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Tom
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Divorce #55859
Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:20 PM
Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:20 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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I have question related to a divorced pastor.
Doss a wife who divorces her husband who is a pastor, disqualify him from being a pastor?
Many people say that regardless of if the pastor is the innocent party and has been faithful to his wife, the divorce automatically disqualified him.

Tom

Last edited by Tom; Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:22 PM.
Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55862
Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:45 PM
Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:45 PM
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If the pastor is the innocent party, i.e. whether he or she sues for divorce, then the pastor is free to marry. If the pastor sues for divorce on biblical grounds, i.e., adultery and/or desertion, then he is free to marry.

See here:
Divorce and Remarriage by John Murray
Split Asunder: Divorce and Remarriage Scripturally Explained by Craig W. Booth

FYI, there have been a few discussions of this subject previously on this Board, even initiated by you. grin


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Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55863
Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:58 PM
Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:58 PM
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In the particular case I am talking about it does not involve remarriage, mainly because the pastor believes as long as his ex-wife is alive. He will not remarry.
My question had more to do with if he is still qualified to be a pastor?
Those that say he is unqualified say he can no longer lead his own household properly, so obviously he can not lead a Church.
Sadly, this caused a big Church split because he refused to step down as pastor.
Tom

Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55864
Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:01 PM
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In I Timothy 3:7 in the NKJV it reads " Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. "
I believe this sets the pastor in question in a precarious situation, for though he may be not guilty of anything, his reputation to those outside the church could be questioned, which sets him up for possible scandalous lies, thus marring his reputation. In Titus 1:6, it says " if a man is blameless " . In the church, a pastor must be blameless, not perfect, but one who a scandal cannot erupt, even though he is again not guilty. Satan unfortunately gains a victory by the wife choosing to divorce her husband. His character is questioned and negative results are often the result in this sinful world in which we live in. In the best of churches there are tares, who given the opportunity to start questioning the pastor, can persuade even the true believers. Such an unfortunate situation.

Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55868
Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:48 PM
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I was asked to write a paper on this nasty subject years ago. I am indebted to both Murray and Booth as well as other sources I consulted. But, my deepest indebtedness is to the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of Scripture to which I am bound. I've attached the paper as a .pdf file since I included the Greek text where necessary.

Attached Files-Click on Image to view full size.

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Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55870
Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:42 PM
Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:42 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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Let me know if I understand what you said properly.
An elder is to be above reproach; but this means not perfect but respected by his biblical standards (my wording).
Could this mean that despite his biblical standards, he could become disqualified from being an elder, if his wife divorces him?
In the case I was talking about it appears because there ended up being a Church split, that he had lost the respect of the many in the local Church and when he refused to quit his pastoral position it caused a Church split.

Tom

Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55871
Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:17 AM
Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:17 AM
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Tom, who are you responding to? me or Rick?


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Re: Divorce [Re: Rick Bates] #55872
Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:42 AM
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So, if I understand you correctly... a pastor whose wife divorces him on unbiblical grounds, thus he being the innocent party, should forsake his calling to the ministry on the possibility that unbelievers outside the assembly might gossip and smear his character and reputation? IF that is what you are suggesting, then going by that policy, all of the Apostles should have packed it in and become hermits living out in the wilderness somewhere. Where in Scripture is the Church and its members to regulate their lives according to the philosophies of the world (cf. Jh 15:19; Col 2:20; et al). The TRUTH according to God's divinely inspired written revelation is what counts and what determines how we are to think, believe and do; not what the God-hating world thinks (cf. Isa 5:20,21; Prov 17:15; Lk 16:15; et al). IF an elder has committed some sin which would question his character and/or ability to serve in that high office, then he should definitely confess that sin(s) and consult with his fellow elders whether he should leave. And finally, he should allow the congregation to speak to the issue as well and express their thoughts. Frivolous and unsubstantiated charges are no grounds to discipline nor remove and elder (cf. Deut 19:15; 1Tim 5:17-19). Whatcha think? scratchchin grin


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Re: Divorce [Re: Pilgrim] #55873
Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:38 PM
Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:38 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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I think you answered my question with your response to Rick.
The only thing I wonder is, seeing the Church split over the issue, I wonder if he should have stated their pastor.

Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55874
Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom
The only thing I wonder is, seeing the Church split over the issue, I wonder if he should have stated their pastor.

Meaning of "I wonder if he should have stated their pastor"?

Hopefully, there was some serious discussions among the members with Bibles open concerning this pastor, the innocent party (assumed on my part). Divisions will always occur in the visible church until the Lord returns. They are always painful for all parties, but God has sovereignly brought them about in His infinite wisdom for His glory and the sanctification of His own.


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Re: Divorce [Re: Pilgrim] #55875
Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:00 PM
Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:00 PM
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Tom Offline OP
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Oops, sorry Pilgrim. I should have been wearing my glasses. I meant "stayed", not "stated".
I guess, because I am not privy to all the circumstances, I can only rely on the information that was revealed. One thing I know from being a Christian for 40 years, is in almost every Church I have attended for a while. Sooner or later, controversy happens. When that happens, differences of opinion happen on even the meaning of applicable passages are not agreed upon.

Even in the Church I attend, about 8 years ago controversy happened within a year after my pastor became pastor.
He originally accepted the call from the Church, because of its solid Calvinistic Baptist statement of faith. Yet, it did not take long, for him to find out that out of the four elders. Two were Calvinists and two were Arminian. I am told, that the elder meetings were very lively. My pastor is an expository preacher, and it became obvious he was a Calvinist and it did not sit well among many. To make a long story short the Arminian elders eventually left and many members followed. The Church is now almost 100% Calvinist and the elders are leading the Church more and more towards Refomed Baptist Theology. They even changed the name to Providence Baptist Church. Lol

I hope you understand, why I mention this?

Tom


Last edited by Tom; Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:51 PM.
Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55877
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:44 PM
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:44 PM
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In reply,
I quote John Calvin from his commentary on I Timothy 3:7, " A good report from those who are without. This appears to be very difficult, that a religious man should have, as witnesses of his integrity, infidels themselves, who are furiously mad to tell lies against us. But the apostle means, that, so far as relates to external behavior, even unbelievers themselves shall be constrained to acknowledge him to be a good man; for, although they groundlessly slander all the children of God, yet they cannot pronounce him to be a wicked man, who leads a good and inoffensive life amongst them. " This along with John MacArthur in the footnote of his study bible says on this verse and I quote, " good testimony...outside. A leader in the church must have an unimpeachable reputation in the unbelieving community, even though people there may disagree with his moral and theological stands. How can he make a spiritual impact on those who do not respect him? " Again, I refer to Titus 1:6 where it says, " If a man is blameless " which refers to within the church. Bottom line, a man without question marks surrounding his life can be instated as a pastor. His wife divorced the pastor in question and thus puts questions in people's minds, both outside the church and inside the church. The man is no longer of a blameless character, for people are to wonder about his home life, seeing he is now divorced. This sets up a wondering of his character and thus disqualifies him and he should voluntarily step down or the remaining elders should ask him to step down, for then when another man is put in his place, that said man shall be of blameless quality to the outside and inside of the church, decently and in order. All things must, for God has commanded in I Corinthians 14:40 " Let all things be done decently and in order. " The church belongs to God, with Christ being it chief Shephard. The image God wants portrayed from a local church is that it is not marring His image in any way. " For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, " Malachi 2:16 A . Having a divorced man as a pastor mars God's holy image and this should not be allowed to mar the God given spiritual calling of being a pastor.
To God alone be the glory, Rick Bates

Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55878
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:38 PM
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Pilgrim and Tom,
God's holiness and glory as seen displayed in the church is of great importance and leaning to the side of caution in a case like this must be handled so God is MOST glorified. Sola Scriptura, Rick

Re: Divorce [Re: Rick Bates] #55879
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:38 PM
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Sorry to say that I strongly disagree with your application of Calvin's comments, to which I heartily agree.

Originally Posted by Rick
Bottom line, a man without question marks surrounding his life can be instated as a pastor. His wife divorced the pastor in question and thus puts questions in people's minds, both outside the church and inside the church. The man is no longer of a blameless character, for people are to wonder about his home life, seeing he is now divorced.

The problem here is that Christ finds no "blame" upon such a man and clearly states that he/she may (permission to) remarry. There is most definitely no smudge upon his character. That the unbelieving world may and often does find fault with the people of God where there is no fault to be found does not have any bearing upon how a man may serve in the Church. Christ Himself was constantly besmirched by the leaders and commoners both, but that certainly did not disqualify Him from being the Messiah and Savior of those the Father gave to Him. Do you think it is not to "mar God's Holy image" when an innocent party is wrongly punished or more so when a man who has been called by the Spirit to serve the Lord and His called out ones is denied that calling and whose character is assassinated by gossip both without and within the Church? Such a man is 'protected' by the Ninth Commandment no less than ANY man, and woe unto them who speak lies about the man and likewise, double woe unto them who lend their ear to such lies, and triple woe unto them who act wrongly toward the victim of such lies. What sin is such a man as described as the innocent party guilty of that he should be looked down upon and asked to resign his position which God the Spirit called him? Both Christ and Paul spoke/wrote specifically concerning marriage and divorce. Taking statements which speak to general decorum of things within the Church and the unbelieving world cannot be used hermeneutically to justify one making them superior to the didactic texts on this particular subject.

Quote
2 Timothy 2:15-16 (ASV) 15 Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth. 16 But shun profane babblings: for they will proceed further in ungodliness,...


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Re: Divorce [Re: Tom] #55880
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:54 PM
Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:54 PM
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I heartily agree with Calvin's comments on I Timothy 3:7 and they are not misapplied in any way. God's word gives the qualifications of an pastor and if they are not 100 % adhered to then the man in question must step down. Nothing was ever said by Tom about remarriage nor is that even the issue here. What matters is if the man is 100% qualified in the church and yes even outside the church to remain as pastor and woe is unto the person who goes against God's word. God hates divorce and to have a man being a pastor and divorced while in this office unqualifies him. The qualifications are given by God and He through His word has the final say.

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