For several decades now Adventists have been engaged in the controversial issue of women’s ordination. The church has invested millions of dollars and three General Conference sessions in an effort to unite the worldwide church on this topic without success. Several Unions and one Division seem determined to follow their own conviction instead of aligning their policies with the rest of the Adventist world.
There have been a long list of never ending studies and discussions in the Adventist media and a plethora of Adventist forums articles followed by hundreds of comments posted by readers interested in solving this doctrinal dilemma. What follows is a short list of comments I posted in those forums. I thought that some of you might be interested in reading them. I am including some links in case you want to read what others have posted as well.
You will probably discover that there are a number of arguments that I have repeated under a variety of circumstances. If this annoys you, I apologize. I have edited some of these comments of mine for the sake of clarity.
Women’s Ordination & Abortion
It is evident that we are determined to risk a split over a minor issue like women’s ordination while allowing diversity over a major one like abortion.
Where are the victims of women’s ordination? Are you aware of any? None that I can see! Why should we worry if women’s ministry brings sinners to Jesus Christ? Does this harm the church somehow? Which of the Ten Commandments is violated when we ordain a woman to the Gospel ministry?
Contrast this with the thousands of innocent unborn babies whose lives were cut short inside some of our Adventist medical facilities since 1970 when our SDA Church adopted the pro-choice position on this issue, but our church has chosen to be silent on this topic!
Likewise, which of God’s commandments is violated when we kill an unborn child? The sixth–the one designed by a loving God to protect the right to life. Here is what Jesus said regarding the value of human life:
“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” [Luke 17:2]
According to Jesus, death is preferable than offending the little ones, but our Adventist leaders believe that killing said little ones is morally acceptable and morally neutral under a variety of circumstances, including when the father of the unborn child is a sinner.
I thought that the sinner deserves to be punished–not the innocent victim. Do we punish the rapist? No! So why do we justify the killing of the innocent?
Our “Guidelines on Abortion” also justify abortion when the pregnancy affects the mental health of the woman. My question is: Is the temporary inconvenience of a pregnancy worse than the permanent and irreversible decision to either dismember of poison the body of the unborn?
The founders of the Adventist movement were pro-life–not pro-choice/pro-abortion! What happened? Why did we abandon the pro-life original position of the founders of Adventism? The answer is profit. Is profit a safe policy to follow? What did Jesus say about this?
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” [Luke 16:13]
I believe that it is high time for our church leaders to repent of this insult against the Creator of human life.
Our church has invested millions of dollars and three General Conference sessions into the women’s ordination issue–zero dollars for the protection of the right to life.
We are majoring in minor issues and minoring in major ones. It is time to alter this erroneous course of action.
Women’s Ordination & Discrimination
Some decades ago when I was employed by the church as a teacher, a female counterpart of mine asked me and other male employees: “How come you get 100 percent of the salary and I get only 60 percent?” She complained to management.
The school treasurer replied: “Because you are a woman. Males must support their families and need more pay.”
“That is exactly my situation,” she replied, “I am the only worker in my family. I support my husband, who is a student, and my two children.”
The treasurer answered: “I am sorry, but I cannot deviate from church policy.”
Some years later a Pacific Press female submitted the same complaint, and the result was that the church was forced to alter an unjust and discriminatory practice.
Sooner or later the church will have to cease discrimination when dealing with women’s ordination.
Women’s Ordination & Reformation
I agree, women’s ordination is not a fundamental issue. It is neither forbidden nor defended in Scripture. This is why I think that we are attempting to major in minors and to minor in majors.
Where is the harm done to the church by the ordination of women? In China thousands are led to Christ by the pastoral ministry of females. Why are we so scared about the fact that God is using women in order to advance the Gospel? Did not God use women to announce the good news about Jesus’ resurrection?
The church has invested a fortune and three General Conference sessions aimed at imposing a discriminatory policy on women who feel they are called to the Gospel ministry. We have been focusing our attention on a minor issue while neglecting a major one like abortion.
Why can’t we focus our attention on a worthy cause like the right to life of the unborn? This is where true reformation is sorely needed in our church! Thousands of unborn babies are either poisoned or subjected to dismemberment on a daily basis in America, and our Adventist institutions have profited from this nefarious business with impunity.
Many Adventists have attempted without success to do for our church what Martin Luther did for Christianity some centuries ago. When our 1992 Autumn Council approved what is known as “Guidelines on Abortion”–a morally flawed document that justifies the killing of innocent human beings under a variety of circumstances–many gifted Adventists left the church, while others remained. Here is the testimony of one of those who did remain:
“Nic, God bless you (and everybody else reading this) for your efforts regarding life. I’ve been fighting this battle for 30 years and it’s been kind of lonely, except for faithful friends like George Gainer and David Newman. We at Ministry magazine fought so hard in 1992 at the GC Annual Council, both by putting out a special pro-life issue of Ministry (Sept. 92) and on the floor as delegates. Our efforts utterly failed, but at least we did our best for God.” [Received from Martin Weber by email]
Why can’t we focus our attention off a minor issue like women’s ordination and concentrate on something really worth our effort like the killing of unborn children?
Women’s Ordination & Sin
If ordaining women to the ministry is a sin, then how about the sin of elective abortions that stained the hands of the church for decades starting back in 1970? Did the church ever confess and repent of this sin against the Creator? Repentance is easier secured by modeling than by demand. Should not the church demonstrate by example the benefits of repentance and forgiveness?
Where is the harm done by allowing women to be ordained for the work they feel they have been called to? Why should women repent for bringing sinners to Christ? If ordaining women is a sin, then depriving innocent children of life is a much greater sin. This is where true revival must take place.
The contrast between women’s ordination and our participation in the abortion business is significant. In one case sinners are lead to eternal life, while in the other case unborn children are deprived of life. The contrast could not be greater. Let the General Conference model repentance for other to follow their lead.
Didn’t Jesus suggest that it is advisable to remove a beam out one own eye if we want to remove a speck out somebody else’s eye?
Women’s Ordination and Abortion
There is more Scriptural evidence against Christians killing innocent human beings than against women’s ordination, yet we embraced the pro-choice/pro-abortion evil policy back in 1970 and even today still hold to the document known as “Guidelines on Abortion.”
In theory, we defend the permanence and validity of the Ten Commandments, but in practice we ignore the Sixth Commandment of the Lord. We allowed many of our medical institutions to profit from abortion with impunity. Our hands are stained with the blood of innocent unborn babies.
Our La Sierra University did dedicate a portion of its latest buildings in honor of the most proficient killer of unborn children. Said building bears the name of Dr. Edward Allred, a graduate of Loma Linda who became a millionaire by killing unborn children. Our Loma Linda University did also honor this man with several plaques for his donations to this institution.
Did the General Conference ever reprimand these institutions for honoring this former owner of over 20 abortion clinics in California? Not a chance! Yet when a young Adventist decided to speak on behalf of the right to life of the unborn, the GC lawyers sent him a letter warning him to cease and desist from using the name of his web site “Adventist for Life.”
Our “Washington Adventist Hospital” killed thousands of innocent unborn children and was never reprimanded for the use of the Adventist name, but the moment this young pro-life Adventist man began speaking of behalf of the unborn, the church shut his web site voice out of cyber space.
We invested tons of ink, millions of dollars, and three General Conference sessions in an attempt to silence thee voice of women preachers—a minor issue that harms no one—but will not raise our voice against a massive genocide taking place in our country and the entire world.
We should be ashamed of defending our right to bear the name “Remnant of God.” We should pay attention to a major issue that is decimating the lives of thousands and let women preach the Gospel without interference with their calling. A large number of women in China are being used by God to advance God’s cause on earth. Do not they deserve credit for their work.
God used women who played the role assigned to prophets. He used the willing service of Ellen White. Her authority on spiritual matters surpasses that of many Adventist preachers, yet we have a problem with ordaining women? Something is wrong with our spiritual vision.
We need to repent and seek God’s forgiveness that the Holy Spirit may fall on our church without any impediment.
Women’s Ordination, Uniformity, & Abortion
Controversial issues grounded on moral convictions should take precedence over policy considerations. It is wrong to force the conscience of church members to abandon their honestly held beliefs.
The church has already wasted millions of dollars of sacred funds and devoted three General Conference sessions in an attempt to impose an artificial uniformity on the issue of women’s ordination.
All this effort could have been used to achieve uniformity over a much more relevant issue like abortion. In North America Adventist leaders favor the pro-choice position on this issue while outside the North American Division most Adventists hold the pro-life belief.
In one case the controversy is regarding credit for bringing sinners to Christ; in the other case the disagreement is pivoted about the right to take the life of innocent unborn babies under a variety of circumstances. Where is the harm to the Gospel if we grant freedom to those women who feel called to the ministry?
How does this compare with those who are convinced that depriving a large segment of human beings of life is a noble work? In one case we lead people to life, while in the other one we participate in the extermination of those who are waiting for the chance to be see the light of day for the first time.
Women’s Ordination & Unity
This reminds me of the following incident. John and James complained that someone who was not a disciple was performing miracles in Jesus’ name. Notice how Jesus responded to this departure from accepted policy:
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us. But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.” [Mark 9:38-39]
Some unions have slightly departed from the traditional manner in carrying the Gospel forward, and the church has reacted by producing a plethora of documents and wasted millions of dollars in order to forbid what is nowhere forbidden in Scripture. We would be wise, I believe, to stop this nonsense.
Women’s Ordination & Tithing
I have now two strong reasons to send my tithe to independent ministries: The General Conference opposition to women’s ordination and the 1992 Autumn Council approval of a document known as “Guidelines on Abortion” that justify the killing of innocent unborn babies under a variety of circumstances, including when an unwanted pregnancy begins to affect the mental health of a woman. This means that the life of a healthy unborn baby is sacrificed on the altar of personal convenience. Bear in mind that pregnancy is a temporary condition; abortion is permanent and irreversible.