C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Church Discipline, On the Rise?

According to an article from BP News [here], there is a rise in church discipline among Southern Baptist. I find this interesting because I don’t recall even the concept often mentioned at all. Although I have heard the gossip of so and so doing this and that, I don’t usually hear any talk about church discipline or actually going to speak to the person for that matter. I guess it is easier to talk about someone than talk to someone.

As the article states, outlined in Matthew 18, we can find the order of church discipline.

[Step One - Individual]
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

[Step Two - Witnesses]
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

[Step Three - Church]
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Also contained in the same chapter is Christ’s idea of forgiveness [seventy times seven] with a warning [So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.]. In all things, even in church discipline we must remember charity [1 Corinthians 13], and not simply wrath.

Church discipline is supposed to lead one to repentance and again to embrace fellowship with one another. It is not meant for getting rid of people that “don’t think like me”. It should evolve clear biblical sin that one refuses to repent of. To me, it also takes more than just the pastor, the entire church needs to be prayerful and spiritually minded to put away gossip and have genuine concern for both the church and the individual(s).

What do you personally think about church discipline? Should we have it? Have you ever seen it or been apart of it? Express your views.


leslie said...

i find it interesting that 'the rise' follows an intense interest by the group that went after the Catholic church for child molestation/rape. they (i'll find the name) have begun focusing law suits and articles on the Baptist churches 'responsible' for looking the other way in these circumstances.

my dad has always been in a leadership role in the churches we attended, in some form or another, so i am aware. and also there were the formative years in the bible belt. i heard the lesson presented in various venues.

hearing and carrying out are two different things because seeped throughout the matter is the intentions of your heart, and love and compassion, and i think a level of credibility.

i think it is necessary, and that moments arise, however rare, and i am thankful that God left us instruction here.

i have witnessed the aftermath of an actual disfellowship where two members engaged in adultery, were approached (via the steps), repented publicly, and then continued, steps repeated, they decided to marry and essentially accepted whatever the church might do by refusing the counsel given, so it took the whole congregations agreement and participation to carry out 'the disfellowship'. it was, in the end, something everyone had to decide on together but it was by no means easy.

there is a chance that we may misunderstand another person, or misread the situation. and taking care of it directly adds perspective, and may give someone an accountability partner to help them through.

i don't think we should 'legislate' disciplinary actions.--each situation has its nuances, and some people respond to different approaches, and there are those who are flat out repentant looking for help.--but i think we should be less afraid and quit looking the other way when something is obviously wrong.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Wow, Leslie.

Some good insight. Thanks for commenting!

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.