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Should a Pastor Continue in Ministry If His Child Proves to Be an Unbeliever?
Christian Post ^ | 03/17/2012 | John Piper

Posted on 03/17/2012 10:27:37 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

Should a pastor continue in ministry if one of his sons, arriving at a mature age, proves to be an unbeliever?

Well, as you know, that hits close to home. So maybe the best thing I can do is tell you the way the elders at Bethlehem managed this, because that's me.

When that happened, I went to the elders and I said to them, "Here's the situation. I think my son needs to be pursued by the elders as far as you can, and then he needs to be excommunicated if he doesn't respond." He was 19 years old.

And so for I forget how many months they did this. Maybe six months or so. And I said, "I am willing to step back and go on a leave of absence, or resign, or whatever you think appropriate in this situation." They never faced this before with any theological thoroughness.

So for those months they were pursuing him, talking with him. He was working for one of the elders at the time, and they had some conversations. And we were studying the issue, because it says in Titus 1:5-6 that the children of elders should be pista (faithful). Tekna is the neuter word for "children" in Greek, and pista agrees with it. So it is "faithful children."

Now if you just absolutize that as "they must be believers" then not only would I have had to resign, but every pastor would have to resign until his children become believers. (I'm giving you one of the arguments against it. Children become believers, they're not born believers-unless you have a very unusual view of baptism as an infant baptizer.)

So the idea would be that you can't be a pastor until they become believers-say, nobody with children under six should be a pastor. Or another take would be that if they profess faith and then walk away from it you have to leave the pastorate.

Well the elders studied that through and they wrote a paper. It was just a two page thing that said that a pastor shouldn't resign on account of an unbelieving adult child. [Editor's note: This paper isn't available, but you can read another similar one by Justin Taylor.]

And so they let me press on, but we did follow through with the discipline. And God was merciful to, I believe, use that letting go to awaken and restore. And I'm thankful for it.

So I don't think the point of those stipulations in 1 Timothy and Titus is to lead to the quick resignations of pastors, but to discern whether a man has a maturity and a giftedness to lead a well-ordered family. That's what it's for.

How can you manage the flock if you can't manage your household? And good management doesn't mean perfect outcome. It didn't for God, and it doesn't for us.


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: pastor; unbeliever
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1 posted on 03/17/2012 10:27:46 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Yes, of course he should. God doesn’t have grandchildren, everyone must come to Christ on their own, even PKs.


2 posted on 03/17/2012 10:30:29 AM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian "I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: SeekAndFind
.


Paging Rick Santorum ...
Paging Rick Santorum ...
Paging Rick Santorum ...


Pastor Santorum ... Please pick-up on the White Courtesy Phone in the Hotel Lobby ...



.
3 posted on 03/17/2012 10:32:32 AM PDT by Patton@Bastogne (Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin in 2012 !)
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To: Patton@Bastogne

Is that you Bill Maher?


4 posted on 03/17/2012 10:35:27 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Why would anyone follow a pastor and not Jesus Christ? What would Jesus do?


5 posted on 03/17/2012 10:38:13 AM PDT by Dallas59 (President Robert Gibbs 2009-2011)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: Dallas59

Well, when Jesus was active in His ministry, even his family members did not believe in Him. See John 7:1-5


7 posted on 03/17/2012 10:42:29 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (question)
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To: SeekAndFind
How foolish to think a child's faithlessness is a millstone to hang around the parents' necks!   Parents are responsible not to neglect their children's abberant behaviors and to foster their education, but who is of a mind that faith itself was handed down as a work of the parents? Do you not know the simple truth that faith is gift from God?
  - Ez. 18:2-3; Eph. 2:8-9

HF

8 posted on 03/17/2012 10:43:43 AM PDT by holden
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To: SeekAndFind
How can you manage the flock if you can't manage your household? And good management doesn't mean perfect outcome. It didn't for God, and it doesn't for us.

This conclusion is key. I am a Southern Baptist boy. In my younger years, I knew a lot of guys who felt call to preach. They began their ministerial careers, often called to be pastors of churches. Now these were young men leading churches with older, sometimes old, men who were deacons. And in those days, if the pastor and his household didn't perform perfectly, they were often invited to resign and move on or do something else other than be a pastor.

If they couldn't keep perfect credit or flunked out of school (a high range possibility being a pastor and driving perhaps hundreds of miles to preach twice on Sunday then driving home, arriving early Monday morning or later in the day) or otherwise performing poorly according to the legalistic expectation of deacons and otherwise not-understanding members of the communities, these men were told they did not have it as pastors and so please go home and do whaatever does not require preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As I got older, I began to see and understand that these perceived failures were not the same thing as Paul talked about. Christian liberty does not mean that deacons should demand the resignation of a pastor otherwise faithful in his church if he is not necessarily suited to being a college student.

I believe the church leadership in this case were extremely wise men who collectively studied the matter and came to a wise conclusion. These men are a blessing to a busy pastor. As the writer said, may their tribe increase. May faithful pastors who preach the Word of God increase.
9 posted on 03/17/2012 10:46:08 AM PDT by righttackle44 (I may not be much, but I raised a United States Marine.)
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To: SeekAndFind

How many young people (young adults in this case) question their religious upbringing?

Many of them. Including all denominations.

Then comes this scenario — just suppose this young man becomes a Catholic and then brings his pastor father and his mother and brothers and sisters to the Catholic Church.

Would we mourn that?

I think this pastor is acting not out of love, but out of trying to protect his own reputation. (Isn’t that called self-centeredness?)


10 posted on 03/17/2012 10:52:08 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: holden

If your a Christian, and have not had someone who you hold dear reject Jesus Christ, than you probably have not talked enough to those you hold dear about him.


11 posted on 03/17/2012 10:54:16 AM PDT by right way right (What's it gonna take?)
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To: SeekAndFind

There was no word for cousins in the Hebrew language. So the word “brothers” was used. Those were townspeople who did not believe in Christ because they knew he was a carpenter from Nazareth.


12 posted on 03/17/2012 10:56:06 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: righttackle44

The Old Testament tells us about two JUDGES who the people of Israel look up to to bring them God’s message -— Eli and Samuel.

Unfortunately, both of them had bad ( in the case of Eli, really evil ) children.


13 posted on 03/17/2012 10:58:27 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (question)
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To: SeekAndFind

“How can you manage the flock if you can’t manage your household?”

Perhaps that’s the key. If the young man (he’s 19, not a child), is still a part of the household that might create a problem. I don’t see how a pastor could be held responsible for a grown child living on his/her own.


14 posted on 03/17/2012 10:59:37 AM PDT by SuzyQue
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To: SeekAndFind

Jesus came for the sinners, not the righteous.

Another way of saying it — those who are well do not need a physician, those who are sick are the ones who need a physician.

May the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, lead this young man to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.


15 posted on 03/17/2012 10:59:49 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

The Gospel of John was written in GREEK, not Hebrew.

In each instance when brothers were mentioned as it relates to Jesus, the specific Greek word for “brother” is used. While the word can refer to other relatives, its normal and literal meaning is a physical brother. There was a Greek word for “cousin,” and it was not used.


16 posted on 03/17/2012 11:03:29 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (question)
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To: cripplecreek
.


Is that you Bill Maher ?


"Lighten up, Francis ..."

I am a Christian ... "Saved by Christ's Grace", evangelical, pro-life, Believer ...

You're invited to read my dating profile "Shakespeare1564" at www.POF.com if you have any doubts ... dittos for www.Christian Mingle.com ...




Rick Santorum is "genuinely" confused ...

He's NOT running to succeed Billy Graham or James Dobson ...

Santorum is "supposed" to be running for President ...



While I genuinely respect Santorum's religious (spiritual) sincerity ....

I sense that Santorum's "playing" the Protestant Christian Evangelical voters ...

albeit that Santorum's fellow Christian Roman Catholics don't really seem to have much use for him ...



George Bush 43 handled questions about his spiritual life very well ...

Bush-43 declared that he was a practicing Christian Believer, acknowledged that Christ had saved him ... despite his quasi-wrecked life ...

and then he left it at that ...



Pastor "Little Ricky" Santorum should be taking notes ...

but he's too arrogant to do that ...



.
17 posted on 03/17/2012 11:07:14 AM PDT by Patton@Bastogne (Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin in 2012 !)
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To: right way right
.


If your a Christian, and have not had someone who you hold dear reject Jesus Christ, than you probably have not talked enough to those you hold dear about him.


With all due respect, that is utter nonsense ...



How much teaching, time, love, grace ... did Christ invest in Judas Iscariot ?

What was the result ?

Judas rejected not only Christ's (one-on-one) presesence ... but betrayed Christ to murder and death ...



Paul's epistles are clear on this subject ... on who actually becomes a Christ Follower ...

"Seeing Christ's Light" ... is completely a GIFT from the Holy Spirit ...

God the Father ... in His own wisdom ... decides who recieves that "gift" of spiritual revelation ...

and who doesn't ... like Judas Iscariot, for example ...


.
18 posted on 03/17/2012 11:13:23 AM PDT by Patton@Bastogne (Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin in 2012 !)
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To: Salvation
"There was no word for cousins in the Hebrew language. So the word “brothers” was used."

The Koine Greek word used was adelphi which doesn't mean brother so much as it means brotherhood or brotherly.

The clearest way to refute these claims is to construct a genealogy of the Apostles from Scripture. When done this proves that the so called "brothers" of Jesus had different fathers and since we know that Joseph was still alive when Jesus was 12 (the Temple visit) we know that there was insufficient time for Joseph to have died and Mary to remarry multiple times to satisfy the Gospel geneaology for the various brothers and named fathers.

19 posted on 03/17/2012 11:15:45 AM PDT by Natural Law (If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, if not raise your standards.)
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To: SeekAndFind

God calls us, not the pastor. Each of us has to work out our salvation and Christ will be waiting when we earnestly seek Him. All the parents can do is continue to pray for their child.


20 posted on 03/17/2012 11:17:41 AM PDT by rabidralph
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