|Vol. 15 No. 3 March 2013||
Appointment of Deacons and Wives
Louis Rushmore, Editor
I have a question about a man being considered for the office of deacon in the church of Christ. Should not the Bible be the sole authority when it comes to qualifications for appointing deacons? 1 Timothy 3:12. A man who has been married three times (all wives living) in now in his third marriage. He claims both his divorces were scriptural. The elders contend that the marriage he has now is a good marriage and that the couple does everything they ask them to do and the first two marriages do not matter. Therefore, they appointed the man a deacon based what he told them about his marriages. The eldership said it was their decision and they gave no scriptural. Thanks, Mary E. Dillard
First Timothy 3:12 reads, “Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well” (NKJV). This verse requires two things respecting a wife: (1) the candidate for appointment is not a single man, and (2) he is not a polygamist. This verse does not address one or previous wives, living or dead. Other passages of Scripture that concern the death of a spouse or marriage, divorce and remarriage need to be consulted to review a candidate’s eligibility for appointment. For more information, see the following references to previous articles within Gospel Gazette Online that touch on these matters.
The question poses two conflicting circumstances: (1) previous marriages do not matter, and (2) the elders were satisfied with information respecting the man’s previous marriages. In does matter from a biblical perspective if one’s previous marriages and divorces preceding a current marriage were according to Scripture (Matthew 19:9). If the elders subscribe to biblical teachings on marriage, divorce and remarriage, and if they are satisfied upon consideration of information available to them, then they have the responsibility ultimately to act in accordance with Scripture and on behalf of the congregation over which they have been appointed (Hebrews 13:17).
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Could you please explain the meaning of the gift in Acts 2:38? 1. When someone is baptized, does he receive the gift of the Holy Spirit or the Holy Spirit as a gift? 2. Is this gift the ability to perform miraculous signs or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? ~ Isaac M. Manyike
Simply, the promise of Joel or “the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Joel 2:28—3:2; Acts 2:16-22; 38b-39) is the miraculous manifestation that accompanied the birth and infancy of the Lord’s church. Joel’s prophecy began to be fulfilled in the baptism of the Holy Spirit which the apostles received and was further fulfilled in the miraculous endowments available to other Christians throughout the first-century infancy of the church.
Not addressed in Joel 2:28—3:2; Acts 2:16-22; 2:38b-39 is precisely when and in what manner the promise of Joel or “the gift of the Holy Ghost” should be received. To learn these details, one must turn to other passages in which miraculous gifts are discussed. For instance, the apostles Peter and John (Acts 8:14-17) and the apostle Paul (Acts 19:1-6) conferred miraculous power (the gift of the Spirit) through prayer and the imposition of their hands upon candidate Christians.
The “gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:39b) is firmly held to be a reference to miraculous gifts typically received through prayer and by imposition of an apostle’s hands upon a Christian in the first century. The baptism in the Holy Spirit that the apostles received and “the gift of the Holy Ghost” is further believed to be the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and Peter’s recollection of that prophecy. The duration of those miraculous gifts was regulated by their purpose (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3) and the life spans of the apostles and those upon whom they laid their hands to impart this power. The “gift of the Holy Ghost” is not the Holy Spirit himself. It is not a personal, literal or bodily indwelling of the Spirit. Neither is “the gift of the Holy Ghost” pardon or remission of sins.
These preceding paragraphs are excerpts from my book, The Spirit Summarized, and the chapter pertaining especially to your question will be the Editorial of the April issue of Gospel Gazette Online. Perhaps the references above will suffice for you until next month’s edition of Gospel Gazette Online.