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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 27 : Discipline - Its Nature, Subjects and Ends

Paragraph 3 : Purpose of Discipline

27-3. The exercise of discipline is highly important and necessary. In its proper usage discipline maintains:
a. the glory of God,
b. the purity of His Church,
c. the keeping and reclaiming of disobedient sinners. Discipline is for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7); therefore, it demands a self-examination under Scripture.
Its ends, so far as it involves judicial action, are the rebuke of offenses, the removal of scandal, the vindication of the honor of Christ, the promotion of the purity and general edification of the Church, and the spiritual good of offenders themselves.

[Historical Summary : The current PCA text dates to ____, differing from PCA 1973 by the addition of the second and third sentences, as shown above.]

Background and Comparison :
PCA 1973, RoD, 1-3, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 145
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 1-3, Proposed text, p. 39

The exercise of discipline is highly important and necessary. Its ends, so far as it involves judicial action, are the rebuke of offences, the removal of scandal, the vindication of the honor of Christ, the promotion of the purity and general edification of the Church, and the spiritual good of offenders themselves.

PCUS 1933, I-3
The ends of discipline, so far as it involves judicial action, are the spiritual good of the offender, the vindication of the honor of Christ, the rebuke of offences, the removal of scandal, and the promotion of the purity and welfare of the Church.

PCUS 1879, I-3

The ends of discipline, as it involves judicial prosecution, are the rebuke of offences, the removal of scandal, the vindication of the honour of Christ, the promotion of the purity and general edification of the Church, and the spiritual good of offenders themselves.


PCUS 1869 draft, I-3
[no comparable text]

PCUS 1867 draft,
[no comparable text]


OTHER COMPARISONS:

OPC 2005, Book of Discipline, I-2 and I-3
2. Administrative discipline is concerned with the maintenance of good order in the government of the church in other than judicial cases. The purpose of its exercise is that all rights may be preserved and all obligations faithfully discharged.
3. Judicial discipline is concerned with the prevention and correction of offenses, an offense being defined as anything in the doctrine or practice of a member of the church which is contrary to the Word of God. The purpose of judicial discipline is to vindicate the honor of Christ, to promote the purity of his church, and to reclaim the offender.

Steuart, Walter, Collections and Observations Concerning the Worship, Discipline, and Government of the Church of Scotland (1709; reprinted 1770), Book IV, Title I. Of Scandals and Church-discipline in general, p. 198.
Church discipline and censures are for vindicating the honour of Christ, that suffers in the miscarriage of any member : again, they are inflicted on the church's account for preserving of her authority, discipline being as the ecclesiastical whip for that end, and for preserving her from corruption by the spreading of the leaven of profanity. Another end of church discipline is for the offender's good, that they may be ashamed to the destruction of the flesh, and saving of the spirit in the day of the Lord Jesus, 1 Cor. v. 5, act 11. Assem. 1707. cap. 1. sect. 3.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, p. 172), on : Rules of Discipline, I-3

145.--III. The ends of discipline, as it involves judicial prosecution, are the rebuke of offences, the removal of scandal, the vindication of the honour of Christ, the promotion of the purity and general edification of the Church, and the spiritual good of offenders themselves.
These five ends run into each other. Judicial prosecution always aims at the rebuke of offences, if offences are found to exist; at the removal of the scandal of supposed offences, either by ascertaining their non-existence, or by rebuking them if they do exist; at the vindication of the honor of Christ by his Church's thus clearing itself of approving or allowing the offences; and at the purity and general edification of the Church by separating offenders, and by teaching in this particular way. But always it aims, too, at the good of offenders themselves, by leading them to forsake their sins, so long as there is hope of their reformation. But their good is not the sole end of discipline, and other ends may demand discipline where there is no hope of doing the offender good.



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FoG..
1
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3.
4
5.
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
§5
RoD
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
§2
§3
§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]