23 June 2008

The Votes Are In on Women Deacons

Ok, the votes are in. Not many of you voted and even less left a message stating why you voted the way you did. I’m glad you all stopped by and voted regardless. So, my take can be summed up in the conclusion of the link I provided. This is a well researched and well written study on the question and I believe the conclusion is biblically sound. Let me quote, in part, the conclusion (which does not exempt you from reading the work yourself):
Given the biblical and historical evidence regarding women deacons, the question asked in the modern debate needs to be changed. The question has been: should the church have deaconesses? The question should be: what type of deaconesses does the New Testament authorize?... The New Testament gives clear qualifications for servant-widows (i.e., deaconesses) in 1 Timothy 5:9ff. and 1 Timothy 3:11. While the New Testament deaconess is a separate office from the male diaconate (with separate qualifications and a different ministry), the office clearly has divine authorization. The simple fact is that having deaconesses in the church is biblical as long as the church defines deaconesses biblically…It is not enough simply to oppose the "women in the same office as men deacons" view of deaconesses. Churches must study and then put in place the servant-widows that do have divine authorization. Under divine inspiration Paul gives instructions to place godly widows on a list. These servant-widows or deaconesses are needed now just as much as they were in the early church. With the fragmentation of families, single mothers, and the separation of young families from relatives by hundreds and thousands of miles, young women need the support that only servant-widows have to offer.
I, perhaps, might expand the allowable women to serve beyond just servant-widows but I’m still working through that in the same way that I’m working through the issue that many churches have Elders that are not elder. I do see much value in having some, especially older, women in this role. The deaconess could, for example, accompany and elder or deacon on a call to a single woman’s home to discuss a sensitive issue that perhaps the woman my not feel open and comfortable discussing with only a man or with a man in any circumstance. So, I do think there is a role here that could be fulfilled by a woman who has been a Christian for some years, demonstrated Christian piety and has some life experiences that could aid others in the congregation. Thoughts?

[Just for the record, the votes were 3 in favor, 3 not in favor and 4 did not know.]

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