What Does God Say About Divorce?
Should a Pastor Resign if He Gets Divorced? Many pastors are undergoing divorce and it is raising concerns in the church. Many Christians are confused as to why their pastors are getting divorced yet they are the ones who should be in the front line of upholding their marital vows. God’s desire is that a man should be faithful to his wife and guard his heart against divorce. Should a Pastor Resign if He Gets Divorced?
Malachi 2:16 says, “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.”
What Did Jesus Say? Should a Pastor Resign if He Gets Divorced?
Not all pastors go out of their way to divorce their wives, others have spouses desert them and that is why there is no direct answer as to whether a pastor should resign if he gets divorced. Jesus gave grounds for divorce in
Matthew 5:32. He said, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
This means that a pastor may not be on the wrong when he gets divorced because of an unfaithful wife and this does not demand his resignation.
How to Prevent Divorce
Pastors have been called by God and at the heart of their soul is to please god. Satan uses opportunities to lure and destroy the effectivity of that man / woman of God in the kingdom.
It is a spiritual battle that we are inbvolved in.
He may try to do it when we are unprepared. Even when we are consumed in service in God’s Kingdom. Satan can take that relentless service and use that very work in God’s Kingdom as an opportunity to take out one of God’s Servant.
“8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” I Peter 5:8-9
“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6: 10-17
- When you counsel with someone – have a brother or sister with you
- Do Not Spend More Time in Service than with Your Family
- You are a Team Involve each other with the mission – what can be stronger – a two Fold Cord is not easily broken – Be one
- Keep Your Passion focused on your Mate
- Listen to God – Listen to Your Spouse – Could God be speaking to you through your spouse’s heart
- Make your Decisions Together
- Pray Together
- If You Find Yourself Drifting – Confess and right the ship
- God is Our Partner
- Keep Your Eyes Open – You and Your Family are a target of Satan – it is a Spiritual Battle – Satan seeks to take out the Generals
The Pastoral Gift
One thing to note is that God gave the gift of the pastor in
Ephesians 4:11. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.”
This means that God gave a pastor his gift for a reason – to pastor the church.
“for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
If we say that all divorced pastors should resign, then we are forgetting that their pastoral gift is intact and God expects them to use it.
When Should a Pastor Resign Because of Divorce?
There are times when pastors should resign after getting divorced. If a pastor was involved in an adulterous affair, he should resign and get into a time of repentance and allow the Lord to deal with his heart, and restore him to wholeness. We are not to have a hint of sexual immorality and the pastor cannot be the one who is engaging in it. Sexual immorality coming from the pastor sets a bad precedent that will hurt the morality of the church. The pastor needs to deal with his sexual struggles away from the pulpit and allow God to restore him to sexual purity.
If the pastor is unwilling to work on his marriage and wants a divorce, then he should consider resigning because he has lost sight of God’s purpose and command for marriage. “and said,
“For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? Genesis 2.24
So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:5-6).
A pastor will not be acting in line with God’s Word because he should not be the one putting asunder what God joined together – him and his wife.
If a pastor is getting divorced because he is unable to put his house in order, then he needs to resign because he is unqualified to lead the church. His life is undergoing turmoil and his attention is on the chaos in his life. He is unable to rule his household and will struggle to care for the church he is leading.
1 Timothy 3:2-5 says, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?).”
When Should a Pastor Not Resign?
A pastor should not resign if his spouse decides to walk away from him. His spouse may have chosen to divorce him and is not willing to work on their marriage. If the pastor’s spouse left after walking away from the faith too, he cannot be compelled to resign.
1 Corinthians 7:15 says, “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.”
God has called us to live in peace and if a pastor’s spouse walks away, the pastor can continue with his responsibility of leading his church.
Wisdom From the Holy Spirit
The conversation of whether a pastor should resign or not is one that the pastor needs to have with God. We each have a personal relationship with God and He is the one who can give us the wisdom we need. The leadership of the church the pastor serves should seek God in prayer to find out how to deal with the situation.
They need to hear the story from the pastor and his spouse so as to establish the truth of the matter. Armed with the truth, they will decide whether to retain the pastor or let him go. The wisdom of the Holy Spirit is very important and as we read the Scriptures, we need guidance from God before making life-changing decisions.
There are times a pastor should resign when he gets divorced and this is something he can establish after listening to wise counsel.
Divorce is a matter that a pastor should deal within the right way and then he can go on with serving God.
Years ago I was asked to teach on this at our local church. I chose to use Jimmy’s Evans DVD Series – “Marriage on the Rock”. We showed each DVD in our adult Bible Class. I showed a portion of each DVD and then we finished with the Discussion. That class was very well attended by almost all of our married couples. I completed the quarter and then was asked to do a second quarter – ended up with 6 months of teaching on strengthening our family’s marriage.
Jimmy and Karen’s Ministry is helping to save Marriages. Many of these lessons can be accessed on DVD ( That is what I used) but I think I remember they had an accessible TV Program. I showed these through our projector in the main auditorium.