By contrast, the blog post says:
The church is made up of sinners, leadership included. The result is that sometimes things are handled poorly by leaders in a church discipline process and sometimes those who are under church discipline respond poorly. In such instances, it is the responsibility of the church leadership to protect our members, and when we hear of leaders overstepping their authority through the church discipline process we are quick to act to rectify the situation.
In both cases that have been brought to light, things did not go as they should have, and well before they were ever written about in a public setting by bloggers and journalists, Mars Hill leadership stepped in to investigate. As a result of those investigations, it was determined that the leaders involved had a pattern of overstepping their authority. As such, they were released and are no longer on paid staff or in formal leadership in any capacity at Mars Hill Church. Again, these actions were taken months ago, prior to any public exposure. … We're reviewing our current church discipline cases to make sure all our local leaders are operating within the spirit of love intended to be present in our existing policies.
The church also said that church discipline is rare at Mars Hill: "Out of 5,417 members, we currently have nine church discipline cases in process, which represents 0.17% of our members." Rarer still, the church said, are leaders overstepping their authority through church discipline. "By and large," the blog post said, "the process adheres to biblical standards, is healthy and loving, and results in restoration."
Update:Mars Hill's Justin Dean explains: "We want to clarify that there are many leaders involved in the discipline process and the vast majority did a Christ-honoring job of pastoring those people. The two leaders who we identified in the blog were removed because of overstepping their authority in cases unrelated to the Andrew and Lance cases. Our goal in mentioning them was to say that we protect our people and not our leaders." The church has updated its blog post and this article has been edited to reflect those comments.
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In 2005 Christianity Today published a cover package on church discipline. Articles included:
How Discipline Died | The church should stop taking its cues from the state. by Marlin Jeschke
Shaping Holy Disciples | Mark Dever says church discipline is not about punishment or self-help. Interview by Mark Galli
Spheres of Accountability | The dynamics of discipline in the megachurch. by John Ortberg
Keeping the Lawyers at Bay | How to correct members while staying out of court. by Ken Sande
Healing the Body of Christ | Church discipline is as much about God as it is about erring believers. by David Neff
Our Uniquely Undisciplined Moment | Formal accountability has been a core part of church life from its earliest days. by Thomas C. Oden
Other articles on church discipline include:
Bottom-Up Discipline | What do you do when your pastor—or your entire denomination—strays? By Ted Olsen (February 2007)
Church Discipline on the Rise | Or maybe just lawsuits. By Rob Moll (January 18, 2008)
Debates on Debates on Church Discipline | Catholic bishops will issue statement on Communion as a Matthew 18 lawsuit is reinstated against a Texas Bible church. (June 2004)
Sex, Money … Pride? Why Pastors Are Stepping Down | What's causing some well-known leaders like C. J. Mahaney (and John Piper before him) to step aside is not what you might think. (July 14, 2011)