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Author Topic: Ellen White and Authority for Women  (Read 23116 times)

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Murcielago

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2012, 05:43:05 PM »

I am still waiting for someone to show clear and unequivocal proof that Ellen White never did, and doesn't hold any authority in the church, and that she never did, and still does not hold any authority over a man. Until then, you and your arguments hold no credibility. You cannot have a woman in authority, and maintain that women cannot hold authority.

So I take it that you are for women's ordination, assuming that you don't see the proof you want.
I am for consistency.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 05:47:42 PM by Murcielago »
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Dedication

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #46 on: August 05, 2012, 09:46:23 PM »

I am still waiting for someone to show clear and unequivocal proof that Ellen White never did, and doesn't hold any authority in the church, and that she never did, and still does not hold any authority over a man. Until then, you and your arguments hold no credibility. You cannot have a woman in authority, and maintain that women cannot hold authority.

So I take it that you are for women's ordination, assuming that you don't see the proof you want.
I am for consistency.

To be fair, we need to realize that Ellen White, since her death,  has assumed a superhuman status in many people's minds.  For many they don't think of a flesh and blood woman who functioned as a normal woman when Ellen White's name is mentioned, they think of all the books and messages.
Now, we believe her writings are messages given to her from God.  Thus the authority behind the messages isn't the woman but God Himself.  She, in and of herself, has no authority today, it's only when we believe her messages came from God.

Then the messages are authoritative that is very true.
The question here is -- is it the woman or the message that has the authority?

I realize sometimes the two get confusing, especially when one reads the history of 1888 and onward, where EGW wrote a lot of strong letters to men in leadership positions, and worked tirelessly to get these men to stop their devisive attitudes and actions.

However, it was also during this time that her 'authority' was at a low ebb, many of these men thinking she had lost her prophetic position.  And if that were true, she had no more authority.

As far as administrative authority.
No -- EGW was not THE founder of the church  (though she was part of the group that first formed the church).   She was not the originator of Adventist doctrines; though through her visions she shed light on these doctrines as men like James White, J.N.Andrews, Joseph Bates, Hiram Edson and others prayerfully and thoroughly studied scripture to find the truths.   Actually she didn't even understand all the theology these men were carefully digging out of the Bible  It was only when they came to an impasse that God revealed to her through vision which way to go.

Ellen White largely left  the running of the church to men -- GC presidents, magazine editors etc. Men stood at the head of the church  as the leaders.

Yet EGW often wrote testimonies to these men when they strayed from God's blueprint.  And  when these men started exercising "kingly power" she revealed the plan and urged forward the work  of a complete restructuring of the world wide church's leadership.

So in conclusion
Ellen White did not assume any high leadership positions in the church, (like President, etc)  those positions were held by men.
So the "headship" being male was upheld.

But Paul has other verses that command women to be silent in church and not to speak or teach or to have authority over a  man.

A large portion of her messages were  "teaching" and counselling these men who were in leadership.

She most definitely spoke in church -- preaching many a sermon and discussing Biblical themes.

So really --
It depends on how one explains the verses written by Paul concerning women's conduct in church.
According to most of the explanations concerning these verses, one must first be  introduced to the culture of the area   in Paul's day and rationalize away the more obvious meaning.

Most explanations do away with the "keep silent" clause -- some by pointing out the seating plan where men and women were segragated within the church and women weren't supposed to talk to their husbands.

Others say it's not church meetings, but a business meeting of the church in which women weren't allowed to speak.
If that is the case than EGW would have often been in violation.




 

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Bob Pickle

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #47 on: August 06, 2012, 05:11:50 AM »

So really --
It depends on how one explains the verses written by Paul concerning women's conduct in church.
According to most of the explanations concerning these verses, one must first be  introduced to the culture of the area   in Paul's day and rationalize away the more obvious meaning.

Most explanations do away with the "keep silent" clause -- some by pointing out the seating plan where men and women were segragated within the church and women weren't supposed to talk to their husbands.

I think you've helped us zero in on a troubling but important point, which does indeed demonstrate that there is a change going on in how we view Scripture, whether we realize it or not.

Did you notice that our pioneers explained the texts without appealing to cultural arguments? If they could explain without doing so, what has happened? Why are we having trouble doing so today?
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Gregory

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #48 on: August 06, 2012, 01:32:25 PM »

There is a lot of truth in  what Ulicia said.

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Murcielago

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #49 on: August 06, 2012, 09:58:19 PM »

It's interesting to see a conservative position abandoned by conservatives, and taken up by progressives. Rewriting church history to diminish the role of Ellen White would generally be considered anything but conservative, but now they are back peddling rapidly to diminish Ellen White and deny her the authority they so recently fought to preserve for her. A few months ago she was a figure of vast authority to them, and now they try to claim that she isn't and never was. Interesting how fast conservatives become more liberal than the liberals.
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Johann

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #50 on: September 09, 2012, 02:34:55 AM »

There is no record anywhere that the deacon Philip, called any of the Apostles for permission to baptize.

Irrelevant. Philip baptizing in Acts 8 is before the ordination of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13, which ordination conferred upon them the authority to baptize and organize churches according to the SoP.

Of course you have the freedom to evaluate for yourself which portions of Scripture are "irrelevant". That does not mean that I will accept your view. In this case I do not, but side with a number of Adventist Bible students who disagree with your interpretation.
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Bob Pickle

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #51 on: September 10, 2012, 03:51:50 PM »

There is no record anywhere that the deacon Philip, called any of the Apostles for permission to baptize.

Irrelevant. Philip baptizing in Acts 8 is before the ordination of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13, which ordination conferred upon them the authority to baptize and organize churches according to the SoP.

Of course you have the freedom to evaluate for yourself which portions of Scripture are "irrelevant". That does not mean that I will accept your view. In this case I do not, but side with a number of Adventist Bible students who disagree with your interpretation.

You did not say in what way you disagreed. Please be specific.
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Johann

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #52 on: September 10, 2012, 09:30:23 PM »

You did not say in what way you disagreed. Please be specific.

Your word "irrelevant" as quoted.
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Battle Creek

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #53 on: October 02, 2012, 02:13:35 AM »

Some Ellen White quotes in connection with the "rebellion":

Quote
Transcription of Bert Haloviak's presentation at the "Let's Talk"
meeting held in the LLUC, August 18,2012.
-------------------------


In the mid 1890s, Ellen White was serving in the Australasian Union
Conference. A question of the authority of the world church headquarters
in Battle Creek and that of the Australasian Union Conference arose and
Ellen White decided to address it.

    Is God any nearer to the men in Battle Creek than to the workers
    who are laboring in his service in far-off lands? Has the Lord to
    go to Battle Creek and tell men there that are working at Battle
    Creek what the men working in distant countries must do?

By the 1970s, Takoma Park, Maryland had replaced Battle Creek as world
headquarters. Available documentation shows that from the 1970s until
the recent localized 2012 action the position of women in ministry
was determined by two men. It was set-in-concrete in the 1970s, not
maliciously, but was the product of the beliefs of the General Conference
president and the vice-president for North America. All of the actions
taken by the church since then, in one way or another relate to the
decisions of those two men.

By 1968, a long forgotten Ellen White statement of 1895 about ordination
of women had been rediscovered. The GC president asked Harry Lowe,
retiring chairman of the Research and Defense Literature Committee to
investigate the issue.  His report established a pattern for later
administrative decisions making. For, without probing into the context
of 19th century ministry, Lowe applied the Ellen White statement referred
to deaconess ordination. That interpretation provided a semblance of
progress by advocating a practice that had apparently never been
implemented.  The president seemed pleased. "When your committee is
ready to report, we will be glad to receive it, but we can foresee
approximately what it is going to be and it seems that the Adventist
Church isn't too far out of line with some of the other Christian faiths."

By 1973, the president had approved a council on the role of women in
church consisting of 14 women and 13 men who met at camp Mohaven in Ohio.
Some 27 study papers were produced by top theologians, administrators and
scholars.  The result was a remarkable consensus that suggested that the
time was opportune not only for SDA women to be ordained as deacons and
elders but a program be initiated in welcoming locale for licensed women
ministers to pastor a congregation.  If the results were positive after
two years, the 1975 GC session be informed and hopefully approve
ordination of women as pastors in appropriate areas.  The theological
papers concluded that no scripture evidence precluded women from
ordination.

The president, however, believed the commission went too far and his
response is clearly indicated in his personal correspondence, comments
to others and explicit actions to point the church in another direction.
Already by 1972 the president's view had surfaced. He had received advanced
copies and summaries of some of the papers to be presented.

By August 1972, he indicated that any decision whose goal is the ordination
of women as ministers would need approval by the whole world church.  Anyone
with denominational experience knew that such a prospect was zero in 1972.
This nullified the pilot program and its demise deflated the original
Mohaven optimism.  Almost all of the delegates had experience.

No one seemed surprised at the 1974 annual council conclusion that "the
Seventh-day Adventist Church is a world church and because a survey of its
world divisions revealed that the time is not ripe nor opportune, therefore,
in the interest of world unity of the church, no move be made in the
direction of ordaining women to the gospel ministry." "The time is not
ripe", or its variation, "more study is needed" has prevailed until a more
recent period.

In 1984, to Potomac conference believed it had a mandate for its three women
ministers to baptize.  This was the first conference in more recent history
to have women trained and prepared for full ministerial duties. The
conference also voted to issue these women the ministerial license since
such had been granted to women in past church history.  In his hand written
notes on that section of the Potomac Executive Committee action,  the GC
president, formerly NAD president, observed that the question of women's
ministerial license had been clarified in the 1970s.

What was the nature of that "clarification"? In the mid 1960s, Internal
Revenue Service informed the GC  that its licensed ministry no longer
qualified for the tax benefits provided to that time.  Since licensed
ministers could not perform the same functions as the ordained ministry,
they were not ministers as defined by the IRS. The newly elected vice
president for North America realized that each licensed minister would lose
9% of his salary and the church would have to absorb that loss.  What to do
in this situation? Although the gradually increasing functions of the
licensed ministry took over a decade of redefining, an initial step
concluded that if the licensed minister was ordained as a local church
elder, he could perform certain functions formally off limits.

Adding responsibilities to assist in ordinances, baptismal services
presiding at business meetings however, did not resolve the issue to IRS
satisfaction. At the end of 1971 NAD asked for and received authority, "to
take whatever steps are necessary to secure for licensed ministers full
status as ministers of the gospel."

The NAD president after additional failed attempts to satisfy the IRS
offered a new plan to GC officers  September, 1976.  He considered his plan
not one of the moral or theological nature, but a matter of church policy.
The crucial sentence in this latest proposal which was not, and still is
not in harmony with the church manual read, "A licensed minister is
authorized by the Conference Executive Committee to perform all the
functions of the ordained minister in the church or churches where he is
assigned." Meeting prior to the fall annual counsel of 1976 the home and
overseas officers and union presidents made it apparent that the field
outside the United States disapproved the critical phrase.

Despite world opposition NAD passed the legislation, thus the action voted
at the October 20 afternoon annual council session with representative
world participation differed from that voted at the North American section
of the Annual Council in the evening of October 20.  The critical sentence
was not printed in either of the annual council booklets for 1976, or the
Review listing of annual counsel actions, but never the less it became
effective.  Since the spring meeting of 1975 allowed for the ordination of
women as church elders, the question of their eligibility for the enhanced
functions of the male licensed ministry arose.  Legislation already passed
and more on the horizon provided a resounding No. The 1977 NAD annual
council also added some new terms to policy implementation -- Associates in
Pastoral Care. That phrase identified persons who are employed on pastoral
staffs but who are not in line for ordination. The licensed women's
ministry, contrary to the male, had followed a ten year downgrading of its
ministerial personative, until by 1977 women were fully placed upon a
separate track of ministry that made them ineligible for ordination.  While
they could be defined as ministerial workers, women were not on the track
of ordination where they were before the IRS problem.  This change, in
response to the IRS caused significant disruption and pain for women
already in ministry.

For example women who previously held a ministerial license now had them
revoked.  One such woman came to the General Conference archives for
research.  Surprisingly, Josephine Benton was ordained as a local church
elder in the Brotherhood church in Washington in 1972.  Both the Potomac
Conference and the Columbia Union presidents participated in her
ordination.  Remember it was not until 1975 that official church sanction
was given to local church women elders to be ordained.  Josephine was at
the Mohaven meetings where she presented her paper. She was associate
pastor at the Sligo church  from 1973-9 and was the minister at the
Rockville Maryland church from '79 to '82. She arrived at the GC archives
with a large list of women who had received the ministerial license from
1904 and 5 to 1975.  Her basic question: What did that ministerial license
mean and how far back in SDA history did women receive it?  This led to
huge surprises for no one had pursued that topic in the church.  By looking
at the minutes of local state conference meetings held annually in the 19th
century we soon realized that women received ministerial licenses since the
1870s.  Once we had the names of those women ministers, we could look at
their ministerial reports regularly published in the Review. Josephine
published her research in her book entitled Called by God.

Why am I emphasizing this? I have described two towering male
administrators who faced the troublous and controversial issues of the
1970s and onward and who created policies that assured that their honestly
believed position prevailed.  There was one woman who, instead of proposing
policies, probed the heritage of women in Adventist Ministry. No one, in
Seventh-day Adventism, and especially the two top leaders had a clue about
the heritage Josephine uncovered when they made their set-in-concrete
decisions in the early 1970s. We learned that the licensed women ministers
were indeed ministers as  the 19th century church defined ministry.  They
were tested by local conferences before receiving the license.

We discovered several cases where Ellen White actively participated in the
exams prior to their receiving the license.  Mrs. White even lectured on
the importance of the ministerial license. Women were members of the
ministerial association and made presentations to it.  Over 20 different
women were licensed as ministers from 1869 to the ending of the 19th
century.  They were not lay members but were licensed and paid for by the
local conferences or general conference from tithe fund.  They followed the
same path to ministry as men.  There was only one track in ministry. Since
some were licensed for seven or eight years consecutively local conferences
obviously considered them successful ministers.  The ministry continued to
be upgraded through the 1870s and 1880s and women continued being licensed
by the local conference. At the1887 GC session, the General Conference
implemented what had been done at the local conferences for the last 18
years when it licensed two women to serve in General Conference mission
areas within the United States. The bottom-up approach to ministerial
credentialing seemed to work in 19th century Adventism.

Beginning in 1981 Ellen White ministered in the Australasian Union
Conference. She advanced the new concept of ministry closely involving
both men and women ministers.  Until 1895, Seventh-day Adventists had
not ordained women then Ellen White wrote in the Review that "women who
participated in ministry should be set apart for this work by prayer and
the laying on of hands. Women who were willing to consecrate some of their
time to the service of the Lord should be appointed to visit the sick, look
after the young and minister to the necessities of the poor.  They should
be set apart for this work by prayer and the laying on of hands. Not a hand
should be bound, not a soul discouraged, and not a voice should be hushed.
Let every individual labor privately or publicly, to help forward this
grand work." The Australasian context reveals Ellen White's full support
for full-fledged ordination of women's ministry in the church to that time.

An analysis of the terms "public labor" reveals that throughout SDA history
public laborers were recognized as ministerial workers and general paid
from conference or tithe funds. Ministry defined as Christian Help Work
involved training of lay members of local churches to visit before physical
needs in community families and provide scriptural training to assist those
families.  Although trainees from local churches were lay volunteers, the
Australasian Union provided financial support for those who educated them.
This ministry supported both women and men and resulted in more than doubling
the Australasian church membership from 1146 in 1894 to 2375 by 1900.

Mrs White was fond of quoting Isaiah 61:6 when she considered women and men
in the Australasian ministry.  She shattered all presuppositions Seventh-day
Adventists may have held concerning women in Ministry. "Of those who act as
his helping hand, The Lord says, 'Ye shall be named priests of the Lord: men
shall call you the ministers of our God.'" Here Ellen White applies to both
men and women a passage from Isaiah written when there were no women priests.
In Isaiah's day, to be named a priest implied ordination.

The history of ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist church in the 19th
century evidences that Seventh-day Adventists women indeed served as priests
and ministers of the Lord.

One last question remains.

Must the Lord first go to Silver Spring and tell the General Conference
president what is right for the Pacific Union? Or is it possible that
the Lord speaks directly to believers in the Pacific Union?
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Bob Pickle

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #54 on: October 02, 2012, 04:54:02 PM »

The transcription of Bert Haloviak's remarks is a disappointment on two counts:

1. Haloviak confuses the collective voice of a General Conference Session with the voice of a few men in Battle Creek/Takoma Park/Silver Spring. Note how he closes with "Must the Lord first go to Silver Spring and tell the General Conference president what is right for the Pacific Union? Or is it possible that the Lord speaks directly to believers in the Pacific Union?" And yet no GC Session I know of has ever been held in Silver Spring. It is the 1990 and 1995 GC Sessions that said no to women's ordination, not a single president.

2. Note how in the transcription of Haloviak's quote of Ellen White's 1895 statement, that the following sentence is left out without an ellipsis: "In some cases they will need to counsel with the church officers or the minister ...." Might be accidental, but seems dishonest. That half of a sentence proves that Ellen White was not calling for the ordination of women as ministers in 1895.

However, Haloviak has made clear what has been stated here before: This mess is in part due to changing how we used licensed ministers just so we wouldn't lose the parsonage exclusion tax break.

Another positive is that Haloviak alludes to or describes a type of ministry in the 1890's that hardly exists in North America today. It really ought to be resurrected, and what we do presently ought to be changed. Our ministers should not be predominately local pastors of local churches.
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Artiste

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #55 on: October 02, 2012, 07:32:42 PM »

Battle Creek, it was very thoughtful of you to post that transcription of Bert Haloviak's presentation so we could realize the errors he is promoting.
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Gailon Arthur Joy

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #56 on: October 06, 2012, 04:40:13 PM »

It is not a question of HUMAN authority. Mrs White was, by her own definition, a Messenger of the Lord. She did NOT hold priestly authority at home or in the church.

She is no more the Authority than Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, or a myriad of other authors. They were ALL messengers of the Lord. Some of them were also Priests in their homes in the tradition given by the Lord in the Sanctuary Message.

When the church or it's various entities site the Spirit of Prophecy, it is not HER Authority they seek, but the AUTHORITY of God.

And if this is an issue of AUTHORITY, it is dead on arrival as it does not have AUTHORITY FROM GOD!!!!
And I will go a step further and argue that if it is authority they seek, it is clearly from the wrong source and is not worthy of further consideration. Seeking Power and Authority is a clear earmark of Lucifer and is rebellion AGAINST GOD.

Gailon Arthur Joy
AUReporter



I am fully aware that there are straws to split and points to be made that Ellen White had/has no authority in the SDA church, but the reality is very different. She is regularly cited as the final authority in Adventism, she is considered by most Adventists as the defacto founder and author of our church and it's doctrines, she is cited as the final authority in the Church Manual along with the Bible... It seems very inconsistent to hold a woman as the final spiritual authority in the SDA church, yet deny women ordination to authority in the lowest field on the totem pole: the congregation, simply because they are women. This issue is a white elephant in the room and must be addressed in a realistic manner. Denying the authority of Ellen White is burying one's head in the sand. It is fact. It now remains for those who respect her authority but oppose WO, to avoid playing Peter in denying their faith in her, and demonstrate that they are not being inconsistent.
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Battle Creek

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #57 on: November 08, 2012, 10:36:12 AM »

What makes Ellen White unique is the tremendous influence she had in the church throughout the whole world.

During her two years in Europe she visited Norway twice. On her first visit to Norway the church was in a terrible shape, almost like a fighting arena. No sooner had she arrived than she showed that the was a pastor's pastor, worthy of being an ordained minister. She immediately went to work as a pastor, gathering the flock together, talking to the the members, encouraging them to renew their Christian experience. She worked on the official pastor, discovered he had almost lost his Christian faith and behavior, brought him to the cross where he had a renewed experience.

Doing the work of an ordained minister she did more than her duty, and showed to all that she had been given the task of being a pastor of the flock, by God Himself.

When she returned to Norway all could see that there had been a revival last time she was there, and they had a great reunion of rejoicing because the pastor's pastor had been at work in the church. Even a thousand faithless false prophets could not have convinced that church Ellen White had not been ordained as a pastor to benefit that church. She did not need any paper from the estate to convince the people which task she was fulfilling.
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Artiste

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #58 on: November 08, 2012, 11:00:53 AM »

Yes, B.C., can't stop beating the drum for women's ordination, can you?
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Battle Creek

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Re: Ellen White and Authority for Women
« Reply #59 on: November 08, 2012, 03:47:53 PM »

There are still Seventh-day Adventists who appreciate the work of Ellen G White and the Spirit of Prophecy, and are unwilling to sacrifice her on the altar of their own ideology.
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