Thursday, May 14, 2009

Towards a Policy on Church Discipline

Often we should just overlook the fact that we think we may have been wronged in some petty way. We should take the logs out of our own eye before we start poking around in other people's eyes looking for specks!

Personal sins are best dealt with personally if possible. Private sins between Christians are best dealt with privately if possible.

If you have a real serious problem with another Christian or they have a real problem with you and you cannot sort it out easily and happily between yourselves you would do well to ask the advice of the Elders of the church. I suggest you ask to talk to the Vicar! :)

If a matter cannot be sorted our privately, others will need to be involved - at first privately and more publicly if things fail to be resolved.

Obvious serious public sins of which someone repeatedly refuses to repent should be rebuked publicly and the sinner should be excommunicated (shut out from the fellowship of the church and from the Lord’s Table) in the hope that they will come to their senses, repent and be restored. (This does not mean that they should be completely ignored or forbidden to come to church but they should feel a great loss of the privileges of church membership.)

Someone should only be excommunicated for a sin that risks shutting them out of heaven: they are being told in their excommunication that they are behaving satanically, like a non-Christian and if they go on in that way without trusting in Christ they will go to hell.

The Church of England is in a mess over this and the evangelical church in the UK has generally been pretty terrible at it in our generation. We probably wont get it perfectly right over night.

Right? Comments? Suggestions? Refinements?

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