IN answer to queries submitted by brother Spring, on the subject of Gospel Discipline, we would observe that we understand the church of Christ to be an independent body, vested with authority by her king, to execute the order of his house according to the rule of order which he has laid down in the New Testament. To suppose that any case of difficulty could possibly occur, for the disposal of which there is no provision made in the divine rule, would be a reflection on the wisdom of Zion’s divine Legislator. The execution of the law of Zion is a good work, therefore to it the man of God is thoroughly furnished in the scriptures of truth. In most cases we believe that the rule recorded in Matt. xviii. will apply. But that there are exceptions we think will be seen by a reference to the apostles. See 1 Cor. v. 4, 5, 11-13; 1 Tim. v. 20; Titus iii. 10, 11, and Gal. ii. 5.
In our judgment, all decisions in discipline, whether by majorities or minorities, are null and void if made without a direct warrant in the New Testament; but all decisions, whether made by many or by few, if directly authorized by the word of God, “is bound on earth, and shall be bound in heaven.” Such decisions are to be in all cases final and conclusive of course. In the execution of the discipline of the church there is to be no partiality shown to one over another, on account of his or her gifts, age or consequence; for if Thine eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee, or thy hand, or foot, or any of the members; there is but one rule, and the Master says, “It is better to enter into life with one eye, or halt, or maimed, &c., than to retain all these disaffected members to be cast into hell fire;” and that disorder into which a church must be plunged if she is not governed by the divine rule, is by James called the “fire of hell.”
These remarks are humbly submitted; the subject is still open, and we solicit the views on this important subject of abler brethren. The brother who submits his queries enquires after the old paths; let those who have wisdom point them out.
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
July 30, 1834.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 141 – 142