The following from Watch-Pray I think is enlightening and very instructive as it shows clearly that regarding matters of church discipline, church elders have usurped the role of the congregation:
"What you wrote about Ramey changing congregational rule to elder rule reminded me of a study I did on church discipline. Today church elders have usurped the role of the congregation when matters of church discipline arise. Their required procedure is to take the matter directly to the elders instead of to the church as is required by Matthew 18. The result is usually a cover-up or shifting blame from the offender to the victim. Anyway, here are my notes on church discipline taken from Coke's and Gaebelein's commentaries":
Mt 18:15 ¶ Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Mt 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mt 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Mt 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
church = assembly. In this case the synagogue, or local court, as in Ac 19:39.
Ver. 15-17. Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass, &c.— Our Lord, having thus spoken to the persons offending, now addresses his discourse to the persons offended, shewing them in what manner they ought to behave towards an offending brother; and whosoever shall closely observe this threefold rule, will seldom offend others, and never be offended himself. "If any, more especially one who is a member of the same religious community, do any thing amiss, of which thou art an eye or ear-witness, first, go and tell him alone: if it may be, in person; if that cannot so well be done, by thy messenger, or in writing: If this succeed, thou hast gained thy brother; hast recovered him to God, who rejoices at the repentance of a sinner; and to thyself, with whom he was at enmity; and so hast saved him from perishing." See Pr 28:23. Observe, our Lord gives no liberty to omit this, or to exchange it for either of the following steps: "If this gentle method do not succeed, Secondly, Take with thee one or two more men whom he esteems and loves, who may then confirm and enforce what thou sayest, and afterwards, if need require, bear witness of what was spoken. (See De 19:15.) If even this do not succeed, then and not before, tell it to the church, or to that particular congregation of the faithful to which he belongs; whose sentence being declared, will shew him, that in the judgment of all good men, thou hast done thy duty, and he is to blame. If all this avail not, you will do well to enter into a protest against him, by forbearing any intimate friendship with such a person; and let him therefore, in this case, be unto thee as an heathen and a publican, or other most notorious sinner, to whom you would perform only the common offices of humanity, but would avoid his intimate society, as scandalous; and to whom you are not under those peculiar obligations, whereby Christian brethren are bound to each other." Can any thing be plainer than this? Christ here as expressly commands all Christians who see a brother do evil, to follow this method, not another, and to take these steps in this order,—as he does, to honour our father and mother... - Coke
Joh 20:19 ¶ Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
The evening scene of that wonderful day, when He stood in their midst, is very suggestive. In a measure the assembled disciples correspond to the two who, in the first chapter, on the first day abode with Him. Though John does not mention the church, here is a beautiful picture of what the church is. They are shut in and Judaism is shut out. He is in the midst. "Where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst." Here it is fulfilled for the first time. There is the message of Peace; the sending forth; the Holy Spirit, Who comes from Him, Who as the last Adam is the quickening Spirit. He communicates spiritual life, which is divine life. And the authority of the church in discipline on earth, representing Himself, is made known by Him in verse 23. This authority is not conferred upon a priestly class, a doctrine which has produced the most obnoxious corruption of Christianity, but upon believers, who constitute a church. - Gaebelein