This is a fascinating article, with a fresh ‘take’ on the genesis of the diaconate, and a strong emphasis on the exodus as parallelled, patterned and transformed by the church in Acts.

With the choice of the Seven, it is not only the diaconate but ordained ministry that is coming into being before our eyes, inviting us to consider this episode not only as a window onto the diaconate but onto Christian ordination as such. This would explain why Luke shows not the slightest interest in how the Seven go about dealing with food. His attention is focused on how Stephen, “full of grace and power, did great wonders among the people” (6:8). After Stephen’s martyrdom, he directs his attention to another one of the Seven, Philip, a great evangelist, healer, and catechist (8:2–40). His mission to the hated Samaritans and his baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch (probably a Jew but unclean by virtue of his castration) pave the way for the church’s oncoming embrace of Gentiles. Both Stephen and Philip are living out the agenda they were set apart for.  Stephen calls the church back into exodus mode; Philip is constantly moving from one wilderness road to another, proclaiming the good news to outcasts and strangers as he goes. We are not to imagine this agenda as theirs alone. It is the agenda of a church that has come to terms with its own need to be chastened, reimagined, and thrust out onto new paths. Together, Stephen and Philip exemplify the fundamental purpose of ordained ministry. As agents of the people they are to keep the people on track.

The whole paper is here:  Exodus from Privilege: Reflections on the Diaconate in Acts:


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