FROM THE ARCHIVES: Did Ellen White Support Women’s Ordination?

The following statement regarding women’s ordination was printed on the same page as an Ellen White article on obedience in the Signs of the Times,  January 24, 1895. If Ellen White did not endorse this position, she would likely have spoken on it or written to correct it.

No. 176. Who Should be Church Officers?
Should women be elected to offices in the church when there are enough brethren?

If by this is meant the office of elder, we should say at once, No. But there are offices in the church which women can fill acceptably, and oftentimes there are found sisters in the church who are better qualified for this than brethren, such offices, for instance as church clerk, treasurer, librarian of the tract society, etc., as well as the office of deaconess, assisting the deacons in looking after the poor, and in doing such other duties as would naturally fall to their lot. The qualifications for church elder are set forth in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:7-9.

We do not believe that it is in God’s plan to give to women the ordained offices of the church. By this we do not mean to depreciate their labors, service, or devotion. The sphere of woman is equal to that of man. She was made a help meet, or fit, for man, but that does not mean that her sphere is identical to that of man’s. The interests of the church and the world generally would be better served if the distinctions given in God’s word were regarded.

Signs of the Times, January 24, 1895, Vol. 21. No. 4, Pg. 3


Ellen White also wrote:

“The primary object of our college was to afford young men an opportunity to study for the ministry and to prepare young persons of both sexes to become workers in the various branches of the cause.” (Testimonies, volume 5, page 60)

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  • truthseeker38

    1 Tim 2:12 – ”
    But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

    1 Cor 14:34 & 35 – “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

    What does these verses means? Do we suppose to follow them literally? Did Ellen White follow these, too?

  • Bob Hart

    I just did a search on EGW’s website and could not find the quote
    attributed above (Signs of the Times, January 24, 1895, Vol. 21. No. 4, Pg. 3). Can you please double check and clarify? Thank you.

  • Bill A

    Regardless of one’s personal conviction on the issue, I find it rather interesting that the issue of ecclesiastical authority and women’s ordination is also being hotly debated within Catholicism. See

  • Does anyone know who found this particular issue? It can’t be found in the Adventist archives. Below it will be seen there are only two issues for 1895, neither of which is the issue this extract was taken from.




    Signs of the Times for 1894 – Vol. 20 – No. 55




    Signs of the Times for 1894 – Vol. 20 – No. 56




    Signs of the Times for 1894 – Vol. 20 – No. 57




    Signs of the Times for 1894 – Vol. 20 – No. 58




    Signs of the Times for 1894 – Vol. 20 – No. 59




    Signs of the Times for 1895 – Vol. 20 – No. 59i




    Signs of the Times for 1895 – Vol. 21 – No. 21




    Signs of the Times for 1896 – Vol. 22 – No. 14




    Signs of the Times for 1896 – Vol. 22 – No. 39




    Signs of the Times for 1896 – Vol. 22 – No. 40

  • Ricky

    AMEN and Amen……The devil, himself, REJOICES OVER THE DISUNITY THIS ISSUE is causing!!!!! If one would STUDY CAREFULLY THE BIBLE, GOD’S HOLY WORD, and THE SPIRIT OF PROPHESY this ORDAINING WOMEN ISSUE would NOT be even discussed. By PRAYER and YIELDING TO GOD’S WILL as revealed in THE WORD there would be PEACE and HARMONY among GOD’S PEOPLE, HIS CHOSEN REMNANT. As long as we argue over THE PLAINLY STATED WILL OF GOD WE CONTINUE TO DELAY THE LORD’S COMING!!!! It is interesting to note that this “little problem” has only chosen to be thrown out at he oncoming of these SERIOUS END TIMES. Until the Women’s “Liberation” Movement began a few decades ago, this would have NEVER BEEN MENTIONED OR THOUGHT OF. I take comfort in the MANY LEADERS OF OUR CHURCH FOR WHOM I HAVE GREAT RESPECT and ADMIRATIOM, WHO SUPPORT and FOLLOW GOD’S CLEAR PLAN for ORDINATION and MINISTERIAL LEADERSHIP. EQUAL RIGHTS has NOTHING TO DO WITH

    • Jia Tang

      Your SHOUTING won’t make the cultural male domination accurate or right. When you actually do study carefully you see that Jesus rejected the very notions that this site and you promote. This is ultimate evil and Diablo does rejoice – you are right about that. Human “lordship” and religious hierarchy based on gender, race, slave/free is not Christian. It is ultimate sin. The arguments are not equality, it is about gender discrimination.

  • B. V. L.

    Dear people of the SDA Church, I was a member for 10 yrs once until 2 yrs ago when I realized what the underlining issue really is. I say this with respect and not to criticize but to inform as we are approaching the last hour quickly.

    There’s one thing that Americans refuse to face and that’s their mistakes; this is rebellion and the consequences are the unpardonable sin when sinners refuse to admit, and refuse to repent. They cannot repent of something they will not admit, thus it is unpardonable and it’s by their choice. God wants to heal us of our curses but we’re too stubborn as we choose this land of Egypt/Sodom where the gold and silver, milk and honey are now running out, and we know not where to find the answer.

    This subject is far too lengthy so I give it in a nutshell. This matter of Women’s Ordination laws has already been addressed long ago in Ellen’s time, and yes, she, like every other American female were Ordained Equal to male. Issues of “Rights” followed after the Ordinance was changed by the U.S. Congress in 1848. The monument is profoundly sketched with satanic Imagery that symbolically illustrates betrayal and divorce, and the equality symbols are crossed out forming the “Double-Cross” as we have heard the phrase, I’m sure. The Twin Pillars are also there, These pillars of the WLM monument represent Church and State and the symbolism tells a story of how God’s Times and Law were trampled. The date 1848 is also shown with the last 8 hanging on a broken chain link, symbolizing the death of the Son of God. Not mentioning all of the many details that are symbolized, it is telling us that the Two Witnesses were also slain, then.

    There are too many details to address but if you examine all of the advancement that humankind has accomplished after 1848, you should see the root of all corruption begin with the liberation of women. I will mention only a few, divorce, abortion, freedom to worship occult gods, etc. America is the only country to proclaim a “Spirit”. This Spirit of ’76 is the image of divorce, this is the spirit that every patron receives and it becomes manifest.

    The SDA Church is arguing over mirrors and smoke screens because the real issue underlines all of the problems that our entire world faces now. Most of the world has followed suit as this change in Ordinance is the New World Order.

    Conclusion: Complex and spiritual, you must consider this as we close to the end of December 2012; I believe that we will see God return in the form of a massive solar eruption as we experienced on September 2, 1859 when two massive magnetic energy blasts impacted Earth, one after the other. I see this in Psalm 77:16-20, and Habakkuk ch 3. I predict a change in Earth’s Polarity as we will be turning back towards Judgment and eventually the New Jerusalem.

    Consider a few things, Matthew says that there’s no Rust in heaven, this requires a change in Polarity. Animals and people go stir-crazy, we had a recent Pole shift in the Earth and Moon, and many more things that coincide with the times and the Mayan Calendar too. The Calendar ends because time stops when the Earth is impacted. The rotation speed will change, making it impossible to track time. The world does NOT end then, rather it’s the beginning of the Harvest for the elect and hell for the wicked.

    If we may see God in nature [Rom ch-1] and God is Order and Law, then we humans may see God in the Law of Magnetism. This is the one natural phenomenon that may be seen globally and simultaneously by all humans who know how magnets react to one another. The North and South Poles are opposite and yet, they both reside in one mass of the magnet body.

    This predicted solar impact is a repeat of the 1859 event that occurred 11 years after WLM 1848 when God’s Order was changed. The WTC Twin Towers were destroyed in Sept 2001 and 2012 is 11 years after, when the Mayan Calendar ends. There’s an 11 year solar cycle in the Sun, this number 11 is a sign.

    I believe that the coming solar eruption is the actual Parousia and we have been brainwashed by conspiracy to receive the M.O.B. Most Christians believe that we’re leaving this earth but I don’t believe it, we never leave Earth. We leave the fallen nature and are then resurrected unto a new being that is Glorified as joint heirs in Christ and the Family of the God head, which is the Fullness of Righteousness, Father and Son, Alpha and Omega, Genesis and Revelation.

    We have been brainwashed to disbelieve such this possible solar eruption and led to believe that we are expecting a Nuke strike from Iran. This is a hoax to cause us humans to fight against God. It’s already been said that another solar eruption will be mistaken as a Nuke strike, and this will begin Armageddon. The real battle is over your mind but you’ll be fighting other natural battles while you perish. They will be saying peace and safety then sudden destruction comes upon them.

    Why do every American shy away from the WLM consequences?

    Because the entire world is deceived. All things Holy are profaned as we were turned away backward from Judgment [Isa 59:14] and then there was no truth, nor mercy, nor any knowledge of God found in the land [Hos 4:1].

    Rev 11:10, … they will make “Merry” and send gifts, one to another. This is Christmas in America when we crucified the Two Witnesses, both Father and Son. We are in for a rude awakening. I don’t believe that God is going to allow us to celebrate another pagan Christmas… May God, the Lord of Hosts and Creator of the entire Universe have compassion on those who understand and believe. Amen

  • Derrick Thompson

    The matter of woman ordination should not have ever even contemplate, when we want our way and not that of God, let me share this text Is 3v12 , …. And woman rule over them, Isaiah say they which lead thee cause thee to err .could these be those delegate who represent us of the various union, listen to the last part of God word, and destroy the way of thy part. because of the action of these union great trial are going to attend the church but we must not fear. Pastor ” don’t get involved with the process to neglect justice and mercy” I would like to know what is meant here. The pacific union president pastor said ” I am concerned that, particularly our young church members have less patience to wait for for the world church to act, he said , and we are asking them, we have been asking them for years to be patient, and now again we’re asking them to be patient. I admire them to the degree that they are, but I’m wondering how long we can presume that they will be patient. I a’m afraid that we may disappoint them” read again the same text the first part Isaiah said , as for my people, children are their oppressors. Please note that because of worldly policies the SDA church are going to go under great strain, women and children are going to play a key role in the end of this road. Because of us departing from the law of God.

    • Yan Pyentor

      Thank you. Another woman and God hater.

  • Chidinma Eze

    nice write up visit here

  • An interesting discussion. So, if women do not need to be ordained to minister, why should men be ordained?

    Is there any biblical precedent for two levels of ministers – ordained ones and unordained ones?

    Should the church ordain male pastors if they do not show evidence of their calling from God? Or should they ordain only those whom God calls?

    What if female pastors show evidence of their calling?

    Please demonstrate from the Bible, that there are to be two kinds of pastors. And consider whose authority is the higher authority – that of God who calls, or that of the church which ordains?