Dancing on the Graves of Sinners or a short response to Mark Driscoll's removal from Acts 29

Unless your head's in the sand or you're a healthy church person who doesn't mind themselves with the goings on of churches not your own, you know that earlier today Acts 29 put out this statement regarding Mark Driscoll. I haven't got much to say on the matter save these few words.

First, this is evidence that discipline within the Church is a several step process, and hardly anybody will be happy with the time it takes to complete those steps. Not those in the right, nor those in the wrong. That's the nature of discipline. We deal with broken people in a broken world. But what we must recognize is regardless of whether we see the process of discipline happening, it could very well be happening and it's not to the public's knowledge yet.

We know Church discipline is happening though because bringing it to the public is near the last step of the process of discipline. That should be a comfort, and not cause for more criticism of the men who have walked that difficult road of process. If you're faced with another experience like this, instead of decrying those who have much more discretion than yourself, try emulating it, exchanging your judgements for prayers for them as they walk through it.

This situation is a reminder that God's design for discipline works—regardless of how long that process takes.

Second, removal from Acts 29 (or removal from covenant membership within the local church), is not the last step of any discipline process. It is (most simplistically) the second-to-last step. The last step is repentance and reconciliation. This is what we ought to have been praying for all along, and that should not change now. Dancing on the grave of a sinner is not the mark of a redeemed person, so take your party elsewhere if that's your response.

Third, pray. Pray for your own pastors that they would humbly receive the counsel of others. Pray for my pastor, the president of Acts 29, as he navigates the questions and backlash of this decision. Pray for the pastors of Mars Hill as they shepherd their people through this time. Pray for Mark and Grace as they respond. Pray for their beautiful children, that they would know the comfort of a God who cares. Pray for yourself, that you would never forget the discipline of the Father toward you—long-suffering, timely, necessary, and faithful—culminating in the awakening of the gospel in your heart.

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:13