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Does a rebellious son disqualify a deacon?

Submitted: 2/29/2008
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Question: A good godly father and mother, church-goers and vital supporters of the church, father is a deacon of the church. He is reading 1 Timothy 3:12 and feels he should not be a deacon because he has a rebelious son (18 years of age). The father feels he brought up his son in the church and now the son refuses to follow his dad's footsteps. We have shared our feelins and understanding of this passage, however, would you so kindly share your response to this situation. We would appreciate it very much. Thank You, and may God Richlt Bless You. In Christ; Brother Dickinson PS. I am not the Pastor of the church, seving as a deacon in ohurch, semi-retired. NOT RETIRED!!!!!!

Answer: You have posed a very good and pertinent question. 1 Timothy 3:12 says, 'Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.' Sometimes under the very best of leadership, people go off in the wrong direction. For example, there was never a better and more effective leader than Jesus; yet Judas chose to take a different path. We must recognize that there comes a time in each child's life when he must make his own choices and be responsible for his own life. This does not necessarily mean a father has failed to provide effective leadership. We believe each father must be evaluated based on how well he is provinding age-appropriate leadership to his children. And even if the son's rebellion is a response to various failures on his father's part, men can learn and grow over time--so the real question is, what kind of leader is this man today. As an example, we know a man who was born again at the age of 31. At that time he had three children ages 8 through 12. Several of these children went through times of rebellion, even though this man was doing very well at providing good leadership. But there were seeds that had been sown earlier on and there was some reaping that had to happen. Nevertheless, we would not say that this man was automatically disqualified from serving as a deacon.

We recommend you read our article 'The Operations of the Deacon Team' in the Apostolic Free Library. We also recommend the book 'Biblical Elderships' by Alexander Strauch.