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In one of the other discussions I read the following quote: "..the church in Europe and Americas is not so strict when it comes to searching, locating and discipline the culprits." This was in reference to one particular sin but any transgression of the ten commandments would be the same.

I shuddered to think of that horrible image of my church! Searching out sinners, finding them (of course!), and then disciplining them. My next thought of course was, "Oh no! They are going to find me!" Because I am the chief among sinners... and yet I like being a part of my church. I am on my journey toward sanctification and being Christ-like, but I am sure not there yet. I would venture to say none of us are.

Why do some believers think we need a "Spanish Inquisition" style search to root out sin (sinners?) in our church? I understand that we have rules. But that quote portrayed the least Christ-like church imaginable. Please include your basis quotes.

How does this fit in with what Christ did when zealots tried to do this same thing in Christ's time? "Woman, where are your accusers? Is there no-one left to condemn you? Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more." (John 8)

God bless,
Clark

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This is a sensitive topic, my quote is that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God", and "Ye who is without sin cast the first stone".

My church in the older days would Read people out but now it has changed this harsh act. People are now censored for an identified period of time, which is understandable.

I can't say that the members go searching for sinners, and if they do then I would certainly hope that it would be to present Jesus to them.

I really Love the God that I serve because H is willing to continue to work with me as I grow in him.
Hi Clark,
Good you've quoted in reference to a particular sin. We are all sinners and chief of sinners, just like Gizelle said, we've fallen short of the Glory of God, but that doesn't mean there should be no discipline in church.

I know it might look like hypocrisy to search, locate and discipline but it has been there time immemorial, when Adam and Eve sinned, God disciplined them, Sodom and Gomorrah, and all other individuals.

Hebrews 12:1-2, 5 " Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. And
And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

In brief discipline, ex-communication has been there, but it should be done with a heart of love, for God is love. We elect leaders in form of Elders and Deacons and they are there to guide the church, they are there to guide us morally.
Although it's personal conviction and trust in the Lord, but still there are people to oversee the church runs smoothly and not conforming to the patterns of the world. If the Church finds out that I Sammy i am a heavy drinker, should it just stay silent because all of us are sinners? I don't think so the church will step in and be given guidelines if i fail to go by them, there's no option but discipline.

Clark either you allow it or not there's gonna be discipline in the church till Christ returns. It's up to the member to stoop low and allow, but not to say words like you also did this and that, It's for the spiritual good of that member under discipline.

FYI discipline isn't rooting out members, it's making sure God's work and His will is done. Clark would you be happy if members of the church were free to do whatever they want, in the name of "He who has never sinned, should be the first to cast the stone?" I think it's high time we either take the truth as hard as it sounds or leave it.

Jesus told the lady, "Go sin no more", that means the lady was located and brought to the master in this case it's the church board. So there was a disciplinary hearing chaired by Jesus and His verdict was "Go now and LEAVE your life of sin"

Matthew 18:15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over."

James 5: 19, 20 " My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

2 Tim. 2:22-26 " Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the evil, who has taken them captive to do his will."

I conclude by saying, Discipline is from above and the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.

NB: May be you should just say "Searching, Locating, and Discipline" didn't go down well or was out of context.
There is a way laid out for the disciplining of members of our church. When you become a SDA you are told the rules (or majority) of them.

Anyway we all know that when we do wrong we have to be disciplined. As leaders of the church you do not just disfellowship (read-out), you have to talk to the person(s) involved and reason with them from what I understand if they are repentant they should not be read out....you don't read them out because they are pregnant or have stolen...only if they are not repentant or shows no sign of remorse...please correct me if I am wrong.

Leaders and members alike can be very unkind in certain situations in dealing with persons making mistakes and that is why so many of our members leave the faith.
Good day Sammy!
I agree with all the Biblical quotes you listed. Beautiful stuff! I also agree with your conclusion that "discipline is from above and the Lord disciplines those he loves...". But I don't think any of the texts or your concluding opinion supports our church "searching, locating and discipline the culprits." Can that be supported with other texts?

There is a VAST difference between God's discipline and the human church's discipline. God is perfect, just, and knows everything. The church is run by sinners who make errors every hour they are awake. The church cannot look on anyone's heart. An analogy might be made that the church searching, locating and disciplining sinners is much like a group of murderers scouring the earth for other murderers. And when they find them, they sentence them and send them off to prison or death... all the while this group of murderers have never been held publicly accountable by their peers for their crimes. It doesn't seem right, does it? Neither does sinners actively seeking out sin in others. I know in my case, I've got my hands full with my OWN sin!

I fully and humbly accept God's discipline. I also accept that the church has to deal with issues of sin that arise in the church. I am NOT advocating an "anything goes" policy. As I look at this further, it's only the 'searching and locating' being suggested that the church should do that I have a problem with. Issues of sin often do become public and the church has to deal with them. Fine. But the moment I as a sinner (or the church as a group of sinners) start worrying about finding other people's unexposed sin and then begin the discipline process of our church... YIKES! That is dangerous stuff that has nothing to do with being Christ-like. And the original quote in context even seems to suggest that the church in Europe and America is somehow less diligent for NOT following these un-Christ-like actions. If that is actually what was meant, then I have great concern for this legalist and perfectionist attitude that seems to be replacing the way Christ showed complete love and acceptance for sinners, whether it was they sinned on the first day they knew Christ or the seventy times seventh day of knowing him.

Christ definitely did not condone the actions of the men who brought the woman caught in adultery to Him. I can't see how He would condone similar action in our church today.
First of all, we need to be careful we are not leading others into sin. Matthew 18:6,7
Then, remember the purpose of disciplining a sister or brother is to save, not to belittle or condemn.
Our attitude is everything when it comes to discipline. When you go to your brother or sister because of an offense, remember Christ died for this person. They are loved by Him. You are no better and will make mistakes also; count on it.
DO NOT GOSSIP to anyone of this offense. First go to your brother alone, if he hears you, you have gained your brother. I can't tell you how many times I have seen this NOT practiced, and it causes divisions among us, and these people never return, because they are so disgraced. Love each other, people! Most of the time, if this is followed, the brother or sister is restored with their dignity intact. ONLY when this does not work , should you take with you one or two others, that will not spread this information. THEN tell it to the church if they refuse to listen to reason.
Only once have I seen a person reject counsel, and there was much weeping and pleading on behalf of our church. When she left the church, there was no condemnation. Since then, this sister has returned and was restored back into the church family.
Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant? Matthew 18:21-35. The stern warning from Christ at the end, "So my Heavenly Father also will do to you ,if each of you, FROM HIS HEART does not forgive his brother his trespasses."
I know that Matthew 18:17 states "if he refuses to hear the church, let him be to you a heathen and a tax collector." That doesn't mean treat them with disgust or indifference, that means love them like you would any lost person!
I like this compassionate Biblical approach very much! More like Jesus and less like the Spanish Inquisition. ;-)
How should the church discipline sinners? In answering this question, I want to approach the word "how" by focusing on attitude rather than on procedure or method. (I guess that also answers the question "How?")

Sometimes, even while obeying the letter where the steps outlined by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-20 are concerned, we have not manifested the right spirit. We would do well to pay attention to Galatians 6:1: "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted" (NIV). That verse contains certain key phrases: "you who are spiritual;" "restore him [or her] gently;" and "watch yourself." The administration of discipline among Christ's disciples ought to be done
(1) by those who are spiritual, and I take that to mean those who are walking in the Spirit. We have to keep self and politics out of the picture; discipline must be spirit-led;
(2) With the ultimate goal of restoring the sinner;
(3) In a gentle manner; that is, not callously, arrogantly, insensitively, or heavy-handedly;
(4) With self-examination; remaining constantly aware we are beneficiaries of God's grace, lest we be drawn into the error of thinking that we are better than the one being disciplined.
The right attitude is just as important as the right procedure; in fact, the one informs the other.
Haven't received an email from you in a long time, but I know that the family is doing quite fine. I agree with you 100% but I just want to emphasize that everything must be done in LOVE. The last time someone was disfellowshipped in my church, tears literally ran down my cheeks. You see, Jesus' followers who did not want to be a part of His teachings, turned back from following Him. Notice, they left on their own accord. For over 3 years Judas was following along with Jesus, being the traitor that he was, yet Jesus never "ex-communicated" him. Mind you, I am not saying that behaviours should be ignored but the way we do it is way too "barbaric", I don't feel the love at all. This discussion came out during my sabbath school lesson discussion last Sabbath (although when I studied my lesson I never saw this coming out) and the tone of the members evoke tears in my heart. We really need to be like Jesus in the throng (including the church). Have yourself a love-filled day.
All of us are sinners, but the questions asking how should church discipline the sinners, back home in my church this discipline happen because of fornicating. and those who did the sin, is being disciplined by the church, meaning the elder and the church pastor will not allow the persons who did the sin, to go the the podium to sing, or to preach, or giving testimony, He/she can go to church, he still being a member of the church. but he/she will just be seated to hear and lesson the church program. until the time that the discipline done.

This is what i wanna share about my experience on my church about discipline the sinners.

as the SDA members i know that we have rules in church, which is given by G.C. and for me as a sinner, i believe that if we are truly came to God asking for forgiveness then God will forgive. that is His promise for us.
May God bless all of us.
first of all, we have no right whatsoever to discipline church members in a degree which the roman church use to do, if one found and needs disciplining then it goes for the rest of us, for we are all sinners. as a church we are given guidelines by our God through the gospel, for corrective measures purpose but not to be seat for fault finding with our bretherens. after all, God said " let one who is faultless cast the first stone". our leaders and member a well should keep a compassionate stance in every situation, we should be constructive not destructive.
Hi Mark. Your position is not very clear. You seem to be saying on the one hand that we should not discipline members "in a degree [I take that to mean in the manner and to the extent] which the Roman Church use[d] to do." But in your very next sentence, you seem to be implying that since we are all sinners, we should not discipline others. The third sentence sounds like "yes"; but the fourth sounds like "no." What's it, finally? Should we, or should we not?
Since all people have sinned, then it would seem a little ridiculous for the church to effectively discipline all sinners. So I don't even like to think of it as punishing or disciplining sin as much as dealing with inappropriate behavior of members. Certain actions would cause discipline in a work place regardless of the religious affiliation of that organization and has nothing to do with whether something is a "sin" or simply inappropriate/illegal conduct either by federal, state, or so deemed by organizational law. So with "The Church" I think there probably should be guidelines as to what kind of intervention is taken depending upon the act committed. Not so much the "degree of sin" but the degree to which the act could harm others, etc. Safety first and if it is a legal matter then there are others who can "discipline" according to the law.

But I'm sure that's not quite what you are asking and I don't have the right answer, mostly brainstorming out loud on here.

I don't think that "the church" as an organization always needs to intervene. In our Sabbath School today there was a hypothetical scenario presented. What if a resident assistant walked in on a male theology student having marital relations with the wife of a school employee? I think the best answer given was:

1) Close the door and walk away
2)THEN privately speak with each individual and implore them to right their wrong, pray with them, etc...in private.
It would NOT be something worthy of taking to a committee to out the people involved and give them public humiliation.

It would not be something to take to a committee...this is a very deeply personal matter. So it may be with other mistakes, sins, etc. Other things that could put someone in danger or might make someone an unlikely candidate for a position (again individual situations warrant individual approaches) might need a different way of dealing with it that is less private.

In any case I'm not a big fan of "excommunication" except in rare circumstances. I'm not sure there is one specific answer that will cover every possible "sin" problem in the church.

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