SGBC - 1689 Confession of Church Censures
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 1  Trinity Baptist Church, Montville, NJ
 2  The Reformed Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, MI
 3  The Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Mebane, NC
1689 Revised Confession of Faith

of Church Censures

1. The Lord Jesus, as head of His church, has appointed that those who bring just reproach upon the church, or give serious offence to it by not walking in respect of faith or life according to the rules and laws appointed by Him, be censured and disciplined in His name and authority. To that end He has given every particular church authority and power to exercise all those censures appointed by him in the way and order prescribed in the Scripture.

2. As all believers are bound to join themselves to particular churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; so all that are admitted unto the privileges of a church, are also under the censures and government thereof, according to the rule of Christ.

3. Church censures are designed and necessary for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren, for deterring others from like offences, for purging out that leaven which might infect the whole lump, for vindicating the honor of Christ and the holy profession of the gospel, and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the church if they should suffer His new covenant and its seal, the Lord's Supper, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.

4. The censures appointed by Christ for attaining these ends are solemn admonition or reproof, suspension from some of the privileges of membership for a season, and excommunication from the church, which are to be administered, according to the nature of the offense and the demerit of the offender, by following the procedures outlined in Scripture as suited to the offense in question, whether the case of a brother obstinate in a private offense, or of a divisive and factious man, of a disorderly brother, or of a person persisting in scandalous immorality. Even though these procedures are never to be abandoned, each instance of discipline must be approached by applying the general principles of the Word of God to it with special care and Christian prudence.

5. Although the elders are to give leadership to the church in the exercise of censures, yet both revocation of privileges and excommunication are to be imposed into with the consent of the church and enforced by the action of the church. Censures so enacted in Christ's name according to fact and Scripture, are also by Christ made effective, so that what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, and what is loosed on earth is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven. But censures pronounced in error and falsehood, being contrary to fact or to Christ's word, are not valid, and have no efficacy before God, but to the contrary provoke His wrath.

6. No church members, upon any offence taken by them, having performed their duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any church-order, or absent themselves from the assemblies of the church, or administration of any ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow members, but to wait upon Christ, in the further proceeding of the church.

7. Whereas the churches are all united under Christ, they should honor each other's discipline and censures so far as is consistent with their own conscience and polity. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of doctrine or administration, wherein either the churches in general are concerned, or any one church, in their peace, union, and edification; or any member or members of any church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth and order; it is according to the mind of Christ, that many churches holding communion together, do, by their messengers, meet to consider, and give their advice in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled, are not intrusted with any church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any churches or persons; or to impose their determination on the churches or officers.

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