Women Deacons in the Early Church

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Kiffin, May 24, 2002.

  1. Kiffin

    Kiffin
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    In studying Paul's concluding remarks in Romans 16 one can see in his closing greetings the great prominence of women in the 1st Century Church. The most prominent person in Chapter 16 is Phoebe who not only was the bearer of Paul's letter but Paul himself calls a Deaconness of the Church of Cenchrea. I've heard this explained away that she really wasn't that but the fact is the Greek is clear she was a Deaconness of that Church.

    Now I believe the Bible is clear women are not allowed to serve as Pastors in that would be upsurping the authority of man but I believe the modern day Baptist view of Deacons is as scriptural as the Roman Catholic view of having a Pope. I would not be in favor of a woman serving on a Deacon board in most Baptist churches since Deacons in most churches are nothing more than a Church Senate that helps lead the Church or keep the Pastor in line. Until Baptists start having Deacons that serve and not be in a leadership role as a holy Senate, reforming ourselves back to the Biblical pattern is not possible.

    The fact is a Deacon is just a Servant of the Church. A board of Deacons that recommends things to the Church or that the Pastor talks to before having business meeting is no more Biblical than infant baptism.

    The role of Deacons is to visit the sick, elderly shutins and not to be a legislative body of leadership within the Church. If we would regain the Biblical view of Deacon then we would not have a hard time accepting women Deacons.

    [ May 24, 2002, 11:43 AM: Message edited by: Kiffin ]
     
  2. Headcoveredlady

    Headcoveredlady
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    Kiffin,
    Huh, where does it say she was a deaconess? The word I read is servant. We are all to be servants, but certainly not deacons. 1 Timothy 3:12 says, "Let the deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well." I have never met any woman who can be the husband of one wife, have you?

    HCL
     
  3. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    Kiffin, this is just one more issue that keeps being brought up. Do you wish to discuss the issue or are you pushing an agenda? It seems as though you think the thought never occurred to some of us that she is a servant in the church.

    The fact is that you have absolutely no basis to elevate her to a position that doesn't exist for women. You have no reason to believe she was ordained or recognized as a leader in the church. She was just a servant, which is what we all are to be.

    Given the other passages in Scripture that address this issue, you have twisted Scripture for your own purposes. Don't let the apostate liberals and the modern day feminist movement hold priority to you than what the Lord said.
     
  4. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    Rock on Kiffin. You seem fully aware that the word for "deacon" is transliterated with it supports our purposes (ie Paul to Timothy) and translated when it does not (ie Paul about Phoebe).

    We Baptist like to think that our Bibles place "deacons" in a position of authority in our churches and, therefore, women are not qualified. Of course, we all think that, later in the 1 Timothy passage, there are instructions to the wives of deacons.
     
  5. Kiffin

    Kiffin
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    The Greek word "diaknous" is where we get the word Deacon from which means Servant. She was a deacon of the church at Cenchreae.

    Interesting that 1 Timothy 3 is brought up. I Timothy 3:11 as found in the KJV and NKJV reads

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

    11 Likewise [their] wives [must be] reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. (NKJV)

    However, their is in italics meaning it is not apart of the original text and was inserted. Wives also is not the literal translation but should be translated women

    A more literal translation would read

    Women,likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things.

    One would wonder why there would be a command on Deacons wives, that interrupts the flow of the verses, when there is no command of the same for elder's wives. The meaning is that the Women addressed is referring to women who would serve as Deacons. The KJV translators probably avoided the literal translation because it would have conflicted with the theology of the Church of England.

    Noted Bible commentator David Brown commented,

    That in the earliest churches there were deaconesses, to attend to the wants of the female members, there is no good reason to doubt. So early at least as the reign of Trajan, we learn from PLINY'S celebrated letter to that emperor--A.D. 110, or 111--that they existed in the Eastern churches.

    Adam Clark also correctly points out,
    Phoebe is here termed a servant, diakonon, a deaconess of the Church at Cenchrea. There were deaconesses in the primitive Church, whose business it was to attend the female converts at baptism; to instruct the catechumens, or persons who were candidates for baptism; to visit the sick, and those who were in prison, and, in short, perform those religious offices for the female part of the Church which could not with propriety be performed by men.

    The reason Baptists adviod this is because most Baptist churches have the Holy Senate view of Deacons and not the Biblical view that Deacons are merely servants of the local church and not an advisory council to the Church or Pastor. We must get back to the Biblical idea of the Deacon as a Church Servant and not a Church Senator.
     
  6. Kiffin

    Kiffin
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    Preach the Word said,

    I appreciate the concern but my views are totaly differant than my CBF friends who have no problems with women pastoring or teaching men. My point is that Baptists by in large don't have a scriptural view of Deacons. Interesting I believe that Capitol Hills Baptist Church in DC and a Reformed Baptist Church affiliated with the SBC has Deaconesses and is very clearly a very conservative Church.
     
  7. hrhema

    hrhema
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    If you look at Acts 6 you will find the reason why the position of Deacon was created. It was to serve food and or to be a servant to the believers.

    The Baptist church is not the only organizations that have taken New Testament Church government and made it to something that it is not.
    Deacons were never supposed to be in a leadership role but a servants role. This is well substantiated in the Bible and through Early Church history.

    Instead of Baptists worrying about what role women should play they need to clean house and remove from the office of Deacon all those who do not measure up to what Timothy and Titus wrote concerning these positions.

    God used many women for mighty things in the Bible. Miriam. Esther. Deborah. MAry and Martha. Mary Magdalene. Phoebe. Dorcas. The daughers of Philip who were prophetesses. Deborah was a judge over Israel. Imagine that all you men in the Baptist church who wants to Lord your manhood over women. Deborah was a judge and was over the General Barak. God also used Jael to destroy Sisera. Also what about Priscilla. God used her mightily with her husband Aquila.

    Who did Jesus appear to first after he resurrected. A woman. Who did the angels first tell of his resurrection? Women. Why did Jesus not wait and first appear to a man?

    It does not bother me if the Bible says Phoebe was a deaconess because that meant she was a servant to the church. Not a leader. A servant.

    You cannot get upset about this guys because the New Testament church government was not the same as the local Baptist church's.
     
  8. Daniel David

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    Not all Baptist churches operate with a congregational rule. Not all Baptist churches have deacons in leadership roles either.

    Kiffin, thank you for clarifying that you are a CBF. It cleared everything up for me.
     
  9. Kiffin

    Kiffin
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    PreachtheWord,

    I never said I was CBF [​IMG] because I am not and have nothing to do with them. I merely acknowledged my differances with their liberal agenda regarding women deacons because they believe women should hold leadership positions over men which I do not believe. You implied I am holding a liberal position when my theology is Calvinist and Conservative and not all Conservatives hold that women are barred from being a Deacon.

    [ May 24, 2002, 03:40 PM: Message edited by: Kiffin ]
     
  10. Kiffin

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    exactly
     
  11. Chris Temple

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    There's nothing scriptural about "Deacon boards" either. :(
     
  12. hrhema

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    Chris this is exactly what I and others are stating. Deacon boards are not biblical.

    Deacons were chosen to serve tables. Every day that a church has a deacon board they are in violation of church government.

    I asked a question on another thread and never got an answer so I would like to see if some who are sexist would answer now.

    What Paul wrote about women was written due to the day and time he lived in and the Jewish society. The Jews did not allow women to participate in their ceremonies. When I said times has changed people get upset yet when they are trying to defend things like when Paul said women should dress modestly that we live in a different time and with a different society it is supposed to be acceptable. People like to justify things that they want to defend and not when it doesn't fit their beliefs.
     

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