Discipline of Church Members
All United Brethren members are expected to conduct their lives according to the standards set forth in Scripture. Their conduct should demonstrate moral purity, personal honesty, faithfulness to the Bible, and unity in the body of Christ. The church is commanded to discipline its members when they continue in open and habitual sin.
Every Christian is ultimately accountable to God. But Christians who agree to become members of the United Brethren church also voluntarily submit themselves to the authority of its governing authorities. Likewise, church leaders have an obligation to discipline its members when necessary.
¶712 Offenses Requiring Church Discipline
Any member or minister of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA, may be subject to church discipline for any of the following offenses:
1. Teaching doctrines contrary to the doctrines of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.
2. Disobeying the provisions of the Discipline, or tolerating such disobedience.
3. Insubordination or willful refusal to recognize church authority, whether at the local or national church level.
4. Conduct unbecoming a member of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.
5. Serious or persistent neglect of duty.
¶713 Purposes of Church Discipline
Church discipline has several purposes:
1. Encourage the sinning member to repent.
2. Restore the sinning member to fellowship with Christ and the church.
3. Warn other members against such sin.
4. Uphold and maintain the integrity, purity, and testimony of the church.
¶714 Process of Church Discipline
Every situation requiring church discipline is different. Therefore, church leaders need flexibility in how they handle such situations. Any or all of the following actions might be appropriate:
1. Private rebuke of the sinning member.
2. Rebuke before two or three witnesses.
3. Public rebuke before the church.
4. Removal from leadership positions and other forms of involvement in the local church.
5. Removal of ministerial credentials.
6. Termination of membership by the local board.
7. Disassociation and severance of fellowship by the local congregation.
Regardless of the process used, leaders shall carry out the discipline in a spirit of Christian love, care, and sensitivity.