Handbook of Church Discipline
This Handbook of Church Discipline is for pastors, elders, and all Christians presents the process of discipline that should operate in the Christian community. Based chiefly on the five steps of corrective discipline found in Matthew 18:15-17. 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 relationships, and ensure the health of the church. Adams’ 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 your church.
- What Is Church Discipline?
- Preventive Discipline
- Corrective Discipline
- One or Two Others
- Tell It to the Church
- Removal From the Midst
- Restoring to Fellowship
- Cross-Congregational Discipline
About the Author
Jay E. Adams (PhD, University of Missouri) is a former director of advanced studies and professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, as well as a retired pastor. He has written over fifty books on pastoral ministry, preaching, counseling, Bible study, and Christian living. His books include Competent to Counsel, The Christian Counselor’s Manual, and Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible.
Excerpt from Chapter One:
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.