the weblog of Alan Knox

Deliver such a one to Satan…

Posted by on Aug 30, 2006 in discipline, fellowship, scripture, unity | 1 comment

In light of my previous post concerning unity in the church (that is, the whole church, not simply the local church), I have been searching for Scripture where the church is instructed to separate from an individual (Note: I use “separate” to mean “church discipline – breaking fellowship as described in Matt 18:15-20”). Here are some of the reasons for separation that I have found:

  • Unrepentant Sin (Matt 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:1-5)
  • Divisiveness (Rom 16:17-18; Titus 3:10-11)
  • Disorderliness (2 Thess 3:6)
  • Refusal to Work (2 Thess 3:7-10)
  • False Teaching (contrary to the Gospel) (2 Thess 3:14-15; 1 Tim 1:20; 2 John 10-11)

Please understand that I am talking about separating from a person who calls himself a brother (a believer). In these cases, I believe that Scripture teaches that the church is to treat the individual as if he were a “heathen” – that is, not a part of the church.

Two questions: 1) Can you find other scriptural reasons for believers to separate from their brothers or sisters? 2) Are there any scriptural reasons for believers to disassociate from other believers without considering them under church discipline?

One Comment

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  1. 9-3-2006

    Good stuff Alan. I think you covered all the bases. I am sure there is material within the OT about not associating with those who could be characterized as a fool. These OT passages could be viewed as a basis for a specific Christian avoiding fellowship with another Christian without prompting the local congregation to disassociate with him or her. Of course foolishness and sin normally run down the same path so there may not be much difference here.

    There also could be an argument made for a certain Christian to abstain from fellowshipping with another Christian if a certain acceptable habit of the other Christian might cause the Christian in question to stumble in an area he has a different conviction in. Drinking for example. This certainly is not the preferred relationship of two faithful Christians, but because of sin it is sometimes necessary.

    That’s all I have on the fly.