What Is Church Discipline? - Vintage Church

Mark Driscoll

In chapter seven of Vintage Church we answer the question, "What Is Church Discipline?" This doctrine is widely ignored, often misunderstood, and incredibly important. In preparing to write Vintage Church I did not find one book on the subject that I felt covered the breadth of biblical teaching on the matter. So, this chapter is packed with a vast overview of what the Scriptures say regarding various forms of church discipline. Our excerpt from Vintage Church pages 172-173 says: Church discipline is one of the most misunderstood and yet most desperately needed ministries within the church. We do not believe that it is an optional ministry of the church but one required of us in Scripture. There are multiple mandates for church discipline to church leaders and churches throughout the New Testament from both Jesus and Paul (Matt. 18:15-17; Gal. 6:1; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; Titus 3:10-11; 2 Thess. 3:14-16). Subsequently, it is imperative that unrepentant sin and false teaching by professing Christians be disciplined by the church through its leaders. Discipline is the responsibility of the church body, which includes Jesus Christ and the elders, deacons, and members of the church. Discipline is intended to bring believers in line with God's standard for his glory, the progress of his kingdom, and the blessedness of the individual as well. Sadly, what most people think of when they hear "church discipline" is excommunication, the final stage of the biblical process. Excommunication is what happens when discipline fails to result in repentance and reconciliation. This misunderstanding plagues most discussions and most practices, sabotaging the grace of God that can come through church discipline.

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