The Danger of Tolerance | Part One

May 20, 2016

by Dr. William F. Harrell

*This post was taken from Dr. Harrell’s website and is used by permission

In reading the history of my former church of over thirty one years, I am stricken with the degree to which they held their membership when considering the manner of life they were living. It was not uncommon at all for them to call a member before the church in a disciplinary action. The interesting fact is that they were excommunicated and soundly warned for doing things that the churches of today don’t even notice much less consider them a cause for discipline. Public drunkenness was cause for church action. If a woman was seen smoking in public they were called before the church. Profanity was something that would bring discipline. Irregular attendance in the services would also bring action by the church. Gossip would not be tolerated and one had to answer for it. Yes, in the early days of the church, people were expected to exhibit a Christian way of life and demeanor if they were going to claim Christianity and remain a member of the church in good standing.

There was also another side to the situation. The church, which met only once a month in those early days of the late seventeen and eighteen hundreds, also disciplined in love. They would send a committee of two or three men to talk to the offending member about their moral and spiritual failures. If the person repented, they were restored in good standing in the next monthly meeting. If they did not repent they were finally excommunicated until such time that they came before the church and publicly confessed their sin seeking restored membership. All of this demonstrated that the people of the church took seriously their relationship to the Lord and to His Church. One can read the historical minutes of the church and see that this action continued in many of the churches well into the twentieth century.

But, something has taken place in the last one hundred years. The churches have ceased to demand that their members act like dedicated Christians whose lives have been changed by the Spirit of the Lord. A dangerous word and concept has slowly and almost imperceptibly become operative and that concept is tolerance. As the spiritual commitment of the people began to wane, it was easy to tolerate sin in the camp because many members knew they were harboring sin in their own lives. Sin found its way in the door almost unhindered as tolerance became the norm. One would have to do something absolutely horrible to be questioned at all. Adultery became unquestioned except in the dark halls of gossip. Public cursing, smoking by women, drinking, slander and non attendance no longer even rated on the scale of unacceptable conduct. Things which would formally bring absolute and sudden discipline and even excommunication became something hardly noticed by the church. This didn’t happen over night. Satan is more subtle than that. It was something that slowly and imperceptibly took place. The church awoke one day and people could be heard to say: “I remember when a person would never do such and such because they feared the discipline of the church.” In the days when the church held its people to a close Biblical standard and when people had a healthy fear of church discipline, society had a disciplinary force beyond the law which held it to account. In fact the “long arm of the church’s disciplinary action” was far more feared than the “long arm of the law.” But, as people absorbed the idea that tolerance was a good thing, the church began to lose the ability to be the moral agent it had been in previous times. When it watered itself down, it also watered down its ability to speak to the ills of society and to be taken seriously.

Part Two Coming Soon!

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Will McRaney

Good reminder! Our credibility and the credibility of our message with a lost world is dramatically impacted by this. Love and obedience to the Lord’s commands would demand that we engage with one another at this deeper level. It certainly is not loving to watch a brother fall spiritually and not be there to pick him up to see him repent and be restored. As we know, the next time it could be in reverse. Sadly, Biblical speaking the truth in love is so rare, it often looks harsh and intolerant when this part of the Bible is obeyed. Wow to the brother who falls and does not have another to pick him up.

Tom

How many innocent Christians were ruined by the practice of Church “discipline.”? I understand the concern over tolerance, but I vote no going back to the old timey church discipline in our SBC churches.

    Daniel

    “How many innocent Christians were ruined by the practice of Church “discipline.”?”

    It sounds like you do not believe that church discipline should not be practiced. This is interesting, considering that New Testament prescribes – not describes – church discipline as an ecclesological practice.

    “I understand the concern over tolerance, but I vote no going back to the old timey church discipline in our SBC churches.”

    Again, facinating that you attribute church discipline as being “old timey” and not “biblical.” Consider these passages:

    If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matt. 18:15-17)

    But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves. (1 Cor: 5:13)

    If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame.(2 Thess. 3:14)

    Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. (2 Cor. 2:6-8)

    The New Testament commands Christians to discipline church members. First, through gentle warnings. Then, through stronger warnings. Then through excommunication. All of this so that the one going through discipline will see their sin, repent of their sin, and join the fellowship of the saints again.

    In other words, your pragmatic argument is in direct contradiction to the Bible.

      Lydia

      Hey Daniel, in every instance of church disciple gone amok from the YRR tribe, I have YET to see ONE that followed the instruction to “tell it to the church”. Jay Adams even added a step in there: tell it to the elders. As if the elders ARE the church. And for the lemming YRR churches this works. They believe whatever elders tell them. Even if they are still using clearasil.

      People are telling their stories of the horrors of ‘church discipline” in these authoritarian Hotel California churches in the SBC and beyond.. There are example after example out there for all to read….if they dare.

        Daniel

        Regardless of polity, we simply cannot allow pragmatism – or our personal observation/experience to dictate what God has spoken to the church. Church discipline is a biblical mandate. Elders doling out inappropriate punishments is just as wrong as a “traditional” SBC church that does not practice church discipline whatsoever.

          Lydia

          “Regardless of polity, we simply cannot allow pragmatism – or our personal observation/experience to dictate what God has spoken to the church. ”

          Despite “polity”? So Jesus meant, “take it to the religious leaderrs”?

          So really we are discussing exactly what ” God has spoken to the church”, as you put it.

          I fear you guys are so wrapped up in your power and Messiah complex you lack basic wisdom in such matters. Such as Karen Hinckley at the Village and countless child victims at SGM which is now SBC. Should I mention Driscoll and Acts 29? Total hypocrisy in matters of “church discipline”. Different rules for the religious leaders.

          Eaten up with power is all it is.

            Tom

            Lydia:

            Yes church discipline does not apply to the elders, pastors or church leaders. What a bunch of hypocrites.

              Daniel

              You are making a lot of assumptions about what camp I fall into. All I am saying is that regardless of which polity structure you take – whether it is elder rule, elder lead congregationalism, or single pastor congregationalism – church discipline needs to be present in a biblically healthy role.

                Lydia

                Daniel, the problem stems on what exactly “biblical” means to differing groups and what “healthy” means. Surely you don’t think the Villiage was treating Karen Hinckley in a “biblically healthy” way? (They finally backed off when the situation went viral) please tell me you have some common sense!

                The Villiage represents what is typical of church discipline from the Neo Cal movement. It is cultic.

                  Daniel

                  Lydia,

                  Watch this:

                  “Charles Stanley divorced his wife, and his son, Andy, doesn’t think highly of him. This is indicative of tradition, arminian SBC members.”

                  You know why that isn’t true? Because it is ridiculous to take a small section of failures and attribute it to a whole. For every Driscoll and Village Church failure, there are hundreds of cases of church discipline that go smoothly. Just like for every huge influential old-school pastor failure (i.e., Stanley), there are hundreds of old-school pastors that served faithfully for decades. Your argument is both unsubstantiated, and an example of a composition/division fallacy.

                  Provide an alternative application of the scripture passages in question.

                    Lydia

                    Daniel, I interpret those events very differently than you do. His divorce did not seem to hurt his position as senior pastor of a very large church and National Ministry.thank

                    I think it only proves there are different rules for certain people who have position and power.

                    At the same time, I don’t equate divorce with the predadation of innocent children. However I do understand that Calvin is see all sin is equal. I get that part of your formula.

          Scott Shaver

          Daniel:
          In all historical SBC and baptist development/evolution in the West, u r so far out in historical and theological left field, u can’t see the blinking field.
          Is this indicative of SBC “education” in 2016? If so, a complete waste of tithe dollars3

            Daniel

            Scott, you sure are making a lot of assumptions about my age and education. Instead of resorting to character attacks, how about interact with what I said in my post about the biblical mandate for church discipline?

            As to the history of Church Discipline in the SBC, how much have you actually looked into that? Have you read any of the church discipline accounts from the 1800’s? For example, we have discipline accounts from the First Baptist Church of Savannah, GA, in which a member was disciplined for making absence as habit.

            So, just to turn this back around on you, it appears, Scott, that you are so far out in left field from both the Bible and historical SBC doctrine, that you can’t see the “blinking field.”

              Lydia

              Daniel, you seem eaten up with the power of church discipline. If you really believe in it, ask why CJ Mahaney is not being disciplined?

                Tom

                Lydia:

                I wonder if any women are allowed on these discipline boards?

                Daniel

                Eaten up? How about we use the phrase “reads the bible and finds biblical evidence for church discipline in passages such as Matt. 18, 1 Cor 5, 2 Cor 2, and 2 Thes. 3; and because of a belief that “all scripture is breathed out by God (2 Tim 3:16), seeks to implement all biblical directives – including church discipline – into my local church.” I know thats a mouthful, but I think it more accurately reflects my position.

                CJ Mahaney should have been disciplined, and probably jailed. No arguments from me. So, not really a good argument because, again, scripture.

                  Tom

                  And your position on church member covenants is?

                    Daniel

                    Wholly and totally for them. Most SBC churches have a membership covenant buried somewhere in their records.

                    But this is an excellent point to raise, Tom. New members need to be aware that when they are joining a church, they are covenanting themselves to a faith community, and there are expectations to this covenant. Churches that have forgotten about theirs, or maybe truly don’t have one, should really consider putting one in place so that discipline doesn’t blind side someone. That isn’t the goal, after all. Repentance is the goal.

              Scott Shaver

              All I’ll say Daniel, is that if YOU can pull it off (church discipline) your authoritarian itch might be scratched somewhat.

              Your understanding of “mandate” and mine are probably poles apart. As to my background in church history, pastored 20 years in 4 different churches and have an MDiv in Church History, so yeah….I’ve looked at enough church documents covering the last 400 years to make me want to puke.

              Especially nauseating are folks who want to make church documents and “covenants” primary rather than secondary sources for establishing any pattern of “orthodoxy”.

                Daniel

                Authoritarian itch, huh? Man. That’s pretty strong words. If only you would interact with the biblical text instead of creating a straw man to defeat. But, I guess a scarecrow is easier to debate than someone who cites the text, and pulls information from church history, right?

                Did Jesus have an authoritarian itch in Matt. 18? What about Paul in 1 Cor. 5? Or does that only apply to me sense I want to do what the Bible says.

                And an MDiv in church history you say? Fantastic! So you must be aware that church discipline was practiced by the earliest Baptists birthed out of the English Reformation, which is evident by both the Particular Baptist and General Baptist documents of the 17th century (The 1644 and 1689 confessions come to mind for the particular baptists, and the minutes of the 1656 General Assembly of the General Baptists come to mind)

                Then, of course there were the other examples I gave from the 1800’s. And since you have a MDiv in Church History, you would clearly know that much of the “traditional” SBC polity was birth out of the revivalism of Charles Finney (someone who denied penal substitutionary atonement), and the crusades of Billy Graham (which isn’t necessarily Graham’s fault that pastors took his crusades and tried to turn into local church models).

                As for the claim that I am making covenants and church documents a primary source of my orthodoxy, that is just categorically false. If you look at my initial post, I laid out the biblical text, and asked for an alternative interpretation. None have been provided. When the claim that Church History supports a “no discipline” position, I provided information supporting my cause. Now, apparently, I have made confessions and documents my primary source, while you were only using it as evidence? That is special pleading. A logical fallacy that I am sure you learned about in your MDiv.

          Robert Vaughn

          I agree, Daniel. All the wrong done in church discipline ought to make us determine to try to do it right rather than ignore it altogether. For example, Jesus, our criterion of biblical interpretation, said we ought ultimately to take to the church body personal differences that cannot be resolved privately or in counsel.

            Tom

            Robert:

            The 2000 BF&M Creed did away with Jesus being the criterion of biblical interpretation.

              Scott Shaver

              Tom and Robert:

              Why leave Jesus in the BFM as the ‘criterion of biblical interpretation”? He was no longer needed as Mohler, Patterson and Rogers arrived to save the day and set Christians straight about how to interpret. First order of business was to marginalize and remove from service those who insisted that Jesus remain the “ultimate criterion”. Hence the rewriting of 2000.

              As I’ve said before and IMO, the most tragic piece of paper junk the SBC ever concocted.

                Tom

                Scott:

                The 2000 BF&M sure did remove quite a few people. Yes, tragically.

                You said:”As I’ve said before and IMO, the most tragic piece of paper junk the SBC ever concocted.” Ditto!

                Robert Vaughn

                Tom and Scott,

                Regardless of the 1963 and 2000 BFM’s say, wouldn’t you agree that what Jesus said in Matthew 18:15-17 is profound and valid guidance for his people today?

                  Tom

                  Does it trouble you at all that Jesus was removed as the criterion for interpretation of the Bible?

                    Robert Vaughn

                    No, not particularly. Neither the 1925, 1963 or 2000 BFM’s are inspired, and I don’t what they meant when they said he was the criterion. IIRC, it wasn’t in 1925, was added in 1963 and was removed in 2000. (Yes, I know what the word means. And I know how some people have used the idea. I think most everyone believes Jesus is the criterion in whatever way they feel about it, and the “version” of who they think Jesus is.)

                    Daniel

                    Tom,

                    What does “Jesus is the criterion for interpretation” even mean? It sounds great – of course we want the Lord to be the lens through which we view scripture – but the vaugeness of the statement is what lead to the liberalism of the SBC in the 70’s and 80’s. It was a miracle of God that the conservative resurgence happened through men like Paul Pressler, Paige Patterson, and Adrian Rogers (Which should put to death any thought that I’m just some cage-stage Calvinist)

                    BF&M replaced the good sounding language of the ‘BF&M, and replaced it with language that was more precise, and did not provide a loop whole for liberals to do hermaneutical gymnastics with the text.

                    Scott Shaver

                    This is amazing to me.

                    Neither Daniel nor Robert Vaughn portend any admission of even being able to understand the terminology of Jesus being “the ultimate criterion of biblical interpretation” and both have 2000BFM views on the axiomatic “baptist” principle of soul competency. (i.e. no good unless interpreted in a collective sense).

                    Allow me to recommend Landrum Leavell’s little book entitled “The Doctrine of The Holy Spirit”.

                    This thing (SBC) is much further gone than I thought. If you don’t know where you came from, guys, how can you possibly know where you’re going in a “denominatonal” sense?

                    As promised Robert Vaughn: I take Matt 18:15-17 as basic instruction on a church by church basis for resolving differences between members and for protecting the integrity of a local church’s witness…all under the constraining and guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. What I do not see in this passage is any reference to BFMs, Creeds, Church Covenants, ERLC pronouncements, NAMB pronouncements, treatises or systematic theologies of seminary presidents and councils on Christian “orthodoxy” composed of these para-church entities.

                    All of the aforementioned are now influential in a creedal system of belief which is so terrified of Jesus that “pastors” and “leaders” don’t even want him involved in the interpretive process because HE’s obviously too weak to combat the “loopholes of liberalism”.

                    Some God huh?

                  Scott Shaver

                  Answer Tom’s question on the 1963 and 2000 BFMs first, Robert Vaughn, and then I’ll answer your question about Matthew 8:15-17 (in context).

                    Lydia

                    “What does “Jesus is the criterion for interpretation” even mean? It sounds great – of course we want the Lord to be the lens through which we view scripture – but the vaugeness of the ….”

                    Yes, how does one systematise Jesus Christ? That thinking has been somewhat of a historical disaster.

                    How about we look at what He did and did not do while here in His human form? Too simple? How about what He said and did not say… taking the overall meaning and context into account?

                    Once we do that, it isn’t so glamorous and lofty as some would like. And we end up with little control over other adults and are left with the grueling reality we must model and influence others through building trust and living out truth. Its not a big secret or mystery. It doesn’t pay well, either. You probably will not get a book contract or a speaking gig.

                    It is very interesting that Jesus had far more rebukes for the religious leaders of his time than the despised Roman Occupiers. The Jews were to be the light of the world just as we are to be now. We have Jesus as our model and we have the Advocate for wisdom. When we bring those things together to it is a powerful light made up of personal Independence and personal dependance on Jesus Christ.

                    That might be just be too much Independence for the system guys, though.

                  Robert Vaughn

                  Scott, let me clarify something that I did not write well. It is what individuals mean when they say “Jesus is the criterion” that I don’t understand — folks say this and are yet all over the place, indicating it obviously means different things to different people. I have no problem with the way Lydia defines it above as looking at what Jesus did and did not do, and what He said and did not say. These should be factors of great consideration. On the other hand, it seems many people use it as a way to attack the integrity of the rest of the New Testament, and I don’t agree with that.

                  As to your take Matthew 18:15-17, I think we agree. You say it is “basic instruction on a church by church basis for resolving differences between members and for protecting the integrity of a local church’s witness…all under the constraining and guiding presence of the Holy Spirit.”That seems like profound and valid guidance to me. I don’t see anything there that I would disagree with and further don’t know what “BFMs, Creeds, Church Covenants, ERLC pronouncements, NAMB pronouncements, treatises or systematic theologies of seminary presidents and councils on Christian ‘orthodoxy’ composed of these para-church entities” have to do with it. It is a church matter and settled at the church level. The church is the highest authority under heaven and if it is settled there it is settled, and if it is not it is no on else’s business (although another local church may choose not to have anything to do with that church if it is “grossly” unsettled, which is within her right.)

                  You say I “have 2000BFM views on the axiomatic ‘baptist’ principle of soul competency (i.e. no good unless interpreted in a collective sense).” I am not trying to agree or disagree with the BFM. I believe that we Christians interpret the Bible both individually and collectively. We individually should pray, search the Scriptures and be guided by the Spirit into the truth. We should not be lone rangers who disregard what other believers have to say. As Spurgeon said (roughly), those of us who make a big deal about what the Spirit says to us ought not disregard what the Spirit says to others. That said, I don’t believe people can believe just anything they want to still be considered a Baptists. Each of us is accountable to his or her church. (And just to be clear, not his or her elders, his or her deacons, his or her pastor — but the church as a congregation of believers.)

        Scott Shaver

        Here’s an example for you Lydia, while this thread is still on the subject of tolerance.

        In 2007, among the biggest critics of former President Jimmy Carter in religious print was Albert Mohler. At that time, he charged Jimmy Carter for being “at it again” with his unbaptistic, liberal, and “universalist” ways…..in other words, an SBC “reject”.

        Mohler is showing more “tolerance” today in print (5/24)….lauding Carter in essence as a fellow Southern Baptist in the struggle against “racism”.

        Culture warriors?….Please. More like driven by every wind and wave of culture, especially “SBC culture”.

      Tom

      Daniel:

      Your interpretation of my words is baloney. You have enlightened me as to the fact that you and others like you are not concerned about what often goes wrong with church discipline. You may feel different after you have been “churched.”

        Danel

        Tom,

        It seems like instead of interacting with the biblical text, you want to make assumptions about who I am, and what I believe. Instead of attacking my character (a logical fallacy known as an “ad hominem” argument) why don’t you explain how, in light of passages like Matt. 18, 1 Cor 5., etc, why we should not practice church discipline?

        I agree that church discipline can go awry. It is a travesty when it does. But can you explain why not have church discipline would be better?

      Tom

      Daniel:

      When you said to me:”In other words, your pragmatic argument is in direct contradiction to the Bible.”–You basically attacked me as to my belief of the Bible. I certainly will let you and the others that wish to discipline your church members do this, but I will have no part in it.

        Daniel

        So you still are not going to interact with the biblical text to make a case against church discipline? Got it.

          Tom

          Its your interpretation of the text not mine that you believe their is a mandate.

            JIm P

            Come on Tom.

            Paul disciplined the Corinthian Church for not disciplining the immoral man among them. Then after that man was put out of the church he had to discipline the Church for not allowing the man to come back after he made it right.

            Proverbs says discipline is a way of life..

            Prov. 15:10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way,
            And he who hates correction will die.

            Let’s have some reality here.

              Lydia

              “Paul disciplined the Corinthian Church for not disciplining the immoral man among them. Then after that man was put out of the church he had to discipline the Church for not allowing the man to come back after he made it right.”

              You mean Paul “persuaded” them in a letter. Paul had no power to excommunicate anyone there. There were no membership contracts. He did not address this letter to “Elders” to handle. He wrote the church.

              So not sure what you mean by “Paul disciplined them”.

              Lydia

              “Let’s have some reality here.”

              I agree.Let’s not read in what is not there.

              Tom

              I understand what the Bible says but this new mandate for church discipline is just that and there is no way that fallible men and women can do church discipline correct. We are not Paul’s.

                Jim P

                So the bottom line from you is ignore discipline in the church.

                Paul’s pushed them, them, to discipline in their church… Please

                It is not this world to be without discipline. Everyone else in this world is being disciplined every second. Like it or not.

                There is a statics that says, ‘for every traffic ticket a person get they’ve already committed 200 violations.’ Can you image if no one got a traffic ticket? That discipline makes for at least some order.

                But the bottom-line is that anyone who wants to be a cooperating member of any Church will understand the place a discipline. It just doesn’t come out of no where, like some here suggest. Like a lot of us would like to believe traffic tickets do.

                They don’t.

                  Tom

                  “So the bottom line from you is ignore discipline in the church.” no..

                    Jim P

                    Fair, you say ‘no.’ So discipline ‘does’ have its place in a Church.

                    Isn’t this the discussion here?

                    Let’s agree on this, members in a Church agree on what the goal is for the place of discipline:

                    Rom. 8:29 …to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

                    ‘to be conformed to the image of His Son…’ Isn’t that a good reason to value the place of discipline?

                    Prov. 13:18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction,
                    But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.

                    Daniel

                    Daniel and Lydia,

                    If you do not ignore discipline in the church, then what is the problem with what we are saying? If you do, then provide an alternative application of the passages in question that makes hermeneutical sense, and does justice to the whole testimony of scripture. Either of you have yet to do that.

                    Daniel

                    *Tom and Lydia. I got going a little fast!

                    Tom

                    Jim, I do not trust the process in our SBC churches. Our SBC membership numbers continue to decline and I think church discipline will just increase the exodus.

                  Jim P

                  Tom,

                  I think you’re attributing it to the wrong thing. I know that is another issue but making that the ‘thing’ for the decline can detract the Church from the true problem(s).

                  What process you are referring to I’m not sure, but you know, without discipline the end results is chaos, and nothing builds on that foundation.

                  1Cor. 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

                    Tom

                    Who is on these discipline committees? Just men or a mix of men and women? What are people disciplined for?

                    Lydia

                    “What process you are referring to I’m not sure, but you know, without discipline the end results is chaos, and nothing builds on that foundation.”

                    And that is what Calvin believed except the foundation was not Jesus Christ at all but a few who insisted they are represented Him.

                  Jim P

                  I’m not sure which committees you are referring to. A individual Church, a organization…?

                  Guide-lines for disciple in a church are spelled out clearly by Who, Jesus, Himself….

                  Matt. 18:16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’
                  Matt. 18:17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
                  Matt. 18:18 ¶ “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
                  Matt. 18:19 ¶ “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
                  Matt. 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

                  Look how profound that is. You know Tom, most in Churches don’t, (repeating) know the ‘goal’ of God in all this as I stated above, ‘to be conformed to the Image of His Son…’

                  If they appreciated that goal accepting discipline would be a regular habit of church life. Who will go to brother privately these days to point out wrong without getting hit in the head with a baseball bat.

                  Now, instead of doing it Jesus’ Way the best alternative today is to look under every pebble to find something to criticize.

                    Scott Shaver

                    “Now, instead of doing it the way of Jesus, the best alternative today is to look under every pebble to find something to criticize” writes Jim P.

                    That sounds strangely reminiscent of muted Southern Baptist estimations of the very spirit that sparked the great and glorious “Conservative Resurgence” among….”Southern Baptists”?

                    Tom

                    Jim:
                    I thought the goal was to be conformed to the 2000 BF&M CREED!–You know the part about doctrinal uniformity.

                    It has been elevated toa higher level than the Bible and also Jesus.

              Scott Shaver

              Jim P:

              You really want to make the 1st century church at Corinth the norm?

Scott Shaver

Tom has a point.

Current SBC leaders seem obsessed with the idea of folks living their lives as American Christians did in the 17 and 1800s. On the other hand, they can’t repent often enough or fast enough for the very time period they seek to revive. It’s schizophrenic.

The days of “being churched” are gone and they ain’t coming back. These days, most religious undesirables will “church” themselves long before any self-righteous body of deacons or “elders” gets involved. The only effective “church discipline” left is the constraining/empowering presence of the Holy Spirit….who is more than enough I might add.

I see more pastors being “churched” than members in this century.

    KD

    I was at a SBC church in the 1960s that was ” all into” church discipline.
    They disciplined people for the following-
    – Want a man to quit working for an airline because they served alcohol on flights. The man was a ticket agent.
    – Wanted to discipline a man who worked at a chemical plant because his job required him once a month to oversee operations on Sunday and thus would miss evening services, he was a supervisor on second shift.
    – Disciplined a family because their tithe had decreased because the husband had been laid-off from him position.
    Church disciplne? No, this business can get out of control fast….

      Lydia

      K.D.,

      Nowadays the Neo Cal movement “disciplines” for disagreeing with the pimply faced “elder” one must obey. Who disciplines the discipliners?

        Tom

        Lydia:

        For what the conservatives accused the liberals of- “twisting of interpretations of the Bible.” they are just as guilty of in 2016.

          KD

          Tom:
          I was in seminary during the ” purge.”
          It is worse today. Much worse. They seem to ” enjoy” hurting the sheep….

            Tom

            My prediction is when the SBC gets down to 2 members these two members will be trying to hunt each other. It is all about “purity.”

              KD

              Tom:
              The SBC is going to die on the vine. The YRRs , these guys just salivating at the thought of being about to discipline people…..instead of winning people to Christ, we are all about personal power….

                Tom

                KD: I have always believed the FUNDAMENTALIST TAKEOVER was about personal power and the current group of SBC leaders seem just as obsessed with personal power.

Christian

Just curious, was it only the female members who were brought before the church if seen in public smoking?

    Robert

    William will have to answer your specific question about how this was handled in his church (sounds like it was only women), but thought you might be interested in this. Views on smoking apparently varied by time and place. There are no references to smoking in the nearly 150 years of history in the church where I grew up (East Texas). No one was “churched” for that. We have a picture of one set of great-great grandparents and the gg-grandmother has a pipe in her mouth! One great-grandmother of mine was a snuff dipper in good standing with the church (and married to a preacher). So it seems like back then (1880s-1930s or so) they may not have thought much about it. But when I was growing up in the 1960s I never saw any women smoke — but very many of the preachers that I knew did so.

    One of the old church rules distinguished between men and women — that of missing conference. Men were brought to answer to the church if they missed (I think) two conferences in a row. This probably reflects that the men were considered the leaders in the business of the church. (But the women did vote.)

Jim P

King David was disciplined for 40 years being harassed by King Saul before he was trained enough to sit over the throne of Israel. And even after that disciplining he still failed miserably.

Pastors must be examples of discipline if they hope to see those they are examples to for them to want to discipline.

Tom

It seems to me that current SBC leaders are afraid of the Holy Spirit. They want to be their members Holy Spirit.

Look at the following:
Preamble 1963 BF&M

Baptists emphasize the soul’s competency before God, freedom in religion, and the priesthood of the believer.

Preamble to the 2000 BF&M

We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers, affirming together both our liberty in Christ and our accountability to each other under the Word of God.
What used to be the Priesthood of the believer was replaced by the priesthood of the believers.

What looks like a small change is a major one.

    Scott Shaver

    You are exactly right Tom. However the “enlightened Baptist” SB autocrats of 2000 felt it necessary to redact and diminish guys like E.Y. Mullins to the point of redefining “Soul Competency” from it’s original individual emphasis (i.e. “soul freedom”) to the watered-down “collective” meaning that Jim P utilizes in a previous comment.

    Why do you think they had to write Jesus himself out of the 2000 BFM as the ultimate criterion of biblical interpretation. What good is an inerrant Bible without the Christ who gives it life, power and meaning? “Inerrancy” sure seems to salving the newly forming fissures within today’s SBC, right?

    Noticed just yesterday, to my amazement, that none other than Russell Moore has broken out the old (CR despised) term of “soul freedom” in a twitter rant against his political detractors. Hasn’t been but just a few years back that Mohler and all the 2000BFM guys were crying about the inaccuracy of Mullins and the term “soul freedom”.

    Guess now that the rubber of reality finally meets the road and “cultural christians” (“evangelicals”) are not falling into lock-step with their platitudes, they’re at least reconsidering the accuracy of Mullins’ concept……LOL. Calvinists want to cry about their historical presence in the DNA of Southern Baptist Life because they’re grossly outnumbered by those of an Anabaptist spirit and tradition. YRR and TGC et al notwithstanding.

Jim P

Tom,

Your points are good but isn’t it both: ‘priesthood of believer’ and ‘priesthood of believers’? Some many exhortations for believers (plural) to live together in unity. That takes more than one.

Jesus prayer, “That they (plural) maybe one….” That’s the hard work, easy to ignore, like discipline.

    Tom Parker

    Jim:

    Jim, I think when one compares the 1963 and 2000 BF&M- as it relates to the Priesthood of the Believer and (s) these two statements do not mean the same thing. Just my opinion.

      Jim P

      Tom P:

      Yes, you’re right. But it would be hard to accept those who wrote and agreed to the 1963 ‘believer’ (singular) didn’t consider the cooperative aspect of that office of ‘priesthood’ that the 2000 statement made clear.

      Thanks

        Tom

        Thanks for the discussion. Have a blessed day!

        Lydia

        “Yes, you’re right. But it would be hard to accept those who wrote and agreed to the 1963 ‘believer’ (singular) didn’t consider the cooperative aspect of that office of ‘priesthood’ that the 2000 statement made clear.”

        So ‘cooperation” works better since 2000 because Mohler insisted on an “s”? Works better in a Vito Coleone way, perhaps.

        http://assets.baptiststandard.com/archived/2000/7_17/pages/bfm_meaning.html

          Scott Shaver

          No kidding Lydia. The guy from Shreveport LA, M. E. Dodd (who invented the CP) would be rolling over in his grave at Kelly, Patterson, Mohler, Luter and all other syncophants who signed off on the 2000 BFM. What a contrived, agenda driven and BOGUS piece of junk for a “Christian” confessional statement. Biggest shell game in 4000 years of Christian history…not to mention baptist history in the United States. SBC under its current tier of leadership rapidly falling under the category of Western “Christian” CULT. Moore, Mohler, Burk adding exponentially to theological distortion. Just because they are pId by the SBC doesn’t necessarily mean they reflect or embrace historic SBC views and principles. Moore can convince me of the substance of his arguments if he could actually get at least half of Southern Baptists to go along with him. Don’t see that happening get for next hundred years

          Scott shaver

          The BFM 2000 is junk, both because of its woefully inadequate substance and its political rather than theological emphasis. “Biblical Scholars” actually drafted this statement along with Fred Luter? I don’t believe in any “scholarship” of this statement right out of the gate.

          Andrew Barker

          Lydia: It’s interesting that this point has come out of a discussion on the danger of tolerance. We should indeed be intolerant of some things and I would list among these, using God’s word to make it say what we want it to say. This is exactly what Al Mohler does although he does try to dress it up in spiritual sounding rhetoric.

          I was taught what we referred to as the ‘priesthood of all believers’ which admittedly does contain the ‘s’ but I suspect that what we meant and understood by that phrase is pretty much the same as the meaning you attribute to it. Each Christian is a priest who relates directly to God through Jesus our great high priest. Apparently according to Mohler, this is “dangerous” talk suggesting that in doing this we “stand alone”. In Mohler’s world, “we stand together under the authority of God’s word”. I’m not impressed by this standing together business. Is he suggesting there is safety in numbers!? This is subtle in that it suggests that authority is a corporate issue and that we must all do what the central ‘authority’ dictates. Instead of relating directly to God, (Biblical) we have to answer to this corporate ‘authority of God’s word’ which is telling us what God’s word ‘is’. (unBiblical) It has the hallmarks of a cult.

          Mohler’s attempt at explaining this corporate authority fails to take account of the other Biblical pictures used to explain our position in Christ, namely building and body. Each individual Christian is seen as a living stone and is placed in the building in direct relationship to Jesus as the chief cornerstone. The body picture is perhaps the most telling. It clearly shows that individual members relate directly to the head NOT other body parts. In fact we are expressly told that we shouldn’t compare or contrast ourselves with others. The foot cannot say to the hand etc. They both have to relate directly to the head. Of course when all the members work together properly we have a corporate whole which functions correctly, but authority does not originate from all the members getting together and agreeing on a particular course of action or belief. There is no other authority in the body other than that which comes from the head and that head is Christ. So despite what some might try and argue, church leaders, pastors and presidents have no authority over other members of the body. At least none which I’ve seen from 1 Cor 12. This does not mean isolation for the Christian or that we stand alone. Far from it, for if one member of the body suffers, we all suffer. But the eye cannot say to the hand …. This truly is proper hand eye coordination!

          Our identity and security is not governed primarily by our relationship to each other but by our relationship and dependence on Christ who is the head over us all. The phrase ‘the priesthood of the believers’ uses the word priesthood purely as a collective term. Whereas ‘the priesthood of the believer’ places emphasis on the function of the believer as a priest. It may not be present as a phrase in the Biblical text, but it is the more accurate phrase as far as the meaning of scripture is concerned. :-)

            Lydia

            Andrew,

            Well said! If there is one thing I have learned from the Neo Cals is they use familiar words and concepts differently so we have to be careful when conversing That is why I won’t blanket agree when they use the term “church discipline”. They are totally immersed in human authoritarianism and control. It is the filter in which they interpret everything. They have different rules for their rulers than the peasants. In my view, there are no rulers or peasants in the Body of Christ as you mentioned. There are functions and each member is needed. It can be a big mess!

            There were some smart fella’s back in 2000 who seemed to be on to Mohler. Too bad others weren’t listening. Now we know they were right about his view of the added “s”. He is a sly fox, that one. Missed his calling in political campaign strategy.

            Scott Shaver

            Andrew. I think you’re on the money.

            The 2000BFM-1963BFM comparison is a great illustration of too much “tolerance” from the dog (Southern Baptists) who are supposed to be wagging the tail (SBC).

      Robert Vaughn

      I think the change is intentional and reflects a different understanding. For example, about three years ago I copied a statement made by Bart Barber, in which he wrote “’Priesthood of THE believer’ is utterly and entirely absent from the Bible. Every biblical reference to the priesthood of all believers is plural, not singular.” He pointed to the priesthood in 1 Peter 2:5 and 1 Peter 2:9 as plural (“ye” in KJV; you in modern translations is not distinguishable, but the Greek is plural) and Revelation 5:10.

        Scott Shaver

        Bart Barber, even if he’s not convinced/convicted of the his personal views on soul competency ….has no choice but to refer to the argument of “not being in the bible” as a justification to misinterpret the individualistic weight of “soul freedom”. It would be fraternal and perhaps professional suicide for him to do otherwise. That’s the new SBC.

          Tom

          Scott:

          Bart knows which ways the SBC winds blow and he will not dare do anything to the contrary.

          Scott Shaver

          Either each of us individually has priestly access to God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ …or we do not.

          Either our eternal destinies are determined by how we individually respond to Jesus Christ….or how we respond to the collective (i.e. “body”) apart from the head. Can’t have it both ways.

          The reason Jesus had to be extracted from 2000 BFM was so that SBC “leaders” COULD have it both ways while denying the right of priestly access to “individuals”.

        Robert Vaughn

        My statement was made in agreement with Tom above, that (at least for some people) “priesthood of the believer” and “the priesthood of believers” means two different things. I did not quote Bart to throw him under the bus, but just as a recognizable name of someone who was in fact stating that he believes the different phrasing means different things. I know of no reason you guys should suggest that Bart doesn’t actually believe what he said he believes and has no choice to believe otherwise.

    Scott Shaver

    With all due respect here Jim P. The question at hand is not the meaning of Jesus in John 17.

    The question has to do with textual differences between the Southern Baptist 1963 and 2000 BFM. You cannot avoid the glaring omissions and insertions of the latter version. IMHO……2000 stinks and is almost totally unacceptable because of the way it deals with both “soul competency” and Jesus (i.e. tossing him completely out of the interpretive dynamic for the very book HE inspired).

    Additionally, Jim P, by what logic do you appeal to the authority and meaning of Jesus in John 17 in defense of a credal statement that tosses the authority of Jesus in interpretation right out the window?

    Another musterion I guess.

Jon Estes

Interesting article. Is there a list of things we, the church, must stand against to make such actions make sense? Women smoking… Inactivity in church… Women wearing pants… Things the church has used to condemn are not reasons the church of the living God would condemn.

The obvious answer is the bible. I hope we can agree on this much. My problem is that some of the examples you give are not spoken against in scripture but in culture. So, am I right the list is in the Bible (not one specific passage)? If yes, then I would ask what to do about other behaviour that is being done that would be grounds to “church” someone?

    Jim P

    Jon,

    I’m answering your question, somewhat, to open a door for dialog.

    The 4th Gospel and the 3 epistles of John were written to believers who we culturally very incompatible with one another, written to give them a center ,a theologically focus, that they could all have reason to work together with each other. It is that center that is missing in today’s church.

    The main focus for all four of the writings are mainly two: One, Who the Person of Christ is, and Two, what His mission was and meant to accomplish.

    Interesting, the main audience for all four books was believers, believers who were being left anchor-less entering the 2nd Century. Sound a lot like today.

      Scott Shaver

      Yes Jim P.

      The “theological focus” you mention was that “Christ died for all….that whosoever will.” Why do you think the cultural differences were overcome? There were no longer any religious elites, people of different tribes and tongues were bound together by the power and truth of God’s Holy Spirit. Those first century Christians didn’t even have “The Bible” as we have it to argue over.

      There’s your “anchor” that held the early Christian community together. Today in the SBC, the ship has jettisoned both its moorings and its anchor. Calvinism is the dividing line.

      Jon Estes

      “The 4th Gospel and the 3 epistles of John were written to believers who we culturally very incompatible with one another, written to give them a center ,a theologically focus, that they could all have reason to work together with each other. It is that center that is missing in today’s church.”

      I have no problem with your statement, I would be glad to use it in a message I might preach on such a topic one day. My problem with the article was (and why I asked the questions I did) the few things listed for which the church would not tolerate (since that idea was in the title) were not all theological.

      If a church which would kick a woman out for smoking but not a man I would want to know if this church had the theological capacity to make sound theological judgments on what the standard for Christian living is.

      I also wonder if may of the things today Christians involve themselves in should be considered theologically wrong. Daniel used the passage in Matthew as the standard, to which you gave a good reply. Which leads me to ask… How many church members have gone public with their complaints about church leadership and not to the person(s) they complain about? How many Christians have joined in on the bash the pastor we disagree with but never go to the pastor?

      I would say that any reason not to follow Matthew on this is a choice not to follow God.

      In closing, I would think that there are many more complaining church members (per capita) than those in church leadership.

        JIm P

        Jon,

        The core issues, I am understanding more are brought out in the 4 writings, 4th Gospel, and the 3 epistles. It seems that those churches in that 1st century who were being written to, did not survive. Why, because of those core issues being ignored and not kept in focus and being stayed true to.

        Making Calvinism the problem does nothing but detract from that core. Why? The answer, possibly to avoid the core.

        Discipline in a church should be natural when, when people, believers want God’s way. Those who do will welcome discipline. Yes, reasonable. But those who argue none is the other extreme and will find their excuse to criticize it whether Calvinism or the man-in-the moon.

        And you know what also, the excuse makers care nothing to dialog about those core points… Interesting…

        Like those 1st century Church, they loose the ability to discuss…

          Scott Shaver

          “…when people, believers want GODS way, those who do will welcome “discipline”.

          In the words of Russell Moore, Jim P, “not at the hands of ungodly leaders”….”not at the hands of ungodly leaders”.

          Jon Estes writes, “I believe there are many more complaining church member per capita than those in church “leadership”.

          I would say then that these “leaders” have growing problems that are caused by their hypocrisy and inconsistencies more than any insensitivity to the Holy Spirit by “church members”. These guys are not an elite spiritual class. They put their britches on one leg at a time (those of em who wear britches) and they’re subject to the same warts and flaws and “character” issues as the rest of us.

          Makes you wonder whether its the sheep or the shepherds this day who stand in need of “correction”, “discipline” and “repentance”.

          Discuss that.

          Lydia

          “Discipline in a church should be natural when, when people, believers want God’s way. Those who do will welcome discipline. Yes, reasonable. But those who argue none is the other extreme and will find their excuse to criticize it whether Calvinism or the man-in-the moon.”

          What is in question are the differing views of “God’s Way” and the interpretive filter used for the conclusion by some of the gurus of the church as Hotel California. There might be a tad more credibility on the issue if the SBC had not accepted SGL in the SBC.

          You can quote Matthew 18 all you want but it is wise to start at verse 1 before you point fingers. Clean up the mess created first by the authoritarians who used a few proof texts to lord it over and even protect those who protect child predators.

          Create some trust on the issue. That takes time.

          Jon Estes

          Jim P –

          Interesting. I was not even thinking of Calvinism when writing my response.

          I did not write the article for this thread, I just found myself questioning some of the samples he gave (though factual, not theological).

          Using the type of things the original author did, can we ask if it would be acceptable to tolerate the following (things present day church members do)?

          1 – Go to R rated movies
          2 – Wear bathing ssuits to revealing (men and women)
          3 – Wear clothes that have words printeds across the rear end
          4 – Start blogs for the sole purpose of criticizing the actions of their church leadership

          Where do we start and where do we end without becoming legalistic?

          I am one who would agree with church discipline if the church has grounds (biblically) and is consistant in handling the discipine. If a church kicks out a woman for smoking (as per the example given from a fact in history) but not a man, then consistancy is lost.

            Jim P

            Jon,

            I know you were not thinking about Calvinism but that is all many here can think about.

            They’ve set up a ‘paper tiger’ to attack so they can deceive themselves into thinking they’re fighting the ‘true fight.’
            They aren’t. Just a little review of 1 John chapters 1 and 2 clarifies where that fight is.

            God said to Cain, “Sin lies at your door and its desire is for you but you must master it.”
            Making Calvinism the enemy justifies avoiding the ‘true’ fight, what must be mastered.

            Churches in the ‘true fight,’ welcome discipline.

            An interesting point about working together toward the same goal, like conquering sin:

            One mule can pull 2,000 lbs, working together two mules can pul 6,000 lbs…

            This is true. If those in churches could re-capture its core….. as work together two those core goals…..

            Those goals in 1 John are lofty but they haven’t changed for almost 2,000 years.

Pam Knight

Thanks, A very needed word for the Church today. Also a very true fact of why we are facing the moral decay of our culture and society in the world today.
In Christ
Pam Knight

Lydia

“If you do, then provide an alternative application of the passages in question that makes hermeneutical sense, and does justice to the whole testimony of scripture. Either of you have yet to do that.”

Daniel, I will never do justice to your interpretive filter. That is what this is all about. However, I do see lots of parallels between the corrupt Old and New Testament religious leaders and some current movements in Christendom. It’s all about power and control. You guys are eaten up with it.

    KD

    Lydia:
    You are absolutely right. These guys are bound and determined to go ahead and kill the denomination( SBC)….it’s all about their power and control.

    Chris

    It’s interesting to see accusations like this when the problem most Traditionalists have is that they believe they are losing power and so have blogs and comment on blogs to decry the rise of the Calvinists. Some could say that what goes on hear is all about power and control and that the Traditionalists here are eaten up with it.

      Scott Shaver

      Chris:

      I don’t know about other “traditionalists”, the only power I have and recognize is that of my individual relationship to Christ and the only loss I fear is the guidance of His hand.

      What is being “lost” across the board in the SBC is the previous influence of authoritarian rhetoric and SBC controlled and suppressed media. Those days are gone and church members across the SBC are beginning to see the emperors (leaders) lack of clothing.

      Condemn them if you wish, but the come-uppance won’t be pretty. Rest assured.

David Worley

While it’s true that some Churches went overboard with Church discipline, like disciplining women for smoking, or “churching” a man for working a job that required him to work on Sunday nights, etc; still, Church discipline should be something that Churches do. The Bible teaches it. The Early Church did it. BUT, it should be for a member, who is living in clear, open, unrepentant sin. It should be done for the things like adultery, drunkenness, lying, stealing, etc. It should not be done for personal preferences and personal convictions. Good gracious, some people would be disciplining members from everything to voting for Trump to chewing tobacco to a man wearing his hair “too long.” We need to make sure that discipline is done when members are LIVING in clear sin. And, it shouldn’t be done to give a member a whipping. It shouldn’t be done in a harsh, condemning way. It should be done out of love and concern for the erring member.

David

    KD

    David,
    Part of the problem is the discipline will very from church to church and person to person.
    Do you really think a person who gives significant funds to the church will be disciplined in the same way as a person who is able to tithe very little?
    At one time the SBC taught the priesthood of the believer. That’s long gone. The pastor now sees himself as an aristocrat. When I was in seminary, professors were starting to teach that the average parishioner ” might not be equal ” to a pastor.
    This whole post has made me sick. These guys who want to discipline folks are no better than the Calvinists who discipline to control their flock. There is no love here. And the sad part is, many of you just do not ” get it.”

      Tom

      KD:

      Well said: I wager many of these disciplining pastors have no skills other than pastoring and they would not dare kick the system that provides them and their families money.

      “Criswell said the pastor is to be the ruler.”

        K.D.

        Tom: It’s all about money. Jesus is secondary in today’s church…

          Tom

          KD:

          I wonder how many of these disciplining churches require tithing and would expect to look at an individual or families tax return to make sure they are in compliance.

            K.D.

            Tom,
            It’s probably part of that ” covenant” that so many churches now require members to sign….

              Tom

              KD:
              I wager that the every day member would not get access to the records to see if the Pastor or Elders are tithing. What people are thinking when they sign up for this nonsense is beyond me.

              Tom

              K.D.:

              I also wager somewhere in this covenant is the non-drinking clause and all the rules about the men being the biblical leaders.

          David Worley

          KD,

          That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t even deserve an answer. 99% of the Pastors I know are not in it for the money. lol. That’s not only ridiculous, but it’s also slanderous. You don’t know the motives of people; do you?

            K.D.

            Do they take a paycheck? Is this their ” full-time” job?
            I hate to break it to you….but…they’re doing it for the money….

            Scott Shaver

            David:

            With all due respect, KD is on the money as opposed to your charge of being “ridiculous” and I think deep down you know it.

            “Slanderous”?……For every example you can provide to justify your 99 percent, I’ll give you five examples to prove otherwise lifted straight from the news headlines both at home in the US and abroad around the world.

            As one former pastor to a sittting pastor, what’s ridiculous is your head-in-the-sand approach to this “vocation” thing.

            You know as well as I do the SBC is full of pastors who follow this basic theology: God is EVERYWHERE…Go with the bigger compensation package. “99 percent” is a pipe dream.

            Tom

            David:

            You said that 99% of the Pastors you know are not in it for the money–How do you know their motives. But thanks for making me chuckle this morning.

      Jim P

      Making the source of the problems the Calvinists.

      Genius in its simplicity.

        Scott Shaver

        “Genius” in it’s simplicity and “prophetic” in its accuracy.

        Lydia

        “Making the source of the problems the Calvinists.

        Genius in its simplicity.”

        The source of the problem is the desire to ‘lord it over others’ whether you recognize it or not. The Cals just do it better than others because it is inherent in their doctrinal system.

      volfan007

      KD,
      If every Church would do Church discipline RIGHT, then it wouldn’t be a bad thing. It would be a good thing. Also, the priesthood of the Believer is still taught in the SBC. Don’t be ridiculous. Now, if by that, you mean every Christian can just believe and do whatever they want to, and God should be okay with it, then that’s wrong. The Priesthood of the Believer means that we can all pray to God, confess our sins to God, lead other people to God, read the Bible and understand God’s truth, and worship God. We’re Priests of God. BUT, that does not mean that we can deny the virgin birth, or call the resurrection of Jesus Christ as crass, and it be okay with God. That’s not the Priesthood, which many moderates/liberals talked about, back in the day.
      Also, the Pastor is a shepherd, who is leading the flock. He’s not to be a cowboy herding the cattle.

      David

        Scott Shaver

        David:

        If it’s “wrong” and you want to change the concept of “Soul Freedom” to something other than defined by Mullins and as used in a tweet this week by Russell Moore, you are obviously wrong and out of lock-step with the historical complexion of the SBC.

        By the way, I know a lot of pastors who wear cowboy boots because they enjoy RIDING those sheep much better than “leading” the sheep.

        Scott Shaver

        Tell us how YOU practice church discipline David.

          Tom

          Scott:

          He will not give you an answer. He knows that his other FUNDAMENTALIST buddies say they believe this and he would not dare go against them. He can go back to SBC Voices and brag about taking on those folks at SBC TODAY.

            Scott Shaver

            Well Tom:

            I admire David’s gift for diplomacy….at least he can post an opinion at PRAVDA. That is not a platform accessible to all Southern Baptists…..gotta be a Millerite. Taste’s great….less filling.

        Tom

        David:

        You said:”BUT, that does not mean that we can deny the virgin birth, or call the resurrection of Jesus Christ as crass, and it be okay with God. That’s not the Priesthood, which many moderates/liberals talked about, back in the day.”

        Bull, and you know that is bull. You need to quit spouting the party line.

          Scott Shaver

          They’re still rewriting SBC history 20 years after the first time they revised it…..LOL, this time Rogers and Patterson incapable of applying the needed SPIN.

            Tom

            Scott:

            In all of their revising I wonder if they consider Exodus 20:16? Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

          KD

          That is bull…..during the ” purge” one of my favorite professors was ” run-off” and his sin? His PhD was from a Dutch university, so, ” he must be a liberal….”

            Tom

            KD:

            IMO the FUNDAMENTALIST found a word that worked for them and used it to ruin many people’s lives.

            Heaven forbid a FUNDAMENTALIST be accused of being “liberal.”
            liberal in love
            liberal in grace
            liberal in justice

            Wait a minute was not Jesus liberal in all these areas?

        Tom

        David:

        You said:”That’s not the Priesthood, which many moderates/liberals talked about, back in the day.” If you would do your own unbiased research you would find out your word many should be replaced with the word few.

    Scott Shaver

    Gonna be tough to do David Worley….”disciplining when members are LIVING in CLEAR sin”.

    Many of our so-called SBC “leaders” have declared openly and publicly that things like voting for the wrong presidential candidate or not supporting Soros funded US Open Border agendas are “SINS”.

    These ole boys have got an unfinished “church list” that’s growing exponentially with every pronouncement they make.

      Tom

      Scott:

      They want to “church” everyone in their churches.

Lydia

David, the examples we see in scripture involved the Body. Do you really see that happening today? And that is the problem. Yes, scripture teaches dealing with blatant sin but not the way most pastors want it to. I was aghast when Jay Adams added a step in his teaching and he is the go to guru guy!

When the church discipline promoters like 9 marks start practicing what they preach instead of giving their celebrity colleagues not only a pass but more promotion, they should expect thinking people to question their definition. If Karen Hinckley had not been so brave, we would not have any idea how corrupt “church discipline” was in the Acts 29 President Village church. There is a huge problem out there. And it has the SBC name all over it.

K.D.

I am sorry but there is a money problem and perception in the pulpit.
The older I get the more I know why people are leaving the church. And sadly, a lot of it has to do with money.
I was on church staff for a while. I left when I could not with honesty accept a paycheck any longer with people in the pews trying to make groceries ( as they say in Louisiana), pay their light bill, gas bill etc….and the pastor preaching the tithe every quarter.
Paul got a job and still served. So I did too. It was the best thing I have ever done.

    K.D.

    Look, I should have left the seminary when I learned that many of my classmates were involved with adultery, pornography, homosexuality, etc. and the seminary couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything about them. (I think it was more couldn’t. A perception problem.)
    Now I am not saying all my fellow alumni were bad, there are some good ones out there, but you know, there was enough bad to make you seriously take notice. These same bad guys are in pulpits today….I know one was run off recently for ” sexual misconduct.” ( The church swept what happen under the rug.)
    I worked at a small radio station for a while and the owner told us often” I hope to go to hell when I die?” To which we’d ask, “Why?” and he’d reply, ” So many ministers own me money for air time, or ad time, and I know what they really are….” Most of these preachers he was talking about were Southern Baptist.
    Yes, the SBC has money perception problems. And the leadership needs to clean house first.

      KD

      I neglected to add why my former radio boss wanted to ” go to hell.” He wanted to be cast in the firey furnance to see ” all the preachers he knew would be there also cast into the pit.”

        Tom Parker

        KD:

        I’ve been amazed for years how some SBC pastors who destroyed the lives of “liberals” can stand in a pulpit and preach on loving their fellow man and woman.

    Scott Shaver

    Ditto K.D.

    Can relate to “best thing I’ve ever done”. In many ways like having cataracts removed.

Andy

Interesting discussions… :-)

Here’s a few scenarios for you all, it may help us all see where we agree or disagree:

1. A Church member in your church is bragging that he is sleeping with his Father’s new wife. What is a biblical course of action for you? …Is there any for the church as a whole?

2. A Church member in your church confides to you that he has been cheating on his wife, but has no intention of stopping. What is a biblical course of action for you? …Is there any for the church as a whole?

3. A Church member in your church tells you he/she has been watching pornography, but doesn’t see anything wrong with it. What is a biblical course of action for you? …Is there any for the church as a whole?

4. A Church member in your church repeatedly lies to you, and seems to have no intention of changing their behavior. What is a biblical course of action for you? …Is there any for the church as a whole?

5. A Church member in your church asks your help in escaping an abusive husband. What is a biblical course of action for you? …..Is there any for the church as a whole? .

Looking forward to thoughtful answers!
-Andy

    Andy

    Of course, the other question is what is the response when one of the above situations arises…but the person IS willing to repent and change and seek to make things right? Do some think the “church Proper” still has an official role, or that the person’s Christian friends helping him is enough?

Lydia

“1. A Church member in your church is bragging that he is sleeping with his Father’s new wife. What is a biblical course of action for you? …Is there any for the church as a whole?”

The whole church knows, right? Paul recommended they, the church, throw him out. And was ashamed he had to suggest it.

“2. A Church member in your church confides to you that he has been cheating on his wife, but has no intention of stopping. What is a biblical course of action for you? …Is there any for the church as a whole?”

I would do the same I would do anywhere. You must tell her or I will. That is not a secret one keeps for someone else. One does not enable or protect deception that hurts others. My guess is most deceivers and cheaters know exactly who they should not tell. :o)
Usually they get caught first.

“3. A Church member in your church tells you he/she has been watching pornography, but doesn’t see anything wrong with it. What is a biblical course of action for you? …Is there any for the church as a whole?”

Very unrealistic. We can discuss why or you can read up on it. Depending, you might need to report it to law enforcement. Usually they are caught. Never suggest couples counseling for this problem.

“4. A Church member in your church repeatedly lies to you, and seems to have no intention of changing their behavior. What is a biblical course of action for you? …Is there any for the church as a whole?”

Is it over a personal issue or involves others in the church?

“. A Church member in your church asks your help in escaping an abusive husband. What is a biblical course of action for you? …..Is there any for the church as a whole? .”

Make up the spare room and help them file an EPO or take to a crisis center for photos and statement if abuse is recent. Once the court date had passed it is public anyway, the judge ruled and can proceed from there. Keep the abused spouse safe and help them transition. It is a major investment of time. But worth it. No couples counseling. Abusers have bigger problems.

    Andy

    1. “The whole church knows, right? Paul recommended they, the church, throw him out. And was ashamed he had to suggest it.”

    –I agree, but if this is your answer, why do you jump all over anyone who suggests that churches should practice discipline? Seems you agree with them.

    2. “I would do the same I would do anywhere. You must tell her or I will. That is not a secret one keeps for someone else. One does not enable or protect deception that hurts others. My guess is most deceivers and cheaters know exactly who they should not tell. :o). Usually they get caught first.”

    —So would you say the “church”should throw him out as well? Would it me your MATTHEW 18 duty to bring it up, or only if the wife wanted to? (Some spouses of cheaters know about it, but don’t want outside help or attention brought to it).

    3. “Very unrealistic. We can discuss why or you can read up on it. Depending, you might need to report it to law enforcement. Usually they are caught. Never suggest couples counseling for this problem.”

    –I am purposely meaning the legal, but immoral forms of pornography here….just trying to get a feel of where people think the line is that warrants expulsion from the church.?
    -You as a woman, May be surprised what a man will tell another man in certain settings…especially if asked directly. Some will be honest in a self-justifying way: “Well yeah, I do, but not that much, and it’s not a big deal…”

    4. “Is it over a personal issue or involves others in the church?”
    —same as above, assuming it is a personal issue, does Matt. 18 apply, such that the person might be removed from the church for their personal, yet unrepentant offense against another believer?

    5. “Make up the spare room and help them file an EPO or take to a crisis center for photos and statement if abuse is recent. Once the court date had passed it is public anyway, the judge ruled and can proceed from there. Keep the abused spouse safe and help them transition. It is a major investment of time. But worth it. No couples counseling. Abusers have bigger problems.”

    –Lydia is full of good answers today! I agree here as well.

    Final overall question, when you say “throw him out”….for someone who committed an immoral, yet not illegal, act…what exactly SHOULD that look like, if the goal as Paul states is the salvation of his soul? Options include:
    -removal of membership, but not Barr him from coming
    -.don’t let him in the doors
    – Shun completely when you see him on the street.
    – speak to him with kindness on the street, while urging him to seek Christ.

    I know for myself, in our church, these are difficult issues, though a pattern generally emerges such that what I have described here hypothetically is not the norm.

    The normal pattern seems to be, that once marriage issues come up, the unfaithful party (or the party seeking divorce…not always equivalent). will remove themselves from Church life, and usually not head any pleas to repent. The other party will often remain, seeking help and support fromthwir friends. After multiple attempts have been made to reconcile, the church will vote to remove the person from membership, but in reality that person has already been gone for a while.

    If I see the person around town, I say Hi in a friendly way, but ussuallly it’s a very short conversation. Perhaps I should say more intentional things, I don’t know. It’s a discernment thing I guess…

    We will very rarely have one of these situations come back to reconciliation, but It does happen.

      Lydia

      it.”

      –I agree, but if this is your answer, why do you jump all over anyone who suggests that churches should practice discipline? Seems you agree with them.”

      Andy, this is your take away? Why is it even called “church discipline”? And how many times do you think a conflict between siblings (that is what Matt 18 is focused on) is brought before an entire church to deal with? Do they vote on who is guilty?

      Take Karen Hinckly at Village church as an example. What do you think might have happened if they had taken it before the entire village church? The boy elders would not have dared. They were trying to handle this in a very back room way. Do you know how village church members, over all, had the opportunity to find out about the situation? They read her side of the story on the Internet because she make sure it got out there. So when you guys want me to agree with church discipline you’re going to have to be very clear exactly what you mean. Just the examples I have seen come out of nine marks/acts 28 churches are pure evil. I never agree with evil.

        Andy

        So, from your answer to #1, and your answer here, we can conclude that you agree with the biblical practice of church discipline, but not with the abuse of it.

        Great, I bet a lot of the people who belive in and argue in favor of church discipline agree.

        To assume that everyone who speaks in favor of church discipline is advocating the same thing as the village church situation is not accurate or fair, and weakens your own arguments.

          Andrew Barker

          Andy: Your points 1-4 are ‘pointless’ really aren’t they! When push comes to shove, the church has no control over what its members do or believe and can only regulate from the point of who is allowed to hold office, teach, speak for or be responsible for representing the church. That’s about it. I’m not sure about how law works in the US, but I think you might be on sticky ground if you try to prevent a person from attending a meeting which is open to ‘all’? The church may of course withdraw membership, which protects the reputation of the church, I guess, but does nothing to alter the behaviour of the ‘offender’. So I challenge you to come up with a course of discipline which should be adopted to countermand failures 1-4 and to show how these would be effective in the real world.

          Point 5: is quite straightforward. The church has a duty to report any wrong doing (illegal activity) to the appropriate authorities and by that I don’t mean to keep it in-house. It is clearly within the duty of the church to provide support and assistance to any persons who have been wronged but the precise help will depend on the situation.

          Where churches have gone wrong in recent years is to think they can take over the duty of the state and also subsequently to be the agents of rehabilitation to offenders. So you have a complete spectrum of abusive discipline going on within the church. Starting from churches which try to enforce the law of God (what they see as God’s law) on the congregation to those at the other end who think they can not only dispense with seeking proper judicial action over issues but also to pronounce the past ‘offenders’ as fit and proper to hold ‘office’. It’s a shocking mess.

          Some churches have made their membership covenants legally binding! I find this reprehensible and in my opinion it amounts to nothing short of spiritual abuse. Matt 18 doesn’t even come into it!! When Paul talks about tensions within the church he is quick to say don’t go to law. His advice is, why not be wronged over an issue rather than take your brother to court. You do need to apply some common sense to this so, no, I’m not advocating covering up wrong doing. But the advice is clearly there. What these churches have done though, is to preempt this. They have already gone to court before any offense has been committed. As Lydia pointed out, The Village Church put Karen Hinckley under discipline because she failed to honour the membership covenant which sought to force her to adopt a particular path of action. You get the distinct impression that these ‘agreements’ are more about safeguarding the church’s reputation, saving face and avoiding embarrassment rather than trying to help individual members who are struggling to live lives which are honouring to God.

          I feel the same way about these non-disclosure agreements which people have been asked to sign over the years. Again, it’s basically going to court before the event and for non-profit making charities aka the church denominations and missionary organisations, this is clearly wrong. What is shocking about church discipline is that so many of those who think they can and should wield it, appear to have so little understanding of how and why discipline should be administered in the first place.

            Lydia

            Andrew, Great point about preemptive legal action by ministry ” leaders”. They have gone to the law for membership contracts, non disclosure agreements without a congregational or a convention wide vote. Shame.

            And yes, it has the stench of status and self protection all over it.

            Please people stop signing these membership contracts. Let your yes be yes or no, no. These legal documents are not of Christ and have caused horrible cruelty by young leaders.

            Andy

            “So I challenge you to come up with a course of discipline which should be adopted to countermand failures 1-4 and to show how these would be effective in the real world.”

            So you disagree with Lydia’s “kick him out” approach?

            You have some other interpretation of 1 cor. 5-6?

              Andrew Barker

              Andy: Your response is probably what I expected, but it demonstrates a lack of real world thinking as to what *actions* can be taken in these situations. So again, I would challenge you to come up with concrete proposals, based on 1 Cor 5-6 if you wish, which demonstrate in practical terms what you think ought to be done in such cases. Pick just one example of your 1-4 if you wish rather than going into detail on every case. I assume you will agree that simply quoting 1 Cor 5-6 at these people will be like water off a ducks back!

                Lydia

                Andrew, at some point it is best to cut your losses because it is like talking to Stepford Christians. It is all they know because they have been in the bubble so long they cannot think outside of it. They can only play One Note.

                And because of the tendency toward binary and ingrained thinking patterns, I am not convinced there is the capacity to think past the bubble. The bubble us their protection from truth and reality.

                I tend to believe that protecting predators is right up there with sleeping with your stepmother. And there was a portion of being proud in the SBC of one whoprotected predators when a joke was made by an SBC leader, at the expense of victims. 8000 adoring fans, laughed.

                The hardness of heart and utter cruelty of promoting their joke of church discipline and then beating others over the head if they don’t agree with their concept of such becomes a bit much to stomach. It is hypocrisy on steroids.

                They would do better to drop the issue of church discipline all together because it’s not going away that they have rules for others but not themselves.

                  Andrew Barker

                  Agreed Lydia. It would just be nice to see a reasoned explanation of a verse rather than one just quoted as though that solves all our problems.

          Lydia

          “So, from your answer to #1, and your answer here, we can conclude that you agree with the biblical practice of church discipline, but not with the abuse of it.”

          Andy, are you trying to be annoying or hanging around the YRR too much? And you just had to add “biblical”, didn’t you? I don’t agree with your terminology and think you totally misread our Lord. If you really believed in it, you would be publicly decrying Mahaneys SGL as now SBC. That is why the issues comes off as a fraud from you guys.

            Andy

            I don’t really know what you are saying:

            You believe the church should “kick out” the incestuous man, but you have a problem when that is called “church discipline”?

            Is this it?

            For what it’s worth, my beliefs about church discipline are local church centric, and congregational, not Elder-enforced. Whether or not I decide to post comments on blogs about what leaders of other churches in other states do is not a church discipline issue. I don’t publically “decry” everything I think is wrong with the world.

              Lydia

              “I don’t publically “decry” everything I think is wrong with the world.”

              That is a shame when such lack of discipline is promoted/protected in your convention by your leaders for a notorious new SBC church YET you choose to nail me on the supposedly crucial words “church discipline”. I realize you think you are off the hook because it is not YOUR local church. No, but it’s SBC and YOU are very concerned I use your terminology. I think your priorities are backwards. Innocent children trump protecting gurus. So start there to promote church discipline and use that scenerio as an example of the normally selective “biblical” teaching.

Lydia

Andy, a great resources for dealing with these issues is Pastor Jeff Crippen. He has written 2 books that might be helpful: “Unholy Charade” and “A Cry for Justice”. His blog is, ” crying out for Justice.com”

He has done a yeoman’s work on some of the issues you mentioned and how the church needs to handle them. If I recall, he is Reformed. That should help. :o)

What you seem to miss is that the types you mention usually come to church to paint on the veneer of holiness at the same time they live out their evil deeds. They usually have to get caught or the spouse finally talks.

    Andy

    Thanks, I’ll check it out.

    “What you seem to miss is that the types you mention usually come to church to paint on the veneer of holiness at the same time they live out their evil deeds.”

    Why do say I seem to miss this? How could anyone miss it?

      Lydia

      “Why do say I seem to miss this? How could anyone miss it?”

      Most do. Deceives are often the most charming well liked people in public. Read up.

      Robert Vaughn

      I don’t think it is so much that we miss the fact of its existence, but we so often miss/are deceived by the specific offenders. It is very regular that we hear news reports of murder, violence, abuse, etc., that some friend, neighbor or family member says that they “just can’t believe it, they seemed like such a nice person.”

    Andy

    Lydia,

    Jeff seems to have a lot on #5, but not much on the first 4? No thoughts on those yourself?

      Lydia

      Andy. I have a comment in mod that touches on it. But thinking a bit more, a more relevant question concerning the YRR stealth takeovers and current operating strategies of the SBC such as the secrecy surrounding lock boxes, non disclosure agreements, etc, etc, is what does one do about deceptive ministry leaders?

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