Monday, January 21, 2008

Bring Back the Thumb Screws!

Via Ed Cone, we found this quite remarkable Wall Street Journal article on the movement in some evangelical circles to enforce church discipline by means of handcuffs if necessary:
...some conservative Protestant pastors [want] to bring back church discipline, an ancient practice in which suspected sinners are privately confronted and then publicly castigated and excommunicated if they refuse to repent. While many Christians find such practices outdated, pastors in large and small churches across the country are expelling members for offenses ranging from adultery and theft to gossiping, skipping service and criticizing church leaders.

Hmmm. Who will be left to worship, we wonder, if every gossip, every active adulterer, let alone every private tippler or shop-lifter gets shunned out the church-house doors? And what about those who criticize "church leaders"? When I was a kid, nit-picking the pastor's sermon over Sunday afternoon fried chicken was a sacred obligation. Take that away, and what have you got left?

Otherwise this movement supplies some much-needed clarity on how the Puritan States of America might actually operate should we be blessed with (finally!) theocracy.

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