Blog 201: 4.12.5-10

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Common as it is today to cast the burden of examination prior to participation at the Lord's Supper upon the participant, Calvin saw it otherwise: knowingly and willingly to admit "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" (4.12.5). The purpose of discipline is three-fold: the maintenance of the church's purity, the prevention of temptation of the saints by the unchallenged actions of the ungodly, and to encourage repentance.

Calvin is clear as to the restorative aim of discipline, particularly its severest form - excommunication: "although excommunication also punishes the man, it does so in such a way that, by forewarning him of his future condemnation, it may call him back to salvation. But if that be obtained, reconciliation and restoration to communion await him" (4.12.10).

The absence of church discipline in today's church goes unnoticed. Al Mohler writes, "Regulative and restorative church discipline is, to many church members, no longer a meaningful category, or even a memory. The present generation of both ministers and church members is virtually without experience of biblical church discipline" (http://www.the-highway.com/discipline_Mohler.html).

Posted October 16, 2009 @ 9:58 AM by Derek Thomas
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