Pastors and ministers are not immune to divorce

These days, divorce is high, especially in the western world, and conservative evangelicals and charismatics are not immune to it.  Pastors are not immune to divorce either.  Televangelist Pastor Benny Hinn is being divorced by his wife Suzanne Hinn.  This is truly sad.  Here is the letter (PDF) he sent to supporters concerning his divorce situation. Is there anyone to blame?  Perhaps there is no one is to blame?  If you take a look at Benny Hinn’s ministry schedule (which is public) you’ll see that it is pretty tight.  It leads me to wonder if he spent enough time with his wife?  It seems that Pastor Benny is married to his work-ministry. Suzanne Hinn is not a nun.  She is a regular woman, wife and mother who needs her husband’s attention and love.

If I may be facetious for a minute, the only clergy immune to divorce are Roman Catholic priests. Perhaps this explains why the Roman Catholic Church chose to prohibit priests from getting married.

For clergy families, finding quality family time together is a big challenge.  It should not surprise anyone who is, or who has been, in ministry that it is not easy for us to separate our work life from family life.  It is too easy to be married to ministry. It will be wise to understand that the work of ministry is a never-ending drain of  family time so we must divide our two worlds.  Family is family.  Church  ministry is work.  We ministers will have to learn to say “no” to some demands of ministry. If the two worlds are melded together without any clear boundaries of separation, the minister’s family will inevitably be hurt due to our neglect of spouse and children.  I have personally faced this problem before.

I am learning and still learning how to practice what I preach.  I’m trying to learn to balance family and work and separate my ministry from my family life.  You may have noticed that I have been blogging less than before.  It’s been a real time drainer in the past.  Therefore, I have decided to spend more time with our daughter in the evenings while my wife works in the evenings.  Yes, she also works to help pay the bills.

To my fellow bibliobloggers and ministers… and there are many out there…  I hope and pray that God may give you wisdom and inner strength to do what is right for your family by putting them first.

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

20 thoughts on “Pastors and ministers are not immune to divorce”

  1. Pastors and ministers are also just human beings. But with the guidance and grace of the Lord, everything’s gonna be alright and they’ll be able to cope with any problems that come along even divorce.

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  2. I agree with what was said. I have a problem with pastors that have been married and divorced FIVE times, and the last TWO divorces were in the last 4 years.

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  3. I am a vocational hospice chaplain. I hope to lead a parish one day. I am having marital problems. I want to divorce my wife. She is progressively getting meaner and hostile. She is the kind of person that never takes responsibility for their actions, behaviors, and contributions that fuel strife. What do I do??

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  4. Tim, it sounds like you’re in a real tough circumstance here. I have to put on my pastoral hat here. But first, I have to tell you that there is no man on this earth whose wife is perfect. They all have their imperfections, including mine.

    I have heard of people learning to be patient and long-suffering with their spouse. This is never easy but it requires the Spirit’s fruit of patience…and lots of it. Therefore, we do need to pray for the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives. I do hope you can continually pray for her, and by being a good example of one who doesn’t fight back, that may surprise her too. When the Spirit does his work, God will begin to dig into her own heart without you making direct incisions into her heart. That’s how the Holy Spirit works. This requires one to look more deeply within oneself and ask the Lord what he can do within “me” first. If you’d like to continue this conversation more deeply, feel free to email me. Tim, I really do hope things get better for you and for her.

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  5. So do you believe a man after being married 3 times and divorced 3 times and getting re married soon to his 4 th wife who is 30 years younger then him and this is all as a Christian should still be a pastor?

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    1. do you think he should ever pastor again? or I am just being stupid? what about the letters Paul wrote telling us what a leader looks like do we just act as though those letters aren’t real in this situation? I just have no one to ask all these 100000 questions running through my head. thanks.

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  6. So do you believe a man after being married 3 times and divorced 3 times and getting re married soon to his 4 th wife who is 30 years younger then him and this is all as a Christian should still be a pastor?

    Hi Pam. I’m not sure what impression you got from my post here, but here’s my personal take on this issue. A man who has been through 3 divorces should really be examining himself very deeply before jumping into a 4th marriage. Stats show that the likelihood is that he/she will get divorced again. What I’m trying to say Pam is that I wouldn’t want to sound like I’m laying down heavy-handed law; but I’m not condoning divorce either. Every needs some kind of second,third chance in life.

    And as pastoring goes, I wouldn’t recommend that he should be getting back into ministry for a long long time. It really doesn’t give one’s parishioners a very good example of family leadership. I think the denominational leadership of whatever church one serves in can offer some help and guideline on this issue.

    What’s your take on this?

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    1. My take is I am confused about the whole issue. It has made me question my own beliefs and has actually made me scared to share my opinion in fear I maybe wrong. Or should I say afraid to show just how angry I am at the whole situation. I am angry because it is as though people never really told him about himself and just kept showing grace but it was as though they were just tiptoeing around the issue instead of hitting it straight on, part of me feels as though the church as failed him.
      Then there are the people that really know the Word and they are saying in so many ways thats its really no big deal and he is a man! what the heck does that mean anyway? He’s a man and so we have an excuse because he’s a man.
      I think that him doing this in the church he was once associate pastor at is crazy and to think he starts dating a member of the church too! to me that is saying I don’t care what others think, I don’t respect this church or the pastor of it.
      What about the ones that are struggling with their marriage? they will have a perfect excuse now. Its sad very sad. I know you are not for divorce I could tell that from your page I am just so looking for guidance with this. I am amazed at some of the things I see. Thank you for answering me…These are real questions from a heart that is crying out for answers and help. It seems twisted thats all I know. Oh yea and get this he was just hired to be a associate at another church here in town….They know the story they know how many marriages he has had..I just don’t get it. It has made me think am I in the right place. what do I believe in?

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  7. Dear Pam, thanks for sharing your heart. I know this is not easy for you. What you are feeling is totally valid 100%. You have every right to feel this way. You are not alone in how you feel about this whole situation. You really do need to make sense of the whole situation. It would be a healthy thing. I know it does help to talk about it with someone you can trust because if you don’t, you’ll feel like you’re trapped in a cage. I can bet that there are other people in your church who are feeling the exact same thing and who would love to talk about it in a healthy way.

    I am wondering what has the church done in the past concerning discipline and pastoral care for this previous pastor? And was it enough?

    And what do think the leadership in the church should be doing?

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    1. yea your right about the trust part and a place that you can work through the thoughts and questions that are coming up through all this and also about others feeling and having so many questions, its like a need to be in a safe place as you work through this and the need to be able to be candid about what you are thinking and feeling. It’s amazing how things like this will start off a chain of events that will cause you to look at what you believe and ask why you believe what you believe, it will make you question the very will of God and what he wants from us….from what I have seen the leadership first concern was reconciliation which is right on, that is what God is all about. He sent His Son so we could be reconciled to Him. He is more concerned with that then anything I believe.
      They (the leadership), I believe want to let God work out what God has to work out and I respect that but I think it needs to be addressed also as standing and saying this is right, this is wrong and call it what it is, sin, no sugar coating it. When I seen the blatancy of his actions and lack of respect for those around him and the lack of concern of how it was and is affecting the weaker brothers and sister that were watching him and looking to him as a example is what really gets me angry. to be honest the story in the bible that came to mind as I watched the leadership show mercy and grace and acceptance to this brother was the story of the church in Corth where the son was living with his step mother and Paul said turn him lose so he can come to repentance, even though it is not the same story I believe it is the same principle, because the leadership tired to help him through this they would not put him out there to condemn him and they did not turn their back on him. They handled it amazingly as far as protecting him, they saved face in front of the congregation for him. I know I would want them on my side if things were going wrong in my life. I guess it was just really never addressed as a whole and spoke out loud, this is where we as the church stand on this issue. So it makes us think or question ok, where do I stand…it is almost like a need for closer if that makes any sense. I pray you can follow all this and that it is more then ramblings to you. thanks for taking the time to read and work through this with someone you don’t even know! thank you!

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  8. Hi Pam, thanks for sharing this. Sorry for my late reply. I think I followed you and it feels like the leadership at your church did the right thing.

    It would have been good if this brother would have publicly apologized to the congregation. I don’t know if that happened but it would have cleared the air.

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    1. Hey, Thanks for getting back to me and thanks for listening to me vent. Funny he just got re-married this past weekend to a woman 35 yrs younger than he is and who he was counseling here at church and to think he has only been divorced just over a year, crazy. So I don’t think he is feeling any type of remorse or anything telling him to apologize, but he has to deal with that. I still don’t understand but that’s OK. I am thankful he is not coming here any more becuase it makes it easier not to have it in your face. I will be meeting with him soon to talk to him about all this, I did contact him and asked him if we could talk and he was fine with that. This is a man who was very vital in many areas of my walk with the Lord so if I don’t want to walk out my life with resentment and anger than I must do this. So pray for me (and him ha-ha) Thanks Kevin!

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