The highly-respected minister, scholar, and leader Dr. Calvin B. Rock recently offered some valuable counsel regarding women’s ordination in this video and the message below:
“I think that the essential understanding is that of giftedness. The scriptures do not say in Joel 2, ‘God’s going to pour out his spirit in some limited manner on one group or the other.’ Giftedness, as described in I Corinthians and Ephesians and other places, does not come to us with gender label.
“For me, the whole ordination question boils down to one simple question: Does this person have the gift? And the other part of that question is: If so, who are we not to recognize it?
“Then, you know, all this other business, maybe it’s good discussion and debate, but it’s all in the periphery. What really matters is: Has God decided to give this woman the gift? And if she has it, who are we to say we can’t recognize it?“
Dr. Rock further elaborated in the essay below:
Could it be that the manifestation of not just the desire but the “gift” of ministry increasingly demonstrated in our female membership is a fulfillment of God’s promise in Joel 2:28, 29 of intensified “last-day” gospel proclamation? I believe so. One reason is that this surge of desire and gifting did not occur in Paul’s day, or during the Dark Ages, or in the pioneer days of our church, or in the generations immediately following. In other words, it did not occur in those eras when women could not speak in church or own property or, as in more recent times, hold office or vote.
I believe so because just as evolving societal attitudes and degenerating societal conditions in the mid-nineteenth century combined to launch the Three Angels of Revelation 14:6-12, so have they produced in our day a world desperately in need of the non-discriminatory anointing articulated by Joel, authenticated by Paul (Galatians 3:28), and validated by John (Revelation 1:6).
Since 1863, when we men rightfully (given the times) assumed the reins of church direction, we have sincerely tried but failed to position God’s people for Pentecost. We have done so all the while being careful to restrict female participation in our authoritative counsels. Ordination alone can reverse this practice and allow the untapped talents of consecrated womanhood to bless our decisions at the most sensitive stages of planning.
Reflecting upon the fact that we, the seventh generation since our origins, remain frustrated with respect to Latter Rain status, and understanding that this ministry-boosting action does not alter any our 28 fundamental beliefs, I concur that the time has come for those Divisions that recognize women as recipients of the gift of ministry and whose societies are not hostile to their function should grant them full ministerial privileges. Their gifts are obvious, their sacrifices are equal, their services are urgently needed.
Dr. Calvin B. Rock was President of Oakwood College from 1971-1985. Then he was a General Conference Vice-President from 1985-2002. He also served as chair of the Loma Linda University and Loma Linda University Medical Center boards. He also pastored in the United States and evangelized abroad in Russia, England, Africa, and Romania and wrote nine books and numerous articles. For more statements from respected elder statesmen of the Adventist Church, see www.AdventistElders.com/news/ .
Dr. Rock is a true elder statesman of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He worked for the Church for more than 60 years. It is unfortunate that the delegates to the General Conference Session in San Antonio were not aware of his wise counsel (and the counsel of two-thirds of the TOSC theologians) or did not take his heart-felt counsel to heart.