Phoebe, servant of the church in Cenchrea

Contributed by Earl M. Blackburn, Senior Pastor/Elder, Heritage Baptist Church, Shreveport, LA

Due to the pressure of the feminist movement and evangelical egalitarianism, some evangelical and Reformed churches have ordained women into the office of deacon. Usually 1 Timothy 3:11 is used as a biblical basis to substantiate the position of women deacons. Paul’s commendation of Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2) is further used to support this belief and action. Occasionally, certain segments of church history are referenced to buttress the claim. I believe this position is an unbiblical one and should be avoided in all biblical and confessional churches for the following reasons:

First, women deacons violate 1 Timothy 2:12 and the biblical teaching of “office.” The biblical office of deacon was instituted primarily to distribute to the poor widows in the church. This was done so that the apostles, and later the pastors and elders, would be able to give themselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:1-7). The initial founding principle of the diaconate is seen as encompassing the temporal matters of the functioning of each local church. “The elders labor within the eternal realm and the deacons’ work concerns the physical realm.” is an old, yet true axiom. This does not mean there is no spirituality or godliness about them as they conduct their duties. Instead, with spiritual grace, deacons administer the business and practical affairs of the church. Deacons serve to relieve the pastors/elders of general tasks, when they are qualified and able to do so. They were not called to be a system of “checks and balances” for the pastors/elders, but to be “waiters on tables.” Continue Reading…

    woman preachersNote: All characters appearing in this post are fictitious.

    A married woman with two children, ages 9, 13 by the name of Brenda Maxwell is a prominent member of First Baptist Church Big in a large metropolitan area. She is a very gifted communicator with a vibrant, charismatic personality. For quite some time she had been contemplating how she could use her gifts of communication and connecting with people in a greater way in the church. One evening, she read a verse of scripture which says, “But every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven” (I Corinthians 11:5). As she was reading the passage in I Corinthians, she remembered that the prophetess Deborah was one of the Judges of Israel. She quickly turned to the Book of Judges and read, “Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment” (Judges 4:4-5). Brenda meditated upon the verses for a few days and came to the conclusion that God was speaking to her about starting a Sunday School class. She approached her husband Kevin with the idea, and he was predictably enthusiastic about the idea. He responded, “I know of no one who is a more gifted communicator, and people always respond so positively to you!” With that, she had her answer. God had told her to teach a Sunday School class in the church.  With her husband’s support, she requested a meeting with her pastor, a well-known man who had served in a number of high-profile positions in the Baptist denomination. When she told him about the task to which she believed God was calling her, he responded with great affirmation and excitement. He said, “I’ve known this was coming for a long time. I knew that the Lord was calling you to do something like that!” He continued, “The next Sunday School quarter starts in three weeks, and the teachers are already in place, however, I see no reason why we can’t go ahead and start the class next quarter.” He suggested that she begin by forming a class for women who were not currently attending Sunday School. Brenda Maxwell agreed, and was excited about her new assignment.  She told the pastor that she would like to do a study on the subject of spiritual gifts, and he agreed. She went home, began studying diligently, and contacted women who were not involved in a Sunday School class. Continue Reading…

      A Reading List For 2015

      January 7, 2015 — 1 Comment

      booksGene Veith said, “One thing, however is certain: Reading can never die out among Christians. This is because the whole Christian revelation centers around a Book.” Serious reading is a lost discipline.  There is no shortage of distractions to keep us from reading.  We can tweet, text, and email away our lives without giving any time to God and His Word or cultivating the discipline of reading good books.  Thoreau said, “Read the best books first or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”  The books on my 2015 reading list may not be the best books, but they are good books and I they will be a blessing to you. Continue Reading…

        David DockeryOn December 9, 2013, David Dockery, President of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee announced his intention to step down from the presidency and assume the role of chancellor (in an honorary role) no later than July 2014.  In his farewell address, Dockery said that he intends to participate more in the Manhattan Declaration project which purports to be a movement of Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians for life, marriage, and religious liberty.  Upon the issuance of the Manhattan Declaration, many religious leaders, including many high-profile Southern Baptists, were asked to sign the document.  Besides Dockery, other notable Southern Baptist signatories include Timothy George, Dean of the Beeson School of Divinity and, Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.  While it is no surprise that Dockery, George, and Moore signed the document, Southern Baptists may be surprised to learn that two SBC seminary presidents, Albert Mohler of Southern Seminary and Danny Akin of Southeastern Seminary also affixed their signatures to the Manhattan Declaration.  While the contributions of Dockery, Mohler, and Akin are appreciated, Southern Baptist are asking why their leaders continue to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers by signing documents such as the infamous Evangelicals and Catholics Together, and The Manhattan Declarationand participate with organizations such as the Evangelical Immigration Tablefunded by socialist financier George Soros. Continue Reading…

          Dr. Russell Moore

          Dr. Russell Moore

          In recent days, the term “family values” has taken a beating.  In response to the recent Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage, ERLC President Dr. Russell Moore wrote, “Regardless of what happens with marriage, the gospel doesn’t need “family values” to flourish. In fact, it often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it.”  This sparked a useful and friendly email exchange in which one of our elders, Paul Haines, addressed the topic with some of our young men.  With his permission, I have compiled his email correspondence into a post in which addresses some his concerns with Dr. Moore’s article.

          Paul Haines

          Paul Haines

          While there are some good things that Moore said, there are a couple of issues I have with Moore’s article. I will limit it currently to the “family values” issue, since this is what you sent to me.  While I do not believe that “Family Values” is the gospel by any stretch of the imagination, “Family Values” are very important and should not be downplayed.

          Continue Reading…

            The article below is written by Bro. Earl Blackburn, Senior Pastor at Heritage Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana.

            Bro. Earl is the author of Covenant Theology: A Baptist DistinctiveJesus Loves the Church and So Should You, John Chrysostom, contributed to the book Denominations or Associations, and numerous periodicals including The Founder’s Journal, Reformation Today, and Banner of Truth, and has authored several booklets published by Reformed Baptist Publications including Covenant Theology: A Reformed Baptist Overview, Unconditional Election, Why You Should Join A Church, and Which Church Should You Join.

            A slightly edited version of this article is scheduled to appear in the March 14 edition of the Baptist MessageIt is posted here, by permission, in its entirety.

            Continue Reading…

              In 2005, Dr. Joe Aguillard was named the eighth president of Louisiana College (LC).  In his eight years at LC, a football team has been reestablished, a football stadium has been built, and graduate programs have been established including what many consider to the be the crown jewel of Louisiana College, the Caskey School of Divinity.  Established in 2010, the Caskey School allows men preparing for the ministry the opportunity to obtain a world-class theological education at no cost to the student.  Indeed, Louisiana Baptists are thankful that a once-proud institution that had fallen into the hands of theological liberals has reestablished her conservative and biblical theological underpinnings.  However, this God-ordained prosperity is now threatened by an untimely and unnecessary division.

              Continue Reading…