Elder and His Grown Children

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Dr. Bob, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Paul, in his list of qualifications/character traits of an elder/pastor "camped out" on the issue of family. The elder must preside/lead his own children correctly and honestly, for if a man can't do this in his house, how can he do it in the house of God.

    Paul gives as "bookends" to this extensive list that the elder must be without reproach from those in the church and of high reputatioh from the surrounding community.

    I reminded my children that I would be disqualified from ministry and would resign immediately if this became an issue in my family. And I meant it. I hold the calling as servant-leader very highly.

    But at WHAT POINT does this end? This is not personal (no problems with my three) but trying to help a dear brother. If the child leaves home, is the elder then "done" and what the young adult does it is not a reflection on the elder? What about if they are married and establish their own home?

    WHEN does the parent's responsibility and/or blame in the church or community around them end?

    Open for any input.
     
  2. exscentric

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    Know a missionary - kid went to college - at some point got drunk - got kicked out - missionary resigned and placed himself under his churches leadership. Kid evidently had other problems as well.

    I am of the opinion that it is more up to the church leaders/father to sort out the action. It is a child that is out making his/her own life decisions however the father/leaders may see some failing in the raising that helped lead to the problem and see fit to ask for some changes in parenting - especially if there are other children still at home.

    Individual leader/father insight would be my course. Did I skirt the issue smoothly enough :smilewinkgrin:
     
  3. menageriekeeper

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    Personally, I believe it ends when culture says it ends: at age 18 or so when the "child" leaves the financial support of the parents and finds his own place to live.

    I don't think Paul meant to put(project?) the sins of adult children onto their parents.

    I do think Paul meant for parents to have their priorities straight and training their children was vitally important while teaching/leading in the church could be handled by those who had no children. (this is why we all have different gifts, IMO) Some kids just need more direct attention from their parents than other kids do. Paul rightly wanted the kids to have it!

    I don't think Paul meant that having a "bad seed" forever barred a man from leading in the church either. Only someone who has made mistakes in raising their children can recognize when others are making the same ones. Only someone who knows the heartache of having a rebellious child can understand the heartache of another in the same situation. We need the experience of these people to help us prevent the same sorts of things from happening to our own families.
     
  4. Old Union Brother

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    I am of the belief that we are not responsible for the sins of adult children that are of a rational mind. We can not repent for them and therefore their sins are not accountable to us.
     
  5. DHK

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    The Scriptures pertaining to this subject are:

    One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (1 Timothy 3:4-5)

    Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. (1 Timothy 3:12)


    I believe the principle "rule his own house well," is the key phrase. Once the child becomes an adult and moves out of the house, whether college age or older, begins making his own decisions (right or wrong), then I don't believe they should be a reflection on the parents. They are no longer under the rule "of his house." As adults they have made their own decisions.
     
  6. michael-acts17:11

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    "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"

    The verses are clearly referring to children living in "his own house". Once our children leave home they are spiritually responsible for themselves & their own homes.
     
  7. revmwc

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    Ok how about this, the children have learning disabilities and still live at home due to not being able to get a good job. Both trusted Christ and were lead in bible studies. Both are seen by their SS teacher as having a great knowledge of the word.
    The daughter with her limited ability to learn and a desire for nature things get's pregnant at 22 without being married. She soon moves out and ends up living with a man, comes home pregnant yet again. She confesses her sins to God. If God forgives so too should we, does that mean the father didn't rule his home. Scripture says train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old (matures) he will not depart from it.

    So qualified or not, given the learning disability and the naivity it brings. Plus she was an adult but living at home.

    Or how about if the children have a learning disability and are easily influenced by others due to that. Do you hold the same standeard or do you change the standard to meet the circumstances?
     
  8. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Thanks Dr Bob for the question and DHK for this response. It is a question I have looked at quite a bit with five adult children, not all of whom are thriving spiritually.

    I think DHK nails it with 'rules his own house.'

    Super thread.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    Govt does not say "18" and no more parental responsibility. When we conceived a baby we were "forever" parents, and with it a level (varying) of responsibilities.

    When my children left home (one at 16 for college, one at 17 for mission work in Korea) they were still my responsbility. As long as they stayed in school the govt allowed me to "deduct" them, to have them under my "health policy", "car policy", etc Until age 25 as I recall. So no hard-and-fast limit.

    How we raised them will be proven NOW by age 18 or even 25. It is proven only by how THEY raise their children. My grandchildren are my crown, not my children.

    So if a child leaves home for college, then gets married, then disaster comes - abuse, adultery, divorce, et al - I am not sure that there isn't still a parental responsibility.

    Still working thru this one. Have a call to make Saturday that will not be easy . .
     
  10. Deacon

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    We can all agree, kids are so different from each other.
    Different parenting techniques are needed to deal with the different personality types.
    Wise parents adjust their parenting methods to deal with the difficulties.

    We’ve all seen strict parents whose children ran for hell upon leaving the nest.
    And parents whose children run riotously in the aisles of church who now raise their own children in our church.

    Having been the father of an unruly child, I sympathize with revmwc, having walked part of that road.

    The passage is vague enough to cover various parenting techniques, even those with mental and physical handicaps.

    The passage in Timothy doesn’t say the kids have to be believers, only that they are raised in a way that demonstrates purpose.

    Rob
     
  11. revmwc

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    The greatest test we can apply is how does our heavenly deal with us when we fall into sin? Does he disown us to the point that we are no longer His children or does hear us confess restore fellowship and cast our sin as far as the eaast from the west? So too is how we are to treat this situation. Our children like us fail, for an Elder it is worse because everyone is watching His children. They are just children, the next test after how does God treat us is were the children raised in the nuture and admonision of the Lord. Did he have them under subjection while they were in the training stages if so he has done his job. The father is responsible for their training in younger years just as all fathers are. Then they must be able to spread their wings if they are able as adults and male decisions. God let's us make decisions as believers, we whether to sin or serve each and every day.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Some good points so far. I like the point about how ruling the house doesn't refer to grown children moved out and on their own.

    Another point. In 1 Tim. 3 the word for children is (in Friberg's Anlex):

    So I think in this context it means children in the sense of offspring that are literally children, not adults. We told our son we would consider him an adult when he was making his own way in the world, paying his own bills. For some that's at age 18. For our son, after college. My bellief is, until the child is an adult the parents are responsible. After that, the grown son or daughter who stray do not cause their father to be unqualified as a pastor.
     
  13. webdog

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    Wouldn' the key be the "ruling"? I fail to see how we are responsible for the free actions of others. Paul was using the similie to ruling a church and I don't see where pastors are responsible for the decisions the members make. As a jew, Paul would have understood the acceptance freely of a persons faith at the Bar Mtzvah. Would it not be more accurate that a father / pastor only allow sound doctrine and are to meet the spiritual needs of their flock? how many and what kind of sin allowed befor you are unqualified? If it refers to decisions the flock / child makes, there would be no qualified elders, not to mention a pastor would equally meet the physical needs of their flock as well.
     
    #13 webdog, Apr 16, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2011
  14. Salty

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    Let me throw in a bit of a twister.

    Lets add in the "husband of one wife" Those who take that to the nth degree would need to uphold "to rule his own house" to the nth degree as well - to be consistent.

    Likewise, if we hold to a more "liberal :eek: point of view (and there are different degrees of belief even on that) of the "husband of one wife" then I can accept a more liberal approach "to rule his own house"

    Without derailing this too much, at what point does a child break the line. If at age 8, he steals one candy bar at the grocery store, should the pastor resign? or do we wait until the boy turns 14 and murders someone - would that be appropriate time.

    Me thinks I have brought up more questions, than I have answered.
     
  15. webdog

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    Good questions and I agree. A single man has no home to rule yet we widely accept single pastors as being ok...but clamp down on the parent of a rebellious child (which many are apart from being trained correctly}
     
  16. freeatlast

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    Bob the passage in Tim. says the following. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

    I think from the passage that the intent is the immediate home environment. In other words children who are at home and under the leadership of the father and their age is not a factor. They could be 10 or 50 years old. If they do not show clear evidence of being lead in the way of Christ with all godliness by their lives then the man is not qualified.

    However I do believe that the question about what if they have left home and their lives take a path other then one with Christ is the man qualified or not is a good and justified question.
    The problem is that there must be so many variables it is impossible to give an exact answer. Personally if one of mine went astray I would step down so as there was no chance of bringing any charge against the Lord. I would also examine anyone very carefully who was seeking a position of pastor if they had even a grown child who was astray. I do believe that the child is a reflection on the parent and one that is astray raises questions as to if this man has some fault in his leading ability.

    However that is just where I am at and it becomes a question of personal discernment as to whether or not the Lord intended the command to reach as far as children into adult years away from home.
    For me I believe it does because of principle and while the person in my opinion would be disqualified as pastor/elder if he had rebellious adult children even if away from home he can certainly do other things other then pastor/elder. He could be an evangelist or something of that nature, but this part is just my opinion as scripture is not completely clear.
     
    #16 freeatlast, Apr 16, 2011
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  17. sag38

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    I can't make my young child accept Christ anymore than I can my teenage child or my adult child. And, there are adults who come from Godly pastor's homes who are not believers and act like hellions. That is not the fault of the dad and in no way disqualifies him for serving as a pastor or deacon.
     
  18. Jkdbuck76

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    An elder is responsible as long as the kid lives in his home. Once he leaves, then that is that.

    I mean, let's say Charles Stanley's son comes out of the closet and marries some 18 year old manboy and starts worshipping the Space/Time Continuum. Should Dr. Stanley be fired for that? NO.
     
  19. freeatlast

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    Not a good example as Charles Stanley should have already stepped down because of his separation and divorce.
     
  20. HankD

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    I think it depends on the local church, for many churches there is a "Torquemada" present among the flock whose mission seems to be unearthing pecadillos for a less than a spiritual reason.

    On the other hand the health of flock should always be among the highest of priorities of church leadership.

    So, if an adult child of a pastor/deacon/missionary, etc sins and is found out and it is serious enough to be considered a problem then perhaps it should be brought to the local body leadership for a decision and possibly a vote of the general assembly to keep the peace.

    Better safe than sorry?

    Having had 11 children, now all adults, I don't think I would fair too well but I certainly would endorse and abide by the decision without complaining and risk the root of bitterness arising among the flock.

    Having said that, I have an additional wrinkle to add:

    What if a pastor sins seriously (e.g. runs off with another woman), should his adult children resign their positions in church leadership (assuming they have one)?

    Why or why not?

    HankD
     

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