Feminism and Adventism

Before I even address the idea of feminism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I should first discuss what feminism is so there is no confusion or assumption as to what is being written about.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2018/feminism-and-adventism

Neal Wilson decimated the Gospel,oriented male pastors. His son is using all of his wiles To prevent women from taking their place. The church has a good start on 40 years in The wilderness. The great hymns of the church is about all there is left.

Thanks for the thoughtful piece. Well written and researched. I was struck with a thought while reading this:

John Stackhouse writes that we must remember the context in which the Scriptures are written. For example, Paul was instructing the church on how to “survive and thrive in a patriarchal structure that he thinks will not last long and to maintain and promote the egalitarian dynamic already at work in the career of Jesus that in due course will leave gender roles behind.”

It seems pretty clear to me that Paul believed Jesus was returning to usher in the Kingdom VERY soon. His attitudes seem to support the idea that Jesus himself predicted a new kingdom of God on earth with Israel at its head within the lifetimes of his 1st century followers. But perhaps that’s beside the point. Overall, Paul’s attitude and theology seems somewhat dismissive of worldly concerns and human suffering. His advice to women, slaves etc. all seems to boil down to “Sit tight everybody, we’ll be on to something better soon. In the meantime, all your effort should be focused on preparing yourself and others for the kingdom.”

Somehow, that attitude also seems uniquely prevalent in the SDA church 2000 years later. People still believe that Jesus and his kingdom will come within their lifetimes, just as segments of believers have in every generation since Jesus. When I hear certain segments of the Adventist church talk about social justice, humanitarianism and helping to reduce the suffering of their fellow man, I often feel like the same type of belief is used to minimize those concerns. It’s the same with the anti-women’s ordination crowd. Some certainly are theologically opposed to it, but many more, I think, oppose it simply because they think it’s far less important than the urgent business of evangelism. Like Paul, they’re saying, “Sit tight everybody, we’ll be on to something better soon. In the meantime, all your effort should be focused on preparing yourself and others for the kingdom.” It’s the very same message and belief of an IMMINENT return of Jesus… but somehow it’s still going strong after 2,000 years.

I think this belief gets in the way of actual human progress. Even when Adventists participate in humanitarian and social justice efforts (and many do) it often feels like either a duty or a sneaky way to trick people into listening to the gospel. I’m generalizing and of course not all SDAs think in this way, but I worked at ADRA for enough years to realize that many more DO think this way, and genuinely couldn’t understand why they should support “no strings attached” humanitarian work like that of ADRA.

If we’re trying to understand why the church seems to be standing in such open opposition to human ethical progress, it might be because, fundamentally, our eschatology makes us believe that the world will only ever get worse as we slide downhill toward the time of trouble. And, ultimately, if that’s our honest expectation, why bother trying to make it better? God’s in control, and Adventists seem to think he’s given the church a unique message. So instead of trying to make the world a better place, our evangelistic message of “good news” amounts to a proclamation that the world is screwed up and will never get better–and so are we. In both cases, the only solution is Jesus. It’s just too bad we can’t figure out how to try to make things better in the meantime…


Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” He told me to share this with you, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”

Christ’s Father and God was Mary’s Father and God as surely as He was the Father and God of the disciples. No preacher, male or female has a greater foundational message to proclaim than this truth given to Mary. This message unlocked the floodgates of the gospel to all the world as Hayden expressed it so well.

This reminds me of the woman at the well, a Samaritan, to whom Christ entrusted one the most important and profound revelations of His entire ministry. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The Eastern Orthodox Christian faith records that this Samaritan woman took the name Photini at her baptism at Pentecost. What followed was a life of discipleship ending in martyrdom that church history claims was equal to the apostolic ministry of the disciples.

Even allowing for the way stories can be embellished over time, it is true that Photini drank from the streams of living water that Christ offered her that day at the well. She introduced her village people to Christ. She no doubt worshiped God in spirit and in truth during a lifetime of devoted ministry. In time she confronted the Emperor Nero with the Christian gospel but it cost her her life. BTW, she converted Nero’s daughter and her retinue of slaves while she languished in prison, much to Nero’s ire.

Women in ministry were a force to be reckoned with in the early Christian church.

Hayden has clarified a number of issues in this article at a level that should remove all doubt about the equality of every believer in gospel ministry, according to God’s calling.

When God calls women to ministry, who are we to question? He did it with an empty tomb as a backdrop and He has continued for near-on 2,000 years of Christian witness.


Thank-you, Hayden, for this fine article. Though not permitted in the scope of this article…it would have been very enlightening for you to elaborate upon more of the history of Feminism in the US and England. There were different “forms” that developed with time in both countries that would be interesting to explore.The form of Feminism that developed in the US was much more “stringent” than the “softer” version in the UK. Perhaps, this happened because of the status of women and Patriarchy in the US. The US still hasn’t had a female President unlike the UK (Prime minister)…so, apparently, the US still needs more “Feministic” work to be done.

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This is why I say that the GC has been infiltrated by a group that does not represent the true SDA Church. They want to make decisions on issues that are not their business, and are even willing to corrupt the whole system in order to impose their ways.

They, at the GC, do not respect the established hierarchy, they want to grab all power into their own hands. They certainly don’t like the Unions because they know that in great part the Unions were created to protect the Conferences from the GC’s abuse. Just imagine the situation if we had no Unions… :open_m\

Well, I bet the Unions will not chicken out! At least I hope they won’t…


I think it’s quite funny that the more determined an Adventist is in their belief that Jesus is coming back immediately, the older they are. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a coping mechanism so they don’t have to face the idea of death (even though they know it’s a sleep). They’re afraid of it, and rather than acknowledge that Jesus may not come back before you have to die, fervently think he’ll be back right (regardless of the 2,000 years of people who have thought the same. It makes no difference to me if Jesus comes back tomorrow or millions of years after I’m gone, and that shouldn’t impact how I treat people of different genders, races, religions, or sexualities. I shouldn’t have to ignore social justice to be a good Adventist, but some think we should just sell all of our belongings and go wait in a field like it’s 1844 rather than have one discussion about equity.


Yes! I would have loved to, but I don’t think my name carries enough of a weight to write a George Knight-length article (just yet!) A friend just suggested I touch on the idea of the feminist waves so that argument could be addressed, at least in a small way, because it seems that the idea that “waves” exist is enough to discredit the feminist movement as a “fad,” which is heartbreaking.

I agree that U.S. feminism has a ways to go, especially in the general public. For example, the idea that men (with no medical training) have the authority to legislate female reproductive rights. As Rachel Green said, “No uterus, no opinion.”

I would love to write or collaborate on some in-depth feminist writing and research within the Seventh-day Adventist church. For now, I’ll just be submitting my frustration-fueled articles about social justice to Spectrum! :joy:

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Any analysis is warped unless it includes, at least, 1 TIM 2:13 & Gen 3:16.

So many just parrot analysis of others and are contaminated with culture & the system of the world.

Singleness of purpose leads to spiritual perception.

Anyone care to guess why the 4 requirements were included in the ACTS 15 session?

Anyone ever do some study about the sexually pervert & depraved living styles of the Greeks & Romans in the 1st centuries AD and also the women’s movements at that time?

It is not great for sermon material…so most are ignorant of the culture context of that time.

I would love to see more from you on the topic when you are ready in the future ( frustration-fueled or not :wink: ). As you said, there is much more that could be expanded (and expounded) upon on the topic of US feminism…and in the church.


Early Christianity , in general, countered & civilized the barbarian populations that it encountered.

As modern Christianity has become antinomian, pagan, impotent & irrelevant in these times…there is an increasing trend of barbarianism, perversion, depravity and breakdown of the family unit.


Sugar & junk food is more like it.

What “Women’s Movement” at the time? …please…do enlighten. :slight_smile:

If I were to dissect this article point by point, it would show some serious flaws. I will only mention one. “Doug Batchelor is a man with no theological training…” That is a not so subtle way is discrediting anything he says or writes. I would suggest that Peter, James, and John and the other disciples had no training in “any seminary”. Paul was the only one with “theological training” and he had it all wrong until God took him aside in the wilderness for three years. Doug Batchelor spent years in the wilderness reading his Bible. And the young men coming out of our Andrews Seminary now and then going on to other worldly institutions for their “higher degrees” are not preaching the truth as I find it in the Bible.
Men and women are equal in God’s eyes as far as salvation goes. That is what Gal. 3:28 is talking about. God set up certain roles, and culture cannot change His decree. Name one women who was a priest or offered sacrifices… Name one woman who was an apostle that Jesus picked. You won’t find any. He could have set the example of “ordaining women” by laying his hands on even one, but he did not. Did he discriminate then? Was he wrong in not picking at least one woman?
I find the argument about Mary being the first one to “bear the message” empty. She just happened to be the first one there because of her love for Jesus. As far as I can tell, she never preached a sermon or was an elder in the church. In my opinion, that was grasping at straws…

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"Doug Batchelor is a man with no theological training…” That is a not so subtle way is discrediting anything he says or writes. I would suggest that Peter, James, and John and the other disciples had no training in “any seminary”."

It is true that Doug B. has no theological training…and it shows. I do hope that you aren’t trying to say that Doug is equal to one of the Apostles. The fact that he spent “years in the wilderness reading his Bible” doesn’t mean any more than me reading my Bible (or you). Hopefully he got something spiritually enlightening out of it but from some of his attitudes towards women- I doubt it.


Nope, you missed my point. Let me try again. The author was saying that Doug didn’t have any theological training in order to discredit anything Doug would say or write. Theological training is not a prerequisite for preaching the truth. Many a highly trained theologian does not speak the truth (Sabbath, state of the dead etc) That is all I was saying.

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I often see this assertion being made. On what basis though is it made? Why then didn’t Paul write “Let this woman” or “let these women learn quietly with all submissiveness”? Why did he use the generic articles referring to women in general? Or did he? I don’t read Greek; I have no idea what Paul really wrote, I can only go by the English (and French, and German, and Portuguese, and Spanish) translations. Is there something in the Greek text conclusively indicating that Paul was only referring to certain disruptive women? Or is this something we just made up a few decades ago?

Maybe DB resents that while he was isolating in the desert no women showed up to brighten his day… :wink: :innocent:


I don’t know what DB preaches, I don’t need to know. What I know is that he is a LGTarian and supports discrimination of women. This is bad enough, I don’t listen to people who promote heresies and discrimination of any kind.