Skip to content

Church Discipline: Part 6

September 17, 2009

Church Discipline: Part 6

If after a person goes one on one to correct a sinning brother and the brother does not repent, then two to three witnesses are to go. If the sinning brother won’t listen to the two or three witnesses, then the issues is to be brought to the church. But what if the sinning brother will not listen to the admonishment of the church to repent and be restored?

                The end of vs. 17 tells exactly what the church is to do.  “If he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Mat 18:17) The church is to be of one mind and dismiss the individual from the membership of the church. In today’s politically correct society, this sounds very mean-spirited. The church has even adopted the American mentality of toleration of all things except petty issues. Congregations divide more over issues of color of carpets, church tradition, which group within the church will I give my allegiance/time to, which pastor I like better (See 1 Cor. 1 for this warning!), etc.

                Scarily, Baptist churches before the turn of last century would have exiled any church from denominational or associational identity if the churches did NOT practice church discipline. Our founding Baptist fathers wrote extensively on the marks of a true church of Jesus Christ. Elements that comprised a bible believing church were where the gospel is preached, where the ordinances are followed and where CHURCH DISCIPLINE is exercised! (For a collection of Baptist works on the issue of church discipline, see Mark Dever’s book ‘Church Polity.’) So here’s a question, how many of our churches would be considered biblically worthy to be called a ‘church’ by our founding fathers? Would we at South Whitwell Baptist be considered a true bible believing ‘church’? I must honestly say at this point, no!

                Again, we must institute in our policies and procedures restorative biblical church discipline. It is a biblical mandate from Christ Himself per Matthew 18:15-20 and in order to stand in our confessional identity as Baptists. We are the ones who have broke biblical tradition. Tradition for tradition sake can be an idolatrous sacred cow. If we refuse to adopt biblical church discipline, we are in fact telling God no to His commands and wisdom of how to orchestrate His body. And that is a serious issue!

                So let’s go back to the issue of the excommunicated member. Does it mean you never talk to them again? No, but it does mean that when you are with them you treat them as an unbeliever. What does that imply? It implies that you witness to them and pray for their salvation. If you were around a lost person, how would you frame your relationship with them? You would invite them over but you would also limit the amount of time that you have with them due to their unrepentant lifestyle’s influence. I love talking with pagans!  But I limit the places and amount of time I spend with them due to their ungodliness. It is taxing on my spirit to be around ungodliness ALL the time. Even missionaries struggle in pagan places and desire for deep Christian fellowship.

                The imagery of here of a tax-collector was of a fellow Jew who had betrayed his people because he was now collecting taxes for the Romans. Needless to say, the tax-collector was not seen as friendly towards the Jewish causes. The gentile was one who was ceremonially and religiously unclean to the Jewish people. Consider what we promote in the congregation according to Jesus’ mind if we don’t follow through with loving biblical church discipline!

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: