Monthly Archives: January 2012

Driscoll: Matthew 18, those who don’t listen, pagans and tax collectors

Two posts describe the approach to discipline followed by Mark Driscoll's Church at Mars Hill:

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.

Habits not resolutions

After proving to be a complete failure when it comes to New Year resolutions I have decided to follow what seems to work better for me.

I have been using HabitForge since August 2010 and it has been hugely helpful in getting me riding bikes more regularly (I have now ridden a bike 428 days in a row).

So I have created two new habits on  HabitForge. One is a negative and one a positive and they are both aimed at my general health/wellbeing.

The negative one is to have no late night snacks. I am appalling for scoffing lots and lots of unhealthy stuff late at night. I know I feel better when I don't (and not doing this makes the biggest single difference to my overall weight) but I still do it. This bad habit sets me up for a number of others (such as very late nights), however, simpoly knowing how bad it is doesn't help me kick it. I find New Year resolutions don't work for this type of behaviour as it only takes one miss early on and the New Year resolution is broken and loses all it's impact. The daily habit instead helps me focus on achieving long runs of days and allows me to restart immediately after any failures. Anyway to allow myself a tick in the habit achieved box it will mean nothing but water or herbal tea after we finish our evening meal.

The positive one is something that I know I should do and do manage occasionally but not with much regularity is stretching. I don't mean a simple stretch while lying in bed but a set of stretches to improve my overall mobility and flexibility (both of which are pretty poor). Again it is strange to me why I find it so difficult to do regularly something that makes such a big difference (far less back pain and so many things are just easier to do when you can bend more easily). So again I am going to try the daily habit on this. To tick the box I need to do several minutes of careful stretching (I think just after my morning shower is the best time for me).

The first target for both these habits is 21 days in a row, at this point it is claimed your body/mind adjusts and you have got them ingrained. For me to be sure it takes a lot longer than that which is why I still monitor the daily cycling habit after well over 400 days in a row.