Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mark Lauterbach comments from his blog

Mark's first book was on church discipline. I haven't read it but it will be on my to do list. Anyway he mentions discipline on his blog, though in general the comments seem rather circumspect (as does the blog). He doesn't seem to be a strong stance kind of guy which is unusual in someone who makes his first book about discipline. Anyway, I've invited him to comment.
The Gospel and the Purity of the Church part1 part2 part3 part4 part5 postscript

His latest post on evangelism is wonderful:

What does that mean? Well, it is simple. If the lesbian lovers bring the child to term and raise it for four years and then both of them are converted – and come to church – will they be welcomed? And what will be our counsel to them? The same would be true for the singe woman who adopts a child . . . or the couple that is living together as divorced . . . or the pregnant woman whose baby has been sold to another. And how would we white evangelical respond if someone took a distinctly non-Republican position in a discussion? What would we do with such folks if they visited church? If they invited us over for dinner? Would we invite them into our homes and lives?

We could add to this so many varieties of our modern culture – hair styles, tattoos (I don’t think they go away when people walk in the doors of the church or are converted), piercings. Or the guy who drives a Rolls Royce and throws away his substantial millions willy nilly. Or the dual income couple who sends their kids to child care and school every day and has a nanny. Or the single Mom who has to work in order to care for her children. Or the person who is now on their third marriage.


gospeldrivenlife said...

Thanks for the referral. Interesting blog you have here. Yes, church discipline is to be very patient and gracious as that is how Jesus walked this earth. It is not a witch hunt at all -- it is really a surgical procedure to remove a sickness from someone -- and the people doing the treatment are sick with the same kinds of sin. That calls for humility. It calls for the remedy of Christ.

But it is also important and necessary. Every professional organization has standards it sets for its members -- and has the right to remove someone from membership. So it is with the church.

I have seen this done over 30 times and done with beauty.

CD-Host said...

Sure I understand the intent. What I think is missing on the web is a discussion from the defendent's point of view. Virtually everything is written from the paster/leader's point of view. So for example there are extensive discussions of which sorts of sins discipline should be applied to and almost nothing on helping people to weight the plusses and minuses of deciding on a response to discipline. The other thing that's missing is any discussion of what to do in complex cases. Virtually everything I read assumes the cases are relatively simple, and even in those in real life there are all sorts of complications.

Also church discipline can be a witch hunt, or a surgical procedure. I don't think you would assert that all of the time its not being used inappropriately. What would you say about things like J. Gresham Machen excommunication? And to take your metaphor a bit more literally than you meant it, the witches that were burned were very often subject to a mix of church and state discipline. The churches did convict them and then they quite intentionally handed them over to the state for "destruction of the flesh". The problem with church discipline is that it often asks people to evaluate very complex intangibles like "is he genuinely repentant?" rather than what normal courts rule on "was he near 1340 S 5th Street between 9:15 and 9:45?"

Anyway I just bought you book I'll have it in like 10 days or so. So expect a review by early April. :-)

While its not finished yet the series on defense talks about the purpose of discipline at length (but from the parishioner's pov). Hope you stick around it will be nice of have an expect commenting, regardless of what you want say.

Best wishes,