Biblical Church Discipline
May 30, 2017
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
Every church is required by God to rule itself by the sole authority for faith and practice, which is the New Testament faith recorded in the canon of Scripture.

Christ is the one Head of the church, and as we see in Revelation 1-3, He walks in the midst of the churches and judges the churches. He will not judge a church on the basis of the society and culture in which it exists. He will judge solely on the basis of His Word which is eternally settled in heaven.

We must not have an American church or an Australian church or a Nepali church or a Korean church or a Russian church. We must have a biblical church.

Christ did not accept a church in Corinth that was influenced by Corinthian society. He did not sympathize with such conformity. He used the apostle Paul to instruct and exhort and reprove that church to conform it to God’s Word.

And New Testament discipline is an
essential part of a biblical church that obeys God’s Word.

Biblical church discipline is training and chastening with the goal of conforming the congregation and its individual members to the will of God. It involves teaching, encouragement, correction and reproof, punishment when required, and restoration. Church discipline involves everything necessary to keep a church pure before God (1 Co. 5:7-8). Discipline is a matter of love—love for God, love for holiness, love for the truth, love for Christ’s testimony in the church, love for the brethren, and love for the unsaved who are observing the church’s testimony.

The Goals of Church Discipline

1. To protect the purity of the church, to keep it from being permeated with sin and false doctrine (1 Co. 5:6-8).

The passover depicts salvation through faith in Christ’s blood, and the feast of unleavened bread depicts sanctification. See Lev. 23:4-8. The putting away of all leaven depicts putting sin out of the Christian life and church.
The believers have died and risen with Christ that they should no longer serve sin (Ro. 6:6). We are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness (2 Co. 7:1). Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity (Titus 2:14). Being saved, we are to live unto righteousness (1 Pe. 2:24).

Both of these passages are written in the context of church discipline. In fact, the very epistles themselves (1 Corinthians and Galatians) are examples of the process of church discipline. The apostle was writing to correct sin and error; he was teaching, pleading, rebuking, warning. All of these things are involved in church discipline. Sin and false teaching are called “leaven,” because if moral and doctrinal impurities are not corrected and removed from the assembly, they will permeate the body and destroy the church. Unrepentant sin and false teaching cannot be ignored in the vain hope that the problem will somehow disappear on its own. It must be dealt with in a biblical fashion.

Note that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. The church must be strict about dealing with sin and error. Unrepentant sin and false teaching cannot be ignored in the vain hope that the problem will somehow disappear on its own. It must be dealt with in a biblical way, or it will spread and destroy the church. We see the right example in the apostle Paul. He did not ignore
any of the problems at Corinth. He taught, preached, exhorted, pleaded, warned, rebuked, and called for exclusion of unrepentant sinners. All of these things are involved in church discipline.

2. To maintain a good testimony before the unbelieving community (1 Co. 5:1; Php. 2:14-15; 1 Pe. 2:9-12).

3. To please and glorify the Lord (1 Co. 5:4). In Titus 2:14 we learn that a pure church pleases the Lord because this was His purpose in our redemption. In 1 Peter 2:9, 11-12 we see that a pure church is a praise and glory to the Lord.

4. To restore erring church members (1 Co. 5:5; 2 Co. 2:6-8). As we exercise church discipline, we must ever keep in mind that our goal is not to harm people, but to help them. Even when a member must be expelled from the assembly, the ultimate goal is to see that one restored.

5. To restrain sin (De. 13:11; 17:12-13; 19:18-20; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Tim. 5:20). “It would be ideal if men could be encouraged to live godly lives without any warning of judgment upon ungodliness. But to suppose they will do so is idealistic and contrary to all observation, as well as to Scripture. God warns of impending judgment and says, ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ (Heb. 10:31). ‘Because there is wrath, beware...’ (Job 36:18). If sin goes unjudged in a church, we are thereby inviting others to become self-indulgent. It will not do to plead ‘love’ as a basis for neglect. ... God does not put love and punishment in opposition to each other. He says, ‘For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth...’ (Heb. 12:5-11). The church has a solemn responsibility to restrain sin by proper discipline. If we do not exercise the judgment, the Lord will (1 Co. 11:31-32)” (Paul R. Jackson,
The Doctrine and Administration of the Church).

6. To keep the church ready for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-15). We are warned that those who do not remain pure and ready for Christ’s appearing will be ashamed when He comes (1 Jn. 2:28).

The Right Attitude of Discipline

God’s people must be careful to maintain the proper attitude when dealing with sinning Christians and not to give place to the devil.

1. The attitude of humility (Ga. 6:1)

2. The attitude of impartiality (De. 1:17; 1 Ti. 5:21). “
Also, discipline should be strictly impartial. The fact that a wrongdoer is related to us by ties of nature, for instance should in no wise influence our decision in the matter. Respect of persons must not be shown” (William MacDonald).

3. The attitude of compassion (2 Co. 7:12). Discipline must be exercised with much spiritual care and tenderness. Anything less than compassion is not Christlike.
We think of how Christ dealt with Peter when he denied him. Christ reproved Peter with a look (Lu. 22:61). Peter repented in bitter tears (Mt. 26:74-75), and Christ restored him with a solemn, public exhortation (John 21:15-17).

4. The attitude of mourning (2 Co. 2:4). “
Nothing can be more solemn or affecting than the act of putting away a person from the Lord’s table. It is the last sad and unavoidable act of the whole assembly, and it should be performed with broken hearts and weeping eyes. Alas how often it is otherwise! How often does this most solemn and holy duty take the form of a mere official announcement that such a person is out of fellowship. Need we wonder that discipline, so carried out, fails to tell with power upon the erring one, or upon the church” (C.H. Mackintosh).

5. The attitude of firmness of purpose (1 Co. 5:3-5, 13)

The Patience and Wisdom for Discipline

Church discipline requires patience and much godly wisdom. Each situation is different. There are general biblical principles, as we will see, but the application of these principles requires the Lord’s wisdom. He alone knows the hearts. The church and all of its members belong to Him. The under-shepherds must constantly obtain wisdom from the Great Shepherd. If they are ready to receive, He is ready to give, and each situation will have the necessary wisdom and power and blessing.

“Discipline calls for discernment. Paul writes, ‘Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men’ (1 Th. 5:14). We should not encourage the unruly, but admonish him. We should not admonish the fainthearted or weak, but encourage and help them. Sometimes, a newer believer is in sin due to ignorance of God’s Word. He is weak. But, if he continues defiantly in the sin after you show him what the Word says, he then becomes unruly. I find the analogy of child rearing helpful here. If my three-year-old was acting like a three-year-old, I tried to help him learn how to behave in a more mature manner. But I didn’t discipline him for being three. But when your three-year-old is defiant, you must deal with his rebellion. If a believer is overcome by a sin, but is repentant and wants help, you help him. But if he says, ‘I have a right to do as I please,’ he is defiant and needs discipline” (Steven Cole, “Dealing with Sinning Christians,” Aug. 13, 2006,

The Authority for Discipline

1 Corinthians 5:4 and Matthew 18:18-19. Dismissing someone from the church is not an easy matter. There are often many doubts and fears. Will it hurt the church? Has everything possible been done to correct the problem in other ways? Do we have the right attitude? Will some protest and sympathize with the offender? How will the erring one(s) react? How will his or her friends or relatives react?

I know of a church that had to discipline a member for marrying an unsaved man; and the offending party’s mother and sister sided with her and all of them left the church. This is very common. The power of God is needed in exercising church discipline, and the Bible promises that His power and blessing will be available when His people are earnestly trying to walk in obedience to Him.

Discipline of Interpersonal Problems

The discipline of problems between church members is dealt with very clearly in Matthew 5 and 18.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Mat. 5:23-24).

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mat. 18:15-18).

“There are two commands of Christ, which, if faithfully obeyed, would in almost every instance prevent personal offences from assuming such form and magnitude as to require church action” (J.M. Pendleton,
Church Manual Designed for the Use of Baptist Churches, 1867).

Note that God is very concerned about interpersonal relationships. Maintaining right relationships lies at the heart of loving my neighbor as myself, which is the second great commandment (Mat. 22:36-40). This is so important to God that He commands His people to put it before worship (Mat. 5:23-24).

The objective is to clear up problems and achieve reconciliation and spiritual harmony - “first be reconciled to thy brother” (Mat. 5:24), “if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother” (Mat. 18:15). “If this is not his purpose, he violated the spirit of Christ’s law though he may obey it in the letter” (Pendleton).

Following are the practical steps in dealing with interpersonal problems in the church:

First, the matter should be discussed privately between the two church members (“go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,” Mat. 18:15).
- The Scripture puts the responsibility of reconciliation equally upon both parties. In Matthew 5, the case is when a brother realizes that another brother has something against him, whether legitimate or not. In Matthew 18, the case is when a brother has trespassed against me. “The offended brother is not to wait till the offender goes to him and seeks reconciliation” (Pendleton).
- The individual who takes the initiative should go not only to confront the other person but also to listen. Oftentimes the problem lies in misunderstanding and lack of information.

- The individual who takes the initiative should go personally to the other person rather than writing a note or sending a text. A face to face interview is what is needed.

Second, if this doesn’t solve the problem, the injured brother should take two or three others (Mat. 18:16). “The brethren selected by the aggrieved brother to go with him should be very judicious and eminently spiritual. Sound judgment and ardent piety will be needed” (Pendleton).

Third, if that doesn’t solve the problem, the matter should be brought before the church (Mat. 18:17). Even here, there is still opportunity for reconciliation.

Fourth, if the trespasser refuses to hear the church, he is to be disciplined (Mat. 18:17).

What does it mean “let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican”?

It doesn’t mean never to speak with him or to forbid him to attend church. The unsaved are not forbidden to do such things.
- It means that the church member that is under discipline is not allowed to serve in a church ministry or to participate in church business and ordinances (such as taking the Lord’s Supper). The heathen or unsaved are not allowed to do these things.
- It means that the offender is not to be allowed to participate in the close fellowship that is normal between church members. This is for the purpose of making the offender ashamed. “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed” (2 Th. 3:14)

“If individual members act contrary to this rule, and carry on freely toward an offender, as if nothing had taken place, it will render the censure of the church of none effect. Those persons also who behave in this manner will be considered by the party as his friends, and others who stand aloof as his enemies, or at least as being unreasonably severe; which will work confusion, and render void the best and most wholesome discipline. We must act in concert, or we may as well do nothing. Members who violate this rule are partakers of other men’s sins, and deserve the rebukes of the church for counteracting its measures” (Andrew Fuller, Works, vol. III, pp. 334-335).

The seriousness of church business is seen here (Mat. 18:18). Men often take the church and its business lightly, but God doesn’t. Compare 1 Co. 3:17; Heb. 10:25 and 13:17.

The “binding” does not pertain to a person’s eternal destiny but to his earthly life.

Discipline of Disorderly Conduct

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 calls for separation from a church member that seems to fall short of excluding. One difference is that the 2 Thessalonians 3 offender is not turned over to the devil as in 1 Corinthians 5.

The context of 2 Thessalonians 3 is
a church member who is engaged in disorderly conduct such as refusing to work and being a busybody in the affairs of others (1 The. 3:6-15).

We believe this principle applies to other cases of refusing to obey the Word of God that fall short of 1 Corinthians 5 discipline. It would seem preposterous to think that churches are to discipline members who refuse to work while ignoring other types of cases. Other examples are as follows:

- A wife who refuses to submit to her husband’s authority in the home (Eph. 5:22)
- A husband who refuses to love and care for his family (Eph. 5:25 - 6:4; 1 Tim. 5:8)
- A father who neglects his duties (1 Tim. 5:8)
- A young person who is rebellious against his parents (Eph. 6:1-4)
- An individual who is a reproach to Christ because of his actions in the workplace (Eph. 6:5-8)
- A young widow who is idle and a busybody (1 Tim. 5:11-14)
- Those who refuse to practice Bible separation (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Co. 6:14-17; 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:16-21; 3:5; 2 Jn. 9-11). An example of this would be participation in ecumenical organizations and ventures.

The old Baptists called this type of discipline “suspension.” It entails removing the individual from the fellowship and not allowing him to partake of the Lord’s Supper or participate in church ministry or business until he repents.

Discipline of Public and Grave Offenses

Excommunication is required for certain types of sins, particularly those of a public and grave nature. This is dealt with in 1 Corinthians 5.

“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat” (1 Co. 5:11).

The nature of the sin that calls for this type of church discipline is as follows:

It is public sin (1 Co. 5:1 -- “it is commonly reported”).

It is grave sin (1 Co. 5:11). The moral evils referred to in this passage are listed under six categories: immorality, covetousness, idolatry, railing, drunkenness, and extortion. All of these evils are definite causes for church discipline, because the church which allows its members to partake in such things without exercising discipline becomes a reproach to the name of Christ (2 Sa. 12:14).

Fornication. This is a broad term for sexual impurity. It refers to fornication outside of marriage (1 Co. 7:2) and to adultery within marriage (Mat. 5:32). It is likened to “concupiscence” in 1 Th. 4:3-5, which refers more particularly to the lusting aspect of sexual impurity. A believer would be a fornicator, therefore, who engages in such things as homosexuality, incest, rape, bestiality, and the use of pornography.

Covetousness. This means “to desire inordinately; to desire that which it is unlawful to obtain or possess; excessively eager to obtain and possess” (Webster). A church member who is covetous and therefore who should be disciplined for this sin will be characterized by the following:

(1) Covetousness is to be greedy. Covetousness is to desire that which is not my own or that which is forbidden (Ex. 20:17; Deut. 5:21; Josh. 7:21).
(2) Covetousness is to obtain things by oppressing others; by cheating, stealing, borrowing and not paying back (Prov. 28:16; Mic. 2:2). Corrupt government officials and legal officials cheat because they are covetous. This is the way of the world, but it must not be the way of God’s people.
(3) Covetousness is to love and pursue money instead of being content with the basic needs of life and pursuing the will of God (1 Ti. 6:6-11). It is to make money and possessions the focus of one’s life (Lk. 12:15-21). The man who puts his business before God is a covetous man.

Idolatry. This refers to worshipping idols or to putting some material possession or pleasure in the place of God and to bestow upon it the love and devotion that belongs to God alone. The first law is to love God with all the heart, soul, and strength (De. 6:5).

Railing. This means to heap abuse upon another, to revile. The same Greek word (loidoros) is translated “reviler” in 1 Co. 6:10. It refers to speaking hatefully, calling people ugly names by way of attack. Christ hates this and will not allow it in His kingdom (Mat. 5:21-26). We had to expel a Bible college student one time because he was guilty of this. He called his fellow students “fools” and “dogs” and proudly told one humble student that his character was “a stench in God’s nostrils.” “A reproachful man; a man of coarse, harsh, and bitter words; a man whose characteristic it was to abuse others; to vilify their character, and wound their feelings” (Barnes).

Drunkenness. To be intoxicated with foreign substances, either by alcohol or drugs. We believe that this sin also involves selling liquor, because he contributes to and is a party to drunkenness (Hab. 2:15).

Extortion. This is the act of taking things from others by means of force or abuse of authority. It refers to cheating, blackmailing, kidnapping, requiring bribes, unjust or unauthorized taxation, fees, penalties (e.g., the publicans). See Ps. 109:11; Eze. 22:12. Those who work in the government, police, or courts in corrupt nations are particularly tempted by this sin.

It is sin that would destroy the church if ignored (1 Co. 5:6). There will always be sin of one sort or another in a church that is populated by sinners, but there are some sins that have the ability to destroy the church if left alone, and these must be disciplined by exclusion.

It is important that the church leaders investigate the matter thoroughly and not act on partial facts and hearsay. The leaders can appoint mature deacons or other mature church members to help conduct the investigation.

When the church is satisfied that it has all of the relevant facts, it can take one of several actions.

First, it can find the accused innocent and dismiss the charges. This happened about half the time in Baptist churches in America in the 19th century. If it was found that a member had brought an accusation against another without sufficient cause, “the church generally charged the accuser with slander or hostility” (
Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches, Kindle loc. 2126).

Second, it can rebuke the offender, receive his confession of repentance, and forgive him without further action.

Third, it can give the individual time to reflect on his sin and the church time to pray for him.

Fourth, it can put the offender under discipline according to 1 Corinthians 5:4, 5, 13. This is called exclusion or excommunication.

“If the offender continues obstinate and appears to be incorrigible, the church is under a necessity of proceeding to the execution of the great censure against him. ... [B]y the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the name and behalf of that church, [the minister] cuts off and secludes the offender by name from union and communion with the church; he having broke his covenant with them, they also excluded him from the privileges of a member, as unworthy; yet praying the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Good Shepherd, to restore him by giving him unfeigned repentance that he may again be received into the sheepfold” (Summary of Church Discipline, Charleston Association, 1774).

The old Baptists would sometimes exclude even if the individual expressed repentance.

“Exclusion always ensued if there was no repentance. But repentance did not always save. For grave sins that brought particular dishonor to the Saviour or that involved habitual deceit or fraud, churches usually excluded even if the accused repented. About 50 percent of those whom the church brought before its discipline experienced exclusion” (Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches, Kindle loc. 2121).

Exclusion means the following:

1. The excluded one is turned over to Satan (1 Co. 5:5). This refers to turning the unrepentant offender over to Satan’s domain, the world, and over to Satan’s power for chastisement. Compare Lk. 22:31-32; 13:16.

2. The excluded person
cannot hold a ministry or participate in church business.

The members should not have close fellowship with the excluded person so that he will be ashamed and brought to repentance. (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 Th. 3:14). This doesn’t mean that the members can never talk to the individual. When they do talk to him, though, they should exhort him to repent. The expressions “not to eat” and “have no company” refer to close fellowship, sitting down together at a meal, attending a social occasion at the individual’s house, etc. This is not an easy thing for God’s people to do, but it is for the individual’s good, so that he will face his sin and ashamed, and for the church’s testimony.

4. The offender is not allowed to partake in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 5:11). The eating in this verse probably refers both to social eating and to eating the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:26, 29).

5. The members should pray much for the individual that he will repent and take any opportunity to exhort him to do this.


When the excluded individual expresses repentance and seeks restoration, the church must try to determine whether the repentance is sincere. The church looks for ready, hearty, and full admission of guilt. The church looks for admission of and naming of the specific sins that were committed, as opposed to merely saying, “I’m sorry,” or, “I’m sorry for what I did.” If the individual is blaming others and otherwise making excuse for his sin, this is not true repentance. If there is any sign of abiding stubbornness or bitterness toward the church or ill feeling toward the leaders or toward one or more church members, that isn’t repentance.

Once after we disciplined a young couple who had run away together and lived as man and wife, they threw a rock over our gate one day that had a note tired around it. The note expressed that they wanted to return to church and they were “sorry for what had happened.” That is not repentance, and when we refused to accept that empty act, the girl’s family charged us with being hardhearted and “too strict” and left the church. But their lives have subsequently shown that there was no repentance, and they continue to have a poor testimony.

We see the definition of true repentance in 2 Corinthians 7:11.

See also David’s repentance in Psalm 51:3-6.

Those who show genuine repentance should be forgiven and restored (2 Co. 2:7).

Oftentimes it is wise to put the individual on probation. During probation the individual is required to
show repentance for a period of time until the church is convinced that things have been made right. Old Baptist churches expected a longer period of probation for “sins that were especially grave or involved deceit.”

It is wise not to put an exact time limit on the probation. A set time allows an unrepentant person to fain repentance and simply wait for the probation to expire and go on with his life in the church.

There can be a
minimum period of six months or whatever, but there should not be automatic restoration at that time. How long should the probation last? Let it last until true and full repentance is shown by the individual and his family (if they are in the church) and all concerned and the church is convinced the matter has been dealt with, however long that is.

Forgiveness and restoration to church membership does not mean there are no abiding consequences to sin and that things can necessarily return to the way they were before the sin. If a pastor commits adultery, for example, we believe that he should never again hold the office of a pastor. If a girl runs off with a boy and commits fornication, she can never regain her virginity. There are many consequences to sin in this present life. We think of David. Though he repented truly and deeply of his sin as recorded in Psalm 51 and was forgiven by God, he suffered consequences for the rest of his life.

Discipline of False Teachers

The apostle Paul warned the leaders at the church in Ephesus that false teaching would come from without and from within (Ac. 20:20-21). This is even more applicable in these closing days of the church age, days of great apostasy and of serious compromise even among those who claim to be Bible-believers. We must be constantly alert to this danger and deal with every false doctrine which reveals itself within the assembly (Ep. 4:11-14).

The discipline of heretics (those who have chosen to cleave to a false teaching) is described in Titus 3:9-11.

The terms “heretic” and “heresy” refer to the willful choice of false doctrine, a willful alignment with error.

A heretic is not a person who is merely ignorant of sound doctrine. If the heresy is a matter of ignorance on the part of a true believer, the individual will respond to the truth and turn from it. I know a pastor who was saved out of a hippie lifestyle and went to Bible college only a few months after he was saved. Soon after arriving he saw a book in the bookstore entitled “What Jesus God?” and in his mind he said, “Of course, Jesus wasn’t God!” But this great heresy was only an ignorance problem, and as soon as he was taught about Christ’s deity he readily accepted it.

The heretic is to be admonished two times (Titus 3:10). An effort is to be made to reclaim the heretic from his error. It is possible that he is not truly a heretic but that he is only teaching out of ignorance.

But the heretic is to be admonished
only two times (Titus 3:10). We are not instructed to get involved in endless efforts to win heretics to the truth. When it is obvious that a person is set in his false ways, he must be rejected and put out of the assembly.

The heretic condemns himself by his self-willed commitment to error (Titus 3:11). There is something wrong in the heretic’s heart. “Subverted” is from the Greek word “ekstrepho,” which means to be twisted or turned inside out. Something has perverted the person’s heart so that he is not willing to hear the truth.

Discipline of Church Leaders

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.”

Pastor/elders are members of the church body, and they are subject to discipline just as other members. In addition to the things we have stated above about discipline, which would apply to any church member, including a pastor, there are some important lessons in 1 Timothy 5:19-22 about the discipline of church leaders in particular:

1. It is essential that the church be very cautious about selecting and ordaining pastors (1 Ti. 5:22). This is a fundamental issue of keeping the church pure. Haste and carelessness in ordaining leaders will result in great injury to the work of God. If the congregation is careful to ordain only God-called, scripturally qualified men who have proven themselves, it will rarely need to go through the heartache of disciplining an erring pastor. And the right leaders are necessary to create the discipling atmosphere that builds up the church spiritually.

2. Accusations must not be received against a pastor unless they can be substantiated by two or three witnesses (1 Ti. 5:19). This principle was a part of the law of Moses (De. 19:15). See also Mt. 18:16 and 2 Co. 13:1.

3. Pastors that sin in such a manner that requires discipline should be rebuked publicly (1 Ti. 5:20). This action would be occasioned by the type of sins listed in 1 Co. 5:11.

4. God’s people are solemnly charged not to show partiality in these things (1 Ti. 5:21). Because of fallen human nature, it is a great and constant temptation to show partiality in judgment.

Inactive Membership

If an individual ceases to attend our services faithfully, the church leaders or appointed church workers meet with that individual to try to restore him.

If he continues to absent himself for two months, he is put on the inactive membership roll and cannot participate in the Lord’s Supper and church business.

For another three months, the church leaders continue to try to restore the individual. If that is unsuccessful, he or she is removed from the membership altogether.

According to the standard of Acts 2:42, an individual who is unfaithful is not qualified to be a New Testament church member.

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