Adventist World Breaking news Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP) Denis Fortin Doctrine of Unity Ecclesiastical authority Exceeding the evidence General Conference Session 2015 San Antonio Gerry Chudleigh Headship Historical practice Home and church connection JoAnn Davidson Male-sex specific roles North American Division (NAD) Ordination Without Regard to Gender Pacific Union Conference (PUC) Phoebe Propaganda Secrets Unsealed Seminary Seventh-day Adventist Church Stephen Bohr The larger issues Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) Unilateral Action Unity Women in Ministry Women's Ordination

A response to Adventist World on women's ordination

Secrets Unsealed ministry has released a video featuring CAP Pastor Stephen Bohr, addressing the recent one-sided actions of the North American Division and of Adventist World magazine promoting women’s ordination.

42 replies on “A response to Adventist World on women's ordination”

This video calls for fairness and balance, but does Secrets Unsealed present a balanced view?” Does Secrets Unsealed truly present both sides of the issue? Does every contributor to Secrets Unsealed oppose WO?
A few brief comments by way of response:
The views of J. H. Waggoner in 1878 have never been officially adopted as Adventist doctrine. Neither is any Adventist bound to agree with the 1895 statement. We look in vain for any official church statement validating any theology of “male headship of elders and pastors.” Instead we simply find a policy of ordaining only men as pastors while ordaining both men and women as elders.
The current WO issue is both theological and ecclesiological. Thorough study reveals the Bible neither prohibits nor mandates the ordination of women as elders and pastors. Therefore, the church should neither prohibit nor mandate the ordination of women. We must follow the Bible on this point.
The statement by Elder Kyoshin Ahn (note correct spelling) that the decision in San Antonio “will not affect the role of women pastors in North America” is correct. It does not leave any false impression that the current working policy approves women’s ordination. It certainly left no false impression with me. It communicated the fact that no woman will lose their employment as a pastor or their work as a local church elder due to a “No” vote in San Antonio. Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain if WO opponents are mainly fighting the rite of ordination, or whether they actually want to lay off every female commissioned pastor and force every female elder to give up her ministry.
In responding to Dan Weber’s article, Bohr states that he is in favor of the church accomplishing its mission using different ways [or methods] in different geographical regions “as long as those ways don’t contradict the Scriptures.” I am in full agreement with Bohr on this point. But of course I must disagree that the Bible ever prohibits WO.

Does the Bible present a balanced view? Yes. And Secrets Unsealed is balanced in proportion to its faithfulness to the Bible.
With such a polarizing topic, in a church paper such as the Recorder or Review either both sides should be heard equally or the topic should not be discussed at all. It really shouldn’t be necessary to explain that the Review is taking advantage of its flagship position to publish an issue of pro-women’s ordination arguments while excluding balancing or contrary views widely and long held by respected Adventists.
Ellen Whites statement seems to apply to the March 2015 Adventist World and the NAD Q&A pamphlet, “I believe now that nothing can be done but open discussion. You circulated your pamphlet; now it is only fair that Dr. Waggoner should have just as fair a chance as you have had. I think the whole thing is not in God’s order. But, brethren, we must have no unfairness. We must work as Christians” (Letter 13, 1887 to Butler and Smith).
In all our discussions, we want to have the spirit of Christ.
“I want to see no Pharisaism among us. The matter now has been brought fully before the people by yourself as well as Dr. Waggoner, that it must be met fairly and squarely in open discussion. I see no other way and if this cannot be done without a spirit of Pharisaism then let us stop publishing these matters and learn more fully lessons in the school of Christ” (ibid).

Well said. Without the Spirit of Christ in our thoughts, words, and actions we are not any better off than those who don’t believe. We must have Christ abiding in our hearts and not treat each other as an enemy – we are brother’s and sister’s in Christ.

Doug has stated that the Bible neither prohibits nor mandates the ordination of women. It is stated that an Elder is to be the husband of one wife in 1 Timothy 3:2 and later in verse five (For if a MAN know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) are clear statements from Paul. This along with the statements in verse 11 and 14 of the previous chapter in 1 Timothy.
The Bible could be said not to prohibit nor mandate Sunday worship if we are to interpret scripture in this manner… Yet the Bible is clear that Sabbath is the day God has set apart for all to worship Him.

I dont think SU has the imperative to demonstrate “both sides” of the picture since its a independent ministry, which is supported by those who adhere to its message. However, in the case of the Review & Recorder it is a different matter; because they represent a group which engulfs members in both sides. Mind you, the latter enterprises are supported financially by a diverse constituency; therefore, when the stewards of those institutions only promote one side of the issue it is undeniably unfair.

Hi John, I don’t understand 1 Tim 3:2 to prohibit women or single people from serving as elders or pastors because I believe Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to the entire church in Corinth including the elders. In that letter he wrote, “I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do” (1 Cor 7:7-8). See also verses 25-35 where Paul encourages single people to be active in the church. He says, “The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided” (verses 32-34).
Wouldn’t it be well for an elder to be anxious about the affairs of the Lord?

So Doug with the “without regard to gender” clause that is being placed in to the role of Elder/Pastor and your mention of Paul’s writing “I wish that all were as myself am” shall we continue to deviate from Biblical plan teaching and also include LGBT like the churches that have taken that course? I believe God gave roles for a reason the family unit and the Sabbath were both given before sin. Wouldn’t it be well to follow the plain Word of God?

No, John, of course we must follow Scripture. Practicing homosexuals cannot be members of the SDA Church. Yes, the roles of mother and father in the home cannot be compromised. But there are no corresponding roles of mother and father in the church. In the church we are all brothers and sisters. Together, as brothers and sisters, we, the church, are the bride of Christ. He is the only bridegroom and head of the church.

Yes Christ is head of the church and we men are to be a type Christ to our home and church family. So we can deviate some Doug….and you draw the line….yet there are many though that will not want to stop (and why use language that is basically a Trojan horse!)
Shepherds who fail at home will fail at church—He who is engaged in the work of the gospel ministry must be faithful in his family life. It is as essential that as a father he should improve the talents God has given him for the purpose of making the home a symbol of the heavenly family, as that in the work of the ministry, he should make use of his God-given powers to win souls for the church. As the priest in the home, and as the ambassador of Christ in the church, he should exemplify in his life the character of Christ. He must be faithful in watching for souls as one that must give an account. In his service church there must be seen no carelessness and inattentive work. God will not serve with the sins of men who have not a clear sense of the sacred responsibility involved in accepting a position as pastor of a church. He who fails to be a faithful, discerning shepherd in the home, will surely fail of being a faithful shepherd of the flock of God in the.—Manuscript Releases 6:49

Yes, John. This is an excellent quote for the nominating committee to be familiar with. It is interesting that the same Paul who stated the husband is the head of the wife (Eph 5:23), also urged young women to “manage their households” (1 Tim 5:14).

Thanks Doug It is so providential that EGW was a women or she would be labeled a misogynist. Please share these two other clear quotes with the committee also and remind them the main quote they use is about literature evangelist when read in context….
Those who enter the missionary field should be men and women who walk and talk with God. Those who stand as ministers in the sacred desk should be men of blameless reputation. 5T page 598
The primary object of our college was to afford young men opportunity to study for the ministry and prepare young persons of both sexes to become workers in the various branches of the cause. (How clear can it get.) 5T page 60

Phil Mills wrote:
“With such a polarizing topic, in a church paper such as the Recorder or Review either both sides should be heard equally or the topic should not be discussed at all. It really shouldn’t be necessary to explain that the Review is taking advantage of its flagship position to publish an issue of pro-women’s ordination arguments while excluding balancing or contrary views widely and long held by respected Adventists.”
Hi Phil, in examining the article in Adventist World I did not see where it was advocating women’s ordination. Instead it was encouraging a practice that the General Conference endorsed in 1990: namely, women being called by God and serving as local pastors. If you saw something that opposed the current policy of not ordaining female pastors, could you please point it out to me? Thanks.
I would hardly expect Adventist World to be advocating for Position #1, which opposes current General Conference policy by calling for women to cease serving as elders and pastors.

Doug, wrong thinking and teaching will not be better and right, if we repeated it 100 times. If the bible says two times, that the Elder must be a man of one wife, so this order is without doubt very clear.
If a businenessman is a painter and the customer says to him, that the sitting-room shall painted with blue color, and he would paint it with red color. And after this the customer would be aggrieved and in rage – would you then say to him: yes, you have said blue color, but you didn´t say, that the color can not be red?
Likewise is your argumentation.
Also is your argumentation not valid against brother Stephan Bohr, because the officially Leaders and oganizations have to be neutral in issues like WO, or they must give the word both sides. And the status quo is not WO, so that the officially Leaders have more the duty in defending it, than to sustain WO. CAP is not the Representative of all members, but the Leaders of NAD and the officially magazines already. They have to represent all members. Pastor Bohrs argumentation is fair and clear, yes, necessary. I am very thankful for the warnings and advices of brother Stephan Bohr, and I would be glad, if you too!

Erich, of course I agree with you about the futility of repeating wrong teaching. However, when we study the Bible we need to compare verse with verse. If you take the position that all elders must be married, how do you explain why Paul recommended single life in 1 Corinthians 7? Remember, he wrote 1 Cor 7 first.
I still have not found where the Adventist World article was departing from any General Conference policy. It did not urge the unions to ordain women contrary to policy.

Doug, I never have said, that an Elder must be a married man. The texts of Paul are not saying: an elder must be married or must have a wife. The focus is, that an elder have only „one“ wife. Obviously had in the time of Paul some or many men more than „one“ wife, and so made he this restriction. The most men are married, so that Paul give this order for the normal case. He does in this both texts not give an answer to the questions, if the elder is single or a widower or has no children or is separated from his wife usw. – the focus is the normal case of a married man, that he has only „one“ wife. The case of a single man we have too in the whole context of the bible. Paul as single was called first by Jesus Christ and then ordained by the church for his ministry. And we don´t know wether all apostles were married or not. Only Peter is mentioned to had a wife and John, the writer of the revelation was obviously single, and our master Jesus Christ too. And we don´t know about Silas, Barnabas, Mark and so on, that they are married.
So we could search the Old and New Testament, but we will not find the Restriktion, that a Leader must be married. So the broader Context of the bible shows, that single man can be apostles or ministers. But in all cases in the bible, elders, apostles/ministers, Priests, Leaders – they must be men.

Erich, you really can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you are going to insist an elder must be a man, then you must also insist an elder must be married and have children. The text says “husband.” A husband must be married.

Doug, I think you have something overlooked in my comment. The broader context of the bible must be in harmony with the interpretation of one text in the scripture. If we asked, whether shall be an elder a „married“ man, we must look in the whole bible, what it says about „married“ elders or apostles/ministers by precept or example. The biblical examples are clear, that an apostle/minister must not be married! So, the broader Context relatives the issue in the text. So we must interpretate the statement of Jesus in Matt 15:11 „Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man…“ in the context (v. 20 or Mark 7:19) and cannot say in reference of Matt 15:11 only or Mark 7:19 („purging all meats“), this indicates, that we can eat all animals (pigs and srimps etc). The whole Context of the bible we have to include, if we interprete one Text.
The focus in the text is clear to „man“ and „one“ wife, and only implizit, that he ist a husband – of course, he must be married, in other cases he would live in adultery and would be disqualified.
I think, you are in very danger, because you draws nearly everthing in doubt, except the 28 FB. Please read and think about the warning of Paul in doing this: “… but doting about questions and strifes of words…“ (1 Tim 6:4).

Putting aside Biblical truth, just for a moment, I would like to share an observation.
The mass majority of those “fighting” for WO are men. Including this site. The videos, research papers, committee members, commentators, discussions….majority are men.
I believe, if women were truly, strongly believing that in order to effectively do God’s work that they must be ordained, there were would be more of women “fighting” for this vote. Like for the marches for women’s rights many years ago. Had you noticed how many women spoke out about that? You do not see that here. Even the committee heads, on this topic, are men. Hmmm
Why are not more women speaking out on this topic. After all. It is about them (us).
Men are HEAD OF this topic of WO.

“Putting aside Biblical truth.”
Why would anyone want to do that even for a moment? That statement says a lot!

Hi AF, you can find large numbers of women speaking out in favor of women’s ordination on the Facebook group, “I Support the Ordination of Women in Adventism.”

It would be interesting to know just how strong of a motivating factor the opting out of social security and parsonage exclusion plays in the hearts of these women. Gary s

Brethren, Brethren, Brethren, this whole issue of women’s ordination is a colossal waist of time and resources, all orchestrated by satan to cripple the work of saving souls and delay the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When we have a problem, we go the the word of God and compare apples to apples. When the Apostles had a problem with the non
Jews receiving the gospel and the anointing of the Spirit, they noted that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the gentiles as well as the Jewish believers. I don’t think God is going give us a vision as He did Peter, in order to convince us of how we should vote on the matter.
The Bible said, that God could raise up children of Abraham from the stones. Does God need to raise up stones to preach the gospel and feed the flocks? The harvest is ripe and ready the laborers are FEW. God is sending laborers. Please, let’s all get on board. If we would put as much effort into working into the vineyard of God as we are this women’s ordination issue, we could finish the work and get on with eternity.
Jesus gave us the great commission “Math.28:18-20” To go into all nations and make disciples of them and each disciple we make have a mission to take the commission and GO. We know who the 12 were that were first sent but we don’t know the genetic makeup of the 70 that were sent out. In Acts1:13-15 gives a account of the 120 that were in the UPPER ROOM included women and Mary the mother of Jesus when the Holy Spirit descended. They all took the gospel to the then know world in about 45 years (Col.1:23). We have been working at this | 300 limit

In regards to the issue of circumcision and keeping the ceremonial laws of the Jews the “General Body of Believers in United Council” made a decision guided by the Holy Spirit. Peter was one of the biggest proponents of this decision – the decision NOT to require physical circumcision and the ceremonial laws but to require the health laws and 10 commandments only. However, a while later (scripture and Spirit of Prophecy don’t say how long), Peter was persuaded otherwise and would refuse to eat with uncircumcised members. Paul was forced to confront him on this issue showing him the error of leading the church against the decision made by the “General Body of Believers in United Council”. Peter confessed his sin and “immediately set about repairing the evil that had been wrought, so far as was in his power.” (AA pg. 198)
Ellen White continues:
“The history of this departure from right principles stands as a solemn warning to men in positions of trust in the cause of God, that they may not fail in integrity, but firmly adhere to principle. The greater the responsibilities placed upon the human agent, and the larger his opportunities to dictate and control, the more harm he is sure to do if he does not carefully follow the way of the Lord and labor in harmony with the decisions arrived at by the general body of believers in united council.”
“In his ministry, Paul was often compelled to stand alone. He was specially taught of God and dared make no concessions that would involve principle. At times the burden was heavy, but Paul stood firm for the right. He realized that the church must NEVER be brought under the control of human power. The traditions and maxims of men MUST NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF REVEALED TRUTH. The advance of the gospel message must not be hindered by the prejudices and preferences of men, whatever might be their position in the church.”
Acts of the Apostles pg. 199, 200

We prayed at great length for several General Conference sessions before for the answer to the Women’s Ordination debate. Each time, the Lord said “No”.
Is God going to change His mind this time?
How far do we press the patience of God when He has already given His answer multiple times?

Hello Corinne, I think like you about this matter.
What do we learn from this story of Balaam in relation to the two decisions of the General Assembly of the GC on WO, namely the WO was generally rejected (the first decision), and (the second decision) the possibility is handed down to the North American Division and others to decide for themselves on this issue.
Ellen White makes this very important and generally valid statement in connection with Balaam:
„There are thousands at the present day who are pursuing a similar course. They would have no difficulty in understanding their duty if it were in harmony with their inclinations. It is plainly set before them in the Bible or is clearly indicated by circumstances and reason. But be cause these evidences are contrary to their desires and inclinations they frequently set them aside and presume to go to God to learn their duty. With great apparent conscientiousness they pray long and earnestly for light. But God will not be trifled with. He often permits such persons to follow their own desires and to suffer the result. “My people would not hearken to My voice…. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” Psalm 81:11, 12. When one clearly sees a duty, let him not presume to go to God with the prayer that he may be excused from performing it. He should rather, with a humble, submissive spirit, ask for divine strength and wisdom to meet its claims.“ (PP 440 f).
Three important criterions of decision are here named: Bibel, circumstances and reason, that it is not a presumption before God.

Hello Doug, I appreciate your comments & I agree with you. One point which is being missed by Stephen Bohr is that we are no longer under the Levitical Priesthood with the Aaronic priest. We now have a High Priest of the order of Melchizedek. This priesthood existed prior to the Levitical system. It is the system which existed from Eden. You can read in Galatians and in Hebrews about how there is neither male or female, etc. We are all priests.
When the Israelites went into captivity they lost all memory of truth. Even the commandments had to be written on stones. Prior to this time there is no mention in the bible of men being the priest because all could go to God and ask for forgiveness.

Mike, please provide the specific documentation and references that show Stephen Bohr believes and teaches we live under the Levitical Priesthood with Aaronic priests. Also please explain whether there is any legitimate link between the Levites who received tithe and the ministers who receive tithe today. Also explain whether there is any link between priests and ministers in Joel 2:17 (Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people … ). Observe how this text is used in the Spirit of Prophecy.
Since the Levitical priesthood has been abolished, please explain how we are all priests. Since Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek, explain why, in your belief, shouldn’t every member receive tithe if we are all priests after the order of Melchizedek?
Please show in Hebrews that there is neither male or [sic] female. Do you believe that Paul in Galatians teaches that males can marry males and Christian churches should have unisex bath rooms since there is neither male nor female? Please show where Paul refers to ordination in the context of Gal 3:28.
Please provide the proof that shows the Israelites lost all memory of truth during their bondage in Egypt (I think that is what you meant when you said captivity, then immediately seemed to link it to the giving of the Ten Commandments).
Please use any concordance and note, contrary to your assertion, that the Bible mentions priests long before the Levitical priesthood. For example, Melchizedek was a priest (Gen 14:18). Moses’ father-in-law was a priest in Midian (Ex 2:16).
Lastly, please prove from the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy that there has ever been a time all could not go to God for forgiveness. Specifically show that all could not go to God for forgiveness during the period of the Levitical priesthood. In this context please explain David’s confession of his sin with Bathsheba in Ps. 51. Did he have to go to a priest. Look closely at Ps 51:16 (You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it).

Before the Levitical priesthood was the patriarchal priesthood which began with Adam as the priest of his household. Melchizedek was the high priest at the time of Abraham. Jacob was given the name Israel. The children of Israel are referred to as the church in the wilderness. Always the head of the household was the priest of the family–whether one family or the worldwide family with many under shepherds–but all male. Then came the priesthoods set up by God–all male leaders. Deborah was not a priest or ordained. She filled in where Barak failed to do God’s bidding. Women are great supporters!

Thanks Mike, are you the Mike Hackett I know? You make a good point about the Levitical priesthood!

Yes,it is I. Who else would claim to be me!
A side note: Just last month I read your paper again on the King of the North that you gave me decades ago. Great reading.

Hey Mike, the king of the north is a good example of how the church remains united even though we do not all agree on the meaning of certain passages. The same thing is happening with 1 Tim 2:12. The church is not going to split into two denominations simply because we do not all agree on the meaning of 1 Tim 2:12!!!

She is not discounting the value of scripture. Come on people, grow up. She is stating a very stark and glaring truth. Adventist women in general are sound enough to steer clear of feminism and all this is about a club of mischief making males who have an agenda to make Adventism a secular appendage, just one of the daughters of Babylon. They are in League with Delilah. Shave Samson’s hair and make him just like the rest. Satan cannot overcome God’s people as long as they are faithful to Him by being faithful to His word as their only rule of conduct and policy. Yes, Elders must be husbands. Anyone who has no house to order cannot order the church. Good headship in the home is qualification for headship in the church. He who is faithful in the least is faithful also in much and home is less than church but it is all leadership and care for people. He who provides for his own house can provide for the church in spiritual things: he knows responsibility and yes women can provide but that is a biblically male responsibility. It is man who must sweat. Society has upended this to its own global hurt. America in particular has upended itself and resulted in a dysfunctional society of upended kids and upended families. This whole feminist trajectory is designed to upend the world and decant sanity. To bring it into Adventism is Satan most daring undertaking and it comes clocked as progress and theology.

Satan is nothing if not daring. He dares even God and that is a level of arrogance most of us are not used to and we take this mischievous waffling as genuine discourse with a genuine concern for “fairness” and “justice” but Satan is a master of double speak and psycho social engineering. He wants to change Adventism and make it part of his global flow. We must not blink and we must not flinch. There is no place for feminism in Adventism. There is no place for the will of the world or its godless humanism of which feminism is just a part. We have place for only one thing: the will of God as plainly presented and “precedented” in scripture.

Anonymous female is one impressive thinking woman and I applaud her. Where are the Adventist women. Since when does a CALL to ministry ever become a matter of GENDER. What is the Biblical precedent and trend? Oh, we have commissioned women and now we are balking at ordaining them? Where is our authority for commissioning and appointing women to positions of authority in this church and thus reversing the Divine order of men being responsible for the exercise of authority in the home and in the church? This is what comes of academic pride and false progressivism. We never had scripture for appointing any women to positions of spiritual AUTHORITY as pastors or elders and we must face up to that fact. O what a tangled web we weave when at first we learn to deceive.

“The Church must never be brought under the control of human Power”?! Oh Ellen White! That is precisely what the agenda has been and still is and it is not just human power, but doctrines of devils. The Adventist ministry must first usurp Divine Authority and then Satan must rule the Adventist ministry. That is the whole agenda. Policy is ever a means to power. It is power. Satan intends to sit in the temple of God and activism is his means to that throne “where he ought not”. Satan will not succeed in making Adventism Babylon but he will not fail for trying.

When one distils this issue, the question is not soul winning or witnessing or serving God. The issue is “women empowerment”. You see all over the GC grounds when you attend the GC session: women raising clenched fists and “I am powerful”. Pure politics. The proponents for WO want “gender equality”. Women must be “empowered”. How that is a spiritual agenda and from heaven eludes me, especially at this time. It is a social circular agenda and as usual with a touch of religiosity. It is foreign “self seeking” bringing in a spirit among us that is completely carnal. We owe it no legitimacy.

How else can the world introduce itself in our midst but by making its issues ours but coated with double speak and a touch of Adventist jargon and theological argument. Oh the devil has never lost any of his subtlety!

“Thy speech betrayeth thee”. The voice of Jacob but the smell and hands of Esau and what a trouble the whole thing was to all. Sleeker than your average. And he moves amongst us polished and smooth and sophisticated and pleasant and lovable but how toxic and infectious his whisperings and suggestions, how clever his argument, how intoxicating the wine and the flattery. Yet a duty we have to be sober and clear: God has not commanded us to create social justice but spiritual conversion.

I think one part of this discussion that we seem to be ignoring is the way Paul ties in the leadership of woman in the church with creation. Is this mention of creation in this instance just a side issue or it must teach us the order things are supposed to be done.

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