Subscribe now

Review

God Redeeming His Bride

By Robert K. Cheong
February 2015 | Review by Simon Arscott
  • Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-84550-719-0
  • Pages: 336
  • Price: 11.99

God redeeming his bride

Robert K. Cheong
Christian Focus Publications
336 pages, £11.99
ISBN: 978-1-84550-719-0
Star rating : 4

This is a book about church discipline, elaborating how churches have a responsibility to remove the impenitent from their midst (e.g. Matthew 18:15-20). It grew out of the author’s experience pastoring a young church in the USA, where he was forced to work out biblical teaching on this subject.

That experience led him to consult over 30 ministers from a variety of denominations, networks and countries (including Scotland and England) about how they handled this aspect of ministry. The result is a sensitive exploration of the subject, a work not written from an ivory tower, but from the trenches.

The book is arranged in three parts. The first two are doctrinal, locating the practice of church discipline within the larger context of God redeeming his church. Discipline is not seen to be something that suddenly and arbitrarily kicks in when a church member has crossed a certain line. Rather, discipline is at the heart of every Christian’s experience of church life. Indeed, God sanctifies us through brothers and sisters applying the Word of God to our lives.

The third part is more practical, exploring the more formal process of discipline in the case of impenitence.

Each chapter begins with the story of a couple, the husband being on the receiving end of some form of discipline. The story keeps you reading, and I won’t spoil the ending for you! The book also includes substantial appendices (27 of them!) which are worth a look, ranging from sample letters to legal advice.

The book’s strength is its pastoral realism. Cheong is clearly a seasoned pastor. He acknowledges that offenders often react negatively to church discipline, but gently points out the numerous ways God uses this practice to bless the church and reclaim sinners.

Insightful details of how to talk about the situation in public and how to offer pastoral care to others in the church who have been affected (e.g. family members, small group members) are also included.

It’s encouraging to see a church think through this issue carefully. Ever since the sixteenth century, Reformed churches have considered discipline important to church life.

If you’re suspicious of this practice and struggle to see how it connects with the gospel, I’d commend this book to you. If you’re already persuaded of its importance, you might pick up some useful advice. But for those with real interest in the subject, your time would be better spent jumping straight into Calvin’s Institutes, Book IV.

Simon Arscott
York

 

 

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Ten Indictments Against the Modern Church
Paul Washer

The ‘Author’s Prayer’ sets the tone: ‘Let the truth go forward. Let men be changed’ (p.viii). The directness in the prayer is replicated in the exposition. The author is a voice crying to recall the church to its true mission.…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Counting the Cost
David and Shirley Donovan

For 15 years these British missionaries have been at the heart of New Foundations, an evangelical medical mission. They had been serving the Lord giving spiritual and medical help to local communities in the Niger Delta, one of the world’s…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
My Sunflower Girl
Dyfan Williams

This is a heartfelt but reflective account of events leading to the death of Dyfan Williams’s 10-year-old daughter Megan, and the subsequent slow road to recovery. The reader is invited to walk with him and Caroline through their personal valley…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Between Life and Death: A Gospel-Centered Guide to End-of-Life Medical Care
Kathryn Butler

Dr Kathryn Butler is a Christ-centred trauma and critical care surgeon with years of experience caring for patients in the intensive care unit. She has observed relatives struggle to reconcile what is happening with their faith, asking questions such as…