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Anthony C.
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#2354 Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:33 PM
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For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. (Titus 1:5-6 NASB)

Hey all. I have a question. It is a debate that my father and I have on a regular basis and it is one on divorce or divorce and remarriage. I have not really found any previous topics that are what I am looking for, so here is my question.

I know that Jesus says,

I say therefore unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for whoredom, and marry another, committeth adultery...(Matthew 19:9 Geneva Bible)

But what about that minister who's wife is guilty of being unfaithful to him and the minister divorces her? Or that person who's wife was unfaithful and they got divorced and the man later got saved and was called to ministry? I know that Paul writes of ministers,

He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),
(1 Timothy 3:4-5 NASB)

So I guess what I am trying to say is can this man still be a minister for God biblically? Can he still stand in a pulpit and preach the word the same as an undivorced man? And let us assume this man never remarries.

#2355 Thu Apr 24, 2003 9:04 PM
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Depends!

Divorce and Remarriage by John Murray!

The Elder & Divorce

New, and somewhat related.

SPOUSAL ABUSE: GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE? by Prof. John M. Frame





Reformed and Always Reforming,
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I especially thought that second article, The Elder and Divorce, was a VERY great article and was 100% what I was looking for. Although, just for kicks, I'd like to hear some people's opinions on the matter. I am kinda at odds with my father over the issue. Personally, I do not think that divorce should be a bar to a man being a pastor. I think there are exceptions to that, such as a pastor walking out on his wife and living with another woman, but I also think that those exceptions are rare. It seems to me that most of the issues with divorce is just people want an excuse to be the one doing the punishing of someone for their sins. Like that article said,
"We should not disqualify the man if he was not blameless 15 years ago as an unconverted man. It could be he was a real “ladies man” and had a lifestyle of fornication. He could have been intimate with 50 or 80 women, possibly contracted certain diseases from those unions, forced his girlfriends to have abortions, and possibly have had some children as a result of his one night stands that he does not even know about. But that does not mean those scandalous sins affect his standing as a regenerate Christian man now, 15 years later."
And really, if we hold this sin against him, we need to hold ALL sins against ALL men who desire to be pastors. And not just all men who desire the office of overseer, but all men in general. In marriage, we'd have to hold our husbands or wives accountable for every sin they comitted. Our Sunday School teachers would have to be perfect men and women. We'd have to fire current pastors because back when they were five they stole a candy bar from the local country store. It just seems to me like to hold divorce against him and not against anyone else and not hold people accountable for other sins is a double standard. And the Bible does say,
"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:1-5 (NASB)
I just want some feedback on the issue just for personal curiosity and such.

#2357 Fri Apr 25, 2003 8:46 AM
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I really enjoyed his Greek work in that article. Kind of makes everything else indefensible. Unfortunately, divorce seems to be the unpardonable sin in many denominations today. [img]http://www.the-highway.com/w3timages/icons/drop.gif" alt="drop" title="drop[/img] They may be allowed into the church, but are not allowed into the body in the church. Yes, Matt 7 nails it if one is biblical.


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#2358 Fri Apr 25, 2003 11:15 AM
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A number of years ago, John Armstrong and I had some lengthy discussions in my home about this issue and particularly over his views which were found in his book, Can Fallen Pastors be Restored? In his book, the position he took was that Elders guilty of adultery or other sexual sins should never be restored to office. At least that is the impression I got from reading it. And thus I entered into a dialogue with brother John about this. In my personal conversations with him, he was not so adamant about the non-restoration of a "fallen pastor" and admitted that there can be circumstances where a man could be restored to office. This was and remains my own personal conviction as well. Although the exception rather than the rule, a "fallen pastor" should not be summarily banned from ever serving in the ministry, particularly the Eldership. Genuine repentance is the key along with strict guidelines, counseling, set time frames, openness of the congregation offended, etc.

The basis for this view is in part based upon the restoration of King David and the biblical teaching concerning repentance and forgiveness. The passages which speak about an Elder being, "the husband of one wife", have been wrongly interpreted by some to mean "married to one woman ever" instead of the proper understanding where Paul is forbidding bigamy. I am not so naive as to think that this is a black-and-white issue. There are myriad opinions on this subject and it often evokes great passion on all sides.

As for a pastor being the innocent victim of a divorce, I cannot comprehend the reluctance (even feverish) of some to remove a man from office in this situation. Why should such a man be penalized for the sins of another? Although there may be some minor culpability on his part, e.g., not spending enough time with his wife (according to her estimation) which led to her adultery and divorce, etc., this surely isn't reason to bar a man from the Eldership, IMHO.

Although the office of Elder and Deacon should be held in high esteem, I do believe that it has, in some circles, been elevated to a place far beyond which the Scriptures intend it to be. It is generally agreed that the Roman State Church has so convoluted the office of Priest, that the stress and strain upon a man often drives such men to do untoward things and is an impetus to gross hypocrisy among them. Could it also be said about Protestantism, that it too has added to the requirements and expectations of ministers which are far beyond what the Scriptures teach and which men are able to truly live up to?

In His Grace,


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In reply to:
The passages which speak about an Elder being, "the husband of one wife", have been wrongly interpreted by some to mean "married to one woman ever" instead of the proper understanding where Paul is forbidding bigamy.



I enjoyed that post, Pilgrim. Our pastor preached a sermon whose content was very similar to yours, and I believe it is a good and balanced position on a complex issue. I just wanted to add one additional remark concerning the 1 Tim. 3:2 and Titus 1:6 texts to which you refer. A literal translation might be something like, "a man of one woman" or "a one woman man." Clearly bigamy is outlawed by this statement as you pointed out, but I think also the fundamental idea of devotion to his current (singular) wife is positively set forth. I believe this qualification would have application in the area of flirtation or men who confide personal feelings, emotions, etc. in women who are not their wives. In the case of a man who fell into grievous sins, such as adultery, it would take quite a bit of time and convincing that he is truly a devoted man, so this qualification would apply in that sense. I agree that it is wrong to interpret it to mean married to one woman ever.

Sincerely in Christ,

~Jason


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In reply to:
In the case of a man who fell into grievous sins, such as adultery, it would take quite a bit of time and convincing that he is truly a devoted man, so this qualification would apply in that sense.

I agree 100%...... just so no one would misconstrue my previous remarks about allowing such a man back into office. That is why I stated that there must be strict parameters set down for the observation of such an individual. My arbitrary "time frame" has generally been 3 years, in which time, the man would be able to demonstrate fruit of repentance. Unfortunately, there have been extremes practiced on this issue, e.g., Jimmy Swaggart fiasco or on the other extreme, castigating a fallen pastor/elder to such an extent, that the man is looked upon as that of a pedophile and unable to reside anywhere in peace, never mind attend or become a contributing member of another congregation. My heart grieves over these types of things and can only imagine what such individuals must go through for the rest of their lives. Thank God that there is forgiveness and restoration in Christ, which David attests to for us as an example. joy

In His Grace,



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I agree ... and so you know, I thought your first post was entirely clear about the slow and cautionary manner in which fallen men would need to be brought back into the ministry, so my post was not a correction, just an addendum.

Sincerely in Christ,

~Jason

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In reply to:
[color:"blue"] so my post was not a correction, just an addendum

And my additional comment iterating that process wasn't to address any "correction" that I might have thought you wrote, but rather for the benefit of others who read it. grin



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Thanks Pilgrim,

And just so you know this post is not meant to be a correction to what was not your correction to my non-correction of your ... uh ... nevermind, we agree! rofl

~Jason

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I read the other posts and just thought that this would be an appropriate place to respond. I DEFFINITELY think that it all needs to be taken slow. If we're too fast, we get ourselves into issues where we could end up with some issues. And in something like this, knowing the way people can be about it, I think maybe we can't move too slow either. And I think that is exactly what was said here. We gotta be real.

My father still stands adamantly against divorced ministers, as do most people in the denomination of the church I go to (Southern Baptist). I think maybe part of it has to do with not understanding the topic and I think part has to do with individual people not wanting certain people in control...if that makes sense.


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