A short note on the ongoing debate within Adventism regarding the ordination of women.
In the Catholic Church, only males can be ordained priests. This is a theological concept, and we see women as equal but with different roles. Remember that a woman, Mary, is the most elevated human being that ever existed, apart from Jesus, who is God.
For Adventism, it’s about liberalism and equality. Adventism does not have the sacramental priesthood found in the New Testament. Their clergy are simply leaders of their congregations.
Should Adventism decide to ordain women, I think the denomination will split significantly. They may, like the Anglicans, stay together but agree to disagree. They may split apart into multiple denominations.
The problem with that is that there will then be multiple churches claiming to be one end-time remnant church. (There already are multiple Adventist factions claiming this anyway.)
All this will cause Adventism to lose its authority for many members, and, for many, to lose its place as a unique remnant church.
Fracturing and slow disintegration will also leave Adventism less powerful in its anti-Catholic message than it was before. And this is a good thing.
As Tesa Beem says on her blog:
If there is a division… is it possible (and I tends towards romanticism probably) but what if… what if this helps open the eyes of a few Adventists and they join the full Body of Christ? What a miracle that would be?
– Seventh-day Adventists and Women’s Ordination – A former Adventist’s perspective
An example of how Adventism is dividing can be seen in a critique on Spectrum Magazine of Stephen Bohr’s presentation against the ordination of women.
Interestingly, in that article, the author cites Adventist’s prophetess, Ellen White:
The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God’s mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God’s penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers. It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired.
– 1SM 21.1-2, Ellen White, emphasis mine
Ellen White reduced the Bible to a human text. Samuele Bacchiocchi did the same. Adventism’s decision about the ordination of women is not really about the Bible – it’s about being part of the world, and that is why Adventism will eventually fall – it’s part of the world’s need to reject divine authority and do as it pleases, the essence of Protestantism, the itching ear syndrome (2 Timothy 4:3).
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. – 2 Timothy 4:3
The Priesthood Debate – James Akin
Seventh-day Adventists and Women’s Ordination – A former Adventist’s perspective – Tesa Beem
Call No Woman Father … by Tim Staples