#CBR7 Review #80: Questions and Answers about Women’s Ordination by Martin Hanna and Cindy Tutsch

I’ve not kept it secret that I am a person of faith. To be more specific, I am a Seventh-day Adventist, a Christian religion that is often categorized as Evangelical, drawing from both Old and New Testament for its doctrines (in short: we’re Christians, but we honor the Jewish Sabbath from the Old Testament). Every denomination has its issues, and mine is currently struggling with two major issues: gay marriage, and the ordination of female clergy. I fall on the “liberal” aspect in both regards (as in, I support the marriage of two loving, consenting adults without any “buts,” and I support the blessing and recognition of the talents of God’s ordained ministers, be they man or woman), but not everyone in my church feels that way about either issue. To address the second issue, Martin Hanna and Cindy Tutsch teamed up to provide biblically-driven, culturally-contextual, and historically explained reasons to defend and support the ordination and blessing of female clergy.

If you’ve never supported or understood why women clergy should be ordained and publicly recognized as having God’s blessing, then this book is for you. Hanna and Tutsch explain why this issue is important, and they draw on the Bible and Christian writers to defend their answers. It is a thorough and comprehensive examination of females’ role in the Adventist Church,a as well as an interrogation of “headship” theology, which has not been prolific until about the 1980s (something I never knew).

Since I am a liberal academic Christian, I did not need to be convinced that yes, female pastors deserve to be prayed over (not to mention, A RAISE or promotion to administrative positions) just as much as male pastors. For those who need to be convinced, this is very convincing. Yet the strongly conservative, non-gay-marriage affirming stance, and separation from feminism polarized me as a pro-LGBT, feminist liberal Christian.  I’m not entirely surprised, but I am a little disappointed in the conservatism of the book. But because it’s likely geared for conservatives, I probably was not going to praise it from the rooftops. I *do* hope it brings about effective change, and I hope it provokes a more open-minded dialogue that includes brothers and sisters of all orientations and political affiliations.

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