Church Discipline. . . .
In the following paragraphs are truths which we all know and recognize as such and yet of which we may well be reminded from time to time; and which it is always well to emphasize:
“Now we must keep in mind that the purpose of church discipline is not to destroy, but to save. In practice it often becomes evident that discipline is regarded as a rule for punishment. For that reason it happens again and again that people are offended at the office bearers when they are compelled to deal with them in an ecclesiastical manner, as though the minister and the elders delighted in having found a stick to hit them with. It also happens sometimes that when discipline must be exercised, one withdraws from the congregation.
“It is a bad sign when people refuse to submit to ecclesiastical admonition. We should at all times keep in mind what the Apostle Paul wrote concerning those who draw back: ‘My soul shall have no pleasure in them’.
“Those who are called to exercise discipline must also take care in what spirit that work is carried on. All haughtiness should be barred from the heart, and action should be taken only in the spirit of love and meekness, while at all times we are mindful of the truth: ‘Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fair. We must do all in our power to save those members who in doctrine or life have drifted away, and at the same time we must uphold the truth. Let us then love peace and truth. The whole congregation is in reality called to maintain discipline. (I underscore—J.H.) There are several expressions in Scripture which teach this. Paul wrote in Col. 3:16: ‘Teaching and admonishing one another. . . .’ and also in Heb. 10:24: ‘And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works’.
“The Lord Jesus, who is King of the church, has also prescribed the rules for that purpose in Matt. 18: ‘Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone, etc.’ For many it is as though that passage were not in the Bible. Some complain directly to the consistory or to their neighbor; in fact they divulge to friend and enemy alike what they have seen or heard. How often false reports are credited and accepted! David was most afraid of himself, and it was from the experience which he gained in life that he sighed: “Lord, set a watch before my mouth, keep the doors of my lips’.”
Quoted from “A Portion For All”, by Rev. W. C. Lamain, in the Banner of Truth.
“A minced oath is a profane oath uttered by a person who hesitates to go quite the whole way in imitating the profane speech of the sinful world. The use of minced oaths is peculiarly a sin of Christian people, who often deceive their own conscience into thinking that they are not doing something wrong because they do not exactly duplicate the world’s brand of profanity. Some example of common forms of minced oaths are: ‘Gosh’ (instead of ‘God’) ; ‘darn’ (instead of ‘damn’) ; ‘heck’ (instead of ‘hell’) ; ‘gee’ (instead of ‘Jesus’); ‘the deuce’ (from the Latin Deus, meaning ‘God’, used instead of ‘the devil’). The use of all forms of minced oaths is forbidden, not only by a right understanding of the third commandment, but also by our Lord’s command in Matt. 5:34-37, ‘Swear not at all. . . .but let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil’.” Quoted from “Studies in the Larger Catechism of the Westminster Assembly”, in Blue Banner Faith and Life.
“Yet, our Church has caught the sickness, too! A poster in one of our local store windows reads as follows: _________________ Church presents ________________ a comedy!
At local public high school auditorium. Time, place, price of tickets, etc.
“Our Christian Reformed Church has also become so undignified as to stoop to these means of raising necessary funds.”
“It’s not a missionary rally—would that there were as much zeal for mission work as for dramatics—it’s not a religious musical program, to be given in our church auditorium, but a comedy! Something in a lighter vein to satisfy both young and old, churched and unchurched. After all it doesn’t always need to be something spiritually uplifting. Our church people need something less depressing once in a while. And besides, it’s an easy way to make money. The response is wonderful. …
“This could be a lengthy article, but everything I’d say would be challenged. . . . Let’s not be careless about these ‘harmless’ things. Let’s not be afraid to be called ‘strict’ and ‘narrow-minded’ if that which we teach is the truth. . . .”
We take this article over, which appeared in the Banner’s “Voices in the Church,” not because there are Protestant Reformed Churches that sponsor dramas, but to point out the end of that which is tolerated After all, what else can you expect with ‘Junior’ and ‘Senior’ plays in the Grand Rapids Christian High School (perhaps in other Christian High Schools too?) and with a Thespian Club in Calvin College? We wish to congratulate the writer, who merely signs himself ‘A concerned church member’, on his stand and only hope that the advice is received. In this connection, however, we must not forget that also in our own circles this evil is penetrating through the avenue of the Christian School plays, whether sponsored directly by the societies or by the numerous aids, mother’s clubs, or auxiliaries that also raise money for the purpose of Christian Education. “Let’s not be careless about these ‘harmless things’.”