Paul's Passing Thoughts

A Discussion About Church Discipline

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 23, 2018


It is well documented that church discipline no longer addresses congregants behaving badly but instead parishioners questioning the “authority” of a church’s leadership while decadent behavior among the congregants and leaders alike is ignored.

~ Andy

This realization was the straw that broke this camel’s back. 8 years out of the institution now – HalleluYah!

Absolutely. And here was another shocker for me: church discipline is not for public misbehaviors of the baser sort, but rather for ANYTHING that the elders deem, “sin.” The other shocker: church discipline, according to church orthodoxy, is a declaration by the elders concerning one’s salvific status that heaven will bind. You are not only declared an unbeliever, YOU ARE AN UNBELIEVER while under church discipline. Yet another shocker: church membership equals church discipline on different levels. A member in “good standing” is under “instructive discipline” as in “raise up your children in the way they should go.” If a member doesn’t follow the “instructive discipline” they fall under “corrective discipline” and ultimately, if necessary, “redemptive discipline.” Any kind of counseling is considered corrective discipline, so, many, when they seek pastoral counseling, are unwittingly bumping themselves up to the next level. Furthermore, the information gathered in counseling is often used for the redemptive discipline (excommunication). In regard to those who are living in open sin, but not questioning church authority over their salvation, well, we are all just sinners saved by grace anyway, right?

It took me a while to understand all of that even after we left the institution. I knew what I knew but couldn’t quite piece all of it together to make a lucid assertion. You and Andy actually helped me to do that very thing and I am grateful for it.

And we are still learning how it all fits together, and early on you suspect certain conclusions, but you hold off from drawing conclusions because of the absurdity of it. It’s awful tempting to write off Churchians as stupid nitwits but then I must remember that I fell for it for 30 years though I will give myself a little credit; I knew all along that something wasn’t right…something was off, but could never put my finger on it.


Nevertheless, do a survey of Churchians and you will find that 98% of them think church discipline is for those flaunting sin of the baser sort in public. There isn’t a cult in the world that can even hold a candle for Protestantism. At least Catholics are in the open about their church authority.

As you always point out, most in the institution do not know what the “leaders” actually mean. The same words and phrases are used by “clergy” but they are not saying what the “laity” thinks they are. I experienced this very early on in my church going. I did not understand why we weren’t living and acting (as a congregation) as if we were born again new creations. We kept hearing we are merely saved sinners; saved, being saved, and will be saved. I knew nothing of progressive justification back then, I just knew that what was being taught didn’t seem to reconcile with Holt Writ, but the “powers that be” were saying salvation so we must be speaking the same language? 2 denominations and 20 years and we finally left the institution for exactly what Andy posted in his OP.

Yes, we didn’t know why, but the what becomes enough to know something is seriously defective…we will figure out the why from a safe distance.

Link to pdf book “New Calvinism and Church Discipline”

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