Deacons and Divorce

O.K., I know I’m treading into dangerous waters with this subject, but I’m looking for honest, non-condeming feedback.  I’m a member of a Southern Baptist church that has just ordained two men who much earlier in their life divorced.  Much earlier meaning more than 20 years ago.  A large majority of the members do not have a problem with us ordaining these men.  However, several of the senior adults are adamantly opposed to this.

So, I ask this question, does divorce disqualify a man from being ordained as a deacon?  Bear in mind, according to 1 Timothy 3:12, the scripture that most churches use to qualify this states, “A deacon must be the husband of but one wife”.  It does not say a deacon must not have been divorced.  This could mean divorce, it could be a reference to polygamy (which occurred during the Paul wrote the book of Timothy), or it could mean that a man must only have one wife at a time.

I would like to hear what others think, so leave me a comment and let me know.  I will approve all comments made on this posting as long as they are not belligerent comments.

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5 thoughts on “Deacons and Divorce

  1. A bit late, but here goes: The text that you referenced could best be translated “a one woman man”, hence we normally see it as a husband of one wife.

    However, I understand it to mean more than just that. (Remember also that the Lord judges the heart, and knows our thoughts and intentions not just our actions.) I understand it to mean a man focused on one woman. Not a polygamist, not a bigamist. But also not a philanderer and not a man with a wandering eye. And not a man that has commitments or responsibilities to multiple women.

    I do suggest that you go to http://www.sermonaudio.com and find a series of four sermons on the topic of divorce by Southern Baptist Pastor Richard Caldwell, they are very persuasive and may change how you look at the qualifications for the Diaconate and the Pastorate. (I would just provide a link but this server I am on just now won’t let me set it up. Sorry.)

  2. Are there single Pastors? If so does this break tradition? What if the wife divorces the husband because she has wandering eyes? I have been married for over 30 years and have deacons at my church that were not born when I married. What if the divorce happened before I was saved? Would God be pleased that my church is judging me not to be a deacon? I say that ” The husband of one wife means just that! I also believe that single deacons / pastor are within Gods will. I also believe that the elders within churches are the reason this tradition exist. Oh, my first wife divorced me and remarried weeks later and my church does not allow divorced men to serve as deacons.

  3. Before Paul was saved he had killed many people. If you read the section in 1 Tim about pastors and deacons you will not find the word divorce. That is added by man.
    I think it is the judging people who want it to say that that will stand before God on Judgement day. Read the last four verses of the book of revelation.
    If I went out and got involved with another woman would it be my wife’s fault? I think the bible teaches that each of us are responsible for our own sins.

    Laroy

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  5. I was just told that I had been nominated by my church (Southern Baptist) to become a deacon. Then I was asked if I was divorced to which I answered “Yes” and was told quickly…sorry, you will not be considered because of that reason. I had never even considered the possibility of serving my church in that position. I have been tithing faithfully for many years, never cheated on my first wife, who I begged not to divorce me (she cheated on me), was married the first time for 31 years…now the second time for 12 years. My present wife literally saved my life. I have been subsitute teaching in my senior adult (married) Sunday School class for the past 2 years…my dilema is that I don’t believe that I should be teaching, if I am not qualified to be a deacon. It seems like a contradiction that I don’t think I can deal with. I with I had not been nominated…now I feel like maybe I am less of a Christian than I was before it happened.
    thanks, Jim

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