Pastor Stephen Bohr’s independent Secrets Unsealed ministry hosted a two-day symposium on women’s ordination entitled “Crisis Ahead.” Louis Torres, the president of the Guam-Micronesia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, spoke first on Friday evening, June 12 at the Bakersfield Hillcrest Seventh-day Adventist Church in Central California. His presentation was entitled “Reflections on the Ordination Controversy.”
Torres placed the move to ordain Adventist women in a long line of people wanting to exceed their appointed station in life going all the way back to the first woman, Eve.
“We know that the sad commentary is that Eve was led to desire a higher position than what God had elected for her,” Torres said. “The Scripture bears out that Eve separated from her husband and went to the tree and the result was that she was tempted.”
(It is a significant point that the biclical text, in fact, says the opposite: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” Genesis 3:6. -Ed.)
“Make sure that what you believe in comes from the Bible. Don’t just listen to me or Steve Bohr or anybody else. Go to the word for yourself and know for yourself what God says on any given issue,” Torres said a few moments later.
Torres offered a short litany of knowns from the Genesis narrative:
We know that in the beginning, God elected to make a man and a woman. We know that God gave man the responsibility for the garden. We know that Adam was given the responsibility for naming all the animals. We know that God gave Adam the responsibility of naming Eve, and we know that Adam was charged with the responsibility for what had happened in the garden. God laid a burden on Adam, not on Eve, for what took place. God made man responsible. (I’m not saying that because I’m a chauvinist, I’m saying that because I read the Scriptures and that’s what it reveals.)”
Torres offered an extended quotation from Ellen White’s “Patriarchs and Prophets” to explain Eve’s attitude:
“Eve had been perfectly happy by her husband’s side in her Eden home; but, like restless modern Eves, she was flattered with the hope of entering a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. In attempting to rise above her original position, she fell far below it. A similar result will be reached by all who are unwilling to take up cheerfully their life duties in accordance with God’s plan. In their efforts to reach positions for which He has not fitted them, many are leaving vacant the place where they might be a blessing. In their desire for a higher sphere, many have sacrificed true womanly dignity and nobility of character, and have left undone the very work that Heaven appointed them” (Patriarchs and Prophets p 59).
“God placed responsibility on men,” Torres insisted. He argued that God through Moses told men that it was their responsibility when leaving Egypt to carry out passover rites.
“That’s why, men, you’re called ‘housebands,'” he offered, “the one who keeps the band around the house—the protector, the provider.” When it comes to spirituality, God has elected that men are responsible for the spiritual condition of the house, Torres said.
Torres framed woman’s ordination as a corrolary to the apparent sibling rivalry between Miriam and Moses. “Miriam decided she should be as equal as Moses. The sad thing is that she got the support of the high priest. We can say today that the ladies are getting support from the priests,” Torres said, referring to Adventist Church leaders who have spoken in favor of ordaining women. He arrgued that God was very offended by Miriam’s attempt at equality with Moses, as evidenced by the cloud of God’s presence being removed from the tabernacle.
Torres also compared women’s ordination to Lucifer’s rebellion (as characterized by Ellen White): God had ordained for Lucifer to be a “covering cherub.” Lucifer was not satisfied with his position and wanted to be like the most high. Torres suggested that women’s ordination bears the same rebellious attitude.
Citing Exodus 18:25, Torres argued that women have never been chosen for leading the houses of God’s people:
Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. Notice here that not one lady is mentioned. All the ones selected were men. God ordained them. God is a God of order. Disorder is not pleasing to him.”
He offered an analogy of the United States government as an indication of the reason for systems of governance. He argued that government systems are made to protect the people. “We may disagree with it,” he said, “but if it were not for the system, ladies you’d probably be wearing coverings over your face and and be slaves to man (sic) over there in the Middle East. You understand what I’m saying?”
“When God establishes something, it is for man’s own good,” Torres said. He appealed frequently to the idea that God knows best, and that the structures and systems God ordains are for man’s own good.
Late in his hour-long presentation, Torres noted that Jesus ordained 12 apostles. “There were ladies who were following him, but Jesus didn’t ordain them as apostles,” he said.
Watch the entire presentation, “Reflections on the Ordination Controversy,” here.
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.