IIIa.2. Does Divorce Disqualify a Man from the Pastorate? Case 2

Question:  Our preacher’s wife divorced him for another man. Can he remain in the ministry as a pastor?

Answer: Your pastor fulfilled the qualification of being married to occupy the position of Pastor. 1 Timothy 3:2 states, in part, that he must be “…the husband of one wife…” Since the divorce was pursued by his wife for another man; that would be considered adultery. Since your pastor is the innocent party, I do not see any reason for him to abandon God’s calling because of his wife’s sin. She is the one who walked out on the Lord because of the...

“…lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes…” (1 John 2:16)

Romans 14:12, speaking of our own responsibility to the Lord, says,

 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

Your pastor is not responsible for his wife’s actions. She must give account to God for her unfaithfulness herself.

The problem that arises out of a situation such as this is; that, many times the people of the church will be divided over whose fault this was. There are so many things that one may never know about the situation unless you were a “little spy” in their home 24 hours a day. Some may say the pastor mistreated his wife; as a result, forcing her into the arms of another man. Others may be convinced she was running around while they were still married, as she showed signs of disinterest in the Lord’s work. In this particular case, let us assume that the pastor was a loving husband, faithful to his calling, and knew nothing about his wife’s extra-marital affair until the divorce. I know a wonderful pastor that I went to college with, who endured this kind of trouble. He is still in the ministry.

Back to our original question, “Should the innocent pastor resign his pastorate because of his wife’s adultery and institution of the divorce?” I do not believe he should forsake his calling because his wife has forsaken hers. Romans 11:29 tells us,

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

 “Repentance," here, is the Greek word “ametameletos” and means “irrevocable.”

Now the question becomes, “Should he remain at his present church; or, assume a pastorate in another church?” I do not believe anyone except the Pastor can make this decision. I personally would never advise a pastor to stay, or go, in a situation like this. If I knew this pastor well I would try my best to comfort him, knowing his heart is broken; giving him the assurance that the Lord has not walked out, or forsaken him, as his wife has done. Hebrews 13:5b, 6 reminds us,

“…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

 I may only make a few suggestions to my friend. (1). Meet with your deacons, relate the truth of the situation and see what their feelings are. (2). Meet with the congregation and do the same. (3). Talk with the Lord and seek His guidance and peace in determining whether you should stay or seek another pastorate or another avenue of ministry. (4). No one can give you the final direction and peace, but the Lord.


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