The Practice of Church Discipline

The practice of church discipline, though firmly rooted in the New Testament, has fallen into disuse in many churches. There are various reasons for the unpopularity of this practice, but it remains an important component of discipleship and community building. It may have even greater significance in post-Christendom churches if we are to be distinctive communities in a world we no longer control.

Church discipline has been a distinctive practice within the Anabaptist tradition through the centuries, though the way it has sometimes been practised has been problematic.

There is not much written on the subject for churches to consult who want to explore church discipline. The following books are all out of print but may be helpful if you can obtain any of them:

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich: The Cost of Discipleship (SCM, 1959)
Bridge, Donald: Spare the Rod and Spoil the Church (MARC,

Coffey, David: Build That Bridge (Kingsway, 1986)

Jeschke, Martin: Discipling in the Church (Herald Press, 1988)

Stuart: Relationships – Jesus Style (Word, 1992)

White, John & Ken Blue: Healing the Wounded (IVP, 1985)

Wray, Daniel: Biblical Church Discipline (Banner of Truth, 1978)

The Practice of Church Discipline (19pp, 157KB)

This study guide is based on Explaining Church Discipline, a short book by Stuart Murray. This was published in 1995 by Sovereign World but has been out of print for some years. Since there is very little on this neglected subject currently in print, we have decided to make this book available on this website. You can download the full text of the book below:

Explaining Church Discipline (Sovereign World, 1995).