Disqualified?

For many years, I have heard about things that would disqualify someone from doing something in Christian service. I believe that I have seen this taken to an extreme in Christian circles. I’ve seen churches allow a sexually promiscuous teenager (a non-member I might add) to represent the church while denying someone who missed some services. They would brag about having high standards for those who represented the church in this way while those standards were extremely and politically inconsistent. I have come to the conclusion that whether one is disqualified all depends on how much political clout he or she has within a church, denomination, or religious circle.

Why didn’t God disqualify Abraham from being the father of many nations when Abraham stepped out of God’s plan to have a child with Hagar? Why did God call David (an adulterer and one responsible for murder) a “man after God’s own heart”? Why did God use Peter to preach in the book of Acts and lead thousands to saving faith when he denied Jesus, thus leading to His crucifixion? Shall I continue? 

This post isn’t in any way condoning consistently blatant sinful behavior. Those of us who continually with our fist in the face of God sin without caring bring shame to His name. But what about those who genuinely repent (turn their back against their wrongdoing)? Somewhere, with Abraham, David, and Peter, I see God demonstrating some grace. They may have messed up royally, but they got back up and God continued to use them.

For those of you who are quick to disqualify someone from Christian service for one sinful act committed 55 years ago (definitely sounds like politics), I ask you to reconsider. I would hate for you to have to stumble royally in order to get a glimpse of what God’s grace truly is. So many things are often left undone for Christ because someone says that some man or woman can’t do anything for Jesus anymore. You and I will have to answer for that. This is something worth pondering.

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17 thoughts on “Disqualified?

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  1. It’s bizarre,isn’t it? I’m of the belief that God calls us and God qualifies us. Churches can use some common sense, I get that, but the politics and legalism is just off the wall.

    Some of my best mentors have been total train wrecks, alcoholism, bitterness, sexual issues and yet they imparted some real wisdom on me about faith. God uses anything and anyone, even talking donkeys, and I never forget that. 🙂

  2. Good subject here Matthew.

    It’s interesting. I happen to serve in a congregation where the vast majority of people would take the stance that a divorced man cannot pastor. Honestly, strong points can be made for this, just as strong points could be made that in some circumstances it is not a problem. Either way, it really doesn’t affect me, as I haven’t been called to do that. I suppose, being divorced myself, if I felt called, I would have to sort that all out somehow.

    Anyway, despite that, we have many divorced members. We also have many members who have rather checkered pasts in may ways, and that includes me. Yet many of us serve full force in our church, and are welcomed to do so. If we were still doing those things, might it be an issue? Well,sure, and it should be. I would hope that the friends of that person would immediately say…Hey stop that!..and even pursue it further if needed.

    Perfect example. The couple who have almost single handedly revived our youth program have pasts themselves. Both divorced, both with children from others besides themselves. They are a blend of 6 children, none of them with each other. Yet, they have changed our youth program. In fact, she has been our Bible School director for three years running. Now, I can remember to this day the first time she ever came to church, tattoos and all. Who would have thought all of this?

    Point being that, while some cases might be made that service in certain offices might not be possible over the past, that is simply not true in 99 percent of the things that need to happen in churches for God’s work to be done.

  3. Somewhere along this 2,000 year journey of “the church”, someone or some group, decided they knew what Jesus meant when He talked about divorce, even though they never considered the context of His words. The context of Jesus’ words was legalism–their interpretations of the Law. Then, they decided that Paul meant no elder or pastor could be divorced and serve because he said they had to be the “husband of one wife”. That means, “they can never be divorced!” In the Greek, divorce is not mentioned in Paul’s words. What if Paul was saying that leaders shouldn’t be polygamists or have a wife and a mistress, which was common in that day. This is why we should re-learn Scriptures by looking at the whole story, and not just bits and pieces and certainly not what others have said we should believe. Peace and joy to you, my Brother!

  4. Interesting post . I hesitate to add much as I don’t know the specifics of your situation however I would add that there are two sides of rejection. There is the rejector and the rejectee. God certainly called many people who were rejected though they continued in their ministry. The key was whether they accepted the rejection. We may need to move on to a different place to find our place of ministry (as Jesus did). If we simply sit back, accept the rejection of others and stay inactive because it is easier then we are participating in our own defeat. God is gracious, God corrects and God also restores. God bless as you seek His will.

  5. Mmmmm. I believe that we are all called to be gracious. I also believe that we are all called to be obedient. By that I mean, that the church must exercise church discipline when appropriate to avoid tainting the body. That discipline is done in love, with the hopes of a return to fellowship. Does that mean restoration to leadership? I think that our only guide on that is the Word, where God lists the qualifying characteristics. God imposed those expectations, not man.
    I believe in I Corinthians, the Apostle Paul rebukes the church for not exercising discipline and later reminds them that they will judge the world and the angels, so we should be able to fulfill this. However, even as believers we all fall, and that is where grace comes in when there is repentance. Some sins do have lasting consequences. I think about Moses who was not able to enter the Promised Land, and could only view it, all because he hit a rock twice. David could not build God a temple because he was a man of war. God is Holy, and his thoughts are so above our thoughts, and above us ever finding out. So…. We are just good to know that he is Sovereign, he is in control and knows what it will take to conform each of us into the image of Son.

  6. As I see it, we all have no ground to serve. We have all fallen short of His standards but by grace He lets us who are broken, sinful, and weak serve. How then can we start disqualifying others?
    I am not saying anyone should serve but I am saying we should be very aware that as leaders God called us to serve because of His grace and not because we were better than most!
    Great post Matthew.

    Rolain

    Rolain

  7. As I see it, we all have no ground to serve. We have all fallen short of His standards but by grace He lets us who are broken, sinful, and weak serve. How then can we start disqualifying others?
    I am not saying anyone should serve but I am saying we should be very aware that as leaders God called us to serve because of His grace and not because we were better than most!
    Great post Matthew.

    Rolain

  8. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. And a broken bone heals all the stronger.
    When a sinner repents the angels in heaven rejoice. None of us knows as much about us than the God who made us. It is not for us to question those He chose to do His will.
    The lesson is found in the parable of the prodigal son. Christ welcomed all to come to him, especially the sinner. When a fallen brother or sister in Christ who, with contriteness, returns to the Church, let us not suffer the sin of pride through righteousness. Instead with truth, compassion and mercy welcome them home. For those who give mercy will receive mercy.
    -Alan

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