III. Church censures are necessary, for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren, for deterring of others from the like offenses, for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump, for vindicating the honor of Christ, and the holy profession of the Gospel, and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer His covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.
IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by admonition; suspension from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for a season; and by excommunication from the Church; according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person. [Chapter XXX of the Westminster Confession of Faith, Of Church Censures]
Church discipline is hard, painful, touchy, easily misunderstood, misapplied, maligned, loving, ignored, frightening, sanctifying, corrective, and a mark. But unless we forget, it is also biblical.
It is easy to find lectures exploring the subject of baptism or the Lord’s Supper. It is also easy to find a multitude of messages on the Gospel. But church discipline? Not so easy. It is a subject rarely discussed.
Here I would like to introduce you to two lectures by Jonathan Leeman, editorial director of 9Marks. With clarity, conviction and wisdom, Mr. Leeman very helpfully unpacks the subject of church discipline. While the messages are certainly geared for pastors, it is entirely relevant and beneficial for the average listener. In fact, I would urge all the saints to familiarize themselves with the subject matter at hand. It is worthwhile.