I am new to this forum, and I specifically came here to see the IFB views about Divorce, Re-Marriage, Adultery and Ministry. I am an IFB and have wrestled for years about this topic, because of my desire to be in the ministry. I can say that this has been a subject of great debate since the 1st century and, knowing that God is not the author of confusion, I can only conclude that Satan has used this to divide churches and create sects that do not glorify God. One thing is clear to me; "The husband of one wife" means what it says. A one woman man, committed to the one he is married to, whatever the situation, be it death or divorce...BUT, I must continue!
First of all, I would like to say that we are not under the Law in the sense that our flesh must perform all that is written or perform sacrifices to atone for the wrong we have done, but Grace did not abolish it: on the contrary, Grace fulfilled it all in Christ. We are new creatures in Him which is a great miracle in itself. But being a new creature does not mean that anything goes in the church. Nothing in the Law itself gave the commandment "Thou shalt not Divorce". Moses allowed it only because of the hardness of men's hearts. But, the Law did say "Thou shalt not commit Adultery". Jesus went on to teach that even if you look on a woman to lust after her, you have committed adultery with her in your heart. Is the issue here really Divorce, or is it Adultery? If the issue is Divorce, then I am convicted that the issue is settled. But, if the issue is Adultery, then no man has the right to be a Pastor or Deacon under Jesus' definition of Adultery. Now, there is no man in the ministry who would admit to this secret sin, and any man that would say that he has never committed adultery is a lier. But, Jesus Himself linked the two together. Adultery and Divorce go hand in hand. Not that both the husband and wife committed it, but someone in the relationship did and Divorce was the outcome. But the two are also separated in some cases. The lack of Adultery is not listed as a requirement for being a Pastor or Deacon, but Divorce is. Why? Also, to be a Pastor or Deacon one must be blameless! Who of you that fill the pulpit is blameless? The answer of course is NO ONE! So, what are we to do?
It is unfortunate that today sex is everywhere. The clothing that men and women wear in the secular world is unbelievable, to say the least. We would have to wear blindfolds to keep from looking a second time. So, I believe that for this debate, everything must be simplified because I believe Jesus made it simple. Divorce is Adultery. You just can't get around it. I have tried, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit will not allow it! ANYONE who Divorces his wife SAVE FOR THE CAUSE OF FORNICATION, causes her to commit adultery (Matt 5:32, Matt 19:9). Now, we can slice it, dice it, filet it, and beat it to death, but, Divorce is Divorce, and if you have divorced, there is NO scripture that will support a man being a Pastor or Deacon. I have tried to get around it, but have always been convicted to the contrary. I believe the following to be the reason.
First of all, there are still those men that are available for ministry that God has CALLED to be Pastors and Deacons, (although this too is waning in this present evil world). Men who are married to their first and only wife. The reason for this requirement is first, for those exact men, and second, because of the world. If we do begin to fill the offices of Pastors and Deacons with Divorced men, then it will erode marriage (more and more Pastors or their wives will be tempted to Divorce), it will diminish the offices, and it will bring controversy and contempt from the World. Remember; Rom 14:21 "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." Therefor, I will not allow myself to do a great disservice to the church or the Kingdom of Heaven by allowing myself to be ordained as a Pastor of Deacon. Can I still preach? Yes. Can I still serve in the mission field? Yes. I can do any other thing but fill these offices FORMALLY. I have been disqualified. Also, I believe that those in these offices have a responsibility to not, through action or inaction, create an environment that seemingly makes Divorce an unpardonable sin. Use those whom God has given to you to use the gifts the Spirit of God has given them. Don't be guilty of quenching the Holy Spirit in someone's life.
I also must remind the reader that if men were to regard the requirements of 1 Tim 3:2,12, and Tit 1.6, then I fear there would be no Pastors or Deacons. So, the argument could be made that our standards have become relaxed in filling these offices.
So, I exhort everyone that reads this to do the Word, preach the Word, quench not the Spirit, love the brethren, don't do anything that will cause a Brother or Sister to stumble and above all else, love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your spirit. AMEN