On Discipline and the Purity of the Church

The Reverend Samuel Miller, D. D.
The Reverend Samuel Miller, D. D.

The Reverence Samuel Miller penned an excellent booklet on the office of the Ruling Elder. Contained therein is an important explanation of the importance of discipline in the church.

It is no doubt true, that the very suggestion of the necessity and importance of discipline in the church is odious to many who bear the Christian name.

The worldly and careless portion of every church consider the interposition of ecclesiastical inspection and authority, in reference to the lives and conversation of its members, as officious and offensive meddling with private concerns.

They would much rather retain their external standing as professors of religion, and, at the same time pursue their unhallowed pleasures without control. They never wish to see a minister, as such, but in the pulpit; or any church officers in any other than his seat in the sanctuary.

But I need not say to those who take their views of the Christian church and its real prosperity from the Bible and from the best experience, that enlightened and faithful discipline is not only important but absolutely essential to the purity and edification of the body of Christ It ought to be regarded as one of the most precious means of grace, by which offenders are humbled, softened, and brought to repentance; the church purged of unworthy members; offenses removed; the honor of Christ promoted; real Christians stimulated and improved in their spiritual course; faithful testimony borne against error and crime; and the professing family of Christ made to appear holy and beautiful in the view of the world.

This article was updated on November 20, 2023

Christopher Drew

I'm the pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church serving Faith Presbyterian Church in Grand Forks, North Dakota.