- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and answers about the Church
- Published on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 14:54
Discipline, whether internal or requiring excommunication (as in 1 Corinthians 5) is to maintain the holiness of God's assembly (verses 4,5,13). Although believers grieve over a disciplined person, their social fellowship is restricted to preserve the assembly from ongoing sin (verse 6). Shepherds dealing with the erring person will encourage his restoration and instruct him to express his submission to God regarding this discipline (Matthew 18:15-20) by refraining from socializing with believers (1 Corinthians 5:11). If the overseers sense a lack of repentance and therefore feel he will maintain social fellowship, perhaps with believers from another assembly, it is wise to advise the other assembly's oversight. The other overseers will privately advise those involved not to undermine the discipline imposed upon their friend. This action is to preserve the purity of and fellowship between the two assemblies.
Discipline in any assembly should be kept as private as possible in the hope of restoration to God and the saints (2 Corinthians 2:3-9). "Tell it not in Gath" (2 Samuel 1:20) is one principle, suggesting that some news is too sad or shameful to spread. "The churches of Asia salute you" (1 Corinthians 16:19) is another principle, expressing unhindered fellowship among assemblies. Both principles must be maintained.