The issue of women’s ordination, which seemed to have been on life support for the last several years, has surfaced once again—and with a vengeance! In the last few months at least three Union Conference executive committees and one local conference committee in the North American Division have decided to go ahead and ordain women pastors and issue them ministerial credentials (Mid-America Union, Pacific Union, Columbia Union and the Southeastern California Conference). Laudably, other Unions (such as the Southern Union), though sympathetic with the idea of ordaining women, have issued statements that they will do so only if and when the world church authorizes it at a General Conference Session.
After many years of study and discussion on this topic there is obviously nothing new to be discovered. I have personally read a plethora of books and articles some of which are pro and others con. Meetings have been held, books have been written, votes have been taken and I seriously question whether there is any new light to be discovered in the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy on this subject. The evidence has been examined and reexamined and hashed and rehashed. Ordination of women as pastors has been twice rejected by a wide majority of the constituency of the world church in General Conference Session (at Indianapolis and Utrecht) and yet the subject refuses to die.
Yet while there are no new theological arguments, there are new methods that are being proposed to approve the ordination of women in some denominational circles in opposition to the votes of the world church.
A little history might be beneficial. As is well known, a request to ordain women to the gospel ministry was taken by the North American Division (henceforth referred to as the NAD) to two General Conference Sessions (Indianapolis  and Utrecht ). Both times the motion was soundly defeated by a significant majority of the delegates.
These denials did not sit well with a number of the NAD delegates. I personally attended the Indianapolis General Conference session and in the halls between meetings I heard someone suggest that North America ought to cut off financial subsidies to the world field in retaliation. I heard one delegate say: “If they want our money they should support our agenda.”
At Utrecht five years later, two top notch theologians, Dr. Gerard Damsteegt (con) and Dr. Raoul Dederen (pro) presented the two sides of the issue and the NAD request was once again soundly defeated. I believe that the NAD realized at that point that it would be fruitless to take the issue to a General Conference Session once again because the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the developing countries was growing by leaps and bounds and the NAD knew that the motion would most likely be voted down once more. The response given by some conferences in the NAD was to ignore the vote of the world church and ordain women pastors anyway albeit without issuing them ministerial credentials.