The New Testament Pattern of Church Discipline

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Author: 
Dennis McCallum

Church discipline is based in theory upon divine discipline, and is therefore an act of caring love (Heb. 12:5-12 and Mt. 18:11-14).

  1. Discipline is always remedial in intent, for both the church and the individual (1 Cor. 5:5-7).
  2. It is possible to argue for a distinction between public and private sin areas, but this point is unclear. (Compare Mt. 18:15-17 to Titus 3:10)
  3. Private offenses should be dealt with privately initially (Mt. 18:15-17), but public offenses can be dealt with corporately from the beginning if the church is endangered. Of course, public offenses can also be dealt with privately. Representatives from the elders or deacons should represent the fellowship in the case of public offenses.
  4. Failure to practice church discipline at all is a direct violation of God's will (1 Cor. 5:2). At the same time, considerable latitude is allowable in the interest of the believer.
  5. Failure to discipline victoriously and righteously results in a build-up of frustration and anger within. Such a build-up anger can result in destructive outbursts when self-control is lost.
  6. Study the following passages and determine the teachings they give on the subject of church discipline. Then enter them into your Bible cross reference system.

  • Mt. 18:15-17
  • Rom. 15:14
  • 1 Cor. 5
  • Rom. 16:17,18
  • 1 Cor. 11:29-32
  • 2 Cor. 2:5-11
  • 2 Cor. 7:8-12
  • Gal. 6:1
  • Col. 3:16
  • 1 Thess. 5:14
  • 2 Thess. 3:6-15
  • 1 Tim. 1:20 (Compare 2 Tim. 2:17,18)
  • 1 Tim. 5:1,2
  • 1 Tim. 5:19,20
  • 2 Tim. 2:24-26
  • 2 Tim. 3:16,17
  • Titus 1:13
  • Titus 3:10
  • 3 Jn. 9,10
  • Rev. 2:2, 14-16,20