Q: Many theologians participated in the Theological of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) at the General Conference and division levels, but they were surprised how their work was dismissed. What do you think?
A: Every division was asked to do research. There were many presentations at TOSC. It is important to understand that scholars and administrators are only a part of a larger picture — and that is the constituency.
We have millions of members, and those people also have intellectual ability and they have worth when it comes to appreciating their ideas. All of the papers that were produced for TOSC are — and have been — available online. People have been able to access all of these. We went out of our way to make sure that things were available and that people around the world were not disconnected.
Scholarship may produce a particular emphasis which is right in the eyes of the writer/researcher; he or she may think it is the answer to end all questions, but in reality people may not agree with that. People from around the world did not necessarily dismiss the material, but there was definite disagreement in the end.
The materials were all reviewed by TOSC. However, TOSC was not a representative body of the entire world church — it was not put together like a General Conference Session, with delegates from every part of the world field. TOSC was a group that was simply to look at the topic, produce resulting materials and then make recommendations. In the end, it is the constituency that makes the decision.