Of the Church.
Chapter 26, Paragraph 7.
“To each of these Churches thus gathered, according to his mind, declared in his word, he hath given all that power and authority, which is any way needful, for their carrying on that order in worship, and discipline, which he has instituted for them to observe; with commands, and rules, for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power.”
Matthew 18:17, 18
1 Corinthians 5:4, 5, 5:13
2 Corinthians 2:6-8
“Only God can judge me.”
This is often heard by unbelievers who insist on remaining in their sin. But what about believers? Is it true that only God can judge a believer? If someone joins your local assembly as a member, then falls into repeated sin with no evidence of repentance, what should the church do? Should the unrepentant one simply say, “Only God can judge me!” and everyone goes their own way?
It is true that only God knows who has been regenerated or not. But God also uses the church as a means to correct and rebuke those in her midst. Sometimes, such correction means removing the membership of some people, effectively putting them outside the assembly of believers. If there is an issue of discipline in your church that requires action, the church does not need to seek out permission from a church several towns over in order to enact it. The authority and power to regulate worship and discipline has been given to each local church by the Lord Himself.
Sadly, many churches today do not value the authority they have been given. Too often the requirements for membership are few and far between, and discipline is practically non-existent. This has consequences for the spiritual health of the church. Unchecked sin can poison the well-being of the congregation, so it is important that the church fairly, but firmly administer discipline when necessary.
Questions to Consider
- Is church discipline practiced by your church?