Reformed resources on the bounds of the authority of church leadership

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oeco

Puritan Board Freshman
Cross posting this question from a user on the r/Reformed sub on Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/Reformed/comments/ax1j1u/reformed_resources_on_the_bounds_of_the_authority/

“I am looking for solidly Reformed resources on the extent to which church leadership may extend in the behaviour of the church membership. The more heavy-weight, the better. I am particularly interested in where the boundaries lie with regards to stated meetings of the church and the authority of elders to govern what occurs in those meetings. As a contrived example, do elders have the authority to govern what members wear or talk about?

“I am not looking for a discussion or opinions, but specifically orthodox Reformed resources. Books, articles, and sermons are all good.”

Thanks, brothers and sisters.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
As a contrived example, do elders have the authority to govern what members wear or talk about?
The governors of the church may address and enforce whatever the Scripture does. The power of the church is ministerial and declarative (James Bannerman in The Church of Christ is quite clear on all this). It is not magisterial and legislative. It is moral and suasive, not legal and coercive.

Does the Scripture address your hypothetical? Christians must dress modestly and speak lovingly. So, yes governors may address such in principle but only in the way that church power, which is spiritual, is to be administered.

Peace,
Alan
 

Bill Duncan

Puritan Board Freshman
I saw where the original post was from a Baptist in New Zealand so he may not be interested in an American Presbyterian from the 19th Century, but J.H. Thornwell with deals much of what he is asking about in "Collected Writings" Vol. IV pgs. 1-144.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I've been reading George Gillespie's A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded Upon the Church of Scotland. He's got a fair bit to say about ecclesiastical authority.
 
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