Bakersfield Women's Ordination Symposium - Julie Mesa

Julie Mesa, a nurse, and a mother, who called mothering “the best job of my life...a hard job but a wonderful, rewarding job,” said that she came to her understanding of women’s ordination through her study “God’s word and the Spirit of Prophecy.” Mesa was the third presenter in the Bakersfield, California "Crisis Ahead" women's ordination symposium organized by Pastor Stephen Bohr's Secrets Unsealed Ministry.

“I’m not a theologian, I’m just a layperson like many of you,” Mesa said, but offered her conclusions on the topic in hopes that they might be a blessing.

Mesa looked at the roles of every woman listed in Scripture, and the roles of the women in the early Seventh-day Adventist Church and what the church believed about women in ministry. She says she was very impressed by the “high and powerful position that God has called women to in ministry.”

Mesa pointed out that she has family and friends on the other side of the issue from her position, and stressed the value of kindness and respect when discussing the issue with those of differing viewpoints. She quoted President John F. Kennedy: “Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the persecution and oppression of others.”

Secular roles women held in Scripture included queens, landowners, business owners, rulers of states (either of countries that were not of God’s people, or, in the case of Athalia, who was a ruler of God’s people, were very wicked), maids, midwives, nannies and judges. Some were noted for valiant acts of killing (like Jael), others for valiant acts of saving (like Jehosheba, who saved Jehoash from Athalia). Some were condemned for being witches and prostitutes.

Concerning the ministry roles women played in Scripture, the two top roles were those of wife and of mother, respectively, Mesa said. She noted that the role of wife is the one mentioned most (over 50% of the time) in the Bible. How is that a ministry role? she asked. “Because, ladies, we influence our husbands for good or for ill.”

She quoted Bill Gates, who cited his mother and his wife as catalysts for his philanthropic work.

Mesa provided examples of biblical women who influenced their husbands in positive and negative ways. Speaking directly to the women in the audience, Mesa said, “Ladies, we have an influence that is powerful. It can make or break a man.”

The second most oft-mentioned ministry role in the Bible that can only be filled by a woman, Mesa said, is that of a mother. According to research, children with mother’s love are less susceptible to stress and do better, Mesa said. More, a mother’s training can set a child’s life course. Mesa pointed to Moses as a biblical example. Doing the work of mothering is service for God, she said.

Women played the role of follower or believer, but none of the women were elders or pastors.

Another form of ministry in the Bible is financial, Mesa said. Susanna, Joanna were followers who “ministered to Jesus of their substance,” meaning financial support of Jesus’ work.

Some women, most famously Dorcas (or Tabitha), ministered to the poor.

Women were prophets, Mesa said, which gave her pause. “I had to stop there when I looked at the role of a prophet, because there are some that say ‘Deborah really served in a spiritual-leadership role, so she was kind of like a pastor or elder.’” She said that she studied the issue more thoroughly by reading Ellen White’s book, “Daughters of God.” On page 37, Ellen White says of Deborah, “She was known as a prophetess, and in the absence of the usual magistrates, the people had sought to her for counsel and for justice.”

“Clearly, this was an exception to the rule and should not be used as a guide for how we behave,” Mesa said.

Concerning the idea that a woman might be apostles, Mesa said, “Junia might be a man, might be a woman. She might be an apostle, might not be an was just very unclear.” Mesa rejected basing a theological idea on an apparently unclear text.

Addressing Paul’s injunction in 1 Timothy that women should keep silent and not teach or “usurp authority over the man,” Mesa said, “We know that women can speak if they’re praying or prophesying, and we know that women are told to teach because Priscilla teached (sic) Apollos.” Mesa determined that women can teach and speak so long as they are not “usurping authority over man.”

Talking about the roles women held in the early Adventist Church, she noted that women were ordained as deaconesses and were licensed preachers. Women served in every capacity, she said, except that of an ordained minister or elder.

Closing, Mesa reiterated, “The only roles, ladies that [God] has withheld from us are that of an ordained minister and elder.”

Watch Julie Mesa's presentation, "A Woman's Full Participation in Ministry," here.


Jared Wright is Managing Editor of

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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What shall we do then with the church’s established practice of ordaining female elders stated in the 2009 Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Handbook, p. 94:

“Elders and deacons should be persons of experience, chosen wisely. By action of the Annual Council of 1975, reaffirmed at the 1984 Annual Council, both men and women are eligible to serve as elders and receive ordination to this position of service in the church.”

The nonsense coming from this Women’s (Sub)Ordination Symposium is unbelievable!
Some say that Bohr is taking aim at the church at large for allowing variance on women elder ordination. Especially now that he is no longer employed by the Church.


Secular??? Evidently she hasn’t read the description of the “Virtuous Women” in Proverbs in which she buys land and sells goods, etc. I suppose that this sort of delineation of what is “secular” and what is “sacred” is one of the issues.


There is no doubt in my mind that a wife and mother are critically important roles (as are a husband and father). But it is irrelevant to the issue purportedly being addressed. The sort of reasoning or argumentation described in this article boils down to this: “I don’t think the Bible shows us that X was ever done. Therefore, we should not do it now.” An example of this was my dear grandmother telling me that if we were supposed to fly then God would have created us with wings. The difficulty here is that I don’t recall one African man or an Indian man or an Asian man or any Gentile was ever a priest or prophet in the House of Israel or an ordained minister or elder in the early New Testament church as recorded in the Bible. (And if there was an example, that just proves the rule to the contrary apparently.) Does this mean only male Jews can have these offices today? Secondly, I find it humorous that a group which says women are unfit to teach or speak if they usurp authority over men, would publicly put forward a woman teaching and speaking in direct usurpation of male seminary professors who disagree with her conclusions. Have they no shame?
Finally, the North Pacific Union Conference recently refused to accept a small paid ad in their online Gleaner asking people to consider joining former GC President Paulsen in supporting a Yes vote and adding their public witness at But the aggressive No vote supporters can provide hours of argumentation in an Adventist church utilizing resources paid for in part presumably by people who do not support a No vote.


I know…simply breathtaking in a very negative sense!


Well stated. Thank you.


If you think that logic or irony can be used to promote WO, rethink that. You probably won’t get anywhere.


Surely, there would have been no need for a “Women’s (Sub)Ordinartion Symposium” if some leaders and members would not insist in this (Insub)Ordination cause… I wonder what is worse…

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Anyone like to speculate that the action at San Antonio will come to yelling or physical fighting or even some verbal exchanges using expletives?

It would have been nice if the 2 pastors at the church where I was an elder mentioned this during a nominating committee session held during the early 1980’s
Would have saved the church from having to hold the largest attended business meeting in their history.

So much discord and conflict on an issue that is a lot lower priority than the issue that is priority #1, which is the real nonsense.


I think the man’s concerns run deeper than that: Apparently, his fundamental identity, which seems to be determined by who he is in relationship to another person, not by his relationship with a power higher than any person—“I am not black,” “I am not a woman,” "I am not a Baptist, Catholic, Methodist . . . . " rather than “I am a child of God.” This is what lay underneath much of the pro-slavery arguments and segregationalists a hundred years later. This group is deeply frightened and unable to reconstitute their notions of who they are. Ironically, in the name of religion, they are turning away from what lie at the center of it all: indiscriminate love and empowerment for all people/s.


So the only role God intended for women was to be mothers and wives? What of those who never marry? Does God have no use for them, then? It seems to me that this is what Mesa was saying. It seemed to me that her presenting/lecturing on this topic would be something like my getting up and giving a talk on airplane maintenance. I find it almost amusing that she would think she knows better than the majority of TOSC and the many other well-informed authorities on this topic. And why would she know better than a significant majority of the Pacific Union Conference constituency delegates? I’ve taught critical thinking skills to college and university students for years. I would never allow them to cite Mesa as a credible/acceptable source of information because she is not qualified to speak on this subject.


Sure, I will speculate…but I am not sure that any “action” won’t be seen on the floor at SA. It most certainly will happen in hallways, hotel rooms, over the phone, etc.

Peter, it seems the only thing that “qualifies” her…is that she is female- for whatever that is worth.

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It is evident that no one “fact checked” what she was going to say prior to her presentation.
Otherwise she would not have made that boo-boo about Elders being ordained.

But since she has a “Nursing Degree” the audience in church and on the Internet will probably give her a pass.

******++++ I just wonder HOW MUCH the church received in Rent for holding the Event there?


Was she in a “teaching” role in her talk? Teaching men??


Only if the vote is yes. With the Anti’s being the ones to participate in your suggested activities.


lol…you are funny, Carrol :slight_smile:



We are missing one of your “inspirational” illustrations here! There is going to be more for you to do this week :slight_smile:

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Okay, Kim, heres one for you. I’ve kept it under lock and key for times such as this :wink:

If WO is passed in 3 weeks. Some here will be like:

Hey! No dancing…no dancing! :smile: