Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mars Hill bylaws on select male deacons receiving licensure for sacerdotal functions by the executive elder team, just males?

For those familiar with the Reformed world it might easily spring to mind that there are a few churches out there that do not permit women to be deacons.  There are some that do, of course, but what is of note here with respect to the Mars Hill by-laws is that while Mars Hill has a history of having women serving as deacons the newer by-laws feature material Wenatchee The Hatchet has never noticed in earlier copies of by-laws.  The thing is this, that some male deacons may be licensed by the executive elder team to perform sacerdotal functions ... but not the women.  Why not?  Would the capacity to perform sacerdotal functions by those on paid staff differ in terms of tax benefits, for instance? 

Commentary so far on Mars Hill by-laws past and present has tended to focus chiefly on enumerated powers and protocols for discipline of members or elders for obvious and understandable reasons.  But this section from Article 10 introduces a bit of relatively recent Mars Hill governance that may not have been discussed at all.
Article 10
Section 10.4

Licensure to Perform Sacerdotal Functions: Certain male deacons who meet additional requirements may be determined by the executive elder team may be licensed to perform sacerdotal functions by the executive elder team, the specifics of such licensure to be determined on a case by case basis. Licensure may confer the authority to administer all ordinances of the Church and qualify the deacon to be a minister of the gospel for purposes of secular law. 

If any Mars Hill deacons past or, if exceptionally bold, present of any gender want to chime in on this?  Given that Mars Hill has a history of stating it is complementarian but that men and women can serve equally as deacons would the extension of licensure apply only to select male deacons because sacerdotal functions would be considered normally restricted to elders in terms of formal employed clergy?

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