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Topic: Church Government

Married Leaders

by Darrel Cline

We have been questioning the value of the practice of religion that is disobedient to the Word of God. (177) We have argued that church leadership is a super-critical issue of obedience to the Word of God. In one of these articles (181) we raised two questions about this issue of leadership in light of Paul's command that churches have local, multiple, married, male leadership. The first question was: Does Paul's requirement eliminate a man who is not married and has no family? The second question was: What does God's requirement mean in light of the amazing demand by some churches that the leadership be unmarried?

The first question was answered in terms of probabilities: it is improbable that Paul had it in mind to eliminate a man from leadership just because he was unmarried. However, the fact that he called for a family man who had proven his skill in leadership in his home is powerful evidence that Paul did not expect very many church leaders to be unmarried. In fact, we could say that Paul actually expected church leaders to be married as the natural state of church leaders under God's original mandate to man to have a wife and to multiply and fill the earth.

That brings us to the second question: What does God's requirement that church leadership consist of married family men mean in light of the amazing demand by some so-called churches that the leadership be unmarried?

The easiest way to answer that is to let Paul address the issue himself. In the same letter in which he required church leadership to be local married men with children, he wrote: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." (Look it up; it's in 1 Timothy 4:1-3.)

The matter of first importance is this is an utterance of the Spirit of God. This means that it is true. The matter of second importance is the words forbidding and commanding. These words indicate that the Spirit is addressing the fact that it will be leaders in so-called churches who are creating policy. The only way things can be forbidden or commanded is by those in authority. The matter of third importance is the words giving heed to seducing spirits. This means that the demand for remaining unmarried is coming from a false spirit (the Bible in this place calls such teachings the doctrines of devils) which is seductive. This simply means that it will have an enormously deceitful appeal to those who wish to be in leadership position. And, in fact, that is exactly what it has because we are told today that those who remain unmarried are more holy and spiritual than the married believer and ought to be submitted to by reason of this supposed superiority in spirituality. However, it comes from demonic sources.

So, God's Word speaks. Of what value is religion without obedience?

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This is article #182.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.