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To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." 
Isaiah 8:20
 
Women’s ordination today is as popular as liberal social issues are in American Christianity and politics. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, particularly some Conferences and Unions in the NAD have been pushing hard for women ordination in disregard to the General Conference's authority and overwhelming vote in the opposite direction. But ultimately what is at stake here are not votes, by-laws, policies or actions by this or other Conference. No one would question that 11 Divisions voted against women ordination and only 2 voted in favor two GCs ago. But that vast majority IS the body of Christ deciding the role of women with "full ecclesiastical authority" (ordination according to the Spirit of Prophecy). However that started by slow escalation of authority from ordination of female elders and  deaconesses, so now leaders use that as justification for equal ordination of women to the pastoral ministry. Little by little we gave away the beauty and simplicity of the Scriptures for complexities and fluidity of policies.
 
What is at stake here is the integrity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church core of solid, Biblical unshakable set of fundamental beliefs. #1: The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God's acts in history. However the part wants to command the body and they are doing it because they can…unfortunately. By pushing, twisting and turning every piece of rule to accommodate their intent these leaders of some Conferences and Unions will vote after vote, meeting after meeting continue until their goal is accomplished. How many times do we need to vote "No" to women's ordination? The answer is simple: We'll continue to bring it up for vote until it becomes a "Yes", starting with female elders, deaconesses and then pastors. Brothers and Sisters, this will deeply divide the Church, not bring unity, because the vast majority of the body of Christ (the vast population of 11 Divisions) does not believe is this unbiblical, un-Adventist and unseemly fallacy.

This is a sign of something deeper and more pervasive. At the heart of the issue is that truth is no longer absolute. The Scriptures are no longer the infallible revelation of His will. Not according to some leaders. The discernment between truth and lie is no longer a bright line but a wide gray zone that is getting wider by the day. So wide that people do not see any difference in the sanctity of priesthood well written and articulated in the Bible from another form based on human wicked thinking. Just because someone is or was a great leader, male or female, that does not give him/her the right to officiate in the temple. Remember when that unfortunate man tried to catch the ark falling off the cart? He actually died on the spot. Why? Simple: God told them not to touch the ark. Period! 
Clear truth is no longer acceptable. That is too radical nowadays as the church has "evolved" and the firmness of pillars of principles are no longer that firm. After all, we need to be flexible with our cultural diversity. As if the Bible was written with versions for social adaptation...We now have human rationalization use of scriptures in lieu exegesis. Now society commands and demands truth to adapt and we say: Amen! Even at the cost of changing the real meaning of words such as "discrimination" which somehow became an ugly word although is expressed in the Bible abundantly. There is the saved and the lost. There is sheep and the goat. There is the holy and unholy. There are those that love Him and keep His commandments and those that want to do away with His commandments. There are those that do the will of God and there are those that follow their own will. God throughout the Bible makes clear distinction between those who follow Him and those who follow their own ways.   
 
This push for women ordination is based on popular social forces other than the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. The misconception is that although man and women are the same before God they have different and distinct roles, therefore they are not equal in the latter sense. We have become a church that embraces social issues ("not mission…") that plagues popular Christianity rather than the solid, strong Biblical truth centered church with a focus on the three angel’s message.  

What has made some leaders in church wonder off our basics? Think about the quality and formation of our leaders these days. Look honestly at our progress in America in terms of baptisms, church growth and expansion that has been nothing short of a disappointing and utterly failure. Mathematically we are not able to even keep our own children in the church, so it is understandable why some are desperate. We all should be! Now, in spite of an anemic baptismal record (Hispanics aside) the two Divisions that are performing terribly compared to the rest of the world (US and Europe) coincidentally are the ones pushing hard for ordination of women. That off course is in disregard for the vast majority of the body that has this terrible habit of insisting on sticking with the Bible and requiring nothing less than a "thou sayest the Lord" or "it is written"! It just happens that these areas are the ones growing by leaps and bounds!  That ought to tell something to Pastors that use little or no Bible and Spirit of Prophecy in their sermons, but rather make Internet their center of thoughtless sermon preparation.  

Having a popular false idea muddying our truth is nothing new. One single popular idea concerning Daniel 8:14 that the earth was the sanctuary was enough for the great deception of the Millerite movement. One little mistake can sour the entire truth. But if the Church leadership can use a set of poorly articulated, social pleaser, unfounded arguments with pseudo theological grounds, then we can prepare ourselves for the wave of arguments that will come against Sanctuary and primarily against the Sabbath, because enemies of truth have been using the same reasoning and rationale for several decades. The fact that there are no women ordained to priesthood in the Bible is the same reason why there is no Sunday as a day of keeping: It is just not there! In the end, if you can ordain a woman without solid Biblical reason to have "full ecclesiastical authority" and in vain worship Him, then you can keep Sunday on the same grounds.

This fear of discrimination based on gender and what others will say about us is an open door for lawlessness. The next question then is: What types of gender are we referring to? In my opinion, this is setting the path to apostasy and heresy. Forget what we think, or what policies say. The social and popular Christianity will dictate some of our leader’s next steps again in a near future - God help us! They already found the way. 
 
 

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This needs to be added to the rules if this not wanted--as it is not currently in the expectations/guidelines, nor is it considered belittling-- so that the appearance does not become  that those who are not supporting opposing views are being targeted.  

How soon can this happen?

Thanks!

Foot washing of opposite sex in church is reserved for husband and wife because they are one flesh.

One of my favourite spiritual experiences has been to wash my wife's feet - I clearly remember having the opportunity at a camp meeting and we both agreed that it was a blessing to us and also created a closer spiritual bond. I can fully understand why men and women are separated for footwashing and can't really see any reason to washing another woman's feet - unless it were my daughter.

Is this an area where we should distinguish between the sexes or does the demand for equality mean that I get to wash feet with other women?

Well....Mary washed Jesus' feet...Go figure. ^  _  ^

John 12

 

Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,

Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

I agree, Teresa.  

And it already is....Thank you for being here at AO to help show light on that.  You truly have been a BLESSING!

Mark, I respect your opinions (and appreciate you more for being honest ) and respectfully disagree....I am looking forward to the Unions (and it is the Union that has has the authority to ordain--not GC--it's in writing) as they lay out their cases from scripture, which seems to be coming sooner than the Biblical Research Institute.

I would be interested in your thoughts on this article:

http://www.atoday.org/article/1006/columns/hamstra-david/i-support-...

I Support Men’s Commissioning

Submitted: Feb 2, 2012

By David Hamstra

On October 10, 2011, church leaders announced a timetable for studying the theology of ordination over the next few years, the latest action following a promise at the 2010 General Conference session to study the issue.

Artur Stele, a world church vice president and director of the Biblical Research Institute, said the process would examine the foundation of ordination as well as its implications for church practices. (Adventist Review)

This is the latest in a series of debates, studies, and panels that have polarized the Seventh-day Adventist Church on the question of women's ordination since, by some accounts, the mid 1970s. (I've written previously on this topichere.) Opponents rest firm in the General Conference vote at Utrecht (1995), which shut down a move to allow the practice. Proponents continue to agitate for equality, most recently through the ONE (Ordain Now Equally) in Christ website.

Meanwhile, a proportionately small number of women continue to serve capably as Adventist pastors, and in some cases their ministry is exceptionally blessed. Rather than being ordained, these women are “commissioned,” which affords them the authority to do almost everything an ordained (i.e. male) pastor does except ordain elders and deacons or organize and disband churches.

This state of affairs seems to me untenable. On its face, there is no biblical support, and it is morally disingenuous. Either women can be pastors, or they can't. Either women are allowed to have authority in the church, or they aren't. In the scripture there is no such thing in scripture as an under-shepherd who has partial authority in the flock.

I don't intend to rehash the arguments pro and con women's ordination here. For me it boils down to one issue: Spiritual gifts come with the authority to use them. If a woman has been equipped by the Holy Spirit for pastoral ministry, the church is poorer for not recognizing this.

For this reason I fully support equality of men and women at all levels of church ministry. But, I hasten to add, I do not support women's ordination.

I have come to the conclusion that in the Seventh-day Adventist Church the term "ordination" has changed into something other than a simple recognition of God's blessing on a pastor's ministry. Ordination is now a word that is used to either attain or maintain power.

Those opposed to women's ordination are focused of defending the term in a way that excludes women from power, and those in favour of women's ordination are focused on expanding the term in a way that gains women power. Both sides of the debate are in a power struggle.

Yet according to Jesus, in His Kingdom you don't gain power by fighting for it but by giving it away.
 
“The legal experts and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat.  Therefore, you must take care to do everything they say. But don’t do what they do. ... They love to be greeted with honor in the markets and to be addressed as ‘Rabbi.’

“But you shouldn’t be called Rabbi, because you have one teacher, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Don’t call anybody on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is heavenly.  Don’t be called teacher, because Christ is your one teacher.  But the one who is greatest among you will be your servant.  All who lift themselves up will be brought low. But all who make themselves low will be lifted up." (Matthew 23:2-37-12, CEB)
 
 
“Do you know what I’ve done for you?  You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am.  If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example: just as I have done, you also must do. (John 13:12b-15, CEB)
 
“Whoever wants to be first must be least of all and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35b, CEB)
 
“You know that those who rule the Gentiles show off their authority over them and their high-ranking officials order them around.  But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant.  Whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave—just as the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.” (Matthew 20:25b-28, CEB)

Church offices and leadership structures are clearly necessary, as the apostolic church quickly discovered. But when an office or title becomes the focus of a power struggle, it's time to step back and recover Jesus' simple message of servant leadership: Instead of trying to elevate yourself, focus on elevating others. Instead of trying to be first, go serve those who are least. Instead of joining the race to the top, start a race to the bottom.

In that spirit, I propose the following: That Adventist pastors of both genders be, not "ordained," but "commissioned." After all, neither term is applied to pastors in the Bible, so we're free to change the terminology when warranted.

In fact, the term "ordained” comes from the Roman ordering of their society into plebs and patricians, the Gentile lords Jesus condemned. In the early Roman Catholic Church, ordination developed as the means by which a layman joins the elite order of the clergy.

On the other hand, "commissioned" carries, to my ear at least, the implication of "commissioned to serve," which is what a minister is supposed to do in the first place. Changing the term would also connote, in the context of the ordination debate, that Adventist pastors are less obsessed with their own power and position than they are with empowering and elevating others. It would signify that male ministers do not advance in God's upside-down Kingdom by allowing women to join them up on their level, but instead by moving down to a level where all can serve according to their gifts.

Therefore, I do not support women's ordination; I support men's commissioning.

 

Hi Sarah thanks for this special sharing, I appreciate that there has been much time and research you have done. Hats off. My question to you is: Why is it when it is a question  for woman to wait. and for man to give the green light. Also when in some corners of the world there are women who are doing well as church leaders. Thanks . will woman has her say again.

Sabrina, it's like the article states:  this is all about power and control.  To have two sets of standards says not only that God is biased (the Bible says He isn't) and that He gives limited authority regarding spiritual gifts to Women--which is more foolishness.  

Hi Sarah.

Thanks for the reply. I know the article and it misses several fundamental points. Commission is not in lieu of ordination but part of it. It always amazes me that rarely we have comprehensive discussion about thi issue but tend to focus on one or other point. This is nothing new. We already ran this issue to the ground in the pat decades but it continue to come back for reasons way different than a spiritual yearning in search for the truth like "looking for a treasure". I served for many years at Potomac Conference in the executive, corporation and audit commettee and honestly organiation is needed. I think we spent an enormous amount of time on by-laws, policies, regulations, all subject to change and not enough in the reason of the commission which was soul winning and completing our mission.

They way this keeps creeping up to our direction is what makes me profoundly concerned with the near future of our church. I was in Atlanta and saw "how" the ordination of deaconess was brought about...for the newly elected president to call the leader to bring the delegates to the floor as the majority, majority were out there enjoying Atlanta rather thn being there voting and doing their work was revealing.

Sarah- Jesus is coming and we all have a work to do but were are too Luke war to do it. And for that Jesus is calling on everyone that has breath of life to join. The full ecclesiastical authority is given to man, not to women. When we get to heaven we'll have plenty of time to ask tht question but I don't think it will matt much when we see what God has prepad for us. The devil is here with one reason and one reason only. To divide and conquer and we are falling for it...This issue will not divide our church, it is already doing its work. Are we giving that kind of energy do discuss Daniel 12, Revelation 17, Revisit the impossible theology that the 7 seals and trumpets are a repetition of the Seven churches (don't try to explain in a Bible study, it is so confusing and they do not align) etc? No. Our issue now is one that no matter how we slice and dice, in order to pass or make its case, one have to move away from "law and testimony".

We know a tree by its fruit and the fruit of this work is Is not one as fruit of the spirit but social engeering the church allowed to creep in and now desperately seeks justification in the Bible and Spirit of prophecy. It does not have any more justification in either thn Sunday keeping. If we stick with the Bible, Spirit of Prophecy and prayer we'll be safe.

I'm also interested in your opinion. What part of it you disagree with?

Thanks

Commission IS in lieu of ordination....you may need to check your research on that one.  I do want to thank you for your response to my post. =)

The FRUIT is the issue and the reason for the problem.  You have women (for example) doing the work of a pastor in China (they are ordained) and their ministries bear good fruit short and long term; their churches are (ironically) balanced--and growing spiritually as well as in numbers with males and females and it is a non-issue; this is also a non-issue in most "predominately and/or historic Black Conferences"....It's not even an issue in many to most of the Hispanic churches.  

So the real question (for me is) what is the deal with predominately SDA churches?

Thanks for posting this.  I have never felt that women's ordination was right because it just isn't Biblical.  The opposite is in the Bible and it isn't just a cultural thing or something that only applied to that time period because of education or lack of equality.  I am sure that there were some women who were educated and wise in all time periods.  If God had desired women to be ordained, do you not believe that sometime during all those centuries of Bible history, God would have called at least one woman to the priesthood?  He just didn't do it.  And the Bible is enough for me.

I don't understand why being ordained is so important.  We have women serving the Lord in every generation.  In many ways.  It is possible to serve the Lord and lead people to Him without being an ordained pastor.  If a woman is truly desiring to dedicate herself to God, let Him lead the way instead of desiring your own way.  Is the desire to have women ordained just so they can be paid a salary or so they can have recognition or just so they can claim to be equal?  I truly do not understand why it is so important to others that we have women's ordination. 

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