Author Faculty (Discipline)


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Book Chapter

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South Pacific perspectives on ordination: Biblical, theological, historical studies in an Adventist context pp. 130-151



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220499 Religion and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified

Avondale Research Centre

Scripture, Spirituality and Society Research Centre

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The chapter demonstrates that although Ellen White does not delineate a theology of ordination her view on the topic divides into three distinct categories: a) personal experience, b) Biblical reflection, and c) practical application; each of which demonstrates her clear understanding of God’s involvement in the process. She encapsulates her experience in the phrase “The Lord has ordained me as his messenger.” The context of her reflections suggests that the purpose of God’s act of calling or ‘ordaining’ primarily makes a person aware of their specific role. It is clear that in Ellen White’s understanding the intimacy of her own role as a messenger includes emotional struggles. Further, the chapter demonstrates that Ellen White sees a number of components in the act of ordination, first being the revelation of God’s love, then a matured burden for people, followed by a clear understanding of the task ahead, and finally the outflow of active ministry striving the conversion of the lost. Her Biblical reflections reiterate that ordination is simply a public recognition of the divine call. She affirms that no virtue is imparted by the laying of hands (AA, 161-2). In fact, she recognized that with the passing of time “ordination by laying of hands was greatly abused” and that “unwarranted importance was attached to it as if a power came at once upon those who received ordination (Ibid.) Finally, it seems that in her later years she became more gender-inclusive as she saw the “emergency situation” of a lost world and the urgency require to get as many as possible into the active service of preparing people for Christ’s second coming. Hence, in the context of new emerging challenges, associated with the expansion of God’s mission, she used the concept of ordination in a gender-inclusive framework that embraced all aspects of ministry.


Used by permission: the author and Avondale Academic Press.

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