Church Discipline Effective;Necessary or Outdated; Unnecessaryah?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by T Alan, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. T Alan

    T Alan
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    Any discussion held recently on "Church Discipline"?
     
  2. Thousand Hills

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    Good luck, 99% of BB probably just put you on ignore for even asking the question.

    I on the other hand think it is a worthy matter to discuss.

    Here are a few articles I had bookmarked if anybody cares.

    Church Discipline On The Rise http://www.bpnews.net/25255

    Church Discipline: A Historical Perspective http://www.tnbaptist.org/BRARticle.asp?ID=4222

    A few favorite excerpts from the 2nd article:

     
  3. Thousand Hills

    Thousand Hills
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    A good quote from the always quotable Vance Havner:

     
  4. padredurand

    padredurand
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    I assume you are talking about Matthew 18.

    Matthew 18:15-17 NAS77
    15 "And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
    16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
    17 "And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.


    Here's my real world experience after 23 years in ministry. We are an elder-led church. Three times the elders have met specifically to discuss the disciplining of a member. We never got past step one. All three times the folks got madder than all get out, left the church and bad mouthed all of us in the coffee shop and on social media. :tonofbricks:
     
  5. Zenas

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    I would say that would be the pattern in most churches. Quite frankly, I would not accept discipline. If I had the strength to prevail over those who sought to discipline me, I would take them on. If they clearly had the upper hand, I would leave the church. It's not like a job where you depend on them for a living, or a family where there are legal duties toward each other as well as familial love.

    I have only seen church discipline attempted in my association twice in my life. Once there was a lawsuit that greatly weakened the church. The other time there was a split of the congregation.
     
  6. padredurand

    padredurand
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    Church discipline is not a power play. It is misused if applied that way. Church discipline is exactly what the name implies - discipline. It is not to be wielded arbitrarily because Elder Jones has a bone to pick with Mr. Belchfire.

    The three times church discipline was invoked the person's conduct and behavior were so severe it would damage the public testimony of the church if left unchecked. The person's conduct was the driving force behind the action of the elders. It was damaging to their walk, It was damaging to the church.

    You don't fall under church discipline because you took the best parking spot, irritate the choir director, have a big mouth or wear polyester suits from the 1970s. The opening words of Matthew's text set the conditions for church discipline. I'll bold them here....

    Matthew 18:15 NAS77
    15 "And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
    16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
    17 "And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.

    If your brother sins.... that's the condition. Sin! I can't speak for other churches but if you fall under discipline in mine it is because you have sinned in such a way to harm the church. The objective is not to hurt you, harm you, embarrass you or to make a you look like an idiot. The objective is to win you back into a proper relationship with the Lord.

    You would refuse discipline? Why would you compound sin with sin? If you were under discipline for sinful behavior how would refusing discipline help you in your walk with the Lord? I could see you resisting if discipline was being misused as a means to run you off but if it was being judiciously applied you have a responsibility to listen to the church.
     
  7. Iconoclast

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    No church discipline equals no true church.It is not optional.Let the goats stampede out with the undisciplined person.....
     
  8. JohnDeereFan

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    Church discipline is Biblical. It's also necessary to protect the integrity of the Church, of the Gospel, and to restore someone in sin.

    While people like Zenas may prefer their sin to submitting to Church discipline, it's the Biblical and right thing to do.

    Church discipline can be something small like simply pulling a brother aside and saying, "I notice you're involved in this. I'm really concerned about you and where this might lead. You need to repent" to removal from the Church, which is what people usually think of when they say "Church discipline".

    In my case, I've been involved in four or five case of Church discipline that resulted in removal. In all but one case, the people were defiant, like Zenas, and decided to walk away, rather that accept discipline and restoration.

    I'm fine with that. I'm sorry they chose their sin over Christ, and chose not to honor the promise they made when they became members of the church, but if that's their choice, so be it.

    While not "discipline", per se, our church just removed a bunch of people from our roles for non-participation.

    Not only that, but to withhold discipline is not loving toward the person who's found to be in sin.

    People always forget that part.
     
    #8 JohnDeereFan, Feb 28, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2015
  9. Zenas

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    You mean like your people listened to your elders the three times they met for the purpose of discipline?
     
  10. Zenas

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    I don't know about your church but our church has no requirement that its members submit to church discipline. There is no such promise when people become members of our church. I just now reviewed our corporate charter, our bylaws and our church covenant and it's not there. We do have a procedure for removing members, although the last time it was invoked was in the 19th Century.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    Those who will not accept church discipline tell on themselves. They have a low view of the church, the Bible, and God.


    I have been involved in one discipline event which involved the imbezzlement of church funds by the treasurer. He would not respond to requests for meetings to resolve it. Had he done so and admitted and confessed it would not have gone beyond me and the deacons. Since he did not it was brought before the church. All the facts of two seperate investigations (one in house, and one third party) were presented to the church. He was disfellowshiped from from the church. Discipline can go on without the offender being there. It is necessary to ensure they are no longer voting members. Otherwise they can come back and vote at any meeting legally.
     
  12. Tom Bryant

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    Our experience with church discipline has been the same as the Padre. They have left the church soon after the pastor or a deacon was brought into the mix.

    I think Rev's caution is wise about removing their voting privileges.

    To end on a praise note, in one of the cases, the person who left later (2 years) came and publicly asked for the church's forgiveness for their public failure. It became a moment of victory as people experienced a little of what happened in 1 and 2 Corinthians.
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

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    But what if the church is in error.....see this only works if everyones goal is to be God honoring, otherwise its imperialistic.
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Was it for dancing or maybe having a beer? Which is worse in most Baptist churches? Oh I.got it....fratinizing with a Roman Catholic.:tonofbricks:
     
  15. The American Dream

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    I agree with Padre, Matthew is the basis of church discipline. The goal of church discipline is restoration, not punishment. Also, the sin or activity has to be against the Word of God. For example, in the 1930s and 40s, we had three cases of removal for the following, dancing with ones own wife, investing in the stock market, and "getting mad" at the pastor. Had I been there, the person who brought the charges would have been removed.

    Dancing and investing money are not sins. Neither is half the things lots of Baptist churches worry about like playing cards, lottery tickets, movies and the like, especially when gossip is running rampant through the church.

    So yes, there is a need for church discipline. Our greatest form of church discipline is for abandoning the church in attendance, giving, ministry and fellowship. We send out letters followed up by several visits, asking them to come to church. If after all this effort, and the time limit of the church constitution has been met, we vote and take them off the rolls. That in itself is church discipline. It does not have to be the church's pet sin.

    Most of our latest cases, which I will not get into specifics, it is usually a long term practice and not even trying to hide it.
     
  16. Salty

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    Don't be so sure about that. At the time those things were considered sin, (not saying it is) and thus were dwelt with accordingly.
    Individuals who did dance with their wife were considered rebels, liberals, ect.
    It takes time to make changes - lots of time.

    And one other thing - by joining the church - individuals are entering a covenant to abide by the standards of the church. Thus by breaking a covenant - is that not a sin?
     
  17. The American Dream

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    A very good question to ponder, which I have no answer except to say, if there was something in a church covenant that was not a sin according to Scripture, I would not be serving there.
     
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Key word here "thought ".....there has always been a huge difference between thinking and knowing....just consult your Bible in order to know......all the rest is opinion and speculation.
     
  19. The American Dream

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    And another point, half these "vice sins" that are not sins are not even written in most covenants. Its just what Deacon Jones thought or the way its always been. At the same time the church was voting out people for dancing, the men would line the walkway outside smoking between Sunday School and church for all the world to see. Not saying that is a sin either, but what a double standard.
     
  20. Zenas

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    It was a storekeeper and it was for keeping his store open on Sunday.
     

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