the North American Division is determined to place women as ordained
ministers in every church, and because this effort is quietly being
started elsewhere in the world field, there is a need to once again
discuss this matter and how we should relate to it. It is a major issue
in our denomination and will continue to be so, probably till the final
crisis of the National Sunday Law disrupts the plans of the liberals.
concept that women should be ministers, pastors, priests, and bishops is
a logical one. It fits in with modern thinking. Equality in every way,
especially in employment. Equality in the workplace is the cry. Anything
less than this is said to be "discrimination." "Liberty
and equality" (GC 274) was the cry of the insurgents in the French
Revolution, and the motto appears just as innocent today.
can withstand such talk, especially when it is so popular today and has
the backing of the politicians, feminists, homosexuals, and a variety
of radicals. Many Christians support it also.
to a document drafted by the North American Division in the spring of
1999, women are to be ordained as ministers and serve at every level of
our denomination where men are positioned (NAD Women Pastors' Document
[WM-888-890]). The demand is for women as pastors, conference and
union presidents, as well as division and General Conference officers.
a close friend of more than thirty years wrote and urged that I change
my position on this matter. His was a strong appeal, based on fairness,
equality, and justice for women's rights.
appears to me that, on one hand we have logic and a powerful modern
secular and religious trend. On the other. we have the Word of God.
we have women in fighter planes, on battle ships, and submarines (when
they are not in port, delivering illegitimate babies). We will not
discuss the problems that this policy is bringing to the U.S. military,
as enlisted men and officers are increasingly quitting in droves.
we will give our attention to women as ordained ministers and pastors in
friend's position, stated in an eight-page letter to me, does sound
very reasonable. Did you ever notice that logic on both sides of an
issue can appear very good. That is why I run to God's Word. I do not
believe that mankind is able to arrive at right conclusions apart from
authority is to govern our lives? Reasonableness and logic, talk of
equality of the sexes in all lines of activity, and the need for freedom
for women from age-old restrictions or the Bible and Spirit of
is no doubt that women can be very spiritual. Indeed, they are often
more spiritually minded than men. Any honest person will recognize this,
as he views the lives of those around him.
is no disputing the fact that women can more effectively reach the
hearts of children and women and minister more effectively to them. They
are better at recognizing the needs of the impoverished and suffering
view of these facts, why then do we find a strange absence in the Bible
of women priests and pastors?
reply is given that the situation we find in the Bible was merely the
custom of those times. The people were backward back then, and we are
modern, more advanced. Besides, times have changed, and we need to get
in step with the rest of the world. But if we accept that idea, we may
as well discard a number of other things we find in the Bible.
Whenever we read something we do not like, merely chalk it off as
another ancient tribal custom, which we can ignore today.
wait a minute; whose idea was it that only men should serve in the Old
Testament priesthood? Read Exodus through Leviticus. It was God who made
the decision, not the custom of the times. He initially selected the
fIrst-born son; later, when the tabernacle was erected. He selected
certain males of a certain tribe.
Korah, Dathan and Abiram rebellion was directly concerned with the fact
that those men and their followers wanted a different set of ministers
than the ones God had instituted (PP 397:2).
started a male ministry in the New Testament? It was Jesus. He
selected only men to lead out.
now. Should we go by the Bible or, after nearly 2,000 years, should we
switch to something different, just because it is fashionable today to
have women leaving their children in someone else's care and working in
business and industry or pastoring churches?
we hear the cry that woman's place is outside the home, She is more
valuable at an assembly line, on a warship, or in a pastor's office
than wasting her time raising children. We have government and private
child-care centers where they can be sent. We need to free women for
other tasks. They need to realize their full potential. We hear this
kind of talk all the time.
we find that the concern to change the ministry from the Bible and
Spirit of Prophecy pattern is also a concern to change the home from the
women's liberation movement is not only causing problems in the military
and in Protestant denominations, it is ruining families as well. It is
thought more important to help women realize their full potential than
for them to raise their children for heaven.
a child to be an adult Christian is an extremely important work. It is
not something, which should be exchanged for new, higher levels of
you know that the Lord gave women the most important task of all:
training the next generation and preparing the young for heaven? Men
work with the results from the previous generation of homes, but women
mold the characters of all generations.
have been told, through the Spirit of Prophecy, that the special work
assigned to women is more sacred, more holy than the work given to men
(AH 231; FE 141: 3T 565). That work is raising children for responsible
adulthood and eternal life in heaven. What work can be greater than
that? Is there any work, which men do that is greater? None, absolutely
none. The only work which comes close to it is the work of fathers.
the special work assigned by God to women is not only more important
than that allotted to men, but it is broader. If they will remain in the
sphere God has assigned them, women are able to help more people than
women are the most important influencers of children, from infancy on
into the teen years. Those children are the next generation. They are
also 25 percent (probably more) of the population.
are able to help other women better than men can. Women are about 50
percent of the adult population.
when women accept their proper role, they can help at least 75 percent
of the people in the world. What is left? Primarily adult men. Fathers
greatly influence their children, increasingly as they become teenagers.
But, outside the home, men work mainly with men. And the characters of
the men they work with, were earlier molded by women.
liberated women accomplish as much? Not really. There is a strange
silence in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy about women as priests and
pastors. Tracking this down, we find that the few Spirit of Prophecy
statements, about dedicating women to a ministry, concerns providing
them with encouragement and help as they minister to the needs of children
and women, and provide help to the poor and suffering.
with just one exception, there is one thing Scripture-Bible and Spirit
of Prophecy-never assigns to women: being religious leaders (pastors)
over adult men..
you will think about it awhile, you will recognize that this point is
the key to the puzzle. God chose to not have women as the religious
leaders (pastors) over adult congregations.
can lead out in religious guidance over children's and youth groups.
They can lead out in family worship (frankly, often because the father
does not do his part). They can lead out in women's group meetings. Once
again, we have three-fourths of the world's population, whose meetings
they can lead out in.
not once in Scripture were they to be ongoing pastors or priests.
said there was one exception. That one is very clear: Women have, at
times, been called of God to be inspired prophets. But notice that even
Baruch, who was given instruction from God through a woman prophet, was
reproved for needing her to accompany him in the work so he could have
success. Theoretically, it would be Scriptural for women to hold church
offices on higher levels as directors of Women's Ministries, Youth
Sabbath Schools, or even ADRA. These would all be in accordance with
Bible-Spirit of Prophecy statements about the work of women. But, as the
accompanying article about Malawi reveals, women placed in such offices
would then be sent out into the field to preach at Sabbath worship
services. Church officers normally spend every weekend preaching to
congregations or other gatherings.
is an interesting fact that people get in trouble when they try to do
that which Scripture did not tell them to do: The Mormons said that
polygamy was all right, and they still practice it today in Utah. But,
from the beginning, God's plan was clear: one husband and one wife, and
no other conjugal arrangement. The homes of polygamists are miserable.
Not only the children, but the wives and even the husbands are damaged
by the arrangement.
there is abortion. It is said that the Bible did not explicitly forbid
killing unborn children, so it should be acceptable. But this is an
argument by silence. The Bible did not forbid eating your parents
the Sixth commandment forbids murder, the killing of human beings
(and, we might add, the needless killing of other creatures).
our perverse generation, we even have homosexuals claiming that the
Bible. gives them the right to carry on their vile practices. Other
"Christians" declare that God made the Big Bang, and
everything evolved over billions of years. Has not the thinking of
mankind become twisted in these last days? Is there not abundant
evidence of it? Dare we follow after this latest fashion, that women be
placed over our congregations?
concluding this comment, please notice this: Satan always devises a
counterfeit for everything God specifies.
of the other trees in the garden, Satan led our parents to the one tree
of disobedience. Instead of the Sabbath, the devil gave us Sunday
sacredness. Instead of baptism, he gave us sprinkling of infants. On
and on the list goes.
add this one to the list: For thousands of years, instead of men as
priests and ministers in Christian churches. Satan offered mankind
satanic cults with women as the priests! This was done in the most
ancient religions. It was done in Egypt, Babylonia, India, Asia Minor,
and Greece. Whether it be vestal virgins or witches, Satan has held a monopoly
on women ministers, until a few decades ago, when feminists in the
United States decided to gain the ascendancy. It is now known that the
women in charge of the feminist movement were lesbians.
does the Adventist Church choose to be in captivity to these practices
of modern Babylonians? Why should worldly fads determine our conduct?
we lost our nerve to stand for principle in the face of opposition from
liberals in our midst?
do our people not arise as one and demand that a stop be made to the
ever-increasing apostasy in our denomination?
because the other denominations are rejecting Biblical principles,
must we timidly follow their example? Just last night on the radio news,
it was announced that 86% of the bishops in the Episcopal Church in
America have issued a statement approving cohabiting couples and
homosexual unions as legitimate forms of marriage in their denomination.
As a result, more than 25 Episcopal congregations have already severed
ties with the Episcopal Church. They refuse to send their offerings to
support men who support apostasy.
are three modernist trends in Protestant denominations today:
- Women as ministers and church leaders.
- Abortion quietly tolerated and not to be forbidden, especially when
the mother considers it necessary.
- Homosexuality tacitly accepted.
the first two gain a strong foothold, the third gradually enters. We
have already capitulated on the first two. North American Division
leaders are heavily promoting the placement of women as pastors and officers.
Efforts are being made to introduce it overseas.
General Conference statements on abortion carefully avoid a clear
statement against it while permitting it when the physician or mother,
consider it necessary. Yet even the AMA has officially stated that there
is never an instance, in modern medical practice in Western
civilization, in which abortion is necessary to save the life of a
two down, one to go. Our denomination is in ever-increasing captivity to
the Babylonians. Our leaders are determined to follow the lead of the
fallen churches. wherever that path may take us. They foolishly
believe that whenever they wish, they will be able to pull back and
change course. But when the members have been trained into wrong
practices, it is will not be easy to retrace their steps. - vf
the General Conference Session has voted a rejection of women's
ordination and women ministers in our denomination. But there are
church leaders in many parts of the world field who want to please world
headquarters, by pushing through women preachers in their territories.
Here is a report released in mid-October, 2000, by a church press agency
worship and congregational activities were halted when members of the
congregation and church leadership wrangled over women preaching in
the pulpit at the Bangwe Seventh-day Adventist Church, fifteen
kilometers from the center of Blantyre, the capital city of Malawi.
services were disrupted when Mrs. P. A. Neniwa, Women's Ministry
director for the region, was not allowed to address the congregation. "There
is no Scripture in the Bible that authorizes women to preach,"
stated one church elder. According to reports from the Malawi Adventist
Church, subsequent meetings with the local congregation
"degenerated into rivalry between the pastor and the members,"
and the church administrators initially suspended services for two
weeks. The incident received media attention in the country and
an uncompromising move, the Bangwe and Ntmlyango church congregations,
which together with other smaller companies in the area number approximately
1,000 members, separated from the denomination, "The
uncompromising members are still meeting in the church that was
closed," states Ken Bilima, communication director for the Malawi
Seventh-day Adventist Church. "They broke into the [Bangwe]
church and removed the old locks and put in six new locks." Bilima
says that the Bangwe and Nimiyango assets remain the property of the
smaller, 200-member congregation, which supported a greater
involvement of women in the ministry of the church, is worshiping at a
local government school located near the Bangwe Church.
an official statement on April 16, the Malawi Union of Seventh-day
Adventists announced "the disbandment of Bangwe and Nimiyango
Seventh-day Adventist churches," stating that all efforts to redeem
and reconcile the churches failed, that the two churches have
continued to bar women from participating in the church ministry,
and that the churches introduced teaching which "openly rebelled
against the Seventh-day Adventist Church." "The Church's
position regarding the matter of women preaching from the pulpit is clear," says
Pardon Mwansa, president of the Eastern Africa Division (EAD) of the
Church with headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe. "Women are as free to
share the gospel from the pulpit as are their male counterparts,"
he added. The Malawi Adventist Church is part of the EAD territory.
not referencing any details of the Bangwe situation, Mwansa said that
"the church does not condone violence as a means to handle
differences. A more appealing approach is that of talking matters over
as brothers and sisters.
Pan-African News Agency referred in its report on the situation to a
survey published by the Weekend Nation on July 15 which showed that most
churches in Malawi are reluctant to have women share the pulpit with
their male counterparts. According to the paper, while most churches
have indicated a willingness to elevate the position of women in
churches, conservative congregations and church leaders are wary of the
Weekend Nation cites the Bangwe Church situation as the most recent
example of the issues occupying the Malawi Christian community. Three
years ago, the paper reports, women of the Church of Central Africa
Presbyterian held mass demonstrations in the streets of Blantyre to
protest the discrimination of women in the church.
are more than 175,000 Seventh-day Adventists in the country worshiping
in more than 1,700 congregations throughout the country.