The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (1 Tim 3:1 – 7)
1. This text surely cannot be separated from the whole history of God’s people. All of the patriarchs had problems in their families e.g. Josephs’ brothers tried to kill him. Apparently none of Moses children (if they were of age) entered Canaan. Samuel’s sons were corrupt, “When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.” (1 Sam 8:1 – 3). One of David’s sons (Absalom) tried to kill him. There are other biblical examples I am sure. But this shows that these men were not disqualified from ministry by the behaviour of their children.
2. There are church leaders who have had similar problems, e.g. Charles Wesley, John Wimber. The man who has most influenced me spiritually had one son who had became a hippy and completely walked away from the things of God. It is clear that grace kept flowing through these men’s lives.
3. The resolution to this problem, I believe, concerns the age of the children. Certainly, a household with ill – behaved small dependent children living at home would disqualify a man from eldership. Once however a child becomes of age (whether living at home or outside) they are answerable before God on their own account. This is how I treat my non-dependent children.
4. The emphasis on “managing” the household/church falls on “care” (v.5), not rule – obedience.
5. If you have cared for your children when they were dependants and they respected you then you have fulfilled this text.
6. The passage says nothing about an elder being responsible for his wife’s spirituality, or church attendance. (John Wesley’s wife gave him terrible trouble, even beating him apparently.)
All in all brother, I think you need to recognise when Satan is attacking you and take the shield of faith.