Church discipline is one place where everything in a church’s life collides. Theory and practice collide. The doctrines of God, sin, judgment, redemption, and eschatology collide. Sometimes personalities collide. And, hopefully, sin and grace collide.
This means that practicing discipline well requires good pastoral and theological sensibilities. So we’re devoting a second eJournal in a row to the topic, both to exercise our own sensibilities and yours. Mark Dever and Greg Gilbert provide counsel on what to do before you practice discipline. Matt Schmucker, both in his new article and in the one from the archives, offers advice on dealing with the non-attenders. Stephen Matteucci considers the importance of the one or two witnesses in Matthew 18. And I tackle the question of whether a member can resign his or her membership in order to avoid discipline altogether.
Finally, several pastors recall lessons they’ve learned the hard way in the forum, where Bob Johnson states the conclusion of the matter well: discipline in a church should be as normal and regular as preaching, teaching, and evangelism. That’s a tough idea to accept, and one more reason we think it’s worth coming back to this issue yet again. May Christ’s bride be made ready.