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AdamL

Qualifications for Pastor and Deacon

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Question for everyone here.  A man is married to his first and only wife, they have multiple children together.  The wife however was previously married to another man.  Would the wife's previous marriage and divorce make the man disqualified from being a Pastor or Deacon?  

If the marriage took place before the man was saved would this effect the situation in anyway?  

If it is said that the man is not qualified because he is not blameless, what constitutes one being blameless?

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Question for everyone here.  A man is married to his first and only wife, they have multiple children together.  The wife however was previously married to another man.  Would the wife's previous marriage and divorce make the man disqualified from being a Pastor or Deacon?  

If the marriage took place before the man was saved would this effect the situation in anyway?  

If it is said that the man is not qualified because he is not blameless, what constitutes one being blameless?

Brother Adam,

I would present that the answer to your above questioning will be directly affected by the following two points --

1.  What is the relationship between remarriage and the sin of adultery?
2.  What is the relationship between the sin of adultery and the qualification for pastoral leadership (specifically in relation to the qualification of "blameless")?

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Brother Adam,

I would present that the answer to your above questioning will be directly affected by the following two points --

1.  What is the relationship between remarriage and the sin of adultery?
2.  What is the relationship between the sin of adultery and the qualification for pastoral leadership (specifically in relation to the qualification of "blameless")?

Pastor Markle,

That is pretty much what it comes down to.  Matt 19:9 says if a man marries a divorced woman he has committed adultery.  So does that violate the pastoral qualification of being blameless?  What does and does not violate the qualification of being blameless?  What sins can be committed and one still be blameless?  I understand it doesn't say sinless, but where is the line drawn?

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Brother AdamL,

I myself would indeed apply Matthew 19:9 to my point #1 above.  In addition, I would apply Proverbs 6:32-35 to my point #2 above --

"But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.  A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.  For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.  He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts."

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Brother AdamL,

I myself would indeed apply Matthew 19:9 to my point #1 above.  In addition, I would apply Proverbs 6:32-35 to my point #2 above --

"But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.  A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.  For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.  He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts."

That is a valid point.  All of us in our unsaved lives lacked understanding.  

So basically if a man commits adultery at anytime during his life, saved or unsaved, he will wear that badge for the rest of his life and be permanently disqualified?

Would this also apply for a man that looks at a woman andlusts and commits adultery with her in his heart? (Matt 5:28)

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That is a valid point.  All of us in our unsaved lives lacked understanding.  

So basically if a man commits adultery at anytime during his life, saved or unsaved, he will wear that badge for the rest of his life and be permanently disqualified?

That the reproach will never be removed appears to be the truth of Proverbs 6:33.

Would this also apply for a man that looks at a woman andlusts and commits adultery with her in his heart? (Matt 5:28)

Taking Proverbs 6:32-35 as my authority for saying that adultery with a woman creates a permanent reproach, I would from that same authority contend that the sin of lust (adultery in one's heart) is not the application of Proverbs 6:32-35.  Proverbs 6:32-35 seems to set its focus upon physical adultery, for it makes significant reference to the woman's husband -- that he will be jealous (and rightly so), that he "will not spare in the day of vengeance," that he will not be appeased by any ransom, that he "will not rest content."  (Even so, I would also contend that this passage is not speaking concerning the sin of formication before marriage.)

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle

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Taking Proverbs 6:32-35 as my authority for saying that adultery with a woman creates a permanent reproach, I would from that same authority contend that the sin of lust (adultery in one's heart) is not the application of Proverbs 6:32-35Proverbs 6:32-35 seems to set its focus upon physical adultery, for it makes significant reference to the woman's husband -- that he will be jealous (and rightly so), that he "will not spare in the day of vengeance," that he will be appeased by any ransom, that he "will not rest content."  (Even so, I would also contend that this passage is not speaking concerning the sin of formication before marriage.)

So if it is only done in the heart and only you and God know about it, you can repent and confess it and you will be forgiven and cleansed from unrighteousness.

But if a man marries a woman that has been divorced he will wear that badge forever and be the cause of jealousy and vengeance on the part of the ex husband?  Who may in fact not even know if she has married again or not.

If we are talking about a situation where a man comes into my house or meets my wife somewhere and they commit adultery then that makes sense.  But not really in the case of marrying a woman that has been divorced.

 

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So here's a question to throw a wrinkle in the analysis. What was the reason for the wife's divorce from the previous marriage? If it was due to the previous husband's infidelity, the marriage covenant has been voided and she is free from him if she so chooses. Similarly, if the previous husband was an unbeliever and faith was a part of why he divorced her, she is free to remarry (1 Cor 7:14-15). I would assert that in either of these cases the new husband remains blameless and qualified. However, if they simply divorced due to "irreconcilable differences" (I hate that term...), then I agree with the above reasoning.

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I think another thought to bring to bear is the extent of "blameless", which properly means "not open to censure" or "irreproachable." Is that blameless/irreproachable before God or before man? If before God, then no man is qualified to be a pastor or deacon. If before man, then I would think the summation principle of a good report (1 Tim 3:7) would highlight the man's current behavior and acceptance. Example: a man who was previously given to wine, but now practices abstinence would not be disqualified. In application to this specific question, does the man's current testimony make him beyond reproach? Or does people's knowledge of his wife's previous marriage taint his ability to be an example?

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Romans 7:2 (KJV) 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to [her] husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of [her] husband.

Romans 7:3 (KJV) 3 So then if, while [her] husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

 

Why would adulterer be a label never to be removed from a man, (Proverbs 6:32-35) yet an adulteress loses her label once her husband dies? (Romans 7:2-3)

 

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I think the same line of reasoning using the present tense since all the quals are written in the present tense means he must meet all the quals at the time of consideration and ordination and he must maintain all the quals to remain qualified.

If that is the case (which it is) and multiple wives was a common practice then and is still today in many parts of the world, why would one consider all the quals as in their clearly written present tense but then apply "for all their life, even before salvation" the qual of one wife?? Makes no sense to me and has probably been the man made roadblock for many truly called of God. Who knows the great soulwinning growth many IFB churches could have had or still have if this misinterpretation was never made.

Strange how we have made up the idea that a Pastor can only give Godly counsel to their church if they have only had one marriage their whole life. "How can he counsel our marriage if he has had troubled marriages in the past". Well here is a better question if experience is the only way to gain knowledge, how can that same pastor give proper counsel to the divorced if he has never felt the pain or shame of it? I say the same thing I say to people with no children who want to give parental advice; "you don't know and you will never know so keep your information to yourself" What I need is knowledge, not information; I can get information anywhere.

I think most IFBs have greatly erred with this misinterpretation. But just my opinion dealing with the context of the qualifications as written.

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I gotta say that someone who's troubled marriage ended in divorce probably doesn't have a great track record of experience for counseling couples through a troubled marriage to unity.

Or perhaps they have a far better view to provide advice, having lived through all aspects of marriage, divorce, parenting, etc.

Ever have anyone try to give you advice authoritatively who had no experience in the subject and you thought to yourself "this person is clueless"?

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Or perhaps they have a far better view to provide advice, having lived through all aspects of marriage, divorce, parenting, etc.

Ever have anyone try to give you advice authoritatively who had no experience in the subject and you thought to yourself "this person is clueless"?

That's what I mean. If the guy couldn't figure out how to keep his own marriage intact, why should I expect him to give me good advice for mine? He might have something to say in the 'this didn't work' department, but he's hardly qualified to comment on what does work. 

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That's what I mean. If the guy couldn't figure out how to keep his own marriage intact, why should I expect him to give me good advice for mine? He might have something to say in the 'this didn't work' department, but he's hardly qualified to comment on what does work. 

One spouse can do all the right things (not likely, but let's stay they try and come close) and yet the other spouse can reject it and still go the wrong way.

Unfortunately, it's not all that uncommon for a pastor's wife to tire of being a pastor's wife, tire of "sharing" her husband with God and others, tire of feeling like she has to live up to a godly standard, tire of the "restricted" life of a pastor's wife, and decide she doesn't want to be married to him any more. Often this decision to leave her husband comes after an extended time of "faking it", putting on a show of being a good pastor's wife and Christian in public while having already drifted away in her heart and considering, then planning and finally acting upon what appears to the husband/pastor and others a sudden decision to leave.

If a spouse turns from following God and decides to follow the world, the flesh and the devil, it often doesn't matter how perfect the other spouse may have been or how well they try to deal with the situation, that leaving spouse is determined to go no matter what.

Beyond that, a good pastor will base his marriage counseling upon the Word of God. Personal experience only serves as anecdotes and examples. A newly married pastor, grounded in the Word, should be able to give proper marriage counseling based upon the Word even without having 20 years of married life experience.

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Salyan is exactly right.

What saith the scriptures? The individual who desires to walk with the Lord Jesus does not make important decisions based upon the philosophy of the world but on the scriptures.

"(For is a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 1 Timothy 3:5

If a man cannot live with one wife and maintain the peace, happiness, and serenity, needed for a happy and fulfilled family life; then he most certainly cannot pastor a church. Whether or not the man was saved before he got the divorce is immaterial as far as God is concerned. Whether or not the wife is the problem is immaterial as far as God is concerned. If a man cannot rule his own house in a loving, caring, compassionate, manner to keep the family in one piece than he certainly cannot manage a church. A church is a family.

The pastor is the example of a Spirit filled, called of God, to pastor the church of God: the New Testament church is God's house and the under-Shepherd of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the pastor, the evangelist and the missionary, must meet the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 before he can be a pastor. The qualifications for the pastor, evangelist and the missionary, is extremely rigid. The pastor represents, and is the under-shepherd, for the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the pastor must be, "like Christ," as much as possible. The pastor must learn how to behave in the church. "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." 1 Timothy 3:15

The Old Testament Law is our Example for Ministers.

Also, for those brethren who do not like to apply the Old Testament Law in the New Testament church, the following statement may not set well with them. Nevertheless, what saith the scriptures? In 1 Corinthians 9:7-14 Paul the apostle wrote concerning giving and that the minister of the church should follow the examples of the Old Testament Law:

Concerning giving and the pastor and missionary: "Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? for it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care of oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes, not doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth in hope; and that he thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope " 1 Corinthians 9:8 and 9 Paul quoted from Deuteronomy 25:4

And: "Do ye not know that they which minister about the holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." 1 corinthians 9:13 and 14 Please see Exodus 30:16 and the book of Leviticus.

If a person really desires to learn how to pastor a church than that individual will learn how God pastored the people in the Old Testament through the men in the Temple. According to Paul the Apostle, the Law was written for our sakes: the New Testament saints. 

The men in the ministry who are divorced, for whatever reason, are in serious error; and they will be judged by the Lord Jesus at the Judgment Seat if they are saved. If they are not saved than God Himself, who made the qualifications for the pastor, will judge him.

Alan

 

  

 

Edited by Alan
spelling (twice)

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That's what I mean. If the guy couldn't figure out how to keep his own marriage intact, why should I expect him to give me good advice for mine? He might have something to say in the 'this didn't work' department, but he's hardly qualified to comment on what does work. 

I knew what you meant.

There may be a day when your opinion on this changes when experience does come.

Hardly the world's philosophy that I am referencing in this discussion on experience. I am referencing real world advice garnered by Scripture and experience.

The same reason why a The Bible clearly says "not a novice" for a Pastor. But IFBs keep convincing these little preacher boys that they are called and should go to this school or that. They go school, graduate, leave even IFB colleges doubting God's Word, find a church somewhere (only with a benefits package) and fail at record numbers in the last 30 years. They were never called, the calling of God is without repentance.

There was a class on soulwinning teaching at the Sword conference this year where at least 40 young pastors admitted they had never won a single soul to the Lord. I am glad they went to the training but really....never? We really have fallen off a cliff.

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Brethren,

The sins of the flesh are all forgiven under Calvary, we are not under the Law, and divorce is a terrible experience, no matter what the reason. Both my parents, and my wife's parents, were divorced. So, we know the hardship, sufferings, problems, some of the causes, and the consequences involved.

According to the Lord Jesus in Matthew 19:1-9 the Lord Jesus firmly explained that Moses gave us the Law of divorce due to the hardness of our hearts and that in the beginning, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matthew 19:6.  Afterwards, the Lord Jesus taught that if a man puts away his wife, except for the sin of fornication, they committed adultery if they remarried.

This passage is very difficult to teach in our age due to a huge amount of people (not everybody), getting divorces  for multiple reasons because it is socially acceptable and an (seemingly), easy way to get rid of spousal problems. And, when it the case of fornication the individual, as other brethren appropriately brought out, does not commit commit adultery if they remarry.

If the cause for the divorce was for fornication, the other individual does remarry, the faithful individual is free to be remarried, or to be reconciled, 1 Corinthians 7:10-17, the believer is not held in bondage.

In the above cases the individual (the man), is still not eligible for the office of a pastor. The effects of the sin causes his to be disqualified. In Matthew 19:9 and 1 Corinthians 7:14 and 15, the individual is forgiven but, in no way did the Lord Jesus nor Paul say that the individual is suitable for the office of the pastor.

When Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and in total agreement with the Lord Jesus, wrote "For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall be take care of the church of God?" 1 Timothy 3:3, that is exactly what he meant. Forgiven: Yes. Able to remarry: Yes. Under the Law: No. Just because Paul, in numerous occasions, quoted the Old Testament Law as the standard for numerous doctrines, does not make us under the Law. The Law is perfect in all situations as a standard for HOLINESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS in all situations.

 

 

Edited by Alan
spelling (twice)

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In 1 Corinthians 6, there is a set of verses saying who will not enter the kingdom of heaven. And right after that it says 'and such were some of you'. I don't think that previous divorce, before salvation, is condemning for a man after he gets saved, to keep him from the ministry. We were all lost in sin and the lusts of the flesh and unclean. Everyone of us.

And where is it said that a minister of God has to be able to counsel people in their marriage anyway?

The scriptures are Godly counsel.

Not the messenger.

Edited by Genevanpreacher

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Paul was a murderer of God's people and was used by Him to write half the NT but a pastor divorced 20 years before salvation can't be called. Satan has somehow changed the common usage of English in this one passage of Scripture in the mindset of Gods people greatly limiting the leadership that could have been in so many churches that are now only memories.

For the last 30 years I have seen many ordained with the only consideration of quals being the marriage since all others are subjective and hard to judge. I have never heard of any man DQed over any other qualification. I have known of many over the marriage thing. Satan is allot slicker than we give him credit for.

BTW: I know I was never called to pastor so I have no personal interest in this issue.

 

Edited by wretched

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In all of my forty years as an Independent Baptist, this is one issue that has always caused me great discomfort and sadness. In any discussion that revolves around the qualifications for pastor the issue of divorce always takes front seat. All the other qualifications must always take a back seat to the issue of divorce.

If our brethren who so forcefully contend that a divorced man is unsuitable for the pastorate would apply their reasoning to all the other qualifications, then no one could pastor because they could not qualify.

Let me clarify on just this one point: Most of those that contend that a man that has been divorced previous to his salvation is still not qualified. But they will not apply the same logic to the other qualifications found in 1Tim.3, such as;

  • Has he ever been not blameless;
  • What about bad behavior?
  • Has he ever in his unsaved life not been apt to teach?
  • While he was unsaved has he ever been given to wine, or a striker, or greedy?
  • Has he ever been a brawler or impatient or covetous?
  • Has he ever not had his children under subjection?

So then under the heading of qualifications, divorce remains the unpardonable sin among Baptist people. All of these other qualifications can be overlooked because the man was not saved, but not so of divorce; this is man's reasoning, not God's Grace. It makes no difference that God Almighty has pardoned the man from ALL sin and remembers it no more. Man, in his wisdom and reasoning cannot find it in his heart to understand that God's Grace is all encompassing.

Let me insert one example of how God's Grace and Mercy worked in the life of the Apostle Paul. Paul, as an unbeliever, actually killed believers, but look at what he has to say about his qualifications for the ministry:

 1Tim. 1:12  And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 
 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

 Rom. 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 
 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 

So then, I contend that it is Christ Jesus that enables and qualifies a man for the ministry regardless of his past and in direct contradiction to the reasoning of men. Grace = the unmerited favor of God.

Was Paul a "bishop" or "deacon"?

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Was Paul a "bishop" or "deacon"?

No, he wasn't, he was much more than that. But I used him as an illustration that those who have done much worse than divorce are never questioned. Paul killed Christians and still God counted him worthy to be put into the ministry. He did much more than pastor, he was an Apostle and started and confirmed churches.

The main point being that it is God who qualifies and equips men for the ministry, after all, it is His Grace that works these things out, not man's biased interpretation of what he "thinks" the Scripture means.

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