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The Scandal of Undisciplined Disciples: Making Church Discipline Edifying (Durham)

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Mention church discipline, and people often react in discomfort. But Jesus made discipline a test of whether a church meets His approval. In The Scandal of Undisciplined Disciples, Scottish Presbyterian James Durham helps us see how God uses discipline to purify the Church and restore His children, answering common questions about its nature and practice. Updated into modern English, Durham’s classic treatment on the importance of church discipline can now help a new generation embrace this God-ordained practice.  

Table of Contents: 

1.     Why Does Church Discipline Matter? 
2.     When Is Church Discipline Necessary? 
3.     How Should Church Courts Handle Disciplinary Cases? 
4.     When Has a Discipline Case Been Satisfactorily Resolved? 
5.     What Practical Issues Arise in Administering Church Discipline? 
6.     Why Does Separation from a Church Fail to Address the Issue? 
7.     What Should Church Members Do when Discipline Is Defective?

Series Description 

In 1659, James Durham published The Dying Man’s Testament to the Church of Scotland, or A Treatise concerning Scandal. The large book was divided into four parts, looking at scandal in general, public scandals in the church, doctrinal scandals, and the scandal of division. Now presented in modern English, Durham’s classic treatment on scandal has been separated into four convenient volumes that can be used to edify a new generation: 


“This is an accessible ‘go-to manual’ for ministers and elders to consult in carefully navigating through myriad disciplinary situations. Durham fills in nuanced details between the degrees of censure in Reformed confessions and books of church order to best address varying circumstances. Such discerning advice of a seasoned pastor properly balances scriptural responsibilities of ecclesiastical governors while also speaking to church members about avoiding further stumbling by stubbornness or schism—all to everyone’s edification.” 

—Grant Van Leuven, pastor of Puritan Reformed Presbyterian Church, San Diego, California 


James Durham (1622–1658) served as minister at Black Friars Church in Glasgow as a chaplain to King Charles II and as a minister at the Inner Kirk of the cathedral in Glasgow. Known for his piety, wisdom, and scholarship, Durham stands as one of the great Scottish Presbyterians of the seventeenth century.