Divorced Preachers

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by John Miller, Dec 31, 2002.

  1. John Miller

    John Miller
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    Chances are this has been asked before but I'm going to ask now.

    Is it Biblical for a preacher to have had a divorce?

    I know a man that was divorced several years ago and has since happily remarried. he says that he is feeling a call to pastor but in his IFB church, he is being condemned because of his divorce.

    I believe the Bible to be literal and with that said I Timothy 3:2 he is Biblically qualified. When he got a divorce he no longer had that lady as his wife. Now he is remarried he only has one wife.

    I know this is a controversial topic, so what are some of your thoughts?
     
  2. jimslade

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    Sorry but he no longer Qualifies.
     
  3. rlvaughn

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    I do not think he would be qualified, but the practical fact of the matter is that if he really feels called and wants to preach, there are plenty of Baptist churches that do not hold that position. It will be simple enough to find one of these rather than create an internal problem in his current church.
     
  4. Circuitrider

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    The expression "husband of one wife" means just what it says, literallly a "one woman man." It does not deal with poligamy, for that was outlawed by the Roman Empire of the first century. Nor does it teach "one at a time," for everyone except poligamists would qualify, so why give the qualification.

    Thus a divorced man is disqualified from pastoral ministry, as is a divorced deacon. It does not mean that divorced men cannot serve in the church in some capacity, but he does not fulfill the highest qualifications of spiritual church leadership. Divorced men have served in other areas of ministry beside the pastoral office. These would be subject to the guidelines and qualifications of those ministries.

    It is interesting that even though the OT allowed divorce (Jesus noted that fact), the priests were forbidden from divorce or marriage to a divorcee.

    God requires the highest qualifications in his highest office in the local church.
     
  5. Circuitrider

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    rlv, While there are churches that do not hold up to this biblical standard, I would never encourage a divorced man to find a church that would allow him to pastor. Otherwise, I am saying it's wrong, but go ahead and do it anyway. :eek: I would encourage that man to find some area of ministry other than pastoring a local church and serve there. ;)
     
  6. Sherrie

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    I agree with Circuitrider. Perhaps there was another ministry that would be better for him.

    Sherrie
     
  7. Pastor_Bob

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    Is he really being condemned for being divorced? I would find that highly unusual. If he is merely being told he has disqualified himself for the pastorate, I would not qualify that as condemnation.

    We have some very effective divorcees in our church. Some are Sunday school teachers, ushers, choir members, etc... The only position they cannot hold is pastor or deacon.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    Circuitrider is right that it means a "one woman man." IMO, he is incorrect that it means this man can't pastor. The idea of "one woman man" is the idea of not a womanizer. Depending on teh circumstances of his divorce (reasons, timing, character, etc), he could well still be qualified. He may not be qualified. There is much more at stake than a simple yes or no answer can contain.

    If he is disqualified, it is because he is not blameless, not because he divorced and remarried.
     
  9. Baptist Believer

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    If the preacher has:

    1.) had a divorce for biblical reasons and is the “innocent” party
    2.) is currently a person of good character and has demonstrated a “one-woman man” example in his life (the “husband of one wife” character trait discussed in 1 Timothy)
    3.) has demonstrated solid Christian character over an extended period of time

    I have no problem with it.

    Certainly not all churches can accept it, but it is certainly a local church matter. The prospective pastor/preacher should be up front about his marital history when meeting with a church committee and should not condemn those who do not cannot accept them in that position.

    It’s kind of strange that churches can accept former murderers, drug dealers and fornicators in their pulpits but cannot accept those whose marriages failed (often for biblical reasons).

    A good book regarding this subject is “And Marries Another…” that is readily available on amazon.com.
     
  10. BrianT

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    If the past divorce took place *before* he was saved, does that make a difference? Should it?
     
  11. Molly

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    I agree,Pastor Larry...the verses that list the qualifications speak to the character of the man...dig deeper and there might be some areas of his life that does show he is not qualified,but divorce in and of itself does not disqualify....the ideal would be that he has remained married to the same woman,had wonderful godly children with her,etc. I would prefer this. It may be that he is not above reproach because of the situation that caused a divorce....he may not have been a man that put his wife and children above the ministry,etc,or he does not handle money properly....many different scenario's...he could be disqualified,but just because he is divorced does not biblically disqualify him. I said all that to also say.....I would not want to be in a church where the pastor/teacher was divorced,though....I like to take the high road when it comes to ideals and standards.
     
  12. rlvaughn

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    circuitrider, thanks for the point. I wouldn't want my comment to be taken as encouragement for an unqualified man to go ahead and pastor anyway. I would encourage him not to. But as a practical matter, if he is bound and determined to do it anyway, he can find a church to do it in where it will cause neither problem nor disturbance. Thanks all I meant.
     
  13. Johnv

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    It's not a biblical standard. Husband of one wife deals with polygamy. Polygamy was practiced by not only the Romans, but the Jews as well, though it was not popular. It was not until after the NT was written that Polygamy was banned in Greco Roman society (females outnumbered males in both societies). Paul wanted to keep those practicing polygamy out of the church leadership. If this were not the case, then the husband of one wife rule means that single men cannot be pastors either.

    A divorced or widowed man who later remarries is still the husband of one wife.

    Of course, I would make the presumption that the divorce is one of biblical reason (adultery, violation of the marriage).
     
  14. Baptist Believer

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    It makes quite a bit of difference. If we truly believe that "all things become new", then we shouldn't have any issue with divorces before conversion if the minister is currently a "one woman man".
     
  15. jimslade

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    There is no such thing as an INNOCENT party.
    Its NOT scriptural. Whatever happen to TIL DEATH DO US PART. This vow is taken before GOD and whoever divorces His wife TAKES GODS NAME IN VAIN.

    MY 2 cents worth---

    The exception clause (pornea)in Mathew is dealing specifically with the Jewish tradition, that the engagement was as binding as Marriage, how else could Joseph "put away" same word as divorce) Mary if he was not even married to her at that time. That is why this clause is found in Mathew it is site specific.

    The Dueteronomy passage is dealing with someone who is found to be unlean during the engagement.

    This is the day that the bible is speaking about,"they will heap up for themselves teachers"

    We spend so much time dealing with the issues of the innocent Party vs. guilty party.

    IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO.

    A true forgiving spirit is the lifeblood of a succesfull marriage.

    JIM
     
  16. Molly

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    I agree with you,too! [​IMG]
     
  17. Johnv

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    There is no such thing as an INNOCENT party.

    Me walking in to my home and finding my wife with an ex boyfriend would certainly qualify me as the innocent party. It took two to tango, but I wasn't involved in the dance!!
     
  18. FearNot

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    Did Jesus tell the women at the well that she had multiple husbands because she was a paligamist? No. It was because of the fact that she was married so many times, and that in the eyes of God she was not supposed to have gotten a divorce. Jesus even made a point to tell her the one she was now with was not her husband.

    A pastor is supposed to be above reproach. If he can not even keep his own marriage together, how can he advise another how to have a successful marriage? That is why he is also supposed to be able to control his children. He is to be a teacher/leader. If he can not lead his own household, then he also can not lead a flock.

    A divorced man is disqualified from being a preacher. He is disqualified both Scripturally and ethically.
     
  19. hrhema

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    This subject has caused a lot of contention on this board that ended up with one person refering to others as Adulters or Adultresses.

    Jesus made it very clear what he was speaking about. It had nothing to do with engagement. Before you speak out you need to study Judaism and you would find that there were two different procedures for ending an engagement or betrothal and ending a marriage. A marriage is ended by the GET. A betrothal is not.

    This idea that there is no innocents is so archaic and stretch of truths so someone can be hard nosed.
     
  20. Pastor_Bob

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    Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
    4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
    5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
    6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (KJV)

    Nothing has changed since Jesus' day. The Pharisee always looks for a way to justify divorce while Jesus sees the "one flesh" relationship.

    We ought to be saying, "By God's grace and help be reconciled," instead of, "God understands. You are justified in your actions."
     

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