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Published in Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 22, No. 3. (Autumn, 1991), pp. 438-456. Copyright 1991 The Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers, Inc. Used by permission. http://escj.truman.edu/journal.html


Martin Bucer understood church discipline in a broad sense to include four elements: the religious instruction of children and adults through catechization and private confession or individual meetings between pastor and parishioner; a public profession of faith and obedience to the church and its ministers, ideally made when a child was confirmed; the practice of mutual fraternal admonition combined with the oversight of morals by pastors and lay elders; and the imposition of public penance and, if necessary, excommunication, in cases of grave public sin. Church discipline in this broad sense was intended to promote the individual Christian's progress in piety, to strengthen the church community, and to result in a Christian transformation of society.

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