CON Contact Us DON Donate
Our History General Assembly Worldwide Outreach Ministries Standards Resources

Question and Answer

Church discipline


Do most of the OPC congregations hold strictly to public church discipline or rebuke?


I would say yes to the above with some qualification.

Judicial discipline is required in churches where members are guilty of serious doctrinal divergence from the Bible or serious violations of the Law of God. "Judicial Discipline" is the process by which we deal with such offenses against God's Truth and His Law.

If offenses are private in nature (that is, between but a very few persons), trials may be held privately, and if there is genuine repentance, publicity may be avoided. However, apart from such sensitive exceptions, most discipline matters, though administered by the elders of the church (including ministers), are open to the membership.

As for "rebuke," that is one of the degrees of judicial censure. The order of censure is as follows in ascending order: Admonition, Rebuke, Suspension (from either office or the Lord's Supper), and Excommunication.

All censures can be lifted when demonstrable repentance is forthcoming. Some offenses which are for petty sins such as we all are subject to commit do not require formal discipline. And judicial discipline doesn't happen every day or every year in the average OPC. Yet a church which does not exercise discipline in matters serious is subject to eventual decay and even extinction as a true church of Jesus Christ.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

© 2020 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church



Chaplains and Military Personnel

Diaconal Ministries


Inter-Church Relations

Ministerial Care

Planned Giving

Short-Term Missions


Church Directory

Daily Devotional

Audio Sermons

Trinity Hymnal

Camps & Conferences

Gospel Tracts

Book Reviews



Presbyterian Guardian