CLAIM: John writes, “Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church” (3 Jn. 9-10). John seems to be against Diotrephes engaging in church discipline here, but the rest of Bible speaks about this practice (Mt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thess. 3:6). Does the Bible support church discipline or not?
RESPONSE: John is against Diotrephes’ exercise of church discipline, because he was putting people out of the church in an unbiblical and unloving way. In the same way, Paul told the Corinthian church to allow the man in sin to come back after a “sufficient” time (2 Cor. 2:6), and Jesus implored the church to “win your brother” (Mt. 18:15), rather than discipline him. For complete comments on the practice of church discipline, see 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.