Questions and Answers

 

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE PROCEDURE OF DISFELLOWSHIPING A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH AND HOW THE MEMBERS ARE TO DEAL WITH IT

 

            Well, first of all, dis-fellowship is not even a word.  This concept of dis-fellowship stems from the protestant and Catholic religions and has to do with the breaking of a church policy or denying their sacraments.  Now, the Bible does speak of withdrawing fellowship and there is several reasons why that fellowship is withheld as well as a few different situations where fellowship is withheld.  The reasons one can withdraw, according to Scripture are as follows:

            In a social setting, meaning that we could not sit and eat at their home or visit them socially.  Those who walk disorderly, meaning those who refuse to work and who go about doing their own thing, we are not to have company with him  (2 Thess. 3:6-14).  Next, those who have perverse disputing’s from corrupt minds who are destitute of the truth because they seek gain (1 Tim. 6:5).  We are to have no company with fornicators, covetous, idolater, railer, drunkard, extortioner (1 Cor. 5:9-11).

            Now, there is a withdrawing or marking in a private setting, meaning a problem that exists between just two people.   In Matt. 18:15-17, we learn about forgiveness and how to go to someone that you privately have a problem with.  However, this verse cannot be used in a congregational setting to withdraw from.  This is referring to a private matter.  Vs. 18, it begins mentioning the singular person again with vs. 19 speaking to the one who has done wrong and the other who is the offender.  Vs. 21-the rest of that chapter continues along the same singular line.  Thus, the church is not that involved here.

            At a congregational level, one can be withdrawn from based on Rom. 16:17 which creates divisions and offences that are present in the church that must be dealt with.

            So, what is the procedure?  Tit. 3:10 tells us that a man who is a heretick, meaning, one who brings division or who is teaches falsely is to be admonished twice.  This means that once he is rejected, have nothing to do with him; have no society with him; admit him not to private conversation; and eject him from church communion.  Now, he is to be publically admonished twice and this admonishing is not to be done in private.  It is to be public and in the name of the Lord.  Now, each admonition according to Jewish standards was 30 days before the next admonition.  After that is done, if one has not turned from his ways, he is to be rejected, that is, his fellowship is refused.  Because, If he will not receive instruction, if he has shut his heart against conviction, then shun him.  Do him no harm in body, soul, character, or substance.  Hold no communion with him; but leave him to God.

            What do the members do?  Pray for him (jam. 5:16).  Weep for us and for him (Acts 20:29-31).  Do nothing that would encourage him or her in their sinful actions because when we associate with him, we condone the erring member’s sins.  Withdrawing fellowship is never done lightly.  It is a last resort.  It is when all else has failed and it is done to protect the flock (Acts 20:29).

Robert Notgrass

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