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Ordination of Women Physicians
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Since Mrs. White said that women should train as physicians, 3 and in another statement calls for a “setting apart” of physicians who are engaged in missionary work and soulwinning, some have felt that the two statements together indicate that she felt that women should be ordained. The statement about physicians reads as follows:

The work of the true medical missionary is largely a spiritual work. It includes prayer and the laying on of hands; he therefore should be as sacredly set apart for his work as is the minister of the Gospel. Those who are selected to act the part of missionary physicians are to be set apart as such. This will strengthen them against the temptation to withdraw from the sanitarium work to engage in private practice. 4

Does Ellen White here call for physicians to be ordained as ministers? She could have said so much more directly: “He therefore should be set apart as a minister.” But instead, she said the physician is to be “as sacredly set apart . . . as is the minister.” He is “to be set apart as such.” As what? As a missionary physician. That is made even clearer by the motivation for doing it—“to strengthen [him] against the temptation to withdraw from the sanitarium work to engage in private practice.” Ordaining physicians as ministers would not be likely to have a bearing on that, but ordaining them as missionary physicians would.

When studying Mrs. White's calls for ordination, one must not fail to consider the positions those calls concerned. Neither of the above statements supports the assertion that she called for women to be included in the ordained pastoral or church elder ministry.
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