Friday Morning: Mark Dever -- "Membership and Discipline"

[Note: When I return to Indianapolis, I will write a brief article, focusing on my personal reflections on the conference, probably on Saturday or Monday.]

This is the final message of the ATC Conference.

Introduction:

  • Where would you go in the Bible to demonstrate that the Christian life is not just about “Jesus and me”—though that is certainly there?
  • I think you can demonstrate this in almost every book in the NT.
  • In case people think you are proof-texting, use the book of James. [overview of James followed]
  • When we're talking about church membership, we're talking about formalizing our relationship with each other. Even in James, we have a unique expression of Christian love (5:14). The elders of what church? His church.  Plural elders, singular church--the pattern we see in the NT.
  • Two bits of theology we've made referenced to:
    • Almost always, the church mentioned in the NT is referencing a local church.
    • Matters dealing with the church are mentioned both explicitly and implictly.  Local church membership is taught implicitly in the NT. A way you can construct this with people is a membership triangle: pastor, me, other Christians.  Then start filling in with verses dealing with those interrelationships.
  • I'm assuming a good deal of agreement on this so we're going to spend the rest of our time in Q&A about these issues.

Highlights from Q&A:

  • Q: Any distinction between discipline and cleaning the rolls?  A: There is no such thing as cleaning the rolls.  We do not clean the rolls.
  • Q: Talk about your membership class? A: We have six classes, 45 minutes long. First, is statement of faith; second is NH confession of faith/church covenant; third on defense of church membership; fourth on history; fifth and sixth on how we work as a church.
  • Q: How do you deal with a regular attender but non-member? A: I encourage them to join or go to a church where they submit to the elders.
  • Q: What plan do you have for members who are sporadic attenders? A: We preach against that, pray for them, and confront them when needed.
  • Q: Do you give details of moral sins at public discipline? A: We don't give details, just categories.
  • Q: How do you lead the elders in regard to congregational care? A: Praying through the membership list, asking about specific people in elders' meeting and following up (Acts 15 "see how they are doing")
  • Q: What about deacons who disqualifies himself and the rest of the deacons are not willing to deal with it? A: What Kevin said, put out or come out.
  • Q: What is our responsibility as a church to people in discipline who leave the church before the discipline is resolved? A: It depends in large part on what you tell them when they come in to the church.

 

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Tue, 6/2/09
Posts: 383
I like this . . .

"Q: Talk about your membership class? A: We have six classes, 45 minutes long. First, is statement of faith; second is NH confession of faith/church covenant; third on defense of church membership; fourth on history; fifth and sixth on how we work as a church."

But it is not yet something we have incorporated in our church family.

Bob Hayton's picture
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Mon, 7/27/09
Posts: 652
Any idea if/when the audio

Any idea if/when the audio will be available from this conference?

Thanks for doing all the live blog posts, too, Brian.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Aaron Blumer's picture
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Mon, 6/1/09
Posts: 7277
Dittos

Yeah, thanks Brian. Thorough job. Thanks to Tom Mount also for the "pew-view" on day one.