Dr. Peter Ruckman has been divorced two times and married three times yet he has been a pastor all
along and he defends his unscriptural marital status in his book on divorce and remarriage.
His first marriage was before his salvation, and it ended in 1962 when his wife left him and filed for
divorce. He began pastoring the Brent Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida, soon after that. In 1972
Ruckman married the divorced wife of one of his former students. When a vote was taken in Brent Baptist
as to whether they supported his second marriage, 200 voted for it and 100 opposed it. He resigned and
started the Bible Baptist Church in Pensacola in 1974 with 17 people. In 1988 the second marriage ended
when his second wife walked out and sued for divorce. Ruckman’s third marriage was to a member of his
church, a mother of three.
Divorces do not take place in a vacuum. They take place in an environment filled with anger, carnality,
hostility, bitterness, and sin. That is not judgmentalism; it is fact. Some of my godly divorced
friends confess this as strongly as I do. In fact, consider how Ruckman himself describes his family
life in days gone by: “I have had two wives desert me after fifteen years of marriage ... I have been
in court custody cases, where seven children’s futures were held in the balance; in situations where
Gospel articles were being torn out of typewriters, Biblical artwork torn off the easels, women trying
to throw themselves out of cars at fifty m.p.h., mailing wedding rings back in the middle of revival
services, cutting their wrists, threatening to leave if I did not give my church to their kinfolk;
deacons threatening to burn down my house and beat me up; children in split custody between two
domiciles two hundred miles apart, and knock-down, drag-out arguments in the home sometimes running as
long as three days” (The Last Grenade, p. 339). That is what the man admits took place. That is only a
small glimpse into the sin and confusion surrounding those years. Friends, you can label me a judge if
you want, but a man with that type of family life has no business in the pastorate. Let him preach on
the streets. Let him preach in the jails. Let him preach in the nursing homes. Let him preach in other
ways, but we must obey the Bible and reserve the pastorate for men who have godly homes.
Ruckman mocks those who call for high standards for the pastorate and who don’t believe a divorced man
fits God’s requirements for the office. He calls them hypocrites and Pharisees. Consider how he
describes his third marriage: “... we got married in a regular Sunday night service after the offering
was taken up: bridesmaids, wedding cake, rice, shaving cream on the car, the whole works. Standing room
only. I WAS FLAUNTING MY FAITH IN THE FACE OF THE APOSTATE FUNDAMENTALISTS WHO WERE GOING TO ‘CASH IN’
ON MY MARRIAGE” (Peter Ruckman, The Full Cup, p. 280). On page 211 of his biography, Dr. Ruckman says
that those who ask the question, “Do you think a divorced preacher is qualified for the ministry,” are
“SELF-RIGHTEOUS PHARISEES.” This mocking, ungodly attitude has encouraged other men that it’s O.K. to
be divorced and remain in the pastorate and even to flaunt the same before anyone who disagrees. Yes,
sadly, many have followed Ruckman’s lead.
Ruckman's system of different plans of salvation for different ages is so bizarre that he teaches no
less than 6 different plans of salvation in the book of Acts alone:
E. “The book of Acts consistently presents the same keys, the same plan of salvation.”
It does if you are as blind as blind Bartimaeus on a weekend drunk—just as blind as a bat backing into
a blizzard. There are SIX “plans of salvation” in the book of Acts, as God continued to reveal more
light on “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) (which was not revealed to Peter; it was
revealed to Paul—Gal. 1, 2). Peter himself testifies to Paul’s “plan of salvation” in Acts 15:11. Read
it. I said, “Read it.” Read it or shut your big, tongue-wagging blabber mouth.
1. Salvation by repentance and water baptism with NO tongues as evidence in a single convert (Acts
2. Salvation by belief and water baptism without any convert speaking in tongues (Acts 8:12).
3. Salvation by grace through faith before water baptism or tongues (Acts 10:44).
4. Salvation by grace through faith after water baptism (Acts 19:2–6).
5. Salvation by belief and baptism without getting the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:16).
6. Salvation by grace through faith without tongues or water baptism (Acts 8:37) and without tongues or
laying on of hands (Acts 8:38). (Bible Believers' Bulletin Jan. 2007, p. 16)