Vol.III No.I Pg.5
February 1966

"Discipline" Or Revenge?

Robert F. Turner

A young man wishes to be baptized into Christ. Request for the use of a baptistry is refused -- with strong language. Those who have taught the boy to want to obey the Lord, are thought to be in error on another matter. They must be "disciplined."

The mother of a member of one congregation dies; and the family (many of whom worship with that church) ask the preacher of another congregation to "preach the funeral." Members of the first church refuse to provide the singing (although the funeral is conducted in their building); and a "singing-preacher" of the same town "has a sore throat" (but is able to attend and ridicule the effort.) (The whispering and elbow jostling was reported by non members too.) All this to "discipline the Anti-s."

Whenever people differ there may be some whose little souls can do no more than think personal bitterness. This is true on both right and wrong asides." But to assign such vindictiveness to "discipline" is self-deception of the first order. This is not "discipline," it is revenge.

The word "discipline" comes from the same root word as "disciple." It refers to teaching and learning. The motive behind scriptural "church" discipline is love for the erring, with a sincere desire to teach them the truth and have them conform thereto. Paul denounces the incestuous person at Corinth, and calls upon others to "purge out" the old leaven; but the same passage says "that the spirit may be saved," and warns of malice and wickedness. (I Cor. 5:1-f.) The

Thessalonians were told to "have no company with" the disobedient saint "Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."(2 Thes. 3:)

If my brethren believe me to be in error they are obligated to try to teach me the truth. (God's word is truth -- not man's traditional ways.) My doors are open to them. The elders where I preach have invited their preacher to come and preach to us. We would welcome any sincere effort to have a public or private discussion of the scriptures pertaining to our differences. We have asked for consultation meetings, to no avail. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to take this "discipline" bit seriously. The actions smack of cruelty.

Whisper campaigns, misrepresentations and snubbery are no part of N.T. discipline. If I and my brethren need discipline (teaching) we are being cheated. Our souls could starve to spiritual death on such treatment.

And let me make this plain. We believe someone else needs some teaching, and to this end seek to make the various contacts mentioned above. our PLAIN TALK is kept as objective as possible (we could multiply the incidents given in opening paragraphs, and spell out the people involved) but we want to help, not hurt. We do not wish to treat our brethren as an enemy, but admonish as brethren-- and pray for the salvation of their souls.

The cause of Christ will prosper-not through the use of carnal weapons (2 Cor. 10:2-f)-- but through the few or many who will obey His truth.