I feel we need as a church, desperately, the involvement of everyone, young and old, men and women, we need everyone to be a partner in discharging the mission assignment that God has given to us. So a ‘Yes’ to this vote in San Antonio, will make this possible.”