Our elders lead, shepherd, and oversee the congregation and ministries of
Christ Reformed Baptist Fellowship.
Our elders lead, shepherd, and oversee the congregation and ministries of
Christ Reformed Baptist Fellowship.
Karl has pastored for over 30 years, and holds a B.A. from Samford University, a MDiv, and a ThM from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a PhD from Trinity Seminary. He and Sonja have been married for over 35 years, and they have one son, Justin and daughter in law, Callie. They are Grandpa and Grammy to Griffin Ray. Karl enjoys crusing with Sonja, reading the Puritans, and personally discipling others in their walk with Jesus. You can contact Karl at email@example.com
Michael is a retired public-school teacher. He earned a B.S. in education from Western Carolina University and a Masters in Counseling from North Carolina A&T. He has always felt that God called him to teach and set a positive example for young people. He married his childhood sweetheart, Phyllis Frye, and she has been a true help-mate and blessing in his ministry. Michael and Phyllis have three children, Zane (Joy), Meghan (Chad), Zachary (Jacinda), and two grandchildren, Olivia and Joseph.
Michael was ordained in May of 2016. He has used several opportunities to spread the Gospel. He and his wife have served in the Gideon organization, taught Sunday School classes to all ages, and worked on numerous mission trips. He loves to preach the Word and share the love of Christ. You can contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt holds a B.S. in Mgmt - Business Administration from UNC-Asheville, a Masters in Human Service - Counseling and Church Ministry from Liberty University, and currently holds a North Carolina Law Enforcement Certification through the Winston-Salem Police Department. Matt has been involved in active ministry for 20 years, as a volunteer and in various leadership roles. He and Mary Clark have been married for over 12 years, and have three children, Madison, Thomas and William. Matt enjoys watching, coaching, and participating in various sports and spending time outdoors. He has a passion for mentoring and discipling youth in their faith, and spending time with his family. You can contact Matt at email@example.com
Our Deacons model servanthood for the congregation. They assist the elders and serve the church through special ministries.
Elaine is retired, and wife to Steve, mom to Daniel (Jess) and Matt (Mary Clark), and grandmother to Madison, Thomas, William, Audrey, and Ella.
Elaine serves in the areas of fellowship and care.
Ryan is a police officer for Winston-Salem, and is husband to Jennifer, and dad to Dawson and Eva.
Ryan serves in the areas of logistics, greeting, and security.
John is retired, and is husband to Sarah, dad to John Jr. (Andrea), Jacob (Maria), and Jennifer (Ryan), and granddad to Dawson, Eva, Austin, Autumn, Ivan, Fatima, and Karina.
John serves in the areas of sound/AV and discipleship.
Sam is the president and owner of Ogburn Electrical Company, and is husband to Carol and dad to Max.
Sam serves in the areas of logistics and outreach.
Jerry is retired, and is the husband to Teresa, dad to Lee (Lydia) and Will, and granddad to Colin and Lawson.
Jerry serves in the areas of fellowship and care.
Chad works for Sonoco, and is husband to Meghan and dad to Olivia, Calvin, and Caitlyn.
Chad serves in the areas of sound/AV and property.
We at Christ Reformed Baptist Fellowship affirm our confession of faith which states; “The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain, and infallible standard of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience” (2LBC 1:1). Because our standard is the Scripture, and not tradition or culture, we believe the Scripture opens the office of deacon to women when the office is biblically understood and the church is biblically organized.
In the midst of Paul’s instructions to Timothy concerning the qualifications for deacons, the Apostle writes in 1 Timothy 3:11:
Women (gyne) likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things, . . . . (the word “their," found in some translations, is put in by translators; the genitive case is not found in the Greek text).
Bible versions differ concerning the translation of the passage, and commentators differ on the interpretation of the passage.
The crux of the matter is if the word for woman (gyne), should be translated as women or wives. This Greek word is regularly translated both as woman or wife, according to the context of the passage. In this passage, if Paul meant wives, then certainly he would be speaking of the wives of the deacons. But if he meant women, then he would be speaking to deacons who are women.
We believe Paul is speaking to women deacons here for the following reasons:
“I commend to you
our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may
welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever
she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as
Is Paul addressing Phoebe as a servant or as a deacon? The word for deacon and servant is the same word in the Greek language (diakonos), and this same word is used by Paul in 1 Timothy 3 and Philippians 1:1. Again, the context determines which word, servant or deacon, is translated from diakonos..
We believe the Apostle is using the title "Deacon" in Romans 16:1 because of the phrase, "of the church at Cenchreae." That phrase, when used in the rest of the New Testament and early Christian literature, always refers to a specific person in a official office.
Dr. Michael Svigel, at Dallas Theological Seminary, comments:
Paul describes Phoebe as a 'diakonos of the church at Cenchreae',' specifying her function as diakonos to that specific church. This may seem insignificant until we realize that whenever the Greek phrase "______ of the church" is used in the New Testament and the earliest Christian literature (where "_____" is a personal designation or title), the personal designation refers to an office, just not a generic function (Acts 20:17; Eph. 5:23; Ja. 5:14; Rev. 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14; Ignatius, Trallians 2.3; Philadelphians 5.1; Polycarp 1.1; Shepherd of Hermas, Vision, 2.2.6; 2.4.3.; 3.9.7.; Martyrdom of Polycarp 16.2; 10.2). Therefore, if Phoebe is merely a "helpful assistant of the church at Cenchreae in Romans 16:1, this is the only time the construction is used this way in the earliest Christian literature.1 (Emphasis mine)
It is without question that if a male name was used
by Paul, the translation would be “a deacon of the church at Cenchreae.” Since we believe Paul speaks to
female deacons in 1 Timothy 3, we see this as a confirmation of a female deacon
in a New Testament church.
We believe the Scripture opens the office of deacon to women when the office is biblically understood and the church is biblically organized.
Most Baptists have grown up in a church that has a board of deacons that served the congregation through ministries, but also assisted the pastor in overseeing ministries, and shepherding the congregation as a guiding “committee” through which issues were filtered and decisions made. In other words, the deacons served the church as both deacons and as de facto elders. Most would rightfully have trouble seeing women serve in that deacon polity.
At Christ Reformed Baptist Fellowship, we affirm the Scripture calls for a plurality of elders and a plurality of deacons in the local church. The elders, elected by the church, assist the lead elder (pastor) in shepherding the church, leading and feeding, and overseeing the ministries of the church.
The deacons, on the other hand, are servants of the church, ministering in areas of physical and practical need, so that the ministry of the Word and prayer will not be hindered, just as the first deacons in Acts 6:2:
And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.
Because God calls all Christians to be servants, and because biblically functioning deacons carry no ruling authority, we affirm women may serve as deacons.
Women have served as deacons throughout church history.
In A.D. 111 Pliny, Governor of Bithynia, reported arresting, and then interrogated under torture, two women who identified themselves as deaconesses.2 So we know at the turn of the First Century females serving as deacons in churches in areas founded by the Apostles.
Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, a guidebook for churches written in the Third Century, mentions deaconesses:
Let the deacons be in all things unspotted, as the bishop himself is to be, only more active; in number according to the largeness of the Church, that they may minister to the infirm as workmen that are not ashamed. And let the deaconess be diligent in taking care of the women;3
Ordain also a deaconess who is faithful and holy, for the ministrations towards women. For sometimes he cannot send a deacon, who is a man, to the women, on account of unbelievers. Thou shalt therefore send a woman, a deaconess, on account of the imaginations of the bad. For we stand in need of a woman, a deaconess, for many necessities; and first in the baptism of women…”4
John Calvin affirmed women deacons:
For deaconesses were appointed, not to soothe God by chantings or unintelligible murmurs, and spend the rest of their time in idleness; but to perform a public ministry of the Church toward the poor, and to labour with all zeal, assiduity, and diligence, in offices of charity.”5
Baptists and Female Deacons
Baptists from the very beginning have had female deacons.
John Symth’s church, the first church called a “Baptist” church in 1608 in Amsterdam, was organized with a pastor, elders, and deacons. Among the deacons were women, who were given a special ministry to women.
Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, and Baptist pastor in London in the 1800s wrote:
“Deaconesses, an office that most certainly was recognised in the apostolic churches” and “It would be a great mercy if God gave us the privilege of having many sons who all preached the gospel, and many daughters who were all eminent in the church as teachers, deaconesses, missionaries, and the like.”6
Among modern Baptists, John Piper, Mark Dever, and John MacArthur all affirm the Scriptural practice of female deacons.
As for Christ Reformed Baptist Fellowship, one of the foundation stones of our fellowship is Sola Scriptura; Scripture Alone. It would have been easier to go along with modern Baptist culture and limit the role of deacons to men. We understand that Baptists that grew up in Baptist churches in which deacons had ruling authority will think women deacons to be unscriptural. And in that polity, we would agree.
But we are bound to the Word of God. We believe the unscriptural position is the position of deacons having ruling authority. We find in the New Testament women serving as servants ministering among the New Testament congregations. Therefore, we allow our congregation to nominate and elect women into the office of deacon.
Again, we affirm women deacons when the office is biblically understood and the church is biblically organized.
Thanks to J.A. Medders, Why have Women Deacons, whose article was a great help.
2. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds., “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles,” in Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies, trans. James Donaldson, vol. 7, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 432.
3. Ibid, 431.
4. Ibid, 492.