Ordained deaconesses in the PCA

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Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Peter
So Gabe, you think female deacons are permissible? I haven't studied the controversy but I tend to believe its acceptance was spurred by the general wave of feminism that swept the RPCNA in the late 19th century.

No, I'm against it. Our church doesn't even have deacons, and I have never attended an RPCNA church that had women as such.


Iron Dramatist
Originally posted by SRoper
Thought I'd revive this thread rather than start a new one.

I'm going through the membership process at my local PCA church. I have discovered that the elders have adopted the Redeemer NY position on deacons and deaconesses. They even have a paper from this church in their membership class materials. I am new to the PCA, so I'm trying to figure out how widespread this teaching is and how they reconcile it with the Book of Church Order. If nothing else, I find the attitude to be schismatic.

Are there any rulings or "case law" on this matter?

The paper of theirs is very poor, in my opinion. (I believe you can get it from their website, but I'm not sure of the address anymore.

I was at Redeemer in NY one Sunday several years ago, and it happened to be the day on which they ordained their new members of the diaconate.

I was unable to determine any distinction whatsoever between the male and female deacons that they ordained that day. The women and the men were paraded up front en masse, and took exactly the same oaths (BCO language was used), had hands of the elders (a few of the several dozen they have, apparently) laid on them, just the same, and received exactly the same charge. From what any reasonable observer would conclude, the deacons were all ordained, regardless of sex, exactly the same. They were listed in the bulletin with no distinction, and to my knowledge there is simply no difference ever discussed. One of the things I find very interesting is that they require all the deacons to have social work training. (at least they did then). But, I guess if you're really not "ordaining" them (though you're doing everything but call it 'ordination' - heck they may have even used that word then, but I was too shocked to remember whether they did or not) then you can do whatever you like, I guess.

It's a mockery of the office, and a shame that it's being perpetrated... but the powers that be, as someone else said, like Tim Keller and what he's doing, so why rock the boat. It's a sad joke, in my book.


Puritan Board Graduate
Sounds a lot like "civil unions" in a way.

The paper I referred to earlier cannot be found by Google. It is Keller, Tim; Keller, Kathy (1989) "Women and Ministry." I don't know if it is the one others are thinking about. It is quite poor, but its scope is broader than the diaconate. While it attacks the feminist position, it also makes a caricature out of the "traditionalist" position; it claims that traditionalists view women as inferior to men.

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Originally posted by BrianBowman
Originally posted by webmaster
The scripture certainly teaches that deacons are a distinct officer in the church. (i.e. the Office of deacon). This office is perpetual. They are not to preach the word, or administer the sacraments, but to take special care in distributing to the necessities of the poor. They have been given authority to do this (see the Authority given to them to serve in Acts 6, and the non negotiable qualifications of the office in 1 Timothy 3).

Elders are also servants. They serve the church in an official capacity as preachers or heralds of the word.

Both offices (i.e. official capacities) are authoritative for their given tasks. In other words, it would be as wrong to tell an elder not to preach as it would to tell a deacon not to distribute to the poor. Both are officially given official rights to minister in their specific capacities.

Both lead by example. Everyone is to minister to one another, however, some have greater responsibility than others in that official office.

Matt, could I be missing something, or did Stephen, after being ordained a Deacon in Acts 6 go on to preach one of the greatest messages in the Bible in Acts 7? In all humility and sincerity, I'll admit that I know neither the Reformed Confessional Standards nor the BCO very well. However, in nearly the same breath that the Scriptures introduce the office of Deacon, one of em preaches.

[Edited on 8-27-2005 by BrianBowman]

Do you mean the "proto-type" deacons in Acts 6? There is an official capacity, but they are not simply called "deacons." Also, they many extra ordinary things that seem to point that they were of the same cloth as deacons, but also in the official capacity as an evangelist, which held certain responsibilitites as well. (See Philip's extraordinary workings). Also, I am sure that Stephen's testimony before the Synagogue of Freedmen, the debate was not considered "preaching", nor with the Council as a testimony.

The "karux" is not associated with Stephen anywhere. Both times he "witnesses" he "speaks" not preaches (i.e. laleo and epw).

The Form of Presbyterian Church-Government according to the Westminster Standards:

Of the Officers of the Church.
THE officers which Christ hath appointed for the edification of his church, and the perfecting of the saints, are, some extraordinary, as apostles, evangelists, and prophets, which are ceased.
Others ordinary and perpetual, as pastors, teachers, and other church-governors, and deacons.

THE scripture doth hold out deacons as distinct officers in the church.
Whose office is perpetual. To whose office it belongs not to preach the word, or administer the sacraments, but to take special care in distributing to the necessities of the poor.


Posting Priviledges Revoked
Thanks Matt,

I should have checked out the Creeds on my own before questioning your post. Actually, after posting it occurred to me that Stephen's defense was in fact just that, a defense against memberes of the Judaic "Synagogue of the Freedmen". So clearly Stephen was not "preaching" in the N.T. Church order sense. Forgive my haste and thanks for your thorough reply.

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Phillip also was called an "evangelist" later on in Acts when he settled in Ceasarea. Most likely, he was called to this preaching office after he was a deacon for a bit.
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