ROSALIND BROWN: Theological Underpinnings of the Diaconate

Many deacons are helped and inspired by the brilliant Canon Rosalind Brown’s book ‘Being a Deacon Today’.  She is one of our leading theologians on the diaconate, and also attended the international conference on the diaconate in Canada this May, where she presented two papers.  I’m delighted to have her permission to publish them here.

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First up is her groundbreaking suggestion that the diaconate should look much more to Holy Spirit theology as its underpinning and inspiration.  In this paper she spells it out in more detail.

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I’ve highlighted some of the sections that struck me most.  Here’s a taster:

However, it seems that quite early on in the Church’s history Ignatius had to correct an undue narrowing of the ministry of deacons, saying that they are not primarily deacons of meats and drinks; that was subsumed into their primary, Christ-centred, Spirit-empowered proclamation of the good news in word and deed. So, in Acts 6, Stephen performed signs, wonders and prophetic proclamation and Philip was an evangelist (Acts 6.8-14, 8.26-40). This so destabilised the status quo that Stephen was martyred: as someone has commented, you are not martyred for serving food to elderly ladies. There was much more to their ministry than that and we should recover that perspective, as Ignatius did.

Read the whole document here:  Brown R. 1. Theological underpinnings of the diaconate. June 2018


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