Mark Earley, the new president of Prison Fellowship, recently wrote: "Why should anyone join a church and then expect to be permitted to flout its authority? After all, for failing to attend enough meetings, you can be thrown out of the Rotary Club. Violate the dress code, and you'll be tossed out of many country clubs. And if you don't perform community service, you can be kicked out of the Junior League. Yet the minute churches impose discipline on their members, they're charged with everything up to and including fascism."

"Shouldn't the Church have at least the same right to set its own standards as a country club? If people don't like them, they're free to leave-assuming they're members in the first place.

"Whether church members like it or not, the Church must discipline its members. As Colson and Vaughn warn, "When we fail to discipline, the church does not become more 'relevant' to the world around us. It simply loses its moral authority."

(Breakpoint commentary, May 19, 2003)