Book Review: God Redeeming His Bride
I’ve enjoyed reading Robert Cheong’s book, God Redeeming His Bride: A Handbook for Church Discipline. Cheong serves as the Pastor of Care for Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky. I had the opportunity to meet Robert during my time at Southern in Louisville. Over the years, I’ve asked him questions from time to time. He’s always graciously helped us as we’ve walked through difficult cases of church discipline. I’m sure I’m not the only one! Perhaps all the chats with needy pastors like me led him to write this book. Robert has always struck me as a man of wisdom and grace. Those qualities definitely come out in this book.
A revival in sound theology in America’s church has led to a newfound commitment to practicing church discipline, particularly in the Reformed camp. Pastors like me need practical helps. Cheong’s book provides those in a way other books haven’t. However, they are wisely framed by the theological. The author defines church discipline this way: “Church discipline is God’s ongoing, redeeming work through his living Word and people as they fight the good fight of faith together to exalt Christ and protect the purity of his bride.” Cheong first emphasizes God’s work in discipline, His zeal to redeem His bride, and His use of His word and His people as means to accomplish this. He additionally reminds us of our need of this discipline - every one of us - as well as our role in providing that for our brothers and sisters. At every step, Cheong emphasizes God’s passion for His glory to be upheld, as well as for the good of His people. The Lord’s honor is tied up in restoring His beloved.
Cheong walks through each step in church discipline, largely using Matthew 18 as a template, providing helpful how-tos along the way. In addition, extensive appendices are included. I have no doubt they’ll prove invaluable in the years ahead as we in Karis Church seek to be faithful to God’s commands.
Perhaps the best part of the book, especially considering the current context, is the heart behind its pages. He continually reminds pastors eager to practice discipline of its purpose. He exhorts leaders to have the gospel in view as they engage at every step. Only through experiencing the redeeming love of God can we truly discipline as He does. I highly recommend God Redeeming His Bride by Pastor Robert Cheong.
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