A few years ago in the first twelve step program I went to the group talked about church discipline. A guy in the group was perplexed and questioned why a bunch of broken people would have to deal with church discipline. I said that this wasn't something done immediately in a group such as we were in, but it was brought up in the program to introduce us to the idea of church discipline, and that it was something down the road.
Since then, after reading Jay Adams' Critical Stages of Biblical Counseling, I understood the relationship between the twelve steps program and the church. Counseling, in general, as Dr. Adams explained, should work in tandum with the church, particularly with pastors.
At faith-based meetings and events to help people conquer their voluntary slavery to addictions and compulsive behavior, the speakers encourage participants to find a good church.
At Faith Summit II, an event that addressed how the church can help help people trapped in addiction, a representative from a faith-based group for addicts said he started the group as a seperate meeting but then God the church on board. He added that redeemed addicts help the church. They have! One thing we have to take to heart is that we are all sinners and need God's grace to make us right.
“The church is called not only to a ministry of reconciliation, but a ministry of nurture to those within her gates. Part of that nurture includes church discipline . . .” -R. C. Sproul.
“Church discipline may be broadly defined as the confrontive and corrective measures taken by an individual, church leaders, or the congregation regarding a matter of sin in the life of a believer.” -Carl Laney
I remember in my creative writing class in college years ago, the professor banging on his desk to emphasize that the most important thing in writing is discipline. In a section in his book Max on Life, Max writes that good writing is tough. He says that every thing an author writes has to contribute to your thesis, and you have to weed out what doesn't do this.
Discipline comes from the root disciple, which means to follow, in this case, Jesus. The goal is to be more like Christ. Even after being saved, Christians still face temptation. Like the kids in Paul Mccarthy's song "Uncle Albert", we can be "so easily pulled away". When a church member, who made a confession of faith and pledged loyalty to God and the church,continues in unconfessed, besetting sin, such as adultery, the church needs to get involved. When this happens, one person gently tries to admonish the person and restore him or her. Then more people get involved if the offender doesn't turn around there is no progress then further steps are taking.
Excommunication is a last restort. All this is about love for the bretheren, to bring the church member trapped in besetting sin back to God.
"For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Are you not to judge those inside? But God will judge those outside. Remove the evil person from among you." -1 Corintians 5: 12,13
"Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough – you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. So then, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth." 1 Corinthians 5: 6-8
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