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?