Deaconesses???

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by chris_price, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. chris_price

    chris_price
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    :confused: I was looking on the web for some closed commuion stuff and found that John MacArthur's church uses Deaconesses. What are your though on Deaconesses? :confused:

    Section 3. Deaconesses

    The Deaconesses shall consist of members possessing the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:3-5 and shall be nominated by members of the church. The Board of Elders will compile and confirm the nominations and submit the names to the members for affirmation at the annual meeting. The Deaconesses shall serve for a term of one (1) year. They shall prepare the Communion elements, assist the Pastor at baptismal services and in the general spiritual care of the church, and shall assist in the care of the sick and needy. A Deaconess shall be dignified, not a malicious gossip, temperate, and faithful in all things.

    G r a c e C o m m u n i t y C h u r c h B y L a w s
     
  2. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    No big deal. Our church has always had both male and female deacons.

    We prepare communion, serve on the board, help female baptismal candidates get "dressed" for the event. Do just about everything else a male deacon does.

    As you would read elsewhere on this BB, not all Baptists think a deacon has to be male. We have debated it at length.
     
  3. donnA

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    If anyone really paid attention to 1 Tim 3 they see it says deacons are men.
    But what is scripture anyway, right?
     
  4. chris_price

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    That is much like what the Methodist women to asked me after telling me she was the pastor of two churches (Bishop?). She aked to me about men only being called to pastor,"ya'll still go by that Timothy thing?" to which I replied we just go by the Bible, all of it, even if we don't like some parts we still go by them." [​IMG]
     
  5. mioque

    mioque
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    "What are your though on Deaconesses?"
    "
    In a church that has seperate Elders and Deacons I favour them. If not they are a recipe for trouble down the road.
     
  6. just-want-peace

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    [/quote]They shall prepare the Communion elements, assist the Pastor at baptismal services and in the general spiritual care of the church, and shall assist in the care of the sick and needy. A Deaconess shall be dignified, not a malicious gossip, temperate, and faithful in all things.[/quote]

    My wife has been doing this kind of stuff for years; I had no idea that she was a Deaconess! :D [​IMG]
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    The biblical term is "deacon" referring to those fulfilling roles in service to the local church. It has NOTHING to do with a board or directors or such nonsense brought into the church.

    Now if a church desires certain women to fulfill roles in service of the local church (and have requirements, etc for being one of these servants) they have the right to call them by the feminine form of the term - which we say as deaconess.

    They, too, are not a board or organization, just women set apart by the church. They could call them nuns, but that name is taken.
     
  8. LRL71

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    My church has female deacons serving with male deacons. There is a great need to return to the NT roles of 'deacons' (i.e. servants) than that of the ones being commonly used by many Baptist churches. Dr. Bob is right on about 'deacon boards' and such; the deacons/deaconesses do not rule a church!
     
  9. rjprince

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    At the outset, let me say that John MacArthur has probably influenced my ministry more than anyone else I have ever sat under, listened to their tapes, or read their books. JM does not know me, but I have been listening to his sermons and reading his books for nearly 30 years now. I am planning to be back at Grace for my third Shepherd’s Conference in just a few more weeks. He has been greatly used of God and is a great man of God. Having said that, I point out that he is still but a man.

    Chris,

    You mentioned looking for info on closed communion, GCC practices open communion. I expect to be there for the Vesper’s Communion Service following the SC as well.


    I feel that GC’s By Laws err in creating the office of “Deaconess” that parallels an office that is limited to men. I am somewhat consoled by the fact that these in no way take any kind of authority over men, nor do they teach men.

    The term “deacon” appears only five times in the AV. Three of those times it is plural and translated from the Greek noun diakonos (Philp 1:1; 1Tim 3:8, 12) and twice it is from the verb diakonew (w=omega) and is translated as using “the office of a deacon” (1Tim 3:10,13). The Greek noun is also translated as “minister” (20) and “servant” (8). The verb is also translated as “minister unto” (15), “serve” (10), “minister” (7), and “administered” (2).

    When a word takes on a special meaning in certain contexts, the word is called a “technical term” by virtue of the specialized use. It would seem that the word “diakonos” is given TT status by its usage in Phil 1:1, “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons”. The fact that qualifications are given for both “elders” and “deacons” in 1Tim 3 further supports this conclusion. It would seem that the “officers”, if we may be so bold as to use that term, of the church are “elders” (a.k.a. bishops, pastors) and “deacons”. As has been already been noted, elders rule and deacons serve, and not vice versa. I could continue at length with this one, but it would seem that this has been generally conceded. I fully agree with Dr. Bob’s lament over the current “board” of director status that many churches confer upon the deacons.

    I disagree with Dr. Bob, in that I think the term “deacon” has been taken as well! I would almost prefer that we call women who serve “nuns” rather that “deaconesses”, but do also recognize the problems that such a designation would cause.

    My objection to the use of “deaconess” relates to the fact that there is no indication of any office in the church composed of “female deacons”. On the contrary, the requirement that deacons be the “husband of one wife” is clear, thus limiting the office to men only. While it is true that the “widows” who are to be “taken into the number” are similarly required to have been “the wife of one man” (the corollary of “husband of one wife”) they are nowhere called “deaconesses”.

    The closest one can come to suggesting that there were “deaconesses” in the early church is Rom 16:1 where we read that Phoebe is “a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea”. While the word is indeed diakonos, there is no indication that her position was a formal office. I contend that there is NO justification from the Word of God to establish the position of “deaconess”. The Geneva, AV (KJV), MKJV, NKJV, KJ21, ASV, NAS, NAS95, NIV, ISV, CEV, ESV all translate the word generally as “servant” or similar. The RSV is the ONLY major translation (as far as I have been able to check - what does Holman have?) to understand the word as a technical term by translating as “deaconess”. (Sorry, I do not have my TNIV, gender neutral perversion handy at the moment, though I can guess how they handle this!) I would contend that this translation is based more on the views of the translators than on the linguistic evidence in the text.

    Therefore, I soundly reject the use of the term “deaconess” to describe an office of the church. However, I am quite content for women to serve in the capacity described in the GCC By Laws, just call them something else that has not already been “taken” and limited to men only by a natural reading of the Word of God.
     
  10. gb93433

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    The following is part of a sermon I gave years ago.

    II. (8-13) The basic qualifications of deacons
    A. (8) "Likewise" - deacons are important and must have good character and exemplary qualifications.

    B. (8) "serious" - they must be dignified, worthy of respect, having a good character, and honorable.

    C. (8) Not double-tongued - double-tongued means to be insincere, indulging in harmful gossip, saying one thing to one person and something entirely different
    to another.

    D. (8) Not addicted to much wine- the emphasis is not on abstinence, but on moderation.

    E. (8) Not greedy for gain- deacons were involved in the administration of food and funds to widows and other needy members of the community. There was the temptation to embezzle funds for themselves.

    F. (9) They must not be motivated by selfish desires.
    They must have a heart clear of wrong motives and continue to believe strongly in the teachings of the Bible. Their heart must be sound and their beliefs must coincide with scripture.

    G. (10) They must prove themselves first before becoming deacons.
    1. The text doesn't say what the test is or for how long. Certainly the test is long enough for the satisfaction of the congregation.

    H. (11) The women have qualifications too
    1. Who are the women? Look at the verses before and after.
    a. We know that Phoebe in Rom. 16:1- 2 is called a diakonos
    Rom. 16:1 2 - "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well."

    She obviously was a servant in the church. Paul refers to her as a servant, a diakonos, the same word used for deacon. As we look at Paul's writings he does not emphasize the office, but rather the function.

    b. In Hebrew there is no word for wife. The way it was expressed was "the woman of him." This very same expression is used in the NT. In Greek there is only one word for woman and it can mean either woman or wife.

    Of the 215 uses of the word for woman, only one seems to be controversial in its translation.

    "wife" is used in NT as - the woman of him
    - the woman of a man's name

    It is clear from the context that it is someone’s wife that is being talked about.

    "Woman" - always clear from the context

    c. In the Greek text there is not a definite article before women or at least a genitive pronoun following the word "woman". This would lead one to translate that word "women" and not "wives"

    d. Another point is this: if Paul did mean wives of deacons, then why did he not include a corresponding set of qualifications for the wives of pastors?

    e. You might ask "if Paul meant deaconess, why didn't he use that word?" At that time there was not a word for deaconess.

    f. 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, and they were not ordained.

    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 in Baptist churches.

    g. The emergence of deaconesses is unclear. But in the third and fourth centuries the office 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)

    h. Explain the relationship and lines of communication between the male pastor and female in the congregation then.
    pastor-deacon-deaconess-female
     
  11. gb93433

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    I assume you don't wear a head covering in public nor have a flush toilet too. But what is scripture anyway, right?

    I assume you don't drive a car too. But what is scripture anyway, right?

    I assume you don't use gas in your car. But what is scripture anyway, right?

    I assume you don't use electricity. But what is scripture anyway, right?

    I assume you don't speak Greek and Hebrew too. But what is scripture anyway, right?

    I assume you don't sue a computer. But what is scripture anyway, right?
     
  12. John3v36

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    Romans 16:1 - I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cen'chre-ae,
     
  13. rjprince

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    GB93433,

    There have been time I have wanted to SUE my computer!

    Scripture provides a clear pattern for deacons! Your point?


    John,

    I already noted that "deaconess" is by far the minority translation! Only in the RSV and yes, the TNIV, see my list.
     
  14. mioque

    mioque
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    rjprince
    On the other hand the most widely used translation overhere also uses deaconess in Romans 16:1 (well it actually reads diakones, being in Dutch and all).
     
  15. rjprince

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    Mioque,

    There is no question as to whether or not the word is diakonos is the Greek. The question is whether diakonos is used in a general sense as "servant" or whether it is used in a technical sense as referring to an office in the church.

    Since those holding the office are required to be the "husband of one wife" or "a one woman man" it is not a Biblically feasible interpretation.
     
  16. R. Charles Blair

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    Why not "a deacon's wife" = "deaconess"? Isaiah called his wife "the prophetess" (8:3).

    When we ordain deacons, if I am asking the questions, I always ask a few of the wives. We make the point that they are not being "ordained" in the same sense, but they are part of their husband's qualifications (I Ti. 3:11-12). I ask about their conversion, their commitment to Christ and to the church, and their willingness to stand by their husbands in service, and then tell them that they are "deaconesses" in the best sense, that of service (far more important than the form of ordination for woman or man!) (For that matter, I ask the same of the wife of a man being ordained to the ministry.)
    Any pastor who thinks he can baptize women/girls with no "deaconesses" is asking for eventual trouble, IMHO. Preparing details of communion, feeding the associational meeting, the color of carpet and general scheme of decor - dozens of details we almost automatically leave to those so qualified (which excludes me immediately!)

    Also, husband/wife teams (whether formal
    "deacons" or not) make the best door-to-door visitors when that is logistically possible, and the best "pulpit search committtees" (to avoid Mr. Jones & Mrs. Smith going together to hear a new prospect!). Two or 3 such couples, possibly with one young single adult, and occasionally one or two children from one or more of the families, can know far more about a potential pastor than a group of men alone. Women have insights many of us lack, note things men may not see until it is too late. Do we need more "sanctified common sense" in our Christian service?

    Best - Charles - Ro. 8:28
     
  17. chandler

    chandler
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    I agree with Dr. Bob. What I find here is a lot of opinion,. and not truth. I wonder how many of you who offer opinions know the biblical languages?

    I
     
  18. rjprince

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    Greek, some (2yr college, 1 Sem, a lot more directed personal study since then) but no Hebrew.
     
  19. R. Charles Blair

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    Chandler - I've been teaching Greek off and on since 1959, right now translating Mark; 3 trimesters of Hebrew, haven't kept it up to par.

    What is your specific question re "opinion without facts"? Some of this has been dealt with in another sequence of posts in the past months.

    Best - Charles - Ro. 8:28
     
  20. GODzThunder

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    What about where the Bible teaches that the woman is to be subject to the man and the times where Paul teaches that the man is the head of the family as Christ is the head of the Church. Can a woman be subject to her husband when she is put in a position of authority (yes deacons are an authority, the deacons were established to make sure that everyone was treated fairly and to attend to buisiness that was taking up ministry time from the apostles)? Can a husband be head of his wife when he must submit to her leadership in the Church?
     

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