Shunning is evil and flies in the face of the Gospel. As a church, there is no quicker way to sow the seeds of your own destruction than to treat brothers and sisters with such a cruel and heartless “punishment”.
Paul warned us in II Corinthians 2 that this is the case. Treating brothers and sisters too harshly simply invites Satan to outwit you.
For such a one [this man was openly having a sexual relationship with his mother-in-law] this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. — II Corinthians 2:6-11
Not only does the Scripture warn the church, I also tried to. I did so repeatedly in private and in public.
But the outwitting of Satan had taken ahold of the men who led Mars Hill Church. The Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability seem to be reasonable and good men. Why would they be so stubborn and mule-headed in the way they treated people?
Perhaps it was because their failure to end the harsh treatment of Paul Petry and hundreds of other members simply gave Satan the ability to outwit them.
It is my prayer that true repentance, the glorious antidote to Satan’s tactics, is applied to their hearts and minds very soon. It is not too late for these men to begin to end the havoc that their actions have allowed Satan to have.
I pray, for their sake and the sake of their dear families, that they will fall at the foot of the cross and cry out to Jesus to forgive them for the shunning of Paul Petry. Jesus, who is full of mercy, may reach out and wipe out the foothold these men allowed Satan to have in the life of the Mars Hill Church and (even they may think to the contrary) in their own lives.
God, may you intervene in the lives of these men, and lead them to a genuine understanding your gospel, your forgiveness, and your abundant life.
One thought on “Mars Hill Church – Shunning members is like recruiting Satan on to your side.”
Finding this website has been so very helpful as I was recently ordered to be shunned at my church, Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley in California. I didn’t realize, when I joined the church as a newer Christian some eight years ago, that they practiced an authoritarian “shepherding” model from the 1970’s, complete with shunning people. A Christian doctor (married for 40+ years, devoted husband and father), was stripped of his church membership and ordered shunned by the senior pastor on some trumped up charge not that long ago. I was so confused when it happened. I had never seen anything like it. I wish I had gotten up and walked out on that Sunday. (I have since tracked him and his wife down and asked for forgiveness…and told them that I NEVER believed it.) But wow…what a bunch of bullies our senior pastor and three elders are at GBFSV. And then – a few weeks ago – it happened to me. I had been in and out of the hospital with very bad asthma, hadn’t been to church in more than a month, had ZERO contact with the elders, one of my parents died and we are dealing with all of that, and then I am ordered to be shunned on some trumped up charge that I am not friends with some troubled woman at church, who is friends with the senior pastor, and is known for her hateful speech toward a wide swath of people, It’s bizarre that we were ‘told’ who we are to be ‘friends’ with, and to exercise zero Biblical discernment, and that the slightest dissent gets us labeled as “factious” (causing division), told that we aren’t willing “to submit”, that we aren’t really Christians unless we (blindly) “obey”, and that we’re destined for Hell. All of my close friends have been ordered to shun me and as my twin sister has said — what will happen to them if they don’t? (The doctor who was stripped of his membership and ordered shunned is a good friend of Pastor John MacArthur’s in Southern California, who was outraged at what was done to his long-time friend the doctor at GBFSV.) I have met quite a few people that have been shunned, including those who discovered their children were being sexually abused at churches by clergy members and then ALL members were ordered to NEVER talk to those families, who were reeling in pain. Those families, and children, have NEVER stepped foot in a church again as members. Can you blame them? (Rev. Billy Graham’s grandson Boz – a Christian, a former child sex crimes prosecutor, a law school professor, and founder of G.R.A.C.E. – Godly Response To Abuse in the Christian Environment, covers this topic so well at his organization’s website.)