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Biblical Church Discipline and the Purity of the Church

In the New Testament church, every believer in Jesus Christ joined himself and his family to a local congregation under the shepherding oversight of elders, Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17; I Thess. 5:12. These elders would lead them into the truths of the Bible so as to be "established in grace," Heb. 13:9, that they might grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord, II Pet. 3:18. In that local congregation, the elders and all faithful members would work and pray toward the end that that church would be as pure as it can be on earth in both what it believed (doctrine) and in how it behaved (practice), Acts 19:8- 12; Rom. 16:17-20, to the glory of the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ. This must be true of us today, for a strong church is a church that looks like the church the way the apostles left it. One of the vows a person must take to join the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States is: "Do you submit yourself to the government and discipline of the church, and promise to strive for its purity and peace?"