Saturday, September 16, 2006

Commenting on A Reflections of the Times Blog entry

Since Carla Rolfe writer and editor of the blogsite Reflections of the Times at http://carla_rolfe.blogspot.com/ recently wrote a blog called I'm Telling which can be read below I have sought to comment on this issue but once again without success. Therefore I have entered my comments below to the post. I do hope it continues to help as the Christian Internet community learns how to and when it is proper to use Church discipline. God bless you as you read this posting ...... Steve


September 14, 2006

I'm Telling!!!

You know... people are just strange. Yes, some of you may wonder what took me so long to come to such an obvious conclusion, but there it is all the same.

I was reading about a particular topic of interest to me on an email list I'm on, and it made me think of the other side of the coin, so to speak. The particular topic is the idea of using Matthew 18 to resolve online disputes. I've written about that here, and may just have to revise it a bit, a year later.

The one aspect of that issue that I didn't write about last November, was the increasing attitude I've noticed that goes something like this:

Blogger1 writes a post about about Blogger2's ugly sweater. Blogger2 gets his bloomers in a bunch and demands Blogger1's pastor's name so that church discipline can be brought down on Blogger1. Blogger1 responds and says "um...no" so Blogger2 posts some public slander about Blogger1 so that everyone might know how mean and opinionated Blogger1 really is, when it comes to ugly sweaters.

Does that really sound like Christian conduct to you? Nope, me either.

While I used a silly example of an ugly sweater, these things can be as simple as a doctrinal disagreement, or disagreement over just about anything really.

While Blogger2 is all about freedom to express his opinion of Blogger1, he finds fault with Blogger1 expressing his opinion, and wants him shut down. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this hypocrisy?

It seems to me that we should be free to express our opinions, our disagreements and our opinions of those disagreements, without the idea that someone's going to come along and cry foul, demanding church discipline on someone for something that doesn't even fall into the category of something worthy of church discipline.

You may assume (and you'd be wrong, so don't assume!) I'm referring to a particular incident here, but I assure you I'm not. I've seen this kind of thing increase dramatically over the last year, and it's gotten to the point that I've come to expect this kind of response when folks air their disagreements on these public formats of blogs & forums. I find myself waiting to see that next response that says something about contacting someone's pastor, or "do your elders know you're posting this!?" (when it's something truly trivial, nothing at all worth being "church discipline" concerned).

While I certainly do believe there are particular offenses & conduct that ARE worth notifying pastors (if possible), what I think I'm seeing is a power-trip run amok. As if some very determined folks are using this as a type of leverage to shut people up that disagree with them (but they have no problem being very public with their opinions of the person that disagrees with them).

I guess I just don't understand the psychology behind all this. Maybe it's just plain ole fashioned pride? Maybe. Maybe there's more to it that I'm not seeing, or just not getting.

Maybe it's time to go make oatmeal and get my day started.

My Response:

Church Discipline is not for the purpose of I'm telling on you"! It is for the purpose of maintaining unity in Christ's kingdom for the Glory of Christ and the purity of His church. Love covers a multitude of sin and when love is practiced many things that happen between 2 loving believers are not church discipline issues.

I do believe that many of the Online issues which you describe Carla are due to a lack of understanding the place of the Church, and her leadership, in the life of the person doing the screaming and chatting and blogging "telling" on the other person.


I do believe all blogging and writing done on line needs to be done under the authority of the Church. Each person needs their pastor and / or elders as ordained people having oversight (Heb. 13; Matt 18) of their ministry labors. This is important since the person will deal with doctrinal and practical life issues and therefore in a sense teach the word of God. We know, from the word, that ministers are the ones with the administration of the keys of the kingdom. Therefore all Christians are to under their ecclesiastical authority.


What and when should a person come to the Church with a discipline issue:

a. when there is doctrinal error

b. when there is deficiency in living godly.

I do beleive from what I have seen happen on line that there is a need for some folks to be brought before the church in discipline. I beleive this since I have seen, read and heard some folks with one or both issues listed above. I do beleive that God only gave one process for Church discipline and that when either of the deficiencies above occur then loving and caring Christians need to follow all the steps of the process of church discipline whether the person lives in New York, Los Angeles, or Kalamazoo, Mich.

We all must remember to love one another, walk with integerity and practice mercy by repenting when necessary and humbling and submitting ourselves to one another in the fear of the Lord.

For more on Church discipline go to http://pilgrimchristian.blogspot.com/

With Kingdom Love.

Steve

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