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Pastor with a divorced wife?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Scott J, May 13, 2002.

  1. Daniel David

    Daniel David New Member

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    Jesus said that whoever marries one who has been divorced, commits adultery. That I think would disqualify one from the role of Pastor which includes being blameless. I have stuck to my original position on this.
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry <b>Moderator</b>
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    Jesus said "except for the cause of fornication." I think you must read the shorter in light of the longer. To omit the phrase in some passages is no problem; to add it in if it was not what Jesus said is a big problem. Obviously there are several interpretations but it is interesting that one of the most adamant supporters of the position you hold has recently changed his mind in light of the exegesis. I realize that doesn't make it so. However, it does show that the exegesis supports the side that you don't.
     
  3. Daniel David

    Daniel David New Member

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    Pastor Larry, it is not unanimous that Jesus even said what is known as the "exception clause". Matthew's gospel is the ONLY one that includes it. It is more than interesting that Matthew is the only gospel that includes the story of Joseph and Mary.

    So the actual statement of Christ can be read without the exception since two other gospels don't include it at all - not even a hint of it.

    Matthew might have included the clause since he wanted to show that Joseph was still planning on doing an accepted act.

    --

    Another possible explanationf or only Matthew including the phrase is because of the Jewish audience. Greeks didn't marry the same. This is the betrothal view.

    --

    Another possible explanation is that the "fornication" is a violation of what is found in Leviticus 18-19. This would in effect nullify "marriages" that are Scripturally wrong (homosexual, incestual, etc.).

    --

    Suffice it to say, any of the above arguments are much more harmonious to all other passages.

    To accept your view, I would have to read every passage (Mark 10, Luke 16, Rom 7, 1 Cor. 7) into Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. Why force the many into the few?
     
  4. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry <b>Moderator</b>
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    PTW,

    All those views have various problems (as does mine). As I have studied the evidence and argumentation for those views, I find them unconvincing ... at least not convincing enough to leave the traditional view.

    To suggest that Jesus didn't actually give the exception clause is very tenuous. However, even if He didn't say it, it is still in the inspired text and thus must be accepted as a legitimate part of Scripture.

    I am just curious, what all have you read on this topic?
     
  5. Daniel David

    Daniel David New Member

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    I will let you know tomorrow. I am at work and leaving now. God bless.
     
  6. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    Once is enough. If Matthew recorded it as an actual saying of Jesus, then it is sound. Please note that you can reconcile the statement in Mark and Luke by understanding the context in which is was delivered – to those who considered themselves righteous.

    If you want to interpret the Bible by only accepting what is common between each book, you are going to have a mighty thin Bible! As an example, the Gospel of John is the only gospel to record the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11). Why the other gospel writers do not include it is a mystery. Some much more liberal interpreters suggest that John has invented the story because the other gospel writers don’t mention it. That sound quite a bit like the interpretive method you are using here.

    (For the record, I accept the entire Old and New Testament as authoritative and do not endorse the kind of limiting, multiple text interpreted method I described.)

    Matthew includes several unique passages, so does Luke, John and (I believe) Mark.

    WOW! :eek: You just went off the deep end… If Jesus included the clause, it is sound teaching, no matter what reason Matthew recorded it.

    In other subjects you have been an extremely conservative interpreter and now you are second-guessing the doctrinal trustworthiness of Matthew’s gospel? Are you that desperate to prove your point??? :eek:

    Yeah, I’ve heard it. It seems like a long way to go with a lot of cultural guesswork to try to “prove” that Jesus wasn’t speaking plainly.

    And how often would gay marriages accidentally happen in Jesus’ day and culture? And incestuous marriages would be exceptionally rare (probably non-existent) in a culture that so scrupulously tracked their genealogy. The parents probably arranged the marriages and they would certainly know and compare their heritage. To take this view you would have Jesus making exceptions for non-existent situations!

    Not by a lot shot. I’m guessing you read my brief analysis of the relevant passages you quoted. That view is perfectly consistent between each passage. As a general principle, Jesus is saying that to divorce your wife and marry another (a younger, flashier model maybe?) is exceedingly sinful against God and your wife. As a more specific explanation of the principle recorded in Matthew, Jesus points out that there is at least one reason why divorce is permissible, although it is not the ideal.

    Because they fit easily.

    Let me put it another way, the Old Testament is longer than the New Testament, but Christians interpret the Old Testament by the New Testament. We also largely ignore the very specific ceremonial law of Leviticus because of the teaching of the New Testament.
     
  7. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    The scripture has its power because it is the truth of God. If the Spirit inspired Matthew, then Matthew's work accurately reflects the truth of what Jesus said.

    NOTE: I don't ever want to be accused of "not believing the Bible" because I don't subscribe to the popular version of the inerrantist argument. If this is how inerrantists interpret the Bible, I'm more probably more conservative than you! [​IMG]
     
  8. Ellie777

    Ellie777 New Member

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    ScottJ

    Maybe we are all making this too complicated.. Each of us is searching for God's perfect will in our lives and I wonder how many succeed... But God works around us i think.. and somehow accomplishes His will in our lives in preparing us for our life in heaven... and bringing glory to His Name..I don't know if the man was already married before he felt called...I don't know if he is just justifing his wife's divorce , etc... but It doesn't sound like he has a bad heart and if he has love for his church maybe he will do well...I personally would not attend a church with him for a pastor because i would feel uncomfortable with his wife... but i would have instructed C.S. Lewis not to marry his divorced wife... I realize that i don't know very much at all when it comes down to it...The scripture i would use is the one about giving up something for the weaker brothers.. but i see all the other posts deal with doctrine and a man seeking to pastor God's church must take all this into consideration and submit to the church denomination leadership... :rolleyes:
     
  9. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    NOTE: The context of this remark has been deleted.

    Putting aside the question of a pastor's wife being divorced and remarried, how do you feel about a Sunday School teacher or a preacher (not a pastor) who has been divorced and remarried?

    I'm trying to get a sense of how to gauge opinions on divorce itself.

    Thanks!
     
  10. AVL1984

    AVL1984 <img src=../ubb/avl1984.jpg>

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    I would say that I have to agree with Dr. Bob on this one. I've known a few pastors who were married to women who had been divorced, one was totally abandoned by her husband, and the other few were married to husbands who continually cheated on them. They divorced, and they all remarried pastors who's first wives had died, except for one, and it was his first marriage. The churches had no problem with it scripturally.
     
  11. Ellie777

    Ellie777 New Member

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    To Baptist Believer
    This is hard because people have suffered so much because of divorce in this day and age...children have suffered terribly...i know men and women who are agonizing over this problem in their lives... if we love them we want to ignore it all and live and let live..
    "There is a way that seems right to man but leads to death... God's ways are not our ways"...
    So many churches have given up all standards to accomodate the people and to grow large and forget that their first love is Jesus Christ and to love Him is to obey Him...
    I thank God that i am not a leader and do not have to make these hard decisions but i think that i would like to be in a church(and have been)(first baptist church, Kenner in the New Orleans area when Ron Herrod was pastor) where standards are set without exceptions and justifications,etc... no one in a leadership, or teaching position would be divorced or married to a divorced person..
    But if I am in a church that permits divorced persons to teach I would sit in their class.. if a divorced person comes as a guest to preach I probably wouldn't know and may be blessed...
    I prefer the church with high standards..
    Please forgive this diatribe....
    We are all hardened today because of the terrible sinful world and the line has been moved so far forward that unless we read books by authors from the 1800 and earlier we wouldn't realize how far the family of God has moved away from love and obedience and toward self-esteme and feel good behavior...how far we have moved away from the Cross of Christ and what it means to Follow Him into suffering and death to self.. what difference does divorce mean when we have adultery and worse going on in God's churches today... look at the wicked music... who can hear the small voice of God in worship when the noise (todays music) is pounding in us and all around us drawing us outward instead of inward..
    No matter what the justification for divorce is, I think that most happen because we fail to heed James 1...We do anything and everything to escape from discomfort and pain...So many Christians have suffered because of the other person and not because of anything they have done... but it is because of society's ever moving standards that we have come to this terrible place and the church must stand in the gap..Or just take a stand and not be moved...

    [ July 18, 2002, 03:48 AM: Message edited by: Ellie777 ]
     
  12. Daniel David

    Daniel David New Member

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    Nothing would forbid the role of Sunday School teacher or preacher (not pastor) or some other ministry within the church. The question is about the overseer of which is serious business with God.

    Baptist Believer, I will respond to your statements later. Basically, you either are not familiar with what the issues are or you totally misunderstood what I said. Either way, please don't demonstrate your confusion as some kind of mistake on my part. Pastor Larry knew exactly what I was talking about and he is quite familiar with the arguments.

    Have a nice day.
     
  13. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    I believe I am familiar with the issues since I've studied this very carefully, but it is certainly possible I have misunderstood you.

    I am very interested to see what you have to say.
     
  14. Scott J

    Scott J Active Member
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    PTW, with no offense intended, you have not shown that there is anything that would forbid the man I describe from being a pastor either.

    I agree that this is a serious question. However, when we start adding to the biblical requirements, who determines where to stop. If one such as this man is to be denied then I desire to know by what consistent biblical principle. Also, if this principle exists, why would it only apply to this particular instance which is arguably not even sin?

    How about other sexual sins? At what level do we say "this one is ok" but "that one is not"? What about the pastor who as a teen fantasized about a married movie star and verbalized those desires to friends? According to Christ it is adultery and according to your principle the pastor would be disqualified. How many pastors do you think could honestly state that they had never...ever had carnal thoughts about a married or divorced woman? Why wouldn't they be denied by this same principle?

    What about a man that slept with someone else's ex-wife without marrying her, Is he qualified?

    My basic question is this: Knowing human nature and especially the sexual appetites of men, how far do we go down this trail before no one is qualified? The Bible does not say that a man who has committed adultery is disqualified. It says that a man must be the husband of one wife which the man in question is.
     
  15. Daniel David

    Daniel David New Member

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    Actually Scott, I have shown it to be wrong. Jesus unconditionally said that if you marry a divorcee, you commit adultery. This would violate the blameless qualification. The particular situation you speak of does not come under the "one woman man" requirement.

    Let us keep in mind, these are standards listed for the Pastor, not ideals.
     
  16. Daniel David

    Daniel David New Member

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    Pastor Larry, I have read the following:

    No remarriage after divorce -
    Charles Ryrie
    J. Carl Laney
    William Heth
    H. Wayne House
    Gordon Wenham
    John Piper

    Remarriage after divorce and/or abandonment -
    John MacArthur
    Charles Swindoll
    Thomas Edgar
    Larry Richards
    William Heth

    I have also read numerous articles on the internet both for and against it.

    I have never heard a convinicing argument for the second option I listed.
     
  17. Daniel David

    Daniel David New Member

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    Baptist Believer, when I said that it is disputable whether Jesus used the exception clause or not, I wasn't saying that it does not appear in the text.

    Matthew could have included it as an parenthesis or statement or whatever. It definitely is in the inerrant Word. It might not have been uttered by Christ though.

    Let me know if this doesn't make sense or if I am still vague.
     
  18. Daniel David

    Daniel David New Member

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    Deut. 24:1-4 - the remarried wife is spoken of as "defiled"... I wonder why...

    Matthew 5:27-32 - No divorce (except for porneia - debate of meaning). Do not marry a divorcee.

    Matthew 19:9 - Same as above. Disciples say it is better to stay single. I wonder why they would say that...

    Mark 10 - No divorce. No remarriage.

    Luke 16:18 - No divorce. No remarriage.

    Romans 7:2-3 - Divorce does not nullify marriage. Only death does. To remarry is to commit adultery.

    1 Corinthians 7:10-12 - No divorce. If divorce happens, stay single OR be reconciled.

    1 Corinthians 7:15 - You are free from the bond of trying to keep the marriage together. If the UNBELIEVER leaves, let him/her go. No allowance for Christians.

    1 Corinthians 7:38-39 - Same as Romans 7:2-3.

    Ephesians 4:32 - Forgive because you have been forgiven. Is this a bad place to bring up the forgiveness issue?

    1 Peter 3:14 - Suffering for righteousness?

    1 Corinthians 6:1-8 - Accept wrong and be cheated. That isn't the American dream but it is Bible.

    Matthew 5:44 - But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

    Luke 6:35 - But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

    My position is totally consistent with everything listed above.
     
  19. Scott J

    Scott J Active Member
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    Your two quotes are inconsistent. If remarriage is not a sort of perpetual sin then you cannot conclude that this man is not blameless in the present. I agree that these are standards. However, the word blameless is subjective and by necessity demands a principle.

    If that principle takes into account all past sins then who is blameless? If it takes into account all past adultery then how many are qualifed? On what grounds is the case I presented a disqualifier when other forms of past adultery (or present in the case of pornography, secret lust, etc.) are not? You didn't answer these questions in the above posts.

    Although your interpretations on remarriage are disputable, you made a good case as to why an adulterer is not blameless. However, by your own definition, this man is no longer committing adultery and therefore not an adulterer.

    Do we label someone a liar for life if they tell one lie? Is someone a fornicator for life if they fornicated in their youth? Pick any past sin, apply the label that goes with it, and everyone will be disqualified for life by the "blameless" principle you propose.
     
  20. Daniel David

    Daniel David New Member

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    Granted, we all continually sin and many sins are in the past. But, that is true for everyone, where do we draw the line?

    Example: Charles Stanley is not qualified anymore, yet he continues to Pastor. His divorce is of course, in his past. Am I being vague or unclear in any way or does this make sense?
     
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