Divorced Pastors

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by BPM, Apr 25, 2002.

  1. BPM

    BPM
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    What is your opinion on Divorced Pastors, let's clear out the questions up front. I am not talking about those who are biblically divorced, and I am not talking about those who choose to stay unmarried to avoid the husband of one wife curse.
     
  2. Paul of Eugene

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    Divorce, of course, reveals the sin of hardness of heart, as Christ pointed out. In our society it does not necessarily reveal WHOSE heart was hard and there may be other sins involved by one or both parties.

    But we have no pastors that are sinless! This in itself is not a final objection to a man being a pastor. After all, our sins are covered by our redemption in Christ.

    The scriptures, however, say a pastor should be a husband of one wife. Lots of people interpret this to mean that he can never have had a wife in the past. This is not a required interpretation of the biblical language; it is perfectly reasonable of a man who has been divorced and now remarried to say of him that, at this time, he only has one wife.

    Nevertheless, lots of people go right on and make the interpretation that this means you can't have had a divorce in the past. And these are people who feel that the scriptures should guide them instead of them guiding the scriptures. Go figure. Most of them will even say that a pastor who has been divorced and never remarried can't any more be a pastor, even tho they can't count up more than one wife for the poor man any way they count!

    I'm not saying a man who has two wives should be allowed to be a pastor. This was a real possibility in Biblical times and also in parts of the world today.

    I'm just saying a many with only one wife today can be a pastor today, if he is today leading as godly a life as any of us can, biblically speaking.

    I'll even go further. If a man has NEVER MARRIED, this is not a barrier to being a minister. The scripture referring to having "one wife" I interpret to mean "not more than", even though it does not literally say that!
     
  3. Molly

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    Husband of one wife means a one-woman-man,so it reflects the character of his life....he should be faithful to one woman. If he is not,he does not meet the qualifications.
     
  4. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
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    So does he have to be married? Many Christians including my wife feel this way, especially since marriage really stabalizes a man. But was Paul disqualifing himself (or possibly Timothy) from the position? Does he not say elsewhere that it is better to stay single? And for that matter, is I Corinthians 7 speaking to all people? or just to those involved in some sort of missions (like himself)?
     
  5. Kiffin

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    I think it is a matter of opinion whether marriage stabilizes a man. The logic in that is that Married men are mature and stable and un Married men are immature and unstable. Such logic is un Biblical and is modern thinking and some of the most immature and unstable people I know are married. Paul himself was unmarried as well as most believe was Timothy who was a elder in the Ephesian church. Paul certaintly would have had to met all the requirements of 1 Timothy 3 since the apostles themselves served as elders in what ever church they were at and the office of Apostle was actually a higher one than that of Pastor/Elder since the Church is founded upon the Apostles.

    The English translation in 1 Timothy 3 is not that good in that it really does not deal with marital status but is literaly "one-woman-man". In other words a pastor is not to be a womanizer whether he is married or not.

    I do think that one who is Divorced and remarried for anything other than Biblical reasons cannot be called blameless or above reproach. For a pastor who is Divorced (but has not remarried) I think he can be restored (depending on the circumstances).

    [ April 25, 2002, 11:44 PM: Message edited by: Kiffin ]
     
  6. Rev. Sam

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    Concerning divorced Pastors I have an opinion. Not all agree and I know that everyone has their own opinion.

    I personally believe there are some cases where divorce should be permitted. I know on serveral Pastors who had wives that ran off for one reason or another. The Pastors were doing all they could to do what was right but their spouse had no desire to do so. In one case I know of a deacon in the church spent 10 years working on winning the confidence of the Pastor's wife and he pulled her into a life and sin. The Pastor sought counseling but his wife was so brainwashed she would not leave the Deacon. It ruined the life of the Pastor and the life of the Deacon. The Pastor remained faithful to God and put himself under the authority of another fundamental Pastor for counseling. (The Pastor he put himself under did not believe that divorce was an option but he did counsel him and helped him survive.) He has since re-married and is Pastoring a sucessful ministry. I believe God is blessing his ministry and I believe that he only has one wife. The previous woman is no longer his wife.
     
  7. Pete Richert

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    No such logic. The idea is that men want to have sex and married men can (to put it frankly).
    "But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." (1 Corinthians 7:9). Also, anyone who is in a serious duo is held in check simply by running everything by the other person first. My best friend always comments that he doesn't know what he would believe if he didn't keep talking to me to bring him down to earth. All that said, I don't think it is nessisarily true. Paul says in the same chapter, those who are single can be more devoted to the Lord. And I agree, I certainly know many immature men who are married and mature men who arn't.
     
  8. Pete Richert

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    It is not exactly settled in the Greek--"Mias gunaikos andra". Bill Mounce on his commentary on 1 Timothy in the Word Biblical Commentary gives four intrepretations that are possible (1) "Must be married" (2) Not polygamous" (3) "Faithful to his wife" or (4) "Nor remarried/divorced".

    In terms of the third idea, which is my favorite and seems to be yours as well, Mounce writes, "The real question is if the Greek can possibly give this meaning. Kelly says that it 'squeezes more out of the Greek than it will bear; HOWEVER, THE PHRASE IS UNUSUAL, AND THE GREEEK HAS TO BE 'SQUEEZED' TO ILLICIT ANY MEANING." (ephesis mine--172). He then goes on to show how Fee gives it this meaning but reverses his position on a similar Greek construction concerning widows in (1 Tim 5:9).

    Surprisinly, the fourth option was the position of the early church, and is the easiest reading of the Greek.

    Mounce makes no clear indication which he believes to be correct but seems to lean towards the third which certainly makes the most sense to me.
     
  9. Kiffin

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    Hi Pete,

    Marriage is a good thing but so is Celibacy if God calls a man to such a calling. The Apostle Paul was such a man and apparently Timothy was not married at the time though i believe he did marry. Some married pastors also are henpecked by their wife so much so that it causes problems in their churches and their ability to lead. There was a survey I heard about awhile back that showed a greater percentage of married ministers had fallen into sexual misconduct than single ministers. Don't get me wrong, both married life and single life has it's ups and downs but to say a married person is more qualified to the pastorate than a single has no validity. Using that logic the Apostle Paul was not qualified to pastor. Using that logic if a married pastor's wife dies, he would have to resign until he finds him another wife. So Marriage is great but so is Single life if God calls a person to that.

    The Church Father John Chrystotom stated on this text,
    This he does not lay down as a rule, as if he must not be without one, but as prohibiting his having more than one. For even the Jews were allowed to contract second marriages,
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    I have been a pastor both as unmarried and married (in that order) and I can assure you that both have their benefits. I enjoy marriage very much but before marriage I had a lot more time for ministry related work. Paul was certainly right when he said that the married man cares for the things of his wife and the unmarried for the things of the Lord. Marriage is great but it has responsibilities that single men don't have.

    Does a man have to be married to pastor a church? Absolutely not. He needs to be characterized as a one woman man ... not a womanizer. If he had to be married, Christ could not have pastored his own body. Neither could Paul.

    Had Paul been married, it is evident that the spread of the gospel in the first century would have been far different (humanly speaking). Paul could not have spent his life traveling if he had a wife and family to care for.

    So the bottom is a pastor is not scripturally required to be married. He is required to be one woman type of man.

    As for divorce ... well I have made my opinion known on that before so I will save the space here.
     
  11. Rev. Sam

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    I want to make my position clear...The Bible says husband of one wife...if you are divorced the woman in no longer your wife.
     
  12. Pete Richert

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    I agree completely. I don't think the Apsotle Paul was excluding himself from the pastoral ministry, nor Timothy for that matter.
     
  13. BPM

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    I don't agree, I feel that an unbiblical divorce is not recognized by God and I think that unless one of them dies or they be reconciled they are still married, but remember that I said to not discuss biblical divorces but rather those men who feel they can act unresponsibly in their marriage but still continue to Pastor.
     
  14. Rev. Joshua

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    I'm surprised no one mentioned my former pastor - Charles Stanley - in this conversation.

    :D

    Joshua
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    Why?? Contrary to popular opinion, us fundamentalists are not always talking about other people. :D :D
     
  16. BPM

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  17. Pete Richert

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    Why would we think he was part of the sanhedrin?
     
  18. BPM

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    He was a Pharisee, he was in the uppercrust of judiasm, When he held the clothes of the witnesses when they stoned Stephen are we to think that he was an innocent bystander, you are correct I know of no scripture that states this fact but many think he was. When he received letters to demascus from the high priest he must have been a part of the group.
     
  19. Paul of Eugene

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    Or he could have merely been a trusted henchman.
     
  20. Dr. Bob

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    Did some study on Paul and his marital problems back in another dispensation (way pre-computer) so cannot lay my hands on documentation. Of course I throw out the conclusions without support, so take it with a shaker full of salt.</font>
    • Paul used the term Pharisee of the Pharisees, a well-known euphemism for member of the elite ruling class of the Sanhedrin</font>
    • In order to be such, he had to meet the two filial prerequisties - married and a male heir (son)</font>
    • Paul writes to Corinth that as of AD55ish he was NOT married AND that he had suffered the loss of all things</font>
    One can infer that Paul had been married, had a son, and something terrible had befallen him so that he was now single. Death/disease was rampant of course. And I could find nothing of the modern concept of a person converting to Christianity being declared dead and spouse divorces, etc.
    Lord knows they had other opposition from the Jews, but no implication he was divorced. More than likely a widower. And loved John Mark to take the place of his son; then Tim when Mark bailed out. Filling the void . . .

    Just some thoughts
     

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