The churches on the island of Crete needed qualified leadership. Paul instructed Titus to set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders (pastors, ministers, bishops, presbyters) in every city. . . . men who are blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly (disorderly conduct). For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God. . . . Holding fast the faithful Word (Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:2-5).
Some churches today also need to set in order the things that are wanting. Divorced ministers would like us to believe the qualification husband of one wife means to be married to just one wife at a time. Of course this would allow a minister to be married, divorced, and remarried as often as he wishes. What is the limit?
By divorcing his wife, an elder, (minister, bishop) breaks the very relationship which he represents: Christ and His (One) Bride, the Church (see Ephesians 5:23-28). Another qualification that needs to be addressed is one that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection (Would this mean the children by his second, third, or fourth wife, or, his children by his first wife even though in the custody of another man?). . . . For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God? (1 Timothy 3:2-5).
Jesus left no doubt as to the seriousness of divorce, saying: From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. . . . And the two shall be one flesh: so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder (Mark 10:6).
Since divorce is an attack upon the God-ordained structure of the family, as well as on His Church, it should be clear that anyone who has been divorced and remarried is disqualified from being a bishop, pastor, elder, or deacon. Although a man may be popular, and have many admirable characteristics, being a minister, elder, or deacon in the church involves accountability on a level above the average Christian. He is a representative of Jesus Christ over His Church. There are no options or exceptions (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:3-11; Mark 10:2-12).
A divorced leader in the Church cannot represent a true example of the Church as the Bride of Christ preparing for the coming Bridegroom. To ignore this principle is exceedingly serious. However, this does not discredit or question the loyalty, love, or sincerity of one who fails to qualify as an elder. It does not imply that a person who has been divorced and remarried cannot repent, be forgiven, be a loyal, faithful Christian, or assume other areas of service in the Church. But qualifications for leadership given in the Word of God must be followed. He is the head of the body, the Church (Colossians 1:18).
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Memory Verse for the Week: Titus 3:3