Their appointment was clearly not to advise or have any ruling authority over the pastor or congregation. Their role is second in importance only to the pastor-elders. (Col. 2:8; 1 Peter 1:18) I believe we must follow the biblical example literally and add nothing to it or take anything away from it. The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of … . Greek scholar, Kenneth Wuest translates the word, "be serving as deacons." This is the first time we find the laying on of hands in the Book of Acts. I have always made it a priority to teach what the Bible says concerning what God intended "deacons" to be to the church. These committees could be elected annually, and their terms of service limited to ensuring that they would not become an unbiblical group. I have been using men in my congregation to hold Bible studies, prayer meetings and even to preach periodically during my entire ministry, but I did not use them simply because they held the special status of deacon. Such duties might include: Facilities: The deacons could be responsible for managing the church property. “It comes from a root word (sebomai) that means ‘to venerate,’ or ‘to worship.’ (Acts 6:4). This was done to free the pastors from menial tasks, so they could better attend to their responsibilities in regard to studying, preaching and teaching. Deacons have a very important role in the church. Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Hendrickson:Mass, 2003) p137. The same Apostle Paul who wrote 1 Timothy 2is the apostle who did indeed write, We serve the Lord according to God's calling, according to God's own revealed order, and we do so in humility, and total dependence upon his … However, if you understand the word is correctly translated "servant" and not deaconess there is no problem. Using these figures, one could conclude that most churches have too many deacons. Although they are "servants" and their ministry is a ministry of service, the fact that they have been … This meant the identification of the Israelite with the offering itself. The reason is apparent that there is no Scriptural reference available. Conclusion
The word means servant, and the context tells you if the person has an elected position or simply one who served in the church. Some see the role of a deacon as a stepping stone on the way to being a member of the clergy. Elmer Towns, Theology for Today, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, 1994, p492. Couple this with the fact that Jesus in Revelation 2-3, addressed each church through its pastor (angel/messenger) and it sets the matter to rest. The carnal nature of man concludes that if you can hire and fire the pastor, you have authority over him. Just a few years ago, Eddie Hammett says, the subject of deacons in the free church tradition started coming up in much of the congregational consulting and coaching work he was doing. At least two of the seven in Acts, Stephen and Philip, were very active in preaching and evangelism (Acts 7-8). Thus, he, as well as many others are basing their conclusions that there is an "office" of a deacon on a faulty and misleading translation of the Greek text. This will be covered further later in this paper. There is no support in the New Testament for the assumption that God later changed the position and established a ruling office of deacons. One problem is that some churches appoint men to the position as a deacon for life. This procedure has served our congregation well, and we operate in a spirit of unity. "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers." Those whom God has giving the talent of teaching can certainly be used in this position. Another indication of the deacon's role is inherent in the name itself: "servant." The church has many different traditions that span over hundreds of denominations. Clearly, churches have left the biblical example and elected men to an "honorary" position of leadership, serving on an official ruling board of a church. There is no reason to suppose these were "forerunners" of officials called "deacons" as Ryrie states. It should be noted that when Paul sent Titus to the churches of Crete, to "set them in order" by instructing them in the appointing of pastors, he did not instruct him to also appoint "deacons" (Titus 1:5). Arguing against interpreting "deacon’s wives" as "female deacons" is the fact that it would be unusual for Paul to give qualifications for deacons in verses 8-10 and 12-13, with qualifications for deaconesses in between. Their ministry was intended to aid the apostles by taking care of some of the physical needs of the congregation. 5. THE ROLE OF A DEACON So what exactly is a deacon? 10 Marriage Goals Every Couple Should Have for 2021, How to Be a Good Neighbor in a COVID World, This site is a proud member of the Salem Web Network, a subsidiary of, Copyright © 2020, Crosswalk.com. However, I feel that I must, follow the dictates of my conscience and the New Testament example and in good conscience before the Lord obey His word. Deacons are not included because these are the official positions in an assembly that God "gave.". The role of the seven in Acts is clearly spelled out. This fund . The qualifications are quite high. The Deacon is to set up and prepare the table for the administration of the Lord's Supper. All rights reserved. Over the years I have watched as churches have elected deacons from their assemblies "to serve on the Board of Deacons" and be elevated to positions of authority over the congregation. In other words, an "office" is a position of some authority. Distributed in multiple copies without my permission. There is a practical division of labor between the only two ordained offices in the church of Jesus Christ (see Phil. A. H. Strong, Strong's Systemic Theology, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 12:28) or the gift of "showing mercy" (Rom. If the New Testament was teaching "elder" rule, the Apostles would have appointed these servants, but that is clearly not how God wanted it done. The New Testament does not give any directions concerning the number of deacons a church should have. He properly did it through their overseer whom he had placed to lead them. Christ's strong denunciation of the Nicolaitanes in Rev. For they that have used the office of a deacon (diakoneo - verb ) well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.". However, the word office can be used in another sense as "something that one ought to do or must do: an assigned or assumed duty, task, role, or the proper or customary action of something: FUNCTION: something done for another: SERVICE" (4.a-c, "office"). Philip and Steven are examples of men who were appointed servants (deacons) in the church who were also preachers. (Eisegesis means reading a meaning into Scripture. IV, Dallas:Dallas Seminary Press,1948, p152. "29
Some have supposed these were the forerunners of the later established official position of the office of a "deacon" of 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The root word "diako" from which "diakonos" is derived means "to run errands. History proves this point and sadly, it is a valid one. When handling money, it should be required that at least two deacons are involved. He informed me that in the future if I wanted to present something to the church, I should first consult him, and if he thought it worthy, he would present it to the deacon board. It also got more people involved in serving and helping one another. What is the biblical role of the deacon and how does the church organize itself to allow the deacons to accomplish their God-given ministry? However, the word is more likely used here in an unofficial sense of helper. Some may not agree with this position and choose to use the "deacon board" or a modified elder rule approach in their churches. It is good to do these things openly so there is no question about honesty or unfairness with the use of church funds. The contention I believe was not founded. Several days later the "head deacon" (Chairman of the Deacon Board) came to my house and brought up the matter I had presented. The New Testament teaches in every case congregational rule, which means that all members of the church are equal in all matters concerning the church's business. In the early church, the Deacon rationed any of the leftover elements to the poor of the church or locality. And this is the only meaning of the laying on of hands from the side of the Apostles. Pastors who have such deacons to help them will be better pastors because of it. *(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God.). There is another practical consideration. The congregation was not appointing them to an office, but giving them a responsibility or duty to take care of the widows. Thus we read of the Peace offering: "He shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering" (Lev. A deacon, in order to be able to minister spiritually, must have a full understanding of the revelation of the Bible to the that they are fully and unfailingly persuaded of it truth and to give spiritual support to believers (1 Timothy 1:5, 3:16, . It is incorrect to make the assumption that Charles C. Ryrie does in his Ryrie Study Bible note on Acts 6:2, which says, "The Greek word for "serve" is the one from which we derive "deacon," but these men were deacons only in the sense of being servants. Most churches have the seeds of their distruction sown when they were founded and one seed that could destroy a church is electing men to the unbiblical position of authority as deacons. As this "laying on of hands" is so much misunderstood, and has been made an act by which authority, power and blessing is claimed to be conferred, we must say a brief word on it. For a copy of this article in PDF format click here. This is the only example we have of these specially appointed men serving in a church. 12:8). Deacons could serve the congregation in this function based on their ability and willingness to serve, but not on their position as deacons. Instead of electing servants that were needed to carry on administrative tasks and be helpers to the pastor and congregation, churches put these men in a place of authority over the local congregation and often even over the pastor. It was the Apostles, who were serving them food, and they were the ones the complaints were being directed toward. 1907, p914. The responsibility and position of leadership is established in the use of the word "bishop" which means an "overseer" and other verses of Scriptures establish the place of leadership of the pastor (Acts 20:28, Eph. 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