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Gospel Discipline And Church (Dis)unity In The Reformed Tradition

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Chapter Summary

From the time of the English Reformation onwards, there were those who felt that the reform had not gone far enough. While some Puritans were content to remain within the Church of England, more radical ones were not. They became Separatists precisely because they could not agree that the established church was a true church of Jesus Christ. Questions of inclusion and exclusion have frequently arisen in connection with church discipline, and it is noted that historically the dissenting traditions differed among themselves over the disciplinary process. The church is under the discipline of the Word, revealed in the Bible, and savingly active in Jesus Christ, to whom the scriptures witness. In Congregational church books, moral cases greatly outnumber doctrinal ones. For all his abhorrence of legalism and sectarianism, Dale rightly insisted that "the right to 'excommunicate' the irreligious appears to be essential to the very existence of the Church"..

Keywords: Christian tradition; church Discipline; Congregational church; English Reformation; Jesus Christ; R.W. Dale



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