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The chazan of the synagogue had the care of the poor as a part only of his charge: the oversight of the fiscal affairs of the synagogue belonged to him.Such officers as the trustee or committee-man of modern days, were not known either in the order of the synagogue, or of the churches.Romans 16:1-2 and 1 Timothy are considered to be difficult passages.(And in fact are better interpreted in other ways, as we shall see.) If women were in an ordained office which was very similar to the diaconate in the old dispensation, the lack of clear warrant would not be so serious.In the synagogue was an officer who attended to the poor, had the oversight of the place of worship, and managed the finances.
Despise them not therefore, for they are your honoured ones, together with the prophets and teachers.
The scripture argument for committing all the ecclesiastical goods to deacons, may be briefly stated thus: Both under the Old and New Testament dispensations, the Bible contains frequent allusions to the funds devoted to ecclesiastical usesin all cases these were managed, until the canon of divine revelation was completed, by ordained officers, and such officers only; during the Old Testament dispensation by priests and Levites, during the new by deacons.
Nor does the Bible contain any account of officers distinct from these, and unordained, to whom the fiscal concerns of the church either were or might be committed. Any other officers for the management of church funds are of human invention, and where they exist, occupy a place which should be occupied by officers chosen and set apart for this service according to Christ's institution.
The officers in charge of managing the temple (Levites) and synagogue (chazanim) funds, and caring for the poor, were always men. Willson's description of the synagogue chazan shows that the New Testament office of deacon was probably patterned after the Jewish chazan.
The organization of the Jewish synagogue confirms the view just presented of the moral character of the principles imbodied in the constitution of the church, during the former dispensation, in regard to the management of fiscal concerns. M'Leod, "There were several officers in the Jewish synagogue, and these were authorized to conduct the public worship, preserve the order, and manage the finances of the congregation." This latter officer was the chazan or deacon of the synagogue: and in the words of Prideaux, "the chuzanim, that is, overseers, who were also fixed ministers, and under the rulers of the synagogue, had the charge and oversight of all things in it, kept the sacred books of the law, and the prophets, and other Holy Scriptures, as also the books of their public liturgies, and all other utensils belonging to the synagogue." The order of the synagogue was, as all presbyterians hold, the model of that of the church under the New Testament dispensation.
The fact that the push to ordain women as deacons occurred in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries after certain types of feminism became popular in our culture is very interesting.