Of Church Censures.
I. The Lord Jesus, as king and
head of his church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand of
church-officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.a
a Isa. 9:6,7; 1 Tim.
5:17; 1 Thess. 5:12; Acts 20:17,28; Heb. 13:7,17,24; 1 Cor. 12:28; Matt.
II. To these officers the keys
of the kingdom of heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have power
respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom against
the impenitent, both by the word and censures; and to open it unto
penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel, and by absolution from
censures, as occasion shall require.b
b Matt. 16:19; Matt.
18:17,18; John 20:21-23; 2 Cor. 2:6-8.
III. Church censures are
necessary for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren; for deterring
of others from the like offences; for purging out of that leaven
which might infect the whole lump; for vindicating the honour of
Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of
God, which might justly fall upon the church, if they should suffer
his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate
c 1 Cor. 5
throughout; 1 Tim. 5:20; Matt. 7:6; 1 Tim. 1:20; 1 Cor. 11:27 to the end, with
Jude ver. 23.
IV. For the better attaining of
these ends, the officers of the church are to proceed by admonition,
suspension from the sacrament of the Lordís Supper for a season,
and by excommunication from the church, according to the nature of
the crime, and demerit of the person.d
d 1 Thess. 5:12; 2
Thess. 3:6,14,15; 1 Cor. 5:4,5,13; Matt. 18:17; Tit. 3:10.
Confession of Faith (index)