This is such a friendler post than what I started writing yesterday on this subject. Thank you God for time to think through commenting. I do have a question though about a denomination that I’ve been a part of since birth:
Are the Southern Baptist, by their passing of the resolution “On Regenerate Church Membership and Church Member Restoration” claiming that all the 10 million missing people from their membership rolls are in need of discipline? You can read the resolution here: http://www.bpnews.net/blog/article.asp?id=176. It passed at the denomination’s convention earlier this month.
If so, I have a problem with that. My suspicion is that not everyone understands or even agrees with the system of record keeping Southern Baptist hold so dear. In our military town, for example, people move away, join a church that doesn’t request “letters”, and never think to notify the sending church. Are they living in sin because of an oversight in record keeping?
I know that’s not the intent of this resolution. Hopefully it is incredibly well-meaning to make sure disciples are being made in keeping with the teachings of Christ, but perception says otherwise, and, as I have learned in church planting trying to reach lost people, perception carries a lot of weight with the unchurched/unsaved world.
I think the proper response may be to follow up with those “misplaced” members, find out where they are in their walk with Christ, and if necessary, adjust the churches records. If discipline is needed then it can be addressed then. I would suggest starting with the “love others” approach first.
Just a suggestion.