Bakersfield Women's Ordination Symposium - Louis Torres

Pastor Stephen Bohr's independent Secrets Unsealed ministry hosted a two-day symposium on women's ordination entitled "Crisis Ahead." Louis Torres, the president of the Guam-Micronesia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, spoke first on Friday evening, June 12 at the Bakersfield Hillcrest Seventh-day Adventist Church in Central California. His presentation was entitled "Reflections on the Ordination Controversy."

Torres placed the move to ordain Adventist women in a long line of people wanting to exceed their appointed station in life going all the way back to the first woman, Eve.

"We know that the sad commentary is that Eve was led to desire a higher position than what God had elected for her," Torres said. "The Scripture bears out that Eve separated from her husband and went to the tree and the result was that she was tempted."

*(It is a significant point that Scripture, in fact, says the opposite: "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, **who was with her**, and he ate it" Genesis 3:6. -Ed)*

"Make sure that what you believe in comes from the Bible. Don’t just listen to me or Steve Bohr or anybody else. Go to the word for yourself and know for yourself what God says on any given issue," Torres said a few moments later.

Torres offered a short litany of knowns from the Genesis narrative:

We know that in the beginning, God elected to make a man and a woman. We know that God gave man the responsibility for the garden. We know that Adam was given the responsibility for naming all the animals. We know that God gave Adam the responsibility of naming Eve, and we know that Adam was charged with the responsibility for what had happened in the garden. God laid a burden on Adam, not on Eve, for what took place. God made man responsible. (I’m not saying that because I’m a chauvinist, I’m saying that because I read the Scriptures and that’s what it reveals.)"

Torres offered an extended quotation from Ellen White's "Patriarchs and Prophets" to explain Eve's attitude:

“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. In their efforts to reach positions for which He has not fitted them, many are leaving vacant the place where they might be a blessing. In their desire for a higher sphere, many have sacrificed true womanly dignity and nobility of character, and have left undone the very work that Heaven appointed them” (Patriarchs and Prophets p 59).

"God placed responsibility on men," Torres insisted. He argued that God through Moses told men that it was their responsibility when leaving Egypt to carry out passover rites.

"That’s why, men, you’re called 'housebands,'" he offered, "the one who keeps the band around the house—the protector, the provider." When it comes to spirituality, God has elected that men are responsible for the spiritual condition of the house, Torres said.

Torres framed woman's ordination as a corrolary to the apparent sibling rivalry between Miriam and Moses. "Miriam decided she should be as equal as Moses. The sad thing is that she got the support of the high priest. We can say today that the ladies are getting support from the priests," Torres said, referring to Adventist Church leaders who have spoken in favor of ordaining women. He arrgued that God was very offended by Miriam’s attempt at equality with Moses, as evidenced by the cloud of God’s presence being removed from the tabernacle.

Torres also compared women's ordination to Lucifer's rebellion (as characterized by Ellen White): God had ordained for Lucifer to be a “covering cherub.” Lucifer was not satisfied with his position and wanted to be like the most high. Torres suggested that women's ordination bears the same rebellious attitude.

Citing Exodus 18:25, Torres argued that women have never been chosen for leading the houses of God's people: "Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. Notice here that not one lady is mentioned. All the ones selected were men. God ordained them. God is a God of order. Disorder is not pleasing to him."

He offered an analogy of the United States government as an indication of the reason for systems of governance. He argued that government systems are made to protect the people. "We may disagree with it," he said, "but if it were not for the system, ladies you’d probably be wearing coverings over your face and and be slaves to man (sic) over there in the Middle East. You understand what I’m saying?”

"When God establishes something, it is for man’s own good," Torres said. He appealed frequently to the idea that God knows best, and that the structures and systems God ordains are for man's own good.

Late in his hour-long presentation, Torres noted that Jesus ordained 12 apostles. "There were ladies who were following him, but Jesus didn’t ordain them as apostles," he said.

Watch the entire presentation, "Reflections on the Ordination Controversy," here.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6866

So the Fall is about Eve? What is Adam’s culpability? Deception seems less grievous then pre meditated choice to disobey in my opinion…my Bible in Gen 3:6 says the same as yours Jared! I wish you lots of fortitude when you go to San Antonio…just reading about this stuff makes me very peeved! I can’t imagine what the characters will be acting out like while there. Thanks for keeping us updated however painful it may be to read some of the posts.

7 Likes

after reading that convoluted illogic, I really wonder why any woman would want to be a part of such cadre. The charge Christ gave to His Disciples was feed my sheep.I assume He meant something that did not give one indigestion. Any valid description of that presentation would be profane. Until he got to the bottom line, I thought he was making an argument to justify rape (Excessive. - webEd). Tom Z

11 Likes

Well then let’s lock our wives in the house. They won’t get into any trouble there, we hope.

6 Likes

How could somebody with such a poor theological understanding become president of anything?

17 Likes

I have a good friend who is in the evangelism school run by Louis Torres, so I will send him a copy of my essay, Eve’s Higher Sphere Hopes, and encourage him to share it with Elder Torres. My essay refutes the Seventh-day Adventist male headship interpretation of PP 59 that has to my chagrin become concretized as Seventh-day Adventist Church tradition over the course of the last forty years. The essay can be found on the Spectrum Blog: http://spectrummagazine.org/article/news/2014/08/21/eves-higher-sphere-hopes.

I have been collecting post-essay appeals to PP 59 by Seventh-day Adventist male headship theorists. Samuel Koranteng-Pipim cites PP 59 in his new book on page 84. Pipim’s book is a polemical work, so I do not accuse him of actually believing what he wrote. It is strange that Ingo Sorke plasters the quotation onto his brochure, because he is a professor. He teaches at Southwestern Adventist University. He doesn’t say anything about the quotation in his highly-polemical brochure and thus is cushioned with some plausible deniability, I guess. But his silence will be of no help to the highly impressionable readers who will in all probability be misled by the inferences he invites them to draw.

Are there any other post-essay appeals to PP 59 by Seventh-day Adventist male headship theorists? I sure hope Clinton Wahlen and Edwin Reynolds have rethought their interpretation of the quotation that is contained in their Minority Report regarding women’s ordination. If anyone knows of any other post-essay appeals to PP 59, please share them with me.

7 Likes

If you take such an approach (I mean like the expositor above), you could easily exculpate the woman (Eve) for eating the fruit, because she couldn’t be held accountable.
If you read Moses’s books there are some places where he is differentiating the responsibility for some deeds of men and women. For example if a married woman or a young girl in her father’s house made a vow and her husband or her father had heard of it, they could pronounce those vows as void (Numbers 30). This approach is very similar to the one of the expositor Louis Torres. If he wants to stick to it, then there are many more strange regulations in Torah to be observed.
Conclusion: If there was no accountability, there also hasn’t been any sin. And if there was no sin, there was no Fall. I see that no one could affirm those statements, because there was a Fall. So Eve was very responsible for what she had done.

8 Likes

Pastor Torres,

My turn to ask, do “you understand” what you are preaching?

What difference does physical covering (“wearing coverings over your face”) and psychological covering (WO, Male Headship - “pull the wool over their eyes”) have? Nothing! They all result in having women be slaves to men, anywhere and all the time.

18 Likes

Rape? Where in the world did this come from? The was no indication the speaker ever had this in mind and to even insinuate it is out of line.

2 Likes

That was a glaring mistake to suggest that were it not for the U.S. government women would be wearing veils over their faces like in the Middle East.

The Israelites WERE Middle Easterners; and they practiced a very patriarchal structure which has been continued in that part of the world and still practiced today. That is the area and time the early Bible stories record. For those today who wish to return to those biblical patriarchal governments, there is not one chance in either heaven or hell that Adventists can and will return to those societal and cultural norms of that time. Keep dreamin’. :man_with_turban:

10 Likes

So women need to know their place. Got it.

3 Likes

Not in the least. he compared women to the Middle East as chattel–a possession not a companion or an equal. The implication was clear he considered Or implied they were made for man’s pleasure. Tom Z

7 Likes

Jared Wright says Torres is wrong about Gen 3:16, but it is he who is wrong, the version he uses is not on point.

“with (im) her”, Several versions of the Bible and certain commentaries suggest that this verse shows that Adam was with Eve at the time she was tempted. The Hebrew has several words that may be translated “with.” Two important ones are etzel and im. The latter (im) is used in this verse.
Etzel is the preposition that is used to denote location beside or next to something. (See Gen 39:15, Gen 39:18.) By contrast, im denotes relationship. “Immanuel” in Isa 7:14 and Isa 8:8, Isa 8:10 begins with the preposition im and means “God with us.” It is a relational position and not geographical. Therefore, “with” here, does not demand that we see Adam positioned beside Eve when she is tempted. Adam used the same preposition in Gen 3:12 to remind God about the woman He had put with him. It is a relational “with.” Had Adam actually been with Eve, she might not have succumbed. “The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herself from her husband while occupied in their daily labor in the garden; with him she would be in less danger from temptation than if she were alone.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 53.

Of course, if the language can be understood two different ways, and one has a bias that must be satisfied, one can read it the way one wishes.

And that then requires that EG White be ignored or disbelieved. But, anything, from changing the hermeneutics we use to understand Scripture to setting aside the Spirit of Prophecy, as long as the agenda is furthered.

6 Likes

Patriarchs and Prophets by EGW
As best as I can find it was published in 1890. This means that she was probably working in it 1886? to maybe early 1899?
How much of this material was gleaned from writings and publications from Spiritual Gifts, R&H articles and other items prior to 1886?
"Like restless modern Eves…’ was this a jab at the Women’s Movement which culminated in Women Voting?
We do HAVE to understand that Ellen and her Secretaries and Copyists were women of their time, and could be seriously influenced by discussions about Women’s Movement.
We do have to understand that Ellen DID encourage Women to attend College. Actually Battle Creek was the VERY FIRST co-ed colleges in the United States. She encouraged women to take Nursing, to become physicians, which at that time was a MALE ONLY profession.
This is WHY I Have a Difficult Problem Understanding this statement — "Like restless modern Eves…"
In my mind, something is NOT right with that statement. WHO inserted it?

6 Likes

It is frightening…evidently it isn’t a criteria to be a president! lol

3 Likes

Can’t wait to have the vote on this issue past and move on. It’s now nothing but tiring to read all the nonsense about perpetuating women’s discrimination in Church.And just seeing the anti-WO crowd getting nervous and desperate at the 11th hour is just disgusting.

(I get it, you’re frustrated. But how is it helpful to just vent like this? - webEd)

6 Likes

Thanks, Ben. I’ve always wondered about that seeming contradiction between Scripture and Ellen White, and your explanation is very reasonable and erudite.

Really, what an embarrassing diatribe. As a dual US citizen, I think I have a wider perspective than most. Politically conservatively Americans in particular seem to have an unfortunate symbiotic relationship between how they interpret the Constitution and the Bible.

Its really not that complicated though. The Bible was written a long time ago when women didn’t get a say much and weren’t eligible to hold pretty much any office of note. The Bible wasn’t written word for word by God, in fact it wasn’t written by Him at all. Therefore, it is sensible to view it through the prism of the prevailing culture at the time. Citing individual texts referring only to men as priests or to Adam’s role doesn’t prove a thing.

Its no wonder it took so long for slaves to be free, that women got the vote way later than other western democracies and the NRA holds sway, when this seems so difficult to grasp. In the Church’s case, perhaps these pastors do get it but they are just like scared labor union men of old, using whatever levers they think they can pull to keep a job or remain in power. Reminds me of another group in the Vatican.

13 Likes

It was “restless modern Eves” who fought and won the right to vote; they were the ones who fought to obtain equal education as physicians, lawyers, and other professions that had largely been reserved for men.

It is the fear of the loss of male headship that is a losing battle being fought by the last males who are fearful of their vaulted positions losing status when women attain the same titles.

10 Likes

Ben,
Could you provide the resource(s) you consulted regarding the particle “im”? I’ve consulted ten different Hebrew lexicons ranging from old reliable BDB to the Concise Dictionary to the Old Testament and they all indicate the primary usage of the particle refers to a spatial rather than relational aspect. Thanks for the resource.

4 Likes