Professor Edwin E. Reynolds investigates the biblical concept of ordered authority. He also considers what the Bible says and does not say about mutual submission. Some have argued from Ephesians 5:21 that husbands and wives are to practice a mutual submission, or even that there are no significant role distinctions between male and female in Christ. Understandably, the current debate over male and female roles, gender, human sexuality, and women’s ordination will benefit from a better understanding of how submission works in God’s plan. Reynolds is Professor of New Testament and Biblical Languages at Southern Adventist University. He is also the Graduate Program Coordinator for the School of Religion. He also coauthored the women’s ordination-opposing Minority Report of the North American Division.
A new book has just been released addressing the present crisis over women’s ordination in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is the result of a careful two year collaborative study of several Adventist leaders, including pastors, university professors, conference administrators, physicians, teachers, and lay-leaders—men and women alike—from around the world. Featured contributors include Doug Batchelor, Stephen Bohr, Allen Davis, Laurel Damsteegt, Michael Hasel, C. Raymond Holmes, Jim Howard, Wayne Kablanow, Larry Kirkpatrick, Daniel Knapp Sr., Kent Knight, Mike Lambert, Junie Lawson, Don Mackintosh, Carrisa McSherry, Phil Mills, Kevin Paulson, John Peters, Eugene Prewitt, David Read, Edwin Reynolds, Alvaro Sauza, Ingo Sorke, Mario Veloso.
This 128 page book concisely yet carefully addresses the key issues. Chapters address hermeneutics, spiritual gifts, church offices, qualifications, Ellen White’s example, gender role differences, headship, Ellen White’s teaching on gender roles, culture and consequences, and the way forward. Special material is included addressing the facts about General Conference action on elders and also the “China” question.
This is an important book offering a concise summary of key factors in the decisions faced by Seventh-day Adventists in the General Conference session to be held in San Antonio Texas in July 2, 2015!
The book is available in quantities of 10 or more for only $1.00 each. Order yours now. Every Adventist in your congregation should have an opportunity to read this book!
The book is available through Amazing Facts: http://www.afbookstore.com/item/i/BK-AOC/n/The_Adventist_Ordination_Crisis/
On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, the Adventist Review published an article titled “Appeal made over Andrews statement on headship. On August 21, 2014 during a quiet summer session, the remaining present Seminary faculty published a seven page statement opposing male headship. The statement aroused immediate concern. Now a group of several theology professors, faculty, alumni, and others has responded with a carefully prepared document titled “An Open Appeal From Faculty, Alumni, Students, and Friends of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary: To Faculty of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Regarding the Recent Seminary Statement on the Unique Headship of Christ in the Church.” While the August Seminary statement was unsigned, the new response document has 24 signatories.
The Adventist Review article is found at this link:
Link to Appeal to Seminary document: http://ordinationtruth.com/?attachment_id=2259. NOTE: Updated with minor corrections
Among those taken to task in Angel Rodriguez’ 76 page paper addressing the main pro-biblical qualification (anti-WO) arguments was Edwin Reynolds. Professor Reynolds has responded point by point in a paper here made available. Those who have read Rodriguez’ paper will want to review Reynolds’ thoughtful response. FIND IT HERE.
In the January 2014 meeting of the Theology of Ordination Study Commottee (TOSC), several papers were presented. Among these was this short paper prepared by 10 members of the committee. This paper is a concise evaluation of several of the arguments favoring women’s ordination. The ten authors writing this response are Gerhard Pfandl with Daniel Bediako, Steven Bohr, Laurel and Gerard Damsteegt, Jerry Moon, Paul Ratsara, Ed Reynolds, Ingo Sorke, and Clinton Wahlen.
Among other things, this paper addresses the following pro-woman’s ordination arguments advanced by those holding that position:
- In Genesis 1 there is full equality in function between man and woman.
- Adam and Eve were priests in the pre-fall Eden sanctuary.
- Male headship did not exist in the Garden; it is a result of the fall and applies only to the marriage relationship and not to the church.
- The qualification lists in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:1-11 are gender neutral.
- Junia in Romans 16 was a female apostle.
- Galatians 3:26-29 applies not only to salvation, but it also abolishes the subordination of “females to males.”
- 1 Timothy 2:12-14 applies only to a specific situation in Ephesus and does not refer to the relationship that should universally exist between men and women.
- The priesthood of all believers permits women to be ordained as elders/ministers.
- Ministry in the New Testament Church was non-hierarchical.
- “Head” in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 has the meaning of source rather than spiritual authority.
It may appear to the world church that the North American Division is immovably united in favor of Women’s Ordination. This is far from the case. Many Adventists in the small towns surrounding our universities in North America do favor Women’s Ordination. There are a few geographical locations like Southern California, Western Oregon, and parts of Ohio, where this is also the case. However, it is probably still true that the majority of Adventists in North America are not committed to Women’s Ordination. Many oppose it on serious biblical grounds.
Many NAD administrators and scholars seem in favor. But not all. For example, Edwin E. Reynolds teaches in the religion department at Southern Adventist University. Clinton Wahlen is an associate director of the Biblical Research Institute. Both are members in the North American Division and were among those selected to engage in study on behalf of the North American Division Theology of Ordination Study Committee. They have prepared a powerful study in which they dissent from the Majority report. This material is included as part of the NAD Report released on November 2, 2013. We have made available in the following link the full North American Division Theology of Ordination Study Committee Minority Report.
In the report, Reynolds and Wahlen point in particular to the central issue of interpretive method. “The current divergence in views on the subject of women’s ordination is due in part to different understandings of the nature of Scripture and how it should be interpreted. . . Some advocate an approach that takes into account the ‘trajectory’ of Scripture. . . extrapolated so that the trajectory beyond and outside of Scripture can be seen. . . such an approach, even though it might broadly affirm the Bible’s inspiration, nevertheless undermines it by characterizing selected portions of Scripture as time- and culture-bound and, therefore, tinged with the author’s prejudicial views on such topics, rather than God’s thoughts which are valid for all places and all time” (p. 195). The authors are concerned about this approach, and warn, “it is one thing to study the historical-cultural backgrounds to enlighten our understanding of the setting in which the text was written; it is another thing altogether to suggest that the text was culturally conditioned and that, therefore, a trajectory beyond the text must be constructed for our current, more enlightened age” (pp. 196, 197).
Reynolds and Wahlen look closely at passages like Genesis two, Deborah in Judges, 1 Timothy 2, 1 Corinthians 11, among others. They conclude that “ordaining women represents a significant departure from the biblical model” (p. 207). And, they warn that “To follow the Bible model on the issue of women’s ordination will require courage like that of our pioneers. Nevertheless, it is the only basis on which we can expect to maintain global unity, receive God’s continued blessing, and, most importantly, anticipate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to finish His work” (p. 208).
Among the varied studies produced on Women’s Ordination in the past five years in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, few illuminate so much in so compact a space as this document. The Council of Adventist Pastors encourages all to read the NAD Theology of Ordination Study Committee Report Minority Report.
UPDATED: 2013-11-05 01:51: Adventist Review Reports on the NAD TOSC Report here: http://www.adventistreview.org/article/6791/archives/issue-2013-1530/30-cn-north-america-church-leaders-receive-theology-of-ordination-report.
2013-11-04 21:59: As the North American Division Year-end Meeting draws to a close, the NAD has finally come to its Division report for the Theology of Ordination Study committee. They voted to receive the report, although 31 voted “No.” NAD has also launched a new website (NADOrdination.com) with several videos. What will surprise some is that NAD has now come out into the open with a new hermeneutical approach in contrast to the Historical-grammatical approach of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The new approach has been designated by its advocates the “Principle-based Historical-cultural” method (PBHC). Kyoshin Ahn writes positively about the new hermeneutic as a representing “a whole new movement in biblical studies. . . . The overwhelming majority of the [NAD] committee feels that these difficult passages [passages mentioned by those who oppose WO] require the modern Adventist reader to employ a principle-based approach” (North American Division Theology of Ordination Study Committee Report, pp. 23, 31). In the Minority Report, included in the NAD-TOSC Report, Edwin H. Reynolds and Clinton Wahlen ably point out the dangers of unsound interpretive approaches. Warn Reynolds and Wahlen in their minority report, “. . .it is one thing to study the historical-cultural backgrounds to enlighten our understanding of the setting in which the text was written.; it is another thing altogether to suggest that the text was culturally conditioned and that, therefore, a trajectory beyond the text must be constructed for our current more enlightened age. If the latter were true, it would mean that the Bible does not set forth universal principles but only that which was perceieved by the inspire writers to be valid for the local situation at the time or, even worse, reflects then-current prejudices and misunderstandings” (Ibid., pp. 196, 197). No doubt, CAP shall publish more on these developments in due course.
2013-10-31 13:26: It appears so far that the first report below may be correct. Ms. Roberts is said to have been welcomed at the Year-end Meeting by NAD Secretary G. Alexander Bryant. Long applause is reported. The NAD, PUC, and the SECC seem to be jointly aligned in upholding actions which are in defiance of the General Conference in session.
2013-10-31 07:22: General Conference Statement “Moving Forward Together” here: http://www.adventistreview.org/article/6780/archives/issue-2013-1530/30-cn-moving-forward-together. Excerpt from the statement: “Working Policy, which is the recording of our agreements as to how we will work together to do the Lord’s work and mission, serves as one of the practical unifying agents that the Holy Spirit uses to bind the church together. Policy is not inflexible. It can be changed but it reflects the understanding of the collective group, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When personal convictions are placed ahead of the collective policy decisions of the worldwide church, troubling precedents are set. God works in an orderly way and wishes His church to exemplify this sanctified behavior through the power of the Holy Spirit. Humility and submission to God for the good of the church body as outlined in the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy are fundamental Biblical principles for the benefit of the church.
“At the 2012 Annual Council in a voted action entitled, “Statement on Church Polity, Procedures, and Resolution of Disagreements in the Light of Recent Union Actions on Ministerial Ordination,” the world church strongly indicated that it does not recognize as ordained ministers individuals who do not meet the criteria outlined in policy. It deeply concerns the world leadership of the church that recently a local conference constituency elected as a conference president an individual who is not recognized by the world church as an ordained minister. Ordination to the ministry is one of the criteria set forth for being a conference president. General Conference administration is working with the North American Division administration as they deal with the implications of this local conference action, which is contrary to the 2012 Annual Council action.” (This statement appears now here: http://news.adventist.org/all-news/news/go/2013-10-31/adventist-officers-release-statement-regarding-a-local-conferences-recent-election-of-president-1/. The NAD Year-end Meeting begins on October 31 at 1:30 Eastern time.
2013-10-31 00:40: It is being reported that NAD officers and the union officers from the NAD met on October 30 and confirmed that Sandy Roberts will be given the same registration packet and badge as everyone else and will participate in the NAD Year End Meetings the same as every other elected president of a local conference.
If this is true, and if it actually comes to pass that Ms. Roberts will be a voting participant in this YEM, the North American Division will be openly aligning itself with the insubordination of the Southeastern California Conference that elected a woman in a position the world church only authorizes men to fill. If indeed this comes to pass it will mean that the NAD stands in open violation of its own Working Policy. Check E-60.
NOTE: Information in this post is to be considered only tentative until confirmed.
NOTE: This post will be updated.