The Ruling of the Church

“As the Word of God is the life and soul of this Church, so this godly order and discipline is, as it were, sinews in the body, which knit and join the members together with decent order and comeliness.  It is a bridle to stay the wicked from their mischiefs.  It is a spur to prick forward such as be slow and negligent, yea, and for all men it is the Father’s rod, ever in readiness to chastise gently the faults committed, and to cause them afterward to live in more godly fear and reverence.  Finally, it is an order left by God unto his Church, whereby men learn to frame their wills and doings according to the law of God…”

‘The Order of Ecclesiastical Discipline’
The Scottish Book of Common Order  1564




Historic, Reformed Books of Discipline




Binnie, William – The Concurrence of Popular Election and Official Ordinationp. 132, 16 pages



Binnie, William, Church Discipline, p. 98, 7 pages, from his The Church




Independent Churches do not have the Authority for Greater Excommunication

Presbyteries do.

That Excommunication does not Deprive a Civil Magistrate of his Lawful Civil Authority

Turretin, Francis – Institutes, vol. 3, 18th Topic, ‘The Church’, 32nd Question, ‘Ecclesiastical Discipline and Excommunication’, section V, p. 294

“…obstinate heretics…  scandalous and incorrigible sinners, after one and another admonition are suspended from the use of the sacraments and if they persevere in their contumacy and rebellion, they are ejected from the church, so that it is not lawful for them to join with believers in the exercise of piety.

This ought not to be extended to political society…  or other things due and necessary from our vocation in the economic or political state, as the Romanists wish; as if wives should be prohibited from their husbands, children from parents, servants from masters, subjects from rendering obedience to excommunicated princes, to which they are bound by the law of nature.  For excommunication cannot sever the natural and moral bonds by which men are mutually held together.”

Du Moulin, Jr., Peter – pp. 82, 109,-10, 112, 114, 122, 125, 140 of A Vindication of the Sincerity of the Protestant Religion in the Point of Obedience to Sovereigns, opposed to the Doctrine of Rebellion, authorized and practiced by the Pope and the Jesuits  1679

Du Moulin, Jr. (1601-1684) was reformed.

Fox, John – ‘What are the Chief Obstacles Hindering Excommunication’  1551  from ch. 8 of De Censura Ecclesiastica Interpellatio, as appended to Book 3 of George Gillespie, Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, pp. 274-276

Fox is the one who wrote Fox’s Book of Martyrs.  He gives three main reasons why the practice of excommunication was being resisted as to its implementation in the churches in his day, namely: 

(1) persons’ minds being on the wealth and stature of this world,
(2) nominal Christian persons which serve their own belly and sins, and
(3) those who are not convicted of their sins, pervert the Scriptures and promise themselves a wicked liberty of sinning.




Related Pages

Church Government

The Regulative Principle of Church Government


Congregationalism and Independency

Church Membership