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Revisiting Church Discipline

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Deacon, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Aug 23, 2002
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    I was reading over the press release of 11/30/04 from Liberty Legal Institute this morning.

    A pastor of Crossland Community Bible Church in Texas is sued for following biblical mandates.
    Liberty Legal Institute filed a brief to the Texas Supreme Court today in the Penley v. Westbrook case. Penley, who had been a member of an area church, sued Westbrook over a letter he co-authored to the congregation disassociating the congregation from Penley. According to church bylaws, she acted contrary to biblical teachings regarding marriage and refused to repent of her sin.


    What are the issues that need to be addressed before church discipline can be properly applied?

    Here are some of my thoughts, not in any particular order.
    Problems in the church relating to church discipline:

    >Failure to encourage membership in the local church body. Only members of the body can be disciplined, visitors and frequent attendees (even if they are regular supporters) have not placed themselves under the disciplinary authority of the local church body.

    >Breaches of confidentiality Pastors, elders, and deacons and even church members need to be aware of their responsibility regarding issues of confidentiality. The Scriptures warn repeatedly not to gossip. Church discipline, even within the Scriptural boundaries of Matthew 18, does mean full notification of the person’s sin in the public setting. Discipline is carried out in the restricted church body (membership), not in a church meeting where the general public is invited.

    >Improper teaching of church members Often there is little or no instruction regarding church discipline when a fellow believer is brought into the church membership; it’s a topic that we would rather not talk about. A member that doesn’t know the process of discipline or who believes that it doesn’t really happen, may resent the intrusion of the church into their affairs. They do not understand that discipline is a biblical directive to those in authority and that the church is responsible to discipline those in its care when they display unrepentant sinful activity.

    >Poorly written church constitutions The process for discipline should be clearly written and not concealed in language that is indecipherable legalese. The Church constitution should prohibit members from suing the church and it’s pastors for following biblical mandates that require the church to disassociate from unrepentant sinful activity.

    >Discipline takes time We shouldn’t rush the process. Allow time for God to work in the heart of the person you are working with. Our ultimate goal is to seek repentance and restoration, not to demonstrate the authority and power of leadership.


    [ December 11, 2004, 08:31 AM: Message edited by: Deacon ]
  2. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill New Member

    Dec 30, 2003
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    The article does not say how long the process took.If the article is correct in it's facts then the government should stay out of the churches business.