Biblical Reasons for Men as Deacons

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by USN2Pulpit, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
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    We ordained a man as a deacon last night at church. Afterword, I had a faithful teenage girl ask me an honest question. She wanted to know why only men were to be deacons. She wasn't as concerned with scripture answers. She already knew and accepted them. Her question was more like "why did God ordain it that way?"

    What would you all have told her?
     
  2. Baptist Believer

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    God didn't ordain it that way - sinful humanity did.

    Phoebe was a deacon and Paul praised her ministry. (Romans 16:1)
     
  3. Gunther

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    God did order it that way. If you accept the complimentarian position, everything in Scripture is in harmony.

    If you accept the egalitarian position, certain texts become problematic.

    There is not a single passage that poses a problem for the complementarian position.

    BB, we all know she was a servant. That does not mean she was ordained or that she had a position of authority over men. To say otherwise is to add to Scripture. I know you were not trying to do that.
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    Yes, everything in scripture is in harmony.

    Yes, all true deacons are servants of the church.

    That’s merely your opinion/interpretation.

    I used to hold to that type of position until I had to reexamine the issue about 12 years ago.

    You are correct. I am not adding to scripture – I’m merely accepting what it says. Phoebe was a deacon and Paul commended her.

    --

    I noticed you never answered the original question. Our friend wanted to know what we would say and I answered honestly. You got upset with my answer, but you did not answer the question yourself.
     
  5. BrianT

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    The problem is that a "deacon" orginally *was* a servant, even if male. The role of deacon was never intended to be one of authority, but of servitude.
     
  6. Gunther

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    BB, I missed where a deacon has any authority, much less a woman deacon over men. Please use Scripture to correct my wrong theology.

    As to the original question, the headship truth is predicated upon God himself. Within the Trinity, the Son submits to the Father, always. The Father never submits to the Son.

    Headship/submission is based on order. Women cannot have authority over men.

    BrianT, I know exactly what you are saying. The point I was making is that to serve, one does not need to be "ordained" or "set apart to the ministry". However, certain men may qualify for a recognized role within the church that carries zero authority.

    Even if one was to say that women can be "deacons", she still would not have any authority.
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    I did not make that allegation – you did.

    I did not say that deacons have “authority”. The call of Christ is submission to one another – not structures of authority.

    If you believe you must oppose me on this thread (I really don't care to argue about it), please respond to what I actually post instead of ascribing positions to me that I do not hold.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    [double post!]
     
  9. USN2Pulpit

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    Guys, this debate was not my intention. I was merely looking for what you would have said. May I ask for you to direct your responses at me instead of each other?

    The original question was "what would you have said to this girl?" BB, thanks for your response. I don't agree with you, but I appreciate your candor.
     
  10. BrianT

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    I would have said "God didn't ordain it that way. Phoebe was a deacon in Rom 16:1. The role of deacon was never intended to be one of authority, but of servitude, handling day-to-day business and errands for the church."

    BTW, my wife is a "deacon" at our Baptist church, as she acts as the treasurer, handles paying bills, arranging advertising in the local paper, etc.
     
  11. Gunther

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    BB, in the fourth post, the following took place:

    Me: That does not mean she was ordained or that she had a position of authority over men. To say otherwise is to add to Scripture.

    You: That’s merely your opinion/interpretation.

    Okay, perhaps you could explain what is merely my opinion.
     
  12. Baptist Believer

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    Glad to do it. :D

    You’re very welcome.

    May I suggest a book to you?

    Dr. E. Earle Ellis wrote a book back in 1989 titled, “Pauline Theology: Ministry and Society” which greatly influenced my thinking on the role of women in the New Testament church. Dr. Ellis uses scripture to explain and harmonize what he (and I) believe to be the proper understanding of all of the controversial passages of the New Testament in regard to women.

    It is a book of very conservative and Bible-centered scholarship that is sometimes criticized by more liberal Christians because of its very conservative reliance on scripture.

    Dr. Ellis highly regarded as an expert on Paul’s writings and teaches at Southwestern Seminary. He is also a fellow member of my church. :D

    Unfortunately, this book might cause problems for you in your ministry since it might make the New Testament clear enough for you that you will be forced to change your opinions about women in ministry. That will cause great problems (humanly speaking) if you plan to minister in “conservative” circles.
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    Mostly the last phrase: “To say otherwise is to add to scripture.”

    We do not have a record either way of her being ordained and I don’t know what you consider having “a position of authority over men” means. The deacon ministry of the early church usually included teaching and preaching as the deacons had opportunity to do so. I certainly expect that telling the good news of Jesus Christ was part of her ministry. I don’t understand evangelism and discipleship as having anything to do with having “authority” over anyone.

    But I don’t really care to argue this issue – especially in this thread where we have been specifically requested not to do so.
     
  14. ScottEmerson

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    I would say, "Well, God didn't, really. This is how our church has decided to go about ordaining deacons. Other churches do different things, and some even ordain women! However, we do value women very much at our church, and we want them (and you) to be able to serve! Would you like me to help you find a great place where you can minister to others?"
     
  15. gb93433

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    There is plenty of evidence that the early church utilized women in ministry. There were women whose responsibility was to work with other women and children. They performed pastoral work with the sick and the poor and helped at baptism. From the earliest times deaconesses visited the sick, acted as door-keepers at the women's entrance to the church, kept order among church women, taught females in preparation for baptism and acted as sponsors for homeless children. They also carried official messages. There was a clearer line drawn between the sexes than there is today. Women deacons were not on the same level as men deacons. They could not teach and minister to mixed groups of people or men.

    For the first 1200 years of Christianity there is loads of evidence of woman deacons in the church. However, the Western Roman Catholic church never had them. Whereas the eastern church did.

    Almost every country outside of the U.S. has women deacons(deaconesses) in Baptist churches.

    The emergence of deaconesses is unclear. But in the third and fourth centuries the office of deaconess developed greatly. In a letter dated 112 A.D. Governor Pliny wrote a letter to the emperor Trajan. 'In it he mentions a couple of deaconesses. (Book X, XCVI, 8, 289)
     
  16. ScottEmerson

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    One of my favorite passages about women serving as men comes in the form of the entire book of II John. John rights to the elder of the church...who happens to be a woman. Read it again sometime, and see what you think.
     
  17. Ron Grove

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    Very interesting post. Thank you. I am looking at it and it is indeed common in John's writings for him to refer to believers as children. The word eklektos (chosen or elect) is interesting. It could be used simply to avoid repetition since he had already used the term presbiteros to describe himself. Then with the use of the term teknia for children he uses the same greek term he had used in 1 John 2:1,12 for his spiritual children. He uses the term paidion (another word for an infant or small child) in 1 John 2:14 to refer to spiritually young Christians. A presupposition in seeing him use the noun teknia in reference to a lady would seem likely. If you drop that presupposition this turns into a powerful text in support of an egalitarian viewpoint. An apostle is writing directly to a woman, not a man, using the term eklekte kuria (chosen or elect woman) using the same term of affection he uses for others in his flock, and giving her pretty pastoral type advice. One could imagine her husband is a non-Christian who allowed their place to be used for worship, or perhaps she was a widow, but this is never stated or implied in the letter.

    I looked at my "Women in Ministry - Four Views" book by Clouse and Clouse and do not immediately see anyone using this scripture in their argumentation (It was a brief look, however). Does anyone know why this would not be brought forward as a centerpiece argument? Or am I missing something obvious? Or does this book not have authors that give the most compelling cases for their positions? I have run into this in other Four Views type books where I didn't feel a position or two were presented with the full force of their views.

    In Christ,
    Ron
     
  18. Artimaeus

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    I read it again but, can't seem to find the part about her being an elder. It sounds like this Diotrephes is the one in charge. You know the kind, arrogant little dictator. Can you even imagine having the gall to think your opinion is better than the Apostle John's?
     
  19. Ron Grove

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    You are referring to 3 John, not 2 John. If one presupposes that they are written to the same church then this would indeed be the case. I do not see this link as required from the content of these letters. The Walvoord Zuck Bible Knowldedge Commentary favors the idea that this was written to a Church community, not an actual woman, but does not rule this interpretation out. Zane Hodges wrote the commentary on 2 John and he relies on "the writer drops the singular number for his pronouns after v5 and uses singular again only in v13. Indeed the general nature of the epistle's content is most appropriate to a community." This would be more compelling if there weren't only 13 verses in all of 2 John. The second comment does not seem appropriate to me because many epistles were addressed to individuals, but clearly meant for community teaching or public reading. I return again to the presuppositions that come from seeing a woman being addressed and simply ask if those presuppositions are founded in the text alone as a starting point. In my opinion your rebuke of Brother Emmerson is due to a presupposition you have made without subsequently making a case and, hence, without warrant.

    In Christ,
    Ron
     
  20. Artimaeus

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    I made a serious blunder in putting Diotrephes into this discussion. I was reading II John from a disc and clicked one time too many and was in III John witout realizing it. As to my rebuke, it was directed at Diotrephes but I could see when I was typing it that it could be inferred to be a rebuke of Brother Emmerson, too. Again, I apologize for my mistake.

    However, that being said, I still don't see this lady as the Elder of her Church. There is an evangelist that I have known for nearly 50 years. He used to be the pastor of our church. He sometimes sends information about his travels to me to be passed along to the church. I am not the pastor but because of our longstanding relationship he sends that information through me. It should not be assumed that he considers me the Pastor because he sends me the correspondence.
     

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