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Church Discipline

Recovering the Office of Elder The Shepherd Model, Part II by Eric Laverentz
In 1898, the ruling elders of the Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Missouri, became aware through local media that one of their members, Dr. H.S Lowry had become sexually involved with one of his employees. Dr. Lowry repented of the sin and admitted his offense in writing to the Session. However, the elders of Second Presbyterian Church sought further to set the matter straight between the couple. They spelled out their terms. Dr. Lowry was forgiven, but to regain full “communion and privileges of membership” he would have to marry the woman. They made it clear: “An adequate repentance it seems to us can only be fully evinced by giving to the young woman you have wronged the right to bear your name and to look to you for the protection which a husband alone can afford a wife.”Fall 2018, Theology Matters, Pg. 6

Rediscovering the Office of Elder The Shepherd Model by Eric Laverentz
At the center of our name, tradition, identity, and ethos as Presbyterians is a term that has lost almost all connection with what it meant to most who have called themselves Presbyterians over the last five centuries. Even to many of our parents and grandparents being a “presbyter” or “elder” meant something quite different than it means to most of us today. Summer 2018, Theology Matters, P. 1

Ordinary and Extraordinary Discipline: Mutual Accountability in the Reformed Tradition by Charles Wiley
Wiley addresses mutual accountability; why discipline?, ordinary discipline, reconciliation, worship at the heart, grace in the mundane, we are all implicated, moving forward.     Jan/Feb 2003 Theology Matters    p. 10

Recovering a Theology of God's (Gracious) Law by John P. Burgess
Burgess explains the relationship between law and grace. He looks at: a Reformed view of the Law; Defining the Law and how Law and Grace Work Together.  Jul/Aug 2002 Theology Matters p. 1

The Gift of Discipline by Paul Leggett
Leggett looks at the role of discipline in the life of the church.  He examines the basic biblical doctrines and then considers how discipline 'rightly ministered' could help bring health and strength back into Christian denominations including the PCUSA. Jul/Aug 2002 Theology Matters p. 7

Thank God for Crowing Rooster by Donn Moomaw
Moomaw explains how discipline in his life through action by the presbytery brought healing and restoration.  Jul/Aug 2002 Theology Matters  p. 10

"Hello, we've got a problem", by Richard White
The experience of Montreat Presbyterian Church because it refused to ordain women as elders. Jul/Aug 2002 Theology Matters p. 13

The Centrality of Holiness to Christian Faith: Why Holiness Has Become Irrelevant in Postmodern Religion by David F. Wells, Andrew Muctch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and author of numerous books including Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision.  Wells writes, "The greatest dangers to evangelical faith, I believe, lie as much in what we do know as in what we don't.  They lie not only in the doctrinal fog represented on many a church pew each Sunday but also in the great truths of Christian faith which are professed on those same pews but which, nonetheless, now lie dormant."   Wells examines the meaning of "the Holy".  He writes, What the holiness of God means is rather clear: it is what it means to us that is problematic and obscure."   Wells argues that we define life in terms of the therapeutic.  "We now translate many of life's wrongs into diseases; we focus these in the self; we think that our remedy can be found within; and,...insofar as there is a religious dimension to all of this, it takes the form of recasting God as the source of our inner healing."  Wells examines the "Disappearance of Sin" and the needed remedy of biblical preaching.  "The God of Calvin and Luther has, in these sermons, disappeared.  In his place is one far less transcendent, far more mellow, one who feels our pain as any good Boomer might, and who is so much more user-friendly."  Mar/Apr 1998 Theology Matters p. 1

A Word of Hope for a Church in Pain: Biblical and Theological Dimensions of Ecclesiastical Discipline by Teresa M. McAnally, PCUSA pastor.  Examining the role of discipline in a believer's life and in the church's life, McAnally looks at, "A Necessary Component of Human Development" "The Act of a Loving God" ,"Ecclesiastical Discipline as Loving Legacy of the Holy Spirit" ,"The State of Discipline in the Church Today".   Mar/Apr 1998 Theology Matters  p. 6

When Everything is Permitted  by Wolfhart Pannenberg, reprinted with permission from First Things Journal, February 1998, No. 80, pp. 26-30.  Pannenberg writes, "It may well be the case that the moral crisis of modern secular societies is attributable to the fact that God is no longer publicly recognized as the source of moral norms...Historical experience demonstrates that, for societies and for individuals, the autonomy of reason cannot successfully replace the authority of God. In this respect Rousseau is fully vindicated.  As is Dostoevsky, whose Ivan Karamazov observed that, without God, "everything is permitted."  Pannenberg's solution to the moral dilemma begins with a renewal of Christian morality in the Christian community.  Mar/Apr 1998 Theology Matters p. 8 

The Discipline of the Church: Its Chief Use in Censures and Excommunication by John Calvin, reprinted from the Institutes of the Christian Religion ed. by John McNeil (Library of Christian Classics Series.  Used by permission of WJK Press, Book IV, Chapter XII, 1-5, pp 1229-1234.  Calvin addresses the necessity and nature of church discipline; stages of church discipline; the purpose of church discipline, and the limits of our judgment according to church discipline,  Mar/Apr 1998 Theology Matters  p. 12

Engaging the World With Christ: Participating in the Royal Office of Christ by Scott R. A.  Starbuck, Ph.D.  Starbuck examines the three offices Christ was given: prophet, king and priest.  Starbuck continues, "once we receive the benefits of Christ's three-fold office, we directly become participants with Christ within his offices."   Starbuck then focuses primarily on exegeting and interpreting the participation of ordained officers in the royal office of Christ.  Jan/Feb 1998 Theology Matters p. 1