Posts Tagged ‘ church heirarchy ’

Church and Singles

It has become clear to me that there is a need, yes even a longing within the church itself for a revolution. Not a political revolution, but a spiritual one.

Let us first define some terms and ideas so as not to confuse the issue. Most Christians are aware that the “church” in its Biblical definition simply refers to all of the people who believe in Jesus Christ and have trusted in His sacrificial atonement on the cross, and resurrection from the grave.

However, the word “church” is also used to refer to the hierarchical organizational structure, denominational or not. So for the sake of clarity of this post I will be using either the phrase “church organization” or “church hierarchy” to distinguish this from the Biblical usage mentioned above.

The church organization, in its zeal to follow Jesus, and also, to protect itself, has set up its own rules and regulations and thereby, have become a bureaucracy in a sense. There is more red tape and less ministry being done. The church needs to focus on people, not paper; on individuals, not bylaws.

Here is a perfect example of what I mean: The church organizations’ bias against singles in ministry. The apostle Paul, and even Jesus himself taught that, in respect to ministry, being single is at least as good as, if not better than being married because “…One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided…” 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 (see also Matt 19:10-12)

These passages make it clear that being single is not something that should disqualify one for ministry, especially since Jesus and Paul were single. On the contrary, singleness should be looked at with great respect within the church because of the commitment it shows to Christ and His church.

I know whereof I speak, for I myself have been turned down for many positions in ministry based solely on the fact that I am not married. However, this is the life to which the Lord has called me, and I must follow Him rather than please man.

My own pain aside, it is unfortunate that the church is missing so many wonderful, dedicated Christ-following ministers because they assume that verses such as 1 Tim 3:2 and Titus 1:6 mean that one must be married to be in ministry. This is the unfortunate consequence of reading between the lines of scripture…you end up trying to “strain out a gnat” and miss the camel you’ve just swallowed.

First, 1 Tim 3:2 and Titus 1:6 clearly apply only to those selected for the role of “elders.” This is also a bit messy to dissect, so for the sake of time, I will leave that for another post.

Second, these two verses must be reconciled with the aforementioned passages regarding singleness, and therefore should be taken to mean that a person should have no more than one wife. This would exclude anyone who is practicing polygamy, and may or may not apply to those who are divorced and remarried. Knowing the Lord and His Word, it is most likely that Paul is simply forbidding polygamists from holding the role of elder-ship.

Third, we must note also that the Bible does NOT say “an Elder must be married” or “an Elder can not be single,” because that would exclude both Jesus and the Apostle Paul (who, incidentally penned the verses in question), among others.

In conclusion, the church organization must reevaluate its stance on single people holding ministry positions. To deny singles from these positions is to deny the call of God that is on many hearts.

How do you view singleness? Does it actually line up with God’s Word?

About Jesse Walker

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