Female Deacons in the PCA?

I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard this year’s GA will entertain an overture requesting the BCO be adapted to allow ordination of female deacons. Actually, I just didn’t want to believe my ears. This overture should really come as no surprise. My pastor along with other friends in the PCA have been predicting it for years based on previous compromises within our denomination on issues like the Lord’s Day, Subscription, etc. Now it’s here. Let’s examine it. I have copied the supporting argument directly from the body of Overture 9, which is in bold below, and have added my commentary after each section individually:

 

Overture to the PCA from the session of liberti church regarding changes to BCO 9-3, to allow churches to ordain women as deacons

 

Whereas BCO identifies deacons as necessarily men and only allows a particular Session to “appoint godly men and women to assist the deacons . . .” (BCO 9-7);

 

I’m not entirely sure if the this section quotes the BCO as a premise or just background. It is likely an attempt to frame the current, expedient use of laymen/laywomen assisting deacons in a way that it might seem as though the language of the BCO already allows women to fulfill the same duties as deacons. Doing so would bring the argument one small semantic step closer to being able to jump to the conclusion that the only difference between a layman/laywoman assisting a deacon and holding office as a deacon is the title. Sadly it has become a common practice within the PCA to have “unofficial” female deacons who are actually fulfilling all the duties of elected deacons without bearing the title. This practice, of course, is already out of accord with both the spirit and the letter of law since such practice is an obvious overextension of any working definition of “assisting.”

Furthermore, if these helpers’ duties were intended to be tantamount to actually serving as deacons, there would be no reason for the language of the BCO to include “godly men” among those able to assist deacons since men are free to actually serve in this office.

 

I also find it odd that in this small quote from BCO 9-7 several words are omitted without being marked by proper punctuation (“…”). The BCO actually reads “appoint godly men and women from the congregation to assist the deacons…”

 

 

Whereas Romans 16:1 names a woman, Phoebe, as a deacon (literal Greek translation) and clearly calls her “sister” (therefore a woman serving in that calling);

 

The most literal Greek translation of δικονος is actually “servant” not “deacon.” Even though δικονος can mean “deacon,” the word always carries the denotation of “servant” since a deacon is always a servant, but a servant is not always a deacon. As it is used within the context of Romans 16, I understand it to mean Phoebe was helping/ministering to the church and not serving in the official role of a deacon: “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.” If we look at the role of Phoebe in this scenario she is functioning as a servant to Paul as a letter-bearer and is also known to help others generally within the church. A similar example would be Onesimus, who helped Paul in writing his letter to Philemon, due to Paul’s physical impairments at that time, and delivered the epistle as a servant in Christ, not as a deacon in the church. Though I suppose it is possible for her to have been a deacon based on this verse, it’s really more far-fetched and at best, would be a poor supporting proof for female deacons as it is still ambiguous etc. We’ll have to let Scripture interpret Scripture here, which I believe 1 Timothy 3 does clearly.

 

Whereas 1 Timothy 3:11 speaks of “their women” connected with the deacons (not wives, as the NIV interprets), yet has no similar statement about wives of elders—a much more significant role—this interpretive translation of the NIV is questionable, and suggests that Paul meant for women to be included as deacons in our churches;

 

Now here is where the argument falls apart. I’ve included the preceding section of 1 Timothy 3 as well which discusses the qualification of elders. I placed both sections for elders and deacons together since there is a natural parallelism between the two offices. The qualifications for deacons begins in vs. 8:

1 Timothy 3

1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), 6 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

 

Okay, so the argument is based on the clarity of whether γυν is better translated as “wives” or “women” in vs. 11. Considering the same noun is used again in vs. 12, I’m going to assume context clues can assist us in finding an accurate translation. Here are our options: “Deacons must be the husband of one wife” OR “Deacons must be the husband of one woman” OR “Deacons must be the man of one wife” OR “Deacons must be the man of one woman.” Naturally, this is not a qualification any woman can fulfill however you translate it.

 

Whereas the office of deacon is an office of service rather than ruling, with no word or teaching gifts required for it, therefore it is consistent with Paul’s defined gender roles within the body to allow women to serve as deacons in the church;

 

According to what we just discussed in 1Timothy, it’s not in accord with the prescribed gender roles of Scripture. Proponents of female deacons have to qualify their arguments by claiming the office of deacon is somehow completely different from the office of elder because, in their estimation, that would just be taking it too far. Since the success of their agenda necessitates the demolition of certain barriers restricting gender roles in the church, they become caught in a vain attempt to keep evangelical feminism from rushing into the Church toward it’s logical conclusion–female elders. In a sense, they want to drill holes in a concrete levy and then cover it with Spackle. How long could it possibly hold?

 

Whereas it has become common practice in the PCA across many churches and presbyteries to allow churches to elect and commission women to serve as deacons equal to men serving in the office (which is out of order with BCO 9-7);

 

This defense simply makes me sad. Rather than take action against a practice that is admittedly out of accord with the Book of Church Order, the argument is to change the standard not the practice. So, not only did we know it was going on, we waited until it became “common” before we said anything. I suppose it does make for a much more substantial muscle to flex—“No need to cause a big stink. We just need you guys to shuffle a few papers and make the majority happy.” What the writers of this overture may not realize is that, at some point, they will no longer be in the majority. Eventually a majority of “radical” liberals will submit an overture requesting women be allowed to do “non-authoritative” readings and prayers from the pulpit, and if adapting the Standards has already become the new standard, anything will be possible. Our denomination would follow the same course as the PCUS–changing the Standards one jot and tiddle at a time until they are unrecognizable. Wouldn’t it make more sense for a congregation or even a presbytery to switch its membership to a denomination that has already made these compromises rather than staying in the PCA?

 

Whereas the practice of commissioning women to the office of the deacon and ordaining men to the same office is inconsistent in its approach to office and therefore an injustice;

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course it is inconsistent. As stated previously in the overture, this “common” practice of commissioning women is out of line with the BCO, so in order to make it fit we would have plow down more of the natural barriers established to prevent the ordination of women. I also noticed how Feminist language is manifested within the pragmatic appeals of the overture here and again later on with please of “injustice” and “oppression.”


Whereas ordination is to a particular office of elder or deacon and not conferral of general “rule” within the church, and is instead, conferral of status necessary to fulfill the calling of a particular office;
I don’t exactly understand this section. Maybe someone else could address this in the comments?

Whereas a position on the ordination of women as deacons does not strike at the “vitals of religion;”

As a denomination we are in danger. We are trusting ourselves with little changes here and there to suit capricious desires of fallible men and women.“It is but a little one,” is the lie Satan would have us believe when, in fact, this overture could cause our denomination to lose one of the 9 marks of a true church—Biblical Understanding of Leadership. In fact, if it is passed, then the means to this end would actually be the loss of another mark—Biblical Church Discipline. Rather than expecting repentance from those who refuse to conform to our Standards, we are instead bringing charges against the Standards and demanding they change.

 

Whereas the gifts of women in our congregations are arguably underutilized by denying them the opportunity to use their gifts in accordance with Scripture as an ordained deacon;

 

I certainly agree that the “gifts of women in our congregations are arguably underutilized in our churches.” However, since ordination of women as deacons is NOT in accordance with Scripture, this is NOT an outlet for female ministry. If we pursue that which is out of accord with God’s revealed will, then it will not be a blessing to the church. Instead, it will serve as a curse to the church. The current outlines for the office of deacon within the BCO is not that which keeps us as women from ministering within the church; it is our sinful nature and love for comfort and ease that causes us to neglect our duties and privileges within Christ’s Church. All Christians are called to love one another and to be servants, and as women we can certainly be proactive in considering how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds, to consider the poor or sick, or to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. Women can serve the church in many capacities (and have been for generations prior to this overture). I’ll take this as a natural transition to state that my desire for this blog is to discuss Biblical outlets for women in the church—outlets that do not necessarily come with titles or recognition but yet still serve the Kingdom by the means which God has seen fit to bless.

 

 

 

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Female Deacons in the PCA?

  1. Good article. I’m encouraged by your thoughts on the matter.

    My church recently went through the qualifications of deacons, and I must say that at the end I wasn’t totally opposed to women necessarily holding the office. Mostly because deacons serve more administrative roles than teaching.

    I like the wording of the first premise above. I would however shy in the direction of finding male deacons.

  2. carolinian

    Thank you for addressing this issue. Your comments are extremely enlightening. I’d heard about the Overature but responded with an amazed shake of the head. After reading this, I see the need to do something a bit more useful.

    I had no idea the sponsors were sanctioning a practice already in place, one that violated both the BCO and oaths taken (“Ah, everyone is doing it so we might as well make it official.”..Where else have we heard that argument?) Also, I can now see how changing the language could open the PCA to additional “progressive” changes.

    I’ll pop over to Green Bagginses for a peek at that discussion. BTW, I love that name, especially in light of this issue. When I saw it, my first thought was Sam telling Frodo, “there’s some good in this world… and it’s worth fighting for”

  3. Thanks for your comments, Chris. It can definitely be a confusing subjecte when hearing one side.

    I looking forward to other’s comments and hearing what they have to add to the discussion. Green Bagginses had a really good discussion on the topic here: http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/deaconesses-in-the-pca/

  4. I definitely share your desire to do something more useful in regards to the issue. I had considered starting a petition for PCA women to express their disapproval of the overture. I’m still undecided as to the best format/medium to do this on a grand scale. I suggest checking with your pastor, ahem, your husband for you :) to see what would be most effective–perhaps a personal letter from you to your presbytery? I’m not sure to whom you would even address such a letter. I do know, however, that if this error does pass, I would want to have a clear conscience, knowing that I did stand against such a disastrous decision as best as I am able. At this point, women in the PCA have a responsibility to speak out against what could prove to be devastating to our denomination. Any suggestions?

  5. talks2herself

    First off I have to say that I really cannot BELIEVE that this is even being considered in the PCA, much less that it’s going to be discussed at GA this year. Secondly, on the first point I would like to say that the quote from the BCO, “appoint godly men and women to assist the deacons…” (BCO 9-7), might be more clear than it seems. From where I stand it says that men and women ASSIST the deacons, not become one of them. To me there is a huge difference. There is a difference between being a helpmeet and being a deacon itself. Am I not seeing this clearly or is that not what this is telling us? Then on the point that the office of deacon is one of service rather than of ruling, I’m not exactly sure what the deacons in their church do but the deacons in my church (and others that I have been a member of or attended) are most definitely rulers as well as servants. While deacons do focus more on the area of serving rather than ruling they are still, nonetheless ruling deacons. As for the no rule or teaching gifts required for being a deacon, well that seems like a load of bologna to me. If our deacons do not have a gift for the word or teaching then how exactly are they serving the church? Are they only being appointed as deacons to keep our paperwork straight and the bathrooms clean? That is truly a sad case indeed. I would argue that is not the case and if it is then I pity that deacon and that congregation. Our deacons should be servants, yes, BUT they also should be men of God who know the word and are able to help others in the church when they are in need. They are to help the ruling elders in their burdens for tending the flock and keeping the church “healthy” shall we say. Just look at Acts 6:
    “…2So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3″Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4″But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”…5they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas…8And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9But some men … rose up and argued with Stephen. 10But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.” (NASB)
    It says that the twelve selected men “Full of the Spirit and of Wisdom” and they choose Steven “A man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” It seems quite clear that these men were not going to be used solely for mundane tasks around that needed to be done. In fact, it then goes on to say that Steven “was performing great wonders and signs among the people.” These men that the disciples chose to help them weren’t just for cleaning up behind the disciples, not at all! They were to aid the disciples in their work and to help with the immense number of people the disciples had to minister to. They were men of the word who were capable of ministering themselves. This same type of relationship between the twelve disciples and the seven men they chose can be looked upon much the same as elders and deacons should be ministering in our church. I think the key factor here though is that the disciples chose men in this instance to help them, not women. Women have their place in the church. It is a very important place too, I might add. But it is not as an elder, as a deacon, or any other such office. A woman’s place in the church is to stand beside her man supporting him and helping him in any way that she can so that he might be better able to serve the church. Women can minister in their own ways, whether that is by making meals for those who are in need of it or by simply being an encouragement to other women in the church. There are always ways that we as women can be helping and serving in our church but being a deacon is not one of them.

  6. Hi Jamie,

    Thanks for weighing in on this topic. Unfortunately as Crosby, Stills, and Nash put it, “it’s been a long time coming”. I can remember first encountering female deaconesses in a PCA church in 1997 and being amazed back then, I’m surprised we have managed to push the subject off until now.

    If I can add one historical and biblical note; first the practice of “Commissioning Deaconesses” in the PCA can be traced back to our Joining and Receiving the RPCES in 1983. The RPCES had adopted the following motion in 1977:

    “We affirm in the absence of any compelling biblical evidence to support the ordination of women to the special office of deacon, that this office be limited to qualified men. At the same time acknowledging that the Scriptures contain many examples of women who serve, we affirm the right of a local church to have a separate body of unordained women who may be called deaconesses.”

    This practice led to their in essence officially creating/sanctioning a “commissioned deaconess” office in their churches. On their joining the PCA, these RPCES deaconesses were officially supposed to go away in order to conform to the PCA book of church order, but in reality continued to be the practice of most former RPCES churches.

    Unfortunately, nothing affects doctrine like practice and the continuing practice of having commissioned deaconesses has effectively persuaded many in the PCA that this should be our doctrinal position. Thus, the RPCES practice that was supposed to disappear, appears set to win the day in the PCA. We should take note therefore of the need to always be willing to put disciplinary “teeth” to our declarations.

    Secondly, a brief consideration. In Acts chapter 6 we see the ordination of the first deacons. It’s worth noting that although what brought it on was the need to take care of the widows of the Hellenists, the apostles specifically instructed that seven MEN be chosen (Acts 6:3). If ever there was a good time for choosing women for the office, it was at its inauguration, yet this was not done – and I would argue that this was because they taught that only men might serve in the offices of the church.

    Thanks again for commenting!

  7. The term deaconess can refer to a non-ordained female in an official position of service based on Paul’s provision for widow servants in 1 Timothy 5:9-10. There is evidence that this is what the early church meant by the term, and I think that pointing this out is an effective response to those who use the practice of the early church as an argument for ordaining females to be deacons serving on the board of deacons.

    For historical research, see http://www.all-of-grace.org/pub/schwertley/deacon.html .

    Also, see my sermon on Romans 16:1-2 at http://grovergunn.net/andrew/andrew.htm .

    May God bless!
    Grover Gunn

  8. So, Grover, if I understand you, what you are saying is that there were women who were servants or helpers of the church, but not women who were ordained or “commissioned” deacons in the Acts 6, Phil.1, 1 Tim 3 sense. So could we simply respond that this role is already available to women who are appointed to be helpers of the deacons per BCO 9-7 “It is often expedient that the Session of a church should select and appoint godly men and women of the congregation to assist the deacons in caring for the sick, the widows, the orphans, the prisoners, and others who may be in any distress or need.”?

  9. I don’t see the harm in a church’s referring to certain non-ordained women as deaconesses as long as the church clearly and publicly defines the term deaconess to refer to a member of a female lay service order and also defines the term deacon to refer exclusively to an ordained male who is eligible to serve on a board of deacons. With these definitions, a deaconess is not a female deacon and is not eligible to serve on a board of deacons and is not ordained. Also, with these definitions, a deaconess would be consistent with the provision in BCO 9-7 which you quote.

    I have never pastored a church which used the term deaconess or which appointed anyone, male or female, to assist the deacons. Yet if the issue of women’s ordination is becoming a source of division, I would want everyone who agrees that women should not be ordained to any church office and should not be serving on either the session or the board of deacons to be standing together, even if some of them choose to use the term deaconess to refer to certain non-ordained women. I would not want to define the line of division such that they were by definition on the other side together with those who want women to be ordained.

    To insist that the term deaconess can refer only to a female deacon is to make the same error which Warfield made when he argued for ordaining females to serve on boards of deacons. See http://reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/deacon.htm#Warfield . We must carefully define our terms and avoid equivocation.

    May God bless!
    Grover Gunn

  10. @ Andy

    Your insight on Acts 6 is especially helpful as a proof against pragmatic arguments for female deacons. I have often heard the argument that the role of female deacons makes up for areas of diaconal ministry in which men are not as well suited as their more “compassionate” counterparts. Many times proponents will argue that women can better serve the needs of other women in the church or that propriety might necessitate this office. As you pointed out, the apostles saw fit to appoint 7 men, not women, to minister to the Hellenistic widows. Thanks for sharing.

    @ Grover

    Thanks for that clarification. IMHO, I’d be cautious to ever assign the title “deaconess” to any orthodox role for women within in the church simply b/c its current use is almost uniformly unorthodox. It would just be inviting confusion. Besides, what would we call the “godly men” who also assist deacons. ;)

  11. I have encountered the use of the word deaconess in a concrete situation only once in my life, and in that case the term was used to refer to a non-ordained position of service and not to an ordained female deacon.

    The issue here is not my choice of vocabulary but my relationship with others based on their choice of vocabulary. Should I reject others when they use a term which I think wise to avoid without taking into account how they define and use that term? Or should I inquire into how they are using the term and base my judgment on that?

    I am reminded of the presbyterian churches which have chosen to take the word presbyterian out of their church’s name because so many now associate the word with theological liberalism. I personally prefer for presbyterian churches to keep the word presbyterian in their names. Yet when a presbyterian church removes the word presbyterian from its name, even though I don’t think that is wise, I am not going to reject them because of that alone, nor am I going to assume that they are now necessarily non-presbyterian in their doctrine and practice.

    May God bless!
    Grover Gunn

  12. Grover, I would certainly agree that such a scenario as you mentioned would not be cause to break fellowship w/ those churches etc. The sad reality, however, is that we have moved past the semantic debate and are no longer arguing over what the title “deaconess” means. Overture 9 is unabashedly using “deaconess” as the office of deacon w/ no distinction between a male/female(not that I believe you are arguing otherwise). My point is that this current debate was preceded by multiple debates over semantics. The end result is the title has become so amorphous that many people have simply come to consider it innocuous. As we’re finding out, there’s great danger in allowing such a pregnant word float around the church.

  13. I think we agree in substance but we may disagree on tactics. We both want our denomination to maintain its limitation of ordination to qualified males because this is what the Bible teaches. Allow me to call that project number one. If some also want to ban any local church from using the term “deaconess” regardless of how that local church is defining and using the term, I hope they will make that a separate project number two. I am fearful that adding project number two to project number one would jeopardize the success of project number one. For the sake of the success of project number one, which I regard as substantial and vital, I would want project number two to remain a clearly separate and distinct project.

    By the way, do females who have been ordained to serve on a board of deacons want to be called deacons or deaconesses? I would think they would want to be called deacons.

    If the term “deaconess” can refer only to an ordained female deacon, then the early church had ordained female deacons. But the early church did not have ordained female deacons. The early church had non-ordained orders of female lay servants patterned after Paul’s roll of widow servants. See http://reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/deacon.htm#Warfield . To concede this semantic debate is to lose on this significant point.

    May God bless!
    Grover

  14. jstruax

    Mrs. Griffith,

    Thanks for a great blog. I’m new to reading this blog and still relatively new to blogs in general.

    Let me start by saying I had pretty much the same reaction point-by-point to the overture of the church advocating women deacons.

    My thoughts on this have been developing recently as I re-visit Scripture and church history on this topic. If we follow Scripture, we have nothing to fear in having a study commitee on this.

    I think it is time for our denomination to address this because it is needful for the peace and purity of the church. Differing practices have begun to proliferate and continue on their own trajectories without guidance. In Reformed theology, doctrinal agreement is the basis of unity in the Church.

    While there is a risk of getting distracted by having a study committee, we thankfully (providentially) have a history in our denomination of facing difficult issues head on and setting parameters. While this process does not clarify or resolve everything, it does set parameters and bring a settling peace on our unity. It seems to me avoidance is a less biblical approach.

    I think some of our churches genuinely need help and guidance in developing the good Presbyterian form of governance we have and with involving women in mercy ministry. There are many, many opportunities consistent with Scripture for men and women to serve. One does not have to have an office to perform them in the church.

    I am generally aware of Mr. Gunn’s fine service and good reputation and suspect his sentiments may well be along the lines of what our denomination settles on in this area.

    I understand him to emphasize that we need to be very careful and clear in addressing this issue. While there is no biblical warrant for women in the office of deacon (which involves ordination, election by the congregation, and a certain authority) there does appear to be biblical warrant for “diaconal” type ministry done by women. This ministry by women is not the same as the Acts 6 or I Timothy 3 office of deacon, however and must be clearly delineated if the term “deaconess” is used.

    My own thinking on this is that the office of deacon necessarily has ecclesiastical authority. While the office is characterized as one of sympathy and service, it is particularly charged with the overseeing and directing of mercy ministry, especially the compassionate distribution of resources in the church. This is real authority- deciding how to direct money, time and manpower toward that end in the church and leading in this. It seems there are many mechanisms in the church that can be used under that authority, including appointing assistants through a women’s auxiliary, comfort and care ministry, etc.

    Putting women in authority of the office of deacon and requiring the men and women of the congregation to submit to that is unbiblical and causes disunity and confusion.

    I’m not sure whether we can use the term “deaconess” and not create confusion but it is at least theoretically possible if we clearly differentiate it in practice and in fact from the office of deacon.

    Even more, after reading Brian Schwertley’s excellent paper on this, http://www.amprpress.com/women_deacon's.htm#Westminster

    It appears there was a nonordained) “office” of servant widow that the church in ages past looked to in sometimes having “deaconesses.” This office had very specific qualifications (a widow, aged 60, having successfully raised children, etc.), and was under the authority of other church officers. It is not the same office as that of deacon (Acts 6) and apparently the early Church and John Calvin clearly understood that.

    We have to be careful and prayerful in this- not to devalue the office of deacon, ordination, male leadership in the church and women’s involvement in mercy ministry. Also, that we can reconcile gender differences in a biblical way and model that before the world.

    With God’s grace, we can.

  15. docmarshall

    Wayside PCA has begun a new website to track all kinds of information about female deacons or deaconesses in the PCA. If you send us a link, we will be glad to include it.

    http://www.waysidechurch.org/femdeacs/femdeacs.htm

  16. Doc, thanks for the link, and thank you for what you are doing…that’s a fantastic idea, and very helpful. Looks like you’ve already linked to the blogs I’m aware of who have written on this subject. I’ll forward any others as I come across them.

    Thanks again ;)

  17. goforvendingtofu

    I agree with s0me statements made. But I want you to consider some semantic factors: The first statement that troubles me is “The most literal Greek translation of διάκονος is actually “servant” not “deacon.” ” Where do we get the word deacon? from the greek diakonos (διάκονος). English is a bit newer than greek so we borrow words. I would demonstrate this by saying deacon = diakonos which means servant. You are absolutely right in calling Pheobe a servant. But… well, let’s let scripture define scripture. Pheobe = diakonos. 1 Timothy 3:8 uses the greek diakonos. You’ve now defined Pheobe with the same word you’ve described a deacon.

    Another thing you may want to add to your article is the rest of Timothy 3:8. If you want to argue semantics of Man of one Woman you might want to note that a Deacon must have 2 or more Children and be a homeowner too. Or is it a statement of character? You spend time arguing the term woman/wife but not man/husband. I think that would assist your argument more given the identity of the deacon himself and not the properties that make up the deacon. Basically, I’m saying “Perhaps Pheobe or a deaconess is of one woman (deaconesses must therefore be lesbian), and has 2 or more children, but Pheobe is not a man, disqualifying her from being a diakonos by the endowment of being born a woman. It’s a dangerous road to take when the role is also defined by having children (still plural) it makes me wonder if this Epistile is defining specific qualifications to be a diakonos or rather establishing character of a diakonos.

    Lastly, you have servants (helpers/diakonos) for your entitled positioned deacons? That doesn’t seem very servant minded. Are you sure your entitled deacons aren’t supposed to be serving alongside your unentitled diakonosi? If you’re going by 1 Timothy 3 specifically verse 13 they’re supposed to be in the field διακονέω (diakoneo / rendering service)… My question being, what’s a title if you don’t live up to it, and what are you when you fulfill a title without the honor of it?

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