It’s unfortunate that local IFB churches possess and tout an impossible standard; unless you’re in the network or clique of fellowship. Yes, I’m still teaching about pastoral qualifications to include deacons now. I suggest that there are NO qualified pastors or deacons; at least, based upon the IFB churches view. Prove me wrong!
Churches, you may want to add some philosophy (love of wisdom) to your theology.
So, let’s make a list…………….
- One wife
- Vigilant, sober
- Good behavior
- Hospitable, Apt to teach
- No Wine
- No Striker, brawler
- No greed of filthy lucre, covetous
- Ruled home life
- No Novice
- Possess a good report
Ok, now, grade yourself! If you can say that you’ve followed all those without error, congratulations you are a perfect pastor/ deacon and likely not of this world.
Correct! We know that isn’t possible; so, what now? A review of A – L above is in order. By the way, the attributes and characteristics in Timothy and Titus are present tenses. Not 5 years ago. You can’t disqualify a man on one and give yourself a free pass on the other attributes/ characteristics. Rightly divide! Bear that in mind as you grade yourself. Oh, pastors, deacons, churches, and ordination councils (whatever that is) that question a man based on his past. Shameful! Micah 7:19 “depths of the sea” Isaiah 1:18 “sins as white as wool” Psalm 103:12 “east is from the west”
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah was set apart and appointed by God, not man.
- The IFB church is willing to forgive and restore the former murderers, addicts, drunkards, thieves, etc and be gloriously excited when such are called to pastor. The pulpit is, with joy, extended to the now blameless man. If such restoration can be offered to those mentioned, then, the same must be offered to one divorced.
- One woman man! The so-called fundamentalist who isn’t so fundamental knows what the “husband of one wife” means. So, a “one woman man” – yep, that’s me, one wife, not 2! I have eyes for no other and I am married to one woman and sexually pure. Divorce/ remarriage isn’t taught in Timothy and Titus. Also, “putting away” & “divorce” are different. Is divorce even a sin?
- Have you always been vigilant and sober-minded? A divorced man will be more apt to have a better sense of soberness and vigilance because of a failed marriage. Likely, more spiritually mature than many pastors and deacons.
- Good behavior, uh oh! If a pastor is required to have 0 misbehaviors in his past, then, there are no qualified pastors/ deacons. Simply, are you presently behaving yourself properly, young man? Hear your mother speaking? A past divorce is no more an indication a man’s present behavior than would the failing to tithe 5 years ago be of a non-divorced man’s present conduct.
- Too simple, whether divorced or not divorced has no bearing on whether a man is a good host or has the ability to teach. I’ve heard a lot of pastors/ deacons that should not be teaching!
- Let’s forgive the man who was a drunk in his past and offer him the pulpit while allowing the bus to run over a divorced man who is living Godly. Have you ever drank while a Christian? If so, according to your rules, you are disqualified.
- 1 punch makes you a striker; 1 ill-word makes you a brawler; 1 lie is a liar; 1 theft is a thief; 1 murder is a murderer; 1 adulterous act is an adulterer; (pastor/ deacon you have either committed spiritual, mental, or physical adultery…according to your rules you are disqualified) The Pharisees among us care for themselves while attempting to make themselves look flawless at the cost of others’ opportunities. It’s how they mask their inconsistencies. If you apply the standard of thinking on yourself as you do the one divorced, I’d suggest stepping down as a pastor and deacon.
- Greed and the love of money have caused more problems in churches than I can even think of. You better be asking questions about greed, money, and covetousness with the pastoral candidate. Divorce is the least of your worries! But, NO, the first question out of the mouth of the pious and self-centered pastor or layperson on the search committee is, “are you divorced?” Oh, but, the church can overlook the sin of theft by a former thief and miraculously elevate him to the position of pastor. Hmm, theft vs. divorce.
- Listen, in my 45 years in the church, patience has not been a virtue with many pastors. The church should have disqualified that pastor the first time he ran his mouth in an ungodly manner. Hey, just abiding by your own rules here. James tells us about the tongue. I’d suggest you set in motion a holy war against your tongue and the patience with which it is associated using the same hysteria used against a divorced man.
- Hey, you hen-pecked pastors/ deacons out there, you should take time to inventory your home-life! The first time you try to lead, then your wife snaps you back into line. Maybe it’s time for you to relinquish your position in the church. Again, these are your rules. I’d say that a divorced man is better equipped to solidify the Godly workings of a home than many of our so-called leaders authenticated by a council with no authority in the local church. ” having his children in subjection with all gravity” It seems that pastors give themselves a free pass as long as he’s not remarried. How about deacons? “ruling their children and their own houses well.” Wondering why pastors will marry a deacon’s kid who has been caught in fornication? I guess it’s ok to have restoration in reverse! Consistently inconsistent.
- I’ve heard to the point of sickness, “you aren’t qualified to teach on the home because you are divorced.” Dear brother you have no Bible to support your convoluted opinion. Frankly, a divorced man is more qualified than many pastors who are still “wet behind the ears.” Personally, I can offer warnings, potential pitfalls, remedies, and most of all compassion and love. My divorce has no effects on my ability to teach, preach, evangelize, clean bathrooms, work a bus route, visit etc. How old is your pastor? How old are you pastor? How old are you in the Lord, pastor? How old is your experience in Christian service, pastor? Well, not much here to disqualify a divorcee upon!
- This is almost too elementary to deal with but here it is: Pastor/ deacon; do you pay your bills, have a courteous and accommodating wife, respectful children, show kindness to those around you, an all around “good guy?” If you are not, it’s time to relinquish your position in the church. Again, playing by the IFB church rules. Your feeble attempt to be of a good report is of no more importance than that of a divorcee.
Well, how did you do with your reflection in the mirror?
“God is no respecter (signifies a person who regards the external circumstances of others in his judgment, and suffers his opinion to be biased by them, to the prejudice of candor, justice, and equity. Webster 1828) of persons.”
It’s obvious that pastors and deacons in the IFB church have created a platform for which to qualify themselves based on a standard that is unreachable for some.
This unattainable standard must be applied to yourself if you are going to stay qualified as a pastor or a deacon.
If you are going to step in and stifle the calling of a divorced candidate based on his past actions then you must step in and recuse yourself based on your past actions.
If one area listed in the attributes/ characteristics will invalidate a divorced man then you must invalidate yourself based on any 1 failure listed in the attributes/ characteristics.
This is so important to remember:
You can’t claim 1 John 1:9 for yourself if you dig up past sins of another Christian! By the way, doesn’t matter what sin. Galatians 6:1 (restoration isn’t a partial outcome)
May God continue to call men and may the churches tasked with sending these men, do their job!
To the Pastors and church leaders that believe, even, a man divorced prior to salvation is disqualified, please take time to equalize your spirituality with God’s Word.
2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”