In this day when discipline is hard to institute in a church, its not that uncommon to find this long forsaken practice all together abandoned to the detriment of the body of Christ. So, what is the purpose of church discipline?
In such corrections and excommunications, the church has three ends in view.
The first is that they who lead a filthy and infamous life may not be called Christians, to the dishonor of God, as if his holy church [cf. Eph. 5:25-26] were a conspiracy of wicked and abandoned men. For since the church itself is the body of Christ [Col. 1:24], it cannot be corrupted by such foul and decaying members without some disgrace falling upon its Head.
Therefore, that there may be no such thing in the church to brand its most sacred name with disgrace, they from whose wickedness infamy redounds to the Christian name must be banished from its family. And here also we must preserve the order of the Lord’s Supper, that it may not be profaned by being administered indiscriminately.
For it is very true that he to whom its distribution has been committed, if he knowingly and willing admits an unworthy person whom he could rightfully turn away, is as guilty of sacrilege as if he had cast the Lord’s body to dogs.
On this account, Chrysostom gravely inveighs against priests who, fearing the power of great men, dare exclude no one. “Blood,” he says, “will be required at your hands. [Ezek. 3:18; 33:8.] If you fear a man, he will laugh at you; but if you fear God, you will be revered also among men. Let us not dread the fasces, the purple, the crowns; here we have a greater power. I truly would rather give my body to death, and let my blood be poured out, than participate in that pollution.” Therefore, lest this most hallowed mystery be disgraced, discretion is very much needed in its distribution. Yet this can be had only through the jurisdiction of the church. Read More