After much prayer, counsel, and scripture reading, I have been convicted that I have misrepresented Christ and his word in the skipping of step three during the church discipline issue of March 5th, 2012. This letter is my public repentance and a record of what has gone on between me and God.
On March 4th and 5th, I believed I had exhausted all means of moving to step three of church discipline (bringing the matter before the church and calling for public repentance), and because the accused was unreachable, I moved on Titus 3:10-11, to warn once, then twice, then to have nothing to do with the person, knowing they are warped, sinful, and self-condemned. Fortunately, even while I moved directly to step four (declaring the person to be unrepentant and an unbeliever), several who read this treated my step four as step three, and God protected the church-discipline proceedings from my sin.
Upon prayer and scripture reading, I was especially convicted by the danger which a skipped step places the sinner in, as evidenced by the sin (my sin) which is committed in Matthew 18:31 when steps were skipped, “When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.” The proper response for these fellow servants was to confront their friend first privately, then with witnesses, then in a larger setting, and only finally turn him over to the master.
Beloved, I skipped the “larger setting” or bringing it before the church, and moved directly to the dangerous step of turning the person over to the Master. I sincerely apologize for the damage this may have caused the name of Christ, and the unity of the body. I have learned much from this sin and subsequent conviction, and pray that you are able to learn from my mistake, sin, and experience instead of having to walk this road yourself.
In the future I will make every effort to see church discipline carried out in precisely the way which it is described in Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Timothy 5:19-21, among others. Church discipline is a wonderful gift given to the church by Christ by which we may reclaim brothers who are in sin, and I pray that I will never fail to follow it faithfully again, and that you likewise will strive to uphold Christ’s word perfectly.
Believer, rejoice with me in the words of that great hymn,
My sin, oh the bliss, of this glorious thought:
My sin, not in part, but the whole
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Oh my soul.
For Christ and his bride,
Post Script: Concerning the matter at hand, step three was completed inadvertently to my actions and sin, and many others have witnessed the dangers I noted, as well as other fruit that has emerged in the time that has elapsed, and so we have unfortunately reached step four, not in my faithfulness, but in the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ.