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Does Church Discipline in the 21st Century still exist? (Picture from http://thecripplegate.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/stern-church.jpg)

Does Church Discipline in the 21st Century still exist?
(Picture from http://thecripplegate.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/stern-church.jpg)

Today my special thanks go to Michael who provided proper Scriptures and their exposition for me as I was searching for the Biblical confirmation of my recent experiences and to Tony who pointed out to me a great article by A.W. Tozer. At first I want to offer you a quote of that entry. If you’re interested to dip into the whole exposition on the difference between preaching the cross as it once was and still should be preached and the watered-down version that can be heard in many of today’s churches, just follow the link below.

God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life. That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

(A.W. Tozer, “The Old Cross and the New”, see http://www.ldolphin.org/oldcross.html)

I say “Yes and amen” to these words. In order to illustrate the delusion which both churches and believers might find themselves in, I’ll raise a few questions. Please, keep in mind that any lifestyle that contradicts what was described particularly in the New Testament reveals having been authored by the father of lies, aka Satan, himself.

(1) Can someone who lives in sexual sin claim to have received the Spirit of God? Should we seek (spiritual) fellowship with such a one? Decide by yourself. The apostle Paul admonishes the Corinthians of the danger to be affected by the sin of others as he wrote the following,

Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Cor 5:6-13 ESV)

Don’t we underestimate the influence of unclean and evil spirits in others when we seek to get into closer contact, not even fellowship, with them. If these spirits can find any open door inside our own spirits, they will run into it and not let go of us until Christ exorcises them, either personally or through those who have already received the faith of Jesus Christ as He Himself explained it here,

And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mk 16:17-18 ESV)

(2) May someone who does not provide for his own family, although he would be able to, rightly call himself a Christian?

“And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:15-16 KJV)

We may ask, “What is an infidel? Are they in the church among Christians?” YES!!! This word translated “infidel” was most often translated “unbeliever.”

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV)

Attention! Here is another admonition we should take to heart. The apostle Paul also said,

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-12 RSVA)

(3) Are we sure we should keep up with this world’s views when we lie and cheat in order to not lose our job? Recently I had an interesting exchange with a non-believer who frankly admitted that if you want to be someone in this world, you cannot get to the top without lying and cheating on a permanent basis. Nobody is interested in seeing real Christians in top positions. Humility, unconditional love, and honesty do not qualify for those who want to be part of the ruling upper class of our capitalist society. Instead, those who are at the top, whether in politics, in commerce, or hierarchical churches (!), they would not have succeeded in outdoing others without applying to Satan’s strategies. Just remember Jesus’ temptation regarding the kingdoms of this world and their glory, (cf. Mt 4:8-10). From hence we might see that we cannot serve mammon AND God simultaneously, that is impossible (Lk 16:13).

(4) May someone who left their spouse for any other reason than having been abused or cheated on definitely expect to be blessed by God in the context of re-marriage although the former spouse has been hurt deeply? In order to illustrate my last question, I offer you here another interesting quote I just found on the internet. I knew that quote before, but today I was looking for the author who might have said this because he was unknown to me before. Indeed, I was amazed to see that the following words are ascribed to be of Buddhist origin, not even of Christianity’s! But the very essence is God’s truth. He who has ears might hear it. We read,

It is impossible to build one’s own happiness on the unhappiness of others. This perspective is at the heart of Buddhist teachings.

Interesting… Seems to be biblical too, doesn’t it?
Here I want to close and ask you, my dear readers, whether you might have any ideas about one or more Biblical confirmations/Scriptures regarding this quote right above. Please, feel free to weigh in.