SILVER SPRING, Md. — A new worldwide target has been set by Adventist Church leaders. All officials with a Director of Women’s Ministries title will be required to be male. The deadline for the transition is the end of 2016.
“This is a perfectly biblical expectation given the overwhelming evidence for the need for males as spiritual leaders. We are allowing every conference, union and division plenty of time to complete the transition,” said Nelson Bertel, one of the church officials tasked with overseeing the transition.
Bertel claims that the church has taken every precaution to minimize career disruption for all females that are currently Women’s Ministries Directors around the world. “Each of these offices are in dire need of better office assistants,” he said.
“There is nothing sexist about this. We think this will send a strong message that we care enough about the well-being of our women to put a man in charge of their spiritual care and nurture,” said Manny Hegel, one of Bertel’s colleagues.
There is also hope that this might tame some of the wildest proponents of women’s ordination. “Women don’t need to be pastors as long as we have kindergarten Sabbath Schools that need supervision,” said Hegel.
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This really does touch on a serious issue in Adventism. This concept that women somehow need looking-after or supervision from men is absolute tosh. And by the way, I’m a male Adventist and a pastoral ministry student. I am so proud of the ladies at the seminary who are boldly going forward with their MDivs. I know they’re going to work twice as hard for half the results as I will simply because they don’t have a Y chromosome. I think that absolutely stinks, and I wish there was something more I could do to help them. What I do is offer my support. I feel that going beyond that is just patronizing them, which makes them victims a second time: the first time of sexism in the church, and the 2nd of my well-meaning but ultimately belittling efforts to help. It’s a really tough situation to address without heaping up embarrassment and humiliation for women.
Do any of the female SDAs in the crowd have advice here? The Bible is pretty clear that God created man and woman as equals to be in partnership in serving Him. Moreover, the concept that women are somehow inferior to men in ministerial roles because the Aaronic priesthood was male-only is silly. The Aaronic priesthood was a type of Jesus’ role as THE High Priest. Since type has met antitype in Christ’s ministry and sacrifice, the Aaronic priesthood is OVER. What is left is the “priesthood of all believers” as described in 1 Peter 2:5-9. This is not addressed to men only, but to the whole church. Yup, even women. Moreover, since the ministry of women has proven to be enormously fruitful, especially in China, we can’t really exclude them. If the Holy Spirit is working through them, it’s a clear sign that they’re accepted by God.
After all, didn’t the Jerusalem Council finally have to admit that Gentiles could be Christ-followers too when they heard Peter’s testimony of how the Holy Spirit came upon Gentiles with power and glory? If we see the Holy Spirit moving through female pastors to win souls for the kingdom, we ignore it to our own detriment.
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We already have over 320 women pastors, including more than 120 in North America. These female pastors preach, pray, baptize, perform weddings, and lead a church. Many women pastors hold a “commissioned” credential since the GC voted to allow it in 1990.
Some of these female pastors have been recognized in a “commissioning service” complete with prayers, Scripture readings, a sermon, a charge, and even the laying on of hands. The ceremony has an eerie resemblance to an ordination ceremony, but don’t worry, it’s not the same thing. (Sorry, Shakespeare, you were wrong about “a rose by any other name. . . .”)
The “commissioned” credential is fine, but the “ordained” credential is evil. Haven’t you read that in the Bible? It’s explicitly stated in Hezekiah 3:16 (“Thou canst commission thy female pastors but verily thou shalt not ordain them, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”) (Other favorite verses include “God helps those who help themselves” [Hez. 3:2]” and “Cleanliness is next to godliness” [Hez. 3:5].)
In sum: “Yes, Virginia, there really is a place for a woman in the ministry. She can serve as a pastor, as long as she doesn’t have an ordination certificate hanging in her office.” Surely, even the blind can see the logic in that! In fact, it’s just as logical as saying: “You can live with your fiancée but you can’t marry her.”
Didn’t Jesus say, “Whatever you would have men do to you, do so to them?”
Treat others as you would wish to be treated, if you stood in their shoes?
The Golden Rule?
Buddha said it in the inverse, “Do not do to others what you would not want done to yourselves.”
Would the men of the church want the women to say, “You can have a “commission” to so some pastoral things, but you can’t be a real pastor, your just a man?”
I doubt it.
Every time a woman is denied pastoral ordination because she’s not a man, the church breaks The Golden Rule, the Eleventh Commandment.
Is breaking The Golden Rule a sin? Is the church sinning by denying ordination to women because they’re women?
It’s a failure to live by the teachings of Jesus, no?