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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.

if a divorced person marries, are they in adultery?


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Being against remarriage cost John the Baptist his head. The Bible still calls her Philip's wife after she was divorced and remarried to Herod. Herod and Herodias had been married long enough to have a daughter, Salome, who danced for her father. (gross)

 

 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Being against remarriage cost John the Baptist his head. The Bible still calls her Philip's wife after she was divorced and remarried to Herod. Herod and Herodias had been married long enough to have a daughter, Salome, who danced for her father. (gross)

 

 

According to Josephus Salome was the daughter of Herod II, not Herod Antipas which Salome dance for.

He also indicates Herodias violated the law by divorcing herself from Herod II. This is why there was the claim she was actually still Herod II's wife even after she married Herod Antipas, who himself was also divorced.

Their lives sound like many today involved in serial marriage, divorce and remarriage.

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I have friend that was pastor of a IFB church , his wife up and left him saying she was tired of being married he tried hard to find out how they could reconcile their marriage but she refused to cooperate and divorced him .the church deacons took a vote to fire him because of the divorce (in which he contested but the judge granted the divorce) shortly after the divorce his wife committed suicide leaving him a letter saying she was at a fault in sin of a affair ,though some believe she had mental troubles was the cause. Since this time he has been not been able to pastor another church because of the divorce, he doesn't talk about what happen and has excepted responsibility for his wife's actions and regrets that the church split causing many to leave because of him being fired.i know him very well and he has always been a strong man of God ,but I don't understand why the church fired him being he had not committed adultery or any other sin.

Any Pastors thoughts and scriptures are welcome.

God bless

First, of course, there is the issue of an unbiblical authority given to deacons: deacons were never intended as a board to rule over a pastor and a church-the Bible makes clear that the pastor(s)/elder(s) has the primary authority under the Lord, also called 'bishops', meaning overseers.  In Hebrews 13, the believers addressed are told to remeber them that have the rule over you, and to obey them that have the rule over you-neither instance is speaking of civil rule, but ecclesiastical rule, ie, their pastors. The deacons didn't have authority over the pastors, nor should they: they are designed to take many burdens off the pastor, so he can concentrate on the work of study and prayer. They are assistants, not rulers over him.  But nowadays many churches foolishly create a board to rule the pastors, who should be subject to the Lord first, and then to the church, as a whole, but NOT to some small group of men who take upon themselves the authority to hire and fire. Were I to be made the pastor of such a church, the first thing I would do is to disband the deacons board, and when I came to know the men of the church well enough, I would ordain godly men to work with me, as deacons, if I needed the help. I have never had deacons in the 13 years I have been a pastor.

As for your pastor, I suppose there is some precedence for removing him, as the Bible says that a pastor should be able to rule his own household well, and a disobedient wife who ran off would seem to imply that he had no rule in his home. However, all things need to be considered-why did she leave? She did have an affair-why? was he not attentive enough to her needs? Not saying that justifies it, but a pastor certainly must maintain a careful balance between their marriage and their calling. As well, we know that everyone has a will, and some just, for no good reason, decide they are done with it. It is really something that should have gone before the entire church for a vote, not just a group of men in an unbiblical position.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I forgot to write this earlier today.

You men will think I'm a flip-floper but God told the prophets to break the law.

Isaiah was told to go naked, which broke the law. Ezekiel was told to cook with nastiness which broke the law. And Hosea had to take a prostitute for a wife!!!!

So if God wanted to call a remarried man to the pulpit, He would do it. Personally I think it would be a specialty job like how God used the prophets.

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I forgot to write this earlier today.

You men will think I'm a flip-floper but God told the prophets to break the law.

Isaiah was told to go naked, which broke the law. Ezekiel was told to cook with nastiness which broke the law. And Hosea had to take a prostitute for a wife!!!!

So if God wanted to call a remarried man to the pulpit, He would do it. Personally I think it would be a specialty job like how God used the prophets.

Not sure I agree completely with the premise, in that the prophets had a very peculiar and different sort of signs-based ministry, HOWEVER, that being said, I tnink its also important to remember that God doesn't always fit into the nice neat packages we place Him in sometimes.

In my case, I answered what I still believe to have been a clear call to go into full-time ministry, but well after that, my wife left me. Now, some would say, "Well, that disqualifies you", to which I reply, "Was God surprised by my wife leaving me? Was He wrong to call me?"  Of course, there are those who would say, "Well, because of your divorce, God clearly DIDN'T call you, you were wrong." To which I reply, "You haven't lived my life, you haven't been through the ten-year span of having my life taken completely out of my control, taking me from coast to coast against my will, until I was surrendered, then quickly saw God answer some very specific prayers and, well, conditions I needed met in my life, and then, basically, thrust into a full-time pastor's position where I am now."  If anyone wants specifics, let me know and I would be glad to share them.

The point being, I surrendered to full-time ministry, though not specifically in what capacity, (I figured a music ministry of some sort), but then I tried to take it back: bad idea. I gave myself, and the Lord wouldn't let me out of my promise I made to Him. And God can, and will, use ANYONE in ANY position HE chooses to. He made a woman the judge of Israel, why couldn't He use a divorced man to pastor a church where no one else wants to go? 

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First, of course, there is the issue of an unbiblical authority given to deacons: deacons were never intended as a board to rule over a pastor and a church-the Bible makes clear that the pastor(s)/elder(s) has the primary authority under the Lord, also called 'bishops', meaning overseers.  In Hebrews 13, the believers addressed are told to remeber them that have the rule over you, and to obey them that have the rule over you-neither instance is speaking of civil rule, but ecclesiastical rule, ie, their pastors. The deacons didn't have authority over the pastors, nor should they: they are designed to take many burdens off the pastor, so he can concentrate on the work of study and prayer. They are assistants, not rulers over him.  But nowadays many churches foolishly create a board to rule the pastors, who should be subject to the Lord first, and then to the church, as a whole, but NOT to some small group of men who take upon themselves the authority to hire and fire. Were I to be made the pastor of such a church, the first thing I would do is to disband the deacons board, and when I came to know the men of the church well enough, I would ordain godly men to work with me, as deacons, if I needed the help. I have never had deacons in the 13 years I have been a pastor.

As for your pastor, I suppose there is some precedence for removing him, as the Bible says that a pastor should be able to rule his own household well, and a disobedient wife who ran off would seem to imply that he had no rule in his home. However, all things need to be considered-why did she leave? She did have an affair-why? was he not attentive enough to her needs? Not saying that justifies it, but a pastor certainly must maintain a careful balance between their marriage and their calling. As well, we know that everyone has a will, and some just, for no good reason, decide they are done with it. It is really something that should have gone before the entire church for a vote, not just a group of men in an unbiblical position.

There are very few churches in SE Indiana that would agree with you, to their demise no doubt. But I agree wholeheartedly. The position of Deacon has become a shame to the Baptist churches. My former pastor years ago taught that Deacons were eventually to be pastors, and as a deacons they were under his training 'wing' to help them grow into a good and honorable men of God.

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First, of course, there is the issue of an unbiblical authority given to deacons: deacons were never intended as a board to rule over a pastor and a church-the Bible makes clear that the pastor(s)/elder(s) has the primary authority under the Lord, also called 'bishops', meaning overseers.  In Hebrews 13, the believers addressed are told to remeber them that have the rule over you, and to obey them that have the rule over you-neither instance is speaking of civil rule, but ecclesiastical rule, ie, their pastors. The deacons didn't have authority over the pastors, nor should they: they are designed to take many burdens off the pastor, so he can concentrate on the work of study and prayer. They are assistants, not rulers over him.  But nowadays many churches foolishly create a board to rule the pastors, who should be subject to the Lord first, and then to the church, as a whole, but NOT to some small group of men who take upon themselves the authority to hire and fire. Were I to be made the pastor of such a church, the first thing I would do is to disband the deacons board, and when I came to know the men of the church well enough, I would ordain godly men to work with me, as deacons, if I needed the help. I have never had deacons in the 13 years I have been a pastor.

As for your pastor, I suppose there is some precedence for removing him, as the Bible says that a pastor should be able to rule his own household well, and a disobedient wife who ran off would seem to imply that he had no rule in his home. However, all things need to be considered-why did she leave? She did have an affair-why? was he not attentive enough to her needs? Not saying that justifies it, but a pastor certainly must maintain a careful balance between their marriage and their calling. As well, we know that everyone has a will, and some just, for no good reason, decide they are done with it. It is really something that should have gone before the entire church for a vote, not just a group of men in an unbiblical position.

Thank you kindly Pastor Mike I agree entirely with you, this is exactly what happen with the deacons and by what they did caused division within the church and many to leave for this reason. But as far as the relationship in the marriage I don't know, I could only view this within my own marriage there has been many times I've spent many hours in study and prayer preparing to teach and many times I've been away from my home working the mission fields as a youth pastor and other ministries. Neglecting my duties as a husband to my wife but she has been faithful and obedient to the word of God always. So just as any Pastor would have to do the same in his ministry so should his wife be faithful and obedient obeying the word of God . this would be the case of the Pastor in which I'm speaking of .yet his wife was disobedient to the word of God and committed adultery and yet the charge was laided against him as being guilty for her sin of adultery by the deacons of the church overriding his authority. For this cause I believe the pastor needs to usurp his authority over the church in which he is called to lead not allowing deacons or any others (Members) to take of his authority and abuse it as it was done in this case as no evidence was presented against the Pastor before the church and he was unjustly fired by the deacons for the sins of his wife.

I have thought about this Brother Mike could the Pastor now be fired for the sins of a member committing adultery that he's unaware of being accused by deacons of not rightly keeping Gods Church in order, Just a thought though.

God bless Borther

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There are very few churches in SE Indiana that would agree with you, to their demise no doubt. But I agree wholeheartedly. The position of Deacon has become a shame to the Baptist churches. My former pastor years ago taught that Deacons were eventually to be pastors, and as a deacons they were under his training 'wing' to help them grow into a good and honorable men of God.

In one of my old churches, despite having over 1000 people, he had no deacons, just associate pastors-I think that's a great idea in this day and age of ruling deacon boards.

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I've known two pastors personally I would place in the "great" category and one of them was forced out of the church because the board of deacons was power hungry and didn't like the pastor doing anything without their permission or anything other than what they wanted him to do.

Our church has boards, but no board of deacons. The few deacons in our church are servant-helpers as Scripture describes. We have a board of Christian education, board of physical properties and a main church board. All three boards are filled with members voted on by the members of the church and a person can only sit on a board for two consecutive terms. This keeps our boards from being dominated by anyone. Our associate pastor sits on the Christian education board and our senior pastor sits on the main board. Board members function as servants of the church, not as rulers.

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Thank you kindly Pastor Mike I agree entirely with you, this is exactly what happen with the deacons and by what they did caused division within the church and many to leave for this reason. But as far as the relationship in the marriage I don't know, I could only view this within my own marriage there has been many times I've spent many hours in study and prayer preparing to teach and many times I've been away from my home working the mission fields as a youth pastor and other ministries. Neglecting my duties as a husband to my wife but she has been faithful and obedient to the word of God always. So just as any Pastor would have to do the same in his ministry so should his wife be faithful and obedient obeying the word of God . this would be the case of the Pastor in which I'm speaking of .yet his wife was disobedient to the word of God and committed adultery and yet the charge was laided against him as being guilty for her sin of adultery by the deacons of the church overriding his authority. For this cause I believe the pastor needs to usurp his authority over the church in which he is called to lead not allowing deacons or any others (Members) to take of his authority and abuse it as it was done in this case as no evidence was presented against the Pastor before the church and he was unjustly fired by the deacons for the sins of his wife.

I have thought about this Brother Mike could the Pastor now be fired for the sins of a member committing adultery that he's unaware of being accused by deacons of not rightly keeping Gods Church in order, Just a thought though.

God bless Borther

Mind you, I'm not saying that a pastor, by keeping faithfully to the work of God, is neglecting his wife-but there are those who insist on going so over and above for the church, that the wife can feel left behind and alone, especially if they have children. However, I agree, this is no reason for a wife to leave her husband. Ideally, they should talk about it and work things out. My wife can't accuse me of it, as I put more time into her farm than I do the church-mostly because there are always things needing repairing, feeding, cleaning, etc-just the nature of a farm.

As for the second part, yes, a deacon board just might fire a pastor for the behavior of a rebellious member, even if he didn't know about it, by the excuse "You're the pastor, its your job to know!" and then fire him. Sadly, if the deacons knew, why had they not talked to the pastor about it?  No, I think little good can be done by giving a group of men an unbiblical power over the authority God has given the pastor. Trouble and confusion is sure to reign.

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Mind you, I'm not saying that a pastor, by keeping faithfully to the work of God, is neglecting his wife-but there are those who insist on going so over and above for the church, that the wife can feel left behind and alone, especially if they have children. However, I agree, this is no reason for a wife to leave her husband. Ideally, they should talk about it and work things out. My wife can't accuse me of it, as I put more time into her farm than I do the church-mostly because there are always things needing repairing, feeding, cleaning, etc-just the nature of a farm.

As for the second part, yes, a deacon board just might fire a pastor for the behavior of a rebellious member, even if he didn't know about it, by the excuse "You're the pastor, its your job to know!" and then fire him. Sadly, if the deacons knew, why had they not talked to the pastor about it?  No, I think little good can be done by giving a group of men an unbiblical power over the authority God has given the pastor. Trouble and confusion is sure to reign.

Thank you brother Mike ,it is indeed a very sad situation when this happens.

God bless Brother

 

 

 

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For this cause I believe the pastor needs to usurp his authority over the church in which he is called to lead not allowing deacons or any others (Members) to take of his authority and abuse it as it was done in this case as no evidence was presented against the Pastor before the church and he was unjustly fired by the deacons for the sins of his wife.

 

Just a note... 'usurp' means 'to take a position illegally or by force'. I don't think that's what you meant, exactly...?

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Just a note... 'usurp' means 'to take a position illegally or by force'. I don't think that's what you meant, exactly...?

tired and wasn't thinking , thanks sister

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

we, as humans, tend to go to extremes.  the Pharisees added a bunch of regulations to the Law, presumably because they felt the Law was not clear enough, or perhaps it was because all these additional regulations put the people in subjection to them.  we can see the same kind of behavior in our churches.  as Christians we have a certain amount of liberty in our salvation.  many leaders, in an effort to keep liberty from becoming license, have developed a bunch of regulations that they impose, and it becomes legalism.

the passage dealing with the qualifications of a bishop and deacons, I feel, is a guide to determine if a man is the kind of leader he needs to be.  almost every pastor and church I know fixates on the "can't be divorced" qualification and ignores the fact that the man's kids are hellions, his wife is a gossip, and he is argumentative to a fault.  in fact, there is a group around here that believes if you don't get offensive with your message you haven't preached God's word.  It is one thing if your message convicts and a person gets offended, it's another if the messenger is argumentative and offensive on purpose.

I see that passage as "Is this man characterized by these behaviors?"  meaning, these things define who he is.  for a man to have had one divorce in his history, I don't think, should be an automatic deal breaker.  his situation should be carefully evaluated.  if his wife divorced him because he was promiscuous, then that's a red flag.  if he has been divorced several times, then that is a point for concern.  a person who has had one unfortunate divorce in his life, especially if his wife left him because of the stubbornness of her own heart, shouldn't automatically be disqualified, especially if he meets all the other requirements.  most people I know who have been through a divorce are the strongest advocates AGAINST divorce.  they will come alongside someone having problems and point out why it is better to work it out.  a person will listen more carefully to someone who has gone through something like that, in most cases.

because of "no fault" divorce, any person could find themselves divorced at any time.  our spouses have free will.  if they want to walk out on the marriage, then there is nothing to stop them, other than God striking them dead.  that rarely happens.  no marriage is perfect, no spouse is perfect.  there will always be things that a husband or a wife could have done better in the relationship, but very few are good reasons for divorce.  it is the hardness of the heart that makes a person walk away, in most cases.  I think it is a shame that we tend to victimize the person all over again in that situation.

don't get me wrong, I don't think we should just indiscriminately give all divorced people a "pass" and accept divorce as par for the course, now, but I do think we've gone overboard in how we penalize people.

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we, as humans, tend to go to extremes.  the Pharisees added a bunch of regulations to the Law, presumably because they felt the Law was not clear enough, or perhaps it was because all these additional regulations put the people in subjection to them.  we can see the same kind of behavior in our churches.  as Christians we have a certain amount of liberty in our salvation.  many leaders, in an effort to keep liberty from becoming license, have developed a bunch of regulations that they impose, and it becomes legalism.

the passage dealing with the qualifications of a bishop and deacons, I feel, is a guide to determine if a man is the kind of leader he needs to be.  almost every pastor and church I know fixates on the "can't be divorced" qualification and ignores the fact that the man's kids are hellions, his wife is a gossip, and he is argumentative to a fault.  in fact, there is a group around here that believes if you don't get offensive with your message you haven't preached God's word.  It is one thing if your message convicts and a person gets offended, it's another if the messenger is argumentative and offensive on purpose.

I see that passage as "Is this man characterized by these behaviors?"  meaning, these things define who he is.  for a man to have had one divorce in his history, I don't think, should be an automatic deal breaker.  his situation should be carefully evaluated.  if his wife divorced him because he was promiscuous, then that's a red flag.  if he has been divorced several times, then that is a point for concern.  a person who has had one unfortunate divorce in his life, especially if his wife left him because of the stubbornness of her own heart, shouldn't automatically be disqualified, especially if he meets all the other requirements.  most people I know who have been through a divorce are the strongest advocates AGAINST divorce.  they will come alongside someone having problems and point out why it is better to work it out.  a person will listen more carefully to someone who has gone through something like that, in most cases.

because of "no fault" divorce, any person could find themselves divorced at any time.  our spouses have free will.  if they want to walk out on the marriage, then there is nothing to stop them, other than God striking them dead.  that rarely happens.  no marriage is perfect, no spouse is perfect.  there will always be things that a husband or a wife could have done better in the relationship, but very few are good reasons for divorce.  it is the hardness of the heart that makes a person walk away, in most cases.  I think it is a shame that we tend to victimize the person all over again in that situation.

don't get me wrong, I don't think we should just indiscriminately give all divorced people a "pass" and accept divorce as par for the course, now, but I do think we've gone overboard in how we penalize people.

While I have some diagreement that the pahrase, "Husband of one wife" means divorce, specifically, in general I agree with what you are saying.

I have heard some say that the phrase is more akin to being a one-woman man. In other words, his heart belongs to one woman. I also don't believe that it precludes a single man from being pastor, any more than the qualification for a deacon being "not given to much wine" means he has to drink SOME wine, just not much, to be qualified. Its more in his attitude: 'I have one wife, she is my mate, and my love, and other women have no interest for me.' Whether that's true, I'm sure there would be no end of argument, even if we looked at the Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean, Aramaic and Latin. We have the KJV English, its good enough, it says 'husband of one wife.' I have one wife. I once had another who was my one wife, but she left and married another. Ten years later I married a woman, now she is my 'one wife'.

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While I have some diagreement that the pahrase, "Husband of one wife" means divorce, specifically, in general I agree with what you are saying.

I have heard some say that the phrase is more akin to being a one-woman man. In other words, his heart belongs to one woman. I also don't believe that it precludes a single man from being pastor, any more than the qualification for a deacon being "not given to much wine" means he has to drink SOME wine, just not much, to be qualified. Its more in his attitude: 'I have one wife, she is my mate, and my love, and other women have no interest for me.' Whether that's true, I'm sure there would be no end of argument, even if we looked at the Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean, Aramaic and Latin. We have the KJV English, its good enough, it says 'husband of one wife.' I have one wife. I once had another who was my one wife, but she left and married another. Ten years later I married a woman, now she is my 'one wife'.

my husband took a course in NT Greek, and there is no word in the greek for husband or wife, so the passage literally says "man of one woman" -- so that would strengthen the idea that these are things that are supposed to characterize the man, not a "it happened once in his entire lifetime and now he's done forever" thing.  however, in most IFB circles if you bring that out you are likely to be crucified.  it has become a sacred cow.

My wife's not perfect??????????????????

Oh well, it has been too many years at this point to check and see if that's true. :wub:

if you think she is then that's all that matters.  :)

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my husband took a course in NT Greek, and there is no word in the greek for husband or wife, so the passage literally says "man of one woman" -- so that would strengthen the idea that these are things that are supposed to characterize the man, not a "it happened once in his entire lifetime and now he's done forever" thing.  however, in most IFB circles if you bring that out you are likely to be crucified.  it has become a sacred cow.

Boy, isn't THAT the truth.

There are some things I really dislike that somehow have crept into the IFB way of thinking, things that are unbiblical and don't belong. There have been times I have had to carefully consider whether I wil continue to bear that standard, because, even though I agree with what the IBF ideal is, many in the movement have gone far and away from it. I know it is why the "I" is there, independent, so we technically aren't to be called to account for what some other knucklehead does, but that's not very comforting at times. Maybe just go back to "Christian".

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because of "no fault" divorce, any person could find themselves divorced at any time. 

The thing is... in the culture of Moses' time, they had 'no fault' divorce too (at least the men did). The Law put a restriction on it, allowing divorce only in certain circumstances. It was that same Law that told them that if a person were to marry one who had been divorced, they would commit adultery. In Jesus time, I am told (and could be wrong), divorces could be had by a man saying 'I divorce you' 3 times. Jesus tempered that with grace when He said that if an unbelieving spouse depart the believer was not under bondage. I'm not entirely sure what I think about remarriage connected to that last one - He didn't say anything about the status of someone trying to marry them (which is where the adultery would be found in the OT) - and I definitely think it only applies to people that were both unsaved when they got married. But that's beside the point. The thing is that no-fault divorce has often existed in the culture around believers, and has sometimes affected believers. It's nothing new. We have a different dynamic nowadays, since woman can initiate divorce. That would not have been a legal or economic option for most women throughout history. And so men & pastors can find themselves on the receiving end, which before would have been quite unlikely. God doesn't treat men & women differently, though, when it comes to sin or the effects thereof. And sometimes people are hurt by the effects of other people's sins. I agree that it doesn't seem fair - but is that, by itself, a reason to disregard God's instructions?

I have a feeling that all may have come across a little fuzzily. Fair enough. It's a fuzzy subject. :frog: 

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Ezra was dealing with a specific situation, under a specific dispensation, with a specific people. New Testament believers are under a different dispensation. That difference is not insignificant. I would give far more credence to Paul's instructions than to what happened in the time of Ezra.

Also, the Bible doesn't say that God commanded Ezra to do what he did. God does say, in another scripture, that He would hold back the rain when the people sinned. But the Word of God, for some reason, wanted us to know that it was raining the whole time this was going on. And, the Bible also says that they had little children, who were now fatherless. And the Bible says in other places that God "hates putting away", and that He has great compassion for the fatherless. So I wonder if Ezra, in his zeal, went overboard. Strange

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