How Ty Gibson's Endorsement of Women's Ordination Differs from Others

Ty Gibson, Co-director of the independent Light Bearers ministry and senior pastor of the Storyline Seventh-day Adventist Church in Eugene, Oregon, has published a 12,800-word article in which he reversed his previous position on women's ordination, and came out decisively in favor of ordaining women. In addition to his work with Light Bearers (which lists among its accomplishment distributing over half a billion pieces of Adventist literature worldwide), Gibson has been featured on the 3 Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) in a series called Anchors of Truth, and has numerous devotional and theological books to his name. Gibson has also spoken on several occasions for the Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC).

The audience Gibson has cultivated sets him apart from others who have spoken out in favor of ordaining Adventist women. His connection to 3ABN and GYC has placed him in the company of many who have vocally opposed ordaining women. Comparatively, Gibson is positioned as a moderate among conservatives, but don't call him a liberal—or a conservative. In a strongly-worded blog post, Gibson excoriated those who call themselves liberals or conservatives, writing, "To be a conservative or a liberal is nothing of which to be proud. It’s a manifestation of our bent, unbalanced, sinful human nature." He went further, suggesting that people who align themselves with one camp or the other demonstrate a spirit of evil:

It doesn’t matter how different conservatives and liberals appear to be on the surface, because they tend to have one defining characteristic in common: they hate each other, or at least they dislike, discredit, disavow, and politically dismember one another. On both sides there is pride of opinion, arrogance of attitude and, most glaringly, a spirit of censor against the other side. So the differences are only skin-deep, while at heart they are moved by one and the same spirit—the spirit of self-serving enmity that crucified Jesus.

Given his professed extreme disdain for ideological pigeonholing, it should come as little surprise that Gibson came to what some might consider a progressive understanding of ordination in the most traditionally-Adventist way possible: through use of Bible texts, early Seventh-day Adventist history, and excerpts of Ellen White's writings, the result being what he described as a change of heart:

What I thought I would discover was support for the view I already held. What I actually discovered is that I was wrong in some of the things I assumed the Bible says on the topic. As I began to read, and read, and read, I underwent a series of shifts in my thinking under the guidance of God’s word.

Gibson meticulously examined key biblical passages used to oppose the practice of ordaining women, and said that while he has no interest in "advocating for one side or the other in the debate," he ended with a specific appeal to those serving as delegates to the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio:

If you are a delegate to the 2015 General Conference Session, please vote in favor of allowing for individual Divisions to decide whether or not to ordain women within their territories.

By voting this way, you will be standing in favor of refraining from dividing the church over a subject that does not constitute testing truth.

By voting this way, you will be voting to refrain from creating restrictions that go beyond what is written in God’s word.

By voting this way, you will be voting to affirm the freedom of God’s Spirit to do as He pleases with His people.

In advocating a YES vote at the General Conference Session, Gibson joined David Asscherick, pastor of the Kingscliff Adventist Church in New South Wales, Australia and founder of ARISE, as the second Light Bearers speaker to publicly advocate in favor of allowing divisions to ordain women. Asscherick has argued since 2012 that there is nothing in Scripture that prohibits women from occupying offices typically held by men.

In his article, "A Closer Look At Women's Ordination," Gibson considered the arguments most commonly employed by opponents of women's ordination, and one-by-one, argued against each. Here is an example:

They begin by insisting that male-only ordination is a moral mandate due to the fact that Adam was created before Eve, from which they insist that women may not authoritatively teach men. But then they are faced with a woman prophet they accept in an authoritative teaching role—namely, Ellen White. So they have to figure out some explanatory angle to make exceptions for some women to teach men. But here’s the colossal problem: if we’re dealing here with a moral mandate, then there can be no exceptions, and to make exceptions is to inadvertently confess that it’s not a moral issue after all. And if it’s not a moral issue, then there is no legitimate reason to urge it as a universal rule for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Perhaps Gibson's most compelling line of argumentation for those who revere Ellen White as God's messenger is to point out that she seems to have clearly advocated for women pastors, which Gibson said caught him by surprise.

Even though Ellen White did not attend the 1881 GC session, shortly after, in her April 4, 1882 Review and Herald article, she deliberately republished something she had written a year earlier:

“If there is one work more important than another, it is that of getting before the public our publications, which will lead men to search the Scriptures. Missionary work—introducing our publications into families, conversing, and praying with and for them—is a good work, and one which will educate men and women to do pastoral labor” (Review and Herald, April 4, 1882; published the first time in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 390).

You likely didn’t see that coming, and neither did I. Ellen White envisioned women in pastoral ministry of some kind. And please pause to catch the significance of the historical context in which her above statement was made. A proposal was just brought before the General Conference Session stating that females “be set apart by ordination to the work of the Christian ministry.”

He further argues that from all historical evidence, Ellen White was not opposed to ordaining women, and probably even supported the proposal in 1881.

Ty Gibson speaks to a different audience than do most proponents of women's ordination, and the audience is paying attention. In one case, that meant a rebuttal from Dr. Clinton Wahlen, who served on the North American Division Biblical Research Committee that took up the theology of the ordination of women. Wahlen authored that group's "minority report" in favor of male headship over and against ordaining women, and he disagreed with Gibson's statement that "to elevate the pastoral position with language of headship and privilege over other church members is decidedly papal." Wahlen responded, "Then why is there such an insistence on ordaining women? Why do for women what is thought to be wrong for men? Is the article really arguing for no headship and no leadership in the church? Apparently not, but if not, then this kind of reasoning does not make sense."

Read Ty Gibson's "A Closer Look At Women's Ordination."

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6865
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Maybe, for greater clarification on his “neutral” position consult his latest, shorter post. http://www.lightbearers.org/shall-angels-or-demons-guide-us/

did something wrong. This is a slide show of Ty’s article that makes for improved reading.

When I was a conservative, I guess I did a poor job of it. I urged my fellow right-wingers to relate to Desmond Ford the way we would someday wish we had if it turned out he was right. I think that a lot of people–both sides–believe what they do because circumstances have kept them ignorant of the reasons for believing the other way round.

I would now define a liberal as anyone who can say, "I may be WRONG, but if I am, I’m determined to find out and straighten out.

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The ordination of qualified women is not and never has been a. Theological barrier. The Old Testament priest served in a role as a forerunner of Christ. now it is the priesthood of all believers. One only needs a short paragraph at best to establish that point. The man ego has this last bastion. Women have the right to vote and are equal in the job market. The pulpit is the last tree house to be invaded. Tom Z

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Please, @JaredWright , what is the source for this?

Trust God.

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I fail to understand Wahlen…nobody was arguing for no leadership in church? And the reasoning makes a lot of sense, is even quite easy to understand…

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Pipim, Wahlen and Batchelor are invited here in our part of Germany sometimes for youth events or others. I’m beginning to wonder what is really going on. In one event 2013 the american preacher was asked by a preacher from Bogenhofen: "What if the liberals don’t leave the church?"
Who are these people?

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I’m presuming there is another original source, but I failed to locate it. I found it on Stephen Bohr’s Secrets Unsealed web page: http://www.secretsunsealed.org/clinton-whalens-response-to-ty-gibsons-article-on-womens-ordination/

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For a thorough rebuttal, here is some reading you might enjoy!

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Since the source of that quote is still a sealed secret, it may be ‘attributed’ to Bro. Wahlen, as was done so by Secrets Unsealed, but so far I find no evidence he actually said that in response to Ty’s blog-article and I would be hesitant to publish as fact hearsay.

Trust the Process.

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Maybe that’s what C’s and L’s are like in Ty Gibson’s world, but I have not found that to be so in my neck of the woods. While that element exists to some extent here at Spectrum, I don’t really believe it is the case everywhere. I know both C’s and L’s personally, and I have not seen the hate; I have rarely seen the pride and arrogance, and the only place I’ve seen censorship so far is when the NAD said that Advindicate could not have a booth at San Antonio, but that Spectrum could have one. Real balance there. Fortunately the NAD was overruled by the GC. It is, after all, a GC session, not a NAD session. And all the propaganda from the NAD has been pro-WO. I know pastors who have not forwarded the propaganda from the NAD to their local churches. If the NAD had taken a balanced approach they would have been more inclined to pass the material along. I know some may object to the use of the term “propaganda,” but when an issue this important is on the agenda for a GC session, and the NAD presents only one side of the issue, what else can one call it?

Whalen full response.

http://www.secretsunsealed.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/whalen-response-gibson.pdf @kennlutz

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There is no internal evidence in that document that assures that it was written by Clint. It actually sounds more like Gina.

Trust God.

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Birder,

I do somewhat agree with Ty on this point. A title sometimes dissolves a persons ability to think critically, for fear of going against “your side.”

I personally, try, but sometimes fail to follow this rule. It can also be a hindrance in reaching people.

Simply put: it puts you in a box.

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This is my posted comment to Clinton Wahlen’s response that I think merits re-posting herein:

[The best way to respond to Clinton Wahlen’s Gish Gallop is to identify a blunder that is most reflective of his argument as a whole. That blunder is Wahlen’s inference from the OT priesthood that the church pastorate must be exclusively male.

A short lesson on hermeneutics is in order. The OT priesthood is a sanctuary type. The function of a sanctuary type is to point to, prefigure, and evidence its NT antitype. The type-antitype correlation is so rigorous that the sanctuary type ceases to be once the antitype becomes known. To argue that a sanctuary type points to, prefigures, or evidences anything other than its NT antitype is a hermeneutical error. Our understanding of the hermeneutic of sanctuary typology compels orthodox Seventh-day Adventist belief that the typological fulfillment of the OT priesthood is not an exclusively-male church pastorate but Christ ministering as High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary.

We should be ever mindful that our interpretation of Scripture must be hermeneutically sound. It is necessary to Wahlen’s inference he draws from the OT priesthood that the hermeneutic of sanctuary typology be broken. If the hermeneutic of sanctuary typology is broken, there is no Seventh-day Adventist Church doctrine of the sanctuary, no substitutionary/forensic theory of the atonement, and no 1844. I can think of no better way for Seventh-day Adventists to unwittingly assist the Little Horn’s casting down of the truth of the sanctuary than promotion of male headship theory. Why do you think so many of us are opposed to male headship theory and in favor of women’s ordination? Because we are feminists? No. Because male headship theory is an Antichrist theology that diminishes Jesus as God, Creator, Lord, Savior, High Priest, and Head of the church.]

I have been making this argument for a very long time. The only Seventh-day Adventist male headship theorist who has ever attempted to reconcile male headship theory with the Seventh-day Adventist Church doctrine of the sanctuary is Samuele Bacchiocchi, who argued that sanctuary types do not cease to be at the Cross but should still be practiced in light of post-Cross fulfillment they may point to. But I don’t see any other male headship theorist advocate, as Bacchiocchi advocated, that we observe the OT festivals. So Wahlen should declare himself. Does he agree with Bacchiocchi’s jiggering of the hermeneutic of sanctuary typology? If Wahlen is not willing to answer that question in the negative, then I respectfully submit that the Church cannot count on him to be a faithful exponent of sanctuary truth.

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Another Reply to Ty Gibson – Whalen Response to Gibson
Last 3 paragraphs.
"Largely ignored in the debate are the views of the vast majority of church members. Apart from anecdotal evidence, the only solid research we have for Adventist attitudes toward women as elders, ordained ministers, or senior pastors is negative. Why has not a large scale study of member attitudes been done? Are we afraid of what we might find [or perhaps already know]? Many conference presidents in North American would gladly hire more women as pastors, but outside of institutional settings there are few if any churches who will accept them.
"In view of the negative attitude of many church members toward ordaining women as pastors, there would seem to be a greater risk of schism if church leadership continues to try to force members to accept women as senior pastors and, worse, as ordained clergy. The disregard by some unions of the consistent and persistent rejection by the GC proposals to ordain women [1881, 1990, 1995] poses the real threat to church unity and recklessly exposes our church to the risk of schism.
“Despite denials to the contrary, faithfulness to Scripture is the real issue. As the only truly global Protestant church, active in more countries even than the Roman Catholic church, our source of unity has always been faithfulness to Scripture. If we leave this foundation, declaring the Bible is unclear and that we must trust the church to do what is best then we have essentially abandoned our Protestant faith and capitulated to the Catholic position.”

SCHISM-- Do NOT our Doctrines regarding the Father, Son, Holy Spirit prevent this? If not, then God needs to be looking VERY QUICKLY for another Remnant Church!

FAITHFULNESS TO SCRIPTURE— In the Apostle’s day all they had was the Old Testament, The Torah and its teachings. But when the Gentiles came into the Church, James, with a stroke of a pen, threw THE TORAH out the window. James told the Gentile World that all that was required was [Acts 15:19-21] "abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, from blood."
Nobody drew a deep breath, nobody objected. Everyone willingly carried copies of this in their pockets.

REJECTION OF WOMEN-- If there hadnt and hasnt been so much voicing of women being so inferior, and so much brain-washing of the laity regarding the position of women in God’s mind, would there be so much supposed hostility toward women as Spiritual Leaders in the church? Would Women be FEARED so much to be Spiritual Church Leaders locally, conference, union, division, World?

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For the record, Ty Gibson has spoken only once at GYC. Considering his recently proclivities, I doubt he will be invited back.

Don’t ever let him talk again at the GYC. He may make sense to many, and they may just disband… It seems that the GYC cannot afford to do what Spectrum does, i.e., info from both sides to be presented. Who would guess that, eh?

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That’s to be expected–that the Scriptures would not prohibit women’s ordination, that is.

There is a decided testimony to be borne by all our ministers in all our churches. God has permitted apostasies to take place in order to show how little dependence can be placed in man. We are always to look to God; His word is not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen.--Undated Manuscript 148. {2SM 395.4}

God does not intend to provide a “Nay” for every “thus saith the LORD” type “Yea.” God has said we should ordain men. We either follow that “thus saith the LORD” or we place ourselves in opposition to it by not following it.

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