In all institutions that the LORD set up there are roles and responsibilities that are orchestrated and structured based off of God’s perfect plan and care for His elect. As such the topic of roles in the Church, such as the elder and deacon/deaconess, as well as the structure of these roles are import to the Church. There is debate on both the offices and structure, but these debates are warranted as there are major concerns when God’s structure is ignored, or deemed culturally irrelevant.
The role of the deacon/deaconess is a great responsibility and blessing. The heart of the deacon/deaconess is a heart of service. Those who take this role seek to serve God and His people. They serve as a great reminder of the heart of Jesus Christ “who came not to be served, but to serve”. Therefore according to Scripture we see that the role of the deacon/deaconess is a role of service (Acts 6:1-7).
Deacons are introduced in Acts 6 in the choosing of the seven. Burge notes this concerning deacons in the first century: “Luke’s intimate knowledge of Paul’s church organization and his extended interest in this passage no doubt suggest that he is here introducing what was for Paul an important office”. In the New Testament only Paul discusses the requirements of the deacon/deaconess. Burge notes “Romans 16:1” and “1 Timothy 3:11”and states “women served actively as deacons”  These Scriptures mentioned are why most Churches agree; there is a place for women in the ministry of deaconess.
The next role in the Church is that of the elder. Throughout Scripture the role of the elder has been demonstrated. One occurrence in the Old Testament is when Jethro encouraged Moses to “appoint godly men to judge the people”. Dr. Wallace notes this regarding the elders in the Old Testament “They later administer local government and have a hand in national affairs even after the institution of the monarchy.”
In the New Testament we are given two qualification regarding elders by the Apostle Paul. These qualifications are given to Timothy and Titus. A lot of debate surfaces on the issue of the qualifications, and one question that has to be answered is, did Paul intend women to serve as elders? Of the many debates in ecclesiology, this is probably the greatest.
Egalitarians will stand in support of women in all roles of ministry. Roger Nicole points out a supposed contradiction of Paul; “1 Corinthians 14:33-36: This passage has often been construed as forbidding women to speak in the public gathering of the church. This understanding would put the passage in direct contradiction with 11:5, 13”. Nicole also notes that Christ did not appoint women to apostles for the following:
It is true that our Lord appointed only males as his apostles, but this does not necessarily represent a discrimination, since the ministry of the apostles needed to be readily received and for that purpose the attitude of some of those to whom it would be addressed needed to be considered.
This brings up the argument of culture that many egalitarians argue is the reason why Paul forbade women to “teach or usurp authority over a man”. Dr. Hoggard-Creegan argues “…the Great Commission was given without distinctions of gender.” The final argument used in support of this position is Galatians 3:28 and how “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
These are valid arguments, but complementarianism has Biblical responses to these arguments. First, 1 Corinthians 11 the context is general council and not related to the gathering of the Church. Chapter 14 however, references the public gathering of the Church. In relation to the culture argument: When it comes to the explanation that Paul gives he does not reference culture, but creation. Finally, Galatians 3 has a specific focus of sanctification. Paul is not addressing the structure of roles, but a doctrinal concern. These are just some of the responses and reasoning in support of complementarianism.
In conclusion, the theology of complementarianism continues to show the most Biblical support; however, this in no way discriminatory. When one considers the responsibility of a man to “love his wife as Christ loved the Church” and to “live with his wife in an understanding way” God desires a man to lift up his wife, and certainly God is a savior of both men and women. An important note that must also be made is in relation to the majority of denominations who have ordained women. Ordination of women has led to greater doctrinal concern such as questioning the inerrancy of Scripture, and the ordination of individuals who engage in sin contrary to Scripture.
Burge, Gary. "Deacon, Deaconess." In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 320.-21. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.
Hoggard-Creegan, Nicola. "Ordination of Women." In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 1286-89. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.
Nicole, Roger. "Biblical Concept of Woman." In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 1281-86. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.
Wallace, Ronald. "Elder." In Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed, edited by Walter A. Elwell, 369-70. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.
 Mark 10:45 New American Standard Bible
 Gary Burge, “Deacon, Deaconess,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 320.-21.
 1 Timothy 3:8-13
  Gary Burge, “Deacon, Deaconess,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 320.-21.
 Exodus 18:13-26
 Ronald Wallace, “Elder,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 369-70.
 1 Timothy 3:1-7
 Titus 1:5-9
 Roger Nicole, “Biblical Concept of Woman,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 1281-86.
 Ibid, 1283
 1 Timothy 2:11, New American Standard Bible
 Nicola Hoggard-Creegan, “Ordination of Women,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed., ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 1286-89.
 Ephesians 5:25, NASB
 1 Peter 3:7, NASB