What is it? A topic not discussed and overlooked in the church body in America today. In our fluffy culture that is comfort focused, the controversial and confrontational topic of church discipline is an unpopular subject to say the least. Matthew 18:15-20 discusses the process of what church discipline should look like, detailing in three steps what should happen if a problem were to occur.
Church discipline is for sin that is committed against an individual in a body of believers. This is necessary for the health of that particular community. As a sinful people we expect sin to happen, we expect tensions to rise, personalities to clash and stuff to happen. When these things do happen we have to deal with them. The goal of church discipline is in place not to eliminate conflict, but rather to reduce escalation. The health of the body depends on it.
You may be wondering why this is an issue, it is easy, pretty plain in the text of Matthew, so why the big deal? As I alluded to earlier, our culture is fluffy and non confrontational. What I have found though is that this process rarely gets to the third set of instructions given in Matthew and often leads to deeper relationships among the community. The goal of church discipline is not to isolate an individual or irresponsibly used to rid a church of hard people to deal with, but rather for repentance and reconciliation. When carried out properly church discipline is a beautiful picture of the gospel and will deepen the bonds of the church. I leave you with the words of Paul. “Consider it pure joy when you meet trials of various kinds…”