Can divorce be a pastor or deacon?

Can divorce become a pastor or deacon?   71 votes

  1. 1. Can divorce become a pastor or deacon?

    • Yes
      21
    • no
      49
    • not sure
      1

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102 posts in this topic

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If a pastor can't control his family, how can he lead the congregation. 1 Timothy3:4-5
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5

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My Dad, who has been a Baptist deacon most of my life, has been divorced. My mother had an affair, and a baby, when he was overseas. I myself am divorced for much the same reason. I have no doubt that God never intended for divorce to be practiced as it is in our society. If marriage was still "under" the Church and not the government I think things would be much different today.



I can see where it would be a touchy issue with you, and i sympathize, but based on scripture I must respectfully disagree. I think the vast volume of scripture is clear that there is no reason for a Christian to divorce and to do so at any time is a disqualification to be a deacon or a pastor. Also in the NT Christ and the church is compared to a husband and wife relationship. Think what it would be like if Christ "divorced" us for unfaithfulness to him :eek . There would go eternal security of the believer :eek . Fortunately scripture says "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself." :clap: We are his and nothing we do can change that. Thats what a biblical marriage is supposed to be like in my view. Grace and peace...

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I believe that this topic is one of the most misunderstood topics in the church today. Sad to say there are times even Christians get stuck in thier traditions.

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hmmm, never is a strong word.

99% of the time I think the man would be disqualified.

My answer is the same as John R. Rices:

Dr. John Rice says in his Book, DR. RICE HERE ARE MORE QUESTIONS, p339-340;

"I believe that any of these major sins (wrong divorce, drunkenness, murder, etc.) can be forgiven and are forgiven when there is honest repentance. Then when God has forgiven and when one has done all he can do to repudiate and undo the sins of the past (which of course, can never be undone entirely and sometimes not at all), and when he has taken time to live it down and proved himself a dependable, trustworthy Christian so that his usefulness is not hindered by the past, then he might do whatever God calls him to do and whatever God's people trust him to do....I do not believe in passing a rule that one who has ever been drunk can never be a deacon or preacher; likewise, I do not believe in passing a rule that one who has ever been divorced cannot be a deacon or preacher. And my reason is very simple; there is no such rule in the Bible."

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Seth, thank you for the comment, I appreciate the consideration even if we do not agree - Consider though you say the Bible says never - please read -
Mat 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Wayne

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If the husband did rule his own house and loves his wife but she refused to submit and obedience and decided to divorce even he did best as he can to deal with his wife. She went to another man. Then he married to second wife, he rule house well & loves his wife and she does submit and obedience than with the first wife. It is a blessing in second marriage than the first marriage. He still can be a pastor. It is a present tense not past tense according to I Timothy 3:1-5.

Smile! God loves you all!!

in the precious blood of Christ,

Evan57 :ears: w/o hear

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Posted · Report post

Loopholes are fun.

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Loopholes are fun.

Grace is even funner.

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:goodpost:

Wayne

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Seth, thank you for the comment, I appreciate the consideration even if we do not agree - Consider though you say the Bible says never - please read -
Mat 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.


I figured you might mention that verse :saint . In my opinion the answer to that lies in the context. This question is referred to in three of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Mathew is the only one of the three to insert the clause "except for forniction". This is what the other two say:

Mark 10:2-9 "And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."


Luke16:18 "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery".


Now is their any significance to this? I think so, the significance is that the book of Matthew was written to the Jews as a primary target audience. Therefore in Mathew many things that are mentioned assume that the reader knows the customs of the Jews, unlike the other Gospels where they often explain things that were Jewish customs. The Jews custom was that at the betrothal period the couple was married legally. Then after a period of time the groom would officially "come" for the bride and after that the marriage would be consummated. An example of this is Joseph and Mary, Joseph would have to have "divorced" Mary legally even though they had not yet consummated the marriage. Thats why the angel told Joseph "fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife". What Jesus was teaching the Jews was that they could brake betrothal for fornication. Thats why it isn't in the Gospels written to the gentiles in my opinion. No such custom. Note that if he had said that it was ok to "put away" a wife as we mean it, he would have fallen right into their trap. The common schools of thought at that time were that a man could either "put away" his wife for any reason he felt like, or that he could put her away only for serious offences. No popular school of thought in that day took the position that Jesus took. You can see that by the shocked statement from the disciples a few verses later. You can also see that from the Pharisees failure to trap him as they planned. And finally note that since the OT penalty for adultery was death, not divorce, it would seem inconsistent to recommend divorce as we know it in Matthew considering they were still under OT law. Grace and peace...

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Seth,

First, I find it very strange that you say the comment was "inserted" in Matthew.
Second, all the Gospels differ in that they show the same events from different perspectives - not different facts. This would indicate that Matthew heard the comment whereas the others did not. It does not mean it was not said. Your view implies less information means a more valid point - hardly logical.
Third, you correctly state the Books that address the issue, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. You go on to say the difference is significant because Matthew was written to target a Jewish audience. Hmmm - so was Mark and Luke.
You also state, "What Jesus was teaching the Jews was that they could brake betrothal for fornication." ---- Hmm - needless to say you can not back this up with Scripture.
You continue with, "Thats why it isn't in the Gospels written to the gentiles in my opinion. No such custom." --- Hmm - I think you need to bone up on your history. Many cultures of that region not only had, but still have , that tradition. Additionally, ALL the Gospels are "written" for Jew and Gentile alike.
As to "common schools of thought" there was no such animal. Not only did the Pharisees and Sadducees disagree but at the time of Jesus the Halakah itself was in a state of flux and was not "set in stone". In fact there were many disputes at the time between the Bet Hillel and the Bet Shammai. Jesus often surprised those around Him because He could posit a Pharisees opinion to a Sadducee and they couldn't denounce Him for it. He was that smart! That's one reason He blew them away - He knew their doctrines better than they did!
Lastly, a point which I will grant some may debate. You state, "And finally note that since the OT penalty for adultery was death, not divorce, it would seem inconsistent to recommend divorce as we know it in Matthew considering they were still under OT law." Not true, the OT ended with John the Baptist.

I will respectfully agree to disagree. :wink

Wayne

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First, I find it very strange that you say the comment was "inserted" in Matthew.
Second, all the Gospels differ in that they show the same events from different perspectives - not different facts.


It is a fact that the different Gospels referring to the same event do not always mention the same things. Not that they contradict, not that any are wrong, just that the don't all give the exact same info. There are a lot of examples of that.


ALL the Gospels are "written" for Jew and Gentile alike.


No argument there but I Cor. was written with the Corinthian church in mind and addressed there issues, that's all I am saying here. I am getting ready to go to church so I don't have time to address all the points you mentioned but if I can I will try to get around to them tomorrow evening. Grace and peace...

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It is interesting discussion about this issue. It is wonderful how God put each one of you have same beliefs and different beliefs. Just use your common sense with bible verses and God's help you to understand the word of God. I stand what the Bible says. I do believe God has mercy and grace and give them chance to serve the Lord than ever before. God allows it happen the help them to learn from their experiences and get second chance. For example:
John Mark went with Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary. Then he ran back to his home. After Paul and Barnabas' first missionary, Barnabas was planning to take John Mark to go on a missionary trip second chance but Paul disagree. Paul saying that "John Mark fail 1st time and will fail again". Barnabas went ahead to take John Mark. Paul took Silas to go his second missionary trip. Later, Paul noticed Barnabas and John Mark were successful missionary. Paul realized that Barnabas is right.
Today there are many pastors/believers like Paul don't give believers second chance. Why can't divorced believers(if wives left their husbands) get a second chance?? Pastors/believers should give them second chance.
"Blessed be the name of the Lord!" :amen:

Evan57 :ears: w/o hear

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It is interesting discussion about this issue. It is wonderful how God put each one of you have same beliefs and different beliefs. Just use your common sense with bible verses and God's help you to understand the word of God. I stand what the Bible says. I do believe God has mercy and grace and give them chance to serve the Lord than ever before. God allows it happen the help them to learn from their experiences and get second chance. For example:
John Mark went with Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary. Then he ran back to his home. After Paul and Barnabas' first missionary, Barnabas was planning to take John Mark to go on a missionary trip second chance but Paul disagree. Paul saying that "John Mark fail 1st time and will fail again". Barnabas went ahead to take John Mark. Paul took Silas to go his second missionary trip. Later, Paul noticed Barnabas and John Mark were successful missionary. Paul realized that Barnabas is right.
Today there are many pastors/believers like Paul don't give believers second chance. Why can't divorced believers(if wives left their husbands) get a second chance?? Pastors/believers should give them second chance.
"Blessed be the name of the Lord!" :amen:

Evan57 :ears: w/o hear


I certainly believe in second chances. I also would say, however, that when you are depending on someone for something important and they failed you the first time, you would be well advised to be careful and weigh such a decision carefully. Personally, I would certainly hope that I would forgive someone who failed me in a serious matter no matter what it cost me. But it could be a case of bad judgment, and, depending upon what is riding on it, a case of gross irresponsibility to put oneself a second time into the hands of someone who has proved to be unreliable in the past. That is especially true if the risk is not just to oneself but to others (like a ministry or an organization or your family etc.). I think at a minimum in cases of great failure and great let-downs I personally would have to have substantial reason to believe that the person in question had "changed" for the better. Since this is something that almost never happens in my experience, I would imagine that while I would be happy to forgive in such a circumstance, I would be highly unlikely to put any weight upon a reed which had already proved to be incapable of bearing the load. It is always a risky business to put trust in human beings in any case (compare our Lord's policy: Jn.2:24-25). Like the old saying goes, "In God we trust - all others pay cash". Another saying very apropos of this is "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me".

But I'm not all that sure that any of this applies to the "divorced pastor" scenario. It might; but it might not. First of all, we are assuming that anyone who has been divorced is necessarily in the wrong somehow. That is decidedly not the case. No one can control what their partner will do. In many instances, it is a case of the other party leaving. You can't stop someone else from leaving. Or a case of the other party being unfaithful. No one should be held to the demonstrably non-biblical standard that we are somehow bound to stay in a marriage where the other party is cheating (cf. Jesus' words in Matt.5:32 "saving for the cause of fornication"). Or a case of some sort of outrageously sinful, abusive or criminal behavior. There are some patterns of behavior which make it impossible to stay under the same roof with someone else no matter how committed to the marriage and to the Lord a person may be. In all such instances, the worst charge that may be laid at the feet of the person who has the marriage "divorced out from under them" is that of bad judgment. And even here we have to be careful. A person who has always exercised sound judgment in matters of romance would be so rare as to be unbelievable. Secondly, while people almost never change for the good, it is sadly not uncommon for them to change for the worse, and also not uncommon to let their true colors show only after a marriage has been contracted. In such instances even the charge of bad judgment would not apply.

The question of whether or not a person ought to be (or ought to have been) allowed to remarry after a divorce is a more difficult question to answer. My own feelings on this are pretty clear. While there are occasions where this would be permissible in my view according to biblical standards, it is better to remain single (especially given the history of what one has suffered and experienced). But if someone has already remarried, then in my view, since without a Spanish inquisition into all the sordid details of their past lives we on the outside really have no idea of whether or not there was a biblical right to remarry (let alone a knowledge of all the other pertinent and private details), it is far better to leave that question between them and the Lord. Once a marriage has been contracted, it is a marriage, so that from that point forward all of our speculation is fruitless and really only so much gossip. That is because, once married, said persons fall again under the biblical principles of not divorcing (except according to the same strictures already discussed). One of the worst things a person can do is to commit to a marriage, then in a fit of guilt about the marriage being appropriate in God's eyes go on to dissolve that marriage of their own otherwise un-coerced free will. This is a horrible thing to do to the other party, the children, the family, and the worst thing about it is that such cruelty and irresponsibility is done in the name of God.

In terms of pastors, if a church is contemplating hiring a pastor, they certainly have the right to consider his marital status. I suppose they have a right to ask him about any divorce(s) he may have had. He certainly has a right to tell them it's none of their business. And they certainly have a right not to hire him (or to overlook it). I wouldn't want to get any more dogmatic than that.

I am really uncomfortable about even being in the position of "weighing in" on somebody else's marital history. If it is ungodly, then almost certainly there will be other clear indications that the person is ungodly and someone not to be associated with. If it is perfectly fine (or if they made a mistake but are essentially a good Christian, well, we all have to live with mistakes we have made, and sometimes they are large indeed), then the person's spiritual walk will vindicate them. We always have to be very careful about playing referee when it comes so someone else's life and walk with the Lord. This particular issue, especially in our day and age, is bound to be a problematic one. Best not to make it any worse than it is.

In terms of second chances, therefore, scripture tells me that thinking about marriage as a "chance" (i.e., I suppose a chance for "happiness"), is a bit misguided. Marriage brings tribulation, not happiness (1Cor.7:28b-35). Our culture teaches us that romantic love is the secret to being happy in life, but that is, in my considered opinion, a myth which is not born out by the Bible. I am thrilled for people who are not only married but happy being married. That is wonderful indeed. In my view that only proves that "nothing is impossible for God". But to become over-fixated upon marriage as any kind of a goal or any part of one's view of what ought to constitute a "normal" Christian life is to misread scripture entirely.

Love,
Madeline

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Ok, now I have a little more time :smug: .

Third, you correctly state the Books that address the issue, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. You go on to say the difference is significant because Matthew was written to target a Jewish audience. Hmmm - so was Mark and Luke.



A simple web search brought this up from this site: http://www.lifeofchrist.com/life/gospels/print.asp I won't vouch for the whole site but this page seems accurate as far as a quick look will tell anyway.


"Matthew was written to Jews who were familiar with Old Testament prophecy. Jewish customs were not explained in this gospel. Matthew often mentioned the Law of Moses. The book of Mark was probably written for Romans. Mark often explained Jewish words, customs, and places. He used Roman time rather than Hebrew time. And he translated some words into Latin. Luke wrote the third gospel and the book of Acts. Both were addressed to a man whose name meant "one who loves God." Jewish customs and places in Palestine are often explained in Luke."


As to "common schools of thought" there was no such animal. Not only did the Pharisees and Sadducees disagree but at the time of Jesus the Halakah itself was in a state of flux and was not "set in stone". In fact there were many disputes at the time between the Bet Hillel and the Bet Shammai.


Those two Beth hillel & Beth Shammai were what I was mainly refering to when I said "the common schools of thought" . A quick search found this quote:

"Beth Shammai say: a man should not divorce his wife unless he has found her guilty of some unseemly conduct, as it says, because he hath found some unseemly thing in her. Beth Hillel, however say [that he may divorce her] even if she has merely spoilt his food, since it says, because he hath found some unseemly thing in her. R. Akiba says [he may divorce her] even if he finds another woman more beautiful than she is, as it says, it cometh to pass, if she find no favour in his eyes."


Lastly, a point which I will grant some may debate. You state, "And finally note that since the OT penalty for adultery was death, not divorce, it would seem inconsistent to recommend divorce as we know it in Matthew considering they were still under OT law." Not true, the OT ended with John the Baptist.


LOL, I don't think I need to debate that "point". :frog :bonk:

Grace and peace...

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Seth, You imply Mark and Luke were primarilty apostles for the gentiles - the Bible says different.
You go on to state, "And he translated some words into Latin." Hmm - I loved to see where you found an original text. Which still wouldn't change the audience.

Also, the phrase "common schools of thought" is contradictory to your own explaination - they taught different things and thus can not hold a belief "in common".

Wayne

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Also, the phrase "common schools of thought" is contradictory to your own explaination - they taught different things and thus can not hold a belief "in common".



"Schools" is plural lol. Meaning TWO common beliefs. Thus the whole entrapment attempt. I could go on but really, I think I have said enough on this thread. More probably would not be edifying. I don't care to debate for its own sake. Grace and peace...

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I agree. If you take the whole Bible and not just one passage' date=' I can't see how it can't mean anything other than "Husband of one wife".[/quote']

I agree too. Certainly a person who is divorced may still serve God if they are right with God (ex. confessed and repented of cheating or other possible sin on their part as cause for divorce if applicable) but not in the capacity of a pastor or elder according to the qualifications the Bible has stated.

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Well, I'm sure many will debate whether the term "husband of one wife" implies that divorced people are disqualified from the two church offices or not. You can use all the Biblical Greek, or other stuff, but here's why I believe divorced people cannot be pastors/deacons.

Pastors and deacons requirements include: Good testimony before BOTH non-Christians (1 Timothy 3:7) and Christians (1 Timothy 3:2) alike. Now, we all know divorce is not Biblical, nor was it intended by God at all (Matthew 9:6).

Aren't we grumbling about the trend of rising divorce rates across the world? (In USA it's 50%, in Singapore 30%) If that were so, how can we give a good testimony to the world - by proclaiming the stupidity of divorce and the importance of strong marriages - when we endorse or permit divorced people to be the very elders of the church? What would the unsaved think of a church that has divorced church leaders? And, what would the members of that local church think of if that was to happen? Wouldn't divorced pastors/deacons, who should by right, be the best example of a godly believer, be of a bad example for church members to follow?

That is why I believe divorced people cannot be pastors/deacons.

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When a leader in the church gets divorced, whatever the reason, it will impact the church in a negative way if said leader is allowed to remain in that position.

Forgiveness and restoration is vital if the persons involved have repented. But restoration to the leadership role is not to be, according to the qualifications that God has listed. There are disqualified pastors in pulpits all over the country now, and it is doing nothing but harm to Christianity. Yes, going through something like that is hard, and a person can grow from it if they allow God to teach them. They can also help other people to see the error of going that way. But they cannot shepherd a flock correctly.

I know of churches where this has happened and the divorce rate in those churches has gone up, not down. Why? Because there is no real conviction to preaching against divorce if the man in the pulpit is divorced - regardless of the reason! You cannot do it.

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Ok, let's see...what I am reading thus far is that no one could be a pastor or a deacon. Because, after all, all sin is "un-biblical". And indeed that is even more true than in the case of divorce, because there are biblically acceptable reasons for divorce (Jesus mentions unfaithfulness), but there is no biblical excuse for sin. Therefore since sin sets a bad example, no one who sins would be qualified to be a pastor or a deacon. I think this is a question of degrees. On the one hand, we don't want to say that a person's past is out of bounds for consideration of any sort. But on the other hand, we don't want to make the primary basis of our evaluation of a pastor his ability to past a very strictly legalistic test. That will only ensure that the particular sins he has and is committing are well covered over. It will not ensure that he is a an able teacher of the Bible (the one essential reason we need him in the first place).

Well, I have a similar objection to this one. This argument assumes that divorce is always wrong according to scripture, and also that divorce disqualifies a person from being in the ministry (which, as I pointed out before, is not anywhere in the Bible). According to this standard, we would apparently have eliminate Moses from ministry, for example, if we wanted to hew to this legalistic line. As to "preaching against divorce", in my view a pastor-teacher should "preach" what is in the Bible. He should help his flock understand precisely what is in the scripture on all subjects through the entire realm of doctrine and theology, and should certainly not get hung up on a few areas like love and marriage which titillate the audience but do not produce spiritual growth. "Preaching for/against" certain behaviors that have captured the attention of the pastor or the congregation or the society as a whole is, in my view, a terrible mistake. If a pastor-teacher follows this course, it will no doubt bring more people in (out interest, guilt, fireworks, etc.), but in the end these people are not going to be fed the Word of God - they are merely going to be entertained (much as polemical talk shows entertain rather than inform; the former is interesting, while the latter tends to bore people even though it is much better for them). This is a terrible waste under the best of conditions. On the doorstep of the Tribulation, it is a travesty for which I personally would shudder to have to answer for when I stand before our Lord on that great day of days.

Love,
Madeline

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<< 1 Timothy 3 >>


1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5

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I chatted with my friend about the divorced to be a pastor issue last Saturday.

I believe divorced can become pastor if:
1. He did his best as he can to get his wife reconcile to him but she left her husband to marry another man. It was not his fault. After his wife married to another man, he then found another woman and got marry.
2. He was divorced while he was unsaved that he didn't know what was right and wrong about divorce. Then he got saved and got married to godly woman.
3. His wife passed away then he married to godly woman.
All three that the divorced man does rule his own house well and prove his good report of work in the ministry of the IFB for the Lord before he can enter the pastor/deacon position.
I know most of you prefer the 3rd. I also strongly support the third.

I do not approve divorced man if:
1. He married and divorced twice or more.
2. He left his wife to marry another woman.
3. He involved adultery and fornication.

Don't you agree with this?
I know most of you don't agree with me about allow divorced to become a pastor. That is discouraged innocent divorced man want to serve the Lord to preach and teach God's words who loves the Lord God Almighty. You can't blame divorced man who didn't do anything wrong.

Evan57 :ears: w/o hear

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I AM REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT OUR PREACHER, HE WILL NOT TELL US HOW MANY TIMES HE HAS BEEN MARRIED. I GUESS SOMEONE KNOWS. IT MAY BE AS MANY AS THREE MARRIAGE AND I ALSO DO NOT KNOW IF ANY ARE LIVING? I AM A MEMBER AND DO NOT WANT TO FOLLOW HIM IF HE SHOULD NOT BE THEIR BY LAW OF THE BIBLE. CAN SOME ONE PLEASE HELP ME? THANKS LANA

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Well, if the preacher is unwilling to answer the simple question of how many times he's been married then there is something wrong right there.

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