The PCA Report: deaconesses aren’t really the issue

This is my hot-take on the idea floating around that this report is fine since men like Piper, Dever, Spurgeon and others are for deaconesses:

The “Women Serving In The Ministry Of The Church” committee’s report, frankly, has little to do with the ancient and intermittent practice of having deaconesses. Such a role (usually without the confusing title) is already allowed for in biblically organized churches as women are asked to assist the deacons in the care of women and children who are sick or in need.

The big issue I take with the report is not deaconesses, per se, but the feminist notion that women do not “have a voice” if they are not directly included in leadership. This is false. The elders are the voice for men, women, and children. And husbands are the heads of their wives and children.

Additionally, the multiplication of unbiblical roles within the church like “officially appointed women” who “lead ministries” and “advise the elders” and such is unbiblical and followed consistently would lead to pure crazy-making. All members ought to be considered in the decisions of the church, not a select group of women. Why not children? Men? People with one leg or eye? The poor? The rich? Racial groups? People who are awkward? Fat people? Dumb people? Who will be their official voice?

In a biblically organized church the answer in easy: elders.

This committee’s existence is itself an attack on the authority of Scripture: the presence of women on this committee is a rank violation of Scripture and ought to have been vigorously opposed as such. “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” –God’s Word.

It was a sin to ever appoint the committee.

Thus, the committee encourages preferring women for non-ordained staff positions, such as director of children’s ministry, director of women’s ministry, director of adult education/discipleship, treasurer/accountant, administrator, or director of assimilation. This could be desirable for these reasons: it gives qualified women an outlet for their gifts; it encourages PCA women to pursue theological education, knowing that there will be employment options for them to serve; it gives visibility to women who can model mature female leadership; it demonstrates before the watching world that the church is a body that practices biblical inclusion and women are co-heirs of grace.

And so, the proper realm of ministry for women in the church will continue to be pushed aside and further demeaned as women are encouraged to get MDiv degrees and PCA churches “preferentially hire” them to achieve gender balance in church employment. Godly motherhood, the most fruitful root of the church’s future will continue to decay, and in its place, women will usurp authority and responsibilities that are not theirs. And fathers who are called to nurture the churches, as elders, and the family as husbands will descend into greater laziness, ungodliness, and passivity.

For these reasons I vigorously oppose the report and recommendations on women in ministry that have just been passed by the PCA General Assembly. I pray that godly sessions will do all they can to rebuke this assembly and call the church to repentance.pcalogo

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The PCA Is Elderly

The Pew Research Center has released an analysis showing that the conservative Reformed denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has some of the most elderly adherents. This may come as a shock to members of other Reformed denominations who are often pressured to imitate the PCA, with its reputation for being younger, hipper, and more evangelistic. Apparently, this is more marketing than reality, with denominations as diverse as the Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics having much younger adherents. Presbyterians were once known for orderly churches, firm doctrine and worship, large families, and an emphasis on catechizing covenant children.  Now conservative Presbyterians are best known for large parachurch organizations (Ligonier), big conferences (The Gospel Coalition), innovative leaders (Keller), and a plethora of competing seminaries.

This year’s PCA General Assembly (the highest court of the church) appeared oblivious to this growing crisis, rather doubling down on the same concerns that dominate the aging and dying mainline churches: embracing faddish worship styles, fixating on race relations, and expanding the roles of women in ministry.

One might suggest forming a study committee to encourage obedience to the first commandment God gave us, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.”

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