Deacons Part 3 -Why not female deacons?

We do not have female deacons because serving the Lord’s Supper and taking up the collection are the visible things a deacon does in the church.  Women must not be seen doing things that deacons do.

We’ve seen what most churches ask of their deacons.  Let’s review.  They go to meetings an awful lot.

Just for fun, look at how much time and mention is made of meetings.  You might begin to think that the deacon’s main job is 3 things: go to meetings, serve the Lord’s Supper and take up the collection.  None of which is mentioned in the requirements for deacons in 1 Timothy 3.

Since this is true, why are we so adamant that women can not serve the Lord’s Supper, and take up the collection or be called a deacon?

Not all churches use deacons exclusively to take up the offering on Sunday morning.  The Baptist church we attended for 11 years did not.  I took up the offering one Christmas morning.  Christmas fell on a Sunday one year and Sunday school was cancelled, and we all met in the Sanctuary for morning worship.  There weren’t a whole lot of people there that Christmas morning.  The person in charge of securing men to take up the offering found himself short and knelt down beside my husband and asked him if he would take up the offering.  Then he sheepishly looked at me and asked if I would?  He knew how I felt about women serving and I think he felt guilty not asking me. 

I passed the offering plate that Sunday morning. 

Why do churches use only deacons to serve the Lord’s Supper, as it certainly is not one of the duties as outlined in 1 Timothy and it is not the reason that deacons became a part of the Christian church in the first place.  You can see in the responsibilities we saw in Part 1,that the Deacon was to assist the pastor in Communion.  We don’t find it anywhere in the Bible that the deacons assisted in serving the Lord’s Supper (Communion).

Why do we have deacons in the first place?  In Acts 6:1-4 we find that the reasons the early Christians felt that they needed deacons was that taking care of the needs of widows was consuming a lot of their time.  They broached the subject that they should choose some men to take over that task, and leave the preaching and the praying for the preachers.

Read this Role of Deacons.

Acts 6:1-4 (NIV)  The Choosing of the Seven

 1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jewsamong them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

From the simple responsibility of taking care of the widows, we have changed this servant responsibility of the church into an exclusionary office that only men can do, and then we claim that it is scripturally a man’s job because of 1 Timothy 3. 

Now that we know why deacons were chosen in the first place, look at 1Timothy 3 again. 

1 Timothy 3 is not about being male. Let’s revise our statement from yesterday that it is about two things.  It is really about ONE thing: 

Compassion – service to the widows and others who need it AND do not burden down a man who has many wives and much responsibility already because he must be able to take care of his own family’s need.  

Christian faith and morality in the person chosen as deacons is important and is to be considered when choosing the deacons.  Deacons were chosen to fill a need of COMPASSION.  Then when you choose a deacon, you should give them that same COMPASSION and not burden down a family who already had many wives and children to care for. 

Actually we should use the same requirements for the people who serve in the Food Pantry of our church, but we couldn’t get away with it now.

Doesn’t that make more sense? There is no reason that women can not be called a deacon in our modern day churches.

Won’t you join me in telling our churches that they have missed the mark in their definition of deacon and have done untold harm to women when they do not allow women to serve as deacons simply because they were born female.

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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1 Response to Deacons Part 3 -Why not female deacons?

  1. Mabel Yin says:

    When a church says that a woman must not pass the collection plate or pass the communion elements, do they allow the women sitting in the pews to pass that plate and communion elements to the next person? My point is: such prohibition is absolutely stupid. I always maintain, it is never about function, it is all about titles. While we don’t need titles to serve God, as long as they are given out, those who give them out need to account for their actions.


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