Q34 : Women as Deacons

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Q34 : Women as Deacons

I am on a team charged with establishing a constitution and by-laws for a new church. We are addressing the Spiritual Infrastructure of the church as described in the NT. Presently we are addressing Pastors, Elders, & Deacons and also Church Discipline.

I read with interest Andy Woods article on The Meaning of "The Husband of One Wife" in 1 Timothy 3:2a. It is by far the best and most thorough treatment I have found on this very complex subject. We have been struggling with the elder/deacon qualification and this helps tremendously.

I wonder if you have any treatments on gender requirements for deacons? When I remove the ruling/governing function from the role of deacon (which many contemporary churches have embraced as a result of the fusing of the deacon and elder role) and examine it in light of its biblical establishment as a servant role which focuses on the practical, active, and helping, coupled with a literal translation of 1 Timothy 3:8, I conclude that woman should be allowed to serve as a deacon. This is contrary to my past belief. Can you point me to any documentation that will assist me in reaching a biblically sound position on this question?

A34 : by Andy Woods

Thanks for your kind words regarding my article. The only resources I can think of are:

  1. Appendix 2 at the end of Dr. Tom Constable's notes on 1 Timothy (www.soniclight.com) where he lists nearly every spiritual role a woman played throughout the entire Bible. I believe he takes the view that women can occupy the office of deacon, which would be different than our Spirit and Truth website doctrinal statementa. However other items mentioned in his appendix are valuable.
  2. n.10 on pg. 2137 of the NET Bible for exegetical arguments supporting the notion that Phoebe of Romans 16:1 was not really occupying the office of deacon but rather was functioning as a common servant. I think the NET Bible is available at www.bible.org.
  3. My article length book review of Grady's book Ten Lies the Church Tells Women. The article is available on the Spirit and Truth websiteb. I did not deal too much with the deacon issue in this article. However, reading it will give you some good bibliography to draw from.

Editor's notec: Among several reasons that SpiritAndTruth.org does not endorse women in the roll of deacon is because the office of deacon includes vested authority which is exercised over the congregation in the performance of service. This, ultimately, places women in positions of authority over men (1Ti. 2:12). Although it is true that the primary emphasis of the deacon is service, we note that all Biblical leadership weds servanthood with authority. We believe the absence of women in the prototypical example of the office of a deacon as set forth in Acts 6 is also highly significant.

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