Jerry Falwell, Jr. Should Face Church Discipline for His Support of Trump

Within evangelicalism, church discipline is often misunderstood, which is unfortunate, since church discipline is one of the means that King Jesus has ordained to help preserve the saints and protect his Bride, the Church. At its ground-level heart, church discipline in the life of the local church is intended to be preventative; in its most visible manifestation, church discipline is corrective.

We are not called to live life alone, nor are we called to grow in grace alone. As Christians, we are commanded to confess our sins to each other and pray for one another. Those means of grace help protect our hearts from being deceived by sin. Of course, our hearts are deceitful, and there are times when we are willfully blind to sin that has taken root in our lives. Enacting the first step of church discipline found in Matthew 18:15-17 in obedience to King Jesus’ command and going to a fellow believer who is engaging in willful and gross sin is an act of love intended to prevent that believer from giving himself or herself over to that sin. Unfortunately, there are times when that sinning believer rebuts the continued admonishment of others. At that point, according to Matthew 18, the matter is to be brought to the church, the individual is to be publicly admonished, and, if still unrepentant, the individual is to be put out of the church. This corrective action’s goal is repentance and restoration.

One of the more difficult aspects of church discipline is discerning which sins qualify for this type of extreme action. The most frequent answer to that is to include sin that is 1) obvious to the community 2) gross and 3) unrepentant. This is why, I trust, by God’s grace, that if I were to be as vocally and publicly supportive of Donald Trump as Jerry Falwell, Jr. has been, my church family would church discipline me.