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Monday, January 23, 2012

Church Discipline Scenario: Abortion Doctor

In late May of 2009, abortion doctor George Tiller was gunned down inside his church in Kansas (Source: USA Today). Outrage poured out at this doctor's assassination. This particular doctor was not just an abortion doctor, however. He also advocated for and performed many late-term abortions. He lived under the fear that someone would take his life one day with the many threats he had received over the years. What is interesting about this and something I never noticed was that this man was a member of a church, a Lutheran church. He was serving as an usher in the church. During the week, he would kill unborn babies at a point where the baby most likely would survive outside the womb. He would then serve his church on the weekends by ushering. Now that the scenario is being set up and how most Bible-believing Christians see abortion as murder and therefore a sin...how should we respond in our own church should a member be known for performing abortions?

Some verses to ponder...


“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

(Matthew 18:15-20 ESV)


It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

(1 Corinthians 5 ESV)

The latter is referring to sexual immorality, but could refer to other sins in general as well. Would you be willing to execute church discipline on a church member who's occupation is the killing of unborn babies? Should we be practicing church discipline?


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