Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quarrelsome Anger Disqualifies One From Ministry

Have you ever seen someone self-destruct because of anger? Maybe it was in a marriage, on the job, or in a friendship. Not a pretty sight. Is it?

Over the years I have seen a number of people lose their ministry because of anger. Not an anger incident, but rather a deep, abiding, unresolved anger that constantly simmered and eventually erupted in a meltdown.

In I Timothy 3 the Bible describes the qualifications for church overseers and deacons. In this list of qualifications the paramount issue is ones character. A man is qualified because of what he is (in character), not because what he does, the ministry he leads, or the title he has been given. And these Biblical standards for leadership are non-negotiable.

In the middle of this list, verse 3 states that such a person should be “no striker” (KJV) or “not quarrelsome” (NIV) – meaning he is not a fist fighter, prone to unrighteous anger, or argumentative. You simply cannot be an elder, pastor, church leader, or even a ministry leader if you have an anger problem or angry disposition; it is a ministry-disqualifier. “No Striker” is where we get our modern day word “pugnacious” which means, “giver of blows.” An overseer/deacon is not quick-tempered and must be able to handle things with a cool mind and a gentle spirit.

Can you see why this is such an important character trait for those who would be in the ministry? To put an angry man or woman in charge of anything inside the church would be disastrous.

Someone might say, “Well he only blows up once in a while.” This is, however, evidence of a character flaw, rather than an occasional error in judgment. Would you buy a home near a volcano that “only blows up once in a while?” Argumentative people with angry dispositions are ineligible for ministry because they injure and are harmful to God’s family.

  • Anger stirs up strife and causes one to abound in transgressions according to Proverbs 15:18 and 29:22.

  • Wrath, a form of anger, is contained in the list of “works of the flesh” found in Galatians 5:19-21, and keeps people out of the kingdom of God.

  • God’s servants must not be quarrelsome (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

  • Anger is self-destructive. Job 5:2 says, Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple (NIV)

It is impossible for an angry leader to continue in ministry. Here's why:

  • God will remove him/her
  • They will be removed by godly overseers in the church
  • They will have an unfruitful ministry and will simply quit
  • Or they will self-destruct

One way or another, there is simply no long-term furture for such person. Barren branches is what they become. I’ve seen more than one ministry go down in a spectacle of flames because of anger.

Consider what Solomon said - Proverbs 22:24-25 (NIV) 24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared