Christian Leaders Notice Importance of Church Discipline

( [email protected] ) Apr 09, 2004 07:16 PM EDT

While many pro-family leaders are calling for maintaining traditional marriage and more parent discipline, religious scholars are noticing the need of church discipline as well in order to promote healthy society. They claim that church discipline still works and that it is necessary because the peace and purity of the church is maintained.

Evangelical Christians in particular observe that today’s trend within Christians indicate the need of churches to be more disciplined in dealing with sinful behavior, as the divorce rate among Christians continues to remain as high as the rest of the world and as some groups of Christians are accepting homosexuality and abortion.

According to CBN, Evangelical theologian Albert Mohler criticized the decline of church discipline as the most visible failure of the contemporary church.

"If we tolerate sin within our own body," Mohler said, "within our own congregations, then what right do we have to talk to the world about sin that is there?"

Mohler said the church has become far too consumer-oriented, afraid of offending anyone. And he says it has allowed the American secular ideal of private space to become far too influential in the church:

"You know, the Bible doesn't give us a whole list of rights of privacy. As a matter of fact, the Bible is very intrusive. And the early church lived together, accountable to each other, for the way they maintained their marriages and the way they raised their children," he said.

Although it might sound so harsh, some conservative churches still carry out excommunication as a way to discipline a sinner, as it is written in Matthew 18. It is also shown that the Apostle Paul didn’t tolerate immorality – when he saw a wicked man, he would order to “expel” him.

The Reverend Bill Harrell of Abelene Baptist Church in Martinez, GA, had embraced a delinquent youth and transformed her to a faithful Christian by disciplining her according to biblical teachings.

"Which, again sounds like we're being harsh. But we're told in the Bible, if you eat and drink of the supper in an unworthy manner, you eat and drink judgement to yourself,” Harrell said, "It's not a "holier than thou" sort of thing. It's not an imperious, high-handed sort of thing. It is a humble, loving appeal to a brother or sister to come to themselves, and come back to the Lord and back to the Lord's church.”

Melodi Ausderau, who used to be the delinquent child but transformed under the care of the Rev. Harrell, expressed her gratitude toward her church.

"I do know that I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the church," Ausderau said, "I know that. I think had it just been my parents calling me to account, I wouldn't have listened. And I am very thankful, yes, that these men were strong enough [to] look past everything that I was to them on a worldly level, and see who I should be spiritually."

Ausderau added, "I have a very happy and very honest life, and a better understanding of who I am and who the Lord wants me to be."