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The Spirit of Church Discipline

I want to treat others the way I'd want to be treated when needing reproof.
—Donald Bubna

Debbie was a young woman in our congregation who had a knack for touching lives. One day she told me something that was troubling her in the life of a mutual friend, a fellow believer in our church.

Reviewing biblical principles together, we agreed certain logical steps of confrontation should be followed. Debbie hesitated, then said reluctantly, "I know biblically that's right, but it seems so hard."

Debbie's orthodoxy is sound and so is her heart, but her response to church discipline is typical of many in the church.

The exercise of discipline in the body of Christ is too often unpracticed. More often than not the exceptions are legalistic groups where discipline is applied rigidly to codes of dress and other externals. These surface problems are not of great or lasting concern.

But what should the church do with a person indulging in delinquent behavior? Or when we are faced with violations of honesty, ...

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