“Man of one wife” means one marriage and not divorce and remarriage, first, this view ignores the overall context of 1 Tim 3, which emphasizes post conversion character rather than preconversion sins. “All the other qualifications listed by Paul refer to a man’s present status, not his entire past life. For example, 1Timothy 3:1-7 does not mean ‘one who has never been violent’ but ‘one who is not now violent, but gentle.’ It does not mean ‘one who has never been a lover of money’ but ‘one who is not now a lover of money.’ It does not mean ‘one who has been above reproach his whole life’ but one who is now above reproach.’” If we made these qualifications apply to one’s entire past life, then we would exclude from office almost everyone who became a Christian as an adult, for it is doubtful that any non-Christian could meet these qualifications.”
Second, like the previously discussed view, this view isolates 1Timothy 3:2 from the rest of the qualifications. It places emphasis on marital status while the rest of the qualifications deal with character.
Third, baring preconversion divorcées from serving as elder would have significantly limited the pool of potential candidates the early church had to select from to fill the office of elder. Saucy makes the following observation regarding Christianity’s first converts: “This picture of the background from which the church members would have come, which included divorce for all kinds of reasons, is substantiated by all sources.”
Fourth, the view marginalizes the forgiveness of sin that a person receives when he comes to Christ.
According to Glasscock:
Divorce and remarriage, when committed outside the provisions for them in the Bible, are sins; but like any other sins, they can be forgiven and the believer cleansed. Once a person has come to Christ, all sins are for given and to claim that so long as a man stays married to his second wife, he is still living in sin is to ignore God’s provision of mercy, to degrade the power of Christ’s work, and to overlook God’s forgiveness…
Further, it is inconsistent to allow a divorced and remarried man to become a member of a church on the grounds that his previous sins have been adequately paid for through Christ and yet forbid him a leadership role because of his previous sins (which Christ removed by His death)…Certainly one cannot attempt to make the qualifications of 1Timothy 3 apply to a man’s life before he is saved.
If God has forgiven him and made him a part of His church, why do Christians hold his past sins against him? When one is saved, all his sins are forgiven (Col. 2:13), he becomes a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), his body becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), he receives a new nature after God’s own holiness (Eph. 4:24), he becomes a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), and he becomes part of God’s spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5) and royal priesthood (1Peter 2:9)…Paul states that even adulterers (as in divorce and remarriage) were washed…sanctified…justified (1 Cor 6:9-11)…
For those concerned with the testimony of the church, let them consider which glorifies God more–that He takes an unworthy defiled human and makes him pure enough to become His servant (cf. 1 Tim. 1:12-16) or that though God forgives, He does not let a man’s past sins be forgotten?…Is the church guilty of Peter’s prejudice (Acts 10:9-16) so that God must also rebuke believers and say as He did to Peter, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy”? It does not seem possible that by Paul’s phrase in 1 Timothy 3:2 he intends to hold a man’s preconversion sins against him.
Published on Monday, January 28, 2013 @ 4:01 AM CDT