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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         33
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Pastoral Qualifications


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Brother Jerry,

Would you counsel a remarried woman to divorce her current spouse?

Would you counsel her to try and hook up with her original spouse, even if he was remarried as well?

Please don't brush these questions aside, they're very serious and very real applicable questions based on what you just said.




1st, please remember, I'm not calling them a 2nd rate Christians. I firmly believe if they truly seek God for forgiveness the sin can and will be forgiven. No I would not counsel her to divorce and return to her 1st husband, that would be adding sin on top of sin. Yet I have heard of a few that would do so. The only thing I pointed to was her husband would not meet the qualification to be a pastor of Jesus' New Testament Church.
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

No I would not counsel her to divorce and return to her 1st husband, that would be adding sin on top of sin. Yet I have heard of a few that would do so. The only thing I pointed to was her husband would not meet the qualification to be a pastor of Jesus' New Testament Church.



Well I agree with that but I wonder how you reconcile that with your post #37 where you seem to say that you feel a divorced person that has remarried is living in a state of continued adultery if their ex-spouse is still living. It would seem that if those where your views you would indeed counsel someone who had divorced and re-married to divorce their current spouse. Obviously you couldn't condone a person staying is a state of "continued adultery". Perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying in post #37 though.
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Seems there’s some thing we don’t like about the Bible, perhaps when it comes to divorce, there be many things we do not like about it.

Ro 7:3 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.
The verse is clear, as long as the woman’s husband liveth, she is know as an adulteress

Now. Let us stick to topic, if a man marries her, he is no longer blameless, therefore he does not meet the qualifications of a New Testament pastor in Jesus Churches.

Off topic portion, no, I would not advise anyone to sin more, add sin on top of sin. For this woman to go through another divorce, would be to sin again.

God’s thoughts on divorce seems to be harsh to us humans, and we look for loop hole to get around God’s way.

1Co 7:10 ¶ And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
1Co 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

Of course there is a choice, stay married, don’t get a divorce, or if the divorced comes, do not get married. Yes, I know, few there be that likes those choices, so there be few that obey God on this matter and there be many that many that refuse to obey this. And they be those who will not take a proper stand on this fearing what people will think, and today we have many divorced and remarried people in many churches so many pastors deal with this subject very liberally trying to appease those who have divorced and remarried, and or in order to perform marriages for such people.

I know of many divorce people who have remarried with a church wedding with their pastor performing the ceremony. As far as I'm concerned that is mockery.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

How sad that a clear Biblical principle has to be the source of such an argument with supposedly likeminded people.

My dad, after my mom died, married a divorced woman. He did it in full knowledge that the Bible teaches he can minister in absolutely any way other than pastor and deacon. He currently teaches Sunday School, does marriage and financial counseling, and of course is an active and faithful member of the church. He is serving God in a full manner. He is simply not a pastor, and not a deacon. How hard is that to understand?

In my opinion, the "you can get divorced" thing in the Bible is speaking of during Jewish betrothal, i.e. see Joseph and Mary. Once the couple is physically joined, I believe divorce is not an option (in God's eyes) unless there is danger to the spouse, in which case you of course separate...or of course if the lost half leaves, he leaves. Remarriage not smiled upon by God.

Practically speaking, those verse are pretty much moot these days. Everyone is getting divorced and remarried, its almost useless to try to enforce these days. However....a pastor or deacon must be a married couple that has not been divorced, EITHER of them. The qualifications put for the deacons wife could easily be applied to a pastors wife and pretty much if a wife is up to par with those qualifications, she hasn't been divorced in her life.

For those who would put up the "straw man" of that "lust in your heart" stuff...that's ridiculous. Let God be the judge of that.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Seems there’s some thing we don’t like about the Bible, perhaps when it comes to divorce, there be many things we do not like about it.

Ro 7:3 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.
The verse is clear, as long as the woman’s husband liveth, she is know as an adulteress


Question. How many times does a woman need to commit adultery in order to be an adulteress? Just one right?

Now. Let us stick to topic, if a man marries her, he is no longer blameless, therefore he does not meet the qualifications of a New Testament pastor in Jesus Churches.


To that I agree, I do not think a man is qualified to pastor if either he or his wife have been divorced and re-married no matter if it was their fault or the fault of the former spouse.

Off topic portion, no, I would not advise anyone to sin more, add sin on top of sin. For this woman to go through another divorce, would be to sin again.


Let me get this straight, as I am having a hard time believing you would actually hold this position as it seems totally illogical. You believe that a woman that has been divorced and remarried is living in a state of continued adultery right? Yet even though you believe this second marriage is a state of continued adultery you still think it would be wrong to divorce again to get out of this state of continued adultery. I guess I don't see how that position could make any sort of sense. If I believed a re-married divorcee was in a state of constant adultery the sensible thing would be to tell them to get out of that situation just like you would tell unmarried people that were "living together" that they were in the wrong and need to get out of that situation either by separating or getting married.



Of course there is a choice, stay married, don’t get a divorce, or if the divorced comes, do not get married. Yes, I know, few there be that likes those choices, so there be few that obey God on this matter and there be many that many that refuse to obey this. And they be those who will not take a proper stand on this fearing what people will think, and today we have many divorced and remarried people in many churches so many pastors deal with this subject very liberally trying to appease those who have divorced and remarried, and or in order to perform marriages for such people.

I know of many divorce people who have remarried with a church wedding with their pastor performing the ceremony. As far as I'm concerned that is mockery.


I have no problem with that, I agree that it is wrong to get a divorce, and having done that it is wrong to re-marry while the ex-spouse is living. The issue however is what is the biblical approach when someone has already been divorced and re-married. I think such a situation is not a desirable one and I do not think individuals in such situations are qualified to pastor, yet I do not think they are living in a state of continued sin by staying in their current marriage. Contrary wise I think they would be sinning to get out of it. Your position, as I understand it anyway, seems to be saying they are in the sin of adultery for staying in the marriage, and in sin if they get out of it. In short they are stuck in a state of sin and nothing they could do about it would be right. I don't think God puts people in that situation. There is always a right choice available even if past wrong choices have placed you in a undesirable situation. Edited by Seth-Doty
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Mt 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

Ro 7:3 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..

1Co 7:10 ¶ And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
1Co 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

Seth, The Bible tells us that the woman that is divorced, remarried she; "... shall be called an adulteress..." Romans 7:3. And shall be know as an adulteress so long as her divorced husband lives, that is what it says, nothing more, nothing less.


Suzy, Your 100% right, in most of today's churches divorce, as well as adultery, fornication, and many other sins are moot points. I know of a few churches in our area that has shacked up members that are in good standing, that are serving in positions in churches. The pastors must fear saying anything for at least 3 or more reasons, fear of physical harm, fear of being sent walking, fear of losing members. And it seems none of the church members will speak up either, it seems they go along with it. So I suppose most of today's people fear not God, yet have a big fear of man. Not even 10 years ago could you find this stuff taking place in this area, yet its now common.

Edited by Jerry80871852
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist




Well I agree with that but I wonder how you reconcile that with your post #37 where you seem to say that you feel a divorced person that has remarried is living in a state of continued adultery if their ex-spouse is still living. It would seem that if those where your views you would indeed counsel someone who had divorced and re-married to divorce their current spouse. Obviously you couldn't condone a person staying is a state of "continued adultery". Perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying in post #37 though.


That's what I was wondering too.
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Maybe what he said in post #41 was that living in a second marriage was adultery, but that it would be a sin to divorce from that second marriage because divorce is always a sin. Furthermore, remarriage is always a sin, so to bust up your adulterous marriage to get back to your original once-acceptable marriage would actually be adultery all over again, making your originally marriage another adulterous marriage. Maybe it would be okay to live in an adulterous marriage so long as you're not having sex and committing adultery against your one living spouse that you’re not allowed to remarry. No, that would be a violation of the command to have sex with your spouse in I Cor. 7.

Nuttier than Grandma's fruitcake last Christmas.

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  • Advanced Member

Maybe what he said in post #41 was that living in a second marriage was adultery, but that it would be a sin to divorce from that second marriage because divorce is always a sin. Furthermore, remarriage is always a sin, so to bust up your adulterous marriage to get back to your original once-acceptable marriage would actually be adultery all over again, making your originally marriage another adulterous marriage. Maybe it would be okay to live in an adulterous marriage so long as you're not having sex and committing adultery against your one living spouse that you’re not allowed to remarry. No, that would be a violation of the command to have sex with your spouse in I Cor. 7.

Nuttier than Grandma's fruitcake last Christmas.


Brother, this is the crazy road someone ends up heading down when the refuse to see that Paul was speaking of polygamy (common among the Jews but hated by the Greeks and Romans). This "two living wives" nonosense leaves one's head spinning. God never intended things to be this complicated or for his "qualification"s to have all these pitfalls and loopholes. Like I said, my friend who felt called to be a pastor was told he'd have to leave his Christian wife (they both got saved after they got married) and go back to his orignial unsaved wife in order to be a pastor because he has two living wives. Of course this wasn't bad enough for them not to take his tithe money though or two preach for a Scofield bible.

Not all the loons are in the looney bin Edited by Wilchbla
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Wilchbla, Your way off, get back to the Bible.

As for the other, I've explained it, the trouble is your not accepting my answer, it comical to me at the number of times people will say a person has not answered when the truth is they don't accept the answer that has been given.

Now, if y'all want to counsel people to add sin on top of sin, so be it, not I.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

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.


I agree. Jesus makes it clear on divorce, but he doesn't give any leeway to remarriage. In fact says it is adultery.

Mark 10:11
And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.

Mark 10:12
And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

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.
(This verse explicitly states if a man marries a woman that is put away (divorced) commits adultery.

Paul also clears it up for those who need a gentile example of divorce and remarriage
1 Corinthians 7:39
The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
(Notice if the husband is dead, and she can be married again but only in the Lord.)

Romans 7:2
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
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.

1Corinthians 7:10
And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

1Corinthians 7:11
But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

1Corinthians 7:12
But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

1Corinthians 7:13
And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

Notice that Pauls say in 7:12 "the rest speak I, not the Lord:" People will read into these verse and those preceding them to say Paul is giving room for remarriage because he says they are no longer under bondage. This isn't the case. Paul isn't one to make a statement from the Lord then contradict it a few verses later. When he says let a woman be reconciled back to that husband that is still what he means. If you read through chapter 7 you will see Paul giving examples to show if you are in a calling stay in that calling. The examples are: circumcised to uncircumcised and vise versa and he also points out if a servant be a servant don't be bothered about it, but he also says if you are free or become a freeman do it rather. The Lord needs freemen. So if a husband departs or a wife departs either be reconciled back to them or you stay single(no longer under that bondage) you are a freeman to do service to Christ only. No remarriage, it isn't even mentioned.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

20Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Agree, yet.

Ga 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap

On this issue there be many that mock God, and pays not the least bit of attention to what He says about it, and or twist verses around to suit them.

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  • Lady Administrators

I just have to throw this in. I've mentioned it before, but here goes.

Polygamy is the practice of multiple marriages. Bigamy being a man with two wives (usually they don't know about each other), polygyny being a man with multiple wives (we generally state that it is polygamy, but actually polygamy is the umbrella under which all multiple marriages fall), polyandry being the practice of a woman with multiple husbands, polyamory the practice of multiple relationships that may or may not be married to each other.

Now, if we apply the idea that Paul is referencing the practice of polygyny (which is the more accurate term), we all would say that is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Because God didn't create five women for one man, right? (or vice versa, if it were polyandry, which it isn't since a woman can't be a pastor, right?). And so, we say without any hesitation that a man with multiple wives cannot pastor. Okay...

The problem with that is that it is kinda playing with semantics. It really is. Because we have this little thing called serial polygyny (also called serial monogamy). Yep. It exists. And I find it interesting that the secular world can identify it, but many Christians say, "that's downright silly." Here is what serial polygyny (or serial monogamy) is:
"a succession of short monogamous relationships (as by someone who undergoes multiple divorces)" and "The process of contracting several marriages in succession- marriage, divorce, and remarriage."

Yes. That is the world's definition. I find it interesting that the secular world can see that a series of marriage, divorce, remarriage, is polygynous, but Christians cannot, and therefore make excuses for the preachers who practice it. I'm sorry, but either way Paul intended the injunction for pastors to be the husbands of one wife means no divorce, remarriage in the pulpit.

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The question, LuAnne, is this:

"Is divorce and remarriage ever acceptable in the eyes of God?"

If the answer is no, then a man can't be a pastor having been divorced because he has two living wives. Furthermore, everyone (pastor or not) who has been remarried is currently living in sin and is trapped into not being able to do anything about it (see post #49).

If the answer is yes, then it is possible for a man to be divorced and remarried without having sinned. If a man hasn't sinned then he is blameless before God and no one has any right to tell him otherwise or to declare him unfit to pastor. That would be putting a standard on him that is unbiblical and pharisaical.

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The question, LuAnne, is this:

"Is divorce and remarriage ever acceptable in the eyes of God?"

If the answer is no, then a man can't be a pastor having been divorced because he has two living wives. Furthermore, everyone (pastor or not) who has been remarried is currently living in sin and is trapped into not being able to do anything about it (see post #49).

If the answer is yes, then it is possible for a man to be divorced and remarried without having sinned. If a man hasn't sinned then he is blameless before God and no one has any right to tell him otherwise or to declare him unfit to pastor. That would be putting a standard on him that is unbiblical and pharisaical.


Rick, that might be your question, but it isn't that simple. Divorce and remarriage happen. They are a fact of life. One which God recognized via Moses, and one which Jesus addressed. I am not one that believes Jesus was merely referring to the Jewish betrothal period, simply because that betrothal period was in essence marriage, although unconsummated. And it was/is a direct picture of Christ and His church.

God had Paul write the qualifications for those who would lead His church. As has been noted, there are more qualifications than just marriage. And they are often overlooked, to the detriment of the flock.

However, we need to compare scripture to scripture, instead of applying man's reasoning.

Jesus said: "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."

There are many good people who do not believe that Jesus intended that the exception clause here would mean that remarriage is possible. However, Jesus did put that "except" in there. And so, in reality, we cannot say He didn't mean it, right? The end phrase, "whoso marrieth her..." has the understanding that the woman was put away for fornication. Ergo, marrying the woman who was put would be committing adultery. The reverse would have to also be true (if a woman divorced a man for his adultery).

Now, this is where it evolves into simple opinion. IMO, because of the grace and mercy of God, I don't believe that He would condemn the innocent party of a divorce caused by adultery to permanent singlehood (although, depending on the age of the parties, it might be the wisest route...). But that is my opinion. Others don't think there should be any more remarriage at all (and there is some basis for this in Corinthians). So, on that basis, one could claim that a divorced, remarried man could remain in the pulpit (or one who was married to a divorced woman). But it is on the basis of opinion, not scripture.

However, God did have Paul say that one of the qualifications of a pastor is to be the husband of one wife. Not to be a polygynist...whether it be serially or all at the same time is a moot point. Yes, the divorce took place. But the CONSEQUENCES of that divorce are not removed, anymore than any other sin! And one of those consequences is that he should not pastor any more.

The man is the head of his home. Period. How is he leading properly if he does not deal with his wife's spiritual needs? If she is so lonely, or so headstrong, or so rebellious, that she goes out and has an affair, her husband has not loved her as he ought. And so, just as the pastor of a church answers to the Lord for the way he spiritually leads his flock, so, too, will the husband answer for the way he leads his wife and his home. And that would include if she leaves him...

As to being in continued adultery....I don't agree with that. I do believe that, when a couple realizes that their marriage began incorrectly (i.e. one or both was married before), and they seriously want to serve the Lord, they will go to the Lord and seek forgiveness. There is a movement on (it has been around for quite a while) that teaches that people who have been divorced and remarried must divorce their current spouse and remarry their first one. That is totally unbiblical. I know we are not under OT law, but God very emphatically tells us there (therefore placing a principle) that the woman who has remarried is not to return to her first husband - because it compounds the sin.

If a pastor goes out and gets sloppy drunk and gets into a bar fight and lands in jail, we'd be the first to say he needs to step down from the pulpit. Why? Because SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES. If a pastor's children are running around being sexually promiscuous, doing drugs, mugging people, we'd say that pastor needs to step down. Buuuuuuut....if the pastor has been divorced and remarried (and more than once, to boot), someone who believes they are disqualified because of what scripture says is considered Pharisaical by those who want him to remain in the pulpit. But there is no getting around it. God laid it down via Paul. A pastor is to be the husband of one wife. The man who is divorced and remarried is not. He has had two (or three) wives, and the first (and second) was not separated from him by death. That is disqualification.

And, as my parents' pastor says: we go on from there. Why do we, as a people, insist that a divorced, remarried man remain in the pulpit? Is that the only way to serve the Lord? Of course not! There is so much more out there, yet we defend men who remain in the pulpit. And wouldn't it be much better for Christianity (and the world, who, for pity's sake, watches and laughs when this kind of thing happens) if that pastor would humble himself, step down, admit he wasn't the kind of husband he should have been (gentlemen, I submit to you that if a man is TRULY loving his wife as he should, she won't consider any pastures greener...) and serve God in a non-pastoral manner. But, unfortunately, our very human pride gets in the way. And that is truly what a divorced man clinging to the pulpit is all about.
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The question, LuAnne, is this:

"Is divorce and remarriage ever acceptable in the eyes of God?"

If the answer is no, then a man can't be a pastor having been divorced because he has two living wives. Furthermore, everyone (pastor or not) who has been remarried is currently living in sin and is trapped into not being able to do anything about it (see post #49).

If the answer is yes, then it is possible for a man to be divorced and remarried without having sinned. If a man hasn't sinned then he is blameless before God and no one has any right to tell him otherwise or to declare him unfit to pastor. That would be putting a standard on him that is unbiblical and pharisaical.



No, divorce is not acceptable to God.

Ge 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Yet we do have a God that is merciful and He will forgive. Yet there is always consequences to our sins. One consequence of a man divorcing is he cannot be a pastor of a New Testament Church.

To say that divorce is acceptable to God would be saying God accepts sin, He does not. I might add, God will forgive any sin when a person come to Him with a repenting heart.
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Good post, sister. :)

The problem with it though, LuAnne, is that if you're going to say "husband of one wife" means "husband of one wife for life" then a lost divorced man who gets saved could never, ever be a pastor because of something that happened before he got saved. A man can be a fornicator or a drunk or in the case of Paul someone who actually tortured Christians, and he could hold the office of a deacon or a pastor once he was saved and showed the fruit of God in his life - but if he's divorced he's out for life, anywhere and everywhere on the face of the Earth from being a pastor OR a deacon. That's completely contrary to the word of God, everything is cleaned at salvation.

A young man gets saved and his wife leaves him three months later. Fifteen years later he still can't be a pastor OR deacon, regardless of what God has done in his life?

We can throw realistic but hypothetical situations and dictionary definitions out there all day, but in the end the only thing that matters is what the Bible says. It says "husband of one wife," if that means "one wife for life" then there's a myriad of ridiculous (and unbiblical) situations that would disqualify a man from being a deacon, let alone a pastor. That why I believe the only interpretation that is consistent with the rest of Scripture is "one wife now."

I'm not endorsing divorce, I am not divorced and neither is my pastor or anyone in our church's staff. I believe divorce is a terrible thing, but I only go so far as the Scripture goes when it comes to condemning it. If a man is sinless in divorce, and God does not assign any blame to him, I certainly am not going to either.

Edited by Rick Schworer
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Rick, I could almost agree to one single divorce and remarriage (almost, but that only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades :icon_mrgreen: ). But there is absolutely no justification for multiple divorces/remarriage. I know you aren't divorced, nor are your church leaders. And that is great. But, I do know that staying in the pulpit becomes a matter of pride for many divorced people.

We can argue til the moon turns blue, Rick. This is a very emotional subject for many people (especially in light of the burgeoning divorce rate in the pulpit), but, Rick, God says husband of one wife. Not one wife at a time.

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Moses was not fit to lead Israel simply because he got mad and hit the rock instead of speaking to it. I suppose many they be that thinks it was foolish of God to disqualify Moses from leading Israel into the promise land even taking his life for what we would call a very minor disobedience.

Yes, human reasoning, wisdom, will cause people to think many of God's ways are quite foolish and that we humans knows a better way of doing all things than even God. Which is turning away surrendering our will to Him while trusting and obeying.

Yes, its sets a very good example for all to follow placing divorced men in the only two offices that Jesus set up in His New Testament Churches.

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