So, secondly, why is discipline necessary? To be brief, there are several reasons: (1) to maintain (as far as possible) the purity of the church (1 Cor. 3:17; Eph. 5:25-27); (2) because Scripture requires it (Mt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5; etc.); (3) in order to maintain a proper witness to the world; the church corporately, as with the elder individually, is to have a good reputation with “outsiders” (1 Tim. 3:7); (4) to facilitate growth and to preserve unity in the body (Eph. 4:1-16); (5) to expose unbelievers (1 John 2:19); (6) to restore the erring brother/sister to obedience and fellowship (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 2:6,7,10; Gal. 6:1; 2 Thess. 3:14-15); (7) to deter others (1 Tim. 5:20); (8) to avert corporate discipline (Rev. 2:14-25); (9) because sin is rarely if ever an individual issue: it almost always has corporate ramifications (2 Cor. 2:5); the whole of the body (or at least a large segment of it) is adversely affected by the misdeeds of one member; and (10) evidently Paul believed that the willingness to embrace the task of discipline was a mark of maturity in a church's corporate life (2 Cor. 2:9).And I bring that up only to say this -- this issue, and the issue which Dr. Storms brought up a few weeks ago regarding the Lord's table, are related.
If we miss that, well, go back and re-read this current essay. What's at stake in church discipline is what's at stake over open vs. closed eucharist.