- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and answers about the Church
- Published on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:54
"Let him be unto thee as an Aheathen man..." cannot mean "personal withdrawal"; this destroys assembly unity (Ephesians 4:3; 1 Corinthians 12:27). The of fender is put among "them that are without" (1 Corinthians 5:13). This case is more subjective than 1 Corinthians 5:13 and 1 Timothy 1:20; therefore it requires greater care. Such action is clearly a last resort. Rushing to enforce this passage denies other NT teaching (James 2:13; 1 Corinthians 13:5, 7). The initial problem must involve a moral issue of right and wrong ("trespass" is translated "sin" 38 of 43 times) which is public in nature; "forgiving one another" (Ephesians 4:32) in personal matters means not exacting payment for wrongs. The circumstances must include a thorough attempt to both contain the problem ("between him and thee alone") and also, by patiently explaining his fault, win the brother. Should this fail, reliable witnesses must impartially and indisputably document the original offense and further attempts to resolve it (1 Timothy 5:21). Telling the church is still intended to resolve it favorably. The church speaks to the offender through its guides, who are "apt to teach," "patient," and "take care of" the believers as one would an emergency room patient (1 Timothy 3:2, 3, 5; Luke 10:34, 35). When the offender still will not recognize his sin, heaven decrees his excommunication. Dependent on God, the elders guide the assembly in administering heaven’s decision. The believer is put away for refusing to submit to God’s Word.