Adventist Church in Norway Will No Longer Ordain Any Pastors

Those exceptional, enlightened Scandinavians in an astute avant-garde action have shrewdly side stepped the WO issue!

They have progressively pioneered in equality, not only in Adventism, but in their own Lutheran churches. The state churches in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland started ordaining woman pastors in 1960. They installed a female archbishop in Uppsala Cathedral in 2013.

Meanwhile only the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (one of several branches) has ordained women ( since 1970).

Pastor Jim Hamstra in postings on an alternative site, eloquently analysed the dire consequences of not being an “ordained” pastor.

This permanently prevents promotion of non-ordained pastors to more prominent positions in the GC and Divisions. Hamstra explains, this is the potent reason why so few women sit on GC or Division committees or are delegates to the General Conference. An impenetrable “glass ceiling” exists, which effectively retains an ossified “old boys club”

While I devoutly desire that other Adventist entities will promote this paragon prototype, I fear it will boomerang in arresting advancement for talented preachers.

The Presbyterian Church USA has ordained women for decades, and since 2001, there are an equal number of men and women pastors.

The Salvation Army, a sister organization co-founded by a woman, Catherine Booth, has ordained women since its inception in 1934 The Army has also had its equivalent of a woman archbishop – they designated her a “GENERAL”!

The Jehovah’s Witnesses opine that each publicly baptized member becomes an instant ordained preacher. The majority of Witnesses door to door preaching, are women.

Dr Katherine Schori, not only presides over the entire Episcopalian church USA, but is archbishop of Washington National Cathedral (since 2006).

The United Methodist church, with many prominent senior women pastors and administrators, has been ordaining women since 1956.

The term “ordination” has become so contaminated by disrespectful discourse, I propose that it be jettisoned and scrapped. Let us use the connotation “CONSECRATED” instead of commissioned" and apply it to all qualified candidates, called by God, irrespective of gender.

Meanwhile Adventism is mired in medieval MUD until an equitable end emerges.


Those of us who live in the U.S. should thank God that there were some brave, rebellious leaders who won our independence from a king who would give us orders and tax us heavily.

Kevin, why is this rebellion when our nation is established on such rebellion? Would you rather have a dynastic king? Elected leaders who act with kingly power are antithetical to Christianity.


How Money Got Us Into Trouble

A Very Surprising (and Interesting) History About Women’s Ordination
By C. Mervyn Maxwell, PhD

Former Professor of Church History, SDA Theological Seminary

As you read this story, do remember that administrators are human, like the rest of us, and need our prayers. Remember too that the money they attempted to save at a crucial point in this story was God’s tithe; it was not their own money.

It is a story that shows how the NAD [North American Division] leadership came to the position that (a) ordination is merely a matter of church policy, not of sacred obligation, and (b) commissioning is equivalent to ordination.

The Internal Revenue Service and the Redefinition of Adventist Ministry


For more than 100 years, Seventh-day Adventists held that the functions of the licensed and ordained ministry were different. We claimed the support of scripture and of Ellen White for our position.

By the 1970’s, however, this traditional policy was changed in response to new IRS regulations. This paper shows the context and development of the change.

Danny Shelton of Adventist network, 3ABN:
America, We Are One

Between the laughable IRS ordination machinations and American Dominionist Nationalism, who could blame the rest of the first world for taking the first exit, as gracefully as possible?


Great to see some place the Bible, FB 24, and voted policy above tradition.


The Presidency of Ted Wilson has been a rebellion against the historically progressive origins of the SDA Church. What you are witnessing in Norway is not a rebellion but rather a counter-revolution. I am so glad you cannot reply as you have had your one post.


Those who oppose WO for headship reasons cannot embrace this solution because in their view, God is not pleased unless women are somehow treated in a way that places them in a lesser position of power. Now that women can actually do almost all the things that places them on a equal footing (like pastoring, heading a committee), they will hold this line in the sand because it is all that is left to keep women in an subordinate role.

For a long time I didn’t understand why the church didn’t embrace this as a solution; simply recognize that the theology of ordination itself was problematic and adjust accordingly. Women don’t have to be ordained, but neither do men.

I was naive because I didn’t fully grasp how important it is for the theology of many that women must somehow, someway be kept from full equality with men. Call it what you want, like “different roles”, the purpose is the subordination of women because God wants women to not have roles that bring equal power. In their minds anyway.


Rebellion? Only if the Reformation was a rebellion.

The Bible meanings of “church” are

  1. a congregation,
  2. the entire body of Jesus’ followers.

It’s the GC who are in rebellion.

The Bible authorizes neither denominations nor what we call ordination.

Ellen White said that the General Conference in session was God’s highest authority on earth. When her mood changed, she said she no longer felt that way. Progress.


Ellen White called for what Kevin calls rebellious people. “The greatest want of the world is the want of [people] who will stand…” She wasn’t speaking of compliant people. If Ellen and James hadn’t been "rebels’ per Kevin’s definition, there would be no Adventist church today.

On a larger scale, thank God for “rebels” who stood against the “structural entity” of England and rebelled against its policies with the American colonies. Had it not been for those rebels, there would be no United States today.

Jesus suffered and died because He was deemed a rebel and threatened the powers that existed in His time.

Kevin, I believe you would have been on the losing side in the American rebellion and you would probably have remained a Methodist when Ellen and James White took a stand for present truth and broke away from structure to become Sabbath keeping Adventists.

I say, so what if you (Kevin) think the Norwegians and Danes are rebels!


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There are two ways to see this

1 - as a path that achieves both treating men and women equally, and not offending the sensibilities of other parts of the world that believe ordaining women is immoral

2 - as agreeing that the GC can control the behavior of a UC, and deviously agreeing to obey them while treating men and women equally

I always maintained this issue was a continuation of the GC’s power grab over the UC’s. Trying to ignore this gorilla while dealing with the elephant may backfire.

I think this was unwise diplomacy

I was waiting for a move like this, and finally it has arrived! Well done, Scandinavia. May other Unions soon follow, including those in the NAD. Ordination simply needs to disappear as a practice among us. And I predict that in the Global North it may do just that. Why continue a practice that has been applied in a discriminatory way, when most agree is not even biblical? Could it be that by taking ordination off the table, the GC has dug ordination’s grave?


I am heartbroken to be reading this kind of behavior among a people who have held the belief of being a peculiar people who stand not based on a nation’s constitution but is guided by the Holy Spirit.
I see the Bible unfolding before my eyes that prophecy is being fulfilled. We are allowing ourselves to be divided over a matter that has really taken us away from our true mission.
We have the pope visiting America ironically on the same year that same sex marriage was passed and on the same year the Adventist community is allowing itself to be divided over an ordination matter…should we pressure GC to override a decision approved by the majority? Then let us also agree and approve same sex which cries out for equality and freedom to marry whoever a person wants…
Brothers and sisters wake up NOW!!! God is coming!!!
Let us stop fighting within the Church and move the gospel forward.
We need to be careful when we make statements that we need to do what other churches are doing because they ordain…
We are unique because we do NOT do what we do because others do or don’t do it…that is not we are all about…
Plz Norwegian Church…be careful of your stand…be ready n fair to make such stand if another challenge is brought before you…for example…same sex…that would be discriminating against sex might be the argument…


"Same sex…that would be discriminating against sex might be the argument…"
NO! Yvonne. THAT would be discriminating against Children of God, Yours and Mine Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
So we have to determine that we will NOT JUDGE, NOT LABEL other Humans, our Brothers and Sisters in Christ [because when Christ died, he died for all, and made ALL one large family], so we will NOT label anyone Hetero, GLBTIO etc… But call them either Brother or Sister.
So Yes, if Brother and Sister, they should be Welcome into Community, Welcome to a Seat at The Table and be fed by Christ and fed along with us by Christ.

Leadership in the Norwegian and Danish SDA Church.
All it would take would be a change in wording of the policies to restate “Ordination” to some other Title that would allow a person to have a Church Office. Perhaps even a “Lay Person” exhibiting the needed qualities for a certain position.
They have certainly opened the Door to new thinking about the Selecting of Persons for Leadership in those two groups.


It appears that you and Niteguy had thoughts similar to mine. I asked this question on another site and got an answer from, of all people, a Norwegian!. :smile: He informed me that their bylaws have never required ordination for positions of leadership, including president of the union. So that will not be a problem for them. It is out of sync with GC guidelines but has ever been their policy. I assume that this may be true for Denmark and Sweden, as well, but I do not have that confirmed. From this vantage point, it appears Providential that their bylaws and policies were set up that way years ago!


I applaud the SDA Norwegian church for doing what they believe is the right thing.

If our church denomination actually believed that Jesus’ return is imminent, then IMHO I would think that all this discussion of ordination and many more topics (which are no doubt important) would really not matter. But as long as we are focused on these topics, we have no room to think about how to spread the Good News or to be ready for a Second Coming of Jesus. If “the rocks” are going to cry out the message, we will soon be arguing whether or not they need to be ordained as well.


I was reading an article about the Anglican church and the divorce of its two parts, liberal western and conservative third world that is going on there. They are divided, this article states, on the authority of scripture, a problem Adventism is addressing as well. We however, are much less farther along than they in our division. They are united in name only, according to the article:

There was a fellow, who wrote in the early 20th century who saw all this coming, and they quote him. I think it might be prescient for our denomination as well:

Almost a century ago, Presbyterian church leader J. Gresham Machen wrote with unusual foresight concerning the coming crises in mainline denominations.

“The great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief,” he wrote, “which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian terminology.”

The thesis of his most famous book, “Christianity and Liberalism,” was that despite its retention of certain rituals and symbols (the worship service, the sermon, Communion), the liberal vision of Christianity was not Christianity at all, but something else altogether.

Machen’s analysis shines light on the state of Anglicanism today. There may be one Anglican Communion institutionally, but there are two Anglican Communions — one that appeals to Scripture as ultimate authority and the other that appeals to experience.

On the one side are the shrinking liberal churches of the West, whose primary identity appears to be “running errands” for liberal social causes. On the other side are the growing churches of the Global South, whose historic connection with Christianity is doctrinal, not merely institutional.

One side of this church is a shell. The other is the heart. (end quote)

The Norwegian Adventist Church seems liberal to the core, is not going anywhere, and is probably shrinking, as all liberal churches are. To commend them for their “bravery” is to embrace a dying ideology. Our vibrant third world churches are where the action is. Looking to Norway to lead is like asking a grandfather to carry the piano to the new home. We need a real man for that job, and Norway lost its muscle long ago. You might even say not ordaining anyone just shows they don’t want leadership anyway, or to designate one as such. No leader=chaos.


The lack of biblical basis for the ritual and status of ordination is, I believe, what God has been trying to show us all along. Women’s ordination was just the "punching bag’. The real opponent?.. Pride… as always.
God bless our Norwegian brothers for standing up for humility.


Bravo & Bravissimo!!

Thanks Norway and Denmark for doing something that will catch the attention of Adventists everywhere and that has the very real potential to get us thinking more about a new model of appointing people to service in Adventist circles.

I really do applaud Norway for calling on people to consider the proposals made in the TED BRC Report to TOSC.Perhaps someone here to illuminate the readership as to what these are.

The actions of Norway and Denmark in calling “Time Out” until the model of appointment of people for service in the Adventist context is revisited has far more positive potential for promoting global dialogue than the action of the Pacific Union Conference and the Columbian Union Conference ever did.


I agree with all the arguments made in the article in regards to gender equality. The NAD currently has two categories of pastor: ordained and commissioned. Women can be placed into only the commissioned category and not ordained according to the 2015 GC vote. So the Norwegians have chosen to acknowledge those categories and expose the foolish narrow-mindedness of the vote and create two new categories that include women as they chose to define.

“The Norwegian Union will operate with only two categories of pastoral employees from now on. 1) Pastors in regular service, and 2) Pastoral interns. The Norwegian Union will not report pastoral employees to the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook until the General Conference has established pastoral categories that are not discriminatory.”

The claim is that ordination is not Biblical, which is true, but the real problem of ordination in the SDA church is not its exclusion of women. It is in the authority of the position that church members gladly hand off to the pastors. I’m disappointed that the church in Norway did not take this argument of non-Biblical ordination to the next step, which is to not have settled pastors.

Pastors in the early SDA church had multiple churches that they had planted. They trained members to soul winning. Member care was by the members not a pastor. If a pastor was not starting new churches he/she was not paid. These pastors were more like NT apostles. Each church had elders and deacons and sermons were rare. Group Bible reading and study were the norm during the explosive growth of the young SDA church. Most met in homes, which was less expense. More money could be channeled to starting new churches rather than caring for weak pastor-dependent members.

We have a long way to go on this problem of ordination. But I suspect people will not want to change out of their comfort-zone until forced. The current system is weak not because women are not ordained, but because the people have become spiritually weak.


Does anyone know if Ted Wilson believes that women are created in the image of God to the same extent, magnitude, and degree as men? I am unaware whether he is on record regarding this issue. Seventh-day Adventist male headship theorists will often say the words–“I believe that women are created in the image of God”-- but then provide contradictory assertions that women lack requisite characteristics for leadership, that the Serpent was happy that Eve approached the Tree rather than Adam because she did not possess his characteristics, that but for men’s leadership and protection women would grievously err, etc. Because I give more credence to detailed explanations than bald assertions, I am forced to conclude that the theorists, every single one of them, do not believe that women are created in the image of God to the same extent, magnitude, and degree as men, despite protestations to the contrary that might be uttered.

The reason I ask this question is that I am awe-stricken with the reality that the religious beliefs of the Norwegian Union Conference Executive Committee members, none of whom I have ever met, are clear regarding the Creator and His creation, whereas the religious beliefs of Elder Wilson, whom I have listened to on many occasions, regarding the Creator and His creation are unknown, foggy, and unclear. I find it strange that I know very little about the religious beliefs of the most important and prominent leader in the religious denomination of which I am a member. I don’t know what to make of this.