Biblical disqualification for ministry

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by robustheologian, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. robustheologian

    robustheologian
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    977
    Likes Received:
    119
    In light of recent pastors having to step down from their pastorate due to conduct, the phrase "disqualified from ministry" has been thrown left and right regarding these pastors taking preaching engagements. One pastor was even rebuked for posting Facebook posts with a devotional message.

    While I can see why pastors given into infidelity should step down, I can recall one pastor who stepped down because of accusations of "aggressive leadership" even though that church's council didn't believe he was disqualified from ministry. Yet the online Sanhedrin throws out accusations of him being disqualified from ministry.

    So my question is what are BIBLICAL disqualifications for ministry? And what ministry is one disqualified from? Pastoral, preaching, tweeting???
     
  2. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    Messages:
    38,303
    Likes Received:
    784
    Often it is believed if you have failed while in ministry then you should never be allowed to fill that role again. I disagree. I do believe that those who have serious failings should go through a time of discipleship and counseling as well as accountability by other pastors and church leaders for a time before he is allowed to go back.

    Scripture does not deal with how to handle these failings. The church should always move forward with grace and wisdom.
     
  3. robustheologian

    robustheologian
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    977
    Likes Received:
    119
    And I do agree. But what constitutes a failing?
     
  4. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,102
    Likes Received:
    218
    Excellent question.

    For a pastor - he should seek the guidance of spiritual men in his church. If he has none, then he should seek spiritual advice from other pastors or a person such as a Director of Missions, ect.

    and of course much prayer time.
     
  5. robustheologian

    robustheologian
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    977
    Likes Received:
    119
    So should we say that what one views as a failing may not be a failing to another?
     
  6. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    Messages:
    38,303
    Likes Received:
    784
    All pastors fail in many areas simply by the fact we are broken men and our souls have not yet received full redemption. The question should be not whether one sees something as a failure or not but at what level of failure requires one to step down from the pulpit.
     
  7. wpe3bql

    wpe3bql
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2015
    Messages:
    979
    Likes Received:
    12
    Sad to say, but some individuals or churches seem to have a lot more requirements for people in ministry--and sometimes even for retaining one's membership in their congregations.

    First Timothy 3:2-6 and Titus 1:6-9 set some very high standards for those seeking ministry positions, but I've known churches that seem to believe like the Pharisees that they must set even more qualifications for ministers--so high that even Jesus couldn't humanly comply with some of them:
    1) Must be a husband. Jesus wasn't married when He lived here on earth.
    2) Must have obedient children. Jesus didn't have any physical children
    3) Must disassociate with sinful people. That pretty well disqualified Jesus throughout most of His earthly ministry.
    4) Must only associate with "acceptable" people. Like the Pharisees Jesus condemned--and were the ones who eventually got Him crucified
    5) Must never touch alcoholic beverages. Like the water He turned into wine or what He usually drank along with most of His meals.
    6) Must stay away from women who've had questionable morals. Like the Samaritan women at the well or Mary Magdalene.

    Those are just six things some people have imposed on those seeking ministry positions. If Jesus Himself couldn't pass muster with them, how they expect mortal men to do so is beyond me.

    Then you also have some folks who insist that someone in a ministerial position must have never been married then subsequently been divorced--regardless of the circumstances surrounding that divorce.

    IOW, if his first wife deserted him and had intimate relations with another man and subsequently sues for a divorce, the minister is guilty even if he had no fault on his behalf. He's divorced, thus he must go & no other church should be able to use this man in any of their ministerial positions either.

    Even if a person in a ministerial position has committed a sin against the Bible's qualifications, if he truly repents & seeks forgiveness from that church, some churches STILL will not let that person serve in any ministerial position.

    God Himself may have forgiven him, but not that church. Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery in John 8:3-11, but there are some churches who'd cast stones at a person who may have stumbled but then truly repented and sought for forgiveness.

    Point is that some people or churches put so many extra-Biblical & unreasonable requirements for people in ministerial positions that eventually they wind up losing many God-called ministers or getting few if any persons seeking to serve Him at their church.

    Then they look at each other and wonder why their church isn't prospering and getting ministers--or even members not in any particular ministerial position--to replace those that they've summarily dismissed.

    I guess they're waiting to see some handwriting on their empty platforms like Belshazzar did in Daniel 5. The king saw the handwriting indeed, but then it was too late. In no time at all, he was killed & his once powerful empire was destroyed.

    Unfortunately, some churches who may have started out with good spiritual success but now are so smugly indifferent about their leaders (or even some members who've failed to meet their "qualifications") who are about to be canned, may wind up with the same fate as Belshazzar & his one-powerful empire did.
     
  8. Reformed

    Reformed
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,227
    Likes Received:
    57
    There is an inherent flaw in discussions about moral failings of pastors/elders and if they are even eligible to be reinstated to ministry.

    In his book, Spurgeon on Leadership, Larry Michael writes:

    Often times a minister who ruins his character asks the question, "How long will it take, and what do I have to do, to return to ministry?" Such a question reveals a lack of true repentance. Spurgeon's "volcanic fire" quote reveals the real folly of the man who destroys his character through moral failure. It is not the act of moral failure that became public; rather it is lack of moral fiber in the inner man that needs to be addressed. What else is taking place that only manifested itself in a deed that became public? Also, moral failure by a minister of the Gospel has a tremendous negative impact on the local church and the name of Christ. Those two things are of more importance than the potential future ministerial career of the minister who sinned.

    The minister who commits a moral failure has to display true repentance with the goal of being restored as a Christian, never mind an active minister. He should place himself under care of the local church and leave any future calling to his elders.
     
    #8 Reformed, Aug 14, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2015
  9. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    13,379
    Likes Received:
    728
    :applause::applause::applause::applause:many no longer discuss this as if it was okay.
     
  10. robustheologian

    robustheologian
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    977
    Likes Received:
    119
    Okay so here it is. Recently (kinda recently), Tullian Tchividjian resigned from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church after carrying on an extra-marital affair. Of course, he has been labeled as unqualified for ministry. One person even went as far as rebuking him saying he was unqualified to give spiritual insights on Facebook.

    In another instance, Mark Driscoll resigns due to tensions surrounding accusations of arrogance, harsh speech, and a domineering style of leadership...even though the church's council of elders didn't find Driscoll unqualified for pastoral ministry. But if you just Google "Mark Driscoll" you will find that just about everyone heaps the charge of "unqualified for ministry" on him as if he stepped out on his wife or robbed the church of money.

    So my thing is, does just anything make you unqualified for ministry? If I were a pastor and I don't leave a waitress a tip, am I unqualified for ministry? If I raise my voice at a church budget meeting am I unqualified for ministry?

    And then if I go as far as Pastor Tchividjian and have an inappropriate relationship, am I unqualified to even post "Jesus still saves" on my Facebook?
     
  11. Reformed

    Reformed
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,227
    Likes Received:
    57
    Moral failings are the most prevalent reason for a minister of the Gospel to be removed from office. By moral failings I mean inappropriate relationships and other sexual sins. There are also sins like embezzlement or other crimes that are public in nature. These type of sins, because of their high profile and public nature, dishonor the name of Christ to such a high degree that they disqualify a minister of the Gospel from service. Why? Because they impugn the minister's integrity and credibility. These type of sins are far different than a speeding ticket, an isolated outburst of anger, or forgetting to return a book checked out from the public library.

    As far as Tullian Tchividjian goes; he did the right thing by stepping down. If all of a sudden he pops up as the pastor of a church in the next year, what should we think? For starters are we to really think that he genuinely repented and was restored in that short span of time? What ecclesiastical authority recognized his true repentance, the restoration of his credibility for public ministry, and called him to the same? As a Presbyterian, Mr. Tchividjian is to submit to his session (board of elders). If he were to just go off and start his own church it would reveal very selfish intentions. Mark Driscoll is a Baptist (or at least baptistic), so it would not surprise me if he simply let the noise die down before he proclaims himself fit for ministry again.

    But let us come back to the point I tried to make in my previous post. Who and what should the center of attention be when a minister of the Gospel has a public moral failing? Is it the minister himself and how fast he can be restored to his office? Should it not be how God has been publicly dishonored, and how true repentance and biblical restoration (not to office, but to a Christ-honoring walk), is the proper way to glorify God? Additionally, have not the members of the local church been sinned against? How about the minister's family or, if adultery was the sin, the other party's family? Are not these things more important than the minister's future career?
     
  12. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,023
    Likes Received:
    47
    Failure to promote/preach/live a lifestyle worthy of your calling, by teaching now heresies, or by acting out being greedy/affairs/Lording over others...


    Basically, making the decision to please yourself before/instead of doing will of god!

    That pastor can still be restored though to ministry, after MUCH counuling and taking the appropiate methods to safeguard that from happening again, but they just might find out that while the lord freely forgives, they might not have ther ministry as before or expected to have!
     
  13. agedman

    agedman
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Messages:
    4,258
    Likes Received:
    186

    Reformed,

    This is one of the best posts on this subject that I have read!
     
  14. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Messages:
    2,500
    Likes Received:
    454
    The 19th Century British Pastor John Angel James wrote that an erring minister should not be restored to the ministry until his repentance had become as well-known as his fall.

    Peter was restored to his Apostleship by the Lord Jesus after having denied Him three times. The conversation between them recorded in John 21 boils down to this: "Do you love Me? Will you obey Me?" These (along with true repentance) are the two pre-requisites for a minister being restored to office.
     
  15. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,023
    Likes Received:
    47
    Seems to be 2 extremes within the Church, as some would rush to have one restored, see Jimmy Swaggert, while others would deny the lord can every use them again!
     

Share This Page

Loading...