Churches of Christ Faithful To The Lord Practice Church Discipline
The Bible tells us that we are to judge those that
are "within" (Christians, members of the Lord's church), but that God will judge those that are "Without" (non-Christians, those not
members of the church of Christ -- 1 Cor. 5:12). "A little leaven leavens the whole lump, " thus it is necessary that church discipline
The Word of God (our guide) teaches that church discipline must be practiced to keep the church pure and holy
as God would have her to be (cf. Eph. 5:27). The following Scriptures demand that church discipline be practiced:
if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and
a tax collector."
Rom. 16:17-18 "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which
you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly. And by smooth words and
flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple."
1 Cor. 5:13 "But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves
the evil person."
2 Thess. 3:6 "But we command you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother
who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us."
Members subject to church discipline include:
who sins against a brother and will not repent.
- One guilty of immoral conduct (adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc.).
- One who
sows division or discord within the body.
- One who walks disorderly (is out of step with God's Word).
- One who is a liar.
- One who uses
profane and foul speech.
- One who is a heretic or factious -- a false teacher.
- One who is a busybody, tattler, and backbiter.
- One who
is guilty of covetousness.
- One who willfully forsakes the assemblies of the church.
A few Scriptures that list sins that are subject
to church discipline:
- Rom. 1:26-32 "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use
for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lust for one another, men
with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not
like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled
with all unrighteousness, and sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness;
they are wisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil thing, disobedient to parents, undiscerning,
untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things
are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."
- 1 Cor. 6:9-10 "Do you not know that the
unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,
nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."
- Col. 3:5-9"Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which
is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked
when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out
of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds."
- Gal. 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh
are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts
of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand,
just as I also told you in time past, that those who prictice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
The Purpose For Church
It's purpose is to try and get one to be ashamed of his sins and repent -- it is used when all else fails in an attempt
to save the soul.
It's purpose is to save the church as sin unchecked will affect the entire congregation (cf. 1 Cor. 5:6).
is preventive -- to demonstrate to others that willful sin will not be tolerated within the Lord's church.
It's purpose is to obey
the Lord's will in not allowing sin to infect the body of Christ.
Answers To Criticism Of Being Unloving And Judgmental
(agape) love always seeks the other persons best spiritual interest. It is because God loves His children (Christians) that He chastens
or disciplines them. The Bible says,"My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by
Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as
with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten" (Heb. 12:5-7)? A principle is thus set forth that applies in
the home and the church. Parents who love their children discipline them (Eph. 6:4), and the faithful church members discipline their
wayward brethren who refuse to repent and walk by the "rule" (Phil. 3:16) given by God. Discipline is an act of love -- not hate,
seeking to save a soul that is lost.
Some quote Matthew 7:1 that says, "Judge not, that you be not judged" in an attempt
to prove that all judging is forbidden by God. This Scripture only forbids rash, harsh, unjust judgment more concerned about appearance
than facts. Most people overlook Jesus saying in John 7:24, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge righeous judgment." The Bible
teaches that there is good fruit and evil fruit (Matt. 7:17-18) and then states, "Therefore by their fruits you will know them." (Matt.
7:20). John, the forerunner of Christ, demanded that the people "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance" (Luke 3:8). Righteous
or right judgment can therefore be made regarding those who refuse to repent and turn from their sins.
Treatment Of Those Who Are Disciplined
members are to have no company with them.... not even to eat with such a person.... turn away from them (2 Thess. 3:14; 1Cor. 5:9-11,
13; Rom. 16:17).
Faithful members cannot continue to have social fellowship with one who has been diciplined.
Faithful members are,
however, to "admonish" the disciplined brother or sister to repent at every opportunity (2 Thess. 3:15).
Those Who Identify As
Members Of This Congregation
The church of Christ at Rowlett
Those who "place membership" or "identify" with this congregation
of the Lord's people understand and agree that they are subject to all of God's New Testament Laws. It is also understood and agreed
to that a refusal to repent of sin is subject to church discipline.