Have you noticed that in the last few years you seldom hear about airliners crashing? Yes, it happens every now and then, but it used to be that there would be a couple of big ones every year. Overall, it was still quite safe, but the big accidents made a big impression with heaps of people. But today accidents are increasingly rare, especially considering the even bigger numbers of commercial aircraft that are flying. Why is this?
One reason is something called Cockpit (or Crew) Resource Management or CRM. Cockpit Resource Management is something airlines use to eliminate human error and improve safety. There are strict guidelines about what goes on in a cockpit. So, for instance, there are certain critical times where the conversation can only be about what is going on with the flight. There is accountability between crew members. There are extensive checklists that need to be strictly followed. Cockpit Resource Management is a key reason why travelling by airline today is absolutely the safest way to travel. In fact, the medical community is adopting much of the same philosophy and the same procedures for operating rooms. It’s expected this will save lives in hospitals too.
I think we can all agree: in aviation and in medicine, if you just let people do their own thing, the results can be disastrous. Even the world recognizes the value of strict discipline in certain contexts, like in the cockpit or the operating room. Even the world sees the necessity of discipline to save lives. Likewise the church needs to see the necessity of discipline for eternal salvation. Letting people go their own way and do their own thing might avoid confrontation and might be the comfortable thing to do, but it is not a loving thing to do.
No, a loving church will always practice discipline in conformity with the Word of God. After all, this is what our loving Saviour taught us to do in Matthew 18:15-20. If we love him – and if we love one another – we’ll want to follow his wise way.