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Questions and Answers: What is the role of the deacons in this situation?



My question is this. Our church is beginning to tolerate just about anything. Our Pastor is wanting our board (deacons) to only have the duty of financial matters. He wants all other responsibilities himself. He wants to leave scriptures out of our by-laws that relate to dealing with sin in the congregation. He has a young man at this moment sitting out of our praise and worship team because of pornography, violence toward his wife, will not follow instructions of the board, yet our Pastor wants to allow this young man back in the pulpit. He claims we are not restoring this person if we do not. He only wants to make decisions concerning these matters himself, and the board not even be told about them. What is the role of the deacons in this situation?


It sounds like they will tolerate anything except for the will of God.

It is difficult to know what the role of a deacon should be in a church government unless that church government follows the pattern of Scripture.  The Church slipped away from the pattern of Scripture a long, long time ago.

The pattern of Scripture is really very simple.  There are three levels of Government in the Church.  The local Church is part of the universal Church, and the family is part of the local Church.  On each level, there are elders and deacons.  Both elders and deacons are spiritual offices on all levels, whether husband and wife, local elders and deacons, or apostles. 

The order of local elders and deacons do not seem to work unless they are under the government of apostles--traveling elders and deacons. 

The Church left the pattern of Scripture within a couple of hundred years after Christ and started with a chief elder--at that time, they named this person the bishop, while prior to that time, elder and bishop were different words for the same persons.  There never was a singular elder.  It is always plural in the Bible.  There is only one mention of a preeminent elder in the Bible and that is the one who was out of order and the apostle, John, was going to deal with that elder.  There was no paid elder.  The verse that is used to justify paying pastors is a verse that is about apostles, traveling elders and deacons, not about local elders.  The elders and deacons were not hired but set in by the indication of the Holy Spirit and the laying on of hands of the apostles.  There were no boards and presidents or directors of Christian education.  There was no locally abiding pastor as we see now.  The elders (plural) were to pastor the flock of God (care for the members as a shepherd cares for sheep).

The Church services looked like 1 Corinthians 14 with every member a ministry and every joint supplying as Ephesians 4 states.  This type of service is almost impossible to have in a huge Church.  The Churches of the Bible were more like home Churches, though they didn't always meet in homes. 

The entire New Testament is full of these and other parts of the pattern of God for Christ's bride, the Body of Christ.  If it were a club, you could put it together any old way, but it is a living Body.  See, sayeth He, that you build all things according to the pattern.  Note that it is the flock of God, not the pastor's flock or the elder's flock.  It is God's Church. 

As far as apostles go, the apostles had no authority to establish doctrine on their own.  Acts 15 is probably the best example of this.

What is the role of the deacons in your particular situation?  There is a pragmatic approach that says, "We just have to make the best of working around God's pattern, since that pattern was for biblical times and now we can't do these things."  Some people have tried to force-fit God's ways into man's ways, sort of like putting new wine into old wine skins or sewing new cloth to old.  Every time I have seen or heard about something like this, it has been a disaster.  One group saw, in the Bible, that there has to be apostles... so they decided that they would be apostles.  That can't work.  A denomination saw the same thing, so they appointed a board of apostles... they disbanded the board of apostles a few years later.  Some churches have seen the order of elders and tried to establish the order of elders without apostles only to find that it doesn't work without apostles.  There is currently an influential group of self-declared apostles what are working together in a sort of loosely-knit consortium arrangement, but that is not the order of God and will likely result in great disorder and damage to the Church.  Then, you have the home-church movement, which may be closer to the order of God, but it still is not the Church that God designed.

Unfortunately, the Church has largely fallen away from God.  One pastor was afraid to speak about unmarried people living together because he would lose member.  Another was afraid to tell the truth about abortion.  One youth leader in his early 20s was finding the younger teenage girls interesting and was pursuing a 15-year-old and forced himself on her when he got the chance.  His liberal pastor was aware of this and let him continue.  Then he got in trouble with another under age girl who reported him.  If a man speaks up against the evil, that man is likely to be hired.  Some don't want to speak up against evil because they have rejected one part of the Bible after another until they will tolerate anything except for the will of God.  One church fell so far that they ordained a woman who was committing and abomination of perversion.

Yet God has moved to restore His pattern, and His pattern does work.  It's just that there is no money, power, or prestige in the order of God.  Without the pattern of God, there is not hope.  Even with the pattern of God, the way is narrow and a fight to the death with the fleshly nature of humanity.  If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?

King Josiah tore his clothes when he read the book of the law and saw how far Isreal had slipped from the fulfillment of the Book.  Prior to this, God revealed the Scripture to some who were working in the temple.  When the king heard it, he said, "Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great [is] the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened to the words of this book, to do according to all that which is written concerning us."  God answered and told Josiah that He was going to judge Judah, but that Josiah would not see the destruction because of his response to God in tearing his clothes and seeking God.  And Josiah went out and restored order, getting rid of harlotry, idolatry, and witchcraft.  It would be wonderful if every Christian had the same zeal as Josiah to restore the ways of the God from the Bible, but they say they believe every line, yet they reject any line that they don't like.

God showed Ezekiel a vision of a temple.  This temple has never been built because this is the temple that God is building, which is the Church.  In Ezekiel 43, God said, "the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.  In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds (doors), and their post by my posts (pillars), and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.  Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.  Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.    And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.

The entire worldly-church system is corrupted into a system designed by and for man.  Yet, there is a remnant company who are following God.  They are hearing His voice.  In the late 1940s, God set in apostles who are in submission to each other and He is revealing the meaning of Scripture to them.  God is moving us on.  He is leading the way.  It's a way we have never gone before.  There are mountains to climb.  There are valleys to cross, but before us, we see an open door.

I believe that you need to seek the Lord your God with all your heart.  The Church is in a terrible mess, not just your local assembly.  Seek the Lord with all your might and find out what He wants you to do, then do it.

Last updated: Dec, 2011
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