BOOK REVIEWS · Leadership

MINISTER OF MERCY – Alexander Strauch (1992)

The man  who gifted the church with his work, Biblical Eldership delivers an equally impressive volume – Minister of Mercy.  The former title dealt with the office DEACONof elder; the latter deals with the office of deacon.

Part One – Dividing Up the Work: Word and Deed

The first section focuses on the necessity of dividing the work between elders and deacons.  Generally, elders minister in Word through a solid biblical teaching ministry.  Deacons on the other hand, minister in deed and offer assistance to needy and hurting people in the body of Christ.  Specifically, the job description of the deacon is surveyed.

Part Two – A Two-Office Church: Overseers and Deacons

Part two may be the most crucial part of the book.  The author clears up the misunderstanding that is typically associated with the office of overseer (elder) and the office of deacon.  A clear distinction is drawn between these two important New Testament offices.

Part Three – The Qualifications for Deacons

As such, the qualifications for the office of deacon are explained with exegetical precision.  Additionally, the deacon must be examined publically by the overseers and the congregation.  Finally, the qualifications for wives who assist their husbands is clearly articulated.

Part Four – The Importance of Deacons in the Church

The author alerts readers to the importance of this office by directing their attention to 1 Timothy 3:13, “For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”  In other words, the office of deacon serves as a place of influence and high honor in the local church.  Strauch adds, “Do not underestimate the potential influence the diaconate can have on the local church … Although deacons do not teach or govern the congregation, they can be spiritual giants who exercise bold faith.”

Alexander Straunch should be commended for writing such a practical and readable book.  This man has done his homework which is set forth in graciousness and humility.  A solid work that pastors should turn to again and again as they seek to raise up new deacons in the church.