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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      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.

When Does One Say, "enough"?


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Currently, my church is primarily comprised of:

 

My wife and myself

 

One good, 'normal' man

 

A mother and her adult son, neither of whom 'gets' anything anymore, (and he recently lambasted me because he thinks my wife acts better than the rest of the church, and virtually threatened her, he thinks I'm slacking as a pastor becusse he doesn't understand my preaching, and then carried on a tirade against WalMart, and various other things-basically, my wife, a nursing home nurse, believes he is suffering from classical beginnings of dementia).

 

a couple who shows up MOST Sunday mornings, never evenings, but it takes very little to get them out, any special event, any invitation to anything.

 

and a family who pops in maybe every three weeks for a mid-week service.

 

That's it. Last sunday only the first guy on the list came. The 'son' mentioned above said they weren't coming because he was "too pi&&ed off to come", the couple had to pick up someone in Reno, and the others were prOBably out wood cutting, which they do every Sunday.

 

As you can imagine, my levels of encouragement haven't been high of late.

 

So, to those preachers and pastors out there, at what point does one say, "Enough" and step down? Not to say that at some point I couldn't take up the mantle again, should things improve in the area, but the place is dying, and I'm not sure that I see it ever getting better.

 

Sadly, the preachers I have most trusted in my life for advice in the ministry have since passed on to glory, so in many ways, I'm kind of alone out here, in that sense.

 

I am hungry for fellowship with believers, face to face hungry to sit under teaching, and there are some good churches not too far away we could attend, and it is a temptation, but I always believed that, as long as there was one person, I would stay. And that, if I gave the Lord the latitutde to bring them to His house, He would.

 

But we invite, and we teach truth and we pass tracts, but nothing.  I admit to being tired, feeling like I am beating my head against a wall that refuses to yield. I keep thinking of the verse: 

    Gal 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

Is my "due season" to be after this life?

 

Thoughts?

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Never say "enough" until God says enough. What God opens, no man shuts. If He called you to pastor, then pastor until He calls you out of that position. I remember years ago, one winter Sunday. I was the only one who showed up for morning service. More than eighty members stayed home, who were usually faithful. I could have closed the doors and went home.

But I stayed.

And preached the message I had prepared... to myself.

Funny thing, it was on a rebellious people walking in the wilderness of Zin. But i preached as if all the members were in attendance that day. And though none were there to receive the Word , it spoke to my heart that chilly morning. It caused me to realize that, our hearts are frail and our flesh is weak. Our flesh will get weaker when we focus on what , or who, did not show up rather than Who we brought with us.

Stay the course.

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If you are tired - and remember Jesus took time apart on several occasions - maybe tell everyone you need a break for a month and go to one of those nearby churches.
Give plenty of notice - announce it for a month before, and make it plain that it is not the end, just a refresh for you, and encourage them to go to one of the nearby churches (preferably not the one you intend to go to. ;) )

Everyone needs a break and if you are anything like most pastors I know, it will be a few years since you took a holiday - a real holiday that didn't involve going to some special meetings somewhere and/ or preaching for other churches.......

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If you are tired - and remember Jesus took time apart on several occasions - maybe tell everyone you need a break for a month and go to one of those nearby churches.
Give plenty of notice - announce it for a month before, and make it plain that it is not the end, just a refresh for you, and encourage them to go to one of the nearby churches (preferably not the one you intend to go to. ;) )

Everyone needs a break and if you are anything like most pastors I know, it will be a few years since you took a holiday - a real holiday that didn't involve going to some special meetings somewhere and/ or preaching for other churches......

My last holiday was, in fact, my honeymoon, in 11/2003, so yeah, its been a bit. Though honestly I do find the meetings refreshing-I really get great comfort from sitting under good preaching. But its been I think four years since I was able to attend one of those.

 

Never say "enough" until God says enough. What God opens, no man shuts. If He called you to pastor, then pastor until He calls you out of that position. I remember years ago, one winter Sunday. I was the only one who showed up for morning service. More than eighty members stayed home, who were usually faithful. I could have closed the doors and went home.

But I stayed.

And preached the message I had prepared... to myself.

Funny thing, it was on a rebellious people walking in the wilderness of Zin. But i preached as if all the members were in attendance that day. And though none were there to receive the Word , it spoke to my heart that chilly morning. It caused me to realize that, our hearts are frail and our flesh is weak. Our flesh will get weaker when we focus on what , or who, did not show up rather than Who we brought with us.

Stay the course.

I appreciate that, but then, these were people who were, by your word, usually faithful. We are dealing with good weather, poor weather, doesn't matter. However, I agree that we don't quit until God says to quit., But that being said, how does one know when its time to quit? Many would have taken the loss of the building as a sign to quit, but I have stayed on. Some would say, When you have no more faithful members-that's pretty much where I am. But is this quitting time?

 

I have considered just straight-up taking it to the church as a whole-call a special meeting, to which most will attend, and just lay it on the line-they are the church, after all, and if they no longer want to be the church, I will lay it upon them to decide.

 

But then I think, "If there is just ONE person who wants to be there, ONE person who is faithful, (and there is), then maybe the end is not yet.

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The fact that you are questioning 'but is this quitting time?" tells me, that in your heart you don't want to quit. Perhaps Dave is right, some time off, a couple weeks away. If you quit, something tells me you will feel miserable.

Oh, I absolutely would feel miserable. I can't see NOT doing it. But how I feel isn't necessarily what the Lord wants. Just been praying for something to encourage me, to let me know, "Yes, keep going", and yet, it seems instead to get worse, so it make me think, maybe that's my answer.

 

Either way prOBably not stopping just yet, just looking toward the future, wondering what, if anything, would be the 'telling sign', to bring it to a close.

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Just my 2¢...

 

What I will say is from my own personal experience and feelings, though I'll spare all the details. If it applies to your situation or can be applied...I don't know.

 

All I had ever wanted was to be in full-time Christian service...it's what I ate, lived, and breathed. I made several steps to make that dream come true, because from what I knew...that's what "ministries" expected.

 

Joined a big church (an hour away) with all kinds of ministries, got a Bible College degree, made myself available to do whatever I could do, rubbed shoulders with a few big names in IFB'dom...and it was all for naught...none of that mattered unless I was willing to be one of the pastor's yes-men and boot-lickers....just to be blunt.

 

It wasn't until I realized that I was doing those things for...ME...that things started to change. I was doing what other men expected me to do. I was doing all of these things for myself and others...trying to attain something (a goal or dream) for myself...and I wasn't doing it for the only one who mattered...the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, I hid behind "I'm doing this for the Lord.", but the truth of the matter was, I was doing it for myself.

 

I gave up what I wanted. I gave up trying to fulfill the expectations of others. I gave up trying to impress other men hoping they might "give me a shot". I was trying to force the Lord to fulfill my wants and desires...

 

I had to ask myself a few questions, and I had to answer them honestly.

 

Am I doing all of this for the Lord? No, I'm doing it for myself (and others).

Am I trying to meet man's expectations or the Lord's? Man's.

Am I expecting things from others? Yes.

Am I seeking man's approval or the Lord's? Man's.

Am I trying to impress man or the Lord? Man.

Am I experiencing joy and peace doing all of these things? No.

 

Dear Lord...please...PLEASE...PLEASE forgive me...

 

After I reached that point, things changed. I gave up on all of it. I don't mean this to sound bad, but I could care less if I am ever in full-time service. If the Lord would allow it, I would be thankful to have just a few people to start a church with. I would be happy to preach and teach those few the word of God...and this will go against the grain of some, but if it never grew beyond those few...I would be content knowing that I was doing what God gave me to do. Preaching and teaching a few who could hopefully in turn, share with others. God grows the church; not me.

 

Mike, I believe we're in the last days, and if so...it's only going to get harder to find truly faithful people.

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Brother Mike,

 

As I read your post I couldn’t help but think of Jeremiah. He was faithful to preach God’s word for 23 years with no converts and no visible positive results. He was persecuted by his own countrymen, scorned by all, and his message fell on deaf ears.

 

Through it all he was faithful first to his God and second to God’s message. Although I am sure he got discouraged, still he went right back to preaching the truth he was sent to deliver to a wayward generation.

 

He did not quit because he had a purpose. He knew who he was and what he was supposed to do for his God. In Jer. 1:5 God explains Jeremiah’s call. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

 

God knew him, sanctified him and ordained him. Having said that, is it reasonable to think that God did not know what Jeremiah was to go through? Of course He did, but that didn’t change God’s purposes, nor did it change the prophet’s ministry.

 

I said all of that to encourage you to possibly view your own ministry in the same light that was Jeremiah’s lot. If God has called you to preach and given you the tools to accomplish His will, is it reasonable to think that he did not know the circumstances you would have to work under to accomplish His purposes for both your life and the lives of those He has sent you to?

 

I am sure you have preached and heard the saying preached that we are not responsible for results; we are only responsible to be faithful. 1Cor 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. I think that I can see in you a faithful minister of Christ; and even in this time of trouble you remain faithful.

 

In closing I would urge you to not allow Satan to cast doubt on your ministry or God’s calling and purpose. I pray that God will comfort, sustain, reassure and empower you in His ministry. May you serve Him with renewed enthusiasm and determination, to His honor and glory.

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Just a word of encouragement if nothing else. When I first started attending my church which was almost 3 years ago, I'd always gone to bigger churches. Sunday mornings here have at most 12 faithful adults including me. Wed. nights sometimes I'm the only other adult to show up other than pastor and his wife and it's been that way for almost 3 years. My pastor is younger, in his early 30's, so his perspective I'm sure is different than yours. But he knows that he's preaching the truth if no other church in town is strong enough to do it anymore. and that's the only preacher I want to sit under to lead me! There's prOBably 20 other churches in my town also. You may be the only preacher around that's still willing to preach the truth and not water it down! 

You may need a vacation or a rest and it sure sounds like it! God bless you for all your years of service already! 

 

I think every church has at least one 'numbskull' that constantly adds drama but everyone knows is numbskull and is used to it!

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But then I think, "If there is just ONE person who wants to be there, ONE person who is faithful, (and there is), then maybe the end is not yet.

 

i meant to add this to my above post.

 

I have been that ONE person.

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We had one of those "sons" in our church. Never happy with anything and has his own ideas on how things should go. It would be wise to ask him to not come back. Cancer like that spreads like wildfire.

 

What is your church structure like?

I saw in an earlier post that you don't have a building anymore.

 

I can tell from this post you meet on Sun. Morning, Sun. Night, and Wed. Night with some special events.

 

Lots of today's members (just like kids) are needing structure. Physical and Ideal.

 

By that I mean they want ownership and/or partnership in anything they can find.

 

With that being said, how is your missionary support. See if you can have a missionary come in one Sunday all day or at least both services. Advertise it, go out on the weekends before and hand out flyers along with tracts.

 

People like to feel in control and be comfortable doing it. Give them a local mission to do individually. Find something for them to be in control of and along with that comes the feeling of being a part of something. A feeling of belonging and ownership.

 

All of this may just be rambling and I'm sure someone is going to have something to say about it. "Show me where the Bible says....." I know.

I wrote this from the prospective of being the 1 that you talked about above. To try to help understand how that "one" thinks but also how people think in general. The fact is that people who go to church for the preaching are few and far between.

 

All that said.......hang in there. Preach the word without waiver or favour. Where ever it might be.

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Thanks all for great words of encouragement. Praying, keeping it in God's hands.

 

It was asked, more or less, am I certain I do this for the Lord, not for myself. I have had to ask myself that before, and I think, or hope, all pastors, or anyone in full-time service, ask themselves. I believe it is for the Lord, because there are no more here to seek approval from.  The man I took over from, very quickly went from being a supporter, to greatly disliking me, partly because I got married to someone he didn't know, but still didn't like, and partly, I believe, just from frustration at having to give up the pulpit due to health reasons. So I wasn't pleasing them. Others have left because I was willing to preach against the Catholic church or against false, pentecostal tongues. So if I am seeking to please men, I'm doing a pretty poor jOB of it. In fact, I fought tooth and nail AGAINST becoming a pastor, but having publicly dedicated myself to Him, the Lord made it clear He wasn't going to let me go from my vow, and drove me for 10 years in directions out of my own control, into exactly where I needed to be to surrender. Once I did, there was suddenly calm-not peace, completely, but calm. So I am certain I am in the right place. I sure wouldn't have chosen it of myself. No money, power, prestige, just the work, just the Lord. So I surely appreciate what you went through, and actually, in my first pastorate, which lasted about a year, I had to deal with some real pride issues, (I liked being called 'reverend" a title which I know eschew.)

 

Time to go to work.

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Over 15 years ago now, I once sought advice from my father-in-law concerning a thought to depart from a particular ministry.  His advice was just what I needed then, and continues with me to this day.  At that time he first asked -- How certain were you when you entered this ministry that the Lord wanted you there?  My answer -- 100%.  He than asked -- How certain are you now that the Lord wants you to depart.  My answer -- approximately 99%.  He then responded -- When you are 100%, then come back and talk to me.  (In my particular case, I became 100% approximately six months later when the Lord moved me to another ministry, that is -- the ministry wherein I have served as pastor for the past 16 years.)

 

I present this because of the help that this counsel provided for me.  Maybe it will serve to help you also, Brother Mike.

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Over 15 years ago now, I once sought advice from my father-in-law concerning a thought to depart from a particular ministry.  His advice was just what I needed then, and continues with me to this day.  At that time he first asked -- How certain were you when you entered this ministry that the Lord wanted you there?  My answer -- 100%.  He than asked -- How certain are you now that the Lord wants you to depart.  My answer -- approximately 99%.  He then responded -- When you are 100%, then come back and talk to me.  (In my particular case, I became 100% approximately six months later when the Lord moved me to another ministry, that is -- the ministry wherein I have served as pastor for the past 16 years.)

 

I present this because of the help that this counsel provided for me.  Maybe it will serve to help you also, Brother Mike.

Thanks, Brother. It does help

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Hate to be the monkey in your wrench Mike but if we cornered most on this forum they would believe you are not Scripturally qualified to pastor.
By your own admission you are divorced and remarried.
 
If the husband of one wife means what most think it means then it stands to reason that this calling of yours was against Scripture (therefore in your mind only-hence the desire to be called reverend).
 
In reality you would not even be allowed to candidate at any church I know of so think before you say how mean spirited this post is. I think everyone would say the same thing if you attempted to candidate at their church.
 
Now, if that is not what the qualifications mean then all who reply please say that first in your rebuttal because there is no gray area. It either means it or it don't. The Bible doesn't say "husband of one wife, unless of course you have a sOB story"
 
Perhaps you should face that reality head on when you wonder why no Spiritual blessings are on the church. I am not calling you out friend but it does surprise me if you had never wondered on this? Maybe it is time to give the hOBby church up. Maybe it was never supposed to be. You do make a living with the government, correct?
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Scripture doesn't say a pastor cannot have been divorced and remarried.  It simply says "the husband of one wife." 

If Mike is divorced from another, he is no longer that one's husband.

What did Paul say in 1 Corinthians?  "Art thou loosed from a wife?  Seek not to be bound.  But, and if thou canst contain, marry.  For it is better to marry than to burn."

So, I would not necessarily disqualify Mike based on his remarriage.  I would have to have more detail.  Such as, 'Is his first wife still alive?'  According to the guidelines set forth by Romans 7:1-4, we see that an woman who divorces a man and remarries while her ex-husband is still alive, shall be called an adulterer as long as her ex is still alive.    Does the same "adultery" rule apply to men as with women?  In my opinion, yes.

That said, I would not necessarily vote against a remarried man for a pastoral position, unless I knew that his first wife was still alive. 

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My My, what a wonderfully encouraging post you have written Wretched. Nothing like kicking a guy when he is down.

 

 Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

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show me in the Bible where it says a divorced man cannot preach? Not your interpretation of a verse.

I'd rather have a divorced preacher who's a great husband and father who preaches the word of God than a horrible father and husband of the same woman for 30 years.

one wife, not a concubine, not a harem, not a Mormon wives club, but ONE faithful wife

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Scripture does not say a divorced man cannot preach. However, it does say the Bishop of the Church is to be "above reproach". Would having the tag of adulterer until his first wife die not be considered to be a reproach?

Just something to think about...

edited to add: Before someone reminds me that "we all sin," I need to point out that I know we all sin. However, not every sin is as blatantly manifest as that of adultery.

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