Should a Divorced Woman hold office in a church?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by dianetavegia, Sep 9, 2003.

  1. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
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    The lengthy discussions about divorced men has caused me to think quite a bit about this.

    I cannot find any scripture concerning women who are divorced and hold positions in the church other than pastor's wives or deacon's wives and widows indeed. Does anyone know of any such scripture? What would be YOUR feelings concerning women who are divorced being given leadership positions in the church?

    We have two women in our church who have recently been appointed to leadership positions. One is a lovely young woman who is married to a man who was divorced. I have never asked about his divorce and she has never shared anything about his previous wife other than the husband has sole custody of his children by that marriage. She's the new Head Leader of a Women's Group. (Previous leader moved away.) I'm a leader in that ministry.

    The second woman is an older woman (maybe a little younger than me so late 40's?) who is divorced and is on the Pulpit Search Committee, a leader in the Women's group, a Women's Sunday School teacher and a Discipleship Training Teacher for women's class on Sunday night. This woman has never mentioned WHY she is divorced but is very verbal about how she dislikes, distrusts and has no use for men.

    Thanks!
    Diane

    [ September 09, 2003, 06:42 PM: Message edited by: dianetavegia ]
     
  2. Johnv

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    If a divorced man can hold a position, then a divorced woman can hold a position. As for why they got divorced, it's my two cents that, while divorce is public, the reasons for it are private, and none of our business, if the husband and wife choose to keep it private. Most divorces are due to adultery or abandonment, and these are very embarrassing and personal topics. Unless you have hard evidence to the contrary, I would leave the reasons for her divorce alone, lest you find yourself in a situation of gossip or rumor.
     
  3. dianetavegia

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    The strong discussions on this forum are what raised the question in my mind... not discussion's of specific persons.

    In your church, are divorced men allowed to be Sunday School teachers? I heard of a church recently that sent out notes to men who had been divorced in the distant past that they could no longer teach Sunday School. My birth father was one of the men who received one of those notes.

    Diane
     
  4. Johnv

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    I hope so. I was one for 4 years. I still have kids (now Jr high age) who stop me in the hallways to tell me they miss me.
     
  5. TheOliveBranch

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    I believe that this woman should not be holding any position over any women. According to Titus 2:3-5, "The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness , not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things ; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands , to love their children, to be descreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their husbands , that the word of God be not blasphemed."

    What is a "pulpit search committee"?
     
  6. Baptist in Richmond

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    Taken another way, this note from the church says: "Although God may have forgiven your sins, we do not, as we perceive that divorce is a sin without pardon. Kindly step down."
     
  7. Gunther

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    What in the world is a woman doing on the pulpit search committee? Why is it not the men who are deciding. Since when did God give that kind of authority over to the women?
     
  8. Flippo

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    Diane,

    I feel they should be able to teach Sunday school and the like, but I have to agree with Olive Branch on that the older women who dislikes men has no business teaching or having a position of responsibility until the Lord deals with her heart. It doesn't matter what her previous experience was, she cannot use it as an excuse.

    On a side note, I also believe that if a woman leaves her husband for no good reason or because of an affair on her part, she needs to get this right with the Lord and her ex before she takes any position.

    Phil
     
  9. Baptist in Richmond

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    I agree with you, but for different reasons. If the second woman is very verbal about her dislike for men, then she would appear to harbor bitterness and has some issues that need to be addressed.

    This verse does not support the argument, and the emphasis in italics is yours.

    A divorced woman might be one of the best counselors for prospective brides. They might be able to lend credence to the fact that one should be very careful about their mate. Another way for divorced people to serve God is to assist other people who have gone through divorce, such as assisting a divorce recovery network.

    Furthermore, read down to Verses 13-15:
    Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
    Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
    These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.


    Note that "all iniquity" would include divorce.

    Divorce may be a sin; however, I have yet to see anyone prove to me that it is an unpardonable offense. Additionally, I have yet to see anyone show me Scripturally that divorced people are anathema and cannot be used of God. The Biblical Passage you cite says nothing of divorce. There may be exclusions for being a Pastor, but God can use anyone to do His Will, even divorced Believers.
     
  10. greatday

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    "If a divorced man can hold a position, then a divorced woman can hold a position."

    It was my understanding that Jesus Christ is no respecter of persons and shows partiality to no one including a divorced man or women? He forgives all kinds of sins and taught us to go and sin no more?

    1JN 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
     
  11. Justified

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    I agree with you, but for different reasons. If the second woman is very verbal about her dislike for men, then she would appear to harbor bitterness and has some issues that need to be addressed. </font>[/QUOTE]For the sake of writing a book, I implied this reason also. I did not refer to her as being divorced as the reason for not being qualified to teach, though I won't agree she has the authority to do so. Her bitterness disqualifies her as her in biblical stands about men. Being very verbal also shows her shortcomings, making her the last person to help any woman in any matter.



    I disagree with you on this completely. Go to the married woman who has been married for 25 or more years. She will be able to tell you how to make a marriage work. A divorced woman can give you the details of how her marriage didn't work, and also her shortcomings, but what about how to keep her marriage together? Credence to their mate- are you refering to choosing? Can't agree here either. God, parents who are not divorced, pastors maybe, but the divorced woman has made the wrong choice, and statistics show that once divorced the chances for a second or more rises.Your third statement holds water.

    The sin of divorce is pardonable. No arguement there. The sin is forgiven, the consequence remains. I do not believe a divorced person is qualified to hold any office. This is the consequence. How the use their experience is a different subject. They can choose to do what they can for those that go to them. It also should be noted that they should not be holding an office if they are remarried. This brings into the picture the consequence of adultery.

    (Sorry, I accidently posted under Justified's login. This is TheOliveBranch posting)
     
  12. dianetavegia

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    OliveBranch, the Pulpit Search Committee is the group chosen to search for our new pastor. We have 2 women of different ages, 2 elders (men of course) 1 young Hispanic man and 1 man in his late 30's on this committee.

    I wondered that too, Gunther!

    To others, I've been married 33 years next month and the 'man bashing' really concerns me too. Even if there is hurt from whatever caused the divorce, this 'talk' really concerns me and isn't a good example for the younger women.

    Diane
     
  13. Thankful

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    I think a woman can be on a pulpit search committee. She can have input without authority. The pulpit search committee should only recommend the person to be the pastor, the church chooses. Women can vote for the person who will be the pastor, can't they? They vote in our church. I know this is off the subject a little bit.

    Back to the question of whether a divorced woman can serve. I would say why not? God can forgive her, shouldn't we?

    I agree that if a person is bashing men, then she should not be in a role of leadership. She needs guidance from the pastor or perhaps an older woman. She also needs prayer which I am sure that Diane has already prayed for her.

    I have known of divorced women who would not serve until they felt that they had forgiveness and were walking close to God.

    Just my thoughts, I know of no scripture that deals with a divorced woman. That does not mean that there isn't one.
     
  14. TheOliveBranch

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    Thanks, Diane. And I agree with Gunther, too.
     
  15. TheOliveBranch

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    A woman has the right to vote for the pastor, but not for the choosing of who should be presented before the congregation. I believe 1Tim explains why.

    The reason the Bible doesn't deal with divorced women in leadership is because it's not biblical. That's why it's not there. The committees and offices that Diane mentions are not biblical offices, they are man made. Ladies in the past studied the Bible without needing an office to run it. Women's groups, women's SS, women's discipleship are not in the Bible. Women and men are equal in Christ, but to be putting women in their own catagory seems to encourage women to rise up and lead their "own". I think it's great for ladies to study the Bible together, to pray together, to gather together. But ladies need to take care not to feel the gain of power by doing so.
     
  16. Baptist in Richmond

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    They cannot hold any office?
    Please provide the Scriptural justification for this belief.
     
  17. Molly

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    I believe women should not be in a position of authority over men,so this would rule out a pastor search team...input is one thing,but men should be the ones to decide these kind of serious church matters.

    I believe gifted women should teach other women,children and youth girls...but a divorced woman can not lead by example...she obviously has some questionable things that could cause some problems...so I think God would have women who have not been divorced serve in these areas....(teaching or womn ministry type things)

    I also believe there are many areas where women(divorced or not) can serve in a body....our women's minstry is always needing women to make copies,type things,organize luncheons,set tables,etc...also,we do all of our own maintenance(we do not hire out jobs)...so janitorial things have to be done,lawn maintenance,cleaning nursery and ss rooms,etc....many needs...be creative!

    I agree with Gunther....
     
  18. Molly

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    I,also want to add...all gifts and helps in a body are important...every single one,no job is more important than another...so,if someone is not qualified to do one(teach,for example) find one you can do! God is very concerend with those who teach and I think we should be cautious entering it lightly!

    Molly
     
  19. Johnv

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    The divorce issue is a separate issue from the man-bashing issue. One one, married, single, widowed, or divorced, should be engaging in such conversation. It's sexism, plain and simple. Unfortunately, man bashing is often socially accepted, and often by married women. I'm glad to see, however, that faithful persons such as you exist and recognize the situation.
     
  20. Baptist in Richmond

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    This is totally wrong. Using this rationale, then you must believe that recovering alcoholics cannot help deter the abuse prior to its onset. You must also believe that recovering drug addicts cannot possibly help to dissuade young people from taking illicit drugs. Only those who have never had to encounter the physical addiction are qualified to speak to our young people.

    A divorced woman would absolutely bring credibility to marital counseling. There is something to be said for life experience, and I am really finding it hard to believe that you would deny this. A divorced woman can instruct a potential bride as to the warning signs for any problems that may have caused the divorce in her own personal life. “I was in an abusive relationship, and &lt;insert some behavior here&gt; was the first sign of things to come.” “I was married to a philanderer, and his activity started with &lt;insert behavior here&gt; before we even got married.”

    Whether or not it is a sin, divorce is a very prevalent issue facing Congregations everywhere, and could almost be considered a mission field. There are a multitude of issues concerning divorce, and we are failing at addressing the needs of these fellow Believers. This is especially true with respect to the children that are unwilling participants in this complete destruction of their homes. You have pointed out that many divorced people end up getting a second divorce: does that not bother you?

    Implicit relegation of these people to a secondary status in our churches is not only destructive, it is sinful. Molly has added that divorced women are more than welcome to handle the custodial duties in the church. To her credit, she posted again, amplifying her statement. Let’s put an end to the contumely.

    This is a point of contention for me, and I am appalled at some of the comments I have read on other threads on this board. Jesus forgives all sins, and divorce would certainly be one of them. You made the assertion that the sin is forgiven, but there are still consequences, and that is true. However, if someone is going to say that members of the Congregation are limited as to their allowable duties in the Church (outside the specific guidelines of the Word) they had better be prepared to back up their statements with Scriptural Support.

    If there are divorced people reading this, it is my hope that you realize that all sin is forgiven, and hold to this promise. Moreover, know that it is NOT the end of your usefulness to God. There are divorce recovery groups out there that can minister to any Spiritual needs you may have. If not, then PM me.

    [ September 10, 2003, 09:16 PM: Message edited by: Baptist in Richmond ]
     

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