Women and the Church

Selected Papers and Articles by Seventh-day Adventist Authors

Most of the following papers are available from Time for Equality in Adventist Ministry (TEAM), P.O. Box 7816, Langley Park, MD 20787, 301-445-3340.

  1. Ordination of Women: A Hermeneutical Question, John C. Brunt, reprinted from Ministry, September 1988, pp. 12-14.

How literally should we apply Scripture? Should women no longer lead out or teach in the Sabbath School? Brunt explores biblical evidence and concludes that God wants the doors to ministry open to all. Brunt, former Dean of the School of Theology, is now vice president for Academic Administration at Walla Walla College.

  1. Attitudes Toward Women in Ministry by Pastors in North America and Religion Teachers in Adventist Higher Education: A Report of Two Research Studies Commissioned by the Office of Human Relations of the North America Division of Seventh-day Adventists, Roger L. Dudley, March 1987, 39 pages.

Dudley, professor of Christian ministry, director, Institute of Church Ministry, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI, and his associates gathered data revealing that a majority of both groups support the role of women in ministry, including ordination of women. This item organizes responses to each question by percentage for both groups and is accompanied by an explanation of what these figures mean.

  1. Longing for the Pastorate: Ministry in 19th Century Adventism, Bert B. Haloviak, 1988, 40 pages.

Would Ellen White today counsel the Adventist Church to ordain qualified women to the pastoral ministry? Haloviak's study examines the intimate relationship between the central theological focus of nineteenth century Adventism and the definition of ministry. Haloviak is director of the General Conference Archives and Statistics.

  1. Galatians 3:28, 29­Its Significance for the Role of Women in the Church, William G. Johnsson, 1988, 14 pages.

In a study prepared for the General Conference, Adventist Review editor Johnsson discusses the difficult question on which Adventists today differ: What does Paul's meaning in Galatians infer and imply for the ordination of women? When barriers are erected against women in the church, are we walking straight according to the gospel?

  1. The Adventist Pastor and the Ordination of Women, Arthur N. Patrick, reprinted from Ministry, April 1989, pp. 9-12.

The ordination issue is examined, addressing the biblical and historical implications comparatively with other denominations. The author calls Adventists to learn from these and to let their example guide leadership to carefully incorporate this aspect of church growth. Patrick then served as registrar of Avondale College, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia.

  1. Survey on the Status of Women Elders in the North American Division, Carole L. Kilcher and Gan Theow Ng, Institute of Church Ministry, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI, October 1988, 35 pages.

Commissioned by the NAD officers to learn the effect of a previous decision to allow women to serve as local church elders, ICM developed a survey that helped determine the following: the number of female elders in NAD and in each church in comparison to the number of male elders; the size, type and predominant culture of churches where female elders serve; the number of years women have served as elders in each church; attitudes of churches toward female elders; and the values and problems female elders have brought to the local church. With a 73% return rate, the report findings suggest a positive influence on the affected churches­significant information when discussing the role of women in ministry.

  1. Jesus and the Role of Women, Charles Scriven, Adventist Review, February 2, 1989, pp. 12-14.

"In a society in which women were expected to be on the sidelines, Jesus brought them onto the playing field." Offering a new lesson using the Mary-Martha story, Scriven proposes that all are invited into a "discipleship of equals by Jesus." Scriven is currently the president of Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland.

  1. The Theology of Sexuality in the Beginning: Genesis 1 & 2, Richard M. Davidson,

Andrews University Seminary Studies, Spring 1988, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 5-24.

The Theology of Sexuality in the Beginning: Genesis 3, Richard M. Davidson, Andrews University Seminary Studies, Summer 1988, Vol. 26, pp. 121-131.

Did a hierarchy of sexes exist before and/or after the Fall? Davidson's interpretation of the theology of biblical sexual roles using these critical passages refutes arguments that limit a woman's role in the church. He chairs the department of Old Testament Exegesis at the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

  1. Women in Pastoral Ministries and Ordination, Charles E. Bradford, 1988, 10 pages.

A statement by the former president of the North American Division written to the NAD members, Role of Women Commission. The paper includes important passages throughout, including: "The appointment to special ministry . . . on behalf of the total church rests on the selection of the Holy Spirit, the call of God and the gifts which empower the minister for service. The church . . . becomes a part of the process as it observes in the one called the development and exercise of the gifts and results of his or her labors. . . ."

  1. A Biblical Position Paper: The Role and Standing of Women in the Ministry of the Church, Willmore D. Eva, January 1985 (revised 1988), 10 pages.

Eva, now Editor of Ministry Magazine, was asked to write this paper when he served as ministerial secretary for the Columbia Union. The work was presented to the North American Division's Role Of Women Commission that same year for review. This paper includes an extensive bibliography.

  1. A Statement of Support for the Ministry of Women as Local Elders at PMC, foreword by Dwight K. Nelson, Senior Pastor, Pioneer Memorial Church, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI, Spring 1987, 12 pages.

A statement submitted to the membership of this university church supporting the "election and ordination of candidates to the ministry of local church elder based upon the evident fruits of the Spirit rather than upon race or gender."

  1. Documentary Analysis of the Role of Women in the SDA Church, compiled by Bert B. Haloviak, Director, General Conference Archives, 28 pages.

This chronological listing of documents that discuss women and ministry is a must for students of the ordination of women issue.

  1. Seventh-day Adventist Bibliography Regarding the Ordination of Women, compiled by Vivianne Haenni and Kit Watts, 1989, 11 pages.

This list of resources identifies material important to a complete study of the women's ordination issue. A native of Bienne, Switzerland, Haenni completed doctoral studies at the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University. Kit Watts is director of the Women's Resource Center at La Sierra University.

  1. Biblical Texts Used to Oppose the Ordination of Women in the Professional Ministry of the Adventist Church, James Cox, 1989, 14 pages.

This is a transcript of the presentation Dr. Cox gave at a TEAM-sponsored seminar in October, 1988. Texts covered include Galations 3:26-29, Genesis 1:26 and 3:16, Colossians 3, Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 and 14:34, 35. Cox then served as vice president for the Washington Institute of Contemporary Issues (WICI).

  1. Is It Time for Equality in Adventist Ministry? The Biblical Basis for Ordaining Women, Time for Equality in Adventist Ministry (TEAM), June 1990.

TEAM's statement (English, Spanish, Portuguese and French translations) that Scripture, when taken in its totality, teaches the equality of women and points in favor of ordination. Ten points are highlighted with biblical references.

  1. Ten Ways to Support Ministerial Equality in Your Adventist Community, Time for Equality in Adventist Ministry (TEAM), December 1991.

What can you do to effect change for women in ministry at the local church level? This brochure is designed for groups or individuals who want to increase the involvement of women in nontraditional roles in their own churches.

  1. Keeping Hope Alive, Time for Equality in Adventist Ministry (TEAM), October 1993, 32 pages.

This study, conducted by Hamilton Chandler Communications for TEAM, discloses the opinions of women in ministry after the 1990 General Conference Session decision not to ordain them, and their intentions in the aftermath. The report reveals trends in morale, career goals, direction, and other factors that affect women in their roles as local pastors, hospital chaplains, religion teachers, and pastoral counselors.

  1. Symposium on the Role of Women, Gordon Hyde, ed., Pacific Press, 1995. (Available from Pacific Press or your local Adventist Book Center.)

A collection of 13 of the original papers presented at the Mohaven Conference (OH) in September 1973 where a selected group of church leaders gathered to study the ordination of women in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

  1. Origin and Growth of Church Structure and Ministry, Carl D. Anderson, 1989, 35 pages.

An original paper prepared for the Cohutta Springs Role of Women Commission meeting in 1989. Anderson reminds readers that the physical aspect of the church's organization is to be the symbol of a spiritual organization that God values above all else. Jesus urges believers to become disentangled from mere ceremonialism, from rituals that frequently become substitutes for "true" religion. (This paper is available from the Biblical Research Institute, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904, USA.)

  1. An Exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:8-15, Delwin Finch, unpublished paper, May 1987, 22 pages.

This outstanding student paper was written for Dr. Richard Davidson, professor of Old Testament at the SDA Theological Seminary, to fulfill requirements for the course "Principles of Hermeneutics."

  1. A More Complete Ministry for a Completed Work: A Response to Willmore Eva's Biblical Position Paper, Louis Venden, March 1985, 11 pages.

This paper accompanied Dr. Eva's study when it was introduced to all delegates to the 1985 Commission on the Role of Women. Venden includes a summary of the major reasons why he thinks the church should ordain women.

  1. Man and Woman in Genesis 1-3, Gerhard Hasel, 1975, 18 pages.

One of the papers commissioned by the Biblical Research Institute in 1975 and released for the Second National Association of Adventist Women (AAW) Meeting, Andrews University, and published as a portion of the Symposium on the Role of Women in the Church, July l984.

  1. The Importance of Equality Now, James J. Londis, unpublished paper, 1988, 30 pages.

Londis asserts that because many members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are fearful of the risks involved in upsetting traditional leadership roles, all are missing the important rewards of fully supporting women in ministry. He believes sharing authority will strengthen the church, as it strengthens the family and our daily relationships with the opposite sex.

  1. The Ordination of Women, George Reid, 1985, 28 pages. (Available only from the Biblical Research Institute, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904, USA.)

Prepared for the 1985 Role of Women Commission held in Washington, D.C., this paper reviews the principal arguments for and against the ordination of women to the gospel ministry.

  1. Toward 2000: A Declaration by International Adventist Women in a Joint Meeting of Individuals and Representatives from Major Adventist Women's Organizations, September 21-23, 1990.

The assembly of women calls for specific accomplishments throughout the world field by the 1995 General Conference session so that women may fully participate in all matters pertaining to global strategy and governance of the church at all levels. The document was distributed to General Conference and North American Division officers.

  1. The Legal and Social Status of Women in the Pentateuch, Kenneth L. Vine, 1973, 18 pages.

One of the papers commissioned by the Biblical Research Institute in 1975 and released for the Second National Association of Adventist Women (AAW) Meeting, Andrews University, and published as a portion of the Symposium on the Role of Women in the Church, July 1984.

  1. My Beloved Is Mine and I Am His: Return to Edenic Mutuality in the Song of Songs, Ronald M. Flowers, 1992, 11 pages.

Flowers' thesis is that the understanding of male-female relationships found in the Song of Solomon compares favorably with that of the Creation accounts of Genesis 1 and 2 and contrasts with that described in Genesis 3. The Songs constitute a major contribution within the Old Testament to the redemption of male-female mutuality.

  1. Women and Men and Ministry, Charles Scriven, October 20, 1990, 6 pages.

A transcript of Dr. Scriven's sermon preached at Loma Linda University on the eve of Southeastern California Conference's special constituency meeting that addressed the ordination of women.

  1. What Are the Positive Aspects of Ordaining Women?; What Does the Scripture Say About Women?; Do Church Policies Permit Local Conference Ordination?; and Ordination in the Bible, the Early SDA Church, and Ellen White; Gender Inclusiveness Commission, Southeastern California Conference, October 1993.

This set of four brief papers addresses some of the specific questions SECC constituents posed regarding the ordination of women.

  1. Women's Ordination, Calvin Rock, Adventist Review, Feb. 18, 1993, p. 15.

Rock provides brief but important answers to questions such as: If it is proper to train and employ female pastors, how can it be improper to fully recognize their gifts by ordaining them?

  1. The Headship Role of the Elder as an Authoritative Representative Teacher and Father in the Church, Paul Birch Petersen, May 1987, 33 pages.

Written to fulfill a classroom requirement of professor Richard Davidson while Petersen attended the SDA Theological Seminary, this paper deals primarily with local church elders, but many of the same principles apply to the issue of women's ordination.

  1. The Welcome Table: Setting a Place for Ordained Women; edited by Patricia A. Habada and Rebecca Frost Brillhart, TEAM Press ©1995.

This collection of essays by fourteen prominent Adventist historians, theologians, and other professionals confirms what many Adventists have concluded in their own Bible studies: Scriptures, taken as a whole, liberate women and men to full participation in the life and mission of the church.

Bienvenida a la Mesa; TEAM Press, ©1998. This is the Spanish edition of The Welcome Table.

  1. Women in Ministry: Biblical and Historical Perspectives; edited by Nancy Vyhmeister, ©Andrews University Press, 1998.

The twenty chapters in this book examine priesthood, ministry, laying on of hands, ordination, and biblical concepts considered impediments to the ordination of women and other topics relevant to the ordination of women. Careful readers will notice differences of opinion among the seminary faculty members who contributed chapters that discuss the pros and cons of the ordination issue. Available from Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs, MI, 49104, or your local Adventist Book Center.

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