The current language favored by many who advocate the Ordination of Women (WO) is “ordination without regard to gender” (OWRG). The OrdinationTruth.com NPUC coordinating pastors have chosen not to use that language. The following briefly explains why we find some terms problematic and in some cases choose not to use them.

GENDER INCLUSIVE (GI). This phrase has most of the same problems as OWRG. Its implied opposite is gender exclusiveness–which is an implicit mischaracterization of our position. We believe that all Christians, women and men, should minister. See OWRG.

CREATION ORDER or ORDERED HEADSHIP. Many of us prefer this terminology when speaking of the Scriptural concept of headship. God has created His universe His way. In the beginning He created humanity with exactly two sexes; in the end, there shall continue to be exactly two human sexes. To speak of “male headship” alone might suggest exclusion of women, or that men are not under headship (they are under the headship of Christ). There is an ordered headship that is biblical, including non-gendered beings as well as gendered (“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3 ESV). Headship is about the divine order, not about maleness. Males are called to positions of headship, females not. Another terminology is “male headship, female submission.” To some, this phrasing may sound arbitrary, focused too narrowly on the human aspect to the exclusion of the divine. “Creation order” or “ordered headship,” captures something of the larger picture, reminding us not only of the principle of headship but of the Divine Orderer who designed it.

ORDINATION WITHOUT REGARD TO GENDER (OWRG). We reject the terminology “Ordination without regard to gender.” This phrase may appear a helpful means of moving the question away from gender but opens the way for more than at first apparent. For example, controvery arose with the recent proposal of an Ontario, Canada curriculum that would have taught third graders the existence of six genders (male, female, transgendered, transsexual, two-spirited and inter-sexed). In the secular context, every recognized gender category comes with an innate legitimacy. To declare that “two-spirited” or “transsexual” are genders is at the same time to legitimize them. If the terminology OWRG is accepted, the way will already be opened for the next problem. History reveals that after denominational acceptance of WO, the next step—invariably—is the ordination of homosexuals. We reject the terminology OWRG.

UNITY AND UNIFORMITY. Some favoring WO argue that the church in refusing to grant them their desire are insisting on uniformity. However, the WO question involves a global church seeking to function in harmony with God’s order. Ordained ministers have not local but global authority. Unity is defined as the state of being one, uniformity, such a combination of parts as to constitute a whole. Most dictionaries include all these ideas under the word “unity.” In other words, complaining about uniformity while urging a unity which is actually a diversity is nonsensical. The church does not have two heads but one, Christ. We cleave to Him or not.

WOMEN IN MINISTRY (WIM). This term is often used by those who favor Women’s Ordination (WO) to characterize the position of those opposed to WO. They sometimes state that we oppose “women in ministry.” However, none of us have met even one person opposed to WO who opposed the ministry of women. What some oppose is women in certain ministry leadership roles which Scripture reserves to males. Since the larger issue is supposedly one of fairness, it is especially disturbing that some advocates of WO persist in mischaracterizing us. We, 100% of the OrdinationTruth.com NPUC coordinating ministers, are in FAVOR of women in ministry. We suggest care in the use of this term, because it may mischaracterize the position of some.

WOMEN’S ORDINATION (WO). This is one of the earliest terms used in this debate, and perhaps the most straightforward. It exactly portrays the key point at issue, which is whether or not God is leading His Church to appoint women to leadership positions of headship. We choose to use this term where applicable.

5 thoughts on “Why we disagree on language

  1. Dear Supporting Pastors as a local Elder I support this website wholeheartenly. I know that you’re all taking a risk by placing your names on this Ordination Truth website yet you’ve shown that you’re committed to presenting the whole truth of the matter. Rest assured that you’re not alone in this committment. This issue must be addressed from the scriptures only and the examples that we’re given. It is indeed unfortunately that some among us doesn’t longer feel that God has a divine order in the i.e…family,church.

    Reply
  2. You are committed to presenting the whole truth on this matter. I believe you have done a credible job on this. A website like this has long been overdue. Why should it be that those with biblical light on this should need a separate table where issues can be discussed? Yet it is so.

    The tangle about ‘fairness’ has caused inspired words to be mocked as some cultural aberration. Also, those who raise the question may be rejected without a minute’s consideration. It seems we need Nicodemus. “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” John 7:51

    I strongly endorse women doing ministry. However, I have found it difficult to find women (elders or not) who are excited about actually doing follow-up of interested women who come to church or a meeting the first time.

    Retired pastor.

    Reply
  3. @Tom Stanford – such a sweeping generalization suggesting women are not interested in ministry is pretty sexist. I hazard to guess that men (elders or not) are equally disinterested in following up with church visitors.

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  4. Actually, “Women’s Ordination” is not fully accurate, for we are not opposed to ordination of women to service positions that are under the authority of elder/overseer. We are really only opposed to Women’s Ordination to Elder/Overseer (WOE/O or WOE!)

    Reply
    • Basically agreed. See Foundations of Womens Ordination, pts 1 and 8 for the same clarification. We are not opposed to the laying on of hands for women who would so serve.

      Reply

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