Pacific Union Conference communication director Gerry Chudleigh published his paper on May 1, 2014 titled, “A short history of the Headship Doctrine in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” Chudleigh proposes that in the 1980s a small group of Adventists from Southern Michigan raided Calvinist theologians for their “headship theology.” Nevertheless, he says, practically no Adventists had heard such ideas until 2012. According to Chudleigh “headship theology” is a brand new doctrine for Adventists, and the TOSC process “may be the first Adventist school of headship theology.” Via TOSC, according to him, this divisive new doctrine is being spread across the world field. Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick (Bonners Ferry and Clark Fork Idaho churches, Upper Columbia Conference, NPUC, NAD) considers Chudleigh’s rendition of events in this short response video. He is one of several ministers who are part of the Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP).

17 thoughts on “Kirkpatrick response to Chudleigh on “Headship Theology”

  1. More wasted ranting. Totally stupid really. Headship is an immoral and evil concept. The perpatrators of this will have their just reward one day. God is working to remove this cancer and we look forward to seeing his justice prevail.

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  2. Felix if it is all immoral and evil why would God impress a women prophet to say the following on headship?

    …..If a Christian, will have her interest with her husband as his companion; for the husband is to stand as the head of the household.11{AH 119.1}

    Paul says, “I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” The father is to stand at the head of his family, not as an overgrown, undisciplined boy, but as a man with manly character and with his passions controlled.AH 213:2

    The Lord has constituted the husband the head of the wife to be her protector; he is the house-band of the family, binding the members together, even as Christ is the head of the church and the Saviour of the mystical body. Let every husband who claims to love God carefully study the requirements of God in his position. Christ’s authority is exercised in wisdom, in all kindness and gentleness; so let the husband exercise his power and imitate the great Head of the church.188 {CCh 145.6}

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    • Well, first you have to assume someone is a prophet. I don’t accept this woman as a prophet and I find it pretty ironic that the misogynists do so.

      Second, you are taking what you want and leaving out every other piece of evidence that God ordains woman as “heads”. You see what you want to see which is why you see orders to put women under men’s control. By sacred and secular definition, that is immoral, evil, and illegal. The reformation is not going backward and God won’t stop pursuing this because of your ignorance.

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  3. Someone suggested I listened to this video and I’m glad I did. I happen to be about 10 years older than Gerry Chudleigh, and thus I have experienced everything just the way Gerry describes it. Your face, Larry, indicates that you belong to a younger generation, the generation Gerry talks about. So, besides my own life experience, your video to me is a rather strong evidence that Gerry Chudleigh hits the nail on its head – and is just right.

    What has so utterly blinded many “honest” pastors of the younger generation, is that back in the days when Ellen White and her writings were really appreciated, our Bible teachers taught us the true meaning of the sections in Scripture that our enemies used to discredit our Spirit of Prophecy. Now the Samuelle Bacchiocchi gang, following him like a guru, are re-interpreting those Bible texts because, as Adventists, they need Bible support for their views against the ordination of women. Personally I fear that what you are accomplishing is that eventually these same texts will again be used to undermine our understanding of the Spirit of Prophecy, and our old SDA faith will be thrown out the window, for the purpose of supporting your doctrines against women pastors which happen to be an old relic from the Roman Catholic church.

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  4. Hi Johann. I have been preaching the biblical Seventh-day Adventist message for 26 years, and an SDA pastor for 20. One of my early discoveries when I enrolled in an SDA college to study for the ministry was that the professors there who quoted EGW the most did not quote her to me because they viewed her as an inspired authority. Rather, they quoted EGW to me because they thought I viewed her as an inspired authority. I was not long in discovering that in many cases, they themselves hardly viewed EGW as inspired or authoritative.

    To them, EGW seemed to stand for their own broader “enlightenment.” She was a useful cultural icon, a badge; to invoke her was to claim Adventist identity, but then open the door for for whatever alien-to-EGW view they wanted to present. Consistently (in my experience), these same professors quoted EGW and then taught the opposite of her, whether it was about her views on Jesus’ humanity, prophetic interpretation, a literal six day creation, you name it. Again and again the pattern was the same. EGW was invoked, but then the professor introduced ideas exactly contradictory to what she wrote and stood for. So Johann, in short order that game was up.

    I find it similarly interesting today that many SDA pro-WO scholars are equally selective in quoting her, usually leaving aside the quotes that show her clearly supporting creation order headship roles. Like the professors I refer to, it seems that for many of these, EGW is used as a symbol, and for exactly the same reason that my early professors quoted her to me: not necessarily because they personally view her as holding that kind of authority, but in order to appeal to those Adventists who do view her written works as spiritually authoritative. Some want to keep the EGW packaging but change the contents inside.

    While there are many younger pastors who choose to be part of CAP, there are also several retired workers, perhaps persons similar in age to yourself. Thus, the thesis that we are all under the spell of Bacchiocchi on this question and only because we are ignorant of the past really doesn’t hold. In fact, the reasons few of us found Bacchiocchi very influential is for the very reason that at variou spoints in his written works he did not hesitate to contradict EGW. We who viewed EGW as inspired and authoritative were unimpressed. (I do think that Bacchiocchi’s chapter in _Prove All Things_ is some of his best work and is in harmony with EGW.)

    Johann, Bacchiocchi is long out of the mix. References in the many TOSC papers that I have read have only mentioned him a very few times at most. The questions of the validity of EGW functioning as a woman prophet and of the validity of women serving in headship roles as elders in congregations are utterly different. Prophets are appointed directly by God and bring His word. Those in authority often reject or ignore it. They do so at their own peril, but in this sense the word is sent to those who are in authority and they react to it as they will.

    In the Bible, women are forbidden to teach as congregational leaders, elders (1 Cor 14; 1 Tim 2). In the church the order is different. Leaders are sent by God but appointed through His church. They speak with an authority that in part comes from their role as exemplifying the creation order. Women cannot serve in this capacity because it contradicts the creation order. To embrace the practice causes the church to send a contradictory message into the world when it should in its practice be demonstrating harmony with the Scriptural teachings.

    The church today faces a potentially fatal choice. It is the choice to flip or not to flip, to keep the Historical-grammatical method or ditch it. It is the choice between an approach to the Bible in which we follow it, often in contradiction to culture and thus painfully, or whether we disregard it altogether and embrace whatever the culture is embracing and set aside everything, since you bring her up, that EGW says the church should stand for. Johann, perhaps your experience is different. But for me the game is up. I do not accept anything branded as coming from EGW until I have verified it is consistent with the Bible and with her own writings. Perhaps this even begins to explain why in some measure there is a recovery underway of the essence of Adventism. Many of our ministers today have a similar experience to my own. They trained for the ministry and soon discovered that EGW was being quoted to influence them, not because the professors felt her to be authoritative. We refuse to blindly accept that what comes to us in her name is endorsed by her. Today, we verify.

    Think what you will. I believe that those who serve as elders must meet the Biblical qualifications. Women, by definition, do not, cannot, and never will, because Scripture specifies different yet equally noble roles for them. The church will go with the Bible or with the culture. That will determine its future.

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    • I am blessed by what I read and hear on this website. It affirms what I have studied in the Bible and been guided into by the Holy Spirit. Thank you so much for your comments regarding Chudleigh’s paper. Courage!

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  5. Bible or culture? If I give up my culture, I must give up my language because language is a vital part of culture. Even if it were possible to give up my language, it would then put me in a situation where I could not read the Bible.

    It is impossible to choose either Bible or culture.

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    • Culture doesn’t define the Bible. The Bible defines culture. When one follows God’s Word, his culture becomes the culture of Heaven.

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  6. So is it GC policy that unmarried men cannot be deacons, elders or pastors? Do married men who have children that become unruly step down from their posts? Eve was equal to Adam at creation and not put in submission to Adsm until after sin, in a marriage relationship. Where is it biblical to assert that all men are over all women in a church setting? If women cannot talk in church, how will single women get their questions answered since they have no husband to ask at home? At what age does a boy become in charge of women in his male headship role in the home and church? Does that mean his mother must do as he says? Should only men teach teen, young adult and adult males in the church and school settings? Please address each question, as they are the real life implications of male headship.

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  7. Beverly, I am not sure my answers can be helpful to you, but if not, still, they might be useful for some other reader. Let’s try one point.

    Jesus and God the Father are equal all the time. And yet, God the Father is head over Jesus all the time. He will be for all eternity. Jesus voluntarily receives this. Likewise, Jesus is head over the church all the time and for eternity. The undershepherds (elders) of the church voluntarily receive this. So let’s turn to the church. Through the way God (not man) has organized His church, elders are appointed in each congregation. Those serving as elders are males and they are appointed to a specific headship role in the congregation.

    Notice, they are heads over all the other males in the church and over all the women and over all the children. But responding to God’s plan for servant leadership in the church does not make them husbands or fathers or even grandfathers over the men, women, or children in the church. They are neither obligated nor privileged in those capacities.

    They serve God’s church as leaders, as teachers, as imitators of Christ, and as living symbols of the tender union between Christ and the church. The male elder functioning in his capacity as elder, is a living reminder of God’s creation order. He did not create the world or His church and then just turn everyone loose to make everything up as they go. He is a Protector and a Nourisher; He has not left the church to create itself in some kind of new deism; He is no an absentee Lord, but appoints godly servants over His church to protect it and build it up.

    In a congregational setting, a woman is not to exercise authority over men. Nor can she symbolize Christ in relation to the church. That would be confusion. She cannot do this as a man can. She has her own remarkable set of roles and gifts, privileges and responsibilities, and those are just as essential to the effective operation of the church family as the wife is to her own personal family.

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  8. in short, headship theology is simple both a supposition and non-biblical. Interpreseters make i sound biblical but the truth is that it isn’t.

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    • Rey, one could not summarize it better. …Nor is it salvational, but it diverts or derails one off the track which will have salvational consequences… And I know one who is interested in loosing every soul possible over any issue, just to take our eyes off the focus which are God and His work. We should be busy winning souls for the kingdom of God, not get involved in controversies.

      Replacing Christ with the philosophy of man and diverting, dividing and conquering are all characteristics of Satan. The defeated foe trembles at the weakest prayer.

      Because all is to be fulfilled in order as it should, according to God’s will, let us fast and pray for His cause, not wasting any precious moments and LET NO ONE STEAL YOUR CROWN! “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7

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  9. Brother,
    Thank you and the CAP for your steadfast teaching and enlightenment on the issue of the ordination of women. Some have called this more than just a theological or ecclesiastical issue, but also a way to address discrimination against women in the church. However, creation order has nothing to do with discrimination.

    I have a question: You probably recall back a couple of years ago when the Anglican Church / Church of England /Episcopal Church denomination suffered a split because the American communion of that denomination decided to elect and ordain open homosexuals as priests and bishops (I think I remember it correctly). Several of the US congregations left the American communion to either form their own communion or join one of the overseas communions. If the proposition on the ordination of women to the office of pastor or elder pass, is there room for US congregations to leave the NAD and join with an overseas conference ?

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