Do you think, under some circumstances, a divorced man can serve as pastor?

I have known a number of men serving as pastors who have been divorced and remarried.  In one instance, for example, a man was married to a woman who became a lesbian. In another instance, it was a more traditional issue with a wife leaving her husband for another man.

In your understanding of Scripture (passages like I Timothy 3 or Titus 1, etc.), can a divorced man serve as a pastor in some instances?

This is not the same issue (although to some it may be) as to whether he can be an elder, deacon, trustee, or Sunday School teacher, for example. We are talking pastor.

Plenty of room for comments here. We could not cover everything.  For example, if a pastor had an affair before he was saved or before he was a pastor, would that disqualify him?   Also, what about a guest speaker who has been divorced but is not a pastor or at least no the pastor of your church?  Please opine.

No, a divorced man is disqualified from being a pastor.
25% (5 votes)
No, even if he is not divorced but married a woman who was
5% (1 vote)
If he was divorced under certain justifiable circumstances but is now remaining single
5% (1 vote)
Only if he divorced and didn't remarry and his ex-wife is now dead.
0% (0 votes)
If he divorced for an acceptable reason (your interpretation of what is acceptable) and has remarried
35% (7 votes)
Only if he was divorced before he was saved and either remarried then or later
10% (2 votes)
I am confused, therefore I am. I don't know.
5% (1 vote)
A divorced man can serve as pastor through forgiveness without regards to how he came to be divorced and remarried.
5% (1 vote)
Other
10% (2 votes)
Total votes: 20
234 reads

There are 3 Comments

josh p's picture

My wife left me shortly before we were leaving to Detroit for me to attend DBTS so I have had a reason to study this one. My position is not covered above. A man who divorced for adultery or who was abandoned by an unbelieving wife (or a wife that apostatized after having made a profession) may be a pastor whether or not he gets remarried. I still think it’s not the ideal though.

Jay's picture

  • In your understanding of Scripture (passages like I Timothy 3 or Titus 1, etc.), can a divorced man serve as a pastor in some instances?

Sure, but it depends.  If the pastor is the one who has had an affair, then that's a full stop in my book - he's not 'above reproach'.  1 Timothy 3 is really talking about what kind of attitude does the man have towards his marriage and wife - a 'one woman man', not necessarily someone who has only been married once.  Lots of men are married but aren't one woman men.

  • For example, if a pastor had an affair before he was saved or before he was a pastor, would that disqualify him?   

This one’s tough. If it’s pre-salvation…maybe. If it’s post-salvation, absolutely not.  If the wife has had an affair after the pastor's salvation, almost absolutely not.

  • Also, what about a guest speaker who has been divorced but is not a pastor or at least no the pastor of your church?

I give a little more leeway to guest speakers than I do pastors, but in the right circumstances, I could see myself being OK with that. 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Ron Bean's picture

Scenario: A small Baptist church in a small town in Maine calls a young pastor with his wife and two small kids. (They don't ask about the details of his past.) The church is blessed by his ministry and sees slow growth. In year two a young single mother and her 3 kids visit the church. The church discovers that she's the pastor's first wife and the kids are theirs. The pastor explains their marriage and divorce happened before he was saved and that it's all "under the blood". Confusion ensues in the church and those in the community have a new topic of gossip.

Lesson: Whatever your position, be prepared to play defense.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan