Rev. Creech says church discipline should be a priority in an age of growing apostasy
By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
September 29, 2022
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Sept. 20 decision to cut ties with a Greensboro church because of its “affirmation, approval and endorsement of homosexual behavior” has been greeted with derision by many, especially since the church — College Park Baptist — had voted to leave the SBC in 1999.
But members of the denominational group’s executive committee, which voted on the matter during a meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, said there was no record of a request from the church to disaffiliate and that the church had not responded to inquiries about the matter, so the vote to confirm that it was not in “friendly cooperation” was necessary.
The Rev. Mark Creech says church discipline should be a priority in an age of growing apostacy.
“We live in a time when most churches are opposed to church discipline, not because they are more loving but because of an erosion of accountability, which is an essential reason for being a church member. It is, however, a biblical concept and should be employed whenever necessary. I think the Convention, in this case, did the right thing,” Creech said. “I even have questions about other churches and their support for LGBTQ that I don’t think have been addressed. These churches have ICHABOD over the door, and their leaven should not be allowed to spread unchecked.”
College Park touts itself as an “LGBTQIA Affirming Baptist Church” and describes the body as “an inclusive, fun faith community … doing the best we can and trying not to embarrass Jesus too much.” Officials there said they were too focused on feeding area children to respond to any inquiry from the SBC.
Creech said Christians are called to both feed the hungry and to share biblical truth, not to sacrifice one for the other.
“This idea of ‘trying not to embarrass Jesus’ seems to project humility, but in truth it implies that people have no real way of knowing how to please our Lord, when he makes clear in John 14:15, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments,’ and His requirement for sexual purity is not in question,” Creech said.
He said discipline was taken very seriously in the early church and was practiced whenever an individual, or a church, slipped back into paganism.
“Today pluralism seems to make inner enforcement much more difficult. It’s even getting to the point that a church could face civil actions for slander if its moral standards are upheld but at odds with the state through discipline,” he said.
Creech cautioned that discipline must be exacted with a careful balance.
“A lack of discipline may weaken the church’s inner life and outer mission. However, the wrong kind of discipline, one not applied lovingly and with a redemptive spirit, can result in harmful legalism, unnecessary divisions, and the sanctioning of hypocrisy,” he added.
“Church discipline can be applied successfully. I suggest that in the current environment of growing apostasy among churches in general, it should be one of the most urgent tasks on the church’s agenda.”
While Southern Baptist churches are autonomous, the Convention can expel them if they don’t conform to denominational stances. The SBC’s statement of belief, the Baptist Faith and Message, opposes “all forms of sexual immorality, including … homosexuality.”
Based on this belief, the denomination has cut ties with a small number of churches for failing to properly address sexual abuse. Earlier this month, its executive committee voted to oust a New Jersey church over “alleged discriminatory behavior.”