34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34 translated from the NA28 Greek text to English)
For as long as I can remember, I have heard stressed in our churches that peace and coexistence must be sought above all. We must not do anything to offend anyone. The one and only church discipline event that I have witnessed came as a complete surprise to most of the congregation. An adulterous husband was cast out of the church because he would not repent by returning to his family. This event brought to light in my heart that there is a gray area that contains both the necessity of seeking peace and fellowship within the body of Christ and the fact that we must not allow doctrinal truths to become diluted with the poison of compromise.
The man who would not repent and return to his wife defied the godly men who confronted him with biblical truths. I am sure he never expected those deacons to physically stand in the gap in his presence telling him that he had sinned against God by doing what he had done. I remember admiring the courage of those men who would not compromise with God’s truth for the sake of peaceful coexistence in our church. The case was brought before the whole body after all other overtures to the man was exhausted. The biblical model for church discipline was used precisely. When the case came before the church, the vote to expel the man from our membership was unanimous. The actions of those brave men followed the pattern for church discipline from Jesus’ own words.