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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
I am currently reading a rare and out of print 1993 book that was kindly given to me by a retired pastor and I have reached the interesting section on ‘church discipline’. Indeed my coffee cup is filled to the brim and I am sprawling on a tiny chair as I indulge in savory words of virtue and wisdom. Okay lets back track a bit -church discipline -this of course is a delicate issue facing any congregation of Christians:
On one hand, believers are sensitive to the claims of truth on the conscience. They are further aware that truth is for the purpose of promoting godliness. Consequently, sin is to be taken seriously, and discipline when necessary, is to be administered according to the gravity of the offense in question. ‘If your brother sins,’ says our Lord, ‘correct him.’ (Matt 18:15).
On the other hand, Christians are aware that the truth has not been entrusted to the church in abstraction from the welfare of the people who are recipients of that truth.
If sin is exposed and corrected, it is only to the end that Christ may be glorified by the recovery and restoration of his errant sheep (cf James 5:19-20). The problem of church discipline, accordingly resides in the BALANCE of the truth and love of people… Read More!
What would you think of a coach who instructs his players but never drills them? Or a math teacher who explains the lesson but never corrects her students’ mistakes? Or a doctor who talks about health but ignores cancer?
What is corrective church discipline? Church discipline is the process of correcting sin in the life of the congregation and its members. This can mean correcting sin through a private word of admonition. And it can mean correcting sin by formally removing an individual from membership. Church discipline can be done in any number of ways, but the goal is always to correct transgressions of God’s law among God’s people…
As a church moves toward practicing church discipline, it will often find itself facing real-life situations that are complex and have no exact “case-study” in Scripture to help it sift through the various layers of circumstances. It will not always be clear whether formal church discipline is required, or how long the processes should take, or whether the guilty party is truly repentant, and so on.
As a congregation and its leaders work through these complex issues, they must remember that the church is called, above all else, to guard the name and glory of Christ. Fundamentally, church discipline is about the reputation of Christ and whether or not the church can continue to affirm the verbal profession of someone whose life egregiously mischaracterizes Christ. The sins and circumstances of sin will vary tremendously, but this one question always needs to be in the forefront of our churches’ thoughts: “How will this sinner’s sin and our response to it reflect the holy love of Christ?” …Read More!
Love him or hate him, Mark Driscoll is a very polarizing personality. Though of late he has drawn alot of concern among many conservative Christians (following his hasty endorsement of heretics, his controversial book and esoteric visions). Now there is Andrew-gate :
Until last fall, a 25-year-old Seattle man named Andrew was happily committed to Mars Hill Church, one of America’s fastest-growing megachurches with more than 5,000 members. He volunteered weekly for security duty at his branch of the church, joined a Bible study group, and had recently become engaged to the daughter of a church elder. Then he made a mistake that found him cast out: He cheated on his fiancee with a community college classmate. The fury over Andrew’s experience—and his decision to publicize the church’s internal disciplinary procedures—has led to accusationsby otherChristians that one of the most powerful evangelical voices in the country, Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, employs a cultlike leadership style… …Read More!
I do not always agree with J. Lee Grady but this time (as a brother in the Lord) I like his honesty. This time he looks into the recent death of Pastor Zachery Tims and gives the charismatic community a heads up that I think we can all learn from…
Zachery Tims [is said to have] met Jesus and was saved from a life of crime and drugs. He and his wife, Riva, moved from Baltimore to Orlando, Fla., in 1996 to launch a church that aimed to restore families and pull teens out of trouble. New Destiny Christian Center grew fast, mostly because of Tims’ passionate preaching. He was soon a regular on Christian television.But things unraveled in 2009 when Tims was caught carrying on a yearlong affair with a stripper he met in France. He admitted to an “indiscretion” and got a few weeks of counseling, but he didn’t take serious time off for rehabilitation. Riva divorced him for his infidelity. The billboards that once featured photos of the happy couple were changed. By 2011 the roadside ads featured a shot of Tims by himself, with this slogan: “A Family Church Meeting Family Needs.”This story did not end well. On Aug. 12, Tims was found dead–at age 42–in a New York City hotel room. His four children lost their dad, and his church lost their beloved leader. But while Tims’ family and friends are grieving their loss (and I’m not minimizing that because the pain is real), I’m also grieving over the fact that the wider body of Christ has yet another embarrassing religious scandal to explain. We can’t gloss over this.There are so many aspects of this story that should cause us to lament. How did a preacher get involved with a stripper? Why didn’t Tims put himself on the bench for at least a year after his sin was exposed? Why did Christian television keep him on the air after his affair became public? …Read More!
When I get to heaven by the grace of the Lord, I want to hunt down two Bible characters and let them know that their names were embedded in Holy writ for having a squabble. I truly wonder what Euodias and Syntyche (nice names, uh?) were in disagreement about (Phil 4:2). What do we do when we run against euodiasian or syntycherous views in church? Here is a little wisodm for life on how to draw a distinction between a debatable or disputable matter…
A debatable or disputable matter (Romans 14:1) is an area of behavior, doctrine or tradition on which Christians disagree because a specific biblical absolute does not regulate it. It is therefore a matter of personal preference not divine command. These matters belong to the category of Christian freedom or liberty. …Read More!
In this day when discipline is hard to institute in a church, its not that uncommon to find this long forsaken practice all together abandoned to the detriment of the body of Christ. So, what is the purpose of church discipline?
The first is that they who lead a filthy and infamous life may not be called Christians, to the dishonor of God, as if his holy church [cf. Eph. 5:25-26] were a conspiracy of wicked and abandoned men. For since the church itself is the body of Christ [Col. 1:24], it cannot be corrupted by such foul and decaying members without some disgrace falling upon its Head.
Therefore, that there may be no such thing in the church to brand its most sacred name with disgrace, they from whose wickedness infamy redounds to the Christian name must be banished from its family. And here also we must preserve the order of the Lord’s Supper, that it may not be profaned by being administered indiscriminately.
For it is very true that he to whom its distribution has been committed, if he knowingly and willing admits an unworthy person whom he could rightfully turn away, is as guilty of sacrilege as if he had cast the Lord’s body to dogs.
On this account, Chrysostom gravely inveighs against priests who, fearing the power of great men, dare exclude no one. “Blood,” he says, “will be required at your hands. [Ezek. 3:18; 33:8.] If you fear a man, he will laugh at you; but if you fear God, you will be revered also among men. Let us not dread the fasces, the purple, the crowns; here we have a greater power. I truly would rather give my body to death, and let my blood be poured out, than participate in that pollution.” Therefore, lest this most hallowed mystery be disgraced, discretion is very much needed in its distribution. Yet this can be had only through the jurisdiction of the church. Read More