WO Symposium “Dangers on the Horizon” | Pr. Larry Kirkpatrick

DOWNLOAD HANDOUT for Kirkpatrick Bakersfield presentation.
WO Symposium PANEL DISCUSSION Allen Davis, Gerzon Gomez, Larry Kirkpatrick, Laurel Damsteegt, Jennifer Arruda, Daniel Mesa

WO Symposium “The Forgotten Story of 1989″ | Laurel Damsteegt

WO Symposium “Gift Versus Appointment” | Allen Davis

WO Symposium “We the People, Must Speak” | Jennifer Arruda

WO Symposium “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth” | Pr. Daniel Mesa

WO Symposium “The Impact of Culture and the Desire for Unity” | Allen Davis

WO Symposium “A Woman’s Full Participation in Ministry” | Julie Mesa

The following presentations were given and live-streamed on Wednesday and Thursday, October 1, 2, 2014:

Womens Ordination #1 Oct 1 — “Are You Sure? Issues and Answers” — Stephen Bohr

Womens Ordination #2 Oct 2 — “The Impact of Spiritualism on Feminism and Gender Issues Today” — Laurel Damsteegt

Women’s Ordination #3 Oct 2 — “From Mohaven to TOSC: How we got here” — Mario Veloso

Women’s Ordination #4 Oct 2 — “Male Headship in the Old Testament” — John Peters

Women’s Ordination #5 Oct 2 — “Male Headship in the New Testament” — Ingo Sorke

Women’s Ordination #6 Oct 2 — “Hermeneutics: Universal Principles and Local Application — 1st Panel”

Women’s Ordination #7 Oct 2 — “Straw Man Arguments in Favor of Women’s Ordination” — Eugene Prewitt

Women’s Ordination #8 Oct 2 — “The Present Relevance of 1 Timothy” — Don Mackintosh

Prs. Larry Kirkpatrick and Mike Lambert discuss the theological movement of denominations which approve women’s ordination and their inevitable drift into approval of same-sex unions. They consider how one and only one denomination so far has turned back from this—by reestablishing a historical-grammatical interpretive plan at their seminary. Discussion turns, with some regret, to the current situation of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary located in Berrien Springs, MI. The women’s ordination-favoring theological approach of the current dean is investigated, the core presupposition identified. 13 minutes.

After some 18 months of work, the 106 member Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) concluded deliberations with a June 2-4, 2014 meeting. The TOSC study group was appointed as a result of the 2010 Atlanta General Conference session request made by the North American Division (NAD) that the Church consider women’s ordination yet again. It is now possible to look more broadly at what TOSC (not an NAD but a General Conference committee), has revealed.

Key outcomes from the 2013-2014 TOSC process now concluded include:

  • The committee agreed that the Seventh-day Adventist practice of ordination was valid (some had urged the practice was unbiblical).
  • The committee agreed that women should be involved in ministry. This was never in dispute although some favoring women’s ordination (WO) had suggested it was.
  • As meetings progressed it became apparent some supporters of WO were proposing the use of methods that seriously diverged from the longstanding Seventh-day Adventist use of the historical-grammatical approach to biblical interpretation. Advocates of WO unveiled an “adaptation” of the historical-grammatical method and a “major” (2013 NAD Report, p. 24) plan for biblical interpretation they called the “principle-based, historical-cultural” (PBHC) method. This approach they placed on a continuum between the historical-critical and historical-grammatical methods! (Ibid., p. 8). This modification in approach, they said, was “required” in order to address certain “difficult passages” (Ibid., p. 31). Fortuitously for those favoring WO, the use of the PBHC method eliminated from the Bible “conclusive evidence prohibiting the ordination of women” (Ibid., p. 25). The NAD study committee report here quoted from, far from supporting the historical-grammatical method as claimed (Ibid., pp. 7, 8, 14-20) actually treated the 1986 “Methods of Bible Study” document advocating it selectively at best, even criticizing it (Ibid., pp. 23-25).
  • Several biblical passages touching the question of Headship were studied in TOSC. Although the committee as a whole was divided, many found the exploration of the Scriptures on this point stimulating and useful.

The spirit of the meetings remained positive, but TOSC closed with no consensus. Participants remained sharply divided over women’s ordination.

The results of the TOSC process will in due course be made available in its final report, which includes the positions and recommendations suggested by groups in the committee. This material will be forwarded to General Conference ADCOM (Administrative committee) this month. At Annual Council this October the General Conference will review TOSC’s advisory recommendations and determine how the women’s ordination question will be processed at the 2015 General Conference session in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

In the concluding meeting, a third distinct group developed. This group felt it necessary to concede that the Church should let each division decide the women’s ordination question for itself. While holding that the office of the ordained minister should ideally be carried out by males, this group’s overarching stated concern was unity. And so, as God permitted Israel to choose for itself a king against His will, the Church should let each division decide the women’s ordination question for itself—even if the decision to ordain women was wrong.

A straw poll was taken on the last day of the meeting. Thirty-two persons voted for the biblical-qualifications (anti-women’s ordination) position. Forty committee members favored women’s ordination. And 22 persons voted for the let-each-division-decide-independently option. Imagine! Here we stand on the very borders of the heavenly Canaan, and the best we can do is agree to disagree?

The straw poll seemed to show that the participating majority of the committee would approve of having each division decide the matter of women’s ordination for itself—yet this was not so. In fact, the “Biblical qualifications” (anti-WO) and the “A proposal for an accord on Women in Ministry” (pro-women’s ordination) positions were very firm. Thus, the majority of the 95 polls returned (73) were NOT interested in the compromise position as their first option. (But as many as 12 who favored women’s ordination could have included the compromise position as their second option). But the straw poll also showed (32 + 22) that more than half of those participating understood male headship/leadership to be the biblical position. The compromise position garnered 22 responses as first choice, yet of those 22 almost as many, 19, were willing to accept another option. Thus, the compromise position lacked deep commitment. In contrast to these, zero of the 32 participants marking the “biblical qualifications” (anti-WO) position were willing to mark either alternative as second choice, while two did have a distant third option they preferred to the other. And so, a more nuanced look at the poll results shows that rather than being fluid, the positions are rather firmly locked.


Some favoring women’s ordination will overstate the significance of the straw poll results, but in actuality, there is little in the TOSC process for them to rejoice in. TOSC has revealed the most fundamental point in the whole matter. Namely, that should the world church adopt women’s ordination, it will have to change its approach to biblical interpretation in order to lend support for the new practice. It is no news that some are ready to change how we interpret the Bible in order to prevent “division” of the church. Yet the facts remain: the church is divided as never before.

TOSC has not created the divide. It has only more clearly revealed it.

Everything turns on the Adventist approach to biblical interpretation. Encouraging each division to act unilaterally on women’s ordination would set the precedent that in future, every division would decide on same-sex marriage or any other overly controversial matter. In essence, this course of action would mean abandoning global coherence as a church body. We would become a gaggle of disagreeing units each doing what was locally felt to be the right. Can a church thrive or even persist in existence when it values unity even at the sacrifice of God’s ideal, more than that unity founded on the authority of “the Scripture of truth”? Another denomination might survive that approach for a time; the Seventh-day Adventist Church would not.

TOSC could not have been more successful in revealing that the Church now stands at a monumental crossroads in biblical interpretation. Whatever is decided in San Antonio, it will be impossible to turn back.

This short program examines the North American Division “Majority Report” proposed “Principle-based, Historical-cultural” (PBHC) method of biblical interpretation. The method has been proposed as a means of dealing with certain “difficult texts” proponents of women’s ordination (WO) have struggled with. With the use of the PBHC method, the difficult texts disappear, and “no conclusive evidence prohibiting the ordination of women can be found in the Bible.” This video examines proposed guidelines for when to use PBHC, notes its close relation to the Historical-critical method, and discusses its embrace of reader-response criticism. Finally, the question is answered, can this method be considered to be compatible with longstanding Seventh-day Adventist use of the Historical-grammatical method. In behalf of the Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP) host Jim Brackett interviews Pr Larry Kirkpatrick.

This video continues the Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP) interview by Pr. Jim Brackett of Pr. Larry Kirkpatrick. Part 1 was posted separately yesterday. This is part 2, and immediately follows part 1 to complete the full segment. Part 1 had concluded with a restatement of the longstanding Seventh-day Adventist principle of not judging Scripture with independent human reason, but letting Scripture judge our reason. The above video compares this with the NAD’s “Majority Report” proposal. NAD asks that the church make its authority an imaginary future point after the New Testament where God’s ideal will for male and female roles would reach fruition. Comparisons continue to the end of the segment.

On November 4, 2013, the North American Division’s biblical research committee brought its completed study on women’s ordination to its Year-end Meeting. The document was approved by 182 of 216 NAD delegates. Astonishingly, the study (we refer to the “Majority Report”) proposed a new method of biblical interpretation. They claimed it to be in harmony with longstanding Seventh-day Adventist use of the Historical-grammatical method. Most Seventh-day Adventists are unaware of this officially proposed NAD approach to the Bible. The Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP) has produced video interviews discussing the NAD’s “Principle-based Historical-cultural” method (PBHC). In three segments, Pr Jim Brackett interviews Pr Larry Kirkpatrick to unpack the implications.


By Many Hands

(ABOVE: Current ELCA presiding bishop Elizabeth Eaton December 5, 2013.)

(ABOVE: Matthew C. Harrison, August 29, 2009, commenting on the ECLA vote. “We must be willing to confess our dogma. We must be willing to confess Scripture, no matter what the world presses upon us.” Harrison is co-editor of the book Women Pastors? The Ordination of Women in Lutheran Perspective. He became LCMS president July 13, 2010.)

Although OrdinationTruth.com is especially focused on the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in order to keep church members informed, from time to time we share notes on the historical development of current Adventist problems as seen in other Christian groups. Often certain challenges that find their way to the front in the Adventist Church are seen in other groups many years beforehand.

The Lutheran Church is “ahead” of us on the questions of women’s ordination and homosexuality. Here’s a short sketch.

The whole sequence of events proceeded thus. In the 1960’s the evolutionary approach to creation was adopted by the LCA (Lutheran Church of America). In 1970 the denomination voted to ordain women pastors.

The actual step in the LCA permitting the ordination of women was quite simple. At the biennial convention at Minneapolis, as part of the report of the Commission on the Comprehensive Study of the Doctrine of the Ministry, it was recommended that in church bylaws the word ‘man’ in defining ‘a minister of this church’ be changed to ‘person.’ Shortly after 10 P.M. on June 29, 1970, the item was adopted ‘with a resounding voice vote,’ one delegate (a woman) asking to have her negative recorded. Appropriate changes were made in other church documents, and the first woman ordained, a campus pastor, on November 22, 1970″ (John H.P. Reumann, Ministries Examined (1987), p. 122).

No doubt the whole purpose behind the Comprehensive Study document was to introduce the change in wording from “male” to “person.” From the vote in June until the first female ordination on November 22, just 116 days passed.

In 1971 J.A.O. Preuss II was elected president of LCMS (Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod) which had been friendly with LCA. Controversy within LCMS exploded in the mid-1970s resulting in the removal from Concordia Theological Seminary of professors who practiced the Historical-critical method of biblical interpretation. The LCMS is the largest Lutheran body rejecting the ordination of women.

Reumann’s book quoted above advocates women’s ordination. Reumann was full-on historical-critical. He admits,

To begin with the Old Testament, with 1 Corinthians 14, or 1 Timothy 2, can lead only to the exclusion of women from ordained ministry. . . On the other hand, if one begins with Galatians 3:27-28, a case is possible that women should share equally with men in the church’s Ministry (Ibid., p. 117).

The LCA agreed to unite with the ALC and the AELC (which withdrawn from Missouri Synod in 1982) and the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) was thus formed in 1988. Twenty-one years later the ELCA assembly voted to approve same-sex marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals. That action was taken on the basis of a ten year “sociological study” of human sexuality, not on the basis of a biblical study. It was all possible because of a gradual erosion of sola scriptura and the inevitable hermeneutic that followed—most of which had developed virtually unperceived by the laity.

On August 21, 2009, the ELCA Assembly in Minneapolis voted to permit congregations to call and ordain gays and lesbians “in committed monogamous relationships” to serve as clergy. Voting 559 to 451, delegates declared that persons in “publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationships” could serve as ministers. The decision was not made binding for all ELCA Congregations.

Since then, the ELCA has lost more than 1000 congregations and at least a half-million members—approximately a fifth of its total membership. According to public figures, the ELCA budget stood at 88 million in 2005. The budget of the ELCA in 2011 was 48 million dollars.

(ABOVE: Then ELCA presiding bishop Mark Hanson announces ELCA downsizing October 15, 2010. The is the same person who officiates at the installation of practicing homosexual Guy Erwin in the video link later in this article.)

These links show ELCA membership trends both before and after the 2009 decision:



While some 1000 congregations have left the ELCA, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Synod have benefited from new members and congregations. Additionally, two newer groups have sprung up including many former ELCA congregations. The LCMC is the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ have gained some 500 new congregations in America since the 2009 ELCA decision. The NALC (North American Lutheran Church) was formed in 2010, and now numbers more than 350 congregations. Several other ELCA Lutherans have left it because of these developments and, almost unbelievably, joined the Roman Catholic Church (which rejects the ordination of women and homosexuals). A cursory search across the internet reveals that many ELCA members have left and joined the Roman Catholic Church as well.

But nothing stands still. The Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin on May 31, 2013 became the first practicing homosexual man to be chosen bishop in the ELCA. He was elected to a six year term as bishop of Southwest California Synod. (Video of Erwin’s “installation.”)

On August 14, 2013 the ELCA elected its first female world church leader, the Elizabeth Eaton. Eaton appeals to her church in the short 1:14 minute message linked above.

One last item. The ELCA is also part of the 70 million member Lutheran World Federation. The LWF offers a remarkable 44 page book for free download entitled Gender Justice Policy, which focuses on quotas for women in leadership in the church, enforcement, and well as hermeneutical approaches. The book is fairly slow in the early pages, but eventually begins to read somewhat similarly to the hermeneutics section of the NAD Report. For a hint on what’s planned, see the LWF Gender Justice Policy introduction video.

We would like to make it clear that LCMS, WELS, and the newer Lutheran bodies mentioned above have chosen not to ordain women, nor do they accept same-sex marriages nor ordain practicing homosexual clergy. The key difference between the two groups of Lutheran bodies is exactly in their systems of biblical interpretation. The Lutheran bodies which do not ordain women or favor homosexuality, employ the historical-grammatical method; those Lutheran bodies which ordain women and which accept the practice of homosexuality, favor critically-based methods.

Earlier this year we reported that the Lake Union had held a prayerful discussion on the matter of women’s ordination and had chosen rather than to move into a position of opposition to the Church, to work with the Church with reference to this topic. Among the presentations at the Lake Union was “Hermeneutics and Scripture in the 21st Century,” by Clinton Wahlen.

Wahlen points out how methods of interpreting Scripture continue to adjust and modify. The use of the historical-critical method has waned but a new focus has arisen. This new focus moves away from locating meaning in the text of Scripture and places meaning instead in the reader. It is fascinating that, while this material was presented nearly a year ago, reader-response criticism forms a central part of the NAD’s “new” proposed women’s ordination hermeneutic released last month (NAD Report, pp. 23-31). The NAD Report actually critiques the Church’s 1986 “Methods of Bible Study” (Rio) document for lacking this emphasis. However, we agree with Wahlen who warns in this paper, “…all of these methods [“literary ” and reader-focused”] as classically defined employ a critical approach to the text ‘which subordinates the Bible to human reason’ and should therefore be ‘unacceptable’ to Seventh-day Adventists, as the 1986 ‘Methods of Bible Study’ document voted in Annual Council has made clear” (“Hermeneutics and Scripture in the Twenty-First Century,” p. 1). The paper by Wahlen linked above provides important background for those who peruse the NAD Report.

Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick takes a look at findings prepared by Robert Yarbrough and makes a “surprise” discovery: theological studies supporting Womens’ Ordination published in Theological Journals suddenly change direction in 1969. Who would have imagined that? FIND IT HERE.