Virtue in the Covenant Community : Can Virtue Ethics Revive Reformed Church Discipline?

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Stephen Mathonnet-VanderWell

Abstract

The doctrinal standards of the Reformed Church in America testify that this church believes in discipline. The Heidelberg Catechism (Q/ A 83), describes church discipline, along with the preaching of the holy gospel, as "the keys of the kingdom." Article 29 of the Belgic Confession tells us that "the true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: … pure preaching of the gospel; … pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them"; and if "it practices church discipline for correcting faults." John Calvin's definition of the church as "Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christ's institution" (Institutes, 4.1. 9) omits church discipline as one of the marks of the church. Nonetheless, Calvin underlined the importance of church discipline by devoting an entire chapter of the Institutes (4.12) to it.

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How to Cite
Mathonnet-VanderWell, S. (1996). Virtue in the Covenant Community : Can Virtue Ethics Revive Reformed Church Discipline?. Reformed Review, 49(3), 195-207. Retrieved from https://repository.westernsem.edu/pkp/index.php/rr/article/view/1456
Keywords
Christian ethics; Reformed Church -- Discipline; Church discipline
Section
Articles