Serving as Deacon and divorce

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by saturneptune, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    For those that believe that second marriages disqualify a person from serving as deacon, here is a question to ponder. If a person is serving as deacon, and gets a divorce, can he continue to serve as deacon as long as he stays single, or would he need to resign because his house is not in order? (1 Tim 3)
     
  2. His Blood Spoke My Name

    His Blood Spoke My Name
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    Many people take the passages that say the bishop and the deacon must be 'the husband of one wife' out of context to say one cannot fil an office in the local church if one has been divorced and remarried.

    But, if one did a study of the geographical location and the customs at that time, one would find that Timothy lived in a polygamous environment. People saw no problem in having more than one wife at a time.

    These passages were not speaking of divorce at all. On the contrary, they were stating a bishop or deacon could have only one wife at present. More than one wife would take away from the responsibilities that come with the office of deacon or bishop... for, the man seeks to please his wife. More wives, more time spent with them.

    There is no Scripture in the Word of God that commands a leader in the Church to step down if divorced, or not to marry again if he were divorced under certain circumstances.

    Divorces were only recognized as legal in the case of
    a) fornication (breach of marriage contract annulling marriage.
    b) unbeliever choosing to depart (if the unbeliever departs, the believer is not bound.
     
    #2 His Blood Spoke My Name, Feb 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2007
  3. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Hey Mike,

    My view is that divorce does not qualify one from serving as a deacon or pastor. But remarriage would present a problem for me.

    However, I think the points made by His Blood Spoke My Name make some sense. I agree that the polygamous environment of the 1st century may have been a factor in the qualifications set forth in Paul's letter to Timothy. I'd like to hear more discussion.

    Furthermore, if the Scriptures sanction divorce for the wife's infidelity or abandonment--that is, it was not the pastor's or deacon's fault--maybe we ought to rethink.

    Let me also throw another question in here. If a pastor or deacon marries a divorced woman who has a living ex-husband, is that a disqualifying factor?

    saturneptune and I know the position our church has taken. What do the rest of you think.
     
  4. Salty

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    We believe we should take the Bible literaly (unless it makes nonsense), therefore, if Paul were talking about divorce, why did he not simply say divorce?
     
  5. His Blood Spoke My Name

    His Blood Spoke My Name
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    if the woman was divorced because of unfaithfulness, or because the living husband was not a believer (btw, I do not believe a Child of God will commit fornication), then the wife is not bound to the living husband, she is free to marry.

    If the divorce were for other reasons, the divorce is not sanctioned by the Word of God and he that marrieth her that is put away causeth her to commit adultery. He also is in adultery.
     
  6. TomVols

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    I can't answer, because I do not believe second marriages automatically disqualify a person for the eldership or diaconate because Scripture simply doesn't say it should. The literal Greek for the marital requirement is that they be one woman kind of men. This applies to singles, marrieds, etc. We have to interpret the Bible faithfully, not according to tradition or opinions of men.
     
  7. His Blood Spoke My Name

    His Blood Spoke My Name
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    The Scripture says those in office should be without reproach.

    A deacon or bishop should not be put in office if he has an unbelieving wife, for he is not able to rule the house well. She will be in opposition to the ministry and a hindrance in his faithfulness to the ministry.

    So I do not believe a deacon or bishop should ever divorce, for the wife of the deacon and bishop should be his helpmate not just in the home, but also in the ministry.
    But one seeking an office in the local assembly should not be disqualified because of a past divorce if the divorce was for the 2 reasons I stated earlier... providing the applicant is not the offender in the oiffences.
     
    #7 His Blood Spoke My Name, Feb 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2007
  8. reformedbeliever

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    Amen brother, thank you.
     
  9. rbell

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    Our church does not automatically disqualify divorced or twice-married deacon candidates. It is handled case-by-case. Many issues are discussed openly and honestly.

    It's not happened here, but it would probably come to this: The pastor would likely meet with the deacon, and allow the deacon to step down...but not necessarily for "punishment."
    • If the deacon serving is a totally innocent party to the divorce (the wife's unfaithful, or deserts him, etc.) he'll be allowed to step down and be ministered to during this difficult time. Our deacons are heavy-duty servers...not administrators. This guy would probably need time to heal (NOT drop out of church or anything), but there are more important things for him at that time.
    • If the deacon is mostly, partly, or totally at fault (you can understand these scenarios), he would need to step down to either try and salvage the marriage, or if it's over, he would need to step down because he's not at a place where he should be serving in that role.
    But if the second instance is true, our goal as a church family is still...
    • reconciliation of the family if possible;
    • repentance, healing and restoration to fellowship (even if not to the deacon body).
    If he's unrepentant, good ol' Matthew 18.
     
  10. faithgirl46

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    What if in this day and age the man getting a divorce is the victim of spousal abuse? I have read about it.
    Faithgirl
     
  11. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    What are your thoughts about a man called into the ministry but went through a divorce prior to conversion regardless of the reason?
     
  12. His Blood Spoke My Name

    His Blood Spoke My Name
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    Spousal Abuse is tough. When a man or woman exchange vows, they declare they will take each other for better or worse; richer or poorer, in sickness and health. til death.

    In the case of an unbeliever or fornication, it is death. The death of the marriage contract.

    In the case of spousal abuse, and it goes both way folks, are you being true to your vows?

    Is abuse love? I don't think I need to answer that.

    Oh, and abuse is not just physical. If you truly love your spouse, you are not going to abuse that spouse physically, emotionally, or verbally.

    Abuse would fall under the category of 'hardness of heart' which Jesus clearly addresses in the Book of Matthew. Divorce in that instance was allowed by Moses (in the past) but from the beginning it was not so. God did not allow the divorce for hardness of heart.

    I would say in the case of abuse, get help from someone, pray for the spouse that God will give him or her the heart that he or she originally had for you.

    Separation for a period may be in order in such an instance, but Jesus did say that from the beginning it was not a cause for divorce.
     
    #12 His Blood Spoke My Name, Feb 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2007
  13. His Blood Spoke My Name

    His Blood Spoke My Name
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    Good question.

    I believe the man cannot be held to past events, even the divorce in that case.

    Paul wrote if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.

    Paul said the unbelieving, if they depart, let them depart. This is a no-brainer. The divorce was by an unbeliever. The office is for a believer. If he is a believer, he should be allowed to fill that office of deacon or bishop if he meets the rest of the requirements set forth in God's Holy Word.
     
  14. rbell

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    IMO he's not automatically disqualified.

    Is it worth discussing? Sure, insofar as...how long ago did this happen? Are there kids involved? How does this affect your ministry to (name the circumstance)? And if the divorce was his fault (particularly if issues such as infidelity, abuse, etc. were involved), I think his testimony should reflect specific ways in which God has helped him to overcome his past...has he sought forgiveness, has he learned how to handle the guilt and condemnation that satan loves to throw his way, etc.

    When I talk about "discussing" this, etc., of course I'm talking about it being done in proper context (such as with mentors, accountability partners, etc.) The subject matter should be appropriate for the crowd.

    But if one goes into ministry, one should be ready to give an account.

    Having said that, I'm in no way part of the "divorce: the unpardonable sin" crowd.
     
  15. gerald285

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    In times past this would have never been a question to ponder since divorce was considered a stigma. However today, sadly, because divorce is so common even in the church it seems normal and even acceptable. What has happened is compromise due to familiarity.
    The qualifications for a deacon or elder/pastor are given to set the highest standards in the church so as to keep the church pure. Consequently a person who has been through a divorce should not be holding the office of deacon no matter who is at falt. The passages teach this;

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

    A person who has been divorced cannot rule their own house since it has been torn apart.
     
  16. His Blood Spoke My Name

    His Blood Spoke My Name
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    Other passages would indicate that if the unbelieving spouse depart, let her depart. The believing spouse is not bound under such circumstances.

    There is no indication that the deacon or bishop cannot have been divorced... only that he have only one wife.
     
  17. reformedbeliever

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    If the purity of the church is determined by any man, the church is not pure. I thought it was Jesus Himself that kept the church pure.
     
  18. gerald285

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    I think that you have twisted the meaning of what I wrote and you know it. Splitting hairs one wording is not a worthy way to show yourself as a Christian.
     
  19. gerald285

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    Actually it does not say one wife in the greek. it says one woman man. A man can have one wife and not be a one woman man. The idea is he is to be dedicated to one woman. All the qulaifications are about spiritual maturity (holiness). I would not want a divorced pastor to lead me no matter the circumstances. I bet thhat he woould never even deal with the biblical issue. he would be a bad example. Nor should a man hold the office of deacon once divorced. let those who have held onto the qualifications in the highest of terms hold those offices so as not to compromise the church leading.
     
  20. His Blood Spoke My Name

    His Blood Spoke My Name
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    If he is only married to one woman at a time, he is still a one-woman man.
     

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