Oregon Conference Interviews Stephen Lundquist on Decision to be Commissioned, Not Ordained

Stephen Lundquist has served as a pastor in Oregon and New Zealand, and is currently a Bible teacher at Portland Adventist Academy. He was recently commissioned at PAA, forgoing ordination in solidarity with female colleagues whom the General Conference has worked to prevent from being ordained.

The Oregon Conference interviewed Lundquist about the decision to be commissioned instead of ordained. The interview appeared on the PAA website, the Oregon Conference eCommunique and is set to appear in the forthcoming issue of the Gleaner, the official magazine of the Adventist Church in the Pacific Northwest.

The interviewers asked Lundquist to what extent the San Antonio General Conference decision not to allow ordination to be decided by Church divisions played into his choice to be commissioned.

The GC decision from the summer heavily influenced my decision. I am convinced that the Bible does not give a clear “thus saith the Lord” on the question of women’s ordination. Instead, we must make a practical, Spirit-led decision on how to best fulfill our clear calling from Christ to love God and others. How do we most effectively love in our geographic areas of influence in the year 2015? One step toward fulfilling that calling is equally recognizing and credentialing both men and women as spiritual leaders called by God in the Adventist church. I was hopeful that church divisions would have the option to move forward with ordaining women after the summer. Obviously that did not happen. I found myself in a unique position. My requirements were completed and my ordination was voted at the conference and union levels prior to GC session, but the actual ordination service was scheduled for after the session.

Asked the specific reason why he chose commissioning over ordination, Lundquist responded,

I don’t like thinking about or discussing women’s ordination as an “issue.” It is not an issue. It is people. When I hear the term “women’s ordination,” specific faces come to my mind. After the GC session vote, the first faces that came to my mind were those of my female colleagues in ministry.

On September 8, the day the General Conference voted on the ordination question, Lundquist wrote on his Facebook page,

To all of my female classmates who diligently studied Greek next to me, to all of my female colleagues called by God to serve as pastors, to all of my former female students studying to enter the ministry, to all my current female students considering pastoral ministry: I am deeply sorry for this disappointing day. ‪#‎gcsa15‬

Read the full interview on the Portland Adventist Academy Website: "Commissioning Questions Answered."

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7118
1 Like

Maybe if he can secure his ordination, he can effect change in the shortest possible time. “Seek ye first the kingdom” and other things shall follow. Ordination comes with many goodwill that can help him galvanise his ideologies into proper protest.

Thank you for spotlighting a profile in courage who refuses to be defiled by what in his union is a debased, medieval, and gender-biased credential of ordination. The Protestant Reformation within the Seventh-day Adventist Church continues.


It would be a plus if, in light of these refusals to accept ordination, we as a church were to revise our definition of ordination to be a dedication to service rather than an ordering of one person to a position of headship over another. I hope that happens and a big thank-you to Stephen Lundquist for his self-sacrificial demonstration.


God bless you Brother Lundquist. You are a brave servant of God.


This could get complicated. Should the female pastors in unions that are ordaining women forego ordination as a sign of solidarity with those women who cannot be ordained? I think this is going to get real confusing real soon.


Good on you Stephen. I remember your time in New Zealand fondly. May God be with you.

1 Like

Well done Stephen for making a strong stand


Here is where the problem lays. The Bible says that the "Spirit and the word agree"
But to say that the Bible is not clear and that we need to follow the “spirit” will leave up to us to decide weather that spirit is of God or not. We are not sufficient to decide. A timely council:

“Some souls who claim to be believers have slighted, and turned from, the Word of God. They have neglected the Bible, the wonderful Guidebook, the true Tester of all ideas, and claim that they have the Spirit to teach them, that this renders searching the Scriptures unnecessary. All such are heeding the sophistry of Satan, for the Spirit and the Word agree. Say the Scriptures, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” [Isa. 8:20]. He only is a free man whom the truth makes free.”
{14MR 71.2}

like Kim Davis boycotting: my way or the highway

Since it appears, after at least 40 years of study groups and millions of Tithe Funds spent, which looks like now, foolishly, that there is no Biblical authorization For or Against WHO can be a Pastor in the Seventh day Adventist church.
That the ONLY authorization, at this time, as to who can be a Pastor are Man Made Policies.
If Man Made Policies, then Policies can be changed.
This is what Pastor Steve is protesting and calling for in his protest.
Change the Policies to reflect that All Humans made in the Image of God are Qualified to, like Paul, Preach the Gospel and raise up church communities of believers and organize them for Service.

[THIS is No Kim Davis!!! event]
PS: We NEED a NEW Vision of HOW to spread the Good News, anyway. Why NOT begin with hiring increased Reapers on the World Fields.
A person HAS to learn HOW to love God BEFORE can even be thinking of becoming a Seventh day Adventist.


I can appeciate Steven’s sentiments. Yet, the achievement of gender equality is but a small part of our present predicament with ordination. Steve has done what he could to achieve this!!

The much bigger achievement would be to energise Adventists everywhere to adopt a paradigm shift in their thinking about ordination. The stand of the Norwegian Union Conference Executive Committee will go a much greater distance toward achieving this. And this is what the TED BRC Report to TOSC calls for. The Norwegians urged that the GC look again at its recommendations. I concur. [It is also noteworthy that the East Central African Division BRC Report to TOSC have in their own context called for something similar].[Nana, Please read the ECD BRC Report and ECD Recommendations for yourself on the GC Archives and Statistics website].

They see lots of need for a paradigm shift concerning ordination!**

It seems as though the Oregon Conference is in sync with Steve. Presumably the NPUC is as well. Yet, I wonder if they have any understanding of the paradigm shift that the Norwegians have called for.


Can you please share more light on the noteworthy similar recommendation by the ECD BRC report to the TOSC.
Would be very grateful.

I remember a story of another timely council from the book of Acts. The apostles were discussing whether or not the gentiles should be circumcised. Instead of Scripture being unclear, the only evidence they actually had was that all of God’s people needed to be circumcised. However, after much discussion, they decided that new gentile converts would not need to follow many of the Jewish customs. Their rationale? “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and us…”

How much more so for an issue over a concept that we do not practice according to Scripture, but man’s traditions. Look at the requirements for ordination. Where does Scripture support those requirements? Look at the privileges granted by ordination. Where are those found in Scripture? Look at any of the conference policy on ordination and tell me how much of it is backed by Scripture?

I have worked with Stephen Lundquist and found him to be a man of great love and compassion for others, and one holding great respect for Scripture. He is not disobeying church rules by refusing ordination, and has studied Scripture and found that it doesn’t clearly address ordination one way or the other, so he is following the Spirits guidance as best he can. Nowhere did he say Scripture was unnecessary like your quote says, just that it was unclear on this particular issue. I feel confident in knowing how the Spirit stands on slavery, and abortion, even though scripture is relatively silent or even opposed to my perspective.