Ty Gibson, co-director of Light Bearers, posted “A Closer Look at Women’s Ordination” (or printable PDF or Spanish) on June 5, 2015, as the result of an arduous 5-month study that began on January 14.
Ty says, that is when “I decided that it is time for me to knuckle down and study the subject of women’s ordination for myself” because “my church is engaged in a titanic conflict over the subject.” He came into the study with a mind set against WO. But he decided to study with an open mind, trying to lay aside his biases and preconceptions on the topic, and simply examine what the Bible and the writings of Ellen White have to say.
Given his longstanding biases against WO, Ty was surprised what he found. “What I thought I would discover was support for the [anti-WO] view I already held. What I actually discovered is that I was wrong in some of the things I assumed the Bible says on the topic. As I began to read, and read, and read, I underwent a series of shifts in my thinking under the guidance of God’s word.” Read Ty Gibson’s surprising conclusions here.
Ty urges: “Whatever your position happens to be at present, if you are a serious believer in the inspiration of the Bible and the writings of Ellen White, may I suggest that you really owe it to yourself and to your church to objectively consider the … historical information and biblical perspectives” that he found.
“If you are a delegate to the 2015 General Conference Session,” says Ty, “I urgently and humbly request, as your brother in Christ, that you read this article before you vote on women’s ordination.”
We invite you to read Ty Gibson’s article, too.
In addition to the excellent insights in Pastor Gibson’s article, there is another important point to consider: that much of the current debate is needless and unnecessary because the vote in San Antonio is not to decide whether women should be ministers. Women have served as pastors in the Adventist Church since 1872. There were many female pastors in Ellen White’s era (about twice as many per capita as there are today). Women pastors have been fully authorized by the General Conference as “commissioned” ministers since 1990. They already perform the same functions and have the same role as ordained ministers.
Women pastors already go through the same kind of consecration ceremony with a laying on of hands. The only difference is the word that is printed on their certificate (“commissioned” instead of “ordained”). When you boil it all down, the only real issue now is whether the individual world divisions can choose to call these female pastors “ordained” instead of “commissioned.” It is a matter of semantics. There is no point in continuing to discriminate between these two words. The Spirit of Prophecy uses the terms “commissioned” and “ordained” interchangeably. They mean the same thing. There is no reason not to use the word “ordained.”
The General Conference Biblical Research Institute concluded 39 years ago, in 1976: “If God has called a woman, and her ministry is fruitful, why should the church withhold its standard act of recognition?” William G. Johnnson (retired Adventist Review editor) put it this way: “If God has given His stamp of approval to women in ministry [as seen in the General Conference policy of 1990], who are we to withhold official recognition?”