Where there is No Church Discipline, There is No Church

In 1538 Calvin was beset all around by difficulties.  Indeed…

Calvin was fettered not only in his preaching but still more in the discharge of his pastoral duties. ‘In general,’ he wrote to Bullinger, February 21, ‘we are looked on here as preachers rather than pastors. We cannot have a Church that will stand unless the discipline of the apostles be restored.’ However, he had not lost hope. ‘There is much alteration which we earnestly desire,’ he further wrote to his friend at Zurich, ‘but which can be effected only by our applying ourselves to it with faith, diligence, and perseverance. Oh, that a pure and sincere agreement might at length be established among us! Would there be any obstacle in the way of the meeting of a synod, at which everyone might propose what he believed to be useful to the Churches?’*

The interesting thing here is the highlighted sentence. Pondering that fact reveals incredible truths.  Any Church that lacks theological standards enforced by the necessary discipline will not, cannot, and should not survive.  Why?  Because when churches abandon core beliefs and practices; or rather when Church members do, they cease to be Church members and those churches that allow it cease to be churches.

*J. H. Merle D’aubigné D.D. and William L. R. Cates, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (vol. 6; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1975), 435.