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Deacons and the Church: Making Connections Between Old and New [Paperback]

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Item Number 49685  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   168
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.54" Width: 5.44" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2003
ISBN  0819219339  
EAN  9780819219336  

Availability  78 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 05:12.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
John Collins, author of the ground-breaking study Diakonia, explores the pastoral implications of a new scholarly understanding of the role of deacons in the Early Church. In many churches today -- Catholic, Anglican, and others -- deacons have come to serve largely as servants of the poor and needy. In Deacons and the Church, Collins argues that this limited role for deacons was based on misinterpretations of key scriptural passages. Following the history of deacons in the Early Church to modern times, Collins offers extensive reflections on the relevant Scriptures, and suggests that we redefine the role of deacons for today. Rather than limit the role of deacons, he urges the church to adapt ancient meanings to modern pastoral situations. In the words of Ignatius of Antioch, whom he quotes in the final chapter, "Deacons are not providers of bread and drink but are agents of the congregation."

Collins paints a rich picture of deacons as agents of the church, ordained to the service of the bishop, who sends them forth as ministers of the church as a whole, rather than simply social workers. Collins provides an understanding of deacons that embraces social welfare but is not bound by it.

Community Description
Written for deacons of all denominations, this book has implications for the whole church as the issues it raises go beyond the diaconate and touch on the nature of the church itself, on its ministry and its use of the scriptures. It is essential reading for bishops and members of synods with responsibilities for deacons as well as for those who develop or deliver programmes for deacons, for those who might be considering becoming a deacon and for all those who like to be informed about what is going on in the church today.

Please Note, Community Descriptions and notes are submitted by our shoppers, and are not guaranteed for accuracy.

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More About John N. Collins

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Collins is one of the foremost experts in the study of the diaconate,and the author of the classic text,Diakonia,as well as many articles on the subject.

John N. Collins was born in 1931 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Loreto Mandeville Hall, Melbourne Yarra Theological Union Loreto Mande.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Interesting, but misses a key point  Mar 8, 2006
In this book, Collins seeks to redefine "diakonia" more in terms of "agency" than "service" based on what the word meant in Greek culture. He seeks to expand the understanding beyond social service but he seems to end up stressing more the role of deacons as church people (including but not limited to liturgy) swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction (away from deacons as social workers). A better balance is needed but I found his starting point to be flawed.

While I found his observations from Greek culture interesting, I remain unconvinced of his exegesis of Matthew 25 and other passages. He makes alot of what Luke would have understood "diakonia" to mean in the Greek culture, but, after all, Jesus did not speak these words originally in Greek to his disciples but in Aramaic and Matthew, Mark, and John, in writing in Greek were seeking to translate a Jewish and Aramaic idea about service into a Greek word that may not have meant exactly the same thing to Greeks as the Aramaic word meant to Jews. Paul does the same thing in using gnostic words but reinterpretting them and giving them new meaing in a Christian context. There is no reason to think that Luke did not do the same.

After all Jesus came among us as "one who serves" and demonstrated that in all his life and explicitly to the disciples in the example of washing their feet while they were busy arguing who was the greatest among them. It is more important to me to understand what Jesus meant by "service" (translated into Greek as diakonia) than how Greek writers understood the word diakonia in other contexts outside the Church. I don't think Collins addressed that here.
Finding one's way...  Jun 14, 2005
For those who wish to understand the role of deacons in the church context as a whole, this book is a real gift. It is first written to those who are deacons in the church (and author John Collins makes it clear from the outset that this could be in any denomination, not just Anglo-Catholic ones, although the bias toward a more liturgical tradition does creep in regularly), but it is also written with a more general reader in mind, those with a concern to understand and assist the church in more effective and orderly ministry.

This is a relatively short book, done in four chapters, which begin and end with examining the present situation, and traveling in the analytical narrative through the beginnings of the church back toward the present. In the first chapter, Collins looks at the give-and-take in the history of the diaconate both in Protestant and Catholic terms. While the diaconate has often been a recognised order, for many church structures was a phase or transition point from layperson to priest. Collins looks at the reinvigourated diaconal structures in Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant churches for their strengths and controversial points (the issue of direct ordination to the priesthood, for example, comes out of the difficulty of understanding the two-track diaconal system). Collins also looks with great care and extensive documentation the various ways in which the diaconate is discussed and understood by various church organisations.

The next two chapters look at the diakonia (roughly understood as the combination of both the role and the function of deacons) both in context of gospel narratives of Jesus' work as well as the early church (up until the fourth century or so). Gospel stories look at the diakonia in many ways - from the perspective of call, service, love, mission, and more. The examples in the Acts of the Apostles as well as the Epistles show some early traditions as well as early difficulties with definition of the role of the deacon. The differing ways this office was played out across the early church in the world also leads to some controversies, but also shows some definite patterns, however fluid they might be.

Collins' final chapter appropriately ends with questions for consideration, setting the stage for continuing the various conversations taking place even now as to the role of deacons vis-ý-vis the ministry of all the baptised. Complete with a good list of references which includes early church documents, books and articles, this is a good reflection guide as well as a good study guide for those who might want to be deacons, those who are deacons looking to clarify their roles, and those who want to understand more about what it is deacons do (or are supposed to do).


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