February 15, 2012
Repentance is when you turn away FROM sin (in this case sexual sin) and TO God (The Cross). It is a matter of the heart and NOT outward appearances. Psalm 51 clearly shows a repentant heart. Repentance is NOT a one-time deal, nor perfection, but rather a life-style where one continually returns to God. Repentance is a gift from God. Yes, Jesus paid it all, with His precious blood. What a mercy it is to be humbled with church discipline to force a person back to the cross (not a man or a church) to be washed in that precious fountain! When we (Christians) start thinking we need to be treated a certain way (PRIDE) we have already lost sight of the face of Jesus in our lives. We all need to â€œcome downâ€ from our high mindedness. God does this through repentance. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Grace and restoration have to be the foundational motives of the church with holiness or moral excellence as by-products of those. Flip that and legalism happens.
"I was uncertain that the steps they prescribed would truly lead to humble restoration, instead of humiliated submission to human authority structures."
I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head with this comment. My husband and I left a church where he was one of the assistant pastors (not paid or "on staff," serving faithfully for 4 years while working full time as a self employed contractor and raising a family.) My oldest son (10) was having a hard time in Sunday school classes b/c he was needing more time from us. The senior pastor suggested my son wear a "goofy hat with a bible verse on it" in his class at church. The children's ministry leader disagreed, saying my son would enjoy the attention too much and that instead he should sit in with the preschool class where they would tell the kids he didn't behave well enough in his own class (really? He would enjoy being humiliated?) Meanwhile, they told my husband if my son did anything wrong, he ws to pull him out of class and spank him. When the senior pastor realized we would probably be leaving that fellowship, he suggested they "temporarily unordain" my husband while he and my son could go to counseling about an hour away & never offered to counsel our son himself (and this was a small fellowship.) We prayed, and could not willingly submit ourselves to "discipleship" that humiliates. So we left, the sr. pastor slandered my husband, calling him divisive and implying he was a wolf and that no one should fellowship with us b/c we needed to humble ourselves and repent & submit to his authority. So we've been shunned. In short, little to no real accountability within church "leadership" is not godly leadership. A man on a stage behind a pulpit making the decisions is not something I have found in the new testament. On a side note, I am so glad we are not there anymore, and am thankful for God's faithfulness through everything.
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