Adventists stay the course, vote to deny women’s ordination

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Delegates, their families, special guests and visitors to the 60th General Conference Session begin filling the seats for the much-anticipated discussion on women's ordination taking place during the morning business session on July 8, 2015. Photo courtesy of James Bokovoy/NAD

Delegates, their families, special guests and visitors to the 60th General Conference Session begin filling the seats for the much-anticipated discussion on women's ordination taking place during the morning business session on July 8, 2015. Photo courtesy of James Bokovoy/NAD

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(RNS) Despite the "no" vote, several U.S. conferences of Seventh-day Adventists have ordained women in recent years.

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  • According to the Beyond Beliefs study, a major research project investigating Seventh-day Adventist Millennial young adults’ responses to every single one of the 28 official beliefs of their church and over 100 social, behavioral, and religious issues, many Millennials support female ordination. Interestingly, the Beyond Beliefs study also identified that, for the majority of Millennials studied who participated in this research project (n=679 in North America), the vote to not ordain women is not something that would affect their perception of their church or motivate them to withhold financial contributions to the Seventh-day Adventist church. See http://www.Beyond-Beliefs.com for more information about this major landmark study, and for a free special report regarding the ordination of women, see http://www.beyond-beliefs.com/resources/Millennial%20Young%20Adults%20and%20their%20responses%20to%20the%20Ordination%20of%20Women%20%E2%80%93%20Beyond%20Beliefs%202%20Special%20Report.pdf

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that you cherry pick your companies. Ebay has had a female CEO. Pepsi has a female CEO. IBM, Oracle, Dupont, Lockheed Martin, Xerox, AMD and General Dynamics all have female CEOs.

  • Brian Griffin

    Well, yes, actually:

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000484893/article/bruce-arians-female-coaches-could-be-in-nfls-future

    And many, many others, as a 10-second Google search would have revealed.

  • Ted

    Angela Merkel is one of the longest serving and most respected political leaders in modern history. It is the USA and our backwards, sexist, homophobic culture which is holding us back. “Male Headship” is what got us into the mess we’re in.

  • Dr. Anonymous

    I have personally seen and witnessed how SDA female pastors can be used by God to bring people to Him and to strengthen His church.

    In light of this new vote, we should not be charging women to go to seminary school if we knowingly are going to deny them the blessings of allowing God to use them as ordained pastors.

    I hope Andrews University will step up as leaders and severely reduce tuition for females going to seminary school.

    Also, odd idiosyncrasies like this really reaffirms my decision not to put my children in SDA schools.

  • Petru stan

    I believe in women’s ministry, and I worked with women’s and they did great work. Nobody is denying that. Biblical, Jesus is the head of man, and man is the head of woman. The problem is arising when we want to add society to the same level with church. We wish to be like the World, when the Bible is clear, there was no ordination of woman in the work done in the Temple. God bless people who voted no and stoped this lie to enter into the church.

  • Steve Jepson

    It is my observation that the only people who want to vote for the ordination of women were those who mistakenly though this had something to do with equality, fairness, bigotry, male chauvinism, the “war on women”, etc…

    And those who did not want this based their case on the authority of the Word of God. The issue is very simple. If your are not the husband of one wife you simply do not mean the requirements to serve the church in the capacity of pastor/bishop/elder/deacon per 1 Timothy chapter 3 and other places.

    Anyone who thinks being “ordained” will make them equal with men is under the delusion that they are not already equal and then some.

    I would be interested to know if the majority of WO proponents were men who have a hidden agenda, or if is was women who do not recognize their equality.

  • Muriel

    Korah, Dathan and Abiram took with them princes of the congregation and opined that some men should not lift themselves above the congregation.

  • Susan

    Women don’t leave, because they want to work for equality within their religion. They can do more good within their organization.

    No, women are not already equal. That is just rationalization. Of course, the world is very different from the world of the Gospels. Just because women could not be ordained at that time does not mean that should be ordained now. If you use Jesus as your example, to have to be ordained you would have to be under 40 and Jewish.

  • Kyton

    You need to do some more research into what the Bible says on the subject. There’s a really great book called “Who Says Women Can’t Teach”. It is an in-depth study of male headship and women’s roles in the church. You may find it enlightening.

    God Bless

  • Be Brave

    @Susan,

    “Their religion?”

    “Their religion?” Is the mission begun by Christ Jesus. THere are many, many, many, places that women can find jobs as pastors. Why the need to bully yet another denomination into submitting to political correctness? The world and its ways is NOT part of the mission of Christ Jesus. One does not need to seek stardom or position of authority to be a “servant” of the Church.

    Maybe the progressive activists rearing their worldly heads now in the SDA need to read the Gospels. The Gospel is still read in SDA seminary right? Or has that gone the way of political correctness too? Obviously the Gospel is hate speech and Jesus a confused old fashion bigot in progressive-liberal theology, but I thought the SDA has rejected heresy and are on the correct path away from the world and its ways?

  • Godlove

    BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. Now too much speaking and no Scripture is vain, and even quoting.g scripture with the wrong interpretation, this also is futile. Scripture clearly declared in 1Corinthians 14:34-36 and see vs 37clearly states “IT IS THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD.” I would ask this, Sabbath keeping is according to Commandment, and this also is by COMMANDMENT of THE LORD, ought we to choose which or which not we keep?In line with 1Timothy 2:11-15. Chapter 3:1-13 is the sole and only criteria for being a bishop (Pastor) and deacon, nowhere in scripture is it ever mentioned saying deaconess, that is to contradict itself. Yea Truly women have labored for the Gospel in CHRIST, in his days, Anna, Luke 2:36-37, she lodged in the Temple and served GOD with fasting and prayers (the good works mentioned in 1Timothy2:9,10).And in no wise did she ever usurp a man’s authority in the House of GOD.PRECEPT UPON PRECEPT;LINE UPON LINE;HERA A LITTLE AND THERE A LITTLE…

  • One of the Bible Studies I attend is through a local SDA congregation.A few weeks ago, I picked the pastor’s brain on this to see what he thought. His comment was that if he were a pastor at a large church where there were 4 or 5 other pastors, he wouldn’t mind if one of them was a woman. He paused and added, “notice I said one out of 5 or 6.” The irony was that he said he held these views because he was more “progressive and liberal-thinking.”

    For centuries, the Bible was used to promote slavery. Now we say “oh they were just reading it wrong.” For centuries, the Bible was used to say that the earth is flat. Now we say “oh they were just reading it wrong.” For centuries, the Bible has been used to say that homosexuality is evil and that women should be subjugated. How long until we look back at those views and say, “oh they were just reading it wrong.”? (Hint: it’s already happening.)

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  • Susan

    “One does not need to seek stardom or position of authority to be a “servant” of the Church.”

    How do you know that these women are seeking stardom? It’s true that there a lot of way to be a “servant” of the Church, but what if some women are called to be a pastor? It seems to me to be a rationalization of women’s inequality to say that there are many ways to serve the Church.

    There is a big difference between political correctness and a genuine spiritual questioning of women’s role in a religious organization.

  • favour

    As far as I know it women are still graduating from Adentist theological colleges, and can still be pastors, just not ordained. So they can still carry out all the spiritual duties of a pastor if they so desire.

  • Bob Christian

    It’s actually greatly concerning that a TRUTH stated so clear in the HOLY BIBLE could actually come down to a vote, let lone a 1300+/900 vote.

    If we as a collective body have this much trouble coming to the right conclusion on something so Biblically obvious, both old and new testament, God Help Us.

    Let the HOLY SPIRIT lead us, and NOT the Worldly influences.

  • Bob Christian

    For Jesus to call a woman to be an actual pastor/priest/elder would mean He actually contradicts His Word.

  • Larry

    I love the elaborate bullcrap people give for stating the perfectly obvious nature of their religious belief, “Womenfolk are inferior to menfolk. God says so”.

    How dare those women seek recognition for their religious beliefs and desire to minister a congregation! They should be doing nothing but laying on their back for their husbands and producing Christian babies!

    Hey its their faith. If they want to be socially reactionary, so be it. All it means is people are having fewer and fewer reasons to stick with that bunch.

  • Whop

    Funny you stated that Petru needs to read the Bible more but then promptly direct him to read another book???

    Study to show thyself approved…

    The Church as voted, let’s all (women, children included) move forward in finishing the work that has been set before us. Amen

  • Joe Anon

    This is another example of how the Adventist organization sets itself on the pathway to extinction. There is nothing less satisfying than fighting (voting) for something that is indeed irrelevant if the organization itself isn’t flexible enough to remain relevant to the world in which we all live… The organization has demonstrated its inability to move into this century and ultimately desires to keep woman “in their place”. Such organizations will ultimately die.

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  • Angel

    I guess these women are trying to “BE BRAVE.” By all means let us continue to fight division with yet more division. I am certain that’s what Jesus meant when prayed for our unity. Paul was probably thinking that as well when he declared there is no ethnic, gender, or social division in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). What is it that “you are all one in Christ” does the SDA not understand? I would suggest you chose another screen name since your statements do not come in the vicinity of “Being Brave.”

  • silaton

    who said they cant teach? SDA allows women to teach, be leaders, women can preach, even have a ministerial credential certificates … but to be ordained will give them a scared duty that in the bible have not been associated with women, for instance baptizing.
    but above all i hope unity and love in church presides

  • Angel

    Really? Because scripture indicates that Jesus ordained the first person who would preach the gospel: Mary Magdalene. According to John, he chose her for this ordination over Peter and John (if you consider the “other disciple” to be the disciple John). Being ordained is simply a matter of a denomination recognizing that God has called a person to a specific task. Each denomination varies on what office they ordain. The UMC, e.g., ordains the office of Deacon, others do not. Much of scripture has been taken out of context to defend a position of superiority that is not mandated in the teachings of Christ. This has done enormous damage. Jesus did not subjugate women to a lower status. On the contrary, he always elevated them. Even in the OT, God ordained Deborah as the ruler and Prophet of Israel (the only female judge who also held the office of Prophet.) She was the spokesperson for God. Were there men in Israel at that time? If they were, they were under her authority, and her…

  • Eric Demattos

    I certainly don’t want my daughter growing up thinking that because she is not a male God thinks differently about her or what she can do, this is sad and cultural not at all spiritual. What will be voted on next, if it’s ok for women to drive? Sad…

  • Arek

    You remarked, :if the organization itself isn’t flexible enough to remain relevant to the world in which we all live” That prompted me to think of 2 Cor 6:17, “Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord”; also Romans 12:2, which states, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

    Any church that seeks to become more popular by abandoning the Word of God is doomed to failure – not necessarily financial failure, nor even failure in any worldly sense. But it is doomed to failure in the only area that matters – In the eyes of The Lord.

  • John

    The only scriptural support for the ordination of women is the same scriptural support for homosexual marriage, it exists only in the human centered interpretation of God’s Word that wants God to look and think like we do rather than being willing to allow God to instruct us on what He thinks and what He directs. God told Isaiah, my ways are not your ways. If I had my way, I’d have no problem with women priests or homosexual marriages. But I cannot say that God’s Word gives permission for such when it clearly states otherwise.

  • Lynne

    I am not taking sides in this debate, but I wonder, why then are divorced and single men allowed to be pastors if only men who are husbands of one wife are allowed in that position? Also many pastors have been passed around when they seem to continue to commit adultery without letting other people know.

  • Anne

    What do you mean “the church, which observes its Sabbath on Saturday”? The seventh day of the week has always been the Sabbath from Creation week on.. I believe it’s the other churches that observe their Sabbath on Sunday; which would be the correct terminology. Thanks.

  • Billysees

    Jon,
    ” How long until we look back at those views and say, “oh they were just reading it wrong.”? (Hint: it’s already happening.) ”

    ‘It’s already happening’ is the work of the newness of the ‘Spirit’.

    We should reason out anything and everything in scripture ‘as necessary’, and that will help us to ‘effectively’ judge and evaluate a matter or people based on all reasonable, ‘current or modern’ attitudes, experiences and knowledge.

    Thank God that the continuing and the always, modernity inclined work of the ‘Holy Spirit’ is alive and well in many of us.

  • Carol

    I have a question for you all. How come Ellen White was an ordained Pastor in the SDA Church?

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  • Mike

    Nobody is forcing them to go Adventist school or do theology. Even from the beginning of our church it, women had already a big role in the church like Ellen White, Anne Smith, etc. And our church is growing during that time. The problem is that the devil wants to distort everything that God had designed. From sabbath to gender roles to marriage, everything in under his attack. Even gay pastor with talents can do much contributions to SDA church, but its not about contributions, its about submission to His Word His will

  • Mike

    What is bravery? Is it the stubbornness to go against the Bible and the church decision?

  • Mike

    Did she baptized anybody? Did she officiate a marriage? Did she became a president of a conference, union, division or GC?
    As you can she, even she have a great influence in the church, his husband still the one do that kind of role an ordained minister is doing.

  • Mike

    Why be sad? What if they vote yes to women ordination? Will you encourage your daughter to be a minister of that denomination? Or you are jumping into conclusion without thoroughly studying the history and system of belief of that denomination? Should all religion follow same beliefs as yours?

  • Susan Blystone

    God’s will has been done in the GC vote of women’s ordination. Satan is trying to divide this remnant church by using women to do so. God has spoken people and now lets move on. This issue is a distraction to our great commission Jesus has given us.

  • Mike

    Who is this guy who speaks without thinking? Did you ever read your bible? If you are not a believer of religion, then study it first before jumping in that kind of conclusion.

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  • Larry

    So God has changed his name to “Mike”?

    Lacking belief is not the same as lacking knowledge.

    There are many Christian sects which ordain women. All Jewish sects, sans Orthodox, do as well. All of them read the same Bible as the SDA does, but come up with a much different conclusion.

    It is the height of arrogance to claim one sect has a monopoly on interpretations of scripture when there are so many exist for just one faith.

  • Larry

    “Why be sad? What if they vote yes to women ordination? Will you encourage your daughter to be a minister of that denomination?”

    We would never know, since the option would not be open to her otherwise. 🙂

  • Larry

    Mike, Ellen White founded the sect!

    She is of more importance to it than all the subsequent clergy and functionaries of the SDA which came after her. The entire church revolves around her work as a minister and writings.

  • Dale Spencer

    Hmmm…let me see. Jesus was not the “husband of one wife”, and Paul was not the “husband of one wife”. Guess that means they never would have qualified to be a pastor/bishop/elder/deacon, or for that matter, to be ordained either!

  • Sebastian

    Who is saying women cannot teach or do Gods work? Did Ellen white teach or do God’s work? Of course she did, womens ordination is comparable to satan justifying his perfection and holiness to Jesus and demanding his exaltation in Gods order in heaven, we are all important pieces in God’s government, God is the head of Christ, Christ the head of man and Man the head of women, women the head of the children we cannot make our own rules as Lucifer intended, I am sure he could have been an excellent Ruler in heaven, but it wasn’t about that, I am sure many other angels could have been excellent Kings of Heaven, but God ordained Jesus as King. I guarantee you if we all did our part in God’s plan this body would be much more effective than it has been, Follow Jesus and his word, let man lead, women support there husbands in the leading and we will fulfill God’s plan as a team with each different responsibilities. Lets not waste time and effort and let satan get the best of us with…

  • Sebastian

    I absolutely agree with you, but you are talking about corruption within the church and of course this happens and needs to be addressed, there will always be imperfect leaders at one point or another, and consequences must be given, if a pastor commits adultery or divorce they simply should be fired they are not fit for leadership etc. this doesn’t mean God cannot continue to use them, but there actions have caused them change in there work. if they choose to continue.

  • Sebastian

    Families within Adventism are falling apart, due to the modernism in our world today, that same spirit in the world if successful will collapse christ family the church, God created roles for Man and Woman, we men did not create the roles, it was God, lets remember there was a perfect being who also complained about his role in heaven, maybe he also felt a calling to lead because he was qualified in holiness, perfect in every way, exalted amongst the angels etc. but there was a problem, God ordained his son to lead not lucifer.

  • Sebastian

    Eric, how could you believe what you said? God thinks different of males? Of the so many heroines or Prophets and the mother of Christ, Mary Magdalene, Ellen White the light bearer, God truly has a purpose for both Men and Women, but in his wisdom he knows how Men and Women can be most effective in our church mission, just as a machine requires all its parts to complete its function so does the human family, the church, Gods government and so on. we are all equal in Gods eyes must we be so sensitive and envy what others are called to do by God? Both men and women are equal in leadership skills etc but no home can have 2 heads just as heaven could only have 1 King and that has always been and always will be Jesus not Lucifer who envied Jesus role in heaven, it is an honor for Man to lead under Christ, and it should be a greater honor for wives to support there husbands or Male leaders. Just as it should have been a great honor for lucifer to support Christ in heaven. But he chose envy.

  • Cori

    Agree. No one is restraining women from teaching, preaching, the truth of God. I am concerned that the accolades of man (human) is what some determine as their worth, their approval, in doing their part of serving our Creator. Personally, I do not care if one is ordained or not. I care about how their heart is with Jesus. I care of their (and my) obedience to His Word. His 10 commandments.
    No matter what sex, age, ethic group you are….you are wanted in His kingdom to live forever with Him in a place of unimaginable joy. You are free to share all about Him to all.

  • Ted Friesen

    I hear of people jumping ship over this decision. I hear other churches are ordaining women, not the end of the world. I hear Jesus and Paul would not qualify to Pastor a church. Do those of who are thinking in these terms think there is anything that makes the beliefs of this church very special at this time input history?
    I had determined that which ever way this decision came down, I’m not bailing out.
    It almost sounds like some are one trick ponies and women’s ordination means everything.
    God will see us through and we must keep our eyes on Christ and forget self!

  • John Walcott

    Good point

  • John Walcott

    Carol, do proper research. Ellen White was not an ordained pastor, but she did have a license to preach.

  • John Walcott

    Larry, EGW did not the founder of the “sect”. There were three founder of the SDA organization; she was one of them.

  • Ted

    I understand the anonymous handle based on your whacked out reasoning for not enabling your children to have an Adventist education.

  • John

    Larry these “many Christian sects” that first ordained women are now ordaining LGBT and have lost a large percentage of there membership. Baptist on the other hand voted not to ordain women and there membership continues to grow to the present.

    Could this belief have anything to do with the knowledge obtained through past examples as I dare say history has the option of repeating.

  • Earl

    What is it thst the ones don’t seem to get that preaching, teaching, witnessing and singing by females in church should not be confused with Pastoring. Paul does not say in the sacred scriptures that “a preacher must be the husband of one wife” but he says that a “Pastor is to be the husband of one wife.” Huge difference. And the mollycoddling of living a homosexual lifestyle by many liberal and worldly SDA is sickening. The Bible in many verses old and new testaments condemns the practice of homosexual conduct. It’s time for true followers of Christ in this dark hour of the latter days before Jesus returns with a sword to slay those who offend, to throw overboard at once all this PC garbage! Forget PC, i.e. Politically Correct. What we desperately need now is BC. Biblically
    Correct. Earl

  • Elebert Vundhla

    Dale Spence (Jesus wife is the church) and Paul was not the leader of a congregation or collection of congregations. And Paul is the one who also set up that criteria for ordination.

  • Elebert Vundhla

    @Angel please provide Chapter and verse of Mary Magdaline’s ordination

  • Elebert Vundhla

    @Earl , I thought BC meant Before Christ but Wow I love your take on it! BC=Biblically Correct
    #Biblically Correct

  • Mrs. PHD. Anonymous

    I am happy that there was a CLEAR “NO” against women ordination. God can use women and he can also little children or also blind people, sick people and a donkey as well. I also heard heard once a story about cows how God used them. But we talk here not about “usefulness” or “lesser usefulness” – the whole issue about women ordination is about authority and interpreting the bible. culture is never superior in terms on spiritual leadership. spiritual leadership in the church is clear defined and should never be changed – even the culture is defining truth as not absolute! if we sacrifice truth because of culture, we sacrifice also true worship in our church! if we would accept *praise the lord we didn’t accepted* women ordination we had also to handle same sex marriage and clergy…because it is also only about culture and how you read your bible…not as absolute! sister. you are still useful, why you complain about that ‘divine’ decision? Women are on top in all areas-use…

  • Dr. Righto

    Why is be brave in quotation marks? Do you not take women or their wishes seriously? That is what you imply.

    Also, some things are absolutely worth fighting for. Saying that we shouldn’t protest what we feel is wrong because it makes people around us unhappy is the laziest argument in the books and can lead to horrible things. Jesus absolutely wanted his disciples to THINK. He was not afraid to cause controversy.

  • Dr. Righto

    I apologize for this last comment, it was addressing the wrong comment! Please ignore!

  • L

    I completely agree with everything you wrote here. Thank you for posting this.

  • L

    Sebastian, pardon me for saying this, but you’re a complete nut.

    Women wanting larger (more RECOGNIZED) leadership roles in a church is the same as satan wanting to be equal to God? What church do you go to, buddy? I certainly hope it’s not mine.

    You as equating God with man, which I find reprehensible, and if you believe women do not deserve this role, what makes you think ONLY men deserve it? What makes men so much better at delivering God’s message?

  • L

    Bullying? Have you read the disgusting rhetoric of those against women’s ordination? I don’t see bullying here.

    And I find people always claim political correctness as the culprit when they are uncomfortable, afraid, and realize what they’re fighting for is fundamentally wrong.

  • Daniel

    Dr. Righto her list is not comparative it is a list of people that society views as unusable that God has used in the past.

  • Daniel

    L you are completely missing the point. We are the image of God. SO yes we are in some respects comparable to Him. Also yes it is a good and appropriate analogy in that it compares someone who wanted to go outside the divine plan and make their own way. ALso the key word in your argument is “wanting”. In Gods work we don’t always do what we want we do as God leads. Another thing is that you seem to think that Sebastian is saying that women don’t deserve the office which is not what he is saying. Hes is saying that God placed men and women in different roles in the church and that we should stick to it. Lastly Satan says he “deserves” the place of God. maybe you should re examine the spirit that is moving you in this.

  • Daniel

    “How do you know that these women are seeking stardom? It’s true that there a lot of way to be a “servant” of the Church, but what if some women are called to be a pastor? ”

    To clarify “a lot of ways to be a “servant” of the Church” is not trying to force women into a “master/slave” position but to define their roles in the church as set up by God. This argument is not about equality it is about whether or not you accept Gods way of doing things or not. Also God will never call someone to do something that is against his established roles. On a side note going outside of what God has said to do and the way to do it is exactly got the world to the messed up state it is now.

  • Daniel

    Yes I would also like to know.

    Though I think he is thinking about the comment that Jesus made in Matt. 26:13…though I reserve the right to be wrong.

  • Daniel

    Joe Anon though you seem to have good intentions I would also like to point out that all other churches that have adopted this have been followed by a steep decline in membership.

    Ps. The time frame is over decades not right away. Saying this just incase you want to argue that it was the people that disagreed with the decision that left and caused the decline.

  • Daniel

    she wasn’t ordained.

  • angikimua

    interesting outcome…God’s calling is overshadowed by gender /sex and culture

  • LuLu Wightman was a Minister and she officiated at a funeral.

  • That was why Ellen White warned against having set CREEDS. James White write an article about that and said that Creeds make it where the Holy Spirit cannot lead us into further light.

  • Boya

    Mrs. PHD. Anonymous Congratulations! You have insulted women, blind people, sick people children and animals. Your lack of coherent reasoning and the lack of ability to understand Biblical and theological knowledge proves that indeed GC has made a terrible mistake. Adventists will continue in their ignorant, backward ways. When Ellen G. White wrote her texts she was about 80 years ahead of her time, however the Church, by deciding to keep the 19th century mindset as its rule, is now 150 years behind. Unbelievable.. And to Daniel, no her list is comparative as it implies that all the people who she has listed are ‘less then’. It is implied not directly stated so Dr. Righto is correct.

  • Kat

    I’m hoping to hell that the SDA church ordains women and splits into a billion demoninations over the conflict. You progressives are falling completely into line! Your reward is coming, and coming soon. The lightbringer is well pleased with your rationalization of what is “holy”. Hahahaha!

  • Chauta Mwale

    Amid all this confusion, argument, fear of split,excitement and voting etc, where is your God? Is he dead of too far away to see and hear? If this is the Lord’s church why can’t you ask Him. Let him dictate what He wants done in his church. From ancient times, religious questions were solved by instructions from the owner of the work. SDA s by olud learn to ask God.

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