VTH Writings

Tell Mother

 “It is the intention of this book to reveal the truth of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7 but the chief object of this publication is to bring about a reformation among God’s people. The truth herein contained is divided into seven sections, giving proof from seven different angles, to prevent any doubt or confusion. This subject is made clear by the use of the Bible and the writings given by the Spirit of Prophecy.” – The Shepherd’s Rod Vol. 1 pg. 5

Women Ordination…
What does the Bible say?

And the Lord God said unto the woman … ‘What is this that thou hast done’… ”Gen. 3:13.

Today, like reeds shaking in the wind, like a tempest whipping up the waves of the sea, the subject of women’s ordination is agitating the SDA church. But does not this ever-strengthening gale, this continual agitation of the subject, threaten to further weaken and disunite the church, and/or, at the very least, distract us from our very mission?

This is all the more troubling because everyone with experience knows that the SDA church today is a far cry from what she used to be. As we increase in numbers we are alarmingly losing quality and distinctiveness as God’s peculiar people. Expressed in words of the Spirit of Prophecy, we read, “The church has turned back from following Christ her leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt….”5T 217.

Back to the Bible

Now what shall we do in this divisive and menacing situation facing the church? Let us go back to the Bible–to a plain “thus saith the Lord.” For is it not true that “the wisdom of man is foolishness with God?” Let us there read carefully and prayerfully as we be on guard against any man’s forced interpretations of God’s word, heeding Inspiration’s counsels that “The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed.” GC 598.

At this point it is helpful to ask ourselves a series of questions:

What was womans role before sin entered?

From the Bible we read she was taken from Adam’s side to be a “help meet for him” – not to be his head or boss, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior. (See AH p. 25). She was to stand at his side as an equal.

Can one be equal and yet have a separate role?

The answer to this is obviously yes from the Scriptures and from nature. In starting a new life, do not both father and mother contribute equally in terms of genes and yet they have separate functions or roles? Does not the mother carry the baby, although “the twain shall be one.”? Having separate but equal roles, makes a world of sense in God’s plan.

What was womans role after being beguiled into sin?

As Eve first sinned and then tempted the man to sin and disobedience, there were consequences dictated by Almighty God himself: for the serpent, for the man and for the woman. “Unto the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Gen. 3:16. See Adventist Home, p. 115.

The modern Western world often rebels against God’s word, but is it not true that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” 1 Cor. 1:25. Does not the loving Creator know what is best for the human race? The good news, is, however, as we shall presently see, that women do have a great role to play in the gospel, but as modeled by the Bible. Exploring this further the following questions are especially pertinent.

While the world, and also the church, is full of sin, has this divine order been done away with?

Like the serpent-inspired change of the Bible Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week, where is the Bible evidence for the change of this divine sentence? Shall we not beware lest the same serpent that beguiled Eve, do the same with us today through his subtle rationalizations, causing us to despise and reject God’s plainest words of divine authority. Shall we rebel like our forefathers, and suffer more consequences?

Were important women ordained in the Bible in either Old or New Testaments?

Now read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and you will find no ordination of ANY woman, not even of the women prophets in God’s order. Yes read it again and again. In God’s order, evidently, women’s role, though very important, did not require this. Were this the case would not God institute it? And as the Bible transcends all cultures, shall we despise or contend with the wisdom of the Almighty? “Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?” (See Job 40:2, 1 Cor. 2:16). Shall sinful mortal man presume to tell the Omniscient One, how He should do things then or worse today with the human race so much weaker and more gullible after six thousand years of sin? Shall we not still trust his word unquestioningly? Another question:

Does a woman have the right to teach or preach in the church? What of Paul’s statements?

“From Paul’s statement in 1 Timothy 2:12, “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence,” you will note the meaning here is, that the woman is to be in subjection to the man as God had ordained, and not that she is forbidden to hold the office of a teacher. Again we quote, “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.” (1 Cor. 14:34.) Read the chapter and you will see that Paul wishes to establish order in the churches, for there was great confusion by speaking in unknown tongues. Therefore, to silence the confusion, he says: “Let your women keep silence in the churches.” He is not forbidding them to speak if they have a duty to perform. If this lesson was heeded in this age there would be a great change for the better in the house of God.” – {2SR 168.2}

Who is higher in position, a prophet or a pastor?

According to 1 Corinthians 12:28, the prophets are next in order only to the Apostles, and thus they have the higher rank. Now as there were women prophets in the Bible, God showed that when it suits his purpose he can and does give women a most important role. It is vital to note, however, that none of these women prophets or prophetesses was ever ordained. Was this by accident? Does God ever do (or fail to do) things by accidents? Away with the thought! God clearly did not require their ordination nor did He ever require human hands to be laid upon them.

Did Ellen G. White ever perform ministerial rites of baptism, marriages, etc? Does the Bible have any woman doing these priestly functions?

We have no such evidence that Sister White did this. More importantly, there is no such example, whatsoever, in the Bible.

Why did Ellen G. White leave these pastoral functions to her husband and the ministers?

She deferred these priestly rites to the ministers, in respect of the bible order of things, though she could have tried to pull rank. To reiterate, she respected God’s order though having a higher spiritual rank or authority than the ministers or pastors.

Speaking of roles and ranks in the bible, did some characters ever cross the line and suffered the consequences?

Two notable examples come to mind: Uzziah ( 2 Chronicles 26: 17-19) and Saul (1 Samuel 13:13). It is interesting to note that both of these as kings presumed to take on the priestly role and were severely punished by God. God struck one with leprosy, and the other was rejected as king. Are we not in danger today of very lightly regarding (or even disrespecting) bible order and trusting instead in modern rationalizations and man’s wisdom?

Incidentally, was not this Lucifer’s problem also? Did he not covet a role and power that it was the prerogative of Christ alone to wield? (See Great Controversy p. 498)

Are there forces in the church that may be purposefully pushing these divisive and distracting issues to hurt the church? Can they be clever enough to do this and be favorites in the church in good and regular standing? Inspiration gives an example.

“…That night I dreamed that I was in Battle Creek looking out from the side glass at the door and saw a company marching up to the house, two and two. They looked stern and determined. I knew them well and turned to open the parlor door to receive them, but thought I would look again. The scene was changed. The company now presented the appearance of a Catholic procession. One bore in his hand a cross, another a reed. And as they approached, the one carrying a reed made a circle around the house, saying three times: This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They have spoken against our holy order.….”I wept and prayed much as I saw our goods confiscated”. {1T 577.2}

And here is a powerful lesson from history, even centuries ago, that we should never forget.

“…Jesuitism inspired its followers with a fanaticism that enabled them to endure like dangers, and to oppose to the power of truth all the weapons of deception. There was no crime too great for them to commit, no deception too base for them to practice, no disguise too difficult for them to assume. Vowed to perpetual poverty and humility, it was their studied aim to secure wealth and power, to be devoted to the overthrow of Protestantism, and the re-establishment of the papal supremacy…. (Emphasis ours){GC 234.2}

These quotes are self-explanatory and answer the above questions quite authoritatively. You can read for more context.

Is it okay to modernize, to new-modelGods SDA church today?

“What was the origin of the great apostasy? How did the church first depart from the simplicity of the gospel? By conforming to the practices of paganism, to facilitate the acceptance of Christianity by the heathen. The apostle Paul declared, even in his day, The mystery of iniquity doth already work.2 Thessalonians 2:7. During the lives of the apostles the church remained comparatively pure. But toward the latter end of the second century most of the churches assumed a new form; the first simplicity disappeared, and insensibly, as the old disciples retired to their graves, their children, along with new converts, … came forward and new-modeled the cause.

Good news for women, today and in the near future.

“In the beginning God created both the man and the woman equal, as king and queen. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:28.) Note that the dominion was given to them both. However, after they sinned a change was made: “Unto the woman He said, thy desire shall be to thy husband, and He shall rule over thee.” (Gen. 3:16.) So, after the woman sinned she fell under the government of man. But that which Eve lost by deception, shall be restored by redemption. Thus again the equality of both shall be established as kings and queens. Therefore, “There is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus.” Christ himself confirms the idea in the following expression: “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels which are in heaven.” (Mark 12:25)

Did you know that God has given women a role and task so important that even kings may envy them?

“There is a God above, and the light and glory from His throne rests upon the faithful mother as she tries to educate her children to resist the influence of evil. No other work can equal hers in importance. She has not, like the artist, to paint a form of beauty upon canvas; nor, like the sculptor, to chisel it from marble. She has not, like the author, to embody a noble thought in words of power; nor, like the musician, to express a beautiful sentiment in melody. It is hers, with the help of God, to develop in a human soul the likeness of the divine. – {AH 237.2}

Again, besides the noble role of motherhood, in the Loud Cry with the fulfillment of Joel 2:28, God promises to pour out his Spirit upon both our sons and daughters and these shall dream dreams and have visions. Wonderful indeed, is the fact that women do not have to be ordained in order to play an important role in the gospel field.

BETTER STILL, with the removal of sin, women’s equality will be fully restored as the Creator intended. For that is when it shall be fully realized that there is neither male nor female in Christ, and both sexes shall reign as priests and kings before the Almighty, as it is said of the 144,000.

But, what will happen to restless, modern Eves who are dissatisfied with their God-given roles?

“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. [4] – {AH 115.2}

Can a man or woman serve God effectively today without being ordained by human hands?

Do we not have excellent and living examples in the Bible of such persons? What of the good Samaritan and the Ethiopian Eunuch.? Think of the following women: Mary Magdalene, Dorcas, the four daughters of Phillip the Evangelist, that were prophesying, think of Huldah the prophetess and Deborah also. Do we have to covet a high position or title of honor to serve God effectively? Could it be that we are deceptively more interested in the honor of the position (like Lucifer) rather than in serving God and humanity self-sacrificially! Did not Jesus give pertinent lessons about he who would be the greatest among us? Shall we remember Christ’s last lesson of humility to his disciples and to the world? (See John 13).

So what shall we do today? On what side shall be your position?

Among the hundreds of pages of the debates by Adventist theologians on this subject, one writer agrees very notably and succinctly with the salient points expressed in this article. Here is part of his thought-provoking summary:

“Is our degenerate Western culture of modernism and post-modernism, with its intentional dismantling of the family and family values, Christian distinctiveness, and, ultimately, “truth,” better equipped to address the needs of the church today than are the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy? From our earliest beginnings as Seventh-day Adventists, we have found a solid, Bible-based approach to be our source of unity, and this challenge will be no exception. Ultimately, when policy-based rather than Scripture-based solutions to theological problems are employed, church order and unity may be undermined, as our recent experience in connection with this issue has shown. Genuine unity is the product of the converting power of the Word of

God. It must be our guiding light—not a social reengineering of gender roles and functions that can never bring lasting relief from the abuses brought about by sin. Jesus has shown us the way, not through external social reforms but through inner transformation and the power of a positive example.” Theology of Ordination p. 207.

Yes, on which side?

Shall we be on the side of God’s plain word as in the Bible and Spirit of Prophesy, or shall we be on the side of the liberals with their private and high-sounding theological interpretations and rationalizations? Was the Bible written only for scholars with their ubiquitous Greek quotes and modified translations and meanings? Or shall we trust the Authorized Bible God gave to the Christian world and which made the English speaking peoples the most blessed and prosperous in the world? Shall we help the liberals new-model the church, or shall we ask for “the old landmarks and put our full trust in the word? We must each individually answer this question.

In closing let us remember God’s words of wisdom: “There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25. May we indeed choose to place our feet, as Jeremiah counsels us, in the “old paths wherein is the good way and walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16.

1 Comment

  1. thompson

    Blessed Sabbath and how could we share this article with others. I don’t see an option to click or share the article.

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