At Issue At Issue index   Women in Ministry   Called by God Index  


by Josephine Benton

Appendix C

General Conference Resolution
approving ordination of women to the ministry
discussed in 1881

The Review and Herald

Battle Creek, Michigan, December 20, 1881

U. Smith, Resident Editor
J. N. Andrews, Associate Editor

General Conference Business Proceedings

FIFTH MEETING, DEC. 5, 10 A.M.—Prayer by Eld. Loughborough. Minutes of last meeting read and approved.

Resolved, That females possessing the necessary qualifications to fill that position, may, with perfect propriety, be set apart by ordination to the work of the Christian ministry.

This was discussed by J. O. Corliss, A. C. Bourdeau, E. R. Jones, D. H. Lamson, W. H. Littlejohn, A. S. Hutchins, D. M. Canright, and J. N. Loughborough, and referred to the General Conference Committee.1

Fifty-fifth General Conference Session

Ordination of women to the gospel ministry not approved

Voted, to accept the following report and recommendations of the Role of Women Commission as recommended by the 1989 Annual Council: . . .

1. While the commission does not have a consensus as to whether or not the Scriptures and the writings of Ellen G. White explicitly advocate or deny the ordination of women to pastoral ministry, it concludes unanimously that these sources affirm a significant, wide-ranging, and continuing ministry for women, which is being expressed and will be evidenced in the varied and expanding gifts according to the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

2. Further, in view of the widespread lack of support for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry in the world church and in view of the possible risk of disunity, dissension, and diversion from the mission of the church, we do not approve ordination of women to the gospel ministry.2Adventist Review, July 13, 1990, p. 15.

Performing marriages allowed to certain licensed and commissioned ministers in approving divisions only

Voted, to amend Church Manual, page 59, The Marriage Ceremony, to read as follows:

The Marriage Ceremony.—In the marriage ceremony the charge, vows, and declaration of marriage are given only by an ordained minister except in those areas where division committees have taken action to approve that selected licensed or commissioned ministers who have been ordained as local elders may perform the marriage ceremony.—Adventist Review, July 19, 1990, p. 10.


1 The General Conference Committee has never reported back concerning this resolution.

2 The vote was 1,173 supporting the action with 377 against.

3 The 1989 Annual Council action re women ministers' baptizing stands unchanged. See Chapter 11.

To Top   At Issue index   Women in Ministry Index   Called by God Index