Handbook of Church Discipline
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About "Handbook of Church Discipline"
This is a handbook for pastors, elders, and all Christians who want to see how Scripture presents the process of discipline that should operate in the Christian community. It was written in response to the various concerns that threaten to tear apart marriages, families, friendships, and congregations--concerns that call for a biblical approach to discipline that can heal fractures, restore right relationship, and ensure the health of the church.Developed around the five corrective steps found especially in Matthew 18:15-17, this book helps church leaders deal with the sorts of problems that require the church's disciplinary response. Charting a course that combines discernment with appropriate action, this simple, readable handbook can have a profound effect on the community of believers.
Meet the Author
Jay E Adams
Jay E. Adams (PhD) is a frequent lecturer at ministerial conferences both here and abroad. He has taught in England, France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, N. Ireland, South Africa, Canada, Brazil, Guatemala, New Zealand, Austria, North Korea, and China. He has published over 75 books and is the translator of "The Christian Counselor's New Testament". He recently completed the ten volume "Christian Counselor's Commentary Series". He and his wife Betty Jane have four children.
Table Of Contents
Excerpt from: Handbook of Church Discipline
Chapter 1 What Is Church Discipline? The terms 'disciple' and 'discipline' obviously have a common Latin source. The source is a word family that has to do with education. Discipline is inextricably linked to education. But the kind of education of which the Bible speaks, and from which church discipline takes its impetus, is very different from the sort of education with which we are now familiar in America. The educational model from which the idea of church discipline stems once was known in our country, but it became extinct as the result of the successful spread of the permissive, self-expression practices advocated by John Dewey and others in an earlier generation. Biblical education, from which ideas of church discipline flow, is education with teeth; it is education that sees to it that the job gets done. The Old Testament word musar and the New Testament word paideia set forth this idea of education backed by force. As Hebrews 12:5--11 makes clear (here the New Testament writer uses paideia to translate the Hebrew musar into Greek), such education is not always pleasant and at the time can be quite painful: Of course, all discipline [paideia] seems painful rather than pleasant for the moment, but later on it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11). But notice the purpose of discipline: it functions in the educational process to produce righteousness as its fruit, a fruit which, when you bite into it, tastes like peace. Righteousness (rightness; conformity to Christ's standard of conduct) has the flavor of peace because, wherever it is found, it produces harmony and order. Where there is conformity to God's will, there is structure; where there is biblical structure the prime condition for learning is present: peace. Without peace, learning is impossible. Education depends on order. That is one of the major reasons why in the recent past, and even up to the present, there has been such poor learning in our schools---peace, a chief factor in the learning situation, has been missing. Where there is no peace, there is no learning; where there is no discipline, there is no order; where there is no order there is no peace. Discipline is, at its heart and core, good order. But why should we be thinking about education? How is it that church discipline connects with education? Because the very term that Christ uses concerning the church indicates that He conceives of it as an educational institution. When Jesus beckons to us, inviting us to find refreshment in Him, He does so in educational language: Come to Me, all who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you [the word in the original is a verb, not a noun, as the KJV has it]. Put My yoke on you and learn from Me; I am meek and humble in heart, and you will discover refreshment for your souls. My yoke is easy to wear and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28--30) Here the great Teacher describes conversion as the experience of enrolling in His school and learning how to live from Him. Conversion involves becoming a disciple (student) of Christ. One does not take some six-week course to qualify for entrance into the church, graduate from the course, and cease being a student. No, there is nothing like that in the Bible. Rather, the entire course of one's Christian life is described as a learning experience in the school of Christ. Notice the educational language in Christ's invitation: 'learn from Me,' 'Put My yoke on you.' The latter expression was used by the Jews to describe one's submission to a teacher as he became his disciple (Lamentations 3:27; Sirach 51:23--26; 6:24). In Sirach 51:23, 26, for instance, we read, 'Draw near to me, you who are untaught, and lodge in my school.... Put your neck under the yoke, and let your sons receive instruction....' (Apocrypha, RSV). Moreover, when Jesus gave what is called the 'Great Commission,' He really issued a command to recruit students for His school. Again, we meet educational language throughout: 'disciple [recruit and train students from] all nations, ... teaching them to observe ...' (Matthew 28:18, 20). When we are baptized into the church, we thereby matriculate into Christ's school. Then, for the rest of our earthly life, we are to be taught (not facts alone, but also) to obey the commands of Christ. This is education with force, education backed up by the discipline of good order that is necessary for learning to take place. And of those recalcitrant students who grow restive under His tutelage, Jesus says, 'I convict and discipline these about whom I care' (Revelation 3:19a). If when the preacher says, 'Let me read from God's Word, ...' only some listen, but others walk down the aisle to the collection plate and put their money in, some go outside for a break, some sing a hymn, some start talking, and some begin praying, you have chaos. Suppose the same disorder continued throughout the sermon. There would be precious little learning occurring! In the church service all things must be done 'decently and in order' (1 Corinthians 14:40); various rules for order and discipline in the conduct of worship are given in the chapter. But what is true of the church service is also true of the entire life of the church as a body. All must be done with order and decency. God will have no chaos in His church (1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 11). In the last verse of the preceding parenthesis, Paul speaks of those 'among you who are living in a totally unstructured way' and writes some strong words, to which we shall return later, about how to discipline them if they fail to heed His orders. So, God is running a school in which He expects learning to take place. To bring about that learning, He has ordered His church to enforce strict rules of discipline. That she has failed to do so in recent days accounts for much of the ignorance and gullibility found among so many Christians in our time. If words from the pulpit are not enforced by action from the congregation and the elders, members will learn that the church does not really mean what it says. They ma y learn facts for the next Bible quiz, but not how to 'observe' (obey) Christ's commands.