Westminster Confession of Faith,
I. The Lord Jesus, as king and head of His Church, has therein appointed a government, in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate [a].
[a] Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Ver.7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
1 Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you.
Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. Ver.18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons.
Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Ver.17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Ver.24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Ver.19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Ver.20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
II. To these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed; by virtue whereof, they have power, respectively, to retain, and remit sins; to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the Word, and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the Gospel; and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require [b].
[b] Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Ver.18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. Ver.22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Ver.23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
2 Corinthians 2:6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. Ver.7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Ver.8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
End of Lesson, Day 117
For Further Study:
CHAPTER XXX. - Of Church Censures - Commentary by Gordon H. Clark
Chapter XXX. Of Church Censures - Exposition by Robert Shaw
Chapter 30: Of Church Censures - Commentary by A.A. Hodge
- 1 Samuel 8: The State as Rejection of God
- Judgment and the Church-Courts of Christ