Church Discipline to Be Considered in the Fear of God—Elders and deacons are chosen to have a care for the prosperity of the church; yet these leaders, especially in young churches, should not feel at liberty, on their own judgment and responsibility, to cut off offending members from the church; they are not invested with such authority. Many indulge a zeal like that of Jehu and rashly venture to make decisions in matters of grave importance, while they themselves have no connection with God. They should humbly and earnestly seek wisdom from the One who has placed them in their position, and should be very modest in assuming responsibilities. They should also lay the matter before the president of their conference and counsel with him. At some appointed time the subject should be patiently considered. In the fear of God, with much humility and sorrow for the erring, who are the purchase of the blood of Christ, with earnest, humble prayer the proper officers should deal with the offenders. How different has been the course when, with self-assumed authority and a hard, unfeeling spirit, accusations have been made and souls have been thrust out of the church of Christ.
The matter should be thoroughly investigated before any action is taken. Let such questions as the following be carefully considered: What is the charge brought against the erring? Has the law of God been willfully transgressed? Has the offender been dishonest in his dealing with his