God said to Israel, “I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (Leviticus 26:12 NASU). The middle two phrases present an expression of the covenant relationship between the Lord and His people. In an earlier blog we covered the first major concept (“I will . . . be your God”) and discovered whom we should serve. Now we turn to the second major concept (“you shall be My people”) and how we should live for Him.
Jesus taught His disciples, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).… Continue reading
Note: This is the conclusion to a four part series addressing the practice of Church Discipline over the course of the life of the Church. The previous posts may be accessed in order here, here, and here.
Perhaps one of the most significant changes in the landscape of the Protestant Reformation by the time of the 19th century was the various expressions of the faith which had come into their own. For example, the Baptists had grown from the Anabaptists and English Separatists of the Continental as well as English Reformations.1 These early Baptists held that church discipline was a practice necessary within a redeemed community and applied the practice rigorously in the New World which makes them a good starting place for examining the practice of church discipline and restoration in the contemporary church.… Continue reading
Note: This installment of our mini-series on Church Discipline in Church History will be a bit longer than normal in order to address the next time period which influences our current understanding of this practice. For review you may find the first two installments here and here.
Although there are some twelve centuries of history between the third century fathers, Tertullian and Cyprian and the Reformers, I will focus on the latter group. These men heavily influence our modern practice of church discipline. Therefore, it would seem wise to address at least two of the most well-known individual Reformers as well as one group within them.… Continue reading
In our first installment we addressed the prescription and practice of church discipline and restoration in the Apostolic, 1st Century, Church. In this post we will turn our attention to the second through fourth centuries which brought forth various challenges to the church at large. During this time two African church leaders were at work preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tertullian and Cyprian both ministered in Carthage.
Tertullian was born in Carthage into a likely pagan home. He was the beneficiary of an excellent education which saw him studying law in Rome. While in Rome he was impressed with the courage displayed by condemned Christians which ultimately resulted in his conversion.… Continue reading
The issue or topic of Church Discipline is one which seems to be becoming one of more focus as the twenty-first century church seeks to either maintain or recapture ground lost to the post-modern era from which it is emerging. For some this may be a topic of which little or nothing is known while for others it may be a bit of a ‘hobby-horse’ issue. Therefore, it will not be the goal of this series to try to convince anyone of the requirement of this practice one way or another. Rather, the focus will be to provide background information from the foundation of the church at Pentecost to the present regarding the practice of church discipline and it its goal of restoration within the context of the church.… Continue reading