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Bible teaches overseers of the flock must be married

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

The Roman Catholic Church forbids marriage to all its priests, bishops and popes (all shepherds/overseers of the flock).

 

However, the Bible teaches an overseer of the flock must be married:

 

1 Corinthians 9:

5      Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?   (NKJV)

 

Note: Cephas is the apostle Peter and was married.

 

 

Matthew 8:

14   And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

15   And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered to them.   (AKJV)

 

 

1 Timothy 3:

1     This is a faithful saying: if a man seeks the office of an overseer, he desires a good work.

2     The overseer therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, modest,

     hospitable, good at teaching;

3     not a drinker, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;   (WEB)

 

Note: The word ‘overseer’ is also translated as ‘bishop’ in other Bibles (see below for an example).

 

 

Titus 1:

5     For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking,

     and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you ---

6     if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.

7     For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine,

     not violent, not greedy for money,

8     but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,

9     holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine,

     both to exhort and convict those who contradict.   (NKJV)

 

 

 

Why does the Bible say that an overseer of God’s people must be married? It is because he must have a wife and children and be able to manage his own household:

 

1 Timothy 3:

4     one who rules his own house well, having children in subjection with all reverence;

5     (but if a man doesn't know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the assembly of God?)  (WEB)

 

 

Marriage is a holy institution where one man and one woman become one flesh.  An overseer can be likened to Christ in this respect:  Jesus became flesh so that he can become a compassionate high priest who knows what He is talking about when He intercedes for us: 

 

Hebrews 2:

14   Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same,

     that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

15   and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

16   For most certainly, he doesn't give help to angels, but he gives help to the seed of Abraham.

17   Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers,

     that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God,

     to make atonement for the sins of the people.

18   For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.  (WEB)

 

Hebrews 4:

14   Having then a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold tightly to our confession.

15   For we don't have a high priest who can't be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,

     but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin.

16   Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy,

     and may find grace for help in time of need.  (WEB) 

 

 

Likewise, in order for an overseer to know what it takes and how to lead God's people by being truly understanding and compassionate, he must gain experience in doing it first so he can know what he is talking about.  He does this by having a wife and children and managing his own family.  It is a part of what he must do to fulfill his duty as an effective leader. 

 

Also, he will be able to relate to both the single and married people in the flock.  It is common sense and understood by all: we cannot expect someone who is not married to truly know and understand what is involved with being married. Therefore, a married overseer must know what it is like to be both single (we all were born single) and also married.

 

Being married also enables the pastor to be able to relate to the women in the body of Christ. Though one has a mother and possibly sisters or other female relatives, it is the relationship to a wife which enables a man to “know” as best he can how to relate to female members of the body of Christ.

 

Finally, having a wife completes the circle of wisdom required to know oneself, because a woman is the other half of what being a human being is – becoming one flesh. A wife not only helps in this regard, but a wife draws out the best from her husband so that he truly grows in his own personhood and relations. This benefits directly the role of the shepherd of the flock as he becomes a better, wiser, more compassionate – and passionate, leader.

 

The wife is the helpmate of her husband. Both a husband and wife have a reciprocal relationship just as Christ does with His bride:

 

Ephesians 5:

22   Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

23   For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the assembly, being himself the savior of the body.

24   But as the assembly is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their own husbands in everything.

25   Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it;

26   that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word,

27   that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing;

     but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28   Even so husbands also ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.

29   For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord also does the assembly;

30   because we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones.

31   "For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh."

32   This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Christ and of the assembly.

33   Nevertheless each of you must also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

     (WEB)

 

 

As the husband is the priest of his house and is the head of the woman, and the Lord Jesus is the priest and head of His church, only when the overseer is married and has children will he be optimally qualified to apply these life lessons to the shepherding and caring of the flock of God.

 

For how can one be responsible for a large amount of people if he cannot even truly relate to them? An overseer must be able to relate to both men and women, single and married.

 

Truly, it is the only way he can understand what it means that the Lord Jesus Christ is the groom and we are the bride. Do we see the obvious contradiction to Bible truth and the illogical nature of the Roman Catholic Church’s forcing overseers to be unmarried and abstinent?

 

  • How can an overseer truly know what being a groom means if he is never a groom?

 

  • How can an overseer truly know what being a bride means if he never has a bride?

 

  • How can an overseer truly know who Christ is since He is the groom & we are the bride?


Do we see how much wisdom and understanding is missing? Do we see the glaring contradiction in all this?

 

 

However, the contradiction of having unmarried overseers gets worse. The Bible also says overseers must have children and God goes even further – and out of the Lord Jesus’ mouth He says that we should not call anyone our father:

 

Matthew 23:

9     Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.   (NKJV)

 

 

This means that the following also applies to all the leaders in the Roman Catholic Church:

 


  • How can an overseer truly know what it means to be a father if he does not have children?

 

  • How can an overseer truly know who God is since God is our father and we are His children?

 

  • Why does the Roman Catholic Church defy Biblical commands for overseers of the flock to marry and to compound the error, calls these unmarried overseers “fathers” when they are not fathers – defying God’s command (again) that we not call them “fathers”?

 

 

 

Do we see how much confusion, deception and plain disobedience to God is going on? Do we see how what the Roman Catholic Church does is the very opposite of what God commands?

 

The Bible truth is this: being married and having children is a “minimal” but important qualification as even the old saying describes: we must be able to put oneself “in someone else’s shoes”.   This just simply cannot be done with the way things are set up in the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Truly, the Roman Catholic Church’s behavior is not only being disobedient, but there is no common sense and they are behaving inhumanely.

 

In addition to what we have already mentioned:

 

How does anyone truly know who they are if they never have a relationship with anyone else?

 

If one does not know who they themselves are, how can they relate to others?

 

Volumes and volumes have been written in psychology journals that attest to the problems which arise from this personal lack of human attachment/relationship and development, where this person is then put in a position to deal with and be responsible for many people.

 

In other words, this is like someone applying for a job that expects a great amount of interaction with the greatest amount of people, but the applicant himself has absolutely no qualification, even in his own personal life – but yet he still gets the job. And these relationships can be very close, involving a huge amount of trust with the one person having a position of power over who he deals with. Who benefits from this arrangement? Neither does. Both the one person and the many he is supposed to interact with, suffers in this relationship.

 

All this leads to disaster and psychological and other dysfunction.

And being surrounded with other people of like mind simply does not qualify.

 

 

This leads to yet another reason why an overseer must be married.

 

Sexual passion is a natural and powerful desire in man that must be controlled or have an outlet.  We see this all over the Bible when it says we should not commit fornication and adultery.  The only God-ordained way to satisfy this passion is by entering the holy union of marriage:

 

1 Corinthians 7:

1     Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

2     Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.

3     Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

4     The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does.

     And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

5     Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer;

     and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

6     But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment.

7     For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.

8     But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;

9     but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (NKJV) 

 

 

In light of what the Bible says about the qualifications of an overseer who must be married to thereby understand better how to know and manage people, while also finding the best way to satisfy man's sexual passion, why does the Roman Catholic Church forbid its priests to be married in direct contradiction to what God commands? 

 

Is it any wonder that the priesthood has almost become a byword for sexual misconduct? 

 

Does the Bible further say that there will be those who forbid marriage?  Yes:

 

1 Timothy 4:

1     Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,

     giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2     Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

3     Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats,

     which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (AKJV)

 

 

We must note that this is the chapter immediately after 1 Timothy 3 which tells us that overseers of the flock must be married, so the Bible is clearly connecting the marriage (and family) requirement of the overseer with the fact that there will be people who forbids this God-ordained marriage.

 

Any unbiased and objective seeker of God’s truth will know that this is referring to the Roman Catholic Church which has done exactly this thing in contradiction to God’s commandment and His truth.

 

As we mentioned earlier, this order by the Roman Catholic Church that prevents its overseers from being married not only goes against God, but it is also inhumane. It prevents proper growth of the overseer and the proper relationship with the people. It is not functioning according to the will of God, but is instead an example of human dysfunction, which falls far short of God’s intention and ideal.

 

It is a situation ripe for psychological and emotional problems to arise and explode.

 

The Roman Catholic Church suppresses human passion, but yet allows these same people to have a position of power over many, many people with whom they must be very close and have intimate trust.

 

This is a situation ripe for disaster.

 

It makes no sense and God is not a god of confusion:

 

1 Corinthians 14:

33     for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. As in all the assemblies of the saints,   (WEB)

 

 

The forbidding of marriage – a holy covenant before God, and calling these same overseers “fathers” boldly and defiantly contradicts God’s will and all sense. This act reveals that the Roman Catholic Church does not walk according to Christ, but disobeys our heavenly father at every turn – even in this most clear and plain of commandments.

 

Of course, the Bible tells us this behavior does not originate from God. The Bible tells us this is inhumane behavior and why – it tells us where this behavior comes from.

 

God’s Word tells us that to forbid marriage is demonic behavior – it comes from the lies and doctrines of demons.

 

The Roman Catholic Church shows in its behavior and traditions that they do not follow God, but the doctrines of demons.

 

I know Roman Catholics love God, but they must realize that God alone is truth. Loving God means we must love truth – and the Bible alone is truth. Anything else is human tradition and the doctrine of demons which we must not listen to. The path to our heavenly father is narrow, but wide is the other road.

 

The time is short. We must flee from darkness and lies:

 

Ephesians 5:

8     for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

9     (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),

10   trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

11   Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

12   for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.

13   But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

14   For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you."

15   Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,

16   making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

17   So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  (NASB)

 

 

We must obey God and truth, not men, who follow the doctrines of demons:

 

Acts 5:

29     But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.   (WEB)

 

 

God wants us to love Him with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:37-38).

God seeks these true worshippers who worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24).

 

 

Are you one of these? Are you one of His?

 

Nothing is more important than truth. God is Truth. Nothing is more important than God. Nothing.

 

 

If you seek God’s truth and you find it – will you live by it?

And be willing to stand tall for it regardless of opposition?

People die for God’s truth. Are you willing to die for it?