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Question #162

Is it scriptural for a woman to lead a song or serve communion?

I would really appreciate if you could answer these questions for me. 1) Which office was established first, Elders or Deacons? 2) It is scriptural for a Woman to lead a song service during the worship service or serve on the communion table? Thanks.

The Answer:

You are referred to Questions 22, 40, 41, 44, 49, 54, 65, 90, and 116, each of which deals with some aspect of the role of women in the church, particularly the role of women in the worship assembly. Additionally, you are referred to Class: Questions, Lesson 4, The Role of Women in the Church. The answer to the first half of this question will be found in those documents.

The second question deals with whether elders or deacons were appointed first in the New Testament church. The Bible does not say. Many consider the men appointed to serve in Acts 6 to have been the first deacons, though they are never so called. While we do know that there were elders in Judea and Jerusalem (Acts 11:30; Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22-23; 16:4), but we are not told when they were appointed, except to say that they were appointed before the meeting in Jerusalem to discuss the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles.

The timing of the appointment is of little significance unless there is an issue about whether a congregation can have deacons if it has no elders. There is nothing in the scripture that would prohibit it. They are separate functions; they have different qualifications. There is no Biblical reason that you cannot have one without the other. In fact, almost any congregation will need those who perform the duties of deacons. If men are qualified they should be appointed. The lack of qualified elders does not preclude it. The scripture does teach that one who serves well as a deacon may in that service grow into a qualified elder. “13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:13.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)