I’m sorry, but my household is not your household or …

Comment on Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference by Sean Pitman.

I’m sorry, but my household is not your household or visa versa. Therefore, I cannot, simply because I am a man, claim “headship” over your wife or any other woman in your household. The same is true for the church. The church is independent of my own household. Therefore, I cannot claim automatic headship over all of the women in the church just because I am a man because I am not the “head” of the church – Jesus is its only head. It’s a silly argument to claim that a man has “headship” over all women in the church or anywhere else – and is not supported by the Bible.

Again, no other man in the church or elsewhere has been given “headship” over my wife. That position has not been given to you or any other man by my wife or by God – only to me by my own wife according to God. The head of my wife is only me, not any other man, and the head of me is Christ alone (1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:23). The Bible calls upon women to “submit yourselves to your own husbands” (Ephesians 5:22) – not to any other man, except for Christ, outside of that marriage relationship.

As an aside, I’m not going to have “headship” over the future wives of my sons just as my own father does not have “headship” over my wife. We are called to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), but that isn’t the same thing as the “headship” situation within a marriage setting where a man and a woman are called to “leave father and mother” and to “cleave” only to each other (Genesis 2:24). You’re misinterpreting things here as well. The “headship” passages in the Bible only deal with a man and his own wife. These passages are not saying that a man is given automatic “headship” over all women. That might seem like fun from the perspective of some men, but that simply isn’t what the Bible is saying…

Regarding Women in Leadership Positions:

“Those placed in the position of responsibility should be men and women who fear God, who realize that they are humans only, not God. They should be people who will rule under God and for Him. Will they give expression to the will of God for His people? Do they allow selfishness to tarnish word and action? Do they, after obtaining the confidence of the people as leaders of wisdom who fear God and keep His commandments, belittle the exalted position that the people of God should occupy in these days of peril?”— Mrs. White, Manuscript 163, 1902.

Here we have Mrs. White clearly presenting women, as well as men, in positions of leadership and rulership among the people of God under the will of God…

“Ellen White’s name was among those voted to receive papers of the ordained ministers, although her ordination was not by the laying on of hands by men. The conference session closed on November 27 [1887].” Ellen G. White: Volume 3—The Lonely Years: 1876-1891, By Arthur L. White, Page 377. [a copy of these ordination credentials from 1887 can be found in the main article above].

Rather than ordination by men, Mrs. White says: “In the city of Portland the Lord ordained me as his messenger…” Mrs. White, The Review and Herald, May 18, 1911.

A couple more items may be of interest to you regarding 1 Timothy 2:11-14 and other relevant passages, as interpreted by the early leaders of the SDA Church, to include James White and J.N. Andrews:

January 2, 1879 by J.N. Andrews and James White (Link)

There are two principal passages cited to prove that women should not take any part in speaking in religious meetings. These are 1 Corinthians 14:34, 36 and 1 Timothy 2:12. But a careful study of the books of Corinthians shows that the passage first referred to can have no such application.

The Corinthian church was in a state of great disorder. The first chapter shows that they were divided into parties in reference to the apostles themselves. The fifth chapter shows that one had taken his father’s wife, and others did not mourn over this act. The sixth chapter shows that they went to law with the world, and implies that they were guilty of violating the seventh commandment. The eleventh chapter shows that when they celebrated the Lord’s supper, the rich ate and drank until they were intoxicated, and the poor were waiting and suffering hunger.

Now it appears from the fourteenth chapter when they were assembled in meeting, the women threw everything into confusion by talking among themselves, and acting with such indecorum as to be a matter of shame to them. So that what the apostle says to women in such a church as this, and in such a state of things, is not to be taken as directions to all Christian women in other churches an in other times when and where such disorders do not exist. [emphasis added].

See also:

May 29 1879 by James White (James White, J.N. Andrews, Uriah Smith editors)

The next case is that of Deborah, mentioned in Judges 4:4-10: “And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphatali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward Mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun.

“And I will draw unto thee, to the river Kishon, Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go; but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee, notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honor; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kadesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet; and Deborah went up with him.” Notice the following particulars in the foregoing statements:—

1. Deborah was a prophetess. She received divine instruction from Heaven, and taught the people.

2. She was a judge in Israel. The people went up to her for judgment. A higher position no man has ever occupied.

… And the dispensation which was ushered in with glory, honored with the labors of holy women, will close with the same honors. Thus says God by his holy prophet: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Acts 2:17.

So, here we have leaders of the early Adventist Church commenting on the very same texts that you’ve presented to me coming to a very different conclusion as to their meaning than what you seem to have concluded. And, Mrs. White did not correct or argue against their conclusions (one of which was her own husband), but seemed to support these conclusions in her own writings.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
I refer you again to Article VII, Section 7 of the NCC Constitution, which states:

“The Executive Committee shall have the authority to adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its affairs and the affairs of the Conference, provided that the same are not in conflict with these Bylaws or those of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, or of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,”

How do you get around this language? language that exists within the bylaws of every union and conference? – language that was put in place by the GC in session? – for the very reason that the GC “in session” can make policy decisions that do in fact (or should) affect and have authority within unions and conferences alike? Again, I also fail to see “kingly power” in play here. This was the decision of hundreds of delegates in session. The intent seems quite clear… at least to me. So, I fail to see how a conference acting against this decision of the GC “in session” does not qualify as a deliberate act of independence and non-recognition of the authority of the GC “in session”?

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
I appreciate your honest sincerity here, but I simply have to disagree with you on this particular point.

And no, I don’t think God condemns anyone who is honest and sincere and has earnestly tried to carefully study and look into the matter in question – even if they may be mistaken at the present time. After all, not one of us is omniscient. You yourself, no doubt, occasionally make honest mistakes and come to honest conclusions as to what the Bible is saying that are incorrect. Such honest mistakes are easily solved by providing additional information that such a person can actually comprehend and understand. God actually winks at such ignorance until the time when the truth is actually comprehended by a person. Only at that time is a person held morally accountable.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
The argument that Adam always had “headship” over Eve, even before the Fall, is not supported by the Bible and Mrs. White is particularly clear on this point.

“God had made [Eve] the equal of Adam, but sin brought friction, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of one or the other. Eve had been the first in transgression. By her urging Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband.” (Link).

Clearly then, according to Mrs. White the “headship” role for Adam and the “submissive” role for Eve didn’t start until after the Fall – not before. It was put in place because of the friction that sin brought into their relationship. Before sin entered, however, there simply was no friction at all and therefore no need for “headship” or “submissive” roles in their relationship. It would just make no sense.

Beyond this, just for arguments sake, even if Adam did have headship over his wife before the Fall, how does that give you headship over my wife? – just because you’re a man? That just doesn’t follow. All of the headship statements in the Bible are in reference to the marriage relationship alone – not to the place of men or women outside of the marriage relationship. There is simply no way that any other man can claim “headship” status over my wife. That’s a patently absurd conclusion…

Also, it’s a reality that Jesus is the only head of the church and that no one else under him has a hierarchical advantage over anyone else… since there are no priests anymore. All are now one is Christ since Christ replaced the priestly and temple service – which were only types pointing forward to the reality found in Him. In Him, in His Church, there is no inherent distinction among men or women or anyone else. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). This lack of any other “headship” in the church does not spill over into the home because the a successful husband/wife relationship in this fallen world required that one or the other be given headship. However, outside of this particular relationship, there is no injunction against women in any kind of leadership role over men in the pages of the Bible acting within the Church that Jesus set up.

The early founders of the SDA Church recognized this quite clearly – as did Mrs. White herself. The passages that were then used and are still used today to suggest that women cannot be placed in leadership positions, that women cannot teach or preach or run a church, are shown to be taken out of context – a context directed at a particular problem in Paul’s day (Link).

“Piety and devotion are what count — It is not always men who are best adapted to the successful management of a church. If faithful women have more deep piety and true devotion than men, they could indeed by their prayers and their labors do more than men who are unconsecrated in heart and in life.” —Manuscript Releases 19:56.

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.

The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.

God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.

The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.

For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”

That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
@Bill Sorensen:

Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.

God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28

Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.

Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.

This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…

Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.

Sean Pitman

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull

Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.

Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.

Sean Pitman

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…

Sean Pitman