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Metro New York Presbytery Approves Request to Ask 47th General Assembly to Allow Ordination of Women Deacons

Cherie Vandermillen

Editor’s Note: For additional reading on the decline and liberalization of the PCA.

[Staff Writer | The Aquila Report] The Metropolitan New York Presbytery (MNY) approved an overture at its March 13, 2019 Stated Meeting, asking the 47th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to amend Book of Church Order (BCO) 7-2, 9-3, 17-3, chapter 24, and add a chapter 25 in order to allow local sessions to decide whether women can be allowed to serve as deacons. The overture is asking the General Assembly to amend the BCO to allow women to be elected and serve as deacons.

An overture is a means by which a Presbytery can bring a matter to the GA for consideration. This overture will be considered by the 47th PCA General Assembly at its meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 24-27, 2019.

Overture to the 47th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America 
To Amend Book of Church Order (BCO) 7-2, 9-3, 17-3, Chapter 24, And Add A Chapter 25 
In Order To Allow Local Sessions 
To Decide Whether Women Can Be Allowed To Serve As Deacons.

  • WHEREAS there has long been a sincere diversity of views among Reformed churches as to what Scripture says about the role of women in diaconal ministry…
  • WHEREAS conservative, complementarian scholars differ in their understanding of biblical texts that touch on the role of women in diaconal ministry, specifically 1 Timothy 3:11 and Romans 16:1…
  • WHEREAS there seems to be strong evidence that the word διάκονον in Romans 16:1 is used in a technical manner to describe an office Phobebe holds rather than in a general descriptive manner…
  • WHEREAS the Westminster Confession does not specifically address the office of deacon…
  • WHEREAS the Westminster Confession 20.2 does speak of Christian liberty and not unnecessarily binding the consciences of men…
  • WHEREAS it is in line with the historical spirit of the PCA to be a grassroots denomination and to defer to the judgment of local sessions in decisions regarding congregational ministry…
  • WHEREAS several conservative, reformed denominations within NAPARC allow women to serve as deacons (i.e. Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church, The Reformed Church of Quebec (ERQ), and The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America)
  • THEREFORE, be it resolved to amend BCO 7-2, 9-3, 17-3, chapter 24, and add a chapter 25 in order to allow local sessions to decide whether women are allowed to serve as deacons [Proposed deletions are shown below by strikethrough, and additions are underlined]:
    • 5-9.c. When the temporary government determines that among the members of the mission congregation there are men who appear qualified as officers Elders, the nomination process shall begin and the election conclude following the procedures of BCO 24 so far as they may be applicable.
    • 5-9.i (1) The organizing commission shall ordain and/or install ruling elders and/or deacons according to the provisions of BCO 24-6, and/or install deacons according to the provisions of BCO 25-6 so far as they may be applicable.
    • 7-2. The ordinary and perpetual classes of office in the Church are elders and deacons. Within the class of elder are the two orders of teaching elders and ruling elders. The elders jointly have the government and spiritual oversight of the Church, including teaching. Only those elders who are specially gifted, called and trained by God to preach may serve as teaching elders. The office of deacon is not one of rule, but rather of service both to the physical and spiritual needs of the people. In accord with Scripture, these offices are open to men only the office of elder is open to men only.
    • 9-3. To the office of deacon, which is spiritual in nature, shall be chosen menmembers of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly spirit, warm sympathies, and sound judgment.
    • 17-3. As every ecclesiastical office, according to the Scriptures, is a special charge, no man member shall be ordained unless it be to the performance of a definite work.


Election, Ordination and Installation of Ruling Elders and Deacons


24-1.       Every church shall elect persons to the offices of ruling elder and deacon in the following manner: At such times as determined by the Session, communicant members of the congregation may submit names to the Session, keeping in mind that each prospective officer should be an active male member who meets the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.  After the close of the nomination period nominees for the office of ruling elder and/or deacon shall receive instruction in the qualifications and work of the office. Each nominee shall then be examined in:

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Staff Writer and originally published at The Aquila Report. Title changed by P&P.]