No organizational structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church exists in China. Nevertheless, there is news from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, Chinese Union Mission field, relating to women’s ordination. Approximately two dozen women workers there had been assigned a status of “ordained” on the basis of Chinese government rules. However, it is reported that those women who had received “ordained” credentials from the Chinese government have voluntarily turned them in and received Commissioned minister credentials in their place.

The main reason women are more prominent in ministry in China is because men are expected to work, even on Sabbath, while women have more freedom to be at home. This results in more flexibility for women to do the work of ministry. Neither the Bible nor the Adventist Church approve of secular labor during the Sabbath.

Men who do not work are considered suspect unless they are ordained by the Three-Self Movement. If they receive state-sponsored ordination they are monitored and controlled by the Chinese government. It is difficult for men to become pastor of a house church (secret congregations which are not recognized by the government) unless the men are very old and are retired. Thus women fill the gap left by men’s general unavailability for the work of ministry in this unique field.

Women in unusual situations may step in to fill a void, but God’s plan is for men to assume the spiritual leadership role (1 Timothy 2:9-13; 3:2; Titus 1:5). Although these Adventist women had been “ordained” in China in the past, they have decided to accept replacement of their ordination credential with the commissioned minister credential. One such female worker said, “It isn’t about titles over here. It’s about getting the work done! We don’t want any distractions from ministry and this really isn’t even an issue over here.”

In San Antonio, Texas, at the 2015 General Conference session, the assembled delegates of the world church voted not to permit Divisions to make independent provision for the ordination of women in their fields. The Seventh-day Adventist Church maintains a unified world practice of appointing spiritually-qualified men to congregational leadership. World practice should not be based on side-cases and anomalous situations. Still, the decision of these workers is a step forward for unity in the world church.

We will update this article with corrections and added information as it becomes available.

16 thoughts on “Chinese Women Revoke Ordination

  1. This news story is very significant because when women’s ordination was being discussed before the San Antonio vote, the fact that women pastors in China were ordained was given as a rational for this to become SDA Church policy. What an unselfish and gracious spirit expressed in this quote: “It isn’t about titles over here. It’s about getting the work done! We don’t want any distractions from ministry and this really isn’t even an issue over here.” Amen, Sisters! You have our thanks and admiration for your service!

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  2. Cathy, it was more the will of men, than women, that forced this agenda on the church community. It was their assertion that they were liberating women from the slavery of male headship.

    While there has certainly been considerable abuse of the male headship position because of sin, it is no excuse to abandon the principle of male headship that God ordained because men have abused the authority that was God given.

    Christian men should always consider it an obligation to protect and preserve the identity and value of the women in their responsible role as wife and mother in the home. Responsible male headship carries comprehensive responsibilities as the servant head of the home, church, and even in civil society.

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    • Bill, I agree entirely with the second and third paragraph of your reply. On the first paragraph, where did you get your information?

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      • If you read Spectrum and the comments by people like George Tichy and a host of others, it is their position that women have been enslaved by men and the whole thing is a male ego scenario.

        He thinks we all need some mental care as a bunch of “nut jobs” who are insane. He is a doctor of psychology and he would diagnose us all who defend male headship as wacko.

        Of course, if male headship is not scriptural, he would be right. But like heaven, God Himself ordains the various levels of authority in His government and everyone is happy with what ever role God has placed them in. It was Lucifer who challenged the various roles in heaven and decided that he should be first.

        It was pure rebellion against God’s authority and this same rebellion is manifested by those who attack male headship to overthrow God’s system of government here on earth. They may think they are “liberating” the slaves but are only creating massive confusion in the home, the church, and even civil society.

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        • Thank you for the explanation. While I recognized this perspective, I wanted to know specifically who you were referencing. I agree entirely with your comments above because they are Scriptural and based upon the Spirit of Prophecy’s counsel.

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  3. While these Chinese women no doubt mean well, their actions and words epitomize Laodicea, lukewarmness. If they were hot, they would not only turn in their ordained credentials, they would step out of their roles as pastors of flocks. May the Lord continue to guide them and all His people into all truth.

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  4. China, what a mess for the Church! I don’t believe women Pastors should step down entirely due to the constraints imposed on men by the government. Denying the ordination aspect and yet maintaining a position as “acting minister”, while in reality recognizing the authority of men headship, for purposes of State legal requirements is a reasonable compromise. I don’t see this a Laodicea, I see this as a practical solution under extraordinary circumstances.

    On the other hand, what do we really know about the details of how all this works as it relates to government laws other than what we read or is reported. At best, we see through a glass darkly as to the reality of ministering in China. I say Gob bless these women who are doing the best they can in an untenable situation.

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    • Amen. I think we can be too quick to express opinions about things we have a very limited knowledge about. This is one of those topics very few of us understands comprehensively. God is the only One that can judge such situations. I don’t wish to “speak evil of those things which they know not.” Jude 10.

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    • Should women raising children of an absent dad, or of a neglectful dad, not take on the role of spiritual headship in their family? Therefore neither should these women. Let the shame be upon the men who abandon or neglect their responsibility.

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      • Women have a God-given responsibility to teach their children. This responsibility is theirs whether the father is present or absent, so your argument does not hold. Furthermore, the Word makes it perfectly clear that their family responsibility does not carry over into the church, ever, under any circumstance.

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        • I’m not talking about teaching, but Spiritual headship (authority).

          Your last sentence contradicts Judges 4:4 “Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time.” She was judge because the man God chose rejected the role.

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          • Deborah had zero spiritual headship in Israel. She was asked and allowed to judge only because she was recognized as a prophet. As such, her judgments were known to be coming from God and not from her person. If she had not been a prophet, no one would have gone to her for judgments. The Church always needs and wants to hear the Words of God through His prophets, whether they be male or female prophets. However, prophets had no spiritual headship in Israel, and have never had any spiritual/ecclesiastical authority in God’s Church. They are simply messengers. Notice that being a prophet did not mean that such a person was then allowed to minister in the Sanctuary. If they are not speaking God’s message to the Church, then the words of prophet speaks have no more authority than those of any other member. And if we are speaking of a female prophet who is not speaking God’s Words, but her own, then her words have no more authority in the Church than those of any other woman, that is, no authority whatsoever, as women are not allowed to either teach men nor to have any kind of theological or ecclesiastic authority over them.

    • Compromise, a central Laodicean inclination. Let’s have a good compromise between being too hot or too cold.

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  5. God is seeking to perfect a people that will follow the Lamb wherever He goes, though the heavens fall. This is the great want of the world! Like Uzzah, Laodicean men think they have the answers in “unusual” or “extraordinary” circumstances, despite the fact that their answers are in direct contradiction to clear commands of God. These men say, “we are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. We don’t need God’s help to solve this problem. We know what to do in this tough situation. We know that God has said that women are forbidden to teach men, but we are wiser than God and we know that in some circumstances it is OK for women to do precisely what God has forbidden. Trust us, we are rich in understanding spiritual things, and increased with sound doctrine, and have need of no further teaching.” Like Uzzah, these men think that without their help the work of the Lord will fall.

    What would happen if the women in China were obedient to the Word? What would God do for His Church there? If we are to find out, we must first be obedient.

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  6. My favorite thing that these women said was “It isn’t about titles” they are concentrating on unity and teaching about God. So let’s pray for their witness to others and not condemnation for their preaching the word of God. Let’s support their efforts for Christ

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  7. Kenneth Neal, Blessings on you my brother! It’s nice to Know that there are Men, still willing to stand up, and tell it like it is, in the face of persecution!

    I’m wondering if anyone will make sure that this massage, will get to the North American Division, President, Daniel Jackson!
    He believes that “Ordination” that there is no difference with “GOD”, and that men and women are equal in every way!
    His letter spelled that out!

    I want to give you the assurance that the vote yesterday (at the 2016 Annuel Council Meeting, 10-12-2016). did not affect your status as a pastor. Furthermore, as stated in our press release yesterday, the North American Division remains committed to empower and establish our “Women” in pastoral ministry.
    We will not give up on this ideal and goal.
    We are grateful to God for your committed service to Him.
    I recognize that there may be, in the coming days, significant
    rumor mongering and conspiracy theories that predict dire
    outcomes, etc. My encouragement to you is to keep your
    eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
    My dear sisters, God will work things out in His time.
    His purposes will succeed. Please keep holding on.
    God bless each of you”.

    After being taught and trained in the way of Adeventism, and the vows that I took fifty years ago when I became a Seventh-Day Adventist. I took issue with this, and all other Men that felt this way; co pletely overlooking the word of “GOD”!!!!

    Where-in, it is written: But I would have you know, that the head of every man is “CHRIST”; and the head of the Woman is the “Man”; and the head of “CHRIST is GOD”. 1 Corinthians 11:3

    What’ll we do with that? Should we ease it, and replace it with our own way, and continue Apostatizing???

    Well, once again, I got busy and sent another Commentary up to the General Conference, Attention: office of the President Ted N.C Wilson, letting him know that as a Deacon, I stand ready to maintain along with other “Men” committed to the “MISSION” given to this church. Upholding the decision that came out of the 60th General Conference Session, in San Antonio Texas, 2015 for the third time….. In A Row! Against Women’s Ordination, and at the same time maintaining what has been written and agreed upon in the General Conference Working Policy

    Reply

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