committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

CORRECTIVE

CHURCH DISCIPLINE:

with a

DEVELOPMENT OF THE SCRIPTURAL

PRINCIPLES UPON WHICH IT IS BASED.

 

 


 

BY P. H. MELL


PROFESSOR IN THE UNIVERSTY OF GEORGIA, AUTHOR OF ?BAPTISM IN ITS MODE
AND SUBJECTS,? ?SAINTS? PERSERVERANCE.?

 

CHARLESTON, S.C.:
SOUTHERN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY.
J . J . T O O N, FINANCIAL SECRETARY
MACON: Ga. b. b. & c. SOCIETY?SELMA: B.B. & BOOK DEPOSITORY
richmond: t. j. starke.
1860.

 

PREFACE

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.
INTRODUCTION

1. None but converted persons authorized to be members
2. Churches liable to disorders
3. The Savior prescribes the remedies

DIFFERENT KINDS OF OFFENCES.

Two kinds?public and private

PRIVATE OFFENCES.

1. Not necessarily secret
2. Specific character of

PUBLIC OFFENCES.

1. Not necessarily committed publicly
2. Subdivided into two classes
    First Class.?Offences against religion and morality
    Second Class.?Offences against the church
        1. Open opposition to the faith and practice of the church
        2. Refusing to attend the meetings of
        3. Rebellion against its lawful authority
        4. Attempts to produce schism
Definitions of the two kinds of offence

MIXED OFFENCES.

The two kinds sometimes blended together

 

CHAPTER II.
THE TREATMENT OF THE TWO KINDS OF OFFENCE. 

PRIVATE OFFENSES

1. First step. Go to him
2. Obj.?He is an unscrupulous man
3. The Saviour?s directions to be implicitly obeyed
4. Second step. Tell him his fault
5. Evils attendant upon a resort to the newspapers
6. Unsatisfactory results of such resort
7. Reasons why the offender should be told his faults
    1. He may have been misconceived
    2. He may be reclaimed
8. Third step. Tell him his fault between him and thee alone
9. Four reasons for this
10. When a mutual friend may interpose between parties
11. Fourth step. Take one or two more
12. Reasons for this
13. Fifth step. Tell it to the church
14. Idea of reclamation implied

TREATMENT OF PUBLIC OFFENCES.

1. Gospel steps not to be taken in open immorality
2. Public offenders to be summoned before the church
    1. Every facility to be afforded him to meet the charge
    2. The formality of a court of justice not to be observed
    3. Where alone the offender has ground of complaint
3. To be promptly expelled when proved guilty of immorality
4. Is the first instance of intoxication to be an exception?
    Should be promptly expelled
    1. For the sake of public morals and the reputation of the church
    2. For his own good
    3. As a warning to others
5. Obj.?Do not the Scriptures say, if he confess, we should forgive?
6. They refer exclusively to private offences

MIXED OFFENCES.

1. The course to be pursued in
2. To be treated as public offences
3. Analogy from legal science

 

CHAPTER III.
QUESTIONS SUGGESTED BY THE PREVIOUS DISCUSSION.

1. What shall be done when the aggrieved attempts to bring in private offences without previous gospel steps?
    1. The Moderator to rule him out of order
    2. In mixed offences, the complaint to be entertained
    3. No injury done to the accused if the church differ from him as to the nature of the offence
    4. How the complainant is to be treated who violates the Savior?s rule
    5. Quotation from Elder J. S. Baker
2. Suppose complainant drops the subject: what then?
3. Whose duty to arraign a public offender?
    Any one can arraign
    1. How to act when there is but one witness
    2. In case of a report against a brother

 

CHAPTER IV.
THE FEELINGS AND ACTIONS APPROPRIATE TO A PIOUS MAN WHO HAS BEEN UNJUSTLY ACCUSED.

1. Innocence no infallible protection against unjust accusation
2. Sometimes the victim of prejudice
3. Of malice
4. Of jealousy and envy
    What his feelings and deportment
    1. He submits to the Divine will
    2. In all proper ways defends himself
    3. Does not indulge in the spirit of his persecutors, nor resort to the means employed by them
    4. Seeks the interest of the church and of the cause of Christ

 

CHAPTER V.
WHAT IS ?THE CHURCH,? TO WHICH THE NEW TESTAMENT GIVES JURISDICTION OVER OFFICES?

1. The word ?church? used in two senses
    First. The church universal
    1. The meaning of ecclesia in this connection
    2. The constituents of this assembly
    3. This is not the body to whom offences are referred
    4. The Baptist denomination and the church universal not synonymous
        (1) Some in the Baptist denomination may not have been converted
        (2) Many who have been saved have not belonged to the Baptist denomination
        (3) The use of the word ?church? in this sense not admissible
        (4) Such a body destitute of organization
    5. Pertinence of the term as applied to the church universal
    Second. The word ?church? applied to a local body
    1. Composed of those immersed upon a profession of faith
    2. This the body to whom jurisdiction over offences is given

 

CHAPTER VI.
THE RELATION THE PASTOR SUSTAINS TO CORRECTIVE DISCIPLINE.

1. The importance of the question
2. Answered:?
    (1) Upon the supposition that the pastor is himself involved
    (2) Supposing him to be free from entanglement
3. His duty in private dealing
    1. Should endeavor by his ministry to prevent variance
    2. Should see that private dealing be introduced scripturally
    3. Should maintain strict neutrality between the parties
    4. Should bring the pulpit to bear
        To prevent the formation of parties
        To make those at variance tired of their relations
4. The relation he sustains to cases of public dealing
Same principles hold good

 

CHAPTER VII.
DEDUCTIONS FROM PREVIOUS PRINCIPLES?SOVEREIGNTY AND INDEPENDENCE.

Deduction 1. Local churches have exclusive jurisdiction over their members
1. Appeal to be made only to the New Testament
    1. The Savior gave such jurisdiction
    2. Paul acknowledges it
    3. A church commended for exercising it
    4. Churches condemned for not exercising it
2. Every church has supreme jurisdiction over its members
3. Objection to the use of the term ?sovereign?
4. Answered?1. The term is apposite to convey the idea
    2. The idea shown to be scriptural
    3. Difference between sovereign and independence
5. Question 1.?May a member refuse to be tried?
    Answer?No way to escape a trial
6. Quest. 2.?Suppose he does actually refuse
    Ans.?This of itself sufficient ground of expulsion
7. Quest. 3.?Suppose the arraigned differs from the church as to the kind of offence, &c
    1. The church the only judge of the law and the fact
    2. After the arraigned raises the point of order, he is free from responsibility
8. Quest. 4.?Does not a church that rejects the law in Matt. xviii. cease to be a church?
    1. The true case stated
    2. The plea upon the principle that an error annihilates a church
    3. Shown not to be sustained by the Scriptures
9. The arraigned not to be the judge in his own case
10. Quotation from Elder J. S. Baker
11. Additional argument in favor of sovereignty
12. The church has executive authority
13. Quest. 1.?May a church expel by majority?
14. Unanimity desirable
    1. Means adopted by some churches to secure unanimity
    2. This implies that the majority must rule
15. Arguments to show that a majority can expel
     Quotation from Elder J. S. Baker on the point
16. Quest. 2.?May a minority never unchurch the majority?
17. Answered in the affirmative
    1. Shown on what principle
    2. Not applicable to a case of discipline
18. Can an arraigned man and his supporters, the minority, unchurch?
     Shown that on this principle no one of adroitness can be tried
19. If the majority disregard the law in Matt. xviii, can the minority unchurch?
    1. To mistake the nature of the offence is not to ?disregard?? the law
    2. To unintentionally misapply the law, is not to ?disregard? it
    3. What alone is a disregard
20. A minority thus attempting to shield one arraigned should be excommunicated

 

CHAPTER VIII.
CHURCH SOVEREIGNTY (continued)?TRIAL OF MINISTERS.

1. Can a minority be tried without Presbytery or Council?
    1. Shown that they can be
    2. Writers not all agreed
2. No passage in the Bible, in direct terms, prescribes a Presbytery
3. Paul directs the Galatians to expel false ministers
4. Christ praises the Ephesians for expelling false apostles
5. Peter acknowledged the jurisdiction of his church over him
6. Objection.?The ministry was conferred by a Presbytery, &c
7. Preliminary inquiry
8. What is a minister?
    1. The prerogative to preach not peculiar to him
    2. His prerogative to administer the ordinances
9. What is ordination?
    1. It does not impart any grace or qualification
    2. Not designed to authorize him to preach
    3. A solemn public recognition
10. What relation does a Presbytery bear to ordination?
    1. Meaning of Presbytery
    2. Different custom in the Northern States
    3. In what liable to misconstruction, and in what a corrective
11. Two designs in the use of a Presbytery or Council
12. Return to the objection
13. The Presbytery does not confer the office or make the minister
    1. It does not take the same power to unmake as to make
    2. God alone can unmake
    3. He does interpose by conferring upon the church delegated sovereignty
14. Obj. 2.?A Presbytery was necessary to give confidence: the same necessary to withdraw it
    1. More needed to prove ministerial qualification than to detect crime
    2. A church competent to pass upon a charge of crime
15. Obj. 3.?To try without a Presbytery implies the right to ordain without
    1. A church can ordain, though inexpedient
    2. Ordination a testimony
    3. Not influential without a Presbytery
16. The church does not ordain for herself, nor does the Council
17. Obj. 4.?One ought to be tried by his peers
18. The members of the church the minister?s peer
19. Ministers subject to the churches
20. A Church may call in a Council

 

CHAPTER IX.
DEDUCTIONS?CHURCH INDEPENDENCE?ASSOCIATIONS AND COUNCILS.

1. The decision of the church is final
2. Incautious admission
3. The New Testament not silent on the subjects of excommunicating
4. Precepts, in two respects
5. Directions as to the disposition to be made of the incorrigible
6. Directions as to our feelings and deportment toward the excommunicated
7. Scripture example
8. General principles forbid one church to receive the expelled of another
    1. The subordination of the church to Christ
    2. Every church constituted independent
        Reception and expulsion not commensurate nor correlative
        Church independence illustrated by a circuit court
    3. Church union
9. Three kinds of plea by way of objection
10. The plea explanatory
    1st. You do restore to fellowship or Christian union is destroyed
    2d. Your act would be an interference
11. The plea from expediency
      Ans.?The remedy proposed will introduce a greater evil than it corrects
12. Plea from exceptional cases, Masons, anti-missionaries, &c
    1. One joins the Masons, impelled not by conscience, but by motives of expediency
    2. One becomes a missionary conscientiously
        1. Duty of a church-member to seek the harmony of his church
            No necessity for one to allow himself to be expelled for being a Mason
            No excommunicate to be received unless fellowship be withdrawn from the church expelling
        2. Christian union not effected when one is received who has been expelled for being a missionary
13. Quest. 1.?Can one expelled apply to his Association or to a Council?
    1. The Scriptures know nothing of Associations and Councils
        The germ of Associations and Councils not to be found in the meeting in Jerusalem
    2. Associations of modern date
        How they can be useful
        How they can be perverted
    3. Council, when useful
        Mere advisory bodies called into existence by the church
14. Ques. 2.?May not churches err?
     The way in which they are most likely to err
15. Quest. 3.?What remedy has one unjustly expelled?
     Ans.?None, excepting from the church expelling
16. Uses to which he may put his expulsion
    1. He may submit humbly to the will of God
    2. He may suffer as a martyr
    3. He may wait patiently, and by a well-ordered life and godly conversation disabuse the minds of his brethren
    4. He may find consolation in the fact that expulsion from the church is not expulsion from the kingdom of  heaven

 
 
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