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April 1983 · Vol. 12 No. 2 · pp. 15–27 

Church Discipline in a Pluralistic Society

Marvin L. Warkentin



That the question of church discipline in a pluralistic society is raised indicates the significant shift in the way the Mennonite Brethren Church now sees itself. When we as a religious community were relatively more isolated from the larger society, the question of church discipline in a pluralistic society would not have been raised. The influences of society, whether a monolithic voice or plural voices, were relatively less important. The pressures of society were there to be sure. But they were more easily marked as good or bad. Discipline was conducted on the basis of maintaining significant physical separation from society. Discipline was also conducted in concerns arising within the community where no external influence was present. In both instances discipline was for the preservation, well-being, and strengthening of the community for itself. Discipline was largely inward-looking.

In this paper I will suggest that discipline needs to be both inward-looking and outward-looking. This is particularly the need in a pluralistic society of which we are now a part. A community always needs an inward-looking discipline that preserves and strengthens its existence. This is important whether society is singular or plural. But by incorporating an outward-looking discipline in our pluralistic age, we stand to preserve ourselves not only for the past but to preserve and strengthen ourselves in the present. An outward-looking discipline will be an integral part of the church’s mission.


The assumptions on which this paper is developed are the following: First, we as a Mennonite Brethren people are already participating {16} in the pluralist structures of society. Second, our historical practice of church discipline has been shaped principally by the private ethic of an earlier day when we were more isolated from society. Third, we continue in the present to view church discipline from the perspective of our earlier isolation. Fourth, our practice of discipline has fallen into an uneasy disuse because our private ethic is inadequate in light of our social integration. Fifth, we need to develop a more thorough social ethic in light of our integration into and participation in pluralistic society. Sixth, a discipline that allows both a private and a social ethic will invest the church with a renewed confidence and inner authority that will prevent its being swept away by pluralistic society, and it will give the church internal integrity as another voice in that society.



Pluralism is a construction of society such that a common centre of assumptions and values gives adequate cohesion to diverse groups, each of which functions around another set of its own assumptions and values. There may be no agreement between different groups, or there may be outright clashing between different groups. Yet the common centre of agreement permits diverse groups to live together. Berger and Luckmann state succinctly:

Most modern societies are pluralistic. This means they have a short core universe taken for granted as such and different partial universes co-existing in a state of mutual accommodation. 1

The short core universe is that part of the societal pool in which all participate, the common assumptions and values. The different partial universes are those assumptions and values unique to each group.


The problems of pluralism may be viewed from two points of view. From the perspective of pluralistic society the problem is how mutually to accommodate the diversity so centrifugal forces do not disintegrate the social structure. From the perspective of a partial universe, the problem is to keep a group identity. While these perspectives must both be considered together (if the larger social structure disintegrates, will an individual group be destroyed in the disintegration?), our concern will focus primarily on the latter perspective.

Pluralistic society pushes us as a church community from two directions. First, it challenges the carefully detailed personal and community {17} values we hold uniquely, that is those assumptions and values not included in the common centre of pluralistic society. Pluralism wears the mask of value neutrality with respect to its many diverse groups. This alleged neutrality becomes a value in itself that is at odds with our community values. The value of “value-free neutrality” declares equal standing for each partial universe of the pluralistic system. Each is deemed as valid as any other. In this manner, pluralism becomes an ally of secularism while it champions religious freedom. Sawatsky identifies two forms of secularism that accompany an alleged value-free pluralism.

Technological secularism seeks to keep modern technological society functioning efficiently with mastery over nature, including human nature. Secular humanism postulates (sic) a normative anthropology in the image of the healthy personality defined above all by humanistic psychology. 2

Unless these technological and humanist assumptions are challenged, the Christian Church including the Mennonite Brethren community will be swept away. The supposed value-free premise of pluralism subtly pushes us to a conformity destructive of the faith.

Second, pluralistic society challenges us where we have not self-consciously defined our personal and community values vis a vis the pluralistic society. When our Mennonite Brethren partial universe is not carefully defined in light of present realities, particularly the technological and humanistic secularism noted above, we risk being drawn into practices that contradict our religious faith. An inadequate social ethic occasions such inadvertent captivity.

Mennonite Brethren Pluralism

Mennonite Brethren are largely acculturated in North American society today. Deeply significant factors such as the land we live upon and the language we speak bind us to our culture more than we may care to admit. Our involvements in the institutions of society have increased dramatically within the past two generations. We are committed to the larger social fabric through our participation in the professions, education, business, commerce, industry, labour, and government. While we have participated in these arenas over the years, our participation was formerly in the relative isolation of Mennonite life. Now we participate in all these arenas in society at large. The most dramatic change has occurred in the realm of political participation. Once we abstained from political office-holding and voting as a way to avoid political involvement. Redekop documents the political investment of Mennonites in North America from the earliest days to the present. Today there is a very self-conscious participation in government in contrast {18} to our earlier perception of withdrawal from political engagement. 3 Mennonite Brethren are deeply involved in the structures of pluralistic society.


Aspects of Discipline

Discipline represents two aspects to us today. Its first face is negative. Many in the Mennonite Brethren Church shy away from the notion of discipline because the memory of past disciplinary actions in the church is painful. Discipline was sometimes administered harshly. Discipline sometimes included a detailed recounting of sordid details in confession before the membership. Other times it included an enforced act of humiliation as a sign of true repentance. In other instances threat of excommunication came by letter without as much as a personal visit beforehand. 4 Some are ready to leave these methods in the past. Others want to discard discipline altogether.

Discipline also has a positive aspect. Few, if any, are prepared to declare that the church may not set boundaries. We believe that discipline belongs to the church. The Bible teaches it. Without it there would be no particular meaning to church membership. Today varied voices call for the recovery of a sound, biblical discipline. In his seminal work, Discipling the Brother, Jeschke quotes Reformed, Lutheran and Anglican writers who urge a new day for church discipline. 5 We too need to come to terms with the positive face of discipline.

The question is, “How do we reconcile our past practice of discipline, about which we are uneasy, with a renewed practice that has integrity for us in our contemporary setting?” Several answers must be given to that question. First, bad application does not invalidate the value of disciplinary practice. Discipline can be administered better than it has been in the past. Second, not all past discipline was poorly exercised. Painful memories tend to override the memories of positive results. Third, we need a more comprehensive view of discipline than we have formerly given it. This third point will be expanded in Section IV. But first we must examine Mennonite Brethren discipline.

Mennonite Brethren Discipline

Mennonite Brethren disciplinary practices can be grouped in the following areas: personal practices, marriage issues (mate selection and marital failure), sexual improprieties, interpersonal relationships, political participation, economic practices, and doctrinal deviances. Most discipline seems to have centered in the first three areas of personal practices, marriage issues (mate selection and marital failure), and sexual improprieties. Of these, about half the discipline belongs to marriage {19} and sexual issues while the remainder address personal practices. 6

In the realm of personal practices, discipline was meted out in matters of consuming alcoholic beverages, using tobacco, applying cosmetic adornments (earrings, lipstick and permanents), and for engaging in public entertainment. There is some corroboration for our concern in the area of personal practices by reference to General Conference resolutions. In 1887 the brotherhood forbade attendance at circuses and the theatre. In 1899 it prohibited attendance at saloons and circuses and forbade the selling of tobacco. In 1905 it prohibited participation in national 4th of July celebrations. 7 Although it disallowed participation and involvement in political parties, an 1890 statement permitted members to vote quietly, especially for prohibition. 8 Jesting and joking should be desisted from, by action of a 1900 statement, either in conversation or in published periodicals. 9

The preponderance of disciplinary concern with marital issues is again corroborated by General Conference statements. At least nineteen resolutions appear through the years 1878-1948. 10 Eight of these statements address the concern of a member marrying outside the Mennonite Brethren Church; five deal with situations in which ministers may not officiate at weddings. Resolutions in 1883, 1930, and 1939 precluded membership for divorced persons. 11

Less appears in conference statements about sexual deviation. However, two statements appear in the General Conference record. In 1943 the problem of immoral conduct was addressed. Immorality required discipline by excommunication. In 1945 that stance was reaffirmed. Emphasis was added with respect to brethren in the ministry. 12

These disciplinary concerns are both private and communal. They seek to preserve individuals by regulating certain personal practices, such as entertainment selection. They seek to preserve the community by regulating actions of individual members, such as mate selection, in order to keep the homogeneity of the group. The value of such discipline for both the individual and the group was self-contained. It did not seek to address the social order beyond the church. The discipline of separation from society was the one significant statement the church made to the social order. Even the peace position maintained by our church was observed more for its personal and community value than it was observed as a prophetic value for the outer social order. Discipline tended to be inward-looking.

In the sixties there is a shift in the nature of the resolutions forthcoming from the General Conference. A 1969 statement of alcohol addresses the question from the point of view of social responsibility rather than from the viewpoint of personal practice. 13 Divorce and remarriage are given a thorough review in 1966 and 1969:

While recognizing the sincere Christian motivation of our {20} brethren in leadership in the past, we recognize that a number of circumstances force us to reevaluate our position on the manner in which we deal with this problem. 14

No longer were the divorced barred from membership just because of divorce. This resolution opened no floodgate admitting divorced and remarried persons, but a mood shifted perceptibly.

The shift is noted again in a 1969 resolution on church membership. “. . . we have often made abstinence from disorderly behaviour the hallmark of discipleship and spirituality, thus giving the expression of our faith a somewhat negative character.” 15 This statement notes that behavioural guidelines are not conditions for membership but ideals to pursue. Such guidelines are not once laid down as binding for all times. They are subject to re-examination. And when Mennonite Brethren guidelines cannot be derived from Scripture, it shall be openly acknowledged.

The decade of the sixties and following saw a corresponding increase in the realm of social concern. 16 There were statements about abortion (1972, 1975), 17 concern for the aging (1963), 18 the criminal offender (1975), 19 Labour Unions (1969), 20 political involvement (1966), 21 non-resistance (1969), 22 and, significantly, about the inseparability of evangelism and social concern, though the kingdom responsibility remained first (1972) 23 The tone of these statements is not to restrict personal involvement in the larger social structure but rather to provide guidelines for participation in society. From a negative view of the world, we began to turn to a cautiously open and wider involvement in the society around us.

The problem of church discipline in the Mennonite Brethren Church is touched by our own developmental story as much as it is by the pluralistic society in which we live today. In that development we see a shift in our sense of responsibility to the outside world beginning in the decade of the sixties. But the shift to social concerns is not with loss of private concerns. We continue to be strongly identified with our private morality even as we have turned to a greater social involvement.

Means and Purposes of Discipline

Our discipline has operated on at least four levels: disapproval, censure, disfellowship, and excommunication. Discipline by disapproval operates when there is both spoken and unspoken disapproval by the church community for a particular action or practice by an individual within the group.

Discipline by censure occurs when a person is not permitted full participatory privileges within the church because of a past act. Discipline by disfellowshipping occurs when a person is requested to {21} refrain from fellowship at the Lord’s Table until a concern is cleared up. Discipline by excommunication occurs when a person is removed from the church membership.

The purpose of much of our discipline has been to maintain a pure church. Accordingly, our discipline has focused on questions of private ethics rather than social ethics. As long as we saw our church as a community separated from the larger social milieu, our private ethical approach served us without being challenged. Our concern was less with providing a prophetic voice than it was in maintaining our personal purity before God. To maintain a pure church, identifiable practices, e.g., attending circuses, participating in political structures, using cosmetics, consuming alcoholic beverages, or smoking tobacco, have been defined at some time in our history as destructive for both the individual and the church community. Such practices were/are forbidden and merit(ed) the community’s disapproval, censure, disfellowship, or excommunication.

Whether such a pure state ever has been maintained is questionable. Even before we moved into wider participation in society, our hidden human motivations operated to express our human weaknesses. One could illustrate with specific instances. More useful, however, is the mirror that literature provides to let us see ourselves individually and as a church community. In Rudy Wiebe’s Peace Shall Destroy Many we have just such a picture. The story recreates the complex dynamics which operate in the church/cultural community. The dynamics move in one direction as the leadership attempts to maintain the normative religious values of the community. This is the push toward peace. The same dynamics move in the opposite direction both for the leader and the community as the attempt to keep the community pure becomes almost demonic. Hidden motivations, operating in maintaining the purity, are destructive of the peace that is desired. Peace destroys many.

This does not suggest that we are blind to hidden drives and motivations within us individually or as a group. We are quite aware that they lie below the surface. It is because of our awareness of the dark side of our life that we engage in self-examination, especially in preparation for communion. We desire to discover that which is unclean within us that we might come to the Lord’s Table appropriately.

We treat our search for and discovery of our inner life, in the main, as we have historically conceived of our ethics, i.e., privately. What is in me is between God and me, and no one else need be concerned. The strength of this attitude is that it allows me to preserve my identity, uniqueness, and inviolateness against others. The curiosity and prurient interest of others is not to be satisfied at my expense when I am at my most naked and vulnerable point of disclosure. The weakness of this attitude {22} is that I become the sole arbiter of my inner life. I assume that I hear completely and accurately those promptings of the Spirit about my life. I become the private judge of my inner drives and motivations.

The presumption of adequate individual capacity to understand and define one’s inner self is open to question. The presumption itself bespeaks the pride of sufficiency without reference to the community in which one participates. The discipline of private self-examination is inadequate to reveal what one needs to become conscious of before God. As a part of the community of faith, an individual needs community assistance to mirror back his life. Only then can one take further steps toward growth and maturity in Christ. In like manner, the community needs the individual to mirror its life, supportively in its strength and critically of its weaknesses. The two-way mirroring between the individual and the community is what makes for the dynamic of discipline as taught by Jesus.


Inward Discipline

The solution to the problem of discipline in a pluralistic world will come by enlarging our disciplinary horizons in two directions, inwardly and outwardly. First we look inwardly to find a stronger base for discipline in a pluralistic world. If we are to be a separate people in the sense of being “in the world but not of the world” we rightly cannot be isolated from the world. We have taken steps in the past two generations to integrate with society. In taking these steps we have risked becoming of the world. This is an important risk, one worth taking. The life of faith is a life of risk. We risk ourselves for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. As we risk going into the world, we must also risk greater immersion in the community of faith. Each member must be willing to risk himself to the discipline of the group. Discipline in this sense is not merely a focus on the negative (correction), but it is also a focus on the positive (edification). Discipline is not just removing or punishing an offender; discipline is also building up each member. Historically the church has referred to this double discipline as cura animarum, the care of souls. Soul-care has its roots in the Reformation rediscovery of the priesthood of all believers. 24 Soul-care finds its expression in the discipline of group shepherding in small groups. The discipline of group shepherding is fellowship. Fellowship allows the mutual care commitment among group members to unveil both the negative (correction) and to encourage the positive (edification). Fellowship finds a counterpart in the scientific experiential method of group psychotherapy. This latter attempt cannot replace or even approximate the church. It does, however, show an alternative method that has arisen out of modern secular pluralism for dealing with troubled souls. Its success lies in its {23} capacity to do what the church has sometimes forgotten to do or what secular humanity does not trust the church to do. 25

The discipline of a group is subject to failure through deterioration or abuse as is any other method of discipline. The genius of “where two or three are gathered,” is the security and intimacy offered by belonging. Simultaneously the small group allows the prodding of a caring challenge. When belonging or challenging are lost, abuse is possible. When they are present mutual care is possible.

Discipline through fellowship in a group seeks to build and to correct in the process of inclusion rather than exclusion. Such discipline regards each member of the group as significant and goes to great lengths to preserve the individual within the group. This is entirely consistent with the master text for a biblical discipline, Matthew 18:15-20. Rather than reading the text as a mere three-step procedure, it can be read for the dynamic it gives us. The dynamic of inclusion seeks a healing of the wound of separation (sin) that divides one individual from another. Bridging the gap of separateness between alienated persons continues even to “publicans and sinners”, i.e., persons to be won back. The emphasis on inclusion is greater than the emphasis on the particular breach that led to separateness. The relative emphasis is illustrated in the parable of the lost sheep preceding the text of discipline. The shepherd’s concern is less on where the sheep wandered or the difficulty it encountered than upon the recovery of the lost sheep.

In no way does the focus upon inclusion eliminate the need to consider the negative content of the alienated person’s life. Mutual care in a group is effective because it deals with the negative. The negative must be dealt with before growth may occur. Dealing with the negative also checks the process of alienation before it becomes too severe.

Through these steps the discipline of the inward-look brings growth to individuals and groups. An inward discipline is more sensitive to negative developments and seeks to check them promptly.

Outward Discipline

For the church to survive as a disciplined community in a pluralistic world it will need to increase its awareness and understanding of being part of pluralistic society. That does not mean giving up our theology of separation from the world. But it does require a reinterpretation of the significance of our separateness. It means an end to separateness as a way of withdrawing from society. It means the beginning of separateness as a way of being integrated in society. We are already integrated into society by reason of our daily living. Our need is to become an integral part of society by expression of our discipline.

Discipline, when we are integrated in society, will demand addressing {24} many hard issues that were non-issues for us when we were more withdrawn. Discipline will require facing problems that are a product of our contemporary, technological and humanistic age. Questions like our participation in and critique of our North American consumer mentality, our use of leisure, our sense of what it means to be a neighbour in the global community in which the so-called “north-south” dialogue is beginning to open up, and a variety of other complex concerns become part of our discipline. This discipline will focus more on our growth and understanding of ourselves and our responsibilities as social beings.

The Mennonite Brethren Church has begun to address these questions as seen in conference statements of the past two decades. But conference statements alone will not change our social ethic. Neither will statements alone develop our discipline. Our ethic and our discipline will be hammered out on the anvil of practice, experience and personal interaction undergirded by a living biblical faith.

Specific Steps

Three concrete steps will further our efforts to the process of an inward and outward-looking church discipline in our pluralistic society. If we will work inward to renew our capacity for soul-care and if we will work outward to enhance our social ethic, we will 1) need to inquire deeply into the meaning of persons, 2) we will find resources through wider participation in the Mennonite community, and 3) we will need to allow for our own Mennonite Brethren pluralism.

First, what is the meaning of persons? We need a serious look at our anthropology. It has been defined for us more by the western scientific cultural tradition than it has by a biblical faith. Personhood is often understood in the church as a piece of machinery to which a soul is appended. Discipline has often had the tone of doing something for the welfare of the appendixed soul instead of treating the person who is a soul. The human machinery could be manipulated in the hope of saving the soul which was not integral to the human body. Our discipline in both edification and correction must be exercised with a proper anthropological underpinning.

The implications of a better biblical anthropology for our own discipline are great. We will be more ready to critique the pluralistic influences which pour in upon us as we integrate with society. Our very soul stands to be gained or lost in our day to day commerce in the affairs of the world. But we will also be less ready to heap such a load of disciplinary significance in a few select areas such as cosmetics, the use of beverage alcohol or tobacco. The appearances we present by virtue of our over-stressed living need to be addressed and critiqued today as much as lipstick was 30 years ago. Our ingestion of household drugs from across the counter of the local pharmacy and chemicals from {25} forced growth of animal and vegetable foodstuffs is as significant as our preoccupation with alcohol and tobacco. What does this kind of living in pluralistic society do for our person? It has immediate consequences for our soul.

The problem of sexuality is closely tied to an understanding of personhood. Our fear of sexuality has shown itself in past disciplinary practices around deviant sexual behaviour and around divorce-remarriage issues. How can sexuality be more responsibly integrated into our personhood? Or does it remain another appendix like the soul? We can scourge and vilify the human machine to exorcise the demon sex or we can claim it as a part of our personhood and give it its rightful place. Evangelicals may have discovered sex in recent years, but there remains a backlog of undisclosed fears, doubts and questions. Our personhood, the well-being of our soul, depends on a more conscious recognition of this dimension of ourself. These are important matters for our inward-looking discipline.

Second, what is a wider participation with the Mennonite community? We are a small denomination of Mennonite Brethren. It is impossible for us to undertake all concerns of a pluralistic society upon ourselves. We have brothers and sisters of like common background rooted in the biblical faith of the anabaptist tradition who similarly struggle with such questions. We have unique opportunity to make our contributions and to learn together through common endeavours. Many social responses have been attempted both for purposes of participation and for purposes of critique through Mennonite Central Committee. Our discipline for edification in our brotherhood can be improved in such a context. Our discipline for correction can be challenged and enhanced by involvement with others from whose Mennonite traditions we can learn. The Mennonite Brethren Church is a part of Mennonite Central Committee and we can increase our engagement to our benefit as a disciplined community.

Third, what is Mennonite Brethren pluralism? We are already pluralistic in many respects. This does not mean that we have no commonalities. We will continue to be of common persuasion in many areas of doctrine and practice. For purposes of discipline, however, that which will most significantly give us commonality will be a commitment to practicing a discipline that builds and corrects. We are a priesthood to believers who are accountable to each other even when gathered as two or three. Where we may differ is in the specific content of our discipline. That which is an appropriate accountable response in the Northeast may differ in the Southeast. Great perception and discernment will be needed as to how far a consensus is to be enforced. Great perception and discernment will be required as to what is central and held commonly and what is peripheral and variable. As a 1969 General Conference resolution, “Consensus and Change in Respect to Ethical Issues”, expresses {26} itself, a consensual group may be a congregation, a region, an area, or the general conference. 26 Our discipline will have greater vitality for both edification and correction when it is based on our own work of interpreting the practice of faith instead of it being handed to us from a higher level or from a past tradition. In no way does this suggest disparagement of tradition or higher conference pronouncements. Tradition and conference actions are part of the record we engage when doing our consensus. Rather, this is a call to commitment so that we personally enter the value of the disciplinary process for both edification and correction. We may show a pluralistic face across the conference, but we will be characterized by our common desire to be a disciplined community of faith.


Discipline in the church, when we claim our belongingness to society, will allow us to be champions on behalf of the world. We can champion society because it is ours. We can champion it by the same Spirit with which God so loves the world. He gave all to recover it. Similarly, the world is ours. Because it is ours we care for it enough to work constructively on its behalf both in our identification with it and in our critique of it.

The world’s perception of life-giving value is frequently questionable. For this reason we critique society. When we belong and care our critique has credibility, although it may not always be accepted easily. It was Jesus’ belonging and caring in the world that gave him a reputation for speaking as one who had authority greater than the Scribes and the Pharisees. Precisely in his belonging and caring we discover his separateness from the world because he stood head and shoulders over other authorities. His separateness was not that of isolation from people. His separateness was not that of only private morality for himself and his followers. His separateness was his critique of that about which he cared deeply, the world to which he belonged. His separateness enabled him to develop a discipled following. The discipline of following Jesus, from the call of the first disciple until our day, is a separateness represented by an authoritative critique of the status quo in society. The discipline of following Jesus is participation through belonging and caring deeply for the society of which we are a part. This is the discipline to which the church is called in our pluralistic society.


  1. Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality (New York: Doubleday, 1967), p. 125. {27}
  2. Rodney Sawatsky, “Commitment and Critique: A Dialectical Imperative”, Benjamin Eby Lecture, 1982 (Waterloo, Ontario: Conrad Grebel College, 1982), p. 4.
  3. John Redekop, “Mennonites and Politics in Canada and the United States”, Journal of Mennonite Studies, Vol. I, No. 1, issue forthcoming. He also shows the extent of political involvement through lobbying which made possible the perception of withdrawal from usual political practices. See also J. Howard Kauffman and Leland Harder, Anabaptists Four Centuries Later: A Profile of Five Mennonite and Brethren in Christ Denominations (Scottdale, Penn.: Herald Press, 1975), chap. 9.
  4. These examples are cited by members of the M.B. Church who were interviewed for the preparation of this article.
  5. Marlin Jeschke, Discipling the Brother (Scottdale, Penn.: Herald Press, 1972), pp. 37-38.
  6. An accurate recounting of Mennonite Brethren disciplinary practices remains to be researched. Except for other material identified in these endnotes, the recounting is based on impressions of Mennonite Brethren Church leaders who have served in various parts of both Canada and the U.S. over the past forty years.
  7. A. E. Janzen and Herbert Giesbrecht, We Recommend . . . Recommendations and Resolutions of the General Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches (Fresno, Calif.: Board of Christian Literature, 1978), p. 237.
  8. Ibid., p. 184.
  9. Ibid., p. 81.
  10. Ibid., pp. 83-86.
  11. Ibid., pp. 30-33.
  12. Ibid., p. 80.
  13. Ibid., pp. 251-53.
  14. Ibid., p. 284.
  15. Ibid., p. 273.
  16. One important resolution on the use of tobacco in 1969 is treated in a personal dimension.
  17. Ibid., pp. 249-51.
  18. Ibid., p. 14.
  19. Ibid., p. 272.
  20. Ibid., p. 294.
  21. Ibid., pp. 314-16.
  22. Ibid., pp. 311-13.
  23. Ibid., pp. 290-91.
  24. John T. McNeill, A History of the Cure of Souls (New York: Harper and Bros., 1951), pp. 327-28.
  25. For more about the value of group shepherding see Seward Hiltner, The Christian Shepherd: Some Aspects of Pastoral Care (Nashville: Abingdon, 1959), Chap. IX.
  26. We Recommend., pp. 281-82.
Marvin Warkentin brings a decade of pastoral experience at the Waterloo (Ontario) Mennonite Brethren Church and an active participation in conference leadership to bear on this subject of church discipline.

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