Women's Ordination: Is the Church Free to Act? by Ty Gibson

Women’s Ordination: Is the Church Free To Act?

by Ty Gibson  |  June 19, 2015

The God of the Bible is a delegator, not a micromanager. He entrusts His children with decision-making power. God is not a control freak, but rather a freedom lover.

Adam and Eve were given “dominion” over the world God had made for them (Genesis 1:26-27).

Perceiving the grave and glorious arrangement, David proclaimed, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16).
That’s delegation language.

God is love. Therefore, God has engineered a world in which the highest form of freedom is manifested in righteous self-governance. It is from this foundational reality that God empowers His people to act and is glorified by their freedom when it is responsibly exercised.

PEOPLE THINK AND LAY PLANS

The management of Israel was more than Moses could handle. Jethro, his father-in-law, came along and said, “Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you” (Exodus 18:19). Then he suggested an organizational system that involved appointing leaders over groups of 1000, groups of 100, groups of 50, and groups of 10 (Exodus 18:13-27). Moses apparently liked the idea. Jethro’s organizational structure was implemented, and God was fine with it. The thing about this account that is so remarkable in its simplicity is that Jethro used his brain to think up a sensible plan of organization that would meet the need at hand, and he was confident that God would like his plan.

Here is the crucial point to grasp at this point: the Bible describes what Jethro and Moses did, but it does not prescribe what they did for all of time and eternity.

“…it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us.”

Hundreds of years later, New Testament church members saw a need for organizational structure in their situation. So they came up with the “deacon” system (Acts 6:1-7). They appear to have made it up on the spot, and, once again, God was fine with it. Somebody could have said, “Wait just a minute! Where is this deacon system in the Bible? Ah ha, it’s not there, so we can’t do it. We need to go by the Bible, and the Bible says Moses appointed leaders over 1000s, over 100s, over 50s, and over 10s. We need to be faithful to Scripture.”

But nobody said any such thing because they were so fired up about getting the job done that God had given them to do—communicating the gospel to the world posthaste.

Were they disobeying the Old Testament system created by Jethro and Moses? No. In principle, they were doing the same thing Jethro and Moses did—using their brains to come up with an organizational system—although, in form, their system was different than the one Jethro and Moses came up with. They simply had a need for an organizational structure, so they created one.

When the New Testament church was faced with the problem of certain individuals insisting that new converts from the Gentile world be circumcised in obedience to the Bible, a group of brethren we call “the Jerusalem Council”—another organizational innovation that the church came up with—simply thought and prayed and studied the situation through, and decided not to do the circumcision thing anymore, while leaving those who insisted on circumcision to continue with it. And notice how they came to their decision: “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us” (Acts 15:28).

That’s collaboration language.

“All means which, according to sound judgment, will advance the cause of truth, and are not forbidden by plain Scripture declarations, should be employed”

Fast forward to our time. Our pioneers formulated an organizational system that includes Conferences, Unions and Divisions. Actually, they borrowed most of this from other Protestant churches that came up with systems out of necessity when they emerged from Catholicism. But none of it’s in the Bible. Why, then, did our pioneers feel free to create such an “unbiblical” organizational system?

Because while it’s not expressly biblical, neither is it unbiblical!

Actually, when one thinks about it, it occurs to us that the system our Advent pioneers came up with is in harmony with the Bible in the higher sense that the God of the Bible empowers His people to think, to act, to create, and to execute the mission He has given them with the freedom to figure things out without being told every step to take.

When some people, who felt confined by the Bible’s descriptions of what others had done, criticized our pioneers for certain steps they took to implement “unbiblical” systems, James White had this to say:

“If it be asked, Where are your plain texts of Scripture for holding church property legally? we reply, The Bible does not furnish any; neither does it say that we should have a weekly paper, a steam printing-press, that we should publish books, build places of worship, and send out tents. Jesus says, ‘Let your light so shine before men,’ etc.; but He does not give all the particulars how this shall be done. The church is left to move forward in the great work, praying for divine guidance, acting upon the most efficient plans for its accomplishment. We believe it safe to be governed by the following RULE: All means which, according to sound judgment, will advance the cause of truth, and are not forbidden by plain Scripture declarations, should be employed” (James White, Review and Herald, April 26, 1860).

Astounding!

And remarkably sensible!

If we take the Bible seriously, and discern in it the gracious God we’re dealing with, we will soon conclude that God is happy for His people to think beyond, but not contrary to, Scripture. And get this: Jesus pledged Himself to serve the plans His people might come up with to advance His Kingdom:

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).

God would be pleased for us to implement the principles of Scripture to come up with creative plans that are nowhere mentioned in the Bible, in order to advance the gospel. He has opened the door for us to come up with systems that will serve our circumstances and needs.

God, the delegator!

God, the empowerer!

God, the cooperative partner!

What an incredible God!

ECCLESIASTICAL FREEDOM

This is what some Adventist scholars mean when they tell us that women’s ordination is a matter of ecclesiology rather than theology. In other words, since the Bible expresses no definitive command either for or against women’s ordination, the church is free to do what it deems best in the matter for the advancement of the gospel. If the church assesses its situation and decides that more people can be won to Christ by having women pastors, since there is no moral principle violated in doing so, and since there is nothing in the Bible that tells us not to, the church is free to do so.

The tenor of Scripture, and particularly the picture of God’s character painted in its sacred pages, would lead us to believe that the church is free to think and act within the broad parameters of the law and the gospel. We have every reason to believe that God is delighted when we read His word, assimilate its principles, and come up with ways and means to expand those principles into a myriad of effective forms of evangelistic outreach and service.

God doesn’t want robots or slaves. He is looking for creative partners who are so passionate about Him and His gospel that they willing to think up new things, take risks, and push forward into untried methods!

There can be no question, for those who are familiar with our own history as a people, that our pioneers were people just like this. James White was nearly always at the vanguard of innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. His wife, Ellen White, was unambiguously in support of this…well…pioneering spirit. They were, after all, pioneers! And what’s a pioneer? “A person who is among the first to reach and develop a new area of knowledge or activity.”

True, we’ve never had ordained women pastors before. But now we live in a world with many millions of people that would be responsive to the gospel if they were to encounter it, say, through a female pastor. So why not give the world that additional point of contact with Jesus? The Bible nowhere says we can’t. Our own modern prophet nowhere says we shouldn’t. So why not exercise our God-ordained freedom and do it wherever we see that it would be to the advantage of God’s cause on earth?

As previously mentioned, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has Conferences, Unions and Divisions. None of this is in the Bible. But that’s fine. The principle of order is in the Bible, and that principle can take on various shapes. In our particular situation, an organizational structure took shape that includes Conferences, Unions and Divisions. And it works well. But there is nothing holy or sacred about the particular arrangement or form of our system.

The church is free to act, and God is happy with our freedom and the creative solutions we come up with to the real-world problems we face.

Take ordination itself, for example. Nowhere in Scripture can we find explicit justification for our particular method of or criterion for pastoral ordination. By “ordain” we basically mean something like, “This person has met certain educational and professional standards.” Now let’s be clear: that is not what was being said or done when elders or deacons were ordained in the apostolic church.

What, then, was going on when the apostolic church ordained someone? Something like this: “We, as the church, see the fruit and anointing of the Spirit in this person. We believe and pray that God will prosper them in their mission to take the gospel to the world.”

But there’s more. And don’t miss this part, because nobody seems to be talking about it: in order to be ordained as a globally-recognized pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist church, you have to be an employee. Let that register. Our particular method and mode of ordination, when it comes to a globally-recognized pastor, is basically an educational, professional, and career-based attainment within an employing organization called the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Again, this is only tangentially related to what was happening in the apostolic church.

And yet we do it.

Do you see the point? What we call “ordination” in our modern ecclesiastical context means one sort of thing, but it certainly doesn’t look much like what was happening in the apostolic church. Does that make our modern system bad? No, not necessarily. It just makes it what it is: our particular system. The fact that we have used a quasi-biblical word—“ordination”—to describe a modern mode of operation, creates an unusual situation in which many well-meaning, modern Seventh-day Adventists assume they’re standing up for a biblical model of “ordination” when, in reality, very little about our version of “ordination” is biblical at all!

But, it’s working, for the most part, and that’s a good thing. Praise God!

So, this is the question I’m posing: is the church free to do as it deems best for the advancement of the gospel as long as it operates within the principles of righteousness?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

Our inclination is for God to give us rigid parameters and dictates, while God’s inclination is to give us freedom to assess our situation and act out intelligent plans. The church is free to act, and God is happy with our freedom and the creative solutions we come up with to the real-world problems we face.

But this brings us to the theological core of what we’re dealing with as a people.

PICTURE OF GOD

As always, it all boils down to our picture of God. Do we perceive God as a God whose essential character is love, from which arises the agile glory of freedom, from which arises the fluid necessity of human beings thinking through their situation and acting within the principles and spirit of the gospel? Or do we see God as one who issues narrow rules with which He simply demands compliance, and if He says nothing on a topic, He would have us do nothing? Is God’s ultimate will that we would be people of righteous self-governance or of mechanical exactitude?

What we see in Scripture is that wherever the gospel is not rightly understood and experienced, human beings are more comfortable operating within narrow parameters of restriction.

And so, we pace the open cage, asking questions like, What are we allowed to do and what are we not allowed to do?

Think of Israel wandering in the desert while Canaan was just over yonder (Numbers 14).

Think of the Pharisees, straining gnats and swallowing camels in the presence of the Lord of liberty (Matthew 23).

Think of the pro-circumcision party in Acts, determined that everyone comply with their “biblical” demands (Acts 16).

Think of the church at Galatia, invaded by the Judaizers who were spying out their liberty in Christ and trying to bring them into bondage (Galatians 2:4).

All of us, by nature, are children of bondage (Galatians 4). We are inclined to live in one form of slavery or another in order to evade the grave responsibility entailed in our freedom (Galatians 5:1-6). And so, we pace the open cage, asking questions like, What are we allowed to do and what are we not allowed to do?, rather than asking questions like, How can we most effectively apply the principles of truth and righteousness for the advancement of God’s kingdom, to reach as many people as possible, as fast as possible, with the knowledge of God’s beautiful love for them?

What we as a people need more than anything else is a holy flood of gospel preaching, a deluge of insight to God’s grace, a downpour of God’s love upon our hearts. We need a collective, corporate re-baptism in Holy Ghost power, a theological immersion in the life-giving truth of Christ’s righteousness. We need to be revolutionized and radicalized and reorganized by the free and freeing gift of His righteousness.

“Our churches are dying for the want of teaching on the subject of righteousness by faith in Christ, and on kindred truths” (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, p. 301).

“The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken” (Ellen White, Gospel Workers, p. 161).

Our crippling sense of restriction is a symptom of what Ellen White called “the rut of legal religion” (Letter 10a, April 6, 1892, to Stephen Haskell). We’ve been stuck in that “rut” for more than a hundred years. In December of 1888, thinking back to the Minneapolis General Conference Session of that year, Ellen White mused with sadness:

“What power must we have from God that icy hearts, having only a legal religion, should see the better things provided for them—Christ and His righteousness!” (1888 Materials, p. 229).

Here she discerned the two forces that were at odds within Adventism: legal religion versus Christ and His righteousness.

To the degree that the gospel is understood and internalized, the inclination to grant freedom to others will flower in the soul. Conversely, to the degree that the gospel is not understood and internalized, the inclination to enforce one’s religious perspectives will increase. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). And where the Spirit of the Lord is not, there is restriction and control.

The core principle that lies at the heart of the Third Angel’s Message is freedom of conscience and religious liberty. In all matters that pertain to God, the soul must remain free and mobile under the transformative influence of God’s grace as it works from within outward.

It was for this reason that the pioneers of the Advent Movement were resistant to the formulation of a creed by which fellow believers could be judged faithful or unfaithful. As the movement matured and developed, it became apparent that it was acceptable and advantageous to identify a basic set of foundational beliefs that define Seventh-day Adventists’ theology. But even then, we have deliberately chosen not to regard these fundamental beliefs as a creed. The point of establishing a set of fundamental beliefs is to set forth definable theological parameters that allow for the maximum amount of freedom, thus creating an environment conducive to personal study, growth, and evangelistic explosion.

Too much detailed fine-tuning will turn the living body of Christ into a lifeless, mechanical robot!

VOTE LIBERTY

With the current women’s ordination debate, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has come to what appears to be a crossroads at which our basic ecclesiastical self-understanding will move in one of two directions: toward the core principle of liberty that is inherent to the gospel or toward the core principle of control that is inherent to our world’s fallen religious systems. Frankly, the matter of whether women are ordained within the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a small matter compared to whether the tendency to restrict and control wins the day in the upcoming vote.

Someone recently said to me, “If the church allows each Division to decide whether or not to ordain women, then we would be letting everyone do ‘what is right in their own eyes,’ and we shouldn’t allow that, should we?”

And where the Spirit of the Lord is not, there is restriction and control.

My response was, “Sure we should, with regards to everything except heresy and sin.”

He looked shocked for a split second, and then common sense took over and he said, “Huh, yeah, that make sense. So I guess we don’t need rules about everything, do we?”

“Nope,” I said, “what we need is the pure gospel of God’s free grace and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, under the influence of which we will fall deeply in love with the Savior and desire to do only those things that will spread His fame the world over.”

Of course there are lines that the corporate body cannot allow its members to cross while remaining in membership: things like sexual sin, theft, murder and apostasy from the fundamental doctrinal truths of Scripture. But beyond the agreed upon parameters of what constitutes a baseline doctrinal orthodoxy and moral practice, the church should not engage itself in dictating how its members live out and communicate their faith. Once the basic substance of the church’s belief and practice is defined, the exact form that substance takes on should be left to the creative, beautiful, individual expression inherent in human diversity.

And within the realm of church policy, when faced with a decision to vote in favor of restriction or liberty with regards to matters that do not involve heresy or sin, the Christian should always vote in favor of liberty!

As gospel believers we should be leaning into liberty, giving all the room possible for the people of God to act under the influence of God’s free Spirit. We should stand uncompromisingly clear in opposition to things like murder, sexual immorality, theft, domestic abuse, greed, oppression, arrogance, and gossip, and we should refrain from dictating universal rules to restrict those who sense God’s calling upon them to ministry.

Let this register deeply: there are those among us who feel called to gospel ministry in a professional capacity, who are eager to devote their lives to preaching evangelistic meetings, planting and pastoring churches, studying Scripture and sharing what they discover, ministering to the addicted and oppressed, visiting the sick and the imprisoned, equipping and empowering the saints, and more besides. They are passionate to baptize in the name of Jesus and spread the knowledge His lovely character…and we are considering voting that they cannot be set apart to this calling by their own church’s official recognizing mechanism of ordination.

But think this through carefully. Even if you believe that it is not ideal for women to be ordained to the gospel ministry, surely you can see that it is far less ideal to lose the confidence of many women, men, and young adults who find that they can only perceive a rule against women’s ordination as unnecessarily restrictive and hurtful to the cause of God. Surely, in the absence of an express biblical proscription or prescription about “ordination,” it is better to be largehearted and gracious, to extend affirmation to our sisters, rather than vote down their sense of calling.

On this matter, I believe Scripture bears out that the church is free to act.

Will we?

For another thought-provoking perspective on our ordination system as contrasted with the biblical picture, check out my good friend Pastor Chad Stuart’s excellent blog, The Mess of Ordination.

Ty Gibson Co-Director
Light Bearers
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  • nancy foote

    Bravo! Yes, yes, yes! Just imagine a church like that where we are free “in Christ” to each express His love to those around us. I think it brings God supreme joy when we share His character with the world from the heart rather than from the narrow dictates of obligation or ritual.

  • Elizabeth Salisbury

    Amen and amen!

  • Sean Pitman

    Thank you Ty. I really enjoyed this latest article. I hope that the many people reading it slow down and bit and carefully consider the points you’ve made in this and your previous essays on WO. At the very least, I hope those on both sides of this issue will recognize that many honest readers of the Bible, who sincerely desire to know God’s will, may not agree here. We should therefore be especially careful to treat each other with love and respect when discussing this topic – as you’ve also mentioned before.

  • Merry Herrmann

    An Excellent, uplifting, graceful article! AMEN!

  • Barbara Lay Bolton

    Ty, thank you SO much for taking a stand and for making me, once again, fall in love with the God whom you portray! Long ago, we used to sing, “we are ONE in the Spirit, we are ONE in the Lord and we pray that all unity will one day be restored and they’ll know we are Christians by our LOVE.” Praying now for that unifying love!

  • Merry Herrmann

    This is even a more meaningful and powerful article to me! It hits the core of the issue. It’s the picture of God being presented. Which God are we showing the world! Which God allows us to share the gospel the best way possible for our particular church and area.

  • Martin Weber

    A lot of wisdom here, both missional and grace-based. Thank you for these insights.

  • By attacking both women elders and women pastors they are saying the Holy Spirit can not call women to either the professional (employed) ministry or the volunteer lay ministry. The roles of Pastor and Elder as now used in the SDA church are different then how the terms were used in the Acts Church. And that is OK.

    Interesting that the role of Elder in Acts is different then the role of Elder in Exodus, and that is ok too. And there were no Pastors before Acts, including in Jesus time but that is ok. In fact there were no Churches or Church (people) in Jesus day. There were no Chinese Pastors or Mexican Elders in Acts either God wants us to use our brains.

  • Wow.. Sorry to see you take this position Ty. The bible is very clear on Gods original plan for leadership and gender roles. Rather than a restriction, this was designed to be a blessing. We should celebrate our differences and not desire more than what the Lord has seen fit to give us. I could take your whole argument, swap women’s ordination with the Sabbath and it would all fit. But the bible is very clear on the Sabbath and the bible and spirit of prophecy are very clear on headship and leadership roles. Let’s take the bible for what it says and not force our own meanings onto it. Will be praying for you and for all those who bear the terrible responsibility or steering public opinion Within the church and the church body in general that they realise the weight of their words and discern with which spirit these doctrine originate.

  • Billie

    This reminded me of 60’s and 70’s language when I read it. All we need is love.

  • Xumenikomesho Shinana

    Please freedom is priceless. I joined this community because it has truth that liberates. Lets acknowledge our woman.

  • Xumenikomesho Shinana

    POTSY4U! Clarify this leadership and gender roles for me please.

  • DaringDaniel

    Ty … I do not know you personally nor have I ever had the distinct privilege of meeting your colleague David Asscherick who, when I was coming out of a terrible period of depression … I am a Vietnam Veteran who was, for over 10 years, locked in the miserable muck and mire of Calvinistic Predestination and numerology, a state of being the LORD, looking back, apparently allowed me to pass through for reasons I do not yet fully understand … yes, who …. that is David Asscherick … after a stunning revelation in the middle of January, 2011, at the urging of my daughter, Tara Swanepoel, who knows Pastor David personally from her days as a missionary in Bolivia, which revelation through Tara made It CRYSTAL CLEAR to me that I was NOT ordained to be lost and that I really had a CHOICE in the matter, which revelation dispelled the clouds of that depression INSTANTLY and I was gloriously HEALED, literally from ONE MOMENT TO THE NEXT, and was IN MY RIGHT MIND AGAIN … can anybody say PRAISE THE LORD??? …. yes, who, through the ministry of my daughter became, for all intents and purposes, my PASTOR and my source of true INSPIRATION, and whose DVD presentations paved the way for my return to the fellowship of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the pleasure of once again worshipping with fellow believers on the Sabbath Day. I tried to connect personally with Pastor David on Facebook a couple of times perhaps within the last year, but to no avail. He is probably far too busy to have even a few moments to respond to a perfect stranger like myself, albeit he does know my youngest daughter on a personal basis. What I do know now and I THANK GOD for the merciful revelation of His truth to me is that He loves me and that His predestination goes like this …. He has predestined that ALL should be SAVED, and we are lost by our own choices. If I ever encounter a Dutch Reformer and the, yes, MONSTROUS doctrine of Calvinistic Predestination, I will need an ENORMOUS infusion of the grace of God to help me keep my cool in the face of a MONSTROUS LIE that nearly took my life. May GOD HELP ME if such an encounter should ever occur.
    I THANK YOU for your very intelligent, insightful, yes, profoundly thoughtful treatment of a topic that is causing such a great divide amongst the people of the Advent Movement … we are not a denomination, but a MOVEMENT. My GREATEST CONCERN is that the devil … no capital letters for him … is attempting to use this very hot issue at the present time to totally distract a MULTITUDE of Seventh-Day Adventist believers from our true, Spirit-led, and most supremely important mission, to wit, to SHARE THE LIGHT of the Everlasting Gospel with a world gone mad and with the lives of countless millions of living souls in the valley of decision who so desperately need a clear path out of their surrounding darkness. Where is INTELLIGENCE in this growing confrontation between brothers and sisters who share a precious faith??? Where are Gospel creativity and adaptability to the very difficult and highly diverse circumstances that today face the organized Seventh-Day Adventist church?? My wife and I, who are to the best of our knowledge, SOLD OUT FOR JESUS, were recently persecuted right out the door of our local SDA church by members of our church family we truly believed to be our friends. We have moved on and now find ourselves as the only Caucasians in the congregation of the local African-American SDA church where we have been WELCOMED with open arms, Praise the Lord!!! Your very thoughtful, well-constructed article … or should I say, treatise … on the subject of women’s ordination has given me … and my wife … new light on the subject. You have presented a view that gives us much to consider as we move forward as a newly-wed elderly couple who want desperately, above all things, to see SOULS WON FOR JESUS. May the God of Heaven continue to empower your life … and that of Pastor Asscherick as well … who remains my pastor in the sense that when I need a real boost from an inspired, spirit-filled message, I tend to view one of his DVD presentations … yes, may the GOD of Heaven guide you both … and Mr. Rafferty as well … as you continue to occupy your front line positions in the warfare of winning souls for the Kingdom of God and thus preparing the way for His coming. I would love to meet you and David personally, but that is probably a pipe dream for one such as myself. I am sure that the demands upon your time are virtually endless.

  • Xumenikomesho Shinana

    Amen

  • orlando

    Its a great article about allowing the ordination of woman but as he mentioned with Moses father-in-law all the leaders that where chosen were men the person intrusted with the gift of the spirit of prophesy. Was ellen g white a woman she never held a position in the church but did eeverything according to gods will people have to stop saying that the church is refusing to ordained woman ,woman could do great things in ths church but biblically speaking god never chose them to be leaders of men from the beginning of time all the high priest and leader of the church were men when the seventh day Adventist church took a poll on the ordination. 68% of woman agree with the biblical standing on womans ordination that tbey should not be ordain

  • Xumenikomesho Shinana

    What is leadership man?

  • mavarik

    Ty, I read your earlier article “A closer look at WO” with much interest and I believe you have some really good points. As someone whose position on WO is still in flux, I look to you, others and the Bible for my understanding. You mention in that article of becoming aware of new truth and a lot also was new for me, of which I began to take as my own. However a cloud was forming that slowly has changed my mind, regardless of the good within your articles.

    Towards the end of that article doubt came into my mind. Instead of asking your readers to subject themselves to study the Bible themselves and pray earnestly for their own understanding, as you said you experienced! You begin to set the stage for doom and gloom if a YES vote isn’t reached. And it has become ever more clear from your article’s since, that anyone who doesn’t think exactly like you is “narrow, exacting and coldhearted”.

    I feel much has been lost, through the power of words, much that could have united and empowered us to seek Him first as a group of believers. Instead the stage is set for a conflict with an uncertain outcome, an outcome that you say should be based purely on our own meager brains.

    God is interested in the WO vote, and whatever the outcome of the vote, may we all trust in God’s leading through this time and forever more.

  • Ed Gutierrez

    My sentiments exactly after reading Ty’s first article. I don’t believe that women should be approved, but if it does, it will not affect my relationship to this church. Because of the hardness of MAN’s heart, if God raises a god-fearing women into leadership, I welcome it. Men have turned to sports, entertainment, etc. and have left a huge void that needs to be filled. Again I ask, Where are the men? And where are the ladies that makes the man gentle?

  • Frank Webb

    Ty Gibson is one of my favorite people and a true Christian man. We’ve been friends for almost 15 years. I too found Ty’s article interesting but Biblically not very sound. This is the email that I sent to Ty. He has yet to respond.

    Ty, just finishing up your article on women’s ordination. I want to engage on a few points as I was troubled by some points you made as being conclusive in support of women’s ordination. I will try to do this one point at a time. Please do your best to respond to the issue/point raised. Because I hold you and James in such high regard, I’ll be anxious to see your explanations. I will include James on each of these questions and give him a chance to respond as well. I’ll start with a Biblical observation in response to a statement made in your article:

    You said:
    As we’ve already noted, by a simple comparison of Romans 16:1 with 1 Timothy 3:2, 12, it is absolutely clear that Paul did not intend for his “husband-of-one-wife” statement to constitute a universal rule against women occupying the ministerial role, but rather as a description of the moral character a person must possess in order to hold spiritual office.
    I find it interesting that Paul makes a distinction between bishop(elder) and deacon/deaconess. One you seemingly ignore from the aforementioned verses. Where in the New Testament is a women called a bishop(elder) or pastor? I don’t know of one. By blurring the meaning(s) between the two, you make them in effect the same. Are they? If so, why does Paul make the distinction?

    I’ll wait for your response and then ask question number 2. I want to conclude this first question with a another Biblical observation. I would like for you to understand how I see this issue and others related to it. To me, this is very clear and essential in our understanding of God, Christ and the plan of salvation. I believe it can bring understanding to many important relational issues in the church and in the home. I would like for it to be a reference point in our discussions together. Here it is:

    1 Corinthians 15:24-28 states:

    24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
    25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
    26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
    27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
    28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

    The New Living Translation states it this way:

    24After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power.
    25For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet.
    26And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.
    27For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.)
    28Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.
    Although Christ is fully God and equal to His father, Paul says that He(Christ) is “subject unto him that put all things under him,”. These verses of scripture fascinate me because of the implication. Christ here defers to His father. Christ “steps down”, if you will, once the great controversy is concluded and things return, according to Paul, to the way they once were where God the Father is “utterly supreme over everything, everywhere”. Christ under the rulership of his father(See also Hebrews 5:7-9). Christ is our example in everything and this submission to his father must be seen in His kingdom here on earth. Is there opportunity to emulate this in the home and in the church? Of course! Will it be embraced, accepted, celebrated and seen for the blessing that it is? Of course not! Jesus was rejected and crucified by this world. His kingdom is largely rejected by this world. His ways and example are largely rejected by this world. In the Christian church today as well. I firmly believe that one of the clearest, inspired thinkers/writers was the apostle Paul. Paul deals in eternal principals. Submission to Godly leadership is an eternal principal for the Son, His angels and all who believe in His name. I look forward to your prayerful, thoughtful response.

    In His love today,

    Frank

    You see dear friends God has a blueprint for everything. The blessing is found in following that blueprint. To not follow His blueprint is to invite difficulty and disappointment. Regardless how the vote goes, the church will never be the same again. The fight over the book Questions on Doctrine from the 1950’s led to the birth of the “independent ministries” that we see today. The church continues to be more fractured and worldly than ever. By inviting women to lead local congregations we will see many unintended consequences that we won’t be happy with once they begin. Guess what? Too late. You reap what you sow. A careful study of the Testimonies to the Church reveals many wonderful ministries that need women in them to succeed and to also follow the blueprint that God has setup for our benefit and blessing. When was the last time any of us seriously studied the gift of the testimonies to better understand what God wants for His people? More to follow…

  • Frank Webb

    Here was the email I sent to James once he responded(quickly) in defense of Ty’s article and position:

    James, thank you for the quick response. You texted me and said, “My mind is captive (to) the Word of God-“. Me too. Ty quotes William Miller in his article with this statement from Miller:

    “To understand doctrine, bring all the Scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence, and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error” (William Miller).

    The apostle Paul most certainly makes a “gender distinction” when speaking about church leadership.

    Paul states in Titus 1:5

    5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a]elders in every town, as I directed you.(NIV)

    Footnotes:

    Titus 1:5 Or ordain

    Also notice in 1 Timothy 5:17 Paul says:

    17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.(NIV).

    The word used for “elders” in these two passages of Paul is the greek word presbyteros. Notice what this word means:

    4245 presbýteros – properly, a mature man having seasoned judgment (experience); an elder.

    The NT specifies elders are men. (The feminine singular, presbytera, never occurs in the Bible.)

    [The feminine plural, presbyteras, occurs in 1 Tim 5:2. It refers to aged women, i.e. not women with an official church office or title.]

    Again, to follow Ty’s reasoning is to violate Miller’s rule:

    “bring all the Scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence, and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error”

    Ty creates a contradiction with his explanation on the “husband of one wife” in Paul’s writings while seemingly ignoring Paul’s other writings which address church leadership WITH gender distinction. I believe on this point Ty is in fact, “in error”.

    That’s all for this morning. Much more to say but want to do this in “small bites” so that it will be easy to digest.

    Thank you my dear brother for your time. You have always been very gracious.

    In him today,

    Frank

    Please always remember to keep in mind. 1 Cor. 15:24-28

  • Cindy

    Brother Ty, you hit the nail on the head yet again. God bless and use you to teach us where we need His cleansing work in our hearts and minds, to get beyond our narrow, spiritual-blinders-on thinking into His law of liberty, truth, love and grace. God will direct those open to His leading. I pray He will direct the 2015 GC Session to vote the way *HE* says is the right way.

  • Frank Webb

    Amazing to me that my two posts were quickly removed. How much “liberty” is really practiced here?

  • Marc

    I too appreciate Ty’s article and his call to freedom in the Gospel. However I cannot understand why he feels the only vote to express that is the “Yes” vote. There is plenty of freedom for women right now to be involved in Gospel work and carrying forward many Holy Spirit led initiatives. For the sake of world unity, why can’t a “No” vote be just as acceptable of the freedom of the gospel as would a yes vote. There seems to me to be a movement for gaining what some call “Freedom” that is really only the bondage of dictating one sides view, and they won’t quit until they get what they want or they will “threaten” to leave and split off in their own unions unless they are given their way! Ty I am so sorry to see you supporting that kind of movement. Present a case as you formerly did and leave it with the Holy Spirit and the worl church to vote what is God’s will. Instead you have laid another stroke on the horses back trying to get it to go the way “You” think it should go and that is not the spirit of the Gospel. Sorry to say this last article has put you overboard on the side you wish to be standing for and does not allow for the freedom of the Holy Spirit to guide. My prayers are with you and I hope you will put up a balancing statement that affirms the honesty and integrity and freedom seeking of those who engender the “No” vote!

  • LduPreez

    Ty, you/Light Bearers continue to be a blessing to many! May God use you mightily as His instrument.

  • Gordon Bietz, President of Southern Adventist University, makes it very clear why a YES vote is so important:

    “Disunity will come to the church when the majority seeks to impose convictions on the minority in areas that are not defined by the 28 Fundamental Beliefs…Disunity will result when all are required to come to an agreement on issues over which we have developed no consensus…We must avoid the temptation to continue to more narrowly define the truth so as to exclude those who have a different perspective.”

  • Frank Webb

    So now three of my posts have been removed. Why?

  • Frank Webb

    So now four of my posts have been removed. Again, why?

  • Frank Webb

    From the Testimonies:

    A neglect on the part of woman to follow God’s plan in her creation, an effort to reach for important positions which He has not qualified her to fill, leaves vacant the position that she could fill to acceptance. In getting out of her sphere, she loses true womanly dignity and nobility. 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}

  • Frank Webb

    Five posts now removed including a short paragraph from the Testimonies. I wonder if the moderator will abide by his own rules for the blog. I emailed Ty to ask “What’s up?” Not cool.

  • Bruno

    ” millions of people that would be responsive to the gospel if they were to encounter it, say, through a female pastor” How many more millions would listen and receive the testimony of a woman who would not give her the time of day if she came as a “pastor”? Ty you seem to make an argument from the basis of, “well, we’ve already stripped ordination of it’s divinely imbued significance, making it a matter of “… basically an educational, professional, and career-based attainment within an employing organization called the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” So, since we’ve already downgraded the concept of ordination, it doesn’t really matter what we do with it in the future. Your words, as usual, are wonderfully well chosen, but boiled down you are telling us, “Even though the example and specific instruction in the word of God for at least four thousand years affirmed the male role of leader in spiritual matters, in the home and the church, with these fine sounding justifications, and with pressure from the secular and spiritualistic influence upon modern thinking, we can choose to depart from the precedent of all the millennia since creation.”? Is that about right?

  • Cindy Tutsch

    I wonder if, on reflection, this debate is really ours? It seems to me that God settled it when He did not restrict by gender the gifts of the Spirit in Ephesians 4, which include the calling of “pastor.”

  • Kudzi Nyamukapa

    Lets pray like we never did before. Not merely telling God about our side…(whichever we are, and also praying to God to get others believe what we believe), but pleading that He talks to us. We pray that He tell us we are His own, and once again share the joy in Christ. I need that, especially now. I am at a point of running away from opinions I see on the internet, suggestions youtube is giving me, everywhere everyone seems to somehow want to manupulate us to believe that we are so wretched. The posters are, wrong, the brochures are wrong, etc…then i ask what then is right? This is a prayer request rather, and those that will respond, dont pray to God that i take your side, on this issue and so many other issues, I would rather be just with Jesus.

    I totally loved the Sabbath School lesson for the previous week, when Jesus was asked if it was lawful to pay tribute to Caesar? He was put in a tight situation. “to answer that it was lawful would have placed Jesus on
    the side of Rome, showing that He could not be the king of the Jews as
    declared by the crowds at His entry into Jerusalem; to say No would
    have meant that Jesus was following the Galilean mood and declaring the
    Roman rule unlawful, opening Himself to the charge of treason. They had
    hoped to put Jesus in a bind from which He couldn’t escape.”…well I am no theologian and do not know exegesis or hermeneutics (i wonder if they are the right spelling) but i was thinking if we ask Jesus, this time about women ordination how would he reply. To answer “ordain” would hurt the others and to answer “do not ordain” would hurt the others too. My point with this is that would Jesus bother to make this an issue and thus I would take the same answer he gave them to be our ans today. (remember I am not theologian, the best i can do about our faith is believe, last i checked that is all that is needed to get eternal life)

    On Sunday June 14 the lesson had this to say “Though it was all according to God’s eternal plan (triumpant entry into Jerusalem and His death therein), His disciples were so caught up in the traditions and teachings and expectations of their own time and culture that they completely missed His earlier warnings about what would take place and what it all meant. Christ spoke to them, but they didn’t listen. Or maybe they listened, but what He said went so much against what they expected that they blocked it out. How can we make sure we aren’t doing the same thing when it comes to biblical truth?”

    Eish, lets pray the more and more for our shortcomings, our churchs’ shortcomings, neglect of duty and letting this occupy most of our minds other than getting up and be about our Father’s business.

  • Bruno

    High Cindy! I admire and affirm your wonderful and fruitful ministry through the years. It has been many years since we saw you, but I’ve noticed your name coming up in church publications from time to time, and it is obvious that God has blessed you in ministry. Amen! The spiritual gifting for the work of a “pastor” is most certainly one that every woman who aspires to being the best that God has called her to be in the home and the church should covet. The spiritual gift does not necessarily infer or demand the role. Mothers are critically important “pastors” (see EGW comments re importance of Christian mothering…higher than the pastor of a church!). The spiritual gift of “pastor” is desirable for many important ministries, and not only for the specific role that uniformly is assigned on the basis of gender.

  • Ray Hartwell

    Excellent. I fully agree.

  • Ricky Bokovoy

    The spirit of this article seems to sound more like the spirit of Satan and his rebellion than the constraining Elohim (God) of love that I see in the Bible. Let us celebrate the distinctions Elohim (God) has put in His Word, and call them freedom. Let woman celebrate their womanly roles and dress and live as modest women. Let man be man and be the head that every church and family needs, and stand up for what is right.

  • Jason Smith

    The church does have liberty in areas where God’s Word does not restrict. The point of disagreement is whether it does so regarding gender roles in the church. EGW states that “the Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women” (1T 421). One of those plain statements is: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first then Eve” (1 Tim 2:12, 13). Our pioneers understood this to mean that our sisters should not be ordained as overseers. Paul’s rationale here is creation order and he appeals to the same in 1 Corinthians 11 as to why the genders should be attired differently out of respect for the headship principle when praying/prophesying. In order to negate this law of creation order and ordain our sisters as overseers (a position of governing authority over the church) we need a clear “thus saith the Lord.” In situations where there is no Scripture forbidding it (as in Jethro’s advice for Moses’ situation or the formation of the deacons to resolve the widow conflict) the church is free to move. But in situations where there is a Biblical restriction (as in the issue of uncircumcised Gentiles) there needs to be explicit Divine revelation of a change before the church moves forward.

    Our brother claims that the Jerusalem council “simply thought and prayed and studied the situation through and decided not to do the circumcision thing anymore” but this is not accurate. The Holy Spirit first sent an angel to Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8), He then gave Peter a vision using unclean animals to make the point (Ibid 9-20), He next caused the Gentiles to speak in tongues in front of six witnesses to confirm their acceptance (Acts 10:44-11). He also gave wisdom to James that Gentiles coming in was in harmony with OT prophesy (Acts 15:13-18), and later on He gave to Paul an inspired precedent because the New Covenant blessing was first given to father Abraham while in his uncircumcision (Rom 4:9-12). Thus there was a very plain “thus saith the Lord” that allowed the church to move forward, despite the fact that the law formerly disallowed it, and there was also a clear precedent.

    We look in vain for such a witness to establish our sisters as overseers. We do not see it anywhere in inspiration and therefore cannot support the notion that “the church is free to act” here. The weight of Biblical evidence does not appear to support it. Our pioneers solved the dilemma by issuing licenses to our sister. They let our sisters teach, preach and counsel as “licentiates.” Why can we not do the same? Why risk potentially dividing the church when we have no plain “thus saith the Lord” that this is what we ought to do, especially in light of passages which seem to suggest that doing so would violate the law of creation order?

  • bobpickle

    “I wish to write a few lines to you. In Iowa there are many places to be worked. As a general rule, the laborers in the Iowa Conference should go out from the churches into new fields, using their God-given ability to a purpose in seeking and saving the lost.” (1888 1762, written in 1901)

    “In Iowa there are many places to be worked. As a general rule, the conference laborers should go out from the churches into new fields, using their God-given ability to a purpose in seeking and saving the lost.” (16MR 346, written in 1902)

    Times have changed. At the time the above was written, there was twice as many churches in Iowa as there are today. So the above is twice as applicable today as it was then.

    “The Lord has not called young men to work among the churches. They are not called to speak to an audience that does not need their immature labors, that is well aware of the fact, and feels, under their ministration, no drawing of the Spirit. Let young men of ability connect with experienced laborers in the great harvest field.” (6T 415)

    “Instead of keeping the ministers at work for the churches that already know the truth, let the members of the churches say to these laborers: ‘Go work for souls that are perishing in darkness. We ourselves will carry forward the services of the church. We will keep up the meetings, and, by abiding in Christ, will maintain spiritual life. We will work for souls that are about us, and we will send our prayers and our gifts to sustain the laborers in more needy and destitute fields.'” (6T 30)

    Freedom in Christ does not mean that we can disregard Christ’s very explicit counsel. Ordaining women to serve as pastors that hover over established churches seems like just a further departure from God’s instructions. Arguably, the work could already have been finished and Jesus have come if we had followed the instruction in the above quotes.

  • Cherry Ashlock

    Thank you Ty!!!!!!! The way God is inspiring you to calmly and carefully express helpful truths is heart warming. Keep listening to Him and sharing with us!

  • Tim

    Disunity comes when we are not seeking corporate perfection through oneness in Christ. When we are willing to push our position at the risk of creating disunity it is hard to comprehend how we could be one with Christ.

  • James Warren

    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍Pastor Ty, thank you for explaining that the decision is operational and ecclesiastical; and that our modern system of “ordination” bears little resemblance to the the biblical practice: “Many well-meaning, modern Seventh-day Adventists assume they’re standing
    up for a biblical model of ‘ordination’ when, in reality, very little
    about our version of ‘ordination’ is biblical at all!”
    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍Many of them also totally misunderstand what the vote will decide at the GC. Much of the current debate is needless because the vote is not going to decide whether women should be ministers. Women pastors were already fully authorized by the General Conference as “commissioned” ministers in 1990. They already perform the same functions and have the same role as ordained ministers. They will continue to so, regardless of the vote.
    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍Women pastors already go through the same kind of consecration ceremony with a laying on of hands. The only real difference is the word (“commissioned” instead of “ordained”) that is printed on their certificate after the ceremony.
    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍There is no point in debating whether women should be ministers, because that is not what the GC will vote on. When you boil it all down, the only real issue now is whether the individual world divisions can choose to call these female pastors “ordained” instead of “commissioned.” It is a matter of semantics.
    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍There is no logical (or theological) reason to continue to discriminate between these two terms. The Spirit of Prophecy uses the terms “commissioned” and “ordained” interchangeably. They mean the same thing. There is no reason not to use the word “ordained.”
    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍After all, the Spirit of Prophecy makes it clear that ministers receive “their commission from God Himself, and the ceremony of the laying on of hands [ordination] add[s] no new grace or virtual qualification.” It is simply a human recognition of God’s calling: “By it the seal of the church was set upon the work of God” (AA p. 161).
    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍The General Conference Biblical Research Institute concluded 39 years ago: “If God has called a woman, and her ministry is fruitful, why should the church withhold its standard act of recognition?” (In other words, why call her “commissioned” instead of “ordained”?)
    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍This viewpoint puts the issue in perspective, in the context of what will actually be voted on. When viewed this way, it becomes clear that it is not really a theological issue. It is a question of semantics, and there is no logical reason to continue discriminating between the term “commissioned” and the term “ordained.”
    ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍William G. Johnnson (retired Adventist Review editor) put it this way: “If God has given His stamp of approval to women in ministry [through the General Conference policy of 1990], who are we to withhold official recognition?”

  • Jimmy Beef

    The article says that: “since the Bible expresses no definitive command either for or against women’s ordination, the church is free to do what it deems best in the matter for the advancement of the gospel”.

    I wonder if the author has ever read 1 Timothy 11-14: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” or how about 1 Corinthians 34-35: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

    It is very clear where the bible stands on a womans place in church, I’d say it’s even more clear than it is on issues like gay rights. This article promotes the idea of cherry picking which passages of the bible SDA’s choose to follow based on what “seems good” or what is “sensible”. If SDA’s just start throwing out verses then why go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday if it seems good to just go when everyone else does? Why turn down a job where you have to work on Saturday if it seems sensible to just work instead? Why even go at all? Surely God is sensible enough to understand.

  • To read those texts in total isolation from the culture and context in which Paul wrote them is to misread Paul’s intent. I agree with you on one thing. It is very clear where the Bible stands on this issue, but obviously Ty’s thoughtful exegesis doesn’t mesh with yours.

    The problem is, we are honest Christians, seeking the will of God and we don’t agree. Many sincere and godly SDA theologians simply disagree in their interpretation of scripture relating to this issue.

    This is the reason Ty calls for liberty. I will loosely quote Gordon Biezt again, at the risk of being repetitive: In areas where we cannot agree that don’t concern our 28 fundamental beliefs, the majority should not force the minority into submission. This will bring disunity. The early church resolved their differences in this very way, and we should too…

  • There’s nothing like putting things into perspective James! Hmmmm… The ordination of women is already a done deal and we are just ironing out the details. You’re right, this vote isn’t nearly as critical as I have believed…

  • Cindy Tutsch

    Jimmy Beef, have you had the opportunity to read Ty Gibson’s previous blog, titled “A Closer Look at Women’s Ordination?” In it he takes a deeper look at some of the texts you cite to determine whether the counsel is a principle (general moral rule of conduct for all times and all places) or whether it is a policy that might be directed to a specific group of people for a specific problem in the church in their time and culture.

  • Cindy Tutsch

    Regarding her own writings and the need for her statements to be understood in the light of their cultural, social and time context, Ellen White once wrote, “Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered” (1SM, 57). To assist the reader, we have endeavored to provide enough context for a complete understanding. We also have given the date and source of publication, or the original date of writing when publication was after Ellen White’s death. In a few cases, when the original publication is not readily available, we have given a more recent source, along with the date of writing. Side headings throughout the book have been supplied by the compilers.{DG 11.5}

  • Ziyanda Dewa

    amen.

  • Jason Smith

    The church does have liberty in areas where God’s Word does
    not restrict. The point of disagreement is whether it does so regarding gender roles in the church. EGW states that “the Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women” (1T 421). One such plain statement is: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first then Eve”
    (1 Tim 2:12, 13). Our pioneers understood this to mean that our sisters should not be ordained as overseers. Paul’s rationale here is creation order and he appeals to the same in 1 Corinthians 11 as to why the genders should be attired differently out of respect for the headship principle when praying/prophesying. In order to negate this law of creation order and ordain our sisters as overseers (a position of governing authority over the church) we need a clear “thus saith the Lord.” In situations where there is no Scripture forbidding it (as in Jethro’s advice for Moses’ situation or the formation of the deacons to resolve the widow conflict) the church is free to move. But in situations where there is a Biblical restriction (as in the issue of uncircumcised Gentiles) there needs to be explicit Divine revelation sanctioning a change before the church moves forward.

    Our brother claims that the Jerusalem council “simply thought and prayed and studied the situation through and decided not to do the circumcision thing anymore” but this is not accurate. The Holy Spirit first sent an angel to Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8), He then gave Peter a vision using unclean animals to make the point (vs 9-20), He next caused the Gentiles to speak in tongues in front of six witnesses to confirm their acceptance (vs
    44 -11:18). He also gave wisdom to James that the Gentiles coming in was in harmony with OT prophesy (Acts 15:13-18), and later on He gave to Paul an inspired precedent because the New Covenant blessing was first given to father Abraham while in his uncircumcision (Rom 4:9-12). Thus there was a very plain “thus saith the Lord” that allowed the church to move forward, despite the fact that the law formerly disallowed it, and there was also a clear precedent.

    We look in vain for such a witness to establish our sisters as overseers. We do not see it anywhere in inspiration and therefore cannot support the notion that “the church is free to act” here. The weight of Biblical evidence does not appear to support it. Our pioneers solved the dilemma by issuing licenses to our sister. They let our sisters teach, preach and counsel as “licentiates.” Why can we not do the same? Why risk potentially dividing the church when we have no plain “thus saith the Lord” that this is what we ought to do, especially in light of passages which seem to suggest that doing so would violate the law of creation order?

  • Jason Smith

    “The very beginning of the great apostasy was in seeking to supplement the authority of God by that of the church. Rome began by enjoining what God had not forbidden, and she ended by forbidding what He had explicitly enjoined. {GC 289.2}

    Are we not in danger of doing a similar thing here? Is not the office of overseer (what we commonly mean when we use the
    word ‘pastor’ today) a position of governing authority over the men, women and children in the church? Has not the Word of God forbidden a sister to teach or have authority over a man? Therefore is this really what we want to enjoin?

    12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. (1 Tim 2:12)

    “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you (1 Thess 5:12)

    “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct….Obey those who rule over
    you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who
    must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that
    would be unprofitable for you (Heb 13:7, 17)

    17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church…Therefore take heed to
    yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made
    you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:17, 28)

  • Jason Smith

    The servant of the Lord states that “the Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women” (1T 421) but I often hear from the pro w/o as overseer camp that the Bible is not clear on this issue of w/o as overseers. I respectfully disagree.

    Personally I believe the enemy has come in as an angel of light with the supposition that a reformation needs to occur. He is attempting to negate application of the law of creation order in terms of church governance. The model of Father (Head) and Son (willingly submissive) is no longer the model for the church in terms of gender roles though this is what Paul appealed to regarding men and women praying/prophesying (see 1 Cor 11). A headless Trinity (something never seen in inspiration) is now the basis for reorganization. That idea does not mesh well with what inspiration tells us though:

    Christ “was fully aware of the glory He had with the Father before the world was. But then He willingly submitted
    to the Divine will, and He was unchanged now. {BEcho July 23, 1900, par. 6}

    We are dealing with an unchanged Son in terms of willing submission (John 8:29). While ontologically equal to the Father, (He existed in the form of God) having the same glory and full eternal existence (He is the self-existent Son), He willingly submitted to the Father’s Headship even back then. The only begotten Son is the Divine example for all created beings so that they might willingly submit to whomever God puts them under. I believe this is why the fallen angels tried to obscure the fact that the Christ was the only begotten One and why they still do today.

    “This fact the [fallen] angels would obscure, that Christ was the only begotten Son of God, and they came to consider that they were not to consult Christ.{TDG 128.2}

    Christ was their Head! But Lucifer did not want this and so he originated the idea of independent headship.

    “If he (satan) could not be the highest authority in heaven, he would be the
    highest authority in rebellion against the government of heaven. Head he would be, to control, not to be controlled.{RH April 16, 1901, par. 1}

    Is a similar (although to a much lesser degree) thing happening here now on the earth? Whereas satan attacked Divine headship is he not now attacking Divinely created headship? Are not many saying that the headship of the man at home (if they still even accept it) has no impact on who should be the overseer of the church? Is this not contrary to Scripture? Is it not actually a very subtle attack upon an issue that is revealed in God’s law via creation order? (1 Tim 2:12, 13; 1 Cor 14:34; 1 Cor 11:7-10). I ask in sincerity because that is what it looks like is happening here to me.

  • Racquelle

    AMEN! So appreciate your thoughts on this topic.

  • Eldon Young

    I see many points brought out hat appear to be very valid, BUT, are we going to ignore the fact of what has happened to other churches (denominations) upon ordaining women? Or are we just going to go on, on our own ignoring the consequences other churches have suffered from this same move. Why should our outcome be different from them? Shouldn’t this be part of the study pro or con? Just saying!!!

  • Jason Smith

    The church does have liberty in areas where God’s Word does not restrict. The point of disagreement is whether it does so regarding gender roles in the church. EGW states that “the Scriptures are plain upon the relations and rights of men and women” (1T 421). One such plain statement is: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first then Eve” (1 Tim 2:12, 13). Our pioneers understood this to mean that our sisters should not be ordained as overseers. Paul’s rationale here is creation order and he appeals to the same in 1 Corinthians 11 as to why the genders should be attired differently when praying/prophesying. In order to negate this law of creation order and ordain our sisters as overseers (a position of governing authority over the church) we need a clear “thus saith the Lord.” In situations where there is no Scripture forbidding it (as in Jethro’s advice for Moses’ situation or the formation of the deacons to resolve the widows’ conflict) the church is free to move. But in situations where there is a Biblical restriction (as in the issue of uncircumcised Gentiles) we need explicit Divine revelation for a change before the church moves forward.

    Our brother claims that the Jerusalem council “simply thought and prayed and studied the situation through and decided not to do the circumcision thing anymore” but this is not accurate. The Holy Spirit first sent an angel to Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8), He then gave Peter a vision using unclean animals to make the point (vs 9-20), He next caused the Gentiles to speak in tongues in front of six witnesses to confirm their acceptance (vs 44 -11:18). He also gave wisdom to James that the Gentiles coming in was in harmony with OT prophesy (Acts 15:13-18), and later on He gave to Paul an inspired precedent because the New Covenant blessing was first given to father Abraham while in his uncircumcision (Rom 4:9-12). Thus there was a very plain “thus saith the Lord” that allowed the church to move forward, despite the fact that the law formerly disallowed it. There was also a clear precedent in Abraham.

    We look in vain for such a witness to establish our sisters as overseers. We do not see it anywhere in inspiration and therefore cannot support the notion that “the church is free to act” here. The weight of Biblical evidence does not appear to support it. Our pioneers solved the dilemma by issuing licenses to our sister. They let our sisters teach, preach and counsel as “licentiates.” Why can we not do the same? Why risk potentially dividing the church when we have no plain “thus saith the Lord” that this is what we ought to do, especially in light of passages which seem to suggest that doing so would violate the law of creation order?

  • Bernard Andersen

    What doest thou there, Elijah? Is this your mission?

  • Bernard Andersen

    Ty, “What doest thou here”? Is this your mission? Thank you for all the souls that this has brought to Jesus. This is not your territory and this is not your calling. Your credibility is at stake. You may have light to bear but it is not your torch.

  • Alphonso Hawkins Jr.

    Amen brother! Let us continue to pray.

  • Alphonso Hawkins Jr.

    Amen!

  • Alphonso Hawkins Jr.

    Not convinced at all ! Just read Kevin D. Paulsons article, “A Review of Ty Gibson, “A Closer Look at Women’s Ordination”. Would be nice to have a response to his review. It seems this article has fallen short also, though having some good points. I’m very disappointed and confused brother! How could a mind like yours talk all this foolishness? The 2520 debate you were clear and concise, but here, it seems you’re trying to make something fit that doesn’t fit. The bible and Spirit of Prophecy are clear on this issue! Following the footsteps of Pippenger? Praying for you!! 🙂

  • Bobbie Berecz

    There are things in SOP as well as in the Bible that pertain to the time and place. For instance we don’t dress in sack-cloth or walk around with dirt on our heads when in repentance. However this issue of women was addressed by God Himself before Adam and Eve ever left the Garden. After their sin Eve lost her place as Adam’s equal. It was part of the curse. SOP addresses this issue over and over, as does God but none of those statements (which need no explanation) was used. EGW comments in reference to Genesis 3:5, reminds us that Satan wasn’t satisfied with the station God gave him either, and after sin he (Satan) has instilled that same spirit of discontent and defiance in us. Read Numbers 30 about women and vows. If the man, being the head, rules contrary to what the woman wanted, by the mouth of God, the sin is not on the woman but on the man, but the woman is to remain subservient to the man. This supports the curse given to women in Genesis. As a women I don’t feel God loves me less or that He won’t or doesn’t use me, sometimes in powerful ways beyond what He asks of the devout men I have known. I don’t need to win an argument or have a litany of verses that may or may not fit what I am trying to justify. But I do need to know what God says and base my actions solely on that and not on articles or interpretations by fallen man. To make such an accusing statement that if the WO doesn’t pass and the church splits it’s the fault of those who don’t support it; or conversely if it is voted for there will basically be peace, I’m reminded that that’s just what the Israelites said when Moses in a “hot anger” addressed them after they built a calf. When they were taken captives to Babylon, God told the Israelites to go quietly, live their lives and don’t, to sum it up, rebel. Some refused to listen and they brought on great trouble for themselves, which ended in death. Why won’t we learn? The foundation for this issue is built on rebellion and even if I didn’t have a single Bible verse or SOP quote, that alone makes me steer far, far away from it. God never has and never will join hands with rebellion no matter how good we, with our faulty and defiant natures, think our issues are.

  • KenPeterson

    Another wonderful article, Ty. Well worth pondering and praying about. Clearly there are those who are not convinced and they continue to stand on certain interpretations that they say are “clear” and “simple”. But others do not agree on either count. Do some really believe that all women are to be totally silent in church? No singing? No Sabbath School teaching? No praying aloud? No welcome to guests? Purely silent. That is the “clear and simple” reading of the quoted text in my opinion. If that is not your view, then you have started to recognize that it is simplistic to take that view. The vote is not about whether all divisions MUST ordain women, but whether different divisions can come to their own views about it. Thus, the liberty that Ty writes about. Excellent points.

  • With all due respect brother, I think you need to keep using your brain a little more, Obviously the applications change but the principles stay the same. Male headship cannot be a cultural, temporal application to another principle because it runs from Genesis to revelation, and from creation to the new earth.

  • Sam Watson

    Alphonso, the brightest, best, most dedicated and consecrated ministers and scholars studied this issue in great depth at TOSC, and 2/3 of them concluded that the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy do not prohibit the church from recognizing God’s ordination of women. So maybe it isn’t all that “clear” that the Bible and SOP allegedly prohibit it. The fact that such consecrated, God-fearing, Bible-and-SOP-believing ministers, leaders, and scholars read the same texts different from you, is something to think about.

  • Cindy Tutsch

    I understand your apprehension, Eldon. I don’t want to see our church going down a negative path either!

    The reason I don’t think WO = homosexual ordination next is because we have a fundamental belief on sexuality, which states clearly that biblical sex is to be between a married man and woman. We do not have a fundamental belief on ordination, much less women’s ordination!

    Because we are a Bible -based denomination, I think we could show the world “a new path” where our church supports an inclusive ministry because it reflects the character of God (Men and women were, after all, both created in His image).

    If we ordained women, but didn’t follow the path of the “other churches” subsequently, think what a powerful witness this could be! Many persons might wonder, “What kept Adventists from going down the same path that some other denominations have gone?” We could be alert to the mission opportunity as others seek answers to that question,

  • Cindy Tutsch

    Hi Bruno!

    Couldn’t agree more that the spiritual gift of “pastor” is desirable for many important ministries.

    As you, I also value motherhood and “grandmotherhood!” Great opportunities to share Jesus and be an agency that points little minds toward heaven.

  • Excronimuss

    What Would Ellen White Do?

  • rob benardo

    There is a vast ocean of freedom for men and women within the parameters of the male headship principle which God has ordained for the family and the church. What we never want is so called “freedom” outside the parameters which God has set for our good.

  • No where in my Bible does it say a women can’t work as a church pastor. There is no prohibition or encouragement for pastors to be on TV either. We need to use our brains and all means available to advance the gospel.

  • Kudzi Nyamukapa

    “To the law and to the testimony.” While conflicting doctrines and theories abound, the law of God is the one unerring ruleby which all opinions, doctrines, and theories are to be tested. Says the prophet: “If they speak not according to this word, itis because there is no light in them.” GC 452 . 2

  • Tony Smith

    The question is What Would God Do? But Ellen White had some wonderful thoughts on women in ministry, too:
    EqualOrdination .com/ egw-on-women-ministers/

    “It is not always men who are best adapted to the successful management of a church.” (Pastoral Ministry, p. 36)

    “The refining, softening influence of Christian women is needed in
    the great work of preaching the truth.” (Review and Herald, Jan. 2,
    1879)

    “It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares
    workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God.” (Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 322)

    “There are women who should labor in the gospel ministry.” (Manuscript 43a, 1898)

  • Vance

    Yes, that’s right God given us a freedom of choice but in His church he delegates roles. Jesus as head of the church. In all of those organization men are put as head or leader. Leader of 10, 100, 1000 and deacons in the church.

    What do we gain in women ordination? What women can’t do now for the Lord? Would it make a difference if they are ordained?

  • James Katz

    Amen and Amen! Excellent points to consider. Let us pray especially now!

  • James Katz

    Powerful insight. I had a similar experience with “A Closer Look at Women`s Ordination”. Upon first reading, I was inclined to receive that article as truth without further investigation. Then the end of the article struck me. Rather than encourage readers to be like the Berean`s who were said to be “more noble than those in Thessalonica” because after they heard the words of the apostle Paul, they “searched the Scripures daily” to see for their own selves, in personal study, in co-operation with the Holy Spirit, “whether those things were so”. They were distrustful of self, and the sophistry of men and the persuasiveness of a cleverly crafted presentation. To my own shame, I received the sentiments and ideas of that article without first studying to show myself approved, “a faithful workmen that needeth not be ashamed”- like the faithful Berean.

  • A_T_T

    The yes vote is the only vote that does NOT compel people.
    A no vote forces; a yes vote allows.
    A YES vote says “Choose!” A no vote says “You cannot choose! You have no choice.”

  • A_T_T

    What is “corporate perfection through oneness in Christ”?

  • A_T_T

    Furthermore, are there gifts that women are not given by the Holy Spirit? What might these be?

  • A_T_T

    Almost certainly the gift implies the role.
    In no other area of life do we imply that someone’s talent is not their calling.

  • A_T_T

    What I am seeing with most of the opposition to this article is that they struggle when Ty comes to the Character of God/ freedom part.
    This is extremely disheartening because this is the crux of the SDA message and it goes completely over the head of a vast majority of our members.

    It’s really something. When I mention it in church it falls flat.

    Do we have a church in which nobody knows our message?

  • ramona higgins

    Amen, I agree with you that man was made head of house, if a women is ordained and made head of a church, then her husband must be submissive to her in the church, I so do not believe that this is the will of our Father in heaven. We so need to be in constant prayer on this one, that Gods will is done and His glory is met.

  • joan

    7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with modesty and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;2:10 But (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works.2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

    Eve had been perfectly happy by her husband’s side in her Eden home; but, like restless modern Eves, she was flattered with the hope of entering a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. In attempting to rise above her original position, she fell far below it. A similar result will be reached by all who are unwilling to take up cheerfully their life duties in accordance with God’s plan. In their efforts to reach positions for which He has not fitted them, many are leaving vacant the place where they might be a blessing. In their desire for a higher sphere, many have sacrificed true womanly dignity and nobility of character, and have left undone the very work that Heaven appointed them.PP 59
    WOW !!!” many are leaving vacant the place where they might be a blessing”. by the side of her husband . .As a mother teaching their children how to honor GOD ,and not attempting to rise above her original position…
    For I am the LORD I change not .. Mal 3:6 Praise HIM!!! the TEN commandments .. the SABBATH … The Priest the Pastor … the man is the head of household .
    Ephesians 5:23 for the husband is the head of the wife…. and the head of the church..
    Please brothers, .. I hope that God will not allow the Ordination of women
    Revelation 12:12 for the devil is come down unto you having great wrath because he knoweth that he hath but a SHORT time.. to destroy the REMMENENT ….

  • Kathy Mopera

    Pr Ty, I genuinely admire your leadership and dedication to Light Bearers Ministry. Pr David Asscherick is one of my fave SDA preachers and thus began following Light Bearers updates and blogs, including Kingscliff SDA live stream on YouTube – my personal Bible study guides. You guys are definitely making an impact to the SDA community and the world – the way you teach and relay the gospel message, in alignment with the Bible and EGW writings. It saddens me, however, that many, even the “very elect” have given their stance on WO. I, being a woman for once, do not condone women participating in leadership roles in some aspect of the church, especially if there are no men left to fulfill those duties. EGW was one of those women, I believe. I’m not an expert in the Bible nor am I am an expert in EGW writings or even what women think and believe, especially nowadays with post-modernism and what is “politically correct”. But I can, at least, express from my deepest heart my own concerns with WO. A little background about me, I was born in an SDA household – both parents are at least 3rd generation SDA, despite we are Filipinos. We are of minority. Because we moved to Canada when I was 4 years and were poor immigrants, my siblings and I did not have a chance to attend SDA schools. We were brought up in public schools, even through post-secondary. Because my parents were God-fearing, they ensured our foundation in God at home and regular attendance at church. Now that I am an adult (and working as a contractor to a provincial government in Canada), I am so grateful for my parents grounding us in the faith. I have seen both sides of the spectrum – the Christian, “SDA” community and the society’s perspectives. Long story short, what I see how our church is doing is compromising like the world and the society we live in – being politically correct to please and not hurt others, and make everyone happy. I admit, in the beginning, I seem to be okay for us to have WO. But as I started to “test all things”, including the Spirit, preachers and the Word of God…there is a common theme. Compromise. I had to go back and study ordination meant, who could ordained, and so forth. Then, I had to study the role of women, most importantly in Biblical scriptures. In Genesis, God first created Adam and then Eve. “She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” Think of it as a “sibling” hierarchy. Adam came first and then Eve. Even EGW says, “[God] provided an help meet for him” – a helper corresponding to him… Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head..” Adam was “the head”. That is the keyword. And I can say that being a woman in the world but not of the world, working as a contractor for a provincial government, I have witnessed what, sadly, poor decisions some women have made, solely in the examples of those in the government and political parties. How much more our church? As a woman of God, I embrace my role of what He has biblical given us. Even if in the eyes of other SDA members, regardless they are also women themselves, I may seem “biased” towards my own sex… But these are God’s Words. And I never, never, compromise what God has spoken to us through His Word and Word alone. Sola scriptura.

  • Marc

    a yes vote is rewarding those who have stepped out in rebellion of the previous votes at the GC sessions of 1990 and 1995. Not a wise thing to do!

  • Bill Silver

    Kathy, I appreciate your thoughts, but I sense some confusion about what the GC is going to vote on. They are not going to vote whether women can be pastors. That was already settled and approved in 1990. I recommend Dr. George Knight’s sermon for an explanation of what the vote is really about. www. EqualOrdination. com/ george-knight-on-ordination/

  • Robert Peterson

    “True, we’ve never had ordained women pastors before. But now we live in a world with many millions of people that would be responsive to the gospel if they were to encounter it, say, through a female pastor.”

    If there truly are millions of people who would be responsive to the gospel as presented by a female pastor, then it stands to reason that we could look at churches who have chosen to ordain women and expect to find that they are growing at a much greater rate than those who don’t ordain women. The fact is, the exact opposite is true. Those denominations which have chosen to ordain women to pastoral ministry are in decline as compared to those do not.

    Yes, the church is free to act in conducting the mission God has given her. But she would be foolish to choose to act in a manner that has already been tried and has been proven to be a failure.

  • Robert Peterson

    Yes, the church is free to act… and she has… twice!

    Yet, there are those among us who, as this author has stated in his article titled “A Closer Look At Women’s Ordination”, are so unwilling to accept the previous two actions of the church that a ‘Yes’ vote is urged simply to prevent them from creating a “denominational split”. In other words, “Yes, the church is free to act, and she had better act the way we want her to or we will tear her apart.”

    Demanding ‘freedom’ from what we deem to be ‘unnecessary restriction’ is actually rebellion, and leads, not to true freedom, but to the most abject slavery.

  • Robert Peterson

    Bill,
    I am confused. I read the summary at the link you posted above. I’ve copied points, 14-16 below. My confusion is this:
    If it is true, as Dr. Knight says, that the whole argument is about a “word game” between the terms “ordained” and “commissioned”; and that “commissioned” and “ordained” really mean the same thing; and that “commissioned” and “ordained” pastors already do the same thing; why do we have Ty Gibson warning us that if the vote is ‘No’ we are likely to have a “denominational split?”
    I can’t imagine that anyone would be willing to tear up the apple of God’s eye over a mere “word game”!!! And if they are…

    14. The General Conference already approved women in ministry 25 years ago. Men and women ministers already have the laying on of hands. The only difference is that the men are called “ordained” and the women are called “commissioned.” It is merely a word game, because they do the exact same work, and the two terms mean the same thing.

    15. God is the One who ordains a person to ministry. Human “ordination” does not change anything. It merely gives public recognition and a paper certificate.

    16. Since ordination and commissioning are the same thing, and our male and female pastors already do the same work, there is no reason to discriminate between the terms “commissioned” and “ordained” on their certificates.

  • Robert Peterson

    I believe those other denominations also once had a fundamental belief on sexuality.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein

  • Robert Peterson

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why those in favor of W/O are so incredibly determined to win this silly little commissioned/ordained word game – to the point they are warning of a “denominational split” if the vote is ‘No’.

    I think there must be more to this issue than meets the eye…

  • Emil Ene

    I thought to point the readers to the heartfelt plea from lifelong evangelist, pastor and teacher Louis Torres concerning the current women’s ordination crisis. It can be found at louistorres [dot] info.
    It saddens my heart but I pray, hope and look to God to grant grace and mercy, because of His precious name and cause. That His will may triumph, according to His Word, that Has proceedeth out of His mouth.

  • Cherry Ashlock

    Not a word game instituted by pro WO. The denomination instituted it when they decided to discriminate against women and not treat them as equals when they are pastors. Its the currency the church uses to reward pastors who qualify to continue receiving their paychecks. So that should include women when they qualify to continue receiving a paycheck and function as a pastor. The word commissioned was not a great idea and should never have had to exist. It’s either ordain all or stop using the word.

  • Cherry Ashlock

    Jesus loves ALL.Saves ALL, treats ALL as equals. Its the human species that discriminates, shuns, persecutes, has prejudice. There are many ways to read the Bible.

    Ronald shared this ” Dr. Barna noted that the opponents of WO believe very strongly in “unmediated” inspiration. That is, they believe that, in the process of the prophets and apostles being inspired, and the Bible being written, God somehow made sure that the VERY WORDS of Scripture turned out to be EXACTLY as He wished them to be.

    Proponents, on the other hand, very much believe in a “mediated” inspiration. They assert that language is itself an imperfect medium of communication, and that the personal characteristics and culture of the various Bible writers had an effect on their choice of words and on the way in which they expressed their inspired thoughts or ideas.

    From this I would suggest that, without even having to deal with the details of the arguments, we should be able to get a pretty good idea as to which side is right, if we could only know which view of inspiration is correct. I believe that Ellen White has clearly settled the matter for anyone who is willing to listen to her.

    “God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, nonetheless, from Heaven. The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth.”
    {GC vi.3}

    “The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers.
    {7BC 945.9}

    “It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God (Manuscript 24, 1886).”
    {7BC 945.10}

  • Robert Peterson

    I’m afraid there are not, as you say, “many ways to read the Bible.” There is only one way, and that is under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit who inspired the men who wrote it in the first place. Then, there will be no possibility for error.

    John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

    If we all were to read the Bible in this way, there would be no divisions among us; for there are not many truths, but one!

    The problem is, so many of us come to the Scriptures with preconceived ideas which we are unwilling to surrender, or even to recognize, that we end up with a blended theology – part truth and part error. We know the Devil is well-pleased with this, for this has been the key to his success from the beginning.

  • aswas22

    glory…recognition, and power…is being sought

  • Excronimuss

    I’m just astonished that a church with EG White so esteemed has not room for other ministresses too – or has it?

  • Paul Chung

    “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” Mt. 7:13

    Ty, I may be a minority here among all the supporters of women’s ordination…but with all do respect, there are countless faithful Adventists who are just as sincere as you are but believe that women’s ordination issue is a matter of Scriptural integrity and firmly hold that the church would be straying away from God’s plans if we as a church allow women to be ordained.

    There is no true liberty outside of God’s will…Regardless of which side of the fence you are on this issue, if you are a true Christian, it should really be about honestly following God’s will as best way we know how. God says His way is NARROW and If someone feels God’s “strait gate” is somehow limiting Christian “liberty” I’m ok with it.

  • Excronimuss

    I’m just fascinated that an Ellen White reading, quoting and practising movement would still equivocate over women in ministry, that’s all.

  • Samuel Sanchez

    The church of Rome started authorizing what God did not clearly forbid and ended forbidding what God had clearly authorized.

    In the bible, God didn’t command “Thou shalt not keep Sunday holy” (Pastor Asscherick would be proud of me on the correct usage of litotes); He simply commanded that we keep the Sabbath day holy.

    If Ellen G. White was indeed a prophet of God, her silence sure is deafening on the matter of women’s ordination. Have we forgotten that “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”? If it is God’s will to ordain women to the ministry and did not reveal it to His servant, then God did not keep His promise in Amos 3:7.

    Mrs. White however did write the following:
    “The husband and father is the head of the household… The father is the lawmaker of the household… In a sense the father is the priest of the household, laying upon the family altar the morning and evening sacrifice… The father represents the divine Lawgiver in his family… He should never renounce this right.” (Ministry of Healing pp 390-392; Adventist Home p 212)

    The above sounds pretty much like the standards required of an elder as found in 1 Tim 3:1-7; Tit 1:6-8. It is logical to deduce that if a woman should not take man’s place as priest even at home, much less should she do so in the church.

    We really shouldn’t interject social conventions in an attempt to improve God’s plan which has been in existence for some 6,000 years. Abraham and Sarah attempted to help God keep His promise and we know how well that turned out.