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Permanent Disqualification from Church Office?

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Subject of this study: Permanent Disqualification from Church Office? My views below represent my current best understandings of complex issues in Scripture. Be sure to examine everything carefully and hold on to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). This basic study concerns the teaching of God concerning the continuing state of immorality  related to (1) marriage (γάμος), (2) divorce (ἀποστάσιον), (3) adultery (μοιχεία), and (4) homosexuals (ἀρσενοκοῖται). Can a male be permanently disqualified from holding a Church Office? 1God described only males holding Church Offices. Females never held the Church Office of Overseer or Church Office of Deacon. How does church leadership relate to sexual and marital problems? This study will only touch upon a few basic issues without full discussion. Paul described the qualifications for holding the Church Office of Overseer and the Church Office of Deacon. When those qualifications concerned sexual morality and divorce, was Paul describing a continuing state or something else? We need an answer from the Scriptures about permanent disqualification from Church Offices. The answer to that question guides choices related to church leadership. In this study below, I will focus only upon males holding Church Offices, because females were not allowed to teach or exercise authority over males; they were to remain silent during Breaking of Bread services (1 Timothy 2:9-15; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35). 2In passing, the term “marriage” in this study means a lawful marriage between one male and one female, both of age to consent to such marriage. The Scriptural principles discussed below apply to lawful marriages between a biological male and a biological female. Therefore, females were never described as holding any Church Office.

Section One

The Qualifications for Church Leadership

1.1 Church Leadership. Jesus, as God in the flesh, spoke Holy Words, just as every writer in the Bible wrote Holy Words, breathed out by God. As we examine the Scriptures regarding permanent disqualification from church office, the grammar and syntax may help clarify the issues. Jesus used a present indicative verb to describe the sin of adultery (Matthew 5:32;19:9). 3Jesus in Matthew 5:32 used the term μοιχᾶται–present middle/passive indicative, third singular and in Matthew 19:9 Jesus used the term μοιχᾶται–present middle indicative. Notice the use of the middle voice (reflexive action). Did Jesus mean that the sin of adultery continues after divorce and into the new marriage? If so, how long does it continue? Jesus set precise qualifications for holding the Church Office of Overseer (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) and the Church Office of Deacon (1 Timothy 3:8-13). Some of those qualifications relate to immorality. This study focuses upon whether a male may be permanently disqualified from holding a Church Office because of a continuing state of immorality, divorce, remarriage, or homosexuality. We all need to understand the Scriptures about the issue: Permanent Disqualification from Church Office? Do the Scriptures support permanent disqualification? If so, for what? The Scriptures teach that God forgives sin and no longer remembers the sinful acts (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:12), cleansing us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The Scriptures would have to provide clear teaching to overcome the presumption that all sins have been forgiven. Of course, some sins like alcoholism may be forgiven entirely, but the bodily effects of those sins remain after forgiveness. The qualifications for holding a Church Office focus upon spiritual, not bodily, qualifications.

1.2 Qualifications for Church Leadership. Paul provided some overlapping qualifications for holding the Church Office of Overseer and the Church Office of Deacon. This study focuses upon only two of those qualifications: (1) one woman man; and  (2) leading his own household well.4In some ways, all qualifications for Church Offices relate directly to ongoing problems that may have lasting effects. For example, the qualification of children who believe may have lasting effects upon qualifications for holding a Church Office. See New Testament Leadership.

1.3 Must. Paul linked all the qualifications of the Church Overseer to the simple verb “must” (δεῖ) as a present active indicative. God focused more upon the present qualities of the Church Overseer rather than his past actions. Some people, however, may argue that reputation matters and indeed it does. Again, however, the Church Overseer must be above reproach (ἀνεπίλημπτον), but Paul used a present infinitive to describe the current reputation. While some grammarians argue against putting much time value on tense and focus instead upon the action described by the verb, the focus in 1 Timothy 3 rests upon present qualities and not historical acts in the distant past.

Qualification One: One Woman Man

1.4 One Woman Man. The Church Overseer must be a “one woman man.” 5Paul used the phrase “μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα.” The term “μιᾶς” means a certain one out of more than one. 6See Luke 14:18–beginning from one (μιᾶς) all excused themselves; Luke 17:34–two (δύο) on one (μιᾶς) bed, the one (ὁ εἷς) taken; Luke 22:59–one (μιᾶς)  hour; Acts 24:21 one voice (μιᾶς) among many; Hebrews 12:16–sold birthright for one (μιᾶς) meal). Paul used this expression “one woman man” in 1 Timothy 3:2; 3:12; Titus 1:6. By choosing the term one (μιᾶς), Paul emphasized that the Church Overseer must have one woman in his life. Likewise, he must have no sexual connections to any other person. Although beyond the scope of this study, some people argue the qualification “above reproach” effectively disqualifies virtually all divorced males from holding a Church Office because the ex-spouse and her children may say bad, but true, things about the Church Office candidate, thus rendering him disqualified because of their reproaches. This argument misses the point that such attacks may be sinful in themselves, coming from a heart of non-forgiveness (Matthew 6:15; 18:35; Ephesians 4:31; Hebrews 12:15). Under that standard, Paul himself would be permanently disqualified for all the bad things he had done (Philippians 3:6; Acts 24:5). Likewise, Peter and Barnabas were guilty of public hypocrisy and would not be above reproach (Galatians 2:11-13). Furthermore, if God does not condemn the candidate for Church Office (Romans 8:1), why should the sinful opinions and the bitter root of some people hold back a candidate for Church Office who otherwise meets all the qualifications?

1.4.1 Single.  Because Paul was single and urged others to be single (1 Corinthians 7:1), he was not excluding single men from being a Church Overseer. Because Paul himself warned that some false teachers were forbidding marriage, it seems unlikely that Paul was saying all Church Officers must be married only once in their lifetime (1 Timothy 4:3). Clearly, if the wife of a Church Overseer died, then the Church Overseer would be free to remarry in the Lord (Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:39. See also 1 Timothy 5:14). By emphasizing that a man must be a one woman man, Paul was also building upon the  teaching about the effects of sexual sin with a woman, resulting in becoming one body with that woman (1 Corinthians 6:16–not one flesh). 7To describe becoming “one body” with a prostitute, Paul wrote “ἓν σῶμά” (1 Corinthians 6:16), which stands in contrast to “σὰρξ μία” Matthew used to describe joining in marriage, so that they are no longer two “δύο” (Matthew 19:6). Regarding a one woman man, Paul also excluded sexual contact with any men or women who were not his woman. Therefore, Paul emphasized a man must be a one woman man and he must not be joined sexually to other people (male or female). 8Regarding the term  γυναικός, Matthew used the definite article τῆς γυναικός in the context of the disciples saying that it is better not to marry than to be stuck for life with a wife who commits immorality without any chance of divorce (Matthew 19:10). Luke used also used the definite article τῆς γυναικός to describe Herod having the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19). Jesus used the definite article τῆς γυναικός to describe the wife of Lot (Luke 17:32). John described a Samaritan woman as γυναικὸς, but she had five husbands, and the one with her then was not her husband (John 4:17). John also used the definite article τῆς γυναικός to describe the Samaritan woman who testified to the City of Sychar (John 4:39). Luke used the definite article τῆς γυναικός to describe the wife of Ananias conspiring with him (Acts 5:2). Luke also described Timothy’s mother as a γυναικὸς Jewish believer (Acts 16:1). Paul said it is good for man not to touch a γυναικὸς (1 Corinthians 7:1). Those examples show the varied uses of the term γυναικὸς with and without the definite article. In 1 Timothy 3:11 Paul used the term γυναῖκας (noun–accusative feminine plural). Paul used the term γυναῖκας in 1 Corinthians 7:29; Ephesians 5:25; 5:28; Colossians 3:19; 1 Timothy 2:9, 3:11), describing both women and wives. We may now press on with Scriptures regarding permanent disqualification from Church Office.

1.4.2 Julian Laws. The Julian laws on marriage prohibited polygamy and imposed taxes on unmarried people in the Roman Empire. 9Roman law (“Leges Juliae and Lex Papia Poppaea, see Annals of Tacitus, 3:25) prohibited polygamy and adultery and encouraged children. Therefore, because of existing secular law against polygamy, the translation “husband of one wife” seems disfavored.

1.4.3 Divorce. Some people argue that a divorced man cannot be a Church Overseer. Jesus described all people who file for divorce as sinful, no exceptions (Matthew 19:1-12; see Divorce and Remarriage). When people file for divorce and no sexual immorality has occurred during the marriage, then the person filing for divorce adds the sin of adultery. Paul, however, did not use any of the words related to marriage (γάμος) or adultery (μοιχεία) or immorality (πορνεία) or divorce (ἀποστάσιον) to describe the qualifications for Church Office. 10See the terms used in Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-4, 11-12; Luke 16:18 and 1 Corinthians 7:11-12. Jesus directed His discussion of marriage, divorce and remarriage to isolated acts of sin, not necessarily continuing sinful states, such as a continuing condition of immorality.  Paul focused upon present actions and present character. Certainly, at the moment of salvation, every person becomes a new creation in Christ, and all the old things have passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Therefore, actions and character before salvation should have no bearing on the qualifications for being a Church Overseer, unless the male is a recent convert (1 Timothy 5:22-24). Divorce after salvation becomes an issue where one party filed for divorce, and should be placed under church discipline until they repent of their sin, but they need not divorce, because God hates divorce (see Section Three below).

1.4.4 Adultery. Some people seem to think that adultery at any time disqualifies a male from holding a Church Office. Jesus taught that merely looking at a woman to lust after her amounts to adultery (Matthew 5:28). Therefore, anyone claiming that adultery alone disqualifies a male from holding a Church Office should carefully consider the true number of born-again males committing adultery according to the Scriptures. Please remember that none of the sexual words, like adultery, were used in the list of qualifications for Church Office. Of course, no one supports adultery in mind or body because Jesus condemned it repeatedly.

1.5 Analysis of One Woman Man. Candidates for Church Office must be a one woman man. In other words, candidates for Church Office must not have sexual connections to anyone other than his wife. He must be faithful to her in all things. Sexual conduct before salvation does not disqualify a candidate, unless he is a relatively new convert. Likewise, divorce does not not disqualify a candidate, provided that if the candidate filed for divorce after salvation, he must repent of his sin. One woman man does not require a candidate to be married, nor does it require a man to be married to a believer.  The sinful reproaches of ex-spouses and their children should not disqualify a candidate, if the behavior at issue has not occurred recently. Jesus focused upon present activity, not past sinful acts and habits. Please keep in mind that the phrase “permanently disqualified from holding a church office” means in most cases “so long as the sin persists in the heart or the actions”, the disqualification from holding a Church Office remains permanent. 

Summary of One Woman Man

The Phrase One Woman Man means the male remains faithful to one woman.

The Phrase One Woman Man means a man has no sexual connections to any other person.

The Phrase One Woman Man does not exclude single men from holding a Church Office.

The Phrase One Woman Man does not mean divorced men are disqualified from holding a Church Office.

Single saints living together and having sex outside of marriage remain permanently disqualified from holding a Church Office.

Qualification Two: Leading His Own Household

1.5 Leading His Own Household. Grammar and syntax matter in the Scriptures. The difference between “Jesus may return” and “Jesus will return” makes a big difference. God breathed out individual, holy words, when writers moved by the Holy Spirit spoke for God and recorded their revelations from God in the autographs of Scripture. Paul, writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, used a present, middle/passive participle, to describe “leading his own house well” as a qualification for Church Overseer (1 Timothy 3:4). 11The best translation of the term προϊστάμενον (present middle/passive participle, accusative masculine singular) is “leading”, literally from the root “stand before” (“προΐστημι”). See the discussion of leading in The Spiritual Gift of Leading. Elders do not rule, but they do lead (See Matthew 23:1-12  about forbidden titles), but they should not be called leaders.  The root word for lead in Romans 12:8 provides guidance for understanding the concept of leading in the New Testament. We cam learn about leading by studying the use of that word in the New Testament. The ministry of Church Overseer (an office of the church–not a spiritual gift) and Church Deacon (an office of the church–not a spiritual gift) begins at home and we will examine the qualifications for those offices briefly. 

1.5.1 Leading at Home. Church Overseers must lead their own families to the glory of God. Church Overseers in the New Testament have specialized duties, such as shepherding the flock from: (a) savage wolves attacking from without; and (b) evil men within the flock drawing away saints from the flock (Acts 20:28-30). This ministry of leading in the home rests upon the same root word as “leads” in Romans 12:8. Furthermore, the Church Overseers and elders lead (προϊσταμνους) the saints, who should appreciate their Godly leading (1 Thessalonians 5:12). Indeed, These elders who lead well (καλς προεσττες) should receive double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). Leading includes several different aspects. 

1.5.2 Taking Care. The Church Overseer must also be able to lead (προστναι) his own household well; if he cannot lead his own household, then how will he take care (πιμελσεται) of the church of God? (1 Timothy 3:5). 12 Three examples show what it means to take care. The Roman centurion Julian had to guard Paul and take Paul to Rome. During the journey, at Sidon, Julian allowed Paul to go to his friends and receive needed care (πιμελεας) (Acts 27:3). The good Samaritan paid the innkeeper and directed him to take care (πιμελθητι) of his neighbor (Luke 10:35). The widow searched her house carefully (πιμελς) to find the lost coin (Luke 15:8). Please take notice here that the ability to lead his own household directly relates to taking care of the church of God. The ministries of leading and taking care have a direct relationship. 

1.5.3 Under Control. The Church Overseer must keep his family and household under God’s spiritual control  (ποταγ) (1 Timothy 3:4). Jesus ascended to heaven after angels, authorities and powers were subjected to him (1 Peter 3:22). 13Peter used an aorist participle “ποταγντων,” emphasizing the scope and substance of the total control of the family and household. Therefore, we see this special power of God acting forcefully to bring  supernatural beings (angels, authorities, and powers) into subjection to Christ. In the following passages, the candidate for Church Office must lead his own household and family well, and so spiritual control over his household and family remains essential because that same quality of spiritual control will help the entire assembly.  Therefore, the following passage defining spiritual control for the local assembly also applies to a candidate for Church Office and his household and family.

1.5.3.1 Voluntary Submission and Compulsory Subordination. The concept of spiritual control includes both voluntary submission and compulsory subordination. This term “subjection” has several different aspects. Today, if you say someone is controlling, you are often criticizing them. Unbelievers long to live without the control of other people. In contrast, Jesus loves to control His children and His mature children love that control by His might (Ephesians 6:10-17). In contrast, Paul also taught us that the mind set on the flesh is not able to subject itself (ποτσσεται) to the law of God (Romans 8:7).

1.5.3.1.1 Jesus Subjects Himself. In the future, after all things have been subjected (ποταγ) to Jesus, then Jesus will be subjected (ποταγσεται) to the Father who subjected to Him (τῷ ὑποτξαντι ατ) all things. We learn from this verse that a believer does nothing more than Jesus does when He is subjected to the control and authority of the Father (1 Corinthians 15:28). Being under the control of Jesus or the Father in no way diminishes the spiritual stature of the person being subjected, but rather acknowledges a perfect joining of wills. Although we do not yet see all things placed in subjection to Christ, yet the Scripture proclaims that, in fact, all things have been placed in subjection to Christ (Hebrews 2:8).

1.5.3.1.2 Power of Jesus. Furthermore, Christ Himself has the inherent, divine power as God to subject all things to Himself (Philippians 3:21). Therefore, one effect of spiritual control means the family lives under the control of Jesus. The term “control” also includes obedience to your confession of Christ.  In 2 Corinthians 9:13, Paul discussed the ministry of hard work to earn a living to supply the needs of the saints and make donations to other believers. As the Corinthians worked for a living, they glorified God by their obedience (ποταγ) to their confession of Christ. The Spiritual Gift of The Leader produces obedience in working and giving money for the support of the saints. In a more general sense, spiritual control means believers live obediently to their confession of Jesus Christ. If you claim to be born again by confessing Christ as Lord because of your faith in Him, you must subject yourself to Him.

1.5.3.1.3 Not Yielding to Hypocrisy and False Teachers. In the Book of Galatians, Paul described hypocrisy. He confronted the apostle Peter for falling into the hypocrisy of acting like a Judaizer (these people taught you must keep the Law of Moses to go to heaven). When the Judaizers came to visit in Antioch, then Peter acted just like they did. Paul proclaimed that “we did not yield in subjection (ποταγ) to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you” (Galatians 2:5). Therefore, another spiritual effect of spiritual control means that the local assembly does not yield in subjection to hypocrisy and false doctrine. 

1.5.3.1.4 Accepting Discipline Well. Receiving discipline does not always seem joyful, but discipline trains us in Godliness and results in the peaceful fruit of righteousness. For discipline to yield good results in our lives, we must be subject (ποταγησμεθα) to the Father of spirits, and live (Hebrews 12:9). Therefore, another spiritual effect of spiritual control means that the local assembly lives in subjection to the discipline of the Lord and bears the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 

1.5.3.1.5 Submit to God and Resist the Devil. James teaches us that we must submit (ποτγητε) to God, and resist the devil (James 4:7). Another effect of spiritual control will be to help people to submit to God and, while submitting to God, to resist the devil. Therefore, another spiritual effect of spiritual control means the local assembly submits to God and resists the devil. 

1.5.3.1.6 Submit to Every Human Institution. Peter commands us: “Submit (ποτγητε) yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” (1 Peter 2:13; compare Titus 3:1). Notice that we submit for the sake of the Lord Jesus. Jesus paid taxes (Matthew 17:24-27), and recognized that even Pilate had no authority over Him except that authority given by God to Pilate (John 19:11). Therefore, another spiritual effect of spiritual control causes the local assembly to submit to every human institution,  within the will of God. 

1.5.3.1.7 Younger Men Be Subject to Elders. Peter also directed young men to be subject to elders (1 Peter 5:5). Younger men would do well to let older, Godly men lead the assembly. All leaders in the local assembly must possess The Spiritual Gift of Leaders. Yet, not all Church Overseers will have The Spiritual Gift of Leaders. Within the group of men possessing The Spiritual Gift of Leaders, the younger men should follow the general pattern of younger men submitting to the older men. Therefore, another spiritual effect of spiritual control causes younger men in the assembly to submit to the older men.

1.5.3.1.8 Being Careful To Engage in Good Deeds. Paul commanded Titus to be careful to speak confidently, so that believers will be careful to lead (προστασθαι) in good deeds (Titus 3:8). This spiritual effect of being careful to engage in good deeds flows from the Church Office. As Church Officers exercise spiritual leadership, people hear them speak confidently about the doctrine in the New Testament, and the believers become careful to engage in good deeds. Not only must the saints holding a Church Office be careful to engage in good deeds personally, but they must also lead others to engage in good works. By implication, the entire assembly may unify its efforts to produce good works, and unite individual efforts. Often, the leaders identify the pressing needs of the saints that require others to do good deeds to meet those needs (Titus 3:14). Therefore, another spiritual effect of spiritual control causes the local assembly to engage in good deeds. 

1.5.4 Dignity. The Church Overseer must maintain dignity (σεμντητος) at home and lead with diligence (σπουδ). Sometimes that same word for “diligence” is translated “with eagerness.” For example, Onesiphorus stands out as a great example of eagerness. During Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, Onesiphorus eagerly (σπουδαως) searched for Paul, to refresh him (2 Timothy 1:17), even though others may have stayed away because they were ashamed of his chains.  This eagerness identifies every man displaying spiritual leadership. 

1.5.5  Murder. As a side note, if the evil acts in the distant past were at issue in the qualifications for church leadership, then Paul himself would be condemned as a murderer (compare Proverbs 28:17 for the lack of support of such murderers) and unfit to be an apostle for Jesus Christ. Consider also David, who was not fit to build the temple because of his bloody hands, but could assist Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:8-11). 14The Hebrew text of 1 Chronicles 22:8-11 describes David as a man of war (אִ֧ישׁ מִלְחָמ֛וֹת), and he shed bloods (וְדָמִ֥ים שָׁפָֽכְתָּ). Notice the plural of bloods. David not only shed the blood of his enemies, but he also shed the innocent blood of Uriah the Hittite and made others join the conspiracy to commit murder (2 Samuel 11:14-18). Murderers may be permanently disqualified from some service to the Lord Jesus, but we must balance both David and Paul in such equations concerning qualifications for leadership in the local assembly. Even so, David was not forced to relinquish his position as king because of his bad acts. Instead, God sent a sword to stay in the family of David (2 Samuel 12:10). 

1.6 Analysis of Leading His Own Household. As with a one woman man, God focused upon present activity about leading at home. If the candidate’s household currently remains out of spiritual control, and he does not gain control over his own household, then he cannot exercise effective spiritual control as a Church Officer. The emphasis should be upon members of his household, not adult children and others who do not live under his roof. If he has unbelieving children or an unbelieving spouse, then they must be under spiritual control. In many ways, this qualification may disqualify more candidates than one woman men. The elements of spiritual control described above control disqualification. Those qualities in the household grow over time, and not at once. Every family will have serious conflicts and problems, with huge sins occurring in the household, but spiritual control remains paramount. The sin itself is not the main disqualifier for the candidate. No family will have an absence of sin in the household. The question remains about whether the candidate deals with the sin and still maintains spiritual control in the household. Again, what happens in the household will likely happen on a larger scale in the assembly.

Summary of the Qualifications for Church Leadership

Candidates for a Church Office must lead their own households well.  

Candidates for a Church Office must take care at home.  

A divorced male is not necessarily excluded from holding a Church Office, provided he meets the other qualifications.

A male who sinfully divorced his wife and then remarried is not necessarily excluded from holding a Church Office, provided he meets the other qualifications.

♦ God described present qualifications for Church Offices, not historical details.

Section Two

Immorality and Divorce

2.1 Basic Questions about Divorce. Some Pharisees asked Jesus if a man could lawfully divorce his wife for any reason. Jesus answered that what God has joined together, no man should separate. 15Jesus said these words: ” ὃ οὖν ὁ θεὸς συνέζευξεν ἄνθρωπος μὴ χωριζέτω.” Then the Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce under the Law of Moses. Jesus answered that only people with a hard heart file for divorce (Matthew 19:8). 16Jesus said these words: “λέγει αὐτοῖς ὅτι Μωϋσῆς πρὸς τὴν σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν ἐπέτρεψεν ὑμῖν ἀπολῦσαι τὰς γυναῖκας ὑμῶν, ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς δὲ οὐ γέγονεν οὕτως.”

2.2 Except for Immorality. Jesus also said that if anyone looses his wife, except for the cause of immorality (porneia), and marries another, he commits adultery. 17Jesus said these words: “λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην μοιχᾶται.” Therefore, everyone who divorces his spouse has a sin problem consisting of a hard heart. If the hard-hearted man divorces his wife for any reason other than immorality, then he commits a second sin of adultery when he marries another woman. Regarding immorality, Jesus taught that a man looking at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28). Therefore, the sin of repeated adultery characterizes many marriages.

2.3 Continuing Sin. Jesus used a present active indicative verb to describe that second sin of adultery (Matthew 5:28; see also Matthew 19:9). 18Jesus used the word “μοιχᾶται.”  We may consider the general case of divorce and then specific cases of divorce and immorality (porneia).

2.3.1 General Case of Divorce. Jesus described the general case of divorce. In the New Testament, all questions regarding divorce focus upon a person filing for divorce and the effect of that person’s sinful behavior by filing for divorce. Many people overlook the detailed focus in Scripture upon the person filing for divorce and confuse the person filing for divorce with the person being divorced.

2.3.2 Specific Case One: Divorce without Immorality. Jesus described two cases of divorce in Matthew 19:1-9. First, he described a divorce where no immorality (porneia) occurred in the marriage giving rise to divorce. Jesus said that if a man divorced his wife, and she never committed adultery, then he committed hard-hearted sin plus adultery sin by divorcing her. In that case, the man filing for divorce committed two sins (hard heart sin and adultery sin). Jesus also described immorality during the marriage in Matthew 19:9.

2.3.3 Specific Case Two: Divorce with Immorality. Jesus also described the effect of immorality (porneia) when a man files for divorce. Jesus used the present tense to describe adultery related to filing for divorce. By using the present tense in the indicative mood to describe committing adultery by filing for divorce and marrying another, (Matthew 5:28; 19:9), was Jesus indicating that the sin of adultery has a continuing nature to it? Jesus may have meant that so long as the man continues in that adulterous new marriage, he continues in adultery. The Proverbs provide that the man who commits adultery will experience lasting consequences after the physical act has ended, including: (1) being reduced to a loaf of bread; (2) punishment; (3) self-destruction; (4) wounds; (5) disgrace;  (6) reproach upon him which will not be blotted out; and (7) an angry cuckold husband who will not be satisfied with many gifts (Proverbs 6:26-35). While those consequences may continue after the physical act, God has still forgiven the sin for believers.  In the alternative, did Jesus mean that the remarriage after divorce not based upon spousal immorality was a single act of immorality and not continuing in nature? We must recall that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:14-16). 19Malachi 2:14  provided: אֲמַרְתֶּ֖ם עַל־מָ֑ה עַ֡ל כִּי־יְהוָה֩ הֵעִ֨יד בֵּינְךָ֜ וּבֵ֣ין׀ אֵ֣שֶׁת נְעוּרֶ֗יךָ אֲשֶׁ֤ר אַתָּה֙ בָּגַ֣דְתָּה בָּ֔הּ וְהִ֥יא חֲבֶרְתְּךָ֖ וְאֵ֥שֶׁת בְּרִיתֶֽךָ׃ וְלֹא־אֶחָ֣ד עָשָׂ֗ה וּשְׁאָ֥ר ר֨וּחַ֙ לֹ֔ו וּמָה֙ הָֽאֶחָ֔ד מְבַקֵּ֖שׁ זֶ֣רַע אֱלֹהִ֑ים וְנִשְׁמַרְתֶּם֙ בְּר֣וּחֲכֶ֔ם וּבְאֵ֥שֶׁת נְעוּרֶ֖יךָ אַל־יִבְגֹּֽד׃ כִּֽי־שָׂנֵ֣א שַׁלַּ֗ח אָמַ֤ר יְהוָה֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְכִסָּ֤ה חָמָס֙ עַל־לְבוּשֹׁ֔ו אָמַ֖ר יְהוָ֣ה צְבָאֹ֑ות וְנִשְׁמַרְתֶּ֥ם בְּרוּחֲכֶ֖ם וְלֹ֥א תִבְגֹּֽדוּ׃. So, regarding divorce and church leadership, does a man continue to live in adultery after divorcing his wife without immorality during the marriage and then remarries another woman? In other words, if my wife has always been faithful to me and I divorce her and marry another woman, can I ever be a Church Overseer or a Church Deacon? Does my sin of adultery continue so that I am permanently disqualified from holding a Church Office? If I confess my sin of adultery, can I then hold a Church Office? Must I divorce my present spouse to become eligible to hold a Church Office? Those questions turn, in part, upon other Scriptures. So, we can compare Scripture with Scripture to see if a male may be permanently disqualified from church leadership.

2.4 Analysis of Immorality and Divorce. Jesus focused upon present activity of the candidate, far more than the past of the candidate. In dealing with immorality, Jesus explained that people file for divorce because they always have a hard heart, no exceptions. If they file for divorce, without immorality in the marriage, then they add  the second sin of adultery. If a candidate has a history of divorce, he must repent of his sin in the divorce and remarriage, if applicable. Divorce, by itself, does not disqualify a candidate from a Church Office.

A candidate for Church Office who divorced his wife after his salvation must repent of his sin of filing for divorce before being considered for Church Office.

A candidate for Church Office who divorced his wife after his salvation and without immorality in the marriage and then married another woman must confess his sin of filing for divorce and his sin of adultery.

Divorce before the salvation of the candidate plays no role in his eligibility for Church Office, provided he is not a recent convert.

God focused upon present conduct more than historical details when reviewing qualifications for Church Office. 

Section Three

 Divorce and Remarriage

3.1 Basic Questions about Remarriage. Jesus answered the question about whether a man may divorce his present wife and then marry another woman (Matthew 5:31-32). 20Roman law (“leges juliae and Lex Papia Poppaea, see Annals of Tacitus, 3:25) prohibited polygamy and adultery and encouraged children. Jesus apparently took this prohibition against polygamy act into consideration because He focused upon a man divorcing one wife so that he could marry another woman. Under Roman law, the man could not have two wives and so had to divorce his first wife if he wanted to marry another woman. Jesus made it plain that immorality did not occur in the marriage, yet the husband divorced the wife. Jesus declared that the man commits adultery by divorcing his first wife and then marrying another. Furthermore, the man also causes the first wife to commit adultery. Therefore, if the new marriage starts with adultery, should that man divorce his new wife to stop the adultery? In these Matthew verses, Jesus answered the question about whether the man should divorce his new wife because of the adultery involved in marrying her.  So often the answer to our questions stands in the passage we are studying. Jesus said that no one should divorce. Therefore, we know that in the first marriage, the man should not have divorced his wife for any reason.

3.2 No Divorce, No Exceptions. Jesus taught no divorce, no exceptions in Matthew 19. Jesus also addressed the implications of no divorce and no exceptions. In Matthew 5:31-32, Jesus succinctly provided further teaching regarding adultery in a marriage and after a marriage. The key lies in the phrase “you cause her to commit adultery.” 21Jesus may have meant the marriage endures because God never wants men to separate what He joined together. Therefore, both husband and wife commit adultery if they have sex with anyone not part of the original marriage. I disfavor this view because of Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7 where Jesus provided much more information about the dynamics of divorce and remarriage. Man does not separate the marriage by sex outside marriage, but by filing for divorce. Therefore, the marriage terminates by legal dissolution of marriage, not sex. Remember the context, questions and answers in Matthew 19. When a man divorces his wife for any reason other than immorality, that man then causes that innocent spouse to commit adultery. She has done nothing wrong and still gets divorced because the husband wants to marry another woman. When the innocent woman later has sex outside of marriage because she burns, she commits adultery.  The man commits adultery at the moment he has sex with another woman not his first wife. Therefore, even if the first sex occurs after he marries the new woman, he still commits adultery. Now the loop has closed regarding the teaching of Jesus. Jesus never taught that adultery during the marriage may be a grounds for divorce. He taught no divorce, no exceptions. Divorce always flows from a hard heart, no exceptions (Matthew 19:8). 

3.3 Adultery after Divorce. If a man divorces his wife, he always does so because of a hard, sinful heart. If his wife committed immorality during the marriage, then he only commits one sin (hard heart) when he divorces her. If his wife did not commit immorality and he divorces her and marries another, then he has two sins: (1)  the sin of a hard heart; and (2) the sin of adultery by marrying the new woman. If the man had sex with the new wife for the first time during their new marriage, then they committed adultery at that moment. If they had sex before marriage, he committed adultery at that moment. We can learn from these principles that the same laws for marriage that Jesus already established apply to the new marriage, just like the old marriage (closing the loop). All divorce rests upon a hard heart. Therefore, any divorce in the new marriage would be based upon a sinful, hard heart. God intends for them to stay together.

3.4 Staying in the Second Marriage.  If a man divorces his wife and marries another, then he commits adultery when he remarries (the new marriage). All the divorce laws Jesus gave in the New Testament still apply to the new marriage following a divorce. Furthermore, the new husband cannot divorce the new wife and claim adultery, because he also has committed adultery, and so has unclean hands related to that first sexual act with his new wife. Therefore, they should not get divorced and the only the first sexual act constituted adultery. 22Jesus used the term “to commit adultery” (μοιχευθῆναι–aorist infinitive) to describe the act of adultery for the innocent spouse).

3.5 Adultery and the Innocent Spouse. If a man divorces his wife and marries another, that man makes the first wife he sinfully divorced commit adultery. 23Jesus used the term “do” (ποιεῖ–present active indicative, third person singular) to describe the ex-wife committing adultery. The present tense, active voice makes an argument that the adultery continues. The question becomes, continues in what sense? Has the innocent spouse just been condemned to a life without sex for doing nothing wrong? The better answer to me lies in the application of 1 Corinthians 7:1-9, indicating that because of immoralities, women should have husbands if they lack the gift of self-control. If the innocent spouse has sex outside of marriage, she commits adultery. If she has sex after remarriage, she does not commit adultery. Because many people burn with passion, they commit immorality. They may marry to avoid such immorality, as explained in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9).

3.6 Adultery and the Guilty Spouse. Jesus also addressed the man who marries the woman who divorced herself. 24Paul wrote ἀπολελυμένην–perfect passive/middle participle, accusative feminine singular–I take it as middle voice, meaning she divorced herself. She has the hard heart seeking divorce. In the alternative, you my interpret the verb as passive voice (she was divorced), and so whoever marries her commits adultery. I disfavor this view because she remains the innocent spouse, without sin. Under the passive voice view, she will face all the pressures of burning described in 1 Corinthians 7, and cannot avail herself of marriage without sinning. 25I recognize the strength of both passive and middle voice explanations, especially with change from ὁ ἀπολύων (article + perfect active participle, nominative masculine singular) contrasted with ἀπολελυμένην (present middle/passive participle, accusative feminine singular (many arguments about that contrast abound). In the last phrase, regarding the man marrying that woman, Jesus used the word commits adultery (μοιχᾶται–present middle passive indicative). Furthermore, Jesus opposed a saint filing for divorce against a nonbelieving spouse, using the same commands from Matthew 19 (see also 1 Corinthians 7:12-16).

3.7 Immorality and Marriage. As always, God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). People in a marriage, no matter how badly it started, may confess their sins and enjoy God’s blessings, provided they were saved at some point. God does not want anyone to divorce because of infidelity, unbelief, or any other reason during a marriage. Therefore, the second marriage may include adultery, but God forgives that sin just like He forgives adultery and immorality in the first marriage.

3.7.1 Immorality Outside of Marriage. Generally, immorality continues outside of marriage, but Paul urged the unmarried to marry to avoid burning. In other words, generally marriage terminates immorality by providing a holy sex because God has joined together a male and female in marriage. Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 6:12-20, which together provide the foundation for 1 Corinthians 7.

3.7.2 Salvation and Categories of Sinners. Before salvation, people were described as immorals (πόρνοι), adulterers (μοιχοὶ), and effeminate (μαλακοὶ) and homosexuals (ἀρσενοκοῖται), all simple, plural nouns. Some of those people may have been married. Those terms described their lives before they were washed and sanctified by saving faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, people before salvation may have fallen into more than one category and some of those categories overlap. Their sinful acts make them fall into categories of sexual sin that characterize their spiritual lives. Yet, Christ removes those categories from their lives and they join the new category of saints and that category removes all other categories (but not necessarily the sinful practices). Therefore, while unsaved people may be categorized by the sins they commit, they no longer may be categorized that way after salvation.

3.7.3 Sanctified and Justified. At the moment of salvation, all sinners were washed and sanctified and justified (1 Corinthians 6:11). 26God said “such were some of you” (καὶ ταῦτά τινες ἦτε–imperfect active indicative meaning continuing activity; contrasted with the washed (ἀπελούσασθε–aorist middle indicative) signaling a new state of being and sanctified (ἡγιάσθητε–aorist passive indicative–notice the switch to passive voice here signaling God’s activity) and justified (ἐδικαιώθητε–aorist passive indicative–again signaling God’s activity), so that the old categories do not apply because you became a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Therefore, the right to marry  in 1 Corinthians 7 closes the loop once again and the adultery does not continue once confessed or never applied in the first place for the innocent spouse. Immorality continues until marriage, but marriage may solve all immorality. The next question addresses the issue of whether God ever commanded divorce. We can start with looking at incest at Corinth.

3.8 Analysis of  Divorce and Remarriage. Remarriage after divorce does not disqualify a candidate from holding a Church Office. If a candidate divorced and remarried before salvation, no further inquiry is required and no disqualification occurs.  If the divorce and remarriage occurred after salvation, then the candidate must repent of all sins related to the divorce and remarriage. He should not have to divorce his current wife, no matter if the marriage started with adultery. During the Church Age, Jesus never commanded any believer to divorce anyone (believer or unbeliever).  Adultery never provided grounds for divorce. Everyone filing for divorce has a hard, sinful heart, no exceptions. Everyone filing for divorce sins against God, no exceptions.  

Divorce and remarriage, by themselves, do not disqualify a male from holding a Church Office.

Jesus taught no divorce, no exceptions.

Jesus taught that filing for divorce arises from a sinful, hard heart.

Repentance for sexual sins, such as filing for divorce and remarrying another person, must precede holding a Church Office.

Section Four

Incest at Corinth

4.1 His Father’s Wife. In 1 Corinthians 5:1, Paul rebuked the Corinthians because a type of “immorality” (“πορνεία”) existed in the Corinthians’ assembly, of such a type as not even named among the Gentiles, and they did not mourn or take action to stop it. Paul referred to a man in the Corinthian church who had his father’s wife. 27Therefore, 1 Corinthians 5:1 shows that: (a) “πορνεία” occurs in different forms (“τοιαύτη”); and (b) the man had (ἔχειν) the wife of his father. When Paul used the term “had” in the phrase “had his father’s wife,” does that mean they were married? We may start to answer that question by examining the Old Testament Law of Incest. One starting point is Deuteronomy 22:30, which provides: “A man shall not take (יִקַּ֥ח) his father’s wife so that he will not uncover his father’s skirt.” Therefore, in the Old Testament, what does the the term “take” mean when applied to wives and others?

4.2 Old Testament Law of Incest. The Old Testament Law undergirds much of the moral teachings among Jews at the time of Jesus. When the church began at Pentecost following the ascension of Jesus, how much did things change regarding the teachings of the church about morality? Paul did not cite the Old Testament Law of Incest, but he did complain that even pagans did not do what a Corinthian did without objection by the church at Corinth. Therefore, we can look at the incest at Corinth, but first it may be helpful to understand the Old Testament teachings and vocabulary about incest. If a man takes his brother’s wife, it was abhorrent. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they will bear their sin. They will die childless (Leviticus 20:21). Although not explicit, it appears they both live and remain childless, apparently indicating that the marriage continued (compare John the Baptist confronting Herod for taking Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip and marrying her. The daughter of Herodias was Salome). The same commands applied to an uncle’s wife. Therefore, the Law of Incest in the Old Testament does not settle the question of mandatory divorce for incestuous marriages. 

4.2.1 Uncovering.  As a preliminary matter, In Deuteronomy 22:30, the phrase “uncovering his father’s skirt” refers to sexual activity, not necessarily marriage (see Deuteronomy 20:7). Therefore, Deuteronomy 22:30 does not settle the issue about whether 1 Corinthians 5:1 concerns marriage or only immorality. Further study of the Hebrew term “take” (יִקַּ֥ח) may help.

4.2.2 Female Slave. In Exodus 21:10, the term “take” (יִקַּ֥ח)  described a man who has a female slave and then he takes (יִקַּ֥ח) another woman (Exodus 21:10). Because the female slave may leave, it does not appear that the female slave was married. Likewise, taking another woman implies that both the second woman and the female slave were taken sexually, but not necessarily married.

4.2.3 Sister. Likewise, if a man takes (יִקַּ֣ח) his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace and both of them shall be cut off from the sight of their people (Leviticus 20:17).

4.2.4 Wife. In Deuteronomy 22:13, a man takes his wife (יִקַּ֥ח) and then goes in to her (וּבָ֥א אֵלֶ֖יהָ). The “takes” there described marriage and the “go in” described intercourse.  Therefore, the term take (יִקַּ֥ח) does not always imply marriage, but always implies sexual activity when used in a sexual context.

4.2.5 Homosexuality. In the context of forbidden sexual activity, if a male lies (יִשְׁכַּ֤ב) with a male, then both of them must be put to death (Leviticus 20:13).  In a related passage, Leviticus 21 deals with various forms of unlawful sexual activity, including adultery (Leviticus 20:10, incest (Leviticus 20:11-12), homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13), and bestiality (Leviticus 20:15-16). In that passage, God switched from “a man takes (יִקַּ֣ח) his sister” (Leviticus 20:17) to a male who lies (יִשְׁכַּ֤ב) with a male slave. In that context, if a man takes his brother’s wife, it is abhorrent; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They will be childless (Leviticus 20:21). If a man lies with male as those who lie with a woman, they both shall be put to death (Leviticus 20:13). As a side note, priests must only  marry a virgin, and not a widow, or a divorced woman, or a harlot (Leviticus 21:14).
With that background in place, the focus can now shift back to incest at Corinth.

4.2.6 Penalty. The penalty for sexual abominations was to cut off the offender. God gave commands regarding incest involving the: father’s wife (Leviticus 18:8); daughter-in-law (Leviticus 18:15), brother’s wife (Leviticus 18:16), woman and her daughter (Leviticus 18:17);  all were to be dealt with by cutting the offender off from Israel (Leviticus 18:29). 28The Hebrew phrase “and cut off” (וְנִכְרְת֛וּ–niphal perfect, third plural) describes the action of removing the abomination from Israel by removing the people committing the abomination so that it does infect others. God said that the nations did such things and the land spewed them out (Leviticus 18:25). Compare 1 Corinthians 5:1 where the incest there was not known among the nations. The question becomes does the phrase “cut off” mean to kill them or merely put them outside the camp and outside the people of Israel without killing them?  When a man lies with his father’s wife, the explicit command was to put them to death, because their bloodguiltiness was upon them (Leviticus 20:11). Therefore, because they were to be killed, the Law of Moses on that point never reached the question of mandatory divorce for incestuous marriage concerning a man taking his father’s wife. They would both be killed and that punishment would end the matter. 29Consider Absalom letting everyone know he was having sex with his father’s concubines (2 Samuel 16:22). In the Church Age, no person was to be put to death for sexual sins. So, the question remains about whether an incestuous marriage in the Church requires divorce. We may find some help in the Old Testament Law. If a man uncovers the nakedness of his father’s wife (Leviticus 18:8), then anyone practicing such abomination shall be cut off from the people (Leviticus 18:29). 30The phrase “uncovers the nakedness” (“תִקְרְב֖וּ לְגַלֹּ֣ות עֶרְוָ֑ה“) does not always mean sexual activity, because Noah was in his tent with his nakedness uncovered. His son Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his brothers. The other brothers, Shem and Japheth, covered Noah without seeing his nakedness. Noah awoke and cursed Canaan and blessed Shem and Japheth (Genesis 9:20-28). The phrase “uncover the nakedness” was used frequently in Leviticus 18, describing relationships where nakedness should not be uncovered. Sexual activity may be in view, but the phrase perhaps means only the shame of nakedness may be in view (Genesis 3:6-7). In Deuteronomy 22:30 God forbade “taking” his father’s wife, so that he will not expose his father’s skirt. See also Jerusalem once honored was now despised because her lovers and others have seen her nakedness (Lamentations 1:8).  God spread His skirt over Israel to cover her nakedness (Ezekiel 16:8). Yet, the prophets also spoke about the lewdness and harlotries and nakedness uncovered through harlotries (Ezekiel 16:36). God promised to gather all the lovers of Jerusalem to expose all her nakedness and then face God judging her as a harlot (Ezekiel 16:37-38). Because many of the uses of the phrase regarding exposing nakedness seem associated with sexual activity, it cannot be ruled out. Therefore, even uncovering the nakedness of the father’s wife with sexual activity brought the death penalty, but without sexual activity, merely being cut off from Israel may be a sufficient penalty. So, the penalty of death would have applied to incestuous sexual relations outside of marriage, but sex inside an incestuous marriage may bring the childless penalty.

4.2.6.1 Incest and Marriage at Corinth. The term “immorality” (“πορνείᾳ”) includes incestuous activity, but 1 Corinthians 5:1 does not necessarily describe a marriage. The sin of Deuteronomy 22:30 relates to the son uncovering the nakedness of his father, by taking his father’s wife sexually. In 1 Corinthians 5:1, the text does not explicitly say that the man had married his father’s wife, but “had’ her. 31Paul used the phrase  ὥστε γυναῖκά τινα τοῦ πατρὸς ἔχειν. The infinitive here means he had her sexually.  Some type of sexual relationship existed between the man and his father’s wife. Whether they were married turns upon the use of the term “to have” (“ἔχειν”).

4.2.6.2 John the Baptist. The same term “to have” (ἔχειν) occurs in Matthew 14:4, where John the Baptist had been saying that Herod had the wife of his brother Philip. John the Baptist used the phrase “it is not lawful for you to have her” and Herod had married Philip’s wife (Mark 6:17).  32John the Baptist used these words: “οὐκ ἔξεστίν σοι ἔχειν αὐτήν.” See the similar construction in Mark 6:18.

4.2.6.3 The Samaritan Woman at the Well. Compare also the discussion Jesus had with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s well near Sychar. Jesus used the term “I have” (ἔχω) as it related to the woman having a husband. Jesus said she had multiple husbands and right now she was having a man who was not her husband (John 4:16-18).

4.2.6.4 Marriage and Lust. Paul used a similar imperative regarding marriage: each man let have (ἐχέτω) his own wife and each wife let have (ἐχέτω) her own husband (1 Corinthians 7:2). Therefore, Paul ordered people to have their own spouses because of immoralities.

4.3  Analysis of Incest at Corinth. Marriage may be in view in 1 Corinthians 5:1 because: (1) Paul was familiar with the Old Testament Law on incestuous marriage prohibiting a man from marrying his father’s wife or his brother’s wife (Leviticus 18:7; 20:21); (2) the term “to have” (“ἔχειν”) described Herod having the wife of his brother Philip and Herod had married her (Mark 6:17-18); (3) the use of “let have” (“ἐχέτω”) described a man having a wife or a woman having a husband (1 Corinthians 7:2). Whether God directed the man “having” his wife in an incestuous marriage to divorce her remains unclear because Paul later mentioned the congregation had rebuked him, but Paul did not detail that rebuke, but did urge the congregation to comfort that man so that his sorrow would not be too great (2 Corinthians 2:5-7). 33Interestingly, Paul later wrote about the rebuke given to the man having his father’s wife (2 Corinthians 2:6). Paul used the singular phrase “to such a one” (“τῷ τοιούτῳ”–demonstrative pronoun, dative masculine singular) the rebuke (ἐπιτιμία–noun, nominative feminine singular). Clearly the sin was forgiven (2 Corinthians 2:10). In light of the general prohibition against divorce in Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7, the man may not have divorced his wife, but repented of the evil. Please consider the people returning to Jerusalem from the exile and divorcing their wives and leaving their children from those foreign wives. 34Please keep in mind the limited case here of an adult male taking the adult wife of his father. We are not dealing with underage marriages in this passage of 1 Corinthians 5:1 and following.

Incest at Corinth required action by the church to stop it.

Incest at Corinth started with a man having his father’s wife.

♦ God condemned many forms of incest, and applied the death penalty to incestual acts in the Old Testament.

♦ God commanded the church at Corinth to mourn over incest, but then to forgive and comfort the sinner once the incest has been resolved by repentance.

The church at Corinth rebuked the man having his father’s wife, and then forgave the man and Paul praised the church for its obedience.

Once a man has repented of his immorality in having his father’s wife, then he will no longer be permanently disqualified for holding a Church Office. Depending upon the total circumstances (such as age and consent), the man does not always have to divorce his father’s wife.

Section Five

Divorce and Foreign Marriages

5.1 The Guilt of the Exiles. In the days of Ezra, the exiles returned from their Babylonian captivity. When they had returned to the land of Israel, the people confessed their guilt before God. They said that no one could stand before God because of their guilt, including guilt over marrying foreign wives (Ezra 9:15). The exiles assembled and declared their unfaithfulness to God by marrying foreign women from the peoples of the land (Ezra 10:2). 35People disagree about the dates of return to Israel from exile, but Sheshbazzar brought up many articles removed from Jerusalem after the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and exiles returned to Israel and lived in the land (Ezra 1:11). While some people may claim a period of about eight months from the first return to Jerusalem and the new covenant requiring divorce, the evidence does not seem air tight for limiting the time for the exiles to remarry to just eight months. Even so, the short time period does not materially alter the impact of divorce upon both wives and children.

5.2 Repentance of the Exiles. The exiles repented of their sin (Ezra 10:1-4). Having repented of their sin, they made a new covenant with God to put away all their foreign wives and children of those marriages, according to the Law (Ezra 10:3). 36The Hebrew text refers to divorce here as a putting away (לְהוֹצִ֨יא) all wives and the ones born from them (וְהַנּוֹלָ֤ד מֵהֶם֙). They did this upon the advice of Adoni (אֲדֹנָ֔י) and those who tremble (וְהַחֲרֵדִ֖ים) at the commandment of our God. Under the new covenant established that day, they would put them away according to the Law. That provision that they be put away according the Law triggered certain rights in the wives. Basically, Moses permitted divorce for people with hard hearts. Jesus said that God never commanded divorce, but permitted divorce because of hard hearts. 37See Matthew 19:7-8. God always and uniformly hated divorce, no exceptions. Sinful people brought divorce into the world, and God provided regulations for sinful divorce in Deuteronomy 24. In order to understand the problem of divorce facing the exiles, the Old Testament Law of divorce in Deuteronomy 24 must be kept in mind. 

5.3 The Old Testament Law of Divorce. Moses regulated divorce because God wanted to protect wives from the sinful actions of their husbands filing for divorce because of their hard hearts. Moses reviewed the case of a man taking a wife, and marrying her, and she finds no grace 38Moses used the word  חֵ֣ן conveying the idea of grace; see Jeremiah 31:2; Zechariah 4:7; 12:10; some prefer the translation favor, but grace serves the context better because he has a hard heart which repudiates grace. in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her. He then proceeds to divorce her and must follow the regulations concerning his hard-hearted divorce (Deuteronomy 24:2-4). Moses provided a short procedure for divorcing a wife and providing her legal protection.

5.3.1 Legal Protection for Divorced Women. Moses provided legal protection for the women divorced by their husbands. Those legal protections included: (1) a written letter of divorce; 39The Hebrew text provides that a husband must write (וְכָ֨תַב–and writes– (Qal perfect with waw) her a letter (סֵ֤פֶר–see also Genesis 5:1 and  Deuteronomy 17:18). and (2) the husband puts the letter in her hand; and (3) sends her out of the house; 40Compare Hagar taking Ishmael and fleeing from the face of Sarai (Genesis 16:6). and (4) the first husband cannot remarry the woman if she remarries and then the second husband divorces her or the second husband dies  (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). 41Notice that the second husband can divorce the wife because he turns against her (וּשְׂנֵאָהּ֮–Qal perfect with waw consecutive). This term “turns against her” has a specific meaning in Deuteronomy 24:13 where a man takes a wife, but does not find her a virgin. The parents of the woman charged with not being a virgin may produce a garment of proof showing her virginity before the elders. Then that man who wrongly defamed the virgin shall pay a hundred of silver to the girl’s father for publicly defaming a virgin of Israel. That man shall never be allowed to divorce that woman he defamed (Deuteronomy 22:13-19). God intended for divorce to be permanent and so discouraged divorce and remarriage at a whim.  The first husband cannot take the wife back because she has been defiled. 42The Hebrew term for defiled (הֻטַּמָּ֔אָה) indicates a permanent condition here. The first husband taking that wife back would constitute an abomination before Yahweh and bring sin on the land which Yahweh your God is giving to you as an inheritance. 43The Hebrew term for abomination (תוֹעֵבָ֥ה) conveys the idea of permanent evil.

5.3.2 The Case of Uncleanness. The basis for such divorce rests upon the husband finding some uncleanness in her and so she finds no grace in his eyes (Deuteronomy 24:1). 44The Hebrew term for “uncleanness” (“עֶרְוַ֣ת”) literally means a repulsive thing, referring normally to nakedness (consider the story of Ham looking upon the nakedness of his father in Genesis 9:22; see also Leviticus 18:1-17 and Leviticus 20:11-21 for the general prohibitions about uncovering the nakedness of certain individuals, speaking of indecent sexual activity). We may glean from the other uses of the term that the “uncleanness” includes improper sexual relations outside the marriage. Rather than forgiving such “uncleanness” and extending grace to her,  the sinful, hard-hearted husband divorced the wife.  According to Jesus, all divorce starts with a sinful, hard heart, no exceptions. 45See Matthew 19:7-8. God never commanded divorce. In fact, God commanded people not to separate what He joined together (Matthew 19:6). So when people talk about God allowing divorce, God only permitted divorce to offer some legal protection to wives from sinful husbands who refused to heed His command not to divorce. 46In Matthew 19:8, Jesus used the term “permitted” (“ἐπέτρεψεν”–aorist active indicative, third person singular–Jesus corrected the Pharisees who thought that Moses commanded (ἐνετείλατο) to give a letter of divorce (βιβλίον ἀποστασίου; compare the סֵ֤פֶר כְּרִיתֻת֙ of Deuteronomy 24:1). From the beginning, God never intended anyone to divorce (Matthew 19:8). 47Moses described the case of a man divorcing his wife with a conditional clause (כִּֽי־–see Deuteronomy 24:5, 7, 10, etc. for this form of legal review by case), but the passage provides binding regulations for divorce. 

5.4 The Specific Choice of Israel. God chose Israel and gave the people of Israel specific commands not to intermarry with the people of the land. God specifically commanded the people of Israel not to take foreign wives (Exodus 34:15-16). All divorce in the Bible was always founded upon sin of one type or another. Those marriages to foreign women were sinful from the beginning. God commanded them not to take wives from the inhabitants of the land for the sons of Israel, because the sons of Israel would then play the  harlot with their foreign gods (Exodus 34:15-16). In fact, God prohibited the people of Israel from taking wives from the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations stronger than Israel. Yahweh Your Elohim gave specific reasons for not taking wives from those peoples. He said that they will turn your sons away from following Yahweh to serve other gods; then the nose anger of Yahweh will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).  Yahweh specifically said that He had chosen Israel for His own possession out of all the people on the face of the earth; they were a holy people to Yahweh (Deuteronomy 7:6).

5.5 Analysis of Divorcing Foreign Wives. God chose Israel for His special possession. They were to live holy to Yahweh Your Elohim. Yahweh specifically enjoined them from giving their sons to the people of the land. If they did so, then God’s nose anger would be kindled against them (see The Angers of God) and Yahweh would quickly destroy them. Therefore, the exiles were bound by the Law of Moses and the covenant with God to divorce those women, but they must do so according the regulations Moses provided. The women would receive a letter of divorce, delivered into their hands, sent out of the house, and the husband could not remarry them. This special circumstance rested upon the unique position Israel held in God’s program. After Jesus died and was raised from the dead, everything changed regarding Deuteronomy 7:1-4. The church did not replace Israel in God’s program, but the Jews became part of the church. During the church age which began at Pentecost, God forbids all divorce in the church. He gave specific guidance on saints remaining married to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). Saints should never file for divorce, even if married to an unbeliever. If the unbeliever files for divorce, then the saint becomes free to remarry, without bondage. These marriage laws help us understand that being divorced does not automatically make a woman an adulteress if she remarries after her unbelieving husband divorces her (compare Matthew 19:1-8 and Matthew 5:31-32).  Remember, Jesus described what happens when one party files for divorce. That filing party has a hard, sinful heart. Therefore, the divorce of foreign wives in Ezra does not provide an exception to the teaching of Jesus, because of the clear command from Yahweh to avoid foreign marriages because Yahweh will destroy Israel for such foreign marriages. The exiles in Ezra had no choice except to divorce the wives to avoid destruction. Therefore, God did require divorce because of His covenant with Israel outlawing foreign marriage and holding Israel as His possession.  48Some people may argue that the divorce of foreign wives compels the conclusion that any marriage founded upon incest (prohibited by the Law of Moses) should also be dissolved immediately. Yet, the Law of Moses addressed the issues concerning incestuous marriage and did not explicitly conclude that the man and woman should be killed, but concluded they would be childless, with the marriage apparently continuing. Coupled with the New Testament changes where even foreign wives would not be divorced in the church, that argument does not seem convincing that incestuous marriages must be dissolved. On a different note, some jurisdictions in the United States prohibit many different forms of incest and the incestuous marriage is void ab initio, meaning there never was a legally recognized marriage and no court proceeding for dissolution of marriage will be required. Another popular sin today concerns homosexual unions.

God commanded the Jews to avoid intermarriage with any non-Jews.

In the time of Ezra, the exiles returned to Jerusalem and some Jews took wives from the people of the land. 

Because of the prohibition upon marrying foreign wives, and the covenant with God concerning them His chosen people occupying the land He gave them, God commanded the men to divorce their foreign wives and leave the children of the marriages to those wives.

God compelled the men to divorce their foreign wives under threat of destruction because they married foreign wives in violation of His command not to marry foreign wives. 

God commanded that the men follow the Law of Moses regarding divorce.

The Law of Moses provided limited protections for the divorced woman.

Because the circumstances surrounding the divorce of the wives from the land during Ezra’s time were unique to that time and place, and the church received new revelations and commands from God concerning divorce and remarriage to unbelievers, the divorce of foreign wives does not provide binding commands for today, but rather general guidance concerning God’s view of Israel and infidelity to God and His covenants.

Section Six

Homosexual Unions

6.1 Homosexual Unions. Today many governments recognize homosexual “marriages.” In contrast, God described all homosexuality and cross-dressing as sinful in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Therefore, because homosexuality remains sinful in God’s eyes, God never joins a male with a male in marriage and never joins a female and female in marriage. God created marriage by joining the female (Eve) He created for the male (Adam) and commanded them to multiply (Genesis 1:27-28). He created both of them in His image. Having first created Adam, God said it was not good for man to be alone and then created Eve from the rib of Adam. God created Eve as a helper suitable for Adam (Genesis 2:18). At that moment of creation, God joined male and female together in marriage. Jesus said that God joined them together and they became one flesh (Matthew 19:1-7). Christ is the head of man and man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3). Man is the image and glory of God and the woman is the glory of man (1 Corinthians 11:7). The wife should be in subjection to her husband, just as Christ submits to His Father (Ephesians 5:22;  1 Peter 3:5; 1 Corinthians 15:28). God only joins males and females in marriage. Anyone who claims that God’s opposition to “homosexuality”  in the Bible only reflects the outdated, cultural values from thousands of years ago must consider that both the Old and New Testaments reveal that God condemns homosexuality, homosexual acts and homosexuals.  

6.2 God Condemns HomosexualsGod condemns homosexuals for their sinful sexual acts. The uniform teaching of the Bible opposes all forms of homosexuality, homosexual acts, and homosexuals. God loves to redeem sinners of all kinds, but He opposes all sin and sinners.

6.3 Old Testament. In the Old Testament, God declared homosexuals sinners who deserve the death penalty. Moses provided God’s view of homosexuality: “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13).  49 Moses provided: וְאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִשְׁכַּ֤ב אֶת־זָכָר֙ מִשְׁכְּבֵ֣י אִשָּׁ֔ה תֹּועֵבָ֥ה עָשׂ֖וּ שְׁנֵיהֶ֑ם מֹ֥ות יוּמָ֖תוּ דְּמֵיהֶ֥ם בָּֽם׃  Likewise, God also prohibited a man from wearing female clothing and vice versa; God prohibited all forms of cross-dressing and called such acts an abomination (Deuteronomy 22:5). 50Moses provided: לֹא־יִהְיֶ֤ה כְלִי־גֶ֨בֶר֙ עַל־אִשָּׁ֔ה וְלֹא־יִלְבַּ֥שׁ גֶּ֖בֶר שִׂמְלַ֣ת אִשָּׁ֑ה כִּ֧י תֹועֲבַ֛ת יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ כָּל־עֹ֥שֵׂה אֵֽלֶּה (Deuteronomy 22:5). The New Testament reaffirms God’s commands regarding homosexuality, homosexual acts and homosexuals. 

6.4 The New TestamentThe New Testament presents similar revelation from God: “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” (Romans 1:26-27) 51Paul provided: Διὰ τοῦτο παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας, αἵ τε γὰρ θήλειαι αὐτῶν μετήλλαξαν τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρσενες ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι καὶ τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀπολαμβάνοντες (Romans 1:26-27).  Today, some church groups have elevated homosexuals to positions of leadership in the church. Some people twist the Bible passages to support homosexuality. In contrast to putting our faith in church leaders, let us look at Paul’s letter to the Romans in more detail.  God used Paul to write down the truth regarding homosexuals and homosexuality.

6.4.1 Romans 1:26-27. God inspired the words of Paul in Romans 1:26-27 and provided crucial information about homosexuality, homosexual behavior and homosexuals. 

6.4.1.1 Degrading Passions. In Romans 1:26, God revealed that “degrading passions” (“πάθη ἀτιμίας“) produce homosexual behavior. 52Passions alone are not always evil, but Paul isolated “degrading” (“ἀτιμίας“) passions as the  problem. This same Greek  word “degrading” (“ἀτιμίας“) appears in the same form in only one other  place in the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 6:8, where it is translated “dishonor.” In the Romans text, God  gave people over to their “degrading passions,” which were already at work in them. Those “degrading passions” arose in homosexuals. God did not create those “degrading passions,” but condemned people for them. God opposed not only the homosexual behavior, but also the “degrading passions,” underlying the homosexual behavior.

6.4.1.2 Natural Function.  In Romans 1:27, Paul described homosexual behavior: men “abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another.” First, notice that men “abandoned”  the natural function of the woman. 53Paul  used the term ἀφέντες–an aorist  active participle. Man took action to abandon the natural function of the woman. Exegetically, man made a conscious choice to abandon the natural function of the woman, as witnessed by the active voice. As an act of the will, biology does not compel the choice. God created a natural, sexual function for the woman. God created all the physical aspects of sexuality and sex. He provided the organs, wired the nervous system, and then added biological systems inside the body to interact with many physical parts of our bodies involved in sex and sexuality. God created humans male and female, and joined them together as one male and one female in marriage. 54See Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19: 4-5.

6.4.1.3 Shameful. In Romans 1:27 Paul revealed that homosexual acts are “shameful.” No matter how you try to slice and dice the words in the Bible about homosexuality, God described homosexuality as sinful and the acts of homosexuals as “shameful”  and “deceitful.” 55Paul used the word “shameful” (“ἀσχημοσύνην”) and “deceitful” (“πλάνης”) (Romans 1:27).

6.4.1.4 Summary of Romans 1:26-27Therefore, the evidence from Romans 1:26-27 indicates that God opposes homosexuality, homosexual acts, and homosexuals. In those verses, God revealed that homosexuality results from a sinful, shameful choice to engage in sexual activity with people of the same sex. Anyone who claims that the Bible supports the notion that people are born homosexual ignores the Biblical evidence. Homosexuality arises from people abandoning the natural function to perform shameful acts. Likewise, God did not create a single homosexual, but each homosexual abandoned the natural  function of the opposite sex, and gave themselves to their own degrading passions. 56James revealed that God tempts no one, but each on is tempted by their own lusts, which, in turn, produce death (James 1:13-15). As believers, we must put our trust in the promises of God and  not the words of men. So, let us review the great promises of God that provide hope and life for all sinners, including homosexuals.

6.4.2 1 Corinthians. Paul confronted many of the spiritual problems at Corinth. Some of their sins concerned sexual matters.

6.4.2.1 UnrighteousIn 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul wrote: “Or do you not know that the  unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor effeminate nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified,  but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” Things changed dramatically at the moment of individual salvation.

6.4.2.2 Sinners. God condemned homosexuals in the same way that He condemns drunkards, revilers, swindlers, and the other groups of sinners which Paul listed (1 Corinthians 6:9). Homosexuals are not a special group of sinners, but rather part of the larger groups of sinners who will not inherit the kingdom of God.

6.4.2.3 Unrighteous. God described all those sinners as “unrighteous.” 57Peter revealed that God keeps the unrighteous under punishment as they await the day of judgment (2 Peter 2:9).  In this case, God contrasted the righteous with the unrighteous. Only the righteous will inherit the kingdom of God. Who are the righteous? Paul explained the power of God to create new people, which Jesus described as “born-again” people. 58In John 3:3, the Greek phrase for “born-again” (“γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν”) may be better translated as “born from above”.

6.4.2.4 Such Were Some of You.  Paul wrote: “such were some of you.” 59Paul used the Greek term “were” (“ἦτε”) in the imperfect tense. As an imperfect, the term suggests continuous, past action. The  people continued as homosexuals, indicating the lifestyle involved in homosexuality. Those people lived continuously as homosexuals doing homosexual things, before they received the free gift of salvation from the Lord Jesus Christ.

6.4.2.5 Salvation.  Paul described people who were homosexuals, but they are no longer homosexuals. At the moment of salvation, each believer becomes a new creation in Christ; the old things have passed away, and new things have come (2 Corinthians  5:17.) Furthermore, at that same moment, each believer has been crucified with Christ; 60Galatians 2:20 all people who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24). Therefore, God revealed that homosexuals cease being homosexuals at the moment of salvation by faith alone. In the Bible, you are either a homosexual or you are a Christian; you cannot be both. So, when Christians believe homosexuals continue to be homosexuals after being born again, they have embraced error contrary to the Bible (whose words were breathed out by God). Christians may do homosexual acts, but they are no longer homosexuals in God’s eyes.

6.4.2.6 New CreationsLikewise, some  Christians erroneously teach that the best homosexuals can hope for in Christ is that they will still have homosexual urges, but, by the power of Christ, they can deny them. In contrast to that error, God taught that homosexuals become new creations, and their degrading passions have been crucified with Christ. Of course,  believers still sin (1 John 1:8-10). The new creation, however, born of the seed of God, cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Every homosexual who received the free gift of eternal life by faith alone in Jesus Christ ceased to be a homosexual at the moment of salvation; without exception, no born-again person is a homosexual now, but some born-again believers used to be homosexuals. God created new people who are no longer homosexuals. Let us return to 1 Corinthians 6 to see in greater detail how God so radically and completely changes homosexuals.

6.4.2.7 Washed. God revealed how He transforms swindlers, revilers, homosexuals, and other people who become born-again believers (1 Corinthians 6:11). First, each believer is washed. 61Paul used the term “washed” (“ἀπελούσασθε”) in the passive voice. He emphasized the action and the result, not the subject of the verb. Even so, God alone (no middle voice here) washes people spiritually and so makes them spiritually clean so that they shine with God’s righteousness. The washing  includes regeneration (Titus 3:5) and the removal of a guilty conscience (1 Peter 3:21). Think of the washing here as made wholly new, including the removal of dirty unrighteousness.

6.4.2.8 Sanctified. Paul used the term “sanctified” to describe the spiritual cleansing of homosexuals.  62Paul employed the term “sanctified” (“ἡγιάσθητε”) which comes from the root word to make holy–set apart for God’s service. In this instance, God not only cleansed the homosexual, but He also set apart the new believer for His use, particularly using the spiritual gift(s) bestowed upon the new believer. Homosexuals, like all other people, need to hear the promises of God applied to their lives. They can be washed spiritually, removing all the stains of sin. If their conscience has been hardened, and they accept salvation in Jesus, it can be cleansed and sanctified.

6.4.2.9 Justified. Paul wrote that each believer has been justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God. The term “justified” means to make just or right. 63The term “justified (“ἐδικαιώθητε”) occurs in the aorist, passive, indicative form. In this case, the aorist tense stresses that the justification has been completed and remains. The passive voice focused upon  the action, not the Actor. Only God can justify the unrighteous. Jesus was raised for our justification, sealing the triumph of love over sin. Jesus completed the work of atonement by dying on the cross for our sins and being raised from the dead. Paul emphasized that justification takes place in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God. Jesus died on the cross for ours sins, and Jesus offered Himself through the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 9:14). 

6.5 Transgender. Many sinful societies have the sinful notion that people can choose their gender. God said He created males and females (Genesis 1:27). They have many biological and spiritual differences, with different anatomies by gender. People promote “gender identification” and “gender choice” as part of their sinful desires to change God’s biological and spiritual plans for males and females. God has different roles for males and females in the church and gender makes a difference from a functional standpoint (1 Timothy 2; 1 Peter 3; 1 Corinthians 14). From the standpoint of salvation, God draws no gender lines (Galatians 3:28). While people may have surgery and take drugs to change their appearance, they cannot change their DNA or spiritual make up which God created in each person. People seeking to change their gender have rejected the abundant life God has for each member of the family of God. Choosing gender often leads to homosexual behavior because the person now acts upon sexual interest in people of the same sex. Gender transcends body parts and clothing because God created males and females in the image of God. All transgender activities permanently disqualify a male from holding any Church Office so long as the male persists in transgender activity or identifies as transgender or other descriptions contrary to how they were born male or female. Only saints born male by DNA can hold any Church Office. 

6.5 Analysis of Homosexual Unions. God never joins a male and male in marriage or a female and female in marriage. In God’s eyes, every homosexual union remains one more abomination man has created in sin. God loves to redeem all sinners, and is not willing for anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance. Does homosexuality permanently disqualify a male from holding any Church Office? So long as the saint continues to practice homosexual behavior or identifies himself as a homosexual or transgender, the disqualification remains. No homosexual can hold any Church Office, just as no immoral male may hold a Church Office. Although the saint will no longer be a homosexual at the moment of salvation, considering himself homosexual or practicing homosexuality disqualifies that male from holding a Church Office. If a person becomes born again by Christ while already in a homosexual union, that person should immediately file for divorce, because God never considered that marriage acceptable in His eyes. It was always based upon immorality, just like taking foreign wives required divorce. Filing for divorce to remove oneself from the state-sponsored sin does not violate the commands against divorce, because God never joined a male and male together in marriage or a female and female in marriage. Such unions have always been an abomination in God’s eyes and filing for divorce ends the unholy union to the glory of God.

No person has been born homosexual.

Marriage only means God joined one DNA male to one DNA female. 

God condemns all homosexual acts and homosexuality. 

God condemns all cross-dressing and transgender behaviors and choices.

In God’s eyes, all homosexual “marriages” are not marriages at all, because all homosexual unions are abominations in God’s eyes.

God loves to redeem homosexuals and does not wish for any of them to perish.

At the moment of salvation, God cleanses, washes and sanctifies all homosexuals, so that they are no longer homosexuals, but new creatures in Christ. All the old things have passed away. 

Saints should immediately file in court to dissolve all homosexual “marriages” created under state law and which were never marriages in God’s eyes. Therefore, such legal action does not constitute a divorce, because no marriage ever occurred in God’s eyes.  

Until a male repents of the sin and dissolves the homosexual “marriage” in court and leaves that relationship, he remains permanently disqualified from holding a Church Office.

So long as a male persists in any transgender identification or activity, he remains permanently disqualified from holding any Church Office.

Section Seven

Conclusion

7.1 Permanent Disqualification. Nothing permanently disqualifies a male from holding a Church Office, provided that he meets the qualifications described in the New Testament. Divorce always starts with hard-hearted sin and may result in adultery after divorce. A male saint who divorced his wife after his salvation may still hold a Church Office, provided that he has repented of his sin and received God’s forgiveness. A male saint married to an unbeliever shall not be disqualified for having an unbelieving wife, provided he meets the other qualifications. No transgender or homosexuals are eligible to hold any Church Office until he leaves his sin and resumes life according to his birth DNA gender. All saints living in a homosexual “marriage” should dissolve the “marriage” in court immediately because it was never a marriage in God’s eyes, but a continuing abomination. God promised us that if we leave the sin and the sinful community behind, so that we are no longer bound up with them, He will welcome us to Himself. All sin can be forgiven and we love the cleansing from God. Continuing in sin never makes grace abound. As saints we must all live by the Scriptures and love God with all our heart.

HALLELUJAH !

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