(Joe Gibbons) The support for women being ordained to the diaconate is a movement that, for whatever reason, simply will not go away. It is persistently brought to the fore of various Reformed churches within the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC). As I viewed the 219th General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) this week, I was struck by what I thought of as somewhat nebulous argumentation on the part of those who spoke in favor of retaining their denomination’s status quo. Since 1972, the ARP’s Form of Government has allowed local church sessions the freedom to choose whether or not to ordain women to the diaconate….
Some estimates place the number of churches that ordain women as deacons as accounting for roughly a quarter of the ARP.
The arguments in favor of keeping this practice sounded very similar to the talking points one would hear from vocal proponents of adopting female deacons in my own church, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). In fact, as recently as 2019, overtures were sent to our general assembly explicitly asking for the PCA’s approval of ordaining women as deacons. These arguments are common enough that they deserve to be addressed.
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