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More Than Worth It: Costs and Benefits of Church Discipline
He was a middle-aged pastor of a nice-sized and fairly affluent church. The church was theologically conservative and held a high view of Scripture, which is what made his comment so tragically memorable.
He had asked me what I was working on, to which I answered, "A case of church discipline." I had been strongly convicted about taking God at his Word concerning church discipline. My own congregation had recently endured a difficult and painful situation, so I shared that I felt we would not be faithful if we did not strive to obey God in this area.
This was his response: "You're right, of course. But, you know, I decided early in my ministry what I would and would not be about, and that's just not a road I'm going to go down."
I've never forgotten his words. It's no small thing to deliberately decide to not heed Christ's instructions (Matt. 18:15-18), apostolic application of divine truth (1 Cor. 5:1-7,12-13), restorative congregational instruction (2 Cor. 2:6-8), a call to "fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:1-5), clear apostolic command (2 Thes. 3:6-10, Titus 3:9-11), injunctions to steer clear of those who disobey these instructions (2 Thes. 3:14), a God-ordained tool for instruction against blasphemy (1 Tim. 1:19b-20), and an unambiguous command that we "keep these rules" (1 Tim. 5:19-21).
Even so, many pastors have chosen not to go down "that road." They want job security. They want to avoid the difficulties of confrontation. They want to steer clear of the complex dynamics that inevitably surface in a congregation when we practice church discipline.
It's worth reminding ourselves as pastors what we stand to lose if we neglect biblical church discipline, as well as what we stand to gain by faithfully following God's Word.
WHAT WE STAND TO LOSE
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