Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Church Discipline

It simply amazes me with the height of ignorance possessed by many professing "Christians." Trying to act "holier than thou," putting on an air of spirituality (something they otherwise are not concerned with except when talking to other Christians), they commit the great sin of tolerance in the name of "grace" and "love."

For example, consider my previous blog entry of Darren Wiebe's Open Letter to Mark Driscoll. After having read the eye-witness account of someone who was there, and seeing the video clip(s), how can any honest Christian sit back and say, "I can't say one way or another who was wrong in this situation"? To say, "I can't judge the situation," is to be entirely dishonest with yourself and proclaim your ignorance of not only the situation, but also of Scripture. God has given you everything you need with which to accurately judge it, so do not misquote and misrepresent Jesus by twisting His words: "Judge not..." Do yourself a favour and read this blog entry: Judge Not....

People who respond this way are weak-willed spineless cowards. They feign "love" and "grace" in an attempt to look more spiritual than they actually are, without understanding a single thing about love and grace. They argue that we should never discipline someone who is called a brother/sister publicly, but that we should always go to them privately to confront them and resolve the issue. Excuse me, Mr. Jellyfish Christian (if indeed you are a Christian), but I suggest you blow that dust off of your Bible, open it up, and read it for once in your entire life. Jesus confronted the Pharisees publicly on many occasions. Peter confronted Ananias and Sapphira publicly concerning their lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11). Paul confronted Peter publicly concerning his hypocrisy "in the presence of all" who were present (Gal. 2:11-14). And you somehow find it "offensive" to follow their example? Discipline must be as public as the sin! Mark Driscoll's sin was entirely public, messaging half a million people or more and speaking lies. Therefore, the privacy option is off the table.

These wish-washy individuals try to argue that they do not know what Mark Driscoll's motives actually were. Really?!? So he always just happens to have a reporter and a photographer with him? He just happened to show up as the first segment of the conference came to a close and people were exiting? Grow up and get a clue! You so-called "Christians" are an embarrassment to the name of Christ.

The ironic thing here is that at the same time all this took place, Driscoll was enrolled to speak at a conference called Act Like Men.

Here is a bit of wisdom for you jellyfish "Christians" out there: tolerating someone's sin(s) is neither "loving" nor "graceful." It is spineless and cowardly because you have no back-bone to confront them about it and are afraid of what they might think of you for doing so. And you pretend to be a "loving" Christian? I suggest you study the subject "love" throughout the entire Bible, because you are under some extremely misguided information concerning what it means to love. You might do yourself a favour and read what the book of Proverbs has to say about wisdom and the wise in contrast to complete and utter fools.

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 illustrates precisely how seriously we ought to be taking sin—especially sins of a public nature, as was the case in this passage. Paul's instructions demonstrate that the discipline must be as public as the sin itself. The Corinthians thought they were being "holy" and "loving" (as many professing "Christians" do today) because they overlooked, and said nothing of, this man's sin; but Paul condemned their behaviour as condoning the man's sin and making excuse for it. Paul said they had "become arrogant" (v.2) and were "boasting" (v.6) when they should have "mourned" (v.2) over this man's sin. His public sin was mocking Christ, Christianity and the church.

Many of these professing "Christians" cry out, "Matthew 18!!! Matthew 18!!!" Have you actually read Matthew 18? Matthew 18:15-20 is the full process of church discipline, while 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 is the final step. 1 Timothy 5:20 is in full accord with Matthew 18:17. The degree with which the sin is committed will determine the response required for it. Matthew 18:15-20 is the general response to sin we see in the lives of other believers. However, if their sin is so blatantly public, none of that applies. With regard to verses 18 and 19 of this passage, see this blog entry: The Keys of the Kingdom.

1 Timothy 5:20 informs us that "Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning." This passage carries with it the need for and weight of accountability. It causes "the rest" to either live more holy, God-honouring lives, or to learn how to hide their sin better (a demonstration of the fact they do not belong to Christ in the first place).

These sin-tolerating hypocrisy-filled "Christians" like to rip verses from their context in order to force them to agree with their emotional manipulation of the text. Apart from Matthew 18, they will almost always turn to Galatians 6:1 and 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15, as if they somehow teach something contrary and contradictory to the whole of what Scripture has to say concerning church discipline. They know how to quote the verses regarding restoration, but they deliberately and purposefully ignore and reject the verses regarding actual discipline. They have bought into the lie that any and all forms of discipline are bad.

Romans 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14; etc., all demonstrate discipline in action. This kind of discipline will produce godly sorrow (see 2 Cor. 7:10-11) in the individual for his/her sin(s), which will result in the person's repentance and reconciliation: "[Correct] a wise man and he will love you" (Prov. 9:8b). If it produces something that drives them away from the Saviour's arms, they were likely never saved to begin with; their pride means more to them than their confession and repentance of their sin(s): "He who ignores [correction] goes astray" (Prov. 10:17b).

Many godly women have confessed their dismay at the fact there are far too many "girly" men inside the church today. Is this the kind of sniveling coward-of-a-man you want to be: "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go" (Judg. 4:8; Barak to Deborah)? The men ought to be out on the front lines, giving the women someone godly whom they can look up to and follow—not the other way around! Men should not be cowering behind women. Men are supposed to be leaders within the church and within their homes. When you see a brother/sister caught in sin, be a man and approach him/her about it. Looking the other way and saying nothing is not demonstrating Christian love for him/her, nor is it showing him/her grace. Contrary to what many seem to believe these days, you are your brother's keeper. We are not islands unto ourselves.

Church discipline is needful and necessary. If Christian A is attempting to discipline Christian B, do not wave your ignorance around and attempt to undermine Christian A. If Christian A's disciplinary methods are not being performed completely out of love, approach Christian A privately and help to correct these methods so that discipline can be administered properly. But if Christian A's methods are biblically sound and are calling Christian B out—in love—to be held accountable, then do not undermine Christian A's attempt to discipline Christian B. How would you like it if another parent undermined your parenting in front of your children and basically let your children off the hook? You are doing nobody any favours by interfering with needful disciplinary actions and accountability. Pretending to be "holier than thou" and putting on an air of spirituality while interfering with discipline and accountability makes you look like a complete and utter ignorant fool. Nobody needs your help to compound the issue and make excuses for Christian B's sins. If you are not going to help discipline Christian B and hold him/her accountable for the purposes of repentance, restoration and reconciliation, then keep your mouth shut! There is nothing worse than one fool—or a set of fools—providing excuse for another's sin(s) by committing the great sin of tolerance in the name of "grace" and "love."

In our day and age, because of the many churches and denominations that exist in an area, if an individual is under church discipline, they will simply switch churches. Firstly, this is demonstrative of the fact that this individual has no godly sorrow over their sin and refuses to repent thereof, which is most likely an indication that this individual has never received salvation in the first place. Secondly, if an individual is under church discipline, it is the home church's duty and responsibility to inform the other churches in the area of this so that, if they are God-fearing, they may deny this individual entrance while under church discipline. The church that ignores this and brings him in is guilty of sin because they undermined the disciplinary process, providing acceptance for the individual's sin and allowing occasion to continue in that sin.

Yes, "love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pet. 4:8; cf. James 5:20), but not by tolerating, overlooking, or ignoring those sins. That is a false "love" that does not demonstrate in the least the grace of our Lord Jesus. Look up every passage pertaining to church discipline. Notice how they do not provide excuse for those sins? Rather, they call them to be confronted and addressed. It is unloving to cover sin by tolerating, overlooking, or ignoring it in the false names of "grace" and "love." By doing so, not only are you committing sin of your own, but you are also taking part in the sin of others.