Two posts describe the approach to discipline followed by Mark Driscoll's Church at Mars Hill:
- Mark Driscoll’s Church Discipline Contract: Looking For True Repentance at Mars Hill Church? Sign on the Dotted Line
- Mark Driscoll’s ‘Gospel Shame’: The Truth About Discipline, Excommunication, and Cult-like Control at Mars Hil
In the second part a very unpleasent letter to Mars Hill members describes how they should treat someone who leaves the Church "under discipline", the behaviour is explained as being compatible with the process of deailing with sin in the Church detailed in Matthew chapter 18:15-17:
Dealing With Sin in the Church
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.The letter gives specific instructions to members of the Church that include not eating meals with the person under Church Discipline.
However, I wonder what Matthew thinks Jesus means when he says "treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector". I can only imagine that Jesus expects us to treat someone who refused to listen to the Church in the same way as he (Jesus) treats pagans and tax collectors.
Fortunately, we have three very specific gospel accounts in Matthew, Mark and Luke to see how Jesus treats Tax Collectors and Sinners. In all three Jesus gets into trouble for eating with tax collectors and sinners. We can of course add to this the story of Zaccheus in Luke Chapter 19 where Jesus deliberately seeks out a tax collector and invites himself for a meal when the Tax Collector has not yet repented or changed.
Therefore, if we are to treat someone who won't listen to the Church as Jesus treats tax collectors and sinners shouldn't we be choosing to eat with them?
Please do not take this to mean that this is my only disagreement with the way that Mark Driscoll teaches his Church to handle "discipline". I note it because I find it horribly ironic when a Church claims to be following specific teaching Jesus while ignoring the personal example of Jesus.