Can a divorced man who remarried his (original) wife be a deacon?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Al Margheim, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Al Margheim

    Al Margheim
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    Twenty years ago, I divorced my wife. My wife was a Christian when we married, but I was not. We were both Christians at the time of the divorce.

    We were divorced for three years before we reconciled and remarried. Neither of us have been married to anyone else. Infidelity was not a
    issue in our divorce. We have a good marriage now, and we both consider me to be a "one-woman-kind-of-man."

    Our divorce is common knowlege in our (Southern Baptist) church. We have spoken of it quite
    frankly at several business meetings and in various Sunday school classes. We acknowledge
    that our divorce was sin, we've repented of it, and we believe that God has forgiven us.

    Recently, I was nominated to be a deacon in our church. Before nominations were made, I reminded the congregation of my divorce and remarriage. No
    one spoke against my nomination.

    My wife and I have deeply studied the Bible's teaching on divorce and the Bible's teaching on the qualifications for a deacon. We believe that
    the requirement to be a "husband of one wife" in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 does not disqualify me to be a deacon.

    Our pastor and the three deacons in our church agree that my divorce does not disqualify me from being a deacon. For what it's worth, the congregation overwhelming elected me as a deacon.

    One week after the election, a woman in the church came to me and said she is convinced/convicted that my divorce renders me unqualifed to be deacon. Her reasoning is that I have been the husband of two wives.

    I'm hoping that someone reading this forum can refer me to some authoritative teaching on my specific circumstances. If you know of any respected teacher/author/pastor with a conservative evangelical background that has written or taught on circumstances like mine, please share.

    Thanks in advance.
    Al Margheim
     
  2. TexasSky

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    Her reasoning is off, Al.
    In God's eyes, you have always had "one wife."

    If anything, I would think you would make a better deacon. You may have had a "hardened" heart once, but it softened, and you returned to God's path.
     
  3. Ben W

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    Yes you are free to be a deacon as you have had only one wife. yes the Divorce was sin, yet once you are born again it is forgiven sin and it does not count against you as Jesus paid for it with His blood.

    I know of a Salvation Army Officer who when he and his wife applied to go to Training College, they had been in the same situation as yourself, the application went to London to the head office and it was given the all clear.
     
  4. exscentric

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    Divorce is a one time act. It does not make you unmarried in God's eyes, that is why adultry is the context in many of the passages. You have one wife for life in God's eyes.

    I see no problem, you are right where you should be in your marriage - married to your wife :) The woman defies logic to say you have two wives, in my mind anyway :)
     
  5. NateT

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    Not only do I not see any problem, I am overwhelmingly glad to hear that you have reconciled.

    I love stories of reconcilliation (perhaps because of my own parents divorce when I was little.)
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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  7. All about Grace

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    Two words for you:

    Ignore her
     
  8. dianetavegia

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    1 Corinthians 7:10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. 12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

    You and your wife have fulfilled scripture. I'd have voted FOR you with no qualms. You ARE the husband of ONE wife. Notice, in the bolded scripture, that you were STILL married in God's eyes. This 'woman' evidently doesn't believe marriage is forever. She needs to mind her own business.
     
  9. untangled

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    Al,

    I may be jumping to conclusions, but maybe this woman is just looking for a reason for you not to be a deacon for some other reason. Don't know but its possible.

    Go and do what God has called you to do. I see no problem with you being a deacon. May God bless you.
     
  10. TexasSky

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    Diane hit the nail on the head. [​IMG]
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Just as a technicality, the words in bold say nothing of still be married in God's eyes. In fact, the words immediately preceding the words in bold indicate that the person in questions was not still married in God's eyes. It is hard to remain "unmarried" if you are "still married."

    We need to be careful about reading our personal preferences into the text of Scripture, no matter how wise or logical they may be (or not be, as the case may be).
     
  12. dianetavegia

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    Pastor Larry, what part of
    do you not understand?
     
  13. Al Margheim

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    Thank you to everyone who wrote words of support. I especially appreciate knowing about the Salvation Army Officer who was in a similar situation.

    I, too, have wondered if there might be other reasons why this woman opposes me as a deacon. If any such reasons exist, she has not voiced them to me, and I am reluctant to speculate.

    As to the question: "How could she possibly say you have had two wives?" Well, it could have something to do with the fact that she is a lawyer. &lt;g&gt;

    Al Margheim
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    do you not understand? </font>[/QUOTE]I understand all of it. What a person "should" do when they are married wasn't the question. YOu quoted Scripture as proof that a couple was "stil married in the eyes of God." The Scripture you quoted explicitly said that they were "unmarried." I don't think it gets much more simple. A person who is "unmarried" (which is how your own quote describes them) can hardly be "still married." That makes no sense.

    The whole "married in the eyes of God" is something that has never actually been proven by Scripture. It is a convenient argument if you don't actually think about it. But Scripture gives no sense of anyone "still married in the eyes of God" unless they are married. It is explicit in Scripture that divorce (whether right or wrong) ends a marriage.

    But more importantly, you should not quote Scripture in support of something Scripture doesn't say. I believe a person should stay married, or if they are divorced should stay single or remarry their spouse. That is by far the best option. But the line you bolded said nothing about being "stil married in the eyes of God." Therefore, you should not have said anything about it either.

    Let's return this thread to its topic.
     
  15. webdog

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    The "husband of one wife" could also mean a husband being married to one wife, not numerous wives. Scriptures is not clear if this means divorce. Divorce is a sin, but that shouldn't be the determining factor on who should be a deacon or elder in my eyes. Lying is a sin, what deacon hasn't lied? Gluttony is a sin, and being a baptist, I KNOW that deacons eat too much sometimes, especially the way baptists can cook [​IMG]
     
  16. dianetavegia

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    In YOUR eyes doesn't count. The BIBLE says...

    Titus 1:5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you -- 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop F2 must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. 10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

    1 Timothy 3:1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop,* he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, F3 but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
     
  17. webdog

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    Diane, you are right, what I say doesn't count. God's Word does, and it does not mention divorce, only that a man be a husband to one wife. Man twists this verse that it could only mean divorce, as that is the unpardonable sin in the church. If a man meets every qualification in these verses but is divorced due to infidelity on his wife's part, you mean to tell me he is forever banned from serving as a deacon or elder in a church? The qualifications for elder are the same. What if a pastor is not married at all? I know PLENTY of young pastors who are not married, not even engaged. They are considered elders. Could "husband of one wife" POSSIBLY be referring to a monogamous relationship, and not a polygamous one considering the date it was written in?
     
  18. patrioticcamerican

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    Having been the husband of one wife only, you would still qualify as a deacon, from the way I understand the Scriptures.
     
  19. Scott J

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    Been through this thoroughly. The Bible says "one woman man" in the most literal translation.

    This either means a) someone whose character consistently demonstrates godliness in his relationships with his wife and/or the women in his life or b) someone who has never done or thought anything before or after marriage that could be considered unfaithfulness if done during marriage.

    It cannot mean divorce alone. The word divorce is not mentioned and it is completely inconsistent with the context of the passage to pick out one manifestation of failing to be a "one woman man" as the absolute meaning.
     
  20. TexasSky

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    Webdog,

    I think the part of the verse that would prohibit a divorced man from becoming an elder, even if the divorce is not his fault, would be that it requires the man be able to manage his household well.

    If your family falls apart, something wasn't managed well. I blame a drunk driver and a car accident for my divorce, but I also ask myself, every single day, what could I have done differently to hold it together?

    That doesn't mean you should be punished and shunned. However, when you think about it in "baby steps".. one of the jobs of an elder is to guide other Christians in living a Christian life. Ergo, a young couple should be able to expect to be able to go to an elder and say, "We're having problems in our marriage, help us through this, show us what God would want." If you can't do that in your own home - how can you do that for someone else's?

    In my case, it would be so easy (and believe me, I have my days when I do this) to go, "Its *** Brown's fault!" I have days when I go, "Its my ex's fault! Illness or not, he should have put God and family first." Then, I have days when I get honest with myself and say, "Okay, what could I have done differently? I knew he was ill, I saw personality changes. Should I have been more loving? Should I have sought out Godly help in prayer and advice and medical care earlier? Should I have fought against the divorce more?"

    See - what hangs in the back of my mind is - -
    My vows said "in sickness and in health, til death do us part," Soooooooooooooooooooooo --- sickness isn't an excuse.

    And - this was my family. Man and wife become one.

    I can't just wake up tomorrow, decide my child is annoying, and a pain to deal with and declare them no longer flesh of my flesh. I can ignore them, and I can pretend they aren't mine. I could probably even get a piece of paper declaring I "disown" them (as if I ever 'owned' them to begin with), but the reality is, they would ALWAYS be my children.

    Divorce should have been harder.

    And being an elder shouldn't be "easy."

    It isn't something Christians deserve. It is a huge responsibility that men of God earn.

    I'm always amazed and awed by the number of men willing to become deacons. Done correctly, it must be a terrible weight on their shoulders to try to guide every other Christian in their church, to always be aware that they have been appointed by God to set the example the whole church follows.
     

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