Thursday, December 18, 2008

Church Discipline, Is it National News?

The third to last story on the bottom of Matt Drudge's news page contained this story, "Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public..."

I have to say my gut reaction was, "WHAT?" However, after my gut reaction subsided, I remembered something very important. This isn't news, and it certainly isn't national news. Churches throughout our country (and throughout the world) do this all the time.

Now if you attend a Catholic church or ever have attended a Catholic church, you may cry afowl at this news story.

However, the Protestant church takes a much more literal approach to the idea of church discipline and more closely follows what is written in the Gospel of Mathew regarding discipline.

The controversy erupts because the woman feels that if she leaves the church voluntarily the church will not have to exercise discipline. There is nothing in Mathew 18:15-20 that seems to support that notion.

I don't place any blame on the church after all they're just doing what they always do, protect and grow the Christians that worship and fellowship there.

So let me ask you, is a news story about an unrepentant Christian and the church exercising discipline a news worthy story?

The news story has this to say:
A divorced Jacksonville woman said her former church has threatened to "go public with her sins" and tell the congregation about her sexual relationship with her new boyfriend. . .

"I am a Christian, and that will never change. My relationship with Jesus has to do with me and Jesus, and he knows my heart," Hancock said. . . .
Where do we have a right to not feel ashamed for what we've done? It's even more appropriate in the Church.

I should hope that my church and my family care enough about me that they'll risk making me feel uncomfortable because they feel something in my life needs to be brought out into the light.

Sin, like a wicked fungus, thrives in darkness. Don't believe me? Ask an addict whether having the secret of his addiction helped him get clean or kept him from getting clean.

"The greatest judgment God can give and inflect upon us is for us to have our way (Jer. 17:9-11)"

A good friend of mine always said, Better your sin shame you than damn you.

The point is obvious. It's better that you be ashamed of your sin and change your ways then start down a slippery slope that will wreck havoc on your soul.

Finally, let us remember Rebecca in Jacksonville and pray for God to bring about that sorrow which leads to repentance.

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