"A One-Woman Man"

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by raekwon, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. Married men (who've only been married once)

  2. Justifiably divorced men who have not re-married

  3. Justifiably divorced men who have re-married

  4. Widowers who have not re-married

  5. Widowers who have re-married

  6. Men who have never been married

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    Stemming from the female deacons thread...

    May a divorced man fill the office of Elder or Deacon?
    How about a widower?
    How about a single man?
    (See the poll.)

    Why or why not?


    (GRR... messed up the poll. The second to last option is supposed to say "Widowers who have re-married." Can a mod edit that for me?)
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  2. J. David Kear

    J. David Kear Puritan Board Freshman

    I did not vote because I believe that being a "one women man" means a man who has a current and proven lifestyle of faithfulness to his spouse if he has one. In which case none of these choices are necessarily ruled out.
  3. Presbyterian Deacon

    Presbyterian Deacon Puritan Board Graduate

    The answer is:
  4. Contra Marcion

    Contra Marcion Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't agree with all of his teachings, but Douglas Wilson actually provides an excellent treatment of this topic in "Mother Kirk". Read with discernment, of course, but it's definately worth the read.

    He advocates the reading "one woman man", referring more to a character trait than to a "spouse count".

    I voted "all of the above", under the right circumstances.
  5. Dr Mike Kear

    Dr Mike Kear Puritan Board Freshman

    Which is why I voted for all of them (you can do that on this poll).
  6. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Husband of one wife means.... well... husband of one wife. Why would we want (or need) to complicate matters beyond the obvious.

    Married men (who've only been married once)
  7. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    I could see not allowing single Men who have never been married to hold the Office of Elder or Deacon. I think the ability to run a household is a significant prerequisite for Paul in electing Men for these offices.
  8. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor


    The context of the passage deals with the character of one's heart, not the compromises of one's history; about present spirituality, not past sin; about being a model of fidelity in the present, not about failures in one's past.

    I know pastors who experienced divorce as young men (left by their wives) who are 1 Tim 3:2 μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα exemplars. But, as in the case of one of my own mentors in ministry, I also know one man quite well who engaged in triple digit affairs (yes, more than 99 women!) over a decade and is still married (now in his mid 70s). The first case could be a "one woman man" despite a divorce; the second is a miserable failure as a "one woman man" despite his one 55 yr. marriage!

    I have always thought that the conservative Dr. Saucy pretty well dispensed with all of the exegetical options other than the following:
    BSac 131:523 (Jul 74), 229-240.
  9. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Where on earth do you get that? Not from scripture, bro. Paul and the Holy Spirit are niether one inarticulate. If there were other meanings than what is written, they would have been... uh... written. Why do we find a need to imbue the passage with meaning that it does not express? Please demonstrate this assertion from scripture.
  10. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Here's another question: If the determination of a man's qualifications as an officer of the church are a matter of the "character of one's heart" now, regardless of his past, rather than the God-ordained situation in which he abides, why are women barred from such office based solely upon the God-ordained situation in which they abide?
  11. goretorade

    goretorade Puritan Board Freshman

    what about a man who had an unjustifiably divorce...and later repented...but still remarried?
  12. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Was God not sovereign over that event?
  13. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    My RPCNA pastor said it was a one woman minded man. He even said an unmarried man could fill a position of Deacon or Elder. I would also include a man whose wife abandoned the family, she commits adultery, and then he remarries. He can still be a one woman minded man. Committed to one woman.

    And I know there are some who are not liking what I am saying here. Oh Well.

    I voted for all of the above.

    An unjustifiably remarried man is not ordination material.
  14. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Please don't be so strident with me, bro. At least give me the courtesy of explaining before you set off all of the alarms.

    1. The context of the passage in 1 Tim 3 deals with a number of behaviors that are disqualifying for the role of elder. If a biblically justified divorce at age 20 rules out a man from qualifying as elder at 40, then what of the other qualifications? Do you really want to say that 1 Tim 3 which was written to a congregation of relatively new Christians excludes all those who have had sin problems in the past with any of the following?

    Why would the Lord allow former drunks, former violent, for quarrelsome, former materialists to serve as elders and not the formerly divorced?

    Since the Scripture puts the "one woman man" qualification in the midst of a passage indicating that candidates for elder should be free of several other sinful patterns in the present (despite what they may have been guilty of in the past, Brad, it would seem that I got it from Scripture).

    2. I gave you a citation of a journal article which painstakingly works from the original to show how the VERY articulate Holy Spirit spoke through the VERY articulate Paul to present a VERY clear meaning for "mias gunaikos andra" (one woman man). If you take the time to look up the article you will see pages of reasons why the "clear" meaning of the passage is NOT identical with several popular misunderstandings.

    3. In the history of the church, we have a record of how this verse has been interpreted. The restrictive interpretation (must be married rather than single, may only be married once, no remarriage after widowhood, etc.) does not seem to be a fair reading of the text and has been discarded by most interpreters, not for reasons of counting hands, but for good reason. Incidentally, those who argue the restrictive view are forced to exclude childless elders.

    4. Jesus was not married, nor was Paul (certainly not when he wrote to the Corinthians and when he wished that "all" would be as he was). If the restrictive view were correct, Paul himself would be unqualified as an elder.

    Brad, I sincerely think that the Bible teaches a view lifting high the importance of elders as a model of fidelity in a world of loose living.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  15. gene_mingo

    gene_mingo Puritan Board Junior

    I voted A.

    I do have questions about everyones opinion.

    1)Would pre marital sex with a partner other than the final choice for wife bar a man from holding the office.
    2) What if the couple lived together for a period of time?

    And lastly,
    I know this thread is about divorced men and church office, but if one sticks to a plain reading of the text it would seem that children could also be included as qualification for office. Maybe topic for another thread?
  16. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    The question is not what does a "one woman man" sound like to me today. The issue is what did Paul intend to be understood by the phrase in 1 Timothy 3?

    The solidly Reformed Baker New Testament Commentary observes:
    In fact, Hendriksen and Kistemaker go on to call it "inexcusable" to change the meaning of the biblical text to make it say what it does not say (e.g., insisting on elders being married or remarriage after the death of a spouse).
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  17. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    [ame=http://youtube.com/watch?v=WnJsldTCT6I]YouTube - George Jones - One Woman Man[/ame]
  19. Dr Mike Kear

    Dr Mike Kear Puritan Board Freshman

  20. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor


    I'm not sure about Rev. Jones' exegesis. But, wow, those facial expressions are classic!
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Indeed. Arguably the greatest voice in country music, too.
  22. gene_mingo

    gene_mingo Puritan Board Junior

    I am not sure if the example is yours or Hendriksen and Kistemakers, but I would very humbly submit that Paul Says

    ESV (emphasis mine)

    When I read this it seems to me that Paul is plainly making marriage necessary for office.
  23. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I've heard that before. But that means that Paul himself was not qualified.
  24. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Could someone please articulate for me how a life-long bachelor would be qualified to be an elder? I'm not following that one...

    (Please speak slowly when you do.)
  25. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Moses, David and Paul were murderers.
  26. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Sorry for leaving out the full context. Here is the quote from Hendriksen and Kistemaker:
    That is why their exegetical conclusion is pretty simple: "Accordingly, the meaning of our present passage (I Tim. 3:2) is simply this, that an overseer or elder must be a man of unquestioned morality, one who is entirely true and faithful to his one and only wife; one who, being married, does not in pagan fashion enter into an immoral relationship with another woman."

    So, if it refers to one’s current marital status and behavior (cf. Keener), then it does NOT mean several things . . .

    1. It does not mean that validly divorced people who remarried were excluded, since in the first century such a one was "considered married to one spouse, the second one, not to two spouses."
    2. It does not mean that polygamy is intended, since that was not practiced in the Roman empire anyway.
    3. It does not mean that elders must be married (as pragmatically valuable as that might be), since that would rule out Paul himself.
    4. It does not mean that remarried widowers were to be excluded, since that contradicts Paul's clear teaching on the subject of remarriage.

    Therefore, it DOES mean that . . .
    Elders must be above reproach, examples of sexual propriety. If married, they are to be examples of fidelity to their wives, not men who walk through life with eyes fixed on the private parts of women's bodies, or who spend their time with p***, or who make unchaste jokes about intimate matters (that would be the opposite of a "one woman man"). If they have been widowed, they may marry, but only "in the Lord." If single, they must be an example to the congregation of chastity.

    Applicationally, married only one time people may be excluded, IF they are sexually unfaithful or IF they are "creepy" and inappropriate toward other women, or IF they are divorced for unbiblical reasons. And, if a person has been divorced, the burden of proof is upon him to prove that he is above reproach with respect to the "one woman man" qualification.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  27. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    For those who only voted "Married men (who've only been married once)", a question that's already been alluded to . . .

    If a plain reading of the text dictates that only once-and-still-married may hold office, does it not also dictate that only men who have children (not just a child) are qualified? If not, why not?
  28. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Likewise, if he becomes widowed must he demit the ministry?
  29. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    I actually had the same question for a time, because if so, those two caveats would disqualify me from the office I hold. During our time of training for office, in fact, I spoke to my pastor (and other pastors) at length about that very thing. The conclusion that he's come to (and that I agree with) is that the "one-woman man" phrase is not a blanket dealbreaker for every man who has ever had more than one sexual partner, but rather points to fidelity in marriage and sexuality. The foolishness of my late teens and early 20s is wiped clean by the blood of Christ, and by his grace, I have been completely faithful to my wife.

    By that same grace, God has called me to the office of presbyter and I have followed him in that call.
  30. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    Does "one-woman man" imply that the man has to be married or can it mean that the man is the kind of a person who would be faithful to his wife if he had one?
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