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Why Don’t Churches Practice Church Discipline?



Why don’t churches practice church discipline? Chuck Lawless gives twelve reasons he has noticed why they don’t. Here’s the article:

Some years ago, I conducted a study and wrote a book on membership classes in local churches. Many of those churches included teaching church covenants in their membership class, but they talked very little about church discipline. That is, they established expectations but did not always talk about accountability. Since then, I’ve conducted an ongoing informal survey to see why churches don’t do discipline. Here are the primary findings, in no particular order.

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Does Man Have a Free Will?



The Four States of Man’s Free Will

This has been the subject of much debate throughout church history. Heresies have been crafted and proclaimed on the basis of a wrong view of this critical doctrine. It would be an understatement to say, “This is an important doctrine.” No, this is a really important doctrine, and it is important that we are grounded in a biblical view of free will.

Man’s free will is often looked at in four states. The first one, which is discussed in paragraph 2 of the confession, is free will in the state of innocence. Man in that state (before the Fall) was able to will and obey God. Yet the confession affirms that it “was unstable, so that he might fall from it.” In other words, man was not only able to will and to do God’s will, but was also able to will and to disobey what God had commanded, which they did. 

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Article XI – The Church is a Family of Believers that Includes Families

We affirm that local churches are spiritual households of faith, and that congregations of the visible church include individuals and family units that should be cared for and strengthened by the church to fulfill their God ordained roles, not only as individuals but also as families (Eph. 4:1-32; 5:22-33; 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

We deny/reject the current trend in churches that ignores the family unit, is blind to strengthening it, systematically segregates it, and does not properly equip her members to be faithful family members.

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Andrew Fuller on Church Discipline


David Prince has extracted some important sections from The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Expositions—Miscellaneous. These quotations reflect the various conflicts and difficulties that always follow church discipline situations. I highly recommend this article, Gospel-Centered Church Discipline – Andrew Fuller (1754-1815).

Here is the article:

I have added the headings below to help arrange and organize the material. The quotations are from a message Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) gave in 1799 titled The Discipline of Primitive Churches Illustrated and Enforced. It is full of clear and concise on a Gospel-centered application of church discipline.

Must Not Promote a Party Spirit

If uniformity be required in such a degree as that every difference in judgment or practice shall occasion a separation, the churches may be always dividing into parties, which we are persuaded was never encouraged by the apostles of our Lord, and cannot be justified in trivial or ordinary cases. A contrary practice is expressly taught us in the Epistle to the Romans (chap. 14); and the cases in which it is to be exercised are there pointed out. An object of forbearance, however, must be one that may exist without being an occasion of dispute and wrangling in the church; it must “not be to doubtful disputations,” ver. 1. It must also respect things which do not enter into the essence of God’s kingdom, the leading principles of which are “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,” ver. 16, 17.

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A Network of Very Unusual Churches



The NCFIC maintains an online network called the, “FIC Network.” In order to be listed, these churches must indicate that they fully or substantially embrace the “Declaration for the Complementary Roles of Church and Family.” The churches which have identified with the NCFIC on the network are very unusual in the American landscape. I have been traveling and meeting leaders of these churches face to face over the past several months at “regional leaders meetings.” Thus far, I have traveled to: Orlando, FL; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; St. Louis, MO; Davenport, IA; Winston-Salem, NC; Chesapeake, VA; Boise, ID; Phoenix, AZ; and Bremerton, WA.

Following are twenty characteristics of these churches. I have shared some of these things at the meetings we’ve had. As you read through this list, ask yourself: “What percentage of churches in America share these qualities?”

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How to Persevere Laboring with Little Results


Here is a beautiful article by Don Whitney on, “The fields ARE white for harvest, even when you see few conversions”:

When you see few, if any, conversions in your place of ministry, it can be hard to believe that what Jesus said in John 4:35 is true.

In that verse He said to His disciples, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

It’s important to realize that He said this in Samaria—a place where Jews (like Jesus and His disciples) weren’t welcome and where Jesus had seen only one convert, and that one just a few minutes earlier

In other words, the twelve apostles did not consider Samaria a place where there had been, or likely ever would be, many conversions.

And yet Jesus said it was—and by extension the places where we serve Him now are—fields white for harvest.

But most of us know too well the grim reality that you can labor faithfully for a long time and see few, if any conversions. Hosea prophesied God’s Word for seventy years. Isaiah preached faithfully for fifty. But both of them had reason to pray the prayer of Isaiah, “Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1).

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Christology 101 – The Doctrine of Christ



The last chapter of the confession dealt with the covenant God made with His elect, the covenant of grace. In this chapter of the confession, the authors take a close look at the mediator of the covenant: Christ. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” Christ is the God-Man. He is fully God, yet fully man. It is a great mystery how two distinct complete and distinct natures are joined in one person “without conversion, composition, or confusion.”

It was absolutely necessary for Christ to come and be the surety of the covenant, to pay the price of redemption for those whom God elected to save before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-14). God is a holy God, and He will “by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7). Christ willingly undertook this task. He lived a life of perfect obedience to His Father, a life that we could never live. He bore our sins, “made sin and a curse for us,” and paid the penalty that we deserved. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). God’s wrath had to be satisfied, the penalty must be paid, and Christ did so on behalf of His people.

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Books Every Family Should Read

Sinclair Ferguson has written three really excellent books for children on Polycarp, Irenaeus and Ignatius, all whom were friends and evangelized by John-the disciple of Jesus. I read them after purchasing them at the Banner of Truth Ministers Conference. They are very nicely illustrated and good for children.

These are indispensable books for the Christian family. I highly encourage you to get them and read them to your family.

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The God Who Disciplines Sons

Are you being disciplined by God? Does your church participate in discipline the way the Bible explains? The answer to the first question will reveal whether or not you are a Christian, and the answer to the second question will reveal whether you are in a faithful or unfaithful church. Far from being something that ought to be avoided at all costs, discipline is a sign that we are God’s children: “For whom the LORD loves He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6).

It is critical that we examine our lives to see if we are being chastised by the Lord, and to embrace sound doctrine on the matter so that we can communicate this aspect of His glory in the world.

At The Church Discipline Conference, I will be giving a message explaining this whole matter of the discipline of God in more detail. I hope that you will be able to join me! 

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Article X – The Church Is Essential for Biblical Family Life

We affirm that biblical involvement in local churches including her worship services, meetings, preaching, ordinances, relationships, evangelism, prayers and instruction, is  required for the equipping of individuals and families to fulfill their God ordained mission (Rom. 12:10, 13; 15:5; 1 Cor. 11:33; 12:25; Eph. 4:11-12; 5:19; 1 Thess. 4:18; 5:11; Heb. 10:24-25; James 5:16; 1 Peter 4:10).

We deny/reject that the family can replace the church, that the local church should play a minor role in the life of a family, or that the family should neglect the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Transitioning from Childhood to Adulthood in the Church

We have many young people in our church who have moved past the childhood stage and are now in a new season of life. It seems like yesterday that all we had were little children in the church. It was like preaching to a gigantic children’s church.

We still have lots of children, but now we have lots of young adults. Parents and pastors eventually have to face different forms of this transition. It feels like it happens at lightning speed, and it is easy to catch you off guard. (more…)

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$5 Fatherhood Sale

As Father’s Day quickly approaches, we are offering a sale on our resources on the topic of fatherhood. One of our objectives here at the NCFIC is to work for the restoration of the biblically defined role of fathers who diligently teach their children.

From now until June 20th, all resources on fatherhood will be $5! We have listed the resources below for your convenience:

Building a Godly Home, Vol. 3 – Normally $13.95, now only $5
Building a God-Centered Family – Normally $7.95, now only $5
A New Kind of Father – Normally $24.95, now only $5
Fatherhood MP3 – Normally $29.95, now only $5
Preparing Boys for Battle – Normally $15.95, now only $5

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God’s Covenant and the Gospel

God’s covenant with man magnifies the mercy and grace of God. The first paragraph speaks of this infinite gap between God and man. It is a gap that man can never bridge, it’s impossible. Though man are to obey and honor God in all things, we could never obtain eternal life by obedience.

Thus, the only way that man could be saved is “by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.” When Adam fell, all of mankind, from Adam and Eve to all of the generations after them, were brought under a curse.

It is only by, referring to the covenant of grace, “the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality.” It is important that we understand the covenants which God has voluntarily established. Are you grounded in a biblical understanding of God’s covenant? Download the lecture on chapter 7 of the 1689 London Baptist Confessing of Faith.

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5 Motives for Family Worship

We know family worship is commanded in Scripture, but what should our motive be? It cannot be just obedience, for hypocrites do just that. In this article, J.H. Merle D’Aubigne presents five motives for family worship. You can also download the PDF version of this article.


Chapter 1—Family Worship: Motives for Family Worship

Motives for Family Worship

J.H. MERLE D’AUBIGNE (1794-1872)

As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. —Joshua 24:15
Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! —Numbers 23:10

We have said, my brethren, on a former occasion, that if we would die His death, we must live His life. It is true that there are cases in which the Lord shows His mercy and His glory to men who are already lying on the death- bed, and says to them, as to the thief on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The Lord still gives the Church similar examples from time to time for the purpose of displaying His sovereign power by which, when He is pleased to do so, He can break the hardest hearts and convert the souls most estranged52 to show that all depends on His grace, and that He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy. Yet these are but rare exceptions on which you cannot rely absolutely; and if you wish, my dear hearers, to die the Christian’s death, you must live the Christian’s life. Your heart must be truly converted to the Lord; truly prepared for the kingdom; and trusting only in the mercy of Christ, desirous of going to dwell with Him. Now, my brethren, there are various means by which you can be made ready in life to obtain at a future day a blessed end. It is on one of the most efficacious53 of these means that we wish to dwell today. This mean54 is Family Worship; that is, the daily edification which the members of a Christian family may mutually enjoy. “As for me and my house,” said Joshua to Israel, “we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15). We wish, my brethren, to give you the motives which should induce us to make this resolution of Joshua and the directions necessary to fulfill it.

Why Family Worship?

1. To Bring Glory to God

But, my brethren, if the love of God be in your hearts, and if you feel that being bought with a price, you ought to glorify God in your bodies and spirits, which are His, where do you love to glorify Him rather than in your families and in your houses? You love to unite with your brethren in worshipping Him publicly in the church; you love to pour out your souls before Him in your closets. Is it only in the presence of that being with whom God has connected you for life and before your children that you cannot think of God? Is it, then, only, that

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My Father Was Shot Down Seventy Years Ago Today

On May 29, 1945, my father, Bill Brown, was shot down over enemy waters. He was shot down by “friendly fire.” He had to crawl out of his plane, open his parachute, and safely land in the enemy waters.

My dad has said, when reflecting on this situation, “Even in desperate situations like this one just south of Tokyo Bay, I knew the Lord went before me and that He would spare me at His pleasure-so there was nothing to fear.” Later, a submarine called the Pipefish came and picked him up.

Throughout the whole situation, the words of his father were etched in his mind:

“Son, the Lord goes before you.” 

Here are some books in our bookstore on Iwo Jima:
Preparing Boys for Battle
Moment of Courage
Coming In On a Wing and a Prayer

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