Wednesday, March 29, 2006

To Discipline or Not To Discipline?


Last Sunday in the church that I attend our pastor spoke from and expounded upon I Corinthians chapter five. In my later meditations upon the instruction in the letter I was reminded that the concept of church discipline was not even stabbed at from the pulpit in Hammond, Indiana.

During my 20 plus years at First Baptist Church of Hammond, not one time to my knowledge was there exercised anything remotely close to a New Testament model of church discipline. Beyond that, the topic of what we call local church discipline was never even addressed Scripturally, but was avoided. I reckon that the closest Hyles ever approached this topic was during his Wednesday evening Bible studies that would later be manifest in the book form of "Jack Hyles On Justice", but that is for an entirely different post.

There are multiplied reasons for this that I will not propound upon at this time, but the fact remains. In the aftermath of my exiting FBCH, I have come to see that a plethora of problematic situations could have been easily avoided and wayward believers brought to Biblical repentance via church discipline.

Is not a purpose of the Pauline epistles to lay a correct Biblical framework for the local church in this present age? My answer to myself would be "yes."

I Corinthians 5:6 "...Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?"

I find the Apostle to be abundantly clear on this matter. Maybe it's just me.

More to come...

Joshua Richards



14 comments:

PT Barnum said...

who is that in those stocks? Could it be DS or JN? Maybe MS, AVB, or Dave Hyles? I suppose it could be any of hundreds living in open and unrepentant sin with no desire whatsoever to change. I think the only time any discipline of any form was used was when a deacon confronted Hyles back in the mid 80's--he was obviously not heard and shouted down by "preacher's" loyal men! I think deep down Hyles knew that if he ever did use church discipline, he would not have time to do anything else! I suppose discipline within his family would have been a full time job in and of itself! Good thoughts--does anyone have another view? We need to start getting some opposing viewpoints--maybe we should announce this blog to the good folks over at Baptist-City.com?

Matthew

justmama said...

>>Matthew Richards said...
who is that in those stocks?

Sadly, it's probably the poor soul who brought up the idea of church discipline at FBCH.

I DO remember the issue being addressd from the pulpit once in the 11.5 years I was there. JH said something to the effect of "People ask why we don't enact church discipline here. I'll tell you what.....let's do it and start with all those who've robbed God with the tithe and work forward from there, shall we?" That was somewhere between summer of '95 and summer of '97.

Good to see you two working to make this a success. There are those out there who want to know, and I'm hoping many in downtown Hammond who want out.

Tear it up Matt & Josh.

jm

PT Barnum said...

justmama,

I remember Hyles mentioning it in a negative manner on a few occasions. Obviously he did not believe that the Bible taught church discipline. I believe that at a lot of churches discipline never makes it to the church body--as proud as most people are, many times they will leave after being confronted in private. I don't understand where the ambiguity lies.

I remember Hyles said that bringing an offender before the church was only in cases where someone made an accusation without 2 or 3 witnesses. He taught this during his erroneous series of lessons on "justice" that later became the infamous "Jack Hyles on Justice" book.

Matthew Richards

James Spurgeon said...

Do I have to say it?

Ummm. . .

Could it be that for the church to start enacting discipline on members they may have had to start with certain members of, say, pastoral staff, who may or may not have had connecting doors to other offices of certain secretaries, pictures of which are to be found on the back cover of certain books authored by a certain member of pastoral staff and that said secretary may have ebeen the recipient of large sums of money in the form of extravagant gifts made possible by the proceeds of that and other certain books and that there were other things like Hawaiian vacations . . .

Okay, I won't go there.

Joshua R said...

James,

Don't let the cat outta the bag so early! :) This blog is only in the fledgling stages!

You do bring up an immensely interesting point, however.

PT Barnum said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Remo said...

Well lordy I shall not be, I shall not be moved
I shall not be, I shall not be moved
Just like a tree that's growin' in the meadow (down by the water)
I shall not be moved

I'm on my way to glory land and I shall not be moved
On my way to glory land I will not be moved
I'm like a tree that's planted by the water
I shall not be moved


All you people should know that...

"A church is a spiritual hospital for wounded sinners not a museum for displaying perfection"


That is a direct quote (as best as I can recollect) from the man himself!

PT Barnum said...

Remo!

I was wondering how long it would take you to find us--the killer B's ought to be just a few hundred steps behind you. There has been a whole lot of "backslapping" and "cyber high-fiving" going on in here and I had a feeling that times would change. I love your picture--is that the gipper? How was prayer meeting tonight? I hear that DD sang a whale of a special! (no pun intended)

Matthew

JA Bailey said...

"A church is a spiritual hospital for wounded sinners not a museum for displaying perfection"

While this may sound good (touchy/feely), there is simply no Biblical support for such a statement in the context of church discipline.

What is a "wounded sinner" anyway? Was Dave Hyles a wounded sinner? Is a practicing homosexual or a pedophile just a wounded sinner?

Spirtual hospital or safe harbor?

Ultimately, church discipline (Mt. 18:15-18; Gal. 6:1-3; etc.) is the way to deal with recalcitrant, unrepentant sin in the life of a professing believer. Church discipline is about private confrontation. Expulsion is a last resort.

I suppose we would all like to think that every church member would respond well to confrontation regarding sin in his/her life. Unfortunately, such is not the case.

Jim Clement

PT Barnum said...

Interesting how the FBCH ministry at Hyles High is trigger happy to expel anyone caught in a compromising situation--seems like the schools are run with more concern for the entire school body than the church. We don't want bad testimonies at our schools, but if the church receives a "black eye" because of unrepentant goats so be it? How does someone who does not believe in any form of church discipline get around the clear Biblical texts? I really would like to know.

very interesting wouldn't you say?

Matthew

Remo said...

ET: How was prayer meeting tonight? I hear that DD sang a whale of a special! (no pun intended)

The closest I made to church last night was Falls Church, VA about 4:30 EST! :-) Who in the world is DD, sorry, I'm having brain gas, I guess I should know???


JC: Was Dave Hyles a wounded sinner?

I have given my opinion on perv D.H. before and taken flack from 100%er over it on the FFF.

JC: Is a practicing homosexual or a pedophile just a wounded sinner?

That's a matter of opinion, I tend toward believing a practicing sodomite is probably not regenerate, but there is one member of the jury that is holding out, saying that human flesh (saved or not)is capable of any deviate conduct, just one of twelve, mind you.

The thought of Pedophilia makes my blood boil, particularly when thinking of my 4 grandchildren; having said that I am convinced that Hyles believed AVB to be innocent of molestation and that he did not receive a fair shake in the court system. I am not that familier with the details and believe that to be possible, but I am at this point, undecided.

JC: Spirtual hospital or safe harbor?

There is a lady who posts on the FFF named J****e whose daughter was molested by a perv pastor who has reportedly been given haven by other ministers in MO. I find it deplorable that this "man" is not in prison alongside Joe Combs.

Can you give some examples of where DBC has disciplined Homos or sexual predaters???

JA Bailey said...

remo asked: "Can you give some examples of where DBC has disciplined Homos or sexual predaters???"

I don't know for sure, but my guess is that such wounded sinners are referred to the spiritual hospital in Hammond.

All kidding aside. The point of my post is that Biblical church discipline should primarily take the form of private confrontation. The goal is restoration not expulsion. Gal. 6:1. However, expulsion may become necessary in some cases.

I am aware of one instance of church discipline involving a practicing sodomite. It was not at DBC. Those who had confronted the man brought the information (not the details of the sin) to the congregation on a Sunday evening following the evening service. After a time of prayer for the man, the congregation voted him out of our membership.

Jim Clement

Joshua R said...

Remo, Jimbo, the Gipper:

Thanks for your observations, fellas. That is what we are here for---honest and open dialogue.

Bottom line is, FBCH does not believe in the Biblical model of what we call church discipline today. It saddens me to think of all the nonsense that could have been avoided had they believed in confronting sin via Matthew 18, Galatians 6. I reckon the easier thing is to lift the proverbial rug, and then sweep the sin under. The problem is, it is always revealed eventually, thus further damaging the credibility of the institution.

Thanks, fellas! I trust that you will visit our humble blog again!

PT Barnum said...

josh,

you sound like you are about to lock this thread down in true Christenson-like fashion! I hope he posts here someday so I can ban him from our blog! ROFLMHO!

Matthew