I have led churches to practice church discipline for over thirty years now, and I do not see the need for church discipline to be any less today than in years past. If anything, the need has increased.
Church discipline can be understood as the biblical attitude and actions of the local church that enable her to preserve her submission to the head of the church in holiness, fellowship, testimony, mission, and doctrinal purity, with the purpose of maintaining a conducive atmosphere for following Christ and experiencing His presence and power. Church discipline includes the following purposes: redemption, correction, protection, purification, and justice. On a practical level, I would further distinguish between non-formal and formal discipline. Non-formal includes all aspects of the biblical teaching and practical application of church discipline up to public involvement of the full church body in either seeking repentance of the sinning brother or sister or removal from fellowship. Continue reading →
A biblical attitude is crucial to the whole process of church discipline. If the attitude of those implementing discipline is not right, then what God designed to be a beautiful act of selfless love is transformed into an ugly act of power, even if all the other instructions are followed to the letter. The offspring of that evil may shortly surface as a disuniting and judgmental spirit in the fellowship, or it may lay dormant until the next attempt to lead the church in discipline and then surface with a vengeance. Continue reading →
The Houston Chronicle helped in that it shed light on some abuses that were not taken seriously enough, hidden or ignored. These abuses are immeasurably tragic and trivializing of them is the tragedy of tragedies. I regret cover-ups of any human tragedies by churches, Christians, and leaders. I regret when churches fail to follow the biblical teaching on church discipline because it results in the sacrifice of righteousness and mercy toward the guilty and victims and because it results in the world having to expose such grievous sins in the church (Mt 18:15-20; Rm 16:17-18; 1 Co 5:1-13; Gal 6:1-2; 2 Thes 3:6-13). Consequently, sin in the church is not the actual travesty since we are all sinners. Rather, it is the church’s failure to follow Christ’s teaching for addressing it that is the epic failure. Continue reading →
By Ron F. Hale
Who but Winston Churchill possessed the gall and grit to stare down the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany while inspiring his countrymen to endure their greatest struggle and suffering? Yet, after fighting Nazi forces on the beaches, in the air, on the seas and oceans, in the fields and in the streets, the war-weary British immediately set Churchill aside in the 1945 post-war landslide election. It was not the “finest hour” of this great statesman and war hero. Consoling her husband, Mrs. Churchill said, “It may well be a blessing in disguise.” Churchill’s witty comeback was: “At the moment it seems quite effectively disguised.” Continue reading →
Actively or passively facilitating or incentivizing illegal immigration only appears to be compassionate. In the long term, it is actually uncompassionate because it undermines legal immigration and fuels globalism, which deconstructs the USA as a sovereign nation, creates and perpetuates unnecessary border crises of suffering, promotes lawlessness, and it costs more to fund than securing the border and supporting only legal immigration. Ultimately such misdirected compassion changes the culture of the USA into the very culture illegal immigrants left, an impoverished dictatorship or mobocracy, which benefits no one. Continue reading →
Grant that I would confess unguardedly to You since You know my sin more fully than it shall ever be known by me (1 John 1:9).
Grant that I shall confess unhesitatingly and not suffer the loss of one moment of fellowship with You (1 Cor 1:9).
Grant that repentance would be seen as my ever-present friend that carries me back to you and not a distant stranger (Rom 2:4).
Grant that I think about dying to self a hundred times more than I think of living (1 Cor 15:31).
Grant that I pursue and choose humility like my Lord Jesus (Phil 2:8).
Grant that I decreasingly have to be humbled to conform me to Christ (Matt 26:75).
Grant that I cherish obscurity more than prominence (John 3:30).
Grant that my awareness of what you give me is never overshadowed by any sense of lack (Eph 1:3).
Grant that any sense of self-pity, lack, loss, or despondency would be conquered by gratefulness for not receiving what I deserve and receiving your blessings that I do not deserve (Eph 2:1-4).
Grant that I would daily live to influence people toward eternity with You (John 1:7).
Grant that sharing things with others would continually bridle the passion of my flesh to accumulate things for me (Matt 6:4).
Grant that sharing with others is more important to me than maintaining an inordinate sufficiency for me (Eph 4:28).
Grant that, come what may, I never fall out of love with You and Your Word (Rev 2:4).
Thank you, Lord!
On Christmas, we give thanks and celebrate Christ humbling himself and being born a baby boy. That is the greatest gift and message of Christmas; may Christ humility, which made the Christmas message possible, be seen in us.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who . . . humbled Himself” (Phil 2:5, 8).
He who had no beginning was born.
He was born of a woman he created.
The served became the servant.
The sovereign became the sacrifice.
He came from the halls of heaven to the hell of Golgotha.
He became a part of his creation.
He was taught to eat, although he created the digestive system of humanity.
He was taught the ABCs, although he created all the languages.
He was taught to start and finish things, although he is the Alpha and Omega
He was taught to make animal harnesses out of trees he created.
He was taught how to make a wheel, although he created the earth a sphere.
He is the Lord of creation, yet he was called the Lord of Flies.
He is Truth, yet he was called a liar.
He is the King of Kings, yet he was denied the throne of Israel.
He exchanged the crown of glory for a crown of thorns.
He existed in eternity and was killed in time.
He who knew no sin became sin for us.
He was God but appeared as an ordinary man.
He who is life died.
He delivered man from God’s Judgement but not himself.
He is the light of the world, but he was buried in the darkness of God’s wrath.
He gave up the infinite and took on the average.
He endured the unthinkable.
He helped the ungrateful.
He delivered the unholy.
He sacrificed his sovereignty.
He sought true servanthood.
He sacrificed his self.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5–11).
“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).
The Christ of Christmas!
Although I do not accept Calvinism as reflective of God or his plan of salvation as depicted in Scripture, I do maintain the following. Whether God chose to save man according to the teachings of Calvinism or Extensivism, salvation is all by grace. I further believe he could have chosen either way; since, in either scenario, he would have sovereignly and freely chosen the plan including all of its components, each would be totally by grace; however, most Calvinists are not so kind regarding the possibility of Extensivism. Continue reading →
The following resources provide an understanding of the social justice movement of our day, and why many Christian leaders reject it as culturally defined. These resources expose and explain the basis of the social justice ideology and vocabulary. The social justice movement is not sanitized just because it is accepted by some Christian leaders and uses Scripture, nor should it be confused with Biblical justice. Continue reading →
Calvinists seek to make Calvinism more biblically compatible by contending that regeneration is only logically prior to faith and not temporally prior to faith; I believe their attempt fails. Continue reading →