Posts Tagged ‘infidelity’

Church Discipline: Third Degree

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

church-discipline-3“And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.” (Matthew 18:3 NASB)

This Scripture is one of the harshest Scriptures in the entire Bible, and many people hate and disagree with this verse. Let me tell you, I have seen this verse hideously distorted, and the pain that it has caused people who are dear to me through its misapplication has been unbelievable, especially if first and second degree has never occurred. Yes, four times in my life I have personally witnessed third degree happening BEFORE first and second degree. Never, EVER do this to people, because they might leave God forever because of the grievous sin of the church against them. At best, it leaves a permanent scar, after causing the sweet Christian to crumple up in so much pain that he doesn’t know where to turn. Because, you see, his heart was open to God, and you committed spiritual capital punishment against him before he even knew what he did.

God has created third degree church discipline as the spiritual capital punishment for the vilest offenders who have hearts of stone and continue to refuse to repent. That is why God has created it to be so unbelievably painful. For example, if a man is unfaithful to his wife, and several people have confronted him already and he refuses to repent, he needs to be thrown out of the church. Maybe if this happens, he will realize, “Oh wait a minute. My sin has more ramifications than I thought. What I justified in my heart is actually wrong and has deeply wounded my wife. The church is holding me accountable for this, and rightly so.” Then he comes to his senses, like the prodigal in the pig slop.

Stealing is another reason to throw someone out of the church. But it’s better just to send them to jail. If someone is harming other people, this is the only reason I believe that a person should be thrown out of the church.

If someone has an “attitude,” that is NOT something that I believe someone should be thrown out of the church for. For example, someone was accused of pride. Okay… If you’ve already confronted them about the ugliness of their sin, at this point, just pray for them. After all, EVERYONE has too much pride. Heart issues are NEVER something that you should be thrown out of church for.

I would also like to mention informal third degree, because it happens all the time, and it is just as painful as being thrown out of the church. This is when people in a position of power, usually the pastor, an elder, or a Bible study leader, block a person from meeting with other believers because of a perceived sin. If the person in power has never confronted that person gently one-on-one, he has no right to throw him out of a Bible study. The guy doesn’t even know he did something wrong, for crying out loud.

If the first time a person is confronted includes the eldership, and it is only something based on heresay, this is completely bewildering to the person being attacked. That person can’t defend themselves and try to understand the situation because it is considered insubordination to the pastor. But he has NEVER heard of his sin. How then can he understand what he did, if everyone is ganging up against him and no one will listen? I’m telling you, this is demonic. It causes the internal destruction of the church. Most people can’t survive this. They will leave the church and never go back.

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