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#3144 - Wed May 21, 2003 2:57 AM Female deacons?  
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[Linked Image] This thread was moved as it deserved a thread of its own. [Linked Image] - Pilgrim


Upon checking the Redeemer web site I note they distinguish deacons and deaconesses. Thus they do not have female deacons as such.

Regards,

James

#3145 - Wed May 21, 2003 5:13 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: James]  
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Just because one is ordained and the other is not....they still fail to obey the Scripture...


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#3146 - Wed May 21, 2003 6:41 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: James]  
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In reply to:
Thus they do not have female deacons as such.

I have to partially agree with Joe when he said it makes no difference whether or not the women have been ordained. I say partially because it is possible for a church to allow women to be Deacons and grant them the authority which that office includes without officially ordaining them. It's nothing more than a not so clever attempt to evade the biblical qualifications for that office. However, I do believe that women do have a very important role to play as HELPERS of Deacons in their work. Although to call them "deaconesses" can be problematic, nonetheless women can and should be involved in the work of the Deacons. This work is not to be undertaken by them independently of the Deaconate by under their authority and direction as "help mates". I am thinking particularly of situations where other women are in need of help and counsel and it would not be prudent to have a male minister to her alone. And, there are countless other tasks which need to be done that women are far more adept at doing.grin

Because of the current trend to circumvent the clear teaching of Scripture concerning the offices of Elder and Deacon and those qualified to serve in those offices, I am skeptical of any church that uses the term "deaconess". I'm sure you can appreciate that? After all, isn't it the nature of a Calvinist to be genuinely suspicious of everything, knowing the depravity of man as we do? grin

In His Grace,



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#3147 - Wed May 21, 2003 10:24 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: Pilgrim]  
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I agree. I believe women are one of the most important aspects of the church. I know and have seen them work harder than many men in the ministry that bare the tile of either deacon or elder. But, hard work and ministry do not make a woman a deaconess--this is just a game of semantics that the PCA and others attempt to play. I am unsure but I believe the ARP now allows deaconess' and gives each individual church the option to ordain and not to ordain, which is where I am afraid the PCA is headed as well.


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#3148 - Thu May 22, 2003 3:28 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: James]  
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Well I would dstinguish female deacons from deaconesses. The latter is seeking to make a gender distinction, the former is not. I don't think it is fair to call it merely semantics. The arguments for and against do, of course, rely on biblical semantics (which is not mere semantics)!

As I have said, I wouldn't die over this one. I am a deacon in a congregational church which has one elder (the pastor). One of my fellow deacons is woman. I'm not too thrilled about havig women deacons in the absence of a plurality of elders, but other things are more of a priority when working for reformation in this church.

I understand the RPCNA allows women deacons. I was not aware any other NAPARC church did so. Maybe the ARP now does as you have indicated.

Now women elders is a different issue. That I would die over.

In Christ,

James.

#3149 - Thu May 22, 2003 5:45 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: James]  
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<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr>[color:"blue"]Well I would dstinguish female deacons from deaconesses. The latter is seeking to make a gender distinction, the former is not. I don't think it is fair to call it merely semantics. The arguments for and against do, of course, rely on biblical semantics (which is not mere semantics)! </font><hr></blockquote><p> This is a biblical distinction, not a gender distinction. The difference does not rely on biblical semantics, but biblical hermeneutics, which some attempt to make a matter of semantics encouraging a gender war. If what is taught in the pure Word of God is not worth defending and obeying then why do we even have a Bible? Far from being a semantical issue, the Scripture admonishes women to perform and function as God designed them to. Women are not in any way inferior to men in Pauline thought. Even Macarthur, who allows woman deacons at Grace Community, states, <br><br><blockquote>[color:blue]A woman’s subordinate role did not result after the Fall as a cultural, chauvinistic corruption of God’s perfect design; rather, God established her role as part of His original creation (1 Tim 2:13). God made woman after man to be his suitable helper (Gen. 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:8-9). The Fall actually corroborates God’s divine plan of creation (Gen. 3:1–7). By nature Eve was not suited to assume the position of ultimate responsibility. By leaving Adam’s protection and usurping his headship, she was vulnerable and fell, thus confirming how important it was for her to stay under the protection and leadership of her husband (2 Tim. 3:6 -7). Adam then violated his leadership role, followed Eve in her sin, and plunged the human race into sinfulness—all connected with violating God’s planned roles for the sexes. Ultimately, the responsibility for the Fall still rests with Adam, since he chose to disobey God apart from being deceived (Rom. 5:12–21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22 ). </blockquote></font color=blue> It appears that from the PCA and others distinctive use of the term “deaconess” they desire the woman to go from picking the forbidden fruit to having the title of Forbidden Fruit Picker. Why is it that women need a "title" to serve God with? IMHO most have demonstrated through the ages that they don't. But in this age this appears to be part and parcel of the issue--I want a title, when they do not even meet the biblical qualifications for such (1 Tim 3:12)! This reminds me of,<br><br><blockquote>[color:blue] "Does your mother pick up trash for a living?" "Oh, she is much more important than that, she is a sanitation engineer!"</blockquote></font color=blue> What about the authority issue between men and woman? Who is suppose to biblically rule who? Whether ordained or not ordained if they [color:red]control an office and they control men under their "authority”</font color=red>, is this not a violation of Scripture? <br><br><blockquote>[color:blue]Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. <br><br>1 Timothy 2:11-12 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. </blockquote></font color=blue> In these days of “Women’s Lib” and other feminist movements, the word [color:red]submission</font color=red> makes some people see red. Some unbiblical writers have even accused Paul of being a “crusty old bachelor” who was anti-women. Those of us who hold to the inspiration and authority of the Word of God know that Paul’s teachings came from God and not from himself. If we have a problem with what the Bible says about women in the church, the issue is not with Paul (or Peter— Peter 3:1–7), but with the Lord who gave the Word (2 Tim. 3:16–17). <br><br>The word translated [color:red]subjection</font color=red> in 1 Tim 2:11 is translated [color:blue]submitting</font color=blue> and [color:blue]submit</font color=blue> in Eph 5:21–22 and Col 3:18 . It literally means [color:red]to rank under</font color=red>. Anyone who has served in the armed forces knows that [color:red]rank</font color=red> has to do with order and authority, not with value or ability. A colonel is higher in rank than a private, but that does not necessarily mean that the colonel is a better man than the private. It only means that the colonel has a higher rank and, therefore, more authority. <br><br>[color:blue]Let all things be done decently and in order</font color=blue> (1 Cor. 14:40) is a principle God follows in His creation. Just as an army would be in confusion if there were no levels of authority, so society would be in chaos without submission. Children should submit to their parents because God has given parents the authority to train their children and discipline them in love. Employees should submit to employers and obey them (Eph. 6:5–8 , where the immediate reference is to household slaves, but the application can be made to workers today). Citizens should submit to government authorities, even if the authorities are not Christians (Rom. 13; 1 Pet 2:13–20). <br><br>Submission is not subjugation. Submission is recognizing God’s order in the home and the church, and joyfully obeying it. When a Christian wife joyfully submits to the Lord and to her own husband, it should bring out the best in her. (For this to happen, the husband must love his wife and use God’s order as a tool to build with, not a weapon to fight with— Eph. 5:18–33). Submission is the key to spiritual growth and ministry: husbands should be submitted to the Lord, Christians should submit to each other (Eph. 5:21), and wives should be submitted to the Lord and to their husbands. <br><br>The emphasis in this section (1 Tim. 2:9–15) is on the place of women in the local church. Paul admonished these believing women to give evidence of their submission in several ways (I will skip over some and get to the point at hand). Teaching and exercising authority (2:11–15). Women are part of the worshiping community and have every right to learn (v. 11). Yet this right must not be used to set aside the differing roles of men and women in the church and home. So Paul immediately adds the words in quietness and full submission. Submission is the concept Paul uses in describing the role relationship of a woman to her husband (Eph. 5:22–24; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1, 5- 6). Quietness is to be understood in terms of that which is not permitted, namely, to teach (v. 12), which is underscored by saying again that a woman must be silent.<br><br>Paul does not permit women to do two things in the church: to teach or to have authority over men. Paul does not forbid women to teach other women (Titus 2:4–5) or children (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14–15). A woman must not teach a man. Here public teaching is in view, not personal activity (such as Priscilla and Aquila assisting Apollos [Acts 18:26]; an exception IMHO rather than the rule). Paul also does not permit a woman to have authority over a man. She must not exercise leadership or rule over men who are appointed by God to have that headship function in the church and home (1 Cor. 11:3, 8-9; Eph. 5:23).<br><br>The reason for Paul’s restrictions is the very order of creation of man and woman by God—namely, man first, and then woman from man. 1 Cor 11:8–9 contains Paul’s fullest statement of the theological significance of this order: “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man: neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” Blending 1 Cor 11 and Gen 2 one may say that woman, equally the image of God, was created to help man and to follow his leadership, just as Christ recognizes the headship of God the Father (1 Cor. 11:3).<br><br>Paul cites the fall, where the roles were reversed, as the negative illustration of this principle. Adam definitely chose to follow his wife’s leadership in their act of disobedience (God’s rebuke in Gen. 3:17) “It was the woman who was deceived” echoes Eve’s own verdict as to what happened when she exercised authority and took the position of leadership (Gen. 3:13). The simple words that she “became a sinner” (better, “fell into transgression”) indicate the dire consequence of such a role reversal.<br><br>What does it mean for a woman [color:red]to usurp authority over the man</font color=red>? The word "authority" here is found only this one time in the NT and because of this has been the subject of misunderstanding. The generally accepted understanding of [color:red]authenteo</font color=red> reveals that the idea is that women are not to exercise authority over men. The connective "or" (oude) seems to indicate that teach is being defined by the term “have authority.” Some have wrongly thought that the two terms should be joined and translated “to teach in a domineering manner.” Thus, if women teach with a proper attitude, they may (it is said) teach men in the congregation. This introduces a grammatical idea simply not found in this text and one not characteristic of the apostle’s writing style. Certainly Paul would not want anyone—men or women—to teach improperly. Moreover, the text nowhere indicates that the apostle is prohibiting the teaching of false doctrine (which would be prohibited for men and women alike). Rather the apostle is prohibiting any teaching of men by women (congregational teaching is obvious in the context, vv. 8–12) or of women being in congregational authority over men. Paul, then, does not disallow the teaching by women because of cultural reasons or the aptitude or education of women. The exhortation relates to theology alone, to the creation order and the fall. It seems best to understand this passage as teaching that women may exercise any of the spiritual gifts they have received and developed in a variety of ministries in a local assembly (2 Tim. 3:14, Titus 2:3-4), other than teaching men, when done under appropriate male (elder) leadership. Women may serve the body of Christ in many types of ministries, but men function as God’s official leadership in the local assembly. Thank God for women!


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#3150 - Thu May 22, 2003 6:06 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: J_Edwards]  
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My understanding of the role of a deacon is as a practical servant in the church looking after matters that would get in the way of the elders devoting themselves to the word and prayer.

Do you see deacons as having authority over the congregation? I understand authority to be vested in the elders, not the deacons. Macarthur would seem to alllow the same distinction if he too allows female deacons.

In Christ,

James.

#3151 - Thu May 22, 2003 6:22 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: James]  
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In reply to:
Do you see deacons as having authority over the congregation?

Deacons, in their duties as practical servants, run committees and programs, they have governing authority over certain committees, finances within their committee, decisions within their committee, and thus individuals in the congregation. All of this is subject to elder control, but none-the-less AUTHORITY to accomplish their mission/task is a necessary part of the position. Thus, for a woman to hold such a position is unbiblical.



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#3152 - Thu May 22, 2003 6:23 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: James]  
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James,

For some of us it is not a matter of trying to figure out what is "authority", how is it to be exercised, if a Deacon has such authority, etc. But, rather it is a matter of submitting to the Word of God and the clear mandate given by Paul for the offices of Elder and Deacon with their respective qualifications. Why is it that there are people who want to make things so difficult when it is so simple? Well, I know why! grin But, please tell me how your fellow female deacon meets Paul's qualifications here:
Quote
1 Timothy 3:12 (ASV) "Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling [their] children and their own houses well."

Unless "she" is actually a "he", then SHE doesn't qualify. If you wish to play the authority game, then please explain why Paul would insist that these MEN "rule their children and own houses well", if one of the qualifications wasn't that a MAN be a leader; one who is able to rule successfully?

Oh..... and to be very honest with you, if I was elected/appointed to the office of Deacon and then a woman was elected/appointed to the office of Deacon, I would set forth my biblical objections to the pastor and the church. If a resolution wasn't reached in a very short time, which would be the negation of the woman's position as Deacon, I would resign and find another church. For I would not and cannot allow myself to be under the authority of a woman; a woman who is exhibiting the same sin as did Eve when she usurped her husband's authority and sought to be her own, which was to rule over her husband. Would I die over this one? yep It's a matter of God's design for Christ's bride which is most dear to Him.... so dear in fact that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to die for His bride. grin

In His Grace,


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#3153 - Thu May 22, 2003 6:28 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: J_Edwards]  
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Dear Joe,

I'm not so certain that we agree on the nature of authority. I understand Paul to have spiritual authority in the church in view in Timothy. I do not understand him to be making a global statement that women can never organise things or make decisions. This would prove too much. After all, would you really want the elder to decide each week how much coffee to put in the cups after the service?

Yours in Christ,

James.

#3154 - Thu May 22, 2003 6:48 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: James]  
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In reply to:
After all, would you really want the elder to decide each week how much coffee to put in the cups after the service?

Why does such a person need the title of deaconess? Why can't this person "coffee portioner" serve under a biblical deacon that serves in biblical way? (you skipped past the male deacon and went directly to the elder). I NEVER said woman can not organize things or make decisions (actually I said something far different if you had read the other post)! What I am saying is that (1) they don't need the unbiblical title of deaconess to do this organization (2) they do not meet the qualifications of a deacon (3) they do not need a "leadership" position to pour your coffee, which was a very poor example and may I add they can do and do much more than this in the Church. Their ministry should not be belittled, which I am sure was not your intent.

Let us get serious. Are missions a spiritual aspect of the church? YES. Should they be directed by a deaconess? NO, for this is not proper use of biblical authority. Can they help, YES. Can they assist, YES. Can they organize, YES. But, they should not lead that ministry. They do not have biblical authority to do so.



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#3155 - Thu May 22, 2003 6:57 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Dear Jeff,

other way around in my case. The female deacon was already there when I became a deacon.

I agree the situation does not sit well with God's Word and I wish it was different. Please bear in mind I am not defending female deacons here! I don't have the time or energy to resolve the biblical question of whether women can be deacons at present. I am aware good men go different ways on this. As I mentioned to Joe I disagree with the notion of authority you are giving to deacons. I simply don't see making decisions in general to be the authority that Paul speaks of to Timothy; his focus is on spiritual authority.

I have to choose in England ,where there are literally a handful of presbyterian churches (about 15) to serve 50 million people. to go to an imperfect church (and the presbyterian churches aren't necessarily perfect either). I have to choose which are the really important things to the gospel which I will fight tooth and nail for and which I will let ride. In the absence of a plurality of elders, worrying about female deacons is lower down the list. Indeed upon joining the church I carried out correspondence to make it clear that if I joined I did not consider myself under the authority of the female deacon to preserve my integrity in being able to deal with the issue if it arises.

The church I am privileged to be part of believes the foundational truths of the gospel and, in common with many evangelical churches, needs members who are willing to help reform generations of loose thinking about all sorts of things such as the majority of the members only attending one service on a Sunday and not attending the mid-week prayer meeting either, or the Sunday School which keeps children apart from worshipping with their families and whose teachers desperately need to be in the service listening to the sermon since they don't attend any other meetings.

Our new pastor, who has been around for five years but has been pastor here for 18 months, and his wife both have cancer at present so it is taking time to work through these issues. He has been willing to give me opportunities to preach and to lead the prayer meeting. He is very willing for me to lend him good books to help his sermon preparation and calls to discuss ideas and questions he has regarding the service, sermons etc. I hope you can see why I am encouraged to continue working here. Ironically I could never imagine being given these opportunities in the Reformed church I used to attend in London, which bespeaks the woeful failure of many Reformed churches in England to nurture young men for service, but that's another story.

In that former church where there were both elders and deacons I'm not aware that I, or anyone else, considered ourselves to be under the authority of the deacons. They were simply the guys who looked after practical matters in the running of the church.

IMVHO Reformed Christians in England need to be willing to engage with their local evangelical churches (which are generally Calvinistically inclined unlike in the US) to be good, faithful, prayerful members of them and where conditions are receptive to stay with them. After all, I believe in the sovereignty of God and that his gospel will triumph so that I am willing to serve him.

As mentioned before I am clear about the elders and gender and authority and preaching and have upon several occasions and in various churches made my position plain on the subject and taken appropriate action to back it up.

This may just have to be one of those areas where we disagree but I hope pondering the nature of the authority issue may help us understand why each of us acts as we do.

Your brother in Christ,

James.

#3156 - Thu May 22, 2003 7:09 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: J_Edwards]  
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Dear Joe,

but I think you grant my point. You allow a woman to apportion coffee under the oversight of a male deacon. I allow a woman deacon to function under the oversight of a male elder.

In any case I think we disagree about the meaning of authority in the Timothy verse. It is authority over men that is in view, not the simple exercise of authority.

In any case your missions example is moot in the church I serve since it is a congregational church and all expenditures are approved by the congregation as a whole.

In any case your point in your previous post was that authority in the church delegated from a male officer was authority nonetheless and was forbidden to women. I was simply pointing our that your notion of delegated authority as unbiblical for women was too broad and my coffee example was a reductio ad absurdam to show this point. I wasn't suggestion that we call a coffee portioner a deaconess, merely that subordinate authority to act is not an authority falling within Paul's prohibition. This is true even though the decision of the woman making coffee determines the strength of the coffee men drink in the church.

Hope this helps!

James.

#3157 - Thu May 22, 2003 7:14 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: James]  
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James,

I can appreciate your wanting to remain at that congregation, given the present circumstances as it would appear that you are greatly needed there. However........ this does NOT answer the question I asked concerning Paul's statement that "deaconS be husbandS of one wife, etc." Again, this issue of authority, although I do think it is an important one, has been put into the forefront and made the fundamental issue, thus allowing a foothold to those who wish to circumvent the more perspicuous statements concerning the QUALIFICATIONS for the office of Deacon. The qualifications for Deacon are nearly identical to the ones which are given for Elder. The officeS of Elder and Deacon are to be occupied by men and men only. That is the plain teaching of the Scriptures. grin

As to the "reverse situation", i.e., "she" was already installed before you were.... simple solution once again, IMHO. I would have flatly refused to serve and expressed the biblical teaching in a clear and concise way to all who are responsible. This would not have effected your ABILITY to serve your pastor as you have been doing all along. wink But, although you say you aren't trying to defend the position that women should be allowed in the Diaconate, yet it appears that you are indeed affirming it. confused If you aren't then how can we be in disagreement? rofl.

In His Grace,


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#3158 - Thu May 22, 2003 7:19 AM Re: Female deacons? [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Dear Jeff,

as I said time and energy preclude me from doing the large amount of study that would put my conscience in a state where I'd die over this one. Hence I'm not planning to answer your question! Pace.

Refusing to serve would indeed have made it difficult to assist my pastor since our discussions do place me as a helpful if dfferent insider rather than an outsider. Many of the opportunities with my pastor have grown considerably since I became a deacon. Indeed we did discuss even this issue (not in great detail since we had previously talked about it) as well as other matters before I became a deacon. He was very keen that I should be able to serve the church in this way.

In Christ,

James.

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