Church Discipline/Rolls?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by 12strings, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. 12strings

    12strings
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    In another thread, Salty said this:

    Do you think Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians, & Jesus words in Matt. 18 instruct us to remove church members who are in unrepentant sin, or who have abandoned the church altogether (non-attendance)...or to do more like what Salty advocates?

    Or should there not be a list at all?

    FOR SALTY: Would you only advocate removing a person if they joined another church, or even then? Would there be any warrant for removal from membership?
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    The funny thing about Baptist circles (and this goes to Free Church polity in general) is there is simply no means of enforcing discipline. The person can just go down the street or to the next town over.

    The only means of it are: 1) denying the Lord's Supper (not salvific) and/or 2) denying membership (not salvific.)

    Its one of the shortcomings of Free Church polity. :)
     
  3. mont974x4

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    If the person goes on to another church that is one them. Our responsibility is to faithfully administer church discipline when necessary.

    If we are to dis-fellowship someone (not even eat with such a one) why would we maintain them on the membership list? I could see giving it 6 months in an inactive status like the people who have stopped coming but did not change membership, or move, etc.

    My question would be how do handle someone that has been kicked out, remains obstinate in their sin, and keeps coming every week. I would think this would be a rare occurrence though. Most people who are confronted will throw a fit, then move on to another church where they will just talk about how corrupt and unfair the first church was and how saintly they are in comparison.
     
  4. 12strings

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    I'm not sure I see your point. Are you saying non-free churches have SALVIFIC means of church discipline?
     
  5. saturneptune

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    This is one reason I am against closed communion. In closed communion, the standard is the church roll. Now, if someone comes walking in on communion day on the rolls that has not been in years, has not supported the church, or its ministries, then absent any church action, this clown is eligible for the Lord's Supper. But let a person traveling through stop in who loves the Lord enough to come worship with you, and he is denied because he is not on the church roll, I don't think so.
     
  6. Salty

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    Hope this isnt off OP, but suppose someone wanted to join your church, but theire current church would not send a letter due to discipline - would you accept them into membership?
     
  7. mont974x4

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    Probably, however in the discussion about church membership it would be made clear that sin will not go without being confronted. Honestly, they'd probably like me less than the guy they're running from. I enjoy challenging pet sins from the pulpit, like gossip.


    I have never had a letter. In fact, I have never asked for one.
     
  8. jbh28

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    I cor 5:11 "But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one."

    The purpose of church discipline is to restore a brother or sister. It's because they are involved in sin. If they refused to repent, we are "not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one."

    Would you have an unbeliever as a member? no.

    A person that is under church discipline as has refused to listen to the church, they are no longer considered a brother. They may bear the name of brother, but that's it. A believer repents.

    Matt 18:17b"And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."
     
    #8 jbh28, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2012
  9. mont974x4

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    Several years ago we were members of, and serving in, a small SBC church. The elders decided to take the whole church through the Peacekeepers book and then wanted all attendees who served and all members to sign an informed consent letter. They wanted us all to agree to background checks, to never sue anyone, and a new church discipline policy. They refused to say who would do the background checks, who would be privy to the information, and how our information would be safeguarded. They refused to define what would be considered sin and therefore warrant discipline. The letter included an agreement to stay in the church until discipline was carried out. They refused to tell us what that "carried out" actually. We were also to agree that if we did leave we were the elders were expected to inform any church we joined as to what sin we were charged of and if we did not return the new church was to discipline us. Initially they also refused to say what the penalty would be if we refused to sign the informed consent letter. I spent a couple of weeks seeking answers to my questions through phone calls, emails, and face to face meetings. Finally the preaching elder (who refused to be called pastor) told me I was "conscious bound to resign", so we did.

    Sadly, a year later they did implement the policy pushing many others to leave. Since then the preaching elder has started teaching that the rapture already happened.
     
  10. 12strings

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    At our church, each case would be taken individually...we generally don't ask for a letter, unless the person volunteers it...otherwise people join by statement of faith, or baptism.

    I DO think there are some good reasons for churches to contact one another to find out potential problems that would be cause for concern (child abuse, for example).
     
  11. MorseOp

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    Putting a person out (ex-communication) is to consider that person to be an unbeliever. Is an extreme action with extreme consequences. While their membership is revoked we should continue to seek their repentance.
     
  12. mont974x4

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    Agreed. Repentance and restoration is always the goal.
     
  13. jbh28

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    You are right and that's what we are to consider them, an unbeliever. We are to seek their repentance. Our goal is like that of an unbeliever, to repent and believe the gospel. believers repent(we still sin) and we always believe the gospel.
     
  14. drfuss

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    Agreed, it should be the goal. However, in many cases, repentence and restoration is not followed up on; but is only used as an excuse to not update the membership rolls.
     
  15. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    Yeah..well..that's true but.....


    but....if nothing else we all know that..regardless of the state of the "church rolls" here...there is A church roll being kept in heaven by our God....and His list is ALWAYS accurate and up-to-date! Amen?

    Bro.Greg:type:
     
  16. saturneptune

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    That is a great post for not having elder rule in a congregation. All I will say is you are more gracious man than I, because I would have been gone the second the message about the new policy reached my ears. I have never seen anything positive come out of elder rule. Most elders are elected based on their position in the community, not spiritual maturity. Elder rule has a way of becoming elder worship. Just not by me.
     
  17. 12strings

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    I'll just say I have been a part of one church and am familiar with several others, who are/were Elder-led, and they are all humble men who see themselves as servants of the congregation. The non-staff elders I know were chosen for their spiritual maturity...they have been teachers, engineers, computer technicians, etc...never politicians.

    I have also have heard of congregational ruled churches in which a group of vocal lay leaders have held the church in an unhealthy grip by influencing all church voting, repeatedly forcing out pastor after pastor, and holding on to huge surplusses of church funds without using them for ministry.

    You can make the biblical arguments for which is right, but practically, either can be good or bad.
     
  18. padredurand

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    We don't maintain an official membership roll. I pastored too many 500 member churches that couldn't turn out 100 for services.
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    SN and I are fellow servants of the same church. This is one area where we disagree. But he does have a point.

    A church which does not practice regular discipline should not do closed communion because it creates a scenario SN used in his comments above. If a church is consistent, a church member which never attends or supports the church would be long gone.

    Open communion, on the other hand, will allow someone under discipline (or who has been disfellowshipped from another church) to come to our church and take communion.
     
  20. MorseOp

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    In our church we fence the table by giving the warning of 1 Corinthians 11:27-32. This allows visitors to partake of the Lord's Supper while bearing sole responsibility for partaking in an unworthy manner.
     

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