“Enough!” — Avondale College President Calls on Church to Fully Recognize a Woman’s Call to Ministry

Editor’s Note: A speech of note set the tone for the commissioning service of Avondale Seminarian Dr. Wendy Jackson on November 10, 2018. In his welcoming address, Avondale College of Higher Education President Professor Ray Roennfeldt expressed his frustration with the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church’s decision not to give regional divisions the autonomy to ordain women. His address is below:

So, what are we doing? Let me begin with what we are not doing.

We’re not giving Wendy any special ministry gifts — she has already been given the gifts of teaching and pastoring by the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12).

We’re not bestowing on her any special authority or power — ministry, as the word implies, is about service, and while Wendy is already in a leadership position, it is as a servant leader (see Luke 22:25-26).

And we’re not saying Wendy’s ministry is in any way inferior to anyone else’s because the church is not mature enough to recognize there is no difference between commissioning and ordination — and Scripture commands neither for men or women pastors.

Then, what are we doing?

As Wendy’s colleagues and peers, we’re acknowledging and recognizing her unique ministry gifts — mixed with generous amounts of her humor, her medical experience, her church experience, her care for others, her organizational talents, even her New Zealand background.

And, more importantly, as Wendy’s community, we’re affirming God’s call on her life and her ministry among us. We’re saying to her: we will back you, we will walk beside you and we will clear the path ahead of you.

The path ahead will not always be easy. We live in a world that is walking away from the church. We live in a church, a church we love, that sometimes feels like it is walking away from our world — by valuing policy compliance over personal conscience, uniformity over unity, and shaming over sensitivity.

So, what can we do?

We need to support Wendy and her sisters — our sisters — in ministry. We need pew and pulpit to speak up and say, “Enough!”

I close with one of my favorite quotations from church pioneer Ellen White, and I’m going to leave it as it is, because I usually change it to say “men and women.” It reads:

“The greatest want of the world is the want of men — men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin [or, my word, “injustice”] by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall” (Education, p. 57).

Professor Ray Roennfeldt has served as president of Avondale College of Higher Education since 2009. He is a former head of what is now Avondale Seminary. Before his appointment to Avondale, Ray worked as a nurse, a minister and a missionary.

This article originally appeared on Avondale College of Higher Education’s news blog, and is reprinted here with permission.

Image courtesy of Avondale College of Higher Education.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9215

Shaming over sensitivity? I see this a lot on Spectrum articles. If the committee announces to those present at the meeting that the speaker is out of compliance, but the speaker believes that their stand is right and their actions are right. How is that shaming? Do you think Martin Luther thought he was being shamed at his trial? No one is shamed by doing the right thing if they think it is right. So please stop all this emotional blather about shaming!

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Because 50% of pastors are not women?

Even prominent evangelicals are admitting that the church is impotent & irrelevant for modern society.

So the solution is to let thousands of women to be ordained and then it would be relevant?


The person in the picture holds the TOSC report.

I wonder what percentage of GC executive committee delegates even read some, most or even all of the TOSC report. Do they even know what is the essential basis for non ordination?

Sure it is 124 pages…so just dismiss it as upsetting one’s regularly scheduled program.

You don’t even have to read all of it to see the key point of the decision.

excellent, except referring to a colleague in the first name under these circumstances is ill advised.she should have been referred to as Pastor to make the point absolutely clear. The best address I ever have was by a four year old after a difficult Dental encounter… As the mother was writing out a check for $24.00 for two hours of dentistry. the little lady said. dr Tom. I said yes, She said , you are ok in my book. That has carried me through a host of incounters.


That’s a great question I wish would be explored. Scripture gives us the example of laying-on of hands where those who have received the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit are directed by God to set-aside (dedicate) a person for greater ministry. That person has already received the gifts of the holy spirit and is ministering with obvious power. The laying-on of hands transfers a greater measure of gifts to the person being dedicated so they can perform a greater work for God.

Yes, church leaders say they are following the scripture example. But, are they really? Show me any church leader, even one, who has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Show me even one and I will show you a person who is qualified by God to lay hands on another. Since ordination is just an official recognition that has nothing to do with giving a person greater empowerment to work for God, why do we waste our time doing it? Unless Holy Spirit power is transmitted from those who are more empowered the act of ordination is, at best, a mockery of God and at worst a service teaching false concepts about God and ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.


I stand by my spouse, I support my spouse, we are equal in our partnership, and I make no excuse for what I do. So, how about our fellow sisters in Jesus Christ, do we support and stand up for them, do we defend them when they are not there, are we willing so say NO. I am so amazed at how so many people attack the NAD, and other Divisions around the world for allowing women into ministry, allowing them to be ordained, allowing them so serve. If we remember that in the not so past we had hand crank vehicles, the vehicle only worked when we used the crank, without the crank we have a problem, that is the difference between commissioned and ordained, the commissioned is like the hand crank vehicles, relying on someone else (ordained) to do the " important" stuff.
One must consider the following, if one is not married to a women, who works for this organisation, one might not understand how they feel, treated as inferiors, paid as inferiors, not receiving benefits and also forgotten of as being important to God. All this revolves around ordination, because if you treat the female pastor the same, then you have to treat the female office workers the same as the male counterparts. That means no cheap labour, and also no more nepotism, and we will have less sexual abuse.
Because I live outside of the USA, the person responsible to the government is not the pastor, but the treasurer, but the treasurer has no authority over the president who is pastor, and usually it is the pastor’s who assume that they are above the law, hence breaks the law, and who has to keep up or face criminal charges, the treasurer. The CEO must be the treasurer, and I don’t really care about the position of president.


11/19/18 #9 (8)

We are social creatures. Shaming is devastating.

Calling speaking about that fact “emotional blather” is an attempt to shame people into silence about a social dynamic that has pushed people into feeling suicide is the only answer.

Shaming is indistinguishable from bullying.

It is harmful and dangerous.


Shaming and bullying are the same.

And it’s especially devastating when people live in a very closed system.

I have been watching Leah Remini’s documentaries about Scientology for the past two (or three?) seasons. This year she did one 2 hour segment on JW’s. She received lots of requests from former members to do so. Heartbreaking, sickening and in some cases criminal!


Remember. the policy says nothing about shaming that is the emotional ploy. But just to show the evidence that it is not shaming, here is the definition of shame:
a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

Well said but why would he attempt to replace “sin” with “injustice”?

There’s no justification for conflating two slightly overlapping but two words with entirely different meanings.

By doing so he’s just fed the beast that will quite correctly point out that he suffers from the same disease as afflicts most other colleges and universities these days, where social justice is the new religion, more important than the discarded university mantras of truth, knowledge, free speech etc.

Disappointing that he inadvertently sabotaged his own truth argument for WO, as evidenced by his citing of Biblical texts, by having to virtue signal his wokeness.

I am guessing you have not been mugged before if you think bullying and shaming are the indistinguishable:)

11/19/18 - #10 (59)

Shame is also a verb:

When I started tentatively questioning Ellen White’s role due to internal pressures, having never read or heard criticism of her in my SDA community, I was shamed by pastors, lay people, my husband.

My whole social support system turned on me as “actuated by Satan.”

I was trying to maintain my integrity, but was yelled at, told by a pastor that I was going to hell and taking my children with me, exorcized for 16 hours, etc.

One can become socially, emotionally and morally disoriented under such intense pressure.

Perhaps a stronger person than I would not have become suicidal.

When you add the woman-shaming inevitably imposed by Headship Ideology, the social situation is critically dangerous, and people are actively at risk for decompensating.

There are a number of good documentaries on the Amish and shunning. Just a random sample:

Some Amish families have been shamed and shunned for having Bible studies in English.

It might be fruitful to explore the relationship of shaming, shunning and bullying in social groups, and the effects on individuals and families.


11/19/18 - #11 (14)

I’m guessing you don’t know the difference between bullying and mugging.

Are we having a shaming exchange, Ron? :slight_smile:


I found this short article about shaming. It shows how effective shaming is to manipulate people, and also the lasting effects of it. It’s so ugly and harmful.

In reading this, I very regretfully saw how I had used shaming in my own communications at times in the past. Wow!


shaming, shunning and bulling are all different things. One only gets into worse emotional manipulation when they play the word switch game.

11/19/18 #12 (17)

Yes. And words shade into one another. Hence Roget’s Thesaurus. :slight_smile:

Mugging is related more to bullying than to shaming and shunning, I think.

As I said:

Words do not dwell in hermetically sealed cylinders.


Shaming, bullying and shunning are different, but yet somewhat the same in wanting to manipulate or control someone else’s emotions, or responses, IMHO.


11/19/18 - #13 (19)

Leah Remini has a lot of courage and does a good job. She has the pluck of a Warrior Goddess. :slight_smile:

Here are a couple of Scientology “Squirrel Busting” videos. See if you can tell where shaming leaves off and bullying begins:

True, but than you have hundreds and thousands of words that deal with manipulating. That does not mean we can or should use them interchangeably just because in the end they have to do with somehow manipulating someone…which is actually very much what arguing, reasoning and conversation try to do as well. There are ethical and unethical means of manipulating. And emotional manipulation is one of the worse methods and that is what the term shaming is, and that is what happened to Cassie as well. emotional manipulation