Excommunication

I don’t think anyone likes this word or by that what it entails. But regardless of that it’s something contained in the bible and Paul’s way of putting it according to the scenario the Church in Corinth was facing. Read the passage

1 Corinthians 5

Expel the Immoral Brother!

1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature[a] may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.6Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

9I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”[b]

Very tough passage to read indeed. I struggle through reading 1 Corinthians because of the countless pastoral issues that Paul writes about and how he responds theologically and practically concerning Christian behavior.

Although this practice is found in the bible it seems sometimes when reading it an impossible thing for the church to really uphold and practice. Problems like embracing the negative side of disciplining may come about all but too often.

But what do you think, with us in our day and age now? Is this still practical? Are there any opinions you have regarding church discipline?

4 thoughts on “Excommunication

  1. Its hard to discern this in our 21st century forms of church. For instance, we now have ‘seekers’ who are coming to our worship gatherings who Paul himself would not hold to a Christian standard. Are we to throw them out of the church? Or, the next question I have for Paul is what constitutes a sin worthy of being given over “for the destruction of the flesh?” Lust? Greed? Violence? Jealousy? … OR, is it only public and unrepentant incest? I do not know, but what I do know is that even in this passage I think Paul’s aim would have been restoration back into the community. For Paul, I think reconciliation is always the ultimate goal…

  2. “Paul’s aim would have been restoration back into the community. For Paul, I think reconciliation is always the ultimate goal…”

    I believe so too. Reading 2 Cor…regarding the same issue with the person being disciplined will give clear indication of this.

  3. i decided long ago to leave all the guilt and conviction for sin up to god and concentrate my efforts on encouraging others in grace bc im as broken as anyone else and lord knows i havent stopped sinning…

    1. Perhaps the logic behind the passage is not that we should emulate the practice as something biblically valid but knowing that Paul had a certain context he was addressing. Like u, I too know how broken I am…in need of grace.

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