Wednesday, August 22, 2012

General Assembly Resolution: Ordination and the Superintendency

Here is a copy of the General Assembly resolution on Ordination and the Superintendency, which I have presented to our district delegation. - Please note that underlined words are those to be added, while words in brackets are to be deleted. - I am asking all Nazarenes to send this resolution to your district delegation. - Thank you!


 307.4.  To ordain, or appoint [others] another superintendent (i.e., general superintendent, general superintendent emeriti or retired, or district superintendent) to ordain, in connection with the ordained [ministers] elders present, those who have been duly elected to be elders or deacons. (435.5-35.6) 


1.  We, along with Wesley and the larger Methodist tradition, have understood that “Bishops and Presbyters are the same order, and consequently have the same right to ordain” (Wesley’s Sept. 10, 1784 letter “To Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury, and our Brethren in North-America”).  That is to say, the power to ordain is found within the order of elders.  There is not a separate “order of bishop” or “superintendent.”  Nevertheless, we, along with others in the larger Methodist tradition, have reserved the authority to ordain, within our denominations, to those elders who have been elected to the episcopal office/role of superintendent.  (Episkopos, which is usually translated “bishop,” is understood to mean “overseer,” or “superintendent,” which is the term that we and some other Wesleyan denominations use for the episcopal role.)

2.  For the Church of the Nazarene, the episcopal aspect of our government is expressed through the
superintendency, both general and district (cf., the “Foreword,” and par. 28.1, 206.f, 306.f, 314.f, and 315.f).

3.  It would be highly desirable that ordinations, if not being performed by the general superintendent in jurisdiction, be performed by another general superintendent (active, emeriti, or retired), in as much as they represent the whole church.

4.  When the general superintendent in jurisdiction is not able to ordain, and when no other general
superintendent is able to ordain, it would be highly desirable that one vested with the authority to oversee the district (i.e., the district superintendent) be the person appointed to ordain.

5.  In no case should anyone other than an ordained elder be appointed to ordain, for ordination must be passed along by one already ordained.  The power to ordained is found within the order of elders.

6.  As the paragraph currently reads, it would be possible (even if unlikely) that a general superintendent could appoint someone outside of holy orders to ordain.  Such would be completely inconsistent with the historic Christian and Wesleyan and Nazarene understanding of ordination.

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