16 November 2019 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
Ever since the General Conference denied women pastors ordination, I’ve been furious. It has ruined my church experience. I know Adventists have the truth, I love my congregation, and all of my friends and family are in this church. But the failure to do the right thing on women’s ordination occupies my mind all the time, and I’m ready to drop my church membership and go somewhere else.
Signed, Steaming Mad
Many of us have been very hurt by how denominational leaders have handled the women’s ordination matter. Aunt Sevvy, too, believes it’s long past time to ordain women in the church—as well as making sure that all people, regardless of gender, gender preference, race and ethnicity, are treated with loving acceptance.
Aunty doesn’t believe anyone should be scolded if they want to leave the church. That’s a personal decision. But let me give you a few things to think about before you do.
First, the church isn’t the General Conference and the General Conference (GC) isn’t the church. That’s a myth the GC itself has promoted, by exercising its bossiness and manipulating church politics. But in fact, the GC is nothing more than an office in Maryland. The real church is the local congregation that you love, and that holds your membership. The GC is a long ways away, and it has no power over you.
Second, there is, at this point, nothing preventing women from being pastors, and at a recent North American Division meeting we learned that the number of female pastors and chaplains has doubled in just a few years! While we wish men pastors and women pastors had the same certificate of recognition, don’t forget that hundreds of women are now ministering because they feel called by God to do so, in spite of the lack of recognition. They deserve our support and appreciation. The more women go into ministry, the harder it will be to deny them ordination, and the better our ministry will be.
Two unions have already started ordaining women—in defiance of the GC—and more will follow soon. Look for things to change rapidly after the GC session next summer. In the meantime, write your union president and ask him when he’s going to take a stand for women’s ordination. Keep the pressure on.
Third, I’m concerned that even though you love your congregation, you have let this make you so miserable. Someone has described this as letting another person live rent-free in your brain. You shouldn’t allow anyone to do that, and especially not Elder Wilson and his henchmen. Don’t let narrow-minded people rob you of your happiness—much less of your beloved congregation!
Finally, if you leave your congregation, how will that help solve the problem?
Again, Aunty isn’t trying to make you feel guilty about your anger, nor your decision with regard to your church membership. But please, don’t give people who are wrong biblically, morally and spiritually more power over you than they actually have! If Jesus sets you free, you are free indeed (John 8:36), no matter what self-important people do or say!
Live in peace,
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without real names. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and neither her opinions nor those of her correspondents are necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.