PCA debate over woman deacons: It’s about rebellion--not exegesis...

(Note from DB: This post is by David Wegener, a teaching elder in Central Indiana Presbytery of the PCA.)

I’ve lived and worked in Zambia for the last decade. One of the delightful things about Zambian life is the importance of the non-verbal. Body language is carefully observed. My students watch me for cues as to what I’m really saying, regardless of my words.

We’ve all seen a rebellious teen-ager or wife. Wise pastors and elders have learned to pick up the non-verbal cues that show this rebellion. Usually you can see it in the eyes or the expression on the lips. God made us this way and it is only through a cultivated ignorance that officers of the church are unaware of the obvious signs. I wish I could pick up the cues as easily as my African students do.

Many blog posts and emails document the culture of rebellion that exists today in the PCA. Only a carefully cultivated ignorance will miss the signs. And they’re not simply non-verbal. They’re written down and clear for all to see. Sam Wheatley’s paper is only the most recent example.

Vast sections of our denomination are in rebellion against what our Book of Church Order says about the ordination of women as deacons.

The trails of our “winsome” rebellion are various and devious. We show this deviousness by contriving ways to have women function as deacons while still holding to the language of the BCO. This allows us to cop a posture of submission to our “fathers and brothers” while we defy them. Sometimes we refuse to ordain anyone as a deacon, and then have a board of men and women who do everything a deacon should; it’s just that they’re not ordained to that office and we don’t call them “deacons.” We call them “deeks.” Sometimes our rebellion finds other trails to make us look good, while in fact we are undermining the government of our church.

Meanwhile, liberal sessions and presbyteries overture our General Assembly time and again asking, “Can’t we please change the BCO’s ban against woman officers? We want deeks! Can’t we please have them?”

Sometimes, when they are defeated, they feign submission, yet continue to do things in the same way. Sometimes they tell us this is the way we’re going to do things no matter what.

Rarely do men have the integrity to realize they are out of accord with the government of our church and leave for "more missional environs," as they in their conceit would put it. That's the hard thing to do and we all like holding onto the PCA trademark.

This is one of the presiding myths on the topic: women in the diaconate is an exegetical issue and must be dealt with on that level. I can feel some of my readers becoming nervous at this point. What about the authority of Scripture? What about the primacy of exegesis?

Does anyone really think this issue is about what Scripture actually says? Would that it were true. Why is it that men all over the PCA are bringing up this topic at this particular moment in history? Might it have something to do with the air we breathe every day?

Women run for president and vice-president; they serve as CEOs and they are our supervisors and bosses, our teachers and principals and cell group leaders and spiritual directors.

Our pastors preach through books like Ephesians and Colossians and sweat bullets as they approach Ephesians 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18. And if they do preach on the topic, they talk mostly about what submission does not mean. So the final result is, “wives, be nice to your husbands.”

Afterwards, when they greet the congregation, their mouth shows the same expression as a dog cowed into submission by the pack's alpha dog. The non-verbal communication is obvious.

In spite of what I’ve said, I’m grateful for excellent exegetical treatments of this topic. I’m also thankful for those who have pointed out the factual and historical errors in Pastor Wheatley’s paper and President Ryken’s commentary.

But the roots of this rebellion are not in exegesis, and so we must not fight this battle only on that level. The roots lie in our sin. We don’t love our wives and sometimes they become a seething cauldron of bitterness. We love pornography or commit adultery and so we refuse to call our wives to submit (in any area of their lives). Guilt over our compromised state eviscerates our authority. Fathers sexually molest their daughters and bring rebellion into the church for generations to come. Fathers hold their darling on their lap and tell her how she can become president someday. Mothers push their daughters to get the education she’ll need so that she can earn a good living after her husband divorces her and leaves her with three children. Single women, whose fathers and mothers have failed to teach feminine deference, whine about lacking a voice in the church. Wives of elders “get headaches” when their husbands come home and tell them of the latest action of the session. Why do our youth pastors make young women who muster the courage to say they’d like to become a wife and mother feel like idiots?

Far more than a determination of what role Phoebe played in the church at Cenchrea or whether deacons exercise authority in their work, these are the roots of our rebellion.

This kind of rebellion needs to be dealt with just like any other persistent sin. Warnings need to be given and given and given. If these are unheeded (no matter the outward displays), then charges need to be brought and men need to be put under discipline. This is the only gracious way to deal with your rebellion and mine. Yes, this will mean that we won’t “guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride,” but it is the Bible way and it’s good.

It doesn’t matter who is guilty of this sin. Even if he is a man known for his expert grasp of justification by grace alone, through Christ alone, received by faith alone, then he needs to be disciplined if he has women serving and functioning as deacons (no matter what he calls them). Even if his church gives the other churches in his network $25,000 a year, then he needs the loving correction of church discipline if he has “deeks” (or his rebellion will only grow). Even if he’s a feather in the PCA’s cap (or the whole cap itself) or your close friend and confidant, if we don’t discipline him, we don’t love him. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. This is Church Government 101.

Only in this way will we preserve the peace and purity of the church and restore its unity. Only in this way will we guard the flock over which Christ has made us over-seers. Only in this way will we be an example to our sons as they wait to take their seat at the table. Only in this way will we show our wives that we love Christ more than money. Only in this way will we call our competent, capable, theologically astute and eminently qualified daughters to the modesty of Sarah who was not ashamed to call Abraham, “lord.”

It’s long past time to command the rebels (those guilty of persistent rebellion) to return to their vows and submit to their fathers and brothers, their constitution and Scripture.

Comments

I'm not surprised it was rejected in those quarters.

"For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry."

Rebellion and pride was at the root of the fall and now in our society it is admired and seen as desirable. No surprise people don't want to hear that, too much tickling going on.

Dear HRH,

Certainly women should not be treated like second class citizens. Women are heirs together with men of the Kingdom of God. Yet, if you mean that women are being treated like second class citizens if they cannot be ordained to offices which Christ has reserved for certain men - then your comment about thriving churches is entirely wrong. The so-called main-line churches conformed to culture in this area decades ago and have lost half of their members.

You might also be surprised to visit the congregation where I am privileged to pastor. You will discover godly and gifted women using those gifts to build up the body of Christ. You will also discover some women who left churches that ordained women. Some of them would quickly tell how happy they were to discover a church with something that really still exists: Men of God; men who will shepherd and teach; men who serve as godly roll models; men who are willing to stand up and be counted and to serve as shelters behind which the women in their lives can bloom.

Dear David,

Same with us--both in Bloomington and in my former church in Wisconsin. The women there had been elders for decades when we left the PC(USA) and entered the PCA. Since coming into the PCA back in 1991, Grace Presbyterian Church has been a thriving church of slightly less than 200 in Pardeeville, Wisconsin (population 2,100).

To go into the PCA, the women left holding office and it was their joy.

The conceit of the modern as he preens himself over his bondage to the Evil Spirit of the Age is a warning to us all of the deceitfulness of sin.

Love,

Dear David,

Same in Toledo. I'm convinced the strongest women on earth are the glad daughters of Sarah.

Love in Christ,

David

A good post. I'm tempted towards legalism myself, so it's a good reminder that conformity with the rules should be in spirit, not just in letter. Thus, the churches that wanted to have non-ordained "deeks" should have asked their presbyteries (or whoever has oversight of them) whether that was acceptable rather than just doing it and saying "We're obeying all the rules!".

It reminds me of the smart-aleck who went to high school with me who was told by the teacher to wear a tie for his oral report and arrived wearing a model-railroad railroad tie hanging from his neck.

What's the genesis point of these many "rebels" to "want deeks!" [female deacons]? What has changed that is now effecting even the "peace and purity of the [PCA] church"?

Allen,

Go to the head of the class!

The answer to your question is pointed at in Chapter Five of the book _Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15_ (Baker Academic, 2005, 2nd ed.), edited by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner. That chapter, by Robert W. Yarborough, is entitled "Progressive and Historic: The Hermeneutics of 1 Timothy 2:9-15." My citation of Yarborough below is from an earlier edition of this book (1997) in which this chapter was number six. I have not consulted a recent edition of the book to see how the passage of a decade may have focused Yarborough's evidence and conclusions.

Yarborough divides interpretations of 1 Timothy 2:9ff into two types: historic and progressive. You can guess the nature of the historic interpretation of Paul in 1 Tim. 2:9ff; and the application of that reading of Paul is historic as well, namely the same as the Church has generally held for the past two millennia. "Progressive interpretations" of Paul, on the other hand, are those that reinterpret him so as to bring Paul into compliance with recent societal changes in the relationship of the sexes (i.e. secular feminism), or to dismiss Paul's statements as culturally irrelevant, or both. And, the application of these progressive readings of Paul are well-known: parity between the sexes in marriage, family, and church (as, legally, they now are in secular society); ordination of women to the presbyterate, the diaconate, and to offices of authority in denominational structures.

At one place in his discussion, Yarborough notes the evidence of Religious Index One, a tool of scholars to identify published research, usually in professional journals. Yarborough writes " … prior to 1970-74 _Religious Index One_ cites no 'progressive' articles arguing that 1 Timothy 2 gives no impediment to women holding pastoral office at full parity with men. Since that time, articles on that subject, whether 'progressive' or 'historic' in orientation, have swollen to account for about 40 percent of all published discussion on Timothy or 1 Timothy generally. … Not all of the 40 percent are arguing the 'progressive' view, it is true. But, many do, and virtually all of the 40 percent are best accounted for as symptomatic of the rise and onward march of the 'progressive' outlook. We conclude that the 'progressive' claim simply to be interpreting the text with no fundamental debtedness to the larger social milieu cannot be taken seriously."

And wherein does this indebtedness lie? Because he is a member of the academy and must behave himself, Yarborough will say only this much (though to his credit he says it more than once): "Some will be loathe to concede what the previous section argued: that the 'progressive' interpretation of Paul is indebted significantly and at times probably culpably, to the prevailing social climate rather than to the biblical text."

I, however, am no member of the academy, will never be admitted to it, and therefore have nothing to lose by telling you that the genesis point of all this concern to make women into deeks is the anti-patriarchal, anti-Biblical, anti-Pauline secular feminist agenda which has, by this time, thoroughly established itself in all evangelical institutions, including the seminaries and denominational offices of the PCA. That agenda is energized by the sins David Wegener catalogs above. And the same agenda is relentlessly pressed by men in the PCA who are, to borrow the words of my friend S. M. Hutchens (which I cite in a comment in another entry at this blog), cowards, toadys, and false teachers who spread their lies and deceits because they wish nice religiously-feminist people to like them.

In fairness to PCA Presbyterians, this deplorable condition is true of broadly evangelical American Protestantism, not just the PCA.

>>including the seminaries and denominational offices of the PCA.

Dear Bill,

It's not that the seminaries and denominational offices are feminist, but that they think it's sinful to oppose feminists. Above all, they keep their hands clean and their reputations stellar. Their own reputation is the idle before whom they bow down.

And so, of course, they end up being even more effective feminist destroyers than Tim Keller and all his Sam Wheatlies. Somewhere Someone pointed out that the lazy man is the partner of the destroyer.

Love,

Pr. Tim,

You are correct here, of course, and a far more credible reporter to this point than I am. Over the past 25 years, I've had little to do with seminary professors and denominational bureaucracies, except to hear about them from those who are closer to them (such as you) and whose observations are closer.

I have, on the other hand, had a much, much closer engagement with pastors of every evangelical sub-group you can name. These are the men who might aspire to occupy one of those seats of power in denominational or association offices. And, if not that, they are all eager to keep their flocks quiet and free from controversy.

I ~think~ it was men such as these that Hutchens had in mind when he mentioned cowards and toadies, for this is also my judgment of this sort of pastor (or, in larger churches, pastor of Christian education). They all have experienced or witnessed the sort of high dudgeon that relgious feminists can so easily generate within a flock; so, they are almost desperate to avoid provoking it, and so also avoid anything that might do so. If this is not shepherdly cowardice, I don't know what that is.

>>so, they are almost desperate to avoid provoking it, and so also avoid anything that might do so.

Yes, and endless debates on their web sites of this and that detail of this and that person's particular point pose no threat to their comfort and security. In fact, it gives them the appearance of being a reformer while denying the power of reformation.

Love,

This post is spot on the truth. Thanks very much for posting it. I am a former pastoral candidate in the PCA who is now candidating in the Covenant Presbyterian Church (CPC) largely because of the persistent failure of the PCA concerning the very issues this post addressed. In the PCA, with some exceptions, the popular culture is driving the exegesis rather than the exegesis changing the church culture so that it may be good salt and light toward the popular culture. May the Lord graciously yet cause a mass turning of the elders/pastors of the PCA to be men of God in their homes and in their churches so that the tide of faithlessness may be turned. Otherwise, the PCA is on the fast-track in the same direction as the PCUSA - being useless/tasteless salt trampled under foot by men.

Dear Mr. Morris,

Thank you for your wise words. Please do everything you can to get this post by MTW TE David Wegener as broad a reading by PCA pastors and elders as possible. No one will like it, but it's the only way toward reform. The super apostles need to be opposed on spiritual--not intellectual and theological terms. At the heart of this movement has always been mind-and-conscience-numbing dishonesty.

Warmly in Christ,

I mean this as an honest comment/question, not a baiting or critical one.

First, I was taught to believe that a wife must submit to her husband and a husband must love his wife as Christ loves the Church. A wife is not a doormat, nor is a husband is a tyrant. Furthermore, a couple will work out a balance of this principle in their marriage that is Biblical and fits their personalities and won't look the same for every couple. I assume you would generally agree with that.

Second, I was also taught that everyone in the laity (male and female) must submit to their church's clergy and its governing body -- elder board, church council, board of trustees, vestry, parish council, etc. Again, I assume you would also hold to this view.

Third, the relationship of a wife to submit to her husband does not apply to all males. It applies only to her husband and other male church authorities. She does not have to submit to every other man in her church, in her neighborhood, in the PTA, etc. This is where we probably start to diverge; do you disagree for cultural or Biblical reasons?

Fourth, every young woman should obtain an education that matches her talents and abilities and the Lord's will for her life. This is not just because her husband could leave her high and dry with several young children. It's because she probably she will marry, she doesn't know whether that will happen when she is 21, 31, or 41 or never and she has to support herself. Do you disagree and if so, why?

Fifth, in society in general, as long as her husband agrees (or she stays single) and she keeps a balance between raising a family and her career, there is no career that she should not attain to her if she is capable of it and it is God's will for her life. (This is similar to what Albert Moller wrote about when Sarah Palin ran for Vice-President in 2008). So why is it wrong for a father to tell his daughter she can run for President someday?

Sixth, what do you think a single woman means if she says that she has has no voice in the church?

Finally, I know you will agree with this. SAHW's and SAHM's have gotten a really bad rap for a long time. They are terribly unappreciated and deserve as much encouragement as we can give them.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

Sue

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: Dear Sue, not wanting to take this post away from the PCA rebellion over woman officers, I've written some responses and posted them on the main page. You can read them here:

http://www.baylyblog.com/2012/03/tb-under-another-post-a-dear-and-godly-...

Thanks so much for these excellent questions. They are in the front of our minds all the time and we appreciate your work putting them together. God bless you, dear sister.]

Dear TE Wegener and my brothers and sisters in the PCA,

As a pastor who has long had questions about the prevailing Reformed exegesis of Romans 16:1 and 1 Timothy 3:11 as well as the liturgical construction of Deacon as an office of rule, I find your article a sinful breach of the 9th commandment. I have always followed the polity of the PCA, to the letter. Many of us who question the prevailing exegesis of those passages do. I recognize that the harmony of the church and the Spirit speaking through my brothers is a more reliable guide that "going it on my own."

Additionally, I find attempts to change polity by worming into gaps left by lack of discipline dangerous and misguided. It is the wrong way to engage the issue. But your way, sir, is not right. Does the irony of your position not strike you full-force? You claim to know that the real reason we question those passages is rebellion to God's Word, and yet you shift the argument from Scripture to a character attack!

I know no woman personally in the PCA who is asking for the "right" to serve with the title of deaconess. If the PCA changed its polity, I do not know if any of the godly women in my congregation would allow the term to be attached to themselves. I have seen my brothers ask in forums, "Why the title? Why is it so important? Would they not serve anyway? Why do they need a TITLE (sneer, sneer)?" Well, the answer, my brothers, is the same as why you bristle at Keller not ordaining male deacons. IT IS A BIBLICAL ISSUE. If no woman wishes to serve as a deaconess, and Scripture commands it, we should have deaconesses. If all our women wish to serve as deaconesses and Scripture forbids it, then we should not have deaconesses. It is that simple.

If Calvin, Theodoret, Chrysostom and the most Primitive churches believed that the New Testament established deaconesses, could you not deal with your brothers charitably enough to admit that a reasonable interpreter MIGHT have a different opinion than your own? Initiate all the discipline cases against violators of our polity that you wish. If they have violated our polity you won't hear a peep out of me - it doesn't matter if they are right on deaconesses, they are wrong in obedience. But by self-righteously dismissing all of us with an attack on our character by your use of a "charismatic gift" of discerning our hearts you not only sin against your brothers, but you lose the argument for your side. In a contest between a character attack and God's Word, Scripture wins.

Even Doug Wilson in a recent blog post attested to the fact that church history is on the side of ordaining (I wonder if ordaining is the right word for appointing deacons--any deacon) women as deacons. Maybe, in this case, the church does need to change.

Speaking of lying, it's worth noting that neither Calvin nor the most primitive churches nor Doug Wilson support the idea of female deacons as is implied by Travis D. Hutchinson and Mike Lynch above. Rather they believe(d) in a separate office for women, which could be called deaconess, as long as it is not confused with the separate office of deacon.

As Doug said in 2009:
It should be noted that the ancient church had an order of deaconesses, as did Calvin’s Geneva. But this represented *an entirely different office* from that of the deacon. This is crucial for us to understand, for various reasons. First, Paul has just finished telling us that women are not permitted to exercise authority over men in the church (1 Tim. 2:12), and the office of deacon (although conducted by servants) involves responsibility and authority. Second, the idea that women can hold the office of deacon was an idea that did not arise in the Church until the nineteenth century, as a compromise with the demands of feminism."

And as Doug said on March 16, 2012:
"By the way, on the substance, the office of deaconness (which the early church did have) was not an instance of women holding the one office of deacon together with the men. It was a distinct office entirely, and you had to be a sixty-year-old widow with a godly track record to hold it. But in the PCA, the egalitarian pressure is on, and the capitulations are in process."

If anybody was actually arguing for what Calvin believed or the early church practiced, we wouldn't calling it rebellion. As a matter of fact, some of us actually agree with having a separate office of deaconess. But that's not sufficient for the churches David Wegener is calling rebellious. They want women to exercise authority over men, plain and simple. Thus, it's not an exegetical issue.

I agree completely that Calvin and the primitive churches most likely (maybe even almost assuredly) had deaconesses as a separate order/office, and I do not believe the PCA should ordain women to the same office as men.

However, I also believe that the extreme polemicism of the right (certainly not all of the right is indulging in such) will eventually take us there by marginalizing the middle and putting revisionists (Keller, et al perhaps) in control of the debate.

Accusing all of us of rebellion and trying to end the debate by character attacks is sinful, it won't work, and the pendulum swing may cause us to err as much to the left as we are currently erring to the right.

John Chrysostom on 1 Timothy 3:11-12

(v. 11) "Some have thought that this is said of women generally, but it is not so, for why should he introduce anything about women to interfere with his subject? He is speaking of those who hold the rank of deaconesses."

(v. 12) "This must be understood therefore to relate to deaconesses. for that order is necessary and useful and honorable in the Church."

>>I find your article a sinful breach of the 9th commandment.

Dear Travis,

It would be good for those commenting here to have some basic understanding of everything we've written about woman officers in the PCA for many years, now.

Well over a decade ago, I published my support for deaconesses in an article that ran in Ligonier's "Table Talk" magazine, and I've made mention of that fact and my support any number of times here in Baylyblog. It's hard to figure out how you could not know this and comment here as if it were otherwise. I regret your misleading readers, although certainly it was unintentional. Please try to be accurate in what you write here if you comment again. Thank you.

Now, returning to the substance of TE Wegener's call for discipline of the men who are violating their vows by sneaking woman officers into their churches contrary to the the Book of Church Order they have vowed to honor and obey; what needs to be said is that this is a matter of integrity. Honesty. Just as TE Wegener said, the problem is dishonesty and rebellion and the solution is discipline--not exegesis.

Anyone who reads the complaint against Metro New York Presbytery which caused the presbytery to rescind their previous actions promoting woman officers knows how awful their actions had been. Read the narrative part of the complaint giving the historical summary of the matter. It's simply awful.

There's a reason Metro New York Presbytery repented of their sinful document. It was sinful and they should never have adopted anything like it given its violation of Scripture and the Book of Church Order.

Even worse is the practice of their churches and a church in our and many other presbyteries that exactly mirrors the position promoted by the paper they adopted, then rescinded. But in Metro New York Presbytery, none of those actions behind their paper have been rescinded. And so, Tim Keller continues to have woman officers and the PCA continues to be pleased they have Tim Keller to burnish their trademark. Tim Keller's Redeemer has woman officers. They call them woman "officers" all the time in their publications so that this is a boring truth. And woman officers are prohibited by the PCA's BCO they have vowed to uphold. Simple irrefutable undeniable fact.

Baylyblog has supported the historic practice of the Early Church as well as Calvin's and Warfield's understanding of the ministry of deaconesses. So this contemporary battle is not over exegesis. It's over whether the PCA men have the will to discipline rebellion against the BCO, our vows of submission, and our obedience of the Word of God.

Read the complaint against Metro New York Presbytery. Could anyone read it and act as if no one should talk about sin? About rebellion? About dishonesty? Men need to look at what's been going on within the PCA these past fifteen years.

Redeemer has gender-neutral "deeks" who are man and woman officers serving together under a woman "Director" of the Diaconate.

This bears not the slightest resemblance to anything practiced in the Early Church or argued for by Calvin or Warfield. This is such a simple fact and yet over and over again men demonstrate apparent blindness to this simple fact. And those men mislead the simple into believing and thinking that Calvin and Warfield support the practice of these rebellions across the PCA.

I'm particularly saddened at the temerity of those who accuse MTW TE David Wegener of sin in his call for the discipline of these rebellions. TE Wegener is no mean scholar himself, having held a Fulbright to do translation of Calvin's consistory records in Geneva under one of the preeminent Calvin scholars of our time, Robert Kingdon of UW Madison. (I also studied Reformation history under Kingdon.)

There are some who oppose any service in the church by deaconesses. Baylyblog has never done that. TE Wegener may be opposed to changing the BCO to allow for deaconesses, but what he's addressing here as the rebellion it self-evidently is has nothing to do with the historic practice of deaconesses.

Men should show some discernment in this battle and commit themselves to naming the rebellion for what it is. To hide it and refuse to speak out against it is to be in complicity with it. We must stop cultivating blindness to sin. We must again raise ouselves up to the hard costly work of the church reformed, always reforming.

The central fact those of good will and historical understanding know as they come to the contemporary debate over woman officers in the PCA is that the well-documented Early Church service of deaconess and Calvin and Warfield's promotion of that service bear no resemblance to what is presently being done within the PCA.

No resemblance.

At this late date, not to know this is culpable naiveté.

My son Joseph put it exactly right, above. Thank you, Joseph, for academic and scholarly precision.

Some years ago when a church was disciplined for their rebellion against our BCO in this same matter within our presbytery, I explained to one of their elders that there was a simple way he and his pastor could bring their church into conformity with Scripture and the practice of the Early Church and Calvin and Warfield on the matter of deaconesses.

1. Make it clear to the congregation that the women serving as deconesses were under the authority and worked at the will of their male chuch officers called "deacons."

2. Make it clear to the congregation that their male deacons were ordained and set apart to the office of deacons and their deaconesses were not.

3. Make it clear to the congregation that the women deaconesses never exercised authority over men, but that the church officers known as "deacons" did.

Then, I said, no one would object to their practice--least of all, I.

Of course they were not willing to do those things. Why not?

Because the woman officers promoted by Redeemerites are Trojan horses sent into the city to accomplish an ideologically feminist change in the PCA. This is so clear as to seem stupid even to have to write (although some will think it uncharitable to point this out). This is why the head of all deacons--a mishamsh of male and female together at Redeemer--is a woman, titled "Director of the Diaconate."

Just as MTW TE David Wegener says, rebellion and dishonesty on this matter are rampant within the PCA. Documenting that rebellion, a few years ago our presbytery actually disciplined this rebellion in one of our churches. It was widely reported and David Wegener and I were both members of the presbytery at the time, and thus write from this experience.

Metro New York Presbytery also rescinded the document they'd earlier adopted that had wrongfully addressed this very matter, promoting rebellion. Sadly though, no one has yet been able to get them to repudiate the rebellious actions of a number of their churches described in that document they rescinded.

So TE David Wegener is precisely right. For shame on those falsely accusing him of sin when he's the one with good scholarship behind what he writes and the courage to name the sin among us.

With love,

Whoa, brother. I don't think you should accuse me of lying. At least give me the benefit of the doubt if I'm misunderstanding something. I don't think this issue is so clear cut biblically and I am still learning. But it does appear biblical and I can't help thinking the office itself, as a whole is misunderstood. Your tone with this particular issue is why some think Reformed folk hate women (based on my experience with the OPC).

Dear Mike,

Have to go offline now, but I wasn't addressing you.

Hate women? Aaargh!

Love,

Reverend Hutchinson,
With greatest respect, and noting I might have been close to what you have articulated well here a few years ago before carefully studying through this issue, it's important to understand a few key points, parameters to get at the truth in this.

This is not a comment on other previous posters, only to put the issue you address in context.

The "formal" office of Deacon, like that of Elder is qualified by I Timothy 3 and Titus I, nominated by those they would serve, elected, ordained and are authoritative offices with that authority springing directly from our Lord.

Your reasoning seems to understand how disingenuous it is for some to argue that in our denomination, women deacons are allowed in the Book of Church Order or that office does not require ordination, or that ordination does not require the laying on of hands, or that only one or two sections of the BCO needs to be changed to have women officers (all of these arguments have been made by those wanting 'deaconess,'in the PCA). There is something moral to an officer under vows advocating things that are patently not true.

That's a separate issue from the exegesis.

The ends does not justify the means for the Christian, and I know you are not advocating that.

But if it all boils down to Romans 16:1 understand that the historical translations of the Bible all clearly say Phoebe as a servant (not a formal office of deacon). King James Version, Geneva Bible, even the NIV. It's modern revisionism that wants to substitute that for I Timothy 3 and Titus I explicit doctrine for the church.

Mr. Calvin's Geneva did not have women deacons serving interchangeably with men. Read the history. His commentaries show he believed in I Timothy 3 the wives of officers, deacon and elder, are to be examined. He never advocated "the women" as interchangeable with men for office.

What he recognized was "deacons of a different class," more based on I Timothy 5 servant widows.

Calvin's consistory had single women with vows of celibacy, at least 40 years who did mercy work in the church, particularly for other women. Apparently, they were under the authority of the (men) Diaconate and the Session. I say "apparently" because I've not found in my research much on that point, possibly because it was so obvious they were not the same as the office of Deacon, they were really widows who might be destitute doing mercy work vocationally and at the charge (support) of the church.

Imagine some advocating for that (or practicing in violation of their vows, their constitution, and their confessed polity) adopting Calvin, who they might sight as their model-
women, you need to be at least 40 or 50 or 60 years of age and take an enforced vow of celibacy...

But that's close to the biblical model because it was a means for the church supporting widows (women) who might have no family support and therefore be destitute. This has been totally lost in recent discussions of 'deaconess.'
(And yes, the church today needs to help women in these circumstances)

But that's not what those arguing for 'deaconess' are arguing at all. They misrepresent Calvin in the process.

The (formal) office of Deacon, authoritative, does more than mercy, as you know.

For the benefit of those in other denominations, in the PCA, recognizing our doctrine, Diaconate combines with Session at least 4 times per year to make decisions, manages the property (money) of the church, "develops the grace of liberality" in the congregation, oversees mercy ministry, in addition to doing mercy. They also especially serve on and chair committees in the church, and the treasurer is, ordinarily, to come from their midst.

The modern arguments often miss all this too, substituting the office of Deacon for anyone who "helps." This is demeaning of church office, whether those making such argument are conscious of it or not.

Nothing Calvin or any of the classic reformers did supported the devaluation of church office of deacon nor did they advocate interchange of women to ecclesiastical office (Deacon).

The reason is they were convinced that it was so obvious that women do not exercise ecclesiastical authority over men in Scripture.

To that extent, it is fair to say that church officers (men) who do not want to accept that or women who would usurp that or those who otherwise misrepresenting are infringing at least on commandment nine.

Again, I realize you are not advocating the rationalizations I have described.

But for those following, the arguments misrepresenting what Mr. Calvin would do need to be challenged.

Thanks for that. And I don't believe there is a hatred for women, form you or any Reformed Christians (Where would we be without our sisters?!!!).

As far as tone, I'm new to the blog, so I'm comparing this post to others you are passionate about. I suppose I need to do some better research about the issue elsewhere (can you recommend a good study of it?). But at least from this, perhaps you can see how someone new to the blog, and still working on issues like this, may feel.

God bless

Dear Mike,

Doug Wilson never said anything close to what you claim he said, so far as I know. (And I looked for it.) I'll be happy to change/retract what I wrote, if you can show me otherwise. But if I'm right, your post is blatantly misleading other readers, and you should retract it.

In Christ,
-Joseph

P.S. I hadn't seen you last comment when I submitted mine.

Men, one other point. When there's rebellion in the home, the mother who tells her husband he's sinful for naming it and impugning the character of her lovely children before hearing them out in all their complaints and arguments and self-justifications and parsing of the minutae of rules is a mother who is aiding and abetting that rebellion.

If the lovely son or daughter has broken their word and not honored the head of the home, but rather tried to sidestep things and get the mother on his or her side, he or she has to be brought back under authority before there can be any precision in discussion of future terms of obedience. In other words, if the child keeps breaking the rules while arguing with his father about those rules, he's no reformed-minded exegete. He's in rebellion.

Bring that child to the rod of discipline and we all know how quickly the other debates and whining and arguments will get much simpler.

The analogy breaks down on some points, but the main thrust of the application is clear. As long as the PCA continues to connive at the rebellion and make like the rebels are actually reasonable exegetes trying to advance progressive ecclesiastical reform, none of the discussion will be clear or helpful because there are...

Rebels in the home who actually don't want the discussion to be clear. They want their way and they are opposed to being brought into submission.

Get the rebellion under control and it will be amazing how harmonious the future discussions will be. Maybe the PCA will even approve a ministry of deaconesses similar to the Early Church and Calvin and Warfield's proposals. Great.

But first, order in the household of faith which, if I may remind us, is called by God to be the pillar and foundation of the truth. Change the Constitution (BCO) prior to the rebels' discipline and the new polity will simply further the rebels' rebellion.

Hope this helps explain MTW TE Wegener's call to faithfulness in discipline.

Love,

"By the way, on the substance, the office of deaconness (which the early church did have) was not an instance of women holding the one office of deacon together with the men. It was a distinct office entirely, and you had to be a sixty-year-old widow with a godly track record to hold it." Doug Wilson, Deacons, Defaults, and Daughters March 16, 2012

It may not be what we have today, but he still calls it an "office" even if it's a "distinct office." As he does sometimes, he fails to explain this more fully. But it wasn't really a post about deacons and deaconesses in church history either.

I should have quoted this in my first statement so as not to seem misleading. Thank you for the correction.

Thanks, Mike.

In case anybody is confused about our exchange, maybe I should say that the reason I objected to your summary of what Wilson said is the words "ordaining women as deacons". This would mean putting women onto the deacons board, which is exactly the point in question. Making clear that it is a separate office is the essential part that was missing.

In Christ,
-Joseph

Dear David,

I'm more than a little baffled that the sinfulness of Wegener's article isn't more apparent to many. I'll try once more to make the point why.

Again, I want to say that identifying people who publicly and clearly disobey the constitution of the PCA and the GA as rebels is NOT the problem, nor is calling for discipline to be exercised. Unfortunately, he does much more.

It doesn't matter if he is a first-rate scholar (and I am certainly not) because he is not doing scholarship. He's actually declaring that he is not going to do scholarship because he's so certain that he knows the character and inner motivations of those involved.

I have made no accusations toward you regarding the deaconess issue. From what you have just written, I think you and I might agree exegetically, but disagree on how to proceed from where we are.

I have been a very vocal critic of the "powers that be," but I have tried to confine my comments to their actions and words and not impugn their characters except insofar as their actions directly reveal it. I am not, as you know, a defender of the PCA establishment or even a huge fan of Keller. My interactions with Redeemer have been unpleasant and troubling. Even though he is very gifted and a "star," he needs to submit to his brothers or leave.

Here are some of the more egregious portions of Wegener's article:

"We show this deviousness by contriving ways to have women function as deacons while still holding to the language of the BCO...Sometimes our rebellion finds other trails to make us look good, while in fact we are undermining the government of our church."

This is the strength of the article, which he then abandoned. Many of us are uncomfortable with these practices.

"Meanwhile, liberal sessions and presbyteries overture our General Assembly time and again asking, “Can’t we please change the BCO’s ban against woman officers? We want deeks! Can’t we please have them?” "

So all of the session and presbyteries which overture the Assembly are liberal? They are asking for "officers"? Really? Somehow I missed that. I thought we were talking about deaconesses and female deacons. But it is a great way to frame that we're liberals by insinuating that we also want eldresses.

"This is one of the presiding myths on the topic: women in the diaconate is an exegetical issue and must be dealt with on that level."

So it doesn't matter if people are making exegetical arguments and asking for exegetical engagement, Wegener knows the truth. What we need to be doing is accepting the exegetical challenge and then nailing those who make bad or un-exegetical arguments. Instead, Wegener goes for the ad-hominem argument.

"Does anyone really think this issue is about what Scripture actually says?"

I think it is. I have TE friends who think that it is. But it is convenient instead to paint us with the brush that he's about to pick up.

"Our pastors preach through books like Ephesians and Colossians and sweat bullets as they approach Ephesians 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18. And if they do preach on the topic, they talk mostly about what submission does not mean. So the final result is, “wives, be nice to your husbands.”"

So, we're calling to question regarding deaconesses because we don't believe in submission!

"Afterwards, when they greet the congregation, their mouth shows the same expression as a dog cowed into submission by the pack's alpha dog. The non-verbal communication is obvious."

REALLY? All of us are like this? Has he even been to Keller or Wheatley's church to make this attack on their characters? He certainly hasn't been to mine. Is comparing a fellow PCA pastor to a cowed dog ever appropriate? Would he say this to Keller's face?

"But the roots of this rebellion are not in exegesis, and so we must not fight this battle only on that level. The roots lie in our sin. We don’t love our wives and sometimes they become a seething cauldron of bitterness. We love pornography or commit adultery and so we refuse to call our wives to submit (in any area of their lives). Guilt over our compromised state eviscerates our authority. Fathers sexually molest their daughters and bring rebellion into the church for generations to come."

If he wrote a different article about how the sins of fathers undermine their God-defined position of authority, there might be something helpful here, though he's exposing himself to some painful truth about the differences in rates of molestation in "traditional" versus "liberal" contexts. Instead, hes saying that Keller and Wheatley and seemingly the rest of us trying to prosecute this debate are doing so out of involvement with pornography and child abuse. He needs to be calling for the arrest of PCA pastors abusing their daughters since he has so much knowledge of it. The reasoning here is unbelievable tortuous. He's really going to make the connection that men who abuse their children are motivated to undermine patriarchy? Why on earth would they do that? What relationship does it have to Wheatley and Keller's lax adherence to the BCO?

"Far more than a determination of what role Phoebe played in the church at Cenchrea or whether deacons exercise authority in their work, these are the roots of our rebellion."

Oh, I see, Wheatley and Keller ARE child molesters! For a moment I was waffling on whether or not he was intending for us to make that connection.

"This kind of rebellion needs to be dealt with just like any other persistent sin. Warnings need to be given and given and given. If these are unheeded (no matter the outward displays), then charges need to be brought and men need to be put under discipline. This is the only gracious way to deal with your rebellion and mine. Yes, this will mean that we won’t “guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride,” but it is the Bible way and it’s good."

I would have been with him if he hadn't gone off on a character attack.

"It doesn’t matter who is guilty of this sin. Even if he is a man known for his expert grasp of justification by grace alone, through Christ alone, received by faith alone, then he needs to be disciplined if he has women serving and functioning as deacons (no matter what he calls them). Even if his church gives the other churches in his network $25,000 a year, then he needs the loving correction of church discipline if he has “deeks” (or his rebellion will only grow). Even if he’s a feather in the PCA’s cap (or the whole cap itself) or your close friend and confidant, if we don’t discipline him, we don’t love him. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. This is Church Government 101."

I agree. And I include veteran missionaries who persist in slander as well.

In Christ,

Travis

Pastor Hutchinson,

We see ad hominem used by godly men all through the Scriptures (and all through history) though, right? The prophets and apostles and Jesus all used it. Are you saying they didn't, or that though they used it we may not?

Thank you,

Daniel,

I think you mistake the term "ad hominem." I am using it as it is commonly used to mean

"Attacking an opponent's motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain."

I confess that I just used the Google definition and don't claim to be any kind of scholar of rhetoric.

But by THAT definition, I would disagree with you strongly that Jesus, the apostles and prophets did so. They attacked people on their behavior when behavior was the issue and on their teaching when their teaching was the issue, and sometimes both at the same time.

Jesus makes that distinction when he tells people to listen to the teaching of the Pharisees but don't follow their example.

Do you really believe that Jesus constructed arguments as Mr. Wegener has?

Dear Travis: Thanks for your response. It is good to hold each other accountable. Thanks also for warning me about slander. I need that.

Let me respond in several comments. Others may also want to chip in. Remember how Calvin said that the shepherd needs two voices, one for gathering the sheep and one for dealing with the wolves. I wish I could remember where he wrote that, but all my books are back in Africa. Hopefully, we can still talk about creeping liberalism in our denomination.

Because of our polity, we need to be able to see liberalism before it is full blown, otherwise it will grow and spread pretty fast. The challenge is to do this and still be a man of love and gentleness. That can be pretty tough, can't it?

Here are a few assumptions of mine. (1) The slope is very slippery. (2) Feminism has had and is having a terrible and massive impact on the evangelical church and the PCA. Unless you're fighting every day against the current, you'll be carried down the stream. (3) You need to deal with rebellion or it only gets worse.

Warmly, David

Dear Travis: There is a natural link between the kind of female deacons the PCA is talking about and women elders.

I was in my presbytery a few months ago and we were examining a man who was seeking a license to preach in the PCA. He holds this "up and coming view" on deacons and he admitted that he thinks women also need a seat at the table on the board of elders. He wasn't asking for female elders and he may have misspoken; but he saw the link and it was out of his mouth, maybe before he realized what he was saying. Or maybe not.

Deacons exercise authority over men and women. Elders exercise authority over men and women. Women are not to exercise authority over men.

If we begin to have women serving as deacons (and though we're not there in our constitution, we're already there in our practice), then women serving as elders won't be long. Presbyterian history is pretty clear on this, wouldn't you say?

Warmly, David

Dear Pastor Hutchinson,

First, with regard to whether Jesus and Paul went beyond just addressing actions and teachings and attacked the motives and character of their opponents, yes, as a matter of fact, they did.

(2 Corinthians 11:12) But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. (Paul describes what their actual desires are.)

(2 Corinthians 11:13-15) 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. (Then he proceeds to attack their character quite intensely.)

(Galatians 1:7) ... only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (Again, Paul describes their intentions.)

(Galatians 2:12) For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. (Paul points out not just Peter's action, but the fear motivating those actions.)

(Galatians 4:16, 17) 16 So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. (Here, Paul is pointing out motives again.)

As for Jesus: (Matthew 23:27, 28) 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Here Jesus is contrasting how the Pharisees present themselves with what they are actually trying to accomplish. I will end with that, because it is so apropos. Similarly, David Wegener is pointing out that all the talk of "just wanting to follow the Bible" is actually hypocrisy and lawlessness, as is *evidenced* by the blatantly disobedient actions.

Second, your reading of David Wegener's piece is completely wrong. He is not accusing Tim Keller of being a child molester. That should be perfectly plain to everybody.

He's saying that our unwillingness as pastors and elders to deal with sins in our own selves, and then in our own congregations, leads to the next step of refusing to deal with sin in the denomination. Is that really so hard to see and then to agree with?

You clearly feel stung by his rebuke. Why? Because he isn't rebuking those who have committed themselves to having a deacons board made up of both women and men, in violation of scripture and the BCO. He's rebuking the rest of the denomination that refuses to discipline them, and that seems to include you.

As you said, "Initiate all the discipline cases against violators of our polity that you wish. If they have violated our polity you won't hear a peep out of me..." And that is exactly the problem. We won't hear a peep out of you. You're neither for them or against them, really. You're content to attack those who rock the boat by shaming those who are unwilling to address the sin spreading through the center of the denomination.

In Christ,
-Joseph

I still have teen-agers, three of them, though one will turn 20 soon. A wise friend once told me, teen-agers need constant "recalibration." Amen to that.

Sometimes you will hear your son or daughter say something, and you can tell by the words or the tone or the body language, that it's a rebellious comment. Sometimes it's not so clear, but then when two or three more similar ones come out, you know you've got to deal with it right away. So you take them aside and ask, "what's going on?"

So, what do we say when one session or presbytery asks GA for women deacons and then another does and then another? Maybe the wording is slightly different but that makes me think of Dr. Suess. Can we have female deacons in the zoo? Can we have them if we're near the loo? Can we have them if our pastor's name is Roo? When do we start seeing a pattern and call it what it is?

Or what if your son makes a snide remark to his mother? You call him on it and ask him to apologize, don't you? But what if the way he says, "I'm sorry" makes it clear that the heart rebellion continues? Do you just pass it by and say, "well, I can't change his heart?" Or do you muse to yourself, "gosh, I wonder what is going on in his heart?"

It seems to me like that is what is happening in our church. The GA or a presbytery will call someone on their lack of adherence to our polity and so they say, "we're sorry," in such a way as to make clear that the rebellion continues.

Travis,
Here's some of what I'm talking about:

The Apostle Paul:
"...for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia." - 2 Timothy 4:10 NASB

If it weren't Paul, wouldn't we say it's slander for anyone to say it is because Demas loves this present world?

Ezra:
"Now when the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people of the exile were building a temple to the LORD God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers' households, and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we, like you, seek your God; and we have been sacrificing to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here." But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers' households of Israel said to them, "You have nothing in common with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves will together build to the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us."" - Ezra 4:1-3

If it weren't Ezra, wouldn't we say how dare the leaders say "You have nothing in common with us" to people who wanted to help, and that's probably why they encountered such opposition from them?

The Apostle John:
"Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God."
- John 12:42-43 NASB

If it weren't John, wouldn't we say how dare he impugn their motives--that they might have had perfectly good and wise and prudent reasons not to confess Him at that particular moment?

Jesus:
"I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father." They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. "But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. "You are doing the deeds of your father." They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God."
- John 8:38-41 NASB

If it weren't Jesus, wouldn't we say that it was slander to accuse particular people of doing the evil things they do for a particular reason?

The Apostle Peter:
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."
- 2 Peter 2:1-3

If it weren't Peter, wouldn't we say it was slander to accuse them of doing these things "in their greed"?

I agree with every point you make in this comment, though I find that assumption #1 is often used in a way that I am very uncomfortable with.

I should hit Refresh before I start typing a big comment. :)

Response to comment 32

Dear David,

Lots of us are not talking about female deacons/deaconesses in a way which presumes or supports them exercising unbiblical authority. To say the "the PCA" is to lump us all together in a way which is grossly inaccurate.

In the PCA, our polity is constructed in such a way that deacons exercise authority, but I'm missing where diaconal authority is clearly from Scripture. Of course, the lady who co-ordinates our food ministry exercises a kind of "authority" if the concept is taken very broadly, but only elders "rule" in Scripture.

I wouldn't say that women serving as "deacons" or "deaconesses" doesn't speak clearly on that at all. Most times in the history of the church where that occurred it didn't result in women elders. Several Reformed denominations which have them seem in no danger of become liberal. In a few denominations it was part of the development of liberalism, but within the context of the denigration of Scripture in general.

Reading the entire debate through the lens of the men who are construing this as a pathway to women elders is grossly unfair because many of us reject that completely. It allows you to insinuate that we are all liberals, even though many of us affirm and preach biblical authority structures. You have slandered your brothers by your broad brush condemnation.

I also challenge whether you know Keller and Wheatley well enough to insinuate all the things you included in your article.

There is a huge difference between calling a false teacher a "wolf" and insinuating that another pastor is a child molester because you think he's violating the BCO. I'm more than a little shocked to read that some of my brothers don't seem to see the difference. I also think there is a huge difference between a brother being in error, even dangerous error, and being a wolf.

Calvin was attacking Papists and Socinians, not fellow Reformed pastors.

Dear Travis: If our early PCA fathers didn't think that women serving as deacons was a problem, then why did they not allow it? If deacons don't exercise the authority that is forbidden to women in 1 Timothy 2:12, then why didn't they allow it? While in Zambia, I found a book by an English author with the title, "Leadership is male." I always need to remind myself of that. Warmly, David

Joseph,

You've completely misread my comment. I'll assume that it was unintentional and a result of a lack of clarity on my part.

Of course I believe that refusing to deal with sins in ourselves flows through our families, congregations and denomination. The problem is that he makes this comment as a way of arguing against Wheatley, Keller and seemingly in the article, everyone who questions the current PCA polity on women and deacons/deaconesses. There is no other way to take the comment other than as an insinuation. Otherwise his comment is meaningless.

I'm not stung by his rebuke, I'm offended by his slander and I'm offended that often in our denomination pastors don't have the boldness to call their brothers on such invective.

I'm not afraid to discipline anyone, which would be the first thing that anyone who knows me would tell you. I DO have a LOT of questions about what Scripture says about this because I don't think that deacon is an office of authority in Scripture. I also think Scripture describes an order of deaconesses separate from the deacons. I think our current system is unbiblical. I also have a lot of questions about where our denomination now stands, which is why we need a study committee.

The refusal of a majority of the denomination to erect a study committee on the issue has created a situation where the boundary lines on the issue seem blurry and we're stumbling around. Without clear definition we're going to have a hard time holding the major players accountable. Incidentally, our Creation Study Report did just that and I'm anticipating that the Keller/Biologos thing may cross the line. When it does, I'll have my hands on the rope just as you will to pull him up short with discipline.

The problem isn't that Wegener is trying to publicly shame people who are unwilling to address sin, the problem is that he has done so grossly inappropriately. The end does not justify the means. The presence of a bank robber doesn't give someone authority to shoot everyone in the lobby.

He's not shaming anyone, he's preaching to the choir, confirming the worst judgements liberals have of conservatives and marginalizing the middle. If his rhetoric wins, we all lose.

Dear Travis: I also assumed you had read Joseph's comment about some of the sins mentioned in the article.

I sure don't think that Pastor Wheatley or Pastor Keller is a child molestor or a porn-loving adulterer. You missed my point.

I was saying that the roots of our rebellion lie in these sins, which are in our churches. I'm sure from your pastoral counseling that you've found this to be true. Warmly, David

>>I'm offended by his slander

Dear Brother,

You are misreading much in the responses you're getting from others as well as what TE Wegener has written. So please stop slandering TE Wegener by accusing him of slander. A number of times you've misrepresented his arguments. He and others have corrected you but you don't acknowledge it.

It would please us if, before accusing him of sin once again, you would first demonstrate your grasp of what he is saying. He was and is quite clear.

With affection,

>>Calvin was attacking Papists and Socinians, not fellow Reformed pastors.

He also could get a bit feisty with Lutherans like Westphal.

Im wondering if I might have some way to contact the author of this post?

Dear Sam,

Privately, I've sent you his e-mail address.

Love,

Travis,

I applaud you brother, really. But, posting on sites like the Bayly Blog, unless you espouse the party line, is like wrestling with a pig - you'll get really muddy and the pig likes it.

I see exactly the same problems with Wegener's article, but short of harming Revs Wheatley or Keller physically, no action done in defending their version of the truth will be seen by this website's authors as anything but righteous. So, lick your wounds and get back to your people.

Brian,
I've gone back and re-read a number of your comments on previous posts, and I have to address you frankly.

I don't applaud you.

In fact, you should feel shame at the passive-aggressive way that you've behaved here.

The issue of Women Deacons vs Deaconesses has been addressed MANY times on Baylyblog, and you've commented repeatedly, saying things like this: "Wedding fellow PCA Pastors who would allow a woman to hold the office of deacon to the larger cultural confusion over sexuality is uncharitable, it's cynical, and it's patently false."

You complain about a lack of charity, and then show up on this post to "applaud" Travis for valiantly [but fruitlessly] wrestling with the pigs [Tim and David] who run this blog.

I do commend Travis for at least being manly enough to try to make an argument that addresses the content of the post. I am distressed by how badly he misread the original post, as well as the various responses that he received in the comments section. Still, he was here, shirt sleeves rolled up, trying to get something done.

You, however, are trying to take the high moral ground, insinuate evil in motive and actions on the part of the Baylys, and dismiss the content of this post all in one fell swoop, without even lowering yourself to present an argument.

This is a quintessentially post-modern [pomo] response, and is unbecoming for any Christian man, but especially for a pastor.

Pastor Wegener's whole point is that this question IS NOT one of dispassionate exegetical disagreements. Rather, the PCA men who have subverted the BCO on this issue are being fundamentally dishonest, and until that rebellion is a addressed, discussions of the historical office of deaconess will not even begin to be helpful.

>>short of harming Revs Wheatley or Keller physically, no action done in defending their version of the truth will be seen by this website's authors as anything but righteous

What on earth does this mean? For the life of me, I can't figure it out. It's incoherent. Is a word misspelled or missing? Does he mean "unrighteous?"

Beyond its incoherency, there's Brian's statement "their version of truth." So apparently there's Brian's version of the truth and Tim Keller's version of the truth and Sam Wheately's version of the truth?

And I suppose the Book of Church Order's version of the truth and the Standing Judicial Commission's version of the truth and the PC(USA)'s version of the truth? And what about the Wesminster Divine's version of the truth? How does that fit in? And do we ever get to the Apostle Paul's version of the truth and if his version of the truth is written in the New Testament, does that mean it is the Holy Spirit's version of the truth?

So much accidie and so little time.

And let it be noted that neither Brian nor Travis Hutchinson responded to the outline (No. 18 above) of the three simple steps needed for the Redeemer rebellion to become submission. No one ever responds to those three steps because it's all about rebellion and disingenuousness and in that environment, clarity becomes "slander."

Men are hot for the super apostle and Paul's the casualty. But I suppose that makes me a slanderer.

Well, damn the torpedoes, let's give the Apostle Paul his say here on Baylyblog if nowhere else:

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Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. (1 Timothy 2:9-15)

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His obedient servant,

In order to be consistent with the argument that women are not to have authority over a man in the church, thus no women church officers, should women in the church be not allowed to vote to elect men in the church as elders and deacons? Because it is unethical to give people the vote and then not allow them to have the opportunity to serve in the offices. A consistent logic demands taking away baptism for women as well since if they are baptized members, they must be given voting rights, if voting rights, then the right to be elected as servants of the church. This sounds medieval but something to think about.

>>it is unethical to give people the vote and then not allow them to have the opportunity to serve in the offices.

What? Did you get this law from Jude 7:65? I have a hard time understanding how you can make this declaration with such confidence.

Love,

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