December 21, 2014

Reader Response

November 27, 2014

The Life of a Literature Evangelist

Regarding “The Last House” by Benjamin Baker (Nov. 27, 2014): Wow! What an article! It was great to read about God’s power in the life of a colporteur. This article brought tears to my eyes.

—Sandra Reeves
College Place, Washington

Cold Case Files

I was moved by Mark Finley’s editorial, “The God Who Sees” (Nov. 27, 2014). He reminds us that we must be tender with even the “cold cases” who show little interest in the truth and tempt us to move on.

Though born in Battle Creek, Michigan, I attended with my Adventist mother for more than six years before buying into the Advent hope. I’ve never looked back.

Let us never mar the salvation of any soul by our cold, judgmental rejection. Only God has 20/20 vision.

—Richard Burns
Cleveland, Tennessee

Women’s Ordination—Again

Regarding “Women’s Ordination Goes to San Antonio” (Nov. 20, 2014): I was relieved to see the decision reached by the Annual Council on the issue of ordination of women, as reported in Adventist Review. This issue cannot be mandated worldwide because of the extreme differences in culture, and the status of women throughout the world.

In fact, the North American Division has been training and equipping women ministers for well more than 30 years. Not only do we train them at our universities, we call them to work as associate pastors and senior pastors in many conferences throughout North America.

Since the pay scale available to pastors is tied to whether they are ordained or not, it seems to indicate that although we train women, and employ them to do the same pastoral work as men, we are not willing to give them equal pay. Equal pay for equal work has become the standard in North America. Can the church in North America continue to promote inequality of pay for equal work by denying ordination to women?

I am also confused about why we have never have a problem training women to be pastors at our universities when we refuse to ordain them. Ordination is official recognition by the church that God has called someone to ministry and equipped them to carry it out. If we don’t believe God calls and equips women to serve as ministers in His church, why do we allow them to train to be ministers at our universities? Isn’t that counterproductive?

—Janet Salazar
Conroe, Texas

Frankly, I’m getting a bit tired hearing about whether or not women should be ordained. This is not included in the Ten Commandments, and it has no place in church doctrine.

I was born and raised in Loma Linda, and received all my education, including college, in Adventist schools. My mother was a teacher and a conference educational superintendent. She was a born leader; while my father was shy and retiring. I knew early on that leadership is a gift, unrelated to gender.

I was ordained as an elder some 25 years ago without any effort on my part. I didn’t seek it, and I didn’t ask for it. I would have served regardless. I am now 90 years old, and my failing eyesight dictates that I must now consider retiring from this responsibility.

Since leadership is a gift, the laying on of hands is only an outward expression. When we put so much emphasis on a rite that is not absolutely necessary, we seem to be putting too much emphasis on having the blessing of our church hierarchy, apparently following in the footsteps of the Catholic Church.

The vast differences in eastern and western culture and history make it impossible to expect this issue to be agreed upon worldwide. The Bible was written in an eastern culture, before the west even came into being. This issue is not a biblical law, only a practice.

Some political issues should be left up to states to decide. This issue should be left up to union conferences to decide.

—Carol Mayes
Chatsworth, California

Regarding “Women’s Ordination Goes to San Antonio”: It probably would have made it more meaningful to add: “For the third time!”

What makes anybody think that the issue will finally be resolved on the third try? If the first two General Conference sessions were not able to resolve the issue, is there anything specific about the San Antonio session that it can?

The interminable return of this issue raises the question: If other sessions could not decide the issue because of inadequate studies and prayers, how many other decisions of the GC sessions are done without adequate study and prayer? Are the decisions binding on the church at large if someone perceives their inadequacy?

Maybe we don’t need worldwide General Conference gatherings. Can the issues be decided in divisions and unions and save funds for local evangelism?

--George Selivanoff

Regarding “Five steps for Resolving Disunity on Women’s Ordination” (Nov. 13, 2014):

It is instructive to consider the experience of the apostles, including the situation described at the end of Acts 15, the dispute between Paul and Barnabas.

Barnabas had been instrumental in giving Paul an opportunity to be accepted by the church and become an evangelist (Acts 9:26-28). Then Barnabas wanted to give Mark the same opportunity. “They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company” (Acts 15:39). This resulted in two teams going to spread the gospel, and Mark becoming “helpful . . . in . . . ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11).

The church is now considering the empowerment of an entire group of people who are anxious to spread the gospel with the full endorsement of the organization. I urge the leadership to become Banabases and approve this action, even if the Pauls disagree. I am sure that in time it will become clear that this will be helpful in ministry, evangelism, and hastening the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

—Larry Neumann
Lancaster, Massachusetts

Camping With Christ

It was a unique experience to think of Jesus going camping with us, as expressed in Beatrice Neall’s article, “When God Goes Camping With His People” (Oct. 23, 2014). And how exciting for the children to hear the story in KidsView!

We might also pass through some times that look, as Neall mentioned, like “a death march through the ‘waste howling wilderness,’” but she encouraged us by remembering “His mighty acts in delivering them from slavery in Egypt and in leading them to Canaan.”

Thank you for publishing the article.

—Helen Fearing