How Much Authority Should Women Have?

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by PastorMark, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. PastorMark

    PastorMark
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    I started a thread several years ago about a man who came to me with a story of how his wife divorced him to force him out of the ministry. It was a fairly controversial thread, but it seemed that the majority of Board members here felt that he was Biblically banned from Pastoring. I haven't been very active on this board in the interim, but I have been watching and reading.

    This man's story really peaked my interest in the topic of women having ultimate control over whether a man can be a Pastor or not (or with some churches, whether he can even be a member in good standing). I have spent a great deal of time talking to hundreds of people and I have found that women in IFB churches often use the divorce card to control their husbands, both in and out of the Pastorate. It seems to be fairly common to find men who were committed to the ministry who are now out because their wives left them, and often they are shunned by the very churches they were serving. One of the more famous people who was divorced by his wife because he was in the ministry was Charles Weigle, author of "No one ever cared for me like Jesus."

    Is it the opinion of those on this board that it is acceptable for a women to have that level of control over a man? If so how do you reconcile that stance with 1 Timothy 2:12?

    What would you do if you awoke to a note from your wife saying she was divorcing you, maybe for no other reason that she got tired of being in church (you had been a loving, caring, attentive husband)?

    What would you do if your wife demanded that you get out of the Pastorate or she would divorce you?

    What would you do if your wife demanded that you get completely out of church or she would divorce you?

    What would you do if your wife demanded you deny Christ or she would divorce you?

    (I've heard stories of all these demands occurring)

    Please don't use the "my wife would never do that" excuse. I'd say that 90% plus of the men I've spoken to thought the same things prior to their wives leaving. It's surprising how many of these wives professed salvation prior to leaving, but later turned to drugs, alcohol, etc.

    How would you feel if your church "family" shunned you because of the divorce, even though you did nothing wrong?
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    If the wife does not support your ministry you will end up dead in the water. Churches will see this as a problem.
     
  3. go2church

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    I guess I would call a marriage counselor
     
  4. jonathan.borland

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    The sentiments in the OP generally reflect the unfitness of the husband in ministering to his family (especially his wife) and therefore demonstrate the unfitness of the man to administer the church of God.

    And yes, I'd start reading and applying stuff in 5 Love Languages, Letters to Philip, etc. ASAP to recapture the heart of my woman. Actually I've already done this having foreseen the ends of some possible roads that weren't pretty! The honeymoon only lasts so long. If I lose my woman I've lost it all.

    And having been in the ministry for over a decade now, I realize that it's only by the grace of God that any of our marriages last. With selfish pride and a few missteps, any of us could find ourselves in the position of the sentiments expressed in the OP. Let us never forget that.
     
  5. annsni

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    Why would a man marry a woman like that?
     
  6. go2church

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    There are times when a spouse grows to this position due to several usually hurtful circumstances.
     
  7. Gregory Perry Sr.

    Gregory Perry Sr.
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    Much Water Under The Bridge...

    I am a man who, in the course of my life, since I was saved in 1977, has been married now three times. My first two wives both initiated and carried out divorce proceedings against me and went on to remarry other men. I am remarried now to a faithful Christian woman who I believe with all my heart will be faithful to me until death. The strange circumstance about all of this is that I am FIRMLY against divorce for any other reason than adultery...and even then I think all efforts should be made to seek reconciliation.
    I said all of that to say this...none of us are guiltless in these matters within our homes and our families. I have no problem with the FACT (as I see it) that Scripture teaches that I am no longer (if I ever was) qualified for a Pastorate ministry or to be a deacon in a duly constituted local New Testament church. I could still PREACH or do the work of an Evangelist of many other useful and purposeful functions in the church that scripture nowhere prohibits. A Pastor or Deacon must be a man (men ONLY)that is faithful to his one wife and in control of his home so they can be an example to the church. JMHO

    Bro.Greg:saint:
     
  8. KJVRICH

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    my guess would be that......"she sure is purdy"!
     
  9. JonC

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    Scripture uses the illustration of marriage often. Hosea and Gomer were vivid examples representing the relationship between God and his people. The sentiment that an unfaithful wife reflects on the qualifications of the husband puts the relationship between God and Israel in a whole new light.

    I don’t know that this is something that we can broad stroke – perhaps it is necessary to examine this type of situation on a case by case basis. Maybe the husbands mistake was not his unfitness in ministering to his wife, but his choice of spouse.
     
  10. Jerome

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    Odd, isn't it, how so many of these angelic IFB men wind up with wives that (they claim) turn out to be such rotten Jezebels.
     
  11. prophet

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    Most of these men sell their birthright in Esau-like manner, cuz they'll 'die w/o...'. Then they try to claim it back, and lo, and behold: Jacob is there, stealing it again.

    Then they claim 'the woman that thou gavest me'.
     
  12. quantumfaith

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    Jerome, I don't think the issue is limited to IFB pastors. Broken relationships and lives show up across the spectrum, perhaps, it is because our humanity.
     
  13. Jerome

    Jerome
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    From the OP:

     
  14. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Dr. Charles Stanley went through this very issue, his wife feeling he was more attentive to his church duties than to his husbandly duties. The church determined there was no serious sin on the part of Dr. Stanley and asked him to remain as pastor.

    Was the church wrong?

    Was Dr. Stanley wrong in accepting?
     
  15. Yeshua1

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    he did not start the divorce, correct?
    he still views himself as being married to her, correct?

    Wouldn't this be a situation of a scripturally divorce, no remarriage, and up to the church to decide if staying as pastor?
     
  16. agedman

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    I have wrestled with the "Stanley" issue for some time.

    Generally, I come down that he needed to step down.

    The Scriptures are clearly on that side.

    That the assembly made such a decision is to me a problem. Stanley should never have given them the opportunity - too much emotionalism and opinion driven decision making to afford the best decission.

    Disconnect,

    You and I both know that marriage problems (especially those such as Stanley) did not occur over night.

    Here is what I would probably have encouraged the assembly to do (they could financially afford to follow my advice).

    1) Place Stanley in a paid administrative position.
    2) Pay for a home far away from the assembly in which the two could retreat and repair. They would be required to regularly attend a local assembly.
    3) Require a certain level of commitment that both would pursue Scriptural grounds to be reconciled. I would also have, periodically, some written documentation from them as to the issues and progress of resolution.
    4) At no time would I allow ANYONE from the assembly to contact them. I want no "tale bearing" and no "personal interest" interference from "well intentioned" folks.
    5) If and only if after a complete reconciliation, both to each other and to God, I would then bring them back to the assembly. They would present themselves for examination, and then, provided the assembly was satisfied with the answers, he and his wife would be charged to find another place in which to lead and serve - again, far away from the original local assembly.

    I wouldn't expect the length of time to be less than a year or two.

    Now I know you have had your own thinking on the matter, and am interested in what ways you might have handled the situation.

    At any rate, who am I to judge another assembly in this matter, I just grieve that the man has met with such trouble.
     
  17. Deacon

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    I'm a foreigner here in this fundamental forum section so bear that in mind when reading my contribution.

    Marriage is a partnership. There is give and take. A woman with no authority in a marriage is not a partner but a servant.

    A good husband will listen to his wife, heed her advice and bend and sway with her needs.

    If her demands seem unreasonable and out of character, it would be wise to discuss why she would make them and consider various options.

    If a wife makes a demand and the alternative is divorce, then IMO, the husband has been neglecting the relationship for far too long.

    That being said, there are also instances where there is an unreasonable, inconsolable or unconscionable spouse. There you may be dealing with a form of mental illness. A man needs to set his priorities and do what is right.
    Sometimes it will mean putting her above other priorities - and that will be tough (but be a man and do it!), other times it may mean you accept the bad choices of your mate and divorce. Sometimes there are intermediary positions that are best.

    Rob
     
  18. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I think this exactly what First Baptist of Atlanta should have done. They didn't do this, I think, because of who Stanley is, and the misguided notion that his failure somehow reflected on the church itself. I still respect Stanley, and believe he could have continued as the driving force behind In Touch Ministries throughout (as he did anyway) provided he repented of his sin against his wife and his marriage publicly, and allowed someone else to be the "face" of In Touch. Perhaps he should have listened to Andy? I've suspected this is precisely what Andy was telling him all along.

    Good post, A/M. :thumbsup:
     
  19. saturneptune

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    You are correct. A man called to be pastor will fail without Christ and his wife in full support of him. The question of how much authority should a woman have should never come up. That in itself indicates a red flag. The relationship between a pastor, his wife and Jesus Christ, should be natural, quite clear, without conflict, and in perfect harmony.
     
  20. annsni

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    Amen! I don't EVER want to be a hinderance to my husband's calling to the ministry. I trust him completely and know that he is seeking God in all he does. When he wanted to start a business in the audio industry, quitting his job and taking a chance, I trusted him and he succeeded. When he came to me and said that he felt God calling him to the ministry and the church was calling him to the position, I saw it as a fulfillment of what I always knew - he'd be a pastor someday. He was floored that I knew about it before him because I never shared that knowledge with him. As he's gone through these last 10 years or so, I've been his support, his sounding board, his shoulder to cry on, his cheerleader and partner. I'm proud of what he's become and if I were to do anything to jeopardize his ministry, *I* would be in disobedience to my Lord.
     

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