If We Won't Discipline Are We Really A Church?

re-post from 12 September 2007 — One of the clearest commands our Lord gave during his ministry, before his crucifixion, death, burial, and ascension, was to practice discipline in the congregations (Matt 18). It has been abused, but more often it has . . . Continue reading →

Fencing the Table or the Scandal of the Church

Perhaps nothing so scandalizes the contemporary (i.e. “Modern”) church as the attempt by the visible church to obey the teaching of Jesus and the teaching of the Apostles concerning the Lord’s Table. I say this for three reasons. 1) Recently I’ve been . . . Continue reading →

Now This is the Way It's Done

It’s one thing for consistories, sessions, presbyteries, classes, synods, and general assemblies to make statements against the Federal Vision (and the New Perspective(s) on Paul). Those were and are necessary and important preliminary steps but those statements must be followed with ecclesiastical . . . Continue reading →

On Lapsing Members: Coping with a Transient Culture

Re-Posted from Sept 9, 2009. The HB has addressed the problem of “churchless evangelicals” before. This question is a little different. How should consistories/sessions address the problem of members of a congregation who simply seem to disappear as if they’ve fallen off . . . Continue reading →

Is the Reformed Faith a Second Blessing?

In response to Jason Stellman’s monday post the question has arisen as to what should be required for membership in a confessional Reformed (e.g., Three Forms) or Presbyterian (Westminster Standards) congregation. The argument has been made that, in American Presbyterian churches, the . . . Continue reading →

How To Fence the Lord’s Table (2)

How to Fence the Lord’s Table (Part 1) There is irony in fencing the Lord’s Table. What should be a joyous celebration, after due preparation of course, and a communion of believers with their risen Lord and with one another, is for . . . Continue reading →

The New Normal

Internet pornography is probably the number one pastoral problem in the world today. I wonder if it is set to become yet more so: as the social shame dimension passes away, it will be harder to maintain discipline on this issue. The . . . Continue reading →

Resources On Fencing The Lord’s Table

Some HB readers have been discussing the question of fencing the Lord’s Table. Fencing is a figurative way of speaking. There aren’t literal fences in Reformed Churches. It’s a way to describe the Reformed attempt to apply Paul’s instruction in 1Corinthians 11:27–32. . . . Continue reading →

In Defense Of Church Discipline

Jonathan Merritt has an interesting two-part post chronicling reaction to the struggles of The Village Church, a large (twice the size of at least two NAPARC denominations) multi-site Acts 29 congregation in Texas, with a church discipline case. In this case a woman discovered . . . Continue reading →

When Pastors Abuse

In the wake of the recent discussions about church discipline there have been many online discussions about whether churches should exercise ecclesiastical discipline (yes, it’s one of the three marks of the true church—see Belgic Confession art. 29), how, and when. In . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 85: Church Discipline Is The Second Key Of The Kingdom

In our late-modern (liquid), nominalist, it is widely regarded that truth claims and official acts are nothing but the exercise of power for personal gain. In other words, we live in a time of great suspicion. Whereas the dominant question of the . . . Continue reading →

When Elders And Ministers Cross The Line

In my experience, the vast majority of elders and ministers are selfless, gracious, kind, patient, and Christlike men. Most serve sacrificially. Most serve out of love for their Savior and out of love for their brothers and sisters in Christ. Unless one . . . Continue reading →

Church Discipline Is Not Mean

Rightly done, even if imperfectly, church discipline is an act of love that seeks the restoration of a brother or sister for that person’s well being. It is, after all, “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). He is a “consuming fire” (Heb 12:29). Continue reading →

Church Membership Is Biblical

“I am a member of the church universal. I do not need to be a member of an organized church.” “Our church does not believe in church membership.” “Church membership is unbiblical. It is a man-made tradition.” These are but a few . . . Continue reading →