From Heaven or from Men?

And if they recognized the calling and giftedness of either of them, it puts us on our guard to recognize calling and giftedness of people we probably wouldn’t have called. In this case, women.


I’ve always wondered if the whole clergy/ordination model, as well as the hierarchical church, owes more to our 15 centuries of Roman Catholicism than to scripture. As many have pointed out, the whole theology of ordination is weak, not just women’s ordination.


Your first two sentences are correct.

Your third sentence contradicts your first two sentences.

However, we can each find clarity in Acts 15, Allen.

In Acts 15 we find the Divine pattern for defining ecclesiastical practice in a changing world. The church is to exclusively measure its practices by the evident presence of the Holy Spirit, rather than clinging to traditional biblical practices, no matter what or how long the biblical practice may have been in effect. Circumcision had a two thousand year head start on the Gospel of Jesus. And circumcision was dispatched in week or so.

Paul reminds us, the love of Christ constrains us, not biblical passages.

He writes to Timothy that inspired biblical writers are useful, but does not claim they are definitive.

Jesus responded to the church leaders when they questioned his healing of the paralytic one Sabbath. “Go ahead. Search the scriptures; for in them you believe you have eternal life. The scriptures testify of me. And you will not come to me that you may have eternal life.”

Your third sentence is not about the Bible but about belief with regard to the bible and the bible’s role in salvation and contemporary life. And it is a do-it-yourself kind of result.

John 5 reminds us that when we are clinging to the bible we are clinging as humans to humans, while when we are yielding to Jesus we are humans accepting ourselves as clay and God as the potter, we are sheep and Jesus is the shepherd, we are creatures and God is the Creator, we are lost and Jesus is the Savior, we are the remnants of the Serpent and Jesus slew the Serpent, we are contemptible and Jesus does not condemn, we are orphans and now we are adopted by God as His children, we are exhausted and Jesus brings rest, we are terrified and Jesus brings peace, and coming to know these things is how the inspired biblical chronicles become useful.

Otherwise we think salvation is in the scripture when in reality it is in Jesus, Jesus claims. Put another way, Jesus didn’t come to give us a second chance, He came to fulfill His promise to be fully responsible for His creation of which we are an everlasting part.

What is revolutionary is the realization that this truth is independent of our knowledge of it. Otherwise, as Ellen White famously noted, the Creator would have become obligated to the Creature.

There is a wonderful hymn, the tune of which no doubt comes to your mind when you read, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

Maybe it just feels good.

Well, the letter to the Philippians reminds them that the peace they feel in Jesus exceeds understanding. To believe that such understanding is to be found in scripture, is an echo of the Snake speaking, it seems.


@winonaww, what beautiful manuscripts!


That’s because, as you all know, we look just like Him. :wink:


Have you noticed that Chris Oberg doesn’t list herself at the top of the list in her staff? They’re all just there in alphabetical order. We men wouldn’t do that. I’d make sure it had me at the top with SENIOR PASTOR there! Sandy Roberts doesn’t have a picture of herself on her bio page on the SECC website. We men wouldn’t pass up that opportunity. Vanity, vanity.

I’m not saying this would be true for all women—as we know from politics, there are women who are just as ambitious and play just as dirty as the men—but the women I’ve seen in SDA ministry so far are more team-oriented than the men.


The position of male superiority to women is a patriarchal concept. The entire Bible was written within a culture of female subordination, low, or no level of education. To extrapolate an ancient cultural practice to modern times in only one situation is to selectively choose which Biblical practices should be followed everywhere and at all times. Surely, you do not follow the ancient practices outlined in the Bible for treatments of diseases; for preaching without PA systems; to refusal of video and internet communication as superior to Bible times? Why such selective use of texts and inconsistencies of practice. How do you justify them?


Organizational behavior studies recognize that women are more congenial, build teams and networks that work together on projects. While many men are more “loners” wanting individual recognition and praise, which is equally valued by their male bosses. These team skills are even more necessary today in a large, diverse, multicultural church where local female leaders are more often in touch with their congregations and how to “lead” rather than direct from the top down.


Steven Pinker speaking about his book “Best Angles of our Nature” says that in more egalitarian societies and institutions benefit from women in leadership.


Is that a new book? I thought it was Better Angels…

It is his book from 2011. The full title is “The Better Angles of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined”. You know how these book titles go. They seem to get longer and longer. :smiley:


This is an interesting topic, actually.

Note that Jesus did not dispute the Jewish leaders right to ask by what authority he was preaching and doing miracles. God had given the Jewish nation the right to “credential” prophets as representatives of him. It wasn’t that they did not have authority to examine someone who claimed to be God’s representative: they did. But their examination was faulty. They had not legitimized John, saying they did not know, even though they did know, but feared the people. They were not doing an evaluation rightly.

So, the Adventist church has a right to examine folk for legitimacy. They credential folk. As a pastor, I was evaluated by various “evaluators” to see it I was “worthy” to be ordained. They can do that. So, if Loren feels that they are not allowed, because they are not legitimizing those he things they should, then he needs to make that clear. But then of course, he is de-legitamizing his own credentials.

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In the OT, a woman could not be ordained as a priest. Though she might be spirit filled, the role was not available. Now if the same holds true for the NT, then even though a woman might show up claiming to be called to be a minister, the knowledge that God did not allow for that would cancel her “calling”. So, the real issue is whether God would do such a thing, not whether a woman feels called, or even a group feels she is called. The issue of whether God would do that has to be settled.


I find this post completely unintelligible. What is your point? How do your scriptural texts show that the western idea of role equality is legitimate? How do we know when the Holy Spirit is telling us what to do? You seem to be setting the scripture aside.

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Thanks Loren for a very insightful and Spirit-driven article! I believe that if the GC leadership would stand up when introducing this issue at the Session and say: “Brethren and sisters, after prayer and considerable thought, we would encourage delegates to vote ‘Yes’ and to decentralise this issue trusting that the Holy Spirit is able to guide Divisions in the matter and that Divisions will have the wisdom to place the authorisation of ministers in the hands of the Unions where it rightfully belongs” the majority of the delegates would accept their counsel and act accordingly.


That’s why the discriminators of women are so scared of them… !!!

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There was no role equality in the sinful patriarchal culture of biblical times, but Scripture opposes patriarchal cultural prejudice with the clear teaching that women are created in the image of God to the same magnitude and degree as men. Therefore, Scripture does teach that there should be role equality between men and women. To argue otherwise is an affront to the Creator and his exalted female creation.


Allen, what parts of the OT practice as well as beliefs should Christians be using today? Does the NT with its different practices mean little or nothing for Adventists today? Why the constant referral to the OT when the “Law” which was the Jews’ entire guide, be the same one used in the Christian era? Especially, when the priesthood as a special tribe with privileges was abolished for Christians? What is your explanation of the relationship between Jewish practices and Christian? For what reason was the book of Hebrews written if not to explain the abrogation of the Old Covenant, the Law, and the priesthood?


[quote=“ajshep, post:54, topic:8374”]
So, the Adventist church has a right to examine folk for legitimacy. They credential folk. As a pastor, I was evaluated by various “evaluators” to see it I was “worthy” to be ordained. They can do that. So, if Loren feels that they are not allowed, because they are not legitimizing those he things they should, then he needs to make that clear. [/quote]
You’ve missed the point by a mile. The problem is not evaluation. It is that the Adventist church refuses to evaluate for ordination “folk” who are women. Consequently, no women ever can be “legitimized.” No women ever can be deemed “worthy.” How is that being open to the authority of God in calling & gifting whomever God chooses?

Your multiple insubstantial nips at this column are a good illustration of choking on gnats & swallowing camels. It makes me wonder if you can’t quite stand to look at the question being asked. In this issue, has the church been focused on questions of man’s authority—& thereby rejecting God’s?


Matthew 11:27-33 is a judgment scene. The chief priests and elders accuse Jesus of acting without authority by the interrogatory they demand He answer. But Jesus replies to the interrogatory with His own interrogatory. Contrary to our initial impression, Jesus is not the one on trial. Jesus makes clear that the chief priests and the elders of the people are the ones on trial.

San Antonio will be a judgment scene. Women who have been ordained by God to the gospel ministry are not the ones on trial. What will be weighed in the balances is The Seventh-day Adventist Church.