Paul's Passing Thoughts

Mark Dever: Church Membership is First Category of Church Discipline

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on January 23, 2016

Dever_bwOriginally posted January 28, 2015

Apparently, if you are in a Calvinist church, the pastor’s job-one is training you up in the way you should go so you won’t be brought up on church discipline. I have known for some time that Calvinists consider counseling the first step of church discipline, but must admit I was unaware that they also perceive church membership as a first phase of discipline.

According to Dever, all teaching is discipline, and seen as preventative medicine against “corrective” church discipline. So be advised: when you are sitting under the teaching of your local Calvinist pastor, listen carefully and take heed so he will not have to deal with you as a wayward adolescent in the future.

In the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible, yet another Neo-Calvinist translation in addition to the ESV, Dever states on page 1649 that there are “two categories of church discipline.”

Aside: there isn’t even one to begin with. Nowhere does the Bible teach a discipline carried out by the church that affects salvation status. For the seven biblical procedures to resolve conflict in the church download this free ebook.

Another aside: there isn’t a one size fits all “church discipline” procedure as practiced by Reformed churches. The commentary by Dever is adjacent to Matthew 18 in the study bible. Matthew 18 is treated as a protocol for handling every wayward situation when the Bible describes six other procedures for dealing with conflict within the church.

Dever frames all church teachings and examples set by the leaders as “formative discipline.” Think about how these guys perceive you! You are such a spiritual loser that the only thing that will keep you from getting excommunicated is training you up in the way you should go. You are not being taught as a fellow heir, you are perceived to be a petulant little sinner poised to wreak havoc on the church at any moment. Everything modeled and taught to you is “preventative.”

This is Dever’s attitude towards people who work like dogs to pay his salary. Unbelievable, but hardly uncommon among the Reformed.

paul

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