What Happened to Church Discipline?

What Happened to Church Discipline?

Years ago, Ken and I mentored young couples who wanted to marry. This was at a large church near us. The head of this pre-marital ministry once told us that he had been doing this for over 30 years. When he began, the vast majority of couples were not fornicating nor living together. Now, the vast majority are, even though they have all grown up in this church. What happened??? (This same church forbid me from teaching women to submit to their husbands, since this causes “boatloads of abuse” to happen. The head of the women’s ministry told me this, and went to an elder to make sure I obeyed her.)

Every season, I do a Question and Answer on my Instagram stories. Last week, one woman asked me why a church would discipline a couple who were fornicating. “Doesn’t everyone sin? Shouldn’t everyone experience church discipline?” The reason this church where we mentored is full of fornicating couples now is two-fold, maybe more.

Churches have grown dark and loud. They sing Hillsong, Bethel, and Elevation music which are heretical churches teaching false doctrine. This atmosphere, which is like a bar or rock concert, and these songs appeal to the emotions and the flesh. “Rock concerts are designed to give you an emotional experience. Everything works together to entertain you. They want to make you feel good, to feel euphoric. You should have fun, and you should want to buy more product. Worship of the Christian God is not about fun, good feelings, entertainment, or euphoria. Worship is laying down our lives, honoring the God who died for us, and receiving his grace. That has nothing to do with rock concerts.” (Thomas McKenzie)

McKenzie asks some probing questions:

“If you are in a room that has been darkened with all the lights on a single person or small group, if you can only hear them and no one else, if one person’s face looks down on everyone from a tall screen, whom are you meant to worship?”
“When you sing praise to God, why isn’t your voice good enough?”
“Why does your voice have to be drowned out by a sound system?”
“Why can’t you hear your neighbor sing?”
“Why is it necessary to have a close up look at the preacher or singer on a giant video screen?”

There is no church discipline happening in most churches. This would offend many. Most churches look more like the world than they do churches that are to be set apart and holy. Few pastors give strong sermons on sexual purity before marriage and exhorting the young people to obey God in this area. Sermons are watered down in order to not offend the congregation. The leadership is appealing to the younger generation and the unbelievers.

When I was growing up, the churches were bright and hymns with rich theology was mostly sung. Women did not speak in most churches, at least, none that I ever attended. There were still plenty of lukewarm churches, but the singing was mostly biblically accurate, and churches weren’t supporting false churches by singing their false songs. Remember, God commands that we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23).

Now, in all of these churches that have grown dark and loud, I can assure you that women are speaking up on the stages. They are giving announcements, praying, leading the singing and giving little mini-sermons in between songs. There may be even some well-known elderly women who gives a “talk” for the sermon. Women are no longer required to be silent in these churches. They have grown lukewarm. Instead of using the churches to build up the body of Christ and obey Him, they are seeker-friendly and are growing cold.

Yes, churches should be practicing church discipline. It’s biblical! Young couples shouldn’t be able to fornicate and live together without any consequences. Husbands and wives who attend shouldn’t be able to continue watching porn or engaging in an affair without some higher accountability. Blatant, ongoing sin should be weeded out of the churches. God tells churches to do this! This is protection for the church and its members. Women shouldn’t be able to speak in the churches. They are commanded to learn in silence with all subjection.

Women, find a biblical church. We have found one and love it! The entire focus is upon Christ and His Word. The singing is focused upon this. The Church obeys God’s instructions to it. There is church discipline. The pastors and elders are all men. Here’s a link you can find one hopefully near you. Drive a ways to find one. This will not only be a blessing to you but to your children as well.

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened…For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within?
1 Corinthians 5:7,12

17 thoughts on “What Happened to Church Discipline?

  1. Yes! Amen Christians are suppose to hold other Christians accountable. Churches are so weak these days.

  2. Of course they do church discipline. You experienced it yourself when you tried to promote male headship. It’s not whether discipline is practiced but which.

  3. Ad the worst thing about way too many churches, they don’t equip the saints to separate from the wicked. Sadly, very toxic people are found within ones own immediate families. Alot of Scripture is simply glossed over – as if the saints are to just kow down, and take more of the poison.

  4. The military has discipline and order, politicians have discipline and order, the workplace has discipline and order, sports has discipline and order, but, the two institutions God created, the church and marriage, both have little to no order, and there is no church discipline to speak of in 90% of churches. Sin is running wild in the church, and that is why it’s running wild in the nation and world, judgement begins in the House of God.

  5. Weak churches that lack discipline are the inevitable result of centuries of straying away from what Christ intended the church to be. The “Sunday morning night clubs” that are today most Western church congregations would be not only unrecognizable to Jesus and the Apostles, but an abomination worthy of the same reaction Jesus had to the moneychangers in the Temple. It’s literally heartbreaking and despair-inducing to see how far the Bride of Christ has fallen.

  6. You are correct and many churches are too busy being seeker friendly and that is why church discipline is not happening. They don’t want to offend people who are carnal.

  7. I have never heard of “church discipline”. Besides calling individuals out or pointing out specific sins, what are some examples of appropriate church discipline? Forbidding them from attending? Calling them out during a church service in front of the congregation? I am just curious. What this would look like? Obviously I must have grown up in churches that don’t practice this because it is a new concept to me. Can someone give me examples?

  8. WAS, Here it is from 1 Corinthians 5:

    It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

    And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

    For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

    In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

    Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

    Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

    Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

    But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

    For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

    But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

  9. Jill, This is a red flag IMO. I know some churches have deaconnesses. Deacons are to be the husband of one wife. There are no deaconnesses in the Bible. Do they have any authority in the church or are they simply servants in the church? Find this out. The men should be in authority over everything in the church, including what is being taught to the children and women.

  10. Lori,
    My daughter is 30 years old and refusing to marry and have children. She has a law degree and I cried my eyes out at her graduation-not because I was proud, but because I knew it meant she prioritized a career over marriage and motherhood.
    Anytime I ask her on a timeline for when she’ll have children, she tells me that it isn’t any of my business. Whenever I try to set her up with single men at my church, she said she isn’t interested. She banned me from coming to her home because she said I’m disrespectful and wrong. She says if I bring up marriage and motherhood again, she will stop speaking to me forever. What do I do?

  11. To quote Sue’s phrase, . . . within one’s own immediate families”, is sadly true. One of my own siblings, named executor by his mother, robbed my sister and I ‘blind’ in the sale of Mother’s house. I told another sibling that he had the moral and ethical obligation to condemn him for theft, and he most steadfastly will not do it. And he thinks that I am ‘the bad guy’. I’m not backing down for no one on this wrongdoing. The one good sibling agrees with me, however.

  12. The Pentecostal church I went to was very dyrict. It was good! Couples who formicated were told to leave. Some where told that they must marry. They could only come back if they were married. It didn’t matter of they were young, (in there late teens or early20s), or older, they HAD to marry. Very sensible I thought, but others thought it was wrong to “punish” youngsters for a mistake. It makes no difference if they had pre marital sex once, or many times. Discipline is vital to a church.

  13. When I was young, I wondered why the church my family attended sung old hymns with only a piano for accompaniment, rather than the rock-style church band and “Christian songs” that other churches did.
    I wondered why our gatherings were always quiet, respectfully listening to the preacher, when other churches were a hive of activity.
    These other churches seemed exciting and fun. They didn’t seem to be anything to do with God or Jesus, but they were fun. I wanted to go to a church like that because ours was boring.
    I am so grateful that my parents raised my sister and I in a Biblically-accurate God-fearing church that is still exactly the same now as it was back then, with still exactly the same standards.
    There is, and always has been, church discipline. It has not changed.
    As a child, it was boring. Now, as an adult, I love it so much. It’s a place of peace, rest, perfect joy. Everybody has different lives, but is walking the same path. We encourage each other. We don’t look like people of the world, we don’t act like people of the world. When I go there, it’s like I’m coming home.

  14. Ona,
    Is your daughter a believer? The reason I ask is that I think that one hurdle for people like your daughter to even hear the truth is that their identity is so wrapped up in the life they have built. If she is not a believer, then she has NO identity except that which she has constructed, with the world as the mirror to reflect it to her for confirmation. To change that literally feels like a death, and your suggestion that she change is denying her very person. So if she is a believer, then perhaps focus on the idea of what her REAL identity is, as a child of God. If she isn’t a believer, then perhaps getting her to consider what is her worth and role in the world? What if she lost it all, would she cease to be? In the meantime, don’t speak of the marriage and motherhood part, she isn’t ready, and even if she pursued it (to check the boxes), she would botch it. In my humble opinion, the identity piece the place to start. Of course nothing is accomplished without God’s will for it to be so, so pray and ask for discernment and wisdom.

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