Bakersfield Women's Ordination Symposium - Stephen Bohr

Pastor Stephen Bohr, Director of the independent Secrets Unsealed media ministry, was the second speaker to present the case for male headship at the "Crisis Ahead" women's ordination symposium in Bakersfield, California. He provided a long list of points, constructed from snippets of Bible texts and passages of Ellen White's writings, which, he argued, demonstrated conclusively that God appointed men to be spiritual heads and women to be spiritually subordinate.

Pastor Bohr began his explication of the chain of authority by arguing for hierarchy within the Trinity, specifically, Jesus’ eternal subordination to the Father.

“Jesus was in subjection to the Father even before the Creation of the Angels,” Bohr contended.

As support, Bohr presented an excerpt from Ellen White's "Patriarchs and Prophets," page 36:

Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that none but Christ, the Only Begotten of God, could fully enter into His purposes, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will. The Son of God had wrought the Father's will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven…”

“God was the head of Christ long before the plan of Salvation came into existence, according to 1 Corinthians 11:3 and this statement from Ellen White,” Bohr said.

Concerning the pre-fall subordination of Eve, Bohr said, “There’s abundant evidence in the Spirit of Prophecy to indicate that Adam was placed as the head.” He read several statements by Ellen White about Adam’s condition at the very beginning before sin entered this world, including the following:

Volume 6 of the Testimonies 236. “Under God, Adam was to stand at the head of the earthly family to maintain the principles of the heavenly family.”

Bible Echo August 28, 1899: “Adam was appointed by God to be the Monarch of the world under the supervision of the Creator.”

Patriarchs and Prophets page 48: “The Sabbath was presented to Adam, the Father and representative of the whole human family.”

Bohr sought to establish through a series of Genesis texts the pre-Fall and post-Fall headship of Adam (the headship of man).

He referenced Paul’s seeming prohibition of womanly authority as a witness to Genesis: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man… for Adam was formed first, and then Eve.” Bohr argued that Paul's letter to Timothy testifies to the primacy of the male in the Creation Order.

Bohr said Paul was referring in 1 Timothy 2:12 to “full ecclesiastical authority.” He clarified, “It does not mean that a woman cannot teach Sabbath School or give Bible studies.” The context is a discussion of the supervisor or overseer of the church, Bohr suggested.

Bohr made the argument that physical stature is tied, in Heaven’s view, to authority. “In heaven there is order, and the tallest angels command the angels that are not as tall,” Bohr said. “So heighth (sic) makes a difference.”

Bohr again turned to “several statements from the Spirit of Prophecy.” When Satan rebelled against Jesus, the evil angels formed companies, “each division with a higher commanding angel at their head” (emphasis Bohr’s). “Are there heads under Christ, the absolute head?” Bohr asked rhetorically, cupping his ear to invite the audience to respond. “Obviously!”

Ellen White made various references to “tall commanding angels,” which Bohr used to illustrate that physical stature is an indicator of God-given authority.

“So would heighth (sic) make a difference when it comes to Adam and Eve and the issue of authority?” Bohr asked rhetorically. “I believe so.”

Do you know how tall Jesus was before he came to this earth? According to the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, page 904, Jesus was taller than any of the angels. Why? “Because he had more authority, that’s right,” Bohr said.

He made the point that Adam named Eve, which indicates the man’s authority over the woman.

Bohr also argued that being older ("priority of existence") is tied to authority (see the story of Cain and Abel).

A further argument in favor of Adam’s headship is that, according to commentary by Ellen White, Eve did not appear naked when she sinned. It was only after Adam, the head, sinned that Eve appeared naked, Bohr said.

He hailed patriarchy, stating that God intended a patriarchal system of government. “People talk about patriarchy as if it’s a bad thing,” he offered, reading from Ellen White’s Patriarchs and Prophets (page 141) to prove that patriarchy was God’s intent all along “to preserve the knowledge of God.”

“The patriarchal system was a good system, and continues to be a good system,” he remarked. “The media has made it a bad system, not God’s word.”

Bohr provided a litany of the male leaders of Israel and in the New Testament, who were all male, Bohr noted emphatically. “The genealogy of Christ is traced through his male ancestors.”

Bohr referenced Ty Gibson's article in which Gibson argued that the Adventist pioneers (specifically Ellen White) supported ordaining women as pastors and elder. "Unfortunately, he doesn't quote any of the pioneers. I'm going to read you what the pioneers said. If he quoted them, it would totally destroy his thesis."

Bohr quoted Daniel T. Bourdeau's remarks in the Review and Herald from 1862:

These remarks of the apostle are a standing rebuke against those unquiet and self-sufficient women who are unwilling to submit to their husbands in the Lord, and have a disposition to take the lead in meetings, in the presence of brethren who are qualified to rule the church. It is a shame for women to thus lead out. “If they would learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home.”

Jumping over the portion of Bourdeau's comments that read, "But in the same chapter we have an instance in which men should keep silence in the church. This is when they speak in an unknown tongue, and there is no interpreter," Bohr jumped down the page to another paragraph in which Bourdeau wrote:

Here again we have the idea of subjection. Paul does not suffer a woman to teach, or to usurp authority over the man; and we do not learn from the Scriptures that women were ever ordained apostles, evangelists, or elders; neither do we believe that they should teach as such.

Watch the full video of Bohr's presentation, "Male and Female HE Created Them," here.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Bohr is not correct. He said being older is tied to authority. Adam was first meaning he has more authority that Eve. Well, the Patriarch system is also based on the oldest. But God did not use that method. Not all of those we call Patriarchs in the Old Testament were the oldest. Some of them were the youngest. Bohr, you are trying hard but not making sense. Your well is out of water, Bohr


Ok then, let’s just ordain tall women!


Areis, something I think we agree on… :wink:


Edward W. H. Vick, in his small book, Creation: The Christian Doctrine, notes that theology is the effort to explain faith. We see such an attempt in full bloom for some decades now within the Seventh-day Adventist church with regard to ordaining women to the ministry.

It is to the credit of Elder Wilson, the current G. C. President, that his executive committee reported as unanimous their conclusion that ordaining women is not a matter for which there is definitive biblical patterns for or against. This is solid leadership behavior.

And the document his committee drafted and the Annual Council approved with near unanimity and forwarded for approval by the delegates to the upcoming General Conference does not subject the executive committee’s termination of the failed theological efforts with regard to women’s ordination to a vote, but rather, given that the conclusion, asks the delegates to approve soliciting Division Committees to urge, as in help ‘enable,’ the Union Conferences and their Local Conference constituencies to begin ordaining women to the ministry in their territories as they deem the Holy Spirit to be leading.

That some resist following the lead by the General Conference has a long tradition in the Seventh-day Adventist church. Thanks for helping keep us informed, Jared.


I can’t believe that this actually is in any connection with adventism. If this was adventism…Count me and probably the rest of Germany out…


Web editor, please make a comment. excessive nonsense. I cannot believe a college/seminary graduate would mouth such nonsense. can you? Tom Z .


I can’t believe this is coming from an actual , educated person, much less a pastor.

But, OK, then a tall woman should be equal to a medium size man, at least; but what about short men? Will there now be a height requirement for ordination? This is unbelievable. We have now officially entered “La-la land”.


You think?..


The bias of the author is evident here in the first paragraph.

Stephen Bohr is one of our most brilliant ministers, digging much deeper into Scripture than many do in the defense of our doctrines. Maybe that’s why it sounds like nonsense to some folks. It’s over their heads.

And the best his detractors here can do is twist his words and meaning and question his intelligence. Well, they thought Paul was mad, too . . . . .

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I’m not sure why Spectrum keeps posting articles and blogs on this subject. The majority of those who post here are pro-WO, and aren’t going to change their minds, no matter how convincing the arguments are. And those who are opposed to WO certainly won’t be swayed by the same old rhetoric we’ve been hearing for months (years?).

Projecting much?

Trust God.


One wonders why it is necessary to keep repeating the fact that ministries like Secrets Unsealed and Amazing Facts are “independent.”

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WHY is there More Column Inches to Eve than Adam in Genesis 1 and 2?


Tom Z. - " Web editor, please make a comment. excessive nonsense. I cannot believe a college/seminary graduate would mouth such nonsense. can you?"

I think that same thing when I read some of the posts here, too.


Doesn’t the Bible teach us that God is not a respecter of persons?! So as long as you aren’t female and short you’re in? That leaves out a large part of the planet. I guess that’s how they can whiddle the redeemed down to 144,000.


[quote=“kevindpaulson, post:13, topic:8548, full:true”]
One wonders why it is necessary to keep repeating the fact that ministries like Secrets Unsealed and Amazing Facts are “independent.”

So people like me who are not steeped in the SDA network know the provenance of the information.


The GC vote next month on women’s ordination will not solve issues of this kind. A more powerful potentially damaging issue will no doubt face us, and Adventists seem to be oblivious to that. I am referring to the forthcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on the legalization of gay marriage. Based on my readings, the June decision could go either way; you can flip a coin. If the coin lands on the wrong side, the church will be forced to deal with far weightier issues than women’s ordination. For example, will the church be ready to appoint openly gay teachers in our colleges and universities? Will our college dorms be open to gay couples? And yes, will the church be ready to ordain gay ministers? If the GC votes ‘yes’ on women’s ordination, their task will remain only half done if they don’t also vote on whether ordination of lesbians will also be allowed.
We are living in perilous times. If we cannot even agree on the biblical teachings regarding women in church, what will be our stand on gays?

He continues to demonstrate a reading into something that appears to support the thesis already embraced. Seen some of his points before and they seem to stretch and stretch as he goes along. Fair enough. He can have his say. It is up to the hearers to “see if whether those things are so” in good Berean fashion.


So are we to recruit our future Conference and Union Conference
presidents form the National Baketball,Association?

Do the presenters at these anti WO seminars
have any females in their families
whom they respect and admire?
God forbid that they have professional,
successful wives, daughters, and nieces!
Their female family members
must have to put on a very "brave front"
knowing that they are relegated to such second class status.

I think the “headship” doctrine
is a very “blue collar” class thing.
Not to be derogatory of blue collar,
since my absolutely splendid father
was a humble bricklayer and dirt poor.
Thankfully Adventism is an upwardly mobile organization.
Most new converts to Adventism are often uneducated and poor,
but give their families time,
by the second or third generation,
many will have graduate degrees, including the women.

My two daughters with Ivy League degrees,
would disown me if I subscribed to the headship theology,
as would my now deceased wife,
a highly respected and successful physician specialist!

As more and more Adventists attain higher education,
over time, this anachronistic headship doctrine will die on the vine.

The Episcopalian church is the most socially acceptable church
to join, if one is seeking status.
It has many “upper crust” members.
So it is no accident that in the early 1970’s
they were the first major denomimation
to accept,women into the ministry.
They received a lot of criticism and disdain for their action,
from other denominations, who years later, did follow suit.

In an editorial, the New York Times,
lauded the Episcopalians, citing their action of
accepting women priests, as having paved the way
for increased numbers of women senators, Supreme Court
judges, women CEO’s etc.

How splendid if it had been the Adventists who had
pioneered this increase in the status of women,
but we were too mired in our blue collar headship doctrine!