Discipline of the Innocent

                                 D i s c i p l i n e    of   the    i n n o c e n t                           

 

    Matthew 18: 18 says, “whatever ye [the church] shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven”

   The Papal system in the dark ages held Christendom in slavery with the idea that what the church decided on earth was ratified in heaven. Excommunication, interdicts, anathemas’ and they even withheld communion from people that did not agree with them.
It was mental bondage more than physical because the people believed they would be eternally lost if the church did any of these things against them.

   Today we are enlightened, the truth has set us free from this bondage.  God is not subject to the whims of the Pope nor does God approve everything that the church does. In matters of church discipline, the church gives rights to members and they have the right to seek fairness. 

   Ellen White clarifies Matthew 18: 15 to 18 and writes, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that church discipline is very important and it is necessary. If the church fails to discipline (they are neglecting their duty) and they are held responsible as if guilty of the acts themselves.  DA 441.3

   Christ's instruction as to the treatment of the erring repeats in more specific form the teaching given to Israel through Moses: "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in anywise rebuke thy neighbor, that thou bear not sin for him." Lev. 19:17, margin. That is, if one neglects the duty Christ has enjoined, of trying to restore those who are in error and sin, he becomes a partaker in the sin. For evils that we might have checked, we are just as responsible as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves.  Desire of Ages, page 441.3   Read Entire Chapter 48

 

She also says that if the church does it right ( and follows the instructions of Christ ) the decision is ratified in heaven.  7T 263 appears in the Church Manual on page 58

   "This statement holds its force in all ages. On the church has been conferred the power to act in Christ's stead. It is God's instrumentality for the preservation of order and discipline among His people. To it the Lord has delegated the power to settle all questions respecting its prosperity, purity and order. Upon it rests the responsibility of excluding from its fellowship those who are unworthy, who by their un-Christlike conduct would bring dishonor on the truth. Whatever the church does that is in accordance with the directions given in God's word will be ratified in heaven."   Testimonies Volume 7, page 261 - 263       Church Manual, page 57, 58

        This quote also appears in Gospel Workers, page 501

   So let us consider the reverse situation – if the church does not do it right – does this mean it is not ratified. This is not addressed in the church manual, but we can find it in three places in the writings of EGW -  under the phrase:  Heaven can not ratify  ( which appears in 3 places ).  Here are two of them . . .

   Jesus adds to the lesson these words: "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." [Matt. 18:18] This assurance, that after the rules of Christ have been followed to the letter, the decisions of the church will be ratified in heaven, gives a solemn significance to the action of the church. No hasty steps should be taken to cut off names from the church books, or to place a member under censure until the case has been investigated, and the Bible rule fully obeyed. The word of Christ shows how necessary it is for church officers to be free from prejudice and selfish motives. Human minds and hearts, unless wholly sanctified, purified, and refined from partiality and prejudice, are liable to commit grave errors, to misjudge and deal unkindly and unjustly with souls that are the purchase of the blood of Christ. But the decision of an unjust judge will be of no account in the court of heaven. It will not make an innocent man guilty, nor change his character in the least before God. As surely as men in responsible positions become lifted up in their own esteem, and act as though they were to lord it over their brethren, they will render many decisions which heaven cannot ratify.  {HM, February 1, 1892 par. 13}  {RH, April 16, 1895 par. 10}

 

   What if the member is guilty of the sin he is accused of, but the church is careless and doesn’t follow proper procedure, - - (ie: they don’t follow Matt. 18 ) – then Heaven can not ratify. Does the guilty person gets off on a technicality?

   In this situation he may be kicked out of the church, but is he denied heaven?  Can he still get into heaven?

   Of course, if he repents and changes   AA 27.2 

   Before ascending to heaven, Christ gave His disciples their commission. He told them that they were to be the executors of the will in which He bequeathed to the world the treasures of eternal life. You have been witnesses of My life of sacrifice in behalf of the world, He said to them. You have seen My labors for Israel. And although My people would not come to Me that they might have life, although priests and rulers have done unto Me as they listed, although they have rejected Me, they shall have still another opportunity of accepting the Son of God. You have seen that all who come to Me confessing their sins, I freely receive. Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to both Jews and Gentiles -- to Israel, first, and then to all nations, tongues, and peoples. All who believe are to be gathered into one church.  Acts of the Apostles, page 27.2

   See other quotes with the phrase Gathered into one church http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/4219/​ 

  So does the church sin if they kick someone out unfairly?  Good question, but not for now. Let’s put this off so I can continue to the point I want to make.

  If the person repents, returns to Christ and changes his life style, he should be able to come back to the church.  It says this in Church Manual. Page 67 below

Those previously removed may be received again into membership when the period assigned by the church in a business meeting is concluded, when confession of wrongs committed is made, evidence is given of real repentance and change of life, and the life is consistent with Church standards and it is clear that the member will fully submit to Church order and discipline. Such reinstatement should preferable be in the church from which the member was dismissed. However, when this is not possible, the church where the person is requesting reinstatement must seek information from the former church about the reasons for which the person was removed from membership.    Church Manual, page 67

“All who believe are to be gathered into one church.”  AA 27.2 ( quoted above )   Phrase: Gathered into one church

New question and Now it gets interesting.

Can a person who is innocent be kicked out of the SDA church unfairly?
Yes, it happens, let's dig deeper into the case where the member is innocent.

If the church 'does it by the book' and follows proper procedure, the Scripture says their decision will be ratified in heaven. If they do it right - heaven approves it. 

Do you think that God will approve of an injustice?

Will God Approve of kicking an innocent person out of the church?

I hope you will agree with me – that He does not approve.

I submit to the idea for your consideration, that God will not allow any SDA church to follow proper procedure when they try to convict a member who is innocent. God is always in control and there are some things he will not allow Satan to do. He will not open a door that brings injustice into heaven, by approving an injustice done by the church on earth.

Therefore, improper procedure at a disciplinary hearing can be a clue to the church considering a request for reinstatement. It is possible that the former member may be innocent of the charge and God did not allow them to follow the proper procedure. This is one important reason why the new church MUST find out the reason, before making a decision on any request for reinstatement.  Read Church Manual, page 66, quoted above in case you missed the word MUST.

Let’s look at some examples in history. 

Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X in 1521 AD - - SoP calls Luther a great reformer. Great Controversy, Chapter 8 says God was speaking through Martin Luther to the Emperor and the Diet at Worms. What a faithful servant of God, and I look forward to meeting him in heaven.  What Pope Leo did was not ratified by heaven.

The best example of an innocent person getting convicted is Jesus Christ, we know he was innocent of the charges, did the Lord allow the Sanhedrin to do it right. No, it was a mock trial with improper procedure.

Ellen White was kicked out of the Methodist church, her entire family was disfellowshipped, because they believed William Miller’s message.  She liked  Isaiah 66:5 and mentions this Scripture in her writings about getting expelled from the church.

Diggingfortruth.org  website has hundreds of Scriptures, each Bible text gets a separate page, and below the text are some places where the Scripture is quoted in the writings of Ellen White. Here is the page for the text that gave her such comfort  http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/3446/  

Luke 6: 22, 23 is the Scripture that comforts me more than Isaiah 66: 5
Here is the page for Luke 6: 22, 23  http://www.diggingfortruth.org/article/4179/

I claim an injustice was done at my hearing – we should understand that for it to be a real injustice they would have to violate the rights given to members to prevent being unfairly expelled. So let's look at these rights . . .

  • Prior notice that the church will vote on discipline – page 65
  • Written notice must have the reason for discipline – page 65
  • At the hearing – right to be heard – page 65

                                   - right to introduce evidence – page 65
                                   - right to produce witnesses – page 65
                                   - censure is an option (rather then removal) – page 63
        Before hearing – proper procedure must be followed – Matthew 18 – page 63, 58
        After hearing – Right to seek fairness and right to appeal, page 67

In my case every one of these was violated.

GNYC will not correct any of these injustices, in fact, they are blocking my return to another church. This happened at the first two churches I requested to join, so I started visiting Northeastern Conference churches.

The pastor of one GNYC church actually told me “ I like my job” when asked why he is blocking my request.

The other pastor implied that he was threatened he could lose his job.

 I can tell you why I think this is happening, but I prefer to wait until you find out the reason I was kicked out. But these two churches made decisions about my request to join without asking why I was kicked out.

When you find out why I was removed, Then it is up to me to convince you that I have repented, and changed my behavior and ask your church to show mercy and give me a second chance. You can turn me down, with no hard feelings.  I might even be able to prove I was innocent of the charges.

Not one of the two churches I have requested to join
Have found out why I was kicked out

I hope that a church that considers my request for reinstatement will follow church manual page 67 and find out why my former church kicked me out and will allow me to say something.

Further Study:  Reinstatement of membership in the SDA Church Manual

 

Note:  Church Manual page references are from the 19th edition  ( 2015 )

Related Information

Study in Reinstatement of Membership