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Church Discipline

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by agedman, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Nov 4, 2011
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    Church discipline is a thread that we can share stories.

    I will start by relating about a childhood experience.

    In the beginning, BAC (before air conditioning), the churches were generally built a bitter higher than most of them in these modern times.

    This was so for a couple reasons, one was that some would have a "fellowship hall" under the sanctuary, and another was so that when the windows were opened the breeze would be cooler and less street dusty.

    It came to pass on one hot summer Sunday morning, that I became fidgety on the hard wooden seat and began to play with my shoes, the song books, the funeral parlor fan on a large Popsicle stick, and even crawled down to the floor to see what everyone's legs looked like. I was unaware that folks around me might think it inappropriate to crawl under the seat to peer back at them. Dresses were a lot longer then, and I wasn't at the age where I would have cared to look anyway. I was more intent on socks, shoes, and saggy hose. And especially, I wanted to see if my playmate and heart throb, Kat (short for Kathleen) would slip a look at me from her perch some rows back.

    My father was a man of great size and few words. When he poked his finger at you, it came with a look that could freeze water in the hot July summer. He pointed to me. He pointed to the bench. I knew what that meant. Being defiant, I ignored the non-verbal instructions rather choosing to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

    Leaning toward me, he motioned with the sternest stare, cleared his throat, and "hitched his belt." Hitching of that large belt was the great sign of impending doom, a tremendous prophetic sign that if I didn't get settled in the seat, great wrath would descend. But being obstinate, and taking pleasure in thinking that at church he wouldn't do anything to embarrass himself, I played the fool.

    Suddenly, a massive hand grabbed mine. I was lifted off the floor. No amount of repentance was going to stand in the way of judgment. Great strides took him to the door with me dangling like one displaying a fine fish catch on the string as I was motivated along by the sheer mass that I might fall and be crushed by his feet. Outside we went, down the steps, around the corner, to the bushes under the open windows.

    My dad could hear me - the preacher preached louder. The people could hear me - the preacher preached even louder. The preacher could hear me - he held his notes close and preached even louder. The neighboring Presbyterians could hear me and peered out the windows in rows of hats, gloves and scarves - I don't know what their preacher did.

    What I do know is that when my dad finished, we marched back into the church and I was none to gently set down.

    I didn’t look at Kat. I was embarrassed.

    My brothers and mom were looking at us, and she smiled at dad. I was embarrassed.

    Everyone was smiling, giving my dad the thumbs up. I was embarrassed.

    And the preacher.....He continued preaching, smiled, chuckled, and gave my dad a thumbs up. I was embarrassed.
    #1 agedman, Jan 31, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2012
  2. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club

    Apr 8, 2003
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    So you are saying the Board of Education met the Seat of Knoweldge?
    #2 Salty, Feb 1, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2012
  3. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer New Member

    Dec 6, 2011
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    You really know how to tell a story! :thumbs:

    Does this old heart good to think back to those days. Fortunately I didn't have to go through what happened to you. For one thing, I would have gotten it twice. The second time, at home, with a very lengthy lecture that was worse than going through the physical aspects of being corrected. If my sin was bad enough, going to bed without supper and/or giving up some privilage would have been included, too.

    Seeing it happen to others was also a powerful example that we should behave in church. There's something about a red-faced woman in a fancy hat leading a youngun by the arm down the isle toward the door that instills a fear. A fear of facing the same thing.

    Summer time was worse. Like you said the windows were up to catch any stray breeze. Those wooden benches were hard. During the summer there weren't many layers of clothing to cushion the pews or the hand on the backside.

    What happened?

    Your post also reminded me of what's happening today. Kids running wild in the church and are young vandals in the making. If the Dry Erase markers aren't locked away, every available Whiteboard will be decorated before the end of services. The parents won't do what ours did and if we even look at a kid crosswise, we become the subject of ire. How dare we even think about correcting someone's precious angel!
  4. glfredrick

    glfredrick New Member

    Aug 5, 2010
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    And here, I thought that you were going to deal with actual Matthew 18 suff... :smilewinkgrin:

    Actually, in true church discipline, where the church must decide how to handle a case of blatant sin, heterodox doctrine, or failure to heed the joint covenant between member and church there is much to discuss.

    How, when, why, what steps, how do individual congregations handle (or not, as is more typically the case) the issue, etc.

    I have been a part of two churches in particular that had by-laws and covenant that allowed for -- and where they indeed practiced actual -- church discipline. I have been a part of multiple other congregations where most shudder at the concept and would never enact true church discipline (or if they did, not according to the Scriptures) and where a fight and a church split seemed a better way to go.

    More as I have time to engage...
  5. annsni

    annsni Administrator

    May 30, 2006
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    It reminds me of our discussion about discipline around the dinner table last night. My 9 year old daughter said, "Mom, all you need to do is give us 'the look' and we know what that means." and my husband said "Because Mom's 'look' has teeth!" We all laughed because we know it to be true.

    Agedman - you are a gifted storyteller. Truly you are. Thank you for sharing with us and it is something that I will share with my children when they are finished with their schoolwork. I'll bet that once this occurred, your father's look and finger point had "teeth" for you and never again did you disregard his instruction. :)
  6. Amy.G

    Amy.G New Member

    Sep 25, 2006
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    What a great story! And a great story teller! :thumbs:

    I agree that children these days are allowed to run wild. But I must say that in my new church, this does not happen. The children are amazingly well behaved. There is a family with 5 young children that sometimes sit behind me during the service. When it's time for the greeting they all smile and shake hands, not grudgingly, but sincerely. One little girl gives me a big hug! They sit quietly during the service and you would never know they're there. This is unlike my last church where I would sit through the service with a child kicking my seat for an hour. :BangHead: All I could think was why don't his parents make him STOP??

    (And I remember from my own childhood that when that belt was loosened, I was doomed! :laugh:)