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by Many Hands

There is a short article circulating by a godly woman who has a beautiful witness for Christ. She is part of the TOSC committee. She admits that many churches have studied women’s ordination only to break into separate churches. She says the Seventh-day Adventist Church need not take such a path.

Does she correctly describe the Acts 15 pattern?

What is her position? It is that we can solve this matter according to the Acts 15 pattern. As she tells it, the Jerusalem Council was convened over whether new converts should be required to be circumcised. According to her, others had earlier opposed the inclusion of Greeks in ministry. Actually, the question at that earlier point had been whether or not Gentiles could be saved (Acts 11:1-18). The teaching truly in dispute in Acts 15 was whether Gentiles need be circumcised as a requirement for salvation (Acts 15:1).

The solution (reached solely by male spiritual leaders–apostles and elders. Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23) was that, no, circumcision was not a requirement for salvation for Gentiles. There is nothing in Acts 15 concerning inclusion or exclusion of Greeks because that was not the question. Paul, Barnabas and others were appointed to go to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning “this question” (15:2 ESV)—whether Gentiles need be circumcised. “This decision was then to be universally accepted by the different churches throughout the country” (1).

The question about whether the Gentiles could be part of God’s kingdom had been settled by the New Testament Church in its “early days” (15:7 ESV). So then, what role did the reports and testimonies of Paul and Barnabas serve (15:4, 12)? To demonstrate that God was already decidedly at work among the Gentile converts without adding circumcision or other accretions to the mix. In their Council meeting James cites Amos to remind assembled apostles and elders that even the ancient prophets agree on the inclusion of the Gentiles.

Another point of interest is that circumcision first appears in the history of God’s people long after the Fall, at Genesis 17. The Jerusalem Council is not debating any kind of change to the Maker of males and females’ pre-Fall creation order; the Council is debating a post-Fall addition which, after the crucifixion of Christ, the New Testament says has become “nothing” (1 Corinthians 7:19).

Here is a remarkable difference between that case and this one. What the church is sorting out today has to do with explicitly pre-fall (“very good,” Genesis 1:31) role-differentiation. Our part is to accept God’s order, not to imagine we can legislate against it in His name.

Perhaps the key point of interest here is that while the author of the article portrays the decision at Jerusalem as concluding with a determination “that each area could decide what best promoted the mission for their field”—this is not even remotely what happened. There were then no distinct separately administrated fields. The church was one church, all of one piece, from Jerusalem to Judea, to Samaria, to the farthest reaches.

Guided by the Holy Spirit, a clear, united decision was reached by the main deliberative body of the Church. Nor did they decide that circumcision would be required in Jerusalem but not in Athens, or, that circumcision was to be decided differently by different units. The decision was made on behalf of the whole Church, and the authority with which the Jerusalem Council acted was to be respected everywhere. The Gentiles would not be required to be circumcised. Nor was any affirmation offered for the continued practice of circumcision among Jewish believers.

In the end, the apostles and elders at Jerusalem sent forth an authoritative letter. “The four servants of God were sent to Antioch with the epistle and message that was to put an end to all controversy; for it was the voice of the highest authority upon the earth” (2). Paul did later ask Timothy to be circumcised, not for salvation but reasons of expediency. He would be laboring to win converts to the Way among prejudiced Jewish persons. It only made sense to eliminate this distracting point of contention.

Unfortunately then, our author presses the Acts 15 text to make it a model for allowing today’s 13 Divisions of the Church to each determine independently what is to be practiced in that portion of the field in terms of women’s ordination. But there is no example from the Jerusalem Council from which to generate such a pattern. What’s more, it would be impossible for the Church to engage in a practice which is out of harmony with the Scriptures God has given to guide it, and in so doing “promote the mission of the church.”

Alien Agenda

The author is urgent to have “all hands on deck” that the church might successfully complete its mission. But all hands are already on deck—without ordination. The New Testament Church is represented as the ‘bride of Christ,” submitting to her Head, Christ. But if she is found negating the council of her Groom, disagreeing with His created order, she is not under His headship. Then she is not yet without spot and blameless (Ephesians 5:27), not ready for her wedding with Him. Then she is delaying the wedding.

The recognition that ordination gives for congregational leadership is appropriate—for congregational leaders. Women have served Jesus since the beginning of His people and continue to build the kingdom, but never until relatively recently have some women en masse sought to overturn their Creator’s order.

Women’s ordination is a part of an alien agenda to overturn the teachings of the Church. Rosemary Ruether understands:

The more one becomes a feminist the more difficult it becomes to go to church. . . . Conversion from sexism means both freeing oneself from the ideologies and roles of patriarchy and also struggling to liberate social structures from these patterns (3).

Feminist-turned-lesbian Virginia R. Mollencott cites Pamela Darling on the “profound connections between sexism and heterosexism”:

Both the ordination of women and homosexuals fundamentally challenge the [hetero]patriarchal order of world and church, undermining male privilege by presenting alternatives to the traditional male/female dominance/submission model for all relationships, domestic and political. Ordaining women, gay men, and lesbians violates traditional images of the sacred, crossing the boundary fixed by defining heterosexual males as the norm for ordained ministry and hence the standard for all Christian living (4).

The point of interest for the reader of the above is the recognition by Mollencott and Darling that ordaining women and homosexuals is a fundamental reversal of order. It is true that in the above quotation this order has first been portrayed in exaggerated fashion. Still, statements like those above demonstrate a perspective. Christianity is being radically changed. The church is a “social structure,” and as such, targeted for “liberation.”

Strangely absent from the “A New Path” article is mention of the required changes in hermeneutics embraced by the North American Division in its recent Report favoring women’s ordination (5). Yet this is no surprise, for feminists and lesbians do not hesitate to state in print the necessity they see of making such a change. Mollencott’s pen again:

As long as the text itself itself is thought to provide its own interpretation or to constrain or direct its own meaning, the ethical and political responsibility of interpreters can be—and have been—blamed on the text rather than the interpreter (6).

Mollencott proceeds after the above quotation to describe making “the Law of Love” (7) her “central interpretive principle” (8). You see, once we leave behind the concept that the meaning is in the text, transferring the location of meaning to the reader, a radical shift has already been effected. A Church that deaffixes itself from the text of Scripture is anchorless and ready to be blown wherever the winds and whims of a world under the sway of a fallen prince deign blow it (Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19).

Some are very intent to partition-off the question of women’s ordination from its apparent entailments. Several other churches before us have taken the road of “inclusiveness,” proceeded to ordain women, and today support homosexual practice of church members, the blessing of same-sex “unions,” and the ordination of homosexual clergy. No wonder then that some Adventist advocates of women’s ordination insist that these ideas be evaluated on their own merits, by which is meant that we must not connect the question of women’s ordination with the acceptance of homosexual practice. These issues, they insist, be partitioned off from each other.

That partition is artificial.

Such a position is intellectually irresponsible when advocates of LGBTQ Theology(9) themselves admit theirs to be a particular strand of Liberation Theology(10). These themselves make the connection; yet if we do, we are told we are illegitimately inculcating fear. No wonder some have sensed that, for some advocates of women’s ordination, the question actually is how tightly eyes can be closed to outcomes that have been demonstrated in real time. The feminist theological strand does indeed have embedded connections to Liberation and LGBTQ theologies.

Yes, we are concerned for the Scripture teachings on homosexuality, Creation, and Sabbath, because in all three cases the attempt is made to domesticate Bible teachings to fit contemporary views. The author of “A New Path” states that women’s ordination is not presently held by the Church to be an integral doctrine. That may be. Yet the evidence of the past half century shows its absence to be a dangerous doctrinal gap.

It is understandable that Adventists were not among the first to embrace the Feminist approach. But it would indicate remarkable gullibility were we to join in the parade after seeing how it has developed in other places (11). Church after church, each embracing the same basics of this theological engine, has placed females in male roles intended distinctly for congregational leadership, only to arrive swiftly at the place where today they embrace homosexual-sin practicing clergy. Yet not all pro-women’s ordination advocates are decided feminists. Only some are aware of or have processed the connections above described.

Pivotal question strangely avoided

It is fascinating that the author marks the division of many other churches which have voted on women’s ordination, and calls for the Adventist Church to follow a different path—but designates the central question as one of policy and tradition. We regularly hear that this is not a question of doctrine, which is interesting in light of the fact that the world church has set into operation a committee of more than 100 members investigating women’s ordination—a great proportion whose very calling by the church is to study issues of doctrine. The author somehow overlooks one primary, elephant-in-the-middle-of-the-room fact: churches which have divided into separate bodies over women’s ordination have done so precisely over the hermeneutics involved. They have divided exactly over the question of how the acceptance of women’s ordination impacts biblical interpretation.

This is no small matter. Indeed, since the farthest to the bottom we can go is to our presuppositions, we need to go there. Presuppositions inform our hermeneutics, hermeneutics determine our approach to Scripture, and at last the Scripture, with our hermeneutics and the degree of our subordination to Scriptural authority, determines the way we interpret it. Far from a mere policy issue, the question is over how we approach the Bible itself.

The author’s approach is emblematic of the whole question of women’s ordination advocacy. Starkly put, it fails to take the Scriptures or developments in history seriously. The future is painted as a happy-ending and crowned with a rainbow—all oblivious to the hermeneutical issues at stake and actual outcomes when other churches have embraced the underlying theology the Seventh-day Adventist Church is now being asked, if not coerced, to embrace.

The author is, however, correct that there need be no division of the church over this question. The 2015 GC session can reach a decision and then all members of the church, all its divisions, unions, conferences, and units, can abide by it whatever that is. Still, one senses that for some advocates of women’s ordination, they will only choose not to be divided if they receive from the world church the affirmative answer they require.

Is the desired future suggested by the author “A new path”? Or, is it a path previously taken by several other Christian bodies now in decline? Two different approaches to the Bible are now advanced in our midst, two different sets of presuppositions, two different declared hermeneutics, and two different approaches to interconnectivity and interresponsibility within the church. Are we at risk of dividing or have we already gone our separate ways?


ENDNOTES
1. Ellen G. White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 190.
2. Ibid., p. 196.
3. Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sexism and God-talk: Toward a Feminist Theology, pp. 193, 194, 201.
4. Virginia Ramey Mollencott, op. cit. Pamela Darling in Sensuous Spirituality, p. 182, brackets Mollencott.
5. North American Division Theology of Ordination Study Committee Report, “Hermeneutics and the Ordination of Women,” pp. 22-31 cf. “New NAD WO hermeneutic, pt. 1,” http://ordinationtruth.com/2014/01/17/new-nad-wo-hermeneutic-pt-1/; “New NAD WO hermeneutic, pt. 2,” http://ordinationtruth.com/2014/01/18/new-nad-wo-hermeneutic-pt-2/; “NAD’s PBHC hermeneutic: a closer look,” http://ordinationtruth.com/2014/01/20/nads-pbhc-hermeneutic-a-closer-look/.
6. Ibid., op. cit. Dale Martin, p. 197.
7. Ibid., Mollencott’s capitalization.
8. Ibid.
9. “LGBTQ Theology” stands for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans-gender, queer theology.
10. http://ordinationtruth.com/featured/kirl-fwo-pt5/
11. http://ordinationtruth.com/2013/12/21/wo-homosexuality-and-lutheranism/

38 thoughts on “A new path?

  1. I see a few flaws in this rationale.

    1. Women’s ordination is not a moral issue… Homosexuality is.
    2. Paul did make a difference in opinion to Timothy for matter of convenience. Circumcision was not a moral issue but one of divisiveness.

    Reply
  2. Also … Husbands have a right to execute authority over their wives but not over all women.
    It is interesting that in 1Timothy 2:1-7 The greek word for men is anthropos… but from verse 8-15 it is “aner” meaning husband. Also the word for women or woman is “gune” meaning “Wife”. It is interesting that in the next chapter the translators actually translate them that way. Husband and wife.

    Husbands are to be the head of the household but it doesn’t command them to be head of the church. For we believe in the priesthood of all believers.

    Reply
    • John, I’m not sure where you are getting your information. In the congregational setting, males do indeed exercise authority over all women, in particular in teaching, whereas Paul explicitly states as a universal principle that he does not permit women to teach/exercise authority over men in that setting (1 Timothy 2:12). Certainly this authority is limited, but as certainly it is a part of the practice of the New Testament Church.

      You may wish to check your lexicons in a more detailed way on the terms aner and gune. For example, if you consult the premier resource in such matters (BDAG), you will better understand the case for each of these terms. If the reference is to an adult male (aner) or a husband, or an adult female (gune) or wife, only context can guide us to a correct interpretation, for each of these terms can mean either a single or a married adult.

      In 1 Tim 3 we have the distinct, gender-specific terms again in the family context, and the male’s practice of spiritual leadership in his family is directly linked by Paul with his spiritual leadership in the church. No one we have ever heard of has claimed that all males are to exercise authority over all women in all contexts. Conversely, offering sharp distinctions between home and the church setting seems to be unsupportable by the passage.

      Reply
    • Greetings John Wolfe,

      The Greek of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, especially verse 2 is as you say “aner” and “gune” (Greek fonts out to be allowed here with accent and breathing marks so we can be more precise), but what you need to realize is that when both these words are used together, the one defines the other and actually restricts their meaning to only male and female, respectively “husband” of one “wife.” and this makes it impossible to the passage to be translation as neuter “spouse of one sppuse.” It is unethical to “ungenderized” the meaning of the text. “The meaning of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning unless a symbol or figure is employed” GC 595.

      So, you will go to the next chapter, good and well, but no go to chapter 5:1-2 and you will clearly see that IN THE CHURCH we are to have the older men, elder men, treated AS fathers and the older women AS mothers, young women as sisters and young men as brothers, so IN THE CHURCH there STILL IS “male and female” and “fathers and mothers.” The Church IS a FAMILY and the FAMILY consists of HUSBAND and WIFE and children of course. . . Are you now going to say that the role and authority of husbands in relationship to their wives evaporates when every they come to church?

      So, a woman must be submissive to her husband at home but not at church? Or is it that only single woman are free to do as they please and not be in a submissive role in the “church family” to their older “fathers and mothers” of the Church “family? But once they get married, then they must forever enter the bondage of submissiveness to they husband both at home and in the church? The truth is that the church is in parallelism to the church, BOTH are to be structured according to God’s Family Order given at Creation, The father is the head of the wife and family, the wife is the mother and queen of the home, and the children are the subjects of the FAMILY KINGDOM both home and in the church. The Church HAS spiritual “fathers” (the elders and older men) and spiritual “mothers in Israel” and the submissive relationship of headship of the literal father at home cannot be contradicted in the church family, both are FAMILIES both have roles for fathers and mothers, A we going to deny that the Church is a SPIRITUAL FAMILY and we are to relate to one another as spiritual brothers and sisters, and even spiritual fathers and mothers? Are we to allow insubordination of the family members to the fathers in the church?

      Did not Paul speak directly against this in 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 and even state that IF anyone thinks they are spiritual or a prophet “let them acknowledge that the things I am writing are the COMMANDS of the LORD!” Did not Paul write that he DID NOT permit “a women to teach and usurp authority over a man” IN THE CHURCH? See 1 Timothy 2:10-12 and compare with 1 Corinthians 14:31-37, where he clearly says “as in ALL the churches!”

      A woman cannot RULE in the local church family and maintain the Biblical standard to treat the older men AS FATHERS and heads of the Church Home IF she is acting as the head of the home. Contradiction and confusion are instilled in the minds of our children and babes in Christ, This is why there are NO female elders in the Bible, NEVER. Did NOT Paul “command” that if “a man does not know how to RULE his children, how can HE (masculine) take care of the church (like a good father takes care of his wife and children)? ! Timothy 3:5.

      Christ is the head of the man, BUT man is the head of the woman, BUT the woman is NOT the head of anyone, that’s just what we find in the Bible, READ 1 Corinthians 11:1 and the whole thing. The woman was MADE for the man and not man for the woman. That just what God says and we should not argue or fight against His Holy Word, our Father knows what is best for His children~the human family and the church is ALL about building good and respectful families;

      “One well-ordered, well-disciplined family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached. Such a family gives evidence that the parents have been successful in following God’s directions, and that their children will serve Him in the church.”
      E. G. White, Adventist Home, p. 32.

      Reply
      • Greetings to John Wolfe,

        Please pardon my errors in typing.

        Your comments about the Greek for 1 Tim. 2:1-7, for “aner” and “gune” are correct, but the text I cited was 1 Tim. 3:1-7 where these two words are used together in tandem to one another, this meaning that the “elder” has to be, “MUST BE” (KJV), a “husband” and this is ALWAYS a MALE, and cannot be rendered “spouse.” Its only a MALE/”aner”, and one who is faithful to his “wife/gune.”

        If a woman who is a wife, has to be submissive to her own husband, even in the church body not just a home, is she then free to show no submissiveness to any other men or to any elders in the church? Can she “rule” over those whom she is to treat “as her own father” in the church? A mother does not tell a father to be submissive to her authority, yes she has authority as the mother of the family, but NOT over her husband. . . Right? Yes or no? If there are those whom we are to entreat as “fathers” IN the church whether we are male or female, then we cannot usurp their headship in the church family, especially if the church family has elected them as elders. A church elder is a “spiritual father” and the head or chief of the Church Family. A female can never be a “chief” for this is always a male, its a gender distinct term as is the term church “elder.”

        One important comment needs to be restated correctly;

        “The truth is that the church is in parallelism to the home FAMILY, BOTH are to be structured according to God’s Family Order given at Creation.”

        I do realize that your point is that because of “aner” and “gune” in contrast to “anthropos” means that the headship only applies to those who are husbands and wives. But here is the error; the whole church is a family of spiritual fathers and mothers literally based on literal genderness of their physical natures. Just because we are all part of a spiritual family does not negate or neutralize gender in the church nor the manner women are to relate to men in the church, for Paul is too clear that he DOES NOT permit a “woman” (not just a wife) to teach or usurp authority over a “man” (not just a “husband.”

        “Teaching” and “usurping” are equivalents one of another, that is to say Paul did not allow women in the Church to teach in a MANNER that undermined the spiritual leadership and authority of the father figures of the church, whether they were husbands or not. And is what he was teaching his intern “bishop” or “pastor” to do when “setting in order” the things that were lacking in the churches (See Titus 1:5-16).

        When a man becomes really old and looses his wife and now is no longer married, he does not then cease to be a “spiritual father” in the church family and still must be “treated” and respected “as a father” (the head of the wife and the home) by the women of the church family. For a woman (married or not) to step into this role “in the church” which is a “spiritual family” is unethical and a distortion of the CHURCH FAMILY according to God’s divine design. So goes the church so goes the home. See Titus 2:3-5 where women are instructed to teach in the church, but are restricted to only teaching young women to be submissive and obey there husbands. Where are the woman who are doing this spiritual ministry in our church?

        A woman is not to teach a man about family and his wife, nor is a man to teach a woman about being submissive and obeying her husband, except in a group setting as long as she does not act as if she was the spiritual head of the home over the elders of the church.

        Reply
  3. It is interesting John that Ellen White does not agree with your findings……

    Shepherds who fail at home will fail at church—He who is engaged in the work of the gospel ministry must be faithful in his family life. It is as essential that as a father he should improve the talents God has given him for the purpose of making the home a symbol of the heavenly family, as that in the work of the ministry, he should make use of his God-given powers to win souls for the church. As the priest in the home, and as the ambassador of Christ in the church, he should exemplify in his life the character of Christ. He must be faithful in watching for souls as one that must give an account. In his service church there must be seen no carelessness and inattentive work. God will not serve with the sins of men who have not a clear sense of the sacred responsibility involved in accepting a position as pastor of a church. He who fails to be a faithful, discerning shepherd in the home, will surely fail of being a faithful shepherd of the flock of God. –Manuscript Releases 6:49

    Reply
  4. I’ve read the original essay a couple of times.

    It seems like there’s an issue in fully grasping the serious inroads that error has made in the church, and the related issue of the motivations of leaders such as those participating in TOSC.

    For example, suppose that we pick two TOSC members at random, and find that one of them is a diligent Bible student, and the other is more focused on popular trends in our culture.

    It’s unlikely that those two members will agree on WO, or on any other issue of import.

    If error is brought into the system, and then “worked in” over time, the result is what we are witnessing with the TOSC.

    Reply
    • Hi Glen, I think there is actually a silver lining here. WO is serving us now as a “canary in the coal mine.” To carry out the TOSC process is actually extremely useful. It is putting up, onto the table and in plain sight, the quiet, subtle shifts in how some among us now view the Scriptures along with all the rusty razors and broken glass of the hazardous, out-of-bounds interpretational approaches brought to bear to nullify the Word of God. In short, it is bringing out into the open just how far advanced is the hermeneutical make-over now in process to change the church. We may hope that at least some even among those who are themselves far advanced in advocating wrong principles will begin to see how far afield they have gone of where they started, and change direction.

      Reply
      • Hi Larry, I agree with the canary analogy. It seems like the WO debate is actually a pointer to some deeper issues.

        One of those issues is hermeneutics, and another cluster of issues seems to center around heart religion angles like conversion, following the ways of the world, the 1888 Message, and so on.

        Imagine that I’m a church consultant, and the TOSC asks me for my perspective on their proceedings. What I’d say is simply that there are much deeper issues than WO here, and voting either decisively in favor or against WO won’t address those issues.

        Reply
        • I believe the church is going to survive this crisis. God is at the helm. But we know that a shaking is coming. As a Bible worker for six years in Seattle and two years in Idaho I took much pride in being able to tell my students with the upmost confidence that the SDA Church believes in the authority of the Bible. I do not know what I will do if I can no longer say that in everything we go by the Bible. Especially if the church redefines the way we interpret scriptures. What do I do? Where do I go, if the church no longer believes the Bible and the Bible alone? It has not even happened yet, but the mere thought of it happening already troubles my mind. This is a theological issue. In voting yes on women’s ordination we are voting NO!! for the Bible. The NAD has already proven this to be true.

          Reply
          • Dear Brother Allen,

            The Seventh-day Adventist Church has NOT rejected the Bible as its only standard, rule, for all faith, belief, practice, and even all reform. AS an Church Organization we are standing for all that is truth and what’s right. But some of our members do not concede to this rule of right. Those who are campaigning for women’s ordination may claim that they hold to the rule but the have no text to prove that women were ordained as elders or apostles, not do we find any record in the Bible of a woman “pastoring” a church (or literally filling the occupation of shepherding a flock of sheep).

            Yes, there are those who are in favor of women’s ordination who really belief they are faithful to the Bible, but they are not. They have no “Thus saith the LORD” while those who believe only men should be ordained as elders (pastors of congregations) and apostles DO have a “Thus saith the LORD” ~ 1 Timothy 3:1-7 & Titus 2:1-16 contrasted with the role of elder women in Titus 2:3-5 and their ministry being restricted to young women and children, where they ARE to teach WOMEN to love their husbands and children, and horrors! teach young women to place themselves in submission to their own husbands and even “obey their husbands!”

            What are you to do? I have be an Adventist for over 30 years and a pastor for over 20 years, and I still believe we must support the church organization (which consists of all its members and institutions) and what WE believe as a Church Body. What we NOW believe is that the WORD of GOD is the supreme authority, above all church members, committees, conferences, unions, divisions, and even about the World Church in General Conference Session~ and ALL members should renew their baptismal vows to Fundamental Belief No. 9 to support of church organization with the tithes and offerings, AND there PERSONAL EFFORT and INFLUENCE, we do this by calling ALL members, laity and ordained ministers and all employees to submit to the will of God as revealed IN the Bible and ratified by the vote of the world Church (see my comments to Dennis Fortin).

            Hold all the church members accountable to the authority of the word of God and all church administrators and all pastors. We must be devoted to our No. 1 Fundamental Belief, upon which all our other beliefs are founded~The Bible and the Bible alone is the Rule of Right and the Standard of ALL belief, doctrine, preaching and practice, and the basis of ALL reform. Since women’s ordination IS a REFORM the is being pressed upon the Church then is must be founded in what the Bible ALONE has to say. Since it is readily admitted that the Bible say NOTING about the ordination of women as elder, pastor, or apostles (or anything else) then there is NOTHING for the church to base the practice upon. It is obvious as a train wreck that its just NOT a Biblical doctrine, belief, or practice. It cannot and must not be endorsed. On the other hand the ordination of only men, faithful men, IS clearly found in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and thus fully and completely Biblical. Remember in Revelation there are 24 elders and not one of the is female, all the 12 foundations and 12 gate to the New Jerusalem are only male apostles, NO females whatsoever, The Apostolic Church took the gospel into all the world without one female apostle, one female church elder/pastor! On the day of Pentecost NO woman was given the give of tongues even thou God’s Spirit WAS pour out upon old and young men and woman alike, but not one woman baptized anyone nor was ordained as a preacher or elder or pastor and set over any congregation! And The Remnant Church is to be a copy of that Apostolic-no female-elder-Church! Ordination of women as elder and pastors is NOT required by God’s Holy Spirit to fulfill and finish the Mission of the Church back in the days of the Apostles NOR in our day.

            Pastor RPM

  5. “Marriage is honorable among all…” (Hebrews 13:4) Moreover, from the very beginning, God sought to use the marriage relationship as a vehicle through which to reveal his relationship with his people. (Ephesians 5:31-33) They were equal in value in the sight of God yet distinct in their gender, roles and function. Our prophet says this concerning the symbolism of God using Adam’s rib to create Eve. “Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” (Patriarchs & Prophets 46.2) I find it interesting that our prophet plainly says: “she was not to control him as the head.” Yet, because of the various evil “isms” in the world (which have also crept into even God’s remnant church) the principle of male headship in the home & the church has become a hotly debated topic within Adventism. However, it need not be this way if only God’s people accept “every word of God as pure.” What does the scriptures say? “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3) This certainly isn’t popular by the world’s standards, but we by God’s grace are not of the world. As we come ever closer to our next GC in 2015 where this issue will undoubtedly be front and center, it is my hope & prayer that we adhere to the model that God has established for his people. May God help us as a church to stand on the integrity of his holy and righteous word. May God bless all of our virtuous women in the divine roles and functions given them by God.

    Reply
    • Jim, if you search on the internet for this item you will easily find it. We do not see it as our task to propagate such teachings although we do see it as fitting on occasion to discuss and critique them. Also, we do not have rights to reproduce the full article. In most cases we avoid giving additional publicity to certain sites which seem bent on overturning anything remotely “Adventist.”

      Reply
  6. I agree with the author of this article on Adventist Today that the Seventh-day Adventist Church need not divide itself over this issue. There’s room in the church for the two points of view without having a schism. This is not a point of fundamental belief and there are faithful members on both sides of this issue who emphasize different Bible passages to arrive at different conclusions.

    Reply
    • Denis,
      Will your view of 2 points of view hold up to one group wanting to baptize by sprinkling while the other baptizes according to the biblical example?

      Reply
    • Denis, how can you say this when the Bible’s plain counsel is this: “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3) These viewpoints on W/O are oppositional to each other. To claim that they can somehow peacefully coexist for the greater good of unity goes against what Jesus prayed for when he said: “That they may be one…” (John 17:21) Unity based on compromise of the scriptures wreaks of ecumenical overtones. The evidence against women as Elders and Pastors is overwhelming from God’s word. Thus who do support it are not trusting in a plain It Is Written.

      Reply
  7. The difference is this Greg: on the basis of a careful study of the Bible (Fundamental #1) the church decided that the only form of baptism is baptism by immersion. This was encapsulated in the fundamental number 15. You accept baptism by sprinkling you cease to be an Adventist. On the other hand there is nothing in all the fundamentals that would preclude women’s ordination. In fact if you carefully read fundamentals 14 and 17 ordination of women could not only be allowed but should be necessary as not recognizing the gift of leadership in women might constitute a sin against the Holy Spirit who is the giver of the gifs. These are the facts. However, I don’t want to go that far as accuse all those who interpret some difficult biblical passages differently than I of sinning against the Holy Spirit. Let’s just say those who agree and disagree on this issue do not violate the beliefs of the church as expressed in the 28 fundamentals. Let us live together in peace.

    Reply
    • Brother Jovan,

      You quote the fundamentals that we agreed upon as a church but you fail to bring the reason for not sprinkling to the true test which is God written Word. Our fundamental belief in baptism by immersion is Truth as the bible example given is baptism by full immersion. There is no command in the bible that we cannot sprinkle as there is none condemning WO.
      The point was to show you that we do not need any command against or condemnation of a practice per se since we have been given the bible example to live by. This is true for baptism and is also true for Ordination.
      According to the scriptures, only QUALIFIED MEN may hold this particular function. There are many functions for women in the church and for men who do not meet the Bible requirements as EPISKOPON/Bishop/Overseer (or as we refer to them as Elder and Pastor/Minister in the sacred desk).
      If we use the Bible as our guide and not the Church Manual or Fundamental beliefs or whatever other works man has compiled, we may be in perfect harmony with one another.
      As a wise woman once stated:
      ” Do not carry your creed to the Bible, and read the Scriptures in the light of that creed. If you find that your opinions are opposed to a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” or to any command or prohibition He has given, give heed to the Word of God rather than to the sayings of men. Let every controversy or dispute be settled by “It is written.”” {2MR 89.3}
      Let’s leave the “creed” of WO at the door and follow what God has given us in His guide for us. He has left nothing out that we need.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your comment Greg, I appreciate your passion.

        I have a question for you: if you were a pastor/head elder, would you allow a person to be baptized into the SDA church if they accepted all the 28 Fundamentals but you also knew they were firmly convinced that women should be ordained to ministry?

        Reply
        • Jovan, I answered you but not how you wanted it. Jesus did the same when asked something used to try and trick Him. You are avoiding the issue. I’ll answer how He did as I follow my shepherd in all things by God’s grace.

          You are trying to use to your advantage the fact that the GC agreed, in writing, that baptism by immersion is the way to baptize as that is THE BIBLE EXAMPLE. You should know that this is what constitutes Truth alone for everything we should believe, but to entertain the WO proponent mind, I will reason more with you.

          The bible does not say we cannot sprinkle as it does not say we cannot ordain women.

          So the point I was making is that since we arrived at the Truth on baptism because it is the example given in the bible on what to do in this regard, as with ALL TRUTH where the bible clearly says what we are or to do or are not to do, Women’s Ordination would not be an acceptable practice because it is not in harmony with the examples we have, for the function of Minister in the sacred desk, which are found in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1.

          Just because many theologians and others have been deceived that we can walk together and yet disagree on this issue, it is not Truth for it would be like baptizing a man who believes that he can be in a common law relationship with another man as long as there is no sexual intercourse. We all know that God joined Adam and Eve as they are opposite sex and we also know that man is not to lie with man as with a woman but there are things that the bible does not say that cannot be done in same sex unions and still not contradict what is revealed in the scriptures.

          As I said before, all our pillars are based on a THUS SAITH THE LORD and not on what it does not say as was Satan’s argument to Eve. I will be blunt brother. You have taken the forbidden fruit and are offering it to those who read these posts and most likely others and I am not interested in entertaining that which is not backed up by a plain THUS SAITH THE LORD.

          Reply
  8. Thank you for the question Jovan,

    I have 2 questions for you.

    1. Where are we told in the Bible that we cannot sprinkle to accept one into God’s kingdom?
    2. What did our leaders base fundamental belief 15 upon with respect to baptizing by immersion?

    Reply
    • Greg, thank you very much for NOT answering my question. I was hoping you wouldn’t. I believe that by not answering you showed that you understood my point that we can walk together even though we disagree on the issue of women’s ordination.

      I think I understand how you feel about this whole debate. We are both conservatives who love the Adventist church and who accept its message fully – including the sanctuary message, 1844 prophecy and the investigative judgment and recent 6 day creation. At the same time we both fear that the church might depart from the teachings of the Bible and we both want our church to stay true to the message. It is this sticking point of women’s ordination which tends to create intense, sometimes hurtful, debate but it does not have to pull us apart. A vote yes/no at the next GC will pull us apart! Whatever decision is made significant segments of Adventism will be disfranchised. Isn’t it much better not to answer the question in a yes/no fashion as you kindly demonstrated in your previous post?

      I think that at this particular moment in history God calls us to embrace one another, forgive each other for harsh words and keep walking together until Jesus comes again. Why not? We can do it by God’s grace without destroying each other and the church in the process. This is not the first time our church faced difficult issues and our predecessors were able to patch things up. Just take a look at a current discussion on AdVindicate regarding the Last Generation Theology (http://advindicate.com/articles/2014/2/14/the-final-generation). Much disagreement there and we are still together in the same church. We can still be together until Jesus comes without necessarily seeing eye to eye on women’s ordination.

      Now, to answer your questions:

      1. Our pioneers were in complete agreement on this point. They saw the baptism by immersion in the Bible and together agreed to view it as the only form of baptism prescribed by the Scripture even though we do not find a direct command to do so. Same with the Sabbath and other key Adventist doctrines. The point is: they all agreed on this point. No votes needed to be taken.

      2. They based it on the Scripture. It was clear to them and there was no dissent on this issue that ever threatened to pull the church apart. It is different with the issue of women’s ordination. We have a clear division of opinions on this issue (valid points are raised on both sides of the debate) and we should not vote yes or no on this issue. Our church is not a political government where during elections one party wins while the other party loses.

      Greg, it has been a privilege to converse with you and to listen to your point of view. Yours is a valid point of view and I appreciate your passion in the pursuit of truth. May God bless you and everyone on this website. I will keep you in my prayers. Let us live together in peace. Jovan

      Reply
      • By the way brother Jovan, if as in baptism, Sabbath observance, state of the dead, hell fire etc, if we sought the Truth based on the Bible example alone as God’s Word is Truth, what would be the only choice with respect to WO? If we used bible examples alone as we do will ALL other pillars of Truth, qualified men alone would hold this office.

        Reply
  9. Brother Jovan,

    Truth is based on what is written. I have many texts which I can share from Ellen White if quoting IT IS WRITTEN as Jesus did to defeat the devil is not enough. Ellen White said:

    The great truths which underlie man’s duty to his fellow men and to his Maker are clearly revealed; and those who really want the truth need make no mistake. The way is not left in uncertainty, as though we were standing where four roads met, not knowing which one to take. The truth is our guide; it is to us like a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. {CSW 23.1}
    The many contradictory opinions in regard to what the Bible teaches do not arise from any obscurity in the book itself, but from blindness and prejudice on the part of interpreters. Men ignore the plain statements of the Bible to follow their own perverted reason. Priding themselves on their intellectual attainments, they overlook the simplicity of truth; they forsake the fountain of living waters to drink of the poisonous stream of error.–Review and Herald, Jan. 27, 1885. {CSW 23.2}

    WO is not acceptable for one reason alone. Read the following and you will understand:

    “Cain slew his brother Abel because Abel referred him to the express direction from God that all sacrificial offerings brought to Him were to be accompanied by a slain lamb, as the acknowledgment and confession of sin, and to represent Christ, who saved the fallen race by Himself becoming the great Sacrifice. Cain had a faultless offering, with the exception that he did not bring a lamb. Because Abel repeated to Cain God’s directions regarding the sacrificial offerings, Cain became very angry, and killed his brother.” {21MR 416.3}

    Remember, “To the law and to the testimony if they speak not according to this Word it is because there is no light in them.”

    Reply
    • I was discussing the 2520 wind of doctrine with a brother and came across the following. Ellen White was speaking about differences in the 2520 chart but notice what she said that can be applied to all things in the church:

      “You have not acted wisely in bringing to the front a subject that must create discussion and the bringing out of various opinions, for every item will be strained and made to mean something that will only mean injury to the cause. We have all we can do to handle the false statements of those who have given evidence of their willingness to bear false witness. Elder Haskell, I am unable to define clearly the points that are questioned. Let us not agitate a subject that will give the impression that as a people we hold varied opinions, and thus open the way for those to work who wish to leave the impression on minds that we are not led by God. It will also be a source of temptation to those who are not thoroughly converted, and will lead to the making of rash moves.” Letter 250, 1908, pp. 1,2. (To S. N. Haskell, August 29, 1908.)

      Something to consider. If we would consider the spirit behind this movement which did not originate with the SDA denomination and see how it has left other denominations and also return to what is written for the Truth as our guide, we would not be where we are. There are those in the NAD who have abused their positions and have given in to pressure for rights and justice and supposed need to have women in this capacity. Why? What is it that a woman could do in this role that a qualified man cannot? Women can still minister to the needs of the body as can men and each has their personal gifts for sure but this is one function where God, through Paul to Timothy and Titus is clear on the qualifications of the men for this role. It is not a suppression of women and their less value as some try and suggest. That is a suggestion of the adversary. All we need is to test everything against God’s Word and we will be safe.

      Reply
  10. please see above, but first, please consider the following.

    “Unaccustomed to accept God’s Word exactly as it reads, or to allow it to be its own interpreter, they read it in the light of their maxims and traditions. So long had they neglected to study and contemplate the Bible that its pages were to them a mystery. They turned with aversion from the truth of God to the traditions of men.” {CTr 226.3}

    “And now, brethren, I entreat you not to interpose between me and the people, and turn away the light which God would have come to them. Do not by your criticisms take out all the force, all the point and power, from the Testimonies. Do not feel that you can dissect them to suit your own ideas, claiming that God has given you ability to discern what is light from heaven and what is the expression of mere human wisdom. If the Testimonies speak not according to the word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united.”

    “Let the seeker for truth who accepts the Bible as the inspired Word of God, lay aside every previous idea, and take that Word in its simplicity. He should renounce every sinful practice, and enter the Holy of Holies with heart softened and subdued, ready to listen to what God says. {OHC 207.2}
    Do not carry your creed to the Bible, and read the Scriptures in the light of that creed. If you find that your opinions are opposed to a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” or to any command or prohibition He has given, give heed to the Word of God rather than to the sayings of men. Let every controversy or dispute be settled by “It is written.” … {OHC 207.3}

    Reply
    • Excellent quotes Steve. Thank you. If it wasn’t already plain enough for us in scripture that we can’t tamper with the Word, the Lord graciously amplifies this present truth though Ellen White.

      Reply
      • Yes brother Mark, God is gracious but still leaves room for doubt. That is why we need to lean upon what the Lord SAYS and not what He does NOT SAY. It is the only way to know we are safe.

        God bless!

        Reply
  11. The last question and answer from CAP on the question and answer page reads:

    Question:
    What if the Seventh-day Adventist Church votes to approve the ordination of women in the 2015 General Conference session?

    Answer:
    We would do just what Samuel did when Israel wrongly voted for a king. We would respect the decision of the General Conference. We would cease to make an issue of this topic, and do our best to prevent division in the church. . .

    I was surprised by this answer. “We would cease to make an issue of this topic.”? Isn’t that the reason we are where we are now – failing to speak up? Women’s ordination as elders was voted and approved and ceased to be an issue – for a time, that is.

    Does the Council of Adventist Pastors believe the above statement is consistent with the articles posted here?

    Above in this discussion Larry Kirkpatrick characterizes what’s happening with WO as the canary in the coal mine. Larry’s point is that WO is really a symptom of a much bigger issue – whether we will submit our lives to the government of the Word. If that’s so, how can we concede and acquiesce once the vote is taken in 2015? We can’t possibly do that and remain within the will of God. I believe the Lord would have us point to this, as Larry says, as symptomatic of the underlying problem and make this part of a larger call to repentance and humility before God on this anti-typical day. Cry aloud and spare not. The role of the “royal priesthood” is to make a difference between the “holy and the common”, especially where the two are being confused. That duty doesn’t cease when the ship veers off course. If the vessel is to make it into the harbor it has to be redirected. Christ is at at the helm but He has a crew under him, you and me. And the life we save by sounding an alarm will be our own and hopefully others.

    Reply
    • I was just reading a news article about Pastor of the United Methodist church. A Pastor married his gay son. There was a church trial and they decided to drop the case with no reprimand. The Pastor father said, why should I be punished for my act of love for my son.” Has he not read about Elli and his sons? Look how far the Methodist church has gone from the high standards it once held. God forbid that this should happen to the Seventh day Adventist church. With all this talk about unity, and not allowing the church to split over the issue of women’s ordination I am afraid our church is headed in the same direction. If we decide that church unity is more important than following the Bible, then we have no church. I say let the church split over the issue of women’s ordination if that is what is going to happen let it happen. Let those who are going to split with the church leave and start their own church and they can have their women pastors and only the imagination knows where they will go from there.
      What is our church going to decide if one of our pastors decides to marry is gay son? This could very easily happen in our own church as well, and something that we should decide in advance what we will do before it happens? Are we going to compromise like the Methodist church just did? God forbid. Are we going to compromise on the issue of women’s ordination and at the same time throw out the Bible as the NAD wants to do in order to push through our agenda?
      Unity is not the most important thing. Following a “Thus sayeth the Lord” is. Once we depart from the scriptures we have no church, we’ve lost everything. Jesus said in Mat 7:24 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” The church built upon the rock of God’s word cannot split, it cannot fall. The churches that have compromised the Bible may have the appearance of unity, but in reality they have split, they have fallen. Only by standing on the Word can the church have true unity. It may appear to be in shambles, but this is the church that “will go through to the end.” We are told in the Bible that the Adventist church is going to have to stand up to the truth although the other churches cry unity while splitting from God’s word. If we are going to stand firm during the time when the Sabbath becomes an issue, and all the churches are wanting us to unite with them in worshiping on Sunday then we had better start now and stand on the word of God. Otherwise we will have already compromised the Bible and following the other churches in Sunday worship will be the most natural thing to do because we will have already programmed ourselves to compromise.

      This issue is a test for the church to see how we are going to respond. Are we going to be faithful to God’s word, even if it means a split?
      Church of God stand for the truth though the heavens fall.

      Reply
  12. Thank you Brother Allen. I’d encourage the members of CAP to review your post and consider posting the article by Jay Gallimore on the centrality of the new approach to Bible study proposed by the NAD on Advindicate at http://advindicate.com/articles/2014/3/15/biblical-hermeneutics-blest-be-the-tie-that-binds-us. Also David Westbrook’s sermon on Separation and Unity is excellent. It’s at http://backtoenoch.org/separation-and-unity.html.

    Reply
    • If we compromise for the sake of unity, who are we uniting with? We are uniting with those churches which have chosen that path of compromise. Our church in its beginning was established and grew to a worldwide movement because it refused to compromise. We discovered Bible doctrines that separated us from the other churches, and we grew as a result. Today we continue to grow because of our uniqueness.
      We know from Revelation that our church is to be that subject of reproach, because we refuse to go along with the religious trends of the last days. WO is the religious trend of the day. Are we going to seek unity with those churches which have accepted this unbiblical doctrine? Or are we going to stay united on the true Biblical method of interpretation which finds no justification for WO. If we fail now right where the battle is raging how are we going to stand when the last great test comes. Are we going to cave into the pressure of political correctness? When Jesus prayed for unity for the church he did not have in mind the religious quagmire that we see today. He did not mean uniting around a religious melting pot of doctrinal error.
      The Seventh day Adventist church must remain a distinct people.

      Reply
      • Amen brother Allen. We must be careful to follow what God asks. Too many take what they believe and read God’s word in that understanding and twist the meaning that God has for us.

        “Do not carry your creed to the Bible, and read the Scriptures in the light of that creed. If you find that your opinions are opposed to a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” or to any command or prohibition He has given, give heed to the Word of God rather than to the sayings of men. Let every controversy or dispute be settled by “It is written.”

        Our only defence to fight against error is as that of our Lord, “It is written. Man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4 Our people must be educated to know the Truth. “Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.” John 17:17.

        It is the Word of the living God that is to decide all controversies. It is when people mingle their own human smartness with God’s words of truth, in giving sharp thrusts to those who are in controversy with them, that they show that they have not a sacred reverence for God’s Inspired Word. They mix the human with the divine, the common with the sacred, and they belittle God’s Word. . . .” {CTr 331}

        Reply
  13. I appreciate the emphasis on strictly following the Bible. This issue of WO would never have arisen if we had strictly followed the Bible. We practice a Roman Catholic theology of ordination. Our three levels of ordination: deacon, elder, pastor, follow the Catholic: deacon, priest, bishop. While the New Testament describes deacons, elders, and overseers it does not provide any support that one is superior to the other in what each can do, unlike our system where ordination to deacon does not allow one to lead the communion service unless you receive a further ordination to elder. As several respondents have stated the issue is much more fundamental than WO.

    Reply
  14. David, about 20 years ago, on the first SDA web site in Compuserve, you were defending the homosexuals and insisted that they should be accepted as members in the SDA church and have full rights as members, besides the women’s ordination issue. It seems that you are a defender and militant for both groups. What is wrong with you?

    Reply

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