5 Stars Out Of 5
The how's and why's of church discipline
October 22, 2012
There are other, more detailed resources available on the subject of church discipline, but Jonathan Leeman has done a great service by presenting a small volume that is able to serve as a manual for engaging in "the hard work" of ministry. The book's subtitle, "How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus" is the key to understanding why church discipline should even be a matter of concern. The reputation of Christ is at stake within every local assembly because it is the visible representation of His presence on earth during the present age. As the world interprets the church, so it understands the Savior who gave His life to build it. Generally speaking, by the time a local church senses its need to practice discipline, it needs a hands-on "how to" guide to help it avoid inevitable pitfalls. The first part of Leeman's book establishes the framework that needs to be in place before discipline can be biblically implemented. In part two, he presents several "test cases" giving practical illustrations of how the discipline process works. Although the principle of church discipline is firmly founded in the New Testament (beginning with the essential nature of church membership), the author makes it clear that a "cookie cutter" approach does not dictate every disciplinary decision. Spirit-guided wisdom and biblical instruction must always go hand-in-hand. Leeman's concluding section offers counsel regarding the need to instruct before implementing discipline (something all-too frequently overlooked by well-meaning pastors and church leaders) and the importance of properly organizing the church's membership documents in order to avoid disputes and misunderstandings when discipline cases arise. As our own church moves toward elder-led congregational rule, this little book will no doubt command much discussion. This volume is part of the 9Marks small book series which spell out the essentials for building a healthy church. They all, and especially this one, are highly recommended!