As readers of this blog know by now, Mac Brunson has successfully modified our church bylaws to form a discipline committee with well-defined responsibilities in the church. The verbal vote was taken on November 28, 2007, and was approved by an overwhelming majority. The bylaw changes included other signficiant changes to our church governance, including changes to expenditure authorizations, how committee appointments are made, and how member disputes are resolved through mediation. Apparently no one in the church is raising a stink about how these changes were ramrodded through...but the Watchdog will not let it go.
All of this was done with not a single word of explanation by the pastor. Not one single word of explanation. Not during the weeks leading up to the vote. Not at the business meeting before the vote. Not in the three weeks since the vote. He never felt the need to tell the congregation what they were voting on. He's never explained why now he feels the need to at this time to create the discipline committee. Not one word about how the committee will operate. Not one word about how the members are selected. And apparently not one single member of the church board of trustees who recommend the changes along with the pastor saw anything wrong with bringing this for a vote before the church with not a word of explanation. Certainly Dave Bristowe, the chairman of the deacons and president of the board of trustees had no problem asking for a vote when he had to know hardly anyone he was standing in front of, asking for a vote, had a clue what they were voting on. Unbelievable. Maybe worse than all of this: apparently very few in the church, except for a scant handful of recalcitrant bloggers, even care that this has happened.
One would think that a caring, humble pastor would explain to their congregation how such a committee would be used by God to lovingly, compassionately restore a wayward member according Matthew 18. A loving pastor would first explain the process of Matthew 18 which starts with a brother first going to the brother, followed by two or three, then as a very last resort bringing the brother before the church. Nothing of the sort from this pastor. In fact, the only mention of Matthew 18 church discipline we've received from Mac Brunson since the November 28th vote was a very careless description of church discipline as being the act of bringing a brother before the church! He doesn't mention that this is a third step in the process.
So here's the sequence of events:
1. 11/28/07: Church bylaws changed adding church discipline committee during business meeting.
2. 12/2/07: (very next sermon after the vote). Mac angrily accuses those who are against change in the church as being "comfortable in their sin and in their compromise".
3. 12/12/07: In a sermon where Mac is preaching against the sin of a "judgemental and critical spirit", Mac gives a very stern, unloving warning, and scripturally careless explanation that church discipline includes bringing a member before the church - CLICK HERE. I use the word "warning" as he had a pregnant pause followed by three quick finger taps on his pulpit with a look of "what do you think about THAT" (those that have sat under Mac Brunson know what I'm talking about). I say "scripturally careless" because he quotes Matthew 18:17 without quoting or explaining Matthew 18:15-16. So the man creates a church discipline committee, and two weeks later instead of EXPLAINING FROM SCRIPTURE what the process is, he instead warns his congregation that "church discipline" means that someone might be brought before the church with their sin - all of this in a sermon addressing those with a critical and judgemental spirit. Wow. Indeed, are we not getting tired of the Mac Brunson Show?
Questions for you out of town pastors who read this blog and are considering coming to the pastor's conference: would you ever dream up such a scheme and pull this stunt at your church? Would you ever ask for a vote on creating a "church discipline committee" in your bylaws without first clearly and lovingly explaining this to the people you are sheparding? Apparently Mac Brunson, who is hosting the 2008 FBC Jax Pastor's Conference with the theme of "Team Building" sees no problem with it. Perhaps in one of his "Premium Sessions" at the conference he'll address this topic: "how to get your bylaws changed to create a church discipline committee and give yourself more power in the church with hardly anyone in the church knowing you've done it!" Definitely it is a new chapter that he can put in his Pastor's Guidebook.
Finally, at the risk of being accused of "living in the past"....or "worshipping previous pastors"...here is an example of how Dr. Adrian Rogers created a church discipline committee. Nothing under the table. No asking for a vote from his church with no explanation of what, why, how. No warnings that people will be brought before the church in his sermons. It was a clearly worded resolution that came before the church for a vote, so that the people - get this - KNEW WHAT THEY WERE VOTING ON.
Bellevue Baptist Resolution Creating "Church Discipline Council" - dated 6/11/97
Where is the leadership of our pastor on this important issue? When will he apologize for the manner in which he ramrodded these bylaw changes through? When will he take the time to lovingly explain the need for the church discipline committee, how it will operate, and how members are selected? When will he properly explain the Matthew 18 church discipline process in a loving way and not in a threatening way as though he is ready to bring some people before the church?
I'm not holding my breath for any of this to happen.
Just expecting more of the same.