In "Women in Authority" (question 128) you say with regard to deaconesses, "I differ from my own denomination which has, in my opinion, inappropriately assigned to deacons certain authority which Paul restricts to men (1 Tim. 2:12-14)." I agree with your argument that women ought not to be prohibited from serving on the deaconate, but are you suggesting here that the PCA has given deacons more authority than the Bible does? if so, how?


Well, I should clarify that a bit. The PCA believes that it has given deacons "authority", and this is one of the arguments it uses against ordaining deaconesses. What is "inappropriate" is the judgment that deacons in the PCA have authority. The only ones in the PCA who have the kind of authority Paul was talking about are the elders. Deacons in the PCA do not have authority because they don't vote on the session. But it is the PCA's judgment that deacons do have authority because they are often in charge of things like beneficence. I think the authority Paul was talking about was ruling authority, which only the elders have.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.