Saturday, July 4, 2009

Audio: Tim Keller and Ligon Duncan - Should Women be Deacons?

I guess the proper term would be 'deaconesses'. At the PCA General Assembly, two teachers I've learned a lot from discuss their opposing views on whether the Bible teaches that women ought to serve in this role. Frankly, I'm split on the decision, but the discussion really helped spur thought in areas I hadn't previously considered. The hour and a half discussion also models:

- How to keep the gospel central while disagreeing on 3rd order doctrines (into which slot both men put deaconesses)
- How to keep the gospel central while disagreeing on 2nd order doctrines (as Keller discusses the way he interacts with people who will ordain women into the ministry)
- How to submit to authority when you disagree with that authority's stance (which Keller models as he refuses to oppose the PCA, even though he disagrees with them)
- How to rigorously think through an issue, Biblically, historically, and practically
- How to respect a person who used Q & A time to take the microphone and teach (which happened at the end. . .I hate when that happens)

You can download the audio here.

Note: if you are wondering what this whole "1st, 2nd, and 3rd order doctrine" language means, here's a summary:
- 1st order doctrines are Biblical truths that every true believer holds to. Like justification by grace alone through faith alone, the Trinity, etc. A Christian ought to only fellowship with people who believe these things.
- 2nd order doctrines are beliefs which authentic believers can disagree on. In a case of disagreement, happy fellowship can and should be cultivated, but those Christians will probably worship in different churches. The classic example are the many dear friends I have who believe in baptizing infants.
- 3rd order doctrines are beliefs that authentic believers can disagree on and still worship in the same church. In my view issues like: eschatology, deaconesses, etc fit into this category.

The trick is to figure out which 'order' each doctrine fits into. For now, though, I'd recommend you listen to the audio and glean wisdom from these men of God.

HT: Challies

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