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Has the Church of God practiced shunning more than restoration?

 
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Post Has the Church of God practiced shunning more than restoration? roughridercog
Down through the decades, I've seen numerous ministers homes and ministries fall apart apart due to sinful activities. Many of them left the organization in shame. Some started independent ministries while others are never heard from again.
What are our official steps to restoration? When is shunning the best step?

Thought this would make interesting discussion over my morning coffee.
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Post Re: Has the Church of God practiced shunning more than restoration? Cojak
roughridercog wrote:
Down through the decades, I've seen numerous ministers homes and ministries fall apart apart due to sinful activities. Many of them left the organization in shame. Some started independent ministries while others are never heard from again.
What are our official steps to restoration? When is shunning the best step?

Thought this would make interesting discussion over my morning coffee.


It makes a big difference in the popularity of the 'SINNER.' I have found that one is 'crossways', with our COG you can be hurt if you fall on the wrong side, shunning or restoration.

I have found that personally, I have a problem and wrestle with it, with a Christian who becomes contrite 'when caught in a failure' VS those who turn to leaders and friends confessing the sin, when they FEEL the weight of their SIN before it is known or publicized.

I tend to think it is a case of "I'm Sorry I got caught!" But still I must kick myself because I know EVERYONE deserves forgiveness before asking for it. I know to the sinner, my forgiveness is worth nothing toward their path to restoration, but more for my better state of mind. Embarassed
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Yesterday at 11:34 am


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Post Dave Dorsey
This is a great question. In general, it seems that church discipline is either harsh and retributive or completely absent. It is rare to find a church that engages in serious but loving and restorative discipline.

Possibly because there are two easy ways to keep people in your church: establish an abusive relationship with them, or ignore their unrepentant sin. Biblical church discipline runs the risk of scaring people away, but it is a means of God's grace to restore.
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Post Cojak, I heard one comedian say... Aaron Scott
"People say, 'They're only apologizing because they got caught!' Well, yeah, that's how apologies have ALWAYS worked. It you apologize before you're caught, that's called a confession!"

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Post FLRon
Dave Dorsey wrote:
This is a great question. In general, it seems that church discipline is either harsh and retributive or completely absent. It is rare to find a church that engages in serious but loving and restorative discipline.

Possibly because there are two easy ways to keep people in your church: establish an abusive relationship with them, or ignore their unrepentant sin. Biblical church discipline runs the risk of scaring people away, but it is a means of God's grace to restore.


Dave, why do you think it is rare to find a church that engages in restorative discipline? I agree with you, but I’m not sure I understand why it is that way. Could it be because it requires a lot of work, time for which most pastors simply don’t have? Or perhaps it’s because it’s simply easier for all concerned if the person just disappears, or goes to another church? At any rate, this is an issue I have wondered about for years.
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Post Carolyn Smith
The official steps to restoration are in the COG minutes, which I don't have, but I know they include stepping out of all ministry roles for a season. (Most ministers do not want to do this.) I think the minister has to repent and show himself/herself as a member in good standing for 6 months before they are allowed to return to any ministry role, but perhaps it is a year? (Somebody with a minutes book look that up. Laughing )

I think a lot of ministers don't know where to go for help. They are afraid their reputations will be ruined, and they don't know who they can trust. Not COG, but this was the case with Jimmy Swaggart from what I understand. He struggled with his sin but didn't know who he could trust, anyone he could go to for help. This is why ministers should be careful to cultivate friendships with other pastors they can trust who would keep them accountable and/or someone they could go to with a problem like this. Sadly, this is often not the case from most ministers I've heard talk about this. I think attitudes towards Christian counseling have changed for the most part, so perhaps more would seek counseling than those 20 years ago.

I think it also depends on if the person is willing to repent and turn away from the person they were having an affair with and seek restoration with their spouse if that's possible. Many are not.

The weirdest crusade we ever held (years ago) was when a pastor confided to my husband before the Sunday morning service that he was going to announce he was leaving the church after the morning service. We never saw him again the rest of the crusade. The overseer had to come in that night and talk to the church about who would replace him. VERY strange services, very strange "feeling" in general. We found out much later he had been having an affair with someone in the church, and that was the reason for the sudden exit.

Stephen Mizell, a former COG minister, went through this, left his church, etc., (which he has publicly discussed) and wrote a book called, "The Long Walk Back" describing his journey through this experience. He has built a successful, thriving, independent church here in NC. His book is available on Amazon and is an interesting read.

Another reality in the COG is that if a minister "goes independent" for any reason, they are generally shunned by their former pastor buddies in the COG. I have heard some say once they left, it was like they had died. They heard from no one.
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