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Brother Beebe: — Will you give your views on I Timothy 3:11. The point of instruction more particularly desired is whether the wife of a deacon is required to be a visible member of the church, before the husband can lawfully hold the office of a deacon?

S. L. W.
Chrenshaw Co., Ala.
July 17, 1867.

Reply: - It would be very difficult at the present day for the church to find among her members those who in all respects come up to the gospel, or apostolic, standing in their qualifications for the office either of bishop or deacon; but in the organization of a gospel church, these marks and characteristics should be kept in view; and those who come nearest to the standard should be regarded as best qualified for either position. It is required also of all the members of a gospel church that they should in all respects be followers of God, as dear children; yet, we are not allowed to reject those who in their hearts feel to confess from day to day their shortcomings. The deacon in a church, as an assistant to the bishop, or elder, or pastor, in visiting the sick, ministering to the poor, and counseling the members, would be much assisted by the cooperation of a wife bearing the requisite qualifications named by the apostle. These may sometimes be defective even when the wife is a member of the church; but it is certain that she cannot assist him in the discharge of the duties of his station if she is not a member, and walking in the fellowship of the church. True, the apostle does not name membership among the indispensable requisites for a deacon’s wife, unless it be implied in her being faithful in all things.

We are not prepared to say that a brother, who is otherwise qualified, but has no wife, or whose wife is not a member of the church, if she be grave, sober, and not a slanderer, should be regarded as ineligible to the office; but it seems clear to us that where there are in the church brethren having wives that are also members, they should by all means be preferred. But where such members are not, the church should, under the circumstances, and for the time, or until those of better qualifications be brought in, allow such to hold the position.

Brother S. L. W. will understand the above to be but our view of the subject; every church should ask counsel of God in this matter, with fasting and prayer.

Middletown, N.Y.
September 15, 1867.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 7
Pages 78 – 79