The following post is a “pastoral position paper,” prepared and unanimously approved by the pastors body at Morningview Baptist Church. We offer it here so Morningview members may review it. We’ll be providing hard copies for the whole church on Sunday.
In 1 Peter 1:22, Christ commands us to “love one another fervently, from the heart.” One of the crucial ways we love one another is by holding one another accountable. Hebrews 12:5-11 teaches us that God’s discipline of His children is a crucial aspect of His grace and love for us, and therefore, the exercise of church discipline is an exercise of His grace of love for the church as well as for the member who persists in unrepentant sin. Church attendance and involvement is one of the most central expressions of our faith in Christ. The idea of a believer who does not identify with a local church is completely foreign to the New Testament. So, when we allow members of our church to forsake all fellowship and participation with God’s people, we are not demonstrating love. We are demonstrating an extreme indifference and disregard for their souls. Because we love Christ, love His Word, and love one another, when one of our brothers or sisters refuses our admonishment to obedience in this area and persists in unrepentance, we must move through the steps of Matthew 18:15-17 to address their sin of church abandonment. (more…)