Stories in the Rearview Mirror
Ellen White and Why I Believe in the Ordination of Women
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SpeakerDwight K. Nelson
Since 1983, Dwight Nelson has served as lead pastor of the Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University. He preaches on the “New Perceptions” telecast, teaches at the theological seminary and has written some books, including The Chosen. He and his wife, Karen, are blessed with two married children and 2 granddaughters.
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“Stories in the Rearview Mirror:
Why I Believe in Ellen White and the Ordination of Women”
- Why I Believe in Ellen White:
- Matthew 7:15-20
- Her reflection fifty years later:
“I visited . . . the spot where I met with the accident that has made me a life-long invalid. This misfortune, which for a time seemed so bitter and was so hard to bear, has proved to be a blessing in disguise. The cruel blow which blighted the joys of earth, was the means of turning my eyes to heaven. I might never have known Jesus, had not the sorrow that clouded my early years led me to seek comfort in him.” (Review and Herald, November 25, 1884)
- Her conversion testimony:
“Faith now took possession of my heart. I felt an inexpressible love for God, and had the witness of His Spirit that my sins were pardoned. My views of the Father were changed. I now looked upon Him as a kind and tender parent, rather than a stern tyrant compelling men to a blind obedience. My heart went out toward Him in a deep and fervent love. . . . My heart was so filled with love to God and the peace that passeth understanding, that I loved to meditate and pray.” (Life Sketches 39)
- Her first vision:
“While we were praying, the power of God came upon me as I had never felt it before. I seemed to be surrounded with light, and to be rising higher and higher from the earth. I turned to look for the advent people in the world, but could not find them, when a voice said to me, ‘Look again, and look a little higher.’ At this I raised my eyes, and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the advent people were traveling to the city which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the ‘midnight cry.’ This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet, so that they might not stumble. If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe.” (Life Sketches 64, emphasis supplied)
- Three passions that ignited Ellen White’s life and ministry:
- #1—A passion for the
“You are not to look to yourself, not to let the mind dwell upon self, but look to Christ. Let the mind dwell upon His love, upon the beauty, the perfection, of His character. Christ in His self-denial, Christ in His humiliation, Christ in His purity and holiness, Christ in His matchless love—this is the subject for the soul's contemplation. It is by loving Him, copying Him, depending wholly upon Him, that you are to be transformed into His likeness.” (Steps to Christ 70-71)
- #2—A passion for the
“The Lord is coming. Lift up your heads and rejoice. . . . This is the good, the joyful news which should electrify every soul, which should be repeated in our homes, and told to those whom we meet on the street. What more joyful news can be communicated!” (Evangelism 218)
- #3—A passion for the .
“Recently in the night season I was awakened from sleep and given a view of the sufferings of Christ for men. His sacrifice, the mockery and derision He received at the hands of wicked men, His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His betrayal and crucifixion—all were vividly portrayed before me. . . . As I have thought of that cup trembling in the hands of Christ; as I have realized that He might have refused to drink, and left the world to perish in its sin, I have pledged that every energy of my life should be devoted to the work of winning souls to Him.” (Testimonies to the Church 9:101-103)
- No wonder Ellen White’s life and ministry were so fruitful!
- She is considered today the most translated author in history.
- She is the most translated author, male or female.
- Her literary productions totaled approximately pages, the equivalent of words.
- More than titles are in print bearing her name, including books that are compilations.
- As fruit of her ministry and leadership, God raised up the Seventh-day Adventist Church to become:
- The largest Protestant system in the world today.
- The largest Protestant system in the world today.
- The largest Protestant enterprise in the world today.
- The most expansive Protestant outreach in the world today, with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in more countries than any other denomination.
- And the Ordination of Women:
- The irony in this movement, co-founded by a woman of such global influence and spiritual authority, is the debate over whether women should be allowed to share the same spiritual leadership and authority as men as recognized by the rite of ordination to the gospel ministry.
- J N Andrews:
Regarding the church in Corinth “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 and in other times.” (Review and Herald 1-2-1879 emphasis supplied)
- J N Andrews:
“The number of women of whom honorable mention is made for their labors in the gospel is not small. Now, in view of these facts, how can any man in this age of Bibles say that the Bible does not notice women, or give them a place in the work of God? The Lord chooses his own workers, and he does not judge as man judges. Man looks at appearance; God judges the heart, and he never makes mistakes.” (Signs of the Times 10-30-1879)
- Denis Fortin:
“I also find it interesting that in her 70 years of ministry Ellen White never referred to or commented on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 or 1 Timothy 2:12 to limit the ministry women can do in the church or society. Perhaps her silence speaks volumes as to the importance we should give these two passages.” (“Ellen White, Women in Ministry and the Ordination of Women” [TOSC paper] p 6)
- Ellen White:
“If women do the work that is not the most agreeable to many of those who labor in word and doctrine, and if their works testify that they are accomplishing a work that has been manifestly neglected, should not such labor be looked upon as being as rich in results as the work of the ordained ministers? . . . This question is not for men to settle. The Lord has settled it. . . . Again and again the Lord has shown me that women teachers are just as greatly needed to do the work to which He has appointed them as are men. . . . There are women who should labor in the gospel ministry.” (Manuscript Releases 5:325 emphasis supplied)
- Ellen White:
“It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God.” (Testimonies to the Church 6:322 emphasis supplied)
- For further study see my paper “My Personal Testimony: Some Pastoral Reflections” (www.pmchurch.tv)
“By her fruits you shall know them”
Are you friendly and do you enjoy social media? Then, we have a great opportunity for you to be involved in ministry. Through streaming its services on Facebook Live and our website, Pioneer Memorial Church reaches thousands of people every single week. We’re looking to build a new team of local moderators/hosts for our online chat experiences. You could do this from your home. For more information contact Rodlie Ortiz at email@example.com.
Over the summer and fall of 2019 Pioneer underwent significant physical renovation—including a new roof and a major Sanctuary makeover. During the same time congregation leaders engaged in multiple conversations about our missional renovation—how does a faith community like Pioneer seriously engage and impact the people around us for Christ? From this dialogue emerged a fresh new expression of our Pioneer mission: "Love on the Move."