Length: 138 pp
Author: Jonathan Leeman
Jonathan Leeman concisely argues for church discipline and gives many helpful case studies in applying church discipline in his simply titled book, Church Discipline. Essential and urgent, this book is not for just a few.
More specifically, a church needs to understand that church membership is not like membership in a club or some other voluntary organization. It’s about citizenship in a kingdom in which we are affirmed and recognized as ambassadors by the king’s embassy-like representative, the local church. Individual Christians do not have the authority, once they become convinced that they are Christians, to stand before the world and say, “Hey world, I’m with Jesus,” through self-baptism and giving themselves the Lord’s Supper. No, the church has that authority, through the power of the keys.
What is church membership? Church membership is the church’s public affirmation of an individual Christian’s profession of faith in Jesus, and it’s the individual’s decision to submit to the oversight of the church. When your church begins to understand that, the idea of church discipline will start to make a lot more sense.
It will also help people to understand why they don’t have the authority to simply resign their membership when threatened with discipline. People join the church by the authority of a church, and they exit the church by the authority of the church.