Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Church discipline resources

Here are a few sermons on church discipline which are very good and I pray may be a blessing to you. Church discipline is not a matter that only leaders need to understand because many aspects of church discipline can not be carried out without the congregation being involved.

Here is a sermon recently preached in Denmark by Charles Leiter (who accompanied Paul Washer) concerning church discipline. This sermon was as practical as you can get, with some very helpful and personal illustrations. Especially helpful is the illustration of his own daughter, this is where theology matters and too many can speak of true conversion and church discipline but will ignore those truths when it's brought to their homes). Contained in this message is much balance concerning why it's done, what to hope for, what the different results are. To top it off, there is also a very good Q & A session immediately after the message.
I highly recommend this sermon although I have two things I do want to address.
Bro Leiter mentions the tradition of 'church membership' as unbiblical, and that we need to challenge such traditions (asking why do we do these things). This I DO commend, yet I wonder if some people will take that to mean if a church DOES have church membership that they are doing something wrong. I would object to that, there are some good reasons to have church membership (though I too, don't think it's necessary nor do I give much thought to it personally). I think it's important to know why you have something and I certainly commend those who use it (membership classes) like Mark Dever, Voddie Baucham, Jeff Noblit, Jono Sims and others as a way to introduce people to biblical ecclesiology (including church discipline), to the true gospel (some leading to true conversions) and so on, in fact before hearing such motives and testimonies I WAS completely against the idea. I do however believe with Bro Leiter that even if someone isn't a "member" and there is cause for church discipline then it still needs to be carried out (feeding the flock is whoever God sends).
Secondly Bro Leiter had mentioned times of church discipline where children shouldn't be present. I understand his concern, yet I would disagree because I believe that the benefits of church discipline would be missed by those who aren't present, especially if it will teach children the seriousness of sin and produce godly fear in them. Even more, children know more than we think they do, and can handle more as well so it is my conviction that children don't need to be censored from such things.

Another sermon/s by Pastor Jeff Noblit, who is another faithful preacher who is truly administering loving church discipline at all costs. In fact Paul Washer said this was a major reason for bringing his family to this church because they were faithful to upholding church discipline.

Church discipline PART TWO by Jeff Noblit download HERE



Hey brother, to add some thoughts on why I believe brother Charles is right about children not being present when giving church discipline:

In my experience, people in the final stages of church discipline can be very bitter. Often they will say things which are not fit for children's ears (especially if there is sexual sin involved), and also they will heavily lie and slander other brothers and sisters. And the more the person is unwilling to repent, my experience is that, the worse the lies and slander get. And as this is often mixed with some truth, it is hard for adults not to let this colour their judgement of the slandered people in the future. And so children I don't think are able to take this and correctly discern.

Church discipline is also incredibly emotionally draining. And so I think children should be protected from it.

Julius Mickel

I can certainly understand the censure and I recognize the wisdom as well and though I am NOT one to think it wise to expose Children to wickedness, I still disagree personally.
My first thoughts go to Ananias and Sapphira, also to OT examples of intense discipline and I assume children were present and likewise feared. Though it could be wrongly addressed, I think for the most part it would (even a bad case) serve to be a great opportunity to explain such things, to clarify the need for grace, for integrity, for godly authority, for discipline, for humility and so on to children.
Though I realize my view may be a minority. Thanks brother and bless you!

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