Verse 6 is a harsh commandment. Spongers were to be denied fellowship. “We command you … in the name of … Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly.” This situation was somewhat different from that in 1 Corinthians 5, which was more serious in some respects. Here the command was to “withdraw”; with the Corinthians the command was to expel, that is, to excommunicate. Moreover, the Corinthian instruction was to the ecclesia, whereas this was a command to an individual regarding everyday living.
Posts Tagged ‘ excommunication ’
First, the one or two witnesses listen to the alleged victim to hear what the grievance is. If it is a trivial matter, the witnesses would nip the matter in the bud, and it would be dropped. But if the accusation is judged worthy of attention if it be true, then the witnesses go to hear the alleged perpetrator’s side of the story. If the witnesses find the accusation is true—that the victim has been injured and has stated the case fairly (not exaggerating it)—they would try to help the perpetrator to see the error of his way. However, the witnesses do not start out with that motive, for at first, they do not know who is right. (Some claim injury when it is really a figment of their imagination.)
The purpose of turning one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh is just as Paul said—“that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5). The hope is that the individual will make a proper decision so that the flesh might be destroyed.
With the dispute going on in the ecclesia about who was most effective as a teacher and instructor of the Word, this morality problem was being neglected. The dispute about teachers was more along doctrinal lines, and of course doctrine is very important. However, there are degrees of importance, and doctrinal differences can be tolerated if they are not fundamental and do not violate principle. To give in on principle erodes conscience and firmness of character. In summary, then, the Corinthians were having back-and-forth arguments about Paul, Apollos, and Cephas and ignoring the immorality. Doctrines, principles, and moral behavior need to be considered in order for us to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Not knowing the difference between right and wrong will affect our moral behavior and conduct, so that type of doctrine is of primary importance. The Bible is approximately one-third history, one-third prophecy, and one-third moral behavior. All are important in understanding the mind of God.
Many brethren think it is unchristian to stop someone’s mouth, yet Paul was telling Titus, who was not an apostle, to do that very thing. Doctrines that are pernicious and damaging to true Christianity should be boldly opposed and stopped, not democratically debated. One should not be timid about opposing a harmful doctrine, nor should such a doctrine be tolerated. Rather, it should be stopped in its tracks.