Deaconess

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by bapterian, Apr 28, 2003.

  1. bapterian

    bapterian
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    Does Scripture allow for a woman to serve as a deacon in her church? Or alternatively, can she serve in an office of "deaconess" that ministers to the needs of women specifically? Please support your response with scripture and avoid answers that are based on experience and tradition.

    I tend to be against women serving in the office of deacon, but the NT gives examples of women serving the church, such as Phoebe, that Paul held in high esteem. I'm also aware of Acts 6 where seven MEN were set apart for service and 1st Timothy regarding deacons as being the "HUSBAND of one wife."
     
  2. Baptist Believer

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    Yes. Our church believes the Bible teaches it and we practice it in our congregation.

    In most cases, both husbands and wives serve as deacons, often serving together. Often it is more appropriate for our female deacons to work with some of the more sensitive needs of women and, vice versa, for the men to work with men.

    Both men and women who serve as deacons in our congregation are respected equally for their service to the congregation and the community.

    You’ve given the best reason below… The New Testament church had female deacons. Who are we to place more restrictions on whom God calls than the New Testament church?

    Yes, precisely.

    If Paul commended Phoebe for her service as a deacon, then we know that “husband of one wife” was not a restriction placed on her. The “qualifications” of bishops, overseers, and deacons are concerned with the character and lifestyle of the leadership of the church.
     
  3. donnA

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    NO!
    The biblical qualifications for a deacon describe a man, and even call 'him' a man, and a him, and he has one wife. Can a woman fulfill these? No. Not unless she can become a he, him, his, a husband, then she is not qualified.
     
  4. Deacon

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    To be decisive, I'd say yes...and no!

    There is some controversy over the correct understanding of 1 Timothy 3:11.

    3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. (KJV)

    3:11 "Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.(NAS)

    It could mean the wives of the deacons as in the KJV translation or that women could be deacons as in the NAS translation.

    I tend toward the acceptance of woman deacons because of a number of reasons: probably formost is Pheobes designation as one in Romans. That being said, I attend a church that doesn't have women deacons.

    In each particular church it is different. It may depend on how the governing body of your church is set up.

    In the church where I attend the deacons serve as a governing body under the pastors. In a case such as this, a woman deacon would have authority over men in the congregation an it wouldn't be right.

    In other congregations the role of a deacon is less administrative and more service oriented. A woman deacon could serve as a deacon in a capacity where she teaches or serves women in a very able and effective manner.

    Rob
     
  5. Speedpass

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    Wasn't Romans(Paul's refernce to Phoebe) written years after 1 Timothy(Paul's reference to "A husband of one wife")?!?
     
  6. Baptist Believer

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    Then Paul was really off-base then when he commended Phoebe who served the church in Rome. [​IMG]

    Just teasing you... Our church understands the section that is often translated/interpreted as pertaining to the male deacon's wives as actually pertaining to female deacons.

    In any case, the model for ministry our church holds as the ideal is that both the husband and wife participate in the ministry of the church as a team -- therefore both the husband and wife often enter into the deacon ministry at the same time and are ordained by the church together.
     
  7. Speedpass

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    That is a novel idea. I have never heard of that before. In fact two churches I was a member of in North Carolina(Forest Hills in Raleigh and First in Greensboro)actually had it written into their church by-laws that a deacon and his/her spouse could not serve concurrently on the deacon body.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    That is a novel idea. I have never heard of that before. In fact two churches I was a member of in North Carolina(Forest Hills in Raleigh and First in Greensboro)actually had it written into their church by-laws that a deacon and his/her spouse could not serve concurrently on the deacon body. </font>[/QUOTE]Hmmm... I hope it's not a totally new idea. :D

    I should probably explain that deacons in our church are not a board of directors or a decision-making body. They only conduct the business of assistance, benevolence and services to the church body and community. Therefore there wouldn't be any reason I could think of for the active deacon body to be restricted to only one person from each family.

    Our church makes decisions through the activity of the church council and congregational voting regarding major policy issues, major scheduling changes, committee leadership election, and non-emergency expenditures over a certain dollar value.
     
  9. Daniel David

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    This could just as easily refer to women who are married to deacons. In other words, not only must deacons be qualified, their wives must also.
     
  10. Grasshopper

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    Deaconess as in servant (verb)- Yes
    Deacon as in Church position (noun)- No
     
  11. Daniel David

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    1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus were written after the time recorded in Acts.

    Further, he didn't change his mind.

    Still further, the word for deacon just means servant. This is another case where liberals seek a passage to push an agenda and not harmony in Scripture. Phoebe was a servant known by Paul. Paul had a lot of respect for the work he/she had done. Paul's word was to listen and follow. It is quite possible that he/she had a lot of contact with Paul and had further insight from him.

    Still even further (and no liberal will admit this one), there are exactly ZERO references in greek literature to "phoebe" being used referring to a woman. Of the few times it is used, none are conclusively used for women. They are more likely referring to men. It is a stretch to use this passage (with questionable gender issues and translational issues) to teach female deacons.

    Finally, I want to thank BB for giving me another excellent example to use in another thread on liberalism. You da' man! [​IMG]
     
  12. donnA

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    Serving the church is not the same as being a deacon, we are all called to be servants, deacons are different. You do not have to be ordained to be a servant. Ordaining a man and wife is unscriptural.
     
  13. martyr

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    I feel that the Bible okays women deacons. Having said that, the Bible doesn't okay women elders. Most Baptist churches I have been in combine both roles into one, thus making it wrong if they were to make a woman a deacon. I really wish that, as a denomination, we'd make a point of differentiating the two. I'd also like to see more accountability and more cell groups in our local church bodies. We have a wonderful church model in the book of Acts.
     
  14. Baptist Believer

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    Yes, literally, the word means servant. The way it is used refers to an office of the church. (As you should know from the Greek, there is more than one word for servant and Paul specifically uses the same word for Phoebe as he uses in 1 Timothy 3.

    Quite the opposite. My views on women in ministry stem from a desire to sort out what seemed to be inconsistencies in Paul’s writings. Dr. E. Earle Ellis, one of the world’s foremost authority on Paul’s writings and member of our congregation, wrote a chapter in his book, “Pauline Theology:Ministry and Society”, regarding the roles of women in the early church. By using very careful exegesis, Ellis demonstrates the harmony of Paul’s teaching regarding women.

    For what it’s worth, Ellis is a Calvinist and has been teaching at Southwestern Seminary for more than a decade.

    Yes, a servant of the church.

    Where did you get this information? I’m going to check that one out.

    Not if it is consistent with the rest of the New Testament. I suggest you read Ellis’ writing on the subject. It’s very enlightening and is far from liberal and is an excellent example of scholarship on the subject.

    It’s irrelevant to liberalism because I am not a “liberal” nor is Ellis a “liberal”. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Baptist Believer

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    Yes. You can serve the church without serving in the office of deacon. You can also serve the church serving in the office of deacon.

    They can be different.

    Unfortunately, the way many Baptist churches do ordination is based more on a Roman Catholic view of an ordained body conferring an ordained status upon others. In our church, the entire church ordains deacons and ministers.

    You do not have to be ordained to serve the church, but we ordain those who are specially set aside to function in the office of servant.

    I respectfully disagree.
     
  16. donnA

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    Then where does the bible say you can do it, where was it done on the early church? I know no scripture that says a husband and wife were both ordained deacons. If not, then it is unscriptural.
     
  17. Baptist Believer

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    This is not even close to being true.

    Just got off the phone with a friend of mine who is something of an expert in Greek and Latin (reads classical Greek and Latin fluently everyday).

    I asked him to verify your claim using his database of classical Greek, the Thesaurus Lingui-Gracae.

    Not only is Phoebe always female in Greek literature, it is a very old Greek name dating back into at least the 5th century B.C. The name is used in Aeschylus’s tragedy, Euresides in lines 7 and 8 as well as Alcman’s Theogony in lines 136 and 404-405 (where Phoebe is giving birth - that's a neat trick for a man).

    Not only that but the Greek of the New Testament demonstrates that Phoebe is female.

    If someone told you that Phoebe is not necessarily a female name, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Please check your facts before making outrageous allegations about "the liberals”. :rolleyes:
     
  18. Baptist Believer

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    Then where does the bible say you can do it, where was it done on the early church? I know no scripture that says a husband and wife were both ordained deacons. If not, then it is unscriptural. </font>[/QUOTE]Oops, I may have misunderstood what you meant by “unscriptural”.

    I took it as meaning “contrary to scripture” instead of “not specifically portrayed in scripture”.

    Off the top of my head I do not know of a place where the New Testament portrays a husband and wife that are specifically mentioned as deacons. Prisca/Priscilla and Aquilla ministered as husband and wife, but I don’t think the title deacon is associated with them.

    In my opinion, a husband and wife ministering together is not contrary to the teaching of scripture.
     
  19. Daniel David

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    BB, my apologies, I for some reason was thinking of Junias, mentioned as an Apostle. Something didn't seem right about my original post.
     
  20. Baptist Believer

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    I appreciate your attitude. We all make mistakes.

    Thanks. [​IMG]
     

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