Sunday, March 2, 2008

Practice of Shunning

In a Charlotte Observer article on Saturday, here, it stated that "a growing movement among some conservative Protestant pastors to bring back church discipline, an ancient practice in which suspected sinners are privately confronted, then publicly castigated and excommunicated if they refuse to repent." Now I have heard of excommunication, wouldn't be Methodist if good old Henry VIII wasn't. But I never knew it was a growing practice these days?

I wondered what biblical foundation there was for shunning and low and behold, good old Wiki comes through. Wiki states these biblical references 1 Corinthians 5:11-13. Matthew 18:15-17, 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, Romans 16:17, and 2 John 10&11. After reading all of these I am not sure if the modern day church is using it properly.

I do understand I am reading this through the eyes of the media also, but some of it doesn't sound right. "Watermark Community Church, a nondenominational church in Dallas that draws 4,000 people to services, requires members to sign a form stating they will submit to the "care and correction" of church elders." Aren't we suppose to be following Christ not the church elders?

Now there have been, in my short career as a minster, people I wish we would have or should have shunned. There are people in many congregations that get on power trips because of their family heritage or giving status and think they run the church. In a cooperate setting we could simply fire those people and bring in others who are willing to play the kind of ball we, ministers, are trying to play. Yet we still play with these ball hogs instead. Wouldn't it be nice to kick them out and move on?
This as even been taken to court, here is one exerpt,

Courts have often refused to hear such cases on the grounds that
churches are protected by the constitutional right to free religious exercise,
but some have sided with alleged sinners. In 2003, a woman and her husband won a defamation suit against the Iowa Methodist conference and its superintendent
after he publicly accused her of "spreading the spirit of Satan" because she
gossiped about her pastor.

What do you all think? Shunning, something to be praticed or shunned?

*picture copied from article on and was done by JASON WHITLEY/Observer staff illustration.

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