Jun 14, 2006


God's Word does not give us the "office" of deaconess; however, I have always thought this was an interesting verse.

Romans 16:1-2 says, "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also."

Now if Paul thinks it necessary that all the Roman Christians assist a woman who is a servant of the church, in whatever business she needs you, I suppose this would be similar to what we may call a deaconess today. The Bible does not use as many "labels" as we modern-day Christians do, but we can certainly see distinct principles as we study His Word. There is a lot of controversy on the role of women in the church; God does speak to this directly in many different passages, but we need to be careful not to just pick and choose those that we favor, without comparing the rest of Scripture with Scripture.

Whether you call her a deaconess or not, Phebe was definitely a role model for women in the church.


Mark Epstein said...

One of the problems with the contempoary conservative Christian homeschool movement is "patriarchy on steroids." Granted, the church has been in women's hands since the "Greatest Generation" gave up on church after WWII. However, the failure of that generation and the ensuing generations is no reason for Christians to emulate the world by swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction. God tells us to renew our minds and conform ourselves to His image and life -- NOT to deny whole portions of Holy Scripture dealing with His servants. We may not like what we read, but we didn't write it, we're just expected to obey Him. Contrary to some folks who would refer to women "servants" in the church as "non-normative," repeated examples of women serving and/or leading cannot be construed as anything but what it is: God using women, which He did before and can do again (even in this present Church Age).

Mark Epstein said...

Another thought: If a woman deacon is non-normative, then what about Timothy the elder? Couldn't we say he is non-normative and, therefore, elders must conform to all of scriptural dictates? Seems to me, there would be some "youngsters" out of a job! ;~]