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Banned By the Church

 

Why for?

 

For disagreeing with the Pastor. She was 71, sitting peacefully in her pew and was escorted out in handcuffs by a Policeman, because she questioned something the Pastor said.

 

Is this trully standard practice? I can understand stopping gossip--I would too. There is no place for it, not even in Church. But this old lady was ousted because she asked the Pastor to follow Church sanctioned by-laws of instituting Deacons. He called her a "spiritual cancer"...

 

Is this really acceptable?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(watch the neg reps fly in, people. I've already got three on a LOCKED thread)

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Really, this article is the same kind of drivel you normally consider to be completely biased.

 

I have no problem with the practice of church discipline and find it to be completely Biblical. However, I have no means of determining whether this article is completely factual or just another bit of journalistic fantasy.

 

And if it is completely and totally factual, then I would say that church has a problem and more specifically the pastor is on a power trip. I would not come to the conclusion that most churches are like that any more then I would assume all homeschoolers raise wheat, bake their own bread and have 18 children all of whom are studying to go on the missionfield.

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Really, this article is the same kind of drivel you normally consider to be completely biased.

 

I have no problem with the practice of church discipline and find it to be completely Biblical. However, I have no means of determining whether this article is completely factual or just another bit of journalistic fantasy.

 

And if it is completely and totally factual, then I would say that church has a problem and more specifically the pastor is on a power trip. I would not come to the conclusion that most churches are like that any more then I would assume all homeschoolers raise wheat, bake their own bread and have 18 children all of whom are studying to go on the missionfield.

Who is the "you"? Me? Or "you"? Because I just posted it asking question.

 

And what do you mean all homeschoolers don't do all that stuff? :)

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What I meant, Toni, is that normally you are the first to assume an article is biased. Something I've always respected about you. I think that same judgement is probably appropriate here as well. If the article is 100% factual, then I'm right there with you in thinking this is horrible.

 

And I don't know, maybe all homeschoolers do grow wheat, make their own bread and raise 18 missionaries. OMG, What am I doing homeschooling then?? :D

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What I meant, Toni, is that normally you are the first to assume an article is biased. Something I've always respected about you. I think that same judgement is probably appropriate here as well. If the article is 100% factual, then I'm right there with you in thinking this is horrible.

 

And I don't know, maybe all homeschoolers do grow wheat, make their own bread and raise 18 missionaries. OMG, What am I doing homeschooling then?? :D

 

 

Ahh, ok--forgive me, I'm not feeling good.. Wall Street Journal, though, is one of the few I would respect. It seems the article is pretty solid in the reporting of the situation (as opposed to OMG! Look what this horrible church did!!!11!!!).

 

I'm not saying it's factual, or even all the story, it just appears to be more complete, reporting wise, than the articles you mention I am biased against.

 

And yeah--guess what? I don't wear a denim jumper either, so I can't possibly be a real homeschooler :)

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No, not normal or standard practice. No, not ok. "Christian" in the sense that the Bible promotes this? Not on your life. Is this is article likely to be factual? Unfortunately, yes. Our church is having some grave difficulties due to misuse of power. My husband is publicly standing up against it. Who knows, we just might make the Wall Street Journal.

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No, not normal or standard practice. No, not ok. "Christian" in the sense that the Bible promotes this? Not on your life. Is this is article likely to be factual? Unfortunately, yes. Our church is having some grave difficulties due to misuse of power. My husband is publicly standing up against it. Who knows, we just might make the Wall Street Journal.

This is why I ask. I've seen "church discipline" in action and it usually only involved some quiet discussion with the Pastor, in private regarding the situation. I've never, not even at the church I just left for very horrible reasons, seen this kind of admonishment.

 

I have, however, seen the discord you speak of Jean. And it is bad. Very bad. I'm all for putting an end to gossip (I truly hate it), but she wasn't gossiping--she was following church instituted policy!

 

(and to be anedotal, I've never met a 71 yr old gossip. I'm not saying they don't exist, but using this lady as my basis, I've never met one).

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I do not doubt the truth of the article, I'm sure many here know of instances of abuse of power in a church.

The church my parents attended had a power hungry preacher, and they no longer attend church.

What about "let he who is without sin cast the first stone"? I don't get it.

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I do not doubt the truth of the article, I'm sure many here know of instances of abuse of power in a church.

The church my parents attended had a power hungry preacher, and they no longer attend church.

What about "let he who is without sin cast the first stone"? I don't get it.

:)

 

This preacher seemed pretty bent on casting her out. Calling 911 from his cell phone during church service. I've read the whole article, it just boggles my mind.

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This is why I ask. I've seen "church discipline" in action and it usually only involved some quiet discussion with the Pastor, in private regarding the situation. I've never, not even at the church I just left for very horrible reasons, seen this kind of admonishment.

 

I have, however, seen the discord you speak of Jean. And it is bad. Very bad. I'm all for putting an end to gossip (I truly hate it), but she wasn't gossiping--she was following church instituted policy!

 

(and to be anedotal, I've never met a 71 yr old gossip. I'm not saying they don't exist, but using this lady as my basis, I've never met one).

 

We have 70 yr old gossips in our congregation. Ya can't let the little old lady look cause you to assume this lady didn't make herself a royal pain since the new pastor came in.

 

The initial section of the article made it seem like all the lady did was sit in the pew. Apparently there was a lot of legal and church - disciplinary jousting before this happened.

 

Personally I think it's overkill to have her removed in cuffs and all that, but we don't know what happened beforehand, and what precipitated all of this.

 

I'm figuring since she worked for the corrections system for many years, she knows how to make enough of a fuss over things to be heard.

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Church discipline, which is completely biblical, is meant to be restorative. It's not ever meant to be punitive. Have I met some catty pharisaical little old ladies in churches? Sure! And to be sure, I believe they need to be admonished... handcuffed and put in jail? Um. No way! LOL Clearly this pastor was not interested in peacemaking and was more concerned with his reputation than anything else, or so it would seem.

 

When I send my children to their rooms or on time out, it is not a punitive action. I am teaching them what kind of behavior is acceptable and what kind of behavior causes turmoil, hoping that *when* they return (not IF) they will be restored to the family in reconciliation, making specific apologies to the individual(s) that they directly or indirectly harmed, and in some cases to the whole family if their actions caused some sort of whole family disunity, at which time they would be welcomed back and loved as usual. In our family, when such a thing happens, the goal of discipline is not punitive -- to make them feel awful -- it is to remind them of what our family priorities are and that when an individual decides that being selfish, mean, rude, nasty, etc. it affects everyone around them and ultimately ends up in alienation and loneliness, which are obviously not family priorities.

 

Church discipline is meant to work in a similar fashion. It is not meant to shame people, though if a person feels ashamed of what they have done that is okay. (please note, I am speaking of when church discipline is carried out correctly and responsibly) It is something ordained by God in scripture and therefore, when rightly applied, is aimed at restoration and reconciliation. I have seen it done rightly and seen repentance and peacemaking and beautiful reconciliation as the result. And even when it is done right, it is not always well received.

 

Sadly, things are not always done right and lives can be ruined. The same can be said for just about anything out there that has the potential to be done right and well... we don't throw the baby out with the bath water though.

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Oh, hugs GG, I am absolutely miserable too. I think I've got the flu- I've NEVER felt this bad. I really shouldn't be on here, I should be in bed too but I had to come check on something and I'm too tired to get back up. :(

Hope you don't get THIS sick.

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I'm surprised the WSJ would publish this story because it's owned by Rupert Murdoch (of Fox News fame). I'd also say that if a right wing newspaper prints an article criticising a right wing constituency, it has more credibility than if a liberal newspaper printed it.

 

Just my 2 cents,

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about the pastor abusing his authority. We do not know the history of the situation, or details as to what correctives the church elders had already attempted. The church is a private entity. If a person is asked to leave or not come back to the church for any reason and refuses to respect that decision, a church has every right to ask civil authorities to remove that person.

 

If you ask a person, no matter what age, to leave your home and they refuse it is perfectly logical to call the police and have that person removed. A church is no different.

 

Pastors and elders have every right to request that people not come back to their church for whatever reason. If people don't like how their pastors are using their authority, they are always welcome to find another place of worship. If the elders don't care for how the pastor is using his authority, they always have the option of firing the pastor.

 

Making this a media matter only casts suspicion in my mind that this lady IS a gossip. If she doesn't care of the pastor, she is free to worship elsewhere. In my mind, she does not have the right to attend a place of worship where she has been ASKED to not come back, no matter what her age, what amount of money she has given, or what classes she has taught. This is a very unfortunate situation.

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I do believe that church discipline, when practiced correctly, is Biblical.

We don't, however know all the details of this story.

As others have said, if it is true, the pastor has some major ego problems to deal with.

 

This reminds me of something I read in a newspaper last fall. There was some Catholic church in the midwest where the priest fired the organist because she was selling lingerie and other "unmentionables" via one of those home party companies. He didn't think it was proper for a church representative to be selling things like that.

 

Uhhhhh...... scared0005.gif

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about the pastor abusing his authority. We do not know the history of the situation, or details as to what correctives the church elders had already attempted. The church is a private entity. If a person is asked to leave or not come back to the church for any reason and refuses to respect that decision, a church has every right to ask civil authorities to remove that person.

 

If you ask a person, no matter what age, to leave your home and they refuse it is perfectly logical to call the police and have that person removed. A church is no different.

 

Pastors and elders have every right to request that people not come back to their church for whatever reason. If people don't like how their pastors are using their authority, they are always welcome to find another place of worship. If the elders don't care for how the pastor is using his authority, they always have the option of firing the pastor.

 

Making this a media matter only casts suspicion in my mind that this lady IS a gossip. If she doesn't care of the pastor, she is free to worship elsewhere. In my mind, she does not have the right to attend a place of worship where she has been ASKED to not come back, no matter what her age, what amount of money she has given, or what classes she has taught. This is a very unfortunate situation.

 

My dh is a pastor. We have dealt with these kinds of people, who on the outside look like sweet little old folks. It's interesting to note that the lady has come back to the church since the incident, and is now snowbirding down south. She'll be back. If she was angry about not having a deacon board with a church membership of 12 people, she is going to be angry about a lot of other things.

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Pastors and elders have every right to request that people not come back to their church for whatever reason. If people don't like how their pastors are using their authority, they are always welcome to find another place of worship. If the elders don't care for how the pastor is using his authority, they always have the option of firing the pastor.

 

I totally agree with this. I failed to point out that the only reason my dh is involved in speaking out against misuse of power in our church (by the board of elders) is because he is the interim pastor. Otherwise we would just leave and look for another church.

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Who's right, the pastor or the woman? I don't know and I don't care, it's none of my business since I don't belong to the church.

 

But I do know the pastor screwed up big time. Intra-church politics shouldn't be handled in courts or by calling the police come in. Doing that opens it up to the media, opens everybody up for criticism and makes everybody looks bad. Uping the ante to involve the secular authorities is overstepping. Things like this need to be dealt with in house. I would hope every seminary student would read this article as a warning of what not to do in a squabble with congregation members.

 

If there's a crime such as molestation or swindling of church finances, that's another story.

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My denominational heritage doesn't include "church discipline". My denominational heritage includes forming close relationships with other, selective, Christians and forming healthy friendships that include honesty with love, accountability and feedback when needed.

 

But this article?

 

Frankly, it did nothing to convince me of the usefullness of church discipline.

 

I've observed that most churches that exercise public church discipline, defend it or claim it tend to me long on legalism and short on grace. Mixed with a huge measure of hypocrisy.

 

I think what has become known as "church discipline" is a dangerous process in the hands of flawed sinners.

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Who's right, the pastor or the woman? I don't know and I don't care, it's none of my business since I don't belong to the church.

 

But I do know the pastor screwed up big time. Intra-church politics shouldn't be handled in courts or by calling the police come in. Doing that opens it up to the media, opens everybody up for criticism and makes everybody looks bad. Uping the ante to involve the secular authorities is overstepping. Things like this need to be dealt with in house. I would hope every seminary student would read this article as a warning of what not to do in a squabble with congregation members.

 

If there's a crime such as molestation or swindling of church finances, that's another story.

 

Yes sir, you are right. So very right.

 

Our church had an issue once, where a staff member was taking money. He would take the cash offerings, leaving the checks behind. Eventually he was caught, but this went on for quite awhile.

 

Church discipline was used. What choice is there?

 

The pastor met privately with this man, whom he loved like a son. The man could not hide this wrongdoing anymore. The man admitted, gave an honest estimate to the amount he had taken and worked out a plan to pay it back. Pastor then called the church lawyer and told him what happened, it was needful as churches do have to make financial reports. He asked the lawyer if the church was bound to press charges or could this be handled quietly. The lawyer assured Pastor that this could be handled quietly and there was no need for legal intervention. The man wrote a letter of resignation to the church in which he admitted to "a year long lifestyle of sin" (an unfortunate choice of words as you will see in a moment) with no hint as to what had happened. Pastor read it, we all cried, I think Pastor was already cried out. He praised the man, he told us, "I love him like a son". We went home.

 

Gossip started, of course. Everyone speculated on what "a year long lifestyle of sin" meant. So Pastor called another congregational meeting, where he told us the gossip and speculation must stop, and then he read a second letter from the former staff member, explaining what he had done and assuring the congregation that he would pay back every penny.

 

Pastor then assured us that this staff member was most welcome in our church anytime, that he still loves him, that restoration is what is most wanted here. He also told us that this meeting settled the thing and that all gossip and speculation was to stop immediately.

 

The staff member did not return, though he did send his children to camp with our church. I know for a fact that some of the other staff members stay in touch with him socially. Many of the newer members of our church do not know about this episode, but if he walked into the church tomorrow, the members who knew and loved him so much would greet him and his family with hugs and joyfullness. And so would the pastor.

 

That's how church discipline is done at a church whose very name is Love and Truth.

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(and to be anedotal, I've never met a 71 yr old gossip. I'm not saying they don't exist, but using this lady as my basis, I've never met one).

 

I don't always "get" irony and sarcasm - so forgive me for asking, but ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!???? (I also skipped ahead to answer this post, so forgive me if I missed pertinent responses.)

 

 

In every church I've been in (only 3, but still) there were the "little old ladies". They were brutal when it came to gossip! One memorable (and I thought funny) episode: When the single 30-something pastor of our church started dating a woman who didn't meet the approval of the "little old ladies", they started all kinds of rumors about her. (Yeah, that part is NOT funny.) One of the rumors was that she didn't wear underwear.

 

I had visions of these prim and proper and none-too-mobile ladies scooting under the pews on their backs to obtain this bit of information!

 

So the situation with gossip in the article sounded very familiar to me. It was the way the pastor dealt with it that was "out there".

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How did you keep a straight face when you looked at them?:D

 

Ha - it was difficult. But really, the entire situation was so un-funny it was hard to look at them at all. The gossip situation in our church has improved dramtically since then. There is really a spirit of love and cooperation within the membership. It really has to do with the pastor, who continually points us to Jesus.

 

And GG - it's a tough situation for the church in the article. It's easy for me to imagine the lady being horrible to the leadership, because I've seen that plenty of times. At the same time, it's unthinkable that a pastor would call the police to have such a person removed! It's not a civil issue - it's a spiritual issue within the church. But she's obviously not deterred by the action - she says she'll be back.

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The staff member did not return, though he did send his children to camp with our church. I know for a fact that some of the other staff members stay in touch with him socially. Many of the newer members of our church do not know about this episode, but if he walked into the church tomorrow, the members who knew and loved him so much would greet him and his family with hugs and joyfullness. And so would the pastor.

 

That's how church discipline is done at a church whose very name is Love and Truth.

 

Amen. Thank you for saying this, Kelli. Maybe the very words "church discipline" are unfortunate because they seem to conjure up misconceptions in the minds of people who don't understand. Joanne didn't use the term "church discipline" when she described her ideal model for handling problems in the church, but when she said

forming close relationships with other, selective, Christians and forming healthy friendships that include honesty with love, accountability and feedback when needed.

she was basically describing the incident that happened at your church.

 

I don't understand why we see the word "discipline" and begin to bristle. There is a huge difference between correctly administered parental discipline and abuse which is disguised as discipline. Similarly, church "discipline" can be an effective, godly, and loving means of dealing with problems that arise within the fellowship or it can become a form of toxic Christianity that serves no higher purpose. But there is a difference.

 

Oh, and this is important:

I did mention Joanne's post specifically, but I wasn't meaning to single Joanne out with my last paragraph.

Also, I know that the analogy between parent/child and church/congregant is imperfect. I by no means meant to imply that adults in a church fellowship are like the pastor's "children."

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And GG - it's a tough situation for the church in the article. It's easy for me to imagine the lady being horrible to the leadership, because I've seen that plenty of times. At the same time, it's unthinkable that a pastor would call the police to have such a person removed! It's not a civil issue - it's a spiritual issue within the church. But she's obviously not deterred by the action - she says she'll be back.

 

OhM, I understand what everyone is saying, I don't like gossip either. I guess I took umbridge with how he handled it as opposed to how he should have. I have seen the older members of the church get pissy because things aren't being done "the right way" (with "right" being equated to "the good ole' days") and because of that, yeah--I'd agree something needs to be done.

 

It's just the way he handled it and then to go on record stating she was a "cancer" because she disagreed with him?

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Our church had an issue once, where a staff member was taking money. He would take the cash offerings, leaving the checks behind. Eventually he was caught, but this went on for quite awhile.

 

Church discipline was used. What choice is there?

 

The pastor met privately with this man, whom he loved like a son. The man could not hide this wrongdoing anymore. The man admitted, gave an honest estimate to the amount he had taken and worked out a plan to pay it back. Pastor then called the church lawyer and told him what happened, it was needful as churches do have to make financial reports. He asked the lawyer if the church was bound to press charges or could this be handled quietly. The lawyer assured Pastor that this could be handled quietly and there was no need for legal intervention. The man wrote a letter of resignation to the church in which he admitted to "a year long lifestyle of sin" (an unfortunate choice of words as you will see in a moment) with no hint as to what had happened. Pastor read it, we all cried, I think Pastor was already cried out. He praised the man, he told us, "I love him like a son". We went home.

 

Gossip started, of course. Everyone speculated on what "a year long lifestyle of sin" meant. So Pastor called another congregational meeting, where he told us the gossip and speculation must stop, and then he read a second letter from the former staff member, explaining what he had done and assuring the congregation that he would pay back every penny.

 

Pastor then assured us that this staff member was most welcome in our church anytime, that he still loves him, that restoration is what is most wanted here. He also told us that this meeting settled the thing and that all gossip and speculation was to stop immediately.

 

The staff member did not return, though he did send his children to camp with our church. I know for a fact that some of the other staff members stay in touch with him socially. Many of the newer members of our church do not know about this episode, but if he walked into the church tomorrow, the members who knew and loved him so much would greet him and his family with hugs and joyfullness. And so would the pastor.

 

That's how church discipline is done at a church whose very name is Love and Truth.

 

What a wonderful example of church discipline, Kelli.

 

I can tell the leadership of your church is filled with love and grace.

 

How fortunate you are to have found this congregation!

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We simply don't know the history here.

 

As for other situations --I absolutely believe the church has a time and place and duty to call in the authorities for legal matters. Kelli --if that man moves on to some other church and steals from them w/o getting caught, your church leaders are culpable scripturally because they did not utilize the God-given authorities to handle a matter w/in the law. If the guy doesn't? great. But the government exists for these purposes exactly.

 

Toni --the only place I'd disagree with you?

 

"WHOEVER YOU ARE---STOP LEAVING ME NEGATIVE REP ON A FREAKIN' LOCKED THREAD!! DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE WITH YOUR TIME, LIKE MAYBE HOMESCHOOL YOUR KIDS????? EVER THOUGHT OF THAT, MORON?

 

I've already contacted Susan. This is getting ridiculous. *I* am supposed to respect everyone else, but everyone else is allowed to dump all over me? Susan--get rid of the neg. rep. People are obviously abusing it and I am so close to letting my fingers just say what they really want to, about this person."

 

You gotta be kidding me, right???

 

Just because a thread is locked doesn't mean you are absolved from all responsibility or consequence on the words you spoke. If you don't like the negative rep, change your style. But you already know that your style of posting really irritates the carp out of some people. And that's what reputation is all about. Look it up in the dictionary. But please --put on your big girl panties and stop the infernal whining about it!! Negative rep can be left for ANYone --it's not limited to you. So if you are getting a lot of negative rep, then I guarantee it's not because everyone else isn't allowed to receive it :-)

 

I'm not gonna give ya negative rep just cuz i disagree w/ you, but I've been waiting the allotted time so I can positive rep you for some great posts earlier, and then i gotta wait again to negative rep you for your whining. Disagreements i can handle just fine --you know that :D But whining is just too much. Whining is SOOOO not *you*. There are plenty of people "below" you in the reputation list --They aren't whining. You are still towards the top *even w/ all the negatives* of which you whine. 51 pages of rep and you're still on the first half of the first page!!

 

I know I know-- "but they are being anonymous cowards" --SURE! We get that!! That's the way real life works! And nobody is questioning your hundreds of posts as taking time away from your kids. Doing the same to some anonymous coward is just stupid. You know better. You are stooping to their level.

 

I hope you're feeling better soon :-)

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OhM, I understand what everyone is saying, I don't like gossip either. I guess I took umbridge with how he handled it as opposed to how he should have. I have seen the older members of the church get pissy because things aren't being done "the right way" (with "right" being equated to "the good ole' days") and because of that, yeah--I'd agree something needs to be done.

 

It's just the way he handled it and then to go on record stating she was a "cancer" because she disagreed with him?

 

GG - I didn't mean at all to disagree with you! (What, do you think I'm crazy?) I think the way it was handled was horrible, too, and definitely not "Christian-like".

 

I just wanted to add (anecdotally) that 71-yr-olds are entirely capable of gossip (like the rest of us) and in some cases, and for perfectly understandable reasons, can be worse (isolation, boredom, etc.) And tell a funny story, gosh darn it! :D

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Admiring the lady's spunk. She obviously feels she's in the right here, that her church is worth the fight, and that she's willing to endure the abuse the pastor will undoubtedly pile on, because she says she'll be back.

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I also should have added that just disagreeing w/ a pastor publicly doesn't always get ya arrested :D

 

I'd have been dragged outta the church quite a few times already, lol.

 

This is just one of those articles that falls in that "so rare as to not be taken seriously" categories. I'll bet if I do a minimal amount of googling I'll find "respected" articles detailing times that an organization --religious or not-- screwed up and did something outside of their supposed philosophical purpose. Such is life.

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Peekie boo-boo-- my big girl panties ARE on and I am so taking care of it right now. :) Don't you worry about that.

 

OhM, I didn't think you were disagreeing with me at all--I am pretty sure 71 yr olds are quite capable of it, I've just never seen it in a church.. anger, fighting--oh yeah--but not gossip. :)

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Who's right, the pastor or the woman? I don't know and I don't care, it's none of my business since I don't belong to the church.

 

But I do know the pastor screwed up big time. Intra-church politics shouldn't be handled in courts or by calling the police come in. Doing that opens it up to the media, opens everybody up for criticism and makes everybody looks bad. Uping the ante to involve the secular authorities is overstepping. Things like this need to be dealt with in house. I would hope every seminary student would read this article as a warning of what not to do in a squabble with congregation members.

 

If there's a crime such as molestation or swindling of church finances, that's another story.

 

 

I completely agree. Actually the Bible speaks to this exact issue.

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Until this thread, I'd never heard of church discipline. I respect that many of you feel it's a good thing (when biblically-based) but, no thank you. The thought of it makes me shudder, no matter how well-intentioned.

 

 

Paul the apostle describes it in the new testament fully. See especially 1 and 2 Corinthians. Do you discipline your child in love? I see the Scripture as the final authority for Christian faith and practice, not American norms of democracy and personal 'rights'.

 

Here is one article that you may find helpful:

 

Biblical Study of Church Discipline

By Mark Baliles

 

Within the pages of Scripture, church discipline is one of the most clearly detailed matters of congregational polity. Yet it remains so completely ignored in most Christian circles that the subject cannot even be discussed without sensing lots of raised eyebrows.

 

Perhaps past abuses are partly to blame. The mere mention of "shunning," for some, conjures up visions of Pharisaical responses to the slightest infraction of the "rules." No doubt pastors and parishes alike have at times been guilty of wielding God's truths as weapons for intimidation and control. Certainly any such practice is an abomination before the Lord.

 

However, consider for a moment this comparison: Would you cease to correct your own children simply because so many parents have dealt with their children out of anger or frustration or even their own insecurity? Just as a lack of godly discipline within the home will ultimately lead to chaos, so it is with the household of God.

 

What follows is not a new theory for handling church conflicts. It is simply a call back to the clear principles of God's Word. The biblical data has been gathered and outlined in a format which should prove helpful for both personal and group study, yet the Scriptures essentially speak for themselves. Whatever your assumptions about church discipline, read carefully and prayerfully. The truth may surprise you.

 

OUTLINE OF BASIC PRINCIPLES

 

1. THE WHAT OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE

 

Church discipline is a program for correction, not a penalty for a crime. The following passages of Scripture get at the root of the meaning of discipline.

 

a. In the following passage, the Hebrew word translated "discipline" means "to chasten; to instruct." It is a correction which results in education.

 

Deuteronomy 8:5 "Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you."

 

b. In the following two references, the Greek word translated "discipline" means "to educate, to instruct, to correct by discipline; to develop (as from childhood to adulthood)." The usage ranges from teaching to scourging.

 

Hebrews 12:10 "Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness."

 

Revelation 3:19 "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent."

 

c. In the two references below, another Greek word means "to admonish; to warn, to instruct; to put into the mind." It appeals to the will and the emotions.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:12, 14 "Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you ... And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle..." (Note: The same Greek word appears twice in this passage ... once translated "admonish" and once translated "warn").

 

2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 "If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him ... warn him as a brother."

 

d. In the last two Bible references, the Greek word translated "rebuke" means also 'to bring to light, to expose, convict, or to set forth."

 

1 Timothy 5:20 "Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning."

 

Titus 2:15 "These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority."

 

***part omitted - too many characters***

 

3. THE WHY OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE

 

Church discipline is to be practiced simply because the Scriptures teach it. However, a deeper reason may be found in recognizing the deserved glory which it brings to God. Rest assured that whatever brings glory to God will ultimately be for our own good as well.

 

a. In relation to the church community, we glorify God by practicing discipline with the good of the church in mind.

 

(1) We must seek church purity.

 

1 Corinthians 5:1 -11 "There is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans.

 

(2) We must seek an unblemished testimony.

 

1 Corinthians 6:1-8 "If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? ... I say this to shame you ... one brother goes to law against anotherand this in front of unbelievers!"

 

b. In relation to the individual, we glorify God by practicing discipline with that member's own good in mind.

 

(1) We must seek the individual's repentance.

 

2 Corinthians 7:8-9 "Your sorrow led you to repentance."

 

(2) We must seek the individual's restoration.

 

Galatians 6:1 "You who are spiritual should restore him gently."

 

4. THE HOW OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE

 

God disciplines His children through the admonitions and warnings of the Bible and through the circumstances of life. Within the church, a man disciplines his brother through admonition and warning (based on the admonitions of God's Word), and through the withholding of close fellowship. This addresses the method of our discipline. The following principles speak to the manner of our discipline.

 

a. Discipline with compassion.

 

Hebrews 12:6 "The Lord disciplines those he loves."

 

b. Discipline with confidence.

 

Titus 3:10-11 "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."

 

c. Discipline with clarity.

 

Matthew 18:15-16 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you ... but if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'"

 

d. Discipline with concern.

 

Matthew 18:15 "If he listens to you, you have won your brother over."

 

e. Discipline with conviction.

 

1 Corinthians 5:11 "You must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother, but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat."

 

f. Discipline with consistency.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:6 "We command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us."

 

2 Thessalonians 3:14 "if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him."

 

g. Discipline with gentle correction.

 

Galatians 6:1 "Brothers, if someone is caught in sin ... restore him gently."

 

h. Discipline with caution.

 

Galatians 6:1 "You who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."

 

5. THE WHEN OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE.

 

a. The first step is admonition--when the sin becomes known.

 

b. The second step is disassociation--after two warnings.

 

A question may be asked as to whether or not there are degrees or levels of discipline based on the nature of the offense. From a study of relevant Scripture texts, the answer would seem to be "No." A basic premise of biblical church discipline is that the purpose of all discipline is to effect repentance and restoration, not to exact payment or punishment for the sin. Specific consequences of specific sins is a separate matter. In essence, the first step of disciplinary action (admonition) is an appropriate response to any public sin. The second step (disassociation) is not punishment for certain "big" sins, but rather, it is the necessary response of the church to any persistently unrepentant brother or sister. Discipline must never be seen as an "end" (penalty) in response to sin.

 

Rather, it is a "means" used in the hope of bringing about the desired end (repentance and restoration). The nature of the offense may indeed vary, but refusal to repent places all offenses on the same level.

 

A second question is in regard to which specific matters require public excommunication from the church. This has actually been answered above. Only one specific matter requires public excommunication-an unrepentant response to repeated admonishings from the church. Matters subject to admonition are many. For example, they include idleness, divisiveness, immorality, slander, heresy, etc.)--and there is good reason to believe that the biblical record is not intended to be exhaustive in this regard (1 Timothy 5:20). Again, public excommunication (disassociation) is not a penalty for the most serious sins. Rather, it is a compassionate response to an unrepentant brother or sister.

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I* think my problem is, that if we take this article at face value (that is, asssuming we know the whole story), I don't believe that an omniscent god would allow people to be shunned, cast out or kicked out. Especially for what she did--she questioned the Pastor on something that was written in to Church police.

 

If no one can question the Pastor, how does one guarentee the Pastor doesn't run amok? His statements about her really do not sit well with me at all. I'm not saying she's innocent or whatever, I'm only going on what's written in that article and if that's the truth, then I have a real problem with the way this man interprets "discipline".

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We simply don't know the history here.

 

As for other situations --I absolutely believe the church has a time and place and duty to call in the authorities for legal matters. Kelli --if that man moves on to some other church and steals from them w/o getting caught, your church leaders are culpable scripturally because they did not utilize the God-given authorities to handle a matter w/in the law. If the guy doesn't? great. But the government exists for these purposes exactly.

 

 

 

 

:-)

 

 

You simply don't know the history in my church, either.

 

Having this very, very repentant man arrested would have been no better than what happened at the church with the alleged gossip. Having this in our local newspapers, forcing those children to face that shame and embarrassment at school would have been an unthinkable to our church. we loved (still love) this family. We know what that man is really about, and most of us have a pretty good idea why he might have done it (small hint---it involved multiple children ending up in ped. ICU with asthma attacks). None of this makes it right, but this man is no threat to any church. Losing his job, losing his congregation, losing his reputation; this was enough. Legal action would have just been an added cruelty that may have driven him away from God in his despair. It is not the church's job to create despair. If he were to put our church down as a reference I am sure that Pastor would have no choice but to share what happened in as tactful a way as he can, but we don't have to involve authorities and deliberately destroy this family when our lawyer says it can be handled quietly.

 

 

Just like we cannot know for sure that the situation was handled incorrectly at that little church, you cannot know for sure that it was handled incorrectly at my church.

 

But since I was there when it all went down, I can probably come a lot closer to being sure that it was the best way to handle it. It was years ago and in retrospect I am still sure it was best.

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This is atypical church behaviour, in my experience. However, it strikes me as fairly typical journalism--the more sensationalist and negative, the better. There is such an enormous diversity in Christian beliefs, practices, churches, etc it's hard to generalize. It's like lumping all homeschoolers into one category of beliefs, ethics, morals, lifestyles and homeschooling styles. Many people have done things in the name of Christianity when the people themselves were only nominal Christians, or merely used it as an excuse to justify their own agendas, similar to some of these so-called homeschoolers we hear about in the news who are abusing their children.

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Kelli --I'm sure that in an ideal situation the way your church handled it is just fine.

And I truly hope it continues to BE an ideal way to handle it for that man.

 

But my point is that IF this man moves on to some other venue and DOESN't list your church as a ref, and does the same thing, then much of the burden of him doing it again falls on the church. If it really did work for that situation [and you simply don't know unless someone is keeping up w/ his life outside the church], then that's great!! But if nobody is keeping tabs on him, he is now free to do that again. And there will be no papertrail to warn any other congregations.

 

The church does not create despair --sin does that. The church's job is to point to the Light --and allowing sin to continue is NOT Light.

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(and to be anedotal, I've never met a 71 yr old gossip. I'm not saying they don't exist, but using this lady as my basis, I've never met one).

 

Oh my, Toni -- are you ever lucky. I know FAR too many 70-something gossips. I can't walk down the street in my little tiny town without tripping over at least a dozen of 'em. rolleyes003.gif

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Toni:

"I don't believe that an omniscent god would allow people to be shunned, cast out or kicked out."

 

So....sincere question here: you want a God that will allow bad people to continue doing bad things? A God that will have no consequence for behavior that hurts people?? or Just consequential behavior that does not include shunning or casting out --even if those people refuse to change? Or do you want a God that will keep people as puppets and never LET people do things they want to do --even if it is bad? i hear your phrase a lot from other people, but they never explain well the reasoning behind that statement. What do you expect an Omniscient God to do w/ bad behavior?? I'm always open to another explanation tho :-) {{from people other than toni as well}}

 

"Especially for what she did--she questioned the Pastor on something that was written in to Church police."

 

I *do* agree with ya there ;-)

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Peek--in reference only to this article, as I do not feel the lady was in the wrong (based on what I read, which I understand others feel there is "not enough" information, while I feel the article was quite clear on what happened), I don't believe what that Pastor did was in any way "pleasing to God". He kicked her out because she questioned him (HE said so in the article) on a church policy that was in place before he became Pastor there.

 

He was in the wrong and IMHO, a VERY bad example of a "Christian". So, in relation to this article only, since I don't feel that she did anything that "hurt" anyone, or anything "bad", what happened to her was wrong.

 

Now, in reference to the general tone of that sentence, I don't believe that an omniscent God practices anything but love. I'm not talking about someone who is molesting children in the church or stealing funds from the church or anything criminal here. I'm talking about everything else, the disagreements on scripture, or policy, or what a person should wear or how they wear it.

 

If it isn't criminal (that is, something that will get you locked up), then the Church, IMHO, has no business casting anyone out for any reason without first practicing what they are preaching. If they can't practice what they preach, then give me one good reason why anyone should attend "your" church in the first place? If I know I'm going to be judged for wearing jeans to church (I DO NOT and REFUSE to wear dresses), then I'm going to find a church whose importance is on God, not my clothes.

 

That's what I mean.

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ok. I agree w/ your specific stance in this article [altho I reserve judgment against the church w/o hearing more backstory], and I agree that "if it isn't criminal" demands a loving response.

 

 

{{and again --I'm really just wondering --not trying to be argumentative, so please forgive me if it sounds argumentative] I do wonder how many churches COULD "cast out" someone per your "without first" if a scenario shows they DO practice what they preach. If it was teh 71 year old woman that was making a stink about implementing someone w/o regard to policy, and she refused to shut up about it despite numerous outbursts, would you still think it was OK for them to cast her out? If they WERE practicing what they preached?

 

 

I guess my biggest question [to anyone, really--and you can reply via PM], is what ABOUT criminal matters? And since the law changes so often, how do you expect a God that does not change to deal w/ an everchanging law? Or is it ok for God to change w/ the man made laws? Did God view slavery differently when it was illegal to NOT return a slave?? If abortion is made illegal would God still be loving if He disciplined for THAT? I'm really not trying to be argumentative, but your statement really makes me think about a plethora of scenarios. And yeah, i realize it's not exactly pertinent to THIS thread, so maybe I'll start a new one....

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I haven't read all the replies, but my first thought was that if this were an everyday event, it wouldn't warrant an article in the WSJ.

 

Without more background on the situation, it is impossible for me to judge who might be at fault here. "Church discipline" is a contentious issue, with many different and mutually exclusive interpretations all claiming to be equally "biblical." Some pastors are on a power trip; some church members are chronic antagonists; some of both have mental health problems. Having been in religious groups that featured all of the above - sometimes at the same time :eek: - all I can say is that "stuff happens." These kinds of dynamics are by no means limited to Christian groups, which at least tend to have official policies in place.

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