Author Archives: Tim Archer

So what about deaconesses?

Several weeks ago, I wrote some summary posts of my views regarding women and worship. (I may have to make up a word to describe that topic; no matter what terms I use, I can think of objections to them) The last one was Women in the assembly of the church.

From that post, I had several people question what I said about deaconesses in the church. That merits some additional explanation from me. Let me try:

  • I wish the word deacon had never become common. It’s a transliteration of the word diakonos, but isn’t consistently used. Of 29 occurrences of diakonos in the New Testament, most translations use “deacon” for only 3 of them. That’s not helpful for our study.
      • Jesus used diakonos to refer to servants, exclusively as far as I can tell.
      • Paul used the word to refer to himself in 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 6:4; Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:23, 25. He used it to refer to Christ in Romans 15:8 and Galatians 2:17; he used it for the authorities in Romans 13:4. In other passages he uses it to refer to Tychicus, Epaphras, and Timothy as servants/ministers.
      • In Philippians 1:1 there is a reference to overseers (elders) and servants/ministers (deacons?).
      • 1 Timothy 3 seems to describe an official position in the church which is what we typically consider as deacons.
      • The use of diakonos to refer to Phoebe in Romans 16:1 is sometimes considered to be deaconess, sometimes minister, sometimes servant.
    • 1 Timothy 3:11, in the discussion about deacons, talks about “the women.” This could be deacons’ wives. This could be deaconesses. It is introduced by the same phrase as in 1 Timothy 3:8 “In the same way…”; that leads me to think this is a description of a position held by women as deaconesses.
    • We should remember that this role is a role of service. There is no indication that deacons “held authority” in any way. Some people point to the men in Acts 6, but it’s worth noting that the word diakonos is never used to describe these men.

    To be honest, most of our churches don’t know what to do with deacons, except take their picture and put it in the church directory. In some churches, deacons play the role of committee chairmen for the various committees in the church. (I do find it interesting that many will insist we have deacons, using 1 Timothy 3, but don’t see a need for a list of widows like we see in 1 Timothy 5)

    It’s interesting to note that the early church used men and women as servants (diakonos), ministering to the different genders accordingly. Male deacons tended to males, female deaconesses tended to females.

    All of this leads me to leave the door open to deaconesses. Share with me your thoughts!

Book distribution in Cuba, Part 5

I want to finish telling you about the last trip I took for Herald of Truth, a dream trip to Cuba. Though I’ve been to Cuba 33 times, this last trip was special.

The first four installments of this account are here:
Book distribution in Cuba, Part 1
Book distribution in Cuba, Part 2
Book distribution in Cuba, Part 3
Book distribution in Cuba, Part 4

After leaving Jiguaní, we headed for Palma Soriano, in the province of Santiago. We hit our first major rainstorm of the trip just as we pulled into town. We picked up one of the local Christians, Bryan Gonzalez, who helped us find the church building. We thought the storm would affect the crowd, but if it did, you couldn’t tell. The place was packed, with people standing outside. Everyone participated attentively during the presentation.

Bryan and his family accompanied us to Santiago. The rainstorm continued, and we discovered that there was a large fair going on in the main square downtown; because of this, we had to walk the last few blocks to our hotel.

The church in Santiago had requested permission to use a large concert hall (Sala Dolores) for Sunday’s event. The government approved the request. It was the first time the church in Santiago had been able to use a major public facility like this.

It was an amazing time. Christians from churches throughout the province gathered to fill the hall. The facility was constructed with choral music in mind, so the singing sounded fantastic. All in all, it was a wonderful capstone event for my trip to Cuba.

SPECIAL REQUEST: I’m not in the habit of asking for money on this blog, but I’m going to break that policy. We’d like to print and distribute more books in Cuba. The churches were very encouraged by what we did, and other congregations are clamoring for us to visit them and hold similar events. If you could give to Herald of Truth and mark your gift “Cuba Literature Distribution,” it would mean a lot to me and the Christians in Cuba. Thanks!

Book distribution in Cuba, Part 4

Last month, I got to make a special trip to Cuba. It was my 33rd time there, but the first time that I got to visit churches in many of the central and eastern provinces. Working with our Herald of Truth representative in Cuba, Tony Fernández, I was able to print and distribute 2000 copies of the Lea La Biblia (Read The Bible) book I published last year. It was an exciting trip for me, one that Tony and I have dreamed of for years.

I told you last time of our visits to the provinces of Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, and Las Tunas. From Las Tunas, we traveled to Holguín. Several congregations had gathered in the home of Alexander, one of the preachers. I had flown into the airport in Holguín several years ago, but had never visited the city nor the churches that meet there.

From there we continued on to the province of Granma. That had special significance for me. After 13 years, I’ve finally visited all of the provinces of Cuba. I dearly love the people of that island and have been blessed by so many of them.

We went to Bayamo, the capital city of the province. The church of Christ there is very small, so the preacher asked a local Pentecostal church to loan them their building. That church also invited its members to come to the event, and other churches of Christ from the province traveled in for the event, so we had a combined crowd of about 300. They had people in the balcony and standing on the sidewalk outside.

We had some singing before I spoke; let’s just say it was livelier than what you’d experience at most churches of Christ! The teaching time went very well, and everyone seemed to appreciate receiving the books.

The next morning we traveled to the small town of Jiguaní. This church at one time received support from the United States, but has been on its own for a while. They would love to have visits again, whether or not people can bring funds. It’s a small church in a rural area, faithfully serving God.

There was a large group of kids, so Tony took them aside for a class so that the adults could study.

There were several baptisms afterwards. It was the first time I’d seen a constructed vertical baptistery. I’ve seen people use barrels, but this one was made from cement.

It was a really encouraging morning.

I’ve got two more stops to tell you about, but I’ll leave off here for now. Thanks for reading!

SPECIAL REQUEST: I’m not in the habit of asking for money on this blog, but I’m going to break that policy. We’d like to print and distribute more books in Cuba. The churches were very encouraged by what we did, and other congregations are clamoring for us to visit them and hold similar events. If you could give to Herald of Truth and mark your gift “Cuba Literature Distribution,” it would mean a lot to me and the Christians in Cuba. Thanks!

Book distribution in Cuba, Part 3

I want to continue to tell you about my last Herald of Truth trip to Cuba, where I traveled with Tony Fernández across the interior of the island, encouraging churches and distributing copies of the Lea La Biblia book I published earlier this year.

I last told you about being with the church in Sancti Spiritus. From there we traveled to Guayacanes (Ciego de Ávila province), where we met with a small church in a rural setting. Kadir Munguía has worked with this little congregation for a number of years. Again, it’s not easy to get much of a group out on a weekday morning, but we had a pretty good gathering nonetheless.


We then traveled on into the city of Ciego de Ávila, where Kadir and his brother Guillermo work with the main congregation in that town. Like in most places, Christians from several places came in for the event. There were several baptisms afterwards.

The next morning we traveled to Camagüey, where Laudino Cruz preaches. The place was already full with members from several congregations, when Laudino commented that there were two more buses coming! We didn’t realize they also had an upstairs area where they put people. Afterwards, there were a couple of baptisms.

That evening we were with the church in Las Tunas. This congregation has had a hard time, with the leading preacher leaving the faith a few years ago, later being killed in a traffic accident. This man’s family has continued to work with the church, building the congregation back up after the tragedy. It was good to be with them.

There’s more to tell, it was quite a trip. But that’s enough for today.
SPECIAL REQUEST: I’m not in the habit of asking for money on this blog, but I’m going to break that policy. We’d like to print and distribute more books in Cuba. The churches were very encouraged by what we did, and other congregations are clamoring for us to visit them and hold similar events. If you could give to Herald of Truth and mark your gift “Cuba Literature Distribution,” it would mean a lot to me and the Christians in Cuba. Thanks!

Links To Go (December 2, 2019)

U.S. Adults See Evangelicals Through a Political Lens

Barna asked respondents to identify adjectives they might use to describe the evangelical community in general. The most commonly selected terms relate to the group’s conservatism—primarily as “religiously conservative” (37% of all U.S. adults select this term) and “politically conservative” (27%).


ICE arrests 90 more foreign students at fake university created by DHS in Michigan

The students had arrived legally in the U.S. on student visas, but since the University of Farmington was later revealed to be a creation of federal agents, they lost their immigration status after it was shut down in January. The school was staffed with undercover agents posing as university officials.


U.S. Public Views on Climate and Energy

A majority of U.S. adults say they are taking at least some specific action in their daily lives to protect the environment, though Democrats and Republicans remain at ideological odds over the causes of climate change and the effects of policies to address it, according to the survey of 3,627 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 1 to Oct. 13, 2019, using the Center’s American Trends Panel.


Why Apocalyptic Claims About Climate Change Are Wrong

Journalists and activists alike have an obligation to describe environmental problems honestly and accurately, even if they fear doing so will reduce their news value or salience with the public. There is good evidence that the catastrophist framing of climate change is self-defeating because it alienates and polarizes many people. And exaggerating climate change risks distracting us from other important issues including ones we might have more near-term control over.


That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It

Effective disinformation is embedded in an account you agree with. The professionals don’t push you away, they pull you toward them. While tweeting uplifting messages about Warrick Dunn’s real-life charity work, Tyra, and several accounts we associated with her, also distributed messages consistent with past Russian disinformation. Importantly, they highlighted issues of race and gender inequality. A tweet about Brock Turner’s Stanford rape case received 15,000 likes. Another about police targeting black citizens in Las Vegas was liked more than 100,000 times. Here is what makes disinformation so difficult to discuss: while these tweets point to valid issues of concern — issues that have been central to important social movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo — they are framed to serve Russia’s interests in undermining Americans’ trust in our institutions.


Hard Rock Hotel Collapse Victim Deported

Mr. Ramirez Palma then became a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the developers of the project, accusing them of negligence and using substandard materials to hold up the concrete in the building. But now, he’s been deported back to his native Honduras — with the case still ongoing. Not only would this hamper the investigation into the Hard Rock collapse, but immigration advocates and labor lawyers said this could also have a serious effect on immigrant workers who encounter safety violations. They’d be less likely to speak up, even though they should be protected under OSHA. All workers, regardless of their immigration status, are protected for claiming their rights under federal labor law.


Glass half-full: how I learned to be an optimist in a week

But accidental optimism is not one of the known dangers of pessimism, a list that does include career impairment, poor health and early death. Optimism, by contrast, is associated with better sleep and lower levels of cardiovascular disease. One study this year claimed that people who describe themselves as optimists had 35% fewer strokes than those who didn’t. Another, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science last summer, found that compared with pessimists, the most optimistic subjects lived 11-15% longer lives on average.


Sophomore Texas football player gives senior teammate TD in last game

This video shows UTPB outside linebacker John O’Kelley on his way to making a touchdown when he sees senior linebacker Chris Hoad running nearby during the Senior Day game against Texas A&M Kingsville at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa, Texas. O’Kelley gives the ball to Hoad, along with the chance to score a touchdown in the season’s last game.


This powerlifting 82-year-old made an intruder regret breaking into her home

As Murphy tells it, she used a barrage of household items to attack the intruder, beginning with her own table. “I took that table and I went to working on him,” she said. “And guess what? The table broke.” Unphased, Murphy said, she used the metal legs of the table to keep hitting him. After jumping on him a couple times, Murphy ran to the kitchen, grabbed a bottle of baby shampoo and squirted it on the man’s face as he tried to get up.