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Good Morning, Peter,

Ah, this was back in the day when church meant business, and I don't mean financial! (;^o

Of course, in today's social/ecclesiastical climate, such a scenario would no doubt set in motion legal millstones which would grind many a church up for such "meddling." Too bad, because we suffer greatly for our willing failures here.

But then again, maybe you don't see the subject of your post as a favorable thing, since it is posted under "A little humor to enjoy" - although the picture is hilariously contemporary.

I say, here's to giving more people "the boot."

Grace and peace for the day,



The right foot of fellowship!

I'm starting to hear about churches bringing back discipline. That's encouraging. And even though we will always have false professors of faith in the local church, we should strive for regenerate church membership. Discipline is a good thing, and I believe it can often lead to repentance.


My concern with church discipline, Peter, is the gooey slope of legalism that would permit some dictator-type ministers (shudder at the thought), and church leadership who make all the decisions to decide who is fit and who is not. Ethics calls the sloppy slope grey areas, I believe. I truly don't understand how this could be implemented in a Christlike manner. Too many folks have too many varying definitions of what a regenerate person looks like. Why we can't even agree on what a set of fingers looks like over at dailyIMPACT (which ya can find at at http://devotions.sbcimpact.net ). So how in the world are we going to agree on who needs disciplining other than the more obvious sins upon the body of Christ? selahV


Well guys I would love to give the right foot of fellowship in my situation.
I have a very difficult problem family which have exercised complete control over our church for about 30 years. Over the last two years the church has elected them out of positions. The current situation involves a daughter who has moved in with her fiance.
If I make any move towards discipline I'll get sued (guaranteed!). She has ceased attending here, (except once a few weeks back where she rushed in to play the piano in our morning service with her dad on the organ! If she hadn't rushed in after the service had started I would have been able to stop her). Any ideas?

peter lumpkins


I think you touched upon the crux of the matter when we speak of Church discipline. It really is not about whether we believe Church discipline is Scriptural. Most of us do. And, surely, as the little blurb from The Christian Index demonstrates, historically Baptists have not been hesitant to implement it.

Rather, it's the contextual *practise* of Church discipline and its unique construct it should take in our present day. In addition, Grosey's testimony from another culture demonstrates the difficulty is not unique to Baptists in American expression.

Founders Ministries has for many years called attention to the absence of Church discipline in the contemporary Church. Yet, contrary to some's suggestion, focus on Church discipline surely is not their monopoly. As far back as 1961, Professor Garrett at SW seminary lamented the absence and predicted we'd pay. He was not wrong. Certain actions will land one in jail or litigation as our Grosey describes.

Nor is concentration on "church rolls" and/or cutting "numbers" more remedial than a waterhose on hell, if I may be blunt. Attacking the problem with such surface, ineffective answers offers mainly only false security.

Frankly, I don't know a full, sufficient answer. But whatever it is, it seems to me, must be one that is forgiveness-based, reconciliation-driven, deals with only those matters that seriously threaten the gathered Body and shields the Church--as much as possible--from litigation nightmares.

I trust you all possess a grand weekend. With that, I am...




Wow. I guess there are no easy answers to that situation. I'm sure you've been praying about it, and that's the first resort. If you can find a Christian lawyer (by the way, those critters do exist; I saw one once!) and get legal counsel that would be great. I would think you would need the whole (or at least the majority) of the church behind any serious decision like that. But your situation desperately needs the "right foot" of fellowship (and if they deserve it, bring out the dreaded left foot instead!).



I enjoyed your comment. I really like the way you phrased that. I only wish that being Scriptural was easier, sometimes.


Dear SelahV,

Your concern is surely a valid one - we all probably have seen, or have heard of, discipline gone "wrong," and there seems nothing more unseemly, destructive and shameless than discipline gone wrong - except for maybe toleration gone to seed.

Discipline - in any form - is often unpleasant, to say the least: "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." The peaceable fruit of righteousness is surely worth the relatively momentary pain of chastisement - unless the chastised refuse to be trained by it, thus showing themselves to be illegitimate.

Church discipline is nothing more than the body finally recognizing (after due process) corporately what has been sufficiently obvious on an individual level, and then acting in a gentle, fearful manner to deliberately, methodically restore - or that failing, to put out of the body.

What makes this practice so difficult today is not the practice itself per se, but rather (or so I believe) the debilitated, ill-equipped state of the church which makes her unable (or unwilling) to carry out this God-given command.

I speak of the common, but oft mistaken, notions of the nature of the Kingdom and the mark of true discipleship in the gospel; the compromised structures of leadership and authority in the church, beginning with the apparently "optional" headship of Christ about which so many professing Christians are practical agnostics; and a growing abandonment of the churches "raison d'etre" which Paul so forcefully reveals in Ephesians 3.

If God calls His bride to such purity, surely there is both a wise and godly way to pursue that purity - including the exercise of a kind of love gentle enough to restore the brother overtaken in any trespass, and severe enough to treat the unrepentant as a heathen and a tax collector.

May God grant us the grace and peace to discipline for His glory.

Timotheos the Callous


Peter: All I can say is let the tares grow up amongst the wheat. Is that oversimplifying it? selahV


Timotheos: Oh, dear brother, where art thou? can there be so honorable a group of men in all the churches of the land? when we have the government calling it a hate crime to speak against the very things we want to discipline? What I think is going to be the case, if indeed, the churches begin to practice discipline in earnest is men leaving the ministry, mal-practice insurance skyrocketing, lawyers making money at the expense of some minister trying to follow the Word to the letter, and ministers going to jail. Now, if jail didn't hurt Paul and Peter and the banishment of John to the Isle of Patmos, I suppose our modern-day prophets will not fare any the worse (and probably better) than those saints of old.

Peter once asked me, back in the early eighties, what I would do if following Christ meant breaking a law. I said, "I'd follow Christ. And be subject to the law." I wonder how many American ministers and church leaders are willing to go to jail for their position on church discipline? selahV

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