(The statements below appearing in quotation marks are taken directly and without editing from the manuscript of the February 6 presentation. The statements have been grouped to indicate the frequent repetitions of the argument. The entire study guide, including this outline, was sent to Pastor Batchelor with requests for comment and/or correction. His April 8 response is included below.)
Women in Ministry
Part 1: An Outline Based on Doug Batchelor's Presentation, February 6, 2010
A. Batchelor Argues for a Limited Ministry for Women
Permissible Roles. Batchelor states that the Bible permits women to minister in some roles.
a. “Can women preach? Well, first of all can they? Very effectively. Can women teach? Sure they can. Can they chair a board meeting? Can they give you a Bible study? Can they do evangelism? Yes, absolutely.”
b. “We’re not speaking against women using their gifts... I am thrilled for women teachers. And I am thrilled when women get involved in Bible studies and evangelism.”
c. But then, only when “they’re doing it under the authority of the [male] pastor.”
Restricted Roles. However, Batchelor also says that the Bible restricts women from ministering in the roles of pastor and elder.
a. “I believe the Bible only teaches that men should be ordained as pastors and elders.”
b. “God has designed that men should be those servant leaders as the priest of the family, the pastors and the elders in the church. I believe that.”
c. “I believe it is easier to support the truth that God has designed only men should be ordained as pastors and elders from the New Testament, than to support the Sabbath. And it’s easy to support the Sabbath. It’s even easier to support this principle.”
d. “Women should not be ordained as pastors or elders.”
If You Disagree. Those who believe differently, Batchelor maintains, “have to go through the most phenomenal mind bending gymnastic to escape the plain truth, that it’s incomprehensible to me.” Batchelor characterizes those people as:
a. Believing a Lie. “If you tell people a lie often enough they’ll believe just about anything.”
b. Ignoring the Truth. “And so this is a truth that is being sidelined and ignored.”
c. Not Submitting to Authority. “For us to really dispute this truth is saying that we think that we deserve a better relationship or a different relationship than the Father, the Son and the Spirit. That we’re somehow [saying], ‘Oh, Jesus, we realize you might submit to the authority of God the Father, but not down here on earth. Don’t ask us to do that.’”
d. Twisting Scripture. “You wouldn’t believe [the] incredible lengths people go to, they try to carve up the language every way they can and twist these words in the original, say it couldn’t possibly mean that.”
e. Choking and Muzzling Paul. “Those who campaign in favor of ordaining women as pastors love to quote this verse [Galatians 3:28], but they want to choke and muzzle Paul in everything else he says. So you’ve got to read all of it.”
f. Being Intimidated. “I believe that we have been badgered and intimidated so that we are not really going by what does the Bible say. Matter of fact in the Seventh-day Adventist Church if you trace the history a little bit, I am sorry to say, a lot of those changes and of course in North America, not so much in other parts of the world now, women are being ordained. They call it commissioned but it’s really the same thing as being ordained as pastors.”
g. Bowing to Cultural Pressure. Has “the light [of ordaining women as pastors] finally dawned because people started studying the Bible and they said, ‘How have we missed all these scriptures for the last 1900 years?’ Or is it the pressure of culture, people’s fear of being accused of being chauvinistic and rigid and unbending and socially backwards and primitive. Matter of fact if you were to say what percentage is it new revelation from the Bible and what percentage is social cultural pressure, I would tell you, I’d submit, 100% of it.”
h. Being Liberal. “Now through the ages, people—mostly those who have a more liberal bias have tried to find some other way of saying that.”
B. Batchelor Claims His Position is Based on the Bible
The Word of God
- a. “We want to explore what does the Word of God say on this subject. Amen?”
- b. “Even if we don’t understand, the Word of God is the Word of God. Amen?”
- c. “My final allegiance is to the Word of God.”
a. “How are you gonna chop up your scriptures if you start picking and choosing what passages and commands you think the writers were under some imbalanced influence of the cultures of the day?”
b. “Just because husbands aren’t loving their wives the way that Christ loves the church doesn’t mean that wives then throw out the scripture.”
a. “What does the Bible say about that specific issue?”
b. “What they [those who disagree with Batchelor] have done is they have tried to pacify people who read the Bible and say only men should be ordained as pastors and [they] say, well, we’re not ordaining women pastors - we’re commissioning them as pastors.”
c. “All through the Bible all the priests were men.”
d. “You do not have any example in the Bible of women serving as apostles. Why did Jesus choose 12 apostles, men only? Well, He was conforming to the customs of the day, it would interrupt the work if He had chosen any women. Nonsense!”
e. “Are we gonna ask ourselves what is increasingly popular? Is that going to be the determining argument? Or, what does the Bible say?”
Yet, Extra-Biblical Sources Are Employed by Batchelor - Ellen White
a. “I think Ellen White is a pretty powerful support of everything I’m saying today. How many books did she write? 50? 5 million words? Something like that, in the millions. Over 70 years of communicating, teaching, writing, dreams, visions, prophecy. Not one time does she say women should be ordained as pastors.”
b. “Let me read a quote from Ellen White. This is from Testimonies, volume 5, page 60...”
c. “You know before Ellen White was called, God called two men . They didn’t have the backbone to do what she did. So God called her.”
d. “All the problems that you see in the world today, both in our relationships and in the world, spring from this interruption of God’s design for the relationship between God and man and woman, and as a result of this. You can read about this, by the way, in the book Patriarchs and Prophets, page 53 and 54...”
e. “God has a work for everybody to do. You know I think about this statement, you’ve probably seen it from the book Education, page 57, one of my favorites, written by a woman: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men...”
Other Extra-Biblical Sources Utilized by Batchelor - Commentators
a. “I’m going to read from Adam Clark’s commentary. Adam Clark was sort of the apostle Peter of the Wesley movement. He is a brilliant commentator.”
b. Strong’s Analytical Concordance - “Through the ages, people—mostly those who have a moral liberal bias have tried to find some other way of saying that. But that word there [“rule” in Genesis 3:17] means just what it says. It’s from the word “mashal” in Hebrew and it means, definition, according to Strong; to rule, to have dominion, to govern, to reign, to have power.”
c. “If people fall for the popular feminist version of interpretation today, they really have to throw out Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Adam Clark, John Gill, Matthew Henry, you name any great commentator of history, from go back 100 years. You’ve got to throw them all away. They were all wrong. I’ve read them. Were they all wrong the last 1900 years? Or is something wrong with what we are doing in the world today?”
Additional Extra-Biblical Sources Quoted by Batchelor
a. The British Journal of Psychology - “According to The British Journal of Psychology, while women’s brains communicate better right to left, men on an average score five points higher on an IQ test.”
b. The Olympics - “That’s why you find divisions in the men and women Olympic events.”
c. “Feminist” Step-Mother - “‘Most of them [the feminists] are angry lesbians that want to be men.’ [You] can take whatever you want - I’m just telling what my mother said.”
d. Abraham Lincoln - “Lincoln used to say, ‘you can call a dog’s tail a leg, but it’s still a tail.’”
e. Etymologists - “If we go back into the book of Genesis, you notice right away that the first woman came from man. Matter of fact, some argue that’s where the word woman comes from—from the womb of man. Now there’s another group that believes it’s a corruption of the word ‘wifman,’ meaning the wife of man.”
f. More Etymologists - “By the way, the word seminary comes from the same word as semen. So it’s interesting that you’ve got so many women in the seminary studying for – that’s just where the root of the word is.”
C. Batchelor Also Acknowledges Incorporating His Own Opinions on the Subject
Interpretation. “Not everybody here I’m sure is going to agree with my understanding and my interpretation of these passages we are going to consider.”
a. “I’m sure the people on both sides of this would like to believe that their perspective is the biblical perspective, but I’m going to make my best case today.”
b. “By the way, there’s more commands in the Bible for husbands to love their wives and I think this is the only commandment for wives to love their husbands because it’s easier for women to love, than men. That’s how I understand that.”
c. “And so in that context, Paul is saying, ‘Tell them to be quiet. They’re not supposed to be teaching’—meaning in the capacity of a pastor.”
d. “Galatians 3:28, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ And that’s just saying economically, ethnically… in the genders these distinctions have no bearing on salvation.”
Personal Belief. “I believe that men should be men and I believe that God has called men to lead. And I think what you’re seeing in the church has been a reflection of what’s been happening in our culture.”
a. “I believe that we have been badgered and intimidated so that we are not really going by what does the Bible say.”
b. “I believe the Bible only teaches that men should be ordained as pastors and elders.” [Would it be fair to suggest that what Batchelor meant here was “the Bible teaches that only men should be ordained,” rather than “the Bible only teaches...”?]
My Way of Thinking. “You know, I think about this statement, you’ve probably seen it from the book Education, page 57, one of my favorites, written by a woman: ‘The greatest want of the world is the want of men. Men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men...”
a. “And some when they read this they say, ‘Oh, she’s just speaking in generic terms.’ I might be wrong, but I don’t think so. I think she specifically is emphasizing God is looking for men because there’s a vacuum of men.”
b. “I think one of the things that is going to bring the wrath of God on this generation is that men are not being men. They’ve been intimidated. We’ve been intimidated, men.”
c. “Everybody could approach Christ directly. You didn’t need to go through a priest anymore. That’s what Paul is telling us. So you’ve got to mitigate [sic] this statement of Paul with everything else he says and you see what you think.”
d. “Now don’t miss this because I’m going to make a jump here. Jump with me.”
D. Batchelor Also Appeals to Ecclesiastical Tradition
“I do not believe that the last 1900 years of church history we’ve been wrong.”
a. “For the first 1900 years, 2000 years of church history, it was understood that sort of the final authority within the church was to rest solely with husbands and the men pastors.”
b. “I don’t know if any of you remember the old wedding vows, I haven’t heard one, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard one since I’ve been a pastor but you read them from about 50 years ago and it said something like… the women would say ‘to love, honor and obey’ in their vows to the husband. Because they sprang from this Christian truth that was 1900 years old.”
c. “The big question is—this trend—is it because the church suddenly woke up after 1900 years and said, ‘You know we have been holding women back, and women really should have been pastors all along the way, right alongside of men, pastoring congregations’? And the light finally dawned because people started studying the Bible and they said ‘How have we missed all these scriptures for the last 1900 years?’ Or is it the pressure of culture, people’s fear of being accused of being chauvinistic and rigid and unbending and socially backwards and primitive.”
d. “I think that God is calling us to return to the faith that was once delivered to the fathers. That men should be the priest leaders in the families, they should take up their role and lead out spiritually and in the churches.”
“I figure that maybe there is still room for arguing what we used to believe for 1900 years.”
E. Batchelor Cites Physiological and Psychological Differences Between Women and Men
Communication. “Women tend to communicate more effectively then men.”
a. “And part of that is because the left hemisphere of their brain and the right hemisphere are connected with four times as many neurons as with men. So they’ve got their logical and task oriented part communicating with their relational and emotional part as they process information.”
b. “Which often causes problems in marriages because men will want to address a specific problem in a discussion and all of a sudden in the discussion there’s this quantum leap to something that happened three weeks ago.”
c. “And, you know, you’re talking about changing the oil and all of a sudden she’s talking about the children’s education and you’re going, ‘Wait a second! How’d we get on that subject?’ And so all the wires go back and forth.”
Intelligence. “Men on an average score five points higher on an IQ test.”
Dealing with Stress. “Men tend to have a fight or flight response.”
a. “Women often look for strategies in dealing with these kinds of stresses. And they want to tend and befriend. Now that’s good in relationships. You know if you’re in a board meeting it’s nice to have someone say let talk through this.”
b. “If you’re on a battlefield, you don’t want the tend and befriend attitude. You want the either attack or retreat, fight or flight attitude. And that’s why I think on combat men are better suited for that.”
Pain. “Men and women perceive pain differently. Men will deny their pain longer than women will.”
Spatial Ability. “In their spatial ability, men typically have stronger spatial abilities in being able to mentally represent a shape and its dynamics, where women typically struggle in this area.”
a. “Medical experts have discovered that women have a thicker parietal region of the brain which hinders the ability to mentally rotate objects in their brain in the aspect of spatial abilities.”
b. “So men can think better in 3D.”
F. Staying Accurate in Our Discussion. Christians fully agree with Batchelor’s high and holy commitment to learn from the Bible (“We want to explore what does the Word of God say on this subject.”). Since he sets that standard for himself and announces it to his viewers, we believe it is fair to hold him to that standard. What follows are a few examples of Batchelor presenting as biblical what is not found in the Bible.
“But you see in the beginning, right after the temptation and sin entered our world that trouble began, when woman wandered from man’s side and then, she instead of listening to the clear instructions she had received from the Lord and from her husband not to take from that forbidden tree, she independently made a different decision. A new freedom, new power, was being offered to her by the devil; he said, ‘Don’t listen to what God said. Don’t listen to what your husband said. They’re hiding something from you.’”
a. Satan’s attempt to induce Eve to distrust God actually was the temptation, it was not “right after the temptation.”
b. The Bible states that Eve offered the fruit to Adam “who was with her,” not that she had wandered from his side.
c. The Bible does not tell us that Adam gave Eve “clear instructions.”
d. The notion that the tempter said, “Don’t listen to your husband,” is not biblical, it is Batchelor’s supplement to the Scriptures.
“You know where it says honor your father and mother, it always starts with the father first—gives deference to the father first.” While it is true that the vast majority of Bible verses use the order of father first, then mother, it is not accurate to say “it always starts with the father first.” Nor is it accurate to suggest the Bible somehow passes along this order as a Divine preference.
a. Leviticus 19:3 - Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.
b. Mark 10:29-31 - I tell you the truth, Jesus replied, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
(On March 31, 2010, the La Sierra University Church sent to Doug Batchelor a full copy of this study guide, including the outline we created trying to understand the shape of his argument for a limited ministry role for women. He responded on April 8. Without speaking to any specific point in the study guide, Pastor Batchelor defends his position with three arguments:
1. That his position is the official position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
2. That his position is not original, but that it has been held for years by Adventist theologians and scholars.
3. And, that his support of women utilizing their spiritual gifts in ministry is clear.)
“The primary conclusions in my message are really as old as Enoch and in harmony with most Seventh-day Adventists. It is the official position of our World Church. At the 1990 and 1995 General Conference sessions our church overwhelmingly voted to not ordain women as pastors. These votes have never been rescinded by the World Church. The wording in the relevant vote is below.
a. ‘In view of the widespread lack of support for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry in the world church and in view of the possible risk of disunity, dissension and division from the mission of the church, we do not approve ordination of women to the gospel ministry.’
b. The 1990 General Conference vote, as reported in The Adventist Review, July 13, 1990 , was 1,173 in favor – 377 in opposition.
c. This position was supported again as recently as April 7, 2010 by 75% of our world church leaders. (See Adventist News Network).
“I deserve no credit for presenting any ‘new light,’ or original conclusions. I simply stand on the shoulders of an illustrious lineup of Seventh-day Adventist PhDs and theologians, many from our seminaries. For much more biblical and historic evidence for these conclusions I would highly recommend the following SDA websites;
“Anyone who knows me will laugh at the notion that I am opposed to women in ministry. I’ve preached for years that every member should be involved in ministry.
- a. Right now Amazing Facts is leading two colleges, AFCOE and Weimar College, that train women especially for ministry (www.afcoe.org; www.weimar.edu). Our graduates are now scattered around the globe doing mission work, conducting evangelistic meetings, and planting churches.
- b. Women being empowered for ministry is an entirely separate issue from women being ordained as pastors. On this point we stand with the world Church.”
Pastor Doug Batchelor