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The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love: Reintroducing the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline

The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love: Reintroducing the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline

Jonathan Leeman

| Crossway | 2010

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When the world speaks of “love,” it often means unconditional acceptance. Many churches have adopted this mindset in their practice of membership and discipline—if they have not done away with such structures entirely. “Yet God’s love and God’s Gospel are different than what the world expects,” writes Jonathan Leeman. They are centered in his character, which draws a clear boundary between what is holy and what is not. It’s this line that the local church should represent in its membership practices, because the careful exercise of such authority “is God’s means for guarding the Gospel, marking off a people, and thereby defining his love for the world.”

So how should churches receive and dismiss members? How should Christians view their submission to the church? Are there dangers in such submission? Leeman answers these questions and offers biblical, theological, and practical guidance from both corporate and individual perspectives. This is a resource that will help pastors and their congregations upend worldly conceptions and recover a biblical understanding and practices of church membership and discipline.