Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Thursday, December 12

Deacons. Acts 6:2 is wrong.

Or at least the translation of it is.

Having been brought up in the Brethren, I have been led to believe that a deacon is a person in the church who has a primarily practical rather than spiritual role.  This starts in acts 6, where the seven were chosen to supervise the daily distribution of food so that the apostles would be relieved from waiting on tables.

But the Greek does not mention food.  The Hellenic widows were being overlooked in the ministry.  So the apostles appointed SPIRITUAL men to minister to them probably in homes,  while they dedicated themselves to the more public preaching in the temple.

So the serving tables business is not intended to portray a picture of St Peter carrying a tray of vol au vents.  To serve takes meant to be appointed to a delegated role: to sit at a desk in an official capacity, i.e. to have a formal recognised ministry.  The seven were preachers of the word, not dishwashers.   And this then makes sense of the rest of the passage, which focusses on the outstanding spirituality of the seven.

Which becomes significant when you come to women deacons such as Phoebe later in the New Testament - they too were preachers.

So my Brethren doctrines were wrong about the role of deacon: the anglican position is actually closer to the scriptures on this.  And also the Brethren were wrong about women.

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