Would You Attend a Church with Ordained Female Deacons?

Would You Attend a Church with Ordained Female Deacons?

  • Yes, it is Biblical

  • No, it is not Biblical

  • I would attend but I disagree

  • Depends/Other(Please Explain)


Results are only viewable after voting.

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Freshman
I was recently told by my pastor that it would be good for me to find a confessionally reformed church to attend. There is a church nearby although it has female deacons. I'm curious if this would bother any of you PB users if you were in my shoes or if it's considered worth it even though there might be disagreements on this issue.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
If it is RPCNA or ARP, and that was it as far as choices, then yes, particularly if while the denomination allows it, the local church actually didn't have any. It should not be in and of itself a deal breaker. Add that the RPCNA and ARP seem to have influences toward conservative reform of such things.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Freshman
Which denomination is this church a part of?
Agreed. If it is RPCNA or ARP, that's one thing because in my understanding they've allowed women deacons for a long time (i.e. before "feminism" was a thing), not as a result of the bowing to feminism. And while people may not agree with that position, you can't really say the church has capitulated to the culture.

If it's a PCA I would be cautious. If it's a CRC I would stay away.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
At the beginning please note that my answer is based upon the premise that Christians belong in churches.

Personally, what I would tolerate is vastly dependent upon my situation. As it is now, in which there are churches on every other street corner offering a veritable cornucopia of biblical, theological, and practical perspectives, I can afford to be highly selective. In this case, no, I *would not* attend a church with ordained female deacons.

But if were to live in a different context in which there were churches, but yet churches that line up with what I think is biblical and theologically and practically correct are not to be found, and getting to one that does line up is impracticable, then in that case I'd have to start triaging my convictions and find a church that lines up as closely as possible. In this case, I *might* attend a church with ordained female deacons.

More unpleasant still, imagine I live in a context that is downright hostile to Christianity. Let's say that in this context most churches have either closed or capitulated to the culture so as to be mere religious propagandists for the state, or churches simply don't exist. Let's imagine that within (a workable distance from my home) there is only 1 true church that exists. In this context I *would* attend it with a great deal of toleration for what would surely be the profound perspectival diversity in such a situation.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
As to the poll - It depends.

Factor 1: Is there a better option available.

Factor 2: Is it a one-off while being temporarily in an area, or is going to be an on-going relationship.

Now, the top post appears to address a situtation where Factor 2 militates against. So it would soley be a Factor 1 situation. Other than that, there isn't enough information to otherwise proffer advice.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
Any resources you could recommend (preferably online and free ;) )?
I can't find the ARP paper on it. The RPCNA has some stuff. This is a start:
I tend to follow Craig Blomberg and others on the matter. I am trying to look others up but it has been awhile.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
This is the exact church I need to consider actually. Otherwise the closest OPC is at least 2 hours by public transportation it seems like.
Both denominations are conservative, and possibly the most conservative, and belong to NAPARC. They aren't entertaining feminism so far as I know.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Freshman
Both denominations are conservative, and possibly the most conservative, and belong to NAPARC. They aren't entertaining feminism so far as I know.
Then, at least for now, that's where I'm headed this Sunday. Thankfully seems like they're just starting to open back up, with restrictions of course.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
WHY a church does or does not ordain female deacons is usually a more important question than WHETHER or not they do so. You might learn quite a bit about the church from a discussion with them about the topic.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Freshman
WHY a church does or does not ordain female deacons is usually a more important question than WHETHER or not they do so. You might learn quite a bit about the church from a discussion with them about the topic.
Very true. I'll be sure to have that discussion thank you sir!
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
It really depends. Other doctrines have higher importantance for me. Concerns for worship and discipline are way higher on my list than female deacons. For example, if there was a solid RPCNA with female deacons and a solid OPC without female deacons I would be inclined toward the RPCNA because worship is something that has a greater affect on me and my family than the diaconate, in my opinion.

Also, as Mr. Jack said it's highly important to know why they do so.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Before we moved to NJ in 2001, we attended a PCA with woman deaconesses. Best church I was ever in, and best small group. So many people were avid readers of theology, they were praying people, missions minded, great elders.

The women deaconesses were merciful servants. Not pushy, not controlling, not obnoxious. I personally dont agree with women being deacons, but if you think Calvin allowed it and the women do not rule, I would not make it a reason to reject a church.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Junior
You can read about the history of the RPCNA with regard to female deacons in this article: https://gentlereformation.com/2019/07/10/a-brief-maybe-incomplete-history-of-women-in-the-rpcna/

My answer is yes, at least as the office of deacon is understood in RPCNA and ARP churches. I have visited a PCA church where female deacons were serving as practical elders, in which case I would have more concern. Not to mention that the issue of female deacons is more complex in the PCA than the RPCNA and ARP Church. I know the ERQ also has female deacons, but I do not know as much about the why.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
This is the exact church I need to consider actually. Otherwise the closest OPC is at least 2 hours by public transportation it seems like.
I know Pastor Noah Bailey (just spoke to him about an unrelated matter). He was a minister in our Presbytery before he took the call to Cambridge. One of the finest preachers you will ever hear. I suggest visiting and speaking to him about the matter. If you go, tell him "Rom says hi".
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Freshman
I know Pastor Noah Bailey (just spoke to him about an unrelated matter). He was a minister in our Presbytery before he took the call to Cambridge. One of the finest preachers you will ever hear. I suggest visiting and speaking to him about the matter. If you go, tell him "Rom says hi".
I'll do just that, thanks Rom!
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
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First RPC in Cambridge has a few sermons on the office. I would imagine it is wise to learn about what they think on it.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Freshman
I initially answered "no", but changed my vote to "depends/other."

In the absence of any feasible alternative I might be able to attend a church with ordained female deacons, but I disagree with the practice and my conscience might not ever be at peace with it thus making membership difficult. It is hard for me to imagine how this scenario would play out.



I must ask. Are you open to exclusive psalmody and infant baptism? I see from your sig block you subscribe to 3FU but are in an SBC-affiliated congregation.
I have officially left that SBC church but I still need to keep it in order to not go against the signature requirements. I am all for infant baptism and I'm not personally EP. I've been using the Trinity Psalter Hymnal and I have come to love it. With that said, that's not a problem for me.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Junior
By the way, I would go for the RPCNA church if I were in your shoes, but there are a lot of PCA and CCCC churches in your area too.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
I can't find the ARP paper on it. The RPCNA has some stuff. This is a start:
I tend to follow Craig Blomberg and others on the matter. I am trying to look others up but it has been awhile.
I found this lengthy essay from Rev. Brian Schwertley, a minister in the RPCNA. He concluded thus:

Given the biblical and historical evidence regarding women deacons, the question asked in the modern debate needs to be changed. The question has been: should the church have deaconesses? The question should be: what type of deaconesses does the New Testament authorize? When those in favor of women deacons ignore or misinterpret 1 Timothy 5:9ff. and 1 Timothy 3:11, and therefore argue that deaconesses should be ordained and serve in the same office with the same qualification as men deacons, they must be opposed on scriptural grounds. Why? 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. Those who argue that God has not set aside a special "charge" in the church for godly widows must also be opposed on scriptural grounds. The New Testament gives clear qualifications for servant-widows (i.e., deaconesses) in 1 Timothy 5:9ff. and 1 Timothy 3:11. While the New Testament deaconess is a separate office from the male diaconate (with separate qualifications and a different ministry), the office clearly has divine authorization. The simple fact is that having deaconesses in the church is biblical as long as the church defines deaconesses biblically.​
It is not enough simply to oppose the "women in the same office as men deacons" view of deaconesses. Churches must study and then put in place the servant-widows that do have divine authorization. Under divine inspiration Paul gives instructions to place godly widows on a list. These servant-widows or deaconesses are needed now just as much as they were in the early church. With the fragmentation of families, single mothers, and the separation of young families from relatives by hundreds and thousands of miles, young women need the support that only servant-widows have to offer.​
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Slight correction, Rev. Schwertley began in the RPCNA but later left and with others formed a new denomination, the Westminster Presbyterian Church in the United States.

Just a thought- I would question labeling set-apart godly older widows, if the churches should ever arrive at this practice, as “deaconnesses.” That would seem to blur distinctions. The Greek word translated “deacon” is used to define the ministries of Paul and other apostles and of Christ himself, but in God’s providence became the title of a specific church office. It would seem better to use another title for these prospective older widows.
 
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Herald

Administrator
Staff member
At the beginning please note that my answer is based upon the premise that Christians belong in churches.

Personally, what I would tolerate is vastly dependent upon my situation. As it is now, in which there are churches on every other street corner offering a veritable cornucopia of biblical, theological, and practical perspectives, I can afford to be highly selective. In this case, no, I *would not* attend a church with ordained female deacons.

But if were to live in a different context in which there were churches, but yet churches that line up with what I think is biblical and theologically and practically correct are not to be found, and getting to one that does line up is impracticable, then in that case I'd have to start triaging my convictions and find a church that lines up as closely as possible. In this case, I *might* attend a church with ordained female deacons.

More unpleasant still, imagine I live in a context that is downright hostile to Christianity. Let's say that in this context most churches have either closed or capitulated to the culture so as to be mere religious propagandists for the state, or churches simply don't exist. Let's imagine that within (a workable distance from my home) there is only 1 true church that exists. In this context I *would* attend it with a great deal of toleration for what would surely be the profound perspectival diversity in such a situation.
I concur with Ben's comments. If it was the "last church in Mecca", yes. I would attend. Other than that, I would see a different fellowship.
 
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