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If denying ordination to women were (as some today claim) arbitrary, unjust, and oppressive, we could expect Ellen White to speak out. She stated, “I was charged not to neglect or pass by those who were being wronged. I was specially charged to protest against any arbitrary or overbearing action toward the ministers of the Gospel by those having official authority. Disagreeable though the duty may be, I am to reprove the oppressor, and plead for justice. I am to present the necessity of maintaining justice and equity in all our institutions.” 38

The women who might have been affected by the 1881 resolution were licensed as ministers of the Gospel, but church officials did not see fit to permit their ordination. Mrs. White spoke strongly in favor of the women workers being paid and paid fairly, even from the tithe; 39 she spoke about the importance of supporting aged ministers; 40 she protested against unfair treatment of Black ministers; 41 but she had nothing to say when the General Conference declined to ordain licensed women ministers. Evidently she did not see this as “arbitrary,” “overbearing,” or a matter of “justice and equity.”

Again, one must be careful not to claim too much on the basis of silence. Yet Mrs. White's silence on the ordination issue should make one slow to claim that she gave her support or influence to the cause of bringing women into the ordained pastoral ministry.

The final claim of the scenario we have been examining is that Ellen White called for women to be ordained and for them to be paid from the tithe. We have already examined the passages that are used to say that Mrs. White called for women to be ordained to the Gospel ministry (see Part I, “Did Ellen White Call for Ordaining Women?”), and we have found that they do not make such a call. Yet we must recognize that Mrs. White did call for women to be involved in an active personal ministry, and that she envisioned paying from the tithe the women workers who gave themselves whole-souled to this work, “although the hands of ordination have not been laid” 42 upon them. But there is no basis in her writings or in Adventist history for saying that Mrs. White supported ordination of women to the Gospel ministry.
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