Monday, February 27, 2006

A Follow Up on the Discipline Issue

Have you ever noticed that when you buy a new car that you suddenly notice that there are lots of people that drive the same model in the same colour? Since I posted on church discipline yesterday, I’ve noticed a few blog posts on discipline and membership matters. James Spurgeon over at Pyromaniacs has posted a series on church membership that has been excellent. See the latest post here. For a longer, more complicated post on this issue, see Tom Ascol at the Founders Ministries Blog. Of course, I always take every opportunity to plug the 9 Marks ministries site. Here’s the starting page for the 7th Mark – Church Discipline.

There is so, so much that could be said about church discipline. I’m not going to say it here. However, I do encourage you to think through these issues. Particularly read through the relevant passages – Matthew 18:15ff; Romans 16:17-19; 1 Corinthians 5, 2 Corinthians 2; Galatians 6:1-2; Titus 3:10-11 and others. Disciplined Christians and disciplined churches are the subject of many, many passages. There are related passages, such as ‘weaker brother’ discussions in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 and the Pastoral Epistles. As you read the New Testament, take note of how often sound doctrine and holy living are themes. I read Acts 20:17-38 at our annual meeting. The Apostle Paul was most concerned about the health and welfare of the churches that he saw established by God’s power. Watch, guard, keep, care – those are ministry priorities in Gospel-centered ministry.

Patti raised a good point in the comments on my last post. Personalities do make things complicated. I tend to be to be too cautious to confront. Others have a gift for confrontation! As a pastor – even a somewhat timid one – I much prefer a person who speaks plainly about their concerns than those who keep things bottled up for the sake of peace. Unspoken ‘concerns’ eventually bubble out in gossip and/or hard feelings.  I’d rather hear about it early on, even if it does raise my blood pressure temporarily. ‘Offensesensitivity’ (to borrow a word from Opus the Penguin) is a disease in the church. Everyone has touchy moments, but thin skin is epidemic in some Christian circles.  

What’s the solution?

Good, robust, biblical theology. Isn’t it always?

P.S. I will finish my series on the Composite Society soon. The next post is proving to be a challenge. Why do I do this to myself?


Kim said...

I found your blog link at Centri0n. I "know" your wife Juanita. She reads my blog, and I read her articles in Homeschooling Horizons magazine. She has always been such an encouragement to me.

stauf46 said...

Hi Kim, welcome!

I've been encouraging Juanita to start a blog, but she hasn't jumped in yet!


Patti Hobbs said...

"I will finish my series on the Composite Society soon. The next post is proving to be a challenge. Why do I do this to myself?"

I think I know why, because I do it myself--not on such weighty issues :-) There's definitely something about writing that clarifies the thought processes. I know you know that because of your family's classical education aspirations, but often it's hard to make ourselves do that writing and hard to pin down and arrange our thoughts. By publically proclaiming you are going to do something, you're more likely to do it because you are most likely a man of your word. So if there's something I want to think through I will sometimes say that I'm going to do something that will force me to write it all out.