Lecture 8 – Purposes of Corrective Discipline

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 The purposes of corrective discipline

1. The maintaining of the honor of God in His church

1 Pet. 2:9-12

Rom. 2:22-24

Titus 2:5

Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976), p. 121.

John Owen, The Works of John Owen, vol. 16, (London: Banner of Truth Trust,1968), p. 159.

2. The restoration and salvation of the members of the church

Mt. 22:14

Heb. 10:38-39

Mt. 18:15

1 Cor. 5:5

Gal. 6:1

2 Thes. 3:14-15

Rev. 3:19

Jeschke, Marlin (1973). Discipling the Brother. (p. 105).  “There has, unfortunately, been bad excommunication practice, and this has conditioned the thinking of many people to the point where they can see nothing redemptive in the dismissal of a member from the church. Therefore it is essential to see that excommunication does not represent a breakdown of grace or a departure from the gospel. Excommunication is a renewed presentation of the gospel message to an impenitent brother in that it confronts him with the truth Paul states in 1 Corinthians 6:9, ‘The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.’ To utter this truth in warning to those who have apostatized is just as consistent with the nature of the gospel as informing men in evangelism that unless they repent and believe the gospel they will not enter the kingdom of God. Thus excommunication, rightly practiced, never cuts men off from grace. On the contrary, its function is to prevent persons from anesthetizing themselves against grace. Excommunication is the form under which the church continues to make grace available to the impenitent.  Excommunication is not, then, merely loveless condemnation. It is as necessary in spiritual life as candid diagnosis is in medical practice. Without facing the truth persons cannot find spiritual healing. Far from being unloving, evangelical excommunication is the only loving and redeeming course of action possible in given circumstance.”

Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976), p. 121.

3. The advancement of the purity and health of the church itself

Rom. 16:17

1 Cor. 5:6

Eph. 4:30

Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976), p. 121.

4. The deterring of others from sin

1 Tim. 5:19-20

Acts 5:11-13

Deut. 17:12-13; Deut. 13:11; Deut. 19:20

Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976), p. 121.

5. The prevention of a judicial judgment of Christ upon the congregation

Rev. 2:5

Rev. 2:14-16, Rev. 2:22

Joshua 7

1 Cor. 11:30

 

6. The effectiveness of our witness to the world often demands it.

Mt. 5:16

Phil. 2:14-15

Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976), p. 121. Application 3.

 

NOTE: Jonathan Edwards has an excellent list of the purposes of corrective discipline in vol. 2, pp. 118-121 in his Complete Works, from which I have quoted repeatedly. Also, there is an excellent summary statement of the purposes of God and church discipline found in vol. 16 of John Owen.

As an example of how one church to has attempted to spell out the application of these Biblical principles in its church constitution, consult Appendix# 6 which contains a copy of the section on “Church Discipline” from the Constitution of Trinity Baptist Church of Montville, New Jersey.

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