Since the message of Galatians 3:28 eventually led to the abolition of slave-free differences, should the same truth lead to the elimination of man-woman differences, opening the way for women to be ordained?

Three important observations discredit this popular argument. First, Paul compares the relationships among Jews and Greeks, slaves and free, and men and women in only one common area: the status distinction these created in one’s relationship to God. He declares that everyone stands on a level before the cross.

Second, in other areas Paul recognized that the distinctions among the three relationships still existed. Being one in Christ did not change a Jew into a Gentile, a slave into a freeman, or a man into a woman; rather, it changed the way each of these related to the other.

Third, there is an important difference between Paul’s view of the man-woman relationship and his view of the slave-freeman relationship. While Paul defends the subordination involved in the man-woman relationship by appealing to the order in which man and woman were created, he never teaches that slavery is a divine institution, a part of God’s order of Creation and should be perpetuated. On the contrary, he encourages the slave when offered the opportunity of emancipation to take advantage of it (1 Corinthians 7:21), and he classifies slave-kidnappers among the “unholy and profane” (1 Timothy 1:9, 10). While slavery is a temporary human institution resulting from the Fall, male-female differences are unchangeable biological distinctions originating from Creation.

– Adventist Affirm, Answers to Questions about Women’s Ordination – Ordination of Women and Paul

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