Dec 18, 2008

Grace Church: Difficult Discipline (Unpopular)

I went to Grace Community Church in Jacksonville, FL for the F.I.R.E. Conference back in September of this year. I met the pastor, Scott Christmas, and found him to be a very humble, caring man of God. The people at the church were very accommodating. The showed the utmost in hospitality.

When I read the story and saw it related to the church that held the conference I recognized it immediately. The story is about how according to WXJT TV in Jacksonville, a "Woman Says Church Threatening to Make Sins Public." Her sin is that she is in a sexual relationship- by her own admission as seen in this video.

The woman, Rebecca Hancock, who refers to herself as "the church harlot" (although she is not technically a harlot, as that harlots typically receive payment for their sexual sins) and admits to her sexual relationship, now claims that she has left the church. Pastor Christmas has not commented, which is probably wise- she might use any comment as public defamation in a lawsuit. I am sure that hearing the church's side of the story would make it clear that this is church discipline. They did not make it "public," she did. For someone who is angry about being "outed" publicly in the church she shows questionable judgment (or a continued lack of integrity) by taking it to an even more public venue.

Ms. Hancock is being used by the devil to try to damage this upstanding church's reputation and testimony in the community. When church discipline occurs, it is a private church matter and not an issue to bring to the news media. There is no evidence that the church sought to do anything else. The world does not understand church discipline; that is why it is rarely exercised. Grace does not excuse the clear violation of God's Word.

My family will be praying for Grace Community Church in Jacksonville. This must be a difficult time for them. May God give them wisdom and strength to deal with this situation. We will also pray that Ms. Hancock, who is obviously deceived and comfortable in her sin, repents. She says her 'faith' is between her and Jesus. Based on her actions and reactions, it is doubtful she knows much about Jesus. He forgives, but requires repentance.


WoS - odessa said...

Please open your mind enough to consider that Ms. Hancock may trying to avoid having her children embarrassed while at services. Since she severed her personal ties to this church, those are the only people the pastor is going to hurt by making an issue of this.

pregador27 said...

WoS, First, thank you for the comment- condescending as it may have been. Unfortunately, you do not understand the concept behind Biblical church discipline based on your response to my post. The goal is repentance and restoration (as seen in 1 Corinthians 5.1-5, for example).

Additionally, if Ms. Hancock's goal was to save her adult children (ages 18 & 20) from embarrassment at church, tell me how that is consistent with her bringing her sinful behavior out in front of the whole world via the media.

I have read the letter the church sent to Ms. Hancock and did not find anything inappropriate about their approach. They are seeking her spiritual welfare, not popularity with the world or the media.