As noted in my signature, I am currently a deacon at a Southern Baptist church. Thus, I recognize that the issue I'm presenting is one that is, at least in some ways, only an issue in non-confessional Baptist churches. I'll also add that I know how I answer the main question, so what I'm hoping some folks will be able to help me with here is more along the lines of how best to talk about these things with people who might disagree. To be clear, we have already discussed all of this as a group, but because we're going to have to come back to it at another meeting, I want to think it through a little more so I don't merely repeat what I already said. We've recently been having discussions amongst church leaders (new pastor and board of deacons) about deacon qualifications. As you might imagine in a Southern Baptist church, in our most recent meeting in which we walked through I Timothy 3:8ff, probably 90% of the discussion time was spent on two items out of that list: alcohol and marriage. I found myself in a small minority that took the position that abstinence from alcohol is not required of deacons. The marriage question was probably equally divided between those who believe a deacon must be a man who is currently married to his first and only wife and those who believe divorce is not an automatic disqualifier in every situation. Among those who say that divorce under any circumstances is a disqualifier and that total abstinence from alcohol is required, there seems to be a consensus that "deacons should be held to a high(er) standard." I agree with them that deacons ought to be held to a high standard. However, it seems to me that the church should not require of deacons something that is not required by Scripture. To require abstinence from alcohol and automatically disqualify men who were divorced seems to me to be an extra-biblical requirement. So the first question is this: "Ought a church to require of officeholders (whether deacons or elders) things that Scripture does not require when it comes to a man's eligibility for that office?" I think the clear answer is "No," but if I'm missing something that should change my answer, I'm eager to hear it. Secondly, if it is the case that a church should not add requirements to what the Bible requires for men to be officeholders in the church, what is the best way to go about resolving that disagreement? Scripture must be the rule, of course, but if you have any specific guidance or advice, that's really what I'm after.