Presidential Candidate Ben Carson: Seventh-Day Adventists Should ‘Ordain’ Women

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told reporters on Friday that he believes Seventh-Day Adventists should ordain women, expressing disagreement with current prohibitions against female headship.

“I don’t see any reason why women can’t be ordained,” he said, opining that it was a “huge mistake” for Adventist leaders to vote against female ordination.

Carson was referring to July’s 60th General Conference Session in San Antonio, where by a vote of 1,381 to 977 delegates voted no to the question, “Is it acceptable for division executive committees, as they may deem it appropriate in their territories, to make provision for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry?”

Carson told the Associated Press that he was raised Adventist, but that while studying at Yale University he went through a period where he considered leaving due to concerns over perceived prejudices against others.

He attended Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and Lutheran services for a time, but ended up staying with Seventh-Day Adventism.

“I concluded it was the right church, just the wrong people. The church was very segregated,” Carson said. “You know, if you have the love of God in your heart, it seems like you wouldn’t do that. That has changed fairly significantly since that time.”

He explained that he doesn’t agree with founder Ellen G. White’s rejection of Roman Catholicism.

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“I love Catholics,” Carson stated. “My best friend is Catholic. I have several honorary degrees from Catholic universities.”

As previously reported, fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump clarified his remarks last week after some took his recent statement that he doesn’t “know about” Seventh Day Adventists to be a jab at Carson.

“I know nothing about it really. I’m a Presbyterian and I had mentioned that, and I did say I don’t know about it. And in fact those are my exact words,” Trump said on ABC’s This Week. “I didn’t say anything bad about it. I just don’t know about it. I would certainly give an apology if I said something bad about it. But I didn’t. All I said was I don’t know about it.”

At a campaign event in Iowa a day earlier, Trump appeared to some as portraying Carson’s faith as out of the mainstream.

“I love Iowa. And, look, I don’t have to say it, I’m Presbyterian,” Trump said. “Can you believe it? Nobody believes I’m Presbyterian. I’m Presbyterian. I’m Presbyterian. I’m Presbyterian. Boy, that’s down the middle of the road folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don’t know about. I just don’t know about.”

Seventh-Day Adventists follow White’s teachings, who they believe to have been a prophetess. They observe Saturday as the Sabbath, and as White wrote in her book “The Great Controversy,” opine that “[w]hen Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, … those who continue in transgression [with Sunday worship] will receive ‘the mark of the beast.’”

“This church would not be where it is without the special guidance given it by God through Ellen White in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy,” Ted N.C. Wilson, the grandson of SDA President Nathaniel Wilson stated last month at a Spirit of Prophecy Symposium at Andrews University. “In the Seventh-day Adventist Church we accept Ellen G. White as a modern servant of the Lord and prophet.”

Adventists also believe in the “annihilation of the wicked,” rejecting the doctrine of eternal torment out of their assertion that the Bible and early Christian writings “did not mean eternal punishing, but rather punishment in the world to come that ends in cessation of being,” as outlined in “The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers” by Adventist author LeRoy Edwin Froom.

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  • Rebecca

    “I don’t see any reason why women can’t be ordained.”
    Um, Ben the Bible doesn’t agree with that, but given the religion you are in I’m not surprised you’d think that.

  • Christopher Montalvo

    I don’t know a lot about Carson or the SDAventists, but I know what the Bible says about the matter. First, men and women are equal. This is clear in scripture. Second, the role of Pastor/Elder/Bishop/Shepard/Overseer/Presbyter… is reserved for men. This is also clear in scripture. How is this still topic still being discussed after 2,000 years? I guess the real question is “Do you believe the Bible to be true and accurate or not?”

    • Jade

      When you say that the Bible clearly says men and women are equal, are you referring to OT scripture where a mother is unclear for 7 days with a son and 14 days if she has a daughter? Or are you referring to the fact that a woman has to prove her virginity or be stoned by men (no proof needed for men)? Or are you referring to the scripture where the woman has to survive a horrible ritual law to prove her innocence for dealing with a jealous husband (nothing for a jealous wife)? Or are you referring to the NT where Paul says a man is responsible to Christ and a woman is responsible to her husband? Or are you referring to Paul’s writing which says a man is God’s glory but woman is the glory of man? Or are you referring to Paul’s writing where it says a man was not made for women’s benefit but woman was made for man? Or are you talking about Paul’s writing where he says women should be silent during church meetings – it is not proper for them to speak – they should be submissive? Or finally another one from Paul where it says that he does not allow women to teach men or have authority over them? Looks pretty clear to me.

      • Christopher Montalvo

        Good afternoon Jade.

        It is going to be important to keep everything in a right perspective and context when reading scripture. While it is true, there are many Old Testament laws concerning women, it is misleading to mention some them and not mention those concerning men.

        You failed to mention what happens to the man who falsely accuses a woman under the laws for sexual purity, that you sited. And I get that. His punishment doesn’t fit the narrative you’re telling. And so many of the other passages you reference are pulled out of context to create a poor image of God, His Holy Word, and the Apostle Paul. This forum isn’t a sufficient place to correct all the wrongs in your statements. But here are some things to prayerfully consider, for your benefit and the benefit of the Church, which is Christ’s bride.

        Galatians 3:27-29 (Also written by Paul)

        “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”

        Here you find a very bold statement concerning the equality of men and women.

        Paul does tell women to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22-24), but he says this immediately following, Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

        This seems to support a perfectly balanced relationship of willing self sacrifice from both spouses. Would you not agree?

        You see, equal doesn’t mean we are the same. In the New Testament, a woman is only restricted from participating in ONE role in the church body; the role of Pastor.

        Read Romans 16. The same man that you indict as an author of inequality and support of mistreatment towards woman, mentions several WOMEN that were instrumental in establishing the church in Rome. Some of which he says his ministry couldn’t have survived without them. I believe you are not reading the whole Bible carefully, with the intention to be taught, but instead are reading portions of the Bible with the intent to support some misguided presuppositions.

        As a Christian, please handle God’s Word with care. We are His representatives on earth, even to one another.

        • Jade

          Your reply is too long to comment on everything, so I will just start in the beginning. What punishment happens to the husband who becomes jealous and suspicious of his wife? Is it the offering of 2 quarts of barley flour that you are referring to? In Numbers 5:31 I read that the husband will be innocent of any guilt in this matter. Please comment on this. I would also be interested in seeing how you apologize for a woman being unclean for 7 days with a son and 14 days with a daughter. I am making these comments not to create a poor image of God, but to show how MEN wrote down their own opinions and prejudices.

          • Christopher Montalvo

            So, lets get right to the matter at hand, and why I won’t discuss some of the other things. The purity laws I was referring to, can be found in Deuteronomy 22.

            The actual issue here is in your last comments. You don’t trust God’s Word as being accurate and Holy. You have to understand that if you believe the Bible to be filled with opinions that can’t be trusted, therefore inaccurate, then you also cannot trust that Jesus is God’s Son. He referred to the Old Testament over and over again throughout His teaching and ministry, as did most of the New Testament writers. If He was teaching things that were based on flawed writings, then His teaching is also flawed, therefore He cannot be the Son of God. BUT if you can recognize Him as the Son of God, then you must conclude that His teachings and ministry are perfect! In which case, the areas in Scripture that you have an issue with aren’t the writings, they are your issues. Praise God for His holy Word that has been preserved for us throughout the ages! Nothing else in this conversation matters unless you can see that. We cannot approach the Scriptures in a manner of taking what we like and leaving the rest. The whole Bible is to be studied.

            “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” 2 Tim. 3:16

          • Jade

            I would have predicted that you were not going to answer my question. In your first comment you said “I know what the Bible says about the matter. First, men and women are equal”. I gave you scripture that made your statement false. You then said ” You failed to mention what happens to the man who falsely accuses a woman”, and I showed you that nothing happens to jealous husband (Numbers 5:31). You had no response to that point but claimed that you wanted to avoid that scripture and focus on another; Deuteronomy 22:18. Really, you call that punishment, the woman is put to death if her parents can’t prove her virginity and the man pays 100 pieces of silver. You think that is EQUAL? Really?!?

          • Christopher Montalvo

            Again. I cannot convince you of something that only God Himself can do. And that is that His Word is perfect, because it is inspired by God, or literally God breathed. Your accusations against His Word are accusations against Him. I’m not telling you to confess if this is true or not. Frankly, it isn’t my business. Only you are accountable to God for your actions and accusations. I am praying that God reveals Himself to you, so that you may know His true character.

            Maybe this will help with the understanding. Barak Obama is the POTUS. Joe Biden is VP. Hillary Clinton is SOT. While their roles are different and afford them rank (which is a must in all organizations, even the family), are they all not still equal? For the time being, POTUS has ranks and authority over the VP and SOT, but once they leave office, they will not have rank over each other. They will assume life as a citizen; equal in their citizenry and without rank over each other.

            So it is with men and women. They are 100% equal in every way. Born the same way, due the exact same punishment for the inherited sin of Adam (eternal separation from God), 100% equal in their eligibility for redemption (believe and be saved), 100% equal for the inheritance of Christ. But they are assigned different roles in the family and in the church, which establishes order. But one day those roles will no longer exist, when Christ claims His bride, the Church.

            Please tell me you see that and that you don’t think godly men are stoning women in the name of Christ in His church. Remember, the Law was supposed to be difficult. There was NO ONE that could keep it. That was the point.

          • Jade

            Why do you keep running away from your earlier statements. First you make the claim that the scripture is clear that men and women are equal. You do not comment on my scriptures that show otherwise. Then you make the claim that I failed to mention the punishment men receive for false accusations. You do not comment on my scriptures that show very little or nothing happens to the man compared to the punishment the woman receives. Why do you keep avoiding my answers to your statements? You just can’t make statements if they are not true. Your latest comment is that the scriptures are perfect. Why does your faith require a perfect Bible. Are you not guilty of Bible Idolatry? If it is perfect, was God really happy to see the enemy’s infant’s (Babylonians) heads smashed against the rocks (Psalm 137:8-9)? Please don’t run away from my comments again.

          • Christopher Montalvo

            Jade, what you are trying to teach here is heresy and absolutely not okay. You are telling me that the Apostle Paul doesn’t know better than you. That King David and King Solomon are mistaken in their understanding of the inerrancy of scripture. That the Apostle Peter and Prophet Jeremiah couldn’t grasp what you have figured out either. You understand how crazy that sounds right?

            I’m not avoiding your scriptures. I recognize that you are not going to be swayed by anything I post, because you don’t believe the Bible is infallible. Therefore, no form of hermeneutics will ever change your mind. Instead, the real conversation is on whether or not scripture can be trusted. You don’t trust it and that is troubling.

            In Deuteronomy 22, a man that falsely accuses a woman of not remaining pure until the day of their wedding gets whipped. Some translations say “punished”, but the original Hebrew word used here is “yasar” or bodily chastisement. I wouldn’t say that getting whipped is exactly getting off the hook.

            Why does he not have to prove his purity? How could he? This is impossible, as I am sure you are aware.

            “Paul says a man is responsible to Christ..”

            In the context of your comments, I think you are referring to 1 Cor. 11:3. In that case, the word “responsible” is not a good word to use. Paul paints a beautiful picture here, for our understanding. He says that the man is the head of a woman, as God is the head of Christ. You need only ask one question here. Are Jesus and the Father equals? Jesus says they are the same, in perfect fellowship. Yet Jesus also says I can do nothing on my own… I seek the will of Him who sent me. (John 5:30) You see, they are equals, but fulfilling different roles.

            Unclean for 7 days… son… 14 days… daughter

            This is Leviticus 12:2-5. Unfortunately, the text does not explain why this is so. So I cannot comment on why this is so. But Levitical law and the Old Covenant law have no bearing on the equality of men and women. If that’s what you think, then you have not understood God’s grace that pardons us and frees us all from the law, those who believe.

            1 Tim 2:9-15 Paul’s instructions for the church worship service regarding women. He is telling Timothy these things because Timothy has just been sent to a church whose 2 elders were removed from office and the local pagan temple worship was leaking into the church. Women are told to dress modestly because they were coming to service dressed like the temple priestesses; dude and seductive, longing for the attention of men in the church, instead of wanting to focus their attention on God. As far as learning quietly with all submissiveness, this is instruction to the actual worship service. Everyone in attendance should learn quietly with all submissiveness. During the teaching time, only one person should be delivering the message. It was obviously a problem in the church. Paul then continues on the subject, almost as if to say “And for that matter…”. He then provides doctrinal truth for why he instructs the church not to allow women to teach and have authority over men. (v 13-15).

            Again, this has nothing to do with inequality.

            So, let’s stay in the New Testament for a moment. Do you see equal protection for men and women? The Jewish leaders bring a woman, who is to be stoned for her sin (OT Law), to Jesus (who claims to be one with God, the author of the Law) and what does he say to them? What does he say to her? (John 8)

            If you are still convinced of the inequality of men and women in the church, as Christians, as viewed by God, etc., I will not be able to convince you otherwise. If you want to see inequality, you’ll see it no matter what. I wish you the best. Thank you for your willingness to engage with me on such a vitally important topic.

          • Jade

            I have been thinking about your latest comment for a few days. I now have some understanding of the mind of a fundamentalist. It is easier for me to see how Islamic extremist are able to carry out such horrible crimes against humanity. As you started in your last comment, since words in the Bible say it is perfect, you MUST believe it to be true. I would have to assume that you have had this solidified into your brain at an early age. I cannot believe you only developed this rigid thinking after just reading the Bible. I believe that would be an impossible. How could a rational person without early childhood brainwashing possibly believe some of the scriptures in the Bible to come from a loving creator? I will give you only 2 examples but there are many more. The 1st would be 1 Samuel 15:1-3. Do you believe that a loving creator would command Samuel to have King Saul perform genocide on innocent people (men, women, CHILDREN, BABIES) for something that the nation of Amelek did approximately 420 years earlier? The 2nd is the scripture that i stated in an earlier comment; Psalm 137 “happy is the one who takes your (Babylonian) BABIES and smashes them against the rocks”. These are such horrible events and similar to the horrible reports we are seeing with ISIS. In their minds that are doing these horrible crimes because they believe that are following the commands of their god. I believe good people do good things, bad people do bad things, but it takes a religion for good people to do bad things!

            You again use Deuteronomy 22:18 to show how men also receive punishment. You are adding information that is not in the Bible. The scripture only say “the judges must then punish the man. They will fine him 100 pieces of silver”. Why do you think it is okay to insert additional scripture just to make your point?

            Finally I can agree with your example of the Gospel, John 8. The Gospels are the only place in the Bible where it shows a God of pure love. If Christians would focus on the Gospels and not use the scriptures outside of the Gospels as a weapon against others, what a wonderful thing that would be. Unfortunately fundamentalist have used scriptures to inflict pain on the innocent; women, American slavery, and now the LGTB brothers and sisters.

          • Christopher Montalvo

            Jade. So are you stating that the Gospels are where we find Truth? That Jesus spoke the Truth? I ask, because by this logic, then Jesus’ ministry was severely flawed. He routinely pointed people back to the scriptures (Old Testament writings). Or do you believe that the recordings of Jesus’ ministry were also tainted and that all His references to the OT were fabricated to support those writings?

            If the Gospels accurately testify to who Christ is, then we MUST accept that Jesus quoted OT writings and in doing so, was validating their authenticity.

            I believe that God’s Word is perfect, but I don’t hold to Old Testament Law. Nor do I use it to hold down others or inflict pain on them. The Gospels tell about a God Man, who fulfills the Law. Jesus’ own words in Matt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them”

            If you see the scriptures as the story of a hate filled, angry god that has it out for humanity, then how can you love Jesus? He says that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). This same God that gave the Law, also gave His Son as a sacrifice to fulfill the Law that He wrote. Pure love. Amen?

            And if Jesus is God in the flesh and you love Him, then is it possible that your understanding of the scriptures, their purpose, and what they represent, may be a little different than what you think?

          • Jade

            If you take away all of the noise in the Gospels you are left with pure love – love for your fellow human being. The 4 Gospels did their best to record the life and teachings of Jesus but certainly were not an actual recording – no tape recorder available at the time. Luke starts his Gospels with his disclaimer that he investigated the accounts of Jesus and this is the result of his efforts. When we look at the quoted sayings of Jesus on the cross, we find that they are all different but total 7. No Gospel actually lists all 7of these important sayings by themselves. As far as the references that the writers make for Jesus and the OT, the majority of them come from the book of Matthew. It obviously was very important for the person writing under the book of Matthew to connect Jesus to the OT. Is it accurate? We don’t know because the writings occurred 30-70 years after the life of Jesus and as I stated before, unfortunately there was no actual recording of Jesus.

          • Christopher Montalvo

            Right. I forgot. God is unable to supernaturally preserve His Word throughout the ages. He could create the universe and everything in it, but preserving His Word, keeping His scriptures pure, no way!

          • Jade

            This morning I was comparing the accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus. In Mark, Jesus eats the Passover meal (Thursday night) and is crucified the following morning at 9:00. In John, Jesus does not eat the Passover meal but is crucified on the day before the Passover meal. Also in John, Jesus was not condemned until noon, and then taken out and crucified. If God was writing the event, would the two accounts not be identical? It was man writing down the events the best they could, but they were only human. Maybe the author of John wrote the crucifixion his way to make Jesus the Passover Lamb. I believe most authors of the Bible were writing to make their own point of view.

          • Christopher Montalvo


            You are wrong. The reason you don’t see Jesus eating the Passover Meal in John is most likely because you haven’t gone far enough back in John. The Passover Meal is in Chapter 13. The next 4 whole chapters are Jesus’ last words to the disciples. But all 4 Gospels account for the Passover Meal being eaten, the betrayal of Judas, and the crucifixion. Each Gospel writer had a different focus, not view point, of the events of Jesus’ life. The same as if you and I were to share a meal together where you really enjoyed the potatoes and wrote about them. When I talk about the great carrots and don’t mention the potatoes at all, our account of the same meal is not in conflict with one another. Our focus is just different. But that was the point of having 4 very different men writing the Gospels. We have been given a well rounded understanding of Christ.

            If we approach the scriptures with the assumption that things are not going to add up, then we are always going to see that. But if we approach the scriptures KNOWING that God’s Word is perfect. Then we can truly learn from Him.

          • Jade

            If we approach the scriptures with the assumption that the Bible is perfect, then we are always going to see that.

            Only Mark has the crucifixion at 9 A.M. John not only changes the day but also the time because noon was the hour for the beginning of the slaughter of the lambs for the Passover meal (the day of preparation of the Passover). John 19:14 says “it was now about noon of the day of preparation for the Passover”. The vast majority of Biblical scholars would agree with me that the author of John wanted Jesus to be sacrificed at the same time as the lambs were being sacrificed. Do some research on the topic and see what current Biblical scholars are saying.

          • Christopher Montalvo

            Many Western Bible scholars read the text and can easily say there is a discrepancy in time. This is because they are approaching it from an understanding that midnight starts a new day. (Remember what I mentioned earlier about bringing assumptions to our reading of the Word.)

            For ancient Hebrews, the new day starts at sundown. Sundown to sundown = 1 day. Most Jews then, celebrated Passover one night later than Jesus and His followers did. Both 14 Nisan and 15 Nisan are acceptable days to celebrate. Also worth noting would be absence of lamb being eaten during this last supper. That would be because the lambs wouldn’t be slaughtered until the next part of the day, before the next sundown. 15 Nisan in the preferred day, so why 14? I can’t say with certainty, BUT if Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him (by every indication He did), then you have the celebration 1 day earlier. It still keeps with tradition and allows Him to capstone His teaching to them, so when they see the final hours leading up to the crucifixion, they understand what is happening.

            In the case of the timeline, our modern calendar doesn’t work quite right. But when you use the Ancient Hebrew calendar, everything starts to fall in line.

            Don’t let the term “Biblical Scholar” give you a false sense of their absolute authority on scripture. Matthew Henry was one of the worlds greatest biblical scholars, but even he was unable to provide perfect commentary. I’m not saying that I can. But the default understanding cannot be a starting conclusion that the Word is imperfect. The default understanding MUST be, “I am imperfect, therefore my understanding will never be perfect.” Think about it. Why would God leave us with a Bible that couldn’t be trusted? He created everything you’ve ever known, but can’t protect His Word? That doesn’t add up.

          • Jade

            I believe the most accurate comment that we both have made is “If we approach the scriptures with the assumption that the Bible (is perfect or things are not going to add up), then we are always going to see that.
            To me the Bible does inspire some true and useful thinking about God, but it is still the product of human hands and contains all kinds of mistakes that any human undertaking would bring. My way of thinking allows me to see these mistakes and therefore I do not inflict harm on the innocent. There have been too much human suffering as the result of rigid and inaccurate religious beliefs.

            Thank you for your respectful comments.

          • Christopher Montalvo

            According to Romans 6:14 (just as an example) we [Christians] no longer live under the Law, we live under grace. Therefore, the Law that Moses gave the ancient Hebrews no longer applies to our lives. I don’t read anywhere in the NT of an instruction to hate others, oppress part of the human race, devalue women, kill others [babies, woman, those of differing faiths]. I don’t see ethnic cleansing, or instructions to shout hurtful words at others. So I need to ask with all sincerity, How does my belief that the God protected His Word throughout the ages, lead you to believe that any of the things I just mentioned (or in your own words “inflict harm on the innocent”) would be practiced or supported?

  • Dave_L

    Would Jesus be President?

    “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42–45)

    • Names_Stan

      Would Jesus be President?

      Well I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know He could never get elected.

      Now the neoconservative reinvention of Jesus…He would carry the South and Midwest in a landslide. I can just see the billboard poses with His machine gun trained on undesirables as the multi-national Fortune 50 contributors cheer their new tax break.

  • Lu Ruiz

    You have to follow,,the bible and Gods law,,,not something that goes against Gods,,that would be anti God,,,just like homosexuality,,marriage should be betwen a man and a woman,,people have gone out of their way,,to satisfy the lust of the flesh,,somethings are spiritually discerned..

  • FoJC_Forever

    Ben Carson is religious, not Christian. The world is filled with people and organizations which claim to be the Church, but are only practicing their own traditions and religious beliefs. The tares multiply at an alarming rate, but it is merely happening as has been foretold.

    Follow Jesus, find Truth.

  • BarkingDawg

    Ben is imploding under his own ego