A Letter to a SDA Female Pastor about the
Ordination of Women
Written by: David M. Curtis
I was interested in getting your opinion on some things I investigated. Since you and I have not met I want to reassure you that this is not a hostile letter or an aggressive one. I am consciously seeking the truth. I have other women pastors that I am friends with. My convictions are that women should not be ordained pastors or elders. That is my present understanding and conviction. so I am sending this which is not the final edited draft asking for your feed back, also referring you to a SDA book called "The Tip OF the Ice Berg" by C. Raymond Holmes, D. Min. POINTER publication 611 Niemela RD. Wakefield, MI 49968. The cover was designed by Samuel Bacchiocchi's wife Daniele, and dedicated to the authors wife. The following is from my own personal research NOT compiled in any way from the above mentioned book.- David
There is no light in scripture or the Spirit of Prophecy (given through a woman writer) that we are to ordain women to be elders or pastors. ALL the council in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy says these roles are to be filled by the male gender. “Jethro further advised that men be appointed to act as "rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens." These were to be "able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness. "In harmony with this plan, "Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves." Exodus 18:19-26. Later, when choosing seventy elders to share with him the responsibilities of leadership, Moses was careful to select, as his helpers, men possessing dignity, sound judgment, and experience. In his charge to these elders at the time of their ordination, he outlined some of the qualifications that fit a man to be a wise ruler in the church. "Hear the causes between your brethren," said Moses, "and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's." Deuteronomy 1:16, 17.” Acts of the Apostles p. 94.
Although Christ had many women followers Jesus chose 12 men to be apostles. The Bishop referred to in the Bible is the same as an elder in the Old Testament. He was not the Pastor, he was an under shepherd. “Ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;” Titus 1:5-8.Only a man can be a husband. The Bible never admonishes to ordain women as pastors and elders, only men. “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) “In many places we meet men who have been hurried into responsible positions as elders of the church, when they are not qualified for such a position. They have not proper government over themselves. Their influence is not good. The church is in trouble continually in consequence of the defective character of the leader. Hands have been laid too suddenly upon these men.” Gospel Workers pp. 132,133.
ALL the apostles and elders were men according to the Spirit of Prophecy. “The "apostles and elders," men of influence and judgment, framed and issued the decree, which was thereupon generally accepted by the Christian churches.” Acts of the Apostles .p. 196. “Let the church appoint pastors or elders who are devoted to the Lord Jesus, and let these men see that officers are chosen who will attend faithfully to the work of gathering in the tithe.” Councils on Stewardship p. 106. The officers referred to are deacons; the men that were to choose the deacons were Pastors and Elders. According to the Testimonies these pastors and Elders are to be men. The Deacons them selves are also to be men according to the Scripture. “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” 1 Timothy 3:12. Israel never allowed women to accept the role of rabbi or elder, which are positions of leadership. Women were allowed to speak in assemblies but had to do so under the authority of the rabbi. Messianic Jews to this day obey this holy standard of scripture.
The Shepard and under shepherd known as pastors and elders as well as deacons were to “be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” A woman could not fulfil this role. “And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Genesis 3:16. It is the role of the priest of the family (the husband and father) to rule over his house well, this includes his wife. “Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” Genesis 18:12. “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” That is a New Testament ordinance which was ordained in the Garden of Eden. Lucifer is working hard in our culture through the women’s liberation movement to place women in position of authority over men, and thus alter the role of wives teaching them to exercise authority over their husbands. The women that take this role are in rebellion against God. “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2:12. This scripture is not denying the ability of women to teach, or even to preach. Ellen G. White herself was a well known speaker on many occasions. The context of this scripture is rebuking all women that dominate themselves over men, and attempt to exercise control over their husbands. Husbands that allow their wives to dominate them are themselves violating scripture, becoming what is called by the Protestant Bible “effeminate,” (a man assuming female roles or character traits) and will result in perishing out side the gates of the New Jerusalem 1 Corinthians 6:9. Women are not allowed according to scripture to “usurp authority over the man” This command forbids the ordination of women to the role of pastor or elder which are positions of authority, and forbids women in the home to usurp authority over man. The Seventh Day Adventist church must repent of this strange act.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-25,28,29.33. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy is balanced in its council protecting the woman from overbearing men. The men are to love their wives as much as Christ loves the church, and even put her needs before his own. Such a man that loves his wife in this way will surely earn the trust of his wife so she can submit to him in all things. Are there any women willing to humble themselves? A rebellious overbearing, controlling, and contentious woman that refuses to submit humbly to her husband, is like a cancer to the home and makes it most miserable. “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Proverbs 21:19.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” Colossians 3:18-20. Women are to “reverence their husbands” this means “as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Women should submit to their husbands in everything just as children are commanded to obey their fathers and their mothers “obey your parents in all things.” Women are in authority over the children but are to be under the authority of their husbands. The husbands are to be under the authority of Christ. This is the order the Bible gives the family. Both the world and the churches of all faiths are full of dysfunctional families and broken homes because of the violation of these principles. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”
“The question is often asked, "Shall a wife have no will of her own?" The Bible plainly states that the husband is the head of the family. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands." If this injunction ended here, we might say that the position of the wife is not an enviable one; it is a very hard and trying position in very many cases, and it would be better were there fewer marriages. Many husbands stop at the words, "Wives, submit yourselves," but we will read the conclusion of the same injunction, which is. "As it is fit in the Lord." God requires that the wife shall keep the fear and glory of God ever before her. Entire submission is to be made only to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has purchased her as His own child by the infinite price of His life. God has given her a conscience, which she cannot violate with impunity. Her individuality cannot be merged into that of her husband, for she is the purchase of Christ. It is a mistake to imagine that with blind devotion she is to do exactly as her husband says in all things, when she knows that in so doing, injury would be worked for her body and her spirit, which have been ransomed from the slavery of Satan. There is One who stands higher than the husband to the wife; it is her Redeemer, and her submission to her husband is to be rendered as God has directed--"as it is fit in the Lord." When husbands require the complete subjection of their wives, declaring that women have no voice or will in the family, but must render entire submission, they place their wives in a position contrary to the Scripture. In interpreting the Scripture in this way, they do violence to the design of the marriage institution. This interpretation is made simply that they may exercise arbitrary rule, which is not their prerogative. But we read on, "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them." Why should the husband be bitter against his wife? If the husband has found her erring and full of faults, bitterness of spirit will not remedy the evil.” The Adventist Home 115,116.
These are just a few Testimonies on the book Tip of the Ice Berg that I mentioned in part 1 of these on line messages.
"Dr. Holmes is forthright but extremely fair. His reasoning is incisive but wholesomely positive. I promise you, there will be no waste of your valuable time thinking through this monumental work from cover to cover"-George E. Vandeman, It Is Written.
"Every thoughtful student of the Bible who values its divinely inspired authority will want to read The Tip of an Iceberg. While Dr. Holmes insists on the correct interpretation of all the scripture references relating to the issue he emphatically affirms the scriptural imperative for the role of women in ministry." Rosalie Haffner Lee, hospital chaplain and author.
"Dr. Ray Holmes has written a book that is a masterpiece. It is both fair and convincing. I urge every Adventist to read it. His appeal to the church and its leaders to stand true to the plain statements of Scripture as the basis for all of its beliefs and practices is one which we do well to heed." Francis Wernick, former General Conference Vice-President.
I am a say it as I see it person. You could not hear my warm tones or friendly countenance as you read the things I sent, I hope there was no offense taken in my direct language. -David