Religion and Spirituality
A Voice from the Margins: Investigating the African Adventist Rationale on the Quest for Female Ordination
Discussions surrounding women’s ordination reached a peak with the 60th General Conference
Session (GCS 2015) of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church. A report compiled by a
section of delegates from the East-Central Africa Division – Biblical Research Committee
indicated that this continent was not yet ready to ordain women as pastors. In light of the
report, this article aims to investigate the rationale of such a stark decision. Firstly, the report
shows that African Adventist women theologians were omitted from the discussions – a lack
of good will from the church leadership towards the females as the majority of the membership.
Secondly, the decision against ordination of women is suspect and biblically inconclusive.
Through an overview of literature on a biblical missional design, the article postulates:
Contextualisation and theologising are necessary for Africa, but the SDA Church must
remember that globally both theology and culture are subject to the biblical guidelines, and
thus to God’s missio Dei as well.
Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article balances cultural
contextualism and gender relations – challenging a cultural bias through a missional
hermeneutic. This can lead to fairer representation of African women in Adventist church
structures and reroute the equality discourse in light of the missio Dei. The study intersects
with cultural theory, social analysis and biblical hermeneutics.
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