Church discipline is a very touchy topic. Images pop up in our minds of self-selfrighteous clergy persons bringing their people in line with doctrine. The means to do that often show very little grace. They can go from public shame, excommunication, incarceration all the way to execution.
Today our society has secularized. The wrath of the clergy has lost its sting. If you think the pastor or priest is an idiot and/or the doctrines are stupid you simply leave. If you don’t like the message, you simply find another church that tells you exactly what you want to hear.
But even today we administer church discipline. In the light of Christ love there are things that are heretical, wrong and evil, because the exclude, they exploit and they condemn. ELCA Lutherans vehemently oppose these things on the basis of scripture and the Lutheran confessions.
But adherence to the confession of the Lutheran church is a decision you have to make for yourself and accordingly you have to administer church discipline to your self. It makes very little sense to sit in church and refuse to be transformed by the experience of God’s abundant grace and by God’s love for all humans.
Lutherans walk in the way of love in everything they do. They do their best to love God in Christ, their neighbours and themselves.
Rev. Olaf Baumann, sermon, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Port Angeles WA.
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