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Retired GC President Jan Paulsen Addresses Women’s Ordination Issue at Spring Meeting
Submitted: Apr 18, 2012
By AT News Team

“I wish that I had been able to lead this church, during the eleven years of my presidency, to where we would not be having the sometimes acrimonious exchanges that we now experience regarding the role of women in our church,” Dr. Jan Paulsen stated in a keynote sermon that he was invited to present by current world president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Ted Wilson. He introduced the talk referring to the Easter season to which he said he was “irresistibly drawn” and focused on the lessons of Christ’s behavior modeling humility, love and compassion.
He made clear his continued commitment to the ordination of women pastors which he stated in his recent book. “The Spirit is ready to lead us to where we, for various reasons, are reluctant to go,” he told the yearly “Spring Meeting” of the General Conference Executive Committee, the top policy-making body in Adventist Church governance. “Ours is not a Roman Catholic or sacerdotal view of ordination.”
Denominational administrators who have long attended the meetings of this group speculated to Adventist Today reporters that Paulsen’s appearance was intended to deal with the concerns stated by several union and local conference governing committees in recent weeks on this topic and the criticisms leveled by opponents. “Sometimes we talk to each other across an abyss,” Paulsen said, “as when we last met as a council and talked about women.” This was understood by observers as a reference to votes last fall at the Annual Council of the committee and the annual meeting of the North American Division Committee regarding Working Policy E-60 which would have permitted women holding credentials as Commissioned Ministers to be elected as conference presidents in North America.
Paulsen stated that the love that Christ demonstrated in His interactions with the apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane provides the standard for “how we must relate to each other when opinions collide and we are convinced that the other is wrong. Love them enough while we talk and … hopefully they will find room and time to see your point of view without you, by ridicule or caricature, embarrassing them.” He appealed for time, pointing out that the Biblical and theological study of ordination that the group commissioned last year is a useful educational process. He also implied that there is very likely nothing new to discover on the topic.
The elder statesman openly expressed the concern for a split in the denomination that has been privately shared by many church leaders. “Our unity as a global family is these days being tested with respect to the role of women in ministry and leadership in our church. Some insist that those who advocate the ordination of women … will split the church. … The other side answers that those who deny women ordination will be the ones who split the church. … If we cannot find a way forward in this matter without compromising the unity God wants us to hold, we shall all have to answer for how we contributed … and I suspect those who said ‘No’ will be held as responsible in the eyes of God as those who said ‘Yes.’”
Paulsen pointed out the fact that the Adventist movement exists “in a world whose cultural peculiarities and varieties turn 360 degrees.” He seemed to advocate flexibility and allowing world divisions of the General Conference to make their own decision on this topic as well as others. “We cannot do it the same way everywhere,” he said. “Our leaders in California cannot make that decision for their colleagues in Africa and our very accomplished mission church in South America cannot speak for struggling Europe.”
The appeal of Paulsen’s sermon was clearly for time and patience, acknowledging that the issue of women’s ordination is “the matter that will not go away,” since it was first voted in 1881 and then reintroduced in the early 1970s. “I hear the voice of a leader from South America say, ‘Things are changing also here. Our thinking is not locked into where we were ten years ago.’ And I hear the voice of a leader from Africa say, ‘Give us some more time. Our people need more time for education.’”
Clearly there is a fear on the part of at least some GC officers that one or more union conferences in North America and Europe may exercise their clear authority under GC Working Policy and approve the ordination of a woman pastor. This could lead to a demand that the union conferences involved be forced to withdraw their action, and perhaps unprecedented conflict between the General Conference and one or more of its constituent bodies. The method specified for this process is for the GC to convene a special constituency meeting in the union conference involved, but it is clear that in parts of North America it would be impossible to get anything but a vote supporting the ordination of women from delegates elected by local conferences or congregations.
What many church members and clergy in North America do not know is the kind of reaction that the denomination experienced in Africa and other places when a GC Session adopted the Department of Women’s Ministries as a lay activities program. Entire congregations left the denomination over this seemingly benign step, decrying it as apostasy from the Adventist message and mission.
The meeting continues today and it is unclear that any specific action will be taken on this matter. Usually the agenda for the Spring Meeting of the GC executive committee is primarily devoted to reviewing the financial statements from the previous year and voting confirmation of the budget for the current year. Often the full membership of the committee is not present and the normal procedure is to hold major policy decisions for the Annual Council in the fall of each year.
A video and a written transcript of the entire sermon is available on the Adventist News Network (ANN) web site.

Share your thoughts about this article:

Edwin A. Schwisow
2012-04-19 2:28 PM

Adventist Today (AT) anticipated developments of this sort and for several weeks has offered an expanded review of Paulsen's book, alluded to in this news item. The review is accessible at this time only to actual subscribers to AT (either online or print/online) but reading it even at the cost of a one-year, $8 subscription to the online edition of AT (which also opens the content of all AT magazines to the subscriber) could be a worthy follow-up exercise, in light of current developments.

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-19 2:53 PM

"there is a fear on the part of at least some GC officers that one or more union conferences in North America and Europe may exercise their clear authority under GC Working Policy and approve the ordination of a woman pastor."

As the possibility of such action has already been codified and allowed, what are the available actions that the G.C. could take?  Did they not write the Working Policy projecting such action? 

Kevin Riley
2012-04-19 7:32 PM

The GC could 'disfellowship' the Union if they could prove they were contravening policy and in rebellion.  As the article points out, the first step is for the GC to convene a Union session, which would undoubtedly vote in favour of ordaining women.  I suspect that if it happens, the GC will find a way to accept it.  A heavy-handed approach risks the loss of most of the Unions in NAD, SPD and TED.  I am not sure they would automatically assume that Europe, Asia and South America would support any disciplinary measures.  Africa probably would, if the GC President told them to.  I still believe this will be handled by behind-the-scene pressure from the GC to avoid any outright confrontation.

Something that should be taken seriously is the volatility of the membership in Africa - and elsewhere.  Allowing the ordination of women would undoubtedly lead to the loss of membership.  In the end, the GC may be faced with the choice of where they believe they can most afford to lose members and then proceed accordingly.  While they can avoid making that choice, they will.

2012-04-25 4:19 PM

Let me say, I always enjoy your regular debate on women ordination. One is however worried that some people (like Kevin Riley) will think Africans are so gullible that they will "probably support" any disciplinary measures against any Union simply because a GC precident tells them to do so.  This assumption is not only naive, it is disrespectful to say the least. If you know that Pastor Jan Paulsen taught a lot of the leaders of the Church in Africa when he was in Africa, yet he could not get them to shift their ground on this subject during his term of office, then you must be underestimating the level of enlightenment of the church in Africa. I believe, African leaders will always act based on their conviction, not on who is the president, what the president says, or even what is the contemporary trend in town.

2012-04-19 5:37 PM

As Adventist we are known to base our beliefs on the solid Word of God. We use scripture; “Thus says the Lord” as the foundation to build our faith. We hold a faith that is based on facts not feelings, teaching of truths not traditions. We are warned by scripture and prophecy of false teaching that will creep from the world into our church. The ordination of women elders and the commissioning of women pastors is not “new found light” and goes against teachings found in the Scriptures and EGW. Sadly this idea of unisex is only the outer bands of the storm. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered groups are knocking at the church door for affirmation as well.  If you do not follow “Thus says the Lord” you open the door for many deviations.

There are God given roles of Spiritual leadership/headship of the home and church placed on men. We men are to blame for not fulfilling the Lords command. This is not a cultural issue, or a matter of one’s prejudice thinking like some are trying to make it. It is clear teaching by Gods Word and the Spirit of Prophecy. Nowhere in the Bible or SOP is a woman to be ordained as a priest, a bishop, or an elder.

Kevin Riley
2012-04-19 7:21 PM

Again you ignore the multitude of books written in support of women's ordination solely from a biblical perspective.  You can say that the Bible does not support something for as long as you like, but it won't make it true.  The fact is that committed Christians - many of them very conservative in their approach to Scripture - do not see what you do when they read the Bible.

2012-04-19 8:25 PM

Yes and theres a multitude of books written in support of Sunday observance from conservitive approach to Scripture and I choose the Lords Day Sabbath. 

Kevin Riley
2012-04-19 9:08 PM

But you continue to write as if it is a clear-cut foregone conclusion that the Bible does not support the ordination of women and all SDA theologians are agreed on that.  In fact, some major SDA theologians support the ordination of women. 

2012-04-19 9:19 PM

Most all the major theologians that support ordination of women have ties to the SDA Universities.  Follow the Money......

Kevin Riley
2012-04-19 9:38 PM

Of course, it couldn't be that those theologians actually know what they are talking about.

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-19 9:58 PM

Don't all SDA theologians draw their pay from the official church just as the academic theologians?

Stephen Ferguson
2012-04-19 11:01 PM

The assumption here by All4Him is that the office of 'priest, bishop or elder' are all the same!  There is a very good paper by Prof. Robert Johnston of Andrews pointing out that the office of Apostle/clergy was distinct from the office of Elder/Deacon/Bishop/Overseer.  
The office of Apostle is chosen entirely by the Holy Spirit according to spiritual gifts (Eph 4:11). This fact is best illustrated by Matthias, who was chosen by lots (the origin of the Greek word 'clergy', and emphasis that God, not men chose the clergy).  Clergy do not need ordaining, any more than Ellen White did.
The office of Elder (and later Deacon as a sub-set) on the other hand is for the practical administration of the Church.  This office is chosen by men according to the well-known proof texts about ‘husband of one wife’.  It is only Elders/Deacons who need to be ordained; otherwise, they would have had trouble in trying to have any level of authority over those with spiritual leadership by virtue of gifts of apostleship, prophecy, evangelism etc.
If you look at the history of the early Church, it was actually the infant Papacy that combined the offices of Apostle/clergy with the office of Elder/Bishop.  Thus, to perpetuate the myth that clergy must be only men is in fact to uphold Roman Catholic tradition! I would rather uphold scripture myself.
In short, All4Him, like many on both ‘sides’ of this debate, have started from a erroneous assumption. 

2012-04-20 2:58 PM

It is not a erroneous assumption when God Himself stated in Genesis 4:16 on headship? And why would Paul point back to creation 1st Timothy 2 13,14 if it was only for his time?

Eph. 5:23, Eph 5:22-33, 1 Cor. 1-34, Heb. 13:7, Titus 2:5, 1 Tim 5:1-2, 1 Tim 2: 12-14, Gen 5:2, Gen: 3 1-24, Gen 1:26-28, 1 Peter 3:7, 1 Peter 5:5 and Col 3:18.

Academic theologians are more likely to get grilled on thier beliefs on this issue when being hired.  I know of pastors who have not gotten postions due to thier belief on WO.  Stephen talks about upholding scripture and there are many women and men that believe WO in not Bibical and will make a stand if it keeps being forced from the top down.

The primary object of our college was to afford young men an opportunity to study for the ministry and to prepare young persons of both sexes to become workers in the various branches of the cause. 5T page 60.

Those who enter the missionary field should be men and women who walk and talk with God. Those who stand as ministers in the sacred desk should be men of blameless reputation. 5T page 598

Ella M
2012-04-20 9:06 PM

  To be consistent, one would have to abide by other customs of the period like having slaves and wearing headwear to church.  I must say that I get frustrated by those who don't seem to be able to take the Bible and EGW in its context.  I don't like the picture of God that it reflects.   Heis more wonderful that we can imagine and speaks to us where we are.  These literalistic interpretations meant for another age make our Loving God sound petty and lacking in His own priorities. 

Kevin Riley
2012-04-20 10:22 PM

Looks like Biblical parallelism to me.  Not making a distinction, but equating the two.

This issue is not one of Biblical authority, as both sides want to correctly understand and follow the teaching of the Bible.  It is an issue of hermeneutics, and in this case history is on the side of those who support the ordination of women as our pioneers who wrote on the subject were almost unanimous in their support for the texts forbidding women from preaching and teaching (which is what they do, ordination is never mentioned) being understood as contextual to the time of the NT, and not for today.  Many men and women are convinced it is biblical to ordain women to any position that they are called to by God.  It would seem an increasing number are prepared to take a stand against those at the top who try to resist this movement.  There is only so long that people will accept "be patient and wait for others to catch up".

2012-04-20 11:24 PM

It is clearly an issue of Bibical authority of Gods roles for leadership of the family and the church.  Satan suceeded in the rebellion of a third of the angels by saying God was not fair in giving the roles that He did.  Christians don't need to catch-up to the worldly trends, you have to twist a lot of scripture to squeeze out any Bibical teaching on ordaining women from Gods Word.

Those that have yielded step by step to worldly demands, and conformed to worldly customs, will then yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death" (Prophets and kings, p 188)

Kevin Riley
2012-04-21 1:47 AM

No - a lot of people in the church do not see it as you do.  It is not 'clearly' an issue when so many disagree with your reading of the issue.  Even conservative scholars who believe women should not be ordained do not accept that God established male headship prior to the fall, and therefore it is not an issue of following an order given at creation.  If male domination is post-fall, then, like all the results of sin, it is something the church should be working to overcome, not accepting.

The Bible says very little about ordaining anyone.  It does mention women in leadership and teaching positions, which is why there is a need to interpret Paul's commands that seem to condemn what he himslef accepted.  We have never said anythig as a church against women teaching or having any position of leadership apart from that of pastor.  As the Bible says very little about pastors (who probably were deacons) or ordination, maybe the focus of the argument is in the wrong place?

It seems to me that this issue is entirely about how we interpret the Bible and how we then apply it.  The whole issue of authroity seems to be another attempt by the conservatives to cast everyone else in the light of being in oppostion to God, when they are really only in opposition to the conservative position.  When it is made an argument between godly conservatives supporting the clear  teaching of God in the Bible and secular and appostate liberals trying to twist Scripture to fit their agenda the required outcome seems obvious.  Except that that is not reality.  It is an argument mostly between two groups of sincere believers who read Scripture differently.  If Scripture were clear, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

2012-04-21 7:24 AM

Yes- Many in the church believe, as I do, but are afraid to voice there convictions because of the political fallout.  This include a lot more females that wish husbands would be a greater spiritual leaders in the home and church. 

Headship was prior to the fall, Adam was created first and God named him.  Eve was created after Adam had name the animals and Adam named Eve.  The Church should not be working on overcoming Gods roles given for order in the family and church. Look how marraige has been distorted in the last few years. 

Many sincerly base there beliefs for worship on Sunday from God's Word.  That issue is entirely how one interpets the Bible, yes,  but we feel God is clear and look to Him and His example for the answer.  Just as the Husband is to treat his wife as Christ treats the church;(even to die as Christ did for us).  Is it wrong to think that the wife should treat her husband as the church should treat Christ? 

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-19 6:37 PM

It seems that the position that women's ordination "Goes against teachings found in the Scriptures and EGW" has not been so confirmed by the G.C. as they have publicly stated that there is no theological reason against women's ordination.  Perhaps you could do them a great service by informing them of your knowledge on this matter.

2012-04-19 8:54 PM

I had my son hand deliver a letter to Elder Dan Jackson last week, thanks for reminding me to get a few more letters sent to others though.  Pastor Doug Batchelor, Pastor Stephen Bohr, and many others have publicly stated theological reasons against women's ordination. 

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-19 9:02 PM

Are those men involved in making decisions on women's ordination?  They are very vocal on disagreeing with WO, illustrating that in Adventism there are many voices, but when such decisions are made, it will be spoken in one, official voice.

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-19 8:26 PM

Can somone clearly explain the clear authority under GC Working Policy that gives union the ability to ordain women?  If this is authority is exercised how can there be repercussions if they adhere to the  SDA Working Policy? 

Kevin Riley
2012-04-19 9:01 PM

The Unions OK the requests for ordination from the Conferences.  That right has been delegated to them by the church.  That is long-standing policy: the Conference puts forward a list of condidates for ordination and the Union approves the names.  The working policy says that Presidents must be ordained pastors.  The GC has voted against allowing women to be ordained.  Therefore a case could be made that any Union that allows women to be ordained, or elects a commissioned pastor as President, is in contravention of GC policy.  That China has already ordained women as pastors without repercussions would weaken any argument that the Union was setting a precedent.  It also argues against the 'unity' position of only allowing women to be ordained when it is acceptable everywhere.  This could once again be a case of God using governments to get the church moving in the right direction.

Stephen Ferguson
2012-04-19 11:07 PM

Doesn't Church authority kind of break down in places like China and Vietnam, where the Church membership is on fire but government action prevents church governance from easily occuring?  For example, whilst the SDA Church is 20 million worldwide, in the last 10 years, the sabbath-keeping group 'True Jesus Church' has grown from nothing to over 2 million people - i.e. 1/10th of the SDA membership after 150 years!  My point being, in the same way as the shift in SDA membership out of North America and into South America and Africa have shaken things up, I think we have seen nothing yet with how things are going to be in a few decades time in Asia.  Women's ordination is just one issue that is likely to be effected long term by the rise of the new Chineese superpower. 

Stephen Ferguson
2012-04-19 10:44 PM

I think a compromise can be made of the kind of Acts 15, so that both ‘sides’ can be accommodated without any compromises of scripture.  In short, I do wonder if both ‘sides’ of the issue have it all backwards. 

Even assuming the Bible prescribes gender-restricted roles, don’t the oft-cited proof texts concerning older men who are ‘the husband of one wife, having faithful children’ (Tit 1:5-9; 1 Tim 3:1-7; 1 Pet 5:1-5) apply to the selection of elders – not clergy?  By contrast, aren’t the vocations of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher all spiritual gifts (Eph 4:11) bestowed by the Holy Spirit?

Whilst celibate Paul and young Timothy were clearly ministers, where they elders – and if so how, given Paul’s own stated selection criteria? Wasn’t Matthias chosen by lots (the Greek origin of the word ‘clergy’) precisely to emphasise that God, not men, ultimately decides? Doesn’t Ellen White’s own life reflect this distinction, given she was never in a position of formal administrative leadership (unlike her husband James) but she was nonetheless clearly a licensed minister bestowed by the Holy Spirit with all five spiritual gifts?

Thus, wouldn’t empowering each local church to decide for itself whether to restrict eldership on the basis of gender, whilst recognizing women chosen by the Holy Spirit can be ordained clergy, offer an appropriate compromise that reflects scripture and maintains Church unity? Alternatively, perhaps we should dispense with the term ‘ordain’ altogether (a term of Catholic origin) and just ‘commission’ (a more biblical term) all future pastors worldwide. 

Edwin A. Schwisow
2012-04-20 12:03 AM

In the Adventist home where my sisters and I grew up, it was our custom on week-evenings before bed to study our respective Sabbath School lessons with mother, around the rocking chair. We were homeschooled and Mom was our teacher, and though most of the day we spent studying Home Study Institute lessons, Mom still gathered us for 15 minutes before bed to  go over our lessons.

Soon after I learned to read, on my own I set out to digest the Bible cover to cover, and what was my gleeful reward toward Thanksgiving time to find this gem in 1 Timothy 2:12: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety." Aha! So I tried it out one evening, showing Mom the verse, and expressing my biblically-based decision that henceforth I would teach "myself" and would no longer gather around the rocking chair with the girls to study."The Bible says it's wrong," I intoned in my most cherubic, wide-eyed con-artist imitation of a choirboy. "You as a woman should not be teaching me." To which she replied very curtly, "The day you start acting like a real man, you won't need me anymore. But we've got a long, long road ahead before that's ever going to happen!"

Of course, I had already figured out that the issue in the passage is not ordination or the restriction of talented women, but the apostle's desire that the church not be deceived, and apparently in Eden, God taught Adam first (he was created first) and expected him to instruct his wife in the ways of His Kingdom on earth. In Paul's time, likewise, the apostles followed the established custom of a Rabbi gathering his male disciples around him and teaching them, with the expectation that they would pass along this information to their families. But meanwhile, the wives (perhaps like Eve, not yet fully grounded in the faith) were apparently picking up information via rumor, engaging in speculations among themselves as to what Paul was teaching, then interrupting their husbands when the men tried to pass Paul's teachings along to them, at home—arguing and challenging them. Paul fears that if this continues, what he has told the men is going to become garbled and lost. He wants the wives to heed their husbands, and not bicker and speculate about hearsay and conjecture they've heard from other sources.

The issue is not ordination, but teaching within the context of Paul's times. If we are to accept these few verses as somehow laying down an eternal protocol for all Christian societies for all time, we would have to disregard the teachings, exhortations, and even scathing testimonies of Sister White against the God-ordained leaders of her time. In fact, as a kid I tried to con Mom on that one too, pointing out that I could not accept Ellen G. White's messages about music, because White was clearly a false teacher—God would never appoint a woman to teach and rebuke men (again, good old 1 Timothy 2:12,13). Mom replied that God could choose any messenger he wanted to, even Balaam's donkey, and it was time I simmered down and started making some sense.

These weren't the last times Mom made a donkey of me. I only wish the rest of us could sit down as brothers and sisters and really READ and RECEIVE the biblical word serenely and with coherent thought. We'd all get along with God better, and maybe even with our mothers and sisters in the faith....

2012-04-20 1:10 PM

The sad news is that the Adventist Review has recently deleted the devotional from it's website. I just emailed Elders Kelner and Medley about the reason behind that.

Truth Seeker
2012-04-20 10:15 PM

 All4Him -"The ordination of women elders and the commissioning of women pastors is not “new found light” and goes against teachings found in the Scriptures and EGW. Sadly this idea of unisex is only the outer bands of the storm."

You are absolutely correct with resepct to the Scriptures.  Scripture presents convincing reasons for assigning the position of spiritual headship to males. Cultural pressures from feminists and their supporters have been the major impetus for this most unfortunate movement within the church.

One wonders why Wilson invited Paulsen to make an address. It is possible that promoting female ordination may well precipitate a schism.

During this brouhaha about female ordination apparently few, if any, seem to take into consideration the welfare of children. Why isn't there much more emphasis on what EGW has said about a mother's responsibility in bringing up children? Picking and choosing is a favorite sport of the liberals.

Kevin Riley
2012-04-21 1:48 AM

But liberals still do not do it so well as conservatives.  That is why they are not winning the numbers game.

Linda Dryer
2012-04-21 4:02 AM

I find it curious that those who are not willing to identify themselves are both on the same side of this issue, while those on the other side are comfortable using their real names. 

2012-04-21 7:38 AM

@Linda The Truth is never popular and why should a name matter....  Only one apostle died of natural causes, they all paid the price of speaking the Truth. 

Ervin Taylor
2012-04-21 11:16 AM

I must say that I share Ms. Dryer's puzzelment as to why the conservatives on this issue seem not to want to tell us who they really are.  I have some ideas about what might be going on--but I'd like to hear more from them as to why they want to remain nameless--I mean, real nameless. 

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-21 12:17 PM

When I receive anonymous emails, which are largely like phone "robo-calls" I hit the delete button and "sweep" them off so as to eliminate future mails from that source.

If the anonymous comments were not answered, soon they would be talking only to themselves.  Anonymity doesn't deserve replies.

Truth Seeker
2012-04-21 5:55 PM

 Approve Delete
"@Linda The Truth is never popular and why should a name matter....  Only one apostle died of natural causes, they all paid the price of speaking the Truth."

Why all brouhaha about an ID? I'm more puzzled by the amount of verbiage from those who have long ago left the Faith of Adventism?  Why should I take instruction from anyone who has left the SDA Church? Frankly, I avoid reading such comments.

"The issue is not ordination, but teaching within the context of Paul's times." Oh, and how do you support this? Can't we  then use the same convoluted reasoning to support any deviation from Scripture that we wish to make? I think so.

 One of the best short books on the issue is The Tip of The Iceberg by C. Raymond Holmes. It is a spectacular revelation that a converted Lutheran Pastor can articulate such  convincing details which show clearly why WO is not Scriptural. It almost seems that converts adhere more closely to good exegesis than some who have been SDA all their lives.

2012-04-21 9:00 PM

Truth Seeker I have not read that book but will.  I know what you are talking about with converts, a dear friend in Hawaii who became a Adventist is having a struggle with the WO push.  There will soon be many from other churches joining our denomination I see that coming with folks that we study with when they really understand what God said about the "rest of the week"....  When people have nothing better to add to there defense of WO than complaining about someones anonymous name it is pathetic.  Bring on the Bibical and Spirit of Prophecy quotes and we can discuss the matter.  Isaiah 40:8

Edwin A. Schwisow
2012-04-22 12:23 AM

Certainly we're all supportive of those who add to our discussion by presenting their views forcefully in favor of what they believe to be conservative stands.

That said, some associate pseudonyms with Web sites that might cause one's family or neighbors to cringe if they knew of one's participation. Perhaps taking part openly in atoday.com discussions is viewed as pejorative and shameful in some circles. Is this so?

2012-04-22 7:05 AM

I used my first and middle name on Spectrum until they thought a EGW quote was imflamatory yet a link to a preverse video was left standing and I was blocked.   Edwin I also co-wrote a  that went #1 on the top 80 of the CGMG list of  US Gospel News November of 2005.  Now they won't even play in on Godtube.
Oh yes it might be "pejorative and shameful" in some circles....... cause truth does not equal popularity in this world.  Look at the "One in Christ" sight, they took down the number of petition signatures they have gotten....hmmm  Was it 10.000 they were after....it sure died down after the first month and a half? 

Ervin Taylor
2012-04-21 6:32 PM

"Truth Seeker" has got it only half-right.  Converts to Adventism do not "adhere more closely to good exegesis." what they do is to adhere more closely to classical standard Adventism than some who have been SDA all their lives.  It's called the "convert effect."  Understandably, converts believe 100% in the doctrines of whatever religious tradition which they newly joined.  Converts to Adventism believe 100% in advertised Adventism represnted by our standard evanglistic approach.  After a while, they discover that advertised Adventism and the real Adventisms (plural) are sometimes quite different.  Many second and third generation Adventists have been around long enough to have figured out that there are a number of serious theological problems with standard Adventism which their parents and grandparents had not noticed since they were influenced by the "convert effect."

Edwin A. Schwisow
2012-04-21 7:13 PM

I have frequently found in my discussions with avowed conservatives that those who stridently self-describe themselves as right-wing Christians are usually wrestling just as valiantly not to "give up on God" as their left-wing brothers and sisters. It's human nature to compensate externally for that which we believe may be missing internally. For example, the woman who doubts her husband's love, or feels alienated from him, may initiate public displays of affection, wearing provocative apparel and ostentatious jewelry, to "prove" that she above all other wives is true, faithful, and adoring (of the man she seriously doubts and may no longer trust or love, but that's her secret!). Conversely, the man with the mistress on the side may give his wife lavish gifts, to prove his eternal adoration.

Likewise, it is not at all uncommon to discover that the perfectionist conservative is sick at heart, wondering if God cares or even exists, while holding with trembling and locked fists onto what he believes to be the unalterable teachings of Scripture, A progressive who spouts the word "Jesus" and "love" in every sentence may be preaching far more to her own ossified, internal doubt than to souls on the outside.

Liberals and centrists all have "bad days" with God; so do conservatives. We're all in this together, and we must recognize ourselves as uniformly human and subject to the identical forces that seek to push us out of God's care.  So as we dialogue with people named and/or anonymous, let's understand that we all bear burdens; we all have unanswered questions; the midnight crises of faith happen to ALL of us. A conservative is no less human than anyone else in the range of faith. We all go through our Gethsemanes; how important, then, to treat one another with amiable courtesy and brother/sisterhood. Insofar as we can encourage even our apparent ideological enemy, let us not condescend to judge one another's value as a Christian. Where we stand on the continuum probably has a lot more to do with personality and life experience than with the length of plank actually obstructing our brothers’ and sisters’ spiritual eyes.

Kevin Riley
2012-04-21 8:25 PM

It is the way that conservative correspondents so often dismiss the spirituality, morality and, often, intelligence of their opponents that makes it so hard to hold a conversation with them.  When the assumption is that those who disagree are either immoral and trying to avoid 'the clear teaching of Scripture' or are at best either ignorant or deceived, the effort to converse is far greater than it needs to be.  It seems that so many find it impossible to conceive of the situation where equally committed believers could come to different conclusions.  There are times when I struggle to see how people can hold certain views because to me it is obvious why those views are wrong, but that is different to deciding that those people are immoral or lacking in all intelligence.  And the lack of intelligence is not actually a moral failing.

Nathan Schilt
2012-04-21 11:43 PM

I completely sympathize with your lament, Kevin, though I contend it has nothing to do with conservatism or liberalism per se. It is the fundamentalist mindset that creates the need to judge intellectual adversaries as immoral and/or ignorant. And in my experience, fundamentalism finds as much fertile soil in liberalism - especially among liberals who reject religion and a personal God - as it does in conservatism. If we were to examine comments and blogs on AToday, I think we would find that liberals are no less prone to judge adversaries as stupid or immoral than are conservatives. Extremism on any end of an ideological spectrum tends toward an overweening confidence that members of the club are intellectually and morally superior to those who do not drink the Kool-Aid. 

As to this particular blog, I think you're right about the conservative conversationalists. But I think it is unfair to lump conservatives in general with the far right wing represented by these folks. As Erv Taylor pointed out, this is not a conservative/liberal issue. Conservative Adventists in North America overwhelmingly support women's ordination. 

Kevin Riley
2012-04-22 3:47 AM

Perhaps I should have said 'far right' or 'fundamentalist' - and that might be better because I have encountered fundamenatlists from the left - rather than 'conservative'.  Most conservatives I know do support women's ordination, and quite a few also don't support changing FB6.

Ervin Taylor
2012-04-21 10:36 PM

"Truth Seeker" (TS) might wish to read a review of the Holmes book, The Tip of the Iceberg, published in 1995 in Ministry magazine, an official SDA journal not known for its liberal views.

Here is a quote from that review addressing Holmes understanding of the women's ordination issue: "Holmes' book fails to show convincingly that the ordination of women is biblically probibited and would lead to chaos.  Perhaps the argumentation is unconvincing because the author's cherished presuppositions and conclusions supersede the analysis of the New Testament texts on the subject."  Since TS exhibits exactly the same problem in his postings here that Holmes exhibits in this book, we all can now understand why TS likes Holmes' arguments.  

Trey Walter
2012-04-21 11:19 PM

Is anyone aware of another issue where the church voted on something that was clearly against Bible teaching or would this be the first time we will have taken such a drastic step?  It seems we give the "separationists" who decry the church as Babylon more and more ammunition when we have "meetings" to decide whether or not God's way is best.  Hard to imagine Gabriel suggesting such a meeting to the angels.  Not so hard to imagine Lucifer doing it.

Keep praying about this, brothers and sisters.  The Lord will continue to lead our church if we prayerfully choose His way and don't let our ever-changing culture decide for us.

Stephen Ferguson
2012-04-22 12:30 AM

 Some obvious questions:
1. Is the office of "elder/bishop/overseer" the same as the office of "apostle"?
2. The word “clergy” comes from the Greek meaning of “chosen by lots”. It appears to derive from Matthias, who was chosen by lots as replacement apostle (Acts 1:26) where “apostle” appears to be a spiritual gift (Eph 4:11) bestowed by the Holy Spirit, not men.  By contrast, the selection of the Seven elders/deacons appears more human in origin, involves an ordination ceremony, and the office is for practical human administration of the Church (Acts 7:1-7). Who then are the “clergy” – apostles or elders?
3. What does “ordination” mean exactly? Who needs to be ordained – apostles, elders or both?
4. Do the proof-texts concerning older men who are ‘the husband of one wife, having faithful children’ (Tit 1:5-9; 1 Tim 3:1-7; 1 Pet 5:1-5), apply to apostles or elders or both?
5.  Celibate Paul and young Timothy were clearly apostles, but were they elders?  If they were also elders, how so, given Paul’s own-stated criteria?
6. How many pastors do you know who are not ‘a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.’ (Tit 1:6)? My understanding is that many of our ordained pastors have wild and unbelieving children.  How many pastors, including those who use these texts to say women can’t be ordained clergy, should resign themselves as hypocrites?

Kevin Riley
2012-04-22 4:03 AM

1. No, but some apostles - John and Peter are so identified in the NT - were also elders.  We do not know if all apostes were elders.
2. I am not sure that we can link a current use of 'clergy' with its etymology.
3. In secular society it was admission to a status group.  I am not sure we can claim solely from the NT that any group needs to be ordained.
4. The texts are applied to elders and deacons, not apostles.
5. We don't know.  How could Priscilla be a teacher and Junia an apostle if Paul's counsel is followed literally?
6. Some of our pastors have 'wild and unbelieving children'.  I am not sure we can claim that 'many' have such children.  Does the different soical situation today where fathers have no control over their children's behaviour upon their reaching adulthood change the way we should use this text?

Stephen Ferguson
2012-04-24 10:40 AM

Thanks Kevin - great answers. For those who oppose female ordination (or rather advocate that men and not women ministers should be ordained), they seem to hang a lot on texts that:
i) seem to apply to the office of elder/deacon and not necessarily apostles;
ii) are generally difficult to work out what originally meant in the original context anyway; and
iii) if they were applied literally as prerequisites for ordination, would arguably render many of our own male ordained ministers disqualified from the office. 
Is there even just a tad of hypocrisy going on here?

Jack Hoehn
2012-04-23 1:30 AM

Matthew 23:23

 23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

It appears that the anonymous males opposing female pastors being fully credentialed as ordained ministers of the gospel, and permitting female administrators to direct Adventist institutions and organizations as the top leaders, don't understand the difference between the local applications of truth, and the core truths of the Bible themselves.

What is written to religious prostitute defiled Corinth, and the pagan societies of the first century world in general, is not the truth, it is a restriction,  a hiding, a veiling of the truth.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is Galatians 3:28. 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Times and places where segregation was necessary, where slavery had to be tolerated are not expressions of truth, they are restrictions of the truth, they are veiling of the truth, as Moses had to veil his face full of the glory of God, for practical reasons.

Where the veil off  of  male/female equality can be removed is just the long delayed Reformation.  It is not a denial of truth, it is the Revelation of truth! 

Abandonment wherever possible of the Biblical strictures on truth placed in the first century (and turned into a herisy by an apostate church) should quickly happen wherever possible. 

 This is a weighty matter of justice.  Our women have born their subjugation with mercy towards us men, and faith in the ultimate triumph of God's truth.  What a glad day to see the hiding of the Truth fall away.  How beautiful the Truth will be when all can see her clearly, unrestrained, unveiled.

In Christ there is no male or female, happy day when this becomes also true in Adventism.

2012-04-23 5:35 AM

So you base your truth  on one verse that talks about about the right of salvation for ALL and overlook all the other verses written by the same author?  I smell a little mint and cummin in the pot....  The Revelation of Truth is that the roles that God gave were for order in the family and the church.  One text out of context is a pretext.

Kevin Riley
2012-04-23 6:40 PM

How can you restrict the text to salvation?  The whole issue of Galatians is whether you need to become a Jew to belong to God.  It is about life now, not in the future.  In God's kingdom, whether you are male or female does not matter.  Can you seriously suggest God wants his church to operate on a different basis to his kingdom?  We have never argued that the distincition between slave and free or Jew and Gentile should continue, so why male and female?  And surely general statements of prinicpal should take precedence over specific texts relating to specific places and times?

2012-04-23 8:07 PM

Paul clearly shows equality in spiritual status... Gal 3:28 and when you read the rest of his writings it is clear he is not abolishing gender specific roles for male and female given by God (Gen. 3:16)

As Paul writes in Eph 5:23, 1st Cor.11:3, Col 3:18, Titus 2:5.

Just like Luke 23:43 does not abolish the statusof the dead.
or Col. 2:16 abolish Sabbath rest or Rev. 20:14 our view of hell fire....

2012-04-23 8:22 PM

Sorry I meant Rev. 14:11...on hell fire.

Jack Hoehn
2012-04-23 11:39 PM

Galatians 3:28 is a "pretext"?   Galatians 3:28 is the most revolutionary idea ever expressed in the annals of humanity.  There is no statement in the history of human thought equal to this unique, original, earth-shaking statement.  If you need proof that men spake moved by the Holy Spirit this is it.  If you need an example of truth not borrowed from any other previous writer, culture ,or civilization, this is it.
Listen to Thomas Cahill—”Desire of the Everlasting Hills” p. 148

The cosmic Christ, whose glory knocked Paul from his horse on the road to Damascus, who sums up in himself the whole of the created universe, eventually leads Paul to thoughts that no one has ever had before, thoughts about the equality of all human beings before God.  In this ancient world of masters and slaves, conquerors and conquered, a world that articulates at every turn, precisely and publicly, who’s on top, who’s on the bottom, Paul writes the unthinkable,  “There is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

To equate this earth shaking Revelation of Truth to God's listing the results of sin, or to the marital counseling suitable to sin drenched societies of AD 50 (male pastor's aren't husbands and female pastors aren't their wives) is a travesty.

Jim Walters
2012-04-23 5:30 PM

Jesus and Paul majored in the weightier matters, and so should we.
We don't need to--indeed, we shouldn't--toss around proof-texts to make our points.  Jesus and Paul used broad-brush strokes in portraying what God was doing in their time.  Jesus spoke of how the Sabbath (really, the law) was made for humans and not vice versa, and Paul praised the spirit over the letter of the law.
At this point in Adventist history, our weighty matter is gender justice--seeing that the 60+% of church membership that is female is forthwith recognized as morally equal to men.  Equality in ministry is only a symbol of a broader, more significant equality of female and male.  It's a symbol, but symbols are powerful.  Equality in ministry would signal to my two daughters that their church views them as possessing the same moral status as its male members.  Equality in ministry would signal to Kenyan Adventist members that their girls are ethically equal to their boys, and the rate of female genital mutilation would cease to be marginally higher than in the general population (as one Adventist health care expert told me it was when I taught an ethics course at the University of Eastern Africa a few years ago).
This WO discussion isn't about tithing of spices.  It's fundamentally about our views of human nature--whether our church sees males and females as morally equivalent.

Nathan Schilt
2012-04-23 9:29 PM


I wholeheartedly endorse ordination of women. But I think the equality/gender justice rationale is unnecessary and dangerous. Equality and gender justice, like fairness and social justice, represent ostensibly benign, politically laden, value judgments that beg the question. 

Gender justice and equality concerns might lead one to conclude that males in the U.S. are victims of horrible inequality. In 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,192 men died from fatal injuries while working, compared to only 355 women. Surely this is a travesty of gender justice! Women have, for several years, occupied nearly 80% of the seats in veterinary medicine classes. Is that gender injustice? I can point to many, many features of today's cultural and political landscape that suggest men are ethically inferior to women - unless of course they redeem themselves by manning up and admitting that their maleness is indicative of ethical inferiority. Gender justice and equality seem to mean whatever those who claim the moral high ground want them to mean.

There are, in my opinion, very significant physical and emotional differences between men and women which have important moral and cultural implications. Unfortunately, sin allows humans to use those differences to rationalize all kinds of barbaric behavior. Many would argue that an equality which condemns clitorectomies, while condoning the destruction of 50 million unborn human lives over the past 40 years in the U.S. alone, hardly bespeaks a higher moral regard for women or human diginity. I am not suggesting, Jim, that you condone the "collateral damage" resulting from the "gender justice" rendered in Roe v Wade. But the "gender justice/moral equality" arguments have undergirded that result, and their proponents fiercely resist any attempts to find new moral equations to contain the damage.

Invoking the ethical rationales and rhetoric that have been used to wage wars on the family and human life will only convince opponents of WO that the Church is headed down the slippery slope of  abandoning traditional moral and family values. Were "gender justice" the primary rationale for WO, I would oppose it. But I don't think the Church should go down that path to be united on this issue. 

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-23 10:15 PM

None of these need to be introduced to the subject of women's ordination.  They are all peripheral and allow more discussions that are not germane to WO.

Nathan Schilt
2012-04-23 11:55 PM

I agree, Elaine, that gender justice and gender equality - political slogans - are peripheral and should not be used as a foundation for WO arguments. The issues you want to ignore help us to see the weakness of those slogans as moral standards to guide the issue of WO, by exposing the mischief that can be wrought, and the nonsense that has been advanced, through them. My hope and conviction is that there is much stronger common ground on which we can found our support for womens' ordination, without resorting to the political categories of the Left.

Trey Walter
2012-04-23 6:59 PM

Jim Walters, taking your argument to its logical conclusion would have us one day discover "legitimate" work reasons to break the Sabbath.  Social/class justice, etc.  Political correctness cannot be our guide, but that message seems to have a hard time getting through here.  Also it would be interesting in the OT times for the non-Levites to protest about why the Levites were the priesthood and not all men.  That argument would not go far, because God said "I am the Lord, I change not."  

Also those saying it's the "anonymous males" who are taking a stand against WO would do well to simply survey the females in the church.  They're as well aware of God's plain teaching as any male and many, many of them do not support going against God's clear Word either.

Again I ask, has our church ever on record voted to go against a clear, plain teaching before, or are we about to give separationists some major ammo?

Jack Hoehn
2012-04-24 12:25 AM

Jesus found many "legitimate"reasons to break the Sabbath rules of his day.  And all men (and women) are now priests in his church.  Our point exactly.  Bible Rules are applications of truth to a time and a place.  Of course God changes not.  But of course we must!

2012-04-24 12:50 AM

Humm... I guess Ellen White then accidently left out women as the priests of the church and the home in her following quote.....
Shepherds who fail at home will fail at church—He who is engaged in the work of the gospel ministry must be faithful in his family life. It is as essential that as a father he should improve the talents God has given him for the purpose of making the home a symbol of the heavenly family, as that in the work of the ministry, he should make use of his God-given powers to win souls for the church. As the priest in the home, and as the ambassador of Christ in the church, he should exemplify in his life the character of Christ. He must be faithful in watching for souls as one that must give an account. In his service church there must be seen no carelessness and inattentive work. God will not serve with the sins of men who have not a clear sense of the sacred responsibility involved in accepting a position as pastor of a church. He who fails to be a faithful, discerning shepherd in the home, will surely fail of being a faithful shepherd of the flock of God.... Manuscript Releases 6:49

Stephen Ferguson
2012-04-24 10:46 AM

Sorry, and how many ordained pastors would currently satisfy Paul's requirement in Tit 2:6: 'An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.'
If we are to read these so-called proof texts absolutely literally, as many conservatives insist, then are they willing to subject themselves to the test first?  I suspect not a whole lot, especially if they have grown up children, would have a totality of believing children - sad but true. 
He who has not sinned…

Jack Hoehn
2012-04-24 1:15 AM

Humm...I guess Ellen White was writing in the 18th century, not the 21st century.  There is nothing in the above inspired quotation that would suffer loss of meaning or import from gender change.

"Shepherdesses who fail at home will fail at church--She who is engaged in the work of the gospel ministry must be faithful in her family life.  It is as essential that as a mother she should improve the talents God has given her for the purpose of making the home a symbol of the heavenly family, as that in the work of the ministry, she should make use of her God-given powers to win souls for the church.  As the priestess in the home, and as ambassador of Christ in the church, she should exemplify in her life the character of Christ.  She must be faithful in watching for souls as one that must give an account.  In her service there must be seen no carelessness and inattentive work.  God will not serve with the sins of men or women who have not a clear sense of the sacred responsibility involed in accepting a position as pastor of a church.  She who fails to be a faithful, discerning shepherdess in the home, will surely fail of being a faithful shepherdess of the flock of God... (Manuscript to be released as soon as the church gets over their gender discrimination and lets women serve as pastors.)

If you are unable to see that the spiritual truth of this inspired statement has absolutely nothing to do with gender, and is in no way weakend or distorted by gender equality, then I am sorry for you, and for the church you serve.  Every word is true, no matter which gender it could be addressed to.

2012-04-24 3:26 AM

As the priestess of the home?.....shepherdess of the flock of God?

Tell that to all the male lambs laid on the alters over the ages.... that inspired statement has a lot more to do with gender than you think.  Ephesians 5 : 25-27.

Stephen Ferguson
2012-04-24 10:54 AM

Sorry, who says our pastors are equivalent to priests (whether in the home or ancient Levites)?  Who says our elders/deacons are not equivalent to ancient priests and our pastors/ministers are not equivalent to ancient kings/prophets. I think it is a slippery slope to the Papal way of thinking trying to equate our pastors/ministers as priests, and cutting close to abrogating the core protestant belief in the priesthood of all believers.
The Bible suggests pastors/ministers are called by the Spirit, not chosen (Eph 4).  By contrast, elders and deacons are very much chosen by men according to very visible criteria (Tit 2).
One role is bestowed solely because an accident of birth – the other is a bestowment of the Holy Spirit as a spiritual gift, despite any accident of birth. 

2012-04-24 3:43 PM

To say the least, its interesting reading to see how much time is spent on clearly non-biblical issues (women’s ordination does not exist in the Bible for the Christian church). If half of this time was used by our leadership to do some actual work, our church would advance exponentially. For those of you who are for women ordination, you would find this book interesting reading: The Tip of an Iceberg by Raymond Holmes, D. Min., M.Div, M.Th, and past president of the Adventist Theological Seminary (available used on Amazon for cheap: http://www.amazon.com/The-tip-iceberg-interpretation-ordination/dp/B0006P94SI ). Me--- I am not a theologian, but it doesn't take one to know that we have no female priests in the Old or New Testament, other than Jezebel, who was a pagan priestess. If you want use that as your launching pad, then Frank Sinatra said it best, "Do it my way..."

As far as our Chinese brothers are concerned, they are set up this way due to their communist governing positions, but they do have the largest church in the world at 7,000+ members and growing. How do they do that? Maybe it's because they don’t have any Conferences and send 10% of their tithe to the GC and keep the other 90% to do the work of evangelism and the ministry without interference from Conferences and Unions. Can you imagine what North America would do if this were the case? We would build churches, schools, etc. and the work would explode and grow.

This kind of thinking (ordaining women), without a doubt, WILL split the Church. It's not because we do not agree on theology, but because there is no biblical support for this kind of thinking.

What is the purpose of women ordination? What is the goal? I think All4Him's got it right in his comments. Does "Thus the Lord said..." mean affirmation and recognition?

Nathan Schilt
2012-04-24 8:35 PM

The purpose of women's ordination is the same as the purpose of men's ordination - to affirm and formally recognize what a faith community perceives as God's call to a member of that community.

Everyone, including you, 007, and All4Him, rationalizes away "Thus saith the Lords..." that don't fit within your paradigm. For example, you probably rely on Ecclesiastes 9:5 ("...but the dead know not anything.") as divine authority regarding the state of the dead. But what do you do with Ecclesiates 12:5, which describes the grave as an eternal home? Even a cursory reading of the Bible reveals a plethora of inconsistencies and paradoxes which prevent a mature person from attempting to close off discussion about the meaning and interpretation of a text with "Thus saith the Lord..." If you just want to cover your ears and eyes, and shout "Thus saith the Lord...," that's your prerogative. But to throw your question back at you, "what is the purpose? What is the goal?"

Kevin Riley
2012-04-25 8:27 AM

To admit that there is ambiguity or, God forbid, contradictions in the Bible would cause the whole edifice of conservative theology to come tumbling down.  That is why pages of tortuous discussion leads ultimately to the conclusion that, while on the surface there may appear to be a contradiction, when understood correctly (by journeying through 283 texts from throughout the Bible that seem to have no intrinsic connection to each other) we arrive at the conclusion that the Bible is clearly not contradictory.  As we have never accepted a belief in an inerrant Bible, why do we bother??

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-24 4:11 PM

There were also no male or female priests in the early Christian church which, in many ways did not bring Jewish customs into Christianity.

We do not know if the Chinese sisters (brothers are not reported as the church builders there), are sending a tithe to the General Conference.  Where is the evidence?
They are likely using all the tithe locally to continue building and growing the church; after all, that is the purpose of tithe, not supporting a far-off institution.

Ervin Taylor
2012-04-24 7:32 PM

"007grandpa" might wish to join Truth Seeker" in reading a review of the Holmes book, The Tip of the Iceberg, published in 1995 in Ministry magazine, an official SDA journal not known for its liberal views.

Here is a quote from that review addressing Holmes understanding of the women's ordination issue: "Holmes' book fails to show convincingly that the ordination of women is biblically probibited and would lead to chaos. Perhaps the argumentation is unconvincing because the author's cherished presuppositions and conclusions supersede the analysis of the New Testament texts on the subject."

Truth Seeker
2012-04-24 9:17 PM

Ministry Magazine not noted for being on the left at times during its existence? You must be kidding, Erv. The book by C. Raymond Holmes is very well documented and shows clearly from Scripture that WO is not within the parameters of Scriptural guidance.

"At this point in Adventist history, our weighty matter is gender justice."
That is not a persuasive argument for WO nor is it Biblically based; it is culturally based and part and parcel of the feminist agenda.

2012-04-25 5:34 AM

Thanks for the information about the book by C. Raymond Holmes Truth Seeker I ordered one.  It is amazing how new light can appear at the exact time the world is pushing the liberal feminist agenda....

I know from the light that God has given me that there should be a revival of the messages that have been given in the past, because men will seek to bring in new theories and will try to prove that these theories are Scriptural, whereas they are error which if allowed a place will undermine faith in the truth. We are not to accept these suppositions and pass them along as truth. No, no. We must not move from the platform of truth on which we have been established.

There will always be those who are seeking for something new and who stretch and strain the Word of God to make it support their ideas and theories. Let us, brethren, take the things that God has given us, and which His Spirit has taught us is truth, and believe them, leaving alone those theories which His Spirit has not endorsed.—Manuscript 125, 1907.

Truth Seeker
2012-04-24 9:32 PM

In the interests of full disclosure wasn't J. David Newman editor of Ministry Magazine in 1995? If he doesn't have a reputation as a liberal no one ever did. Otherwise he would not be editor of AToday!!

I only write this since you apparently attempted to give a misleading characterization of MM at the time.

Ervin Taylor
2012-04-24 11:41 PM

"Truth Seeker" (TS) is correct that the current editor of Adventist Today, David Newman, was previously the editor of Ministry.  However, TS would seem to be the only individual who would characterize David as a liberal Adventist.   If you have read the exchanges of views in Adventist Today, you would realize that.  To characterize Ministry magazine as being on the Adventist left would mean that TS must believe that the Adventist Review is also on the left.       

Nathan Schilt
2012-04-25 12:30 AM

Yeah, I really got a chuckle out of "Truth Maker", Erv. I wondered how you'd handle that one. I can't wait to find out from "Truther" how Ted Wilson is in reality a plant by the La Sierra faculty.

Trey Walter
2012-04-25 12:25 AM

Jack H: I know that you are aware that Jesus broke the man-made rules of the Sabbath in His day and not God's so why did you try to make that comparison?  This is why it is sometimes difficult to come to these forums and try to have an honest discussion of the issues -- misaligned comparisons and circular reasoning.  Seriously.  We should discuss this in brotherly and sisterly love, but I've had better luck with some Sunday-keeping friends cordially discussing the Sabbath/Sunday issue than coming here and being met with (by some) closed ears and minds.  And to the one who questioned the comparison of the Levites to preachers of today, the point was to show that when God sets someone/thing apart for a reason, that is His business, not ours, as in the case of both priests in the OT and pastors with authority over the flock today.  

If we were to take the notion that male/female roles were based on an "accident" of gender at birth, then we would need to throw out much of what God has set up in the past, declaring that those roles were "accidental" back then.  Again, God doesn't change, and by the way, there are no accidents with Him.  He decides what gender one will be when born (as we are all well aware).

God has a REASON (or rather, multiple reasons) that He set up criteria for the undershepherds of His flock.  Are you not aware that the majority of MEN are also disqualified from being pastors (again, no "accident of birth")?  If one is not head of his household (according to the Bible's definition of what that is) then he CANNOT be a pastor.  Do we violate this?  Regularly.  But two wrongs do not make a right.  In fact, if we were more careful about some of the MALES we allow to be pastors, we would have long ago prevented much of the sliding into compromise on so many truths that we are seeing today.  Since women are not called to be the "head" of their households (and we have clear teaching from both the Bible and SOP on this) how could she possibly be qualified as an ordained minister?  It is impossible.  

The main argument for WO today and ever, has been political.  We all know this.  It's the elephant in the room that no one wants to admit.

Brothers and sisters, we have placed our opinions above God's plain teaching just like has always happened in history -- we see it all through the OT and yet we fail to learn from their mistakes.  We are determined that although they couldn't pull it off (going against God's prophets has always ended in disaster) we will be the first to successfully do so.

But for those of you who really want it, fear not, it really is just a matter of time, just like so many things we have brought in.  EGW said God would allow heresies to come into the church to wake us up.  Are we awake yet......?

God bless all of you in your studies, but I'm afraid too many minds are already made up.  If I'm wrong, may God help me to see it.


Kevin Riley
2012-04-25 8:57 AM

Perhaps rather than concentrating on Biblical commands we should also consider incidental details revealed by stories and other 'incidental' aprts of the Bible.  If we look at the last chapter of Romans we find women there holding offices and positions that, if a male were named, we would assume without question that they were gospel ministers.

Junia is descibed as an apostle.  Having admitted that this person is Junia, not Junias, and that she was well regarded as an apostle, and not merely well known to the apostles, conservatives now claim that she was an apostle, but not an Apostle with authority.  The weakness is that they cannot point to one other apostle who was likewise without authority.  Tradition records she went on to become a bishop.  The fact that the recorder makes her Junias means little, as he also makes Priscilla into Priscus, as he could not imagine any female being a teacher - which Prisca/Priscilla clearly was.

That brings us to Priscilla herself - a 'fellow worker' with Paul.  If he had named a man, we would all have believed he was speaking of a fellow evangelist or preacher, but Priscilla could not be either.  But neither could she teach or hold authority over men, and yet the NT clearly records she taught Apollos.  And Paul putting her name first argues against it being under Aquila's authority.

We have an unknown Mary, who 'bestowed much labour' on the Roman Christians.  It sounds like some sort of ministry, and if it were 'John' we would happily see it as referring to Christian ministry as preacher and evangelist, but, alas, it's a 'Mary', so can't be.

We have Trypaena and Tryphosa who 'labour in the Lord', and the 'beloved' Persis who 'laboured much in the Lord', but obviously this refers to non-teaching, non-authority bearing labour, because once again we are dealing with women.

We also have Phoebe.  From the description obviously a person of some status.  The early church did not choose just anyone to be a deacon.  We know there is an ordination ritual dating to fairly early that makes it clear that deaconesses were ordained to holy orders in exactly the same way as men.  But we know that women can't be ordained, and can't be deacons - which was clearly a teaching and authority type of office - so we find her demoted to being a 'servant'.  It is hard to find another 'diakonos' inside or outside the church who did not have considerable authority, but this must be the one exception, as she is clearly a woman.  If she were a man, we would find it recorded that she was a patron (with all that implies in Greco-Roman society) of Paul, but as a woman, we see that many translators feel compelled to reduce her to a 'helper'.  That sounds so much better, and doesn't raise the issue of just what sort of 'help' this woman of obvious wealth and status actually provided to Paul and others.

But we know from long tradition that we must focus on the 'teaching' texts and not on other 'incidental' texts.  For if we don't, the simple story we like becomes way too complicated.  Perhaps we should discourage people from reading history or learning Greek so that we can make sure that doesn't happen.  We wouldn't want to make people uncomfortable by having them find out the Bible is not as simple as they think.

Truth Seeker
2012-04-25 12:50 PM

 "God has a REASON (or rather, multiple reasons) that He set up criteria for the undershepherds of His flock.  Are you not aware that the majority of MEN are also disqualified from being pastors (again, no "accident of birth")?  If one is not head of his household (according to the Bible's definition of what that is) then he CANNOT be a pastor.  Do we violate this?  Regularly.  But two wrongs do not make a right.  In fact, if we were more careful about some of the MALES we allow to be pastors, we would have long ago prevented much of the sliding into compromise on so many truths that we are seeing today."

Good thinking, Trey. Unfortunately, the pressure for WO had its origin in the feminist movement and it caught on in SDA circles. It's not only political, if you wish to describe it as such, it's also cultural. If we ascribe to Paul his prohibition about female spiritual headship the result of cultural pressure we can then go to Scripture and start a pick and choose session. How much would be left is anyone's guess.

Gender equality and similar cannot be accepted as serious arguments to support WO. Those SDA organizations that are kicking against the pricks, as Paul described his rejection of truth, are defying a decision that was made twice in a General Conference Session. No good can come of rebellion


Kevin Riley
2012-04-25 10:00 PM

Feminism started as a movement to gain equality within the church.  The push for the right to vote came later, and there was actually serious discussion about leaving it until the main objective - equality within the church - was achieved.  We find discussion of the ordination of women in medieval times and earlier - you can hardly blame that on feminism and modern culture.  When Paul wrote 'there is neither Jew nor gentile, slave nor free, male not female' he condemned inequality in the church to a certain death just as surely as racism and slavery.  But he still worked within the world he lived in.  He did not tell Philemon that Galatians 3:28 made slavery no longer possible and he should free Onesimus.  That would have been cruel in the extreme.  What he did was to tell Philemon that he was receiving Onesimus back not just as a slave, but as a brother ('you are all sons of God' Gal 3:26) and as Paul's child.  I read the texts that tell women to be quiet in the same way.  Not contradicting Gal 3:28, but rather a small step towards realising its potential.  If your slave is also your brother, and your wife is also a son of God (with all the rights inherent in that, including inheritance), then while there are still slaves and masters, still men and women, the distinctions don't make a difference in how people are to be treated.  We see it clearly with slavery, but many still resist the inevitable trajectory of Christian belief and practice when it comes to women.  And, unfortunately, even when it comes to race.

And the GC decision was not to ordain women because there was disunity on the subject, and then not to allow Divisions or Unions to make the decision separately, not because the Bible was clearly against it.  The GC accepted more than one report staing that it was not contrary to the Bible or commanded by the Bible.  Had the reports said it was clearly either, there would have been no need for discussion or vote. 

Jack Hoehn
2012-04-25 7:23 PM

According to Daniel for  2,300 prophetic days the sanctuary was defiled by those who claimed that all should recognize the "authority" of the "church" in session.  That any who attempted to reform and cleanse the church of errors were called "heretics" and were in "rebellion" against "God established authority".  Hey guys, guess what 1844 has come.  It's time for our sanctuaries to be cleansed again, this time from sin caused gender discrimination.

It has nothing to do with secular politics, except when we humbly admit that the church was slower than the world to recognize our error.

2012-04-25 9:24 PM

Was it gender discrimination that God created man first and named the man Adam himself?  Was it gender discrimination when he had Adam name the animals without Eve?  Was it gender discrimination that God had Adam name Eve?  Is Genises 3:16 no longer in effect? (there still is pain in childbearing...)  This dovetails with Paul writings in 1 Timothy 2:13-15.  Jack would it help stop gender discrimination if we require all females as well as males to sign up for the selective service?

God given roles were put in place for a reason....God is a God of Love and order.

Trey Walter
2012-04-25 8:05 PM

Brother Jack: This may be the first time in any dialogue with a fellow believer that I've heard God's instructions described as a "sin" that we need to be cleansed from.

I'm not sure how to respond to that.... 

Kevin Riley
2012-04-25 10:08 PM

'Adam' is used both of the man, and of the man and woman together.  The problem is that your view of 'God given roles' is not the same as those who read the same texts and come to different conclusions.  And none of it leads to the present situation where women can do anything, but cannot be ordained to do so.  The argument is difficult because we are all using biblical texts to argue about an issue the Bible does not address (who can/should be ordained), while most of us agree to ignore the issue it does address (who should or should not do certain things).  Either women can or cannot preach and teach and hold any position of authority over a man.  Whether they should or should not have church leaders put their hands on them and pray for their success in doing those things is not the issue.  If they can do those things, then they should be ordained to do them.  If they cannot do those things, then they should not do them.  To allow them to act, but not be ordained, is ludicrous.

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-25 10:42 PM

It continues to be amazing that the story in Gen. 1 is used almost exclusively when one wishes to promote the literal 6-day creation and sabbath.  But when questions arise about the order of human creation, immediately, the story in Gen. 2 is used to illustrate that Adam was created before plants and animals and ONLY after he found no mate, then Eve was created.  In the story of creation in the first chapter of Genesis, Adam and Eve were created simultaneously.  That should require an explanation of those who are convinced on the literality of the creation story.

Trey Walter
2012-04-25 11:08 PM

Elaine: My understanding was that Genesis 1 was a summary of the events, while Genesis 2 got into more details.  In this way it is harmonious.  To say they are teaching two different things goes against what most scholars (and Adventists who believe in the SOP) have always taught.

Kevin: you are correct if the laying on of hands is insignificant.  But if we feel that it is more than just a physical act, but a setting aside based on God's plan and calling and that authority goes with it, then there is a difference.  I'm not sure why you say that "who can/should be ordained" is an issue that the Bible does not address when there are plenty of texts that do just that.  Again I say, there are plenty of males who should never have been ordained, according to the Bible's criteria.  If my kids are running the household and my wife is dominating me and I'm constantly bailing my son out of jail, according the scripture, I probably should not be trying to lead the flock.  Also there is power in symbolism (ie the "woman" represents the church and the church does not have authority over its head just as the woman doesn't have authority over the husband.  We would have a hard time downplaying the significance of these symbols while ardently defending a submersion baptism and declaring those who sprinkle as not following God's clear instructions.  We could do the same with many of the Catholic teachings that are a change in the symbolism.  Many protestants gave their lives in refusal to go along with some of the Catholic changes.   And now we freely discuss making equally significant changes to God's instruction on pastoral roles and canditates.  In most cases it seems money is the real issue, which never should be.

Kevin Riley
2012-04-26 8:02 AM

There is no denying the sequence of events is different in Gen 1 and 2.  Was Gen 2 meant to be chronological?  I am not sure.  A plain reading of it would suggest so, but plain readings have a way of becoming messy if compared to other plain readings.

In the texts we all use to argue for or against ordaining women, ordination is rarely the issue.  There are other texts that talk of laying on of hands and ordination, but they are not detailed enough to be able to draw up a list of who should be ordained or how it should be done.  I believe there is definitely power in symbolism, but symbolism should reflect good theology, not over-rule it.

Trey Walter
2012-04-26 8:16 PM

Kevin: Are you suggesting that either Gen. 1 or Gen. 2 are not accurate?  Also, you are correct that symbolism should not over-rule theology, but that's why it's baffling to me why Paul's clear instruction on this (without symbolism) is doubted by some on this board.

P.S. one of my posts either disappeared or got lost in cyberspace from yesterday. 

Kevin Riley
2012-04-29 7:10 AM

I am saying that if we read Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 as chronological accounts, they contradict each other on some points.  I doubt that Genesis 2 was meant to be chronological, just as I doubt any of the 4 gospels were meant to be chronological.  Genesis 1 is obvioulsy laid out as a chronological account.  Whether it is meant to be read as if an on-the-spot report by an observer or the chonology is meant to be symbolic is a debate I don't feel qualified to solve.

Paul's clear account is doubted because 1) it may not be as clear as many assume and 2) it may contradict other clear accounts.  As I posted above, the end chapter of Romans contains greetings to numerous women who could be seen as holding offices or engaging in work that Paul elsewhere forbids to women.  Assuming that Paul wrote all the texts in question, we can perhaps be forgiven for assuming that he would show some consistency between what he preached and what he practiced.  Denying that the praching texts are meant to apply universally is one way, and has been around since before our church started.  Denying the women held any offices or engaged in any work is another, and is equally as old. 

2012-04-29 8:10 AM

1 Timothy 2 : 13-14 is taken from Gen. 2 and 3.  Of Gen. 3 Paul says Eve fell into sin first(verse 14) but verse 13 did happen before sin entered...  Thus how then would that fact be affected by changing social customs? 

Christ picked 12 males as apostles and a male was choosen as a replacement, though clearly in Christ time it was socially acceptable for women to serve in other religions of that period.
That made the church distinct from the pagan cultures of the day.

Kevin Riley
2012-04-29 9:48 AM

Christ picked 12 young Jewish men as his disciples.  Why is the maleness a binding example but neither Jewishness nor youth?  Perhaps becasue we know that both were concessions to cultural prejudices of teh time.  And I think you know as well as I do that Jesus went further in including women than any other Jewish rabbi would have dared to do.  Was he perhaps pointing the way for the future?  Which matters the most - the story, or the words?  If we look beyond the mere words of the NT to where it is pointing, I think Galatians 3:28 points to where Jesus was heading.  It seems his church prefers to stick with the words, and not pay attention to the implications of the story.  If the main point of the Christian church's existence is evangelism, then you can't really ignore who was the first person post-resurrection to proclaim the good news.  If a woman was suitable to be the first evangelist, how can we deny they are suitable to any other task God calls them to.  The hand-picked men seemed to have trouble both believing and proclaiming.

2012-04-26 1:25 AM

If Adam and Eve were created simultaneously?  So how could God use Adams rib to create Eve if they were created at the same time.....?

Ever since the devil tried to usurp Gods authority.....history has been repeating itself.

"The Hebrews were not willing to submit to the directions and restrictions of the Lord. They were unwilling to receive reproof. This was the secret of their murmuring against Moses. All through the history of the church, God’s servants have had the same spirit to meet.

Rejection of light darkens the mind and hardens the heart, so that it is easier to take the next step in sin, to reject still clearer light, until at last habits of wrongdoing become fixed. He who faithfully preaches God’s word, condemning sin, too often incurs hatred. Soothing their consciences with deception, the jealous and disaffected sow discord in the church and weaken the hands of those who would build it up.
Every advance made by those whom God has called to lead His work has been misrepresented by the jealous and faultfinding. Thus it was in the time of Luther, of the Wesleys, and other reformers. Thus it is today." From Eternity Past, page 283,284

Jack Hoehn
2012-04-26 6:52 AM

Brother All4Him, thank you for quoting the God ordained (and church ordained) woman Ellen White for some clarity here.   "Every advance made by those whom God has called to lead His work has been misrepresented".   An advance is moving forward, is taking the church where she has not been.  Going back to the patriarchal system, back to me-boss you-woman, is no advance, it is back to the past.  The agenda to be moved forward is an advance. We are singing Onward Christian Soldiers here, not Backward Christian Cowards!

2012-04-26 3:12 PM

Jack EGW never claimed ordination and her quotes don't call for the ordination of women and clearly call for pastors to be male.  She does mention minister under the guise of colporteur work.  If you find any please let me know and I will stand corrected.  You can call us cowards and you are right.... men have not been standing up as Spiritual leaders or church as God has called us to be!  When you follow God's roles in the fashion He designed; they are complementary not conflictive! 

My son just brought in the mail and the C. Raymond Holmes book "the Tip of an Iceburg" just arrived...Amazon Marketplace is fast. 

2012-04-27 4:00 AM

TO, No Isaiah 3:12 was not Gods original plan.....  

Ephesiains 5:25-27 should be followed via JC's example 2000 years ago.  1 Peter 3:7 and Colossians 3:19 should curb any autere behavior.

Truth Seeker
2012-04-27 10:58 AM

For a comparatively short book, C. Raymond Holmes does an excellent job. I believe you will discover that attempts to discredit his writing on the subject emanate from the "left."  Holmes is an excellent student of theology and was a Providential convert to Adventism.

Truth Seeker
2012-04-28 6:37 PM

Erv quotes selectively as research shows. There were two reviews of the book The Tip of An Iceberg by C. Raymond Holmes. See: http://www.ministrymagazine.org/archives/1995/MIN1995-02.pdf

Of course Nancy would discredit what Holmes wrote as she is part of the feminist clique attempting to establish WO as a part of the Remnant Church. See the other review at this site as well.

2012-04-28 6:54 PM

@Truth Seeker, I finished the book this afternoon and was amazed how it all boils down to the authority of the Bible and the examples in it.  "As the author stated; for Seventh-Day Adventist church to ordain women in ministry, a departure from full biblical authority would be necessary....."

Kevin Riley
2012-04-29 9:51 AM

Or does it perhaps boil down to how one interprets the Bible before applying it authoritatively?  The idea that those who support women's ordination are in some way arguing for the Bible to have less authority just doesn't work.  Stating it more frequently won't change the fact that many conservative SDAs who give the Bible supreme authority (sometimes more than they give to God in practice) still support ordaining women.

2012-04-29 9:27 PM

If one allows the Bible to interpret the Bible-- contradiction will not be a problem.  For contemporary culture will never hold more authority than inspired biblical text.

Kevin Riley
2012-05-01 1:18 AM

So how do you decide which parts of the Bible will interpret others?  In practice, it usually works out that you choose the parts you like and interpret the others through them.  Too often, it is just another way of avoiding what the Bible really says.  We agree the inspired text has authority, but disagree on how to use that inspired text's authority, and on how to relate to the inspired text.

I agree, contradictions are not a problem - but they are still there.  If you have to get rid of them , then they obviously are a problem.  They are one of the things about the Bible that reminds us we are not God and we don't know everything - or need to know.

2012-05-08 10:55 PM

We need to take the whole Bible OT and NT (they do not contradict each other) and let it interpret itself.  If you see a row of chairs and one is out of place...more than likely you will move the one back into the row rather than move all the others to line up with the single misplaced chair.

When we veer off the path of Gods Word we are likely to find many alternate routes that seem right but ultimately lead us astray...  Some feel that "submission" and "headship" were only for OT times yet God put them in place not to be abused but to complement each other.

Elaine Nelson
2012-04-29 2:13 PM

Ad hominem arguments are always the refuge of those who have no other persuasive views.  Having "thoroughly" studied the opinion of one author, it has been determined that this is the correct view; there is no need to consult other opinions. 

Ernest Takeuchi
2012-05-07 3:22 AM

This has been a great sharing of ideas, opinions, and state of thinking on this subject. In our local church, this topic has been broach with the idea of  fairness and equality. I countered this from what I have been taught in grade school and academy regarding the way our denomination governance was developed that this is a world church and the vast number of the members live outside the US. Whenever a vote on this subject is broached, those supporters of the women's ordination would lose by vote count. So, I was dismayed when the initial reactions taken by supporters of this issue when the votes went against them. The reported reactions printed in the Review and Herald showed their reactions were less than Christ like. Somehow the issue would not die and efforts were made to do an end run and overturn the decision of thousands of delegates. Our denomination was not the only one embroiled with the idea of women clergy. The Roman Catholics, the Episcopalians, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, and etc. were also dealing with this issue. For those who were able to succede, the opposing side considered pulling away from what they considered hereshy. When you look at some of the aftermath from these decisions, other issues like same sex clergy cropped up and further embroiled these churches. I am not saying that if our denomination considers women ordination that this will or may open the doors to other issues of same sex ordination that faced those other denomination.

Elios Pierre
2012-08-24 4:16 PM

I hope that those who are behind the women's ordination movement are aware of the consequences it will imply for them and their followers. Now is the time for trouble among us, the time for the fullfilment of prophecy. No matter what we say to discourage the antibiblical practices that feminists bring in into our church will not change their opinions. The thing is, the bad aspect of prophecy has to accomplish on them. Now, church members need to pray for a complete cleansing of the body of Christ. Now, church members have to remember that the work will not finish by administrators, but mostly by laymen. Apostasy is part of the game, so is the harvest, according Revelation 14: 18-20. Folks, if you are a church member, do not trust ministers or pastors, trust the Bible and the Bible only. Abomination as usual will come from top to bottom, and rivival and reformation from bottom up. Don't let those who barely believe in the Holy Sciptures lead you to perdition. They don't really care about your salvation. Some of them care about their pockets, their reputation with the world and other so called Christian denomination's leaders. Some of them are corrupted like Balaam. Keep the faith.

Joe Erwin
2012-08-24 6:20 PM

Ah, antibiblical apostacy and abomination! All that, just about fairness and equitable treatment of men and women. How Christlike is that? In fact, fairness has become an issue in all arenas--not just for SDAs, but for all Christians, for all religions, and throughout business and academic communities. How those who claim to seek rightiousness can so adamently seek to perpetuate unfair treatment of women is just unbelievable.

Elaine Nelson
2012-08-24 6:30 PM

"when a GC Session adopted the Department of Women’s Ministries as a lay activities program. Entire congregations left the denomination over this seemingly benign step, decrying it as apostasy from the Adventist message and mission."

When, where, and by whom were these congregations taught that women's participation was apostasy?  Surely, this idea must have been planted, or left uncorrected.  If new converts were taught or expecting that women involved ina public way was apostasy, shouldn't that have been corrected?  Who allowed such an idea to perpetuate?

'Where is anything in the statement of FBs even suggesting such an idea?  Someone, must have preached "a different gospel" for this to have been such a problem there.  Who was responsible for this faulty doctrine?

Kevin Riley
2012-08-25 2:58 AM


Surely you have read the ancient records where it is clearly recorded that it was allowing Chloe to be a deacon, Junia an apostle, Priscilla to teach, etc, that led the NT church into decline and led to the Papacy and all that accompanies it?  It all started when Jesus made the mistake of trusting a woman to tell his disciples that he had risen.  You claim to have done a masters degree in church history and didn't learn that?  Education isn't what it used to be!

Elaine Nelson
2012-08-25 1:28 PM

That's because I didn't graduate froman SDA school!  Had I studied at one, I would have learned all about the dreaded papacy's scandalous corruption of the NT church.

Stephen Ferguson
2012-08-26 11:44 PM

You don't believe the original NT model of Christianity was corrupted by the wealth and power that it attained following Constatine's conversion?  But then you don't believe in the Bible at all (even though I usually agree with them on the issue of WO), so I am not sure on what basis any of your arguments are not trolling.

Kevin Riley
2012-08-27 2:38 AM

Actually, most of the corruption we see as taking place about 200yrs+ before Constantine.  There is quite a gap between the NT church and the church of the 2nd century.  The biggest difference is the extreme anti-judaism that is seen in almost every writing.  Constantine did not make the church wealthy or powerful, he was simply a good enough politician to realise it was and invite it into the ruling order.  Julian tried his best to reverse the process, but he discovered what Constantine knew: the Christian church had won the battle for Roman hearts and minds.  We seem to have lost it about as quickly in the last 4 centuries.

William Noel
2012-08-25 5:54 PM

It appears the entire discussion above has ignored a serious issue described in one of the last paragraphs: that the adoption of the Department of Women's Ministries caused an undescribed number of congregations in Africa to leave the church.  It would be helpful to know how many congregations took this action so we could have a measure of just how much resistance might come from those same areas over the ordination of women as pastors.  Are we dealing with a small but extreme fringe like those that seem to exist on the edges of every denomination?  Or, was the group large enough and their arguments credible enough in the constituency to present a threat to the cohesion of the church?  Can anyone share some data so we can know what actually happened and measure the credibility of Ted Wilson's claim the WO will cause division in the church? 

Kevin Riley
2012-08-25 9:48 PM

It caused a ruckus in a few congregations in SPD as well.  I wasn't aware of the deatils of what happened, so I can only quote a local pastor who said it was caused by a few people who stirred up trouble by telling half-truths.  There are people who have made a life-work out of criticising every change and convincing others that evey departure from previous practice, or even changing the words we use to state a doctrine, etc, is a sign the church is going into apostasy.  They often have more effect where the church members have less education and are somewhat isolated from the larger church.  Obviously, if the issue has local cultural significance it wil be easier to gain a following.  I believe in Africa that was part of the issue, as was the efforts of some to make the change seem much larger and more sinister.  For those who knew that we have had women working in all areas of the church except as ordained elders and pastors for most of our history, the issue was almost a non-event. 

Edwin A. Schwisow
2012-08-26 12:49 PM

As long as the woman's gifts and accomplishments are seen as an extension of her husband's accomplishments, or of a male senior pastor or mentor, all is well. The "Elder White and Sister White" situation plays a bit on this theme. As long as Elder White was holding his wife's hand and was seen as her mentor and modulator, all went fairly well. It was after his death that Sister White appeared to lose her masculine edge and break off onto an evangelical tangent and to sound more and more like a squishy, Jesus-loving Protestant (this is euphemistically blamed on her "editors and secretaries" but I see it as possessing a wink and a smile in the direction of Elder White's tomb). Sister White began featuring salvation by faith in Jesus rather than by the works of the law and increasingly toned down her criticism of the beast and Babylon (though, again, this is blamed for the record on her editors—particularly on her female staff—but there is a subtext that without her husband's guidance, Sister White went awry—at least in her emphasis.
Perhaps more than we all understand, the danger of women given too much individualized leeway is a fundamental belief of our church, simply unexpressed. Adventism was born in a very masculine era of time, of great wars and heroic men, and there is a comforting presumption that Adventism at its heart is that which existed before the death of Elder White. Problems seem to arise when we seek to intentionally step beyond the boundaries of this unwritten 29th Fundamental Belief....I have found it helpful to consider the possibility that this issue is far more deeply ingrained in our DNA than we sometimes understand.

Kevin Riley
2012-08-27 2:45 AM

Interesting point of view.  Perhaps one reason we don't hear it much in Australia, and probably why no one seems to have been outraged by Arthur Patrick's referring to her as the 'mother' of the SDA church, is because we knew Ellen White only after James White had died, and she never seemed to be in need of a male chaperone.  I think many people need to make a clear distinction between Ellen White the prophet and other 'mere women' because she looms so large and, despite her frequent illnesses, she is such a strong presence in Adventism.  In Australia, we never have fitted well into the 'Yankee' mould of Adventism, so in this we may also be somewhat aberrant (and long may it continue :)  ). 


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