Pastoral Qualification Quandary ??

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by PastorMark, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. PastorMark

    PastorMark
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    I know a man who was saved and called to Preach. During his ordeal he came to me to talk about his situation. His wife claimed to have also been saved, but had a very weak testimony and produced no fruit. The man took a small Church. He built it from about 10 regular attendees to over 50 in just a couple of years. His wife attended in the beginning, but later stopped going. She told him that if he didn't quit the ministry she would leave him, and he would be forced out due to divorce. When I learned she did this, I really began to doubt that she was saved. He told her he could not quit the ministry because he felt that would be quitting what God had called him to do. She divorced him. He tried to fight it but the legal system said she could have her divorce without any cause. I know that he tried all he could to keep her from filing the divorce. Once she filed the divorce he was forced to step down from the Pastorate and the Church has since closed. He has tried to find a place to serve, but no one wants him once they find out he is divorced, and he does not feel it is right to hide that. 1 Corinthians 7:15 says he is no longer under bondage concerning this marriage.

    Now, as Christians, should we shun this man from Pastoring as seems to be happening, or should he be commended for keeping to the call God placed on him. To me it seems that if he is shut out of the ministry we Christians are saying that satan has won (since his ex told him she would do this to get him barred from the ministry, and apparently that has worked), and also that we are giving a spouse the ability to decide whether her husband can be a Pastor or not.

    If his wife had died would he be qualified to Pastor? And, if so, why not if his unbelieving spouse divorced him through no fault of his own? Matthew Henry says in his commentary that this is comparable to a spouse that has died.

    Your thoughts?

    PastorMark.
     
  2. Bro. Curtis

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    The fundy in me wants to say that if God truly wanted him to serve, he would have provided a Godly wife.

    But I'm guessing that is too harsh, so I won't say it.

    It seems to me that he could serve in a ministry, even being divorced, but he did not fulfill the house ruler exhortation, so could not pastor.

    Tough one, I feel bad for him.
     
  3. sag38

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    It is a tough situation. I'd find a church where, although I could not pastor, would let me serve in other capacities such as teaching, evangelism, etc. The gifting of a pastor is not exclusive to the pulpit. Also, I would love my pastor, lift him up, and support him in any way I could. I may not be the pastor but I can be the pastor's best friend.
     
  4. Tom Bryant

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    It is a sad situation and I agree with Sag38. He may be biblically disqualified for a time from being a lead pastor, but he can certainly pastor a group of people.
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    The providence of God can sometimes be confusing and discouraging, but his unfailing love must be trusted. This man should find a good church, inform the pastor of his situation, and get involved in the ministry of loving others. He is, at least for now, biblically disqualified. That may not be permanent, and it does not prevent him from loving God and loving others.
     
  6. PastorMark

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    In trying to counsel this man I suppose my primary struggle is this:

    He did everything according to the Bible, AND he did everything God asked of him. He tried to fulfill the house ruler exhortation, and he tried to keep his wife from leaving, but she left anyway. I am having a hard time understanding God's purpose in this, especially since so many people were hurt by it aside from him (ie. his children, Church members, etc.). I fully understand that God's ways are not our ways, but I am seeking some help in understanding this, that I might also use to console this good man.

    PastorMark.
     
  7. PastorMark

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    Pastor Larry,

    Currently this man is in a good Church, and is trying to do his best, but he still feels called to preach and is pretty discouraged.

    If he is Biblically disqualified, how can it not be permanent?

    Pastormark.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    Remind him that doing everything God says to do is not a promise of success and is not a grounds for heaven. He is accepted by God because of Jesus, not because he tried hard with his wife.

    God's ways are often hard to understand with our finite minds, but they are never wrong. God is a God of love and mercy. Rest in it daily, and sleep in it nightly.

    Some things will never be explained this side of glory. That doesn't mean they don't have an explanation.
     
  9. Bro. Curtis

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    The man's wife left him, destroying his ministry, and his thoughts are on how to continue serving......

    Yup. I'd say he's a good man.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    Tell him to stay faithful. That is his responsibility. The opening of doors and the approval of a congregation are God's. Bloom where you are planted.

    It can be, but it doesn't have to be, particularly in this situation. Right now, whether it's fair or not, the stigma of divorce hangs over him rather than the cloud of "blameless." In time, that can change. He just needs to be faithful, under the care of a good church, and serving faithfully.
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    I know a pastor of a church whose wife divorced him. He had pastored this church for many years. He believed (rightly believed by my thought) that God called him to remain the pastor of that church. After some meetings and discussions with other ministers he has remained, decided to not remarry, has seen his ministry explode in who it is touching with the Gospel, and has been able impact many.

    I don't disqualify him and I don't believe Scripture does either. Divorce is hard, it must be understood case-by-case and not in sweeping generalities. I would welcome this man (in the OP) as a fellow pastor if he and I were to meet.
     
  12. Jim1999

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    I, for one, don't believe he is biblically disqualified. Some are so narrow-minded they would disqualify Jesus Christ because He showed his temper in dealing with the money changers in the temple.

    The 21st Century is a marvellous opportunity to preach the word to the world. It is time for the fundamentalists to wake up and face reality.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  13. Bro. Curtis

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    Just an observation......

    We were able to discuss a sensitive biblical issue without insulting anyone until a liberal showed up.......
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    I have seen a lot in my 20,000+ posts here but don't recall this. You have a link? Or wanna retract it? Or what?
     
  15. OldRegular

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    Somebody refresh my memory please. Just where in Scripture does it say that a divorced man cannot serve as pastor?
     
  16. sag38

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    Regular that is up for debate. It will open up a can of worms that will eventually lead to this thread being closed.
     
  17. Salty

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    Its somewhere in Hezekiah
     
  18. Pastor Larry

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    Many believe, with strong exegetical support, that "husband of one wife" means he can't be divorced. I disagree, but that is a well known position.

    The bigger issue is blameless. A man who has been recently divorced cannot be said to be blameless, even if he is the "innocent" party. I think there are sufficient questions to disqualify him at least temporarily from the office of pastor.

    It is a difficult question that isn't made easier by silly questions. I imagine you know what the support it, and what the arguments are for it. Feel free to disagree, but realize that I think you are probably in the minority in church history (and as I recall historical theology carries heavy weight with you).
     
  19. Jim1999

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    Then we shall disqualify the Hezekian pastor.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  20. EdSutton

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    You have unwittingly given the Biblical answer, I'd say.

    Without knowing anything beyond what has been written, uh- exactly where does the Bible ever mention a few things?

    The first is where does the Bible equate the 'office' of bishop/elder with the gift of pastor and teacher?

    Second, where does the Bible ever speak of any qualifications necessary for the Holy Spirit to dissemble the spiritual gifts, which are given unconditionally and irrevocably, at His sole discretion, at the point of our salvation?

    Third, where does the Bible not speak of qualifications for the office of bishop/elder?

    Fourth, where does the NT ever speak of any "call to preach" per se in the church age? The closest thing I can find to this is where the missionaries of Paul, Silas, Luke, etc. "concluded" that they were called to come to Macedonia for the purpose of preaching the gospel unto them in Acts 16:9-10, and at that, the actual pleading from the "man of Macedonia" was simply "Come over to Macedonia and help us." (Ac. 16:9 - NKJV).

    Folks, I firmly believe that if we would only take the spiritual gifts and offices as the Bible actually describes them, and quit trying to 'manufacture' some amalgamation of "pastor/elder" into some sort of combo of gift/office that this sort of problem would vanish, instantly. There is not one verse anywhere in the Bible, to my knowledge, that ever says that an elder must be any "lead pastor" or that some such monstrosity even exists.

    Even the Apostle Paul spoke of himself as a deacon, and never as a bishop/elder, and the Apostle Peter exhorted the elders in the church to which he was addressing in his epistle, not on the basis of his apostleship, but as a "fellow elder" or "co-presbyter" (sumpresbuteros - Gk.) or one of a group of equals, in that office.

    In short, there are no qualification for the spiritual gift of pastor and teacher, while there is a whole 'laundry list' of qualification for the office of bishop/elder.

    Why do we as Baptists seem to want to think that somehow we can improve on the Biblical model, as actually given in the Bible??

    I in no way question the complete sincerity of said individuals, but I do question the Biblical understanding of the same individuals, in many instances, for one (or many, up to and including a church or 'denomination', for that matter) can certainly be 100% sincere, and yet be sincerely mistaken.

    Ed
     

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