Can Satan Save Sinners

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“Church discipline is God’s loving plan for restoring sinning saints.” – J. Carl Laney

“Remember that the purpose of Church discipline always has the restoration of the sinner in mind.” – JM

A number of years ago, I was told a true story about a local church-going man who declared that he would never go to a church that practiced the unloving act of Church Discipline. Of course, this statement alarmed me, because it spoke volumes about the possible spiritual condition of the person who uttered those words. It also revealed either the man’s brazen heart of rebellion toward what God has so clearly spoken about Church Discipline (or “CD”), or it at least unveiled the man’s outright Scriptural ignorance of this patent God-ordained doctrine.

Further, this man’s personal opinion regarding CD is not an unusual one within modern  evangelical Christendom, it is the movement’s conglomerate confession. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a present-day evangelical church-goer who did not wholeheartedly embrace his sentiment about CD.

So, at this juncture, the obvious question naturally arises, do the Holy Scriptures actually teach this seemingly unloving doctrine? And if they do, would an all-loving God really expect his people to apply it in real churches? Well, besides the most well-known Scriptural text on CD, Matthew 18:15-17 (If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.

If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 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 collector.), try reading the following passages from Scripture regarding CD: Proverbs 27:5; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11; Galatians 6:1-2; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 5:20; Titus 3:10-11; Hebrews 12:14-16; James 5:19-20; 2 John 9-11, et al.

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us simply in Matthew 18:15-17, that CD is (1) a confidential meeting between two people [Matt 18:15], (2) a confidential meeting with witnesses [Matt 18:16], (3) A public explanation and exhortation to the church family [Matt 18:17a], and (4) a severing of fellowship with an unrepentant professing believer (Matt 18:17b; 2 Cor 2:6 ).

this greatly neglected doctrine in the modern evangelical church

Jerry Marcellino is pastor of Audubon Drive Bible Church in Laurel. He can be reached by e-mail at pastorjerry@audubonchurch.org

 

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