Pacific Press Publishes New Collection of Essays on Ordination

John Reeve, professor at the seminary at Andrews University, talks about a new book he has edited, representing 50 years of the conversation about ordaining women in Adventism.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Back when I was growing up, early 50s, before punch cards at banks, Women had about only 3 choices of occupations.

  1. Nurse
  2. Teacher
  3. Secretary
  4. There were Bible Workers, but only large congregations could afford one.

Why have you make “Ordination” an a priori of studies or imperative of the ordination of women? Is there anything like the doctrine of ordination in the Bible? Or any scriptural theology of ordination? Ordination must be a posterior indication of a person chosen to occupy. What I find confusing is when theologization becomes a Biblical blueprint. Scripture must set a praxis for the theologization of women and ordination. In this context, I think all studies about the Ordination of Women is theologization. Sadly, some take it as scriptural [in the sense of what they call plain words of scripture]. The topic is misleading and it does not capture the very core of the issue. I would have preferred something like this: “Women and Ordination: In search of a theological answer”. This captures and factors many intricate dimensions of theological discourses into consideration. I love to read this book though.

"We did not want our Adventist women in leadership to be an obstacle to evangelism in a society that was rejecting women in leadership…"
oh …we of little faith…wouldn’t this have been a great opportunity to change society? Why are we afraid of doing what is right?


Adventism has spent its energy attempting to recapture the way it was rather than a search for the way it should be., They are attempting to recapture the night of Oct 22, 1844. 'here we are Lord all present and accounted for!" “You have done enough!now let us take charge!”


I am sure that there are other reasons…but Adventism (especially since the age of EGW) has been historically afraid of the moniker of being a "sect’. I think that it wanted to grow past this title, embraced conservatism with all its trappings. In the quest for respectability the church has become vanilla ice cream instead of something more exotic. Then there is the overarching “specialness” that must be protected and then there is the imminent, soon, Return of Christ. All of this and more does not make for a dynamic and creative church…that would rather protect itself than change society or stand out in nearly any meaningful way. Most people have never heard of an Adventist before and if they have, it is with very sketchy information. Adventism grows the best where there is a conservative and patriarchal society with lower levels of education…which are big reasons why it is NOT growing in First World Countries.


Congratulations Dr. Reeve,

Thank you for making scholarly research and journal articles accessible to the public, both to Adventists and to other faiths studying this issue. Scholars share their work and invite comment and further research. Getting this material to the public is commendable.


From my understanding of SDA history we had a rather large percentage of women in ministry (pastoral and bible work) and church work in other capacities in the latter part of the 19th century and continued into the early 20th century. After the 1919 Bible Conference our church veered toward fundamentalism and literalistic views of Scripture and the SOP. It isn’t by accident that women in church work as pastors or otherwise took a sharp dip at that time.

We as a denomination couldn’t get past the “head of household concept” until the Pacific Press litigation went against the church over equal pay for women for equal position in the 1970’s. The glacial pace of the Church’s ability to overcome traditional notions of women’s place in life is truly discomforting and often frustrating.


Another book? As if all had not been said already??

Stasis point? This is the third book I have heard of for and I received two for, and one con in the mail FREE! Seems the NAD, the seminary and other pro-WO are afraid it might not pass so are going to kill us with literature. Is it that iffy? If we have not been convinced by now, it won’t happen.

I must say, I have never seen such a push in my life. If only youse that were for this were ready to go out and win the world. Such effort would surely result in a multitude in the kingdom and the ushering in of the Savior. As it is, you will only get your reward here, an ordination ceremony. Whoopee.


Pastor Shepherd,

If you had young university-aged women in your congregation whose calling to ministry as pastors was affirmed by your members, would you encourage them to attend seminary and become pastors?

I’m confused as to your role of support as their pastor.


You mean that my role as pastor depends on whether I support WO or not? Are you kidding? This issue is no where near that magnitude. What has gotten into you folk so that every thing depends on the position one takes on this issue? Seems a sort of idolatry to me.

And Harrpa, I don’t even care one way or the other. But of course that brands me. If I am not all for, I must be against.

Do you know that I have a woman in her 30’s in my congregation who is not bad at preaching, and has moved congregations with her words. Could she be ordained? Well, not likely for certain reasons, but I let her preach and encourage and pray for her… So, it is not that oppose women in the pulpit. But WO supporters have one track minds, and no other issue matters. Like I said, some kind of idolatry.

Oh, Allen. Your many persistent statements here show you care very much indeed. You continue to criticize “WO supporters” even w/ reasons that have been proven to be generalizations or simply incorrect. “One track minds” & “idolatry” are now the most recent.


There is idolatry on both sides of this issue, both groups tending to focus on and push their agendas in this area. It’s an unqualified foolish waste of time. The vote at GC will accomplish nothing. Sigh.



I listened to Dick Tibbits, author of “Forgive to Live,” deliver the sermon today. His last slide featured this statement: “How you frame something determines what you see.”

What is your frame that lets you be professedly gender liberal with your pulpit, just not with your position?


Scholarly research and journal articles from both Adventist and OTHER FAITHS.

Really??? Remember that for over 100 years, more than a Century, we have been told that OTHER FAITHS are Babylon, Daughters of THE HARLOT riding on the Beast.
So, in reality, THIS is going to be a turn-off to Main-Line Seventh day Adventists world wide.

According to the author 3500 books are being printed [first run]. So will that cover sales in ALL ABC’s?

another excellent interview by alita…

i’m impressed by the role our andrews seminary is playing in educating our church on women’s ordination…it isn’t for nothing that, as an institution, it is held in such general esteem…

but i wonder whether the subject of women’s ordination isn’t overshadowing where our real focus should be…spectrum seems to be producing non-stop pro-wo articles, while advindicate is producing non-stop pro-headship articles…at some point, i believe this subject has the potential to appear to the uninitiated as the one spiritual issue fraught with the greatest eternal consequences of all time…is this what either side wants…

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Sorry for the misunderstanding. I’m happy that scholarly research from “our” scholars is available now (more accessible in this book) to those of other faiths studying the issue.

You put words in my mouth, Alan.

It was a simple question. You didn’t answer it. You completely sidestepped it.

Or maybe your answer is really, “Are you kidding? I’d never support a woman for ordination.” I think that’s really what you meant to say.


I really don’t care. I do hassle you supporters because I think you think too highly of your own opinion, and tend to look down on those who don’t support the issue, such as your questioning of my calling because you feel I might not support it. That is just way over the top. .

Some say they will do it no matter, which I really find arrogant and dismissive. As I have said, I don’t see how we can stand against ordination when we have a woman prophet who we allowed in the pulpit.

But my point is that it is not a moral issue, while you all feel it is. If it is not, then it is just not worth all this trouble.

And there is yet another scholarly book to appear on the topic - from the other side of the Atlantic. Bertil Wiklander, long time president of the TED, is intending to publish his findings rather soon through Newbold Academic Press (some might remember that he feels quite strongly about the topic).

Why in the world does this matter?

  1. Because the topic is important. While the issue is primarily cultural, underlying is the hermeneutical question how much cultural adaptation the Bible can afford - or actually demands. Thus we are dealing with an issue - far beyond the question what kind of wording we print on credentials of our workers.

  2. The main device in the past to postpone WO has been, the issue has not been studied enough. The current flood of publications will prove that it is not the lack of studies, but a lack of courage to act.