Church Discipline @ Mars Hill Church

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Church, Discipleship
Tags: , ,

Church discipline is a difficult thing.  I know the Bible has teaching regarding its necessity.  The foundational assumptions of community and fellowship in our present experience of “church” in 2012 as contrasted to that in the 1st century are very problematic for me.  So, I confess my own concerns, questions, insecurities, hesitancies (or whatever other word you want to you) when it comes to the application of the biblical principle of church discipline.  The following is a “church discipline contract” sent to a member of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA (where Mark Driscoll is the Pastor).  Just reading it makes me go… “Whoah” (in a shocked and not sure what to do with it tone).  And then I read the back story.  You can too…here and here…and then it made me go – “Oh no!!!  Dear Jesus no!

What do you think?  Would you sign this?  Is this healthy?  Right?  Biblical?

  1. Jim says:

    How shaming and humiliating this situation had to have been for this fellow.

    My experience with God has been that when I’ve sinned, he’s only let me experience the natural shame of my sin — he has not added to it in bringing me to repentance or as a condition of repentance.

  2. Would I sign that? Hell no. Not only that, if I found out that a church I was attending was trying to force a parishioner to do so, I would leave.

  3. Tracy says:

    No, not healthy, not right, not biblical. In reading the back story, I’m especially bothered by the letter to other church members. Jesus himself had dinner with tax collectors and unrepentant sinners, not to shame them or point out all of their flaws but to love them, accept them, and show them his grace and mercy. But I guess at Mars Hill shame and excommunication are the preferred methods for “showing love”.The poor guy confessed and repented, that’s all that the Jesus in my Bible requires. There are no hoops to jump through or pastor’s that need to approve your repentant heart. Repent and go and sin no more.

  4. the other ed says:

    I can’t trust any church run by martians.

  5. Melissa says:

    I wonder what kind of contract everyone who gossiped about the story had to sign.

  6. the other ed says:

    I think EVERYONE needs to read these two blogs. This is what a cult looks like. The whole idea behind a cult is brainwashing an individual towards a specific, usually self destructive pattern of behavior.
    What Mars Hill church has done here is made an example of this young man. This has become LESS about the sin he has committed and MORE about how he is to be treated and how, as a member of the church in good standing, is to act., towards him.
    Be wary of ANY organization that tries to govern your thoughts and actions for you.
    On the surface it seems that Andrew was in a bad situation. But as I read this more, I realize, Andrew, despite the circumstances, was lucky enough to escape.

  7. david says:

    Wow. Quite twisted.
    The two blogs spell out quite a story.
    I was part of a church like that in the late 80’s. It is not a pleasant existence. Guilt. Shame. Coercion.
    These are things that can happen when a church becomes an institution.
    May Mark and others in a similar situation find freedom.

  8. Jennifer H. says:

    I was thinking about sending those links to you; I’m glad you found them. The part that really bothered me the most was the message sent to all the members telling them to shun Andrew. I hope this will be eye opening for those church members and staff. Let us know if the church makes any sort of official response to this situation please.

  9. K. Rex Butts says:

    And we wonder why Christians who have sinned sexually and/or struggle with sexual sin are afraid of confessing and sharing their burden with someone in their Christian community.

    Sad, very sad!

  10. Jennifer H. says:

    Thanks for the update, Sam!

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