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Church Discipline
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Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .
 
Church  Discipline
Related page:   Section on Church Discipline
The order and prosperity of the kingdom depended upon the good order of the church. And the prosperity, harmony, and order of the church depended upon the good order and thorough discipline of families. God punishes the unfaithfulness of parents, to whom He has entrusted the duty of maintaining the principles of parental government, which lie at the foundation of church discipline and the prosperity of the nation. One undisciplined child has frequently marred the peace and harmony of a church, and incited a nation to murmuring and rebellion. In a most solemn manner the Lord has enjoined upon children their duty to affectionately respect and honor their parents. And on the other hand He requires parents to train up their children and with unceasing diligence to educate them with regard to the claims of His law and to instruct them in the knowledge and fear of God. These injunctions which God laid upon the Jews with so much solemnity, rest with equal weight upon Christian parents. Those who neglect the light and instruction which God has given in His word in regard to training their children and commanding their households after them, will have a fearful account to settle. Aaron's criminal neglect to command the respect and reverence of his sons resulted in their death.  {3T 294.1}
 
 
The world's Redeemer has invested great power with His church. He states the rules to be applied in cases of trial with its members. After He has given explicit directions as to the course to be pursued, He says: "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever [in church discipline] ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Thus even the heavenly authority ratifies the discipline of the church in regard to its members when the Bible rule has been followed.   3T 428.1  also  15MR 130.1  also  {MR311 7.4}
     The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. If there were no church discipline and government, the church would go to fragments; it could not hold together as a body . . .  Testimonies, Vol. 3, page 428.2 
 
 
Church Discipline to Be Considered in the Fear of God - - Elders and deacons are chosen to have a care for the prosperity of the church; yet these leaders, especially in young churches, should not feel at liberty, on their own judgment and responsibility, to cut off offending members from the church; they are not invested with such authority. Many indulge a zeal like that of Jehu and rashly venture to make decisions in matters of grave importance, while they themselves have no connection with God. They should humbly and earnestly seek wisdom from the One who has placed them in their position, and should be very modest in assuming responsibilities. They should also lay the matter before the president of their conference and counsel with him. At some appointed time the subject should be patiently considered. In the fear of God, with much humility and sorrow for the erring, who are the purchase of the blood of Christ, with earnest, humble prayer the proper officers should deal with the offenders. How different has been the course when, with self-assumed authority and a hard, unfeeling spirit, accusations have been made and souls have been thrust out of the church of Christ.  {12MR 113.1}
 
Those who are associated together in church capacity have entered into a relationship with one another which implies mutual responsibility. They have individually pledged themselves to God and to their brethren to build up one another in the most holy faith,--to build up, not to tear down. No church can be in a healthy, flourishing condition unless its leaders shall take firm, decided measures to repress this fault-finding, accusing spirit wherever it exists. Its indulgence should be made a matter of church discipline; for it is a violation of the law of God, a violation of the rules which Christ has laid down for preserving order in the church. If these mischievous talkers are not subjected to church discipline they become confirmed in their evil work, and God charges the guilt upon the church.  {RH, October 19, 1886 par. 10}
 
"This bearing plain testimonies affects me much. I always dislike to give pain, but when I see evil and its tendency to weaken and destroy the church discipline. . . I cannot hold my peace. I have to speak and in the name of the Lord seek to repress the incoming tide of evil."-- Manuscript 66, 1886.  {EGWE 204.6}
 
When anyone comes to a minister or to men in positions of trust with complaints about a brother or sister, let them ask the reporter, "Have you complied with the rules our Saviour has given?" and if he has failed to carry out any particular of this instruction, do not listen to a word of his complaint. Refuse to take up a report against your brother or sister in the faith. If members of the church go entirely contrary to these rules, they make themselves subject of church discipline, and should be put under the censure of the church. This matter, so plainly taught in the lessons of Christ, has been passed over with strange indifference. The church has either neglected her work entirely, or has done it with harshness and severity, wounding and bruising souls. Measures should be taken to correct this cruel spirit of criticism, of judging one another's motives, as though Christ had revealed to man the hearts of their brethren. The neglect of doing aright, with wisdom and grace, the work that ought to have been done, has left churches and institutions weak, inefficient, and almost Christless.  {15MR 193.2}
 
This was followed by an in-depth article from Loughborough titled "Church Discipline," which he opened by quoting 1 Timothy 3:15: "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." Loughborough elaborated:  {1BIO 458.3}
When any one comes to a minister or to men in positions of trust, with complaints about a brother or sister, let them ask the reporter, "Have you complied with the rules our Saviour has given?" and if he has failed to carry out any particular of this instruction, do not listen to a word of his complaint. Refuse to take up a report against your brother or sister in the faith. If members of the church go entirely contrary to these rules, they make themselves subjects of church discipline and should be put under the censure of the church. This matter, so plainly taught in the lessons of Christ, has been passed over with strange indifference. The church has either neglected her work entirely, or has done it with harshness and severity, wounding and bruising souls. Measures should be taken to correct this cruel spirit of criticism, of judging one another's motives, as though Christ had revealed to men the hearts of their brethren. The neglect of doing aright, with wisdom and grace, the work that ought to have been done, has left churches weak, inefficient, and almost Christless.  {HM, February 1, 1892 par. 12}
 
 

Chapter 36: Church Discipline     Necessity of Discipline      Pastors having too little courage to reprove wrong are held accountable for the evil that may result.--Those who have too little courage to reprove wrong, or who through indolence or lack of interest make no earnest effort to purify the family or the church of God, are held accountable for the evil that may result from their neglect of duty. We are just as responsible for evils that we might have checked in others by exercise of parental or pastoral authority as if the acts had been our own.--PP 578. {PaM 209.1}

Church Discipline     In dealing with erring church members, God's people are carefully to follow the instruction given by the Saviour in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew.  {7T 260.1}

Church Discipline     Let none speak lightly of the duty of the church to administer censure and rebuke; neither let them criticize the action of the church when this painful task becomes necessary. Christ has given plain instruction regarding the duty of the church toward those who, while professing to be loyal members, are bringing dishonor to the cause of God by their course of action. "Every plant, which my Heavenly Father hath not planted," he says, "shall be rooted up." God has commanded that those who prove themselves unworthy of church-fellowship shall be separated from his body. Those who speak against the exercise of this authority, speak against the authority of Christ.  {RH, March 19, 1908 par. 15}

 
Discipline  in  the  church
 
Light was given by His Spirit that there must be order and thorough discipline in the church -- that organization was essential. System and order are manifest in all the works of God throughout the universe. Order is the law of heaven, and it should be the law of God's people on the earth.-- TM 26 (1902).  {LDE 46.2}
 
Proper  Discipline
 
"In dealing with the erring, harsh measures should not be resorted to; milder means will effect far more.  Make use of the milder means most perseveringly, and even if they do not succeed, wait patiently; never hurry the matter of cutting off a member from the church.  Pray for him, and see if God will not move upon the heart of the erring.  Discipline has been largely perverted.  Those who have had very defective characters themselves have been very forward in disciplining others, and thus all discipline has been brought into contempt.  Passion, prejudice, and partiality, I am sorry to say, have had abundant room for exhibition, and proper discipline has been strangely neglected.  If those who deal with the erring had hearts full of the milk of human kindness, what a different spirit would prevail in our churches.  May the Lord open the eyes and soften the hearts of those who have a harsh, unforgiving, unrelenting spirit toward those whom they think in error.  Such men dishonor their office and dishonor God. They grieve the hearts of his children, and compel them to cry unto God in their distress.  The Lord will surely hear their cry, and will judge for these things."  Review & Herald, May 14, 1895 also Christian Leadership, page 65.1

 
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