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Definition

Church discipline is the process of correcting sin in the life of the congregation and its members.

Summary

Church discipline typically starts privately and informally, growing to include the whole church only when necessary. In its final, formal, and public stage, church discipline involves removing someone from membership in the church and participation in the Lord’s Table. The goal of discipline is always redemption (1Cor. 5:4), protecting other sheep (v. 6), and honoring the name of Christ (v. 1).

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Discipline: Grace for the Offended

“I believe the process of church discipline saved my life. When my marriage unexpectedly fell apart, my church held up the gospel before my eyes through the process of church discipline. When my wife abandoned me, my elders didn’t.” This is the testimony of a man whose wife committed adultery and then left him. The tale, like all stories of broken marriages, is deeply grieving. “I had been left without reason by a woman who no longer regarded the teachings of Scripture on marriage.” To this day she has not returned. The marriage is over, and she has been excommunicated...

When a Pastor Falls

The allegations against Bishop Eddie Long are horrifying and disgraceful, but not necessarily shocking. Unfortunately, many well known Christian leaders of large ministries have stepped outside of their marriages into sexual immorality. Even more unfortunately, we African Americans often excuse our morally failing leaders as people who are mere men or victims of white conspiracies. But sinners are not victims; they are perpetrators who make choices. Certainly the allegations against Long, if found to be truthful, sadden me and cause me to seek the Lord for more mercy and grace upon my own soul: “Lord, lead me not into temptation...

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