The scriptures plainly teach the concept of church discipline. "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed" (2 Thess. 3:14). ". . . with such an one no not to eat" (1 Cor. 5:11).
There are always those who complain that this discipline will not work. "It drives people away," they claim. And, because they do not believe the process will work, they often refuse to participate in it - continuing to open associate with the one who has been withdrawn from. Sometimes they will even openly oppose the disciplinary action and work against it.
Wait a minute! Who are these people arguing with anyway? Not with us! They are arguing with God! These folks need to be taught, and the teaching needs to begin with the very basic concept of faith in God's word and confidence in His plan.
The truth of the matter is that church discipline, when properly administered does work. In fact, when done correctly, it always works! 1 Corinthians 5 serves as an interesting study of the benefits of church discipline. Notice how it:
a) demonstrates to all that sin can not be tolerated (vs. 2)
b) proves our commitment to God and His will (vs. 4)
c) shows the erring brother that we love him and are concerned for his soul (vs. 5)
d) protects the rest of the congregation from a damaging influence (vs. 6-13)
If anyone still doubts the effectiveness of this approach, please note that the actions described in the text above had the desired effect - the erring brother was restored! (2 Cor. 2:4-8). This is God's plan, and it works. We must have enough faith to employ it.
- by Greg Gwin
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