by Stan Hudson who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference
I, like you, have been fascinated to watch the various machinations within our church over the ordination of women. Americans love a good fight, especially when the cause is a righteous one. Of course, all sides in this are righteous. Hmmm….
I watched the General Conference work towards “disciplining rebels” and I saw some responding with “in-your-face” statements. Neither one sounds very spiritual to me. I don’t see the highest characteristic of spiritual maturity being displayed by anyone in this; that Spirit-led trait is submission! No one wants to submit to anyone else, even though it was the Lord Jesus submitting to so many, including those nailing His hands to a cross.
Well, if no submission is coming, I have a suggestion that is possibly a reasonable alternative. Why not promote the ordination of women in a similar way that the first General Conference in Jerusalem saw the inclusion of Gentiles being promoted? It was promoted by the report of witnesses that God had clearly accepted them by the Holy Spirit’s response.
Peter had reported from his own experience with Gentiles as to how the Spirit had been poured out upon foreign converts “just like” the Spirit had been poured out upon the Jews. In other words, it sure looked like God was including those people, broadening the base (so to speak) of the church, by indicating His acceptance through Spiritual fruit. When the church saw that God had accepted them, they responded appropriately with welcoming in Gentiles who had heretofore not been considered savable. The idea of resisting God’s choosing seemed even more intolerable.
Why not report on the various ways God has been using women in pastoral ministry, showing the fruit that shows His approval of women for that role? Ellen White was thus shown to be approved by God for a superior position in denominational leadership.
I favor this approach over a “the vote is unfair” or the “leaders are devious” or “the third world is stupid” or some other accusatory approach. Let’s be positive. God is clearly casting HIS vote. Perhaps the church could see this more clearly. “By their fruit” was meant to be helpful for cloudy issues.