Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Diaconate: A Flagship Ministry?

The Diaconate: A flagship ministry? by Paul Avis, published in Theology and Ministry 2 Journal - here's a link to the article.

"The diaconate has been in a state of ferment in many churches for decades and the debate shows no sign of ending. Why are churches wrestling with diaconal ministry to this extent? Individual deacons may well be blessed with a fruitful ministry, but the churches are struggling to identify just what a deacon is. Why is the issue proving so difficult? Does it mean that we cannot make sense of the diaconate, that it is an enigma that we cannot resolve,an insoluble problem? I take the diaconate to be indeed the most problematic but, at the same time, the most promising of all the ministries of the Church. I believe that the way to greater clarity about the diaconate depends on our willingness to allow our understanding of diakonia to become conformed to the paradigm that we find in the New Testament, particularly, though not exclusively, in the letters of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles. The churches have been agonising endlessly about the diaconate, but in this paper I shall argue that much of their perplexity is created by theologising on a false premise concerning biblical interpretation".
Paul Avis was General Secretary of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity from 1998 to 2011, and later served as Theological Consultant to the Anglican Communion Office, London. He is now retired.

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