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Old 11-28-2016, 10:54 AM   #1
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Default A situation with divorce and ministry.

I'm a member of a very conservative SBC our bylaws are spelled out clearly about who is or isn't qualified to fill positions in the church and are backed by the accepted scriptures. They are very adamant that a man who has been divorced and remarried are not scripturally qualified to be a deacon. There are several men in our church who are very active in the church who have been divorced and remarried that are not deacons and are of like mind with the church that they are not qualified. They do however do more for the church than all of the deacons, and are respected by the church as a whole more than the deacon body. I say this to establish that we as a church have set our standard and are living by it, for the most part.

Here is my issue: About 10 months ago our pastor resigned and took a job in a different state. He left of his own free will and in good standing with the church. His brother was the music minister and followed suit shortly. We did a search for an interim pastor and music minister. filled the interim pastor position fairly easily, but the music minister was a little harder to fill. We interviewed only one man for that position and the majority of the music committee decided to hire him. I did not vote for him because he told us that he was divorced and remarried. If he didn't see a problem with that, why did he tell us. Anyhow, my position is that if our church has set the standard for deacons, then anyone that stands in the pulpit in a ministerial position should also be held to that standard. I was actually ridiculed by several people on the committee who asked if the piano player or custodian should resign because they were divorced. Earlier while looking for an interim pastor, there was a divorced person that we had interviewed. We didn't know he was divorced until the interview. When I voiced my opinion the head of the deacons made the statement that we shouldn't tell anyone outside the committee that we were considering a divorced man. My reply was "Then why are we considering him"? Anyhow, the head of the deacons was ridiculing me over the same position with the interim music guy. My position was and has always been that if the church set a standard for deacons then anyone with a position above the deacons should not be even considered if they wouldn't qualify for a lower position. The response was "Well, he's just leading the music". I don't see it that way. I see it as the leader of worship in our church. He spends as much time in the pulpit leading the church as the pastor, is called "Music Minister". He leads us in prayer, quotes scripture and has even filled in on Sunday and Wednesday nights in the pulpit, giving the message.


I just can't see that this as anything but a hypocritical decision on the part of our head deacon, who pushed for the hire.

We have hired a young pastor who will be in the pulpit for the first time on Christmas morning. I have considered my options and have decided that I will no longer be a member of this church if they decide to go against their principles and against scripture if they hire this unqualified person full time, which some have eluded to. It breaks my heart because I really love this church and the family that we have grown to love there.

I am contemplating my discussion with the new pastor and how long I should wait before I talk with him about the situation.
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:35 PM   #2
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I don't have much for you but that is the kind of church I ran from and glad to not be a part of. I grew up SB and the best thing I did was get away from the organized church.

It's interesting to me that your church wouldn't even let Paul/Saul(if he were alive today) teach or be a part of the church leadership yet he had one of the largest impacts to the New Testament.

I dont want to come across as lecturing, its honestly not my intention. I am just ranting and so thankful I am no longer a member of the organized church.
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:57 PM   #3
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I've never been divorced myself but have nothing against people that have been. Some people just make a mistake and need to correct it. No sense in being miserable the rest of your life because of a mistake made when you were young.
I think to discriminate against them is biased and outdated.
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Old 11-28-2016, 01:15 PM   #4
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A couple of thoughts
the rule that states They are very adamant that a man who has been divorced and remarried are not scripturally qualified to be a deacon. Does not specifically mention a pastor or minister, why not. Since it doesn't, then technically there is no issue.

The second thought is that you have already started separating yourself from this church. This situation bothers you enough that this church and some of the people in it will never be the same. I think your decision to stop being member is a good one. Here is hoping that you can find a church that has the same ideals you have. Good Luck
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Old 11-28-2016, 01:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by welldoya View Post
I've never been divorced myself but have nothing against people that have been. Some people just make a mistake and need to correct it. No sense in being miserable the rest of your life because of a mistake made when you were young.
I think to discriminate against them is biased and outdated.

This is a biblical question, not a social one.
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Old 11-28-2016, 01:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by submariner View Post
A couple of thoughts
the rule that states They are very adamant that a man who has been divorced and remarried are not scripturally qualified to be a deacon. Does not specifically mention a pastor or minister, why not. Since it doesn't, then technically there is no issue.

The second thought is that you have already started separating yourself from this church. This situation bothers you enough that this church and some of the people in it will never be the same. I think your decision to stop being member is a good one. Here is hoping that you can find a church that has the same ideals you have. Good Luck

The scriptures are for church leaders.
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Old 11-28-2016, 01:41 PM   #7
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Hey John, I've been in full-time ministry in a local church for 20+ years, yet still feel very unqualified to respond to your post. That said, I will be happy to share the Truth of God's word as it pertains to your situation. That's really all any of us have anyway, right?

You also should know I'm not Southern Baptist and probably wouldn't embrace your church by-laws. However, I have spent most of my life in SB churches and have a heritage in the denomination that stretches back at least 2 generations previously. So I do have an understanding of the church structure and governance.

First, I think we can agree that the Bible clearly leads followers of Jesus to resolve conflicts with our anger restrained (Prov. 16:32), owning our part (Matt. 7:3, 5), quickly (Matt. 5:25, Eph. 4:26), and in love (Eph. 4:15). In fact, I would say if you can't speak the truth IN LOVE, your shouldn't speak at all!

Add to that the progressive pattern for resolution we're given in Matthew 18:15-17, and I believe you've done your absolute best before God to address a very difficult situation.

Three other quick suggestions/comments that may help...1.) Make sure that you're on the scriptural side of the conflict. Make sure you agree with the by-law and have a good understanding of the scriptures it's based on. We ought to always obey God rather than man. 2.) My experience is that God often uses conflict in my life to correct me, to grow me, to change me! So be open to that. And, 3.) I believe if God is calling you away from your present church, He's calling you to your next church. My church is not perfect, in large part because I'm there. I don't believe you should leave your church because it doesn't measure up. Truth is, you're next church won't measure up either. But if God is calling you to be a part of another church, then go! Go quietly, go graciously and go lovingly as not to damage the work God will continue to do there.

I sincerely hope this helps in some way. I'll pray to that end and trust God to accomplish His desire in you and through you as you seek him.

Blessings,

joe
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Old 11-28-2016, 02:14 PM   #8
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John, I feel you pain and all I can offer up is if it feels wrong it probably is. Far too many church "leaders" are watering down Gods word as well as their own by laws as it is far easier to justify their own shortcomings and no longer feels as though they are wrong. My church is more concerned with rears in the seat these days and we are on the slippery slope to a community church, which is what most evidently want these days. A Christ centric life is very difficult in this day and time in and of itself, so weakening the church in tradition and scripture creates less confrontation and/or guilt. My walk is nowhere near perfect but like most, I try, sometimes successfully sometimes I fail, but I am always thankful for his grace, without it we are all doomed. Prayer is where the answer will come from.
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Old 11-28-2016, 03:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by johnf View Post
This is a biblical question, not a social one.
Then carry on and solve your dilemma the best you can.
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Old 11-28-2016, 04:21 PM   #10
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It's interesting to me that your church wouldn't even let Paul/Saul(if he were alive today) teach or be a part of the church leadership yet he had one of the largest impacts to the New Testament.
I would really be interested in hearing your opinion here.
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