Sermons by Pastor Marlan Knittel

Marlan Knittel

Pastor Marlan's Blog

July 8, 2015
Thoughts on Today's Women's Ordination Vote

Today, delegates to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will decide whether:

After ... prayerful study ... and after ... careful consideration of what is best for the church and the fulfillment of its mission, is it acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry?

It’s no secret that the discussion, posturing and invective surrounding this issue has produced intense debate.

One side is led by proponents of Women’s Ordination. And they have pushed entire unions to approve Women’s Ordination prior to today’s vote and in rebellion against the GC. They argue that since the Bible says little about the topic, the only fair and logical step to take on this ‘women’s rights issue’ is to fully ordain female clergy.

Those opposing Women’s Ordination have strongly argued that this step violates Scripture, will lead to apostasy and the ordination of gay clergy. Ultimately, they imply that this issue is a ‘testing truth.’

Regardless of which side ‘wins,’ all of us will have lost.

What if the ‘No’ side wins?

You see, up until now, Unions, Conferences and Divisions have been occasionally using women in the Gospel Ministry where their talents were needed and the Spirit has called. I remember being surprised at least a decade ago, when a biblical and conservative conference President called a delightful African-American widow to pastor a theologically liberal church. This left-wing, affirmative action church enthusiastically embraced her, not realizing that they had welcomed a woman who would introduce conservative biblical Seventh-day Adventist teachings into their liberal church!

You see, if the ‘No’ side wins, church leadership will not be able to ordain a woman, even after much prayer and the Spirit’s guidance. In other words, a ‘No’ vote will tie their hands. And if church leadership feels strongly enough that God is calling a woman into a pastoral role, they’ll either be refusing the Holy Spirit’s leading OR they will be in rebellion against the General Conference!

What if the ‘Yes’ side wins?

And if the ‘Yes’ side wins, their insubordination in choosing to ordain women before today’s vote will only encourage further insubordination.

Furthermore, it may affirm their ‘equal rights’ political stance —in direct violation of Christ’s consistent non-political stance.

And women may be pushed into pastoral roles to promote gender equality and civil rights, rather than as a response to the Spirit’s call, further encouraging male passivity when our churches are hurting for men to step up, speak up and lead.

And finally, as a result, a number of our more conscientious people, convinced by the ‘No’ side that this is a ‘testing truth,’ will leave this church.

And all of us will be losers....

We are in the middle of a storm. And I’ve been in a storm on a boat. And while it’s no fun, the worst thing a sailor can do is to focus on the storm and let the ship come to a standstill, where it’s most vulnerable to the wind and waves. The ship’s safety depends upon the sailors assisting the captain to keep the boat on course and moving forward!

Don’t be distracted by the storm! My favorite author reminds us that:

The third angel’s message is…a life-and-death question.… Satan will so mingle his deceptions with truth that side issues will be created to turn the attention of the people from the great issue, the test to be brought upon the people of God in these last days. 9MR 290

The message of the angel following the third is now to be given to all parts of the world. It is to be the harvest message, and the whole earth will be lighted with the glory of God. The Lord has this one more call of mercy to the world, but the perversity of men diverts the work from its true bearing, and the light has to struggle amid the darkness of men who feel themselves competent to do a work that God has not appointed them to do. Letter 86, 1900, pp. 8, 9. (To A. G. Daniells, June 18, 1900.) – {9MR 290.4} – 9MR 290.4

Could it be that this issue is all a diversion? Something the Enemy has elevated to a testing truth? To divert our attention from the Third Angel’s Message, from Jesus’ final work for us in the Most Holy Place, and from saving lost and dying people?

Let’s keep our eyes on what’s most important— and stay in the boat!