[Note: The item below expresses the views of the individual to whom the material is ascribed and does not necessarily reflect the position of the WRF as a whole.]
Comments on the PCA Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Women Serving in the Ministry of the Church
WRF Board Member Mr. John Williams
Ruling Elder and Former Member of the Foreign Missions Committee of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
After reading this report, it appears to say much about the activity of women throughout the Bible, centering on their roles in the church, the validity of the election and ordination of women as deacons, what a robust and gracious “complementarian” relationship between men and women should look like, concluding with a pastoral letter and recommendations.
A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.
This passage in 1 Timothy 3:12 is the one the report takes 63 pages to dismiss.
The report does, in its way, define the duty of all Christians to love one another. In its condensed version, consider the following Biblical guidance. Paul says,
For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This passage, Ephesians 2:8-10, is where we find the truth God wants to transmit to us. In fact, all of Ephesians 2 is profitable to us as we consider the commands we are under as New Testament Christian men and women. In fact, all of Ephesians is a description of Jesus’ new command, in John 13:34 and 35:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
In support of that command, Jesus speaks of the Father and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and finally, in John 17:20ff, Jesus prays for ALL believers:
My prayer is not for them alone (the disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me to be to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.
That’s who we are; man, woman and child. Loved and told to love one another.
And that sounds like diaconal work.
Of course, Jesus doesn’t leave it there, as we see in Matthew 28:18ff, as He comes to His disciples:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
We are living 2000 years later, and we enjoy the apostolic heritage that includes being organized in churches. With ordained offices that include elders and deacons.
It is interesting to find, in Revelation, a “report card” on the seven churches (the complete church), and that is where we should focus our reflection. They are God’s reflection, given to us for our own benefit.
So, look at them. What does God love? What does God hate? What should a church look like? What should a church watch out for, and, when necessary, correct? The short observation is that God loves to see a church that reflects God’s love internally and externally. In its leadership and its laity. In its men and its women. The point is not anyone’s position, but rather wherever we are called to serve in the life-changing love of God, as Christians.
And make it clear that the love we share is centered in Jesus Christ.
Name His name.
And be amazed at the presence and blessing of the Holy Spirit that comes with that.