Implications for Regional Women’s Ordination
1. If the world church votes to authorize and recognize WO only on a region-by-region basis …
- Would WO only be recognized regionally, much like ordination as a church elder is only recognized locally? Would male ordination continue to be recognized world-wide with WO recognized only regionally? Would Pro-WO be content for women to have a less accepted credential than a man? Would there be an attempt to make male credentials only recognized by region and there be no global standard for credentialing for men or women? Would this defeat the unifying purpose of global recognition of ordination? Would this be a step toward separate national churches in place of a world church?
- Would regional ordination be regarded as merely an interim step with further agitation for WO in those regions that would not immediately implement it? Could a woman working in one region be ordained by a different region?
- If WO was implemented on a regional basis, on what basis would locations approving WO be determined? Division by division? Union by union? Conference by conference? Congregation by congregation?
- If it is wrong to deny WO in one location, how is it right to deny WO in a different location? Would it be right to have an ordained woman recognized in Pennsylvania but rejected in West Virginia? Would it be right to have the Loma Linda University accept a female senior pastor while Sacramento Central refused to consider a female senior pastor?
- Throughout those regions where WO was permitted, would WO be optional or required? What would the policy be toward dissenters? For example: What should be the policy regarding a pro-BQ congregation (or pastor) in a pro-WO conference in a pro-BQ union in a pro-WO division? How could regions not become increasingly polarized in hiring and firing decisions?
- Since it is undeniable that in some denominations, acceptance of homosexual practice has followed the ordination of women, if each conference or union or division determines who is ordained and it is no longer a global church issue, how can a push for homosexuality acceptance be avoided in a deviant congregation, conference, union, or division?
2. If the world church votes to authorize and recognize WO world wide …
- How does the world church avoid fracture in areas of the world that hold strong biblical convictions on this?
- How would local congregations be involved in choosing the gender of their pastor? Would churches be forced to accept a women pastor, even if they did not want one? What percentage of the members would need to be in favor before a women pastor was selected?
- Would it be necessary to believe in WO to be baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist? Does this become a de facto church doctrine?
3. If the world church votes against WO …
- Should dissenting leaders seek to diminish the dignity, solemnity, and importance of ordination for gospel ministry and ordination to the gospel ministry?
- Should agreement with the world church be called controversial?
- Should dissenting leaders of local conferences, unions, and divisions use belief in women’s ordination as a litmus test in interviews with perspective candidates for church employment, rejecting otherwise qualified candidates that agree with the world church’s position on WO?
- Should official church books and papers of the general conference, divisions, unions, universities and seminaries promote women’s ordination by dissenting leaders, while suppressing real discussion by those agreeing with the world church’s biblical stand?
- Should dissenting divisions, unions, conferences, or churches feel free to ignore the world church and its policies and simply go forward, ordaining women to the gospel ministry?
- Should church educational institutions and church seminaries teach and encourage women’s ordination although the world church has considered and rejected this as unbiblical? Should students feel marginalized and threatened with loss of recommendations and future employment opportunities if they agree with the world-church’s biblical stand on women’s ordination?
- Should church workers who agree with the world church feel under threat of losing their employment if they don’t keep silent on this issue?
Note: The following abbreviations are used for simplicity:
WO = women’s ordination to the gospel ministry
Pro-WO = those advocating women’s ordination to the gospel ministry
Pro-BQ = those advocating the retaining of all the biblical qualifications for ordination to the gospel ministry
Editor’s note: If pro-WO churches, pastors and leaders continue to propel this issue in a way that creates congregationalism, what are the ramifications of a divided remnant?