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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.

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But if God intended to bring women into an office and function reserved solely for men for several centuries, one would expect clear warrant for it somewhere in the New Testament.

There is not a single instance in the entire history of the Christian church of women deacons who are of the same office and function as male deacons, until the 19th century.

The evidence will show that women deacons, whether ordained or not, were in a completely separate office from the male diaconate.

Since these questions are important, and since most of the material dealing with these issues is brief and somewhat superficial, I have endeavored to examine the historical evidence and the biblical passages used in the debate in greater detail. Stevenson was instrumental in convincing RPCNA elders and ministers that women should be ordained to the diaconate, by pointing to the example of the early church.

I hope and pray that this little book will help Bible-believing Reformed and Presbyterian pastors and elders have a better grasp of these issues. The authors of the OPC Minority Report [1] also use the example of the early church and Calvin's Geneva as reasons that women should be ordained as deacons.

Therefore, those in favor of opening the ordained diaconal office to women bear the burden of proof.