2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

Matthew 7:15 - “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 - “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Critique of the Creepy and Unbiblical Deacon Qualifications at an SBC Mega Church: "Lifting Up the Hands of the Pastor" and Other Such Nonsense

When I read the expectations for deacons at Bellevue Baptist Church, my creep meter red lines.

If Bellevue Baptist's deacons qualifications are typical of an SBC mega church, it seems to be a deacon nowadays you have to be wealthy (or poor and agree to be poorer), agree to do things that are absolutely not in the Bible, and you have to pledge your allegiance to a man. I've said it before: give the SBC another couple hundred years, and their hierarchy and devotion to professional religious men will be indistinguishable from the modern Roman Catholic Church.

What I read as the qualifications of a deacon are absolutely indistinguishable from what the standards were for a small SBC church when I was ordained as a deacon and served as the Vice Chair of deacons in the 1990s.

And these expectations are not just creepy, I believe they helped to create an environment where abuses - should they occur in the church - would be covered up and not fully disclosed to authorities or the congregation.

Here are the Bellevue Baptist Church deacon qualifications that peg my creep meter:

1. "The deacon would be expected to give a tithe (one-tenth) of his income for the work of Christ through the local church."   Darn. You have to either be wealthy enough to afford to fork over 1/10th of your income, or you have to agree to be irresponsible in managing your finances and give more than your family can afford for the privilege of rubbing elbows with the big boys at Bellevue. The New Testament standard is regular, generous giving - this could be 25% for some, 0.5% for others. Again, we see legalism making the gospel bad news for the poor who can't afford a tithe, very good news for the rich who could give more.

2. "The deacon is one who is to help create and preserve harmony in the church. He should be able to have and to maintain the reputation of keeping in confidence those things which should not be discussed openly. He should be wise and discreet. "  Huh?  Isn't this just common sense? Aren't mature adults in any sort of leadership expected to keep things in confidence which need to be in confidence? Why does this have to be stated as an expectation? I'll tell you why: because deacons at this church and others are expected to suppress any and all negative information that might harm the church or the pastor. This is a form of the "cant' talk rule" described by Johnson and Van Vonderan: "If you speak about the problem out loud, you are the problem...the truth is, when people talk about problems out loud they don't cause them, they simply expose them....the 'can't talk rule', however, blames the person who talks, and the ensuing punishments pressure questioners into silence." A deacon is to "create and preserve harmony" - that means they are to help silence troublemakers. Harmony doesn't need to be created or preserved - it is the natural outflow of a healthy organization.

3. "He should see that his duty is to lift up the hands of the Pastor..."  Why does a deacon need to "lift up the hands of the Pastor" (capital "P"). What on earth does that mean, anyhow, "lift up the hands"? Creepy language that means nothing but to set forth the idea that the Man of God is more important than anyone else, a "Moses" of sorts whose hands tire as he lifts them to stay the hand of God. If it means to assist him in certain duties, why not say "assist the pastor as needed in pastoral duties"? Are there any job descriptions out there talking about "lifting the hands" of your boss?

4.  "....and to work positively and with loyalty under the Pastor's leadership."  Yes, you must be "positive" and be "loyal".  I have yet to see a job description in the real world where an adult is told to be "positive" and "loyal" to a man or woman in the organization. This is the stuff cults are made of, friends. In ANY organization, your "loyalty" is not to people, or even to an organization. It would be to the goals and ideals of the organization, and a Pastor or anyone else who acts in opposition to those ideals deserves no loyalty from anyone. This is just another indication of the "can't talk rule" being in place at this church. If you ask questions, or become a voice of dissent on an issue, you are not "loyal", you are not "positive", you ARE the problem.

5. "He is to free the Pastor to do the work to which God has called the Pastor to do."   Why does the pastor need to be "freed" to do his work? How do we "free" him? What work does he need to be freed to do that he can't do unless the deacons "free" him to it? Should lay people free the deacons? This is an elevation of the position of "Pastor" (capital P) to a spiritual plane higher than everyone else.

6. "The deacon's family life should be an example. He should be the husband of one wife and must guide and lead his children and his own house well. Neither husband nor wife has been previously married."   So we have to eliminate anyone who has ever been married before. A remarried widower, for example, cannot serve. I've seen this ridiculous rule implemented and eliminate men who would be fine leaders -sorry, "servants" - in a church.

7.  "The very word "deacon" means servant. This does not demean or lower an individual. To the contrary Jesus said, 'And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave' Service exalts."  This is funny. Apparently the men who might serve as a volunteer in the position of deacon have to be TOLD that being a deacon and serving is not demeaning. They have to be told that it actually will "exalt" them. Yes, serve as a deacon, and you will be exalted by your service. Do grown men need to be told this about serving in a volunteer capacity?

8. A deacon should not drink alcoholic beverages, use nicotine or other addictive substances, or participate in questionable amusements."  Not in the Bible- the verses they quote say a man shouldn't be addicted to wine, doesn't say anything about nicotine, and I'm not sure what "questionable amusements" might possibly be. Like "R" rated movies, playing the lottery? Maybe reading the Watchdog? I would say one of my "questionable amusements" is listening to a Steve Gaines sermon every now and then.

OK, let me wrap this up by making a couple of points:

No wonder so many mega churches handle instances of abuse so poorly - covering up cases of abuse, failing to properly report abuse to authorities, or shuttling a suspected abuser to the next church without alerting authorities. Look at the diminished pool of candidates from which they can choose their leaders who would wisely discern a course of action: candidates are all men, only married men - sorry, only married men who have been married once - only married men married once who happen to have decent children and who don't drink beer, wine, or whisky. From that restricted pool of leaders we now have to eliminate the poor slobs who can't fork over 10% of their income, who might have a glass of wine with their wife at dinner, and eliminate all those who aren't willing to keep secrets and pledge their loyalty to a "Pastor". Wow.

What large organization, what large corporation could function at maximum efficiency - could make wise decisions - if they restricted their managers to be selected from such a narrow pool of candidates?

Deacons at Bellevue will tell you that all of these qualifications come from scripture, from 1 Tim 1:3-10. But not really. These verses don't say anything about "tithing", and they don't say that you must not drink alcohol. I've been around SBC churches long enough to know that exceptions to these "biblical standards" are made if it is convenient - but there is ONE qualification that they don't bend on:  deacons must all have penises.

Eliminating women from serving as deacons or elders in most SBC churches eliminates them from possibly serving on a board of trustees - as the trustees are typically selected from the body of deacons. Although 1 Tim 3 is used as the basis for eliminating women from the position of deacon, this ignores the fact that there is evidence that women served the church in leadership positions in the New Testament. "Phoebe" served as a deacon in Romans 16:2, and "Junia" was described as "outstanding among the apostles" in Romans 16:7. And look at women leaders in the Old Testament. And about "Junia" in Romans 16:2: what your pastor won't tell you is the name "Junia" was changed to the masculine form "Junias" in the bible in the year 1100. Look it up.

It is no wonder that evangelical churches who subscribe to the unbiblical standard of male-only leadership have trouble handling scandal: the leaders are only once-married males who pledge their loyalty and 10% minimum of their income to their institution and Pastor....

...and who are capable of keeping secrets.


Jennifer McSparin said...

I don't agree with all of these, but I would hardly consider them "creepy". I think you're really stretching it here.

Anonymous said...

These qualifications are all biblical and reasonable.

Perhaps the reason that you disagree with them is because you do not qualify for the biblical position of a Deacon?

Anonymous said...

First, It's 1 Tim 3:8-13. But that is beside the point. Where does it say anything here about supporting the Bishop? Deacons and Bishops are co equal in qualifications therefore, one is not greater than the other. So the Bishop (pastor) should exhault the deacons.


Anonymous said...

Deuteronomy 14:26. When we drink beer wine or stron drink we are to do it to the glory of God


Anonymous said...

"I would hardly consider them "creepy"

Depends on how you define "creepy"

You don't consider cult-like devotion to a man "creepy?"

"Perhaps the reason that you disagree with them is because you do not qualify for the biblical position of a Deacon?"

Obviously didn't read the entire story - WD mentions that he served as Vice Chair of Deacons.

How seriously can we take your comments when you didn't even read the story?

Plus, his point is that the requirements are not Biblical.

Ramesh said...

The foremost prerequisite to be a deacon at BBC would be to either have lobotomy performed before being considered as a deacon or equivalently become a "Stepford Wife". This is the only way one can be a deacon in good standing while following all the rules laid down here.

Ramesh said...

Maybe it's time for Louis Freeh to investigate BBC and SBC for all it's sexual abuse coverups.

Anonymous said...

If Adrian Rogers was still alive and pastoring, you wouldn't say a word. Their church has the right to whatever qualifications they decide upon. Why don't you publish the qualifications for a deacon at the church you now attend.

Maybe you don't because they don't want you as a deacon in their church.

David said...

The first two posters are missing the whole point of this. By creating these requirements, Steve Gaines is setting up an atmosphere of where you are to remain silent when you hear about abuse allegations. That is just like the leaders at Penn State and the Catholic Church. It is how they operated then and still continue to this day. The only reason they are sorry is the fact that several brave young men spoke up and these big institutions got caught. If those victims had remained silent it would have been business as usual. That is the very same tact that happened with Steve at Bellevue with the Paul Williams disaster.

Remember his infamous “it is under the Blood”? That was one of his many excuses for not removing Paul immediately. It was not until uproar developed after word began to leak out that he did anything at all and then those were covered up with tons of excuses. And where did he ever speak to the public? He used his henchmen to protect him. The only public thing I really heard him say was “I want to keep my job and remain your pastor”. I was so disappointed when the congregation was so star stricken they did not have the courage to demand he resign. And that is why today Bellevue is only a shell of its former self.

We saw the same thing in Mississippi late last year when an elder/state representative and senior pastor circled the wagons to protect a pedophile and church. These folks feel they are not accountable to anyone but their inner circle. They have refused to cooperate with the District Attorney. Now where is that Biblical? That is one of the reasons the Southern Baptist Convention is in shambles. Too many powerful men feel they are above all others and they treat their congregations as stupid and blind fools. Shame on them. The Dog is right on this time.

Julie Anne said...

Funny how that creepy word keeps creeping up all over the places regarding creepy churches and creepy leaders and creepy rules. Keep watching that creepo meter, Dawg :)

James said...

Women may not serve as pastors, elders, or deacons in the church.

Anonymous said...

I'm out.

Anonymous said...

Women as Deacons...BLASPHEMY!

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer [allow] not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." —1st Timothy 2:11-12

Feminism is of the Devil. One subject you'll never hear a woman preacher preach about is feminism. As with the Homosexual Movement, the Feminist Movement has changed the Word of God into a lie, "Who changed the truth of God into a lie..." (Romans 1:25). Feminists have even fabricated their own Feminist Theology. This is rebellion against God.

Women preachers are notorious for demonic speaking-in-tongues, fraudulent faith healing, and greed. God likens rebellion to witchcraft in 1st Samuel 15:23. Women who enter the pulpit are disobeying God, openly and shamelessly, which puts them in the same boat as demonic witches.

Anonymous said...

Proverbes 31:6-7
Give strong drink to anyone who is perishing,

and wine to the embittered;

7When they drink, they will forget their misery,

and think no more of their troubles.

Anonymous said...

"Remember his infamous “it is under the Blood”?"

Yep. That's the "get out of jail free" card. If Jesus forgives all, who do the critics think they are in rejecting anybody, no matter what they do? If the critic doesn't look the other way and just consider it all under the blood, then they are judgmental people, mean people, unforgiving people, arrogant people, troublemakers, causing the dreaded division.

So none of this set-up is about thinking or wise decision-making. It's about protecting the organization. So the deacons are just yes-men, right? They aren't selected because of their minds. They are to serve and submit to the pastor.

Anonymous said...

Timothy was advised by Paul to drink a little wine for his stomachs sake. Maybe the wine aided in digestion or gave him some assistance in strength or something more than what Paul elaborated.
Note the deacon is to be married..no single deacons..sorry about that brother Stephen the first to be a martyr. Also, keeping secrets and hiding facts that might be considered immoral even from your family or the police?. Nothing should be a secret in the church, that's what wrong when all those that operate that way today. Great post WD. Freedom from secrets is the highest calling of a pastor and a deacon board, otherwise its just another CULT!

Anonymous said...

Most megas' deacon fellowships have been reduced to pastor pat-a-cake groups.

I don't know why any woman would want to be one, but sorry "commenter James" - yes, there are women deacons and leaders in scripture. Your assertion is manmade, arbitrary, and unbiblical.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:47 - so Phoebe, the deaconess, was a blasphemer?

Regarding the women keep silence stuff - for the ten millionth time, specific verse to a specific issue, globally and generally applied by men to suit their purpose. Oh, except the pastor's wife who is "in ministry with him," so she CAN teach a man (good grief).

Just because a woman is a leader in a church doesn't mean she's a feminist, or a witch, or a blasphemer.

Honestly 2:47, why should women even GO to church then?

Anonymous said...

"If Adrian Rogers was still alive and pastoring, you wouldn't say a word."

How did you come to that conclusion?

Is Adrian Rogers the final court of authority? I thought it was the Bible.

"Their church has the right to whatever qualifications they decide upon."

How did you come to that conclusion? What scripture are you using to make that assertion?

"So the deacons are just yes-men, right?"

You nailed it.

That's what they are looking for - along with 10% of your income.

56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC said...

Keep in mind that a mega-church is only mega (mmillions) in what the pastor gets as his total compensation and perks. The population in the church is never millions, but thousands. So if membership or attendance is the way we define a church, the big ones are kilochurches.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Great comments here today.

Jennifer McSparin - I don't think I'm stretching here. My point is that most of these are unbiblical requirements, and actually HARMFUL restrictions to church leadership that make the deacons a good ole boys' club of rich men.

And to make matters worse, they don't strictly adhere to any of these non-biblical requirements save for one: NO WOMEN ALLOWED.

And all of this begs the question: if they don't strictly adhere to these, and they are harmful, why do they set these standards up and post them on the Internet? Could it be that this mens' club of deacons wants the church members to think they ARE all of these things? That if you are a deacon then you are seen as someone who does give big $$, you are married only once, your kids are fine and dandy, and you are a good pal with the pastor?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

11:37 am: sorry, but I'm an ordained deacon in the SBC. Was ordained in 1993. But you are right, I don't meet all the qualifications here...I am a man, I have but one wife, my kids are ok, but I don't give 10%, I won't pledge my loyalty to a 501(c)3 and the Holy Man.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

56 years a Baptist: most churches are "hecta-churches", with attendance in the 100's.

Anonymous said...

Like David said...

compare the developments at Penn State today with the current culture to Bellevue
Baptist Church, Memphis TN, which has these deacon requirements. The public outrage over Paterno have grown to the point of calling to ban the football team from
the NCAA, defunding the college of state funds, removing Joe Paterno's statue and removing his name from a Nike children's home.

So where is the public outrage at Bellevue? Has it's "culture of reverence" and concealment changed? To this day, a key qualification for a deacon is to "keep in confidence that which should not be discussed publicly."
Plus there is a "living statue" in the pulpit every Sunday (well not every Sunday),
a reminder that everyone involved with the Paul Williams cover-up got away with it,
thanks to the insider, David Coombs, who headed the investigation.

Still found here


actionsub said...

I saw comments like this, especially the ones about "loyalty to the pastor and his vision" on a job description for an associate pastor at a United Methodist megachurch.

Anonymous said...

Please get your Bible out and start to learn what IT says!

What is meant by: "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection"?

It simply means that women have different roles than men in the church, in the home and in society. Men and women are inherently equal in worth and dignity; but we do not have the same roles. Even the men in the church do not have equal roles. All are commanded to submit to the rule of the church elders.

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection."

"Silence" or "quietly" is the Greek word Hesuchia, which means...

"To rest, to cease from labor. To lead a quiet life, said of those who are not running hither and thither, but stay at home and mind their business."

Thayer’s English Greek Lexicon of the New Testament

The same Greek word "Hesuchia" is also used in 2nd Thessalonians 3:12...

"Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread."

Paul is simply saying that while we're at work, we are not the boss, we are the employees. That puts us into a submissive role. At work we are equal with others as human beings, having equal rights; but we don’t possess an equal role with the boss. The boss is in charge, and we are to submit. This is an excellent illustration of the women's role in marriage, the church and society. There is nothing inferior or demeaning about a wife obeying her husband, anymore than an employee obeying a boss to keep his or her job. The same is true in a church. The Pastor is God's "Boss"...listen to him or you will lose your job.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, it's simply not true that most churches are about the TRUTH, love, charity, service to others, etc. They claim to be all about that stuff. They are dishonest to others and maybe to themselves.

Church is really about keeping the church going, whether it's a good church or a bad church. The popular phrase about "leaving your brain at the door," is pretty accurate. That mega pastor up there doesn't want you for your insights and intelligence. He doesn't want anybody who'll rock the boat. He wants you convinced that he's really tight with God and is God's spokesperson to you. Your job is to submit by having the proper reverence for him.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:42

"This is an excellent illustration of the women's role in marriage, the church and society."

SOCIETY? Really???

Give you credit for packaging all that so nicely and eloquently, and with scripture too, but the interpretation is just so cave man.

I feel like I just got patted on the head.

Anonymous said...

Just so you critics know according to Steve Gaines of Bellevue Baptist
Church Memphis TN, that, how does he put it?
The devil in them hates the Jesus in you

He's now becoming a martyr ?

Anonymous said...

All of this talk about submission and authority makes you liberals uneasy.

The Bible makes an issue of the fact that Eve, the first woman, was deceived by Satan. This is significant. Say what you will, women are more vulnerable to Satanic deceptions than are men. Do you know why there are over one billion hellbound Roman Catholics in this world? It's because of mamas! Do you know why Muslim kids strap dynamite on themselves to go blow up dozens of people? It's because of mamas!

"The spiritual life of a nation, city, town, school, church, or home never rises any higher than the spiritual life of women."

SOURCE: Dr. R.G. Lee (Payday Someday)

Katie said...

Anonymous 8:42, I sincerely enjoyed your words on the roles of men and women.

I catch a lot of flak because I am a woman and a complementarian, but I share your beliefs completely. We are all under submission to our King, and Paul's words are a picture of that underlying plan. I have never found God's plan to be demeaning, in fact just the opposite. If my husband loves me the way Christ loves the church, why would I have any reason to complain?

I do agree with Tom that these requirements for a deacon are creepy. But... as long as everyone knows about them upfront I'm fine with them. No one is forcing these folks to attend this church.

Anonymous said...

I think it is time to lay your bitterness toward the church down. Otherwise, it will continue to eat away at you like an acid.

Christ loved the church--even though it is filled with messy people. In fact, He loved it so much He gave Himself up for it. Let's follow His example.

Anonymous said...

"...but there is ONE qualification that they don't bend on: deacons must all have penises."

Was that really necessary, Tom?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Tom? Tom who? You mean Watchdog?

Yes, that comment was necessary, because it is absolutely true. Of all requirements, the one that they never, ever break is THAT one requirement. That is the LEAST biblical, and it is the MOST harmful of all because it cuts 1/2 of the body of Christ out of the possibility of serving the church in an important capacity.

On a more positive note, readers, I wanted to share this comment posted on Facebook where this WD article was posted. It was so good, I am putting it here:

"I am so thankful to be free from the tyranny of the institutional religious system. No more going to "church" - but now we are about BEING the church. No more tithing to a rich pastor, but now I can help out some of my poor brethren. No more feeling guilty because some pastor that doesn't have a job makes me feel guilty for being tired after I get off work on Wednesday nights and stay home from the prayer meeting where we never even actually prayed.
No more passing out pamplets that had the times of all the church services, now we just pass out the gospel. Yes institutional religious system that serves itself, but not Jesus Christ - I don't miss you at all."

Amen, and Amen.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:10

"Say what you will, women are more vulnerable to Satanic deceptions than are men."

#1 Adam was equally 'vulnerable' - he ate the fruit, too. And he had the opportunity to resist just as Eve did.

#2 Why are there so many more men committing adultery and being deadbeat parents?

#3 The rest of that stuff about Catholics and Muslims and why they're hellbound is not even worth spending the energy to address.

Not picking on one gender or the other. Both are equal opportunity sinners needing a Savior.

A quote I read yesterday sums this illiteracy up perfectly: “Why is it that the choice among churches always seems to be
the choice between intelligence on ice and ignorance on fire?”
– Diana Butler Bass

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that comment, WD. It is spot on.

Most Christians have fallen into the trap of "doing" church more than "being" the church. And churches are guilty of hammering us with the belief that the only we can "be" the church is to "do" church. It's a vicious cycle that gets us nowhere. The good news is, people seem to be awakening to this truth more and more.

Anonymous said...

1 Tim 3:12 says that a deacon must be a husband of one wife. Now logic would say that it is impossible for Phoebe to be a husband of one wife. Therefore making it a further impossibility that she was a deacon.

Without a doubt though these standards laid out by SBC is a little absurd and ridiculous.

July 17, 2012 4:21, you know he wasn't calling Phoebe a blasphemer but the one who wrote this blog by suggesting that Phoebe was a deacon whereas by the standard for a deacon was written in the bible by biblical standards it is impossible.

As to why woman should go to church? Well, I can assure you that if anyone not just woman but man also is going to church to have a position of authority over others or to hear their own voice..... well, that is incredibly suspect and I'd say God wasn't in the picture because God wants the glory and won't take someone else taking it.

So, who is getting the glory in your life? Is it God? Is it about you or him? Your glory or his? Your will or his?

I say this because any focus on you and why you can't be a deacon beyond what God's written Word says there might be a little self screaming in there.

If it is about you then God can't be getting the glory.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Say what you will, women are more vulnerable to Satanic deceptions than are men."

If this is true? then why are approx 75% of the child molestations done by men? to both male and female victims?

So who's more vulnerable? And they only put these at the head of the church!

This makes me feel so safe.

Victorious said...

I'll add my AMEN to that comment!

Anonymous said...

These churches(actually most) lead people away from Christ instead of leading people to Christ. It matters what they are teaching others and what they are expecting others to abide by. Legalism makes people believe that they are right with God when in fact they aren't. Many,many people who attend church are not Christian though they will confess it.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, institutional religious system that serves itself, but not Jesus Christ- I don't miss you at all"

Exactly... FREEDOM...!! No more bondage.

Anonymous said...

Christ loved the church--even though it is filled with messy people. In fact, He loved it so much He gave Himself up for it. Let's follow His example.

Okay, I also will "love" the church. Am I really to "Give myself up for it?" like Jesus died on the cross to save us? Or was that HIS role. And by giving myself up, am I to die for it? Give up my body sexually for it? (Give my whole self?) or give all my money up for it? You are spouting religious gobbledy gook.

And ask Roman Catholics if your little 501(c)(3) is "the church." They will tell you to call it whatever you want, but do NOT call it "the church." It's not. So I have some news for you. You are not loving "the church" when you love a pastor and help him build up his congregation. You are loving a man centered religion and yourself. Don't believe me? Then why not give to "the church" down the street where you don't get any services in return?

The true "church" (body of Christ) will never die, but your 501(c)(3) eventually will. It is not "the church." So why do you give so much time and money and effort to it? Really, why do you?

Go visit Europe if you want to know what happens to religious meeting places.

Anonymous said...

Remarried widowers are not typically disqualified from serving in SBC churches. Check your facts. Be careful about building straw men to support your arguments.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:43 Yes they are if they remarry a divorced woman in some churches!!!

Faith said...

I have been out of the institutional church and hallelujah!!!....reading my Bible, loving the Lord, loving my neighbors, being a witness, about ready to host a Bible study, feel free, serving the community, growing in the Lord with my children and husband!!

All of you who come on here griping at what is being posted need to see the lukewarm churches that are prevalent in this country. Read Revelation 3 and you will see the truth about the Laoidicean church.

Victorious said...

Anonymous (July 19 9:02 a.m.)said:
"1 Tim 3:12 says that a deacon must be a husband of one wife. Now logic would say that it is impossible for Phoebe to be a husband of one wife. Therefore making it a further impossibility that she was a deacon."

Nonsense. The context of the passage is deacons; male and female. Paul didn't make marriage as a prerequisiste for a deacon nor did he disallow women as deacons. The directive to men that they have "only" one wife, was, however, a mandate to disallow polygamists. There was no other reason for Paul to mention the word "one."

Again, the context is for both women and men; husbands and wives to have conduct becoming believers so as not to dishonor the church. That was his concern throughout his letters; appropriate conduct and behavior.

Those who slice and dice the Bible into a gender rulebook, do a disservice to the gospel. It was Paul who said 5 times in his letters that God shows no partiality. To say he preferred men as deacons (or any service) would be contradictory to his own words.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the grammar (or lack thereof) speaks more loudly than the point one is attempting to make.

Faith said...

Anon 9:28 Nice of you to notice the details instead of the substance.

Anonymous said...

Faith -

Details, accurate ones, create valid substance.

The Bible is full of details. When we generalize them to say what we want them to say, we have invalidated God's infallible word.

Anonymous said...


This article and the comments are interesting, since we're talking a little about going to church or not.

Victorious said...


When we build entire doctrines around one word, we ignore the whole counsel of God's word. Context is very important as is scripture interpreting scripture.

When we find a verse that appears to contradict other scriptures, we must search further for the intended meaning to resolve the apparent contradiction.

Anonymous said...

Details, accurate ones, create valid substance.

The Bible is full of details. When we generalize them to say what we want them to say, we have invalidated God's infallible word.

Details like the sun standing still in the sky? I guess the earth stopped spinning? Since WE all know now that the sun does not revolve around the earth. (Details)

Or that the donkey talked? What language did he speak? How was HIS grammar? (Details)

That Jesus was poor and not materialistic, yet he thinks it is important to give YOU mansions and streets of gold when you die? That makes no sense. (Details)

That God loves you, but he made a place of eternal torment for you to go if you don't keep all of his commands, which he knew would be impossible for you to keep, so he became a man, prayed to himself, went up to heaven and sat down next to himself, said it is finished ("mission accomplished"), yet millions continue to be born and die and enter eternal damnation. Doesn't sound too loving to me. (Details)

Infallible? Really? Did God say that? Are you following a book or a person?

Do you believe in magic underwear too? Or virgins waiting for you when you die? Or that animals can talk, or that God would defy all of his creation and life processes and have a virgin bear a baby? And the dead would rise? Really? You believe all of this or none of it right?

Talk about the details. You lecture Faith, but you can't defend anything you "believe" (believing the impossible and improbable and unnecessary) because someone told you the Bible is infallible?

Think about it. Why does it matter if I believe it ALL. As long as I love God, believe in him, repent and trust him for my salvation, I am saved correct? Or when you present the gospel (you do that daily, two by two, as the Bible instructs correct Mr. Details?), do you include in the presentation that the person MUST believe it ALL or nothing? That they must "give themselves up for the local body of believers they attend", they must give 10% of their income (entrance fees?)

Of course not. You sound like an idiot spouting churchy phrases that make no sense.
Go back to your Kool-aid. Ignorance is bliss.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon - quit lecturing Faith with your church speak. You are the one generalizing the Bible to make it say what you want. Think about it. You are trying to take a book that helps us know God and apply it to keep women from serving God equally as a man. You are missing many details that disagree with your interpretation and application. Sorry we don't agree. Go find a church of cave men who believe the way you do. Or join the Moose Club or Masons or Klan or whatever other organization will agree with your BS.

Faith said...


Ummm...from your post you were talking about someones grammar not validity of what that person was saying about the Bible. Quite a difference. I am sure your grammar has been off at times. It might have been better to clarify what you were talking about in your post.

Anonymous said...

Faith, Your commenting about everybody "griping" is just a bit condencending.

Anonymous said...



Actually I was addressing those who interpret the Bible as saying women should not and cannot serve. It is they who are generalizing a passage and not looking at the detail of its meaning or context.

Be careful how you fly off without all the facts.

Where in that post did it ever say which side of the ball I was on? Sheesh.

9:01 Please take a chill pill. Or try happy hour here soon.

Anonymous said...

Obviously if you use the word "infallible" in a post, many automatic assumptions are made...which is really very interesting.

But, we're getting adrift of the blogger's topic here.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (July 19 9:02 a.m.)said:
"1 Tim 3:12 says that a deacon must be a husband of one wife.

I always wonder how the divorced deacon's at FBCJAX can dismiss this scripture verse - they hold responsible positions in this group as well as standing in a teaching pulpit - they may be nice men, but they hold no real respect. There are so many places in church for them to serve, but certainly not in a deacon role!

Anonymous said...

Will Christians never tire of arguing about what the Bible says? Arguing if something is biblical or not? Does it never get old?

You could have five different well-qualified Bible scholars in a room telling five different interpretations of a verse or chapter, etc. They would all be very convincing. All very intelligent and learned.

Yet all these people have the Holy Spirit to help them. Yet, he's not helping evidently. So let the confusion and arguing continue.

Reminds me of the Jews in Fiddler on the Roof arguing. They all decide to stop and ask the Rabbi. Everybody is silent, anticipating his great words. He stands and says, "Let's all sit down." lol Good advice!

Anonymous said...

I must have missed something somewhere but I never heard of being a deacon ordained in the SBC. Must be something you do out there in Florida. Its probably a good thing that you are an SBC deacon because you sure couldn't be one in most churches because you don't tithe.

56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC said...

I read that verse about one wife in the context of the polygamy of that time. It is a way to assess wisdom. Any man with more than one wife clearly lacks the wisdom to be a deacon or pastor! I do not believe it has anything to do with divorce. A subsequent verse is best interpreted "And the same for the women (deacons)" but at the time polygyny, a woman with multiple husbands, was unknown.

Anonymous said...

Liberals are so easy to spot.

Especially when they speak on the issue of women.

It is possible that there is something inherent in women’s nature that somehow makes them more vulnerable to deception concerning spiritual matters and; therefore, less qualified to teach men and have authority over men in the context of the church. This would be consistent with Peter’s description of woman as the "weaker vessel" (1st Peter 3:7). Peter does not explain the nature of this "weakness," nor does he suggest that it constitutes some kind of flaw or fault in women. Whatever it is, it would be consistent with the role for which God created woman in the first place. That is to say, the characteristics that make a woman more strongly suited for her intended role in the family and church, make her weaker with reference to what is required for duties of headship and leadership. Such characteristics probably have to do more with her emotional rather than her intellectual nature.

Whatever this "weaker" nature may be, it is possible, if not likely, that this is what Paul has in mind as underlying the fact that Eve was deceived by Satan whereas Adam was not, and that this is the very same thing that disqualifies women from teaching men and having authority over men. If this is so, then the reason for this disqualification is not Eve’s sin at all. Neither is the disqualification some kind of penalty, either for her sin or for allowing herself to be deceived.

It is simply some inherent, created female characteristic that manifests itself in susceptibility to this kind of deception.

Victorious said...


Scripture makes no reference about women being easily deceived; only about Eve being deceived.

Now, are you implying that Adam's deliberate disobedience entitles all men to serve in capacities denied women? If Eve's deception is accounted to all women, then in the interest of consistency, all men are willful and disobedient and not qualified to serve in leadership capacities.

Moreover, throughout scripture, we see men guilty of rape, adultery, polygamy, idolatry, and murder. Today, the church is overwhelmed with false teachings and false prophets and they are all men.

How do you justify this scriptural, historical history to qualify males for ministry?

Ramesh said...

Off Topic: NYT > The Lede > Penn State Removes Paterno Statue.

If only SBC can remove some of living statues that have done similar deeds.

Arce (a man) said...

Anon, 7/21 7:28 pm

"Headship" is an UNBIBLICAL term. There is no reference in the Bible to"headship" and the entire idea of head meanin g boss is also not in the Bible nor is it a proper understanding of the meaning of the Greek word in the culture of the day.

And women, on average, are physically less strong, and vulnerable, particularly at a time when they were considered chattel property of their husband.

Arce said...

Baptists have ordained deacons for well over 150 years, in most regions of the country. Elders are a newer phenomena in Baptist churches.

56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC said...

Adam was deceived by Eve, a mere woman, for he committed the same sin. Eve was deceived by the master deceiver, Satan. So who was the more easily deceived?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:28

Following your logic...so Eve was deceived by Satan, but Adam was not - he simply caved all on his own and therefore is more qualified to be a leader and have authority. Yes, that makes perfect sense.

Either way you look at it, Adam gave in to someone's influence - either Satan's or Eve's or both - and on that basis would be no more qualified to lead than Eve.

Paul's message was to a specific people about a specific problem at a specific time. It has been globalized and generalized and applied to the extreme by the human church.

Victorious said...

56 years a Baptist:
"Adam was deceived by Eve, a mere woman, for he committed the same sin."

Scripture never says Adam was deceived. Rather he disobeyed (Romans 5:19)

Anonymous said...

Women have equal human rights, are of equal worth, and are not inferior to men in any way; BUT, women do not have a right to usurp authority over men.

Feminism DEMANDS equality in the area of authority, and cries "inequality" if they don't get it. This is what Lucifer said in Isaiah 14:14... "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." Lucifer just wanted EQUALITY, wanting to be "like" the most high.

Feminists claim they are simply asking for equality, to be "like" men in authority. Today, America is infested with women in authoritative power positions, and America is going to Hell because of it. Homosexuality is commonplace, abortion has become completely shameless, pornography is considered normal, divorce is highly encouraged nowadays, etc. Sin! Sin! Sin! Feminism is a Trojan Horse sin, that brings with it a slew of godlessness and woeful evils. Feminism and the Word of God are DIAMETRICALLY opposed to each other!

Meet Carter Heyward—an Episcopalian priest, a militant feminist, a lesbian who performs same-sex marriages, and a promoter of child sacrifice through abortion...

"If women were in charge, abortion would be a sacrament, an occasion of deep and serious and sacred meaning."

SOURCE: Carter Heyward, Massacre of Innocence, from a newsletter published by the National Abortion Federation.

Do you see what happens when women enter the pulpit? It was Solomon's wives who turned his heart away from the Lord, and introduced child-sacrifice to the pagan god Molech again in Israel (1st Kings 11:4-8).

Ramesh said...

NYT > At Colleges, Women Are Leaving Men in the Dust

Victorious said...

Anonymous 10:00 p.m. said,
"It was Solomon's wives who turned his heart away from the Lord, and introduced child-sacrifice to the pagan god Molech again in Israel (1st Kings 11:4-8)."

That's because Solomon disobeyed God and formed aliances with pagan nations. He also disobeyed God's ordained one woman/one man marriage by taking over 700 wives. Eventually, Jerusalem and even the temple itself became the scene of pagan rituals. (1 Kings 11)

Ramesh said...

Anon @ July 22, 2012 10:00 PM:

I pray that your eyes will be opened to the Truth by the women in your life. If it does not happen, you (and Paige Patterson) will be set right in heaven. You see, the heaven will be also infested with women. And they will be equal to you as co-heirs with Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile on this earth, the women are leaving men in the dust.

56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC said...

If Solomon had obeyed God, he would not have had all of those wives to lead him astray. The "wisest" man was foolish in having more than one wife, and could not have been a deacon in the church. And those were not women of Israel but foreigners who led Solomon astray.

It is not women who lead men astray, it is the lust in their hearts. Women are responsible for their own sin and men for theirs.

Anonymous said...

"Do you see what happens when women enter the pulpit? It was Solomon's wives who turned his heart away from the Lord, and introduced child-sacrifice to the pagan god Molech again in Israel (1st Kings 11:4-8)."

Well, good grief. I suggest keeping them barefoot and pregnant. I, myself, enjoyed being barefoot and pregnant and can attest that it keeps you so busy you don't have time to have an opinion, much less "infest" (like a ball of snakes) the sacred pulpit where the man of God belongs. Oh! Throw in homeschooling (which I also enjoyed)to use up even more time and energy, then you needn't worry about women and their evil ways messing up God's church.

Faith said...

Anon 10:00

I am not an advocate for women in the pulpits, but let me telll you something- this has nothing to do with women and everything to do with people sinning. In cultures where women were subgugated and basically slaves you had rampant sin. Take Rome for example. So before you come on here blaming the women folk we could equally blame the men for looking at their wives and as lesser individuals and not loving them as Christ lives the church. You have terrible crimes going on in other countries targeting women and young girls and these countries are falling apart, do "whose calling the kettle black here?"
Its sin Anon and we are all a part of that problem, not just women.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:00

Once again - a generalization. And a wrong one.

Because a woman wants to and has the qualifications to lead or teach in the church does not necessarily mean she is a feminist or lines up with all feminist views. It means she has the spiritual gifts, such as administration, that make her a good leader.

When THAT woman (I Kings) entered the pulpit, it led to the corruption you speak of. Not all women. How many KINGS in scripture caused the same kind of moral havoc. It was their character, NOT their gender, that made them corrupt.

Anonymous said...

These comments show just how absurd it is to base opinions about reality in society on Aesop's fables. "Women are inferior since the female fox was unable to reach those darned grapes." You are all trying to make arguments about today's society by what happened during creation times in the "Garden of Eden" between a man, a woman, and a talking creature? Really? Are you really trying to do that? Are you really supporting your position with the Genesis account of a conversation in the Garden of Eden?!! (Cue the circus music)

Anonymous said...

This should be the new requirement for deacons:

Anonymous said...

As a Shelby County resident I know that there are more blacks proportionately attending Bellevue Baptist than are attending Faith Baptist.

Anti-Gaines white flighters are fleeing to Faith and minorities are filling the gaps! Can this be bad?

Ramesh said...

Off Topic: NYT > N.C.A.A. Gives Penn State $60 Million Fine and Bowl Ban
INDIANAPOLIS — The N.C.A.A. announced significant penalties against Penn State and its football program Monday, including a $60 million fine and a four-year postseason ban, in the wake of the child sexual abuse scandal involving the former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Anonymous said...

The Biblical teaching of womanly submission is vastly different than the monstrous image that feminists paint of authoritative husbands and pastors. If you don't do your job at work, you are going to get written up or fired. It should be no different in the home. A husband who is married to a rebellious wife has no recourse of action nowadays, because society has gone insane with "Domestic Abuse" laws. A husband legally can't rebuke, scold or discipline his wife in any manner, except to beg her to do her job at home.

So then who is going to correct her when she fails to care for the children? ... when she fails to clean the house? ... when she doesn't care about the children's safety? Child Protection Services? A psychologist? A shrink will just send a struggling wife to a psychiatrist for drugs that'll totally debilitate her. Good luck finding a church that'll care about your family. Despite the thousands of excellent churches in America, many people are finding it increasingly difficult to find a decent church that believes the Bible, isn't money-hungry, and a church that believes in goes soulwinning. Most pastors today are simply interested in making a living, and continually pressure their members for more money.

Men are prohibited in America from commanding their homes anymore. In most places in America today, police are required by law to remove the husband from the home, by force if need be, merely based on an accusation by the wife that he was abusive towards her. After the O.J. Simpson murder trials, feminists used the event to make wide-sweeping changes to our nation's laws, now commonly referred to as the "O.J. laws."

The sin of female rebellion is a Trojan Horse sin. In other words, when a woman rebels against God by usurping authority over men, a host of other sins follow. Women must accept their role in the Body of Christ as those who learn "in silence (quietness) with all subjection." Women preachers are repulsive. It's just not right, ethically or Biblical. Wherever you find a church with a woman in the pulpit, you'll find a liberal-minded church that is infested with doctrinal heresies. This is why God told women to shut-up, and for men to do the preaching. So shut up!

WishIhadknown said...

This sure seems like a lot of fuss over a position that Biblically speaking, is about seeing to the needs of widows and orphans.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:44

Thanks for coming out of your cave with that directive.

I'm very sure statistics would prove that there are far more women "doing their job" at home than men. And are there more single mom homes in this country, or single dad?

Whatever. You can now return to "commanding" your home.

Faith said...

We see exactly where you are coming from Anon.- it is from a place of anger. What to do about an rebellious woman? Hmmmm.....What to do about a machismo man?

You know one key that is lacking from this picture you are trying to paint - it is Christ. You put words in, such as, authoritative; husband can't rebuke or scold (where is that in scripture that men are allowed to do such things to their helpmates?); discipline their wives- what garbage!! And then getting on here to tell women to shut up!! Really this gets you somewhere? Ranting and raving?
Slow down and why don't you read Scripture and find out how to treat people even if you do not agree. You are doing exactly what you are claiming these women are doing- rebellious- why? because your heart is not filled with the love of Christ but anger.
I am a conservative woman myself and find your rants distasteful and hateful. I do not agree with liberalism and I am not a feminist, but I do know how to love anyone that is and treat them with respect. I know how to be a witness and speak to them about Christ. You have probably ( dont know if you are male or female) never been in a feminists shoes and do not know where she might have been- she might have been abused herself and is dealing with hurt and anger. You DON'T as a Christian deal with others in anger and bigotry, but as Scripture would have us deal with ANYONE who differs with you.
Yes, no wonder we are going down the tubes in this country because we always have to, as Christians, respond in hate and anger towards the ills of society instead of how Scripture tells us to treat others.
Hebrews 12:14 "Persist peace with all people,, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord".

Stop getting on here and griping and start going out and loving a feminist in Christ!

Jim said...

This discussion has been a perfect example of what happens to the Church/church when lay people depend upon the clergy for Biblical interpretation, or preachers just parrot back the opinions of others, without exercising their own "Soul Freedom," under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, to read and understand the Bible,themselves. I was ordained 45 years ago, when called to pastor a little Baptist church in North Carolina, while still in seminary. While I learned Bible and Theology by day, those good souls taught me at night and on weekends, that a pastor is a shepherd, not a cattle-driver. They showed me God had given them brains and insight too, that I was a man with a special call, but I was not more special, nor more holy than they. I still love them for that. It was that little church and those lessons that have kept me in ministry for nearly half-a-century. Sure, I would like for everyone to employ my same hermeneutic and interpret Scripture as I do, but that is not Biblical (II Timothy 2:8-19, highlight vs. 15).

Victorious, July 19 and a few others "get it"; they have actually read the Bible...not read over it. They understand the context and they are on target concerning women in ministry and women, in general. Most of the rest sounds like "mindless chatter" to me.

To Anonymous, July 23: Please leave your club outside when you knuckle-drag back to the cave or your job-site. You have some serious, unresolved "anger-issues" related to women...at home and on the job. In the words of my grand kids, "Dude,get some help." A genuine, personal relationship with the Jesus of the Bible (not the Jesus of some pulpits) is a great place to start. I would love to help you with that.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many mega men pastors are really being told what to say, how to act, what not to say and how to perform in and around the pulpit area by their wives? That answer could really be interesting!!!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Eve was the one who was deceived; not Adam. We read in 1st Timothy 2:11-14, "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." The Bible gives 2 reasons why women are not to preach, teach or lead men. The fact that God created Adam first is significant. The woman was created FOR the man. Like it or not, no woman will be happy until she is serving a man, i.e., her husband. Thus, men cannot lead if women are getting in the way. The modern idea of a husband and wife both working jobs, and hiring a stranger to raise their kids is insanity. 1st Timothy 5:14 stresses the importance of women being at home. A woman's place is in the home.

Anonymous said...

Husbands are Biblically to Rule Over their Wives; Wives are to obey!

God has ordained that the man is to be the head of the household. The wife is to SUBMIT to her own husband...

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord."
—Ephesians 5:22

The Bible angers feminists because it CLEARLY teaches that a wife is to SUBMIT to her own husband. We read that Sarah even called her husband, Abraham, "lord" (i.e., master)...

"Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement." —1st Peter 3:6

The Christian wife isn't perfect; but, she is a Christ-honoring woman who submits to her husband's authority. The Christian wife hates feminism because she knows it goes AGAINST God and His Word...

"Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." —1st Corinthians 11:9

God commands every mother to love her children, and for each wife to love and obey her own husband...

"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." —Titus 2:4,5

We read in 1st Corinthians 11:3...

"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
—1st Corinthians 11:3

What kind of wife are you?

"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones." —Proverb 12:4

Many wives today are “rottenness” to their husbands health, because of the grief and undue stress they cause for their husbands. They contaminate and rot their marriages until there's nothing left. Some even kill their babies...

Anonymous said...

This should be the new requirement for deacons:

July 23, 2012 11:43 AM

I had to chuckle at that one!

Anonymous said...

Why is that bishop displaying an ankh on top of a staff?

Pagan much?

Ramesh said...

Off Topic: The Wartburg Watch > Julie Anne Smith of BGBC Survivors Won on All Counts!!!!

Ramesh said...

Off Topic: BGBCSurvivors > Judge's Decision

Moms For Truth said...

Jim Amen!!
Thank you for your comments as a pastor- I sure would love to be in your church! Your statements ring with humility and love for the church.

56 years a Baptist, mostly SBC said...

That is not an ankh, but a greek letter that looks like a "P" which has a particular meaning. So, Anon, 7/26 9:58 pm, I will leave you to figure out how to cure your obvious ignorance of the historic symbols of the Christian faith.

Renaissance Guy said...

Hi Tom,

Deacons are called upon to handle church operational matters to free up the pastoral staff to focus on preaching.

There seems to be a couple of extra items in the qualifications and "blameless" or "without regret" should take care of the commitment to tithing, alcohol, and tobacco.

I think that the "lift up the hands" is a figurative reference to Aaron and Hur supporting the hands of Moses in Exodus Chapter 17 v's 11 and 12 and later in Exodus Chapter 24 We see them referred to elders for Moses. I think that it is a beautiful picture of the Deacons relationship to the Pastor in the church.

Just my 2 cents.

See you later!

Unknown said...

I visited this site for the first time today and scanned a few of the entries, including this one. Yeah, pretty much a zero on the cred meter. Preacher-bashers will always have their audience, but if someone's going to set himself up as the self-proclaimed watchdog for the American church, he should make a reasonable effort to acquire some basic scriptural knowledge and understanding. Just another donkey braying in the barnyard while the chickens cluck in agreement. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Most Baptist Churches are like that--see no evil hear no evil speak no evil. As long as they keep their mouths shut in public, a pastor, deacon, etc can do whatever they want in private and I've seen many of them sneak around and do the very things they or their church condemn. In short, they are a bunch of hypocrites.

Unknown said...

Point #1. If it isn't your church, it isn't your business.
Point #2. You have truly taken each point out of context because you didn't like it.
Point #3. The fact that you stated you are an ordained deacon in an SBC church but yet don't tithe, hmmmmm. . . what other biblical principles or commands do you choose to be disobedient to?

Unknown said...

Point #1. It isn't your church so it isn't your business.
Point #2. You have taken this completely out of context to suit your purpose.
Point #3. You stated you are an ordained deacon in an SBC church yet you also state in ref to tithing that you do not. SO my question is, what other biblical commands or principles do you choose to be disobedient to?

Anonymous said...

I as once an ordained deacon and was informed that I cannot serve after "divorce" what is the SBC rule on this subject?