I’m trying to understand why people who love Jesus and believe the Bible have a violent reaction to Church Discipline since it seems to be so clear in Scripture. I admit, the problem may not lie so much in the doctrine as with how it has been played out by congregations and the attitude of those who espouse Church Discipline.
It is rare that the topic of Church Discipline has a positive reaction from anyone when it is discussed. I had one person tell me something to this effect… “I don’t care what the Bible says… it’s wrong.” That comment was probably seeded in some deep hurt from a past experience more than an opposition to God’s Word.
Toward this end I have been doing some research on the topic and found a series of very interesting articles in Christianity Today. God willing, I’m going to deliver a few messages on Sunday night about Church Discipline in a few weeks. Here is part of what my research has found that is fairly objective and worth considering.
Article #1. “How Discipline Died” by Marlin Jeschke.
Article #2. “Shaping Disciples” by Mark Dever.
Article #3. “Spheres Of Accountability” by John Ortberg.
Article #4. “Keeping The Lawyers At Bay” by Ken Sande. This article will begin answering a lot of questions.
Article #5. “Healing The Body Of Christ” by David Neff. Healing and restoration is the goal of church discipline.
Article #6. “Our Uniquely Undisciplined Moment” by Thomas C. Oden. This is another thought provoking presentation.
Biblical Texts for consideration (Read them slowly and prayerfully. Ask God to reveal His truth to you.): Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 16:17; Galatians 6:1-3; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15; James 5:20. (Added 03/04/08: Galatians 5:10-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 1:13, 2:15, 3:10-11; Jude 22-23.)
As people of The Bible who desire to honor God in every part of our life, I believe it is wise to at least study, examine, and contemplate the matter as found in Scripture. Then seek God for direction after that. I hope you find these articles thought provoking.