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All Articles For The History of the Diaconate

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. In the last article we contended that Reformed churches have done more than the Romish, Anglican, Lutheran, and Baptist churches to restore the diaconate to its rightful place in the church. This the Reformed churches could do because they understood that Scripture requires the church to have the office of deacon in her midst, and requires that the work of the office be that of caring for the poor and needy. We will support our contention further by examining more closely the place of the diaconate in...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. A historical survey of the office of the diaconate will demonstrate that the fundamental work of the deacon is to care for the church’s poor and that the proper functioning of the office has been neglected since its institution. Demonstrating this will set the stage for a more thorough discussion of the nature and work of the office. In this article we begin such a survey by examining the institution of the office in the early New Testament church. The diaconate as we know it today was...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. In previous articles we set forth two main principles governing our view of the diaconate. First, we argued that a scriptural view of the office of deacon places it on a par with the offices of pastor and elder. Second, by examining the institution of the diaconate, we saw that the fundamental work of the deacon is to care for the poor of the church. Although the church abided by these principles for a time, she gradually abandoned both. By the Middle Ages, the church’s government had...

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Rev. Kuiper is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Byron Center, Michigan. We have seen that the office of deacon as instituted in the New Testament church fell into disgrace during the Middle Ages, when it was considered inferior to the priesthood, and when the deacon was assigned liturgical, pastoral, and administrative duties, but not the care of the poor. Out of the Reformation came new branches of churches — Reformed, Lutheran, Anabaptist, and Anglican. Each had its own view of church government, and consequently its own view of the place and work of the diaconate. By a general...

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