Vol.XIII No.I Pg.7
March 1976

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Assuming a man is qualified in all other respects, may he serve as elder being scripturally remarried? TAB


The husband of one wife (1 Tim. 3:2 Titus 1:6) like most other qualifications of overseers, has been immobilized, sliced into one-thousandth inch wafers, and examined so minutely that its practical, common-sense use may have been missed. I believe Paul was telling brethren of future congregations (through Timothy and Titus) how to go about selecting the men to whom they would look for oversight. Is he respected by his peers, or does a cloud of accusations hang over him? Is he an exemplar family man, having one wife (not a bigamist), and having children whose conduct indicates wise parental nurture and admonition in the Lord? If a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

It is not my understanding that one wife demands she be still living (he could be a widower); nor that he is disqualified if he marries the second time. I believe he could scripturally remarry following divorce because of fornication on the part of his first wife (Matt. 19:9), although such remarriage is subject to close examination and much soul-searching. The more questionable the remarriage, the less qualified the man, regardless of his rights according to the letter of Gods law. A divorced elder would work under a severe handicap.

What of one having but one child, yet qualified in other respects? HW Tekna (children) of 1 Tim. 3:4 and Titus 1:6 is a plural word, but its use in such passages does not exclude its distributive component, the child. A more detailed study of this is in the August 1971 issue of Plain Talk. (See Matt. 22:24; Eph. 6:1; 1 Tim. 5:4, 10; for children used in this non-exclusive sense.) The point is to test a mans ability to rule by examining his efforts in his home. Even so, I favor looking for men with a plurality of well-ruled children.

May the church vote on matters of judgment? Doesnt voting make the church a democracy, not a kingdom? Doesnt voting usurp the right of the elders to rule? AM

The kingdom aspect means all are subject to Christ —- a unanimous decision of elders, or all saints, could not alter His authority as expressed in the Scriptures. The whole church has expressed its judgment when agreeing that certain men are scripturally qualified to shepherd and lead the flock. Wise leadership always considers the judgment of other saints; but to call for a church vote on the elders leading would negate Gods plan for oversight, allow the unqualified and babes to outvote mature judgment, and make for anarchy.

Mutual submission (Eph. 5:21) rules out voting in the political sense. Campaigning, and lining up votes in elder selection or other church matters, is carnal and earthly. There is a vast difference in self-expression, and counting votes to determine rule. In one we work together to serve the Lord, but the later is man-serving.