PCA General Assembly votes not to move in the direction of woman deacons...

(NOTE: About fifty deep in the comments under this post is one made by "PCA friend" that readers will find helpful in clarifying what happened at the assembly, as well as the actions' larger context in the intricacies of PCA polity. PCA friend also makes the valid point others also made; namely, that some supported the minority report--and thus a study committee--not out of a desire for change, but because they believed this would be the wisest course to take in supporting our church's present constitutional requirements.)

(Tim) Just now, I received a report on what is likely the most significant decision facing this year's General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. Several overtures to the assembly--most notably, one from Philadelphia Presbytery that came to the presbytery by recommendation of a presbytery committee including Tenth Presbyterian Church's senior minister, Rev. Dr. Philip Ryken--asked the assembly to appoint an ad interim study committee on women deacons. Others within the PCA (including Central Georgia Presbytery) opposed such a study committee, seeing it as a Trojan Horse for northern city churches moving the denomination in an egalitarian feminist direction.

Overtures to the assembly pass through the Bills and Overtures Committee which meets prior to the assembly and brings recommendations on each overture to the assembly floor. This year's Bills and Overtures Committee was chaired by Rev. Fred Greco who brought the committee's recommendation (its Majority Report) to the assembly floor. This Majority Report called for the overture requesting the appointment of a study committee on women deacons to be answered in the negative, in which case no such committee would be constituted.

The president of Covenant Seminary, Bryan Chapell...

brought a minority report from Bills and Overtures that opposed the committee's majority, instead recommending the assembly approve Philadelphia Presbytery's overture and undertake the study of women deacons.

Mr. Chapell's minority report was defeated, reportedly without even a division of the house. This means the defeat was clear enough by voice vote that no one requested the votes be counted, man by man.

David and I are hopeful that those whose church practice is out of conformity with our Book of Church Order will honor their ordination vows and submit themselves and their churches anew, both to the Book of Church Order's prohibition of women deacons, and now also the will of the assembly in reaffirming that prohibition.

Comments

Thanks for the update, Tim. This is good news.

Hooray! This is very good to hear.

The vote was a standing division not counted. The vote for the minority report to continue debate was 420-467. The real debate on the issue took place when the review of presbytery records came up with the report on the Northern California presbytery. I would suggest that you watch not only the debate on the bills and overtures but the review of presbytery records to see that this issue will be back next year in terms of an amendment(s) to the BCO.

Tim, thanks for the update. I am very pleased at the outcome. Now if ALL our churches will comply. Hello Gavid G. Les Prouty

Was that vote closer than expected? From the outside, I'm surprised it was that close. Or did some vote for it for reasons other than "going wobbly?" The fact that the president of Covenant Seminary is leading the charge isn't very encouraging, either. First the seminaries...

Yes, I was surprised that Bryan himself led the movement against the B&O Majority Report, presenting instead the Minority Report. As I said concerning Bryan's partisanship in the midst of the subscriptionist debate a few years ago, this seems quite inappropriate for the president of our seminary. To say he's simply advocating "talking" with one another is not reassuring when it's clear those pushing for the study committee are pushing for change--specifically, the change of ammending our "Book of Church Order" so it would allow something close to what many of them already practice: Namely, having unordained women officers serving in their congregations.

> the defeat was clear enough by voice vote that no one requested the votes be counted, man by man.

I just got back from the General Assembly evening worship service downtown. A friend of mine was telling us that the vote was quite close (a difference of about 30, he thought) and I got the impression because of that they had to count several times. Didn't sound very decisive a defeat, from what he seemed to be saying.

Anyway, I don't know (and probably wouldn't understand) the specifics, but it was defeated for now. But if it was that close, it sure sounds like a major problem to me.

Michael

Dallas

I am genuinely surprised that the assembly did not want a study committee on this matter. Those delegates who voted against it had better be prepared to go back to their presbyteries and ride herd on the numerous churches which have gone ahead with non-BCO sanctioned novelties like unordained deacons, female deacons, and "deaconess" as a title meaning something other than "female deacon." If the issue is that clear to them, why haven't they been doing anything about it for the last several years?

Great news. As a member of a 'northern city PCA' church I appreciate the efforts to stand up against feminism.

Tim,

While I could be mistaken I do not think that Tenth Presbyterian was sponsoring the overture. I was an intern at Tenth this year and sat in on the Philadelphia Presbytery meetings concerning this issue. The issue was based on actions taken by Liberty Church in Philadelphia. At their particularization service they comissioned one man and three women to be a deacon and deaconesses. The problem with this is twofold. First, there were not ordained deacons for them to commission the men and women to assist. Second, they laid hands on them so that the whole thing looks pretty much like an ordination service. On top of this, they gave the women the title "deaconess." Now it is my understanding that the PCA BCO encourages appointing godly men and women to assist the officers of the church. If this is the case there is nothing wrong with appointing women to assist the deacons in deaconal work. While I am not completely comfortable with this arrangement, and I definitely would not like to title to be applied to non-office bearers, I think we have a conundrum.

While Tenth Presbyterian does commission women to assist the deaconate (again something upheld by the BCO), they were not the ones pushing the issue this year. I keep hearing this but I never saw it on a Presbytery level. In fact, I distinctly remember hearing Phil Ryken recommend a motion that would have ended in asking the GA to study what women commissioned to help deacons should be called. If I am mistaken about this please let me know.

By the way, thank you for the informative post.

In Christ

Nicholas T. Batig

Michael-the vote count was over to close debate. They could not tell just by a standing division. They did do a standing division on the vote on making the minority report the main motion. That vote failed.

Nicholas-BCO 9-7 allows a session to appoint godly men and women to help the deacons in their work. It is not just women only.

Tim-Like you, I am very uncomfortable with the the president of the PCA seminary taking such an active role is this debate.

The egalitarians are not going to go away as long as sessions, presbyteries and general assemblies lend credence to feminism and the feminists by even entertaining their ideas. A decisive “get in line or get out” will be all that puts an end to them. Simply rejecting overtures is not enough. Like a cancer, the malignancy needs to be cut away.

The following two links are about the CRC, but they have been repeated, with some variations particular to them, in all of the denominations that have fallen to the feminists. Deal decisively with the enemy, or read the links as prophetic.

http://www.swierenga.com/Africa_pap.html

http://www.reformed.org/webfiles/antithesis/index.html?mainframe=/bible/...

Second link again

http://www.reformed.org/webfiles/antithesis/

index.html?mainframe=/bible/ant_v2n1_unchanging.html

Erm...the URL for this post.... ;-)

>Erm...the URL for this post.... ;-)

a cascading of soft chuckles from this desk...

> A decisive “get in line or get out” will be all that puts an end to them.

Exactly, Mark. But that'd be mean, and being mean is rather frowned upon these days. "Can't we all just get along?" This is not the kind of unbiblical sentiment we need:

“There’s much we need to do—we’re failing to love fully half of the body of Christ,” said Jonathan Inman, pastor of Grace and Peace PCA in Asheville, N.C. “I’m sorry for the ways the church has offended women and often been unaware of it.”

http://byfaithonline.com/page/pca-news/general-assembly-rejects-deacones...

This "we-need-to-get-busy-and-right-all-these-historical-wrongs" hand-wringing and self-flagellation talk implies that loving all women means giving the disgruntled ones what they want. It ends up in appeasment, or unbiblical peace-offerings. It becomes more important than truth. I call it the "You don't love me" tactic. Works like a charm so often --in marriages & in churches-- as this particular pastor shows. "If you really loved me, you would let me _____________."

If God had really loved Eve, He would have not forbidden the fruit.

> Simply rejecting overtures is not enough.

That these things are being pushed to the forefront and given so much attention only shows the camel's nose is too far in the tent already.

> Like a cancer, the malignancy needs to be cut away.

A little leaven... and it probably won't take long, at this rate.

Ever notice how feminists' best friends are first and foremost well-meaning men? Men continue to vote feminism into power.

Did anyone attend Tuesday's Ligon Duncan seminar entitled "Biblical Manhood & Womanhood in the PCA: Where we've come from and the way ahead"? [I made an attempt to get there for it, but it didn't work out - long story.] I was wondering what the "way ahead" was...

--Michael

>I do not think that Tenth Presbyterian was sponsoring the overture

Dear Mr. Batig,

Thanks for the correction. You're right, and I've changed the post to correct my error.

Things are a little bit more complicated than simply saying that Tenth Presbyterian was not the sponsor of the overture to the assembly through Philadelphia Presbtery, though.

Prompted by your comment, I've spent a bit of time researching Tenth Presbyterian's involvement in this issue within Philadelphia Presbtery--including the position taken by the Rev. Dr. Philip Ryken, Tenth Presbyterian's senior minister--and I'll be posting more on this question later today.

Warmly,

Tim Bayly

This issue is not over. Bryan Chapell, on the floor, said that both sides expect overtures on this topic in future GAs.

Watch www.layman.org for more.

EVE: Hey, check out this wonderful new fruit!

ADAM: I don't know. We've never done that before. It could spell trouble...

EVE: Aw, come on, are you so set in your ways already? We can't have all this tasty, unused fruit just falling on the ground to rot. That's not very good stewardship. God wants us to be wise stewards, doesn't He?

ADAM: You may have a point, but...

EVE: Besides, we need more variety in our diet -- don't you get tired of the same old things? A more well-rounded menu is healthier.

ADAM: Can't we just sit here and study it for awhile...?

EVE: What for? Didn't God pronounce everything "Good"? Just take a little taste -- you'll love it. Great stuff. Don't you trust me? I'm the nutritionist around here, remember. You wouldn't want to hurt my feelings, would you?

ADAM: Okay, whatever you say...

[curtain]

Ever notice how feminists' best friends are first and foremost well-meaning men?

Provided we redefine Biblical manhood to include the spiritually limp wristed. Effeminacy always precedes femininization.

Erm...the URL for this post.... ;-)

OK, I give up. What am I missing?

> Provided we redefine Biblical manhood to include the spiritually limp wristed.

I'm trying to picture John Knox blasting his trumpet with a limp wrist...

--Michael

>>Ever notice how feminists' best friends are first and foremost well-meaning men? Men continue to vote feminism into power.<<

The moderates and the "well-meaning" always do the real damage.

This issue is not over. Bryan Chapell, on the floor, said that both sides expect overtures on this topic in future GAs.

Once the issue is entertained on the floor, (unless the PCA is able to do what no denomination has been able to do as of yet) it's only a matter of time. Conservatives better start looking for a new place to dock the boat. They'll be nuthin but pirates here soon enough argh......

> Once the issue is entertained on the floor ...it's only a matter of time. Conservatives better start looking for a new place to dock the boat. They'll be nuthin but pirates here soon enough argh......

Speaking of all that, I understand next year's will be hosted by Mickey Mouse (in Orlando at a Disney Resort). I'd expect that to bring out more of the young-at-heart "moderate" crowd.

It's so unfortunate that you keep accusing the sponsors of change as being egalitarians. I am not an egalitarian nor am I moving toward it. I submit to my husband and believe the Biblical mandate is for male elders. However, I believe that the I Tim. text on deacons includes women or wives and that a straightforward reading of Scripture presents Phoebe as a deacon. This doesn't make me feminist or egalitarian. I'm just trying to follow my convictions of what I think Scripture literally says.

Even if you disagree, please be cautious in the motives you assign to others.

Dear Agnes,

As the article by B.B. Warfield Tim placed on the site a week ago makes clear, Paul's statement about Phoebe is the only substantial Biblical argument for deaconesses--and Warfield wasn't opposed to a female office such as "deaconess".

To claim that a straightforward reading of 1 Timothy 3 leads you to embrace the office of deaconesses is, frankly, ludicrous and at the point of the ludicrous, assumptions about motives come into play.

I readily admit that my reading of Phoebe is influenced by other passages and by the feminist climate of our age. You are free from such influences in your reading of 1 Timothy 3? It seeems from your comment that you're playing your opponents as fools.

Sincerely in Christ,

David Bayly

I Tim. 3 NAS

8Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain,

9but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

10These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach.

11Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

12Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.

13For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Tim, it's not ludicrous. It seems much odder to think that Paul stopped his train of thought on deacons, did a general shout out to women, and then went back to the last thing he was talking about. Are you saying verse 11 has nothing to do with deacons?

Dear Agnes,

Permit me a bit of levity...

I think your reading of 1 Timothy 3 is as clear as your reading of my name on the comment you're responding to.

Seriously, your understanding of 1 Timothy 3 is not novel in the context of today's feminist readings of 1 Timothy 3, but having just preached through 1 Timothy I can assure you that your reading is not only novel historically, but possible only in light of feminism.

Sincerely in Christ,

David Bayly

Dear Agnes,

Calvin's comments on 1 Timothy 3:11 represent the thinking of the entire church for thousands of years on this verse. And let me remind you that as with Warfield, Calvin seems to believe in an office of "widow" within the Church.

"11. Likewise the wives. He means the wives both of deacons and of bishops, for they must be aids to their husbands in their office; which cannot be, unless their behavior excel that of others.

"'Let the deacons be.' Since he mentioned wives, he lays down the same injunction about deacons as he had formerly down about bishops; namely, that each of them — satisfied within having but one wife — shall set an example of a chaste and honorable father of a family, and shall keep his children and his whole house under holy discipline. And this refutes the error of those who understand this passage as referring to domestic servants."

In Christ,

David Bayly

Hello Agnes,

I hear what you are saying. You're right, we don't know people's motives, and shouldn't assume the worst.

The thing is, though, if some people take the high road and others take the low road, but the two roads have the same destination --an egalitarian church-- in the final analysis, what's the advantage of having taken the high road to arrive at the same place?

As Jack said, it is the sensible moderates who do the most damage. The moderates consider themselves in the same category as the group they are trying to change.

> a straightforward reading of Scripture presents Phoebe as a deacon. This doesn't make me feminist or egalitarian.

Some may disagree with what such a belief implies. There are all sorts of confessed egalitarians out there. One common type are the ones who believe in submitting to husbands, but who also believe in female pastors! There are all sorts who deny being egalitarians, too. They may say it is okay for a woman to teach a class of men, just as long as she is under the authority of a male pastor. Can we say that is not egalitarian? Some would claim it wasn't.

> I submit to my husband and believe the Biblical mandate is for male elders.

There are churches which have no elders, just deacons. The deacons are the leaders.

It is a real can of worms.

--Michael

8Deacons likewise...

10These men...

~~~

11Women must likewise...

> Are you saying verse 11 has nothing to do with deacons?

Correct. "These men" refers to "deacons." The "likewise" after "women" shows they are in a separate category from the former group.

The wives of deacons are a likely connection here to the deacons. What good would a deacon's ministry be with an undignified, unfaithful, intemperate, and gossipping wife?

12Deacons must be husbands of only one wife...

Women obviously can't be the husband of one wife, except perhaps in a homosexual church.

--Michael

> It seems much odder to think that Paul stopped his train of thought on deacons, did a general shout out to women, and then went back to the last thing he was talking about.

What is most odd (that feminists conveniently miss) is that Paul bothered to say anything even close to this at all, if he meant deacons were not exclusively male. In other words, he shot himself in the foot if female deacons were to be the norm. It sounds ridiculous to mention men and women separately if there was to be no distinction to be maintained. Yet feminists want us to overlook the obvious distinctions, claiming there really are none. They point to the individual trees to try to disprove they are in a forest. It makes no sense, but still they gain many converts.

And note in verse 10 Paul talks about the *men* being examined and serving if they pass the test. No such thing is said about women being either examined or serving.

> This doesn't make me feminist or egalitarian.

The terms are not likely to be used by those wishing to change the status quo. The words can be used in so many ways, anyway. Believing that women are equal to men in the sight of God, I suppose that could qualify me to be called an egalitarian.

--Michael

I notice that your primary defense of your position is that it was held by the church fathers for 1000s of years. But that should be an aside, not our primary argument. I agree the I Tim. 3 passage can be seen from both angles. I disagree vehemently that your reading of I Tim. is obvious while mine is ludicrous. And if the Bible is the best commentary on itself, then Phoebe's deacon title is the tipping point. The reformed church is always reforming. The church fathers have 'occasionally' gotten things wrong, which was the entire point of the reformation.

>I notice that your primary defense of your position is that it was held by the church fathers for 1000s of years. But that should be an aside, not our primary argument.

Not really, it is one thing that separates genuinely Reformed Christians from someone like David Koresh.

>The reformed church is always reforming. The church fathers have 'occasionally' gotten things wrong, which was the entire point of the reformation.

It wasn't even slightly the point of the Reformation. Why do you think Calvin invoked the patristic writings when he did battle with Rome? Because the point of his efforts was to separate himself from the fathers?

Last thought--the Bible trumps the church fathers, which is how we've always known how to correct ourselves throughout church history. From the Bible, you have only shown that the I Tim. 3 passage is questionable and the Phoebe passage does indeed use the word for deacon. So, at best, you can disagree with the attempted study, but--back to my main point--you need to be more gracious toward them. You simply do not have enough BIBLE evidence to paint them with such negative motives.

>Last thought--the Bible trumps the church fathers, which is how we've always known how to correct ourselves throughout church history.

You seem hostile to Reformational thinking. The Bible is the highest authority but not the only authority. And if you find yourself with a personal interpretation of Scripture that has found no historical acceptance in two millenia you are entering David Koresh country. Turn back...

David Gray,

Believing that the Bible condones women deacons is hardly "an interpretation... that has found no historical acceptance in two millenia [sic]."

In fact, you might want to ask the owners of this blog what their opinions are.

David Gray,

Believing that the Bible condones women deacons is hardly "an interpretation ... that has found no historical acceptance in two millenia [sic]."

In fact, you might want to ask the owners of this blog what their opinions are.

Just an historical note: It seems there were deaconesses in the early church. In one of the first seven ecumenical councils, there was a decision to ordain women as deaconesses only after age 40. After monasticism took hold of the West, the office of deaconess virtually disappeared.

The office of deaconess was not the same as the office of deacon. It was primarily to assist in ministry to women. I would hope that a seminary president would want a study committee.

PS. I am not PCA, but generally appreciate the thoughts and content of this blog in regards to gender.

Ron

>In fact, you might want to ask the owners of this blog what their opinions are.

Great idea. Wait. One Pastor David Bayly said:

"Calvin's comments on 1 Timothy 3:11 represent the thinking of the entire church for thousands of years on this verse."

Care to venture a guess on his opinion?

The primary point I was making was that her dismissal of the patristic writings puts her at odds with the teachings of the Reformation. You disagree?

>Calvin invoked the patristic writings

And not just patristics; he quoted Bernard of Clairvaux more than anyone other than Augustine, I believe. Regardless, the "Institutes" are filled with quotes from the medieval church fathers.

"I would hope that a seminary president would want a study committee."

Ron, what leads you to say that?

I'd like to comment about Dr. Bryan Chapell's involvement in this debate. Though he is the president of Covenant Theological Seminary he introduced himself (as he presented the minority report) as Teaching Elder Bryan Chapell of Illiana Presbytery. He participated in the General Assembly and the debate in the Overtures Committee as a delegate sent by the Illiana Presbytery not as the president of CTS. I will readily admit that you cannot separate his call (President of CTS) from that of a TE delegate sent by his presbytery, but it would be incorrect to conclude that his involvement automatically means that the seminary was pushing for this study committee. Moreover, during his remarks he stated that his preference would've been that the committee be set up with a 4-3 split favoring the conservative perspective as reflected in the BCO.

Though I was not part of the debate in the Overtures Committee (I was sequestered doing the work of Review of Presbytery Records) Dr. Chapell's comments to the General Assembly were that this discussion between various viewpoints ought to happen via the study committee: nothing more and nothing less. With the minority report defeated and the overture for the study committee defeated the conversation he desired will take place, albeit in the courts of our church.

Re: Jack's Pipe

The PCA has a seminary. It has men who study for a living- even more than a typical elder. If you were the president of your denomination's seminary, wouldn't you prefer a study committee?

I know that Concordia in St. Louis has a deaconess program there. I do not think deaconesses in the LCMS are there to further a feminist agenda (although I may be wrong there too!).

Anyway, I believe there are many issues at stake, with different motivations. Any study to bring clarity should be welcomed.

One more comment about my first comment. I said that I "generally appreciate the thoughts and content of this blog in regards to gender". Let me make this more clear: my appreciation comes from my agreement with this blog regarding gender.

Another comment is in order about the report from the Committee to Review Presbytery Minutes.

Last year our committee flagged Philadelphia Presbytery (liberti Presbyterian) and Northern California over the practice of 'commissioning' men and women as deacons. Both presbyteries responded to our finding their practices to be contrary to our constitution. Philadelphia responded with the overture to erect a study committe and also sent a brief note to our committee. Here is an excerpt from the RPR report detailing the exception we found, that presbyeries response, and GA's response to that rpesbytery.

PHILADELPHIA(p. 1240 of Commissioner Handbook):

That the following response to the 35th GA exceptions be found unsatisfactory. Responses should be submitted to the 37th GA.

Exeption: November 11, 2006: Diaconate of new church includes 4 Deaconesses commissioned contrary to BCO 9-3.

Response (from Philadelphia): "We note that the exception taken to our minutes of November 11, 2006 state, 'Diaconate of new church includes 4 Deaconesses commissioned contrary to BCO 9-3)'...Philadelphia Presbytery respectfully requests more information from the RPR. Please clarify how the commissioning of 4 unordained women as deaconesses is out of accord with BCO 9-3."

Rationale (from this year's RPR and General Assembly): "We agree with the Presbytery that BCO 9-3 would not directly apply to the commissioning of unordained women, if they are not considered to be members of the Diaconate. However, the record (Philadelphia Presbytery's 2006 minutes) indicates that "four deaconesses and one deacon were commissioned", and the record of the particularization service refers to "Vows/Commissioning of the Diaconate." BCO 9-3 and 9-4 are clear that only ordained and elected men can be members of a "Diaconate."

** Comment: Philadelphia overlooked the actual record of the commission to organize this church. The phrases, "four deaconesses and one deacon were commissioned" and "Vows/Commissioning of the Diaconate" come right from the order of worship and are included in commission's report (and are part of the presbytery's minutes). The intent of that organizing pastor and his new Session, based upon presbytery records, was to circumvent the BCO -- do away with the office of deacon (open only to ordained men) and create a Diaconate consisting of women and men commissioned by the Session.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA (p. 1232 of Commissioner's Handbook):

That the following response to the 35th GA exceptions be found unsatisfactory. Responses should be submitted to the 37th GA.

Exception: March 3-4, 2006: Diaconate of new church includes 2 Deaconesses commissioned contrary to BCO 9-3.

Response (from Northern California): "Presbytery respectfully disagrees with the exception (RAO 16.10.b.2). Presbytery approved the organizing pastor's exception with respect to the diaconate (provided below) upon transfer into Presbytery...

Pastor's Exception: ORDINATION AND OBEDIENCE TO DEACONS (specifically BCO 24-5, 24-6) Whereas the BCO correctly identifies Deacons as an office inteh church, I believe it misinterprets Scripture regarding their ordination. The question to the congregation in 24-5 asks them to yield obedience to Deacons. In 24-6 (and various other places) the Deacons are referred to as ordained in the same manner as Elders. Until the BCO is amended, I intend to not ordain deacons, but elect and install them. I also intend to elect and install unordained deaconessess. This is allowable under BCO 9-7."

MOTION: Presbytery approves the proposed response to GA. MOVED/SECONDED/PASSED.

Rationale (from RPR and this year's GA): Presbytery's response does not adequately address the specific issue identified by the 35th GA. The newly installed Session of the particularized church "commissioned" unordained men and women for a body which the Presbytery minutes call the "diaconate" (BCO 9, 19-15, 24-10). However, BCO 9 is clear that only ordained and elected men can be members of a "diaconate." The appeal to BCO 9-7 is flawed because 9-7 addresses people appointed by the Session, not members of a diaconate (Board of Deacons, 9-4). According to BCO 9-3 and 9-4, a diaconate my only include men who are elected, ordained and installed. Therefore, the body referenced in the exception must not be called a diaconate. In addition this practice, coupled with the minister's expressed view that he intends not to ordain deacons "until the BCO is amended," denies qualified men their constitutional and biblical right to be considered for office."

** Comment: This instance is worse than what happened in Philadelphia. The pastor's intent is crystal clear and his presbytery was 100% in agreement. In fact, a member of this presbytery moved that Northern California's response be found satisfactory. That was soundly defeated.

For now this conversation will be taking place in the courts of our church, where I believe, it ought to be taking place. I expect that future General Assembly's will see many overtures to amend the BCO on this topic. I also expect complaints to arise from Sessions and Presbyteries to the General Assembly. I also expect that GA will need a bigger room to host those who wish to serve on the Overtures Committee since each presbytery can send two representatives (a total exceeding 150 commissioners).

You simply do not have enough BIBLE evidence to paint them with such negative motives.

Frankly Agnes there is no need to address motive for motive is irrelevant. There are well meaning communists, well meaning fascists and no doubt well meaning abortionists who think themselves providing a needed service for desperate women. Motive has no sanctifying effect on doctrinal error. There are no right reasons for sin.

Everyone above is arguing over 1 Timothy 3 when the answer was already answered in 1 Timothy 2, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence."

The diaconate (office of deacon) is an authoritative office (although not one of rule --> elder). Deacons are called, ordained and empowered to lead the ministry of mercy in a church. Deacons, by the very fact of the office, exercise authority. It is merely in a different sphere from that of elders.

Rev. Bayly,

Thanks for correcting the original post. While I wholeheartedly agree with your position on this issue I was seeking to bring clarification for the sake of Tenth and the love of the brethren. I do agree with you however that it is a complicated issue. I also wanted to note that while I was personally glad that the study committee was not erected I believe that there are men in the denomination who wanted to see one --not because of the desire to see women in leadership but because they believed it would settle the issue. I cannot fully speak for Dr. Ryken, but since I have seen and heard more while being at Tenth, I think it would be good not to presuppose that his desire for a study committee means that he wants to see women ordained to a church office. I realize that Dr. Ryken has a different understanding of 1 Tim. 3 (sort of a middle of the road approach) than we would but I have never heard him say or ever gotten the impression that he was backing Liberty Church on their desires. My only concern in this discussion is that people and churches are fairly represented. Thank you for your work on this matter.

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