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I was wonder why the A.M.E. Church can uphold some laws that our within or Disipline and not all of them? The Disipline states that if a Minister in the A.M.E. Church has been married before, divorces, and re-marries while the first wife is still living, his orders shall be revoked and the Bible says that tis is Adultry. It just seems that we will govern ourselves to the book when it comes to money, electing officers, and things of that nature; but we don't uphold it concerning certain Spiritual aspects.

-- Anonymous, November 04, 2003


I think the discipline contains a ton of archaic language that desperately needs to be updated. This is an interesting statement because it does not address ministers who are women and many of whom have also divorced and remarried. So I guess I don't understand why the discipline has not been updated to accomodate the changes within the denomination.

-- Anonymous, November 04, 2003

In I Timothy 3:2 and 12, we read: "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach..." (v. 2).

"Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well" (v. 12).

These verses teach that a "bishop" (a. overseer of one of Christ's flocks) and/or a "deacon" must be the husband of one wife.

Some good Christians think these verses simply teach that a pastor or a deacon must be the husband of one wife at a time. They think these verses do not prohibit a man who has been divorced from serving as a pastor or as a deacon. Most of Christendom, however, holds that a pastor or deacon must be one who has never experienced the sorrow and tragedy of divorce.

This does not mean divorced persons cannot serve in the church. Although the offices of "bishop" and "deacon" may be closed to the divorced man, there are many ways in which a divorced Christian can serve Christ in positions which do not require ordination. Our own church has people who have experienced divorce serving as teachers, counselors, and workers throughout our ministry. We use them in every way possible for the glory of Christ and the satisfaction of the yearning in their souls to serve Him.

Ordained positions may be closed for those who have suffered divorce, but God can and does use divorced persons. Many are excellent witnesses for the Lord, lay-evangelists, church workers, and missionaries (ordained positions are not the only tasks performed in the mission field--some mission boards use divorced persons in full- time Christian service in engineering; construction; program production for radio and television outreach; writing, printing, and distribution of literature; medical services; teaching; administrative and clerical positions, etc.).

When someone has truly repented of any sin or sins--whether that person has been or is divorced, married, or never married--God will forgive for Christ's sake and will use that person, within the boundaries of what He has laid down in His Word. He wants to use each Christian to serve Him to his/her utmost. Although some doors are closed, he will open other doors of service, and it is important for us as brothers and sisters in Christ to remember that God's Word teaches forgiveness, acceptance, and blessings for all who turn to him and are willing to serve Him.

-- Anonymous, November 04, 2003

Check the 2000 Discipline, Page 347 titled Divorce: The first paragraph here applies to: "Any minister, preacher, or exhorter or any lay member . . . . . . . shall be expelled. . .". This seems to forbid bigamy since it does not mention "Divorce", and since the next paragraph says: "Any lay member who shall legally divorce . . . ." - the operative word is "legally divorce". Needless to say this section on Divorce is not only ambiguous but also unenforceable. I dare say most of our churches are in no position to expell anyone!

-- Anonymous, November 04, 2003


If you read 1 Corinthians 7, you will see that although God does not really permit divorce, either party is free to leave, under the admonition not to re-marry in the case of two believers. If a minister gets a divorce that is not in line with God's law (marital infidelity OR the divorcing spouse is a believer), that minister is FORBIDDEN to re-marry.

You are right in stating that we don't enforce this law. If we did, you would be shocked at how many pastors and PEs we would have to replace.

Now as to whether or not a divorced person can serve as an ordained minister:

Who better to help those overcome the pain and anguish involved in a divorce than one who has gone through themselves?

-- Anonymous, November 05, 2003

It has been my experience that many officials in the church only enforce portions of the Discipline that are to their benefit, not the entire book. It is also true that many, many portions of the book need to be updated and/or re-written. The entire book needs to be brought into the 21st century.

-- Anonymous, November 06, 2003

It is a pleasure for me to walk into a church (AME or otherwise) and see a pastor and his/her family living in accordance with the Gospel in this day and time. It reinforces to me that the Word of God is real. It gives me hope that my offspring will believe the Word of God when it is her time to search for a spouse, that she will live under His Word with her husband for a lifetime. Even today, when only one- third of marriages work, we can see God working. Indeed, it is a blessing.

It is discouraging when a pastor has been married and divorced, with some married and divorced numerous times. It makes me wonder what part of the bible do they believe? Do they pick and choose? Obviously, they do not believe that they be sober and the husband of one wife. I wonder what were they thinking when they took their marriage vows? Did they not take into consideration their vow before God? What did it mean to them? What of the children from the other marriages? It is too sad. They chose to be a part of the world in that one siginificant act.

I do not mean to be too critical, because I still love and respect them. I, myself, am a divorcee. But still in the back of my mind I always have those thoughts when I meet divorced pastors.

-- Anonymous, November 07, 2003

Mary: it seems you are holding the pastors to a different standard. Should not Lay folk be held to that standard also? Each denomination has the responsibility to establish its standards for those who are ministers. The assumption is that the standards is based on the Word of God as they see and understand it. Not all denominations have the same standards as you know, but each has to believe they are acting on God's word; otherwise they are just faking it. The authority to establish standards can be based on what Jesus told Peter: "What you bind on earth, I will bind in heaven, and what you loose on earth, I will loose in heaven."

I suggest the minister is obligated to live holy before the people with all his/her heart mind and strength. Where the minister falls short, God's grace and mercy will suffice. The people should not expect perfection in their minister; they can expect the minister to strive for perfection, leaning on the everlasting arms. Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, November 07, 2003

Rev. Paris:

The Word of God is the Word of God. The bible is very specific here. It's not stammering nor stuttering.

1Tim.3 [1] The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task.

[2] Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher, [3] no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and no lover of money. [4] He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; [5] for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God's church? [6] He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil; [7] moreover he must be well thought of by outsiders, or he may fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. [8] Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for gain;

[9] they must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. [10] And let them also be tested first; then if they prove themselves blameless let them serve as deacons. [11] The women likewise must be serious, no slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things. [12] Let deacons be the husband of one wife, and let them manage their children and their households well; [13] for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. [14] I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that,

[15] if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. [16] Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

There is a cost to following Jesus. Please read Matthew 19 where Jesus spoke of divorce. In those days, as now, the "Pharisees" put their wives a way when someone else came along. Jesus knew the hypocrisy and lust in their hearts and addressed the situation dead on. There is no stammering or mutterings here. He tells them they divorced their wives because their "hearts were hard." When Jesus disciple questioned what He said, Jesus responded with "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given."

In Matthew 16, verse 24 Jesus said if anyone would come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. It seems to me if this is the case, then we must follow the teachings of Jesus as well.

Yes Rev. Paris, I do hold the clergy to a higher standard because they were called by God and ordained to do a specific work. And it doen't matter what I think because the Word of God holds pastors to a higher standard.

Yes, I have a work to do also, but I am not in the pulpit. I don't think pastors understand what exactly a congregation must go through when we have to deal with a pastor and "his wives and children from various marriages." In some instances you actually have to duck certain reverends and their spouses because the first (ex) Mrs. Applesauce is in the same district with the current Mrs. Applesauce, the spouse of Rev. Applesauce. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by saying the wrong thing or looking the wrong way. It's too confusing and God is not in confusion.

The reason we seek after Christ is for a better way. We are not perfect but strive for perfection. I do not want a divorced pastor cancelling me on divorce. I want a pastor (female or male) who has learned to live through the difficulties of marriage to cancel me on how to stay married. When I was in kindergarten and failing miserably at a little dance step, my mother told the teacher, "teacher her how to suceed, not fail." If wer are to be the church then we need to be the church and stop accepting everything! We need success teachers and conselors. Yes, we need divorce counselors as well because that is the state of affairs of the world today. But then we know Christ overcame the world, don't we.

-- Anonymous, November 07, 2003

Mary opines -

" In some instances you actually have to duck certain reverends and their spouses because the first (ex) Mrs. Applesauce is in the same district with the current Mrs. Applesauce, the spouse of Rev. Applesauce. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by saying the wrong thing or looking the wrong way. It's too confusing and God is not in confusion."

Rev. & Mrs. Applesauce?? Now that is a pretty amusing way of describing a hypothetical couple :-) Actually, I have less of a concern with the "ex" as opposed to the "present". What I'm about to say will probably ruffle some feathers (this hasn't stopped me before) but it is germane to this thread. The role of the "first lady" in our churches sure has changed since the days of my youth. Spouses appear to be less-involved in church matters today compared to their counterparts 20-30 years ago. I wonder why? QED

-- Anonymous, November 07, 2003

Bill Dickens mentioned the fact that the role of the "First Lady" of the church has changed and he has noticed that many first ladies are less involved in the church today, as opposed to 20-30 years ago. Brother Dickens wonders why. Well, there are a number of reasons why. There is an increase in the number of pastors who are either not married or divorced. Also, there is a chance in the social dynamic of women today as compared to 20-30 years ago. For example, many women 20-30 years ago and beyond were homemakers who didn't have careers outside the home. Their husband's "career" or "ministry" was everything to them. Now you have women with education and their own careers and their own ministries, so their lives are parallel with their husbands, as oppposed to in the shadows of their husbands. Pastors who are married should have wives that are "called" to the role of first lady, because that role is a "calling". Why do I say that? The title "first lady" is a stressful title. "First ladies" have to deal with as much stress and turmoil as the pastor, and they have to be committed to their husbands and the work of their husbands and must see beyond the turmoil. Some "first ladies" cannot handle the turmoil, so in order to stay married, many choose to emotionally divorce themselves from the turmoil to remain sane. This gives the onlookers the appearance of being "less involved". Many "first ladies" have also said that, socially, they "cannot win". If you are fully-involved and vocal, you are viewed as trying to "take over" the pastor's role. If you are "less involved" and "have a life", you are viewed as someone who doesn't "care". I feel that the best thing that a "first lady" can do is pray for her God-ordained role in the church, not the role that the people "tell" her she should have, but she should pray for the role that God wants her to have. That role may not be missionary president or director of the children's choir or the daycare center. That role may not be a high-profile role but a behind-the-scenes role. Or, the role may be more high-profile, such as a calling to the ministry. God may even call her to another denomination, yet still be in partnership with her husband's ministry. Who knows? Once the "first lady" prays to God for her role, she will have very few problems. God bless you.

-- Anonymous, November 08, 2003

One pastor's opinion: My wife is MY first lady. Her role in the church is the same as any other member, except that she by her choice will not hold any office; as nay lay person can choose not to hold office. As my first lady, she ministers to me so that I will be able to minister to the flock of God. This works well for us, but I realize it might not be best for others. A True Story: I bought my first lady a mink coat. One young woman in the church approached me and informed me that she thought it was in bad taste for the "First Lady" to wear a fur coat when not all of the members could afford mink. I thanked her for her input and politely informed her that my first lady deserved to wear fur and whatever my salary could afford. (She is still amember and now very much appreciates the limited role my wife plays in the church. Some of our pastors would find that by keeping the spouse's role as spouse only their ability to serve the flock of God is greatly enhanced. BTW, if you place the pastor and spouse on a pedestal, they surely will fall; if not actually, surely in the minds of some.

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, November 08, 2003

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