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The Glory of a True Church- Of Scandalous Persons guilty of gross Acts of Immorality

Of Scandalous Persons guilty of gross Acts of Immorality

If any Member fall into any gross Acts of Sin, as Swearing, Lying, Drunken ness, Fornication, Covetousness, Extortion, or the like, and it is known and publickly spread abroad to the great scandal and reproach of Religion, and of the Holy Name of God, his Church, and People; the said Offender so charged, the Church must send one or two Brethren to him to come before the Congregation: if he will not come, but doth fight and contemn the Authority of the Church, that will bring farther Guilt upon him, for which Offence he incurs the Censure before-mentioned. But if he doth appear, his Charge is to be laid before him, and the Witnesses called; and after he has made his Defence, and said all he hath to say, and the Congregation finds him Guilty, then the same Censure is to pass upon him, to the end he may be brought to unfeigned Repentance, and the Name of God cleared; and some time must be taken to make it appear that he hath true Repentance, by the Reformation of his Life and holy walking afterwards, before he be received again, and the Censure of the Church in a solemn manner be taken off.

Dr. Chauncy puts this Question,

Quest. ‘How is a Church to proceed in case of open and notorious Scandals?’

The Answer is, ‘the matter of Fact, as such, being beyond all question; the Church is to proceed immediately to censure, to vindicate the Honour of Christ and his Church, and to manifest to the World their just Indignation against such Notorious Offenders, and wait for a well-grounded and tryed Evidence of his true Repentance under that Ordinance of Christ which is appointed to that end.’67

Observe, It is the opinion of the Doctor, that tho the Person be penitent, yet because his Sin is open and scandalous, he ought to be cast out to vindicate the Honour of Christ and the Church, as part of his just Punishment (that being one reason of the Ordinance of Excommunication) as well as to bring the Person to thorough Repentance; and we are of his Mind. Paul takes no notice in the case of the Incestuous Person of his immediate Repentance; or if he repent not, then, &c. But says he, deliver such a one to Satan, &c. Saith the Lord, if her Father had but spit in her Face, should she not be ashamed seven Days? Let her be shut out from the Camp Seven Days: (speaking of Miriam) and after that let her be received in again.68

Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)

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The Glory of a True Church- The Power of the Keys, with Church-Discipline, and Members Duties one to another

September 30, 2016 Leave a comment

The Power of the Keys, with Church-Discipline, and Members Duties one to another

1. We judge it necessary that a Day monthly be appointed particularly for Discipline, and not to manage such affairs on the Lord’s-day, which should be spent on the publick Worship of God, of a different nature: besides, such things may (on the account of Discipline) come before the Church which may not be expedient to be heard on the Lord’s-day, lest it disturb the Spirits of any Members, and hinder their Meditation in the Word which they have newly heard: tho in small Congregations perhaps a day in two or three Months may be sufficient.

2. The Power of the Keys, or to receive in and shut out of the Congregation, is committed unto the Church:53 The Political Power of Christ, saith Dr. Chauncy, is in the Church, whereby it is exercised in the Name of Christ, having all lawful Rule and Government within it self, which he thus proves, viz.

1. The Church essential is the first Subject of the Keys.

2. They must of necessity to their Preservation, purge themselves from all pernicious Members.

3. They have Power to organize themselves with Officers. Yet I humbly conceive I may add, that the Concurrence of the Presbytery is needful hereunto.

4. If need be that they call an Officer from without, or one of another Church, they must first admit him a Member, that they may ordain their Officer from among themselves.

5. They have Power to reject a scandalous Pastor from Office and Membership.

This Power of Christ is exerted as committed to them by the Hands of the Elder appointed by Christ, the due management whereof is in and with the Church to be his Care and Trust, as a Steward, whereof he is accountable to Christ and the Church, not lording it over God’s Heritage. And that the Power of the Keys is in the Church, appears to me from Mat. 18. If he will not hear the Church; it is not said, if he will not hear the Elder, or Elders. As also that of the Apostle, in directing the Church to cast out the Incestuous Person,54 he doth not give this Counsel to the Elder or Elders of the Church, but to the Church;55 so he commands the Church to withdraw from every Brother that walks disorderly. Purge out the old Leaven, that you may be a new Lump.56

Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)

The Glory of a True Church- The Office and Work of Deacons

September 9, 2016 Leave a comment

The Office and Work of Deacons

The Work of Deacons is to serve Tables,17 viz. to see to provide for the Lord’s Table, the Minister’s Table, and the Poor’s Table.18 (1.) They should provide Bread and Wine for the Lord’s Table. (2.) See that every Member contributes to the Maintenance of the Ministry, according to their Ability,19 and their own voluntary Subscription or Obligation. (3.) That each Member do give weekly to the Poor, as God has blessed him. (4.) Also visit the Poor, and know their Condition as much as in them lies, that none, especially the aged Widows, be neglected.20

Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)

The Glory of a True Church- Introduction

The

Glory

of a

True Church,

And its

Discipline display’d

Wherein a true Gospel-Church

is described.

Together with the Power of the Keys,

and who are to be let in, and who to be

shut out.

Benjamin Keach

Mat. 18.18. Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth, shall

be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose

on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven.

John Robinson, Publisher

London

Printed in the Year 1697

To the Baptized Churches, particularly to that under my Care.

 

My Brethren,

Every House or Building consisteth both of Matter and Form: And so doth the Church of Christ, or House of the Living God.

The Matter or Materials with which it is built are Lively Stones, i.e. Converted Persons: Also the Matter and Form must be according to the Rule and Pattern shewed in the Mount, I mean Christ’s Institution, and the Apostolical Churches Constitution, and not after Men’s Inventions.

Now some Men, because the Typical Church of the Jews was National, and took in their Carnal Seed (as such) therefore the same Matter and Form they would have under the Gospel.

But tho a Church be rightly built in both these respects, i.e. of fit Matter and right Form, yet without a regular and orderly Discipline, it will soon lose its Beauty, and be polluted.

Many Reverend Divines of the Congregational way, have written most excellently (it is true) upon this Subject, I mean on Church-Discipline; but the Books are so voluminous that the Poorer Sort can’t purchase them, and many others have not Time or Learning enough to improve them to their Profit; and our Brethren the Baptists have not written (as I can gather) on this Subject by it self: Therefore I have been earnestly desired by our Members, and also by one of our Pastors, to write a small and plain Tract concerning the Rules of the Discipline of a Gospel-Church; that all Men may not only know our Faith, but see our Order in this case also. True, this (tho plain) is but short, but may be it may provoke some other Person to do it more fully. Certainly, ignorance of the rules of Discipline causes no small trouble and disorders in our Churches; and if this may be a Prevention, or prove profitable to any, let God have the Glory, and I have my End: Who am, Yours

Benj. Keach.

Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)