Saturday, May 23, 2015

Response to the "The Divorced Pastor: Is He the Husband of One Wife?"

I recently read an article written by a Pastor on the significance of marriage and how this pertains to the office of “Pastor”. Unfortunately, the truth of the word of God will expose the erroneous depths of this article and once again show the hypocrisy of the pastoral ministry and the ability of this ministry to redefine God’s institution of marriage. It is the duty of every believer to preach the word and reprove, rebuke, exhort, with longsuffering and doctrine. I hope that when you read this you believe my love for God and His people. It is my hope that many will understand that the clergy/laity system is not a true representation of the body of Christ, and that this system has done more to undermine the sanctity of marriage than anything else.

The article is titled: “The Divorced Pastor: Is He the Husband of One Wife?’ You can read the entire article here.

The author states:

The Key Passage. In the Epistles, Paul sets forth the spiritual qualifications for elders, deacons, and pastors. In 1 Timothy 3:2, 12, and Titus 1:6, the apostle straightforwardly indicates that a pastor must be “the husband of one wife.” The actual Greek in all three verses reads the same: mias (one) gunaikos (woman/wife) andra/andres/aner (man/husband). Quite literally, the pastor must be a “one-woman man” and hence a “one-wife husband.” Most English translations render the translation “the husband of one wife.”

Before we ever talk about whether a not a divorced pastor can serve as a pastor, we need to rightly divide the word in truth on the “qualifications’ in 1 Timothy and Titus. The author included “pastors” with the qualifications for an elder. I believe we should all come to a conclusion that the term “pastor” is one of the attributes of an elder and not the “hireling” position it is today. (Eph 4:11) I will argue that the “Pastor” (capital "P" as in profession with a title) position is one that has developed well after the early church set the qualifications for elders.

If we go by the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:2, 12 and Titus 1:6 we have neglected to show all the surrounding verses in context (1 Timothy 3 1-13 and Titus 1:16) and thus we must conclude that not only would we have to exclude a “divorced” man(1 Cor 7:10,11), we would exclude 20 somethings fresh out of seminary, (1 Timothy 3:4-7, Titus 1:6) and women (“the husband of one wife”-1 Timothy 3:2,12, and Titus 1:6).

The article states-“The position that pastors must be married (with children) is untenable. The apostle Paul himself was single without children. Paul was simply presenting the typical situation: a married man with a family.”

Paul was an apostle and elder, not a "Pastor". Yes, Paul pastored and taught among the church, but he did not have a congregation that provided him with a salary, living arrangements and a pension, and nor was he hired or had a title of "Pastor". The Pharisees of his day had titles. Confusing the modern term of “Pastor”, with the term pastor of Eph 4:11, and equating this profession with the definiton of the early church elder is the problem. The former term is a hireling profession that is solely dependent on performance. If the “Pastor” proves that he does not live up to the standards of the congregation which hired him, he can be fired.  

The article states-“Jesus and Paul allowed for divorce and remarriage in the case of adultery (Matt. 5:31–32; 19:9) and willful desertion (1 Cor. 7:12ff.). But it is also very possible that Paul was erecting a double standard here. Because pastors are to be “examples of speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity” to other believers (1 Tim. 4:11–12), their marriages may come under a stricter judgment.”

Both the Lord Jesus Christ and Paul did not allow divorce and remarriage and nor did the early church.  These “exception clauses” and Pauline privileges appeared later in the history of the church. Ironically, it was the “Pastor” (aka. Hirelings) who twisted the word of God to allow both divorce and remarriage. Thus, Paul did not erect a double standard. What is even more ironic is that articles like this expose the lies of the pastoral ministry, and in this case that divorce does not end a one-flesh covenant of marriage.

If a man is to be above reproach, he would be like Christ and remain obedient to His word. Thus, he would never divorce his wife as commanded by the Lord (I Cor 7:10, 11) Emphasis on “commanded). The law of marriage is permanence until death (Romans 7:2, 3) However, one can have an extensive library of books written by “Pastors” that defend the “exception clause” (Matthew 5:32 and 19:9) and the Pauline privilege (1 Cor 7:15) while at the same time they write books on the significance of marriage permanence and how this is a true reflection of the Gospel. The hypocrisy is more than evident, it is appalling.

One John MacArthur’s quote,-“A one-woman man is a man devoted in his heart and mind to the woman who is his wife. He loves, desires, and thinks only of her. He maintains sexual purity in both his thought life and his conduct.”

This is not entirely true. A one-woman man is devoted to Christ and His commandments. A man who loves his wife is the man who first loves Christ above and beyond his wife. The same can be said of a woman. The love for Christ must exceed everything, which includes a man’s wife, his children or his own life less he cannot be a true disciple. (Luke 14:26) It is by his love for Christ that man can rightly love his wife, his children and his own life. This is wonderfully displayed in the writings of Paul to Ephesus.
Eph 5:25-28 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

The article states-The Key Issues. Should, therefore, a man become a pastor or, if already ordained, remain in the ministry after a divorce? In answering this question, we must consider four facets of Paul’s teaching. First: the biblical rule, or the “letter of the law.” Certainly, both Jesus and Paul allow for a “biblical divorce,” and for the possibility of remarriage, but “only in the Lord” (i.e., to another believer). If a pastor’s wife commits adultery, or if she quits the marriage without desire to reconcile, that pastor is “an innocent party.” The church should grant him permission to divorce and allowance to remarry. Pastors fall under the guidelines and freedoms of Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7.
Since scripture already proves that the pastoral ministry is solely a hireling position and not biblical eldership, we can have a clear understanding that “ordination” in to the pastoral ministry is a nothing more than a tradition of men. Since we also can understand that both the Lord and Paul command that a man is never to divorce his wife (1 Cor 7:10,11), we can discern where this article is going. Another erroneous statement is the author’s ability to associate “remarriage” with a marriage “only in the Lord”. Was Paul actually talking about “remarriage” after a divorce of a living one-flesh covenant of marriage when he pertains to a “only in the Lord”? 

If a man is to not divorce his wife, a marriage “only in the Lord” is referring to a man or woman who marries after their spouse has died. Romans 7:2,3 makes it clear that the “law of marriage” is of marriage permanence until death of either or both spouses. If someone twists the word of God to include “remarriages” after divorce as a marriage in the Lord, they have already contradicted other passages on the subject. Since a woman is “bound” to the law of marriage as long as her husband lives, this would corroborate with 1 Cor 7:10,11 where a husband is never to divorce his wife, and a woman, if divorced(against the “law of marriage”), is to remain unmarried or reconcile the marriage. 

The problem with the pastoral ministry is not unlike a world that wants to make a god in their own image. Marriage permanence is not an earthly thing and thus divorce and remarriage derides the very word of God. Pastoral ministry becomes more than the word of God because the power of the word is extinguished by tradition of men, and not centered on the spirit of Christ. This article clearly seeks to redefine marriage as God commanded.

 The pastoral minister will be the first to say that marriage “should” be as God “intended”. The moment they use the word “intended” is to know they already compromised what God “commanded” of the law of marriage. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

The article states- The Key Question. So should a church hire (or keep) a pastor who goes through a divorce? This is a complicated question with no easy answer.

There you have it…Hireling. I would reword this: "So should a "congregation" hire (or not fire) a Pastor who believes a divorce ends a one-flesh covenant of marriage?"

I would agree there is no easy answer, simply on the fact that the clergy/laity system in not the answer to the body of Christ. Paul commanded that the church should “appoint” elders and deacons according to the qualifications. Please understand that I would never disagree that there are godly men and women in the pastoral ministry, but to say this pastoral ministry is founded on biblical truths is a lie. Even though there are godly men in women in this ministry, they have exhibited an ability, or rather a spirit of disobedience to the word of God in adhering to these qualifications. I have had the most volatile of conversations with an ordained man or woman after explaining to them that their “profession” is not based on the truth of God’s word. These volatile conversations are second to the conversations I had with men and women of both pastoral and laity concerning the permanency of marriage.

Some will argue that pastoral ministry is a secondary issue that is not relevant to the Gospel and the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. I tend to disagree with this. In fact, the most dangerous of heresies originated from the clergy/laity system. This includes the clear downfall of the permanence of marriage. The congregations that first redefined the roles of the elder were the first to adopt the worldly standards of “no-fault” divorce. This has evolved into these same congregations believing that a homosexual relationship is of God. For those who believe that the clergy/laity system is the law of church polity, the inerrancy of God’s word becomes relative in most instances of repentance, holiness, obedience and marriage permanence, but objective when it comes to allowing loopholes to divorce, remarriage after divorce of living covenant spouse, same-sex marriage, woman elders, and the qualifications of the clergy/laity system.

In conclusion, this article represents the standards of the clergy/laity system based solely by those who embraced the system over the truth of God’s word. The contradictions and hypocrisy of this article is most evident. What should we do about this? The answer is simple. Repent. When the leaders of the clergy/laity system repent of their sole reliance on the traditions of men and place Christ above all, then once again eyes and ears will be open. 

This seems almost beyond hope that this will ever occur. The word of God makes it clear that the end of this fallen world cannot take place until there is a falling away from the word of God. My dear brothers and sisters, the Lord said that no man knows the day or the hour. But he also said that if it were possible, even the elect would fall victim to the apostasy.

I certainly believe that marriage redefinition started long before we ever thought of same-sex marriage. This marriage redefinition started when men of tradition believed that marriage was a contract, complete with loopholes. Paul wrote that marriage was a representation of the Gospel (Eph 5:31,32), but the clergy/laity system has made marriage into what seems right to the laws of men and not the laws of God. Divorce and remarriage is not only performed in the congregations, divorce and remarriage is embraced by a church that has embraced the ways of the world.

It is my prayer that those of the pastoral leadership and those of the laity would repent of ever believing that marriage is anything other than one and one woman for life. This would take a great deal of repentance. This would not be anything the world would embrace. This would include an unequivocal view of marriage permanence, a spirit of Ezra for the dissolution of all remarriages after divorce, and accountability within the body of Christ. This  would include a body of Christ that seeks to solely place the Lord Jesus Christ at the headship of all areas of life, including individual, marriage, family, and church polity. 

As always, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the ever present desire for unity should be the cry of the church. This will take humility and contrite hearts. This will take the power of the Holy Spirit to change the hearts and minds of a people desperately in need of a Savior. We need to show the world the light and salt of those radically and eternally changed by the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. So that He will ever be glorified by a people that are all members of one body which reflects His eternal love, grace and mercy for us. For His glory!

Eph 5:30-33 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
In Christ's love,


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