Deacon, Deaconess, and dizzy....

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by MarquezsDg, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. MarquezsDg

    MarquezsDg Puritan Board Freshman

    Hey Guys Im reading Dr MacArthur " The Masters Plan for the Church" and came across something that i am struggling with. In regards to "Deaconess" Dr Macarthur writes"
    First Timothy 3:11 begins, “Women must likewise be dignified.” Again, “likewise” relates back to an office of the church. Contrary to the King James Version’s translation of that verse, we know Paul was not talking about the wives of deacons because he used no pronoun to refer to them. He didn’t say their wives, or their women. Since there are no comments about the wives of elders, why would there be any comments about the wives of deacons?
    In Romans 16:1 we read, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant [diakonos] of the church which is at Cenchrea.” Phoebe was recognized by the church for her service. It is possible that she served in an official capacity as a deaconess at the church in Cenchrea.
    The Greek word for “women” in 1 Timothy 3:11 is gunaikas. Apparently Paul used that term to be specific since there is no feminine form of diakonos. The same form of the word diakonos is both masculine and feminine; it would have been unclear for Paul to use just the term diakonos if he wanted to refer to women servers. He had to identify them as women.
    We see, then, three distinct church offices described in 1 Timothy 3—elders, deacons, and deaconesses. This is what Paul had to say about deaconesses: they must be “dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things” (v. 11).
    MacArthur, J. (1991). The Master's plan for the church (212). Chicago: Moody Press.

    Someone explain to me the difference between a Deacon and Deaconess. ?

    Those that have an Elders led church and Deacon church ,do you have Deaconess? If so how are they the same as Deacons and how are they different than Deacons?

    We have Deacons that teach a bible study during the week? If you have Deaconess can they teach as well in a Bible Study setting?

    What would be the example of a Phoebe in the church today?

    God bless!
  2. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Bless the esteemed Pastor's heart.

    He is right on many things, but notably wrong on some (he still considers the Bible "leaky" dispensationalist).

    And he is wrong here, on the exegesis and the reasoning.

    The KJV, NIV, ESV, Geneva Bible all experts without an agenda here, translate this as the wives of deacons. Mr. Calvin (who had an 'informal' office of deaconess, NOT the formal office, at Geneva), says I Timothy 3:11 is talking about the wives of BOTH elders and deacons, which is the context.

    Phoebe was a servant of the church, not the formal (I Timothy 3 and Titus I) office of Deacon, which also comports with those translations.

    Inasmuch as there were female servants of the church referred to in this way, it is likely they were of the I Timothy 5 servant-widow model. (Keep in mind these were older widows, who took a vow of celibacy and were financially dependent on the church- a real problem, especially in biblical times for an unmarried and destitute older woman).

    Unfortunately, the dear Pastor does not fully comprehend the fullness of the office of Deacon, the connection between office and vocation and calling, and the relationship to the pattern in Creation.

    But, he is not Presbyterian.

    He's not reformed yet. Strongly Calvinist, leaky in dispensationalism, no binding confession, so he is still putting some things together in terms of systematic biblical theology.
  3. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    MacArther is wrong and flies in the face of his superiors in this passage. The word διακονος is a generic word for a servant of any kind. To appreciate the felt sense of this we might call our deacons servants. Even Christ is called διακονος in places. The context of the passage must determine whether the church office is being referred to.
  4. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Notice the understanding from context. And how incongruent it would be, qualifying the wives of officers (Deacons), but not the husbands (in the hypothetical case of women officers). We don't want to read in what is not there and doesn't make sense.
  5. MarquezsDg

    MarquezsDg Puritan Board Freshman

    thanks wow never seen like this. Any other books you guys would suggest i look at then? thanks!
  6. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    Jesus was a deacon too then. Not all called a deacon hold an office. We are are all called to be deacons, but not all are called to be office bearers in the office.

    Matthew 20:28 20:28 ὥσπερ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἦλθεν διακονηθῆναι ἀλλὰ διακονῆσαι καὶ δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Here is a short article that does a word study in the Greek:
    Brief ‘

    A research paper on the topic generally
    (basically, there was, for a time, an "office" of servant widow (which came from the same root word, servant, the office of Deacon) in the church. It was for older, destitute widows who became a charge to the church because they had no husband to support them, and took a vow of celibacy along with dedicating themselves to serving the church. The practice fell into disuse over time because of the church not following the biblical requirement of minimum age 60):

    This (servant widow who are indigent, and take vows of celibacy) is not at all what the esteemed Pastor from California, and others are advocating today.

    As is often the case, I believe he is teachable, and perhaps will one day renounce this misapplication of a couple texts not put in context of other Scripture as he has done for other doctrine matters in the past. Glory to God, we all ought be willing to do that when convinced by Scripture or evident reason.

    While there has been a time historically when there were "servant widows" in the church, there have not been formal office women deacons in church history. That's inconsistent with Scripture, including the creation pattern. It is a modernist invention.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  8. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    Mark Dever also has deaconesses at his church and I have always felt that something was not right about that, even though I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and his ministry.
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