Church Discipline

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Pastor David, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Pastor David

    Pastor David
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    Does your church exercise church discipline? Does it follow the guidelines in Matthew 18? Would your church be willing to excommunicate an unrepentant sinner with the hopes they'd be restored? And are churches who "inflate" their roles and never purge their roles of people who have left acting Biblically?
     
  2. thegospelgeek

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    yes

    yes

    yes


    no
     
  3. drfuss

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    Does your church exercise church discipline?
    Staff Members - yes
    Members - Seldom
    Keep in mind our church has over 2000 in attendance each Sunday.

    Does it follow the guidelines in Matthew 18?
    Yes, when exercised.

    Would your church be willing to excommunicate an unrepentant sinner with the hopes they'd be restored?
    If excommumicate means drop from membership, it has little or no meaning or effect; since members (deserters) can stop attending the church for years and still be considered a member in good standing upon returning. Once you are a member, retaining your membership means very little. The church down the street would welcome you, so why not just go there.

    And are churches who "inflate" their roles and never purge their roles of people who have left acting Biblically?
    Definitely not acting Biblically; it is being dishonest and presents a false picture of the church.
     
  4. Pastor David

    Pastor David
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    Thanks for the replies.

    drfuss,

    Do you think that being an extremely large church can make exercising biblical church discipline difficult? If so, what would be some ways to adjust?

    Also, I agree with your assessment of church membership. The "church down the street" should inquire into the perspective members church history to see if any issues need to be resolved.
     
  5. webdog

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    This is a good question. I think the adjustment would come from the strength of the leadership. Looking at the first mega-church (in Acts), I don't think they had much issue with church discipline due to the outstanding leadership given. Just a thought...
     
  6. annsni

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    yes

    yes

    Yes, and we have - even recently.


    No.

    As for the larger churches, I think church discipline is as easy as it is in smaller churches. The important thing is for all the church members and attendees to be aware of the idea of Biblical discipline and for everyone to have some sort of contact with leaders in the church. This can be through small groups or other ministries. But Biblical church discipline should be carried out whenever it is necessary. To do anything else is to allow a cancer to grow through the body that will most likely affect the health of atleast many others. That is not a good thing.
     
  7. thegospelgeek

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    I have no experiance with a mega-church, in fact the idea of a Free Will Baptist mega-church makes me laugh inside. Most of our churches are under 100 with many as small as 10 or so.

    I would think that a mega-church would have to have someone in a relationship with it's members. I know a pastor can not know 2000 people but Associate Pastors, group leaders, etc should have that peronal contact with everyone. Discipline should be carried out in a Biblical fashion no matter the size of the church. Otherwise are they really a church?
     
  8. Jerome

    Jerome
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    O that Christians were as eager to disciple as to "excommunicate" and purge".
     
  9. just-want-peace

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    An observation, if you will!

    If there were more of the latter, might not there be more of the former?

    One more thought that I just noticed -
    DISCIPLE
    DISCIPLINE!

    Looks as if they both came from the same root, so they may be strongly dependent on each other.
     
  10. Marcia

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    Yes

    Yes

    Yes, but they wouldn't call it "excommunication," I don't think. Maybe more "putting out" the person in hopes he/she would repent.

    Restoration comes after repentance. The person comes back to the church, repents, and goes through a process of restoration.

    I don't know to the last question
     
  11. Marcia

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    I have a feeling that churches that don't disciple don't confront and excommunicate, either. A church that does either of these is likely doing the other because it is based on following the Bible.
     
  12. Pastor David

    Pastor David
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    Thanks for all the responses. It is encouraging to read where churches are trying to care for their own through discipline. And yes - disciple and discipline are very similar indeed!
     
  13. drfuss

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    We are located in a metropolitan area with many churches. IMO, the days of churches questioning incoming members coming to the larger churches are over.
     
  14. sag38

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    You know, I follow God's word when dealing with an unrpentent church member. But, I have been tempted to go take an adulterer (espeically a loud mouth unrepentent dad) and beat the tar out of him. The arrogance of some that I've dealt with is appalling.
     
  15. donnA

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    yes

    yes

    yes

    no
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    The proper way to put it is, withdraw fellowship, disfellowship. I've also heard it called "churching," but more as a colloquial term. Excommunicating is not a Baptist word.
     
  17. Pastor David

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    Tom,

    You might also include "shunning" which is the practice in many anabaptist fellowships. But you're right to say that the word "excommunication" is not well-known in Baptist ciricles. But in reading and studying denominations who do use this term, I feel it best describes what takes place when a person is "disfellowshipped". Excommunication simply means to be taken out of communion - or fellowship. Ex = "out of" / Communion = "fellowship". It is a term that is coming into more use in the Reformed Baptist circles more so than the wider Baptist church. But is means essentially the same thing as "disfellowship" and so on.

    Blessings,
     
  18. Todd W. White

    Todd W. White
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    Yes.

    Yes.

    That's the main purpose of Church Discipline - RESTORATION. It is NEVER to be used as punishment (Gal. 6:1).

    No.

    In fact , most pastors are probably so happy to get rid of trouble-makers that they fail to tell the church the trouble-makers went to what happened, so they sow seeds of discord there, too.

    I have always sent a letter informing the pastor of the other church of what the trouble-maker did, what I believe his/her spiritual needs are, how I tried to help them in those areas, and, in addition to warning him how to avoid problems with that person, I encourage him to try to help them instead of failing, as I did.

    To pawn folks off on another church just to get "shed" of them is wrong, in my view.

    So is having hyper-inflated roll books.
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    You and I both understand what we mean by excommunication. But to the RC church, for instance, it means something else entirely. It means to deny them communion, to deny them the sacraments--in essence to cut them off from salvation.

    That's the only reason I suggest care in the use of excommunication as a synonym for disfellowshipping.
     
  20. Thinkingstuff

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    I thought it meant exclusion from fellowship.
     

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