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Logo of Michigan Camp Meeting 2019: As a Witness, Matthew 24:14

Women in Adventist History - Part 1

Gina Wahlen

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  • June 17, 2019
    1:45 PM
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Women in Adventist History - Part 1

Gina Wahlen

 

Ginal Wahlen Speaking:

Heavenly Father, what a privilege it is to come to You at this camp meeting here in Michigan. We are so delighted to be here, to spend time together with friends and loved ones, and most of all to spend time with You, learning what You have to say to us through Your word, through also looking at how You have let us in the past. And Father, I just want to pray a special blessing upon the seminar, that it will be a real encouragement to all of us as we see how You have led Your church in the past and You will continue to lead us now and into the future. We pray this in Your name, Amen. 

So, let's go back together in the 1850s, and we will see what the advent believers were experiencing, a little problem that was happening during that time:

Reenactment:

Brothers and sisters, we just need to continue to believe that the Lord is coming soon, notwithstanding the fact that we have been disappointed recently, and we have been studying the scriptures to learn why we should hold fast our confidence. I would just like to encourage you with a passage from Hebrews Chapter 10 beginning with Verse 35, which says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence which hath great recompense of reward, for ye have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God he might receive the promise. For yet a little while and He that shall come will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back my soul to hath no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” 

Brother Smith, Brother Smith, there’s someone here, that Brother Johnson; he says he has new light! 

New light! 

I have been given new light from the Lord. The Lord does not need to come in a physical sense; He came in a spiritual sense. The Lord is among us. 

I can see Brother Johnson, you have a very important message. Let's talk about it this afternoon.

No, no, no, you have to listen to me now! 

I understand that. Let's talk about this afternoon. 

Gina Wahlen Speaking:

So, this was happening in various gatherings of Advent believers; people would come. Sometimes they were preaching the truth. But sometimes people would just come and say they had a message from the Lord. They had a message for the believers, and they wanted to share it. How could they tell who was who? Who could they trust? How could they know who they could trust? 

Well, what they needed to do, there needed to be some way to tell, that wherever they were when they were gathered together, if a speaker came, he would need to have some sort of credentialing. And so, that is how and why the beginning of the credentialing process came about within the 7th-day Adventist Church. 

Now some people will say, well, that just came, our pioneers, they were just going by the churches that they were in, and they were just copying that. Some have even suggested, well, they took the Roman Catholic way of having bishops and, you know, a pope, a bishop, and so on, and that's where ordination comes from. But do you really think our Adventist pioneers who had left, who actually had mostly been kicked out of their churches, do you really think that they would have adopted something from the Catholic Church? Do you think that even from the churches where they had been excommunicated from, would they adopt their way of governance? Something to think about. 

So, to begin with, to give us a solid foundation, to get a clear picture of how women fit in to Adventist ministry within that early Adventist Church, was there a place for women? Absolutely! Were they credentialed? Were they licensed? That's what we're going to talk about, and I am so delighted that today my husband Dr. Clinton Wahlen can join us, because he has done a lot of study on this, particularly in what's called Gospel Order. 

Have any of you, and Bible Order, have you heard of Ellen White's visions on Bible Order and Gospel Order? Ok, just one person, two, maybe, okay, 3. Okay, maybe the rest of you were just too shy to raise your hands. 

This, my friends, this is the key. This is really the key to understanding something that we are still, some people are still confused about today. If we can understand these visions that were given to Ellen White, and then follow-up articles that were written by a number of pioneers, it is the key to understanding, in fact, what's going on today. So, I am really happy, Clint, that you're here. He is an associate director at the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference, and he'll be sharing with us now about women and Gospel Order. 

Clinton Wahlen Speaking:

Thank you, Gina. This is the most important woman for me, right here. Yes. And so, what I want to share with you, as my wife mentioned, has been really clouded and confused in some cases and some places, but let's just start at the beginning. You know, our pioneers were very reluctant to be organized; they resisted it very strongly, and that, actually if you think about, it is a blessing, because that means that they were not just ready and willing to take what they had in the organizations of the churches from which they came. They wanted to make sure that everything they did had its basis solidly in the Bible. 

Now, of course there were many things that happened and took place in the late 1840s to establish our message, before the steps of organization could be taken. Before mission even could be undertaken, and God, I think, providentially saw to that as well, because they believed that Jesus was coming so soon they just, what they needed to do was understand what the Bible had to say about it, and so they weren't so absorbed with mission as with study of the message to start with. 

Now why might that be? Do we have to understand our message before we go on a mission? Absolutely, and so God in His providence made sure that the message was solidly established on a firm platform of scripture—the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd angels' message, but then came a very important vision in Paris, Maine, back actually it was Christmas Eve, December 24th, 1850 and Ellen White received this vision that I've labelled Bible Order Vision because she refers specifically to Bible order. She says that Christ is the head of the church and that the church must move in order, and then she also had a glimpse of the order of heaven, and she said how perfect how beautiful the order. 

Actually, this is the words of an angel—"How perfect, how beautiful the order in heaven; follow it.” She said, I saw if Israel, God's last day church, moves steadily along going according to Bible order, they would be terrible as an army with banners, of course quoting from the Song of Solomon, meaning that no enemy would be able to stand against them. But notice there is a condition. What is the condition? If God's last day church what? move steadily along, moving forward, going according to Bible order. 

But what if they didn't continue moving forward according to Bible order, could they claim that promise? They could not. She also said, I saw that the burden of the message now was the truth. The Word of God, she said, should be strictly followed and held up to the people of God, strictly followed. And it would be beautiful and lovely if God's people would be brought into a straight place to see the workings of God through exercises of visions. Now, we don't use this language very often anymore, brought into a straight place, what is that? Narrow, yes. I actually looked it up in Noah Webster's Dictionary of the 19th century and it says narrow, close, not broad, and then it gives the quotation from Matthew 7 verse 14, “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it.” Interesting that it defines these things from Scripture, too. 

Well, Ellen White had this vision; she encouraged the brethren toward Bible order, and it's very interesting to me that the order is Bible order, that this is the foundation, right? Scripture, and there's order throughout Scripture, because God's people from Genesis to Revelation have always had a system of order that God has instituted, a system of organization, a system whereby it could reflect the order that is in God Himself. God is a God of order, not of confusion, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14. 

But not much happened after this first vision of 1850, and so, almost 2 years later, a 2nd vision was given in Dorchester, Massachusetts, September 30, 1852, and notice this. It talks about, again, order in Heaven, but it's more specific; it's referring to gospel order, that is the order of the New Testament. And so, it refers to order that took shape under Christ and His disciples, and she says that order is needed now more than ever before. 

Notice this key first sentence. It’s found, by the way, in Early Writings, the chapter called “Gospel Order.” She says the Lord has shown that gospel order has been too much what? too much feared and neglected. I think although it was clearly true then, I think it’s true also now; these words may be just as applicable to us today. Gospel order has been too much feared and neglected. 

She wrote there is order in heaven. There was order in the church when Christ was upon the earth. and after his departure order was what? strictly observed among his apostles. And now in these last days, while God is bringing His children into the unity of the faith, there is more real need of order than ever before, for as God unites his children, what? Satan and his evil angels are very busy—to foster and promote this unity, right? Is that what it says? To prevent this unity, to prevent this unity. 

Do we see efforts today to prevent the unity of God’s church? And it says Satan and his angels are very busy to prevent this unity and to destroy it. Of course, that will not succeed, so what is the purpose of this Gospel Order Vision? If you look at it, and it’s actually a detailed explanation down in Early Writings, the purpose is to explain how to distinguish ministers who are truly called by God from what Ellen White refers to there as self-sent men. You see, brother Johnson that we just sort of reenacted, it's a pretend incident. Probably, those incidents happened regularly, and this is why that vision on the Bible Order. And this vision of Gospel Order was necessary, but there were many self-sent men, so how would you distinguish a self-sent man from one who is truly called by God? 

Is everyone who claims to be called by God sent by God? Apparently not, there are self-sent people, so a very important purpose of this vision was to explain how to distinguish the two—those truly called by God from those who aren’t, and to direct the church to Scripture, applying key passages to the choice of gospel ministers, and we'll look at those key passages in detail in just a moment. A 3rd purpose, to explain that the example of the apostolic church is to be followed today; it wasn't only for the New Testament Church of the 1st century. 

Now the next several slides summarize the main points that are set forth in this chapter of Early Writings, “Gospel Order.” 

First of all, regarding qualifications for gospel ministers, she says, men who had given good evidence that they were capable of ruling well their own house and preserving order in their own families, and who could enlighten those who were in darkness, so, this is an important qualification. Notice how it compares with what Scripture says also in this regard. 1 Timothy 3, verse 5, “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” So, men who have given good evidence they were capable of ruling well their own house, preserving order in the family, this is an important qualification, as well as enlightening those who were in darkness. 

Number 2: men of judgment, men of experience and deep piety. Notice 1 Timothy 3:2. The minister, or elder, is to be vigilant, sober, of good behavior. 

Number 3: men who can bear opposition and not get excited, because every objection in its worst form will be brought against the truth; able to bear opposition. We should expect opposition. Our message is not always a popular message. Titus 1:9, holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. 

Number 4: Prepared to remove these objections with calmness and meekness by the light of truth, and where do we find the light of truth? Scripture, right? The light of truth is found here, so ministers should be prepared to remove these objections with calmness and meekness by the light of truth. Notice 2 Timothy 2:25, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. You see how, point by point, throughout this Vision of Gospel Order, Ellen White brings out the very principles that we find in the Bible on this topic. 

Number 5: qualification for gospel minister: he should be willing to be servants of all instead of being exalted above the brethren. Mark 10:44, Jesus said, and whosoever of you will be the chiefest shall be the servant of all. 

Number 6: in possession of a kind, courteous spirit; if they err, ready to confess thoroughly. 2 Timothy 2:24, And the servant of the Lord must not strive but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. 

Number 7: Pure in conversation and in actions so that at all times and in all places, they can shed a holy influence. Notice what Titus 1 verse 8 says, that this minister or elder should be just or righteous, holy, and temperate. 

Number 8: ever aware that they're handling words of inspiration, words of a holy God. 2 Timothy 2:15, study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. 

Number 9: (We’re almost done, by the way, there’s 10.) Bearing the flock entrusted to them to Jesus and plead for them as Jesus pleads for us with the Father. Isn’t that a beautiful picture? Notice Paul's words in Acts 20:28, Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood. 

Number 10: set apart by the laying on of hands. Brethren of experience and of sound minds should assemble and, following the Word of God and the sanction of the Holy Spirit, should with fervent prayer lay hands upon those who have given full proof that they have received their commission of God and set them apart to devote themselves entirely, entirely, to His work. 1 Timothy 5:22 says, Lay hands suddenly on no man, and 2 Timothy 4:5 adds, make full proof, Paul said to Timothy, make full proof of thy ministry. 

So, having set forth these principles, it's very clear that the Bible has everything we need to know on this topic of Gospel Order but interestingly, more important than publishing this vision was really to study the Bible and study it thoroughly on this topic, and after the 1st vision that didn't happen, so a 2nd vision was given, this vision we just went through. And then we find in the next year, 1853, James White begins a series of four articles—again, interesting title, right? Gospel Order, written and published in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald of December 1853. 

In this series, he makes many of these same points, drawing out from Scripture the solid foundation for gospel order that's presented there. One important statement he makes is this: “The divine order of the New Testament is sufficient to organize the church of Christ.” I’ll read that again, “The divine order of the New Testament is sufficient to organize the church of Christ. If more were needed,” what? “it would have been given by inspiration. 

While we reject all human creeds or platforms which have failed to effect the order set forth in the Gospel, we take the Bible, the perfect rule of faith and practice.” He also wrote, “It is of the highest importance that there be perfect union, union of sentiment and of action. Otherwise there would be division and confusion among the precious flock.” You see again, just as we read earlier, it is the work of Scripture and these principles of Gospel Order that draw us together into unity. That's its purpose and without them, James White says, “there would be division and confusion in the church, among the precious flock. Gospel ministers who teach and baptize should be ordained or set apart to the work of the ministry by the laying on of hands. Some,” he writes, “have taken it upon themselves to baptize, who profess no calling to teach.” 

Are there some who do that today? Oh, all they need to do is be baptized in Christ, and then we’ll teach them what they need to know. “Some have taken it upon themselves to baptize who profess no calling to teach, even though in Matthew 28:19 Jesus says, ’teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ Others have gone out to teach the word whose lives were not correct at home”—of course, referring to what we read in 1 Timothy 3—"both have injured the cause. Let those who are called of God to teach and baptize, be ordained” how? “according to the word and known abroad as those in whom the body have confidence.” 

You see, this is a call, a call for credentialing, a call for recognizing those who have the trust and confidence of the people of God so they can be distinguished from those who may appear to have a message but are not sent by God. So, in summary, the qualifications and duties of an ordained minister are plainly stated in Scripture. The qualifications are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:7-9; we won't take the time to look at those passages. I think many of us are probably familiar with them, but if not feel free to write those down: 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:7-9, and the duties are plainly stated in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Titus 2:6-8 and Acts 20:28, which, of course, we quoted that passage, and parts of the other ones as well. 

Ordination and unity are very closely connected. In line with Ellen White’s vision on the subject of Gospel order the need for the church to recognize qualified and capable ministers who formal ordination was considered foundational for church organization and the unity of the faith. Now, this was not simply something that James White and Ellen White were promoting. There was a lot of study that was given to this topic in the 1850s. Joseph Bates wrote a very important article on church order in the Review and Herald of 1854, where he shows how through church history, this has been—that is through Biblical history—this has been important, and a New Testament church structure is the secret for God's people at the end of time. 

A man by the name of J.B. Frisbie also published many articles on church order, one in 1854, December 26th, on characteristics of church order. He wrote the ordination, the authority for ordination, “comes from God … And by being chosen by the church.” So, a twin qualification; the ordination comes from God and from the church, from being chosen by the church. Now, my wife a few minutes ago mentioned that we did not just adopt the ideas from the churches from which our pioneers came, but as I've pointed out here, they studied it out thoroughly through the Bible, and in fact, they were quite intentional about that. 

Adventists rejected the Roman Catholic concept of ordination. They rejected the concept of ordination that prevailed through church history, preferring instead to go back to the Bible and search Scripture for what the biblical basis for ordination is. Our pioneer scholar J.N. Andrews also; he wrote in 1877 about this topic, and he underscored the vast difference between the Adventist view of ordination and the way it is understood by other denominations. 

Now, I wasn't sure how much time I would have to share this, so I didn't put it in the PowerPoint slide, but I would like to quote from this article, because I think it's very, very helpful. He writes, “The ordinances of the church have been corrupted in Babylon. To leave Babylon, it is necessary to turn from these corruptions and to receive the pure ordinances of the New Testament Church. Did the reformers see the necessity of doing this? They did not,” he says; “They were satisfied with the baptism which they received in infancy from the Catholic priest, and they perpetuated this corruption of the ordinance of baptism in the Protestant churches.” 

Of course, many of them practice not the biblical basis of baptism rite, but that sprinkling or pouring, not immersion, which is the Biblical basis. “They were satisfied with these ordinances, and they were satisfied with the baptism which they received in infancy from the Catholic priest, perpetuated this corruption of the ordinances baptism in the Protestant churches. They served in the work of the Christian ministry by virtue of their ordination as Catholic priests, and they never considered it important to be set apart to the holy ministry by converted men.” 

You see, the great reformers even, Martin Luther, John Calvin, who ordained them? They were ordained in the Catholic Church, right? And he's pointing this out. They considered their ordination, Catholic ordination, valid. They never considered it important to be set apart to the holy ministry by converted men, “They were satisfied with that which they had received from Rome. Our pioneers were not satisfied by that which they received whether it be from Rome or any other church. “Even the bishops,” I'm still quoting, “even the bishops and archbishops of the ancient Catholic Church of England have been perpetuated in the Church of England and in the Episcopal Church of America, and these churches pretend to be the Catholic Church or rather grand divisions of that church, because they can trace their bishops back to the Apostles through the long line of popes. These things show,” he says, “that the Reformation formed the 3rd grand division of Babylon instead of establishing a church upon the model of the ancient Apostolic church. This third division is much less soiled with error than are the other two divisions, but it is not clean in the sight of God.” Not clean in the sight of God, why? because it's not based on Scripture. 

True ordination and a true succession of ordination, as we read in the Spirit of Prophecy, is based on fidelity to this book. It is this book that determines a succession of godly ordained ministers. The early Adventists were determined that every step taken with regard to faith and practice would be only that which could be substantiated from Scripture. Adventists came to appreciate the value of church order and ordination to church office and to understand more clearly the will of God for His remnant as an organized church within the prophetic setting of the third angel's message. 

Now, notice this. “The early advent of understanding of church order and ordination was not simply adopted from the churches out of which the pioneers came or derived from the churches around them. Their understanding of ordination was worked out on the basis of Scripture alone.” Scripture alone. So, the key to this topic is really found right here. This is all we need to know. God has given us what we need to know in this book, and if it's not here, then it's not part of that foundation of the church that has been laid by the apostles of prophecy. Ephesians chapter 2. 

So, let's talk just for a moment about credentials. In the early Advent history, the credentials that were initiated first were those of the ordained minister, because these were the ones that were evangelizing, raising up churches, baptizing, so ordination was given to those who received the trust of the church. Now what is ordination? By the way, this word, our pioneers did not go back to the Latin Bible. As we saw, they didn't go back to the Catholic Church to understand what ordination means. They went to Scripture, so regardless of the English derivation of the word ordination, as some have emphasized, our understanding of ordination is not Catholic; it's biblical. That is one of the most important points.

And so, if you think about the word ordination, it is that setting apart of a trusted minister, and it authorizes him to conduct the ordinances of the church. And a person who has been ordained through the process of ordination is authorized by the church to conduct the ordinances of the church. 

Do you see the relationship of these words: ordained, ordination, ordinance? What are the ordinances in Scripture? baptism and the Lord's Supper, right? Baptism, Lord's Supper, and these are the biblical ordinances that they are authorized to perform. In addition to that, of course, there were people who were authorized to preach. Now, Brother Johnson was not one of these men. Brother Smith was authorized to preach; he had a license. 

By the way, it's interesting, Uriah Smith was preaching for many years before he was actually ordained through the service of ordination. Very interesting. So, the license was a license to preach, and it was authorized. It authorized persons to travel and to conduct a service, a preaching service, in the church, and to bring people to the church, to study the Bible with them, to help them understand the message for this time. That was what the license was for; the license for a licensed minister was really a license to preach. They were authorized to preach. The ordination credential or ministerial credential was an authorization not only to preach, but to conduct the ordinances of the church. 

So, with that background now, I think we need to talk about the women and Gospel Order. 

Gina Wahlen Speaking:

Thank you, Clint, very much. I hope you found that helpful in laying the foundation in understanding how our church started credentialing and why, and how it was them biblically based, and the difference between the credentials—of the ministerial ordination credentials and a ministerial license, a license to preach. 

Now, did women receive ordination credentials? Were they ordained anywhere in the history of the 7th-day Adventist Church? No, we have no record in the history of the 7th-day Adventist Church of a woman being ordained. However, we do have record of many women receiving licenses to preach. 

Does anyone know when the first license to preach was issued to a woman, any guesses? Well, I will tell you, and I find it in a book here that I am going to be telling you about in just a moment. “Not long after regularizing the credentialing of ordained ministers in 1861 by the [Do you know which conference? That's right, by the Michigan Conference, yes by the] Michigan Conference, and organizing the General Conference in 1863, the system of issuing licenses to individuals started. 

“The first woman to receive a license to preach was Sarah A. Hallock Lindsay, and she received her first license in September of 1869.” So, that's pretty soon after we were organized in 1863. The first woman to receive the license was in 1869. Interestingly enough, she, as were many of the women who received licenses to preach, was the wife of a minister, and they went together as a couple. Sometimes they would work separately, but mostly together they were working. Sarah and her husband worked in New York and Pennsylvania, and they did a wonderful work and raised up many churches in that area, and as we go through the week it'll be very interesting to see what these women did. The license to preach is really a very powerful and very important license, as we will see. It's a vote of confidence. 

So, early on, our church recognized the contributions that women could make, and gave women a vote of confidence by issuing these ministerial licenses. And so, each day we'll be talking about that. But I see we have a little over 11 minutes left, and what we'd like to do is to open it now for questions. Maybe this is something new that you haven't heard before. Maybe it's different from what you've heard before. Maybe you just would like to ask something. 

But, by the way, before I forget, do I have a friend back there from the ABC? Do we have our ABC person back there? Yes? We’re supposed to have an ABC person. There is a book that actually lists all of the women from 1869 until 1975 who received license, who were licensed by the 7th-day Adventist Church. It's in Appendix 5. This book is called Women's Ordination, Does It Matter? and it was written by Clinton and Gina Whalen, and was actually, frankly, not a book that we had been looking to write, but because of a lot of original research that needed to be done. Maybe you've heard of TOSC, the Theology of Ordination Study Committee. Because there was a lot of research that needed to be done, that's why this book was written. It is based on research that was done for the TOSC report, but it is written in a very friendly, not a high academic way, and it goes through many things, actually, we’ll be going through it this week. And it has a lot of helpful appendices in the back, including a lot of questions and answers, and we have a special low price here at camp meeting. You can get your copy back there, and I think it will enrich our study this week. Just wanted to let you know about that.

Clinton 

By the way, there are two chapters of the book specifically dealing with women and gospel order. 

Gina

So yes, it's very helpful, really helped me understand. I mean there is nothing like having to write a book to help you understand the issue. So, anyway, I think you'll enjoy that, but now we are ready to take your questions, and I see there are people with microphones ready for you. 

Okay, we have someone up here. 

“So, my question is, did they stop giving preaching licenses to women in 1975?” 

Good question, and yes, they did. You're right; that is bad. 

Clinton

Well, there's an article that was written about this by Steve Mervyn Maxwell. I think it's titled, “A Very Interesting and Surprising History,” and the essence of this chapter explains that in the 1970s the church, the general conference was confronted with a dilemma by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States government, because licensed ministers and ordained ministers were working in the churches, and we told them they're both ministers. We don't make the distinction. They have the parsonage allowance that we give to all ministers. And they said no, they need to be able to do the ordinances, and then only can you call them a minister, and will we accept that they are really ministers of the 7th-day Adventist Church.

Well, if they were to restrict it just to those who would have the authorization to baptize and to conduct communion service, and of course perform weddings, that would mean that a lot of the licensed ministers would become employees of the 7th-day Adventist Church and probably not be able to be continued in employment, because the monies were not adequate to fund that additional, very large expense. And so, what was done was to enable licensed ministers also to perform these ordinances, if they were ordained as elders in the local church. They've been ordained as elders and were elected as elders of the local congregation where they pastored, and then as an elder they could do these things, and so it was a way of satisfying the IRS. 

But the problem was, then, what about women who had licenses to preach? Well, they weren't going to be licensed to baptize and conduct communion; that would be ordained functions. And so, that's why they had to be, the licenses had to be removed. Now, whether that was the best solution, we could discuss that for quite some time, but that was, anyway, the solution that was arrived at. 

Then later, I guess I should point out, if you look at the 1984 Annual Council discussion, where it was debated regarding (the idea of elders being able to do these ordained functions within the church), that would be applied to licensed ministers. It was pointed out by one of the delegates in the discussions, the IRS problem didn't exist anymore. It was a moot point by 1984 anyhow, maybe it's 1989 or 90, got to double check the date on that. But, in any case, by the time it needed to be decided at the world church level, it was no longer an issue from the IRS, and it could then be decided on a biblical basis. But that didn't happen.

Questioner:

I appreciate the sister jumping off where I’d sort of intended to jump off. Were those licenses revoked? They weren't. There have just not been any additional, I think, issued?

Clinton:

I think they were just, you know, they were licensed for a year or two. I think so; I'm not sure exactly.

Questioner:

I think I'm correct in understanding that IRS policy has effected a Bible order question for the world church. Is that correct?

Clinton:

This was an issue really that only was a problem in the United States. In that case, the policies were implemented within the United States. This wouldn't apply outside the United States.

Questioner:

 Have those policies, do they underly some of the ongoing dialogue? 

Clinton:

We’re in some ways still living with those decisions today. 

Questioner:

I appreciate that. The other thing: the sister made the statement that there was no history of ordination of women within the church. Now my question is, is that statement still true, or there is no history of ordination of women within the church until?

Clinton:

 No, the church doesn't recognize….

Gina:

Thank you for saying that. I should clarify there. When I say there's no history of ordination of women within the 7th-day Adventist Church, I'm talking specifically ordination to the gospel ministry. There are women who are ordained as local church elders. Yes, we do have a history of that, but we do not have any women who are ordained to the gospel ministry. Now we have some who claim that they are ordained to the gospel ministry. We have some conferences and unions who have “ordained” women, but it is not what has been voted by the world church 3 times, and so those ordinations are not recognized by the world church. 

Clinton:

Maybe I'll just add that ordination has always, ordination to the ministry, a credential that applies worldwide, and therefore, anyone who receives this credential should have the authority from the church to perform all the functions of an ordained minister anywhere with the world church, and that still stands. 

Questioner:

Discuss commissioning. Will you touch on that subject? As we know, the distinction between we commission teachers, and there's some discussion about commissioning elders. I mean, for myself, I'm trying to sort out a lot of information. I appreciate this, and the book, which I intend to pick up on the way out. And so, my question is, do you touch on those issues and help bring some clarification to those subjects as well? 

Gina:

Tomorrow, that's a very good question. It's very important for us to talk about that.

Questioner:

 Early in the morning, but does the book address those things?

Clinton:

Not in detail. 

Questioner:

Will this be available on audioverse? 

Clinton:

These presentations will, yes. 

Gina:

One more question, and then we're out of time.

Questioner:

I was wondering if, like from the beginning, was there like a list of qualifications that were for women licensed? Did it come from the woman herself, did she request it? Or was it a consensus of people who had come to her and say, oh, we would like you to be …?

Gina:

 At the beginning there was no examination for the woman. There was no examination. That did not come until, I believe, 10 years later.

Clinton:

For woman or for men, there was no formal process spelled out or to be received for a license to preach. This was more of giving an opportunity to prove your ability as a minister. 

Gina:

And as I mentioned, this first one, she was the wife of a minister and was working together, which, actually, Ellen White really encourages, for pastors and their wives to minister together. That’s strongly encouraged. 

So, we're out of time, this time. Thank you so much for coming. There is a limited number of these books in the back and you're welcome. They're not there? They forgot?

Clinton:

 They’re at the ABC. 

Gina:

Ok, well, run over to the ABC and get your copy, and will see you here tomorrow, same time and same place. God bless.

Clinton:

Let's close with prayer. Father in heaven, we thank You for the opportunity we've had to open Your word this afternoon, and for our pioneers, for the gift of prophecy through the writings of Ellen White. We thank you for every blessing that you've given your people for these last days. And we pray that you would guide us, continue to lead us by that light of your Word, the light of truth and the Spirit of Prophecy, that we may follow your will In every way, be prepared for Your coming, and help others also to be ready. Bless each one of us here, in Jesus’ name, amen. 

 

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