What can a "disqualified" person do?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by StefanM, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. StefanM

    StefanM
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    I've not posted in what seems like forever, but some of the recent discussion on the board corresponds with some of the questions I have been pondering.

    I am trying to keep this as broad as possible (although I know specific circumstances are relevant), so here goes.

    For the sake of the discussion, assume that the person was not in an active ministry position when the act or acts of disqualification occurred. Also assume that the disqualifying act or acts are not ongoing, and the individual has truly repented.

    This could apply to any number of people---those who previously served in pastoral ministry, those who have served as deacons, those who have served as Sunday School teachers, etc. or those who have never served in any position of formal leadership.

    Other than being an elder/pastor or deacon (for which these people would be unqualified), what could these people potentially be "qualified" to do in the church?

    Would leading a small group be an option? Preaching (as a guest)? Teaching a church class? Serving on church staff in a non-pastoral role? (Like an office administrator)

    I'm just interested in hearing the range of thoughts on this issue.
     
  2. Sapper Woody

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    I am one of those who believes that divorce disqualifies someone from being a pastor. I realize that this isn't the debate, so I won't go into why; I just wanted to preface where I'm coming from. I believe that this would include any type of "Pastor" position - Senior, Assistant, Associate, Youth, etc.

    As far as I can tell, there is no other calling or office that has a permanent disqualifier. Some have argued that deacons can be permanently disqualified, but I currently don't believe so. But, my stance on this is not firm. Obviously, some common sense is in order. A convicted molester should not be given charge of a children's ministry, for instance.

    To further qualify, I am of the opinion that God doesn't necessarily call someone to pastor, but to preach. God says that his callings are "without repentance". In other words, he won't change his mind. So, if a man were genuinely called to pastor, and then after 20-30 years he becomes an evangelist, he's now outside the will of God. So, I believe God gives a call to preach, a call which can not be disqualified.

    Now, let's assume a man has been called to preach, but something happens that disqualifies him from the pastorate. There is still a lot that he can do without being a pastor. He can preach in jail ministries, in nursing homes, in evangelism, or in other traveling ministries. These are just a few things that he can do, out of the many, many things still left open to him.

    The biggest thing for that person is to not let their disqualification from an office keep them from serving God in another capacity. Many times, men who feel disqualified from a position feel as if God has given up on them. In reality He hasn't. He never let up on the original call. If He called someone to preach, that person's called to preach for life.
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Any time we hold someone's past and repented sin against them we have a serious doctrinal error.
     
  4. Reformed

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    Question: What about a convicted sexual offender that has truly repented? Would you allow them to be a children's/youth worker or pastor?
     
  5. righteousdude2

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    Brother, I am going to say that following my divorce, I was told exactly that. You could never again serve as a pastor again, and mind you, I was a new, fresh out of school (by three years) pastor!

    That advice seemed to be coming from fellow pastors whom I looked up to and respected, plus the selected scripture they coupled that with; I gave up hope, literally flipped God off (I blamed Him for everything that led to my demise as a pastor, husband and father); and I started a 15 year walk in sexual (mostly porn) sin. A walk that saw me jump into a second marriage that ended in a disaster.

    I figured that if I was no longer acceptable to be a pastor, what did that make me as a person, and I bought the devil's lies and fell deep into the pit of sexual sin! That sin lasted and eventually the guilt of that sin led me to the point of taking my life! The only thing that stopped me from succeeding that evening was God who caused the firing pin mechanism to dysfunction, and instead of the last thing I would hear on earth being an explosive bang, I heard a metallic click, and that second chance brought me back to reality, and back into turning my life around for Him! The following Sunday, I went to church, went forward, not because I wanted to, but because God made it impossible to no go forward and be prayed for! :praying:

    I have repented, and I was ordained SBC a few years after that incident.

    Let me say this to you .... there is only one sin that I know that God is not willing to fogrgive and that is blasphemy. If this is true, and I believe it to be so, then the sins of divorce and remarriage are forgivable offenses, and God has used me in great way since that lowest of lows in my life!

    Pray it over. We are all damaged goods. However, God didn't make junk! And divorced folks are not junk! God can and will use the remorseful, repentant heart that has turned around and gone in a new direction!

    If I had a church today, I'd invite you to fellowship with me, and if I saw the mantle of the ministry upon you, I'd have no problem considering you for ordination! :wavey:

    Shalom! :flower:
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    What can a "disqualified" person do?


    People do not disqualify them based on their past and repented sin. They refuse to allow them based on mistrust. If people could actually know that they have repented and they could be trusted then it is likely it would not be an issue. That is different from claiming disqualification which by the way cannot be supported by scripture in most cases. People seem to misuse "rule his house well" as a cat hall when that phrase has a specific and limited context.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  7. StefanM

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    How do you understand the requirement to "rule his house well?"
     
  8. Revmitchell

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


    The context of "rule his house well" is with regards to having his children in subjection. This is clear as the phrase "having his children in subjection with all gravity;" is in between:

    1. one that ruleth well his own house,

    and

    2. (but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    Further there is no scriptural support that says any man is permanently disqualified from service of any kind.
     
  10. Darrell C

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    I would agree. Paul was a murderer. John Mark was a deserter. Peter was a denier of Christ and Gospel truth.


    God bless.
     
  11. agedman

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    BUT, none were divorced and remarried.

    "Ruling the house well" is not limited to having children or even having them "under subjection."

    It is the matter that the home is not held to rebuke or ridicule in the community and not just the church.

    Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”
     
  12. annsni

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    I really think it depends on the situation and needs to be dealt with on an individual basis. I do not believe divorce prohibits a man from being a pastor although it can. I know a pastor who was divorced many years ago before he was saved. He was also a drug addict. However, God got a hold of him, changed his life forever and he later met a wonderful godly woman, married her, raised a family and 25 years later became a pastor. I would not hold his divorce against him. I think what the heart of the issue is IS the heart. Where is the man or woman's heart now? Is it turned towards the Lord? Have they repented of their past? Are they living a life that shows a change in them that could only be from God? Then I say that their past is behind them and they are no longer disqualified.
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    There ya go. Couldn't have said it better.
     
  14. go2church

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    We don't know if they, Paul, John Mark, Peter were divorced or not - it was so different at that time to be divorced anyway.

    Disqualify as you see fit, but know that God is not following suit.
     
  15. robustheologian

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    Yes :applause:
     
  16. Sapper Woody

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    This has quickly degenerated from the OP's question. His question was not "Can a man be disqualified from the pastorate?". His question was, "What can a disqualified man still do?". As such, any debate about whether a man can be disqualified from the pastorate is off topic. If one wishes to debate this, then another thread should be started.

    I hold no ill-will against anyone that's posted in this thread, but this thread (as the content was stated in the OP) is not meant for those who do not believe that a person can be disqualified, but for those who do believe so to discuss what a disqualified person can still do.

    What has happened here is similar to a person asking a question within the bounds of Calvinism, only to have a non-Cal come in and say "Calvinism is wrong", or vice versa.
     
  17. agedman

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    You are "spot on" with this post. :thumbs:

    Notice though that for 25 years he demonstrated growth in Christ and no doubt the "fruits of repentance."

    The very questions you posted and are most important for the assembly to consider of any staff member.
     
  18. TCassidy

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    Proverbs 6:32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
    33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
     
  19. wpe3bql

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    FWIW, here is my $0.02 worth.

    Let me preface my opinions by stating the following:
    (1) In all of my nearly 70 years here on terra firma and nearly 50 years as a born-again Christian, I have remained in the single marital status. That's the calling I sincerely believe that God has called me to fulfill for all the years He has ordained for me to live in this sin-cursed world. I say this due to the fact that since God has never led me to be married, I cannot personally relate to what it must be like to be married and then divorced.
    (2) IMHO, I do not see being married and then divorced as the unpardonable sin as some people do.

    As annsi and others have already posted, being married does seem to me to be a lifelong commitment. But in our society today--and that would include people who claim to be born-again believers--that kind of commitment doesn't seem as important as it once was.

    I know that there can be some extenuating circumstances by both marriage partners that can be real challenges to their commitment that they vowed to each other on the day of their marriage ceremony. These could arise from many different factors, none the least of these is the fact that, dedicated as they may be to both God and each other as they seemed to be on the day when they said "I do" to each other (and to God too), they are still at best depraved sinners who have been redeemed to the Father only by the finished work of their Savior Jesus Christ.

    I've heard both Christian men and women tell me that they have the "perfect marriage partner." When I hear them tell me that, all I can say--if anything at all--is that, if you do, then thank God for His blessing your marriage.

    Many a time in my almost 50 years as an adopted child in God's family have I witnessed both marriages that "everyone" thought would last, and marriages that few people gave little chance of lasting survive, and many of the ones that didn't last were ones in which were those of people who were pursuing a vocation as a preacher/pastor/evangelist/wife of these vocational callings.

    The founding president of the Bible college from which I graduated in 1976 had three sons--two of which experienced a divorce. Almost one-half of that Bible college's student body when I was a student there have been divorced.

    What I at first thought was just a humorous jest that some of the Christian girls who went there weren't there for a BA degree but for an MRS degree. Looking back over these 40+ years when I was a student there, it now appears as if there was more truth to that jest than I now realize.

    OTOH hand I see divorce and/or singleness as something both our Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son have first hand experience.

    I say this for many different reasons, including the following:

    (1) About the only near perfect marriage of two humans is that of Adam and Eve. In one respect, it was kind of difficult for them to have ever been physically/carnally untrue to each other both before and during most of their marriage.

    Not being by any stretch of one's imagination am I even remotely qualified to even being considered as a Hebrew student/scholar, I used what resources I have readily at hand to see what they said regarding God's "marriage commission" to the first human couple. The best and most succinct one I found is from my King James Study Bible [(c) 1988 by Liberty University].

    On page 11 it has this to say regarding what Genesis 2:24 tells us:
    "God's ideal plan for marriage is one man for one woman for one lifetime. God's patter for marital happiness is evident when a man loves and leads his family, with children who obey and reverence their parents (Eph. 6:1-4), with a wife who respects and supports her husband's leadership (Eph.5:21-33). A mutually supportive attitude must characterize both husband and wife if they are to succeed in building a harmonious home. Illustration: Marriage is so important in the mind of God that it was the first of three divine institutions and was patterned to illustrate Christ's love for His church. Application: Christians should therefore do their part in contributing to the success of the family. (First reference, Gen. 2:24; Primary Reference, Eph. 5:22--6:4; cf. Matt. 19:3)"

    Throughout the OT we see the seriousness God put on marriage by the various laws and provisions he made in the case of a man divorcing his wife, including the curse of a man marrying a divorced woman (Matt. 5:32).

    In most of the pagan oriental societies of Bible times, all a man usually had to do was just to verbally divorce his wife, but God put such a premium on marriage that He demanded that the husband put in writing a "bill of divorcement" in which the husband was required to specify his reason(s) for divorcing his wife.

    Moreover, in Christ's "inauguration message" for His ministry here on earth that comprises Matthew 5-7, He takes great strains to contrast what His audience in His "Sermon on the Mount" with "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time--an expression He uses to compare how man interpreted the OT Law-- with "But I say unto you ....," which generally means what these so-called "scholars" (usually the scribes or the Pharisees or the Sadducees) decreed was "the Law."

    It's no coincidence that these three groups of Jewish religious elitists were the ones who challenged practically everything Jesus said or practiced during His earthly ministry here. They had their own way of interpreting the Law, and woe be it to anyone who dared to openly challenge their ideas, especially this fellow whom they viewed as some vagabond Galilean misfit who had the nerve to claim Himself as being the Only Begotten Son of the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    Yet, Jesus didn't back down when He was openly challenged by this prideful group of know-it-alls. In retrospect, where are these Jewish religious elites today? OTOH, where is Jesus today?

    Throughout the OT, we see how God patiently put up with His covenant people from the times of their being in Egyptian bondage during the time of Joseph in Exodus, through their 40 years of grumbling and complaining in their wilderness wanderings, all through the book of Judges, Kings, and Chronicles, and even through the times of the major and minor prophets--a period that some say may have lasted almost as long as it's been on this side of Calvary.
    I'd say that's a fairly long stretch of time, wouldn't you?

    Yet God STILL doesn't give up on His fallen human creations!

    What about the rest of the NT after Acts?

    The bulk of the remaining NT books are letters that either Paul, James, Peter, or Jude were inspired to write.

    Paul, who some claim was once married but for some unspecified reason his wife died. Be that as it may, he not only repeated Christ's emphasis on marriage, but often expanded on it in 1 Corinthians 7. We also need to remember that few, if any, of the Corinthians were "married" in what we today consider a "Christian marriage ceremony." IOW, Paul recognized that these Corinthians were living in and among one of the most ungodly and licentious societies in the then-known Western world. In fact, even other pagan societies considered the Corinthian society so low that they would use the expression "You're as evil as a Corinthian!" as about the worst curse that a pagan of that day would use against another pagan.

    Still Paul accepted the fact that, however these Corinthians were married, now that they are saved, God can use their less-than-scriptural backgrounds for His glory if these couples would sincerely recognize the fact that God can take what was once considered rather lightly in the eyes of some of their pagan neighbors to be an avenue of witnessing to them how God is a forgiving God of the second, third, fourth, etc., chance if they sincerely repent of their marriage failures and seek the guidance of both His written Word as well as the leadership of the Holy Spirit Who now indwells them.

    Throughout Ephesians Paul likens the marriage of a man and a women to the future marriage of the people to whom are betrothed to Jesus Christ, and one day in the future will actually be married to the One Who saved them. Ephesians 2 so beautifully expounds how we who were once spiritually dead , but now saved by His marvelous grace are now spiritually "fitly framed together as the dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit."

    In Ephesians 3:14 - 5:21 he gives some general advice to all Christian men and women. Then in 5:22 - 6:4 he gives commands to wives, husbands & fathers, and to children.

    Peter, whom we know was married since Jesus healed his mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31), in 1 Peter 3:1-12, also expands on what true submission within marriage and the family ought to express itself with regard to our prayer life and other practical ways of life.

    Some commentators also include 1 Peter 3:15 as a way that a Christian's neighbors who are unbelievers can see what a good Christian ought to resemble in its day-to-day relationships it should (or should not) have.

    IOW, if the lost people see your Christian marriage and home life being noticeably different, they just might be prone to ask you why your marriage and home life stays together, even through the inevitable differences that will crop up from time to time between either the husband and wife, or between the parents and their children, they just might ask you how you do it. What a wonderful opportunity you'd have to tell them of the One who's made that difference in your lives!

    I know that I've spent many words in describing how I see God's Word telling us not only by commands, but also by giving us examples of how a Christian marriage founded on His Word can be a powerful witness in a society that's more and more looking like the Corinthian society was on the first century A.D.
     
  20. wpe3bql

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    My previous post on how I see marriage and family living in the Bible was way too long to deal with the specifics of the OP and subsequent postings, so here goes.

    Generally speaking, I tend to agree with what most of my other BB friends have posted who've indicated that if a divorced person has truly repented and given public evidence that he's done everything he possibly can do over an extended period of time wherein others can see that he's genuinely changed and doing all he can do to erase that one blemish in his Christian life, I believe he (or, in some cases, she) ought to be allowed to have some opportunity to serve in some kind of preaching and/or teaching capacity.

    First of all, if God has forgiven him, who are we as mortal people saved only by the grace of God, to say that this person can never be taken off the shelf and used by the same God, who in His marvelous grace and mercy, saved us?

    IMHO, that kind of smug attitude portrays one as being no better than the hypocrites whom Jesus Christ Himself condemned. I feel sorry for those folks who'll set almost impossible standards for others while oftentimes they don't even apply these same standards on themselves.

    Like I said in my previous post, God has never called me to be married, but I just cannot find anywhere in His Holy Word where it says that if you're ever divorced you simply cannot serve God in any vocational venue anywhere on the face of terra firma.

    Moreover, I'll challenge anyone anywhere to provide me with specific NT references to prove my position is in violation of any clear-cut NT command.

    Granted, that person may not occupy a permanent "pulpit position" in the same local church prior to his divorce (here again, provided that the divorce had strong scriptural grounds), but IMHO he can still serve God in many other positions that are open to him.

    Naturally, I would expect that he would be right up front about his divorce when he applies for whatever position he feels otherwise qualified, but if both parties are okay with his complete testimony, I certainly wouldn't be one to form a crusade against hiring or retaining that Christian. It's none of my business what a good Christian ministry does with her employees anyway.

    Granted, if he's a convicted child molester, I wouldn't advise that he apply for a position wherein he's in a venue that involves being around children, but, other than that, if a Christian ministry sees that he's not going to be faced with other "temptations to evil" such as, say, if the man still has occasional problems with alcohol or drug addictions, it probably wouldn't be wise to hire him in a position where he's daily faced with that kind of temptation.

    God gave us at least a little common sense in these kinds of matters. Problem is that some of us just fail to use the common sense He's given us. Like the fellow who claimed he was a tire mechanic whose only solution for fixing a flat tire was to drive large nails into the tire to stop that nasty little hissing noise on old widowed Grandma's tires.

    A little discernment can go a long way. IOW, maybe this "disqualified" person might possess good technical writing skills, but his visual capacities are very limited. He may be good at writing a pilot's manual, but I would care for him to be the test pilot to see if his pilot's manual is any good.

    There are several different good resources available today that might assist a "disqualified" person in determining where his spiritual giftedness could be well matched to a vocation that can make good use of them.

    Never rule out the advice that good, solid men of God who've spent time on the front lines battling the God of this world. There's just something to be said that about a person who may have graduated from Hard Knocks University with high honors that's still in there for the long haul.

    Seek out these people. Be willing to listen to how they evaluate your life--even if there's some negative factors in some parts of it.

    Finally, seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit in your life. He is really the only One who's omniscient, omnipotent, and, as John 14:26b tells us will "teach you all things."

    This is what I firmly believe a "disqualified" Christian person can do.
     

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