Social Network Links
Powered by Squarespace
Search the Riddleblog
"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
« The Canons of Dort, Third/Fourth Head of Doctrine, Article Two | Main | "God Subdued Jabin" -- Judges 3:31-4:24 »

An Ironclad Case for the Necessity of Church Discipline

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And, to be frank, this picture troubled me so much I am reluctant to post it.  But here is Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson pictured in his full ecclesial regalia with his "life partner," Mark Andrew.

My reluctance aside, the picture speaks volumes to the question of church discipline and what happens when a church becomes so apostate that its leaders actually relish in the very sinful behavior that they been charged with confronting (both theologically and pastorally).

This is why we believe that discipline is a mark of a true church, and this is the sad and tragic end of that dreaded "slippery slope."


Reader Comments (29)

Romans 1:32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
January 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterreg
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3.1

This is indeed a sad description of an apostate church. When leaders defend such practices and even live them out, we are, I think, seeing the just punishment of God "giving them over to dishonorable passions."

The good news is that it is for sinners that Christ died, and we can pray for the repentance of these men while at the same time calling for that church and denomination to follow the words of Paul in I Corinthians 5.2: "And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you."

Thank you, Pastor Kim, for posting this. There are times when we need to be reminded of the sinfulness of sin and the need for purity in the church.

Matt Holst
January 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermatt holst
Another crying need for discipline is in regards to the Anglo-Papalist "Anglicans" who infect congregations with their idolatry and superstition. That, too demands discipline!!!
January 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Who are these Anglo-Papist "Anglicans" that are infiltrating churches and infecting them with their superstition and idolatry? I didn't know this was a big problem. In my neck of the woods, liberal "Anglican" hang out with each other in their churches, conservative "Anglicans" have left the Episcopal church, by and large, and worship together. I am not aware of any "Anglicans" going to other denominations and "infecting" them. As a Bible-believing Anglican appalled at the abominable antics of Gene Robinson, I am not sure exactly what you are protesting about in your post. What specifically is the "superstition" and "idolatry" of which you speak?

January 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGeno
Luther says this, "A chaste virgin, once she has prostituted her chasity, no longer shrinks from anything. But casting aside all shame, she is ready with a brazen face to commit all sorts of shameful deeds. Just so, when a Christian turns apostate, there will be no more bitter enemy of the church and of piety than he is."

"If one associates much with heretics, one finally also makes oneself partaker of their false doctrine, their lies, and their errors; for he who touches pitch soils his hands with it."
January 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd
More fuel for the fire. If that picture were not enough, this should be. While some respect for others might be warranted undermining and ultimately denying your faith should be enough to defrock.

From the New York Times,

Bishop Robinson said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”

“I am very clear,” he said, “that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”
January 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRick Shott
I am curious; could a pastor or anyone else in Canada have posted a blog entry like this without getting into legal trouble?
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto's one thing to hear and read about it. It's another thing to actually see the picture.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKen Rapoza
Rick Shott,

I heard him interviewed on NPR to a similar effect. What strikes me as odd is the idea that these functions of civil religion called "inaugural prayers" were "aggressively Christian." By definiton, nothing about civil religion is Christian, much less aggressive. Aggressively Christian is something like WCF/TFU.

One has to wonder just what got him so riled as he looked at history. I might be inclined to agree with him, although for different reasons.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
It looks like the acceptance of homosexuality in church leadership is spreading. I just read this on the Stand Firm (orthodox Anglican) website:

"The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination, has finally entered the gay wars with the nomination of an active homosexual as minister for an Aberdeen congregation."

I feel overwhelmed. It seems that no matter which direction I turn - sexual perversions of all kinds are ever becoming the accepted norm. May God have mercy on us.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSjB
There is another good post at Stand Firm on the Gene Robinson inaugural presentation (I dare not call it prayer) that links to a good opinion piece that astutely calls Robinson's flaky position a presentation of "To Whom It May Concern" - what a great line!!! A prayer to Whom it May Concern! Read it here:
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSjB
Wouldn't Calvin and Luther say we are already on that slippery slope ourselves, given that they called birth control sodomy? They believed married Christian use of birth control to be equivalent with homosexuality because it separates the act of the physical union from procreation, just like homosexuality does. A humanly-initiated (as opposed to divinely determined) deliberate rendering of the act as unfruitful.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Dr. Riddlebarger, when was the last time you heard of a Reformed Church pastor in Canada being fined or imprisoned for preaching what the Bible says about homosexuality? I know they have laws there now where you can't speak against homosexuality. I imagine that Christian pastors and laity alike all make a private determination about whether to speak the truth and suffer for it or remain silent in order to not suffer. Are they all silent on it in Canada now? When these laws are passed in this country, will we also become suddenly silent?
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

Of course anyone can post this kind of message in Canada. Hate speech is prohibited--there is nothing hateful about the article or comments here.
If someone had said all gay Anglicans should be murdered, that would be questionable.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWout

That sounds more than “questionable.”

Even so, if that’s the case, I wonder if Reg’s first comment could be construed as hate speech in Canada. But from my pov, it’s just guilty of some of the common type of selective proof-texting which serves to obscure way more than help. I’d say just bad speech which is all too common.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Church discipline is beginning to make a whole lot of sense to me.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Widdowson

If things were as bad in Canada as some American Christians think, then wouldn't someone already have filed a complaint? After all, this site is located in Canada. I worked for over five years for the BC Human Rights Commission (now defunct), and in that time very few issues were found to constitute hate speech. One is quite free to criticize same sex marriage, even since it became legal throughout the country. Labelling all gays as pedophiles or rapists etc for example could be considered hateful. We do have freedom of religion, but discriminating against someone in secular society such as employment, rental housing, public services, due to race, gender, religion or sexual orientation is not permitted. Churches cannot be prevented for setting their own standards for membership, ministerial requirements, marriage etc.

We Christians in Canada, as Christians in the US are citizens of our respective countries temporarily. Ultimately we are citizens of the Kingdom of God.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWout
Interesting that apostasy FROM the Christian church is loudly applauded and even, in this case, given civil recognition as a move toward tolerance and benevolent understanding.

Apostasy TO the Christian church (for example, former homosexuals being helped into heterosexual living by counsel through the church) is viewed as deceptive and a denial of "reality."

Dualistic Road is a one way street.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Anderson

I think it serves American religious sensibilities to believe that another slice of the KoM is more persecuting than ours. But if one has a foot in the KoG the other is doing battle against the world, the flesh and the devil no matter where it's planted.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
I am not suprised in the least The Episcopal Church is the same church that never expeledJohn Shelby Spong while he spewed forth Heresy.
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.