Getting kicked out of Church

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Larry, Dec 18, 2001.

  1. Larry

    Larry
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    Didn’t get any takers, so I changed the name on my post from " Church Discipline" to "Getting kicked out of Church"

    I did a search and couldn’t find a thread that addressed this, so I decided to start one.

    Matthew 18:15-17 is a good place to start

    “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. 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. 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.”


    What do you think of 2 Corinthians 13:1-2?
    “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established? I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:”

    Is Paul following the admonition form Mathew 18?

    How dose your church exercise discipline?

    I remember hearing about a pastor who started in a new church and soon found that the old pastor had been forced out by a deacon who was committing adultery. The old pastor brought it before the Men’s Meeting, and to make a long story short, things went bad and he was forced out. The new Pastor followed the criteria in Matthew 18 and brought it before the Church all in one day. The Church “Churched” the Deacon and the Deacon sued the Pastor for slander. In court the man’s wife took the stand and was asked if she had any knowledge of her husband having an affair. She said that she had known he was having an affair for years. When asked why she hadn’t done anything if she had known for so long. She said, “Me and the kids love him and need him” that broke the man's heart and he confessed what he had done and ended up getting saved.

    I don’t know if the story was true or an analogy but it shows how Church Discipline should work.

    How about it? Do you have any Church Discipline stories?

    [ December 19, 2001: Message edited by: Larry ]
     
  2. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    The problem with the story that you mention is that the principle players misunderstood the purposes of discipline. There are two: 1) The protection of the church, 2) The restoration of the erring brother/sister.

    Any church discipline episode that ends with "kicking" someone out of the body is misguided. Once the excommuniation has happened then the church needs to actively pursue the former member.

    "Treat them like a sinner" should refer to evangelism and outreach rather than shunning.
     
  3. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jonathan:
    Any church discipline episode that ends with "kicking" someone out of the body is misguided.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This is a misstatement. Church discipline, in the ideal, should result in repentance and restoration. However, when the person refuses to repent, they should be excommunicated from the body's fellowship. This does not, in my opinion, prevent them from attending services. It prohibits them from fellowship functions, church membership privileges, essentially, from anything that does not involve preaching the word with a view to repentance.

    It is possible to continue to work with them in a limited, confrontational way. There is to be no "friendly fellowship" (1 Cor 5:11). Any contact must have as its purpose restoration.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>"Treat them like a sinner" should refer to evangelism and outreach rather than shunning.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Not according to Paul in 1 Cor 5.
     
  4. Danette

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    I believe if we had more BIBLICAL church discipline we would have much less problem with sin in the church. The divorce rate would take a nose-dive and there wouldn't be hidden adultery, pornography addiction (becoming more and more common among PASTORS) molestation and financial mismanagement.

    However, that said, I don't think there are many churches which are capable of BIBLICAL church discipline because even the pastors lack the maturity to know how to handle these situations with 1)wisdom about the issues, 2)lack of judgment and condemnation and WITH true love, and 3)the support of the body, who also lack #1 and 2.

    My church has a church discipline policy. But it is sadly deficient. The one time they have used it, they dropped the membership of one of the men AFTER he left his wife and the church in favor of an adulterous relationship. That's as effective as closing the barn door after the horse is out.

    On the other hand, when I appealed for church discipline with my marriage, they just didn't know what to do. They didn't have the understanding of the issues to see past the facade my husband wore. They sent us for marital counseling - which was ineffective because the Christian counselor (an elder in the church who is a professional Christian counselor; not a psychologist) likewise didn't have answers. He saw past the facade to a degree but didn't know how to address or even find the root of the problem. Even though the leadership of our church sincerely cared about the situation, they couldn't help. And since my husband was willing to go through all the motions, they would do nothing further with church discipline. Basically, escalation of church discipline would have required spousal abandonment.

    And I love the leadership of my church. They are the most godly that I have ever sat under. But they still didn't really know what to do.

    The purpose of church discipline is supposed to be loving restoration, with excommunication only as a last resort. Churches seem to fall into one of two categories -- no church discipline at all or the extreme of judgment and excommunication with NO intermediate ministry of accountability in love.

    I believe the fundamental reason for this is that we as believers don't understand the way God deals with us personally in discipline. We tend to preach a fire and brimstone God. While God will ultimately deal with the lost world that way, He DOES NOT deal with His children that way. His discipline of HIS CHILDREN is without judgment and condemnation and is not punitive. His discipline is motivated by His love and kindness and is intended to TRAIN us in righteousness. Consequently, a church discipline situation should function with the same motivation.

    -- Danette
     
  5. Jamal5000

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  6. Pastor Larry

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    My heart goes out to you for your marital problems. However, it may be that the church did what they could do. You have not given enough information (nor is it necessary since no one here can help out).

    You say they sent you for counseling. I think that is absolutely the right thing, although the pastor himself or someone on staff should have been able to handle it. At the root of the problem was a sin issue and sin can only be dealt with by biblical confrontation and repentance. If someone appears to be responding, you continue down the path. You are probably right to say that most churches don't follow the process. The either let everything go or immediately excommunicate. However, most "intermediate" steps go on behind the scenes so that no one knows except for those who are involved.

    The thing that concerns me is that you say Basically, escalation of church discipline would have required spousal abandonment. I see no biblical basis for a statement such as this, with the information you have given here. The only possible scenario it seems to me would be physical endangerment.
     
  7. Danette

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    Physical endangerment was definitely an issue in our situation. But it all worked out ultimately, so no further action was required. My point was that, even though I have wonderful pastors, they really didn't know how to "do" church discipline. In each case that I have known about (4 situations)where there has been significant spousal infidelity or abuse they took no definitive action until AFTER the unfaithful or abusive spouse abandoned the church and the family. In my understanding of church discipline, that ISN'T church discipline. Basically in this situation there is a breakdown between the start of church discipline (step 1) and the end of church discipline (excommunication). They just don't know what to do in the middle. And I think my church probably does a better job than most.

    -- Danette
     
  8. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Those are good points. Jay Adams has a great book on this, probably, IMHO the best one available as of now (at least that I know of). It is called, interestingly enough, Handbook of Church Discipline. I assume it is published by Zondervan and is probably available at CBD and Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service (cvbbs.com)
     
  9. tyndale1946

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    1 Corinthians Chapter 5

    1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

    2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

    3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

    4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

    7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

    8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

    10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

    11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

    12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

    13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

    My question is in regards to verse five
    To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
    The whole chapter is in regard to church discipline as I see it and it is talking about delivering one unto Satan so they might see the error of their ways and repent.

    That they might be saved in the day that the Lord reveals to them their grevious sin and bring them back again into the fold. To me it would be no different if some was preaching heresy the steps to bring one back would still apply.

    God is not willing that any should perish from the truths and the practices that his blessed Son Jesus Christ set up in the world while he was here. We must as swiftly as we enact judgement on an erring brother be as swift to restore such a one when he repents and walks with us once again. Sometimes some of us think we are better than our brother because we have not succumbed to the same error.

    We have to be careful with that line of reasoning because if tempted like our brother we could fall in the same sin as our brother or worse. When all is said and done we can only claim by the grace of God go I... Brother Glen
     
  10. Psalm145 3

    Psalm145 3
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    Here is a book you can read online for anyone that is interested: New Testament Church Discipline By James W. Crumpton
    Pastor, West Side Baptist Church
    President, Maranatha Baptist Mission
     
  11. Danette

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    tyndale, you are so right about the judging. And that is one reason people with problems don't go to the church for help/resolution. IMO (and it is just my opinion based on my observations), judgment is the single most common sin among believers. All sin has the same root and none of us is incapable of the worst sins but for the grace of God and the activity (and our obedience to) the Holy Spirit. What is lurking under the surface in virtually ALL churches are MANY members who have drug or alcohol addictions, immorality, pornography addiction (SO common!), incest, pedaphelia, occult involvement and physical abuse. We just don't see it and are shocked when it occasionally comes to the surface. As long as those issues remain secrets people will remain in bondage to them and they will continue to propagate to the next generation. The purpose of church discipline is not to judge but to reconcile and draw to repentance. Without it, these functions can hardly happen -- and our churches will stay crippled to the degree this is not dealt with.

    -- Danette
     

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