Church Discipline Run Amok

An article in the Washington Post describes a wolf in sheeps clothing if ever there was one.  The church is so full of legalism–it makes me wonder how someone could read the Bible and have never heard of Jesus.  This is what happens when a church allows its pastor to claim “apostolic” authority.  This is also why it is so important to interpret Ephesians 4:11 properly, especially in light of Ephesians 2:20.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  Eph 2:19-21 (ESV)

The household of God has been (already) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.  I believe the phrase “apostles and prophets” (or “prophets and apostles”) was a first-century name for the whole of Scripture.  Just as the “Law and the Prophets” referred to the Old Testament, so “Prophets and Apostles” refer to the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek Scriptures, with “Prophets” summarizing the Books of Moses (law) all the way through the prophetic writings of Malachi.  Basically, when Paul was writing, the churches had copies of the Gospels already in their possession.
Even if you do not subscribe to the view of “apostles and prophets” meaning Scripture, it still speaks of the foundation of the church, that was laid in the Book of Acts.  The Apostles were known.  Their names appeared on a list.  They laid the foundation, with Christ as the cornerstone, and now the Spirit is building us into a dwelling place for God.  Any pastor who claims apostolic authority is looking to control your life and build a cult like the sad, hellbound man in this story.

One thought on “Church Discipline Run Amok

  1. I read that story yesterday and found it horribly disturbing. I know several people who’ve fled a church like that (not a mega church, but one where the pastor controlled everything the parishioners did). What’s amazing is how “innocently” they start off. They don’t just show up one day and say, “I’m an inspired apostle, and what I say goes. I’m gonna run your life and interpret and apply the Scriptures for you.”Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

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