Amidst all of the controversies that one can have in a Presbyterian or Reformed church, whether it be such issues as Federal Vision, intinction, days of creation, or New Perspective on Paul, another area of disagreement that I can think of is the 3 office vs 2 office vs 2.5 office view. In some cases, this issue has risen to the level of severe disagreement, but I don't know of any case where it has actually risen to the point of a full blown controversy (e.g. ministers getting censured etc...).
This issue is important from an ecclesiastical perspective, and while this tends to be an issue that affects church officers more so than the layman, this is still something that still has significant relevance to the layman both from a practical and a theological perspective. It may not be as obvious as to how this issue is relevant to all of the church body (both officers and laymen), but I will labor to show that it is.
This is a somewhat esoteric topic that I find very interesting, and I hope that through this study, you will too. I will divide this topic up into several different sections so that folks can follow along:
1) Defining the issue
2) Describing each view and its major tenets
3) Examining the biblical evidence
4) Examining the confessional evidence (mainly the Westminster confessions)
5) Examining the historical-theological evidence
6) Relating all of this to our present day context (specifically IRT the OPC, PCA, and URC).
7) Relevance to our piety and our everyday lives as Christians.
A lateral limit that I am going to set right now is that I will not be discussing the office of the deacon other than right now, and only to say that it is clear that it is a church office. We can get into particular discussions about whether or not women can be deacons (my conviction is that the answer is no) and other topics, but that will be for another blog series.
I will write Part 1 soon!