Is Discipline a Mark of the Church?-An Anabaptist Perspective
Andres S. TANG

This paper aims at giving a theological analysis of the Anabaptists' interpretation of discipline. For the Reformers of the 16th century, against the background of arguing justification, the Word of God was the definite mark of the true church. However, Anabaptists of the 16th and 17th century were not satisfied with this and proceeded to understand the meaning of salvation from the perspective of sanctification. It was in this sense that church discipline was introduced into their faith community as a crucial practice for the salvation of the disciples. For the Anabaptists the practice of church discipline was not a way to gain justification but the sequential act of believing in Jesus Christ. It was understood as a necessary means of keeping one in following Jesus Christ. Underlying this was a kind of discipleship-salvation and discipleship-ecclesiology. This kind of church discipline did not help the states or local governments facilitate their social discipline. What was crucial to the church discipline was the confession of Jesus as the Lord, whereas to the social discipline, the confession of the king or the governor as the Lord. However the practice of church discipline strengthened the faithfulness of the church believers and in turn gave positive witness to the society around.