August 23, 2014

Andrews Theologians Approve Statement on Headship

The faculty of the Seventh-day
Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University has voted
a statement on Biblical concepts of headship, the university said Friday.

Teachers at the church’s main North American training ground for pastors adopted a
seven-page study titled, “On the Unique Headship of Christ in the Church.”

document, approved Thursday, “represents a consensus of the seminary faculty
who created this document as a service to the worldwide church,” the university
said in a statement.

“I am excited to offer to the church this biblical-theological study
that uplifts the unique headship of Christ in the church,” seminary dean Jiří
Moskala said. “It is my hope that it will significantly contribute to the
current debates on leadership.”

The document opens by
unequivocally declaring that the church’s head, or leader, is no one other than

“While there exists legitimate leadership in the church, no other human
being may rightfully claim a headship role in the church,” it says. “As head of
the church, Christ provides the ultimate manifestation of God’s love,
demonstrating and vindicating God’s moral government of love, and thus
defeating the counterfeit government of the usurping ‘ruler of this world.’”

Later, the statement addresses Biblical understandings of the roles of
men and women,

“Since Christ is the unique
Husband of the church (Christ’s metaphorical bride), the members of the church
cannot themselves be husbands of the church but collectively, men and women together,
are the bride of Christ,” it says.

The statement makes no mention of women’s ordination,
a divisive issue among some church members that faces a possible vote by the
world church at a General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, in July

The statement does affirm that God created man and
woman equal in the Garden of Eden, and it says that God desires
to restore that equality.

“Although various interpretations of Gen 3:16 have
recognized some kind of post-Fall disruption of this pre-Fall egalitarian
ideal, the Bible consistently calls us back to God’s original plan for full
equality without hierarchy (Song 7:10; Isa 65:17, 25; cf. Gen 1:29-30),” the
statement says.

“Paul’s writings, though often misunderstood (2 Pet
3:16), maintain this Eden model (Eph 5:21-23), affirming with the rest of
Scripture the Gospel ideal of the ultimate restoration of the Eden model (cf.
Matt 19:8; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 3:28).

“Ellen White also underlines this redemptive paradigm:
‘Woman should fill the position which God originally designed for her, as her
husband’s equal, (AH 231),” it says.

Moskala said he hoped the Andrews statement would help end some
divisions among church members.

“I pray that this document
will prove to be a unifying influence in the church,” he said.

Contact Adventist Review news editor Andrew McChesney at [email protected].
Twitter: @ARMcChesney

Related link

Andrews University statement “On the Unique Headship of Christ in the Church”