Women In Ministry

Breaking with some 150 years of tradition, delegates of the 314,000-member Christian Reformed Church (CRC) voted 99 to 84 at its annual synod to “permit churches to use their discretion in utilizing the gifts of women members in all the offices of the church,” including the offices of elder and minister.

The vote to permit ordination of women makes the CRC the only one of the six conservative groups belonging to the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council to approve women’s ordination.

The earliest a woman can be legally ordained within the denomination is 1992, assuming the 1992 synod authorizes changes in the denomination’s Church Order, striking the word “male” in all references to church office bearers. This process could have taken place at next year’s synod, but due to the issue’s sensitivity, delegates decided it should be left before the church for at least two years.

Delegates to the fifty-fifth World Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) solidly rejected a proposal to open ordination to women. There is considerable support for women’s ordination among North American Seventh-day Adventists. But unlike U.S. mainline denominations, the SDA church is truly worldwide, with a presence in 190 countries, in many of which women’s ordination is frowned upon.

Following the vote rejecting women’s ordination, however, SDA delegates took action on a church-policy question pertaining to ministry by the nonordained. The permissive view of such ministry that was adopted led some observers to conclude that the door is open to women’s ordination in the future.

Women in ministry was also a topic of discussion at the annual meeting of the Conservative Baptist Association in Anaheim, California. Representatives ...

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