nad-wo-qa-brochure-cap-responseIn February 2015 the North American Division mailed to Adventist Churches in its territory thousands of brochures posing carefully phrased questions and advocating women’s ordination. Very little Scripture support is offered in the document. The link below reproduces the “answers” as included in the NAD mailing. The Council of Adventist Pastors interacts with this material.

The COUNCIL OF ADVENTIST PASTORS responds to NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION Q&A Theology of Ordination: answers to common questions.

Note. Document version updated on March 8.

143 thoughts on “Council of Adventist Pastors Responds to North American Division’s Ordination Mailing

  1. I picked up an NAD brochure recently. This was an excellent parallel study on the topic of women’s ordination. Thank you. Let us continue to uphold Biblical methods of study and interpret things within their context. Courage!

  2. Thanks to the CAP for this response. I was offended when I picked up a copy of this brochure yesterday at our church. As the first elder of my church, I cannot in all honesty defend their position scripturally before others. What the NAD is doing is divisive and diabolical. They are simply pushing a political agenda and twisting scriptures here and there to support their cause. They made no mention of their distorted method of biblical interpretation being applied here. My fear is that if the NAD is allowed to push this agenda through then the church in North America will be like the “days of the Judges” when everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

  3. Can the Council of Adventist Pastors distribute their “answers” or does the North American Division only allow their booklet to be distributed? And, would individual churches distribute the NAD booklet but trash the CAP response booklet? Loma Linda Department of Religion and University Church only allow pro-women’s ordination speakers and workshops for congregation sermons and events. I have asked and asked and asked powers that be for a fair and balanced discussion by inviting speakers who support male headship. The answer is NO. It appears that NAD is taking the responsibility of thinking and speaking for all SDAs in North America. It appears that Loma Linda Department of Religion theologians and University Church pastors are also taking the responsibility of thinking and speaking for all members and attendees. How arrogant and hostil to God’s character of open honesty “Let us reason together” policy. I think I remember something about God saying something about puking.

  4. Jody, The CAP response includes the full and exact text of the NAD flyer, so if you distribute it, you are distributing the complete text of the 12 questions and answers given by the NAD. You also distribute the CAP answers with it. NAD only supplied about 20 copies of the flyers to each church. Several churches are giving out photocopies of the CAP response right along with the NAD flyers. There is nothing stopping a church member from downloading and printing out and stapling together the 11 pages of the CAP response to other members.

  5. Thanks. Where can CAP response, without NAD, be found?
    I will print out and distribute gladly since where I attend is only allowing pro-WO sermons, WO guest pastor speakers, 3:00 WO workshops in bulletin, and evening WO bible study. My request for one fair and balanced workshop with speakers for both sides was rejected by Roberts and Department of Religion. Also, have email list, will forward 11 pages as PDF. I do not know many who check into this website. Looking forward to info Larry!

    I experienced this type of communication block by the union when a teacher (no flyers allowed in our mailboxes except those of the union — pro-democrat 99.9999%). Teachers had to work around contract rules (of no flyers allowed in mailboxes) to communicate with each other. I never expected to see this union-type of control behavior over those sitting in the pews. So familiar to me — 31 years of “filtered” communication. Teachers used to joke about it, but the unions would use the communication to scare teachers into submission to whatever. Information is power. Information allows correct decisions. Maybe WO is ok (but I do not agree with WO). The tactics being used are telling me that there is a rotton something somewhere in the barrel. Not God-like behavior in my opinion. As 3ABN speaker said, “The spirit surrounding this debate concerns me.”

    • The CAP response was designed to include the NAD Q&A in itself. The CAP response interacts with the NAD Q&A. You could download some kind of free extractor program and pull everything out of the PDF and then sift out the NAD material if you were led to do that.

  6. Jody, thank you for standing up for God on this issue. The spirit behind this WO movement is not the right spirit. The leaders are afraid of any dissenting opinion and they want to shove this thing down our throat. Why can’t they allow an open debate of the issue in our churches, instead of promoting just one side of the issue. A few years ago Doug Batchelor was banned from speaking in any of the SECC churches because of this issue. The spirit behind this movement was on full display when the Pacific Union Conference called a constituency session in August 2013 to amend their constitution and Elder Ted Wilson was shouted down because of this issue. The tactics they are using are un-American, I thought these tactics were only prevalent in communist countries but not in the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. The NAD leaders want us to send them out tithes to support the huge bureaucracy but they do not want to hear our opinions. This is not the right spirit.

  7. When will the CAP stop attacking the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, and go back to soul winning?

    Do CAP pastors require new converts to accept their male “headship” theory as a prerequisite for baptism? Are CAP pastors willing to baptize people into the SDA Church who embrace the 28 Fundamental Beliefs, but reject the idea that the Bible teaches the male headship of elders and pastors?

  8. Doug, if we believe Fundamental Beliefs Nr. 1, we cannot ignore male headship. Read Nr. 1:Holy Scriptures Z1
    The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history. (2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Ps. 119:105; Prov. 30:5, 6; Isa. 8:20; John 17:17; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12.)
    And be glad, that you have in the NAD Ministers, whom have courage and preach the truth like John the bapist. CAP is doing a very good work for Jesus Christ and not for men. Be thankful!

  9. Hi Erich, of course I fully accept and teach FB #1. It, however, does not mention “male headship of elders and pastors.”

    • But the Bible does (see Gen. 3:9; Rom. 5:12-19; I Cor. 11:3; 15:22; I Tim. 2:12-13). Spiritual male headship is found from Adam before the Fall, on through the all-male patriarchs and priests of the Old Testament to the all-male apostles, elders, and deacons of the New.

      • Actually, Kevin, when one looks up the texts you cited, it can be seen that none of them command the “male headship of pastors and elders” in the church outside of the role of Christ himself.

  10. To Mr. Doug — Strange. When one selects a church, one studies that church’s beliefs. The SDA church had its doctrines in place when I joined. Why do people join a church, then try to change it from the inside? Why not just join a church that is believable to them? Is this what happens when you are born into a church? You do not want to leave, but you want to pull the church beliefs like taffy until they suit your beliefs? So Doug Matacio — Why is the CAP “attacking” the North American Division you ask 😉 Funny. It is the North American Division that is trying to change the church. It is not called “attack,” it is called “defense.” God had a great garden going until Satan tried and succeeded in changing it. I think it is a bad spirit that tries to change things, especially in an underhanded way that see going on at Loma Linda — just like the teachers’ union I lived with for 31 years. Live and let live — and move on. Please — let us split into two so those of us that want to continue with current doctrines may do so without all this trama. North American Division threw the first blow below the belt, in my opinion.

    • Jody said “When one selects a church, one studies that church’s beliefs. The SDA church had its doctrines in place when I joined.”

      What about those of us who may have been members for longer, and joined the SDA church when Male Headship was not an explicit doctrine. I would argue that CAP is trying to formalize a doctrine that was not part of the baptismal vows I made, and also not part of the 28 Fundamental beliefs. Thankfully, many loyal SDAs are resisting this effort.

  11. Jody, I am trying to understand. Are you saying that when you joined the church you were taught that Seventh-day Adventists believe in a doctrine called “male headship of pastors and elders?”

  12. Praise God for the courage and articulate clarity demonstrated by the CAP reply to the NAD brochure. And this is not, as a member of this conversation is suggesting, an “attack” on the North American Division. Rather, it is an attempt by the faithful in this Division to bring it back into harmony with the Bible-based policies of the world church.

    For those who might be interested, I too have written a paper—less than three pages long—summarizing the Biblical evidence for spiritual male headship. Should anyone be interested in obtaining a copy for distribution, please e-mail me privately at

  13. You’re right Kevin, it is not an attack on the Division itself, but on the brochure being distributed by the Division. I stand corrected.

    I am still waiting for an answer to my question. Can any CAP pastor tell me if he is willing to baptize people into the church who accept the 28 FBs, but reject “male headship of elders and pastors?”

  14. Hi Doug, today I will give you a second answer to your question.

    1. What does the Church of SdA believe according Woman Ordination (WO)?

    The highest authority regarding rules for the Church according to God and His word is the decision of the General conference made in session. And the spirit of prophecy declares in 9T 260: „But when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body.” (see also church manual, p. 31, edition 2010)

    What did the General Conference in session two times vote? No Woman Ordination!

    2. The acts of Unions in NAD and other fields

    And what had done some Unions in NAD and other fields? They ordained women as pastors. Are these rebellious acts against our church order or not? And must such acts be disciplined according to the church manual or not?
    The official believe of the SdA therefore is no WO, altough it is not a point of fundamental beliefs.
    Shall now the CAP ministers new converts baptize who are not want to surrender her own will to the highest decisions of the church?
    According to E.G. White shall be privat independence and judgment subordinate to the decisions of the GC-sessions. Shall only members do it, and not the new members, who coming in?
    The answer you can give himself!
    And fact ist, that all the rebellious leaders are in the dock and not the CAP-Pastors, who only give warnings about these sins and mistakes! The CAP represent the right believe of SdA and not the lawbreakers!

    • Thanks for your reply, Erich. It sounds like you believe people should be refused baptism into the SDA Church even though they fully accept the 28 Fundamental Beliefs. I am wondering how many CAP pastors agree with you. When I was baptized back in 1960, I was not required pledge belief in “the male headship of elders and pastors.”

  15. In addition to my answer.
    In the church Manual we read: (p. 19) “No attempt should be made to set up standards of membership or to make, or to attempt to enforce, rules or regulations for local church perations that are contrary to These decisions adopted by the General Conderence in session and that are set forth in this Church Manuel.”
    And in Fundamental Beliefs please read the bible quotations: in number 22: 1. Petr. 3:1-4, in number 23: Eph. 5:21-33. Here the headship of man in FB is clearly expressed by the bible verses!

    • Erich, the General Conference has officially approved the ordination of female elders and the commissioning of female pastors. It is Position 1 that opposes the General Conference position, as it opposes the ordination of female elders and it opposes the appointment of female pastors. 1 Peter says nothing about the male headship of elders or pastors. Eph 5:21-23 teaches the headship of Christ over the church, not the headship of elders or pastors.

      • Doug, please could you give me the sources, that the GC approved commissioning of female pastors?
        The bible verses in 1. Petr. 3 and Eph. 5 teaches the headship of man over the woman, which are the basic and picture of the Elder as an overseer of the Church, and he must be a man!

        • Erich, the General Conference has never had a policy against women serving as licensed or commissioned pastors. See Working Policy 60 10.

          The verses you mention describe the headship of the husband, not the headship of male elders and pastors. Christ is the male head of the church.

          • Doeg, You have said: „the General Conference has officially approved the ordination of female elders and the commissioning of female pastors. It is Position 1 that opposes the General Conference position…“ Later on you are explaining: „the General Conference has never had a policy against women serving as licensed or commissioned pastors.“
            I have read position 1 and the short lecture of Clinton Wahlen to 1, but there is no mention, that they are against to commissioning a female pastor. And Brother Clinton Wahlen does explicit wish, that women work as license pastors. And can you say me a vote of the GC, that woman can be ordained elders? If you cannot, then your argumentations misleads the readers, and I feel me trick up from you.

            Fact is, that the position of the GC is very clear:
            1. The Corporation or body of SdA believe, that ordination of women as pastors is wrong (voted in two GC-sessions – and the GC-Executivcommittee works in harmony with it). As the rebellious Unions ordinates women as pastors, President Ted Wilson and clear GC-letters intervenes against it, because it was illegal.
            2. On oct. 11, 2011, the GC-Executivkommittee voted (167 to 117) against the petition of the NAD and TED to commissionate also women for leading positions as conference-presidents or union-presidents. But the conference and union President must be according to the Working Policy an ordained minister, and this mus be a man. So they see this petition as a way for the woman ordination by the back door. And what did Dan Jackson and Bertil Wiklander after a clear GC-NO, they voted with their Committees against the GC-decision for commission also women for leading duties as Presidents of Conferences and Unions. Dan Jackson take the decision of the Divisioncommittee back, after some GC-Officers had worked with him strongly.
            3. And if it gives no a vote of the GC to ordain women as Elders, then we don´t know the position of the GC in this question. Toleration of it means not assurance.

            So Position 1 does not oppose the GC, but the rebells, who do not wait until the next decision of GC in session and ordaines women. Please be fair and true!
            And why the CAP and Position 1 are against the ordination of women as Elders is logical – the strongest arguments against the woman ordination as pastors we find in the councels of Paul to Tim. and Titus refer to the office and qualifications of elders. And if we take these arguments for pastors, how much more it must be done in the case of Elders! So it is without doubt the best and according to the bible, no woman to ordain as elder and pastor.

  16. Thanks for offering clarity, Erich, from church policy concerning this issue. Consider also the statement in the current General Conference Working Policy (2013-2014 edition) regarding who is eligible for ministerial ordination:

    “The appointment of individuals to serve as Bible instructors or chaplains, or in departmental or pastoral responsibilities, shall not be limited by race or color. Neither shall these positions be limited by gender (except those requiring ordination to the gospel ministry)” (p. 113).

  17. There is a very important element missing in regards to this issue. Jesus and his disciples were Jews speaking and writing to Jews and Gentiles. If any statement was ever made (verbally or in writing) by Jesus or his disciples, which would have been understood as a violation of The Law, the punishment would have been death. Any letter would have been burned, and all those letters would have been lost. The Bible would have been very different from what it is today.
    History shows us that they did not break The Law, which very clearly defines priesthood. Paul was very clear when he referred to Christianity as being grafted into the tree and the root of Judaism in Romans 11. As a graft, we need the nutrients from Judaism and its roots as our foundations. To deny this is to deny Christ himself.
    “8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.
    8:21 And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.
    8:22 And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and [they shall be] driven to darkness. “ (Isaiah 8)
    Is our denomination shifting from being Bible-based to just one more Bible-twisting denomination? I hope and pray that it will not.
    Using Galatians 3:28 takes one verse out of its context. This letter was written to those that were mixing the truth of the Gospel with the error of the Pharisees. It is the foundation to Justification by Faith, quoted extensively during our historical debate in 1888. From a redemptive standpoint, of course we are all equal. We all know that Galatians was not a letter sent to address the issue of equality in regards to the role of women in the early Church, but to address the issue of Justification by Faith and not by the Law.
    Should God conform to the world, or should the world conform to God?
    For more than 6,000 years this has been a non-issue. The role of men and women in society and church has been established since Genesis and followed throughout earth’s history. Now we discover we have been wrong all this time? Now we discover God was wrong all this time? Now the Word of God is sexist, anti -feminist, unequal and unfair?
    I see this as a precedent that will take us to accept other positions more controversial.
    No doubt this debate WILL cause a shaking in our denomination and many WILL leave.

    It seems our church has not learned from the history of Israel. Other modern denominations are going through the same divisions. When people don’t learn from the past, they will repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
    We, as Adventists, have always claimed the importance of the type meeting the anti-type. I guess, not anymore. Where in the Bible we find the type of Jesus as a priestess?
    The only religion I know that did not have female priests was Judaism because that was God’s plan. The enemies of God’s people had priestess. Interesting.
    Catholicism has a priestess that intercedes for its followers. Her name is Mary.

    • Thank you, Gerald, for the NAD Review article link. In the article you mention, the author quotes this: “If there were twenty women where now there is one, who would make this holy mission their cherished work, we should see many more converted to the truth. The refining, softening influence of Christian women is needed in the great work of preaching the truth.” RH, 1/2/79
      This is then used as SOP affirmation for the ordaining of women to the pastoral ministry. In fact, this is not the case. First of all, preaching is only one of many jobs that women are Biblically called to do in spreading the gospel. Secondly, preaching and ordination to the ministry are not one and the same. These terms are being used interchangeably and are blurring the real meaning of these articles.
      In this series of articles, Sister White is especially calling women out to minister in many aspects of “the work”, but her focus is particularly on distributing literature by “personal efforts”.
      Instead of urging women to seek pastoral positions she says, “We are not all qualified to do the same kind of work; all cannot be ministers, to labor in word and doctrine; but there are other parts of the work, fully as important as this even, which have been fearfully neglected.” (RH, 12/12/78)
      “I do not recommend that woman should seek to become a voter or an officer-holder; but as a missionary, teaching the truth by epistolary correspondence, distributing tracts and soliciting subscribers for periodicals containing the solemn truth for this time, she may do very much. In conversing with families, in praying with the mother and children, she will be a blessing.”(RH, 12/19/78)

  18. More, I believe, needs to be noted from the Bible about the issue of women keeping silent in church (I Cor. 14:34).

    First of all, this was clearly not merely a local issue in Corinth, but a mandate applied to “all the churches of the saints” (verse 33). What is more, verse 34 says that women “are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” In other words, what the apostle is stating here is a universal requirement extending back to the original Mosaic law, and was to exist in all churches of the Christian faith.

    But when we permit the Bible to be its own interpreter, we come to understand more clearly what the CAP response means when it writes of women “not speaking from positions OF AUTHORITY in church.” Neither Paul nor other Bible writers forbid women to say anything at all in religious exercises. This much is clear from Paul’s earlier statement in First Corinthians regarding women prophesying (I Cor. 11:5).

    In another epistle, Paul instructs the church to “study to be quiet” (I Thess. 4:11). He is not telling people to say nothing whatsoever, under any circumstances, only that they should “do [they] own business.” Placing the reputations and well-being of others ahead of careless talk is what the apostle is describing. Christians remaining mute is not the point here.

    We see the same principle at work in First Timothy 2, where Paul declares, “I do not suffer a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (verse 12). Ten verses earlier, Paul writes of how “we may live a quiet and peaceable life” with reference to the civil authorities (verse 2). He obviously isn’t saying Christians should say nothing whatsoever to persons in civic responsibilities. Paul and the apostles certainly didn’t follow that rule, as we read frequently in the New Testament of their verbal interaction with secular officials. A spirit of yielding and submission is what is involved here.

    In like manner, the apostle Peter admonishes women to cultivate “the adornment of a meek and quiet spirit” (I Peter 3:4). Again, he is not telling women to never open their mouths. He is simply speaking of developing a spirit of yielding and submission.

    Thus, when we let the Bible explain its own statements, the “silence” enjoined upon women within the church (I Cor. 14:33-34; I Tim. 2:12) is not about never speaking, bur rather, about yielding to the Biblical order of gender authority as outlined by the apostle (I Cor. 11:3; I Tim. 2:12-13) as well as the Biblical consensus, where the primacy of the male gender in spiritual matters is consistent from before the Fall to the apostolic church.

    • How do we know for sure the Bible was being its own interpreter? Did the Bible write the seven paragraphs in the post?

      • Well Doug Matacio, we know the Bible interpreted itself because:
        1) The plain and obvious meaning of the text is accepted
        2) All relevant passages are taken into account,
        3) clear texts have been used to interpret unclear texts.

        This should be Adventism 101, but since culture has brainwashed most of us into believing that any differences between gender, that are not inescapably forced upon us by nature, are arbitrary and therefore unjust, we want the Bible to conform to our ‘enlightened’ culture. However this can only be done by assuming a priori that egalitarianism is the Biblical ideal, and then constructing dubious local circumstances to confine it to only that time and place, or claim that the apostles were merely sensitive to/bound by their culture, or invent alleged trajectories.

        The case for why mr Paulson’s comment had the Bible interpret itself, could also be made in the negative:

        1) No extra-textual circumstances, practices, ideologies, or whatever else that people invoke to change the meaning of texts they don’t like, were invoked.
        2) No passages were mutilated beyond recognition. He didnt make them they the exact opposite of what a plain reading of the text would render.
        3) Silence of the Scriptures is never used as a primary argument. The Bible is the rule of all faith and practice, therefore we look at what the Bible does say. And not seek to get our way by emphasising what it does not.

        • Hi Jordy, the principle of “the plain and obvious meaning of the text” is too subjective to be a reliable principle of Bible interpretation. What is “plain” and “obvious” to one person may not be “plain” and “obvious” to another person. The is why “the plain and obvious meaning” principle is left out of the Methods of Bible Study document voted by the GC at Annual Council in Rio (1986).

          We must reject the view that male and female are exactly the same, except for anatomical distinctions. Conservative WO proponents believe that male and female complement each other; women and men demonstrate leadership gifts in unique ways.

          WO proponents have no interest in “changing the meaning of texts they don’t like.” We like all texts!

          Silence of Scriptures has always been used by Adventists. For example, Sunday keepers claim that certain texts teach Sunday observance. But, we demonstrate that those texts in fact–are not teaching Sunday keeping. The Bible is silent about keeping Sunday as a weekly holy day.

          When we make a post, and claim that the Bible is being its own interpreter, it is another way of saying that the Bible actually wrote the post and not the poster. If everything I write is the Bible being its own interpreter, then my writings become inspired. I cannot err.

          Far better to teach that each interpreter may or may not be filled with the Holy Spirit, and may or may not be using proper principles of hermeneutics as they interpret Scripture.

          • Thank you for interacting with my comment Doug 😉

            If plain and obvious is too subjective, it is only because some are more loyal to their preconceived notions of truth than they are to God’s Word (which is where we need to search our own hearts – all of us), or because not all of the three complementary steps were followed completely (which is where we need to pray and sit down and study to show ourselves approved).

            The Scriptures constitute a grand system of truth and it is quite easy to lose sight of some crucial details (especially those that are ar odds with our carnal mindset and worldly opinions) which causes an incomplete and possibly erroneous picture of Bible doctrine to emerge. You could call this subjectivity. I prefer to call it ignorance and fallibility. An iterative process of the three steps I mentioned above, under the guidance of the right Spirit (which can only happen if we are willing to follow the truth and actually follow it) either alone or together, is guaranteed to hammer out any deficiencies in our understanding of the Bible, because God promised to “lead us into all truth” by His Spirit. The Scriptures are “profitable for teaching (truth) and correcting (error)” 2 Timothy 3:16, which presupposes that webcan actually know the truth from the Scriptures and by it discern truth from error. However if all of our readings of Scripture are merely subjective, then teaching seems futile and correcting impossible.

            The key word was primary argument. Of course it may be worth noting silence as an additional side point, but it should never make up a large part of your argument, rather we should emphasise and build upon what God does say. This is simply because “God’s Word is truth”, and that which is not God’s Word can be anything.

            The thrust of letting the Bible interpret itself is not infallibility, but objectivity. If I make a comment and say that in it I allowed the Bible to explain itself, I don’t claim infallibility, but I do claim to look for the objective meaning of the Word of God by using the Bible and the Bible alone. Of course the Bible is infallible, but we must first ascertain its objective meaning. Like you said, we can all err. The most important thing is, that we use the same methodology, because then we will arrive at the same conclusions in the end. As soon as we have dofferences in methodology, we will never achieve the true biblical unity of the faith.

  19. Erich Schultze, you may like to take another look at the Theology of Ordination Study Committee Report (June, 2014) which is available online.

    On p. 119, under “Way Forward Statement #1,” it states, “Although both men and women are called to various lines of ministry, the Bible consistently assigns the office of local elder or pastor/minister to faithful men who satisfy the scriptural requirements.”

    This statement opposes the GC policies: 1) GC Spring Meeting, 1975 voted that women may serve as local elders. 2) GC Annual Council, 1984 reaffirmed policy to ordain women as local elders. It voted to “advise each division that it is free to make provisions as it may deem necessary for the election and ordination of women as local church elders.”

    Position #1 (see quote above) also opposes women to be appointed as pastors. Yet GC working policy does not discriminate against women as pastors, as long as they are not ordained. Women may serve as licensed and commissioned pastors (See Working Policy, 10 60).

    • Hello Doug and other commentators,
      I was some days absent and so I answer you today. Thanks for your information about the votes of the GC-Exekutiv-Committee in 1975 and 1984, that women can be ordinate as elders. The decision of the GC in 1975 I could´t found in the Internet – could you help me, to find it?

      Now some thoughts to the further discussion.

      1. I think, that your quotation from Position 1 is not against to women as licensed ministers, because the Issue is „ordain“ or not ordain – and brother Clinton Wahlen had in the Name of pos. 1 explicit said this.

      2. To ordain women as elders is clearly against the scripture (you know all the texts of the bible). Therefore I am very astonished, that the GC-Executivkommittee voted for it without the counsel of Ellen White, that every new practice must be founded of a clear „thus says the Lord“. And in the bible we read, that the elder must be a man of one wife, and not, must be a woman of one man (this tells Paul us on another place). God knows the motives of the GC-members to make this wrong decision. Maybe it was more the money than the bible, how Br. Maxwell argues in a paper – but I can´t and will not judge it.

      3. That the elder is linked with the pastor upon the issue of authority or leadership in the church is clear too, so that we cannot separate the question about the leadership of an elder from the leadership of a minister.

      4. You have asked, why attacked CAP the Division or the brochure, it ist distributed by it, and that position 1 is against the GC-votes. Then I must ask you, why do the division works against the two votes of GC-sessions, that women shall not be ordained, and the votes are still effective? Is that ok? Only why it is a big division? And the little group of CAP shall be quiet – is this fair and right? It is the duty of every ministery to cry loud as a true watchman and has to blow the trumpet if he sees, that the flock is in danger!

      5. It is right to have a own position and to make appeals on higher Organisations or Delegates (about women as elders), and it doesn´t matter, if we have a GC-vote or not. The vote of a GC-Kommittee is not infallible and itself a GC-session can err, then concils can err. Only God and the bible are infallible. So every decision must be proved by the word of God! The bible and not the concil is the highest authority next God. For this we have two evidences:

      a) The CHURCH MANUAL declared: “Resolved, that the highest authority under God among Seventh-day Adventists is found in the will of the body of that people, as expressed in the decisions of the General Conference when acting within its proper jurisdiction; and that such decisions should be submitted to by all without exception, unless they can be shown to conflict with the word of God and the rights of individual conscience.”—Review and Herald, vol. 50, No. 14, p. 106. (Seventh-day Adventist CHURCH MANUAL Revised 2005 17th Edition, p. 1.2)

      b) The GC-session has two times voted and the NAD and others makes a new appeal. If the votes of the GC-session would be inallible, than could they not make an appeal for a third vote!

      And if after a long time members of the SDA awake and see, that a decision of the GC is against the scripture and wrong, so they have the right and the duty to make an appeal, to change it. The NAD and other divisions are doing it – and this is even against the sripture – and why shall the CAP and promoters of Position 1 not have the same right? And the CAP have only a position, which they declare. But a part of the WO-promoters do not only have a position – that is ok – but they rebell against the rules of SdA by doing illegal works – they ordain women before the third decision in San Antonio is made. So they destroy order and unity – why shall the delegates once more vote, if many promoters have already done this? And do you think that God will bless unorderly, rebellious groups? And I think, that Br. Kirkpatrick means this, because CAP ist not rebellious, they have only a position, and this position is the position of the SDA in general according to the votes of two GC-sessions. This position they defend!

      • It seems to be time for a clarification. CAP admin reminds all posters that there is a 350 word limit for posts. Posts should not approach article length. OrdinationTruth is not a publishing platform for pro-women’s ordination views. We invite interaction but those who wish to produce lengthy materials are invited to publish their own content on their own sites.

        • admin, thank you for the Information. I didn´t know this limit of about 350 words, please excuse me. But I am not a promoter of WO. May God bless your work!

  20. Doug, the purpose of Position #1 is to lead the church to clarify what has been an inconsistency in some of its practices on the question of gender authority, and to bring the church’s practices on this point entirely within the lines of Biblical teaching so far as gender roles in the church are concerned.

  21. Still, it can’t be denied that Position #1 opposes current GC policies and practices mentioned in my post. The General Conference approves the ordination of women as local church elders and the employment of women as licensed and commissioned local pastors.

    • Doug, what planet are you on? TOSC position 1 cannot be in opposition to GC policy in the sense of rebellion or insubordination. TOSC 1 is a recommendation of a GC appointed study committee. Yes, TOSC 1 proposes a change in the current policies of the GC about women as elders and as senior pastors. If, in San Antonio this July, the GC in session should in due course adopt TOSC 1, it would simply render the earlier Annual Council decision void, voiding it by the decision of a higher body. It is in vain for you to represent the TOSC 1 position as somehow being insubordinate if that is your intent.

      I have been led to wonder whether or not it is useful to respond when some porponents of WO seem so bent on forcing their position that they are willing to act in defiance of previous GC session votes, and to distort. The decision before the church is not really between various legitimate ways of interpreting the Bible, but between the longstanding approach Adventists have used, and the new approaches advocated by WO advocates. This is exactly why the NAD and TED have spilled so much ink writing out, editing, and publishing their new methods (with more of the same forthcoming, no doubt). I have to give the NAD credit on this point: in their 2013 Report, they at last admitted the necessity of different approaches to interpretation so as to “get” WO “from” the Bible. That was refreshingly honest, even while the new methods are so obviously wrongheaded.

      • Larry Kirkpatrick, I cannot imagine Jesus ever making the rude comment, “What planet are you on?”

        You and your group might be interested to know that several people on the TOSC commented to me that though they really didn’t fully understand all the issues or papers, they chose to not align themselves with the position of Group #1 because of the harsh and critical spirit of some TOSC members who spoke in its defense.

        I realize you will probably delete this comment, but I thought it important that you realize that for some of us, courtesy and respect is an important value, even in our interaction with those with whom we disagree.

        Grace and peace.

        • Cindy, it sounds like you may have in your possession a trove of truly heinous comments made by TOSC 1 advocates, perhaps nearly as emotionally-scaring as “What planet are you on?” The last time I checked, OrdinationTruth permits dissenting expression (unlike the narrow monoculture of pro-only views permitted on certain sites). So my guess is that your opinions about these (so far undisclosed) very shocking statements you have been collecting, which doubtless bear so directly upon the biblical questions at hand, would be permitted to be posted. For future reference, I am not moved by those who play the meanness/feelings hurt card. DM made several misguiding and out of this world statements and suggestions before I at last responded. Not one of the eight persons I baptized last month and who were carefully prepared were taught anything other than the 28 fundamental beliefs or were asked to affirm anything other than the baptismal vow. For him to insinuate otherwise by some would be deemed considerably more offensive than for me to call him on his attempt to turn the beautiful and biblical TOSC 1 statement into an anti-GC statement. Let’s work with facts. I have observed that when one has a weak case, the discussion is often turned to feeling issues rather than biblical fact issues. I am more curious what you thought of the NAD brochure, which, while containing a dozen questions and answers, included only four Scripture references–and of those none on the primary WO passages. Cindy, if the pro side has a biblical case to make, would you or someone else please come out and make it, and not keep us all in suspense? But instead church members are being asked to accept that the Bible doesn’t speak to the question, or, that new methods of interpretation are essential in order to reach the pro-side’s desired conclusions. They are being told that somehow the outcome of making this change in the Seventh-day Adventist Church will be strangely unlike that of so many other churches. Will our Church, like those others, at last be reduced to trying to vote the most attractive transgender restroom use policies as has been happening throughout the western jurisdictions of the United Methodist Church? Or is it more true that for 2,000 years no compelling case favoring WO has been made, because there isn’t one to be made? If the only way to make such a case is to bend the writings of Ellen G. White and of the Bible by stripping particular statements from their context, the cost of the innovation you and others are proposing is too high.

          • Larry, do you think it courteous and Christlike to use the expression that raised concern here by Cindy (regardless of what anyone else may have ever said)? Are such expressions calculated to be winsome and convincing of our position? “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.” Should we use “carnal” weapons to fight for the truth?

          • Thank you, Larry, for your inquiry regarding a biblical apologetic for WO. Please see the book Martin Hanna and I edited, titled “Questions and Answers About Women’s Ordination.” It can be purchased as hard copy or an ebook at The biblical position papers for the TOSC’s Group #2 can also be found at

            Sabbath Blessings!

        • Cindy, you might want to revisit some of the sayings of our Lord. Calling Herod Antipas “that fox” (Luke 13:32) would probably have sounded a bit harsh to some of the onlookers—not to mention Herod himself. And let’s not forget Matthew 23. Not exactly a mirror of Dale Carnegie’s rules on “how to win friends and influence people”!

          The Jesus of Scripture is not the pliant, easy-going, doctrinally indifferent, morally accommodating pseudo-savior of postmodern spirituality. Even among the striving faithful, perverted notions of grace and love have in recent times weakened integrity and opened the door to incremental departure from the written Word. The present controversy affords us the chance to turn the tide of Adventist history against a host of contemporary distortions of the divine will, and to again make supreme the authority of inspired writings over scholarly speculation, personal opinion, and the vagaries of experience.

          • Hi Kevin, I was just thinking “What planet are you on?” would not be out of place in Matthew 23, and loan behold, I checked the thread, and you said the same thing! Great minds (sometimes) think along the same channels!

          • Hi Larry, I have chosen to consider the question, “What planet are you on?” to be appropriate given the fact that fellow posters often know little or nothing about the personal backgrounds of other posters. The word, “planet,” reminds me of the concept of worldview.

            My worldview is North American (both Canada and the U. S.) with a strong Asian flavour as a result of having served as a missionary in Japan for one year, Indonesia for four years, and Korea for twelve years.

            But even more importantly, my worldview has been transformed by my allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and my membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

            More specifically, I view the world from the standpoint of a student of world mission–studies which integrate the disciplines of mission theology, mission history, leadership, cultural anthropology, and world religions–among others.

            Hermeneutically, I am in agreement with the Methods of Bible Study Document (1986) as it reads. I cannot agree with those who suggest a new method is necessary in order to interpret passages from Paul that deal with ecclesiology and leadership.

      • Cindy. You are reading selectively. Critical comments are flying like arrows and bullets at Custard’s Last Stand, both ways. I think you are seeing what you want to see to defend your personal bias. Accuracy in percption is as important as courtesy and respect. Get eye salve, Jesus advised us to do. Yes, Jesus had it right.

  22. “The is why “the plain and obvious meaning” principle is left out of the Methods of Bible Study document voted by the GC at Annual Council in Rio (1986).”

    Doug Matacio, what is truly left out of the Methods of Bible Study document is any support for the various higher-critical methods of interpretation, which is what Kyoshin Ahn introduces in the NAD Report, and the reason for which he listed your paper “Contextualization and Women in the Church” (p. 210) in enhancing the credibility of the NAD’s new culture-conditioning hermeneutic. As has been repeatedly suggested on this website, in more ways than one, it is not uncommon for the NAD and its supporters to pay lip service to the MBSD while still employing the PBHC, which is really the only point that should matter come July in San Antonio.

    • Sunny, is that You? I take your new ID to be a personal wish that my days will be filled with sunshine. 🙂

      I read through the MBS document again this week, although rather quickly, but could not find a single reference to “the plain, obvious meaning” principle there. If you find it, let me know.

      I think Ron du Preez has provided an adequate response to the question of whether P2 TOSC scholars used “higher-criticism.”

      It is possible that some authors are paying lip service to the MBSD from both camps. I agree with Ron that we should focus on the final TOSC reports rather than on the Division reports. I do disagree with any idea that the MBSD is not sufficient to support P2. Also important are the summary statements from each position at Annual Council. I noticed that the P2 presenter there referred to the “plain reading” principle serveral times. Which shows that either side can claim that one.

  23. I received my Adventist World today. Again it looks like the Editor continues to put only pro women’s ordination articles. Also when promoting the One Project the same approach has been taken. It is sad to see how far we are drifting from the Word of God as written. Many are in rebellion. Only God will be able to rid the cancer that has come into our church via the emerging church false spiritually. May the TX vote be a big NO or even be defeated by One Vote!

    • John, the Adventist World article was a sad yet predictable distortion of the Ellen White evidence on the role of women in the mission of the church.

      The three articles in the Review and Herald referenced by this article—Dec. 12,19, 1878, and Jan. 2, 1879—say nothing whatsoever about women serving as ordained local elders or ordained ministers. All these articles are addressing are Sabbath School work, tract and literature distribution, and evangelistic preaching.

      Never does Ellen White, in these articles or elsewhere, recommend the ordination of women either as local elders or as pastors. In identifying the roles of both genders in the work of the church, she makes clear distinctions between the two, as the following statements bear witness:

      “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 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 598).

      The Adventist World article brings up the verses in Scripture which speak of women being silent in church (I Cor. 14:33-34), without permitting the Bible to explain its own language. I refer all readers of this thread to my earlier post regarding this passage and those New Testament verses (I Thess. 4:11; I Tim. 2:2; I Peter 3:4) which make plain that the silence enjoined upon women is not that they say nothing in religious exercises, but that they cultivate a spirit of yielding and submission.

  24. Pastor Kevin,

    Thank you for your reply and the real issues in the WO movement. I hope that someday you will be one of the speakers at the Operation Iceberg / Omega emerging outreach. The new web-site reveals the false spiritually that you talked about at Fresno.
    You and David Read are my favorite blog writers on Spectrum. My father had an English Bull dog and both of you are not afraid to go toe to toe when it is necessary!
    Thank you,


  25. In 2011 Elder Ted Wilson reminded the entire world church in writing, as so clearly stated in our Church Manual (p. 31), that the GC Annual Councils (i.e., the “General Conference Executive Committee between [GC] Sessions,” is authorized by the GC in session to make pivotal decisions. Hence, the Church Manual declares: “Therefore all subordinate organizations and institutions throughout the Church will recognize the General Conference Session, and the General Conference Executive Committee between Sessions, as the highest ecclesiastical authority, under God, among Seventh-day Adventists.”

    Together with other loyal Adventists, I accept this statement. Also, as an ordained pastor I feel it my duty to alert folk to this significant point. So, here’s my “confusion:”

    a) Many of those opposed to the ordination of women speak AGAINST the the 1984 GC Annual Council vote which authorized women to serve as ordained local elders. YET,
    b) These same opponents of women’s ordination speak very SUPPORTIVELY of the 1986 GC Annual Council vote for the “Methods of Bible Study.”

    Can someone please help me to understand this “conundrum.” And, please do not suggest that the 1986 GC Annual Council was right, while the 1984 one was wrong. In other words, if I claim to be a “loyal,” or “faithful” Adventist, who believes in Church authority, and the Holy Spirit-directed duly-constituted processes of this Remnant Movement, do I have the right to “pick and choose” which votes accord with my personal and subjective interpretation of Scripture? Is this not yet another path toward disunity and congregationalism? [By the way, I do need an explanation for this “conundrum,” so please do NOT reply by distracting the discussion to any perceived “inconsistencies” others may have regarding their own views. Also, do not forget that ever since its inception, the SDA Ministers Manual (as well as Ellen White) has consistently articulated the clear biblical roles of three offices requiring ordination: Pastors, Elders, & Deacons.]

    • Ron, the problem is that a Biblical issue cannot be settled at any level in the church other than the General Conference in session. That is the problem with the 1984 decision on women elders. It should have been brought to a GC session. The Methods of Bible Study paper should also be voted at a GC session. Only the highest governing body of the church is qualified to address questions arising from the written counsel of God.

      • Hi Kevin; You are fully entitled to hold such personal opinions, since we do live in a free country. However, this is NOT the voted, official positions of the SDA Church. Hence, if the GC voted policies are “wrong” (as I understand you to say), then they need to be brought to the body to be changed. But, right at this present time, those ARE our official policies. And, I fear that (just as some have accused the Unions which acted contrary to stated GC policies regarding women’s ordination to the gospel ministry as being in rebellion), some may aptly accuse those who are currently opposed to THESE GC policies (which you’ve mentioned) as similarly being in rebellion. Just wondering . . . who decides who or what is to be classified as “rebellion”?

        • Hi Ron, acting contrary to voted policy, as some unions have done, is rebellious. Thinking differently from a voted policy would not constitute rebellion. Even producing study papers in opposition to the voted policy would not necessarily be classified as rebellion because the church has invited us to give study to this issue.

          • A brief “correction” John. The Church has invited us to study ONLY the matter of the ordination to the gospel ministry, and not the matter of women elders. As I noted earlier, Elder Wilson’s personal assistant (Elder Orville Parchment) stated in writing: “The decision to ordain women elders is separate and still stands. Women pastors is a different item. The decision voted at Annual Council or at the General Conference is of equal weight.”

            Hence, to be working against the 1984 vote (which is NOT the issue under study here), can easily be seen as an act of “rebellion.” Whether Unions “rebel” against voted policy, or whether individuals “rebel” against voted policy, would it not still be called “rebellion”?

            In other words, as I have said for quite a while now, perhaps both sides need to recognize that they are both “fighting” against the policies and protocols of the Church, and precipitating fragmentation and disunity.

          • In reply to Ron’s comments about women elders;

            We might need to actually quote that which was voted by the GCEC. I will try and find this and post it.

            Ron says “The Church has invited us to study ONLY the matter of the ordination to the gospel ministry, and not the matter of women elders. As I noted earlier, Elder Wilson’s personal assistant (Elder Orville Parchment) stated in writing: “The decision to ordain women elders is separate and still stands. Women pastors is a different item. The decision voted at Annual Council or at the General Conference is of equal weight.”

            WE cannot study the ordination to the gospel ministry without studying the ordination of elders because in the Bible elders are the parallel to the ministering pastors of church congregations of our day. There is no other thing to study except the ordination of Apostles by Jesus, which is also a parallel to our modern day gospel ministers, pastors, conference “elders” or “presidents.” SDA Church Manual Chapter 4, p. 32 states; “Conference President—The conference president should be an ordained
            pastor of experience and good report. He stands at THE HEAD of the gospel
            ministry in the conference and is THE CHEIF ELDER, or overseer, of all the

            So, now it can be seen that the wording here is that of Acts 20:16-37 where the Holy Spirit “appointed” the elders (vs. 16) to be “overseers” to “feed the flock of God.” The “head” or “chief elder” also come from 1 Chronicles 9; “9 All these men were chief of the fathers in the house of their fathers. . . .13 and their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, a thousand and seven hundred and threescore; very able men for the work of the service of the house of God. . . 22 All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer DID ORDAIN ordain in their SET OFFICE.”

          • 1 Chronicles 9 continues on the chief fathers or elders of the temple services, which are called or taken from the chief fathers of families of Israel;

            “23 So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the Lord, namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards. . . . 26 For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God. . . .27 And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them. 28 And certain of them had the charge of the MINISTERING vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale. 29 Some of them also were APPOINTED TO OVERSEE the vessels, and all the instruments OF THE SANCTUARY (parallel to church congregation), and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices. . . . 32 And other of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, were over the shewbread, to prepare it every sabbath. 33 And these are the singers, CHIEF OF THE FATHERS of THE LEVITES, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were EMPLOYED IN THAT WORK (ministry) day and night. 34 These CHIEF FATHERS of the Levites were CHIEF throughout their generations; these dwelt at Jerusalem.”

            We can see that the FAMILY is the basis of the church and it is the “chief fathers” who were APPOINTED and “ORDAIED” to the services or ministry of the Sanctuary.

          • If we separate the study of elders from that of gospel ministers/pastors, this cut off all those texts that show that ELDERS are always MEN. IF required to focus on only the “gospel minister” we are now in the realm of “gospel ministry” by Christian “disciples” which of course are both men and women. BUT if we mean by “gospel ministry” the “ordained ministry of the church” (temple services in the OT), then it becomes obvious that all women are exclude by God and His instruction in His word from the ordained ministry as apostles, elders/pastors, overseers, and chief elders.

            This whole Women’s Ordination debate is NOT about women in gospel ministry as Christian disciples, but the ordained gospel ministers and overseers of church congregations as elders and pastors.

            Proponents of WO wish to blend the two in order to justify female pastor and elders.

    • “. . . . do I have the right to “pick and choose” which votes accord with my personal and subjective interpretation of Scripture?”

      Ron Du Preez, I have just a couple of brief questions concerning your passing observation on hermeneutics. If I may, which method of “interpretation of Scripture” did you apply in reaching your current proWO position? Was it some modified version of the historical-critical method (e.g., PBHC), or was it the church-approved historical-grammatical method? In the end, this is the most vital question facing delegates at the 2015 General Conference Session. And so by introducing yet another red-herring argument in light of Adventism’s greater concern—as well-intended as it may be and sophisticated as it may sound—isn’t your nonexegetical conundrum one of many “distracting the discussion” in regard to San Antonio’s bottomline?

      • To SunnyYou: Your comments are what I feared . . . I’m truly saddened when such occurs! (I understand . . . I’ve undoubtedly done similarly; and I appreciate it when pointed out, so I can be a better, more compassion, and accurate communicator.) I realize the issues I raised are difficult to answer. But, I do seek responses to such.

        Now to the “distracting comments:” It’s admittedly painful when (perhaps unintentionally) people make either direct false accusations, or inaccurate implications — at least such appears (to me) from the statements I read in your post to me. Let me briefly explain:

        a) For more than a full year now, I have (to quote Ellen White), chosen “the middle path” on this matter regarding women’s ordination to the gospel ministry. I decided this for several reasons, including the fact that I have wonderful (conservative, Bible-believing, Adventist) friends on both sides of the issue, I became concerned about the “tone” of the comments of some on both sides, and I felt I could perhaps better “critique” the weak points on both sides, etc. So, that’s where I have been, for quite a while now . . .

        b) Now, just a brief comment on the question of “hermeneutics:” Unfortunately (and I truly hope “unintentionally”) many of those who are against women’s ordination have repeatedly alleged that those who are pro-women’s ordination are (and must be) using dangerous and unbiblical methods of interpretation, such as the historical-critical method, in order to end up in favor of women’s ordination. While it is true that SOME who are pro-WO do use incorrect methods (just as SOME who are anti-WO likewise use incorrect hermeneutics), there is absolutely NOT a shred of truth to the claim (or implication) that ALL those who are pro-WO are using incorrect biblical hermeneutics. I am personally acquainted with several solid, Bible-believing, Spirit of Prophecy-supportive, conservative Adventist students of Scripture, who (operating faithfully in line with the “Methods of Bible Study” voted by our Church), have come to the conclusion that the Bible is not against the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, and is in fact open to such.

        In fact, anyone who reads the latest (2014) GC Annual Council report on this matter will notice that, while recognizing that differing conclusions were arrived at through the process of the Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC), nowhere did that global committee even suggest that the “hermeneutics” of those who were pro-WO was incorrect or dangerous. I fear that some sincere anti-WO proponents have (apparently unintentionally) precipitated some radical misunderstandings in this area.

        Is it not time to “take a step back” from the fray, and actually look at what the Bible-believing conservative Adventists (who were specifically invited by our GC leaders to be on the global TOSC) have concluded, especially taking into account the multiple evidences that they have utilized solid hermeneutics, in line with our MBS document? Perhaps then, both sides may be able to see “blind spots” and come to a consensus as to what Scripture teaches on this matter . . .

        • “Your comments are what I feared . . . I’m truly saddened when such occurs!”

          Thanks for your response. Yet there’s no need for sadness, Brother du Preez. So my apologies for any disheartening statement. Mine was a fundamental, uncomplicated question for those on either side of the WO discussion. However, despite my appreciation for some your insightful ideas, I remain unclear as to your preferred method of interpretation.

          • Hi again SunnyYou
            In your earlier statement you refer to “the church-approved historical-grammatical method.” I’m not sure where you heard of this (or who suggested such), but there is NO such belief or voted statement at all in the Adventist Church. So, in brief, since such does not exist, I am unable to subscribe to it.
            On the contrary, I fully do subscribe to (and, by God’s grace, do my utmost through His power, to faithfully and appropriately employ) the 1984 voted “Methods of Bible Study.”
            I trust that this will clarify where I stand. [By the way, as I have looked at the hermeneutics of SOME of those against WO, I realize that the methods they use are essentially the same as those used by other Protestants against the seventh-day Sabbath, the State of the Dead, etc. So, I;m hoping that people on both sides will be willing to do some serious self-examination, and adjust their methods as needed].

        • Ron, do you believe that the Bible can definitively answer the question on WO, or even on the ordination of women elders? I’m having difficulty with the idea I’ve heard/read some to express, that this issue relating to the organization and smooth operation of Christ’s body on earth is Biblically unresolvable. How can those studying the Bible on a topic of this importance come to opposite conclusions, and both conclusions be right, or at least, okay?

          • Perhaps an illustration may help: The Adventist Church has NEVER taken an official position as to what the actual nature of Christ is (whether that of Adam before the Fall, or of Adam after his Fall into sin). Yet, we have been able to function as a united body (despite having no official conclusion as to what Scripture says on this, and in spite of some strong views held by folk on either side of the issue). So, it seems that (just as on some other issues — vegetarianism, etc.) differing conclusions do not necessarily mean that one side is evil/wrong, and the other side is good/right. A loving Christ-like attitude, even when we differ in our conclusions, is what we are all called to demonstrate. [Obviously, when it comes to what it means to BE a Seventh-day Adventist, we have the clear 28 Fundamental Beliefs, etc., which we as a corporate body have agreed upon].

        • “I’m not sure where you heard of this (or who suggested such), but there is NO such belief or voted statement at all in the Adventist Church.”

          I’m not sure I’m following your historical perspective here. What interpretive methodology do you believe Adventism has historically held, if not the historical-grammatical method? Even the NAD Report (p. 29) got this one right:

          “Seventh-day Adventists generally use the historical-grammatical method of interpretation. In 1986, the Annual Council of Seventh-day Adventists in Rio de Janeiro approved the Methods of Bible Study (MBS) document which outlines the components of the historical-grammatical

          Equally significant, what should either you or I say to our General Conference president after he offered up the following statement in front of the World Church on July 3, 2010?

          “Our church has long held to the Historical-Biblical or historical-grammatical method of understanding scripture, allowing the Bible to interpret itself; line upon line, precept upon precept. However, one of the most sinister attacks against the Bible is from those who believe in the Historical-Critical method of explaining the Bible. This unbiblical approach of ‘higher criticism’ is a deadly enemy of our theology and mission.”

          You also state, “I fully do subscribe to….the 1984 voted ‘Methods of Bible Study.’”

          Thanks for the clarity. And while I don’t doubt your sincerity for a moment—I wouldn’t dare—isn’t this proMBSD sentiment precisely what the NAD Report has also advocated?

          • Correction: It was June 2014’s “Final TOSC Report” that got it right, not the “NAD Report.”

          • SunnyYou, I was only responding to your “claim” of a “church-approved historical-grammatical method,” which is impossible to prove. But, as I said, I do fully subscribe to the MBS document.
            As to what the NAD has stated, and how they have used the MBS document, I believe it is plain to see. [And I am NOT comfortable with some of what they have done].
            You may have noticed that I ONLY refer to the papers presented to the global TOSC, by the conservative Adventist scholars, who fully subscribe to the MBS document. Reference to what any specific Division committee has done “clouds” the entire issue. I believe it is time to deal with the real issue: i.e., the conclusions come to by the solid, conservative Adventist biblical scholars, and their faithful use of the Methods of Bible Study document. If we seriously address this, we may make much more “progress” on this matter. Hope that clears up any of these questions.

    • Ron, the women elders allowance was NOT voted by the World Church in General Conference Session, and it is THIS BODY that is the “highest authority” in our church under God. Listen to what EGW has to say about this and what our World Church has voted;

      The 1946 General Conference Session action that all “changes or revisions of policy” in the Church Manual shall be “authorized by the General Conference session” reflects a conception of the authoritative status of General Conference sessions that has long been held. In the 1877 session this action was taken:

      “Resolved, that the highest authority under God among Seventh-day Adventists is found in the will of the body of that people, as expressed in the decisions of the General Conference when acting within its proper jurisdiction; and that such decisions should be submitted to by all without exception, UNLESS they can be SHOWN TO CONFLICT WITH THE WORD OF GOD and the rights of individual conscience.”—Review and Herald, vol. 50, No. 14, p. 106.

      Ellen G. White wrote in 1909:

      “But, when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. NEVER should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 260.

      See the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual where these statements have been taken from.

      Was EGW referring to the GC Executive Committee or Annual Council? NO.

      What you are suggesting is the same as saying the local church board is the highest authority and equal to the Church in Business Session. Everybody knows that this is not the truth. What is voted at a church board is not above the church business meeting vote, and some things cannot be vote except at a church business meeting, the church board can only make recommendations. So, the application to the GC Executive Committee allowance of women elders? It was a permissive policy and only under || 350 limit

      • TO COMPLETE MY COMMENT (sorry I did not know about the limit of 350 word) So, the application to the GC Executive Committee allowance of women elders? It was a permissive policy and only under council of conference leadership and approval. IT WAS NOT with the full weight and authority of the World Church Body!

        • I should have been a little more precise the allowance of female elders.

          Now, to the real conundrum! Why is it that you and others bring the women’s elders allowance up and even dare to insist that you are submissive to the highest authority when you will not surrender to the band on women’s ordination voted TWICE by an authentic General Conference Session and but choose to exercise a spirit of independence (as EGW said you’re not supposed too do) and in her own words “private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, CONTRARY to the decision of the GENERAL BODY?”

          This is NOT the SAME authority as the GCEC, it has been voted by a superior authority and you and other women’s ordinationists, are right now acting contrary to these plain words of the Spirit of Prophecy by your “persistent maintenance of” your “position of independence, CONTRARY to the decision of the GENERAL BODY” which says “we do not approve ordination of women to the gospel ministry!” Why haven’t you been willing to follow this? Yet you insist that you support the highest authority of the church. BUT its still obvious as a train wreck by what you write that you still “maintain” your position “contrary to the general body!” While those who are opposed to the ordination of women have surrendered to the will of the World Church and support her voted decision NOT to “approve ordination of women to the gospel ministry!”

          The women’s elders permissiveness or allowance WAS NOT a vote that every church MUST ORDAINED WOMEN ELDERS! IT WAS NOT A “mandate” for the entire World Church and all of its subdivisions and every Adventist church. But with the GC 1990 & 1995 VOTES we have a definite “WE DO NOT APPROVE ORDINATION OF WOMEN TO THE GOSPEL MINISTRY!” for EVERY CHURCH in the whole world! and These TWO VOTED POLICIES are as different as night is from day.

  26. If the Annual Council makes a “pivotal decision” between GC sessions that many members of the larger body (not isolated ones exercising “private independence and private judgment”) feel are not in harmony with the Scriptures, is it inappropriate for members of the larger body to bring the matter before the GC in session to correct the matter? What if such a decision (not in harmony with the Bible) is made at a regular GC session? Is it disloyal and divisive to work to rectify a wrong? While we believe that the GC in session is the “highest ecclesiastical authority, under God” among SDAs, do we believe its decisions are infallible, never in need to be adjusted? Is it “picking and choosing” to seek to address any GC decision (whether made at Annual Council or at a regular GC session) when a large number of members feel the decision to be unbiblical?

    • To B’Jay: And, since there seems to also be a “large number of members” who believe that the ordination of women elders is not unbiblical, it would then be best to follow proper protocol and find ways to work together with properly constituted church leadership, and to humbly lay aside personal interpretations, would you not agree?

      To John Witcombe: Thanks for sharing those Ellen White quotes — very instructive!

      By the way, just for the sake of a brief “historical reminder:” Since the fully authoritative vote (that is, as our Church Manual states, and Elder Wilson confirmed) — that women can be ordained as elders, several full GC Sessions (1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005 2010) have gone by, and this vote was NEVER rescinded (or even officially challenged, as far as I am aware). Recently, as this discussion of the ordination of women to the gospel ministry got under way, Elder Wilson’s personal assistant (Elder Orville Parchment) stated in writing: “The decision to ordain women elders is separate and still stands. Women pastors is a different item. The decision voted at Annual Council or at the General Conference is of equal weight.”

      I share the above statements with the sincere hope that somehow (by the grace of God, and with ALL of us humbly seeking to do His will in and through His Remnant Church), we can all be willing to put aside our OWN personal opinions (no matter how sincerely and passionately held), and cooperate in sharing the Three Angels’ Messages with a dying sin-sick world! Let’s keep focused on Jesus — faithful to His Great Commission!

  27. Ron, you are right, we are to speak the same thing as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:10. Even if it is wrong, like the issue of eating swine’s flesh, God wants His Church to speak the same thing (1T 206, 207). We don’t have to think the same thing—just speak the same thing. Not all minds can see the same things. It was okay for James White to view a topic differently from his brethren. He was reproved for giving voice to that view in a public way which created “differences of ideas”.

    It is okay to think differently from what was voted in 1984. Now the question is: is it okay to give voice to that thinking? To do so will create differences of ideas—this is contrary to the call to unity.

    There is instructive counsel in the following two letters. The topic of discussion was the law in Galatians—was it moral or ceremonial? In February of 1887 Ellen White counseled that this discussion should be put aside for the sake of unity:

    “My husband had some ideas on some points differing from the views taken by his brethren. I was shown that however true his views were, God did not call for him to put them in front before his brethren and create differences of ideas. While he might hold these views subordinate himself, once they are made public, minds would seize [upon them], and just because others believed differently would make these differences the whole burden of the message, and get up contention and variance. There are the main pillars of our faith, subjects which are of vital interest, the Sabbath, the keeping of the commandments of God. Speculative ideas should not be agitated, for there are peculiar minds that love to get some point that others do not accept, and argue and attract everything to that one point, urging that point, magnifying that point, when it is really a matter which is not of vital importance, and will be understood differently. Twice I have been shown that everything of a character to cause our brethren to be diverted from the very points now essential for this time, should be kept in the background.”—1888 Materials, p. 24. (Written February 18, 1887, from Basel, Switzerland, to E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones.)

    Then, less than two months later, Ellen White gave the counsel that open discussion was now in order:

    “Now, my brother, things that you have said, many of them are all right. The principles that you refer to are right; but how this can harmonize with your pointed remarks to Dr. Waggoner, I cannot see. I think you are too sharp. And then when this is followed by a pamphlet published of your own views, be assured I cannot feel that you are just right at this point to do this unless you give the same liberty to Dr. Waggoner. . . . I want to see no Pharisaism among us. The matter now has been brought so fully before the people by yourself as well as Dr. Waggoner, that it must be met fairly and squarely in open discussion. I see no other way, and if this cannot be done without a spirit of Pharisaism, then let us stop publishing these matters and learn more fully lessons in the school of Christ. I believe now that nothing can be done but open discussion. You circulated your pamphlet; now it is only fair that Dr. Waggoner should have just as fair a chance as you have had. I think the whole thing is not in God’s order. But, brethren, we must have no unfairness. We must work as Christians. If we have any point that is not fully, clearly defined, and [that] can bear the test of criticism, don’t be afraid or too proud to yield it.”—1888 Materials, pp. 32-35. (Written April 5, 1887, from Basel, Switzerland, to “Dear Brethren [G. I.] Butler and [Uriah] Smith.”)

    This lack of unity on women’s ordination “is not in God’s order.” But it only seems fair to bring back into notice the understanding our church once unitedly taught on this issue and its biblical basis.

    • Proper protocols? They are outlined in our Church Manual — which is why we are now in the current process. God raised up this Movement; I believe He will see it through . . .

        • For example, some of those ordained pastors against women being ordained as elders have been publicly battling against (and undermining confidence in leadership, and our protocols on this matter). See, also, the comments of Kevin, in which he states: “the problem is that a Biblical issue cannot be settled at any level in the church other than the General Conference in session. That is the problem with the 1984 decision on women elders. It should have been brought to a GC session. The Methods of Bible Study paper should also be voted at a GC session. Only the highest governing body of the church is qualified to address questions arising from the written counsel of God.” This (to me at least) is a clear example of incorrect protocol — i.e., going directly contrary to the voted policies of the General Conference in Session (see the Church Manual, and Elder Ted Wilson’s 2011 statements on the protocols of the SDA Church). Hope that’s helpful . . .

          [I’ve got lots of other work to do; hence will “exit” now. Keep focused on Jesus.]

  28. To Ron: “So, it seems that (just as on some other issues — vegetarianism, etc.) differing conclusions do not necessarily mean that one side is evil/wrong, and the other side is good/right. A loving Christ-like attitude, even when we differ in our conclusions, is what we are all called to demonstrate.”

    I resound with your heart-cry for Christ-like dispositions toward everyone, including those with whom we strongly disagree. I understand your point on the nature-of-Christ question. However, this example you use is a belief that doesn’t directly affect the organization and running of the church. The WO question does. Can we look to the Bible to show us definitively what to DO, in addition to what to believe? Are we left to “wing it” and let everyone do as they see best?

    • In several areas of the “running of the church” we have instituted activities/methods which are not explicitly outlined in Scripture — such as Pathfinder clubs, Religious Liberty activities, etc. Adventists (in contrast to strict Calvinists) do not say that we ONLY do what the Bible commands. Since the days of our pioneers we have rightly understood that, if there is nothing explicit against a practice, and if it does not contradict clear biblical principles, we can proceed to do so, if it will promote the mission we’ve been called to.

      • Are you saying that we should view the selection of pastoral leadership in a light similar to the way we develop programs such as Pathfinder clubs, Religious Liberty and the like?

  29. Hi Ron, as some have pointed out, if we are currently ordaining women as local elders, it seems that consistency would allow for women to also be ordained as pastors. I agree with that logic. So, for some of us, the discussion of the ordination of women pastors includes the discussion of the ordination of women elders.

    I understand that Orville Parchment’s thinking differs from mine in that he believes the two are separate issues. In spite of what the Church may have invited us to ONLY study, some in the church believe both the ordination of women elders and the ordination of women pastors are closely linked together. IMHO, to be studying them both together would not constitute rebellion.

  30. Hi John, You do raise an important question; admitting, as you say, that “Orville Parchment’s thinking differs from mine in that he believes the two are separate issues;” i.e., “elders” and “gospel ministers/pastors.” But John, it is not simply “Parchment’s thinking.” This concept is standard Adventist belief and practice (as based on Scripture), and has been so for more than 70 years; besides, this is also the view of Ellen White. Allow me to share the documentation:

    At least as far back as 1942, the official Manual for Ministers (Takoma Park, DC: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 11-22), noted that there were three distinct offices requiring ordination in the Adventist Church: the gospel minister, the local elder, and the deacon. In 1992, the Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Manual (Silver Spring, MD: Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 76), correctly strengthened this historic position, by articulating this three-fold differentiation even more clearly, together with appropriate Scripture references. With minimal editorial updating the 2009 edition (now called Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Handbook [Silver Spring, MD; General Conference Ministerial Association], 85) states:
    The Scriptures distinguish three categories of ordained officers:
    (1) the gospel minister, whose role may be seen as preaching/teaching, administering the ordinances, and pastoral care of the church (1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 4:1-5);
    (2) the elder, who exercises oversight of a local congregation, performing some pastoral functions as well (Acts 14:23; 20:17; Titus 1:5, 9; 1 Tim 3:2, 5);
    (3) the deacon, to whose care the poor and the benevolent work of the congregation are entrusted (Phil 1:1; Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim 3:8-13).

    Incidentally, Ellen White affirms the same three categories of church offices, as seen in the following statement:
    “The responsibility of representing Christ to the world does not rest alone upon those who are ordained as MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL. Each member of the church should be a living epistle, known and read of all men. A working church will be a living church. Those who are elected as ELDERS and DEACONS should ever be on the alert that plans may be made and executed which will give every member of the church a share in active work for the salvation of souls. This is the only way in which the church can be preserved in a healthy, thriving condition; (RH March 24, 1891, par. 2; emphases added).

    So, despite the fact that it has become common (among too many Adventists) on both sides of the discussion to conflate the offices of “elder” and “gospel minister/pastor,” this theory is directly contrary to standard/historic/biblical Adventism, and clearly contradicts the understanding of our prophet, Ellen White. One wonders . . . what would happen, if each of us (and I include myself here) would simply be willing to humbly give up any personal cherished theories which may be out of line with what our church has voted and teaches, especially as confirmed by Ellen White? I suspect we would begin to make some significant progress in these discussions, and find a growing sense of unity . . .

  31. Hi Ron, thank you for sharing your excellent post showing clearly the three offices where ordination is conferred. I agree with you that ordination to the ministry and ordination as a local elder are two distinct ordinations. The similarly is that both involve ecclesiastical authority in the church. If a woman is not permitted to exercise ecclesiastical authority in the church then she should not be ordained as either a local elder or a minister. If she is allowed to be ordained as a local elder and exercise ecclesiastical authority within a local congregation why should she not be allowed to exercise ecclesiastical authority within multiple congregations as an ordained minister is tasked to do?

    So you see, this is the reason why some of us see no consistency in allowing women to be ordained as local elders and forbidding ordination as pastors. They should either both be allowed or both be denied. Which should it be? What did our pioneers teach? What did the Protestant Reformers teach? What did the Waldenses and Albigenses (church in the wilderness) teach? What did the apostles teach? What did the patriarchs teach? What has been the position regarding ecclesiastical authority for the past 6,000 years? Has it been gender neutral? If so, let’s vote to ordain women pastors in July.

    • Hi John, You wrote “The similarly [between the gospel minister and the local elder] is that both involve ecclesiastical authority in the church.” You add: “So you see, this is the reason why some of us see no consistency in allowing women to be ordained as local elders and forbidding ordination as pastors.”

      I understand the point you make, John. My real problem is as follows: I have searched (in both the Church Manual and the SDA Minister’s Handbook), and have thus far been unable to locate any support for the theory that the these two offices include the so-called “ecclesiastical authority in the church.” So, I wonder, is this concept of alleged “similarity” of “ecclesiastical authority” perhaps something “created” by some of our folk? Help me out here, please.

      Later, you ask “What did the apostles teach?” The answer to that, if you and I (as Adventist pastors) are faithful to the SDA Minister’s Handbook, is simple: Biblically, there is a clear difference between “gospel minister” and “local elder.” [If you still disagree, then PLEASE do not sow discord on this. Rather, follow proper protocols to address this matter. If the Manual is changed, then it may be appropriate to publicly discuss further].

      One last “concern:” Why is it that those against WO seem to insist on calling this matter “gender neutral” ordination? Yet, those in favor prefer the term “gender inclusive”? One wonders: Is such use of terminology another attempt to “paint” the issue negatively?

      • Hi Ron, I have never thought of the word “neutral” as having any negative connotation. But I like the word “inclusive” just as well.

        I am getting that phrase “ecclesiastical authority” from AA 160: “Thus they were authorized by the church, not only to teach the truth, but to perform the rite of baptism and to organize churches, being invested with full ecclesiastical authority.” True, that exact phrase is not used in the Adventist Minister’s Handbook. But isn’t the phrase “ecclesiastical authority” inherent in its statement for elders: “exercises oversight of a local congregation, performing some pastoral functions” and in its statement for ministers: “administering the ordinances, and pastoral care of the church”?

        Ron, if the elders and ministers do not have “ecclesiastical authority”, who would? And yes, there is a clear difference between “gospel minister” and “local elder.” But both “exercise oversight” in God’s Church. And in our discussion regarding the ordaining of women pastors, it is not sowing discord to suggest that it would be consistent to either ordain women as both elders and ministers or to not ordain them to either office. Our current practice is seen by many as inconsistent and thus we are having this conversation.

        By the way, my series of questions on what God’s Church has taught over the past 6,000 years was not regarding the difference between a local elder and a minister but rather what was taught regarding women exercising ecclesiastical authority in the congregation.

        • Brother Witcombe, what an excellent response pointing to the truth about ecclesiastical authority of elders, pastors/ministers and “chief elders” conference presidents (much like apostles). EGW makes things so very clear so we don’t have to be confused about these matters. Church elders are the precursor to a man becoming an ordained minister of the gospel, that is a “pastor.” Acts 20:16-37 clearly reveals the roles of elders who become shepherds of the flock of God.

  32. Larry Kirkpatrick posted, “Not one of the eight persons I baptized last month and who were carefully prepared were taught anything other than the 28 fundamental beliefs or were asked to affirm anything other than the baptismal vow.”

    This is great to hear, Larry! I hope all of the CAP pastors are following this practice. It must be difficult, though, because of your view of what the Bible teaches on the gender exclusiveness of elders and pastors.

    You asked Cindy about the biblical case. The “pro side” does have a biblical case to make, and that is simply that an exhaustive study of the biblical data reveals that the Bible neither prohibits nor mandates the ordination of women as elders and pastors. It took an enormous amount of careful study to reach that conclusion, which was presented by Position #2 TOSC scholars in their final report.

    As a church we are compelled to align ourselves with the biblical record. We cannot jeopardize our unity by either prohibiting or mandating WO. We must believe and practice the missionary manifesto of Paul found in 1 Cor 9:19-23.

  33. Doug, not hard at all. As far as I know, all of the CAP pastors are very deeply committed to the church. My personal opinion is that the church should indeed have a clear fundamental belief on male and female roles and including the teaching of the inspired counsels on ecclesiastical leadership. But the church does not have that at this time. Hopefully the next few years will see that laid in place.

    As for the “biblical” case for WO, I will not claim to have read every line of every bit of material produced in its favor by Adventists, but I believe I have read almost all of it, some of it, several times. I have also read much material prodiced in other denominations in support of the practice of WO. I also studied carefully the history of WO and you may find that material helpful. There are eight articles in a series called “Foundations of Women’s Ordination” in the sidebar at OrdinationTruth. I certainly may be wrong, but I have not seen in anything I have read in any place a persuasive or even a mildly persuasive case for WO made. I don’t think I could point to even a weakly persuasive case for it. Not, that is, if we are making the Bible our baseline. I am determined to live by and teach according to Scripture, so that makes this an very important issue for me.

    • Hi Larry, I honestly believe that you are being forthright in your comments to Doug about what you’ve read, and understood regarding the pro-WO side. However, here’s “the rub:”

      It seems to me (and I admit my human frailties, and the blindspots which are ever present), that those who have “staked a position” on either side of this “hot issue” are perhaps more particularly liable to being less than able to objectively “see” or “hear” the other side’s points. I say this, since (for more than a year now) I have taken “the middle path” and have had opportunity to dialogue with and critique the views of folks on both sides of the issue. Interestingly, some (from both sides) have shown openness, and are willing to reassess/change their weak points, while others simply ignore these weak points, and choose to continue to promote such misinformation. Truly a sad situation.

      To be more direct now: You and I dialogued last month about the concerns I raised regarding your 10-minute “Appeal to GC Delegates” video-clip. I went back and listened to it at least two more times (and even had it typed up). I counted literally dozens (indeed scores) of serious mis-statements and misinformation — frankly, I was ASTOUNDED by the volume of inaccuracies in such a short 10-minute presentation! How is such possible? I believe that everyone of us becomes susceptible to such errors whenever we “stake out a position” and then passionately try to support and promote it.

      • Ron, I am sympathetic to your “middle way,” but I wonder how long a person can continue coaching both sides before they get to the place where they need to take a position one way or the other.

        While I have never identified with gender exclusivism, I have seen many weak arguments from the pro-WO side down through the years.

      • Ron, I can´t find something in this Appeal of “serious mis-statements”. I think you exaggerate your criticism very much. It is understandable that, if you don´t have a point of view, that you are unable to have a clear sight. But I am concerned, that you only all the good from the appeal of brother Kirkpatrick talk to death. If you have an important
        point in his appeal, it is wrong, then say it to us, and let´s talk about it. But to make only intimations, damage this ernest and very important appeal.

    • Hi again Larry, Allow me to illustrate my point about “staking out a position:”

      Some years ago, I became essentially a “KJV-only” (i.e., textus receptus [+ NKJV]) believer. I made presentations, and seriously defended this view, somehow “unaware” of the official Church position on this issue as seen in the voted “Methods of Bible Study” document. But, through my “purple-tinted glasses” due to my passion I even concluded that Ellen White fully supported me! Then, I published this, and sold my book, promoting it. To my “dismay” (and my gratitude!), one of my former students alerted me that Ellen White did not support this view. “Eating humble pie,” I re-examined the evidence, and have since changed my position! Such is the danger of passionately held views . . .

      One wonders . . . what results may have been forth-coming had the Seminary ad hoc committee come to (and then published in their “Women in Ministry” volume), if they had actively involved faculty members on both sides of the issue? Similarly, what would have happened had the Adventists Affirm team included folks from both sides, in their discussions before publishing “Prove All Things”? Personally, I am of the opinion that the weak points found in both these volumes may have been reconsidered (if not completely eliminated), and the laity would have had much better materials to read and reflect on. In fact, being an optimistic kind of guy, I believe that we may have ended up with perhaps only ONE volume. Who knows, this entire current “debate” in the Adventist Church may even have been averted!? Just wondering . . .

      About 25 years ago, I learned a vital lesson: When selecting a team to guide me on my DMin dissertation project on polygamy in the Bible, I intentionally selected one professor who was supportive of my proposed study and direction, and one against. Doing this, greatly strengthened the final project. And, to this day, I am still being invited to contribute to the global Church on this matter. In short, we NEED each other, if for no other reason (in these discussions) than to help each other see our blind spots . . .

    • I have not heard of any Fundamental Belief ever voted that does not represent a consensus. A consensus within two years would seem to be hard to come by.

  34. Ron, you are correct in admitting you have been all over the map on several things. On WO you present yourself as aligned in some middle place, but proceed to make arguments which seem to be from position 2. Readers will want to understand this. In any case, may your many travels end well.

    • Hi Larry, I went back and read my post, in view of your allegation: “Ron, you are correct in admitting you have been all over the map on several things.” Actually, the only thing I mentioned was that due to ignorance of the Church’s position, and based on my own passion, I became basically a “KJV-only” person. One would hope that people such as you would be able to see yourself similarly, in view of your strong anti-WO views.

      In other words, just as I was misdirected in my passion (based on being unaware of the Church’s position, as well as the foundation for such a view regarding Bible versions), in a strikingly similar manner, those against WO (especially that of local elders), seem clearly unaware/ignorant of the Church’s position; or in their passionate promotion of personal, subjective interpretations of Scripture, appear to suffer from a variety of serious “blind spots.” How does one resolve this “confusion”? Lots of prayer, Bible study, humility, BUT especially through kind and Christlike dialogue with those on the other side, etc.

      By the way, you also add that I “proceed to make arguments which seem to be from position 2.” Please alert me to such, as I have simply sought to provide the most possible accurate information, as voted by the Church, which you and I are officially employed to rightly represent. If I have erred in this, please alert me. And, I have no doubt that my “travels” and your “travels” (as long we seek to live closely to our Saviour), will end with His “well done, good and faithful servant” affirmation.

  35. Seems we need more dialogue, not less. People who agree on the 28 Fundamentals should be willing to work together on ways to resolve conflict.

  36. Don’t worry Doug. The LGBTQotherletters people will line up one behind the other to dialogue with you next over whether or not the Bible says anything definite against monogamous same-sex relationships. Meanwhile of course, the clock keeps ticking and there are other Christians in the world who will single-mindedly pursue the living out of what the Bible teaches the best they can. And hearts will be won to Jesus by them. The Adventist Church has spent enough energy on this. We need an up or down answer.

    • Larry, do you honestly believe that an “up or down answer” in San Antonio will solve anything? Suppose (as is very possible) the GC session does not vote in favor of the Divisions making the determination on WO. I assure you the issue will not go away. Local Unions in North America and Europe will continue to ordain women and their supervising Divisions will not sanction them. I don’t believe the GC officers would risk the enormous political capital that would be necessary to intervene, as it would split the church. I believe that Pres Wilson values the structural integrity of the church more than uniformity on a non-fundamental doctrine. (yes, you’ll probably quibble with my assertion of WO’s “non-fundamentalness,” but it ain’t one of the 28).

      On the other hand, should the Divisions be given the OK to make their own determination regarding WO, OrdinationTruth won’t and shouldn’t close up shop. At this point we can get down to business and truly deal with the theology and practice of ordination here in the NAD. This site, Spectrum, Adventist Today, Advindicate, et al will all play important roles in that process. So, gird your loins. San Antonio won’t be the end of this, it will either just be yet another milepost (along with Indianapolis and Utrecht), or the beginning of a passionate debate here in North America.

      • Larry and Gerald, the problem, as I see it, with an “up or down vote” is—what Bible believing Adventist would be willing to suddenly change their belief and practice on the basis of a vote? The Bible is the basis for belief and practice.

      • Gerald, what too many First World advocates of women’s ordination don’t stop and consider is that despite the loud megaphones in their hands, many at the grassroots—even in Western Adventism—do not support women’s ordination, and that even among those who do, they do not favor the independent action of the Unions or any form of rebellion against the General Conference. Once the General Conference acts, the vast majority at the church’s grassroots will accept it, even in First World countries.

        Not to mention the Third World, where opposition to women’s ordination remains overwhelming.

        Let’s keep in mind that the motion before the delegates will be based, either way, on Scripture and the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. This cannot be written off as just an administrative or ecclesiastical decision. It will be Bible-based. And if the delegates vote NO, as I firmly believe they will, it will be on the basis of inspired counsel.

        And those who choose not to go along will be in defiance of world church policy as adjudicated at the highest level. And if you think our General Conference president didn’t mean exactly what he said when he spoke of “grave consequences” that would attend the rebellious action of these Unions, you had best think again. The General Conference Working Policy has carefully written steps that can be taken when a Union is in rebellion or apostasy—those are the words used.

        A YES vote would mean administrative chaos and structural mayhem, which is one key reason I—in my view—the YES position doesn’t have a chance. Never before has the General Conference given permission to world Divisions to decide for themselves on a Biblical issue. What this would mean is different approaches to the Bible in each Division, with pastors ordained in one field unrecognized in another. The next step could be different Divisions deciding whether or not to accept the Spirit of Prophecy, the investigative judgment, or other controversial teachings.

        In my opinion, the liberals would have had a better chance if the vote were simply on the question, Should ||350 LIMIT

        • Kevin, you say

          “and that even among those who do, they do not favor the independent action of the Unions or any form of rebellion against the General Conference. Once the General Conference acts, the vast majority at the church’s grassroots will accept it, even in First World countries.”

          How is this proposed vote in San Antonio any different from what was rejected in Utrecht, where the issue was not ordination per se, but an administrative allowance for WO in regions that wanted it, yet we see continued and increased “rebellion” as you call it? Do you believe that the GC will have a stronger hand should San Antonio say “no” this summer? If so, why?

          Why, do you think, the Annual Council did not address it straight on and propose a vote on this question: “Do you believe, based on prayerful study of the Bible and inspired council, that the Seventh-day Adventist Church should permit ordination of women to pastoral ministry?”

          • Gerald, the vote in San Antonio is very similar to what was voted down in Utrecht, with the exception of the fact that this time, the decision to be rendered is explicitly spelled out as based on Scripture and the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. For this reason, no one can mistake the decision to be made as merely ecclesiastical or administrative.

            It is not my place to speculate in public as to why the language of the motion voted at the last Annual Council specifically addresses the question of whether or not each Division should decide this on their own. Perhaps recent attempts at local settlement of this issue in certain of the Unions had an impact on this choice of words. At the bottom line, neither our General Conference president nor a majority of the world body is likely to permit this fragmentation of the church’s theological witness and structural coherence.

            Which is why I remain confident that the vote will be NO, and decisively so.

      • GeraldSchafer Your comments reveal the bigger problem . . . the proponents of Women’s Ordination DO NOT accept and believe in Biblical Church Authority. It has already been proven by their refusal to submit to the will of the World Church in General Conference Session when for the last 25 years our position is “we do not approve ordination of women to the gospel ministry.”

        So the real problem is insubordination to Proper Church Order and Authority. Here is what supposed to be like IF all were surrendered and willing, and that’s the ultimate issue here with Women’s Ordination;

        The 1946 General Conference Session action that all “changes or revisions of policy” in the Church Manual shall be “authorized by the General Conference session” reflects a conception of the authoritative status of General Conference sessions that has long been held. In the 1877 session this action was taken:

        “Resolved, that the highest authority under God among Seventh-day Adventists is found in the will of the body of that people, as expressed in the decisions of the General Conference when acting within its proper jurisdiction; and that such decisions should be submitted to by all without exception, unless they can be shown to conflict with the word of God and the rights of individual conscience.”—Review and Herald, vol. 50, No. 14, p. 106.

        Ellen G. White wrote in 1909:

        “But, when, in a General Conference, the judgment of the brethren assembled from all parts of the field is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be stubbornly maintained, but surrendered. Never should a laborer regard as a virtue the persistent maintenance of his position of independence, contrary to the decision of the general body.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 260.

        See the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual where these statements have been taken from.

      • “The word of God is the great detector of error; to it we believe everything must be brought.

        The Bible must be our standard for every doctrine and preaching. We must study it reverentially. We are to receive no one’s opinion without comparing it with the Scriptures. Here is divine authority which is supreme in matters of faith.

        It is the word of the living God that is to decide all controversies.”

        The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials. 1987; 2002 (44). Ellen G. White Estate.

        Proponents of Women’s Ordination also reject the authority of the Bible even though they “say” the do not, listen to this;

        “God requires more of His followers than many realize. If we would not build our hopes of heaven upon a false foundation WE MUST ACCEPT THE BIBLE AS IT READS and believe that the Lord MEANS WHAT HE SAYS (like the elder “MUST BE husband of one wife”). He requires nothing of us that He will not give us grace to perform. We shall have no excuse to offer in the day of God if we fail to reach the standard set before us in His word.” 5T 171.1

  37. Forgive me for changing the discussion a bit. Kevin, I wish you would send your reply and explanation of the Adventist World’s misuse of the 3 SOP quotes used to sell WO. I don’t think we will ever be given equal time to present the other side; but maybe they would print your comments about this article and their quoting EGW out of context. Then again, they may not. But I think it is worth a try.


  38. Lonny, I have in fact sent an e-mail to the Adventist Review along the lines that you have described. I hope and pray it is published.

  39. What I find interesting is the fact that NOBODY has brought up the fact that if the same hermeneutics were applied to the Sabbath, we wouldn’t have any reason to keep the Sabbath. Once we let the variable of culture dictate the meaning of Scripture (as WO movement has done), we remove the very foundation that our church is built upon. Take the hermeneutics of WO and try to uphold our doctrines against a Biblically literate individual and that individual will chew it up and spit it out. The fact that it takes a degree in theology to confuse someone to the point of accepting WO tells me all I need to know.

    The issue is much larger than WO, it is about our very identity. The fact that the WO movement has hijacked the resources of the church in order to further their agenda should tell us exactly what spirit is behind it. They have NO business propagating their views through those avenues until after it is in accord with the beliefs of the SDA Church.

    • Greg, we actually had a short article submitted on that very point yesterday or this morning which we may publish next!

  40. Hi Greg, when we compare the theory of “male headship of elders and pastors,” with the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Church, we discover it can’t be found among them. Larry K. hopes it can be added sometime within the next two years, according to his post above. Thus the ideology supporting the gender exclusive movement is something new; it has never been included in the beliefs of the church. It cannot be required of people seeking baptism into the church.

    When we read through the Methods of Bible Study Document voted by Annual Council in 1986, we find many references to the importance of understanding the cultural background of Bible times. Please read Section 4, P, where it says a “background knowledge of Near Eastern cultures” is “indispensible.” It says, “In order not to misconstrue certain kinds of statements, it is important to recognize that they were addressed to peoples of Eastern cultures and expressed in their thought patterns.”

    Section Q speaks about applying the text to us today. “How does it apply to my situation and circumstances today?” “Recognize that although many biblical passages had local significance, nonetheless they contain timeless PRINCIPLES applicable to every age and culture.” Notice the word, PRINCIPLES, in Section Q. We must discover Bible principles and apply them today, the document says.

    There is no need to introduce any new methods. The MBSD is sufficient.

    • Hi Greg, let me focus your attention on just one other brief section of the MBSD: section 4, K, “In connection with the study of the biblical text, explore the historical and cultural factors. Archaeology, anthropology, and history may contribute to understanding the meaning of the text.”

      The MBSD urges us to study the customs of the people of Bible times through archaeology and anthropological studies.

    • Doug says; “when we compare the theory of “male headship of elders and pastors,” with the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Church, we discover it can’t be found among them. Larry K. hopes it can be added sometime within the next two years, according to his post above. Thus the ideology supporting the gender exclusive movement is something new; it has never been included in the beliefs of the church.”

      The problem with your rationale is that male headship IS IN the Bible, look at 1 Chronicles 9, and it continues throughout the entirety of the Bible, there are NO female priests, elders, apostles, overseers, elders/pastors and this was the teaching and practice of the Apostolic Church, SEE 1 Timothy 5:1-2 which required us to treat the elder men in the church as fathers and the elder women as MOTHERS, not as fathers. If there are fathers and mothers in the church family, then who is in the role of the heads of the families that make up the church family? Would it not be the same who are the heads of their home families?

      The Remnant Church is to be a copy of the Apostolic Church, which had NO female apostles, elders or pastors, they were ALL MEN who were “ordained in every church” and “in every city” (Acts 14:23 & Titus 1:4-5).

      Our 28 FB are not a creed which limits what we are to believe to only what’s voted! What about Sunday enforcement being the Mark of the Beast? Where is that in the 28 FBs? No. 1 is that The Bible is the rule for all belief, doctrine, preaching, teaching, and the basis of every reform (WO is a reform), and WE accept all that the Bible teaches whether VOTED by the Church of not.

      • Richard, the point is: there has always been a difference in the SDA Church between a “test of fellowship” and other Bible beliefs that may or may not be accepted by Adventists in good and regular standing. For example, the ID of the Seven Trumpets.

        We extend the right hand of fellowship to any Adventist who accepts the 28 Fundamentals. Therefore, since “male headship of elders and pastors” is not a test of fellowship, we should be able to fellowship in unity with one another even though we disagree on the interpretation of certain texts.

        • Doeg, I think you are right, that SDA and other Christians have a new heart and can differ in bible teachings – and we as men cannot read the heart of individuals, and God alone is the judge. On the other side the holy spirit will lead us in the whole truth, and he has not two truths (for example WO or not WO). In earlier times our pioneers and Ellen White had in some bible teachings different meanings and trough prayer and the Holy Spirit they came together to a firm foundation. Why not today?

          We must distinguish between, what is clear from the bible and what not. We have not a clear biblical answer whether we may celebrate christmas or not, or may we take a homeopathic medicine or not, or may the sisters wear women pants etc. – and we can live together very well, like the strong and weak christians in believing (eating of meat, that was consecreted to idols) in NT times, how Paul mentioned it.

          But we have other issues like WO, where we have a clear „thus says the Lord“. Also we have, if we consider FB 18 about the spirit of prophecy, clear writings from Ellen White for example about the eating of meat, these are rules of the Holy Spirit for us, that He has given through a prophet. And it is the best for us to do it (2. Chron 20:20).

          If the most of Delegates in San Antonio humble their hearts and ask the Lord for guidance, than, I think, the Holy Spirit will lead them in only one direction: to a third NO to WO and to a NO of WO as elders, because the Holy Spirit had revealed His will already to Paul and others, so that we can find it in the bible!
          And we shall prove it on the bible, so it is possible for us without doubt to distinguish this!

          • Still, Erich, neither vegetarianism nor women elders and pastors are tests of fellowship in the SDA Church. The vote in San Antonio does not deal with the issue of female elders or female commissioned pastors. It only addresses the question of whether each division may determine whether to ordain women as pastors or not. So, if the vote is “No,” it is a vote for the status quo. Women will still be serving as elders and commissioned pastors.

    • Doug, you misrepresent my statement, which was “My personal opinion is that the church should indeed have a clear fundamental belief on male and female roles and including the teaching of the inspired counsels on ecclesiastical leadership. But the church does not have that at this time. Hopefully the next few years will see that laid in place.” The statement is hopeful rather than predicitive. I do not anticipate a change in the fundamental belief on this point in the next two years.

      The other point is that the presence or absence of a teaching in the Fundamental Beliefs list does not indicate that it is a new teaching. Many things are present but only implicit until occasion rises and they are made explicit. Look at the new 28th FB, which is such a case. Also there are developments in understanding as various ideas come to the fore or as new heresies present themselves. As societal confusion of sex roles deepens it would be useful to the mission of the church for it to present a clear statement. However, the first thing is to see if the church can obtain consensus a third time (1990/1995 being the first two) and then to see how presently insubordinate units respond to a third “No” by the world church. San Antonio should be very clarifying.

      • Thanks for the clarification, Larry. I stand corrected. It seems unlikely that there is enough consensus for a new FB to be voted anytime soon.

        I know there were a few statements by Joseph Waggoner and Daniel Bourdeau back in the 19th century, but for me the idea of “male headship of elders and pastors” was quite new when I first heard about it in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. It was way back then that I read Bacchiocchi and Holmes’ Tip of an Iceberg. For me, then, it was something that I had never heard of; it wasn’t being taught by anybody at the Seminary from 1971-1974 when I attended.

        Of course, I realize the church has never officially PRACTICED (is there any way to emphasize words without capitalizing them on this format?) WO; that part is not new. But it seems a considerable portion of the P1 theology was not taught, at least officially, before the 1980’s.

        It would be difficult to interpret a “No” vote in San Antonio to mean a “Yes” on Position #1 in its totality.

    • Doeg said: “… when we compare the theory of “male headship of elders and pastors,” with the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Church, we discover it can’t be found among them.“
      We have the teaching about WO not explicit in the 28 FB, that´s right, but implicit, and not only in FB 1. We find the principles in Nr. 12, 15, 18 too. Please tink about it:
      Nr. 12 Church: „and we join together … for instruction in the Word … The church derives its authority … from the Scriptures, which are the written Word.“
      Nr. 15 Baptism: „It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings.“
      Nr. 18 The Gift of Prophecy: „They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.“
      And had not our General give the command: „Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.“ (Matthew 28:20) And we have the commands of our General not only get trough his mouth, but through the Comforter from which he said: „I will send him unto you… he will guide you into all truth“ (John 16:7.13). And Paul get through the „spirit of Christ“ the comments about elders!

      If we want to baptize a new convert, then we must give him as a „baby“ in Christ first milk and not flesh. Usually we as ministers dont´t speak about WO, but when the candidate for baptism ask the minister about this issue – and in the time of Internet, where he can see this big problem in the SDA-church – then we have to give him a clear biblical answer. If God has given him a new heart, then, I think, he will be satisfied, and it will not be a problem. It is sad, that the NAD makes it to a big issue, and that they rebelled against the two votes of Generalkonferenz-sessions. This discord makes it for ministers more difficult.

      • Yes, Erich, I agree with what you say about FB’s 12, 15, and 18. Keep in mind that there are many Adventists–not only in North America, but in many other countries of the world who experience “new hearts” everyday, but cannot conscientiously support Position #1. I believe that brothers and sisters who fully accept the testing beliefs of the church can differ on this one point and still experience the fellowship of unity. There are many issues, like vegetarianism for example where Adventists may differ without destroying Spirit-based unity.

  41. Doug, the problem with the info you provided is this, yes culture must be observed and look to in order to know the situation in which a topic I’d set, but culture should never be the determining factor upon which a belief is set. The Great Controversy, is the underlying core of our doctrines. And if I apply that to WO, all I see is Satan working through some foolish, albeit well meaning (some of them) people, to derail the church and neutralize it’s effectiveness by altering the body to look like and imitate that which it should be In clear opposition to.

    • Good morning, Greg! Of course I agree with you that culture should never be the determining factor upon which a belief is set! So, it didn’t take long to solve that problem, did it? When the MBSD refers to culture, it is suggesting that a thorough knowledge of the values and customs of people in Bible times will help us to understand the meaning of the biblical text. It is not suggesting that we should base our beliefs on cultural values or customs that are out of line with Bible principles.

      When you talk about “seeing Satan working,” though, it makes me wonder if you have ever been a member of a church where God was working through a woman pastor? How many female pastors do you know well? Are you acquainted with any young women in our colleges and seminaries who have dedicated their lives to God, and are preparing for a career in pastoral ministry?

      When I attend church and listen to a sermon presented by one of my church’s female pastors (as I did on Sabbath, March 14), I don’t see Satan. I see God working through his willing servant. I am blessed by her message and thankful for her commitment to serve God and our local church.

  42. Unity
    God is the embodiment of benevolence, mercy, and love. Those who are truly connected with Him cannot be at variance with one another. His Spirit ruling in the heart will create harmony, love, and unity. The opposite of this is seen among the children of Satan. It is his work to stir up envy, strife, and jealousy. In the name of my Master I ask the professed followers of Christ, What fruit do you bear? {CT 90.3}
    It is the purpose of God that His children shall blend in unity. Do they not expect to live together in the same heaven? Is Christ divided against Himself? Will He give His people success before they sweep away the rubbish of evil surmising and discord, before the laborers, with unity of purpose, devote heart and mind and strength to the work so holy in God’s sight? Union brings strength; disunion, weakness. United with one another, working together in harmony for the salvation of men, we shall indeed be “laborers together with God.” Those who refuse to work in harmony greatly dishonor God. The enemy of souls delights to see them working at cross purposes with one another. Such ones need to cultivate brotherly love and tenderness of heart. If they could draw aside the curtain veiling the future and see the result of their disunion they would surely be led to repent. {CCh 43.1}
    Little differences dwelt upon lead to actions that destroy Christian fellowship. Let us not allow the enemy thus to gain the advantage over us. Let us keep drawing nearer to God and to one another. Then we shall be as trees of righteousness, planted by the Lord, and watered by the river of life. And how fruitful we shall be! Did not Christ say: “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit”? John 15:8. {CCh 45.1}
    When Christ’s prayer is fully believed, when its instruction is brought into the daily life of God’s people, unity of action will be seen in our ranks. Brother will be bound to brother by the golden bonds of || 350 limit

  43. Victor, but is unity more important than truth?

    „After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children’s children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war. Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God’s professed people. There is an alarming indifference in regard to the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith. The opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, these are not of vital importance. This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories and fatal delusions which the faithful in ages past imperiled their lives to resist and expose, are now regarded with favor by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ.“ (GC 45.46).

  44. Erich, our goal is both unity and truth. Jesus prayed that his followers would be united in the truth, in him and his teachings. The context of GC 45-46 is “the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith.” We can never compromise our doctrines for the sake of unity. Neither can we compel one another to agree on views of Scripture not clearly taught in our Fundamental Beliefs–for the sake of unity.

    Ellen White wrote, “One man may be conversant with the Scriptures, and some particular portion of the Scripture may be especially appreciated by him; another sees another portion as very important, and thus one may present one point, and another, another point, and both may be of highest value. This is all in the order of God. But if a man makes a mistake in his interpretation of some portion of the Scripture, shall this cause diversity and disunion? God forbid. ***We cannot then take a position that the unity of the church consists in viewing every text of Scripture in the very same light.*** The church may pass resolution upon resolution to put down all disagreement of opinions, but we cannot force the mind and will, and root out disagreement. . . . Nothing can perfect unity in the church but the spirit of Christlike forbearance” (MS 24, 1892; MS Release #898).

    Erich, did you notice the statement I highlighted? “We cannot then take a position that the unity of the church consists in viewing every text of Scripture in the very same light.”

    When I read 1 Cor 11:3; 1 Cor 14:33-36; 1 Tim 2:8-15; and 1 Tim 3:2, I do not “view” these texts “in the very same light” as you and some of the other members of the Council of Adventist Pastors. However, our differences in the interpretations of these passages need not affect our unity in Christ. Neither your view nor my view compromises “the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith.”

    Disunity results when we attempt to make it mandatory that every member agree with personal views that are not explicitly included in “the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith.” We are free to conscientiously differ on the meaning of certain texts as long as those differences do not compromise our church doctrines.

  45. Doug, you highlight an important truth: “We cannot then take a position that the unity of the church consists in viewing every text of Scripture in the very same light. . . . Nothing can perfect unity in the church but the spirit of Christlike forbearance.”

    You and I don’t see the texts regarding church leadership in the same light. We must reveal Christlike forbearance for each other and thus “perfect unity in our church”.

    The statement you quoted says: “But if a man makes a mistake in his interpretation of some portion of the Scripture, shall this cause diversity and disunion? God forbid.”

    It is possible that one of us is mistaken in our interpretation. While this should not cause diversity and disunion between us, we should also not let our differences of interpretation impact the united front we present to the church and to the world:

    “. . . the messengers of God should be perfectly united in their views of Bible truth and should consult with each other, and should not advance any new view until they first went to the messengers and examine those views with the Bible, and if they were correct let all the messengers spread them, and if they were error lay them to one side. Then the gospel seed would be sown in union and raised in strength; and all the messengers East and West, North and South, would be telling the same story.” {3MR 401.3}

    Those who believe that women may be ordained to ecclesiastical authority are advancing a new view. Those who believe that only men may be thus ordained are holding to an ancient view.

    Those who have a new view are to present it to those who have been holding the 6,000 year old view and if they see no light in it, those with the new views are to “lay them to one side”.

    We must tell the “same story” throughout the world church—East and West, North and South.

  46. Doug, the context of your quotation shows, that we have there another problem. Ellen White makes no restriction, which portion of texts the man misunderstood – maybe some texts of the 28 FB too and also about votes of a GC-sessions. Here the question is: how shall we handle it – shall we him dicipline, because he only has a wrong understanding of some texts but he beliefs all doctrines and is a faithful member, or shall we have „the spirit of Christlike forbearence“ and live in peace together?
    The WO-question is a different issue and has another dimensions. Here we have a clear order of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he gave Paul trough the Holy Spirit. And if the whole congregation goes in a wrong direction and the path of disobedience, shall we then follow it? And the issue of the WO is also very clear revealed in the Bible and as importend as the third angel´s message, as the spirit of prophecy tells us: „Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of woman’s rights … might as well sever all connection with the third angel’s message. The spirit which attends the one cannot be in harmony with the other. The Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women` (Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 421)
    And the foundation of SdA would be not longer the bible but cultur and the customs of the world.

    • Hi Erich, I realize that some people believe the Bible condemns the practice of women serving as elders and pastors. However, in my studies of pertinent biblical passages I have found no prohibition against women serving as elders and pastors. I have not found any “clear order.” I am not the only one who does not see any clear order prohibiting women from serving as elders and pastors in Scripture. We do not agree on this point, but since we do agree on the Spirit of unity and the 28 Fundamental Beliefs, we can have unity in Christ.

      Secondly, this issue has nothing to do with anybody’s “rights.” Nobody has any “right” to devote their life full time to the ministry of the Word. Instead, we must be called by God to devote our lives full time to his service. No one has any right to serve as an elder or pastor apart from their commissioning by God. Note what Paul said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our sufficiency is from God, who has qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, . . .” (2 Cor. 3:5-6). Please note also 1 Cor 3:10 where Paul does not claim any “right” to a career in ministry, but refers to “the commission of God given to me” instead.

  47. John Witcombe, thank you for your response. I agree with you when you say, “You and I don’t see the texts regarding church leadership in the same light. We must reveal Christlike forbearance for each other and thus “perfect unity in our church”.

    However, since the church has never agreed on any official doctrine which teaches “the male headship of elders and pastors,” I cannot agree that my understanding of Scripture: that the Bible neither prohibits nor mandates WO, is new. I agree that the church has had a policy of not ordaining women as pastors, but I cannot accept the idea that church unity is based primarily on policy. Instead unity is based on the unifying power of the Holy Spirit and agreement on the 28 Fundamental Beliefs.

    The idea that “male headship of elders and pastors” is a biblical teaching and should become one of our Fundamental Beliefs is new. I grew up in the SDA church, my father being a pastor and my mother being a church school teacher–and I never heard of such a doctrine before I read Bacchiocchi’s book, Women in the Church, in the late 1980’s. Bacchiocchi cited Wayne Grudem and other evangelical authors in that book quite a bit, you know. When it was published it was a new to Adventism as a testing truth. To this day, it is not a test of fellowship. We can disagree on the issue of women serving as elders and pastors without jeopardizing our unity in Christ.


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