For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites… Romans 9.3, 4
1 Clement 54
Clement of Rome (fl. ca. 90-100 AD)
“Who then among you is noble-minded? who compassionate? who full of love? Let him declare, ‘If on my account sedition and disagreement and schisms have arisen, I will depart, I will go away whithersoever ye desire, and I will do whatever the majority commands; only let the flock of Christ live on terms of peace with the presbyters set over it.’ He that acts thus shall procure to himself great glory in the Lord; and every place will welcome him. For ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.’ These things they who live a godly life, that is never to be repented of, both have done and always will do.”
God is glorified when sinners repent and bring their lives back into line with divine order. In churches today we don’t call people to repent; instead, we try to “smooth over” disagreements and find compromises agreeable to all. But that’s not a true remedy for strife in the church. Clement called on those who had been the cause of strife to submit to the discipline of the Body of Christ, and to be willing to accept whatever judgment “the majority” decided was necessary in order to heal the breach which had been opened among them. This, he insisted, was the loving thing to do. And in so doing, they would actually bring the glory of God back to Corinth. Perhaps he also, following Paul’s example, hoped that “the majority” would act in a loving way and restore the rebels to full fellowship with all due haste?
Does your church practice church discipline? What is the purpose of church discipline? Is it still a valid tool for building the church today? Explain:
T. M. Moore
Shepherding in the Christian Worldview
Our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, offers an overview of the work of shepherding, and shows how this disciple-making ministry fits into our overall Kingdom calling. There’s no charge for this course, and all the course materials are free. In 12 diagrams you will gain a perspective and overall grasp of the 1 worldview that can change the world. Click here to register. Here’s a great opportunity for you and your leaders to get on the same page for a vision of the Kingdom that could change your lives and your church.
The Writing Pastor
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.