|Volume 21 Number 2 February 2019||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Someone inquired whether it is permissible to appoint as deacons men who do not have children. The sole list of qualifications for those who may be considered for appointment as deacons appears in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Everyone who reveres God and submits to His authority will make every effort to abide by what God stipulated in the Bible on any and about every subject. Anyone who does not revere God and refuses to submit to His authority need not bother visiting Scripture regarding any topic, because he or she is unconcerned about doing what God decreed or in the way God may have commanded; such a person will do what he or she desires, despite God and His Word.
First Timothy 3:12 answers the question as to whether candidates for appointment as deacons must have children. “Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well” (NKJV). This verse requires that a man being considered for appointment as a deacon to be married to “one wife.” He is not a polygamist. There is no less of a stipulation or an exceptive clause in the verse to excuse him from also having children. If the verse is authoritative, and it is, the deacon must be a married man with children. The likely reason is the same as to why God expects candidates for appointment to be elders to have children: “for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:5). Elders as well as deacons need the experience of managing their own families to prepare them to manage the local family of God.
A Lost Generation
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Whereas the Book of Joshua is about triumph, the Book of Judges is about failure. Joshua was such a powerful figure with an immense amount of influence that he was able to stabilize God’s people for two successive generations. “So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:7 NKJV). However, the very next generation fell away from God into indisputable apostasy.
When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. (Judges 2:10-13)
What happened? Several factors combined led to the downfall of the people of God.
Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. (Deuteronomy 6:1-2)
Not haphazardly or sporadically, but God meant for fathers to acquaint children and grandchildren thoroughly and regularly with the ways of God.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments. (Psalm 78:4-7)
Under Patriarchy, before the implementation of Judaism, Abraham was a father who took seriously the imparting of knowledge about God and His ways to his children. “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (Genesis 18:19). In the New Testament, we find that Timothy was the product of godly teaching from generation to generation to generation through Timothy’s mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5).
If parents and the church are not zealously and faithfully conveying to upcoming generations God’s Word and leading them to have faith in God, those parents and those congregations of the church have failed their charge from Almighty God.
When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 7:1-6)
A lesson for us today is that we cannot live like the world and do the things the world does and still be pleasing to our God. Companionship with ungodly and worldly people today will influence Christians to forsake God and His ways. “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people. Therefore Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
Just like in ancient times, intermarrying with idolatrous and ungodly people is dangerous spiritually. Preceding the flood of Noah’s day, intermarriage between ungodly people and godly people led up to the worldwide deluge and God’s purge of sinfulness from the planet. “…the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose” (Genesis 6:2). The same thing happened during the time of the Book of Judges. “Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods” (Judges 3:5-6). The same scenario can and often does unfold today when God’s people indiscriminately marry ungodly persons.
Christians are not of the world, though we necessarily live in the world (John 17:14-16). The apostle Paul wrote, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). We are loosing upcoming generations within our own families because of failures of the home and the church to indoctrinate youth with God’s Word and cause them to know Him. We dare not underestimate either the tremendous impact of the ungodly world in which we live upon our children.