It appears to me that you all have a different definition for discipline than I do.
There are many people in this thread, and many of them I have never met, so I can’t answer for “you all”. But I do think that our use of the word “discipline” here in Bloomington is a surprise to some, and so I’d like to try and give you an idea of what we mean by it.
I teach the membership class at Clearnote Church, and I tell the newcomers that “discipline” is not reserved for formal charges and excommunication – though it includes those things, obviously. When we read the Bible with care and attentiveness to our own sinfulness, we are disciplined by it. When we hear preaching that cuts to the heart, even if the preacher didn’t have us in mind, we are disciplined.
To bring it back to your question more specifically, a godly and chaste wife can discipline her husband simply by speaking kindly toward the children where he had been gruff and impatient. If he is sensitive to his own sinfulness, he will be abashed. In short, a wife can discipline her husband with a simple comment or a look. A suggestion like, “maybe you shouldn’t have another beer,” or a question like, “can we pray together now” can bring to mind his own failings, and can be a motivation to change.
The tricky thing is that a wife can use those very same things to sinfully rebel against her husband, and it takes wisdom to see the difference. And there is no shortcut to wisdom – except, perhaps, the “shortcut” that God gives us in His Word: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
But I do think that our use of the word “discipline” here in Bloomington is a surprise to some…
If your definition of discipline is unique to your “world”, then it should be expected that those outside of your “world” are surprised (and likely confused) by your usage.
Thanks for the response.
It’s not unique to our world. It’s biblical. It fits perfectly with Matthew 18, for example, which describes a process of escalating discipline/discipleship.
But it is fairly common for evangelicals to forget there is any way to discipline besides excommunication.
How has that happened? By the church abandoning all pretense of discipline.
It’s sort of like “forgetting” that a judge can give any sentence besides the firing squad. It’s the perfect starting point to getting rid of every law except the one against first degree murder.
Any time there’s work in recovering something lost, it is surprising and confusing to those who are still stuck in a ditch. If you’re at all familiar with the red pill, that is obvious.
This use of discipline is by no means idiosyncratic. We still retain it without confusion in the common phrase “self-discipline.” The idea that discipline = punishment is a bizarre neologism.
I’m formatting our church’s constitution and came across this section, which reminded me of this conversation:
Informal discipline is applied by an individual or multiple members of the church without the formal action of the elders or the church as a body. The elders will, through teaching and example, encourage the members of the congregation to discipline themselves and one another through the following practices: Self-discipline: Exercising self-control or applying self-correction; Overlooking the minor failings of others in love (1 Pet. 4:8); Informal admonishment: Encouraging one another to faithfulness and warning others in love to guard their hearts and minds against specific temptations and sins (Matt. 18:15).