Down the deaconess rabbit hole...

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(David) I've been avoiding the deaconess issue for weeks now out of a desire to maintain a statin-free healthy blood pressure. There's a great big sucking rabbit-hole for obvious truth when it comes to this issue.

For instance, having had my attention directed to the Puritan Board by my brother's previous post, I found a woman there who claims to be non-egalitarian calling for Tim's defrocking because of his posts on the PCA and Redeemer. It's not surprising that a woman would suggest this. It is surprising that this kind of womanly pronouncement seems not-entirely-unusual in a venue dedicated to the preaching and practice of the Puritans. I had reason several years ago to ask another woman how her comments about a pastor on the Puritan Board accorded with her professed complementarianism. Very well, she responded, going her merry way.

Perhaps we should be glad to note that the keepers of the Puritan Board are not very, ahem, Puritanical in their approach to such matters.

Moving further into the rabbit hole...

Two bald-faced lies proponents of ordained/commissioned women deacons (or, conversely, unordained male deacons) can't be permitted to continue to mouth:

First, though the BCO contains much that is non-Scriptural wisdom, nowhere does the BCO--or any denomination's constituting document--come closer to a principled stand on Biblical truth than in the areas of the sacraments and of church officers and government.

Yes, the BCO reflects human wisdom when it stipulates quorums, presbytery size and so forth. But when it comes to the nature and powers of church offices we're at the heart of presbyterianism. Redefinition of the nature and power of the diaconal office is not a secondary issue, no matter how much we're told it is by advocates of female deacons. Those who care about Biblical teaching on the sexes and the offices of the Church should not reduce this issue to one of loyalty to vows--no matter what the ARP or the RPCNA or whatever other Presbyterian body may have done in the past. The nature and powers of Church offices lies at the very core of Presbyterian (or Episcopal, or Roman Catholic, or Baptist....) thought on the nature of the Church. Redefine the office and you redefine the denomination.

Much in the BCO is human wisdom. Though we vow loyalty to it, we're not bound in our consciences by it. But this can never be the case with offices or sacraments. To remove the bindings of subscriptional loyalty from BCO provisions on church offices is as potentially damaging to the denomination as treating sacramental practices as notional matters subject to local church initiative. It's a recipe for death.

Second, the idea bruited about by Redeemer NY, et al, that the Biblical role of deacon is only one of service, never one of authority or power, deserves nothing more than a loud raspberry followed by a hyena cackle every time it rears its speckled face.

  • "There is no authority in the Biblical definition of diaconal office--it's merely one of service. (But the title, man, is precious, and we're gonna fight over who gets to wear it.)"
  • "To be a deacon is simply to be a servant of others and the Church. (And how can we expect our women to serve if they don't receive this lowly title?)"
  • There's no leadership in diaconal office, only service. (And you'd better not deny women the onerous duty of serving.)"

One would think, listening to Redeemerish arguments for women deacons, that diaconal service places a man in a menial role and that women are made deacons to bear the foot-washing burden of diaconal service together with men rather than to participate in a male calling or share male authority. But if this is truly the case, it's all the more reason why men should perform the service alone. Woman is the glory of man, not the bearer of man's ordure. Strange that in this one area of supposedly menial, non-authoritative service in the church, some should fight for the inclusion of women. Where's the chivalry at Redeemer? Is there no Sir Walter Raleigh in Manhattan? Are they going to fight to name women snowplowers and table-carriers and lawn mowers next?