I cast my eyes over this book by Eryl Davies about Dr Lloyd-Jones recently. I was struck by this statement on page 51.
“As pastor he reported to the Annual Church Meeting in early 1931 that ’84 new members had been received during 1930, 17 had been expelled (having proved themselves unworthy of membership) and membership at the beginning of 1931 was 311′ “
It is the issue of the expelling from membership that impacted me. This leads me to muse upon:-
- The need to strive for holiness in the church. The church is God’s special place on this planet in this age. There are standards that are appropriate for membership in His church. God is holy; His church should be holy.
- Moral error and doctrinal error both lead to the polluting of the church. In 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 Paul dealt with moral error in the church and indicates that if this is allowed to fester it will be like yeast spreading through the whole batch of dough. Similarly in Galatians 5: 7-12 Paul indicates how when doctrinal error festers it is analogous to yeast working through the whole batch of dough (see v10). We need to purge out the rot or it has the tendency to spread.
- “Expelling from membership” appears not to be very common in this age. Have we become infected with the prevalence of the inclination to tolerance in the society in which we live? So tolerant that we tolerate that which we should not tolerate
- The Bible clearly teaches about ‘church discipline’ and we should seek to implement the Lord’s truth.
- Confronting sin and seeking to deal with it is the most loving thing to do. To tolerate someone continuing in sin is no credit to the church and is harmful to the individual.
Let us be very concerned about upholding Godly standards in our churches. But let us do so with great humility. We need to remember we are not upholding our standards, but the Lord’s.