Sluice Box Adventures

Believing Bible Study in the 21st century

All About The Sureness of Trouble In Life

The Bible teaches in this dispensation (the church age) the doctrine of the “universal priesthood”.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

Divorced ... Re-Married ... Called To Preach

Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2011 Richard St.James


Divorced and CalledThe first person ascribed by the word of God to be a preacher that we know of was Noah. Noah was a preacher of righteousness. “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly”. [2 Peter 2:5]

The Bible teaches in this dispensation (the church age) the doctrine of the “universal priesthood”. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." [1 Peter 2:5]

Since the New Testament believer is a priest of the Melchisedec order, not a priest of the Aaronic order, we all have the great privilege and responsibility to preach Christ in our personal witness to the lost. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” [2 Corinthians 5:20] Scripture with Scripture! “Therefore they that were scattered abroad (the believers, not just the apostles) went every where preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4)

The “they” in this verse is the general or universal call for all believers to preach Jesus Christ. (Matthew 24:14) “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 26:13) “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” [Mark 16:20]

Called to Preach

The Bible, moreover, makes known there is a special calling by God to certain men to preach. Yea, the very necessity to preach is laid on them by the Holy Ghost. “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” [2Corinthians 9:16] God ordained that these preachers should be supported by the gospel … by the local church … in their physical sustenance. “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." [1 Corinthians 9:14]

Yet there will be times (perilous times) where these “called” preachers will have to subsidize themselves with a little tent building like Paul did in order not to take from the church at Corinth. “What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” (I Corinthians 9:18) “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” [1 Thessalonians 2:9]

Doubled Married Man?

There was a pastor several years ago who was grieved that certain men in his church believed they were called to preach. This grieved him so bad that he wrote a message trying to convince these men, and all other men everywhere, in this same situation, that they couldn’t possibly be called to preach because they were “double married men”. He writes: “If you are scripturally unqualified to preach, why try to continue against God’s will? Would it not be better to repent and step down than to try to continue against the Word." [note: the use of the capital W instead of word] of God?”

When the brother exposits the meaning of the phrase “the husband of one wife” of First Timothy chapter three, verse two, he does not accept the tense of the verb as it is given by the Spirit of God. (This verse has a verb, which is in the present tense.)

Instead of accepting what God says, where he said it, and when he said it, he decides to move under the cover of a smokescreen by erecting a “straw man”. Our old nature (Yes, Christians are capable of anything) does some rather lowdown sneaky things to avoid the truths in the old black BOOK. What the brother had decided to do was create an analogy in un-equivalents. The brother writes: “Now if we just read that verse at face value, unbiased, the way we would read any other book, there would be only one conclusion.” That is right! He is right on track … so far. “For instance, if this verse had read, ‘A bishop must be blameless, the father of one child,…’ we would conclude that in order for a man to be a bishop, he could have fathered only one child.”

The father and child relationship is his illustration analogy. He is not comparing apples to apples! He is comparing apples to oranges. Two things different are not the same! This is why his conclusion will be wrong. It is a water-shed-continental divide between the Bible-believer and a Bible user.

The brother continues: “Husband of one wife’ means having married only one wife. Do you honestly think you would have interpreted it like this, ‘A bishop must be blameless, the father of one child,… Oh, I know what that means! It means blameless, the father of one child at a time.' This sounds silly, doesn’t it? But don’t laugh too quickly, because that is exactly the way a lot of people will quickly interpret that verse. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it’s usually someone who has been married to more than one wife.”

Let me tell you what is going on here. The brother is grasping … in trying to prove why these certain men ought not to be preaching. It is a pre-determined position … he is trying to justify. Let’s look at his “straw man” analogy, and why it leads to error.

The father and child are locked in an unchanging permanent relationship. The son or daughter is born into that relationship to their father. The father “begat” the son, without getting permission from the son, and the father “begat” the son, without establishing a covenant with the son. Go to Genesis for the first mention of “begat”. “And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech." In Genesis chapter four, verse 18, we find that “begetting” is a kind of relationship that cannot be compared to the marriage relationship. Marriage is established with a covenant, and is based on a unique relationship between a man and a woman. The root or vital definition of marriage is: when flesh joins flesh. Irad will always be a son to Enoch. Mehujael will always be a son to Irad. Nothing will change that. It is recorded in the BOOK. Read it!

Enoch's relationship to Irad has never changed for nearly six thousand years! However, marriage is based on flesh staying with flesh, and is conditional. If the woman decides to depart from her husband, she should as the word of God commands in 1 Corinthians 7:11, to “remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”  Her departure gave her a different status. She became “unmarried.” She was married. In contradiction, the son’s status to the father never changes. When a son runs away from home his status does not change. His departure does not change his relationship. He is still a son to the father.

Further, the brother writes: “It must be noted as well that Paul uses the phrase ‘unmarried and widows’, thus placing them in the same category. Unmarried means ‘not married once."

From where did he get this definition of unmarried? “Unmarried means ‘not married once.” The brother did not get that definition from the BOOK! The verse of scripture that could have helped him was right before his face. It has been in the Bible for thousands of years! We ought define, wherever possible, scripture with scripture. He did not do this. Unmarried does not mean: “not married once”. It means: "unmarried”. A person that is unmarried may never have been married: “a virgin”; or it could be as it is shown in 1 Corinthians 7:11 someone who was married but became “unmarried” because she departed from her husband.

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife."

The Pharisee’s Problem

Now what if a man was called to preach (it is God who calls men to preach), and his wife leaves him … for good (whether by desertion or by adultery). What is his status? 

Flesh has left flesh. He is “unmarried” and therefore, has no wife. He is the “innocent party”. This means he did not put himself on the shelf. He ran the race by the rules, and was true, and “faithful” to his wife, and promoted his marriage. God counted him faithful … [1 Timothy 1:12b] “for that he counted me faithful”. And God didn’t, therefore, change His mind about the call He placed on him to preach the word. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” [Romans 11:29] God enabled the man to preach. God had put the man into the ministry [1 Timothy 1:12b]. Does he quit?  Was it the wife who was called to preach? No! It was the man who was called to preach. If a door was opened to him should he not preach? “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord” [2 Corinthians 2:12].

Now, if the man marries in the Lord, is he “doubled married” as some of the brethren have charged? If you are noble, and have searched the scriptures as the Bereans did, you will understand the truth. You will understand this man’s true status. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) This man is married to one. He is the husband of one wife. This man is qualified to preach.

He Must Be: The Husband Of One Wife

What’s more is he qualified to be a bishop or a deacon in regard to the second qualification listed in 1 Timothy chapter three, verse two. “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.”

First note: this verse has a verb, which is in the present tense. The verb "must be" implies "the state of being" a husband to one wife. Now the Holy Ghost did not make a mistake here with His grammar. And no man should be so presumptuous as to presume there is an error here. I have heard many men say this verse means: "having had only one wife all his life" or "married only one time." Can you not see it? They have changed the tense to do what they want to do. It does not matter what their motive is for doing this (though it may be as noble as promoting the purity of the leadership in the local church).

Yes, in a day when divorce is "for any reason", in total violation to God's Book, some Christians feel they can not accept this particular verse in the present tense because it would seemingly lower the standard for the qualifications for the bishop. But whatever their motive, it is never right to do wrong in order to do right. We must never doubt God's word. We must never change it for any reason. We must accept what it says, wherever it says it, whenever it says it, or we will be guilty of disobeying God. As one great preacher said: "Obey God! And leave the consequences of obeying God...with God!" I have seen this waffling by Christians with other Scriptures.

For example, Louis Entzminger did it with the word "pneuma" in 1 Corinthians 12:13. He rejected the A.V.1611 Bible in this instance because he did not like the reference in this verse to the capital "S" in the word "Spirit." He ran cross-wise to THE BOOK because of his preconceived notion on the doctrine of the church. "The capitalizing of the word "spirit" (pneumati) is utterly misleading..." (The New Testament Church, by Louis Entzminger, page 92.)

Bill Gothard, Billy Ball, and Theodore Epp are all guilty of not accepting what THE BOOK says here in 1 Timothy 3.

 They have not been honest with God in this matter. Christians have two natures! It’s the old nature rearing its ugly head … because it hates the word of God. "A bishop then must be ...the husband of one wife." A man needs to be married to one woman. He cannot have more than one wife, and be a bishop in the local New Testament Baptist church. Abraham, Jacob and David would not, therefore, be qualified to become a bishop. God-fearing Elkanah had two wives: Hannah and Peninnah. Even though he loved the Lord God and walked according to the precepts of God, he could not qualify for this office, which was for a future dispensation.

 The Lord in Exodus chapter 21 sets judgments through His servant Moses that legislated concerning instances of "another wife", and brethren, there is no divorce in the context of Exodus 21. It shows that God allowed more than one wife in Israel. "If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish”. [Verse 10]

This is the word of God! The average fundamentalist will just go "buggy" here with this verse. Amen! What God allowed Israel, God will not necessarily allow the local New Testament church. God is God! The Bible reveals: "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ---." [Ephesians 1:10]

To sum it up, in the dispensation of the church God has seen fit to disallow a man from having more than one wife (like Elkanah), “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife”. This resets the perfect biblical pattern found in Genesis 1-2 for marriage. This would be "one man for one woman."

They Which Are Approved

If God “calls” a man to preach it will not matter if there is not the approval of men on that call. God has ordained:

The Preaching of the cross is to the lost foolishness.

The Preaching of the cross to the believer in Jesus Christ is the power of God.

The foolishness of preaching is the method that God has chosen to deal with the sinner.

God calls men to preach. “And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us (men) for to preach the gospel unto them.” [Acts 16:10]

God enables the man to preach. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me.” [1 Timothy 1:12a]

God puts the man into the ministry. [1 Timothy 1:12b] “for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”

God does not remove His calling. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” [Romans 11:29]

The Lord has established another principle that will be in operation in the life of the man who is called to preach the word of God. In I Corinthians chapter 11, verses 19 we find: “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”

The promise to you men who are called to preach may not be recognized by the brethren because of times we live in. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” [2 Timothy 3:1]

God will do the approving!

The Lord will make known his hand is on you to preach in spite of the Nicolatians in our midst. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” [2 Timothy 4:2]

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15]
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” [Acts 5:42]

“And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” [Acts 10:42]

“Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.” [Acts 17:3]

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.” [2 Corinthians 4:5]

“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:” [Philippians 1:15-16]

“What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” [Philippians 1:18]

If the LORD has “called” you, then you will be “enabled”. This enabling may come five years or even many years later. Just be patient! Here is the promise from God. “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” [1 Thessalonians 5:24] Amen!

“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” [1 Peter 1:25] Amen! Amen! Amen!

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