2 thoughts on “Deaconesses in the PCA: A Recent History

  1. sedgegrass says:

    Thanks for the info. It led to some extended reading of other PCA leaders’ writings, in particular Ligon Duncan’s response to Tim Keller on the topic. I also read Phil Ryken’s paper at 10th Presbyterian on ‘Qualifications for Deacons’.

    The care with which Ligon Duncan approaches the question and the relevant texts is most evident. His exegesis of the language, grammatical and practical understanding, strickes me as taking more care with the Scriptural interpretation than Phil Ryken’s heavy reliance on Warfield or his assumptions about the language describing Phoebe as a servant. While Ryken strongly asserts on the web page that he does not support ordination of women deacons, I tend to think the trouble we get into in the PCA is linked to the differences in the scholarship exhibited between Duncan’s approach/response and Ryken’s. Precision, looking to the use and meaning of the original language, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture and context is more reliable than the thoughts of Warfield or the practices of Egyptian Christians. Just as I wouldn’t want to rely on ‘fuzzy’ math or cultural wind currents to get me to the moon safely, I don’t relish a lack of precision in matters of doctrine in the church.

    The Ligon Duncan response and a shortened version of Phil Pyken’s stance (What About Deaconesses?) can both be found on this website:



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