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Letter: America should follow example of early Christian teachings about the church
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Can a nation survive without law and order — in anarchy? Hardly. We see a breakdown of the rule of law in America. It’s very disturbing and concerning. 

Some want to ignore law such as illegal border crossing. Some, like Antifa, act outside the law in violence. Some deny enforcement, such as blocking ICE’s lawful actions. If these conditions continue and expand, we’re doomed. 

“Politics is downwind from culture; culture is downwind from the Church,” I heard on a YouTube video. 

God’s law, including the Ten Commandments, is recorded in the Old Testament. We’re not bound by ceremonial laws prescribed for a particular people and time. But, much of our law is derived from the Ten. 

Many ignore New Testament law, saying that grace (a complicated topic for another time) negates, or replaces, all law. But, we’re still dealing with humans who must have enforced boundaries. 

The Body of Christ (Church) is fallible and must have a means of policing and cleansing itself. See 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. As we all know, a weak link (a “failing” member – see 1 John 3:4-10) undermines the strength (unity) of an entire chain (body of believers). 

How is order and unity maintained? By a group of elders and pastor (the preaching elder) obeying and executing Matthew 18. “Whoa!” say most churches, “That’s a bridge (teaching) too far. We can’t embarrass a member before the entire congregation! And we certainly can’t treat a member as an outcast!” 

Remember, the ultimate goal of church discipline is reconciliation – if an excommunicated member is contrite, pledges to stop the offense, and begins making restitution, the member is welcomed back and reinstated. 

Barring those actions by a “failing” member, the excommunication must be done and can take place in person or in absentia. 

Why excommunicate and why treat the member as a tax collector (an unclean outcast)? 

1) Scripture requires it.

2) The church and its leaders must obey Scripture.

3) If the church is truly a body, all must be informed, and all must participate.

4) The “failing” member may prey on other members.

5) The “failing” member may negatively influence other members, especially new members and youth.

6) The “failing” member’s actions and reputation can injure the church’s witness (evangelistic effectiveness) and standing in the community.

7) A “failing” member not exposed and disciplined can lead to further lawlessness within the Body, the church’s impotence and lack of relevance, and ultimately, the church’s demise. 

Can a church survive without boundaries and without following the New Testament guide for a body of believers? Hardly. 

“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” – circa 1830-1840 by Alexis de Tocqueville.

Gary B Hulsey