Est. May 2008

30 January, 2014

Deaconesses

Women can serve in deacon and leadership roles within the church, according to the Bible, says David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., who recently addressed the controversial topic in a sermon.
This is a discussion that’s been going on for quite a while now. And, as one commenter noted, the word ‘deacon’ (diakonos, in Greek), normally translates into English as ‘servant’.  In the church, it can also mean, ‘one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use’.

Now, Mr. Pratt does admit that, should a church utilize someone in the position of deacon as an elder, then he ‘would not say women should be deacons because they're basically serving as elders, an overall role’; he would be correct in that, since Paul is fairly adamant in his teachings that women are not to be placed in positions of authority over men within the church or at home.

But the argument he uses (or, at least, the argument from the article) to promote the idea of female deacons (deaconesses) isn’t convincing, at least to me.  He paraphrases 1 Timothy 3:11:
'Deacons must be dignified, not double-tongued…their wives likewise, must be dignified, not slanderous…each deacon be the husband of one wife…,'
… then goes on to say that ‘In some variations of the text, "their" is not included when referring to a deacon's wife.’

Look what happens when you remove the word ‘their’ from the paraphrased verse:
'Deacons must be dignified, not double-tongued…wives likewise, must be dignified, not slanderous…each deacon be the husband of one wife…,'
Now you’re not talking specifically about deacon’s wives – you’re speaking of wives in general.  And if, generally speaking, wives are to be ‘dignified’ and ‘not slanderous’, that would also apply to the wives of deacons, would it not?

I haven’t found any Scripture which supports the notion of women in positions of authority within the church.  I have, however, found Scripture which supports the idea of women in service within the church as deacons, as deacons are defined by the Greek term.

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