The General Conference Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) was the result of a request made from the floor by a delegate at the 2010 General Conference Session. The General Conference administration later took that request to the General Conference Administrative Committee for approval on September 20, 2011.
There have been a variety of commissions and committees studying women’s ordination since the 1970s, but the global General Conference TOSC was the first worldwide group elected to investigate the topic of women’s ordination. The TOSC had a membership of 106, with a broad base of perspectives and representation from every world division.
Dr. Ron du Preez, a top Adventist scholar and theologian (and former critic of women’s ordination), explains the importance of what the TOSC stated in its final report in 2014:
“A group of more than 100 were selected from around the world; they met over a period of two years. And at the end of their deep Bible study and careful research, about two-thirds (that is 62 of the 92 in attendance on the final day) voted that the evidence from their research showed that the Bible is open to, and/or supportive of, the ordination of women to the gospel ministry as pastors.
“Ellen White reminds us that there is wisdom in a community of counselors (as Scripture says); so, I am willing to accept the findings of these dedicated people who were specially selected to serve on this committee. I have read all the final findings, and personally I find that those promoting what is called Position Two, have provided the best and most consistent biblical study. (Position Two [PDF summary] holds that God gave capacities and abilities to both men and women, and responsibilities are assigned to them on the basis of their development and loving service; thus, each entity that is responsible for calling pastors/ministers, should be authorized to choose either to have only men as ordained pastors or to have both men and women as ordained pastors.)
“Sadly, as soon as it became evident that the Bible was not against women’s ordination, some well-known independent ministry leaders (and others) began to spread inaccuracies and false information. This type of unchristian activity has caused massive confusion in God’s Remnant Church. Those who are delegates to the GC Session are now being faced with lots of confusion over the issue. Hardly anyone is reminding our people that the Adventist Church voted to engage in a process and that we now have the findings from that committee (the final TOSC report), which we should accept, and should proceed as God has been leading us in this process, which was carefully and prayerfully carried out.
“After the TOSC’s two years of work, the findings of this global committee are not even being mentioned in the question that the delegates are being asked to consider as they vote on this matter. How can that be? This pushing aside of the results of a two-year process (perhaps because the major results do not support the view of some ‘conservatives’) seems to set a dangerous precedent. Should we as a Church not follow the process we ourselves voted on at the 2010 General Conference? Do we only follow through if the results suit our own views?“
For more information, see the entire “General Conference
Theology of Ordination Study Committee Report (June 2014).” Visit OrdinationFacts.com for more information on “What Is the Final Verdict of the Theology of Ordination Study Committee, Anyway?” All three views of the committee members are included there and in the full Final Report of the TOSC.