Nothing more compassionate than church discipline

When another Christian falls into obvious sin, an admonition is imperative, because God’s Word demands it. The practice of discipline in the community of faith begins with friends who are close to one another. Words of admonition and reproach must be risked when a lapse from God’s Word in doctrine or life endangers a community that lives together, and with it the whole community of faith. Nothing can be more cruel than that leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than that severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin. When we allow nothing but God’s Word to stand between us, judging and helping, it is a service of mercy, an ultimate offer of genuine community. Then it is not we who are judging; God alone judges, and God’s judgment is helpful and healing. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness." —Galatians 6:1

#church-discipline, #compassion, #confrontation, #judgment, #leniency


The NUDGE prompts us to consider/remember a confrontation to one who teaches falsely. Not unlike many on the list who will provide and read, I have had many opportunities to confront error. Just this morning I cut and pasted a brother’s remark (who is well into his golden years, and knew Foy Wallace) relative to Colossians 2:14 did not (and does not) teach that the Law of Moses has been nailed to the cross.

The first thing I will do is thoroughly read his position paper on this, respectfully taking notes (without impugning his genuine motives). Then when I write something – because I will write an article on it – I will be sure that I am charitable in my remarks, but firm.

If this were in a Bible class, my approach would be one of respectful hearing and then polite guiding. In a public gathering, I try to minimize any kind of unsettling if I can. If a brother is insistent on being unsettled, then I will figure my way through it.

I write of this because I have observed that, for some, at the first sight of “error” there is a line drawn in the sand. I would like to think that people do not hold to error because they KNOW it is error – they genuinely believe it to be the truth. Take for instance the recent link/post from the UMC professor. I will do what I can to minimize any public embarrassment, but if one is insistent on something that is plainly and explicitly error, then I will grow more firm in my response.

#confrontation, #error, #nudge