Why Can’t A Divorced Man Be A Pastor?

Q. Many people teach that if a man has been divorced that he does not qualify to be a Pastor, Deacon or Preacher.  I struggle with this view because it seems as if divorce is worse than murder or other commandments that are broken…if breaking one commandment is equal to have broken them all…how is it possible that a man who murdered someone and repents and is saved can be qualified…but a man who has been divorced and has repented and been saved is not qualified…why does the divorced man have to live with his sin and the stigma but the murderer is white as snow…does God not forgive and forget our sins?

A.  1 Timothy 3:2-7 refers to bishops.  Strong’s Concordance defines bishops as superintendents or overseers.  The Greek word for Pastor is usually translated shepherd and the one for preacher describes one who conveys the official message of a ruler or commander. In common practice the church has often combined these roles, but at the beginning it was not that way.  This is shown in Paul’s letter to Timothy, a pastor who was not considered to be either a bishop or a deacon, but was being advised on the qualities men who aspire to those offices should possess.

Divorce is not an unforgivable sin,  but it can be an indication of character traits that are incompatible with the demands placed on one who is responsible for keeping the affairs of a church absolutely above board (bishop) or resisting the temptations that can accompany seeing to the needs widows and orphans (deacon).

I have long believed that it’s both unscriptural and unreasonable to place the responsibility for all the spiritual and temporal needs of a congregation on one person’s shoulders. And there are very few people who’ve been blessed with the gifts of teaching, serving, and administering alike. At least one of the areas will suffer.  The apostles were quick to see this and that’s why the office of deacon was created in the first place (Acts 6:1-7).

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