Ellen White, Junia and the Position Summary #1

I was reading the final Report of the TOSC when one phrase caught my attention:

“The Bible names other women who worked in local churches: Priscilla (Acts 18:1, 18, 26; 1 Cor 16:9; Rom 16:3), Phoebe (Rom 16:1; cf. 15:25-32), and Mary (16:6). Junia, with Andronicus, was “well-known to the apostles” (v. 7, ESV)” [1]

This is an excerpt of the report presenting the position #1 (which is pretty known among us JJ). Why did this catch my attention? At the beginning of the Position Summary #1, in the footnotes specifically, we are told that “Unless otherwise noted, Bible quotations are from the New King James Version” [2].

Now, the summary uses the NKJV almost everywhere, but when it comes the moment to talk about Junia, it uses the English Standard Version. This particular version renders Romans 16:1 saying that Junia was “well-known to the apostles”. This translation (that is possible from the greek original) express an “exclusive view” where Junia is not an apostle.

I must to say that I am gladly surprised that the Position Summary #1 acknowledges Junia as a woman, and not a man. But it bothers me that Junia is intentionally degraded from her position as an Apostle that the NKJV clearly express, that is, the “inclusive view”:

“Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.”

An interesting fact is that Ellen White did quoted Romans 16:7. She only quoted that verse once, but she chose the rendering of the KJV:

“Paul in his letters to the churches makes mention of women who were laborers with him in the gospel. Writing to the Romans, he says: […] Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Amplias, my brother in the Lord…. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa who labor in the Lord” [3].

This is the sole appearance of Romans 16:7 that I was able to find in the writings of Sister White. But it is clear that she chose the rendering of the KJV, which shows Junia as an outstanding woman among the rest of the apostles.

I have to be honest. I am not saying that Ellen White choice of Bible versions is inspired, much less that she intended to use that particular version for some reason. We are well aware that the KJV was the most used version throughout her books.

What I am trying to say is that Ellen White had no problem to accept the inclusive view expressed in the KJV. She wrote that Junia was “of note among the apostles” without further commentaries. For she, that was the plain reading of the Bible and there is no evidence that she did not believe what this verse was stating: Junia was an apostle.

Dear writers of the Position Summary #1: You can learn a lesson from Sister White!


References

[1] Theology of Ordination Study Committee Report, p. 26

[2] Ibid.

[3] North Pacific Union Gleaner, December 4, 1907.

3 thoughts on “Ellen White, Junia and the Position Summary #1

  1. I’m not arguing against WO with my comment, but I am pointing out what appears to be a flaw in this argument.

    To be “of note among the apostles” simply means that she was notice, she was known by the apostles, she stood out. To my knowledge there were only 13 apostles, these were eyewitnesses of Jesus (acts 1:21-22) and 12 of these 13 were appointed by Jesus; the one exception was Matthias who was appointed by lots to replace Judas. Paul is the 13th, and he was also appointed as an Apostle by Jesus himself.

    This is my understanding, but I’m open to respectful dialogue and new understanding.

    1. Thank you, brother. I think that is just about that. That phrase, “of note among the apostles” – in no way means apostleship or was one of the apostles. Hence, it doesn’t support women ordination in the house of God’s Remnant Church at any level of position.

  2. To say that women don’t have leadership roles is a fallacy. Deborah was judge of Israel for a long time, which is a leadership role. Neither can we say that the Holy Spirit is partial. It is still a possibility that Junia had a leadership role. Because it is Nether male nor female that speaks but all is Christ. Even Christ said that He did not speak His own words but what the Father gave Him he spoke. So any of us can be a vessel of God. We cannot judge by the outward appearance, but judge with a righteous judgement.

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