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Pastoral Qualifications

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Had a question about Pastoral qualifications. If a Pastor of a Church is married to a woman who is divorced, is he qualified to pastor a Church?

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The Bible doesn't specifically address that question, but there are other principles that can be applied to answer it. I've heard some folks say "husband of one wife" addresses the rampant polygamy going on in those days, and essentially the phrase means husband of one wife at a time. However, the gospels record Jesus' thoughts on the issue of divorce.

Luke 16:18 - Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

Therefore, if Jesus equates divorce and remarriage with adultery, then I don't believe a man who marries/is married to a divorced woman is qualified to hold a pastorate, or be a deacon, for that matter.

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Jesus did allow an exception to the rule:

Matthew 5:32, "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

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Jesus did allow an exception to the rule:

Matthew 5:32, "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."


Rick if she fornicated then she already committed adultery...I think. So, you wouldn't have caused "her to commit adultery" through the divorce; she would have already done that before she was "put away".

There is no exception to someone marrying a divorced woman...both scripture references agree, if a man marries a divorced woman he commits adultery.

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Jesus did allow an exception to the rule:

Matthew 5:32, "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

True. Paul also addresses abandonment of a spouse. And while those are true statements, Jesus also said:

Matt 19:8 - He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

I believe it was God's intention that husband and wife remain married to each other for life. Mark 10 is pretty clear about God's feelings on marriage and divorce. Malachi 2 indicates that God hates divorce. So while exceptions may be allowed, I don't think God intended for those exceptions to include pastors. I read "husband of one wife" as the pastor can only be married once in his lifetime, unless, of course, his spouse dies, which releases the marriage bond. And if he marries a divorced woman, even though she's his first and only wife, he's committing adultery according to Scripture and therefore bringing into question his blamelessness.

That doesn't mean that divorced people cannot serve in ministry, including preaching and missions. But I believe that any divorce (whether his own or his marriage to a divorced woman) disqualifies a man from the pastorate.

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Ok, that was the verse I thought of as well in regards to adultery. Just wanted to see if I was tracking correctly, thanks.

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There are no qualifications in the Bible for a Pastor's wife. A Pastor who is married to a divorced woman committed adultery (1 time, not living daily in it). In my opinion it would depend on when it happened. Did it happen prior to salvation?

The issue is really in the qualification of "ruling his own house". Has he shown with his wife that his house is under subjection?

Now, I personally wouldn't call someone like this to pastor a church I was a member of and I wouldn't hire someone like this to be my assistant. (More of a personal preference)

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Sin has consequences, all sin has consequences, and some sins make a person unfit to be pastor of a church. And that does not mean that person, if he sought forgiveness, has not been fully forgiven, it just disqualifies him for position of pastor.

Matthew 5:32, "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery." I know of churches that will ordained such a man, but I believe it is wrong. Of course many things are accepted today, that would not have been accepted years ago, and many of them are just as wrong today as them.

I might add, one thing man hates, its the consequences of his sins, he thinks there should not be no consequences.

Edited by Jerry80871852

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Well, I am speaking of the Pastor (actually just stepped down in the last couple days it seems due to financial reasons) of my in-laws Church. There is now a young man pastoring the Church.

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True. Paul also addresses abandonment of a spouse. And while those are true statements, Jesus also said:

Matt 19:8 - He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

I believe it was God's intention that husband and wife remain married to each other for life. Mark 10 is pretty clear about God's feelings on marriage and divorce. Malachi 2 indicates that God hates divorce. So while exceptions may be allowed, I don't think God intended for those exceptions to include pastors. I read "husband of one wife" as the pastor can only be married once in his lifetime, unless, of course, his spouse dies, which releases the marriage bond. And if he marries a divorced woman, even though she's his first and only wife, he's committing adultery according to Scripture and therefore bringing into question his blamelessness.

That doesn't mean that divorced people cannot serve in ministry, including preaching and missions. But I believe that any divorce (whether his own or his marriage to a divorced woman) disqualifies a man from the pastorate.


I agree with what you've said. Also, Pastorj's comment about the man preaching, etc. One thing comes to mind from O.T. God can choose whom He wants to serve in any capacity...i.e. Moses murdered the Egyptian. So, if a man was pastoring a church and his wife had been divorced in the past; I don't think I have a stone to throw.

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The thing is, many of the Old Testaments prophets and great Bible characters would not qualify to be pastor of a New Testament Church. And it is what we are to go by.

For instants, David would be disqualified being pastor of a New Testament Church, he had more than one wife.

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I agree with what you've said. Also, Pastorj's comment about the man preaching, etc. One thing comes to mind from O.T. God can choose whom He wants to serve in any capacity...i.e. Moses murdered the Egyptian. So, if a man was pastoring a church and his wife had been divorced in the past; I don't think I have a stone to throw.


It isn't a matter of "throwing stones". It is a matter of qualifications. If a man lost his eyesight you wouldn't want him to drive a car anymore. Is that because your "throwing stones" at him personally or because he is a danger to others when driving given his condition? Same thing with being divorced. I have known many people who had divorced and remarried prior to being saved that I respected a good deal. Other than that one issue they would be well qualified to be pastors, deacons, and so forth. In our society today divorce is so prevalent that a large portion of Christians saved as adults have been divorced and remarried. In my church the percentage is probably around one third of the adult congregation, maybe higher than that. If it were up to me I would like to say that it simply doesn't matter and is forgotten altogether if it happened prior to salvation but I don't see that in scripture. I seriously doubt a pastors wife would be held to a lower standard than that of a deacons wife and those are supposed to be "grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things." I guess the main thing is a pastor and his family are supposed to be a picture of the way things "should be" and either of them being divorced clouds the waters in a way I don't believe God wants them clouded. Edited by Seth-Doty

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Seth,

Please show me the Scripture that supports a Pastor wife being held to the standard of the Deacon's wife. The only qualifications listed are being under subjection. There are valid reasons for having qualifications of a Deacon's wife.

Jerry,
There are consequences, but again, show me how he is disqualified from the Pastorate. The Bible says that if a man looks at a woman to lust, he has committed adultery. What man at some point in his life (usually when he was a teenager) has not lusted after a girl. The reality is that there are very few men, if any, that have not lusted after a woman at some point. Therefore, no one is qualified to pastor.

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Seth,

Please show me the Scripture that supports a Pastor wife being held to the standard of the Deacon's wife. The only qualifications listed are being under subjection. There are valid reasons for having qualifications of a Deacon's wife.

Jerry,
There are consequences, but again, show me how he is disqualified from the Pastorate. The Bible says that if a man looks at a woman to lust, he has committed adultery. What man at some point in his life (usually when he was a teenager) has not lusted after a girl. The reality is that there are very few men, if any, that have not lusted after a woman at some point. Therefore, no one is qualified to pastor.


Mercy, and your a pastor, and you don't know there is consequences for sin! There be many consequences for sin, even after its forgiven by God. Its in the Bible of which you surely have read and studied.

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Seth,

Please show me the Scripture that supports a Pastor wife being held to the standard of the Deacon's wife. The only qualifications listed are being under subjection. There are valid reasons for having qualifications of a Deacon's wife.

Jerry,
There are consequences, but again, show me how he is disqualified from the Pastorate. The Bible says that if a man looks at a woman to lust, he has committed adultery. What man at some point in his life (usually when he was a teenager) has not lusted after a girl. The reality is that there are very few men, if any, that have not lusted after a woman at some point. Therefore, no one is qualified to pastor.


Please show us the Scripture that says a pastor's wife must be in subjection to her husband. 1 Timothy 3 says a pastor must have his children in subjection, but doesn't say that about his wife.

You're arguing against simple common sense. There are numerous principles throughout Scripture that outline standards for Christian women. I don't know why Paul singled out deacons' wives - maybe Timothy was having problems with the wives of that church's deacons. But those "qualifications" should apply to all women, not just to deacons's wives, and to all Christian men as well.

And continuing with your "show me the Scripture" mantra, where does Scripture say lust disqualifies a pastor? It's not specifically listed as a disqualification. Yes, lust is sin and the pastor should deal with it, as any man should. Scripture doesn't list lust - nor a whole host of other sins - as disqualifications. So, unless he manifests that lust or other sins outwardly, then the pastor is not disqualified.

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Seth,

Please show me the Scripture that supports a Pastor wife being held to the standard of the Deacon's wife. The only qualifications listed are being under subjection. There are valid reasons for having qualifications of a Deacon's wife.

Jerry,
There are consequences, but again, show me how he is disqualified from the Pastorate. The Bible says that if a man looks at a woman to lust, he has committed adultery. What man at some point in his life (usually when he was a teenager) has not lusted after a girl. The reality is that there are very few men, if any, that have not lusted after a woman at some point. Therefore, no one is qualified to pastor.


Yes, I agree. Comparing ourselves to eternal righteousness we always come out as filthy rags saved by grace.

I went to the scriptures and I find no evidence the wife of a pastor must never have divorced.

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Chevy,

One that ruleth well his own house. This is not just the kids, it is the whole family.

Jerry,
Answer the question: "Have you ever lusted after a woman in your entire life?" If you have, please step down tomorrow from your pastorate as you are disqualified based on your qualifications.

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Chevy,
Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

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Had a question about Pastoral qualifications. If a Pastor of a Church is married to a woman who is divorced, is he qualified to pastor a Church?


Yes, and I know a few great pastors who are. Try telling their congregations that they aren't qualified.

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Yes, and I know a few great pastors who are. Try telling their congregations that they aren't qualified.

What the congregation thinks doesn't matter. It only matters what the Word says. There are many churches with women pastors and the congregations love them, believe they are great pastors and qualified to be pastors, but they base this not upon Scripture.

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What the congregation thinks doesn't matter. It only matters what the Word says. There are many churches with women pastors and the congregations love them, believe they are great pastors and qualified to be pastors, but they base this not upon Scripture.



John, The thing is, because someone has done wrong, and others happen to see good come out of it, it does not mean God accepted it.

Pastorj, You acting like a child with the questions you ask. Your questions means nothing, but the Bible is everything. That is, your questions in not the guide, the Bible is.

The Bible is clear, the man that is married to a divorce woman, that has a living husband, is living in adultery, and her husband in a partner in the sin of adultery.

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Pastorj, You acting like a child with the questions you ask. Your questions means nothing, but the Bible is everything. That is, your questions in not the guide, the Bible is.

The Bible is clear, the man that is married to a divorce woman, that has a living husband, is living in adultery, and her husband in a partner in the sin of adultery.



Jerry,

I generally disagree with PastorJ's comments on this thread but I think he is right on this one: " A Pastor who is married to a divorced woman committed adultery (1 time, not living daily in it)." Scripturally once a divorced person has remarried, though that act is wrong, it is not a case of living in continued adultery.

Some scriptural support.


"Jeremiah 3:1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted?...."

And another that gives an indication in that direction: "John 4:17-18 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly."

Jesus said this woman had had "five husbands" and was currently living with someone not her husband. Now I suppose that this last verse isn't an airtight "proof", it is faintly possible that this woman had been widowed five times, but that seems pretty unlikely particularly in light of the fact that she was living in immorality with someone she was not married to when Jesus met her. It seems much more likely she had been divorced from some or all of her "five husbands"that Christ mentions. The fact that he says " thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband" seems to show he recognized the first five as a state of marriage rather than a state of continued adultery. Since the act of marrying a divorced person is an act he equaled with adultery, it seems that marrying a divorced person must be a one time act of adultery rather than a continued state particularly in light of Jeremiah 3:1.

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John, The thing is, because someone has done wrong, and others happen to see good come out of it, it does not mean God accepted it.


Perhaps I wasn't clear enough, but that's what I was trying to say.

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Let's look at the qualifications
1Ti 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
1. The first qualification is that you have to be a man. This eliminates women from the pastorate.
2. The second qualification is that you have to have a desire for the position. I believe this is a God given desire.

1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3. Blameless - the word means (Above Reproach). Some have said that the idea is that nothing can stick to you. It does not mean sinless.
4. Husband of one wife - Various opinions here, but I do not believe in divorce for any reason (Not going to argue this one) and therefore I believe if the man has been divorced he is disqualified
5. Vigilant - The word has the idea of watching circumspectly. This is an ability that not everyone has.
6. Sober - This is not dealing with alcohol, it is dealing with thinking clearly or someone with common sense.
7. Good Behavior - Just what it sounds like. The pastor must behave
8. Hospitable – Open hearted and generous
9. Apt to Teach – Ability to teach

1Ti 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
10. Not given to wine – Not only no alcohol, but to not be around people who are.
11. Not a striker – Vengeance is the Lord’s
12. Not greedy – Money should not be an issue for a Pastor
13. Patient – To deal with things appropriately
14. Not a brawler – Peaceable, not a fighter
15. Not covetous – Not desirous of other peoples belongings

1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

16. Rules his house well – Children are in subjection (Bible times – Age 12)

1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
17. Not a novice – New Christian or new to the ministry: The word novice means beginner.

1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
18. Have a good report with unsaved

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Now that I have given the qualifications, let's move to the question at hand.

Notice, there are no qualifications listed directly regarding the wife of the pastor, other than the implied dealing with the house. These verses state that the Pastor must have his house in order. A wife who is not in submission disqualifies that man from the pastorate.

Jerry## has said that a man who marries a divorced woman is disqualifed because he is an adulterer. I will agree that the Scriptures are clear that the man has committed the sin of adultery. A 1 time sin. Does this disqualify him from the ministry either for a short time, or permanently? I will answer this in a moment. Scripture also states: Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

God is clear in this passage that if you have looked on a woman to lust after her, you have committed adultery in God's eyes. The ten commandments are clear that if we steal, we are a thief. So the question is, at what point does an individual become disqualified?

Look at the qualifications again: He must be blameless and of a good report. If a man steals something he is at that point disqualified from the pastorate. But for how long. The answer is as long as that sin is a reproach in his life or as long as he does not have a good report. Yes there are consequences, but God forgives and no longer holds people accountable. Over time, the man will prove that he is no longer a thief and the reproach will go away and his good report will return. He is once again qualified to be a pastor. The same is true for the sin of adultery. A man who commits this sin as a young man could very well be qualified for the ministry when he is in his 40's.

If these two sins had permanent disqualification, then not too many men would ever be qualified to pastor as I doubt there are very many men on this earch that has never lusted after a woman and therefore committed adultery.


As stated, I would not vote for an individual who was married to a divorced woman, but if you are going to say they are disqualified, explain your position from Scripture.

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