Women's Ordination: Shall Angels or Demons Guide Us?

Women’s Ordination: Shall Angels or Demons Guide Us?

by Ty Gibson  |  June 10, 2015

Adventism is heating up as we approach the GC Session in Texas, during which a vote will be taken on women’s ordination. In all my years as a member of this church I love, I have never seen so many of our people so roused about any other issue.

It would be so very cool if we were to get this passionate, articulate, fired up and mobilized about liberating sex slaves, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and bringing the gospel of Christ to the countless millions who have never looked with breathless wonder into His beautiful heart of redeeming love.

But that’s another topic for another time…I guess.

For the moment we are energetically discussing whether it is okay with God for women to have official church hands laid on them in acknowledgement of their sense of calling to go, teach and baptize in the name of Father, Son and Spirit. So as we continue engaging in our current debate, we might do well to pause and consider a few rather sobering thoughts from a woman God inspired to tell us some rather straight stuff.

Brace yourself.

if the heart is filled with prejudice, Satan is beside you, and he will set the plain statements of God’s word in a perverted light.

When our church was engaged in another theological dispute way back when, Ellen White issued this warning to the disputers:

“The spirit in which you come to the investigation of the Scriptures will determine the character of the assistant at your side. Angels from the world of light will be with those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance. But if the Bible is opened with irreverence, with a feeling of self-sufficiency, if the heart is filled with prejudice, Satan is beside you, and he will set the plain statements of God’s word in a perverted light.

“There are some who indulge in levity, sarcasm, and even mockery toward those who differ with them. Others present an array of objections to any new view; and when these objections are plainly answered by the words of Scripture, they do not acknowledge the evidence presented, nor allow themselves to be convinced. Their questioning is not for the purpose of arriving at truth, but is intended merely to confuse the minds of others” (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 108).

This essentially means that if we engage in Bible study with a settled opinion to sustain, or with an arrogant attitude, or with a choice of words geared toward putting down those with whom we differ, that very spirit, or orientation of mind, repels holy angels and invites Satan to guide us in our theological formulations and conclusions. If I posture my position on a subject with accusations of unfaithfulness and apostasy against those with whom I differ, then the Holy Spirit has no choice but to back up and disassociate Himself from my study process. Satan then moves into the vacancy to become the unseen “assistant” at my side. And as a result, I will extract from Scripture unsound perspectives that tend to divide rather than unite the people of God. As we get all hyped up about the issue of women’s ordination, God is more interested in the spirit with which we relate to one another on the matter.

While we are focused on proving our side of the issue right and the other side wrong, here is what the heavenly universe is looking for:

“The grace of Christ must mold our entire being, and its triumph will not be complete until the heavenly universe shall witness habitual tenderness of feeling, Christ-like love and holy deeds in the deportment of the children of God” (Amazing Grace, p. 235).

While we draw battle lines in the sand within the church, heaven would be full of joy if we would simply love one another in our political process:

“The church of Christ, enfeebled, defective as she may appear, is the one object on earth upon which He bestows, in a special sense, His love and His regard. The church is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to effect transformations so wonderful that the angels look upon them with astonishment and joy. Heaven is full of rejoicing when the members of the human family are seen to be full of compassion for one another, loving one another as Christ has loved them” (Special Testimonies To Battle Creek Church, pp. 18-19).

While we are eager to reform others, God would very much like us to refrain from doing so with blunt expressions and exaggerated censure:

“Angels take note of our works, of our words, of the spirit which actuates us. Those who desire to reform others must begin the reformation in their own hearts, and show that they have acquired kindliness and humility of heart in the school of Christ. Those who have charge of others must learn first to master themselves, to refrain from blunt expressions and exaggerated censure” (The Upward Look, p. 59).

refrain from blunt expressions and exaggerated censure

While we resort to the cutting turn of a phrase to triumph with words over those with whom we disagree, God wishes we would just be genuinely polite as we converse, and that we would guard one another’s reputations as we dialogue:

“The truth is designed to sanctify the receiver, to fashion and mold the entire man, externally as well as internally, by abasing pride and disposing his heart to be kind and amiable and condescending. Yes, the religion of Christ is a system of the truest politeness, and its triumphs are complete when a world may look on a people professing godliness with a united front, believers showing habitual tenderness of feeling and kindness of deportment and sincere regard for the reputation of each other” (Our High Calling, p. 237).

While we argue about the evils we believe are creeping into the church from the popular culture, there is a great evil present among us that we scarcely mention:

“It is a great evil, and one which exists among our people to a great extent, to give loose rein to the thoughts, to question and criticize everything another does, making mountains out of molehills, and thinking their own ways are right, whereas, if they were in the same place as their brother, they might not do half as well as he does. It is just as natural for some to find fault with what another does as it is for them to breathe. They have formed the habit of criticizing others, when they themselves are the ones who should be brought severely to task and their wicked speeches and hard feelings be burned out of their souls by the purifying fire of God’s love….

“A person who will allow any degree of suspicion or censure to rest upon his fellow workers, while he neither rebukes the complainers nor faithfully presents the matter before the one condemned, is doing the work of the enemy. He is watering the seeds of discord and of strife, the fruit of which he will have to meet in the day of God” (Counsels on Health, pp. 296-298).

…a great evil, and one which exists among our people to a great extent…

While we imagine that the most vital thing for the church is to be factually correct, God is waiting for our correctness to be charged with love for one another:

“The life of Christ was a life charged with a divine message of the love of God, and He longed intensely to impart this love to others in rich measure. Compassion beamed from His countenance, and His conduct was characterized by grace and humility, love and truth. Every member of his church militant must manifest the same qualities, if he would join the church triumphant” (Review and Herald, November 17, 1891).

While we are concerned with whether or not the sinful culture of the unbelieving world around us is creeping into the church, God has been longing for us to show the world something that will attract them with a power more powerful than merely telling them how wrong they are:

“From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency…the final and full display of the love of God” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 9).

Apparently, it’s possible to be right in all the wrong ways.

So here’s what I have been telling my sinful self every step of the way in the women’s ordination upheaval, and I offer it to you as your brother in Christ:

I may be right in my view of the subject, or I may be wrong, but regardless of whether I am theoretically right or wrong, it is imperative that I be right, by God’s grace, in my spirit toward those with whom I differ, especially toward those with whom I differ.

Father of all pure love, please father Your love to maturity in my soul toward those who see things differently than I do. Holy Spirit, flood my spirit with Your sweet affection for those who don’t agree with me. Beautiful Jesus, beautify my heart with the tender feelings You feel toward us all.

Ty Gibson Co-Director
Light Bearers
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  • Amen. Thank you, Ty, for sharing this powerful message. I truly believe it is a message that the Lord wants His children to hear and reflect upon, especially in the days ahead. My family and I were discussing this very premise over the weekend. God bless.

  • MJ

    Shared 3x and will continue to. This is so important.

  • Dirt Farmer Bob

    Thank the Lord! Nothing could be more appropriate than this message. I pray that many will listen. I think Ty should be asked to preach this message before the debate begins and the vote is taken. Let’s all take a vote on that issue:-)

  • Wow. This convicts my soul.

  • NevadaSue

    Thank you Ty. So very well said. Many of these thoughts have been going through my mind and I’m grateful you have put them together here. May God continue to fill us each with more of His character.

  • Harry Hernandez

    mic dropped, sir. Or well… mic gracefully laid down 🙂

  • Kathy Severance Marson

    Amen and amen!

  • Maged

    Beautiful Jesus? Sweet affection? New words, not Christs words, which Ty usually lives and speaks by, but these are new…

  • Kudzi Nyamukapa

    And I will continue to pray about it. God will guide our way.

  • Cellophane

    Thanks for the reminder. It is obvious that both sides needs to hear this. But we also must remember that a “heated” debated does not necessarily mean someone is “hot under the collar.” It can mean that the issues are extremely important to both sides, and the discussion is intense. No problem there. Also, truth itself will always be considered harsh and judgmental by those rejecting it. So we must be careful about judging other’s judgmentalism.

  • Nancy Crosby

    This is truth…pure , raw, unadulterated. Thanks for sharing.
    By this shall all men know if you are my disciples if yes have love one for another…

  • Terri

    Boy He did. We are not Him! This was a powerful, timely message of truth. I am in great need of it.

  • Beautiful

    Thank you Father for speaking to us through Ty Gibson to redirect your people in this tumultuous times we are experiencing. I am seriously in deep thought with this post. Very introspective

  • rosebud55

    What does this say about the delegates that voted no in 1990 and 1995? Did they really have demons guide them when they voted? Sad.

  • Adriana Kassay

    My biggest question, is this a SALVATION issue? And what truly bothers me the most about this is the DISAGREEMENT! Why is this such a huge deal? And if it is such a huge deal, why is it not much plainer in the Bible like the Sabbath or homosexuality, to which I keep seeing this compared to! I just think the only real issue here is that we are getting off track!… “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way,
    whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of
    this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, Phil 1:8
    So… Let’s get back to the important thing!!

  • rastowell

    1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” Could we have the Spirit of Prophecy, and know everything there is about everything, and have faith that can move mountains, but not have love, especially toward others of differing opinion, and be nothing? 1 John 4:7-8, “7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

  • Janet Lui

    The most simple but profound words that I have heard, on this WO subject, were spoken at the NAD Year end meetings. “The world is starving for lack of bread, we have the bread, and we are arguing about who will serve it”

  • Debra L. Morey Racz

    “It would be so very cool if we were to get this passionate, articulate, fired up and mobilized about liberating sex slaves, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, and bringing the gospel of Christ to the countless millions who have never looked with breathless wonder into His beautiful heart of redeeming love.”
    All I need to do to accomplish this is make a donation to Joyce Meyer Ministeries, which I did last week. But she also reported being in a recent meeting with the Archbishops of Canteberry and Westminister, and the Pope’s confessor as they prayed for the unity of “The Church.” Are we not in a dilemma? By the way, Joyce and her husband Dave are not pastors, but rather are pastored by their local church.
    This protected place for women in ministry is possible without usurping the position of pastor. Spoken as a retired Asociate of Pastoral Care. Debra Dis Racz

  • Dean Huggins

    It seems a shame that so much concern has been brought forward on a subject that I see as not really that important to the church. We have had women pastors for a long time. We have as a church been ordaining them all along. So why the sudden onslaught? Our own conference has been quoted as saying even if the GC votes no they (local Conference) will go ahead and ordain women anyway. So think about that statement. Even if the Holy Spirit were to lead the GC to a no, local leaders would do otherwise. I do find this interesting and perhaps it goes well with EGWs statement about the shaking.
    I wish we could put all this passion into soul winning. I want to win brothers and sisters not fight with them.

  • Debra L. Morey Racz

    Dear Elizabeth, As a retired woman in ministry I would like to share an observation. In the Michigan Conference we have seen a policy of men in ministry who either sink or swim in soul winning before they are ordained usually after a four or five year trial in the field. Winning the lost o Jesus is the fruit that confirms their gift to God and to man not just their teaching or preaching skills.
    Bringing people to the feet of Jesus is not always done in the sanctuary or from the pulpit as you know I am sure. What a blessing to know that some of our best sermons can be preached in the homes of the erring or lost to one two or three. And what a Blessing to be a woman who can get to minister in a living room, laundry room, sick room or at the kitchen table where her male colleague may never get invited.
    These observations may not apply to your case as you may have guided many into the commandment keeping church of our Lord and to Righteousness by His Faith. I wish your experience was/will be sweeter in the future and may the Lord bring you ripe fruit ready to harvest for Him. I also appreciate the spirit of your comment as well as the intent of Brother Ty’s.

  • Gladys Roman

    Thank you brother Ty for sharing this. You just gave me a new perspective when debating with someone about any issues, church or otherwise. I hope you will have the opportunity to share this with the delegation before they discuss WO and vote on it.

  • TristanFermin

    Amen. The true spirit of humility is a willingness to be corrected, and a Christian deportment at all times, and to all people.

  • joejoe

    Praying that my brethren prayerfully 1. Ask For forgiveness of Sins and for a fuller measure of the person of The Holy Spirit; 2. Submit yourself fully to The Lord God; 3. Resist the devil (“and He shall flee from you” is His promise). Then prayerfully watch the two part series “The Adventist Ordination Crisis, (Pt.1and Pt.2). Pray for those of disunity that the Lord will unveil their spirit to themselves for the sake that they be edified in the Lord. Blessings to all whom hear and follow these words in a spirit of Christ Like humility and Christ Like Love. Amen

  • Frank Torres

    I am going through a situation right now that this totally can be applied to. Sometimes The Spirit is lost because of the truth of it all, and we need to be reminded from time to time that our reason and approach both must be of GOD. Now on this subject, we need to tread lightly on what we embrace today as our own, cause it could open the flood gates for greater issues tomorrow. What does the Bible say……in spirit and in truth. God Bless

  • Andrew Merriman

    I am one who believes that WO is indeed a gateway for a whole host of problems with the homosexual agenda being at the forefront.

    I am also one who believes that the vast majority of my SDA brothers and sisters that are in favor of WO are true blue and have no malice.

    The question I would like to pose to those in favor is the same question I ask of my Sunday keeping friends. If you see these things coming to fruition right before your eyes, what will be your choice then? God bless.

  • jelena

    “And the Lord make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, even as we do towards you…to the end that He may establish your hearts BLAMELESS in holiness before God our Father, at the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 1 Thess. 3:12, 13.

    If loving one another means that we are disobeying God, then it is not really love. So I don’t agree with the concept of a love or unity that is based on disobedience to God. However, we can choose to personally be true to our conscience (and the convictions should be based on the word of God and the leading of the Spirit) and still show humility and love to those we disagree with. Criticism is a terrible sin. Satan is the accuser of the brethren and it is not a title we should want for ourselves (I think E. White said this somewhere..reference escapes me).

    Great article Ty Gibson, thank you..

  • Franky G

    Im glad to hear that there are people who are willing to be led by Thus saith The Lord.
    Love n unity can not be based on disobedience for those character traits are only from God. Love is a way of life, and it’s only present in the character of God, its not an emotion, it’s a re-action ( a do word ). We have been led to believe, by society, that we understand love, but do we really? Well said Jelena.
    Andrew I also believe that these people are true blue, we just need to be led by The spirit and study more. Like in the great disappointment, lets look at this more and deeper.

    Food 4 Thought:
    How far are we ( the powers that be ) willing to go to keep the masses happy, in church and paying tithes????
    G. Bless

  • Wes Gerrans

    John, I appreciate the comment. I feel the statement in DA 353 that there were tears in His voice when making these rebukes is appropriate. It is of interest that the Greek word translated “woe” is an expression of grief. Perhaps if these verses were translated “I grieve deeply for you because”, instead of “woe to you…”, we would have a clearer picture of what was being said.

  • Vincent Brandon Verzosa

    Beautiful article Ty. I read your previous article about women’s ordination as well and must say that I respectfully disagree with your conclusions. But at the same time, I desire from the bottom of my heart to have the right spirit of love toward my fellow brethren with whom I disagree. God bless you and your ministry Ty and I truly appreciate your humility.

  • Franky G

    We understand, but what good is a meal that is not well prepared. To a good cook the recipe is very important, consistency, texture, taste, presentation etc. All matter. God is a God of order, yes. We believe The 10 commandments, not just because there are 10, but also because of there order. First 4 relate to us and God, the other 6 to us and man. Who are we to try and change the order or the amount. Who is the cook ( God ), who is the recipe (Jesus, The Gospel ), who are the servants ( S.D.A.), who’s eating the meal (The world )…..

    Who are we trying to be … and ….Why……

  • Grace Huse

    Your post expressed how I have always felt. If God calls me to a certain field as a woman I have never needed a title to work for the Lord. I don’t need the “status” or recognition of a title to work of the Lord. I always ask my self, when a doctrinal issue comes up, will this affect my salvation? If the answer is “no” then I will ask Jesus when I see him. Until that time I will work where He places me.

  • Jeannette Williams

    I have been to churches where there were only women. Waiting for an ordained elder to perform task that only an ordained elder was allowed to do was a real pain.

  • Terri

    Thanks. How much I need to hear this.

  • Simon

    I guess you think yourself the one with the angel at your side?? In my country we have a saying some of the meaning might get lost in the translation but you’ll get the gist of it ” he bite with his mouth closed”.

  • 1. Ellen White spoke against Creeds. We aren’t to have a set in stone opinion, except on the pillars of our faith. Committee decisions are not infallible.

    2. In Andrew Henrique’s video, his entire video was based on a supposed quote by James White, when really it wasn’t by James White at all. I told him that and put it in the comments section that William Fagal told me in an email it wasn’t by James White. Next morning, the comments section was closed, all comments deleted, and he still has the exact same video saying the exact same thing, even in the description claiming the quote is by James White.

  • Ervin

    Scary what people are willing to do these days sister Claudia. God have mercy

  • Gloria Wilson

    Yes. I agree.

  • Gloria Wilson

    Praise God that someone with influence is speaking to the spirit that exists in the debate of women’s ordination. Only our supernatural, pure, holy and undefiled heavenly Father of love can touch the hearts of our church members. I pray that Ty’s comments capture the hearts of every true believer of God, and causes them to fall on their knees in humbleness of spirit. May our loving God fill each one with His Spirit, convicting them, leading, them and guiding them. Forward on our knees.

  • I was reading this morning about the time when James White and Uriah Smith were differing in their viewpoints on the King of the North. Ellen White never said what he position was on it but she rebuked James White. She did not correct him or even say who she thought was right or wrong, just as she never said who was right or wrong on Women’s Ordination in the past. Instead she rebuked James White for this…

    “Ellen White’s message to her husband was a reproof for taking a course that would lead the people to observe differences of opinion among leaders and to lower their confidence in them. For the church leaders to stand in a divided position before the people was hazardous. James White accepted the reproof, but it was one of the most difficult experiences he was called to cope with, for he felt he was doing the right thing. At no time did Ellen White reveal which man was right in the position he held. That was not the issue. The crux of the matter was the importance of leaders presenting a united front before the people.” {3BIO 97.1}
    Also, Ellen White PROMOTED Uriah Smith’s Book, never revealing whether he was right or wrong in the section of his book ‘Daniel and the Revelation’ dealing with Daniel 11:40-45.

  • Ervin

    But the Lord designs that we shall care for the interests of our brethren and sisters. The apostle Paul has given an illustration of this. To the church at Rome he says: “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a SERVANT of the church which is at Cenchrea: that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succorer of many, and of myself also.” Romans 16:1, 2. Phebe entertained the apostle, and she was in a marked manner an entertainer of strangers who needed care. Her example should be followed by the churches of today.

    TESTIMONY TREASURES, VOL. 2, PAGE 570

  • Ervin

    Phoebe is called a servant by Ellen White not a deacon, interesting!

  • Hernando Trujillo

    WHY THE CHRISTIANS FIGHT…
    In the foreword to his book Great Church Fights longtime Baptist pastor Leslie B. Flynn tells of a father who heard a commotion in his yard and looked outside to see his daughter and several playmates in a heated quarrel. At his reprimand his daughter explained, “We’re just playing church!”
    Unfortunately, friction in churches has been so heated that many Christian books have been written about conflict management.
    Although there are many reasons for church fights, no fights are so bitter as those involving doctrines and methods of worship and ministry (Women’s Ordination). Disagreement often degenerates into persecution, and eventually people leave the church, never to return. It began to happen in the time of the New Testament, and it continues almost 21 centuries later, much to the delight of the forces of evil.
    Often at the basis of church fights is a misunderstanding of salvation. The Judaizing Christians of Paul’s day believed that salvation came from Jesus plus specific works of the law. They caused continuous friction with those who believed that salvation is received only by faith in the life and death of Jesus. Tragically, church history tells us that those who have taken the most legalistic and conservative stand for truth have often been the most willing to persecute and even kill those who disagree.
    In the eighties a denomination split over whether the hands should be raised over the head in worship or whether they should just be raised in front of the body. The issue was not the hands but whether salvation was jeopardized by incorrect procedures. Church fights have developed over the color of the new carpet in the sanctuary. On top of the pride of opinion was the fear that somehow the “wrong” color would affect the worship service and endanger the congregation’s chances of salvation.
    The Holy Spirit would have us remember the words of Luther’s associate, Melanchthon: “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity” (cited in Home Book of Quotations, p. 242).
    WHS pg291

  • Tim

    Thanks, Ty for the reminders most important in this discussion….

  • Ty, This perspective on the current state of our church is vital for us to hear and accept. I have heard some preach on this issue, urging grace and tolerance to those who they disagree with, and then turn around and slam the opposition in the next breath. God wants us to be faithful to His Word in Spirit and in Truth. May we all humbly desire the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as the Church wrestles with these issues. And may the words of Jesus truly be a reflection of His Church when He said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

  • Sharp

    Thank you Ty. After studying this topic for many weeks I now feel at peace. You have brought us back to the basics, we are mandated to love God then love one another. Let us get on with finishing up the work before the rocks and the mountains have to do it because we are sidelined and have missed the point. May this love spill over as Jesus admonishes us in these last days as we tell others of His soon return.

  • Jonathan Brauer

    Thank you! May God bless us each as we fight our most important battle with our own selves!

  • Dee

    So how did we do in the discussion on women’s ordination?

  • MrDschr

    I agree also. But after all that’s been said,is there a right and a wrong still to be decided?