My critique of the NAD Ministerial statement is not PETTY polemic on syntax and semantics.
I am really critiquing the sacramental theology out of which the ugly contemporary term ‘clergy’ has grown. It is a term that is rarely used among Adventists in Australia and New Zealand. (I have worked as a pastor in three of the six states of Australia and in New Zealand). Sacramental theology has no place among Adventists.
Joselito Coo, the second responent to my critique here agrees with me and further points out that the term is indeed allied to a kind of “headship” theology. Additionally, she points out that Dr Denis Fortin also critiques such “headship” theology.
Dr Wendy Jackson, a New Zealand Adventist theologian and medical doctor in her excellent chapter “Is Ordination a Sacrament?” within the book South Pacific Perspectives on Ordination, ed. Graeme Humble and Robert McIver (Cooranbong, NSW, Australia: Avondale Academic Press, 2015) has concluded that
"The NT uses the Greek word kleros, from which the English word clergy is derived, to convey the idea of something that is assigned by lot, or more loosely, as a portion, share or inheritance. In contrast to the regular contemporary useage of the term “clergy,” the NT never uses the term kleros to describe a group of leaders. Rather, it is used to describe all of God’s people who are his possession and share in the benefits of belonging to God (1 Pet 5:3; Acts 26:18 and Col 1:12). The entire group of Christian believers are part of the kleros.
"An examination of the Greek word laos from which the English word laity is derived is also helpful. Laos takes on several meanings in the NT. The Gospel writers use it to describe a group of people or a crowd, and more specifically when discussing the nation of Israel. In the rest of the NT the word often moves beyond both these meanings to signify the idea of the Christian community as a whole. Christians are rightly called the laos of God. Both words laos and kleros, are used in ways that signify the Christian community as a whole. The NT context does not support a difference between them.
"Changes in the meaning of each of the words occurred gradually over the first few centuries of the early Church. As a distinct leadership hierarchy emerged, those individuals at the top of the hierarchy came to be understood as clergy and were given increased status and sacradotal function. As a consequence the understanding of laity became more restricted. In comparison to the clergy they were increasingly seen as unqualified and uneducated and therefore unable to make decisions about the Church. With further time, the laity came to be defined as those who were “not clergy” and supposedly therefore not called og God. Thus the idea of a distinction between clergy and laity emerged in the post-NT church." pp. 201,202.
The Salvation Army movement had it correct until recent years. For many years the officers of the Salvation Army refused to be labelled as clergy. The officers were an important sub-set of the soldiery, but soldiers none the less.
Their explicit rejection of clericalism has eroded in recent decades. In 1978 they gave into pressure to embrace an ordination theology. They authorized their cadets to be ordained as well as commissioned and consider themselves clergy. They wanted to fully recognized in society as bona fide members of the clergy. But it has caused great unhappiness in their midst.
So, Robin I stand on my original response.
Having said this I am very happy to fully embrace my sisters in ministry and continue to work toward the day when God’s right to call who He wills as leaders of the flock of God will be recognized and all such gifted individuals shall be affirmed, blessed and consecrated for their specific role of leadership.
As I see it, one of the big problems with those who have not favoured the ordination of women is that few can be certain whether or not they really embrace the idea of women having any biblically sanctioned role in public pastoral leadership at all.