Well said, sirs.
I Tim. 3:2 ..."husband of one wife" is literally in the Greek "one woman man". If one believes that a man can't be in the "ministry" after divorce this text can't support that. If you were to take that from this scripture wouldn't you also have to conclude a widowed man could not remarry and remain a pastor? The literal greek would have us understand this to be a man devoted to his wife, sexually pure. Titus 1:6 uses a different greek word that bears the same meaning: "one woman man".
brother Tom, I'm sorry for your loss. I know he has undergirded you since then.
.I for one just wanted to thank those who have not condemned divorced people in this thread (we have taken quite a beating on SI at times, but are still smiling and loving one another). I thank you for bringing Godly reasoning to the matter. Specifically the following:
Baohongen 2008/5/24 1:43 wrote:I have known a number of people who were never technically divorced but lived with someone before they met and married their spouse. I know even more who slept around with various people before getting married. They technically are qualified to pastor many churches, whereas someone who actually married and was divorced is not.I have known a number of people who were divorced before they ever became Christians. Is there grace to cover and restore them sufficiently to serve as missionaries and pastors?We probably have all met pastors convicted of murder, robbery or other horrible crimes in their previous lives. Should they be allowed to serve where a divorced person is not?
Brothertom 2008/5/25 11:54 wrote:No one can ever take Isaiah 61 away from any believer, male or female! No one, however they may want to. Ministry is an act of the Holy Spirit, Christ in us, the hope of glory. If it is from Him, the fruit of God will follow, no matter what or how man may oppose.
Author William J. Petersen wrote about John Wesley, father of the Methodist Church, as one who was divorced from Molly Vazeille, after a 25 year "explosive union." John Wesley married late in his 40's(47 or 48)in the year 1751. She was a wealthy widow,and their marriage was nothing short of tumultuous. She left him numerous times,and in 1771 John wrote in his journals, "I have not left her; I have not sent her away; I will not recall her." (John Wesley, The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, Nehemiah Curnock, ed. (London: The Epworth Press, 1912; reprint),5:399-400.J.C. Ryle, in his biographical chapter, writes this of Wesley's marriage to Molly: "'The union was a most unhappy one. Whatever good qualities Mrs Wesley may have had, they were buried and swallowed up in the fiercest and most absurd passion of jealousy. One of his biographers remarks: 'Had he searched the whole kingdom he could hardly have found a woman more unsuitable to him in all important respects'. After making her husband as uncomfortable as possible for 20 years by opening his letters, putting his papers into the hands of his enemies in the vain hope of blasting his character, and even sometimes laying violent hands on him' - I indeed read one account where it said she used to swing him around the room by his hair! - Mrs Wesley at length left her home, leaving word that she never intended to return."After 25 years of marriage,the marriage ended in divorce in 1776. Ironically 10 years earlier in June of 1766, John Wesley wrote these words in a letter to his brother Charles Wesley, "In one of my last [letters] I was saying that I do not feel the wrath of God abiding on me; nor can I believe it does. And yet (this is the mystery), I do not love God. I never did. Therefore I never believed, in the Christian sense of the word. Therefore I am only an honest heathen
And yet, to be so employed of God! And so hedged in that I can neither get forward nor backward! Surely there was never such an instance before, from the beginning of the world! If I ever have had that faith, it would not be so strange. But I never had any other evidence of the eternal or invisible world than I have now; and that is none at all, unless such as faintly shines from reasons glimmering ray. I have no direct witness (I do not say, that I am a child of God, but) of anything invisible or eternal. And yet I dare not preach otherwise than I do, either concerning faith, or love, or justification, or perfection. And yet I find rather an increase than a decrease of zeal for the whole work of God and every part of it. I am borne along, I know not how, that I cant stand still. I want all the world to come to what I do not know." (quoted in Stephen Tomkins, John Wesley, A Biography [Oxford: Lion Publishing, 2003], p. 168.
According to scripture divorce disqualifies a person from being a pastor or an elder.It's very clear about this.Krispy
KrispyKrittr wrote:According to scripture divorce disqualifies a person from being a pastor or an elder.It's very clear about this.
1. Pastor and Elder are are not two distinct persons but are words which are descriptive of one and the same men who are functioning in the body of Christ as such. They are terms which denote more of what they do for the body than what many have assumed as their being a title to be called by. This must be understood to begin. Bishop and Overseer are synonymous terms as well. All of the above terms describe men who are gifted by God and therefore called of God to lead and guide the flock. Having been graced with wisdom from above and maturity in the faith, evident to all, who consequently are willing to give deference to them due to their caring example and exemplary lives.2. A widow is to be "the wife of one man (1 Timothy 5:9)." Young widows are encouraged to get remarried (1 Timothy 5:14). The word one(Heis) in 1 Timothy 5:9 is the numeral one. In "the husband of one wife" (1 Timothy 3:2;Titus 1:6) the word one is an adjective(Mia). As insignificant as this may sound at first,the actual ramifications are that prohibition of remarriage is clearly not the correct interpretation in the elder context. These qualifications mentioned and addressed here are clearly in regard to his character rather than his past marital status. These are qualifications of what he 'must be' in the present tense. The word "be" in both 1 Tmothy 3:2(Einai) and Titus 1:6 (Esti) are both verbs. In 1 Tmothy 3:2 the word "must" is dei. The same word dei is used in Acts 4:12 ...by which we must be saved. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology states "The tense of dei is present. This means that the action of the verb is occurring at the time that the writer composes the letter. This reinforces what is known from the historical background. The qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 are qualities that must be observed in men who are serving as elders. Of course, it would also be logical to use these qualities as qualifications for elder candidates."Here are some words(not mine)which I consider to be very insightful on this apparent dilemma: "First Timothy 3:2 does not say "an elder must be married only once" nor does it say "an elder cannot remarry." To place this type of stern restriction on a godly man seems quite unjust. One should avoid the Pharisaical error of binding men with unnecessary and oppressive burdens (cf. Matt. 23:1-4; Acts 15:10) and should seek to be gracious at every opportunity. If Paul had stated "eschon mias gunaikos mones" ("having had only one wife"), it would be easier to argue that Paul meant possessing only one wife in one's lifetime up to the point of his being examined. However, he did not make such a statement. Some would treat divorce and remarriage as the unpardonable sin and practically force some genuine, godly Christians into a life of spiritual exile, treating these forgiven children of God as though the blood of Christ could not thoroughly cleanse them, as though they are not quite as pure as other Christians. The translation "husband of one wife" is not the best understanding of the Greek phrase "mias gunaikos andra," but it should be translated "a man of one woman" or "a one woman man." This understanding emphasizes the character of the man rather than his marital status. Thus even a single man or a man who has been married only once must demonstrate that he is not flirtatious, but that he is stable and mature in character toward his wife or other females. A man who demonstrates a character of loyalty and trustworthiness in such personal relationships is qualified in this area. This shifts the emphasis away from an event that took place in a man's life before his conversion and properly concentrates on the character and quality of his life at the present time. The importance of understanding what Paul means by a "one-woman man" is critical. The lives and Christian service of hundreds of Christian men are affected by one's view. It may be safer simply to offer an impersonal and broad judgment forbidding any one who is divorced (or married to someone who has been divorced) to be an elder/pastor. Paul's instruction includes only three words, "mias gunaikos andra," as one of several requirements for being an elder (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1;6) or a deacon (1 Tim. 3:12, where the pl. "andres" is used). the other qualification in 1 Timothy 3 deal with the man's character and since the grammatical structure is more naturally consistent with this emphasis, it seems best to understand the phrase as meaning that he is a one-woman type of man. Since neither the grammar of the phrase nor any reference in the context implies that Paul was discussing a once-in-a-lifetime situation, then that idea must not be forced into the text.Again, if Paul had said something like "eschon mias gunaikos mones," then one could speak more assuredly that Paul meant having had only one wife ever. Paul, however, simply said he must "be" ("einai," present tense) a man of one woman. Kenneth S. Wuest states, "The two nouns [for 'woman' and 'man'] are without the definite article, which construction emphasizes character or nature." He concludes, "Thus one can translate, 'a one-wife sort of a husband,' or 'a one-woman sort of man.'" (Kenneth S. Wuest, "The Pastoral Epistles in the Greek New Testament" (Grand rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1973), p. 53. "In a culture where men frequently cohabited with more than one woman, Paul needed it very clear that an elder in the church was to be a 'one-wife man' -- loyal to her and her alone." If a church is bound to judge its members on the consequences of their lives before conversion, who then could meet the majority of the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3? Are churches as quick to forbid a man to be an elder or deacon because before his conversion he was not "above reproach" or because he was "pugnacious"?. Certainly one cannot attempt to make the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 apply to a man's life before he was saved. If God has forgiven him and made him a part of His church, why do Christians hold his past against him? When one is saved, all his sins are forgiven (Col. 2:13); he becomes a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13); his body becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19); he receives a new nature created after God's own holiness (Eph. 4:24); he becomes a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17); and he becomes a part of God's "spiritual house" (1 Pet. 2:5) and "royal priesthood" (1 Pet. 2:9). Before a man is saved, he is dead toward God and his holy standards. He has no power over sin, no knowledge of God's Word or will; thus to judge one's life before his new birth is totally unjust. Paul states that even adulterers (as in divorce and remarriage) were 'washed . . . sanctified . . . justified"(1 Cor.6:9-11).Paul's concern in 1 Timothy 3:1-10 is that if a man desires to be an elder he must be qualified "at that time," not before his conversion. Is the church guilty of Peter's prejudice (Acts 10:9-16) so that God must also rebuke believers and say as he did to Peter, "What God has cleansed, no 'longer' consider unholy?" It does not seem possible that by Paul's phrase in 1 Timothy 3:2 he intends to hold a man's preconversion sins against him.Apparently those who prohibit a remarried man from service as an elder or deacon overlook the obvious point of the list in 1 Timothy 3. Paul's list deals primarily with the "character" or "attitudes" of men seeking these services in the church. The requirements are based on what the man "is," not what may have transpired in his past. Thus Paul wrote, "an overseer, then,must be " ("dei oun . . . einai"). He expressed the same idea in Titus 1:6 ("ei tis estin"). Even as "temperate," "prudent," "respectable." and other qualifications deal with his character, so also a "one-woman (kind of) man" is a character trait demonstrated by a chaste and mature attitude toward his wife and other females. Lenski offers a similar explanation: "The emphasis is on "one" wife's husband, and the sense is that he have nothing to do with any other woman. He must be a man who cannot be taken hold of on the score of sexual promiscuity or laxity." Lenski points out that converts did not always immediately withdraw from their pagan customs and become instantly perfect in sexual purity; thus Paul set up this standard of moral character.Indeed, to say that a man's character means that he is content with his one wife is not lowering God's standard; it is putting the emphasis where it belongs -- on the quality of a man's moral attitudes after his conversion. To judge a man's spiritual qualities on the basis of a sin committed before he was saved, before he was capable of understanding God's will or Word, and before he had the power of Christ's life within him is to create a false standard that detracts from God's wonderful grace and which also fails to deal with the real issue of 1 Timothy 3."I add an amen to the above!
Thanks for the input! I feel I have a better understanding of that passage. Hopefully this subject will help us all have a better understanding of God's grace.
Another verse that is absolutely clear in Scripture is "The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance." Period.