How do we know they are deacons?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Lorelei, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. Lorelei

    Lorelei
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    I have been taught that this is the first time deacons were chosen in the church. The texts, however, never use the term deacons in the passage. Can anyone tell me why we believe these were deacons? How do we know these are deacons and this is the role of a deacon and how they are to be ordained if we are never told this is what they are in the texts?

    ~Lorelei
     
  2. gb93433

    gb93433
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    ~Lorelei </font>[/QUOTE]You know who the deacons are by the way they serve and the character they possess. Deacons are really pastoral assistants.
     
  3. Paul of Eugene

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    One of my professors told the class to never call these seven men deacons in his presence. He regarded them as greek speaking ministers of the Gospel elected to stand with the 12 for the benefit of the jews of the dispersion who did not speak greek as their native language. The language barrier made them a definate subgroup in the church that felt cheated and electing them was the solution to that problem. But he felt the office of deacon refers to something else.
     
  4. Lorelei

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    On what basis do you make this statement? Is deacon ever really defined in the scriptures?

    ~Lorelei
     
  5. Lorelei

    Lorelei
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    Did he ever say what he thought the office of a deacon was?

    ~Lorelei
     
  6. Paul of Eugene

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    He expressed the notion that in the New Testament era, a deacon was anybody that served the church in an official capacity, the modern day equivalent would be Sunday School teacher, Committee member, such as that. I can't find any scripture to disagree with him.
     
  7. Taufgesinnter

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    Well, we know that all the Christians were Jews at that time, and we also know that they patterned their congregations after the synagogue. These two facts help a lot.

    First-century synagogues selected seven men of good reputation (outside of Palestine, such as in Tarsus, some of those chosen were occasionally women) to run things roughly, as I recall, as follows: three elders administrated (and were to sit as judges over congregational disputes), one of whom was styled the president of the synagogue; there would be one cantor, who led the service and preached; the congregation would support one full-time Bible scholar, to whom questions were brought about Scripture interpretation; there would be one in charge of alms, called in the Diaspora a deacon; and one in an office that might best be approximated today by the title of pastoral counselor.
     
  8. TomVols

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    Since the office of deacon is mentioned in 1 Tim 3, we are left to conclude that NT practice was to have bishops/elders/pastors, and deacons.
    The word underlying "Deacon" in the NT is servant. Acts 6 seems to denote a service that is not eldership/pastoral but yet official enough for church appointment.

    We cannot say conclusively that the seven in Acts 6 were the first deacons. But you cannot say they aren't, either. It is best to say it provides a likely prototype. Many will allow the diaconate whatever responsibilites that free the elder(s) for preaching, leadership, and prayer.
     
  9. Jim1999

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    I preached in one church where the deacons sat on chairs behind the pulpit in support of ministry. I thought it was rather interesting. They took part in reading scripture, praying, giving thanks for the offerings and one led the singing.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    For what it's worth, agree with Tom. The Acts 6 men were servants of the church, just as the shamash was in the synagogue and as deacons are in my church. I would not hesitate to call them "deacons".
     
  11. Artimaeus

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. R. Charles Blair

    R. Charles Blair
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    Lorelei - Good question! The nouon "deacon" is not used in the passage, but the verb is there 3 times! In v. 1, the widows were neglected in "the daily deaconing." In v. 2, the 12 did not want to leave the word ofGod to "deacon" tables when others could be blessed by caring for that ministry, which was not their calling. In v. 3, "this business" is obviously "deaconing tables" and in v. 4 the 12, as good pastoral staff, promised to give themselves continually to prayer and the "deaconing" of the word. When the noun is used later, it is simply a reference to the various ministries cared for by these "men of good report, full of faith, wisdom, and the Holy Spirit" - not as an office so much as a place of service. Use of the verb rather than the noun tells us a great deal about what God intends. Also, in Romans 15:8, Christ Himself is called "a deacon of the circumcision (Jews)." Often the word is translated with "minister" or "ministry", sometimes as "servant" - for example, the wedding at Cana in Jn. 2 - the "servants" who bore the water pots were literally "deacons." (Quite evidently not a church setting; this clearly refers more to activity than to "office.")

    Best - Charles -Ro. 8:28
     

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