One of the new modern trends that are infiltrating many congregations within the Restoration Movement is the trend of replacing deacons with ministry leaders. This new trend started out in the 1980’s with a call to be more gender inclusive in leading worship as a direct result of the feminist movement that hit America in the 1960’s. And, what has quickly grown out of the “Gender Inclusive” movement is the “Giftedness Principle” campaign that insinuates that if you have a gift, then you should use that gift. And the conclusion of that principle is, it doesn’t matter what the Bible has to say on the subject.
As far as church organization is concerned, we can see that God organized the newly established church, in its earliest development, under apostles and prophets (Acts 11:27; 13:1; Ephesians 4:11). These were individuals empowered by the Holy Spirit to present the Words of Truth during the infancy of the church.

After the establishment of the church, some claim as little as 18 months, that the apostles were spending too much of their time helping widows instead of preaching the gospel, Acts 6:1-3. God had purposed for them to take the gospel to the entire world, Matthew 28:18-20, and serving others was keeping them from accomplishing this great work. So, the apostles who were directed by the Holy Spirit came up with a solution and they told the early disciples to find “seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business,” Acts 6:3. This is how under the guiding hand of God they organized the early church.

Next, as the church continued to grow and leave its state of infancy, God sent forth Paul, Timothy, and others to establish a new permanent leadership in congregations of the church. And they went forth setting men in the church as elders and deacons (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). These elders and deacons were both men who fit certain qualifications as listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. And in Philippians 1:1, we can see Paul was writing an epistle to one of these organized congregations and said, “To all of the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” With the apostles and the miraculous age dying out, God’s desire was for local congregations to organize with bishops (elders), deacons and saints.

There are several qualifications for deacons in Scripture, but the one I want to point out in this article is 1 Timothy 3:12, “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife.” This Holy Spirit, God-breathed document, details that God wanted deacons in congregations to be married, married to one person and to be a man. Now, I know that sounds sexist to some in the church, but it doesn’t change what God said. I know many in our society man not understand why this says what it says, but their lack of understanding still changes nothing. There are those who claim that Paul was a male chauvinist and let’s say for the sake of argument he was; it still doesn’t change the Spirit’s desire in 1 Tim. 3:12. To be frank, it doesn’t matter what argument man may devise, 1 Tim. 3:12 doesn’t change.

Because of cultural shifts in America, many congregations have decided to allow culture to teach us how to organize the church and they have completely done away with the office of deacon for ministry leaders. Elders pretending to know more than God, have set themselves upon some supposed throne of authority and have declared because of this, this or this, we know better and will organize our congregations the way culture desires. But, this isn’t our church. Did the elders making said changes die for the church? Are they the ones that purchased the church? Are they head and chief shepherd of the church today (Colossians 1:18; 1 Peter 5:4)? There is not one verse in the Bible that gives elderships the right to change the organization of Christ’s Bride. May the Lord’s church learn, before it is too late, “Not to think above that which is written,” 1 Corinthians 4:6.

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