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         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.

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You are missing the context. This isn't speaking to what you are saying.

Not missing a thing, John Verse 27 asks art thou loosed from a wife? It can be speaking of nothing except divorce. For it also asks art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed.

Loosed can mean nothing but divorce. It cannot mean widowed. It would make no sense to say Are you married? seek not to be a widow.

Are you loosed (divorced)? seek not a wife. But, if you marry you have not sinned. Verse 28 starts with the word 'but' to understand why the word 'but' is used, one must go to the previous verse.

Remarriage is not sin according to 1 Corinthians 7
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Not missing a thing, John Verse 27 asks art thou loosed from a wife? It can be speaking of nothing except divorce. For it also asks art thou bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed.

Loosed can mean nothing but divorce. It cannot mean widowed. It would make no sense to say Are you married? seek not to be a widow.

Are you loosed (divorced)? seek not a wife. But, if you marry you have not sinned. Verse 28 starts with the word 'but' to understand why the word 'but' is used, one must go to the previous verse.

Remarriage is not sin according to 1 Corinthians 7


Loosed in the context can mean either divorced or widowed, but your reading a meaning into the scriptures that isn't there. Verses 25-40 of 1st Corinthians 7 should be taken as a whole, you can't take one verse out and fairly interpret it in a manner that would contradict the rest of the passage and multiple other scriptures as well. The part your quoting, verse 27 and the first part of 28, are building upon verse 26 where Paul is saying there are benefits to being unmarried. He is not saying it is not sin for a divorced person to remarry while their spouse is still alive(see verse 39), he is saying it is not a sin for a unmarried(but not divorced) individual to marry. In other words celibacy is not required of believers.

Until the past 50 years or it wasn't even seriously questioned that divorce and remarriage was wrong and a disqualification to pastor. With the prevalence of divorce these days though something "had" to be done to bring the bible in line with modern "realities" I suppose. IFB's might not yet have reached the point of arguing like the Anglicans or some other groups if homosexual pastors are permissible or not, but we have some things that we also "wink" at for cultural reasons while unchangeable God does not.
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Sorry Seth,

Seek not to be loosed does not mean, nor can it mean widowed.

Nice try though.



Never said that "seek not to be loosed" was talking about being widowed. Obviously that part is saying don't get a divorce. However you can be "loosed" by the death of a spouse as well. Therefore "art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife." could apply either to a divorced or widowed individual.

The point stands that your interpretation of verse 27 and part of 28 of 1st Corinthians 7 can be shown to be faulty when scripture is compared with scripture.

"1st 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."

"Romans 7:2-3 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. 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."

"Mark 10:10-12 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery." Edited by Seth-Doty
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In order to unattatch something, it must first be attatched.


It doesn't have to mean "to unattach" (verb) it can be not attached to be begin with. It's old English.
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Never said that "seek not to be loosed" was talking about being widowed. Obviously that part is saying don't get a divorce. However you can be "loosed" by the death of a spouse as well. Therefore "art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife." could apply either to a divorced or widowed individual.

The point stands that your interpretation of verse 27 and part of 28 of 1st Corinthians 7 can be shown to be faulty when scripture is compared with scripture.

"1st 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."

"Romans 7:2-3 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. 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."

"Mark 10:10-12 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery."

That's right Seth. This is what I was speaking of with regards to taking it all in context. As you said in a previous post, those two verses in discussion must be taken in the context they are presented, as you did, and then they must be compared with the rest of Scripture on the subject, which you are addressing here. Well done.
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Hello all. I am new to this forum. I read through the majority of this thread, but not every post, so if I repeat something that has already been mentioned, please forgive me.

I grew up hearing that divorced men could not be pastors. My pastor would not even allow a divorced man to teach Sunday school. While searching for a church home after we relocated, I refused to go to church where the pastor was divorced.

However, I know of two current pastors who have been divorced and remarried and have thriving ministries. People are being saved and their congregations are growing. Salvation is the principle facet to our belief, correct? This has caused me to reexamine what I was taught and see what the Bible actually says.

There are several qualifications for pastor given in I Timothy and Titus. The one common feature is that all are in the present tense. This indicates that God is concerned with how a man is living his life in the here and now. By no means do I condone divorce, please do not think I do. However, if a man that has been divorced in the past is disqualified from being a pastor, then the same principle should apply if they used to drink. If this standard is to be held, then a man who has ever gotten into a fight cannot pastor. To identify one sin from the past without recognizing all sins is a double standard and hypocritical in my opinion. I believe it is an error to single out one sin from a man’s past and ignore the rest.

I read several posts where someone said that even though the sin is forgiven there are consequences for their sin. The only consequence for sin I read in the Bible is death. Sure there are civil consequences for wrong doing (murder, theft, etc…) However, God says the wages of sin is death. Since Jesus died and paid the penalty for that sin, how can man still hold someone guilty? Acts 13:39 states that we are justified from all sins. Justified means declared “Not Guilty”. Therefore, when a divorced and remarried man comes to God in repentance and seeks forgiveness, God removes that sin and remembers it no more. Why does man continue to bring it up?

Thanks for bearing with me.

Edited by chapabel
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Hello all. I am new to this forum. I read through the majority of this thread, but not every post, so if I repeat something that has already been mentioned, please forgive me.

I grew up hearing that divorced men could not be pastors. My pastor would not even allow a divorced man to teach Sunday school. While searching for a church home after we relocated, I refused to go to church where the pastor was divorced.

However, I know of two current pastors who have been divorced and remarried and have thriving ministries. People are being saved and their congregations are growing. Salvation is the principle facet to our belief, correct? This has caused me to reexamine what I was taught and see what the Bible actually says.

There are several qualifications for pastor given in I Timothy and Titus. The one common feature is that all are in the present tense. This indicates that God is concerned with how a man is living his life in the here and now. By no means do I condone divorce, please do not think I do. However, if a man that has been divorced in the past is disqualified from being a pastor, then the same principle should apply if they used to drink. If this standard is to be held, then a man who has ever gotten into a fight cannot pastor. To identify one sin from the past without recognizing all sins is a double standard and hypocritical in my opinion. I believe it is an error to single out one sin from a man’s past and ignore the rest.

I read several posts where someone said that even though the sin is forgiven there are consequences for their sin. The only consequence for sin I read in the Bible is death. Sure there are civil consequences for wrong doing (murder, theft, etc…) However, God says the wages of sin is death. Since Jesus died and paid the penalty for that sin, how can man still hold someone guilty? Acts 13:39 states that we are justified from all sins. Justified means declared “Not Guilty”. Therefore, when a divorced and remarried man comes to God in repentance and seeks forgiveness, God removes that sin and remembers it no more. Why does man continue to bring it up?

Thanks for bearing with me.
Excellent post!

The key words in 1 Timothy 3 are, as you mentioned, in the present tenst... MUST BE.

To say a man cannot pastor because he remarries is hypocritical... especially in light of the fact that all have sinned one sin or another.
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The Bible never says a divorced man can't be a pastor. The problem many fundamental Baptists have is they make an assumption that Bible doesn't say. The Bible clearly states that a pastor and deacon must be the husband of one wife.

That can mean two things:

1. One wife ever.

This is what most IFBers subscribe to. To remain consistent you must also teach that:

a. If a man was divorced before being saved it makes no difference - he is not the husband of one wife ever and cannot serve as a pastor or a deacon.
b. Though a man may be divorced biblically according to Matthew 5 it makes no difference - he is not the husband of one wife ever and may not serve as a pastor or a deacon.
c. If newly saved men has had his lost wife leave and divorce him two months into his new life in Christ, he is forever banned from serving as a pastor or deacon, regardless of what fruit the Lord may have worked in his life twenty years later.
d. If a man’s wife dies and he remarries, he is no longer the husband of one wife ever.

They will scratch and claw to deny some of these, but the fact remains that to be consistent this is what you must teach. All four of these points have huge problems when it comes to remaining consistent with the rest of Scripture and in my opinion the nature of who God is and His forgiving, merciful, and gracious nature. If in fact this is an unscriptural standard and burden placed upon people, then it is Phariseeism plain and simple. To demand a standard of a man that God does not demand of him is the primary qualification of a Pharisee.

I am the husband of one wife ever and so is my pastor.


2. One wife now.

The teaching here is that you can't be a polygamist and be a pastor or deacon. This teaching does not eternally punish a child of God for a pre-conversion divorce or a biblical divorce in which God assigns no blame to the man.

This doesn't guarantee a divorced man a position as a pastor or a deacon. He must meet all qualifications. Many pastors today couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag, and though they may have been married to the same woman for thirty years, they have no business being in the ministry.

Obviously there's much more to the discussion. I'd encourage you to study the Bible for yourself and pray about it. Ask yourself which one of these two interpretations is consistent with Scripture. Also go back to the first post and re-read the entire thread.

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However, I know of two current pastors who have been divorced and remarried and have thriving ministries. People are being saved and their congregations are growing. Salvation is the principle facet to our belief, correct? This has caused me to reexamine what I was taught and see what the Bible actually says.


The simple fact that people are being saved through a particular ministry does not mean that that ministry is operating in complete obedience to God. Billy Graham, for example, operates ecumenically - he sends hundreds of converts/seekers back to the Church of Rome and the false gospel it teaches - yet I do not doubt that many people have been truly saved under his ministry. But the fact that people have been saved does not make his actions correct.
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The simple fact that people are being saved through a particular ministry does not mean that that ministry is operating in complete obedience to God.

Are you suggesting God is blessing disobedience?

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That would not be an example of God "blessing", but rather God working some good even through such means.

Those who have been saved through the ministry of a divorced pastor would consider their salvation a blessing from God and would disagree with you. So you would admit that God does save even though it be through a divorced pastor?
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Those who have been saved through the ministry of a divorced pastor would consider their salvation a blessing from God and would disagree with you. So you would admit that God does save even though it be through a divorced pastor?

God can save through a wicked person presenting the Gospel in an attempt to be mocking, but that doesn't mean God is blessing the messenger or even what he's doing, but rather that God can and does use those not walking right to accomplish His will.
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There is a huge difference between a wicked person mocking God and a divorced pastor doing his best to present the Gospel, lead people to the Lord and shepherd a flock. Do you lump both together in the same group?

I guess the point I'm trying to make is I have seen how God has blessed the ministries of those two divorced pastors. After reviewing the qualifications for pastors, in light of other scripture, I fail to see where divorce and remarriage prohibits a man from pastoring. I once held a firm view against this, mainly because that was what I was taught by man. I understand why many still hold this position.

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The fact remains that divorce is not God's will for anyones marriage. I hold to the more fundamental side to this issue however God's grace forgives a load more than any of us are willing to do, He is all powerful and if he chooses to bless then so be it.

I think when you start looking for loop holes to accept a sin in someone's life you are on shaky ground. God wants his best for us and we should want God's best too.

I would never be rude, judge, or look down upon a divorced person. But when you look at a pastor's role in a church, ( this includes marriage counselling ) how can you take advice from someone who could not keep a marriage working and stable. And yes I know we all sin and are imperfect but you don't go to a gambler for financial advice nor would you go to a divorced person for marriage advice. There is also the issue of being a stumbling block. If you are counselling a married couple that divorce is not the way, and they find out you are divorced you advice becomes questionable and some would use it for justification. ( which I'm sure we all agree would be wrong)

I have no doubt that many ultra conservative stands I take will be way more on the legal side than on God's grace side, however when I stand before God I want it to be with having done the best I can, I want to be the best example that I can be. If I was a divorced person I would not stand up in front of church as a Pastor (if I was male) and I wouldn't put my hand up to teach my Sunday School class, I would want better for my flock and for my SS kids.

It concerns me all of the comments about IFBers etc. If I have not shown grace I apologise but I have to stand where my Lord leads me and I hope you do the same.

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The fact remains that divorce is not God's will for anyones marriage. I hold to the more fundamental side to this issue however God's grace forgives a load more than any of us are willing to do, He is all powerful and if he chooses to bless then so be it.

There are many things in our lives that are not God's will and yet He chooses to use us. David was a murderer and adulterer, and so was Moses, yet God placed them in positions of authority arguably far greater than that of a pastor of small local church. You can be "fundamental" all you want, but what does the Bible say?

I think when you start looking for loop holes to accept a sin in someone's life you are on shaky ground. God wants his best for us and we should want God's best too.

Amen, I don't think anyone here is in favor of finding loop holes to accept sin. Everyone should want God's best, but sometimes it doesn't happen. I'm very blessed to have God's best when it comes to my family; I have a wonderful wife and four beautiful children. But what about a situation where someone's wife left them because they recently trusted Christ? That's not a weird or odd situation, it's very common. God gave an allowance for divorce in Matthew 5, and God never makes an allowance for sin. Therefore divorce isn't always sin. What Scriptural basis would you have for holding something against a Christian that God does not?

I would never be rude, judge, or look down upon a divorced person.

Be honest - you already have looked down upon all divorced people, regardless of whether the divorce was biblical or pre-salvation. You didn't stop at disqualifying all divorced people from serving as a pastor or a deacon, you went so far in this post of yours to say they can't even teach a little kids Sunday School class. There is no Scriptural basis for what you are saying.

But when you look at a pastor's role in a church, ( this includes marriage counselling ) how can you take advice from someone who could not keep a marriage working and stable. And yes I know we all sin and are imperfect but you don't go to a gambler for financial advice nor would you go to a divorced person for marriage advice. There is also the issue of being a stumbling block. If you are counselling a married couple that divorce is not the way, and they find out you are divorced you advice becomes questionable and some would use it for justification. ( which I'm sure we all agree would be wrong)

People looking to do wrong will always look for any justification they can, just like anyone trying to do right will look for any way to overcome the problem. It's ridiculously common for pastor's houses to be unruly - and that's a disqualification. If the pastor steps down, gets right and ten years later pastors again no one says anything. Yet if he's been divorced at any point in his life he's forever unworthy of being a Sunday School teacher?

I have no doubt that many ultra conservative stands I take will be way more on the legal side than on God's grace side,

Ask yourself a couple questions:

1. It is "ultraconservative" or unbiblical?
2. Would YOU rather be on God's legal side or His grace side?

however when I stand before God I want it to be with having done the best I can, I want to be the best example that I can be. If I was a divorced person I would not stand up in front of church as a Pastor (if I was male) and I wouldn't put my hand up to teach my Sunday School class, I would want better for my flock and for my SS kids.

Because you look down on all divorced people as second class.

It concerns me all of the comments about IFBers etc. If I have not shown grace I apologise but I have to stand where my Lord leads me and I hope you do the same.

Nothing you've said has offended me. But then again, I'm not divorced.
Edited by Rick Schworer
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    • Bro. West

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