| Re: God's surprises|
Hi, Krispy, you're doing a great job keeping us focused on God's holy and pure standards. We read in the OT that God said, "I HATE Divorce' (Malachi) I think he also said that if someone divorced they were even forbidden to return to their original spouse. And that is all because God's character is expressed through human relationships. God's judgments are final. He is no "softy". His standard is pure and holy, and there is absolutely no bending. We serve that kind of a God. And let's not forget it.
And then he says:
"Mercy triumphs over judgment".
This is, I think one of the hardest concepts to absorb. It puts our minds in a tailspin: "Wait a minute, how can black be white... no, no, God is just and he makes good on his threats to punish the evil doers, look at Israel's history - such horrible, brutal judgment. We cannot play with God's laws....... but yet.. mercy triumphs over judgment... can we trust that to be true? Or is it too scary. It doesn't wrap around our brains. Does it feel like permissiveness?
God called Hosea to do the forbidden thing. (BTW, no discussion on divorce is complete without considering the book of Hosea) Hosea had to go back and claim an adultrous wife. And that is the picture of divine mercy. God can reclaim the worst offender. And not only that, he can save them from their SIN, wipe out their sin, and make them into brand new people, with soft and obedient hearts.
So what are we to think of those who seem to be in these roles who scripture says are not qualified ? Well, they are in direct violation of God's Word. They are in rebellion.
What are God's qualifications? FIDELITY. FIDELITY FIDELITY. RIGHT NOW, regadles of the past. Human fidelity is a picture of God's requirements for all who follow Christ. Otherwise they are taking God's name in vain. They cannot expect God's protection while being unfaithful to his calling. However, past infidelity is not necessariy one's final verdict. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Unfaithful people become faithful people. That is the power of God's mercy.
When God cleans up a life, he sets them anew - and equips them with his Spirit.
To say that someone who was divorced some years back is still living in rebelliousness because they are leaders in the church is, I believe, not taking into account God's ability to purify a life, and do the impossible. And no where does it say in scripture that one who was once unfaithful in the past, who messed up, who divoreced, may never be a leader in the church. Unless of course you prefer to study the letter of the law and miss the Spirit (the gnat vs the cammel)
God's true leaders are not necessarily thoose elected by man. They are divinely prepared. And if you examine Jesus's disciples, you see that he chose the worst one's of society - not even on "pure" religious leader of the day.
So, before we make judgment calls on people out there whom we have never met or know nothing about, we have to first realize that God does what HE wants.
I know far too many divorced people who as a result of their pain and trials and repentance have been lifted up by God and serve him either in visible ministry (with labels) or in the relational context in their lives. (without labels - though elders, non-the-less.) It blows my mind away, but it is for real. One pastor is teaching pastors in a slavic country. (you don't do that in the flesh, it's very dangerous)
Having said that, there are no doubt countless divorcees who are merely walking in the flesh, justifying their carnal desire for power and status while never really being changed from within. They are hard in their hearts, and misunderstand God's mercy. God will everntually bring them to judgment for all their sins - including past sins.
| 2006/3/9 8:18||Profile|
I understand completely what you are saying about mercy and grace. And to be sure, there are a multitude of areas in which someone who has been thru divorce can serve God mightly... but not as a pastor or elder. The directives and qualifications are clear, and they are there for a reason. I dont think there is any wiggle room on this one. It couldnt be any more plain.
BTW... I'm not down on divorced people. And I think a lot Christians that end up in divorce do so because the man has not taken the role as priest and king in his home. It's a heart wrenching thing to see a marriage break up. I'm very sympathetic toward those who have been thru this.
But God's Word is eternal, and final. And on this issue, it's black and white.
| 2006/3/9 8:27|
No sir, I am not divorced. Been married for ten years, by the grace of God. ;-)
| 2006/3/9 8:35|
So what are we to think of those who seem to be in these roles who scripture says are not qualified? Well, they are in direct violation of God's Word. They are in rebellion. They certainly are not in submission to the Word. We look at them and say "Look at all the people they are reaching..." and I say that it seems to me that a lot of these folks teach bad doctrine, set bad examples, and are not doing as much as we think they are. Big numbers means nothing.
Does God use them? No... He uses His Word. God's Word does not come back void. There are examples in the Bible of the most reprobate people speaking truth... but they were as lost as anyone else. There is a difference between God using the actions of someone to reach others, and God's annointing and blessings being on someone called to preach.
This is truth. In Him, Cindy
| 2006/3/9 10:52||Profile|
This is a personal opinion post, so my opinion is to take the high road when in doubt. If I were building a church, I would look for a man who is married, neither him or his wife being divorced.
That said, I serve in a church that has women in leadership positions, not sure if any of them, men or women, have been divorced. I don't fight people about it, and I don't bring it up in casual conversation.
My wife was divorced before, and I was converted after we married. That brings a whole new set of questions as to what I am eligible for.
That is my thinking, though. If the decision were given to me, I would go the conservative route, but I don't consider it a matter that I would leave my church because my staff doesn't do what I would do.
There are some things worth leaving over, I don't consider this one of them.
| 2006/3/9 11:29||Profile|
I love when christians bring up this subject, because they always want to jump on this verse and OVERLOOK 1 Tim. 2:9!! We make a BIG DEAL over one verse but seem to never mention 8 verses before 1 TIm. 3:2??? 1TIm 2:9 is before 1Tim 3:2 isnt it?? Does my wife abide by this verse...NO! Does yours??? ;-)
We seem to want to take up 1Tim. 3:2 but never talk about what Paul said before this verse...maybe we should begin with the latter first before we jump on someone else??
| 2006/3/9 11:48||Profile|
Brent... this thread is concerning pastor/elder qualifications. Not sure why you're bringing up Paul's writing about modesty, but hey... start a thread about it. Modesty is hardly ever discussed anymore in the church.
But thats another topic, and I would really like it if we could stay focussed on this topic of "husband of one wife" please.
| 2006/3/9 12:26|
Krisp, I am focussed on this post thats why I posted.
I was canidating at a church for pastor once and someone brings this text up. AGAIN, The church wants to focus on a qualification but fail in their own qualifications...they disqualify themselves by putting their finger on one verse BUT FAIL to put their finger 8 verses before and check themselves. I'm not in the least bit trying to bring up modesty but I am making a valid point here. How can I or someone else vote on a pastor on A verse when 8 verses before "I'm disqualified"???
Ok, Let me play the game for a minute.... Someone cant be a pastor if he's been divorced some of you are saying...BUT if someone has killed 30 people, raped, robbed, fornicated to the MAX, slept with 500 women....now they are qualified to be pastor as long as they havent divorced??
| 2006/3/9 12:45||Profile|
Being divorced is still having only "one wife. The problem is not necessarily the divorce, it is concerning being in another marriage while one still has a living wife.
Most that believe what you stated say that if someone marries while the spouse is living (or what man calls marraige) is only an adultrous realationship and God does not 'see' it as a marriage. If that is the case then it is impossible to have more than one wife. Then if God does "see" it as a marriage, then are you bound to both?
Do you believe that God "sees" the 2nd marriage or its just an adultrous relationship?
| 2006/3/9 12:52||Profile|
Someone cant be a pastor if he's been divorced some of you are saying...BUT if someone has killed 30 people, raped, robbed, fornicated to the MAX, slept with 500 women....now they are qualified to be pastor as long as they havent divorced??
No, and this passage of scripture covers every one of those things.
1Ti 3:2-5 A bishop then must be [b]blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous[/b]; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Now, there are those who would contend with this... but if a man was divorced BEFORE he came to Christ, then I think that wisdom should used in that situation, and much prayer. But Paul is obviously referring to men in their present state... saved. Are they living by the Spirit of God, or are they not.
I think this passage is very plain, and covers all the bases.
As to voting on pastors... I'm against voting in the church. The church is not "mob-rule", or majority rule. The majority of people rarely ever get it right... especially in the apostate condition of the church today.
| 2006/3/9 13:18|