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Bible Questions with Michael Pearl
Episode 039: Can a Christian man, who has been divorced, be an elder?

By Michael Pearl

Episode Transcription:

Michael Pearl:  Alright, we're out here finishing up this buffalo fish. Did you ever see a scale that big? You could use that for a paint scraper. We're answering Bible questions. I've never seen the questions. Jared is behind the camera there and caught me here. And I'm going to be finishing up this big old 41 pound buffalo. And I'm going to cut it right down the middle here, so I can cut that red meat out. If you ever get a chance to eat a buffalo, pick one that's white meat, not too red. And you'll find that they're very good, especially baked. Jared, what's the first question you've got?

Jared:  In an earlier episode, you said that a divorced man should not serve as a teacher or elder in the church. But what if a man was divorced and then came to know Christ, and is born again and qualified in all ways to be an elder? Biblically, does not getting divorced still apply?

Michael:  Well, it's not what I said, it's what the scripture says. And I don't want to be more narrow than the scriptures, concerning that. But what it says concerning appointing someone as an elder there in Timothy, is that they should rule their own house well. Now, I can see that it'd be a situation where a man gets married at 19. I know a fellow that got married at 19, and two weeks later, he got shipped out in the military. And in a few months, his wife tells him she's divorcing him. He comes home and he's not married.

So, two or three years later, he married again and had children. He didn't have any children by the first marriage. And became a Christian, and became a righteous man, and 25 years later he's got grown kids. And he is a song director in a church.

And somebody finds out that he had been divorced when he was young, and said he didn't qualify to be a song director. Now, it didn't bother me, personally, that he was song director. It didn't bother me, personally, that he would minister some on the side.

I had no problem with it. But the scripture is very clear that a man needs to rule his own house, and to have everything in order at home. And it says, "How can you rule over the church of God?" There are just enough people. There are enough saints of God who've been faithful to God. They've done well with their marriages.

They've made the right choices in life, and those choices are reflected in their marriage. Now, certainly, there would be no problem with a man who has the gift of teaching or preaching, even if he has been divorced and remarried, to go to rescue missions, or jails, or prisons. Or go out and do street evangelism, or house‑to‑house ministering, like that.

It's just that he shouldn't be in a leadership role in the church where young people are going to look at him. Why? It's not because he's unworthy. It's not because he's a bad person. It's because he's an example. In other words, if he's got 14, 15‑year‑old kid sitting there in the Sunday school class and they say, "Weren't you divorced?"

"Yeah, but I've got a happy marriage now. God's really blessed me." It's a statement that you can divorce your spouse and God will bless you, and you'll keep in God's favor, and life will be good again. It can be and it will be.

But it's not a good example for young people. They need an example that's a lot higher plane than that. So, God had a reason for it. It's not because a person's unworthy. It's not because I don't like them, I don't think they're good enough or as good as me. It has nothing to do with that.

It's just what God said that there's a high calling for those who have the office of an elder and a deacon. And that high calling includes a husband of one wife ruling their own house well. It's not my idea. Don't blame me for it.
Announcer:  If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.

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