CON Contact Us DON Donate
Our History General Assembly Worldwide Outreach Ministries Standards Resources

Question and Answer

Church Officer's Wife a Member Elsewhere?


Is it biblical for our OPC church to elect a member, a godly man, to the ordained office of deacon when his believing wife in good standing in our church is a member of another church (Lutheran)? They both have attended our OPC church for decades but she won't join because of family ties to her former church. "Does he have his house in order?" This is my question.


Thank you for your question, although I must say that it sounds as if you are describing a real-life situation in a particular church. Because of that, I am going to tread cautiously: it is not our intent or desire to intermeddle in matters in congregations about which we may not have all the facts and which are being addressed by the local session.

Let me just say this, then, about the question from 1 Timothy 3:1-13, which requires all office-bearers to have their households in order. While it is, to be sure, an anomaly that an office-bearer would have a Christian wife who is not a member of the particular church in which he serves, I could conceive of a scenario in which a session might deem such a man fit for office and the congregation might elect him. I suppose that I am saying that I do not think that the scenario that you describe would necessarily militate against a man serving as an elder or deacon or that he would be patently unqualified solely on the basis of the situation with his wife. I grant that it sounds unusual but I would also guess that if he is ordained, or if his ordination is contemplated, the session and congregation must have good reasons for such an action.

You may well find my answer frustrating, having hoped for a more straightforward "it's wrong!" But, as I noted, I can conceive of situations where what you describe may not disqualify a man from office, and I so I am inclined to believe that those situations may be present here, prompting those involved to desire his service in spite of this unusual situation.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

© 2019 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church



Chaplains and Military Personnel

Diaconal Ministries


Inter-Church Relations

Ministerial Care

Planned Giving

Short-Term Missions


Church Directory

Daily Devotional

Audio Sermons

Trinity Hymnal

Camps & Conferences

Gospel Tracts

Book Reviews



Presbyterian Guardian