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Diakonia StudiesCritical Issues in Ministry$
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John N. Collins

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367573

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199367573.001.0001

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Ministry as Office

Ministry as Office

(p.113) 7 Ministry as Office
Diakonia Studies

John N. Collins

Oxford University Press

In centuries following the Reformation, debate turned on what offices the church needs. In the last fifty years, debate shifted dramatically. Discourse turned from debating types of office to questioning whether office was an essential component of the church. Critical here were new estimations of what ministry/diakonia contributed to understanding how the church works. Historically ignored as a foundational concept, ministry as diakonia had emerged as a versatile term coined by early Christians to depict ecclesial services within the scope of any baptized person. Enshrined in ecumenism’s last major statement on ministry (Faith and Order, Montreal 1963), the concept reads Ephesians 4:12 as equipping the saints “for the work of ministry/diakonia” (NRSV), alternatively “for works of service” (NIV). The Reformers understood: “for the work of the office [Ampts]” (Luther 1545). Today’s re-interpretation of diakonia demands the latter sense in this context of proclamation of the word.

Keywords:   diakonia, ministry, office, ecumenism, hierarchy

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