Staff's ROD

Staff's ROD #23, Elders are Married with Children

Our last review summarized all 18 requirements for elder from Titus and 1 Timothy.  This article focuses on the particulars of our 10th emphatic belief that church leaders are to be married men with children in subjection, and women cannot be ordained as pastors, teachers or deacons.


First, let's look at the marital requirements for elder.  20 out of 21 translations render the Greek aner as husbandand simply put, a single man cannot be a husband.  This is not optional, as Paul uses the word must which is the same must Jesus uses in John 3, ye must be born again.  A man cannot qualify even if he is a "one woman man in his heart", as some try to render it.  Further, he is to be the husband of one wife, which rules out a divorced man, as well as a divorced-and-remarried man. (This does not dismiss an Elder who loses his wife to death while in office.) 


That he must be married with children is reinforced when Paul says he is one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)  A man cannot have a house, so to speak, without children; nor does it refer to a man's spiritual house, as Paul reserves that for the church of God.  The man's family is his first pastorate.  If he cannot take moldable human clay from infancy to adulthood, producing children subject to authority, how will he handle hardened sinners coming to faith in the church? God gives the church clear proof of whom He approves.  In fact, seminaries only produce a man apt to teach while ignoring the other 17 requirements.


"Wait, wasn't the Apostle Paul a single man?  He referred to himself as an Elder."  There's three problems with that: (i) Paul is an Apostle first and foremost, holding a higher office than Elder; (ii) Paul himself is telling us that Elders must be married, thus ruling out any comparison to himself; and (iii) I've documented nine (9) reasons why Paul likely was, in fact, a married man.  You can read that here. Assoc. Prof. Denny Burk likewise lists seven (7) reasons why he believes Paul had been married. 


That women cannot be ordained officers is made clear when Paul writes, I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. Find more resources on this topic here.