Monday, October 30, 2006

"Church Discipline Is the Canary in the Coal Mine"

This BPNews article reports on a conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where Greg Wills made the case that when church discipline goes, disaster in that church is not far behind. But as Mark Dever argued, although the absence of discipline is a clear indicator of a problem, reinstitution of discipline isn't the essence of the solution.

It wouldn't be difficult to survey the ecclesiastical landscape to find evidence that Wills' assertion is true. What is disturbing is the widespread indifference to biblical church discipline, even among fundamental churches. My sense is that the tide is turning, and folks with a broader awareness than I have said the same. But which is easier, reinstituting discipline or revitalizing a church's fundamental understanding of membership (which Dever argues is a precursor to discipline)?

HT: Founders

3 comments:

David T. said...

Biblical church discipline = due process. Due process can't coexist with the typical fundamentalist "man of God" or a mainstream evangelical high powered CEO-pastor.

Ben said...

David,

I think I agree. That seems to be the point Dever is driving towards. I've heard him say on other occasions things along the lines that we need to have meaningful discipleship relationships within the church in order for discipline to accomplish its foundational objectives. I wouldn't be surprised if he had expanded on those comments at SWBTS.

r. radewicz said...

Churches give lip service to "following Jesus," but then conduct their "discipline" in ways that completely dishonor Christ - straining at gnats while they devour camels. Due process is ignored, hearsay evidence is used against the accused, often the accuser serves as the judge and jury. This should not be.

Every pastor should read The Illegal Trial of Jesus http://www.netbiblestudy.com/00_cartimages/illegaltrialofjesus.pdf