Does Christ as Unique Head of the Church Contradict the Male-headship Office of Local Elder?

Jordy Buisman
A recent argument put forward favoring the ordination of women (WO), contrasts Christ’s role as the unique Head of the church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 5:23) and the role of an elder as a male headship office (1 Timothy 2:12 and 3:2, 1 Corinthians 11:3). The argument recently being set forth seems almost an afterthought. It was not proposed until this year.
Initially, it seems a reasonable argument. It appears biblical because it seems not to invoke speculative cultural conditions, and looks like a straightforward use of Scripture. The reasoning is as follows: “Since Christ is the unique Head of the church, any form of headship existing in the church is unbiblical, because it usurps a position belonging only to Christ. Therefore, the idea that the role of elder is a male headship role is unbiblical, meaning that the church can ordain women.” For many WO proponents, this argument seems to demonstrate that gender cannot be a biblical qualification for ordination. But is this sound reasoning? Could this settle the debate in favor of WO? Let’s explore the issues involved.
The argument does not logically follow
There is a fatal flaw hidden in the reasoning undergirding this argument, namely, that the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises of the argument (non sequitur). The argument, formalized, looks like this:

Premise 1: There is only one head of the church
Premise 2: Jesus Christ is the head of the church
Conclusion: therefore there cannot exist headship in the church

This argument is not valid. There is a categorical difference between being the head of the church and performing a headship function in the church. The terms may be similar, but the two do not overlap and therefore cannot contradict. The conclusion does not follow.
A corrected form of this argument would look like this:

Premise 1: There is only one head of the church
Premise 2: Jesus Christ is the head of the church
Conclusion: therefore no one except Jesus Christ is the head of the church

That is a conclusion we all agree on. It is for that very reason that it is unscriptural, even blasphemous to proclaim yourself to be the vicar of Christ, or God on earth. However, that does not mean there is somehow a contradiction between eldership as Adventists since our beginnings have practiced it (as a male headship role), and Christ’s status as Head of the church. At most, the argument demonstrates that there can be no additional head of the church.
Nor would it help if it did follow
Even if Christ’s being head of the church somehow logically precluded any form of headship within the church, the argument would prove too much! What proponents of WO seek to demonstrate is that maleness is not a legitimate biblical requirement for headship in the church. They do not intend to show that there is no such thing as headship in the church. After all, what is included in headship? Leadership. Authority. So, if Christ’s leadership of the church is somehow antithetical to leadership roles within the church, then any and all leadership roles would be delegitimized, including women pastors/elders, which would defeat the whole purpose of those favoring women’s ordination.
More importantly, such a conclusion is not in harmony with what Scripture teaches. There is legitimate leadership in the church and the Bible affirms its existence , even commanding submission to that leadership (e.g. Titus 2:15, 1 Timothy 5:17, Hebrew 13:17). Without leadership there could be no church.
The idea is that no headship in the church also means no male headship in the church, and if the argument is correct, women could be ordained. No headship means no ordination, because without headship there can exist only laity. If one advocates changing the term “headship” to merely “leadership,” how would the church conduct itself in harmony with the requirements set forth in scripture for the office of elder?
We are glad that abolishing all leadership was never the intent of those advocating for WO. Indeed, many are leaders themselves. And yet, they persist in attempting to show that the requirement of being male to be eligible for the headship/leadership office of elder is not valid.
What will follow if we accept the argument
Were I asked to categorize all arguments in favor of WO in a logical way, I would place this argument, together with the one from Galatians 3:28 and some others, in a category called: “Arguments inviting higher criticism through the backdoor.” I’ve chosen that name, because both arguments are presented so as to sound so biblical, to appear true to the principle of Sola Scriptura, and are described as though employing the historical-grammatical method. But as they are employed, passages are interpreted so that they are in contradiction with the remainder of Scripture, which then necessitates the invocation of local culture or the employment of other approaches that subject Scripture to man’s authority. The clear meaning of the totality of Scripture is explained away in favor of a preferred interpretation of these isolated segments.
This just shows how we all have to be serious students of the Word, because if we do not go to the scriptures for ourselves to see if these things be so, we are in danger of being deceived by pseudo-biblical arguments no matter the issue at stake.
A few follow-up questions
Some would say that male headship, though evidently valid when applied to the husband in the home, is not valid when applied to the local church elder. To these I would like to ask the question: Isn’t Christ the Head of the home too? And, if you can reconcile these two truths, can you not also reconcile the notion of male headship in the church and Christ as the Head of the church using the same reasoning?
How are we to interpret the dominion given Adam over earth in light of the dominion that God has over the whole of creation? And can we not just as easily reconcile those two concepts, as we can the notion of male headship in the church and Christ as the Head of the church, using the same reasoning? Two small prepositions “of” and “in” make a world of difference.
Will we follow?
The truth concerning Christ as head of the church is as follows: Christ alone, being the Head of the church, has the authority to organize His church the way He specifies. The way Christ has chosen to organize His church is revealed in His Word. Jesus has chosen to organize His church with a specific form of leadership, that of the elder, reserved for males. Their leadership role is modeled after Christ’s role, though in a limited fashion (just as we were created in God’s image, modeled after Himself, but limited and therefore not contradictory). Their leadership is not in opposition to that of Christ for He Himself designed the office they are called to occupy and specified their being male in gender. Their leadership is in subjection to Christ, because all ordained elders within the church derive their authority directly from Christ as the true and only legitimate leader of the Church. Only when men, ordained or not ordained, go beyond Christ’s revealed will (the Scriptures) have they placed themselves above the authority of Christ, and in opposition to His headship. Those who elevate their own opinions as supreme authority, whether directly or by trying to make the Bible say things it doesn’t say, usurp Christ’s rightful authority.
May we be found in subjection to Christ, the Head of the church, and follow His complete will as revealed in the Word of God, the Bible.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Jordy Buisman is a youth living in the Netherlands. He graduated from the PEACE school of evangelism in the UK in 2013. Playing the piano, especially the hymns, is his hobby.

35 replies on “Does Christ as Unique Head of the Church Contradict the Male-headship Office of Local Elder?”

Indeed. This so-called “youth,” writing more like a veteran thought leader than a still-maturing young adult, should perhaps consider contributing here more often.

Excellent article. What is also important to keep in mind is that those urging this leveling out of ecclesiastical authority do not hesitate to exercise authority against those who differ with them, once they acquire such authority. It’s like the argument by theological liberals for the free interchange of ideas in the church. That in most cases is merely a ploy by which to legitimize the liberal denial of our faith. Once such persons acquire power in the church, freedom is more often denied than granted to those in the church who still hold to the Bible-based message and standards of classic Adventism.

“those urging this leveling out of ecclesiastical authority do not hesitate to exercise authority against those who differ with them, once they acquire such authority.”
I can’t say that that never happens, of course. It may very well be true in some cases. But neither can it be said that that is true in every case.

Thanks for pointing that out! It is a very valuable insight indeed. I also discovered that, but you put it to words much better than I could have. What’s more, it is not just restricted to theological liberals in the church, but actually hearkens back all the way to the enlightenment where cultural liberals and self-styled but misnamed ‘freethinkers’ used the same tactic.
It seems to be a defining characteristic of those advocating error, that they first reduce the notions of truth and error to mere opinions in order for the error to be accepted, after which truth is persecuted, because the presence of even a hint of truth is threatening to the tyrannical rule of error.

Here is a clear passage that shows that IN THE CHURCH the “headship” doctrine is validated;
GWN 1 Timothy 5:1 ¶ Never use harsh words when you correct an older man, but talk to him as if he were your father. Talk to younger men as if they were your brothers, 2 older women as if they were your mothers, and younger women as if they were your sisters, while keeping yourself morally pure.
KJV 1 Timothy 5:1 ¶ Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
NAB 1 Timothy 5:1 ¶ (1 )Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters with complete purity.
The Bible is clear that IN THE CHURCH there ARE “fathers” and “mothers” “brothers” and “sisters”~The Church is all about FAMILY, and in the family there is a God-given order and it is the same as we find in Ephesians 5 where wives are to submit THEMSELVES to their own husbands, in everything, for he is her head.
A woman is not bound to be in submission to her husband at home, but when she comes to church she is set free. Neither are single women free to usurp the authority of those men who are married just because they are not married to them. Nor is a married women free to usurp the authority of other men who are married to other women just because those men are not her husband. Women in the church are to respect the role and authority of husbands in the church whether they’re married or not, or whether that man is her husband or not. She of course should never submit to another man “in everything” as to her own husband, but she is not at liberty to usurp his authority of his own wife just because she is not married to him.
This God-given relationship does not dissolve when we are in church, it is transferred into the church FAMILY where there are spiritual “fathers” and “mothers,” which are husbands and wives. How is it that there is now no husbands being the head of his wife in the church family? We thus make the Church a place of escape for women who do not wish to be under their husbands authority (as God intended, not as man abuses it). But the Church Family is there to educate men and women in their Godgiven roles as husbands and wives and as families.
The home family is extended into the Church Family and the church is the training ground for young people how to behave when they get married and build there own homes. We must maintain the proper relationship of men and women, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, even in the Church Family.

Jordy, you have failed to consider 1 Samuel 8, where Israel demanded a king “like all the other nations”. In this case after God says in verse 7 “they have rejected me” in verse 9 He says “heed their voice“. In Matthew 23:11 Christ says “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Christ’s plan for His church involves servant leadership not headship as some understand ordination and authority. The ideas of authority of the ordained clergy are not Biblically sound but borrowed from apostate christianity. God’s plan for the last generation is for an inclusive ministry as described in Joel 2:28.

Herbert, what God plans for the last generation in Joel 2:28—including an outpouring of His prophetic spirit; universal blessings never meant to alter Scripture’s already established pattern of male-only servant-leadership—has nothing at all to do with either God’s created order (Genesis 2) or the church’s view on male authority (1 Timothy 2), the latter establishing Adventism’s position on biblical ordination based on prefall headship: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (vs. 12-13).

Brother, I’ve thought about your comment and will share my conclusions responding to your comment point by point.
The passage in Samuel you reference shows how putting aside God’s organizational ideals is tantamount to rejecting God Himself, and not merely the men that occupy the offices He set in place. Another strong warning for anyone seeking to tamper with the divinely instructed church order.
I wholeheartedly agree that Christ’s plan involves servant-leadership, and that is exactly how headship is defined Biblically. Read Ephesians 5 for example and tell me how that headship is not servant leadership? If some understand headship and authority in a tyrannical/dictatorial manner, that shows they have not understood Scripture, but supplemented inspiration with their own corrupt ideas. We should know how to separate the chaff from the wheat. The pharisees’ legalistic Sabbath observance did not prove there was no Sabbath. Neither does misunderstanding male-headship prove there is no male-headship.
Ordained clergy has authority which is directly derived from Christ, since it is Scripture that speaks of this authority. Have you not read the verses I referenced (Titus 2:15, 1 Timothy 5:17, Hebrew 13:17)? The leadership ideal set forth in Scripture may be servant-leadership, but that does not mean there is no authority to be found in it, but rather it describes the way that authority is wielded and exercised. The Bible is the foundation on which the authority of the minister rests, and that can hardly be called a derivative of apostate Christianity.
God’s plan for the last generation in Joel involves the pouring out of the Spirit, but a brief survey of Scripture will show that Spiritual gifts have always been inclusive (so that’s nothing new) and that these existed alongside church offices without them overlapping. iow… those having gifts did not usurp authority that God had reserved for those appointed to the offices of authority, rather they ministered and did Gods work by the unction of the spirit alongside and in cooperation with the official church leadership.
Thanks for commenting and God bless you.

It is strange that the plain reading of the Biblical text leads me to understand one meaning and others something else. It seems many have constructed a box to put God into and to limit his dealings with humanity. It seems that some male headship promoters limit God as did some of the Jewish Christians in Paul`s day. My understanding of scripture is that God can call whomever he chooses to serve as He through His Spirit directs.
As I read 1 Samuel 8, the message is that headship and authority are God`s attributes and verse seven indicates that giving this headship to a king is rejection of God’s sovereignty. It is the traditions of the apostate church that have introduced the gap between clergy and laity. I also fail to see the separation between spiritual gifts and church offices “without overlapping” Ephesians 4:11 says “he gave, some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” I don,t see there the separation that some seem to find.
May God lead each of us in understanding His will for the church in these last days.

Thanks for your further reply. I do not think that a plain reading brings us to diametrically opposed conclusions in this instance. Rather we both get the same picture, though I would respectfully submit that yours is incomplete. It is therefore not either/or, but both and.
I completely agree that “headship and authority are God`s attributes”, but I also recognize that all legitimate earthly/human leadership is appointed of God and derives their authority from God. That’s why the following verses exist:
Romans 13:1-7 – Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Hebrews 13:17 – Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.
But the qualifier is Acts 5:29 – Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
since no God appointed autority has authority in itself to go outside of God’s revealed will, and if they do, we no longer have to obey, because they have voided their God-given authority.
Samuel was a Gods appointed leader. In rejecting Samuel and asking for a king (a different form of government than God had appointed) they actually rejected God’s authority because they introduced their own order of things (monarchy) to supplant God’s order of things (theocracy mediated by prophets and priests)
It is true that the apostate church has introduced an unbiblical gap between clergy and laity, as well as introducing unbiblical mandated celibacy for the clergy. But even if the “gap” is not found in the Bible, role differentiation IS found between clergy and laity, and clergy has God-appointed authority/headship. In addition to that, gender role distinction in the home and the church is found in Scripture. We base our doctrine and practice on the Bible, not tradition, so we will have to abide by the Church organization that God set up in the early church as revealed in the Scriptures.
Also, you can hardly accuse us of ‘putting God in a box’, since it is almost impossible not to notice in studying the Bible that God believes in gender roles. Do we also put God in a box by recognizing that He set aside the Seventh day and not just one day in seven? Why not sanctify a two-day weekend?
Also the distinction between gifts and offices is evident in the nature of the two. Someone can have a gift, yet be unqualified for the office. An unqualified person can be prohibited/prevented from fulfilling an office, or if already ordained, ordination can be nullified. The church however, does not bestow, nor can it revoke Spiritual gifts. That is God’s prerogative. Spiritual gifts (e.g. prophecy) have always been given to both males and females, but never before in history have those who have received these gifts felt themselves entitled to leadership offices simply because they had these gifts, without being in rebellion against God (e.g. Korah’s rebellion). Gifts are given primarily for ministry. Something which we all are called to do, since Jesus has no ‘church members’, only disciples. That gifts can play an important role in fulfilling a church office no one disputes, but to say that a gift is sufficient ground for ordination, or that a gift can only be used (fully) when ordained to a certain office, is not Biblical nor logical.
Pardon the lengthy reply. I thought it was necessary for clarity and comprehensiveness.

Here is something you have not considered about “spiritual gifts.” Are not the gifts of “apostle” and “pastor” included in the Gifts the Holy Spirit gave “severally as He will?” Why yes indeed. Then if the spiritual gifts are given devoid of genderness, that is they are given without respect of ones gender, then why be it that we find not one female apostle in the whole of the NT Church? There were none. Therefore, no woman was given the gift of apostle BY the Holy Spirit, Who set each member in the church body just as HE WANTED them to be. The Holy Spirit is the one responsible for there not being any female apostles in the NT Church. He did NOT give that gift to them? Why not?
What about the gift of “pastor?” If the Holy Spirit set each member in the church body according to His will, and His will alone, (See 1 Corinthians 12), and that Joel 2 was fulfill on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on BOTH men and WOMEN, “equally” and yet we do NOT find one female “pastor” in the whole of the NT!, then it MUST NOT BE the will of the Holy Spirit to give the gift of “pastor” to women!
If the Holy Spirit did not see fit to give women these gifts, apostle or pastor, then who are we to go against His revealed will when He first set up the church and its order or organization of it members according to His will without one female apostle or pastor or elder? He just did not do it, and neither should we.
Now, mind you the Holy Spirit was pour out on the Apostolic Church in the Early Rain Power and they took the gospel to the world without one female apostle, pastor, or elder . . . The Remnant Church of Bible Prophecy is to be a replica of the Apostolic Church . . . Right? Yes indeed. Then is follows suit that if the Apostolic Church fulfilled their mission at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit without one female “pastor” or elder or apostle THEN so can the Remnant Church fulfill her mission to take the everlasting gospel to the world without one female pastor or elder! And do so know full well that this is according to the will of the Holy Spirit Who did not give such gifts to women nor set women as elders and pastors in the NT Church Body.

Note: Dominion of the earth was given to both Adam and Eve. The only sense in which it is accurate to say “dominion was given only to Adam” is that until the fall, “adam” meant all of humanity. Which is saying the same thing: Dominion was given to Adam and Eve both.

Thanks for commenting. Please don’t get distracted by that, though, because regardles of who received dominion, the point of the argument is that we can easily harmonize divinely ordained human authority and divine authority. Only an unwilling person with an axe to grind would suggest otherwise.

If Christ is the head of the body, which I fully agree, then what part of the body is to be over other parts of the body? God’s original plan is still His plan today. The body is one and yet there are many members. If the eye says because it is not the hand it is not of the body, is that true? No. With Christ as the head and orchestrating each part of His body as He sees best, why is there such furer over who will be ‘head’? and over whom? Be careful it doesn’t become abusive instead of inclusive.

i disagree that the texts quoted by Pr Mendoza support male headship. What they show is that we are brothers and sisters as adoptees in the family of God and to respect our elders. All men are not over all women in the church. God clearly established marriage between one male and one female. All men in the church are not in the role of husband to all women in the church. It is a brother/sister relationship.

Dear Beverly, Please do not read into my words that which I did not right. I never said that all women have to submit to all men. What I said was that those who are “fathers” in the church FAMILY are to be entreated as IF they were your own father, whether you are male or female. BUT you say there are only “brothers and sisters” and yet the Bible said that there is more than brothers and sisters in the church family, it clearly says “fathers” and “mothers” being the older males and females, and then “brothers” and “sisters” being the younger males and females. If you stick with what 1 Timothy 5:1-2 actually says and not delete the words “fathers” and “mothers” included by divine inspiration, you could not and would come to your conclusion.
We are to respect “our elders” but Paul did not say we are to treat all males as brothers! Some are to be “treated as our own father” and if this is, then is not your father the head of your home? Does he not have authority above you as his child or are you really arguing that your are on equality with the head or your home as a child? The same is true as being a wife, you are not the head of your home, your husband is and you are not to step in and subvert his roll, whether is good at it or not. Now in the Church Family there ARE those who are males and who play the role of the father IN THE CHURCH and we are not at liberty to treat them less that we would our own father. These are limited to the “elders” or older men of the church, not all the men. Some are younger men, whom you can relate too and treat as “you brother.” BUT they’re not all to be treated as brothers, and Paul make room for that distinction of fathers and brothers IN THE CHURCH FAMILY. What you are say undoes the structure and order of the Church Family.
Women in the Church family are to respect the elders and older men (not all men) as they would their own father, and as I said no women is to ever submit herself to any man but her own husband in everything (Ephesians 5:22-24), She is not to render the wife submission to any other man. BUT this does not mean she is now at liberty to subvert the submission of other women to their own husbands just because their all now in the church. The married women of the church family are to encourage the unmarried younger women and those who are married to render due submission and obedience to their own husbands.
CJB Titus 2:3 Likewise, tell the older women to behave the way people leading a holy life should. They shouldn’t be slanderers or slaves to excessive drinking. They should teach what is good, 4 thus training the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to take good care of their homes and submit to their husbands. In this way, God’s message will not be brought into disgrace.
CSB Titus 2:3 In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.
ESV Titus 2:3 (a)Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, (b)not slanderers (c)or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, a)pure, (b)working at home, kind, and (c)submissive to their own husbands, (d)that the word of God may not be reviled.
GWN Titus 2:3 Tell older women to live their lives in a way that shows they are dedicated to God. Tell them not to be gossips or addicted to alcohol, but to be examples of virtue. 4 In this way they will teach young women to show love to their husbands and children, 5 to use good judgment, and to be morally pure. Also, tell them to teach young women to be homemakers, to be kind, and to place themselves under their husbands’ authority. Then no one can speak evil of God’s word.
Ok, that is clear. . . older women are to act as “mothers” in church not “fathers.” They are to train and teach younger women to relate properly to their husbands. This include teaching to be submissive to their husband’s “authority” even in the church body. where are those women who are teaching younger women about this? Just because a young women is NOT married does not set her at liberty to disregard the due respect and submission the women in the church family are to give to their husbands, In fact this is the training ground for future wives so they will know what God has set their roles as in the family. You do not have the right to treat another married man as if you were his equal or as if he were another woman, just becuase he is not your husband. Sure you would never submit to him “in everything” as you are required to do with your own husband, BUT this does not mean you are free to disrespect his role as a husband and a father, especially is he is older than you. You are commanded by the Bible to treat his as “your father” and does not your father have some authority over you?
In the Church Family those who serve as elders of the church are likened to fathers and the older women as “mothers.” Role exchange where women are now place in the role and authority of fathers is immoral and contrary to the arrangement God set in the church. ALL WOMEN are either “mothers” or “sisters” NONE are “fathers” or “brothers.”

Per sister White, Adam and Eve were created equal, and the submission of the wife is the result of sin:
“God had made her the equal of Adam. But sin brought discord, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of one or the other. Eve had been the first in transgression. By her solicitation Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband. Man’s abuse of the supremacy thus given him has too often rendered the lot of woman bitter and her life a burden. – {EP 27.4}”

Ok . . . here is another error . . . Adam and Eve were NOT created “equal” otherwise God would have created them AT THE SAME TIME and BOTH “from the dust of the ground.” BUT the truth is that only Adam was first created, alone, all by himself. Eve was created second. BUT even though this is the Creation Order they BOTH are EQUALLY created in God’s Image. Now think this through . . . God is ALL MALE Trinity . . . How is it then that Eve is created equally in God’s image? The word “image” has to do more with character than physical appearance. And it is obvious it has nothing to do with genderness, otherwise Adam was created in the image of God and Eve was not, and that’s not what the Bible say in Genesis 1:26-27.
We all know that no man can “equal” a women, no man can give birth to a child and fulfill the need for a real female mother. No women can “equal” a man or ever father a child. They are not total equivalents one of another. A man is not the equivalent of a women, nor any women the equivalent of a man. BUT they are both of equal worth and value in God sight. BOTH are made in God’s image! BOTH are necessary for the continuation of the human race, the continuation of the existence of men as well as the continuation of the existence of women.
You say that “the submission of the wife is the result of sin” So now are we to believe what God told Eve, that her “husband will rule over you and your desire will be to your husband” was sinful and needs to be removed? If we still live in a sinful world (and we do) then the rule still applies NOT to keep women in sin, but to save them from sin! God did not institute something sinful, did He? No. BUT was Eve’s submission to her husband the result of her sin? Did she not have any kind of submissive role to her husband as HIS HELPMATE?
For a man indeed should not have his head veiled, because he is the image and glory of God, and the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man; 9 and indeed man was not created for the sake of the woman but woman for the sake of the man. 10 The reason a woman should show by veiling her head that she is under authority . . .
Why doesn’t the Bible say that man is the glory of woman? Why is it the other way around? NOTE that the woman was CREATED FOR MAN, not man for the woman . . . and this was BEFORE SIN! Is that not God’s Creation Order and show that they were not full equivalents? They are coordinating counter parts one of another, corresponding one with another.
Adam’s being CREATED FIRST is the reason for submissiveness of the women, her sin just intensified that submission:
CJB 1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman learn in peace, fully submitted; 12 but I do not permit a woman to teach a man or exercise authority over him; rather, she is to remain at peace. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Havah. 14 Also it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman who, on being deceived, became involved in the transgression.
CSB 1 Timothy 2:11 A woman should learn in silence with full submission. 12 I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent. 13 For Adam was created first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.
ESV 1 Timothy 2:11 Let a woman learn quietly (a)with all submissiveness. 12 (a)I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 (a)For Adam was formed first, (b)then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but (a)the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
GWN 1 Timothy 2:11 A woman must learn in silence, in keeping with her position. 12 I don’t allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. Instead, she should be quiet. 13 After all, Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 Besides that, Adam was not deceived. It was the woman who was deceived and sinned.
NO MAN should approve of the abuse of this God-given authority but neither should any woman try and overthrow GOD’s rulership He gave to man is His wisdom and plan for relationships of husbands and wives, men and women.

I am glad to see a young person wrestling with such an important issue. And I affirm that all Christians can agree that there is no other head in the church other than Christ alone. Whatever other differences we may have, as long as we agree on this, we are in very good shape!
There are a few points that I would like to challenge respectfully for your consideration:
“that does not mean there is somehow a contradiction between eldership as Adventists since our beginnings have practiced it (as a male headship role), and Christ’s status as Head of the church.”
Actually, the Adventist church has not practiced eldership as a male headship role since its beginnings. Ellen White, along with others of our founders, wrote approvingly on various occasions regarding the participation of women in all sorts of ministries, including the pastoral ministry.
“what is included in headship? Leadership. Authority. So, if Christ’s leadership of the church is somehow antithetical to leadership roles within the church, then any and all leadership roles would be delegitimized…”
While it is true that headship includes leadership, the two are not the same. Just as all poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles; all headship includes leadership, but not all leaders are the head. Denying that human being (male or otherwise) can be a head in the church does not deny that there are leadership roles within the church. There are, obviously, and they are all subordinate to the head of the church, which is Christ.
“There is legitimate leadership in the church and the Bible affirms its existence , even commanding submission to that leadership”
That is true. It is important to keep in mind, on the other hand, that the Bible also commands mutual submission of all Christians to each other (Eph 5:21). As a pastor, God expects me to submit to those he has placed in my stewardship just as much as he expects them to submit to me. And it is this practice of mutual submission that reminds me constantly that my role as pastor does not place me on any higher level, nor does it grant me any more authority, than any other member of the Body of Christ.
“The way Christ has chosen to organize His church is revealed in His Word. Jesus has chosen to organize His church with a specific form of leadership, that of the elder, reserved for males.”
Actually, Jesus exercises his authority through the church by using a variety of roles and gifts other than just elder, such as apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors/teachers, and deacons. All of these gifts are distributed by the Holy Spirit as he wills. There is no Biblical basis on which to restrict leadership in the church to the elders, alone.
Again, I appreciate Mr. Buisman’s efforts at wrestling with this issue. And I agree whole-heartedly with his final statement: “May we be found in subjection to Christ, the Head of the church, and follow His complete will as revealed in the Word of God, the Bible.” Amen!

Correction on my above comment (as there is no way to edit): I affirm that all Christians can agree that there is no other head OF the church other than Christ alone. (I realize that difference of preposition is important in the article, and I respect that.)

Jody seems confused as are many by using ‘headship’ to infer ‘leadership’. Jesus certainly is the head of the church, but should we accept that leadership should be determined by race or culture? Certainly not, colonialism has passed into history. Should we determine leadership by age, or colour, or wealth? We would dismiss those arguments as nonsense.
Jody would suggest that his idea of headship (inherited from the mediaeval Ronam Church, and still defended by them) is about male-only leadership. That is a shallow position, dependant on ‘the traditions of men’ and a literalist understanding of a cultic text.
What the head of our Church spent his short lifetime explaining by both miracle and parable is the principle of Equality. And that is what our Church should clearly state. We regard no race, no colour, no culture and no gender as superior. We take that position because it reflects Jesus’ position.
No syllogism – just clarity of Truth.

Is the idea of male headship locked into the conservative mind – an attempt to preserve a culture that is changing and attitudes that reflect a time past… when they were firmly in control? Is it simply a ‘tradition’ they refuse to let go…

That idea stands refuted by me. I am born and raised and still living in the Netherlands (one of the most liberal and secular countries in the world), and the Netherlands Union Conference isn’t exactly a bulwark of conservatism either (they were among the first to ordain women in open rebellion against the world church and the word of God). In short: I only hold to the position that I do, because of my honest study of the Bible, since nearly all ‘environmental factors’ would push me in a radically different direction.
It is not nostalgia that drives me, I am far too young for that, rather it is fidelity to Scripture and the God of Scripture. Alas! the culture is changing and among the changes that are in the works is the eradication of religion (or at least true religion, according to the book of Revelation). I guess I could class you as someone who is out of touch with reality as well in trying to preserve a cherished custom of the past?
Please don’t be fooled and think you can pacify the secularists by yielding to their godless views on ‘minor matters’ like gender relationships. Compromise has given us exile, persecution and false worship in the past, converting the church to the World and not the other way around. It will not yield any better fruit in the end of time than it did in all of history. Please let’s stand for the truth of the Bible united.
God bless you.

Russel, my dear brother, we only determine eligibility to the office of elder/minister by the Bible. The question is: will you submit to Scripture? Remember, it is Christ Who is the Word of God and in refusing to submit to Scripture, you refuse to be under Christ’s headship and hence effectively sever yourself from the church body, even if you profess to still be part of it. It is not because of any fault on Jesus’ part that He will have to spew some out of His mouth. Those who twist Scriptures to suit their own opinions are breaking the bones of Christ on the cross.
Examine your heart, search your motives and desires, weigh your thoughts and feelings, see if you are really willing to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes, or whether you will only follow Him where worldly wisdom and personal prejudice will accompany you? Then study Scripture to show yourself approved, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, allowing Scripture to be its own expositor.
Do not be beguiled by the false notions of equality that this world steeped in sin and in flagrant rebellion against God has put forth. Don’t be fooled by those who foolishly consider themselves God’s moral superior. Ask God for His wisdom.
God-willing my next article will cover egalitarianism, so that all can see the folly of aligning themselves with worldly wisdom.

Oh, what a tremendous writer, you are – most importantly at writing truth. I wish I could express myself as you do, but since I can’t, I can certainly find great pleasure in reading it. Thank you for that priviledge. Oh, how I pray we have a lot more youth like you in the Church – those that can rightly divide the truth. Your pure agenda does shine – understanding God’s will for how His church’s governmental image should mirror the Divine government in Heaven – it’s all about having a servant attitude & submission.

Eve was equal in all things to Adam at creation per sister White: “When God created Eve, He designed that she should possess neither inferiority nor superiority to the man, but that in all things she should be his equal. The holy pair were to have no interest independent of each other; and yet each had an individuality in thinking and acting. But after Eve’s sin, as she was first in the transgression, the Lord told her that Adam should rule over her. She was to be in subjection to her husband, and this was a part of the curse. In many cases the curse has made the lot of woman very grievous and her life a burden. The superiority which God has given man he has abused in many respects by exercising arbitrary power. Infinite wisdom devised the plan of redemption, which places the race on a second probation by giving them another trial. – {3T 484.1}

Jesus became a ‘second Adam’, meaning Calvary provides salvation for humanity, not just for those who are male. We would be misreading the intent if we thought God singled out women for extra punishment.

Sister White comments on the submission of wives to husbands:
“God requires that the wife shall keep the fear and glory of God ever before her. Entire submission is to be made only to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has purchased her as His own child by the infinite price of His life. God has given her a conscience, which she cannot violate with impunity. Her individuality cannot be merged into that of her husband, for she is the purchase of Christ. It is a mistake to imagine that with blind devotion she is to do exactly as her husband says in all things, when she knows that in so doing, injury would be worked for her body and her spirit, which have been ransomed from the slavery of Satan. There is One who stands higher than the husband to the wife; it is her Redeemer, and her submission to her husband is to be rendered as God has directed—“as it is fit in the Lord.” – {CCh 138.4}

Thank you, Beverly, for sharing inspiration to better understand this important issue. In the symposium discussing male headship, one of the speakers shared the influence of the Son being subject and acting in submission to His Father. How do you think that influences the angels? Then in the family, as the father is subject to God–even leading the family in asking forgiveness. How does that impact the wife to see her husband being subject to God? Then as the wife is subject to the husband in the family setting, how do you think that influences the children? The results truly speak for themselves to the careful observer.

Here is something to consider regard women desiring to be ordained preachers and their home order as God set it up;
“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.

Thank you sister Beverly for sharing that quote! It shows forcibly how sister White, herself a gender complementarian as were the Bible authors, understands the true meaning of gender role differentiation and divinely established order. As demonstrated in the quote, male-headship does not equal misogyny nor any abusive or dictatorial rule, as some egalitarians caricature the complementarian position. Neither the Bible nor Spirit of Prophecy gives license for abuse in any from in the home or church in the name of male headship, yet it also upholds male-headship, not egalitarianism, as God’s ideal.
She expounds upon the principle of obeying God rather than man Acts 5:29, which applies whenever divinely ordained human authority conflicts with the authority of God. This principle is a defence against abuse of authority to which sinful humans are prone.

EGW . . . “but that in all things she should be his equal.” So why was Adam created first if “in all things” Eve was to be his “equal.” Could Eve ever be the equal of Adam and father a child? Was Adam “made for Ever?” Was Adam to be Eve’s “helpmate?” The Bible is clear that the woman was MADE FOR THE MAN and not man for the woman 1 Corinthians 11:7-10. Adam and Eve were not physical equivalents one of another. Adam was NOT the equivalent to a women, neither was Eve the equivalent to a man. (Sorry to EGW but our understanding of what she meant by “in all things she should be his equal” must be flawed).

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