Office of Deacon... Time for Reformation?

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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Dear Scott,

I had not intended to pursue this here, but since you've offered "proof" of a certain position I will make some brief comment.

I have looked through Schwertley's work and am grateful for both the link and his hard work. It provides some weight to the idea that women shouldn't be deacons, but is inconclusive in its historical observation. It also admits that women have been deacons in various locations throughout the history of the church, though he does not admit that they were in the same capacity as men, nor to much extent prior to the latter 4th century. His statement, "Because there is not a shred of biblical or historical evidence to support the contention that women served in the same office as men deacons" is quite audacious. If true, then his argument carries even greater weight. But how "provable" is it? His idea that "women deacons," if they exist, were subordinate to male deacons, especially in light of 1 Tim 5:9ff, bears careful consideration. However, the classification of an "order of widows" has problems of its own, namely that Scripture does not clearly set such a position apart. His treatment of "taken into the number" is taken my many to simply refer to church membership. This fits both contextually and theologically. I cannot say much in regard to the exegesis though. Deacons, on the other hand, are clearly set apart.

Clark, in his quotation under 1 Tim 3, makes too many assumptions and presents personal bias as fact. He has a point to make, but botches it with his authoritative statement that fails to stand up on its own weight. The absence of the possessive pronoun is indeed problematic. He states that translating gunaikas as "their wives" is not mutilation at all, but that translating it as "women" is. Such a statement isn't even reasonable in light of the grammar. His further assertion that the conduct of wives must be in view here is unnecessary as one of the requirements is that the elders' and deacons' homes are in order. This is a pragmatic imposition rather than a valid interpretation, as his quote of Hendriksen clarifies. His assertion (and Hendriksen's) that the interpretation "women" in light of the placement of hosautos (likewise) really may have some validity and bears careful consideration for all who study this issue. There are other statements in this section that are problematic, but I won't belabor the issue here.

I also read most of the first link you provided. He has some good observations, but I find the exegesis to be flawed for many of the same reasons. I have done the the work myself on this and, though I admit that I probably do not have the same ability with Greek, came away convinced that women could be deacons. Obviously I'm in good company. For clarity, it's not a hill I'd die on, because the language can allow for either "women" or "wives." However, grammar in conjunction with context would favor "women" in 1 Timothy 3. Perhaps, if there is a desire to debate the validity we could move that discussion to a new thread. If so, I'd be happy to deal with some of the issues I perceive in how Acts 6:1-7 has been handled in this thread as well.

For now, as I stated earlier, I don't think it would be proper for me to continue to debate that here, as I am not affiliated with this denomination in any way. And, it is highly doubtful that any powers within it really are concerned with what I think - not that I blame them.

Joe,

If you would like to start a thread on this particularly, the material and assertions in Mr. Schwertley's paper, that would be fine.

I do not believe your summary of what Mr. Schwertley's writes(20+ pages with much documentation) is accurate. For example
It provides some weight to the idea that women shouldn't be deacons, but is inconclusive in its historical observation.
He does come to a clear historical conclusion, in this paper, based on evidence.

and your opinion here
However, the classification of an "order of widows" has problems of its own, namely that Scripture does not clearly set such a position apart
would certainly be worth discussing, in light of both the historical church witness and scripture itself.

While I'm not able to translate Greek, your assertion
He states that translating gunaikas as "their wives" is not mutilation at all, but that translating it as "women" is.
is certainly at odds with Mr. Mattes careful review of the Greek and since it was not translated the way you imply it would be at odds with the KJV, NIV or ESV in the mind of the main bible translations, as well.

But if you would like to discuss Mr. Schwertly's paper particularly in a thread here, please start that.

Let's not just dismiss all Mr. Schwertly's work with a few statements- and we'll invite some help with people familiar with the Greek translations.:)
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
I'm not saying the Scriptural references to "deaconess" indicate ordination - not at all. But a case can be made for women serving in a formal role as deaconesses of the church. I'm not saying they hold an office - in fact I would argue they do not. Calvin had a formal cadre of deaconesses that were unordained women performing diaconal work. To me this fits the biblical model correctly.

As I've already made the case for the usage of the word, there is no one in the Church who is female who could not be considered a deaconess by the witness of the NT. Any woman who served would be deaconing, and therefore a deaconess. Any man who serves would be a deacon, as well. That takes away any title or formal role as it is fulfilled by all who serve.

So how can you say there is a formal role, if everyone is to deacon?

In Christ,

KC
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Thanks Scott,

Perhaps that would be a good idea, but I don't have the time at the moment to compile a good start to the thread. For clarity, the quote regarding "mutilation" of the text was his quote of Clark, not his own statement. As he sees women as a valid interpretation and views them as a third category (order of widows) he's actually more in line with me than Clark. ;) As for what translations agree with my assertion (though I'm hardly alone), I only know of the Douay Rheims (1899)- The women in like manner: chaste, not slanderers, but sober, faithful in all things.
(1Ti 3:11)


Blessings,
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
I also read most of the first link you provided. He has some good observations, but I find the exegesis to be flawed for many of the same reasons. I have done the the work myself on this and, though I admit that I probably do not have the same ability with Greek, came away convinced that women could be deacons. Obviously I'm in good company. For clarity, it's not a hill I'd die on, because the language can allow for either "women" or "wives." However, grammar in conjunction with context would favor "women" in 1 Timothy 3. Perhaps, if there is a desire to debate the validity we could move that discussion to a new thread. If so, I'd be happy to deal with some of the issues I perceive in how Acts 6:1-7 has been handled in this thread as well.

For what it's worth, Calvin interprets I Timothy 3:11 as "women," even though he views the office of Deacon as one for men only. :2cents:
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Joe...

Dear Scott,

I had not intended to pursue this here, but since you've offered "proof" of a certain position I will make some brief comment.

I have looked through Schwertley's work and am grateful for both the link and his hard work. It provides some weight to the idea that women shouldn't be deacons, but is inconclusive in its historical observation. It also admits that women have been deacons in various locations throughout the history of the church, though he does not admit that they were in the same capacity as men, nor to much extent prior to the latter 4th century. His statement, "Because there is not a shred of biblical or historical evidence to support the contention that women served in the same office as men deacons" is quite audacious. If true, then his argument carries even greater weight. But how "provable" is it? His idea that "women deacons," if they exist, were subordinate to male deacons, especially in light of 1 Tim 5:9ff, bears careful consideration. However, the classification of an "order of widows" has problems of its own, namely that Scripture does not clearly set such a position apart. His treatment of "taken into the number" is taken my many to simply refer to church membership. This fits both contextually and theologically. I cannot say much in regard to the exegesis though. Deacons, on the other hand, are clearly set apart.

Clark, in his quotation under 1 Tim 3, makes too many assumptions and presents personal bias as fact. He has a point to make, but botches it with his authoritative statement that fails to stand up on its own weight. The absence of the possessive pronoun is indeed problematic. He states that translating gunaikas as "their wives" is not mutilation at all, but that translating it as "women" is. Such a statement isn't even reasonable in light of the grammar. His further assertion that the conduct of wives must be in view here is unnecessary as one of the requirements is that the elders' and deacons' homes are in order. This is a pragmatic imposition rather than a valid interpretation, as his quote of Hendriksen clarifies. His assertion (and Hendriksen's) that the interpretation "women" in light of the placement of hosautos (likewise) really may have some validity and bears careful consideration for all who study this issue. There are other statements in this section that are problematic, but I won't belabor the issue here.

I also read most of the first link you provided. He has some good observations, but I find the exegesis to be flawed for many of the same reasons. I have done the the work myself on this and, though I admit that I probably do not have the same ability with Greek, came away convinced that women could be deacons. Obviously I'm in good company. For clarity, it's not a hill I'd die on, because the language can allow for either "women" or "wives." However, grammar in conjunction with context would favor "women" in 1 Timothy 3. Perhaps, if there is a desire to debate the validity we could move that discussion to a new thread. If so, I'd be happy to deal with some of the issues I perceive in how Acts 6:1-7 has been handled in this thread as well.

For now, as I stated earlier, I don't think it would be proper for me to continue to debate that here, as I am not affiliated with this denomination in any way. And, it is highly doubtful that any powers within it really are concerned with what I think - not that I blame them.

I would have a hard time with the interpretation of "women" in 1 Tim 3. It makes no sense. Let me paste the whole text here with women instead of wives.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Women likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

So, Paul starts by addressing the qualifications of deacons. It is clear here that the deacon of whom he speaks is a formally chosen person because they are to stand up to scrutiny. Therefore, it should be clear that not everyone can be a deacon. And by that, Paul means not everyone can serve in the capacity as deacon. It should be noted that there is not one place in the NT where anyone is discouraged from serving in the Church except for the places that talk about these qualifications and the certain restrictions Paul places upon persons in corporate worship. That means that for both the elder and the deacon, there is a formality, and a particular role they are to fill that is set apart from everyone else.

Notice that Paul does not differentiate between male deacons and female deacons, which is probably why most translators would use "wives" and not women. Since Paul did not directly address men or brothers, why would he switch gears here and talk to female deacons? Additionally, the word here is exactly the same usage Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25. If we could follow the same rules, Paul would be saying, "Husbands, love your women."

Because there is no good way to differentiate between wife and woman, we must allow other Scripture to speak more clearly. The very next verse will suffice. Literally, "Deacons, they are of one wife (or woman), husband." If Paul is differentiating, why would he not mirror the statement that female deacons should be the wife of one man? Further, He goes on to say that the deacon should rule well over their house. Are female deacons to rule over their house?

I agree that the text may be translated in different ways, but, the infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself, and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly. It should be abundantly clear that Paul is talking about men here, and not women holding the office that not everyone can hold. If it is restrictive in the sense that not everyone can be a deacon, then it must restrict the office to men. That is really the only way these verses may be read.

In Christ,

KC
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Dear Kevin,

I don't think you've grasped the argument. For instance, your example from Ephesians 5 is very clear because of the possessive pronoun. 1 Tim 3 has no such qualifier. There's not even an article. In fact, though "wives" may make sense to you by simply looking at your Bible, you'll note that "their" is italicized, revealing that it was inserted by the translators (The ESV doesn't do this, but the NKJV and NASB do). Though we differ in our perception contextually, grammatically "wives" is perhaps the most difficult interpretation rendered.


Blessings
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
For what it's worth, Calvin interprets I Timothy 3:11 as "women," even though he views the office of Deacon as one for men only. :2cents:

Calvin's Commentary says:

Likewise the wives He means the wives both of deacons and of bishops, for they must be aids to their husbands in their office; which cannot be, unless their behavior excel that of others.

Let the deacons be Since he mentioned wives, he lays down the same injunction about deacons as he had formerly down about bishops; namely, that each of them — satisfied within having but one wife — shall set an example of a chaste and honorable father of a family, and shall keep his children and his whole house under holy discipline. And this refutes the error of those who understand this passage as referring to domestic servants.

-----Added 6/22/2009 at 07:39:17 EST-----

Dear Kevin,

I don't think you've grasped the argument. For instance, your example from Ephesians 5 is very clear because of the possessive pronoun. 1 Tim 3 has no such qualifier. There's not even an article. In fact, though "wives" may make sense to you by simply looking at your Bible, you'll note that "their" is italicized, revealing that it was inserted by the translators (The ESV doesn't do this, but the NKJV and NASB do). Though we differ in our perception contextually, grammatically "wives" is perhaps the most difficult interpretation rendered.


Blessings

I do realize that gunaikas is not articular here. But it doesn't really need to be. Speaking to women with even further restrictions does not make sense.

Male deacons are to be dignified, not double-tounged, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain, holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, tested, found blameless, husband of one wife, managing their children and household well.

Paul would then say that women are to have all these qualities except they may obviously be wife to more than one husband, and further than their male counterparts, they are not to be slanderers, and they must be faithful in all things?

Also, a 3rd person possessive pronoun is not needed either, because it is clear from the surrounding context what Paul is talking about. Again, since he has not spoken specifically about men or brothers, and he does put the restriction on the husband and not the wife, how may we translate it any other way unless there is good and necessary reason to.

And wives may well be the more difficult interpretation to your thinking, but given the surrounding context with Paul speaking about women in the chapter before and in chapter 5, it does not make sense for him to exalt a woman to a particular and special place, a place that may not be held by just anyone, given that he has already told Timothy to instruct them to learn quietly with all submissiveness, not permitting them to teach or exercise authority over a man. It is contradictory at best.

In Christ,

KC
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Since youse guys have brought up I Timothy 3, here is a tantalizing snippet from Warfield, in his article arguing for an office of deaconess. I find this quote to put Warfield's whole argument in a very curious light, as he finds himself forced to admit that he has fallible church history alone to rely on to advance his argument:

----begin quote----
"We are glad to see that the latest Presbyterian student of ecclesiastical polity, Dr. Thomas Witherow, of Londonderry, although only a few years ago (1886) he was inclined to see deaconesses in the “ women” of 1 Tim. iii. 11, now accords with us in finding indication of the existence of women-deacons in the New Testament only in Romans xvi. 1 : 'I commend unto you Phebe our sister, who is a deaconess of the church in Cenchreæ.' This is no doubt a narrow, not to say a precarious foundation on which to build much of an ecclesiastical structure."
----end quote----

So where might we look for a fuller treatment of Warfield on 1 Timothy 3 and why he concludes as he does. Moreover, why in the face of a "precarious foundation" does he forge ahead?
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
So we should give these women the title of servant, to be consistent with the Greek. Oh, waitaminnit! We are all already servants if we are Christians! So they already have that title! Problem solved!

Man, that was easy... next issue?

Man, am I smokin' or what?
 

Curt

Puritan Board Graduate
So we should give these women the title of servant, to be consistent with the Greek. Oh, waitaminnit! We are all already servants if we are Christians! So they already have that title! Problem solved!

Man, that was easy... next issue?

Man, am I smokin' or what?

I assume that there are some folks who will ask what you are smokin'.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
For what it's worth, Calvin interprets I Timothy 3:11 as "women," even though he views the office of Deacon as one for men only. :2cents:

Calvin's Commentary says:

Likewise the wives He means the wives both of deacons and of bishops, for they must be aids to their husbands in their office; which cannot be, unless their behavior excel that of others.

Let the deacons be Since he mentioned wives, he lays down the same injunction about deacons as he had formerly down about bishops; namely, that each of them — satisfied within having but one wife — shall set an example of a chaste and honorable father of a family, and shall keep his children and his whole house under holy discipline. And this refutes the error of those who understand this passage as referring to domestic servants.



KC

Maybe we have different translations? Mine definitely says "women," though Calvin's comments are the same.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Jessi-

( anybody else, feel free to correct me if you think I am wrong)

when you talk about the authority above us in the PCA, there is a bit of a difference between the WCF and the BCO. The WCF is seen as a basic systematic theology of what scripture teaches. To change it can happen, but a change would only happen after great, intense, deliberation (for example, it used to say the Pope was THE antichrist in 1646, but in 1903 that was removed).

The BCO on the other hand is a mix of scriptural understanding and the rules of the house (how many people on a committee sort of thing). When my church particularized ( went from mission status to a full fledged PCA) it was a real awakening to some of us how much rigamarole the BCO had come up with for certain things. They were the traditions of men, and nowhere to be found in scripture ( so much time for this, so many meetings for that). Not that any of it was wrong per se, but it wasn't scripture the way the WCF represents scripture. It was just PCA rules that they thought were the best way to guard the flock ( and generally probably are)

My pastor showed me the BCO amendments section when I asked about the rules....a thick stack of orange pages of amendments over the years. It has been highly amended. It just cannot be classed in the same category with the WCF for doctrine.

Now, I happen to think the BCO on deacons IS scriptural. But you have to understand that elders who make vows to upheld it, at the same time can easily press to amend it. It isn't like pressing to amend the WCF here. If you can change a committee for nominating something from 8 people to five people, well hey, let's change the BCO on deacons. The BCO is far more amendable.

That is the impression I have in my area (I am in Keller's presbytery and have friends at New Life and 10th Pres where there are deaconesses). My church will not have them, but we do NOT look at elders appealing the BCO on this in the same way we look at changing the WCF ( on let's say the Federal Vision and justification). Changing the WCF goes to the heart of orthodoxy, but challenging the BCO is not seen the same way.

Would PCA elders here agree? This is my impression. I wish they would not challenge it on this, and save any challenges for made up rules of man, but I don't think we see it like challenging the WCF.

I understand that the BCO is not Scripture and can thus be modified. The problem is, people are disobeying it, without modification. Again, if the elders feel that it is a sin to remain in a church that forbids women deaconesses, their only righteous recourse is to: obey it whilst working for change, OR leave the church. (If to remain cause them to feel that they are sinning.)
I think another option is to put your opinions beneath that of an entire denomination and live peaceably. (If you don't think it is a sin to belong to a church which prevents women from being deaconesses.)

I'm not saying the Scriptural references to "deaconess" indicate ordination - not at all. But a case can be made for women serving in a formal role as deaconesses of the church. I'm not saying they hold an office - in fact I would argue they do not. Calvin had a formal cadre of deaconesses that were unordained women performing diaconal work. To me this fits the biblical model correctly.

I mean no disrespect, but how does one genuinely reconcile these two? If in our church Deacon is a ordained role, then in our church, Deacon is an ordained role.

I understand the desire to have what was appropriate in the Bible. A female servant, or deaconess, was certainly appropriate. What is not agreed upon in the PCA is whether this was a title or a description. But since the PCA uses this as a title, I really believe to be honest, we cannot call women servants Deaconesses or deaconesses. I think we could call them servants, which should satisfy everyone since it is definitely one of the meanings of the word in the Bible, but it will not be confused with the ordained role in the PCA of Deacon.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
I mean no disrespect, but how does one genuinely reconcile these two? If in our church Deacon is a ordained role, then in our church, Deacon is an ordained role.

I understand the desire to have what was appropriate in the Bible. A female servant, or deaconess, was certainly appropriate. What is not agreed upon in the PCA is whether this was a title or a description. But since the PCA uses this as a title, I really believe to be honest, we cannot call women servants Deaconesses or deaconesses. I think we could call them servants, which should satisfy everyone since it is definitely one of the meanings of the word in the Bible, but it will not be confused with the ordained role in the PCA of Deacon.

I think you've hit on a key point in this argument, Jessi: semantics. The BCO does not prohibit unordained deaconesses from performing diaconal work, yet some people cannot distinguish the ordained office of Deacon from the unordained position of deaconess. The word itself, though biblical, is at least part of the problem people have with deaconesses.
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
For what it's worth, Calvin interprets I Timothy 3:11 as "women," even though he views the office of Deacon as one for men only. :2cents:

Calvin's Commentary says:

Likewise the wives He means the wives both of deacons and of bishops, for they must be aids to their husbands in their office; which cannot be, unless their behavior excel that of others.

Let the deacons be Since he mentioned wives, he lays down the same injunction about deacons as he had formerly down about bishops; namely, that each of them — satisfied within having but one wife — shall set an example of a chaste and honorable father of a family, and shall keep his children and his whole house under holy discipline. And this refutes the error of those who understand this passage as referring to domestic servants.



KC

Maybe we have different translations? Mine definitely says "women," though Calvin's comments are the same.

I'm confused. Your's says Likewise the women? Whether it is wives or women, the comments are the same. Calvin, here, definitely believes Paul is talking about the wives of deacons, not women deacons, right?

In Christ,

KC

-----Added 6/22/2009 at 09:45:28 EST-----

I think you've hit on a key point in this argument, Jessi: semantics. The BCO does not prohibit unordained deaconesses from performing diaconal work, yet some people cannot distinguish the ordained office of Deacon from the unordained position of deaconess. The word itself, though biblical, is at least part of the problem people have with deaconesses.

I'm not Jessi, but something here sticks out like a sore thumb. You're assuming that there is an unordained position of deaconess, aren't you? Where is that in the scriptures? Granted diakonos is used in a variety of ways, but I can't see how it creates a tertium quid. It should either speak of the office of deacon, or the general office of the believer who is serving. The only place where this is remotely possible is if you consider Phoebe to be an unordained deaconess. And the Bible simply does not say that she was ordained or not ordained. It simply says she was a servant whom Paul is commending.

How is there an unordained office of anything? As I pointed out before, women can be called deaconesses if that is the term you want to use, but EVERY woman who serves the Church in any capacity would be a deaconess. There is no precedent in Scripture for us to unofficially but officially give someone a position like that.

In Christ,

KC
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
John Calvin
Commentary on I Timothy 3

8 Likewise the deacons There is no reason why the diversity of interpretations should lead us to entertain any doubt. It is certain that time Apostle speaks of those who hold a public office in the Church; and this refutes the opinion of those who think that domestic servants are here meant. As to the view given by others, that it denotes presbyters who are inferior to the bishop, that is without foundation; for it is manifest from other passages, that the term bishop belongs alike to all presbyters. 6363 “Que le nom d’Evesque estoit commun a tons prestres. et qu’entre prestre et evesque il n’y a nulle difference.” — “That the term bishop was common to all presbyters, and that there is no difference between presbyter and bishop.” All are constrained to acknowledge this; and more especially a passage in the first chapter of the Epistle to Titus proves clearly that this is the meaning. (Titus 1:7.) It remains to be stated that we understand “the deacons” to be those who are mentioned by Luke, (Acts 6:3,) and who had the charge of the poor. But those who wish to have a more full account of the duties of deacons may consult the Institutes. 6464 See Calvin’s Inst. of the Christian Religion, vol. 3.

Grave, not double-tongued The first four virtues, with which he wishes them to be endowed, are of themselves sufficiently well known. Yet it ought to be carefully observed that he advises them not to be double-tongued; because it is a vice which it is difficult to avoid in the discharge of that office, and yet ought, more than anything else, to be kept at a distance from it.

9 Holding the mystery of faith As if he had said, “Holding the pure doctrine of religion, and that from the heart, with a sincere fear of God;” or, “Being well instructed in the faith, so as not to be ignorant of anything which it is necessary for Christians to know.” He gives to the sum of Christian doctrine the honorable appellation of a mystery; as indeed God, through the gospel, reveals to men on earth a wisdom which angels in heaven behold with admiration, and, therefore, we need not wonder if it exceed human capacity.

Let us therefore remember that it ought to be embraced with the deepest reverence; and because we could never, by our own strength, ascend to such a height, let us humbly entreat God to impart it to us by the Spirit of revelation. On the other hand, when we see wicked men either ridicule those doctrines or have no relish for them, let us acknowledge that it is owing to the grace of God that those things which have been hidden from others are in our hearts, and before our eyes, as Moses says, (Deuteronomy 30:11.)

Thus he wishes that deacons should be well instructed in “the mystery of faith;” because, although they do not hold the office of teaching, yet it would be exceedingly absurd to hold a public office in the Church, while they were ill informed in the Christian faith, more especially since they must frequently be laid under the necessity of administering advice and consolation, if they do not choose to neglect their duties. It is added, in a pure conscience, which extends to the whole life, but chiefly that they may know how to obey God.

10 And let those be first tried He wishes that they who are chosen should not be unknown, but that their integrity should be ascertained, like that of the bishops. And hence it is evident, that they are called blameless who are not stained by any marked vice. Besides, this trial is not for a single hour, but consists in long experience. In a word, when deacons are to be ordained, the choice must not fall at random, and without selection, on any that come to hand, but those men are to be chosen who are approved by their past life in such a manner that, after what may be called full inquiry, they are ascertained to be well qualified.

11. Likewise the wives He means the wives both of deacons and of bishops, for they must be aids to their husbands in their office; which cannot be, unless their behavior excel that of others.

Let the deacons be Since he mentioned wives, he lays down the same injunction about deacons as he had formerly down about bishops; namely, that each of them — satisfied within having but one wife — shall set an example of a chaste and honorable father of a family, and shall keep his children and his whole house under holy discipline. And this refutes the error of those who understand this passage as referring to domestic servants. 6565 “Des serviteurs domestiques, et non pas des diacres de l’Eglise.” — “To domestic servants, and not to the deacons of the Ch

Mr. Calvin says:

1) Deacons are a I Timothy 3 ordained authoritative office, like bishop (elder)
2) v. 11 pertains to the wives of both deacons and elders (NOT women deacons)
[not the imagined modern/revisionist interpretation of women deacons.]

It is misinformation to say Mr. Calvin saw Scripture to say deacons are any "helpers", and that Deacon is not an authoritative office.

Mr. Calvin had deaconess at Geneva, "of two sorts"- the ordained authoritative office of I Timothy 3 and the I Timothy 5 "servant widow" model who were under the authority of the deacons and elders

Mr. Calvin would not even recognize the arguments being made now for deacon being any helper, and interchangeable male or female because that is a distortion of what he believed Scripture teaches.
 

kalawine

Puritan Board Junior
Some men are deacons, and they know it. And they love it.

They have no "ambitions" for a "higher" office. I've had the privilege to know several of them, I'm even related distantly to one. If there were even a dozen more like them in a single church or denomination, we could scarcely handle the blessing.

They remind me of nothing so much as David's Mighty Men.

Amen to that! I had a conversation with one of our deacons recently (our finest in my opinion). I told him how impressed I am with his role and how seriously he takes it and how well he does his job as deacon. He told me that the elders years ago told him that he might become an elder some day after he had served as deacon for a while. He shook his head and said, "Naw. I'm no teacher and I never will be. That's not my calling." He also doesn't see himself as a ruling elder. It's very refreshing to see a man in the calling the Lord has for him with no (as you said) "ambitions" for a "higher" office.
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Yea, I went to Calvin right away and saw that he is pretty clear on his position in regard to 1 Tim 3. Pressing this into the qualifications for elders doesn't really work grammatically either though, even if it did mean wives. That's part of the problem with the interpretation.
Also, a 3rd person possessive pronoun is not needed either, because it is clear from the surrounding context what Paul is talking about. Again, since he has not spoken specifically about men or brothers, and he does put the restriction on the husband and not the wife, how may we translate it any other way unless there is good and necessary reason to.

And wives may well be the more difficult interpretation to your thinking, but given the surrounding context with Paul speaking about women in the chapter before and in chapter 5, it does not make sense for him to exalt a woman to a particular and special place, a place that may not be held by just anyone, given that he has already told Timothy to instruct them to learn quietly with all submissiveness, not permitting them to teach or exercise authority over a man. It is contradictory at best.

In Christ,

KC

Obviously it's not that clear, or there wouldn't be good scholars, and good pastors, debating it. Consider something from more of an applicational perspective. Where, in all of Scripture, does anyone account to God for the faithfulness of another human being? It simply does not happen. Elders give account for the souls they shepherd (Heb 13:17). But not even a husband is accountable to God for the soul of his wife. You may argue it by inference, but not clear biblical dictate. To say that one person's qualification is based on the faithfulness of another is really countering the Gospel itself. Furthermore, we will have to disqualify Hosea immediately. I know this argument isn't air tight, but it does bear consideration.

Something else to consider - I understand your argument and agree that it makes sense. It's tenable. But, from both context and an exegetical standpoint, I don't think it's correct. I used to hold your position for the very reasons you gave, until I worked through it more thoroughly. Of course, there is room for error for both of us. But consider carefully that you state that I don't make sense, while I state that you do. Who understands both sides of the argument better? As you know, this is key in a discussion like this. It isn't conclusive, but should be taken into consideration.

For clarity, I do not see the deacon role as having any inherent authority. It is strictly service, but may gain authority as it is delegated by and under the oversight of an elder. This, as has been stated, has bearing on one's position. And I don't see the deacon role as preparation or training for the elder position. It may be, but I don't perceive it as having that function.


Your "contradictory at best" friend, :)
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Obviously it's not that clear, or there wouldn't be good scholars, and good pastors, debating it. Consider something from more of an applicational perspective. Where, in all of Scripture, does anyone account to God for the faithfulness of another human being? It simply does not happen. Elders give account for the souls they shepherd (Heb 13:17). But not even a husband is accountable to God for the soul of his wife. You may argue it by inference, but not clear biblical dictate. To say that one person's qualification is based on the faithfulness of another is really countering the Gospel itself. Furthermore, we will have to disqualify Hosea immediately. I know this argument isn't air tight, but it does bear consideration.

I'm not sure I understand how that relates to the subject at hand. You may be making an excellent point, but I do not know where you're going with it.

Something else to consider - I understand your argument and agree that it makes sense. It's tenable. But, from both context and an exegetical standpoint, I don't think it's correct. I used to hold your position for the very reasons you gave, until I worked through it more thoroughly. Of course, there is room for error for both of us. But consider carefully that you state that I don't make sense, while I state that you do. Who understands both sides of the argument better? As you know, this is key in a discussion like this. It isn't conclusive, but should be taken into consideration.

To put it better, I was not saying that you don't make sense, I was referring to how I am interpreting the passage. It does not make sense to me to put women in place of wives. It's like a record skipping a beat. And since the only reference in the NT that we have of diakonos is in reference to a woman (Phoebe), it seems a stretch to take Paul's instructions and gather a male/female dichotomy within the diaconate, since every other place besides Romans 16:1 seems to refer to the masculine, not the feminine.

For clarity, I do not see the deacon role as having any inherent authority. It is strictly service, but may gain authority as it is delegated by and under the oversight of an elder. This, as has been stated, has bearing on one's position. And I don't see the deacon role as preparation or training for the elder position. It may be, but I don't perceive it as having that function.

Yes, I would agree to your latter remarks. But as to the former, why would the commissioning of deacons in Acts 6 not mark out a pivotal point in the early Church? This coupled with the fact that Paul is now instructing Timothy to seek out and test those who are qualified to serve? If there is no special office and no derived authority from the offices of Christ, why would examination be necessary? Why the qualifications? Why does he need to rule his house well? Why does he need to be blameless? Isn't it because he is to serve the Church as Christ served?


Your "contradictory at best" friend, :)

I was referring to the argument, not to you Obi Wan... :lol:

In Christ,

KC
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Dear Kevin,

There was a time I remember discussing differences with you with a different tone. I was just reflecting on God's grace in showing me my own pride and how much it is a blessing to be able to have an amiable and charitable disagreement.

The first paragraph you see I have a valid point, but don't see its relevance. It is relevant because, if interpreted "wives," you are stating that the deacon's qualification is based on the faithfulness of his wife. All the qualifications are character based, including keeping his home in order and being a one woman man (which deals with his wife). But if his wife must be faithful as well, then his faithfulness is based on his wife's faithfulness. There is obviously some tension here.

As far as making sense, I see a certain incongruity in either translation. On one hand, it does seem to skip a beat a little, though I would simply state that it adds clarity. On the other hand (yours), it gives qualifications for the wives of deacons, but not elders. And there is absolutely nothing grammatically to apply this to elders. There is definitely a skip in logic there.

Evem the Romans 16 passage has deacon as masculine. It's only feminine in context. the word "deacon" is never feminine in Greek. This is key, for it shows that it can be used in reference to women, according to context.

I think Acts 6 is somewhat pivotal. It sets elders aside as those who must minister in the Word and in prayer, and deacons as those who will support them by picking up the work that will distract them from their role as shepherds. The authority is in the elders. The privilege and responsibility of the diaconate is equally set forth, but is a different role. Those serving in the church in an "official" capacity must exhibit the character qualifications that the church, as a whole, should be emulating.

Christ served with authority, as a shepherd. That's the elder's role. It is a servant role, with authority. The deacon position shows no authority in Scripture. If it holds authority then it is delegated authority from the elders, with their oversight. I know of no biblical mandate that states that deacons have any inherent authority (other than to accomplish their service, which is obviously limited to the task at hand).


Blessings,
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
The BCO does not prohibit unordained deaconesses from performing diaconal work, yet some people cannot distinguish the ordained office of Deacon from the unordained position of deaconess.

I could say that the BCO doesn't prohibit unordained elderesses from preforming elderish work, and that would make as much sense as your statement.

Sorry Mason, but your digging your feet in when you said a couple months ago that when the BCO says that if it's impossible to ordain Deacons..etc...the Elders have to do the work of Deacons allows you to claim that your personal belief that you would be hurting some woman's feelings by ordaining male Deacons makes it impossible for you to ordain male Deacons is a parody of clear and consistent reasoning.

Your loyalty to your church is commendable, and you're a great asset to this board, but on this subject you've got blinders on :)
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Also, just a note about the OP, in some of my church experiences, Deacons were blue collar and Elders, white. That was a pet peeve of ours.
But at our church now, the mix is greater.

At our church, lawyers may be the largest subgroup (or perhaps second behind 'businessmen'). Several dentists, a couple of pilots, a couple of guys in oil and gas, a couple of guys who have handy man businesses (self employed blue collar?), a civil engineer. The diaconate is overwhelmingly white collar.
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Dear Kevin,

There was a time I remember discussing differences with you with a different tone. I was just reflecting on God's grace in showing me my own pride and how much it is a blessing to be able to have an amiable and charitable disagreement.

Yeah, I too am glad for God's grace in changing a heart like mine.

The first paragraph you see I have a valid point, but don't see its relevance. It is relevant because, if interpreted "wives," you are stating that the deacon's qualification is based on the faithfulness of his wife. All the qualifications are character based, including keeping his home in order and being a one woman man (which deals with his wife). But if his wife must be faithful as well, then his faithfulness is based on his wife's faithfulness. There is obviously some tension here.

Okay, that makes it more clear. The only thing I would say to this is that the wives of deacons and elders always play a factor in the qualification of the man. It is inescapable, really. The two are one flesh. How effective can a man be in his office if his wife is not dignified? If she slanders or drinks too much?

As far as making sense, I see a certain incongruity in either translation. On one hand, it does seem to skip a beat a little, though I would simply state that it adds clarity. On the other hand (yours), it gives qualifications for the wives of deacons, but not elders. And there is absolutely nothing grammatically to apply this to elders. There is definitely a skip in logic there.

I really don't see it as a skip in logic when you look at all the other places in which Paul instructs the Church about women. Some of these things are just common sense. You would never want an unrepentant gossip to be so closely attached to the eldership. Doesn't that go without saying? The reason why I believe it is added here is because the deacon oversees the physical needs of the poor and needy. There needs to be much discretion in that. It would be seriously detrimental if the wife of a deacon went around divulging the intimate details of peoples lives.

Evem the Romans 16 passage has deacon as masculine. It's only feminine in context. the word "deacon" is never feminine in Greek. This is key, for it shows that it can be used in reference to women, according to context.

I realize it has a masculine ending. But I'm not so sure that it is feminine in context. This is the only place it happens. I don't think that we could say definitively. I will reiterate what I said before. I don't believe that Paul is calling Phoebe a deaconess as much as he is describing the kind of work she has done in the Church. I think Paul is showing her quality of servanthood, not giving her a title. Jesus used the same word to show us the ultimate servanthood. He could have used bondslave, but He chose deacon. And because He did, tells us that there are two kinds of deacons. Those men appointed in the Church, and the in the general sense of deaconing, all believers.

I think Acts 6 is somewhat pivotal. It sets elders aside as those who must minister in the Word and in prayer, and deacons as those who will support them by picking up the work that will distract them from their role as shepherds. The authority is in the elders. The privilege and responsibility of the diaconate is equally set forth, but is a different role. Those serving in the church in an "official" capacity must exhibit the character qualifications that the church, as a whole, should be emulating.

I won't quibble too much except to say that the authority of any office is a derived authority and that the offices reflect Christ and His offices.

Christ served with authority, as a shepherd. That's the elder's role. It is a servant role, with authority. The deacon position shows no authority in Scripture. If it holds authority then it is delegated authority from the elders, with their oversight. I know of no biblical mandate that states that deacons have any inherent authority (other than to accomplish their service, which is obviously limited to the task at hand).

You would have to look at the offices of Christ and also look at the OT priesthood in order to glean all that the Reformed would be saying about the office of deacon. We should be able to see the Church in all of Scripture so that we know how it is to be ordered now that Christ has been fully revealed. After all, how would we understand the priesthood of believers if we didn't first understand the priesthood of Israel?

In Christ,

KC
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Thanks Kevin,

I want to reiterate, you have very good points. I just don't think they are as good, as clear and as submissive to Scripture. I see some imposition here.
The only thing I would say to this is that the wives of deacons and elders always play a factor in the qualification of the man. It is inescapable, really. The two are one flesh. How effective can a man be in his office if his wife is not dignified? If she slanders or drinks too much?
Agreed. But it's not necessary to cover that with a specific clause on the faithfulness of the wife because it's already been covered. His home is to be in order. Simply put, it's not in order if she's doing those things. But, the fact is, and many are going to squabble over this, she doesn't even have to be saved. His children must be reverent and his home must be in order. As you stated, we look at the OT examples, and it's clear in the OT that the wife of the priest or prophet had nothing to do with his calling. It was based solely on God's election. Why would this change now? Why is the faithfulness of the deacon based on the faithfulness of his wife? What's the OT basis that you derive this from? I would say that the OT reveals just the opposite. But that the NT qualifications for elders and deacons state that his house must be in order and that he must have a good testimony and be blameless. It's already dealt with very well, so why this sudden shift that really does not fit will with how God relates to accountability? This is why there's a skip in logic; and the grammar issue.

Phoebe is inconclusive. I think it gives some weight to my position, but is not necessarily helpful for the reasons you give. My point was that she is shown to be a servant and it's a masculine word used for a woman. It merely relays the possibility, setting aside any argument that it CANNOT refer to women.

I don't know that I agree with your statement about Christ and His offices. Where does Scripture say that? What's the hermeneutic principle by which this is derived? While I agree that we are all doing the work of the Savior, we are all priests (as Peter attests), we are all servants, we are all to love others, etc., I don't see this as requiring an office to do so. There seems to necessarily be some incongruity in your logic here, unless I'm missing something.

Also, I came to this conclusion kicking and screaming. But I simply had to deal with what, upon careful analysis, seemed to be a much better understanding of the text. As an aside - it's interesting to note that one man on this board accused me of being afraid of something in regard to my perceptions on gender roles. It was a silly statement at the time. Yet now I find myself on the other side of the fence. I wonder what he would think of that.


Blessings,
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Agreed. But it's not necessary to cover that with a specific clause on the faithfulness of the wife because it's already been covered. His home is to be in order. Simply put, it's not in order if she's doing those things. But, the fact is, and many are going to squabble over this, she doesn't even have to be saved. His children must be reverent and his home must be in order. As you stated, we look at the OT examples, and it's clear in the OT that the wife of the priest or prophet had nothing to do with his calling. It was based solely on God's election. Why would this change now? Why is the faithfulness of the deacon based on the faithfulness of his wife? What's the OT basis that you derive this from? I would say that the OT reveals just the opposite. But that the NT qualifications for elders and deacons state that his house must be in order and that he must have a good testimony and be blameless. It's already dealt with very well, so why this sudden shift that really does not fit will with how God relates to accountability? This is why there's a skip in logic; and the grammar issue.

I guess the question could be why does Paul deal with women at all? Why does he speak things specifically to them and not just let the other places in which he writes to be their guide? There are many general rules of conduct by which we could roll up all his specific teaching under an umbrella like "keep your house in order." 1 Cor. 10:31 is such a place. Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. That would mean that you don't gossip, that you are chaste, etc. I can't tell you why he says these specific things other than that the Holy Spirit obviously wants to impart this specifically to women.

I'm not in agreement with you that the deacon's faithfulness is dependent upon his wife. Time will tell. It is for him to begin the office and be "qualified" (which no one actually is), but not for his continued faithfulness in the office.

And I would point to the office of King in the OT as an example for why there is a connection between the man and his wife that is crucial. Obviously, if your wife is not on the same page, you will not rule effectively.

Phoebe is inconclusive. I think it gives some weight to my position, but is not necessarily helpful for the reasons you give. My point was that she is shown to be a servant and it's a masculine word used for a woman. It merely relays the possibility, setting aside any argument that it CANNOT refer to women.

I don't disagree that diakanos can refer to women, but that doesn't mean it is a title or a position. As it is clear from Jesus' words, we are all to be deaconing in His Church. But then we have Acts 6 and 1 Timothy 3 that obviously show that there is an office of deacon.

I don't know that I agree with your statement about Christ and His offices. Where does Scripture say that? What's the hermeneutic principle by which this is derived? While I agree that we are all doing the work of the Savior, we are all priests (as Peter attests), we are all servants, we are all to love others, etc., I don't see this as requiring an office to do so. There seems to necessarily be some incongruity in your logic here, unless I'm missing something.

That would be the hermeneutic that makes me Reformed, covenantal. The WCF is pretty clear in its treatment of the offices of Christ and how the Church is to emulate them.

R.B. Kuiper argues that the believer, in some way, holds all the offices of Christ in miniature. He reasons that because the Holy Spirit was poured out at Penecost to fulfill Joel's prophecy that in a sense, all believers are prophets. And I believe you already see the priesthood. And the kingship comes directly from John's Revelation that Christ has made us kings and priests to our God. Kuiper also states that Peter sums it up by saying that we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that we should show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into light. A royal, kingly priesthood is to foretell the glories of Christ. I can see how that would encompass all three of Christ's offices.

Also, I came to this conclusion kicking and screaming. But I simply had to deal with what, upon careful analysis, seemed to be a much better understanding of the text. As an aside - it's interesting to note that one man on this board accused me of being afraid of something in regard to my perceptions on gender roles. It was a silly statement at the time. Yet now I find myself on the other side of the fence. I wonder what he would think of that.

And I can assure you that not only am I being careful about the interpretation of this, but that I am also resting the in careful analysis of a host of good men. If I don't understand it completely, I am willing to submit to other men who are many times the theologian I am.

In Christ,

KC
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
A home in good order is well defined in Ephesians 5:22-6:9; also known as "the household code." It's stated in shorter form in Colossians, and throughout Scripture. The shema is a good example of the man of the house pursuing this. These are the things that lend to order in the home and respectful children.

Christ's offices, as you have related them, are inherent in being Christian. This does not point to a specific position in the church though. We are all to be carrying on the work of Christ on earth until His return. And, I know you're being careful. We all are. And we all rely on good men, and different men at different times. And I know that my view stands against some very strong tradition. Ultimately, however, we answer directly to God for how we handled Scripture and how faithful we were to Him, not theologians, divines or certain confessions. And my view is within confessional limitations, if not the WCF. This is why I attempted at first to avoid debate in this thread, because the OP was related to a denomination that does ascribe to the WCF. I hope I have not been too much of a distraction from your original intent. May God encourage us where we are correct in our understanding and open our eyes to see where we err, for the glory of Christ.
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
A home in good order is well defined in Ephesians 5:22-6:9; also known as "the household code." It's stated in shorter form in Colossians, and throughout Scripture. The shema is a good example of the man of the house pursuing this. These are the things that lend to order in the home and respectful children.

Christ's offices, as you have related them, are inherent in being Christian. This does not point to a specific position in the church though. We are all to be carrying on the work of Christ on earth until His return. And, I know you're being careful. We all are. And we all rely on good men, and different men at different times. And I know that my view stands against some very strong tradition. Ultimately, however, we answer directly to God for how we handled Scripture and how faithful we were to Him, not theologians, divines or certain confessions. And my view is within confessional limitations, if not the WCF. This is why I attempted at first to avoid debate in this thread, because the OP was related to a denomination that does ascribe to the WCF. I hope I have not been too much of a distraction from your original intent. May God encourage us where we are correct in our understanding and open our eyes to see where we err, for the glory of Christ.

You haven't strayed at all. These are all things to be wrestled with as it comes to good order and government in the Church. And I think you'd agree, we need to always be reforming. Reforming, not revolutionizing, right? And although we differ, I really do respect the fact that you should be convinced in your own mind. Because I do not judge you as you are a servant, just as I am.

I am satisfied with the OP and the discussion we have had because it does clearly show, through difference of opinion, we do need to think about the office of deacon, and take it seriously; and we need to allow the Spirit to guide us into truth, and where necessary, reform our thinking.

In Christ,

KC
 

GTMOPC

Puritan Board Freshman
In my limited experience (mostly in congregational churches) I have observed that women tend to slip into completing the deacons tasks because they have a Martha mentality. Those who are most comfortable with Biblical submission see no shame in doing the grunt work of the deacon and do it for the sake of Christ's church and nothing more while the ambitious men are abusing the responsibility of the position to get a foothold in the eldership.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
The BCO does not prohibit unordained deaconesses from performing diaconal work, yet some people cannot distinguish the ordained office of Deacon from the unordained position of deaconess.

I could say that the BCO doesn't prohibit unordained elderesses from preforming elderish work, and that would make as much sense as your statement.

Sorry Mason, but your digging your feet in when you said a couple months ago that when the BCO says that if it's impossible to ordain Deacons..etc...the Elders have to do the work of Deacons allows you to claim that your personal belief that you would be hurting some woman's feelings by ordaining male Deacons makes it impossible for you to ordain male Deacons is a parody of clear and consistent reasoning.

Your loyalty to your church is commendable, and you're a great asset to this board, but on this subject you've got blinders on :)

Thank you for the kind comments, Tim, and I could certainly say the same of you.

In this case you have to understand there are two different issues:

1. Can women serve as deaconesses in an unordained capacity? and
2. Are churches required to ordain male deacons?

I was referencing the first point in the quote above. On point 1 there is virtually no disagreement that unordained deaconesses are allowed. Calvin didn't believe in ordaining women to the office of deaconess, but he had a formal group of deaconesses serving with ordained male deacons. This a pattern often repeated throughout church history. In the complaint filed against the NY Metro Presbytery, the idea of having deaconesses was not the issue - it was their failure to ordain male deacons, which brings us to the second point.

The second point is the real issue in the case of Redeemer and some other churches. That second point is what I was referencing in our previous discussion: the BCO clearly allows churches to not ordain deacons for any reason. We can debate why the word "impossible" is there, but the fact is there is no absolute requirement to ordain deacons the way there is to ordain elders. That's why some churches do not ordain any deacons, but do commission men and women to assist the Session in their diaconal work.

So my quote above addresses the issue of deaconesses, but not the issue of dispute in the PCA, which is the failure to ordain deaconesses.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
The BCO does not prohibit unordained deaconesses from performing diaconal work, yet some people cannot distinguish the ordained office of Deacon from the unordained position of deaconess.

I could say that the BCO doesn't prohibit unordained elderesses from preforming elderish work, and that would make as much sense as your statement.

Sorry Mason, but your digging your feet in when you said a couple months ago that when the BCO says that if it's impossible to ordain Deacons..etc...the Elders have to do the work of Deacons allows you to claim that your personal belief that you would be hurting some woman's feelings by ordaining male Deacons makes it impossible for you to ordain male Deacons is a parody of clear and consistent reasoning.

Your loyalty to your church is commendable, and you're a great asset to this board, but on this subject you've got blinders on :)

Thank you for the kind comments, Tim, and I could certainly say the same of you.

In this case you have to understand there are two different issues:

1. Can women serve as deaconesses in an unordained capacity? and
2. Are churches required to ordain male deacons?

I was referencing the first point in the quote above. On point 1 there is virtually no disagreement that unordained deaconesses are allowed. Calvin didn't believe in ordaining women to the office of deaconess, but he had a formal group of deaconesses serving with ordained male deacons. This a pattern often repeated throughout church history. In the complaint filed against the NY Metro Presbytery, the idea of having deaconesses was not the issue - it was their failure to ordain male deacons, which brings us to the second point.

The second point is the real issue in the case of Redeemer and some other churches. That second point is what I was referencing in our previous discussion: the BCO clearly allows churches to not ordain deacons for any reason. We can debate why the word "impossible" is there, but the fact is there is no absolute requirement to ordain deacons the way there is to ordain elders. That's why some churches do not ordain any deacons, but do commission men and women to assist the Session in their diaconal work.

So my quote above addresses the issue of deaconesses, but not the issue of dispute in the PCA, which is the failure to ordain deaconesses.

I actually do not think the word "impossible" leaves much room for debate in a church of however many thousand like yours. I cannot imagine that you don't have even one man who is willing and able to serve in such a way. I mean, should the rest of the denomination be praying for your church? Is it like that?

And just in case you misunderstood my earlier post, which you said was an issue of semantics, I still don't see why your church insisted on calling the women deaconesses, rather than any other, non-controversial, title. I think that it is only semantics because of Redeemers and others refusal to accept the standards of our denomination. It is not the denomination playing word games. Nor am I advocating word games. I think I am advocating for more integrity in the language and submission to the denomination.
 
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